As per our tradition, we’ll be giving you a quick rundown on all the bowl games… if nothing else, it will help you have enough information to explain why you need to sit and watch the game instead of finishing your Christmas shopping.
History: We’re again coming at you from beautiful Albuquerque ballooning capital of the world. This year’s event is sponsored by Gildan, so it’s safe to say that they’ve got their post game attire covered. Player “gifts that can’t be sold under any circumstances” include Oakley shades, hat, and backpack. Again, these can’t be sold.
Originally created to bring tourism to New Mexico, this is yet another one of the bowl games that ESPN runs to fill the time in the holidays. Yeah, there’s no conflict of interest there, although I think that, this may be one of the better early matchups this bowl season.
Arizona Scouting Report: In Rich Rodriguez’ first season, he picked up right where he left off at TTUN and West Virginia, scoring in bunches. Lead by senior quarterback Matt Scott’s 3200+ yards passing and Ka’Deem Scott’s 1700+ yards on the ground, they were 2-3 against the top 25, including a huge upset of Southern Cal. Unfortunately, they also were pounded pretty soundly by Oregon and UCLA-they ended up being 103 in the nation in points against at the end of the season.
Buckeye Connection: Ohio State obviously owns Rich Rodriguez, but the Buckeyes are 1-3 against the Wildcats; their only win came in 1991. If they were to play this season, though, it would be a close matchup… Ohio State struggled against the type of Offense that Arizona has run this year. Heavy doses of Hyde would eat clock and control the game, though.
Nevada Connection: The Wolfpack took a step back this year from their position at the top of the Mountain West conference; they have been the thorn in Southern Idaho State’s side for the last several season. Seventh in the nation in rushing, their two headed monster (RB Stepfhon Jefferson and QB Cody Farjado have amassed 2600 yards on the ground this season. They knocked off Cal early in the season, and beat South Florida in week two, but have struggled at the end of the season.
Buckeye Connection: The Buckeyes have never faced Nevada, but it’s safe to say that the Silver Bullet defense is geared toward stopping the run; I imagine that OSU would pull away from the Wolfpack in the second quarter and not look back.
Predictions: Here’s what we think will happen
This one might just be a shoot out- Arizona can score points in bunches, but can’t stop the run; Nevada has a top rushing attack. Neither team will have much of a home field advantage, although it will be interesting to see how many folks want to travel for an early bowl game. In the end, though, I see Arizona getting a late stop to hold on for the win.
Against our better judgement, we invited Yost from MZone back to our clubhouse for a little give and take. We also provided a translator so he could understand the big words we asked him, and still can’t figure out how he managed to write to us in crayon and nail polish in an email.
Thanks for having me on this week to talk about The Game – although I was cursing you with the intensity of a thousand suns as I stayed up until the wee hours finishing this after being doped up on turkey and eating whatever-the-hell the ass-awful side dish was that my Aunt Karen made for Thanksgiving (don’t worry, it’s cool: I don’t think she reads The BBC or really gets the Internet. Hopefully, if she is online, she’s on a f*cking cooking site).
Anyway, due to the late hour and my above-mentioned turkey coma, please excuse any typos or general “what the hell is he talking about?” stuff.
Here we go:
Topic Du Jour- Expansion. If you had five minutes with Jim Delany what would you tell him about the additions of Maryland and Rutgers? Any thoughts on future additions to the conference?
If I had 5 minutes, I’d probably spend the first four smacking the crap out of him. For Delany and the others involved (I’m looking at you, Dave Brandon and Gene Smith) to say this has anything to do with academics, or that Maryland and Rutgers are a good “football fit,” is shameful. This is about adding BTN to the basic cable package in the major markets of Baltimore/D.C. and New York. Period. It’s a horrendous, stupid, asinine, dumb, idiotic, whore-ish, awful, terrible, dreadful, atrocious, abominable move by Delany and the conference.
And to announce this during the week of The Game is mind boggling. Bo and Woody must be rolling over in their graves. I wish they were still around and had 5 minutes with Delany. This would never have happened on their watch.
As for future additions, after the clusterf*ck this week, it really doesn’t matter. Because it has nothing to do with football anymore. Hell, if Delany thought cable systems in England and France would add the BTN, he’d consider colleges in London and Paris then worry about teaching them American football. Yes, I do believe what he did this week was that crass.
But other than those minor qualms, I think it was an absolutely awesome move.
Continuing that theme: It’s been speculated that the recent moves would also mean a recalibration of the divisions. Any preferences there? What if a divisional shift meant moving The Game away from the last Saturday in November… thoughts?
If you want The Game to continue to be The Game, you have to have M*chigan and Ohio State in the same division and it must always be the last Saturday in November. Must, must, must. The mere chance that, due to being in different divisions, Michigan and Ohio State could play twice a season should appall both our fan bases as it dilutes the rivalry.
During the last realignment, our AD, Dave Brandon said that if M*chigan vs Ohio State once a year was great, twice would be even better.
He’s out of his mind.
There should never, ever be a chance for a mulligan when M*chigan and Ohio State play. You either win and celebrate for a year, or lose and have to wait a year for your shot at redemption. That is what makes The Game…The Game! It’s not The GameS, fergodssake! You think The Ten Year War would have been the same if it was just the The Ten Year Warm-Up Act or The Ten Year Practice Run? 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
And now, it gets real. Conference season. No more cupcakes… although, that hasn’t worked out all that well for a lot of teams. Today’s soundtrack is from this week’s release, and was chosen just to make our friend Bacon happy.
Let’s start out west this week, which gives me a chance to do two of my favorite things in the world. The first is to enjoy this moment: Oh, Rich Rod face, how I’ve missed your sublime poignancy. The second is to post a great FanShot, sent to us from pretty choice seats in Eugene… lots of people making their “O” face in that game, for sure. As a reminder, if you go to a game this year, send us a photo and we’ll run it on Monday mornings.
So, let’s talk about the Ducks. The wife and I watched the game… at least until Arizona threw a 4th and goal interception in the third quarter. After that, the fate of the Wildcats was sealed and we headed onto other things (Food Network, Ahoy!). ‘Cause here’s the fact- Oregon may take some time to warm up, but once they find weakness they will attack and attack and attack… and the next thing you know, you lose 49-0. Well, until they play a team with a defensive front, that is.
While the Ducks are still doing what they do, I’ve got to tip my hat a bit to Arizona- it was fun to watch the Rodriguez offense again and only have a little bit of hatred for the passes to the slot receivers and so forth. He’ll do well in Tuscon, particularly given that the transition won’t be as drastic as it was heading from Morgantown to Ann Arbor… and he probably doesn’t have alumni and former coaches trying to sabotage him as well.
In fact, I’d love to see RRod’s former team play the one he just faced- What WVa is doing offensively is probably the only thing that can match with the speed and scoring ability that we’re seeing in Eugene. Granted, they only managed 31 against a pretty bad Maryland team, but the potential is there. A bowl game between Chip Kelly and Dana Holgorsen would certainly surpass the UW/Baylor game from last year, and would feature some of the most unique
costumes uniforms in college sports.
I don’t know which is worse- that the play was allowed to continue, or that the official seems to be enjoying the spectacle. A little help here: Was the player that removed the helmet ejected, as per the rules? Read More
This week’s soundtrack is colorful, but has a bit of a different taste to it: trust me, it makes total sense in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy… language warning.
There’s no denying it… one group of conference-mates had an incredibly difficult Saturday.
Positioned for excellence, and featured in a number of nationally significant matchups, the on the field results just did not help dissuade the critics who argue that they have lost their prestige, and are rightfully scorned by college fans across the country. Once seen as powerful contenders for titles, it seems as if the results on Saturday have shown that the game may have passed them by.
Yup, it was a terrible day for the Big 12 expats. Who did you think I was talking about?
Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska all dropped matches on Saturday, with two of these being significant “upsets” in terms of rankings and so forth. The Aggies, after a week full of bravado regarding their new allegiance to the “we can spell three letter words” conference, saw the early lead against Florida disappear in the waning moments of the game, and couldn’t count on Kyle Field to help carry the day. You’ve got to wonder if the different understanding of the word “cheerleader” might have had something to do with it. Ah well, you know they’ll just say that they won later… it’s the SEC way.
Missouri also opened SEC play by welcoming Georgia to play between the… uh… rocks in Columbia. The Bulldawgs emerged victorious, but you’re right in realizing that Mizzou is excited to be in a new home. There were too many Longhorns in the last one, and the B1G never returned their phone calls, so you can’t blame them for being OK with a loss in their prestigious opener. So excited about the new opportunities were they, that they broke out their new school clothes… or someone else’s old school clothes from when they were in the Arena League. As goofy as they looked, though, they didn’t win our “awkward haberdashery of the week award”… more later.
Ah, CoLOLorado… See, here’s how it works. You schedule a FCS opponent in the pre-season, you get them at home, you beat them and build up your alumni/student confidence in your program = profit. But, the Buffs are constricted by no man’s social norms, and instead chose to allow the mighty Hornets of Sacramento State to kick a field goal with time expiring and upset the Buffs in Boulder. I’m sure the fans will have to find some way to console their grief.
Which brings us to Nebraska. 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
For our last blogger chat of the season, we approached several writers for TTUN to see if they could manage to actually string a few one syllable words together… but unfortunately, most of them were in jail. Then we remembered that the great MZone had re-opened their shop, and were happily cranking out photoshop coping mechanisms. We emailed Yost about joining us, and once he’d sobered up he sent us what you see below. Be sure to follow their stuff on twitter, and also on an upcoming edition of “COPS”.
Do you ever feel dirty rooting for the Maize and Blue? Do you ever get one of those shudders like pure evil has settled into your soul?
Never dirty, just horribly dazed watching what passed for our beloved Wolverines the last three years. And if you’ve been following the Maize and Blue this season, as you know, the only evil emanating out of A2 is of the Pop Evil variety. While, as the world knows, the evil that spews forth from Columbus is more of a Mordor strain.
What’s your favorite memory of The Game? On the other end of the spectrum, what play or game gives you nightmares?
Near the top of the “good” list are ’95 and ’96 when Michigan wasn’t given a chance and Ohio State was undefeated and, I believe, #2 in the country both times. Of the two, I think I enjoyed ’96 a tad more just because it was in Columbus. That was the 13-9 Michigan win that swung U-M’s way when Shawn Springs slipped and fell allowing Tai Streets to score on a 69 yard slant. OSU had been up 9-0 at halftime and you could almost hear the dread as it settled over the stadium. My god, I’m getting weepy just thinking about it again. But I digress.
Actually, at the top of my fave list has to be ’97 when #1 Michigan faced off against #4 OSU with everything on the line. The Game initially looked to be a Wolverine rout with Charles Woodson returning a punt for a TD (you seen that replay once or twice, right?). But when OSU cut U-M’s 20-0 lead to 20-14, you could hear a car key jingle pin drop in The Big House. Thankfully, Michigan held on and then won the Rose Bowl to claim a National Championship.
It was the stakes of ’97 and what a victory meant that made it so meaningful and memorable. Conversely, that’s precisely why 2006 still gives me nightmares. For the first time in history, Michigan and Ohio State were #1 and #2 at the time of The Game. OSU had the big lead at halftime but Michigan fought back. With 6:49 left, Michigan had cut the lead to 35-31. OSU had the ball on the Michigan 38 yard line, 3rd and 15. Troy Smith rolled out and threw an incomplete pass. Michigan was gonna get the ball back with a chance to drive down for the winning score. But… Read More
It’s still the Ohio State/M*chigan game, still the greatest rivalry in all sports. We wouldn’t attack it any other way. That’s what is remembered. We understand that. We know that. Our guys have understood that regardless of what the situation has been in the last 10 years that I’ve been here or even the five years I was here as a player.
When you come here, you know what it’s about. That’s why I’d say 70 percent of our guys are from that 250 mile radius, been grown up, born into it, and know more about what this rivalry is all about than most.
Your Michigan counterpart refers to your employer just as “Ohio.” Have you noticed that, first of all?
…Coach Bruce or Coach Hayes used to not refer to the team up north or whatever that is, hopefully that it’s no disrespect to Ohio University, they are Ohio, but it is what it is.
We might refer to M*chigan in different ways, too. Read More