Is Rex the Man for Chicago?

Everything that made Rex Ryan a splash in New York, ultimately led to his demise in the Big Apple.   After seeing early success with the New York Jets, Ryan found himself on the back page of the papers for a number of reasons.  Weird tattoos, a foot fetish, foolish proclamations, embarrassing losses – you name it, Rex did it.  In his six years as head coach of the Jets he put up a 46-50 record.  Rex finished no higher than second in the AFC East and he committed that feat four times.

To some, Rex Ryan is a loud mouth obnoxious type – to others, he’s just a fun guy, with an unmatched competitive spirit.  His defensive prowess is amongst the best in the NFL.  Within his defensive scheme he’s proven he can max out a players potential – but his ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball is what got him in trouble.  Even then, is that really all his fault?  The Jets organization kept throwing a different offensive coordinator at him every two years or so and it just never worked out.


After a competitively abysmal 4-12 season, Rex Ryan was relieved of his duties as head coach of the New York Jets.  The term competitively-abysmal is used because although 12 losses are more than “a lot” – the Jets lost by 7 or less points in 6 of those losses (including  one and two point losses to the New England Patriots).   Look at the roster Rex was given on offense though: a capable receiver in Eric Decker, a some-what jaded Percy Harvin, a dumpster fire at quarterback and a rookie tight end who’s hands were suspect.  Regardless of what he was handed, Rex  Ryan’s players never gave up on him during the year.

Enter, the Chicago Bears.

Hours after the Jets fired their head coach and general manager, the Bears did the same.  Parting ways with Marc Trestman was a no-brainer for the McCaskey family, who was said to be “furious” with and “embarrassed” by the product that was put out on the field.  In the last two months of the season, the Bears became a laughing stock and for what it’s worth, the hardest team to watch in the league.  What made matters worse for the Chicago Bears faithful was that there were actual expectations when the season began – and not those “pipe dream” or “blind fan” type of expectations – real expectations.  Needless to say, week to week of lack luster football led to the end of coach Marc Trestman.

It was obvious to anybody watching, the Bears’ team as a whole just seem uninterested in playing football or fighting for their coaches’ job.

This is why the table is set for Rex Ryan.

Rex Ryan coming to Chicago and being the man who brings the Bears back to respectability is the stuff movies are made of.  Rex’s father Buddy Ryan, of course was the defensive coordinator during the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears days and that defense has set the bar for others like the 2000 Ravens or last year’s Seahawks to match or surpass.

Rex can bring back the “nasty” that this defense has lacked for years and he can also be the guy who these players would never quit on.  Rex needs a big city for his big personality and he wouldn’t have to worry about trying to steal headlines from an inner city rival.

While in New York, Rex Ryan embraced the rivalry that existed between the Jets and the Patriots.  He loved the animosity and to some degree loved the chess match that existed between him and Bill Belichick.   Now imagine how much Rex would embrace being in the middle of the NFL’s longest running rivalry: Bears vs Packers.


There will no doubt be a thorough process the Chicago Bears will undertake in hiring a new coach.  Coordinators like Todd Bowles, Dan Quinn and Adam Gase are the popular names being thrown out as possible head coaching candidates in the NFL – but Ryan is the guy for Chicago.  The Bears thought an out of the box, quiet hire like Trestman would be the answer – but the truth is, Trestman was never head coach material.  He could not lead men onto the field, give direction or handle the chaos that might come with the job.  Ryan has endured and embraced the New York media and has been able to rally his troops to victory in a meaningless week 17 game that would be the difference of ending the season with 3 wins or 4.

A culture change is needed in Chicago.  The funny thing is, the culture changed two years ago – now it’s time to get it back to basics.  It can start with Buddy’s son, Rex – the loud-boisterous spawn which stems from a family tree rooted in defensive genius.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

College Bowl Game Predictions, Pt. 2

Liberty Bowl – West Virginia Mountaineers vs Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M made all of us scratch our heads this year.  A year removed from “Johnny Football” we all thought a new sun had risen in Texas with quarterback Kenny Hill.  After Hill found himself benched they turned to Kyle Allen and after starting out 5-0 they finished 7-5.  West Virginia is a good team who was dealt a tough hand with their schedule.  Quarterback Clint Trickett is questionable, and no disrespect to his fantastic season but his back up Skyler Howard looked tremendous against (albeit) Iowa State.  Texas A&M is pass happy and going against a very good pass defense.  The pick here is West Virginia -3.

Russell Athletic Bowl – Clemson Tigers vs Oklahoma Sooners

I kind of thought I was the only one who knew Russell Athletic was still around. Good for them they have their own bowl game.  It’s amazing they’ve stood the test of time with athletic apparel companies like Nike and Under Armour clearly holding weight in not just college athletics but all areas of sporting.  Oh, this game?  Both of these teams disappoint their fan bases every year – never take the favorite when it comes to Clemson or Oklahoma.  The pick here is Clemson +3 (but I might just take the over at 54).

Texas Bowl – Texas Longhorns vs Arkansas Razorbacks 

It was an up and down season for Texas’ first year head coach Charlie Strong, but that was expected.  Making any bowl game was a success to be honest and a win in the national spot light in their home state can be huge for recruiting.  Arkansas is a team who’s offensive line is massive.  They can control games at their own pace and although losing to Missouri was tough, this is a program on the rise.  The pick here: Texas +6.

Music City Fiesta Bowl – Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs LSU Tigers

This game has the potential to be very long and sloppy.  Coach Brian Kelly of Notre Dame was visibly frustrated towards the end of the season with the play of his defense and the carelessness of his quarterback Everett Golson.  LSU has a good running game and doesn’t try throwing the ball at all because they flat out can’t.  The pick here is REALLY the under at 52.5

Belk Bowl – Louisville Cardinals vs Georgia Bulldogs

Once again Georgia coach Mark Richt proved that he can recruit and make his team look good on paper – but he can’t win when it matters.  On the other side of things Bobby Petrino proved that it doesn’t matter the character of the man, he can flat out coach a winner.  No reason why Georgia should be a -7 favorite against a pretty well balanced Louisville team.  The pick here is Louisville +7.

Foster Farms San Francisco Bowl – Maryland Terrapins vs Stanford Cardinal

This game is interesting because the Terps think they’re on a program on the come-up, when in truth they are pretty terrible and Stanford is a team that has looked disinterested in playing football for most of this season.  Stanford will squeak by in one that – on paper – should be a walk in the park.  The pick here is Maryland +14.

Chick-Fil_A Peach Bowl – Ole Miss Rebels vs TCU Horned Frogs 

In what should be one of the more exciting match ups of this bowl season.  Ole Miss took a shot to the gut after losing to LSU and Auburn and TCU took the massive head shot after getting bumped from  the college football playoffs.  Both teams are coached well and will play up to the level of it’s competition.  As good as TCU’s offense is, this is an Ole Miss defense that has the speed to keep up.  Both quarterbacks, TCU’s Trevor Boykin and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace will have to be careful with the football in what will be one of the most watched bowl games of the year.  The pick here is Ole Miss +3.


Fiesta Bowl – Boise State Broncos vs Arizona Wildcats

Arizona really wet the bed against Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game.  Linebacker Scooby Wright is one of those players who is everywhere all the time, and has helped make this Wildcats defense tougher.  Boise though can score at will it seems and is back to their home away from home the Fiesta Bowl.  The pick here is Boise State +3.5.

Orange Bowl – Georgia Tech Yellowjackets vs Mississippi State Bulldogs

What’s the record for the number of teams called “the bulldogs” in bowl games?  Because this year, there’s been a bunch.  This game is for those that love smash mouth football.  The over/under in total pass attempts should be around 20 combined by both teams.  Even when Mississippi was ranked #1 they weren’t blowing people out by 50.  The pick here is Georgia Tech +7.

Outback Bowl – Wisconsin Badgers vs Auburn Tigers

Wisconsin is still licking their wounds after being thoroughly embarrassed by Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game.  That game made us forget how amazing Melvin Gordon ran the ball this year.  Auburn has failed to cover in six of their last seven games and Vegas has the spread shrinking more and more. The pick here is Auburn -6.5.


Cotton Bowl – Michigan State Spartans vs Baylor Bears

The hope here is that neither team comes Arlington, Texas in “let down” mode.  Regardless, this will be the game that shows how the committee was correct in keeping out the Baylor Bears and how Michigan State is one of the most balanced teams in college football today.  The pick here is Michigan State +3.

Citrus Bowl – Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Missouri Tigers 

Missouri has proved that the jump from Big 12 to SEC was nothing for this program but they ultimately can’t wear the SEC crown. . . yet.  Minnesota is coming into this one as a considerable underdog for a team that was ranked nationally late in the season.  “Respect” for the Gophers and “disappointment” for the Tigers will play the biggest roles in this game.  The pick here is Minnesota +5.

Armed Forces Bowl – Pittsburgh Panthers vs Houston Cougars

Nobody knows how the Panthers beat Miami after for the most part having a pretty non-eventful season, but running back James Connor is going to touch the ball about 30 times in this game and help wear down a Cougars team that isn’t like the ones we’ve seen in recent history.  The pick here is Pittsburgh -3.

Taxslayer Bowl – Iowa Hawkeyes vs Tennessee Volunteers 

Nobody expected coach Butch Jones to have a 10 win season at Tennessee but 6-6 is a disappointment so having the chance to finish above .500 will keep them engaged for all four quarters.  The Hawkeyes bring a very experienced bunch to the table, most who will be playing their last game here.  The pick here is: Tennessee -3.

Alamo Bowl – UCLA Bruins vs Kansas State Wildcats

This will be the last time for UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to try to impress on a big stage.  As he enters the draft this year he brings along his 29 total touchdowns but all in all a disappointing season for the Bruins.  The Bruins are capable of beating good teams, and Kansas State is very well balanced team.  Wideout Tyler Lockett of Kansas State will certainly get his against a UCLA defense who’s secondary has been shown out of position time and time again.  The pick here is Kansas State (Vegas currently has this game as a “pick ’em.”

Cactus Bowl – Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Washington Huskies

Who knows where Oklahoma State pulled that win against Oklahoma from to end the season.  It was the sharpest they’ve looked all season but it took them to play their hated rival to do it.  Washington “ain’t got no beef” with the Cowboys but they do bring to the table a very good defense to keep this game close for a while.  The pick here is Oklahoma State +5.5.

Birmingham Bowl – East Carolina Pirates vs Florida Gators

Watching the Gators this year was straight torture.  Yes they have a good defense but they can’t score at all.  Ever.  They’ll get a couple of stops against this Pirate offense, but won’t be able to contain them for four quarters.  Field position will be key for the Pirates.  The pick here is East Carolina +7.

Go Daddy.Com Bowl – Toledo Rockets vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

The best part of any GoDaddy.Com bowl is seeing the numerous adds that feature Danica Patrick all dolled up and looking adorable with other dolled up and adorable females who are appealing to the eye.  I won’t even pretend as if I know anything about Toledo and Arkansas State.  The pick here is the over at 67.

Rose Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Florida State Seminoles vs Oregon Ducks

Last year’s Heisman trophy winning quarterback verses this year’s Heisman trophy quarterback.  This can be the game that separates the gap between Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta when it comes to the upcoming pro draft.  Florida State has been living off second half comebacks this season but try giving Oregon a 14 or 21 point lead and coming back. . .  This game ends the reigning champs undefeated streak.  The pick here is Oregon -9.5.


Sugar Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Ohio State Buckeyes vs Alabama Crimson Tide

The best two coaches in the last 10 years of college football square off as it’s Urban Meyer against Nick Saban.  Nick Saban kept his cool throughout the season and has found himself ranked number one in the final polls.  Ohio State is one of the few teams that can match up with Alabama both physically and athletically – Urban Meyer may coach in the Big 10 conference, but he’s been recruiting SEC talented players.  Having a third string quarterback against a Nick Saban run defense is a tall task to over-come.  Whoever wins this game, ultimately becomes the National Champion because these two teams are just better than the teams in the Rose Bowl.  The pick here is Ohio State +9.5.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio


College Bowl Game Predictions, Pt. 1

New Orleans Bowl – Nevada Wolfpack vs Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns:

This game has obviously everything you want.  Two teams with pretty cool nicknames that will score a lot.  The New Orleans Bowl is usually a game that goes “over” in total points, but this is a home-bowl-game for the Cajuns.  The pick here is the Cajuns -1.

New Mexico Bowl – Utep Miners vs Utah State Aggies:

Utah State is one of those teams that you kind of love them as underdogs but not much as favorites.  This isn’t a sexy game at all, but  a final score of 21-13 favoring the Aggies isn’t too far fetched considered their isn’t much offense to be seen from both sides.  The pick here is Utep +10.5.

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah Utes vs Colorado State Rams

Utah started losing steam late in the year and Colorado State was ‘under the radar’ for most of the season.   Both defenses cause turnovers but Colorado State’s offense is a little more versatile.  Utah might be in ‘let down mode’ for this game.  The pick here is Colorado State +3.5.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Western Michigan Broncos vs Air Force Falcons:

The Broncos defense is a little more opportunistic than the Falcons’ but the Falcons are pretty careful with the ball and focus on the ground game more than anything else.  The pick here is Western Michigan +1.5.

Camellia Bowl – South Alabama Jaguars vs Bowling Green Falcons

Both teams looked better in the first half of the season than the second half – but it doesn’t matter because it’s brought both teams here to the Camellia Bowl (sponsored by a company called Raycom Media. . .?)  For the Jags it’s their first bowl game ever, and for the Falcons it’s their first since early 2000.  There is something to like about quarterback James Knapke of the Falcons, that his stats don’t show, but he’s been in some battles this year and should come away with one of his better games against the Jaguars defense. The pick here is Bowling Green +3.


Miami Beach Bowl – BYU Cougars vs Memphis Tigers 

This a game that matches up two teams that love to run the ball.  BYU might be the stronger of the two teams, but Memphis, at least to the naked eye, just seems faster – Memphis has one or two big plays in them that make the difference in this one.  The pick here is Memphis PK.

Boca Raton Bowl – Marshall Herd vs Northern Illinois Huskies

In the BCS way of thinking – Marshall Herd would’ve been a BCS buster type of team until they stumbled against Western Kentucky.   Northern Illinois was the talk of the “BCS buster” town last season and many thought they would fall off but they put together a nice season.  Marshall seemed to be running out of steam late in the year, Northern Illinois has been in this spot and is well coached.  The pick here is Northern Illinois +10.


Poinsettia Bowl – Navy Midshipmen vs San Diego State Aztecs

This is one of those games where your heart tells you to go with Navy but this is one of those games where that one dimensional offense loses steam late. This is a home game for the Aztecs and in bowl games, if you have the chance to take a home team, take it.   The pick here is San Diego State +3.

Bahamas Bowl – Central Michigan Chippewas vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

The Chips enter the inaugural Bahamas Bowl with the NCAA’s 16th ranked defense going up against Western Kentucky’s quarterback Brandon Doughty who threw for over 4000 yards and 44 touchdowns this season.  The Chips and Hilltoppers both beat the champions of their respective conferences and are both coached up well for big games.  Western Kentucky upsetting Marshall 67-66 leaves a memory in a lot of folks’ minds meaning that’s where most of the money will lean.  The pick here is Central Michigan +4.

Hawaii Bowl – Fresno State Bulldogs vs Rice Owls 

The expectation for Rice was that with a lot of returning starters, they’d have at least an 8 or 9 win season. They ultimately finished with 7 wins  and now get a free trip to Hawaii for it.  Fresno had a disappointing season after losing high profile offensive players to the NFL draft.  Fresno can handle the atmosphere at Hawaii, but these kids from Rice will be more in awe of their surroundings then the actual game.  The pick here is Fresno State +2.5.

Heart of Dallas Bowl – Illinois Fighting Illini vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Louisiana Tech put on quite a display against Rice racking up 76 points but followed that up losing by three to the Marshall Herd the following week.  Tech will be missing three defensive starters in this game which will something to watch with this usually good Tech defense.  Illinois may be a “power conference” team, but they’ve limped all season long.  The pick here is Louisiana Tech -6.

Quick Lane Bowl – Rutgers Scarlet Knights  vs North Carolina Tar Heels

In Rutgers’ first season in the Big 10 it was clear they didn’t belong – where they should’ve played is the ACC – so playing against UNC should be more of an even game for Rutgers. Rutgers is a team that all season long, lost to good teams and won against bottom feeders.  UNC is neither bad nor good and are led by the dual threat quarterback Marquise Williams who ran for over 700 yards and threw for over 2800 yards.  With the drama that’s going on with the university, who knows when the next time we’ll see UNC in a bowl game – these players know that as well.  The pick here is UNC -3.

St. Petersburg Bowl – North Carolina State Wolfpack vs Central Florida Knights

For UCF this is a home game and although the trend here has been “take the home bowl team” this one is trickier.  Central Florida was expected to drop off a lot without Blake Bortles under center but they kept themselves relevant all year long.  N.C State is never really relevant as their is nothing that pops off the screen about them.  Central Florida lost to UConn, and I’m basing this prediction off that head scratching moment more than anything.  The pick here is NC State  +2.

Military Bowl – Virginia Tech Hookies vs Cincinnati Bearcats

The player to watch in this game is Gunner Kiel, the quarterback of the Bearcats.  If he plays well in this national stage, he might have “all eyes on him” next season to see if his game can project to the next level.  Virginia Tech has been hanging onto the fact that they beat Ohio State all year long but seriously they are just okay on defense and as usual, struggle to get points on the board.  Cincy does “just enough” in this game.  The pick here is Cincinnati -3.

Sun Bowl – Duke Blue Devils vs Arizona State Sun Devils

Pretty interesting match up of two teams that came in with higher expectations but ultimately find themselves in the Sun Bowl.  Arizona State late in the year had a slight (slight) chance of taking the Pac 12 conference, but ran flat to end the season.  Duke didn’t finish strong either, but this is more of a “let down” for Arizona State who is clearly the better squad.  Duke sees this more as a chance to prove itself as a legit football program against a strong Pac 12 team.  The pick here is Duke +7.5.

Independence Bowl – Miami Hurricanes vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Miami had their chances this year but couldn’t come through in big games.  The four point loss to Florida State resulted in them ending the season with a three game losing streak.  South Carolina showed that they lost a lot to graduation or the NFL draft as their only wins came against bad teams.   People are dumb and will watch reruns of ESPN documentaries about the Hurricane and feel that they’re back.  Vegas has the line right with this one.  The Pick here is South Carolina +4.

Pinstripe Bowl – Penn State Nittany Lions vs Boston College Eagles

The Bronx sets the back drop for the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium and both teams will have their fair share of fan support in New York.   Both teams are “grind it out teams” but Penn State entered this season thinking they’d be more balanced.  Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is supposed to be the kid with a nice future ahead of him, but 15 interceptions and bad decision making has made people think maybe the pressure has gotten to him.  Boston College has had close losses and nice wins against good teams – Penn State’s best try was a triple over-time loss to Ohio State.  The pick here is Boston College -3.

Holiday Bowl – Nebraska Cornhuskers vs USC Trojans


It’s hard to compare the two considering the Cornhuskers come from more of a running offensive conference and the Trojans are coming out of a more pass-happy conference.  With that said, the Trojans might be coming back to prominence and expect to compete for the Pac 12 crown next season – they are going to approach this game as an insult and look to embarrass a Nebraska team, who has already shown disappointment in their team by firing their head coach.  The pick here is USC -6.5.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio





Some Love Lost Album Review

Joe Budden has been called a lot of things.  “Emo,” “One Hit Wonder,” “Crybaby” and even at times “soft.”  Although the latter is more of an insult than an actual analyzation – the other titles he’s been given have some kind of validity.  Lyrically, Budden cannot be denied.  He is beyond the punch lines and a “hot 16” – he’s learned how to carefully create short stories and bear his heart on his sleeve in the process.  Budden’s popularity is always a theory for debate as it seems although he has his own fan-base there are also a large group of hip hop fans who aren’t necessarily “fans” but are just intrigued by Joe Budden, the person. Continue reading Some Love Lost Album Review

PRhyme Album Review

The purpose of “PRhyme” was to combine two of hip hop’s most respected craftsmen on one project.  The legendary DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9.

DJ Premier is without a doubt, one of the greatest producers in the history of hip hop.  Being one half of the DJ/MC group Gangstarr (with the late Guru), Premier set a standard for that “gritty” sound which many wanted as their own in the ’90s.  Premier has made classic records for not only himself but also the likes of AZ, Big L, Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye West and even Christina Aguilera. Continue reading PRhyme Album Review

2014 Forest Hills Drive Album Review

J. Cole has been around a lot longer than people think.   Underground heads were aware of J. Cole with his mixtape releases The Come Up (2007) and The Warm Up (2009).   Cole worked his way to getting signed to Jay-Z’s Roc-Nation and released his studio album The Sideline Story and Born Sinner in 2011 and 2013 respectfully.   There was no doubt that J.Cole was talented, but what exactly was his appeal?  What exactly separated him from the rest of the younger artists in today’s hip hop landscape?  Personally, Cole always came off as an “okay” lyricist who supplied himself with production that wouldn’t “blow you away.” Continue reading 2014 Forest Hills Drive Album Review

The College Football Playoff Flaw

If there was ever a legally criminal organization, there is no doubt it would be the NCAA.   The NCAA gets the criticism it deserves more times than not and in truth there is no resolution in the near future to remedy all of its issues.  Student athletes will continue to be taken advantage of, and will continuously make money for the universities that they, the players, will never see a penny of.  This is the situation, and we all have to deal with it. Continue reading The College Football Playoff Flaw