The college basketball season is winding down but that doesn’t mean that the excitement is too. More over time games, more losses, and more surprises continue to be story of the season. Duke kept the streak of Top 5 teams losing by dropping their game to Maryland. The Miami Hurricanes continue to turn heads and move up the polls and will most likely do the same this week after beating Florida State. The Big East and Big Ten are proving to be the two best conferences in the nation as they continue to beat up on each other. The week of games are becoming too much for me to wrap up in a paragraph so I will stop rambling so you can see how everyone did last week.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review:
1. Indiana (23-3, 11-2) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 2/10 @ (13) Ohio State, W 81-68 & 2/13 Nebraska, W 76-47 & 2/16 Purdue, W 83-55
Upcoming: 2/19 @ (8) Michigan State
So the Hoosiers lose and stayed number one this past week……No love to the Hurricanes. After knocking off Ohio State in Columbus they now travel to East Lansing to face a scorching hot Michigan State team.
2. Duke (22-3, 9-3) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 2/10 @ Boston College, W 62-61 & 2/13 North Carolina, W 73-68 & 2/16 @ Maryland, L 81-83
Upcoming: 2/21 @ Virginia Tech
Duke held their own on home court in college basketball’s biggest rivalry after beating North Carolina. They followed it up with a disappointing loss at Maryland. They hope to bounce back when they face Virginia Tech on the road. Read More
Not gonna lie… got a pretty mellow vibe for this week’s updates.
This week, there’s only one song that will suffice for Buckeye Nation. Enjoy!
The “reveal” was a part of the Beat Blue rally in the Student Union on Monday night, and saw former Ohio State running back Raymont Harris taking the catwalk at the party. The biggest question is about the Buckeye leafs awards on the helmet- the jersey will have seven of them to commemorate the seven national titles, but it’s unlikely that the awards the players have won this season will make the helmet. That being said, the official Nike blog has a Buckeye sticker on the helmet, so there may be something in the works.
My take: I like these the most of the ones we’ve seen, although I wish they’d stop screwing around with the gear for Mich1gAAn week. But, the students like them, as do all of the recruits who will be in attendance... and that’s the target demographic.
“You’re taught at a very young age who the enemy is, but you have a lot respect for the enemy.”
He spoke fondly about this year’s senior class, and how he’s been impressed that they stuck around once the bowl ban was announced. He talked about the need to be ready for both Denard and Devin at quarterback on Saturday, and that there was more than likely a chance for something “interesting” to happen. On his own quarterback, Coach Meyer talks to him daily and reminds him that the goal is to be a QB that can run rather than a running back who throws the ball. “It’s a big week in Columbus Ohio”
Two things are now certain after rumors became fact today with regards to the University of Maryland. First and foremost, they’ll have to throw away those gawd awful Under Armor uniforms. Second, they just got an immediate infusion of cash that will surely help save a declining athletic department.
I am sure Under Armour will stay seeing how their president is a graduate of Maryland, but they’ll now have more money to spice things up even more. The Terps athletic department has been struggling of late and will benefit greatly from the more than $24 million a year they will get from the BTN contract with all schools. The Board of Governers met earlier today and University of Maryland President Wallace Loh had this to say:
“I did it to guarantee the long-term future of Maryland athletics,” university President Wallace Loh told Maryland’s student newspaper, The Diamondback. “No future president will have to worry about cutting teams or that Maryland athletics will be at risk.”
Patricia Florestano, the Maryland Secretary of Higher Education, shared her thoughts as well:
“There was certainly discussion about the tradition of the ACC. And the question is what’s the future. And we’ve got to look to the future,” Florestano said in Baltimore before a previously scheduled public meeting on education policy.
Florestano said the vote earlier Monday was not unanimous but that she voted for the move to the Big Ten. “There was a long discussion,” she said. Is Maryland’s future brighter in the Big Ten? “‘We perceive it that way,” said Florestano. We had a majority in the room,” she said. She went on to explain the status of the meeting “It was certainly an executive meeting without the public,” she said.
The speculation is running rampant as to whether this will be a premptive move for the B1G to realign their football divisions after only two seasons with the Leaders and Legends. They have already had to remove a name from the B1G Championship trophy for very unfortunate reasons, but have had to deal with backlash of the original alignment to start with. The possibility of Rutgers joining very soon (as early as tomorrow) could allow the conference to realign in a east/west format and put TTUN and the Buckeyes back together.
The B1G has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon to discuss the current events. Stay tuned to the BBC for more realignment coverage.
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
Bert Blathers- Also in Tuesday’s B1G Conference Call, Coach Bielema talked about how impressed he is with Ohio State’s improvement as the season has progressed. He mentioned the offensive line in particular, and said that they are playing really well at this point in the year. He also addressed speculation that his team would be satisfied after last week’s win, which put them into the Conference Championship Game for the second straight year; and said that his team would not see a let down against the Buckeyes, especially given last year’s game. Added to the fact that it’s “Senior Day”, and it’s sure to be a high intensity game.
Uniform Updates Read More
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.
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
The weak that was and I pulled an 0′fer and am 3 and 12 on the season! Atleast Im doing a little better in the Pick ‘em pool!!! Anyone want to replace me as the the picker for these contest games? Here are the results of my worst weak week ever!!!
Safe Bet. VTU over PITT 31 to 6; Role reversal and WRONG! PITT 35 to 17 (Some other time Fat Urkel)
Points Plus. Mizzou over Arizona St. 43 to 39; wrong on points Mizzou 24 to 20
Defensive Struggle. Navy over Penn St. 9 to 7; WRONG AGAIN!! PSU 34 to 7
Best Match-up. USC over Stanford 34 to 28; Glad I was WRONG Stanford 21 to 14
Best B1G Game. MSU over Notre Lame 24 to 17; Sparty WRONGED me! ND 20 to 3
Ok… here’s what you’ve got for this week:
Safe Bet. Maryland @ WVU. I’ll take WVU and the points here. Now that the Heisman front runner Geno Smith and his streaks in shoes Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are firing on all cylinders in that high powered offense, they’ll take care of business quickly. Edsell’s Terp’s are still learning the ropes and have little chance of competing in this game. I was wron about my safe bet last week, but not this week. WVU 47 to 13
Points Plus. Fresno St. @ Tulsa. The Bulldogs hung 69 points last week on Colorado and the Golden Hurricanes blew through Nicholls St. for the tune of 66 points. The last time these two teams met in 2005 they combined for 55 points. I’d say the over in this match up is close to double that. Basketball on turf for sure. Fresno St. 54 to 49
Defensive Struggle. Rutgers @ Arkansas. I honestly am not too sure there is much left of John L. Smith and the Razorbacks after the Tide dismantled and blanked them last week. There isn’t help on the way in the form of the Scarlet Knights thoughas they are undefeated on the season and atop the Big Least standings. I’m not sure any of that means anything. Going with the gut feeling here. Arkansas 16 to 10
Best Match-up. Clemson @ Florida St. In my ACC preview I pretty much said it would come down to the man that beat the man that beat the . . , and here we go. If the home team holds pat, which I don’t believe they will, then FSU will become a front runner to possibly play the winner of the SEC championship for the national title. That being said, the ACC has a habit of beating up on each other in these types of games and ruining each others seasons. Its a tough place to play for sure but I still like Clemson to play for it in the end. Clemson 21 to 17
Best B1G Game. TTUN @ Notre Lame. It’s killing me that I have had to use these guys three weeks in a row and it’s even worse now that I have to chose between them and TTUN. Now that Notre Lame is finally leaving the B1G . . , oh wait . . , the Big Least . . , no . . , whatever, they’re headed to the ACC and good riddens! Two things I will never do, pick a TTUN team to win anything, nor will I ever root for them. Notre Lame 24 to 23
Good luck with this week’s picks and Go Bucks!