Redskins

Alabama set to grab pole position in BCS race

Alabama set to grab pole position in BCS race

The first BCS standings of the season come out Sunday. Is this important?

Well, sort of.

Since the BCS was implemented in 1998, only twice has neither of the teams ranked first or second in the initial standings reached the national title game.

Seven out of 13 teams that started No. 1 in the standings played for the national championship. Six times the second-place team in the first standings played for the BCS title.

Four times a team has started third and finished in the top two, and four times a team has started fourth and played in the big game.

Six teams have come from fifth place or farther back to reach the championship game. LSU started the farthest back in 2003 at No. 12.

Conclusion: Just like in auto racing, it helps to start in the front row, but expect some passing and maybe a wreck or two.

The coaches' poll and the Harris poll are the driving forces behind the BCS standings. A compilation of six computer rankings also count for a third of a BCS rating, but essentially the computers break ties when two teams are very close in the polls.

Alabama, an overwhelming No. 1 in the polls, is just about a lock to be first when the standings are released Sunday, barring a major upset of the Crimson Tide at Missouri on Saturday.

The Tigers are still looking for their first Southeastern Conference victory, coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, and they will be without injured starting quarterback James Franklin (knee). So good luck beating `Bama.

Oregon is off this week and stands a good chance to be right behind Alabama in the BCS standings, just as it is in the polls. The Ducks are a solid No. 2 in both.

The computer ratings going into this weekend treat Notre Dame a bit better than the pollsters. The Fighting Irish are ranked seventh in the polls, but first in two of the five computer ratings that have already been released. A sixth doesn't start coming out until Sunday.

And with the Irish facing another strong opponent Saturday, at home against Stanford, don't be surprised to see Notre Dame ahead in the BCS standings of some teams that it trails in the polls if it beats the Cardinal.

The most important thing to remember is this: Don't get too worked up. There are plenty of games to be played.

Wait about a month or so, and then get worked up.

The picks:

SATURDAY

No. 1 Alabama (minus 21 1/2) at Missouri

You know who is enjoying the Tigers' first season in the SEC? Kansas fans ... ALABAMA 38-13.

No. 3 South Carolina (plus 2 1/2) at No. 9 LSU

Death Valley won't be so intimidating if Tigers can't fix their offense ... SOUTH CAROLINA 17-13

No. 4 Florida (minus 7 1/2) at Vanderbilt

Gators have won 21 straight against Commodores ... FLORIDA 17-9.

No. 5 West Virginia (minus 4 1/2) at Texas Tech

Can Mountaineers stay focused in between trip to Texas and home game against K-State? ... TEXAS TECH 38-35.

No. 6 Kansas State (minus 6 1/2) at Iowa State

Wildcats have won four straight in series, all by eight or less ... KANSAS STATE 28-24.

No. 17 Stanford (plus 8 1/2) at No. 7 Notre Dame

Cardinal have won three straight against Irish ... NOTRE DAME 23-13.

No. 8 Ohio State (minus 17) at Indiana

Braxton Miller Heisman hype picking up steam ... OHIO STATE 40-17.

No. 10 Oregon State (plus 6) at BYU

QB injuries have both teams scrambling ... BYU 12-10.

No. 11 Southern California (minus 12) at Washington

Trojans are second-most penalized team in the nation at 10 per game ... USC 28-17.

Boston College (plus 28) at No. 12 Florida State

Seminoles return home in a bad mood ... FLORIDA STATE 45-14.

No. 13 Oklahoma (minus 3) vs. No. 15 Texas at Dallas

Big 12 elimination game; one group of fans is going to be really ticked off ... OKLAHOMA 28-27.

No. 18 Louisville (minus 3) at Pittsburgh

Panthers have been a hard team to decipher ... LOUISVILLE 28-24.

UPSET SPECIAL

Tennessee (plus 3) at No. 19 Mississippi State

Huge game for Vols with Alabama, South Carolina up next ... TENNESSEE 35-31.

Syracuse (plus 7) at No. 20 Rutgers

Orange DE Brandon Sharpe had four sacks vs. Pitt last week ... RUTGERS 21-13.

Fordham (no line) at No. 21 Cincinnati

Been a long time since the Seven Blocks of Granite were playing for Fordham ... CINCINNATI 58-10.

BEST BET

No. 22 Texas A&M (minus 8) vs. No. 23 Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La.

Biggest hurdle between Bulldogs and BCS bid ... TEXAS A&M 52-24.

Fresno State (plus 7) at No. 24 Boise State

Conference rivals again, Broncos have won six straight in series ... BOISE STATE 31-21.

Illinois (plus 23 1/2) at No. 25 Michigan

Denard Robinson coming off 235-yard rushing performance against Purdue ... MICHIGAN 39-14.

---

Last week's record: 15-5 (straight); 11-7 (vs. points)

Season record: 101-20 (straight); 58-46 (vs. points)

Best bets: 2-4.

Upset specials: 3-3.

---

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdursso

Quick Links

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

roster_prediction_hero_image.png
Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

brown_pryor_usat_ig.jpg
USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.