Monday’s menagerie of thoughts and wonderings on Saturday’s shenanigans comes with music. It was an “ugly” weekend, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a silk purse out of it all.
Before we dive into the scores, it’s important to remember how trivial college athletics is in the big picture of things. Unfortunately, this is only brought home when we remember the frailty of life, and there were three chances for reflection this weekend.
Ohio State started with a tribute to Columbus Newscaster Dom Tiberi’s daughter Maria, who lost her life in a traffic accident this week.
UCLA followed suit later on Saturday with a 10 man play from scrimmage to honor wide receiver Nick Pasquale, who was killed in a traffic event last week.
And sadly, we found out on Sunday that Cincinnati freshman Ben Flick died after yet another motor vehicle incident.
Again, football is fun… but it ain’t life.
Let’s stay in the Buckeye State with a reminder of the awesomeness that Ohio State unleashed on Saturday. Sure, it was an undermatched opponent, but that doesn’t mean that the game was insignificant for those that played in it. And, while this was the best block of the week by FAR, the game was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Ohio State did allow ten runs and have two errors in the victory.
PS- I didn’t know that Pam Oliver was a Cal grad. At least TBDBITL seems to think so and responded to criticism in a different way than Charles did earlier.
Ken will be by later to respond to those pundits who seem to have issues with Ohio State’s 76 point victory, but I’ll add only this- I sure don’t hear any bitching about Baylor or Louisville or Miami doing the same on Saturday, and when Oregon did it earlier in the year against an FCS program, they jumped Ohio State in the polls.
You know who doesn’t have a problem with playing until the final gun? The Pirate Cap’n… that’s who.
As you can see up there in the right corner, Coach Kelly and the Irish are celebrating another win in the very friendly confines of South Bend. And by “very friendly”, I mean the kind of affectionate that allows a receiver to climb over the back of a defender and still benefit from the pass interference call. The “Sparty NO!” moment might have happened as soon as Michigan State left the locker room; it’s certainly an uphill battle when you’re playing 11 on 16.
Today’s fun fact that Pawwwwwl probably won’t mention: the SEC is .500 against other BCS conferences. Yup. So, when you look at the top of the conference and the excellence that Alabama brings to the field (although, no offensive touchdowns until the fourth quarter against Colorado State?), you also have to remember some of the crap-tacular moments in conference pride as well.
Like, say… Friday’s Tennessee/Florida matchup.
You can’t really hold it against the Gators, who lost their starting QB for the season early in the contest, but this was a game that was much uglier than even some of the lopsided scores that we talked about earlier.
Time now for “This Week In Targeting”, Episode one. I’m sure that this can be blamed on the previous regime as well. Pay close attention to that form… We’ll be revisiting this as our recap moves forward.
While it was the Gator signal caller that ended up leaving the eventual 31-17 win by Florida, I’m guessing that the Volunteer quarterback also did something to dislodge the shakras of his offensive linemen. Either that, or he dated all of their sisters and didn’t call them to say that he had a nice time. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for this:
Oh, wait- I’ve got it. They were celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by executing perfect “Ole’!” blocks.
In the “marquee” B1G/SEC matchup on Saturday, Mizzou reminded Indiana that they are a “building” program and aren’t yet “built”. Good things will happen in Bloomington, but not quite yet. Wisconsin prepared for the Buckeyes by running all over another hapless team… something called a “Purdue”. The Badgers have only allowed one score at home this year. Saturday is going to be fun, you guys.
Minnesota is undefeated. Read that again- the Gophers are undefeated. Even better, Jerry Kill made it through a game without a medical issue. You know who did have a medical problem though? This poor usher/security staffer, who may have inadvertently received the “Hit Of The Week”. It was a physical game between the sidelines as well- San Jose State’s punter (!) was ejected for fighting. Cameron Johnston, the “tough punter” bar has officially been set.
Iowa used special teams and defensive scores to beat Western Michigan, Penn State manhandled Kent, and Nebraska beat an FCS school (the nerve!!) after struggling with some early defensive lapses. Taylor Martinez didn’t play in this game… I think the Huskers are in pretty good hands for the future.
Which brings us to the comedy of errors that seems to be the Michigan Wolverines offense. The good news is that they don’t have to make any extra room in the trophy case for another September Heisman; Devan Gardner’s fumbles and interceptions almost cost the Sun and Yellow for a second straight week. This time, their kicker bailed them out for a three point win… bailed them out- see what I did there?
To put the game in context, UConn was one of those teams that we mocked during the first week of the season for playing an FCS school… and losing. Put another way? This is their helmet. Yup, That Team Up North almost lost to a team that looks like it has a Hasbro advertisement right in the middle of their foreheads.
That wasn’t the only thing that went to the dogs this weekend- Fresno State’s upset of Boise started out with some interesting spelling and ended up with yet another Carr tossing BBs for the Bulldogs. Also off the radar but interesting was the Holy War game between BYU and Utah, which was chippy even before the kickoff. A Ute fan turning in a player from another team? Man, that’s harsh… especially given his glorious ‘stache. But, BYU’s last minute drive fell short, and the Utes retained PAC12 bragging rights.
We’ll stay in the midwest for our runner up in the “Play Of The Week” category, as Toledo’s Alozo Russell decided to go Devin Smith on Saturday. Niiiiiiice.
That’s the type of play that we get to enjoy every week as college football fans- and regular readers of this space will also be aware that there are those who say that these student-athletes should get greater compensation and care for their efforts on the field and across campus. Saturday, this “movement” made another, more public, step, as a number of players had “APU” on their uniforms or tape. APU stands for All Players United, a movement of the National College Players Association which seeks better medical care and compensation for athletes across the country… and here I thought that they were just showing love for the small schools.
The NCAA responded as you might expect.
“As a higher education association, the NCAA supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics. Student-athletes across all 23 sports provide an important voice in discussions as NCAA members offer academic and athletic opportunities to help the more than 450,000 student-athletes achieve their full potential.”
It may not be until next year that it becomes official, but the n00bs certainly represented the B1G well. Maryland shut out the Mountaineers, while Rutgers managed to bring some karma down on Bert and Arkansas.
Let’s revisit the new targeting rule, shall we? Here’s Texas’ version as a part of their victory against Kansas State. That’s correct, the mighty Longhorns are celebrating a home victory against a team that lost its FCS matchup… at home. But wait- I thought scheduling FCS schools was a horrible way to take advantage of weaker opposition.
While this probably only stops Mack Brown’s seat from heating further, it’s certainly worth a bit of the Ticklebear Twostep from former Michigan Defensive Guru Greg Robinson.
We end our trip around the country with Arizona State’s “karma” moment against Stanford… Yup, the proctological exam you see on the right there was pretty much how the game went for the Sun Devils.
But the game also gives us another opportunity to look at the new rules regarding helmet to helmet contact. Within the Stanford game, this hit resulted in an ejection and (it’s safe to assume) a suspension that will impact next week’s matchup as well. While I can’t say that I disagree with the ruling, it certainly is curious how this play didn’t also result in a similar flag and ejection.
In the PAC12, Southern Cal had a win to celebrate… a three point win over Utah State, at home. I’m thinking the real celebration on Saturday was that this victory would be a Pyrrhic one for Lane Kiffin- a win, but one that certainly doesn’t satisfy those calling for his head.
We saw the Catch Of The Week, but this week’s top honor goes to the self-onside that Louisiana Lafayette completed (although this one by Rice is also pretty nifty):
This week’s slate of games gets much better, with Oklahoma traveling to South Bend in hopes of beating the
officials Irish. The Buckeyes host the Badgers, and LSU travels to Georgia for a key SEC and Top 10 matchup.
Old Miss gets the pleasure of traveling to Birmingham for the second straight year, and Cal faces off with Oregon in a game that will certainly inspire the Transitive Property lovers in all of us.
Saturday’s game in The Shoe might have been ugly, but one moment of beauty was the halftime show. As you may have read, it focused on the music of the Fab Four (no, not the ones who never won a championship):
In addition, they included the Ohio State School For The Blind for a unique version of Script Ohio: