Tag:Texas Longhorns
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
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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 3, 2009 11:00 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 2nd

1) The Sports Media can KMA- For those of you who follow me regularly here, you already know my opinion of the sports media.  Well they did absolutely NOTHING to change that this week.  I give you, the Brandon Spikes youtube video that went viral.  Now, even as a Gator fan, I am not going to sit here and even try to defend Brandon Spikes actions, even though the Georgia running back in an EXTREMELY classy move did.  Honestly, Spikes could have been suspended for the whole Vandy game.  But what gets me, and makes me give a big STFU to Bulldog fans, is that the coverage on this story has been completely one sided, which is a huge shock (not.  Remember, sensationalistic journalism obviously sells these days).  I don't mind people getting on Spikes or asking for punishment or whatever, BUT PLEASE POINT OUT that the Georgia team nearly took his head off during the game, at least twice.  Here's a quote from Mark Richt, who I have a lot of respect for, but obviously received a different version of the game tape than what I witnessed.  Georgia coach Mark Richt said Spikes' "helmet went flying off ... and there was one time he got hit with his helmet off."  Um, coach, what about the time it was going to be third and a half a yard, but you were penalized 15 yards because YOUR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TRIED REMOVING SPIKES' HELMET WITH HIS HEAD STILL IN IT.  But do we hear about this from the media?  No.  Do we hear an outcry for this guy to be suspended for at least part of a game?  No.  Instead you get the same clueless, classless drivel from Dennis Dodd and Gator Hating onesidedness from John Taylor of collegefootballtalk.com.  Sad thing is, a lot of what Taylor was saying WOULD BE RIGHT, if he just dropped the Gator Hating angle and reported both sides.  He went so far as to say " Even if Spikes was the victim of having his helmet ripped off a couple of times during the game, there's no justification for playing proctologist on a man's eyes.  None."  IF??  IF???  All he has to do is change that "if" to "though" and he'd have a lot more respect.  Georgia fans, you are disqualified because of the people in glass houses rule.  Bama fans, equally disqualified due to sour grapes for Spikes not signing there.  The rest of you, I'm open to your opinions.  Am I just refusing to take off my Orange and Blue colored glasses here, or do I have a point?  By the way, one last thing, Spikes put Urban Meyer in a no win situation here, and can the media please back off of him, too.  Oh, and great win by the Gators, their most complete win of the season.  Joe Cox looks like the new Johnathan Crompton (and ironically, Crompton is lately playing like people thought Jevan Snead would).

2) Quack attack shellacks USC- Wow.  Nearly 400 yards rushing.  Over 600 yards overall.  I thought Oregon would win due to USC's suspect defense that hasn't shown up for 3 weeks now, but I simply did not see that big of a beat down.  A huge thank you to the Ducks for FINALLY taking care of what the pollsters have REFUSED to the past 4 years.  Good luck to the Ducks in Pasadena, most likely on the 1st.  And can we please stop the talk of an Oregon Boise State rematch (unless it is on the 1st).  First off, it would be unfair to Boise State.  What do you do if the Ducks win?  Best 2 out of 3?  Best combined stats?  Secondly, should TCU win out, they will be the more deserving non-BCS team.  Plus, you cannot simply erase the Ducks loss, no matter how well they are playing right now.  Also, I think the Big 10 champ has to be playing on the 7th for the rematch to happen on the 1st.

3) Some Musings on the BCS poll- In a largely cosmetic move, Texas moved up to the number two spot because they played their second complete game in dismantling Okie State while Bama was on a bye leaving pollsters with lasting memories of the squeaker against Tennessee.  Another thing that hurt Bama that's been overlooked by everyone I've seen is that that Va Tech win at the begining of the year just doesn't look so good anymore after they lost to UNC.  Meanwhile a kudos to the poll for having the seven undefeated teams as 1-7 in the poll.

4) Bulls run through the Mountaineers- In a must win to get some respect, the Bulls played one of their most complete games in stopping their annual October swoon and beating the Mountaineers.  They absolutely shut down Noel Devine, and just seem to match up well with them.  While the top 3 in the Big East all have to play each other in the coming weeks, the Bulls are lurking just on the outside with the two loses ALREADY having played the big three.  Depending on how things break, the Bulls could finish second in the Big East with a pretty good bowl game.

5) Indiana must love instant replay- Look, I'm not going to sit here and say it cost them the game, as replay did not score all of those points in the fourth quarter, but HOW does that play get botched, ESPECIALLY WHEN CALLED CORRECTLY ON THE FIELD.  In order to overturn, there (again) HAS TO, HAS TO, HAS TO be INDISPUTABLE video evidence that the call was botched (see, Dustin Doe return for "touchdown" last week).  Still Iowa pulls that junk against most other teams, throwing five picks in a game, and they get buried.  I'll actually be pulling for tOSU come the 14th.  Iowa would be KILLED by the Ducks in Pasadena.

6) The Saints go marching on- What a great game on Monday night, and the Saints just might be the best team in the NFL (although I still think it's the Colts, a close second, though, as much as it pains me to say it).  I must say though that Matt Ryan cost the Falcons by locking in on Tony Gonzalez late in the game.  On the pass that was deflected, Porter already had excellent coverage on Gonzalez (and this was the turning point in the whole game, you go from being potentially up 3 to down 11).  Plus Sharper should have had another pick around the 2 minute mark.  Still, have to give the Falcons credit, too, for never quiting in the game, especially Coy Wire.

7) Favre sticks it to Ted Thompson, Green Bay fans- The whole amazing thing to me (other than Packers fans not wanting to run TT and his tremendous ego out of town) is the quick chemistry that has developed between Lord Favre and Percy Harvin.  People said going into the draft, Harvin had the most upside, it was just a question of would he live up to his potential.  Well, with Favre taking him under his wing, and Percy listening to the grisled vet, the Gator WR/KR could just be the NFL offensive ROY.

8) Other quick lessons taught to me- The Giants are massively struggling on D as one of the games I looked forward to turned into a huge blowout, the Phins swept the Jets (so much for the post week 3 talk of an all NYC Super Bowl) thanks in large part to 2 100+ yard kickoff returns by Ted Ginn Jr. who Dolphin fans were almost ready to run out of town (wonder if Roy Hall held Reggie Nelson for him), and will somebody PLEASE explain to me why JaMarcus Russell is STILL a starting quarterback in an FL that does not start with U, C, or A?

9) The series returns to the Bronx- I know, I'm breaking my own rule a bit here, but in what is turning out to be just like I expected, since it seems the Phillies can only win with Lee on the mound and Chase Utley can only bat with Lee on the mound, I like my Yanks in 6 predicition right now (and I definitely like the Yanks if it goes 7.  Hammels is not the same pitcher any more).

10) The Look Ahead- Next week I do my official NFL playoff predictions, so look for those.  In colleges, give me Notre Dame Navy, to see if the Midshipmen can repeat their performance of two years ago just so I don't have to worry about the Domers cracking the BCS Top 14 and getting an automatic birth, tOSU PSU in a huge Big 10 matchup, and Alabama LSU to decide who will be in Atlanta on Dec. 5th taking on the Gators (seems a little ridiculous that they locked that up on Oct. 31st).  In the pros, it's just Dallas Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Denver.  Oh, and if the Bucs lose again this week, if I can just throw them back along with their throw back uniforms.
Posted on: October 28, 2009 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2009 10:04 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Oct. 26th

As we enter Halloween Week here at 10TILTW (hey, that's catchy), we have been treated with some epic collapses and great games, been tricked by the ghoulishly sub-standard SEC officiating, and have had to listen to coaches whine like Banshees over how it was somebody else's fault they lost games.  So, here is the knowledge that was imparted to me by the sports world this week, hopefully presented in a way not to zombiefy you.

1) Where has the spread option gone?- As a Gator fan, I feel Tim Tebow's frustration as to the offenses lack of production.  And while people like to point to the receiving core, which is a little part responsible, I by far give more fault to Steve Adazio, the Gators O.C.  Over the past few games, one of our greatest plays, where Tebow sweeps out and has the option to A) keep it, B) pitch it to Demps/Rainey, or C) shovel it inside to Hernandez has completely disappeared from our playbook.  It was instrumental to our BCS title last year, and very few teams have the athletes or the discipline to shut all three options down.  Even Meyer commented after the game they needed to put Tebow in better positions.  While the first pick 6 was totally Tim's fault and led from a 20-3 halftime game to a 13-10 halftime game, there was no reason for him to be throwing 1st and 10 from his own 2.  Also, our offensive line's pass blocking has become suspect.  They're still great run blockers, and we have FIVE people that can run the ball.  Tebow's already proven in the past he can win a game with his arm if he has to.  With the Gators D, I think we need to get back to running it for 300 yards a game, even if it's not "sexy" or will get you 50+ points.

2) Hindsight is always 20/20- I can feel Dan Mullen's pain on the pick return for a "touchdown" call, but he absolutely deserved to be reprimanded for asking for the video replay judge to be suspended, and here's why.  IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!!!!!  He did his job to the best of his ability, and Mullen should know that.  In order to overturn a call on the field, the replay judge MUST MUST MUST have conclusive evidence that the original call was wrong, otherwise he HAS to let the play stand.  And there's the crucial point.  Folks, I want you to pay attention to the next college football game you watch, and listen to what the referee says after a replay.  If he says replay has CONFIRMED the call on the field, then that means that there is conclusive visual evidence to uphold the call.  If he says THE RULING ON THE FIELD STANDS then that means there was not conclusive visual evidence to there being a botched call.  Now was the call botched, absolutely.  And was there conclusive evidence, yes.  Want to know when this conclusive evidence came?  After ESPN had like three minutes to throw their two CRAPPY angles together, sync them up, and show them as one image.  Know when that happened?  AFTER the replay official made his decision.  And it wasn't an in and out, either.  Before then, you could guess all you want.  But you CANNOT guess in replays.  You cannot feel.  Watching it live, I thought it was a TD, although I wanted to throttle Dustin Doe.  Watching the replays, I was like, uh oh, but from ESPN's best angle, it looked like he had it in the endzone.  From the reverse angle, you could speculate that it wasn't a TD.  Like I said, it wasn't until they synced them up that you knew for sure they blew it.  But Dan, if you want to blow a gasket, either A) blow it at the on field officials who were obviously not in position to make the call (which probably still would have gotten you reprimanded) or B) blow it at ESPN.  For a network that paid a whole bunch of money to broadcast the games, would having a camera on the goalline, from either end, hurt?  And then lost in the mix was that it would be a touchback and Mississippi State would have 1st and 10 from the 20.  BUZZZZZZZ.  Mississippi State was called for an illegal shift on the play.  Had it correctly been called a fumble, the Gators enforce the penalty.  We can second guess the results until the cows come home, but honestly, did anybody get the impression that the Bulldog offense was going to do ANYTHING against the Gator D that night.  Be honest, Gator haters.  Didn't think so.  Still, the SEC has a bunch of cleaning up to do, as do the Gators.

3) Mountain of a blocker- In a game that took me back to when Jarvis Moss blocked three kicks against South Carolina during our '06 title run, Terrance Cody of Alabama blocked two kicks against the Volunteers to preserve a 12-10 victory.  Now after the game, Lane whined like a little girl about Cody not being flagged for taking his helmet off.  If you can show me that he did that before the clock hit double zeroes, then by the letter of the rule, he does have a point.  But in a sport, and particularly a conference that is too strict and has bad rules regarding celebrating/personal fouls the like, I was glad to see this one go.  That rule was meant for players immediately after the play expressing their frustration, and by letter celebration, too.  Cody was yards away from the play, near his sideline,  going further away from the action, and was celebrating a great win.  Now, had he done it right after he blocked the kick, while still in the middle of both lines or just coming out, then yes.  But in this case, let it slide.  A good no call in my book, and I have no love for Bama or Nick Saban, although I'm sure Vols fans would vehemently disagree.  Update: I should have realized it at the time, but one thing that led to Kiffin being reprimanded is even if they had called Cody for unsportmanlike, it's a post play foul.  In other words, it would have been Bama's ball 15 yards back from the previous line of scrimmage.  So sorry Vols fans, you lose that game anyway.  Still a great effort put forth.

4) Hope you didn't go to bed at halftime- God, I'm getting tired of having to give love to the Saints.  There is talk of the Saints as the best team in the NFL.  I'm sorry, but the BEST team in the NFL does not get down 24-3.  That being said, only a GREAT team comes back from that defecit, and the Saints are clearly a great team.  And Dolphin fans should want to throttle their coach for making a rookie mistake.  Late in the first half, down by the aforementioned 24-3 and out of timeouts, Brees hits Colston for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but was subsequently (and accurately) overturned to first and goal from the half yard line.  Saints have :05 left on the clock, and the referee announces to the world "The clock WILL start on the ready for play whistle."  New Orleans has their field goal unit already on the field content to get it to 24-6 as they have to snap the ball quickly.  All of a sudden, whistles.  Timeout Miami.  EXCUSE ME??  Timeout for what?  Oh, to let Drew Brees "talk" Sean Peyton into going for it (wasn't much of a conversation, more like a Peyton Manning we're going for it) and getting a touchdown scored against you right before half.  Great job!!!

5) On the Eighth week of football the Huskers gave to me- Eight turnovers against the Cyclones.  And four inside the enemy 5.  And yet they were still remarkably in that game.  That had to hurt big time for Nebraska fans, and I know it did (from reading HuskerTex's blog http://huskertex.blogs.cbssports.co
m/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/17862580
).

6) Hurricanes start OT strong, quickly fizzle out- Just like some real tropical systems, the Hurricanes received the ball first in OT and hit a 19 yard run on their first play.  From there, they proceeded to gain not another yard and kick a field goal.  Miami could have taken the three off the board as Clemson was offside on the FG, but I agree with the decision to leave the points on the board (would have been fourth and goal from the 3.  Maybe if it was closer).  Then Clemson gets a 26 touchdown on their possession to win the game in what was a closely contested back and forth affair in which both teams trailed several times.

7) Horns hook Mizzou- In what had to be Texas' best, most complete game of the season, they defeated the Tigers 41-7.  Unlike previous Longhorn games where they seemingly flipped the switch at halftime, even in the OU game, McCoy started out 11 for 11 and the Horns put TD's on the board with their first three drives.  And would you believe that the leader in the Big 12 north is Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats???  Whodathunkit?

8) Icy thoughts- The Avalanche are surprisingly leading the league with 20 points, the Devils scored a huge victory over the Pens, who still lead the Eastern conference, and the Ohretchkin [sic] led Capitals have suddenly and drastically (although predictably) seperated themselves in a muddled Southeast division.  And I'm still miffed that the Lightning CANNOT score a goal in a shootout.  This last one against the Sabres, they had SIX cracks at it.  Zero goals.

9) November diamonds- I'm sorry, but as much as I'm hoping for a good, long, competitive World Series, I'm also hoping for miserable weather and unplayable nights.  Something absolutely has to be done about the baseball schedule so that we don't end up in this situation.  The best thing that could happen is that the weather somehow adversely affects the Yankees, and George and his boys get POed.  They need to start sooner, schedule doubleheaders, fix the playoff TV schedule, something.  As for my World Series prediction, as much as I should have learned not to bet against the Phillies, and as much as I can't stand the Yankees, the Yankees have done good for me so far this year, and I see no reason to hop off the bandwagon.  I say Yankees take it in Yankee Stadium in game 6.

10) The look ahead- Things I'm looking forward to this week are USF West Virginia to see if the Bulls can get out of their yearly October swoon, Georgia Florida, which is still the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, no matter where the teams are in the standings, K State Oklahoma to see if the Wildcats just might be for real, Texas Okie State, to see just how much the Cowboys miss Dez Bryant who will be gone for the rest of the season, and Oregon USC, to see if the Ducks can take care of what the pollsters seem unable to year after year.  For the Pros, give me Giants Eagles, Jet Dolphins II, Vikings Packers II, and Saints Falcons to see if the Saints can stay unbeaten.  And obviously, the World Series (of Poker, J/K).
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: January 13, 2009 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2009 10:24 pm
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Jan. 12th

Hello there sports fans.  Don't know how many of you caught it, but due to being ill, I initially ran a shortened version of my blog last week, but went back and updated it (and still missed on one thing I definitely wanted to hit on, which I shall do so this installment) on Saturday.  So if you like what you see here (and Bamaman, if you read this, I posed a question to you after I updated), please feel free to check back on the completed edition of last week (also feel free to check out all the rest if you're really bored and/or suffering from insomnia).  Here's the link: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/10264446/12793505

1) Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships - Okay, so technically this should fall under things I relearned this week for the hundredth time yet some people still fail to grasp.  It doesn't matter the sport, but this is ESPECIALLY true in football.  Defense wins championships.  PERIOD, PERIOD, PERIOD.  First off, a huge kudos to the Oklahoma Sooners who came out and played an inspired game, especially on defense.  When the game was on the line, though, and Tebow went Tebow (more on him in a moment), they simply didn't have enough of an answer.  I am sick and tired of the know nothing media (and I know it's not all of them) wondering how in the world somebody's going to shut down this unstoppable offense when it's happened time, and time, and time again.  Thankfully, the public (60%), and Vegas, and people who have played the sport have figured it out.  I loved how in one thread an Oklahoma fan phooied off somebody (don't even think it was a Gator fan) who pointed out the line went off at UF -6 despite being at -4 1/2 all week, and opening at -3.  The OU fan said that Vegas moves the line based on the money coming in (correct) and that it was the public pushing it that way (incorrect).  The public pushed it from the initial 3 to the 4 1/2.  Most of that late betting, however, is sharp money coming in.  The TRUE experts had the game pegged right the whole way.  Also, I finally nailed a prediction of a low scoring game, and while not as big of a factor as I thought they could be, a wasted timeout, a false start penalty (which was later wiped out by a roughing the kicker call), and a blocked FG, special teams did come into play.  By the way, one of the most telling stats was third down efficiency, especially in the Red Zone.  Oklahoma was 2-4 in the Red Zone and came away with zero points on 2 of their trips.  The Gators, on the other hand, were 4 or 4 in the promised land and 12 of 17 overall.  Oklahoma just couldn't get off the field when it mattered.  Also, what was that play call right before the half where Bradford got picked by Major Wright?  Even if he completes that, he would have been tackled at the two yard line and time would have run out on the half because they had no timeouts left.  INEXCUSIBLE.  Don't know if that was coaching, or execution, but somebody needed to be held accountable for that.

2) The Play of the game - In line with the defense wins championships theory (fact in my book), the single biggest play of the game had to be Ahmad Black ripping the ball away from Juaquin Iglesias for one of the best interceptions I've ever seen.  The look on Bradford's face after that play was priceless.  He thought he had completed the pass and set his team up at the Gators 24 only to have his heart ripped out.  By the way, what were Thom Brennamen (sp?) and Charles Davis watching (more on this later).  It took them almost a minute to realize the Gators had come up with the ball.

3) A Gritty, Gutsy Performance - Huge Kudos to Percy Harvin, who must have been running on pure adrenaline with his slightly bummed ankle.  They said in pregame warmups, you could tell he wasn't 100%, but it sure didn't show on the field, ripping off two huge runs of 40+ yards, one from his own 3 yard line.  He singlehanded flipped the field twice, and ripped momentum back away from Oklahoma after they had tied the game at 14 early in the fourth quarter.

4) A repeat performance - Tim Tebow announced this weekend that he was returning for his senior season, which set off a tidal wave of Tebow hating on the boards.  Everyone was talking about having to go through another year of the Tebow lovefest from all the broadcasters.  Look at it from my angle, though.  The rest of us have to put up with another year of all the haters drinking their haterade.  While I admit some of the stories/attention is overblown, the fact is the kid is a phenominal leader, and a proven winner.  And no matter what you think of how he'll perform at the next level, what position he'll play, etc., you know that almost all of these people spewing their venom at the kid would die to have him as the QB of their team.  I have to believe that it's 75% jealousy, and 25% of tiredness due to media overkill.  Instead of hating on the kid, hate the media and check the mirror.

5) Fox's coverage of big game very apropos for the BCS - God, Fox's coverage of the BCS Championship game was horrible, and not even because of the reason most people pointed to, which was the perceived (and to some extent true) Tebowfest, which by the way wasn't nearly as bad as most made out and didn't even start until the second half when Tebow started to go Tebow on the OU defense.  You want to talk about love fests?  How about the love fest for the OU offense (offense sells tickets, remember?)?  Was there anything more utterly useless and annoying than the garbage of the OU time between snap clock and the quad screen that they went to dozens of times?  Also, did the producer ever hear of this thing fans like called game content?  You know, like mixing in a replay or three during the course of the game.  And did Brennamen and Davis miss Barry Alvarez that much???  I thought the three did an admirable job in 2007 broadcasting the BCS Championship game between tOSU and UF, but this game the duo was LOST.  Most notable of which was the goal line stand series where Brennamen was a down ahead the entire time and Davis did NOTHING to correct him (and seemed unaware of the down himself).  Yeah, that was a HUGE decision to go for it on 3rd and goal from the 1, NOT!  Also, were the people in the truck asleep all game.  Don't they have people who tell these guys stuff and spotters and crap?  How come ABSOLUTELY nobody corrected them that whole time?  Overall, an absolutely horrendous job by FOX.

6) Something I missed last week - Wanted to give Kudos to the Buckeyes for the great game they played against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.  In fact, it was a shame that the tOSU coaching staff (most notably DC Jim Heacock {sp?}) cost that game for the kids who absolutely played their hearts out.  I actually felt bad for Buckeye fans getting their hearts ripped out for the third time, since it happened in this fashion.  Overall, an extremely hard fought, well played game by both teams, and one that proved A) the Buckeyes belonged and B) Texas deserved that #4 ranking in the AP that I predicted they would get.

7) Cry me a river - God, I could not believe the whining going on by Titans fans after their game against the Ravens.  Several threads popped up about the Titans getting jobbed and the botched delay of game penalty COSTING them the game.  Yes, it was a missed call.  But the penalties and the TURNOVERS, especially those in the red zone, COST the Titans the game.  As I tried to explain to the whiners, A) Delay of Game does not come with a loss of down, so what makes them think Baltimore doesn't just convert the first down anyway and the arguement is moot.  B) Say they do stop them, what's to stop the Titans from turning the ball over again and the Ravens winning, or the game going to OT and the Ravens winning.  Honestly, even if the proper call had been made, the Titans still had a better chance of losing than winning IMHO C) Todd Heap was still double covered on the play, so it wasn't like the Titans gave up and weren't playing defense.  Plus, I've seen situations where teams have gotten a play off after the clock hit :00 where they threw a pick.  Think the offense would have liked the 5 yard penalty in that case?  I later started a thread after the Steelers Chargers game making fun of said crybabies (which not all Titan fans were doing, just to be fair) and one blasted me that I'd do the same if it were my team.  Let me make this perfectly clear.  I will NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE blame officiating on losing a game.  For one, that's loser speak in my book and for two, even with Ed Hochuli's blown call in the Chargers Broncos game that had a MILLION TIMES more to do with deciding the outcome of that game than some missed delay of game call EVER will, the Broncos were still faced with a 4th and goal from about the 10.  The Chargers still had a chance to make a play and win the game and did not.  That fact gets overlooked sometimes.  By the way, it came out Monday that the officials blew another call in the game, in FAVOR of the Titans.  The Ravens should have had a safety when Chris Johnson failed to get the ball COMPLETELY out of the endzone (it's the exact opposite of going in.  If the ball breaks the plane, it breaks the plane, TD wise or safety wise).  As it was put by the NFL when posed a question about that play, "The Ravens failed to challenge it."  In other words, it was a safety.  Of course, we won't hear about THAT one from Titan fans.

8) Fake Delhomme - Wow, I must have missed where the Panthers were secretly matched up against the Ravens or Steelers last week.  I could have swore both teams were in other games of their own.  But how else to you explain the sudden defensive dominance of the Cardinals (yes, some of it needs to be hung around Jake's neck like an albatross)?  Delhomme turned in the worst playoff performance since Rich Gannon decided the Bucs offense wasn't scoring enough so why not give their defense three touchdowns as well and only topped by the playoff game in which Jet Favre completed six passes to Rams players masquerading as Packers.  In other playoff debacle news, the Giants seemed absolutely content to just kick field goal after field goal (and not very successfully, I might add), and it ended up costing them big time.  A big congratulations to the Eagles.  Oh, and just as we had the NFL's first ever 11-10 game earlier this year when the Steelers had a TD taken away at the end of the game while beating the Chargers (in the regular season game), this was the NFL's first 23-11 final score.

9) Midseason Lightning report card - Well, we've hit the midseason point of the NHL, and my beloved Bolts earn themselves a big F, mostly due to their front office.  From the bold predictions which they seem destined to fall short of, to trading away Dan Boyle for basically a bag of Cheetos, and a roll of Mentos, to now doing nothing to quell rumors of Lecavalier to Montreal, I'm quickly getting sick of GM Brainless Lawton and owner Oren Klueless.  If they do trade Vinny, I might just become a Wings fan.  That's how despondent I'd be (j/k Diva, I'd never stoop that low ).  I'll give out complete NHL midseason report cards next week.

10) BuccinGators weatherman-like results and clueless conference championship game predicitions - Well, I finished bowl season a stellar 18-16, while pulling down 57.5% of the available points in my bowl pool, and am so far batting .250 in the NFL, going 1-3 each week.  So you may want to bet the opposite of what I say, but I am predicting (and praying for I might add) an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl XLIII here in Tampa.  I get the feeling, though, that the real Super Bowl is being played this week in Pittsburgh.  I could (EASILY) be wrong, though.  NFC Eagles 24, Cardinals 17.  AFC Steelers 13 Ravens 8.

Posted on: January 7, 2009 10:28 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:25 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Jan. 5th

I'm a little under the weather and under the gun this week, so I'm only doing a half dose.  Update: Now that I'm feeling better, and over my celebratory hangover from Thursday night (Go Gators!!!), I'm expanding this week's installment back to 10.  There were other things I definitely wanted to hit on.  I considered doing part 2 of this week under next week's entry, but decided instead to finish it, and just post a link next week back to this one.

1) Just exactly how good is the Big 12 Conference - A strange thought entered my head during the Fiesta Bowl in the final moments before Ohio State's defensive coordinator suffered a mental lapse of epic proportions.  Had Ohio State held on to that game, the Big 12 conference would have been 3-3 going into the BCS Championship game.  The real funny thing would have been, though, that all three wins would have come from teams in the north, which was the inferior division this year.  Now while these games have no bearing on the title game and the better team should win, it makes me question just how strong the "strongest" conference was this year.  Update:  I think the answer to this question is now clearly a resounding, "Not as strong as everybody (including myself) thought they were!"  Still doesn't change the fact that they were the best conference this year (or that the SEC had a down year despite 6-2), but sheesh!

2) Could Mack Brown and Pete Carroll please STFU - Oh my god!!!!  Are these two coaches clueless.  Hey Mack, there's no way that IMPRESSIVE victory on THE LAST PLAY over a tOSU team you were SUPPOSED to destroy is going to convince voters in the AP to vote Texas number 1.  In fact, they might be lucky to be voted number 4 behind the winner of the title game, Utah, and USC.  When you say there will be a split title come Friday, that may be, but it won't be the Longhorns splitting it, genius.  Now, on to Carroll, who's team might get some first place votes.  You come out and say "Nobody can beat this USC team"?  Not, I think this team is the best in the country?  Not, nobody's playing better right now than we are?  Guess what.  Somebody DID beat this USC team, which is why they were playing in the ROSE BOWL.  You might have remembered them.  They were called Oregon State.  Honestly, if there is a split title on Friday (doubt it, especially if Florida wins since they are already number 1 in that poll), the team with the best case is Utah.  Afterall, they are the only undefeated team in all of the FBS.

3) My Predictions are going south - I don't want to look at what my bowl record is, and my NFL predictions were 1-3 after amazingly 2 home teams won (and not the one I picked to do so, sorry Yo) despite all 4 road teams being favored.  Honestly, the most suprising was San Diego over Indy (and Jay Cutler, please come on down for your dose of STFU).  Honestly, if it wasn't for the Chargers mistakes, Indy wouldn't have even been in that game.  Just goes to show that the any given Sunday rule applies even to the playoffs.  Since I picked all four home teams this round anyway, I won't bother repicking (since they should {hopefully} win).

4) The forgotten third team - I'm surprised by all the OU and UF fans who think this game will be a blowout, with their team reaching potentially the 60's in scoring.  I just don't see it.  I see it being a close game with both teams in the thirties (for a total in the sixties).  First off, I'm tired of UF and OU fans defending thier team/conference by using the "Big 12 plays no defense" and "The SEC has no offense" lines.  Simply put, OU will be the best offense that UF will play this year, and UF will be the best defense OU will play this year, and anybody not accepting this is just refusing to take off their homer glasses.  But if my predicition is correct of it being a close, potentially lower scoring game, then special teams could play a huge role, and this is where UF has a clear advantage and will hopefully cash in big time.  People tend to easily overlook it, but special teams can put up huge hidden numbers.  With all they're great returns and punt blocks, how many times did the Gators have a short field this year?  Not only does starting from the 50+ greatly increase your chances of a TD, but it's hard to rack up huge offensive numbers when you do so 25% of the time.  The only way OU is likely to operate on a short field is if they force turnovers, something they are very good at doing, but UF is very good at avoiding.  Now maybe this won't be a factor in the game, and maybe OU wins anyway, but I feel this will lead to ...

5) BuccinGator's BCS Championship Game Prediction - UF 37 OU 31

6) Geaux LSU - Wow, I did not see that beat down coming on Dec. 31st.  In fact, to my embarassment, I had it completely the other way.  After watching Georgia Tech just manhandle Miami and Georgia, getting something like 400+ yards rushing in EACH GAME, I thought LSU would be completely overmatched, especially since they struggled defensively this year.  This, and I felt Georgia Tech was the best team in the ACC (guess it really was Virginia Tech.  By the way, is there a conference that is stronger in the middle but weaker at the top than the ACC?  Simply put, no).  Well, I'll happily eat my crow on this one.  Part of the problem is I used cyclical logic on this one, which I should know better than to do.  I figured since GT destroyed Georgia, and Georgia destroyed LSU ... well you see where that went.  It's the same logic that most year's will allow you do say that a FCS school should be national champs (because they beat team W that beat team X that beat team Y that beat team Z that beat the national champs).  Ugh.

7) Utes in (and display some) good hands at Allstate Sugar Bowl - What a great game for Utah.  I think Alabama was surprised by the speed and tenacity that Utah displayed.  Alabama did show some guts in cutting it from 21-0 to 21-17 in the second half, but honestly, the only time Bama was really close in that game was the opening coin toss.  To some degree, this was caused by Utah realizing that this game was their Super Bowl.  With as good as the Mountain West was this year, maybe next year Utah and/or TCU will start off high enough in the polls that they will have a legitimate shot at Pasadena next year.  The rest of this might have been caused by ...

8) Andre the Giant Mistake - Where the heck was this kid's head?  Talking to an agent BEFORE he plays his final game?  I think he was a senior (Bamaman, feel free to add a comment and correct me if I'm wrong), which means he won't be in the Senior Bowl, either.  Now while he has the talent where he'll still be a first rounder, this didn't help him at all.  More over, it hurt his team, big time.  You can't do anything this blatantly silly, especially right before a major bowl game.  Way to go, Smith!

9) Rebeling against the Raiders - What a game put in by Ole Miss (Arkansas fans ... again, you wanted Petrino over Nutt?  I'm going to keep hammering this until it sinks in.  Not only is Nutt a better coach, but Petrino is a certifiable TRAITOR.  You'll learn the hard way soon enough when he realizes the SEC is over his head, just like the NFL was).  I had this game as being much closer than most people thought, and the Rebs did not disappoint.  I was telling everyone who would listen (SEC fans {especially Georgia fans}, Big 12 fans {especially Texas Tech fans}, and Big 10 fans {especially Iowa fans, because I wanted to see them here in Tampa}) that Ole Miss was the third best team in the SEC this year, and they went out and proved it on the field.  Jevan Sneed will be a stud.  In a down year for SEC QB play, he was a bright spot.

10) Matt Ryan will be a great QB, but don't crown him yet - There was talk about the midway point of the NFL season of considering Matt Ryan for NFL MVP.  I quickly pointed out on a thread that such talk was ridiculous and WAY too early, but he was a deserving offensive ROY (although I told people then not to forget about Forte.  I had Ryan winning it back then, be he was CLEARLY deserving after the season).  The point here, though, maybe Michael Turner was more worthy of MVP talk.  After all, in the games where I saw him get shut down (the first Panthers and Buccaneers games for ATL), Matt Ryan looked VERY MUCH like a lost rookie.  HUGE kudos to the Arizona Cardinals for doing the same thing and getting the same result. 

Posted on: November 25, 2008 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2008 10:33 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week Of Nov. 24

Well, here we are at Thanksgiving time, and as we all get together with family and friends and enjoy our feasts, I realized after this huge week in sports, that I had way too much on my mind to fit into merely ten points.  So I present to you this week, a baker's dozen of items that I felt worthy of discussion (and I combined things to limit it to that).  So while we all ponder on what we are truly thankful for, let me mention that I am thankful for being given a forum to express my opinions (even if they are not those of CBS.  They should be, though, darn it!), and for those of you who have found your way to reading my thoughts on a weekly basis.  While many of you have found your way here through iamyo's blog http://iamyo.blogs.sportsline.com/m
cc/blogs/view/10646011
, for those of you who followed a tag, or have me as one of your favorites, I encourage you to return the favor.  Currently, he is running a contest of the worst songs of all time.  So, I hope you enjoy this week's installment, guaranteed to be more powerful than tryptophan!!!

1) Gotta give the love - While I admit that like all of us, I have my biases, I do my best to be as even handed as possible.  There really isn't any team I hate, although there are a few owners or coaches who would fall into that category.  No, if you see a team listed under my hated section, it is most likely the fan base of said team that has earned them their spot there.  As any of you who have read my blog before know, the New Orleans Saints fall into this category.  But, I have to give credit where credit is due.  That was a phenominal performance in what was, quite frankly, a must win game.  Your defense (for once) stepped up to be HUGE (and please tell me I did not see Sedrick Ellis celebrating a sack by doing the "Pee Wee Herman")!  Packers fans, what happened to your defense?  And while A Rod 2 (or A Rodge) has been having a good year, quite frankly the fact remains that you are 5-6, while the guy your management ousted is 8-3 (more on them in a bit).  I know this move was made for the future, but Brett had 1, maybe two years left.  I think you would have been better off this year had you kept him.  For his part, though, A Rod 2 reminded me very much of one Jet Favre last night.  Rifling it into receivers when finesse was needed.  Making Jason "Toast" David look like a pro bowler.  3 costly picks (where have we heard that before?).  The fact is Favre's numbers are better, with a better QB rating, and most importantly, a better W-L.  This leads us to ...

2) B b b bretty and the Jets - Speaking of huge wins, knocking off the only previously undefeated team definitely falls into that category.  Of course, it helped that the Titans inexplicably ran the ball a grand total of 11 times, only one of which went to powerhouse LenDale White.  Coupled with the Giants dismantling of the Cardinals, could this be the year of a subway Super Bowl?  I'm still not totally sold on the Jets.  Memories of the Raiders game keep popping into my head.  But still, it just might happen.  Now, speaking of the Raiders and giving credit where it is due ...

3) Just win baby - I have been very hard on the Raiders this year as well.  Most of this comes from my disdain of owner Al Davis, who I still feel is too meddlesome and has lost all touch with reality.  Does anybody want to win the AFC West?  You have the Broncos pulling off this near weekly defensive debacle, and the Chargers who just seem to find ways to lose the game on the last possession.  I mean, shoot, even Oakland is only 3 out with 5 games to go.  Stranger things have happened.  I seriously think 8-8 wins this atrocious division.

4) Cry Iggles Cry - Wow.  As Andy Reid was watching his playoff chances being constantly turned over by one Donovan McNabb, who was responsible for 7 in the last 2 games (well, game and a half), Reid decided it was time to pull the plug and throw Kolb to the wolves that are the Baltimore Ravens defense.  He went out, and produced very similar numbers, including throwing a pick on second and goal from inches away that was returned for a record 108 yards by Ed Reed.  What on earth are you doing throwing it to the back middle of the end zone on second and short?  I realize you have little running game (especially power running game), but still, damn!  Ever heard of a QB sneak?  A hand off to the FB?  I realize the problems in Philly go far deeper than McNabb, but trust me, had Kolb shown any signs of being able to move the team/score/not turn over the ball, he would be starting Thursday night and not McNabb.

5) More NFL Musings - Wow, what a great week, I've already hit on the four games I wanted to go heavy on, and I still have a lot of thoughts.  Huge win for the Cowboys and Tony Romo.  They are back in the playoff picture.  Huge win by the Patriots over the Dolphins.  And what a game for Matt Cassel (a $14 million game, maybe).  Memo to the Dolphins and 49ers.  You just might want to consider giving safety help to whoever is covering Randy Moss and TO.  They consistantly torched your single coverage all game long and you still made no adjustment.  Also have to give a quit yer b$%!hing to Dolphins NT Jason Ferguson who accused the Patriots of running up the score.  Hey buddy, you're a NT.  They were running run plays.  Maybe you should concentrate on stopping them instead of wanting them to do it for you.  No team can blow a lead like the Detriot Lions, watching a 17 point first quarter advantage evaporate in 35 unanswered allowed, 21 of which were in the 2nd quarter alone.  0-16 is still possible.  The Bucs might wish they were back in the old NFC Norse, going 4-0 against them this year.  Huge props to the Falcons.  Panthers fans should be worried because this is 3 bad games in a row.  You just finally ran into a team that could finish you off.  Bucs and Saints fans thank you, Falcons.  It's amazing the turnaround.  Instead of rebuilding, they are just recovering from the worst head coach of all time.  How Rich McKay still has a job with the team (yes, I know he's not the GM anymore, thank god) is beyond me.  And also, is the NFC South the best division in football?  I'm really starting to believe that it is.  Case in point, the aforementioned Saints, at 6-5, are in LAST PLACE.

6) Turkey games on Thanksgiving day - One of the things I've always looked forward to on Thanksgiving was being able to sit down in front of the television and enjoy a day of NFL football.  Well, unfortunately this year, I see three quality teams playing against three teams in tail spins.  Don't get me wrong, I'll still watch, I'm just not likely to be very interested.

7) Boomer Sooner - Wow!  Didn't see that blow out coming.  What was Oklahoma able to do defensively that Texas and Oklahoma State were not?  This game had huge implications on not only the BCS, where Texas holds a very slim lead at number 2, but the Big 12 south picture as well.  We all know by now that if there is a three way tie, it is the BCS standings that will determine who wins the south, and I have a feeling that by beating Oklahoma State, the Sooners would be that team.  Of course, the amusing thing is, and a point that is not receiving much discussion, that Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech all have to hope the team they beat is not the victim of an upset this week, otherwise the arguement is moot.  Should one team get upset, it would go to head to head, which Texas would win if Tech loses, Oklahoma would win if Texas loses, and Tech would win if Oklahoma loses.  Wouldn't that be interesting?

8) Orange you glad the 'Cuse won - One thing I am overly thankful for this holiday season is the fact that I will not have to watch the Fighting Irish on January 1st playing in a bowl game they do not deserve to be in getting their 10th straight loss by a team that, simply put, is vastly more talented.  I was extremly worried, and somewhat in disbelief when I heard the reports that both the Cotton and Gator bowls would be interested in taking a 7-5 Irish team, just because they draw well and get good ratings.  Well, after getting beat by what just might be the worst BCS school not located in the state of Washington, the Irish will take their trip to El Paso and like it.  Funny thing is, this might be the best thing for all parties involved.  From what I hear, the El Paso area is heavily catholic, and as I have said, Notre Dame draws well and gets good ratings.  But they will be matched up against a PAC 10 team, and might be able to put up a decent game, and not one I will have turned off by half time.  Also, didn't Notre Dame fire Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham for similar (actually, probably slightly better) performances as Charlie Weiss?  I said last week he did nothing to get of the hot seat, and this definitely doesn't help matters.  And Irish fans, turn your snowballs on your coach, or better yet, your administration for acting like this is okay.  Anyway, for us fans of the sport of college football, and not just our favorite teams, thank you, Syracuse, from the bottom of out hearts.  UPDATE:  It has come out that Mike Tranghese (god I hope I spelled his name right), Big East commissioner, has made it VERY PUBLICLY KNOWN, that the bylaws for the conference tie-ins clearly state that a 6-6 Notre Dame team cannot be taken over a 7-5 Big East member institution.  That means that if Rutgers beats Louisville, The Irish are on the outs at the Sun Bowl.  As J. Darin Darst has pointed out, this leaves the Irish with very few options.  It's a good read.  http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs
/entry/5814809/11914863

9) USC no longer fears the Big 10 - It started coming out that some of the Los Angeles media, and some USC fans and even Pac 10 fans are hoping that Oregon State beats Oregon (which will be harder without the services of Jacquizz Rodgers most likely) so that they can enter the BCS as an at large and face a Big 12 team or an SEC team.  First off, I find it highly amusing, considering all you hear about is the tradition of the Rose Bowl.  Secondly, I find this to be a HUGE slap in the face to the Nittany Lions of Penn State, who are not at all a bad team (as evidenced by their beat down of Michigan State this week).  The Nittany Lions have had a phenominal season (remember, they were supposed to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team this year.  On the flip side, though, congrats to Michigan on their first 9 loss season in history.  WVU fans are laughing at you.  And Rich Rod looks like a bigger clown every time he opens his mouth.  And wasn't Wisconsin supposed to contend for the Big 10 title?  I thought I saw them need three missed PAT's to beat an FCS Cal Poly team this week in OVERTIME.  Horrible.  But I digress).  PSU would give USC as much as they could handle (although I do think USC would win).  Be careful what you wish for, USC fans.  You might not like the results if you get it.  It's also ironic that tOSU hopes USC ends up in the Rose Bowl so THEY can get into a BCS game.

10) Somewhere, David Letterman and Jason Whitlock are smiling - As one of the games I gave you to look forward to last week, I gave you Ball State versus Central Michigan (also noting that Ball State was probably wishing it was Michigan on their schedule instead of Central Michigan.  I believe that still might be true.).  Boy, did it live up to my billing (shameless pat on the back).  That was one of the better college football games I've seen (not Texas Tech versus Texas good, but good none the less).  The road doesn't get easier for the Cardinals, as they face Western Michigan and then the MAC championship game (assuming they win.  They need the win to make it).  Congrats Ball State.  One of the true feel good, come out of nowhere stories of the year.

11) Is the NBA trying to outdo the NFL - Wow, two midseason coaching changes.  P.J. Carlissimo was dumped by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Eddie Jordan just got the axe from the Wizards.  And here I thought MLB was the sport with the midseason ousters.

12) The "One and Done" Rule needs to be abolished - Dick Vitale said something during the UCLA versus Michigan broadcast that made a world of sense to me.  He said that the NBA should allow high school kids the opportunity to be drafted, but if you choose to go to college, or simply not drafted, you should have to stay three years a la college football.  He asked if we were dumb enough to think that the Greg Oden's or Kevin Durant's (I throw their names out because I am ignorant of this years freshman phenoms) were actually taking their educations seriously knowing this was just a stop off on their way to guaranteed NBA millions.  Plus, it would benefit the stability and quality of both sports.  Dicky V, amen, brother, amen!

13) Weekly look ahead - The games I'll be looking forward to this week are FSU Florida (duh), Alabama Auburn (hey, it's still the Iron Bowl, and as a Gator fan, I have to root for Bama), and obviously, Oklahoma Oklahoma State.  In the NFL, give me Bucs Saints and Steelers Patriots (and some better games on Thanksgiving, PLEASE!)

Posted on: October 30, 2008 10:16 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 6:54 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Oct. 27th

Blah, another late posting by me.  Oh well, here goes.

1) Premature Prediticion - Well, thanks to my Bucs being offensively inept against a team with a decimated secondary (and Jeff Garcia cost us a second game in which he missed a wide open Joey Galloway on the last play of the game), Dallas now has hope.  Of course, Brad Johnson is on a short leash, with his backup being Brooks Bollinger.  Brooks Bollinger?  And you seriously can't maintain your depth chart spot in front of him.  Cowboy fans better hope Romo gets well soon.

2) Nittany Lionhearted - What a huge win going into Colombus and winning there for the first time in 30 years.  PSU will still need Texas or Alabama to lose (which could easily happen given their schedules AND CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, cough, cough), but they look set up well to take a run at making it to Miami.  I would love to see Joe Pa there (although I'd much rather see a Big 12 versus SEC matchup), and hopefully he can put up a better show than tOSU has the last two years.

3) The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party - A lot is being of last year's stomp after Georgia's first offensive TD.  Honestly as a Gator fan, I don't see what the big deal is.  It should have served to fire the Gators up as much as it did Georgia.  Plus, if you need something like that to motivate you after losing 15 of 17, well then, more power to you (that's right Bulldog fans, win this week, and you'll have an awesome 25% winning percentage the last TWO DECADES.  Lose, and it's an even more impressive 20%).  Should be another classic game.

4) Gameday in Lubbock - ESPN's College Gameday makes it's first EVER trip to Lubbock, Texas this week.  It will be fun to see if Texas can slow down Harrell and Crabtree.  More interesting will be what Tech's defense does against Texas.  The Cowboys were able to slow them last week, and Tech held Reesing and the Jayhawks offense to 14 points.  That's a job well done.  Then again, Texas held Missouri completely in check for a half.  Should be one heck of a prime time game.  This is the kind of college football I live for.

5) Remember the Titans - Wow, this is starting to reach levels of the Patriots.  No, not in terms of the offense or going 16-0 or any of that.  I mean as far as locking up their division.  For all intents and purposes, it's over already, and it's Week FREAKIN' 8.  Wonder how Vince Young feels watching Kerry Collins lead this team.

6) NBA "I love this game" - Well, no, not really.  I owned up as much on my first post.  I honestly do not pay much attention to the NBA until playoff time.  I think it's inferior compared to the college game.  Even so, the season gets (got) underway on Tuesday.  With the closest team to me being the Magic, I hope they do well.  They should easily dispatch of their division, and hopefully can make a run in the playoffs.

7) Coming Attractions - Besides the college games I laid out, the NFL games I'm looking forward to are the Titans Packers, Giants Cowboys, and the Sunday night game which is an absolute must win for the Colts.  People thought (correctly) that this might be the year the Colts come back to earth, but my how far and how fast.  And so much for passing the torch to the Jaguars, who might be the WORST team in that division.  Next week I'll have my official NFL Playoff predictions.

8) Early Observations on the ice - Maybe I was too quick to get down on my Lightning.  Three of their early losses are against teams who right now look to be the best of the NHL, two regulation losses to the Rangers (which were both 2-1) and a shootout loss to Minnesota in which they failed to register a goal.  Like I said, though, this might not be that bad.

9) Bad officiating calls of the week - Did anyone see the play in the Michigan Michigan State game (of course you did, it's been replayed a zillion times)?  Have to give Big Ten commissioner Delaney credit for coming down hard on the replay guy, but how did he have his job in the first place.  First, aren't there TWO guys in the booth.  How did they both blow it so horribly?  Secondly, even if you think the pylon is inbounds/inplay/whatever the heck those guys thought, shouldn't they know to pretend it wasn't there?  It would have been bad enough if just a part of his foot came down out of bounds, but his whole FREAKIN' foot was out of bounds.  How did they think that touching the pylon, even if it is considered inbounds overrule the fact that his body was out of bounds.  That should have been an easy call, and they blew it, big time.  Not nearly as bad, but bad none the less was the call in the Atlanta Philadelphia game.  The call was less obvious, but the Falcons got screwed by the NFL replay rules.  The NFL needs to do one of the following to remedy this next year.  They need to either

A) Bring back the idea that if you have a challenge, but not a time out, you can use the challenge at the cost of a delay of game or even an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  I know this has been kicked around, but for some reason not implemented.

B) Why does replay go to the booth at the 2 minute warning in the fourth quarter?  Fourth quarter timing rules kick in at the 5 minute mark, replay should go to the booth at the same time.  Or

C) Just use the college replay system.  The college replay system works (or at least would work in the NFL where you have better officials than in the Michigan Michigan State game or the Oregon Oklahoma game a couple years ago).  It does not extend college games ridiculously long, so why does the NFL think this will be the case?

10) The baseball weather service - Exactly what hack meterologist did Bud Selig contact in trying to play game 5 on Monday?  Everything I hear is that everybody knew it was going to rain.  It was extremely unfair to both teams and the fans of Philadelphia.  They derserved better than that.

As a final note, congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies.  You were clearly the better team and your series win was well earned.  More on this next week.

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