You know what’s interesting about college sports? Call it “the circle of life”, call it “karma” (j/k, don’t do that) call it “Brent Musberger’s Vegas Connections”, but the fact is that things just seem to work themselves out.
In spite of efforts to create story lines and “narrative”, teams win and teams lose and everyone gets to play in a bowl. Well, almost everyone.
It’s like I’ve been saying all season- “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Play well, win the game you’re in, and let the chips fall where they may.
Sure, it’s great that you’re averaging a metric bucketload of points every week, but when you don’t hit that target what will you do? Case in point: Texas A&M, Oregon, and Baylor combined for 41 points in their three losses. yesterday. That’s less than Oregon and Baylor were each averaging per game.
As the prophet said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth”.
The Ducks went down in spectacular fashion, giving Rich Rodriguez a home upset of a nationally ranked team that will surely a) earn him an extension and b) give Michi1gAAn fans eternal heartburn. Not only did Mariotti throw his first interception of the year in the game as a result of that great play you see above, but he then tossed his second on the way to a 42-16 loss in Tuscon. It’s not that the Ducks were without flash and sizzle… it’s just that they never found a rhythm and were unable to play Stanford football.
Baylor came into Stillwater not having won there in forever… and left the same way. The nation’s top offensive team was unable to deal with the different looks that TBPU gave them, and struggled to get their high octane offense going.
In addition, their vaunted defensive front didn’t create any consistent pressure or stop Oklahoma State’s bigger specialists from making play after play. I guess the Lord helps those who help their Chelf.
Helmet sticker goes to the “turf monster”, though, who seemed to be the leading tackler for both teams. He also made a big play by interfering with a Baylor snap late in the game to solidify the win for the up and coming Cowboy team.
As for Johnny Freaking Football, he and the Aggies continued their trend of underperforming against top competition. As our friend @FightOnTwist pointed out earlier in November, Manziel is an amazing quarterback, but his interceptions often lead to opposing teams’ scores; and other than the win in Tuscaloosa, he’s been pretty pedestrian versus teams that are nationally ranked.
Against LSU on Saturday, his one TD pass was coupled with only 1g completions and two interceptions as the Aggies fell again to LSU by a 34-10 score. I guess you could say he got beaten like a… well… yeah. Read More
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. Read More
Now that the rain has subsided, maybe the Buckeye State can enjoy the summer sunshine and higher temperatures… or as we call it in Los Angeles, “Wednesday”. Today’s soundtrack hearkens back to the halcyon days of the 80′s, before I had to actually pay for air conditioning. Back then, I thought that a Power Station meant something completely different…
Have you filled out your brackets for the Tournament Challenge yet? Here’s our last take on the regional matchups.
The South Region is chock full of talent and it could make an argument for being the toughest out of all four regions. It could also be anyone’s to win headed to the Final Four with a four seed taking the prize in that team we don’t like to call by name. This could be the year that everyone has dreaded and we actually see an All-B1G Final Four. Let’s get started.
Favorite-As much as I want to see an All-B1G Final Four and will pick that team as one of my two to leave the South, Kansas is the favorite here. Since the dismantling of the Buckeyes early in the season they have made a strong debate among who the other #1 seed was really going to be. Duke’s faltering down the stretch, yet again, really opened the door. I said early in the year that my two dark horses to win it all were Kansas and Arizona. We shall see what they have in the Sweet Sixteen when they square off against you know who.
Cinderella- Shaka’s team can no-longer be a cinderella, they are like Gonzaga and Butler when it comes to big-time respect and they are getting it. My cinderella here is an easy pick for me because a kid I have known all through his middle and high school years, who graduated with my two kids, and is a special player, is Chase Fieler from FGCU. This team has the makings of a very special team and the coach to get them there. They upset Miami early in the season and their reward for it and making the dance is Georgetown? They didn’t get a good enough look from the committee because they were a 12 seed easily. I look for these high flyers to make some noise. Read More
The revolving door that is known as the Top 25 continued to revolve this week. 4 of the 5 Top 5 teams all loss, including Kansas who has now lost three in a row. In addition to the top 5 teams laying an egg, 14 of the 25 teams lost at least one game this week, with 5 of them not even picking up a single win. All was not bad though in the Top 25 world. There were several great games and several overtime games, including a stunning 5 overtime in the Big East. The Miami Hurricanes continued to come on like gang-busters and very well could be in the Top 5 when all is said is done with the polls this week. This week doesn’t look like it will let us down as there are quite a few Top 25 matchups and tough games against un-ranked opponents. Only time will tell how this week will end up but in the meantime, I am just going to sit back and enjoy one of the most exciting college basketball seasons that I can remember.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review
1. Indiana (20-3, 8-2) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 2/7 @ Illinois, L 72-74
Upcoming: 2/10 @ (10) Ohio State & 2/13 Nebraska & 2/16 Purdue
The Hoosiers were the latest Number One team to fall. A beautifully ran inbounds play by Illinois sunk Indiana. It doesn’t get any easier this week as they travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.
2. Florida (19-3, 9-1) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 2/5 @ Arkansas, L 69-80 & 2/9 Mississippi State, W 83-58
Upcoming: 2/12 Kentucky & 2/16 @ Auburn
Florida lost its chance to be the top ranked team with a loss to Arkansas earlier this week. A trip to Lexington to face Kentucky could spell out another loss this week. Read More
The Sugar Bowl has always been the major post-season destination of the SEC, and only once did the bowl play two teams that didn’t include the SEC from 1950-1995. That tradition continues today, and the Sugar Bowl has established themselves as the SEC vs. Big 12 match-up starting in 2015, ostensibly to rival the Rose Bowl’s B1G vs. PAC-12.
Even though the week featured many blowouts and easy wins, this week’s Top 25 has many changes to it from the previous week. Two teams dropped out of the polls, including a Top 10 team disappearing from the nation’s top teams. This week’s action also only featured one loss to any of the current Top 25 teams (it would have been two if Colorado decided to get off the plane in Kansas). The upcoming week only features one Top 25 matchup when (6) Florida travels to (8) Arizona but does feature some possible upset alerts (We’re looking at you Purdue and West Virginia).
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (9-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/8 Central Connecticut State, W 100-69
Upcoming: 12/15 Butler
Indiana cruised to a victory over Central Connecticut State but this week’s Butler team will be a tougher challenge for the Hoosiers
2. Duke (9-0) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/8 Temple, W 90-67
Upcoming: No Games This Week
The Blue Devils didn’t have any let downs after an emotional win against Ohio State in walloping Temple. This week they look to rest a little bit with an off week
3. Michigan (9-0) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 12/4 Western Michigan, W 73-41 & 12/8 Arkansas, W 80-67
Upcoming: 12/11 Binghamton & 12/15 @West Virginia
The Wolverines were challenged from time by Arkansas but pulled away in the end to defeat the Razorbacks. They travel to Morgantown to meet upset-minded West Virginia.
4. Syracuse (8-0) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/3 Eastern Michigan, W 84-48 & 12/6 Long Beach State, W 84-53 & 12/8 Monmouth, W 108-56
Upcoming: 12/15 Canisius
Syracuse continues the cream puff part of their schedule as Jim Boeheim works toward becoming the third coach in history with 900 wins.
5. Louisville (8-1) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/4 @Charleston, W 80-38 & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City, W 99-47
Upcoming: 12/15 @Memphis
Not much to speak of with Louisville either, as they breezed past their two opponents this past week and Memphis probably won’t be much different.
6. Florida (7-0) Previous Rank: 7 Read More
As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere above you making the phrase “flyover states” a reality, and heading back to the left coast. As such, this week’s review will be a bit shorter than previous ones, but know that I’ve only got one song on my mind as I write it
And now, we know the form of our destructor. Notre Dame has finished the season undefeated, and will play for the National Title, most likely against an SEC team of some semblance. Who knew that the Holy See was so closely connected with Tikal? We said early on that it would be an amazing accomplishment for the Irish to finish the year undefeated- and yet, here we are. Granted, they faced a down Southern Cal, a “choke-prone” Oklahoma, and struggled against Purdue and Pitt, but they stand atop the polls as our nation’s finest team. So, let the “Oh, I’ve totally been a Notre Dame fan forevah” crap begin- they’ve deserved it.
And, in an eerie way, they’re similar to a team that we just honored on Saturday in The ‘Shoe- unranked, under the radar, winning with great defense/limited mistakes/a lot of luck. The expectation is that they’ll get clown stomped in their bowl match up, but who’s to know? Any one, any where, any time… isn’t that what our flawed “single elimination Bowl Championship Series” has taught us?
One of the more controversial aspects of the Irish resurgence has been the Heisman candidacy of linebacker Manti Te’o, seen here getting really excited about seconds of sweet potato pie on Thursday. His statistics are pretty similar to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who may not win B1G first team honors, minus the fact that Notre Dame’s scheme has allowed Te’o to achieve seven interceptions this season.
From all that I’ve read, Te’o is an incredible human being and strong leader for his top ranked team; the Heisman trophy would not be dishonored by his name on it (unlike certain other Trojany folks we might mention). That being said, there’s still a lot of controversy on whether he should be a finalist for the award, and I can see arguments either way.
The fact of the matter is that, in addition to his play on the field, Te’o is benefiting from the National Broadcasting Corporation. By this, I’m not only referring to NBC’s deal to broadcast as many Notre Dame games are are possible, I’m also eluding to the Peacock’s impact on sports coverage as a whole. NBC, as you may know, has television rights to the Olympics, and has chosen to shape their telecasts of those events in a way that tries to reach the broadest audience possible. So, they’re less concerned with the actual results and scores and game achievements and more interested in establishing narratives and storylines for the “casual” fan to connect with and appreciate. As if being the world’s best was somehow not interesting enough.
This isn’t limited to NBC by any means, ESPN’s continual decision to push narrative over fact has significantly impacted their coverage of sports for the negative, as most Buckeye fans can relate to. However, NBC was, along with ABC’s “Wild World Of Sports”, one of the first to mainstream this philosophy- being great is not as intriguing as being great AND having a powerful “story”.
Which brings me back to Te’o: As you may know, he’s overcome some incredible tragedies in his life recently, including the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend just this season. These are horrible events, and it’s remarkable that he’s been able to perform at a championship level in the face of them; I’d probably be up to my ears in a bucket of Cracklin’ Oat Bran in a similar set of circumstances. But the question remains: Does “Solid numbers on a great team with a powerful personal narrative” override “Amazing numbers on a good team that totally relies on you“, particularly when the award has been acculturated to represent the “best” college football player in the nation (who’s most often an offensive skill player)?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Read More