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» FEI Week 3: Bulldogs Bog Down

Georgia had a significant field-position and turnover-value advantage over South Carolina, but couldn't convert with the game on the line.

01 Jan 2007

Seventh Day Adventure: The BCS Bowls

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: The readers have spoken, Vin. Looks like it's back to the good, old-fashioned printed word after a couple weeks of dabbling in these new-fangled podcasts. (You can still listen below)

Vinny: Come on, really? Just when I was refining my impressions of Gushberger ("alllriiiiggghhtttt!"), Dick Vermeil ("Nice job, young man!") and Jim Donnan ("uhhhh...."). I was going to be the new audio-only college version of Frank Caliendo. It's a niche market. But lucrative.

Russell: After 27 mostly meaningless bowls, we've gotten down to the good stuff. We'll cover the first four BCS games here, and then do a special edition of SDA next week on the championship game between Florida and some other team.

Vinny: Ooph. I still haven't sorted out my emotional baggage (about the size of the Tumi catalog) for that one. In the meantime, I've been trying to solve the mystery of whether BC interim coach Frank Spaziani is really just former NYC police commish Bernie Kerik in disguise.

Russell: Tumi? Wow, I knew I should have gone to law school. Vin, I understand you'll be in the Arroyo Seco Monday afternoon. Hopefully you've secured better accommodations then the last time we were there together. I don't know about you, but that might be the only time I've ever stayed at a hotel that advertised "Free Playboy" on the marquee.

Vinny: It was the Regal Inn Motel! It had "regal" in its name -- it had to be a nice place. You just can't argue with that logic. Well, maybe you can. The extra charge for the telephone and the hourly room option were somewhat disconcerting at check-in. And I still wake up with nightmares that I contracted the Andromeda Strain from the beds in that place.

Russell: Oooh, a one-star rating! Nice pick, Vin.

Rose Bowl, Monday, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET, ABC
#3 Michigan (+1) vs. #7 USC

Russell: Let's get one thing straight off the bat. I don't buy for a second that either team in this game is going to be flat because they're disappointed to be in Pasadena instead of Glendale. Maybe on December 3, but not on January 1. The significance of the Rose Bowl to the Big Ten and Pac-10 is such that it could never be viewed as a consolation prize.

Vinny: Indeed. And USC is hearing the whispers (or shouts) about the end of its dynasty. The Trojans want to prove that they're still a force to be reckoned with and that they're not on some downward spiral back to mediocrity. Before the season, I was convinced that they would lose at least three games trying to replace Leinart, Bush and White. Halfway through the season, I looked dead wrong (per usual). Now, it's a possibility. Meanwhile, USC's total offense has gone from an insane 580 yards per game last year to a mortal 388 yards per game this year.

Russell: For Michigan, a win over USC means the chance to finish second in the polls behind the only team it lost to. I also think the winner here could be ranked first in the preseason polls next year, particularly if Ohio State beats Florida (the young Gators would be the likely No. 1 team coming off a national championship).

Vinny: That is certainly the talk. Michigan also got handled 28-14 by USC in their last Rose Bowl matchup in 2003. And it wasn't as close as the score. Only a few senior players on the current squads were involved in that one, but the coaching staffs and fans remember it well. Of course, USC claimed a share of its first national championship under Pete Carroll with that convincing win.

Russell: Michigan has to be licking its chops after watching the USC-UCLA film. UCLA got after John David Booty with their speed-rushing defensive ends and completely stifled the USC passing game. The Trojans have struggled with good pass-rushing teams all year, and Michigan's front seven is the best they've faced, because they bring pressure with not just the ends, but with pocket-collapsing tackle Alan Branch as well.

Vinny: This may be Branch's finale for Michigan before he bolts for the NFL, and he probably should as a projected top-ten pick. He'll be going up against a solid interior line for USC led by senior center Ryan Kalil. Tailback Chauncey Washington is healthy, but he and C.J. Gable don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators. Certainly not Ron English, with the best run defense in the country. But Michigan wasn't focused on Antonio Pittman or Chris Wells and they both had long touchdown scampers that proved decisive in Ohio State's victory. The Wolverines definitely need better safety play against USC. (Ryan Mundy, http://www.infosports.com/football/arch/2674.htm " target="_blank">please click here).

Russell: Brian from mgoblog doesn't refer to it as "Yards after Mundy" for nothing, Vin. After Ohio State torched Michigan, I have some nightmares about Dwayne Jarrett and Co. running free through the Michigan secondary. But I think Leon Hall's play will improve -- his performance against the Buckeyes might have cost him several million dollars in signing bonus money. And it wasn't so much the Ohio State receivers that hurt Michigan as it was Troy Smith, who took whatever the defense gave him and killed Michigan 10 yards at a time. Booty is more of a downfield thrower, and he tends to look at the pass rush if it gets to him. Advantage, Michigan.

Vinny: Jarrett grabs the headlines with his freakish ability, but Steve Smith is just as dangerous. He reminds me of Ohio State's Anthony Gonazlez with his route-running, sure hands and underrated speed. I doubt USC's offensive braintrust (Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian) will adopt the five-wide approach that Jim Tressel used against Michigan, but they know Michigan's Achilles' heel is the secondary. I don't expect the Trojans to be as passive with their gameplan as they were against the Bruins.

Russell: On offense, Michigan can't afford to become one-dimensional. Mike Hart needs to have some success, but that doesn't mean the Wolverines look to establish the run early. They might come out throwing as they did against Ohio State. Either way, I think Michigan wins this one on defense. Booty will toss a few picks after the rush gets to him, and Michigan wins it going away for both Bo and former team MVP Gerald Ford. RIP, Mr. President, and kudos to you, sir, for making "Hail to the Victors" a part of your funeral service.

Vinny: Caroll has called this Trojan defense the quickest and best he's coached, but I don't buy it. There's no way this unit is equal to the Kenechi Udeze, Mike Patterson, Lofa Tatupu defenses of 2003-04. Sedrick Ellis can wreak havoc on the interior but end Lawrence Jackson is a little over-hyped if you ask me. And as Oregon State's Matt Moore showed, USC's secondary can be had. I expect Chad Henne to find Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington and Steve Breaston early and often as coordinator Mike DeBord unleashes a pass-happy attack. I think this will be an instant classic that Michigan actually wins.

Fiesta Bowl, Monday, Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX
#8 Boise State (+7) vs. #10 Oklahoma

Russell: I'm actually looking forward to watching this game, and I'm glad that this time around, the "mid-major" BCS party-crasher is facing top competition, unlike Utah which crushed overmatched Pittsburgh in the Fiesta two years ago. Boise State has a lot to prove taking on an Oklahoma team that, as it turned out, would have been in the thick of the national-title chase if not for some brutal replay calls in their early-season loss at Oregon.

Vinny: The Broncos are undefeated thanks to their WAC schedule and another home rout of Oregon State back in September. In previous years, they were a different team away from home. But other than a close scare at San Jose State, they took care of business off the Smurf Turf. We'll see if that holds true against the Sooners.

Russell: Boise doesn't have to win this game to prove it belongs. The Broncos just have to be able to compete -- unlike their ill-fated trip to Georgia to begin the 2005 season. Jared Zabransky committed six first-half turnovers in a 48-13 loss. But I'm less worried about Zabransky -- who I think has grown from that experience -- than I am about the Boise defense that must cope with Adrian Peterson and his talented backups in the Oklahoma backfield.

Vinny: True enough. With the exception of the Big XII title game against Nebraska, the Sooners did just fine on the ground without Peterson. Both Allen Patrick and Chris Brown (4.4 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively) showed what they could do.

Russell: I don't see Boise slowing down the Oklahoma offense much -- not with Peterson back, and not with Paul Thompson playing as well as he has all year. Thompson has been one of my favorite players this season, stepping in from receiver to save the Sooners after Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team. I do have some concerns about the Oklahoma defense, which has been vulnerable to the big play this year. I can see Ian Johnson ripping off some big runs in this one.

Vinny: He'll have to, because Zabransky won't be able to do much otherwise. Everything for Boise State depends on the success of their smashmouth approach. Center Jadon Dailey is confident that the Broncos can get to the second level against the Sooners. Oklahoma is already somewhat acquainted with Boise State's offense after having played Colorado (coached by former Broncos' coach Dan Hawkins) this year.

Russell: I think Boise will give a good account of itself, and I can see this being a game at halftime. It's important that Boise play well. The addition of a fifth BCS game means that most years, a mid-major team will qualify. But I still think the BCS has designs on turning that fifth game into a championship of a four-team playoff, and it will be easier to take away the new access from the non-BCS leagues if they get killed in these games.

Vinny: Take it easy, Russ. I think you've had too many conversations with Robert Ericsson.

Russell: I think the seven-point line shows great respect for Boise, but Oklahoma has too much talent, and Peterson's return is the icing on the cake. Although I think he's crazy to risk injury in this game when he'd be a top NFL pick either way, I expect Peterson to have an impact as Oklahoma puts away the stubborn Broncos in the second half and covers the spread.

Vinny: I expect both offenses to have a big day. I want to pick the Broncos, but ... screw it: give me Boise State and the points.

Orange Bowl, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
#6 Louisville (-10) vs. #14 Wake Forest

Russell: Welcome to the FedEx Orange Bowl! Winning coach gets to tell Mal Moore he'll coach Alabama for $5 million a year. This game would have been more appealing had Rutgers topped West Virginia, but we've still got Wake Forest, the most overachieving team in the nation this year behind head coach Jim Grobe.

Vinny: Well, it's the day after New Year's Day and a Tuesday night. So I'll watch. But then, I'm home right now on a Saturday night and I'm watching Ronin on Telemundo ("Seppu... seppu... ¿que?"). So what else do I have to do?

Russell: Umm, you need to get out more. Wake is great story. You watch them play and you think, "this team isn't very good." They don't do one thing particularly well and they often looked like they were getting outplayed, no matter the caliber of the opposition -- they needed a blocked field goal in the final seconds to hang on against Duke, for example. But add it up, and this team is somehow 11-2 and ACC champs -- although I'm not sure if that says more about Wake Forest or the ACC.

Vinny: I'm thinking the latter, especially after watching Clemson lay down against Kentucky. The Deacons aren't terribly exciting. They rank fourth nationally in turnover margin and play solid special teams. Cinemax star Sam Swank has netted 21-of-28 field goals this season, including three of over 50 yards to beat N.C. State.

Russell: I give Wake Forest a puncher's chance in this game. Alright, maybe it's a George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer puncher's chance, but it's a chance. Unfortunately for Wake, this is an awful matchup against Louisville's big-play, pass-happy offense. Wake's smallish corners, Alphonso Smith and Riley Swanson, must contend with 6-foot-6 receiver Mario Urrutia, whose name may sound like a scary medical procedure but whose game is just play scary. Louisville also has a 6-foot-6 tight end, Gary Barnidge, whom Wake's 72nd-ranked pass defense must contend with. They better get after Brian Brohm or this could be a very long day.

Vinny: I don't like their chances of doing that against another solid offensive line for Louisville. Brohm has only struggled once this season, and that was the road ambush in Piscataway against a very good Rutgers defense. Wake has forced 22 interceptions, but that's probably as much a function of playing lousy quarterbacks in the ACC as anything. Louisville has some great youngsters in freshman Anthony Allen (12 touchdowns) and 19-year old senior defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (six sacks, 12 tackles for loss).

Russell: Yeah, Louisville just has too much talent. They'll be plenty motivated despite backing into this game; after all, it's not like BCS bids are old hat for the Louisville program. Riley Skinner will string some drives together and Wake will have some success with a bend-don't-break defense, but it'll be too much Brohm in the end. I like Louisville big, and I'll make this my Freddy lock of the BCS games. After it's over, Bobby Petrino and Grobe can trade real-estate agents' cards at midfield.

Vinny: Agreed. It's been a great year for Wake, but the Cardinals have too much firepower. Louisville coasts to an easy win. I'll make this my Fred Edelstein Lock as well.

Sugar Bowl, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
#4 LSU (-9) vs. #11 Notre Dame

Russell: Question for you, Vin. If you took all Notre Dame's players and even uber-genius coach Charlie Weis and put them in Washington State garb and gave them the same exact results this season, what do you think the line would be on this game? 16? 20?

Vinny: I'm guessing at least two touchdowns.

Russell: My point is, the line reflects a great respect for the size of Notre Dame's fan base. Everyone knows that Notre Dame got killed against the only two really good teams it played this year -- Michigan (47-21!!!! Pwnd!!!), and USC -- but it's more than that. The secondary was torched by UCLA, Purdue, and Michigan State. Brady Quinn's numbers were terrific at the end of the year, but he was beyond bad until garbage time against the Wolverines and Trojans, and his performance against Michigan State was nothing to be too proud of either. LSU has every bit as much talent as Michigan and USC, maybe more. Notre Dame hasn't won a bowl game since the 1993 season. Should I go on?

Vinny: Point taken. The Tigers have one of the best defenses in the country (third in passing efficiency and total defense, fifth in scoring defense). This is a quick, relentless group that can easily overwhelm the Irish offensive line. Senior free safety LaRon Landry has 16 tackles for loss, including eight sacks. And junior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey could make the jump to the NFL after Wednesday night.

Russell: I'll concede that Weis is an excellent coach and the program is in better shape than it has been at any time since Holtz last cared (circa 1993). In the coaching matchup against Les "I need to bend my brim" Miles, Weis gets a healthy nod. But coaching can only do so much. LSU's D-line will be all over Quinn, and we all know what happens to BQ's game when he starts to get hit (Yakety Sax). Notre Dame receivers need to start preparing for balls in the dirt or 10 feet over their heads. Lets hope the FOX announcers can avoid a 15-minute testament to Quinn's courage as he's going 2-for-11 for seven yards while LSU builds a three-score lead. Sure, it takes courage to take a beating and keep getting up, but it doesn't take skill to stink up the joint while doing so.

Vinny: LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell may join Dorsey in declaring for the draft after this game. Most have Russell and Quinn as the top two quarterbacks on the board (I would still trade down and take Troy Smith). Russell has had a terrific year, completing 68.5 percent of his passes and tossing 26 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He had a couple rough games against two very good defenses (Florida, Tennessee) but has carved up everyone else. The running game hasn't been great, but LSU still had the ninth-ranked scoring offense in the country. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher interviewed for the UAB job (nixed by Alabama boosters?) and now is being linked to the FSU offensive coordinator gig. Too many distractions for the Tigers?

Russell: That's not just "Alabama boosters," that's Paul Bryant, Jr. You gotta love football in the South. Anyway, I don't think LSU will be too distracted. It's probably no secret which way I'm leaning. LSU should win huge in this one, and they're my pick to cover. I should probably make them my Freddy, but it's only my fear that the whole world seems to share my opinion on this one that prevents me from doing so.

Vinny: I'm rooting for an entertaining game so hopefully Quinn can connect with Jeff Samardzija often enough. And maybe Rhema McKnight got some hands for Christmas. But yes, I'm going with the Tigers to cover.

SDA Bowl Podcast #2

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The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Favorite Spread Underdog Vinny Says Russell Says
Outback Bowl (Tampa), Monday, January 1, 11 a.m. ET ESPN
Tennessee -4 Penn State Tennessee Tennessee
 
AT&T Cotton Bowl (Dallas), Monday, January 1, 11:30 a.m. ET FOX
Auburn -2 Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
 
Capital One Bowl (Orlando), Monday, January 1, 1 p.m. ET ABC
Arkansas -1.5 Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin
 
Toyota Gator Bowl (Jacksonville), Monday, January 1, 1 p.m. ET CBS
West Virginia -10 Georgia Tech West Virginia West Virginia
 
Rose Bowl (Pasadena), Monday, January 2, 5 p.m. ET ABC
Michigan +1 USC Michigan Michigan
 
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale), Monday, January 1, 8:30 p.m. ET FOX
Boise State +7 Oklahoma Boise State Oklahoma
 
Orange Bowl (Miami), Tuesday, January 2, 8 p.m. ET FOX
Louisville -10 Wake Forest Louisville* Louisville*
 
Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), Wednesday, January 3, 8 p.m. ET FOX
LSU -9 Notre Dame LSU LSU
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
Note: Numbers will be updated following the completion of all the non-BCS games.
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 8-4-0 (1-0-0) 66-57-1 (10-5-0)
Russell 7-5-0 (0-1-0) 72-51-1 (9-6-0)

Posted by: Russell Levine on 01 Jan 2007

333 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2007, 3:50pm by Trogdor

Comments

1
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:21pm

Hmmm, Louisville looks like a pretty good bet, then. I'll listen to your advice and put some vCash on the game.

2
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:52pm

Pat Summerall in the Cotton Bowl sounds really senile. He's getting names wrong, and he keeps repeating the same stupid comments. "He was more than lucky..." "Let's see if he's lucky..."
Saying it 18 times doesn't make it any funnier.

"He's in there because of an injury." (I'm waiting for him to say that a 4th time)

3
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:54pm

Russell... I understand you don't like Notre Dame, but please try to stick to the facts. Let's not make up things about the Purdue, Mich St., and UCLA games. Purdue was trailing 28-7 in the first half, if you want to talk about garbage yards. In the UCLA game, the Bruins got two lucky long passes in the first half and had one good drive the rest of the game. They didn't throw the ball well outside of those three drives. Michigan State was ahead in that game because they were running the ball well. After the first quarter, Stanton was 4-12 with two INTs.

BTW, I love the analysis of Brady Quinn as if he's the only QB who doesn't play well when he gets hit often. That pretty much describes 99.9% of the QBs in college and the NFL. Let's not forget how rattled Brian Brohm was against Rutgers.

4
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:56pm

Wow, where did FOX dig up Pat Summerall to call the Cotton Bowl? Still great to hear his voice though.

5
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:13pm

What I don't like about Notre Dame is the deification of Weis without beating a single quality opponent in two years.

Fair point that Purdue piled up garbage time yards, but Purdue is awful. UCLA may have gotten "lucky" but those yards count just the same. UCLA's offense is also not very good. North Carolina's offense is worse than that, but they also hit some big plays against that Irish secondary.

Quinn is far from the only quarterback whose game suffers when he gets hit, but I stand by my opinion that he was horrendous against Michigan and USC when the game mattered, that he gets rattled and his mechanics really suffer. Against Michigan, he started spraying balls all over the place even when he did have time. Same thing against Georgia Tech. This guys is the presumed no. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and I'm not sure he can be successful in a league where accuracy is paramount and all QBs get hit a lot.

6
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:20pm

They could exhume Pat Summerall's corpse 175 years from now and I'd still take him calling the Cotton Bowl over Mike Patrick calling the Outback Bowl.

7
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:27pm

Russell... Michigan is only a quality opponent when they beat the Irish? I recall Weis and Notre Dame winning at the big house last season.

I'll be the first one to admit this ND team isn't as good as last season's and the o-line (somehow) got much worse. However, one must acknowledge there are only two good players on this offense besides Quinn... Samardzija and Carlson. Considering that and the fact GT has one of the nation's top 3-5 defensive coordinators who had 7 months to prepare for the game, I can't kill Quinn. Plus, Michigan and USC are damn good defenses. Even UCLA showed how good they were. It sounds like I'm making excuses, but sometimes you have to give the other team credit. Especially when ND doesn't walk into these games with the talent most big programs possess.

As I type this, I see a Tennessee RB with more speed than any ND back... ever?

8
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:40pm

No, Michigan is only a quality opponent when they go 11-1 as opposed to 7-5 (UM's worst team in 21 seasons).

Perhaps I should have said "elite" opponent as opposed to "quality". In my view, Weis/ND has faced 4 elite teams (USC, Ohio State in '05; Michigan and USC in '06) in two seasons and they have gone 0-4 and been outclassed in three of the games.

9
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:44pm

Cox has been unable to find his receivers at all.
Nebraska is thoroughly outplaying Auburn. Two fluky turnovers (one resulting off a silly decision for a fake at their own 15) are what has Auburn in this contest.

10
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:56pm

"ND doesn’t walk into these games with the talent most big programs possess." Little too much celebrating last night, Kevin? ND has its own television network, a national fan base that is larger than anyone else's, and had the fifth ranked recruiting classes (according to the CSTV website--I have no idea how authoritative, it was the first recruiting/ranking site I found) in 2003 and 2006, and was highly ranked in one of the intervening years. It wasn't that long ago that it seemed like every top recruit in the country had narrowed his choices to college X and Notre Dame. If ND can't get talent, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Oh, yeah, UCLA's "lucky" passes. I guess ND didn't have any plays like that this season. That last score against Michigan State was totally skill and execution.

11
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:00pm

I understand the nostalgia in hearing Summerall again, but the announcing has been dreadful.
Also, Auburn should've just taken a knee or two. What they did there made no sense.

12
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:01pm

Russell... I don't disagree with you about those four games. HOWEVER, even you must admit those were four REALLY good teams with REALLY EXCEPTIONAL talent. If you want to kill Weis about the Michigan St. games, go ahead. Killing him about the losing badly to teams that are MUCH more talented than ND doesn't seem like much of a revelation.

In Weis' defense, I must state ND has won 9 games back to back seasons for the first time since the Lou Holtz era. Plus, he turned a talented kid into perhaps the first pick in the draft. He made Maurice Stovall into an actual football player. He realized Jeff Samardzija can actually be good if he's on the field. Most importantly though, Weis is getting big time recruits and that's REALLY what big time college football is about... talent. The 4 seasons prior to last year, the Irish got 9 Top 100 recruits. In the past two seasons (with still more time left), Weis has nabbed 13 Top 100 players.

13
by Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:24pm

8: Russell as much as I hate that Notre Dame is playing in a BCS game I have to say that although they are technically 0-4 against "elite teams" they are 1-3 in my mind.

Matt Leinart fumbled the ball out of bounds around the 2 or 3 yard line. Every replay I watched showed the ball going out WELL before the goalline, yet the refs spotted him at the half-yard line for 4th down. Then Notre Dame stopped Leinart on the sneak (I'd say I'm about 90% certain that Leinart was going to be tackled outside of the goalline) when Reggie Bush ILLEGALLY pushed him into the endzone. Of course the refs were afraid to call it, and do you blame them? That's like calling Michael Jordan on a push off when he hits a Finals winning jumper.

14
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:48pm

13: Mike, while you're at it, tell us how you feel about the tuck rule!

15
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:06pm

82 yard fumble return TD!

16
by black (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:10pm

I guess Calvin Johnson is still good when you throw him the ball. Reggie Ball somehow didn't understand that.

17
by perrin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:18pm

As soon as it's obvious Penn State will do nothing but run the ball, they become unstoppable. What's the deal?

18
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:18pm

Is there a story behind the Cotton Bowl being left out of the championship rotation? My perception was that right up until the formation of the Bowl Alliance, it ranked ahead of the Fiesta in terms of prestige -- as a kid, I never heard tales of Fiesta Bowls past, but I damn sure knew about the great Texas teams and Joe Montana's chicken soup -- so I've always been puzzled by its exclusion.

19
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:21pm

Does Joe Paterno get credit for these wins for just watching the game?

20
by perrin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:23pm

And as soon as I say Penn State's rushing offense is unstoppable, they're stopped. FG and ten point lead nonetheless for PSU.

21
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:27pm

Re: 18

The Cotton wanted to be a part of the BCS, I believe, but was done in by several factors, including backing, the facility, and the association with the Southwest Conference.

22
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:38pm

Re #20
What I liked about that FG was Todd Blackledge arguing Penn State should go for it on 4&G up 7 with less than 4 to play, rather than kick the FG to make it a 10 point lead. Now, coaches probably should go for it more often, but that's one of those times it does make sense to kick the FG and make it a 2-score game.

23
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:57pm

Why I love Fox: it took them two minutes to actually notice the biggest play of the game, Auburn's 3rd down run to seal the game, was under review. Replay correctly reversed the call on the field, and Nebraska gets the ball back and a chance to win. Of course, Callahan decides not to try to return the punt at all, costing his team likely a few yards and, more preciously, some time. Oh, and with 9 seconds left on the clock, the Huskers run a Hail Mary, rather than from 70-ish yards away, rather than, say, running a short play to get closer and running a shorter heave. Callahan deserves some JLS consideration for blowing this, though I'm sure some other idiot is/will be more deserving.

24
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:09pm

Sign of the Apocalypse of the Year, Incredibly Early Edition: Lame "Florida Sun" (parody of Rivieras' "California Sun") during halftime of Capitol One, nee Citrus, nee Tangerine, Bowl)

25
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:13pm

How is Arkansas down by 10? I only watched a little bit of the first half? The yardage/turnovers seem to indicate a closer game.

26
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:14pm

Wow. Rich Rodriguez tells the sideline reporter coming out of the locker room at halftime Slaton won't be playing, then GaTech pulls out the surprise onside up 28-17. Gailey/Nix then pull out the flea-flicker on the first play, but Bennett can't find anybody open downfield. So, Choice can just pick up 18 yards on the ground. Not looking good for the Mountaineers.

27
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:17pm

West Virginia just cannot stop the Yellow Jackets.

28
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:22pm

How sick must Georgia Tech fans be watching this performance by the backup QB after suffering through four years with Reggie Ball?

Calvin Johnson would look awful good in a Tampa Bay uniform at #3 or 4.

29
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:41pm

2 things:

1)I don't get why they went for it on 4th and 5. Straight out of the buffalo playbook. Kick the damn field goal.

2)The Wisconsin player should've knocked it down, not caught it. It's 4th down. Idiot.

30
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:49pm

Arkansas has about twice as many yards as Wisconsin and they're winning the turnover battle.

The lesson--special teams are important.

31
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:49pm

I think calling him an "idiot" for a play that may have cost Wisconsin three yards is a bit strong.

Arkansas's kicking game leaves something to be desired, which is why they went for it.

32
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:53pm

The 3rd quarter of the Wisc-Arky game set football back about 40 years. But Arky just scored, so now we've got a ballgame...

33
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:57pm

Apparently the real John Stocco has subbed back in at halftime. Wow.

34
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:59pm

they should call the latrine system the c-john.

35
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:01pm

RE: 31

Obviously they have no confidence in their kicker, but I think you have to in that situation.

It was just a stupid interception by a player looking to pad his stats. That's not team football.

36
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:17pm

Arkansas actually benefitted from getting called for pass interference. The INT had them way back down the field. Fumble might give them better field position.

37
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:18pm

Wisconsin has no business winning this game.

38
by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:20pm

. . .and Arkansas does?

39
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:31pm

Arkansas has over 350 yards of offense. Prior to this current drive, Wisconsin had 5 yds of offense in the 2nd half.

40
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:37pm

Yeah, this would be one of those games that a college DVOA would point to Arkansas dominating Wisconsin.

Also, why didn't they review that close spot that gave Wisconsin the first down that allowed them to run out the clock?

41
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:38pm

John Stocco: 14-34, 206, 2TD, 2 INT. And he's named MVP? Wow. I know the losing team rarely has the game MVP, but it probably should've gone to Felix Jones.

42
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:39pm

West Virginia gets a first down with 2:36 to play, up 3. Georgia Tech has 1 TO. Naturally, Chan takes it before the first down play, when it takes the least time off possible. Seriously, 3-2-5-e has been in place all freakin' year, and some coaches still haven't figured this out?

43
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:40pm

p.s. Kudos to Wisconsin for hanging on. Their defense made the plays in the 4th Quarter when it needed to. Their offense better be treating their defense to a few cold ones once they get back to Madison.

44
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:47pm

And because of Gailey's screw-up, West Virginia has 7 seconds left instead of 22 when they make it to 4th down. White boots outside, and finally goes for the scramble upfield when he's run almost all the time off the clock. He nabs the first down, but it didn't really matter because the clock had expired. Does Rodriguez call the same play if it won't run out the clock? Well, maybe, but Gailey deprived us of the chance to know, and hurt his team's chance to win.

45
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:59pm

Wisconsin sucks. No way in hell they could go through a quality conference with only one loss. That offense is horrible.

Penn State should just say thank you very much for the gift.

Listening to color guys who played in the Big Ten do bowl games involving the Big 10 ought to be outlawed. What a bunch of freaking homers!

Tennessee is running effectively to their left. Gee, Penn St grad Todd Blackledge, do you think it might have anything to do with All-SEC left tackle, Aaron Sears? Guess not, all we hear about is Penn State's problems defending there. All Joe Pa, all Penn St, all the time. Pathetic effort there, Todd.

Arkansas gets called for the absolute worst PI penalty of all time, negating an interception. There was no contact between a defender and the receiver! But Big Ten grad Bob Griese continues to tell us that you can't put your hands on the receiver once the ball is in the air. First, WRs and DBs have been hand fighting for years, Bob. Get a clue. Second, on the play in question -- he didn't even touch him! Look at your freaking monitor where they are showing the replay while you talk. No contact. Geez, what a tool.

And now we get the culmination of a week long gagfest on the Rose Bowl. The most overrated sporting event in history. For most of my life, watching the Rose Bowl has always been the worst part of bowl week. Multiple games early on Jan 1 with most of them being good games. But we have to switch back and forth like crazy to keep up. Then the Rose Bowl where some overrated Big 10 cupcake would regularly get the crap beat out of it by a Pac 10 team with an overwhelming speed advantage.

By the 3Q you're desperate for another game to switch to. But no, its the granddaddy of them all. So no competition on the tube and we have only the blowout to watch. This went on for years. And to top off the misery, Brent freaking Musberger, another Big Ten grad, doing the game and making you want to ralph. You'd think Tylenol and Advil would be smart enough to do all the ads.

I know the Big Ten viewing area is huge. I know the networks are going to cater to that huge population base. But damn, a little honesty and balance once in a while wouldn't hurt.

46
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:09pm

Wow Stan, what did you drink last night?

46
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:09pm

Wow Stan, what did you drink last night?

48
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:13pm

Thanks for the laugh stan.

I can't stand Musberger either, he's probably the announcer I dislike the most, and that's saying a lot. I do like Griese though--I enjoyed how he was ripping into Paul Maguire today.

ps. John Stocco just wins baby...

49
by perrin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:25pm

Nice tirade! I don't quite get the Rose Bowl bit ("Then the Rose Bowl where some overrated Big 10 cupcake would regularly get the crap beat out of it by a Pac 10 team..."). From 1980 - 2002, the Pac 10 won 12 Rose Bowls, and the Big 10 won 10.

But that's all right. I live in Ohio; I root for the University of Cincinnati because I went to school there; and I wasn't aware that there are really vehement anti-Big 10 people. Not that I have anything against the Big 10--I kind of root for Ohio State in football because my girlfriend went there, and she's a big fan--but all I hear about are the Big 10 and the MAC, and it's nice to see other perspectives.

50
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:40pm

Michigan might want to generate a little offense soon.

51
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:51pm

I'd like to thank Bob Davie for telling us Michigan is 11-1 this year as opposed to last year's 7-5 because Lloyd Carr is looser. I thought it had something to do with Henne playing at a higher level more consistently, better overall team health, particularly including Hart and Long, the emergence of Mario Manningham as a #1 WR, better defensive play, and the absence of close losses against teams with inferior talent. But, no, it's all about Carr's attitude.

52
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:54pm

I turned 13 in 1969. Started really paying attention to college football about then. The Big Ten won only four times in the 23 games starting with the Rose Bowl that year. Yet, every year the national media would tell us about how great the Big Ten is and how great the Rose Bowl is. The game would suck, the Big Ten would suck and the important games with national implications were almost always the Sugar and Orange.

During those years when it is obvious to everyone that the league is terrible and the media still puffs them up, it causes anyone capable of logic to doubt the credibility of the media.

When it continues over decades, it gets rather irritating.

53
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:02pm

Brent Musberger -- NFL talent evaluator!

Why do they have two color commentators when Brent never shuts up about stuff he knows nothing about?

54
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:17pm

Arkansas had the ball at the Wisky 35 a kajillion times in the second half and got bupkus. Is that Wisco's fault?

Was at the game. Life is good.

Sid, do you think a kid thinks all that? Because the pros do the same thing. I figure its instinct.

55
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:31pm

I think I like Coach Carr a little more. When Bonnie asked him what Mich had to do to run the ball better with Hart he said "block them." Ask a stupid question ....

Bob Davie gave us "USC needed to get their swagger back". Barf.

And Herbie (who I generally like, even if he, like Mushberger, is a Big 10 grad), speculates on how USC's offensive line could possibly be handling the awesome pass rush of Michigan after struggling to block UCLA. Uhh, Kirk, maybe Michigan's pass rush really isn't the best in the nation? Is it even possible that they built their rep by beating up on bad teams?

How many great pass blocking lines did Mich face?

56
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:44pm

Wait, no jokes about how the Big 10 teams can't possibly cope with that amazing SEC speed? Apparently that speed didn't help Tennessee much in stopping Tony Hunt.

57
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:49pm

Re 56: Tennessee is very overrated. Look at their schedule...aside from their opening win against Cal, they didn't beat anyone all season. They lost to all the good teams on their schedule. They mailed in their season back in November after they lost to LSU.

Penn St's win doesn't prove much, other than the team that turns the ball over 3 times usually loses.

58
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:55pm

57- I agree that UT was overrated, although I'd like to see how the LSU game turns out if Ainge is healthy. I just get irritated hearing about the SEC's great speed advantage when just about every good team has speed. I still think it's the best conference this year, but it's not like the SEC's teams blow away everyone else.

59
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:58pm

Gator:

I find your comment interesting. Because many folks, including this forum, had the Vols walking away with the win.

60
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:01pm

The SEC speed thing is stupid, and I'm speaking as a SEC fan.

Also, an 83 yard fumble return is really going to swing a game and it's not a frequent event so that's probably a bit misleading.

61
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:02pm

Also, Michigan just got screwed, that pass was incomplete.

62
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:08pm

The weekend EDSBS dubbed FOOTBALLPOCALYPSE featured better, more interesting, more compelling matchups than we've seen today.

63
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:12pm

Re 59: I thought Tenn was going to lose. Watching the Vols play in November after the LSU loss, they just looked like they didn't care anymore. And I'm not sure there is a coach in the country who looses his team faster than Fulmer. Tenn was the 5th best team in the SEC, and in my opinion, there is a pretty steep drop between the SEC's top-4 (Fla, LSU, Ark, Aub), and the rest of the conference, so I'm not particularly surprised that the Big Ten's 4th best team beat the SEC's 5th best team.

As for the SEC speed thing, I think that was true 10-15 years ago, but not anymore. All top-20 teams have speed.

Re 61: That was a catch, Jarrett had the ball and his right knee was down. Pretty cut & dry, in my opinion.

64
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:16pm

Are the announcers ever going to figure out USC is totally avoiding #29 Leon Hall and picking exclusively on the other CB, #14 Morgan Trent?

65
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:17pm

Michigan's not exactly convincing anyone that they were robbed and should have gotten a rematch against OSU today.

66
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:17pm

The ball was coming out before his knee touched down, you could see it turning. I thought it was incomplete because he didn't have two feet down and a football move--but that's the NFL rule and college might be different.

I guess if they blew the whistle and it was a fumble, not incomplete, then the review was correct because in college the play is still dead at the whistle on a review.

67
by perrin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:18pm

USC 16, Michigan 3. I no longer wonder if Michigan got robbed by the voters of a chance to win the BCS title.

68
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:23pm

This game is slipping away from Michigan. Henne seems to have a lot of trouble handling pressure--has no other team been able to pressure him so far? I would be worried as an Ohio State fan that Michigan put up so many points against OSU.

A touchdown here probably puts the game away.

69
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:27pm

Big call by Carroll in going for it--I love it. I thought it was a bad spot but SoCal got it anyways.

Almost a huge stop by Michigan's defense.

70
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:27pm

Re 66: College is different, you only need one foot down, and college football does not have the "must make a football move" rule.

With the benefit of slo-mo on my TiVo, I disagree that the ball was coming out before his knee was down. But it doesn't matter what we think, the refs made the call, reviewed it, and the call stood.

71
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:30pm

I'll take your word for it. I was commenting on what I saw, and Musberger disagreeing with me sealed the deal for me.

Booty is really inaccurate. I think the loss of Leinart hurts much more than losing either Bush or LenDale White.

72
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:35pm

Tennessee lost by 1 to Fla and lost on the last play of the game to LSU. They got run over by Ark. Wins over Cal, Ala, Ga, SC, and Ky. Since when is beating 5 bowl teams the same as playing nobody? And Cal, Ga, SC, and Ky all won their bowl games.

The speed advantage of the SEC is at LB and D line, and safety. Ask any NFL scout. Everyone has a few guys who can run at WR, RB and usually CB.

The reason that SEC RBs do so much better than Big Ten RBs in the NFL is that SEC defenses close holes like the pros. When Ron Dayne was totally shut down by Georgia in a bowl game, you could see that he would struggle as a pro. He couldn't cut in the hole. He got away with it in the Big Ten, but would never have been effective in the SEC.

73
by Jason (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:42pm

"He got away with it in the Big Ten, but would never have been effective in the SEC"

Yeah, no SEC RB has ever been a bust before. Just because someone hasn't been great at the Pro Level in no way shows that they would not have had success in college.

74
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:47pm

I thought the 2-point try was doomed. Apparently Mike Hart had other ideas.

75
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:58pm

You stay classy, Dwayne Jarrett.

76
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:08pm

73,

Wow Jason, talk about logical fallacies! I said that Ron Dayne couldn't cut in the hole. He was exposed when he played a fast Georgia defense which just shut him down.

It was his woeful performance against Ga that exposed him, not his woeful performance in the NFL. It was obvious he doesn't have good enough feet. He can't cut back. He can't bounce a play well enough. He couldn't then. He can't now.

He got away with it against slow Big 10 defenses. He didn't get away with it against Ga and he wouldn't have gotten away with against Tenn, LSU, Ala, Aub, SC, Fla, et al.

That conclusion isn't based on the fact that he busted in the NFL. It is based on the way he played in college. Just as I wrote originally.

77
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:17pm

Wow, the 2nd best team in the nation (lol) just punted late in the fourth down 21 points.

78
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:19pm

stan,

I guess that is why in the 2006 draft, 6 LBs were taken in the first round. 3 from the Big Ten, 3 from the ACC and none from the SEC. The first SEC linebacker (DeMeco Ryans) was taken despite concerns about his speed.

The only two safeties chosen in the first round of the same draft were from the Big 12 and the Big 10.

Why don't these NFL scouts just make assumptions based on the superior SEC speed we always hear about from people like you?

79
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:23pm

To continue the point...1st round DEs in the 2006 draft, 2 from the ACC and 1 from the Big Ten.

1st round DTs, 1 from the PAC-10, 2 from the ACC. Otherwise, the facts totally support your argument.

80
by el carg (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:26pm

Who ends up ranked higher -- Wisconsin or Michigan?

My rankings near the end of the Rose Bowl game (subject to change) I think Wisconsin ends up at 5 and Michigan drops to 6. 1. Fla/OSU winner 2. Loser 3. LSU 4. USC 5. Wisconsin 6. Michigan 7. Louisville 8. Auburn 9. Oklahoma 10. West Virginia

81
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:28pm

Yes, looking at just 2006 represents a 20 year history that the other poster mentions.

Q: Which conference has the most players in the NFL?
A: I think you know.

82
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:29pm

Both Wisconsin and Arkansas should drop after that "game" they supposedly played today. Wisconsin for winning despite being dominated according to the numbers, and Arkansas for allowing that to happen.

83
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:31pm

Michigan ends up higher. The game between the two teams wasn't close. While Wisconsin won their bowl game, they didn't look very impressive in doing so. USC has thoroughly beaten Michigan, but there have at least been moments where they've looked competent.

Personally, I'm looking forward to MGoBlog's rant on how stupid the commentators are for yammering on about "bloggers" and their inevitable cries for Lloyd Carr's head, particularly given that the cries at the start of this season were all, uh, media-inspired, not an internet campaign.

84
by el carg (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:36pm

arkansas will drop to about 17th. Wisconsin will go up, but without a true elite win, it's kind of disappointing that they do.

85
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:36pm

navin,

Well I'd love to see the poster support his statement with some facts but I think he would rather throw around lazy assertions. I don't have time to do a comprehensive study but why don't you produce the 1st round stats from 2005 for the positions he pointed out? LB, Safety, and DL if you feel up for it...between a few of us, we might be able to produce something more substantial.

86
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:37pm

I'm watching Fox with the sound off, but Chris Rose's presence alone tells me this is the nadir of sports television.

87
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:38pm

Russell and Vinny didn't do too well on picks today. 1-4 for each (agreed on all 5 games).

88
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:46pm

All Wisconsin does is win football games.
;)
Seriously, that was an ugly win, but now that the season's over, I think it's time to go by acomplishments and not appearance. I'm comfortable leaving UW around 6, depending on what L'ville does (I'm assuming that LSU wins easily).

89
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:47pm

If you're watching with the sound off, then you missed Fox's evil scheme to play the World's Most Incredibly Annoying Intro Music so that commentators that are only Awful won't seem quite so bad.

90
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:47pm

Wisconsin should and will finish ahead of Michigan. Michigan, frankly, has been exposed as a fraud, and Wisconsin has finally achieved the quality win that they had been lacking all year. Today's games validated Wisconsin's season and largely invalidated Michigan's. The Badgers must be kicking themselves right now knowing that, in retrospect, they should have been able to beat an overrated Michigan team in Ann Arbor and be awaiting a de facto Big Ten championship game in Glendale next week.

91
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:51pm

90 - Not sure how Wisconsin *could* beat Michigan - the way tOSU and USC did it was by exploiting matchups in the secondary, either by spreading the field (tOSU), or exploiting size/speed advantages (USC).

I don't see how Stocco and whomever does that.

92
by perrin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:51pm

Re: 85.

NFL first round draft, 2003-2005.

Linebackers.
SEC: 1
Non-SEC: 7

Safeties.
SEC: 1
Non-SEC: 2

Cornerbacks.
SEC: 3
Non-SEC: 10

Defensive linemen.
SEC: 3
Non-SEC: 17

93
by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:54pm

RE: 24; sign of the apocalypse of the year no. 2 - hearing The Minutemen on national television as part of the ad campaign for a movie that shall go nameless. well, maybe not the apocalypse but d. boon is currently spinning violently counter clockwise in his grave.

94
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:56pm

Wow. Michigan wins going away, eh? Quite the pick. Instead, one has the announcers openly speculating, before the game ends on whether or not Carr should be fired out of hand a la Mason.

He shouldn't be (USC and OSU fans in particular are very fond of Lloyd Carr) but that was not the best possible showing by the Blue.

95
by Michael Anthony (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:04pm

I've got BSU teased up to +13 (with USC). They're going to cover the 13 points, right?

96
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:07pm

In both of Michigan's losses, their defense, and in particular, the defensive secondary, was completely exposed. I'm interested to hear thoughts on whether people think Michigan's defense is overrated, or are USC and Ohio St just that good offensively? Personally, I've thought Michigan's defense is overrated for quite some time. That's not to say they aren't a very good defensive unit, but I personally don't think they are as good as some talking heads and Michigan fans think they are. Receivers on both USC and tOSU routinely ran right by Michgan's DBs, and the vauted Michigan front 7 had 2 sacks on a day when Booty threw the ball 45 times.

Despite USC's loss to UCLA, maybe USC is really the second best team in the country.

97
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:07pm

Totally bizarre coach's challenge by Stoops, since he apparently doesn't understand 'forward progress' or maybe just wants to feel hated by the officials, followed by Zabransky hitting on a bomb. (i) Bowl games are unpredictable. (ii) The talent gap ain't what it used to be, as Ian Johnson's conversion on the 3rd down before the challenge demonstrated.

98
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:13pm

95 - Well, so far....

99
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:13pm

If Boise State wins big and Ohio State loses, how many AP voters will put Boise State number one on their ballots?

100
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:13pm

Here we are midway through the first quarter and Boise State is up 14-0 over Oklahoma.

Oklahoma hasn't had much success in BCS bowl games since their championship.

And that was a terrible use of the coach's challenge - given he only gets one, using it with 12 or so minutes left in the first quarter is asking for trouble.

101
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:15pm

Updating to include Perrin's additions...thanks by the way.

These are first round picks at stan's selected positions from 2003-2006.

LBs
SEC: 1
Non-SEC: 13

Safeties
SEC: 1
Non-SEC: 4

Defensive linemen
SEC: 3
Non-SEC: 23

102
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:16pm

Re: 99

It has been regarded as such a given in so many people's minds that Ohio State and Oklahoma win their respective games that this is the first time I've even heard that question asked.

103
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:20pm

Re #96
Ohio State's dominance of Michigan in the passing game can be easily explained by Troy Smith's ability as a passer to move and accurately hit an open WR and their ability to field not just 4 WRs, but 4 WRs who are pretty good-Ginn + Gonzalez rival Smith + Jarrett for the top 2 WR pair in the country.

USC is a little bit of a different story. As I noted upthread, USC was picking almost exclusively on Morgan Trent (exception: Leon Hall was the CB in coverage on the bomb to Jarrett that made it 25-11), and that was a size-speed mismatch. Booty also had it going on, and was very accurate. That was a direct consequence of what surprised me the most about this game: USC's ability to withstand Michigan's pressure. I guess, after 3 straight bowl games, there's no reason to doubt USC's ability to fight and win in the trenches.

Overall, what do those indicate for Michigan's defense? I think they had a really first-class run defense, better than tOSU last year. But, they were exploitable by a very good passing offense. There aren't very many of those in college football, and it was a down year for quarterbacking in the Big Ten, so Michigan didn't face a very stiff test in the passing game most of the time. I think the defensive problems showed up more strongly in the Rose Bowl tonight because Chad Henne played more like Henne c. 2005 than Henne c. 2006. If Michigan does something offensively in the first 2 1/2 quarters, I think Michigan's defense is able to attack Booty more and coverage for some of their coverage problems.

104
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:44pm

I thought it was Michigan's Offense, rather than it's D, that looked pedestrian today. They just couldn't move the ball at all. I mean USC has a pretty good O, you've got to expect them to score at least 20-some. Plus, the poor performance of the O certainly didn't help.

105
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:22am

I'm impressed with how well BSU's been able to move the football. The last time I really watched them was that little disaster against UGA. Needless to say this is going a little better.

106
by Flux (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:27am

We won't know for a week (!) yet how Florida will do against Ohio State, but any Michigan loyalists who were clamoring for the title game rematch have got to feel pretty stupid now. In light of USC' performance today, it'll be interesting to consider the USC@UCLA game if Florida does lose, especially if they lose substantially.

UCLA lost their bowl game 44-27 to a crappy Florida State team, yet playing on pure inspired rivalry adrenaline UCLA somehow beat consensus #2 USC 13-9 in the last game of the year, keeping USC out of the BCS championship. Let's hope Florida at least puts up a strong showing, or we'll have a fluke UCLA game to blame for ruining the BCS title?

107
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:27am

Wow, Oklahoma is who we thought they were - a team that 'lost' to Oregon.

108
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:29am

Um, Chris Rose? "You bet" is two words, moron.

109
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:34am

Maybe it's hindsight, but Zabransky has seemed to play much more conservative and under control than the disaster Between The Hedges. Yes, the dreaded 'Game Manager' tag, but he's still been very effective. I can't help but think, though, that Michigan would have throttled BSU's run game and contained Zabransky and Henne would hit Manningham up top for big plays, while Hart would run effectively enough, as OU has so far.

Jimmy Johnson beats the tar out of Barry Switzer as a college football analyst. Gun In Luggage seems capable only of repeating what he's been told by the OU coaching staff.

110
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:02am

Paul Thompson with a terrible throw for an INT. On one hand, it was 3rd and long so it was essentially a punt, but it had no hope. Plus the INT was run back to midfield.

My dad and I are bewildered that OU isn't trying to play a more physical game and pound on BSU's front line more. Especially since Thompson looks like garbage. I know BSU is doing well at stopping the run now but I think that OU is outsmarting themselves by being too cute and gimmicky.

111
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:08am

Wow. And an interception returned for a TD by Boise State, to go up 28-10.

Oklahoma barely looks in the game.

112
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:11am

OU looks a lot like the team that rolled over against K-State in 2003, or USC in the title game when things got rough.

113
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:17am

And the football gods smiled upon OU...

114
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:30am

Derek and Perrin,

You guys can't possibly be that stupid. Don't either of you have the slightest clue how to marshall evidence to support or debunk an assertion?

If you want to establish whether the SEC has superior speed at the positions in question, you get the times of the players at those positions.

One proxy would be the times of players at the combine (by no means complete because the sample is small compared to the league as a whole, but a start). Draft picks represent such an incredibly tiny sample of players from a college conference that you cannot possibly draw a conclusion.

The comparisons drawn in your posts are pointless.

But Derek, since you brought up NFL scouts, why don't you talk to them like I have. They'll tell you the same thing. Or perhaps you might ask some of the NFL coaches that I coached with.

115
by The Ninjalectual (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:54am

Thoughts:

1) In the 4th quarter of Ark/Wis, the coach for Arkansas was too busy screaming at an official about a PI call on an Arkansas non-interception to actually do any coaching. It was a horrible display of sportsmanship, and the call could have fairly gone either way.

2) Am I the only person who thinks that Michigan's coaching staff brought on this disaster by refusing to adjust to the fact that their O-line was getting destroyed? I never saw extra blockers, and if the ant-blitz screen pass doesn't work the first 8 times, why would you think it will work on the 9th?

116
by perrin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:58am

Yay, trolling! I'm impressed with how you've marshalled evidence to support your assertion, Stan.

I actually don't care whether or not SEC defensemen are faster than average. Even if they are, they've not been fast enough recently to make enough of them elite prospects in the eyes of NFL GMs. Ah well.

I called all the NFL coaches that I coached with to ask them about it, but all of them (to a man!) could only rant about the imbalance of the Rose Bowl in the 1960s and 1970s, and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. Pity.

Now I'll not act like a jackass. It's possible that SEC football players on defense are faster than players in other conferences, and that they're better, too. The NFL team I follow (Bengals) has drafted a couple good SEC players recently for defense. I'm interested in whatever evidence you have, Stan, and I've got an open mind, but I need more than you've presented to be swayed. What do you know?

117
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:04am

here's where I try play action if I'm Boise State. Try that play earlier where a guy was wide open. If nothing's there, throw it away. Drive in the dagger.

118
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:19am

As writers across the country start erasing their "Gigantic upset by the little guy" columns that are in-progress, and replacing them with "Little guy has spunk, but in the end couldn't hang on when facing the big boys" columns.

Just in case.

And an Oklahoma TD makes it closer...

119
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:22am

Wow, illegal shift penalty on Oklahoma after try #1 at the 2-pt conversion results in DPI. Critical mental error. And Thompson still hits Iglesias. 28-28, 1:26 to play.

120
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:25am

Unbelievable. Who was the BSU QB throwing to, there??

121
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:27am

When did Jake Plummer suit up for Boise State?

122
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:28am

Plummer? That was Cutleresque, if anything.

123
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:31am

#122-

Maybe, but I haven't seen the highlights from yesterday's Bronco game (I was driving and missed all but OT) so I'm going with the traditional standard for a shaky QB. :)

I'm not sure if this is an amazing comeback or amazing chokejob.

124
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:33am

Cutler threw a pick-six almost exactly like that one yesterday.

Hook and ladder!

125
by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:33am

I just turned the Boise St game on... THAT WAS AWESOME!

126
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:33am

Just when you thought it wouldn't get any stranger...

127
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:34am

Oh...my...God. Hook and Ladder for a TD. I'd go for 2 but BSU kicks the XP.

128
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:34am

WOW. Way to bust out the ole hook-and-ladder play. 4&15 from midfield, 13 yard pass, and the toss back, dash for the TD with 7 seconds left. Welcome to overtime, barring some kickoff hijinks.

Best game of the day, no question about it.

129
by krugerindustrialsmoothing (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:34am

"I have seen it all now"

130
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:35am

And Brenneman with the "fight in the dog" cliche. He's every bit as bad at football as he is at baseball.

131
by Randy S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:50am

Is no one else watching? This is awesome. Boise is going to try and win it here.

132
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:50am

Go for 2...I'm exhausted. Please.

133
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:51am

Oh. My. God.

134
by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:51am

Nicely Done.

135
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:51am

Nice to see Michigan's new coach win the Fiesta Bowl.

136
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:52am

The Statue of Liberty!

137
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:52am

Wildcat formation on 4&2 from the 5, with Zabransky split out. HB pass, TD.

Brenneman, shut the hell up. Don't ruin this awesome football game by whining about a playoff. Thanks to Charles Davis for telling him just that.

Awesome play on the 2-pt conversion, faking the pass to trips right and running the counter draw to Johnson left end. Great ending to a great game. Congrats, Broncos, for pulling out the stops and pulling off the W in Tempe.

138
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:52am

Wow. Just...wow.

139
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:53am

The backhanded draw. I don't think I could come up with a word to describe that last play.

140
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:54am

craziest game ever

141
by Josh (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:56am

Awesome!
BTW, OK defender with that interception with a minute left should have just gone out of bounds at the 2, instead of scoring the TD, can't blame him for scoring obviously you're in the heat of the moment.

142
by G (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:57am

HO LEE CRAP. All those trick plays just rocked my world.

143
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:02am

Hahahaa...
The final 2:40 of that football game was so good my wife is still waiting to see another replay.

I had told her BSU would go for 2, so the game would be over, but she insisted on getting the baby to sleep. So when they scored I called her over and after the 3rd replay and demonstration she finally understood what happened.

Please please please NFL coaches teach your teams how to execute these types of trick plays like BSU.

144
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:03am

... and I think the BSU coach wishes he had done that in the 4th quarter instead of playing for OT... he could've dialed in the TD and 2 point plays there...

145
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:07am

you saw Ian Johnson proposing?

146
by Kyle (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:07am

Annnd Ian Johnson just proposed to his amazingly hot girlfriend, who also doubles as the head cheerleader for BSU, on national television. Storybook anyone?

147
by milwaukee (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:07am

You know, it's pretty appropriate that the trophy they handed Boise's coach was an actual brass ball.

148
by Joon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:24am

Re: 128

best game of the day? this is one of the best games i've ever seen. the hook and lateral on 4th-and-18, and then the old statue of liberty play (sort of) on the deuce try in OT... wow.

i'm still sort of in shock at all of the events of the last 2 minutes and then OT. it is just not that common to lose with an 8-point lead, 2 minutes to go, and an opponent with no timeouts... but it looked like they would do it after zabransky threw that awful pick-6 (though i have to give OU props for their tying TD drive, that was outstanding). then all of the craziness after that... just... wow.

149
by MAW (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:26am

I kinda wish, being on the Left Coast, that it had gone to 6 OTs, solely so BSU could pull out all of the trick plays.

That was the most fun football game I've seen in a long time.

150
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:27am

148:

I'm nominating this for game of the year, and I'm quite aware that it is only 1/2 as I type this.

I didn't mind the playoff "whining" because I happen to agree with the concept.

151
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:29am

that game was Peterson on Peterson crime. Brilliant move to go for 2 (even though he would've been pilloried had they failed), because eventually they were going to run out of trick play miracles.

152
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:51am

Good thing the refs gave that game to Oregon, I guess. Otherwise we might be watching Ohio State destroy OU a week from now.

153
by Kurt (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:51am

I was surprised they didn't go for two at the end of regulation, and even more suprised that the announcers didn't even raise the question. After Peterson waltzed in from the 25, I guess he'd seen enough of his D.

I certainly have seen fewer college games than anyone else here, but that was the best I've ever seen.

154
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:53am

I haven't seen that many either, but that easily supplants last year's Rose Bowl as my all-time favorite. Holy crap.

155
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 4:35am

Probably the most exciting final five minutes of a football game I've ever seen. Not a particularly clean game (7 turnovers--some just flat out embarrassing), but what an ending! BSU's line play was a lot better than anybody expected.

Going back to the earlier riff about the SEC, the problem is the SEC QBs. The ones I saw today suck. Cox is terrible--if they can't run with Irons they struggle. Arkansas doesn't have one. Ainge was outplayed by Morelli (the Steve Stenstrom of college football).

The conference that is vastly overrated and has been for about 3 years now is the Big XII. 3-5 in their bowl games and the wins were Oklahoma State over a coachless Bama team, the Texas Tech comeback, and Texas' 2-point win over 6-6 Iowa.

156
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 5:12am

I disagree that the Big 12 is overrated. They lost two games due to 2 point conversions on the last play (Missouri and Oklahoma), they had a terrible matchup with national title hopeful Rutgers against average K-State, a bad matchup with slow, plodding A&M against speedy Cal, and then Nebraska lost a fluke game against Auburn.

157
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 5:12am

... you know what was funny about the Fiesta was yesterday I complained about watching the Jets gimmick offense (at least in the first half).

This gimmick offense was much better than the Jets gimmick offense... all they really did was move Brad Smith around a lot and give him some end arounds and reverses. Oakland really disappointed me on that one.

So bottom line, if you're going to run a gimmick offense, do it like BSU... perfect name for a gimmick coach as well.

158
by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 5:28am

I'm far from a football expert, but I am a Michigan fan and I watched the OSU game and the Rose Bowl closely and I finally feel like I have to get my thoughts off my chest on this one and see if Vinny and Russell agree with me.

Against OSU, I saw a team that was somewhat better in the first quarter and a third (from until Henne missed a wide, wide open Manningham by about 5 yards on a 2nd down play on their 2nd possession, when it was 7-7, to after OSU's 3rd touchdown late in the 2nd quarter), and following that and through the whole second half. In those 3 or so quarters of football, Michigan outplayed Ohio State noticably - even with the one freaky Troy Smith turnover, Michigan outscored OSU by -18- outside of that 21 unanswered romping in the 2nd quarter.

Against USC, again, I saw Michigan competetive or even slightly better (not as much, really) for basically 3 quarters, and again, one quarter (mid-3rd to mid-4th in this case) where they basically played, again, like Illinois.

So what I wonder is, was this a really great but inconsistant team, or one that played over its head? I've watched a fair amount of football in my day, and I've never seen a team that was consistantly spectacular, championship caliber for 75% of a game and Northwestern caliber for the other quarter.

Is that what everyone else saw too? People say USC and OSU outplayed Michigan, and I guess that's true - but I can't help having looked at both games and thinking 'you know, we were better than them for most of this game'... just when we weren't better, we were horrible.

159
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:42am

re #158 : I’ve never seen a team that was consistantly spectacular, championship caliber for 75% of a game and Northwestern caliber for the other quarter

That describes this year's UF team pretty well too, I'm afraid; almost every game had one really bad quarter (early in the season it was generally the first, later on the third or fourth), and you just hoped they did enough in the two-and-a-half or three quarters that were really good.

160
by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:11am

That might just have been the greatest game I've ever seen.

The only one that I watched that I can make a case for over it was the 31-30 Miami win over Nebraska in I think it was '82, and for that one only because the stakes (national championship) and historical impact in retrospect (it made Miami a national power). But as a standalone game it wasn't as crazy. And who knows what the historical impact of this game will end up being...

161
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:43am

I was too busy enjoying the Fiesta bowl to comment earlier but will reiterate what has already been written, wow. Just a really fun game to watch as a fan. And congrats to the BSU player on his engagement.

As to some of the earlier comments, I am legitimately flummoxed. This entire site is predicated on taking a long-term view and not allowing a play or a half or a game or even a few games provide an accurate assessment of a team. And yet in this forum folks are doing exactly what the talking heads like Lupica do. Incredible.

And think about the context. Where else does a team have a regular season and then have over four weeks(!) before playing what many consider to be its most important game of the year? If anyone ever proposed this format for some other sport they would be laughed out of the room.

And maybe being young myself I try and cut my brothers some slack. I am only a few years removed from 20, and I doubt I would be the easiest guy to keep focussed on playing a game when I have about 1001 temptations in some big city to distract me. After being told for 3 weeks that I am awesome by the the local fans.

This "excuse" applies to ALL bowl teams both winners and losers. I am routinely suprised when we see the quality of games that we do.

Let's just stop and consider the quality of Super Bowls when pro teams get a layoff. The blowouts are part one team being that much better and part one team just not ready to play. And that is with all of two weeks of down time.

Just something to consider.

162
by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:16am

O
M
G

That game. What a game! Yes, the last five minutes were over-the-top outstanding. But the entire contest was pretty darned good, too. The surprise start, the suspense as the seemingly inevitable approached, the devastating pick-6 after the tie. And then, the insanity.

Absolutely riveting.

163
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:26am

Amen, Badger. Let's not act as though the season is Plato's cave and the bowls are the real world. Fortunately, it seems no major conference had an extremely good or bad record, so any 'proof' of Conference X's superiority or suckitude will be particularly strained this year.

Lloyd Carr has lost four bowl games in a row now? Nice.

164
by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:27am

Congrats to Boise State in winning a truly entertaining (albeit sloppy at times) game. I eagerly anticipate Messrs. Herbstreit, May, et al. clamoring for a rematch. ;)

165
by dave crockett (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:06pm

What blew me away about the BSU play on 4th and 18 was how crisp the passing was on the hook and lateral. The pitch was perfect. Note that Bill Callahan called a similar lateral on a 4th down fake punt in the Cotton Bowl--certain to be a J.L. Smith nominee--where the "pitcher" completely screwed up the pitch. You could just about see the kid thinking, "I can't screw up this pitch," and start bobbling the ball. BSU ran that play like they run it every game.

Then, the statue of liberty 2pt conversion. If you get the eye in the sky view again, note how close Johnson and Zabransky come to tangling their feet on the backwards handoff.

In my life I'd maintained that the gutsiest play call I'd ever witnessed came from my high school coach--a statue of liberty with a wrap around handoff to the fullback on 4th and 10 on his own 44 with

166
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:13pm

I hope everyone stayed up and saw the end of that game last night. Unreal. How high will Boise St be ranked??

I'd put them 5th behind OSU/Fla winner, OSU/Florida loser, USC & LSU (assuming LSU wins).

167
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:17pm

I actually think not going for 2 at the end of regulation was the right call, because right after pulling off the miracle TD, everyone on Boise was probably too emotionally spent to pull off the conversion. That's when 3 guys jump offsides and then the kicker honks an extra-long PAT. Better off to get the tie, give everyone a few minutes to realize that they're still in this game and now have to go out there and get the job done.

168
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:37pm

Link in name to EDSBS post with YouTube of winning 2-pt conversion.

169
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:04pm

From what I read, they do run that play ... every practice, not every game (obviously). Yeah, it was executed to perfection. That entire game was a BCS nightmare: Boise State showing they definitely belonged at the party (and making you wonder about Utah), Brenneman joining the ESPN chorus for a playoff (with the producer screaming in his ear to shut up, fool, we paid a lot of money for the BCS) ...

I absolutely loved how Griese and his partner were bashing Maguire. It was almost embarrassing ... it was like they knew he was grateful even to have a job, and he had to take pretty much whatever they gave him.

Michigan lost a bowl game? No surprise here. I wonder if Michigan still has the mindset that the Big Ten title is the ultimate prize ... it seemed at times like they didn't understand that USC was still going to throw the ball.

170
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:32pm

I have no doubt that today, some Fox executive is screaming at yesterday's Fiesta announcers over their clamoring for a playoff.

While at the same time, ESPN writers and columnists and pundits are now free to advocate a playoff system, where it once was a taboo subject.

Such is the nature of owning the rights to the BCS. In 2003, the USC/LSU/Oklahoma year, it was painful watching ESPN/ABC and seeing the announcers try to talk about how the Rose Bowl was "just another game" when clearly by their voices and attitudes they didn't believe a word of it, but were ordered by the BCS overlords to ignore the split title possibility. Only after the USC win, when every non-ESPN/ABC website and publication awarded half of the title by default (despite the Sugar Bowl not yet having been played!) did they finally relent.

Of course, then you got to the day of the Sugar Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl director that year was interviewed before the game, and it was obvious that he was furious about the whole affair - his game's importance was lessened by the whole debacle, and then ESPN/ABC finally gave in, only days before his game. Sure, he had on his fixed smile and talked about how great a game it was going to be, but it was clear he was seething.

Likewise, while I'm looking forward to next week's game, and the winner will be the champion, all we're going to hear for the next week is how it should have been Boise State (or that they should have gotten a shot). Except, perhaps, from Fox.

171
by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:43pm

If you had any doubt that football is the greatest spectator sport on the planet, then the Boise State - Oklahoma game must have erased it. If a film of the 4th quarter through the proposal were released in theatres, it should win the Oscar for best picture. What could be more entertaining than that? Best. Ending. Ever. This is the only time in my life that I have ever wished that I had gone to Boise State.

172
by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:59pm

Re: 161

One game in college football can, does, and should make a huge difference. That's one of the things that makes the sport so great. For example, when fans and the media have been hyping a team like Michigan as a juggernaut all season, and then that team goes out and gets its ass kicked, it is only reasonable to conclude that they had been vastly overrated all along. In college football, where two losses dooms championship aspirations, if a team really is a world beater, it simply doesn't get destroyed. Ever. Instead of saying, "It's just one game. I'm not going to let it affect my previously held opinions," why not allow that game to influence your perceptions as every other game does? In Michigan's case, if they had lost a game like that in the middle of the season, people would not have been talking about them as a national championship contender, and rightly so. If, heading into the Rose Bowl, you thought Michigan was a great team, just one game has proven you wrong.

173
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:08pm

I'm amused that there's now 'controversy' about Boise St. not being given a title shot, etc. It was a fantastic game, but they barely beat the best team from a conference in a down year, and that was by far their best win. I'm glad the BCS folks are probably uncomfortable today, and glad BSU is getting a moment in the spotlight, and I'm even glad that cheerleader chick said yes. But you gotta play a tougher schedule, gang. It sucks that 'noone wants to play BSU,' etc., but that doesn't mean there ought to be another game.

Once again: The point of a playoff is not that it identifies the best team but that it delivers to us a champion. What people are saying when they cry forlornly into the deep dark night 'Boise St deserved a shot!' is that there should have been a tournament, and BSU should have been one of the teams involved. So, should we have known in retrospect that they should have been among the top four, or eight teams? Why should we be so sure even now that they are deserving of that? Because of one game? What if a linebacker had stayed at home on the 2pt conversion?

I'd be happy to have a playoff of some sort, and if we had one this year, I'd have been delighted to see BSU get a shot. But no system is going to stop the media from finding controversy, and if we could stop overreacting to the last game we saw, we'd accept that the current system, while run by a money-grubbing cartel, and while depriving the entire nation of tidy office bracket pools and a gradual focusing of media attention, delivers us a champion in only a slightly less rational way. The music's gotta stop sometime, folks.

174
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:22pm

CA:

My post wasn't in defense of believing Michigan was a "great" team. I was simply trying to remind folks of the concept of context. That and the complete dichotomy that exists between these comments and the basis for this site. (As I understand it)

Period. That's all. End of story.

The notion that I, a graduate and fan of the beloved Red & White, would promote an argument on behalf of Michigan is laughable.

175
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:34pm

So, should we have known in retrospect that they should have been among the top four, or eight teams?

That's the argument you're making. They should have known three years ago when they scheduled their 2006 games that they'd be fielding a team that could hang with the BCS conferences? They should have switched conferences in perparation for this run, so they wouldn't be "dragged down" by playing the teams they're contractually obligated to play every year? That's what's so broken about the BCS championship system - the only teams recognized as title-worthy are the ones that can plan to be contenders every year. Just fielding one of the best teams in the country and beating all challengers isn't enough if you haven't been pre-annointed.

Why should we be so sure even now that they are deserving of that? Because of one game? What if a linebacker had stayed at home on the 2pt conversion?

What if that punt doesn't bounce straight into a Boise player's leg? What if that defender gets a half-inch higher and swats OU's last touchdown pass to the turf instead of just tipping it? Hell, what if a linebacker stays to the left on the Longhorns' last play in the Rose Bowl? Football's fluky that way, and if you play a close enough game that those plays can make a difference, you're doing something right.

176
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:44pm

David, I thought I made it clear that I think BSU is very good. But you have to use the data you are given. It's too bad for BSU, and I understand their scheduling difficulties, but it's not Florida's fault, or anyone else's, either.

The point you quoted, which you vividly illustrated with your post, was that the OU game, which could have gone either way about a million times, doesn't prove anything, and by itself doesn't say very much to indicate that BSU should or should not be involved in this or that playoff system. Jeez, we don't even know how good USC is, and we have a lot of data for them.

177
by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 3:47pm

Re: 174

I didn't mean to imply that you were promoting an argument on behalf of Michigan. I merely used Michigan as an example of how one game legitimately can affect how one should view a team. If you thought a team was extremely good heading into a bowl game, and then they were blown out, it would be foolish simply largely to ignore the bowl game when coming up with a final assessment of a team. Similarly, and this applies to your team, if you weren't too impressed with a team for most of the year because, though they won convincingly, they hadn't faced very strong opposition, and then in the bowl game they finally did face a very good squad and dominated, then it is fair to let that game reduce your uncertainty about the quality of the squad. That said, if you thought a team was mediocre going into the bowl, and they had a close win or loss against another mediocre team, you shouldn't have too strong a reaction (are you listening, Joel Maturi?).

178
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 4:50pm

RE: 54

Some pros do, yeah. But the intelligent team players knock it down. It shouldn't be that hard to think to yourself "It's 4th down. Knock the ball down, don't catch it."
They can't figure this out and they're in college on a scholarship? Sad.

RE: 90

Michigan losing to USC doesn't change the fact that they're still an easily better team than Wisconsin.

RE: 127

Haha. Peterson liked the way you think, but waited for overtime to go for 2.

RE: 149

You had the whole East Coast rooting against you. Had BSU kicked the XP there, I probably would've missed the end of the game, because of the TV's location. It was almost 1 AM, and yeah, some people in my family want to go to sleep by that point.

179
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 4:51pm

RE: 54

Some pros do, yeah. But the intelligent team players knock it down. It shouldn't be that hard to think to yourself "It's 4th down. Knock the ball down, don't catch it."
They can't figure this out and they're in college on a scholarship? Sad.

RE: 90

Michigan losing to USC doesn't change the fact that they're still an easily better team than Wisconsin.

RE: 127

Haha. Peterson liked the way you think, but waited for overtime to go for 2.

RE: 149

You had the whole East Coast rooting against you. Had BSU kicked the XP there, I probably would've missed the end of the game, because of the TV's location. It was almost 1 AM, and yeah, some people in my family want to go to sleep by that point.

180
by DH (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 4:56pm

158: Michigan outplayed OSU? you're joking right? I guess you've forgotten the 21 points UM got off of idiotic calls by the umpires. Roughing the Center? PI when the reciever was untouched? Michigan even won the turnover battle and still LOST. OSU outplayed Michigan in every aspect of the game except turnovers. Give me a break. take away the 21 free points UM got and they end up with 18, just like the Rose Bowl.

181
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 5:33pm

The OSU/Michigan game was a good one, and a close one, but saying that Michigan clearly outplayed OSU is ridiculous.

Generally, when one has a situation where Team A 'outplayed' Team B but lost, it's because Team A moved up and down the field, but turnovers at bad times, or missed field goals, doomed them. You get a game like that in the NFL every few years, the kinds where a team gains about 50 yards to their opponent's 400, but wins due to a few interceptions/fumbles returned for TDs.

But that's not what happened. In fact, it was OSU turnovers at bad times that made the game as close as it was.

Likewise, to say that Michigan outplayed USC for three quarters or so yesterday is equally ridiculous - the first half ended 3-3, neither team outplayed the other. Both teams were doing OK through the air, neither team could move an inch on the ground. The only thing that turned the game was that USC noticed and decided to throw the running game in the circular file, and Michigan kept trying it without success (some of the post-game comments by the Michigan coaching staff about why they made few adjustments to the playcalling were hilarious).

182
by jfolg (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 5:52pm

re81

players drafted in the nfl since 1999 (basically all players who would be 30 or younger now).

SEC - 324 with 57 1st rounders

BigTen - 306 with 47 1st rounders

give the BigTen a 12th team and the numbers become 334 and 51.

different argument, similar approach (using the big ten as a control again, especially because of the stereotype that it's a "slow" conference):

players drafted since 99:

SEC DL - 47 with 2 1st rnd;

SEC LB - 66 / 13;

SEC S - 22 / 0;

BigTen DL - 35 / 7;

BigTen LB - 46 / 10;

BigTen S - 26 / 1

183
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:48pm

After last night, is anyone going to watch tonight's Louisville-Wake Forest power clash? I think I need a night off...

And I think the rating for tonight's Orange Bowl might make Fox re-think their BCS deal.

184
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:22pm

Sid, I seriously doubt you'd be calling him an idiot if he'd returned that for a touchdown. Which is exactly what would have happened if he'd been able to keep his feet, because there was absolutely nobody between him and the end zone. (Wait a second - he was from a Big Ten team, playing an SEC team, so even with a 20-yard head start an offensive lineman still could've caught him around the 30 or so. It's true, a scout told me once.)

Anyway, lay off. He went for an aggressive, game-changing play. He slipped. It cost them two freaking yards. Time to let it go.

185
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:32pm

it was not a smart football play. It's risking two things:

1)You'll likely take a loss because you're downfield.

2)You could fumble when getting hit.

If you're leading the game and there's a 4th down pass, you should absolutely not catch the ball.

186
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:33pm

RE: 183

Hell yeah, I'm watching. I can't get enough football.

187
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:40pm

158: Michigan was completely outplayed in both of its losses. I believe the Buckeyes were -3 in turnovers and still won the game. USC outplayed Michigan by a little bit in the first half (had a sustained drive end with a Booty fumble) and lit them up in the 2nd half. Did Michigan have their moments in both games? Absolutely. But just because Hart had some nice runs and Henne some nice passes doesn't mean they didn't get their asses kicked.

156: ". . slow, plodding A&M" is the 3rd best team in the Big XII this year. I think you just proved my point. The only team in the Big XII that I thought played better than expected was Missouri.

183: Poor Wake Forest. In any other year, they'd be THE story in college football. Unfortunately, Rutgers great run to start the year, the unforgettable game last night, plus the non-marquee opponent (Louisville's a top 5 team though) just completely overshadows everything they've done. Their timing could not be worse.

160: The 31-30 Miami win over supposedly unbeatable Nebraska was probably the most important college game ever played. It ushered in the "speed/Florida" era that we are still in. Since that 1983 season, the three Florida schools have played for or won 16 national championships in the past 24 seasons.

188
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:55pm

So a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown in a 10-10 game in the 2nd half, at a risk of losing two yards of starting field position, isn't a smart play? Note I'm discounting the chance of fumble, since there was absolutely nobody who could've caused one. If he caught it without going down, it was an easy score.

I cannot possibly comprehend how the smart play here would be to knock the ball down instead of trying to score. If it was 30 yards downfield? Hell, even ten yards? Last play of the game? Lots of people with a good chance to stop him? Sure, knock it down. But this was a kid for a team whose offense wasn't moving the ball at all, in a tie ballgame in the second half, with a chance at an easy six. And you want him to pass it up, because it cost his team two yards. Wow.

189
by refchat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:08pm

Re: 141
Josh, I was thinking the same thing that the OK cornerback should have killed time and just gone out of bounds at the 1 yard line so they could bleed the clock and kick the game-winning FG with no time left.

Actually, I caught myself thinking as it was happening that I hope the Boise State QB pushes the CB into the end zone because he looked like he was going to try to stop him from scoring.

Of course you can't blame the CB for not thinking hard and going out at the 1 yard line, but he could have at least waited at the 1 yard line to kill off more time before stepping into the end zone.

By the way, the Boise State victory is also a victory for the BCS computers. The BCS human polls ranked Oklahoma higher, but the BCS computers put Boise State higher.

190
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:27pm

Trogdor, it was 17-7 at the time, but I agree with you anyway. And I get more riled up for Badger games than anything else, and I was pissed at the time about the two yards, but since I have a more or less functional brain, I got over it.

191
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:59pm

RE: 188

Up 10 points, why would you risk it? There's absolutely no reason to. Not smart football.

Just let it go already. I think you understand what I'm saying (at least I seriously hope so), but you keep trying to come after me for some reason.

192
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:06pm

Clever. Fox 5 just spent a whole load of time focusing on the number 5.

But this was a kid for a team whose offense wasn’t moving the ball at all, in a tie ballgame in the second half, with a chance at an easy six.

From this statement, I infer either one of two things:
1)You weren't even watching the game when it happened.
2)You were watching, but you can't remember what occurred.

193
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:38pm

My bad. I thought it was tied. Shows how much I care.

But yes, I would absolutely risk it. It changes from "go-ahead score in a tight game" to "absolute nail in the coffin". Still worth it, no doubt.

And the reason I keep coming after you is that you keep calling this guy an idiot for doing something that is not only easily defensible, but I would suggest is clearly the right play. And I obviously understand what you're saying. It's just that the supposed risk you're talking about is so infintessimally small compared to the potential reward that it's laughable. In other words, I completely and absolutely disagree with you, but most especially with your denigration of this kid.

And with that, I'm done on this subject.

194
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:49pm

Has anyone figured out why the Wake Forest returner fielded a kick that was going out of bounds?

195
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:55pm

Hey, I don't really care either. I just thought it was a dumb decision. People repeatedly attacked my post, blowing this thing up.

Fox, was it really necessary to show us an overweight fan stuffing her face with food? I hate crowd shots.

196
by Kurt (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:57pm

It's a little annoying the way the announcers keep harping on Wake's underdogness. Yes, they're 10 point dogs, but the way they've been talking about it you'd think this was Ohio State against a D2 team. They did the same thing last night; you'd have thought Boise State was the biggest underdog in bowl history.

197
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:05pm

That was a similar play to one in the Eagles game on Sunday. Hank Baskett was in perfect position to block a punt, yet somehow overran it.

198
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:06pm

I'm glad I didn't complain much about the announcing last night, because tonight's is so much worse. Isn't Haden the PBP guy in the booth for the Notre Dame games? And isn't it a measure of how much Fox loves the BCS that their PBP guy is Vasgersian, who's about the #5 NFL PBP guy and got to do a lot of 49er games this year.

The only interesting thing about this game so far is Louisville's ability to blow up 1 play and still give up enough yards for WaFo to convert the first down.

199
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:17pm

announcers totally ignored the fact that the play is under review. They were too busy talking to one another.

200
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:35pm

199 - I really hate it when the announcers talk over the action or a ref, especially when they're not even talking about something relating to the game (ie, can UF 'hang with' OSU and the sainted Troy Smith?)

201
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:53pm

Wake seems to have cranked their tackling up to 11 tonight. I didn't see all their games this year but they seem to be hitting harder than usual.

202
by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:01am

RE: 198

Yeah, Haden is a Notre Dame announcer.

RE: 200

Yep.

203
by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:45am

Okay, I watched Wake and VT. Sean "deer in headlights" Glennon torched their secondary, and the VT o-line held up against Wake's pressure. UL's QB and o-line are approximately 75 million times better and yet they aren't reducing Wake's secondary to charred rubble. I'm really impressed by Wake tonight. They need to go ahead and let Skinner carry the offense tonight.

204
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:45am

Louisville is making me regret wanting to see them play tOSU. Mediocre offense, Brohm has been outplayed by Riley Skinner, and missed defensive assignments. I know it's still a 10-10 game early in the third quarter.

At least I still have announcing stupidity. Vasgersian just noted it feels like the momentum is feeling like it's shifting toward Wake, the same way it shifted toward Boise in the second half of last night's Fiesta Bowl. Y'know, the same second half in which they didn't score any offensive points in the first 29:50 and gave up 18 to OU to blow a 21-10 halftime lead.

205
by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:54am

204-

Agreed on that- it's a good thing no one from UL really griped that they deserved a shot at OSU because they aren't doing much to earn it so far. They look sluggish all over and only so much of it can be chalked up to Wake playing out of its mind. I still think UL's offense will wake up soon, but it's running out of time. Wake just ripped off a good run for the first time all game, it seems.

Listening to this game it's clear why Vasgergian is FOX's Z-broadcasting team.

206
by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 1:41am

Damn, and Wake was so close to covering the spread.

207
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 1:54am

Hey, Jim Grobe. You just called a TO before a first down, costing your team 15 seconds. Down 11 with 2:15 to play, it almost certainly doesn't account to a hill of beans, I guess it doesn't really matter, but you're still wrong, wrong, wrong.

208
by Gordon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 7:18am

Yeah, the Fiesta Bowl was incredible. I missed the live run and had to catch the replay, and it was still awesome, even when I knew what was happening. That last play was a thing of beauty.

As far as a playoff goes, something I said to a friend during the game: "If there's a playoff, this is a game that gets forgotten, because they [BSU] lose the next game. This way, they go undefeated, they win everything they could. Why spoil that by making them lose to Ohio State next week?"

If Cincinnati wins over (I think) Central Michigan, that'll put the Big East at 5-0 on bowl games this year. Maybe then we can get some respect. Although, in all fairness, Louisville and West Virginia did not look good in their wins.

Interesting comment by Brian Brohm: "Right now, coming back and trying to win a national title looks very appealing."

As a Rutgers fan, I'd like to see that; I love the new Big East, and I think it's more competitive overall with Brohm back.

Here's hoping we're still talking about Rutgers this time next year.

209
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 6:58pm

Cincinnati's playing Western Michigan. Central has already played their game - Motor City Bowl against Middle Tennessee State. Wasn't it DJ Gallo who said it would determine which adjective was better, Central or Middle?

Matt Vasgersian. Yeah, Fox wasn't prepared to do college football. And really, I understand that there's currently an anti-bimbo backlash with respect to sideline reporters, but was it really necessary to hire Medusa?

I doubt I'll watch much of the game tonight - there's a new Mythbusters on, and I really can't stomach three days of Fox TV out of four. Besides, I'd just be rooting for not-Notre Dame. (But I will probably follow it online as I dutifully catch up on my game charting.)

Tarrant, I think that problem still exists in these bowl games ... casual fans will be asking when the "championship" is being played, and they'll wait for that game. The other BCS games are, well, kind of third-place games. (The smaller bowl games always have been, to a certain extent.)

I think playoffs-vs-BCS will have its own thread by next season.

And I'm still not going to watch Prison Break.

210
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 10:42pm

Notre Dame makes a first down, but a personal foul moves them back. On fourth down, a fake punt on 4th and 3 goes nowhere - and LSU immediately stikes, with a long pass and then a TD in two plays.

Wow.

211
by Russell Levine :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 10:44pm

A coach that believes his team can win the game on its own merits doesn't fake a punt their. I think Weis knows he's outmanned here.

212
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 10:45pm

One wonders if there's been just too much video (Michigan and USC) showing how to take apart Notre Dame on offense and defense - ND didn't really move at all against either team, nor score well.

213
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 10:51pm

Man Notre Dame receivers are complaining to the referees after what seems like every single passing play. The instant a pass goes incomplete or they get touched they're turning to the refs yelling.

This has been a really weird game so far.

214
by black (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:02pm

Notre Dame needs to "accidently" press the button in the center of the controller and reset this thing.

215
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:04pm

Brady, you're moving down in the draft there. You have to throw it away. Not that I'm complaining.

216
by Michael David Smith :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:08pm

I can't believe I just heard the words "deceptively fast" to describe a white wide receiver. When are TV announcers going to learn?

217
by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:13pm

MDS, at least he qualified it by saying "it's his long, lanky stride that makes him deceptively fast"

218
by Mike W (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:20pm

No, it's his long lanky stride that makes him fast. It's his whiteness that makes hm deceptive.

219
by Kurt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:23pm

It's nice that FOX occasionally interrupts their coverage of the fans and coaches with what's happening on the field.

220
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:28pm

Was that a lateral?

221
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:42pm

Awesome play by Szamardzija. Quinn throws up a long jump ball, Szmrdz pushes off - but he misjudges the ball, misses it, and winds up pushing the corner directly into the ball for an INT. NFL scouts are drooling.

222
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:44pm

On those close-up replays, I cannot see that ball hitting the ground.

Review guys, there must be absolutely indisputable evidence that the call on the field was wrong. The reviews I see show the call was correct - his arm is always under the ball.

223
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:47pm

Seeing it again, that was a terrible replay call. Why is it college reply is wrong so often? It seems like a case where a replay official would say "Oh, it probably hit the ground there" without absolutely 100% seeing it do so.

224
by Michael David Smith :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:47pm

Yes, we must compare Samardija to Ed McCaffery. That's the player he's most similar to.

225
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:50pm

The Football Gods have spoken - it was an interception, since Notre Dame threw a make-up interception only moments later.

226
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:52pm

I didn't see the ball hit the ground either. But hey, no worries, Quinn's always good for another interception against a good team.

227
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 11:52pm

In other games this season down by contact has been ruled as unreviewable. Yet they're reviewing it here? What is up with the replay system tonight?

228
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:00am

Quinn looks so bad in this game, Weiss is keeping them in this game with his standard smoke and mirrors running game

229
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:00am

Brady Quinn must have some black in him.

How exactly is ND having success running the ball? I figured they'd have zero chance at running well and would basically run only to keep Quinn alive.

230
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:02am

Darius Walker is keeping ND in this game. Has Brady Quinn thrown a ball on target tonight? Seems like every throw is high.

231
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:03am

LSU has let ND back in this game. They had ND down & out...

232
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:04am

Does Darius Walker think he is playing Michigan.

thank god for Charlie Weis that Les Miles is a terrible coach..

233
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:06am

thanks for the great camera work FOX....

234
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:09am

and thats why Russell is going to be the 1st pick in the draft....

235
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:16am

Note to LSU- ND's consistently run the draw play on 2nd down. You might want to look for it in the 2nd half.

236
by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:31am

Halftime entertainment in the Sugar Bowl is Jimmy Buffet's "Volcano" (chorus, as announced, "where you gonna go when the Volcano blow".

Is that really appropriate for New Orleans?

237
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:37am

It's a lot better than "Rock you like a hurricane", anyway.

238
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:38am

What are the LSU coaches doing? This is some of the worst coaching I think I have ever seen. And Landry (#30) may be the worst safety I have ever seen.

LSU is absolutely gashing ND with the run. When you just ran for 19 or 15 or 10, why in the hell would start dicking around with these little screen passes. I swear it seems like LSU thinks there is a rule against running the ball twice in a row.

And who is coaching the left def. end for the Tigers? Does anyone have contain in their defense?

Charlie has demonstrated in every conceivable way that he doesn't think his kids can match up athletically. Why screw around with bizarre defenses which leave you open to big running plays?

239
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:39am

We're now accepting nominations for worse sideline reporters than Ms. Zelasko. Requirements include (i) being really annoying (easy, I know), (ii) not asking any questions fewer than 30 seconds long, and (iii) talking yourself when you should let the person you're talking to talk. I was whining about the announcing today with some co-workers, when another co-worker, who hadn't watched any of the BCS games, asked if we thought we could do better. In unison, we thought we could. And that's not normally a position I hold. I'm tempted to mute the TV and listen to Nessler (good), Griese (bad), and Maguire (awful) on the radio.

240
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:45am

Landry is considered one of the best safeties prospects...I do not see it either (do not think he is the worse safety ever either...)

241
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:46am

First play of the half -- run for 11. Second play -- they screw around with the screen and fumble. How freakin' stupid are the LSU coaches?!!

242
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:47am

well it depends on who you believe-some think Les Miles takes controls of the play-calling in big games, that or Jimbo Fisher-considered one of the better OCs in college and who is a not a Miles fan is screwing up on purpose..

243
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:49am

I haven't listened to much of the announcing so far (basically the last five minutes of the first half, and this intro to the second). From what I've heard so far, I like Bradshaw mostly. He's actually trying to do analysis - telling what coverage the defense is lined up for, explaining why this WR screen that LSU keeps running is a bad play for them, etc. He's getting a lot of the typical announcer blather, sure, but at least he's doing the things I actually want from a color man on occasion.

Long has been completely worthless. I haven't heard him say much, but when he has it's been nothing but cliches and garbage about "poise" and "speed". Blech.

The sideline reporting is worse than awful.

Thoughts?

244
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:49am

Down at the goal line, Landry broke on the TD pass and simply ran right by the WR without making any effort to make a play. Almost bizarre in his lack of effort. Then on the INT that the replay booth got wrong, Landry grabs his teammate and throws him to the ground. Another bizarre one. What the hell is he doing?

245
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:49am

The two coordinators, Fisher and Pelini, are very highly regarded. They're either out-thinking themselves or the Inherent Les Miles Factor is rubbing off on them. Either way, not good news for LSU.

246
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:52am

Unless I have missed one, the last four LSU runs have gone for 10+ yards. Why only one run per drive?

247
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:56am

Fisher is getting his bags packed to go to Alabama probably...

248
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 12:57am

I think ND got hosed on that reversal. I don't think you can say there was indisputable evidence that the defensive back didn't establish possession of the ball. Looked to me like he established possession and that lost it again.

Not surprising how Les Miles doesn't know the rule about losing his challenge (not his timeout) even if he's right. Didn't he make a similar (and more costly) mistake in a home loss against Tennessee last year? I think that was the Monday night game they played b/c of Katrina.

249
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:00am

Trogdor, agreed on how bad Howie Long is in the booth. I also thought Bradshaw was yukking it up too much, but you're right: he's making some good points about recognizing man coverage, etc. Not bad, really, which puts him in the top quartile among college football analysts.

250
by G (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:01am

Call me crazy but this booth trio ain't all that bad. On the other hand, Zelasko is definately off the charts in the unintentional comedy scale.

251
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:01am

yeah he called a timeout after a LSU INT I think late in the 4th quarter even though at the time the clock stopped after a change of possession...

Les Miles is pretty much Larry Coker v.2...once that Saban talent (and Fisher) are gone, LSU is going to be a 8 win team.

252
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:03am

Re: 243
I agree completely about Bradshaw. Pretty good analysis, particularly about the QB play and the passing game.

Is the sideline reporting good in any game? It's a thankless job for the most part. Other than Dr. Jerry Punch (is he still around), I can't think of another decent sideline reporter (in any sport).

Miles does stink. He doesn't even know the rule regarding replay challenges. Considering he's not calling offensive or defensive plays, I would expect him to at least know the administrative rules of the game.

253
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:04am

I assume the QB draws and fake FG runs aren't included in that total. But since one went for a TD and another converted on 4th, I think they'll live with less than 10 yards on that.

But as for why their offense doesn't entirely consist of "let's just run it straight at them until they actually stop one", I don't know. Maybe mix in a 60-yard playaction pass or two. But with all these WR screens and short junk, it's enough to make you think the OC has money on ND +9.

254
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:04am

Did you know in three years Brady Quinn will be the 3rd best quarterback in the NFL? I'm fascinated!

255
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:07am

where was 3 time Heisman winner Ron Powlus on that Notre Dame QB list?

I think Miles does some offensive-playcalling-again it can be nothing, but it is said Miles takes over the playcalling in big games (that could be Miles-hater rumors though...)

256
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:08am

On the ND QB slideshow of fame, how does Rice not get a mention? National championship (hopefully their last), Heisman win (well, for his receiver, at least I think it was his), and he can't get any love?

257
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:09am

Think I saw Dr. Jerry Punch on the sidelines of a bowl game last week.

258
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:10am

Bradshaw pointed this out earlier, but it's worth repeating--Quinn seems to throw the ball late. I don't know if it's his release or not, but he needs to get the ball out on time.

259
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:11am

Lots of stuff on Samardzija (baseball video even) and Quinn and Weis and ND. The great QB tradition (except for that quarter of a century gap b/w Montana and Quinn).

I must have been in the bathroom when they've done all the stuff on the LSU All-Americans. Except I haven't been to the bathroom.

260
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:11am

You know, I was going to make a Powlus crack, but erroneously thought it might be time to cut a little slack. Thanks for having my back there.

261
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:13am

Holy cow! Three runs in the first four plays this drive -- all big successes.

262
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:15am

Over 15 pounds? Please tell me that was a c-section. If not, that poor, poor vagina...

And Long says something about him needing to learn how to roll up under people. How does Howie know he'll be playing for Denver?

263
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:16am

Having trouble getting TDs, but when LSU just runs normal-looking running and passing plays it looks like they're going against the scout team

264
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:16am

Someone ought to teach Bowe how to run while looking back. Useful skill for a WR. He might find it handy some day.

265
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:17am

Powlus jokes never get old.....

I know Mirer did nothing in the NFL, but he was the 2nd pick overall....

266
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:18am

I thought Bradshaw's question about the 15 lb baby was a scream -- "is he an only child?"

267
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:21am

yup, went to the draw well once to often.......

268
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:23am

Jerry Punch was a sideline reporter, but as they noted during the broadcast, it was his last college football gig for a while. He'll be the lead announcer on NASCAR races starting in February, sure to be ESPN/ABC's next thing to ridiculously overpromote. Hopefully Lynn Swann will abandon all hope of political success and return to college football broadcasting.

Bradshaw has been pretty good. Long has had a couple good comments, but not very many. Kenny Albert doesn't sound used to doing football, so his timing is off.

269
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:27am

LSU better hope these field goals don't come back to bite them in the arse.

Re 248: Vin, not sure I agree with you...to me, it looked like the ball was still moving through his arms...however, it does seem that the college game has completely abandoned the "indisputable evidence" standard and gone to a "we will look at the play anew as though the refs on the field were not there." Please, for the love of all college football fans, fix the system for the 2007 regular season or get rid of it all together.

270
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:28am

and thats the reason why JaMarcus Russell is going number 1 in the draft...

271
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:28am

Bradshaw's been fine but he's come off as a bit of an LSU homer tonight. I blame FOX for that, since I think they seem to want that with who they've chosen for the halftime show. Zelasko stinks, and she's not hot enough to justify being that bad.

That's the ballgame.

272
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:29am

Now we have heard about Notre Dame's academics and Notre Dame's tuba player's scholarship. On the LSU side, we've seen a picture of a 15 lb baby.

After all the Brady love, perhaps they might want to state the obvious -- Jamarcus is far more gifted a QB. What a throw!

273
by . (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:29am

Holy crap. Nice pass, Jamarcus.

274
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:31am

Is loosing 9 straight bowl games enough evidence that a team, for historical reasons, is consistently over-rated? Or does it require 10?

275
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:32am

That's exactly it, Griff. It looked like the ball may have been moving (I think you could see it either way) but that's certainly not indisputable evidence. And the play happened right in front of the ref, who was in a better position than even any of the replay angles. Gotta trust him on that.

276
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:35am

269,

Agreed. The ball never stopped moving on the fumble. The ball never touched the ground on the INT. But it does seem like we are getting a de novo standard of review far too often.

My pet peeve is when the replay booth can't quite see enough to definitively overturn the play and the ref says "video evidence confirms the call on the field." BS.

277
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:36am

I'll say this for ND -- they're getting embarassed by LSU's superior talent, but I would still take that over what happened to Michigan (getting embarassed via superior coaching by USC).

278
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:36am

thats called karma Notre Dame...

278
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:36am

Nice OPI.

What's with Quinn's deep balls this game, he just throws them crazily high

And a pick, justice

280
by . (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:37am

Hahahahahahahahahaha!1

281
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:37am

Throwing 60 yards on the run with pin point accuracy...that's NFL-esque. Ball game.

Any Domers out there want to defend your boys?

282
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:37am

That is the worst PI call of all time. And the football gods make it right.

283
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:37am

Terrible DPI call, as Bradshaw is quick to point out. Karmic balance quickly returns to normal, though, as Quinn's next pass is picked off.

284
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:40am

Revealing picture: Holliday being congratulated by LG Johnson. One of the things Michael Lewis points out in The Blind Side is just how friggin' huge offensive linemen are. On TV, surrounded by a bunch of other humans of whom most are also abnormally large and tall, they don't seem quick so large. But, sometimes, you just realize these are some really big people.

285
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:40am

and there is part of the reason why they will question if JaMarcus Russell is a top pick....

286
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:44am

Part of the reason they'll question him being a top pick, Part 2. He's got great talent but makes some bad decisions. This is the first game I remember watching closely where he didn't drop a stinkbomb. I think he needs to come back for his senior year and improve his decision-making.

287
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:44am

Tigers have seven runners averaging 6 yards or more per carry. Every one who has a carry.
7/50, 8/48, 3/30, 2/20, 1/13, 1/8, 1/7

288
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:47am

no New Orleans and LSU were nothing alike at all....

289
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:47am

Two head-scratching throws by Russell on that series. The triple-covered (for real this time!) flea flicker, and the end zone pick that his receiver had no shot at. I will note, however, that both of these came with the game very well in hand, and seem to be more of "why the hell not?" throws than any serious mistake. If he'd made those throws in the first quarter, or with the game tied in the fourth, there'd be a lot more reason to question.

290
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:48am

Agreed on Russell's decision making... I think he pretty much cost LSU the Auburn game (along with the coaching staff's total lack of faith in a passing offense).

Also even when he threw the game winning pass against Tennessee, he threw it to a guy who was covered and got bailed out because another LSU player who he didn't see happened to be in the area leaped up and grabbed the pass.

Russell usually dominates against inferior competition. We don't know how much of that can be attributed to his surrounding talent.

291
by . (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:49am

ND should have just gone for it on 4th and 8 from their own 20. At this rate they're going to lose anyway.

292
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:52am

You are up 20 in the 4th and averaging over 7 a carry. Might want to run on first down there instead of the incomplete pass.

293
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:54am

nice comment Bradshaw...

294
by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:55am

What would Bo do? Uh, Bo would know the rule on challenges/timeouts...

295
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 1:59am

"There comes a time when you have to be able to pound the football. Now is that time."

Or, alternatively, if you're getting about 12 yards every time the running back touches it, maybe that time should be from your first play to your last. It's hard to complain too much about a 20-something point bowl win, but LSU really should've won this game by approximately infinity minus thirteen. If ever a game called for an offensive gameplan like Air Force, it's this one. Why not just run it every play if they can't stop it?

296
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 2:01am

Anyone see Tim Brown at halftime say that it felt like ND was dominating the game? Damn, I'm sick and tired of seeing alums do bowl commentary. Especially the dumbasses.

297
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 2:01am

so this is the 3rd straight blowout of Notre Dame in a BCS game...and the first one was versus Oregon State....

298
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 2:03am

#243: Long hasn't been completely worthless. He's been pointing out line play most of the night occasionally, and usually calling out penalties before the officials. Not that often, though. Bradshaw's been very, very good (and as an aside: #271 - Bradshaw being an LSU homer? Uh, I thought if anything, it was a bit slanted towards ND, which kindof implies it was probably balanced).

Really, I came away from that game thinking that those guys deserve a shot in an announcing booth more than Joe Buck does. And I'd keep Long in there simply because I think he keeps Bradshaw entertained.

299
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 2:03am

That Oregon State team had Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh...

300
by stan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/04/2007 - 2:05am

From the CBSSportsline glog:

"Keiland Williams is into the end zone, as he was mostly untouched. The Tigers are romping the Irish now, as perhaps Notre Dame was a bit overrated. Who exactly did they beat this season to earn their lofty ranking, anyway? They should have to join a conference and earn their way in with a championship just like everyone else. Because it is really fun watching a beat down like this, isn´t it?"

Actually, it is.