Sunday, December 31, 2006
My God, how the mighty have fallen. Four years ago this week, Miami was planning their "Back-to-back party", celebrating what they thought was an easy championship win over Ohio State. The Buckeyes are still playing for national titles, and Miami's struggling to keep from ripping apart at the seams. Karma's a bitch, ain't it?
I don't know much about Nevada, but whatever they've got, take them. Then sit back and watch the Hurricanes self-destruct. By the end of the game, there will be a full blown fight on the field, maybe even in the tunnel like last year against LSU. The end result will be NCAA sanctions.
And I'll laugh.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
In the meantime, I've missed out on valuable bowl predictions, so here's a quick summary.
I was shocked at myself for going against two Big Ten schools, but I didn't feel either deserved bowl bids. Purdue beat nobody, and Minnesota got humiliated in the only game I saw them play.
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
So I chose Texas Tech over Minnesota, and then the Gophers nearly proved me wrong. In the end, Tech scored 30 points after the 3rd quarter and beat Minny.
Purdue vs. Maryland
I feel that Maryland is a damn fine team that hit too many speed bumps, so I took them over Purdue. Honestly, I can't name a single player on Purdue anyway, and I know a lot about college football.
Navy vs. Boston College
I take Navy over BC in an upset. Navy's running game is too good, and if they had a halfway decent passing game, they'd have taken Notre Dame out and spared us the misery of the Hoodie-coach. BC's squeaked out a few wins they shouldn't have, but not in this one. Take the upset with Navy.
Texas vs. Iowa
I call it my "Bad Day Bowl", based on my two versions of Bad Day videos. But in the end, Iowa will continue the Bad Day by losing badly to Texas. I've seen them both in action and watched how they each rebounded from poundings at the hands of the Buckeyes. Texas came back immediately and won their next 8 games (but they have slipped lately). Iowa lost to us and then went 2-5 the rest of the way. How embarassing. Take the Longhorns.
Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
I thought Georgia had a shot at a BCS Bowl, maybe even the Big One. Then I saw them give up 138 points in just under 4 minutes against Tennessee. They're pretenders and only the SEC apologists at CBS have kept their name among good college teams. Meanwhile, Tech has been a powerhouse on defense all year long. They had two consecutive weeks where their defense broke down on them, and they allowed 60 points in those two losses. In their other 10 games combined, they allowed 52 points. The defense will show up and Georgia will be in trouble. Take Virginia Tech.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Back to the bowls......
Music City Bowl
Clemson (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
In my mind, this game is an important one. If Kentucky wins this one, the SEC fans will begin their assault on reality with their claims to being the best overall conference. It's bullshit and Clemson must win this game in order to keep them in check throughout bowl season.
Fortunately, this shouldn't be a problem, and it's all because of the running game. Let this stat sink in before you make a wager on the Music City Bowl.
Clemson has the 5th-ranked rushing team in the NCAA.
Kentucky has the 112th-ranked rush defense in the NCAA.
Expect the Tigers to pound the ball early and often. James Davis and C.J. Spiller may both end up with huge days, eating up plenty of yardage (and the clock, for that matter). Kentucky will counter with a prolific passing attack (nearly 300 yards per game), but Clemson's pass defense is good, ranked 14th in the NCAA.
Clemson played well enough to beat then-#9 Florida State, then-#13 Georgia Tech (by 24 points), and even beat eventual ACC Champion Wake Forest.
Every time Kentucky played anybody good, they got monkey-stomped. Lost by 31 to Louisville. Lost by 19 to Florida. Lost by 49 to LSU. You can see they're in over their heads.
Oregon State (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4)
These two teams match up well, and both represent the second tier of their respective conferences. In the end, this game will be one that saves face for one conference, because I don't think either the Big 12 or the PAC-10 will win many games.
Missouri will try to spread the field all day long, because that's what they did throughout 2006. The problem for them is that Oregon State knows how to defend it....remember, they beat USC by shutting down the spread for 3 quarters and then holding on to the end.
The Tigers raced out to a 6-0 record and were ranked 19th when reality set in. Since then, they are 2-4.
The Beavers started slowly, losing three of their first 5 games. Then they found their groove and went 7-1 down the stretch, and five of those games were against bowl teams. They're no fluke.
Expect the late-season streaks to continue. Oregon State will thrive and Mizzou will keep sliding to a merciful end.
Oregon State 27
South Carolina (7-5) vs. Houston (10-3)
Seriously, who the hell told Houston they could play in a bowl? I'm pretty sure that Louisiana-Lafayette told them "no" when they actually beat the Cougars back in October. Yeah, yeah, they're champions of Conference USA, so they get in. But come on? Those wins against Memphis, SMU and Grambling State just don't impress me.
Which means that South Carolina, the team who was just one average kicker away from beating #2 Florida, will get an easy win.
I'll be pulling for Houston, just to shut SEC fans up, but I know who's going to win.
South Carolina 31
Monday, December 25, 2006
By the way, so far I'm 4-3. But it could be worse...I could be the PAC-10, who sucks big time so far this bowl season.
I incorrectly picked Northern Illinois over TCU, Troy over Rice, and Tulsa over Utah.
I correctly picked BYU over Oregon, South Florida over East Carolina, San Jose State over New Mexico, and Hawaii over Arizona State.
Back to my predictions......
Oklahoma State (6-6) vs. Alabama (6-6)
A lot of people will look at this game and wonder how each team got in, based on average records. Fact is, these teams are not as bad as their record suggests they are.
Oklahoma State got walloped once, 36-10 at Texas. Besides that, they played well all year, defeating a ranked Nebraska by 12 points, and nearly knocking off Big 12 Champion Oklahoma (they had three shots inside the Sooner 25 yard line in the final 30 seconds, before losing by 6).
Alabama had a rough schedule and lost to four ranked teams, sometimes close (three points at Tennessee) and sometimes not so close (15 points against Florida). But their wins are not very impressive, claiming only to hold Colt Brennan to a meager 2 TD passes in a win over Hawaii.
So the records are evenly matched......are the teams evenly matched? No, they are not.
Oklahoma State's offense is better than the Bama defense, and the Bama offensive line is awful. Throw in the fact that Bama doesn't have a head coach, and it doesn't look good for the SEC in their first bowl matchup.
Oklahoma State 27
Rutgers (10-2) vs. Kansas State (7-5)
Now the bowls are starting to get interesting. In my opinion, this is the first "must-see" bowl game of the year. It features two teams that nobody expected to do well. A couple of upsets later, we have the makings of a great game.
Rutgers has a lot of talent on their team, led by Heisman candidate Ray Rice. But as the season wore on, Rice became less of a focal point on the team and more of the go-to guy. The Big East quickly learned that they needed to penetrate and stop more than just Rice. Sure, Rice racked up over 1,600 yards on the ground, but when the chips were down, Rutgers often went away from Rice to make the winning play.
Kansas State looked like an average squad and was barely bowl-eligible when they met up with then-4th-ranked Texas. Late in the 3rd quarter, the Longhorns had kissed their chances at an Ohio State rematch goodbye, when KSU led them 42-21. Texas tacked on some points in garbage time, but the country had seen that the Wildcats were for real.
So we have two teams with a lot to prove, and I believe it will boil down to who has the most heart. Kansas State needs to prove they are still capable of great football...keep in mind, they were a BCS team just 3 years ago. Rutgers needs to prove that they belong with the big boys and that the Louisville game is indicative of their team, and not the Cincinnati game.
And if comes down to heart, I choose Rutgers. Plus, I'm betting that most of the college football world become fans of the Scarlet Knights on this night. It's just too good of a storyline.
Kansas State 24
Texas A&M (9-3) vs. California (9-3)
Another exciting game, and unfortunately it is at the same time as the Texas Bowl. Come on, people??? There's 32 bowls in 20 days....surely you could have scheduled each game at a separate time.
California was very close to the Rose Bowl, but USC kept them out of it. But the Bears did beat two then-ranked teams (Oregon and Arizona State). However, let's look at what those three teams did in their last games.....they lost to UCLA, BYU, and Hawaii....not a good sign). Cal does have a great offense and I expect them to open it up as much as possible. They'll attack through the air as often as possible, but their good rushing attack will force the Aggies defense to stay honest.
Texas A&M also has offensive firepower, but theirs is more of a grinding ground game. But their best win of the year came as a result of their defense, holding Texas to just 7 points, their lowest of the year (tied by Ohio State). A&M does not have the best defense, but it came through when it had to.
Cal was once considered a contender for the National Championship. One game later, they lost badly to Tennessee. Later in the year, they were in contention for the Pac-10 title. One game later, they lost badly to USC. We've seen what they do when the spotlight is on the Golden Bears. It'll happen to them again.
Texas A&M 21
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Motor City Bowl
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (9-4)
I'm going to make this one very simple for everybody. Take Central Michigan. Although the MAC is not the greatest conference, it's still not easy to win. Everybody thought Garrett Wolfe would carry NIU to a title, or at least thought Akron had a shot at a repeat. Instead, Central Michigan had a great year and won when it needed to, especially in a 3-touchdown victory over Ohio in the title game. Give them respect for winning the conference, and bet on them to win in their home state.
As for Middle Tennessee, I have to wonder how they got to a bowl game anyway? They're 7-5, beating teams like Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, and North Texas. What the hell?
When they played good teams, they got killed. 24-10 to Maryland, 59-0 to Oklahoma, 44-17 to Louisiana, and 52-7 to South Carolina.
Nuff said. Take the Chippewas.
Central Michigan 24
Middle Tennessee 17
Florida State (6-6) vs. UCLA (7-5)
OK, so this game isn't exactly the greatest bowl game, considering the average play of each team throughout the year, but at least we can say that both teams have a tradition and KNOW how to play bowl games.
Florida State never really put together much of anything this year. Even when they beat Miami early on (when everyone still thought both teams were good), it wasn't impressive. The teams combined for three yeards rushing. But still, they beat a big rival and that gets respect. Also, they held their own and could have knocked off Florida, who is preparing for the big one.
UCLA struggled during the middle of the year, an a heartbreaker at Notre Dame was the focus of a 4-game losing streak. But nobody can deny the Bruins anything after they stole the dreams of everyone at the rival university. That win against USC was one for the ages.
This game will be all about defense. Neither team has an outstanding offense, which means I expect the game to be low-scoring. But the key to this game isn't about offense or defense...it's about intangibles.
UCLA wants to win because they need to build on that big win over USC. They return 19 starters next year and could be a contender if they maintain confidence, and they could do that by winning a bowl game.
FSU needs to win to save face. A losing record is NOT welcome at Football State University, and would devastate a lot of their recruiting efforts in a state that has Florida's Urban Meyer promoting the BCS Championship Game as their focal point. Going 6-7 on the year would be the best thing to happen to the Gators. "Son, you want to stay in Florida to play college ball? You can come here and play for national championships, you can go to FSU and try to be average, or you can play for......wait, who's the coach at Miami again?"
Take the Bruins. Not even Bobby Bowden will scare the Bruins this year.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
A couple of friends and I sat down for a long and in-depth discussion Our goal was to come up with the Top 10 Ohio State plays of 2006. The top 3 were easy....after that, it became a rough discussion. A couple of beers later, we decided to expand the list to include 15 plays (and we STILL had to leave off some great plays). Here's the fruit of our labor....
Now I KNOW that there were some deserving plays that had to be left out....what are your top plays? Which ones did we leave off that you liked? Did we get it right?
And as a bonus, here's a little recap of our Top 15;
#15 - Smith-to-Ginn for 46 yards against Texas. Ohio State needed to start off strong to establish themselves quickly against #2 Texas. Smith takes a hard hit after going outside the pocket, but not before he finds a slashing Ginn, who races across the field and down the Texas sideline.
#14 - Chris Wells' 52-yard run against Michigan. Against the best rushing defense in the NCAA, Wells' takes a handoff, spins away from a tackle, and cuts down the center of the defense on his way to the biggest TD of his career. And he did it without slipping on the field. He used a new-fangled device called "cleats".
#13 - Smith-to-Robiskie against Iowa. It's not often that a 13-yard slant pattern gets to be a huge play, but Smith threw the perfect pass, and Robiskie somehow caught it despite having a defender literally between him and the QB. Watch the replay. If that pass is inches to the left, it bounces off the defender. Simply incredible.
#12 - Brian Hartline makes the hit of the year. Hartline opens up a tremendous hit on an Indiana kickoff returner. I was at this game, and I still can hear the hit to this day. Hartline actually knocked the player from the game.
#11 - Marcus Freeman's interception against Iowa. The game still had a bit of drama to it with Iowa trailing by 2 TDs and a fired-up Hawkeye crowd ready for a comeback. But in one quick play, Freeman ended their hopes by batting a pass in the air and snatching it deep inside Iowa territory.
#10 - Ginn's punt return TD against MSU. We'd waited all year for him to take it to the house, and he did, thanks to speed in traffic and a huge block by Roy Hall. Hall's block comes to Ginn's right side at the 41 yard line.
#9 - Malcolm Jenkins' INT against Penn State. The game was still within reach at 14-6 when Jenkins picked off an Anthony Morelli pass and weaved his way to the end zone. The play was an eerie reminder of Chris Gamble's INT for a TD against...Penn State...the last time OSU went unbeaten. To make it even more strange, Jankins and Gamble intercepted their passes at the exacy same spot on the field.
#8 - Smith fakes out the entire Michigan defense. It was 2nd-and-1 in the 2nd quarter, and Ohio State hurried to the line, scrambling the UM defense. Ginn lined up tight on the line, and everybody thought Chris Wells was going to dive over the middle across the yard marker. He did. But Troy Smith hid the ball behind his own back, and found a streaking Ginn over the middle in a fake so perfect, it even surprised Brent Musburger.
#7 - Smith dodges Indiana defense, finds Ginn. Had Smith decided to keep running around end on this scramble, he could have easily gained 20 yards on the ground. But a QB as amazing as him has eyes all over the field, and he found Ginn in time to stop, backpedal two steps and fire it from his back foot. A perfect pass, and the "Are you kidding me?" trend from annnouncers began.
#6 - Smith again dodges a defense to fire a TD pass, this time to Michigan State. There is no way any other QB completes this play. Smith should have been tackled at least twice, but came out of traffic clean, then fired a bullet to Robiskie, the force of the pass knocking him to the ground. The most remarkable part of this play....the intense roar of the crowd, and we were playing AT Michigan State.
#5 - Ginn runs a reverse, but throws it to Rory Nicol for a TD. We were up by 25 points at the time, and the game was in control, so why run a trick play? I'll tell you why....to scare the bejeezus out of Michigan. We forced the Blue to change their defensive game plan by opening up the playbook a few weeks in advance, but in the meantime we got to see one of the most entertaining plays in all of college football for 2006.
#4 - Laurinaitus forces a fumble against Texas and Washington scoops it up. Texas was 2 yards away from taking the lead against Ohio State when a huge momentum shift took place. All of a sudden, the crowd was silent in Austin, and they rarely had another chance to get loud the rest of the night.
#3 - Troy Smith wins the Heisman in week #4. Struggling against Penn State on a sloppy field, Smith decided to take matters into his own hands. He scrambled right, then reversed field and fired from his own territory straight down the center of the field. The ball traveled 60 yards in the air before resting in the arms of Robiskie. It was like watching that Doug Flutie pass, except that the QB in this case has talent.
#2 - Antonio Pittman breaks free against Michigan. The Wolverines had battled back to within four points, and a couple of turnovers had Buckeye fans worrying. On 2nd-and-1, Tressel showed the I-formation, and several huge blocks at the line of scrimmage opened up a hole for Pittman to scamper through. The rest of the defense was nowhere to be found, and Pittman raced untouched down the field. Musburger calls it a TD when Pittman is still 30 yards away from the goal line, but it wasn't in doubt. Michigan never again had the ball on offense with a chance to take the lead.
#1 - Anthony Gonzalez weaves his way through Iowa's defense for a TD. We'd all spent two years watching Ted Ginn Jr. reverse direction and sometimes run the wrong way in order to open up an opportunity to gain yardage across the field. And we liked it. But what the hell was Gonzo doing trying that? Oh, never mind. I have watched this play over and over again, and I have counted 11 Iowa players who were within 2-3 yards of Gonzalez, all of whom were left shaking their heads by the time the play was over. Hartline makes a HUGE block at the 10 that takes out two Iowa defenders (including Little Mitchy King, who earlier had yanked off Datish's helmet and punched him in the face). Gonzo ran about 50 or 60 yards to get a 30-yard TD, but it goes down as the Play Of The Year in my book. Oh, and the "are you kidding me?" comment is revived here.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Ginn, Gonzalez, Pittman, Barton could leave early
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Four of Ohio State's top offensive players are considering leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.
"We're just awaiting some information so that we can make good decisions," said coach Jim Tressel, whose No. 1 Buckeyes play No. 2 Florida for the national title Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
An NFL advisory committee estimates where, or if, a player might be taken in the draft. A player can then elect to remain in college or make himself available for the draft.
In my honest opinion, this is no big deal. Players do this all the time, and it's not big news...it's merely an exploratory thing. We'll know more in a couple of months, but this story is purely semantics. Players want to know where they'll stand, and this will provide them with insight.I expect Ginn to leave for the NFL. After the Notre Dame game last year, Ginn was asked if he was going to follow Holmes into the NFL and he was quoted as saying he'd like to come back "for one more year". That gave me the distinct impression that he would leave after his junior year, and I still believe that.
I'm not sure about Barton. Good linemen are at a premium in The Show, and the lure of the NFL may be too much for him to ignore. Dear God, if the Browns don't draft Troy Smith, please make it up to us by taking a lineman of Barton's calibre.
However, I don't think Pittman and Gonzalez will leave. They've both made convincing statements that lead me to believe they'll stay Buckeyes through their senior years, and they'll stay true to their word.
"Then why would they file papers?" is the next question. For many reasons. One of which could involve Lloyd's Of London. A player may take that NFL scouting report and purchase insurance on themselves, based on future earnings. This way, if they get hurt in college, they'll still get a little of that NFL money in the way of insurance payments. It happens. For a high-profile example, Peyton Manning insured himself for his senior season at Tennessee.
But above all, Buckeye fans...don't panic. This is not a big deal at all. Hell, it's only being reported because there were four filings all at once.
Oh, and read between the lines of the story....Tressel ASKED his players to file the papers and see where they stand. If THAT doesn't show you how he puts his players best personal interests over the entire program, then nothing else will. And that's the type of coach I want...someone who will be a second father to our boys. That gets respect from his players, and it's heartwarming. remember when John Cooper used to bitch about players leaving early for the NFL?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Utah (7-5) vs. Tulsa (8-4)
Sigh....this is getting bad. I can't wait until I get through the crappy bowl games and I start looking into the BCS games. This whole project of mine is turning into "let's find a whole mess of reasons why this team doesn't deserve a bowl game".
Again, neither team shows me much of anything.
Utah has seven wins. The records of the teams they beat? 6-5. 1-11. 3-9. 2-10. 4-8. 4-8. But they did hand TCU one of their two losses, which I assume is why they're in.
Tulsa was 7-1 at one point. They were probably shopping for a bowl then. But then they had to face the "meat" of their schedule...the mighty teams known as Houston, Rice, and Southern Methodist. Three losses later and they were 7-4. Thank heavens they found a team outside of the state of Texas to beat in their final game....Tulane.
I suppose if you want to see a high-scoring bowl game, this is one you will want to tune in and watch. Both teams throw the ball a lot, with the two starting QBs combining for over 5,000 yards, or roughly one Colt Brennan.
Since the passing games are very closely matched, I'll go with Tulsa for two reasons. Their running game is one. Courtney Tennial has 14 rushing TDs to go with his 800 yards on the ground. Not awesome, but good. The other reason is defense. Tulsa's defense is ranked 19th in the NCAA, while Utah's is ranked 56th.
Both teams will score a lot, but Tulsa's defense will be able to stop Utah at the end of the game, which will spark memories of their loss to BYU, which nobody outside of our least-appreciated state will remember anyway.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Hawaii (10-3) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
I cannot wait until this game takes place. Like most of you, I have not had the good fortune to watch Colt Brennan play, and this will be my first opportunity. The game is on Christmas Eve at 8pm, which means your kids will be in bed (awake and anxious, but in bed), so put the TV on while you help Santa get presents under the tree and enjoy this one.
I'm putting absolute faith in the fact that Arizona State has an average defense and Hawaii has a prolific offense.
- Hawaii QB Colt Brennan threw for 400 yards in a game....eight times.
- He also threw 4 TDs in a game....nine times.
- Hawaii scored 40 points in a game.....ten times.
- Brennan completed more than two-thirds of his passes....twelve times.
Arizona State played three ranked teams, California, Oregon, and USC. They lost all three games, and they allowed over 40 points per game in the three. They also gave up 44 points to Oregon State. Their passing defense is ranked 34th in the NCAA, and they are ranked 68th in scoring defense.
Add this all up, throw in the fact that Brennan is a junior and wants to win a Heisman Trophy next year (and will be on national TV for the first time), and you have the makings of a blowout.
Arizona State 21
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Rice (7-5) vs. Troy (7-5)
I gotta be honest, who cares? Well, I won't watch this one, but I did promise to give capsules of all the games, so here goes.
Neither Rice nor Troy deserve a bowl game. However, both will get the thrill of it. Rice picked up a spot based on a late-season 6-game win streak. The problem is, they played six weak teams and barely beat each of them.
They beat a 3-9 UAB by one point
They beat a 4-8 UCF by 11 points
They beat a 5-7 UTEP by 6 points
They beat a 8-4 Tulsa by 3 points
They beat a 7-5 East Carolina by 1 point
They beat a 6-6 SMU by 4 points
The only two worthy opponents they faced were Texas and a weak Florida State. Rice lost by a combined score of 107-14.
I can make a somewhat better argument for Troy, since they were beating FSU late in the game before falling to the Seminoles by 7 points. But I'm not impressed with wins over Florida International, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Middle Tennessee State. Plus, that loss to Arkansas State?
ESPN is claiming that it will be a high-scoring affair, and I'm sure they're trying to boost ratings of a pathetic bowl matchup. Rice is ranked 51st in the NCAA in total offense, Troy is ranked 80th. And do I need to remind you who their opponents were in which they compiled yardage to get them to their lofty rankings of 51st and 80th???
Rice will rely on WR Jarrett Dillard, who has 20 TD catches, which is impressive by any standard. But that's the only time I'll use the word "impressive" to discuss this game. It's enough for me to give Rice the win.
South Florida (8-4) vs. East Carolina (7-5)
I must admit, I like this matchup. Yes, I know I just spent some time disparaging Rice for beating East Carolina by only one point. East Carolina just barely deserves their chance, but they get my respect by knocking off Virginia. I know Virginia wasn't a quality team this year, but teams like Virginia, when in down years, get their win total up by beating the East Carolinas of the world. Overcoming the second-tier status and knocking off the Cavaliers is enough for me.
South Florida is a completely different story. I watched them beat West Virginia, and they were fun to watch. They took it to the Mountaineers in every aspect and kept their foot on WVAs throat until the game was over. WVA had a chance to win the Big East and that game meant the world to them...and South Florida wouldn't let them win, IN Morgantown. The Bulls also looked great against Rutgers, but fell by 2 points.
Defense is the key to this game, and South Florida has the advantage. Their secondary has enough to shut down ECU, and if you watched their DL shut down Slaton and White, you'd know enough to bet on the Bulls in this game.
South Florida 27
East Carolina 10
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (6-6) vs. San Jose State (8-4)
When I saw this matchup announced, I though "Wow! How convienent that the New Mexico Bowl found a 6-6 team worthy to play! And it must be a coincidence that the team was New Mexico". I hate setups like that and I'm not happy about it in the least.
The Lobos have done nothing this year except squeak out 6 wins. Their last two wins ere against 4-8 Colorado State and 3-9 San Diego State. They were humiliated at BYU by 25 points, and they LOST to Division 1-AA Portland State. Give me a break.
San Jose State, on the other hand, earned their trip. The schedule isn't full of world-beaters, but they knocked off 8 teams and was the team that came the closest to defeating 12-0 Boise State, falling by only three points.
SJSU's QB is Adam Tafralis. If you watch this game, you'll be impressed with him. His QB rating is 151.05, and he's thrown 20 TDs to 8 INTs. We're spoiled with Troy Smith, but if you look at Tafralis' numbers, you will see that he has led his team valiantly. To be honest, SJSU looks like a poor-man's version of the Buckeyes. A good QB who can run, a 1,000 yard rusher backed up by a young RB with 400+ yards, and two WRs with over 700 yards each.
If the defense holds up and they can overcome a home-field bowl, I'll give them their 9th win.
San Jose State 31
New Mexico 28
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois (7-5) vs. Texas Christian (10-2)
Let me get this out of the way now. Who the fuck allowed this bowl to be named? OK, now on to the breakdown....
Most people will look at the teams' records and declare a 10-2 TCU the winner over a 7-5 NIU....not so fast. TCU may be the better team, but there is an deeper quality to both teams that will make this one a good game.
Both teams have great offenses. TCU is ranked 17th in total offense, NIU 24th. Both are due to prolific rushing attacks. Most of the pre-game discussion will focus around Huskies' RB Garrett Wolfe, who will likely break 2,000 yards for the season sometime during the game.
After viewing the schedules of each team, I'm not convinced that a clear winner will emerge until the final minutes of the game.
NIU's losses came to quality opponents (with the exception of a close defeat to 5-7 Toledo), including the #1 ranked Buckeyes. Their only quality win is a 3-touchdown destruction over MAC champion Central Michigan.
TCU had only three quality opponents all year. They lost to Mountain West champion BYU 31-17, and the MWC's 3rd-place team Utah 20-7. They did knock off Texas Tech 12-3, who was ranked at the time, but TT finished 7-5 on the year. They have looked good lately, winning their final five games by an average of 37-12. But those five games were against the worst five teams in a horrible conference. That stat also helps foster TCU's defense stats, which put them at #4 in the NCAA. But I'm just not impressed.
Garrett Wolfe will be the difference.
Northern Illinois 34
Texas Christian 24
Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl
BYU (10-2) vs. Oregon (7-5)
BYU is on a 9-game winning streak, mostly against below-average teams. But that streak does include a win over 10-2 TCU (in Texas) and their biggest rival Utah (at Salt Lake City). Their only losses are to ranked Boston College 30-23, and at Arizona 16-13.
Oregon is on a 3-game losing streak, getting demolished by USC 35-10, losing to rival Oregon State 30-28, and getting crushed by Arizona 37-10.
Oregon should not be in a bowl game. Their 7 wins came against teams that are 1-11, 4-8, 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, a Division 1-AA Portland State, and Oklahoma....and we all remember how they beat Oklahoma. Had the Oklahoma game been reviewed properly, the Sooners would have won and Oregon would have only had 5 wins against 1-A schools, rendering them unqualified.
Furthermore, that Arizona team will show the difference in the two schools. Both lost to the Cats, but BYU lost by 3. Oregon lost by 27.
Plus, Oregon sucks in bowl games.
Let me rephrase that....Michigan fans were THRILLED to hear this story and couldn't wait to tell all their friends about it....because the asshole who couldn't squeeze one off in private was wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt.
Well, my mother always told me that two wrongs don't make a right, but to hell with it....watch this video anyway!!!!
Now you tell me....which is funnier?
a) An Ohio State fan whacking off in public
b) A Michigan fan getting teabagged
Monday, December 11, 2006
On Saturday, Troy Smith had the best day of any resident of the state of Ohio....I may have had the second-best day, though.
I went up to Cleveland to see The Lemonheads, playing a show at the Grog Shop, fast on the heels of their first studio album in 10 years. I've always been a fan of the band, even naming my cat after their lead singer Evan Dando. And if you are in your late 20s or 30s, odds are you know a song or two by them.
The band takes the stage a little after 11pm, and it's a fun, laid-back show. Up-tempo, but very intimate, like you were watching an old friend play a show. Playful banter between Dando and the people up against the stage, a few ad-libbed changes to the playlist, etc. A really good time.
Midway through the show, a girl near us calls for them to play "Mrs. Robinson", their cover of the old Simon and Garfunkel tune. They discuss it amongst each other, and Evan tells the woman that he's tired of playing the song, and asks if anybody else wants to sing it. My hand goes up right away, and he actually invites my on stage to sing the tune!!!!
So up I go, and I spend the next four minutes as the lead singer of The Lemonheads. It was exhilarating, and I loved it. Evan gave me a big hug as I left the stage, and we got to chat for a few minutes after the show. It was a night I'll never forget as long as I live.
But still, it was the second-best night that a Buckeye had. I think winning the Heisman qualifies as a better night.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
a) The voters made the right choice, and only Notre Ame fans were unable to grasp the reality of it all. Congratulations to Troy Smith on moving Ohio State into a first-place tie for the school with the most Heisman Trophies...our 7th! Mazel Tov, Troy!
b) A complete travesty, unparalleled by anything I've ever seen. Troy Smith, go take it out on Florida, and bring home the Crystal Football!!!
But let's be honest...we all KNOW Troy wins it. The only question left is "will he win it by the largest margin ever?"
P.S. Yes, I know I called them "Notre Ame". We already know there's no D at that school, so let's have the name reflect it.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I've put together a few short video clips lately, but to be honest, they just don't have the passion and the spirit that the rest of my films possess. I've set aside most of the drive and inspiration that used to help create my videos.
Frankly, I think it might be because I made my previous movies to help get myself (and others) hyped up for the next game. It was a way to stay excited about Buckeye football....but after seeing the best game I've watched in a LONG time, it's hard to top that sort of excitement.
Plus, let's be honest....Texas had a bad day. Iowa had a bad day. But Michigan just simply DIDN'T have a bad day. They just weren't capable of beating Ohio State. And I could make a good video right now and throw in a bunch of plays that didn't go Michigan's way...but it just wouldn't be the same. It would be much harder to laugh at a team that took us to the brink so well.
Granted, I still have a strong distaste for the maize and blue....but in the words of a friend I "get it" when it comes to that rivarly. You gotta still respect the tradition and the rivarly. John Cooper didn't "get it", and his record in The Game shows. Jim Tressel "gets it", and it's why he is able to outsmart Michigan year after year.
I'm excited for the National Championship game. But I put so much energy into The Game that it's hard to get off that roller coaster, only to jump back on another one immediately.
I'm going to spend some time tonight making a season recap, which should be fun....but I felt that it was necessary to explain why a Bad Day video was having a hard time flowing from my brain to my Windows Movie Maker.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
In other words, 4 college football players will be asked to come witness Troy Smith's acceptance speech.
But the Notre Dame fans in the media are crying foul already.... this guy seems to think that Brady Quinn should get the Heisman because he has no defense on his team, and he tried so hard to beat Michigan and USC, but his team sucks, so give it to him. Or something like that. Then he pushes Quinn because of his yardage and passing TDs.
Furthermore, the writer seems to forget that two of Michigan's TDs were scored because Quinn threw an INT for a TD and fumbled for another TD.
I always hate it when people push Quinn's numbers, without reporting how many times he actually threw the ball, so one more time, here they are......
Troy Smith - 199-297 - 67% completion - 2,507 yards - 30 TDs - 5 INT - 167.9 rating
Brady Quinn - 274-432 - 63% completion - 3,278 yds - 35 TDs - 5 INT - 151.6 rating
Had Troy Smith thrown the ball as many times as Quinn, his numbers would have looked like this......
Troy Smith - 290-432 for 3,647 yards - 44 TDs, 7 INTs
If the ball had been in Smith's hands on a passing play as many times as it was for Brady Quinn, Smith would have thrown for an extra 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. THAT is how much better he is than Quinn.
Not like it matters, because the Heisman is already decided......but case closed.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Apparently, Brian at M Go Blog has been doing a fair amount of whining about the turf at Ohio State, baselessly claiming that Michigan lost because of it.
I suppose he's right. It's a good thing Ohio State was allowed to install drier grass each time they got the ball, then re-installing the old stuff whenever we were on defense.
But, rather than come up with new ways to say "you're an idiot", I decided to do what I do best....make a new video.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Did Michigan deserve a chance? Sure they did.
They deserve it more than Florida? No, they didn't. It was really, really close, though.
Here's the way I see it;
- When Michigan took the field against Ohio State, they KNEW that they would make the Championship Game with a win. They lost.
- When USC took the field against UCLA, they KNEW that they would make the Championship Game with a win. They lost.
- When Florida took the field against Arkansas, they had a chance to make the Championship Game with a win. They won.
- When Ohio State took the field against Michigan, they KNEW that they would make the Championship Game with a win. They won.
Two teams wanted it more when the final battle took place. Two teams did not.
It's that simple.
Oh, and for everybody who begins the whine of "Ali/Frazier had a rematch, why can't we do it too", allow me to remind you that Ali and Frazier fought three times....but it took FOUR YEARS for those three fights. Michigan shall have their rematch, just like Ali and Frazier did....next year.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The BCS is comprised of three factions...the Coaches' Poll, the Harris Poll, and the Computer polls. Headed into today's action, Florida trailed Michigan by 0.0319 points.
After careful consideration of the polls, I predict that Florida will be headed to Glendale, Arizona. Here's why;
The computer polls are a strange lot, but they will make a big difference. Here's how they looked this morning
- AH - Michigan 3rd, Florida 4th
- RB - Michigan 2nd, Florida 4th
- CM - Florida 3rd, Michigan 4th
- KM - Florida 3rd, Michigan 4th
- JS - Michigan 2nd, Florida 4th
- PW - Michigan 2nd, Florida 4th
- Michigan will gain .02 in the computer polls
- Florida will gain .04 in the computer polls
A difference of 0.0254 separates Michigan and Florida in the Coaches Poll. USC will certainly lose all of their second-place votes, but who will they lose them to? Michigan or Florida???
Raise your hand if you think ANY SEC coaches....ANY of them....will put Michigan in 2nd place on their ballots. The SEC is desperate to maintain their "we are the best conference" mantra, and will vote to put their school in the title game. The Big Ten hasn't got as much loyalty, especially since one of their teams is already in the game.
I wouldn't even be surprised to see Tuberville and Urban Meyer vote Florida as #1 to give the Gators an extra boost into the championship. I doubt that will happen, but it wouldn't shock me at all. Tuberville's not above that kind of manipulation, and Meyer's been whining for weeks. If given a ballot and a chance to boost his team a little more, he'd be a fool to not do it.
Add to that the chance of leapfrogging in ANY poll, and you have Florida in Glendale. Florida just beat the BCS' #9 team while Michigan was idle for the second straight week...that adds up to at least a few leapfrogs.
Fair or not, this is what I see happening. And I think it's another nail in the coffin of the BCS.
But then again, I also predicted USC and Arkansas to win today, so take my calls with a huge frickin' grain of salt.
They all lost after being #2. But none of them choked as badly as USC did...man, that was hilarious.
So one team who was #2 previously will get their chance again...either Florida or Michigan will be #2 tomorrow.
The Curse Of Number 2...may it continue for at least another 7 weeks.
- Today at 4:30, USC takes the field against UCLA. All speculation says that if USC wins today, they'll secure the #2 BCS slot and head to Glendale for the BCS National Championship Game.
- However, we won't know for sure until 8pm on Sunday. That's when the BCS bids will be announced officially. Ten teams will learn which BCS Bowl game they are headed to, and we'll find out who our 13th victim is at that time.
- Wednesday afternoon, Troy Smith will get his invitation to the Heisman Trophy Presentation. 5 athletes will be invited, and the only drama is whether or not Brady Quinn even gets to attend (my guess is no, he'll finish 6th in voting and will not be attending)
- Then the following Saturday afternoon, Troy Smith heads to New York City to accept his Heisman Trophy.
On a different note, here's my predictions for today's games, which will lead to the following BCS Bowl games.....
- USC will easily defeat UCLA, but Pete Carroll will run up the score to distance themselves from #3 Michigan. The backlash will not be pretty.
- Arkansas will win the SEC Championship, then claim they deserve to play in the Championship Game, convienently forgetting their 50-16 loss to USC in Week 1. They will officially steal Michigan's battle cry, commonly known as "That Game Didn't Count, So We Want A Do-Over".
- Meanwhile, LSU fans will be left in a hysterical fit over the BCS rule that only allows two teams from the same conference to play in BCS Bowls. Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville will be seen bitching on televisions across Alabama, screaming "conspiracy" for not allowing a 10-2 Auburn or a 10-2 LSU into the BCS.
- In another part of the country, 11-1 Wisconsin will prepare for their non-BCS Bowl game in a very dignified manner, completely ignored by the commentators who will be broadcasting Tuberville and his wailing.
- In the most ignored championship game of the 21st Century, Wake Forest will win the ACC over the team they are playing. I forget who it is, and I don't care enough about the game to research it. Oh, yeah. Georgia Tech. Whatever.
- Oklahoma will win the Big 12 over Nebraska, and in my opinion, this should give Bob Stoops the Coach Of The Year award. Find me another coach that can lose a starting QB and a Heisman candidate at RB and still win 11 games and a league title (12 if you count the Oregon debacle).
- Rutgers will knock off West Virginia to win the Big East title. Mountaineer fans everywhere will immediately begin their claim as the "best 3-loss team in the NCAA".
The outcome of this weekend will create the most fucked-up BCS series in history. Bowls will scramble to grab teams that can sell tickets, and the result will leave the worst matchups we have ever seen.
BCS National Championship Game - 1/8/07
Ohio State vs. USC
Sugar Bowl - 1/3/07
Arkansas vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl - 1/2/07
Wake Forest vs. Florida
Fiesta Bowl - 1/1/07
Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Rose Bowl - 1/1/07
Michigan vs. Louisville