Proof I know nothing about college football

My college football duncery knows no bounds.

On September 7 2011 on this blog, I said the following:

The SEC – This is the year the SEC will cannibalize itself and be without a team in the BCS title game. Yes, LSU looked awesome against Oregon, and the Tide is rolling again this year, and South Carolina is playing with both talent and grit this season, and Arkansas is solid, and Florida is going to scare some people, and Tennessee has a passing game you can’t ignore, blah, blah, blah. That’s the problem. An SEC schedule is more of a gauntlet this year than the last six years.

I give you the world’s worst prediction for this past college football season.  As we all know, the BCS title game (which is a national championship in name only because there is no playoff… but I digress) included not one but two SEC teams.  And Florida only scared Florida fans this year.  And Tennessee’s passing game folded when they lost their top receiver and quarterback to injury.  I was right about South Carolina and Arkansas, but who wasn’t?

BTW – I had Oklahoma and Wisconsin in the BCS title game.  Both teams finished with three losses.

In the interest of full disclosure, here’s how I saw the top ten at the beginning of the year:

  1. LSU – But it won’t last. (I was right and wrong about this. I didn’t expect them to make the title game. They ended the year at number two.)
  2. Wisconsin – This is the team that impressed me most. The offense is clicking and the defense is scary good. (Fell to number ten.)
  3. Oklahoma – The Big 12 (which only has 9.5 teams) is in disarray this year. The Sooners stand to benefit the most from all the turmoil. (Finished the year at number sixteen.)
  4. Boise State – Kellen Moore should win the Heisman, but he probably won’t. Why? Rumor has it he’ll be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Damn you SI! (Lost a game they should have won and finished at number eight.)
  5. Stanford – The LSU game unveiled some major weaknesses in Oregon’s defense and running game. In turn, they exposed the PAC 12’s weakness, their teams. Stanford has Luck. Luck has the talent to carry the team through the less than stellar conference. (Made it through the regular season with one loss, but the loss was a thumping by Oregon. Finished number seven.)
  6. Alabama – They have a new quarterback, but in an Alabama system, QB’s are required to play smart not lights out. As long as the guy behind center doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, the Tide will stay in the hunt. (Number one in our hearts (unless you’re an Oklahoma State fan) and minds.  Your mythical national champions.)
  7. Texas A&M – Never discount a team with talent and a chip on their shoulder. The coaching staff has an “us against the world” card to play all year. That kind of thing works in college football. (I really missed the boat here.  Texas A&M finished with six losses and nowhere near the top twenty-five.)
  8. South Carolina – I think Spurrier is inside Garcia’s head. He knows just how to pull the kid’s strings, and turn him into a spirited leader. The Gamecocks are not a team you want on your schedule this year, and it’s not just because of their semi-phallic name. They have an offense that can score at will.  (I came close on this one.  They finished at number 9, and Spurrier got inside Garcia’s head and sucked out his brains.)
  9. Virginia Tech – The ACC doesn’t have much to talk about beyond Maryland’s new uniforms. The Hokies have the potential to dominate the conference. (Va. Tech got hammered twice by a Clemson team that gave up 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.  Yikes!  They finished number 21 with three losses.)
  10. Houston – I know. I know. Houston? But, they beat a major conference (albeit weak conference) opponent, and they have a cake schedule ahead of them. They could be this year’s TCU and bring in an undefeated record come bowl season.  (If not for Southern Miss, I would have been right about this one.  They beat a Penn State team that should have declined a bowl bid given their situation, but it was an impressive win nonetheless.  They finished 13-1 and at number eighteen.)

What we learned about college football this year

Coach Dooley lost more games that he already won in 2010 than any other coach.

Well another season of college football has come and gone and for most of us it has left a wake of shattered hopes and broken dreams in its path.  Auburn outlasted Oregon and won the BCS championship. However, we still do not have a national champion. This year’s bowl season only solidified the fact that we need a play-off system in our highest division of college football.  TCU, the Crimson Tide, Oklahoma, Stanford and LSU all proved that they had some great football left in them, and had we a play-off, we would have gotten to see some excellent matchups. Here’s what we learned from college football this season.

The NCAA wore its corruption and incompetence on its sleeve this year. Let’s be clear, Ohio State’s best players beat Arkansas’ best players, but the problem is five of Ohio States best players shouldn’t have been on the field. The NCAA suspended them for the first five games next year for violating NCAA rules, yet for some inexplicable reason, they allowed the players to suit up for the Sugar Bowl. Why?  Not for ethical reasons or due to strict interpretation of the rule, although they would claim otherwise.  The Sugar Bowl officials and the networks wanted the players on the field.  It was a money decision.  Without those five players, the odds would have been heavily in Arkansas’ favor to win.  So much so, fans probably wouldn’t have tuned into the game.

Jim Tressel denied his players the opportunity to deal with adversity and build character. The NCAA didn’t suspend his five players for the Sugar Bowl, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have.  If he was a real leader, and he cared about his players, he would have banned the five who violated rules from stepping on the field in the Superdome.  Instead, he demonstrated to his team that doing the right thing is fine as long as it doesn’t cost you too much and it’s not too hard.

Meanwhile, the NCAA was just as mesmerized by Cam Newton’s freakish abilities as the rest of the country. So much so that they invented a new interpretation of a very clear policy on pay-for-play violations.  Newton’s father sought money for his son’s services.  In every other similar case, that has resulted in the player being banned from playing.  But somehow, the NCAA determined in its preliminary investigation that Cam Newton knew nothing about his father’s efforts to receive money for his son’s talents.  They allowed him to continue playing. Auburn fans were ecstatic, while the rest of the country is wondering how the NCAA learned nothing from the Reggie Bush fiasco.

The University Tennessee is the master of winning and losing the same game. They stopped LSU on fourth and goal to win the game in Baton Rouge, only to have a booth review assess a penalty for too many men on the field and subsequently we all watched LSU score and win the game with no time left on the clock.  Against North Carolina in the Music City Bowl, terrible clock management saw the Tarheels run out of time before spiking the ball to stop the clock.  Volunteer fans everywhere started singing Rocky Top in victory.  But, once again, a booth review revealed that the UNC quarterback did indeed spike the ball with one second left on the clock.  The kick was made. Overtime followed.  A loss for Tennessee was imminent.

Chris Petersen of Boise State is a class act. He once again guided his Broncos to at least 12 wins.  Bigger schools came calling, but he said no (namely to Stanford).  Loyalty is so hard to find these days.  It’s nice to see that it’s not dead.

Mark Cuban is the man. He stepped up to the plate this year, and decided that if the NCAA wasn’t going to instate a playoff system, he would.  That’s right, he has enough money and connections to create a separate governing body for college football and finally give college football fans the play-off system they want and deserve.  I’m hoping he’ll keep applying the pressure to the point that the NCAA will finally cave and just do it themselves.  Rock on, Mr. Cuban.  I’m pulling for you.

You want proof that the BCS is total BS. One word, Connecticut.

There is so much more that I didn’t’ like about college football this year, but I have to admit. I was there every Saturday with my remote and my beverage watching as many snaps of the ball as I could.  I’m not happy with the people in charge, but I do love the game.   Go Vols!

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Whoa! Where Have I been?

I’ve been really bad about blogging lately.  What is my deal?  I have no excuse.  I’ m going to make a concerted effort to get back into the swing of things, and return to a regular schedule.  Here’s what’s on my mind:

  1. We learned almost nothing from the first week of college football.  It’s always so disappointing when it comes around every year. We wait for it.  Anticipating every tackle, pass and bone-jarring hit.  And, we get some of that, but we also get ridiculous blowouts.  Ugly, ugly, ugly football.  We did learn that Boise State is for real.  They’re still going to get left out of the BCS title game even if they win the rest of their games.  That old adage that the current system is great because every game counts isn’t true.  Boise’s win over Va. Tech didn’t matter one bit.  I’d love to be wrong, but I’m fairly sure I’m not.  We also learned that Florida is in some serious trouble.  I was astonished they were ranked so high because they lost one of the greatest college football players to ever play the game. I’m saying this as a Tennessee fan.  You gotta figure that will at least drop you out of the top 10.  They’re going to lose a few games this year.
  2. I watched the Destination Truth season premiere episode.  It was okay.  Josh was Josh and the jokes were chuckle worthy, but I have a question.  What is up with replacing one hot chick with another hot chic every season?  Is the show a way for Josh to meet women?
  3. What’s up with all these idiots who want to burn the Quran?  I really thought we were past that kind of bigotry in this country.  It appears they called it off, but who would purpose that kind of thing in the first place.
  4. I’m reading a book on UFOs by Leslie Kean.  She’s basically collected “authentic” sightings by pilots, military personnel and government officials.   The interesting part of the book is that they aren’t really trying to make the case that they’re alien spacecraft.  They’re simply saying that there is something unidentified in the skies.  They’ve been tracked on radar, observed by trained pilots and even involved in combat maneuvers with a few military planes.   The US is the only major government that won’t officially acknowledge their existence.  In fact, they created a committee in the 40’s to come up with a plan to respond and investigate UFO sightings.  Their plan?  They developed a process on how to discredit reports.
  5. Along those lines, I watched the movie The Fourth Kind last week, and I don’t know how to feel about it.  The filmmaker lied to the audience.  He represented fiction as fact.  The premise of the movie is that over a twenty year period or so, 25 people disappeared in Nome, Alaska.  The filmmaker created a scenario where there was a therapist treating patience who were the victims of alien abductions.  He mixed in “actual audio recordings” and “real video footage.”  That’s all fine and good, but none of it was actual or real.  It was all created for the movie.
  6. Don’t worry.  I haven’t turned into a UFO/Alien freak.  I’m just doing research for a new book.

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If The SEC Expands…

The Four Teams I'd Like to see Join the SEC

There’s been no indication from SEC officials that they are planning on expanding, but the folks that run the SEC don’t really care to be outdone, so I am of the mind that it’s just a matter of time.  Given that, I have four schools I would like the SEC to consider.

Southern Mississippi – It’s the largest college in the state of Mississippi, and they have a history of upsetting traditional powerhouses.

Louisville – They’ve fielded some outstanding players recently, and how great would it be to have Louisville and Kentucky in the same conference come basketball season?

University of South Florida – It’s an upcoming school in a talent rich state.  With Skip Holtz at the helm, they are likely to make some great strides.

Virginia Tech – I know they just joined the ACC, and it’s not really cool to raid another major conference (unless you’re the PAC-10), but how great would the rivalries be?  VA-Tech/Bama, VA-Tech/UT, VA-Tech/Florida, VA-Tech/Georgia.  I just think it’s a natural fit.

Alternates – I’d take Texas A&M, but the Texas lawmakers won’t let it happen unless Texas comes, too, and the PAC-10 seems to have the inside track.  I’d also take Kansas.  With Kentucky, Louisville, and Kansas in our conference, you’d be hard pressed to find a better basketball conference.  They’re not bad in football, either.  I’d consider West Virginia, too.  Memphis wouldn’t be a bad basketball add, but the football program is consistently mediocre.

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Lane Kiffin – The Clown Prince of College Football

I love a good gloat.  As a Tennessee fan nothing warmed my heart more than hearing the news that the University of Southern Cal was slapped with severe penalties by the NCAA for committing 18 recruiting violations.  Now, I feel bad for the student athletes and the fans of the Trojans.  They are paying a high price for someone else’s sins. But, I do not feel bad for the head football coach Lane Kiffin. In fact, I am positively giddy that he was flattened by the NCAA freight train of poetic justice.  And make no mistake about it, he deserved to suffer the brunt of these penalties, and I don’t say that because of what he did to my Volunteers. No, no.  Kiffin’s fingerprints are all over these violations.

The Clown Prince of College Football Finally Gets Busted!

During Lane Kiffin’s brief stint as head coach of the University of Tennessee’s football program he regaled the Big Orange nation with story after story of his recruiting prowess.  Hearing him speak, you would have thought he built a time machine and convinced O.J. Simpson to play for the Trojans.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but he often made claims that he was instrumental in recruiting Reggie Bush, and beyond his glowing lack of character, there is no reason to doubt Kiffin’s claims.  According to KFFL, this was his career trajectory at Southern Cal before he took the job with the Oakland Raiders:

In his six seasons at Southern California, Kiffin went from working as tight ends coach to serving as the program’s receivers coach, offensive coordinator and top recruiting coordinator this past season. He was considered one of the most sought-after young coaching minds and talent evaluators in college football before Davis snatched him up.

Kiffin is clearly at the center of these violations, and no one should feel bad because he is saddled with Pete Carroll’s baggage.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Pete Carroll’s reputation has been sullied by his association with Kiffin.  If you think I’m just lashing out as a bitter Tennessee fan, you are partly right.  I can’t stand the guy for the way he disrespected Tennessee’s fans and program.  But there’s also his track record.  The man has held more press conferences explaining his bad behavior and poor decisions than Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Jesse James combined.  He even admitted to recruiting violations at Tennessee while being on the job just a few months.  The clown is a menace to integrity, and it’s finally catching up to him.

The one thing that saddens me about this whole thing is that I was hoping that the current crop of players at Tennessee would somehow get a shot at playing Kiffin’s Trojans in a bowl game before they graduated.  Now it doesn’t look like it will happen.  If there is a God, Lane Kiffin will be out of football before USC finishes its probationary period.  So long, Lane.  It’s been nice seeing you get what you deserve.

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Crap! You’re going to make me defend Tim Tebow, aren’t you?

Look what you made me do! You made me put a Florida Gator on my blog! Cruel, cruel people!

I am no Tim Tebow fan.  In fact, I don’t like the guy, but I don’t like him because I’m a Tennessee fan, and my Vols could never beat him in his four years at Florida.  I respect him.  The kid can play football.  The kid can play quarterback.  He’s a leader with tremendous athletic ability.  He’s smart.  He’s the type of quarterback that can put the team on his back and will them to victory.  And this isn’t just hyperbole.  His stats back it up.

  • 9,285 Career Passing Yards
  • 88 Career TDs
  • 16 Career Interceptions
  • 66% Career Completion Percentage
  • 2,947 Career Rushing Yards
  • 57 Career Rushing TDs
  • 2 SEC Championships
  • 2 National Championships
  • 1 Heisman Trophy

Keep in mind, he did this while playing in the SEC East.  The guy put up Play Station type numbers in the toughest conference in college football.  I’m tired of hearing the pundits and experts saying he’s not going to make it in the NFL.  He’s got bad mechanics.  He’s awkward under center.  He made bad decisions in the Senior Bowl.

1.) Bad mechanics?  Have you ever seen old film of Bernie Kosar play?  He threw sidearm.  His mechanics were unbelievably bad and he threw for over 23,000 yards in his NFL career.  He actually made the Cleveland Browns a decent team.  Eli Manning’s throwing mechanics are suspect, but he’s a former Super Bowl MVP.  This mechanics business is a lot of overblown nonsense.

2.) He’s awkward under center?  Are you kidding me?  Seriously?  Gee, I wonder if there’s some magical way you can… I don’t know… do it in non-game situations and … you know, practice how to take a snap from under center.  Maybe someday they’ll invent this… practice and he can learn how to lineup under center.  Give me a break.

3.) He made bad decisions in the Senior Bowl?  You mean that game where he worked with his receivers for part of one week.  That game where his performance in practice was actually the lead story in a lot of sports casts.  By all means, let’s forget about the 88 TDs against only 16 interceptions he had in four years at the University of Florida.

Tim Tebow is a “legendary” college quarterback.  I don’t believe for a second that he can’t excel at the professional level.  If he drops to the third round, some team is getting a bargain.  Not only does he have the skills to make it, now he’s got incentive to prove everyone wrong. And even though I’m not a Tim Tebow fan now, I will be rooting for him in the NFL.  I will not be doing the Gator chomp, however.

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The Vols done some good pickin’ with this new coach, y’all!

Wait!  What’s that coming out of the new coach of University Tennessee’s mouth? It’s… a Southern accent.  He says things like “PreeMaTour” and “Pickin” and “Britches” and “Y’all.”  It shouldn’t matter, but somehow I think it does after the hell Lane Kiffin put the program through the last couple of days.  Listening to him talk, you immediately get the feeling he belongs. 

Okay, he comes from the right part of the county, but is Derek Dooley the right fit for Tennessee?  I grew up dreading the Georgia/Tennessee game because his father, Vince Dooley, seemed to always find a way to beat the Vols. And Derek has the same slim build and sharp features his father has, so I get a little heartburn just looking at him.  That will go away as soon as he walks off the field with a Tennessee victory.

He’s been getting knocked around a little because of his record at Louisiana Tech.  In three years he amassed a record of 17-21.  I’m not that concerned about it.  Louisiana Tech does not have a storied tradition of football.  They have to compete with LSU for instate recruits, which means they get a lot of second tier talent from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.   His tutelage and friendships are what is most impressive about him.  His father is a legendary head coach, and he served under Nick Saban at LSU and Miami.  The man Tennessee really wanted for the job, Muschamp from Texas, recommended Dooley for the job.  In short, he’s got friends in college football, something the previous Tennessee coach seemed to lack.  Other than a couple of people on his staff, I get the sense that Lane is not that well-liked among the coaching fraternity.

I’m not ready to hang a picture of him on my wall, but as a Tennessee fan, I do welcome Derek Dooley and wish him well.  BTW – the number one search term for my blog the last couple of days has been “Mrs. Lane Kiffin.” I’m guessing it was a lot of young male USC fans trying to get a look at the new coach’s hot wife. I think that’s part of the problem with Coach Kiffin.  More people pay attention to the people he surrounds himself with than pay attention to him.     

And not for nothing, but Dr. Allison Dooley has got it going on… do people still say that.  I have got to start hanging out with cooler people.  There’s one picture of her on the web, and it’s her Facebook picture.  That would just be a little bit creepy for me to put that on my blog, and I don’t think we, as Tennessee fans, should focus on all the shiny things Coach Dooley brings to the table.  Let’s focus on how he actually coaches.

Go Vols!

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Genius, thy name is Peyton Manning.

The Genius!

At the risk of jinxing the guy, I have to say that I’ve been watching football for a couple of decades now, and I have never  before seen anyone master the position of quarterback like Peyton Manning.  I’ve always known he was good, elite even, but this is the first year I’ve thought he may actually be the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.  I know.  I know.  There are quarterbacks with more yards and more championships and greater athleticism.  I get it.  I’ve seen a lot of them play to.  Joe Montana was a gutsy player that won championships.  Terry Bradshaw was a gator fed Louisiana boy that could sling the ball a country mile.  John Elway (my favorite) had an arm and the uncanny ability to scramble his way into big plays.  Marino was the best pure passer that ever lived, and yes, Tom Brady is up there to.  The guy wins.  You can’t take that away from him.

But Manning isn’t just winning.  He isn’t just piling up the yards.  He isn’t just collecting touchdowns like stamps.  He’s dictating the tempo and pace of the game all by himself.  To all intents and purposes, he is the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts.  How good is Manning?  He made Belichick go for one of the most ill-advised 4th downs I have ever seen.  Why?  Because he was so afraid of giving the ball back to Manning, he made the decision he had nothing to lose by trying to get the first down.  Teams aren’t just making defensive calls to try and stop Manning.  They’re making offensive calls to try and keep the ball out his hands. 

This past Sunday Houston had a 17 point lead on the Colts, and I promise there wasn’t a person watching that game who thought that was a big enough lead to beat Manning, not even the Texans.  Everyone knew that he would make up the deficit.  The question was how many receivers he would use to get there, and how many touchdowns he would actually beat them by. 

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Football So Far

Could the Super Bowl be a family affair this year?

Could the Super Bowl be a family affair this year?

I’ve been watching football attentively for almost 30 years now.  You would think I would have learned a thing or two along the way, but apparently, I’m as clueless now as I was the first game I actually sat down and paid attention to.  Nevertheless, that has never stopped me from sharing my opinions on all things pigskin.  Here’s what I’ve observed so far this season:

College: The Florida Gators are a great football team, but they are not the number one team in the country.  I know it’s theirs to lose, but they’ve yet to play a top 25 opponent, and their vaunted defense has looked inconsistent at times.  I think Alabama is the number one team in the country, and oh by the way, Boise State could end the season at number two.  They dismantled an Oregon team the first game of the year so badly that we all thought Oregon was a really bad team.  Turns out, Oregon is pretty darn good.  Oregon may very well win the PAC 10.  If Oregon wins out and Boise State wins out, it’s going to be tough to keep Boise State out of the National Championship game (mythical as it may be).   I’m picking LSU to lose this week, and Alabama will eliminate Florida or if I’m wrong about Florida, they will eliminate Alabama.  Texas has a gauntlet of games left that include Oklahoma and a conference championship if they make it that far.  There are a lot of chances for Boise State to take that number two spot.

NFL: I’ve watched two Colts’ games this year, and I have to tell you, I’ve never seen Peyton Manning this relaxed.  He’s always been able to manage a game better than anybody, but this year he’s managing games better than even Peyton Manning.  When Bob Sanders comes back, the defense will up its game, and the Colts will be hard to keep out of the Super Bowl.  The scary thing is the Giants are looking good, too.  Their running game is awesome, and their defense can dominate a game.  We could have a Manning brothers’ Super Bowl this year.  BTW – My Panthers suck!  Tim Tebow could be a Carolina Panther next year… if we didn’t give away our first round pick.

Fantasy: Proof positive I have no idea what I’m talking about.  The team I complained about earlier this year is 3-0.  I tweaked the roster a little, but not enough to make the claim that I’m a fantasy football genius.  The other team where I spent time lining up the picks for the draft is 1-2.  And that one win was by the skin of my fantasy teeth.

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ESPN College Football Rankings

Look out for Boise State! Two teams ranked ahead of them will end the season with at least one loss because they are part of the trio from the SEC and all of them have to go through one another to get to the BCS. If Oregon can win out, Boise has a shot at the NC game!

[clearspring_widget title=”ESPN College Football Rankings” wid=”471f9898f9ab1c99″ pid=”4abf9f204e29ff67″ width=”300″ height=”387″ domain=””]

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