Life, Retarded (or, NCAA Football, Week 10)

Slow the roll.

Naaahhh.  It can’t be week 10 coming up already.  Can it?

We have already fallen behind this week, since Tulsa played Central Florida (C-USA East) in Orlando on Thursday night, and we didn’t get any insightful commentary posted beforehand.  (We also missed Tuesday’s 63-60 shoot-out in Toledo with Northern Illinois.) We’re blaming all that on the impending “retarding” of the clocks on Saturday night (or, technically, Sunday morning, although we have no intention whatsoever of staying up for the event).  Our personal opinion here is that Daylight Saving Time is completely retarded – and it wastes energy too, forcing people in the Southwest to keep their air conditioning running later into the evening hours, throughout the summer, than they would have to if we’d just leave the clocks where they are, when March rolls around.

Tulsa seemed to have a touch of ADD in the first half, but buckled down and got the job done by the end of the game, coming out on the long end of 24-17.  It wasn’t a big trouncing of UCF – which has lost most of the seniors with which it dominated C-USA East over the past few years – but it worked.  Some better execution would be in order in terms of tackling effectiveness and smelling out the run.  That Houston game is going to be tough, if Keenum has all his offensive muscle to call on.  The Golden Hurricane didn’t look as “up” and prepared for the UCF match as for the SMU game.

Oklahoma, having made up a couple of notches in the standings, comes in at BCS #6 hosting Texas A&M on Saturday.  A&M is 5-3 overall and not half-bad this year.  The Aggies are coming off a painful OT loss to Missouri, however (something they will likely have an annual opportunity to avenge in the SEC), and now have to travel to Norman.  The Sooners can beat A&M badly – better than the give of 14 – if they get off their duffs and put something into it.  OU will miss Dominique Whaley, but they’ve got such depth in the back-of-all-trades corps that his loss for the season isn’t a showstopper.  We at TOC would really, really like to see some execution in the defensive basics:  tackling and heads-up recognition in the secondary.  OU has a wickedly fast D, but it doesn’t always accomplish much when it gets there.

It does take more than a good offensive line to win the Big 12.  Will the #3 OSU Cowboys have the magic formula this year?  They give 21 in their bout with a rapidly improving Kansas State in Stillwater.  The line looks pretty accurate in terms of what the Pokes could do.  It will be an interesting study in the psychology of history and reputation, to see if the Wildcats have pumped themselves for this game as they did for the Oklahoma game.  Even if they have, however, OSU’s well advanced in a year in which they know from experience that they can turn momentum around in the second half.

Navy hosts Troy, and is giving 6 to the Sunbelt Conference’s hard-luck Trojans, who whiffed in OT to Florida International last week.  We know Coach Niumatalolo (Indian name:  “Needs a nickname”) won’t let the Mids languish in melancholy over their drubbing by Notre Dame, but we urge him not to, just the same.  Army is at Air Force for the next leg of the run to the Commander’s Trophy, and the Falcons give 17, which sounds about right.

#12 VA Tech will play next Thursday instead of Saturday, meeting #23 Georgia Tech for the marbles in the ACC Coastal Division.  Big game, and one to which the Hokies bring more – and more varied – firepower (which, on the offensive side of the ball, can be seen as funny).  GT has had an odd run, losing ignominiously to downward-trajectory teams like Virginia and Miami (Da U), but then knocking off an admittedly overranked Clemson.  VT should be givin’ some, as we get closer to Thursday, but can always be counted on to use those little clawed Hokie feet for target practice.

Nevada has a bye this week and will host Hawaii on the 12th.

The best of the rest is blindingly obvious this week, with #2 Alabama hosting #1 LSU.  In a triumph of Roll Tide betting, ‘Bama is giving 4.  But that, of course, is silly.  The teams are very evenly matched, but TOC would give the edge to the Tigers, even though they’ll be in Alabama’s house.  That said, this will be one of the rare NCAA FBS games that truly showcases two teams with a valid claim to being the best.  It’s not just that their styles of play are similar – committed to the run, fast, agile, and tough on D – but that they’re both so good at it.  The Tide could certainly take the day.  Too close to call.  Too promising a game to not watch.  One of them will drop from the ranks of the undefeated after Saturday night.

4-4 California hosts 3-5 Washington State, in a bout between two teams in the Gee-I-thought-their-record-was-worse-than-that category.  In the “Huh?” column, #18 Georgia is playing New Mexico State for some reason.  Seemed worth mentioning, possibly as a pretext for doing shots if you’re bored.

But the Battle for the Bottom of the Top 10 might be mildly interesting this week, since it will feature #7 Arkansas hosting #9 South Carolina.  We here feel that the Gamecocks are overranked, and will be interested to see how handily the Razorbacks dispatch them.  Other contenders for the Bottom of the Top should win without much difficulty:  #8 Oregon over Washington, and #10 Nebraska over Northwestern.

Something is going on tonight with USC and Colorado (motto:  “We take a pounding!”), but we so do not care.  #19 Arizona State should have no trouble at UCLA, nor #5 Boise State at UNLV.

In Div II, our SWOSU Bulldogs are 4-5 facing their collision in Alva with conference foe Arkansas Tech, whose team, we are sorry to say, plays under the name Wonder Boys.  This sounds like a reason for endless locker-room pranks by opponents, but there it is.  If you’re going to call yourselves the Wonder Boys, your record should be better than 2-7.

NWOSU’s 4-5 Rangers head to Goodwell, OK (pop. 1293) for their final game of the season against Panhandle State.  The 2-6 Aggies play in the Heartland Conference (not to be confused with the Div III Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in which Rose-Hulman plays).  It’s supposed to be cloudy and 69 in Goodwell on Saturday, and frankly, there’s hardly anywhere we’d rather be than at the game.

Perhaps the one other place is in Ferrum, VA (pop. 1313), for the Div III, USA South clash between Christopher Newport and Ferrum.  Both come in 6-2 and tied for the conference title.  The Panthers won their last game over Shenandoah, but only after it was postponed by a day due to weather.  Saturday should see it chilly (54F) but sunny at game time.  We wish the Captains well.

Rose-Hulman will be in Anderson, IN (pop. 56K) to meet HCAC rival Anderson U., whose Ravens have lost to everyone except the Earlham College Quakers.  The 3-5 Engineers have a good shot at boosting their record to 4-5 in this one.  56 and sunny at game time.

166 thoughts on “Life, Retarded (or, NCAA Football, Week 10)”

  1. The Hokies are young… and old… and brilliant or not… but what they are, is playing in Georgia… and that curse is a black mark smack in the middle of Beamer’s dream sheet. Yes, as Thursday nears, the lack of sports pundit respect for Tech will be either evident.. or not..

    As to the Captains… son #2 is hoping for a win, but not… since if CNU pulls off a defeat of Ferrum in the cool of the mid Virginia Fall, it will be home in Newport News for Senior (Day) since the game was rescheduled to 1pm… guess they polled the student body and the thought of a chilly evening in Pommoco Stadium was just too much… The Blue Crew was beggin folks for a break.

    The issue with the NOT wanting a win is that IF CNU wins tomorrow, they are guaranteed the USA South Championship. Which means PLAYOFFS (They do actually have those in college football.) and the second round is Thanksgiving weekend. The Division III championship is held in Salem Stadium/Salem Virginia Southwest Roanoke for the interested… and why they have a stadium worth playing in, is odd, but hey it’s familiar territory.

    Oh and one thing to begin mentioning… Set your recorders to BBCA for January 1st 2012. The Queen’s 50th Jubilee Parade/London New Years Day Parade will contain a certain marching band from Newport News, VA… with a certain Sousaphonist who is quite dear to me hooting away.

    More reminders to follow- and of course we won’t get the parade or some such luck like that.

    Go Captains!!!


  2. Watched the Tulsa Game on and off. They showed backbone and toughness. UCF came to play. Congrats!
    I have to stick up for “The Ole Ball Coach” at South Carolina. They had to toss the starting QB off the team two weeks ago and one of the top running backs in the country blew his knee out. He is doing it with smoke and mirrors.
    I will not hazard a guess as to whether OU will be interested in the game. Stoops probably doesn’t know.
    LSU and Alabama are better than OU. That is the way it is folks.
    An early opening shot for bedlam. The OSU defense is being touted by “those in the know” as the D that bends, but doesn’t break. That is an obvious way of saying, they have problems. Middle of the road offenses have been lighting them up. The middle is not thick and their corners are slow. Hello?

  3. It is silly, and of course nobody has a clue. In that light the overwhelming consensus among Vegas and “The Experts” in favor of Alabama is not at all surprising. Everybody and I mean EVERYBODY knows that Nick Saban is sooooooooooooooooo much of a better coach and Les Miles, Bama is playing at home and they’ve just been *more dominant*. Hmmm.

    From scrimmage you’d have to think that the big (and very good) ‘Bama backers will have a little more success stopping the LSU running game. (Over 60 minutes a slight edge in time of position between two evenly matched teams can make a difference if the LSU D is tires a possible breakdown late. On the other hand Rueben Randle has the best chance of any wideout to do something big against wither of the superb secondaries (provided Lee/Jefferson? has the time to get it to him). More importantly, the special teams edge and the possibility of a big play goes to LSU and might possibly offset the aforementioned Bama edge from scrimmage. Bottom line is we haven’t a clue but will, as always, be rooting for the purple clad ( actually they’re certain to wear white) and lively Bayou Kitties.

    OU is most likely done loosing for the year (unless they make it to the BCSCG) but it would be interesting to see them shut down the TAMU offense.

    Yes, shocking about Cal and WSU. USC has looked woeful this year and the loose of Lattimore should really have finished them of against top tier competition. Still, a one loss SEC team ….

  4. Two words for you, TMF:

    Band geek!

    Actually, that’s very cool about the Queen’s parade. This has got to be her 60th, right? She came to the throne in 1952. How time flies. Sousaphone good, young, er, Fahvaag.

    Anyone from the Oklahoma contingent feel the earthquake? Everyone in California has the USGS earthquake sites bookmarked, so I was able to zero right in on the location and technical info when I heard about it this morning.

    Texas and TT are boring me to tears here, but Syracuse and UConn are no better. Boise State can’t seriously be considering a career of playing those guys.

    I’m with you, cavalier, on LSU-Alabama.

    Football aphorisms really have to be shorter than this to become popular, but it can be truly said that he who can punch the run may not score as much, but will win against the best defenses.

    Cal at 4-4, who knew? But then, they did play the Presbyterian Blue Hose this year.

  5. I like Wisconsin to cover the spread today (26.5) at home against Purdue. I have a feeling they take out their anger from last week’s loss on the poor Boliermakers. I’m always partial to good team coming off a bad loss.

  6. We didn’t get Texas/TT and while Florida/Vandy Michigan/Iowa were more competitive they were/are also quite boring (though its always a pleasure to see Michigan loose).

    TT appears to have jumped the shark since the OU game and West Virginia and Michigan state seem to have hit a bit of a wall (what?).

    Now OU/TAMU followed by LSU/Bama. Yummy.

  7. BTW, some of the football commentary you hear is almost on a par with an Obama foreign policy appreciation.

    This morning David Pollock said that in order to win LSU would have “to do well against the Alabama defense by doing what they do”.

    The idiot doing color on Florida/Vandy picked ‘Bama because they have a better passing game and LSU will need that passing game because nobody runs on Alabama. In fact while A.J. MacCarron has been very good, both of the LSU QBs have higher ratings and Rueben Randle is by far the best receiver in the game (and the SEC) and the most dynamic offensive presence outside Trent Richardson.

    1. That is pretty funny. I think it’s a “human thing,” that it’s harder to provide intelligent-sounding commentary when there is less to criticize or issue cautions about (i.e., regarding the balanced approach of both LSU and ‘Bama).

      That doesn’t apply to Obama’s foreign policy, of course. With the Obama foreign policy, however, the main criticism is that we can never be sure what it IS. We’re always having to interpret signs and oracles, just to shake out something concrete to criticize or approve.

      1. Bad analogy OC. Sorry. Perhaps a comparison to the complete illiteracy of many of his economic pronouncements would have been more apposite.

        The FP is hard to pin down precisely but it is as a general matter neither forward leaning nor prudent and well judged.

        BTW (OT obviously), but what is especially annoying about this Herman Cain fandango is that it does distract from all sorts of interesting topics like the joint NATO/Israeli exercises in Italy and what they may (or most likely may not) presage. Now one would expect the MSM to do much with this but it does seem to be right up your alley.

        1. What we got us here with the Israel-Iran stuff is a case of a media narrative being planted. “Oh no, Israel — or hey, maybe the US — is about strike Iran. Quick, everybody, adopt tougher sanctions in the UN! Sanction, or they’ll shoot!”

  8. My hatred of ABC/ESPN is boundless. I knew ABC would be showing Stanford at Oregon State during the OU-A&M game, but it appeared we would be getting OU-A&M on one of the ESPN channels. We’re getting Purdue-Wisconsin instead.

    Grrrrr. I hate following a game via the internet. Granted, it was an awesome newfangled option when I was at sea during football season, but it’s lousy on a Saturday at home under the autumn skies.

    Incredibly, assuming we get the OK-State game here this evening, as promised, I will have been able to watch every important game except Oklahoma’s this weekend. (Troy and Navy are on CBS College Sports as we speak.)

    Sympathy, please.

    1. I’m going to a song recital at Carnegie next Saturday. Now big symphonic stuff, opera, perhaps solo piano I can do (especially during basketball season :-)). Art song not so much, and most emphatically not during the Stanford/Oregon game. Unfortunately cannot be avoided.

      With this in mind the sympathy I can offer for your predicament is limited. In any case the vaunted OU passing game is hardly distinguishing itself against the ObamaEconomy-soft TAMU pass defense.

      Turnover. OU ball on TAMU 18.

      1. World’s smallest violin will do fine. Turnovers aren’t nearly as exciting via GameChannel.

  9. We’re getting freaking Edinboro at California (PA) here, but we’re not getting OU-A&M.


  10. The QB for Michigan couldn’t play on my street.
    Kenny Stills has a hamstring problem, probably won’t play.
    Ou offense is not focused. Tight end fumbled last drive. Should be 14-0.
    OU picks A@M taken back to A@M 20.

  11. OU slopping offense slopping around. You are not missing anything. OU lost yardage, had to punt. A@M on their own 1.

  12. See that’s what you don’t get on GameChannel. No idea what’s up with Wort. (Could have guessed from the play by play that OU was looking mediocre.)

    1. A@M offensive line overmatched. It will show later. OU corners playing slow. A@M couldn’t run on my wife (neither can I).

      1. PC beat Edmond Santa Fe in Edmond 31-26. They will host Santa Fe next week to begin play-offs.
        Wort: It is his left ankle (has a broken toe/left foot) possible twisted knee. I bet you can’t guess which knee. Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Bummer big time! (Wort)

          Is there even a faint possibility of the Pirates advancing very far in the playoffs?

          Good on ’em, though. Ah, high school ball.

  13. We note Michigan State had some trouble with Minnesota, pulling it out 31-24 over a team close to clinical death.

    Louisville has knocked the Mountaineers out of the top 25.

  14. I believe that Army had 23 or more running plays on offense to start the game. Not exactly the Bill Walsh West Coast offense.

    cavalier, you have a consistent typo – “loose” instead of “lose.”

    Tex A&M driving – down to the 20 or so…

  15. Yeah, two big play for A&M on this drive. Very annoying not to be able to judge the plays as they’re happening.

    1. OU still worthless. How come you’re getting the Sooner-Aggie game instead of Purdue-Wisconsin?

  16. Army running ALL OVER Chair Force. Over 200 rushing yards with 5 and change still to the half.

  17. Navy dominating Troy rather embarrassingly for the Trojan. 28-0 in the 2Q.

    1. This IS NOT the Bama or LSU defense.

      Stanford seems to be having trouble with Oregon State?!?!

      1. Yeah, “only” 221 is “having trouble” for Stanford, eh?

        Beavers aren’t strong but they’re not floating garbage either. Checking in on that game, I’m seeing Stanford look a bit unfocused, like they didn’t bring their A-game today.

        1. The score was (still is) kinda close and this is hardly the 2007 edition of OSU. Stanford probably a little flat from last week and Bama was tied with Tennessee at the Half so …

          1. Stanford’s a better team than this. They just had a missed-tackle fest on an OSU kickoff return, followed by 15 yards for a face-mask, to set up the Beavers for a failed FG try right before the half. Not their usual performance.

    2. Compare to 221 total for Stanford over Oregon State (with 100 total) at the same point in the game.

  18. OT but must express outrage. Somebody just retweeted a message from Senator Barbara Boxer to attend an even to help elect to attend an event she is sponsoring to help elect more women to the Senate in 2012 and stop the R. war on women. Yuk.

    (‘Course OC could challenge DiFI in Cali. She would fit into her slot on the Intelligence Committee nicely. We need somebody who has a clue up there, especially now that John Kyl is retiring).

    1. cross a bunch of that stuff out.

      And DiFi’s hubby hasn’t exactly suffered financially during her tenure.

  19. In any case both Stanford (next week against Oregon) and OU (against OSU or like maybe even today) will have to step it up if they want to win out.

  20. Tannehill throws like my daughter. The OU corner and strong safety gave up on coverage and started toward the line of scrimage. It looked like OUs’ last touchdown against OSU.

    1. Hilarious — they just showed us the A&M TD on ABC (half time in Corvallis), and I had pretty much the same thought. Granny pass from Tannehill. What are the Sooners doing out there?

      1. It is a touch side arm but he’s highly regarded by the scouts. Only a couple of slots bellow LJ (well, before this game, anyway).

        And heck, Phillip Rivers doesn’t exactly have a classic passing motion and what a marvelous player and especially what a marvelous performance last Monday.

        1. Agreed, Rivers is one of those all-around “players.” Never quits, tough field general. Resourceful. Quality guy in my book. Lot of guys with prettier throwing action who don’t play at his level.

  21. “OU still worthless. How come you’re getting the Sooner-Aggie game instead of Purdue-Wisconsin?”

    Instead of? I have them both J.E. The WI/Purdue game on ESPN 2. The A&M/OU game on ABC. I suppose I just live a charmed life. Wanna fly into Boston every Saturday to watch college football? I have a nice 52 inch HD TV to watch all these games..

  22. Navy now up 35-0 on Troy.

    RE — great invite. If I had that kind of bucks, I’d just be spending whatever it takes to get all the games I want to see. I’m shocked, shocked that ABC isn’t showing you Stanford-Oregon State.

    1. Except for one bonehead play, the OU D has played pretty well. I think A&M will lose another blowout in the second half if the OU offense does indeed wake up.
      Blue Collar Comedy is on if they don’t.

  23. Well, gee, I “missed” the TD.

    If OU is only planning to play in the second half from now on, the Sooners are going to have a major problem with the Cowboys, and will have to settle for a Booger Bowl.

  24. Oklahoma, the Oregon of the Big 12.

    “Union rules don’t allow us to play actual football before the second half.”

  25. Finch dropped a big onew jsut before the half but he’s been Mr. Productive today otherwise.

  26. Wisconsin thunder-slapping Purdue.

    Stanford looking more like itself in the 3Q.

          1. Saw that. We’re not getting the game here. But Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona just started, and it’s available in our viewing area.

            1. Northern Arizona kids party hardy. Have been there on Fri-Sat nights. I went into bars straight out of Twin Peaks. Red shag carpets/moose heads. Places that had been last cleaned in 1932. I loved every minute of it.
              The very best were in the cellars of flea bag hotels in the district. That was some years ago of course. Ahum.

  27. Cal-PA is up on Edinboro-PA 34-14 with 7 and change left in the 4Q.

    In case you were wondering.

  28. Bad news about Broyles. Sooners may merit a capital letter or two if they keep it up.

  29. Stanford pulling away from Oregon State now, 38-13.

    Nebraska not quite out of it yet, but time growing short.

  30. Regrettably, Chair Force, taking to the air, has gone up on Army 24-14. Army with the ball cranking out yards with 4-some to go.

    OU about to punt again?

    Oh, phooey. Chair Force picks off Army.

    1. Watching Army football can be agonizing. They should have been up about 4 TDs in the first half. Looks like they had a good game plan going in, but Chair Force made the necessary adjustments.

  31. Chair Force 24, Army 14.

    Northwestern now up 28-18 on Nebraska. Huskers about to lose this one.

    Navy let Troy score again. 42-14.

    Cal-PA pulls it out over Edinboro-PA, 34-28.

    Purdue down 62-17, praying for the clock to wind down already.

  32. Neither OU nor Stanford is going to get a BCS bounce out of today’s games. OK-State can win convincingly and not get one. If Boise State DOESN’T beat UNLV like the Rebels aren’t even on the field, they’ll take a big dive.

    Assuming LSU and Alabama both show up to play from the opening kickoff, and have a tough, close-fought contest, it’s unlikely they’ll do more than trade places in the BCS ranking.

  33. I imagine that there’s some Drano chugging going on in Lincoln right now. Horrible loss.

    Purdue had the misfortune of playing WI after WI lost a bad one.

  34. Sooners back to marking time with 3-and-outs. Frankly, the Cowboys are playing with a lot more heart this year, and they’re going to deserve the Big 12 title more if they get it.

  35. Wow! paid heavily in football Karma this weekend.. Big Red (my father-in-law played TE for Nebraska in the early 50’s…) loses… good for Virginia Tech in the polls this week.. terrible for my favorite picks…

    Then Army completely blows up so no joy for the boys (ok and girls) in gray…

    BUT the Karma for the weekend does swing back in interesting directions… Those Christopher Newport Captains reared up and curb stomped the Ferrum Panthers, 48 to 30 (with two Panther touchdowns coming in garbage time as CNU’s defense just worked to burn time off the clock.) This victory assures CNU of a seed in the NCAA FCS Division III playoffs, and at least a tie for the championship of USA South.

    Way to go Captains!!!!

    1. Awesome news for CNU! Sorry about the inconvenience to the band. I hadn’t looked in on the score since the 1Q, having to “watch” OU-A&M via the online doohickey, and didn’t expect it to be such a blow-out for the Captains.

      Assuming CNU wins the final regular season game, the Captains will be USA South champs, right?

      1. Yes indeed. They get a “share” whatever that is, because beating Ferrum should be the tie breaker if their records are the same, but conference tie-breaking rules are opaque to me at this time…

        So no matter what CNU will be 1st in USA South. As far as the NCAA is concerned, however… CNU does own the tie breaker for the championship tournament, so in effect they are really the champions of the conference.


  36. That said, losing Whaley for the season, and now maybe Broyles, is a couple of big hits for the OU offense.

    1. Broyles: Torn ACL, he is done. That was his last home game.
      That is official.
      Bye again.
      Offense played 1.5 qtrs/defense played 3 qtrs.

      1. That’s really, really bad news. Broyles has been a horse for the OU offense. I feel very bad for him, too. Two tough skill/speed losses for the Sooners in two weeks.

  37. On my way to the gym was thinking this was most disappointing Stoops OU team with this level of talent, experience and health. That was a nice quarter but the last part unfortunately does not apply anymore.

    A close game tonight keeps them, as you say at 1/2 one way or the other. I do think OSU goes into second place if they win out. Otherwise could be a rematch.

    (OSU wearing the “Gray” helmets and pants. Ugh!!!

  38. Keep trying to migratre to the other room… Pokes recover K-State fumble on the Wildcat 5…!

  39. LSU holding Tide on first possession — superb coverage on the receivers, all kinds of time and nothing on 3rd and 7…

  40. Cowboys having more trouble with K-State. LSU stopping Tide. Tide stopping LSU.

    Houston having a harder time with UAB than expected.

    UCLA leading Sun Devils at the half. “Unexpectedly.”

  41. ok sports punditry… who of you predicted a 9-6 OT defensive slug fest for the “National Championship”? hummmmmm Hummm?

    LSU’s Les Miles made a brutal, honest calculation with two minutes left in the game… Alamaba’s kicker stunk…. His didn’t… And now “THEE game” of the 2011 regular season is in the books. And frankly both teams need to be dropped out of the top 5. Both offenses were ineffective, and almost non-existent (granted we are talking about two top five defenses…) but still not one touchdown anywhere.

    Something just wrong about that. Though the thought of the Nictator losing, after calling an ineffective game… in overtime… after having had his field goal kicker miss – AGAIN! Well that is something to smile about for a while.

    The polls are going to be interesting tomorrow.

  42. Wow, what a night of football. Two very different games, both coming down to the wire. Incredible defenses on the field in Tuscaloosa. The first 2 FGs missed by the Alabama kicker weren’t gimmes, by any means, even without the ball-handling goof on the first one. It was the bobbled snap in OT that was subpar. LSU’s D is just amazing.

    The Pokes brought it when it counted. Suddenly their secondary was everywhere in those last 10 seconds, to save the win.

    And UCLA beat Arizona State!

  43. How does UNLV manage to be tied with Boise State at less than 2 minutes to the half?

  44. Reynolds will step up for Broyles. He has been emerging as the 3rd receiver for over a month. That is not wishful thinking. He separates himself from defenders as well as Broyles. He is Stills from last year.
    I forgot to mention the try for a “one handed catch” yesterday. Long post pattern, Reynolds about 4 yards behind the corner. Ball just very slightly high (very catchable). He showboats with a one hander. Almost made it. Even the TV guys commented that he was trying to show off and blew it (like Stills last year). I am sure he has gotten an earful. He has blazing speed.
    The coaches don’t talk about him at all. That is their MO with an emerging player.
    I watched the “bend but don’t break defense last night”. It almost broke.
    Wort will walk with a cain when he is forty. It is hard to give up the high of competition I am sure.

  45. TMF is quite wrong. LSU/Bama are obviously the 2 best teams in the country (though hardly equipped with historically great offenses to be sure) and that is unlikely to change before the end of the season (nor, perhaps, should someone else have a chance to challenge the proposition in the BCSCG – more on that later).

    The Nicktator did in fact call a less than optimal game. The Maze pass was not a bad call, was not badly executed and was negated only by a fantastic play by Eric Reid. (It did, however, go very much against the Stimmung des Spiels which Miles’ more conservative play calling captured just about perfectly.) Much worse were the numerous calls that kept Bama going backward (with no little help from the LSU D, to be sure). Worst of all perhaps was sending an injured Maze to return a punt, a play which cost Bama 30 to 40 yards.

    Had Miles called a game like that there would by now no doubt have been thousands of calls for and dozen of websites dedicated to achieving his firing.

    1. Just imposing the same “sports judgement” that the sports punditry dumps on the Hokies every week…

      Seems sauce is never for the goose… but always for the Gobbler… 😉


    2. I’d like to see a replay of the punt that went over Maze’s head. It didn’t seem to have the reverse end-over-end spin that some of the kicks had. LSU’s punter is an Aussie, and they routinely use several different kinds of kicks. I saw video of one of their footballers from the old days kicking a torpedo (spiral) 80 meters for goal. Anyway, the carry on that kick may have been quite deceptive.

      Great game if you like defense and hate touchdowns. I hope Bama’s FG kickers don’t take too much heat. None of the missed kicks were easy.

      1. CBS SN may show the game again sometime today. You never know.

        Those Aussie kickers do some ridiculous stuff. Kind of amazing what the human being can get good at.

  46. My infallibility manifests itself yet again. Specifically my supposition that Bama might be decisively effective against the LSU running game (they were within 30 yards of their average gain and more than 100 in excess of the Bama yardage previously allowed). I ridiculed the comment about the superiority Bama passing game and in fact MacCarron had a statistically decent game whereas LSU had essentially none to speak of. This was hardly to be gleaned from the the statistics or previous performance and in any even the Bama passing numbers would look a lot less impressive absent the 2 play where Trent Richardson was inexplicably given half a field to do with as he would.

    Globally, however, the game (if not quite the result) pretty much followed the script: a slight Bama advantage from scrimmage that would to a lesser or greater (in the event greater) be offset by the LSU special teams, and especially the punting.

  47. It was a Clausewitzian evening in Tuscaloosa, for sure. 99% of Clausewitz’s disciples remember that he said defense is the stronger form of warfare. But the other 1% remember that he went on to say you can’t WIN without offense.

    The match in Stillwater proved that defense may be stronger, but you still have to cultivate skills and a strategy for it. Even without perfect brilliance from Miles or Saban, the LSU or ‘Bama offense, either one, would have looked much better against the OSU D than they did against each other.

    How would the OSU O look against either of the SEC Ds? IF all of Weeden’s offensive weapons were healthy, I’d bet on a reasonaby good run. Neither LSU nor the Tide could shut them down completely. That said, the Cowboys would have to play a full 60 minutes at full tilt, without scoring much, and that’s something they haven’t had to do this year. The Tigers and the Tide come up thinking that way from birth; it’s not a mental adjustment for them.

    I do think it’s a weakness in the sport that in the NCAA, the top teams with their different conference styles so rarely play each other. TMF is right about this: the LSU and Alabama offenses are simply not as good as the offenses of some teams in other conferences. The SEC doesn’t force development of the highest-performing offenses: it forces development of offenses, and offensive strategies, that can edge past an SEC defense. Those two propositions aren’t the same thing.

    It would strengthen the FBS if there were more cross-pollination between the styles. The whole rest of the nation wouldn’t just resort to bayou-style offenses if they had to play the toughest SEC Ds 1-3 times per season; they’d hone their own styles to make them stronger.

    With one meet a year, usually in one of the top bowl games, an SEC D will almost always overwhelm an offense that’s not used to it. You can watch all the game video in the world and still not get experience of such a D under your belt. But if other conference offenses came in with the actual experience, they’d figure out how to punch some holes in that brick wall.

    1. The same, of course, applies to the more dynamic offenses that SEC defenses have to face and yet the results have been quite predictable just this year Oregon and West Virginia (very Big 12y, obviously) “outgained” LSU in the process of getting slaughtered. There were Oregon-Auburn last year, TAMU-LSU and, perhaps most instructively Florida against a very talented, fast paced and historically effective OU offense in the 2000 BCSCG.

      Part of it of course is that most of those games came after long layoffs where the SEC teams had much more opportunity to prepare for the schemes. It is much more difficult to get ready for Oregon as you’re recovering from the previous weeks game.

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Missouri in the SEC (I don’t fancy their chances).

      1. “.” after predictable, 2009 and a bunch of others.

        You certainly make a compelling argument (most arguments citing Clauswitz correctly tend to be compelling) but I think its even harder to prepare for the size, speed and depth of the SEC teams than for the offensive schemes from other conferences.

        Still its hard to argue that Florida was that much physically better than OU!!! but in the event they held them remarkably well.

        1. Florida had even more speed at the skilled positions than OU. In particular the Gator D-Line was quicker and stronger. It was obvious from the get go. Hats off to Florida that season.

      2. But again, how often does Oregon play an SEC offense? Once a year? That doesn’t prove a wide-open throwing offense can’t be strengthened to top an SEC defense. It proves that if such an offense doesn’t train against and get practice against an SEC defense, it’s at a disadvantage.

        The defense IS the stronger form of warfare, because it’s all about anticipating the offense. The process of training to video of your opponent comes naturally. A defensive back, in particular, is always visualizing the play from over top, overlaying a mental image of how the play is developing with what his eyes see in front of him. Offense has a different job — moving the ball, prosecuting the scoring strategy — and with its different perspective, has to learn more from actually playing a tough D.

        In conferences other than the SEC, offense’s purpose is not to “play to” the opponent’s style of defense. For such offenses, it doesn’t come naturally to prepare for one game every 1, 2, or 3 years by analyzing the opponent’s D as if that D will be the tiebreaker every moment of the game.

        But if other conference offenses DID play SEC defenses more often? I don’t believe that the whole NCAA FBS would become one giant SEC. Rather, some schools would develop ways to start scoring off SEC defenses with wiggly, slippery, versatile throwing offenses. Every generation thinks football has gotten as fast an funny as it can get, and it turns out every generation is wrong.

        Well, this isn’t going to happen any time soon. I’m sure Missouri will spend a period of sackcloth and ashes in the SEC. The team will adjust and become an SEC team, because most of its games will be against SEC opponents.

        1. Well, there’s also the support of the population (there’s a bit of an analogue in Football but not quite the same thing), familiarity with the terrain, long logistical lines for the offense 🙂 … but I’m sure you know those much better than I do.

          You’re right of course, one can’t “visualize” blocking a really fast 300 lb lineman as easily as a passing route. Schools from other conferences have neither the capacity nor the need to recruit such people on a regular basis and encounters with them are therefore (and for many quite fortunately) very rare. And it is the experience of playing against people like that rather than being like that is at issue. In the Florida/OU example I’m sure the Sooners were much closer to the Gators in terms of size, speed and agility than to pretty much all of their Big 12 peers (‘cept Texas, Nebraska?) but they never actually have to go up against people like that. (Really last night even the big bad fast – though poorly quarterbacked – LSU offense seemed pretty much overwhelmed by Bama, tough schedule and all).

          All of this of course describes the way college football is so different from other sports and which in combination with tradition mitigates, at least partly, against a playoff. Crowning a national champion is fun but identifying the “Best Team” by whatever method, is very challenging and unlikely to be made less so with a playoff.

    2. Oh, and OC just recalled, but CvC, for all his many merits did not, I don’t think, focus to excess on the Naval components of warfare. (Did he mention it at all – at least in Vom Kriege – he did write a whole bunch of other stuff). Given that Naval warfare had been huge in western combat since at least 2500 B.C. and indeed that British naval power was not at all irrelevant to the Napoleonic conflicts he focused on so much this seems a rather consequential omission, no.

      And how would one even apply some of his principles to Naval combat? Hmmm. Maybe thats one of the reasons why the Navy defense leaves a bit to be desired and they have to rely on a bit of a gimmick offense to win.

  48. REMATCH. (And yes, fortunately there is still quite a bit of football to be played) Very unfair to LSU. If there is one and Bama wins we’ll have a 1-1 split with the Tigers winning at Bama and the Tide on a (mostly) neutral field. Bama had their chance. Moreover, a rematch would diminish the significance of last nights game and undermine the position of those of us skeptical of the playoffs who emphasize the value and EXCITEMENT of the regular season.

    Finally, its hard to argue that an undefeated OSU coming our of a tough Big 12 (10-8-10) would not be more deserving of a first chance at LSU than Bama of a second.

    ON THE OTHER HAND. Hard to imagine the smaller, weaker, slower Boise coming within 2 TDs of LSU. Stanford is a a very physical team but based on their game against USC they will have a very tough time “outphysicalling” LSU. The depth especially will grind them to a pulp and needless to say their receivers cannot even hope to fantasize about opening up the game by challenging the LSU secondary.

    OSU, however, does have a Receiver that might so challenge LSU and open up the game in this way. When added to what would be a very impressive resume of an undefeated Big 12 champion it seems pretty much impossible to argue that OSU should not get the preference over Bama (even if the latter would quite clearly remain LSU’s closest peer).

    Now, there is little doubt, in my mind at least, that ultimately LSU’s superiority on the lines and superior depth would lead to a decisive victory. However impressive their offense, OU put up even bigger numbers on KSU away last week and whatever defects TMF might (correclty) perceive in the LSU offense they would almost certainly have success in the running game and might even try a few passes against OSU’s porous D (45 points to KSU at home? Really?!?). Still, I think they should get their shot and would rank them # 2 unless and until they loose.

  49. poll prediction (sort of since 2-5 are really crap shoots):

    1. LSU will remain #1 but the points/vote count will be lower.

    2. If the voters are feeling all Heismanny it will be Stanford
    If the voters are feeling more dusty and Big… The Claim Jumpers
    – either way the Claim Jumpers and the Okie Boys will have some sort of shootout for something in 2-5… My guess:

    2. Trees
    3. Tater heads
    4. Okie Boys
    5. Quacks
    6. Claim Jumpers
    7. Heffalumps – won’t fall very far in the mix… ‘Bama (who names a mascot after a deadly poisonous algae?)

    8 – 10 Hokies will bubble up no more than 1 in the AP, two in the Coaches….probably for a peek-a-boo a the top 10 for ESPN, but AP will give no such joy, not unless and/or until they beat Georgia Tech.

  50. Brave to make a poll prediction this week, for sure. (Other than LSU retaining #1.)

    Stanford, OU, and Boys Estate could all have looked stronger. They all looked like they didn’t plan to wake up until the second half. OK-State had to win and did, but not purty. The BCS computer tends to love wins and yards, so the Pokes will probably be vaulted over ‘Bama. I don’t see the Tide falling very far, though, because the middle of the Top 10 all turned in no better than place-holder performances. Arkansas and Oregon both did better than that against quality opponents, and may see a 1-slot boost.

    Assuming everyone wins the next couple, it looks like it will come down to two games: Bedlam in the Big 12, and the SEC title game. If OSU and LSU win, we’ve got our BCSBG. If they don’t — whoa, Nellie. As cavalier says, the regular season is excitement enough, in this crazy gig called the FBS.

    1. Dead on about the lackluster performance of the 2-5 contenders. Either the UNLV Rebels had a come-to-Jesus, born-again football moment this Saturday, or Boys Estate was out carousing in Sin City, but the Broncos only covered about half the spread.

      An offensive shootout like Okie State had should not vault it very far, either. I don’t see that Stanford has been seriously tested, either.

      Virginia Tech had the advantage of not playing, so they should move up.

  51. Side note: it takes a bad Dallas Cowboys year to make me care more about the Giants at Patriots than about Boys hosting Seahawks.

    Bears-Iggles has some potential tomorrow night too.

    1. Please don’t even start on the Cowboys (nice game for DeMarco Murray a couple of weeks ago BTW). GP should be quite decent but the Gs hardly impressed last week and the Pats will be on the rampage after beatdown by the Steelers last week.

      1. few years back, the Giants managed to look entirely unimpressive all season long….until that last game of thr regular season when they lost to NE …..the rematch with NE post-season they looked a little better.

        1. And everyone was saying the Gs shouldn’t play their starters in the last regular season game ’cause they made the POs anyway so “rest”. Always dubious, but especially so when the team backs into said POs and has a chance to stop undefeated season. Without momentum from that game, no SB.

          BTW, Patriots suck. Seriously. Very little talent at most positions. No deep threat. Mediocre defense, crappy DBs. Still, clutch play by Eli.

          1. I’ve seen one or two games per year played by the Colts over the last half-dozen……..and they almost always won with what I would say is less talent than NE now has.

            1. And less coaching. Still, the Pats are “winning”. The did so at an impressive clip last year and will probably be in the 10-12 win range this year. But in their current state Super Bowl contenders, much less a historically great team, they are not.

              What this says about the relative and oft debated merits of Brady and Manning one may only suppose. The general (near) consensus that Brady is the bigger “winner” might perhaps be up for a smidgeon of revision.

  52. 1 or 2 loss OU will be matched up against The Tater Tots. ESPN will make sure of it. The re-match of all rematches. A nauseating week of crap from every angle possible.
    On OSU: Their defense has many weaknesses even when they play their best ball. Their A game if you will.
    Their lack of speed in several areas is a structural problem. They know it.
    Their offense must put up big numbers to win. If the K-State QB could throw 45 or 50% completions, they would have blown OSU out.
    OSU almost lost to a single wing team. At home.
    OU may lay down again. Who knows with those guys.
    Both teams play their A games. OU by 10.
    Vegas will favor OU, because they are not stupid, not because they like OU.

    1. Yes and then the dream team went out and lost again. What will those precious Philly fans do now?

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