When Will Philadelphia Eagles Start Mike Kafka at QB in a Game?

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This week, Philadelphia Eagles superstar quarterback Michael Vick is mending from broken ribs. He stayed in the game, a season-deflating loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but he admitted to the media that his desire to play was a tad selfish and hurt the team. At 3-6, their season is over so there’s no reason to play Vick if he’s anything less than 100% this week. Vick is the franchise QB and needs to be protected. If not this week, then the final weeks of “garbage time” this NFL season is when we might see Vick rest.

The Eagles #QB2 Vince Young, has been inactive for much of the season. Meaning the emergency QB, the second year man from Northwestern Mike Kafka has slightly more playing time in 2011. His NFL debut came with a couple minutes left in the third quarter of the Eagles loss to the Atlanta Falcons in week two.
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Philadelphia Eagles Fans, Here’s the Dossier on QB Mike Kafka

Last night, a neck injury to Philadelphia Eagles superstar quarterback Michael Vick forced him to leave the nationally broadcast night game at the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles lost, and Vick’s injury was revealed to be a concussion. Who knows if he’ll be back for next week?

The Eagles #QB2 Vince Young, was not active. (Not sure when he’ll be back either) Meaning the emergency QB, the second year man from Northwestern Mike Kafka had to go in. His NFL debut came with a couple minutes left in the third quarter, and his performance drew favorable reviews.

Get ready for the most “Kafkaesque” post ever, this is what you need to know about the Chicagoan signal caller.

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Northwestern Complete Bowl History: Cliff Notes Version

mike kafka qb

The beauty of history is that it tells us where we’ve been in order to figure out where we’re going. Illinois took out Baylor in part one of Chicago Big Ten teams in the bowl “Texas Two-Step.” And on New Year’s Day, the Northwestern Wildcats will likewise have an opportunity to defeat a 7-5 Big 12 team in their home state; and a drivable distance from their campus. Just like the Illini did.

But before we get to previewing college football’s Ticket City Bowl vs. Texas Tech, let’s look back at where NU has been in the postseason. Well, it started nice…in 1949. But a half-century later, the holidays haven’t exactly been very happy for the Wildcats.

Let’s Review. Years denote the season, not date of game.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Passing Attack breaking in new QB, WRs

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During his time at the podium at Big Ten Media Day, Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald discussed how his team’s appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl is changing the program’s national image.

“I believe our system is quarterback friendly. It’s amazing, when you come out of the Outback Bowl, I get a bunch of calls from quarterbacks nationally saying:  So you throw the ball 79 times?  Cool.  Okay.  So obviously it’s pretty quarterback friendly from the standpoint of development, too.”

Ah yes, the 2010 Outback Bowl, it was certainly one for the ages. Nine FBS and/or NCAA records were set in that 38-35 overtime loss to Auburn. A game where NU out-gained the Tigers by nearly 200 yards, and QB Mike Kafka set a NCAA record for offensive plays (78 passing, 20 running) compiling 562 yards. He also threw for a school (and Outback Bowl) record 532.

By Paul M. Banks

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Dan Persa taking over for Mike Kafka in Northwestern Air Show

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Last year, Northwestern led the Big Ten in passing offense and were among the national leaders in passing completions and plays per game. Their offense was extremely fun to watch as their QB Mike Kafka was one of the nation’s best in the total offense department, and wide receiver Zeke Markshausen was essentially the Wes Welker of college football; one of the best go-to receivers you can find on third down.

But today, Markshausen is at Chicago Bears camp and Kafka was a fifth round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles.

So this fall, it’s Dan Persa‘s turn to take the reigns.

By Paul M. Banks

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NU’s Mike Kafka, Sherrick McMannis get picked in NFL Draft

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sherrick mcmannis northwestern

By Paul M. Banks

Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka, the man whose production accounted for an overwhelming proportion of the team’s offense in 2009, heard his name called on NFL Draft day.

As did Sherrick McMannis, who was perhaps the best overall athlete in the Wildcats secondary last season.
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Northwestern will have presence in 2010 NFL Draft

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Tonight and tomorrow figure to be to the most intriguing portions of the NFL Draft for Northwestern fans. DE Corey Wootton has been projected as an early-mid second rounder in most NFL mock drafts, and  QB Mike Kafka projects as a 3rd-5th rounder.

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Northwestern Gives #8 Iowa First Loss 17-10

Northwestern

By Paul M. Banks

All year long, Iowa wasn’t just wining ugly, they were winning HIDEOUSLY. To their immense credit, the un-sexiest 9-0 team in college football history kept winning, despite a starting quarterback, Ricky Stanzi who is to throwing interceptions what cable news is to covering celebrity deaths. The Iowa Hawkeyes got off to the best start in school history with mediocre-to-bad statistical rankings in every major category and zero skill position players that anyone other than the geekiest of college football geeks has ever heard of. Yet, their solid running game, seasoned linebacking corps, and loads of NFL ready talent on both lines kept them perfect and grabbed them the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dreaded SI cover jinx anyone?

They were finally done in by their deficiencies, some bad luck, and the bite from the injury bug swelling to crippling infection. They entered the game down to their third string tailback. Stanzi, their starting QB, went down with an ankle sprain in the first quarter and the Hawkeyes were forced to play backup James Vanderbeek. Whoops, I meant to say James Vandenberg. The freshman from Keokuk, not the actor best known as Dawson from “Dawson’s Creek,” who played a QB in two different films (“Angus” and “Varsity Blues”)

But Vandenberg was about as effective in running the Iowa offense as “Dawson’s Creek” writers were to having characters with realistic dialogue. The Northwestern secondary truly shut him down.

Coincidence that the team finally doing them in, the bowl-eligible 6-4 Northwestern Wildcats, have likewise experienced a season filled with injuries and insanely erratic play. Northwestern gave Iowa, the #8 team in the AP, #4 in the BCS, their first loss despite missing their MVP Mike Kafka for much of it.kafkadualthreat

The senior QB leads the team in rushing and leads the Big Ten in both passing and completions. He started, but a hamstring injury limited his passing effectiveness, and completely “hamstrung” his ability to run out of the pocket.

Therefore, the Wildcats were forced to go with backup QB Dan Persa much of the day, a former state of Pennsylvania high school player of the year, who like Kafka has a great ability to run, but has yet to have a Kafka like metamorphosis in the air attack.

Northwestern has had a perplexing season, losing to lowly Syracuse, but also holding a 4th quarter lead in every game but one this season, even when they were playing much more talented competition. They truly embody that cliché of “playing up (or down) to their competition.” Two of their non-conference wins were alarmingly close over two of the absolute worst squads of the 120 team FBS. (Miami of Ohio, Eastern Michigan). But this win, ugly as it was for both sides, was as sweet as it gets for Northwestern.

It’s the “signature win” that Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald was looking for. One of the youngest coaches in the FBS, he’s guided his Wildcats to three bowl-eligibility seasons during his four year tenure, but this is his first win over a top ten team. He’s known as one of the most emotionally intense coaches in all of college football, so he is no doubt grinning ear-to-ear today

And he truly has Iowa’s number: Northwestern has won 4 of their last 5 against the Hawkeyes, and three straight overall in Kinnick Stadium, where almost nobody wins.

And for the Hawkeyes, the nation’s second longest winning streak ends. Their most recent loss prior to today came at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini in November of 2008. With the loss to a team that calls Evanston, IL home this afternoon, I’m guessing Hawkeye Nation has a very bitter view of the Prairie State right now!

College Football Live Blog Week 3, Nighttime games!

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Welcome to our nighttime version of the college football live blog!  There’s a few great matchups tonight, starting with Northwestern at Syracuse, and to be followed by Texas Tech-Texas and Arkansas-Georgia.  Should be a fun night, and we’ll kick it off with some musings from my guy PB about one of his many alma maters, Northwestern!

Syracuse 3, Northwestern 0 (12:33 left 1Q)
Is it too late to call an upset here for Syracuse? They are up 3-0, and just recovered a fumble on NU’s 1st off play from scrimmage. They set up shop inside the Wildcats 15.

Thats not why I think Northwestern is going to lose though. When I found out all the “probables” to “questionables” were out with injury. They’re best and 3rd best RBs, along with the top two corners, I knew. I just knew. –Paul Banks

Syracuse 10, Northwestern 0 (9:00 left 1Q)
Syr qb and douchecock supreme greg paulus scores and its 10-0 cuse. -PB

Maybe my man PB won’t be ok, lol…-Paul Schmidt

Georgia at Arkansas (KICKOFF)
Dawgs and Hogs on ESPN tonight…should be a great game.

Of local interest, it’s the first major home game for a certain transfer QB named Ryan Mallett, who some readers may remember abandoned Michigan and condemned them to crappy QB play from freshman last season instead of from a 6 foot 8 sophomore…

On the plus side, it’s SEC football, and the atmosphere is INSANE right now, and they haven’t even started the game…-PS

Arkansas 7, Georgia 0 (12:23 left 1Q)
What a scattershot first drive for Mallett…he looked bad until the Razorbacks had to punt, and then they recovered a muff.  THEN he started throwing darts, and let me tell you, on the 25-yard TD pass he just threw, while rolling out…into coverage no less…well, it looked good.  It looked real good.

Maybe Michigan WILL miss this guy…-PS

Syracuse 17, Northwestern 7 (2:00 left 2Q)
Mike Kafka scores from inside the ten. 17-7 Syracuse, just inside the 2 qtr. NU threatening to make a game of this…after what the announcer called “the best total quarter in Syracuse football in about 5 years.”

Be proud Purple hearted, be proud.-PB

Georgia 7, Arkansas 7 (9:56 left 1Q)
I had a feeling this could be a barn-burner, and it’s looking like it.  Joe Cox just fired a bullet to the endzone for a TD.  So far this looks like defense will be missing, and Arkansas just did a nice reverse on the ensuing kickoff to get across midfield to start.-PS

Arkansas 14, Georgia 7 (9:37 left 1Q)
Remember what I said about that great starting field position?  Well, they used it well in one play, as Mallett just went long to Jerrious Wright and hit him in stride for the lead.

Terrible play by the safety, who froze up as Wright went by him, and that pretty much made the play.-PS

Syracuse 17, Northwestern 7 (12:00 left 2Q)
NU is actually moving the ball because Fitz has finally realized, Kafka should run, let him run. He is a runner. They kept him under wraps for the couple games. Yes, we all want him to pass, but dont get away from what works. The first couple games they did that.

Watching ESPN360 is quite a trip, they run the saem 3 ads the ENTIRE game. I’ve memorized all their spots and its just the 2nd quarter…-PB

Texas Tech 3, Texas 0 (7:31 left 1Q)
So far, the Red Raiders’ D has looked good, solid amount of pressure on Texas QB Colt McCoy, and they forced them to punt.

Now, granted, they’ll be starting from their own one-inch line, but still, they lead and Texas didn’t score.  That’s a plus, right? –PS

Northwestern 21, Syracuse 17 (8:00 left 2Q)
Two bits from Paul Banks, but I needed the second one to figure out why he was ejaculating with joy via email:

“What a difference a qtr makes! My last minute pregame prediction of syr 31 nu 21 may be inaccurate!”

OK….how about some actual info, then PB? Calm down and type, and breeeaaaaathe….

“Kafka complted his first 16 passes! And takes the lead!!! Kafka is on fire 21 pts in 11 min for the cats. His 1st 2 td passes all season. Nu 21 syr 17 8 min till half.”

I’ve been a big Mike Kafka critic, but he’s apparently picking apart the Syracuse secondary in a way that I didn’t see Darryle Clark of Penn State or Adam Weber of Minnesota — both better QBs — do.  That’s saying something.  Ok, Kafka…maybe I’m “Metamorphosizing” into a fan of yours….-PB and PS

Texas 7, Texas Tech 3 (7:02 left 1Q)
A nice stop by the Longhorns, and then Texas Tech punted to Jordan Shipley.  I mean, that’s fine and all, but they should have tackled him.

Couple missed tackles and nice cutbacks by Shipley later, and the Longhorns lead. jordanshipley

Also, Shipley freaked Bevo out after the score…not the cuddly mascot, the actual bull…which really could have turned into something funny or awful, depending on your viewpoint…-PS

Arkansas 21, Georgia 10 (12:08 left 2Q)
Ryan Mallett, much to the shagrin of Sports Bank contributor Bosch, I’m sure, has simply looked fantastic. It looks like they are punting for the first time, but the story has been all Mallett.  With 18 minutes of football played, he’s 8 of 12 for 197 yards and 3 TDs, and is on pace for some kind of a record setting day if he keeps that up…-PS

Arkansas 21, Georgia 17 (10:56 left 2Q)
This is getting a little ridiculous…after Arkansas had to punt, Richard Samuel took a handoff up the middle and scampered largely unmolested 80 yards for the TD.  Just a great run, and it sort of looked like Arkansas’ defense didn’t see the handoff and half-followed QB Joe Cox as he rolled out to “pass”.

This one looks like it’s going to come down to whoever has the ball last, and that could be 60 points away…-PS

Florida State 37, BYU 14
Maybe we can finally end this BCS buster talk.  I’m almost as sick of that as I am of the BCS itself…-PS

Texas 10, Texas Tech 3 (14:52 left 2Q)
Interesting start to the game, as both defenses are really playing well.  That’s actually somewhat surprising, given what we know about the defenses in the Big 12.

McCoy has looked ok so far, but if Texas is going to get the revenge they so very much want, they are going to need to get the passing game going.-PS

Syracuse 24, Northwestern 21 (9:57 left 3Q)
The Orangemen took the lead with just a minute  to go in the first half, and has had a continuing success with the Wildcat formation.

The interesting thing about that is they had the same success a couple of weeks ago against Minnesota and arguably could have won the game had they used it more. The same appears to be somewhat true here tonight as they continue to pick up chunks of yardage with it.-PS

Georgia 24, Arkansas 21 (:50 left 2Q)
Great job by the Dawgs going for it on 4th down and 2 at the Hogs’ 31 yard line, and converted that chance.

Joe Cox then completed a beautiful 25 yard TD to AJ Green to give them their first lead of the game.

Georgia just extended that lead — MAYBE.  It was a pretty questionable fumble return for a TD, but it looked as though what was called a fumble was most likely an incomplete pass. –PS

Georgia 27, Arkansas 21 (HALF)
Really nice looking…uhhh…let’s call it a 35 second drill by Cox and the Georgia offense.  Two relaly big passes, the biggest being a 28-yarder on 3rd and 18, set up a field goal as time expired.

This one is far from over, however.  Neither defense has shown a ton of interest in stopping the opposition, so it would be surprising to see them suddenly start in the second half. –PS

Texas 10, Texas Tech 3 (HALF)
I’ll be the first in a long chorus of people to ask, “What the heck is wrong with Colt McCoy??”

He looks the opposite of sharp (un-sharp?) and the defenses of both teams, improbably, have taken control.  I can’t fathom that continuing as the game goes on…but…-PS

Northwestern 28, Syracuse 27 (:17 left 3Q)
Remember when Paul Banks earlier said that Mike Kafka was a runner, and to let him run?  He just put the ‘Cats ahead with his legs, scampering 28 yards for a huge score.

The thing is, the NU defense has really bent a lot tonight…they haven’t completely broken, but they really have had trouble with the multi-faceted Cuse offense. This game is most likely far from over…-PS

Arkansas 28, Georgia 27 (10:00 left 3Q)
The back and forth continues for the Dawgs and Hogs.

This time, Mallett AGAIN goes long, and strikes gold with his 4th TD pass of the game, hitting Greg Childs for the TD.

It was a great catch by Childs, though — he overcame GREAT coverage, and then threw a GREAT straight arm on the defender before being hurled into the end zone by Brandon Boykin.-PS

Northwestern 34, Syracuse 27 (9:04 left 4Q)
Mike Kafka is having an unreal football game right now, as he is currently 32 of 35 passing for 354 yards and 3 TDs, having just hit Demetrius Fields for a three-yard score.

Kafka is really showing off some skills tonight, and I’d love to say more about him, but it must be mentioned that Stefan Demos missed the extra point, and that keeps it just a seven point game.  Something, hopefully, that won’t bite the Cats in the butt later in the game.-PS

Georgia 34, Arkansas 28 (7:51 left 3Q)
This game won’t quit, as Joe Cox just went 50 yards deep to Taverras King to get the lead back for the Dawgs.

They even made the 2-point conversion before being called for holding and settling for the extra point.  This game is stressing me out…-PS

Syracuse 34, Northwestern 34 (6:03 left 4Q)
And this one is trying to keep up with the SEC.

Paulus the douche tied this one up with a 13-yard score to Mike Williams…presumably not the former USC standout…

It seems perfectly safe to assume that the ‘Cats will get a shot to win, right?-PS

Syracuse 34, Northwestern 34
Here’s some thoughts from Paul Banks, our NU guy, but due to technical difficulties these got missed:

“How’s this for a box score Mike Kafka 23-26 284, 2 TDs o INT. how’s that QB rating? the polar opposite of Rex Grossman. Then again, 9 carries for -5 yards for Kafka..yeesh. And Arby Fields (yeah, I’m thinking Arbys man) has a 25 yard run. everyone else is in single digits or negative…yeesssshhhhhhh”

“Syracuse Mike Williams WR (no, not the same WR Mike Williams at USC from a few years ago) has over 150 yards and a TD already. he’s pretty good. no doubt helped by a 3rd string CB covering him tonight.”  Haha — the same joke I made!!

“SU kicker Ryan Lichentenstein (isnt that a micro-state? my favortie microstate is montenegro, or san marino) kicks fg, cuse extends lead to 6.

nu’s feature back tonight is jacob schmidt. aren’t we missing a john and jingleheimer there in his name?”  Yes we are…and he’s also my long lost twin brother from another mother….

“trick play. kafka to wr andrew brewer, who throws a 25 yard td rec to kafka. its tricky tricky tricky tricky. all these former qbs on the roster are paying off. is there anything kafka cant do.

I like your metamorphosis allusion Paul S. I was going to make reference to “the misanthrope” “a man apart” but I can think fast enough to analogize the works of Czech intellectual Franz Kafka…yes yes harrumph.”  Yes, that’s right….the Misanthrope just got referenced on a sports website….-PB and PS

Georgia 42, Arkansas 35 (4:34 left 3Q)
OK, this is getting crazy. In trying to post what was going on in the Cats/Cuse game, I missed two touchdowns.  It took like 3 minutes.  I don’t even remember the Arkansas TD at this point.  They are all blending together…I do know it was a TD pass from Ryan Mallett, because he set Arkansas’ school record for TD passes in the game with over 20 minutes of game left.

Georgia managed to get teh 2-point conversion, this time, with a pretty little pass from Cox to A.J. Green in the corner.

Incidentally, both QBs have combined to make a total of 5 starts in their careers heading into tonight, and they’ve combined to throw 9 TDs and something like 5,000 yards in this game.  –PS

Northwestern 34, Syracuse 34 (1:38 left 4Q)
The Cats had to punt, then forced ‘Cuse three-and-out deep in his own end, and now, with 98 ticks left, have pretty good field position at their own 40 yard line.

How much more magic does Kafka have left?  Can he turn into a dung beetle? –PS

Northwestern 34, Syracuse 34 (:52 left 4Q)
And Mike Kafka’s first mistake looks like it is going to cost Northwestern the game.

He was darn near perfect…and maybe being so perfect in a game gives you the confidence to make any throw. Of course, maybe that means you make throws you shouldn’t.

Kafka just threw to an open receiver — at least he appeared to be, but Syracuse was sitting back in a soft zone waiting, and got just a HUGE interception, and returned it 35 yards back into Northwestern territory.  A couple of short passes later and it looks like they are in field goal range….-PS

Syracuse 37, Northwestern 34 (FINAL)
Roy Lichtenstein, or whatever his name was, just hit the game winner from 42 yards out.  Kafka’s an unfortunate loser in this one, but at the same time, when your D played like Northwestern’s did tonight, you have to be nearly perfect to win.  Tough loss for the Cats, and it will be interesting to see how they rebound. –PS

Texas 24, Texas Tech 10 (2:26 left 3Q)
The offenses woke up when I wasn’t looking, and Texas Tech is driving.

Texas’ ground game has picked things up a little, while McCoy has looked pedestrian at best tonight.

New Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts is doing Texas Tech type things, going 36 of 48 for 313 yards through essentially three quarters of play. In fact…

…Potts just capped off a nice scoring drive to get the Red Raiders back into things a little bit, and now the score is
Texas 24, Texas Tech 17 (1:35 left 3Q) –PS

hogGeorgia 42, Arkansas 38 (14:47 left 4Q)
ARKANSAS JUST PUNTED ARKANSAS JUST PUNTED!!!!  WOOHOOO!!!! WE FINALLY HAVE SOME DEFENSE!

Texas 24, Texas Tech 17 (12:40 left 4Q)
Not an inspiring start to the fourth quarter for either offense, with Texas Tech QB Potts throwing an awful pick (in front of a hold in the end zone that wasn’t called and should have been a safety), and then, with great field position at the Red Raider 20, all McCoy can do is continue to throw the ball too high to his wide receivers which led to a tipped-ball-interception.  Just kinda ugly. –PS

Texas 24, Texas Tech 17 (11:48 left 4Q)
WOW…Taylor Potts just got crushed by this Kindle kid from Texas.  He mauled him.  Texas recovered the fumble and should actually get some points here.

One reason I hate instant replay, though, is that huge hit was tainted now…because there’s no way that shouldn’t have been called helmet-to-helmet to the QB…At the very least Kindle led with his head…-PS

Georgia 49, Arkansas 38 (9:38 left 4Q)
These two teams have slowed down just a little bit, no doubt because they were tired from scoring so much (that’s what she said).

Cox just tied the Georgia school record for TD passes in a game with his fifth and A.J. Green scored — again — and the Dawgs are up 11. I’ll be back posting about this game soon, though, because Arkansas is already driving.  Of course they are…-PS

Georgia 49, Arkansas 41 (7:41 left 4Q)
…and there it is.  Mallett couldn’t get his 6th TD pass of the night, but the Hogs were down two scores and needed to get the field goal at some point, so they might as well have gotten it there.

Of course…now they need a defensive stop.  Umm…-PS

Texas 31, Texas Tech 17 ( left 4Q)coltmccoy
Well, McCoy finally made the Red Raiders pay for a mistake. He hit Dan Buckner in the back of the end zone for a three-yard score, and it was a REALLY great catch by Buckner.

I don’t know what it is about McCoy, but he hasn’t looked sharp at all tonight.  You have to think that he has better days in front of him, but he really, he is not the reason they are winning this prime-time, nationally televised game. –PS

Texas 31, Texas Tech 24 (6:51 left 4Q)
Blown coverage got Taylor Potts his third TD pass of the game, and his numbers are crazy gaudy right now — 43-58 387 yards. This Red Raider offense is just insane.

Also, I hate them, because I think they blew up my -18.5.  Not only that, with this kind of time left, with a stop they could tie the game. -PS

Georgia 52, Arkansas 41 (2:10 left 4Q)
That may have iced it.

Arkansas actually got the stop they needed, but were pinned deep in their own territory, and couldn’t manage anything other than a three-and-out. They then got an awful punt that gave Georgia first down inside the Arkansas 30…

They didn’t have to go very far to get in field goal range, but they used about 3 minutes of clock, gained about 20 yards, and with the chip-shot field goal, made it a two possession game.

Interesting fact — Arkansas only has 4 road games remaining this season, which is good.  They are ALL FOUR against top ten teams, unfortunately…BAD-PS

Texas 34 Texas Tech 24 (3:49 left 4Q)
And Texas just did the same thing.  Nice long drive, took over three minutes off the clock, and kicked a field goal to pretty much put the game out of reach barring a miracle.-PS

Georgia 52, Arkansas 41 (FINAL)
In the end, much like Northwestern’s Mike Kafka, Ryan Mallett used up all his magic early in the game.  Rarely are nearly 400 yards passing and 5 touchdown not enough to win a game, but then again, when your defense gives up 52 points, would 5 or 600 yards have been enough?  Hard to say…

Still, Mark Richt has made his bones in the SEC as being an unbelievable true-road-game coach, and he proved it again tonight.  I can’t imagine Georgia winning a ton of games in this fashion, bur Richt proved that he’ll go anywhere, play any kind of football you want, and more than likely beat you at it.

Plus, Bobby Petrino lost.  And that’s ALWAYS a good thing. -PS

Texas 34, Texas Tech 24 (1:18 left 4Q)
This one is just about wrapped up, with Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster’s son, a safety at Texas, making a great play in the secondary on 4th and long to seal the win. -PS

Texas 34, Texas Tech 24 (FINAL)
I missed this game in my picks, and I’m still surprised at the defensive nature of the first half, and the poor, inconsistent play of Colt McCoy.

You can’t say a stat like of 24 of 34 for 204 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions is Heisman material, and that’s all I can say about McCoy.  I’d been impressed by him in the past, and thought that of the triumverate of QBs in college football this season (McCoy, Bradford and Tebow), he was the most likely to make an impact in the NFL.  After tonight, I’m just not sure.

And say this about Taylor Potts: 46 of 63, 420 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT.  He played well enough to win.  And looked REALLY good. Texas Tech is going to be a tough out in the Big 12 this season, something I didn’t realize coming into this game.

That pretty much wraps things up today, THANKS FOR TUNING IN EVERYONE.  I might be getting a little punchy at this point, after 9 hours and somewhere around 6,000 words, but hey, it was fun.  See you all next week!

Big Ten QB Power Rankings

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By Paul M. Banks

The Big Ten has a historical reputation for being a “black and blue” type conference like the old NFC Central in the NFL. Woody Hayes and his “3 yards and a cloud of dust” comes to mind. But today, it’s all about the spread-option, and having a quarterback who can run the ball almost as well, or better than he can throw it. The Big Ten’s best are the guys who can beat with you with their legs in addition to beating you with their arm.

1. Ohio State- Terrelle Pryor.
He’s the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and will only get better. The only question remaining is, why wasn’t he one of the three players selected by THEEEEEE Ohio State University to attend Media Day in Chicago? Instead OSU brought one mediocre player, one guy that might not start, and another who’s scout team level in talent.

2. Illinois- Juice Williams and Penn State- Darryl Clark
It really is a toss-up between these two mobile QBs. Both have led their team to the Rose Bowl, both got smoked in that Rose Bowl, and both have developed towards the back-end of their collegiate career. Juice is a better runner and will put up bigger numbers this fall, but Clark is a better decision maker and commits less mistakes.

4. Minnesota- Adam Weber
Like the first three, he’s mobile and he’s got a gun. But does WR supreme Eric Decker make him look better than he really is? Guess we will find out next year when Decks is gone.

5. Northwestern Mike Kafkajuice-williams-arrelious-benn-440
He’s known as “the guy who broke that QB rushing record” to most, as he really hasn’t done much else outside of… the record shattering 217 yards he scrambled for in a season-defining win at Minnesota last fall. But he has potential, and now with C.J. Bacher’s departure, he has a chance to be the man and carry this team.

6. Iowa- Ricky Stanzi
Has high potential to rise above this spot; playing with the luxury of his stellar defense and the great blocking in front of him will help him get there.

7. Michigan State- Kirk Cousins/Keith Nichol
Cousins looked ok when he got some playing time in the Citrus Bowl last year (if the credit card company that bought the rights to that game wants publicity, they can give me a cut, until then it’s the Citrus Bowl to me!). Nichol is yet another qb transfer who bails on his program when he finds himself lower on the depth chart. But when you realize that he had to contend with Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, can you blame him? They’ll name their starter in a couple days.

8. Indiana- Ben Chappell
He’s got a good arm, but he’s no Antwaan Randle El. He’s not even in the same class as Kellen Lewis.

9. Purdue- Joey Elliot
He’s the like the Chester Frazier of Big Ten football- already focused on coaching once his college career ends. Last year, the Joe Tiller era ended. This year ends the era of Purdue QBs putting up good passing numbers and having draft potential.

10. Michigan ???
Familiar with the term “hot mess”? I don’t really know where to begin, expect by asking them to start over with whoever is the highest rated youngster at the position in their program.

11. Wisconsin ???
The Badgers deserve this spot simply because of what happened today with Bret Bielema’s “depth chart” release, an extreme let-down that said nothing. Junior Scott Tolzien and redshirt freshman Curt Phillips were listed as co-starters ahead of senior Dustin Sherer, who started the final seven games in 2008. They won’t bother telling us who’s winning the position battle. But we can figure out that Sherer is JUST AWFUL.

Mike Kafka: Northwestern’s Record Setting QB

kafka

By Paul M. Banks

This fall Northwestern breaks in a new starting quarterback, one with a few starting games under his belt. One of those games was extraordinary.

“All Mike Kafka did last year with his opportunity was run for a Big Ten single-game record (for a quarterback) 217 yards. You’ll see if you come out to practice that he’s throwing the ball as well as he has in his career and we’re excited to have a Chicagoan, a St. Rita graduate leading our program,” Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald said at Northwestern Media Day.

Because of his performance in that single game, a 24-17 win at nationally ranked Minnesota, Kafka was named an AT&T All-America Player of the Week candidate, Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week and earned an ESPN College Gameday “Helmet Sticker.”

Because of that publicity, and the fact that it’s the only major national ink Kafka has acquired to date, he’s earned a reputation as a Randall Cunningham type, run-first style quarterback. I asked him what he thinks of that designation. “It’s a nice little label, but…everyone’s going to have opinions on you, and I can throw the ball too,” he responded.

Coach Fitz vouched for Kafka’s passing ability, as a complement to the scrambling that he’s known for. “We’re going to ask Mike to run our offense and if that involves running then that’s what we’re going to do. But as I’ve said, he completed more passes than anyone wants to give him credit for last year, right around 70 percent. Mike can throw it well, we’ll spread it out and I think he’s a true definition of a dual-threat quarterback.”kafkadualthreat

But that credit is slowly trickling in for Kafka, as he’s just one of 20 quarterbacks nationally, three from the Big Ten, named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list. And his passing accuracy is reflected by the fact that he’s completed 62 percent of his career pass attempts. Kafka’s QB role model is a player who was certainly not known for scrambling.

“One of the guys I look up to is Brett Favre, I love the way he plays the game and I try to model my game around his.” This fall, Kafka will have a chance to disprove (or re-affirm) the idea that he’s strictly a “running quarterback.” So I asked him if there was anything else he had read or heard about himself in the mainstream media which he found grossly inaccurate.

“I leave that up to my parents, a lot of parents like reading that kind of stuff, but I really don’t read into it. I’m pretty confident in my abilities, I know I what I need to do. I know my teammates got my back, and I got their back, so that’s all that matters to me,” he responded.

Of course, in this age and day of web 2.0 and social media; opinions, facts, rumors, hints, allegations and things left unsaid, but implied get around more rapidly than ever. I asked the NU QB if he gets involved with things like Facebook, Twitter and the like.

“In the past I’ve had one. I still have a Facebook page, but I don’t check it that often, I’m thinking about just erasing it because it’s kind of a waste of time…I don’t care about it that much and it would kind of be a distraction throughout the season,” he replied.