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Week One… with a Little Help from the Fab Four

Club_ID_by_BeatlesFanClubWith week one in the books, the football machine is now fully operational.  But if you haven’t noticed, this week is a landmark occasion in the music world.  The Beatles are set to release all their albums today, finally remastered on CD, as well as The Beatles: Rock Band video game.  I have had a chance to hear about half of the remastered albums (we rockers get early access to everything, or we find someone who does), and the results are nothing short of incredible.

But as I listened this weekend, a lot of the songs played as great soundtracks to the weekend of college football.  And once again, I did the work for you.  Here are some timeless Beatles songs and their connection to week one.

Here, There and Everywhere
Notre Dame was all over the field Saturday.  And for once, they weren’t being led around it.  They came out fast, and they stayed that way the entire game.  If they keep this up, maybe Crazy Lou was right.

Let It Be
Air Force did anything but let it be.  Demolishing Nicholls State 72-0 should show the rest of the Mountain West that Air Force should probably not be taken too lightly in 2009.

I’m Looking Through You
Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly almost seemed inside Rutgers’ head coach Greg Schiano’s head the entire game.  Taking a 47-15 beating from a fellow conference team is not a pretty way to start the season.

A Day in the Life
Leave it to Ohio State to make a close game out of a sure blowout.  Just another day in the life for Buckeye fans.

You Can’t Do That
LeGarrette Blount committed one of the worst acts of losing one’s temper that I have ever seen on national television.  Next to Ron Artest.  Needless to say, I fully agree with the year-long suspension, and it should serve as a reminder that as much as you want to lay out an opponent for talking shit, sucker-punches aren’t the answer.

Continue reading

Conference Preview: C-USA

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: Conference USA

For C-USA, they’ve certainly endured their fair share of changes over the last several years. When the Big East and the ACC had their switcheroo in 2003 and 2004, the Big East swooped in and raided the C-USA cupboard. Louisville, South Florida, and Cincy all headed to the Big East, TCU headed to the Mountain West, and Army opted to go independent.

C-USA has battled back, expanded themselves, and finds themselves with certainly notable participants. East Carolina and Tulsa have made their share of national waves, and the conference is slowly and surely on the rebound. Are they a BCS conference? No. Is it exciting football to watch? You had best believe it.

Last 5 Conference Champions:
2008: ECU
2007: UCF
2006: Houston
2005: Tulsa
2004: Louisville

Bowl Tie Ins:
Conference USA has five regular bowl tie-ins, with a contingency to fill a spot in two more games.
#1– The Liberty Bowl receives the first choice of C-USA teams, though it is not required to take the C-USA champion.
#2– The Hawaiʻi Bowl will have the second choice of C-USA teams for the 2009-10 bowl season.[6] [7]
#3– The Armed Forces Bowl receives the third choice of C-USA teams.
#4– The New Orleans Bowl receives the fourth choice of C-USA teams.
#5– The St. Petersburg Bowl receives the fifth choice of C-USA teams.
#6– The EagleBank Bowl will receive the sixth choice of C-USA teams if Army is not bowl-eligible.
#7– The Texas Bowl will receive the seventh choice of C-USA teams if the Big 12 is unable to provide a bowl-eligible team, or if Navy is not bowl-eligible.

Alan’s C-USA Predictions
Order of Finish:
Southern Miss: 9-3 (6-2)
East Carolina: 8-4 (6-2)
UCF: 5-7 (3-5)
Marshall: 5-7 (3-5)
Memphis: 2-10 (1-7)
UAB: 1-11 (1-7)

Tulsa: 9-3 (7-1)
UTEP: 7-5 (6-2)
Houston: 8-4 (6-2)
Rice: 4-8 (4-4)
SMU: 4-8 (3-5)
Tulane: 1-11 (0-8)

Championship Game: Southern Miss defeats Tulsa

League MVP: Damion Fletcher, RB, Southern Miss
Offensive MVP: Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Defensive MVP: CJ Wilson, DE, East Carolina

Biggest Surprise This Season: Southern Miss drops a heartbreaker to Tulsa in the regular season and comes back for revenge with their CUSA Championship Game victory.

Edge’s C-USA Predictions
Order of Finish:
East Carolina: 9-3 (7-1)
Southern Miss: 8-4 (6-2)
UCF: 6-6 (4-4)
Marshall: 5-7 (4-4)
Memphis: 4-8 (2-6)
UAB: 1-11 (1-7)

Houston: 9-3 (7-1)
UTEP: 8-4 (6-2)
Tulsa: 8-4 (6-2)
Rice: 3-9 (3-5)
SMU: 3-9 (2-6)
Tulane: 2-10 (0-8)

Championship Game: Houston defeats East Carolina

League MVP: Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Offensive MVP: DeAndre Brown, WR, Southern Miss
Defensive MVP: CJ Wilson, DE, East Carolina

Biggest Surprise This Season: UTEP shocks Tulsa with an underdog win on October 21st.

The Last Word on the GMAC

It’s Wednesday morning and the Earth is in fact still orbiting the sun just like it was yesterday and eerily similar to how it was when the football Cardinals were 12-0. If Copernicus can coach against a spread offense the way he can explain planetary movements, then I think we may have just found our defensive coordinator.

In looking at the numbers from last night, my feelings about the game haven’t changed much, and they only confirm what I already thought, that we were dominated offensively and defensively. Let’s take them individually, shall we?

On offense, it was just plain horrendous. When it became evident that Nate had little protection from his offensive line, Tulsa sent anywhere from 4 to 8 into the backfield. Most times the pressure worked, occasionally it didn’t, and when he got a throw off at all, it often sailed high. The numbers on Nate? 9-29 for 145 and an INT. It was a season low in both completions and yards, and Nate didn’t complete a pass in the second half. Throw in his 4 fumbles, two of which were lost, and I’d say it was arguably Nate Davis’ worst outing of his career.

The ground attack for Ball State, truly their best offensive weapon this season for the balance it creates was horrendous as well. 78 yards on 28 carries for an average of 2.8 was the final tally. Quale Lewis looked just a step slow against this Tulsa defense, and with Davis struggling to open up the box he was only able to gain 35 yards on 16 carries, his lowest rushing total of the season. His longest run of the night? A nine-yard scamper. For a team that prides itself on balance, at least both rushing and passing were equally terrible. The good news for the offense? Nate was only sacked twice, which tied, and didn’t set, a new record for this season.

Defensively, the Cardinals were gashed early and ran out of gas late. Having the offense go three-and-out all six times in the second half will wear you down a bit. That still is no excuse for the 439 yards given up by the Cardinals to the the Tulsa rush. Tarrion Adams alone had 207 yards and 3 TD. Not good. Alex Knipp checked in with a decent stat line after the game, recording 13 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFL.

The “team” statistics were dominated by Tulsa as well, including a 50% conversion rate for their 18 3rd downs, compared to just 2-15 by the Cardinals and a 632-223 advantage in total yards. By the way, that’s a record for Tulsa. In a fitting bit of irony, the lone bright spot for the Cardinals was punter Chris Miller, who averaged 48.1 yards on 8 kicks, including a 62-yard monster.

So what did we learn last night? Truthfully, nothing. It was a poor game, plain and simple, and many will lose sight of this team and these athletes because of the clunkers they exhibited in their final two outings. Of course, with the passing of time comes perspective. And this team for all of its late season crappery had one unbelievable year. To lose focus of that, to forget the steps made, would be foolish.

“Failure” is a strong word and one that gets tossed about in the sports world a little too often for my taste, especially considering these are a bunch of 18-22 year old kids playing a game. When the proverbial rubber hits the road, this is a team that finished 2008 12-2. They won a MAC West title. They played in a MAC Championship Game. They played in their second consecutive Bowl Game for the first time in school history. They were ranked in the AP Top 25, a first for the school. They were ranked in the Top 12 of the BCS, another first for the school. All tremendously fantastic things that none of us imagined plausible just a few short months ago. When considering the circumstances that changed with this team after the IU game and the injury to Dante Love, it is success of the highest order, no matter how you slice it.

Over the next weeks here at OTP we’ll get you ready for National Signing Day on February 4th, we’ll send off the seniors, and we’ll chat a bit about what we’ll be expecting from the Cardinals in 2009. Regardless, it’s great to be a Ball State Cardinal. Now more than ever before.

(Images from The Star Press)

Immediate GMAC Bowl Thoughts

Sweet merciful Jesus. I’m not sure that I could have scripted the epic fuckbucket of failure that walked out of the stadium in Mobile, AL tonight. It’s just a few hours old and I’m still a jumbled pile of feeling. Pissed? Sure. Disappointed? Yup. Embarrassed? Absolutely. Feeling like an Ohio State fan? A little.

As I said in our GMAC preview, BSU had to play well enough to win. That sounds simple, and almost too easy to really count as a piece of wisdom, but based on the metric tonnage of sheer awfulness that masqueraded as Ball State Football in the MAC Championship Game, that seemed to be asking a lot. As I sit here after the assthrashing is complete, it apparently was too much to request that Ball State play better than a mediocre 2A Indiana high school team.

Amidst the carnage of this 45-13 beating, Tulsa was able to pretty much do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and however they wanted. The BSU offense was stagnant, the defense was spectacularly shitty, the special teams were ordinary at best, and perhaps worst of all, this team just seemed eager to quit, shower, and get their asses out of there. Truly a shame.

I’ll have a little bit better perspective tomorrow and an actual breakdown of the game itself, but this team has a lot of soul searching to do before spring practice. If Stan wants this fanbase to support him despite his quick hire, he had best stop getting his ass handed to him and looking totally and completely outcoached. If Nate wants to go to the NFL, then go. But I find it to be no coincidence that as soon as he began to mention the draft he suddenly didn’t have the focus and success that he used to (and for the record, leaving now would be the worst decision possible, regardless of whatever “advice” Nate is getting from his brother Jose).

The bottom line is the clock is already rolling on 2009, and I can only hope that the underclassmen on this team are as upset as I am about ending this season the extraordinarily awful way that they did.

Harsh? Probably. But this team basically told every fan that bothered to watch them that each and every backhanded snide comment made about them was absolutely true. They played a universally regarded “good” team for what some will consider the first time all season and got the shit kicked out of them. Nate Davis fumbled his way right out of guaranteed money in the NFL like the overrated choke artist he was alleged to be. Ball State played like a joke tonight and exactly the way any small time pretender would have. They played like a team that loaded up on soft scheduling and a subpar conference. All the awful bullshit that got spewed all season long just got signed off on and roundly verified through 60 minutes of play that I’m embarrassed to say I witnessed. Congrats, boys, you just confirmed what everyone already thought.

Congrats to Tulsa, they beat our ass tonight.

GMAC Bowl Preview

You know, I remember when gameday weeks consisted of calling another school’s mascot gay, or comparing wide receivers to inanimate objects (upside down mop for the win!), or making another school’s fans feel all small-like because their team was not, in fact, undefeated as mine was. The good old days, indeed.

I remember the best times, like insinuating Coach Hoke was eating up the homeless people in Muncie at an alarming rate, red checkerboard hobo napsacks and all. I remember making Native-Americans-sobbing-at-litter jokes. I remember when it was all good to be a Ball State fan. Nothing but Whitlock weight jokes and telling every other MAC fanbase to fist themselves in honor of the Cardinals. Then came December 5th.

What started as a fumble-rama against Buffalo in the MAC Championship Game culminated in a fanbase so unused to success and attention that they proceeded to have a collective coronary over things totally outside their control. Over the last 5 weeks or so, things got to fever pitch in Cardinal Nation. Head Coach Brady Hoke headed for bigger and better hobos in San Diego, Stan Parrish was promoted as head coach from his former post as Offensive Coordinator, Nate Davis may go pro or may not, Tom Collins may or may not be an idiot, Jo Ann Gora definitely sent us a form letter, the Ball State Daily News definitely used as a source, Jose Davis likes to talk, on and on and on.

Somewhere amidst all the madness the Cardinals accepted a bid to play Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl down in lovely Mobile, Alabama because contrary to some in the fanbase, it is about the team and staff and not about the administrative shitshow we got to witness. And that team, that staff, those athletes, and this game is where we find our focus for today. We’re not worried about Brady. We’re not worried about Nate. We’re not worried about Coach Parrish. We are worried about climate change, but only because that means Al Gore still has a platform to spew his opinion from. Fuck you, penguins. We never liked you much to begin with. We’re not worried about Boise State invitations, coaching staff turnover, or losing the MAC title game. We’re only worried about Tulsa.

We could do a lengthy post debating the pros and the cons of each offense and defense. We could talk about intangibles and coaching, mascots and fans, tradition and honor. The fact is that all of that sounds good, and it fills column space, but the bottom line for this game is quite simple. If Ball State plays to potential, they win. If they don’t, they lose. Simple as that. They are the better team.

Tulsa is a good team. They had some good wins. Laid some beatings on some people. Took a couple beatings themselves. They are a good football team, and fully capable of beating the Cardinals. They are a balanced offensive show, with equal success running and passing the football. In many respects, this is as close as two teams can get in terms of similar styles.

This Ball State team, however, is a special one. They are a balanced offensive attack like I have never seen, facing a team that isn’t exactly lights out on the defensive side of the football. If they hang onto the ball, they capitalize on opportunities, and they make the big plays, they win. If they cough up the football, take field goals instead of TDs and lose the field position battle, they lose. Big.

The key to this game will rest on the defensive side of the football, and it is whether or not Ball State can slow down the Tulsa offense. Tulsa and their QB David Johnson has tossed 18 INTs this season, so the opportunities will be there to win the turnover battle. Of course, the defense was largely Brady Hoke’s responsibility.

So the long and the short of it is that we here at OTP have no Earthly clue what’s going to happen tonight. Ball State is just as likely to beat Tulsa by 20 as they are to lose by 20. We picked the Cardinals in our Pick’Em with Rocky Top Talk, BlackHeartGoldPants, and Clay Travis, so we’ll stick with them. We guess.

Tulsa 30
Ball State 31

Rich Brooks Proves I Know Nothing

In the fellowship of the miserable of Kentucky football, it is common place to believe that Big Blue will find a way to lose. Even amidst the resurgence of this football team over the last three years, there was always the nagging reality that while improvements were made, this was a team that was beatable. In fact, this was a team that was hard pressed to overcome adversity at all, given that their roster is significantly less talented than the Georgias, the Floridas, and the Tennessees on their schedule. It isn’t a knock on the Wildcats, Rich Brooks, or any of their current roster inhabitants, it is simply a long cold drink of reality in the brutal SEC.

So my pessimism about the Liberty Bowl this week was not entirely out of left field. This edition of the Football Cats were without a reliable quarterback, had injuries rivaling the bravo company of the Iraqi Republican Guard, and still were without receivers who seemed to want to catch the ball. The momentum of the season was clearly headed in the wrong direction, as the Cats closed 08 with 6 losses in 8 games, with their 2 wins coming by a combined 2 points. It wasn’t pretty, but it was 6-6, and with it came the Liberty Bowl and East Carolina.

First and foremost, Rich Brooks is one hell of a football coach for anyone who thought otherwise. After watching his Cats surrender momentum and a 16-3 halftime lead to the Pirates, Brooks made adjustments, lit a fire under their collective asses, and watched his Cats hold the Pirates to 3 second half points while winning 25-19, winning their third consecutive Bowl for the first time in school history, and proving that I clearly don’t know much about football. I’ll have my order of crow with a light cream sauce and some garlic mashed potatoes.

Overall, I thought the game was exciting, enjoyable, and truly uncharacteristic of Kentucky in that they didn’t wilt under pressure or let one get away. It was an unexpected win, but a win that I will celebrate and claim as my own despite thinking it would go the other way. Some other random thoughts about this little Bowl-O-Liberty:

  • The replay official needs an explanation of what “convincing indisputable evidence” means. The Micah Johnson fumble return should have stood, not because it was convincingly evident that it was a fumble, but because there is no possible way it was indisputable that it wasn’t. Thankfully, Ventrell Jenkins and his stiff arm from hell saved the day and potentially an official’s life. Nice work, big fella.
  • Hartline was surprisingly not shitty. I can only think of one piss poor decision (the flea flicker into double coverage) that was a head scratcher. Overall, Hartline did well enough not to lose, and that’s really all I ever wanted from him.
  • All in all, this was one of the more exciting bowl games. Congrats to the players, and most importantly, to Coach Brooks.

So here we are, three straight years of bowling, three straight wins. Hard to believe really, considering the depths of suckery this program has seen in recent memory. Congrats Cats… on to signing day.

Oh Look… the Liberty Bowl

Forgive the delay in posting, as I’ve not only brought back my loot from Christmas, but also a nasty little sinus infection. It’s made watching football a chore, and writing about it while trying to be funny nearly impossible. With the litany of prescriptions I’m chucking down my gullet, I’m optimistic this will be fixed in time for lots of GMAC Bowl coverage for Ball State. But if not, I’m sure Edge and RV can provide your fix.

Bowl Season is winding down, though, as only a handful of games remain. The Bowls this year have been, in my opinion, outstanding. Upsets galore, most games exciting to watch, and some amazing individual performances by players you did and didn’t know. In the two BCS Bowls so far, neither were exceptionally exciting, though both played out much differently than I expected. While nowhere close to “competitive”, the Penn State-USC game was not the blood bath I expected. Virginia Tech intercepted their way to a victory in the Orange Bowl, and we’re left with only 3 major bowl games left to decide the season. Tonight’s matchup of Alabama-Utah has the potential to be a dandy, while Monday’s Ohio State-Texas tilt should once again demonstrate why OSU and the BCS have no business together.

Today, though, features a three-peat of football action with the aforementioned Bama-Utah Sugar Bowl the nightcap to today’s schedule. Starting us off in an hour or so is Ole Miss-Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Entertainment is sure to follow as you have two of the best soundbyte coaches in Houston Nutt and Mike Leach. It’s a prelim of the Big 12-SEC matchup featured in the national title game, but Tech is no Oklahoma and Ole Miss is no Florida, though Ole Miss did hand the gators their lone loss.

The happy hour fiesta of the Liberty Bowl is what I’m concerning myself with today, though, as Kentucky battles East Carolina. Both teams slid ass-backwards into a Bowl game, and ended the year much differently than they started. When 2008 started, ECU was everyone’s darling, beating BCS team after BCS team. Kentucky started the season 4-0, and gave Alabama one of their closest games of the season. Injuries plagued the Cats, and the losses soon followed. Finishing 6-6, but 2-6 in the SEC is not the way to end your season.

The Cats are struggling mightily right now, without Randall Cobb, and in dire need of an offense. The best thing about today’s Liberty Bowl will be that when it ends, this season is over for Kentucky and 2009 can quickly get rolling, a year that figures to be tremendously better for the football Cats than 08. Any showing that’s better than total embarrassment is a moral victory for these wounded kittens, but I’ll be shocked if Big Blue rolls out of Memphis with a W.

I’ll go with an official I-Hope-I’m-Way-Wrong-Prediction of:
ECU 24
UK 10

5pm… ESPN… be there or be square.

Kentucky Goes Bowling… Really?

I will preface this by saying that I am content with this football season at face value. This was a Kentucky team that by all measures would struggle as the push was made not to win, but to continue to win, a feat that had been virtually impossible in Lexington until now. There were injuries, there was chaos at the QB position, an angry fanbase, and excitement, disappointment, rejoice, and letdown all rolled in to one.

I am thrilled for the seniors that get to go to their third straight bowl game, who will close their careers with the potential to do something that no team has done in school history (win 3 straight). But frankly, this whole bowl has a “meh” sort of feeling for me. Why is that? Glad you asked…

  • The Cats are playing a midmajor East Carolina team. This isn’t a team like Florida State or Clemson, who bring some sort of name recognition. This is East Carolina, who banked their early season good will by beating severely over-ranked West Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Pirates faded down the stretch, losing three in a row at one point, squeaking by in several others, and just playing uninspired football. And now, it’s a no-win situation for Kentucky. A win and it’s what they should have done, a loss and it’s the talk of the news. This opponent does not excite me in the least.
  • The Cats are playing in a location that no one wants to be in. It’s Memphis. It’s the Liberty Bowl. This is not a premier location. This is not a premier Bowl. Yes, the Cats went to two straight Music City Bowls, but to campaign hard for the Liberty Bowl just to go someplace different seems ridiculous. This location excites me even less than the opponent.
  • The Cats are quite simply put, an average football team. At best. This Kentucky team is .500. They were 2-6 in the SEC, winning their 2 conference games by a combined 2 points. The only QB they had that showed any sort of moxy is doubtful for the Liberty Bowl, and the last time they took the field they looked stagnant, uninspired, and like they were going through the motions in Knoxville.

On one hand, I’m happy the Cats made a Bowl game as around 50 schools can’t say that. But to be truthful, I just wish they were staying home this holiday season. I’m not thrilled about the Bowl, the opponent, or the team itself, and am just counting down the days until next year.

I hope the Cats prove me wrong. I hope the Cats respond well to the month or so off, get healthy, and close the season on a high note. Hopeful, but not optimistic. This team has given me no reason thus far to be optimistic at all. And within a much larger argument, I’m not convinced a 6-6 team with a 2-6 conference record who won a game over a 1-AA opponent deserves to even be Bowling in the first place. Meh.

Humpday Quickies

It’s Humpday here at OTP, and though mid-week games and conference championships have preempted our normal humpday quickage for the last couple weeks, we’re back with a vengeance. Both Kentucky and Ball State are going Bowling, the Wildcats in the Liberty Bowl and the Cardinals in the GMAC Bowl. Their opponents? East Carolina and Tulsa respectively, who ironically played each other for the Conference USA championship. Off we go…

Ball State Quickies:

  • Brady Hoke was named the FBS Region III Coach of the Year this week. He was also named one of 10 finalists for the Coach of the Year for the entire FBS division. A great honor for a man who took over a steaming turd and has turned it into a consistent winner.
  • In other Brady Hoke news, Hoke has vehemently denied being contacted by any other program, but Doug Zaleski of The Star Press says multiple schools are interested, according to Hoke’s agent. So take that with a giant boulder of salt.
  • What might be making that decision easier is the fact that junior QB Nate Davis announced after the MAC Championship game he will return for his senior season. I’ll believe it when it happens, hence why there hasn’t been much about this on the site, but cool if true.
  • Interesting read from the Daily News about Nate Davis’ announcement that he will return from the eyes of his brother, Jose.
  • Good read and a national stage for Nate, as USA Today wrote up a feature article on his skills, his season, and why he chose the Cardinals.
  • Ball State assistant coach Stan Parrish is named a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in the country. It’s a great honor and well-deserved for Coach Parrish.
  • Frankfort Times columnist and fellow BSU blogger over at The Sixth Ball Brother, Phil Friend has a great piece on a student manager at BSU.
  • Proving again that football is a truly team effort, 12 Cardinals made the roster of the All-MAC teams. Truly a great accomplishment for players who don’t get a lot of pub nationally.

Kentucky Quickies:

  • Three Cats (Tim Masthay, Trevard Lindley, and Micah Johnson) were tabbed for All-SEC teams today.
  • Nice little write up on the Liberty Bowl, ECU, and the fact that Brooks and co. didn’t want to travel to Nashville. Again.
  • KSR is reporting that QB Coach Randy Sanders is in talks with Tennessee Chattanooga about their vacant head coaching position. A little surprising, and this would be a big loss for the Cats. I’ve always been a supporter and fan of Sanders, and believe he was largely responsible for coaching Andre Woodson to such a great year last year.
  • Trevard Lindley, Jeremy Jarmon, and Michah Johnson are all going to test their stock at the NFL draft.
  • In the old but still awful news department, Randall Cobb is doubtful for the Liberty Bowl. Awesome.

Everyone Else Quickies:

  • In Tennessee Volunteer news, the Lane Kiffin era has begun, and the Phil Fulmer psuedo era continues in an administrative role within the university.
  • A really interesting read about what sort of swag the players get for various Bowl Games.
  • Another George O’Leary player collapses because of heat related stress. At least this one didn’t die. How many players have to keel over before a university begins to make some personnel changes?
  • Orson at EDSBS summarizes every Bowl Game in ten words. Classic.
  • In the Texas Will Still Be Awesome Next Year category, QB Colt McCoy announced he was staying for his senior season in Austin. Great news for Texas, bad news for everyone else.
  • Tim Tebow, he of baby rhino build, also said he was leaning to the same thing. About staying. Not about Texas being good.
  • The Wall Street Journal chimes in with what the success of southern football says about America.
  • I’m not sure what the exact definition of “utter unbelievable tragedy” but this is close. Sort of makes me remember that these people I’ll never know who entertain the living piss out of me every weekend are still inherently flawed human beings just like the rest of us. Sad. Infinitely, ridiculously, senselessly sad.

Weekend Carnage Report

This was one of the more ho-hum weekends in college football, as evidenced by the lack of change in the Top 15 of the BCS. The season is winding down, and some teams are beginning to believe again while others are realizing that their season or in some cases, their career, might be over. Some good finishes were there for the finding for the truly dedicated, but this may have been a nice weekend to step outside, get some fresh air, and remind your loved ones that you do indeed care about more than an oblong ball and a set of uprights. (Of course, this isn’t true, but loved ones are usually foolish, blinded by their feelings and emotions. This goodwill should last you at least through the conference championships, then you can buy enough Christmas gifts to allow you uninterrupted Bowl watching. Thank me later.) On to the weekend…

The Good

  • Florida. As in really really good. I think most thought the South Carolina-Florida game would at least be fun to watch. Not so much. Florida jumped on the Gamecocks early, often, and impressively in route to a 56-6 shellacking. I said it in June, and I’ll say it again here… this Florida team is the best in the country. And the National Championship is their’s to lose.
  • Utah. The Utes had to be hearing the whispers after an ugly win over TCU that they were a tad bit overrated. Coupled with the other non-BCS undefeateds and the Utes needed a statement win. They got it in the form of a 63-14 pounding of hapless San Diego State. Granted, SDSU is 1-10, but good teams blow bad teams out. A lesson some of the big boys and a few of the mid-majors would do well to remember.
  • Maryland. In defeating 16th ranked North Carolina on Saturday, the Terps not only made their claim for the ACC Championship, but also defeated their 6th straight ranked opponent. If Ralph Friedgen could ever figure out how to beat the Middle Tennessee’s of the world, the Terps would be amazing.
  • Ball State. The Cards defeated Miami on Tuesday last for their first 10-0 start in school history. They drop three spots in the BCS, leapfrogged by TCU and BYU in the process as their reward. Up next for the Cardinals will be Central Michigan on Wednesday, a game that should they win, will get the Cardinals some respect in the minds of the computers and the pollsters.

The Bad

  • Syracuse/Greg Robinson. Alas, the love affair between Greg Robinson and Syracuse has come to a bitter bloody end after a 39-14 beating by UConn in the final home game of the 08 season. Robinson was 9-36 in his career and 3-25 in the Big East. In trying to find at least a little humor in this otherwise awful situation for Syracuse fans, Robinson won 2 of his 3 games against Louisville. Proving yet again that Louisville sucks.
  • Washington. Remaining the only winless team in FBS, the Huskies now close the season against 1-10 Washington State and 6-4 Cal. If Ty is going to go out with a win, he would do well to beat Wazzu. At least they kept it semi-close against UCLA.
  • Tulsa. Just a few short weeks ago, Tulsa was everyone’s darling with thier glitzy high powered offense and head coach Todd Graham appearing on many short lists for vacancies. Looks like the Golden Hurricanes are petering out to be a minor rain storm as they get violated by Houston 70-30.
  • Michigan. One of the most storied programs in history has its first 8-loss season after the 21-14 loss to Northwestern. Deep breaths, M fans… with Coach Rod it only gets better after the first season.

The Ugly

  • LSU. The Tigers needed a 30-point fourth quarter to defeat the Troy Trojans 40-31. If you’re good at math, that means they were trailing 31-10 when the 4th quarter began. That’s simply inexcusable. It was a night game in Tiger Stadium for Christ’s sake. A lot of folks are talking about how overrated the SEC is, and LSU is one of the many reasons why.
  • Wake Forest/Florida State/North Carolina. Apparently, no one wants to win the ACC as all of the ranked teams in the conference got beat this weekend. At least Wake and UNC were on the road. The ACC Title and the accompanying BCS Bowl and $17 million payday is like a bad penny that no one wants. Do everyone a favor and just forfeit your auto-bid.
  • The BCS. I know I’m biased. But Ball State wins their game, they are undefeated, and ahead of them in the BCS standings are a bunch of two-loss teams and right behind them is LSU. They were jumped by TCU and BYU, effectively ending their hopes of a BCS game. It’s complete and utter bullshit, and I for one, am pissed. The major conferences created a shitty little sandbox and refuse to let anyone else in. There will be a post forthcoming about this, but I’m not happy right now.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan:

  • Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa: Greene gashed Purdue for 211 yards and 2 scores in the Hawkeyes victory over the Boilers. Javon Ringer gets a ton of press, but Greene is just as good if not better.
  • Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: In a game ripe for stat building, Harvin took advantage of the South Carolina defense for 167 rushing yards and 2 TDs.
  • MiQuale Lewis, RB, Ball State: In the win over Miami, Lewis hung 165 yards and 2 TDs on the Red Hawks while helping BSU to its firsts 10-0 start in school history. Lewis has quietly amassed some impressive stats this season, moving to 7th in the nation in yards per game.