It’s Wednesday, so you totally should be sobered up from your Memorial Day celebrations. While many of y’all were enjoying your Saturday slumber, your humble correspondent was up planting flags before the sun arose… certainly better than the usual Los Angeles morning. Well, what do you think was going through my head on the trail? What do you think I saw?
Well, another Senior Crawl has come and gone in Columbus and we get ready to celebrate with the graduates of the Ohio State class of 2014 (including our friend Janelle!). You can’t think “graduation” without today’s soundtrack, I’m guessing… and we’ll give you the version that features yet another great Ohioan.
You’re either reading this from home on a “ice day”, or from work after having dug yourself out of yet another mid-week snow storm. Stupid freaking groundhog… At any rate, here’s today’s soundtrack… for reasons that will hopefully soon be evident.
Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.
And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.
While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.
Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.
As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.
While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.
Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.
Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.
That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS. I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do. You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.
With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.
And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.
And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.
By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the
B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).
That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.
Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.
That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game. That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.
Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance. Splendid.
Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:
Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.
Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.
And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?
That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests. See what you think:
The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.
All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.
But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:
It’s a week of ghastly costumes and other ghoulish accoutrements… so of course, we’ve got a great soundtrack for all of our friends.
Well, the powers that be didn’t decide to market this weekend’s games as a “Separation Saturday”, but it ended up looking that way at the end of the day. Two more undefeateds fell, two others were challenged, while the top four continued to extend their apparition of domination.
Let’s start with the “Columbia Cup” between the Ol’ Ball Coach and this year’s “SEC Surprise”, the Missouri Tigers. I’ve been pulling for the Tigers all season for several reasons: It has been rumored to be a landing spot for Coach Herman if Pinkel was dismissed, and I love the fact that two “middle of the pack” B12 teams join the mighty SEC and play at the top almost immediately.
The Tigers didn’t disappoint early on, jumping out to a huge lead in their spiffy “blackout” gear. However, once Gamecock QB Connor Shaw came off the bench (recovering from a knee issue from last week) the tide turned and the game ended up heading to overtime.
While there’s still a huge chance that the Tigers can play a role in the BCS, it may only be limited to being a spoiler at this point… but they’ve got some games to play yet, including mathups with Old Miss and aTm before they might face Alabama in the conference championship game.
The second “thanks for playing” award this week goes to a young Texas Tech team, which lost their first contest of the season at Oklahoma. After a lengthy weather delay that resulted in the game being shifted over to Fox News in lieu of World Series coverage, the Fighting Stoops figured out how to get out of their own way and managed to corral the Raiders’ high flying offense… although, it should be noted that Cliff Kingsbury’s team is very young, and will be a contender at the conference level sooner than some would like to admit. Read More
You’ve got two choices for this week’s narrative as you talk college sports around the old coffeemaker at the office this morning.
Option one: “Wow, 5 top 25 SEC teams were beaten on Saturday… four in upsets! Is that conference over-rated or what?”
Option two: “Wow, four SEC team upset top 25 teams this weekend!!! What an incredibly deep league… let’s just crown their champion now!”
I’ll let you guess which one will be the talking points of most people… This is, as you may know, the phenomenon of “circular logic“, and when you play games on the field but championships in the polls, it’s something will make a difference for some team.
But, as we said, the games were played on the field, and this week saw 6 of the top 11 upset and two other undefeated teams threatened. We started with a come from behind loss by Team Papa John against UCF on Friday Night. If you’re Louisville, playing anytime anywhere means both that you can build your program AND that you’ve got a national audience when you fall apart late in the game.
Previously, undefeated Miami needed a late score to hold off North Carolina. ACC, y’all.
Saturday’s surprises didn’t include UCLA getting its first loss at Stanford… only because many folks still feel that Stanford is one of the top two teams in the PAC12, and would serve as UCLA’s first test. Their next text? Oregon. Have fun, Bruin-bros. The Stanford Game also brought us what may be the reception of the year… it’s certainly the best catch we saw all week: Read More
For those unfamiliar with this feature, consider it your cheat sheet for the conversations around the grill on Labor Day. As always, these come with a melodic interlude to play gently in the background during your perusal… because you’re that important to me.
It was the best of times, it was the… well… best of times. Football was played, plays were made, and the long summer doldrums finally came to an end.
Sawkaralyna got us started off in style, scoring on the third play of their first possession and kicking off the annual “Hey, we’re pretty good! Oh, that’s right… we have to play in the same conference as Alabama/Georgia/Florida/LSU… nevermind.” The only significant storyline to come out of this game, other than the fact that sometimes “new school clothes” aren’t always fashionable, is the fact that ESPN’s love-fest for all things Clowney turned into the predictable hate-fest for the sophomore after he didn’t balance the budget/solve global warming/play like a Heisman candidate. Whatever helps them get their ratings points, right?
Speaking of firsts, the news this offseason was about the new “targeting” rule and it’s potential impact on the game. Your future trivia answer to “who was the first college player to be ejected under this rule?’ is none other than Tulane’s Lorenzo Doss. Small Ohio State related fact that’s stuck in my brain for some reason- In 1995, the NCAA decided to crack down on “showboating” and OSU’s Terry Glenn was the first person flagged after signaling “First Down” following a catch against Boston College in the Kickoff Classic. What a cute rule that was…
At any rate, the impact (see what I did there?) of the new rule was certainly felt across the first weekend; Northwestern had a game-winning drive extended after Cal’s best pass rusher was flagged for “targeting” on a tackle in the end zone, Texas A&M lost a player for a similar infraction (although, to be honest, it was a really bad call), and Oregon had to go and “one up them” (as always) with this potentially crippling hit against Nicholls State. To be fair to the defender, though, everyone in the stadium was yelling “Duck!” to the Nicholls QB. At least that’s what I think they meant…
Another major story this weekend was the debilitating sanctions that hit Heisman winner Johnny Manziel following the “autograph” scandal. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to sit there on the sidelines for that time, missing the change to be with his teammates and… yeah, in the time it took you to read this sentence, his “suspension” was over. I wish my car had a suspension that cushy…. Read More
While camp is in session over at the WHAC, it’s important to remember that in 1936 another Buckeye was rocking the world this week. By this time that year, Jesse Owens had already won three of his four gold medals in the 100 and 200m, as well as the long jump; the fourth would come on August 8th. So, as excited as we are for the speed that OSU has gained on it’s football team, it’s important to also remember someone who was so talented that he broke another barrier. Today’s soundtrack is a song that was at the top of the charts in both Europe and the United State in 1936 as well… pretty appropriate for August.