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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pick Six- Week 3 CFB slate





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of Pick Six. 
Last week, Green stepped up to the plate with a 4-2 record, while Baligian finally had a slip up at 3-3. Larimore also went 3-3, but this is a new week here for picks.


Standings:                        GB

Baligian            9-3            -

Green                8-4            1

Larimore           6-6             3


                                                                     Baligian       Green       Larimore


Tulsa at Oklahoma State                                       Okla. St.         Okla. St.        Okla. St.

South Florida at Notre Dame                              Notre Dame   Notre Dame  Notre Dame

Appalachian State at Marshall                              App. St.          App. St.         App. St. 

UCF at Georgia Tech                                              UCF                UCF           Ga. Tech

Miami at Louisville.                                              Miami           Louisville        Miami

Wake Forest at NC State                                      NC State         NC State      Wake Forest

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Green: What the return of Big Ten football means to me




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen
 
In a year unlike any other, each and every day has proven to be a daily challenge for myself since March 12. With cancellations and postponements reigning down on a daily basis, things finally hit home on Sept. 5.
 
It was a splendid Saturday morning with blue skies and fall right around the corner. ESPN’s College Gameday took to the air, but a hole would be missing that day. 
 
No Big Ten football for what appeared to be until 2021 at the earliest and no going to Seattle to cover what would have the opener for the Michigan Wolverines as they would have traveled to take on the Pac-12’s Washington Huskies. Imagine the primetime lights, a packed Husky Stadium on a Saturday night with Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt calling the game on FOX. What could have been, but that is 2020 in a nutshell.
 
Reality sunk in that there would be no games to cover, no fellow media members to interact with in person, no media scrums. Instead, I was simply another person walking to the day job with no creativity or vitality. Having thoughts I have never thought before was not fun at all, especially when you can’t relate to anyone because they are living alternative lives in relationships/being married or not caring about sports, which is their element, but not mine.
 
My element is being able to not only do podcasts, but to get experience of the smells and sounds of stadiums across the Midwest on Saturdays. Knowing that the latter would not happen for at least this season sucked. The last 11 days were tough as the Big 12 and ACC returned to the gridiron, why not the Big Ten? The decision appeared to be final so there was no point of debating, but it left me in the dark cloud for the first time in my life— lack of creativity. The dark cloud destroyed any motivation for doing future podcasts because I figured what’s the point if there is nothing to look forward to.
 
Then, a ray of hope occurred Wednesday morning with the return of Big Ten football beginning Friday, Oct. 23 with a nine-game schedule capped off by the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on Dec. 19. I am stoked not only to get that date, but for teams who finish two through seven play in cross-divisional matchups that day.
 
Even if everything for our website content ends up being virtual with the Big Ten this season— it will be better than nothing. The start of the Big Ten season gives me and others I know in the sports media industry— hope.
 
There will be critics of the Big Ten season being completed on time. The critics can linger around like flies, but I have to have hope at this stage. Hope is all that I have right now and others can relate. 
 
Even if it is from a distance, I look forward to talking Big Ten football again with athletes and media members once again. There is something special about hearing the stories of players from all walks of life, which is something I can’t get in the real world.
 
While the country remains as divided as we ever witnessed, the return of Big Ten football brings some much-needed unity, even it is only for a few hours a week.
 
Let’s all walk this journey together on a Big Ten season unlike any other and make the ride glorious.
 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Week 2 CFB slate




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of Pick Six. 
Last week, Baligian proved again why he is the king of picks with a perfect 6-0 mark, while Green debuted at 4-2 and Larimore brought up the rear at 3-3. Here are this week's picks on the first significant week of college football games.



                                              Baligian       Green       Larimore


Syracuse at North Carolina                      N. Carolina    N. Carolina      Syracuse

Charlotte at Appalachian State                  App. St.          App. St.            App. St.

Georgia Tech at Florida State                  Florida St.     Florida St.       Florida St.

UTSA at Texas State                                  Texas St.          UTSA                UTSA

Western Kentucky at Louisville                Louisville       Louisville         Louisville

Coastal Carolina at Kansas                      Kansas           Kansas             Kansas


Friday, September 4, 2020

Pick Six- Week 1 CFB slate





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen


Hello again and welcome to the fifth season of Pick Six. Sean Baligian, Ryan Larimore and Geno Green will pick six of the premiere games each week.


Baligian captured another Pick Six title last season and will look to go for five in a row.

Here are the slate of games for the first week of a college football season unlike any other:


                                              Baligian       Green       Larimore



Eastern Kentucky at Marshall              Marshall        Marshall       Marshall


SMU at Texas State                               SMU              SMU             SMU


Middle Tennessee at Army                    Army             Army         Middle Tenn.


Stephen F. Austin at UTEP                   UTEP             SFA                SFA


Arkansas State at Memphis                Memphis       Memphis       Memphis


BYU at Navy (Labor Day)                      BYU             Navy               Navy

Monday, August 24, 2020

2020 CSO Mock College Football Playoff pre-season top 25




By: Geno Green

Twitter: @TheGenoGreen


Welcome back to another season of the mock College Football Playoff committee. 

 

Year five was a blast and hopefully year six can top it even in uncertain times.


Remember that the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American conferences, along with FBS Independents, UMass and UConn are not eligible for the pre-season and regular season polls.

 

Here are the pre-season mock CFP top 25 committee rankings with help from this season's members:


Geno Green, Founder at CSO

Bill Bender, National college football writer at The Sporting News 

Sean Baligian, Detroit Lions studio host for 760 WJR in Detroit and contributor to Fox 2.

Jeremy RosenbergCSO college football columnist 

Ryan Larimore, CSO contributor

Jeff Hauser, College football/basketball writer for SB Nation and CSO 

Brian Schaible, College football/basketball writer for CSO and founder of Postgame Central

Jon OpielaCSO football writer 

Dustin Schutte, Managing Editor at Saturday Tradition


       Team                      Points


1) Clemson (8)                     200

2) Alabama                          188

3) Georgia                           179

4) Oklahoma                        176

5) LSU                                 173

6) Florida                            157

7) Notre Dame                     152

8) Auburn                            146

9) Texas A&M                     125

10) Texas                            115

11) Cincinnati                     105

12) Oklahoma State              99

      North Carolina               99

14) UCF                               93

15) Memphis                         83

16) Iowa State                      68

17) Baylor                            63

18) Tennessee                       54

      Louisville                       54

20) Virginia Tech                  49

21) Kentucky                        46

      Appalachian State          46

23) Miami                            38

24) Virginia                         17

25) Navy                              11


Others receiving votes:

Pittsburgh 8, SMU 7, UAB 7, Florida State 6, Mississippi State 5, Kansas State 5, Georgia Tech 2, TCU 2, Missouri 1, Louisiana 1

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Genotology for March 11





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Gonzaga's throttling of Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference final highlighted five automatic bids being awarded from Tuesday night as the latest installment of Genotology has arrived.






Last Four Byes:

Oklahoma
Arizona St.
Cincinnati
Marquette

Last Four In:

Stanford
Indiana
Texas
Florida

First Four Out:

Xavier
NC State
Richmond
Memphis

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Genotology for March 10




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

x= Automatic NCAA tournament berth

The cancellation of the Ivy League tournament due to the coronavirus means Yale automatically qualifies for the field of 68 as the regular season champions. East Tennessee State punched its ticket to the big dance last night after defeating Wofford in the Southern conference title game.






Last Four Byes:

Oklahoma
Arizona St.
Cincinnati
Marquette

Last Four In:

Stanford
Indiana
Texas
Florida

First Four Out:

Xavier
NC State
Richmond
Memphis

Monday, March 9, 2020

Genotology for March 9





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen


The time of the year has arrived where I bring to you daily Genotology brackets leading up to selection Sunday. The latest edition highlights Florida State moving into the fourth overall No. 1 seed, while San Diego State drops to the two line.




Last Four Byes:

Oklahoma
Arizona St.
Cincinnati
Marquette

Last Four In:

Stanford
Indiana
Texas
Florida

First Four Out:

Xavier
NC State
Richmond
Memphis

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Rosenberg's recap of Bradley's second straight MVC tournament title





By: Jeremy Rosenberg
Twitter: @CSportsOverload


MVC Championship: (4) Bradley vs. (7) Valparaiso

Pre-game thoughts:

            The 2019-2020 Missouri Valley season draws to a close today, with the Bradley Braves (22-11) taking on the Valparaiso Crusaders (19-15) for the MVC Arch Madness championship and the Valley’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. No higher seeded power conference team will take the Valley champion lightly— the winner of Arch Madness is traditionally an upset waiting to happen.

            Bradley looks to repeat as champion, and to improve on last year’s first-round NCAA exit. Senior point guard Darrell Brown will be the fuel for the Braves’ offensive attack. Junior Elijah Childs will need to be stopping in the mid-range game, and provide a second scoring option. Koch Bar had an outstanding game yesterday, but his presence might be mitigated by Valpo stretching the floor. Finally, look for either Nate Kennell or Ville Tahvanainen from three-point range provide needed outside shooting punch.

            Valpo is seeking its first ever MVC title since joining the conference in 2017. The Crusaders have been Valley bottom feeders, but with a win today can blow up that perception and show that they truly belong. Javon Freeman-Liberty can play with anyone, anytime, if he is in top form, Valpo will hang around. Freshman Donovan Clay has had a breakout tournament, his slashing ability vs. Childs will be a game-within-the-game highlight. Finally, Valpo’s two seniors, Ryan Fazekas and John Kiser are the x-factors. If one or both get hot from three, Valpo could take the title.

            Bradley 80, Valparaiso 66

            Valpo and Bradley shook off the nerves and started strong, trading buckets, and the anticipated battle between Javon Freeman-Liberty and Darrell Brown was joined. Brown hit an early three and created shots for his teammates. Freeman-Liberty confidentially handled the ball, driving to the hoop, or stepping back to knock down a three.

            Bradley senior Nate Kennell also came out strong, hitting an open three and putting 5 points on the board early. Back and forth the two teams went, evenly matched in the first half. Bradley would pull ahead, then Valpo. At halftime, the Crusaders held a slim 38-36 lead.

            Valpo came out of the locker room on a run, and expanded their lead to five points, led by senior John Kiser and aggressive play off the bench by Daniel Sackey. At no time up to this point did Valpo show any effects of having to play an extra game.

            As the game went on, what wore Valpo down was the size and talent of Bradley. For the game, the Braves outrebounded the Crusaders 38-30, and as the game entered the final stretch, Bradley was hitting their shots, and Valpo went cold— culminating in a 17-2 run for the Braves that put them up by 13 points with 2:25 left in the game.

            An admirable run by Valparaiso fell short, but not before playing in their first MVC title game, being the first team to play on Thursday night to make the finals, and not before gaining the full respect of their conference peers. As long as Freeman-Liberty and Clay are both back next season, Valpo will be a force to be reckoned with in the Valley.

            Bradley head coach Brain Wardle has done an outstanding job, leading the Braves to back-to-back NCAA tournament bids. Last year, as a 15 seed, Bradley put up a sprinted effort against Michigan State. This year’s team has more of the look of a 12 or 13 seed, very dangerous if Brown and Childs are both clicking in the same game. Koch Bar and Ari Boya can provide inside size to match a bigger team. The question for a Bradley upset will lay with consistency of their two big scorers, and whether or not Nate Kennell or Ville Tahvanainen can get hot beyond the arc.

            Another Arch Madness is in the books. The Valley puts on a great show every year, and the fans represent in the ‘Lou. It almost has a college bowl game feel about it. Always a fun event, I hope to be back next year.
            
            Goodbye from St. Louis! 
            

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Rosenberg's Arch Madness 2020 live blog recap






By: Jeremy Rosenberg
Twitter: @CSportsOverload

MVC Semifinal No. 1: (8) Drake vs. (4) Bradley

            (2:11 pm) — Today’s coverage of Arch Madness 2020 will be in live blog form. I like this format because it forces me to respond to events in real time, and captures my early impressions without an ability to go back and edit. It should also, therefore, allow the reader to enjoy a snicker or two at my expense when I am completely wrong about some aspect of the game.

            (2:17 pm) — Dude singing Star-Spangled Banner nailed it. Crowd still filing in. Good Bradley turnout, but that is to be expected. Peoria is not so far from St. Louis, and being the defending Arch Madness champs means the program has momentum. 

            Des Moines is a bit farther away, and Drake had a light presence yesterday, especially compared to the Northern Iowa fans filling up huge sections of the lower bowl. Drake put out a call on social media to get fans down here, as a Bulldog championship would be historic to say the least. We’ll see if the students made the trip to the ‘Lou.

            (2:25 pm) — Will it play in Peoria? This was the old ad executive’s question. You can get lost catering to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, but the average consumer lives in a town more like Peoria than New York. Bradley hoops is Peoria’s hometown team. Like so many other small to mid-size towns across America, March Madness means a chance for communities to bond. 

            This is why college basketball will continue to play in Peoria, as well as all the places it represents. 

            (2:31 pm) — Almost time for tip-off. Bradley is the favorite, but I expect the game to be close. If Liam Robbins stays out of foul trouble, and Roman Penn plays as well as he did yesterday, it is well within reason to think Drake could pull another upset.

            (2:40 pm) — Bradley 9, Drake 4 15:22 remaining in half 

                        Elijah Childs has come to play. He is active on the boards, seems fired up and full of energy. Important to see that out of the gate, especially against a team that played an extra game Thursday night. Darrell Brown hit an open three, and looks comfortable and confident running the point.

            (2:50 pm) — Bradley 18, Drake 8 11:48 remaining in half

            Bradley continues its strong start with inside scoring from Koch Bar, and the effort off the bench of Finnish freshman Ville Tahvanainen. I always have an affinity for Finnish athletes, I like to imagine they embody the Sisu of their ancestors, especially Winter War veterans. Ever hear of a Molotov Cocktail? The Finns invented it, and named it after the Soviet Defense Minister. The used these devices to blow up countless Red Army tanks. Truly badass stuff.

            (3:01 pm) — Bradley 24, Drake15 7:47remaining in half

            Elijah Childs picked up his second foul, a technical on what looked like a little bit of post-play scrapping. Nothing dirty, just a little extracurricular activity under the basket. Basketball should be a physical game. I don’t like the technical there at all. Let them play. Bradley appears to be wearing Drake down with talent and depth. Childs’ second foul could slow them down. We’ll see how the Braves respond.

            (3:13 pm) — Bradley 36, Drake 27 3:28 remaining in half 

            This is the third Bradley game I’ve had the privilege to cover this season, and in the first two games, junior guard Danya Kingsby was not really involved on offense. Kingsby certainly has quickness, and today he is making a difference scoring, with seven points so far.

            (3:20 pm) — Bradley 44, Drake 33 52.2 remaining in half

            Darrell Brown has been terrific today, a perfect example of a point guard who can score when his team needs him to. Brown has 19 points and 1 assist. He has shown his full arsenal in the first half, driving to the hoop, knocking down threes, and converting from the free throw line.

            (3:25 pm) — Bradley 44, Drake 35 Halftime 

            The first half is in the books and Bradley has a nine-point lead. Both teams are shooting well from the floor, but Bradley has done a better job protecting the ball. Aside from. Brown’s 19 points, Kingsby has 9, and Koch Bar has 6. For Drake, Liam Robbins has been outstanding, with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and a block.

            (3:36 pm) — I feel like Bradley has this game in hand, and that Drake does not have a comeback in them. Maybe it is the energy level. Maybe it is the improbable win yesterday, eventually adrenaline wears off and nothing is left in the tank, I’m going to predict that Bradley pulls away and ends up winning this game by 12-15 points.

            (3:51 pm) — Bradley 49, Drake 36 16:00 left in game

            Bradley has pushed further ahead, as predicted. Kingsby continues his scoring ways, and senior guard Nate Kennell hit a big three. Drake seems to have a ‘happy to be here’ vibe about the way they are playing. Bradley fans like to chant B-U! Imagine the confusion if they end up playing Valpo U in the finals.

            (4:04 pm) — Bradley 52, Drake 49 11:32 left in game

            Drake storms back, led by Robbins and a streaky-hot Roman Penn, who has taken over on offense. This was always the threat, allowing Drake to hang around long enough for Penn to get hot and steal an upset. Kingsby took a few ill-advised shots and Drake capitalized. Bradley needs Brown to take over on offense and stop the bleeding. 
44.7
            (4:14 pm) — Bradley 61, Drake 5 17:41 left in game

            Pretty complete overall team effort by Bradley to stretch this lead back to ten. Childs hit a pretty jumper. Tahvanainen knocked down three free throws. Koch Bar got a standing ovation from the Bradley faithful when he went to the bench. Bar has 8 points, but zero fouls, even though he has been battling Liam Robbins all night.

            (4:23 pm) — Bradley 66, Drake 57 4:07 left in game

            Drake was storming back, and had grabbed momentum. But, then…IT happened. The dagger three. (Kevin Harlan’s voice in your head is optional.) With Drake within six points, Bradley forward Elijah Childs hit a huge three, breaking the Drake run and moving the deficit back to nine.

            (4:35 pm) — Bradley 70, Drake 61 1:11 left in game 

A sweet floating jumper in the lane by Brown was bookended by an Elijah Childs and one, and Bradley puts the game out of reach. Nothing but free throws from here out.

            (4:39 pm) — Bradley 76, Drake 66 Final Score

            Bradley (22-11) advances to the MVC Championship tomorrow, led by Darrell Brown, Elijah Childs, and Koch Bar. Bradley was in charge from start to finish, while Drake had enough fight in them to keep it close at times, Bradley clearly had more jump in the step. Final thoughts on this game and its implications after a break, and maybe coffee and a cookie if any are out.
            
            (4:58 pm) — Bradley advances to the MVC title game for the second straight year. Should they win, it will be the first back-to-back MVC Championships for the first time in school history. It would also only be the fourth title overall for Bradley. For the second straight season, Drake falls in the MVC semis. Anthony Murphy will be missed, but is the only loss for the Bulldogs. Liam Robbins and Roman Penn will be a force to be reckon with in the Valley next year.

MVC Semifinal 2: (6) Missouri State vs. (7) Valparaiso

            (5:06 pm) — Ready for semifinal number two, as the two lower seeds meet after knocking off the number two and three seeds. Missouri State was the MVC pre-season pick to win it all, but was inconsistent all year. They are deep, long, and athletic. Gaige Prim is a physical presence that Valpo may not have an answer for. My guess is that they should have too much overall depth and talent for the Crusaders to handle.

            But Valpo has one obvious strength. They can shoot the lights out when they are on. If Ryan Fazekas can get open, and Javon Freeman-Liberty can put a full, 40-minute effort together, Valpo could advance to the title game. 

            (5:23 pm) — Valparaiso 9, Missouri State 6 15:24 left in half

            A couple of early threes by Valpo junior forward Mileek McMillan set the tone for Valpo early, and the Crusaders have an early lead on the Bears. Gaige Prim is involved early with a couple of buckets for MO State.

            (5:32 pm) — Valparaiso 15, Missouri State11 11:44 left in half

            Valpo and MO State trading body blows, but Valpo keeps the upper hand. McMillan is involved on both ends of the court. His presence can negate Missouri State’s size advantage. He picked a very good time to play his best basketball.

            (5:41 pm) — Missouri State 23, Valparaiso 15 7:49 left in game

            MO State freshman Isiaih Mosley played well last night, making me wonder if Mizzou let a Columbia native get away. Tonight, Mosley is playing even better, as along with Keandre Cook they lead a 12-2 run for the Bears and MO State takes the lead.

            (5:50 pm) — Missouri State 31, Valparaiso 31 3:41 left in game

            Valpo looks explosive as they charge back, led by Javon Freeman-Liberty and Daniel Sackey. Freeman-Liberty labored to get to the bench at a time out, however, and seems like he is feeling the effects of his recent bout of mono. Gotta admire his guts. Sackey picks up the slack with a strong performance and clutch ball handling.

            (6:00 pm) — Valparaiso 40, Missouri State 38 Halftime

            A well-played, intense half of Valley basketball as Valpo and Missouri State both shoot 52 percent from the floor. Balanced scoring from both teams, as no player has cracked double digits for each team. This game has the feel of a down-to-the-wire nail biter.

            Given the large turnout by other schools, I’m a little surprised Missouri State does not have a larger fan presence here today. Springfield isn’t that far, and considering this weekend offers a chance at redemption for a disappointing season, you would think the MO State faithful would be out in force.

            (6:10 pm) — It just occurred to be that Arch Madness would be a great name for a Podiatrist Convention. They could recycle all the materials and have it right here in St. Louis. As for the second half, I like what I’m seeing from Valpo’s guards. It would be easy to pick MO State to wear down the Crusaders, but I say Freeman-Liberty, Sackey, and Donovan Clay have a big half, and meet Bradley in the final.

            (6:24 pm) — Valparaiso 55, Missouri State 46 15:32 left in game

            Valpo explodes out of the locker room, with inspired play by Freeman-Liberty and Donovan Clay. Aside from Prim on the inside, Missouri State is having a difficult time scoring, they need to get Mosley back in. Valpo senior Ryan Fazekas had been ice cold, but finally broke through with a big three set up by a Clay assist. Everything going Valpo’s way right now. We’ll see if it holds.

            (6:37 pm) — Valparaiso 65, Missouri State 55 10:35 left in game

            Javon Freeman-Liberty has arrived. He’s shown some flashes here and there, but he has exploded for 17 points in this semifinal. Add to that the play of freshman Donovan Clay and sophomore guard Daniel Sackey and Valpo is still running hot. Opposing coaches have to be very concerned at what they are seeing out of Clay. This guy will be around for three more years. He is the total package, very slippery near the net.

            (6:44 pm) — Valparaiso 71, Missouri State 60 8:00 left in game

            Valpo keeps MO State at arm’s length, as Freeman-Liberty continues to lead the way, now up to 23 points. Missouri State senior Ross Owens fouls out of what may be his final game. Coach Dana Ford electing to keep Gaige Prim on the bench.

            (6:56 pm) — Valparaiso 76, Missouri State 69 3:07 left in game

            Keandre Cook leads a mini-comeback for the Bears, but they can’t get closer than seven. After a couple more buckets by Freeman-Liberty, Valpo has gone cold. They need to take advantage, this is the last chance for Missouri State. 

            (7:11 pm) — Valparaiso 85, Missouri State 82 20.4 left in game

            Keandre Cook and Tulio Da Silva are not ready for their college careers to end. Taking advantage of spotty Valpo free throw shooting, the Bears have pulled within three. Cook with 26 points. Ready for a big finish!

            (7:15 pm) —Valparaiso 89, Missouri State 82 Final Score

            It’s never easy, is it? Missouri State made a furious comeback attempt, but fell short as Javon Freeman-Liberty and the Valparaiso Crusaders (19-15) pulled out the victory and advance to the MVC title game, and a chance at their first ever MVC Championship. Freeman-Liberty burst out of his shell, finishing with 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

            Missouri State will lick their wounds. The Bears lose a lot from this year’s team, and unless a new round of grad transfers heads for Springfield next year will be a rebuild for the Bears.

            Tomorrow’s title game against the Bradley Braves should be a good one. Watch for the matchup between Donovan Clay and Elijah Childs, as well as an obvious chance for Freeman-Liberty and Darrell Brown to shine.

            Good night from St. Louis!