Interesting Tuesday in college sports, to say the least. We’ll get to all the movers and shakers, but first a little traveling music.
Most of the frustration was aimed at the inclusion of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, who we’ve argued here before is only a finalist due to his team’s success, solid (but not great) numbers, and the great “story” that his season has been- both for him and as a heart of the awakened echoes of the Irish program. Tony Gerdeman from the OZone compared Te’o to AJ Hawk, the last linebacker to be seriously considered for the Heisman, and found that Hawk’s numbers eclipsed the Irish’ star. He, along with the guys at Land Grant Holy Land (check out the infographic) continue to compare his numbers to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier- Gerd points out that, in the last three games of the season, Shazier outplayed Te’o and almost doubled his statistics, minus the interceptions. Given that Te’o plays in a variation of the Tampa 2 defense which requires more coverage, this might make sense- different roles for both players. But it does highlight the fact that Te’o is a debatable finalist… and as such, might have just as well been left home with Miller and Marquis Lee (who I believe is the best player in the country this season).
With no hope of a national championship, the Buckeyes saw excellence as its own reward—and achieved it. What better example of pure sportsmanship could there be? Next year, Ohio State will once again be jockeying for a high-profile bowl berth and all the cash that flows from it. This year’s team, by contrast, will stand forever as the one that played not for money but for pride.
In a week that was seen as a “meh” on the national scene, it was nonetheless a great Saturday for football. Here’s today’s soundtrack, inspired by Coach Meyer’s comments following the clash with Michigan State.
Well, it may have been the weekend before October, but it certainly was another chance for folks to show off their new costumes.. some for better and some for worse. Let’s start in Lincoln.
Proving yet again that they’re better geared as a soccer kit provider, Adidas decided that the game between Nebraska and Wisconsin would be a great opportunity for all the children of the world to bone up on either their periodic table or their consonants. Huge thanks to our friend Grant at Buckeye Empire for the in-game screencap that you see on the right… it wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Watching the game was pretty traumatic, to be honest… way too many flashbacks… and it shows that this week’s matchup will be another major test for both teams. We’ll obviously have much more on the Cornhuskers this week, but if that’s what “skipping rocks” looks like, it might be a long night in Columbus.
Also in B1G play, the “Meandering Illini” were outfitted with some new duds as they welcomed Penn State to the wind tunnel that is Memorial Stadium. I’m torn on the “matte” helmet look- I really like it, until it gets scuffed. Then? It looks pretty junior varsity… and as a lineman, I can’t imagine a non-scuffed helmet. In the days leading up to this game, you just knew there’s be a lot of paint being traded on both sides; Illinois looking to rebound from their embarrassment against Louisiana Tech, and Penn State looking to rebound from… well… everything. Add the “Illinois sent assistant coaches to Happy Valley” angle, as well as two coaches looking to make a statement in their first conference openers, you’ve got to figure that these teams would look for every opportunity to put a lot of points on the other. Unfortunately for Coach Beckman, that ended up being pretty one sided 35-7 loss. Read More
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? Read More
The weak that was and I pulled an 0′fer and am 3 and 12 on the season! Atleast Im doing a little better in the Pick ‘em pool!!! Anyone want to replace me as the the picker for these contest games? Here are the results of my worst weak week ever!!!
Safe Bet. VTU over PITT 31 to 6; Role reversal and WRONG! PITT 35 to 17 (Some other time Fat Urkel)
Points Plus. Mizzou over Arizona St. 43 to 39; wrong on points Mizzou 24 to 20
Defensive Struggle. Navy over Penn St. 9 to 7; WRONG AGAIN!! PSU 34 to 7
Best Match-up. USC over Stanford 34 to 28; Glad I was WRONG Stanford 21 to 14
Best B1G Game. MSU over Notre Lame 24 to 17; Sparty WRONGED me! ND 20 to 3
Ok… here’s what you’ve got for this week:
Safe Bet. Maryland @ WVU. I’ll take WVU and the points here. Now that the Heisman front runner Geno Smith and his streaks in shoes Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are firing on all cylinders in that high powered offense, they’ll take care of business quickly. Edsell’s Terp’s are still learning the ropes and have little chance of competing in this game. I was wron about my safe bet last week, but not this week. WVU 47 to 13
Points Plus. Fresno St. @ Tulsa. The Bulldogs hung 69 points last week on Colorado and the Golden Hurricanes blew through Nicholls St. for the tune of 66 points. The last time these two teams met in 2005 they combined for 55 points. I’d say the over in this match up is close to double that. Basketball on turf for sure. Fresno St. 54 to 49
Defensive Struggle. Rutgers @ Arkansas. I honestly am not too sure there is much left of John L. Smith and the Razorbacks after the Tide dismantled and blanked them last week. There isn’t help on the way in the form of the Scarlet Knights thoughas they are undefeated on the season and atop the Big Least standings. I’m not sure any of that means anything. Going with the gut feeling here. Arkansas 16 to 10
Best Match-up. Clemson @ Florida St. In my ACC preview I pretty much said it would come down to the man that beat the man that beat the . . , and here we go. If the home team holds pat, which I don’t believe they will, then FSU will become a front runner to possibly play the winner of the SEC championship for the national title. That being said, the ACC has a habit of beating up on each other in these types of games and ruining each others seasons. Its a tough place to play for sure but I still like Clemson to play for it in the end. Clemson 21 to 17
Best B1G Game. TTUN @ Notre Lame. It’s killing me that I have had to use these guys three weeks in a row and it’s even worse now that I have to chose between them and TTUN. Now that Notre Lame is finally leaving the B1G . . , oh wait . . , the Big Least . . , no . . , whatever, they’re headed to the ACC and good riddens! Two things I will never do, pick a TTUN team to win anything, nor will I ever root for them. Notre Lame 24 to 23
Good luck with this week’s picks and Go Bucks!
Monday’s melange of morning mayhem looks back at an amazing weekend of college football… Just promise to wait until the end of the article to rush the field, OK? Given the news on Campus from Sunday Night, here’s your soundtrack for our special time together.
It was a great weekend to be an Angry Bird, particularly if you were a Cardinal. Let’s start in Palo Alto.
In what’s become an annual tradition, a highly ranked Southern Cal team derped a game that many expected them to win. While it seemed to have always been the Beavers of Oregon State under the previous administration, the past four years have found a Cardinal thorn in the Trojans’ armor… as unbelievable as it is, September Heisman candidate Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford in his career. The nice thing, though, is that Chad Henne and Mike Hart have a great support group that will welcome him with open arms.
Saturday we saw the real “teeth” of the NCAA’s sanctions for all things Reggie Bush-esque: While the Bowl Ban was significant in terms of financial benefits and being able to compete for make believe championships and other post-season swag, the real kick of what the folks in Indianapolis handed to Southern Cal as a parting gift is the inability to field a full squad of 85 for the coming several seasons- which creates issues at depth when the offensive line gets banged up (as it did in Palo Alto). Granted, Barkley still is incredibly talented and has amazing weapons- however, without the time to find them it’s essentially a moot point. And once he’s gone, well… we may just get to see how good of a coach the man is, as a number of folks could be successful with the talent depth that they experienced over the past decade. Read More
This week’s soundtrack is colorful, but has a bit of a different taste to it: trust me, it makes total sense in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy… language warning.
There’s no denying it… one group of conference-mates had an incredibly difficult Saturday.
Positioned for excellence, and featured in a number of nationally significant matchups, the on the field results just did not help dissuade the critics who argue that they have lost their prestige, and are rightfully scorned by college fans across the country. Once seen as powerful contenders for titles, it seems as if the results on Saturday have shown that the game may have passed them by.
Yup, it was a terrible day for the Big 12 expats. Who did you think I was talking about?
Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska all dropped matches on Saturday, with two of these being significant “upsets” in terms of rankings and so forth. The Aggies, after a week full of bravado regarding their new allegiance to the “we can spell three letter words” conference, saw the early lead against Florida disappear in the waning moments of the game, and couldn’t count on Kyle Field to help carry the day. You’ve got to wonder if the different understanding of the word “cheerleader” might have had something to do with it. Ah well, you know they’ll just say that they won later… it’s the SEC way.
Missouri also opened SEC play by welcoming Georgia to play between the… uh… rocks in Columbia. The Bulldawgs emerged victorious, but you’re right in realizing that Mizzou is excited to be in a new home. There were too many Longhorns in the last one, and the B1G never returned their phone calls, so you can’t blame them for being OK with a loss in their prestigious opener. So excited about the new opportunities were they, that they broke out their new school clothes… or someone else’s old school clothes from when they were in the Arena League. As goofy as they looked, though, they didn’t win our “awkward haberdashery of the week award”… more later.
Ah, CoLOLorado… See, here’s how it works. You schedule a FCS opponent in the pre-season, you get them at home, you beat them and build up your alumni/student confidence in your program = profit. But, the Buffs are constricted by no man’s social norms, and instead chose to allow the mighty Hornets of Sacramento State to kick a field goal with time expiring and upset the Buffs in Boulder. I’m sure the fans will have to find some way to console their grief.
Which brings us to Nebraska. Read More
As all is quiet on the (mid)western front, here’s Wednesday’s bucket o’ links and commentary.
Nope, this weekend starts the summer football camp season in Columbus, which is a B1G deal for the 2013/14 classes as well as for Coach Meyer’s continued
scorched earth policy building relationships with coaches and programs across the state. This weekend’s a one day camp, and the process builds to July’s Friday Night Lights event. For many HS students, this might be the make or break opportunity that they’ve been looking- a number of OSU targets have been encouraged to camp in order to either earn an offer or to be evaluated and have their offer “bumped up” to “Commit-able”. Many thought that QBs Malik Zaire and Mitch Trubisky were in this category, as Urban wanted to see them camp prior to having them join the 2013 class… obviously they wanted to be somewhere else or wanted someone who didn’t require them to “audition”.
Names to keep an ear out for this weekend include national #3 safety Vonn Bell, who will be making his second unofficial in less than a month- that’s got to be a good sign, methinks. Also, Lakota’s Kyle Meadows will be participating, as will Wayne’s Lovell Peterson, both will be looking to earn offers. Finally, North Carolina DE/LB Tyquan Lewis will also be present- another interesting recruit from the Tar Heel State.