Friday, December 05, 2008
1) Bama v. UF - In "Rounders", Damon astutely says, "the nicer the guy, the poorer the card player, and these guys are real sweethearts." Well, similarly, when it comes to college coaches, I think the general rule is the nicer the guy, the poorer the coach. Not to worry, in this game, both these coaches are real assholes. So, let's call the coaching match up a draw.
Honestly, I can't remember the last time the undefeated number 1 team in the country went into a game this late in the season as a double digit underdog to a lower ranked team. And frankly, I can't for the life of me understand why Bama is a double digit underdog. Listen, nobody has been more impressed with UF's dominance over the past 6 weeks than me. They have been awesome. No doubt about it. But, I can't help but think that something has been lost in UF's dominance. What's that? Well, Bama's own dominance.
Sure, some of Bama's wins have been uglier than they would have liked (UK & Ole Miss), but there are three undisputed facts about Bama's season: 1) They have won 'em all; 2) The one time they were in real danger of losing, at LSU, they made a huge defensive play in OT and then rammed the ball right down the Tigers' throat for an OT touchdown; and 3) twice this season, Bama has been a big underdog (Clemson on a neutral field & UGA in Athens), and both times Bama has dominated those games. All these things are true because of two simple facts: 1) Bama has the best offensive line in America; and 2) Bama has the best defensive line in America.
I've actually heard some people this week say that Bama's dominance on both lines will be neutralized by Florida's speed. Here's a question for you: did Clemson, UGA, LSU, and Auburn trot out a bunch of dudes that looked and ran like me? (For those that don't know me, I'm a devastatingly handsome man with a large gut and no speed) Seriously, I'm so sick of the "speed" argument. Can we all just agree that every elite team has superior athletes with tremendous speed? Honestly, look at Bama's 40 times versus UF's 40 times and I guarantee you there is very little, if any difference. And, as far as how that speed translates to "game speed", UF didn't look a whole lot faster Ole Miss, did they? And, Bama looked pretty damn fast against UGA, right?
Look, my intention is not to make Bama out to be the greatest team ever assembled, and it's certainly not to diminish UF's greatness. I could go on for pages and pages about how amazing UF has looked over the past six weeks, but everybody else has been doing that all week, so I figured I would take some time to sing Bama's praises. So, where does all this leave us? Well, it leaves you in one of two camps. Either you think everything I've said about Bama is crap, and UF is going to roll over the Tide. Or, you think an undefeated team coached by Nick Saban is going to rise to the occasion on a neutral field like they've done all season long. Me? if you give me a chance to take Nick Saban plus the points, I'm going to jump on that faster than a lonely girl whose friends left her at the bar. Final score: UF 23 Bama 20. Bama +10.
2) Oklahoma v. Missouri - Don't worry, this one is not nearly as complicated. If you want to know where to go in this game, here's all you need to consider: 58, 62, 66, 65, and 61. That's OU's point totals in each of their last 5 games. In case you aren't sure where I'm going with this one, consider this. Missouri is ranked 116th out of 119 FBS teams in pass defense. Suffice it to say I would be happy to take the Sooners -17 if, of course, it were legal to wager on sporting events. Final score: OU 55 Mizzou 28.
3) USC @ UCLA - Frankly, if I broke this game down, I would not only be wasting your time, but I would also be putting my friendship with loyal Bruins fan, Vines, in jeopardy. Normally, I would be okay with both of those things, but I need a place to stay in NYC next week, so I'll just say I'll take the Trojans -32.5 and leave it at that.
Now, for the rest of tomorrow's games:
4) Pitt +3 @ UConn (this definitely feels like a sucker bet)
5) Navy -11 v. Army
6) Tulsa -12 v. ECU
7) Va. Tech +1 v. B.C. - I picked the Hokies to win the national title. An ACC title is almost as good, right?
8) Cal -33.5 v. UW
9) Troy -11 v. Arkansas St.
10) WVU -7.5 v. South Florida
11) Arizona -10.5 v. ASU
12) Hawaii +7.5 v. Cincinnati
1) Jax +7 @ Chicago
2) Minnesota -10.5 @ Detroit
3) Green Bay -6 v. Houston
4) Indy -14 v. Cincy
5) Atlanta +3 @ N.O.
6) Philly +7.5 @ NYG
7) Tennessee -14 v. Cleveland
8) Miami +1 @ Buffalo
9) Denver -9.5 v. K.C.
10) San Francisco +4 v. NYJ (when you see a line like this that doesn't make any sense at all, you have to assume somebody knows something you don't and take the points)
11) New England -6 @ Seattle
12) Arizona -14 v. St. Louis
13) Dallas +3 @ Pittsburgh
14) Baltimore -5 v. Washington
15) Carolina -3 v. Tampa
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I don't know many things to an absolute certainty in life, but I do know: 1) We will all die; 2) We will all pay taxes; 3) Paul Johnson has brass balls; and 4) "Friday Night Lights" is the best show on television. I don't want to talk about death or taxes, and it might be a little weird if I talked about Paul Johnson's balls, so that leaves us with FNL. But, here's the rub. Unless you have the greatest gift God has ever given us (a/k/a DirecTV), you haven't had the chance to see any of the 9 new episodes this season. Amazingly, FNL's ratings have been so poor in its first two seasons on NBC, the only way Season 3 received the green light was DirecTV agreeing to air the season on The 101 (great channel) before NBC fully committed to airing the season after the first of the year. Bizarre, right? All this reveals two things: 1) Not enough people are watching FNL; and 2) most, if not all, of you have not had the chance to watch any of Season 3.
Bearing these two things in mind, I want to make a point about FNL, but I don't want to give away any of the plot twists from Season 3. Let's give it a shot: Please, if you ever cared for me at all, watch Season 3 of FNL this winter and spring on NBC!
Seriously, we have to do everything in our power to make sure Season 4 sees the light of day. In a television era increasingly dominated by ridiculous shows about Phd's and renegade cops played by terrible actors (I'm calling you out David Caruso) solving murders and loathsome Atlanta housewives (yes, I watched it), there simply has to be room for a show that provides riveting story lines; complex, interesting, and well-developed characters; realistic, humorous, and entertaining dialogue; and the hottest chick in Hollywood, Minka Kelly. Seriously, she's out of control. I can't stress this enough.
In sum, in case I haven't been clear, PLEASE watch season 3 of FNL. We need more shows like it, and we definitely need more of this: http://www.askmen.com/women/galleries/celeb-profiles-actress/minka-kelly/picture-2.html You're welcome.
Check back Saturday for my Championship Game breakdowns and NFL picks. I'm feeling a big week coming. Then again, I always feel a big week coming.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
As you can imagine, Saturday was a very good day for the entire Tech fan base, including me. Even more so, however, it was a great day for all college football fans. At one point Saturday night, my channel guide was set up to jump between the following: USC v. N.D.; Wake v. Vandy; UT v. Kentucky; Oregon @ Oregon St.; and OU @ OSU; and of course, The Hawks @ The Wiz (big win for the Hawks). Around 10 p.m., my DirecTV box just shut down. Seriously, the screen went blank, the blue light on the box went black, and I had a complete meltdown. Luckily, the feed came back on within 3 minutes, the remote control is incredibly durable, and a little plaster can very easily fix a dent in the wall. I, of course, have a lot of opinions on what happened all over the country on Saturday, especially in Athens. But, before I get there, I am very excited that Fite is making a guest appearance today. As a die hard Sooner fan and a distinguished alum (yes, in other states, the state University’s fans actually attend the school), he’s had a enough of the Sooner bashing and is here to tell you why they rightfully belong in the Big 12 Title Game. All that being said, here’s what I took from the weekend:
- I am, of course, elated that the Jackets won a thriller in Athens Saturday. And, I am, of course, elated that Paul Johnson and his offense have arrived on the Flats and seem poised to take the program where we so desperately want it to be. You know these things, and you don’t need me to waste your time waxing poetic about them. What I will waste your time with, however, are some thoughts you might not expect from Saturday’s game. That is, I think it would be a shame for UGA fans, in the aftermath of the defeat, to overlook the amazing performances of Matthew Stafford and Mohamed Massaquoi. These guys have given their blood, sweat, and tears to your program for a combined 7 years, and that time culminated with career performances on Saturday. UGA fans seem unwilling to stop railing against Willie Martinez and Mark Richt’s accomplishments long enough to acknowledge these kids’ accomplishments, so I guess I will do it.
- Speaking of Willie Martinez, I understand UGA fans have been unhappy with his performance for a long time, but if you are looking for an excuse to fire him, Saturday is not it. I don’t know when people will be willing to admit it, but Paul Johnson’s offense is as devastating an offense as there is in America. He is the Mike Leach of the ground game. In other words, this offense exploding on you is nothing so egregious to warrant questioning the decisions of a head coach that has won 78% of his games. And, last time I checked, Mark Richt wants Willie Martinez as his defensive coordinator.
- Down 14-12 Saturday, Paul Johnson chose to go for the two point conversion. Normally, I would have been irate. My philosophy is that you never chase points, and you should only go for 2 in the 4th quarter when you absolutely have to. Somewhat surprisingly, however, I didn’t even flinch at this decision. In fact, I loved it. Why? Because for Paul Johnson to do anything else would have been completely out of character for him. This is a man that wants every play to be perfect, wants to win every game, wants to compete for national championships, and wants to beat UGA at all costs, even if it means chasing points on the road against an offense that we seemingly can’t stop. In other words, this is the coach I have dreamed of since Bobby Ross left for San Diego. Can you feel the man love?
- Two final points about this year’s version of “Clean Old Fashion Hate”: 1) Jonathan Dwyer is one of the best running backs in America, and is the best college back in Georgia; and 2) Nice move immediately turning off the scoreboard so Tech fans couldn’t snap pictures after the game. Stay classy, UGA.
- Okay, I lied. One more point: I wrestled with whether I should write this or not, because I know it will naturally lack credibility coming from a Tech fan. In fact, in my preseason predictions I was going to write this, but ultimately I decided against it. Now, based on UGA’s performance this season, I’m going to write it. A major reason I predicted UGA would lose three games this year is that I thought they lacked the “professionalism” and character to handle their lofty expectations. What does that mean? Well, over the Richt years, UGA has had similar success to teams such as USC, UF, OU, and Texas. Those teams have all won national titles, however, and UGA has not. Some reasons for this are, of course, bad breaks here and there and unfortunate scheduling. More than those reasons, however, is the way the UGA players conduct themselves on the field. No other elite team in America dances and celebrates after every defensive tackle, kickoff tackle, or other ordinary event than UGA. Not other team seems more pre-occupied with pumping up and playing to the crowd than UGA. It has actually reached comical levels at times. At one point Saturday, a UGA safety pushed Roddy Jones out of bounds after a 15+ yard run and came up woofing and celebrating and doing everything in his power to draw attention to himself. Therein lies the problem. If you watched the OU game Saturday night, you saw numerous occasions when the OU defense sacked OSU, tackled them for a loss, or made a major hit. Every time, however, the defenders would pat each other on the head, go back to the huddle, and get ready for the next play. Why? Because: a) they know they are just doing their job; and b) they knew they were getting their ass whipped up and down the field and the time to celebrate is when you force a turnover, a three and out, or the team scores a touchdown. Also, and most importantly, coaches like Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops, and Mack Brown don’t tolerate the type of individualism and self promotion that pervades the UGA roster. So, in addition to being intolerably annoying, it is also detrimental to the team’s performance. For the Jackets’ sake, I hope Mark Richt doesn’t go changing. If he does, he might just snag a Crystal Ball or two.
- As for the other games this Thanksgiving weekend, here are 7 random thoughts:
1) Charlie Weis has to lose his job. 4 first downs and less than 100 yards total offense is not bad, it’s embarrassing. Notre Dame can offer no justification for not ending the Weis era.
2) Other than Weis, Les Miles has done the worst coaching job in America this season. With LSU’s talent, they should be able to line up and dominate Arkansas on both sides of the ball and win comfortably without any effort. They did not, and they lost another game they had no excuse losing.
3) Graham Harrell is nails. Ordinary quarterbacks don’t calmly lead their team from 14 down in the second half without their superstar wide receiver. Great job by him.
4) If you combined the UF and USC rosters, they would win the AFC West.
5) If you combined the UF, USC, and OU rosters, they would win the AFC.
6) Oregon State took it on the chin Saturday night, but big props go to their crowd. Their stadium only seats around 47K, but they were electric Saturday night, just as they were earlier this year against USC. Suddenly, Corvallis has jumped high on the list of stadiums where I must see a game.
7) OU is the best team in America, and they absolutely deserve to play in the Big 12 Title Game. For more on that, I turn it over to the WAD’s Texas correspondent:
In defense of OU
Rock, paper, or scissors? Sure you try to analyze the situation, but you can’t make one objectively better than the others. All you can do is rationalize your decision and hope for the best. Now that the Big XII South is in a similar situation let the arguments begin.
Texas 45 - OU 35 on a neutral field in Dallas
Without a doubt this is the strongest argument in Texas’s favor. If this were a two-way tie then Texas would and should win. But it’s not. Texas fans have learned from the recent election: they don’t answer the question asked, they answer the question as they think it should have been asked.
Texas ignores its loss to Texas Tech, and the media has largely gone along with this approach. All of the focus has been Texas vs. OU. Why is that? Texas Tech dropped out of the picture when OU went up 42-7 at the half. Nobody is arguing that Tech should be the South champion. Texas has used the public’s focus on the OU/Texas debate to argue using an inaccurate major premise (nerd alert): Ties in the standings should be decided by head to head competition; Texas beat OU head to head; Texas should be the champion. Unfortunately for Texas, the correct argument is: Ties in the standings must be decided by the Big XII’s tiebreaking system; the Big XII’s tiebreaking system ranks Oklahoma ahead of both Texas and Texas Tech; Oklahoma is the champion.
OU just runs up the score, Texas has class
GT grads rejoice: this argument can be analyzed empirically. This year OU is winning games by an average score of 53.3 to 23.7, nearly 30 points a game. Texas wins its games by an average of 41.3 to 17.9 – about 23 a game. Clearly OU has no class, runs up the score, and looks better on paper while classy Texas pulls its starters and lets the fourth stringers have some playing time. After all, wasn’t it Bob Stoops that beat Texas A&M 77-0 a few years back?
Let’s look at fourth quarter scoring: OU averages 5.8 points per game while Texas scores 9.1. What about the third quarter? OU outscores Texas 11.8 to 10.6. In short, Texas’s average second half score is 2.1 points higher than OU’s. In fact, Texas increases its lead in the second half by an average of 10.2 points compared with only 5.2 for OU. Either Texas is wrong and OU doesn’t run up the score, or we have a pot and kettle situation.
Texas has better conference wins
Texas and OU had five common conference opponents. Both teams dominated Baylor (45-21 Texas and 49-17 OU) although OU’s victory came on the road and Texas’s at home. Similarly, each team abused Texas A&M (Texas won by 40 at home and OU won by 38 on the road). The Kansas games are clearly in Texas’s favor (35-7 Texas vs. 45-31 OU). Now that we’ve looked at the doormats, let’s examine two quality Big XII South opponents. Texas narrowly survived Oklahoma State, winning by 4 in Austin on a last drive interception. Oklahoma went to Stillwater and crushed the Cowboys 61-41. And then there’s Texas Tech. Tech dominated Texas for 3 quarters, survived a furious comeback, and won by 6 in Lubbock. OU decimated Tech 65-21 in Norman.
Texas argues that its dominating victory over North division champion Mizzou should be determinative. If OU loses in Kansas City then they might have a point. But you can only play the games on your schedule, and Mizzou was lucky to avoid the Sooners this year.
OU’s defense and special teams are terrible
Texas has a point here. Defenses win championships, and in that regard OU is in deep, deep doo.
Small game Bob chokes in the BCS
Another good point. But it has nothing to do with winning conference championships, which Bob has done for the past two years.
The Sooners always get unwarranted love from the BCS
OU lucked out by playing FSU instead of Miami, a team Miami beat, in the 2000 Orange Bowl. Then OU loses in the Big XII championship game and still gets to play for the national title (and loses). Now OU is the division champ over a team it lost to. Will the voters stop at nothing?
The logical answer to these claims is that everybody plays by the same rules, and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Or you could say its karma, and that the Cal coaches called all their buddies and had them vote against Texas. Remember Texas edged Cal by 0.0129 in the BCS after Mack Brown’s public relations campaign. Now Texas is 0.0128 behind Oklahoma even though Stoops turned down opportunities to vote in the coaches’ poll and campaign on national TV.
Where are we now?
Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech all have legitimate claims to the Big XII South title. But in this case, the conference’s fifth tiebreaker gives OU the edge. OU has a tough road ahead. They’ve got to beat a Mizzou team that they beat twice last year and that’s out for revenge. All the while OU will have to deal with media distractions about whether they deserve to be there in the first place. That’s a lot to ask of college kids that are undoubtedly trying to “meet” as many women as possible every Sunday through Friday. I think the Big XII championship game will be one of the biggest challenges of Stoops’s career.
There’s really only two things we know for certain. First, the Big XII will have a new tiebreaking system next year. Second, if I were a Texas fan I’d be making all the same arguments that they are.
Have a nice day.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Well, that's more attention than any of the aforementioned teams deserve, so let's get down to business:
1) Ga. Tech +7.5 @ UGA - I think Tech either wins big or UGA wins big. Under no circumstances do I think this will be a close game. Given that statement and the fact I'm taking the Jackets only getting 7.5, I will let you figure out what I think is going to happen. I'm not saying, but I'm confident you are smart enough to figure it out. Well, unless you are a UGA grad.
2) Miami -1.5 @ N.C. State - good team coming off a devastating loss versus a bad team coming off an improbable win. Let's restore some order to the world, Miami.
3) South Carolina +1 @ Clemson - Spurrier versus some dude named Dabo? Really?
4) UVA +8 @ Va. Tech - I watched the entire Va. Tech/Duke game, and as a result, there is absolutely no scenario under which I would lay points with Va. Tech right now. And yes, I did pick the Hokies to win the national title. I also said the Ohio State @ Wisconsin game would be one of the top 7 games of the season. You got a problem with it?
5) Cincinnati -22 v. Syracuse - Cincinnati is going to the BCS, so they have be 22 points better than the second worst team in I-A, right? And yes, Notre Dame is officially the worst team in college football. More on them below.
6) Kansas +16 @ Missouri - Remember how huge this game was last year? Well, it's not that big a national game this year, but it still means a lot to these two schools. I'm banking on KU coming out with great emotion and Mizzou looking ahead to playing TBD next week in the Big 12 Title Game.
7) UCF -9 v. UAB - In honor of Big George's three huge wins over UGA from '98 - '00, I'm taking UCF without even looking at either team's record.
8) Florida -16.5 @ FSU - I would love to take FSU in this game, but how can you bet against UF right now? Combine the fact that they are playing lights out with the fact that Urban Meyer is incapable of not running up the score given the opportunity, and you simply can't take the points in this one. For the record, I was routing some kid that goes to Miami-Ohio the other night in EA Sports NCAA football (yes, I'm a huge dork), and I picked him off with :45 left. I immediately called the "Deep Strike" from the "Spread-Shotgun" formation, and hit the square receiver for another touchdown. As I laughed and taunted this kid, he said these words, "you are such a dick. I bet you love Urban Meyer." I immediately apologized, and I haven't slept well since. That's undoubtedly the worst insult anyone has ever sent my way.
9) Maryland +6.5 @ B.C. - Maryland sucks. Then, Maryland is good. Then, Maryland sucks again. And, wait a minute, Maryland is good. Who knows what Terps team is going to show up, but I love the Fridge, and I treasure the memory of hugging him after the Jasper Sanks game. Too much info?
10) UNC -8 @ Duke - UNC = ANGRY!!!
11) Auburn +14.5 @ Bama - Auburn wins this game outright. Yes, I said it.
12) Texas Tech -22 v. Baylor - I would lay up to 63 points in this game. I'm not joking.
13) Kentucky +5 @ Tennessee - I just read that Layne Kiffin is going to make over $2M next year to coach the Vols. He's definitely earned it, right?
14) Wake -4 v. Vandy - Wake has lost some inexplicable games this year, but they have all been to decent teams. Vandy is not a decent team.
15) Oregon St. -3 v. Oregon - Raise your hand if you are pumped for the Oregon St./Penn St. rematch in the Rose Bowl! Anyone? Seriously, anyone?
16) Oklahoma -7.5 @ Ok. St. - I would lay up to 35 points in this game. Texas looked good last night, so OU needs to look better. They will.
17) Oklahoma @ Ok. St. OVER 75 - I would consider taking this if it was just OU's team over.
18) USC -32 v. N.D. - I cannot imagine a number you could put on this game that would induce me to take N.D. Honestly, if SC was laying 80 points, I would probably call this a "stay away", but I still wouldn't take the points. Have things ever collapsed at a major program than they have collapsed over the past 6 weeks for N.D.? Other than Frank Solich going from being #1 in the country heading into the Big 12 Title Game in '01 then getting blasted by CU and Miami in back to back games, I can't think of one. Unlike Solich, however, I don't think Charlie Weis will get two more seasons to continue to ruin the program.
1) Buffalo -7 v. San Francisco - West coast team travels to the east coast to play a 1 p.m. game, lay the points. And, I almost forgot, San Francisco is not good.
2) Baltimore -7 @ Cincy
3) Cleveland +5 v. Indy
4) Carolina +3 @ Green Bay
5) Miami -9 @ St. Louis
6) Tampa -4 v. N.O.
7) Atlanta +4.5 @ S.D.
8) Denver +9 @ NYJ
9) Pittsburgh +1.5 @ New England
10) K.C. @ Oakland UNDER 41.5 - I'm taking the under because I absolutely couldn't bring myself to take Oakland laying 3 or K.C. getting 3. Just an abysmal game.
11) Minnesota -3.5 v. Chicago
12) Jacksonville +3 @ Houston
For the record, since I wrote those scathing things about Les Miles, LSU has run off 20 unanswered points against Arkansas. And no, this doesn't change my opinion one bit.
Monday, November 24, 2008
- Two things came out of Saturday night's massacre in Norman: 1) Big Game Bob made his much awaited re-appearance; and 2) Everybody in America seems to have suddenly forgotten everything Mike Leach and the Red Raiders have accomplished this season. Yesterday morning, this morning, and tonight, every talk radio host and caller I heard kept going on and on about how awful it would be if OU lost this Saturday in Stillwater and Tech was able to play in the Big 12 Title Game. My questions is simple. Why would this be so awful? Listen, I know they got blown right back to West Texas Saturday night, but that still doesn't change the fact that, in back to back weeks, they knocked off the #1 team in America and beat the #9 team in the country every bit as bad as OU beat them. At the end of the day, if they sneak into the Big 12 Title Game, and if they beat Mizzou and finish the season 12-1, they will be deserving of a shot at the BCS Title.
I understand at first glance the above sentence looks and sounds absurd, but it's not. Over the past 48 hours, I've heard countless people tell me how OU shouldn't get a shot over Texas since Texas won the head to head matchup. And, to each person, I've explained that I would agree if this was a two way tie, but the logic simply doesn't hold up in the event of a three way tie. Put it this way, if you are one of those people that believes it would be a travesty for OU to go to the BCS Title Game over Texas then you, by definition, have to believe Texas Tech is more deserving than Texas since they beat the 'Horns head to head. So, if OU stumbles Saturday night (about as likely as Turtle hooking up with Meadow Soprano...what? Really?), and Tech takes care of its business against Baylor and Mizzou, how can you argue that they shouldn't be in the same position as a 12-1 Texas or OU team?
Finally, I'm never one to shamelessly take credit for predicting something correctly (read sarcasm), but if you scroll down a few entries, you will see I saw this whole situation coming a mile away. This, of course, proves you don't have to be a genius to figure this stuff out.
- Okay, I honestly don't want to get into the BCS v. Playoff debate. Honestly, I don't. I hate this debate because there is no right answer. It's one of those questions that does not have a right or wrong answer because it is simply based on personal preference. Yet, people seem incapable of acknowledging that sometimes it is okay that other people simply have a different opinion than you. Let's face it, it's not politics, it's not religion, and it's not the law. Therefore, whether we have a college football playoff or not isn't going to have any impact on our quality of life of the future of our country, which, in my opinion, renders it a question not worthy of inflaming your emotions. Yet, for some reason, every time somebody finds out that I oppose a college football playoff, they talk to me like I'm either a) retarded; and/or b) Mike Vick's dog trainer.
All that being said, since it is as hot a topic as it's ever been, despite how much I hate the debate, I will indulge and pose a few questions to consider if you are a staunch proponent of the playoff system, and I encourage you to put your answers, thoughts, and comments below:
1) Assuming an eight team playoff, how do you determine those 8 teams? Do you take the 6 major conference champions and two at large teams? If so, who decides on the at large teams?
2) In the above scenario, if Missouri wins the Big 12 Title Game over OU, do both Texas and Texas Tech at 11-1 get the at large bids? What about an undefeated Utah team? Boise State? What if UF beats Alabama in the SEC Title Game (highly likely), does a 1 loss Alabama team go over a 1 loss Texas or Texas Tech team? Does Tech get the nod over Texas since they beat them head to head even though OU just scored again against Tech 3 minutes ago?
3) Under any scenario that involves awarding conference champions, are a 3 loss ACC Champ, or a multi-loss Big East or Pac-10 Champ more deserving than a 1 loss Big 12 or SEC team that didn't win their conference?
4) Just for the sake of exploration, let's take a look at what the 8 team field could look like this year, assuming automatic bids for conference champs:
ACC - Va. Tech or Boston College
Big East - Cincinnati
SEC - Florida
Big 10 - Penn St.
Big 12 - OU
Pac 10 - Oregon State
At large #1 - USC
At large #2 - Texas
So, what about Alabama, Texas Tech, Utah, Boise St.
In sum, I guess this is my ultimate point: Right now, we have a system that breeds debate and controversy. And, if you think for one minute that a playoff system is going to alleviate that, well, I just don't see it. In fact, I think a playoff system would only breed more controversy and uncertainty. In truth, at the end of this season, we will probably have one or two teams at the most that have a legit argument that they should have been given a chance to play for the Crystal Ball (likely only Texas). If we move to a playoff system, we are going to have more teams that are going to have an argument that they should have had a chance to be part of the playoff. This year alone, we would have no less than 4 (assuming an 8 team playoff). In other words, if you want to argue for a playoff, that's cool. I respect that. Please just don't argue that it will somehow eliminate the controversy and give us a clear cut national champion. The only way to do that would be to cut the number of teams in college football to 32, form two conferences, play a round robin, have 6 playoff teams from each conference, and play the championship game on a neutral field the last Sunday of January. Unfortunately, I'm not sure my team would make the cut, and I think somebody has actually already taken this idea.
- A couple of house cleaning items before I sign off:
1) Locks of the Week - Over the past two weeks, a very few of you have sent me your locks, but I have failed to send out the normal reminder email, which has resulted in very few entries. Therefore, I am making the executive decision that we just took a two week hiatus from the Locks. We, however, will start up again this week, so send me your locks. If you don't like this decision, I apologize, and I promise to give you a full refund.
2) UGA v. G. Tech - The Jackets have a chance to win this game. For that reason, I will not be making any more comments about this game. In case you haven't noticed, I have an unbelievable ability to adversely influence the outcome of games. I'll just say that I'm hopeful but not confident.
3) Schedule moving forward - I will post weekend picks and commentary on Friday, as well as my thoughts and observations on Wednesday night's Hawks game, which I will be attending with DB. We have sweet seats, and I've been resting the shoulder. There is a good chance I run out on the court and launch a 3.
4) "Entourage" - Finally! I will provide a more detailed breakdown of the mini-season we just completed shortly, but for now, suffice it to say that I was very happy with the mini-season finale!
5) "24 - Redemption" - More to come on this soon as well, but let's just say it was a very good Sunday night!
Saturday, November 08, 2008
1) Ohio St. -11 @ Northwestern
2) Wisconsin -9.5 @ Indiana
3) Michigan St. -9.5 v. Purdue
4) Michigan +8 @ Minnesota
5) G. Tech +4 @ UNC
6) Rutgers -14 v. Syracuse
7) Louisville +6 @ Pitt
8) Texas -27.5 v. Baylor
9) Georgia @ UK OVER 45.5
10) Arkansas +13 @ South Carolina
11) Wyoming +27 @ Tennessee
12) Kansas +1 @ Nebraska
13) FSU -4 v. Clemson
14) LSU +3.5 v. Alabama
15) Duke -3.5 v. N.C. State
16) UVA +4 @ Wake
17) Oregon -14 v. Stanford
18) Oklahoma -27.5 @ Texas A&M
19) Arizona -41 @ Washington St.
20) Missouri -27.5 v. K. State
21) Arizona St. -14.5 @ Washington
22) West Virginia -6.5 v. Cincinnati
23) Notre Dame +3.5 @ B.C.
24) UF -23.5 @ Vandy
25) Oklahoma St. +3.5 @ Texas Tech
1) N.O. +1 @ Atlanta
2) Chicago +3 v. Tennessee
3) Detroit +6.5 v. Jax
4) Seattle +8.5 @ Miami
5) Green Bay @ Minnesota UNDER 44.5
6) Buffalo +4 @ New England
7) St. Louis +9 @ N.Y. Jets
8) Baltimore PICK Houston
9) Oakland +9.5 v. Carolina
10) K.C. +15.5 @ San Diego
11) NYG +3 @ Philly
12) San Fran +9.5 @ Arizona
For the record, I don't think I ever remember a week this late in the NFL season with so many big under dogs. To say I'm nervous about grabbing so many points would be a huge under statement.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
- I am fighting the urge to ramble on with superlative after superlative describing Saturday night's instant classic between Texas and Texas Tech. I'm not going to do it, though. The reason? What could I possibly say to adequately describe what we saw? How silly would someone sound trying to adequately describe The Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's David? From the quality of play to the electricity of the crowd and to the pure breath taking heroics on both sides in the last 1:30, it was everything you could ever hope for in a college football game. And yes, SEC fans, it took place in West Texas and had nothing to do with the SEC. Amazing, right?
- Speaking of the SEC, love him or hate him (I've made my feelings clear), Urban Meyer has assembled the East Coast USC, and he isn't going anywhere any time soon. I watched the Cocktail Party on TIVO early Sunday morning, and I was astonished at what Florida was able to do to UGA. I'm not necessarily astonished at the blowout (as OU and Texas have shown us in years past, when things go south in a rivalry game, it's not uncommon for them to get out of control), but I am astonished in the manner in which UF went about dismantling the Dawgs. More specifically, I was astonished that UF's speed and physicality (not sure that's a word) on defense forced UGA to beat themselves with penalties, turnovers, and debilitating frustration. This was not a game that was highlighted with long touchdowns and exciting offensive plays by the Gators. Instead, it was a game that was highlighted by a lot of hard hitting (on both sides), a relentless Gator pass rush, and a pretty hard nosed straight forward Gator offense capitalizing on field position and turnovers. In other words, it was a workman like performance from a team you usually expect to win "pretty". Last year, despite Tebow's amazing individual statistics, UF played pretty spotty defense and lost four games. This year, Tebow's stats are less gaudy, but this version of the Gators, at least at the moment, looks frightening because of the way they play defense. Something tells me that when everything shakes out that defense is going to give UF a chance at another Crystal Ball. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go light myself on fire.
- As for my beloved Jackets, Saturday was a great day. I mean, any time you beat a team for the first time in 33 years, it is a good day. That being said, I was, of course, disappointed with the way our offense hung our defense out to dry after Nesbit went down, but I'm not going to hold on to that. What I will hold on to is the memory of standing in the Upper East stands and watching our students rush the field in pure elation after the game. Not since our 41-38 win over UVA in '98 ("Dez White....Dez White!" and "Oh, Charlie!") have our students and our fan base had a moment quite like that. I know some of you get tired of me waxing poetic about my alma mater, but trust me when I tell you that very few other college students go through what Tech students go through. From the moment you sit in orientation and get the whole "look to your left, look to your right, one of these people will not be here this time next year" speech, there is nothing like the Tech experience. You are constantly faced with challenges that include calculus, chemistry, and less women than a seminary. In other words, I was really happy those kids got to experience what Joe Ham and company let us experience back in my days on the Flats. In fact, I think I enjoyed watching those kids celebrate on Saturday more than I enjoyed doing the celebrating back in '98. That, my friends, is what it means to love your alma mater. Well, that and writing a fat check to the alumni association. I'm batting .500, which frankly, is pretty good.
- My buddy Chris and I were watching NFL games together today when Chris made two powerful observations: 1) Donald Driver looks just like one of the guys from the Blue Man Group; and 2) It is impossible to like someone with the nickname "Matty Ice". Since I now have a full blown man crush on Matt Ryan, I am instituting a WAD ban on the use of the phrase "Matty Ice". If you insist on calling him something other than his real name, please just refer to him as "Ice". I can live with that.
- Is anyone else as intrigued with the November 22 match-up between Washington and Washington St. as I am? Will this be the worst two major college football teams to ever take the field at the same time? I mean, we aren't talking about Vandy and Duke back in their worst days. We are talking about programs that have history and tradition that include Rose Bowls, national titles, and the two worst 1st round picks in history (Steve Entman and Ryan Leaf). This match-up is historic. I can't wait.
- So, who will represent the Big 12 South if Texas Tech beats Oklahoma St. and then OU beats Texas Tech and OSU leaving us with a 3 way tie between OU, Texas, and Texas Tech? I'm glad you asked. Courtesy of the Big 12 official website, here are the tie-breaker rules:
Divisional Tiebreakers: The following procedure will determine the representative from each division in the event of a tie:
a) If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative
b) If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 7 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.
1) The records of the three teams will be compared against each other
2) The records of the three teams will be compared within their division
3) The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5 and 6)
4) The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents;
5) The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big 12 regular season conference play shall be the representative
6) The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative
7) The representative will be chosen by draw.
So, I think that means that the team with the highest BCS ranking after the end of the regular season will represent the Big 12 South in the Title Game. Right now, Texas Tech is No. 2 in the BCS, Texas is 4, and OU is 6. Therefore, the question becomes this: if OU beats a No.2 T. Tech team, and then an OSU team, which is now ranked No. 9 and may not fall that far with a loss to Tech (right now, Ohio St., UGA, Missouri, LSU, UNC, and Ga. Tech are all two loss teams ranked somewhere between 10 -20), will that be enough to vault over Texas, who does not play another BCS ranked team in their final 3 games? Obviously, I don't have the ability to run all the computations on a computer, but my common sense tells me yes. Therefore, we may very well be headed to a scenario where OU loses to Texas and still wins the Big 12 and plays for a national title! Did you ever think that could happen? And, in all the years of hate in the Bedlam series, do you think there has ever been a Saturday where OU fans were rooting harder against the Pokes than next Saturday? I'm guessing the answer to that one is no!
Finally, The WAD Top 7:
4) Texas Tech
6) Penn State
Friday, October 31, 2008
1) WVU -4 @ UConn
2) Central Michigan +2 @ Indiana
3) Wisconsin +5.5 @ MSU
4) Northwestern +7.5 @ Minnesota
5) Miami +2 @ UVA
6) Air Force -7.5 @ Army
7) Purdue -2 v. Michigan
8) Auburn +6.5 @ Ole Miss
9) Kansas -8.5 v. KSU
10) Arkansas +7 v. Tulsa
11) Colorado +3.5 @ Texas A&M
12) Kentucky +2.5 @ Miss. St.
13) N.D. -5 v. Pitt
14) Missouri -21 @ Baylor
15) Oregon @ Cal OVER 58
16) FSU @ G. Tech OVER 42
17) UF -6.5 v. UGA
18) Clemson +3.5 @ B.C.
19) Duke +8 @ Wake
20) O.K. St. -29 v. Iowa St.
21) Iowa +3 @ Illinois
22) USC -46 v. Washington
23) Louisville -13 @ Syracuse
24) OU -21 v. Nebraska
25) Texas Tech +4 v. Texas
1) Buffalo -5.5 v. NYJ
2) Detroit +13 @ Chicago
3) Cincy +8 v. Jax
4) Baltimore +1.5 @ Cleveland
5) K.C. +9 v. Tampa
6) Houston +4.5 @ Minnesota
7) Arizona -3 @ St. Louis
8) Green Bay +4.5 @ Tennessee
9) Miami +3.5 @ Denver
10) NYG -9 v. Dallas
11) Oakland +3 v. Atlanta
12) Philly -7 @ Seattle
13) N.E. +6 @ Indy
14) Washington -2 v. Pittsburgh
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The other day I came across this PG porn.
And in case you thought I forgot, Happy Halloween!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Well, enough serious stuff. Although work did prevent me from watching any NFL games this weekend (with the glaring exception of the last 4 minutes of the Falcons game that featured the worst call of the NFL season not involved Ed Hockuley), I did manage to take Saturday off and take in the Tech v. UVA debacle, as well as some of Penn St. @ Ohio St. So, of course, I have some thoughts:
- Of course I'm disappointed Tech lost at home Saturday. In fact, there were moments in the second half that my head almost exploded. That being said, whether I should or not, I trust Paul Johnson, and I trust we will be a better team next week than this week. I know that doesn't make up for the loss, but unlike years past, it does give the fans hope. I guess we'll see whether it is false hope or not.
- I've bitched and moaned all season about the new clock rules, and Saturday, they really hurt the Jackets. I'm not sure how many total possessions we had, but I'm guessing it was between 8-10 (I'm pretty sure it was 4 in the first half). When you have so few opportunities with the football, you simply can't afford to piss them away with 3 and outs and turnovers. That's exactly what the Jackets did, and that is why they lost. Plain and simple. And yes, the clock rules must be changed after this season, and I hope that decision has already been made. To be fair, though, I have to admit that the same clock rules that killed us Saturday really helped us at BC, Va. Tech, and Clemson. That doesn't make them right, though.
- Dawg Nation should be walking with a renewed strut this week, and you know what? They should. I didn't see any of the beat down in Baton Rouge, but I know enough about college football to know that only a great team goes down on the Bayou and puts up half a hundred. If UGA can go into Jacksonville next week and make it two in a row over UF, these two weeks will be the best back to back wins of Mark Richt's tenure. And, given the fact I think he has won something like 80% of his games at UGA, that is quite an accomplishment.
- Speaking of Florida, 63 points? Really? Is there any doubt Urban Meyer is evil?
- Texas Tech, 63 points? Really? Is there any doubt Mike Leach is a lawyer?
- I've got to imagine College Gameday will be in Lubbock on Saturday. Have they ever covered the same team 3 times in the same month before? I can't imagine they have. Frankly, they probably should have been in Austin this past weekend, which begs the question has a Team ever played a four game stretch like Texas is about to complete? If you've read the "Team of the Week" section in the top right, you will see that the only thing I can remember on par with this was OU's "Hunt for Red October" back in '00. During that stretch, the Sooners, who were ranked #10 to start the month, knocked off #11 Texas 63-14 in the Cotton Bowl, #2 Kansas State 41-31 in Manhattan, then took a week off before knocking #1 Nebraska 31-14 in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium in Norman. That was three remarkable wins in the span of 4 weeks. Now, in 2008, Texas has the chance to knock off the #1, 11, 6, and 7 teams in the country on 4 consecutive Saturdays. If this happens, Fite may set himself on fire and Bob Stoops may have Mack Brown killed. So, we have that to look forward to.
- When Tommy Tubberville gets canned, what do we have to do to make sure he and Tommy Bowden get recurring roles as Coach Taylor's rivals on "Friday Night Lights"? Tubberville, of course, will be the raging a-hole that nobody likes or respects, and Bowden will play the great guy that it hurts to beat. Now that Smash is gone, we need something to add to the plot, and since these guys are/will be available, I don't see how this doesn't make sense.
- Don't look now, but Greg Schiano might be fighting his way off the respirator. Sure, the Scarlet Knights are still only 3-5, but with a blow out over Pitt on Saturday, and with a thrilling 12-10 win over UConn the week before, Schiano may be doing enough to keep himself at the running at Penn State if Joe Pa: a) dies; or b) wins the national title and retires. With remaining games against Syracuse and Army, Rutgers will have at least 5 wins, and if they can steal one from South Florida or Louisville, they will finish 6-6. This won't get them to a bowl game because they had a I-AA team on the schedule (Morgan State), but let's not kid each other, 6-6 at Rutgers is still pretty decent, especially in the first post-Ray Rice season. If he can pull off 6-6 and get out of Rutgers in one piece, this will be the greatest escape act since the last time Al Groh saved his job. Oh god, I just threw up again.
Okay, I've got to pack and get ready to head to the home of the resurgent Dolphins. But, before I do, here's the updated WAD Top 7 (remember, I rank them based off who I think is better right now, i.e. if they played, who would win):
6) Penn State
7) Oklahoma State
Others receiving votes: UGA, and of course, Va. Tech, UVA, and Gardner Webb
I'll check back in when time permits. Until then, have a great week.
One last note: The Locks of the Week records include this week's locks. Although I never posted your picks, the records take them into account. Say hello to your Mothers for me.
Friday, October 17, 2008
1) South Florida -24 v. Syracuse – It would be nice to think that Syracuse could circle the wagons one of these weeks. Then again, it would be nice to think that the stock market wasn’t crashing, the sub prime market was thriving, and we would have a Republican President for the next four years. Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to accept reality and roll with it.
2) Purdue +4 @ Northwestern – Did anybody tell the Purdue players this is Joe Tiller’s last season? I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to at least fake some effort? I’m hoping this will be the week.
3) Wake -2 @ Maryland – Maryland sucked. Then they were good. Now, they suck again. In other words, Wake should win this game. Then again, Wake should have beat Navy. (Side Note: If Clemson had any sense, they would hire the Fridge. Could you imagine him running his offense with the type of athletes Clemson already has? Good God!)
4) UConn +1.5 @ Rutgers – I know UConn is missing their starting quarterback, but last time I checked their other 21 players were still better than Rutgers’.
5) Georgia Tech -2.5 @ Clemson – Team in chaos, new coach, no Spillers, and “Orange Out”. This all sounds looks like trouble for the Jackets, but there is one little problem for the Tigers: Tech is better on both sides of the ball than Clemson. Yes, I said it. Call me a homer, but I think this Tech team is pretty damn good.
6) Wisconsin @ Iowa UNDER 42 – The 12:00 p.m. Big Ten Game. Get ready for lots of 3 and outs and female announcers. What more could you ask for?
7) Texas Tech -21 @ Texas A&M - This line could be 38 and I would take Leach.
8) Georgia -14.5 v. Vandy - I’ve seen Mississippi St. in person. Any team that could lose to them is not a good football team. I don’t care what the SEC hype machine tells you.
9) Utah -22 v. CSU – Somebody has to uphold the honor of the Great state of Mormon.
10) Oklahoma St. -17 v. Baylor – OSU either proves they are legit or they have a Gailey like let down. Who knows what is going to happen? All I know is that Mike Gundy is 42, and he is a man. And no, this will never get old.
11) MTSU +14.5 @ Louisville – this one just seems right. After all, MTSU beat Maryland the first time they sucked.
12) USC -42 @ WSU – why not?
13) Alabama -11.5 v. Ole Miss - The #2 team in the country should cover this, right?
14) Pitt -2.5 @ Navy
15) Michigan +24.5 @ Penn St.
16) K. State +3.5 @ Colorado
17) Kentucky -7 v. Arkansas
18) Mississippi St. +7.5 @ Tennessee
19) Va. Tech +3 @ B.C. – could a 1 loss Va. Tech team play for a national title?
20) Missouri +4 @ Texas – Chase comes home and gets back in the Heisman and national title hunt.
21) Illinois -15 v. Indiana
22) LSU -2.5 @ South Carolina – Granted, LSU’s offense is laughable, but I just don’t see them dropping two straight.
23) Arizona +2.5 v. Cal – This is a MUST win for Baby Stoops. Bear Down.
1) Buffalo -1 v. San Diego – West Coast team playing a 1 p.m. game on the East Coast.
2) New Orleans +3 @ Carolina – I think N.O. is the best team in the NFC. It would be nice if they proved it.
3) Minnesota +3 @ Chicago – put this in the category of games you couldn’t pay me to watch.
4) Cincy +9.5 v. Pittsburgh
5) K.C. +9 v. Tennessee - too many points even for the Chiefs.
6) Miami -3 v. Baltimore – I’ve actually been invited to take some snaps for the Dolphins this week.
7) NYG -10.5 v. San Fran – Giants = ANGRY
8) Dallas -7 @ St. Louis – Cowboys = ANGRIER
9) Houston -9.5 v. Detroit – Lions = SHITTY
10) Indy -1.5 @ Green Bay – I just can’t write the Colts off yet.
11) Oakland +3 v. N.Y.J. – I smell a five pick day for Favre after the cross country trip.
12) Cleveland +7.5 @ Washington – The Browns aren’t as bad as they’ve played this season, and the Skins aren’t as good as they’ve played.
13) Tampa -10.5 v. Seattle – Interesting question: If the Sox and Rays go to Game 7, how many people will actually be at this game? Considering there is no such thing as a legitimate Rays fan, I’m guessing it will be a sell out.
14) Denver +3 @ New England – I traded Randy Moss straight up for Eddie Royal this week. That’s what I think of the Matt Cassell era.