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).
Well, our Midwestern correspondent checks in with one side of the debate… yeah, he’s biased. Be sure to check out the counterpoint a bit later this evening.
Everyone knows about the stars, Luck, Weeden, Blackmon, but where I think this game will be won or lost is where most games are won and lost, along the lines and on defense. Oklahoma State has one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation in Joe Wickline. Last year he took 5 new starters and turned them into the best performing line in the Big 12, which is saying a lot with the other linemen in the conference. This season, he added 2 other linemen to this mix and again has a dominating line. This is why, in my opinion, OSU has one of the top offenses in the country. It’s not surprising that the only hiccup this year was when the line had their worst game. If the O-Line performs as it has for two seasons, I find it hard pressed that Stanford will be able to keep the Cowboys under 30.
This leads me to my next key of the game: The Defense. Much has been written about how bad (statistically) this side of the Cowboys team has been. However, look at it this way: They held 5 top 25 offenses below 30 points (3 of these games were on the road), and two potential top 10 draft picks (RG3 and Landry Jones) to 1 TD and 7 turnovers. Now many will say neither of these players is Andrew Luck. I’m sure they are not, but the Cowboys have fared just fine going up against top offenses all season. Some will also say holding an offense to under 30 shouldn’t be highlighted. Based on my first point, if Stanford doesn’t score 30, OSU wins, because I don’t believe Standford will hold the Cowboys under that number. Nobody has done that all season, and I don’t see the Stanford Cardinal doing it either.
Finally, I look at Stanford’s loss, Oregon. Not only did they lose, they lost BIG and at home. I watched this game from start to finish and what stood out was how slow Stanford looked, again AT HOME. Oklahoma State is very similar to Oregon…they spread you out, are crazy up-tempo, and then pass and run depending on how you line up. Also, like the ducks, they are VERY fast at the skill positions. I see more of the same happening to Stanford in this year’s version of the Party Bowl.
My prediction, Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 31. Oh, for kicks and giggles, Alabama beats LSU 4-3 with a safety as time expires. Now what do we have…3 one loss teams. And I say the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the AP National Champion! Hey, why not, because none of us buy into the BCS anyway.
This has been a difficult week. “Gee, you think?” – People in Happy Valley
Even as someone who’s not affiliated directly with PSU football, the news and headlines coming out of this story has created a pall over all of the games this weekend. This story reminds us that there are things greater than the trivial games that we enjoy, and that these are (after all) just games. It makes us take a step back and wrestle with the support we give to programs and the expectations we have for people who are in charge of them. It is the icing on the cupcake of a season already filled with reminders that the purity of the sport is not what it should be (particularly if you buy your cupcakes at one of those overpriced “boutique” places).
In addition to the national news, we hear that Urban Meyer lost his father this past week- thoughts and prayers to him and his family. With all that’s been going on, this has been a difficult look back at this past week’s contests- but the games can also be reminders of the better things that can happen on the fields and in the lives of the young adults who represent the Universities we follow. So, with that, this week’s soundtrack is some older U2- here we go.
If Disney were in charge of college footbal (and they aren’t. Yet.), Nebraska would be filled with evil villains and Penn State’s valiant, moxified seniors would figure out a way to beat the evil Huskers to honor their “fallen” coach. Alas- we’ve seen that movie, and while miracles happen in real life, the truth of the matter is that two good football teams played and the one with the better strategy managed to emerge victorious. Penn State’s defense is as advertised, as is their offense- it will be interesting to see if this week’s matchup against Ohio State will make the LSU/Alabama game look like a scoring juggernaut.
The Week That Were looks at the hyperbolic and the unexpected. Once again, I was wandering around the wilderness on gameday, which explains why Stevie makes a repeat appearance as our soundtrack for “The Review Of The Century”:
NOTE- Scroll down for our comments regarding Penn State coverage.
Well, let’s get right to it… the game that many saw as a pick-em at kickoff, between the top two teams in the country, was the “highlight” of an interesting week. Sorry for those of you playing the “oversigning” drinking game- in the hours and hours of lead up and coverage, not a single mention of the biggest issue behind the scenes for this matchup. At least you could be the Designated Driver, right?
As for the game itself- it was a classic matchup of two solid defenses. Or, it was a clash between two teams that could not offensively amount to much of anything. It all depends on your perspective, I reckon.
That’s not to say that there weren’t moments to enjoy, though. I’m someone who normally appreciates defensive struggles but also hates soccer, and I can admit the players that Alabama and LSU
didn’t run off during the offseason put on the field showed the “SEC Speed” that we continue to hear so much about during home game bowl season. To keep Trent Richardson in check when he’d been running through offenses like he was a fancy car or something… that’s significant. These teams both were firing on all cylinders on the defensive side of the ball, even if they couldn’t outscore a baseball game.
Only one thing frustrated me, to be honest- Les Miles absolutely should have faked the third down field goal and gone for the touchdown. Lester… man, you’re getting soft. Saban, on the other hand, was in championship form- I can see why people want to play for him… he’s so cuddly! Read More
I’ll be honest… it’s been so great to relive the huge Buckeye win over Wisconsin, I’ve had to dig a bit to find motivation to even think about the other games from this week. However, my search for a soundtrack that would be appropriate for Halloween Weekend, I found this gem that helped me keep my focus…
The story this week was big upsets, both with teams falling from the ranks of the undefeated and teams rising to the occasion against expectations. So let’s start in that vein, and with a little “howdy do” to our newest BFFs from the Iowa State contingency, who turned the tables on a Texas Tech team coming off a huge upset on their own. And it wasn’t just a “win” against the #20 Red Raiders, but a 41-7 demolition of Tommy Tuberville’s squadron… must have been a bit presumptuous to start the “Mike Leach Who?” talk, huh? No wonder the folks in Lubbock were chippy.
But the Cyclone satisfaction didn’t stop there, as cross state rivals Iowa also fell in a surprising factor, to a Minnesota team that’s been disappointing both for their coach and for their conference. But, in a week where the new guy got a huge “Vote Of Confidence“, his Gophers responded with a one point victory in Iowa City to the perennial B1G Coach Of The Year. They get Floyd back in Minneapolis, which is always a good thing. Yup, just another week of pride for the folks at ISU… enjoy your moment. Read More
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.
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.
Georgia linebacker James Vaughters has re-confirmed his commitment to Stanford($) after briefly re-opening his recruitment when Harbaugh left for the NFL.
Vaughters to Ohio State was always a long shot, but a scheduled official to Columbus left a glimmer of hope for the Buckeyes. Now that visit is cancelled following his re-commitment and the glimmer is gone.
All is not lost, however, as the Buckeyes still have a shot at Virginia LB Curtis Grant. According to some, the Buckeyes may even be leading at the moment. Ohio State has an above average shot at the very least, and with Vaughters out of the picture, all recruiting energy can be channeled in Grant’s direction.
Grant still has a visit left to UNC, and “we will know more” afterwards.
Also, Aundrey Walker visted USC last weekend and rumors swirled of a silent verbal as you would imagine. I am still far from worried about Walker. A trip to SoCal one weekend with a trip to Florida (State) the next… what Ohioan wouldn’t enjoy that in January?
Trips like that are half the reason Glenville recruits delay committing in the first place.
The buzz is that Walker and Grant are both Buckeyes.
That would be a fantastic finish to a top 5 recruiting class.
History: Like all bowl games, this one started as an attempt to get tourists from the north to head south for the holidays and to bring their money with them. Initially called the “Palm Festival Game”, the second matchup saw ‘Da U lose to Duquense. In 1935, once the game became rebranded under the current name, Miami continued their hospitality by falling to Bucknell. The 1964 Orange Bowl game between Texas and Alabama was the first college bowl game to be televised in prime time. Oh, and it’s being played in Land Shark stadium. Good times.
The game is most known for being a home game for Miami, and has hosted some classic matchups between the Big 8 and Florida schools, including the string of clashes between Miami and Nebraska which often determined the national title. Ohio State has been to Miami on only one occasion, beating Colorado in the 1977 game.
Like it’s partner in Pasadena, this game was also known for a parade highlighting outrageous floats and festivities (outrageous. in Miami. I know.). Unusual in that it was held at night, the event was a part of the new year’s landscape for 62 years until it lost it’s television contract in 1997, which led to it finally being ended in 2002. This event was extremely formative for me- because of my mom’s insistence that we always watch it, I developed a highly passionate hatred of parades, particularly those that involve copious amounts of lip-syncing. Thanks mom.