If the pounds of fried turkey and sweet potato pie that you ate on Thursday didn’t give you a heart attack, this week’s college football games certainly were going to do their damnedest to finish the job.
Rivalries, by nature, raise the blood pressure of those involved… if they didn’t it would be called a “friendly tiff” or an “untimely spat”. Add the magnitude of what was on the line for some teams, and you’ve surely got the makings for one of the most memorable weekends of the year, if not all times.
We’ve already discussed the awesomeness that was the victory in The Game, and join the rest of Buckeye Nation in sending Tyvis Powell the kinds of “thank you” that would be approved by the NCAA. TWTW doesn’t often spend time rehashing Buckeye wins, but man… that’s one to savor. Right, Eddie?
Kudos to Coach Hoke and his team in their preparation and gameplan, and for the decision to go for it all at the end. It didn’t work out, but it was a great call. Kudos to Devin Gardner as well- after a rough year, and on a bad wheel, he really put it all on the line for his team. I’m not gloating, but that’s how the game is meant to be played… win or lose, you leave everything on the field.
While I’m here, I can’t figure out how only one of these guys was ejected from the game, and that it wasn’t the first one to throw a punch (#34). The Buckeye reaction was understandable, but inappropriate given the program and the magnitude of the game. That being said, if you’re looking for Christmas gifts for me…
But this amazing weekend started well before kickoff in Ann Arbor. Thursday’s rivalry action in the Egg Bowl saw an injured quarterback enter into Mississippi State legend status, leading his team to an overtime win with a touchdown run on fourth and 1 from near the goal-line. Sometimes, gutsy calls work out for the home team. Also on Thursday, Texas fans saw another big win… one big enough to celebrate with a shirt and a Mack Brown contract extension? Yeah, probably not.
Friday’s game that should be called “Farmageddon” but isn’t saw the start of the Christmas season in Lincoln Nebraska. At least that had to be what the Huskers thought, since One Weisman was enough to do a ton of damage to the Blackshirt defense. That Nebraska lost was surprising enough, but for me the really interesting part of the game was the media response during and after. Coach Pelini has been on a hot seat, and you could sense his frustration even during the typical halftime “let’s chat on your way to the locker room” interview.
Postgame, someone asked him about his job status and… well, listen to his response here.
Essentially, he says “look, you’re making a story out of something that I have no control over, and your decision to do so is hurting our players and our team. If the people in charge want to fire me, they can.”
The storyline from the game? “If they want to fire me, go ahead“, as if he was calling his AD and the University leadership out. Of course they didn’t talk about his comments ripping the media for impacting the program… it’s like they say. Read More
If it’s Thanksgiving week, it’s time for our yearly check in with That Blogger Up North, Yost from the often hilarious and occasionally comprehensible MZone. Before I got started writing, Yost’s was the only “enemy” site that I visited regularly; my “career” is mostly “Hell, if he can do it, anyone can…”. We were able to pull him out from under his barstool for this year’s visit, and made sure to use small words in our questions.
In spite of his obvious deficiency, he’s a great guy who’s mostly on the twitter these days, and worth a follow.
Lots of speculation that Devin Gardner has a significant injury. Do you believe that he’ll be able to play, or will Shane Morris get his first taste of The Game? If it’s Morris, what does he bring to the table that’s different than Gardner?
I think rather than a singular injury, Devin is suffering from the effects of 11 games of playing behind an O-line providing him with all the protection of jello pudding. Couple that with a schizophrenic offensive strategy at the coaching level and it’s hard to tell where player injuries merge with play calling incoherence.
There’s no question Devin will play and I’ll think he’ll play the entire game barring any new injuries in the OSU game. Good, bad or otherwise, I think we’re long past the point of Morris coming into the game and expecting any significant improvement. He hasn’t had any real meaningful game experience all season.
Unfortunately, all the “easy” games he was supposed to get experience in (Akron, UConn, etc.), Michigan ended up in dogfights so he sat on the bench. To put him in Saturday unless it’s an emergency would just be pointless.
Long term, I think U-M is going to be fine, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed at the regression this season compared to Hoke’s initial campaign. I thought – and still think – Hoke can lead Michigan to great things. However, I’d be surprised if the head-scratchingly bad 2013 season hasn’t instilled a wisp of doubt in even the most ardent Brady Hoke supporters.
After the way this fall’s campaign has disintegrated before my maize and blue eyes, next year is crucial for Hoke. Because if 2014 is another substandard year like 2013, I think you’ll see the bottom drop out of Hoke’s support. And if he doesn’t make needed changes to his staff (yeah, you know who), then he’s turning the heat up another 20 degrees before next September even rolls around. Because if Hoke doesn’t realize something isn’t working on his staff at a coaching level, then much more of the blame will shift to him and not just on coordinators or position coaches.
Word Association- Al Borges. Read More
This week is THE GAME and and the game we have all been waiting for. I’m sure this article also has the wishes you have all been waiting for. Let’s see ‘em guys and gal:
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0) head north for their home-away-from-home game against the TTUN Gulo gulo’s ¹ (7-4, 3-4). The Buckeyes look to continue their habit of winning, 23 in a row (impressive, no?) while the Whatevers look to regain respectability (hahaha). This will be the 110th time The Game will be contested, so we’ve been doing this for a while. Playing football, not blogging.. Since the beginning of this century (2001) Ohio State holds a 10-2 edge. Now for this year’s edition:
¹ Gulo is Latin for ‘glutton’. Surprised?
Ohio State on Offense
Ohio State brings the top scoring team in the conference (48.7 ppg and 531 ypg), which is 12 points and 100 yards per game better than last year’s undefeated team. The tempo is a bit higher, running 75 plays per game this year, compared to 70 last year.
This offensive touchstone for this season was accomplished last week with Carlos Hyde achieving the 1,000 yard mark. As you’re aware, this was Coach Meyer’s first 1,000 yard rusher and validation for Hyde for his patience and dedication. And a testament to the OSU offensive line.
In contrast, TTUN brings a so-so defense to The Game, (25 ppg, 353 ypg), ranking a meh 7th and 5th in the Conference, respectively. TTUN gives up 116 YPG rushing but with Ohio State averaging 315 YPG rushing, that wall will be breached by halftime. With OSU averaging 216 YPG and TTUN allowing 237 YPG, average performance by both units will work out well for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State on Defense Read More
A big part of what makes college football so special is the passion of those connected to it: the players, the coaches, the band, the fans, etc. This passion and the intensity of emotions that it causes is what makes college football so great, it causes players to play harder and make spectacular plays that seem beyond their ability, it causes band members to devote hundreds of hours to practice in order to make the band and to get to perform at the game, and it causes fans to get up at ridiculous times and drive a few hours just to stand outside in often inclement weather to cheer on some kids that they don’t know personally.
However, like all good things, too much passion can be a bad thing and can cause people to go too far. This is most easy to see when a team loses and its fans have to find some outlet for the anger, disappointment, and frustration they feel. While most fans deal with these emotions in most appropriate, or at least harmless, ways, that isn’t true for everyone. Some fans go too far and react in ways that are inappropriate or even illegal. We have all probably had the unfortunate experience of seeing a fan attack an opposing fan, either verbally or physically, after a loss or engage in some sort of destructive act against physical property.
Technology has changed not only how we follow games but how we deal with losses. In the past fans would probably go to a bar, complain about things to other fans over a few drinks, and then go home, all under the watchful eye of a bartender and bouncer who would keep things from going too far. The invention of message boards made it easier for fans to reach out to other fans to commiserate with over a loss without the need to go to a bar. This has obviously been a boon for fans who are spread around the world, it also can cause anger to fester and grow as there is rarely a watchful eye to put a stop to things; fortunately the fact that most message board posters are at home when posting serves as a nice safety mechanism there. Twitter has provided yet another change with how fans interact as now they can not only share their thoughts with other fans, they can even do so with some of the players on their teams. While this can have the benefit of increasing a feeling of community, it also makes it easy for fans to lash out in inappropriate ways toward student athletes.
Today’s soundtrack thanks our Veterans for all that they’ve done…
Ok, class… time for a quiz. What did we learn this week?
We learned that the template for beating Oregon has not changed. Control the ball and the clock with power running, Don’t turn the ball over, Take advantage of turnovers, and Hold on for dear life.
While this would seem to be the obvious solution to beating any team, Stanford has certainly shown that it’s a template for stopping one of the most powerful offenses in the country. By continuing to do so on Thursday night, the Cardinal looked like Ohio State and Auburn and LSU… and the Duck Dynasty were bumped off the path to the National Title game.
If that wasn’t enough, on Saturday the Head Duck even showed his newest uniform… and this one will probably not be welcomed with open arms in Eugene.
We also learned something that we should have already known; sometimes these are the most difficult of lessons. Even here at tBBC we’ve highlighted again and again that “Big Game Bob” is a myth, that other than a BCS game against UConn (not a difficult thing, no matter what Michigan fans will tell you) and some wins over Texas during their programmatic slide, the Sooners have not managed to win the big one at anywhere near a dominant success rate.
Even this year they were embarrassed by a Texas Team that was searching for it’s identity, and have a “quality win” over a Texas Tech team who’s now dropped three in a row. We should have known better than to expect wonders from the team from Norman, but there Buckeye fans were, hoping that they’d handle a Baylor team that’s been setting scoreboards on fire.
We forgot that they have no downfield passing game, and their running game is predicated on a fullback at quarterback. And so, even though it looked close at the outset, we couldn’t be too surprised when Oklahoma collapsed in a heap of it’s own making.
And Baylor? Well, Baylor continues to look absolutely fabulous. With contests against TTU, TBPU and Texas upcoming in their season, the Bears are by no means shoo-ins for the conference title, but the path is pretty clear.
To be fair to the Longhorns, they’ve turned the season around and remained undefeated after their overtime win in the first Texas trip to Morgantown as a part of the new conference configuration. Judging by the responses on Shaggy Bevo, fans are somewhat torn by this turn of events- Winning is good, but how can they fire Mack if he manages to bring home a B12 Title this year? Read More
Sooo… big victory, at night, outside of Chicago, in a hostile environment, behind an old favorite. Yup, there’s really only one choice for the soundtrack for our look back at college football’s big weekend.
As the season progresses, there will be a number of weekends that provide “clarity” in the national rankings scene… and this past weekend answered a few questions.
Three sets of undefeated teams squaring off; obviously, readers of this site will be aware of what happened between two of the B1G’s three last undefeated teams. Hell, Vegas knows what happened, and has $300 million reasons to hate Joey Bosa.
The early matchup wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as the marquee in Evanston, at least not after the first few minutes. Facing undefeated (and B1G) Maryland at home, the Florida State Seminoles made quick work of the Terrapins, pitching a 63-0 shutout.
I’m impressed with both FSU and their freshman quarterback, and bumped them up significantly in this week’s Top 10 rankings that you’ll see on Wednesday. Even more frustrating? In the play on the right there, Winston connects with tight end Nick O’Leary, the grandson of Buckeye great Jack Nicklaus. If Winston was a Buckeye lean during his recruitment as is rumored, that connection could have been in Scarlet and Gray.
The final battle of the unbeaten was the nightcap, as Stanford hosted resilient Washington. The Cardinal somehow managed to seemingly get all 27 tight ends on the field at the same time, and were effective in the power game against the undersized Huskies. Sarkisian’s team wasn’t to be overlooked, however- they managed to make a late run at the Cardinal only to have a late catch overturned on review. Based on, from all we know, this view right here. PAC12 refs, man… And here I thought that the SEC was the conference that bent over backwards to ensure that their top teams kept winning…
A celebrity of sorts was at the Husky Cardinal (also a descriptor for St. Louis fans) game, as former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice was present to watch her alma mater win. The timing couldn’t have been better- she has also been connected to the upcoming “College Football Playoff Committee”, and was dismissed for that role by ESPN’s David Pollack. I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over… it was all we could to to keep Clair from hunting him down. Dr. Rice’s name has also been bounced around as a possible replacement for Dr. Gee as president at The Ohio State University- who knows… Read More
Given the rain delay in the BYU /UT game this week and the deluge of rushing that befell the Longhorns after kickoff, there’s only one option for this week’s soundtrack.
See, this is why there should be no polls before the first weekend in October.
Once again, we see a number of teams that got votes due to their “name recognition” shown up early in the season, and others who are rising to the occasion still find themselves with a long way to go until November.
Cases in point: Texas, Notre Dame, Florida, and Southern Cal; all of whom lost on the same Saturday for the first time since September 11, 1976.
For the Longhorns, it’s been a slide into mediocrity for a while now. I’m not sure that people really understand the significance of the Mack Brown era… As the flagship school in of the top three recruiting hotbeds in the country, Brown’s teams have historically underwhelmed with the exception of two “lightening in a bottle” moments- Vince Young and Colt McCoy. Outside of their leadership behind center, the program has struggled; and it can be argued that some of this is due to poor coaching (see the Major Applewhite -vs- Chris Sims debacle) or poor recruiting (Texas recruited the last two Heisman winners as defensive backs, and didn’t reach out to Jamies Winston- this year’s new hotness).
While those things may be true, Mack seems to think that the issue is defense; as evidenced by the 550 yards rushing that they gave up to BYU on Saturday, the majority of which happened in the first three quarters. In response, Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz was fired on Sunday. Before you get excited, Austinites- his replacement is none other than Greg “GERG” Robinson, who’s amazing Michigan defenses gave up over 100 points in two games against Illinois. I’m sure he’ll get the team motivated to return to the lofty status that UT should assume.
But you’ve also got to think that this is merely shuffling chairs on the Titanic- when your team plays so poorly that Shaggy Bevo’s servers go down as they did on Sunday, then you’ve got yourself a problem. Read More