Sooo… big victory, at night, outside of Chicago, in a hostile environment, behind an old favorite. Yup, there’s really only one choice for the soundtrack for our look back at college football’s big weekend.
As the season progresses, there will be a number of weekends that provide “clarity” in the national rankings scene… and this past weekend answered a few questions.
Three sets of undefeated teams squaring off; obviously, readers of this site will be aware of what happened between two of the B1G’s three last undefeated teams. Hell, Vegas knows what happened, and has $300 million reasons to hate Joey Bosa.
The early matchup wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as the marquee in Evanston, at least not after the first few minutes. Facing undefeated (and B1G) Maryland at home, the Florida State Seminoles made quick work of the Terrapins, pitching a 63-0 shutout.
I’m impressed with both FSU and their freshman quarterback, and bumped them up significantly in this week’s Top 10 rankings that you’ll see on Wednesday. Even more frustrating? In the play on the right there, Winston connects with tight end Nick O’Leary, the grandson of Buckeye great Jack Nicklaus. If Winston was a Buckeye lean during his recruitment as is rumored, that connection could have been in Scarlet and Gray.
The final battle of the unbeaten was the nightcap, as Stanford hosted resilient Washington. The Cardinal somehow managed to seemingly get all 27 tight ends on the field at the same time, and were effective in the power game against the undersized Huskies. Sarkisian’s team wasn’t to be overlooked, however- they managed to make a late run at the Cardinal only to have a late catch overturned on review. Based on, from all we know, this view right here. PAC12 refs, man… And here I thought that the SEC was the conference that bent over backwards to ensure that their top teams kept winning…
A celebrity of sorts was at the Husky Cardinal (also a descriptor for St. Louis fans) game, as former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice was present to watch her alma mater win. The timing couldn’t have been better- she has also been connected to the upcoming “College Football Playoff Committee”, and was dismissed for that role by ESPN’s David Pollack. I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over… it was all we could to to keep Clair from hunting him down. Dr. Rice’s name has also been bounced around as a possible replacement for Dr. Gee as president at The Ohio State University- who knows… Read More
As week 5 ends and the B1G schedule began with a win for the Buckeyes, we present you with our first The Buckeye Battle Cry top ten poll. We’re firm believers that you don’t really know anything about a team until October, so here we go.
Stop back each Tuesday to see who tops our experts lists and who’s moved up and who’s dropped out. The number of first place votes are in parenthesis.
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma, Washington, UCLA
Oregon tops our first poll with a strong 6 first place votes although some will argue that the Ducks have yet to face a tough opponent.
Alabama and Ohio State both received first place votes. The Tide’s offense has been less than impressive but have wins over Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, but put points on the board in bunches against Texas A&M.
The Bucks are coming off of their best win of the season over Wisconsin, and will face another tough task as they travel to Northwestern for an 8pm showdown Saturday night.
Let the record show, Alabama plays Georgia State- Just saying for those schedule haters of the Bucks’ opposition thus far.
Clemson and Stanford filled out the top 5 as both the Tigers and Cardinal have impressive wins over Georgia and Arizona St respectively.
Check back next week to see episode two of The Buckeye Battle Cry’s top 10!
For some reason, I’ve had this song stuck in my head lately. And now, you will too. You’re welcome.
The story of the weekend certainly happened off the field… off the field, off the tarmac, and off the bus; as the leadership at Southern Cal had seen enough and decided that the Lane Kiffin Experience was overdue for termination.
According to reports, the decision was made at some point during the third quarter of the Trojan’s blowout loss to Arizona State (this time with no officiating issues!).
Again, this is something that had been coming for a while- after squandering what many believed to have been a top 5 team and Heisman Candidate QB last year, there was speculation that Kiffin’s leash was already shortened. Given his “career”, it’s completely understandable- Fell into failure with the Raiders, tried to turn Tennessee into Trojan East and left the program in shambles that they’re still recovering from, and sliding into mediocrity in Los Angeles… that doesn’t go over well for anyone who can’t remember Trojan football BC (Before Carroll).
To be fair, though- Southern Cal is suffering under the weight of recruiting restrictions due to the
arbitrary randomness wisdom of the NCAA; restrictions that were laughably upheld this week after a brief review in the strangest of circumstances. But to see other PAC12 teams strengthen themselves (Stanford, Washington, and cross-town rival UCLA), Kiffin’s inability to succeed at a program that has everything to offer ended up being too much to continue.
For more on the Southern Cal situation, I cannot recommend our friend Paragon’s take on this decision. As for me, I’m still a believer in Barkley’s theory and am confident that Kiffikins will land on his feet.
The short lists of replacements are already under consideration: Boise’s Peterson, Vanderbilt’s Franklin, Jack Del Rio from the NFL are among the common names. I posited this on twitter, but can only offer the most logical decision in this matter. Bucket not included.
Out west, among teams with an offensive philosophy that matters, it was “Fun With The Transitive Property!” day for pollsters, as #2 Oregon hosted Cal. Certainly voters could learn something about the Buckeyes’ rankings with a shared opponent in the Ducks… and what they learned is that Ducks don’t mind monsoons. Jared Goff was replaced early in the game, but the turnovers and wet conditions didn’t slow down the Oregon offense, even after LaMichael James left the game with a leg injury. Not sure what happened… perhaps he just got winged. Read More
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