Given the rain delay in the BYU /UT game this week and the deluge of rushing that befell the Longhorns after kickoff, there’s only one option for this week’s soundtrack.
See, this is why there should be no polls before the first weekend in October.
Once again, we see a number of teams that got votes due to their “name recognition” shown up early in the season, and others who are rising to the occasion still find themselves with a long way to go until November.
Cases in point: Texas, Notre Dame, Florida, and Southern Cal; all of whom lost on the same Saturday for the first time since September 11, 1976.
For the Longhorns, it’s been a slide into mediocrity for a while now. I’m not sure that people really understand the significance of the Mack Brown era… As the flagship school in of the top three recruiting hotbeds in the country, Brown’s teams have historically underwhelmed with the exception of two “lightening in a bottle” moments- Vince Young and Colt McCoy. Outside of their leadership behind center, the program has struggled; and it can be argued that some of this is due to poor coaching (see the Major Applewhite -vs- Chris Sims debacle) or poor recruiting (Texas recruited the last two Heisman winners as defensive backs, and didn’t reach out to Jamies Winston- this year’s new hotness).
While those things may be true, Mack seems to think that the issue is defense; as evidenced by the 550 yards rushing that they gave up to BYU on Saturday, the majority of which happened in the first three quarters. In response, Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz was fired on Sunday. Before you get excited, Austinites- his replacement is none other than Greg “GERG” Robinson, who’s amazing Michigan defenses gave up over 100 points in two games against Illinois. I’m sure he’ll get the team motivated to return to the lofty status that UT should assume.
But you’ve also got to think that this is merely shuffling chairs on the Titanic- when your team plays so poorly that Shaggy Bevo’s servers go down as they did on Sunday, then you’ve got yourself a problem. 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
Slight variation in schedule… think of this as TWTW meets Wednesday’s regular SBP. Here’s the tunes behind the guy behind the guy.
2013 started almost the same way that every other year has started since I can remember… with a slate of B1G Ten games, highlighting how many people who live in the midwest want to flee to warmer climes for some semblance of a vacation. I still haven’t figured out how the scheduling geniuses who have an entire slate of games and “bowl week” to work with decide to run four of them at semi-simultaneous time times, though.
You’ll note that I said “almost”… one of the major differences this year was the lack of Buckeye football; in case you hadn’t heard, they had a one year vacation from the post-season. What’s intriguing about that fact is that we seemingly had it shoved down our throats throughout the regular season by the good folks at the four letter network, and yet I can count on one hand the times I heard the words “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” thus far in the bowl season. Penn State, too, although you’d think that one of the things that would be covered would be how teams playing got their losses this year; the Rose Bowl’s discussion included the review of their overtime losses, but didn’t mention by name two of the teams that handed those to them.
I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though… you want the games to be celebrations of the teams that are playing, and it’d be a shame to see anything hamper the narrative of next Monday’s “Championship” game; reminding folks of another undefeated team might cast a pall on that sacred moment. However, I don’t seem to remember Southern Cal being erased from the post season even when they were ineligible- their 10-2 record last year was certainly a topic of commentary.
Anywho… Ohio State hasn’t lost a game in over a year, and that can’t be taken away from them or their fans.
So let’s dive into the spectacle that was B1G Tuesday, taking a look at all of the outcomes and then reflecting on what this might “mean” for the conference and college football as a whole. Remember, the results you witnessed might have been different should the two outsider programs be in the mix this season… B1G fans, how are those “you’ve got no bowl game” taunts holding up for you these days?
The History: Originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl when it began in 1986, the Outback Bowl became the staple it is today in 1995 when Outback Steakhouse became its official sponsor. The last 21 years the game has been played in Tampa, Florida and will feature a cool $7.2 million payout this year. Since 2000, the game has been between the Big Ten conference and the SEC conference with the SEC holding an 8-5 edge.
Michigan Scouting Report: It’s no secret that the defense is the most consistent part of the Michigan team. DB Jordan Kovacs’ 65 tackles, 5 stops for loss, 2 sacks, an interception, and one forced fumble make him an important compnent for the Wolverine defense. Offensively, QB Devin Gardner will most like start his 6th straight game where he has completed 63% of his passes for 1,005 yards and had 8 touchdowns while throing 4 interceptions. OT Taylor Lewan is the Big Ten’s best offensive lineman and will be key to the Michigan offense when his assignment is to stop South Carolina’s Jadevon Clowney.
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
Ah, fall… the wind turns brisk and in Los Angeles the birds turn colors and fall from the trees (ht: David Letterman). We talked last week about “pumpkinitis” that’s sweeping the country… some people are taking it seriously. Instead of subjecting yourself to such a task, take time to kick back with some new tunes and enjoy a great weekend in college sports.
In case you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t, please PLEASE let me know how you’re managing to pull that off), it’s election season. And you thought the BCS was complicated and overwrought… three more weeks, people. You can do it.
“But Mali- there’s never been politics on tBBC… what gives?”
That’s a fine point, but it’s the only way I could think of to lead into this week’s “marquee” matchup. Given how much they like football, I’m sure that there was some tension on the Romney/Ryan campaign bus when Notre Dame and BYU squared off in South Bend. (See, ’cause one candidate is a Mormon and the other is a Catholic… oh, nevermind.) Yup, The Golden Domers met the People of the Golden Plates, with the former looking to continue their undefeated season. The Cougars managed to do something that was pretty rare this season, and scored an offensive touchdown against a resurgent Irish defense, led by Heisman (?) candidate linebacker Manti Te’o. It wasn’t enough, though, as they fell to .500 in a 17-14 loss to Brian Kelly’s team, who was led by backup quarterback Tommy Rees’ and his one completed pass after halftime. So, yeah- that Notre Dame fan in your office has yet another week to be a bit boisterous regarding his fifth ranked favorite squadron.
In order to make sure I cover both sides of the 2012 election, here. Ok, I’m done talking religion and politics… you can come back now.
On the topic of mistakes that I’ve made recently, I’m more than willing to acknowledge that my purchasing the hype regarding West Virginia was misguided. They still seem to be a Big lEast team of sorts, where defense is even more optional than it has been in the B12 lately. This isn’t to take anything away from the October Heisman frontrunner; Colin Klein has rightfully taken the crown from Mr. September, particularly in their “head to head” contest on Saturday. The Wildcats now sit at 7-0 , and even managed to jump Oregon in the BCS rankings this week, all the way up to #3. While I won’t argue with the BCS… At least Oregon beat a team this week that had a defensive pulse. We’ve not seen that from West Virginia, so it’s hard to assess Kansas State’s victory fully. Hooray subjectivity!
Although this is traditionally a “Saturday” wrap up, the truth of the matter is that Thursday’s game between the Ducks and Arizona State was pretty freaking impressive. After an initial ASU score, Oregon cranked up it’s offensive game and scored 43 points before there was even ten minutes left in the second quarter. Mercifully, they pulled back the horses at that point- although, they certainly could have kept rolling if they chose to… when a team scores on a two point conversion this easily, you’ve got to know that they are only stopping themselves for the rest of the game. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Chip Kelly was pissed that his team was only ranked third in last week’s BCS- since they actually fell one slot this week, I’m afraid to see what happens to this week’s
victim opponent. Read More
In the weak week that was I finished my best week ever at 5 and 1, no thanks to Wisconsin getting their act together on O against our upcoming opponent Purdue. I am now above .500 for the season at 20 and 19. Let’s take a look at the results!
Iowa @ Sparty. Prediction: Iowa 21 to 14; RIGHT Iowa 19 to 16
Northwestern @ Minnesota. Prediction: NU 31 to 17; RIGHT NU 21 to 13
Illinois @ TTUN. Prediction: TTUN 38 to 13; RIGHT TTUN 45 to 0
Wisconsin @ Purdue. Prediction: Purdue 24 to 21; WRONG Wiscy 38 to 14
#8 Ohio State @ Indiana. Prediction: Buckeyes get their average atleast; RIGHT but they also gave up double their D avg. 52 to 49
This week is an interesting week of match-ups, to say the least, across the conference. TTUN hasn’t beaten Sparty in what seems like forever and the Buckeyes take on Boiler Down, who is actually now on a two game winning streak against the Buckeyes thanks to the vacated win of 2010. Penn State and Iowa should be in for a slobber knocker and of course, Wisconsin and Minnesota battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe Trophy. Let’s get pickin’ ‘em!
Can Be Only One. Sparty @ TTUN. It’s been a while since TTUN won this game and there can be only one good team at a time in TSUN. Or in this case one winner. I like Sparty’s chances here, a great rivalry game and chance for Dantonio to right the ship that it sinking fast. Sparty 27 to 24
Blue Collar v. Nerds. Nebraska @ Northwestern. I still believe that Nebraska is the best team in the conference and should be healed up after a slug fest with the Buckeyes. The Nerds got the W last week against an outsmarted Gopher squad but will struggle to handle the Cornhuskers toughness. Nebraska 35 to 13
Paul Bunyan Axe Trophy. Minnesota @ Wisconsin. Will not take very long for the new conference career leader in TD’s to add several more. Not a whole lot to discuss here. Trophy going back to Madison again. Wiscy 45 to 6
Ferentz the COTY? Penn St. @ Iowa. Not a huge turn around by any stretch of the imagination, but the Hawkeyes are playing inspired and it has to be due to their coach doing more with less. They host a Nitany Lion team this weekend that’s out to prove itself even more. Maybe O’Brien is COTY? Iowa 16 to 10
Hoosiers Out to Sea. Indiana @ Navy. Kevin Wilson is the answer in Bloomington. He definitely proved that much this past Saturday night against our Buckeyes. The trouble is thhey will have their hands full with a Navy team that has found a way to throw the football in the triple option. Big Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy as it celebrated number 237 this past week. Didn’t bet against my Navy against ND and am not doing it now. US Navy 31 to 27
Wash Our Mouths Out. Purdue @ #7 Ohio State. It is high time to get some more of that bad taste out of our mouths that was last season. The Buckeyes had the Boilers beat until a out of the ordinary blocked PAT that sent the game into OT. If you’re keeping score, so far we have avenged two of the loses in the conference from last season. Look out Boilers, Buckeyes are pi$$ed as heck and want to get their last defensive nightmare out of their minds as well. Buckeyes blow up that annoying bass drum on wheels.
Cupboard Isn’t SO Bare After All. S. Carolina @ Florida. The Gamecocks have had a heck of a couple weeks and are looking for a way to get back in the game just as LSU did this past week at their expense. They have to go on the road and try to do this in Gator country where their head coach is reaping the rewards of the Buckeyes current head coach’s recruiting efforts. Typical SEC affair. South Carolina 21 to 17
Here we are, mid-October, when everything starts getting pumpkin flavored for better or worse. So, you’ve got two choices for soundtracks this week, via the “full albums” on Youtube- Something October-ish, or something more Pumpkiny. Salud.
Ah, Texas… where dreams go to die. Three of the most interesting storylines this week came Deep In The Heart Of, so let’s travel to Lubbock to get things started. Really, there’s no other reason to head there.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an idiot. Well, when I get the chance… which was this weekend when the team I’d most like to see play Oregon in a bowl game ended up falling victim to the same Achillies Heel that Oregon has in the past- defensive line pressure. The Red Raiders’ ability to disrupt the Mountaineer passing game by owning their backfield was something that the rest of the B12 will certainly pay attention to; Geno Smith is much better in the pocket with his timing not hampered by large persons seeking to do him bodily harm of some sort. Not that this should disrupt his Heisman candidacy; I know a number of quarterbacks who would love to go 29-55 for 275 yards, although West Virginia’s inability to score has got to be troubling with games against more stout defenses looming. What really led to the 49-14 win, though, was the Mountaineer Defense’s inability to stop anything that Tuberville’s Raiders were dialing up… we saw that the the defense was suspect against Baylor and Texas, it finally caught up to them in a way that the offense couldn’t counter. /reads last sentence, looks at tOSU-v-Indiana box score, calls therapist.
If Smith’s Heisman candidacy was bumped at all on Saturday, it might open up the door for Texas A&M’s “Johnny Football”, quarterback Manziel managed 395 yards and 3 TDs through the air, and another 181 and 3 scores on the ground against a very game Louisiana Tech team that went toe to toe with the Aggies. We talked about Tech before; their offensive gameplan is quite unique and very high powered/up-tempo- very similar to what we’re seeing across the country. Don’t be surprised if their coach isn’t in the SEC or B12 in a year or two, given some of the frustrations that the “traditional” programs are having with their current administrations.
Which brings us to the Red River Shootout, a celebration of football and fried food from the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas. Over the past several years, though, the “shootout” has been more like shooting fish in a barrel, as the Sooners have absolutely owned the Longhorns on the scoreboard. For many ‘Horns fans, though, the 36-2 halftime score meant that they could head out to the midway to enjoy the Fair rather than watching their team continue to fall apart. The RRSO brings us our first candidate for “hit of the week”, although, given how Texas played, it’s not surprising that the shot in question resulted in a penalty, and wasn’t even in the field of play: Read More