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Edge’s Week 1 Ruminations

Les Miles was far from impressive for Edge in Week 1

Les Miles likes walking on the tightrope. LSU’s second half attitude nearly cost them a loss and might have sealed his fate of unemployment for 2011.

Florida looked so ugly, I fought off the urge to watch a local high school game. On public access. Commentated by high school kids.

Notre Dame came out with a win in Brian Kelly’s first game. But 23-12 over Purdue leaves a bit to be desired when some very difficult opponents are lurking on that schedule.

DickRod avoided the hot seat with an impressive win over Connecticut. Tate Forcier in on the bench wasn’t surprising given his replacement made some huge waves for the future of Michigan.

Mississippi. Good Ole Miss. Moving on…

Brady Hoke is absolutely satisfied with a win over Nicholls State. 47-0 means all the homeless in San Diego can feel safe for a week.

Oregon State was one drive from handling a BCS-buster, but one bad snap sealed them to a loss against TCU. Too bad. I was hoping to see that bowl-buster drama end early.

East Carolina’s hail mary will probably be one of the top ten highlights this year. What an amazing game against Tulsa. Kudos to both sides for a great game.

Will Western Kentucky win a game this year? My sources say no.

Ok, seriously, Ole Miss. LOL. I mean, what the fuck?

Hello, Kansas. You’ve just been Turner Gill’d. You’re not alone, he did it to us in 2008. Too bad he did it for his own team this time though.

Navy’s case of fumblitis better get resolved quickly. There’s no excuse for three red zone attempts and two end in turnovers.

That Oklahoma game was a bit odd. Makes me rethink my pick of OU being a national contender this year.

Game of the week: Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech. It was everything it was hyped to be, and the Broncos prove they deserve that hype.

MAC stat of the week: 6-0 against FCS opponents. 0-7 against FBS opponents. Boo.

Finally, once again, congrats to Ball State for the week one win. Let’s keep it going against Liberty on Saturday.

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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.

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

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.

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.

Conference Preview: The WAC

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: The WAC

wac_logo
The WAC is one of those conferences this year where nearly everyone is pointing to one particular school in Boise as the sort of predetermined champion. Knowledgeable fans, and those fans who follow the conference will point to Nevada as a pretty sizable sticking point to Boise collecting more hardware for their campus trophy case.

In 06, Boise State made its way to the Fiesta Bowl and its epic upset of Oklahoma. That game set the stage for midmajor conferences throughout FBS to point to their ability to compete. It was the first, but not the last WAC appearance in the BCS as Hawaii made a trip to the Sugar Bowl in 2007.

The WAC certainly suffers a bit because of their locale and their locations, not occupying any major market and competing against the Mountain West, Pac 10, and Big 12 for local recruits, attention, and notoriety. Luckily for them, and thanks largely to Boise State, it is a battle they can win.

This year, Boise State has a challenging but manageable schedule, but of greatest importance to them is the fact that they play 13 games. When most teams have two bye weeks, Boise only has one. Bad for rest, good for keeping them in the minds of the pollsters and computers which will dictate their potential berth in the Bowl Championship Series.

Last 5 Conference Champions
2008: Boise State
2007: Hawaii
2006: Boise State
2005: Boise State/Nevada
2004: Boise State

Bowl Tie Ins
The Western Athletic Conference has three regular bowl tie-ins, with a contingency to fill a spot in a fourth game.
#1– The Humanitarian Bowl will host the WAC champion, unless that team is selected by the Bowl Championship Series. In that case, the bowl will get the first selection among the remaining WAC teams.
#2– The New Mexico Bowl receives the second choice of WAC teams.
#3– The Hawaiʻi Bowl will host the University of Hawaiʻi team if it has at least seven wins, and is not selected by the BCS (which happened in the 2007 season). In years where Hawaiʻi does not qualify, the bowl will receive the third choice of the remaining eligible WAC teams.
#4– The Poinsettia Bowl normally hosts the sixth selection from the Pac-10, but in years when the Pac-10 does not have six eligible teams, they will select an eligible WAC team instead.

Alan’s WAC Predictions
Order of Finish:
Boise State 13-0 (8-0)
Nevada 10-2 (7-1)
Fresno State 7-5 (6-2)
Louisiana Tech 6-6 (4-4)
Utah State 4-8 (3-5)
San Jose St. 4-8 (3-5)
Hawaii 3-10 (2-6)
Idaho 2-10 (2-6)
New Mexico St. 2-11 (1-7)

League Champion: Boise State, earning a BCS berth

League MVP: Kellen Moore, Boise State
Offensive MVP: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Defensive MVP: Dontay Moch, Nevada

Biggest Surprise This Season: Aside from Boise State earning a BCS berth, the biggest surprise will be Nevada playing the Irish to a touchdown difference in their first game of the season.

Edge’s WAC Predictions
Order of Finish:
Boise State 12-1 (7-1)
Nevada 9-3 (6-2)
Hawaii 9-4 (6-2)
Louisiana Tech 7-5 (6-2)
Fresno State 7-5 (5-3)
San Jose State 3-9 (2-6)
Utah State 3-9 (2-6)
New Mexico State 3-10 (2-6)
Idaho 1-11 (1-7)

League Champion: Boise State

League MVP: Austin Pettis, Boise St
Offensive MVP: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Defensive MVP: Ben Jacobs, Fresno St

Biggest Surprise This Season: Boise State gets a little too comfortable in week 13 against Nevada and blows a perfect season after 11 straight wins.

Prelude to a Season: #14

14.) Boise State Broncos

Boise StateWhat You Need to Know
Ask a college football fan who they would dub the Team of the Last Decade, and you’ll receive a plethora of answers from USC to Florida to Oklahoma to LSU. But the knowledgeable fan and the stat-mongers will point to the Boise State Broncos as the model of success and excellence over the last decade. 2001 marked the first season of Dan Hawkins, and also the lowest total of wins in his 5-year career with 8. His 53-11 record was instrumental in landing him a job as Head Coach at Colorado, and his recruiting was instrumental in ensuring current head coach Chris Petersen would be successful when taking over in 2006.

Petersen certainly announced his presence with authority, leading the Broncos to a 13-0 record and an epic upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, a game that many fans and players at non-BCS Conference programs will point to as the reason why smaller schools and programs deserve a seat at the table. Petersen’s three-year record? 35-4. Impressive.

As 2009 dawns, Petersen finds himself in one of the most enviable positions a non-BCS coach could. His team is ranked highly to start the year, they have marquee non-conference games on the schedule, and the buzz around Boise State is certainly noticeable. Plus, having a 44-game regular season home winning streak certainly makes life in Boise enjoyable.

Offensively for the Broncos, they return 6 full-time starters from the 2008 squad, including their sophomore QB Kellen Moore, an unbelievably accurate passer, capable of putting up gigantic numbers and leading a team to victory after victory. The Broncos also return 3 of 5 offensive line starters. Where the Broncos will feel their losses is at the skill positions. Ian Johnson, the second most productive rusher in school history, is no longer around, but junior Jeremy Avery saw plenty of action last season. The wide receiver position has the most losses, as they lose 4 of their top 6 pass catchers, including Jeremy Childs and Vinny Perretta, who combined for nearly 1600 yards and 9 TDs last season. Junior WR Austin Pettis and sophomore TE Kyle Efaw are the most experienced returning starters, but the BSU receiving corps is certainly talented, despite their inexperience.

Defensively, the Broncos return only 5 starters from a unit that was simply dominating last season. Giving up only 12.6 points per game in 08 placed the Broncos #3 in the nation. Their 308 yards per game given up places them 19th in the country for total yardage. The Broncos lost key components of that unit, like 1st Team All WAC free safety Ellis Powers, LBs Kyle Gingg and Tim Brady, but their most important losses come along the defensive line where they lose 3 of 4 full-time starters. The lone returner for the front 4 is junior DE Ryan Winterswyk, a 1st Team All WAC selection. The secondary is veteran and exceptionally talented, returning 3 of 4 starters including All-WAC selections junior SS Jeron Johnson and senior CB Kyle Wilson, whom also is an electrifying punt returner. Boise is clearly a cut above not only the WAC but also every team on their schedule.

When it comes to that schedule, Boise State has a challenging season opener against the Ducks of Oregon, but gets them at Bronco Stadium, where road teams simply do not win. With road contests against Tulsa and Fresno State as well as home contests against Nevada and Miami (Ohio), the Broncos find themselves with no games on the schedule that they won’t be favored in.

Simply put, this has been a fantastic decade to be a Boise State fan. From the Cinderella 2006 season to the unbelievable home winning streak, to a conference that is easily winnable, Boise State has had quite a run. 2009 looks to add more hardware to that trophy case and more bullet points to that impressive resume.

Who You Need to Know & Their 08 Stats
QB Kellen Moore: 281-405, 3486 yds, 25 TDs, 10 INTs
WR Austin Pettis: 49 rec, 567 yds, 9 TDs
SS Jeron Johnson: 98 tkls, 4.5 TFL, 3 INTs

Game to Watch
Out of conference, the biggest game by name will be the season opener against Oregon (9/3). The toughest game out of conference may be their October 14th matchup at Tulsa. Mid-week, national audience, and mid-season means quite a bit is on the line for the Broncos. In conference, the toughest tests for Boise State will be their September 18th battle at Fresno State and their November 27th game at home against Nevada.

They’ll Do Well If…
… the young and relatively inexperienced receiving corps steps up and fills in the multiple gaps. Defensively they have concerns along the front 4, but are so experienced elsewhere that it won’t be a legitimate concern.

Season Outlook
The Broncos find themselves poised to be the next big thing coming from the non-BCS automatic qualifying conferences. Throw in an epic home winning streak, a talented young QB, a manageable schedule, and a conference slate that is far from tough, and Boise looks to run through 09 unblemished. Our last non-automatic qualifier is our first undefeated for 09, as the Broncos go 13-0, and receive a BCS berth. Their ability to play for national title is well out of their hands, but they will do all they can to make that an argument worth having.

How Intolerant of You, Greg McMackin

greg mcmackin

Greg McMackin will never guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance

It’s the preseason, I get it. And thus, any story remotely centering on college football will get eaten up by the rabid masses of fan bases looking for any and all relevant stories to somewhat sate their bloodlust for college football news. So any reaction at all to any story doesn’t surprise me. I can only hope that this story receives the attention and the outcry that it deserves.

Meet Greg McMackin, head coach of the University of Hawaii Rainbows, who may receive the award for Stupidest Thing Ever Said with his comments at the WAC Media Days, in addition to totally painting yourself intolerant, bigoted, and homophobic! Congrats.

Says the Reno Gazette Journal

SALT LAKE CITY – Second-year Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin said Notre Dame players engaged in a “little faggot dance” when describing a banquet the night before the Hawaii Bowl last December.

McMackin, speaking at the Western Athletic Conference’s annual football media preview on Thursday morning, said the teams gathered the night before the game for a banquet when Irish coach Charlie Weis introduced the players and a ritual they do.

“I know most of the coaches in the country are rooting for us to beat Notre Dame,” McMackin said. “Charlie gives this talk, ‘We do something special at Notre Dame,’ and (the players) get up and they do this little cheer … this little faggot dance.”

McMackin said he felt he made a mistake by then having the Hawaii players do a Ha’a, a ritual Polynesian dance that McMackin believed made the Irish players take notice and get them to play at a higher level the following day. Notre Dame won, 49-21.

After describing the dances, McMackin asked reporters not to write about it and made a reference to Karl Benson, the WAC commissioner who was in the room.

“Don’t write that ‘faggot’ down. I was misquoted,” he said. “Just please … cover for me,” McMackin said Thursday. “Go ahead, say ‘faggot dance.’ No. Please cover for me on that, too — right Karl? I’ll deny it. Anything else?”

About 15 minutes after McMackin left the room, he returned and added, “I want to officially, officially apologize. Please don’t write that statement I said as far as Notre Dame. The reason is, I don’t care about Notre Dame. But I’m not a … I don’t want to come out and have every homosexual ticked off at me. You know what I mean. Because I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. But I apologize for saying that and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t run that word. If you said dance, that’s OK. But don’t use the bad term that I chose, please. Thank you.”

Well… at least he thanked them.

Oh, Greg McMackin… I do not envy you. Secondarily because of the way your team got violated last season at the hands of Notre Dame and their fleet footed dancin’ football team. But primarily, you receive no envy of mine because you are without question the newest entrant in the OTP Sports Douche of the Year bracket.

You said it, which was Douche Move #1, but then coming back in and acting like a complete and utter dickbag on top of being a raging slur spewing homophobe is Douche Move #2. Additionally, you must have also ate a heaping helping of Dumbass this morning if you expect a room full of journalists to ever “cover” for you.

In 2008, the Rainbows were penalized more than any other team in the FBS. The apple, or head apple as the case may be, won’t fall far from his rule breaking teamtree, as he’s about to become the most penalized coach in the WAC, assuming the conference has any testicular fortitude whatsoever.

Finally, the real kick in the pants is Hawaii’s team mascot is the Rainbow. Which itself has sort of an ancillary connection to this story. Remember last week when you were wondering what the definition of irony was? I’m pretty sure this is it.

Idaho Journalism At Its Finest.

As I perused the morning news on the interwebs about Ball State, most had to do with the failure of the Humanitarian Bowl to broker some sort of deal with the Cardinals about heading west and playing Boise State. Not surprising was the number of news outlets that picked up the story, and the general tone was one of disappointment that the game couldn’t be worked out.

Amidst the lipstick spin-job that Boise State, the WAC, and the Humanitarian Bowl has put on this pig, was the fact that Ball State had all the power, and they simply didn’t want to play Boise. Well… isn’t that special. I can’t imagine a lucrative game financially would have been turned down. I also can’t imagine any AD in his right mind would have taken a monetary loss and ignored his coach’s wishes to accept a strong arm deal from a midmajor school and lower tier Bowl Game. So spin it how you want, Boise, your offer sucked, and rather than rooting for you as I sometimes do, I will now hope that whomever you play mops the floor with you.

One article in particular stood out to me, though. It was Chadd Cripe’ s “news story” in the Idaho Statesmen. Viewable here. Somewhere amidst the drivel that Cripe managed to send out from a snowy remote location in Idaho were these gems:

  • There, the No. 9 Broncos (12-0) likely will face No. 11 TCU (10-2) – a higher-ranked and more-respected opponent than No. 12 Ball State (12-0).
  • Ball State turned down its prove-it opportunity – deciding to play an also-ran in the Motor City Bowl in Detroit or GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., instead of traveling to Boise
  • McDonald thought the problem would be navigating all the bowl contracts to create a dream matchup. Instead, the hang-up was the Broncos’ 64-2 home record the past 10 years

Chadd, I’m not sure where you went to school and what they taught you there, but news, fact, and opinion are three different things. You seamlessly integrate all three in your story, though, so kudos for that, I guess.

This was my email to Chadd… I’m sure I won’t get a response.

Chadd,

I read your article linked at http://www.idahostatesman.com/sports/story/592728.html and I have to say, I was a little surprised.

While surprised initially that Idaho even had a newspaper, I was truly surprised that your editor let you run a story that was basically backhanded slaps at Ball State rather than you know, reporting news. Which last I checked was the purpose of print newspapers. Though of course, it’s hard to say what their purpose is anymore. I’ll ask the next 60 year old who’s reading one what he thinks.

Did you ever stop to consider that maybe it was a financial disaster for Ball State to travel to Idaho? How about contemplating that Ball State wanted to be loyal to its fans and conference which is why Boise wanted to stay? Of course, none of those angles crossed your mind because a real journalist would have investigated and found that out. Instead, you take the easy road and sit back and take potshots at Ball State.

Ball State and Boise State are totally irrelevant in the college football world. No one cares. The difference is our fans, and especially our journalists, don’t lose sight of that fact. Boise State fans sit back and act like Oklahoma, dictating who plays whom and where and expecting us to cave. They shouldn’t. You sit back and write pithy, half hearted tripe and expect anyone to think you’re worthy of reading. You aren’t. You write for a “respectable” newspaper and I’ve seen more impartial writing from football blogs from college students. Ball State told the Humanitarian Bowl and your bush league school and conference the same thing I am about to tell you…

Find your high horse, and ride it right into your silly ass.

Alan

What do you think about this story and the editor who let it run, Coach Gundy?