Finally my turn to get into the action, with writing a bowl preview. Always fun to watch football games in baseball stadiums.
The Basics: Friday, December 30th from Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY at 3:30 PM EST. The game will be televised on ESPN pitting Iowa St (6-6) vs. Rutgers (8-4).
History: Last year saw the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee stadium, which has tie ins to the Big East and Big 12. The Inaugural game last year saw Syracuse defeat KSU in a thriller.
Iowa St: The Cyclones are led by freshmen standout signal caller Jared Barnett. He put opponents on their heels both through the air and on the ground. Don’t let their record fool you as Barnett didn’t take over the job till October, when he led them to 3 straight victories. Obviously this team will be remembered for their huge upset win over then #2 Okie State and held them out of the National Championship game. While Barnett had a huge game against the Pokes, he was highly inaccurate thorughout the year only completing 50% of his passes, so he may struggle against a very good Rutgers defense.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights will lean heavily on their defense in this one. Their tough D allowed only 18.75 points per game which was good for 12th in the country and 314 yds of total offense, which put them 14 nationally. Their D is led by Big East defense POY Khaseem Greene who was tops in the Big East in tackles with 127. Rutgers offense will also be led by a freshmen signal caller Gary Nova. He took over midway through the season and started the last 5 games leading the team in 1533 yds and 11 td passes. Nova will have a big time target to throw the ball to in WR Mohamed Sanu who set a Big East single season record with 109 catches. That landed him fifth in the nation. They will have to lean heavily on Nova and Sanu , as they had a very anemic running game averaging under a 100 yds/game. Iowa State’s putrid defense may allow for Rutgers to get on track on the ground tho. Rutgers will be playing in a bowl game for the 6th time in the last 7 years. Look for Rutgers to come out strong in this one as they will essentially be playing in their own back yard.
Fun Fact: In only the bowl games 2nd year this year there aren’t alot of facts about the bowl game, but Yankee stadium has been the host to some great moments in football history. Did you know that the what is considered” the greatest football game ever played” was played at Yankee statdium. The NFL championship game Dec 23, 1958 between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts.
Who we got?
However, we like to keep it upbeat here at TWTW, so this week’s post was written with this R&B classic in mind.
In many ways, this was a weekend to forget, as eight members of the top twenty lost, several to unranked opponents. As disheartening as that might be, it’s crucial to remember the important truth of the matter, to keep things in perspective.
One team that no one should be overlooking at this point is the Clemson Tigers- In consecutive weeks, they’ve beaten a Florida State team who took Oklahoma to the wire and yesterday made an undefeated Virginia Tech look sloppy. While you can argue that the ACC as a conference is not the strongest in the country, something has gotten into Dabo Sweeny and his team is playing accordingly. Currently, they’re sitting at #8 in both polls, but with some head to head matchups between the teams above them and only a game against South Carolina during the rest of the season, don’t be surprised if the Tigers aren’t in the national title conversation.
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.
Note: As I was typing this, news broke of the Japanese earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in the entire Pacific rim… give a bit of perspective about what might be important in life.
Can’t blame Buckeye fans for being a little out of the loop regarding other news in the world of college sports… here’s a quick recap:
Elsewhere in the NCAA- Hey! Guess What! There were other stories about NCAA institutions that might be outside of the realm of “okee-dokee-ness”.
Tressel, Another Perspective- With the media barrage that’s out there, it might be good to hear at least a couple of voices that support The Vest.
Yup, it was a difficult weekend… but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a spot of fun, right?
Not a good Saturday around the old Casa Del Mali, which started when Nebraska found out that the option doesn’t work against a defense with speed. This would normally be the part where I pointed out that having a freshman quarterback as your starter is never a good idea, but I really like not sleeping on the couch. What was particularly surprising was the successes that the Longhorns had against the Blackshirts- and this is a rebuilding year for Mack Brown’s team.
The missus was able to keep her sense of humor throughout, though, commenting that she wished that there were three more Acho brothers playing so there could be Acho Cinco. Your humble correspondent is grateful that his internal filter kept the “Nebraska can’t block the two that do exist” comment inside his head.
Wait- I just typed that. Crap. Well, the couch is closer to the TV…
Also in LaLa land, Southern Cal absolutely destroyed Cal. Bears, are you sure you want to cut baseball and your national champion rugby program to save this? I’d love to see the Trojans back into a conference title, which would make the bowl ban that much sweeter. Although, I’m sure that we’d see some “undefeated in bowl play” t-shirts around the beaches and traffic jams. Read More
Jim Tressel and company does not need me to tell them what Iowa’s weaknesses are. They already know. But since I did the research, I’d better spread the knowledge, because who knows….maybe one of my readers has no idea what that weakness might be.
It’s their run defense. Iowa is not capable of slowing down a running game, and Ohio State will exploit that weakness ALL day. So expect to see a LOT of Antonio Pittman. We will be using the run to set up the pass on Saturday night. As soon as Iowa starts to panic and draw their defense in to stop Pittman, Smith will go over their heads. Count on it.
Now, that’s the type of prognostication that you can read on any troll-filled message board, which NEVER supplies any type of proof. It’s just written as fact, and no background on WHY it’s true is ever needed.
Not in MY House, Buckeye fans……here’s how I know that Iowa’s run defense is their biggest weakness.
Last week, Illinois rushed for 121 yards against Iowa. Prior to that, the Illini rushed for only 97 yards against lowly Syracuse and a mere 66 yards against up-and-coming Rutgers.
The week before that, Iowa State pounded out 171 yards on the ground against the Hawkeyes. That was the Cyclones’ best rushing game of the season, after compiling 137 yards against UNLV, but only managing 21 yards on the ground against Texas.
I wouldn’t dare say that Iowa State or Illinois have anything NEAR a decent rushing attack….and they both had better games on the ground against Iowa than they did against teams like UNLV, Syracuse and Rutgers. ISU showed that when they face a good defense, they can’t run (21 yards against Texas???), but ran like wildfire all over the Hawkeyes.
There it is….that’s your key. They have a young, small defensive line. Pound on it early and often. Wear them down as HARD as you can. Force Ferentz to bring 8 men into the box to stop Pittman and the Wells’ boys. Then let GinnZoBiskie go to town.
By the way, I just put a copyright on the term “GinnZoBiskie”. Any descriptions or accounts without the expressed written consent on the BBC is strictly prohibited.