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Updated: 2015-09-16T17:25:49.523-04:00

 



Random Thoughts about the 2007 season... Schedules

2007-07-23T20:20:15.305-04:00

Yeah, I know it says 1983 - but it's time to nitpick the schedules, fools.Each year some teams pop to the forefront with their schedule appearing soft. Sometimes a lightly regarded opponent turns into a Goliath. Other times there comes an unexpected stumble. For 2007, there are a lot of teams playing a shameful non-conference slate while others are playing meat grinders.For now, let's focus on the BCS conference heavies and their non-conference slates...The Big TenMichigan - Appalachian State (Sept. 1), Oregon (Sept. 8), Notre Dame (Sept. 15), and Eastern Michigan (Oct. 6). The defending I-AA champ and a MAC school countered with two BCS schools, all at Ann Arbor. I can respect the MAC team in light of the Ducks and Irish, but Appalachian State? Come on guys.Ohio State - Youngstown State (Sept. 1), Akron (Sept. 8), at Washington (Sept. 15), and Kent State (Oct. 13). There must be a mandate about MACs and I-AAs through the Big Ten. This schedule is just shameful for a program coming off the heels of a home-and-home with Texas the past two seasons.Wisconsin - Washington State (Sept. 1), at UNLV (Sept. 8), The Citadel (Sept. 15), and Northern Illinois (Oct. 20). Wazzu is a BCS opponent, fine. UNLV is a trip for the alums to the Strip. The Citadel and Northern Illinois are the requisite I-AA and MAC opponents.Penn State - Florida International (Sept. 1), Notre Dame (Sept. 8), Buffalo (Sept. 15), and at Temple (Nov. 10). Notre Dame is a solid opponent while the Nittany Lions will double dip from the MAC with Buffalo and Temple. FIU is slightly above a I-AA opponent.With Notre Dame being a bit weak this year expect these four to go 16-0 over these games. Oregon and Washington State aren't strong enough to win on the road at Michigan and Wisconsin respectively.SECFlorida - Western Kentucky (Sept. 1), Troy (Sept. 8), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 17), and Florida State (Nov. 24). All four at home with the required game with the Seminoles being the saving grace from a truly pathetic offering for Gator season ticket holders.Georgia - Oklahoma State (Sept. 1), Western Carolina (Sept. 15), Troy (Nov. 3), at Georgia Tech (Nov. 24). Slightly above the Gator slate with Oklahoma State representing a second, non-conference BCS opponent.Tennessee - at California (Sept. 1), Southern Miss (Sept. 8), Arkansas State (Sept. 22), and Louisiana-Lafayette (Nov. 3). The first two are very solid with the last two being Sun Belt specials. That's four Sun Belt games amongst the three SEC East teams.LSU - Virginia Tech (Sept. 8), Middle Tennessee (Sept. 15), at Tulane (Sept. 29), and Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10). All four home games when you consider that the Tigers are receiving 40,000 tickets for the Tulane game at the Superdome. Virginia Tech game is one of the best, early, non-conference games in the country. Middle Tennessee makes it 4-for-4 for the SEC playing the Sun Belt.Auburn - Kansas State (Sept. 1), South Florida (Sept. 8), New Mexico State (Nov. 22), Tennessee Tech (Nov. 3). Kansas State and USF are respectable BCS teams while NMSU and Tech are awful. Like many of the big boys, all four games are at home.Alabama - Western Carolina (Sept. 1), Florida State (Sept. 29 in Jacksonville, Fla.), Houston (Oct. 6), Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 17). The FSU game is intriguing for the masses. Houston won their half of Conference USA last season. WCU and ULM are fodder.Arkansas - Troy (Sept. 1), North Texas (Sept. 29), UT-Chattanooga (Oct. 6), Florida International (Oct. 27). I-AA team plus an unofficial Sun Belt Championship awaits the Hogs in 2007. This is a program that played USC & Texas since the 12-game schedules became the norm.The SEC continues to hide behind it's motto of the conference being too tough to worry about challenges outside the fold for years. Alabama gets a nod for playing Florida State and Tennessee and Cal will be a huge opening weekend game. Still, the SEC could do without propping up the Sun Belt.The Pac-10 - They only play three non-conference games due to a true round-robin. Kudos to them.USC - Idaho (Sept. 1), at Nebraska (Sept. 15), at N[...]



It's time to bring this back...

2007-07-18T21:56:04.593-04:00

(image) Let's skip ahead, shall we?



Amazing how you can get caught up after four months...

Thoughts:

1. Gillispie-mania is rampant in Lexington. Here is a divorced, basketball junkie head coach coming to lead a program whose fans are itching to get back to feared status. To date he signed four recruits that Tubby would never have gotten. If he can coach as well as he recruits then UK is truly back.

2. Florida repeats and then Donovan double-takes. This will get spun as a good thing for Donovan, showing his love for his Gators and the College Game, but the truth is he realized he was messing with his happiness. Kudos to him for having the guts to reverse course back to Gainesville. The NBA is a grinder that eats coaches like Donovan for lunch.

3. The Irish will struggle this year with only returning nine players with real experience. That's 9 of an 85-man roster. Get your wins over the Irish now fiends, because in 2008 the talent in South Bend will rival that found in Los Angeles, Columbus, and Gainesville.

4. The plus one truly solves everything. I can't remember a year in which more than four teams could even conceive of laying claim to the national title. Let's make this happen and start crowning true national champions.




The Final Bracket

2007-03-11T17:34:28.795-04:00

Texas has to move up over Southern Illinois to the 3-seed line. And Kansas for making a comeback down 32-13 has to stay on the #1 line. Here is the bracket. I think North Carolina is the odd man out amongst the 1's.

I think that will be my mistake from the earlier bracket today.

The only other thought is that I don't see how Illinois is out that I keep hearing. Their numbers are better across the board than Purdue's so either they both are out or something needs to be explained.

Three Colonial teams I have in: ODU, Drexel, and VCU (auto bid).

All other thoughts will come after the field is announced.



Cinderella is done.

2007-03-11T15:27:20.502-04:00

We're now down to #1 seeds and shaking them out. My bracket in the last posting stays intact should Ohio State and Kansas win. However, should that not happen below are the scenarios with the #1's in order 1-4:

If Texas wins...

Ohio State (St. Louis), Florida (San Antonio), North Carolina (East Rutherford), and UCLA (San Jose)

If Wisconsin wins, and/or Texas wins...

Florida (San Antonio), North Carolina (East Rutherford), Wisconsin (St. Louis), Ohio State (San Jose)



Selection Sunday, 2:21 PM

2007-03-11T14:41:50.749-04:00

It looks like Florida and North Carolina will end dreams for Arkansas and N.C. State and that surely makes the Tournament Committee's job much easier (mine, too).

So without further adieu here is my bracket.

And of course, in the 20 minutes it took me to slightly rearrange my bracket NC State is making a comeback, down 3 with only 5:47 left. Lovely.


St. Louis

(Lexington, KY)
1-Ohio State
16-Central Connecticut State
8-Arizona
9-Syracuse

(Columbus, OH)
4-Texas
13-Holy Cross
5-Creighton
12-George Washington

(Buffalo, NY)
3-Pittsburgh
14-Pennsylvania
6-Butler
11-Illinois

(New Orleans, LA)
7-Virginia
10-Vanderbilt
15-TAMU-CC / Southland
2-Memphis

San Jose

(Sacramento, CA)
1-UCLA
16-Weber State
8-Virginia Tech
9-Missouri State

(Buffalo, NY)
4-Notre Dame
13-Davidson
5-Nevada
12-Wright State

(New Orleans, LA)
3-Texas A&M
14-Oral Roberts
6-BYU
11-Old Dominion

(Chicago, IL)
7-Villanova
10-Winthrop
15-Niagara
2-Wisconsin

San Antonio

(Chicago, IL)
1-Kansas
16-Play In Game (Jackson State vs. FAMU)
8-Kentucky
9-Xavier

(Sacramento, CA)
4-Maryland
13-Gonzaga
5-UNLV
12-New Mexico State

(Spokane, WA)
3-Washington State
14-Long Beach State
6-Boston College
11-Purdue

(Winston-Salem, NC)
7-Tennessee
10-Texas Tech
15-North Texas
2-Georgetown

East Rutherford

(New Orleans, LA)
1-Florida
16-Eastern Kentucky
8-Duke
9-Michigan State

(Spokane, WA)
4-Oregon
13-Miami, OH
5-Louisville
12-VA Commonwealth

(Columbus, OH)
3-Southern Illinois
14-Albany
6-Marquette
11-Drexel

(Winston-Salem, NC)
7-USC
10-Indiana
15-Belmont
2-North Carolina



Selection Sunday Liveblogging

2007-03-11T12:31:43.041-04:00

(image)
We head into today looking to clarify the picture of the NCAA Tournament. The SEC, Big Ten, Big XII, ACC, and Southland championships are today and two teams, NC State and Arkansas, are looking to mess up the process by claiming automatic bids into the tournament.

The #1 seeds are up for grabs after UCLA gagged in the Pac-10 Tournament. The sentiment out there seems to be favoring teams that can win their conference regular season and tournament. That would result in Ohio State, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Georgetown, and Memphis as #1 seed possibles. My favorite would be the first four with Georgetown and Memphis left out.

Personally, I think UCLA still gets the #1 seed in San Jose. Yes, they've lost their last two games and its been since 1991 since a team earned a #1 after losing two straight games to close their regular season. For me, I just can't ignore that the Bruins have won 17 games against Top 100 teams. They have also compiled a 10-1 record vs. the Top 50. All this while playing a Top 10 schedule by strength.

For now, these are my #1's:
Ohio State (St. Louis)
UCLA (San Jose)
Kansas (San Antonio)
Florida (East Rutherford)

North Carolina loses out due to them having the weakest conference record at 11-5. Remember, Carolina only gained control to win the ACC after Virginia and Virginia Tech lost their last games, each in an upset. Georgetown is coming on as of late, but they have six losses.

I am working on the rest of the bracket... stay tuned.



Denied!

2007-03-06T14:06:56.170-05:00

Mason loses a tough one, but you still have 2006 memories Patriot fans!!!

Alright, without further adieu, here is my bracket. I would love to say I am some web genius and I can post it in a fancy way, but Blogger requires you to be a master of HTML and I am not. So here is the rundown by region.

Read the bracket straight down the page, in that the first region would play the second region at the Final Four. Just like others, the teams with their conferences beside them indicate that any reasonable champion of that conference other than the team indicated would play in the same slot. Teams in bold have clinched automatic bids.

St. Louis

(at Lexington, KY)
1 - Ohio State
16 - Delaware State
8 - Texas Tech
9 - Stanford

(at Sacramento, CA)
4 - Nevada
13 - Long Beach State/Big West
5 - Duke
12 - West Virginia

(at Winston-Salem, NC)
3 - Georgetown
14 -Davidson
6 - Butler
11 - Illinois

(at Lexington, KY)
7 - Virginia
10 - Xavier
15 - Niagara/MAAC
2 - Memphis

San Jose


(at Sacramento, CA)
1 - UCLA
16 - Weber State/Big Sky
8 - Virginia Tech
9 - Indiana

(at Spokane, WA)
4 - UNLV
13 - Toledo/MAC
5 - Marquette
12 - Missouri State

(at Columbus, OH)
3 - Maryland
14 - Pennsylvania/Ivy
6- Tennessee
11 - Syracuse

(at New Orleans, LA)
7 - Arizona
10 - Gonzaga
15 - Arkansas State/Sun Belt
2 - Texas A&M


San Antonio

(at Chicago, IL)
1 - Kansas
16 - Play In Game (Jackson State vs. C. Connecticut State)
8 - Kentucky
9 - Villanova

(at Columbus, OH)
4 - Southern Illinois
13 - Winthrop/Big South
5 - Oregon
12 - Old Dominion

(at Buffalo, NY)
3 - Pittsburgh
14 - Vermont/America East
6 - USC
11 - BYU

(at New Orleans, LA)
7 - Georgia Tech
10 - Michigan State
15 - Oral Roberts/Mid-Continent
2 - Florida

East Rutherford

(at Chicago, IL)
1 - Wisconsin
16 - Belmont/Atlantic Sun
8 - Vanderbilt
9 - Boston College

(at Buffalo, NY)
4 - Texas
13 - Holy Cross/Patriot
5 - Louisville
12 - Virginia Commonwealth

(at Spokane, WA)
3 - Washington State
14 - Sam Houston State/Southland
6 - Notre Dame
11 - Purdue

(at Winston-Salem, NC)
7 - Creighton
10 - Air Force
15 - Eastern Kentucky/OVC
2 - North Carolina



My Bracket (Pre-Conference Tournaments)

2007-03-05T19:54:38.813-05:00

Its been a while, but I get tired of Joe Lunardi hailed as an expert in brackets by ESPiN while he continually comes up with matchups that can't happen per NCAA Tournament Committee rules. His latest installment includes Sweet 16 games that would feature rematches, a no-no only to be allowed in extreme circumstances. According to Joe, Pittsburgh would advance to meet Wisconsin and Tennessee would meet Ohio State.Does Joe watch basketball during the year or only what the ESPiN folks feed him?Forget it. I can't stand the lunacy. Here is my best guess at what the Selection Committee will determine come Sunday:Let's talk one seeds. Personally, I think winning your conference and subsequent tournament secures a number #1 seed. Teams good enough to accomplish this feat during the weekend include UCLA, Ohio State, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown, and Memphis. I put the Hoyas and Tigers last because they would need the most help. Georgetown has the weakest resume, while Memphis has only a Top 50 win over Kentucky in Maui as its signature win. The Tigers will curse the C-USA.That said, UCLA and Ohio State have the most impressive resume if they all complete the feat. They are #1 locks in my book. Kansas, North Carolina, and Florida are fighting for the two spots along with two other teams that can win their Tournaments and jump into the picture: Texas A&M and Wisconsin. Either team would beat one of the teams listed above (Kansas & Ohio State, respectively) thereby earning huge points in my eyes. Basically put, these conference tournaments are going to be wars.Mid-Major Infatuation. Missouri State & Bradley of the MVC along with Old Dominion & Drexel of the CAA will sweat out this entire weekend. These teams want status quo. (Beginning tonight - needing George Mason to quit being Cinderella.) All have decent RPI and SOS ratings but lack the punch with mainstream America because they don't get televised. Each could benefit with the memory of last year with two MVC teams in the Sweet Sixteen and George Mason's incredible run.Duke, Duke, Duke. How good or bad are the Devils? Seth Davis, a Duke grad, had the Devils as a #3 seed prior to the UNC beatdown yesterday while Joe Lunardi (fine, I'll reference him here) has them at #7 in the aftermath. One thing helping the Devils is that they are the 7-seed in the ACC. What you ask? Help? They get NC State (bad), as well as Virginia and Virginia Tech who BOTH choked with the ACC title on the line this weekend. Duke is a tougher team mentally than these three teams. However, Virginia is athletic and mad and Tech did sweep the Devils. Their run in Tampa (I know, the ACC Tournament can be held outside of the state of North Carolina, shocking.) will determine anywhere from a 6 to a 9.My Poor Old Kentucky Home. We're done. Tubby is worn out and really barring him resigning before the Tournament ala Joe B. Hall in 1985, this Cat team will be out in round one. The Cat faithful is hoping for a good showing this weekend in Atlanta, but it isn't coming. Heck, the Georgia Dome could be sparse by mid-day Thursday.Seeds 7-10 are built upon sand. Any team in this nether region is on notice this weekend. You can greatly improve or damage your hopes with your performance this weekend.The bracket will come tomorrow, sorry for the disappointment, but I gotta go watch Mason keep the dream alive. Break out the Bon Jovi - Living On a Prayer![...]



Weekend Samurai Shodown!!!

2007-02-11T11:45:35.725-05:00

Yes, it is misspelled on purpose, giving props to a great arcade game back in my teens. However, the notion fits that this weekend is filled with teams going against each other with plenty of importance.Without further adieu...ACC(31) Virginia at (36) Virginia Tech, 84-57 Virginia Tech(137) Wake Forest at (2) North Carolina, 104-67 UNC(27) Boston College at (18) Florida State - 68-67 BC(90) Connecticut at (56) Georgia Tech - 65-52 Tech(13) Duke at (37) Maryland - 72-60 MarylandInteresting that UVA-Va.Tech is for the ACC lead whereas Duke-Maryland is an NCAA Tournament bubble game on Sunday. North Carolina will look to get back on track after an emotion win at Cameron on Wednesday. Boston College, co-leaders of the ACC, head to the snake pit that is Florida State, while Georgia Tech steps out of conference against Connecticut, needing the win to get some momentum for their fading hopes of an NCAA berth.Virginia Tech comes through with the hammer at home, ditto for UNC, honoring their 1982 national championship team at halftime. Sunday's results produced a nice win for BC on the road, winning their second last-gasp game against Florida State. Duke now is completely on the bubble in the conference at 5-6. The Devils still travel to BC, Clemson, and Chapel Hill with home games against Georgia Tech and Maryland. They also head back to MSG to face St. John's. A 7-9 conference record will probably give the Devils their due. Anything less than that would be blatant favortism.Big Ten(42) Illinois at (15) Indiana, 65-61 Indiana(83) Iowa at (6) Wisconsin, 74-62 Wisconsin(180) Minnesota at (57) Michigan, Michigan 82-80(38) Purdue at (4) Ohio State, 63-56 Ohio StateIllinois and Purdue could make a big jump with road wins, but all four home teams should hold serve. Four home games, four wins. Big XII(216) Colorado at (43) Kansas State, 78-59 K-State(129) Iowa State at (55) Texas, 77-68 Texas(19) Kansas at (84) Missouri, 92-74 Kansas(70) Oklahoma at (143) Baylor, 68-64 Oklahoma(12) Texas A&M at (82) Nebraska, 66-55 A&M(41) Texas Tech at (26) Oklahoma State, 93-91 OSU (2 ot's)Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline accurately states the stakes at hand for the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game. The winner gets back into the NCAA talk, the loser is on the outside looking in. Kansas has a serious trap game in Columbia. Kansas State needs to keep this roll by locking up home court, ditto for Texas. A&M heads to Nebraska as conference leaders, and Oklahoma needs to prove that they belong after a win over OK State last week put them above .500 for the conference.The Kings of Overtime (OSU) prevail again, erasing a six-point lead in the first overtime to get the win. Oklahoma gets themselves fully into the picture, while A&M and Kansas were road warriors.Big East(21) Marquette at (32) Georgetown, 76-58 Georgetown(52) Providence at (3) Pittsburgh, 74-68 Pittsburgh(152) South Florida at (72) Louisville, 83-63 Louisville(1) UCLA at (46) West Virginia, 70-65 West Virginia(17) Villanova at (118) Seton Hall, 78-69 Villanova(90) Connecticut at (56) Georgia Tech - 65-52 Ga. Tech(132) St. John's at (62) Syracuse - 76-74 SyracuseThe bottom five games involve higher ranked Big East teams that all need wins. West Virginia would force the country to look up their roster if they upset UCLA. Marquette and Georgetown is about conference tournament positioning. Providence could make a big splash but their 1-5 record in road and neutral games suggests they won't.West Virginia got their tournament resume win over UCLA. Villanova avoided the stumble, while Georgetown continues their rise in my bracket with a strong win over Marquette. Georgia Tech hurts UConn's bounce back opportunity while Syracuse stays alive with the win.Missouri Valley(25) Creighton at (11) Southern Illinois, 72-68 Southern Illinois(34) Missouri State at (81) Northern Iowa, 62-58 Missouri [...]



Priceless...

2007-02-05T07:39:18.825-05:00

(image)
Sometimes pictures leave nothing more to say...



Super Saturday...

2007-02-05T08:09:51.209-05:00

The weekend is a huge day for ball... conferences all in action, fates decided each and every hour of the day. We're in February now, and admist the crucial "last 10" games that the NCAA holds so dear.ACC(23) Clemson at (65) Georgia Tech, 80-62 Tech(30) Maryland at (114) Wake Forest, 79-72 Maryland(165) Miami, FL at (39) Virginia, 81-70 UVA(2) North Carolina at (118) N.C. State, 83-79 State(34) Virginia Tech at (32) Boston College, 80-59 BC(27) Florida State at (7) Duke, 68-67 NolesA funny thing happened along the way to the Duke-UNC showdown with both programs losing the game before the matchup. It won't cost Carolina a #1 seed, but it might cost the Tarheels the #1 overall from ever being in their possession when factored in against UCLA and Wisconsin who now have much stronger SOS.Three games feature teams with good RPIs heading on the road to play terrible teams - well, okay Georgia Tech isn't terrible, but they are 2-6 in the conference. Virginia Tech and Boston College represent the most even game of the weekend, with Duke needing to hold serve.Big Ten(13) Indiana at (94) Iowa, 81-75 Iowa(164) Minnesota at (43) Illinois, 59-49 Illinois(150) Northwestern at (4) Wisconsin, 69-52 Wisconsin(6) Ohio State at (33) Michigan State, 63-54 Ohio StateThe mark of a good team is when you can register a big home win over a Top 5 program and then go back out on the road and take care of business. As much as Indiana's win got them over Wisconsin, the loss to Iowa only puts them right back to where they were before. Illinois and Wisconsin held serve, while Ohio State is positioning themselves for a #1 seed if they can knock off Wisconsin at home later in the year.Michigan State will look to bolster their resume, Wisconsin and Illinois should maintain status quo and Indiana will be on letdown alert after their win against Wisconsin.Big XII Conference(48) Kansas State at (46) Texas, 73-72 K-State(12) Oklahoma State at (241) Colorado, 89-77 Colorado(20) Texas A&M at (15) Kansas, 69-66 A&M(29) Texas Tech at (87) Oklahoma, 75-61 OklahomaTexas will start from scratch to rebuild their resume as Kansas State climbs to third in the conference with a signature win. A five-win Colorado team destroyed Oklahoma State in a puzzling result that will damage State's seeding by a line or two. A&M got their big win on the road in Lawrence, conquering the fans, GameDay, and Bill Self's inept coaching. Oklahoma won big but they need a miracle to get in - a tough loss for Texas Tech.Kansas State needs a resume win, Texas will look to keep climbing. Oklahoma State will take their act on the road, losers of their last two trips out. A&M and Kansas will be a great game, A&M needs it more. Texas Tech could start a slide putting them back on the bubble with a loss in Norman.Big East(69) DePaul at (57) Syracuse, 75-69 Syracuse(59) Louisville at (22) Villanova, 57-53 Villanova(38) Notre Dame at (163) South Florida, 69-63 South Florida(53) Providence at (19) Marquette, 69-62 Marquette(45) West Virginia at (107) Seton Hall, 81-70 West VirginiaWest Virginia goes ahead of Notre Dame for securing a win on the road over a 100+ team. Notre Dame should not be ranked in today's poll (Monday). Marquette, Syracuse, and Villanova prove there is no place like home in the Big East.The 'Cuse needs to make the Carrier Dome fearsome again. Louisville has the better conference record and could make an RPI jump over a good RPI, but losing conference record Villanova squad. Notre Dame and West Virginia need to maintain focus away from home, while Providence will seek a big win at Marquette.Missouri Valley(49) Bradley at (123) Illinois State, 70-62 Bradley(28) Creighton at (119) Drake, 67-62 Creighton(37) Missouri State at (89) Indiana State, 71-42 Missouri State(61) Northern Iowa at (104) Evansville, 79-71 [...]



Begin the games of February

2007-02-01T10:19:49.292-05:00

Thursday is traditionally "Pac-10 Night" as the conference plays a Thursday-Saturday regimen for their conference tilts. There are a few other games sprinkled in, but generally Thursday is a light night for the East Coast.

ACC
(5) Duke at (48) Virginia

No home clock operator to save the Blue Devils here. For Virginia this would be a signature moment to give legitimacy to their 5-2 conference mark.

Big East
(38) Georgetown at (146) St. John's

Georgetown needs to avoid the bugaboo that is MSG and NYC. St. John's took out Syracuse and Notre Dame in their last two home games.

Pac-10
(18) Oregon at (1) UCLA
(187) Oregon State at (53) USC
(72) Washington at (231) Arizona State
(34) Washington State at (6) Arizona

The first game is a monster. Please tell me that the Columbus BlueJackets are off tonight so I can watch that on FSN Ohio. Please, please, PLEASE! USC just needs to protect home turf, while Washington has to prove they can beat anybody on the road. Washington State and Arizona is a sneaky good game. Both teams are coming in off losses so momentum is at stake.

WAC
(32) Nevada at (221) Louisiana Tech

Nothing dumb, Wolfpack.



Who needs wins... Wednesday, January 31st

2007-02-01T10:05:39.418-05:00

I have decided to tackle the rest of the bracketing issue in the coming weeks. Things are too volatile right now to worry, just keep focusing on your Top 34 lists, determining those teams that regardless of getting the automatic bid for winning the conference tournament, would still have a resume strong enough to make the tournament.That being said, tonight’s action on the hardwood is key for a bunch of teams. Let’s break it down, teams are listed with their RPI number in parentheses:ACC(233) Hartford at (31) Boston College, 94-60 BC(170) Miami, FL at (2) North Carolina, 105-63 Heels(147) North Carolina State at (23) Virginia Tech, 70-59 StateIt should be a light night for the ACC – the powers are all at home and should cruise. Oops, Virginia Tech blew it. North Carolina and Boston College romped.Big Ten Conference(115) Iowa at (45) Michigan, 69-62 Iowa(8) Ohio State at (47) Purdue, 78-60 Ohio State(3) Wisconsin at (19) Indiana, 71-66 IndianaI excluded the Minnesota-Northwestern tilt. Michigan needs to hold serve at home, Purdue is playing their last chance to make an impression this large should they defeat Ohio State. The Wisconsin-Indiana game is all about seeding position as both teams are locks for the Tournament. A loss would put Wisconsin and Ohio State at one loss apiece with the return showdown in Columbus coming on Feb. 25th.Michigan is done after blowing an 11-point halftime lead at home against Iowa. Purdue missed their chance while Indiana is now playing for a top five seed after taking out the Badgers.Big XII(140) Iowa State at (26) Texas A&M, 73-49 Aggies(69) Missouri at (57) Kansas State, 80-73 K-State(56) Texas at (21) Texas Tech, 76-64 TexasA&M needs to hold serve. Kansas State and Missouri is basically an elimination game for the loser with the winner promised nothing. Texas still needs a signature win. The Longhorns have played great against teams, with Kevin Durant putting up monster numbers, but each time they have lost.A&M cruised, Kansas State won at home, and Texas is improving their stock after winning in Lubbock, thanks to Kevin Durant going for 37 and 23. Insane.Missouri Valley(35) Creighton at (41) Bradley, 82-71 Creighton(90) Indiana State at (10) Southern Illinois, 61-48 SIU(40) Missouri State at (107) Drake, 87-82 OT Missouri StateCreighton and Bradley is the showcase with the Jays standing at 8-3 in conference while the Braves are 6-5. Bradley needs this win at home. Southern Illinois needs status quo, while Missouri State can’t stumble on the road at Drake.Creighton picks up a nice road win at Bradley, essentially putting the Braves on the outside looking in, Missouri State needed overtime but got the win. Southern Illinois held form at home.SEC(32) Alabama at (71) LSU, 73-70 Bama(39) Georgia at (18) Tennessee, 82-71 Tennessee(54) Vanderbilt at (17) Florida, 74-64 GatorsLSU is getting into “must have” territory, but Alabama needs to get above .500 in conference as well. (The Tide are the ONLY ranked team to not be above .500 in their conference.) Georgia needs to prove they can win away from home by defeating a reeling, Chris Lofton-less Tennessee team. Vanderbilt has done enough lately (Beating Kentucky and LSU on the road.) but this would make the ‘Dores a lock for the NCAA’s with a win – in short, Vandy has nothing to lose.Bama gets the big win in Baton Rouge, putting LSU on life support. Tennessee without Lofton wins over Georgia, while Florida roars back from a double-digit halftime deficit to down Vandy.Others(38) BYU at (159) Utah, 76-66 BYUThe Beehive Showdown is a trap game for BYU. Utah will bring everything in this game while it would be a bad loss for BYU considering Utah’s 159 RPI. BYU gets it done, not falling into the trap.(50) Gon[...]



Duke vs. Clemson

2007-01-27T08:43:08.529-05:00

(object)

I simply get tired of the refs not doing their job completely (click here for the YouTube video of the ending). You have video you can review and should know that there is no way a shot can only take 0.6 seconds to shoot from 20-feet. They could have reviewed more film than the Warren Commission, instead they sloppily determine that 4.4 seconds should be left and Duke wins when the Clemson defense breaks down.

Then today, I log on to CBS Sportsline and lo and behold there is the obligatory, "we messed up, but the game still stands" article from the ACC supervisor of officials as well as the "no comment" line from Duke University.

The good part is related to our discussion about the NCAA Tournament is that the Committee is a human element who will weigh the result with the clock error, in some cases throwing out the result of the game in their minds. Clemson won't be punished for the miscue, as well as Duke not receiving as much credit had McRoberts not thrown the ball away.

Duke travels to Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday, February 22nd. I know I will be watching.



How to Project the Field of 65

2007-01-26T22:48:32.840-05:00

For the past five years I've enjoyed trying to guess the 65 teams for the tournament. Usually I start around February 1st, by then major conferences have gone through round-robin play one time. I guess I am just not that clever, so without further adieu here are the rules.First off, the Basketball Committee has a panel of 8-10 members on a selective basis. Each person gets assigned an area of the country to watch along with gauging the land. Near the time of the tournament, but before the conference tournaments begin, each member puts together a list of teams 1-34. These are supposed to represent the 34 at-large bids. Essentially, you are picking the 34 teams that would get in regardless of their conference tournaments. The 31 conferences each get an automatic bid, comprising the 65 teams selected.There are several criteria used to determine one team versus another, for me I keep a spreadsheet with 11 columns of relevant categories.Thank God for Ken Pomeroy. www.kenpom.com - click on "RPI" and then sit down and write a check to the man for having the site that will save you eons of time. The highlighted columns below are found directly on his site. The others are found elsewhere or by applying math formulas in your Excel sheet.- Won/loss record (conference and overall), which omits wins/losses against non D-I teams.- AP & Coaches polls ranking- RPI- Strength of Schedule- Record vs. Top 50- Record vs. Top 100- Total Record vs. Top 100 (just a simple addition of the two previous columns - so maybe I have 12 criteria)- Losses vs. 101 and higher- Last 10 record- Record of road and neutral gamesMost all categories are not stand-alone, sure fire ways to rank a team. Polls are biased. Won/loss records are inflated through easy games. Conferences are skewed to have a lot of members in the Top 50 whereas mid-major conferences don't, so the Top 50 wins will always be high for the Big Six (BCS) conferences. In short, you have to look at all criteria together as a whole picture. In essence, you have to decide what is important and what are just stats. To me, the most powerful stat is a team's record in road and neutral games. The NCAA Tournament is played on neutral courts, teams that are tough at home but weak sisters on the road don't hold much appeal to me. All other criteria have a "yeah, but" quality to them. However, you win away from home and on a neutral court, then your doing something.RPI and SOS are fairly reliable as well. Certain teams are known for loading up an easy non-conference and they get hurt in these ratings. They don't perform well in conference then they wind up on the bubble. Win big in conference and the gamble pays off with a high seed.On the other end, my pet peeve are the polls. Yes, they are used to an extent, but I factor them in as the "human error bias" into the projection. Certain teams earn huge breaks thanks to the polls, while upsets happen every year by those teams overlooked by the polls. In the middle ground (trying to seed the 6-10 seeds) is where a ranked team will usually get the benefit of the doubt.The Committee will also tell you that the Last 10 is very important. I say the record on its face is not enough. You have to delve into who they played in the last ten. Essentially, think of the college football season, there is a reason that Tennessee plays well in November, getting Kentucky and Vanderbilt on the schedule each year in the penultimate month.While not a defined criteria, I tend to downplay the conference tournaments. They are good for teams on the bubble looking to get in, but realize that the upper echelon of teams are usually set by the committee before the tournaments. Flaming out early or running th[...]



This Could be the End for Me

2007-01-25T22:21:50.343-05:00

Gotta show me something.In 2002, we as a fanbase of the Kentucky Wildcats were told that the meltdown occuring on the court would be the last time. Fed up with high-maintenance kids, Tubby Smith grew tired of the drama off the court and decided that from now on he would get "his kids". No more whining about playing time, no more moping, the Cats would be a bunch of overachievers ready to run through brick walls for the sake of playing for the "KENTUCKY" on the front of their jerseys.The notion worked in 2003-2005. The 2003 season would see a 26-game winning streak and a 16-0 SEC record. The Cats would go out in the Elite Eight after an all-world performance by D-Wade and his Marquette boys. I could live with that. In 2004, a smallish UK team featuring 6'6" Chuck Hayes and 6'7" Erik Daniels manning the paint turned in a stellar year leading the Cats to a #1 seed. UAB came along in the second round and put out the Cats. Overachievement, fine, a second-round loss stings as a #1, but with that small of a frontcourt we could look the other way. 2005 saw a talented group of freshmen arrive on campus and UK flourished, getting to the Elite Eight as a 2-seed and losing in double overtime to 5-seed Michigan State. Double overtime, thanks to a circus shot by Patrick Sparks in regulation, we could understand with the talented freshmen looking to only improve heading into 2006...Then the wheels fell off again. Sparks and Rajon Rondo would have a falling out over a girlfriend, Randolph Morris would turn pro, only to not get drafted and return midway in the season thanks to NCAA suspension for improper benefits while he was an NBA draftee, and the Cats would sink to an 8-seed, losing to Connecticut in the second-round.We had been told once that it would never happen again, but lo and behold, the Cats were failures. Fast forward to this year and the Cats play an ever plodding style, but work their way to a 15-3 record, losing only to Memphis, UCLA, and North Carolina. To this point, the Cats' NCAA resume was panning out to a 3/4 seed. Definite improvement for sure, but then came Vanderbilt into Lexington, and for the second year in a row the Commodores walked out winners. Prior to the previous two years, Vandy had never won in Rupp (opened, 1973).The players were quick to tell us that the game was a fluke. The team had gotten comfortable with an 11-game winning streak and that this upcoming game at Georgia would show a confident bunch of Cats taking the floor to erase the Vandy loss.Mission accomplished... if basketball were a 20-minute game. UK led 43-30 at Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday night, but would be outscored 48-26 the rest of the way for a 78-69 overtime loss.UK now stands at 15-5 on the year, 4-2 in SEC play. It should be pointed out that the Cats still have home and away games with Florida and Tennessee, as well as a trip to Arkansas, Alabama, and Vanderbilt. Mind you they still get LSU and Georgia at home down the stretch. Only a home game against South Carolina, whom UK defeated 87-49 in Columbia, looks safe.In gloom and doom it looks like another "Ten Loss Tubby" year in the Bluegrass. I can't see a win at Florida or Alabama, and Tennessee could be an iffy proposition if Chris Lofton doesnt return from an ankle injury. As of this day, Lofton is scheduled to miss the UK-UT game in Lexington this Sunday, a boost for UK's spirits. That would leave UK, at best and with a win over Florida at home factored in, with only seven losses. The Cats would have to win the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament at that juncture to avoid the 10 loss mark.Kentucky basketball is a powerhouse. The Wildcats are the Cadillac of the sport, [...]



Our trip to the Dean Dome

2007-01-24T18:48:59.713-05:00

It all started with ESPN College GameDay broadcasting from Chapel Hill that entire day, focusing on the Heels and their game with Georgia Tech that night. First impression is that Gameday is a "hurry up and wait" event. They tape segments, you go wild. Then you sit down and wait for 20 minutes for them to tape another one. We got there at 10 am during taping, but it wasn't until 11 am until they signed on. The coolest part of GameDay was watching Alex Bloom, a UNC student absolutely can a shot to win $13,000. I wish Blogger could post video, but I can't figure out how. But I do have a picture of him getting the check.Then we got out of there in time to run back to the hotel. Some of the guys wanted to see Duke, so we went, but our next order of business was our game on the floor of the Smith Center at 6:00 p.m. against the North Carolina JV team. Before hand, we got to meet Coach Roy Williams. The background story is that our AD, Gary Kempf (guy to the side of Williams in the photo) worked with Roy at Kansas for 15 years until Gary retired from being the swim coach and Roy left for Carolina. It was a personal favor, but Roy gave us five minutes of his time only hours before his team would take the floor. My impression of Williams was of the lovable coach who perhaps cried too much at the end of NCAA Tournament disappointments, but just to hear him talk about loving the game and wishing us well changed my view of the man. He is a genuine, nice guy. He was the epitome of the class act treatment by all of the Carolina basketball family.So we took to the floor in order to get some warmup shots. Let's just say we knew we weren't here for life or death (see first photo), but the boys did perform well considering the 9 hour drive only 24 hours before we were to play. The guys ate it up, constantly looking in the rafters at the retired jerseys and championship banner. Yours truly got a good shot of one of our guys throwing it down in the Dean Dome. Ian immediately asked to have that picture emailed to him.The boys are still warming up, but lo and behold Dickie V shows up! Believe it or not, he comes over and asks me if I can take some pictures of him with the mob of kids when our game goes to half. Send to me he says... I get his business card and suddenly I became Dick Vitale's personal photographer for his halftime taping of a segment.So, we go down in flames, 90-63 but the guys didn't care. We had so much fun just with the experience and everything. The last thing we waited on were the 30 free tickets we receive for the night's featured event, Georgia Tech at North Carolina. We get the tickets, hike up to our seats and go from courtside to nosebleed. Carolina won 77-61. It was just a great day.[...]



Shows what I know...

2007-01-16T18:26:48.110-05:00


This pretty much says it all.


Remember that entry about two back of the elite teams of college basketball? We might need a new entry after just a few days.

Arizona lost to Oregon at home, 79-77 and new #1 North Carolina lost at Virginia Tech 94-88. UCLA needed a last second shot by Arron Afflalo to down USC, 65-64, Ohio State needed the same luck on a three-pointer by Ron Lewis to beat Tennessee, 68-66. Kansas survived Iowa State, 68-64 in OT, while Wisconsin defeated a pesky, but game Northwestern squad 56-50.

That was just the weekend.

On Monday, the Jayhawks survived Missouri on their home court, 80-77.

Only Florida has won big since my "crowning" of the Super Seven, defeating South Carolina in Columbia, 84-50.

Maybe I should wait before making any other bold predictions, no?



We talked contenders, lets talk pretenders

2007-01-14T06:55:26.326-05:00

Solid? Yes. Best band ever? No chance. Just like these teams below.The beginning of this list must focus on those teams who are ranked solely based off preseason hype and 2006 results. We have plenty of candidates if I just talk about those who finished well last year or just those receiving hype this year. However, if you combine the two elements you see the full futility of these teams' hopes come March.The Duke Blue Devils have scheduling down to a science. First step, schedule mid majors from strong conferences and play them at Cameron. Next up, play everyone else at home or in New York, but never on their home floor - that is for conference play. Watch your RPI soar while getting solid wins over teams that you beat before you walk in the door and parlay that into a ridiculously high NCAA seeding and bow out early. Duke circa 2007 is going by the book. The Dookies played all games at Cameron or neutral sites until January 10th - losing at Georgia Tech to start the year 0-2 in the ACC. What isn't going to script are the wins. Losses to Marquette in Kansas City and to Virginia Tech at home have stripped away the luster. This Duke team shouldn't be higher than a 6-seed, but the NCAA Committee will find a way.Adopting the Duke Scheduling Method are the Connecticut Huskies. The only wrinkle in their system is to play absolute dogs while never leaving the state until after Christmas. The failed plot in their scheme is that they have begun conference play by proving their unworthiness. The Huskies only got their first true road win against a hapless St. John's team last night. In some years, Calhoun has missed the tournament completely after huge years. This could be another.Texas A&M made a decent run in 2006 - coming within a whisker of defeating LSU and advancing to the Atlanta Regional. In 2007, they have won the games they should have, played close against some big boys, but show absolutely no win that will get you excited. Per their RPI, the Aggies best win to-date is a home victory over Winthrop. A&M needs to reverse its fortunes inside the Big 12 or face life as a double-digit seed in the tournament.The NCAA Tournament Committee has a real problem. A couple of years ago they selected to have a first-and-second round site in Spokane, Washington. Gonzaga was a darling as they are now, and even Lorenzo Romar bringing Washington back to life made it appear as though the NCAA couldn't miss - either getting one or the other to be the main attraction. The problem this year is that the Huskies are 1-5 in conference, 11-6 overall. The Zags are 11-6 as well, and while they head into their conference play and should come out very well, it will be painfully obvious that the NCAA arranged this site to pay back the Zags for a few low seeds in past tournaments. Some 4 or 5 seed is going to wind up getting to play Gonzaga on their virtual home floor thanks to this gaffe by the NCAA. Shame on them.[...]



The Official Beginning of College Basketball

2007-01-13T10:10:58.565-05:00

Eventually life goes on and while college football has closed its book for the 2006 season, we now set our sights on the 2006-2007 college basketball slate. We've only been in conference play for two weeks, but already teams are aligning themselves into contenders and pretenders, underrated and overrated.First, lets begin with the "Super Seven" schools who have their alumni booking hotels in Atlanta.The Florida Gators are the champions until they are eliminated in March/April by any other team. So far this season, the Gators have fallen to Kansas in Las Vegas and Florida State on the road. Wins for the Gators have only come inside the state of Florida, 13 at home, two on netural courts within the state. The win that showed their rightful place as defenders of the crown was an 86-60 win over Ohio State at home. Florida will still be a tough one-game out. I don't think they'll navigate the SEC undefeated - but they will win the conference with only one or two losses. They'll win the SEC Tournament and enter the NCAAs as a #1 seed.Next in line are the North Carolina Tarheels. Forget about what you think you know about the ACC. Clemson is undefeated for the moment but faces games at Maryland and home against North Carolina. Duke has started the conference slate 0-2 and plays a deliberate slowdown game in order to hide their weaknesses (point guard, swingman, true center). North Carolina will continue to run roughshod over the conference. They are like Florida - they won't go unscathed, but they will secure the ACC Tournament and the second #1 seed.This is a bit of a trendy pick amongst my workplace, but in my opinion the Wisconsin Badgers are next. They have the player of the year to date in Alando Tucker. They have also secured a win over Ohio State at home with the return trip coming later in the year. Wins over Pittsburgh, Florida State, and Marquette on the road bolster the Wisconsin resume. Their only setback is a two point loss in South Padre, Texas against Missouri State on November 24th. This is a team that will win all games at home in conference. They face five away games that could set them back: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, and Ohio State. They'll go 2-3 in those five at worst. I can't say they'll win their conference tournament with 100 percent surety, but I would tag them the favorites. Doing so puts them as the third #1 seed.Defense wins championships is the adage, but my Kentucky faithful sure don't believe. However, if offense is the order of the day, then the UCLA Bruins play enough to get past a few shootouts. The Bruins won Maui, blew out Washington at home, and secured a "neutral" win over Texas A&M in Anaheim. Their only loss was a two-pointer at Oregon. The Bruins still face Arizona, the Washington schools, and a return trip to West Virginia (after playing in Pauley last year) on the road. The Pac-10 is better than you think and their tournament will be a war, but I think UCLA will be rewarded for the conference title and seeded as the final #1 seed.Their losses look shaky, but a win over Florida and a 30-point blowout of a solid Oklahoma State team puts the Kansas Jayhawks back on the map. The rest of their slate is winnable. The teams they get at home they need while the road trips are against opponents who don't have the same talent. Bill Self is under a magnifying glass after back-to-back first round losses, so the faithful might not be booking hotel rooms just yet. Have some faith, KU fans, you're good.Arizona waltzed into Seattle and put down the Huskies, 96-87. They have a [...]



2006 Final Poll

2007-01-10T20:31:28.025-05:00

This is the final ballot as we bid farewell to the college football season and say hello to 2007. Irish news is on the horizon, especially with rumors flying that Notre Dame might have an entirely new defensive staff. But this vote represents the close of college football for 2006. Move your seniors off the map and clear out the NFL-bound juniors, because everything from here is about the next year.1. Florida (13-1)2. Ohio State (12-1)3. Boise State (13-0)4. USC (11-2)5. LSU (11-2)6. Louisville (12-1)7. Auburn (11-2)8. Michigan (11-2)9. Wisconsin (12-1)10. West Virginia (11-2)11. Rutgers (11-2)12. BYU (11-2)13. TCU (11-2)14. California (10-3)15. Texas (10-3)16. Oklahoma (11-3)17. Notre Dame (10-3)18. Virginia Tech (10-3)19. Wake Forest (11-3)20. Boston College (10-3)21. Hawaii (10-3)22. Oregon State (10-4)23. Arkansas (10-4)24. Penn State (9-4)25. Central Michigan (10-4)Final Notes:- Highlighted teams represent bowl winners. Its a good thing to close out your season strong.- Only one team is in the Top 25 without 10 wins, Penn State.- There is a sentiment around the nation to put Boise State at #2, but I can't ignore Ohio State's regular season despite the poor bowl season for the Big Ten (2-5).- The Basketball Coach said something to ponder. Without the poll reversal after the Ohio State/Michigan game we would have been left with a rematch that would have stood for all-time as the best two teams in the country. If there was engineering in the polls to get Florida in, then the pollsters did their job, overriding the computers in favor of their eyes as Florida and USC cruised to wins over Ohio State & Michigan.- How good is Auburn? Wins over LSU and Florida justify my #7 ranking for the Tigers.- What should also be finally stated is that this poll should show no bearing for a pre-season poll for next year. I am not one for pre-season polls, however I can use this poll to think about who will be here at the end of 2007. I have four categories: teams that will return to a better position, a team that is ranked here but will finish much lower next year, a team not here that will be here, and a team here that won't be here. Got it? Here goes.- Its a safe pick perhaps, but USC will return to at least the #4 ranking when the 2007 final poll is released next January. While there hasn't been fire to the smoke of the Carroll to Miami rumors, I reserve the right to negate this pick if he leaves. Otherwise, the Trojans bring back a ton of talent to take on a schedule that will feature road games against Oregon, California, and Notre Dame.- Petrino left, Michael Bush declared, Harry Douglas, Brian Brohm, and a few others could follow. The Louisville Cardinals will NOT be the #6 or higher team in 2007. They might not even win the state championship.- A team off this list that will be back are the Georgia Bulldogs. Matthew Stafford is your quarterback and will benefit from a full spring as the lead candidate. Georgia showed a ton of pride to win out after Kentucky dumped them to a 6-4 mark that included a home loss to Vanderbilt. The Dawgs rallied to beat Auburn at Auburn, Georgia Tech at home, and Virginia Tech in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl.- Finally one team on here that you won't see in 2007 are the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. I know they have numbers back and that coach Jim Grobe is all-world. However, all those close wins in 2006 will turn against the Deacons in 2007. Just a hunch.[...]



The Final Countdown

2007-01-08T23:59:46.995-05:00

Florida vs. Ohio State. Meyer vs. Tressel. Go... stadium implosion?The national championship is a good thing. We hope for drama, intrigue, a team to cheer on to victory. Okay, so two out of three isn't bad. I will be pulling in the slightest direction towards Florida only because I will hear less at the workplace. I am not really for either team. An Ohio State win will bring a six-month bender on Fox Sports Ohio (in my cable package). By the end of that time you will know every mediocre Buckeye player in the history of the program. How Woody Hayes was a misunderstood softie (tell that to Charlie Baumann, the ex-Clemson linebacker). Stories of how Earle Bruce was wronged for getting fired so quick. Stories of how it was unfair to John Cooper... oh wait, Buckeyes curse his memory. Seriously. Outside of the Joe Germaine comeback in the 1997 Rose Bowl I defy you to find a Buckeye "highlight" with Cooper roaming the sidelines on FSN.But then I get thinking about Urban Meyer. Michigan fans hate him for campaigning. (I love him for pissing off the maize and blue.) The media will just absolutely pounce on the storyline of how he passed on Notre Dame to guide Florida to a championship in only his second year. Sure, I thought Charlie the better coach in their first year but now Urban and Florida's penchant for partial qualifiers has them on the cusp of a championship. However, the Gators are home in the SEC and I can't stand to think about the Big Ten winning a national championship over the SEC. My boy Scott says "go SEC" when cheering tonight. I say I will need a shower after the game. I feel dirty already. Go Gators.8:05 PM - I do like what FOX has done with getting a rep for each school. Tonight its Emmitt Smith (Florida) and Eddie George (Ohio State). Bands before the game on the field? Come on. Play the dang game already.8:09 PM - Dot the two "i's" and lets go! Geez. Flipping between CSI on Spike and Two for the Money on HBO is better than this nonsense.8:15 PM - FOX comes back from commericial and highlights the good kids for Florida and Ohio State. Can I get a mention of those who didn't qualify? Can I get a list of those recruits who never made campus? Nice try gang, but this is what I am reduced to, whilst I wait just a while longer. What are the teams graduation rates?8:25 PM - Somebody check that Fiesta Bowl official in the coat who got trampled perhaps or at least crapped his pants.8:30 PM - Florida wins, defers, putting Ohio State's offense on the field first. FINALLY!8:34 PM - Touchdown Ted Ginn on the kickoff. Oh heck, well it was fun this college football season. Run the credits? What happened last time in the desert for Florida? (Nebraska 62, Florida 24.) Gator fans should be in full panic. Ouch. Ohio State 7, Florida 0.8:36 PM - Florida runs it back all the way, but the Ohio State kicker yanks the mask saving the touchdown. Gators will begin in Ohio State territory. What a start.8:38 PM - Time to get the woof counter out. Harvin gets a five-yard gain and both sides come up woofing for making routine plays on both sides of the ball.8:42 PM - College football is back! Gators go down the field. Leak with a beaut of a touch pass to Baker for the touchdown. Ohio State's defense did not execute at all on that drive by Florida. Suddenly Florida has speed according to Barry Alvarez. Florida 7, Ohio State 7.8:46 PM - Alright, lets settle in. Both teams threw their haymakers and landed. Granted, we're seeing the Ohio State offense / Florida defense for the [...]



Notre Dame 2006-07 Post-Mortem - Part One

2007-01-04T11:32:59.546-05:00

Another season of Irish football comes to a close and it's time to take inventory of the current situation at Notre Dame and Charlie Weis.First off, to get things perfectly clear, I am naive enough to believe that Weis will not take the Giants job regardless of the offer. Just something about him putting the word liars in his shot at Nick Saban that has me convinced.However, that is not the subject of today's entry. Pardon me for no live weblogging during the Sugar Bowl but I just can't keep it going and watch my team at the same time. We will be back for the Ohio State - Florida tilt on Monday. Finally, getting to the point, let's talk about where Notre Dame is at this point in Weis' tenure.The Irish are 19-6 under Charlie Weis. 10-3 at home, 8-1 on the road, 1-2 at neutral sites. The six losses, unfortunately are the best point about the Irish under Weis. Other than a home loss to Michigan State in overtime in 2005, Notre Dame has lost to only the superpowers of the college football world:2005-Michigan State (5-7, unranked), #2 USC (12-1), #4 Ohio State (10-2)2006 (rankings are pre-bowls)- #3 Michigan (11-2), #4 LSU (11-2), #8 USC (11-2)Again, the good is that the Michigan State 2005 loss withstanding, it has taken teams that finished the year in the Top 5 to beat the Irish. (Good bet that Michigan will remain in the Top 5 even after their loss to USC, who should jump back into the Top 5.)Now for the bad, the wins are just not impressive:2005- Pittsburgh (5-6), Michigan (7-5), Washington (2-9), Purdue (5-6), BYU (6-6), Tennessee (5-6), Navy (8-4), Syracuse (1-10), Stanford (5-6).2006- Georgia Tech (9-5), Penn State (9-4), Michigan State (4-8), Purdue (8-6), Stanford (1-11), UCLA (7-6), Navy (9-4), North Carolina (3-9), Air Force (4-8), Army (3-9).The damning of the issue is that unless Penn State sneaks into the rankings this year, the Irish 19 wins will have come against exactly zero opponents who finished the year ranked. I don't think the world expected Tennessee AND Michigan to flop in 2005, however, the facts are just that. This team has gotten here by winning the games they should and equally as overmatched against superior teams. Charlie does deserve the credit for the offensive side of the ball, especially the passing game. 21 out of 25 games have seen the Irish throw for multiple touchdowns. Only twice have the Irish been blanked for passing TDs - Ohio State, 2005 and Georgia Tech, 2006. All in all, the Irish have scored 843 points in 25 games for a 33.7 points per game average. Compare that with the averages of the last three Irish coaches:Weis - 843 points / 25 games = 33.7 averageHoltz - 4,287 points / 136 games = 32.5Davie - 1,525 / 60 = 25.4Willingham - 801 / 36 = 22.3Using the 30-point mark as a threshold here are the results. The key to this element is frequency as you should win most of your games when scoring 30 points.Holtz - 73 of 136 games (70-3 record). The losses were notable: Tennessee, 1990 (35-34); Stanford, 1991 (36-31); Boston College, 1993 (41-39).Davie - 19 of 60 games (18-1). The only loss was to Ty Willingham at Stanford in 1999 (40-37). The loss sealed Notre Dame's first losing season in 12 years.Willingham - 9 games of 36 (8-1). Ty's only setback while scoring 30 points was to Pittsburgh in 2004. (41-38)Weis - 18 games in 25 (16-2). Charlie's two losses came in his first year, 2005 to USC (34-31) and Michigan State (44-41).Holtz best year was 1991 (9 times) and the lowest frequency was twice in 1[...]



The 11th option in Miami tonight....

2007-01-03T00:00:43.319-05:00

Perception vs. RealityOkay blog readers (Brian, Scott), I didn't get the kickoff because I am like so many others across the country who are still catching their breath after last night's Fiesta Bowl (Read: I took an after dinner nap tonight). However, this Orange Bowl might not hold all our attentions, if you believe the pundits. While Louisville is certainly the "Ferrari" in this matchup, Wake has seen athleticism this year in Florida State and Clemson. Let's hope the reality of being a conference champion will help boost Wake's perception amongst the media circus.9:04 PM - The first quarter ends and in the 12 plays I have seen, Wake Forest's quarterback has been put on the turf for three of them. Beforehand, I had the FOX guys saying Wake needed to hold Louisville to a three point field goal when the Cardinals had the ball at the Wake 41 (!). Louisville is explosive yes, but Wake does play defense. Tied 0-0.9:09 PM - Sam Swank provides a lift for the Deacons who capitalize on Louisville's poor punt to give Wake Forest a 3-0 lead. FOX guys want to sell tickets, saying were still in for some scoring, harkening back to the 2000 Michigan-Alabama Orange Bowl tilt. Let's just sit back and see, gang.9:11 PM - Basketball being talked about by the booth gang. I am sure both schools love that.9:17 PM - We're gonna review a fine catch by Mario Urrutia, but the Cardinals keep converting on third down. This says good and bad for Wake. The good is that they are forcing third downs, shortening the game, the bad is that they aren't stopping the third downs. I get the feeling that its a matter of time before Louisville scores and gets this game by the throat.9:21 PM - Gutsy move by Petrino going for it on 4th and 9. Wow.9:24 PM - Fourth and nine again finds Louisville kicking and putting it through by the leg of Arthur Carmody. The game is tied at 3-3. FOX guys are on top of it tonight. Louisville will come next with a mostly pass drive to push the Deacons to the limit. Wake needs to take this possession and re-take the lead. The pace of this game looks to be a midnight or earlier finish.9:32 PM - What is Wake Forest's game plan on offense? Yeah, they keep the clock running but there is no one thing that Wake does well. I saw Wake in action three times this year in both games they lost, and a thrashing of Florida State. I still can't tell you their bread and butter.9:36 PM - Trickeration is the buzz word of the bowl season and the Cardinals get on board with a 21-yard pass from WR Patrick Carter to RB Anthony Allen. 10-3 Cardinals.9:41 PM - Another Louisville sack forces third and long, but Wake converts, holding off my march back to the bedroom for more sleep time. The Cardinals give up another pass play and seem to be going into prevent the win mode. Interesting.9:44 PM - Its a bang-bang play, and in my opinion the Deacons should hold onto the ball. However, control of the ball when the knee hits is the central issue and its razor thin close on the second-look.9:48 PM - The longer they kept looking spelled better for Louisville. The Deacons have to absolutely get to the locker room at no worse than the current score.9:56 PM - The Deacons hold and have their second close miss at a Louisville punt attempt. The result is good field position that the Deacons drive down and get a field goal attempt. Swank pushes it wide left. The Deacons do keep the Cardinals within range, but in their last two possessions in Card terri[...]



The look after 14 hours...

2007-01-02T01:23:06.852-05:00

(image)

Spent. Taxed. Done. Fulfilled. - Bowl Day 2007