The Week That Were: 12.1.12

Written December 3rd, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Getting ready for the next phase of college fandom, that wonderful world filled with gifts of college hoops and bowl catastophies. As such, here’s the soundtrack for this week’s look back.

Robert Frost once said, “Nothing Gold can stay”; and so, another leaf turns and this college football season comes to a close. Before we jump into Championship Weekend, let me take a second to say “Thank You” to a great Ohio State blog and BBN member who hung up their keyboards this week- Dave and Drew, Godspeed on the next adventure.

It Gets Better

Well, the crapocalypse is surely upon us- we’ve now got the choice to pull for Notre Dame or for Alabama in the Mythical National Title game come January; although I’m still holding out hope that the Mayans were right.

Alabama punched their ticket to yet another dance via a dominant second half performance against a very game Georgia team. Throughout the first half and into the third quarter, it looked as if the Bulldogs had figured out a way to neutralize the Bama defense, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown only extended the sense of dread that Alabama fans must have been feeling throughout the sold-out Georgia Dome.

And then Nick Saban remembered that he had a running game.  From that moment on, the Crimson Tide’s offensive line and stable of running backs managed to decimate the Georgia defense, churning clock and yardage. After running all over the Black and Red, it only made sense that Alabama’s last score would come on a beautifully executed play action pass- everyone, including the cameramen and your humble correspondent bit on the fake, and McCarron’s ball was perfectly targeted for the score.

Again, kudos to the Georgia team; they refused to give up even under dire circumstances and dwindling clock. They managed to drive to the red zone in a short amount of time, but then made decisions that I’m still trying to figure out.

After passing for the first down on the Alabama 8 yard line, Georgia chose to run a play and not spike the ball for clock stoppage goodness- they had used their last time outs forcing the Tide to punt on the previous series. The process of setting the play up itself cost them a good 5 seconds or so, and then they chose to run the following attempt:

There’s a lot of things that went wrong here- the pass was tipped at the line, and the receiver should have intentionally dropped it (although that’s a hard thing to do, as it goes against years of practice). But the decision to not control the clock a bit better at the end send Nick Saban to Miami to defend his team’s national title, and ended up pushing Georgia to game against the B1G Championship Runner Up (more later). Read More

The Week That Were: 10.27.12

Written October 29th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

In spite of the huge win in Happy Valley on Saturday, I’m feeling a bit of the blues are in order for this week’s recap. So, enjoy some Collins, Cray, and Copeland.

It’d be easy to say that this week was “spook-tacular”, and “scary” for a lot of top teams, but that would be way to easy. So, let’s just admit that Saturday once again proved that we’re fans of the greatest sport in the world; because anything can happen once the ball is kicked.

Whoops

As a promise to a “friend” that’s a Notre Dame fan who I’ve been justifiably ripping for the last ten years, we’re leading off this week with the Irish’s huge win in Norman over the Sooners.  Like most of America who pays attention to the sport, I imagined that Oklahoma would stomp a mud hole into Brian Kelley’s team- Stoop’s defense, high powered offense… not exactly playing Air Force here. So, because the Irish emerged victorious, undefeated, and “relevant” enough to bump up to the third ranking spot in the BCS, I tip my journalistic cap to them- particularly their defense, which is playing lights out this season.  Although they gave up their first* (non-official assisted) rushing touchdown to Oklahoma, they were able to keep Sooner QB Landry Jones guessing all night long. That’s not to say that we’re not without some controversy, as the “luck of the Irish” continued when Heisman Candidate Manti Te’o intercepted the Sooners late in the game to seal away the victory. Your perspective of the play will depend on your hopes prior to the game- Irish fans were elated, others thought that the initial play was a case of pass interference resulting in a ball that clearly touched the ground. At any rate, complaining about the officiating is better left to other fan bases; the Irish are undefeated, and have overcome all but one of the games that had people pointing to theirs as the toughest schedule in college football. Congrats indeed.

Although… How much of this gets pinned on Bob Stoops? “Big Game Bob”, as we’ve discussed before, has built a reputation on an early BCS championship and his ability to beat his rival. However, given the state of his rival over the past few years, is it really fair to continue to give him a pass for his team’s coming up short in these types of games? The loss to Notre Dame is the second at home this year… although, to be fair, both teams are undefeated currently. So, Sooner fans- enjoy that BCS win over Connecticut a few years back, and hope that things can get turned around in the B12 for your squadron in the near future.

Since we alluded to them, let’s talk Texas, shall we? It took some late game heroics by a McCoy (no, not that one) to keep from being beaten by Kansas.  You read that correctly… the Jayhawks and their “Coach by weight” strategy were within seconds of beating the Longhorns and turning the heat even higher up on coach Mack Brown. I’m not one to jump on a dead bandwagon- check out the great “post a picture of our defense” thread on Shaggy Bevo- but I still can’t figure out how the flagship school in one of the most talent rich states in the nation continues to struggle on the field. Granted, it may be the competition in the conference and adjacent conferences, but you’ve got to think they’d be able to be successful whether or not there’s a prodigy at quarterback.

Also in the B12, Kansas State, the new #3 in the BCS continues to roll, playing even with Texas Tech for a half and then making the adjustment necessary to blow out the Raiders in Lubbock. Read More

Picks for the Weak – Week 6

Written October 3rd, 2012 by WVaBuckeye

Me, After A Successful Week Of Picks

I have decided to remove whether I got the score right or not and am going straight up with my picks. I will continue to include a guess of the score in most cases but it will just be a guide! The reason for this is the fact that I was an amazing five and one based on team picks and the score would have ruined the joy I felt! Here are the results from last week’s picks!!

Why bother. Minnesota @ Iowa.  Iowa 21 to 16; Right Iowa 31 to 13

On Campus Recruiting Bowl. Penn St. @ Illinois. Illini 23 to 10; Wrong PSU 35 to 7

Hoosiers v. Nerds. Duh.  Northwestern 35 to 10; Right Northwestern 44 to 29

Lumps are Us. Wisconsin @ Nebraska.  Nebraska 21 to 13; Right Nebraska 30-27

Best of the Week. #14 Ohio State @ #20 Michigan State.  Ohio State in a romp; Right OSU 17 to 16

Battered and Bruised week off. Purdue v. Marshall.  Boilermakers 28 to 13; Right 51 to 41

I have finally found the right format as well, in sticking with what I know best, I am going with all of the B1G games and will pick a national best game. Hope you’re doing well in your pick-em contest and enjoy the week! Read More

The Week That Were: 9.29.12

Written October 1st, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

In a week that was seen as a “meh” on the national scene, it was nonetheless a great Saturday for football.  Here’s today’s soundtrack, inspired by Coach Meyer’s comments following the clash with Michigan State.

Well, it may have been the weekend before October, but it certainly was another chance for folks to show off their new costumes.. some for better and some for worse. Let’s start in Lincoln.

"O" Was Otherwise Occupied

Proving yet again that they’re better geared as a soccer kit provider, Adidas decided that the game between Nebraska and Wisconsin would be a great opportunity for all the children of the world to bone up on either their periodic table or their consonants.  Huge thanks to our friend Grant at Buckeye Empire for the in-game screencap that you see on the right… it wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Watching the game was pretty traumatic, to be honest… way too many flashbacks… and it shows that this week’s matchup will be another major test for both teams.  We’ll obviously have much more on the Cornhuskers this week, but if that’s what “skipping rocks” looks like, it might be a long night in Columbus.

Also in B1G play, the “Meandering Illini” were outfitted with some new duds as they welcomed Penn State to the wind tunnel that is Memorial Stadium. I’m torn on the “matte” helmet look- I really like it, until it gets scuffed. Then? It looks pretty junior varsity… and as a lineman, I can’t imagine a non-scuffed helmet. In the days leading up to this game, you just knew there’s be a lot of paint being traded on both sides; Illinois looking to rebound from their embarrassment against Louisiana Tech, and Penn State looking to rebound from… well… everything. Add the “Illinois sent assistant coaches to Happy Valley” angle, as well as two coaches looking to make a statement in their first conference openers, you’ve got to figure that these teams would look for every opportunity to put a lot of points on the other. Unfortunately for Coach Beckman, that ended up being pretty one sided 35-7 loss. Read More

tBBC Conference Cavalcade: SEC

Written August 14th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Symbol of comfort for Old Miss fans

Continuing our look around the nation, Tim takes a quick look at the winner of the last eleventy BCS championships. If you’re a fan of one of these programs, be sure to have someone read this for you (note: does not apply to Vanderbilt).

How does the conference fall in the national rankings? How likely are they to have a team in the title game?

I’ve come to learn in sports, there are no “sure things.” Recently, though, an SEC team playing for (and winning) the National Championship in college football is about as close to a sure thing as there is. Last year, we even saw something nobody ever thought we would—two teams from the same conference playing for it all.

I was one that supported the rematch between LSU and Alabama. They were the two best teams in college football last year, no question. And, with no other team going undefeated and no playoff system, I want to see the two best teams play for the title. Do I think that will happen again this year? Both teams are loaded again, but the answer to that question is no.

The SEC has produced the last six National Champions, and big favorites to make that lucky number seven this season. They currently have five teams in the top ten of the coaches’ poll and seven ranked overall. If I were a betting man, I would put big money on an SEC team playing for the title.

Who’s the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game?

I’ve gone back and forth on this a dozen times. LSU and Alabama are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the coaches’ poll. But, with the recent news of the dismissal of LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, I’m going to pick the Crimson Tide as the best team in the SEC, and thus be the winners of the SEC West.

Another tough choice in the SEC East between Georgia and South Carolina, but I’m going with the Bulldogs. Georgia was routed by LSU in the 2011 SEC Championship game, but quarterback Aaron Murray is back to lead the boys from Athens yet again. I look for a Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship Game with the Crimson Tide bringing home the victory.

Who are the worst teams in the conference? Read More

The Week That Were: “Championship” Week

Written December 5th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

For the last TWTW of the season, I was digging deep for musical inspiration. While I’ve been playing the new Black Keys album non-stop, I wanted to find something that encapsulated the anticipation and pleading that so many are involved in these day- all looking toward a special event at the first of the year.  So, here you go.

For what was supposed to be the pinnacle of the college football regular season, this week’s games were incredibly disappointing.  Not for the action on the field- there were a lot of spectacular plays and performances, but the behind the controversies that impacted the games overshadowed  the work of coaches and players.

Let’s start with Friday Night’s clash in Eugene. While the Fighting Neuheisels went out guns blazing (or pop guns popping) and managed to keep the game under the 30 point spread, the subtext for the entire matchup was that this game was not the “legitimate” Pac-12 title game: The Southern Cal Trojans, who had beaten both of these teams, sat idle due to the Reggie Bush situation and the NCAA’s response. So, after all of the realignment and festivities, even Oregon’s big win has a dented trophy as for the case in Phil Knight’s house.

That’s not to say that there weren’t fireworks in the game- check out Friday’s “Catch Of The Day” from UCLA’s Nelson Rosario:

Read More

The Week That Were: 11.12.11

Written November 14th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

This has been a difficult week. “Gee, you think?” – People in Happy Valley

Even as someone who’s not affiliated directly with PSU football, the news and headlines coming out of this story has created a pall over all of the games this weekend. This story reminds us that there are things greater than the trivial games that we enjoy, and that these are (after all) just games. It makes us take a step back and wrestle with the support we give to programs and the expectations we have for people who are in charge of them. It is the icing on the cupcake of a season already filled with reminders that the purity of the sport is not what it should be (particularly if you buy your cupcakes at one of those overpriced “boutique” places).

Remembering What's Important

In addition to the national news, we hear that Urban Meyer lost his father this past week- thoughts and prayers to him and his family.  With all that’s been going on, this has been a difficult look back at this past week’s contests- but the games can also be reminders of the better things that can happen on the fields and in the lives of the young adults who represent the Universities we follow. So, with that, this week’s soundtrack is some older U2- here we go.

If Disney were in charge of college footbal (and they aren’t. Yet.), Nebraska would be filled with evil villains and Penn State’s valiant, moxified seniors would figure out a way to beat the evil Huskers to honor their “fallen” coach. Alas- we’ve seen that movie, and while miracles happen in real life, the truth of the matter is that two good football teams played and the one with the better strategy managed to emerge victorious.  Penn State’s defense is as advertised, as is their offense- it will be interesting to see if this week’s matchup against Ohio State will make the LSU/Alabama game look like a scoring juggernaut.

Read More

The Week That Were: 11.05.11

Written November 7th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

The Week That Were looks at the hyperbolic and the unexpected. Once again, I was wandering around the wilderness on gameday, which explains why Stevie makes a repeat appearance as our soundtrack for “The Review Of The Century”:

NOTE- Scroll down for our comments regarding Penn State coverage.

Knowing Your Target Demographic

Well, let’s get right to it… the game that many saw as a pick-em at kickoff, between the top two teams in the country, was the “highlight” of an interesting week.  Sorry for those of you playing the “oversigning” drinking game- in the hours and hours of lead up and coverage, not a single mention of the biggest issue behind the scenes for this matchup. At least you could be the Designated Driver, right?

As for the game itself- it was a classic matchup of two solid defenses. Or, it was a clash between two teams that could not offensively amount to much of anything. It all depends on your perspective, I reckon.

That’s not to say that there weren’t moments to enjoy, though. I’m someone who normally appreciates defensive struggles but also hates soccer,  and I can admit the players that Alabama and LSU didn’t run off during the offseason put on the field showed the “SEC Speed” that we continue to hear so much about during home game bowl season. To keep Trent Richardson in check when he’d been running through offenses like he was a fancy car or something… that’s significant. These teams both were firing on all cylinders on the defensive side of the ball, even if they couldn’t outscore a baseball game.

Only one thing frustrated me, to be honest- Les Miles absolutely should have faked the third down field goal and gone for the touchdown.  Lester… man, you’re getting soft. Saban, on the other hand, was in championship form- I can see why people want to play for him… he’s so cuddly! Read More