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Catching Up is Hard to do – Musings on recent college football news

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It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted, and I apologize for that.  I wanted to take some time to write a few thoughts on some of the events in college football since I last posted.

BCS blows it again

No, I’m not gong to complain about who’s playing in the national championship.  Yeah, a playoff would be neat, but I don’t think you can make a case for Cincinnati, TCU or Boise State over Texas and Alabama.  I think it’ll be a great game and I’m totally looking forward to that one.

And maybe only to that one.

It’s not a shock, given the projections we’ve seen for weeks, but I think the matchups this year are horrible.  I can’t complain too much about Oregon and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.  We knew that one was coming, and I think it’ll be an okay game.  One team’s great offense against another’s great defense, and another almost inevitable loss for the Big 10 in a BCS Bowl.  Why they keep giving them two BCS Bowls a year escapes me.

The Sugar Bowl is the one that I think has me most furious.  Cincinnati and Florida.  I desperately wanted to see TCU play the second place team from the SEC.  I think TCU has earned the right to play in a game like that and prove themselves against talent like that.  To say nothing of the fact that I think it would just be a great game.  TCU and Florida are really good on both sides of the ball.  I think it’d be a great matchup.  Instead we have Florida against a team that’s all offense and just lost its head coach.  This one’s a stinker.

The Fiest Bowl.  Oh, what were they thinking?  They could have taken Iowa, freeing up TCU to play in the Sugar Bowl like I wanted them to, but instead they took TCU and Boise State.  Now we have a BCS Bowl between two teams who are not from major conferences.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’ll be a good game.  This is the one I’m most looking forward to, aside from the championship  I just think both of them earned the right to prove themselves against major conference opponents, and I wish they could.  But, now you have a scenario where it becomes easy to dismiss the winner because they “only” beat TCU or “only” beat Boise State.  Plus, if I had my wish, I’d have Boise State playing either Cincinnati or Georgia Tech.  Two teams that play a whole lot of offense and not a lot of defense could be a nice selling point to a bowl people otherwise wouldn’t really watch.

And then the Orange Bowl.  The one that just keeps putting up the worst matchups of all.  Last year it was Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in truly one of the worst bowl game displays I’ve ever seen.  That game was pathetic.  Now they pit Iowa, who nosedived at the end of the season, against Georgia Tech, which found ways to eek out wins all season.  Nice manipulation by the BCS, though, pitting the ACC against the Big 10.  The Big 10 has lost six straight BCS Bowls over the last three years, and the ACC won its BCS bowl last year to break an eight game BCS losing streak.  It’s the bowl where one of these loses has to win, and I think it’ll be Iowa, finally breaking the Big 10’s losing record, because…well, look at Georgia Tech’s schedule and that loss to a not very good Georgia team.  You take the ACC teams out of the ACC and they’re just not very good.

Southwest Region wins Ingram the Heisman Trophy

We all know by now that Alabama running back Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy this year, making him the first Alabama player ever to win college football’s most prestigious individual award.  As a Texas Longhorns fan, I initially wanted to be hurt on Colt McCoy’s behalf for the region that should have won him tons of votes giving the most votes to Ndomokong Suh.  Despite Suh’s amazing performance this year, we all knew he wasn’t going to win, so the Southwest Region (primarily Big 12 company) decided to make a statement by voting for Suh…well, just because, I guess.  I initially thought that McCoy would have done much better with more votes from that region, but it turns out that it would have made little difference.  The one who really suffered was Toby Gerhart, the Stanford running back who finished just 28 points behind Mark Ingram.  He had his lowest finish in the Southwest (4th) and second-lowest vote total of any region (just behind the 176 he got in the South.  He finished second, but Tim Tebow stole some points there).  So, but for the Southwest Region, Gerhart probably takes home the trophy.

As a side note, there are some strange point discrepancies I’m having a hard time figuring out.  When I looked at the by-region list, I had Ingram finishing with 1,295 points (nine behind his actual finish) and McCoy finishing with 1,134 points (11 behind his actual finish).  The count for Suh was dead on.  I’d attribute this to additional points gained from votes from former Heisman winners, but I calculated Gerhart to have 1,287 from the regional voting, which puts him 11 higher than he actually finished.  I don’t think you can lose votes from the former Heisman winners, so I’m gonna have to do some digging and figure out what happened there.

Brian Kelly makes a selfish, but completely understandable, decision

There has been no shortage of news coverage detailing Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s move to Notre Dame.  There has also been no shortage of news coverage the ire of Kelly’s former players over his decision to leave them high and dry going into the biggest game that Cincy has ever played.  And I can’t blame them.  Kelly did leave them high and dry, and it stinks.  I was impressed when I saw him on Pardon The Interruption and Mike and Mike in the Morning at just how much class he showed in addressing his former players.  I think he has handled this with as much grace and diplomacy as you can in a situation like this.  Nevertheless, he did screw the guys that got him the Notre Dame job.

That said, I totally understand why he did it.  I think in this situation, all you can do is jump ship and try to handle things diplomatically in the press.  This is an important recruiting period, and it’s hard to tell Notre Dame, “Put recruiting on hold for a month while I go play in a bowl game for a school I already said I’d leave.”

Even if it wasn’t an important recruiting period, I understand the move.  Cincy is probably going to get annihilated in their bowl game.  I just saw an ESPN poll asking who will win the Sugar Bowl, and 76 percent of the country says it’ll be Florida.  West Virginia was the only state that had the Bearcats winning.  Even their home state of Ohio had Florida winning (by a narrow margin, but still).  If they hire him and he coaches his team to a blowout, think of the blowback from fans, the media and boosters.  In Chicken Little fashion, they will start screaming that they are doomed already.  Or, if he waits until after the bowl game to talk to them and he gets crushed, maybe they’re not so interested anymore.  At the very least, people would not be having their current reaction that it was such an astute hire.

I want to be on record as saying that I do think this is an astute hire.  Notre Dame has been looking in all the wrong places, looking at coaches who had extremely limited experience in the capacity of head coach.  That’s important at a place like Notre Dame.  I’m with Lou Holtz in saying that you have to demonstrate the ability to win repeatedly as a head coach to thrive at Notre Dame, and Kelly has done that.  At all three of his head coaching stops, he has led his teams to unprecedented success.  I think the Irish finally got it right.


Written by Austin Swafford

December 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Week Championship Picks

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It’s that weekend where we get to learn who is going to BCS Bowls and who is not (except Ohio State…we’ve known that for a while).  This weekend we have conference championships (Big 12, SEC, ACC and Conference USA) and fortuitously scheduled head-to-head games that, while not literal conference championship games, do pit the conference’s top two teams together in virtual conference championships to decide who goes to a BCS Bowl (Pac-10 and Big East). 

And what it means for us (in addition to some really good football) is more chances to see who can pull away and win this year’s picks.   At best, I can merely cut into Jon’s lead a little this week, as he went straight chalk and I went with my gut on Rutgers over West Virginia.

Jon, of course, now has a three-pick lead over me:

Jon:  193-49

Austin:  190-52

Going into this week’s picks:

  Austin Jon
#1 Florida vs. #2 Alabama Florida Florida
#3 Texas vs. #22 Nebraska Texas Texas
#5 Cincinnati at #15 Pittsburgh Cincinnati Cincinnati
#6 Boise State vs. New Mexico St. Boise State Boise State
#7 Oregon vs. #16 Oregon St. Oregon Oregon
#10 Georgia Tech vs. Clemson Georgia Tech Georgia Tech
#18 USC vs. Arizona USC USC
#19 California at Washington California California
#21 Houston at East Carolina Houston Houston
#23 West Virginia at Rutgers Rutgers West Virginia

Written by Austin Swafford

December 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Week Thanksgiving Picks Recap: Where the ACC Ruins Me Again

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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.

Written by Austin Swafford

November 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Week 12 Predictions: The slow week before the home stretch edition

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I have to be honest…there are not a lot of great matchups this weekend.  In the SEC, Florida and Alabama have already clinched spots in the conference championship game, so they are going to play teams whose brains they’ll beat in (Florida International and Chattanooga, respectively).  In the Big 12, Texas plays Kansas in a game that looked like a good one five weeks ago.  That was before Kansas lost five in a row and Mark Mangino lost his freaking mind.  Only one top-10 team (LSU) plays an opponent with a winning record (Ole Miss), and only one game this weekend pits two ranked opponents against each other (No. 17 Stanford vs. No. 25 California).  It’s that time of year when, but for a few outsiders jostling for positions for bowl games and conference championships they’ll lose, it’s kind of slow.  That said, here are your predictions:

1.  Ole Miss Strengthens Case For Cotton Bowl With Upset of LSU

LSU is currently in position to go to the Cotton Bowl to play the winner of the Big 12 North.  They might still be even if Ole Miss were to beat them, but the Rebels could certainly strengthen their case for the prestigious Cotton Bowl with an upset of LSU.  AccuScore gives Ole Miss a 66% chance of winning this game, and the current spread favors the Rebels by five.  But that’s not why I’m picking them.

LSU has been begging to lose games all season, especially on the road.  They beat Washington by eight, Mississippi State by four, Georgia by seven and then there was that road loss to Alabama in which they only totaled 15 points on 253 yards of offense.  The combined records of the teams that have almost defeated LSU when they were on the road:  13-17.  Not great.

Combine that with the fact that the Rebels are 23rd in the country in rushing offense with 191 yards per game and that LSU is 41st in the country against the run (allowing almost 127 yards per game), and I really like Ole Miss in this one.  The Rebels’ already strong running game has gotten better in the last few games with the resurgence of Dexter McCluster.  In his last three games, he has 591 yards rushing (better than 8.5 yards per carry) and five TDs.  That’s on top of 15 catches for 176 yards and one more TD.  The weather forecast is also calling for a 60% chance of rain, which would favor a running game.  McCluster is going to have a field day against LSU, which will deservedly get bumped from the top 10 (as they should have when they lost to Alabama.

2.  Another Ridiculous Jump for Stanford in the Polls

Last week, Stanford used an upset of USC and numerous other upsets to vault from unranked to No. 17 in the BCS.  USC, by the way, is still ranked to high as computers and humans alike simply refuse to punish them for losing and losing badly.  But I digress.  Expect Stanford to take another big jump in the polls this week as the only ranked team to beat another ranked team, and as human voters attempt to justify putting two teams from the so-called best conference in football into BCS Bowls.

The computers already have Stanford ranked higher than two teams ahead of them in the BCS Rankings (Wisconsin and Penn State).  They’re right on the heels of Oklahoma State, which could actually lose some points for barely scraping by a really bad 3-8 Colorado team.  With just a little nudge from the human voters, Stanford could overtake a number of teams immediately ahead of them – Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Iowa and Oklahoma State – to move as high as No. 12.  Just two weeks after being unranked.  That’s progress.

3.  Almost Upheaval All Over The Big 10

I don’t think that any of the teams up top in the conference will lose, but I think the Big 10 is in for the wildest weekend (again) of any of the conferences.  Up top you have No.10 Ohio State playing at Michigan.  Ohio State is a heavy favorite, and I don’t expect the Wolverines to break their five-game losing streak to the Buckeyes.  Nevertheless, it is a great rivalry game, and we know anything can happen in those games.  Especially when neither team plays much offense (both rank below 55th in total offense and 30th or lower in scoring) and when Ohio State has to go on the road (where they’ve already been upset by Purdue this year).

Next up is No. 13 Iowa against Minnesota.  The Hawkeyes are trying to avoid losing their third straight game since losing QB Ricky Stanzi.  I think Iowa’s defense will be able to handle Minnesota.  But, with a backup QB, you never know.  Iowa’s offense was already just 82nd in the country in scoring, and that was before putting James Vandenberg and his atrocious 94.0 QB rating.

Do I think it likely that Penn State will stumble and blow its chance to go and get whupped in another BCS Bowl?  Definitely not.  Possible?  Most certainly.  The Nittany Lions offense, despite the overall stats, has been shaky and inconsistent this season.  Not that they couldn’t still take advantage of a pretty bad Spartans defense.  But Penn State’s defense will also have to be on its game for Michigan State’s passing attack.  Since they stopped having him share snaps with Keith Nicholls, Kirk Cousins has 10 TDs with just one INT and a QB rating better than 150.

Lastly, No. 16 Wisconsin is flying high with three straight wins since being pasted back-to-back by Ohio State and Iowa.  But the Badgers had better watch out for Northwestern.  The Wildcats already spoiled Iowa’s season and was just 15 minutes away from spoiling Penn State’s.  Mike Kafka is a solid QB who is more than capable of taking advantage of Wisconsin’s defensive weaknesses.  The key for them will be controlling the clock and keeping Scott Tolzien and John Clay off the field.

Again, I don’t think that any of these upsets will happen.  But, they are real possibilities, and I would not be shocked if the Big 10 comes out a complete mess at the end of the weekend.

4.  Three More BCS Teams Clinch Conference Championship Game Berths

Florida and Alabama have already clinched their division titles and a chance to play each other in the SEC Championship, Georgia Tech has clinched the ACC Coastal Division to play the winner of the Atlantic Division, and Ohio State has already clinched the Big 10 and a spot in the Rose Bowl.  We will be able to add three more teams to these lists this weekend.

Texas will officially clinch the Big 12 South with a win over reeling Kansas and punch their tickets for the Big 12 title game (and probably the national championship).

Clemson holds the tie breaker over Boston College, so a win that should be easy against Virginia will win them the ACC Coastal Division and pit them against Georgia Tech in a rematch of the Thursday-night thriller from earlier this season.

Whoever wins the Kansas State at Nebraska game will win the Big 12 North and the long-shot chance to upset Texas.  If Kansas State wins, they finish 5-3 in conference, which is the best record Nebraska could finish with.  Since they would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker, Kansas State wins.  If Nebraska wins, KSU is 4-4 in conference and Nebraska wins outright, as they could do no worse than 5-3.  My money is on Nebraska, as the game is at Nebraska, and the Huskers have looked much better than the Wildcats lately, winning three straight against KSU’s 1-2 in the last three games (with bad losses to Oklahoma and Missouri).

That leaves only the Big East and Pac-10 undecided.  Cincinnati and Pitt are both off this week, so nothing gets decided there.  And, barring an upset of Pitt by West Virginia, the two teams will be undefeated when they meet to decide the conference title on Dec. 5 at Pittsburgh.  Oregon could clinch the Pac-10 with a win over Arizona and a Stanford loss to Cal.  If, on the other hand, Arizona pulls off the upset, the Pac-10 gets launched into tie-breaking madness.  That would open up the possibility of having three teams (Stanford, Arizona and either Oregon or Oregon State) to finish 7-2 in conference play.  Remember last year in the Big 12?  Wanna find out how the Pac-10 breaks those ties? 

But, since I don’t see Stanford or Oregon losing this weekend, I think it won’t be decided until Dec. 3 when Oregon takes on Oregon State.

5.  Three High Profile Coaches Put the Nail in the Coffin of the Current Tenures

Three coaches have seen their names in the news way too much for the wrong reasons than they’d hoped to this year – Mark Mangino of Kansas, Charlie Weis of Notre Dame and Rich Rodriguez of Michigan.  All started the season with such promise.  Kansas started 5-0 and reached as high as No. 16 in the AP Poll.  Notre Dame started 6-2, clawed its way into the rankings and got people talking BCS again.  Michigan started 4-0, including a big win over rival Notre Dame.

It’s been downhill since those first few weeks.

Michigan has lost six of its last seven games since that 4-0 start.  Notre Dame fell out of the rankings again with consecutive losses to Navy and Pitt.  And Kansas has lost five in a row, in addition to Mangino finding himself in a whirlwind of controversy because of his temper.

I’m sorry to say, it won’t get any better this week for any of these coaches.  Notre Dame will lose to UConn (great rushing offense against a bad defense…just look at Navy for the result).  Michigan will get creamed by Ohio State for their sixth straight loss in what was once a great rivalry.  And Kansas will get creamed by Texas.  All three of these coaches will have officially worn out their welcome by the end of this weekend.  Buyouts be darned.  They’re all gone.

Written by Austin Swafford

November 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Week 9 Predictions Recap: The Halloween Mixed Bag Edition

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1.  Straight Chalk On Top 10

I was right on these, with the exception of the only difficult one to pick.  No. 1 Florida had their most impressive win of the season with a 41-17 beatdown of Georgia.  As predicted, Georgia (and Joe Cox in particular) struggled with Florida’s defense.  Cox passed for his third-lowest yard total this year and had a season-high three interceptions, one of which went the other way for six points.  Tim Tebow, on the other hand, had a Heisman-worthy performance, leading his team in rushing (85 yards) and accounting for all four of the Gators’ offensive touchdowns (two passing, two rushing).

No. 3 Texas also had arguably their best win of the season with a 41-14 laugher over No. 14 Oklahoma St. that leapfrogged them back into the No. 2 spot in the polls.

It took No. 4 Iowa the whole game and a little help from the replay officials, but they pulled off another comeback with a 42-24 victory over Indiana.

No. 6 TCU rolled to a 41-0 win over UNLV.

No. 7 Boise St. crushed San Jose State, 45-7.

No. 8 Cincinnati had no problems with Syracuse, despite missing their starting QB for a second straight game, as they won 28-7.

And No. 9 LSU easily dispatched Tulane, 42-0.

Now, for the one I missed.  I’m not stunned that No. 10 Oregon defeated No. 5 USC.  I am stunned at how they did it.  I am stunned that Oregon ended up handing USC its worst loss since 1997 in its 47-20 upset.  I thought that Oregon would struggle because the only teams that have challenged USC have passed well against them.  But, as it turned out, Jeremiah Masoli did just fine taking advantage of USC’s passing defense with his second highest passing total of the season (19-of-31 for 222 yards).  The real shocker, though, was the way the Ducks ran all over the Trojans.  They ran 49 times for 391 yards and four TDs.  That’s an astonishing eight yards per carry.

Add it all up and it comes out to an incorrect pick for me, Oregon’s biggest win of the season and a new No. 8 ranking for the Ducks.

2.  There’s No Place Like Home In The SEC (Unless You’re Vanderbilt)

My two best picks of the week involved the SEC.  All of the SEC teams playing at home won this weekend, save Vanderbilt and Kentucky.  That does include Tennessee’s 31-13 upset of No. 22 South Carolina and Auburn’s 33-20 upset of No. 25 Ole Miss.  Speaking of which…

3.  Game To Watch:  No. 25 Mississippi at Auburn

I said that Mississippi’s strength was running the ball and that defending the run was Auburn’s weakness.  That definitely showed up Saturday as the Rebels ran for 219 yards (against just 175 passing).  However, I also pointed out that Mississippi’s weakness was turnovers and that Auburn was 4-0 when forcing at least two turnovers.

Make it 5-0.

The score was close after a turnover-free first half.  Auburn was up just 10-7.  But the Tigers scored 23 points in the third quarter, at one point sporting a 31-7 lead.  They were helped in large part by two Rebel turnovers, one of which was an interception that went back 29 yards for a TD.  Auburn forced another interception in the fourth to make it three turnovers in the game and walk away with the victory.

4.  The Running Game:  No Problem For West Virginia’s Defense Or California’s Offense

This was my worst prediction of the week.  And after watching South Florida upset No. 21 West Virginia, I didn’t find any new love for the Big East.  Outside of Cincinnati, that is a really bad conference that doesn’t play offense or defense particularly well, and routinely has games where the teams look like they show up completely unprepared to play.  That was what I saw from West Virginia last Friday.

A team that had defended the run pretty well up to that point allowed QB B.J. Daniels to torch them for 104 yards on 14 carries (7.4 yards per carry).  Running back Moise Plancher added 86 yards on 18 carries.  What was worse for the WVU defense, however, was the way that a running QB like Daniels could post season highs for passing yards (232) and passing TDs (3) even while also running all over them.  High praise to Daniels for his performance, but West Virginia’s defense was abysmal.

At least I picked one Pac 10 game right by choosing Cal to best Arizona State.  Though, I have to admit that winning 23-21 on a late field goal was a lot closer than I expected, and that Cal didn’t win for the reason I expected them to.  The Sun Devils found their defensive footing again and held Jahvid Best to 63 yards on 18 carries with no rushing TDs (though he did have seven catches for 61 yards and one TD).  Best has shown to be Marshawn Lynch-like in his ability to run wild on some teams and get bottled up like a JV running back against others.  He’s incredibly inconsistent.

Kevin Riley came to the rescue, though, in one of his best performances on the year.  He had season highs in attempts, completions (27-for-44) and yards (351) as he guided his team to victory with two TDs and zero INTs.

5.  Penn State On Upset Alert…Yes, Against Northwestern

Don’t be deceived by the 34-13 final score…this game looked like it was headed for an upset for the first 45 minutes of play.  Northwestern had a 13-10 halftime lead and went into the fourth quarter tied at 13.  Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that was when Daryll Clark and the Nittany Lions offense took control and scorched Northwestern for 21 points.

The game just wasn’t the same after Northwestern’s starting QB, Mike Kafka, was forced out with an injury during the second quarter.  After that, Northwestern managed just one field goal and was held scoreless in the second half.  Despite the final score, I consider this a lucky escape for Penn State as the Big 10’s power schools continue to appear inconsistent, at best.

Written by Austin Swafford

November 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Coach stats and stats why OSU will beat Iowa

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Record for the past 10 years, including current season

Bob Stoops   – 107-22    (past 9 years, including current season – 94-22)
Mack Brown   – 105-18  (past 9 years, including current season – 96-15)
Jim Tressel – 99-24      (past 9 years, including current season – 90-21)
Pete Carroll –                     (past 9 years, including current season – 94-17)
Urban Meyer  –                 (past 9 years, including current season – 91-17)
Nick Saban   – 90-32       (past 9 years, including current season – 84-26)
Mike Leach   – 81-42       (past 9 years, including current season – 74-36)
Kirk Ferentz – 78-43      (past 9 years, including current season – 75-34)
Les Miles    –                       (past 9 years, including current season – 77-33)
Joe Paterno  – 74-45     (past 9 years, including current season – 69-38)

This small sample of coaches included those coaches that had at least coached 9 seasons, with this current one included.

Also the coach has to currently be an active coach for all the past 9 years.

As you can see, “Big Game Bob” is still riding high after all of his great seasons in the past.
Good ole Mack Brown is on his heels and I am sure will pass him very soon.

For Zeekgeek, Kirk Ferentz is an above average coach but is not quite in the company of the more recent elites.
I would more compare him to Mike Leach in ability since their records are so close and neither has a national championship under their belt.  Ferentz has 2 conference championships and Leach has a division title.
Now on to why I think Ohio State will beat Iowa in a few weeks.

Ohio St. – QB 61st in the nation in passing efficiency
Iowa – QB 63rd in the nation in passing efficiency
We all know both teams have sketchy QB’s

Rushing offense
Ohio st. – 29th in the nation
Iowa – 89th in the nation

Total offense
Ohio St. – 63rd in the nation
Iowa – 74th in the nation

Rushing defense
Ohio St. – 6th in the nation
Iowa – 39th in the nation

Passing defense
Ohio St. – 14th in the nation
Iowa – 26th in the nation

Total defense
ohio St. – 6th in the nation
Iowa – 19th in the nation

Ohio st. – 20th in the nation
Iowa – 55th in the nation

Ohio st. – 3rd in the nation
Iowa – 1st in the nation

Tackles for a loss
Ohio St. – 46th in the nation
Iowa – 77th in the nation

I can’t predict the future, but I know that Iowa has only played one good opponent and beat Penn St., which is why I have picked them in the past.  But in this game, they are playing their toughest game of the season and I will have to go with the Buckeyes.

Written by Jon Castano

November 2, 2009 at 10:38 pm

News Of The Day: Gators give lamest suspension ever to star LB

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Florida announced today that they would be suspending star linebacker Brandon Spikes for trying to gouge the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey.  They’re suspending him for the first half of their next game against Vanderbilt.  Got that?  One-half suspension for reaching into the facemask of an opposing player and trying to gouge his eyes.

LeGarrette Blount got suspended for a season for punching a guy.  Spikes gets a half for reaching into a guy’s facemask and trying to poke his eyeballs.

Sound fair?  Not to me.  Not even close.

The SEC or the NCAA needs to step in on this one and hand down a more severe punishment.  One half against a team Florida will defeat easily is not nearly suspension enough for such an egregious offense.  The way the SEC has been criticized for its refs apparently favoring the teams at the top, this is something I’d really think they’d want to step in and resolve themselves.  They can’t appear to favor the big teams by letting their players get away with such light penalties on such egregious offenses.

I don’t even really understand the punishment.  Have him sit out and give your team a jolt of energy by having their best player on one side of the ball come back in the second half?  How on earth is that actually a punishment?

By the way, I would strongly recommend listening to Mike Golic’s commentary that was posted along with the link above.  It’s mid-way down in the article.  He makes a great case on this.

Written by Austin Swafford

November 2, 2009 at 4:33 pm