In a week full of surprises, this is a pretty good soundtrack for your Monday morning reading.
Sometimes life gives you some unexpected gifts. You’re set up on a date to be a wingman for a friend who’s girl has a cousin in town, and you end up in an amazing marriage together. You open a book and find an old letter from a friend that you’d forgotten about. A seldom worn jacket has cash in the pocket. Mowing the grass reveals a dog you’d forgotten you had. You let a friend borrow your truck and he has it detailed while he’s got it.
On second thought, that last one probably means that he used it to transport a body or something. Let’s move on.
This week in college football was like that- on paper, there weren’t any marquee “games of the century”. But, as we know, games aren’t played on paper- instead the tiny men who square off in our TV sets gave us some fantastic finishes and an incredible weekend of sports.
Let’s start in the B12… We give Charlie Weis and the Jayhawk program a lot of well deserved grief hereabouts, so I’ll be among the first to celebrate their win over the couch fire that has become the West Virginia program. It’s hard to say that Coach Holgorsen might be in a bit of a rebuilding year, but it’s certainly difficult to see the Mountaineer program fall so quickly from the tops of the conference.
That’s not to take anything away from Kansas- great win, gang. However, let’s not get all carried away, shall we?
Ohio State fans are certainly well aware of the Baylor Bears, who now are poised to jump the Buckeyes in the “we’re still totally making this up as we go” BCS standings. Baylor continued their undefeated season with a big win over Texas Tech on Saturday, a Raiders team that was a media darling following a soft early season schedule, but has now dropped four straight games. What the #narrative won’t tell you as they tout Baylor’s 63-34 win is that the Bears were trailing 20-7 in the first quarter. But hey… shiny!
With all the firepower that the Bears bring to the table one of the surprises is that it was Tech that gave us our first “catch of the week” nominee. For another angle, check this out:
Interestingly enough, the B12 also brings us the hit of the week, which was 100% targeting. It’s a Vine, but check out the shot that this trooper puts on this fan who decides that he wants to be a part of the action… If only Stoops’ team had tackled that well against Baylor. Read More
After getting off to a 3-0 start, the Ohio State women’s basketball team faced its toughest test on the season with a trip to #22 Georgia. The Bulldogs made the Elite Eight last season and are replacing several starters but still are a tough team that has become NCAA tournament regulars. Injuries, suspensions, graduations, and a decision to transfer had left Ohio State short handed this season; the Buckeyes haven’t had more than 8 healthy players for any of their games so far. Fortunately things were a bit better today as guard Raven Ferguson returned to the team after serving a three game suspension for violating team rules.
Ohio State got things started the right way, scoring the first seven points in the game and limiting Georgia to only three shot attempts, all misses, in the opening three minutes. The Bulldogs finally got on the board thanks to a free throw that then sparked a 12 to 2 run to give Georgia a 12-9 lead eight minutes into the opening half. The Buckeyes answered right back with back-to-back three pointers from Ameryst Alston followed by a three pointer by Amy Scullion which put OSU back on top 18-12 at the midpoint of the half. The rest of the half would be a tight, back and forth affair with Georgia repeatedly cutting the OSU lead to 1 point. Fortunately the Buckeyes responded each time and went into halftime with a 33-29 lead.
Georgia came out strong to start the second half while the Buckeyes looked flat; OSU failed to score for the first six and a half minutes of the second period while the Bulldogs scored 11 unanswered to take a 40-33 lead. When OSU finally got on the board thanks to a pair of free throws, they then followed those with three pointers by Maleeka Kynard and Scullion as part of an 8 to 3 run that cut the Bulldog lead to 43-41 at the midpoint of the half. Neither team was able to have much luck scoring from that point and with just under a minute and a half remaining in the game, Ohio State found themselves down 53-47. A pair of Ameryst Alston free throws followed by a steal by Kynard seemed to give the Buckeyes a chance but OSU promptly turned the ball over and were forced to foul. The Bulldogs missed the front end of the one-and-one and the Buckeyes grabbed the rebound but were unable to score as Georgia hung on for the 53-49 win.
You’ve got two choices for this week’s narrative as you talk college sports around the old coffeemaker at the office this morning.
Option one: “Wow, 5 top 25 SEC teams were beaten on Saturday… four in upsets! Is that conference over-rated or what?”
Option two: “Wow, four SEC team upset top 25 teams this weekend!!! What an incredibly deep league… let’s just crown their champion now!”
I’ll let you guess which one will be the talking points of most people… This is, as you may know, the phenomenon of “circular logic“, and when you play games on the field but championships in the polls, it’s something will make a difference for some team.
But, as we said, the games were played on the field, and this week saw 6 of the top 11 upset and two other undefeated teams threatened. We started with a come from behind loss by Team Papa John against UCF on Friday Night. If you’re Louisville, playing anytime anywhere means both that you can build your program AND that you’ve got a national audience when you fall apart late in the game.
Previously, undefeated Miami needed a late score to hold off North Carolina. ACC, y’all.
Saturday’s surprises didn’t include UCLA getting its first loss at Stanford… only because many folks still feel that Stanford is one of the top two teams in the PAC12, and would serve as UCLA’s first test. Their next text? Oregon. Have fun, Bruin-bros. The Stanford Game also brought us what may be the reception of the year… it’s certainly the best catch we saw all week: 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
For those unfamiliar with this feature, consider it your cheat sheet for the conversations around the grill on Labor Day. As always, these come with a melodic interlude to play gently in the background during your perusal… because you’re that important to me.
It was the best of times, it was the… well… best of times. Football was played, plays were made, and the long summer doldrums finally came to an end.
Sawkaralyna got us started off in style, scoring on the third play of their first possession and kicking off the annual “Hey, we’re pretty good! Oh, that’s right… we have to play in the same conference as Alabama/Georgia/Florida/LSU… nevermind.” The only significant storyline to come out of this game, other than the fact that sometimes “new school clothes” aren’t always fashionable, is the fact that ESPN’s love-fest for all things Clowney turned into the predictable hate-fest for the sophomore after he didn’t balance the budget/solve global warming/play like a Heisman candidate. Whatever helps them get their ratings points, right?
Speaking of firsts, the news this offseason was about the new “targeting” rule and it’s potential impact on the game. Your future trivia answer to “who was the first college player to be ejected under this rule?’ is none other than Tulane’s Lorenzo Doss. Small Ohio State related fact that’s stuck in my brain for some reason- In 1995, the NCAA decided to crack down on “showboating” and OSU’s Terry Glenn was the first person flagged after signaling “First Down” following a catch against Boston College in the Kickoff Classic. What a cute rule that was…
At any rate, the impact (see what I did there?) of the new rule was certainly felt across the first weekend; Northwestern had a game-winning drive extended after Cal’s best pass rusher was flagged for “targeting” on a tackle in the end zone, Texas A&M lost a player for a similar infraction (although, to be honest, it was a really bad call), and Oregon had to go and “one up them” (as always) with this potentially crippling hit against Nicholls State. To be fair to the defender, though, everyone in the stadium was yelling “Duck!” to the Nicholls QB. At least that’s what I think they meant…
Another major story this weekend was the debilitating sanctions that hit Heisman winner Johnny Manziel following the “autograph” scandal. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to sit there on the sidelines for that time, missing the change to be with his teammates and… yeah, in the time it took you to read this sentence, his “suspension” was over. I wish my car had a suspension that cushy…. Read More
Slight variation in schedule… think of this as TWTW meets Wednesday’s regular SBP. Here’s the tunes behind the guy behind the guy.
2013 started almost the same way that every other year has started since I can remember… with a slate of B1G Ten games, highlighting how many people who live in the midwest want to flee to warmer climes for some semblance of a vacation. I still haven’t figured out how the scheduling geniuses who have an entire slate of games and “bowl week” to work with decide to run four of them at semi-simultaneous time times, though.
You’ll note that I said “almost”… one of the major differences this year was the lack of Buckeye football; in case you hadn’t heard, they had a one year vacation from the post-season. What’s intriguing about that fact is that we seemingly had it shoved down our throats throughout the regular season by the good folks at the four letter network, and yet I can count on one hand the times I heard the words “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” thus far in the bowl season. Penn State, too, although you’d think that one of the things that would be covered would be how teams playing got their losses this year; the Rose Bowl’s discussion included the review of their overtime losses, but didn’t mention by name two of the teams that handed those to them.
I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though… you want the games to be celebrations of the teams that are playing, and it’d be a shame to see anything hamper the narrative of next Monday’s “Championship” game; reminding folks of another undefeated team might cast a pall on that sacred moment. However, I don’t seem to remember Southern Cal being erased from the post season even when they were ineligible- their 10-2 record last year was certainly a topic of commentary.
Anywho… Ohio State hasn’t lost a game in over a year, and that can’t be taken away from them or their fans.
So let’s dive into the spectacle that was B1G Tuesday, taking a look at all of the outcomes and then reflecting on what this might “mean” for the conference and college football as a whole. Remember, the results you witnessed might have been different should the two outsider programs be in the mix this season… B1G fans, how are those “you’ve got no bowl game” taunts holding up for you these days?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never blah blah blah… it’s the second B1G/SEC tilt of the day, and should be airing right about the time that you find your keys in the bottom of the guacamole.
The History: This is one of the oldest games in the country, and was formerly the “Tangerine Bowl”. Because of it’s location, African American players were not allowed to participate, causing Hillsdale to decline their team’s offer to the game in 1955, and Buffalo choosing to do the same in 1958. In 1966, Morgan State (a historically black college) won the game and finished their season undefeated.
The “gifts that you can’t sell at all” for the student athletes in this game include yet another Fossil Watch and a $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy. 420. Seriously. While this is awesome in and of itself… if I was participating, I’d really want something a bit more connected with the game’s sponsor, like, say “cash” or medieval weaponry.
Ohio State is 1-3 in this game, with their only win coming against BYU in 1985. The last B1G team to win this game was… wait for it… TTUN, giving Urban Meyer his only loss in Llllloyd Carr’s final game. Alec Baldwin was not involved in any way.
Georgia Scouting Report – At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs’ head coach found himself on a short list of coaches that might be replaced in January. A brilliant campaign that led to a three way tie in the SEC East and a berth in the SEC Championship Game has certainly stopped those whispers. The Dawgs’ best win was the “upset” of Florida in the Swamp, where they held the Gators to nine points; their most heartbreaking loss was against Alabama in the SECCG- a game that was decided by really poor clock management at the end of the contest. Georgia’s offense is led by the aerial attack of Aaron Murray and Tavarres King, while Todd Gurley’s 1260 yards on the ground help balance the Bulldogs’ game plan. However, it’s linebacker Jarvis Jones who gets the headlines most often, his numbers are among the tops in the nation and certainly better than a certain Heisman candidate.
Buckeye Connection- The Buckeyes are 1-o against Georgia, although any chance for a more current assessment went by the wayside when the proposed series against the Bulldogs was cancelled to set up the B1G/PAC challenge… which was then cancelled. If it helps, Urban Meyer owns Mark Richt. Read More