Pandemonium in Columbus
Well, the game of the century happened on Saturday, and unless you live under a rock (or were on a plane to Maui sipping mai-tais and begging the flight attendant for score updates) you saw the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes win a thriller over the #2 Michigan Wolverines. In a game utterly devoid of defense, Troy Smith cemented his Heisman trophy win, captaining his team to a 42-39 victory in Columbus. I haven’t had a chance to watch the game yet – because as previously stated, I was on a plane talking trash to Purdue’s basketball players about how the Hoosier football team was going to finally take back the Old Oaken Bucket (oops) – but after seeing the highlights I will definitely be watching the replay Wednesday night on ESPN Classic. The Buckeyes are now headed to the title game but the question of who they will play still remains unanswered. It’s all gonna depend on those pesky Trojans.
USC Owns The Pac-10
The Trojan defense dominated the “explosive” Cal offense Saturday night, forcing three turnovers and holding the #17 Golden Bears to just 275 total yards in a 23-9 victory that secured their fifth straight Pac-10 title. By denying Cal it’s first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1958, the #4 Trojans became the first team to own at least a share of the Pac-10 title in five straight years. The only chance Cal has to end their Rose Bowl drought now would be if the Trojans end up passing Michigan in the BCS and head to Glendale for the National Championship game, and the Rose Bowl selects them to play in the game.
Though it was only a 14-point win, USC finally started clicking on offense in the second half and Cal never had a chance to score after the break. If the Trojans beat the Irish next week and end up winning out, we think they’ll hop over Michigan in the BCS rankings, and play the Buckeyes for the title.
If USC wins out we think they should be in the title game. They will have knocked off four teams in the BCS top 25 (Notre Dame, Arkansas, Cal, Nebraska) and voters should reward a team for playing that difficult a non-conference schedule and coming out with one loss (by two points on the road). While Michigan proved they are probably the second best team in the country, they had their shot and couldn’t win. With respect to the Wolverines – who certainly proved how good they are – we think a rematch in the title game would be pretty lame. Let’s say they get to the title game and beat the Buckeyes, what does that prove? It’s not like they can play a third game to settle this. The Wolverines will end up at the Rose Bowl and should be incredibly happy with their great season. However, if Notre Dame knocks off USC next Saturday, and it comes down to Notre Dame or Michigan, the Wolverines should go since they absolutely hammered the Fighting Irish 47-21 earlier this year in South Bend. Plus, coming into this past Saturday, the Irish hadn’t played a team with a winning record since September, this might be the worst schedule for a top 15 team ever, it’s embarrassing. But shockingly Lou Holtz thinks they’ll destroy USC and should go to the championship game if they do. Way to remain objective Lou.
Alfonso Soriano Is (more) Rich
The Cubs made the biggest splash in free agency so far, giving oft-malcontented leftfielder/second baseman Alfonso Soriano $136 million over eight years. The 30-year-old Soriano is coming off of his best offensive year, improving over his numbers from the last two years in hits (179), runs (119), homeruns (46) and stolen bases (41). Soriano is a good pickup for the Cubs but they gave about $17 million a year to a guy who hit .277, stuck out 160 times, only had 67 walks, has a career OBP of just .325, is a below average fielder (11 errors is a lot for an outfielder) and who has only hit .300 once. While we think the Cubs needed to add more offense, their bigger issues remain starting pitching and the bullpen. We’ll see how this one plays out but it seems to us that the Cubs already got the power guy they needed by re-signing Aramis Ramirez and the money might have been more wisely spent on Mark Mulder or Barry Zito.
Steve Spurrier is (not) going to “This U”
According to several sources, if Larry Coker is fired by “The U” (or “This U” if you’re Kellen Winslow jr.) after this season, Miami officials considered South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier the top candidate for the job. Wouldn’t that be like Joe Torre taking the Red Sox managing job? Well according to “the Old Ball Coach” he’s not going to pick up the phone if the Hurricanes call.
I took this job to do what the experts said couldn’t be done, which was to win an SEC championship here (at South Carolina). We’ve got a good recruiting class coming in, we think.
We love Spurrier here at Rumors and Rants, we’re glad he’s in college football because he’s a lot of fun to watch. That said, we couldn’t possibly like him if he were coaching those jackasses at Miami. A once proud program has turned into the Raiders of college football. They talk tons of trash and have the bravado and attitude of a national champion but the discipline and execution of a middle of the conference disappointment. Stay in South Carolina Steve, we’d hate to hate you.
Californians Drive Faster Than Rednecks
We don’t pay attention to or really like NASCAR here at R&R, but we were extremely happy to see fellow San Diego native (2/3rds of us hail from America’s Finest City) Jimmie Johnson win the Nextel Cup championship Sunday. Johnson finished ninth in the Ford 400 in Miami to clinch the title after finishing as the runner up in The Chase for the Cup the last two seasons.
So why do we care? Because we know a whole bunch of rednecks who are extremely pissed that a “hippie-California boy” took the Holy Grail of the South. We find it hilarious that anyone could really believe that southern drivers should always drive in a circle faster than those from say the North or anywhere else. Ah NASCAR fans, always a constant source of entertainment.
Down Go The Colts
The Dallas Cowboys knocked off the previously unbeaten Colts 21-14, exposing the fact that Indianapolis is a flawed team. The Colts (9-1) had four turnovers, only totaled 88 rushing yards, and their defense surrendered 342 total yards. Tony Romo played great – no doubt attempting to impress Jessica Simpson – as he led efficiently marched the Cowboys (6-4) down the field twice in the fourth quarter for scores and sew up the game. We like this Romo kid so far, he looks like he knows what he’s doing and hey, the last time a quarterback forced Drew Bledsoe to be his backup, his name was Brady. And that turned out to be a good move for everyone involved.
Tomlinson, Chargers Are All Kinds Of Historical
OK so the Chargers came back on the road again Sunday, beating the Broncos 35-27 and moving into sole possession of first place in the AFC West. The Chargers (8-2) rode LaDainian Tomlinson’s 105 yards on 20 carries and 74 yards on three catches performance to become the first team in the 12,328-game history of the NFL to come back to win in consecutive games when trailing by 17 in each. They also became the first team in NFL history to win four straight games when allowing 24 points in each. OK those are sort of obscure records, but just put it this way, the Chargers are playing extremely well and they have a quarterback in Philip Rivers who believes they are never out of a game. And, they put up 342 yards and 35 points on probably the second best defense in the NFL.
As for Tomlinson, he became the fastest player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns, doing it in his 89th game. The previous record was 93 games, held by both Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown. Pretty decent company there. Tomlinson scored four touchdowns( giving him 102 in his career), making that an NFL record 19 over his last six games. He also scored four touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Basically he’s incredibly. Even Broncos defensive tackle Gerard Warren was in awe, “Best running back ever, next to Jim Brown,” he said. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson agrees with Mr. Warren.
The reason we love LT has nothing to do with the fact that we’re huge Chargers homers. We love him because he does it the right way. He’s humble, doesn’t talk trash, over-celebrate or draw attention to himself, and he works as hard as anyone in football. He also respects his predecessors in the game, and has reached out to guys like Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith and gotten advice from them and let them know how much he respects them. Here’s his quote from Sunday that really show’s what he’s all about, “It’s a phenomenal thing. But I have a lot og guys to thank. Our offensive line has played great this season. Lorenzo Neal is the best at blocking, so it’s a whole team effort. I can’t take all the credit.” He’s a great running back but more importantly, he’s a great guy and we hope he’s around for a long, long time.