2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl- Why Oklahoma State Will Win

Written January 1st, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

T. Boone- Actual Size

The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 8:30 PM EST on ESPN, from Glendale. Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big Integer) and Stanford (11-1, 8-1 PAC12).

Well, our Midwestern correspondent checks in with one side of the debate… yeah, he’s biased. Be sure to check out the counterpoint a bit later this evening.

Since we have already watched the “Best Bowl game of the Season” once, let’s talk about the REAL best bowl game of the season:  Oklahoma State vs. Stanford.  As a Cowboy fan, it’s easy to get excited about this game.  The first BCS game in school history, following the first Big 12 championship in school history, which was won by clown-stomping our in-state rival (had to type that one more time).  Oklahoma State brings arguably their best team in school history to this game (at least in my lifetime).  Led by one of the best offensive tandems and an unfairly criticized defense, this team can beat anyone in the nation.  I was asked to give an Pickens-sided perspective so here goes…why one fan thinks OSU will win the Fiesta Bowl.

Everyone knows about the stars, Luck, Weeden, Blackmon, but where I think this game will be won or lost is where most games are won and lost, along the lines and on defense.  Oklahoma State has one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation in Joe Wickline.  Last year he took 5 new starters and turned them into the best performing line in the Big 12, which is saying a lot with the other linemen in the conference. This season, he added 2 other linemen to this mix and again has a dominating line.  This is why, in my opinion, OSU has one of the top offenses in the country.  It’s not surprising that the only hiccup this year was when the line had their worst game.  If the O-Line performs as it has for two seasons, I find it hard pressed that Stanford will be able to keep the Cowboys under 30.

This leads me to my next key of the game:  The Defense.  Much has been written about how bad (statistically) this side of the Cowboys team has been.  However, look at it this way:  They held 5 top 25 offenses below 30 points (3 of these games were on the road), and two potential top 10 draft picks (RG3 and Landry Jones) to 1 TD and 7 turnovers.  Now many will say neither of these players is Andrew Luck.  I’m sure they are not, but the Cowboys have fared just fine going up against top offenses all season.  Some will also say holding an offense to under 30 shouldn’t be highlighted.  Based on my first point, if Stanford doesn’t score 30, OSU wins, because I don’t believe Standford will hold the Cowboys under that number.  Nobody has done that all season, and I don’t see the Stanford Cardinal doing it either.

Finally, I look at Stanford’s loss, Oregon.  Not only did they lose, they lost BIG and at home.  I watched this game from start to finish and what stood out was how slow Stanford looked, again AT HOME.  Oklahoma State is very similar to Oregon…they spread you out, are crazy up-tempo, and then pass and run depending on how you line up.  Also, like the ducks, they are VERY fast at the skill positions.  I see more of the same happening to Stanford in this year’s version of the Party Bowl.

My prediction, Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 31.  Oh, for kicks and giggles, Alabama beats LSU 4-3 with a safety as time expires.  Now what do we have…3 one loss teams.  And I say the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the AP National Champion!  Hey, why not, because none of us buy into the BCS anyway.

Justice, Alabama, and the BCS: Part 2

Written December 6th, 2011 by Eric

This is the continuation of the article posted this morning looking at a solution to the current problems.

To the victors, the spoils.

Many people have spilled an incredible amount of ink over the years trying to determine a just system for selecting a national champion.  Our own Malibuckeye came up with his own system a while back and expounded upon it in length.  I honestly believe there is only one possible method of satisfactorily deciding a champion with all of the proper criteria. That answer is to allow the teams to decide it on the field in a playoff format. But, unlike with many other views, the playoff isn’t the critical factor. The biggest issue is to start to make the regular season important again.

The best way to determine who gets to play in the Division 1A Playoff, while simultaneously allowing fair access to all of the conferences, is to restrict access only to conference champions. Yes, you heard that right – conference champions only.

Read More

Justice, Alabama, and the BCS: Part 1

Written December 6th, 2011 by Eric

Objectivity, Balance, and Power. Two of these are not possessed by the BCS.

This is the first of a two part article on this year’s BCS problems.

When you think of justice it obviously brings to mind the concepts of the court of law, lady justice, and a jury of your peers. Rarely do people consider justice in college football. They may use words like “fair” and “just” or their antonyms freely, but never in any rigorous context.

What the last 48 hours should have demonstrated to college football fans is that the current bowl system is inherently unjust – meant in the strictest philosophical sense.

What is the definition of justice? Dictionary.com suggests (irritatingly as the fifth definition) “the administering of deserved punishment and reward”. This gets at the very heart of the matter.

The BCS as a system was designed to solve the age old problem of determining who is the college football national champion in any given year. Where in previous years the AP and Coaches polls – and a laundry list of other polls before that – occasionally chose different teams, the BCS was supposed to be the unifying consensus. That, of course, went out the window in early 2004 when the AP poll decided to vote USC #1 over LSU, the team that won the national championship game that year.

But the ludicrousness of the BCS doesn’t even begin there. It begins with the very concept of using a poll to determine anything of importance at all.

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

One Fan’s Opinion: Oklahoma State Deserves Title Shot

Written December 4th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

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…

All For Naught?

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.

What gets me most is everyone wants to talk about the one loss.  How about a paradigm shift and talk about the 11 wins.  Alabama didn’t play the top two teams in the east and had their shot AT HOME and lost.  As of this writing, they defeated 2 top 25 teams.  The Cowboys beat 5 top 25 teams and won every game at home and their conference championship who even the four letter network said was 1 and 2 at the top of conferences with the SEC.

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.

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

Silver Bullet Points Preps For A Night Hunt

Written October 25th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Tuesday’s update from the Ohio State press conference and the rest of college football news…

Don't Need No Stinking Badgers

Buckeye 411

  • Getting Deep- Interesting notes from the depth chart this week: Boom is #1 with Hall/Hyde behind him. Miller is QB1, with Guiton OR Bauserman, although Fickell said that Kenny G has been getting more of the snaps in practice. Curtis Grant is now in the 2 deep at LB; there’s speculation that Ohio State will be running more of the traditional 4-3 look due to Wisconsin’s running attack
  • Fickell Speaks-Historically, Ohio State has struggled the week after a bye. Coach addressed this,

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.

  • Captain, My Captain- Brewster, Sweat, and Simon.  I think we’ve found our permanent captains, folks.
  • On Wisconsin- Coach Fickell spoke about the big upset in East Lansing, and confessed that he’d gone to bed before the game went final. He spoke at length about the impact that Russell Wilson has had on the Badgers, and how he’s fit into the system from early on. Of course, Wisconsin’s success starts up front, and their line play dictates every aspect of their offensive game plan.
  • The Future- As usual, Luke Fickell said that he focuses on the things he can control, and hasn’t given much thought to the pending NCAA sanctions or what benchmarks he might need to meet to be given another year at the helm of the Buckeyes. Interesting that he was asked these questions with Gene Smith in the room; others in attendance said that Smith didn’t flinch during this line of questioning at all.
  • Fickell Funnies- When he wasn’t talking about slinging the ball around with his kids, he joked regarding his “to do” list to keep his job for the 2012 season, saying, Read More