Friday, January 8, 2010

1/8: BCS Review, Predictions Revisited, NFL Play-Off Thoughts & More!

Alabama wins another title (8! No more you lipless in-breds)

On his fifth snap from center Colt McCoy's day was over on a relatively mild play that belied an awful end to a great career. Everything was in place for him to end his career with the stuff dreams are made of, but it was not to be. It also was coming together that the national championship was not going to elude McCoy like the Heisman had through his illustrious career. So Colt McCoy ends his time in college without any remaining eligibility, Heisman trophies, or national championship rings. It is a sad ending to a great career.

It's tough to really explain this game any further than to say that the Tide appeared to go completely into a prevent offense with a 24-6 halftime lead over Texas. Who could blame them? Texas had to settle for a freshman with only limited mop-up experience after McCoy went out with his shoulder injury. It was Alabama's game to win, but they almost lost it. Just as teams sometime become to complacent on defense with a big lead, Alabama was content to sit on a lead. They forgot that what the back-up lacked in experience he more than made up for in pure talent (he actually had more hype coming to Texas than McCoy did when he got to Austin).

The only true debate is if the Longhorns would have emerged victorious with four quarters from their senior quarterback. I would argue that it's impossible to know for sure. Alabama likely wouldn't have felt confident enough to recede into a prevent offense with McCoy taking snaps for Texas. It is equally likely that the lead would never have existed. It also seems certain that Alabama's major gaffes early on special teams would have cost them more had McCoy been able to lead the entirety of both drives, but he came out after a first down play on the Alabama 13 yard line. The drive started when Alabama tried a pass on a fake punt from deep in their own territory that was intercepted around the 30 yard line of Alabama, and it seemed headed for pay-dirt until McCoy went down. Instead Texas settled for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. The ensuing kick-off was short and so horribly covered by the Crimson Tide that they were unable to field it before Bevo's bunch pounced on it. Again Texas had merely 30 yards to cover, and again they settled for a field goal and a 6-0 lead. A disastrous remainder of the first half for back-up Texas QB Garrett Gilbert ended with an interception returned for a touchdown to make it 24-6 when teams hit the locker rooms.

That Gilbert would find his legs seemed anything but a certainty, but find them he did. Riding the dependable WR Jordan Shipley the back-up got it back to a three point deficit at 24-21. Alabama got a possession that reached midfield with around four minutes left and seemed to be ready to sink the final nail in the coffin, but it stalled and they had to punt Texas inside their own ten. It appeared that Alabama was unable to get back to playing the game for real. Could the Alabama defense save them? All of us collectively started to think maybe this was the fairy tale start for another potential star passer in Austin. Images danced in our heads of McCoy hugging Gilbert while they both basked in the glow of the crystal football. Then reality hit in the form a unopposed run, hit, and forced fumble by the vaunted Tide defense. As Alabama recovered the fumble inside the Texas five yard line it was over. Ball game. Some meaningless points were scored and a couple turnovers came as well, but the game was no longer in doubt.

The only doubt remains as to if Boise State would have beaten Alabama. I say that not because of McCoy's injury, but more because I think they might be that good. Texas Christian knows they'd have put up a better fight than the Longhorns sans-McCoy, but reality says Boise State remains the only team who can claim they deserve a shot. In this season a Texas-Boise State match-up would result in an undisputed champion, but we all know how that goes.

Keep it strong Boise, we're with you

Please read this if you're wondering about the varying number of national titles claimed by Alabama, because the real number is 8 now, no matter what they say.

Predictions Revisited
So it wasn't all bad. My Facebook Predictions vs Reality:

I had Georgia Tech over NC State for ACC Champ game
Reality had Georgia Tech over Clemson, not too far off even though NC State was bad
My dark horse Duke finished 5-7, if they had a mulligan on the opening loss to Richmond they might've been bowling

Big East
I had Rutgers winning the conference, but Cincinnati won (definitely missed on them)
I had Pittsburgh as my second choice, and they indeed finished second
I had Louisville as my dark horse, they finished 4-8, fired their coach, and hired Charlie Strong

Big Ten
I had Penn State winning, instead my second choice Ohio State won, but Lions were good
I had Minnesota as my dark horse, they finished 6-6 and went the Insight Bowl (not a good pick)
Definitely didn't have Iowa that high, so I missed on them

I had Texas over Nebraska in the Big XII Title Game, nice eh?
My dark horse Baylor finished 4-8 after losing their play-making QB in the first few games (mulligan)

I had California winning the conference, but instead Oregon won
I had Southern Cal as my second choice, but they finished more around 4th/5th
My dark horse UCLA needed Army losing in the last game of the year to go bowling at 6-6 (bad)

           TEAM        Predicted/Actual W-L     Predicted/Actual Bowl
East    Florida         12-0,8-0/12-0,8-0          NCG/Sugar
           Georgia        8-4,6-2/7-5,4-4             Outback/Independence
           S. Carolina   8-4,4-4/7-5,3-5             Peach/
           Tennessee    7-5,3-5/7-5,4-4             Liberty/Peach
           Kentucky     6-6,2-6/7-5,3-5             Independence/Music City
           Vanderbilt    4-8,1-7/2-10,0-8           None/None

West   LSU             11-1,7-1/9-3,5-3           Sugar/Citrus
           Ole Miss      10-2,6-2/8-4,4-4           Cotton/Cotton
           Alabama      10-2,6-2/12-0,8-0         Citrus/NCG
           Arkansas      8-4,4-4/7-5,3-5            Music City/Liberty
           Auburn         6-6,2-6/7-5,3-5  
           Miss St         4-8,0-8/5-7,3-5            None/None

So none of my SEC Picks were truly ugly, not a bad year all told.

BCS My Prediction Versus Reality
ROSE: I thought California vs Penn State, but really Oregon vs Ohio State
SUGAR: I thought LSU vs Southern Cal, but really Florida vs Cincinnati
FIESTA: I thought Boise State vs Oklahoma, but really Boise State vs TCU
ORANGE: I thought Georgia Tech vs Rutgers, but really Georgia Tech vs Iowa
NCG: I thought Texas over Florida 27-23, but really Alabama over Texas 37-21
Some of those weren't far off, but some were... *cough* rutgers *cough*

NFL Play-Off Thoughts (predictions)
I think the Bengals (-2.5) weren't going to give anything away last week and will beat the Jets 23-13
The Eagles (+3.5) will send Dallas home again without a play-off win 33-31
The Ravens (+3.5) will take advantage of a Welker-less and hobbled Brady to win 27-20
The Cardinals (PK) have the better defense and will defeat the Packers 31-20

Leavitt fired by South Florida? What's up with these kids getting coaches fired? Please start campaigning for USF to hire Mike Leach so that pirate can have his own ship..... Seahawks fire Jim Mora after one season sounds odd, but Pete Carrol finally heading back to the pros for the opening is the real story. Who would Southern Cal get as their coach? It's gonna be tough to get a good candidate right now..... No word yet out on the Texas Tech coaching search, but I have to believe Tuberville will get the call for his defensive background and that he's the all football all the time type that Leach wasn't..... Al Groh is gonna end up as an assistant somewhere, either to fix Georgia Tech as their defensive coordinator or he will get a job from his old boss Parcels as Miami's outside linebacker's coach.....

and now your moment of zen

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