Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features


» Defense and Rest Time

Do defenses really wear out over the course of a game? Do defenses benefit from long drives that give them more time to rest on the sideline? Guest columnist Ben Baldwin investigates.

06 Oct 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Home Dog Edition

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: So Vin, 8-0. How does it feel?

Vinny: Fleeting. It's like when you were in seventh grade, and the prettiest girl in school decided to eat lunch next to you in the cafeteria. You knew you should relish it, because you knew the next day you'd be back to eating lunch with one of the burn-outs from auto shop and the girl with the head gear. I'm speaking hypothetically, of course.

Russell: Of course. Well, I can tell you how 2-6 feels: familiar. After such a promising start to the season, I'm barely hanging on to a .500 record after that stinker.

Vinny: I can empathize. After all, I went 1-7 just one week earlier. I think the fact that it always seems like fall here in the Bay Area is really messing with my usual 4-4 or 3-5 mediocrity. Instead, I'm tending to the extremes. That's my theory anyway. Meanwhile, it rained here for the first time in six months yesterday. I have no idea what that means for my record this week, but it's probably not good.

Russell: This week's eight-game slate has a full six home underdogs. I'm hoping that will help me get back on track. You know how I love those home 'dogs.

Vinny: Speaking of which...

Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Syracuse, 12 p.m. ET, GamePlan

Russell: With Syracuse actually playing like a living, breathing football team and Illinois having knocked off Michigan State, I think that leaves Indiana and Duke to fight for the title of "Worst BCS Conference Team in America." I'm sure all the Syracuse alums are proud to be off the list.

Vinny: After the last few years, I don't think there is much pride left for the alums. Still, Syracuse freshman tailback Delone Carter was impressive last week with 129 yards and four touchdowns in only 20 carries in the double overtime win over Wyoming.

Russell: Syracuse might actually be garnering some national attention if not for its failure to score in seven consecutive snaps from the Iowa two-yard line in OT a couple weeks ago. Who was calling those plays, Pop Warner?

Vinny: It sure wasn't Norm Chow, whom Syracuse Athletic Director Darryl Gross interviewed a few years ago. Instead, Gross hired Robinson, the same guy who was canned by Mike Shanahan and Dick Vermeil, and whom Mack Brown was happy to replace with Gene Chizik. Easy to second guess (that's why I'm doing it), but then Chow hasn't worked wonders with the Tennessee Titans' offense yet either.

Russell: It's been an up-and-down year for the Wannstache and Pitt already. They were waxed by Michigan State three weeks ago but coming back to spank a decent Toledo team, 45-3, last week. Tyler @#$%ing Palko has only thrown five incomplete passes the last two weeks and has been taking care of the ball all season. I think Pitt has enough offense to beat Syracuse on the road. I'll take the Panthers.

Vinny: What happened to the home 'dog? Not that I disagree. Pitt seems to have a ground game coming together and that has taken some pressure off Palko. Pitt covers in the dome.

#15 Clemson (-16.5) at Wake Forest, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Oh those missed extra points. Clemson might be getting some serious national-title run if not for a flubbed PAT in overtime against Boston College. Instead, the Tigers are trying to fight their way through the loser's bracket, not an easy task in a down year for the ACC.

Vinny: Clemson probably has the ACC's best offensive line, led by Roman and Dustin Fry (no relation) and left tackle Barry Richardson, who shut down NC State's Mario Williams last season -- okay, that doesn't sound as impressive anymore.

Russell: Wake Forest, meanwhile, has inherited from Purdue the title of team with the sketchiest undefeated record. The Deacons' 5-0 mark includes a 14-13 win over Duke -- at home no less. Can they hang with Clemson, which has put 103 points on the board the past two weeks?

Vinny: Probably not. It's unlikely that any of Wake's victims thus far this year will end up with even a .500 record. This is a big step up for redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Skinner and his teammates. He'll be getting a steady dose of Clemson senior defensive end Gaines Adams.

Russell: Clemson had three 100-yard rushers in its 51-0 laugher over Louisiana Tech last week. Things won't be quite that easy, but they won't have much trouble with Wake, either. I like the Tigers to cover the big number.

Vinny: So far, Russ, you've passed on two road 'dogs. It is hard to go against Clemson here, but I think Jim Grobe will get the most out of his players, as usual, and that Wake finds a way to make it close enough.

Penn State (-3) at Minnesota, 12 p.m. ET

Russell: Is either of these teams any good? Are they fighting for the Citrus Bowl or the Sun Bowl? This game will help us find out. Penn State and Minnesota are a combined 0-4 against teams with an actual pulse, so both remain somewhat of a mystery at this point. Penn State especially has looked shaky, leading to lots of those "I knew JoePa should have gone out on top last year" feelings.

Vinny: To be fair to the ol' coot, this was going to be something of a rebuilding year with all of the youth on this team. The only position groups with significant experience are running back, wide receiver, and linebacker. Paterno seems to have the Nitts built for a title run every few years, e.g., 1994, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2002, 2005. This isn't one of those years.

Russell: I was actually fairly impressed with Minnesota's approach against Michigan last week. Though clearly outmatched, Glen Mason came up with a smart gameplan, going with lots of quick passes to avoid the Michigan pass rush. The Gophers also managed to do something no other opponent has done against Michigan this year: run the ball, as Amir Pinnix had a solid night.

Vinny: Minnesota's Logan Payne is a very good receiver, but he is hands-down the biggest whiner in the Big Ten (insert your own retort involving Lloyd Carr here!) and has to be in the top five in the country. He seems to constantly have that pained, incredulous expression on his face while trying to get a call from an official. It's reminiscent of former Duke shooting guard (and current assistant coach) Chris Collins.

Russell: Either him, or Brian Davis. Who could forget his face after the Kentucky game in 1991? And how is that guy buying an NBA team? I must be doing something wrong. Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli seems OK against the patsies, but he's been awful against better competition. I think part of the problem is that Penn State hasn't taken the wraps off him enough, but regardless, there's no way I'm going to trust a shaky quarterback as a road favorite in a conference game. Prices for Oct. 14 Michigan-Penn State tickets will fall a little further after this one (Have any to sell? Contact me: Russell-at-footballoutsiders-dot-com). Minnesota wins outright.

Vinny: We can only hope. The Gophers always seem to give Penn State problems, especially in Happy Valley. I know this is in the Hefty Dome, but the rule still applies. I like Minnesota as my Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week.

Navy (+3) at Air Force, 2 p.m. ET, CSTV

Russell: This should be a fun one. Nobody runs the option anymore except the academies, and it's always fun to watch them try to win without ever putting the ball in the air.

Vinny: It's definitely a novelty of sorts, although it's remarkable to watch the execution. And when you watch major programs butcher the option play in short-yardage situations, it's all the more impressive.

Russell: Navy is in its standard place atop the nation's rushing leaders, grinding out 357 yards a game behind quarterback Brian Hampton. Air Force ranks third, and also relies on its quarterback, Shaun Carney, to be the triggerman for its offense. Given that these teams face the option almost exclusively in practice, you'd think they'd be pretty good at stopping it -- but they're not. I expect both squads to run wild in this game.

Vinny: Falcons free safety Julian Madrid was a one-man wrecking crew in Air Force's 24-7 over New Mexico last week. He had eight tackles (five solo), two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.

Russell: It's great to see all three academies on the upswing. Navy has had a hammer lock on the Commander in Chief's Trophy in recent seasons, thanks in part to three straight wins over the Zoomies. Tempting to go with the home squad here, but I'll take Navy's slightly superior run game and the field goal.

Vinny: Zoomies? Listen to you, it's like you're hanging out with the Joint Chiefs. Navy wins outright.

#9 LSU (-1.5) at #5 Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: The game of the day is in Gainesville, where the Gators are a rare home 'dog to LSU. Florida should probably stick with those throwback unis they wore last week against Alabama. Those things were gorgeous. But it's back to the script "Gators" and the garish orange helmets this week. Florida won a grind-it-out type game with Alabama, but I wouldn't read too much into that. Alabama is the type of team that's built to play close, ball-possession games. Florida was able to play Alabama's style and win, salting the game away on a late interception return (oh those back-door covers).

Vinny: Florida waited until Thursday night to announce the reinstatement of senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, who was suspended for three weeks for a violation of the school's substance abuse policy. Thomas is considered by many to be Florida's best defensive player and a top pick in April's NFL draft.

Russell: This game kicks off a killer three-week stretch that will make or break Florida's season. After LSU, Florida visits Auburn before playing Georgia in Jacksonville. LSU, meanwhile, already needs help to win the SEC thanks to its 7-3 loss at Auburn a few weeks back. I wouldn't expect a whole lot more offense in this one as both teams have outstanding defenses and struggle to run the ball.

Vinny: Yep, this could be another 7-3 battle. LSU's stellar defensive line, led by defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, might be the best in the country. Meanwhile, the Tigers are shuffling their offensive line somewhat this week with left guard Will Arnold sidelined with a knee injury.

Russell: JaMarcus Russell is off to a terrific start at quarterback for LSU, though he struggled to generate any offense against Auburn. I picked the Tigers in that road tilt and I'm going to try and learn from that mistake. I'll take the home 'dog, Florida, and its QB combo of Chris Leak/fullback-under-center Tim Tebow, to knock off LSU.

Vinny: I've been to the Swamp and despite its reputation for deafening noise, if the visiting team can get out to an early lead, the crowd can be neutralized. Hey, they're human (insert SEC crowd joke here!). This will be close enough that the Florida fans will be involved throughout. I like the Gators as well.

#7 Texas (-5) vs. #14 Oklahoma (at Dallas), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: The Red River Rivalry doesn't matter quite as much as it has the last five years or so, as both teams come in with a loss (or in Oklahoma's case, a loss*). Still, when it's all said and done, this game could have something to do with who plays in the BCS title game. The loser, meanwhile, is probably all but eliminated from BCS contention, as it will very tough for the Big 12 to get two bids in a down year.

Vinny: I don't think either of these teams belongs in the national title conversation this year. Still, this game gets the blood boiling like few rivalry games in the country. And Adrian Peterson will be back returning kickoffs, like he did against Oregon. There are some great return men in this game already though, with OU's Reggie Smith and Texas's Selvin Young and Jammal Charles.

Russell: OK, I know Oklahoma got screwed at Oregon. No getting around that. However, I remain rather unimpressed with the Sooners. Where is the dominating Stoops defense? Paul Thompson has been just fine, thank you, at QB. Peterson looks as good as ever. So why don't the Sooners look like a dominant team? Check that Oregon game tape again. In between a couple of gifts from the officials, Oregon shredded the Oklahoma D. Washington put up some big plays on the Sooners. UAB made them play a full 60 minutes.

Vinny: Folks in Norman are wondering if Mike Stoops was really the architect of those great Sooner defenses. Meanwhile, Texas is coming off scrimmages with Sam Houston State, Iowa State, and Rice. And they opened the season with North Texas State. Why are the Longhorns in the top 10 again? Another good case for starting the polls in October.

Russell: Agreed, Texas is also tough to get a read on. As long as your name's not Ohio State, the Longhorns look great. But they were fairly well outclassed against the Buckeyes on their home field, so it's tough to make the case that they're a title-contending team. Still, I like the matchup against Oklahoma's defense. Texas will run the ball all day and cruise to the cover, as Colt McCoy isn't asked to do too much.

Vinny: I like the Sooners and the points here. I'm just not sold on a youngster like McCoy, a redshirt freshman, in this type of game.

#13 Tennessee (-2) at #10 Georgia, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: The other half of the SEC's Contender-style round robin on Saturday pits Tennessee and Georgia in Athens. Georgia may be the nation's most unbalanced team. Its defense is good as anyone's, but its offense is cover-your-eyes awful. Who knows who's even playing QB for the Bulldogs anymore, does it really matter?

Vinny: The Sausage King of Athens, Joe Tereshinski III, is back at the controls for Mark Richt, who has tried everything short of summoning the ghost of John Lastinger, although he's probably still alive. Georgia can attack the middle of the usually stout Tennessee defense (yielding 128 rushing yards per game), with defensive end Turk McBride moving to tackle to after losing Justin Harrell for the season.

Russell: Tennessee is probably not quite as good as the SEC's alpha dogs, Auburn, Florida, and LSU, but the Vols are clearly much improved over last season. Their Week 1 destruction of Cal grows more impressive with each passing Cal rout, and they hung with Florida for 60 minutes. Erik Ainge is playing very well under the tutelage of David Cutcliffe.

Vinny: Brandon Coutu, Georgia's standout kicker, is now out for the season with an injury to his kicking leg. But the Bulldogs are fortunate to have Andy Bailey step in. Bailey was 36-of-37 in PATs and 14-of-20 in field goals for Georgia in 2004 before losing the job to Coutu last season. How many teams have this kind of depth in their kicking game?

Russell: Good point. Is Georgia any good, or have the Bulldogs benefited from the soft early schedule and the SEC's reputation? We'll know by the time this one is over. My guess is the Vols will exit this game SEC title hopes still intact, while Georgia is going to get exposed as a team that's too one-dimensional to contend for much of anything. I like Tennessee on the road.

Vinny: Yep, Georgia's offensive struggles against some sketchy foes don't inspire confidence. The line is small enough for me to go with the Vols.

#11 Oregon (+5.5) at #16 California, 8:00 p.m. ET ABC

Russell: With LSU-Florida potentially turning into a tug of war, this could be the most entertaining game of the day, if not the best one. You have to wonder why nobody seems to be on the Oregon bandwagon -- the Ducks were only narrow favorites before trouncing Arizona State last week, and this week they're getting 5.5 points against a Cal team that at best appears to be an even match.

Vinny: Hey, for some crazy reason, I put Oregon in my BCS title game. Sure they got a huge break at home against the Sooners. But what national-title contender doesn't have a controversial call or lucky play go its way during the season? Colorado's fifth down at Missouri, Nebraska's Shevin Wiggins kicking the ball to teammate Matt Davison (again against Missouri), Clint Stoerner of Arkansas tripping over himself against Tennessee, etc. The list is long, but distinguished.

Russell: Cal seems to have put its Tennessee disaster firmly in the rear-view mirror, turning out four straight wins as Nate Longshore is beginning to look like the next Jeff Tedford bust at the NFL level (OK, that was a cheap shot, Aaron Rodgers isn't a bust yet). But Oregon's Dennis Dixon has been better, and while Jonathan Stewart isn't as good as Cal's Marshawn Lynch, the difference isn't that wide.

Vinny: Bears senior defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (is it just me, or will there be a lot of depth at defensive tackle in the 2007 draft?) has lived up to expectations this year. In Cal's secondary, senior corner Daymeion Hughes has to be the leading Thorpe Award candidate with five interceptions, two of which he has returned for scores.

Russell: Cal has the edge on defense, but I don't trust Longshore yet in a big game. Dixon's already proven himself in that spot (again, see the Oklahoma tape -- the officiating stuff takes nothing away from his performance). Besides Oregon's Mike Bellotti owns Cal: the Ducks have won eight of nine in the series. Make it nine of 10. The Ducks win as my Freddy Lock for the second straight week.

Vinny: This has Pac-10 shootout written all over it. And it's hard to go against the Ducks in those kinds of games. I'll also take Oregon and the points.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Pittsburgh -6.5 Syracuse Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Clemson -16.5 Wake Forest Wake Forest Clemson
Penn State -3 Minnesota Minnesota* Minnesota
Navy +3 Air Force Navy Navy
LSU -1.5 Florida Florida Florida
Texas -5 Oklahoma Oklahoma Texas
Tennessee -2 Georgia Tennessee Tennessee
Oregon +5.5 California Oregon Oregon*
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 8-0-0 (1-0-0) 22-18-0 (4-1-0)
Russell 2-6-0 (1-0-0) 20-20-0 (2-3-0)

Posted by: on 06 Oct 2006

184 comments, Last at 10 Oct 2006, 11:49am by Pat


by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:08pm

as a 'Cuse alum, embarrassed, of course, by the state of the team, I will point out that the Orange has covered the spread 5-0 this season. That's the only solace i can take from the season so far.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:25pm

The Gophers always seem to give Penn State problems, especially in Happy Valley.

Um. What? Penn State won 44-14 last year, throttling Minnesota like a rag doll. Ohio State had more trouble with Minnesota last year.

In 2004, they only lost by 9 to Minnesota on the road.

In 2003, when Penn State went 3-9, Penn State only lost to Minnesota (who went 10-3) 20-14, and came within 13 yards of winning even though they lost their starting quarterback during the game.

Penn State's not going to ride Morelli in this game. They didn't in Columbus, and they won't now - they'll ride Tony Hunt. And given that Minnesota hasn't exactly been a challenge to run on, that's probably a smart game plan.

Though clearly outmatched, Glen Mason came up with a smart gameplan, going with lots of quick passes to avoid the Michigan pass rush.

Most of Minnesota's passing this year has been short, except for that blowout win versus Temple. But I don't think that's a good matchup versus Penn State. The biggest success teams have had versus Penn State this year was down the field deep when the QB's had enough time.

I'm a little confused by this pick, to be honest: Penn State played Ohio State close - hell, closer than any team's played them this year. Minnesota put up a bit of a fight versus Michigan, but the closest the game came was a recovered onside kick at the end while still down 2 scores. Minnesota's defense never looked like they could hold up Michigan's offense at all. Even when Michigan didn't score, every drive except one ended up in Minnesota territory.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:29pm

Paterno seems to have the Nitts built for a title run every few years, e.g., 1994, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005.

And given the fact that I mentioned that Penn State went 3-9 in 2003, I think you meant '2002' there, not 2003.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:39pm

Gah. You guys picked the Ducks AGAIN? Oy vey.

This Duck fan is very, very concerned. Though that line seems so weird. Seriously, who did Oregon just demolish? It'll be a fun game to watch for everyone, I bet.

by joe football (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 1:44pm

Anyone catch the FSU/NCState game? The highlights were amusing, because every single positive passing play was a jump ball. It was like they'd given up on trying to run a coherent offense and just decided to throw it up for grabs every down

by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:05pm

At least the Oregon game will be on TV on the east coast for once. I worry about their defense though I think they'll pull it out.

by Duck in MA (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:36pm

It's the Ducks run defense that's a concern, the secondary and pass rush are excellent. I think this keeps Cal unbalanced enough (Tedford loves his balance) and leads to a victory, altough seeing seeing another double pick with an Edelstein is a little disconcerting. Saturday night at 8pm there will be a nationally broadcast televised Pac-10 game! What's going on in the world?

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 2:49pm

Pat -- You're right, that should have been 2002, not 2003. We'll fix that. As for my earlier statement about PSU's troubles with Minnesota, I recall the Gophers giving the Nitts a scare in 1997 and giving PSU its first loss in 1999, both times in Happy Valley. That's back before no one (at least not that many) were accusing JoePa of losing his fastball, and before anyone respected Glen Mason's program much. And as you note, PSU also lost to Minnesota in 2003 and 2004. Regardless of how close any of those losses were, I think combined they show that Minnesota often gives PSU trouble.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:20pm

A 3-9 team shouldn't be giving a 10-3 team any trouble whatsoever, let alone coming within a hair's breadth of winning with your second-string quarterback.

I don't get why holding an opponent to their lowest (2003), second-lowest (2004), and lowest (2005) points each year is indicative of "having problems".

And it's not like Minnesota's defense has given Penn State fits either: their average points per game in 2003 in the Big Ten was 19.2 (they scored 14), in 2004, 12.9 (they scored 7), in 2005, 35.2 (they scored 44).

Penn State's problems with Minnesota are long in the past at this point. Posluszny was a good portion of the reason that Maroney struggled so much in the game last year, and he's still there.

by Sonya M (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:27pm

Good luck with the PSU-Michigan tickets. Given that PSU's other home opponents are/were Akron, Youngstown St., Northwestern, Illinois, Temple, and Michigan State, I'll give you one guess as to which home game is the big one.

The students tried to start camping out Thursday, more than a week before the game.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:29pm

Well, the quality of a team changes as a season progresses so it's quite possible that the PSU team that FINISHED 3-9 wasn't of 3-9 quality when they played Minny. Maybe they were better then that.

As for the Lions playing OSU close, I think that can be attributed somewhat to the weather which is always an equalizer.

That being written I go with the Lions over the Gophers. Mason is a doofus and his teams reflect that fact. Every so often a good game but far too many instances where a fan watches and wonders what in the heck is going on.

I'm not a Gopher fan (see handle), but I bet I could name a half dozen games in the last four years Minnesota has gacked away. One or two is bad luck. Multiple times is a trend and to me a reflection of the coach.

I'm just glad he's Minnesota's problem. And that the administration doesn't realize they have Mike Martz on the sideline.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:38pm

No, no, they were that bad.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 3:41pm

When was the last time Florida State and Miami were both this bad at the same time? I think maybe 1976, which was Bowden's first year. It's really amazing. Any theories on what happened? I'm not a recruiting expert, but it looks to me like other schools are really working at recruiting in Florida, and FSU and Miami haven't taken that threat seriously enough and are losing a lot of the talent that they used to keep in-state.

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:00pm

Re: 13

If not 1976, maybe 1984, the year Jimmy Johnson took over Miami? Miami went 8-5 and unranked, finishing with 3 straight losses, including the Frank Reich-led 31-point comeback by Maryland and the Flutie game; FSU beat Miami that year, but finished 7-3-2, ranked #17.

I'd add the lack of any kind of competent quarterbacking to the reasons for the teams' declines. Chris Rix, Wyatt Sexton, Drew Weatherford, Kyle Wright, and Brock Berlin have not been the NFL-caliber QBs the two schools had for the previous 20 years.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:00pm

13- That's part of the problem. Still though, those two teams are usually near the top in the recruiting lists, so even if they're not getting all of the talent, they still should get enough to win 9 games every year. Both teams have trouble along the o-line, so maybe that part of the recruiting has taken the biggest hits. The schools at this point should almost recruit themselves.

Also, I think FSU has been hurt by some of the assistant coaches that have taken jobs elsewhere. I don't think their offense has been the same since Richt left, and Jeff Bowden is clueless. I don't know if they adequately replaced Amato either- Chuck may not be a great head coach, but he was a quality assistant for FSU. Papa Bowden's always been more of a delegator-type (remember the national title game against VT when he was giving an interview while his team ran a gimmick play for a TD?), so the lack of quality help is a big problem. Coker seems clueless at Miami- more and more it looks like he was in the right place at the right time to take over for a loaded squad that Butch Davis left him. They seem to quit far too easily in games- LSU in the Peach Bowl, GT last year, UL this year. It's disturbing to see from such a talented team.

Finally, neither of these schools have had good QBs in a while. While you don't need a great QB to win, college ball seems more QB-driven than the pros. The last really good QBs either of these teams had were Weinke and Dorsey- you could pretty much trust those two. Rix/Weatherford/Berlin/Wright have been anywhere between lousy and mediocre- Rix seemed like he flatlined in his development after 2 games. Maybe his stats disprove my memory, but I don't remember him being appreciably better by his senior year. Everyone dumps on Chris Leak for not excelling, but he looks like a god compared to Rix.

Whatever's going on, it's killing the ACC. They were supposed to be the elite tier, with Clemson, VT and BC right behind. Now those three schools (and GT, assuming they've beaten the Chan Gailey equilibrium this season) are the top of the ACC, but I'm not sure they're actually elite-level teams because Miami and FSU have fallen off considerably.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:01pm

Damn, I forgot Wyatt Sexton's name. How could I forget such a stellar QB? :)

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:14pm

Rix seemed like he flatlined in his development after 2 games. Maybe his stats disprove my memory, but I don’t remember him being appreciably better by his senior year.

Nope, Rix's stats didn't improve at all, and actually got worse at the end.

Rix by year:
2001: 11 games, 165 for 285, 2734 yards, 24 td, 13 int (also 12 for 25, 326 yards, 2 td, 1 int in the Gator Bowl - bowl stats didn't count until 2002)

2002: 11 games, 118 for 225, 1684 yards, 13 td, 7 int

2003: 13 games, 216 for 382, 3107 yards, 23 td, 13 int

2004: 8 games, 76 of 149, 865 yards, 3 td, 7 int

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:26pm

Link to Chris Rix's game-by-game stats. Note his freshman performance in late October- early November against the heart of the ACC schedule: 3 games, 1021 yards, 12 TDs. He'd never get anywhere near that kind of run again.

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:33pm

Re: 16

How could you forget a QB who identified himself to police as "God" and "the son of God?"

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:37pm

I think it comes down to coaching and recruiting. Any old idiot (even Jeff Bowden) can lead a vastly more talented team to victory most all of the time. But as teams have my recruiting inroads against FSU and Miami, coaching becomes more and more a factor. It's no coincidence FSU's decline came with the coaching staff departures, and Miami's problems started when they lost 2 of their top 3 coaches (Davis and Schiano).

by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:35pm

19: He definitely left his, um, mark during his short stay as QB for the Noles. Thanks for backing up my memory with the stats- Rix looked even worse than the numbers by the end. He had that "lost child" look to him and fans were on him constantly. It was kinda sad. Richt left after the 2000 season; since then, their offense has been trending downward, and this season looks inept. It's never good when fans are saying things like "it's great we won the ACC, but now we can't fire Jeff" like FSU friends of mine were saying after last season.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:49pm

Coker did just fine for a couple years after Davis and Schiano were gone, but since Ken Dorsey, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed & Co. left, it has been hard times for Miami. I agree that quarterback struggles for both programs have definitely left their marks. Another factor that's often dismissed as hokey (not Hokie) is the lack of leadership by the upperclassmen. When you watch how FSU and especially Miami have quit in games the last few years, you wonder if there are really any seniors getting everyone on the same page. You need that in order for high school superstars to accept their role as special teams players or 2nd teamers. The Ken Dorsey Miami teams definitely seemed to have that working, where there was tremendous team unity and players making sacrifices to win (Winslow waiting his turn behind Shockey, etc.). I think a lot of that was actually caused by Butch Davis leaving. I read how the players felt betrayed and they promised each other that it wasn't going to stop them from chasing a title.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 6:18pm

Re #22
That's a good point. I think where the coaching lapses really come home is less in game-planning, but in player development. Dorsey, et al. learned as underclassmen and succeeded as upperclassmen because of that knowledge. I don't think Gregg Olson has improved the way Shockey did. This also better accounts for the decline of the FSU defense, since Mickey Andrews has stayed in place yet key assistant Chuck Amato left.

Bonus Amato Love: did anybody else notice Rece Davis's sly reference to that great flash cartoon of Amato at the start of halftime last night? You know, "it's hard to be a coach these days."

by DMP (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:04pm

Wow, incredible restraint going this week without some massive missives against Michigan State visiting Michigan. Or should I be offended that this might mean that you think so little of MSU that it wasn't worth your time to come up with something? Man, these are not the good times...

by David S (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:41pm

As a Cal fan I have to say thanks.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 8:21pm

DMP, it was difficult to not include the UM-MSU game, but we try to mix up the roster so we're not talking about the same teams every week. It's bad enough that we're both Michigan guys, it would be even worse for everyone if you had to read us talking about Michigan every week.

Despite MSU's struggles of late (and that's being generous) I will be worried about the game tomorrow, if for no other reason that I have a family friend's wedding up in Sonoma that starts right around halftime of the game. I will be hunting around for a TV among the vineyards somewhere. The groom even went to Michigan. Inexcusable. I understand there's no bye week on the schedule, but if August is too soon, wait until December or at least pick the Ball State or Central Michigan game for your wedding day. Ugh.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 8:25pm

Re: #1, that's an impressive trend, Michael. Chris Fowler's ESPN.com column yesterday noted that Ohio State has covered in each game of its current win streak, which I think is at 13. Unreal.

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 8:48pm

Chris Fowler’s ESPN.com column yesterday noted that Ohio State has covered in each game of its current win streak, which I think is at 13. Unreal.

Unreal, but true. FWIW, and I am positively NOT accusing them of anything, 2 of OSU's last 3 covers have been rather dubious:

- A 52-yard FG with 1:12 left against Cincy to go up 37-7 (spread 28.5). OSU was facing a 4th and 24, however.

- 2 pick sixes in the final 2:31 against Penn State to win 28-6 (spread 16.5)

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:04pm

Re #26
My sister's wedding last fall was at high noon on November 19. And of course I'm in the wedding, so I can't run off to a TV after the cermeony, but instead have to do pictures and whatnot. By the time I get to a TV, the Buckeyes are just starting the game-winning drive. Then again, they both went to Colorado, so you have to make some allowances for them.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 10:31pm

I'm 3 - 2 so far this year after stupidly taking Utah to cover as a favorite vs Boise State last week.

This week I like Missouri as a 3 1/2 point dog vs Texas Tech. The Raiders are good and well coached, but Mizzou is for real.

by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 11:42pm

vinny @ #27: all i can think of is that *nobody* is betting the 'Cuse, and the line has to get *fat* to attract any action on them whatsoever - so it might be a case of effect causing the cause, as it were.

Because i'm pretty sure nobody is underestimating the Orange.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 12:52am

Not to turn this into a baseball thread, but Negro Leagues legend Buck O'Neil died tonight at 94. It still makes me alternately sad and angry that he fell one vote short of the Hall of Fame this year.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 1:08am

Re 23:
Do not forget Joe Kines was also at FSU I think during their championship runs of recent, but left to become the DC at Alabama.

And I agree with #15 about college football being more QB-driven then the pros. But to the point where if a team depends too much on a bigtime prospect that does not pan out (see Sooners/Bomar, Hurricanes/Wright, Seminoles/Weatherford and Lee-is he that bad? He is more highly touted then Weatherford coming out-neither Xavier's have done anything in college football.) and they have nothing behind him they are screwed.
Alabama has lost out on bigtime QB recruits, yet Shula is also bringing in a quality QB every year just in case that bigtime QB does not pan out they are not looking at starting Paul Thompson instead.

by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:40am

I just wanted to give a little respect to the Syracuse fans out there. I was in Arlington, VA...a couple hundred miles away from home watching the Iowa-Syracuse game a few weeks back. Despite the fact that the bar was 90% full of Hawkeye fans, the Orange fans came out to support their team. I have been pulling for them every week since. The Panthers may have an advantage in talent but I hope they come up short this week.

by Peter (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:54am

Pat: I'm with you on this one... that line seems crazy to me, and the fact that they took it even crazier.

Did I miss something about Minnesota this year? They obliterated two atrocious teams, and lost the other three, including one to an unimpressive Purdue. Penn State I feel is still a good team. They got crushed by OSU and ND, but I feel those teams are much more impressive than Minnesota's losses. Minnesota has demonstrated a complete inability to stop the run, and that will be exactly what Joe Pa does all game long.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 12:56pm

Two great signs during Gameday:
I couldn't see the whole thing, but it read in part "Leaves pages alone" The state of Florida will never outlive Mark Foley.


"Corso *heart*" then a very good drawing of a man's wedding equipment.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 1:11pm

My favorite sign was "Keep Jeff Bowden." There was also one about taking a Leak on the Tigers.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 1:47pm

It's REALLY early, but Auburn is down 10 - 0 vs Arkansas, and the Tigers look lethargic.

Clemson should permanently lose those purple pants.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 1:58pm

Re: 38
A little early for that?

Is Dan Fouts doing color on this game? Whoever is sounds a little bit like him...

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:25pm

Is there anyone watching NW-Wisconsin? PJ Hill has 186 yards on 20 carries...at the half. NW's taking crappy run defense to an art form.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:39pm

14-3 Wake Forest at halftime? Luck or skill?

Kevin11, did you see the USA Today page I posted in the "Scramble" thread?

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:44pm

41- Skill. WF has outplayed Clemson, and could be up more if not for a fumble at Clemson's 2. Clemson looks like crap. Wake will be the flimsiest 6-0 team if this holds. :)

At the very least, Clemson has some work to do to cover that ridiculous spread.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:46pm

38- I acknowledged it was early! :) Besides, it's halftime and I feel safe saying that UA v AU will be a ballgame. Arkansas is good.

41- The one with the Haynesworth cartoon? I looked and did a page search and saw nothing. My guess is that it has to with the 1991 Miami v Houston game, and that my recollection of the line was incorrect :)

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:51pm

Re: 43

Doh, not "Scramble," "Confessions of a Football Junkie." See, everyone makes mistakes. :)

Here's that Thursday's page: Link

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:56pm

Well, I admit to having a false recollection.

What's scary is that I could SWEAR remembering Houston as a slight favorite! )

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:03pm

Re: 45

Yeah, I think we all have memories we'd swear to that wouldn't check out if we looked them up.

You're right about Clemson's purple pants - is purple even one of Clemson's colors?

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:04pm

Given today's performance (so far) by LSU's only competent opponent to date, I'm feeling a touch of optimism...

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:16pm

How many "Paper Tigers" headlines will there be tomorrow? It's a good thing they play Temple next week so they can hang another half-a-hundred.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:22pm

Wow! We've got Oregon-Oklahoma redux at Arkansas-Auburn.

Arkansas at the 1, the QB fumbled the ball, and it is picked up by the FB #46, who falls forward and is lying about 2 yards deep in the end zone with the ball, while the refs run into the pile and mark the ball down at the 1.

I have no idea why that wasn't a TD... and it better be reviewed.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:24pm

At least they scored anyway.

Wake Forest's holder just pulled a Garo Yepremian.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:25pm

Arkansas gets in on 3rd.

Drive was set up by a fumblerooski type play where a RB was hiding behind the offensive line and they ran an outside mis-direction.

I have no idea why the officials didn't review the 2nd down play, as #46 was CLEARLY IN THE END ZONE WITH POSSESSION. Of all the silly plays that are reviewed, that should've been a clear reviewable play. Auburn thought they had the ball, and everyone was focussed at the 1-yard line, but the FB was in the end zone.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:29pm

wow--Wake apparently about to put the nail in the coffin, but instead of 20-3, it's 17-10--I think it was supposed to be a fake FG, rather than a botched snap

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:32pm

Re: 52

I don't think it was supposed to be a fake, the snap was a little offline, and the holder (a backup punter) panicked.

The Wake Forest QB just fumbled away the ball near midfield. The ACC - it's fantastic.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:38pm

4th and 9 for Auburn, last play of the 3rd quarter, down 24-10 to Arkansas. Sack, loss of 10 yards to start the 4th quarter.

If this holds up, the national title picture gets even more interesting.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:39pm

Clemson goes down the short field for a TD - the tying extra point is blocked, but barely (and I mean barely) makes it over the crossbar. 17-17, 10 minutes to go.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:42pm

I think on most plays where the QB slides, the officials are giving him at least an extra yard on the spot. It's supposed to be down where the ball was when he went into his slide. I'm seeing a lot of spots where they're giving him the ball where it was when he was fully on the ground. Have others noticed this, or is it my overly critical view of the officials?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:47pm

Um, wow.

Arkansas is doing well, running down the field, keeping the clock moving.

Then, after a 1st down play where Arkansas runs for like a yard, an Arkansas player just clocks a guy that's about 10 yards away from the play, and does so about 5 seconds after the play is over. Suddenly instead of 2nd and 9, it's 2nd and 24.

Stupid, stupid, stupid by Arkansas. Gotta keep a cool head out there when winning on the road. Now they've punted back to Auburn and a score on this drive means anybody's game.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:50pm

Re #56
College and pros. It's become an epidemic. I find it less noticeable in college, because a lot of the time the spot is really, really bad.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:52pm

Where do they find these announcers? Illinois is up 32-31 in the fourth quarter, and the defense allows Indiana to march right down the field. Indiana fails to score a touchdown only because Indiana's QB misses a wide-open receiver in the end zone. Then Indiana's kicker misses a chip-shot field goal, and the announcers say, "Wow, what a great job by Illinois' defense, holding serve down there."

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:52pm

... and Clemson takes the lead on a long run... missed it live because of Ark-Aub.

The Arksansas D-line is getting serious pressure during passing downs, but Auburn seems to be averaging 5 YPC when they run.

I don't know why VMI-Army is on ESPN Classic... if I recall, VMI is 1-AA. Can someone tell me what ESPN 360 is?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:54pm

Wake Forest has utterly collapsed. Clemson rushed for a 72-yard TD (untouched for the last 60) for the go ahead score, and then Wake Forest killed its drive with a holding penalty, followed by an interception returned to midfield.

Re: 56

Yup, I've noticed that too. All refs (college and pro) have seemed really indecisive when spotting the ball after a QB slide this year, and usually mark it where the QB's knee/backside hits the ground.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:55pm

I don't know who is doing the Ark-Aub game but I like the color analyst.... even if I swear he speaks exactly like Dan Fouts... so I'll just call him Fouts-SEC.

MDS, I haven't really noticed, but I think you or someone else made a similar comment in NFL discussion.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:55pm

ESPN 360 is ESPN's broadband live video channel, available to those with certain ISP's (but not Comcast, for one).

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:57pm

60- It's something that 360 people have available. ;)

Wake allows 21 unanswered points, but it's not over.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:59pm

Re: 64

Clemson kicks the short FG to go up 10 with 1:15 to play. It's over.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 3:59pm

Last week in one game (Colts/Jets?) the QB started to slide before the first down marker, but the officials gave him an extra yard or two, where he hit the ground, which was enough for a first down. The coach challenged, and the announcers went on and on about "this is where his butt hit the ground, it's a good spot, the coach had a great view of it so why is he challenging". It's as if neither of them knew the rules. While this is hardly surprising, the referee might not have known the rule either, because he upheld the ruling (unless he just didn't have a good view to overturn, which is ludicrous but I have to throw that option out there). If they're going to keep screwing up marking it like that, there's absolutely no reason ever not to slide, for other players as well as the QB. Why take the hit for the extra yards if they're going to give you the extra yards anyway?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:00pm

Re: 66

It was Pennington in Colts/Jets, and the challenge was denied.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:02pm

Re 60, ESPN has a contract with Army to show most of its home games on Classic. I'd be curious to know what the ratings are; my sense is that most people stopped caring about Army football in about 1970.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:02pm

Ah, there it is - post 170 of the open NFL thread. I guess it was Colts/Jets. No wonder Dungy rarely challenges (except when moronic/miraculous overturn is required), why waste a timeout if they're going to ignore the evidence or mess up a simple rule anyway.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:07pm

Memo to the Illinois coaching staff: Your offense consists of a good running game and a wildly inaccurate freshman quarterback. You have a lead in the fourth quarter. Will you please stop passing? Thank you.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:08pm

I don't think I've seen anyone spot the QB down where he started the slide, always where his backside hits down.

So if Superman was a QB...

by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:08pm

What's with Auburn's defense?!? The run defense is atrocious today. Is it time to re-evaluate the LSU-Auburn game? Everyone put it down to the power of the incredible SEC defenses, but look at this game.
USC has to be loving this game, given that:
1. This eliminates Auburn from the championship contenders
2. It makes that 50-14 blowout of the Razorbacks look even better

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:14pm

I guess Tommy Tuberville has officially given up, punting while down 17 with 3 minutes to go.

Last week there were a number of columns (and messageboard type posts, although not on FO) that Auburn was obviously superior as they beat Washington State by more than USC did. Well, at least USC beat Arkansas...

by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:14pm

Why is Auburn punting with just over 2 minutes left? They're down by 17! Are they worried that Arkansas might run up the score if they went for it on 4th down and failed to convert in their own territory? I just can't understand that call at all.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:15pm

Minnesota-Penn State headed to overtime after Minnesota drove 80ish yards for the tying TD with just over a minute to go.

by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:16pm

Re 74:
Just let me add that I understand that the odds of a comeback were ridiculously low down by 17 with just over 2 minutes left. But still, what have you got to lose by going for it?

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:17pm

Don't look now, but Temple is still in a game (vs a decent Kent State team) and it's the third quarter.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:19pm

Re: 77

Unfortunately, Kent State just scored to go up 21-10. Total yards: Kent State 297, Temple 83.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:22pm

Minnesota scores a quick TD in OT, but misses the extra point. Is it me, or have their been an inordinate number of missed extra points in OT this year?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:24pm

Ah, the end of the Illinois-Indiana game, in which we see why these players are playing for Illinois and Indiana, as opposed to Iowa and Notre Dame.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:26pm

Where is the line between "going for the ball" and "pass interference"?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:27pm

A 4th and 9 pass for Penn State falls incomplete, and the Minnesota bench celebrates, but Minnesota is flagged for PI (valid, but called late). On the next play, Penn State runs to the 2.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:28pm

I bet Pat's heart skipped a beat on that one.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:32pm

I don't know how valid that PI call was... doesn't the defensive player have as much right to go for the ball as the offensive player? I can see if players go through another guy, it's PI, but both players were reaching for the ball and the defender hit the WR in the upper arm/shoulder area.

It's more a quibble with how the penalty is applied, because there was contact, but I think it was incidental to a play on the ball.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:33pm

And Penn State scores, and makes the extra point for the win.

Lots of extra point follies this year.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:40pm

I thought it was PI, but the replay was at an odd angle, and ESPN didn't show any others that might have been more clear.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 4:51pm

Why didn't BGSU(CKS) just onside the opening kickoff? If you're going to squib it and give it to them on the 40 anyway, you might as well go for the recovery. Nice opening drive by the Buckeyes, hopefully they'll put this one away early.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:00pm

I love it when Stanford and Notre Dame play. As a once-promising high school student, I used this game as a tiebreaker in deciding which school to attend. According to the sports media, whenever one of them loses it's always because of their high academic standards, so whoever loses this game is obviously the better school.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:02pm

How does the fullback ever get that wide open on a goal line play? Was the linebacker picked by a tight end maybe?

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:06pm

We want Tebow

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:07pm

Troy Smith is incredibly awesome. I love that he's focused on his passing so much this year, and he's great at throwing on the move, which will help him tremendously in the pros. But he's also still elusive and not-deceptively fast, and able to pull out a first down scramble on 3rd and 25. I'm so glad he's at OSU, he's earned every penny.... er.... of scholarship money...

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:09pm

USC attempts a first-quarter fake field goal to go up 7-0 on Washington. Given Auburn's loss, a big win here can reinforce their current #2 spot.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:16pm

There was no way Auburn was staying undefeated all season....but losing to Arkansas? Who struggled at home against Vandy and should have lost to Alabama as well.

Arkansas is sitting in the driver seat of the SEC West right now...

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:19pm

On 4th and goal from the 10, Washington calls a timeout, then kicks a field goal.

That seems like a wasted timeout, but I wasn't watching the game at the time. Anyone that saw it know why that was called? Not that I'm complaining.

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:20pm

You know what Tebow is going to do, but you cannot stop Tebow from doing it.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:22pm

On USC's fake field goal touchdown play, the review official called for a review because the holder's knee was down when the ball was snapped to him, therefore the play should have been dead.

The play was upheld, and the touchdown stood, but if the play was dead as soon as a holder gets the ball because their knee is down, there'd be a lot field goals that fail because of the holder.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:24pm

yeah Tebow has been pretty amazing at running the ball so far this season, against good defenses as well.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:27pm

I thought there was an exception made for holders on placekicks, and fakes from a placekick formation. I could be wrong though, and maybe it's just called like a baseball "neighborhood" play.

Why do they bother measuring for a first down after a touchback? If the chains tell you something different from the lines on the field, the chains are wrong.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:29pm

Re: 96, 98

Yup, there's an exception for the holder on placekicks.

Ball Declared Dead
ARTICLE 3. A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle
or declare it dead:

b. When any part of the runner’s body, except his hand or foot, touches
the ground or when the runner is tackled or otherwise falls and loses
possession of the ball as he contacts the ground with any part of his
body, except his hand or foot. (Exception: The ball remains alive when
an offensive player has simulated a kick or is in position to kick the ball
held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or
advanced by rule) (A.R. 4-1-3-I).

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:49pm

Re: 94/Tarrant
Watching the game, I thought Washington called TO on 3rd and goal. If you are following via GameCast, than it is wrong.

Unless Washington called a TO before 3rd and 4th down. I don't think they called a TO on 3rd and 4th however... can't remember, distracted by toddler, plus baseball games and 4 channels of good football games here.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 5:56pm

Can we make it a rule that guys who play for teams that wear white pants MUST wear shorts under their uniforms? If I see the sweaty crack of another Longhorn's ass . . .

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:00pm

We have a Zwick sighting. Smith left the last series with a slight limp, and in a game like this why take chances? We'll find out at halftime if it's anything to worry about. It didn't look bad, but who knows?

And Gonzalez drops an easy one on 4th and 7 (from the 30 - why not go for it?). I didn't think such things were possible.

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:01pm

FIVE turnovers so far in UF-LSU... wow.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:08pm

#84: The defender actually did go through the receiver. Ignore the contact by his hands - before the ball got there, his chest hit Butler in the back and shoved him forward (which is why he missed the ball).

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:18pm

He runs, he throws, he scores! (And that is the absolutely freakiest touchdown I've seen in a while...)

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:20pm

They only showed one replay. The biggest thing was the kicker doinking the extra point.

Oh, Detroit is up 3-0 if anyone cares... make that 4-0. We'll see a great comeback by a team that hasn't hit at all in the past 18+ innings, or one of the priciest teams not to win the World Series (again).

by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:22pm

Well, so far MSU-UM is what I thought it would be: UM's newfound blitzing is bothering Stanton who has not dealt well with pressure; there is no way the MSU DBs can stay with the talent of Manningham-Arrington-Breaston.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:23pm

4-0? Two safeties? I didn't know Detroit even played football. Division 3?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:30pm

Washington opens the second half with an onsides kick, recovers, marches down the field and gets a field goal to make it 17-13 USC. Another upset in the making?

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:33pm

Manningham for Heisman? That TD catch was simply amazing.

Washington seems to have re-joined the world of the living under Willingham, who I thought was a terrible hire. He's proving me wrong.

Texas A & M rings up a big win on the road today. They needed that one with Missouri up next week.

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:43pm

Now SIX turnovers, without a snap yet in the second.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:48pm

Nice play call. Really obvious, but Florida did a good job setting that up over the whole season.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:49pm

Tim Tebow is a one-man play action fake.

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:50pm

Yeah, there was no-one anywhere close to the receiver on that one, and Tebow threw a very nice smooth ball. How often does a team receive the kickoff and still give up nine points in the first three minutes of the half?

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 6:55pm

LSU looks awful. One more Gator score and it's Texas v OU time.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:00pm

Heh, you said "nice smooth ball."

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:13pm

Washington scores a TD. 23-20 USC with a little more than 10 minutes left.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:18pm

Bonnie Bernstein has got guns. I'm going to marry that woman.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:22pm

Gotta love the homer color man on USC-Wash. That guy was a backup RB for USC 5 years ago or something... for the parts I've watched though he has been pretty even.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:30pm

USC is not looking impressive today.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:34pm


Haven't seen her since last year, but if she does they were added recently.

That is, unless you're literally referring to weaponry.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:41pm

Looks like Wash will have the ball back with 1 minute left and 6 points back. That fake FG converted to a TD looks huge... kind've a cheap trick, but it worked.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:43pm

Washington still has a chance, but they blew two golden opportunities by dropping sure interceptions. The second one probably would have been run back 100 yards for a TD.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:45pm

True, true... a bad through by Booty, who I thought looked decent... could be the WRs they have though.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:49pm

Washington at the USC 39 yard line with 34 seconds left.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:53pm

They need to do a middle pass, spike and take at least 2 shots.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:56pm


by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:57pm

That was a BS ending.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:57pm



by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:58pm

LSU has now played two games against good opponents, and scored 13 points combined. Is it their offense, or are the defenses for Auburn and Florida just that good?

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:58pm

Re: 121

She's got veins bulging in her biceps, but I wouldn't mind if she was wearing chaps and six-guns either.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:59pm

Could someone explain what happened at the end of USC-Washington for someone who could only follow it on Gamecast?

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 7:59pm

What a ridiculous way to end the game and ruin a potentially very exciting finish.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:00pm

I can't believe that... Carroll gave the signal to wind the clock, I don't think I saw a single official give the signal to wind the clock!!!!

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:02pm

Washington converted a 4th down and had the ball in the middle of the field with about 20 seconds left.

The ran another play down the middle that got another first down, and the USC time-keeper took 5 seconds off the clock after the player was down, leaving 2 seconds left.

I thought that should be reviewable, and so did Willingham, so Washington is upset and trying to get it reviewed. In the meantime the officials spot the ball and 2 seconds go off the clock because Washington wasn't ready... although if they had 5 more seconds it looked like they would've gotten the play off.

More heads need to roll!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:03pm

So..... what happened?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:04pm

So instead of arguing about it, shouldn't Washington have spiked it and argued after the fact? Although from the sound of it, if they did spike it the clock would've run the last two seconds off as well, maybe.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:05pm

Re: 135

Thanks, that's awful - I'm shocked that Pac-10 officials screwed up.

by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:05pm

Wow... I have never seen a competent team turn the ball over so many times. I wonder if Stewart Mandel et al will reconsider their "Russell isn't over-rated" position.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:05pm

Washington had the ball at about the 35 yard line with 11 seconds left. They completed a pass down to the 15. The clock was down to 2 seconds, but should have been stopped with about 5 seconds left. The officials were huddling on the field, and Ty Willingham came on the field to shout instructions to the quarterback (taking him off the line of scrimmage, where the team was ready to snap the ball because the clock would start when the officials signaled ready for play). Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is shouting "Wind the clucking fock" or something that rhymed with that. The officials finally start the clock, but Washington wasn't ready at the line of scrimmage, and the final two seconds ran off the clock before the ball was snapped. Game over.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:07pm

CBS just replayed it, but without the footage that happened between the time the receiver was down and the final non-snap.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:09pm

There should've been 8 seconds left or so... who keeps the official time? I don't believe they go off the scoreboard... the USC timekeeper was probably taking extra seconds off the whole drive, but I didn't notice a lot.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:09pm

The weird thing about the final play (or non-play) is that Washington was ready to snap the ball immediately, but Ty Willingham came on the field and distractd the quarterback and the team so that they ended up not being ready when the clock did start.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:11pm

Matthew, there couldn't have been 8 seconds left. The previous play started with only 11 seconds left. There should have been about 4 or 5 seconds left.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:12pm

Re: 143

I guess that makes Willingham a candidate for the John L. Smith Trophy this week.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:13pm

The clock CBS had on the replay (the actual game clock) showed 4-5 seconds when the receiver was down.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:15pm

Also lost in the shuffle: When Washington started their last drive, there was about 1:28 left. However, with the stupid new rule, the clock starts running immediately, and Washington wasted 10 seconds before snapping the ball on the first play. Why did they wait so long to snap the ball with the clock running? They sure could have used those extra 10 seconds.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:18pm

Re: 147

I'm not sure I've seen a team do that right this year. When you know that you'll take possession after the kickoff, huddle up on the sidelines, and get ready to snap the ball right away.

Thank God that rule will almost certainly be changed/eliminated after this year.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:23pm

I truly, truly hate the new clock system. If games are too long, how about shortening parts that aren't, like, THE MOST DRAMATIC PART ABOUT THE GAME? Gah. And I hate Washington and want them to lose. They looked good though, and Willingham actually has them playing with honor and swagger. They might be a worthy opponent this year.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:23pm

I don't have a DVR, so I was just going off memory. It was surprising they went underneath. I didn't notice them getting distracted by Willingham, it looked like they were waiting for the officials to review and put more time on the clock.

The officials didn't spot the ball and wind the clock though, the ball was spotted, and then there was some delay and on the replay I didn't see the umpire give the wind the clock signal. I'm not sure who normally gives it, but 2 more seconds would've been enough to get a play off.

Is that not reviewable in the Pac-10? Watching these SEC and Big Ten games it seems like they review every small thing.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:33pm

Matthew, they were at the line of scrimmage ready to go, but the officials were huddling for quite some time. Willingham took the opportunity to come about 5 or 10 yards on the field to shout to the quarterback, and the team came off the line of scrimmage. That's why they weren't ready when the clock started. If any of the highlight shows show the entire sequence, you'll see this.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 8:38pm

Allright, I didn't notice it when I was watching live... and didn't get to see the full replay. Willingham was pointing to himself as if to say, "my fault" after the game ended, he wasn't too happy on the field after.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:22pm

Well, that's about the worst beginning to a game I could hope for. First play, Oregon throws an INT on their 11, then gets called for a tickytack PI call, and finally gives up the TD. 7-0 Cal. Ugh.

What is up with the Cal unis?

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:29pm

Those Cal unis are godawful. The bright yellow jerseys look like something Oregon would wear (with different secondary colors).

By the way, does anyone else find those Dr. Pepper "Turning 23" commercials ridiculous? The jingle is sung to the tune of "Turning Japanese." Do you think the Dr. Pepper marketing executives know what that song is about?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:29pm

What is up with the Cal unis?

They're trying to out-ugly Oregon.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:30pm

153 - They're determined not to let Oregon win the worst uniform award today?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:34pm

By the way, does anyone else find those Dr. Pepper “Turning 23″ commercials ridiculous? The jingle is sung to the tune of “Turning Japanese.� Do you think the Dr. Pepper marketing executives know what that song is about?

I think I posted the same question two weeks ago. I don't think marketing executives really think beyond the surface of songs they choose (remember "Fortunate Son" for blue jeans or "Lust for Life" for cruises?).

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:38pm

Sorry, Travis, I missed your post two weeks ago. I do remember the "Lust for Life" commercials - I think they still run.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:39pm

Re: 158

No need to apologize - I was just relating that I noticed the same thing.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:40pm

Shocker of the day: Duke 14, Alabama 10, halftime.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:54pm

Has anyone noticed that my partner Vin, coming off an 8-0 week, started 6-0 ATS this week?

Time to check the planetary alignment.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 9:55pm

Nice coverage, Oregon.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:03pm

Does the Pac-10 take officials off the street before the game? This officiating is atrocious. A sack by Cal is wiped out because of an inadvertent whistle before the snap because of some snafu with the play clock.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:08pm

Good news - none of the officials from USC-Washington were from the infamous Oregon-Oklahoma crew.

Anyone watching UCLA-Arizona (why would you)? From what I've heard, UCLA's QB (Olsen) took a late hit to the knee and is out of the game.

Re: 161

Vinny picked Oklahoma, so his record is a still stellar 5-1.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:32pm

Great punt return by DeSean Jackson for Cal for a touchdown.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:41pm

Hey, the Oregon-Cal officials just marked the ball correctly on a QB slide!

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:48pm

One more comment on USC-Wash ending because I just got back from running some errands and heard the USC Radio postgame.

Both the USC colorman and play-by-play were surprised no time was put back on the clock, and from the radio replayed it sounded like a WWF screw-job.... ie "The clock is going, the play is called dead, the center is slamming his helmet down in disgust, and the officials are racing into the tunnel. No time was put back on the clock."

It seemed like they were in a conference, and already had the ball spotted, so after breaking conference they just ad-hocly wound the clock... and Willingham probably expected there to be some time put on, which is why he was giving instructions and distracting the offense... just my theory.

At least they were more non-biased than the USC based Fox cheerleaders. I guess they figure USC is the only PAC-10 team with a shot at the BCS game, so they better give them the win.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 10:50pm

Well, they did one thing right. But how could they pick up the flag on the punt return? DeSean Jackson was long gone for a touchdown, but behind the play, an Oregon player clearly stomped on a Cal player who was prone on the ground. This was done right in front of an official, who threw a flag. The replay clearly showed all of that. But the officials picked up the flag and did not call a penalty. Jeff Tedford was calling for the player to be ejected, and Brent Musberger and Bob Davie could not believe that the officials picked up the flag.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/07/2006 - 11:27pm

Duke was up 14-10 at halftime, but could do nothing in the second half.

Duke drives, second half:
3 plays, 4 yards - ends in interception
4 plays, -6 yards - punt
3 plays, 1 yards - missed field goal
6 plays, 14 yards - punt
5 plays, 8 yards - punt
1 play, 0 yards - interception
8 plays, 23 yards - downs

Final: Alabama 30, Duke 14. The ACC's search for a decent non-conference victory goes on (in other games: East Carolina 31, Virginia 21).

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 12:11am

A rare occurence- someone praising an announcer on a message board.

Todd Blackledge did an A-plus job and added a lot to tonight's Tennessee v Georgia broadcast.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 12:22am

We've got post-game quotes from USC-Washington officiating.

Referee Brian O'Cain said, "I wanted to make sure the officials had seen the clock when the play became dead and were comfortable with the time remaining on the clock, which was confirmed to be two seconds."


by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 12:43am

I guess Rutgers inherits the "sketchiest undefeated record" label, although I'm not sure who wins a fight over schedule strength with West Virginia.

9 undefeated teams left: Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Florida, West Virginia, Louisville, Rutgers, Missouri, Boise State. We could still wind up with 6 at the end of the season.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 12:54am

Alabama won ugly..so freaking ugly.

Duke averaged 37.5 rushing yards per game...so naturally then ran for 201 against Alabama.

Alabama did not get their run game started until the 4th quarter when they finally started doing off-tackle and sweep plays instead of those god awful iso/dive plays.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 1:17am

Re 171:
That's such bull. ESPN was going apeshit over that ending. The analyst who isn't Robert Smith on ESPNews kept reminding everyone of the Oregon-Oklahoma game and saying that those incidents have disgraced all Pac-10 officials. Someone high up in the Pac-10 needs to take control of the situation ASAP. If they have another incident it should really damage the conference's credibility. Granted, not much will come of it, but fans and other schools will know and that may influence some teams when they schedule non-conference games.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 1:50am

From watching College Football final. The way Lou Holtz explained it the umpire should straddle the ball until the chains moved, and then when he moved off the ball they would basically start the clock.

I have to see the replay again, but I'm 90% sure the umpire wasn't straddling the ball because he spotted it and then went to conference with the other officials... I don't think he returned over the ball, and they just wound the clock without giving any indication to Washington and promptly left the stadium.

I bet the head of officiating in the PAC-10 is Earl Hebner.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 2:18am

Re: 104/Pat
Pat, Pat, Pat.

The response I initially wrote up was,

They only showed one replay, and I still wouldn't take your word for it. But I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

After watching the replay, the phrase "shoved him forward" in your post is a gross exaggeration. That play should be shown to officials as a demonstration of incidental contact. The PSU receiver should've made a move towards the ball, and the Minnesota defender should be rewarded for the play he made on the ball.

Other thoughts:
I still only saw one good replay of the Arkansas fumble-rooski... the was a sweet sweet play... the QB should marry Heather Locklear.

Note to football players... only bad things can happen when you try to jump over players getting up.

Thank you Cal!

I watched way too much football today...

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 2:18am

Re: 104/Pat
Pat, Pat, Pat.

The response I initially wrote up was,

They only showed one replay, and I still wouldn't take your word for it. But I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

After watching the replay, the phrase "shoved him forward" in your post is a gross exaggeration. That play should be shown to officials as a demonstration of incidental contact. The PSU receiver should've made a move towards the ball, and the Minnesota defender should be rewarded for the play he made on the ball.

Other thoughts:
I still only saw one good replay of the Arkansas fumble-rooski... the was a sweet sweet play... the QB should marry Heather Locklear.

Note to football players... only bad things can happen when you try to jump over players getting up.

Thank you Cal!

I watched way too much football today...


by Russell Levine :: Sun, 10/08/2006 - 8:49am

Back to USC-Washington for a second ... I don't have a problem with only two seconds being left on the clock, but the way they wound the clock denying UW a final snap was disgraceful.

On the replay with the clock superimposed, the clock was clearly at 2 seconds when the official waved his arms to mark the end of the play. But Holtz is absolutely right (OMG!), the umpire should have stood over the ball until the clock wound.

Willingham studied his history -- he knew that spiking the ball with two seconds on a running clock is not likely to kill it in time (see 1998 Rose Bowl, et al), and he had a play called. You only kill the clock in that situation if Spartan Bob is timekeeping. (Hey, I've been good about the whole Michigan State thing this week).

Regardless, you have to be impressed with the job Willingham is doing at Washington. This is when he's in his element -- program building, selling kids on his vision. He did it at Stanford and I won't be shocked if he gets Washington back to a Rose Bowl within a few years. The man was not in the right job at Notre Dame, but he didn't exactly forget how to coach in those three years.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 9:43am

The PSU receiver should’ve made a move towards the ball

I'm sorry. What? The receiver should've made a move towards the ball to avoid having a player play through him? Why? He's entitled to that spot on the field.

How can it be incidental contact? The defender played through him. Butler was in position to make the catch. The defender attempted to make a play on the ball, but that play involved going through Butler. He clearly hits Butler in the back with his chest before the ball gets there. That's pass interference - playing through the receiver to make a play on the ball.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 1:18pm

I'm somewhat surprised that no one has mentioned this SEVEN overtime game in Denton, TX:


by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 4:15pm

what is this world coming to? what's left to believe in?

the picks that Vinny & Russell agreed on were 5-1 this week, 15-10 for the year

if you can't use their "agree picks" as the perfect reverse barometer in your betting, then ...

(next thing you know, the A's will win a postseason seris)

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 6:12pm

Re #180
As someone who watched both of the previous 7 OT games (on TV), I can tell you this: it's because watching a crazy multiple OT game like that sucks. After 3 or 4, your thought becomes "for the sake of everything good and pleasant, let this stupid game end." I think college OT has something to recommend it, but the possibility of 7 overtimes isn't it.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 3:28am

My point was that the defender didn't go through the PSU player. If the PSU player had made a play toward the ball, then it would have clearly being "going through".

Your definition of "going through" is "grazed his shoulder while going for the ball" whereas my definition of going through is "was boxed out NBA style and basically had no shot to catch it".

I've got a problem with them keeping 2 seconds on the clock. Isn't that something reviewable? They can't get it right all the time, but you'd think the officials would be able to get the clock right within the final 5 minutes of the game.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 11:49am

If the PSU player had made a play toward the ball, then it would have clearly being “going through�.

What? Going through a player doesn't require motion, or anything. It just requires a defender attempting to gain a position that the receiver has already established.

Your definition of “going through� is “grazed his shoulder while going for the ball�

Pretty much, yeah, although "grazed" is a nice way of making the contact sound minor. The Minnesota defender could not have gotten into position to make that play without colliding with Butler. That's playing through the receiver.