Posts Tagged ‘Jim Harbaugh’

Sunday February 3, 2013

***Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers: 6:30 PM ET (CBS)***

Brothers John and Jim Harbaugh, head coaches of the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, respectively, will lead their teams into Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans Feb. 3rd.

Both the Ravens and 49ers had to win on the road against the No. 1 seed, Baltimore at Denver and San Francisco at Atlanta. Both edged the top dog by less than five. Maybe more impressive is the gauntlet of quarterbacks each team has faced.

The Ravens defense has faced and stopped Andrew Luck (consensus future great), Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. Likewise, the 49ers defense took down Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.

Both quarterbacks, Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick, are playing in their first Super Bowl and have much to prove.

For Flacco, winning the Super Bowl would finally silence his critics. Even with the most road playoff wins of any NFL quarterback besides Eli Manning (tied for most), Joe has taken most all of the “Flacc” for the Ravens lack of Super Bowl visits in his 5 years at the helm. No doubt, Flacco is looking to follow Eli Manning’s pathway to respect.

For Kaepernick, winning the “Big Game” would mean “Kaep”-ping off one of the biggest success stories of the season. From day one, all eyes have been “Kaep” and Coach Harbaugh for the risky decision to replace 7-2 starter Alex Smith after he suffered a concussion. Making it to the Super Bowl alone has certainly cemented Colin as San Francisco’s man for a long time.

To answer the question of “Who will win this Super Bowl?” one must first answer another simple question: Which offense will be more successful against the other’s elite defense?

I believe the answer will be that the 49ers offense will be much more successful than the Ravens will be against the other’s “D.”

Baltimore’s offense is geared towards setting up the run, stable tight end play and airing out deep bombs when available. The 49ers defense is built to stop this exact method. With one of the best, arguably the best, “front seven” in the NFL, no team has comfortably run on the 49ers. The back end of that seven, lead by Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman are some of the best coverage line backers in the league and can hold the Ravens’ TE Dennis Pitta in check. Tony Gonzales’ numbers from last week are not indicative of what to expect as Baltimore does not have a Roddy White/Julio Jones tandem to cover as well.

The Baltimore defense, specifically its own “front seven” is also no joke. Anchored by Haloti Ngata, the Baltimore line is more than capable of stopping the run and rushing the QB with stand-out Paul Kruger, Hall-Of-Famer Ray Lewis, and beast Terrell Suggs. Fortunately, the 49ers offense has no holes, least of all in the O-Line.

Prediction: Last season, the Harbaugh brothers faced off in Baltimore, where the Niners’ offense struggled to put anything but 3 points on the board in a 16-3 disappointment. You can bet the Niners’ bolstering their offense in the postseason had a lot to do with games like this. Younger brother gets the last laugh. San Francisco wins 35-20.

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College football is drawing to a close. With just the BCS National Championship left (of the games we care about) it’s time for another edition of 5 things to remember and forget.

5 Things to Remember:

1. Cam Newton is not out of the woods.

If you’ll all remember the Reggie Bush saga, there were accusations and speculations regarding whether or not Bush had accepted payment for his abilities while still at USC. It wasn’t until 5 years later, long after Bush had been in the NFL, that the investigations were concluded and the sanctions laid down.

If I were the NCAA, I would have done the same thing regarding Newton with the amount of evidence present at the time. Remember, it’s much better to hold off on punishment until all skeletons are uncovered than to discipline in anticipation of finding said skeletons.

Believe me, Cam’s case is being prepared and thorough investigations are in order, even if the NCAA hasn’t gone public with each step of the process. Besides, the NCAA is benefitting greatly from Newton playing just as they did Bush. Just saying.

2. The landscape of college football changes drastically next season with the expansion of conferences.

Nebraska to the Big 10, Utah and CU to the PAC-10, TCU to the Big East, and BYU moving independent. The moves alone would be big enough, but now throw in 2 new conference championship games, the Big 12 losing their championship game, and you have a huge shake-up.

The Mountain West Conference, in essence, has become the WAC but with better lower tier teams than the WAC had. Boise State Community College will remain a BCS buster while Utah and TCU vie for an automatic bid (TCU more than likely will be conference champ favorite off the bat).

3. The SEC will remain the most elite conference.

I know, I know, the SEC gets more respect than it deserves before the season even starts, but let’s just take a quick glance at the conference rundown. The SEC has won the national championship the last 4 years in a row and has a contender in Auburn in the game this year.

The 7th ranked team in the conference was Florida. The 7th best teams in the other “elite” conferences are as follows; Big 12 – Kansas State, ACC – North Carolina, Big 10 – Michigan, Big East – Cincinnati, PAC-10 – Arizona. The best part is that only 2 teams in the SEC were not bowl eligible by season’s end. Impressive to say the least.

4. USC still isn’t post season eligible.

The reason I mention this is that Utah will be a member the PAC-12 South Division, made up of USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and CU. Of these teams, the only one I’m concerned about is possibly Arizona, because Utah plays them at Arizona. Since USC will be ineligible for postseason play, Utah gets the conference championship slot even with second place in the division under USC.

5. Remember Boise State and Notre Dame will be the only teams likely to be BCS busters next year.

Although Boise State got a rude awakening as to how far 1 loss will drop you when you play in the WAC, having to play in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl while other one loss teams received BCS invites, they will certainly remain a force in their new home, the Mountain West Conference.

Brian Kelly finally started getting things clicking for Notre Dame, as they destroyed Miami in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. Freshman QB Tommy Rees had a great game and will be returning next season to Kelly’s offense. Should be interesting to see what he can do next season.

5 Things to Forget:

1. Forget about the WAC.

Even though they found a few teams to fill holes, they’re pulling no-names. University of Texas San Antonio, Texas State University, and Denver University will replace Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii…totally balances out.

Hard to believe that the WAC used to be home to Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, TCU, and BYU at one time or another the last 35 years.

2. Stanford can forget about the success they’ve seen the last few years.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is likely headed to the NFL, and starting QB Andrew Luck is surely headed to the NFL as well. Likely destinations for Harbaugh include the Denver Broncos, working under Stanford alum John Elway, the 49ers in nearby San Francisco, or even the Miami Dolphins.

Luck will be the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft in all likelihood. Sorry Stanford.

3. Forget about the SEC national championship streak.

Oregon plays at a pace Auburn hasn’t seen yet. Sure, Auburn will get theirs, but as I’ve said all season, Oregon might not be the most completely balanced team (like TCU) but they are the nations most unbeatable team. Their offense is outstanding and they don’t slow down. Even if Auburn can keep it close through 3 quarters, they won’t for 4.

4. BYU can forget about long-term independence.

The minute the Big 12 decides to replace Nebraska and Colorado, BYU will be at the top of the short list of candidates.

If not for weakness in all categories other than football, Boise State would be considered with the Cougars but the Big 12 does have SOME pride in it’s academics and sports outside football. Can you picture Kansas vs Boise State as a basketball conference game? Yikes.

5. Forget about the good old days when college football news consisted of stories and reports on the game itself.

With ESPN Sportscenter, 24/7 news and blog updates, Twitter, Facebook and endless other media outlets, the stories that get the most face-time are the scandals, firings, and drama. Fans can only read about the game itself so many times before needing to search out other forums with more debatable topics than the stats and highlights.

In reaching the final chapter of this college football season, hopefully we can all remember the history and memories made in 2010 and forget our teams’ struggles and move forward with hopes of a brighter twenty-11.