Monthly Archives: September 2014

College Football Week 4: Stomp

2-0 for my teams. Stanford had a bye.

Wisconsin d Bowling Green

Wisconsin started a bit slow but then blew out Bowling Green. I watched the beginning of the Badger game but had to go grocery shopping on Saturday, so I left when the rout began. This meant that I missed the record-setting rushing performance. Bowling Green came in having beaten Indiana last week, which turns out to be a better win than it looked like at the time.

The Badgers wore a uniform combo with red helmets, red jerseys, and white pants. When I switched to the game, I thought they looked like Indiana.

Texas A&M d SMU

The Aggies went to Dallas to play SMU, which may be the worst team they play, including Lamar. The Ponies started the season badly by being blown out by Baylor in the opener for the new stadium in Waco. Baylor is a top team this year, so that isn’t so bad. However they looked even more terrible than the score in the few minutes I caught a few weeks ago. Then they got blown out by North Texas. SMU had been predicted to be a middle of the pack team before the season started (The preseason hope was probably why this was a mid-afternoon ABC game instead of being relegated to some alternative ESPN channel.), and had a bye week to regroup before taking on the Aggies at home. But then Coach June Jones resigned in mid-season.

The Ags started slowly, if getting a FG on the first possession counts as starting slowly these days. There were more dumbass penalties and drops. The coaches were clearly working on giving backups playing experience and healing injuries. Center Mike Matthews missed the game but probably would have played if needed. Speedy Noil is out with an injury, but against a stronger opponent I’m not sure Boone Niederhofer would have been out there on the first drive.  Niederhofer took advantage of his opportunity and had a very good game: 6 catches for 73 yards, including a very nice second half grab. Jeremy Tabuyo had only had 2 catches, but they combined for 80 yards and 2 TDs

SMU gave up 8 sacks on the day, which is barely over their average. They did keep Myles Garrett from getting a sack, however. The Mustangs got their first first down in the middle of the second quarter.

The highlight of the day was Reveille’s handler blocking an SMU receiver as he ran out of bounds.

Elsewhere

A few results of note elsewhere

  • Florida State suspended Jameis Winston from the Clemson game for being an idiot. Not clear what happened to change the suspension from a half to a whole game, but the rumors are that he lied about an incident that was witnessed and tweeted by multiple people. Clemson blew their chance at the upset.
  • Mississippi State went into Death Valley and dominated LSU for 3 quarters to take a 34-10 lead. Then they came close to giving LSU another wild come from behind finish as the Bayou Bengals scored two TDs in the last 2 minutes to cut the score to 34-29. After a failed onside kick, MSU couldn’t run out the clock and LSU got a final possession with 20 seconds left. A Hail Mary was intercepted at the goal line as time ran out.  This was a great win for the Bulldogs, marred by center Dillon Day deciding that Jameis needed a rival for the biggest asshole in college football. Day decide to make the stomping literal as well as figurative.
  • Mizzou lost to Indiana, marring the SEC vs Big 10 narrative.
  • Some thought that Virginia Tech would have been a better fit for the SEC than Mizzou. But the Hokies are now 0-2 in games after their upset of Ohio State, as Georgia Tech capitalized on a late INT gift from Va Tech QB Michael Brewer
  • Cal celebrated a win over Arizona … before Arizona came back to win on a Hail Mary.

College Football Week 3: Divots

Wisconsin had a bye. Stanford shut out Army. The Ags beat Rice. Stanford-Army was on the Pac12 network and I watched a few minutes, but the format of the non-HD version on Suddenlink  does an annoying cropping of both sides of the image so I didn’t really watch.

Rice 10 Texas A&M 38

Aggie fans, like most college football fans, get spoiled easily. A&M won handily and only gave up 10 points. But because Rice outgained the Ags in total yards and the offense and defense were both slightly out of sync, fans are concerned. And while the players and coaches admit that it wasn’t the best performance, it is also notable that several starters were held out in order to let minor injuries heal. This gives valuable experience to the backups and should pay off in the long run.  Rice is also better than their 0-2 record.

The most notable things about this game was the terrible condition of the playing surface. The field was only sodded at the end of the summer, and the root systems for the grass haven’t intertwined enough yet. Players were leaving softball-sized divots in the turf, and the grounds crew was repairing holes after every play. Despite the team’s protests that the conditions didn’t really affect anything, since both teams had to play under similar conditions, I think it affected play, especially for the defense.  Yes, both teams played on the same bad surface: Rice didn’t exactly shut down the Ags on D either.

Elsewhere in College Football

The most interesting things on this weekend happened elsewhere.  The Big 10 continued its struggles as:

The only OOC wins were Ohio State over winless Kent State, Michigan over winless Miami (Ohio), and Nebraska over winless Fresno State.

The Buckeyes got an indirect hit as well, as the team that upset them last week at home, Virginia Tech, was upset at home by East Carolina. This had a third-order benefit to the Ags, as this win made S. Carolina look better… along with the Gamecock win over Georgia later in the day. A&M’s dominant win over S. Carolina looks better in hindsight… but I should note that I’ve been thinking since before that game that TAMU matches up well against S. Carolina’s weaknesses in the secondary, while the Gamecock strengths on D (linebackers) are better suited to match up with Georgia. Add to that Georgia’s inexplicable play calling at the end of the game. Gamecock QB Dylan Thompson threw a pick that gave the Bulldogs first and goal. Instead of handing the ball to Todd Gurley, Georgia called a pass that became intentional grounding. Having squandered their chance to take the lead, they then they missed the FG to tie the score.

The Pac 12 only had a few notable games this past weekend, and did not help the conference reputation. USC went to Boston College and got beaten badly ( the final score was closer than the box score). For the second week in a row, the Trojans were outgained. This time the opponent didn’t screw up in the red zone. UCLA was unimpressive in a win over Texas. The Bruins did need to use their backup QB most of the game after Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley went out early with an arm injury. But Bruins fans are still disgruntled because they really should have beaten Texas soundly instead of needing a late TD pass.

The other notable thing about this game is that Texas actually screwed up the opening coin toss. UCLA won the toss and deferred. Texas chose to kick off to start the game. So UCLA got the ball first in both halves.

UCLA won the coin toss and elected to defer its choice until the second half, then Texas said it wanted to go on defense. The referee turned off his microphone and briefly said something to the Longhorns players after their decision.

“I had trouble believing it at first,” Mora said. “I told the official, I asked him four or five times, I said, `Are you sure?’

College Football 2014 Week 2: is the B1G already eliminated?

My teams went 2-1, but with the Ags and the Badgers playing cupcakes. Didn’t see the Badgers, but checked the game thread at Bucky’s 5th quarter a few times.

USC 13 Stanford 10

The Stanford loss to USC, at Stanford, was a depressing result for the weekend.

Stanford won or tied the stats except for the two that matter the most:

 USCStanford
Total yards291413
First downs1621
possession26;1333:47
punts42
3rd down conversion7-147-14
turnovers02
points1310

Stanford had the ball 9 times.

StartedDeepest penetrationEnded
Stanford 31USC 21USC 32 (missed FG)
Stanford 35USC 13USC 29 (punt?!!!)
Stanford 23USC 0USC 0 (TD)
Stanford 20USC 7USC 16 (FG)
USC 30USC 9USC 9 (missed FG)
Stanford 36USC 3USC 3 (downs)
USC 32USC 32USC 32 (fumble)
Stanford 35USC 23USC 32 (punt)
Stanford 25USC 22USC 25 (fumble)

All 9 possessions got inside the USC 35. The Cardinal got 1 TD and 1 FG to show for this. Both punts were taken from within FG range for a decent kicker. The first one went into the endzone for a touchback; the second put USC on their own 7 with the score tied late in the game. The Trojans marched down for the winning FG.

The game was also notable for a couple of things:

  • Pat Haden coming down to the field to be the first AD to argue with the refs on national TV based on getting a text message.
  • The usually excellent Kirk Herbstreit’s explanation that it’s OK for DBs to mug receivers as long as they are looking back for the ball.

The San Jose Mercury quotes coach David Shaw in the post-game:

The bottom line: You don’t take advantage of opportunities, you lose games to good teams,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “They made plays and we didn’t. They made calls and we didn’t.”

Then, anticipating a familiar criticism from Stanford fans, Shaw added: “We were bad in the red zone, and it had nothing to do with being too conservative.”

I agree that it was not about being too conservative overall, but punting from the 32 and the 29 is pathologically conservative in my book.

Texas A&M 73 Lamar 3

The Aggies’ game was notable for being the first in the partially remodeled Kyle Field, for a 2 hour delay for lightning in the area, and for lots of Aggie subs getting valuable game experience.     The game was about to start and fireworks could be heard from our house when Coach Sumlin cut off the pregame interview on the SEC Network Alternate Channel by saying “We’ve got to get off the field”.  At first, I thought this was the usual coachspeak about how the defense has to get stops. Then it became clear that he meant it literally: lightning had been detected within the radius that mandates a delay of a game.

Texas A&M may have screwed up how this was handled. As detailed on Good Bull Hunting, leaving 104K fans in the stands during a lightning warning was not very smart. It also probably violated NCAA recommended policy.

Once the game got going, the Ags dominated as expected, with one breakdown allowing the Lamar Cardinal to get close enough to the goal line to kick a FG. 3 QBs played, and two seldom used running backs got a lot of carries.4th string  Junior Brice Dolezal ended up the leading rusher when he ignored the plan to run out the clock and broke a 41 yard run for a TD with 1:26 to go and the Ags already up 66-3.

Is the B1G out of the playoff picture already?

Big 10 (base 14) commish Jim Delaney says no

“Big games matter on big stages with big ratings and a lot of attention,” Delany told ESPN.com on Sunday. “In the three primetime games, we didn’t win any. That’s disappointing. I would say this: I said they would be disproportionately impactful but I didn’t say they would be dispositive. We’re not feeling very good but the facts are the facts. I would just say with 50 percent of the nonconference games and 100 percent of conference games remaining, it’s premature to make any judgments.

Here’s what’s left for the B1G OOC, with teams sorted by record and then name

  • Illinois (2-0): Washington, Texas State
  • Iowa (2-0): Iowa State, Pittsburgh
  • Maryland (2-0): W Virginia, Syracuse
  • Minnesota (2-0): TCU, San Jose State
  • Nebraska (2-0): Fresno State, Miami
  • Rutgers (2-0) Navy, Tulane
  • Penn State (2-0) UMass, Temple
  • Indiana (1-0) Bowling Green, Mizzou, N. Texas
  • Michigan (1-1): Miami, Utah
  • Michigan State (1-1) E. Michigan, Wyoming
  • Ohio State (1-1): Kent State, Cincinnati
  • Purdue (1-1): Notre Dame, S. Illinois
  • Wisconsin (1-1): Bowling Green, S. Florida
  • Northwestern (0-2): W. Illinois, Notre Dame

Teams from the former BCS conferences plus Notre Dame are in bold. Currently ranked teams in either the AP or the coaches poll are in italics. The opportunities to impress based on out of conference wins are limited. The B1G may still get into the playoff if their conference champ is undefeated and other conferences fail to produce unbeaten teams. But IMO it won’t be based on out of conference impressions.

This all just fits with my belief that the idea that the playoff will reduce controversy is delusional.