Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ACC Football

Sometime next week I may ave a more substantive post than this (two projects, going to be out of town this weekend, woo-woo). For now, though, my thoughts on the current state of the ACC were summed up by this conversation with a friend of mine, talking about the Maryland-FSU game:

Me: UMD's only conference loss is to us
Me: they win and they're right up there with WFU and BC

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bowl Predictions - Week 3

No post for now, except that more than 1 Sun Belt team will get a bowl bid this year. You can access them via the link on your right. I may edit this if I have some sort of free time later this week (hah!).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

On Notice!

  1. Michigan State University - Well, you've now gone from being the worst finishing team in land to the worst starting team in the land. You were down 46-7 before 2 meaningless TDs in the 4th to make it kind of respectable.
  2. University of Southern California - Oops. Well, USC fell, but not to one of the teams that people were expecting. They hadn't been playing well lately, but this time they couldn't quite recover. (Missed a 2-pt conversion that would've tied it at the end)
  3. University of Nebraska - After looking respectable against Texas, you fell to Oklahoma State this week, making the Big 12 North race a lot more interesting.
  4. University of Miami - Two in a row! GT now has the easy road to the ACC Championship Game.
  5. Clemson University - After reaming GT, you go and lose to VT, making the ACC Atlantic race wide open. On the other hand, I'm glad you lost, because I didn't want GT to play you again for the Championship.
  6. Ohio University - Despite sucking, you're now bowl eligible. Wooo.
  7. University of Alabama-Birmingham - (Honorable mention to UConn, Rutgers, Idaho, and Hawaii) - The upcoming UAB-SMU game (and the Idaho-Hawaii game) is being played this Tuesday night, which makes absolutely no sense. Rutgers and UConn play on Sunday night, which is odd since neither of these teams are in the NFL. Stick to Thursday and Saturday during the regular season, ok?
  8. North Carolina State University - Chuck Amato has apparently decided that he is not, in fact, the man. You're next.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This Weekend's Games

Before I begin, I think yesterday's whipping of Clemson by Virginia Tech officially ends any validity of the Transitive Property in application to college football. If you forgot, recall that: 1) GT whipped VT a few weeks ago in Blacksburg, 2) Clemson whipped GT last weekend in Clemson. So, yeah.

Anyway, let's do this. As always, this reflects my being here in Atlanta, which means these are the games I get on the Georgia Tech Cable Network and that the times are Eastern.

  • Oklahoma @ Missouri, ABC: A close game, I think, and a win established Mizzou as the class of the Big 12 North, and perhaps a re-emergence of some evenness in terms of the competitiveness of the Big 12's divisions.
  • Notre Dame @ Navy, CBS: ND rolls.
  • NC State @ Virginia, local ACC affiliate: Well, NCSU came back and beat BC and FSU and seems to have a quarterback again. I have to like them here, even at UVA. Also, Virginia still doesn't really have an offense.
  • Northern Illinois @ Iowa, ESPNU: Well, Ehren, Iowa may be overrated, but you have to like them here.
  • Northwestern @ Michigan, ESPN: Well, let's see, Michigan is good this year, and not only did NU's coach die in the offseason, they just allowed the biggest comeback in DI-A history. UMich rolls.
  • UIUC @ Wisconsin, ESPN2: The Fightin' Ron Zooks head up to Madison, WI. Did you know that Wisconsin's campus has 6 pubs on it, and unlike GT's so-called "pub", they actually serve, you know, alcohol. Wisconsin also plays the Budweiser, but they say "When you say Wisconsin, you've said it all!" instead of the proper way (like we do). At any rate, they win.
12:30: Auburn @ Ole Miss, local SEC affiliate: FOOTBAW

  • Miami (FL) @ Georgia Tech, ABC: I have no idea what to make of this game. It's homecoming for us, and Miami returned a lot of their tickets, so this may be the largest Tech crowd ever. Miami may have an "us against the world" mentality due to their recent "adversity". We got blown out at Clemson last week, but a GT win here pretty much seals the division for us. There's a lot riding on this, and in several ways, is probably our most important game of the season.
  • Florida vs. Georgia, CBS: I'll still call it "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", but honestly, since when do rednecks drink cocktails? Also, UF rolls.
  • Wake Forest @ UNC, ESPNU: Ironically, UNC's players may now play better since it's confirmed that their coach is gone after the season. Nonetheless, Wake is a solid team and avoid the loss.
  • USC @ Oregon State, FSN: Who will knock off USC? Probably not the beavers.
  • Texas @ Texas Tech, TBS: Texas Tech doesn't really seem to have the "magic" this year, and so Texas will probably be the ones scoring 60 points here if anyone does.
  • Arkansas vs. UL-Monroe, ESPNU: I can't tell if this is being played at a neutral site or counts as a "home" game for UL-Monroe, but honestly, I don't care.
  • FSU @ Maryland, ESPN2: Remember when these teams were good at that offense thing? Yeah. FSU should win.
7:45: Tennessee @ South Carolina, ESPN: Fulmer! Spurrier! The UT of the South seems to be good this year, and despite Spurrier blowing out Vandy last week, UT should roll.

That's all I got kids. Feel free to dispute below.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

CFP, Week 9

Well, last week was pretty awesome for the Tito College Football Predictor. The CFP went 44 and 11, an 80% success rate in its first week of the 2006 season. The system even correctly picked the Washington State upset over Oregon. The largest margin of a missed pick was 5.0 (Oklahoma State over Texas A&M), so the higher margin ranges looked really good last weekend.

This weekend, the CFP went out on a limb and made five questionable upset picks. Oklahoma State is up 10 points on Nebraska, who looked pretty good against powerhouse Texas last week. Missouri is actually 4.9 points up on Oklahoma, but that's with the 5-point home field advantage. Navy is picked to beat Notre Dame (also with the home field advantage) by a ratings margin of 3.2. (This is the one I doubt the most. The last time Navy beat Notre Dame was in 1963. That's 42 straight losses to the Fighting Irish.) Purdue was picked over Penn State by 2.4 points. Lastly, Oregon State was picked by 0.2 over USC. (You know which one I want to happen most.) What's the likelihood that all five of these will happen? Almost zero. Still, I'll be surprised if none of them do.

Michigan, Boston College, Ohio State, and Arkansas all get gimmees this week. They are all favored by 16 points or more over their opponents (Northwestern, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Louisiana-Monroe). We'll see how my year-to-date record is holding up at the end of Saturday. You can find the rest of this week's picks at http://tito.asimweb.org/cfp/week9.html.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

On Notice!

Northwestern University - You gave up 38 unanswered to the Fightin' John L Smiths, the largest comeback in I-A history, and stealing my best running gag in the process.
Georgia Institute of Technology - Sigh. Front 7 was completely dominated on defense. Offense couldn't do anything at all. I'm done with this now.UCLA - You played defense for 59 minutes, and then you let Brady and Samardzjafjajzjia own you for 80 yards in 35 seconds. WTG.
John Bunting - You've been told that you will not return next season. Not surprising, since your team sucks.
University of Oregon - I didn't see this game at all, or know anything about it. But you lost to Wazzu, who's outside of the Top 25.
The ACC - Grow some balls and give the leg stomping mofo more than a 1 game suspension. Seriously.
Coaches' Poll - You have USC at #2 still, even though they kinda suck. Whatever. Pretty much mailing it in at this point.
University of Miami - Thug U rolls into the ATL to determine the Coastal Division champion. A GT win gives them a defacto 2 game lead, and with games against NC State, UNC, and Duke remaining, essentially clinches the division. A GT loss essentially means the inverse. Fortunately, Miami isn't nearly as good as Clemson, so GT should win.

Four Quarters Needed to Win

Remember when you went to arcades as a kid? Some of the games were really cheap, like Whack-a-Mole. Others, like Cruisin' USA, cost four quarters to play. Likewise, a team needs to put in four quarters of effort to have a chance at winning a college football game. This fact was readily apparent in the following matchups of week 8.

California at Washington: Down 17-24, Washington quarterback Carl Bonnell tossed the football towards the end zone on the last play of regulation. None of three Cal players underneath the ball managed to bat it to the ground. Instead, the ball bounced into the hands of Husky receiver Marlon Wood, who dove into the end zone for a touchdown. In overtime, Bonnell threw into another Cal jersey, and this time Desmond Bishop picked him off. Luckily, the Bears' poor defense against the Hail Mary didn't cost them the game.

Texas at Nebraska: Halftime in Omaha found Texas winning 16-7. In the second half, the Longhorn defense gave up two touchdown drives to the Cornhuskers. Up 20-19 with 2:17 left, all Nebraska had to do to win was make a few first downs and kill the clock. It looked like they would do just that until Terrence Nunn fumbled a nine-yard pass. Texas walk-on Ryan Bailey made his first ever college field goal, and the Longhorn D batted down two Hail Mary's from Zac Taylor to end the game 22-20.

Thanks to Nebraska, these guys stood half-naked in 40-degree weather for nothing. Nice going, Cornhuskers.

Notre Dame at UCLA: Up 17-13 with 0:55 left on the clock, UCLA looked as if it was going to upset Notre Dame right beneath the gaze of Touchdown Jesus. However, the Bruin defense backed off of Brady Quinn for his final drive, allowing the quarterback to move the Fighting Irish from their own 20 to the UCLA 45 with two passes. Then, Quinn hit Jeff Samardzija, who faked out defenders and hightailed it to the end zone. Talk about defensive self-detruction.

Michigan State at Northwestern: The other three games pale in comparison to the second-half nature of this Big Ten matchup. Northwestern went to the locker room leading Michigan State 38-3 at halftime. The Spartans scored 38 unanswered points in 24:36 minutes of gametime to beat the Wildcats 41-38. Michigan State came back from the largest deficit in the history of Division I-A college football.

You need four quarters to play Cruisin' USA, and you need to play four quarters to win a college football game. 'Nuff said.

Bowl Predictions, Week 2

I'll try not to be depressed about yesterday long enough to talk about this. Onward:
  • Still no idea who really has a shot for that at-large spot in the Poinsettia Bowl. Only two of the Pac-10's 4 win teams will probably finish with 6, which means they can't fill it. I doubt they'd pick a small conference East Coast team to fill the slot, so I went with San Jose St.
  • Question marks by Indiana and Kentucky because I think they have a shot at finishing with 6 wins, and because I have no idea who will take those spots if they don't.
  • FSU-Washington in the Emerald Bowl, or, "teams that were really good in the 90's bowl"
  • The ACC is still pretty much very muddy. You'll note Boston College is in the Orange Bowl - this is because they have the inside track to the title game (they need to lose again for Clemson to go). Despite the performance yesterday, beating Miami Saturday leaves Georgia Tech in the Coastal driver's seat. Everything after Clemson on there is pretty much just a guess.
  • The SEC has an extremely good chance at putting two teams in the BCS, provided Auburn and Florida win out. The ACC could also do it if Clemson wins out, but this is unlikely, since the Big East champion still has to go somewhere, the Rose will happily take Michigan and Cal if Ohio State and USC win out, and Notre Dame will be eligible so someone will take them.
  • Speaking of OSU and USC, I'm keeping them there until I'm convinced someone will actually beat them. USC is obviously more vulnerable, but if they take care business and whip Oregon State and Stanford the next two weeks it will be impossible for anyone to knock them off unless they lose.
There may be errors on the page, in fact, I just spotted a new misspelling. Oh well. The link is on the right, and you can comment below and tell me how dumb I am.


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Just nothing to say. Embarassing...in the words of Jim Mora, Sr.: "We couldn't do diddly-poo offensively, we couldn't run the ball...."


Friday, October 20, 2006

What to...

Normally, this would be my listing of games that would be broadcast where I am and my opinion on them.

However, I'm going to be busy today. Also, looking over the slate, I don't know what's worth watching outside of GT-Clemson, anyway. I'll leave you with this:

Clemson is a redneck school, doo-dah, doo-dah
Clemson is a redneck school, dah-doo-dah-day
Gonna moo all night
Gonna moo all day
Clemson is a redneck school, dah-doo-dah-day

My College Football Predictor

Hey folks. I want to let everyone know about the computerized college football prediction system I run. You can track my progress over the season at http://tito.asimweb.org/cfp. Click on "Week 8" on the left of your screen to check out this week's picks. (I start making predictions midway through the season, for reasons explained on the site.)

This week, the CFP (College Football Predictor) picked Vanderbilt to beat South Carolina, which would be a big win for the Commodores following their October 14 upset of Georgia. 4-3 Washington State has a slight edge on 6-1 Oregon, but only because of the home-field advantage. Also, undefeated Louisville is not very heavily favored on the road against Syracuse. LSU, Auburn, Northern Illinois, Ohio, and Ohio State essentially have bye-weeks; the CFP has never mispredicted a game with the ratings margin that these teams will enjoy on Saturday.

Obviously these predictions aren't guaranteed, but you can find my rate of success within certain rating margin ranges on the left of the CFP site. Here's hoping the 2006 system's inaugural run is a success!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

(Mostly) Non-Auburn News

In light of the greatness that was the Auburn/Florida game, I left out my thoughts on the rest of college football in my Sunday post. Here are those thoughts.

Miami and Florida International got into a fisticuffs midfield on Saturday, which was pretty ridiculous from what I hear. In related news, ESPN.com ran a story about Lamar Thomas, a former Miami player and color commentary for CSS. Thomas was fired for his on-air comments about the fight. Here's a sample:
"Now, that's what I'm talking about...You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the OB playing that stuff...You can't come over to our place talking noise like that. You'll get your butt beat. I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing...I say, why don't they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more? You don't come into the OB, baby...We've had a down couple years but you don't come in here talking smack. Not in our house."
Later, Thomas tried to apologize:

"Anybody who knows me knows I played the game of football with my heart on my
sleeve...Unfortunately for me during the fight I got a little hyped up. In no way do I condone fighting."

"In no way do I condone fighting"? The statement "why don't they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more" doesn't condone fighting? My dad used to tell me how much he disliked the Miami football program. He said they were arrogant and unsportsmanlike. This Saturday, the Hurricanes and Thomas sure proved my dad right.

But enough about the fight. Ohio State rolled over Michigan State (sorry Laura) on their way to the season-ending showdown on November 18. Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines won a close one at Penn State, where my friends in State College showed up in full force. Up 17-10, the Michigan D stopped the Lions from turning their final drive into overtime. I still think the white out is the coolest student section collaboration I've ever seen, with Mississippi State's cowbells a distant second.

USC scraped by another?! Pac-10 team with a fourth-quarter touchdown drive. ESPN still won't accept that USC is not that good, emphasizing their undefeated status. They might be undefeated going into their three-week death march on November 11, but they won't be that way by its end. Fun/disgusting fact: USC has scored 20 or more points in their last 58 games. Louisville didn't look their best, either, even with the return of Brian Brohm. A game-ending deflection by the Cardinals D kept their win streak and (extremely slim) national championship hopes alive.

Georgia did this weekend what USC will do at the season's end: finally lose a close game. The Bulldogs fell to the mighty Commodores of Vanderbilt on homecoming week. I guess I was overly optimistic when I predicted that Georgia would only lose four games this year. I wonder, will they earn a W against Mississippi State this weekend? West Virginia once again waited until halftime to start scoring, taking care of Syracuse 41-17. Hawaii stomped Fresno State 68-37. Seriously, that's a lot of points.

The first BCS standings gave me hope that Auburn still has a good shot at a national championship berth. Obviously, Ohio State or Michigan will remain at the top at the end of the season, barring any unforeseen upsets. Like I said earlier, USC will also lose. It may be in Auburn's favor for Arkansas to win the SEC West, though this looks doubtful with Tennessee and LSU in the Razorbacks' future. Although it would prevent the winner of West Virginia/Louisville from leapfrogging into #2, I doubt Auburn could pull off another win against Florida.

This weekend, Georgia Tech and Clemson play a possible ACC Championship preview. Clemson would need help to win the Atlantic division if they lost, but Georgia Tech should win the Coastal division even if they lose on Saturday. I guess I wouldn't mind seeing Tennessee crush Alabama, but I'll be watching Auburn take care of Tulane during that matchup. Hopefully the Tigers will come prepared and will take things one game at a time for the rest of the year. That course of action served them well in 2004. See you guys next Monday!

Monday, October 16, 2006

On Notice!

  1. Michigan State University - Lost again, therefore still on here. @ Northwestern this week, good chance for a W.
  2. University of Iowa - Pretty sure I've ranted on this before, but Iowa is perennially overrated. People really like their coach for some reason, but I can never see it. They lost to Indiana this weekend...good job.
  3. Florida International University - On here as a combo for the second week in a row, but this time with...
  4. University of Miami - Woo! Da U be back for realz! If football isn't violent enough for you, just start swinging your helmet around for extra fun.
  5. University of Missouri - Lost their first game to TAMU this weekend, losing their status as the worst unbeaten team in the land.
  6. University of Florida - They weren't going to go unbeaten, so this loss to Auburn wasn't terribly unexpected. The problem is that they just looked bad in the second half, and now all the UF fans are back to ripping into Chris Leak.
  7. University [sic] of Georgia - You lost to Vanderbilt on homecoming weekend. THWG!
  8. Clemson University - Probably the biggest game in the ACC this season. A loss for Clemson makes it much harder for them to win their division, and they're about to face the steamroller that is the GT defense. Like Nick said, Clemson being 9 point favorites is absolute madness - I'd be shocked if this game isn't decided by 4 or less points.

Bowl Predictions - Week 1

Hot off the presses!
A breakdown of what I do and some interesting matchups:
  • The process: first, I had to go through and try and figure out the conference pecking orders. I use about three sources to try to guess at it. This is probably the most tedious part of the whole thing, but it essential if you want to be anywhere near correct.
  • The selection numbers do not neccessarily tie-in to the conference standings. Though several conferences have implemented this, some do not. (For instance, before this year, the ACC did not do this, resulting in NC State going to the Car Care Bowl in Charlotte while both Boston College and Georgia Tech got sent to Boise and San Fransisco last year.) Generally, what happens isn't nearly as bad as my example, but just be warned "Pac-10 #2" means "the first Pac-10 team not picked by the BCS" more than it means the Pac-10 runner-up.
  • Also, this early in the year, things are still a crap shoot. There are several teams with 3 or 4 wins that may struggle to make 6 wins, and it's difficult to tell until they've played more conference games.
  • By my count, the Big Ten will be in the most trouble making its bids this year, unless Michigan State stops sucking. For now, I've got them going to the Motor City Bowl, but they've looked completely lost after that Notre Dame game and will be struggling to get to 6 wins.
  • The SEC may also have problems - Kentucky or Vanderbilt will need to garner 3 more wins to fill out their allotments.
  • As a Georgia Tech fan, I am somewhat scared to put us in the Orange Bowl, which is why I've put them in the Peach/Chick-fil-a. That said, the matchup against Alabama would be cool - another old SEC rivalry (we're in their fight song, even).
  • Assuming the SEC doesn't continue to beat up on itself, they should put both Florida and Auburn in the BCS. The best situation will be if UF and AU don't meet again in the SEC title game (i.e., Arkansas wins out), and UF wins the SEC title to go the Sugar. AU should remain plenty strong to garner an at-large berth, probably in the Orange. AU will probably play BC, Clemson, or GT there - the latter two being the most interesting matchups to me. (Tigers vs. Tigers, or AU tries to take revenge for 2003 and 2005. I like 'em both.)
  • The ACC is a total mess right now. GT, Clemson, Wake, and BC are the top teams in the standings. The main question is: how far will the Florida schools and VPI fall? I have no idea honestly. I can't really see Miami going to Boise, but I have no idea where else to put them.
  • Though it will probably happen, for the time being I'm not putting Boise St. in the BCS. Mostly because I need another WAC team to act as an at-large in the Poinsettia Bowl.
  • Yes, that's right, SMU in a bowl. Will probably happen, or else C-USA won't fill its bids.
  • I've said that I'd like to attend the Birmingham Bowl or the Music City bowl this year, but they're both turning out pretty crappy. UAB probably won't make a bowl, so C-USA will have to send someone there. USF fails to excite me as well. And while I like cheering for Wake, USC-East vs. Wake probably isn't very interesting.
That's about all on the bowl predictions front. Standings will be updated every Sunday after the BCS standings for the week come out.

On another note, lemme talk about Vandy-UGA. I've been cheering for Vandy every since I can remember, mostly because I enjoy cheering for underdogs, and well, Vandy is almost always an underdog. Over the past few years, one of my best friends from HS is at Vandy, which gives me additional incentive to root for them. (In fact, Vandy's stadium is the only other college stadium I've been to, where I witnessed GT's overtime win in 2003.) On the other hand, as a student and fan of Georgia Tech, I loathe the so-called "University" of Georgia and just about everything it stands for.

Therefore, outside of GT beating them, nothing was sweater than watching Vandy put it to UGA last Saturday - during UGA's homecoming, nonetheless. The most hilarious part is that the announcers and most delusional UGA fans seem to thing Matt Stafford is some sort of god, when their starter's numbers looked mighty fine to me. I've watched Vandy fade so many times in the 4th quarter the past few years I thought it was over when UGA returned that interception for a TD. Vandy never gave up, though, and drove for the last second field goal that split the uprights.

Anyway, looking forward, GT plays Clemson Saturday. Don't let Vegas's 9 point line fool you: this is an extremely close rivalry. I'll elaborate more on this later in the week. And make sure to read Tito's AU-UF gameday post below.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Hangover of Triumph

I woke up at 6 AM on Saturday morning. When my alarm went off, I looked out the window to discover that the sun had not even thought about coming up yet. I was tempted to go back to sleep, but I thought, "No; I'm going to do this!" The "this" in question was a walk to College GameDay, ESPN's travelling Saturday morning broadcast. This weekend, Lee, Kirk, and Chris paid a visit to Auburn. I arrived on site at 7 AM. It was about 55 degrees outside, and there were probably two hundred fans already waiting at the gates.

GameDay was interesting. Some drunk frat guys in front of me made the wait until airtime a lot more interesting. One of them named Forest convinced the crowd around us to sit down so he could take a nap. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty crazy for sitting on damp grass near the baseball stadium at 8 AM on a Saturday morning, all for the slim chance of getting on national television. Even worse, my third row spot behind the GameDay desk was too far back for me to get on TV.

After Herbstreit and Corso picked the Gators, GameDay ended and I walked to my grandparents' motor home. One of their friends, an older Auburn fan, had dressed up in a Florida State jacket and straw hat. I must say, he did a pretty good job of looking like Bobby Bowden. For most of the morning, he sat on top of a nearby motor home and did the tomahawk chop at Gator fans passing by on the road. It's pretty funny how crazy old football fans are. That guy makes me wonder what I'll be like at his age.

Seriously, Bowden looks like one of the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park or The Land Before Time.

Next up, I walked all the way across campus to hang out with a girl I met in Vermont this summer. She goes to the University of Florida and was up for the weekend to see the game. We went to the university bookstore and watched Georgia lose to Vanderbilt. It was funny to watch both Auburn and Florida fans cheer when Vandy's final field goal went straight through the uprights. Heather and I parted ways around 3 PM, when I walked over to the student gates to claim my spot in line. I had been awake for nine hours, and four were left until kickoff.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) our embarrassing loss to Arkansas last weekend, the Auburn student section was out in full force this Saturday. You could definitely feel a nervous but hopeful vibe among the crowd during the three hours we spent in the stands before the game started. The energy continued to build until the pre-kickoff video, which brings the excitement like nothing else. By this point, the sun was setting, and the sky was turning orange and blue. It was definitely an omen in our favor.

The first quarter was rather ho-hum. Both teams drove the length of the field only to kick field goals, an accomplishment for previously 0-of-4 Florida kicker Chris Hetland. Considering Florida's prowess at scoring touchdowns, Auburn's defense had seemingly "plugged the Leak" of the Gator offense. However, the D didn't hold that long. Early in the second quarter, Chris Leak hit Dallas Baker in double coverage for a fifteen-yard touchdown. In retaliation, some students in the end zone tossed the extra point ball up the stands and out of the stadium.

After another unproductive set of downs for Auburn, Florida's offense scored a safety for the Tigers by committing holding in their own end zone. The momentum shifted towards Auburn, now down only 5-1o. John Vaughn tacked on three more to make it 8-10. Three plays and one questionable personal foul later, Tim Tebow jogged untouched into the Auburn end zone, increasing the Gators lead to 17-8. Another Vaughn field goal sent the teams to the locker room at 17-11. Sentiments in the stands were still nervously hopeful.

That's the hard hat I got at GameDay. It's legitimate and everything; I'm gonna work on the new student union sometime this week.

During halftime, Auburn's swim teams were commemorated for winning everything ever (or four straight NCAA titles, whichever is more impressive). Next, Auburn mascot Aubie the Tiger performed the opening guitar solo from Van Halen's "You Really Got Me Now". Sure, the guitar was made out of foam, but I still think it was pretty awesome. The accompanying fireworks helped, but I think the reason this show ruled so much was the relative lack of noise from the band. Those guys know how to kill a good time.

When the defense came out of the tunnel for the second half, the crowd brought the noise all up ons Chris Leak, who had to call a timeout so that he could hear himself think. Auburn's D-line made two huge tackles behind the line of scrimmage to force Florida into a punt formation. The student section erupted into chants of "block that kick, block that kick..." Lo and behold, a bad snap forced Florida punter Eric Wilbur to kick the football into the chest of Auburn defenders. Tre' Smith, of all players, picked up the ball and did a forward flip into the end zone. Could God be any more of an Auburn fan, I asked myself?

Four drives later, God said, "Yes." The Gators were nearing the Auburn red zone. A field goal would put them up 20-18, so they were almost guaranteed to take the lead. Desperately, I prayed for a turnover. On the next play, Tray Blackmon got so pumped up that he forced a fumble. After a six minute Auburn drive, John Vaughn came out to miss a 46 yard field goal attempt. Visions of the 2005 LSU game, which Vaughn to some extent lost for the Tigers, started appearing before my eyes.

This looked to be the final standoff of the game. Florida had squandered its three timeouts, one on a challenge of the Blackmon forced fumble. They had 2:58 remaining to drive the length of the field and kick a game-winning field goal. I was not sure that Auburn's defense could pull off the last stop needed to seal the victory. Then, Chris Leak threw an interception directly into the hands of Auburn defender Eric Brock. It was as if God himself had directed the arm-cannon of Leak towards Brock's chest. The Auburn faithful went crazy go nuts.

After three predictable runs by Brad Lester, John Vaughn redeemed himself by kicking a forty yarder to put Auburn up 21-17. Florida regained the ball with 27 seconds to go. After three incomplete passes, Leak hit Dallas Baker, who lateraled to Jarred Fayson, who fumbled to Auburn defender Patrick Lee, who ran twenty-five yards and dove into the end zone as time expired. The scoreboard read "Auburn 27, Florida 17". If anyone was wondering what I did with the paper bag, let me tell you that its ripped-up remains were left in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

After visiting Toomer's Corner, I walked home, showered, and went to sleep. I woke up this morning at 11 AM, the euphoric sensation of victory still swimming around in my head. I suppose you could call it a "hangover of triumph". I sure would. War Eagle!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Saturday is finally here!

It's time for my usual Saturday games post. I'm back in Madison this weekend so my list will reflect that - no ACC game of the week games or ESPNU games. Times will also be CDT. That said, let's do this.

*Minnesota @ Wisconin, ESPN - Probably a battle for some sort of Big Ten trophy.
*Iowa @ Indiana, ESPN2 - Iowa rolls.

*Vanderbilt @ Georgia, LF Sports - Poor Vandy, but nonetheless, go 'Dores!
*Iowa St @ Oklahoma, FSN - Woo, woo, crappy Big 12 matchups...

*Ohio State @ Michigan State, ABC - Did I mention there's not a lot of exciting games this weekend? OSU has been rolling, and MSU is not the team from Michigan that stands a chance.
*Ole Miss @ Alabama, CBS - FOOTBAW

*Baylor @ Texas, TBS - Why is this on television? Baylor's improved, but this will probably be a massacre.

*Florida @ Auburn, ESPN* - Full circle shenaniganry again for what is easly the best game of the day. It's not even close. Will Auburn be able to regain their composure? If not, UF probably stomps them and establishes themselves as the team to beat in SEC. Auburn wins, and it's still wide open. I'd like to see Auburn win for sentimental reasons, but I'd also like to see an undefeated SEC team. Ah, heck, I'm going for AU anyway.

*Michigan @ Penn State, ABC - Honestly, this seems like it's going to be boring...UMich should roll. Additionally, the west coast ABC game this week is Arizona St.-USC, which I was looking forward to (for all the wrong reasons), but alas. Maybe UMich-PSU will be a blowout.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Halfway Point Approacheth

Well well, it looks like college football is back in session. After two so-so weeks of play, last Saturday was a welcome return to greatness. The rest of the season doesn't look much different. Thank goodness.

West Virginia posted a 14-7 halftime lead on Mississippi State. Even though they took off in the second half, I'm still not impressed by their slow starts every week against so-so to awful teams. Florida State lost again, this time to NCState. I wonder how bad their record will look at the end of the year and if it will be bad enough to get Jeff Bowden fired. Here's a fun statistic: Miami and FSU are both unranked for the first time since 1982. Yikes.

Georgia Tech needed a little fourth-quarter magic to beat Maryland, who beat William and Mary, Middle Tennessee State, and Florida International by a combined margin of 31. Since this was Tech's only shaky performance of the season, I'll cut them some slack. I'm looking forward to next week's game against Clemson, which could possibly be a preview of the ACC Championship game. You know the ACC is different when Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech are on the outside track to the championship. The conference has flipflopped almost as much as John Kerry.

USC barely held off a Washington drive that would have ended their undefeated hopes. It probably doesn't matter, because I doubt they will make it through their four-game season-ending stretch unscathed. The Trojans host Oregon, California, and Notre Dame before heading to UCLA. By now, it's pretty obvious thatUSC is missing Leinhart and Bush, two NFL rookie superstars. Considering USC's performances over the past few weeks, I'm amazed they are still ranked #2/#3. Michigan, Florida, and Texas all look pretty good in comparison.

Tennessee and Georgia outscored California and Oregon 84-69. I'm not sure if this means that SEC defenses are getting worse or their offenses are getting better. More likely, it means rampant turnovers equal points. (By the way, I'm 1-0 on my Georgia loss predictions. One down, three to go.) Florida dominated LSU 23-10 in a game that looked a lot more lopsided than the score. The Swamp has definitely regained its Spurrier-level intensity. I'm looking forward to going to Gainesville next fall to see the Tigers take on the Gators.

While Florida is probably my favorite challenger to Ohio State, I no longer count (and should not have counted for some weeks now) Auburn among that elite list. The Tigers gave up 257 rushing yards last Saturday. Arkansas isn't anemic when running the ball, but dang! Just when I was beginning to think our secondary was weak, our defensive line caught my eye instead. Huge gaps in the line. Huge. What makes things worse is that Arkansas ran the ball on 36 of their last 38 plays, so it's not like we didn't know it was coming.

Even more embarrassing, Auburn only managed 95 yards on the ground, if you don't count the five sacks for 35 yards. Those five sacks remind me that our offensive line didn't look very good, either. Neither did our receiving corps, whose inexperience left Cox with little to do but wait in the pocket for Arkansas' D-line to push him over. Even Kody Bliss had an off day; one of his punts travelled only 19 yards. I hate to say it, but John Vaughn was the only one who did his job (when Tuberville decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth and five).

Now that I've lamented last week's loss, it's time for me to offer an unrealistically optimistic picture of Auburn's (laughable) national championship and SEC championship hopes. First, Auburn has to go undefeated. As bad as Auburn looked against Arkansas, there is still a chance that they can pull it off. Doing so would mean that they would pass Florida in the polls. Ohio State plays Michigan, USC plays Notre Dame, and West Virginia plays Louisville, so at least three of those six teams will drop below Auburn by the end of the season.

Texas will probably make it through the rest of their schedule undefeated, but Tennessee could lose to Alabama, at South Carolina, LSU, or at Arkansas. I'm not even going to check how close all of those things combined would get Auburn to a title game bid, but my guess is not close enough. To win the SEC West, Auburn needs Arkansas to lose two SEC games. The Razorbacks get three weeks off (essentially), then go to South Carolina before hosting Tennessee and LSU. My fingers are crossed, but after Alabama/Arkansas' failure to topple LSU for us last season, I probably shouldn't get my hopes up too much. (Side note: I bet this post looks pretty stupid in January.)

GameDay is coming to Auburn this Saturday, which is pretty exciting, even with the lessened hype. Some friends and I are tossing around the idea of spelling out "OVERRATED" across our chests in reference to Auburn's collapse on the 7th. At the very least, I'll be sporting a paper bag with "10-27" painted across the forehead. I'm wondering how much grief I'll get from fellow Tiger fans, or how much TV time I'll garner. Look for me and my pals (or, more likely, just me) on ESPN from 10-12 PM and 6:45-9:45 PM Eastern Time.

The first BCS standings come out after next weekend. The race to the finish is almost here. The halfway point approacheth. (I apologize for the John Kerry joke in the third paragraph. It was pretty lame.)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

  1. Michigan State University - Lost again to UM, going to lose next week also, as #1 OSU rolls into town.
  2. Tim Tebow - No more gay jump passes, ok?
  3. Florida International University - See #4
  4. University of North Texas - You two combined for 47 points...after 7 overtimes. Each kicker missed 4 attempts during the OT periods, and all the points after regulation were field goals. This may be one of the most poorly played game in D-IA in a long time.
  5. Wake Forest - An exquisite performance in the mold of John L Smith. Up 17-3 in the 4th quarter, and attempting a field goal to make it more, a bad snap turns into a TD for Clemson, who proceeded to roll up 24 unanswered points in the fourth to win 27-17.
  6. Florida State University - You lost to NC State...guess it's karma for renting a band. But it is good for you that the next rule doesn't apply, or you'd be worse than Akron.
  7. The Transitive Property - Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com said it better than I can: "Auburn fans reveled in the old comparative-score trick last week. The Tigers beat Washington State by 26. USC beat the Cougars by six. Let's see now: USC beat Arkansas by 36 ..."
  8. IDLE - A tough opponent for some teams (Miami (FL), FSU, VT, etc.), but Tech should have no problems. A win here sets up a huge match up against Clemson in 2 weeks...

Up with the White and Gold

Down with the red and black...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'll Go Ahead and Say It

Auburn lost.

This Weekend in College Football

Here we go.

  • Arkansas @ Auburn, CBS - As much as I admire Arkansas for somehow beating Alabama, they're probably heading for a beating here.
  • UNC @ Miami, LF ACC Game - Amato has saved his job, so these are the two hottest seats in the ACC right now. The funniest message board post I've seen in the past two weeks involved a UNC fan going on the Miami board to make sure that UM was pysched about beating UNC. The UM fans responded in kind, asking UNC to lay the wood on UM. I kid you not. These people are depressed.
  • Purdue @ Iowa, ESPNU - Once again, fellow engineering school bias. Go Biolermakers!
  • Clemson @ Wake, ESPN - A surprisingly heated ACC rivalry - Wake has won the last two meetings. Wake is also the sole remaining undefeated team in the ACC. Can the Deacons pull it off?
2:30- Stanford @ Notre Dame, ABC - ND rolls. Why can't they just play USC already?

  • Oklahoma @ Texas, ABC - I think Texas rolls here. Adrian Peterson has a chance to make some noise, and I wish I could see it, but nonetheless, the horns hook 'em again.
  • LSU @ Florida, CBS - I wish I could also see this game. A lot of people like LSU, but I think Florida has a good chance. It helps Auburn a lot if LSU wins, though.
  • Maryland @ Georgia Tech, ESPNU - Can Tech keep it up? Will the Fridge outsmart us? If for some reason you happen to have ESPNU, tune it in. I'll be there (hence my two previous statements) along with a guest appearance by my brother.
  • Washington @ USC, FSN - USC rolls. (It's almost 6am, I'm tired.)
4:30: Michigan St. @ UMich, ESPN - How, MSU looked so good 3 weeks ago. Amazing what one horrendous loss can do to a team. And John L. Smith is insane.

  • Missouri @ Texas Tech, TBS - TTU burned me last week, but I refuse to believe that Mizzou is actually any good. General good rule right now for the Big 12 is that the Big 12 South is a lot better than the North, so I'm going with the Raiders on this one.
  • Central Mich @ Toledo, ESPNU - Uh, go Rockets?
  • South Carolina @ Kentucky, ESPN2 - Kentucky is in the bottom 3 worst programs in the SEC right now, along with the Mississippi schools. The Visored One rolls.
7:45: Tennessee @ Georgia, ESPN - Big SEC East game. Go Vols! (Seriously, UGA, where is your offense? Not that I'm complaining.)

8:00: Oregon @ Cal, ABC - Cal continues to try to recover from their opening loss to UT, and karma hopefully will work against Oregon. Cal, I imagine, also has a better post-3rd quarter song. So Go Bears!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It's that time of year again, and for the first time in a long time, I won't be obessively tracking it.

If my old website was still up, I could show you my old tracking of the baseball playoffs, originally born out of a desire to have a readable schedule. I used to check MLB's websites extensively for any hint of when the games would be, stuff like that.

But due to a combination of the Braves sucking, readable website designs, and trying to graduate this semester (hint: do not take more than 2 real classes your graduating semester) I simply do not have the time or desire to do it. So, yeah.

That said, I will still be doing bowl predictions. With this new commetary site thinger, the three of us could have a sort of competition to see who's picks turn out the best. Or I could continue what I did last year, which is get a bunch of my friends together early Sunday morning after the games were over to decide the best bets for who goes where and trying to decide what the BCS would look like. In the end, I'll probably compromise - use the comittee to predict who goes where, and then have a competition picking the actual games.

Anyway, I don't do the predictions until the weekend the first BCS standings come out, which I believe is next weekend (which is also my fall break). So keep it here for two weeks for no to get my opinion on who will be in such illustrious new games like the Birmingham Bowl and the International Bowl.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Mediocre Weekend

It's kind of sad that the 2006 college football season is already a third complete. College football is kind of like Christmas. You wait months for it to come, then you wake up one morning and the day has arrived. The presents are downstairs under the tree. You open the first one, which is awesome simply because it's the first. Some great ones get thrown into the middle, then your parents surprise you with the big one at the end.

Thank goodness the other two thirds of the season are left to go, because the last two weeks of college football remind me of the part of Christmas where you have to take the family photograph. It takes ten minutes for my family to show up at the designated location, another five for the distribution of faces to satisfy my parents and oldest sister, and another fifteen for the ten-plus takes to be shot. All thirty minutes are, honestly, a drag.

For the most part, the matchups that ended September were as painful as those photographic sessions. This past weekend, Texas and LSU rolled over Sam Houston State (no surprise) and Mississippi State (ditto). Ohio State basically proved that they are the team to beat in Division I-A by a 38-17 whomping of Iowa. Florida struggled to put away Alabama (Alabama's defense) at home, and Georgia continued to look awful by beating Ole Miss by five points. I'm sticking by my prediction that the Dawgs will lose at least four games by the end of the season.

Thursday night, Auburn went to South Carolina and pulled out a nailbiter in Columbia. Tommy Tuberville got back to his old crazy ways, calling for an onside kick in the third quarter which prevented USC's offense from touching the ball for those fifteen minutes. Auburn converted two fourth downs, one from six yards away and one at the goal line for a touchdown. Tre' Smith made a crucial play during the onside kick when he helped the football bounce towards another Auburn player. Congrats, Tre'. I'm not going to say anything negative about you...this week.

Now that I've discussed USC-EC (East Coast), I'd like to note that the one in California squeaked by Washington State 28-22. Wait a minute, isn't that the same Washington State squad that Auburn soundly defeated 40-14 in their season opener? ESPN played off USC's poor performance on the absence of star receiver Dwayne Jarrett. However, the game summary's headline shockingly read "No. 3 USC survives". I'm ashamed that they would say that USC has ever done anything other than "thrive". The word "survives" is simply not in the vocabulary of the best college football program of all time.

Next weekend's lineup is looking pretty good. Georgia plays (loses to) Tennessee on primetime ESPN. Oregon and California fight over who gets to look like the team with the best chance to beat USC, a post Notre Dame quickly relinquished. Texas and Oklahoma play for the Big 12 Championship and the chance to have one state's governor present a side of beef to the other state's governor (read this Wikipedia article if you don't believe me). Florida and LSU duke it out for the title of "Best Team to Lose to Auburn in 2006".

Auburn plays Arkansas at 11 AM Central Time. Thanks, CBS. This means I'll be arriving at the student gates of Jordan-Hare Stadium around 8 AM. I'll be grumpy, sleepy, sweaty, and probably a few more of the Seven Dwarves, but War Eagle anyhow! Come back next Monday for more uninformed analysis and confusing analogies!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On Notice!

  1. Michigan State University - Um, you guys lost to Illinois. You're in the #1 spot until you beat someone (which may be awhile).
  2. Officiating - I'm a couple weeks late on this bandwagon, but it has now affected me more personally. In the 3rd quarter of the GT-VT game (OMFG we won!?@#!), there was a "Touchdown" where the only thing that crossed the line with the VT runner's helmet, shown clearly in replay. The call was not reversed upon review.
  3. USA Today Coaches' Poll - Georgia Tech is 2 places (and nearly 80 points) behind Virginia Tech, a team that they just absolutely bitch-slapped around the field. UGA, a team that has beat Colorado (0-5) and Ole Miss (1-4) by a combined 6 points, is ahead of LSU, whose closest win was by 31 points and whose only loss was 7-3 to the #2/#3 team in the nation, Auburn. If any coaches are looking for someone to help them with their ballot, I'd be more than happy to do it for $50 a week...(Watson Brown? You're only 1.5 hours away from me.)
  4. "Beamerball" - If I told you that there was a blocked punt and a defensive TD in the VT-GT game, you'd assume that VT was the team to have done both. And you'd be wrong.
  5. Boise State University - After TCU got beat 31-17 by the Stormin' Mormons (err, Cougars) of BYU, you're now the only mid-major with any shot at an at-large BCS berth. Your only remaining interesting game is at home with Fresno, so your odds are pretty good. If you blow everyone out on your way to 12-0, you should get the big payday.
  6. Wake Forest - Unbeaten? This is like a basketball team that goes 13-0 before conference play begins by playing a bunch of cupcakes and the occasional conference bottom feeder (aka the Duke game). In their defense, the Syracuse, UConn, and Ole Miss games probably looked a lot tougher when they scheduled them. But now they get a Clemson team that has scored 103 points in the last 2 weeks. This one won't be close either.
  7. University [sic] of Georgia - You're the worst team in the Top 10. From what I've seen, I can't expect you to beat Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, or GT.
  8. University of Maryland - GT doesn't fear the turtle. Especially since Fridge ate it after he got nervous during the FIU game.