Archive for the ‘Mid-majors’ Category

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:


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!”

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?

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:

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!

South Florida and Cincinnati: The Teams to Beat in the Big East

September 9, 2007

I always admit when I’m wrong, and clearly I was wrong about the best team in the Big East: South Florida.  You may color me impressed with their players, who went into a night game in the SEC and won, and their coach. When he moves on to a bigger program after a magical season this year, I’m sure he’ll do the same things for a school in a different conference. South Florida could have clearly won the game by a much bigger margin, having missed on multiple field goal attempts.  Auburn’s offense makes me happy.  It truly does. (I assume Bo Pelini and (redacted) are probably doing back flips after seeing the briefest bit of film on that game.)  Brandon Cox appears to be one step ahead of Mr. Pick Six for the conference’s least spectacular QB (as opposed to our classy 5th year senior, Matt Flynn. Thanks for recruiting him, you traitorous bastard).  The Auburn boosters are firing up the jet for Tampa to talk to South Florida’s coach, and perhaps Wake Forest’s coach, who manages to do a whole lot with a little. (Nebraska has superior talent. But they have Bill Callahan, which negates that advantage. Believe me, we living in the Les Miles era know what I’m talking about.) And Cincinnati clearly is making steps forward, having thoroughly outplayed Oregon State . I salute those members of the Big East. I was wrong about them, and it appears that the South Florida victory over the Mountaineers last year was no fluke. And since they are the members of the Big East which have played real teams from real conferences, and won, rather handily in the case of the Bearcats (what is a Bearcat?) and did not struggle in any part of a game against Marshall, Directional Michigan/ Tennessee, or Murray State, I hereby put them at the top of the Big East pecking order. 

 I look forward to watching South Florida play in the Orange or Fiesta Bowl this January.

Speaking of the Best Conference That Ever Was or Will Be, what the heck is up with SEC East coaches and Steve Spurrier?  He’s not coaching Florida anymore, but he still has some sort of black magic juju over the other teams in that division. This does not bode well for the Volunteers, although they bounced back nicely against Southern Mississippi. I was ready to say Georgia would win the East, but I may have to go back with (F*ck) Florida. Next week’s game should tell a lot more. Just please, please, please, don’t let it be South Carolina. Please.

There’s nothing to say about last night’s win at Death Valley other than this: 149, the Hokies’ total yardage, and 600, which was LSU’s.  Matt Flynn will not make it to New York for the Heisman ceremonies, but he has an excellent shot of making it 70 miles downriver on January 7.

Wisconsin needed late game heroics to beat UNLV. Penn State put the Irish in an 0-2 hole, which will become an 0-8 one. The Lloyd Carr farewell tour has begun, and we in Tiger Nation are wondering who our next coach will be when Les Miles leaves for Michigan. NBC Sports is screaming in despair, for the Notre Dame-Michigan game has become absolutely irrelevant.  Ty Willingham is 2-0 (love that purple! Finally, a Pac-10 team I can actually root for!). Charlie Weis is 0-2.

What a great Saturday it was.

Your inboxes should be less full now

September 7, 2007

Hey ya’ll. I’m finally doing it, after a couple of friends have encouraged me to write a blog, rather than clog their e-mails with my epic smack on a weekly basis from August through February.  So you asked for it, and I’m here, The Mean Lil’ Black (and Gold) Girl. I’ll be posting  about things I love, namely the SEC, the Saints (yipes), putting down the Big East and the other B-S conferences, and whatever pops into my fevered little brain.  My blog is a dictatorship, but a benevolent one, and I welcome your criticism, which I will feel free to ignore.

This opening post is from an e-mail I already sent out to my friends/ frenemies during Big East-SEC contests, Big Ten-SEC contests (you get the idea).  I was astoundingly Cassandra-like, given what happened last night. I possess the power to get an NFL game turned on at the gayest bar in Washington DC (and get the gay porn and dance videos turned off), yet I am powerless to do anything about the Saints still abominable pass defense. Looks like I can expect a couple of big games from Steve Smith, since he plays my boys twice.  Or maybe it’s just an AFC thing, and I don’t understand.

Well folks, I’m thinking I’ll be too worn out and possibly depressed tomorrow after tonight’s opening game, so it’s time to get the commentary out now. A quick rundown of the Top 25 shows some games that are supposed to be better than last week, but of course, I really don’t see how that’s possible.

Oh, before I get going, look out for next’s week’s email, tenatively “The Law Enforcement Special: Riotous and Burning Smack,” in honor of next Thursday night’s ESPN game, West Virginia at Maryland.

This e-mail will cover the Top 25 (in no particular order), SEC, Big”You’re always taking pot shots at” East, and other games of interest (to me).

So here we go, in game order:

There are three Thursday games tonight, which I will not be watching.

-Middle Tennessee State at Louisville: expect Louisville to run up the score.

Oregon State at Cinncinnati: Huh? Beavers beat Bearcats. (I liked typing that, but does anyone know what a Bearcat is, other than a thuggish juco recruit being given a “second chance” by Bob Huggins? Oh wait, that’s now a Mountaineer!)

-Navy at Rutgers: Love those spunky Navy kids, but if Rutgers doesn’t win this by 20, they and everyone else should reconsider their status as a Big East contender. Ray Rice should seriously have 200 yards and 4 touchdowns.


The Game of the Day: Virginia Tech at LSU, which one clever blogger dubbed the “Tragedy Bowl.” (Strike Zones and End Zones)

(Did anyone see the Seinfeld where George was trying to get the co-op against an Andrea Doria survivor: Hey, we’ll see your 32 dead people by 1500 more, including some that drowned in their attics, plus add in a non-responsive federal government and our campus being turned into a refugee camp! Fats Domino in our star quarterback’s apartment! Fats Domino! Beat that, suckers!)

Anyhoo, as I leave my quick detour into the land of bad taste,  LSU is a 12.5 point favorite over VT. I think LSU covers that, but only because the LSU defense is  much better than the Virginia Tech offense.  I wouldn’t look for scillintilating offenseive football. I see Sean Glennon running for his life and failing miserably. The LSU offense isn’t great, but Matt Flynn won’t try and make something happen where nothing exists, which means turnovers should be limited. Even Les Miles should have the special teams looking for the block, and itty-bitty Trindon Holliday (he weighs less than the Golden Boot, the trophy for the Arkansas-LSU game that has been safely enconsed in the LSU trophy case for some time now) is really, really, really fast. It will be uncomfortably close, and my stomach will hurt, and I will drunkenly text message various friends. But LSU wins. The crowd does make a difference.

West Virginia at Marshall: The Friends of Coal Bowl (boycotted by one John Bailey). I don’t care that this is an in-state game. Bob Pruett either was 1) a genius; 2) made some sort of pact with the devil. In either event, Marshall has sucked spectacularly since he left, and there’s no reason for that not to continue now.  This should be similar to last week for WVU.

Nebraska at Wake Forest: I still doubt Bill Callahan. It doesn’t matter to me if Nebraska wins the Big 12 this year, beats Texas (Mack Brown needs another savior/ QB) or lucks out against Oklahoma. But WF’s starting QB is not playing due to his separated shoulder, so I’ll go with Nebraska.  

Miami at Oklahoma: five or six years ago, this would have been the game of the week, a potentially epic ESPN instant classic. Now it’s just gonna show how much more Miami needs to do to rebuild. Oklahoma big over Miami.

Akron at Ohio State: No one ever complains about the patsies Ohio State always has on its schedule. That’s because Ohio State can point out that the schools are all in-state rivals, and that it was a competitive series back in 1920. Ohio State, not suffering from Michigan-itis.

La-Monroe (formerly Northeastern) at Clemson: Watch this happen. After smothering FSU, Clemson will find some way to make this game more interesting that it has any right to be, ant least for a quarter or so.  Clemson, although not by the 50 points it should be.

Samford at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech started off the year so beautifully, by making Notre Dame look as bad as they are, that I can’t bring myself to say anything bad about them.  Georgia Tech.

Cal-Look we have 2 big wins-Berkley at Colorado State: So this week, the engineers and smelly hippies can go back to their normal lives and do equations on Saturdays and save the forest nymphs.  Cal wins, but in a closer game than people expect.

Fresno State at Texas A&M: Fresno State plays anyone, anywhere. And when they play good teams, they get smoked. I’m not so sure about this one, because I’ve just seen Texas A&M choke one too many times in the Franchione era. A&M is another one of those teams that’s always poised to compete for a Big 12 title, yada yada, and yet they never do. If there was any game I’d pick as an upset, it’s this one. So I’ll go out on a limb, and do so.

Boise State at Washington: I’m just picking Washington. I’ll be honest. I love the uniforms, and I can’t imagine a much better thing than Ty Willingham’s Huskies having a much better record for this season than Charlie ‘Rockne” Weis’ Irish. Plus I love the shots of the stadium.

South Carolina at Georgia: Before last week, I might have picked South Carolina to win.  That was before Georgia shut down the greatest offense on earth. I’ll go with Georgia here, although Steve Superior will find a way to make it briefly interesting.

Notre Dame at Penn State: last year, Notre Dame won this game 47-17. This year, I don’t think Notre Dame will reach double digits. And that makes my heart glad.

Troy at (f*ck) Florida: Now, Troy is not to be taken lightly, and has given teams fits in the past. Florida wins, but it may be fun to see Troy not get run off the field until the second half.

BYU at UCLA: UCLA.  (I really have nothing to say about this game.)

TCU at Texas: So last week, it took some late game heroics to ensure that Texas didn’t become a second Michigan as they faced Arkansas State. I feel a creeping case of the Mack Brown coming on for the Longhorns: superior talent with unsuperior coaching+motivated team with a lot to prove=sad, drunk night in Austin. And the last time Texas played a purple team, whoa, Nellie! I’m not saying it hits this week, but the Mack Brown is gonna hit hard sometimes this season.

Southern Miss at Tennessee: Um, I hope that the Vols’ defense was sufficiently embarassed last week to show up this week.  I’m gonna go with Tennessee here, in what should be at least a 14 point win, but I foresee bad juju ahead if things go wrong, and Southern Miss wins this game.  As I previously stated, this is NOT Murray State the Vols are playing.

Hawaii at La Tech: First of all, I’ve always found the whole concept of “Lousiana Tech” to be an amusing one. Not that there are not engineers in Louisianabut I’m pretty convinced that most people’s technical genius has gone into building a better fishing boat, grill, or deep fryer, or some way to dispense alcohol in the most efficient yet tasty manner possible.  And La Tech is in the north, which I like to call “Texas.”  In any event, Colt Brennan scores 17 touchdowns, etc, etc, what an offensive show, yada yada yada. Only the thick air can keep Hawaii under 60.

South Florida at Auburn: here’s the game that many experts are picking for the upset. And that, my friends in the Big East looking for that upset, is your and South Florida’s problem. Auburn is Philly to Alabama’s New York. They are the red-headed, left handed stepchild who managed to graduate as valedictorian from high school, get a doctorate from an Ivy League school, and still gets the package of socks for Christmas from grandma, while the blood relative gets a golf trip to Hilton Head.  If there is any coach and any team that thrives on being disrespected, it is the Auburn Tigers and Tommy Tuberville. Bobby Petrino almost had Tommy Tuberville’s job one year before he went undefeated.  I see a locker room with blown up clips about how K-State almost won, and the explosive South Florida offense, headed by their adorable little quarterback (he’s like Flutie-size), and the speedy defense that shut down WVU’s two Heisman candidates.

And then I see that same adorable South Florida QB on the sidelines after he’s been knocked out in the first quarter.

Auburn, baby.

Wisconsin at UNLV: Is it too early to anoint them Big Ten champs, send them to the Rose Bowl, and be done with discussing that conference?

Other games of interest (to me): 

Grambling State at Pitt. I sure hope Grambling wins, as they are 1-AA, or whatever duma&& name the NCAA gave 1-AA. Better yet, I hope the band goes up. Because that would be cool. Pitt should win, though. Bleh.

Duke at Virginia:

If Duke gets its first win in what…2 years…against Virginia, Al Groh should be fired the same day. But UVa may just be that bad.

Oregon at Michigan (snort): I wondered why I hadn’t discussed this game in my Top 25, and then I remembered, and then I started to giggle, and then it turned into the cackling sound that I make. Part of me wants Oregon to crush Michigan, sending them on a huge tailspin and knocking Mike Hart irrevocably out of the Heisman race (because he did put on a show last week, the only bring spot in the Medium House). But then I thought, wouldn’t it be AWESOME if Michigan got it together, and won the Big Ten, and the Rose Bowl rep lost to a 1-AA team? So I will now be a Michigan fan for the rest of the season.

Alabama at Vanderbilt: Go Vandy!! If not, I’ll have to listen/ feel/ telepathically receive noise from Alabama about how they’re back, and the Tide will win the West, and yada yada, so on so forth.  PS.. F*ck (redacted).

Mississppi State at Tulane: If MSU can’t beat my alma mater, they should forfeit the remainder of the season, fire Sylvester Croom, and cancel the football program until such time as they are ready to start handing over cash hand over fist.

Kent State at Kentucky: this is no gimme for the Wildcats, as a couple of teams learned last week. Iowa State lost at home to Kent State.  I still think no one wants a case of Michigan-itis, so I go with Kentucky.  But the MAC is not to be trifled with lightly, which brings me to…

Miami of Ohio at Minnesota: New coach, four less idiotic players, all hyped up….and then there goes Bowling Green. Miami has usually been better than Bowling Green. Another loss to the MAC before a schedule that includes three of out of the four Big Ten heavyweights (and yes, I still count Michigan for that purpose) does not make for a bowling season.