Monthly Archives: November 2011

Rematch!

That’s the operative word after Thanksgiving’s weekend, of college football action.

On Friday, LSU had an early scare at home against the Razorbacks of Arkansas, falling behind 14-0, but quickly took control, and sliced the Hogs 41-17, virtually guaranteeing the Tigers a spot in the national championship game.

LSU’s body of work is so compelling, that even if it were to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, it would drop no lower than No.2.

In the Iron Bowl, the visiting Crimson Tide completed its resume, with a 42-14 beat down of its rival, also establishing itself as the nation’s No.2, making Alabama a virtual lock for the national championship rematch against LSU.

The performance of Bama’s All-America tailback Trent Richardson, 203 yards rushing, may also have been enough to catapult him to the Heisman Trophy lead.

In the Big Ten, Wisconsin, a beast at home, crushed a good defensive Penn State team 45-7, setting up a rematch against Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, with the winner going to the Rose Bowl.

In this game, Wiscy’s tailback Montee Ball, who is second in rushing yardage (over 1600) and has scored 34 touchdowns, deserves serious Heisman consideration.

In Columbia, South Carolina, the reeling Tigers of Clemson lost again, (3 out of its last 4), this time to rival South Carolina; 34-13, and will be limping into its rematch, against a peaking Hokies team of Virginia Tech, in the ACC title game.

The winner will secure a spot in the Orange Bowl.

There will be no rematch here, but in the inaugural Pac 12 title game, it could be over at the coin flip.

After being mauled in a 50-0 embarrassment by its rival the Trojans of USC, embattled coach Rick Neuheisel, and his UCLA Bruins (6-6) will come crawling into lion’s den of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, with a Rose Bowl birth on the line.  OUCH!!

Congrats to the Eagles, and Coach Spaz, (Frank Spaziani), who went down to Miami on Friday afternoon, and closed out a bowless season (4-8) with a satisfying 24-17 over the Miami Hurricanes.

If this was the Eagles All-America linebacker Luke Kuechly’s final game, the first round NFL draft pick went out in style, retuning an interception for a late clinching touchdown.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, it was; “Here’s to you Mr. Robinson.”

After waiting 2926 days, and seven years, the Michigan Wolverines finally broke through, and defeated its feisty rival Ohio State 40-34, on the legs, and arm, of its magical QB, Denard Robinson, who accounted for five touchdowns.

The victory clinched a 10 win season for the Maize and Blue, and makes Michigan an attractive choice for an at large BCS invite.

Also, congrats to Michigan Man, Coach Brady Hoke, who is deserving of Coach of the Year consideration.

In took much longer, but in Lexington, Kentucky, the Wildcats danced on the field in celebration, ending a 26 year streak of futility against its rival; the Volunteers of Tennessee.  WOW!!

 In capturing a 10-7 victory, the Cats also knocked the boys from Knoxville from bowl eligibility, and dramatically heated the coaching chair of the Vols Derek Dooley.

In Palo Alto, it remains painfully clear to the Irish faithful, that Notre Dame (8-4) remains very much a work in progress.

Mired in sloppiness, it fell behind 21-0, before finally losing to Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal; 28-14.

But on the bright side, ND Coach, Brian “The Screamer” Kelly may have found his quarterback of the future; Andrew Hendrix.

Congrats to the Spartans of Michigan State, who in beating Northwestern 31-17, have compiled consecutive 10 win seasons for the first time in school history.

Kudos to Heisman contender Case Keenum, who on Friday did his thing; throwing for 5 TDs, (43-TDs – 3 INTs), in defeating Tulsa 48-16, to keep the Cougars a perfect; 12-0.

If Houston defeats Southern Miss in the C-USA Title Game, it will guarantee itself a slot in a BCS game.  Good for them.

More congrats to one of our favs; Georgia Coach Mark Richt, who after starting the season 0-2, had of line of Bulldog faithful waiting to drive him out of town.

In response, Georgia reeled off 10 in a row, after its 34-17 victory against its rival Georgia Tech, and will roll into the SEC Championship Game a very dangerous opponent for the LSU Tigers.

Unfortunately, it will be moving vans coming to the door for another of our favorites; Illinois Coach Ron Zook.

The Zooker started out the season a surprising 6-0, the best start in Champaign in 60 years, but the Illini came crashing down like an avalanche, losing 6 straight, with the yesterday’s job killer; a 27-7 loss to a woeful Minnesota Gopher (3-9) team. 

Good speed Zooker!

In the Old Friend department: Tom O’Brien saw his NC State Wolfpack (7-5, 4-4) down 41-14 in the second half to a Maryland team, that was riding a 7 game losing streak, only to come storming all the way back 56-41, in the second greatest comeback in ACC history.  Congrats:

Finally, if you can figure who has the advantage in the Big East race, which will be decided one way or the other on Saturday, the MIT’s math department has a spot on its faculty waiting for you.

Be sure to read our analysis of week 14 which will be up and running Wednesday evening.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.               pk

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Handicapping Week 13

We begin this week with the Beach Boys song; “Be true to your school.”

Two weeks ago, Columbia fell to 0-9, after it was trounced by Cornell 62-41.

As if on cue, the school’s marching band parodied the words to its fight song.

The song is titled; “Roar, Lion, Roar,” but the band altered the lyrics with the verse; “We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little.”

Columbia Athletic Director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, who obviously lacks any sense of humor said, “Our football players, coaches, alumni, parents are extremely hurt, disappointed, and angry, by the band’s behavior at Cornell.”  Get over it.

After apologizing, the band was allowed to perform at last week’s game, a season ending victory over Brown, thus saving the Lions from the ignominy of a winless season.

[As a footnote, Columbia Coach Norries Wilson was fired, after compiling this woeful resume; 17-43 overall, and 10-32 in the Ivy League.]

We think the band may have been on to something!!

This weekend, let see which alums sing the praises of another victory, and which teams seem off key, suffering another humiliating loss.

No. 3 Arkansas at No.1 LSU (Ch.4, 2:30 p.m. – Friday) The Hogs can cook LSU’s bacon, and fry them out of the national championship game.

The high octane (39 pts) Sons of Frank Broyles are directed by its steel tested gunslinger Tyler Wilson, (21 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) with assists by the best target trio in America; Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, and tight end Chris Gragg, who have combined for 145 catches and 15 TDs.

And when the Hogs slop it, Dennis Johnson, and Ronnie Wingo, are quality tailbacks.

The Razorback’s D, led by backers Jerry Franklin and Alonzo Highsmith, is vastly improved, but struggles against the run, which is the wrong recipe against LSU.

As the holidays approach, the Bayou Bengals, and its faithful, have visions of Sugar Bowls dancing in their heads.

Two victories, and the Sons of Billy Cannon, who are 11-0 for the first time in the regular season, will play for the national championship.

The Tigers identity is a defense, which swarms with more ferocity, than the paparazzi around Brad and Angelina.

The country’s second stingiest (10pts.) D, and second overall, suffocates the opposition behind end Sam Montgomery, backer Kevin Minter, and All-America corner Morris Claiborne, and is harder to penetrate than the Roxbury code of silence.

The grinding offense is commanded by its steady senior QB, Jarrett Lee (14 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from downhill runners; Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, and Alfred Blue, and a pair of big play wideouts; Rueban Randle and Odell Beckham.

[Note: LSU has turned it over a total of 6 times all season.]

In Game of the Century2, we think the Hogs in Death Valley are slowly carved into sausage.

No. 6 Virginia Tech at No. 24 Virginia (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) Defense is to Blacksburg; as Catholicism is to the Vatican, remains one of the constants of college football.

 

The nation’s tenth tightest eleven (16 pts.), led by end J.R. Collins (8tfls- 6 sacks), and backer Tariq Edwards, plays with the same disdain that Newt Gingrich carries toward the media.

The Hokies offensive igniter is All-America tailback David Wilson, (fourth in the nation, 131 yards per game), who possesses more speed, than a Mexican drug cartel.

QB Logan Thomas (16 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions) VaTech’s dual-threat, Prudential-sized (6-6, 245) QB, is the director of a squad that won’t cause many sleepless nights for defensive coordinators.

In Charlottesville, Coach Mike London has done almost as masterful a job building the football team, as Thomas Jefferson did in designing UVA’s campus.

The steady Cavs are commanded by sophomore QB Michael Rocco (11 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions), with Linus-blanket assists from tailbacks; Perry Jones and Kevin Parks, who have combined for 1514 yards, and 13 touchdowns.

When the learning curve QB takes to the air, Kris Burd, and Tim Smith, are quality targets.

The D, led by backer Steve Greer, and tackle Matt Courath, is about as flashy as a Jon Huntsman suit, but solid as the reputation of Bobby Orr.

In a very close game, we think the Hokies, and its coaching advantage, somehow find a way to win.

No. 13 Georgia at No. 25 Georgia Tech (ESPN, Noon) Return the moving van, Mark Richt deserves a contract extension.

QB Aaron Murray (28 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions) is leader of the Bulldog renaissance (9 in a row), with assists from freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell, and receivers; tight end Orson Charles, and wideout Tavarres King.

But the real enlightenment in Athens has been the Dawgs D, featuring backers; Jarvis Jones (18.5 tfls – 12.5 sacks), and Michael Gilliard, the main beams behind the nation’s second best run stoppers.

Atlanta hasn’t seen this much running, since William Tecumseh Sherman, was burning down plantations.

The Jackets, second in rushing (323 yds. a game), are directed by a Houdini protégée, QB Tevin Washington.

The sleight-of-hand wizard, of this Eveready triple option, is assisted by tailback David Sims, and when he can target him (a miniscule 48% completions), wideout Stephen Hill is averaging an eye-popping 30 yards a reception.

Unfortunately, the Tech D, led by backers; Julian Burnett, and Jeremiah Attaochu, has more questions, than a new bride calling Butterball for help in cooking her first turkey.

We think the remarkable Athens turnaround continues, as the Dawgs head into the SEC Championship game, armed with a ten win resume.

No. 20 Penn State at No. 15 Wisconsin (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) The winner punches its ticket into the inaugural Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis.

Despite the scandalous wrapping enveloping the Penn State football program, the Paterno-less Nits, have shown a remarkable ability to remain focused on the field.

As the Happy Valley faithful are painfully aware, the Lions score a touchdown (8th from bottom – 20 pts.) about as often as a meter maid ignores an expired machine.

Its entire offense operation relies on the legs of its starry tailback; Silas Redd (1122 yards), while its anemic aerial attack, directed by Matt McGloin (7 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions), is simply not ready for prime time.

The Lions impenetrable D, roars as the country’s third stingiest (13 pts.), and features a pair of disruptors; backer Gerald Hodges, and All-America tackle, Devon Still, with the dominating state; 16.5 tfls – 4 sacks.

The Badgers could steal a line from Dorothy; “There is no place like home,” especially when the welcome mat reads; Camp Randall Stadium.

We’ll begin on the offensive side, where Wisconsin, the nation’s fifth highest scoring eleven (44), has more stars than a reflection in the Hubble Telescope.

Wiscy’s identity, is the tenth best rush attack (245), featuring Heisman contender Montee Ball (1466 yards – 25 TDs), with his change-up partner; James White, providing a breather.

The entire operation is orchestrated by another All-America contender, QB Russell Wilson (26 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions – 73% completions), who targets a pair of chain moving targets; Nick Toon, and Jared Abbrederis.

The nation’s sixth stingiest D (15pts.), is a plus eleven in turnover margin, and is led by its All-America backer; Chris Borland, who has 16.5 tackles for losses.

Wisconsin once again proves Dorothy’s theorem, there is no place like home, and moves on to the championship game.

No. 8 Houston at Tulsa (FSN, Noon – Friday) To paraphrase the famous Apollo 13 line; “Houston, we have no problem,” as the undefeated Cougars have been sending opponents to the moon.

One of two remaining unblemished teams, the Cougs launching pad offense, (a nation’s best 53 a game), is commanded by its Heisman Trophy contending QB, Case Keenum (38 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions – 73 % completions), the nation’s leader in passing yardage.

The All-Galaxy QB gets a boost from a trio of glue fingered wideouts: Tyron Carrier, Patrick Edwards, and Justin Johnson, who have combined for a jaw-dropping; 196 receptions, and 27 touchdowns.

The D, led by backer Sammy Brown (26 tfls – 12.5 sacks), and his partner Marcus McGraw, can create some Pepto moments for its faithful.

Tulsa is hoping to make it a real Black Friday for the visitors from Houston.

The Golden Hurricane are directed by QB G.J. Kinnie (24 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions), with assists from a pair of talented tailbacks; Douglas Ja’Terian and Trey Watts.

The Tulsa Tornado also has a three-pack of receivers; Willie Carter, Bryan Burham, and Clay Sears, who have combined for; 136 receptions and 20 TDs.

The D, behind end Tyrunn Walker, (11.5 tfls. – 7 sacks), and backer Curnelius Arnick, is weaker than the Congressional “super” committee, and a bottom feeding 107th defending the pass, which is the wrong recipe against the pass happy Cougars.

This is a very dangerous game for the Cougs, and we hate the early start, but ultimately, it will be no Black Friday for Houston, as the Boys from Oil Town remain perfect.

 

Last week’s record: 1-4.                                Season record: 39-21

 

Be sure to read our recap which will be up and running by noon Sunday.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.            pk

Recap of Week 12

Wow, and this was supposed to be a tapioca bland weekend!

If this week’s college football results were measured on the Richter scale; it would read an earth moving 10, as Nos. 2 Oklahoma State, 4 Oregon, 5 Oklahoma and 7 Clemson, all came crashing down.

The first indication that something was in the air occurred on Thursday night, when 23 point underdog, Alabama at Birmingham (3-8), knocked off the nation’s 22nd ranked team Southern Mississippi.

That fact was resoundly confirmed in Ames, Iowa on Friday night.

Iowa State, who compiled over 550 yards of offense, crawled out of a 17 point second half hole, and knocked off the second ranked, and undefeated, Cowboys of Oklahoma State in double overtime: 37-31.  WOW!!

In the closing minute of regulation, OKState after recovering a fumble was lined up for a 29 yard chip shot field goal to take the lead, and, you guessed it, wide right! 

Then in the second overtime, the Cowboys QB, Brandon Weeden, saw his Heisman chances disappear, when he was picked off for the third time in the game.

Oklahoma’s State’s dream of playing for the national championship also vanished into the Iowan air.

From Ames, we move to Waco, Texas, where the Baylor Bears, and it’s MR. Everything, QB Robert Griffin III, known to the natives of this dusty town as: RG3, saw his Heisman chances exponentially improve.

Baylor, who had been 0 for a lifetime against Oklahoma (0-20), stunned the Sooners, as its coach, “Big Game,” Bob Stoops watched helplessly as RG3 shredded the OU defense for 479 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, the final coming on a scrambling 34 yarder with 8 seconds left in a scintillating, and historic; 45-38 victory.

With the game tied, Baylor 80 yards away and 52 ticks left on the clock was ready to run it out and take the game to overtime.

But after a 2 yard run, Oklahoma, who had its full compliment of timeouts, took its first, and that is when the entire equation flipped, as Griffin went to work.

He drove his troops 80 yards, featuring a pair of nifty scrambles, and capped it off with a potential Heisman moment, a scrambling 34 yard TD pass in the corner of the end zone.

“It was not the way we drew it up,” said the understated Baylor coach Art Briles.  Amazing!!

We now move to Eugene, Oregon, where the Ducks had its wings clipped.

Oregon was mysteriously sluggish the entire first half, and trailed 38-14 in the third quarter, before staging its furious comeback.

Oregon, who closed to; 38-27 with over 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, picked off a USC pass, scored, made the two point conversion, and whittled the lead to 3, 38-35.

USC was about to cap off the victory but fumbled on the Ducks five, and with a little more than a minute, the Ducks were given new life.

Oregon drove down the field, but a missed 37 yard game tying field goal, which ended a 21 game home winning streak, a 19 game conference winning streak, and a chance to return to the national championship.  Holy Nikes!!!

Finally to paraphrase Forest Gump, Clemson is, as Clemson does.  

In a resounding victory, Old Friend Tom O’Brien, who is on the hot seat in Raleigh, saw his NC State Wolfpack crush the Tigers; 37-13.

It was NC State’s first victory over a top ten team in O’Brien’s five year tenure, while making the Pack bowl eligible.  Good for O’B.

In New Haven, in the 128th playing of; “The Game,” under tragic circumstances, another friend, Tim Murphy saw his Harvard Crimson (9-1) finish its Ivy League season a perfect 7-0, by stomping over the Eli; 45-7.

It was the fifth consecutive win by Harvard over its ancient rival, and 10th of its last eleven.  “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard want victory today ……”

Kudos to Mike London of Virginia (8-3) for knocking off the frauds from Tallahassee, Florida State 14-13, setting up next week’s showdown against Virginia Tech, with the winner advancing to the ACC Championship game.

And ditto to “Old Man River,” KState’s 72 year old Coach Bill Snyder, as the Boys from the Little Apple, went into Austin and defeated the “mighty” Horns of Texas 17-13.

The Wildcats QB, Collin Klein, as of right now, is third on my Heisman ballot.

BC (3-8) no surprise here, gave the “Fighting” Irish all it could handle before falling Notre Dame; 16-14.

Our Fraud Alert has never been bigger:  Nebraska, Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, South Florida, and Texas, are this year’s fakers.

In the faux-pas category; the trophy goes to: ESPN’s Lee Corso.

 On Saturday’s Game Day Set, in picking the winner of the Houston/SMU game, out slipped an f-bomb, as Corso tossed an SMU prop, before donning Houston Cougar headgear to signify his choice to win the game.

Corso apologized, but I’m sure the FCC will have some more to say.

In Ann Arbor, a Michigan Man, first year Coach Brady Hoke, has the Wolverines 9-2 with a great chance to finally win next week’s finale against its cross state rival; Ohio State.

In Piscataway, New Jersey, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (8-3, 4-2) keep chopping wood.

Greg Schiano’s Knights have moved into an unexpected share of the first place in the Big East Conference, after its 20-3 dominating performance against Cincinnati.

Finally, Hail the smart kids!!

Northwestern won its fourth in a row, a 28-13 victory over Minnesota, and in doing so, is bowl eligible for the fourth year in a row.

Hail Columbia!

The Lions of Columbia (1-9) got off the snide, winning its first game of the season as they defeated Brown 35-28 in double overtime.

The Lions had to overcome a 21-7 third quarter deficit to hang on for the victory, as the “crowd” of 5,510 stormed the field to celebrate!!   Good for them.

That’s it from cyber space, be sure to check in Wednesday night for our analysis of week 13.

Until then, Peace, and enjoy Thanksgiving.           pk

Handicapping Week 12

We begin this week with a football player, worthy of a hand.

Five years ago, then freshman, Eddie Delaney, asked University of Albany football Coach Bob Ford, for a tryout.

All that Ford knew about the kid was; that he was born without a left hand. 

He later discovered, that his now starry, 6-6, 250 pound defensive end, also has Type 1 diabetes.

“I guess 70 percent of the coaches in the nation might have said, ‘No, you can’t do it.’ But I’m glad I did, as he’s become a bonafide star,” said the appreciative coach.

Delaney also has a solid sense of humor regarding his “handicap.”

“Freshman year, for Halloween, he was Captain Hook, and two years ago, he was a shark attack victim,” said teammate, and roommate, Zach Gallo.

This weekend, let’s see which teams are deserving of a hand, and which should get the hook, for having its butt; handed to them.

No. 18 USC at No. 4 Oregon (Ch.5, 8 p.m. regional) The Trojans are back in L.A. vogue.

These Hollywood heroes are commanded by its blond matinee idol, QB Matt Barkley (29 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), who is having an All-America caliber season.

The gunslinger is assisted by tailback Curtis McNeal, and arguably the best pass catch tandem west of the Rockies: All-America Robert Woods, and freshman partner, Maqise Lee, who have combined for an eye-popping; 114 catches and 19 TDs.

The D, led by backers; Nick Perry (11 tfls – 7.5 sacks), and Dion Bailey, stones runners, but is as shaky (100th) as Texas Governor Rick Perry in a debate, defending the pass.

The Ducks are honking loudly for a return to the national championship game.

The Quack attack ignites, behind the nation’s per game, yardage leader (150), All-America LaMichael James, who in Chip Kelly’s eyes, has the best pair of legs this side of Gisele B.

The nation’s fifth best run team (291), is directed by its dual threat QB, Darron Thomas (22 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), with assists from tailback Kenjon Barner, and receivers; Lavasier Tuinei, and De’Anthony Thomas.

The D, led by backers Josh Kaddu, and Dewitt Stucky, has shown some fissures defending the pass, which is not a good recipe against USC.

In a high scoring affair, the Green from Eugene continues to make a strong case, for a championship return.

No. 17 Nebraska at No. 20 Michigan (ESPN, Noon) The Huskers are as one dimensional as; Tom Menino. 

It has the thirteenth best run attack (232 yds. a game), but is nineteenth from the bottom throwing the ball.

Nebraska’s main husker, is its starry 1000 yard tailback Rex Burkhead (14 Tds), who is complemented nicely by its motoring QB, Taylor Martinez, who has scored 9 times on the ground.

When searching for a target, this Lincoln leader, (10 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions), has about as much accuracy, as an economist from the Fed, trying to predict GDP growth.

The D, behind its All-America backer Lavonte David, and end Cameron Meredith, has at times, been shredded, more than the reputation of Joe Paterno.

All is well in the Big House, as Big Blue, (who ironically, will be honoring former Michigan Man Lloyd Carr), is thriving behind its Michigan Man; Brady Hoke.

The nation’s eleventh best rushing eleven, is commanded by its dual threat, escape artist, QB Denard Robinson (13 touchdown passes – 13 interceptions – wrist – will play), who has compiled nearly1000 yards rushing, while scoring a dozen touchdowns.

The rest of Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood is assisted by emerging tailback; Fitzgerald Toussaint, and a pair of field stretching receivers; Junior Hemingway and Jeremy Gallon.

Although it can look shakier than an Occupy permit, the nation’s seventh stingiest D (16 pts. a game), which swarms behind tackle Mike Martin, and backer Kenny Demens, has been the biggest surprise in Ann Arbor.

We think the Michigan Man; gets another W, for Meeechigan.

No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 25 Baylor (Ch.5, 8 p.m. regional) The stakes for the Norman invaders are bigger than the filet special at an Oklahoma steer emporium.

Win out, and the “experts” predict, the Sooners (despite its inexplicable loss to TT), will punch its ticket into the national championship game.

Bobby Stoops’ wounded crew, the sixth highest (45) scoring team in the land, is directed by its All-America field general, and Heisman Trophy contender; Landry Jones (28 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions).

The OU commander operates the controls of the country’s third best passing attack, with assists from tailback Roy Finch, and wideouts; Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills, but Ryan Broyles will be sorely missed.

The attacking D, led by a pair of d-end disruptors; Frank Alexander (13.5 tfls – 7.5 sacks) and Ronnell Lewis, shows some susceptibility defending the pass.

Baylor is going bowling for the second consecutive season.

The growling Bears are directed by its dart throwing QB, Robert Griffin III, (aka RG3), who possess a Heisman worthy resume: 29 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions – 74% completions.

This Waco Wonder is assisted by tailback Terrance Ganaway, and a trio of sure handed targets; Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, and Tevin Reese, who have combined for a jaw dropping; 162 receptions and 23 touchdowns.

As its faithful are painfully aware, the D, led by backer Elliott Coffey, and safety Mike Hicks, has more holes, than Jerry Sandusky has alibis, allowing sieve like; 36 points a game.

The men from Norman get the W, and move one step closer to its Armageddon game against Ok State.

Virginia at No. 23 Florida State (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.) Virginia’s Coach Mike London is deserving of; Coach of The Year consideration.

The 7-3 Cavs aren’t flashy; in fact, a tie-less Mitt Romney is more effervescent, but they play solid, fundamental football.

The foundation of the Sons of George Welsh is a ground assault, which plows forward utilizing tailbacks; Perry Jones, and Kevin Parks, who have combined for 1550 yards, and 12 touchdowns.

Virginia has also been fortified by its improving sophomore QB, Mike Rocco (10 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions), with Kris Burd as a primary target.

The hard hitting D, led by tackle Matt Conrath, and backer Steve Greer, is reflective of its coach’s personality, stout in all phases.

The Seminoles have won five straight, but more was expected from these Sons of Bobby Bowden.

The Tallahassee identity is the nation’s sixth stingiest (16 pts.) D, which fires behind a pair of All-Americas; backer Nigel Bradham and end Brandon Jenkins.

This group, which swarms and inhales ball carriers (less than 3 yds a carry), is harder to penetrate than a Vegas vault, or a Kim Kardashian prenupt agreement.

On offense, dual threat QB, E.J. Manual (15 touchdown passes – 8 interceptions) sets the FSU tempo, with assists from a pair of chain movers; Rodney Smith and Rashad Green.

When the Seminoles attempt to run (96th), they utilize tailback combo; Devonta Freeman and Jermaine Thomas.

The Cavs will battle, but FSU has more replacements, and wins a very close game.

No. 21 Penn State at Ohio State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.)The Nits should have cancelled its season.

And just like its Administration, and coaching staff, the Penn State offense (21 points a game – 18th from the bottom) is Neanderthal.

Its only real offensive spark is its starry tailback Silas Redd, while QB Matt McGloin (7 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), remains a work in progress, completing barely 50% of his passes.

It’s the nation’s third tightest D, (12pts.), led by tackle Devin Still (16.5 tfls), and backer Gerald Hodges (10 tfls), that has been the glue to the Penn State season.

Ohio State’s offense falls into the Cro-Magnon category.

Overall the Buckeyes search for points (25), has at times, been as fruitless as leaving the porch light on, waiting for Jimmy Hoffa to come home.

The Bucks future is its dual-threat freshman QB, Braxton Miller (8 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions – 50% completions), who is assisted by tailbacks; Carlos Hyde and Dan Herron.

But the Horseshoe aerial attack must improve, as primary targets; tight end Jake Stoneburner, and wideout Devin Smith, have combined for the mind boggling skinny total; 23 receptions.

Like its Happy Valley counterpart, the Buckeyes D, led by backer Andrew Sweat, and tackle John Simon (13.5 tfls – 6 sacks), allow less than 17 points a game, and has been the Scarlet and Grey season savior.

In his final Horseshoe appearance as the Buckeye’s head man, we think Luke Fickell goes out a winner.

 

Last week’s record: 3-2                                               Season record: 38-17.

 

Be sure to read our recap, which will be up and running by noon Sunday.

That’s it from cyber space, Peace, and listen to the music

Recap week 11

This weekend, the foul odor emanating from Happy Valley, hung over the college football landscape like the scent of ganja at a Hemp Festival.

But despite the distractions, the games played on, and once again, the landscape has been dramatically altered, as a pair of pretenders to the crown; Stanford, and Boise State, canceled its reservations for the championship game.

We’ll start in Palo Alto, where the mighty Ducks of Oregon, ended the nation’s longest winning streak (17), by dismantling the Stanford Cardinal; 53-30, in a display of finesse, and speed, reminiscent of Steve McQueen in “Bullitt.”

In its last two seasons, the Cardinal is 21-0 against everyone else, but has been hit by a Smoking Joe Frazier left hook (0-2), when it plays against the Green from Eugene.

It was also a game that saw the Heisman hopes of its All-America QB, Andrew Luck dim significantly (2 picks – 1 lost fumble), while Oregon’s All-America roadrunner, LaMichael James (20 carries-146yds.-3 TDs), the nation’s leading rusher, ran himself back into the race.

It also puts the Ducks, who are playing like the second best team in America, in the McQueen driver’s seat for the inaugural PAC-12 Championship.

In Boise, it was deja-vu for the Monsters of the Blue Turf, as TCU rolled into the Potato Kingdom, and upset the Broncos; 36-35.

Last season BSU’s opportunity for a chance to play in the national championship game disappeared on the wayward foot of its field goal kicker.

Yesterday, it was wide right (where have we heard that before?), as Dan Goodale’s 39 yard game winner sailed awry as time expired.

National Championship hopes gone and Mountain West Championship hopes gone as well, as TCU has now won 22 straight conference games, and more impressively 12 straight on the road.

Big props to TCU’s Coach Gary Patterson, one of the country’s best, for eschewing he tie, and calling for a two point play with 1:05 to go. 

“We’re not going to win this, if this keeps going.  So the only way we’re going to be able to do it, is to steal it,” said the coach.

How refreshing, I wonder if Mike Sherman of A&M is listening?

In this game, the Horned Frogs QB, Casey Pachall, passed for 473 yards and five touchdowns, shredding the Boise secondary for TD passes of; 75, 74, and 69 yards, in the first half.  WOW!!

It was also Boise’s first conference home loss, since the Bill Clinton was smoking cigars on the White House balcony; in 1998.

In Stillwater, the Beast continues to feast, as Oklahoma State went into Lubbock, and embarrassingly thrashed the Red Raiders in a rout 66 -6!!  Yikes.

Since its miracle in Norman, TT has lost its last three, outscored by the mind numbing figure of: 167-33!!  Double Yikes!!

The Boys from Boone Pickens University, also climbed to 10-0, for the first time in school history, as QB Brandon Weeden (5 TD passes) clawed his way into the Heisman race.

In Athens, Burn the Century 21 signs, as the Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs have run off eight straight, and are one win away from playing in the SEC Championship game, a place they haven’t ventured since; 2005.

In the Deep South’s oldest rivalry, the Dawgs 45-7 dismantling of Auburn was its most lopsided victory since the Truman Administration of: 1946!!

On the local front congrats to Coach Spaz as his Eagles of Boston College bounced back against another old friend, Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack; 14-10.

Since leaving for Raleigh, O’Brien is now 0-3 in his returns to Chestnut Hill.

Staying on the local scene: it was another good day for former of Silver Lake Regional High football teammates: Tim Murphy, Buddy Teevens and Jeff Hawkins.

Murphy’s Harvard Crimson crushed Penn 37-20 winning its 14th Ivy League title, and first since 2008, while Dartmouth’s Teevens played a key role, as the Big Green upset of Brown, while Jeff Hawkins, the Asst. AD at Oregon saw his Ducks crush the Cardinal of Stanford.  Congrats to all!!

In Gainesville, the offensive genius, Mr. Wideload, Charlie Weis, once again displayed his magic; as the Gators (5-5) lost to the Gamecocks of South Carolina; 17-12.

Florida has now lost five of its last six, and in its losses has scored a total of: 59 points!!  Never mind, Charlie!!

Old Man River, KState’s 72 year old Coach Bill Snyder, the Wizard of the “Little Apple,” Manhattan, Kansas just keeps rolling, as the Wildcats defeated the Agony Aggies 53-50 in 4 ot’s. 

QB Collin Klein rallied the Cats from a 10 point deficit, with less than 6 minutes left in regulation, and scored six touchdowns. 

At the moment, he is third on my Heisman ballot.

In Fayetteville, the Hogs continue to make the bacon, as Bobby Petrino’s Razorbacks (9-1) have won sixth straight, and are one step closer to its showdown in Death Valley against the Tigers of LSU.

In Big Ten country there was a bit of poetic justice in Nebraska’s 17-14 victory over Penn State.

While in Minnesota, Wiscy’s bruising tailback Montee Ball is deserving of some Heisman notice, as he set the single season record for rushing touchdowns in the Big Ten with: 27, eclipsing the mark of conference legends: Anthony Thompson, Pete Johnson and Ki-Jana Carter.

These are not your father’s Clemson Tigers.

In previous years, down 14, in the third quarter to a 14 point underdog, Clemson would have folded like a tent in Occupy City.

But the Fighting Dabo’s are resilient and fought back with a game ending field goal to defeat the gritty Deacons of Wake Forest 31-28 to capture the Atlantic Division of the ACC, setting up a potential rematch with the Hokies of Virginia Tech.  Congrats!

Finally, ND crushed Randy Edsall’s woeful, and reeling Terrapins 45-21, as the Terps (2-8) have now lost six straight.  Yikes!!

Where’s Ralph Friedgen when you need him?!!

Kudos to; Virginia, and Rutgers for tremendous bounce back seasons, while congratulations are in order for the Spartans of Michigan State, who went into Kinnick Stadium, and defeated Iowa 37-21 for the first time since George H.W. Busch, 1989.

While things just get darker in Oxford, Mississippi as Ole Miss (2-8) lost to Louisiana-Tech 27-7!!  OUCH!!    Thankfully for the Rebel faithful, the Houston Nutt era is ends in two more weeks.

That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be up and running with out week 13 analysis Wednesday night.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.    pk

Handicapping Week 11

We begin this week with a pennant: well hung.

In 1976, Jere Loneman was the editor LSU’s student paper.

In its April Fool’s edition, the staff superimposed a photo, of then Coach Charlie McClendon, onto the body of a reporter, who lounged on a tiger rug, wearing nothing but a strategically placed LSU pennant, that was borrowed from the book store.

When McClendon saw it he responded, “Look at the size of that pennant!”

Needless to say, when offered, the bookstore refused to take back the strategic covering.

This weekend, let’s see which alma mater waves its team pennant on high, and which watches, as its team gets exposed, by a superior opponent.

No. 6 Oregon at No. 3 Stanford (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) It’s another Heisman showcase for Stanford’s marquee QB; Andrew Luck.

But more importantly, the victor moves into the top spot of the PAC-12 North Division, with the inside track to punch its ticket into the inaugural championship game.

The identity of the high flying Ducks, (46 points) is the nation’s fifth best ground attack (298 yds. game), featuring the country’s leading roadrunner; LaMichael James, (over 150 yds. a game – 7 yds. a carry).

When its All-America needs a blow, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas serve as quality plow horses.                                                      

The director of the Green from Eugene, is its dual-threat QB, Darron Thomas (19 touchdowns – 5 interceptions), with assists from wideouts; De’Anthony Thomas, and Tuinei Lavasier.

The D, behind backer Josh Kaddu, and end Dion Jordan, surrenders 20 points a game, but overall, hasn’t performed to recent Phil Knight University standards.

The smart kids on the Farm can score (48) almost as quickly, as they compile SAT points, or another woman accuses Herman Cain of sexual harassment.

As mentioned, the Cardinal is commanded by the Heisman Trophy leader, QB Andrew Luck (26 touchdowns – 5 interceptions), arguably the most dynamic marksman since the days of another Stanford grad; John Elway.

The gunslinger relies on a powerful ground game which features; Stepfan Taylor, and Tyler Gaffney, while wideout Griff Whalen and tight end Coby Fleener providing chain moving targets. [Note: Linus-blanker favorites, tight end Zach Ertz, and wideout Chris Owusu, are out.]

The nation’s eleventh stingiest D, stones runners behind backers; Chase Thomas and Jarek Lancaster, but shows some vulnerability defending the pass.

Stanford, the owner of the nation’s longest winning streak (17), doesn’t manufacture luck, it has its own under center, and like the aforementioned SATs, it adds another number to the streak.

No. 24 Auburn at No. 14 Georgia (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) On the Plains, Gene Chizik’s Tiger Cubs, have exceeded expectations.

The switch to QB Clint Moseley (4 touchdown passes – 1 interception) has provided an offensive spark, but it’s the running tandem; Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, which makes Auburn motor.

The D, led by safety Neiko Thorpe and end Corey Lemonier, is shakier than the state of Oklahoma, or a European government, and surrenders an average of 27 points a game.

When the Sons of Vince Dooley opened its season with a pair of losses, the Century 21 signs were being readied.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the unemployment line, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs reeled of seven consecutive victories and instead of a slip of pink, a contract extension may be in order.

The Dawgs control of its SEC East destiny, and are on track to make its first SEC Championship game appearance, since W’s second term in 2005.

The leader of this Athens revival, is its starry QB Aaron Murray (23 touchdown passes – 8 interceptions), with assists from a punishing freshman tailback; Isaiah Crowell, and a pair of pass catchers; tight end Orson Charles, and wideout Tavares King.

But the D, led by backers Jarvis Jones, and Michael Gilliard, which has more bite than UGA IX, is the biggest reason for the revival at Georgia.

Forget the for sale sign, the Dawgs streak climbs to eight, and Mark Richt will be prowling the Red and Black sideline for an extended period of time.

No. 19 Nebraska at No.12 Penn State (ESPN, Noon) Happy Valley it is not.

As a scandal of unseemly proportions engulfs its campus, Senior Day 2011 will long linger for the alums, parents, and players, of the Penn State family.

But with television commitments, and 100,000 “zealots” filling Beaver Stadium, the show must go on, thankfully without its coach, Joe Paterno.

Rolling into this cesspool of complicity, is the Big Red of Lincoln, who never envisioned that its initial visit to State, as a Big Ten member, would be treated as an afterthought.

The main pistons driving the Huskers 13th ranked ground assault, is its bruising tailback; Rex Burkhead (105 yds. a game – 13 TDs), and the legs of its erratic, but hardened dual-threat QB, Taylor Martinez (9 rushing TDs).

When the QB’s anemic aerial display (100th) does connect, the receiving tandem; Kenny Bell, and Brandon Kinnie, have combined for the spaghetti thin total; 38 catches and a pair of touchdowns.

The once vaunted Black Shirt D, featuring All-America backer Lavonte David, and end Cameron Meredith, has been shredded more than a box of wheat from Nabisco.

And despite the fact that Phyllis Diller scores more often than Penn State; the Lions stand alone as the team with conference’s only unblemished record.

The Nits fruitless scuffling for points (100th – averaging 21 a game), relies on its stud tailback; Silas Redd, while QB Matt McGloin (7 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) remains, like the hole in Boston’s downtown crossing, a never ending work in progress.

The season savior has been PSU’s titanium D, which features a trio of disruptors; backer Gerald Hodges, and tackles Jordan Hall, and Devon Still (15 tfls).

This group has proven harder to penetrate than Mitt Romney’s personality.

In the, “Joe is Gone” game, despite our lack of trust in Bo Pelini, we don’t believe Penn State can block out the distractions, as the Big Red of Lincoln, drives away with a crucial victory.

On a editorial note: knock down the statue!!

TCU at No. 5 Boise State (Versus, 3:30 p.m.) Only in college football.

Boise stayed for all of one season, as both of these teams move on to new conferences in 2012.

But there will be few tears shed, as the Horn Frogs have been Mountain West heavies.

A 2011 Rose Bowl victory, a MWC winning streak of 21 games; and more impressively, 11 straight on the road, clearly validates the reputation of the Boys from Forth Worth.

Gary Patterson’s high hopping Frogs, eighth in scoring (41) are commanded by QB Casey Pachall (19 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) with assists from tailbacks; Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and wideouts; Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson.

The D, led by end Stansly Maponga, and All-America backer Tank Carder, is usually the Frogs steel backbone, but this season, it has been prone to some cracking.

In the potato capital, the Broncos, the seventh highest scoring (43) offense, is directed by its dart thrower, and Heisman Trophy candidate, Kellen Moore (29 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), who now holds the exalted title; the NCAA’s all time winningest QB.

The Boise Peeler, who is more accurate than Big Ben, is assisted by tailbacks; Doug Martin, and D.J. Harper, (1100 yards, and 15 TDs), while receivers Matt Miller, and Tyler Shoemaker, have hauled in 17 of those touchdown throws.

The D of the blue turf monsters surrenders less than 17 points a game, and attacks behind its All-America tackle Bill Winn, and end Tyler Crawford.

We think the Potato Kings end the streak, and keep its national title hopes very much    alive.

Wake Forest at No.8 Clemson (ESPN, Noon) Jim Grobe may be the most underrated coach in America.

The only person who does more, with less, is Martha Stewart.

The Deacons pedestrian offense, is directed by its quality QB, Tanner Price (15 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), with assists from his big play receiver (8 TDs-17 yds. a catch), Chris Givens, and tailbacks; Josh Harris, and Brandon Prendergass.

While the oatmeal bland D, featuring tackle Nikita Whitlock, and backer Scott Betros, surrenders an average of 27 points a game.

For the past two weeks, Clemson has marinated with the taste of its only loss.

And it is scratching like a thoroughbred in the starting gate, for a chance to get back onto the field.

The Tigers, the nation’s 14th highest scoring team (38), have more offensive stars than the Milky Way.

The celestial igniter is its All-America caliber QB, Tajh Boyd (25 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), who has the luxury of targeting one of the nation’s most dynamic receivers: true freshman Sammy Watkins.

This prodigy, along with his partners; tight end Dwayne Allen, and wideout DeAndra Hopkins, have combined for an eye-popping; 145 catches and 19 touchdowns.

The ground attack is handled by its downhill runner Andre Ellington (ankle).

The D, led by end Andre Branch (12.5 tfls, and 8.5 sacks), and backer Jonathan Willard, constantly causes Pepto moments for the Tiger faithful, and may ultimately cause Clemson’s downfall.

Wake is having a nice year, but after sitting out last week, there will be too much firepower on display in Death Valley.

 

Last week’s record: 4-1.                                               Season record: 35-15.

 

Be sure to read our weekend recap which will be up and running by Noon, Sunday.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.     pk

Recap of Week 10

Whew!

That’s the collective sigh coming from the Baton Rouge, and Stillwater faithful, after another college football Saturday that was full of surprises.

We’ll begin in Tuscaloosa where, in a game that was the reincarnate of a Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler tussle, LSU, in a field goal fest, out kicked Alabama 9-6 in overtime; the game winner, a 25 yard chip shot by Drew Alleman.

It was the second lowest scoring No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in the 75 year history of the AP poll, the lowest occurring in 1946; a  0-0 tie, between Army and Notre Dame.

With the victory, the Mad Hatter’s Bayou Bengals now have the inside track to punch its ticket into the national championship game.

But this one will long linger in the psyche of the Crimson Tide.

Alabama was at, or inside, the LSU 35 yard line, five times, only to come away with zero points, missing four field goals, including a 52 yard try in overtime.

At the post game press conference, Nick Saban’s summarized his, and the Tide’s frustration, with a constant refrain; “missed opportunities,” he said, repeating it about as often as Liz Taylor said, “I do.”

Incidentally, another St. Nick streak disappeared.  Saban had been 14-0 in his previous 14 “payback” games, avenging a loss from the year before.

Was it an ugly game? 

Well that is in the eye of the beholder. But that was certainly not the description for Les Miles, “It was not necessarily a pretty game, but it had a nice ending.”

In Baton Rouge, “Let the good times roll!”

The mirror opposite occurred in Stillwater, when the undefeated Cowboys, hung on for dear life; 52-45, against Bill Snyder’s gritty eleven from Manhattan, Kansas.

Kansas State had the ball on the OK State five yard line, with one second left, when its Mr. Everything, QB Collin Klein’s pass fell incomplete, leaving Oklahoma State in control of its championship destiny.

Klein is worth of some Hesiman discussion.

If the Cowboys win out, they close its season in December against Oklahoma, the Boys from Boone Pickens University; will play in the national championship game.  Amazing!

Hail the smart kids.

In maybe the best game of the day, the Wildcats of Northwestern marched into Lincoln, and came away with a 28-25 shocker against Bo Pelini’s ninth ranked Cornhuskers.

It was backup QB Kain Colter, in for the injured Dan Persa, leading way, shredding the much overrated Husker’s defense.

In the Dorothy, “There’s no place like home,” category; we have Arkansas.

The sputtering Razorbacks, which hadn’t played a home game in a month, obviously enjoyed its home cooking, as it blasted a very good defensive team, the Gamecocks of South Carolina; 44-28.

It was the fifth victory in a row for the Cocks, and sets up a potential season ending showdown against the Tigers of LSU.

In Corvallis, in a “trap game,” the Stanford Cardinal held serve 38-13, pulling away late, and extending the nation’s longest wining streak to 17.

The victory sets up climatic, first place match next Saturday, in Palo Alto, against the Ducks of Oregon.

But the victory came with a price, as one of Luck’s (20-30 – 3 TDs – 1 int.), primary targets, Chris Owusu was forced to leave the game with a concussion, and will not be available against Oregon.

In Norman, the Sooners have now won one in a row, pounding the overrated Aggies of A&M; 41-25. 

Unfortunately, its All-America receiver; Ryan Broyles, the all time NCAA reception leader, is out for the season with a torn ACL.

The Boys from College Station are now saddled with four losses, 3-3 in the Big 12, and bon voyage, as they embark into the much tougher SEC.

The Aggies won’t miss Norman, as its loss makes them; 0-7 in its visits against Bob Stoops.

Who Knew!

While the final embers of the Big East smolder, Butch Jones’ Cincinnati Bear Cats a 26-24 victor over the disappointing Panthers of Pittsburgh (4-5), are now in full control (7-1, 3-0), of the Big East race.

Note to Pitt; where’s Dave Wannstedt when you need him!!??

Congrats to Charlie Strong, and his Louisville Cardinals, 5-4, 3-1, who is quietly building a quietly program.

In the Old Friend Department:

Tom O’Brien’s NC State Wolfpack whitewashed its in state rival North Carolina 13-0, giving O’Brien, a perfect 5-0 record against its heated rival.

Silver Lake High school teammates: Tim Murphy of Harvard, Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth, and Jeff Hawkins of Oregon, all celebrated victories.

In Cambridge, Tim Murphy became the winningiest coach (119victories) in the history of Harvard football.

It sets up a classic match next Saturday at the Stadium, as Penn comes a calling with a share of first place in the Ivy League at stake.  The game will be televised on Versus, with the kickoff at noon.

What in the name of William Faulkner is going on with the football team in Oxford?!

The final nail was driven into the Houston Nutt era yesterday; as Ole Miss (2-7) was clobbered by the woeful Cats (3-6) of Kentucky 30-13, extending the Rebels SEC losing streak to a school record 13 games.  Yikes!!

Where’s David Cutcliff when you need him??!!

In Storrs, Connecticut, it was sweet revenge for Paul Pasqualoni’s Huskies, as UConn (4-5, 2-2 in the Big East) defeated his former place of employment, Syracuse; 28-21.  Congrats!

In Lubbock, it’s official, Texas Tech’s victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, was the equivalent of someone hitting power ball. 

TT was blown out for the second consecutive week by an okay Texas team; 52-20, and the Red Raiders have now lost its last two games by the combined score of: 93-27!!  Double Yikes!!

In Madison, Wisconsin, after a pair of last second losses, took out its anger on an inept Purdue defensive team 62-17, as its star tailback Monte Ball ran for an eye popping 223 yards on 20 carries. 

The big back is deserving of some Heisman consideration.

Finally, congrats to a pair of coaches whose seats were once hotter than sunspots; Georgia’s Mark Richt, and UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel, who should now be on a path for a safe, and welcome return.

That’s it from cyber space, be sure to read our analysis of week 11, which will be up and running Wednesday night.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.