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Lane Kiffin… Now Hated By ALL SEC Fans

We won't have Lane Kiffin to kick around anymore (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

In December of 2008, Lane Kiffin was announced as the latest coach of the Tennessee Volunteers and subsequently became SEC Enemy #1 for 11 of the 12 member institutions’ fanbases. Hell, even the Tennessee fans were mixing their happiness with at least some level of trepidation due largely to Lane’s lack of experience, resume, or anything remotely resembling success.

Perhaps Kiffin’s hiring was a direct result of the season that Tennessee had just endured. Aside from losses, it was the bitter end to the Fulmer era, and this once proud program had more than its share of tarnish. Maybe they needed someone young. Maybe they needed someone brash. Maybe they needed someone who would skirt the occasional rule to get ahead. Regardless of whatever they needed that’s exactly what they got. All those things… and then some.

In record time it seemed, Kiffin had restored not only the success, but also the swagger to Tennessee. Perhaps it was the recruiting prowess of Ed Orgeron. Perhaps it was the defensive prowess of his father Monte, who turned UT’s defense into a respectable unit once again. And just as quickly as this Kiffin era started at Tennessee, it ends, as Kiffin accepts the head coaching position at USC and his number of SEC schools that hate is guts is now a perfect 12 for 12.

When Pete Carroll left USC this weekend, most believed it would be the first of many dominoes that would fall in the coaching world. USC, despite its lack of success in 2009, is still a premier program in FBS. But so is Tennessee. And these sort of lateral moves are a rarity in college football. Take a better job, and no one begrudges you. Take at best an equal job, after stirring up so much verbal doodie before you leave, and you are a borderline douchebag. Kiffin leaves a program where he could have been revered, where he could have competed for SEC titles year in and year out, and most shockingly, in the winter before a fall when most experts believe the SEC East will be lacking a front-runner.

Besides all of that, perhaps the one thing that would give some coaches pause before taking the head coaching gig in Los Angeles is the potential for NCAA sanctions thanks to Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush, and Joe McKnight. For Kiffin, dealing with the NCAA is nothing new and if the trend continues, this sort of thing was simply bound to happen at Tennessee. At least now Kiffin can get the LA exposure in advance of the probation.

Normally as a Kentucky fan, I wish ill on the Volunteers. However, this may be the worst case possible for a major football program. A coach leaves after most of the premier BCS level candidates (Brian Kelly, Charlie Strong, etc.) have already been hired, quits a few weeks before signing day, and takes his entire staff with him. Questions now abound like whether or not the class that Kiffin had crafted will stick with Tennessee, whether the current roster loses any talent because of transfer, and all the other things that accompany a coaching shift. The kicker is UT and athletic director Mike Hamilton have approximately 3 weeks to find a coach, save a class, and stop the bleeding. Good luck.

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2009… Get Ready for the History Books

Best ever? In the running.

In the words of the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” Things lately that are worth talking about…

  • Alabama Brings a Title Back Home: When Nick Saban was hired in 2007, most Crimson Tide fans felt it was only a matter of time until Alabama was celebrating another national championship. The number that thought Saban would do it within 3 years was significantly smaller. Some will say it was a tainted victory as Colt McCoy was injured moments into the contest, but a win is a win, and very few will remember the details like that years into the future. What will be remembered, though, is the fact that Nick Saban has now won 2 titles at 2 different schools and appears on the verge of building a Camelot of his own in Tuscaloosa.
  • Pete Carroll Takes His Show on the Road: In recent years, the closest thing to an Emperor in college football has been Pete Carroll in Los Angeles. With no NFL team in town, a resurgent Trojan program, and recruiting classes that rival some of the best in the history of the sport, Carroll was building a dynasty at USC that was cementing him as one of the best coaches in the game. Now, amid rumors that NCAA sanctions are looming and after arguably one of the most disappointing Trojan campaigns in recent memory, Carroll has bolted for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Perhaps it was Carroll’s way of leaving before more mediocre years occurred. Perhaps Carroll is attempting to get out of town before the NCAA drops the proverbial hammer on the Trojans for Reggie Bush and apparently Joe McKnight. No matter what the reason, the fact that Carroll is leaving creates one of the most coveted job openings in all of college football, and one can rest assured that the coaching dominoes that for the moment appeared somewhat secure are about to be reshuffled all over again.
  • Tommy Tuberville’s Texas Opportunity: The arguments about whether or not Mike Leach should have actually been fired, whether or not Adam James and his father are telling the truth, and whether or not being placed in a shed is good for your concussion are best left to the legal beagles and such, not smarmy sports blogs. What is certainly open for question though is Tech’s hiring of Tommy Tuberville to build upon the Leach legacy and the program that the crazy pirate rebuilt from the ground up. If I was Tuberville, I would be guardedly optimistic. I have a stable of athletes, I have a great recruiting base, and I have a team that knows what it’s like to win. Unfortunately, I’m in the toughest division of one of the two best conferences in football, I’m second-best in the state I reside in after the Longhorns, and I have an offense built specifically for someone else’s scheme and a defense which leaves much to be desired. I’m sure Tuberville was ready to return, but I cannot believe this is going to be a successful venture.
  • The Bowl Gods Wanted Blood, and Got It: For anyone who thought they knew college football, the 09 Bowl season was clearly an exercise in humility. No conference went undefeated, but none went winless either, proving again that an epidemic of parity is alive and well in college football.

A little later today we’ll have our final polls of the season, our CBS Sports Blogpoll ballot, and the SEC Power Poll. We’ll also have the announcement of the OTP Bowl Challenge Winner, and what they have won… aside from bragging rights. OTP has been on a bit of a break the last couple weeks as we savored not only the Holidays and the time away from things like our actual jobs, but we also wanted to simply enjoy the last few games of 2009’s season. Now that we’ve done that, it’s full steam ahead. We’re a few weeks away from signing day, and that’s when 2010 really begins for us. We need to close out 2009 with things like our Cardinal Senior Sendoffs, the evaluations of our preseason predictions, Edge’s superb stat work, and a look at the things that made 2009 an exciting time. That’s this week… and next week… it’s go time for ’10. Buckle up…

Shoveling Out for Some News

NCAA probation?!? Me?!?! NEVER!

Apologies for the delay in posting, as not only is it a fairly slow time around Ball State land, the weather Gods decided to pummel the Washington, DC area with 20 inches of snow. While blessed with the Cardinal Mobile with 4-wheel drive, dealing with lane upon lane of Maryland drivers who can’t drive in sunshine-laden dry roads makes for stressful times, traffic at the wazoo, and no time to even catch up on what’s going on. So let’s play some catch up…

  • Buffalo hires Jeff Quinn: I think most who watched the Cincinnati Bearcats this season believe that it was more about Kelly and less about Quinn, but kudos to Buffalo for doing what most fans of mid-major programs hope for… hiring a coordinator from a BCS level school. In Buffalo’s case, they got the best around, as Quinn’s UC squad is heading to the Sugar Bowl after being just short of playing for a national title. Quinn will stay on at UC for the Sugar Bowl, which is a bit surprising in my mind, but Buffalo fans seem to be ok with that, so bully for them.
  • San Jose State hires Mike MacIntyre: Not really noteworthy since SJSU is far from a national program, but I never thought I would see the day when a Duke offensive coordinator was at the top of anyone’s list, unless it was a list of worst coaches in the country.
  • Joe McKnight/USC may be dirty after all: For years I’ve had to endure RV telling anyone who would listen that Pete Carroll and the Trojans were the dirtiest program in all of college football. All that was without anything resembling evidence or even questionable tactics, short of the Reggie Bush mess. Now, though, it appears there may be some more significant smoke from this supposed non-fire. If I considered myself a USC fan, I would be concerned. As I’m not, I can only hope this ends brutal, bloody, and legacy tainting.
  • Bowl Season has begun: Not like Ball State fans would notice since our Cardinals are nowhere to be found this Bowl season, unlike the previous two. As much as philosophically, I’m opposed to a system rewarding .500 teams in mid-level conferences by allowing them to play in a bloated Bowl season that ends up costing institutions of higher learning hundreds of thousands of dollars, I love it and watch them religiously. The largest spread of the Bowls was the opener… the New Mexico Bowl, where Fresno State was spotting Wyoming 13. One game in… one point spread obliterated as Wyoming upends the Bulldogs in double overtime. Here’s hoping that the rest of ’em are just as good.

Amidst the coaching changes, Bowl discussion, etc., Cardinal fans are left wondering/waiting/hoping about the futures of MiQuale Lewis and Madaris Grant, two Cardinals awaiting rulings from the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility for medical hardships. Part of me is optimistic that the NCAA will give these kids a chance, but following college athletics has taught me really only one thing… that the NCAA figures out what is sensible, logical, and reasonable, and then does the exact opposite.

Conference Champs and the Last Weekend of 09

Bittersweet. That’s how I would characterize this past weekend in college football around OTP Manor. To have great games on, beginning with Thursday’s Civil War is a fantastic way to spend a few days. To realize on Saturday as you’re soldiering through a Wisconsin-Hawaii blowout that after that there are only 35 FBS games left this season is a bit of a buzzkill. At least conference championship weekend brought the thunder and gave 2009 more of what it had all season long: upsets, upsets gone awry, and controversy.

More after the jump…

Continue reading

Weekend Carnage Report

boom-goes-the-dynamite-bria

Boom goes the Weekend Carnage Report


If OTP were a train, our actual real life function and existence Monday totally derailed the high hopes and expectations of the morning and afternoon. Post victory hangover? Perhaps. And while I wish we had all day to celebrate and mock since we have victory numero uno, part of me falls along the “Act Like You’ve Been There Before” line. We have been here before… 12 times last season to be exact, but for whatever reason, this win, this 29-27 eeking out over Eastern Michigan just tastes a lot sweeter than many of the wins last season.

Perhaps that’s because this one was unknown. Perhaps because this one silenced more critics, both internal and external, than any victory last season. Perhaps it was because of the record breaking day on the ground. It really is hard to say why I feel the way I do, because the game was far from perfect. The defense played deplorable at times, outstanding at others. As good as the running game was with Quale Lewis and Cory Sykes going for over 500 yards, the passing defense was just as bad… going for 1 yard. Singular. Not good. The special teams were far from special, as an extra point and a field goal were both blocked, and EMU was able to have favorable field position thanks to shoddy kick coverage most of the time.

The injury bug? He’s back again, this time claiming Eric Williams, the promising young tailback who at times this season has been the most exciting player on the field offensively for the Cardinals. No official word from BSU, but Williams has alerted us it’s an MCL sprain.

Any other time, a victory over a winless, hapless, severely overmatched squad like Eastern Michigan wouldn’t be cause for excessive celebration, but this time is different. The monkey is off the back of Stan Parrish and the team… finally.

The rest of the weekend…

The Good

  • Iowa: Their wins have been far from sexy, but the Hawkeyes continue to roll them up. Only a handful of teams in each of the major conferences control their own destiny any longer for a conference title, and Iowa is one of those lucky few. A win at Ohio State on 11/14 and avoiding trap games against Indiana and Illinois locks the Hawkeyes in for the conference crown and the BCS payday.
  • Cincinnati: The Bearcats are also in the control your own destiny camp, and took most of the country by surprise. Cynics will point to the lack of major opponents, but supporters can just as easily point to what Cincy has been able to do to those not so impressive teams. The area of largest concern heading into the season, the defense, has been more than impressive for the Bearcats.
  • TCU: After dismantling BYU at BYU this weekend, the Horned Frogs are making a serious case that it should be them, and not Boise State as the top ranked non-automatic qualifier. TCU’s performance on Saturday was dominant and one-sided, which is what they’ll need to keep doing to have a shot at the big dollar Bowls.

The Bad

  • North Carolina: After squandering a second half lead to Florida State and dropping their 3rd ACC contest of the season, the Tar Heels, whom many predicted to contend for the ACC find themselves in a virtual must win this Thursday at Virginia Tech to save face and try to go Bowling.
  • Kansas: The Jayhawks had the opportunity to plant their flag in the Big 12 North race with a win over a depleted and somewhat weakened Oklahoma team. After their loss, the Jayhawks now find themselves in a perilous position with the meat of their schedule upon them.
  • Rice/Miami (OH)/Eastern Michigan/Western Kentucky/New Mexico: All still winless after 8 weeks of action.

The Ugly

  • Alabama: Needed a blocked field goal in the final seconds to ensure a victory over Tennessee. It certainly raises some questions about which team in this contest was wrongly valued by the pundits and pollsters. My gut says Tennessee just plays big against big time opponents, and I hope my worst case fears that the Kiffin system actually works are not realized.
  • Auburn: LSU delivered the Tigers’ third straight loss. Auburn was a team being lauded mere weeks ago as a potential SEC West darkhorse. After Arkansas, Kentucky, and LSU, Auburn is falling back to Earth and quickly.
  • SEC Officials: No one had taken more heat leading up to Saturday’s action than the official crews in the Southeastern Conference. After yet another gameday across the south dictated by shoddy calls and blatant incorrect review decisions, there are some major questions being raised. All totally valid and worth exploring, but truly unfortunate that the country’s best conference, who happens to find themselves under the biggest microscope, is missing call after call after call.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • MiQuale Lewis/Cory Sykes, RBs, Ball State: In the win over Eastern Michigan, the Cardinal backfield rushed for over 500 yards. That’s more than most teams gain on the ground in two games. Hapless opponent? Of course. Any reason to not celebrate their accomplishment? Nope.

Weekend Carnage Report

Huge ManateeBetter late than never, certainly, and the lack of which is making me reconsider heading to a distant road game in the future. On one hand, we have the delayed posting, the inability to get stuff done while traveling, etc. On the other, it’s southern barbecue, southern beauties, and maybe some of the nicest people on Earth. More on the Auburn trip tomorrow, but for now, it’s time to run through the weekend.

The Good

  • Florida/Texas/Alabama: Points to the top 3 for taking care of business and not losing. The same cannot be said for more than a few Top 10 teams. Bonus points to the Gators for doing it on the road, against a decent team, after an injury to Tebow.
  • Iowa: In what has become an annual rite of passage, the Hawkeyes knock off Penn State and essentially ending any hope of Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions to compete for a national title. Whether Iowa continues this sort of success is anyone’s guess, but for now, they certainly look like favorites for the Big 10.
  • Auburn: Bias because of watching them in person? Perhaps. But the Tigers looked damn good on Saturday against Ball State. Give a team like Auburn the emotion of a game against Alabama and they are certainly a darkhorse SEC West contender.

The Bad

  • Ole Miss: For weeks now, anyone that has lauded the Rebels as potential BCS busters has had to deal with a host of folks who throw around terms like “overrated”, “has played no one”, and “Nutt can’t coach a two-car funeral”. Frankly, after the performance on Thursday night, I may have to agree with the latter and not the former.
  • Maryland: Another week, another home loss for the Terps. At least this team the opponent was an BCS conference school. With Rutgers’ victory, the grumblings about Ralph Friedgen are getting louder, more insistent, and more correct.
  • Cal: Just as we were beginning to drink the Cal Kool Aid, Oregon came along with their fancy uniforms and ran roughshod all over the Bears. Did Cal not show up? Oregon simply play the game of their lives? Who knows. What is known is that Cal only mustered 77 yards on the ground. Not good at all.

The Ugly

  • LSU: Whether it was simply the football Gods not trying hard enough to upset the Tigers, their win over Mississippi State was not something that inspires any sort of confidence in the Tigers. This week? Georgia. Next week? Florida. Play like this past weekend, and say hello to 0-2.
  • Notre Dame: Notre Dame needed a miscue from Purdue’s coaches to pull out a victory, one that should have been nowhere as close as it was. Clausen injury or not, ND needs to lay the wood to teams like Purdue. This game did nothing to ease the yells for Charlie Weis.
  • Georgia/Georgia Tech: The Jekyll and Hyde sort of teams from the Yellow Jackets and the Bulldogs makes anyone watching them want to tear their hair out. GT gets blown out on national televison, then defeats UNC. Georgia struggles against everyone, does it again, but pulls out the victory. This has to stop eventually. Right?

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • BJ Daniels, QB, South Florida: Leading the Bulls for the first time after an injury to Matt Groethe, and Daniels rings up the Noles for 341 total yards and 2 passing TDs.
  • Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati: 9 catches and 177 yards with his 2 TDs as Cincy outlasts Fresno, moves to 4-0, and gains even more national attention.
  • Russell Wilson, QB, NC State: Lights up Pitt for 413 total yards and 4 TDs… you know… that Pitt team that was vaunted for its defensive presence.

From Edge

  • The Oregon Ducks: Outgained the Bears 524-207, withstood 3 lost fumbles, scored 42 unanswered. Dominating.
  • Case Keenum, QB, Houston: 435 yards passing and TDs passing and rushing as the Cougars rally past Texas Tech, move to 3-0, and are looking every bit the team capable of busting the BCS
  • God, Jesus, Vishnu, Buddha, whoever: Offering up a plate of hot Karma to Tim Tebow for his apparent taunting of Kentucky fans in the first quarter.
  • De-sticker goes to Purdue for calling a timeout at the end of the Purdue-ND game.  Just stupid football right there.

From RV

  • Quoted for posterity: “I didn’t get a chance to watch enough but I give all my helmet stickers to the dude who knocked tebow into the afterlife.” (Ed. Note: “The Dude” being Taylor Wyndham, DE for Kentucky)

Weekend Carnage Report

Apologies for the delay this morning… stupid real life. We’re back now, though, and playing catch up for most of the morning. The weekend itself was noteworthy more for what didn’t happen (Tennessee not getting destroyed, USC struggling, etc.) than for what did, but it’s another weekend over.

Thankfully, the time for teams to load up on tomato cans from FCS or pitifully overmatched FBS teams is drawing to a distinct close as conference play is just around the corner for most. I, for one, cannot tell you how exciting it was to welcome the 3:30 SEC/CBS marriage back onto my television. It had been gone far too long. Off we go…

Ball State logoBall State Report: More coming in a bit, but frankly, this one was both disappointing and encouraging, if that’s even possible. In what’s sort of become a refrain so far this season… as bad as we played all game, we were still in a position to win it. While it sucks we’re 0-3, this isn’t like we’re getting beat by 60 points. Having said that, we play at Auburn this weekend, where the potential for a beating of epic proportions is entirely possible. Could this be the weekend where lightning strikes? Who knows…

Kentucky LogoKentucky Report: It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless for the Wildcats. Years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case, as UK tried every way in the world to give that game to the Cardinals. Penalties, turnovers, clock problems, etc. all colored this game, and could have very easily been the reasons why a loss was inevitable. Fortunately for UK, the football Gods and more specifically Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb smiled on them Saturday as they walked out of Commonwealth a winner. Tremendous effort by Louisville, though. Totally unexpected. More a bit later on this one as well.

On to the weekend…

The Good

  • Washington: With a stout defensive effort, as well as some key USC injuries, the Huskies upset #3 USC on Saturday, snapping a 10-game Pac 10 losing streak and announcing to the world that Steve Sarkisian, was in fact, the right man for the job.
  • Oklahoma: No Sam Bradford? No problem for the Sooners, who dismantled Tulsa 45-0 behind the arm of backup QB Landry Jones. The freshman threw for 336 yards and 6 TDs, leaving many wondering how they would have done against BYU without Bradford at all.
  • Oregon: After the punch heard round the world, and their 1-1 start, most had written off Oregon as any sort of threat out west. With Saturday’s victory over Utah, the Ducks announced they are still very much in the picture, while dealing the non-automatic qualifiers a significant blow to their BCS hopes.

The Bad

  • BYU/Utah: Two teams that most thought would be in the conversation for a BCS at large berth, especially given the Cougars upset of Oklahoma to start the season. Both beaten on Saturday, and both virtually guaranteed to not be in the BCS.
  • Maryland: Following the trend of the last few seasons, Maryland certainly played to their competition Saturday in Byrd Stadium as they were upset by Middle Tennessee State on a last second field goal. “Upset” may be a bit much, though, considering the Terps needed overtime to beat James Madison last weekend and were beaten by MTSU last year.
  • USC: Saturday’s upset at Washington was another example of SC underperforming at least once per season. The last 4, to be exact, were all characterized by a Trojan loss to an unranked opponent. It’s not a question whether or not Pete Carroll can coach a big game, it’s whether or not he can coach the run of the mill ones.

The Ugly

  • Kentucky: A Louisville team that is the bottom of the Big East shouldn’t test anyone the way they did on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether this was more Louisville playing over their heads or Kentucky under theirs. With the Gators heading to Lexington on Saturday, we shall have an answer to that question.
  • Florida: Blame the swine flu, but Florida looked far from sharp or dominant in their 10-point victory over Tennessee. Rivalry games have a ridiculous tendency to be close, but the margin in this one was surprising to say the least.
  • Penn State: Another weekend, another win for the Nittany Lions, but like every other victory this season, it was far from a blowout, the Nittany Lions far from dominant, and this one was again against a MAC school. Ugly for not only their margin, but their continuous opponents who provide no real challenge.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • Jahvid Best, RB, Cal: Further proving that he is without question the best running back in college football, Best racked up 131 yards and 5 TDs in the Golden Bears victory over a tough Minnesota team.
  • Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: 22-31 300 yds, 2 TDs in a victory over Michigan State, a win the Irish desperately needed.
  • Jeremy Avery, RB, Boise State: 186 rushing yards, 83 receiving yards, and a TD in the victory over upset minded Fresno State.

From Edge

  • Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Record setting performance with 6 TD tosses in a Sooner victory… as a freshman.
  • Washington: The entire team for upsetting USC and costing them a good chance at a national title. Congrats.

Weekend Carnage Report

Exciting weekend for college football, and sort of unexpected. Only one game between Top 25 teams (USC-OSU), and that one turned out to be a doozy. Upsets of Oklahoma State and Notre Dame, and the emergence of Tate Forcier as a Forcier to be reckoned with all made the weekend memorable.

Ball State logoBall State Report: The Cardinals now have a week to ready themselves for the Black Knights of Army, and what could potentially be either the turning point or the early beginning to the end of this season. A victory means the heat gets turned down a bit and the vociferous outcries of anger about Stan Parrish get quieted. Temporarily, at least. A loss spirals things further out of control, and no one wants that.

Kentucky LogoKentucky Report: The Cats had an off week, and now face the task of preparing for archrival Louisville. The Cardinals are certainly nothing to write home about recently, and have given no evidence that this year will be any different. Big Blue has to stay focused and not overlook this team, but I think most Cats fans and probably more than a few Louisville fans expect this to be a bloodbath.

On to the weekend…

The Good

  • USC: Kudos to the Trojans for not taking the easy way out and scheduling cupcake after cupcake. Their game at Ohio State was a classic to watch and one that propels USC into the national title conversation. Their freshman QB Matt Barkley was cool, calm, and collected… impressive to say the least for a 1st year player on the road at the Horseshoe.
  • Central Michigan: After a season opening loss at Arizona, not many gave CMU a shot to upset Michigan State. Riding behind Dan LeFevour and the flukiest luck ever, they did just that as LeFevour become the MAC’s all-time leading offensive player.
  • Toledo: Helping also to restore the MAC’s reputation was the Rockets who absolutely decimated Colorado on Friday night. The MAC gets few chances to beat a BCS conference school on national television… kudos to the Rockets for taking advantage of the opportunity.

The Bad

  • Ball State: The Cardinals join schools like Duke and Virginia, not in academic prestige, but as an FBS school that was defeated this season by an FCS school. With the loss to New Hampshire, rock bottom is close.
  • Oklahoma State: A week after the Cowboys christen a new stadium, defeat Georgia, and demand some attention in the national title race, they go and lose to unranked Houston. It was the third consecutive time OSU gets ranked in the Top 5 and loses their next game. Shameful.
  • Miami (OH): After getting shutout in their season opener 42-0 by Kentucky, Miami had nowhere to go but up as they ventured west to play Boise State. Unfortunately, staying on the same level was also an option, as they were blanked 48-0. 2 games, yet to score. Next week is Western Michigan… at least there’s a chance they’ll find the end zone.

The Ugly

  • Maryland: When you need overtime to defeat FCS James Madison, after you were dismantled in Cal the week before, that ain’t good. The Terps are 1-1, but could very easily be 0-2. It looks as if the tradition of Maryland playing up or down to their opponents continues.
  • North Carolina: The Tar Heels traveled to Connecticut and looked more like Duke than a ranked UNC team. The Heels appear Jekyll and Hyde as their season opener against the Citadel was a dominating performance.
  • Florida State: The Seminoles close out our ACC uglyfest by underachieving against Jacksonville State. After losing their season opener against Miami and having a short week, no one expected the Noles to be perfect. They won, but didn’t erase any of those doubts or questions… they just created more.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan: 23/33, 240 yds, 2 TDs, INT, 13 rushes, 70 yds, TD in a gigantic program redefiner against Notre Dame. In one fell swoop, Forcier saved RichRod, ruined ND’s season, put Weis on the hotseat, and returned Michigan to the national rankings.
  • Case Keenum, QB, Houston: 32/46, 366 yds, 3TDs, INT in a monumental upset of Oklahoma State.
  • Aaron Opelt, QB, Toledo: 15/23, 319 yds, 4 TDs, 8 rushes, 102 yds, 2 TDs in a nationally televised game against Colorado.

From Edge

  • Matt Barkley, QB, USC – not an impressive three quarters by the numbers, but this 19-year-old came through when it counted most and led an offense with veteran poise to a victory against a tough Ohio State.
  • Rahim Moore, S, UCLA – an intercepting machine this season, Moore grabbed two against Tennessee to make sure the Kiffin Era doesn’t go without at least one loss.
  • Adam Gunn, LB, Pitt – three sacks for Gunn against Buffalo, with five on the year so far.  Watch this senior – there’s some promise for this guy.

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

Weekend Carnage Report

Football is back, ladies and gents, and with it brings the return of the Weekend Carnage Report, your Monday Must Read for football goings on. While the weekend was short on major earth shaking upsets, there was excitement to be found throughout the land. Blocked field goals, overtimes, sucker punches… and this was all week 1. It’s going to be a good year.

Ball State logoBall State Report: For the Cardinals, it was hardly worth rehashing. It was game 1, it was a learning experience, and we have an FCS team coming in on Saturday. Play like they did on Thursday and they’ll get beat again. Play like they’re capable of, and it’s an easy W. There are some that will tell you that the gap between non-BCS teams and excellent FCS teams isn’t all that large. I am not one of those people. The gap is there and this is a game BSU needs to win, and win big.

Kentucky LogoKentucky Report: What really can you say that hasn’t already been covered by A Sea of Blue? The Cats looked dominant, energetic, poised, and skilled. The things we thought would be troublesome, like pressure and skill from the defensive ends, or the offense picking up blitzing schemes was present, but that’s something teachable and nowhere near the problems that the Legion of Doom expected to be dealing with after game 1. The positives, like Randall Cobb, Mike Hartline, the offensive line’s dominance, and Trevard Lindley all looked extremely good. Yes, it was a MAC school… I get it. But a win like this builds confidence and swagger no matter who you beat… and that’s what this team needed. The most improvement usually occurs between games 1 and 2, and throw in a bye week and I’m feeling good about Big Blue.

On to the weekend…

The Good

  • Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish were lampooned early this season as a team exceptionally overrated and ranked to highly. Most pointed to their season opener against Nevada and their high octane offense as a potential upset for the Irish. After Saturday’s 35-0 shellacking, ND looks like a team to keep your eye on. Charlie Weis silenced some critics, the Irish certainly impressed some pollsters, and Jimmy Clausen finally looked like the Clausen he was expected to be out of high school.
  • Florida/Texas/USC: Three of the teams universally expected to compete for a national championship berth all came out and handled their business against lesser opponents. Impressive, dominating, and totally expected but good all the same.
  • Boise State/BYU: Two non-BCS conference programs that have catapulted themselves into the BCS conversation. Boise’s victory over Oregon was overshadowed by a sucker punch, and BYU’s upset of Oklahoma overshadowed by Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury, but both those wins will be worth their weight in gold come this week’s poll and for the hopes of both of those programs to crash the BCS party come January.
  • Kentucky/Tennessee: Two teams needing large wins to sort of ease the fears of fanbases in worry mode. Both did exactly what was needed as Kentucky took Miami behind the woodshed and Tennessee laid the smack down on Western Kentucky. Welcome to FBS, Toppers… now grab your ankles.

The Bad

  • Virginia: It’s hard to say what’s worse… the fact that UVA lost to FCS William & Mary or the fact that no one seems to really be talking about it. Is that because of the other stories happening? Or because UVA is just expected to be awful. Probably a little of both.
  • The MidAmerican Conference: Some were lauding the MAC as a conference on the rise and in a position to get back some of the prestige lost when Marshall and Miami stopped dominating. The first weekend was hardly anything to warrant celebration as the MAC went 3-10 and the universally thought stronger MAC West went 0-6. The most damaging losses? Ball State’s to North Texas and Temple to Villanova. WMU looked dreadful against Michigan.
  • Maryland: Many were expecting the Terps to be contenders in an ACC devoid of overwhelming talent and skill. After the thorough decimation at the hands of Cal, Terp fans have got to be concerned. The Golden Bears ran absolutely roughshod over the Terp defense, didn’t allow the offense to flourish, and simply dominated.

The Ugly

  • Iowa: In what was nearly the largest upset of the weekend, Northern Iowa played Iowa closer than nearly every expert expected. So much so that the Hawkeyes needed two blocked field goals in the final seconds to seal a win. Iowa has had a ton of injuries but this is a game they have to win… largely… impressively… going away.
  • Ohio State: The Buckeyes were one pass away from a tie game with under three minutes to go Saturday. I’m certainly a fan of not running the score up in any fashion against a service academy, but playing like this next week against the Trojans is going to be an ass whipping waiting to happen.
  • Indiana: Not surprisingly, IU ends up on this list again. But at least this time it isn’t in the bad! Congrats! After a lackluster performance against Eastern Kentucky, it’s looking like it’s going to be a long year for the Hoosiers and their fans.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame: 4 rec, 189 yards, 3 TDs in an impressive win against Nevada, announcing to the fans that ND may in fact, be ready to lay claim to a BCS berth with hopefully different results.
  • RB Ralph Bolden, Purdue: Sure, it was against Toledo. But when you throw up 234 yards and 2 TDs, that gets you some OTP love. Now… do that against Penn State and the Buckeyes, and you’re getting invited to New York for a bronze stiff-arming trophy.
  • QB Max Hall, BYU: 26-38 329 yards and 2 TDs in a shocking upset of Oklahoma. Hall commandeered an offensive unit that was far from dominant, but he got the job done. And that’s all anyone can ever ask for.

From Edge

  • Arizona State LB Mike Nixon hauled in an impressive three interceptions and even took one to the house.  Granted it was against Idaho State, it was still a great effort, and he’s clearly someone to watch this year.
  • Tony Pike threw for a personal best 362 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati’s rout of Rutgers on Monday.  One hell of a performance from one surprisingly good team, at least from week one’s showing.
  • Purdue’s RB Ralph Bolden accumulated 234 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries against Toledo.  And I thought Ball State’s rushing defense was poor on Thursday… jeebus.