Tag:Defense
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: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week of Oct.12th

With Halloween fast approaching, this week, I give you, my loyal fans, the treat of a baker's dozen of topics that enlightened me in the sports world this week.  Usually, I keep these to 10, so as not to get too verbose, but certain weeks (I had one last year around Thanksgiving), no matter how hard I try and combine up my points, 10 just isn't enough.  And looking ahead to next week's slate of games, it might very well happen again.  The remote will be smokin' this weekend.

1) Huskers shuck Mizzou- In a game played under a heavy downpour, Nebraska could have easily packed it in going into the fourth quarter down 12-0, but instead amped up the D and used two picks to help Zac Lee throw 3 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to ringing up 27 unanswered (missed a 2 pt. conversion) and a huge 27-12 victory over Big 12 north rivals Missouri.  Now the game later this year against Kansas looms big time and could determine who goes into Cowboys stadium on Dec. 5th.

2) Badgers/Tigers not yet ready for primetime- No, I'm not talking about the good ol' days of SNL, I'm talking about the current season of Saturday college football.  Two teams that were struggling for early respect despite being undefeated went down on Saturday afternoon.  I knew that Auburn's defense was inconsitent at best and Arkansas could score, but the fact that Auburn's offense took until the second half to show up, and by then it was already far too late, was a huge surprise.  As for Wisconsin, if you look at the pure stats, you'd think that they won the game, but they did just enough not only to keep tOSU in it, but win it convincingly.  You'd think there was no way since tOSU's offense had less than 200 yards, but there was all kinds of hidden return yardage for both the tOSU defense and special teams.  In fact, they accounted for three touchdowns for the Buckeyes.  Further proof that stats can lie.  The showdown in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14th looks huge now, and will likely decide who plays in Pasadena (no, not on the 7th).

3) Where's Johnathan Crompton and what have you done with him?- Look, I've already been on UGA's offense this year, looking basically lost losing Stafford and Moreno from last year, but I thought it was an absolute physical IMPOSSIBILITY for ANYBODY to make Johnathan Crompton look like the second coming of Peyton Manning.  Afterall, I forget if it was going into this game or the Auburn game last week, but here was a QB who's coach had ZERO faith in him as reflected by the offensive play calling, and had thrown 8 TD's and NINE PICKS on the season.  If I was Mark Richt, who I love as a coach, I'd want to hide after that defensive showing.  I do love ANYTHING that humiliates the Bulldog program, though, even if it is seeing Lane get his first SEC win.  Wonder if he was up all night Saturday singing "Rocky Top?"

4) Some "Snead" remarks about Jevan- Ugh!  So much for all that talk about Heisman darkhorse and number 1 overall draft pick.  This kid looks absolutely lost this season.  And his frustration is showing more and more every game.  Now, as much as I'd like to hang it all around his neck, okay, so not really, but a lot of the media and Ole Miss fans do, it's simply not ALL his fault.  First off, he needs some people around him to start to step up and make some plays.  But most of all, AT LEAST half of his problems I hang firmly around the necks of his offensive linemen.  Todd McShay ran a good piece on ESPN's College Gameday showing two clips from the South Carolina game.  On the first clip, South Carolina rushed TWO, count 'em, TWO people on the play, and Snead was still sacked.  That's unforgivable.  And so what does Houston Nutt do in response to this?  Well, since we can't block two with five, we'll keep BOTH running backs in for extra protection.  The result of this play?  South Carolina rushes three people against the seven, and while Snead had plenty of time, he has THREE receivers going up against EIGHT men in coverage!  Do you think anybody was open?  Nope, didn't think so.  So say what you will about the kid buying into his own hype, whatever, but there are some serious issues with one of the media darlings who was supposed to contend with Alabama for the SEC West this year.

5) Hold that Tiger- Really.  Did the experts not see this one coming?  Well, seeing as how Darst was the only one on this website to pick the Gators, and Kirk Herbstreit was the only one on Gameday to call it (more on this in a bit), even getting ribbed by Corso, obviously not.  Everybody was so wrapped up in the Tebow/No Tebow/Will he play/Won't he play (more on this next point) what effect will it have on the Gators that they somehow forgot that the Gators sported going into the game, the NUMBER 1 DEFENSE in the nation and the NUMBER 1 running game in the nation.  These remain whether Tebow or Brantley is under center.  Overall, a brilliant game plan by Urban Meyer to get a tough SEC road victory.  Florida was ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT of both sides of the line of scrimmage.  It's one thing to let your opponent know you're going to run dive plays 80% of the time early on.  To still do it and do it effectively against a team with the athletes on defense that the LSU Tigers possess is another.  And kudos to Herbstreit, for not only pointing out that Tebow will play (according to Herbstreit, he thought Tebow would play great.  I thought he played well, and as good as could be expected due to the concussion), but calling out the Gator defense, specifically Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes and predicting they would play great and carry the Gators to the win.  While Dunlap played well, Spikes was a man amongst boys, and word came out that Herbstreit's comments made their way to the Tim Tebow of the Gators D, and he used it as motivation.  In fact, Meyer came out today and said if anybody else in the media wants to make similar comments about Tebow or Riley Cooper, to be his guest.  And to all the people (in particular Pac-10 fans who have absolutely no grounds to stand on whatsoever) who were calling this a boring game and the SEC overrated, this was good clean defensive, ram the ball down your throat and you can't stop us football.  And, it was the perfect gameplan for the situation.  If you don't believe that, just ask the previous 32 Saturday night opponents of LSU in death valley and ask them what their result was.  Offense is sexy, sells tickets, and can win you games, but defense wins championships.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  If you don't believe it, look up who's won the last three BCS National Titles and will likely be favored to do so a fourth time. 

6) I'm not a neuropathologist, but I'll darn sure play one in the newspaper/internet- Can the media stop already with the ridiculous pre-guessing and second guessing involved with Tebow playing the LSU game?  I'm sorry, Greg Doyle and William Rhoden, but I'll darn sure take the UF medical staff's opinion over yours any day.  I guess your journalism degrees somehow came with a minor in sports medicine.  I mentioned after the Kentucky game that it wasn't going to be Urban Meyer or Tim Tebow who decided on whether Tebow would be able to play, it would be the doctors.  None of the ridiculous speculation by these Web MD's changed that.  And honestly, with the D and running game, I believe that UF wins the game with John Brantley, so why risk it if he's not 100%.  I think the fact Tebow was on the field meant that he was (although obviously the playbook was scaled back a bit.  Sure didn't seem to shy away from contact, though, did he?).  Oh, and guess what?  Tate Forcier of Michigan has a concussion and has already been stated he will start if cleared.  Where's the outcry against Rich Rodriguez and Forcier should not play articles?

7) Horns Hooked in AP- Had to calm down a bunch of Longhorn fans this week who got their panties in a bunch because Alabama overtook them at number 2 in the AP poll.  First off, in the two human polls that are used in the BCS formula, Texas is still number 2.  Secondly, should the big three keep winning out, there's this little game in Atlanta on Dec. 5th that either Alabama or Florida will have to lose, so even at number three, keep taking care of your own business, and everything will work itself out.  Honestly, I'm not impressed by the fact that Texas seemingly has to throw the switch in the second half every week.  And if you don't think Florida and Alabama are the two best teams right now, we'll show you on Dec. 5th and again on Jan. 7th, IMHO (of course, one of them can lose before then, and I'll look pretty stupid.  I'll take my chances right now, though).  However, worrying about these things on Oct. 11th when any/all (we already know at least one will have to) of them can still lose is pointless.

8) DolphinMania runs wild(cat) on the Jets- Wow, what a game last night.  Another classic MNF in the rivalry between these two teams.  Honestly, I was a bit surprised that with defenses on both teams I would consider to be in the top half of the NFL, that neither team seemed to really be able to stop the other.  In the end, though, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski seemed to be the only ones outside the Dolphins offense who realized that on 3rd and goal from the three, with ten seconds left AND A TIMEOUT, that Miami just might run the ball.  As they both astutely pointed out, you get stopped, you call the TO and go for it on fourth down.

9) The best and worst of the NFL so far- Can you believe that the two best teams in the NFL right now might have met in week one, with one taking a miracle play to beat the other in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals?  Honestly, you look at all the undefeated teams, and nobody's played anybody except for these two, and they are still winning (yes, obviously the Bengals have the one loss).  On the flip side, I believe the Rams are the worst team, but if I had to pick a team to go winless this season, the team with the best chance based on their schedules is my Bucs.  And somebody PLEASE explain to me how a team has a QB go 2 for 17 passing and still wins the game?  And why is JaMarcus Russell still a starting QB in this league?  Just how many wasted first rounders are the Raiders going to have (that DHB pick looks awesome right now)?  Couldn't happen to a more hapless, senile owner.

10) Some NHL thoughts- Well, the Lightning pulled off the 4 point minimum I wanted last week (although not the way I expected) going 1-0-2, then picked up a huge win against the Panthers last night.  Right now, they are currently in first place in their division and have more points than the Redwings.  The Bolts D is playing better as of late.  The fact that this team still remains unable to score in shootouts, however, is bothersome at best.  The defending champion Penguins are off to a hot start amassing 10 points already.

11) A special look ahead to Thursday night's NCAA game- I usually don't take a whole point for a look ahead, but this week's Thursday night game is huge for the Big East.  Regardless of who wins, they need these two teams to put on a great show to bring some respect and interest back to the league, and I believe they'll do it.  It was mentioned during a recent Big East broadcast I was watching that the league needs Pitt to win to carry this league, but I just don't argee with it.  I think both Cincinnati and USF are perfectly capable of performing this function, and I think the winner of this game is likely to play in Miami on January 5th.  Of course, Pitt being undefeated in the conference is still not out of conversation, but I also think West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers when they play well, can all help this league.

12) Weekly look ahead- Wow, let's see.  In college, give me the aforementioned Bearcat Bulls game, the Red River shootout to see if OU's vastly improved D can carry their struggling (by their standards) O, Arkansas Florida to create a second common opponent for UF and Alabama to compare them better (I think UF had a better showing at Kentucky than Alabama did which somehow gets overlooked), Alabama South Carolina to see where these two teams really stack up, USC Notre Dame to see just how Doyle's number one QB in the land does against a real defense (a lot of people are picking the Irish in this game, which would be a huge blow to both the Pac-10 and my keep ND out of the BCS hopes), Nebraska Texas Tech to see if the black shirts can slow down the suddenly revamped and rerevved Red Raiders offense, and Virginia Tech Georgia Tech in what should be one of the better ACC matchups of the year.  If the Hokies dominate, look for them to enter the title picture if one of the big 3 slips up.  Like I said, the remote will be smoking.  For the pros, give me Carolina Tampa Bay sorry, I'll actually be in attendance for that debacle (although it could be worse, I could have tickets to KC Washington), the Giants Saints to see which nts team stays unbeaten, Vikings Ravens to see if Baltimore can recover from two straight tough losses, Bears Falcons to see which one of these teams is likely for real and wild card material, and finally Broncos Chargers to see if Denver can keep it going with a tough road game.  Good slate for the paid athletes as well.

13) MLB LDS look back and LCS predicitions- Well, I got three out of four right, although I had all of them going longer than what they did.  I knew Boston had some holes, but didn't expect them to get exposed that thoroughly by LA, especially since I thought playing in the AL East would toughen them up.  TBS lost a lot of money by all of the series ending so quick.  But that can happen in short series.  I know last year, Philly beat LA in the LCS, but I just think the Dodgers have too much for them this year.  Don't see it going less than 6, however (in fact, I'll call it Dodgers in 6), and as much as I hate to, I'll go Yankees in 5 setting up the LAD NYY series you know baseball is praying for for not only the east coast west coast thing, but also the Torre back to New York thing and Manny against the Yankees.
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: October 1, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2008 10:53 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

1) The Polls are full of "Bull"oney and the Razorbacks were "Nutt"s to get rid of Houston - Does anyone want to explain to me how on God's green Earth the USC Trojans are a top ten team?  Based on what?  Being previously gifted with the number one ranking?  Pollsters (especially those in the Harris poll, that has USC SEVENTH and unfortunately is factored in to the BCS) should hide their heads whole bodies in shame.  First off, USC pulling this garbage year after year is inexcusible, but then not to be punished for it?  I swear if I see USC in any bowl game not named Rose (providing they don't collapse), I'll throw a gigantic playoff rant on my blog.  Let's just compare USC to 4 other teams, shall we.  1) tOSU Yes, I know USC beat them head to head, and Trojan fans are going to get on me for suggesting this, but right now, I'd rank tOSU ahead of them.  Why?  Because tOSU only loses in the big games, not against teams they should beat up on (yes, I realize they struggled against Ohio earlier this year).  An based on Quizz's running, there's nothing that makes me think tOSU can't win a rematch on a neutral field with Wells back despite getting blasted earlier.  2) USF I don't care that they are USF and choked under the pressure of a premature number 2 ranking last year.  This team is undefeated and just crushed NC State on the road without their best defensive players.  3) UGA they just got beat by a VERY, VERY good Alabama team (more on them later).  How is that not better than choking against Oregon State?  4) UF yes, they got beat.  Yes, I wouldn't say Ole Miss is that much better than Oregon State.  And while I'm on Ole Miss, what was Arkansas thinking getting rid of Houston Nutt?  Um, he's BETTER than Bobby Petrino.  Ole Miss has a very bright future ahead of them.  I wish them well in the coming years.  Anyway, back to UF, AT LEAST THEY SHOWED UP TO PLAY AND DIDN'T EXPECT OLE MISS TO LIE DOWN JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE FLORIDA.  The reason Florida lost was because they put the ball on the turf 5 times.  No team that does that deserves to win against anybody.  But Florida is one blown defensive assignment (and that was the CB's fault, Raycom), or one Tebow overthrow away from winning that game.  USC was not at any point winning/going to win/gave you any confidence they were playing (other than a short spurt in the third)/gave you any indication that they were going to figure out Jacquizz Rodgers/okay, I think I made my point.  If I had to rate these 5 teams right now, I would have them in this order: 1) USF, 2) UGA, 3) tOSU, 4) UF, and a VERY DISTANT 5) USC.  Pollsters, please WAKE UP!!!  At least the Pac 10 schedule will weigh USC down in the computer polls.  Can't wait till those come out and USC fans wonder why their at 15 or less.  End of USC rant.

2) "Rays"ing expectations - Congratulations to the Rays on winning the toughest division in baseball by two games.  I expect good things from them this post season, and everyone will see what team baseball is all about.  Remember, defense does not go dry like hitting or go cold like pitching can on occasion.  I think they are poised to make a long run (more on this later).

3) Lane Kiffin Death Watch is mercifully over - Now that Lane is out from under the thumb of senile Al Davis, maybe he can concentrate on putting his life and career back on track.  Davis obviously has no pulse on his team not realizing that the players loved him and were playing hard for them (as several of them have come out and stated).  And who are Raider fans going to blame the next time their D chokes away a game?  NOTE: I forgot to mention that Al fired Kiffin "with cause," which is code for I'm going to try to be cheap and not pay you another cent.  UPDATE: It looks like Kiffin might end up sueing Al in addition to his greivance with the league.  Personally, I think Al has no shot with the grievance, since the burden of proof is on him, but I'll be interested to see where the lawsuit goes, especially since the burden of proof will be on Lane.  Personally, I hope he hits Al up for a lot of money.

4) The Scott Linehan Psychic Hotline - Before the game against the Bills, Linehan came out and said that if he lost, he felt he would be fired.  Well, the Rams lost, and Linehan was fired.  There were far more problems on this team than just Marc Bulger (or Linehan for that matter), but to alienate and lose your locker room, the move had to be made.

5) D's the Key - Defense wins championships.  This is true in any sport, and most so in football.  You hear it all the time, and yet people and the media always fall in love with offense and overlook bad D.  Well, look at the three undefeated teams in the NFL right now, and what do they all have?  Stellar D.  Yes, I know people will bring up soft schedules, but do you truly think that the Titans don't easily have a top 5 D and the Giants and Bills a top 10 D.  A top 10 D will give you a chance to win most games, and will definitely give you an excellent shot at not only making the playoffs, but doing something once you get there.

6) The NFC playoffs - In the NFC, you have two divisions that have no team under .500.  One of these two divisions has every team playing the Bengals, Browns, and Rams and has lost only one game against non division foes.  The other division has every team playing the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions and has ALSO lost only one game out of division.  Then, you have two divisions that do not have a team over .500 (for those of you who can't figure it out, the first division is the East, the second the South, and then the North and West are the other two).  Not to sound too much like Hank Whinebrenner, but is it too late to strip them of their playoff spots and give them to the other two?  Maybe they'll turn it around, but if not ...

7) Roll Tide - I am extremely impressed at the start Alabama has gotten out to.  That win between the hedges was huge.  Unfortunately, the only chance of an SEC team going undefeated is Alabama or LSU, and they have to play each other, because the only team in the east without a loss that has played a conference game in Vandy.  Wouldn't it be something to see Vandy in the SEC championship game?  Could happen.  But I would also love to see an undefeated SEC team versus an undefeated Big 12 team (Oklahoma, Missouri) in Miami on Jan 8th.  That would be an epic game.

8) A Look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this weekend (besides the MLB playoffs) are the Philly/Washington game in the NFL and the Auburn/Vanderbilt game in college.  Time to find out if Vandy is for real.  Go 'Dores!

9) It's faceoff time - For 4 teams (the Rangers, Lightning, Penguins, and Senators), the season kicks off this weekend overseas (for everyone else, it's next week).  If you live in/near an NHL city, I ask you to go and attend a game live.  Hockey is the greatest sport that few people south of the border care about.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of it is due to the fact that Hockey doesn't translate well to the TV, and most people just want to stay at home/go to the bar.  Watch one game live, and if you still don't like it, well then at least you experienced it once.  But a lot of people become hooked once they see their first live action.

10) My fearless (and perhaps biased) MLB playoff predictions - For the first round, I'm picking Phillies in 4 (CC gets Milwaukee's only win, and can't get the ball back to him), the Cubs in 4 (just too good of a staff.  Good pitching will silence good hitting, but Manny can mash), the Angels in 5 (having home field is key.  I think they both take one at the other's park, and then the Angels take game 5 at home), and the Rays in 4 (they steal one at US Cellular).  Then for the LCS's, I pick the Cubs in 5 (just better than the Phils.  Again, good pitching will silence good hitting), and the Rays in 7 (Rays match up well.  Rays take one in LA, Angels win one at the Trop, Angels win game 6 to force game 7, but then the Rays come up with game 7 on the road).  Then, in the World Series, I'm going Rays in 6 (Rays take all 3 at home, steal one in Chicago).  Yes, some of my personal bias may be coming through, but I seriously think it can happen this way.  We'll see how it goes.

Posted on: September 10, 2008 9:19 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2008 9:11 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of September 8th

1) The NCAA Really Needs to Lighten Up - Yes, I know by the letter of the rule it was the correct call, but all that means is it's a bad rule.  And don't give me this "We had no choice it was a black and white issue" because every single penalty has gray areas.  The holding penalty is clearly defined, and yet there is discretion (otherwise it'd be called on nearly every play).  Sometimes it's called when it shouldn't be, and other times it isn't when it should (just ask my Bucs.  Not the reason they lost, though.  They had every chance to win, the Saints played better, especially when it counted).  So why not let this one go?  Huh?  And to you BYU fans and Washington haters, and anyone else who used this lame excuse this week (all Washington has to do is block, it's still a chip shot field goal), WRONG!!!  Exactly how long have you been watching COLLEGE football?  That's true in the NFL, not in the college game where extra points from the 10 are routinely missed.  Yes, Washington could have blocked better, but don't give me a 35 yarder in the college game is automatic.  It flat out isn't.

2) Fans of the U need to chill and be patient - Instead of taking the positives out of the UF-UM game (like Miami's future is set, Marve should be a good QB and their D-Line is awesome, even if it lacks depth) and realizing they may have a shot of winning the ACC THIS year, all their fans can say is A) we were screwed on the catch and B) that was bush league going for the field goal.  Let me address B first.  Ummm, weren't you the team that did the exact same thing in the exact same scenario last year against Texas A&M???  I believe you were, so don't give me that crap.  Plus, you know as well as I do that in today's college football 75% of the pollsters and 100% of the computers only pay attention to the final score, not how you got there.  Now, onto A.  Yes, you were screwed ... if this was the NFL.  However, I believe in college that in the field of play, once you're down you're down.  So when his elbow hit with clear possession, play's over.  Now, if he had been falling out of bounds, or if this was the pro game, obviously, he didn't maintain control when he hit the ground.  But I believe in the college game, that was the correct call.  Remember, there are different sets of rules.  I could be wrong on this, though.  Somebody who knows, feel free to chime in.

3) More proof I could be wrong - Last week on my blog, I worried about a potential undefeated showdown on Dec. 6th between USF and WVU for a shot at the BCS title game.  Well, thanks to Skip Holtz, that no longer will happen.  And USF didn't look impressive ending their rivalry with UCF.  How do you mismanage the clock so poorly at the end of a game?  That never should have gone to OT.

4) Even more proof - I also talked about the Utah BYU winner going to the Fiesta Bowl.  BYU's game this week cast doubts on that, and I missed potentially the best BCS buster, ECU.  Still believe that one of these three will make it.

5) Is there a worse color man than Tony Kornshucker - If there is, I don't know him.  Just how many times was he going to mention Jet Favre is the MNF game?  Props to Mike Tirico for mentioning that nothing good could come from Atari Bigby's attempt to return the pick.

6) Runnin' Like The Wind - After this week, I would be wanting to start whatever RB is playing against Detriot in my fantasy league.  Not only does it look bad when Turner gets 220 yards, but what went unnoticed by most is that Norwood had darn near 100 yards himself.  That's inexcusible as a defense.

7) Spurrier not so superior - Wow.  Did he really just lose two games to Vandy in a row?  And he wants to compete with the Georgias and Floridas and Tennessees (yes, I know he beat Georgia last year and Florida a few years ago)?  Guess you can't spell bowl game with USC, can you OBC?

8) Is it possible ND is actually worse this year? - I would have thought it impossible myself, but this week's Michigan game should give us a good gauge.  It should also tell us which one is doomed for a losing season.  My money is on the domers.

9) Proof that D can win games, not just championships - How dominant did the Steelers and Bears look this week (especially the Bears against Indy)?  Just goes to show that a solid running game and awesome D will take you somewhere in this league where everyone still wants to figure out how to stop the best offense, even though it's been done repeatedly.

And finally, an MLB thought ...

10) Remember us? - Does anyone remember the Astros and the Blue Jays.  You know, the Astros who were left for dead and the Blue Jays who were so bad they rehired Cito Gaston?  Well, don't look now, but the Stros are 4 games out of the NL wild card and the Blue Jays have won 10 in a row and are talking playoffs themselves.  Ah, the marathon that is the MLB season.

 

 
 
 
 
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