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Tag:Charlie Weis
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 30th

As winter quickly approaches us and most of my loyal followers are preparing for bitterly cold nights, snow, and all the other things that come along with it while I sit here in my shorts pecking at my computer (nah nah Tongue out), due to a couple of major college football stories, I feel compelled to break my own rule yet again and extend it to covering Tuesday as well, especially since one affects a certain game on Dec. 5th.  So here are 10 things I learned in the week and a day between 11/24 and 12/1.

1) What an idiot!- How can you, in the week leading up to one of arguably the biggest games in your career, do something so stupid as what Carlos Dunlap did to effectively end his career at the University of Florida.  I honestly don't see him playing another game this year, and he was likely to come out, so this pretty much puts the kabosh on UF's leading pass rusher and defensive MVP from last year's BCS title game.  It remains to be seen as to what effect this has on the Gators on Dec. 5th, as the Gators do have lots of talent, but unlike some of my fellow Gator fans, I realize this will affect them at least somewhat.  There is not another Carlos Dunlap on this team, and his presense and pressure will be missed to some degree, no matter how well everybody else steps up in his absense.  And to those trying to pin this on Urban Meyer somehow, please stop.  What, do you want these teams to have 100 assistant coaches to babysit each player personally all the time?  Notice, I wasn't in here blaming Lane Kiffin for what Richardson and his thug friend did (although I did find it funny that it was the same guy Lane got in trouble with the SEC over).  It's how the coach deals with these situations that you can hold them responsible for, not the actions themselves.  Dunlap is an adult, and he will face the consequences of his poor choices.

2) Bobby deserved better- Yes, I know things haven't been going the Seminoles way recently.  I have NEVER seen a UF-FSU game where the Noles didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Gators until Saturday.  But this is the man that had FOURTEEN straight AP Top 4 finishes.  That's a mark that's very likely never to be duplicated ever again.  The whole Bowden-Fisher situation will be filed away under "How NOT to handle a head coach in waiting."  Depending on who you listen to, Bobby Bowden was either forced out, or given the option to come back, but as little more than a figure head.  Now, while I feel that Bobby should have been allowed to come back next year with no strings, Jimbo did deserve the right to name a defensive coordinator, as that would have been Bobby's last year.  You did have to start preparing for life after Bobby.  Thing is, it's awful hard to be the man who replaces the man.  Why do I get the feeling that if FSU struggles early next year, that firejimbofisher.com is not too far away.  Hopefully FSU sends Bobby out on a winning note in whatever bowl game they end up in.

3) Sorry Charlie- In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Notre Dame cut ties with Charlie Weiss on Monday, ending Notre Dame's worst three year run in their history.  While there is a lot of blame to go around here, where is the blame that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the former athletic director (I forget his name)?  As much of a weasel as he is, Mike Lupica pointed this out on a recent "Sports Reporters" on that four letter network.  He's the one that got played by Charlie Weis and locked him up to a ridiculous 10 year deal that's now going to cost Notre Dame something in the range of $20 million to pay a coach who won't be coaching for them.  And they'll have to pay whoever comes in, likely involving another buy-out.  And where's these strong athletes from ND's alleged top 10 recruiting classes recently?  They have Floyd for one more year, and Teo for two more.  Beyond that, what do they have?  Claussen will be gone.  Tate will be gone.  If you notice, Charlie only won with Willingham's players.  It's going to take a lot for Notre Dame to return to BCS title contender, because as I pointed out before, the reason they had lost 9 bowls in a row before last year was they kept running into superior competition due to them being Notre Dame and drawing well in both fanbase and ratings.  This is not going to change soon, even if they start winning 9-10 games a season.  Those annual bowl blowouts do hurt you when it comes to recruiting.  I don't care if you are Notre Dame.

4) Crash that Tiger- Who the hell is in Tiger Woods P.R. staff and why do they still have jobs?  Look, Tiger owes us the general public absolutely nothing.  No explanation.  And I can see why his lawyers told him not to talk to police (because Elin would be in jail right now if he had).  But if you want to see a playbook of P.R. done right, spin it back to Kobe Bryant.  He had geniuses on his P.R. team.  To think that this would go away just because you're Tiger Woods.  Look, because you ARE Tiger Woods, somebody in the media will dig up the dirt and uncover the story.  And while stonewalling the police is the correct legal tactic, don't think they won't do the same.  Fewer people are going to forgive him for trying this P.R. coverup spin job.  The media, police, and public are not stupid.  We can put two and two together just fine on our own, thanks.  UPDATE: As I was piecing my blog together, Tiger finally came out and admitted some of the stuff, something he should have done on Sunday, but I guess better late than never.  It is my sincere hope though that people can now leave him alone and let his family work it out if they can, or handle what they must if they can't.  I just know I'd find it hard to cheat on Wood's wife, although I'd find it hard to marry her now knowing her temper.  Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

5) I've finally found the best team in the NFL- After wondering if it might be the Colts of the Vikings (and I still think the Vikings will be a tough matchup), and as much as it pains me to say it, because of their holier than thou, think they've already won somehting in the past, refusing to take off their Black and Gold glasses and defend Reggie Bush till the end fans, there is no denying that it is the New Orleans Saints.  That was an epic beatdown of a pretty good Patriots team on Monday night, and they did something I never would have thought possible, especially form a Saints team, confuse Tom Brady with their defense.  I was always holding reservation on the Saints, because I just didn't believe in their D (have always believed in their O, even with Reggie Bust).  I always thought somewhere along the way it would revert back to the old Saints D.  Well, now I know better, and unfortunately, it reaffirms my prediction of the Saints winning it all I made a few weeks ago.  I'll be very happy for the Saints players (except Reggie and maybe cocky Shockey), and the city of New Orleans, but god, I dread having to deal with the obnoxious fans thinking that they just might FINALLY win something this year.  By the way, Gregg Williams HAS to be coordinator of the year.

6) So much for that matchup in Tampa- Yeesh.  The ACC has to be thrilled that its two best teams got beat by mid-level SEC teams this past weekend.  Georgia Tech looked from being in line for a Top 5 finish to being just another conference champion.  And that's IF they beat Clemson and win their Orange Bowl game.  I'll have my prediction in point 10.

7) Can we stop with the overrated crap?- After Thursday and Friday in which Texas and Alabama both struggled on the road in rivalry games and Cincinatti's defense got exposed by Illinois, all the threads in here were about just how overrated these three teams are.  And while I can't give a good defense to Cincy (although I still wouldn't call them overrated), the other two, along with Florida and TCU who took care of business on Saturday, are clearly the four best teams in the country.  Look, they are called rivalry games for a reason.  Usually you can throw the records out.  And they all won, which is what counts in the end.  The 2006 Gators didn't earn any style points in the season, but still handled tOSU with ease.  And what I wouldn't give to see TCU play any/all of the other three teams.  They are the real deal, and I think would matchup well.  God, a playoff (even 4 team) would have been nice this year.  And in a side note, I hope if Texas beats Nebraska, the BCS does the right thing and gives an invite to Boise State as well.

8) Some quick college hardwood thoughts- What a start for the University of Florida basketball team, one that most people has going 5th in the SEC East.  Now, while they have yet to play a conference game, and Michigan State followed it up with a disappointing performance in last night's rematch of the title game, you have to like how good they look right now.  It will be interesting to see how they do against Syracuse (another hot team early) in the SEC-Big East challenge game here in Tampa.  Even as a Gator fan, I didn't see a 7-0 start.  I'd love to see Billy's boys make the tournament this year.  And what's happened to UCLA.  They look completely lost out of the gate at 2-4.  Now they have players transferring out.  And it doens't get any easier with a Dec. 6th date at Kansas.

9) Look ahead- The games I'm looking forward to are the conference championship games, which I will predict in my next point, and in the NFL, Patriots Dolphins to see which team can bounce back from devastating losses, Cowboys Giants to see which team ate too much turkey on their Thanksgiving day game (my guess would be the Giants who seemed to load up before their night game with the Broncos), and Packers Ravens.  There's also a couple interesting NBA games coming up with Boston San Antonio on Thursday, and Lakers Heat on Friday with the Heat on the back end of a two in a row situation.  In hockey, you have the Penguins and Avalanche on Thursday, and my Lightning have a tough two game stretch with Boston tonight and New Jersey on Friday.  And on the college hardwood, you have a very interesting Ohio State Florida State matchup tonight as part of the ACC Big Ten challenge.

10) BuccinGator's college football conference championship game predictions- While there are only 5 official conference championship games (3 BCS in SEC, Big 12, and ACC and 2 non in CUSA and MAC), with two conferences having defacto championship games this week with tomorrow's Oregon Oregon State game (which for the first time will decide a Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl bid between these two) and Saturday's Cincinnati Pitt game, in what has to be a scheduling coup for the Big East and Pac-10.  So, in order of how they are played:

Oregon 38, Oregon State 24 (just think Masoli is too much for the Beavers yet again)
Central Michigan 34, Ohio 17 (LeFevour gets it done)
Houston 45, ECU 20 (Case Keenum way too much for ECU, way too late for Heisman.  Those UTEP and UCF losses will kill him)
Cincinnati 37, Pitt 27 (Although Cincy's defense does scare me.  Pitt could pull this out, but I refuse to bet against Pike)
Florida 31, Alabama 27 (was going to go with last year's score as I think the game will be very similar [still do], but with Dunlap out, give Bama another TD)
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 27 (C.J. Spiller could play spoiler, though.  Just noticed the forecast for here in Tampa calls for thunderstorms that day.  Of course, both these teams love to run anyway)
Texas 21, Nebraska 9 (Nebraska's D will keep this close, quite possibly closer than what I have it).

Hopefully I can go 5-2.  Last year, I think I went 3-2, but I also think it was the mid-majors that tripped me up.
Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:16 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Weeks of 11/16 and 11/23

As we reach the point in the year where we give thanks for what we are appreciative of, I'm giving thanks that after 2 of the busiest weeks I've had at work, I am now on a week's vacation, and have a chance to get caught up.  So this time, for the first time ever, I'm running two editions in the same post.  Now obviously I'm going to have to check back and try to remember everything I wanted to hit on.  I know Notre Dame is at the top of my list.  The LSU debacle from last week will definitely be there.  And the coaching carousel finally began to turn in both the NFL and NBA.  So sit back and enjoy two weeks and 20 tidbits worth of sports knowledge.

11/16-

1) And so it begins ...- After last year of watching "As the Lane Turns" and seeing Scott Linehan call his shot, the NFL's coaching front was very quiet.  The hammer finally fell on Dick Jauron of the Bills.  He was done in by the simply unrealistic expectations caused by the fast start that the team got out to last year.  It does go to prove just how important the QB position is in the NFL, and just what a lack of depth there is there currently.

2) ... again- Last year the first two coach firings in the NBA occurred about this time, and this year we already have one.  Byron Scott was let go by the New Orleans Hornets, and hearing some of the reasons as to why, they sound to me more like reasons as to why this move was made far too soon.  To me, it all seems like a power play by team president and NBA no-nothing Hugh Weber.

3) Even as one of the biggest ND haters- I was completely confused at the end of the Notre Dame Pitt game and exactly what the replay official saw.  To me, it seemed clear that Claussen's hand was firmly clutched around the football during the entire forward motion.  Now, I won't say the Domers got jobbed, as had the play stood (which IMO it should have), it would have been 4th and 16 and tough to overcome.  Remember, I'm of the mind that blaming losses on the officials is loser speak and I site that I have only seen two games where officials have difinitively decided a game, the Oklahoma Oregon game a few years back, and the Colorado fifth down game.  But to me, this was a clearly blown call.  Remember, it was called incomplete on the field.  I was watching an NFL game earlier this year where this exact play happened, and it was initially ruled a fumble and was OVERTURNED on replay to an incomplete pass.  Plus, several people have pointed out to me that the whistle blew before Pitt had possession of the "fumble," calling into question whether or not the play was even reviewable (at least to the point where Pitt could even be awarded the ball).

4) Jay Cutler is horrible- Watching the 49ers Bears game, it made me realize one thing.  The Broncos gave the Bears the worst fleecing sinec the Lions fleeced the Cowboys in the Roy Williams trade.  I mean, the trade would have been bad had it just been picks given up for Cutler, but throw in Orton, too.  And some Bears fans were asking what happened to their running game.  That's simple.  Jay Cutler.  Yes, the O-line is also not playing as well, but Forte didn't all of a sudden suck.  Jay Cutler thinks it's all about him.  And as far as building for the future, the Bears can forget about that one as well.  Somebody suggested they need to draft a great receiver.  The problem with that is they don't have a pick until at least the third round.  The Bears have no future.  They mortgaged it for Cutler (and Gaines Adams).

5) Pats 4th and out- I can understand where some people are coming from trying to defend coach Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down late and on his own side of the field.  Afterall, it was essentially a playoff game and will go a long way toward deciding home field.  That one game represented a three game swing, two for the points in the standings, and another 1/2 each way for the tie breaker.  Still, to me it was very odd, and I'd much rather try to make Peyton drive much longer, no matter how well he had been driving it against you recently.  Huge win by the Colts.

6) Trojans defense snapped- I had pointed out going into the Oregon game that the prior two weeks the Trojans defense looked flat and were not playing up to USC standards.  Ever since then, they've done nothing to improve, proving that sometimes it is hard to just reload instead of rebuild, even if you are Pete Carroll.  The loses on defense over the years have clearly caught up, and this will be USC's first year not in a BCS bowl game in a long time.

7) Horned Frogs roll- TCU continued to roll, destroying their toughest remaining opponent in Utah by a 55-28 score.  Should Texas lose, or should Bama or Florida lose before the SEC Championship game, I can only hope the BCS does the right thing and sends the lizards to Pasadena on the 7th.

8) Houston loses another it shouldn't- As much as I like Case Keenum and the huge numbers he's been putting up this year, you cannot afford to lose to UTEP and UCF.  That just cannot happen, especially after beating Oklahoma State.

9) tOSU going to the Rose Bowl- By beating Iowa in overtime, Ohio State will be making it's first trip to Pasadena since something like 1999.  Hard to believe, but a lot of the years they won the Big 10, they went to the Championship game.  And remember, Penn State won last year.

10) Another reason I hate Gary Bettman- The Lightning were screwed out of a point on 11/14 while playing the Kings.  On what should have been a game winning goal by the Lightning in OT, the up ice official ruled that the Kings goalie was interfered with on the play and waved off the goal.  Here's the problem.  The Lightning player was clearly pushed in there by a Kings player.  How is this kind of play not reviewable?  Bettman either needs to revisit his horrible rules, or send these officials back to school.

11/23-

1) Hold that Tiger timeout- Wow, what a horrible series of play calling and clock management displayed by the LSU coaching staff at the end of the Ole Miss game.  You have it first and 10 at the 29 with around :40 seconds left and two timeouts.  First play: incompletion.  Okay, not too bad, although with two timeouts and in field goal range, you can run or use the middle of the field.  Second play: sack.  Cannot happen in that situation.  Now you're out of field goal range.  First timeout.  33 seconds left.  Next play, some ill-conceived screen play that loses like seven yards.  Now it's fourth and forever.  The clock is at 27 seconds.  Somehow, as you are discussing whatever on the sidelines, you let the clock run all the way down to 9 seconds before calling the timeout.  Now, you throw a hail-mary.  And in the most improbable situation, you complete it at the five, but there is only one second left.  And you are caught completely unready.  Your field goal unit is not ready to go, although there may have not been enough time to get them on.  So, your QB attempts a SPIKE??  With one second left on the clock???  And the great thing is in the hurry up confusion, it was discovered on video that Miles was the one telling him to spike it.  You have to run a play.  You have to hike it and throw it to the endzone.  Even in Death Valley, the final second runs off the clock on a spike.  It was clear the coaching staff was lost, and even more so on a play that was probably meant to go into the endzone ends up completed on the 5 instead.  It is your responsibility as a coach to be ready for every possibility, and to have your team ready.  One fan suggested they should have celebrated the play, as it would have stopped the clock.  Now, while I have no experience actually calling a college game with college rules, I'm pretty sure the clock starts on the ready for play just like it would normally.  He did have an interesting idea, though, as the clock WOULD stop as they march it off, and maybe have given them enough time to get the FG unit on.  Still, all in all, some of the worst coaching I've seen, EVER, and inexcusible from a BCS champion winning coach.  That last TO had to be called right after the screen play.  You have to extend the game.

2) Weis' swan song- I think the second consecutive loss on senior day by the Fighting Irish pretty much spells the end for Charlie Weis.  Afterall, his winning percentage is right up there with Davie and Willingham, and I can't remember the last ranked opponent he's beaten.  On the flip side, it was good to see the Huskies win their first game since losing Jasper Howard.  Seeing coach Edsall's emotions during the post-game was touching, especially knowing how heart-felt they were.

3) Some absolutely inexcusible NFL performances- Wow, Steelers lose to Chiefs (I know, Moo, you saw it coming the whole way).  The Bengals get a gift to move another game up, only they turnover the game against the Raiders on a late TD and then fumble the ensuing kickoff.  And the Cowboys take a late TD and only hang 7 on the lowly Redskins in a win.

4) The Jets crash land and the Broncos pull up lame- After starting off 3-0 and fueling speculation again of an all NY Super Bowl (the Giants haven't been performing much better), they have only won 1 of the last 7 and Sanchez is looking very much like a rookie.  And the Broncos after their 6-0 start have dropped 4 in a row and now find themselves looking up at the Chargers.

5) Redemption for VY- Ever since being forced back into the lineup by owner Bud Adams (who probably gave coach Jeff Fisher the double barrelled single finger salute in the process), the Titans have not lost a game and have suddenly found themselves back in the playoff hunt, although they probably dug themselves too deep a hole to begin with.

6) Oregon Arizona classic- In one of the most interesting games of the year that I could only see via ESPN360.com thanks to ABC thinking that because I live in Florida the Texas beatdown of Kansas would be more interesting to me, DESPITE the fact that their number 1 crew was at THIS game, Oregon won in double OT in come back fashion, setting up this week's rivalry week matchup with Oregon State with the winner getting a trip to Pasadena on Jan 1st to play tOSU.

7) Huskers Shuck Kansas State to win Big 12 north- Nebraska's defense again looked dominant in setting up a trip to Arlington to play Texas on Dec. 5th.  I'm looking forward to see how well the blackshirts match up against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.  In an ironic twist, had K State won, they would have been playing against Texas.  By losing, not only will they not, but they also will not be bowling.

8) ACC Championship game set, too- I'm actually looking forward to seeing C.J. Spiller coming here to Tampa to take on Georgia Tech and the triple option.  The good thing is I think this game should sell better than last year's Va Tech BC game.  Short of getting FSU and/or Miami in the game, this was the best we could do, and should at least generate some more local interest as the teams are much closer.

9) To all the SEC haters- Yes, ramble on about how we are two deep (we are).  Pile on us for how we are down for the second year in a row (we are).  Get on us for scheduling weak teams late in the year (only because we start our conference season earlier than anybody other than the ACC, which starts out the gate).  The SEC has TEN, count 'em, TEN teams that are bowl eligible.  Yes, we might not have the great teams outside of UF and BAMA, but we have a WHOLE LOTTA good ones.  And we have to play eight games against said teams.  And I would argue that just about every conference is down this year.  That's why you had a C-USA school in the Top 15 for most of the year.

10) Turkey games on turkey day- I'll break my rule because I was going to get on this point anyway, but even the one slightly intriguing NFL game on Thanksgiving turned out to induce more yawns than the trytophan in your Thanksgiving turkey (unless you were a Broncos fan).  Honestly, I was watching the Texas Texas A&M game and just flipping between commercials.  The Lions sucked and have for years.  Then you match them up against one of the top 6 teams in the conference.  Conversely, you match up the Cowboys against the Raiders???  Seriously, the Raiders???  The NFL really needs to revisit it's Thanksgiving day policy, as "tradition" is quickly turning in to the "tradition" of people turning their TV sets off early.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:25 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 11:40 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 9th

This week, I would like to take the opportunity to give my deepest thanks to the troops, both past and present, who have put/continue to put their lives on the line to protect my freedom to enjoy sports to the point where I might learn a thing or 10 over the week, and then come in here to pass along this knowledge, and the freedoms of Americans everywhere.

1) The uni's weren't the only thing changed this week- Watching the Bucs Packers game at my house, I was telling my dad as he and the announcers on the game kept mentioning how the Bucs were hanging around and fighting hard, "Yeah, but watch, they'll go in at halftime, make no adjustments, and come out and get blown out in the second half."  I had every right to believe what I was saying.  It had happened already in all 7 of their previous games (including winable games against the Redskins and Panthers).  But then the miraculous happened.  I joked with the guys at work I felt like I was watching on old Foldger's coffee commerical.  "We've secretly replaced the Buccaneers coaching staff with one that can make half time adjustments and win a game."  And that they did.  And what's up with the Packers swiss cheese O-line?  Way to make Stylez G. White look like the second coming of Michael Strahan.

2) Irish's BCS dreams sunk by Navy- In addition to thanking the troops this Veteran's Day, how about thanking future troops, the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy, who prevented mine (and every non-Notre Dame fans) worst nightmare of seeing an undeserving and over-matched Irish team in a BCS game only to serve as the sacrificial lamb.  And of course, with Pitt and Stanford both looking to be much better than previously advertised, the Irish could relistically finish the regular season 7-5 and be Charlie Weis' swan song.  For more of my thoughts on the game, Irish fans, and their "mystique" (if interested), I direct you to this thread: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messag
es/chrono/18150835
.

3) Take advantage of your stellar D- Boy, as a Gator fan I am longing for the days of Dan Mullen.  Steve Adazio's play calling is baffling at best sometimes, and a huge reason for the team's red zone struggles this year.  There was a third and two from the 10 early in the game where Aaron Hernandez, our TE, motioned into the backfield, and in a terrifyingly slow developing play, Tebow fake pitched it to him and was absolutely stuffed.  Field Goal.  It's obvious this year due to the Gators' superior D, he's afraid of opening it up and making mistakes, preferring the D to carry them.  I say, all the more reason to open it up and make a couple mistakes.  You know the defense will be there to clean up for you.  Sure, maybe Charlie Strong gets a little mad at you when the other team ends up putting 10 or 13 on the scoreboard, but so what?  Especially if you end up putting 40+ up.  Is it just me?

4) Anti-SEC angst again directed in the wrong direction- It's been an abysmal season for officiating in the SEC, and I cannot try to defend or justify it.  Previously, I thought we had the best officials in the game along with the Big 12, due to the level of football being played.  Well, maybe this game has become too fast for them.  Another likely blown call was made in the LSU-Alabama game.  But as easy as it is to criticize the replay official and why do we have replay, blah, blah, blah (by the way, ask the Big Ten how replay is going for them) it was AGAIN not the replay official's fault.  Here's why.  You take a look at the replay.  Clearly his left foot was in bounds.  The problem is, it is not obvious when he secures possession (despite what LSU fans say).  To me, it appeared that he did not secure the ball until his left foot was up.  So now we look at the right.  Did I think he had the right down?  Yes, I do.  Gary Danielson did a fantastic job during the replay showing again why I feel he's the best in the game.  He even pointed out the little bit of grass that seemed to come up with the right foot, and no white grass.  But can I conclusively say it was in?  Conclusively being the opporative word.  No, I can't.  And if I can't say he conclusively had his right foot in, and I can't conclusively say he had possession while his left foot was still down, guess what?  Play stands as called.  Again, I point out, PLAY STANDS AS CALLED.  Somehow, fans and media members have twisted this around using converse logic that had it correctly (imo) been called a pick, it would have been overturned on replay.  SIMPLY NOT TRUE.  There would have been equal (if not less) evidence to not overturn a pick call.  Once again, get mad at the officials on the field who were either out of position or simply inept and made a bad call and then expect the replay official to OVERSTEP his bounds and fix what was not as obvious of a mistake as people like to think.

5) Curb your enthusiasm- After tOSU's domination of Penn State in Happy Valley, some Buckeye fans began jumping off the deep end proclaiming that Terrelle Pryor might not lose another game.  Well, I mean, in a sense they are right.  He MIGHT not lose again.  But likely he will.  Still, with the team he has around him, he shouldn't lose many more, especially if he can build off his performance.  But, one good game does not a career make, and he still has things he needs to work on.  Overall, though, great win by the Buckeyes, who I no longer need to win this week, but just might pull for them all the same (more on this, next).

6) General college musings- Iowa's weekly let's play to the level of our competition and come from behind job is mercifully over, although you never want to see a starting QB go down like that, a week after a through dismantling of the Trojans, the Ducks lay an egg against Stanford (although the Cardinal are a good team), the Hoosiers again do just enough to hang in a game and still lose, and the black shirts get some revenge against their formal arch rival in securing 5 picks in a 10-3 victory over the Sooners that mericfully finally pushed OU out of the Top 25.  By the way, what has become with some of the tradition in college football?  I meant to hit on this a few weeks ago, but Bama Tennessee not being on the 3rd Saturday in October? (Bama played the other USC that week, and the Volunteers were off).  And OU Nebraska not playing each other every year since expending to the Big 12?  As I was telling my good Husker fan HuskerTex, I remember EVERY Thanksgiving weekend watching four football games, Florida Florida State, Auburn Alabama, Texas Texas A&M, and Oklahoma Nebraska.

7) General NFL musings- Huge wins by the Cowboys and Steelers this week.  Why did more people not see Cincy beating Baltimore?  They already did it once, and Cedric Benson, an early candidate for comeback player of the year, ran for over 100 yards against them AGAIN.  It's the 3rd time in 4 games the Ravens have allowed a 100 yard back.  Big win also by the Chargers.  How does Vincent Jackson get that wide open.  Well, first the corner thinks he has (and should have had) safety help, and did, but the safety was far too late getting over.  Of course, part of this is on the corner for not rerouting Jackson inside to where the help should have been and allowing him to get outside where the safety had much more ground to cover (and again, was late doing so).  And the Saints and Colts just continue to find ways to win, again in comeback fashion for the Saints.

8) Some thoughts on the hardwood- We may be in line for another Celtics Lakers Finals matchup.  The Magic look great most nights, but lose by 28 to the Thunder.  Also, Magic might be in a tougher division than previously thought as there may be 3 playoff caliber teams, including the resurgent Heat.  And is LeBron already half way out the door?  That 4-3 start won't help.  Also, college bball tipped off for real on Monday, so expect to see more on that in the coming weeks, especially after football winds down.

9) Icy thoughts- The Lightning are an improved 6-4-5, getting points in all four games on a recent road trip.  Should the playoffs had started Monday, the Lightning would be in it.  The Devils are red-hot (hey, they are the Devils) and now are tied with the Penguins in the East Atlantic (I do make mistakes form time to time).  And the Avalanche continue to amaze getting stellar goaltending, although the Sharks have now passed them for the overall lead in the NHL.

10) BuccinGator's stone cold NFL predicitions- Instead of doing a look ahead this week (although I am really looking forward to the Sunday Night game between the Patriots and Colts), I shall bring you my NFL playoff predictions.  Now that all of the teams (except 2 who have gotten in 9) have played exactly half their season, it's far easier to get reads on the teams and who might make some noise come post season.  Sure, waiting like this makes it easy for me to pick teams like the Colts, Vikings, and Saints, but it also makes it easier to identify the Dolphins and Falcons of last year.  Here's a look back at last year's edition:

Now that we are officially at the half way point of the NFL season, with every team having played 8 games (except for 4 that have played 9), here go my picks for the twelve teams that will be playing come January for a chance to visit my home town of Tampa, Florida on Feb. 9th.  In the AFC, I like the Patriots to hang on to the East, the Titans to win the South (duh), the Steelers to take the north, and the Chargers to luck into the West with no better than a 9-7 record.  For the wild card teams, give me the Ravens (even though they face a brutal schedule including all the teams from the NFC East), and I'll go with a team from the East, give me the Dolphins in a surprise.  The Bills have looked lost recently for some unknown reason and I just don't trust Jet Favre to be careful enough with the ball on what I think is a mediocre team.  In the NFC, I'll take the Giants to win the East, the Packers to squeak by in the North (with no better than a 10-6 record), the Cardinals in the West (another duh).  I'll take the Bucs as one of my wild cards, and the other will obviously go to a team in the East, so let's make it the Eagles, who I think edge out the Redskins.  But wait a minute, I haven't picked my division winner in the South, you might be saying.  Well, the easy thing to do is take the Panthers, who in the end I think will take it (especially if they can handle the Bucs in Carolina), but my official pick on my blog is ... the Atlanta Falcons.  Yes, the worst to first trend continues with a team that everyone thought would be rebuilding, but instead are just recovering from a horrible coach.  So there you have it.  I'll pick official playoff winners once the playoffs are set, but based on these picks, I'll go #3 Patriots over #6 Ravens, #5 Dolphins over #4 Chargers, #1 Titans over #5 Dolphins, #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots, #2 Steelers over #1 Titans.  In the NFC, give me #5 Buccaneers over #4 Packers, #6 Eagles over #3 Cardinals, #1 Giants over #6 Eagles, #5 Buccaneers over #2 Falcons (hey, how about that, two divisional matchups in the divisional round.  Wouldn't that be neat?) #1 Giants over #5 Buccaneers, and finally, in Tampa, Giants over Steelers.  There you have it, folks.

As you can see, I got 9 out of the twelve teams correct (couldn't see the Colts late season run or the Bucs choke job).  I did also call the Chargers lucking into the AFC West last year.  Don't know what I was thinking taking the Pack and TT's big ego.  And, I had the Jets pegged better than most of the experts.  So here they are, this year's NFL playoff predictions culminating with who I think ends up in Miami.  For the AFC East, it's an easy pick with the Patriots.  South another slam dunk with the Colts.  In the North, I like the Steelers to edge out the Bengals, while both make the playoffs, the loser securing one of the AFC's wild cards.  In the West, gotta go Broncos, although they appear to be slipping somewhat, and the Chargers are hanging around.  For the last wild card spot, I just don't trust the Jets or Ravens enough, so I think it comes down to the Texans and Chargers, with the Chargers winning out.  In the NFC, give me the Eagles to win the East despite their hiccup against the Cowboys, the Saints to win the South (duh), the Vikings in the North (double duh), and in the West, it's got to be the Cardinals with the 49ers disappointing the way they are.  For the two wild cards, I'll take the Cowboys and the Falcons.  So here's how I see the playoffs.  In the AFC, I like #3 Patriots over #6 Chargers and #5 Bengals over #4 Broncos in a revenge game, then, #1 Colts over #5 Bengals and #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots in what should be a great game if it happens.  Home field and defense I think will win out.  For the AFC Championship, I'm going to go with the upset and go #2 Steelers over #1 Colts granting Sixburgh their second consecutive trip to Florida.  For the NFC, I like #3 Cardinals over #6 Cowboys (Cowboys still can't win a playoff game or get revenge for 1998) and #5 Falcons over #4 Eagles in what would be a tight game.  Then, #1 Saints over #5 Falcons and #2 Vikings over #3 Cardinals.  Then in what should be a heck of an NFC Championship game which will most likely be in a dome (will be if my top two seeds are there), #1 Saints over #2 Vikings where home field again becomes a factor.  And for Super Bowl LXIV in Miami, I can't believe I'm saying this as it will make Saints fans more obnoxious than normal (although it'd be a great story for the true Saints fans like some of the ones you see in the Super Dome), I'll take the Saints to beat the Steelers.  They just seem to have enough on defense and have finally realized that Bush is overrated and exactly how and when he needs to be used, that I will go ahead and go with them.  I really hope I'm wrong, however (at least with them).
Posted on: September 23, 2009 10:49 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Sept. 22nd

Day late and a dollar short posting this week's edition.  Must say all of my look ahead games ended up being close, interesting games, so a pat on the back to me.  Hey, I need one since my Infinity League team is tanking.  Can't get any receiver help.  Anyway, on to this week's musings ...

1) What a difference a year makes- 365 little days.  Okay, so that's not how the song goes, but it fits for what happened in the UM-Ga Tech game.  Last year, Miami was lost against the option running attack, allowing something like 1000 yards (actually, closer to 400, but you get the picture).  This year, they absolutely obliterate the Jackets, and reappear in the Top 10 for the first time since Coker was winning with Butch Davis' kids.  Put up the Hurricane warnings in Blacksburg.  That should be one heck of a game.

2) Why can't we be friends- Ugh.  Just when it looked like Meyer and Kiffin might be able to patch things up and move on, they can't.  Saturday's UF UT game ended up being a lot closer than most people thought, thanks in large part to a Tim Tebow fumble that led to a UT touchdown for a 14 point swing and a very good Volunteer defense.  In fact, if UT had some semblance of an offense, especially at the QB position, they would have been in a position to potentially win.  The main thing I noticed between this year's game and last year's is that unlike last year, UT did not quit, although the decision to keep running the ball down 17 late was confusing at best.  In fact, Meyer said to Kiffin during the hand shake that Kiffin's team "Played Hard," which is a nice compliment.  Both coaches handled themselves very well in the immediate post game as well.  But then over the course of the next day or two, Meyer, in an attempt to most likely quell Gator fan and alumni fears after expecting a "Slaughter in the Swamp" mentioned his team was suffering from the flu (which is something you don't make public and come off looking like you are using it as an excuse) and said that he was taking it easy on Tennessee late in the game, something you absolutely don't say (although, again, I believe it was related to the flu thing).  Well, this just opened the door for Lane to become a childish a-hole again, and needless to say, he took the bait and kicked that door wide open.  Meyer, next time don't say things that don't need to be said, and Kiffin, please just go away ... soon.  If you want to see swagger, look at the aforementioned Hurricanes.  What you are doing is instilling false bravado, and the only people it's fooling is YOUR fans and alumni.

3) Oops, we did it again- Way to go, University of Spoiled Children.  Last week, I had to defend both UF and Texas as SC fans were piling on us about our out of conference schedules and they should be ahead of us.  I had to remind these bozos that while yes, I would like to see both these teams play slightly better competition, the fact is that both Texas and UF's IN conference schedules are far superior, and they have to play in a little something called conference championship games.  And I reminded them of their annual Stanford they always pull.  They fired back about how the Pac-10 was 5-0 last year in bowl games, and while the 100% winning percentage is admirable, YOU SENT FIVE FREAKIN TEAMS TO BOWL GAMES.  By comparison, the ACC sent 10 and the Big 10 and SEC sent 8.  Now we always hear from these whiners about an east coast media bias, and there is.  Almost all of your major cities are on or east of the Mississippi River, duh.  But every year it seems USC is not properly punished for their annual choke job.  This year, falling down to number 12, hopefully they will be.

4) Cry me a river- Bama fans, please stop complaining about where you are in the polls and you should be number one.  Yes you beat Va Tech on a neutral field (who just might be 2-2 after this week and barely avoided being 1-2 right now).  Yes, UF and Texas looked less than impressive in games they were expected to do better in.  But you base this on what, looking impressive against a pathetic North Texas team???  Just go out and win your games and you will have your shot at the BCS title game.  In fact, the most impressive team not to lose a game right now just might be ... you got it.  The "U."

5) Sparty comes up short- Arrrrgggghhhh!!!  I thought Michigan State was going to win it driving late in the game and officially start the Charlie Weis death watch, but alas the football gods tease me and give Notre Dame a pick to seal it.  Now I still have to sweat out the Irish making a BCS bowl game and being slaughtered by a team they are clearly overmatched by.

6) One thing I'm not looking ahead to- Is the Detriot Washington suck fest on Sunday.  I actually had to swallow poison and ended up picking the Lions in all of my pick 'ems because they are the home team and in my book, have actually looked better than the Redskins so far this year in their two losses.

7) "Pack" attack- Ugh.  I'm dead in both of my dead pools thanks to the Green Bay Packers.  All preseason all anybody talked about was how good they looked, especially on offense.  Two games into the season, they had to have Jay Cutler hand them their only win, and lost convincingly against a Bengals team where Palmer was attempting for a while to do the same thing.  I don't know who I'm goin to root for when they play Minnesota.  Goes to show preseason means nothing.

8) Tony "Ronoooooooooooo"- This guy will never be an elite quarterback in the NFL, I'm sorry.  And notice, I said elite.  He is a good quaterback.  He is one that has the tools to win you some games and take you to the playoffs most years.  But he will never, ever be one that will get you over the top and win rings for you.  For one thing, it's obvious he doesn't have the work ethic necessary to put in the time to improve himself and become an elite QB.  In fact, if you gave me a choice of NFC East QB's to start a franchise with, Tony Romo would be a distant third, and you can guess who he's in fornt of.

9) Getting close- Pretty soon, the MLB playoffs will be upon us, as will another thing, hockey season!!!  I love the sport of hockey and encourage everyone if they can to just attend one game live to see if you get hooked.  The sport just does not translate well to TV, which is a shame.  I'm hoping my Lightning will be able to win some more games this year as it looks like they'll be able to throw a better set of defensemen on the ice.  Don't think they'll make the playoffs, but hopefully they surprise me.

10) Weekly look ahead- Let's see if I can nail this like last week.  Give me Miami Va Tech as the only game in college to see who has the early hands up in the ACC, and for the professionals, let me see Atlanta and New England, to see if the Patriots can rebound, or, if as I have it, instead if the Falcons are for real.  All in all, not a very good week, and not many baseball races to make MLB interesting.  Oh well.

Oops, forgot to hit on the Mountain West being done after BYU and Utah losing.  Basically my point was going to be that the Mountain West overall is still a quality conference, but they will not be sending any teams to Pasadena this year.  Go Horned Frogs!  And how do you take a team like FSU lightly?  Sorry, Cougars, but that's what you did.  Got too full of yourselves after your big win over Oklahoma and saw the Seminoles limping in after barely beating Jacksonville State, and got smacked around in your home stadium for your efforts.  Your consolation T-Shirts are at the door.
Posted on: September 15, 2009 6:32 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2009 7:03 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept 15th

Well, week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, with a lot of close games decided in the last two minutes (stupid Bungles costing me a shot at winning week 1 of the pick 'em pool I'm in).  Here is the next weekly installment of 10 things I gleaned from the sports world in general.

1) How 'Bout Them Cowboys?- Well, one week after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs at home, The Oklahoma State Cowboys come out and lay an egg against the Houston Cougars.  What, were they looking ahead to that epic clash against Rice?  Indefensible.  I love Mike Gundy, but whenever a team fails to get up for a game, it falls squarely on his shoulders.  And how about the set of stones on Lee Corso?  He picked this upset on ESPN's College Gameday.  Kirk Herbstreit had to check and make sure the coach was actually picking them to win outright, and not just putting Okie State on upset alert (which it seems Herbstreit had them there as well, just didn't think there was any way they'd lose that game at home without even an opponent to "Look Ahead" to).  The one week dream of challenging for a national title is dead (unless Oklahoma loses one more, Texas would likely have to lose two, and several other things would have to break their way).  I know they're not completely out of it yet, but you can't come out of this game as say Oklahoma did last week losing to BYU on a neutral field.

2) A shot at Todd Blackledge- This is something I never thought I'd do, especially since when it comes to college football colormen, he's probably second only to Gary Danielson in my book, but not knowing a basic rule WHEN YOU'VE PLAYED THE GAME is inexcusable.  I gave him a pass last week for not being able to analyze the situation of everything that had happened after FSU's missed PAT (more on the Noles in a bit), but this I cannot forgive him for.  Come with me to this week's UCLA-Tennessee game which he was calling.  3rd down from their own 1 yard line late in the game up 19-13.  UCLA's quarterback falls asleep in the end zone and dives trying to avoid the safety.  Blackledge starts screaming for a booth review because part of the ball was out past the goal line.  Here's the problem.  THE GOAL LINE IS PART OF THE ENDZONE.  EVERYTHING ALONG THAT PAINTED STRIPE IS IN THE END ZONE.  Whereas you simply have to break the plane to get a TD, to avoid a safety THE ENTIRE BALL MUST BE OUTSIDE THE ENDZONE.  Clearly A LOT of the ball was still in the end zone on that play.  Safety.  I do have to give credit to Blackledge and Nessler for explaining what UCLA would have liked to do in that situation with running as much clock as possible which would have required them getting it to fourth down (although I wouldn't even bother sending the punt team in.  I'd have the QB take the hike from under center and have him run around as much as he could.  You risk snapping it over the punters head [see South Carolina versus Georgia, Southern California versus Ohio State]).  I was kind of hoping Tennessee would win that game so that maybe they would come into the swamp this week with a false sense of confidence and maybe bravado.  But, thanks to Crompton, and his three picks (god I hope he starts this week), that didn't happen.  On a side note, how many safeties were there this week?  I could count four in just the games I watched at least a part of.

3) Tressel logic: p->q=F- I sure wish somebody would explain to me why for somebody with the reputation of being as conservative of a coach as he is gets these quirky moments at the worst times, especially in big games.  I still remember his decision on January 8th, 2007 of after being absolutely blown up on a third and one from his own 29 down 10 and possibly still in the game of going for it on 4th and 1, getting stuffed, and eight plays later it's 34-14 (I still thank him for that, by the way).  Now, come forward to Saturday night.  Late in the first half, up 3, ball again deep in your own territory.  And you're throwing downfield???  His explanation to Holly Rowe was you can never have enough points, especially against USC or something to that effect.  While true, there is a way to go about this (which Pete Carroll, coincidentally, followed to a T to tie it up and almost go in up 14-10).  You don't take your shots downfield there.  You run and use short passes to try to get down to about the 50.  If you don't go anywhere, the clock has very little time on it.  If you get to around the 50, you start thinking FG, and maybe open up intermediate routes and quicken the pace.  Should you get down to the 20-25, then you start thinking TD.  This tried and true method has worked many a time.  Carroll was perfectly happy to try to get off the field only down 3 and regroup in the locker room, but tOSU fell asleep on defense, allowed a run to about midfield, and you all know what happened from there.  Tressel needs to learn to dance with the girl that brought him there, because if you're not good enough to win with talent alone, strange decisions like this will almost never help, and often hurt you instead.  Something similar happened to Charlie Weis at the end of the ND game ...

4) May the Forcier Be With You- Thank you Michigan, from the bottom of my heart!!!  For those of you who followed me last year, you know my opinion of the ND Fighting Irish, or more specifically, their fans.  God, they were getting full of themselves based on what?  Two wins over Hawaii and Nevada?  It all came crashing down this week, and made people like the four letter network's Lou Holtz and Shaun King look ridiculous.  I said after the Hawaii game last year that Notre Dame would go 9-3 this year due to their soft schedule, return to a BCS bowl where they would be completely over matched, and get blown out starting their new 9 game bowl losing streak.  I've seen nothing to change this (altough they may not lose less than 4 games, which would be fine by me).  And to Michigan, I hope this is a sign you are turning things around after last year's debacle.  Your D still needs major work, but Forcier is fun to watch, and will keep you in most games this year.

5) Tough start for the Almost Competitive Conference- Sorry, Bradman, but after watching FSU go into the last minute against Jacksonville State, there is no denying that the ACC is off to a rough start.  The good news is, they were off to a bad start last year, and ended up rebounding and sending 10 teams to bowl games.  You can't lose two and nearly a third game to FCS competition, though.

6) Fake Delhomme strikes again- Suprised John Fox didn't break down into a "Playoffs?" rant after that performance.  Jake is responsible for a whopping ELEVEN turnovers in his last two games, which simply cannot happen in the NFL.  This might be the begining of the end.

7) Is it okay to call Bush a bust now?- Something that will likely get lost in the Saints throttling of the Lions and Brees' SIX touchdown passes (and Stafford's three picks) was what Reggie Bush did.  Or more specifically, what he didn't do.  I have said all along that this guy is playing the wrong position in that same way the Mike Vick was a RB lining up with his hands under the center's butt, Bush is a WR lining up behind the QB.  In a game in which Pierre Thomas didn't play due to injury, Bush had his obligatory 5 receptions for 50 some odd yards, but only achieved 18 yards rushing.  Saints fans will turn a blind eye and say it was because of how effective Mike Bell was running the ball, but, you must remember that you drafted this guy SECOND overall, not in the second round, and are paying him the money as such.  You HAVE to get more production from him than just a receiving threat that once in a blue moon breaks the big play.

8) The Falcons continue the momentum- In my look ahead point last week, I pegged this game for this reason.  It was a huge win by the Falcons to establish forward momentum into this season in the hopes of stringing back to back winning seasons together for the first time in franchise HISTORY.  I'm POed, though, because in my real fantasy league, I have three Falcons on my team (and no Bucs, which is painful for me, but, can't pick with your heart) and ironically started the wrong one (one's Elam, my kicker, so he doesn't count).  Never would have guessed that Tony Gonzalez would out perform Michael Turner, but maybe I should have.  Tony looks to be a HUGE pick up for the dirty birds (and hopefully for me as well).  By the way, in my real league, TE's are optional and are considered a receiver and not their own position, so there was a huge risk/reward factor.  And I won by two, so all in all it wasn't too bad.  Just wouldn't have had to sweat out Nate Kaeding last night.

9) Take this ball and shove it down your bleeping throat, I ain't playin' here no more- Wow!  Talk about two people who have to know the situation and have to handle it WAY better than what they did.  First, the lineswoman cannot make that call in that situation unless it is obvious.  Honestly, Williams was unlikely to come back, but now we'll never know.  And Serena, you CANNOT let your flustrations get the best of you and you ABSOULTELY must handle yourself in a more professional manner.  Come on.  Bad calls happen in every sport.  Lou Pinella may kick some dirt, but I doubt he's out there threatening to shove a baseball down an umpire's throat.  Two wrong's never make a right (although two Wright's did make an airplane), but in this case, Serena's wrong far outweighs that of the lineswoman.  While I'm talking tennis, last week I said I was looking forward to how far Melanie Oudin could go.  Then comes the story on the day after she's ousted that her mom is having an affair with her coach.  Apparently, divorce paperwork was filed by Melanie's dad nearly a year ago, and somehow the story is just now breaking.  I'm glad it didn't break during the tournament, but you do have to question the timing of it.  And way for yet another tennis parent to get in the way of their kid's career.  We should be celebrating Melanie's accomplishment's, not putting her in tabloids.

10) The look ahead- The things I'm looking forward to this week are UF Tennessee (obviously) to see if Monte Kiffin can keep the game within 50 (seriously doubt he can cash the check his kid's mouth wrote), Notre Dame Michigan State to see which team can bounce back, Nebraska Va Tech to see if the Huskers are for real (or if the Hokies potentially aren't), and Texas Tech Texas in a rematch of an absolute classic last year, and in the pros, the Giants and Cowboys to see how many punts hit the scoreboard (and it should be a good game).

Moo, your Mizzou Tigers took nearly the whole game to wake up against Bowling Green.  What was up with that?  Using cyclical logic (which would give us an FCS team winning the title every year) that makes Bowling Green much better than the Fighting Zooks.
 
 
 
 
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