Monthly Archives: December 2009

BCS Bowls

We begin this over-extended BCS week with a: hire-fire scenario. 

A Kansas fan has created a: fireturnergill.com website on the news that Turner Gill, the former Nebraska star, will be taking over the reins of the Jayhawks program.  In part a website e-mail reads: “Typically, when a program fires a two-time Coach of the Year, a big hire can be expected…, with all the great names out there Lew(ser) Perkins, (the KU athletic director) …. You can’t predict failure, but anyone can see this train-wreck coming.”  During this BCS week, let’s see which teams run off the rails, and which google-up to stay on track for a big victory. 

No.1 Alabama vs. No.2 Texas –Rose Bowl – National Championship (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)                   A couple of historical notes: Alabama is 0-7-1 in its meetings with Texas, and the last time these traditional powers met; the 1981 Cotton Bowl – it was a 14-12 Horns victory.  “Saint Nick,” Bama Coach Nick Saban, is attempting to become the first coach of the modern era to win national championships at two different (LSU) schools. 

Alabama softens opponents with a ground assault worthy of General Patton.  The Tide attacks behind its ramming tailback tandem; Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and his speedier partner Trent Richardson, the leaders of the nation’s twelfth best rushing squad.  QB Greg McElroy (16 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – who is 29-0 as a starting quarterback: 16-0 in high school – 13-0 at Alabama) has emerged as a team leader after his last minute winning drive against Auburn.  Mr. Undefeated can also focus on a pair of game-changing receivers in wideout Julio Jones and tight end Colin Peek.  The offense also turns the ball over (tied for second fewest 10 in the country) about as often as Madonna attends a Reconciliation service.  But it’s the Tide’s D, second overall that is the true titans of Tuscaloosa.  The nation’s stingiest (11 points a game) eleven, disrupts and suffocates the opposition behind a trio of All-Americas; corner Javier Arenas, nose Terrance Cody, and backer Rolando McClain.

It was a good $Christmas for Texas Coach Mack Brown, who saw his annual salary zoom to $5 million, the largest on the college landscape.  It is also the largest in the Lone Star State, higher than Coach Wade Phillips of the Cowboys.  America’s third most prolific scoring team is led by its All-America quarterback Colt McCoy, (27 touchdown passes – 12 interceptions, 70 percent completions), whose other moniker is: winningest QB in college football history.  The Horns triggerman focuses on his Linus–blanket roomie, wideout Jordan Shipley (106 catches – 11 touchdowns), with an assist from another emerging threat; James Kirkendoll.  Unfortunately for the Burnt Orange faithful, the Horns running game, featuring tailback Tre Newton has been Chrysler-like all season.  The D, behind a pair of All-Americas; safety Earl Thomas (8 ints.),and backer Sergio Kindle and end Sam Acho, leads the nation in interceptions with 24, and tops the field in spearing runners, while ranking third overall.  Despite the fact that Texas is angry over its lack of respect, and that the team with a Heisman Trophy winner usually loses, we think the Boys from Tuscaloosa end the Texas two-step, as “Saint Nick” wins his second national championship and gets an audience with the Pope. 

No.5 Florida vs. No.4 Cincinnati – Sugar Bowl New Orleans (FOX, 8:30 p.m.) This should be called the; “Disappointment Bowl.”  Defending champion Florida expected to be playing in its second consecutive national championship game, while a group of Bearcat players feel betrayed by Coach Brian Kelley’s decision to leave for the higher calling of Notre Dame. 

The Gators are commanded by its All-World QB Tim Tebow (18 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions- over 1000 yards rushing – 13 TDs) the nation’s eighth most efficient passer.  The country’s tenth best rushing team scampers behind its mercury-infused tailback tandem; Chris Rainey, and Jeffrey Demps.  When Tebow takes to the air, he has a pair of primary targets in All-America tight end Aaron Hernandez and wideout Riley Cooper.  The Gators like to jump on teams early and hold a 273-88 point differential in the first half of its games.  The nation’s third stingiest (11.5 points a game) D, and fourth overall, is anchored by a pair of All-Americas; backer Brandon (Pokey) Spikes, corner Joe Haden and imposing end; Carlos Dunlap. 

The Bearcats are growling.  Quarterback Tony Pike (26 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) the country’s sixth most efficient passer, directs the sixth (39 points) highest scoring squad.  This dart thrower has a trio of field stretching targets led by All-America Mardy Gilyard (80 catches – 11TDs, over 1000 yards), who can also return a kick in a flash.  The ground game is often ignored, but when the Bearcats do run, Isaiah Pead and Jacob Ramsey can cause damage.  The D, featuring backers Andre Revels, J.K. Schaffer and tackle Alex Daniels is as dynamic as Governor Deval Patrick, and almost as soft as his poll numbers, which is not a good election strategy against the Gators.  Cincinnati’s anger is blindsided by talent, as the Bearcats become Gator bait.

No.7 Oregon vs. No.8 Ohio State – Rose Bowl (Ch.5, 4:30 p.m.)  Bill Clinton was residing in the White House (1995) the last time the fragrance of Pasadena roses enveloped the senses of the Eugene faithful.  The Ducks high-flying offense – seventh best 37 points a game – is fed by the running of sensational All-America redshirt-freshman LaMichael James (8th in the country, nearly 1500 yards-14 TDs) and his feisty dual-threat QB (15 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) Jeremiah Masoli.  When the erratic signal caller is dialing, he rings a pair of primary targets; wideout Jeff Maehl and tight end Ed Dickson.  Unfortunately for the Eugene Green, the D, featuring backer Kenny Rowe and corner Javes Lewis is environmentally challenged allowing 23 points a game. 

Coach Jim “Senator” Tressel’s Bucks are anchored by a defense that hits harder than a congressman hits an open bar.  The nation’s fifth stingiest group (12 points a game) crushes runners, and deflates passes behind a trio of intimidators; end Thaddeus Gibson, backer Ross Homan, and tackle Cameron Heyward.  These dynamos are tied for second overall with 23 interceptions, third in turnovers gained, and ranked fifth overall.  OSU’s points-challenged offense is directed by dual-threat QB Terrelle Pryor (16 touchdowns – 10 interceptions – 55 percent completions), who leads the Buckeyes in rushing, but commands a bottom feeding (106th) passing attack.  Instead, Ohio State grinds behind the running tandem of Brandon Saine and Dan Herron.  In what should be a classic chess match – we think the Buckeyes say, “Goodbye Columbus,” to the Boys from Phil Knight University.  

No.3 TCU vs. No.6 Boise State Fiesta Bowl (FOX-8 p.m.) This pairing must have been made by the same Svengali who concocted Connie Chung/Dan Rather and Greg Norman/Chris Everett mergers.  It’s analogous to when the Irish in Boston won City Hall and the Yankees said, “Let them have it, we’ll run everything else.”  Everybody wanted to see these unbeatens get a crack at the “big-boys.”   How would the slate of TCU/Florida – Boise State/Cincinnati look?  Pretty damn interesting. 

In fact some feel that the Horned Frogs is the best football team in the Lone Star State.  These Sons of Davey O’Brien are commanded by its dual-threat QB Andy Dalton (22 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) who operates as America’s fourth most efficient passer.  This Petraeus skilled leader is assisted by the nation’s fifth best ground assault, featuring Joseph Turner and Matthew Tucker – who have combined for 1400 yards and 19 touchdowns.  The Fort Worth aerial show focuses on a trio of targets: Jeremy Kerley, Bart Johnson, and Jimmy Young.  The Frogs D has better numbers than Goldman Sachs.  Coach Gary Patterson’s iron curtain, led by its All-America sack-master end Jerry Hughes, and backers Daryl Washington and Tank Carder, is number one overall, and surrenders less than 13 points a game.

There are no half-baked spuds on the roster of the Boys from Boise, Idaho.  The Broncos have ridden roughshod over teams on the bionic-arm of quarterback Kellen Moore (39 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), who leads the nation in passing efficiency.  In fact Boise State has outscored it opponents by the ungodly first half totals of: 334-92.  The QB is supported by his running duo; Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin, who have rushed for over 1800 yards while scoring 20 touchdowns, while his receiving tandem has rung up pinball numbers: 133 catches and 24 TDs.  The D, behind end Ryan Winterswyk, tackle Billy Winn, and safety Jevon Johnson has been peeled at times, particularly in defending the run which is the wrong type of fries against TCU.  We think the Horned Frogs jump to a performance worthy of a national consideration, not to mention, Davey O’Brien.

No. 10 Iowa vs. No.9 Georgia Tech – Orange Bowl (FOX, 8 p.m.)  The Iowa offense is as brittle as a cornfield in late January.  The Boys of the Corn, directed by its erratic QB Ricky Stanzi (15 touchdown passes – 14 interceptions) have plowed a seasonal-long fallow harvest.  The Hawkeyes rank 103rd running the ball, 93rd overall, and 86th in scoring.  The bounty lies with the nation’s tenth (15.5 points a game) stingiest D.  These attacking augers led by All-Americas; backer Pat Angerer (who plays that way), and safety Tyler Sash, along with ends Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns are tied for fifth in interceptions (20) and ninth in turnovers gained. 

Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option runs better than Eveready.  The nation’s second best (307 yards a game) running game is led by tailback Jonathan Dwyer (14 touchdowns), who along with his Copperfield ball-handler dual-threat quarterback Josh Nesbitt (10 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) have combined for over 2300 yards and 32 touchdowns.  When the QB takes to the air, he has an All-America target in Demaryius Thomas, who is averaging an eye-popping 25 yards per reception.  The D has quality in All-America end Derrick Morgan (18 tfls – 12.5 sacks) and backers Brad Jefferson and Sedric Griffin, but the rest of the body is as bland as a Chevy.  The Iowa D is vastly underrated, but we think the Jackets speed and deception will make corn chowder, out of Iowa.

Last week’s record: 1-0.                                   Season record: 46-25.

Well this is our last blog for ’09 – thanks to all our “loyal” readers – stay well – see you in late August.   Until then, Peace – PK

 

And don’t forget to purchase your copy of A True Man For Others – The Coach Jim Cotter Story. 

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BCS Bowls

We begin this over-extended BCS week with a: hire-fire scenario. 

A Kansas fan has created a: fireturnergill.com website on the news that Turner Gill, the former Nebraska star, will be taking over the reins of the Jayhawks program.  In part a website e-mail reads: “Typically, when a program fires a two-time Coach of the Year, a big hire can be expected…, with all the great names out there Lew(ser) Perkins, (the KU athletic director) …. You can’t predict failure, but anyone can see this train-wreck coming.”  During this BCS week, let’s see which teams run off the rails, and which google-up to stay on track for a big victory. 

No.1 Alabama vs. No.2 Texas –Rose Bowl – National Championship (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)                   A couple of historical notes: Alabama is 0-7-1 in its meetings with Texas, and the last time these traditional powers met; the 1981 Cotton Bowl – it was a 14-12 Horns victory.  “Saint Nick,” Bama Coach Nick Saban, is attempting to become the first coach of the modern era to win national championships at two different (LSU) schools. 

Alabama softens opponents with a ground assault worthy of General Patton.  The Tide attacks behind its ramming tailback tandem; Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and his speedier partner Trent Richardson, the leaders of the nation’s twelfth best rushing squad.  QB Greg McElroy (16 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – who is 29-0 as a starting quarterback: 16-0 in high school – 13-0 at Alabama) has emerged as a team leader after his last minute winning drive against Auburn.  Mr. Undefeated can also focus on a pair of game-changing receivers in wideout Julio Jones and tight end Colin Peek.  The offense also turns the ball over (tied for second fewest 10 in the country) about as often as Madonna attends a Reconciliation service.  But it’s the Tide’s D, second overall that is the true titans of Tuscaloosa.  The nation’s stingiest (11 points a game) eleven, disrupts and suffocates the opposition behind a trio of All-Americas; corner Javier Arenas, nose Terrance Cody, and backer Rolando McClain.

It was a good $Christmas for Texas Coach Mack Brown, who saw his annual salary zoom to $5 million, the largest on the college landscape.  It is also the largest in the Lone Star State, higher than Coach Wade Phillips of the Cowboys.  America’s third most prolific scoring team is led by its All-America quarterback Colt McCoy, (27 touchdown passes – 12 interceptions, 70 percent completions), whose other moniker is: winningest QB in college football history.  The Horns triggerman focuses on his Linus–blanket roomie, wideout Jordan Shipley (106 catches – 11 touchdowns), with an assist from another emerging threat; James Kirkendoll.  Unfortunately for the Burnt Orange faithful, the Horns running game, featuring tailback Tre Newton has been Chrysler-like all season.  The D, behind a pair of All-Americas; safety Earl Thomas (8 ints.),and backer Sergio Kindle and end Sam Acho, leads the nation in interceptions with 24, and tops the field in spearing runners, while ranking third overall.  Despite the fact that Texas is angry over its lack of respect, and that the team with a Heisman Trophy winner usually loses, we think the Boys from Tuscaloosa end the Texas two-step, as “Saint Nick” wins his second national championship and gets an audience with the Pope. 

No.5 Florida vs. No.4 Cincinnati – Sugar Bowl New Orleans (FOX, 8:30 p.m.) This should be called the; “Disappointment Bowl.”  Defending champion Florida expected to be playing in its second consecutive national championship game, while a group of Bearcat players feel betrayed by Coach Brian Kelley’s decision to leave for the higher calling of Notre Dame. 

The Gators are commanded by its All-World QB Tim Tebow (18 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions- over 1000 yards rushing – 13 TDs) the nation’s eighth most efficient passer.  The country’s tenth best rushing team scampers behind its mercury-infused tailback tandem; Chris Rainey, and Jeffrey Demps.  When Tebow takes to the air, he has a pair of primary targets in All-America tight end Aaron Hernandez and wideout Riley Cooper.  The Gators like to jump on teams early and hold a 273-88 point differential in the first half of its games.  The nation’s third stingiest (11.5 points a game) D, and fourth overall, is anchored by a pair of All-Americas; backer Brandon (Pokey) Spikes, corner Joe Haden and imposing end; Carlos Dunlap. 

The Bearcats are growling.  Quarterback Tony Pike (26 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) the country’s sixth most efficient passer, directs the sixth (39 points) highest scoring squad.  This dart thrower has a trio of field stretching targets led by All-America Mardy Gilyard (80 catches – 11TDs, over 1000 yards), who can also return a kick in a flash.  The ground game is often ignored, but when the Bearcats do run, Isaiah Pead and Jacob Ramsey can cause damage.  The D, featuring backers Andre Revels, J.K. Schaffer and tackle Alex Daniels is as dynamic as Governor Deval Patrick, and almost as soft as his poll numbers, which is not a good election strategy against the Gators.  Cincinnati’s anger is blindsided by talent, as the Bearcats become Gator bait.

No.7 Oregon vs. No.8 Ohio State – Rose Bowl (Ch.5, 4:30 p.m.)  Bill Clinton was residing in the White House (1995) the last time the fragrance of Pasadena roses enveloped the senses of the Eugene faithful.  The Ducks high-flying offense – seventh best 37 points a game – is fed by the running of sensational All-America redshirt-freshman LaMichael James (8th in the country, nearly 1500 yards-14 TDs) and his feisty dual-threat QB (15 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) Jeremiah Masoli.  When the erratic signal caller is dialing, he rings a pair of primary targets; wideout Jeff Maehl and tight end Ed Dickson.  Unfortunately for the Eugene Green, the D, featuring backer Kenny Rowe and corner Javes Lewis is environmentally challenged allowing 23 points a game. 

Coach Jim “Senator” Tressel’s Bucks are anchored by a defense that hits harder than a congressman hits an open bar.  The nation’s fifth stingiest group (12 points a game) crushes runners, and deflates passes behind a trio of intimidators; end Thaddeus Gibson, backer Ross Homan, and tackle Cameron Heyward.  These dynamos are tied for second overall with 23 interceptions, third in turnovers gained, and ranked fifth overall.  OSU’s points-challenged offense is directed by dual-threat QB Terrelle Pryor (16 touchdowns – 10 interceptions – 55 percent completions), who leads the Buckeyes in rushing, but commands a bottom feeding (106th) passing attack.  Instead, Ohio State grinds behind the running tandem of Brandon Saine and Dan Herron.  In what should be a classic chess match – we think the Buckeyes say, “Goodbye Columbus,” to the Boys from Phil Knight University.  

No.3 TCU vs. No.6 Boise State Fiesta Bowl (FOX-8 p.m.) This pairing must have been made by the same Svengali who concocted Connie Chung/Dan Rather and Greg Norman/Chris Everett mergers.  It’s analogous to when the Irish in Boston won City Hall and the Yankees said, “Let them have it, we’ll run everything else.”  Everybody wanted to see these unbeatens get a crack at the “big-boys.”   How would the slate of TCU/Florida – Boise State/Cincinnati look?  Pretty damn interesting. 

In fact some feel that the Horned Frogs is the best football team in the Lone Star State.  These Sons of Davey O’Brien are commanded by its dual-threat QB Andy Dalton (22 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) who operates as America’s fourth most efficient passer.  This Petraeus skilled leader is assisted by the nation’s fifth best ground assault, featuring Joseph Turner and Matthew Tucker – who have combined for 1400 yards and 19 touchdowns.  The Fort Worth aerial show focuses on a trio of targets: Jeremy Kerley, Bart Johnson, and Jimmy Young.  The Frogs D has better numbers than Goldman Sachs.  Coach Gary Patterson’s iron curtain, led by its All-America sack-master end Jerry Hughes, and backers Daryl Washington and Tank Carder, is number one overall, and surrenders less than 13 points a game.

There are no half-baked spuds on the roster of the Boys from Boise, Idaho.  The Broncos have ridden roughshod over teams on the bionic-arm of quarterback Kellen Moore (39 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), who leads the nation in passing efficiency.  In fact Boise State has outscored it opponents by the ungodly first half totals of: 334-92.  The QB is supported by his running duo; Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin, who have rushed for over 1800 yards while scoring 20 touchdowns, while his receiving tandem has rung up pinball numbers: 133 catches and 24 TDs.  The D, behind end Ryan Winterswyk, tackle Billy Winn, and safety Jevon Johnson has been peeled at times, particularly in defending the run which is the wrong type of fries against TCU.  We think the Horned Frogs jump to a performance worthy of a national consideration, not to mention, Davey O’Brien.

No. 10 Iowa vs. No.9 Georgia Tech – Orange Bowl (FOX, 8 p.m.)  The Iowa offense is as brittle as a cornfield in late January.  The Boys of the Corn, directed by its erratic QB Ricky Stanzi (15 touchdown passes – 14 interceptions) have plowed a seasonal-long fallow harvest.  The Hawkeyes rank 103rd running the ball, 93rd overall, and 86th in scoring.  The bounty lies with the nation’s tenth (15.5 points a game) stingiest D.  These attacking augers led by All-Americas; backer Pat Angerer (who plays that way), and safety Tyler Sash, along with ends Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns are tied for fifth in interceptions (20) and ninth in turnovers gained. 

Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option runs better than Eveready.  The nation’s second best (307 yards a game) running game is led by tailback Jonathan Dwyer (14 touchdowns), who along with his Copperfield ball-handler dual-threat quarterback Josh Nesbitt (10 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) have combined for over 2300 yards and 32 touchdowns.  When the QB takes to the air, he has an All-America target in Demaryius Thomas, who is averaging an eye-popping 25 yards per reception.  The D has quality in All-America end Derrick Morgan (18 tfls – 12.5 sacks) and backers Brad Jefferson and Sedric Griffin, but the rest of the body is as bland as a Chevy.  The Iowa D is vastly underrated, but we think the Jackets speed and deception will make corn chowder, out of Iowa.

Last week’s record: 1-0.                                   Season record: 46-25.

Well this is our last blog for ’09 – thanks to all our “loyal” readers – stay well – see you in late August.   Until then, Peace – PK

 

And don’t forget to purchase your copy of A True Man For Others – The Coach Jim Cotter Story. 

If Diogenes was searching for the last “pure” amateur football game – he need look no further than W.C. Fields favorite city – Philadelphia.

On Saturday afternoon, the City of Brotherly Love will once again play host to the 110th edition of Army versus Navy – between the Cadets of West Point and the Midshipmen of Annapolis. 

The NCAA’s brilliant decision to play this game a week after the “big boys” have closed shop, allows it to glow in the national spot light it deserves.  It is also special for another reason; the players and the students are the finest this country has to offer, – and make sure to celebrate the seniors, some may literally never have the opportunity to watch and cheer again. 

The game also carries a very personal meaning.  The first college football game I can remember watching was the 1963 meeting – which featured Navy’s Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach.  I watched with my dad, on a black and white television, in the top floor living room of our Dorchester “tri-level” ranch.  Some thirty-five years later, in 1998, I returned the favor and took the “old-man,” a WWII veteran, to Philly, to witness the game first hand.  Through a friend of a friend, we scored seats on the 45 yard line, and to this day – my dad passed eight years ago – he still wonders how his kid pulled that off.

Now to the game: Army vs. Navy – Philadelphia (Ch.4, 2:30 p.m.) This should be the most competitive game in years.  A victory by Army – a tall order – Navy has won the last seven – will earn the Black Knights it first bowl invitation – The Eagle Bank Bowl – since 1996.  

First year coach Rich Ellerson, has the Boys from the Hudson marching in the right direction.  Unfortunately, as the Army faithful are well aware, points (Army is 8th from the bottom in scoring -16 pts a game) are scarcer than an appearance by Tiger and Elin Woods, or any chick that hasn’t slept with Tiger.  The nation’s top twenty option ground attack, led by running QB Trent Steelman (is there a better name for an Army quarterback?) and his backfield mates Patrick Mealy and Ehie Kingsley is dangerous, but hasn’t been able to sustain enough lengthy drives.  The D, led by starry end Josh McNary (12.5 sacks – 22 tfls) and backer Andrew Rodriguez, ranks seventeenth overall, but shows vulnerability against the run which is the wrong battle plan against Navy.

Navy is what Army is trying to become.  It is another eight win season for the Mids second-year Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who is continuing the winning tradition established by his predecessor Paul Johnson.  Navy sails along as the nation’s third best rushing eleven (279 yds. a game) on the legs of its touchdown scoring (23TDs – 2nd in the country) junior QB, Ricky Dobbs, who along with tailback Vince Murray, have combined for over 1800 yards. The Boys from Annapolis also have a bit more powder in its guns, averaging 28 points a game.   The D, behind backers Ross Pospisil and Tony Haberer, stops the run better than its rival, but overall, operates in a similar battle mode.  We expect the Black Knights to give the Midshipmen, all it can handle, but in the end its Anchors Aweigh – as Navy captures its seventh consecutive Commander-In-Chief trophy.  [If you watch the game, make sure you stay for the spine tingling traditional ending.]

Last week’s record: 4-1                                               Season’s record: 45-25.

This will be the last regular analysis of the season – if there is enough demand, we will return just before Christmas with our analysis of the BCS games.   Until then- Peace and Merry Christmas.

Handicapping week 16

If Diogenes was searching for the last “pure” amateur football game – he need look no further than W.C. Fields favorite city – Philadelphia.
On Saturday afternoon, the City of Brotherly Love will once again play host to the 110th edition of Army versus Navy – between the Cadets of West Point and the Midshipmen of Annapolis.
The NCAA’s brilliant decision to play this game a week after the “big boys” have closed shop, allows it to glow in the national spot light it deserves. It is also special for another reason; the players and the students are the finest this country has to offer, – and make sure to celebrate the seniors, some may literally never have the opportunity to watch and cheer again.
The game also carries a very personal meaning. The first college football game I can remember watching was the 1963 meeting – which featured Navy’s Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach. I watched with my dad, on a black and white television, in the top floor living room of our Dorchester “tri-level” ranch. Some thirty-five years later, in 1998, I returned the favor and took the “old-man,” a WWII veteran, to Philly, to witness the game first hand. Through a friend of a friend, we scored seats on the 45 yard line, and to this day – my dad passed eight years ago – he still wonders how his kid pulled that off.
Now to the game: Army vs. Navy – Philadelphia (Ch.4, 2:30 p.m.) This should be the most competitive game in years. A victory by Army – a tall order – Navy has won the last seven- will earn the Black Knights it first bowl invitation – The Eagle Bank Bowl – since 1996.
First year coach Rich Ellerson, has the Boys from the Hudson marching in the right direction. Unfortunately, as the Army faithful are well aware, points (Army is 8th from the bottom in scoring -16 pts a game) are scarcer than an appearance by Tiger and Elin Woods, or any chick that hasn’t slept with Tiger. The nation’s top twenty option ground attack, led by running QB Trent Steelman (is there a better name for an Army quarterback?) and his backfield mates Patrick Mealy and Ehie Kingsley is dangerous, but hasn’t been able to sustain enough lengthy drives. The D, led by starry end Josh McNary (12.5 sacks – 22 tfls) and backer Andrew Rodriguez, ranks seventeenth overall, but shows vulnerability against the run which is the wrong battle plan against Navy.
Navy is what Army is trying to become. It is another eight win season for the Mids second-year Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who is continuing the winning tradition established by his predecessor Paul Johnson. Navy sails along as the nation’s third best rushing eleven (279 yds. a game) on the legs of its touchdown scoring (23TDs – 2nd in the country) junior QB, Ricky Dobbs, who along with tailback Vince Murray, have combined for over 1800 yards. The Boys from Annapolis also have a bit more powder in its guns, averaging 28 points a game. The D, behind backers Ross Pospisil and Tony Haberer, stops the run better than its rival, but overall, operates in a similar battle mode. We expect the Black Knights to give the Midshipmen, all it can handle, but in the end its Anchors Aweigh – as Navy captures its seventh consecutive Commander-In-Chief trophy. [If you watch the game, make sure you stay for the spine tingling traditional ending.]
Last week’s record: 4-1 Season’s record: 45-25.
This will be the last regular analysis of the season – if there is enough demand, we will return just before Christmas with our analysis of the BCS games. Until then- Peace and Merry Christmas.

Recap of Week 15

Wow!! It truly was worthy of its title: Championship Week.
We’ll begin with the best fan sign of the college football season. In the stands of the East Carolina Pirates in its victory over the Houston Cougars a student flashed the following sign: “His mom is the only cougar I like,” with an arrow pointed to the kid next to him – very clever – must be a humanities major.
Maybe ECU head man Skip Holtz, the first coach to win consecutive CUSA crowns, should be the guy who takes the reins at Notre Dame. He’s a terrific coach, is intimately familiar with the pressures associated with South Bend, and certainly has the coaching genes.
Poor Dave Wannstedt, after leading 31-10, with a BCS bowl game ($millions) and the Big East title on the line, his Pitt Panthers couldn’t close it out, losing to undefeated Cincinnati 45-44 on a missed extra point – botched not by the kicker or the snapper, but by the holder. In a remarkable turnaround, the Bearcats QB Tony Pike, who at one point was almost benched after a 3-16 completion stretch, finished with 11 consecutive completions, including the winning touchdown pass with less than a minute left to play. It may also have been Bearcat’s coach Brian Kelley’s last game– as Notre Dame, as everyone expects, may be calling.
In the shocker of the day, Alabama dominated the defending national champion Florida Gators – 32-19 as tailback Mark Ingram – 3 TDs and 189 all purpose yards – ran himself back into the Heisman Trophy race. It was also a game that saw Bama’s quarterback Greg McElroy outplay Florida’s All-World QB Tim Tebow, as Florida’s 22 game win streak – the nation’s longest came to a crashing halt. We think in McElroy – a star is born.
In the how does he keep his job category: Illinois coach Ron Zook, who has been told he is coming back, saw his woeful Illini(3-9) surrender 53 points in its loss to Fresno State 53-52 in Champaign. The difference came on a battered two point conversion with no time left on the clock. Amazing. It was also the most points Fresno scored all season!!
The king is dead – long love the king – in this case Oregon. USC, the winners of the last seven consecutive PAC 10 titles, lost its fourth conference game, this time at home on senior day – as Pete Carroll’s Trojans finished a stunningly disappointing sixth in the conference, with a 5-4 record, and 8-4 overall. Yikes!! The front running fans also did the Trojans no favors by emptying the Coliseum with the game still in doubt. Ouch!!
The experts said that Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack would never work against the ‘big-boys” – well yesterday Georgia Tech and that triple option captured its first ACC title –since Lyndon Johnson occupied the White House in 1966.
In Dallas – the Long Horns escaped with a 13-12 last second victory over the Cornhuskers of Nebraska, as QB Colt McCoy played himself out of a Heisman Trophy and almost out of a national championship game. McCoy, luckily threw a pass out of bounds leaving a single second left on the clock which allowed UT field goal kicker Hunter Lawrence (what is it with these Texas names: Colt, Hunter), the time to kick a Vinateri-like 46 yard game winning field goal – keeping the Horns title hopes alive. Based on the Horns performance the last two weeks – the wrong team from Texas will be playing in the National Championship game – it should be the Horned Frogs of TCU.
It truly was an amazing day – our Heisman Trophy ballot went this way:
1. Ingram –Alabama 2. Gerhart – Stanford 3. Suh – Nebraska.
If you had told me at the beginning of the season that not one of the big three QBs’ would be on my ballot – I would have made a call to McCleans!!!
That’s it from Cyber space – we’ll be up and running with our final analysis of the season on Wednesday night – our favorite: Army/Navy. We hate to see the season end. But of course there are always the Browns versus the Bucks or the Nets versus the Knicks to look forward to!! Until then – peace out. PK

  • Handicapping week 15

    We begin this week by paying homage to a college football coaching legend.

    Bobby Bowden, the second winningiest coach of all time- who compiled a never to be duplicated 34 year legacy of: 315-97-4 record at FSU – retired earlier this week at the prime age of 80 years old.  We thought we’d share some, of what have become known as; “Bowdenisms.”

    On coaching linebacker Reggie Herring 1978-1980:  “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear.’  In fact, I saw his grades, and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.’

    On being criticized for having his sons as assistants:  “They call it nepotism, but half of them don’t know how to spell it, and the other half doesn’t know what it means.”

    On coming to FSU: “When I was at Alabama, all I heard was, ‘Beat Auburn.’  When I was at West Virginia, all I heard was, ‘Beat Pittsburgh.’  When I got to Florida State, their bumper stickers read, ‘Beat Anybody.’

    On Michigan coach Bo Schembecher:  “It’s kind of a mutual friendship.  I like him, and he can’t wait to play me.”  This weekend let’s see which teams look like a joke, and which intimidate, and imitate the Bowden teams of a younger era. 

    No.2 Alabama vs. No 1 Florida SEC Championship – Atlanta, (Ch.4, 4p.m.)  Armageddon II has arrived.  For the second consecutive year, the nation’s top two teams will play in the de-facto national title elimination game; otherwise know as the SEC Championship.  It will also be a game with more hits than the annual “Hemp Festival” on the Boston Common.

    It’s been said, “A rising tide raises all boats,” but this Tide’s D, has sunk many a team.

    The Crimson Tide’s All-America backer Rolando McClain, who is deserving of Heisman Trophy attention, is the commander of the country’s second stingiest (10 points) defensive squad.  The rest of the Bama disruptors, fellow All-Americas; corner Javier Arenas and nose Terrance Cody, rank third overall, and are as immovable as a rock named; Gibraltar.  The offense is directed by maturing quarterback Greg McElroy (16 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions), who along with Heisman contending tailback Mark Ingram, fellow runner Trent Richardson and wideout Julio Jones, won’t dazzle, but slowly grind down an opponent.

    The Gators, have won 22 in a row, and are graduating a senior class that is 46-6, with a pair of national championships in its resume.  Florida is directed by its dual-threat Churchillian leader, Tim Tebow, (17 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – 796 yards rushing and 13 TDs), who is as forceful and unstoppable as a lava flow down a mountain.  The nation’s tenth highest scoring team also flows with tailback Jeffrey Demps, and Chris Rainey, who comprise the nation’s sixth best rushing attack.  When Tebow takes to the air, All-America tight end Anthony Hernandez and wideout Riley Cooper (17 yards catch- 8 TDs) provide Linus-blanket comfort.  The Gators D has more number ones than Dick Clark’s juke-box.  Florida’s quartet of All-America’s; corner Joe Haden, backer Brandon (pokey) Spikes, end Carlos Dunlap[But a huge distraction has descended upon Gainesville, when Florida’s All-America defensive end Mr. Dunlap or Dope, was indefinitely suspended for an early morning DUI.  It remains to be seen if that will have a big impact in the game, or  more importantly in the Gator’s locker room.], and safety Ahmad Black, is number one defending the pass, in total D, and the nation’s stingiest allowing 9.8 points a game.  We like Tebow and the Gators, or to paraphrase Churchill, “Never has someone, done so much, for so many.” 

    No. 3 Texas vs. No. 22 Nebraska – Big 12 Championship – Dallas (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  A Texas victory and Coach Mack Brown’s undefeated Horns will be playing for its second national championship during his tenure.  The nation’s third highest scoring team (43 points a game) is commanded by triggerman Colt McCoy (27 touchdowns- 9 interceptions -71 percent completions) with an immeasurable assist (99 catches – 11 TDs) from his “Store-24” All-America roommate receiver, Jordan Shipley.  Unfortunately, as the Burnt Orange faithful are well aware, the Horns run by committee approach is still trying to find its legs.  The UT glue has been the nation’s ninth stingiest D, led by All-America safety Earl Thomas (8 interceptions), end Sergio Kindle, his partner Sam Acho and backer Roddrick Muckelroy.  These guys are fifth overall, and the country’s best at stoning runners – allowing less than 2 yards a carry.

    The question lingers in Lincoln; can Nebraska, riding a five game winning streak compete with the elite?  The Huskers offense, led by QB Zac Lee (ankle) (12 touchdowns – 7 interceptions), along with tailback Roy Helu and wideout Niles Paul ranks ninety-second overall, seventy-second in scoring, and is about as productive as a Nebraskan wheat field in late January. It’s the nation’s third stingiest D, (11 points a game) led by All-America Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick that percolates the hope in the Big Red faithful.  We think the answer to the question is; no, as the “Eyes of Texas,” have it, and UT moves on to the championship round.

    No.5 Cincinnati at No.15 Pittsburgh (Ch.5, Noon) A Cincinnati victory wins the trifecta.  The best team in the state of Ohio; finishes undefeated, wins its second consecutive Big East crown, and earns its second consecutive BCS bowl invite.  It also puts Bearcats coach Brian Kelly, who may be on his way to Notre Dame, on the very short list for national Coach of the Year honors.  The nation’s sixth highest scoring offense (39 points a game) is powered by the right arm of quarterback Tony Pike (23 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) accomplished in just seven games due to an arm injury.  The country’s sixth best passing attack (322 yds. a game) smoothly flies courtesy of a trio of glue fingered wideouts; All-America Mardy Gilyard, Armon Binns, and D.J. Woods.  When Cincinnati does run, tailback Isaiah Pead provides some spark.  The nation’s nineteenth stingiest D, led by backers Andre Revels, and J.K. Schaffer, has displayed lapses where it is as effective as a broom in a blizzard, and that could be a problem against Pitt. 

    It has taken longer than expected (5 years), but this is the place where the faithful expected the “Stache,” Coach Dave Wannestedt, to take the Panthers.  Pitt’s balanced attack is led by senior quarterback Bill Stull (19 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) with big assists from the nation’s most exciting freshman tailback Dion Lewis (fourth in rushing-13 TDs) along with wideout Jonathan Baldwin (20 yards a catch) and tight end Dorin Dickerson (10 TDs).  The country’s fifteenth stingiest D, which leads the nation in sacks, fires behind disrupting end Greg Romeus and backer Adam Gunn.  This group crunches runners but shows some vulnerability defending the pass which is not a good recipe against Cincinnati.  We think the better coach wears a red C, as the Bearcats win its trifecta.

    Clemson vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech ACC Championship – Tampa (ESPN, 8p.m.)  Talk about limping in!  Last week, in embarrassing fashion, both teams had its winning streaks crushed by its SEC rivals.  The winner in addition to securing the ACC title, and a BCS bowl invite, has pride and redemption also in play.

    It will also be the last opportunity for Clemson tailback C.J. Spiller (4th in all-purpose yardage) to showcase his fading Heisman Trophy contending talents.  The rest of the Tigers bagel-bland offense (ranked 74th) is directed by QB Kyle Parker (18 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions) with an assist from wideout Jacoby Ford.  The fourteenth ranked D, featuring backer Brandon Maye, end Rick Sapp and tackle Jarvis Jenkins struggles defending the run, which could be disastrous against Tech.

    To bad Chrysler doesn’t run like this.  The Jackets have been a perfect fit for Coach Paul Johnson.  His triple-option attack is directed by it Houdini quarterback Josh Nesbit (9 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions 46percent completions – 888 yards rushing 17 TDs), with assists from starry tailback Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Allen.  These road-runners are second in the nation running the ball, averaging a jaw-dropping, 305 yards a game.  When the Jackets take to the air, (fifth from the bottom in passing) they have a field stretching target in wideout Demaryius Thomas, who averages 24 yards a catch.   Overall, the D, with the exception of All-America end Derrick Morgan and backers Sedric Griffin and Brad Jefferson is as effective as the Fed’s stimulus package is easing unemployment.  Despite the economy, we’re buying Tech – as Paul Johnson’s Jackets fit perfectly.

    No.18 Houston at East Carolina – CUSA Championship (ESPN2, Noon)               Houston puts on a better aerial show than its NASA neighbors.  Quarterback Case Keenum (38 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) the nation’s top ranked passer, is the high flying trapeze artist of America’s highest (44.9 points a game) scoring eleven.  These pin-ball numbers come courtesy of a trio of wideouts; James Cleveland, Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards, who have better hands than Doc Holliday, and have combined for 231 catches and 22 touchdowns.  Unfortunately, for the Cougs faithful, its: “Houston, we have a problem,” when it comes to the Cougar’s D.  This group, led by backers Tyrell Graham and Marcus McGraw, never leaves the launch pad, and drops to tenth from the bottom as an overall performer, surrendering 28 points a game. 

    For the Pirates – it’s like father like son, or in this case a Skip of the old block.  Coach Skip Holtz, yes the son of Lou, has East Carolina swashbuckling toward a second consecutive CUSA crown.  QB Patrick Pinkey (13 touchdowns – 10 interceptions) along with receivers Dwayne Harris, Darryl Freeney and tailback Dominique Lindsay propels an offense (ranked 70th) that often seems in need of a service upgrade.  The D, led by tackle C.J. Wilson and backer Jeremy Chambliss struggles like Tiger’s driving, in defending the pass, which is the wrong recipe against Houston.  Despite that, we’re buying the Holtz brand, as the Pirates win its second straight crown. 

    Last week’s record: 2-3.                                        Season record: 41-22.