The granddaddy of them all… and the reason why southern California smells like wine and cheese this New Year’s.
The History: “The Grandaddy of Them All.” The Rose Bowl is the oldest of all the bowl games, with the first game being played in 1902. The game then took a break until 1916 and has been played annually since. Traditionally, the Rose Bowl sees the champion of the Big Ten and the Pac-12 square off and this year is no different. USC has made the most appearances in the Rose Bowl with 33. After the Trojans, the teams with the most appearances are: Michigan (20), Washington (14) and Ohio State (14). The game is held in Pasadena, Calif.
Wisconsin Scouting Report: Wisconsin the the first team five-loss team to ever appear in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers made their way to the Big Ten Championship Game by default as both Ohio State and Penn State finished ahead of the Badgers in the Leaders Division, but were ineligible for postseason play. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball is the all-time FBS leader in rushing touchdowns with 76 and is no doubt the key to the Badgers’ offense.
Stanford Scouting Report: Not many people expected Stanford to be in this situation after losing the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft last year in Andrew Luck. But the Cardinal finished the season as Pac-12 champions, with their big victory coming against Oregon back in November. The Cardinal feature a balanced offensive attack, much like they did a season ago, and a solid defense.
tBBC “Expert Selections:
My Selection: On paper, this seems like a great match-up for Wisconsin. If the Badgers had to deal with Oregon in this game, it would be a blowout. But, Stanford and Wisconsin play similar styles of football which will give Wisconsin a chance to hang in the game. In the end, though, Stanford is too much for Wisconsin as the Cardinal defeat the Badgers, 24-16.
We’re going to do things just a little bit differently this week, given all of the amazing news and events that happened this past weekend. So, this will be part Silver Bullet Points, part Monday Morning Commentary, and the usual chunk of random observations from Saturday’s events in the world of college football. Here’s something to listen to while you’re fighting the urge to tl;dr- we’ve certainly got a lot to be Thankful for.
In this year’s edition of the Battle For Los Angeles, the upstart UCLA Bruins jumped out to a quick lead and held on to “upset” the Trojans by ten points on a gray day in Pasadena. While the Bruins obviously have been playing much better football this year, you’ve also got to wonder if the trajectories of the programs have now crossed, particularly given some of the issues that continue to swirl at Southern Cal.
As the team that was picked by many to contend for the national title, the frustration for many SC fans has been swirling since the loss to what we now know is a pretty good Stanford team. That game highlighted the Trojans’ issues with depth; injuries since then have continued to create problems and have certainly didn’t help in their back to back losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defeat by the Ducks made things even more problematic, since SC’s defense was a point of strength for them under current coordinator Monte Kiffin; their being gashed turned up the heat on the current coaching administration. And now, to lose to “little brother” has many wondering if it’s not time to make a change.
Coach Kiffin’s actions certainly haven’t helped this season- cutting media opportunities short, banning reporters outright… it certainly makes sense that he’d not want to leave the Rose Bowl via the obvious entrance on Saturday night. Other controversy swirls around Lane as well; while possibly not related, it’s definitely not helping matters at all. You may remember “inflation-gate” and the termination of a student manager following the revelation that game balls for kickers were under-inflated against Oregon. For those not infatuated with special teams- a “flatter” pigskin has a much larger “sweet spot”; as a great Buckeye Planet poster pointed out, the Trojan’s kicking game has not been anywhere near as efficient ever since they were penalized for this “mistake”.
In addition, earlier this week Tennessee was dinged for recruiting issues that occurred under Kiffin’s one year tenure in Knoxville- issues that involved Chip Kelly’s favorite videographer, Willie Lyles. Given the length of the investigation into Oregon’s program and this new decision at UT involving Lyles, you’ve got to think that there’s more than a few million good reasons for Kelly to take the Pete Carroll route and jump to the NFL ASAP.
What does this mean for Kiffin? At this time, it’s difficult to say, but losing Matt Barkley for the matchup against Notre Dame this weekend, combined with the continuing scholarship losses for the next couple of years would certainly be reason to wonder how warm his office chair will be getting this winter.
Interestingly enough, the other two programs involved in “affair du Lyles” also had difficult weekends. Derek Dooley’s Volunteers lost to cross-state foe Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t even close. The win ensures that UT will have a losing season for the third time in as many years, and was only the second victory for the Commodores in 35 years. Following the game, the inevitable happened… Dooley was fired, effective immediately. If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’ve got to wonder if this might have an impact on current recruits looking at both programs… Vonn Bell is the name that pops up, but there may be others in the 2014 class. This year’s season ending clash between the Vols and ‘Kats will feature both coaches in either interim or lame duck status… it’s going to be a fun coaching carousel for the SEC this season.
Lyle’s third “partner” in all of this felt the sting of their first loss on Saturday, at home, to a Stanford team that should be in the conversation about the top programs in the nation. Remember, they’re a botched call from extending overtime in South Bend and possibly ending the Irish Nightmare that we are currently facing. I was most impressed with The Cardinal’s defense on Saturday- disciplined, aggressive, and never seemed to give up the big play to an offense that most often looks like throwing kerosene on a bonfire… one blink, and it’s over. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.
The loss can easily be attributed to a lot of things- Oregon being too confident, and this being the Duck’s annual brain fart game; Questionable officiating, A “trap” game, with the resurgent Beavers looming Thanksgiving week… But all of these would not do a service to the great work that the coaches at Stanford, starting with Jim Harbaugh, have done in building a program that can certainly play with anyone in the country. It’s also why I think that Alabama, if given the usual bowl prep to face Oregon, would beat them- I believe that the Tide’s defense is more athletic and much more disruptive than Stanford’s… and the template we’ve seen in the Ducks’ losses over the past four years is now pretty well known. You just need to have the horses to pull it off; Stanford did on Saturday, and now control their PAC12 destiny. They’ll need to beat UCLA twice in two weeks to do so, but doing so may have the Oregon Ducks on the outside of the BCS championship game AND the automatic Rose Bowl berth… along with USC. It’s been that kind of year.
Oh, and on Saturday Northwestern, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all won. Nerds, y’all.
Commentary: Polls and Playoffs Read More
#24 Northwestern @ TTUN. Prediction Nerds 21 to 17; WRONG TTUN 38-31
Purdue @ Iowa. Prediction Iowa 16 to 10; WRONG BOILERS 27 TO 24
Minnesota @ Illinois. Prediction Illinois 31 to 14; WRONG MINNY 17 TO 3
Wiscy @ Indiana. Prediction Hoosiers 21 to 20; WRONG WISCY 62 TO 14
Penn State @ #16 Nebraska. Prediction Nebraska 31 to 17; RIGHT NEBRASKA 32 TO 23
Here’s one last look at the national race prior to the toppling of . . , oh wait, BAMA really didn’t fall out of the top five like they should have after losing at home to a new SEC team. aTm may have done all of us a favor but they didn’t really do it any good as all BAMA has to do is win out and they’re back in. Youre welcome Notre Lame haters.
National Race Last Week. #1 Alabama 9-0 (6-0); #2 Kansas State 9-0 (6-0); #3 Oregon 9-0 (6-0); #4 Notre Lame 9-0; #5 Georgia 8-1 (6-1).
#15 Texas A&M @ #1 Alabama. Prediction Tide 42 to 21. WRONG aTm 29 to 24
Now that we’re in the home stretch of the college football season and ready to play the most important game on the Buckeyes schedule(this week), lets take a look at this week for all of the B1G. Keep in mind that Wiscy is already headed back to the B1G title game in Indy, and the Buckeyes have clinched at least a tie for the Leaders division title via their two game lead in the division.
Nerds @ Sparty. Nothing on the line here as Sparty really has two weeks to become bowl eligible. The Nerds lost a heart-breaker last weekend at the hands of TTUN and back up QB Devin Gardner. I see a pretty good defensive game unfolding early but Sparty needs this win. Sparty 23 to 20
Hawkeyes @ TTUN. The Hawkeyes aren’t going bowling this year. They have played well in almost all of their games and have chances to win them but a little is a little to late. TTUN will not get caught looking ahead this week as they did last week, or maybe they will? Hawkeyes 21 to 17
Hoosiers @ Penn State. The hoosiers need to win their last two games to live up to some of the hype they created for themselves. At different times this season they have looked like giant killers, and well other times they just looked like a football team at a basketball school. PSU cannot go bowling until later this decade and are playing for pride. PSU 34 to 32
Purdue @ Illinois. This is the battle of the week, or maybe not really, but it will decide who is the bottom dweller trophy winner until next season in the B1G. Boilers have had their moments where they looked like the team that upset the Buckeyes at home last year(verified by the students who stormed the field) and the rest of the time they have struggled. Illinois and head coach Beckman just wnt the season over with so they can get started on rebuilding. Boilers 26 to 13
Minnesota @ Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are the team that I believed they were and will represent the Legends division in the B1G title game against Wiscy in Indy. They had one game they’d like to forget this season and it was their trip to Columbus. They have all but wiped the slate clean and save for the Buckeyes, are the best team the B1G has to offer. Minnesota is bowl eligible, but that is about it for this game. Cornhuskers 39 to 13
#6 Ohio State @ Wiscy. The Buckeyes are 10-0(6-0) and have already clinched at least a share of the Leaders Division title, which is all they can really win this season. We learned this week from Coach Meyer that going undefeated and the AP title was never a part of the team goals discussion. They wanted to go win as many games as they could for the seniors and to take care of the game at hand this week. What that means is absolutely no talking about the game rapidly approaching(TTUN) wink, wink. No matter what the coaches say, the players have all but confirmed this week that there is plenty bad blood between these two schools and as far as football goes, it is the secondary rivalry for both. Still wont predict scores for the team that I love but suffice it to say, the Buckeyes won’t need a last minute hail mary. Buckeyes all the way.
Kansas State is atop the National polls and have Baylor on the road this week. Oregon is the only top 5 that has a true test against Stanford and Georgia basically has a bye week taking on Georgia Southern. Notre Lame has Wake Forrest (go Jim Grobe!) and BAMA hosts Western Carolina (YAWN).
National Race This Week. #1 Kansas State 10-0 (7-0); #2 Oregon 10-0 (7-0); #3 Notre Lame 10-0; #4 Alabama 9-1 (6-1); #5 Georgia 8-1 (6-1). #6 Ohio State
#13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon. Stanford has an opportunity just like aTm did last week and they have the defense to do it as well. The trick will be to get out early and to slow the Ducks down at a pace they can deal with. Marriota and Snoop Dog’s nephew are having fun running that offense so the Cards have to take the fun out of it and quickly. Definitely the game of the week nationally and should be a good one. Stanford 35 to 31
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
In a week that was seen as a “meh” on the national scene, it was nonetheless a great Saturday for football. Here’s today’s soundtrack, inspired by Coach Meyer’s comments following the clash with Michigan State.
Well, it may have been the weekend before October, but it certainly was another chance for folks to show off their new costumes.. some for better and some for worse. Let’s start in Lincoln.
Proving yet again that they’re better geared as a soccer kit provider, Adidas decided that the game between Nebraska and Wisconsin would be a great opportunity for all the children of the world to bone up on either their periodic table or their consonants. Huge thanks to our friend Grant at Buckeye Empire for the in-game screencap that you see on the right… it wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Watching the game was pretty traumatic, to be honest… way too many flashbacks… and it shows that this week’s matchup will be another major test for both teams. We’ll obviously have much more on the Cornhuskers this week, but if that’s what “skipping rocks” looks like, it might be a long night in Columbus.
Also in B1G play, the “Meandering Illini” were outfitted with some new duds as they welcomed Penn State to the wind tunnel that is Memorial Stadium. I’m torn on the “matte” helmet look- I really like it, until it gets scuffed. Then? It looks pretty junior varsity… and as a lineman, I can’t imagine a non-scuffed helmet. In the days leading up to this game, you just knew there’s be a lot of paint being traded on both sides; Illinois looking to rebound from their embarrassment against Louisiana Tech, and Penn State looking to rebound from… well… everything. Add the “Illinois sent assistant coaches to Happy Valley” angle, as well as two coaches looking to make a statement in their first conference openers, you’ve got to figure that these teams would look for every opportunity to put a lot of points on the other. Unfortunately for Coach Beckman, that ended up being pretty one sided 35-7 loss. 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
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 8:30 PM EST on ESPN, from Glendale. Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big Integer) and Stanford (11-1, 8-1 PAC12).
Steve, our regular season picks champion, just happens to also be a Stanford season ticket holder, and gives us his rationale for the Cardinal’s sure victory. Be sure to check out the counterpoint!
At the beginning of the season I posted the following to poke a little fun at my Ohio State family:
To my Buckeye friends, Last year I wished I could afford tickets to see a BCS bowl champion, with a returning Heisman candidate QB, playing for a highly successful coach with experience in 2 levels of college football, playing in a recently renovated state of the art stadium. Sadly that coach is no longer with the team, but today my dream came true. I bought season tickets to watch Andrew Luck play for Stanford and they only cost me $240 … for 6 games … for all 4 members of my family. “All … Right … Now!”
It has truly been a magical year on The Farm and since all Stanford football conversations start with Andrew Luck let’s get that out of the way early. He’s good, seriously he makes playing QB look easy, his tears have the ability to grow hair on bald men and he makes a mean western omelet.
I would love to tell you that it’s not just him, that there are all kinds of offensive threats around him. The 3-headed TE corps of Fleener, Toilolo and Ertz, the 1,100 yard back Stepfan Taylor, the strong ground game of Gafney, Wilkerson and Stewart, and the speedy sure-handed receivers Griff Whelan, Chris Owusu and Ty Montgomery. But from where I sat this year, it was pretty easy to see how it is Luck that makes them all better.
When the Cardinal has the ball, look for Luck to exploit any TE mismatches. 19 of his 35 touchdowns have gone to one of the big 3. With Ertz out and Toilolo around 70% for Oregon much of the gameplan was gone and offensive output suffered. Watching one of the 3 go down field and take on a much shorter/smaller DB is excruciatingly fun. Sadly Owusu’s concussion against Oregon State probably sealed a once promising career but, Luck’s roommate Whelan and Freshman Ty Montgomery have filled in well. The hidden gem of the Cardinal attack is the running game. 2nd in the Pac 12 (passing was 6th btw) in yards per game, the running game owes much to the attention opposing defenses pay to Luck. All of this behind a front line with 2 2-time all Pac 12 OLs that gives up less than 1 sack per game and against the 83rd ranked rushing and 107th ranked total defense in the country. If I were Luck, I would have stayed in school for that too.
On defense the story is going to be simple, limit the big plays. OSU will be unable to move the ball on the ground. Period. I am sure they could care less. They will throw the ball and to tell you the truth it’s the part of this game that has me the most scared. The secondary has allowed over 250 yards in the air for 6 of the last 7 games with the sole exception being Oregon who didn’t need it. The DBs will need to come up with 1 or 2 stops because conceivably that is all it will take. I fear this mostly because of all the unnecessary big gainers given up to the likes of Washington State, Colorado, Washington, Berkely and Notre Dame not to mention Oregon and USC. A lack of effective running here may allow for extra help in the secondary.
This will be one of those high scoring affairs, but not one of the, “last one with the ball wins” types. This will be more, “he who makes the least number of mistakes wins.” Luck is human and has shown he can make the wrong decision on occasion. He threw 6 of his 9 interceptions in the last 5 games of the season, threw 2 against a much faster Duck D and almost cost the USC game with a late pick-6. Keep the Pokes offense off the field, cause +1 or more in turnover margin, and let Andrew be Andrew and everything will work out fine. As the say in Palo Alto, “Give ‘em the axe!”