As the temperatures drop, the games get more heated… and nowhere saw this more true than in the Midwest, where three games with title implications found themselves coming down to the final seconds.
You read that right. The midwest- “flyover country” and “battleground states”. We’ll get to the events in Louisiana and Los Angeles in a bit, but there was a 25 minute period on Saturday that saw the eyes of college football fans tuned to the states of Indiana and Michigan.
First, the Battle in the B1G Legends Division saw either a “Sparty NO!!” moment or the referees stealing yet another game from Dantonio’s team, depending on your perspective and your proximity to LeVeon Bell. Nebraska managed a last second touchdown after two huge mental errors/penalties against the Spartans- first, Taylor Martinez was intercepted on the two yard line as the Huskers were threatening to score; the INT was taken back for an apparent score, but a personal foul well away from the play ended up costing MSU the score (they would get no points from the turnover). As Nebraska mounted a late drive for what would prove to be the go ahead score, a pass into the endzone was called Spartan interference,allowing Martinez to throw the game winner on the next play.
Not only did the win keep the Huskers in the drivers seat for their trip to Indy, but it also helped keep Michigan one game behind for that same opportunity- in spite of their “Denardless” win against Minnesota. Devan Gardner was more than adequate to beat the Gophers and maintain the Little Brown Jug for another year- as someone commented, Michigan’s QB turned WR turned QB outperformed Minnesota’s QB turned WR turned QB turned WR. Here’s hoping that TTUN’s RB masquerading as a QB doesn’t have any permanent damage to the nerves in his puntin’ arm.
After the Nebraska win, most of us clicked over to the Leaders’ game of the week, where we watched Indiana continue their storybook season… if you like storybooks where the protagonist essentially backs into something amazing out of default. In spite of James’ Vandenberg’s mom’s son having a pretty decent day, B1G coach of the year Kirk Ferentz’ team fell just short after holding a 14-10 lead at the break. IU punted back to Iowa with 18 seconds left on the clock, but the last Hawkeyes plays were not able to get the job done, given that the “interesting” B1G refs were in East Lansing this week. And so, should the Hoosiers beat Wisconsin this week (in what’s sure to be a trap game), they are headed to Indianapolis for a chance to play for all the Roses.
At this point, most of America was looking to kill time before the Alabama/LSU game kicked off, only to have their friends text them that the Pitt/Notre Dame game was headed to overtime. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Panthers held a 20-6 lead; when that scrolled across the ticker, I commented to my wife that Notre Dame would win, since the game was being played in South Bend. The Irish scored 17 points in the final period, and we headed to overtime.
After exchanging field goals, Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood fumbled on his way into the end zone and Pitt recovered. And, this time the officials made the right call and gave Pitt the ball. The Panthers chose to run three straight plays to set up the field goal, but on third down chose not to center the ball on the field of play. You can guess what happened next- the field go was wide right; kicked from the right hash, it never wavered from it’s initial trajectory. It was, unless you’re Brian Kelly, an exciting moment.
Ah, but we can’t have “the luck of the Irish” without a little controversy; this one emerging after the fact. On the missed field goal, Notre Dame had two players on the field with the same number, which should have resulted in Pitt having an automatic first down. It’s not as if the officials might have seen this before, or that Notre Dame might have been aware that they should address this issue… nonetheless, a Pitt Field Goal led to a Notre Dame touchdown and the undefeated season continued.
There are a lot of folks who are comparing this year’s Irish season to the 2002 Ohio State champions… good enough offense, but an outstanding defense and a little luck from a resurgent program. Here’s the problem with that analogy… it doesn’t take into account the obnoxiousness that Irish fans bring due to their perceived “special” place in the “annals of college football history”. For a point of reference, this week’s offering by MSPaint maestro ThuJone might help clarify the issue just a bit… warning, most of his stuff is hilariously not safe for work. Read More
Monday’s melange of morning mayhem looks back at an amazing weekend of college football… Just promise to wait until the end of the article to rush the field, OK? Given the news on Campus from Sunday Night, here’s your soundtrack for our special time together.
It was a great weekend to be an Angry Bird, particularly if you were a Cardinal. Let’s start in Palo Alto.
In what’s become an annual tradition, a highly ranked Southern Cal team derped a game that many expected them to win. While it seemed to have always been the Beavers of Oregon State under the previous administration, the past four years have found a Cardinal thorn in the Trojans’ armor… as unbelievable as it is, September Heisman candidate Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford in his career. The nice thing, though, is that Chad Henne and Mike Hart have a great support group that will welcome him with open arms.
Saturday we saw the real “teeth” of the NCAA’s sanctions for all things Reggie Bush-esque: While the Bowl Ban was significant in terms of financial benefits and being able to compete for make believe championships and other post-season swag, the real kick of what the folks in Indianapolis handed to Southern Cal as a parting gift is the inability to field a full squad of 85 for the coming several seasons- which creates issues at depth when the offensive line gets banged up (as it did in Palo Alto). Granted, Barkley still is incredibly talented and has amazing weapons- however, without the time to find them it’s essentially a moot point. And once he’s gone, well… we may just get to see how good of a coach the man is, as a number of folks could be successful with the talent depth that they experienced over the past decade. Read More
In an effort to clean up my act in regards to the weekly weak picks, I am going with games this week that will assure me success (yeah right) As it stands, I am a paltry 3 and 7 on the season having gone 1 and 4 this week. Here are the results of last weeks picks.
Safe Bet. USC over ‘Cuse 42 to 29; Prediction Wrong USC 51 to 9
Points Plus. Nerdwestern over Vandy 23 to 13; Prediction Wrong Vandy 44 to 38
Defensive Struggle. Wake Forrest over UNC 28 to 27; Prediction Wrong UNC 13 to 7
Best Match-up. Florida over Texas A&M 20 to 17; Prediction RIGHT ON! Florida 23 to 17
Best B1G Game. Notre Lame over Purdue 20 to 17; Prediction WAYYYY OFF Purdue 37 to 34
The week that was is looooong gone thank goodness and I get an opportunity to make up for my pitiful attempts by selecting some easy ones! Ha! Anyway here are the picks and good luck to everybody else!!!
Safe Bet. Virginia Tech has played relatively well in it’s first two games and Mark Mays PITT Panthers have been, well . . , let’s just say they have been a lot like the team John Cooper beat. The Hokies will go ahead and welcome the Panthers to the ACC in grand fashion a year early because things aren’t getting better for them right now. This is the easiest safe bet of the season so far. VTU 31 to 6
Points Plus. Missouri had to open their new conference against Georgia last weekend and the offense looked pretty decent until Mark Richt’s bunch figured it out. Arizona State has a high flying bunch that will put some points on the board. This looks like a safe bet for basketball on grass this week, defaulting to the home team here. Mizzou 43 to 39
Defensive Struggle. This will honestly be more about lack of offense than stout defense. Penn State has no offense and NAVY is trying to regroup there triple option which can always be a great equalizer in these type games. I picked the Middies against ND because I am a former sailor myself and didn’t learn my lesson. Go Middies! Navy 9 to 7 Read More
We’re excited to add Jason to our merry band of miscreants, and look forward to his weekly “review” of Saturday’s game. If you haven’t already, give him a follow on the old twitter-bot.
|Well here we are. September 1, 2012 has come and gone. Before we get into what we witnessed yesterday, a quick update and comment. Those of you familiar with my ramblings/writings/blogs- I can’t tell you how honored I was to be asked to contribute to this site. To our loyal readers and the great people who write here and run the site, I won’t let you down!For those of you who don’t know me, I take a different look back on the game that has just been completed. I don’t typically get in to the stats of the game, more so the atmosphere and feelings I’m left with after it.Without further ado, let’s get into the bashing that was Ohio State vs. Miami yesterday.|
I don’t honestly know that things could have looked any worse in the first quarter. Then I think “What if Miami hadn’t dropped so many balls?” and I realize it easily could have. First game jitters and nervous energy seemed to be radiating from the sidelines all the way to the broadcast booth infecting the comments by the stooges giving us play-by-play and analysis on the Big Ten Network.
It had to be expected: New coach and coaches, all new schemes, new pregame rituals on the field, the list goes on and on of “firsts” accomplished on Saturday. All it took was a little spark from the offense and everything seemed to suddenly be right in the state of Ohio. Read More
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:
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.
Given that it’s the start of bowl week, this’ll probably be more scattered than usual. If that’s even possible.
If you’re not already listening to the soundtrack for today’s TWTW, do so. Immediately.
Greetings from 30,000 feet… yup, this is being typed from somewheres over El Paso Texas. Thank God for tBBC’s generous expense account. A couple folks have asked- I had to travel this week for business. No, not work related; the business of getting full body scans. Sure beats Glamorshots.
As such, this will be a quick overview… the “flight attendants” keep hassling me- something about “emergency exit” and “burning fuselage”. Whatever.
Let me get this right out of the way, so our blue-blooded readers can move on to better things like curing world hunger and wrecking the mortgage industry. Yes, Harvard and Yale played yesterday. Yes, Harvard won and sent the senior class out with a sweep of their rival (sounds somewhat familiar). For me, though, the lasting image will be this:
As I mentioned last week, I was at the Baylor/OU “game” over the weekend, so I”ll have some photos from the road to share with you.