Saturday, November 17, 2007

You Can't Just Be Good To Win A Championship..Part 2

Injury affected another team's championship chances Saturday night. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a concussion on the first offensive play from scrimmage against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Sooners quickly discombobulated, and are presently having their posteriors handed to them.

You have to be fortunate in regard to injuries in order to win a championship.

As for the Sooners, they royally stink tonight.

Addendum: The Sooners didn't stink in the fourth quarter, but had dug too large of a hole for themselves to totally complete their comeback.

Knee-Jerk Reactions

I'm really glad that Ohio State-Michigan game is over. I tried really hard to watch it. It was really tough to watch. Ohio State is pretty decent, but they might finish as low as 5th in the Big 12 (OU, KU, Mizzou, Texas). Michigan isn't even as good as A&M. I don't know how Meatchicken beat Illinois, because the Illini are playing really well right now.

Do you think Mike Shula is laughing now? Alabama is paying Nick Saban $4 million per year. The Crimson Tide lost today to Louisiana-Monroe, 21-14. Shula made half that as coach of the Tide, and might have gotten the Tide to actually beat ULM. The Tide now have to play hated archrival Auburn next week.

The Tennessee Volunteers came back from a 24-9 deficit to beat Vanderbilt, 25-24. Vanderbilt has improved so much. However, they just can't get over the hump in the SEC. Tennessee has to win at Kentucky next week to represent the SEC East in the SEC championship game.

More later...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Potential For Mayhem

This weekend presents the beginning of some very interesting scenarios in the world of college football. There is a chance that there will be a team with two losses in the national championship game. It’s not a great chance, but it exists. The only guarantee is more chaos.

There are currently seven teams in the top eight of the BCS standings with zero or one losses. Each of those teams play games that they could very well lose. No game is a gimme, especially in this, the weirdest of college football seasons.

Below are a list of those teams, and their chances of winning each individual game:

1. LSU: at Ole Miss (80%), Arkansas (80%), SEC Championship Game in Atlanta vs. Tennessee (70%), Georgia (50%), or Florida (60%).
2. Oregon: Has already lost game #2 to Arizona. Will fall behind one-loss teams in the next rankings. Remaining games: at UCLA (50%), Oregon State (60%).
3. Kansas: Currently undefeated. Plays Iowa State (80%), Missouri (50%), possible Big 12 Championship Game vs. Oklahoma (50%).
4. Oklahoma: at Texas Tech (70%), Oklahoma State (80%), probable Big 12 Championship Game vs. Kansas (50%) or Missouri (50%).
5. Missouri: at Kansas State (70%), Kansas (50%), possible Big 12 Championship Game vs. Oklahoma (50%).
6. West Virginia: at Cincinnati (50%), Connecticut (80%), Pittsburgh (95%).
7. Ohio State: at Michigan (60%).
8. Arizona State: USC (60%), Arizona (70%).

None of these games will be easy. All of these teams are playing decent teams, rivals, or both. Any of these teams that can go undefeated through the next three weeks will have a case to be in the national championship game.

NFL Picks, Week 11

There are no more byes left on the schedule. 16 big ones coming up!

Last week: 6-8 (yuck)
Season: 95-41

Washington at Dallas: The Redskins are pretty ordinary, evidenced by last week’s home loss to the Eagles. The Cowboys are showing themselves to be the class of the NFC. This is shaping up to be a special season in Dallas. Pick: Dallas

Carolina at Green Bay: The Packers continue to look good, and are tied with the Cowboys for the best record in the NFC. Panthers coach John Fox has chosen 44-year old Vinny Testaverde as his starter over a healthy David Carr. Two months ago, Vinny was watching games at his house on TV. Brett Favre isn’t as old as Vinny, but he’s a better quarterback. Pick: Packers

Oakland at Minnesota: The sorry Raiders visit the great not-quite-white North this week to play the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings. In his place, Chester Taylor comes up big for the Vikes this week. Pick: Minnesota

New Orleans at Houston: Houston’s Third Team (behind the Texans and Cowboys) visits this week, reminding Texans fans of the botched 2006 draft, when Reggie Bush was not picked by Houston. This one is hard to pick. The Saints lost last week to the winless Rams. The Texans aren’t real great, but have won four games. Make that five. Pick: Houston

Tampa Bay at Atlanta: The Falcons are becoming winners, as they have won the last two games in a row. The Bucs are in first place in a mediocre NFC South. Atlanta wins another one. They’re hot! Pick: Falcons

Arizona at Cincinnati: The Bengals won a game last week by kicking seven field goals. Can they score a touchdown on the Cardinals? Which Cardinals show up? Can they play two good games in a row? Pick: Cincinnati

NY Giants at Detroit: Giants looked really mediocre last week against Dallas. Lions went back to being the normal Lions last week in Arizona. Can Detroit rediscover the mojo? Yes. Pick: Detroit

Kansas City at Indianapolis: Colts return home licking their wounds after blowing a chance to win last week in San Diego. Chiefs stunk last week against Denver. Colts bounce back. Pick: Indy

Miami at Philadelphia: The Dolphins are 0-9, and start John Beck at QB this week for the first time. They are also bringing Ricky Williams back from a drug suspension, but not for this week. The Eagles earned a good comeback win last week in Washington. In spite of their problems, they should hand the Dolphins defeat number 10. Pick: Philly

San Diego at Jacksonville: San Diego really saved their season last week, as they held on for a 23-21 win over the Colts. Jacksonville scored an important win as well, going on the road to defeat the Titans. The Jaguars, most weeks, are a pretty solid team. Pick: Jags

Cleveland at Baltimore: New Browns vs. Old Browns, Part 2. The Ravens are quickly becoming an ugly, ugly team. Their offense has never been good, and their defense is getting injured and old. The Browns, on the other hand, are the surprise of the year in the NFL. Derek Anderson lights another defense up as the Browns prepare to trade Brady Quinn for a #1 pick in next year’s draft. Pick: Browns

St. Louis at San Francisco: The Suck Bowl. The Rams finally hit the win column last week, as Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson have returned from injury. The Niners have slipped into futility again, as Alex Smith and Trent Dilfer have both been ineffective at quarterback. Rams get another win this week. Pick: St. Louis

Chicago at Seattle: The Bears scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes of last week’s game against the sorry Raiders, behind (or in spite of) QB Rex Grossman. Seattle flexed their muscle last week againt the awful 49ers, and has the advantage again this week. Pick: Seattle

Pittsburgh at NY Jets: Pittsburgh is good. The Jets are not. Pick: Pittsburgh

New England at Buffalo: Ambush alert. The Patriots are coming off a bye to play a Sunday Night game against the resurgent Bills. Believe it or not, this might be a good game. However, don’t pick against the Pats. Pick: New England

Tennessee at Denver: Where did the Broncos come from? They looked like a pretty good NFL team last week in disposing of the Chiefs. The Titans, meanwhile, were mediocre in losing at home to the Titans. Can Denver play two good games in a row? Sure. Pick: Denver

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Can't Just Be Good To Win A Championship.. have to be lucky or fortunate when it comes to injuries.

Oregon's Heisman Trophy candidate QB Dennis Dixon blew out his knee in the first quarter of tonight's game at Arizona. It appears to be a torn MCL. It's too early to tell how long he will be out. Arizona promptly took control of the game, and now leads by two touchdowns early in the second quarter. This game is far from over. However, Oregon now has a terrible chance of getting through their last three games undefeated.

Oregon currently sits at #2 in the BCS standings. Their chances for a national championship just went way south.

It doesn't just take skill to win a championship. It takes health.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

College Picks, Week 12

This is a big week in the world of college football. For some teams, such as those in the Big Ten, it is the end of the season. For others, the jockeying for positions in the BCS and other bowls is well underway. Here are this week’s picks:

Last week: 15-5
Season: 146-74

Oklahoma at Texas Tech: The ABC Saturday Night cameras move to West Texas for this one. The Sooners and their fans are still stinging from their last trip to Lubbock in 2005, when Big 12 officials gave Tech a game-winning touchdown on a questionable goal-line call, following two botched calls on the game-winning drive. Sooners are playing for a lot more this year, such as the South Division, a Big 12 championship, and an outside chance for the BCS national championship game. As always, there will be a lot of points scored when Tech takes the field. OU will score more. Once again, don’t look for your late local news earlier than 10:30 PM CST on your local ABC station, because this will be a long game. Pick: OU

Iowa State at Kansas: The Jayhawks are so good, this game rates as the 2:30 PM CST telecast on ABC. The Cyclones have won two conference games in a row, after playing conference leaders Oklahoma and Missouri tough. This will be tougher than it should be, but KU continues its rendezvous with destiny. Pick: KU

Missouri at Kansas State: Mizzou prepares for its Thanksgiving showdown by visiting the Little Apple and the reeling Wildcats. When we last saw the Power Towel guys, they were getting their heads handed to them by Nebraska, 73-31. Is there anything left in Manhattan? K-State will play hard, but it won’t be enough. Mizzou is really good. Pick: Missouri

Oklahoma State at Baylor: OSU is playing for a bowl. Baylor is playing for pride, and to send soon-to-be fired coach Guy Morriss off with a W. This will be entertaining, if nothing else. Pick: OSU

Duke at Notre Dame: Mike Krzyzewski takes his Blue Devils to South Bend to meet his former assistant, Mike Brey. Oops, wrong sport. This is football. Both teams are 1-9. Duke has won 5 games in the last four years. However, their margins of defeat are decreasing against ACC foes. This is uncharted territory for the Irish. They can’t take any opponent for granted, not even Duke. This humdinger of a game will be on national television. I’m sure NBC is really excited about that. The long-suffering Dukies deserve for something good to happen to them. Pick: Duke

Oregon at Arizona (Thursday): Ambush alert. The Ducks go to the desert with a huge target on their backs as the #2 team in the BCS standings. Strange things happen on Thursday nights on ESPN. Ducks don’t survive. Pick: Arizona

Ohio State at Michigan: Ohio State fell from the top spot in the BCS rankings last week, but can go to their first Rose Bowl in Jim Tressel’s tenure with a win against the school up north. Lloyd Carr is rumored to be retiring after this season. Michigan, in spite of last week’s loss, can become the first team to lose to Appalachian State and still go to the Rose Bowl. Ohio State is a better team. Pick: Ohio State

Northwestern at Illinois: Ron Zook was always known as a great recruiter. He put himself on the map as a coach last week in Columbus against TOSU. Now, the Illini have a chance to play in a New Year’s Day bowl. All they have to do is beat the purple of Northwestern. They do it. Pick: Illinois

Kentucky at Georgia: Kentucky can no longer win the SEC East, but they can still earn a good bowl bid. Georgia still has a chance at a BCS bowl bid, and a slight chance to win the SEC East. Bulldogs come back with red uniforms this week, but still win the game. Pick: Georgia

Penn State at Michigan State: The Land-Grant Trophy is on the line here, as the Spartans attempt to secure a bowl bid. Will Penn State show up to play on the road? Good question. MSU got some good momentum last week with their win over Purdue. Good things continue for Sparty. Pick: MSU

Miami at Virginia Tech: Miami was awful last week in closing the Orange Bowl with a 48-0 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers. Now, they head to the mountains to take on nemesis Virginia Tech. Tech shouldn’t have much problem with this one. Pick: Virginia Tech

Purdue at Indiana: The Old Oaken Bucket is at stake here. Indiana is bowl-eligible, but needs a win to secure their first bowl bid in over a decade. Purdue lost an inexplicable game last week at home to Michigan State. Purdue has played in big games before. Pick: Purdue

Maryland at Florida State: Florida State returns home and attempts to improve their bowl position. It wasn’t too long ago that FSU played for national championships. This edition of the Noles should have enough to win this week. Pick: FSU

Louisville at South Florida: The Disappointment Bowl. Louisville’s entire season has been a disappointment, and the Cardinals are in severe danger of not making it to a bowl game. South Florida has had a disappointing second half of the season, losing three in a row after being ranked as high as #2 in the nation. Bulls bounce back here. Pick: USF

Mississippi State at Arkansas: Houston Nutt is trying to save his job. Or is he? Do the Hogs care if he stays or goes? The fans want him out. On the other side, Mississippi State finds themselves bowl-eligible and looking for more. The big mo is definitely with the guys from Starkville. Pick: MSU

Vanderbilt at Tennessee: Vols are in control of their own destiny in the SEC East, and need wins over Vandy and Kentucky to earn a date against LSU in the SEC championship game. Vandy is no pushover for anyone. However, the Vols should be able to get a win in this one. Pick: Tennessee

California at Washington: As competitive as the Huskies have been this year, they are in last place in the Pac-10. This is a good last place team. Cal has lost four in a row after having a chance to be #1 in the nation. Tough pick here. Cal bounces back. Pick: Cal

West Virginia at Cincinnati: The two best teams in the Big East face off in the 'Nati. West Virginia would win 8 of 10 games on a neutral field. But, this isn't a neutral field. Cincy makes a mess out of the Big East race. Pick: Cincinnati

Boston College at Clemson: This is for a division championship in the ACC, and the winner earns a trip to beautiful Jacksonville for the ACCCG on December 1. BC has lost two in a row. Clemson has home field. Death Valley will be rocking. Pick: Clemson

Harvard at Yale: The classic old-school college rivalry. Both schools rank high on the famous alums chart. This one happens to be for the Ivy League championship, as both teams are undefeated in the conference. Yale is undefeated for the season and is looking to repeat as Ivy League champions. Pick: Yale

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sometimes, The War Never Ends

Next Saturday in Kansas City, the Kansas Jayhawks and Missouri Tigers will play the biggest football game in their history, providing both teams take care of business this week. Both teams happen to be in the midst of the best starts in the history of both schools. This game is normally a home-and-home affair, but has been moved to Kansas City for the next two years. Arrowhead Stadium will be a zoo.

These two states once fought a war against each other. For over ten years before the Civil War, abolitionists in Kansas fought with slaveholders in Missouri over the issue of slavery. The Missourians wished to settle in Kansas with slaves, while the settlers of Kansas wished to not have the scourge of slavery in their territory. Groups of settlers went back and forth between the two states in guerrilla warfare over the issue of slavery.

The above shirt celebrates the destruction of Lawrence, Kansas. In 1856, Missourian William Quantrill led a band of raiders known as "Bushwhackers" into Lawrence, where they went on a four-hour rampage and burned the city to the ground. On the back of this shirt is Quantrill's slogan: "Raise the Black Flag and Ride Hard Boys. Our Cause is Just and Our Enemies Many".

Kansas fans have responded with a shirt featuring radical abolitionist John Brown, who led the Pottawatomie Massacre, a retaliation for Quantrill's Lawrence Massacre. Brown's group killed five pro-slavery settlers north of a place called Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas. Brown advocated violence in favor of the cause of abolition of slavery, and was hanged after attempting to start a slave rebellion in Harper's Ferry, Virginia in 1859.

These shirts are kinda funny, but they are really sick. And people think the South is still fighting the Civil War? The South has nothing on these Kansas and Missouri fans. They act as if they still want to fight the war. I've been reading Kansas message boards where fans refer to Missouri as the "slavers". Like people in Missouri would want to bring slavery back. Puhleeze.

Therefore, KU and Mizzou are mortal enemies. Up until this year, both schools have mostly stunk in football. The football game hasn't mattered nearly as much as their annual basketball games, where they have the biggest hoops rivalry in the Big 8/Big 12.

I really don't have a dog in this hunt. My mother was born in Missouri, but moved to Oklahoma as a child. I've watched both schools all my life. As a Sooner fan, it benefits my team for KU to win this game and to be undefeated going into the Big 12 championship game. This game will be fun to watch. I've been geeked up about it for a month.

These shirts, however, are insane.

Special thanks to AOL's Fanhouse for the tip.

Bowl Projections

At this time of year, there is a lot of interest in bowl projections. This is the first of a series of mid-season bowl projections. I am not connected with any administrators or guys in the bowl blazers. I’m just a guy with a computer, an internet connection, and a TV.

This is a wild and crazy season. This is perhaps my favorite college football season of all time due to the randomness and unpredictability. Anything can happen in the next three weeks, and probably will.

There will be a lot of horse trading among the bowls. There will be a lot of teams at 5-7, just missing on bowls. A team can go 6-6 and make it to a bowl only if its conference needs them to fill its bowl tie-ins. According to these projections, there will be two more spots available than eligible teams to fill them. On the other hand, the Big Ten will have three 6-6 teams. The Big Ten will give two teams to other bowls in order to make room for two of their 6-6 teams.

These projections are based on LSU and Oregon remaining in the #1 and #2 spots in the BCS rankings. They also take the following events into account:

Big 12: Missouri defeats Kansas (sorry, even though I love the Fighting Manginos), and loses to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Big Ten: Ohio State defeats Michigan for the conference title. Also, the conference gives Iowa to the Independence Bowl and Purdue to the Las Vegas Bowl. This creates room for in the Big Ten bowls for Northwestern (Motor City) and Michigan State (Insight).

SEC: LSU wins their remaining games, including the conference championship game. Tennessee wins out, earning the privilege of losing to LSU in the SECCG. Georgia also wins out, and earns a BCS bid due to its 10-2 record and high ranking.

ACC: Virginia defeats Virginia Tech to win its division. Clemson defeats Boston College to win its division. Virginia defeats Clemson in the ACC championship game. Virginia Tech remains high enough in the rankings to earn a BCS bid.

Pac 10: Oregon wins out, earning a spot in the BCS National Championship game. USC defeats Arizona State, earning a return trip to the Rose Bowl.

Big East: West Virginia wins out, earning the BCS spot.

Where’s Hawaii? I project for them to lose to Boise State. Boise will finish just below #12 in the BCS, and will not be ranked higher than a BCS conference champion, barely missing a BCS bowl.


BCS NCG: LSU vs. Oregon
Rose: Ohio State vs. USC
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Virginia Tech
Orange: Virginia vs. West Virginia
Sugar: Georgia vs. Missouri
Capital One: Michigan vs. Florida
Cotton: Kansas vs. Tennessee
Outback: Illinois vs. Auburn
Gator: Texas vs. Clemson
Holiday: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Alamo: Penn State vs. Texas A&M
Chick Fil A: Kentucky vs. Florida State
Sun: Cincinnati vs. California
Insight: Michigan State vs. Nebraska
Texas: Oklahoma State vs. South Florida
Champs Sports: Wisconsin vs. Mississippi State (ACC without enough eligible teams)
Las Vegas: BYU vs. Purdue (Pac 10 without enough eligible teams)
Independence: South Carolina vs. Iowa (Big 12 without enough eligible teams)
Motor City: Northwestern vs. Central Michigan
Music City: Alabama vs. Boston College
Liberty: Arkansas vs. UCF
Emerald: Oregon State vs. Georgia Tech
Humanitarian: Boise State vs. Maryland
Meineke Car Care: Wake Forest vs. Connecticut
International: Rutgers vs. Bowling Green
GMAC: Tulsa vs. Miami, O.
Armed Forces: Houston vs. Air Force
New Orleans: Troy vs. East Carolina
Papajohn’s: Memphis vs. TCU (Big East without enough eligible teams)
Poinsettia: Utah vs. Navy
New Mexico: Fresno State vs. New Mexico
Hawaii: Hawaii vs. Southern Miss

This is very much a jigsaw puzzle, and will definitely change. There is a lot of football left to be played in the next three weeks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ugly Uniform of the Day

A uniform has to be pretty bad to earn repeat status as UUOTD. Oregon State did just that.

Last Saturday night, OSU-West wore these ugly pieces of thread on national television. These were unveiled earlier in the year at a press conference, when they earned their first mention as UUOTD. These uniforms make these poor guys look like they're wearing bras out on the field. This is not what these young men signed up for when they accepted scholarships to Oregon State. Yuck.

Nike makes good shoes. They need to stick to shoes and to get out of the uniform business.

The Ugly Uniform Bowl, aka the Civil War, is December 1. This is when the Beavers visit Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. Here's hoping the OSU team plays better than they look on that day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NFL Highway, Week 10

Back on the NFL highway for another week...

There are two kings of the hill in the NFC. One of them is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys went to New York and earned a surprisingly easy win over the Giants, 31-20. Tony Romo threw four touchdown passes for the Cowboys. Dallas is now 8-1 for the first time since the Barry Switzer era. The Cowboys now have a two-game lead in the NFC East.

The other king of the NFC hill is the Green Bay Packers. The Packers knocked Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson out of the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, and rode Brett Favre's three touchdown passes to an easy 34-0 win. Favre is doing things on the field that shold be illegal at his age. He is truly greatness. The Pack is looking ahead to a showdown with the Cowboys on Thursday night, November 29.

Elsewhere in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles went into Washington and stole a 33-25 win from the Redskins. Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook combined for a 20-point fourth quarter for the Eagles. The Eagles needed this one in the worst way after getting throttled last week by Dallas. The Redskins go to Texas Stadium next week to take their licks from the Cowboys.

The Detroit Lions proved themselves not ready for prime time on Sunday, as they went out to the desert and lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 31-21. The game wasn't really that close. The Lions are still the 3rd best team in the NFC, as if that matters a whole lot.

The New Orleans Saints had a good run going. However, all good things must end. The St. Louis Rams got off the schneid in the Big Easy, pasting the Saints, 37-29. Marc Bulger is now healthy for the Rams, and celebrated with two touchdown passes.

The NFC South is a pretty pathetic division. The Atlanta Falcons proved it by going to Carolina and getting a win over the quarterback-starved Panthers, 20-13. Joey Harrington threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler with 20 seconds left in the game for Atlanta. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have sole possession of first place after their bye week, at 5-4.

Never give an NFL team up for dead. That's what I did with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos went into Kansas City and delivered a 27-11 whipping to the Chiefs. Selvin Young rushed for 109 yards for the Broncos. The plug and play running back system finally worked again for the Broncos.

There is still a winless team in the NFL, and it resides in Miami. The Dolphins played tough against the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills broke Miami's heart with a game-winning field goal with 46 seconds left. The Dolphins are now a woeful 0-9. The Dolphins have a chance to be the first franchise to have both a perfect season (1972) and a winless season. The Bills, meanwhile, are 5-4.

Sunday's game in Pittsburgh did not disappoint. Lots of points were expected, and lots were scored, as the Steelers pulled out a 31-28 win over the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers came back from a 15 point deficit to win the game. Derek Anderson threw three touchdown passes in a losing cause for the 5-4 Browns. Ben Roethlisberger accounted for three touchdowns for the Steelers.

The Jacksonville Jaguars broke out of their slump with a 28-13 win in Nashville over the Tennessee Titans. Both teams find themselves tied for second in the AFC South at 6-3. Both teams stand a good chance at making the playoffs as wild cards, if not as a division champion.

For at least one week, the Cincinnati Bengals found a defense. They held the inept Baltimore Ravens offense to a touchdown, and used seven Shayne Graham field goals to gain an unexpected road win, 21-7. The Bengals now have three wins, and two of them are over the Ravens. The Ravens are looking very mediocre.

The Oakland Raiders are officially horrible. The Silver and Black were leading an ugly game against the Chicago Bears, 6-3 with less than four minutes left. Bears QB Brian Griese had left the game with a concussion, and was replaced by ex-starter Rex Grossman. The Bears promptly scored two touchdowns to win the game 17-6. The Raiders allowed Sexy Rexy to beat them with a 59-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian with 3:11 left in the game. The Bears are now 4-5. The Raiders are now 2-7 and headed further down the toilet.

The San Diego Chargers escaped with their lives in the Sunday Night extravaganza. The Chargers rolled to a 23-0 lead thanks to Darren Sproles' kickoff return and punt return for touchdowns. They then let the Colts back into the game, as Indy cut the lead to 23-21. The Colts had a chance to win the game, when Adam Vinatieri pushed a chip-shot field goal wide right, allowing the Chargers to hold on for the win. It would have been a disastrous loss for the Chargers. Instead, they move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West. All is not right in San Diego, but the Chargers are very relieved to get out with a win.