Saturday-ish in Review 11/27/10

Normally, I just do Saturday games, assuming that no one wants to read a 1,000 word article about the Thursday night games. Weeks like these, however, force a blogger’s hand. He must either write about them all or stick to his guns and miss all the fun. And in many ways, most of the fun was on Friday. So let’s get started, shall we?

#21 Arizona-29, #1 Oregon-48

Well, surprise, surprise. Oregon trailed at the half and pulled ahead in the second half. Mind you, they only trailed 19-14. The Ducks “blur” offense has been a slow-starting one for most of this season. I’ve said this before. Not much has changed, and if Oregon and Auburn play in the national title (a very realistic thing at this point), we could see a scoreless first quarter, followed by a 63-57 game…Hey, speaking of Auburn.

#2 Auburn-28, #11 Alabama-27

I have never seen a Nick Saban coached team blow a 24-0 lead. I assume Auburn’s trainers served Holy Water at the half. It’s the only rational step, really. (I kid, I kid.)

In all seriousness, it was an excellent comeback by Auburn, including this excellent defensive play, where Alabama’s Mark Ingram lost the ball. Yes, I just used “excellent defensive play” when I was talking about Auburn’s defense. These things happen, don’t take it as a sign of approval. I still don’t like the fact that our two realistic potential national championship teams are basically defense-free squads. But, then again, being a cranky old man trapped in a 24 year old’s body comes with its downsides. One is that I apparently like the way football was played in the ’30s…

I dare say that Auburn does deserve the top spot in the country, though. They play in a tough defensive conference, and they still average almost 42 points per game. None too shabby. Also, that Alabama staffer who got fired shouldn’t have been. There’s nothing wrong with having a sense of humor…

#3 TCU-66, New Mexico-17

#3 team in the country beats a 1 win conference foe by almost 50? Yeah, this doesn’t need analysis.

#4 Boise State-31, #19 Nevada-34 (OT)

OK, Boise’s kicker is taking quite a bit of heat for this one. And, yeah, he should have hit at least one of those field goals. But you know what? There are 11 offensive starters and 11 defensive starters who have to share some of the blame, too. As far as I’m concerned, you never put the game in the hands of the officials or the kickers. Virginia Tech put their game against Boise in the refs’ hands and lost. Boise put this game in the kicker’s hands (or feet) (if you laughed at that parenthetical comment, take a good hard reevaluation of your life) and lost.

Lastly, to all the Boise haters, don’t look so smug and don’t kid yourselves. For you, there was nothing Boise State could have done to please you: They lose to WAC competition and they were “inferior” and didn’t deserve their high ranking. They go undefeated, and they were playing “weak competition” and didn’t deserve their high ranking. The Broncos loss does realistically open the door for TCU, and I wish the Frogs the best. Boise will still go to a decent bowl, where they’ll hopefully be paired off with a good BCS conference team. That way, when they beat them, we can hear more creative excuses from Ohio State’s President about how the loss to Nevada far outweighs any victories against BCS schools.

Lastly, no, I’m not a Boise State apologist. I’m on their side in this scenario, because they would’ve been wronged by the system anyway. Heck, at least this loss ensures that Boise won’t have to endure having an undefeated season and still get shorted. The downside, obviously, is that Boise won’t go to a BCS bowl, while the ACC and Big East champions will…

#5 LSU-23, #12 Arkansas-31

Arkansas could easily (and with Boise’s loss probably will) go to a BCS bowl now. I’m wondering when the SEC will suffer its fall.

Yeah, I know that sounds silly, but you have to think about it: Once upon a time it was assumed that Big 10 teams and Notre Dame were the unbeatable juggernauts of the land. If history teaches us anything, it’s that dominance is always temporary. The SEC will eventually suffer a fall from grace, no matter how temporary.

I’m also curious if there’s anyone in the SEC who is pro-playoff. Sure, they might claim to be, but I see no reason any SEC team should want a playoff, not having had a team in the big game for the last 4 years…

Why, no, I didn’t get to watch this game. How’d you know?

Oregon State-0, #6 Stanford-38

You know, Oregon State started the season with very high hopes. They end the season with an shot at making a bowl and taking Oregon out of the national title game. Actually, it’s sort of interesting that an Oregon loss could take them out of the BCS. I guess that gives hope to the Beavers. Rather unfortunately, losing by 38 to a team that Oregon beat by 21 can’t give OSU much hope.

Stanford, meanwhile, looks poised to be the Pac-10’s second BCS team. The Pac-10 is a mixed conference this season: the top half is really good. The bottom half is really bad, so bad that at max 5 Pac-10 teams will be going bowling. (Should be 6, but Southern Cal was done before the season started.) So…yeah…should be interesting to see what happens this week up in Oregon.

Northwestern-23, #7 Wisconsin-70

Wisconsin’s scored a ton these past few weeks. Mind you, they’ve done so largely against inferior foes, but it worked. They didn’t get passed by Ohio State (shockingly) in the latest BCS poll, so they’ll be going to the Rose Bowl. Mind you, in the BCS standings they are only separated by .0553 points. That’s…far too close for two teams that’ve played one another head to head. Two of the computers actually had Wisconsin ranked below OSU, a team that they beat. Oh, how I long for a playoff…

Michigan-7, #8 Ohio State-37

Dear Michigan,

Congrats on your 7-5 record. You can’t have a losing season. Unfortunately, you have beaten exactly 4 teams with winning records (3 if you don’t count UMass, which most people don’t). In other words, you have successfully pulled of being mediocre. I know these letters are repetitive, but I can’t shake the feeling that the national media just doesn’t pay attention when I say, “Michigan isn’t that good!” So, tell you what Michigan, I will call you mediocre until you beat at least one team that finishes the season ranked. This year isn’t looking good for you, unless you beat your bowl team. If they have anything resembling a competent defense, you’re in trouble. Have fun next season, though.



#13 Oklahoma-47, #9 Oklahoma State-41

Bedlam, pure and simple. Yes, it’s a great rivalry name, but it’s also one of the few adequate ways to describe the back and forth, 40 point 4th quarter. There’s a 3-way tie on top of the Big 12 South and Texas is in last in the division. That’s…nuts. Oklahoma wins the division, though, and now has a shot at the BCS. After losing 2 of 3 in the middle of the season, that ain’t too shabby for the Sooners, much as I hate to admit it.

Oh, and until proven otherwise, Oklahoma owns Oklahoma State. Eight straight years isn’t an accident…

#10 Michigan State-28, Penn State-22

Ugh, a fairly boring game. At least Penn State made a comeback. Just fell short. It was a mediocre year for the once-ranked Nittany Lions, but I think they’ll be fine next season. For now, they’re jockeying for position with Michigan to see who gets in the Big 10’s least-watched bowls. Michigan State is tied for the Big 10 lead, but their low ranking means that they’ll go to the 3rd most important bowl. Which is unfair, because they’re only ranked lower than Wisconsin or Ohio State because their loss came later in the season. Sorry, but that’s just silly…

Kansas-7, #14 Missouri-35

Kansas isn’t very good. Hopefully Turner Gill can turn things around. No, that was not a pun, do not treat it as such. Missouri’s had a good year, but the large crop of good (well, high ranked) teams from the Big 10 and SEC will likely keep them out of the BCS. It doesn’t help that they didn’t make it to the conference championship. Still, with the big red hurdle of Nebraska out of the way next season, they’ll have a good shot at taking the Big…whatever number they’ll use next season…

Colorado-17, #15 Nebraska-45

Colorado needed a miracle to beat a much better Nebraska team. Long story short, they didn’t get it. Should be interesting to see if the Huskers can beat the crowd, the refs, and the Sooners. If they do, it’ll leave a very bitter taste in the mouths of the Big 12 conference heads.

Virginia-7, #16 Virginia Tech-37

The rivalry for the Commonwealth Cup has been pretty one-sided this decade. Virginia has won once since 1999, and their last 4 graduating classes have never beaten Tech. I was at this game, but there’s not much to tell. The first quarter was an embarrassment for the Hokies, what with the whole lack of scoring, but they successfully pulled ahead of the Cavs in the 2nd. The game didn’t have much meaning aside from the rivalry aspect: Tech was already headed to the ACC Championship Game, and UVa wasn’t going to be going bowling regardless of the outcome. The Hokies are in for a heck of a fight in Charlotte with the Florida State Seminoles, and the winner of that game will go to the Orange Bowl.

One final piece of advice. When watching a game in 30 degree weather with winds of 10-15 mph, take lip balm. My lips have never been so chapped. It burns!

#17 Texas A&M-24, Texas-17

Texas had a year that can only adequately be described as bad. Their wins were against Rice, Wyoming, Texas Tech, Nebraska, and Florida Atlantic. The Nebraska win is pretty good (on the road, etc.) but the others are underwhelming. In an area with prime recruiting and a proud tradition, this season probably looks disastrous. But at least there’s new blood at the top of the division. I suppose that makes things interesting. Texas is supposed to dominate the new-look Big Whatever Number, but if they have another season like this one, they may fire Mack Brown instead.

A&M, meanwhile, didn’t win the South because of their 3 losses, but they did screw up Oklahoma’s shot at a one-loss year. So that has to count for something…

#18 South Carolina-29, Clemson-7

The SEC and ACC played 4 games on this particular Saturday. The ACC won 2 of the 4 Yeah, I know it’s selective history and the Vandy/Wake game only proves who has the better cellar dweller. But, hey, living in a region where SEC superiority is rammed down down my throat every Saturday, it’s nice to see the little brother conference break even. This game, however, is like the Florida State/Florida game: a meaningless in-state matchup in which one conference’s division leader plays a mediocre team from the other conference. Surprise, surprise, the division leader won. South Carolina is now looking forward to Auburn, hoping to correct their September mistakes and win the game with their second set of Tigers in two weeks.

Clemson finished at 6-6, thus proving my mediocrity hypothesis correct. Keep the dream alive, boys! Find a way to tie the bowl game!

BYU-16, #20 Utah-17

Utah clips BYU in an exciting game in a boring state (sorry, sorry…). Utah seems to have recovered pretty well from their little skid to TCU and Notre Dame, and they should make some nameless western bowl. Hopefully one sponsored by a diet pill or something…

Florida-7, #22 Florida State-31

This game was a lot like the South Carolina/Clemson game: a meaningless in-state matchup in which one conference’s division leader plays a mediocre team from the other conference. Surprise, surprise, the division leader won. FSU will be playing in what should be a close ACC Championship game, while Florida will go to a non-BCS bowl for the first time in 2 years…

#23 NC State-31, Maryland-38

Some handy hints for the Wolfpack in the future: 1: Don’t fall behind 38-17 with 6 and a half minutes left. Not a recipe for success.

2: If a guy has already scored 3 receiving touchdowns, cover him so he doesn’t score again. Just a tip.

Congrats to Maryland, who had an impact on the ACC Championship game after all…

#24 Iowa-24, Minnesota-27

As far as I’m concerned, this loss means that Iowa should not accept their bowl bid. Minnesota?! New coach or no, that’s sad.

#25 Mississippi State-31, Ole Miss-23

So a team that lost to a 1-AA school to open up the season loses to their ranked rival at home. Are we surprised? Yes, use the James Madison line if you must, but at least Virginia Tech didn’t crap out, which is more than anyone can say for the Rebels, who finished a whopping 1-7 in conference.

And now…Tales from the Bottom 95

Miami fired their coach after losing to South Florida. Pity, because Shannon was a stand-up guy. Guess Miami got tired of losing with integrity, so they’ll probably go back to winning with thugs…Louisville beat Rutgers and got to be bowl eligible. Good job, Cardinals! An impressive recovery from the previous bad years. They could make some noise in the Big East if Strong stays coach…Akron got their first win…Tennessee gained bowl eligibility by beating Kentucky for the 26th straight time…UConn beat Cincinnati in what realistically could have been a game between the former and future Big East champs. And now, listen for the vomiting noise from fans of Top 15 teams that won’t go to the BCS…Boston College beat Syracuse, so the ACC and Big East went 1-1 against each other this Saturday. Most fans in both conferences are eagerly awaiting basketball season..UNC beat Duke in a game attended by almost 8 fans!…Florida International, 4 years removed from a winless season, clinched the Sun Belt title this week. Congrats to the Golden Panthers!…Georgia became bowl eligible by beating Georgia Tech. No one outside of Georgia cares…Notre Dame beat Southern Cal. Ahem, BWAHAHAHAHAHA. Even when they were ineligible, people actually had Southern Cal ranked. Please, someone, find me those voters…Idaho got shut out of a bowl with a loss to Fresno State…If Hawaii wins their bowl game they can have a 10 win season. As it is, they’re 9-3 and the only team that beat Nevada. Congrats to the Warriors. Here’s hoping you get to stay in Hawaii for your bowl…

And that’s it for the week. See you later!