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Wednesday Items

-- Tony Barnhart thinks NC State could be a surprise, just not a very big one:

Everybody (me included) is picking N.C. State to finish last in the ACC Atlantic. But there is a new sheriff in town in coach Tom O’Brien. There are some tough non-conference games in UCF, Louisville, and East Carolina, but O’Brien could get this team to six wins.

-- Who knew? Reggie Love is working for Barack Obama's campaign.

-- Denied!

-- Last night, as they do every year, ESPN analysts proved that knowing something about football doesn't mean you know anything about fantasy football. Partly because I'm starved for football discussion, partly because I enjoy a healthy portion of unintentional comedy, I watched ESPN's fantasy draft special even though it's counterproductive. Kind of like watching celebrity poker, it promotes knowledge decay. Take a look at the draft results. In a league with just eight freakin' teams, Michael A. Smith ended up with a starting RB tandem of Marion Barber and Adrian Peterson. I wouldn't have thought it'd be possible for that to happen.

As far as I'm concerned, the single most important fantasy concept is that of value, and as far as that goes, the ESPN guys don't have a clue.

-- Via EDSBS comes this link investigating the impact of the new kickoff rule. The jist: it's probably not going to be as big a deal as coaches are making it out to be.

The returns of kickoffs from the 30 averaged 3.12 more yards than from the 35, and the average change in field position at the end of the return was 5.13 yards. This can be accounted for almost exactly by the start of the kickoff being moved back 5 yards. So there was not great impact on field position — over and above the given 5 yards — by kicking from the 30. It is also notable that the percentage of touchdowns is close when comparing returns on kickoffs from the 30 and 35.