For some reason, I’ve had this song stuck in my head lately. And now, you will too. You’re welcome.
The story of the weekend certainly happened off the field… off the field, off the tarmac, and off the bus; as the leadership at Southern Cal had seen enough and decided that the Lane Kiffin Experience was overdue for termination.
According to reports, the decision was made at some point during the third quarter of the Trojan’s blowout loss to Arizona State (this time with no officiating issues!).
Again, this is something that had been coming for a while- after squandering what many believed to have been a top 5 team and Heisman Candidate QB last year, there was speculation that Kiffin’s leash was already shortened. Given his “career”, it’s completely understandable- Fell into failure with the Raiders, tried to turn Tennessee into Trojan East and left the program in shambles that they’re still recovering from, and sliding into mediocrity in Los Angeles… that doesn’t go over well for anyone who can’t remember Trojan football BC (Before Carroll).
To be fair, though- Southern Cal is suffering under the weight of recruiting restrictions due to the
arbitrary randomness wisdom of the NCAA; restrictions that were laughably upheld this week after a brief review in the strangest of circumstances. But to see other PAC12 teams strengthen themselves (Stanford, Washington, and cross-town rival UCLA), Kiffin’s inability to succeed at a program that has everything to offer ended up being too much to continue.
For more on the Southern Cal situation, I cannot recommend our friend Paragon’s take on this decision. As for me, I’m still a believer in Barkley’s theory and am confident that Kiffikins will land on his feet.
The short lists of replacements are already under consideration: Boise’s Peterson, Vanderbilt’s Franklin, Jack Del Rio from the NFL are among the common names. I posited this on twitter, but can only offer the most logical decision in this matter. Bucket not included.
Out west, among teams with an offensive philosophy that matters, it was “Fun With The Transitive Property!” day for pollsters, as #2 Oregon hosted Cal. Certainly voters could learn something about the Buckeyes’ rankings with a shared opponent in the Ducks… and what they learned is that Ducks don’t mind monsoons. Jared Goff was replaced early in the game, but the turnovers and wet conditions didn’t slow down the Oregon offense, even after LaMichael James left the game with a leg injury. Not sure what happened… perhaps he just got winged.
Along with the Ducks at the top of the PAC12, the Stanford Cardinal was also playing in adverse conditions, squaring off against the Washington State Cougars in the Cougs’ annual game in Seattle. WSU has done this for a while now in order to connect their team with the western, more populated part of the state and its many alumni; on this night, though, they probably weren’t doing themselves any favors. Already working with a new offensive system and young team, the Cougars faced a buzzsaw from Stanford in addition to the sloppy conditions. It’s no secret that I’m a David Shaw fan, but this game didn’t do much to tell us about the Cardinal’s level of excellence.
As for those Coug alumni and fans who were at this Pacific NorthWet event? Well, I think their elected representative there on the left summarizes things up perfectly.
Across the city, though- UW looked flashy and exciting in their win against Rich Rodriguez. Sark’s got to be on that Southern Cal short list, right?
Congratulations to the University of Michigan, who managed to escape the weekend without freaking all of their fans out with another “closer than it should be” win. Of course, their schedule didn’t get any assistance from the fact that all four teams that they beat this year lost on Saturday, including last week’s terror of a UConn team falling to 0-4 after being blown out by Buffalo. Yup, THAT Buffalo.
Another Wolverine “victim” that was brought back to reality on Saturday was the Notre Ame Fighting Irish, who lost to Oklahoma for only the second time in the series. Which brings us to our first installment of “This Week In Targeting”- when the Irish start getting chippy, it certainly makes for an interesting experience.
At least one team from the Sooner State had a good weekend… West-By-God-Virginia rebounded from their couch burning at the hands of Maryland last week to upset undefeated Oklahoma State. For those folks who didn’t like Ohio State’s alternate uniforms on Saturday, remember that it could be much, much worse.
Fat Guy of the week, part 1- This great interception in the “SEC Game Of The Week!” makes everyone who’s had to shop at the Big And Tall stores proud to be a part of the brotherhood.
The above-mentioned LSU/Georgia tilt had everything that you could ask for in a game that you wanted both teams to lose… everything, that is, except defenses. Interesting that high scoring matchups in the SEC are now described as an “offensive renisaince”, rather than a “couldn’t defend a wet paper bag”. Again, zero defense equals “offensive prowess”, low scoring games equal “slow and hurr durr”. Unless it’s a “game of the century this week”.
You know who does play excellent defense? The defending two time national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Which is a) to be expected and b) good, since for the second week the Tide didn’t score an offensive TD until the second half. But, when you can shutout a “powerful SEC offense” like Old Miss, you’re going to win the game.
Coach Saban had some strong words to say to his squadron, as you can see there on the right… but it’s important to note that these came after the offense shot themselves in the foot with a false start. So, I … shudder… agree with him wholeheartedly. If he had a heart, that is.
Florida showed some of that “SEC Speed” in their win over Kentucky (nope, not basketball season yet), but seemed to have forgotten that kickers are SEC players too. Nice play, WildKats.
It’s pretty clear that, at least for now, the “king” of Florida Football are the Seminoles of Florida State, who struggled in the first half of their matchup against Boston College and pulled away in the second half behind surprise Heisman candidate Jameis Winston. Boston College was certainly over-matched in on Saturday, but that didn’t stop them from giving it the “old college try” and working together for a common goal.
Also in the “Sunshine State”, Central Florida hosted South Carolina’s dysfunctional family on Saturday. Fat Guy of the week part two would normally be the hands down winner- how often do you get to see a large gentlemen matriculate goal-ward on a punt return? I’m telling you, teams need to install a gravy trough or something in their endzones in order to encourage/replenish these efforts.
Ok, a quick revisit of our “targeting” discussion- In the South Carolina and Alabama games, we had two instances of personal fouls being called, players being ejected, and then having that ejection overturned upon video review. BUT, in both cases the personal foul penalty stood… “We thought you robbed a liquor store, but we were wrong. So, you’ll still need to pay the fine, but there’s no jail time involved.” Perfect.
Hey, did you watch Virginia Tech get stoned against Georgia Tech on Thursday night? Did you have a good view of the action from your sportsbar/couch? Well, I’m betting that you didn’t have anywhere near the game watching experience that this security official had… Dude. It’s right behind you.
Around the B1G- Iowa exposed Minnesota and got to keep the big pig named “Floyd” that comes with an unfortunate history. And you thought the IlliBuck was ridiculous. Illinois took care of business, whereas Purdue…. man. C’mon, Purdue.
The award for “Fat Guy Of The Week” goes to none other than our old pal Bert Bielema. Not only did his former team lose (again) to Ohio State, his current team got Manziel’d in spite of a solid effort. Welcome to the SEC, Bert.
But it was the hand of #karma that reached out to him again and allowed him to win this week’s prestigious designation. The Gif-Maestro CuppyCup highlights what happened and lets us see behind the curtain.
Fell like a bag full of dirty diapers. Karma, man… Karma.
This week’s slate of games continues to impress- Maryland and Florida State face off with unblemished records (Go Future B1G), and Washington travels to Stanford in another early “conference supremacy” battle. In the B1G, Michigan State hosts Coach Ferentz and a “resurgent” Iowa team. I’m guessing that this one might be the antithesis of Alabama aTm in terms of defense/crappy offense.
We’ll be working to get you ready for the HUGE conference matchup between Ohio State and Northwestern. You probably already know that the Buckeyes travel to Evanston along with College Gameday; I can’t describe how excited I am to see what type of signage we see there.
As an early crash course in the Wildcats, I humbly invite you to enjoy this team intro video… Seriously, watch this.