Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 24, 2011

Life on Mars (or, NCAA Football, Week 13)

We have a feeling that after last week’s BCS shenanigans, this week is going to see the overdogs win like it never even happened.  Well, most of ‘em, anyway.

There are probably people out there eying other matches for “Game of the Week,” but around here it’s all Houston at Tulsa on Friday.  Tulsa will be battling not only to knock off the remaining undefeated non-LSU team, but to claim the C-USA West crown and advance to the conference title game.  The C-USA champion goes to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, and even the also-ran usually gets a pretty good Booger Bowl.

G.J. Kinne is healthy, and Trey Watts (J.C.’s kid, for the Okies out there) is really showing some stuff as an RB.  It’s time for another Heisman-candidate QB (Case Keenum, in this case) to take a swan dive.  Tulsa’s the team that can do it, even with the bend-but-don’t-break D.  (Which, BTW, has been steadily improving on the basic execution factors this year.)  Even the oddsquad is pretty convinced about Tulsa; Houston may be the BCS #8, but the oddspuppies have them only giving the Hurricane 3.

Head Coach Bill Blankenship doesn’t get all the scrutiny felt by Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy, however.  Having both manned up in their mea culpas for last week, they’re both on the hook to stop with the nonsense, and Bob’s first opportunity is on Saturday hosting Iowa State.  Of course, the #9 Sooners have something to prove, and Iowa State is coming off a huge, epic, exhausting win, so the 28 points being given by OU sound pretty reasonable.  We here at TOC love the Bell Dozer:  it’s exactly the kind of thing west-of-the-Mississippi defenses don’t plan for, and SEC defenses are groomed from their cradles to stop.

The OK-State Cowboys, now #4, have the week off to get themselves in the right frame of mind for Bedlam on the 3rd.  The Pokes will have the most riding on the game:  if Arkansas were to beat LSU, and OSU could beat OU convincingly for the Big 12 title, the Cowboys could still beat a path to the BCSBG.  OU’s done, however, as far as the BCSBG is concerned.  This weekend and next they’ll be playing for no more than the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, max.

Navy and Army have finished the regular season, with the exception of The Game on the 10th.  Chair Force will be at Colorado State on Saturday, playing for the Ram-Falcon Trophy (because there is one – and no, I checked.  It’s not a vehicle).

In the Battle for the Commonwealth, #5 Virginia Tech will be gunning to thump the rival Yahoos, who have surged to a ridiculous #24 in the AP poll.  The BCS has better sense on that score, and we’re counting on the Hokies to send Virginia back south where they belong.  VT may be a bit overranked at the moment, but certainly much less so than the Yahoos (not to mention Clemson, in their heyday in the top 10).

After the disappointment last week, Nevada would probably love it if the season were over.  But the Wolf Pack will be hosting Utah State on Saturday, fighting to keep the #2 spot in the WAC.  Utah State, at 3-2, conference, is just the team that can take it away from 4-1 Nevada, so the Pack’s got its work cut out for it.  One more game on the 3rd at New Mexico State.  Finishing 8-4 and in second in the WAC should at least get Nevada a better class of Booger Bowl.

The best of the rest starts, of course, with #3 Arkansas at #1 LSU on Friday afternoon, duking it out for the, um, Golden Boot.  (Hey, we don’t make up these rivalry trophies.)

We should note, to begin with, that miscellaneous Midwest teams played Tuesday night, probably to an empty stadium.  And chronologically, the best of the rest starts with the annual rivalry classic between Texas and Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day.  (Gig ‘em, Aggies!)

But the SEC West game is the biggie for the BCS this week, hands down.  Wouldn’t it be wild if Arkansas won?  Huh?  It’s unlikely, but the Razorbacks have been improving steadily throughout the season and would do better against Alabama today than they did in September.  Their offense frankly has more going for it than LSU’s.  But then, the LSU D should have been there to keep the tsunami from hitting Japan in March.  When the Big Asteroid is on a collision course for earth, threatening to extinguish life as we know it, we’ll just put Les Miles and his staff on the sidelines and let the LSU D handle it.  Should be a great game, and will only overlap the Tulsa game in the 1Q or so.

We mustn’t forget the Iron Bowl on Saturday, however.  Auburn hasn’t been doing much this year, but always plays the Tide tough.  Should be another good one, and of course, if Arkansas can struggle past LSU, an Alabama win will speed up hearts across the South.

The Big 10 has its usual slate of classics of yesteryear, with a struggling Ohio State at Michigan (in a game that at one time regularly decided who would go to the Rose Bowl); Michigan State at Northwestern; and Penn State at Wisconsin.

Long-running rivalries are the theme of the weekend, however, and a lot of garage-sale items will be bronzed and on display.  Pittsburgh and West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl; Duke and North Carolina in their no-name game; Clemson and South Carolina (motto:  “The other USC”) playing for the Hardee’s Trophy, and no giggling; Florida and Florida State in the Sunshine Showdown; Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl; Georgia and Georgia Tech in the “Clean, Old-fashioned Hate” match, which frankly has too many syllables; Oregon and Oregon State in the Civil War (good syllables, dumb trophy: the Platypus); Missouri and Kansas in the Border War, playing for the Indian War Drum; Purdue and Indiana playing for the Old Oaken Bucket; Rice and SMU playing for the Mayors Cup; Memphis and Southern Miss making the Black and Blue Bowl a reality; Notre Dame and Stanford playing for the Legends Trophy; Washington and Washington State for the Apple Cup; USC and UCLA for the “Bore Sensible Southern Californians Out of their Minds” Cup; and of course, Colorado (motto:  “We take a pounding!”) and Utah for the Rumble in the Rockies.

You’ll be happy to know that Iowa and Nebraska are starting a new tradition this year, dubbing their match the “Heroes Game” and using it as “a platform for celebrating local heroes.”

Our connections to Division II action are growing tenuous.  But we note that Colorado State-Pueblo, Conquerors of the Big Texan and NWOSU, will be hosting Minnesota-Duluth in Round 2 on Saturday.  Good luck to both teams.

The CNU Captains have bowed out of the Div III playoffs after a good run.  But Franklin College will face Wisconsin-Whitewater, #1 seed in the West Region, on Saturday in Round 2.  This may be the Grizzlies’ last at-bat for 2011.  CNU’s winning opponent, Kean, faces Salisbury on Saturday in what looks to be a pretty even match.  Best of luck to all.

Meanwhile, for those who can’t be content with the A&M-Texas game on Thanksgiving Day, the NFL has a pretty awesome line-up for us.  Green Bay heads to Detroit for the early game, with the Lions, gunning for the best wild card spot they can get, trying to repeat their feat from 1962.  Miami takes the field at Dallas for the Thanksgiving Coma Game at 3:15 CST.  Cellar-dwelling Miami has been more half than bad the last few games, knocking off Buffalo and Kansas City as well as the Redskins.  The improving Cowboys won’t have an easy time of it.  The night game pits scrappy San Francisco against Baltimore in a battle of division leaders, and one the Ravens, with Pittsburgh on their heels, really need to win.

And a Happy Thanksgiving – and Good Football! – to everyone in TOC Nation (not to mention our allies in TOC World).



  1. High School Football Report: OKC and PC schools are done. Union/Jenks/Owasso as usual remain.
    Update on Bobs press conference: Bob sounded like a CEO with a marketing and production problem. No fire, no confidence,no passion. He actually said that sometimes the team doesn’t have as much talent as fans think!!!!!!!!!!! I guess Bob missed the recruiting program the last few years.
    Five years ago Bob would have been on fire. Look for Iowa State to challenge OU in Norman.
    Pulling for the Ole Ball Coach to pull out another one against Clemson (probably not).
    Erata: I said Bob was a 4 million dollar man. Make that 5 million.
    Mike Stoops, the defense is waiting for you.

  2. I’ll second wreed’s sentiments and also wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend of FFFF! (Family, friends, food and football!).

  3. I think wreed is on to something… college head coaches seem to be more marketeer than moulder of talent and leaders of programs…

    On need only see the silliness of the courtship of Urban Meyer and the abject rejection of Houston Nutt to see how odd the whole thing is, and how out of kilter the NCAA 1A world is… 1AA isn’t far behind though at least with a 32 team playoff it presents a true champion, and not a sports writers’ fan fave sporting unrealistic perfect seasons over patsies.

    Too much money in what is not supposed to be any money at all….

    But that is beside the point today, I suppose.. Birds are in the oven, diced this, and minced that are in mid preparation. Desserts are chilling, and the Mrs and I have a bottle of wine cooling…

    To all of my old friends (JE, Vinne, Rafa) and my new ones (Cavalier, WReed, Mr. Emmons…et al) and even Fuster, I wish a blessed and very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day the weekend, and the upcoming holiday season.

    -From the Old Dominion – (where the actual first English colony was founded, and the first Thanksgiving celebrated)

    The Mighty Fahvaag

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to all – may the Packers help the Bears.

    And may everyone eat, drink and be merry, and fall asleep in front of the football game of your choice.

  5. Watched Texas A&M give the final game to offensively challenged Short Horns. A&M will now go forth and dwell in the undertow of the SEC West, battling Miss State for the cellar every year.
    R.C. Slocum was fired years ago for not winning enough. He was 123-47-2 at A&M. The winningest coach in A&M history. Go figure.
    On that note: Tech has certainly thrived after the Coach Leach fiasco. Coach Leach was demanding and insensitive to his players. He is a different kind of cat indeed.
    There are articles in the Lubbock newspaper about how nice Tuberville is. He hits the childrens lemonade stands, goes to knitting classes and lets Craigs little boy do anything he wishes.
    And on that note Kansas is just steamrolling everyone. 9 straight losses. Coach Gill is 23-39.
    Coach Mangino was demanding and insensitive according to some players. Coach Gill is very nice.

  6. OK, that wasn’t even close. The Razorbacks got out to a quick lead but couldn’t come close to holding it against LSU.

    That Hertz. There are going to be about a half dozen or more teams with one loss that can make a credible argument for the Avis position.

    • It was a nice quarter.

  7. It was more fun starting out the Christmas decorations, and rewiring a tree that had three half strings of lights out… the gimmick of the pre-lit Christmas tree is that if the cheap cheesy lights go out because of a short in the cheap cheesy wire, you are more likely to just pitch the whole thing and go out to buy another $400 tree…

    Not me… but now I have a partially pre-lit Christmas Tree… but it works…

    Unlike The Pigs… who are half lit, and don’t work anymore, after Les Miles’s Defense decided that it had quite enough… and was more in the mood for pork barbeque than humble pie.

    They just need to mail the Chrystal Trophy to Baton Rouge… save us all the time and effort of some phoney baloney National Championship game.

    Maybe have the Tigers play the Redskins, or Indianapolis… just to see what would happen.


  8. There is another undefeated team ranked in the top ten, but I was hoping not to mention it. I don’t know that barely squeaking by LaTech and UTEP are adequate credentials, though.

  9. Thanksgiving day in OKC was 68 sunny/no wind/big white puffy clouds. Gameday 40 Rain/strong north wind/gloomy. It fits the mood in Norman.
    The field was changed to natural turf so I don’t know how the OU Gentleman will react to falling down and getting dirty.
    If Iowa State has a speedy guy that can run all out post plays all day, the OU D can just stand around and look at each other and come out spotless.
    OU safety to corner:” I say,after you”. Corner replys: No No, I wouldn’t hear of it ole boy”. Corner:” Who was that speedy stranger? Where IS he going? Who am I? Where is my wallet?”

  10. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

    “Sensible Southern Californians”?!?!?!? Is OC completely out of her mind?

    Among the things I’m not grateful for is Matt Barkley. He’s starting to annoy me.

    Something else I’m not grateful for is conference realignment. Utah and Colorado in the Pac 12 is odd but seems trivial.

    Nebraska in the “Big 12” is just weird and very off putting. Its a clash of important traditions and the atmospherics are all wrong. Nebraska “belongs” in the open wind-swept planes, not the Slate Gray sky of the Big 10. Don’t like it.

    Bama/LSU common opponents.

    MSU 24-7/19-6: Florida 38-10/41-11: Ole Miss 52-7/52-3: Tennessee 37-6/38-7: Ar-Kansas 38-14/41-17. Not surprisingly, perhaps Bama 6-LSU 6 in regulation. Doesn’t bode well for the Tigers but we’ll see.

  11. Very sensitive of y’all to not mention the slaughter in Tulsa. My pathetic attempts at trash-talking had no effect on the Keenum Express. The game developed in a manner eerily similar to the battle for the Golden Boot: Tulsa jumped out ahead early, the Tulsa D hopped around high-fiving its good stops in the first 25 minutes or so of play, and then Houston took over.

    Try a little less hopping next time, guys. Seems to take too much out of you. Well, it’ll be a minor Booger Bowl for the Golden Hurricane this year. That’s OK. Next year! Well, whenever Keenum graduates to Sunday poundings, at any rate.

    I’m thinking cavalier is optimistic in proclaiming that anything this season doesn’t bode well for the Tigers. But hey. I guess they can’t, actually, just pack the trophy up and ship it to LSU.

    Oh, you were talking about the AUBURN Tigers? So so so… Yeah, that, we’re down with. Not looking good for the war-eagle crowd. We did predict the overdogs would own the weekend.

    Hope everyone is fit, relaxed, and comatose from too much good food. The leaves can wait. Black Saturday is for suckers. There’s football a-playin’!

    (And yes, Matt Barkley. What an annoyance.)

    • Uh … the Golden Hurricane “contained” Keenum. He was positively lackluster compared to his recent form.

      • There you go. That’ll go in the next coffee table book celebrating Golden Hurricane football.

        “In a classic battle for the C-USA West division title in 2011, the Hurricane successfully contained Case Keenum in a 48-16 loss.

        “Sports commentators were talking about it for minutes.”

  12. Forgot to mention: NOW I get to see an OU game. FX has the ISU-OU game on here. Sooners being flat, lackluster, and worthless. Apparently they plan to lounge about atop this 23-6 lead for the rest of the game.

    They definitely don’t deserve a BCSBG shot this year. I was telling Mom last night: if Auburn can find a way to beat Alabama, I’ll be rooting for OSU in Bedlam. They’d still have a BCSBG shot, whereas the Sooners don’t even deserve to get the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl slot. And with Kansas State on their heels, a loss to OSU would mean they wouldn’t even go to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl — not that the bowl would want them.

    • It is painful to watch the realignment of the receivers. Stills and the rest of the newer guys are having to run routes and take responsibilities they are not used to. Jones doesn’t know where they will run. That is not going to be solved for bedlam.
      Ronnel Lewis being out messes up the book end effectiveness with Alexander.
      The best play was when the VERY SLOW ISU TE ran a crossing (3rd QTR) and the OU safety ran the wrong way. He ran by the TE and had to turn around.
      The team is out of sync because of injuries,BUT this team has no heart.
      Defensive front was thicker today and you can barely start to see what Brandon Williams can be when he learns the system.
      Sorry about Tulsa. Houston can be a dangerous team when they get on a roll.
      Roll Tide and South Carolina too.

      • I think that press conference you wrote about tells us a lot more about what’s wrong with OU than the injuries and out-of-sinkness of the passing game.

        • It was interesting to many of us that Houston interviewed and hired a position coach from OU for the head job. They knew what they were doing.
          Switzer went through the same thing after about 9 years. He had so much success. He became the CEO and stopped coaching and motivating. It is human nature.
          I think someone will sit Bob down and explain it to him fairly soon. Barry had it explained to him in 1983. The 83 recruiting class won the National Championship in 85.
          Pleased be advised: David Boren has no interest in OU football. Never has. Never will.
          He is still smarting from the PAC 12 smackdown. He really wants OU to pretend to be Cal Berkley. Rub noses with the elite intelligentia. Teaching proper fundamentals of run blocking is not part of his portfolio.
          Smarty Pants football won’t cut it in the Southwest.

  13. Lucky for OU, the ISU QB throws like my wife.

  14. If ISU were a better team, the Sooners would have lost that one by at least 13 points.

    The absence of Lewis was definitely felt, but of course, see point 1 re the ISU offense.

    I’m liking the Hokie performance pretty well. Wilson clearly has a future on Sundays. 21-0 is a nice score, but I’d like to see a couple more TDs from VT. Thomas’ arm is spot-on today, but the Hokies look just a tad disjointed. I do applaud their secondary coverage on the Wahoos. Really shutting them down, for the most part, and getting good pressure at the line. Effective pincer on the QB.

    Can Auburn come back?

  15. OK, now we’re starting to get an appropriate level of touchdownage from VT. #4 on a 38-yard run from #4.

  16. Curb meet Hoo.. stomp vigorously…

    Love – Hokies

    As someone on the response board to the Final article in Yahoo Sports said… Next week’s speech by Frank Beamer…

    “The reason why we aren’t playing in the National Championship Game is on the other sideline…. It’s time to show our appreciation.”

    Rip Rah Ree!
    Via Via Vee!
    Virginia! Virgina! A! M! C!

    – ‘A’ Company Cheer… 🙂

  17. If Stanford and OSU both win out Stanford deserves to go ahead and play in New Orleans because they actually managed to come up with uglier uniforms. Yuk.

    • Those were pretty bad. Frankly, if the ugliest uniform is the BCSBG ticket, I think it has to be the Ducks in that grotesque neon gray.

      Alabama sure can’t compete in the bad uniform department.

      Spurrier’s squad got it done.

      Stanford fine but not overwhelmingly dominating over Notre Dame.

      USC annoying over UCLA. Bruins flopping around like fish on a hook. Ai-yi-yi.

      Everyone bowed out in Div II and III today: CSU-Pueblo downed by Minnesota-Duluth 24-21, Franklin stomped by Wisconsin-Whitewater 41-14, and Kean edged by Salisbury 49-47. Tough end to good seasons for all.

      • For ugly unis, please allow a vote for the Twerps in that atrocious get-up they wore in the first game of the season.

  18. The Gamecock QB certainly has a set of wheels. The Ole Ball Coach just keeps sailing along.
    On a cynical note: There has been a lot of chit chat around here about Urban Myers health issues coinciding with the sudden/deep fall off of the talent pool at Florida. Then, amazingly enough, his health is great when OSU comes open.
    The loss of Tebow and nothing to compare on the second string may have given Urban chest pains.
    For all you recruiting hype freaks: Florida was in the top 5 recruiting classes every year Urban was there. They are a big time high school team at the moment. Wonder how that could be?
    OU and Florida would be a tight fit at the moment.

  19. The Nevada Wolf Pack managed to lose to Utah State, in a second consecutive game they dominated early. The Pack is hoping to beat Idaho next weak and earn a spot in the Lehman Brothers – MF Global Sudden Collapse Bowl.

    • That royally sucked. I mean, Utah State. Well, maybe the Pack will meet the Golden Hurricane in a Booger Bowl in December.

      • I wouldn’t know who to pick in that bowl. Merlin Olson played at U State.

    • Compete to see which one collapses first….

    • Good one Vin

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