As you’re reading this, I’m prepping for the drive from Los Angeles to the Bay Area with the Mrs. for Saturday’s game. Given that we got engaged on the Marin Headlands, this song by one of her favorite performers is the obvious choice for this week’s soundtrack. Gonna’ warn you, though… this week’s reflection is… uh… verbose.
Welcome to Monday Musings, I’m glad that you decided to stop in for a bit. Grab a beverage and let’s go through the Looking Glass.
We have a couple things from James/Wexner today. As always, follow the links to get the full detail.
First, OSU’s Wexner Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the country to implant an MRI-safe spinal cord stimulator. Actually, this is a pretty big deal. The spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an implant that provides quality of life relief for some people with chronic pain by blocking impulses to the pain receptors. Patients with previous versions of the SCS could not have the MRI diagnostic performed due to electrical/magnetic interference. This gets past that restriction.
As long as we’re on the spine today, Ohio State researchers show possibility to restore immune function in spinal injured mice. Yeah, I know we’re only talking “possibility” and “mice” at this point, but the research has to start somewhere.
People with spinal cord injury often are immune compromised, which makes them more susceptible to infections. Why these people become immune-suppressed is not known, but the Ohio State study found that a disorder called autonomic dysreflexia can cause immune suppression.
The occurrence of spinal cord injury and a compromised immunity is a really bad combination, so this is encouraging research, even at its early stages. And, like many early research projects, this foray into neurology and immunology could reap some unforeseen benefits. Read More
It’s a bayou Tiger versus a lowlands Tiger and they got their nicknames in completely different ways. The LSU tigers chose their name because of the infantry that fought for General Robert E. Lee during during the Civil War and they became known as the “Tiger Rifles”. The Clemson Tigers got their name simply because Walter Riggs, who was the head football coach in 1896 simply admired the Princeton Tigers and therefor named his team the same.
These two teams have been on a collision course for a couple years now and there have just been a few bumps in the road preventing it. Defending conference champs in their conferences, neither played for one this season which allowed them to finally be paired in this bowl game, could be the best match-up this year.
The Les Miles led Tigers, which will have their coach until they so choose, were hoping to play for another national title this season and the sole reason they didn’t may be due to losing one of the best players in the country. Tyrann Mathieu will be entering the NFL draft after sitting out a season due to suspension by the school, and it left a crater in the LSU defense that caused problems early on.
Playmakers: QB Zach Mettenberger played as well as he could in the match-up with Alabama and had them in position to win the game. He just had to sit back and watch as the season going down the drains unfolded. He has a good argument for being a leader and he’s shown poise of late. Having a pretty good season statistically the one area of concern headed into this game is the number of sacks that he has taken over the season, 26 sacks in all for over 200 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball it’s a tie for best playmaker this season. After losing a surefire heisman candidate for the season due to off field issues, the defense could have folded. It didn’t and thats mostly because Les Miles cupboard is not bare on that side of the ball. DE Barkevious Mingo and S Craig Loston have stepped up their game this season and have led the Tigers to success on defense. Mingo is a disruptor who gets after the QB and Loston has three INT’s for 103 yards and a TD.
Season High – Low: It’s simple for the bayou Bengals, they wanted it all. Les Miles has had them in a position to win it two seasons in a row now and has lost to what will be the back to back champions and Florida. That’s it. They compete at a high level and as a team aren’t very happy about playing in this game, but it is what it is and they have a hungry Clemson team wanting to climb the ladder. Read More
We’re going to do things just a little bit differently this week, given all of the amazing news and events that happened this past weekend. So, this will be part Silver Bullet Points, part Monday Morning Commentary, and the usual chunk of random observations from Saturday’s events in the world of college football. Here’s something to listen to while you’re fighting the urge to tl;dr- we’ve certainly got a lot to be Thankful for.
In this year’s edition of the Battle For Los Angeles, the upstart UCLA Bruins jumped out to a quick lead and held on to “upset” the Trojans by ten points on a gray day in Pasadena. While the Bruins obviously have been playing much better football this year, you’ve also got to wonder if the trajectories of the programs have now crossed, particularly given some of the issues that continue to swirl at Southern Cal.
As the team that was picked by many to contend for the national title, the frustration for many SC fans has been swirling since the loss to what we now know is a pretty good Stanford team. That game highlighted the Trojans’ issues with depth; injuries since then have continued to create problems and have certainly didn’t help in their back to back losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defeat by the Ducks made things even more problematic, since SC’s defense was a point of strength for them under current coordinator Monte Kiffin; their being gashed turned up the heat on the current coaching administration. And now, to lose to “little brother” has many wondering if it’s not time to make a change.
Coach Kiffin’s actions certainly haven’t helped this season- cutting media opportunities short, banning reporters outright… it certainly makes sense that he’d not want to leave the Rose Bowl via the obvious entrance on Saturday night. Other controversy swirls around Lane as well; while possibly not related, it’s definitely not helping matters at all. You may remember “inflation-gate” and the termination of a student manager following the revelation that game balls for kickers were under-inflated against Oregon. For those not infatuated with special teams- a “flatter” pigskin has a much larger “sweet spot”; as a great Buckeye Planet poster pointed out, the Trojan’s kicking game has not been anywhere near as efficient ever since they were penalized for this “mistake”.
In addition, earlier this week Tennessee was dinged for recruiting issues that occurred under Kiffin’s one year tenure in Knoxville- issues that involved Chip Kelly’s favorite videographer, Willie Lyles. Given the length of the investigation into Oregon’s program and this new decision at UT involving Lyles, you’ve got to think that there’s more than a few million good reasons for Kelly to take the Pete Carroll route and jump to the NFL ASAP.
What does this mean for Kiffin? At this time, it’s difficult to say, but losing Matt Barkley for the matchup against Notre Dame this weekend, combined with the continuing scholarship losses for the next couple of years would certainly be reason to wonder how warm his office chair will be getting this winter.
Interestingly enough, the other two programs involved in “affair du Lyles” also had difficult weekends. Derek Dooley’s Volunteers lost to cross-state foe Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t even close. The win ensures that UT will have a losing season for the third time in as many years, and was only the second victory for the Commodores in 35 years. Following the game, the inevitable happened… Dooley was fired, effective immediately. If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’ve got to wonder if this might have an impact on current recruits looking at both programs… Vonn Bell is the name that pops up, but there may be others in the 2014 class. This year’s season ending clash between the Vols and ‘Kats will feature both coaches in either interim or lame duck status… it’s going to be a fun coaching carousel for the SEC this season.
Lyle’s third “partner” in all of this felt the sting of their first loss on Saturday, at home, to a Stanford team that should be in the conversation about the top programs in the nation. Remember, they’re a botched call from extending overtime in South Bend and possibly ending the Irish Nightmare that we are currently facing. I was most impressed with The Cardinal’s defense on Saturday- disciplined, aggressive, and never seemed to give up the big play to an offense that most often looks like throwing kerosene on a bonfire… one blink, and it’s over. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.
The loss can easily be attributed to a lot of things- Oregon being too confident, and this being the Duck’s annual brain fart game; Questionable officiating, A “trap” game, with the resurgent Beavers looming Thanksgiving week… But all of these would not do a service to the great work that the coaches at Stanford, starting with Jim Harbaugh, have done in building a program that can certainly play with anyone in the country. It’s also why I think that Alabama, if given the usual bowl prep to face Oregon, would beat them- I believe that the Tide’s defense is more athletic and much more disruptive than Stanford’s… and the template we’ve seen in the Ducks’ losses over the past four years is now pretty well known. You just need to have the horses to pull it off; Stanford did on Saturday, and now control their PAC12 destiny. They’ll need to beat UCLA twice in two weeks to do so, but doing so may have the Oregon Ducks on the outside of the BCS championship game AND the automatic Rose Bowl berth… along with USC. It’s been that kind of year.
Oh, and on Saturday Northwestern, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all won. Nerds, y’all.
Commentary: Polls and Playoffs Read More
Over 200 years ago in our Country’s history there was a man poised to be a possible hero. Instead, General Benedict Arnold has become the household name for traitor. I am not going to turn this article into an American History lesson, but as we get closer to the kickoff of the season, and as the recruiting news keeps coming in almost daily, I take a look at three of Ohio’s all time Benedict Arnolds.
It’s no secret that Ohio State and that state north of Toledo have forged wars over the same territories. Most of the big time recruits in the Midwest are chased after by both schools. Not only does the recruiting get tough but also the recruits get tough. Recently Logan Tuley-Tillman infamously took to twitter and tweeted a picture burning his Ohio State offer letter. You don’t have to be a MENSA member to take a guess at what the fallout of that action was- Let’s just say that he will not be dotting the ‘I” ever. The worst part is that he is not even an Ohio native, he’s from Illinois!
Desmond Howard was born and raised in Cleveland, Oh and played his high school ball at St. Joseph High. A very accomplished athlete, Howard earned 3 varsity letters in track and football. There is no doubt about his athleticism but only doubt in his loyalty to his born state. Howard is famous for striking the Heisman pose against the Buckeyes in ’91. If you look real close at the photos you can almost see the red laser dots of thousands of wolverine hunters taking aim their prey. Read More
It’s the eve of the most mythical of mythical national championship matchups. The game that no-one outside of the bible belt actually wanted to see again after the ugly 9-6 OT finish in the middle of the season. The matchup that brought to light questions as to why, exactly, Michigan was not allowed a rematch in the 2007 mythical national championship game.
Amusingly, while everyone was busy clamoring that they would refuse to watch the championship game this year, a number of major College Football analysts and writers claimed that fans would watch anyway. “It’s college football at it’s best,” they breathlessly exclaimed, “You can’t help but watch it in the end.”
Well, I have repeatedly argued that I would not, could not, watch that travesty of a championship. To that end, I will not preview the game either. Instead, I provide you with a channel-by-channel listing of everything else you could be watching instead of torturing your ocular nerves with that field full of pathetic SEC suck. Enjoy!
I’m choosing the 8pm showtime start, so that you’re not even tempted to finish the ridiculous preview show. Also, I’m not endorsing any of the shows or channels on the list (especially none of the political/news programs), merely providing you a public service so you know what’s available rather than having to scramble at the last minute.
Heck, better yet, go watch something on Netflix, or on your DVR, or go read a book. You could even go get a tooth canal if you can find a dentist willing to do it that late. Whatever floats your boat.
Just don’t give the Championship even a minute of your time. It’s really, honestly, not worth it.
Updating an earlier post…
Well, here we are, on the cusp of the “Hyperbole Bowl!!!1!1!!”. Alabama -vs- LSU; the game so great it had to be played twice.
Granted, both LSU and Alabama are amazing teams, and deserve their top rankings. Each program is led by a coach that has won a national championship; with Coach Saban doing it at both schools. Both come from the tradition and experience laden SEC, winners of the last five national titles.
So, in many ways the extreme coverage is warranted. Given that both teams have had a significant time to prepare, and that their conference has exclusive coverage from the network that creates news stories, I’m actually surprised at how understated the buildup to this game has been. But no, I won’t be watching.
It’s not simply because I’ve already seen this game and believe that another team should have been given a chance… others have covered that already. It’s also not due to the fact that this proves nothing new- an Alabama win only evens the series… when’s the rubber match?
No, the main reason I’m not interested in tuning in to the four letter network is that their coverage of this game has been woefully incomplete (go figure). In addition to the fact that both teams are on NCAA probation (who knew?), there’s another shadow over this “epic clash”. For all the talk about strategies and “SEC Speed” and Heisman Finalists, one key reason that these two teams are so successful is being completely overlooked and under-reported in the build up; again, surprising given all the time dedicated to previewing this match.
Look, I’m on record as being very “anti-human interest angle” pre Super Bowl, and my perspective here is why I refuse to watch the Olympics. However, there are student athletes who have been forgotten and cast aside here, not just by the media coverage, but by the programs themselves.
I’m referring, of course, to those players who have ‘left’ the active rosters of each team for what might be considered questionable reasons.
Lots of holiday options for this week’s soundtrack, but I’m that guy that thinks Christmas music should be banned until at least December. So, given all of the rumors of this past week and the results from yesterday’s Ohio State game, the R&B genius of Sam And Dave make a return as we give thanks and look to the future.
Ah, Thanksgiving weekend. When thoughts turn to leftover turkey and pie and… football. While the NFL takes front stage on Thursday, and even with the “exciting news” that the NBA is “back, baby!!!”, this weekend was all about the college game. It’s the weekend that puts the best of both worlds together- family and friends gathering together to break bread and then scream at each other because someone had to go to that school just to be different.
And we got three days of amazing games, starting with the end of an era. Because of future schedule issues between the SEC bound aTm and the Big Integer anchor Texas Longhorns, the Turkey Day Tradition saw its last episode end in a classic fashion. This was supposed to be THE year for the Aggies, but failure after failure on their farewell tour led to a mentality where the UT game was a must win to maintain dignity before heading to the 4-8 seasons that SEC play was sure to bring.
Texas’ struggles are also well known (and well documented), and there was a contingent of Longhorn faithful who were as tired of their staff’s decisions regarding offensive and defensive play as some Ohio State faithful have been as of late. For this to end the way that it did highlights the beauty of the rivalry and the reason that college football is the heart of the lives of so many: