Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.
And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.
While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.
Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.
As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.
While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.
Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.
Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.
That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS. I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do. You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.
With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.
And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.
And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.
By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the
B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).
That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.
Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.
That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game. That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.
Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance. Splendid.
Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:
Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.
Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.
And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?
That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests. See what you think:
The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.
All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.
But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:
Kirk Herbstreit’s favorite BCS matchup.
The History: The Orange Bowl has been played annually since 1935, making it the second-oldest bowl game, along with the Sugar Bowl and the Sun Bowl, behind the Rose Bowl. Played in Miami, Fla., the Orange Bowl has been sponsored by Discover since 2010 after FedEx sponsored the game for 21 years before that.
Northern Illinois Scouting Report: The Huskies squeaked their way into the BCS party by finishing in the top 16 of the BCS standings after their 44-37 double overtime win against Kent State in the MAC Championship Game. Quarterback Jordan Lynch has thrown for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and rushed for 1,771 yards and 19 touchdowns. To put it mildly, he’s decent.
Florida State Scouting Report: The Seminoles come into the Orange Bowl with two losses on the year–one to NC State and the other to rival Florida. Florida State’s defense is again one of the best in the country and quarterback E.J. Manuel leads the offense as he has thrown for 3,101 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year.
tBBC “Expert Selections:
My Selection: As you can see, all of us here at tBBC are not giving Northern Illinois a chance in this ballgame. A lot of people felt the Huskies didn’t deserve to be in this game so it will be their job to prove all of the naysayers incorrect. However, I just think the Seminoles have too much firepower, especially defensively. This one could get ugly quick and I see FSU winning 38-14.
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.
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
Sure, there’s games on Monday, but the weekend has been so amazing that we just couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle for our reflections on the games of note. Plus, are we really all that excited about a game that’s all technical and stuff? I thought not. Obvious choice for this week’s soundtrack… happy Labor Day.
Whew… I’ve got to admit, I should have been working out with Coach Mick during the offseason. Saturday found me trying to knock the rust off of my college football regimen, although I can definitely say that I was well hydrated. I’m guessing that’s what happened during the livechat- I hadn’t prepared enough, and brought the jinxation. You can breathe a sigh of relief, though- when I caught the replay on Sunday, my presence made no difference in the outcome… Baby steps, right?
From the looks of things, a number of teams were still in “preseason” form, and didn’t have their moves down pat just yet. For instance, while I’m sure that Dabo Swinney’s mom is sure proud of him for leading his fellers to victory over North Carolina State, she certainly couldn’t have been too excited that his first steps leading the team onto the turf ended up in a faceplant. That, combined with this excellent display of exuberance are enough to remind Volunteer fans that their team still has some work to do. Which is good… no one likes to peak during the first weekend of games- well, no one outside of the B1G, that is (more later).
Some of the butterflies were even evident in the Southern Idaho State University trip to East Lansing. Sure, the B1G represented well, as Michigan State showed many why they are a favorite for the conference title… but the game turned out to be “off-script” for both teams. For instance, no matter how hard they tried, Rob Harley’s new squadron couldn’t “Sparty” the game away. Shocker. Oh, and SISU broke their streak of beating out of conference teams when they have a ridiculously long time to prepare… effectively ending their bid at a BCS bowl until they join a legitimate BCS conference in the Big Eas…. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t bring myself to type that. The game also gave us a pretty amazing interception- as always, Tim Burke has ALL the great screencaps and stuff from the weekend’s events.
Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Notre Dame pounding the living stuffing out of Navy in their game in the Emerald Isle… Brian Kelly, why you no like America? And then, your boys let this happen?
Man, back in my day, we fought revolutions for less <adjusts tricorner cap>. Read More
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.
While I will strive to NOT post boring stuff just for the sake of posting, I want to make a solid effort to blog on a daily basis. I realize that i have very few readers right now, but that is no excuse for laziness…as a matter of fact, it’s a GREAT way to build a following. I’ll probably also tweak the template a few times in the near future, to see if I can get a near-perfect look to The BBC. Of course, Blogger.com is free, so I realize I can’t be too picky. Still, I like what I see so far.
Anyway, let’s get into discussing the Iowa game this weekend. Everybody knows how huge this game is. Before the season started, I pointed towards three games that I felt could trip up the Buckeyes….Texas, Iowa, and TTUN (That Team Up North, for fans new to the terminology). ESPN is sending GameDay to Iowa City (where Corso will probably pick the Hawkeyes just to get fans there to cheer for him). ABC has made it their nationally-televised Saturday Night College Football Game. Translation – EVERYBODY knows how huge this game is.
Still, some Iowa fans seem to think that Ohio State is overlooking the Hawkeyes and this will lead directly to our demise. Whatever gets you through the night, Herky.
Now, I am NOT underestimating Iowa when I say this….but I just don’t see anything that has impressed me in the 2006 season. I’m not sure Iowa has shown why they are capable of upsetting the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes.
We’ve heard about how great Iowa’s offense is supposed to be, behind QB Drew Tate. Yet, they’ve got the 40th ranked offense in the NCAA. By contrast, Northern Illinois has the 17th best offense and Texas has the 23rd best offense. Even Penn State is barely behind Iowa, ranked at 44th in the NCAA. We stifled all three of those offenses.
The Iowa defense? Not too bad….ranked 26th in the NCAA. But let’s be serious here…they got that lofty ranking by playing against the offenses of Iowa State (60th-ranked offense), Illinois (63rd-ranked offense), Syracuse (99th-ranked offense) and Montana (Dision 1-AA school). They’re not going to be facing a weak offense like that this Saturday.
Now, these are just the numbers as they appear on paper…you know the cliche’ about the game not being played on paper, but those stats say a lot.
From what I see, if both teams play like they have been playing all year, this one’s a blowout. But I won’t dare predict that, because I think Iowa will be looking for the respect they badly need. The Buckeyes better be ready….but then again, I have faith in Tressel.