Archive for the ‘ACC’ Category

The Championship Quarterbacks- Philip Rivers, Tangerine/ Champs Sports Bowl MVP

January 16, 2008

San Diego Chargers backup quarterback Billy Volek smiles in his post-game press conference after the Chargers beat the Indianapolis Colts 28-24 in an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, in Indianapolis. Volek, filling in for injured starter Philip Rivers, engineered an 8-play, 78-yard drive in the fourth quarter for the winning score.

I couldn’t find any pictures of Philip Rivers in which his head was not disproportionally large, so I decided to go with with this lovely picture of Chargers backup QB, Billy Volek. Rather plain, but what a nice and genuine smile for the QB who ran the drive that eliminated the defending Super Bowl champions. Given that he may have to play sometimes this Sunday, there’s nothing wrong with a picture of him.

Fine. Here’s one of Philip Rivers.

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 30:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks on against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on December 30, 2007 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Eh.

A trick picture in the baby blues. (Why, oh why, don’t they go back to that permanently?)

If he actually looked as good as the ESPN cover photo, he’d be the winner of the pageant. But he does not.

I’d have to give it to Brady.

Damnit.

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Welcome to America’s best college football

December 6, 2007

Per the Wizard of Odds, Arkansas has a new coach.

I love “contracts” in college football.

Update: Perhaps realizing that he wasn’t quite ready for a fan base that FOIAs the coach’s text messages, hires plane to tow anti-coach banners at games, and follows his movements via websites that report where jets are headed,  Jim Grobe has decided to stay at Wake Forest.

Juvenile and UB40

December 4, 2007

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 01:  Herman Johnson #79  of the Louisiana State University Tigers celebrates after defeating the University of Tennessee Volunteers, 21-14 in the SEC Championship game on December 1, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
 

Excuse me while I begin this post with some insightful commentary:

YAHHHHHHH-FUCKING-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

When my Saturday morning started in lovely Fayetteville, NC, I heard from the second prettiest bottle blonde at ESPN that Coach Le$ had run off to Michigan. As far as I was concerned, the booster jet was heading from Ann Arbor, and prepared to carry off my crazy, balls-for-brains coach.  After the game, Bo Pelini was headed to the frozen plains of Nebraska with a legend looking over his shoulder, to try to make Cornhusker football relevant again. (Thank you and good luck with that, Coach Pelini. Heck, at least Alabama’s legend is dead- as far as we know). My defense was falling apart, everyone held together with ace bandages, leg braces, and local injections.  The much maligned Matt Flynn was out, but his backup was not too shabby.  The-running-back-by-committee gave me hope. All that was left to do was see if the seniors could bounce back from the Boot Debacle of 2007, and hold it together for sixty more minutes until it was time for a well-deserved month of healing and lifting.

Then I went to drink. (Actually, I began my morning with bacon and jello shots. Fabulous).

I began Saturday evening slightly inebriated as I spent the afternoon watching the ACC Championship Game (ya’ll need to show up for those sorts of games. No wonder no one takes your conference teams seriously for bowls, with the exception of your champion).  I saw the angry press conference by Coach Le$.  Heck, I was fired up by his five minutes of angry posturing. Al Pacino will pattern some future overacting job on that press conference. Then I watched the SEC Championship (the Original and Still The Best), and was happy that my Tigers bounced back, limping and all, with another great performance from Jacob Hester, and a very nice game by Ryan “Too Good to Be Thrown Off the Team” Perrilloux.  At about 8 pm, I was happy that the boys were heading to the Sugar Bowl.

And then all hell broke loose.  I watched Missouri get slapped around by one the of other best two loss teams in America, and receieved a text stating something I couldn’t believe: West Virginia had lost to Pitt. (Glad I gave away my tickets to that one).  I shrieked happily, possibly breaking glass in the bar I was at, and began banter with an Ohio State fan, and asking my West Virginia people if they had refundable tickets (sorry guys, but I know ya’ll were positively overjoyed at the LSU and Ar-Kansas game.  An Arkansas blog was flooded by grateful fans.  Never buy your tickets before the first Sunday in December. The football goddesses do not appreciate hubris).  So I figured the BCS title game would be Virginia Tech or Georgia (herereinafter known as “Merlot”) and The Sweatervests. I had no thought that my Tigers, left for dead by the Darren McFadden Experience, could leapfrog the four teams ahead of us.

But G*d, there are times I love being absolutely totally wrong. The Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers, the Bayou Bengals, who are undoubtedly someone’s darlings, whether it be the media’s or the coaches, are playing for the BCS title.  And Coach Le$ Mile$, one of my favorite blue eyed nutjobs:

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 01:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers celebrates after defeating the University of Tennessee Volunteers 21-14 in the SEC Championship game on December 1, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

who met his wife at Ann Arbor, who was a protege of Bo Schembechler, who played on the Michigan Wolverines, and had an expensive buyout clause to head to one of the great football factories  universities in America….well, at the end of the day, warm weather, a talent base that’s a one hour flight on the jet from his lovely home, pretty girls to attract the recuits, an athletic department without former coaches who are not terribly fond of him, and 3.45 million reasons were enough to stay at L$U.  I love capitalism.  

The remarkably self righteous Mitch Albom (I don’t know that I trust sports reporters that appear as if I can beat them up… Give me big ole loudmouth Jason Whitlock any day), perhaps looking to pander to his Detroit Free Press readers, dismissed Coach Le$’ press conference as a meaningless performance.  After all, his players were in the locker room getting taped! (Apparently, there are no televisions available in the Georgia Dome locker rooms). The LSU fans were already on their way to the stadium!  What use could it have been?

I’ll tell you what use it was, in case you didn’t know.  At 10 that morning, ESPN’s pretty boy annunced to the world what Michigan fans had been believing since Appalachian State took the Wolverines (the world’s largest weasel) to the woodshed that first amazing weekend: that Coach Le$ was on his way to the Big House to restore them to their rightful glory.  So you think, Mr. Albom, that such an announcement, made by one of the leading personalities on the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment, would have no impact on the players? The fans who traveled to (or now live in) Atlanta for the game?  Coach Mile$ did what he’s been doing all year: pumping up the fans, but more importantly, pumping up his team. Believe it or not, eighteen to twenty-two year old college football players have to believe that their coach has their back, and that he’s not abandoning them.  Whatever else you want to say about his decisions, his nuttiness, his crazy statements (which has all served to take the pressure off the players and assistant coaches), the Tigers have not quit on Coach Mile$, not once all year.  There has to be a reason for that: he has not quit on them. And that, Mr. Tuesdays with Morrie, is what that press conference was about.

There have already been multiple analysis of who got screwed-Mizzou (fell victim to the power of the Zook more than anything else, and it also appears Lawrence has its revenge for being torched), who else should be in the title game -Oklahoma (didn’t you know Sam Bradford played in the secondary, too!), USC (my kingdom for an interception!), Virginia Tech (ah, when we were healthy), Hawaii  (Tim Tebow couldn’t handle the WAC!). So I won’t go there.  But I did want to mention the Merlot (aka, Georgia Bulldogs), and their special vintage.  Did LSU leapfrog you? Yes.  Was the Merlot “the hottest team in the country” at the end of the season? Well, maybe the hottest team for sportswriters east of the Rockies, who were not located in Oklahoma. There was a simple way the Merlot could have been playing their “home game in Atlanta” on Saturday afternoon, demolished my Tigers, and taken their rightful place in the BCS title game: that would have been to not been prison raped by Tennessee earlier in the season, and not to lose to a team that lost to Vanderbilt. Then they would have won the SEC East. Get over it.  Next year,  the Merlot, featuring their New Jersey running back and pleasantly thick QB will start the season off in the Top 3 in the country if they handle their business in the Sugar. They too, can get their second chances, and work on becoming media darlings, if Mark Richt will let some of that personality out of the bag.  Unfortunately for the Merlot, it would appear (f*ck) Florida will have a running game next year, and I’m sure the Gators will watch film of the Bulldogs dancing on the field on continuous loop in the weight room. But anyhoo, win your division, win your conference and shut up.

Anyhoo, the Tigers are, just like the Sweatervests, proudly backing that ass up into this year’s edition of the worst, most unfair, unjust, wrongly picked travesty of BCS title game that will ensure there’s a playoff (in 2020)…..zzzzzzz.

Thanks for believing in yourselves, boys. Enjoy the journey, 70 miles downriver, to the ‘ship.

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 01:  Head coach Les Miles and Glenn Dorsey #72  of the Louisiana State University Tigers celebrate with the SEC trophy after defeating the University of Tennessee Volunteers 21-14 in the SEC Championship game on December 1, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I leave with you with a poem that has probably gone around the world by now…cause the Purple and Gold Nation is everywhere. You had way too much time on your hands, my friend. I salute you:
Twenty four days before Christmas, in a state in the south,
Les Miles was pissed as he opened his mouth.
“Miles to Michigan,” was reported as fact.
To which Miles responded, “Herbie you don’t know jack!”

The Tigers had suffered a gut wrenching loss,
At the hands of McFadden and the rest of the hogs.
And Bo in his sweatshirt, and Miles in his Hat.
Were determined to prove they were better than that!

When the Tennessee Vols ran out on the field,
There were ruckus applause from the mentally ill.
Still in the locker room, Les told his team,
“This season ain’t over. We still have a dream.”

The hurt throwing arm of QB Matt Flynn
Meant Ryan was the man they put their faith in.
Then the fans all heard, what Les said in the Dome.
“I ain’t goin’ anywhere. I’m happy. I’m Home!”

The fans were still thinking “This might be a trick.”
’til someone pointed out “Hey, this guy ain’t Nick!”
The Hat took the field for this championship game,
And he brought all his Tigers, and called them by name;

“Now, Hester! Now, Early! Now, Highsmith and Putt!
Let’s let ‘er rip and shut these guys up!
Take to the field Men! Give it your all!
Then later we’ll watch numbers 1 & 2 fall.”

The fans still weren’t sure as to what team would show,
The Virginia Tech game seemed like so long ago.
But there in the stands, the fans they did cheer,
As Perrilloux played his game of the year.

While out in Ar-Kansas, the hogs claimed the boot,
The tigers were focused on far better loot.
With the game knotted up, Ainge threw a quick out
But Zenon was ready and took six to the house.

He wore a LSU jacket, and a white turtle neck,
The same as he wore when his team beat La Tech.
With the hat on his head, and a childish grin,
Les put his team in the title picture again.

His smile-how it widened! as Pitt won its game!
He cheered Oklahoma, when it did the same.
The stars were aligning, it couldn’t be true.
Turns out Miles WAS destined, to play O-S-U.

With a month to prepare and a month to heal up,
We’re all pretty sure which team will show up.
He ain’t going to Michigan, and we’re sure of that.
But Tressel and the Buckeyes should still Fear The Hat!

On December first, he called L-S-U home.
Then set up the Tigers, to play again in the Dome.
It soon will be legend, how Les started that day,
“Can’t talk now. . . . I’m busy. . . . [Y’all] have a GREAT day!”

The Homestretch, Part One

November 15, 2007

Wow. I missed what turned out to be another fantastic weekend of college football, and I’ve just got to make a few comments. First of all, I’d like to congratulate Sylvester Croom and the Mississippi State Bulldogs for winning the battle of Alabama, and announce that the MLBGG will no longer use the term “Croomed.” I think that he’s earned that, along with not getting fired this season. Beating this year’s Kentucky, Alabama and Auburn is no fluke.

Image Hosting by Picoodle.com

From deepsouthsports.net. Please visit the site for the most delightful photoshop ever.

Also, don’t get too fired up, Illinois fans. Just watch and see if you don’t lose to Northwestern. That’s the beauty and the pain that comes with Ron Zook. (f*ck) Florida fans may be annoying, but they’re not nuts. That being said, you will have crazy talent coming into your school during the Zook era. That talent will always end up in the Capitol One or Outback Bowl, but you will have talent.

Now, on to the future. There’s so much hatred and contempt coming up in the next few weeks, beginning with this Saturday and the Ohio State-Michigan game. And then Thanksgiving weekend is a veritable hatefest: Kansas and Missouri (140 years of real, genuine contempt); The Egg Bowl (Ole Miss and Mississippi State); Texas & Texas A&M; The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State; Virginia Tech (salt of the earth) vs. Virginia (brie eating wine drinking snobs); and what I affectionately call the “Hole in the Ground Game” between Auburn and Alabama. ( For those of you not swift enough to figure it out, the optimal result for me would be for the ground to open up under the stadium. It’s officially known as the Iron Bowl.)

But I am getting waaaay ahead of myself here.  Before we start off with the Thursday night game, let’s start with the most important game of the week for both LSU and Michigan fans. LSU is visiting Oxford, Mississippi (speed limit 18 on campus) to attempt to stay on track for a shot in the BCS title game (win out, and we’re in), and to solidify Coach Les’ resume as he heads to Michigan. The bookies have us at 18 point favorites over Ole Miss. I will be the first to admit that there is no way LSU will win by that much. I worry, in fact, that my Tigers  will be on cruise control, having won the West this past weekend. But, the Tigers do have the terrible memories of the game we should have lost to Ole Miss last year, and the fact that this is an away game to keep them on track.  Ole Miss has also taken some other top SEC teams to the last quarter,  and the boys will know that as well.   Despite having to face Arkansas for the Boot next Friday, I do not think anyone at LSU is looking ahead to the championship game. No one wants to be playing in some New Year’s Day Bowl, or at this point, even in a regular BCS bowl.  I foresee, as usual, a slow start that will give me a headache, and a pull away due to the sheer talent differential between the two schools. Plus, Ed Oregeron may bigger balls and less brain that my beloved, soon to be freezing his ass off, Coach Les.  LSU wins, but not anywhere close to the 18 point spread.

Thursday night, I’ll find myself cheering for the morons who stomped on the Eye of the Tiger last season. Oregon at Arizona is a huge game for the Ducks, since they were humilated by Arizona last year. A win keeps them in the national title picture, a loss, and they’re thinking about the Holiday Bowl (the Pac-10 really needs to work on some better tie-ins). I’ll be cheering for Arizona, but I think Oregon will run up the score.

Virginia Tech hosts a Miami team in total disarray. If it weren’t Miami, I might feel bad. Miami’s only shot at this game is the fact Virginia Tech has virtually no offense. Tech wins, but in a closer game than it should be. A couple of big plays by Miami’s defense could turn this a very unpleasant Senior Day in Blacksburg, but here’s hoping that won’t happen.

West Virginia at Cincinnati (Can anyone please tell me what a Bearcat is? Please?) This could be a trap game for the Mountaineers, as they had to labor mightily to beat Louisville at home.  Some of the media conspiracy is picking Cincy to win this game (anyone who thinks Brian Kelly is at Cincy next year, raise your hand. No takers? Didn’t think so).  I’ll go with the Mountaineers, just because I expect to see some of these people soon for a Christmas party.  I would note that the Bearcats have a better defense than Louisville, and are officially the second best team in Ohio. Don’t screw this up, Mountaineers; the Orange Bowl committee is counting on your ticket sales.

Lloyd Carr’s last game: GO BIG BLUE! Seriously, the only reason I care about this game is that I want the winner of the Big Ten Plus One to have lost to a Division 1-AA school, and I also want Les to see what he’s getting into, and what he’s losing. Andouille is better than brats.

Wisconsin at Minnesota: In addition to heading to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Wisconsin, a pre-season sleeper pick for Big Ten champions, can console themselves with keeping Paul Bunyan’s axe.  (Terrible things will happen to me if Minnesota wins this game. Terrible.)

Boston College at Clemson: as always, the question is whether Clemson can put together a whole game. I say that this time, they can.  Clemson wins big.

Iowa State at Kansas: I’ve been hating on them all season. Since that seems to be doing them quite well, I will continue hating on them, and pick Iowa State, although the Cyclones will be lucky to lose by 30.

Missouri at Kansas State: this here, folks, is my real and genuine upset pick.  Missouri has been dazzling this season, and Kansas State has fallen off dramatically, losing to the Cyclones (ick) and being treated like an escaped ‘ho by Nebraska the last two weeks. Ron Prince and those K-State Wildcats need to redeem themselves, and heck, they might be pissed off by that Missouri t-shirt, too. ( If I were engaged in negative recruiting, I would sure point out how Missouri students are still celebrating confederate heroes. Worse than Ole Miss!) I think Missouri may get caught looking to next weekend, and Kansas State isn’t quite bad enough to look past. Kansas State in the upset.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Ah, the Red Raiders. They beat up on the Baylors of the world, and then when they run into the top half of the Big Twelve food chain, they get slapped around. I see no reason for that to stop this weekend. I think that Oklahoma, more than any other team in the Top 10 in the BCS, is on a mission. The past five or so years have not been all that great for the Sooners. They lost to LSU in a BCS title game that the media conspiracy (and annoying Pete Carroll) said they didn’t belong in. The 2005 season was wiped off the books thanks to a too-generous booster and some dumb kids who, lo and behold, acted like bad kids, and took money.  They did get screwed last year against Oregon, and then they lost to Boise State, last year’s America’s Darlings (and that was awesome).  I’m not sure that any team should really be thrilled about facing them from now through the bowls, because they’re going to open up a big can of whoop-ass on everyone they play.  Someone from Texas Tech will get broken on Saturday. (I’d just like to announce, so I can get back into Cliff and Heather’s house, that I am not pro-Sooner in any way, and I’m sure Texas will open a can of whoop-ass, too. Just not in the Big 12 title game.)

Two games I will be paying a lot of attention to, as either Georgia or Tennessee, both of which are very capable of beating LSU when they actually show up, will play the Tigers in Atlanta:

Kentucky at Georgia: I just don’t believe Georgia can keep it up week after week. I think the Bulldogs, beat Kentucky, but it will be a harder game than it should be.  The optimal result in this game for me is four overtimes (doesn’t matter who wins) and Matthew Stafford and/or (ok, especially) Knowshon Moreno suffering a severe ACL sprain, broken collarbone, or completely separated shoulder.

Vanderbilt at Tennessee:  Tennessee should win this game, like they should always beat Vanderbilt.  But Tennesse has a way of say, shutting down the number one pick in the 2008 NFL draft one week, and then needing to stop a two point conversion against a service academy the next. I can’t say the smart kids can’t do it, but they probably won’t.

(You may be more able to tell which team troubles me more from the above. )

Next week, the MLBGG bids goodbye to the Darren McFadden Experience and his coach, Houston Nutt, and I tell Rich Rodriguez that not only is Baton Rouge is a great place to raise a family, but why he should head back to Louisiana, where he first made his name as an offensive genius. 

Also, we’ll get a bunch of names who are supposedly up to be LSU’s next coach, and try to figure out where Tommy Tuberville is going next.  Texas A&M is apparently hoping they can do better with another person who coached in Alabama than with the last one. My Texas fans had best hope he doesn’t head to College Station.

GO DUKE!!

And welcome back to the NFL, Ricky. Hoped you visited rehab (no, no, no).

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?

My heart needs the break

October 27, 2007

It’s Halloween weekend. Tonight I am resting and enjoying an evening by my lonesome. Tomorrow, I’m off to Virginia Beach for a….um..stroll around several establishments with a few dozen of my closest friends, and some people who scare me.  I will be a referee for Halloween, as I am a League Commissioner. ( We’ll be having a live draft on Saturday. I still have to go with my original number one pick, despite his absence from the festivities, instead of his best buddy. Youth before beauty! I know that almost no one knows what that meant, but that’s ok. It’s my dictatorship.) And thankfully, after last weekend’s near-death experience, LSU has a bye week, so I don’t have to worry about trying to find a TV to watch, staying sober enough to start watching a game at 9 p.m., or shattering the glass in whatever house or establishment I am watching the game.  Like every weekend, there are games of interest and importance, even if I’m not particularly absorbed. We’ll go backwards this week, and start with games in the lesser conferences. 

WVU at Rutgers: After weeks of upsets, WVU is back in the BCS championship game talk.  The Moutaineers have more talent, and should win.  Much like Kentucky last weekend, I don’t think Rutgers can put up a supreme effort two weeks in a row, and a supreme effort is what it will take to defeat the Mountaineers. Rutgers’ best advantages are that they are at home, and the Mountaineer pass defense is not good. The WVU D will wisely be keyed on Ray Rice. If Teel can manage to get some long accurate passes off, this might be a better game than I think it will be.  I’ll go with the Mountaineers in a close one. (I wonder where Coach Rodriguez will go next year? There should be some very nice jobs opening up.) 

Nebraska at Texas: There was a time where this would have been a marquee game. Now it’s the Bill Callahan countdown (yet another job that will be open in 2008) against a Texas team that finally got that case of the Mack Brown I was talking about.  The road to the Alamo Sunshine Bowl, sponsored by Poulan Weedeaters, goes through Austin! Nebraska not only has less talent than Texas; the boys on that team have flat out quit on Callahan. Texas, in a big, huge way.  (PS…Bo…hold out for a better job. Why do you want to freeze your a&& off on the Great Plains?)

Kansas at Texas A&M: somewhere, a schedule of creampuffs, cupcakes and girls’ schools has got to catch up with Kansas. I believe that this is the week, since Dennis Franchione will be looking to spice up the resume for potential new employers.

Cal at Arizona State: Wow. From national championship contender to….Holiday Bowl, if they’re lucky. ASU is highly ranked because everyone else lost. I really have nothing to say about this game. Whomever is coaching ASU will not be there next year. There are better jobs in the Pac 1.5 and nationwide. Because I don’t care, and that’s the way the season goes, I’ll go Cal. Let’s continue to screw everything to hell!

USC at Oregon: Autzen Stadium will be absolutely rocking. Will USC be blinded by the ugliest uniforms ever in any sport?  Will the USC of old, swaggering and proud, show up, or the one that forgot Stanford was a Division 1-A football team appear? USC has played distinctly lackluster football in the past few weeks. The Trojans barely beat Washington and an awful Arizona team, and of course, there was the Stanford debacle. I think that the USC people think USC is supposed to be will show up in Oregon tomorrow. I go with the Trojans. It should be epic, or as epic as Pac 1.5 football gets.

Ohio State at Penn State: Penn State is not good. They really aren’t. If the Sweatervests don’t step up and beat down Penn State, they are a fraud.  I know about the white-out, and the alleged intimidation factor of playing at Penn State, but seriously, this should really not be a close game if Ohio State is really championship caliber.  I advise SEC fans (and even those from the Pac 1.5  and Big 12 South) to not watch this game, as they may become ridiculously bored and frustrated at the slow speed of play.

UCLA at Washington State: I just bring up this game because I bet UCLA will blow it.

South Florida at UConn: Another huge game for UConn. South Florida should really win this game. We’ll see if USF can get themselves back together. I think they can. The Bulls in a close one.

Minnesota at Michigan: looks like the Little Brown Jug will be staying in Ann Arbor.

A brief review of last night’s Virginia Tech game, as I channel my favorite Tech fan, Heather. Heather, to let ya’ll know, spent last Saturday night holding me as I watched the LSU-Auburn game in an inebriated panic. This is not meant to mock her, or any of the Hokie Nation. Believe me, the MLBGG knows your pain: 

Minutes 1-57: this is fantastic! This is great! Let’s check on tickets to Jacksonville, baby.  Minute 58: Ok, we’ve got the ball back. We’ ve just got another two minutes OH SWEET JESUS MOTHERF*CKER WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED HOW DID THEY GET THE G*DD*MNED BALL BACK CANT GLENNON HOLD ON WHERE IS TYROD?. Minutes 58:30 to 59:55: SOMEONE STOP HIM FROM RUNNING! HOW IS MATT RYAN GETTING AWAY FROM OUR DEFENSE WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING SOMEONE TACKLE SOMEONE FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! Minute 59:55-60:00: That sucked balls. And not in a good way.

(Portions of that commentary were edited for family consumption, filtered with my voice, and modified so I don’t get my a&& kicked.)

Now for the good stuff:

Miami at Vanderbilt: Vandy is the kind of team that will go balls to the wall at Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, and then stink up the joint at home against a MAC team. So don’t be surprised when it happens tomorrow.

MSU at Kentucky: the only question I have is if Kentucky can get to 45. I think they can. Andre’ (must get the apostrophe) Woodson, I doubt ye no more. Wildcat fans, enjoy this season, because your program graduates this year, and your coach is not long for Lexington.

Ole Miss at Auburn: Here’s another SEC West game with two job openings for next year (seriously, the entire division is going to have new coaches next year, except for the Crimson Whine.  Coach Balls for Brains is still the leading candidate to take the reins at Michigan if Lloyd Carr decides to resign; Houston Nutt’s days are numbered, since he has Secretariat and Seattle Slew in his backfield, and managed to do exactly nothing of note with them this year; the crazy boosters have finally driven Coach Tuberville to the edge; Mississippi State needs to start over…and Ole Miss…how’d firing Cutcliffe go for you?). Anyhoo, I’d say this is a trap game for Auburn, them being worn out by all that scoring from last week, and rolling up on Glenn Dorsey’s knee, but Ed Orgeron’s a terrible coach, and contractually, Auburn cannot lose to more than one team from Mississippi a year.  Auburn in a close one, because that is how Auburn wins football games.

South Carolina at Tennessee: Both teams were embarassed last week. Only one team, however, has a coach who develops a nervous tick when he sees his visor wearing, squinting opponent across the field.  Steve Spurrier beats Tennessee, then finds yet another way to manage to insult Phil Fulmer. 

Finally, the SEC Game of the Week, sponsored by Home Depot on CBS, is the World’s Largest Cocktail Party. Right now, massive quantities of cocaine, weed, Jack Daniels, Makers Mark, Bombay Sapphire are entering the Jacksonville city limits in preparation for tomorrow afternoon’s tailgate/ fashion show/ meat market/ cookoff ….oh, hold up. There’s a football game, too.  The MLBGG will go with (f*ck) Florida for this one. Timmy’s groupies didn’t have to work on him quite as thoroughly after the UK  game as after the LSU game. The Timmy Show is a bit banged up in his non-throwing shoulder, so don’t expect the 57 carries a game he’s been getting most of the season against Georgia. Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. Really, it’s been all downhill since the 2005 SEC Championship, where they demolished my Tigers. The end result was the game the Angry Eer from Loser with Socks still can’t stop talking about. (An aside about that game: I was there.  I respect what the Mountaineers did at what was basically a home field for Georgia. WVU put up 28 points on the Bulldogs before they had the chance to react, and they ran out of time to catch up.  I will always continue to believe that if Georgia took WVU half as seriously as they did LSU and the rest of the SEC, the Bulldogs would have won that game going away. Unfortunately for Georgia and SEC fans who have to hear about that game being some sort of turning point, they did not. And the failure of those boys not being ready lies squarely at Mark Richt’s feet.)  The Bulldogs are the most schizoprenic team in the SEC.   You never know which team will show up from week to week. I certainly don’t. So I have to lie back, close my eyes, think of Liuzza’s, and pick the d*mned Gators.

That’s all for now. Apparently, the NFL may actually exist.  A word of caution to Boston fans who are in the grip of hubris: you are one broken collarbone from not making the playoffs, a rotator cuff from letting the Rocktoberfest (TM)back in, and a real football conference from a national champion. 

Next week is Hell Week Part Deux. I can feel the overconfidence from the Crimson Whine in my bones.

Also, I’ll tell you why the Big East will never be as good as the SEC. 

And it’s actually pretty fricking simple. Here’s a clue:

“What we’ve got to do is continue to work toward getting more speed and athleticism on the football field, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.”
— Minnesota coach Tim Brewster in the aftermath of his team’s loss to North Dakota State (It’s not your conference, but it’s close enough).

The Time for Mourning is Done

October 18, 2007

It’s time for another weekend of football, so my period of mourning must end. But first, a little post-mortem on the LSU-UK game. Many other sites have done in depth analyses, so I won’t re-do what’s already been done well. 

 My response to the game was to engage in a stream of profanity for well over four hours, which was occasionally punctuated by a high pitched scream. Then at the end of regulation, I turned off my phone. Then I kept screaming. The Kentucky offensive line deserves high praise, as does Andre Woodson. As much as I’d like to blame the coaches, Gary Crowton and Les Miles did not drop a perfectly thrown pass that would have made the game 31-14 in the 4th quarter. Coach Pelini did not blow a 27-14 lead on his own.  LSU had the chance to put the game away late and did not.  The Tigers had the chance to make stops, and didn’t.  But they can’t dwell on that game, as the other Tigers from the middle of nowhere are coming into the unfriendly confines of Tiger Stadium.

I am seeing a repeat of last year’s game, as both teams will be utterly worn out from their supreme efforts of last weekend (unlike some teams from other conferences, that continue to play in-state rivals). Auburn totally shut down the Arkansas offense (Felix Jones and the DMcFE), avenging last year’s loss.  (And I understand that Coach Tuberville took some time to tour the Arkansas weight room and athletic dorm). Last weekend must be put out of the team’s collective psyche (defense, that means YOU). LSU must find a way, through whichever unit, to put up 3 touchdowns.  The Tigers can’t let it come down to Auburn making a field goal, because Wes Bynum has downright elephantine testicles, and liquid nitrogen running through his veins.  If LSU can get to that magic number of 21, Auburn will have a very hard time, because they generally can’t score that many points.  Obviously Auburn shut down The Darren McFadden Experience, but I can’t tell if that is a result of Houston Nutt being an idiot who didn’t get him enough touches, Arkansas having absolutely no passing threat, Houston Nutt being a moron, or Auburn’s defense being that good. It’s likely a combination of all those factors.  Let’s reward the faith the computers and pollsters still have, eh, darlings?: LSU 21 Auburn 13

Now, lets skip back to Thursday, and what really is the Big East Game of the Year, South Florida (2!) at Rutgers.  I’m not going against the Bulls. I know that Rutgers ran all over the Bulls last year, but that was last year.  I’ll just put it like this: if the Bulls weren’t scared at Auburn, and shut down The Greatest Offensive System in the History of College Football (TM), then they aren’t gonna be scared of Thursday night in New Jersey.  I’d make some joke about some Rutgers fan popping a cap in the Bulls’ ass, but that’s just as likely to happen in Tampa.  South Florida continues the dream season.

Mississippi State at WVU: The Moutaineers have had a couple of weeks to get ready, and MSU just exhausted themselves against the Volunteers (good job not blowing that game, Coach Fulmer).  The Bulldog defense is capable of giving West Virginia fits for most of the game; however, the offense is prehistoric and run by a kid who couldn’t start for a top Texas high school team.  The Moutaineers should win against the Bulldogs, but other superior teams have been Croomed before.  My West Virginia people have been warned.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh:  Bearcats, as Brian Kelly continues his job interview. Boy, does Pitt suck! If your coach tears his achilles three days before your game, the football goddesses are not on your side.

Texas at Baylor: Texas. I got nothing else. I just mention the Longhorns because one of my friends is a fan. Did you know Mike Singletary went to Baylor? I think that was the high point of that program’s existence.

Oklahoma at Iowa State: To top Texas, Oklahoma will feel compelled to hang 70 on the Cyclones. And they will succeed.

Vanderbilt (we can read!) at South Carolina: I think Coach Superior will use the Commodores to experiment on. If the ‘Cocks had the offense, Coach Superior would run up the score.  Poor things. Vandy always does put up a good fight, but they usually fail. 

Tennessee at Alabama: A measure of how far this game has fallen this season: instead of being the SEC Game of the Week on CBS, sponsored by Home Depot, or an ESPN prime time game, The Third Saturday in October is now the 12:30 game on the network formerly known as Jefferson Pilot. (I don’t know what it’s called now). Let’s see.  I really want Tennesse to stomp on Alabama and smack them around like the crimson clad bitches they are. The game is at Alabama. Alabama does not have the talent that Tennessee has.  Fulmer has not managed to blow a game in a couple of weeks.  Therefore, Alabama and their traitorous bastard of a asshat coach will win. 

USC at The Pyrite Dome: Perhaps this week, USC will remember how to put up 70 points again, and realize that their fourth string could start at the Pyrite Dome. Come on, Trojans! America is counting on you.  If the Trojans don’t win by 20, something is seriously wrong.

Michigan State at Ohio State:  Ohio State continues its tough Big Ten Plus One schedule. Michigan State has begun its annual tailspin.  Ohio State.

Florida at Kentucky: The SEC Game of the Week, on CBS.  Boy, the best option for me would be for a sinkhole to open up under Commonwealth Stadium, revealing yet another massive Kentucky cave complex.  That, unfortunately, is unlikely to happen.  The question for Kentucky is if they can duplicate last weekend’s effort. The only thing in their favor is that the game is in Lexington. I don’t know the Wildcats can repeat last weeks heroics against LSU. (f*ck) Florida is coming off a weekend off and two losses, which are likely to make the Gators very, very angry. Back to back comebacks are hard, especially in the SEC.   I’ll do something which makes my skin crawl and my stomach flip: I will pick the rested Gators and the Timmy Show to win at Kentucky.  Enjoy this season before your program graduates and your coach moves on to another job, UK fans. I understand Nebraska will have an opening available soon.  

That being said, if Wildcat fans rush the field again if Kentucky beats the Gators….act like you’ve been there before, people.

There are some other games that I have virtually no interest in:

Texas Tech @ Missouri:  Go with the over.

Cal @UCLA: everything says that Cal should win this game easily. So I’ll pick UCLA.

Kansas at Colorado: Colorado. I still think Kansas is a mirage.

Kansas State at Oklahoma State: Kansas State, just because purple is my favorite color…

Oregon at Washington: …but I’m not crazy. The ugly uniforms win.

Michigan at Illinois: Illini fans, there was a reason Ron Zook got fired. You are about to find out why.  Michigan. (The MLBGG is an unabashed Wolverine supporter for the remainder of the 2007 season, as she yearns to see the team that lost to a 1-AA team win the “Big” Ten Plus One. I’m sending some positive thoughts to Mike Hart’s ankle.)

There’s nothing in the ACC worth discussing. The big ACC game is next week, Boston College (who’s played no one) at Virginia Tech (who was dismantled)(Strange things will be afoot at the home of my favorite Tech fan that night. I guarantee it).  I was thinking that there were no meaningful ACC games on this weekend, and then I realized Florida State and Miami are facing each other. Ten years ago, discussions of that game would have opened Sportcenter. Now it’s just filler bewteen the SEC main courses.  Enjoy all the Wake Forest and Virginia you want, ACC boosters, but you better hope that Miami and FSU can get back to what they were sooner than later.

Mike Hart is definitely expected back against Minnesota.

That’s all.

Oh, for one week, the NFL does exist.

Thank You for Playing

September 30, 2007

What a weekend, folks. Where to begin, where to begin. Oh, wait.

Florida's Jarred Fayson has a pass go off his hands.

That’s a great place.

I watched the last few minutes of that game on my knees, shrieking for Wes Bynum to hit make his field goal, and leapt in joyous celebration when his second kick was true. (I wonder if any freshman in the history of Auburn has gotten more a&& than Mr. Bynum. I sincerely doubt it. He’s probably still got an entire sorority in his dorm room. ) And how Brandon Cox managed to flat out play the best game (at the Swamp, for gosshakes) he’s played since he was named starter is beyond me. Oh, wait. Tommy Tuberville is a great coach. When the boosters finally get rid of him, I’m sure he’ll have a job really quickly. (Speaking of Coach Tuberville, he’s aged about 30 years since he came to Auburn. I remember when he looked relatively young. But I guess that the constant threat of being fired will do that to you.)

Oh, and this game is yet another reason why Phil Fulmer should be ashamed of the coaching he’s done this year. Good coaches don’t let the 18 to 22 year old kids in their charge roll over and die.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to disdaining/ hating Auburn, but for today, the Auburn Tigers are my second favorite team in all of college football.  Speaking of that, here’s a lil something for all the Tigers (and Miami Dolphins fans) out there in MLBGG land:

That was of course, the was the second best win of the day, given that (f*ck) Florida lost.  Fans of the fighting (REDACTED) are wondering how it all could have gone so terribly wrong, and when the national championship that is their birthright will finally come back.

 It was definitely upset Saturday. Texas finally got that case of the Mack Brown I discussed in an earlier post, which manifested itself a total lack of special teams play.  This caused my friend John Taylor to consume a great deal of Jack Daniels in an effort to blot out the existance of _________, which, in his honor, will be referred to as __________ in this blog for the remainder of the year.  If you need a clue, Bob Huggins coached basketball there before coming to West Virginia this year. Oklahoma played a team from a BCS conference, and lost (at least Oklahoma was at Colorado). LSU came out flat (it is very distressing to get a text message saying Tulane 9, LSU 7 when shopping), and Matt Flynn played horribly, but the defense came through, turning what could have been a F*CKING DISASTER into something resembling a blowout. PHEW (And who is Charles Scott? How many running backs do my Tigers have?) .  The Pyrite Dome continued it’s suckitude, which of course, makes me happy. USC barely escaped an inspired Husky team.   Clemson looks like it’s beginning the annual downward spiral, while Penn State is looking like it was delightfully overrated.  Coach Paterno, it may be time for you to retire, as you were apparently outcoached by Ron Zook.  Boston College, perhaps the class of the ACC, struggled with UMass. ( I frankly wasn’t aware that UMass had a football program). It was a crazy, nutty weekend, and I don’t know how next weekend can top it.*

*You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned any schools from a certain conference that is moving up to surpass and overtake the SEC (75 years of kicking your ass, and counting) as the premier conference in all of college football.  I could talk about how the Big East went from four legitimate Heisman contenders to none in two weeks.   I could go on and on and on about how when Rutgers finally faced a team not consisting of midshipmen or 215 pound offensive linemen, they folded, allowing 20 second points at home, to a team playing with its backup quarteback. I could go through Pitt’s loss to Virginia (which lost to Wyoming) in excruciating detail. I could talk about how, one week after opening a can of whoop-ass on former national title contender Louisville, Syracuse ran into a MAC school that played some defense, and lost.  And of course, the other former national championship contender and Big East marquee team played a team that played and beat someone (and by someone, I mean the SEC West team that beat the defending national champions last night), and lost for the second year in a row to a program that didn’t exist twelve years ago.  Wait, maybe I could mention how the other top team in the Big East is famous for basketball and thuggish JUCO players with 0.0 GPAs. (UConn is 5-0, but I am applying what I will call the “Rutgers Rule,” and evaluate them when they play Virginia in two weeks. They did manage to beat down Duke and Pitt).

No, instead of going into all those details,  I’ve just opted for the following:

Your conference representative in the Orange Bowl will likely be a program that did not exist 12 years ago. 

Thank you for playing, Big East.

Watch this blog for in depth coverage of the Big Ten Plus One Pillow Fight of the Year:  Minnesota at Northwestern on October 13, 2007! Watch how two teams from the Big Ten will combine for ten turnovers, yet still manage 80 points and one thousand yards of offense between them.

Also, it’s looking like I’ll have to review the PAC-2 (Cal earned it’s .5 at Autzen Stadium.)

SECentric, and How Kentucky Ruined West Virginia’s Season

September 23, 2007

So yesterday was long, but fun. My half marathon was fun and I got my t-shirt and medal. I went to brunch, got my nails done, and then headed out to the middle of nowhere in Maryland for my friend’s wedding, which was beautiful and wonderful and had an open bar. Spiffy!  In another spiffy note, my friend’s husband is from southern West Virginia, Williamson, I believe. He is cool.  When I got together with my friends from high school, we basically regressed to fifteen year olds. I met my friend’s new boyfriend: the best way I can describe them is to recommend the chick flick “Something New,” with Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker.  That pretty much sums them up in a Hollywoodish nutshell. I am not being facetious in anyway. Anyhoo, it was a lovely day, except that it kept me from my regular and favorite Saturday activity.

I only got the chance to see the first quarter of LSU’s win over South Carolina. Of course, the opening few minutes of the quarter were not pleasing to me, as South Carolina dinked it’s way to a touchdown and early 7-0 lead. (Here’s a tidbit for you Big East homers: LSU is dead last in red zone defense in the SEC. This is because LSU’s opponents have been inside the 20 yard line twice this season; once was the end of the Virginia Tech game, and the other was against Coach Superior’s ‘Cocks). Once Bo Pelini adjusted to what South Carolina had to serve up, which is what championship caliber coaches do, the universe righted itself, and everything was OK. As I noted in a prior post, I didn’t expect this to be an easy game for LSU, and I didn’t think the Tigers would blow out South Carolina.  The coach who underestimates a Superior-coached college team does so at his peril.  Matt Flynn was gimpy, Early Doucet was out, and it was pouring rain the whole game. But I’m not gonna make excuses for the Tigers. They already know that allowing 16 points, 261 yards (17 rushing yards on 27 attempts) at home to South Carolina was not acceptable:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=3031943&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

To put all the bellyaching in the proper perspective, however, it was a victory over a ranked conference opponent, and even LSU’s kicker is fast.  

I’ll take this “mediocre” victory over Coach Superior’s SEC East team over a blowout of say, a Conference USA team coached by the son of a senile ESPN analyst any day.  To answer a question that popped up via text message, LSU lost some depth as it had four players taken in the first round of the 2007 draft: Jamarcus Russell, Laron Landry, Craig Davis and Dwayne Bowe.  I’d say four out of thirty-two first round picks counts as many.

And if Matt Flynn can’t play, LSU will be all right with Ryan Perrilloux and some crazy-freaking-good defense. I’m not sure the same is true if Pat White goes down in a freak accident, tripping over one of his own linemen, because he’s not going down to a Big East defense (well, maybe South Florida.)

Speaking of South Florida, I’m looking forward to the Big East game of the year this Friday night. It will likely decide who gets to go play in the Orange Bowl, as former national championship contender Louisville looks to be headed for a Spartan-like swoon.  Eventually, the inability to play defense will kill a team.  Now, I wasn’t expecting it to kill Louisville so fast and so dead, but there you go.  Louisville will be unranked when the new poll comes out, and still has games against Utah and Cincy before playing WVU. Yeesh.  If anyone wants to talk to me about tickets for the now-meaningless November 8 WVU-Louisville game, I’m open to offers.  Miss Fran keeps me from scalping, so it’d be at face value.

Speaking of the team that ended both Louisville and West Virginia’s national title hopes*, Kentucky was down 29-21 in the fourth, and came back with 3 fourth quarter scores.  Kentucky is no joke this year, and clearly not a team to be taken lightly. I worry about the potential for that to be a trap game for the Tigers, coming between hosting Florida and Auburn (no need to worry about LSU being fired up for those games). I do suspect, nay I expect, that some Kentucky player, between then and now, will say something stupid regarding Glenn Dorsey, that Kentucky media will provide sufficient locker room material, and that the clip of Devery Henderson taking the tipped hail mary into one end zone while the Kentucky fans flooded onto the other will be shown about 957 times, especially if both teams are undefeated going into the game. (LSU has my po’ Tulane and (f*ck) Florida, while Kentucky has Florida Atlantic and South Carolina). There are no easy games in the SEC. (Of course, I am also encouraged by the fact that LSU’s coaching staff is also creating their resumes for the several head coaching opportunities that will be popping up nationwide, so I don’t think there will be too many letdowns).  

Speaking of job openings, I just put Houston Nutt on the clock. There’s gonna be a good number of open slots in the SEC after this season.  The top spot of course, will be at Tennessee (after yesterday, I’m not quite so sure I’m ready to write off Lloyd Carr just yet, and that Coach Miles will be heading to Michigan. There is no reason, other than Ohio State, that Michigan can’t win what is proving to be a delightfully average to sub-par Big Ten. That Minnesota-Purdue score looked like it was from the Pac 1.5).  I am going to assume that Florida (with the exception of Tim Tebow) did not come firing on all cylinders for yesterday’s game at Ole Miss, but it looks like the Rebels did. And for that, Phil Fulmer should be embarassed. Ole Miss is not good. They do not have the talent. It is hard to get players (and by that I especially mean talented black kids who make up the bulk of major college football players) who are not from Mississippi to go there.  Ole Miss makes some noise every 15 years or so. But Ole Miss took Florida to the last second, and the kids on Ole Miss never laid down and gave up (and neither did South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Georgia, Alabama, the Arkansas (offense) etc, etc). The ONLY SEC team that has appeared to give up at a certain point in the past few years is Tennessee. And that can only be laid at the coach’s feet.  Am I a Tennessee fan? No. I am not a fan of any other SEC school other than LSU (I do hold a spot in my heart for the smart kids). Do I respect what the Tennessee program has meant to college and SEC football? Yes. Do I want to see the Volunteers decline to mediocrity after another few seasons of Fulmer-ball? Absolutely not.  A change must be made in Knoxville at the end of this season.

Speaking of SEC East teams, a hearty hooray for Georgia!! ( The East appears to be the stronger division this year. Bleh). Getting back to the SEC West,  I am praying for Auburn to man up and prepare for an epic game against Florida this Saturday, or at least to play hard and well enough to bang up the Florida offense.  Auburn players, pretend the team opposite of you next Saturday is wearing crimson, and Coach Tuberville, play the sound of private jets flying to Tampa and Cincinnati while drawing up your game plan . That should help. 

Notre Dame is 0-4! That glorious 0-8 start is looking like it will be reality, and I wouldn’t count Air Force and Navy as gimmes for the Pyrite Domers.

* Let me explain myself. At this point, WVU has four teams ahead of it: LSU, (f*ck) Florida, Oklahoma, and USC.  I think that Oklahoma will beat Texas, but if Texas wins that game, Texas will leapfrog WVU.  USC’s only stumbling point in their schedule is the .5 in the Pac 1.5, Cal, and perhaps Oregon, as both of those games are away. And I think the Trojans be more than a wee bit fired up and ready. If Cal beats USC, they will leapfrog WVU.  Ohio State and Wisconsin  both lurk in the Top 10, and either one of those teams suddenly turning it on would also have shot of leapfrogging WVU.

LSU and the Gators will take one or the other out of the equation, but the prevailing wisdom (and likely scenario) is that both teams will meet again in the SEC title game. Should they (eck) split, both LSU and (f*ck) Florida would be probably be ahead of an undefeated WVU on strength of schedule, and the talking coming from Les Miles and Urban Meyer to get their teams into the national championship would be nothing less than extraordinary. Both teams will probably be in BCS bowls, if all plays out as it should. WVU’s signature out of conference win is against a team that defeated Villanova and Florida International. Maryland has Rutgers next, and then plays all conference games, and I don’t see Maryland going much better than 4-3 in the ACC. If Maryland somehow manages to beat Rutgers, kiss any shot of going to the title game goodbye. Rutgers has reached a number 11 ranking by beating up on Buffalo, Navy and Norfolk State, and any loss by Rutgers to a non-creampuff (look out for that Oct. 6 game against the mystery Bearcat team) will be severly punished in the polls, which further hurts WVU.

The Louisville losses really, really hurt WVU’s schedule strength and title chances. Unless WVU whoops on Louisville, that game has now has absolutely no benefit to WVU, and is in fact, incredibly dangerous, as Louisville has not lost the ability to score, and would probably love to spoil WVU’s season.  South Florida is quickly becoming a media darling (media darling= higher ranking), and WVU needs a convincing win over USF (and for the remaining undefeated Big East teams to step up)  to keep from taking another step back in the polls now that the conference schedules have started.  BTW, Mississippi State’s next three games are South Carolina, UAB and Tennessee, and they are now 3-1. It is not inconceivable that the Bulldogs will have a winning record (4-3, or 5-2, depending on which UT team shows for the game. I think that the ‘Cocks beat MSU, simply because of better coaching, although it won’t be a pretty game), when they arrive to Morgantown, which would help WVU’s schedule strength.

I am going to consider leaving my house.  Toodles!

Semi-NFL related notes

September 21, 2007

According to Page Six, Kim Kardashian is now “dating” Terrence Howard (most famous for “Hustle and Flow” and his light eyes,  andmost recently in “The Brave One”), instead of the Savior of My Franchise. I say good riddance. Maybe now he can get back to concentrating on football instead of Kim’s unusually large-for-a-white-girl, soon to be in Playboy, and already on the internet with Ray Jay behind. 

(Of course, if Big Kim and Reggie were dating November 2006 through 5 PM on January 14, 2007, then I beg her to dump Terrence Howard’s old, wrinkled self, and come back to Reggie.  It’s not just him who needs the Power of the Kardshian Ass, it’s the Gulf South and the Katrina Diaspora. Think of the children, Kim. Think of the children.)

(Those Kardashians love them some black folk, eh?)

 In NFL news that won’t made you feel slightly sticky or turned on, depending on what you think about Ms. Kardashian and her potentially detrimental/ positive effect on Saint Reggie, Kevin Everett, the Bills’ player who was paralyzed from the neck down is flying home to Houston, and will try to stand up in the next few weeks, and his doctors are expecting he will walk again.  That is an absolutely beautiful thing.  I’m petitioning the NFL now- if he’s up to it, make him an honorary captain for the Super Bowl, and let him participate in the coin toss.  I’ll sure cry.

The Dennis Franchione Era at Texas A&M continues to go well (snicker).  Texas A&M was either overrated, or Miami showed a flash of being Miami. The ACC gets its first big out of conference win last night, so hooray.  Let’s hope Randy Shannon can get Miami back up to snuff and do it the right way.  Eveyone needs a villain, and college football (and the ACC) needs Miami to not suck. As for Franchione, it’s a good thing re ran out on Alabama, because he would have been fired by now.