Tag:Auburn
Posted on: December 2, 2008 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 10:51 am
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Dec. 1st

Ah, December.  The time of year that brings us the presents of college conference championship and bowl games and the NFL playoff push.  As we plow (well, not us here in Tampa) our way toward the end of another fantasic year, I bring you my regular reflection of the week that was in sports.

1) I warned you - Meatloaf once said (sang) to not feel sad, cause two out of three ain't bad.  Well, that I was on the Thanksgiving Day NFL games, although I was 3 for 3 on my prediction of them all being turkeys.  But honestly, could we all not see it coming (except for the Eagles debacling {thanks, Emmitt} the Cardinals, and even that wasn't that much of a stretch)?  The NFL either needs to do a better job scheduling, or start rotating the games (or both).  With the parity in the league on an almost yearly basis, the latter just might be easier than the former.

2) Thank you, Clifton Smith and Reggie Bush - Still in the spirit of giving thanks, I would personally like to thank Bucs return man Clifton Smith and Saints return man Reggie Bush.  On a day where a sloppy field led to a field position battle, these two single-(double?)handedly flipped the field in the Bucs favor.  Both of Tampa's second half TD's were set up by great returns by Smith, one on a kickoff, the other on a punt, because he does this fascinating thing called running north.  Bush, on the other hand, had two punt returns for the awesome total of NEGATIVE SIXTEEN yards.  And I don't want to hear anything about it was his first game back from injury.  If you saw the returns, his first move was backwards, and then sideways.  Reggie, this is the NFL.  Everybody has your speed.  This sets up a huge game this week for the Buccos (more on this later).

3) Storming the Cassel - Wow, here were the Patriots drives in the second half.  Punt, fumble, fumble, pick, pick, end of game.  And this doesn't even count the kickoff they fumbled away.  Not going to win too many games doing that.  After two straight weeks of 400 yard performances, that even had me wondering if Cassel had cashed a $14 million lottery ticket (the amount he'd make as a franchised QB), he came back to earth in the face of a tough defense and looked more like the guy I saw in the preseason on NFLN against the Bucs where everybody wondered what would happen if Brady went down.  Thanks to the Jets losing (horribly at home to a Broncos team that had lost horribly a week before), the Pats still have a shot at the division, but are definitely on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

4) Cancel my Cable subscription - Ah yes, after a flukey week where I had to give love to both the Saints and Raiders, everything is right in the world, and I can go back to ripping them to shreds.  What was Cable thinking calling for a fake FG to 865 pound kicker Sebastian Janikowski (emphasis on the "kow") on fourth and ten, that looked like it was going to be a run no less?  Instead, Sebas (who does look and act like an ill-tempered, mutated sea bass.  Dr. Evil, eat your heart out) couldn't handle the flip from the holder, and it was returned for a Kansas City touchdown.  Instead of letting the kicker with the strongest (even if not the most accurate) leg in the league most likely put you up 6-3, you go down 10-3 and the wheels fall off from that point on.  I'm sure Al Davis called that play down himself.

5) Iron defeciency - Man, has the Iron Bowl lost it's luster.  They may as well call it the Rust Bowl, now.  After six straight losses in the series, the Nickonator and his Crimson Tide manhandled a clearly overmatched Auburn Tiger team.  Fact is, this game has just not been as competetive most of these last seven years, although now the balance of power has at least shifted.  Maybe next year this game can return to national prominence.

6) 3 in a row at Ron Zook field at Doak Campbell stadium - Another rivalry that has lost its luster, although showed signs of returning to prominence next year is the UF-FSU series.  FSU will be a great team to watch ... next year, but this year were clearly overmatched.  I'd hate to think about what would have happened had the weather been good.  Of course, had the weather been good, Harvin wouldn't have gotten hurt (and thank you FSU fans for your Eagle fan impressination impersonation {man, I just pulled an Emmitt.  Guess I was caught between that and impression} when that happened.  I have the utmost respect for your coach and program, and but quite frankly, that was WAY beneath you and quite honestly, unexpected).

7) Absolute Bedlam - The annual Bedlam game produced just that, not only on the field where 102 total points were dropped, but in the BCS (more on that later).  The Sooners have scored 60+ now in four straight games, which I hope their fans realize by now is the byproduct of both a phenominal offense, and subpar defense.  It set the stage for what we all knew would happen Sunday where the Coaches were forced to reveal their votes, and the Longhorns jumping the Gators in some coaches efforts to try to avoid a perceived travesty of leaving Texas out of Kansas City due to the head-to-head win (there are solid arguements on both sides, but in the end, I think the correct team is playing Missouri).  The Big 12 put undue pressure on the people who make up the BCS due to their strange conference tie-breaker system.  Most conferences that use the BCS as a guideline do so to kick the bottom team out and then go to head-to-head.  In that case, Texas would have come out on top (hence the great arguement for them).  The Big 12 was one of the conferences strongly opposed to the "and 1" system proposed this year by ACC (and BCS head) commissioner John Swafford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive or any form of a playoff.  Now they might be rethinking it.  And they will definitely rethink their conference tie breaker.  Even Stoops is against it.

8) The B(C)S keeps getting deeper - My regular readers know where I stand on the whole BCS mess and the need for a playoff system, but I read a great blog by the user HuskerTex who I met on the official OU-OkSU game thread.  It is one of the best thought out, put together, and informative blogs I've seen on this site.  It is a great history of the BCS, and the controversies and backstories, some of which I had even forgotten about.  It is a great read, and I highly recommend it to all of my regulars, and to those of you who happened to stumble across my weekly rantings as well.  Here's the link: http://huskertex.blogs.sportsline.c
om/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/12007228

9) Finally, an MNF game that means something - This is where I would usually put my weekly look ahead, and that's what this will be, despite the title.  But I do want to hit hard and heavy on one game in particular, and its implications.  When Disney ponied up the money years ago to get the rights to MNF and move it to ESPN, I doubt they foresaw SNF eventually (actually, that very same year) becoming the premier game of the week with the premier matchups.  It seems the NFL schedules it this way to begin with, and recently it has become more so with the advent of flex scheduling.  ESPN is probably thanking its lucky stars that it finally has a game that means a lot when the 9-3 Buccaneers visit the 9-3 Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC NASCAR division (which I still say is best top to bottom and is in line right now for 3 playoff teams).  This game is giant for both teams, but mostly for the Panthers, and here's why.  First off, the NFC South teams have been almost unbeatable at home going 22-2, including both the Bucs and Panthers at 6-0.  But the Panthers must hold serve, and here's why.  First off, if the Bucs win, they will have swept the Panthers and will be a game plus the tiebreaker up.  This means they will only need to go 2-1 in their last three to secure a first round bye.  But the main reason is the schedule.  The Bucs last two home games?  Visits by AFC West doormats San Diego and Oakland.  The Panthers, conversely, have games remaining against the Broncos, Giants, and Saints, and would have to win the last two to force the tie break against the Bucs to common opponents and the other obscure ones (assuming the Bucs beat the Falcons in Atlanta, which might not happen because Atlanta is hot).  As you can see, they have a much tougher road to hoe regardless.  The other NFL games I'm looking forward to are Dallas Pittsburgh and Baltimore Washington.  And I am looking forward to the entire CFB slate.

10) Buccingator's confernce championship predictions - In the ACC Championship game, I like BC over Virginia Tech 24-20, in the BCS semi-final, er SEC Championship Game I like Florida over Alabama 31-13, and in the Big 12 Championship I like Oklahoma over Missouri 63-38.

Posted on: September 24, 2008 6:22 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2008 9:24 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 22nd

1) Saints still have no D and no north south running game - As a Bucs fan, I always love a chance to pile on the team with the most ridiculous fans in the NFC South who somehow think they have a tradition of winning and are clearly superior to the rest of the teams based on two years ago.  All I heard was we fixed our D.  Well after 3 weeks, WRONG!  You are one horrible Jeff Garcia read/pass away from being 0-3.  On the play where Fujita picked him off, he had TWO receivers wide open in the end zone and didn't see either one for some inexplicable reason.  But hey, you made the plays and won the game.  Secondly, I got in heated discussions about Reggie Bush being a bust.  While I may have been premature in that assessment, I was correct on two other things fans refused to take off their black and gold colored glasses to see.  1) Without a north south running game, your offense is predictable and one dimensional.  You still lack this key component.  2) Reggie Bush is, and will always be a WR who lines up behind the QB.  They should just make the change and be done with it.  And he still dances too much.  Bust, no.  But does he make the Saints a winner, no.  Cheer up, Saints fans, you still have to play the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions.  There's 3 wins right there.  Oh, but the Bucs and Panthers still have to play the Lions, Raiders, and Chiefs, too.  Nevermind.

2) The balance of power has shifted - For years, the AFC has been the dominant conference.  That has now shifted to the NFC, and specifically, the East.  You could have 3 teams from that division making the playoffs again this year, especially since they all play the Bengals, Browns, and Rams.

3) "Lee"ding your team to a dramatic win - In my first segment of this blog, I commented on whether UCLA threw Craft's jersey over another kid.  Well, did LSU do the same thing this week?  It's amazing the difference in performance between the two halves.  Hat's off to LSU for that outstanding victory on the road.

4) The Pac 10 is done - I commented on their horrific record against the Mountain West here last week, but after Boise State beat Oregon on the road (yes, I realize the Ducks had their 24th string QB in there), stick a fork in this conference.  USC fans should really worry.  While I doubt it will be enough to keep them from Miami on Jan 8th, they will be heavily penalized in the computer polls for their schedule, especially when compared to a potentially undefeated SEC or Big 12 team.

5) Look Ma, 67 pass attempts and no grass stains - How did the Bears stack the box and force the Bucs to pass on nearly every down, and not get a sack?  The only times they even got pressure on him was via the blitzing LB.  I guess they react much better to run plays than pass plays.  Give a QB time, and he will shred you, whether he's Joe Montana or Joe Schmoe.  Kudos to the Bucs O Line, who was still without Davin Joseph.

6) The face of frustration - As a Gator fan, nothing made me feel better than watching Tennessee make mistake after mistake, and then showing coach Phillip's facial expressions on the side line.  And what was up with Crompton thinking they should have won that game?  It was 17-0 before they could blink (or move the ball for that matter).  While I don't "hate" Tennessee (although their band could learn a couple more songs than playing Rocky Top 265,326 times a game, although I think I heard it less than 10 times in this game), I do "hate" Fulmer.  The only good thing is he has a losing record against the Gators.  In fact, in recent history, this is starting to reach Georgia levels.  And Georgia (who I do hate), appears to be turning it around under Mark Richt (who I love, go figure).  I'm also looking forward to a peed off Auburn team continuing the Volunteers woes this week.

7) Another coach I love to hate in the SEC - While I have no love for Nick Saban, I loved seeing his team go into Arkansas and CRUSH the Razorbacks and Bobby Petrino.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

8) Weekly Kiffin death watch - a few people have noted this story has started to reach Favreian levels.  The problem is Davis wants Kiffin gone, but doesn't want to pay him.  Kiffin has made it clear (and rightfully so) that he won't quit, and Davis' lawyers I'm sure have explained to him that they have no legal recourse if they fire him.  This is a no win situation, for Kiffin, Davis, but most of all, for the Raiders team.  And what's up with Rob Ryan's act?  Aren't you the DC?  Want to actually get your team to, oh I don't know, DEFEND SOMEBODY!!!!

9) A look ahead - I am really looking forward to the Bama Georgia game between the hedges this week.  With Bama's great start, this should be a fun game.  Off the tails of the Tiger bowl, this looks like another epic ESPN SEC showdown brewing.

And finally (expect to see this again next week) ...

10) "Rays"ing the bar - Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays securing their first postseason birth in franchise history.  This team is absolutely fun to watch, and will be a force in the MLB playoffs, especially at the Trop.  With a magic number of 2 (yes, I know as of 9/22 it was 4, I can break my own rules every once in a while), I look forward to congratulate them on winning the East on my post for the week of Sept. 29th.  Go Rays!!!

Posted on: September 20, 2008 8:39 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 3:59 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 15th

Sorry I'm late on this one.  Had a busy week and was sick for a day.  Even though this is going up on a Saturday, I'll limit it as though I was posting on Tuesday.

1) Most NFL fans need to relax - I always love how after one week, fans of 16 teams are writing off their seasons, and fans of the other 16 are printing their playoff tickets.  Several teams that were 0-1 won, and vice versa, so where are we at now?  It's a lot easier to get a better read after week 4, so be patient.

2) USC will easily win the PAC 10 and will most likely be in Miami for Jan 8th - Really, were most of us surprised by that result?  I think more suprising was what the rest of the Pac 10 pulled off (losses except for Oregon, which had to rally).  Unless SC pulls a Stanford, there's them, and then there's everybody else.  The only team that will beat them is themselves.

3) The three best conferences are 1a) SEC 1b) Big 12 3) MOUNTAIN WEST??? - By going 5-0 against said Pac 10, I think we can definitely make the case for this.  Honestly, who else to you put in that 3 hole?  The Big 10?  The ACC?  The Big East?  Can't be the Pac 10 based on the 0-5 record.

4) One of the best games I saw this week was USF-KU - That was a huge victory for USF, which beat a good Kansas team with a great QB in Reesing.  Unfortunately, he made one mistake in a critical time, and the rest is history.  USF just might be the class of the Big East this year.  Maybe a trip to Miami on Jan 1 is in the cards.

5) An MNF classic - The best game I saw was the Cowboys Eagles game.  That game was back and forth just like a basketball game.  Yes, I know pureists will sight the lack of defense, but still, WOW!  That kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

6) Auburn 3 run double Mississippi State 2 run home run - Yes, I know people looking to slam the SEC  will point to this score, but it is just an effect of the best defense being played in the country.  Right now, the defensive stats are drastically skewwed toward SEC schools.  Now, on the other side ...

7) Big 12 sand lot football - Had that score come from a Big 12 game, I could understand a little more.  For those of your who aren't paying attention to what are clearly the two best conferences this year (see: 7 8 teams in the top 10), the Big 12 teams are averaging nearly 50 points scored per game.  Little surprise with the great QB's that play in here.  Daniels, Bradford, Reesing, the up and down that is Texas Tech.  Can't wait until they start playing in conference.  Unfortunately, only one school from one of these two conferences will be able to play USC in Miami (unless they do pull a Stanford).  Would be nice if they could play each other.  Strength versus strength.

8) ND is still ND - last week I wondered if the ND team this year could be worse than the one last year.  Well, despite beating Michigan, the jury's still out.  Michigan put up better numbers, except for the most important one, the scoreboard.  ND will clearly finish with a better record this year, aided by a softer schedule.  Still, I think we'll know just how bad they are when they play SC.

9) Preseason Predictions mean absolutely zero - So far, two of the medias darlings, the Browns and Vikings are 0-2.  Worse, we're to be subjected to nearly the entire Browns regular season thanks to the powers that be giving them like 10 4:15, SNF, MNF, or NFLN games.  Yurg!!!!

10) Can this be the Cardinals year? - On the other hand, another media darling is quietly 2-0 despite ostracizing one of their WRs.  Looking at the rest of that pathetic division, this may finally be the year for that trendy pick to come true.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com