And now, it gets real. Conference season. No more cupcakes… although, that hasn’t worked out all that well for a lot of teams. Today’s soundtrack is from this week’s release, and was chosen just to make our friend Bacon happy.
Let’s start out west this week, which gives me a chance to do two of my favorite things in the world. The first is to enjoy this moment: Oh, Rich Rod face, how I’ve missed your sublime poignancy. The second is to post a great FanShot, sent to us from pretty choice seats in Eugene… lots of people making their “O” face in that game, for sure. As a reminder, if you go to a game this year, send us a photo and we’ll run it on Monday mornings.
So, let’s talk about the Ducks. The wife and I watched the game… at least until Arizona threw a 4th and goal interception in the third quarter. After that, the fate of the Wildcats was sealed and we headed onto other things (Food Network, Ahoy!). ‘Cause here’s the fact- Oregon may take some time to warm up, but once they find weakness they will attack and attack and attack… and the next thing you know, you lose 49-0. Well, until they play a team with a defensive front, that is.
While the Ducks are still doing what they do, I’ve got to tip my hat a bit to Arizona- it was fun to watch the Rodriguez offense again and only have a little bit of hatred for the passes to the slot receivers and so forth. He’ll do well in Tuscon, particularly given that the transition won’t be as drastic as it was heading from Morgantown to Ann Arbor… and he probably doesn’t have alumni and former coaches trying to sabotage him as well.
In fact, I’d love to see RRod’s former team play the one he just faced- What WVa is doing offensively is probably the only thing that can match with the speed and scoring ability that we’re seeing in Eugene. Granted, they only managed 31 against a pretty bad Maryland team, but the potential is there. A bowl game between Chip Kelly and Dana Holgorsen would certainly surpass the UW/Baylor game from last year, and would feature some of the most unique
costumes uniforms in college sports.
I don’t know which is worse- that the play was allowed to continue, or that the official seems to be enjoying the spectacle. A little help here: Was the player that removed the helmet ejected, as per the rules?
Staying out west- Southern Cal rebounded against the powerful Cal team that frightened Ohio State last week. Interesting to see what happens when you don’t have the entire pre-season to prepare for someone, ain’t it? Lane Kiffin’s win will surely make people forget his behavior from earlier in the week… although, it’s easy to forget something that barely happened.
I’m guessing that there must be some pretty amazing “Talk Like A Pirate Day” festivities in Pullman; that’s the only explanation I can come up with for Mike Leech’s Cougars dropping a game at home to Colorado- particularly as terrible as the Buffs are this season. Well, there’s another explanation, but I’d like to think the best of people.
Mike Riley and toOSU upset the Bruins in Los Angeles, and celebrated Troy Smith style. You’ve got to think that this is a sign of growing pains for UCLA, as is the idea that they shouldn’t remind the other team what’s waiting for them if they win.
For the second straight time in four weeks, a power conference struggled against inferior competition… although, when it’s the SEC no one seems to notice. Arkansas is still reeling from the John L. Smith administration and fell to the Big East power that is the State University of New Jersey. Speaking of which: both teams sported new uniform looks for the game, and I kinda like Rutgers’ Bulletman attire.
The number two team in the nation certainly didn’t play that way on Saturday, and barely held off an Auburn team that wishes that Cam Newton’s dad a) had another son and b) needed more work done on their church. As a result, the Mad Hatter and his boys dropped one slot in Sunday’s poll… saving us, at least for a moment, from “Rematchageddon” in January. Tennessee, fresh from their beating at the hands of Florida, was down to Akron at the half…perhaps Bowden still has some magic left. And yet, you never hear about that kind of thing, do you?
Only the “depleted by that evil Urban Meyer” Florida team, the Old Ball Coach, and Saban’s Minions were left to breathe life in the “SEC! SEC!” narrative, with beatdowns that reflected their alleged status. Florida’s came at the cost of Kentucky, who love to remind everyone that they are a basketball team. South Carolina continued the “Welcome to the SEC” party for the folks at Mizzou, who are probably even more interested in joining the B1G than they were before. And ‘Bama, well… they pounded a non-conference foe. The way God intended it, and aTm seems to have caught on. Blowouts against non-conferences cupcakes… sigh. I remember what those were like.
We started the party with the Tennessee game, but it was yet another good week to be the MAC; and it wasn’t just moral victories. Nope, the Chippewas of Central Michigan carried the upside down banner into battle in Iowa and came out victorious, much to the amusement of the folks involved in the radio broadcast. That’s your perennial B1G coach of the year, Kirk Ferentz; a reminder that his contract runs through 2020 at the tune of $3.675 million. Quality investment in the heartland.
MACtion continued over in East Lansing, where the Eagles of Eastern Michigan were actually leading the mighty Spartans at halftime. Seriously. There’s no wonder that Mark Dantonio was a bit chippy afterwards…
Across the dumpster fire that is the B1G, Northwestern and Minnesota continued (!) to roll, and Purdue looks as dangerous as they have in a long time. Nebraska also had no qualms about hanging 70 on a “little sister of the poor”; welcome back Rex Burkhead! We know what happened in Columbus (against a 10 man defense, no less), and the torches in Happy Valley are a bit quieter after a victory over the Temple Owls.
Which brings us to Illinois. Look, I enjoyed the Ron Zook era as much as the next fan. AND, I like Tim Beckman, and think he’s a good coach with a great track record. So the Illini’s destruction at the hands of Lousiana Tech made me just cringe… It’s one of the few times that I found myself embarrassed for the Conference, rather than enjoying the schadenfreude of an enemy being given their comeuppance.
You know, like I did as a part of the Denard Robinson Birthday Bash. Yup, after being the “jump ball” hero of last year’s come from behind win, Shoelaces really had a hell of a birthday- fell into his own cake, set his presents on fire, pinned the tail on the guy standing next to him, threw four picks and fumbled once. Nice. Seriously, as a fan of a team with a one dimensional offense… Michigan is really one dimensional. Well, they’ve certainly got a talented backup ready to take over and help, right… Oh. Whoops.
The bad thing about us not getting the asteroid strike that we prayed to Cthulhu for was that it was a lose/lose proposition for most Buckeye fans. A TTUN win bolsters an already ridiculous fanbase; an Irish victory does the same without the opportunity to set things right on the field of battle. Ah well, guess we’ll just have to rest our laurels on past accomplishments… something Notre Dame fans are more than comfortable doing. Since we’re talking Notre Dame football, let me quote myself- If “Back” means only getting 13 points off of 6 turnovers, I never ever want to be “back”. At least one fan had a great time at the game… although, we can’t be totally sure that she had her teeth before the game kicked off, now can we?
You know who else is “back”? Da U! Look they’re already at mid-season form, averaging 3.7 HOs a game. Were you really surprised that they’d hold on to beat Georgia Tech, given the level of excellence that the Yellow Jackets showed on special teams? On a more serious note- thoughts go out to Malcom Lewis following his injury, and I think (other than the win) ‘Cane fans have a reason to be glad that Golden is their coach.
Well, if Miami is “back”, and Notre Dame is “Back”, surely Florida State can’t be far behind. Actually… they looked pretty freaking good in putting the hammer down against Clemson. There was a play, late in the game, where Tajh Boyd was intercepted by LaMarcus Joyner; both Buckeye leans until signing day (although, I’m glad they didn’t end up in Columbus). Looking at the ‘Noles schedule, a loss this season would be mindblowing; although there’s going to be a game where the team lets it’s hair down in that great southern style… and then, anything can happen. If anything, though, the Seminole band is at midseason form- Game of Thrones, nicely done.
Charles has TBDBITL covered every week, and it was the Alumni Band in Columbus this past Saturday. However, the Marching 110 at Ohio University did pretty well for themselves on Saturday… as if this song weren’t already stuck in your head:
In case you missed it- a quarterback threw for 730 yards on Saturday, in order to help his team win by three. Three! Against a team that only gave up 44 to Minnesota. Maybe ODU should play the winner of the Oregon/WVa bowl game.
You may have noticed that I didn’t list Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State as part of our “upset” coverage this week; mostly because I don’t consider it an upset. Last week, in this very spot, yours truly opined that OU didn’t stand out as an undefeated- Bob Stoops has a proclivity for dropping a game that they should win every year. This shouldn’t take away from Bill Snyder’s team at KSU, although they’re pretty much running the Tebow play over and over and over… but, it’s someone’s job to stop it. I wonder, though- Stoops and (to some extent) Meyer were successful in part because their offensive schemes where somewhat novel at the time. Now, though, a lot more teams are running their variations on the “spread”… have folks caught up? At any rate, this game also gave us a double dose of “face”, with both the Bob and Mike Stoops look getting more than their fair share of television time.
Well, if the Mayan’s were right, it’s time to figure out who would be the best, right? ‘Bama is at #1, and I like FSU at #2 (they’ve beaten a better caliber of opponent at this point). Oregon/LSU/WVa would round out my top 5, and KSU/SEC East/Stanford would be the next tier. Notre Dame is going to have to win against the Cardinal to prove any argument that this might just be their year to get stomped in a higher caliber bowl, if you want my opinion.
ESPN Gameday is headed to East Lansing, as the only major matchup of the weekend. Wisconsin and Nebraska have a costume party that they’re holding in Lincoln, And TTUN travels to Purdue in a game that will help figure out which team is “legit” this season. Southwest Conference Foes match up in their new home when aTm and what’s left of Arkansas square off. Tennessee and Georgia will be an interesting SEC battle, as will the “Houston Showdown” between the Cougars and Rice. TBPU and Texas meet in Stillwater, Rich Rod gets more Oregon love when the Beavers come to Tuscon, while Thursday night highlights the PAC12 in Seattle- UW and Stanford should be a pretty good game.
Happy Monday, folks, and welcome to Conference play. Since we started and ended in the far upper left corner of the contiguous nation, here’s your moment of Zen: