10 am ET: Morning! Happy Thanksgiving! I’m clearly not here, but I will definitely be watching football later tonight. Turns out the Lone Star Showdown is the best game of the day because the NFL scheduler is on crack and decided the Lions and Raiders should get this kind of national exposure. Yeesh. Have a great holiday and try not to harm your eyes by watching the NFL’s games today. Cheers!
Record after week 12: 129-66, 90-103-2 AS
Thursday, November 26, 2009
8 pm ET
Lone Star Showdown
(3) Texas (11-0) at Texas A&M (6-5) (+21)
Final: Texas 49 Texas A&M 39
Okay, so Colt McCoy finally had a big statistical day and Texas was finally challenged for four quarters. Big freaking deal.
Jerrod Johnson is the real breakout star of this game. I mean he’s been the center of the Aggie offense all season, but now he’s really a player to watch for next season. He’s going to be in school still next season, right? I have no idea because Texas A&M football is totally irrelevant still.
Besides, the Aggies should have won this game. I can’t believe the amount of crappy angles, missed tackles, and general mistakes the Aggies made. Sure, their kicker missed a 23-yard figgie that would have made is a seven point game, but Texas scored an extra three touchdowns that never should have happened in the first place. A truly, truly pathetic effort in a game they should have won. And this was already a crushing loss for the Aggies before they even get to view the game tape.
Record: 130-66, 90-104-2 AS
Friday, November 27, 2009
12 pm ET
Illinois (3-7) at (5) Cincinnati (10-0) (-20)
Final: Cincinnati 49 Illinois 36
Cincinnati’s defense is what is keeping them from being legit. They’re undefeated and plenty good, but they’re not a next level squad. Weird thing to say about the fifth ranked team in the country, but Illinois is not a good football team. Giving 36 points to them is a major issue heading into the Pitt game next week. Which, by the way, will be as big a game as the Big East has seen in a long time.
Record: 131-66, 90-105-2 AS
1 pm ET
Northern Illinois (7-4) at Central Michigan (9-2) (-13)
Pick: Central Michigan
Final: CMU 45 NIU 31
Dan LeFevour wasn’t spectacular, but he was his usual great self, throwing three touchdowns in the win. CMU is going to face Ohio in the MAC title game next week, since the Bobcats beat Temple today. Should be another chance for LeFevour to be amazing on national television. For a guy who is better statistically than Tim Tebow, I hope he pulls this off. Not that a berth in the GMAC Bowl (or whatever) that goes to the MAC champs is like the greatest thing that will ever happen to him.
Record: 132-66, 91-105-2 AS
2:30 pm ET
(2) Alabama (11-0) at Auburn (7-4) (+10)
Final: Alabama 26 Auburn 21
Auburn had it, but their season-long weakness, the defense, let them down again, as Alabama drove down the field and won the game. Any time Greg McElroy drives his team down the field on you in crunch time, you know your defense is still a liability. Oh well. We still have next week during which I fully intend to root for Florida and Nebraska so that we get a Florida/TCU title game.
Record: 133-66, 91-106-2 AS
3:30 pm ET
Nebraska (8-3) at Colorado (3-8) (+10)
Pick: Nebraska wins but doesn’t cover
Final: Nebraska 28 Colorado 20
Dan Hawkins celebrated the announcement he’ll be back for 2010 by losing at home to Nebraska in Colorado’s biggest rivalry game. I’m sure the fans are totally thrilled to have the guy back seeing as how he hasn’t developed any of the talent he’s recruited and all that amazing offense Boise State ran under him hasn’t made its way to Boulder. Yep, I’m sure the fans are thrilled. I would actually rather have Bill Lynch than Dan Hawkins at this point. There’s only a select few that can make THAT list. The others are: Mike Locksley, Les Miles, Al Groh, Steve Kragthorpe, Ron Zook, Bob Toledo, and Charlie Weis.
And, just for fun, here is the list of coaches and coordinators I would harm some one close to me to get into the head coaching job in Bloomington: Gus Malzahn (a realistic shot in a year or two), Charlie Strong (probably aiming higher than Indiana), Brady Hoke (weakest link on the list), Turner Gill (I’d want to make sure he hired a first rate staff too), Paul Johnson (the uber-longshot), Kevin Sumlin (only if he promises to still run Houston’s offense), Jim Heacock (he’s old), Mike Leach (because he wants out of Lubbock), and Bud Foster (you know, because of the defense). IU would probably have to look at younger assistants if they were serious because recruiting is a young man’s game these days, but damn would those be awesome. I can honestly say I would probably tongue-kiss Phillips to get Paul Johnson at IU. And I can say that because it’ll never happen.
Oh, and that meaningless Colorado touchdown at the end would be the biggest gambling robbery in history if this game meant anything at all. I bet there are a lot of crumpled gambling tickets for this game on the floor in Vegas.
Record: 134-66, 92-106-2 AS
7 pm ET
The Backyard Brawl
(9) Pittsburgh (9-1) at West Virginia (7-3) (+10)
Pick: Pitt wins but doesn’t cover
Final: WVU 19 Pitt 16
And that was the inevitable bad loss I was expecting from Pitt for like the last month and a half. They got yet another big game from Dion Lewis, but he never scored and Bill Stull was awful, throwing two picks. This is exactly what makes Pitt a Big Ten team. They run the ball, play defense, but the minute they throw over 25 times, the turnovers start coming like rain drops from the quarterback position. Only Jim Tressell knows how to not screw this situation up. Everyone else is at its mercy.
Record: 134-67, 93-106-2 AS
10 pm ET
Nevada (8-3) at (6) Boise State (11-0) (-12)
Pick: Boise State
Final: Boise State 44 Nevada 33
I can’t believe it’s even a question as to whether Boise State would make a BCS bowl if they’re undefeated. There is no possible way a bowl rep can tell me that an undefeated Boise team THAT BEAT OREGON, who is playing for the Pac-10 title this coming Thursday, should be left out of the BCS over Iowa, Penn State, or some other two-loss major-conference team. It’s appalling.
Believe it or not, Boise actually did a really good job limiting Nevada’s offense a.k.a. the nation’s leading rushing attack. 242 yards on the ground and 33 points is still a lot, but it’s certainly not a crushing amount. Boise did a fantastic job limiting Colin Kaepernick all night. He only had 172 total yards. Though he threw three touchdowns, he was only 12-22 passing and Boise was never really in danger. This has to be a BCS team.
Record: 135-67, 93-107-2 AS
Saturday, November 28, 2009
12 pm ET
Battle of the Palmetto State
(18) Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5) (+3)
Pick: South Carolina
Final: USC 34 Clemson 17
Losing winnable games: it’s what Clemson does best. Especially now that they’re in the ACC title game already. Them AND Georgia Tech have had lackluster performances today because they’re already in and are just playing non-conference games. It’s the only tough part of rivalry weekend.
That said, Clemson has this crazy thing in their program where they never, ever play clutch. It’s only crap wins and really bad losses. I don’t understand why this program can’t be more of a contender, but they never are.
Record: 136-67, 94-107-2 AS
12:21 pm ET
(25) Mississippi (8-3) at Mississippi State (4-7) (+8)
Pick: Ole Miss
Final: MSU 41 Mississippi 27
Mississippi State did two things right today: they limited Dexter McCluster to under 100 yards and they put the game in Jevan Snead’s hands, making him throw to win it. He threw three touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. Basically, this 8-4 Ole Miss team is among the most overhyped in the recent history of preseason rankings. A total calamity for the pollsters. Did anyone know Jevan Snead would be this bad or that Houton Nutt would be quite so effective holding this team down? Of course not. But that’s how it turned out.
Record: 136-68, 94-108-2 AS
12:30 pm ET
(12) Oklahoma State (9-2) at Oklahoma (6-5) (-9)
Pick: Oklahoma State wins but doesn’t cover
Final: OU 27 OSU 0
Wow. Oklahoma State should never, ever show up pretending they’re a legit team again. I realize Dez Bryant messed himself up and they battled injuries, but getting shut out by this awful OU team? Yeesh. Just an inexcusable loss. It was in the game wrap, so I’m not just making this up, but this OSU team actually showed up in its biggest game in a long time and gave their worst offensive performance of the decade. OF THE DECADE. They were also shut out for the first time since 2005. Thanks for nothing, Oklahoma State.
Record: 136-69, 95-108-2 AS
1 pm ET
New Mexico (1-10) at (4) Texas Christian (11-0) (-44)
Pick: TCU wins but doesn’t cover
Final: TCU 51 UNM 10
Wow, I didn’t take the cover when it really looked like TCU would score 60 even before the game and still squeaked out a win by three points.
TCU will get their BCS bid, but two questions remain: is there a way they can get into the national title game? The second is who will they play if they don’t? As for the first, I’m rooting hard for BCS chaos, so I’m hoping Texas loses in the Big XII title game so the SEC champ has to play TCU. For the second question, I’m hoping TCU gets the loser of the SEC title game if Texas wins and plays the winner. Then at least the Horned Frogs would get to prove themselves against quality competition.
Record: 137-69, 96-108-2 AS
3:30 pm ET
Duel in the Desert
Arizona (6-4) at Arizona State (4-7) (+3)
Final: Arizona 20 ASU 17
A final second field goal got me my third push of the season. Barely. Too bad Arizona crapped the bed and it didn’t count for anything.
Record: 137-70, 96-108-3 AS
Florida State (6-5) at (1) Florida (11-0) (-24)
Pick: Florida wins but doesn’t cover
Final: Florida 37 FSU 10
Tim Tebow’s finale went pretty much in storybook fashion, with Jesus himself accounting for five touchdowns. I’m sure there were many tears and sadness, and not just from the Florida State fans in attendance watching Bobby Bowden’s final UF/FSU rivalry game end pretty much like every other FSU game did this season.
Bowden just has to admit that he’s not going to re-catch Joe Paterno and have the wins record by himself. I realize he wants it, but he no longer has the tools to do the job anymore. It’s sad really because ten years ago he had his boys winning the national championship over Mike Vick’s Virginia Tech squad. Now, he’s getting destroyed on the field and his teams have less talent than most of their competitors. Sad ending for a great coach.
Record: 138-70, 96-109-3 AS
5 pm ET
(21) Utah (9-2) at (19) Brigham Young (9-2) (-7.5)
Pick: BYU wins but doesn’t cover
Final: BYU 26 Utah 23 (OT)
Great win for BYU. Neither team is headed to the BCS though, so it’s just a state championship since TCU ran away and hid with the conference title. Still, both of these teams are going to be relevant for years to come, so don’t sleep on either one.
Record: 139-70, 97-109-3 AS
7 pm ET
Battle for the Golden Boot
Arkansas (7-4) at (15) Louisiana State (8-3) (-4)
Final: LSU 33 Arkansas 30 (OT)
LSU had to hit a last-second field goal to force OT and then ended up winning in overtime in yet another lackluster performance in a big game. The coaches are really going to have to look at their offensive philosophy after this season and ask whether they’re headed in a direction they want to go in. This team used to be a power-running team and produced great running backs. But now the offense has no identity whatsoever and no go-to players. The coaches need to look at whether Jordan Jefferson really is the answer at quarterback. We know Jarrett Lee isn’t. Jefferson wasn’t too great most of this season and Russell Shepard is lurking in the wings. I wonder if the kid can throw. I wonder if that even matters.
Record: 139-71, 97-110-3
8 pm ET
Battle for the Legends Trophy
Notre Dame (6-5) at Stanford (7-4) (-10)
Pick: Stanford wins but doesn’t cover
Final: Stanford 45 Notre Dame 38
Well, Charlie Weis got sent out a loser, didn’t he? Yet another close loss for the Irish in which the defense failed to make any plays whatsoever. I think if Notre Dame was able to keep Weis on as OC and get some one else who actually knows about defense to run the team, Irish fans might take it. There’s no doubting the offense is much better than when he got there, but man is that defense awful. There’s maybe two players on that unit that are worth a damn at this level of football. The rest should probably transfer to the MAC.
And I haven’t even talked about how great Toby Gerhart is. He’s like a faster, running back-only Tim Tebow. The guy is the reincarnation of Jim Brown. He’s got to be in the top two for the Heisman trophy. Got to be. Hear that, voters?
Record: 140-71, 98-110-3 AS
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Georgia (6-5) at (7) Georgia Tech (10-1) (-7.5)
Pick: Georgia Tech
Final: Georgia 30 Georgia Tech 24
Sucks. Tech could have won this game, but didn’t have Josh Nesbitt for the entire game. I’m depressed. And the awfulness in the UCLA/USC game isn’t helping. As good as Tech’s offense has been this season, these two have been just as bad. Seriously, what the fuck happened to USC?
Record: 140-72, 98-111-3 AS
10 pm ET
Battle for the Victory Bell
UC,LA (6-5) at (20) Southern California (7-3) (-13)
Pick: USC wins but doesn’t cover.
Final: USC 28 UC,LA 7
Before people freak out on Pete Carroll and USC for throwing deep at the end, I would have done the same thing had some one called time out as I was kneeling on it. The only surprising thing about it is that USC did something that’s usually only reserved for the video game when the computer does the same thing in the waning moments of another user win. Which is pretty much how this series has gone for UC,LA the past few years. I have no idea why Neuheisel called time out, but he did, and he paid for it. I would have wanted my team to do the exact same thing had the other team, say Purdue, called time out as we were about to win. No question. Shit, even Neuheisel thought it was called for.
The best part is that this only makes the rivalry even more bitter. Both teams were playing for nothing but pride Saturday night since they were already in the best bowl situation they were basically going to be in. And both teams spent pretty much the whole game being absolutely awful offensively.
Note to the Bruins for the bowl game: I know LSU won a national championship with a fullback as the feature back (Jacob Hester), but for God’s sake, don’t keep using whatever Moline brother that is as the feature back. It’s not helping the offense.
Note to USC for the bowl game: Fix whatever has happened to the offense. It used to be dynamic and a threat to score on every play. Now it makes the offense that got Frank Solich fired look forward and inventive. Paul Hackett thinks the Trojans’ offense sucks right now. Phil Gramm thinks the offense is too conservative. Seriously, fix it. It’s a mess.
Record: 141-72, 98-112-3 AS