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Week Thanksgiving Picks Recap: Where the ACC Ruins Me Again

with 9 comments

It was another bad weekend for me as Jon expanded his lead by one pick. Two games involving ACC teams did me in. This is how we fared this week:

Jon:  13-5

Austin:  12-6

To bring us to these records on the season:

Jon:  193-49

Austin:  190-52

How did it happen?  Well, it certainly wasn’t with the top 6 teams, which all remained undefeated despite a few close calls.  Florida didn’t have one against rival Florida State, whom they easily defeated 37-10, as demi-god Tim Tebow improved his chances of a Heisman with a 311 total yards and five TDs.  Florida State is going to have to do something and fast to keep calling this a rivalry.  Florida has won six straight by an average of almost 22 points per game.

Alabama and Texas struggled more with their in-state rivals.  The Crimson Tide needed all four quarters and a 14-point rally to top unranked Auburn, 26-21, as Mark Ingram‘s Heisman hopes took a hit with a 30 yard performance on 16 carries.  And although Texas never trailed Texas A&M after the first quarter, the Aggies hung around and gave the Longhorns fits all game before Texas pulled off the shootout victory behind Colt McCoy‘s 479 yards and five TDs.  Individual performances aside, the close wins for No. 2 and No. 3 gave Florida more points in the polls as they pulled first place votes from Texas and Alabama.  Though I would argue it’s not that impressive to pummel a team from the ACC, which looked woeful from top to bottom all weekend.  More on that tomorrow.

Numbers four through six didn’t scuffle quite as much with their opponents as TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State each won by double digits.  TCU creamed New Mexico State to virtually assure an automatic BCS invite.  Pike threw six touchdowns for Cincinnati as they cruised over Illinois.  The final 49-36 belies the blowout this really was, as the Bearcats had possessed a 22-point lead in the third quarter.  Boise State survived somewhat of a comeback attempt by Nevada, but I watched the game and trust me, the Broncos were in control the whole time.

The fun really started for the ACC with No. 7 Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets, which are poised to win the ACC and get an invite to a BCS bowl, fell to a 6-5 unranked SEC team in Georgia.  A team that looked completely incapable of playing adequate defense held Ga Tech to 100 yards below their season rushing average, besting the Yellow Jackets at their own game by rumbling for 339 yards en route to a 30-24 upset.

Things looked good for me early with West Virginia topping No. 9 Pitt Friday night.  Pitt mounted a 10-point fourth quarter comeback, only to fall to a last-second field goal by unranked West Virginia.  It was a very disappointing loss for the Panthers, who will play Cincy for the Big East win and a BCS bowl next weekend.

While Pitt’s BCS hopes are still alive, Oklahoma State’s are most decidedly not.  Oklahoma shut out the Cowboys, holding them to 109 yards of total offense, including just four….yes, FOUR…in the second half.  Oklahoma State was looking for an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl, but that now appears out of reach and Boise State looks like it will nab that invite.  Those were the two picks I got right that Jon did not this weekend, but that was it for me.  I got the remaining three differing picks wrong.

No. 14 Virginia Tech crushed Virginia, and No. 15 LSU needed a last-second field goal and overtime to top Arkansas, but pulled out the victory to keep their Capital One Bowl hopes alive.

Okay.  This is where it fell apart for me.  South Florida humiliated me yet again as they were annihilated by No. 16 Miami, 31-10.  Every time they looked like they might have something going they found a way to kill it.  Pretty ugly game.  No. 18 Clemson (hey, aren’t they from the ACC?) fell to a 6-5, unranked SEC team, just like Georgia Tech did.  And, again, South Carolina won quite handily.  They went into the fourth quarter with a 24-7 lead and came away with a 34-17 victory.  And No. 21 Utah put up a heck of a show against No. 19 BYU.  They rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter, only to fall in overtime, and seal my horrible week of predictions.

We can fly through the rest.  No. 20 USC crushed UCLA and, predictably, threw for a TD in the final minute to run up the score.  Years of this behavior is why I had no problem with Stanford doing what they did against the Trojans.  No. 21 Houston crushed Rice, 73-14.  And Jon and I both got the last two games wrong.  North Carolina State stunned No. 24 North Carolina, 28-27, as the Tarheels remain simply incapable of staying in the top 25.  Finally, in the game where Jon and I both agreed we should have gone with our guts on Mississippi State, which pretty well whipped No. 25 Ole Miss, 41-27.

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Written by Austin Swafford

November 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

9 Responses

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  1. “Years of this behavior is why I had no problem with Stanford doing what they did against the Trojans.”

    Well… normally I would entirely agree with you on this. But in this one particular case… it was totally warranted.

    The WHOLE story is, with about 45 seconds left to play and up 14 points, Pete Carrol had USC taking a knee to run out the clock. But one coach Rick Neuheisel just had to go and call a time out. That earned his team one “punishment play” which happened to go for a 48-yard TD pass. The Bruins, or at least Neuheisel, earned that particular just-desserts.

    I didn’t fare any better than y’all in my picks. In fact, the lesson I’ve learned is not to analyze my picks whatsoever, but just go with whomever I’d like to win that particular match-up that week. I’m sure I’ll do better. 😉

    zeekgeek

    November 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    • I saw that and thought it lame, but not against rules of football decorum. He had a meaningless timeout to burn and he used it. It wasn’t going to matter. It didn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter when the Raiders used their last timeout with the Cowboys way up and 1:45 to play. It’s lame, but I don’t think it’s deserving of a punishment play. And the fact still remains that USC has been running the score up on people for years.

      Austin Swafford

      November 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm

  2. If you are down by more than eight points with less than a minute to play, and the other team has the ball and is taking a knee… yes, taking a time-out is most certainly against the “rules of football decorum” — it is akin to taunting, and the behavior of the players for both teams in that game demonstrated exactly that… a sincere disrespect for one another. You better be ready to take as much as you dish out if you’re going to be a jackass. (And I should know… I am a total jackass… just ask Jon.)

    So, as an afterthought, here is my “nightmare-turned-beautiful” thought of the day:

    If Texas happens to lose to Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game (seriously… not gonna happen, but let’s just say theoretically), they would certainly be picked up as an at-large by a BCS bowl — and could conceivably face… IOWA! Ha! That would be awesome!

    Uh, actually on second thought, no it wouldn’t. 😦

    zeekgeek

    November 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    • How is making the winning team use every bit of the clock akin to taunting? Jon might know the unwritten rules a little bit better than I do, but that’s certainly a new one for me. And, again, I’d point out that the Cowboys didn’t feel the need to punish the Raiders for having the audacity to taunt them by calling a timeout. Trying to justify Carroll by acting like he was bringing righteous retribution upon UCLA for calling the timeout is ridiculous. I’m no fan of Neuheisel, either, and if you ask people who know me they’ll tell you I though UCLA was idiotic for hiring him. But there’s no justification for Carroll on this. I’m tired of people justifying him for his behavior.

      Austin Swafford

      November 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

  3. I’m glad you asked…

    “Making a team use every bit of the clock” is actually part of the rules of the game, not a decision for one team or another to make. USC would have used exactly as much of the clock with or without UCLA’s time-out call. So, then, the question is why would you take that time-out?

    If your team is down two touchdowns with less than a minute left, a time-out could be for only a few reasons… Maybe you want to take out some starters/seniors to let the crowd acknowledge their fine efforts. Not in this case. Maybe you don’t want to take some unnecessary penalty for the wrong personnel or something. Not in this case. Or, MAYBE, you intend to try to win the game and are keeping as much time on the clock as you can to give your team a chance. More likely in this case.

    Well, the proper response to that particular effort… is to score.

    And if none of those reasons are why they called the time-out, then the best remaining reason for doing so is to annoy (akin to taunting) the winning team by making them take an unnecessarily long time to do so. Buffoonery. Just desserts. Just because the Cowboys didn’t do it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have been justified if they did. (And, seriously… I’m not taking any “moral compass” notes from the Cowboys of all teams.) Pete Carroll is certainly guilty of running up the score throughout his career, I’m not defending him. But it would seem a bit hypocritical (ludicrous, even) for anyone to suggest that they don’t want him to do it, then take a time-out to prevent him from NOT scoring.

    zeekgeek

    November 30, 2009 at 10:56 pm

  4. A “Punishment Play” makes it seem like USC could score at will…which they couldnt otherwise the game would have been a lot more lopsided. It was a hopeful play at best. Pete Carroll was just hoping that it would work so he can be further viewed as an A-hole in college football. Which I may add he is not warranted to be able to do this, this season with those laughable performances he has put up against unranked teams this year. (Washington, Stanford)
    I am sure UCLA was just doing what they could to annoy. but taunting would more-so be laying the wood to the center from an all out saftey blitz with less than a minute left and the other team trying to kneel the ball. I think the timeout was just a lil bit of a sticking their tougne out at the Trojans.

    Jon Castano

    November 30, 2009 at 11:48 pm

  5. Im waiting on the championship week preview… IM STOKED!

    Off topic, will you guys be doing a CBB blog?

    T-Ray The Bad Mofo

    December 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    • Not sure. We’ll have to come up with SOMETHING to do during the offseason. Maybe I’ll drop in an article or two, just for you, Trav. 🙂

      Austin Swafford

      December 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  6. I was thinking about doing some light stuff for CBB. I am not as versed in it so I will just plain have to watch more of it.

    Jon Castano

    December 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm


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