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:
With all the BS surrounding today’s BCS decision, we thought it would be a good idea to get a different perspective from someone who’s case is not being
shoved down our throats clearly articulated from Bristol. For that, we turn to our Big Integer correspondent…
I’m a man and not quite 40, and last night was a first in my lifetime…Oklahoma State University won a conference championship, outright for the first time since before MY parents were born and I was there to witness it.
Not only was it against our in-state rival and traditional power OU, it was an arse cripplin’! In all phases the Cowboys dominated. But because of our great college football playoff system, I’m not here, nor are most of the other writers, to talk about the win, rather discuss who plays in the MNCG, as Mali calls it.
Today it all comes down to a vote. Unfortunately, as the four letter network would have it, there will not be equal time given to “all sides” up for election. First, they didn’t bring GameDay to Stillwater even though it was the only top 10 match up. Next, they didn’t send their ‘A’ team to broadcast, because we all know that the VTech/Clemson match up definitely had more to play for and would be better. As if Kirk and Brent stumping for Alabama/LSU LAST WEEK at the Stanford/ND game wasn’t enough, they put on one of the ‘leading candidates’ head coaches to give his ‘unbiased’ opinion for 2 hours on said GameDay. They didn’t even TRY to include an outside voice.
Do I have Pickens colored glasses? YES. Do I think its ridiculous that the four letter network isn’t even trying to hide their bias? YES. I still do have hope in the nation-wide voters at large and that they will vote (against the wishes of one network) to have a conference champion play a conference champion in the final game of the season. And for those of you saying my OSU doesn’t have a chance against LSU, remember back to 2006 when the final BCS ranking was released and NOBODY outside of Gator Nation said they had a chance…but it ended differently than most thought it would (ed.- we have not idea what you’re talking about… there was no 2006 bowl season).
As Gundy said, after last nights thumping, these Cowboys deserve a chance and it definitely will not be a 9-6 game on the road against the Tigers.
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).
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.
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.
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
Tuesday’s update from the Ohio State press conference and the rest of college football news…
Yeah, I think we did. We got a lot of work done. Our guys did a heck of a job on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You look back in the years past, ask around how people handled their bye week, you still have to look at your team and figure out what you guys need as opposed to how everybody else does it. I think we did a very good job with the attitudes and getting the work done we needed to get done.
Well, after a loss there really is only one choice for this week’s soundtrack… Just be thankful I didn’t go all Broadway on you. I know that there were exciting things on the field to talk about, but the big story brings us to…
This week in EXPAND-A-PALOOZA: Well, well, well- Saturday awoke to the ACC getting their big boy pants on, and Sunday it became official- Pitt and Syracuse would be joining the conference in all sports. This was a surprising move, since the ACC has been relatively quiet throughout this process, although last week the powers that be agreed to raise the conference buyout to $20 million (from $12-$14 mil). While it looks proactive in many ways, it’s got to be influenced by rumors that the SEC was looking to poach several schools (FSU/Clemson) from the conference. The addition of Pitt and Syracuse also effectively block the B1G; these programs were always in the minds of those who believed that B1G Commish Jim Delaney was looking to connect with the NY media market- that ship may have now sailed. As a reminder, the B1G is constrained, in a good way from my perspective, by the belief that the conference’s affiliations should transcend television dollars or “great matchups”, and include schools that are parts of the CIC or AAU to share research revenue opportunities.
Other rumors today are that TBPU, OU, UT, and TTU would head to the PAC-16 and be in a western division with Utah, Colorado, and the two Arizona schools. To solve the problem of “not playing in California” for recruiting purposes, the conference would move to a “pod” system that would have teams playing three other schools every year, and then two schools from the other two pods on a rotating basis. Yeah, it’s that complicated. Be aware, though, that UT folks were just in LA for the UCLA game (more later), and that UT and OU have board of regents meetings called for Monday, with Texas having “Conference Alignment” on the agenda.
Elsewheres, UConn has also been rumored to head to the ACC (holy cow, is that going to be a basketball powerhouse conference), while WVa is rumored to have submitted it’s petition to be the SEC’s #14. Where does that leave the B1G? Notre Dame/Rutgers/Mizzou are supposedly the next targets… although the CIC/AAU thing is still a strong draw for some who are connected to Longhorn Nation.
Oh, and if the insiders at a certain Northwestern message board are to be believed, ESPN is at the heart of this. Anyone else curious how media conglomerates became involved in the actions of institutions of higher education? And you thought the “coverage” of B1G sports by the four letter network had an agenda now… what do you think will happen when three of the four super-conferences have deals with Bristol’s network. Now THAT’s something congress should look into, if you ask me- particularly given the fact that the organization that was created to monitor and guide these matters is pretty much powerless on top of other issues.
Welcome back to tBBC’s weekly wrapup- random thoughts, snarky observations, random hyperlinks, and occasionally intelligent insight from the weekend in college football. As always, we aspire to bring you the best soundtracks to help you enjoy the words and pictures… so here we go- thanks to Tony Gerdeman for this week’s musical number:
I’ll admit- I was more than ready for the college football season to begin… particularly after the off season that my favorite squadron had this year. So on Thursday, when my favorite sportscaster was in the booth and the “marquee” game was a matchup at a place that I’d visited before… you can say that I was a bit excited.
And it was totally worth it- the TCU/Baylor game exceeded my expectations as merely the appetizer for the weekend’s game, and launched officially the Robert Griffin Heisman campaign… man, the kid can play. To be perfectly fair, if he and Luck and Jones and Moore have similar numbers, you’ve got to go with RG3 simply because his supporting cast is more ‘cast’ than ‘supporting’.
Remember when everyone was super excited about TCU and their unique defensive strategy? Yeah… about that. Like many have said, it certainly looked like they’d decided to play Big lEast caliber D in preparation for their new home. That’s not to take anything away from the Bears, who absolutely did what they needed to do to set the college football season off on an amazing foot. ‘Sic ‘em!
Quick look at a bit of coolness from yesterday’s presser, then onward into the fray-
Ohio State announced yesterday that they will be wearing customized helmets for the Spring Game, painted with a military design to honor American servicemen and commemorate the 75th anniversary Jesse Owen’s performance at the Berlin Games.
Most of these helmets will be re-painted over the summer, but the announcement goes on to read
Each of the 25 remaining “camo” helmets will be individually numbered, autographed by Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel and then sold, with the sale benefiting the Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program, LiFE (Learning in Fitness & Education) through Sports Program and the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Fund. These helmets will be sold off-line on a first-come, first-served basis for $1,000.00/helmet (limit one per an individual).
which I’m sure will make the good folks over at Tiger Droppings extremely happy.
We talked already about Coach Fickell’s promotion, and other sites have good coverage of the press conference. We expect to hear more today following the media accessible spring practice period.
We haven’t talked about the “news” that Coach Tressel forwarded the Cicero email to Jeanette businessman and Pryor mentor rather than the OSU Compliance office or Gene Smith, mostly because it’s already been said. We all have our theories/rationalizations, but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes his “confidentiality” excuse hold next to no water, and the NCAA will certainly respond accordingly. I was a bit intrigued that the media responded almost wholeheartedly with a “well, now that we know this, he has to be fired/resign” theme, mostly because this doesn’t get to be decided in the media. We’re assuming that, if this information was leaked from inside the athletic department, that the NCAA was aware of this (and has been since the University found out about it). So, while it doesn’t appear positive in any way it’s not as if it was “proof of a greater coverup”. It’s like I’ve been told- just because I don’t know something doesn’t mean that it’s important for me to know it.
So, let’s get to the flavor of the day: The “HBO “revelation” that a former recruit at Ohio State is alleging that he received cash from a booster and “sexual favors” from a co-ed while on a recruiting trip. We’ll get to the context in just a minute, but it should be noted that this occurred around the same time that the athletic department was under a full investigation, and the University was not found to have any pervasive issues with this type of behavior (“pervasive” means “more than a one or two time thing”). If true, it’s indefensible and should have been dealt with.
Regarding the “sexual favors” aspect of the story, I’m shocked to hear that a student who was visiting a University might have had “relations” with someone during their visit. That type of thing never happens when high school kids visit Universities. Sarcasm aside, unless this was coordinated or tacitly facilitated by the athletic department or the coaching staff, I’m not sure how it’s relevant to the perspective that those two entities are “lawless”. Particularly when the reporting team at HBO sports has themselves stated they had no proof to back up the claim. However, since Ohio State is the target of the month, it’s the story that everyone’s been running with.
And now, the rest of the stories…