Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12/7: My CFB Play-Off, Heisman talk & Happy Trails

MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAY-OFF




This is the time of the year we all realize that we have to wait over a month to see the only real play-off of the college football season, but it's just one game. My solution isn't overly complicated, and there are some kinks that would need to be worked out. It may not be perfect, but I do expect to sit back and see the money roll in on this idea shortly.


The first round would be the 4 BCS bowl games. The 6 BCS conference champions will have a permanent, traditional bowl destination. 2 non-AQ schools will fill the gaps, with the highest ranked non-AQ facing the lower ranked of the 2 AQ opponents.
The second round, the national semi-finals, will be at a location that rotates within the regions of the 3 AQ conferences represented by that semi-final.
The third round, the national championship, will be at a location that rotates around the  6 AQ conferences so that the same conference will not select a semi-final and a national title location in the same year.


Here is how it might look this year


First Round - Jan 1st/2nd
ORANGE BOWL: Virginia Tech (ACC) vs Connecticut (Big East)
SUGAR BOWL: Auburn (SEC) vs Nevada (Non-AQ, WAC)
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma (Big XII) vs TCU (Non-AQ, Mountain West)
ROSE BOWL: Oregon (Pac-10) vs Wisconsin (Big Ten)


Second Round - Jan 7th
Semi-final #1 (Big East - Tampa)
ORANGE BOWL WINNER vs SUGAR BOWL WINNER
Semi-final #2 (Big XII - Kansas City)
FIESTA BOWL WINNER vs ROSE BOWL winner


Third Round- Jan 14th
National Championship (Big Ten - Indianapolis)
Semi-final winner #1 vs Semi-final winner #2


Cons
1) It does stretch the season a week longer.
I would argue that the season stretches across academic semesters already, and that the college baseball play-off takes place entirely when the school is out of session for the summer. So BS to that argument against my plan.
2) The incentive for non-conference games amongst the AQ conferences is significantly lower.
I agree this would suck, but the carrot of a locked in slot to the play-off is also what would lure the conferences to support this plan. So, you have a point, but I like mine better.
3) Travel, who would be able to manage this travel.
Have you ever seen the basketball tournament? So BS to that argument.




HEISMAN TALK




This topic is getting a lot of play right now, so I thought I'd throw out my quick thoughts on the subject.
I understand there is an argument for leaving Cam Newton off of a Heisman ballot. Any so-called "integrity" clause is not something I support, there are simply too many past and current candidates who would be eliminated depending on how the voter feels about this. The argument against including Cam Newton is because you know the NCAA ruled that a violation occurred when Cecil Newton tried to solicit money for Cam during his recruiting process. The argument is that you know full and well that the NCAA ruling on this case is completely inconsistent with past rulings and with common sense. I know people who study and work as lawyers, and none of them say "on behalf of the student-athlete" implies knowledge on the part of the student-athlete. In other words, Cam is ineligible. It doesn't matter that the NCAA ruled otherwise, because they ruled under the pressure of a sure lawsuit if they had ruled the clear Heisman leader and leader of a team on a national title run. You can make your own statement that Cam Newton shouldn't be eligible, and I happen to agree with this statement.


If I did vote, which as an Underwriting Technician at a Insurance MGA I obviously don't, this would be my ballot:
1) Andrew Luck - Stanford QB (the run vs Cal was his Heisman moment, his season said it all)
2) LaMichael James - Oregon RB (An amazing season, on a really good team, the biggest cog)
3) Colin Kaepernick - Nevada QB (Passing: 2,830 yards 20 TD. Rushing: 1,184 yards 20 TD)






HAPPY TRAILS
It's time to review what is surely an incomplete list of coaches who have been given the boot this season, with some of the fondest memories.


Steve Roberts, Arkansas State, 2002-2010 (45-63)




Stan Parrish, Ball State, 2008-2010 (6-19)




Dan Hawkins, Colorado, 2006-2010 (19-39)



Bill Lynch, Indiana, 2007-2010 (19-30)



Doug Martin, Kent State, 2004-2010 (28-53)




Rickey Bustle, Louisiana-Lafayette, 2002-2010 (41-65)



Randy Shannon, Miami (FL), 2007-2010 (28-22)
Go straight to the 1:10 mark



Tim Brewster, Minnesota, 2007-2010 (15-30)



Todd Dodge, North Texas, 2007-2010 (6-37)




Robbie Caldwell, Vanderbilt, 2010 (2-10)





I JUST FIND THIS PICTURE TOO FUNNY NOT TO INCLUDE


34-17, 29-7




and now, your moment of zen...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

10/24: My Top 25

I'm not a voter, and don't even pretend to be one. The job is often more mocked than anything else, and ultimately you get more grief than credit. All that said, here is the Top 25 I would submit if I did vote. I have tried my best to give justification for each spot. Think I got something wrong? Let me know. It'd be nice to have some healthy debate on my blog.


*Rankings can change week-to-week, a win doesn't necessarily equal staying or moving up.


1. Oregon
The Pac-10 has been very good this year, and the Ducks are making the rest of the league look stupid so far


2. TCU
They've been streamrolling people, including Air Force this week (same team that took OU to the limit in regulation).


3. Auburn
Cam Newton is amazing, but I still think they pass D bites them eventually. Only quality road win opportunity is Iron Bowl.


4. Utah
This would be that other Mountain West team no one is talking about, collision course with TCU on the way.


5. Boise St
Other teams doing more each week to move up, but just keep winning and others will fall.


6. Alabama
I know they lost, but their schedule gives them this spot, just ahead of some undefeated teams.


7. Missouri
I know they just got a huge win vs Oklahoma at home, but need to see more to believe. Schedule before last night was awful.


8. Michigan St
Northwester is well-coached and coming off a bye, so the comeback is what I like to see in that spot.


9. Oklahoma
Road loss doesn't hurt them too much, plus still quality W's on the resume.


10. LSU
LSU being in the game yesterday says how good their D is, a Top 5 D, but bottom 5 O.


11. Wisconsin
Huge road win for the Badgers to add to their home win vs Ohio St. L at #8 MSU lone blemish.


12. Stanford
Only loss is to Oregon, some nice thumpings otherwise, solid team.


13. Arizona
Only loss was by 2 pts to Oregon St w/Quizz, otherwise solid resume


14. Iowa
Two losses: by 1 vs #11 Wiscosin, by 7 at #13 Arizona. Can't punish too much for those.


15. Ohio St
Buckeyes have played one team currently ranked, Wisconsin, and they lost. Good at clubbing baby seals though.


16. Nebraska
I'm still very skeptical of Huskers, but a nice road win vs Okie St helps.


17. Florida St
Something weird: Noles might end season having played only 1 top 25 team, Oklahoma.


18. Northwestern
Ranking won't last long, but after that kind of effort I can slightly overlook headscratcher against Purdue.


19. Arkansas
Two losses both to Top 10 teams, remaining schedule gives plenty of room for resume to grow.


20. South Carolina
W over Alabama, W over Georgia looks better now, L at Auburn doesn't hurt, but L at Kentucky does.


21. Baylor
Next two games, at Texas & at Oklahoma St, will be the Show Me games for Bears.


22. Mississippi St
W over Florida only gives so much credit this year, close game w/UAB gives skepticism, but close L vs Auburn helps.


23. Oklahoma St
Yesterday vs Nebraska was first loss, but also first opponent of note.


24. Virginia Tech
Still haven't lost since losing twice to Boise St (loss to JMU counts as other loss to Boise)


25. Illinois
They have 3 L's, but they were vs #7 Missouri, at #8 Michigan St & vs #15 Ohio St. This feels odd, but they look decent.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14: Week 2 In Review - ACC Sucks, Lattimore Runs Wild, Quack & MORE!

Note: Jaguars attendance jokes strictly forbidden

ACC SUCKS

I'm sure there are mort artful ways for me to state it, but the ACC has a weekend so horrifying that "sucks" really is the most accurate way of describing it. Getting housed in a game the league had to see as a way to prop up the conference is bad enough, but to do it twice? Dropping the most-watched game from week 1 was bound to have some hangover effect, but to a 5th place team in the Colonial Athletic Association?

Complete ACC scores:
Wake Forest 54, Duke 48 - Can't believe Coach K dropped one after winning it all last year.
Kansas 28, #15 Georgia Tech 25 - Jackets are no North Dakota St
James Madison 21, #13 Virginia Tech 16 - Biggest victory for ol' Jimmy since the War of 1812.
Boston College 26, Kent St 13 - Wait, BC played a home non-con vs no name team?
#2 Ohio St 36, #12 Miami 24 - Without special teams this game isn't even this close.
#10 Oklahoma 47, #17 Florida St 17 - New head coach, same crappy defense
Clemson 58, Presbyterian 21 - Really? They gave up 21 to who?!?!
Maryland 62, Morgan St 3 - Leave it ol' Ralph to have most comfortable ACC win of the day.
NC St 28, UCF 21 - Wolfpack were actually underdogs per Vegas, says something.
#16 Southern Cal 17, Virginia 14 - UVa might have found their coach, lone good statement for ACC.

There are a lot of weeks to go, but the ACC had to circle this weekend on their calendar when the season began. On the table were opportunities for an seemingly improved FSU squad versus a retooling Oklahoma team, a tough offensive team in Georgia Tech versus a Kansas squad with a coaching change in progress, and the ultra talented Miami Hurricanes versus an Ohio St team lacking enough playmakers. It all ended in disaster.

For the ACC, there's always next year. Maybe then the the teams acquired in recent years will finally step up and perform, but for now they're not ready. The question remains as to when they will be.




LATTIMORE RUNS WILD

South Carolina needed a win, they couldn't afford to lose. It was now or never, if ever. If South Carolina couldn't win with likely their most talented team in the history of the program against the Georgia Bulldogs with a freshman quarterback and their best player suspended, would they ever?

I will start by saying that Georgia appeared to really limit themselves on offense. They didn't want freshman quarterback Aaron Murray to have to feel the weight of the situation in his first SEC contest, on the road no less. Georgia really seemed to ride the rushing attack early and limit the passing playbook, but could only muster yards and very little points early. As the game wore on the Gamecock defense started to be more effective against the Bulldog running game, and so Georgia started going to the air more and more as the game progressed. I came in thinking Murray was overrated from my experience seeing him play in high school, but I came away truly impressed with his play. In his first real game versus a quality defense I think he made some plays that should leave the Georgia faithful optimistic going forward. I expect he will develop, and if he does then there are some good years behind center for the kid. A fumble on a potential scoring drive prevented Murray from having a even better situation in the game, and perhaps he would have had an even better opportunity to show his stuff. As it is his team was simply outplayed by a team with more experience on the field.

Marcus Lattimore. Marcus Lattimore. Marcus Lattimore. Those were the three keys parts of the South Carolina offense, and little else really mattered. A detailed breakdown of just how dominant Lattimore was and how much of a beast he was please see the work of Travis Haney of the Charleston Post & Courier. The offensive line seemed to block well for the rushing plays, which may be more Lattimore than them, but on the passing plays there were some costly gaffes. Garcia did much on his own also to prevent the offense from hitting a full, balanced stride. His timing still seems off, with passes lacking the crispness in the plays drawn up. It is something that seems painfully obvious, and something that has to improve if the Gamecocks want to make the kind of statement the rest of the team seems ready to make this season.

This week Furman comes calling, and it's yet another opportunity for "New Carolina" to continue to distance itself from the Ghosts of Carolina Past. A solid win against FU is important, as they are a decent D-IAA team (ranked 24th).




QUACK

It was all going so well on Rocky Top. Tennessee was controlling the momentum against #7 Oregon with a hard rushing attack and a smothering defense. The score was a slight advantage to Tennessee despite the total dominance on the field. The halftime score was tied up at 13, which had to seem slight disappointing to Vol fans despite an overall feeling of jubilation that their team had played so well when most likely were expecting the worst. Then came the second half. Oregon showed the explosiveness that is their signature in recent years. It ended in a 35-point win for the Ducks highlighted by some top plays of the week.

I draw 3 conclusions from this game:

1) Oregon is really, really good. They are without a doubt one of the few teams voters can safely put into their top ten. If they can navigate conference schedule they even have a shot at a lot more. They were likely thrown of by the weather delay and their atmosphere of the massive monstrosity that is Tennessee's home field, plus there's something about Tennessee's play that I will save for #3.

2) Tennessee is going to struggle even get bowl eligible this season. They are going to struggle to compete with Florida, Alabama, and others. It is what you get with the turmoil, turnover, and thin depth chart that the last few years have brought to Knoxville.

3) Derek Dooley is the right guy for Tennessee. I though he was the right hire back when he was first announced, and saw signs on Saturday that he will indeed succeed in the end. He is a no nonsense guy with a very simple and focused approach to the game. He can win if they give him the time he needs. I think they will, and so will he.




10 Thoughts of the Week

1) If I hear "I only wanted one more year" from Bobby Bowden, I'm going to pour hot sauce into my eyes.
2) Michigan-Notre Dame remains a very entertaining game between teams with zero national relevance.
3) That said, Denard Robinson is a very special player, even if no one else on his team is worth a damn.
4) The Miami Hurricanes don't play well when it rains, go figure.
5) If Virginia Tech beats Miami later this season will we decide Boise St is better than Ohio St then?
6) Comparing what Reggie Bush did to what O.J. did is asinine. Just stop, stop it now, you're an idiot.
7) Ole Miss won at Tulane 27-13, which means they do suck, that J'ville St thing wasn't a fluke.
8) Matt Millen is employed for reasons the elude me.
9) If Dan Mullen had a quarterback, everybody else would be screwed.
10) I say Chris Rainey will be back in a Gator uniform getting carries by the end of October (it's Urban Discipline).



and now, your moment of zen....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/7: Week 1 In Review - Don't Panic, Gamecocks 2-0, Boise 12-0 & MORE!

Don't panic, keep calm.
DON'T PANIC!
It's only one week, so unless you are Ole Miss there is no reason to panic. Knee jerk reactions are going to be rampant in all directions, some even different directions on the same game (see: Boise State). A lot of things are still left to settle, and that's why I won't do a Top 25 until after Week 4 has been completed. So let's roll with some thoughts.

GAMECOCKS 2-0
It's not often the Gamecocks are 2-0 (including 1-0 in SEC play) after a single week, but thus it is when South Carolina opens with a victory at home and Houston Nutt schedules the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

South Carolina 41, Southern Miss 13
Following the South Carolina Gamecocks (as an alum) it is often the non-conference opponents that provide the most headaches, and often they are in the game until the bitter end one way or another. This opener vs Southern Mississippi was different. The Gamecocks were able to continually gain yardage, and points, all throughout a game which was never really in doubt.
Stephen Garcia made all the swirling rumors about being outplayed by Connor Shaw a distant memory. This is as it should be, Garcia has been in the system for too long and showed a lot of promise last season. It appears more and more that motivation is just something that Steve Spurrier feels is always necessary with Garcia (perhaps the Blake Mitchell Experience is another reason for this).
The biggest surprise of the game for me was the contribution of Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders. Lattimore was such a heralded recruit that perhaps it isn't right to be so surprised, but scoring two touchdowns does seem a bit beyond the expectations of anyone. Sanders was more of a surprise as he was able to make a nice catch in the game and produce a huge play on a reverse he ran to the right side of the line. I saw Sanders in high school during the FHSAA State Championships, and he was small compared to other high school players. It's not unusual for a small guy with speed to contribute, but for Carolina this is something new.
A lot of confidence has to be felt going into this weekend's game at home vs Georgia, but really there is so little anyone truly knows about either of these two teams. It should be another classic game in an underrated rivalry between border states.



Jacksonville St 49, Ole Miss 48, 2OT
Houston Nutt must really have something against job security. I had already picked the Rebels to go 3-9 (0-8 SEC) before the season started due to what I perceived as overall uncertainty about the team that even the team itself had to feel. Then they blew a fourth quarter 31-13 lead vs the Jacksonville State Gamecocks of Div-IAA (or FCS, if you prefer).
It was embarrassing for the SEC, but can't really be considered shocking when you consider that Houston Nutt is a crazy person, between bouts of being really good at coaching. Consecutive Cotton Bowl berths followed by a home loss to a Div-IAA team, that's a trademark Houston Nutt moment.
That said, I now predict they will beat LSU again this year, because that would just make no sense at all (which in Houston Nutt Opposite World makes total sense).


BOISE 12-0
So I guess in one game Boise has clinched a berth in the National Title Game? Actually, not so much. Boise will have to go undefeated and hope that there are no more than one undefeated BCS conference champions and/or 1-loss SEC champion in the discussion. The strength of schedule will weigh heavily against the Broncos, but their resume in the last 5 years or so allows them to be in the discussion unlike any other non-BCS conference team.
Do they deserve it? I don't know for sure, but I also can't say for sure they don't deserve it. I know Boise gets months to prepare for their opener and bowl games, but so does the opposition. You're telling me Oregon, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma didn't take the Broncos seriously? I think Boise would be a 10-win BCS conference champion, but I also cannot state that as fact. You also cannot factually dispute my belief either.
Boise will have some tough games left. Oregon St is one of the truly underrated programs in the NCAA, and should give Boise a stiff challenge without weeks to prepare. Fresno St is always a respectable team that plays decent non-conference games where they acquit themselves well. Don't sleep on Nevada either, as they lose in Boise by a mere 11 points last season and now get the Broncos in Reno and off the Smurf Turf.
If they win all their games, most of the impressively, they deserve to be thought of in the same realm as an 11-1 Big Ten champion in my mind.


10 RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. Florida State looked impressive, but against who again?
2. Even when he does nothing wrong Les Miles gets end-of-game disaster moments.
3. Virginia Tech will likely run off seven wins in a row before they play Georgia Tech.
4. Turner Gil losing 6-3 to North Dakota St is nothing to panic about. First game, new regime.
5. Oklahoma always seems to struggle out the gate, so lets not make anything of Utah St.
6. Michigan look good, still not buying it until they play someone, if they ever do.
7. Oregon won't put up 72 vs Tennessee, but it will be ugly this weekend.
8. Nike is totally screwing up college football with these awful jerseys so far.
9. Florida will beat South Florida, but if they struggle there'll be issues down the line
10. Best game no one will watch this week? Auburn at Mississippi St (on Thursday of NFL opener)



and now, your moment of zen...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

8/31: My 2010 College Football Predictions

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS
(font size appropriate to media hype and recent BCS success)


EAST
1. Florida 10-2 (6-2): I know they're replacing a lot, but it's hard to see too many programs in the East knocking off Florida this season. For each of the remaining Eastern division teams I will explain my hesitation. Florida isn't going to rebuild, they're going to reload with as much talent as they had last year. Experience will cost this team a chance at more than SEC success, but they'll be a force for national title hopes in 2011.
LOSSES: 10/2 @ Alabama, 10/16 vs Mississippi St


Look! It's Tim Tebow! And Brady Quinn! They were so good in college...




2. South Carolina 9-3 (5-3): I know this is probably a biased pick, but I really think this team is capable of having a great season with all the turmoil in the division. It would take a big leap forward to contend with Florida, but the talent is there. The schedule isn't especially good or bad for a run, but it does set up for a possible 4-0 going into the Auburn/Alabama stretch if they can beat Georgia.
LOSSES: 9/25 @ Auburn, 10/9 vs Alabama, 11/13 @ Florida


3. Georgia 8-4 (5-3): Georgia is facing turnover at defensive coordinator and quarterback, which in these cases are good things. I saw Aaron Murray in high school and remain skeptical that he will match the hype he garnered (thought his receivers were able to make him look better than he was, which is not typical in high school). I don't see the kind of season that will relieve the pressure Mark Richt is starting to feel, but I think it will be a step in the right direction if their defense can regain competence.
LOSSES: 9/11 @ S Carolina, 9/18 vs Arkansas, 10/30 vs Florida, 11/27 vs Georgia Tech


4. Kentucky 7-5 (3-5): Rich Brooks finished out his tenure at Kentucky with 4-consecutive bowl seasons for the Wildcats. The transition to Joker Phillips was planned in such a manner that there shouldn't be a noticeable decline outside of pure leadership. I feel like it's going out on a limb, but my predictions for Kentucky aren't changed by Brooks retiring. Randall Cobb is still really good, so Kentucky still puts together a good season. Hey, they should be able to finally beat Tennessee, which might be reason enough for celebration.
LOSSES: 9/25 @ Florida, 10/9 vs Auburn, 10/16 vs S Carolina, 10/23 vs Georgia, 10/30 @ Miss St


5. Tennessee 5-7 (2-6): Long-term I think Derek Dooley will succeed at Tennessee with his no-nonsense approach, but it will be rough dealing with being the third coach in three years in Knoxville. I expect the offense to try to slow the game down and for the defense to be respectable, but in far too many games they are going to struggle. Really the season might not be much worse than it was last year under Kiffin, but some of those fluke games might not come around this year. I like Dooley, but I don't like Tennessee this season.
LOSSES: 9/11 vs Oregon, 9/18 vs Florida, 10/2 @ LSU, 10/9 @ Georgia, 10/23 vs Alabama, 10/20 @ S Carolina, 11/27 vs Kentucky


6. Vanderbilt 2-10 (1-7): Robbie Caldwell took SEC Media Days by storm, and instantly became my second-favorite coach in the SEC. He even started a Twitter account recently that is a must-follow. The problem is that the Commodores struggled last year and really have little reason to expect improvement. Vanderbilt does manage to schedule a tougher out of conference slate than most (Northwestern, at UConn, & Wake Forest), which doesn't help their cause. Enjoy Robbie Caldwell now, he won't last... unfortunately.
WINS: 9/18 @ Ole Miss, 10/9 vs Eastern Michigan


WEST
1. Auburn 10-2 (6-2): Auburn last year had a more successful season than most expected. Gene Chizik seemed to prove his struggles at Iowa St were not indicative of his abilities to coach football, which is good for Auburn after the PR disaster they suffered when they hired him. This season you would expect some improvement, but the schedule gives you reason for more optimism. Auburn is likely the be favored in at least 9 of their games. Their toughest games are at home, their road games are their easiest. I have them winning tie-breakers to go to Atlanta.
LOSSES: 11/13 vs Georgia, 11/27 @ Alabama


2. LSU 10-2 (6-2): There's just a feeling I have that Les Miles is going to have a good season. I don't think I'm the only one, but their late-season swoons in recent seasons have made them look worse than they were all year. I think LSU can thrive this season with the schedule they have, and this just seems like a team ready to rebound. They just better hope their season doesn't come down to a last-second clock management issue.
LOSSES: 10/9 @ Florida, 10/23 @ Auburn


3. Alabama 10-2 (6-2): I know what you're thinking, "A third 10-2 SEC West team?". You'd be right, I'm probably crazy, but I think the power struggle in the west results in three 10-win teams and no claim to a team in the national title game. Alabama will be good, and it would not shock me at all if they won the whole thing again. I just think it's too tough to repeat, especially in what will be a great division of the nation's best conference.
LOSSES: 9/25 @ Arkansas, 11/6 @ LSU


4. Mississippi State 7-5 (4-4): Dan Mullen did a lot in just his first season to inspire confidence amongst the cowbell-ringing faithful in Starkville. They finished just shy of a bowl-berth despite a complete coaching transition and offensive change. I expect their defense to be improved, and I expect the offense to only improve with experience in the system. I definitely like their game this year at Florida, remembering they put a scare into the Gators last year. That's my off-the-wall game pick of this preview.
LOSSES: 9/11 vs Auburn, 9/18 @ LSU, 9/25 vs Georgia, 10/9 @ Houston, 11/13 @ Alabama


5. Arkansas 8-4 (4-4): The Hogs are a trendy pick amongst many to make some noise in the SEC West this season. My problem with Arkansas is their inability to defend, which there is no reason to indicate will change this season. Ryan Mallet might be the best quarterback in college football this season, but their defense is too much of a question to mark to expect more than a 8 or 9 win season.
LOSSES: 10/16 @ Auburn, 11/6 @ S Carolina, 11/20 @ Miss St, 11/27 vs LSU


6. Ole Miss 3-9 (0-8): This is the team I expect will overturn my prediction, because that's what Houston Nutt does. Their QB situation became more muddled today as Jeremiah Masoli was declared ineligible, pending appeal the Rebels will lack anything at the quarterback position. Dexter McCluster is the biggest loss for Ole Miss, but I have learned by now not to predict a Houston Nutt team and expect them to fulfill my prediction.
WINS: 9/4 vs Jacksonville St, 9/11 @ Tulane, 11/6 vs Louisiana-Lafayette


SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Auburn 27, Florida 16




EVERYBODY ELSE


ACC: Virginia Tech over Maryland
I picked this the only way possible, by flipping a coin. I think that's how they actually decide the ACC title game anyway. The of this conference is too extreme to use normal tactics.


Big XII: Nebraska over Oklahoma
I like both these teams, and this game is likely to have a large say in who plays for a national title. In this case I expect Nebraska to be the spoiler.


Big East: Pittsburgh
I know this is the trendy pick, but I really do like them this year. If they can navigate their tough schedule they could even play for the title, but the road schedule just seems too tough.


Big Ten: Iowa
Most have Ohio St, but I can see that the Hawkeyes get the Buckeyes in Iowa City. Examine the schedule, it's made for them to make a serious run.


Pac-10: Arizona
Southern Cal will be the best team, but with NCAA sanctions the title and BCS bid will go to the Wildcats.






BCS BOWL GAMES
Orange: Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh
The ACC winner vs the Big East winner, neither title-worthy.
Sugar: Auburn vs Oklahoma
Auburn wins SEC, but at 10-2 no title game. Oklahoma derailed in Big XII title game by Nebraska, but gets BCS at-large consolation prize.
Fiesta: Nebraska vs Alabama
Nebraska finishes their Big XII tenure by playing a tradition-inspired Fiesta Bowl vs at-large Tide.
Rose: Arizona vs Ohio St
Pac-10 champ Wildcats face at-large Buckeyes still smarting from loss to Iowa.
BCS Title Game: Iowa vs Boise State
The National Title Game The Ushers Us Closer To A Play-Off. Iowa goes 12-0 in Big Ten and faces undefeated Boise St with no other contender with less than 2 losses.






And now, your moment of zen...


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

8/3: TUESDAY TOP 25: THINGS I MISS ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL

As the 2010 college football season approaches there are many things we all look forward to: people, places, games, stadiums, and so much more. I thought a good start to my college football blogging for 2010 would be to list off the top 25 things I miss about college football during the off-season. Feel free to share your own.

As always I will do a fair mix of serious and joking (by that I mean many jokes). I hope you enjoy.

#25: CapitalOne Mascot Commercials
Those commercials seem to go on and on all season long, but when they're gone I miss them terribly. It's just something I associate with college football too strongly to not miss. Here's one such commercial:



#24: Ed Orgeron
Yes, Coach O is amongst the ranks of the hated Lane Kiffin now at Southern Cal, but I don't miss Orgeron because of any sense of virtue or ethics. I miss Coach O because he makes Ron Zook seem apathetic and calm by comparison. On a serious note it is worth reading Meat Market (a book by Bruce Feldman of ESPN which chronicles recruiting as seen primarily through the eyes of Orgeron and his staff while at Ole Miss). Orgeron can recruit and was a horrible failure during his short tenure in Oxford leading the Rebels, but he inspired the best YouTube video in the history of Ole Miss football:



#23: Penn State "White Out" Games
Penn State has developed what has every appearance of the best current student section for TV in college football. The massive stadium and general sports-centric nature of the area dictate that they are passionate, and the costumes remind you strongly of the 70's Steelers fan followings for a reason. It is worth noting that the prominence of white at a Penn State home game is really not a challenge. In fact, nobody in the below video needed body paint or even clothing to give off this appearance:



#22: Tom O'Brien's "Prevent Offense"
Tom O'Brien, current head coach at NC State and former head coach of Boston College, has the outward personality of your average tax collector. O'Brien also has a penchant for coaching teams with the offensive philosophy of your average high school coach, the one that runs the ball on 3rd & 15 to the dismay of the entire stadium. His playbook is so close to the vest that it is digging deeply into his spine. I always smile when I flip through and watch NC State run a draw on 3rd & 19 down 14-9 in the fourth quarter. It is a thing of absolute abject horror, but I get a laugh every time.


#21: Fight Songs
In few sports are their truly songs that epitomize and unite the fan bases, but college football has many. Notre Dame's Victory March, Michigan's Hail to the Victors, or Southern Cal's Fight On are just a sampling of songs you immediately identify with the university and its fans. I admit to being kind of a freak with these, as I know the song and sometimes lyrics of entirely too many of these fight songs. This doesn't even take into account songs like Rocky Top at Tennessee which are only spirit songs, and not actually fight songs. Of course these unifying songs sometimes get turned completely around, I'm particularly biased towards this parody:



#20: Weekday Garbage Games
During the rest of the year I know there are games littered throughout the week of less significance for every sport, but only for college football do I watch. It could be Hawaii at Louisiana Tech, Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky, Bowling Green at Miami (OH), or any possible combination of teams from conference that don't matter and who combined will end the season with 4 wins. I will watch. Some beauties this year include: Troy at MTSU, UAB at UCF, UCF at Marshall, Buffalo at Ohio, Toledo at Northern Illinois, and Florida State at NC State.


#19: Lou Holtz & Mark May Rambling Past Midnight
I honestly don't usually stay up very late on weekends unless I'm out and about, which is rare. One time of the year I stay up late every Saturday is during college football season. The reason is for the late night college football recap show with Rece Davis, Mark May & Lou Holtz. They've been giving you picks and highlights since noon, but they're still at into early Sunday morning. You really don't know how Holtz manages to keep it up so late at his age, but then you see this:



#18: Virginia Tech's Entrance
For biased reasons this is my second favorite entrance in college football, but just watch it and enjoy it:



#17: Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins, current head coach at Colorado and former head coach at Boise State, is a bit different. He came in sounding a different tune from your average college football coach, and seemed to be headed for success in Boulder after a successful stint in Boise. Things aren't going well and Hawkins would likely be fired by now if not for salary and buy-out reasons. So expect more moments like this in his final season as head coach of the Buffs:



#16: Kegs & Eggs Kick-Offs
This is a tradition my boss at work told me about, he's an Ohio St fan from Ohio, regarding what to call a noon game. I would guess this is a phrase more common to Big Ten football than any other, since most other conferences avoid noon kick-offs unless television slots require it. In the Big Ten the only time games don't kick-off at noon is when television slots require a later kick-off. I admit that I enjoy these games, especially the traditional Big Ten game on ESPN2 with whatever top-flight crew they put on it this year. The Big Ten does its best to fill the void of noon kick-offs, and I assume their students and fans have gotten used to a solid Saturday morning breakfast of eggs, bacon and Natty Light.


#15: Lee Corso Getting Senile
The clown-like analyst, and formerly near total failure as a coach, Lee Corso has always relished the role as the crazy guy with gestures, catch phrases and mascot heads. He is reviled in some corners of college football fandom (Columbia, SC being one example) and is generally going to piss you off at some point during the season. Now comes the added entertainment that he is literally starting to lose it, and it's no longer just an act. I do offer some genuine sympathy as his health seems to have taken a turn last season, but overall I do not hold any ill-will either as I understand his schtick. This moment was his biggest slip last year, but expect more this season:



#14: Wisconsin's "Jump Around"
Wisconsin is amongst the Big Ten schools with a very energetic and involved student section. They actually have a Fifth Quarter when the band takes the field and plays after the game is over and the students along with fans have fun with it, but the most entertaining moment is what happens between the 3rd and 4th quarters. It is simply a great moment of college football spirit:



#13: Bill Stewart Talking
I really couldn't find a good video for this unfortunately, but be certain that Bill Stewart is an entertaining sumbitch to listen to when he is talking. He is West Virginia in every way. What makes it fun is the that means he with his drawl is funny, unassuming, modest, proud of his state, and trashed as anything on moonshine most of the time he gets a chance to talk. It is probable that he would be amongst the top ten coaches in terms of people you could get along with, but also that he truly is a state treasure for West Virginia.


#12: JoePa's Glasses
Joe Paterno garners a higher combination of respect and comedy than any other coach currently in college football. That's what happens when you're a college football coach in 2010 who can recall getting a congratulatory phone call about his football team from the White House... in the Nixon Administration:



#11: "The Right Reverend" Houston Nutt
Not only is Ole Miss coach, formerly Arkansas coach, Houston Nutt one of the craziest coaches ever, but he also happens to make his fans upset more than any other. He's the coach that everyone loves, until they realize that they will never get past a certain point with him at the helm. Arkansas found that out and eventually fan pressure resulted in Nutt bolting for Ole Miss, keeping in mind he is an alum of Arkansas. The Rebel faithful may eventually reach this point with "The Right Reverend", but until then it will be fun to watch them disintegrate to the point the Hog fans did a few year back:



#10: The "Dirty" FSN Pac-10 Game of the Week
This is another guilty pleasure of mine that shall not otherwise be mentioned. What better than announcers who I've never heard before calling games I honestly wouldn't care about if it weren't 11:50PM on Saturday night and College Football Final doesn't start for another forty minutes. Be it Washington St at UCLA, Arizona St at Oregon St, or UCLA at Washington, this game is good enough for me even if it isn't good enough for 3:30 ABC or earlier on FSN. Defense is usually optional, and rarely does anyone care about the outcome. It's 11:50PM and I want more football.


#9: Texas/Nebraska
OK, so this otherwise would not be on the list, but it is this year. This one-time only item on the list is here because of the downright venom that should ooze from this game at every orifice. Nebraska is leaving the Big XII for the Big Ten because they know Texas and the other South Division schools will never allow Nebraska to achieve the equality they will get in the Big Ten. Texas is getting their conference at a lower prestige level due to this exit. Expect hatred to a level unseen in what should be the last game of this rivalry.


#8: The Wannstache
Dave Wannstedt had mediocre runs in the NFL as a head coach, but the Pittsburgh alum has come back to get a very nice run started for the Pitt Panthers. He knocked rival West Virginia out of a national title run. He also has the best 'stache in the business, the Wannstache:



#7: Les Miles on Clock Management
Les Miles might be the least competent coach to ever win a national title, and it worth noting he lost to overtime games that season. He also has an incredible ability to call plays that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, which worked mostly during his title run. It hasn't worked as much at other times, including this beauty which shall be considered his masterpiece:



#6: "Sandstorm"
For a couple consecutive items I will show my absolute bias. This is something that really just began, too early to call a tradition, at South Carolina. I love it, but it needs not be overdone. I was at this game vs Ole Miss (ranked #4 at the time) when I saw how powerful it could be:



#5: "2001"
The entrance of the team at South Carolina:



#4: Verne & Gary
In Part 1 of 2 on my love for The SEC on CBS I bring you Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, who get genuinely whacky at times. Danielson actually brings sound analysis to other outlets when brought on, but the two together go the way of hero worship. Most notably they even joked about their own Tebow love on air to the amusement of many, including me. Here's one example of the kind of whacky chemistry these two have:



#3: The CBS College Football Intro
Hearing this is when I know college football has begun, because it signals the first weekend of SEC football every fall. After it is over the words "Hello, Uncle Verne" typically escape my lips. Let it wash over you:



#2: Rivalries
In college football there are rivalries. Some rivalries reach across the country, Notre Dame vs Southern Cal, but most are brought on geographic proximity or Big Ten membership. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Civil War. The Big Game. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The Old Oaken Bucket. Rivalry never dies.



#1: Sloth
Step 1) Wake up in time for ESPN College Gameday (9:45AM)
Step 2) Turn on ESPN
Step 3) As noon approaches, grab complete day of games TV schedule
Step 4) At noon begin keeping the channel on the best available game of live action
Step 5) At midnight flip between end of dirty Pac-10 game and College Football Final
Step 6) Pass out when either a) tired from the day or b) too drunk to stay awake
12 step plans are for quitters, my plan for greatness gets it done in 6.


and now your moment of zen...