Archive for the ‘Head Coaches in 2008’ Category

So let it be done

December 18, 2007

So you think this is the quiet time, the weekend before the 73 bowl games in 21 days start.  The only noise is the sound and the fury from Detroit’s empty blighted urban canyons, echoing off the desolate shores of Lake Michigan, the sounds of Detroit Free Press reporters and bloggers still claiming that your favorite big-headed blue eyed nutjob of a coach is still heading to north to his beer-soaked mistress and her Big House.

And then all hell breaks loose when the coach of the team that you make mighty fun of, but whose game you still love attending, has had a secret meeting in Toledo, Ohio.  And then the next  you know, the echoes from the frozen north take on a different tone, because they are now tinged with arrogant triumph instead of the embarassed near desperation of the week before:

 From the overjoyed Wolverine (world’s largest weasels!) Nation at mgoblog.

Meanwhile, something like a statewide psychosis has broken out in the home of the BCS Division (formerly Division 1-A) Mountaineers.  Now would be the time I would mock, poke fun, and generally giggle about West Virginia’s coach abandoning them for the richer, greener and more frozen pa$ture$ of the Big House and the Big Ten Plus One, but I think I’ll refrain, just in case some random Mountaineers find what I’m saying and bombard me with personal attacks.  But in all honesty, I feel awful for them.  The fact that Rich Roddriguez was from West Virginia was a tremendous source of pride to them, whether they would admit now or not.  Let’s face it: “genius” and “West Virginia” are not two  terms that often go together (and I know all about the long list of famous West Virginians people, including Homer Hickam and John Nash, who are geniuses, so calm down), but Coach Rod really is, football wise. (If you don’t believe me, I would direct you to the  1998 Tulane Football team, which finished the season at 12-0.  The kids on that team all had to know how to read to get in. I even had football players in some of my classes.)  

Coach Rod made WVU football relevant again, not just on the outskirts of Big Ten Plus One country, but nationwide.  He maximized the talent he had and got the state and university positive press. Mountaineer fans thought they had a man for the long haul after he turned down Alabama last year.  I’m sure that last year, heck,  I’m sure that on November 23, 2007 at about 7 p.m., the sky seemed like the limit for West Virginia University.  (Ask Virginia Tech what a consistently good football team can do for your school. Might want to ask them where they found Frank Beamer, as he seems like a rare breed these days).

But BCS Mountaineer fans ended the season on a spectacularly bad note, losing to a team that has been breathtakingly awful this year.  One favorite son, (REDACTED) (met his cousin the other evening) is coaching in the conference that Big East fans believe to be their nemesis.  Now they have discovered that they did not in fact have a loyal son who would never leave.  They had a mercenary who was waiting for the right job to come open ( BTW, I think he may have just as soon as bolted for LSU if Coach Miles had left. It’s nothing personal. It was just business.) Coach Rodriguez, genius and pioneer of the spread told the nation’s number one recruit, his team, and last and least, his bosses at WVU he was leaving.  In that order.  He screwed the university over royally.

Welcome to the big time, West Virginia.

Now go and make some other school feel the same agony. 

 As an LSU fan, I have to admit that I’m happy. The distractions that ESPN and media outlets from the frozen north were creating were starting to cause concern; our boys have enough to do healing, working on not getting 150 yards in penalties, and dealing with the departure of one assistant coach. The constant questioning on if/ when Coach Le$ was heading to Michigan could not have helped in game prep.

But that’s over now.  To quote a little Cecil B. DeMille:

So let it be written, so let it be done.

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The SEC’s Newest Trophy!

December 13, 2007

On September 20, 2008, another great trophy will be added to the annals of college football, celebrating a brand new tradition unlike any other. 

In the Big Ten, there’s Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Floyd of Rosedale. The Old Oaken Bucket. The Pac-10 has the Apple Cup.   There are games which are known merely by their titles: The Third Saturday in October. The Civil War. The Game Formerly Known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” 

And, depending on which school you went to, there are several permutations of “The Game.”

The SEC (Kickin’ Yo’ Ass for 75 Years) is naturally full of such games. By and large, there hasn’t been a huge emphasis on the trophies for the bitterest rivalries in our conference.  To add a little luster to a relatively new rivaly, LSU and Arkansas play for the Boot, 170 pounds of shiny brass in the shape of Hillbilly Central and Coon-Ass Land. 

The boot (lsu-arkansas).jpg

But there’s a new trophy that will outshine everything we’ve ever  seen in college football. Commissioned by Wayne Huzienga and Arthur Blank, with a special donation from the D’Angelo Hall Foundation, it is a masterwork created by the masters of the material, Tiffany, with the natural touches of Paloma Picasso and a classic elegance that says everything without saying a word. 

Ladies, gentlemen, Big East fans, I reveal to you the Pat Forde-Larry Brown Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner of the 2008 Alabama-Arkansas contest. *

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/syridian/399252640/

*This of course, assumes that both coaches will actually still be at Arkansas or Alabama by September of 2008. We reserve the right to melt down the trophy for a charm bracelet at any time.

Who’s coaching at the Big House?

December 7, 2007

‘Cause it’s not Coach Mile$.  Check out this blog if you care.

Bill Martin, LSU fans around the world thank you:

And the MLBGG sends a salute to Sylvester Croom, the SEC Coach of the Year.

I’d like to write something clever about Klansmen rolling over in their graves, and suddenly becoming cold in hell, but I got nothing.

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.

My new favorite Big 12 team

December 5, 2007

Sometimes, all it takes is one move to make a new fan (or a least a person who viewed your program with total disdain feel some small measure of positive interest).

Coach-for-life/ Congressman/ Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne, you are classy with a capital C.

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!”

Greetings and Salutations

November 20, 2007

Greetings and Salutations from still beautiful and still here New Orleans, Louisiana.  I flew in from 40 degree Arlington, and landed in 78 degree, no humidity (which only happens occasionally) sunshine. Fantastic! I started my three days  in New Orleans  with a trip to Mandina’s, a restaurant I highly recommend.  I had a seafood platter which was both lunch and dinner, which is impressive if you knew how much I can eat. An absolutely wonderful start to my trip, and to this holiday season.

 The Mean Lil’ Black and Gold Girl welcomes Princess Truth to the world. In twenty years, I expect to hear a defense of why West Virginia represents the pinnacle of not only college football, but of all amateur athletics since the turn of the 20th century.  Her birth prevented her mother, but not her dad, from watching yet another exciting weekend of college football.  I am glad she’s here.

Due to traveling and the holiday rush (which began around Veterans’ Day for me), I’ve been and will likely continue to post somewhat erratically for the next few weeks.  I am excited for this upcoming weekend,  as we have Hate Week, Part Deux to finish the regular season, and then three conference championships, two of which I normally don’t care about.  There were some great games this past weekend (I know about a dozen people who became huge Red Raider fans Saturday night),  but the biggest event in college football happened today. Lloyd Carr, to no one’s surprise, resigned from Michigan today, thereby throwing the remainder of LSU’s season into relative turmoil. A few words about Lloyd Carr. He was a lifer. He loved, and loves that school. By all accounts, he is a genuinely good man.  He fell victim to what John Cooper(Ohio State’s coach before the Sweatervest arrived) did: over the past few years, Coach Carr could not beat his biggest rival.  So out the door he goes, to be an assistant AD emeritus.  (Oh, he also fell victim to the 1950s style football that the Big Ten Plus One is still playing. But this is a tribute of a sort.)  In any event, all may not be smooth sailing for Coach Les’ departure to the semi-frozen tundra.   3rd Saturday in Blogtober offers some good analysis of their enemy’s coaching situation.  I don’t think we’re talking about a Dean Smith-Matt Doherty situation here (Doherty managed to piss off every one at UNC after he got there, not beforehand, and Lloyd Carr does not have Dean Smith status…maybe Roy Williams). But it does seem he has enough clout to put the kibosh on what everyone thought was a done deal.

Another thing to consider is that Coach Les’ fortunes can take a considerable upswing if his boys can win three more games.  Big Ten schools don’t pay that kind of money, Coach Sweatervest and the Iowa Genius aside. If Coach Les stays through January 8, that’s certainly entering into his calculations, “Michigan Man,” or not.

Anyway, don’t get your panties in a bunch, Coach Carr. Enjoy the retirement and try to get some sun.  Michigan boosters, remember that we here in Louisiana can put a curse on your team if you mess with Coach Les before the SEC Championship Game (The Original, and Still the Best).  Thank you for your interest, the MLBGG.

If Coach Les does head north for frozen pastures and an easier conference, apparently Tommy Tuberville would be more than happy to move to Baton Rouge. I would not object to that. At all.

A quick note on the LSU- Ole Miss game. First of all, I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a black kid playing quarterback for Ole Miss.  Secondly, LSU does not have a great defense, not at this stage of the year.  LSU has played one perfect game, against Virginia Tech, and played one perfect quarter, against Florida.  The last few weeks of the season have not been awe inspiring.   Great defenses don’t allow the 2007 edition of Ole Miss to hang around. Great defenses don’t allow 466 yards against anyone, let alone this year’s Ole Miss. Coach Les admitted that Brent Schaeffer wasn’t in their gameplan. (But heck, who would have a mobile QB in the gameplan when playing Ole Miss? They haven’t had a mobile quarterback since Archie Manning, and the other thing…well, everyone got thrown for a loop). That lack of preparation by the coaching staff is the kind of thing that we can’t have happen the next three weeks.  Glenn Dorsey hasn’t been the same since the chop block against Auburn, we’re starting a true freshman on the d-line because everyone else is hurt, and our starting middle linebacker is hurt. Ole Miss continued to expose a glaring weakness in the LSU defense that we saw against Kentucky, an ability to defend effectively against four receiver sets.  But you know what? LSU won by 17

But the 17 point victory wasn’t the domination that the media conspiracy was looking for, and pundits are predicting doom and gloom for LSU:

 The Tigers face Arkansas and arguably the nation’s best running back, Darren McFadden, next week. Then they will play either Tennessee or Georgia in the SEC championship game on Dec. 1. All three teams are flawed, but dangerous. And they’re talented and perceptive enough on offense to capitalize on the clues Ole Miss left for them like a trail of bread crumbs. – From Yahoo Sports

As for Arkansas, that game is at LSU. The Darren McFadden Experience will have 200 yards of total offense. I accept that. But the game is at LSU. And LSU’s biggest issue is against the pass. You need a quarterback for a passing game. Casey Dick is a less talented John Parker Wilson.  It will be like nearly every other LSU game this year. Uncomfortably close, but LSU will win it late.  The Championship Game? I’ll just have to see which Tennessee shows up against Kentucky this Saturday. If the Georgia of the last few weeks shows up, that will pose quite a problem for the Tigers.  What the boys need most is to get through the next two weeks, and then have a month to heal. 

I believe in the Tigers. I don’t believe in the delusional- Michigan/ Big-Ten-fan-from-last year-way. If LSU loses, then we lose.  We will go down fighting. We wil not give up, roll over and play dead.  If LSU loses either of the next two games,  then I will watch LSU play another January bowl, and tilt my beer to the two teams that managed to run the gauntlet and impress the media conspiracy.  But I think this team is something special.  The boys win despite a coaching staff that doesn’t get them fully prepared and makes questionable calls (not a good way to enhance the resumes, Coaches).  Glenn Dorsey gave up beaucoup bucks to come back and try to win a national title. He’s been playing hurt for a month. Matt Flynn is smart, saavy, and just athletic enough. Jacob Hester moves mountains.  Early Doucet is a game-breaker.  We have seem to have 100 running backs, who all give everything every down.  Ali Highsmith just smacks people around.  Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon seem to have been starting forever.   Craig Steltz hits about 1/2 as hard as Laron Landry, which means twice as hard as most other college safeties.  Itty-bitty Trindon Holliday is gone once he has a step (as I’ve noted, he weighs less than the Boot).   We’ve got a team of juniors and seniors with two consecutive BCS bowls behind them; a coach who abandoned them for bigger and better things; another coach who is seriously considering doing the same (although Michigan is bigger, I can’t really say it’s better, unless you like snow, bratwurst, and less pretty girls); a team that lost four players to the first round of the NFL draft, and has a new offensive coordinator who likes to pull Mountain West crap.  And, oh, there was the little matter of the weather systems that passed over the central and western Gulf Coasts during their stay at LSU.  I say bring on Mark Richt and his theatrics and his New Jersey running back. Bring on next year’s number 1 draft pick. Bring on schizophrenic Tennessee and letters of support from NFL players. Bring on the Big 12 Team du Jour, West Virginia, or whoever else comes.  Katrina and Rita could not truly defeat us; what chance do mere humans have?  I believe in the Tigers.

Anyhoo, West Virginia seems to be peaking at the right time, if by uncomfortably close margins.   But let’s be clear about the big story in the Big East this year: Connecticut, which played 1-AA football until 2000, and joined the Big East in football in 2004, will finish no worse than second in the conference.   Huskies, say thank you and goodbye to Randy Edsall.  That game is in Morgantown. Too much offense for the Huskies to handle.  Book your tickets to the Sun Bowl. ( UConn at least deserves a trip to someplace not freezing cold. One site had the Huskies going to the International Bowl. Yeesh) . Speaking of bowl projections, as of today, both CBS and College Football News have a LSU-WVU national championship.  I refrain from any comment about that possibility until such time that it actually occurs.   However, I would note that WVU does not have a good history when playing in New Orleans, and I would also warn any Mountaineer fans who are used to mouthing off to Morgantown police and West Virginia state troopers that New Orleans’ finest crack skulls, even of white college kids.  And that’s all I’ll say about that until December 2. Heck, my Tigers still have to get through the train wreck that is Arkansas, and then the SEC Championship (keep trying, and maybe one day you’ll be as good) before we worry about a BCS berth.

A huge salute to Dennis Dixon, Oregon Ducks quarterback, and the kid who might have won the Heisman, had he not torn his ACL on NOVEMBER 3. That’s right; he started the Arizona game with a completely torn ACL, and still played. As a matter of fact, he outran the Arizona defense before coming out the game.  Along with Byron Leftwich being carried by his linemen to continue playing, this has to be one of the dumbest, but guttiest performances of any college football player.   Dennis Dixon, you are SEC-worthy.  Heal up, kid, so you can buy momma, who didn’t raise a wimp, a new house.  From EDSBS, through the Eugene, Oregon Register Guard. For true football idiocy, which lives on through the ages, check out the story of the fabulously named Jack Youngblood. Know why chop blocks are illegal? Snapped fibulas.

My friend from the boonies (meaning Woodbridge) throughly enjoyed last Saturday’s pass-fest, Texas Tech over Oklahoma. Boy, was I ever gloriously mistaken about that game.  Congrats to the Texas Longhorns.

 Finally: per Sports by Brooks, since Arrowhead Stadium is an NFL locale, there will be beer for the Border War.   Let’s see:  people who have been tailgating since Thanksgiving, a rivalry that literally celebrates destruction, murder and terrorism, and a BCS bid to boot?  Woe betide Kansas City! There’s a reason there are so many episodes of Cops filmed there.  I am so watching that game.

Wait, I forgot one thing. There was a terrible loss in college football, one that hurt LSU’s strength of schedule, diminished the achievements of Sylvester Croom, and should make Tennessee feel more embarassed than they already are for almost losing to Vandy.  But on the other hand:

From Roll Bama Roll

From 3rd Saurday in Blogtober

Next: My invitation to Coach Rodriguez (and Coach Tuberville, too); Tim Tebow (ick) for Heisman (I can’t believe my fingers typed that); Hate Week Part Deux, featuring the  Border War, the Hole in the Ground Bowl,  a Longhorn vs. Lassie, and the game it is your duty as an American to watch:  Navy vs Army.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

XOXO, MLBGG

(PS…Ole Miss fans. I’m sorry for my incredulous references to your backup QB, but you’re Ole Miss, for goodness sakes.)

The Lloyd Carr Effect

November 15, 2007

A great post from the from the misguided darlings (the heart wants what it wants) at 3rd Saturday in Blogtober, where Tennessee and Alabama fans unite in making fun of each other, other SEC teams, and other lesser conferences. 

Boy, this is funny.

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?