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DeMarco Murray is the toast of the NFL, but injury and team issues clouded some observers' view of his talent. Texas RB Malcolm Brown might have the same problem this winter. 

14 Oct 2005

Seventh Day Adventure: Armageddon

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: Vin, our secret's out. One of our enterprising contributors on the discussion threads has discovered that going the other way when the two of us agree on a game has been a potentially lucrative position to take. Well, well, Tarrant, how do you know that we haven't been doing the same thing? Do any of you know for sure that I'm not watching these games on a new plasma screen, funded by a refusal to follow my own advice?

Vinny: Hell, I guess I don't even know that for sure. Although, the last time I saw you, you were wearing some fine new threads from Old Navy. Love your chamois Capri pants.

Russell: Why thank you. Meanwhile, I'm tempted to go Costanza this week -- that is, take my first instinct and do the opposite on every game. Things can't get a whole lot worse.

Vinny: These picks really have become like watching a car wreck in slow motion. That reminds me, I could really go for a box of Jujyfruit…

#16 Michigan State (+6.5) at #15 Ohio State, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: A little over two weeks ago, this looked like maybe the game of the year in the Big Ten. Now, not so much, with both teams coming off bitterly disappointing losses. Michigan State has had two weeks to stew over its overtime loss to Michigan, while Ohio State is fresh off its Saturday-night shocker at Penn State.

Vinny: The Spartans' braintrust decided that, in order to stay healthy, Drew Stanton shouldn't scramble quite as much this season. The plan worked well until Stanton made a string of throwing mistakes against a patient Michigan defense. Stanton will have to pull the ball down and improvise more against an aggressive Buckeyes defense this week. The bootlegs and moving pockets won't work as well. Javon Ringer, Jason Teague and Stanton himself must make the Buckeyes respect the run.

Russell: Agreed. Plus, there are a lot of other factors to consider in this one. Can Ohio State keep things together after a second narrow loss killed all national championship hopes? Can Michigan State prevent this season from falling apart like so many other promising ones after a big loss?

Vinny: Right about this time last year, Jim Tressell scrapped a very safe, very lethargic Buckeyes offense for a spread option attack that turned Ohio State into a steamroller. But Senator Sweatervest has gotten back to his Ward Cleaver ways, managing to run an offense that is so mind-numbingly predictable that it looks like Troy Smith is running out of the single wing. Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn can't hide their frustration at being ignored as they come off the field each series.

Russell: On the other side, Michigan State's offense vs. Ohio State's defense is strength against strength. I expect each side to win a few battles, but that matchup is basically a push. I think Ohio State will have more success against the Spartans defense than it did against Penn State. Smith should find some room to run, and maybe Ginn can break loose for a big play. It could be enough. I like the Buckeyes to cover at home.

Vinny: Remember, it was Ginn who won this game for the Buckeyes in East Lansing last year with some big plays. Still, I think Michigan State brings its "A" game, which would still be a "B-" at a real school (come on, you expect me to discuss Michigan State and Ohio State without at least one put-down?). The Spartans are the pick.

#8 Penn State (+3.5) at Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Strange line of the week here. Penn State is 6-0, ranked #8 in the country, and is coming off a win over Ohio State. Michigan is 3-3, unranked, and coming off an embarrassing loss to Minnesota that dropped the Wolverines' home record to 2-2 on the year. Yet Michigan is a field goal favorite at the Big House. Vin, what gives?

Vinny: Lee Corso's "so-called experts" in Las Vegas are betting the public hasn't bought into JoePa's turnaround story. And they may be right. The money has been coming in on Michigan, pushing the opener of 3 to 3.5 during the week.

Russell: I think the line also has something to do with what happened two weeks ago in East Lansing, when Michigan shocked undefeated Michigan State a week after losing to Wisconsin to drop to 2-2. The question is, can Michigan and Lloyd Carr summon the pride to play well against red-hot Penn State this week?

Vinny: This is definitely another "circle the wagons" game for Michigan. This is a season where everyone seems to be getting their punches in. Minnesota ended a 16-game losing streak against Michigan, while Wisconsin stopped a six-game skid. Now, the Nitts march into Ann Arbor with a chip on their shoulder about their own six-game slide against the Wolverines. The freshmen receivers get most of the headlines for PSU, but this is an incredibly experienced team, with seven seniors on offense and nine on defense. They haven't turned the ball over in two weeks.

Russell: The Wolverines' season is on the verge of running completely off the rails if they lose this game. Despite all the injuries in the secondary, I think Michigan can contain Michael Robinson and all those freshmen receivers. Can Michigan score enough to win? It'll be tough against that Penn State defense, but I think Michael Hart breaks off a long run or two and Steve Breaston will make a big play somewhere. I'm going to invoke the "line that looks too be good to true" rule here. Michigan wins a street fight, 17-13.

Vinny: Michigan has its share of Pennsylvania kids who have been looking forward to this game. They'll have to step up in a big way, especially Chad Henne, because I doubt Hart will see much daylight. Henne has been off in all of Michigan's losses. He'll have little time to throw with defensive ends Matt Rice and Tamba Hali giving chase. Factor in the injury-riddled offensive line and the Wolverines' outlook isn't good. Russ, you've noted how Michigan is the "ultimate cockroach" (refusing to die until all the life is stamped out), and I think this is another game that will go down to the wire. But given Michigan's tendency to settle for field goals, and the fact that its last two losses have been by three points, I have to go with Penn State plus the 3.5.

#11 Florida (+6) at #10 LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: Much like the Michigan State-Ohio State game, this SEC matchup lost some of its luster after both teams dropped early conference games. LSU has to be kicking itself for the second-half collapse against a Tennessee team it should have buried, while Florida might have had its confidence shaken after being taken out behind the woodshed by Alabama.

Vinny: It's finally a normal week for LSU at home, after having the opener moved to Tempe and the Tennessee game moved to a Monday night. The Tigers have been mistake-prone this year, with eight lost fumbles and an average of 10.5 penalties for 88.5 yards per game. That's some ugly football. Not the kind that Nick Saban was known for. You can see how Les Miles has been under fire in his first season in Baton Rouge.

Russell: Suddenly, Urban Meyer has gone from genius to the designer of a gimmicky offense that can't gain the tough yards in the SEC. His pleading text messages to a stud high school QB ended up online, which can't make Chris Leak feel all that great. Florida recovered some of its wounded pride against Mississippi State last week, but the offense won't hit on all cylinders as long as Leak is ineffective running the ball on Meyer's beloved option plays.

Vinny: Vern Lundquist and Todd Blackledge should be on the call for CBS. While Blackledge has vastly improved over his middling studio analyst days at ABC, I think Lundquist should stick to golf or figure skating.

Russell: LSU went out a buried Vanderbilt without breaking a sweat last week. It looks like they've put the Tennessee debacle behind them. The line's a little higher than I'd like it, because I don't trust either Miles or JaMarcus Russell to protect a lead, but I'm going with the Tigers.

Vinny: LSU and Florida are both very good against the run, but vulnerable in pass defense . I expect this one to be like a tennis match, with a fair number of turnovers thrown in for good measure. I haven't figured out this Florida team yet, but I trust Leak to be more careful with the football than Russell. The Gators win this outright, and the heat on Miles goes up a couple notches.

#1 USC (-12) at #9 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Russell: The odds of my being able to stomach listening to the NBC broadcast of this game are lower than the odds of my going 8-0 in my picks this week. I'm purposely avoiding all coverage of this game until kickoff, and then I will watch it on mute on a second TV, all to lessen the opportunity for the Irish-loving NBC hype machine to destroy my will to live.

Vinny: The first time Pete Carroll brought USC into South Bend, he had the team do all the touristy stuff: visit the College Football Hall of Fame, check out the Grotto, etc. And they lost. Since then, he's taken a businesslike approach to road trips, and you can't argue with the results.

Russell: Even on mute, this has the makings of a potential classic. After three straight ugly blowout losses to the Trojans, the Irish figure to be more fired up -- and bettered prepared -- under Charlie Weis than in past years. Brady Quinn is operating the offense to precision. Jeff Samardja is a matchup nightmare that could give the USC secondary fits. And Touchdown Jesus is sure to make a ball or two bounce ND's way, right?

Vinny: You would think all the injuries to the Trojans defense haven't gone unnoticed by Weis and his staff. Both of these offenses have been unstoppable in recent weeks, although the Trojans have been relying on Reggie Bush and LenDale White more than Matt Leinart lately. For all his flashy speed and moves, Bush has shown he can grind out some tough yards when needed.

Russell: Let's count the factors here. Notre Dame is a double-digit home 'dog that's had an extra week to prepare. Weis is an expert schemer and a master motivator. USC has stumbled around for parts of its last three games before turning it on in the end. Yep, all signs point to a Notre Dame cover. That's why I'm going with USC (thanks George!)

Vinny: Rick Minter's Irish defense will try to knock Leinart around the way Arizona State did. Irish fans have to hope that Minter learned quite a bit from the track meet loss against Michigan State. This spread is just too big for me with Notre Dame at home. Give me the Irish and the points.

#19 Louisville (-7) at West Virginia, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Don't look now, but I think Bobby Petrino's agent is probably fielding calls again. In the two weeks since their bizarre, planetary alignment-induced blowout loss to South Florida, the Cardinals have outscored Florida Atlantic and North Carolina by a combined 130-24. Granted, not exactly the toughest back-to-back stretch a team has ever faced, but still, 130 points? In two games?

Vinny: I really can't stand Petrino. He's almost as annoying as CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Russell: West Virginia's defense ranks ninth nationally, and only Virginia Tech managed more than 19 points against the Mountaineers. They should keep Louisville out of the 60s, especially at home.

Vinny: I gave West Virginia little credit last week, actually picking Rutgers to beat them, and the Mountaineers proved me wrong in the driving rain. Freshman Steve Slaton got his first start at tailback and rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown. He'll have to keep it up with Jason Gwaltney probably out of action with an MCL sprain.

Russell: I'm sure West Virginia will try to run the ball to keep Brian Brohm and friends on the sidelines. That should help keep the score reasonable, but without much passing offense out of QB Adam Bednarik, I'm not sure they can score enough to keep it close. I'll take Louisville.

Vinny: The Moutaineers defense has been solid this year, but they haven't played anything resembling an offense like Louisville's. I'm also going with the Cardinals on the road. Prove me wrong boys, prove me wrong.

Tulsa (-8) at Rice, 4:00 p.m. ET, Local TV

Russell: This week's Regional Special features a showdown in ... what conference are these schools in again? Oh, right, if it's 2005, this must be a Conference-USA game.

Vinny: Is this game being played within the Flag Division? Tulsa has climbed back to the .500 mark after last week's 34-17 win against Southern Miss. Last year, the Golden Hurricane handled Rice 39-22 at home. Senior TE Garret Mills (595 yards receiving, 5 TDs) has been Tulsa's best offensive weapon.

Russell: Rice is a strange program. They play in a 70,000 seat stadium that once hosted the Super Bowl but probably hasn't been half-full in a decade. You might have heard of the coach -- former Air Force, Arkansas, and Clemson head man Ken Hatfield. And they're one of the last bastions of the triple-option offense. This hasn't been an easy year for Rice, which comes in 0-4 -- all road games thanks to Hurricane Rita.

Vinny: The Owls don't inspire much confidence in me, or probably even themselves at this point. I'll take the Golden Hurricane to win in a rout.

Russell: After allowing at least 41 points in each game, Rice replaced its defensive coordinator this week. It won't make a difference. Tulsa rolls (and covers).

#4 Florida State (-7) at Virginia, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: I'm not sure I can recall a quieter team in the top five than this year's FSU squad. It seems like nobody's seen the Seminoles since their sloppy opening win over Miami. But Papa Bowden's club looks well-positioned to go undefeated in the regular season. The defense is ferocious, and QB Drew Weatherford has progressed nicely since he was seen stumbling around against the 'Canes.

Vinny: Florida State got a scare from Wake Forest last week. The Deamon Deacons only trailed 20-17 late in the 3rd quarter before finally succumbing 41-24. Still, the 'Noles defense yielded 247 rushing yards. As for the FSU offense, stellar OG Matt Meinrod's career came to an end when he suffered a broken fibula and dislocated his ankle in the 3rd quarter. On the bright side, true freshman WR Greg Carr (6-foot-6) is emerging as a big play threat.

Russell: As an added bonus, the 'Noles won't have to face Virginia knee-capper Bill Butler, suspended for the week after a disgusting cheap shot on Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College last week. This is another of the many things that bug me about college football -- why does a school get to discipline its own for on-field infractions? Can't the NCAA step in and issue a multi-game ban? If you ask Virginia coach Al Groh, he won't even use the word "suspension." He just says that it's better that Butler not play this week. Well Al, I think it'd be better if you not coach wearing a sweatshirt stolen from the Flashdance set, but that's just me.

Vinny: The Virginia defense has surrendered over 70 points and 1,000 yards the last two weeks in losses to Maryland and Boston College. Yikes. So while this is the 10th Anniversary of FSU's first ACC loss (to Virginia in Charlottesville), I'm confident that this will be a woodshed beating by the 'Noles. Florida State crushes Virginia (Fred Edelstein Lock).

Russell: I really like the way Florida State has improved -- last week's early struggles aside -- over the course of the year. I can't see Virginia putting up much of a fight. Although I'm tempted to invoke another "too good to be true" rule, I can't do it. Florida State is also my Fred Edelstein lock this week.

Vinny: So there you have it: not only are we both picking Florida State, but the 'Noles are also the Lock for both us this week. I almost pity Bobby Bowden.

Russell: Attention to the tin-foil hat crowd: You know what that means, right? Go get the deed to your house and your kids' college funds and put it all on Virginia. If the Cavs win this game outright, we should ... you know what, I'm not even going to finish that sentence.

Colorado State (-2) at BYU, 10 p.m. ET, SportsWest

Vinny: Russ, it's another game in your favorite place: Provo.

Russell: Ah yes, good old Provo -- where an extra wife or two is not really a big deal, but good luck finding a Starbucks. Good thing for Colorodo State, their offense has been plenty caffeinated on its own lately.

Vinny: No doubt, the CSU offense has been rolling, behind quarterback Justin Holland, tailback Kyle Bell, and wideout David Anderson. Unlike Bradlee Van Pelt before him, Holland is a drop-back passer without much shake. He's only been sacked three times in five games.

Russell: Things are getting back to normal for BYU, where the Cougars lead the Mountain West Conference in passing offense, at 346.8 yards per game, and QB John Beck is coming off a 34-of-44 performance against New Mexico, in which he threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns. Colorado State doesn't exactly feature a pair of shut-down corners, so this could be an old-school, WAC-style shootout.

Vinny: I like Sonny Lubick and the Rams to take care of business on the road here. CSU covers.

Russell: I agree, Bell will keep Beck and Co. on the bench for large stretches. CSU wins by at least a touchdown.

The Picks
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" in bold)
Game Vinny says Russell says
#16 Michigan State (+6.5) at #15 Ohio State Michigan State Ohio State
#8 Penn State (+3.5) at Michigan Penn State Michigan
#11 Florida (+6) at #10 LSU Florida LSU
#1 USC (-12) at #9 Notre Dame Notre Dame USC
#19 Louisville (-7) at West Virginia Louisville Louisville
Tulsa (-8) at Rice, 4:00 p.m. ET Tulsa Tulsa
#4 Florida State (-7) at Virginia Florida State Florida State
Colorado State (-2) at BYU Colorado State Colorado State
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 3-5 (1-0) 19-28-1 (2-4)
Russell 3-5 (1-0) 15-32-1 (4-2)

Posted by: on 14 Oct 2005

150 comments, Last at 25 Dec 2006, 4:54am by Sid

Comments

1
by DaveW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 10:40am

Vinny: Thanks for the kiss of death for my Nittany Lions. You're dead to me.

My only consolation is that Russ picked UM, so there's still hope.

2
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:00am

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Vinny and Russell ever both picked the same team as their Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week?

"Total protonic reversal."

"Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon."

3
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:03am

Nonononono! That's not the kiss of death for Penn State. They have to both agree for it to be the kiss of death.

Besides, Vinny's got the better record anyway. I wonder who tends to win out when Russell and Vinny disagree?

4
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:05am

OK, I'll take the split between Russ and Vinny. I still think 12 points is too high for USC/ND. FSU/Virginia only merited a 7 point line, but USC/ND twelve? Ugh. I know USC's offense is good, but can score as well, and these are two top-ten teams here.

princeton, I always liked that quote. But particularly before it, where Egon describes every molecule in one's body exploding at the speed of light.

That sounds great, but that's like saying "Exploding at 4 miles per hour," except saying "Exploding at 299792458 meters per second." It makes no sense.

But whatever.

I'm not sure about the strategy of going the other way this week, though. We'll see.

T.

5
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:06am

Well, since their record has to be the same when they agree, the only way Vinny could have the better record overall is if he's better when they do not.

T.

6
by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:19am

Reason No. 1,837 why I hate the mainstream football media: I saw Jim Donnan on ESPN2 this morning, and when it was time for him to pick his upset special, he picked Michigan to beat Penn State. Yes, he picked a favored team as his upset special. Way to go out on a lim there. I think my upset special this week is going to be Miami over Temple.

7
by DaveW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:20am

Re: #3

Pat: True, Vin has the better record, but when you're comparing 19-28-1 to 15-32-1, that's sort of splitting hairs, don't you think?

But, good point on Vin and Russ having to agree in order for a pick to qualify as a true "kiss of death". Still, Vin is dead to me. Unless PSU wins, in which case I will recognize his solid pick.

8
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:27am

Looks like Virginia, West Virginia, and BYU for the upsets. Hey, if you could pull it off by the SMU games...
;)

9
by real fred eddelstein (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:34am

My gambling grade for the day
---------------------------------

Games both picked 1 out of 3

Games Vinnie picked 2 out 4

Games Russell picked 2 out 4

More $$$$ for me this week

You kids have fun

10
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:34am

For tracking purposes, I should mention that the record stands at 7-21-1 when they agree. Plus, if they agree on favorites, there is a strong likelihood of the underdog (even a heavy underdog) pulling the upset.
Whatever it is, the picks are:
West Virginia (+7)
Rice (+8)- Wow, even if you are confident, it's tough to pick Rice.
Virginia (+7)- Minus Cheap Shot Butler
BYU (+2)

11
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 11:40am

True, Sid, that looks right (7-21-1) going by my last-week numbers.

The money total, so far, stands at $1120.

Will that continue? I'm not so sure about this week.

As for picking Michigan as the "upset special", that's a tough one. If one throws out the spreads (which many of the sportswriters/casters do - we know that most are just picking straight up), and you go with the following statement...

"I'm picking Team Unranked to beat Team #8 in the Country this week."

That's an upset pick. Now, Vegas doesn't see it that wa, but as we've mentioned in other threads this week, Vegas is only looking at where they think the money will go, and not making a judgment on who they think will win the game. Since it seems like tons of people think that Michigan is a good pick this week, well, the line just might be the right one.

T.

12
by Domer (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:10pm

God Bless you, Russell. I knew I could count on you.

13
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:16pm

I don't normally look through the games to see what I'd pick ATS, but from the big games, one stands out:

Notre Dame (+12)

Also, while I think Michigan can pull the upset, I'm not sure how confident I am that they will. If I had to pick there, I'd grab Penn State (+3.5).

14
by Duck in MA (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:23pm

Thanks for totally screwing my FSU pick. I agree with all you analysis about how they are one of the most under-rated top-5 teams right now and only getting -7? But where was the Costanza? C'mon, I have to buy beer with that money!

15
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:27pm

OK, so, just to comment on the actual games themselves, regarding Penn State-Michigan:

Russell, are you still doubting Penn State's defense? Mike Hart's a great running back, but Penn State has not given up a run longer than 22 yards this year. In fact, they have a total of 2 runs for more than 20 yards all year. Long runs against Penn State just don't happen, which isn't surprising given their speed at linebacker.

If Michigan wins this, they're winning it through the air, not on the ground.

That's right, your hopes and dreams rest on Chad Henne's arm.

16
by Terrance (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:45pm

USC crushes Notre Dame. Put the college fund on Trojans -12. Look at the ND opponents.

Pitt: Terrible. Worse than could be imagined.
Michigan: Bad.
Purdue: Not so good.
Michigan State: Well, possibly halfway decent. Notre Dame lost to them at home, though.
Washington: Come on.

USC will be up for this game, given all the hype. Another 31-point blowout is more likely than an ND cover.

The Big 11 is way, way down this year.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:55pm

ND crushes USC. Put the college fund on Irish +12. Look at the USC opponents.

Hawaii: Terrible. Worse than could be imagined.
Arkansas: Bad.
Oregon: Well, possibly halfway decent.
Arizona State: Not so good.

Sorry, it was too easy. :)

18
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:57pm

Whoops, I forgot

"Arizona: Come on."

just to ruin the perfect joke.

19
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 12:59pm

Re: 15, not doubting PSU's defense at all, but anyone can get gashed for a big play or two. Hart has a sneaky way of getting free in the secondary. We'll see. If it does all come down to Henne's passing, I'd say my boys are in a fair mess of trouble.

20
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 2:05pm

I still generally trust Henne's arm this year. His head? Well, that's another matter.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 2:28pm

I agree with Vinny, actually. I still don't believe that Hart and Michigan's running game are going to really help Michigan at all, given how stout Penn State's run defense has been. Hart will get a couple of 6-10 yard rushes, but nothing over 20. Penn State's faced quite a few backs who have a knack for disappearing in the secondary, you know. :)

I don't discount Henne at all (probably because I'm not a Michigan fan and haven't had my hopes and dreams crushed by him yet). In my mind, Michigan's success depends on two things: protecting Henne, and the receivers being able to get open quickly.

Unfortunately, "protecting Henne" is the place where I don't think Michigan can do it. I've got a feeling that Henne will spend the night after the game dreaming of Tamba Hali chasing him all around town.

22
by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 2:45pm

Speaking as a Washington fan, I think "come on" might be a bit strong for a team that took UCLA to the wall, but I do think they exposed Notre Dame's defense as a complete embarassment. Isaiah Stanback isn't exactly Matt Leinart yet, either. I'm pretty sure Pete Carrol's going to find more ways to stop ND than ND will to stop USC. Although 12 points is a lot, 2 touchdowns is a pretty realistic final difference with these two offenses streaking up and down the field. If USC can quit taking the first half off, it could be a lot more than that.

23
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 2:53pm

Reading through the first four picks, where you guys disagreed on every one, I figured you had incorporated a new strategy of disagreeing on everything. That way, either you both are near .500 each week, or one of you has an incredible week while the other is pretty much normal. Then you screwed it up by agreeing on four straight, opening the door for a pair of 2-6 records.

There's something I really don't like about the USC/ND game. There's just so much hype on ND's side, everyone's been pointing to this game for weeks as the one USC will lose, and the arguments all make so much sense... that it can't possibly be right, can it? As much as I hate to agree with Russell on anything (other than Michigan being a bunch of cockroaches), I gotta think USC wins big, for absolutely no reason other than everybody saying otherwise.

24
by Al (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 3:08pm

If there was such support for a ND victory, how are they still a 12-point dog? As Mike and the Mad Dog said yesterday, the oddsmakers are practically begging you to place money on Notre Dame with this line. No one seems to be biting.

25
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 3:29pm

I like Notre Dame with the points a lot. I don't see them losing by more than 2 TDs, and the game is more likely to be closer (a TD kind of game).
Notre Dame (+12) and a game I didn't mention, Oklahoma (-6).
BTW, I read about using teasers the other day (picking 2 games and swinging the line 6 points in either direction). I don't bet money on games (although I could win a fair amount if I did), but if I did, using teasers is too easy.

26
by TBW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 4:42pm

As a UVa alum, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll have to tune in now so I don't miss the big upset.

27
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 4:42pm

Sid: I'm the last guy anyone should take gambling advice from, but there is a reason why the local bookie and the casino offer teasers -- because they're a sucker's bet. The house gains a great edge (by requiring you to win all the bets in order to win anything) in exchange for moving the line. A huge percentage of games don't finish within 7 points of the line.

And trust me, on this I can speak from personal experience. Saying you could make a lot of money if you bet the picks you liked is a heck of a lot different from actually doing it. Your mind tends to trick you into only remembering the games you were right about. I don't bet, never have. But doing this column for a year and a half has taught me that lesson.

Bottom line, there is nothing "easy" about making money betting sports.

28
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 4:52pm

Russell:

I track my picks. I pick each week personally on a sheet of paper, using the latest lines. I do this for NFL. I generally do pretty well ATS in NFL games. So far this season, I'm 34-23 (I often skip one game each week). I also pick in Yahoo! pick'em groups that go against the spread. Believe me, I'm not just speculating when I say I could make good money betting ATS.
Whether it's a sucker's bet or not, I'll take ND (+12) and OU (-6). We'll see how I do this week.
BTW, I don't track my college ATS picks. I am, however, participating in a college contest where we pick 15 games a week straight up. I'm leading with 70/90 correct.

29
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 4:53pm

As for teasers:

I know, but I saw a guy in the paper moving the line 6 points either way. He just needs both picks to win. That isn't terribly difficult. I could try it myself, by picking doing one NFL teaser a week. In fact, I'll try it this week if I remember.

30
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 5:04pm

Re: Teasers, I'm sure others could speak with more knowledge, but I don't think you're getting a six-point swing on a two-team teaser. Six points would probably require three teams. I'm guessing you get a field goal on a two-team tease.

And they're a suckers bet because even though they're easier to win, you don't get the same payout you'd get on a parlay (a multi-team bet with no adjustment in the odds). So you have to win more of them to make money.

31
by Troy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 5:07pm

Sid, sounds like you have it all figured out. Good luck. If you need a bookie, let me know.

32
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 5:22pm

Russell:

I'm not that familiar with teasers, like I was saying, but this guy in the NY Daily News does it every week on Friday. He picks 2 games and swings the lines 6 points in either direction.

RE: 31
I didn't mean to come off like that.

33
by LTA (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 5:48pm

Well, I always knew that my year 2000 bunker had to be good for something. Maybe I'll stop at the store on the way home from work and stock up on canned goods.

34
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 6:31pm

LTA -- don't forget the batteries and ammunition!

35
by Gabby (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 10:04pm

I did that over the weekend in Vegas at my Bachelor party! I bet against the games that Vinny and Russell both agreed on and won like 3 to 1 on my bet.

Keep up the good work, guys!

36
by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 12:20am

re #6.

Jim Donnan's on ESPN 2?

I wondered why the bathroom in the Jiffy Lube on Route 42 looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a while . . .

37
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 12:53am

Not to keep complaining about ESPN commentators, but I turned on Tulane-UTEP just long enough to hear the announcer say, "Tulane has outplayed UTEP, but because of three turnovers they're behind." I really hate that kind of thinking. Part of outplaying your opponent is holding onto the ball.

38
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 1:38am

"Still, I think Michigan State brings its “A� game, which would still be a “B-� at a real school"

Nice.

I wish John L. would break out of his tendency of blaming players for losses (choking, bad practice habbits, forgetting fundamentals being too hyped up for the game, blah, blah, blah) and give an honest look at a few of the plays called. I almost feel like he'll call another HB pass in the red zone when the run is working fine this week just to make his point.

39
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 2:24pm

Alabama really misses Tyrone Prothro. Ole Miss isn't respecting the deep pass at all. The decision to leave Prothro in late in a game that they had already put away could cost the Crimson Tide a national championship.

40
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 3:09pm

Wow, just an awful sequence for Michigan State at the end of the half. I haven't seen a football team look that disoriented since... actually, I can't think of any.

41
by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 3:33pm

I think we may have a new name for the Martz Award, which has been suspended due to Mike's heart troubles .... ladies and gentlemen, I present .... the John L. Smith Trophy!

Re: 39, MDS I think it's a bit unfair to tag Shula for the Prothro injury. The game was against Florida. There were still nine minutes to play. If Prothro scores there, nobody would have complained about Alabama running up the score. And it was a freak injury - he just went up for a ball and came down wrong. Very unfortunate, but I think it's a bit of 20/20 hindsight to put his loss on Shula as completely unnecessary.

42
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 3:37pm

I'd second that John L. Smith Trophy. I can't believe how disorganized that was. And on 3rd down! So they could have spiked the ball rather than do it that way.

They didn't even have blockers on the left side, and had too many men on the field.

Wow, was that a terrible tackle on that Ginn touchdown. Wrap them up, don't just try to bump into him for a 'highlight reel hit'.

T.

43
by Jim (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 3:43pm

I see it's 34-0 to Miami over Temple early in the second quarter. Can anyone tell me why they play such one-sided games in college football. What a waste of time. Why don't people demand that colleges have to play a full program of at least reasonably competitive games. It seems that some colleges have a whole rack of tough games, but others have maybe two or three competitive games and a whole load of games that they are going to win in a landslide. This is the most frustrating thing for me as someone who loves American Football (I live in the UK) and tries hard to love the college game but can't quite get it. I would also like to see playoffs - the Bowl / voting system is just crazy.

44
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:23pm

In my previous comment I meant to say that John L.'s tendency to blame players and execution and never the play is decidedly Martzian (it's on the Lloyd Carr side of things too, but Carr doesn't #$%* around calling a game like Martz does and John L. seems to at least twice a game).

Again I am stranded in Seattle without ESPN GamePlan to follow the game, so I am following the play-by-play on sportsline while I do some work. What a torture. Seems like every MSU possession starts with a Javon Ringer run that went for 2 yards.

Also it looks like other than the two big pass plays for TD's (forever an MSU defensive backfield specialty), THE OSU can't do much right.

45
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:25pm

MSU just punted. I can smell a THE OSU long bomb coming.

46
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:33pm

Of course it's 20/20 hindsight, but that doesn't mean it's not accurate. (Being a football fan wouldn't be nearly as much fun if it weren't for 20/20 hindsight, which we'll all put to ample use in criticizing John L. Smith for the botched field goal.) I'm a big believer in taking your top players out when you've got the game in hand. Not to be sportsmanlike and refrain from running up the score, but just because it makes strategic sense -- you'll avoid injuries and get your younger players experience. I suppose you could justify keeping your top running back in because you want to use him to milk the clock, but there's just no reason to be throwing to your deep threat in that situation.

Glad to see my Jim Donnan Upset of the Week is doing so well.

47
by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:46pm

If you're John L. Smith, why don't you take the safety there? You're already down 4, so a field goal does you no good. OSU has probably the best punt return tandem in the country, and with only 10 yards to kick out of, you'll have to keep guys in to prevent a block. Take a safety, though, and you're down 6, still within a TD, and you can onside kick or try to bury the ball and get OSU deep. If OSU can move the ball on your defense, you're sunk anyway, because you won't have enough time, so play the field position game.

48
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:50pm

A 31-3 fourth-quarter lead isn't ironclad (witness the infamous "choke at Doak", shudder), but Florida hadn't shown *anything* on offense all game long. And what kind of confidence does a decision like that show in your defense? My personal feeling is that Shula got carried away by the moment and simply forgot about the rest of the season - and if this is how 'Bama plays without Prothro, he might have to forget about it...

49
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:54pm

Tom, John L. Smith needs to hire you for his staff. It's always amazing how many of those strategic advantages the coaches can't think of when they're in the heat of the moment.

50
by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 4:57pm

Re: #39/41

When I flipped to the Alabama-Florida game with 11 minutes to go and Bama up 31-3 and Brodie Croyle and Prothro still in the game, I immediately asked Mike Shula (not that he could hear me through the TV) what [] he was doing. You're up 4 touchdowns against a team that hasn't moved the ball all day, yet you're still playing both your star quarterback with a long injury history AND your only gamebreaker. Sorry, I'm sitting both of those guys.

51
by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 5:03pm

USC just kicked off to ND at 2:40 PM CT. I think the over/under for first TD pass should be at about 2:55 PM.

52
by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 5:23pm

Re #51

I just had to say "pass," didn't I, because 2:55 is when Bush took it in. Early thoughts: Bush is explosive enough that ND will have to try to contain him, but I'm not sure that they can. White is a guy who'll be most valuable for SC in the second half of a close game, where he could run up against a tired defense. ND has to get consistent pressure against Leinart to stay in the game. Enough for now, before I just take over the comments section.

53
by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 5:37pm

NBC: America's Trapezoid Network

54
by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 5:45pm

Two more questions for you college football folks:

1) Why is Alabama's logo an elephant?
2) Why did the White family decide that the D in their son LenDale's name should be randomly capitalized?

55
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 5:51pm

"NBC: America’s Trapezoid Network"

Not just any 'ol trapezoids, parallelograms! I do like how the score goes up like a pinball machines though.

56
by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 6:37pm

Re: #24
1) Back in 'the day' (circa 1930), the 'Bama line was HUGE. Writers called them Red Elephants, because they were so big, powerful, etc.

57
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 6:39pm

Did anyone see what the USC player who got called for the peresonal foul did? That was a huge penalty; Notre Dame was about to have to punt from their own end zone and instead they're marching down the field. I find that personal fouls for taunting and excessive celebration (and I don't know that that's what was called) are ridiculously inconsistent in college football.

58
by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 6:45pm

Re: #56, which refers to #54, NOT #24:
2) I *was* going to make a crack about not knowing whether Daddy was Len or Dale... but after researching and reading that his Dad passed away when he was young, I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to postulate that one grandfather is Len, the other is Dale.

59
by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 6:48pm

Re: #57
I *think* they got him for trying to pull that Notre Dame player out of the pile by his leg. From experience, I KNOW you can be hurt pretty severely that way.

60
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 7:39pm

Is LSU going to crack again?

61
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 7:47pm

How does ND get a free recruiting special on national TV for a halftime show? Isn't it bad enough that they can tell every recruit Hey, we'll put you on national TV at least seven times a year?

62
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 7:53pm

I'm not trying to start a fight, I respect that you guys like College ball.

But since the NLCS isn't on TV, I turned on the Notre Dame game, which seems to be the big game today, and... I dunno. The game's just sloppy. In just the last drive, the ND QB made a fake to the side, waited an hour and ran and still got 3. Then ND #89 (I think) got tapped from behind and it looked like he shoveled the ball straight up and into a crowd of 3 defenders after making a huge play. It wasn't even an intentional play, the ball just went flying.

Maybe I'm just missing something. Am I? Why can't I like college football? I went to OSU, for god's sake! :/

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 7:58pm

Guilty pleasure, Fnor. No offense taken.

64
by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 8:06pm

Actually, I don't watch much college football but I'm really enjoying the ND-USC game. Two thoughts:

1) This #83 for Notre Dame is a really good route runner. I think he has an NFL future.

2) On the third USC touchdown, after the runner crossed the end zone, he was shoved by Notre Dame's #9. Why is that not some kind of unnecessary roughness? I mean, it was clear the guy had already scored.

65
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 8:45pm

Wow, that last few minutes of Penn State-Michigan was amazing. And I also have USC-ND and LSU-Florida to watch now. This is a great Saturday of football...

66
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 8:56pm

Re #41: It's not just leaving Prothro and Croyle in that late. It was CLEARLY a case of Shula trying to run up the score. The Prothro injury came on a play where Alabama WENT FOR IT on 4th-and-5 from Florida's 35 when "nursing" a 28 point lead. And they took a shot at the end zone.

Not only is it stupid to still have your key guys in at that point, it's stupid and unnecessary to be going for it on 4th-and-5 with a 28 point lead. Trust me, if he'd scored there, EVERYONE would have complained about 'Bama running up the score. I mean, fourth and five with a 28 point lead! I don't know what YOU'D call that, but I'd call it running up the score.

Speaking of Florida, can anyone else remember a team EVER finishing a game +5 in turnover margin and still losing? Their offensive line is abysmal at this point. I saw a stat midway through the first half that Chris Leak had been hurried 12 times... which is really saying something when you realize that he'd only attempted 13 passes to that point. Yikes.

67
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:01pm

OK, I've been watching football all day, with two TVs in my living room. Can anyone think of a better day for college football? LSU-Florida was a very good game, and yet it wasn't even close to the second-best game on at the time. Michigan-Penn State was a great game, and it wasn't even close to the best game on at the time. USC-Notre Dame will be talked about 50 years from now. Wow.

68
by the K (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:10pm

USC 35, ND 31 FINAL

Likely the last two plays of the game will be steeped in a bit of controversy, but I think the right calls were clearly made. Whether it's fair of Leinart to deliberately fumble out of bounds to stop the clock is a seperate debate. Michael's right, this game will be remembered 50 years from now. What a fantastic game and fantastic finish.

69
by Phil (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:11pm

OK, on the scramble when Leinart fumbled out of bounds, the ball should have been spotted at where the ball went out, not where Leinart got stopped. Right? Therefore, instead of getting the ball inside the one, it looked like it should have been back at the two or so. Did the referees consider this? I think the refs lost sight of that in all the confusion.

Aaron, that wasn't unnecessary roughness on #9 because he was hitting Bush as he was slowing down and crossing the goal line. I think you deserve to get hit like that if you're slowing down and showboating while going into the end zone.

70
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:17pm

Mother of God, Penn State-Michigan was a good game.

Why, oh why, did Michigan decide to bring its A+ game when Penn State showed up? And of course, many voters will remain convinced they're a terrible team. Memo to anyone who watches college football: Michigan is a good team. A very good team. Great coverage, great offensive execution. One single mistake by Henne, and that had more to do with excellent play by Zemaitis.

I can't believe that people think that the Big Ten uniformly sucks this year. No way. The Big Ten is uniformly good this year, and I think people just saw that by Notre Dame almost beating USC (*this* close!).

Yes, Notre Dame isn't in the Big Ten, but they're the main link from the Big Ten to USC.

71
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:20pm

Thanks for clearing that up, Phil. I had a question... they called a personal foul on #66 on USC's second-to-last scoring drive, which kept it all alive, yet the referee didn't say what the personal foul was for, and the NBC crew didn't really bother to try to figure it out, as far as I could tell. Does anyone know what happened there?

72
by stephen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:24pm

It looked like landri had his hand under the USC guy's facemask and was pushing up. Didnt know that was a 15yd penalty.
Anyone know the rules for spotting fumbles in last two minutes. I dont see how you can get the clock to stop AND keep the yards.

73
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:31pm

OH MY F#@$IING GOD.

Just got back from a local (well, really, one of the only local) sports bars, watching USC/ND (and Penn St./Michigan).

Lots of fans of all 4 teams there, and OMG the ending made people get so loud.

I cannot BELIEVE the ending of USC/ND. If Leinart doesn't fumble, THE GAME IS OVER. Furthermore, the clock ran out anyway, even though the referee was waving his hands like mad to make it clear that the clock should be stopped...and the entire ND team (not to mention some students) were on the field.

Just...amazing. ND threw everything they had at USC...and USC probably should have lost.

That 4th and 9 pass that went 80 yards was...incredible.

And Carroll going for the win rather than guaranteed overtime? HOLY SHIT that was a gutsy call. Channeling Tom Osborne. And Leinart GETS STOPPED a yard short, yet somehow forces his way forward and over into the end zone? OMG.

T.

74
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:36pm

My comment got moderated away :(

I'm not spamming, I promise!

T.

75
by TomC (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:43pm

OK, my wife dragged me to Target this afternoon, and I turned on the TV when I got home to see 'SC celebrating. I think I understand the sequence of plays at the end (Leinart scrambles, doesn't get in, fumbles out of bounds, stopping the clock; next play he scrambles again and makes it), but I have two questions for those who actually saw the action:

1) The announcers were talking about Leinart's having faked downing the ball before running the last play. Why would he down it if the clock had stopped from the fumble? Or was it the penultimate play -- the one on which the fumble actually occurred -- that had the fake downing?

2) #68 says Leinart deliberately fumbled out of bounds. In the replay I saw, it appeared very clear that the ball had been knocked out of Leinart's arms and out of bounds by an ND defender. Did I miss something?

Thanks.

76
by charles (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 9:55pm

Leinart deliberately fumbled out of bounds. In the replay I saw, it appeared very clear that the ball had been knocked out of Leinart’s arms and out of bounds by an ND defender. Did I miss something?

Yeah that wasn't deliberate unless leinhart is so good he can get hit, fumble behind his back, and aim for the sidelines all at the same time. BTW, more teams should go empty formation and run a qb sneak when it's 3rd and short or 4th and short. That play worked the whole game for nd then usc started doing it in the fourth quarter and it worked for him.

77
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:03pm

Carroll was motioning "spike" on the sidelines right before the QB sneak.

The clock was stopped but I guess one could figure since they had no timeouts, they might want time to talk the play over (there certainly was no chance to do so when the entire ND team and half the student section was on the field after the fumble, since the clock operator didn't stop the clock).

So Leinart did sorta make a spike motion, but then snuck it. And was stuffed by ND, until he rolled over and into the end zone.

T.

78
by TomC (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:12pm

Thanks, gentlemen.

79
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:17pm

It also may be that the spike would be so that the field goal team could get on the field.

With only a few seconds left, and USC down 3, I think everyone expected a field goal to go for overtime.

Going for the win was an incredibly gutsy call.

T.

80
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:23pm

One thing I will say, that game was more fun than Fox's ritual murder of the ALCS. As King Kaufmann says "Fox hates baseball."

I think I'll give this college football thing a try... what games should I be looking for next week...?

81
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:49pm

Vinny so far: 4-2
Russell: 2-4
Me: 2-0 (OU result pending)

BTW, the West Virginia upset happened. Just like clockwork. :D

But you guys couldn't curse Tulsa enough for them to lose to Rice. The Russell/Vinny curse isn't strong enough to make Rice a real football team.

82
by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:55pm

I'll take a non-cover on my Michigan pick any day of the week. What a game. I have cuts on three knuckles of each hand from jumping up and hitting the ceiling on the last play.

USC? Cojones.

83
by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 10:57pm

Oh, and I hope all of you put the kids' college funds on Virginia tonight.

84
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 11:09pm

Yeah, anyone who reads this column should now be set for life. :D
But don't count out FSU just yet.

85
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 11:21pm

I guess the Double Edelstein really is the kiss of death. Not only is FSU losing, the lights in the stadium were sucked into the vortex of doom (the teams were ordered back into the locker room after halftime because the stadium lights went out).

T.

86
by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 10/15/2005 - 11:42pm

Pete Carroll has balls so big they can be seen from space. What a game.

87
by R.J. (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:06am

re: Leinart's fumble
Shouldn't there be a rule that prevents a ball carrier from fumbling out of bounds to stop the clock? I'm not at all suggesting Leinart did it on purpose, it's obvious he didn't. But if he had done it on purpose it would have been a great play because they lose otherwise. I know the NFL doesn't allow a fumble to be advanced on 4th down but I'm not sure how it relates to the clock. It seems like several times a year there is a player tackled in bounds as time is about to expire. What's to stop a player from rolling the ball towards the sideline just before going down to stop the clock for one more play?

88
by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:17am

Just got back from ND-Southern Cal game. Wow.
My only comments on the Leinart fumble - one: It looked like the spot should have been on about the 1.5 to 2 yard line, not the 6 inch line - and I believe some confusion arose because the ref did not signal to stop the clock. two: A Southern Cal coach and player signaled for a timeout (they had none left) - I haven't checked to see whether that is a penalty (a football version of C-Webb), or is just ignored. Anybody know offhand?

I'm tired. But we're back.

89
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:45am

Re: #87

Intentionally throwing a BACKWARDS pass out of bounds is actually a penalty - five yards and loss of down. Note that if you 'intentionally' fumble forward, that is considered an illegal forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage (which also results in loss of down). So 'intentionally fumbling' the ball out of bounds could be bad if they think you intentionally fumbled.

Re: #88

Section 3, Article 1, part (b) of the official 2005 NCAA Football Rulebook states that:

"When a team's timeouts are exhausted and it requrests a timeout, the official should not acknowledge the request."

No penalty is assessed.

There is a penalty for "Delay of game after all three timeouts expended." It is 5 yards. However, this covers only situations where a team commits an infraction that's supposed to cost them a timeout (such as a near-end-of-game injury) and they don't have one - this is not for situations where a team calls a timeout that it does not have.

T.

90
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:47am

That said, I agree that it looked like the ball moved backward and went out-of-bounds beyond the 1 yard line (I couldn't really tell any clearer than that without a "top" view).

Had there been replay, it'd probably have been moved back, but there was no replay allowed in the game.

T.

91
by R.J. (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:01am

Re: 89
Questions:
1. Assume he did do it intentionally (and was penalized), would that still stop the clock (the most important thing)?
2. If there is a rule about fumbling out of bounds to stop the clock, would the refs really have to rule whether it was "intentional"? (In the NFL, any fumble on 4th down cannot be advanced, regardless of whether it was intentional. Shouldn't that logic also apply to a "clock stopping" fumble, if there were a rule?) And wouldn't it be a good idea then to simply let it drop out of your hands if you're near the sidelines as you're going down? Nothing to lose, really.
3. So again I ask, shouldn't there be a rule that says: any fumble that goes out of bounds when the clock would otherwise have run out is treated as if the ball carrier had been tackled in bounds (so the clock keeps running)?

92
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:08am

A fumble that is fumbled forwards and out of bounds results in the clock starting once the ball is spotted, and the ball is spotted at the point of the fumble, unless it goes into the endzone for a touchback.

A fumble that is fumbled backwards and out of bounds results in the clock starting on the snap, and the ball is spotted at the point it went out of bounds.

I believe if a penalty is assessed for intentionally throwing the ball out of bounds, the clock runs once the ball is spotted (since the infraction specifically mentions the clock). However, I don't know that for a fact - the rulebook with regard to timing is somewhat convoluted.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you are a good enough so they will believe you fumbled it accidentally, make sure it bounces BACKWARDS, as if it goes forwards, the clock does not stop.

(This is all academic - I don't think anyone believes Leinart's fumble was intentional or thinks it went forwards, but the rules are strange).

T.

93
by Catfish (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:11am

Re: 64, #1

You're thinking of Jeff Samardzija. (I don't blame you for not trying to spell that!) He went to my high school, which I think is rather nifty. I agree that he's got a future in the NFL. Update your spell checkers folks!

94
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:17am

Virginia with the pick, sealing a win over Florida State, barring very unusual circumstances.

Now we know what happens when a top-5 team playing an unranked opponent is Edelsteined by both Russell and Vinny - they lose :)

T.

95
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:39am

#57 - MDS
I don't know what the penalty was for. Listening on the radio in Southern California the announcers were talking about players scrumming around and Stovall going in and pushing and shoving and pulling players off the pile, wondering why there was no penalty. Then I heard the crowd roar and a penalty was assessed on USC... probably retaliation in the scrum.

Something doesn't sit right about a fumble going out of bounds and saving the game for USC. I think if you force a fumble, you shouldn't be penalized if the fumble goes out of bounds. Maybe there can be some type of penalty within 2 minutes, kind've like they have in NFL for false starts within 2 minutes.

Anyway, I didn't get to see the game as I was at a wedding for the afternoon... but I was listening up until halftime.

96
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:44am

Is this not a weekend of simply amazing finishes in college football?

Starting with USC/ND, which ranks up there in all-time finishes, we also had:

Wisconsin/Minnesota (blocked punt with 30 seconds left).
Penn State/Michigan (Michigan TD with 0:00).
FSU/Virginia (FSU interception while driving for a winning score).

By the way, with FSU going down, and Louisville losing, we have Colorado State currently down by 17 against BYU. You guys really are amazing. If the score holds up, that leads to 8-24-1.

T.

97
by CoreyG (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:55am

I'd prefer a fumble lost out of bounds to be considered a turnover at the point it went out of bounds, but that's just my opinion.

98
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 2:06am

I would think a 5 or 10 yard dead ball penalty could be sufficient.

99
by R.J. (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 2:43am

Seems like a 10-second run-off would be more appropriate (like they do with the penalty that would otherwise stop the clock) since the time not the yards is really the crucial factor.

100
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 3:42am

Alright, I think I'm going to be the guy who goes out on a limb and says maybe we should cut the rule-makers some slack. I don't think they just sit around all day and say "Okay, what if there's a game where the team has the ball and is out of timeouts and they're driving for the winning score and their QB fumbles the ball backwards out of bounds. Maybe there should be a runoff!"

In my experience, it seems like most rules are made in response to something that happens. If the rulemakers really feel that this is an oversight that needs to be addressed, I'm sure they'll modify the rules in response. In the meantime, I think I'll limit my arguements to saying that the ball should have been spotted about a yard and a half further back, and it's insane to me that there are still some football games that don't use replay.

101
by R.J. (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 4:11am

If I remember correctly, in the late 70's someone on the Raiders (Stabler?) intentionally fumbled forward on a desperation 4th down as time was running out against the Dolphins and the ball was then pushed forward by another Raider until it was recovered in the endzone for a miracle victory. Shortly thereafter the rules were changed.
I'm just suggesting that if the rulesmakers had not thought of the "fumbling to stop the clock" situation, they should make a rule now. Imagine the controversy there would be right now if it had been less clear whether Leinart had fumbled intentionally. He obviously didn't. But what if it were ambiguous whether it was intentional? If the rules aren't clear (or not well-understood, like the tuck rule prior to the NE/Oak game in the snow), I'm sure many people would think that USC had won unfairly. It seems like some people kind of think that now and it was apparently perfectly within the rules.

102
by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 7:15am

All of that discussion being had, losing stinks, but Southern Cal did what they needed to do to drive down the field and score. I don't want to sound like a Michigan fan and claim every loss is somehow "unfair" (kidding). We could have stopped them on the 4th and 8. Or made the missed field goal. Or Quinn's throw to Schwapp could have been on target. But we didn't do those things. And SC's offense is just so powerful. Leinart apparently made an adjustment or audible on the 4th and 8 and BAM! a 61-yard gain. ND's coverage on that play didn't seem bad, Southern Cal just executed a perfect offensive play. Again.

What I loved about the game, (especially when I thought we had won) was that there were no flukes or ridiculously bad calls - it was a wonderful, well-coached college football game, and both Carroll and Weis made some gutsy calls. It's a bitter loss to our rival, but something is right about college football when a game like this is played between the Irish and the Trojans.

Seeing Reggie Bush play in person - he is phenomenally fast and deceptive. And he high-steps through the line, making tacklers miss like crazy. I salute him.

Tarrant: Congrats.

103
by masocc (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 8:45am

Agreed Domer. Though it *still* irks me when both the refs AND media glosses over the rules, especially when the infraction has a critical impact on the game.

Yes, I'm looking at YOU Reggie "Bulldozer" Bush.

104
by masocc (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 9:08am

For those not in the know:
"The runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, PUSH, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress." (Emphasis mine)

105
by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 10:10am

Masocc, you're absolutely right that by the letter of the rule, Bush broke the rule. But they NEVER call that. I mean, it happens in short yardage situations all the time, and I would bet if someone went through all the penalty data you'd find that it's called in fewer than one out of every 1,000 games. The rule was put in place to prevent a team from giving the ball to its lightest player and having its two strongest linemen pick him up and throw him over the line. They should either re-write it or start enforcing it.

106
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 10:39am

Vinny: 3-5
Russell: 3-5
Sid: 3-0

RE: 27

Is this enough to prove that I'm not BSing you?

Anyway, this is really incredible. Never seen anything like it. I've seen worse picks (probably), but I've never seen something like this. When you guys agree on a favorite, they're almost a lock to not only not cover, but to lose outright!

When Russell and Vinny agree, they are now 8-24-1, going 1-3 in each of the last two weeks. But check this out:

Tennesee favored by 3 over Georgia. Picked by R & V, they lose

UAB favored by 21 (!!!) over SMU. Picked by R & V, they lose.

Ohio State favored by 3 over Penn State. Picked by R & V, they lose.

Louisville favored by 7 over West Virginia. Picked by R & V, they lose.

Florida State favored by 7 over Virginia. Picked by R & V, they lose.

Colorado State favored by 2 over BYU. Picked by R & V, they lose.

This is just in the last two weeks! Only exceptions were LSU beating Vanderbilt and Tulsa beating Rice, because Rice and Vanderbilt just flat-out suck.

107
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 11:16am

re: 105 - there's a rule in the pros (and perhaps college too) involving kick blocking that's invoked about once a year even though it is violated 90% of the time. Naturally, it is only called when it will really affect the game (like the stupendous Colts comeback against TB on MNF a few years back, which also featured an incorrectly ruled onside kick.)

108
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 11:24am

I agree that Bush pushed him over the goal line. In fact, he even admitted it in a post-game interview, and I've seen some other messageboards where people are complaining about it.

But Lou Holtz, at halftime of Virginia/FSU, had it right. They interviewed Bob Davie first, and he immediately complained about the push and the refs and how calls throughout the game were terrible (how typical of Davie to blame the refs - I thought the game was called pretty tight, but not badly). The they went back to Holtz in-studio and he said, yeah, it was a push, but that it's probably been years since that was called on anyone, and a referee simply isn't going to call it there when it isn't called the other 2 dozen times it happens every game.

I doubt referees even look for it - it's simply not something they ever call. Should they? That's another question, but if they do, there's going to be at least half a dozen of them called each game, every game, for a while (plus, since it's a 15-yard (!) penalty, and it's a judgment call, it would become very controversial if enforced strongly and there were times the refs missed it, or thought it was only a SMALL push so they didn't call it, or something like that - because it happens all the time).

As for replay...strange as it is, NCAA rules state that for nonconference games, the visiting team can choose whether or not to allow replay, even if both teams would otherwise have replay for their conference games. Despite Notre Dame having replay normally (although "normally" is an odd phrase since they're independent), and USC having replay for all its conference games, USC barred replay from this game.

T.

109
by Russell (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 11:30am

Re: 107: Peachy, that unfortunate rule has now come to college football as well. It was added this season.

Re: 106: Sid, you're the man. Again, I'm sure there's plenty of bookies out there that wouldn't mind taking you up on your brilliance however. There's a reason why they keep building billion dollar casinos.

I'm glad that the couple picks we did manage to get right were so easy that anyone could have gotten them, though.

That said, the performance when we agree on a game has been nothing short of stunning. I'm running out of words -- and bad jokes -- to explain it. But as long as you're making fun of my record, make you get it right -- I was 2-6 yesterday, including three teams that won but didn't cover. Argh. I'm going to Vegas in a couple of weeks. I'm thinking I should stick to the table games.

110
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 11:37am

Re: 107

The call is "leaping". It also only seems to be called in college in moments where it has drastic effects on the game, despite happening all the time. I believe it was called last year in an early-season game between Auburn and (someone), where Auburn missed an extra point late in the game and would have likely lost, however, leaping was called, and they made the retry, and of course went on to an undefeated season.

Sometimes that's the way it happens. If USC goes on to the Rose Bowl, it will be partially because of Bush's push that's never called. Auburn went to the Sugar Bowl, partially because of a leaping call.

In an amusing note, after that Auburn game with the call, a pissed-off fan got the game tape, made a clip of only the extra points/field goal attempts of the game, and showed that leaping could have been called on every one of them save one - but the referees simply don't call that penalty, except when it seems to matter.

T.

111
by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 11:42am

Does everyone else think the NBC announcers were not quite up to the task of calling such a great game? They frequently didn't seem to understand what was happening, both with some pretty crucial penalties that were never explained, and on the key Leinart fumble at the end, where they didn't seem to notice that the official was right on top of it and calling for the clock to stop.

112
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:10pm

The NBC announcers for Notre Dame games are always terrible. It seems like the people behind the camera (and controlling which camera we see) aren't always on top of things either.

But yes, in this game, it was magnified - there were a few penalties that I had no clue about for which they showed no replay whatsoever, and yes, the referee never stopped waving his arms signaling to stop the clock for one second while the announcers started anointing the Notre Dame victory. It's like they weren't even watching the game at that point, just preparing to read their pre-written victory speeches or something.

T.

113
by Russell (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:17pm

Have the NBC announcers ever been up to the task? I think Haden is actually pretty decent, but Hammond is not good, to be polite.

114
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:18pm

RE: #110

Well, you do hafta realize, this was the first time in five or ten years the NBC announcers had a quality football game to announce ;) (j/k!)

115
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:18pm

Wow. Unbelievable day of games.

They've been allowing the push of a player forward in a pile ever since the Ice Bowl (Packers-Cowboys -- was that Alan Ameche pushing Bart Starr), right?

116
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:19pm

Vinny: 3-5
Russell: 3-5

vinny's 4-4 and russell's 2-6 this week

3 of Vinnie's wins were by teams that lost but covered (unusual)

117
by Ned (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 12:35pm

Leaving the Big House yesterday, I was convinced that I had just seen the best game I'd ever seen live and probably the best game played this season. Then I get home, and it's relegated to a 3-second highlight at halftime of the FSU-Virginia game. What a crazy day.

By the way, whoever above (Pat I think) said the Big Ten is good is exactly right. They will have the best record in bowl games this year (helped by the fact that they'll only have 1 BCS participant).

Also, memo to Michigan defense: It is called a quarterback draw.

Now you can continue your USC-ND discussion.

118
by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:17pm

Memo to Urban Meyer: You need either a new quarterback or a new offense. The ones you have now go together about as well as David Duke and Louis Farrakhan.

119
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:21pm

RE: 116

Thanks. I think you're right.

Either way.

120
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:23pm

RE: 109

Nah, I have to give you credit for the games you got right. I was just speculating that perhaps the jinx doesn't apply to teams like Rice and Vanderbilt.

121
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 1:25pm

My bad on the records. All I care about was that I was 3-0. :D

I'm not so much amazed by the bad picks. I'm just amazed that when you guys agree on a favorite, they lose. You jinxed a 21 point favorite, and 2 7-point favorites! UAB, FSU, and Louisville.

122
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 3:28pm

re: #110 - I remember that call from the Auburn game (it was against LSU after their national title season.) Thanks for reminding me of the official term...

re: #118 - I agree that Leak and the spread-option are not a natural pairing, but the biggest problem all season has been an offensive line that has woefully underperformed, especially on pass blocking. LSU was getting pressure all game long with four rushers - tough for a QB to do much in that situation. (I might add the beaten-to-death point that Bowling Green and Utah were both mediocre offensively in the first year of the spread-option; you can see that UF is just a step slow on many option plays, which is mostly a matter of experience - they still have to *think* about what they're doing.)

123
by nfl fan (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 4:15pm

If you have a rule then enforce it if you don't enforce it whats the point in having the rule.If you follow the rules according to college football rules then usc lost the game no questions asked.I don't understand why they don't enforce the rule.College football seems all about money to me and not for the players, also lets have a dozen or so bowls so we can make more money lets not have the two best teams in the nation play in a super bowl because we want to make as much money a possible. The Heisman come on people voted on by writers please what a joke, no wonder college football is such a joke leave real football were it belongs to the pros.

124
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 4:39pm

Most of the rules that are sporadically enforced in college are also sporadically enforced in the pros - not just the oddball ones like "leaping" but simple stuff like offensive holding, or defensive pass interference (both of which could be called on most plays). As to the two best teams meeting in the Superbowl, all I can say is "haha!" (If the powers-that-be really wanted to ensure that the best team ended up champs every year they'd skip the postseason entirely and play a double round-robin season like the euro soccer leagues.)

125
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 4:59pm

Note that the rule of not pushing in a pile also exists in the NFL, NFL Fan, can you tell me the last time it was called?

It happens in every NFL game where a runner is trying to get through a pile on 3rd/4th and 1.

I'm not saying the rule is good or bad or that it should or shouldn't be enforced but peachy is correct - college rules for things like this very closely mirror NFL rules, and it's never called there either.

T.

126
by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 8:46pm

Regarding NBC's coverage - I'm always at the ND home games, so the only time I see it is if I rewatch a Tivo game (not bloody likely the last 8 years). I rewatched yesterday's game, though, and I think the coverage was fairly weak at the end. The stadium was in an uproar at the end, but the analysis of what had transpired was more enlightening among the people standing near me, including a couple of SC fans, than what NBC was able to provide. And NBC had the benefit of replays and camera angles. Without all that, or even a jumbotron, we had a better discussion going. Complete with tearful hugs. Remember to edit that last part out.

You're always going to find some folks who complain about the way the game was called, and I wish there had been less confusion at the end. But the smart fans for both teams knew what a game they had just seen. I didn't see any gloating or bad sportsmanship by SC fans all day. (contra Boston "Fredo" College, but that's another matter).

127
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/16/2005 - 9:10pm

Domer:

Coming from an 'SC fan who was there during (and thankfully, for the end of - what a game to be at!) ND's 13-year unbeaten streak, as well as the 3-year streak after it, I would say that the ND/USC rivalry is probably the most "civil" rivalry that exists in college football.

USC and UCLA "hate" each other. Same with OSU/Michigan, Auburn/Alabama, etc. There's a lot of vitriol there, and a lot of shit-talking before, during, and after games.

I haven't seen that nearly as much in the USC/ND games I've attended. Perhaps it's the distance between the schools, or the fact that so many historic games have come in the rivalry. People talk with each other, they comment on the game. I've had ND fans say, in the row in front of me, and we chat and swap stories and it's a very fun affair. And of course, there's the fact that both teams want their side to win, but there's something about the rivalry that goes above and beyond just that. I can certainly say that in UCLA games I attended, when UCLA fans were in those same areas, the conversation is not anywhere near as civil. I'm not going to say that doesn't happen in USC/ND, but especially between alumni (students I can excuse), IMO, it is a different atmosphere.

You may or may not agree - but most of the posts I see online, commenteting about the game, from people talking about how USC sucked ass, or ND are douches, or whatever, rarely participated in either rivalry.

Maybe you agree or disagree, Domer, but I think in this (actually, in most things about college football) we're in agreement.

Oh, and by the way - Weis going into the USC locker room after the game to give them props was a very classy thing to do. He "gets" college football. We've known this for a while, but Weis was a superb hire (one that the previous ND administration likely wouldn't have made).

T.

128
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 3:26am

Re #118: Two things.

First, look at Meyer's historical 1st-year offense numbers. Florida's not doing exceptionally poorly, his offense is ALWAYS bad in the first season. He's really only got it about 50% installed.

Second, after Chris Leak's first 13 pass attempts, CBS showed a graphic that said he'd been hurried 12 times. 12 hurries in 13 pass attempts. I think that pretty much sums up the sort of day he had. Especially because LSU NEVER blitzed unless there was an empty backfield (which wasn't often).

129
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 4:46am

Re: #115
No, see, they played by the RULES back in the day. Here's a quote from the fullback on Starr's sneak (it was actually Chuck Mercein):
"The sneak has become legendary, and Mercein has often said, “I think I helped a little even though I didn’t get the ball. I went in right behind Bart and kept my arms out wide so I wouldn’t be penalized for pushing (the ball carrier), but I stayed close.�

Article is linked to my name.

Re: #125
No, it doesn't really happen in the NFL. In most short yardage situations, the FB leads for the RB. You don't see the QB running behind the RB to push him. And most QB sneaks for short yardage are quick snap affairs. I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen somebody so blatantly shoved for a TD or first down.

I think you don't see it called because it doesn't really happen that often.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great game, and this isn't sour grapes on my part. I had no vested interest in the outcome, I was rooting for whichever team was behind, lol.

But rules are there for a reason (I don't think this one is there *just* to prevent dwarf tossing). 4th and very short? Imagine Jared Lorenzen with two big tight ends pushing him forward. NO ONE will stop that play. 800 lbs, falling forward.

Oh, and IIRC, its a 5 yard penalty, not 15.

130
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 4:47am

Oh, and while I'm at it, all of those spectacular stiff arms to the head we've been seeing over the last few years? Yup, illegal.

131
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 10:00am

In college football? Maybe, I dunno. But in the NFL, they're definitely legal, according to former ref Jerry Markbreit.

132
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 10:50am

Actually, Starr was supposedly helped by Jerry Kramer moving early or so claim Cowboy players to this day.

What surprises me is no mention of Wisconsin/Minnesota. Both ranked teams playing for a tie for first in the Big Ten.

Maroney runs all over the Badgers in the second half but John Stocco (!) rallies the troops, the Wisconsin defense playing third stringers on the d-line makes a valiant stop, and then the U of M punter muffs the snap and instead of running out of the end zone tries to kick it, has it blocked, and UW recovers in the end zone.

Several observations on that game:

--Brandon Williams, UW receiver, is small for the NFL but has amazing hands and tough as H*ll. Somebody needs to draft him as a returner at least.

--Minnesota's assortment of cut blocks, leg whips, and crackbacks on offense wouldn't last three seconds in the NFL as opposing defensive players would bust b*lls in the scrum. I am surprised that the NCAA just twiddles its thumbs as these guys flagrantly break the rules. Last I checked this stuff wasn't allowed in either college or the pros.

--I think the kid from NW will get all the votes when season ends for All Big Ten but that Stocco kid can play. He makes his fair of dumb kid throws but he also made some amazing throws with folks in his face including that last TD pass to Williams.

--Maroney and Calhoun will both play in the NFL

I think Minnesotans have to wonder how they got saddled with coachs like Mason and Tice. Does Mason always look constipated while on the sideline? That is either serious backup or the guy is a serial killer. That pained grin was freaking me out.

133
by Domer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 11:33am

Tarrant:

Agreed - I have had the same experience. It's even more unusual given that the schools give each other larger-than-usual visiting team ticket allotments. This series looks to be a great one, and maybe not so streaky, as long as our respective coaches remain.

134
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 11:45am

Frankly, if I was an NFL GM firing my coach this year? I'd head over to South Bend with $5 million cash, preferably in those big bags with dollar signs on them, and beg Weis to come take over my team.

I'm not necessarily sure I'd do that, as an NFL GM, with Carroll, not because I want Weis to leave and Carroll to stay, but Carroll had his shot in the NFL, and while it wasn't a disaster (regardless of what Patriots fans might claim), it wasn't exactly a success.

However, ND should hold onto Weis as long as possible, and pay whatever it takes to do so - college football is better off with Weis in South Bend, and with Notre Dame as a contender. Certainly they'll have no trouble getting alumni to pony up extra dough if needed, which is exactly what USC did with Carroll recently - called up a few boosters and said something subtle, like "Give Money for Coach, Right Now." and they had checks in hand within hours.

As Pitt's, Syracuse's, and other school's fortunes have shown, finding the right coach in college is hard to do.

T.

135
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 1:00pm

Re: #131. I'm not sure what's going on there then, because, under the heading "Use of Hands, Arms, and Body" in the NFL rules:

"3. Hands cannot be thrust forward above the frame to contact an opponent on the neck, face or head.

Note: The frame is defined as the part of the opponent’s body below the neck that is presented to the blocker."

136
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 1:11pm

Perhaps because stiff-arms are sometimes sideways, not forward?

(Just postulating, I have no idea).

T.

137
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 1:22pm

masoncc:

I think that's intended to apply to blockers only. The NFL rulebook that's on the web is notoriously incomplete.

138
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 2:19pm

Okay, Pat. Its always bugged me that the NFL only publishes a "rules digest" on the web. I can see where there's some room for interpretation regarding the straight arm, and I *suppose* I'll have to defer to the brief mentions by various NFL officials in columns that a stiff arm to the face is legal. ;)

Though maybe I should pepper the 'ask the refs' columns with questions about the rationale behind this, since it is apparently contradicting the NFL rules digest. (It seems to me that the digest does a fairly consistent job of tacking on the word akin to 'blocker' when a rule only applies to them).

139
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 6:54pm

I'd like to apologize to everyone for my rather immature remarks on this thread.
I really didn't want to act like a jerk or anything. Can I plead temporary insanity? :D

Sorry about those posts.

140
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 6:56pm

To clarify, I was referencing the posts where I was saying how I'm good at picking games, etc.

141
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 7:06pm

That's OK, Sid, just keep picking games. Sooner or later reality will kick back in and you'll look like an idiot all on your own.

Maybe not Russell and Vinny idiot - man, that'd take effort - but common, everyday idiot all the same.

142
by Russell (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 10:46am

Re: 141

Hey, I resemble that remark!

143
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:15am

Maybe not Russell and Vinny idiot - man, that’d take effort

I think you're all underestimating the astonishing accomplishment of Russell this season

a couple of weeks back, when I pointed out the Serby-an (as opposed to Serbian) level of Russell's picks (at that time he was 12-27-1), I was going to add an addendum to the effect of "but don't assume that you'll make money by going against his picks starting now" and was convinced that his picks, for the remainder of the season, would cluster somewhere near .500. I mean, they HAVE to, right?

since then, he's 5-11

144
by EorrFU (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 8:19pm

I want Russ to finish his sentence...

"Russell: Attention to the tin-foil hat crowd: You know what that means, right? Go get the deed to your house and your kids’ college funds and put it all on Virginia. If the Cavs win this game outright, we should … you know what, I’m not even going to finish that sentence."

I wish I had put the deed to my house on VA.

145
by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 8:47pm

Go get the deed to your house and your kids’ college funds and put it all on Virginia. If the Cavs win this game outright, we should … you know what, I’m not even going to finish that sentence.

someone finish the sentence

146
by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 8:48pm

re: 141

if you want me to keep picking games, I'll be happy to do it. It adds to the excitement of the weekend.

147
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 10:19pm

Go get the deed to your house and your kids’ college funds and put it all on Virginia. If the Cavs win this game outright, we should … you know what, I’m not even going to finish that sentence.

someone finish the sentence

..asssume that Russell picked FSU as his FatMan lock

148
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 7:09pm

I just caught the Michigan-Penn State game on ESPN Classic (run up to the 2006 season).

What was amazing about the final drive was that Carr lobbied to have 2 seconds put on the clock (with 30 seconds left)... and the winning play was snapped with 1 second left on the clock.

I only caught the final drive, but for some reason I was expecting Penn State to hold on defense and was a little shocked by the result...

149
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/25/2006 - 4:53am

RE: 30

Re: Teasers, I’m sure others could speak with more knowledge, but I don’t think you’re getting a six-point swing on a two-team teaser. Six points would probably require three teams. I’m guessing you get a field goal on a two-team tease.

You're wrong.

From Bill Simmons:

Re: Teasers, I’m sure others could speak with more knowledge, but I don’t think you’re getting a six-point swing on a two-team teaser. Six points would probably require three teams. I’m guessing you get a field goal on a two-team tease.

I've done well gambling on the NFL this season. Won all 4 bets. Week 15 was Eagles and Jets straight up upsets.

150
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/25/2006 - 4:54am

I successfully steered you away from obvious parlays the past three weeks. Unfortunately, there's no obvious parlay this week, but there's an extremely obvious six-point teaser: If you tease the Jets +2.5 with the under (36.5) ... which means you'd be getting the Jets +8.5 and the under at 42.5, but both bets would have to win.