Saturday, November 03, 2007

Knee-Jerk Reactions

For most of the last half-century, Nebraska and Notre Dame were synonymous with college football. That is the case no longer. Both teams suffered crushing defeats today.

The Huskers were pummeled today 76-39 by Kansas. KU scored their 76th point with 11 minutes remaining in the game. They could well have scored 90 if they would have tried. The Nebraska program is in tatters. They need serious help.

Notre Dame lost to Navy today, 46-44 in triple overtime. The Irish had defeated the Midshipmen 43 consecutive times. The last time Navy defeated Notre Dame before today, Roger Staubach was their quarterback and John F. Kennedy was President. The Irish have a chance to lose at least 10 games this season.

Another game, another Poke choke. Oklahoma State led Texas at halftime for the third time in four years. They led by scores of 21-0 and 35-14. Texas came back to tie the game, 35-35. OSU missed a 30-yard field goal, then Texas came down the field to win on a last second field goal. This was the third time in the last four years OSU blew a big lead against Texas. An even worse choke by OSU came in 2004. The Cowboys/Aggies led UT 35-7 in Austin. Legend has it that there were no halftime adjustments in the OSU locker room, and coach Les Miles was on the phone with his agent trying to find another job. I've been watching Oklahoma State for 35 years now, and this is to be expected. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. But, Mike Gundy's a man. He's 40!

Friday, November 02, 2007

NFL Picks: Week 9

NFL Picks: Week 9

We are now at the halfway point of the NFL season. We also have the game of the decade, or this year’s version of it, in Indianapolis. Without further adieu, here are this week’s picks:

Last Week: 9-4
Season: 77-39

Dallas at Philadelphia: The biggest game of the year in Philly is when the Cowboys come to town. It bugs the Philly people even more that Cowboy fans couldn’t care less about the Eagles compared to the Redskins and Giants. The Iggles have to be affected by the legal troubles in coach Andy Reid’s family, as both of his young adult sons were sentenced to jail on the same day for drug-related violations this week. The Cowboys are coming off a bye week, which keeps Tony Romo out of Hollywood. Pick: Dallas

New England at Indianapolis: Undefeated vs. Undefeated. The Patriots have been a well-oiled killing machine. The Colts have been unbeatable, as well. Maybe I get caught up with style points, but I have a hard time seeing anyone stopping the Pats. I’d love the see the Colts win, but I don’t see it happening. Pick: New England

Houston at Oakland: Yuck. The Texans won three games before the injury bug hit. Now, they are simply horrible. The Raiders are somewhat competitive, but still aren’t very good. You would have to be a committed fan to watch this game. Or, stuck in Houston, Beaumont, or Bryan. This is a stinker. Pick: Oakland

Seattle at Cleveland: Points will be rung up in this one. The Browns are the surprise of the league with a 4-3 record. Derek Anderson continues to improve his trade value while keeping Brady Quinn on the bench. Pick: Cleveland

Green Bay at Kansas City: Brett Favre is just incredible. He’s playing as well as ever at age 38. The Chiefs have duct-taped this season into something that’s not that bad. They’ve come a long way from their Week 1 loss to the Texans. When you’re hot, you’re hot, and Brett Favre is hot. Pick: Pack

Carolina at Tennessee: The two-headed quarterback monster of David Carr and Vinny Testaverde lead the Panthers into Music City, where they meet Vince Young and Co. The Titans continue to find ways to win. Pick: Tennessee

San Francisco at Atlanta: Double yuck. The Niners have slipped during the absence of QB Alex Smith. The Falcons are simply floundering. I’m glad I don’t have to watch this one. Trent Dilfer vs. Byron Leftwich. I’ll take Leftwich. Pick: Atlanta

San Diego at Minnesota: The Chargers have gotten it together. This one is a classic running back matchup between LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. L.T. runs all over the Vikings in the dome. Pick: San Diego

Jacksonville at New Orleans: This is a good matchup that not many people are excited about. The Jags continue to win, even with Quinn Gray at QB. The Saints are now only a game out of first place after starting the season 0-4. Saints continue to roll. Pick: New Orleans

Denver at Detroit: One team is playing well, the other one is struggling. But, the roles are reversed here. The Lions are 5-2, which is uncharted territory in recent years for this team. Thank you, Detroit! Pick: Detroit

Cincinnati at Buffalo: Ugh. Neither team is real great, but the Bills can be plucky at times, such as last week when they out-uglied the Jets. Pick: Buffalo

Washington at New York Jets: The Redskins are fairly pedestrian, but they’ll look like Super Bowl winners against the Jets. The Jets are not good. Pick: Washington

Arizona at Tampa Bay: The Bucs aren’t bad. Neither are the Cardinals. Neither team is that good, though. This game defines mediocrity. Go with the home team. Pick: Tampa Bay

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: The Ravens need this one to have a chance in the AFC North. The Steelers are a good team, right behind the Patriots and Colts. Monday Night in the Steel City? Come on. Never pick against Pittsburgh on Monday night. Pick: Pittsburgh

Bye: New York Giants, Miami, Chicago, St. Louis

Interesting Uniform of the Day

While in Atlanta for Thursday night's Engineering Bowl against Georgia Tech, four Virginia Tech players had their jerseys stolen. Enter Georgia Tech. The Yellowjackets' staff lent some used GT jerseys to the VT players for their use in Thursday's game. Pictured here is VT quarterback Sean Glennon in his Georgia Tech jersey.

The VT players marked out "Yellow Jackets" on the front of the jersey and wrote their names on the back of the jerseys with a Sharpie.

Good stuff.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Upcoming Blog Event

Sunday afternoon brings us the NFL version of the Game of the Century (for this year, at least). The undefeated New England Patriots visit Indianapolis to take on the undefeated Colts. This is a matchup of titanic proportions.

CBS will broadcast the game nationally. Almost nationally, that is, thanks to the NFL's TV policy. There are two other games scheduled for the late slot on Sunday.

The Seattle Seahawks play at Cleveland, to be televised on Fox. NFL TV rules prohibit a game to be shown opposite the home team's game in the home market. Therefore, CBS cannot show a game in Cleveland opposite the Seahawks-Browns game. The CBS station in Cleveland will be reduced to showing informercials, old westerns, bad TV movies, or something.

The sorry Houston Texans play in Oakland against the awful Raiders. As is the case with many games in Oakland, it is not a sellout. Therefore, it cannot be televised in Oakland or in any TV market that reaches within 75 miles of the stadium. So, the game will not be televised in the home market of San Francisco, or in the secondary markets of Sacramento and Monterey. Other markets in California that would normally show the Raiders are switching to the Patriots-Colts game.

This means that the Texans-Raiders game will only be shown on three CBS affiliates, plus NFL Sunday Ticket. NFL TV rules force the CBS stations in Houston, Beaumont, and Bryan to televise the Texans-Raiders game. Per NFL rules, the game must be shown in the visiting team's market. Houston is the home market for the Texans. The market areas for the stations in Bryan and Beaumont come within 75 miles of Reliant Stadium, so those cities are considered the Texans' secondary markets by the NFL. The NFL requires all away games to be televised in the team's primary and secondary markets.

So, we in the Houston area are stuck with the sorry Texans. The sports bars will be full on Sunday.

This blog will enter new territory on Sunday. I will be live blogging from a local eating establishment with both NFL Sunday Ticket and wi-fi access. (you gotta love technology) This blog can't miss the Pats and the Colts. Of course, if the game gets bad, the live blog will shut down and go home.

The game starts at 3:15 PM CST. The Patriots-Colts game will be blogged, with possible updates from Texans-Raiders and Seahawks-Browns.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

College Picks, Week 10

This is one of several Showdown Saturdays on the calendar which will affect the national championship race. There appear to be more teams jockeying for #2 than for #1. Several schools are just waiting for Ohio State and/or Boston College to fall.

Last Week: 12-8
Season: 117-63

Texas A&M at Oklahoma: The Fightin’ Texas Aggies face an uphill struggle as they try to save Dennis Franchione’s job. They visit Norman, where the Sooners have lost two home games in the eight years of the Bob Stoops era. The Sooners are 20 point favorites. OU takes no prisoners Saturday night. Pick: OU

Texas at Oklahoma State: Believe it or not, the Longhorns are now 7-2. They could easily finish 7-5 or 10-2. They are throwing QB Colt McCoy out there with a record of concussions and a suspect offensive line. OSU has their offense in high gear, and will be jacked up in Stillwater. However, an Aggie is an Aggie. The Pokes will find a way to choke this one away. Texas is still Texas. Pick: Horns

Nebraska at Kansas: The Big Red Nation once had an 80-game winning streak over KU. OK, it wasn’t 80 games, but it was around 40 in a row until the Huskers’ last trip to Lawrence in 2005. There is an undefeated team in this game. There is also a dead coach walking in this game. The undefeated team is Kansas. The dead coach walking is NU coach Bill Callahan. Nebraska gave Texas all they wanted last year. This is the year of the Jayhawk, though. Pick: KU

Missouri at Colorado: The Buffs are coming off yet another win over a South Division opponent after wrecking Mike Leach’s pirate ship. Mizzou is due to lose a game that they should not lose. The trip to the mountains is not easy. Pick: CU

Texas Tech at Baylor: Puhleeze. Tech is nothing special, but they should be able to name their score against the hapless Bears. Pick: Tech

Kansas State at Iowa State: K-State is a pretty good team. Iowa State has played hard but come up short the last two weeks against Top 10 teams. Mild upset alert this weekend in Ames. I’m not going to bite, though. Pick: KSU

Arizona State at Oregon: This week’s Game of the Week. Both teams are in the top 5 in the BCS. This is ASU’s toughest task to date. The Ducks benefit by having this one at home. Pick: Ducks

LSU at Alabama: This week’s SEC spectacular is in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban and the Tide take on his former team. LSU is currently the best team in the SEC. But, the best team doesn’t always win. If this comes down to coaching, Bama has the advantage. Could it be….Saban? Pick: Bama

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Thursday): Two well-respected engineering schools battle for the Golden Slide Rule. Not really, but it might be a good idea. VT blew a big one last week at home against Boston College. GT is the most inconsistent team in college football. Tech wins this game no matter what. Pick: VT

Florida State at Boston College: This is a shadow of past FSU teams. In the past, FSU would have pounded BC, even in Boston. This time, it’s different. It could be ugly. It could be New England Patriots-style ugly. BC may lose before the end of the season, but it won’t be this week. Pick: Boston College

Michigan at Michigan State: Meechigan is running roughshod through the Big Ten thus far. It’s hard to tell if it’s due to the strength of Michigan or to the weakness of the Big Ten. The truth is somewhere in the middle. No one hates the Wolverines more than the people in East Lansing (not even the Buckeyes). Sparty will give the Wolverines all they can handle. But, at the end of the day, Michigan is still Michigan. Pick: Meatchicken

Wisconsin at Ohio State: Wiscy is back in the pack of the Big Ten, while TOSU is #1 in the nation. This won’t be a blowout, but Ohio State should be able to handle the Badgers. Pick: Ohio State

Navy at Notre Dame: The Midshipmen visit South Bend as the two schools meet for the 79th consecutive time. The hard part: Notre Dame has defeated Navy 43 times in a row. The last Navy quarterback to beat Notre Dame was Roger Staubach. This is the worst Notre Dame team in my lifetime. Problem is, Navy appears to have taken a half-step back. And, the game is in South Bend this year. Irish eyes smile for once this week. Pick: ND

Oregon State at USC: The Trojans are mortal. They return home to face the up-and-down Beavers. The Trojans are slipping and sliding. This is not the same USC team we have become accustomed to. Nonetheless, they should find a way to beat OSU of the West. Pick: USC

Cincinnati at South Florida: Two of the Big East’s rising stars meet in Tampa. Both teams are slipping of late, with both losing two conference games. USF will be looking for vengeance. Pick: USF

South Carolina at Arkansas: The Gamecocks come off of a heartbreaking overtime loss at Tennessee. The Hogs are in turmoil. Tough pick. Houston Nutt gets one last big win as coach of the Razorbacks. Pick: Arkansas

Rutgers at UConn: Huge Big East game. Who would have thought any football game between these two schools would ever be big? UConn finds themselves in sole possession of first place in the Big East. Rutgers finds themselves being merely above average this season. The Scarlet Knights got torched last week by West Virginia, 31-3. The Runway will be rocking this week in East Hartford. Pick: Connecticut

New Mexico at TCU: Lobos are a strong second in the Mountain West. Frogs are in the midst of a disappointing season. TCU bounces back after the bye week. Pick: TCU

Wake Forest at Virginia: Cavaliers’ good fortune ran out last week in Raleigh against the Wolfpack. Wake Forest won’t repeat as ACC champions this season, but they’re still a pretty good team. As all of UVa’s games have been this season, this will be close. Pick: Virginia

Henderson State at Ouachita Baptist (Thursday): Battle of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Officially, this is the Coleman Dairy Battle of the Ravine. This is the fifth oldest rivalry in college football, beginning in 1895. The series stands at 37-37-6. It should be standing room only Thursday night in Arkadelphia. I hate to pick against OBU of the East, but I’m going to. Pick: Henderson State

Blowin' Chunks

Here's Heisman contender Matt Ryan of Boston College after leading his team to an improbable late comeback win over Virginia Tech. Right before this clip, ESPN's Craig James said: "Oh, yeah, he's givin' it up".

Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Eerie Parallels

This is currently flying around the Internet. I did not create this. It is a list of parallels between the fall of the Miami dynasty of the early 2000's and the current fall of the recent USC dynasty.

Miami ( 2000-2004 )

00 : 11-1
01 : 12-0
02 : 12-1
03 : 11-2
04 : 9-3

* 34 Game Win Streak
* Appeared in back-to-back BCS National Title games
* Lost 34 game win streak in 2nd National Title game appearance
* 4 straight BCS bids
* Located near an ocean
* Played home games in a stadium vacated by an NFL team
* In the 4th year of their "Dynasty", a 5* QB from Shreveport Evangel Christian High School became the starter.
* In said 4th year the 5* QB who took over was the #1 QB in his recruiting class ( Berlin ).
* The last name of that same 5* QB from Evangel Christian High started with the letter "B"
* In the same 4th year of their "Dynasty" they had a back up QB that was a 5* who happened to be from California.
* In the same 4th year that backup 5* QB who was from California was the former #1 Pro-Style QB and #1 QB overall in the country.
* Were 6-2 overall after 8 games in 2004
* In their 5th year ( 2004 ) they lost their 2nd game of the year by the score of 24-17.
* In their 5th year ( 2004 ) they scored 27 points in their 4th game of the year.
* In their first BCS championship game, Miami pounded a Big 12 team wearing red (Nebraska).
* In their second BCS championship game, they were defeated very late in the game (Ohio State).
* Miami's loss total went as follows: 1-0-1-2-3
* Miami lost those games in the following seasons as follows:

00 : Road ( v. Pac-10 team )
01 : None
02 : None ( Minus their 2nd National Title game bowl appearance )
03 : Road & Home
04 : Road, Home, Home

USC ( 2003-2007 )

03 : 12-1
04 : 13-0
05 : 12-1
06 : 11-2
07 : 6-2

* 34 Game Win Streak
* Appeared in back-to-back BCS National Title games
* Lost 34 game win streak in 2nd National Title game appearance
* 4 straight BCS bids
* Located near an ocean
* Played home games in a stadium vacated by an NFL team (in this case, two NFL teams)
* In the 4th year of their "Dynasty", a 5* QB from Shreveport Evangel Christian High School became the starter.
* In said 4th year the 5* QB who took over was the #1 QB in his recruiting class ( Booty ).
* The last name of that same 5* QB from Evangel Christian High started with the letter "B"
* In the same 4th year of their "Dynasty" they had a back up QB who was a 5* who happened to be from California.
* In the same 4th year that backup 5* QB who was from California was the former #1 Pro-Style QB and #1 QB overall in the country.
* Were 6-2 overall after 8 games in 2004
* In their 5th year ( 2007 ) they lost their 2nd game of the year by the score of 24-17.
* In their 5th year ( 2007 ) they scored 27 points in their 4th game of the year.
* In their first BCS championship game, USC pounded a Big 12 team wearing red (Oklahoma).
* In their second BCS championship game, they were defeated very late in the game (Texas).
* USC's loss total went as follows: 1-0-1-2-( sits at 2 currently )
* USC lost those games in the following seasons as follows:

03 : Road ( v. Pac 10 team )
04 : None
05 : None ( Minus their 2nd National Title game bowl appearance )
06 : Road & "Road" played game in CA v. UCLA with a 50/50 split SC/UCLA fans
07 : Road, Home ( SC has 2 home games left - Ore St & UCLA )

This is up there with the parallels between the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

NFL Highway, Week 8

For the 500th post to this blog...

The NFL highway is really long this week. With a game in London, it actually involves crossing an ocean by boat or by plane. This was one of the most uneventful weekends in recent memory. There were six teams out on bye weeks and a slew of awful games.

The Miami Dolphins played a home game against the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday. The NFL did a good job dressing up the stadium in the Dolphins’ colors, and the Dolphins did their part by bringing a ton of rain with them from Miami. The pitch at Wembley turned muddy and ugly very quickly. The game was as ugly as the weather and the field. The Giants came away with a 13-10 win.

Meanwhile, back in the States, the Indianapolis Colts visited Charlotte and thumped the Carolina Panthers, 31-7. The Colts are now 7-0, and host undefeated New England next Sunday.

Print up those playoff tickets in Detroit. The Lions are now 5-2. They completed a sweep of the Chicago Bears with a 16-7 win in Chicago. The Bears have serious quarterback problems, as Brian Griese threw four interceptions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued to have their way with the Cincinnati Bengals, with a 24-13 win Sunday in the Queen City. The Steelers are 5-2, while the Bengals are now 2-5. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is in serious trouble. The Bengals ought to be better than they are right now.

The Philadelphia Eagles went into Minnesota and held star running back Adrian Peterson to 70 yards on 20 carries, while defeating the Vikings, 23-16. The Vikings need a quarterback in the worst way. Some guy named Visanthe Shiamcoe caught a touchdown pass for the Vikings in the loss.

Break up the Browns! Cleveland is 4-3 headed into their bye week, after defeating the hapless St. Louis Rams 27-20. The Rams welcomed Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson back from injury, but it still wasn’t enough. Derek Anderson is making the Browns think they wasted a first-round draft pick on Brady Quinn. He threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns for Cleveland.

Vince Young threw for 42 yards today for the Tennessee Titans. The Titans lost, right? Wrong. The Titans rode defense to a 13-9 win over the Oakland Raiders. The Titans moved their record to 5-2. They aren’t getting much love residing in the same division as the mighty Colts.

The late games provided one of the worst set of contests in the history of the NFL. Only one game turned out to be worth watching, as the Jacksonville Jaguars went down to Tampa and beat the Buccaneers, 24-23. Quinn Gray got his first win as a starter in the NFL. The Jags are now 5-2. The AFC South is looking really stout.

Bringing up the rear in the AFC South are the Houston Texans. The Texans went out to California and were drilled, 35-10, by the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers’ Antonio Cromartie recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and returned an interception 70 yards for another score. The Chargers are beginning to flex their muscle.

In New York, the Bills and Jets threatened to play a game without a touchdown. The Bills scored a late TD to seal a 13-3 win for Buffalo. This game was as ugly as it sounds.

The New Orleans Saints are making their run after an awful start. The Saints went to San Francisco and pummeled the 49ers, 31-10. The 49ers are struggling after showing signs of life last season.

Last, but definitely not least, the New England Patriots continued to pound the competition. The Washington Redskins are the latest victims. The Patriots hung half a hundred on Sunday, thumping the ‘Skins, 52-7. The Redskins scored late to avert the shutout. Can we cancel the season and just let the Pats and the Colts play in the AFC championship game?

The Monday Night extravaganza features the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos. Can the Pack continue their good start? Can the Broncos build on last week's win?

More Knee-Jerk Reactions

In the late night West Coast game, Arizona State remained undefeated with a 31-20 win over the Cal Bears. This sets up a Top 5 showdown this Saturday in Eugene between ASU and the Oregon Ducks.

Philip Fulmer nearly hurled in his Post Toasties. His Tennessee Volunteers blew a 21-0 lead, and allowed South Carolina to take a 24-21 lead. The Vols nearly lost a fumble on a game-tying drive, and missed a game-tying field goal, only to have it called back due to a false start penalty. The Vols were backed up five more yards and made the field goal, sending it to overtime. Tennessee then kicked a field goal and then held SC without points to win 27-24 in overtime.

The Fighting Manginos are for real. Kansas and Texas A&M played a scoreless first half, then the Jayhawks took control in the second half for a 19-11 win. Next up for the Ags: ABC Saturday Night Football in Norman against OU. KU is undefeated at 8-0. I'm already getting geeked up for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when KU and Mizzou play at Arrowhead Stadium for the Big 12 North title.

In last night's Saturday Night spectacular, The Ohio State University went to Happy Valley and pounded The Pennsylvania State University, 37-17. Yes, that is the real name of PSU. What's an 80 year-old man doing working in a 100,000 seat stadium on a Saturday night?

That's all for now..

Homer Call of the Day

This is from the world of Division III. Trinity University of San Antonio traveled to Jackson, MS to take on the Millsaps Majors. Trinity used an improbable series of laterals to score a long touchdown to snatch a victory on the last play of the game. The play looked like a combination of rugby and "Kill the Man With The Football". Meanwhile, the announcers nearly had a heart attack in the booth.