In a week full of surprises, this is a pretty good soundtrack for your Monday morning reading.
Sometimes life gives you some unexpected gifts. You’re set up on a date to be a wingman for a friend who’s girl has a cousin in town, and you end up in an amazing marriage together. You open a book and find an old letter from a friend that you’d forgotten about. A seldom worn jacket has cash in the pocket. Mowing the grass reveals a dog you’d forgotten you had. You let a friend borrow your truck and he has it detailed while he’s got it.
On second thought, that last one probably means that he used it to transport a body or something. Let’s move on.
This week in college football was like that- on paper, there weren’t any marquee “games of the century”. But, as we know, games aren’t played on paper- instead the tiny men who square off in our TV sets gave us some fantastic finishes and an incredible weekend of sports.
Let’s start in the B12… We give Charlie Weis and the Jayhawk program a lot of well deserved grief hereabouts, so I’ll be among the first to celebrate their win over the couch fire that has become the West Virginia program. It’s hard to say that Coach Holgorsen might be in a bit of a rebuilding year, but it’s certainly difficult to see the Mountaineer program fall so quickly from the tops of the conference.
That’s not to take anything away from Kansas- great win, gang. However, let’s not get all carried away, shall we?
Ohio State fans are certainly well aware of the Baylor Bears, who now are poised to jump the Buckeyes in the “we’re still totally making this up as we go” BCS standings. Baylor continued their undefeated season with a big win over Texas Tech on Saturday, a Raiders team that was a media darling following a soft early season schedule, but has now dropped four straight games. What the #narrative won’t tell you as they tout Baylor’s 63-34 win is that the Bears were trailing 20-7 in the first quarter. But hey… shiny!
With all the firepower that the Bears bring to the table one of the surprises is that it was Tech that gave us our first “catch of the week” nominee. For another angle, check this out:
Interestingly enough, the B12 also brings us the hit of the week, which was 100% targeting. It’s a Vine, but check out the shot that this trooper puts on this fan who decides that he wants to be a part of the action… If only Stoops’ team had tackled that well against Baylor. Read More
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
Today’s soundtrack is brought to you by 70 degrees and sunny skies in Los Angeles. Oh, and a little bit of EW&F.
And now, the bowls get B1G
In one of the more shocking developments since the end of the college football season, Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville decided to leave the school to go north and take the opening left by Butch Jones (who is going to Tennessee) and become the top cat at Cincinnati. The Red Raiders will be led in the Check Your Washer Fluid Level Bowl by offensive line coach Chris Thomsen. They come into the game at 7-5 having lost two in a row to Oklahoma State and Baylor. They were demoralized by Kansas State and Oklahoma while pulling one of the at the time biggest surprise upsets of the season when they ambushed previously unbeaten West Virginia in Lubbock 49-14. The Red Raiders are known for offense and this season was no different. Quarterback Seth Doege threw for 3934 yards and 38 touchdowns to a pair of 900+ yard receivers in Darrin Moore (948, 13 TD’s) and Eric Ward (974, 11 TD’s).
On the home front, the Buckeyes are 2-0 all-time against Texas Tech. It’s hard to forget their last matchup, the 2002 “coming out party” for freshman running Maurice Clarrett en route to a 45-21 victory and eventual national championship season. Read More
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
Yup, it’s that week again- we find ourselves looking to the skies and hoping for an astronomical event to head toward… let’s see… this year the game is in South Bend, so that will do just fine. Just think, if Notre Dame’s previous coach was still on the sidelines, there just might be enough gravitational pull between the two head men to facilitate this.
We continue the journey across the nation to get you ready for kickoff in less than two weeks. Today, Gary weighs in on the newest incarnation of the Big 12 conference.
With all the Conference re-aligning going on it has been tough to keep track of what team is going where. Many conferences are taking on small changes while many are undergoing complete makeovers. Today, we take a look at the Big 12 conference, which has changed drastically over the last couple of years.
2011 Record 10-3
Pre-Season Rank: NR
Head coach Art Briles has his work cut out for him after losing all three of his stars from last year’s offense. QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, and RB Terrance Ganaway all lead the Bears at their respective positions and have all left for the NFL. The Baylor offense still returns three talented wide receivers in Terrance Williams, Lanear Sampson, and Tevin Reese. All three had 1000+ yards last year. The question is can incoming QB Nick Florence get them the ball. Only time will tell if he can and that is why they will start this season outside of the Top 25 until that question is answered.
Iowa State Cyclones
2011 Record 6-7
Pre-Season Rank: NR
Last year was a very difficult season for the Cyclones as they struggled in every aspect of their game. The lone bright spot was the unexpected upset of the Oklahoma State Cowboys (their lone loss on the season). Head coach Paul Rhodes has very few things going for him in 2012 with a QB battle between Senior Steele Jantz and Sophomore Jared Barnett brewing which we all know is never a good thing this close to the season. Rhodes also lost his offensive coordinator Tom Herman to Ohio State. One things that is going for is the return of linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein to lead their defense. Look for the Cyclones to struggle against a very strong conference and be towards the bottom of the standings again in 2012. Read More
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.