I have no idea if this will be a weekly feature or not, since I’m home sick from work today, but screw it, this is the blogosphere. We’re above the law! Thus, I give you the five most fascinating stories from the weekend of college and NFL football.
Super awesome update: Chris Brown from Smart Football rips Tressel a way bigger new one than I do over at Dr. Saturday.
I called it!
What, I can’t pat myself on the back a little for being able to tell (and getting a bit lucky on the way) that Oklahoma State would lose to Houston? The Cowboys were always going to lose a couple of shootouts this season, and any OSU fan who thought otherwise was probably just happy to have a relevant team again and got a little carried away.
So what happened to Oklahoma State? A lot of articles seem to want to blame the offense for getting off to a slow start for the second game in a row. And yes, there’s some blame to go there since neither Georgia or especially Houston are powerhouse defensive teams. Georgia got itself into a shootout with punchless South Carolina the week after playing OSU and Houston…is Houston. Plus, OSU obviously got taken out of its game and had to throw more than they like, with predictable results.
But Oklahoma State’s defense is, and has been, bad for a while now. Like many teams, they have issues covering people in spread offenses. On a side note, it was very nice of Georgia to stay away from that. Second, and this was much more prevalent against Houston, the Cowboys D just doesn’t tackle very well.
They had to know Houston would come out throwing and that Case Keenum would be very deadly if given time to locate his guys and throw. Well, it happened, and Keenum completed almost seventy percent of his passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Houston receivers and running backs routinely broke tackles and ran into space with little resistance from anyone in orange and white. This was always going to be the Cowboys’ downfall, and this just happened to be the game it happened.
The ‘Decided Schematic Advantage’ Fails Again
I’m so tired of people using that quote over and over again to make fun of Notre Dame. We can’t possibly have run out of ways to mock the Irish and their faithful. I’m embarrassed for Domer Haters everywhere.
And here’s the thing: the Irish scheme worked pretty damn well against both Nevada and Michigan. It’s the playcalling that sucked ass. In the second half, the Irish only had two drives that lasted longer than four plays. Both ended in touchdowns, but the rest went like this: fumble, punt, punt, punt, end regulation. Worse, Notre Dame had exactly two rushing attempts in all of the third quarter. Keep in mind, they were only down four and had been winning at halftime. So what does Weis do? Calls pass after pass, most of which end up incomplete, and the Irish get nothing.
In the fourth quarter, Weis remembered Armando Allen was on the team and having a great game, and it was Allen who scored the go-ahead touchdown. But what happens when Notre Dame is trying to protect a lead? Actually, ND ran the ball twice for 14 yards. It looked like they’d be able to sit on it for the rest of the game. Then, inexplicably on second and nine: pass/incomplete. Then, on third and nine, because they’d gotten themselves into a corner, pass/incomplete, punt. You know what happened after that.
When will Charlie Weis figure out that the more Notre Dame throws, the less efficient Jimmy Clausen is? He only completed 59% of his passes, and had 13 incompletions in 24 second half attempts. That means he went 11-24 in the second half even though they had a lead coming out of halftime so Michigan couldn’t be sure Notre Dame was going to throw.
If Weis is going to get himself fired, it’s truly because of the coaching, not because he couldn’t recruit talent to South Bend.
“We should have beat ‘em. Point blank, we should have beat them”
Yes, Terrelle Pryor, but why didn’t you beat USC instead of going down 18-15 at home?
Ohio State, that bastion of ball-control, had exactly one drive last longer than four minutes in the entire game. Initially, it seemed like this would happen because they simply weren’t running the ball, sort of like what Notre Dame did. But actually, Dan Herron had 18 carried and Pryor had another 10. The problem was they just weren’t gaining any yards. USC sold out to stop the run and decided to make it come down to Pryor’s arm. And Pryor definitely isn’t ready to throw for victory, going 11-25 for 177 yards, no TD, and 1 INT.
To be fair to Pryor, Matt Barkley wasn’t much better, except on USC’s game-winning drive. He was inefficient and didn’t look all that great, but he didn’t have to. USC’s running backs are pretty damn good, especially that Joe McKnight guy. Ohio State? Well, Dan Herron never was the answer, and the scarlet faithful can only hope there’s another Beanie waiting in the wings to take over and dominate again.
But the big lesson is this: Ohio State will never compete and win nationally until they get way, way better play from their quarterbacks and Jim Tressel stops being afraid of Terrelle Pryor. He’s still trying to cram the kid into the Craig Krenzel/Troy Smith box and that’s a recipe for disaster when you have one of the most epically gifted dual-threat quarterback recruits in history. Pryor simply isn’t ready to run Troy Smith’s system and lead the Buckeyes to victory that way. I do realize they’ve tweaked the formations and styles etc for Pryor, but the playcalling is basically the same. Meanwhile, Tate Forcier is killing it and Matt Barkley is leading his team on game-winning drives. What gives? It’s all on Tressel and Pryor’s backs.
Wow, did that suck
With apologies to The Baker and Hick Flick, watching Jay Cutler melt down was pretty freaking entertaining. That said, who did his performance remind you of? Some have said Chad Hutchinson, some have said Rick Mirer. I say he looked a hell of a lot like Rex Grossman at his worst (and The Baker seems to agree with me). And what do Grossman and Cutler have in common? Ron Turner.
The Bears offense hasn’t ever been good under Ron Turner. Okay, maybe there’s been a year or two in here. The two Bears fans on this site would know better than me, but I sure as hell can’t remember a truly effective quarterback under Turner. Maybe it’s not just the talent-pool from Chicago that’s causing the offense to really, really suck. This feels like something Bears fans have known for a long time…
Pain, Cincinnati Style
My wife and I actually got to see the end of the Bengals game live on TV because the Colts game ended, and let me tell you, that was one hell of a way to lose a football game. What’s even more hilarious about it is we got to see this Bengals team take shape for the entirety of training camp, got to know a lot of the key players, and managed to overrate pretty much the whole team. I even found myself saying “this team would totally have won going away if Palmer hadn’t been hurt in the pre-season.” Which may even be true, but it’s the freaking Bengals.
You know what? This is what you get for cutting Chris Pressley. Pricks.