Author Archives: Kenneth

Week Fifteen (?)

How many of you have been waiting at your computers since Sunday morning, constantly refreshing your Facebook notes page to see if I had written this column? Well, refresh no more, for it is here! (No one, of course, falls into that category. Is the laziness joke getting old yet?)

Thanks to the injured status of Matt Flynn and Glenn Dorsey, Tennessee managed to put up a fight against LSU. The announcers even recognized this fact, stating, “…this is a fight for the SEC Championship.” I typically like CBS’ commentators, but that remark is one of the worst I have heard on television. During one return from a commercial break, the camera showed UT’s mascot barking intermittently. Verne Lundquist waited a few seconds, then calmly greeted the dog by saying, “Hello, Smokey.” However, these quips were nothing compared to the constant assault of brain-numbing Dr. Pepper commercials.

I should have known that West Virginia was going to lose, given the predictable unpredictability of this season. The Mountaineers’ collapse against 4-7 Pittsburgh is understandable, given the nature of rivalry games and Pat White’s mid-game injury. The officials tried to prevent the upset with phantom holding calls in the fourth quarter, but they did not succeed. The ending, the Panthers punter walking out of the end zone for a safety as time expired, was either the most hilarious or the most pitiful I’ve ever seen. At least Slaton and White have one more year to make a run at the title.

Missouri’s Chase Daniel was less than spectacular against Oklahoma’s defense. The star quarterback completed 23 of 39 passes for 219 yards but failed to find the end zone even once. The Sooners stuffed the Tigers in the red zone on multiple occasions, forcing field goals. In other news, Florida International topped North Texas for their first win of the season, and Stanford broke a five-game losing streak to Cal. The ACC Championship was sparsely attended, mostly due to its irrelevance.

The losses by West Virginia and Missouri paved the way for a coaches’ call-in show on SportsCenter. Mark Richt, Les Miles, and even Pete Carroll all tried to sell their team to the voters. (Jim Tressel, whom I suppose was confident about his chances, was noticeably silent.) The decision on Sunday evening? 11-1 Ohio State will face 11-2 LSU in the national championship game. The Buckeyes are likely to receive another spanking from the SEC, but I’ll save the rushed and extremely brief prediction detailed pre-game analysis for a later post.

Those darn islanders won again! And would you believe it, somebody actually gave them a first-place vote in the AP poll! Does someone really think that Hawaii could stand against one of the traditional powerhouses? I guess we’ll see when they face Georgia on New Year’s Day. Here’s hoping Matt Stafford reminds them that you need offense and defense to win a football game.

Here’s my Heisman ballot.

3. Thomas Weber, kicker, Arizona St.: Weber was 42/43 on extra points and 22/23 on field goals (that’s 95.7%). He made two over fifty yards, one from 53. In four games, his Sun Devils would not have won without his leg.

2. VINCE YOUNG, quarterback, Texas: Come to think of it, I’m officially renaming the Heisman the YOUNG Award. I would have given my first-place vote to VINCE YOUNG for the third year in a row, but his successor has finally arrived. That successor is named…

1. Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida: I don’t think it’s possible to describe Tim Tebow without sounding idolatrous. The man (it is reprehensible to refer to Tebow as a “guy”) was only contained by four defenses this season: Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, and Georgia. His lowest output during those games? 221 total yards of offense against the Bulldogs. 221 yards was his minimum! Against South Carolina, he appeared to run for first downs whenever he felt like doing so. I foresee Tebow winning at least three YOUNGs during his career, if not four (one will be bonus).

In the midst of all the recent coaching changes, I have an announcement to make. Due to my wedding in June and the beginning of my teaching career in the fall, I do not think that I will have time to write this column next season. Therefore, it is with great sadness that I announce my resignation from asimsports, effective January 9. I will finish out this season with bowl commentary during the holidays, but the chances of me returning in August are slim. (The CFP may be shut down indefinitely as well.)

Week Fourteen

Note: I will no longer include pictures in these posts, because formatting them with captions in Blogger is tedious.

The college football season is way too short. Fans are offered only fourteen out of fifty-two weeks to enjoy the greatest sport in the world (unless you count the bowl season). I say that’s not enough. If it were up to me, college football would be played in the spring, too. Each team would play a total of twenty-four games. The doubled air time would be well worth the exponential spike in player injuries that would occur. As an added bonus, baseball would get much less attention from the sports media.

Anyway, you probably didn’t direct your browser to this note in order to read me whine. LSU dropped another triple-overtime thriller to Arkansas. The upset may have led to Nutt’s contact extension (which he turned down for a lucrative position at Ole Miss [!?]). It also destroyed the Tigers’ championship hopes, in all likelihood. LSU can still secure a trip to the Sugar Bowl with a win over Tennessee (4, CBS), but the title game is now a very long shot.

In contrast, some other Tigers are one win away from a trip to New Orleans. Thanks to their 36-28 victory over rising star Kansas, Missouri is scheduled to face Oklahoma this Saturday for the Big 12 title (8, ABC). Chase Daniel vaulted his team over West Virginia to the No. 1 spot in the BCS. The Mountaineers attempted to prevent the coup with a 66-21 slaughter of Connecticut. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, the BCS realized that crushing a team in New England means about as much as lapping a baby in a mile race.

Ohio State benefited the most from this week’s shakeup. A loss by Missouri or West Virginia gives the Buckeyes a chance to redeem their embarrassment at the hands of the Florida Gators. It is unlikely that 4-7 Pittsburgh will topple the Mountaineers (7:45, ESPN), so Jim Tressel should start praying now for the Sooners to overwhelm the Tiger defense. Georgia and Virginia Tech, who each took care of their in-state rivals, need both of the top two to lose to have a shot. (The Hokies would also have to overcome Boston College (1, ABC).)

In other news, Nebraska demonstrated defensive ineptitude once more and allowed Colorado to drop 65 points on them. Bill Callahan, the Alec Baldwin doppleganger of Division I-A, was fired soon after the game. Boston College defeated Miami for the first time since the Flutie miracle, and Tennessee rode another SEC East overtime matchup to a win.

Their backup 11 of 39 passing, Oregon was unable to score against UCLA. Surprisingly, the Bruin quarterbacks were even worse, completing 4 of 17. Like much of the Pac-10, both teams are active this Saturday. Oregon hopes to save face in the Civil War against Oregon State (4:30, ESPN2), and UCLA looks to taint another Trojan season (4:30, ABC).

And now, some coverage of the little guys. Florida Atlantic and Troy are going to duke it out for the Sun Belt (the “Best of the Worst” title), Miami (OH) and Central Michigan for the MAC, and Tulsa and Central Florida for Conference USA (what a presumptious name). Florida International, the only winless team at this point, hosts North Texas in hopes of avoiding an ultimate disgrace.

Hotshot Hawaii defeated Boise State to claim the WAC Championship (doesn’t the name of their conference say it all?) and a #12 BCS ranking. The Warriors host Washington, who at 4-8 don’t look very threatening. Apparently the Huskies knew in advance they wouldn’t make a bowl and scheduled a trip to the island (like Alabama did a few years ago).

Speaking of Alabama, did anyone watch their game a few nights ago? I think they lost to their in-state rival for the sixth year in a row. That’s what I read, anyway. Oh wait, I did see that game in person. Witnessing another Iron Bowl victory by Auburn from the 25-yard line was well worth the five hours I spent at the stadium before the game. I’d like to thank my fiancee Laura for waiting with me; it was truly an act of love.

Finally, this hilarious quote by writer Ivan Maisel: “…as for the theory that Nick Saban is whipping Alabama into shape, Tuberville just continues to whip Alabama.” War Eagle!

Week Twelve

I’m not going to apologize any more for posting this so late. You all have come to expect it by now. I could offer excuses like “I had too much to do” or “school is so demanding”, but that would be lame and a lie. The honest truth is that I am not as dedicated to my readers as I should be. Will you forgive me? I’m so sorry! (I really wasn’t going to apologize; sorry…doh!)

Enough. There have been better weeks of college football than week eleven, 2007. (You know something is wrong when NCState’s four-point win over UNC is news-worthy.) For some reason, Division I-A decided to forgo defense. Mississippi State was the only team to score less than 20 points and still win a game. Nebraska, still sore from a 76-39 spanking by Kansas, took it to the Jayhawks’ in-state rivals in a 73-31 decision. Navy and North Texas combined for 136 points in regulation, an NCAA record.

60 of the AP Poll’s 65 voters picked Ohio State as the best team in the nation before their collapse against Illinois. In my opinion, LSU is the real deal and now has the best chance of taking home the crystal ball in January. A few others could pull it off, though. The Big 12 has the best shot of securing BCS #2, since Kansas (12-0) or Missouri (11-1) will face Oklahoma (11-1) in the conference championship. Oregon, on the other hand, closes against Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State. Not exactly the most impressive finish.

Matt Flynn does not care about the oncoming rushers behind him. He will dominate your defense anyway.

This week’s schedule looks a little more appealing than the last one. Here are the highlights (brought to you in Eastern Time and BCS rankings!):

#16!? Hawaii at Nevada (11 PM!?, ESPN2): Maybe undefeated Hawaii deserves a ranking, but not #16. The AP has them at #13. Above Florida. Ridiculous. I hope they drop one of their last three (at Nevada, at Boise State, Washington) so we don’t have to hear them whine when they don’t get a BCS bowl bid.

#7 Ohio State at #21 Michigan (12, ABC): Things at stake in this game: the Big Ten championship, Lloyd Carr’s job, and the patience of millions of fans outside the Big Ten who are not that impressed by this rivalry.

Off walks the “tough” Buckeye defense.

#23 Kentucky at #9 Georgia (12:30): Why isn’t this on television?

Duke at Notre Dame (2:30, NBC): Will the Fighting Irish make it to three wins? Maybe, but I doubt it. Duke almost beat Navy, Miami, and Wake Forest. Stanford beat USC, the greatest team of all time. Incidentally, the Cardinal hasn’t beaten Notre Dame in five straight meetings. Did you notice that Notre Dame lost to two service academies this year?

Raise your hands if you beat Notre Dame this season!

Take your pick from the following 3:30 massacres!
#1 LSU at 3-7 Ole Miss (CBS)
3-8 Iowa State at #3 Kansas (ABC)
5-5 Miami at #10 Virginia Tech (ABC)
#25 Wisconsin at 1-10 Minnesota (Big Ten Network)

Penn State at Michigan State (3:30, ABC): I’m going to have to ride the fence on this one. I probably know over fifty Penn State fans from my summers in Vermont, and my girlfriend Laura graduated from Michigan State. What’s my compromise? I’m going to cheer for the Nittany Lions during the first half and the Spartans during the second. Laura says the second half is the only one that matters, anyhow.

#17 Boston College at #15 Clemson (7:45, ESPN2): The only reason I care about this is that I picked Clemson to win their division. This game determines whether or not I was right. Go Tigers!

Week Ten

Oh man, I am so behind on college football analysis. I apologize profusely and hope this week’s column earns my way back into your hate list. I guess I’ll start by covering the more interesting scores of the last two weeks.

Rutgers 30, #2 South Florida 27: Cinderella’s spell wore off on October 18, unless you still count Rutgers as a Cinderella team from last season. Essentially, the Big East pulled an SEC and eliminated itself from a shot at the national championship. Bulls QB Grothe (which is probably pronounced like the name of German poet Goethe) was sacked seven times in the second half, and the Rutgers’ O-line stopped the nation’s leading sacker (George Selvie with 11.5) from reaching Scarlet Knight QB Teel. It didn’t help that the Bulls dug themselves a 4th-and-37 hole with a sack and a penalty on the final play of the game.

Connecticut 21, Louisville 17: I’m spending way too much time on the Big East, but Connecticut’s run is pretty impressive. They joined Division I-A in 2000 and the conference in 2004, and they are currently 7-1. That’s better than highly touted South Florida. Their records in 2000 and 2001? 3-8 and 2-9.

#23 Connecticut 22, #10 South Florida 15: (See the last two summaries.)

Temple W, Northern Illinois/Akron/Miami (OH) L: Temple is on a three-game win streak!? The last time Temple won more than four games was in 1990, when they went 7-4. The Owls probably have the worst historical record of any Division I-A program, so you have to feel good when they actually do something. You have to hand it to them; most people would give up after so many years of awful football.

And now, the guys who don’t lose all of their games any more!

Vanderbilt 17, #6 South Carolina 6: On to the SEC (finally). I’m really not sure how this happened, because I was driving to Baton Rouge during this game. It is interesting to note that this was Spurrier’s first loss to the Commodores. He notched two with Duke, ten with Florida, and two with South Carolina before the debacle on October 20. This threw the SEC East into total shambles, or so we thought untill…

Alabama 41, #21 Tennessee 14: The Tide opened with a successful onside kick and never looked back. Alabama put 510 yards on the Volunteer defense, 363 from the arm of John Parker Wilson. Thankfully, the boost in confidence resulting from this game will set up the Saban Nation for heartbreaking (or humorous) losses against the Two Tigers of the West.

Tennessee 27, #16 South Carolina 24: Both teams rebounded for a thriller in Knoxville. The Gamecocks Succop’ed a loss in the second overtime, much to the delight of the Volunteer faithful.

#4 LSU 30, #17 Auburn 24: In one of the worst officiating blunders in college football history, the scores of the two teams were reversed, robbing ol’ Tubs of a perfectly good road victory.

#15 Florida 45, #7 Kentucky 37: Two of the top tier teams in an SEC shootout. These are top tier teams, right? Well…

#18 Georgia 42, #11 Florida 30 and Mississippi State 31, #14 Kentucky 14: ….maybe not. Georgia and Tennessee are now on top of the SEC East, and Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina are on the bottom. This season hasn’t run out of surprises yet. Also, MSU coach Sylvester Croom has probably earned himself another season of employment.

#1 Ohio State 24, Michigan State 17: The Buckeyes slid by another conference opponent, and the voters keep them atop the polls. Incredible. To their credit, they did roll over Penn State. Penn State won the student section competition, though.

#13 Kansas 19, Colorado 14 and #9 Kansas 19, Texas A&M 11: The Jayhawks notched two wins over unranked Big 12 opponents and are 8-0 for the first time since…1909. Their last 7-0 runs were ended by Kansas State (1995) and Oklahoma (1968). They’ve already beaten the Wildcats, and they don’t play the Sooners this year. Historically, they are looking pretty good.

#5 Oregon 24, #12 USC 17: This is probably the sweetest score in recent history. I don’t know how the sports media could stand to publish the information. Finally, USC is out of the running for the Pac-10 championship. (Of course, they have the absence of John David Booty as an excuse.) The Ducks face Arizona State this Saturday to determine the conference. The Sun Devils will probably win, but for the sake of looking smart, I hope they don’t.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…
#2 Boston College 14, #8 Virginia Tech 10: Apparently fourth-quarter miracles are more impressive than sixty-minute pummelings. (LSU 48, Virginia Tech 7? Do any of the voters remember that?) To close out the season, BC hosts Florida State, travels to Maryland and Clemson, and returns for Miami. If the Eagles don’t fall somewhere during that period and play for the national championship as a result, I’m going to be upset.

If you are still reading at this point, here’s a list of the big games this Saturday along with some quick-fire analysis. I’m getting tired and hungry, or this would be longer. All times are Eastern.

#21 Wisconsin at #1 Ohio State (12): The Buckeyes have one last test before heading to Ann Arbor on November 17. They’ll pass.

Nebraska at #9 Kansas (12:30): It’s possible that Nebraska will right their ship, but I doubt it. Kansas improves to 9-0.

Vanderbilt at #20 Florida (12:30): The Gators should put an end to the Commodore nonsense in the East.

Navy at Notre Dame (2:30, NBC): Navy hasn’t beaten Notre Dame since 1963. They have come close to ending the streak only a handfull of times, and this year could very well be the one. The Midshipmen have no defense, as their 52-59 loss to Delaware demonstrated. However, they do have an offense, something the Fighting Irish lack. Weis’ squad hasn’t managed more than 19 in any of their games. Even luck cannot propel Notre Dame over Navy. I hope the entire Academy runs onto the field after the win.

#12 Michigan at Michigan State (3:30, ABC): The Spartans have come so close to an upset this season. Cut ’em a break, will ya Carr?

#3 LSU at #17 Alabama (5, CBS): Nick Saban gets walloped by his former employer. Boston College stays ranked above LSU even after the Tiger domination of the Tide.

“You guys played a good game. Have fun cleaning up after we trash ‘Bama.”

#4 Arizona State at #5 Oregon (6:40, ESPN): It’s the Pac-10, so no one cares.

Florida State at #2 Boston College (8, ABC): ABC is hosting a slew of day games and night games? That’s awesome.

Oregon State at #19 USC (8, ABC): Get this trash off of television, please.

That’s all I have for this week. Hopefully I can be more faithful to you guys from here onward. Oh, one other thing. I lost the challenge to Tim. My computer crashed a few weeks before the finish, but I was so far behind that I conceded. Therefore, I’ll be sporting a pink T to the Auburn-Tennessee Tech game. Don’t worry; there will be pictures.

Q: Is it worse to look like this guy or wear pink to a football game?

A: Wearing pink is still worse.

Week Eight

Despite two notable exceptions, the college football world seemed to right itself this weekend. Most of the teams in the top 25 took care of business from the get-go. #3 Ohio State slammed Kent State 48-3, #5 South Florida beat Central Florida 64-12, and #9 Oregon trashed Washington State 53-7. Virginia Tech, Arizona State, and Texas dominated, too. Boston College, the USCs, and Georgia let their opponents hang around until the end. Penn State embarrassed #19 Wisconsin 38-7, and #20 Kansas continued their march to a division title with a 58-10 decision over Baylor. (Admittedly, they were playing Baylor.)

“Maybe we should try to go into the other team’s end zone.”
As you well know, the top two teams in the country lost last evening. This is the eighth time that both have done so in one weekend since 1964 and the first time since 1996. Cal fell thanks to a poor decision by first-time starter Kevin Riley, who decided to run the ball with 0:10ish left rather than throw it away. Only when he fell to the ground did he realize that his team was out of time-outs. There are probably more reasons for the Bears’ collapse, but they are in the Pac-10, so they aren’t worth a more detailed analysis.

Somebody at needs to proofread a little closer.
LSU fell, too, in a triple-overtime thriller against up-and-coming Kentucky. The majority of the credit goes to Wildcat QB Andre’ Woodson, who threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He even VINCE YOUNGed into the end zone through a gap so wide that I could have done the same. Woodson’s performance was impressive, but the Wildcat defense won the game. LSU failed to gain a first down in four tries on the ground, the last coming about a yard short. Colt David almost saved his team with a ridiculous 57-yard field goal attempt as time expired; he had the distance but not the angle.

This is what happens when you let a conference doormat beat a juggernaut. People lie down on football fields.
Auburn’s transformation appears genuine, though touchdowns are few and far between. The Tigers inched out a 9-7 win over Arkansas thanks to the powerful (and sometimes inaccurate) leg of freshman kicker Wes Byrum. Byrum sealed his place in Auburn football history by performing the Gator chomp after his game-winning field goal(s) against Florida. He missed two longer attempts against the Razorbacks but redeemed himself by splitting the uprights to put Auburn ahead.
The Tiger defense continued to impress. Arkansas’ run game only managed 67 yards, ending McFadden’s run (yuk yuk) at the Heisman. That effectively shut down the Razorback offense by forcing Casey Dick to throw the ball, which he can’t do. I’m not sure why they play him at all with receiver Marcus Monk injured. One of my friends suggested that McFadden should be the starting quarterback. That makes sense to me.

A DVR is a wonderful tool.
I’m looking forward to this weekend. Kansas goes to Colorado to continue their Big 12 quest. USC returns to South Bend, but this time the Trojans don’t have much to lose (or the best offense of all time) (3:30 PM ET, NBC). Miami and Florida State face off in what used to be an epic struggle (3:30 PM ET, ABC). Down-and-out Nebraska and Texas A&M meet for yet another showdown of disappointments.

Every time I see this picture, I get a sick feeling in my stomach.
The SEC boasts three major matchups: Florida at Kentucky (3:30 PM ET, CBS), Tennessee at Alabama (4:30 PM ET, CBS), and Auburn at LSU (9 PM ET, ESPN). No one knows what will happen in Lexington. ‘Bama just squeaked by Ole Miss and Tennessee is on a roll, so I’m guessing the Tide will pull off another bogus comeback win. Tuberville is 14/15 in SEC road stadiums, but his one loss was against LSU in 2005. (Thanks a lot, John Vaughn.) I’m considering making the drive to Baton Rouge to redeem my unfaithfulness over the Florida game.

Nope, your game-winning field goal against Georgia does not erase the five misses against LSU. Nice try.
P.S. I forgot to mention that Michigan State won a 52-27 beatdown of Indiana. My fingers are crossed for a victory over Ohio State in Buckeye Stadium, which hasn’t happened since 1987. Go Spartans!