The Week That Were: 11.17.12

Written November 19th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

We’re going to do things just a little bit differently this week, given all of the amazing news and events that happened this past weekend. So, this will be part Silver Bullet Points, part Monday Morning Commentary, and the usual chunk of random observations from Saturday’s events in the world of college football.  Here’s something to listen to while you’re fighting the urge to tl;dr- we’ve certainly got a lot to be Thankful for.

Prepping for Kiffy?

In this year’s edition of the Battle For Los Angeles, the upstart UCLA Bruins jumped out to a quick lead and held on to “upset” the Trojans by ten points on a gray day in Pasadena.  While the Bruins obviously have been playing much better football this year, you’ve also got to wonder if the trajectories of the programs have now crossed, particularly given some of the issues that continue to swirl at Southern Cal.

As the team that was picked by many to contend for the national title, the frustration for many SC fans has been swirling since the loss to what we now know is a pretty good Stanford team. That game highlighted the Trojans’ issues with depth; injuries since then have continued to create problems and have certainly didn’t help in their back to back losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defeat by the Ducks made things even more problematic, since SC’s defense was a point of strength for them under current coordinator Monte Kiffin; their being gashed turned up the heat on the current coaching administration. And now, to lose to “little brother” has many wondering if it’s not time to make a change.

Coach Kiffin’s actions certainly haven’t helped this season- cutting media opportunities short, banning reporters outright… it certainly makes sense that he’d not want to leave the Rose Bowl via the obvious entrance on Saturday night.  Other controversy swirls around Lane as well; while possibly not related, it’s definitely not helping matters at all.  You may remember “inflation-gate” and the termination of a student manager following the revelation that game balls for kickers were under-inflated against Oregon. For those not infatuated with special teams- a “flatter” pigskin has a much larger “sweet spot”; as a great Buckeye Planet poster pointed out, the Trojan’s kicking game has not been anywhere near as efficient ever since they were penalized for this “mistake”.

In addition, earlier this week Tennessee was dinged for recruiting issues that occurred under Kiffin’s one year tenure in Knoxville- issues that involved Chip Kelly’s favorite videographer, Willie Lyles.  Given the length of the investigation into Oregon’s program and this new decision at UT involving Lyles, you’ve got to think that there’s more than a few million good reasons for Kelly to take the Pete Carroll route and jump to the NFL ASAP.

What does this mean for Kiffin? At this time, it’s difficult to say, but losing Matt Barkley for the matchup against Notre Dame this weekend, combined with the continuing scholarship losses for the next couple of years would certainly be reason to wonder how warm his office chair will be getting this winter.

Sentient?

Interestingly enough, the other two programs involved in “affair du Lyles” also had difficult weekends. Derek Dooley’s Volunteers lost to cross-state foe Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t even close. The win ensures that UT will have a losing season for the third time in as many years, and was only the second victory for the Commodores in 35 years.  Following the game, the inevitable happened… Dooley was fired, effective immediately.  If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’ve got to wonder if this might have an impact on current recruits looking at both programs… Vonn Bell is the name that pops up, but there may be others in the 2014 class. This year’s season ending clash between the Vols and ‘Kats will feature both coaches in either interim or lame duck status… it’s going to be a fun coaching carousel for the SEC this season.

Lyle’s third “partner” in all of this felt the sting of their first loss on Saturday, at home, to a Stanford team that should be in the conversation about the top programs in the nation.  Remember, they’re a botched call from extending overtime in South Bend and possibly ending the Irish Nightmare that we are currently facing.  I was most impressed with The Cardinal’s defense on Saturday- disciplined, aggressive, and never seemed to give up the big play to an offense that most often looks like throwing kerosene on a bonfire… one blink, and it’s over. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.

Does Nike gear wick away tears?

The loss can easily be attributed to a lot of things- Oregon being too confident, and this being the Duck’s annual brain fart game; Questionable officiating, A “trap” game, with the resurgent Beavers looming Thanksgiving week… But all of these would not do a service to the great work that the coaches at Stanford, starting with Jim Harbaugh, have done in building a program that can certainly play with anyone in the country. It’s also why I think that Alabama, if given the usual bowl prep to face Oregon, would beat them- I believe that the Tide’s defense is more athletic and much more disruptive than Stanford’s… and the template we’ve seen in the Ducks’ losses over the past four years is now pretty well known. You just need to have the horses to pull it off; Stanford did on Saturday, and now control their PAC12 destiny. They’ll need to beat UCLA twice in two weeks to do so, but doing so may have the Oregon Ducks on the outside of the BCS championship game AND the automatic Rose Bowl berth… along with USC.  It’s been that kind of year.

Oh, and on Saturday Northwestern, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all won.  Nerds, y’all.

Commentary: Polls and Playoffs Read More

Silver Bullet Points Heads To Bloomington

Written October 10th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Technically, in Beech Grove Indiana...

Welcome to Hoosier Week… accompanied by a soundtrack from Bloomington’s greatest artist (no, not JCM- although I would have accepted Hoagy).

Buckeye 411

  • New Hotness- If you’re on the interwebs much today, you need to take some time and check out these two great Ohio State websites: CoachUrbanMeyer.com is a pretty user friendly insight into the program, while InsideOhioStateFootball.com is a 360 view of the locations that make up Buckeye football… you’ve got to think that recruits and families will appreciate the ability to “visit” campus before they actually get to the 614.
  • Walking Wounded- We heard Monday that Etienne Sabino would be out for at least three games, having broken his fibula against Nebraska; he’s already had a plate surgically inserted into his leg, and Josh Perry will take his spot in the lineup.  We’re also aware that Jordan Hall will more than likely not be a part of the gameplan on Saturday as he heals from the knee issue suffered against Michigan State.  Otherwise, it sounds as if everyone’s good to go.
  • Urb’s Verbs- (Ok, we’re still looking for a catchy title for Coach Meyer’s presser information… we’ll keep looking) In the B1G Presser this week, Coach Meyer talked about his respect for Coach Wilson at Indiana, and how they’d connected early in their careers as “spread to run” gurus.  He also stated the obvious, that Braxton and Harvin are the two most electric athletes he’s ever worked with. He also addressed the “AP National Championships” thing that started bubbling after Saturday’s win, and said that his hope is that his players don’t get caught up in the hype and people telling them how good they are.  Luckily, Michigan State being on the ropes to Indiana was enough to get the teams’ attention.

SammySilv At It Again

  • Everyone Gets A Trophy! Nope, not talking about youth league soccer, just the reality of life in the WHAC these days, as each week brings more and more accolades to the Ohio State team.  For the Nebraska Game, Braxton was named the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week, Carlos Hyde was the B1G Co-Offensive player of the week, and Corey Brown was the B1G Special Teams player of the week. John Simon really cleaned up this week, though- following a great showing on The Journey, Simon’s play against the Huskers resulted in being named the Lott Impact Player of the Week, the College Football Performance Award national defensive player of the week, and the Chuck Bednarik Award’s national player of the week. Read More
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