It’s a Christmas Eve tradition… gathering around the fire with family, celebrating the sacred moments of a fun, old fashioned holiday, and watching unbearably crappy football to avoid conversation with that one uncle who’s been at the egg nog since noon.
The History: Did you know that there used to be two games in Hawaii… but they moved one to Seattle for a while? Yup, hopes of heading to Honolulu in December dashed by the “better coffee” of the Pacific Northwet. This game was also a “slump-buster” of sorts, where Pickles broke the 9 game losing streak that the Irish carried through the Weis years. Giveaways for this “opportunity” include an ‘aloha’ shirt, a ‘custom’ beach towel, backpack and watch, and a calendar. Can’t go wrong with that, now can you?
SMU Scouting Report- SMU really struggled this year, as June Jones tries to rebuild the program following an amazing 30 for 30. Their biggest “win” was a 72-42 victory over Houston, but they also have losses against aTm, Baylor, and TCU on their schedule (teams with a pulse). QB Gilbert has thrown for over 2700 yards, and has a couple of Johnsons as targets- Darius and Jeremy share the load in the air. They’re averaging just under 30 points a game, but are in the bottom of the nation in points allowed this season.
Buckeye Connection- Ohio State is 7-1-1 against the Mustangs, with the last meeting being the 35-35 tie in 1978. This season, I’d expect an OSU/SMU game to look a little bit like the Illinois game- I don’t think the Mustangs have the horses to stop Ohio State’s offense, and certainly couldn’t keep up on defense.
Fresno Scouting Report – While the Bulldogs fell to both ranked teams they faced this year, they certainly proved that they can score some points, averaging over 40 points per game, and hanging 50 or more on both Colorado, San Diego State, and annual thorn in their side Nevada. There’s another Carr in the building- Junior QB Derek is the youngest brother of former #1 pick David… wonder what ever happened to that guy? They’re 12th in the nation in passing yards per game behind Carr, although Robbie Rouse has also amassed over 1200 yards on the ground this season. Oh, and Pat Hill still has an awesome mustache… but he’s no longer the Bulldogs coach (OL with the Falcons)- that distinction belongs to Tim DeRuyter.
Buckeye Connection- OSU is still 2-0 all time against the Bulldogs… and that wouldn’t change this season, using the Michigan State > Boise > Fresno crappy logic that transcends this time of the year.
Predictions: Here’s what we think will happen
I honestly believe that Fresno has the better team, but there’s no way I’m picking them given our history together.
That’s it. I’m out. Done. You’ve fooled me for the last time.
Ever since the upsets of Colorado, Oregon State, and Wisconsin in 2001, I’ve had you on my “teams to watch” list… scrappy mid-majors that were willing to play anyone, anywhere, anytime… and bring the fight to them.
In 2002, you upset Georgia Tech; in 2003 it was UCLA; in 2004 it was UW and Kansas State. In 2006, it was only due to Reggie Bush’s heroics that you didn’t upset USC… although, thanks to the NCAA, you did get the win after all.
So, for the last several years, I’ve picked you to win your bowl game, as have all the writers here at tBBC. In spite of the fact that some of the people who cheer you seem to have some sort of inferiority complex, and couldn’t realize that we were backing the Bulldogs, we continued to follow and cheer for Fresno State.
Maybe we should have been wiser… maybe it wasn’t a “complex”, and you were actually inferior. Hindsight, as they say…
In 2008 and 2009, you lost the New Mexico Bowl- First to Colorado State, then in an upset to Wyoming; this year, you earned a trip to Boise only to be completely embarrassed by a MAC team with an interim head coach.
So, guess what- We’re through. We had good times, but as of now you’re off the radar again… I no longer care about your successes, and may even revel in your losses. Although I will still glory in Pat Hill’s awesome American Chopper mustache.
Just remember- it’s not us, it’s you. Seriously.
Continuing our look across the vast expanse that is the honorable bowl season…
History: Believe it or not, this is the thirteenth edition of this epic endeavor, which is on at least it’s fourth sponsor. Played, as you know, on the smurf turf of Southern Idaho State, it was a home game for the Broncos on four occasions and for the Idaho Vandals on two others. My personal favorite memory of the game is the 2006 clash between ‘Da U and Nevada- great to see a team from Florida have to play a bowl game in that horrid thing called “weather”.
One of the “neat” aspects of this game is the decision to honor a “Highway Angel” as a part of the festivities- a over the road truck driver who risked his or her life in order to benefit another motorist in danger. Although, I’m not sure “Hey, you get to be in Boise in December” will be a very strong motivation.
Undefeated in MAC play until their upset at the hands of Miami’s Redhawks, this season has been another in a string of successes for Coach Jerry Kill, now the head coach at the University of Minnesota. Ironically, of the two Big T1e1n teams that NIU played, the Gophers were the ones the Huskies defeated, losing by 6 at Illinois earlier in the season. This game will be Tom Matukewicz’ opportunity to earn the top spot. I’m sure vaunted alumni Krusty the Klown is looking for continued excellence.
MAC player of the year Chad Spann leads the Huskies with an average of 5.6 yards per carry, although quarterback Chandler Harnish has set the Northern Illinois record for total offense in the season with 2230 yards through the air and 764 yards on the ground to amass 25 touchdowns. Defensively, Jake Coffman has achieved 12 tackles for a loss to go with his 6.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick.
NIU/Buckeye Connections: Fortunately the game turned out to be an Ohio State win, but the 2006 game in Columbus was definitely the coming out party for Husky running back Garrett Wolfe.
This will be the fifth time that the Huskies will be facing off against the Bulldogs of Fresno State, a program that has made its name on being willing to play anyone, anywhere, anytime. Winning those games might be another story, but you’ve got to appreciate FSU’s scheduling philosophy. For the Humanitarian Bowl, the University has chosen to give free tickets to any student who wants to make the trip north- again, not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse, given that FSU has to pay for tickets anyway. You’d think that they’d be able to hit up their comedic genius alumni for help with that… and perhaps they have.
Defensive end Chris Carter is the team’s MVP, and the anchor for a defense that has amassed 37 sacks on the season. However, they’ll be missing Kyle Knox, who’s been suspended for the game. On offense, quarterback Ryan Colburn is completing 62% of his passes for 21 touchdowns and over 2500 yards through the air.
Fresno State/Buckeye connections: I looked, but didn’t find any historical meeting between Ohio State and the Bulldogs, although I did find some people who were convinced that the Buckeyes would be over matched by FSU. Man, I miss those guys. The Bulldogs finished their season with an upset win over common opponent Illinois, so I’m thinking they may be back. Correction- As Eric pointed out, the Buckeyes have faced the Bulldogs on two occasions. Total scores- 77-20.
Who Are We Picking?
For me, I like the consistency and “moxie” that Pat Hill brings to his team and their effort, and believe that the coaching transition might be too great of a distraction for the Huskies from DeKalb.
Late Sunday/early Monday during the season (what can I say- west coast timezone), tBBC will be bringing you reflections on that week’s game. And, since it’s always great to have mood music to read to, let’s start with this clip from Pitchfork’s top ten videos from the ’90′s
All is right with the world- football is back, baby! And what a slate of games we had… although, for Buckeye fans, it all seems anticlimactic after Thursday night, amiright?
In case you’ve forgotten, Houston Nutt has a penchant for overtime games, being on the sidelines for several of the longest contests in history while at Arkansas. The one thing, though- he needs to remember how to “win” in OT and not just “play for OT”, as the Rebels were upset Saturday by the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. As a public service announcement, tBBC would like to remind you that Jeremiah Masoli is now 0-2 in his last two games. Best part? Ole’ Miss paid $300,000 for the pleasure of the upset. Almost as much fun as my favorite season opener ever.
We talked about Mich1gAAn during the livechat, and will do so again later on Monday. I will say this; their version of the wildcat offense looked pretty good. And UConn’s defense and offense looked pretty terrible. In my opinion, the highlight wasn’t the running game but something far more significant.
Kentucky’s new coach beat Louisville’s new coach, in the first match up of these two teams while each had an African American at the helm. Interestingly enough, Kentucky’s three major programs (UK, UofL, WKU) are all led by African American head coaches- there are only nine others in Division 1A (FBS, whatever). For the Kats and Cards, it’s probably exciting to talk about coaches and not use the word “investigation” or “payoff“.
Late Saturday night “Ohio’s BCS Team” gave up a late comeback to lose to Fresno State… Are we sure they didn’t import the entire Western Michigan team along with their coach? In addition on Thursday, The Utes upset the Pitt Stachers, in overtime. Let’s see- UofL, UC, UConn, Pitt all blow opening weekend games… Yup, Big lEast it is. I hope Jim Delaney was watching as he ponders even more expansion options… each of these teams has a chance to win that conference. Read More
Bring it on, bitches!
Ohio State, fresh off a 30-20 win at Illinois, now gets to focus on That Team Up North without looking past anybody. The Buckeyes return home for their final regular season game at 9-2, while TTUN comes to Columbus at 3-8.
Today’s game was rather anti-climactic, but any fan of the Buckeyes could see that coming. Ohio State has a long, storied tradition of underachieving in the game before The Game. For example;
Need I go on? We just rarely play well before The Game. The only exception to the rule in Tressel’s tenure is a 48-10 pasting of Northwestern in 2005.
So I expected revenge, but I didn’t think it would be pretty. Still, we looked good enough and got the job done.
Beanie Wells moved into the #5 slot of all-time rushing leaders at Ohio State, sliding past Pepe Pearson. He cracked the 3,000 yard mark on his first carry, and kept moving all day long. Here’s the current standings;
Wells will top 1,000 yards for the season, and move past the legendary Keith Byars against TTUN at home on Saturday, barring injury and any other natural disaster. Odds are good that he’ll stay at #4 even adding in the bowl game. Getting another 410 yards against TTUN and a bowl opponent seems unlikely, even if you factor in Wells’ proven ability to rush for over 220 yards against the Wolverines.
Speaking of Wells, holy f-ing poopbags, did you see him leap four feet in the air to clear an Illinois tackler? I’ve gotta get video of that posted. Best hurdle I’ve ever seen.
Sweet Jesus, are Illinois fans the biggest WATBs you’ve ever seen? Have you ever heard ANYBODY whine about the refs in a game where they only get flagged four times? They were still moaning at the end of the game (those that hadn’t abandoned their seats before the game ended, that is).
Penn State struggled for a half against Indiana, but pulled away in the second half and won 34-7. This means that their home game next week against Michigan State will determine half of the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State plays Michigan at Noon, and if the Buckeyes win, they clinch a share of the title. PSU-MSU is at 330, and if the Bucks win, the Spartans and Lions will do battle for the other share.
Let’s speak hypothetically.
Penn State controls their own destiny. Both Sparty and the Buckeyes need help.
However, I do believe that Ohio State will secure a BCS Bowl with a win. More on that after the jump.
Ohio State stands at #11 in the current BCS Standings. Ten teams make BCS Bowls. but there are tie-ins involved that could hurt us.
Six teams will guarantee themselves BCS Bowls by winning their conferences. Let’s make some assumptions here;
This leaves two at-large bids open. The remaining schools in the Top 14 of the BCS Rankings are;
Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma State are ineligible for the BCS, because of the rule only allowing two teams from each conference to play in the big 5 bowl games. That leaves Utah, Boise State, Ohio State and Ball State as the only possible teams able to get those final two bids.
Utah and Boise State have won BCS bowl games before and will use that in their lobbying efforts. Ball State can forget it. No MAC school is getting in, especially in a year when the #5 school will get left out.
If we don’t secure the Rose Bowl, we are left to the mercy of the selection committee. We’ll need to hope that the Fiesta Bowl remembers our massive numbers at previous bowls and how we travel better than any other team, during bowl season. But if BYU can do us a favor and knock off Utah, we can consider ourselves in. Maybe Fresno State can help out more and beat Boise State on November 28th?
So, in this order, let me just say….
And yes, I know it’s the BYU Cougars. Did you?