December 31, 2005

Peach Bowl Smackdown!

LSU 40, Miami (FL) 3

So last night I was all in anticipation of getting our cable back on, which we did, in time for the best non-BCS game between the Tigers and Hurricanes. My friends and I do this bowl contest where we try and pick the winners of the games with the point spreads involved this year. I took Miami due to JaMarcus Russell being out for LSU.

Wrong answer. The Tigers played like this game meant something and Miami played for a quarter and a half. LSU did whatever they wanted to do, and I must add I think the notion that Miami always has the fastest team speed now has to be passed to the Bayou Bengals.

This win, er beatdown by LSU included fake punts (plural) in order to keep the ball out of Devin Hester's hands. (By the way, Devin, if your thinking the NFL, don't. Your not ready, son.)

LSU served notice that the Tigers will be ready next year after closing out an emotional 2005 season. Miami now has to be lumped somewhat with Michigan and Tennessee. Nobody fears the Canes anymore. They don't play with swagger all the time, they aren't unbeatable at home, and they don't have the market cornered on speed athletes that they once had. Larry Coker has to be feeling some heat, for sure.

December 30, 2005

Maybe we knew better?

Oklahoma 17, The Highest Ranked Team Not in the BCS 14

Ahh, begin the hype for Miami or Auburn now, ESPiN now that your beloved Ducks lost in the Holiday Bowl to a 7-4 Oklahoma. In a just world ESPiN should have to issue a 30-second apology to all Irish fans who had to sit through the Alamo Bowl hearing about how the Ducks got screwed by being ranked so high and yet not getting to the BCS. I had never heard so much pooh-poohing and whining in my life (well, okay, the Michigan fans after the game were pretty bad).

So now, Auburn or Miami will get the hype from ESPiN. "Why didn't we get in?" "We're just as good." "Some consider us the best team in the SEC."

Ultimately, Notre Dame can only win over skeptics with a win over Ohio State, but get ready now folks to hear about the plight of Bobby Carpenter being out for Ohio State. It's ESPiN's "built in excuse" for Notre Dame winning.

December 29, 2005

Bowl week begins...Alamo Bowl.

Yup, I pretty much view the Bowl season as the Alamo-Holiday-Peach-then everything after Jan. 1 as the Bowl Season.

So lets talk about the Alamo: Nebraska 32, Michigan 28.

You gotta love your cable going out and no resolution in sight from the provider, which is my current situation now. I get a week off work every six months and I plan for it to be this week, and the cable company plans to lose their satellite service this very week. Lovely.

Anyhoo, lets talk about this game. Going in, Michigan was the favorite. You bought into their hype just like everyone does every year. Breaston! Hart! Henne! These guys are great and young, and now they are healthy; Michigan is a force! Sure enough, everyone feels vindication when UM starts to take over this game, building a 28-17 mid-fourth quarter lead. The Wolves even get the ball back with 9 minutes and some change left.


Nebraska forces a fumble by Jason Avant after a catch and takes it in for a score. 28-25 after the subsequent two-point conversion. Then Henne fumbles the ball on a pass and Nebraska later scores on that, 32-28 Nebraska.

Then things got ultimately weird. Michigan drives down the field as the Huskers forget to bring the D that got them to this point. But Manningham drops a third down catch and on fourth down, the Huskers basically commit pass interference that wasn't called.

So Nebraska runs the time down to :18 before they have to punt the ball back. Michigan does nothing except an eight-lateral flea flicker before Tyler Ecker starts running down the field with half of the Nebraska team pouring onto the field. The funny part is that Ecker gets stopped at the 13. Michigan fans say the tackle was made by a player coming off the sidelines. (Uh-huh, Titus Brothers, #21, was their starting strong safety. Good time to leave him out.)

The bigger point to make is that Ecker, he of the turn inside with no timeouts vs. Ohio State, fame, had Steve Breaston right behind him to lateral the ball to with presumably the only two Nebraska defenders legally involved heading right for him. Pitch, touchdown Michigan and now the refs would have to call something.

Oh and yes, they will point out the 50+ Nebraska guys on the field. Take a look at that play again too, Michigan fans, and notice the throng (four or so) guys getting escorted off the field when Ecker starts barreling down the sideline towards his ultimate 13-yard line destination. That would constitute a game ending offsetting penalty.

Funny part too is to watch the ESPN highlights and see Chad Henne walking off the field as the greatest play in Michigan history is going down...head down...agony of defeat perhaps setting in...I tend to follow the players reactions on that sort of thing. If I am Henne I would be running, selling that play that we're still alive. Unless I didnt believe it because I saw my guy on the ground with his knee while I am touching the ball...ahem, Mike Hart around his own 26.

Michigan fans are a sight to see now. Just head over to any of their message boards and watch the various acts of hari-kari being committed. The worst team in 21 years. "Thank God this season is over." LLLLLoyd needs to go now... are just some of the comments and I LOVE IT.

Let someone else deal with mediocrity for a while, been there and done that. I can't believe my eyes as I read some Michigan fans even calling for Carr's job. (Maybe the luster off that 1997 title is gone, huh? Otherwise you get about 3 or 4 losses a year.)

The scary part is that this 7-4 before the bowl team could have been 4-7 and sitting their ass at home. OT win at Iowa, OT again over Michigan State and they needed time put back on the clock against Penn State. (I bet the refs were completely justified doing that, right UM fans?)

Oh but don't worry, UM will land a great recruiting class, Henne will become a god by spring ball, someone will talk about team focus. Carr will hunker down and be even more stodgy in his approach and somehow when you grab that preseason mag in late summer, the lazy sports columnists will have Michigan in the Top 10 because they always seem to get there.

I liken it to the Irish in the late 90's. Somehow the boys from South Bend were getting ranked and Davie was pulling in great classes, but you knew better if you scratched the surface and lifted a few rocks. The same should now exist for Ann Arbor (Knoxville, too). Take a closer look, friends, because Michigan isn't the ol' Michigan you remember.

December 20, 2005

Change the bowls, but no playoff

I basically took this from College Football News and their traditonal Tuesday Question.

Q: (Forgetting about a playoff) How do you change the college bowl system?

A: I do miss the true tie-ins. The Rose Bowl being the Pac-1o versus Big 10 (11) and the Sugar Bowl always getting the SEC champion. I enjoyed that sort of thing, however it is the root cause for the need for a BCS to decide a true champ.

I also miss the New Year's Day power lineup of the Citrus-Cotton-Gator at 1, the Rose-Fiesta at 5:00 p.m. and the Sugar-Orange between 8:00 and 8:30. Seven games on one day and you knew the champion when your head hit the pillow that night. Wonderful. Now you have a stretched out bowl schedule with the big four bowls being played in three days. Word is that Fox (who takes over in 2006 except for the Rose Bowl) will move the other three bowls to its own day. I understand the title game being set apart but, using this year for example, the Orange Bowl having its own day is worthless. Granted, if they could rearrange it, the Fiesta Bowl by itself would be a good idea.

Fewer bowls? Nah. I like the smaller schools getting their 3+ hours in the sun. Some of the pre-New Year's bowls have excitement as each year I find myself catching the Peach, Alamo, Sun, and Holiday bowls. Last year's Liberty Bowl between Louisville and Boise State was thrilling.

In short, I wouldn't change much, if anything just eliminating the extra day needed for the BCS bowls. However, I understand business. No way will Fox go head-to-head with the Rose Bowl with either the Sugar or Orange Bowls next year.

The good part is that we get the "plus one" model next year. The bad part is that traditional slots will be all jumbled. As best I understand it, if the plus one was this year, USC would play Ohio State in the Rose with Texas and Penn State in the Fiesta. That would leave the Sugar and Orange open with Notre Dame, West Virginia, Georgia, and Florida State to choose from.

Give the Sugar, Notre Dame vs. Georgia and the Orange, Florida State vs. West Virginia.

Sound good?

December 18, 2005

College Basketball

I love waiting a while before posting about college basketball. To me, the months of November and December are one big exhibition season. The season truly begins when you get in the grind of conference play. The schedule becomes routine with everyone getting their two-games-a-week schedule going.

In the meantime, not everything has gone by the board. The Maui Tournament was a thrill with some superb games and teams competing on the island. Connecticut took the title, but it was Gonzaga and Michigan State who played a three overtime game. Duke won the Preseason NIT over Memphis. Marquette beat South Carolina for the Great Alaska Shootout title.

Kentucky lost to upstart North Carolina who lost to Illinois at home. Then the Cats proceeded to lose by 26 to Indiana, yet in a week's time, turnaround and beat Louisville in Rupp, leading wire-to-wire.

For now, I can't even rank the teams other than to say that Duke is the best team in the land I have seen play with Connecticut a close second. Villanova is worthy of mention and I wonder what they would be with Curtis Sumpter not having torn his ACL.

The tournament this year culminates in Indianapolis. The regional sites are Washington DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Oakland. First and second round sites are Greensboro (Duke, hello), Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, San Diego for the Thursday/Saturday set and Dayton, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Auburn Hills, Mich. for Friday/Sunday.

I couldn't begin to give you an attempt at the #1 seeds by team. I will say that I think as strong as the Big East and ACC will be, their champions will earn top seeds in Washington and Atlanta. Anything else is speculation.

It sounds complete bandwagon but right now the Player of the Year is already between Redick and Adam Morrison of Gonzaga but, its still too damn early. January will prove plenty.

December 10, 2005

Never too early...

Top Ten for 2006

1) Southern California. Go to and check out the Trojans schedule next season. All threats will have to win in L.A. Couple that fact along with White and Bush eligible to return and SC could rewrite history. Quarterback will be a perceived step down.

2) Texas. (If Vince Young returns; if not the Horns are not on this list, unless they upset Ohio State early in Austin.)

3) Auburn. The best backfield in 50 years was replaced in 2005 by a statistically better and younger version. LSU, Florida, and Georgia all come to the Plains. Perhaps no fanbase is hoping for early defections from SC and Texas more than the Tigers.

4) Ohio State / Notre Dame winner. Whoever wins the Fiesta Bowl will carry momentum to this spot. Both will have early statement games as the Buckeyes travel to Austin for a return trip, while the Irish have Penn State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks in September.

5) Oklahoma. Rhett Bomar will come back as a the tried and true instead of a project. Adrian Peterson is obligated to come back per NCAA rules. The Sooners travel early to Eugene to face the Ducks. Everything else will be at home that needs to be at home. Texas game will depend upon Vince Young being in Austin or the NFL.

6) Miami, FL. Everyone got a glimpse of what the Canes could be for 2006 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. However, we also saw why the Canes aren’t the feared machine of 2001 in a loss at home to Georgia Tech. Home games against Virginia Tech and Florida State help.

7) Ohio State / Notre Dame loser.

8) Virginia Tech. The Hokies will have to prove they are clutch going into 2006. Either the taste of this year will be sour enough to propel them, or they will have missed their window.

9) LSU. Good team, killer schedule with road games at Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee. Alabama comes to Tiger Stadium where they have performed well. QB controversy could rear its head with Russell and Perilloux.

10) Florida, Florida State, Penn State. Each team has personnel losses to address or questions from 2005 that will linger. Each will face a tough early schedule that will make them or break them.

Outside looking in:

Louisville – Prove it. Easy schedule which should include a BCS trip. Wait, wasn’t that 2005?

Alabama – Expect the Tide to be ranked well, but their defense won’t be as stout and Brodie Croyle will be gone.

Oregon – Ducks face the Sooners in Eugene early in the year. That will be their chance to grab media attention.

West Virginia – The Mountaineers wont receive much credit if they bomb against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Texas Tech – See West Virginia, however, the Red Raiders destroyed their 2005 momentum with a ridiculous non-conference slate. Games at UTEP and SMU as well as TCU will help in 2005. They could crack the list.

Michigan – Henne will get trashed until spring ball, then he will become incredible again. Breaston will be overhyped with someone mentioning slump and Heisman in the same sentence. Mike Hart and “key cornerstone” will be a familiar phrase as well. Beating Notre Dame in South Bend will be viewed as an upset should Michigan win now.

California – I drink too much Tedford Punch probably, however I expect him to benefit with having a full off-season to groom his quarterbacks (Longshore and Ayoob). Cal will not go 7-4 again. Bears could get an early jolt by winning at Tennessee to open the season.

Iowa – Nice schedule with four winnable games then host the Buckeyes. Follow that with two against Purdue and at Indiana then at Michigan. Win that and Iowa could win the Big Ten. Drew Tate will have to prove himself going into next year and Iowa needs a nationally known running back. I know I can’t name their 2005 leading rusher.

December 08, 2005

Been a while...

Lets put a bow on this thing, or at least the regular season. However, when your last post was November 21st it’s going to have to be bullet points...

- For all the hullabaloo about the BCS, it was good to see Ohio State and Notre Dame end the Fiesta debate by being automatic qualifiers.

- EDSBS' list of the 52 reasons to hate ESPN/Disney is forever saved on my computer. Classic.

- The polls (coaches and Harris Poll) are out with the voters being held accountable. Oregon was 15th in one poll, Notre Dame was anywhere from 4th to 14th. Auburn got some votes as high as 4th. The more I think about it, while I might be the only fan in America not clamoring for a playoff, I might be open to a selection committee ala the NCAA Tournament. (For the record, I have the Ducks 5th, Auburn 6th, and Notre Dame 7th)

- Polls are perception. Had Notre Dame played USC then Michigan State then Oregon would be your team in the Fiesta or Auburn would be happy. Then again, if Georgia holds the Tigers on 4th and 10 we’re not worried about the Plainsmen either. It’s funny how Florida enjoyed a bump from beating a Shockley-less Georgia and struggling Florida State, but when those two rallied to win their championships we suddenly think a lot more of the Gators.

- USC will kill Texas. Mark it down right here. Look for the Longhorns to be rusty whereas the Trojans will pounce early and often. 44-21 USC. I wish for a classic, but color me skeptical.

- If you’re the Peach Bowl, you’re happy (LSU vs. Miami, FL). Alamo Bowl, too (Nebraska vs. Michigan). Oh, and the Capital One (Wisconsin vs. Auburn).

- Somebody somewhere talked about the Fraudulent Five, here’s mine:

1) The 2005 Cotton Bowl – Tennessee vs. Texas A&M. Both thought they were setting the stage for the future, instead both home this holiday.

2) Purdue – “We get the entire defense back.”

3) Fresno State – Backed up that USC game with losses to Nevada and Louisiana Tech. Maybe USC was just sleeping walking against the Bulldogs?

4) The Big 12 minus Texas. This year was bad minus the Longhorns, but look to next year. The North will be absolutely f-bomb horrible. Colorado is firing Gary Barnett, Kansas State just hired Ron Prince to succeed Bill Snyder, and Missouri just lost their all-everything quarterback, Brad Smith to graduation. On top of all that, Iowa State will have to get over choking the division, again. Kansas? Please. Nebraska is the only hope. The South? Texas will rule, Oklahoma will return to form, and Texas Tech will pile up the yardage, but Baylor will return to earth, Texas A&M wont have Reggie McNeal, and Oklahoma State is god awful. Three, maybe four teams to worry about at all from the Big 12 for 2006.

5) The officiating at the Texas Tech – Oklahoma game. I rarely pin any result directly on the refs. Notre Dame could have stopped USC on the 4th and 9 play and put it out of their hands. Penn State could have not allowed Breaston to get a good return. However, the Sooners were flat out robbed. One play before Taurean Henderson supposedly got into the endzone; the Red Raiders were credited for a touchdown pass when the wide receiver NEVER CAUGHT THE BALL. Horrible. Something tells me OU will be ready for payback next year in Norman.

- My Bowl Schedule before New Years Day After (these are planned events)
12/28 Alamo Bowl: Nebraska vs. Michigan
12/29 Holiday Bowl: Oregon vs. Oklahoma
12/30 Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Northwestern
12/30 Peach Bowl: LSU vs. Miami, FL

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.