Well hello there! I take off for a week into the wilderness and come back to find that a) Dexter went Lizard King on me and b) Charles broke the site with his excellent coverage of the Waters situation (more later). It’s good to be needed, ya heard?
Seriously, thanks for your patience as we’ve been updating our server and so forth. I especially want to apologize to those band members who were kind enough to let us publish their stories… you deserved better than having us offline as much as we’ve been. At any rate, I think we’ve got a good handle on things now and ideas for a strong future as well… I think we’ve got the problems derezzed.
The first weekend of March Madness is in the books. Just like every single four day weekend, basketball fans at tBBC saw their ups and downs. Things started off horribly when Vee Sanford banked home the winning layup against the Buckeyes on Thursday. It was that same Dayton team that upset Syracuse later in the weekend, in Buffalo. The Flyers were one of the many upset artists on the weekend, including Stanford — the team they will play this upcoming weekend. We saw the only undefeated team say goodbye to the rest of the season, and a bunch of one and done studs mold into a team.
And the two top freshman in the country failed to taste the sweetness of being one of the final sixteen teams standing.
Now that your bracket it ripped up and you could care less about winning one dollar let alone a billion, we begin getting you ready for the weekend with our regional previews of the Sweet Sixteen.
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Arena: FedEx Forum (Home of the Memphis Grizzlies)
TV Affiliation: CBS
Monday’s menagerie of thoughts and wonderings on Saturday’s shenanigans comes with music. It was an “ugly” weekend, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a silk purse out of it all.
Before we dive into the scores, it’s important to remember how trivial college athletics is in the big picture of things. Unfortunately, this is only brought home when we remember the frailty of life, and there were three chances for reflection this weekend.
Ohio State started with a tribute to Columbus Newscaster Dom Tiberi’s daughter Maria, who lost her life in a traffic accident this week.
UCLA followed suit later on Saturday with a 10 man play from scrimmage to honor wide receiver Nick Pasquale, who was killed in a traffic event last week.
And sadly, we found out on Sunday that Cincinnati freshman Ben Flick died after yet another motor vehicle incident.
Again, football is fun… but it ain’t life.
Let’s stay in the Buckeye State with a reminder of the awesomeness that Ohio State unleashed on Saturday. Sure, it was an undermatched opponent, but that doesn’t mean that the game was insignificant for those that played in it. And, while this was the best block of the week by FAR, the game was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Ohio State did allow ten runs and have two errors in the victory.
PS- I didn’t know that Pam Oliver was a Cal grad. At least TBDBITL seems to think so and responded to criticism in a different way than Charles did earlier.
Ken will be by later to respond to those pundits who seem to have issues with Ohio State’s 76 point victory, but I’ll add only this- I sure don’t hear any bitching about Baylor or Louisville or Miami doing the same on Saturday, and when Oregon did it earlier in the year against an FCS program, they jumped Ohio State in the polls.
You know who doesn’t have a problem with playing until the final gun? The Pirate Cap’n… that’s who.
As you can see up there in the right corner, Coach Kelly and the Irish are celebrating another win in the very friendly confines of South Bend. And by “very friendly”, I mean the kind of affectionate that allows a receiver to climb over the back of a defender and still benefit from the pass interference call. The “Sparty NO!” moment might have happened as soon as Michigan State left the locker room; it’s certainly an uphill battle when you’re playing 11 on 16. Read More
Hello again Buckeye fans and converts from TTUN. Today we celebrate the number 13, the number of points OSU scored against UCLA on October 7, 1961.
Heisman runner-up Bob Ferguson was held in check, and OSU trailed 3-0 into the second half. But the Bruins forgot about super sophs Paul Warfield and Matt Snell, who each scored touchdowns to give the Buckeyes their first win, on the way to the Football Writers Assciation of America national championship.
OSU was in line to play for the Associated Press national title, but the OSU faculty decided to turn down a Rose Bowl bid, fearing football was becoming too big in Columbus. So OSU stayed home and Alabama won the Sugar Bowl and the AP title.
That actually hurt recruiting for a couple years as opposing coaches tended to use that against the Buckeyes in trying to sway high school players away from Columbus.
A couple of interesting notes about that season, since the game was pretty boring:
Uh, good choice.
Welcome back to San Diego… this game is so important that it’s got “education” as it’s middle name!
The History: From its inception in 1978 through 1990, the bowl featured the Western Athletic Conference champion and an at-large team. In 1991, the Bowl made an agreement with the Big Ten to have its third selection play the WAC champion. In 1997, after the break up of the WAC, the Holiday Bowl signed agreements with the Pac-10 (now the Pac-12) & Big 12 conferences. Today, the bowl features the third selection from the Pac-12 and the fifth selection from the Big 12.
Baylor Scouting Report: Baylor finished the regular season 7-5 including wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech and losses to Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia (remember the 70-63 loss they had against the Mountaineers?). The Bears lead the nation in total offense at 578.8 yards per game and rank fifth in scoring (44.1). Quarterback Nick Florence had big shoes to fill, replacing Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. He was up to the task. He led the nation in total offense at 387.7 yards per game. Look for him to target senior receiver Terrance Williams a lot, who set a school-record with 1,764 receiving yards. The Bears’ defense struggled this season, however, allowing on average 38.2 points per game and 513.9 yards per game. Read More
Not gonna lie… got a pretty mellow vibe for this week’s updates.
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