Archive for November, 2007

Your conference blows, and so does (redacted)

November 3, 2007

So this week, the media has decided the most important game this week is between the Arizona State Sun Devils, who have a very good season about once a decade (the Dennis Erickson countdown is on…if you believe he’ll be at ASU in two years, I have some nice property along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet I’d like to show you), and the Ugliest Uniforms in All Sports, aka the Oregon Ducks.  ASU is high ranked by virtue of everyone else losing. Oregon is a better team, and the game is at Oregon. If Dennis Dixon (?) has a big game, he becomes, according to the media conspiracy, the front runner for the Heisman. Really, I don’t care, and would pay no attention, except for the fact I’ve read noises that the winner of this game might leapfrog LSU in the BCS, which would be crap, and that Oregon is “the best one loss team in America.”

They are the best one loss team in America because they play in the Pac 1.5.  LSU would be the best no loss team in America, as would (f*ck Florida), Auburn and Georgia, while Vanderbilt would maybe lose two games, if one of those SEC schools suddenly switched places with a Pac 1.5 school. Heck, even Ole Miss would be bowl eligible.  In any event, Oregon wins the alleged game of the week.

Now, back to real football. Of course, the real game of the week is between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Whine, coached by (redacted), the Larry Brown of football.  (Hey, WVU fans! Did you know (redacted) is from Fairmont? Wonder why he didn’t want to stay around and coach the mighty Mountaineers?)  I think that LSU will win this game on Saturday, thanks to an experienced team that really doesn’t seem to panic much, despite our balls-for-brains coach. (A measure of the disrespect Coach Miles is getting, compared to (redacted), is the number of places I’ve seen Alabama, which doesn’t have the near the talent, picked over LSU.  For all the people who keep saying it’s not about the coaches, sure seems to be, eh?). Early Doucet is back; the running back by committee has had a week to rest; and someone is putting on Laron Landry’s number to send John Parker Wilson into a fetal position.  I think that Glenn Dorsey is angry at the state of Alabama, and will behave accordingly. I am not expecting the Tigers to win by a touchdown, but I do think that we go into Tuscaloosa, and come out as frontrunners for SEC West champions. It will be a brutal game.  Please, coaches (this means you, Coach Crowton. That Mountain West crap doesn’t work down south), no trickeration. Just pound the rock. Really, really hard.  Alabama can’t stop it. 

 Here’s what kills me: I know that (redacted), no matter what happens this season, will win a national championship for the Crimson Whine. It is an inevitability. He is a great coach (gag), a fantastic recruiter (ick), and his defenses play with ferocity (which is what Big East, Pac 1.5….who are we kidding….it’s what other conferences’ defenses lack).  But I rest easy, knowing that after he wins his national championship for the Crimson Whine, he will leave Alabama, because his ego demands it. He will move on to another place because he is bored. He is the Larry Brown of football. (Redacted) will move to the NFL again, to give it another try, because he has will have proven that he has reached the top of the mountain in NCAA football twice, and from the very best conference that is or ever will be (75 years of kickin’ yo’ ass).  But I digress. What I meant to say was f*ck (redacted), and may he wake up with an earth shattering migraine.

Anyhoo, other games of interest to myself. In the Greatest Conference in America, South Carolina is visiting Arkansas.  Arkansas has the Darren McFadden Experience and Felix Jones, your Secretariat and Seattle Slew of the human world. South Carolina has Steve Spurrier. Advantage, Gamecocks! (I have determined that the only force that can stop Darren McFadden is Houston Nutt).

Vanderbilt at (f*ck) Florida: depends on how Tebow’s shoulder is doing.  I just can’t believe the Gators will lose against Vandy at home, but they could be suffering a hangover from the Cocktail Party, combined with the beating they took when Mark Richt finally let his personality out of whatever box he had it in on the sidelines.  I’ll go with the Gators, but of course, I’ll not be upset if the smart kids take another step toward bowl eligibility (speaking of coach watches, Vandy’s coach is gone the minute they have a winning season.)

Troy at Georgia: If Georgia lost this game, exactly no SEC fans would be surprised. After the effort against the Gators, if any school is ripe for a letdown, it’s the Bulldogs. And Troy is no cupcake.  I’ll go Georgia, but in a disturbingly close game for Bulldog fans.

There are some other SEC games, but they are against random schools, so I will not waste my heartbeats.  In the Former Big Eight Plus Texas Teams from the Old SWC, there are a couple of interesting games.  Nebraska (Bill Callahan has put his house on the market) is at Kansas, where it’s basketball season, and the football Jayhawks are still relevant. Wow. I keep picking against Kansas, thinking that they just can’t be for real, with the cupcake schedule, and being Kansas. Why stop now? I’ll pick Nebraska to upset Kansas, and send them plummetting down the BCS poll.  Not because I believe in Nebraska, but just because I’m a hater.

Texas visits Oklahoma State, home of hothead, non-sensical coaches. Texas has not overwhelmed anyone this season, and Oklahoma State has given Texas fits in the past. I’ll go with Texas in a game that will give one of my buddies a huge, huge fit.

Texas A&M at Oklahoma: Oklahoma. Why play for a coach when you know he’s sold you out?

In the Big Ten Plus One, Ohio State should beat up on Wisconsin, and Michigan State should continue the annual implosion against the Big Ten Plus One team I am rooting for, Michigan.

In the ACC (keep trying, boys), Clemson will struggle against Duke for a good half or so. Why? Because that’s what Clemson does. They’ll pull it out. Barely. Florida State travels to Boston College in a game that is frankly depressing, because it will likely be another example of just how far the Seminoles have fallen from national relevance.  The only good that can come out of this game is Matt Ryan being broken (not permanently, of course), thus derailing his Heisman candidacy, and the talk of BC in the national title game. 

Go Navy! If you love America, you should cheer for Navy. Whose side do you think God is really on? A bunch of self-righteous dorks in the middle of a field in Indiana, led by a shmoo shaped coach (but he lacks Shmoo’s charm and cuteness), or kids who are gonna get shot at after they graduate from college?

There are a couple of games of note in the Big East. Let’s give a shout out to the top team in the conference, Connecticut!  Rutgers has been beat up and beat down. I’m going with the Huskies.  Cincinnati (what is a bearcat?) is at South Florida.  The Bulls get back on track, but just barely.

Finally, I said I’d discuss why the Big East will never be as good, top to bottom, as the SEC. It’s not tradition, it’s not the devotion of the fan base, it’s not the tailgating (maybe…no, I’m wrong there. SEC tailgating is an art form, while Big East tailgating….do they even do that…I’m getting distracted). It’s your recruiting base, and for purposes of this discussion, I’m talking the Big East “heartland” so to speak, not what you got when South Florida joined the conference.  I know that in this age, it’s not an automatic that kids are going to suit up for the State U of whatever state they come from. They have internet access, huge egos, and have to be wined and dined.  But recruits are by and large, still children who often don’t want to stray too far from home, and would like to play in their backyards if they can play what they want. And if you have access to a ton of those kids, who really would like to be close to home, it makes your life much easier to recruit.

Football is the be-all end all high school sport in two of the Big East “heartland states”: Pennsylvania (and I’m giving you, because it’s right on the border), Ohio.  The Big East is at an automatic disadvantage in those two states. Football is IT in every SEC state except Kentucky.  Coaches for Florida, LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia could field good teams without ever having to leave their states. (Although the SEC welcomes kids seeking to escape the cold of New Jersey, and places like that.)  Big East state populations are shrinking, by and large. West Virginia’s got maybe 1.5 million people, and a million of those are old.  

A school by school rundown:

WVU: an aging population with limited football factory potential. Two schools in Morgantown and Parkersburg South does not a recruiting hotbed make.  WVU, as evidenced by its  star quarterback and running back, plus its most famous NFL player, currently on probation, has to go out of state to get talent. Pennsylvania Steve Slaton should be at Maryland (great job, Fridge), while Pat White is from Alabama, and might be at LSU right now, but he wanted to play quarterback.  It’s just harder for the Mountaineers to recruit, although Coach Rodriguez has done a fine job. But eventually, he may find himself wanting to go someplace where it’s not such a supreme effort to get enough good kids, and where he doesn’t have to pick where to place his best athletes.

Louisville: Football will always be second to basketball in Kentucky, and at Louisville. If the Louisville football job wasn’t a steppingstone, Bobby Petrino would still be there.

Cincinnati: If they’re lucky, they can be the number 2 football school in Ohio. But that would require the decline of the MAC.  Ohio’s like Florida with awful weather and burning rivers. And Cincinnati is a basketball school, too. Maybe it’s sharing the border with Kentucky.

Rutgers: probably has the best shot of any Big East team of building itself into a consistent national power IF Greg Schiano wants to do the work, just because he’s sitting on the riches-by-default of the tri-state area.  Depends of the committment of the administration to Rutgers football.

South Florida: I love what they’ve done in 12 years, but they are still the fifth team in Florida (Florida, FSU, Miami, UCF). Florida’s like the Colorado. Eventually, the talent runs dry for the rest of the Big East (upstream). When it comes down to it, a lot of those boys don’t want to be too far from their mamas and don’t want to be cold.  Two strikes against most of the Big East.

Connecticut: basketball will always be number 1 and 2 (men and women’s) to football. UConn also has to compete with Rutgers for the same talent pool.

Syracuse: I’ve never understood why they were any good to begin with. I don’t see how anyone from south of the Mason Dixon line could go someplace where winter starts in October and ends in April, and did I mention it snows a lot there? Syracuse competes with the Big Ten for kids from that neck of the woods, because you’d have to be from Big Ten country to tolerate the weather.  And imagine the campus visits of a top recruit from Pennsylvania: he goes to State College on a beautiful fall night. They do the white-out thing. ABC is there. The game is nationally televised.  Then he goes to Syracuse, where he sees a game on at noon on ESPN2 in a half-full climate controlled, sound sucking dome. (And then he travels to Florida or Texas, and decides that pretty girls and warm weather will make football more fun.)  It will take mighty work to keep Syracuse football from going permanently in the toilet.

Pitt: another case of being the second school in the state. I know that Pitt was, for a time, competing with Penn State for recruits. Pitt even won a national title. And then Johnny Majors went home to Tennessee, and that was that.  If Pitt could get the right sort of person to recruit (not the Mustache), Pitt has potential as well. Unfortunately, Pitt’s new coach (whoever that will be) will have to remind the recruits’ parents when Pitt was great, and sent players to the NFL.

And that’s it. The Big East is composed of schools in basketball states; schools that are lucky to be second (or third banana) in their states; a football program with potential, but that was moribund for so long, making it into a national power will take resources the school may not be willing to spend; and a state with an aging population. And oh, by the way, the ACC took most of your TV market and revenue when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left. I don’t get Big East games unless they are on ESPN.  This is not to say that the Big East, as currrently constituted, will not have moments of greatness. This is not to say the Big East cannot be better than it is now, or that the Big East lacks in talent (it doesn’t, thanks to some out of area recruiting). But the Big East starts at a disadvantage that none of the other conferences, especially the SEC and Pac 1.5 have.

And that is all.

I wonder if USC will have to give back its’ crystal football?

Almost done resting…

November 2, 2007

It’s been a tough week workwise and funwise. I am looking forward to staying in tomorrow evening to prep the heart for Saturday night, and to post some of my always fabulous opinions on the blog.  I’ll just make this statement ladies and gentlemen: there can be no slow starts Saturday night. The Tigers need to go back and channel their second half Auburn and Florida game selves, or even better, the team that showed up against Virginia Tech.  This game isn’t for all the marbles, but it might as well be. 

Until tomorrow night, Free Ryan!

And a hearty welcome back to Early Doucet. We missed you.

Meanwhile, check out And the Valley Shook and Geaux Tuscaloosa.

There is also a remarkably intelligent and reasoned review of the game on Roll ‘Bama Roll.  Shocking.