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12 Oct 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Midseason Report

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: Well Vin, we've just about hit the midpoint of the season, and you're coming in red-hot, with a gaudy 14-2 record the past two weeks. And I reversed my 2-6 mark of two weeks ago with a 6-2 last week to put us both solidly over .500 after six weeks. In grand FO tradition, I've done a little Excel magic on our results and learned the following: When we agree on a game, we're 17-11 and 2-1 on our Edelstein locks. You've got the slight edge on me when we disagree, 11-9 vs. my 9-11.

Vinny: If that's not a kibosh, I don't know what is. Nice work, Russ. Hello, 0-8.

Russell: Now I realize it would be really bad karma to say something stupid like "so much for the Vinny/Russell Universe Altering Suck Curse" or whatever it was called by readers last year. Oops.

Vinny: This looks suspiciously like a cover story for when our picks go up in flames this week.

Russell: Maybe. But in an attempt to keep the good times rolling, I was doing a little extra prep work watching ESPNU's coaches show Tuesday night, when I saw this on the news crawl at the bottom of the screen "Bevo XIII, a champion steer and the longest serving Texas mascot (1988-2004) has died at age 22." I'm so glad I know that.

Vinny: I noticed that Lawrence Phillips was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for driving his Honda Accord into a bunch of kids after his team lost a pickup football game near the L.A. Coliseum last year. What is it with tailbacks going postal in the shadow of the stadiums where they once starred? The Phillips story is sadder because his team somehow lost the game. Plus, you have to give Mo Clarett the nod for ditching the sweater vest in favor of the Kevlar.

Russell: Agreed. Alright, let's get this going so we can get to Happy Valley in time for some Saturday tailgating.

#22 Virginia Tech (-2.5) at Boston College, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Virginia Tech is at The Heights Thursday night trying to reclaim some of its dignity after being de-pantsed at home in its last outing against Georgia Tech on Sept. 30. Both teams had a week off to prepare for this one.

Vinny: It was strange to watch the Hokies give up a blocked punt to Georgia Tech, since they're usually on the giving end of that kick to that groin. Meanwhile, Boston College managed to squeak by Maine 22-0 in its last contest. The Eagles have been licking their wounds after a last-second home loss to NC State a few weeks back. BC quarterback Matt Ryan has come up big in the track meets but had a rough day in an ugly game against the Wolfpack. BC linebacker/fullback Brian Toal should be back from his latest shoulder injury in a greater role this week.

Russell: Virginia Tech looked ill-prepared to play against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech basically has one weapon -- receiver Calvin Johnson. This just in -- he's good. Yet the Hokies sorta kinda forgot to cover him on a couple of early plays and found themselves behind by three touchdowns before they'd even broken a sweat. Don't pay too much attention to quarterback Scott Glennon's numbers in that game, you could throw for 339 yards when you put the ball up 53 times.

Vinny: Well, Boston College has the ACC's worst pass defense, so that should help Glennon. Poor blitz pickups won't help though, and tailback Brandon Ore did that twice last time out, leading to Glennon getting blindsided and stripped of the ball each time. One was a complete whiff by Ore, the other was just a poor choice between two blitzers.

Russell: Boston College's kicker will be playing his first game. Not his first game at Boston College, his first football game. Ever. Doesn't exactly bode well for the Eagles in a close game. Still, I'm partial to BC as a home 'dog here. This team did beat Clemson after all, and the double-OT BYU win looks a little better after BYU's subsequent rout of TCU. I'm taking BC and the points.

Vinny: True, I have no idea why Virginia Tech is ranked and BC isn't. The Hokies have a silly-good record on Thursday nights under Frank Beamer, but that's not good enough for me. The Eagles are the pick.

Temple (+44.5) vs. Clemson (at Charlotte, N.C.), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Russell: If you're wondering why we're picking this game, blame me. I felt strongly that the Temple phenomenon must be addressed at some point. This may be the worst Division I-A team of all time. You have to wonder why they haven't disbanded the program. The Owls have been so non-competitive, the Vegas casinos are considering refusing to take bets on them. Instead, they just push the lines higher and higher to see if they can find any takers.

Vinny: Well, they have a taker here. At least a figurative one. I know I'm not supposed to pick a team right away, and Temple puts the "b-r-u" in b-r-u-t-a-l, but I've made up my mind: there is absolutely no way I'm picking a team giving over seven touchdowns to the other team.

Russell: Having played a couple of years of high school football for a woefully bad team, I feel for the Temple players. Playing bad football isn't any easier on the body, you still work hard, get beat up in practice, then go out and get your head kicked in. Seems like something goes wrong early and things just snowball. I don't know why the players put themselves through it. The opposition certainly doesn't get any easier this week, as Clemson comes in on a roll.

Vinny: This is the kind of game that is always fun to bet in a sports book. Just sit back and root for the little guys.

Russell: Strategic analysis is really kind of pointless in a game like this. Clemson is going to crush Temple, the only question is by how much. Tommy Bowden doesn't exactly strike me as the most compassionate coach and I'm not sure he'll call off the dogs. I'll lay the huge number on the Tigers.

Vinny: I'm sticking with Temple.

#24 Rutgers (+1) at Navy, 1:30 p.m. ET, CSTV

Russell: Rutgers may be the ranked team in this matchup, but it's Navy that's the slight favorite. This is the most dangerous game on the Rutgers schedule before they get Louisville and West Virginia in the season's final month. It's good that the Scarlet Knights have had two full weeks to prepare for the Navy option game, which can make good defenses look bad. The Middies lead the nation in rushing, as usual.

Vinny: Navy completed one pass in five attempts last week against Air Force. It was good enough for a 24-17 win, but one completion. And it went for eight yards.

Russell: Rutgers can run the ball a little as well. Sophomore Ray Rice is the nation's second-leading rusher, about half a mile per game behind Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois. Fullback Brian Leonard was supposed to be the star in the Rutgers backfield, but he has accepted a secondary role blocking for Rice and catching screen passes. The Rutgers passing attack is limited, to be charitable, so the Knights need to continue pounding it on the ground.

Vinny: With Notre Dame next week, this is the toughest stretch of the season for Navy (no disrespect to Army intended). Whatever the results against Rutgers and the Irish, the Midshipmen can still improve on their 8-4 record from last year. And a 10-win season is still within reach. As always, a tip of the cap to coach Paul Johnson.

Russell: Rutgers's success has been building for a few years. The difference so far this season is that the Knights are learning how to win the close games they always used to lose and avoid the letdowns. I think the trend continues here, as Rutgers will grind out a low-scoring win to become bowl eligible two weeks before Halloween.

Vinny: Navy has a veteran defense led by senior linebackers Rob Caldwell and David Mahoney. But beating Rutgers proves too tough again this year for the Middies. Give me the Men of Schiano here.

#1 Ohio State (-15) at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Alright, I have to admit something. I took precious little joy from last week's Michigan-Michigan State game. And I usually revel in everything bad that happens to Michigan State. But watching that comedy of errors, I felt bad for John L. Smith. Deep down, he seems like a pretty nice guy. He's also refreshingly honest, way too much so for his own good. But the look on his face last week was one of resignation. A look that said he knows he's going to get fired. A look that said he was just hoping his team would limit the idiotic mistakes. It lasted as long as the opening kickoff, when MSU's return man hesitated way too long in the end zone, and was tackled inside his own 10. And it got worse from there.

Vinny: Well, at least it wasn't a choke job. John L. would secure some modicum of job security with an upset of the top-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday. And Ohio State fans remember the Spartans' 1998 upset of an undefeated, 28-point favorite John Cooper team. No, I'm not going out of my way just to mention Cooper in this space. Cooper.

Russell: I know Michigan State is usually good for one over-its-head performance per year (usually to be followed by a string of embarrassing blowout losses). I know they were dominating Ohio State in the 'shoe last year before the ill-fated "the coaches are screwing it up!" field goal just before halftime. I know I'm supposed to believe they can play with the Buckeyes. But I can't. I won't say the team has quit, but it's sure edging towards indifference.

Vinny: Drew Stanton is still playing his guts out, but it would really help if tailback Javon Ringer wasn't lost for the season with a knee injury. Jehuu Caulcrick is a beast to tackle, but Ringer was much more effective on the counter draws that are a staple of the Spartan offense. Now receiver Matt Trannon is out and defensive tackle Clifton Ryan will play but has missed some practice. And the Sparties are still short-handed at tight end thanks to suspensions.

Russell: Ohio State meanwhile, is rolling. They have a formula: get up early, punish opposition mistakes, and shift into Tressell-ball mode. It's worked against every opponent thus far, and should continue to work until the final game against you-know-who. Personally, I'd love nothing better than for the Buckeyes to remain on cruise control until November 18. Maybe they can even get some of the USC tongue-bath treatment from the Worldwide Leader. Their challenge is coming. But not this week. The Buckeyes cruise, and this is my Freddy Lock.

Vinny: Yeah, I think Troy Smith racks up a few more highlights to add to his Heisman portfolio against the Sparties' porous defense. (Just a reminder: the November 17 deadline to have Smith accept your cash payment is fast approaching). OSU rolls (my Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week as well).

#19 Missouri (-2) at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Nobody has snuck up on the field thus far this season, like Missouri which is off to a 6-0 start despite losing Brad Smith to graduation. Bigger tests remain, but a win over Texas A&M will put a few more believers in the Missouri corner.

Vinny: Missouri is probably the most anonymous undefeated team left, something that probably won't change until the Tigers beat one of the Big 12 heavyweights, a list that does not contain Texas A&M.

Russell: A&M is 5-1 but hasn't beaten anyone with a pulse. The record aside, I'm on record as saying Dennis Franchione is in trouble. They aren't paying him $2 million a year for a .500 career record in College Station. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas still to come, Franchione needs this one. To get it, the Aggies need to play some ball control, grinding the clock with Jorvorskie Lane. Jorvorski might just be my new favorite name in college football.

Vinny: What about Missouri defensive end Xzavie Jackson? He took an interception back for a touchdown against Texas Tech last week. Of course, both take a back seat to Jim Bob Cooter, but still, a couple of strong entries on the all-name team in this one.

Russell: Smith's replacement at Mizzou, Chase Daniel, has been terrific leading a balanced offense for the Tigers. Missouri should be able to run some on the Aggies, who have been gashed on the ground with regularity this year. If the safeties come up, Daniel has the ability to go over the top. Missouri is the better all-around team. The Tigers win going away. Then again, the Aggies do have this going for them:

Hat tip: Every Day Should be Saturday

Vinny: Uh, I was wavering, but on second thought, put me down for Mizzou

Florida International (+28.5) at Miami, 7 p.m. ET

Russell: This line fascinates me. Miami, which doesn't appear to be able to score on anyone in Division I-A, is a four touchdown favorite over 0-6 Florida International.

Vinny: FIU is practically a I-AA team, don't forget that.

Russell: True, but the Panthers (betcha didn't know that) are coached by former Dolphins super-sub QB Don Strock. How much nostalgia is he going to feel strolling onto the Orange Bowl field. If FIU falls behind 24-0 in the first half, look for Strock to call the hook-and-ladder play.

Vinny: You're really reaching. FIU does have some talent, especially linebacker Keyonvis Bouie, who leads the Sun Belt in tackles. But the Panthers are no match for Miami's athleticism. The 'Canes should be able to score whether or not Kyle Wright struggles as usual.

Russell: I passed on Temple and the six TDs, but this one's too tempting. FIU has lost a bunch of close games, including a seven-OT affair to North Texas last week that featured four missed field goals in the extra sessions. FIU doesn't need a kicker to cover this spread though.

Vinny: I'm going to regret this but I'll take Miami. They have to wake up sooner or later, right?

#2 Florida (+1.5) at Auburn, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Florida seems to have made believers of the pollsters this week, moving up to #2 in the AP poll after beating LSU at home last week. Not that it matters in the BCS; Florida is third in both the coaches poll and the Harris poll behind USC.

Vinny: Florida gets no love from the oddsmakers either, as they are a slight underdog at Auburn, despite the fact that the Gators just keep taking care of business in the SEC and Auburn got run out of the stadium by Arkansas last Saturday. I just don't get it.

Russell: Tough to figure the SEC. I was debating this with our buddy GatorGriff earlier in the week. I think Florida is the class of the conference, with Tennessee a shade below. To me, there's another step down to Auburn (who have they beaten?), LSU (same question) and Georgia (no offense).

Vinny: I'm in agreement. Florida can certainly run the table and reach the BCS championship. This is probably the toughest remaining test, coming off back-to-back big home games and taking on an Auburn defense that matches up better against the Gators than it did the Razorbacks.

Russell: I like the way Urban Meyer is using his two quarterbacks. He spent five weeks duping everyone into thinking the only thing Tim Tebow can do is run up the middle on short yardage. Then last week, he pulls up twice to throw TD passes. He also ran for a score. I didn't like the look of the Auburn effort last week. Not much fight while Arkansas was running the ball down the Tigers' throats. I'm sticking with the team on a roll: Florida.

Vinny: You have to like the way Chris Leak has handled sharing time with Tebow. Leak has always struck me as a pretty class act, and it's clear he's buying into Meyer's system. That's key to keeping the peace. I like Florida here, even though Jordan-Hare Stadium has been a personal house of horrors for the Gators (8-24-1 all-time).

#4 Michigan (-6.5) at Penn State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: The Wolverines return to Happy Valley for the first time since 2001, when they handed JoePa the only home shutout of his career. More importantly, you and I return to Happy Valley for the first time since witnessing an amazing, Tom Brady-led comeback in 1999. I don't know about you Vin, but this is my favorite road trip in the Big Ten. Penn State fans are good folks, class acts all the way and State College is great place to spend a weekend. And now that tickets have been procured, I don't have to resort to begging in this space. But anyone's whose going to be tailgating, drop us an email at adventure-at-footballoutsiders-dot-com. Penn State fans, we promise to behave ourselves.

Vinny: Of course. I plan to bring a giant Publisher's Clearinghouse-type check for Dave Parry, the Big Ten's supervisor of officials. After all, buying off the refs is the only way Michigan beats Penn State every year, right? Just kidding, well sort of.

Russell: OK, I take that back. I promise to behave myself. The big news of course is that Michigan's Mario Manningham, who leads the nation with nine touchdown receptions, is out with a knee injury. The news sent Michigan fans into panic mode on Monday, not just for this game, but for the rest of the season. FO injury expert Will Carroll feels Manningham will not only be back in time for Ohio State, but should be close to 100%.

Vinny: I couldn't believe the hype on the Manningham news. I even saw "Michigan WR Manningham Out for Penn State" flashing above the electronic billboard of a taxicab on my way home from work this week. I think Adrian Arrington can make the same plays Manningham has been making. But that's only if PSU secondary coach Tom Bradley gets out of the deep zones he's been employing. Chad Henne has been en fuego with the deep ball lately.

Russell: Manningham's absence definitely takes some sting out of the Michigan attack, but I still like the matchups here. Anthony Morrelli will make a few plays down the field against man coverage, but he'll also throw several balls up grabs. Michigan contains Tony Hunt and the Penn State ground game and gets enough out of Steve Breaston and Adrian Arrington to win by at least a touchdown. The Wolverines are the pick.

Vinny: Michigan and Penn State have two of the best linebacking groups in the country. Both secondaries are vulnerable, but Michigan has a decided edge with their defensive front four. I think Michigan kickers Garret Rivas and Zoltan Mesko plus Breaston in the return game will give Michigan the edge in a down-to-the-wire affair. So I like Michigan to win, but Penn State to cover.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Virginia Tech -2.5 Boston College Boston College Boston College
Temple +44.5 Clemson Temple Clemson
Rutgers +1 Navy Rutgers Rutgers
Ohio State -15 Michigan State Ohio State* Ohio State*
Missouri -2 Texas A&M Missouri Missouri
Florida International +28.5 Miami (Fla.) Miami (Fla.) Florida International
Florida +1.5 Auburn Florida Florida
Michigan -6.5 Penn State Penn State Michigan
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 6-2-0 (1-0-0) 28-20-0 (5-1-0)
Russell 6-2-0 (0-1-0) 26-22-0 (2-4-0)

Posted by: on 12 Oct 2006

153 comments, Last at 16 Oct 2006, 7:09pm by Kevin11


by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 7:28pm

I'd curse you for the double-Edelstein if I didn't agree with you. Oh, and just watch as Temple blocks a PAT to lose 44-0. And COVERS! Actually (and not to get into another can of worms), the highest line I remember seeing was Houston v. SMU in the Mustangs' first year off the death penalty, at about 58.5. The Cougars covered, of course, winning 95-21.

by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 8:55pm

I remember that Houston-SMU game. I have a longtime fascination with those run-and-shoot Houston teams. It's amazing how quickly they rose and then how quickly they fell. That SMU game was their largest victory margin, but not by a lot. The game everyone remembers as the end of the Houston era is the 40-10 loss to Miami, but that's not really it. The real end of the Houston era was the week after they lost to Miami, when they went up to Champaign and lost 51-10 to Illinois. That's the game the Houston program still hasn't recovered from.

Also, remember how crappy Texas was back then? Texas lost three straight to Houston by scores of 60-40, 66-15, and 47-9.

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:03pm

When you say Temple is giving more than seven touchdowns, I can only assume you're not counting the extra points because that would be 49 points, not 42. But I studied English so I could be wrong.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:11pm

I wonder what the spread would be in a 1989 SMU-2006 Temple matchup.

Incidentally, SMU was a 54-point underdog 3 weeks later against Notre Dame, a game which featured Notre Dame's third-string RB running out-of-bounds, unpressured, inside the SMU 10 near the end of the game with ND up 59-6. Said the RB: "Coach Holtz told us we could run up and down the field, but he didn't want us to score. He told me he was proud of me for doing what I did." Think any gamblers were upset?

by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:15pm

I'm pretty sure I've never seen a team go for it on fourth-and-18 from the 33-yard line in the first quarter before, but Boston College just did it.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:42pm

5 drives, 25 plays, 5 touchdowns for Clemson. 35-3, 6 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter.

by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:51pm

I flipped over to Clemson-Temple and saw Temple go for it in a similar situation to Boston College's decision to go for it earlier (fourth-and-15 from the 27). Of course, Temple is already down 35-3, so I guess they're thinking they can't settle for field goals.

The ESPN U announcers, of course, are talking about how well Clemson is playing. Right, that's what it is, Clemson is playing really well.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 9:59pm

Clemson is already covering the 44.5 in the first half.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:14pm

The real surprise is Temple actually had a lead in this game......granted, it lasted about 2 minutes of clock time.....but who cares?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:17pm

I hadn't realized Temple was playing NIU next week. Joe Novak will have an interesting choice as to what to do with Garrett Wolfe. Do you go for Troy Davis-like crazy numbers, or do you take him out if you have a comfortable lead?

by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:20pm

After Wolfe scores on his first three runs, he'll probably sit.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:23pm

I'd let him go for the NCAA record (406 yards, by LaDainian Tomlinson in 1999), but only in the context of the game (no letting punts roll for extra yardage, for instance). I doubt it will happen, however.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:31pm

Clemson's backup QB is "heaving the ball all over the field," throwing 2 passes on the opening drive of the second half. Somebody alert TMQ.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:37pm

I wonder if being at a game like this would really be fun.

I mean, it's 56-3. With just under 12 minutes left. In the 3rd quarter.

Seems like it would get a little boring.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:45pm

Turned on the BC-Va Tech (I still want to call them VPI, just for old times' sake) game for two plays. That's as long as I could watch those hideous uniforms. I actually like the dark helmet, light jersey, dark pants look, but when you then go with the flourescent orange socks....argh! Perhaps the worst looking uniform every worn by a team not called "Ducks."

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:47pm

Re: 15

Did you see Virginia Tech's jersey with the mismatched sleeves last year? Way worse than these.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:52pm


If the Steelers were winning a game 56-3 with just under 12 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter i'd probably be passed out underneath my bleacher.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:54pm

Whoever the QB is...er...was, for Virginia Tech...man, he just got whacked.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:01pm

63-3 Clemson. I don't think Temple's going to make the backdoor cover.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:03pm

The chick dancing behind the kickers parents is better looking than the catholic match girl.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:11pm


by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:12pm

Touchdown, Temple! The chart must say to go for 2 when down 54, because Temple tried, but failed.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:14pm

Ok, that settles it. I'm going to DeKalb next Saturday to see if NIU can outdo Clemson.

by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:19pm

Re. 13: We run better than we pass. In our case, not mixing in a pass or 2 would be running up the score. Besides, a backup QB behind a backup o-line, with backup recievers and running backs can hardly be accused of running up the score. Proctor is a senior, we have to get Harper some game experience besides handing the ball off.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:21pm

Re: 24

You know it and I know it, but TMQ certainly does not.

by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 10/12/2006 - 11:27pm

By the way, I'm watching this game thinking, "Our kick coverage SUCKS!"

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 2:36am

Wow I'm 12 minutes into this Michigan St. radio rant. This rules... Teddy Ruxpin as defensive coordinator.... BRILLIANT!

by jim k (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 11:04am

For a while, my bet of the week (Ohio State +6.5 vs Michigan State) was looking good... but the UK bookmaker has since discovered its mistake and has voided my bet. Dammit!!
When I lived in New Zealand I once got away with a similar mistake (the TAB - the only bookmaker in NZ) had priced up Georgia Tech and Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl the wrong way round, making Tulsa quite a short-priced favourite and GT a nice-priced underdog. I spent ages trying to guess how much I could stake on the match without alerting the TAB to the mistake. As I was probably the only person betting on the game they didn't realise their error and I got away with it, and I had very few nervous moments as GT rolled to a 52-10 victory.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 11:35am

In addition to the oddity of Florida being behind USC in both the Coaches and Harris polls (not that I mind, as a USC alumnus - but USC has in no way shown itself to be a #2 team lately), USC is currently ranked #1 in four out of the six BCS computers.

I would expect that to change, though, even if both USC and Florida win this weekend, as a win over Auburn should help Florida much more than a win over Arizona State would help USC (although continued winning by Arkansas throughout the year will certainly help USC).

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 11:54am

USC is currently ranked #1 in four out of the six BCS computers.

Statistical rankings. Not computers. It's not robotic men making decisions about the team. It's just math. Very old math, in some cases.

Anyway, USC being ranked over Ohio State isn't surprising. They've both beat two top 25 teams (Arkansas/Nebraska vs Texas/Iowa), but USC's remaining opponents with a winning record (Washington/Washington State) are better than Ohio State's (Penn State/Northern Illinois).

That being said, though, the reason for USC being ranked over OSU is actually simple: it's the Oklahoma screwjob. The official results are that Oregon beat Oklahoma, and so Oklahoma doesn't look like a top 25 team. But the polls know what happened, so Oklahoma stays in the Top 25.

Switch that result, and Texas moves up a few spots, and OSU moves over USC.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 1:39pm


Oklahoma screwed themselves in that game.

by DMP (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:13pm

27: That MSU radio rant is a thing of beauty. Horrible, horrible beauty. If for nothing else, just to hear what an insane person sounds like. I like how at the very end he brings it back to normal to go to commercials, as if the preceding 15 minutes didn't leave the trail of utterly razed hell it just did.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:52pm

Auburn 17
Florida 13

I just have a real bad feeling about this game, and the two of the last three times Florida went to Auburn highly ranked (1993 ranked in top 5 & 2001 ranked # 1), Florida lost to Auburn. I hope I'm wrong...but I think this is the classic 'wounded animal' game with Auburn playing with absolutely nothing to lose in front of a jacked-up home crowd. To put it midly, I'm not very confident...

by el carg (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 7:50pm

Tuberville seems to be enemy number one of the journalists this days. Seems to me he only says what many of them have said in the past.

One thing about Tubs to know is that no one has won more games against top 10 opponents over the past few seasons. He's won 6 of the past 7 against top 10 teams, and 12 of his last 17.

Critics point out that Auburn plays some weak sisters, but seem to forget that during Tuberville's time 25 percent of his games have been against top 10 opponents and 39 percent against teams ranked in the nation's top 25.

I like the Tigers taking a close one 23-21.

by Ross (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 7:55pm

Dude, Auburn is the favorite, not Florida. Florida is riding in there with something to prove. Not the other way around.


by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:05pm

I'm 4 - 2 coming into this week, with two of those wins coming from the Missouri Tigers. Ten wins for Mizzou, anyone?

This week I'm taking Oregon State +10 over Washington. I was thisclose to taking Navy over a terribly overrated Rutgers team, but Rutgers has had two weeks to prepare for the option.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:35pm

Re 30: Hmm, if you switch the Oregon/Oklahoma result in Colley Matrix, the top 7 stay the same and Texas only moves up one spot. (Oklahoma moves up to 14, Oregon drops to 40.)

(I wish all the other computer rankings had cool websites like CM.)

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:50pm

I think all the computer rankings should be required to have cool web sites like the Colley Matrix. Otherwise the teams are playing under rules they can't possibly understand. For that matter, one of the guys who runs one of the computer rankings could make a mistake and we'd never even know about it -- a data entry error could cost a team a BCS berth.

by jim kimber (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:52pm

For those who don't have access to college football on TV (or are at work..?), Georgia - Vanderbilt video is live and free on Yahoo college broadcasts:

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:57pm

Hmm, if you switch the Oregon/Oklahoma result in Colley Matrix, the top 7 stay the same and Texas only moves up one spot.

Yeah, there's a few mitigating factors there I didn't realize. I forgot Washington lost to Oklahoma, so boosting Oklahoma boosts OSU and USC.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:00pm

I think all the computer rankings should be required to have cool web sites like the Colley Matrix. Otherwise the teams are playing under rules they can’t possibly understand.

Have you tried to read Billingsley's explanation for his rankings? They're horrible. Not only that, but there are several things in them which are just plain wrong - including giving a team a boost if they play a top ranked team even if later in the season, that team's no longer highly ranked - because "the atmosphere is a big game atmosphere." Why not just rank the teams on swagger, for crying out loud?

Thankfully, Billingsley's ranking gets tossed out almost every time, so it doesn't have any effect. But it's still a horrible, horrible rating.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:49pm

Pam Ward is much easier to listen to this year. Must be because she is teamed up with Mike Gottfried instead of the Spielman guy... I ripped her way too hard last season... she's not bad.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 3:02pm

Have you tried to read Billingsley’s explanation for his rankings? They’re horrible.

You don't like random capitalizaton, colors, and one giant block of text? I wrote this last year, but I think Billingsley's explanation could have written by the genius behind Timecube.com.

Thankfully, Billingsley’s ranking gets tossed out almost every time, so it doesn’t have any effect.

Yup. Looking at last year's final standings (warning: PDF), Billingsley had the highest or lowest rating for 17 of the bottom 22 teams in the Top 25. In the days when it was included, however, the New York Times computer was an even worse outlier. 2003 standings.

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

The Wisconsin TE Travis Beckum is pretty good. It's kind of surprising that he's catching balls at all since he came to Wisconsin as an all-american linebacker recruit. I just remember him looking really impressive during the HS all-american game, as much as you can for a showcase spectacle but he was so fast and tackled so hard, I expected him to be a high draft pick in four or five years as a linebacker.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:33pm

Okay, show of hands, who picked Indiana today? Anyone? Anyone??

by Ferg (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:36pm

Wow, did anyone at the BCS actually read that Billingsley rubbish?

"I feel very strongly that the most recent performance should carry a stronger weight..."

"I feel like that by doing this I will also be able to get a more accurate read of the strength of teams from one decade to the next..."

"Great teams are built on solid defense and I feel that should be rewarded..."

Uhm, maybe you should try verifying some of those feeling statistically.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:41pm

Vandy is down one and driving at Georgia with 1:19 to play.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:46pm

That's just SO Michigan State. tOSU fumbles on 3rd and 1 from their own 29. MSU gets the ball, and has a good screen down to the 1. But it's called back on a hold, 1st and 3 from the 23. Lose 2 yards on a running play, incomplete pass, then Stanton gets sacked for a loss of 16. Of course, Patterson (#99) forces Stanton out of the pocket, where Laurinaitis who come on a blitz makes the tackle. And Bob Griese's all over Laurinaitis for making a great play when it was all Patterson.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:48pm

When was the last time Vandy and Indiana beat ranked opponents on the same day?

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:49pm

Vandy has just knocked off Georgia. Inconceivable.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:00pm

Re #48
Er, #99 is Richardson, not Patterson.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:11pm

Whoever at ESPN had the idea to put in place an agreement with regional sports networks so we can see exciting games when the ESPN game is a blow-out should get a raise.

Great for us fans.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:20pm

Great work by the MSU defense to leave Gonzalez wide open there. JLS is earning his paycheck.

Are there any frontrunners yet for this week's JLS trophy?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:26pm

Are there any frontrunners yet for this week’s JLS trophy?

Chuck Amato had his usual upset loss after resecuring his job, but I can't recall any specific bad decisions in that game.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:29pm

Wow, Peterson is out for Oklahoma with a broken collarbone. I haven't seen them yet this year (aside from the last few minutes in that one controversy-free game), what are the chances their season won't go right down the crapper?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:33pm

Drew Stanton went down funny on that last sack, and it looks like his back is hurt. He wasn't ready to get hit at all, for some strange reason he didn't expect the three-man rush to hit him right as he finished a three-step drop.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:38pm

#55- Slightly higher chance than me winning the lottery, but not much.

Seriously, OU should be able to beat Baylor, Colorado and Ok. State without Peterson (altough Ok. St. is a rivalry game, so who knows). Texas Tech, A&M and Missouri, on the other hand...uh oh. Plus they have those three games in a row, which doesn't help.

So yeah, I'd say their season is sunk, although they should get to a bowl game. Peterson might be back by then, so hopefully we can see him one more time before he gets drafted by the vortex of suck known as the Raiders and ceases to be good.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:39pm

Amazing discipline by both sides on a trick play. Reverse pitch to Ginn, he's looking to throw, but MSU has the deep guy covered and people at home to keep Ginn from just running. So Ginn reverses field, runs around for a while, and finally a TE releases downfield. Ginn throws it to him, incomplete, but somehow during that whole time no linemen went downfield. It's odd to see a trick play, especially one that breaks down, where both sides carry out their assignments for so long. Quite surprising, especially for one side.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:43pm

Do you still try to angle it out of bounds, even from out of the end zone?

Ummm... never mind. TD Ginn.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:01pm

Did anyone else catch Linda Cohn doing an ESPN highlight and saying, "Ben Jarvis to Green Ellis for the touchdown"? Much like Ron Burgundy, I think Cohn just reads whatever is on the prompter, and someone stuck a "to" between his first and last names.

Also: We have heard our last word about Garrett Wolfe for the Heisman.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:08pm

Wow, what an unbelievably stupid way to break your collarbone.

by Mitch Cumstein (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:29pm

Well, the Mizzou pick could turn out to be the proper one, but may be a loss depending on how the second half goes. Missouri is the better team, but the score is tied at 17-17, thanks to a -3 TO margin (3 fumbles, 3 fumbles lost for Mizzou). The first one was knocked out of a receiver's hands on the 1-yard line, and went through the end zone, following a huge pass play. The third was ruled a fumble on the field, and replay was inconclusive (which was the proper replay call given the mass of bodies). Under a "more likely than not" standard, it was more likely not a fumble.

A&M has been generally unable to run the ball with Jovorski. He did get a touchdown, but only because he got 3 straight attempts from inside the 3 following a big pass play. A&M has hit some big pass plays on a trick WR throw, and a fake option run, pull back and throw, and has been able to recover from often being in second and long after getting stuffed on runs.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:43pm

Stanton is just getting the crap kicked out of him today. Why is JLS leaving him in, down 31, when he's already been hurt and isn't even marginally effective because he can't throw well with busted ribs/back and can't run all that well either? And now he just got drilled on a scramble, then slid out of bounds and smashed into a big cooler/fridge. Get him out of the freaking game already.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:55pm

Alright, I just read the linked blog entry about Peterson. I have to ask: why in the world would Peterson come back to college next year after this injury? Even if he would have considered coming back, wouldn't an injury be the final prod that pushed him out the door to the NFL? If you're a star at a position with a notoriously short shelf life like RB, why wouldn't you go pro as soon as possible if your ceiling wouldn't be likely to go higher, especially if you've just had yet another injury? Why take another 200 or so hits for free?

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 7:08pm

There's no way he'll be back at Oklahoma. Peterson returning would be a much bigger shock than Matt Leinart returning to USC. He shouldn't worry about Oklahoma football or going to class. He should spend all his time getting himself into shape to put on a show at his pro day.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 7:35pm

Trogdor- Agree completely. Leinart's decision could be justified on some level- his injury would prevent him from working out, there were questions about his arm that he couldn't answer, and he had a chance to have maybe the best senior year ever in this country's history. Peterson will be healthy in time for the workouts, and if he really is injury-prone, he better cash in now before he gets another injury that hurts his value. Generally I want kids to stay in school, but he needs to leave.

Also, Missouri's head coach took a delay of game penalty...then went for a fake FG instead of the chip-shot FG. I'm not sure if that's JLS-worthy, but still goofy.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 7:42pm

Ohio State just gave up a meaningless last-minute TD that, pathetically, will hurt them in the Billingsley ratings.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 7:58pm

Louisville is hanging on for dear life- Cincy's got the ball at UL's 16 with 18 seconds left, up 23-17.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 8:01pm

Alabama's red zone woes continue almost costing them the win against Ole Miss. If they can over turn field goals into TDs this team would be killing opponents.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 8:17pm

Most surprising result so far, notwithstanding Indiana and Vanderbilt: Colorado gets their first win of their year over 4-2 Texas Tech, 30-6.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 8:40pm

Am I drunk, or is Baylor actually leading UT 10-0?

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 9:18pm

71 - That was short-lived.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 9:20pm

Kevin Kelly, certified momentum-killer.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 9:28pm

Adarius Bowman - 13 catches for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. I suppose that's having a good game.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 9:54pm

Miami is leading Florida International 7 - 0, mid-third. How the mighty have fallen.

OK, Rutgers looked good today. They still haven't beaten anyone.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 9:58pm

Holy crap! What a run by Percy Harvin.

by Nate (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:11pm

This may be the worst weekend in Illini sports history. This coming from a guy who once rushed the field after beating a D-1AA team. Hey, we came back from 20-7.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:17pm

I can understand being beaten on a play. Tebow is an outstanding runner, and he can break a tackle or outrun you, and there's nothing you can do. But how in the bloody hell can Tebow line up in the shotgun, barely bother faking the handoff left, run around right end behind a pulling lineman, and there isn't even anyone for the lineman to block as Tebow waltzes into the end zone? Did this play actually take them by surprise? Were the coaches in the booth talking after the play, wondering who this new running quarterback was? How is such a thing possible? Every single person who's seen Florida this year knows that if Tebow is in the game, one of two things is coming - a QB run, or a fake QB run turned pass. Somehow they were ready for neither. Unbefreakinglievable.

Morelli apparently has been taking cues from Aaron Brooks. Back to back 10-yard sacks on 12-step drops. On the first one, he had way too much time, and apparently it confused him, because he just held it for no good reason. The second one was clearly going to be a sack, but he kept backpedaling anyway as if he was going to outrun the DE. Pocket presence is one of those unmeasurables that make such a huge difference.

I've been watching FU/Auburn on ESPN2, the full circle coverage. Not a bad presentation, actually, but I wish they had the skycam on the bigger picture instead of the normal sideline shot. The end zone view is usually better, but for Florida it's just not even worth comparing. The only things that've been better on the normal view are replays (which they don't show on skycam view) and the long kick return, where the camera couldn't turn around fast enough.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:19pm

And as I post that, Morelli holds the ball while Hunt is supposed to single-block the DE. Fumble, he's lucky to recover. Egads. Throw it quick, or run, or something!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:22pm

Oh my goodness. If Morelli keeps this crap up, I'm just going to start calling him Rob Johnson. I'm pretty sure I have one and a half sacks on him tonight.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:25pm

Massive brawl in Miami-Florida International following an extra point. During the fight, one Miami player actually used his helmet (in his hand at the time) to club a Florida International player.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:45pm

Miami's season is down the drain.

Reddick I think was the helmet clubber.
Brandon Merriweather stomping on the back of players legs.
Massive suspensions coming up.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:45pm

I just saw the end of the highlight of the brawl so I don't know the entire story.........but what the hell happened?!?!?!?

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:47pm

Yeah, Travis, that brawl was massive. I can't recall a bigger one during a game. I can recall some big ones during pregame or as the teams went in at halftime, but not one as big during a game.

I saw several Haynesworth-esque and Marcus Vickian incidents, with players stomping on other players.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:47pm

Rough start to the second half for Florida. They had a fumbled/blocked punt returned for a TD to fall behind, and their next drive just went nowhere. If Auburn can do something here they're in good shape.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:50pm

The most comprehensive AP story available as of now:

Tensions ran high throughout the evening, with several instances of players exchanging heated words at the end of plays.

But emotions boiled over after Miami's second touchdown.

James Bryant caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Wright, then drew a 15-yard flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. After that catch, he appeared to point at the FIU bench, then took a theatrical bow.

Moments later, Peattie kicked the extra point and the brawl started.


The brawl lasted about five minutes, and it took officials several more minutes to sort out the penalties. Players from both sides appeared to be swinging helmets, and one injured FIU player came onto the field swinging a crutch at Miami players.

More than two dozen uniformed police officers came onto the field, trying to end the fights.

Several minutes after order was restored on the field, one fight broke out among fans in the northwest corner of the end zone, with more than 12 police officers running into the stands to break up that melee. More officers, including some wearing helmets, continued to surround the perimeter of the field.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:54pm

To follow up on what Trogdor was saying: Tebow is one of the best running quarterbacks I've ever seen, but he's been getting some pretty big assists from defenses that have been woefully unprepared for him. Why aren't defenses changing personnel when Tebow comes in? It totally changes Florida's offense, so it ought to change the way the defense approaches Florida's offense.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:55pm

The guy that was swinging his crutch couldn't be that hurt, could he?

by Marvin Lewis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:56pm


I got to get down to Florida and do some scouting for next year's draft. That guy swinging the crutch sounds promising!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:57pm

That brawl might be the nail in the coffin for Coker. The biggest thing he had going for him was just being a great guy running a clean, non-embarassing program, but a brawl like this should erode whatever vestiges of goodwill were left.

Just another sign of how far this program has fallen. They used to save their best thuggery for big games against big opponents, but now half of F_U is enough to get them going. Unbelievable.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:58pm

The ESPN2 coverage would be better if they dropped the PBP guy and just went with some analysts

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:01pm

Am I correct in my impression that Tebow is a bigger Tommie Frazier, only his speed is more deceptive? Something that'll help him out as he takes over next year is that Florida probably can recruit better receiver talent than Nebraska, so when those guys are singled up (because the D has to commit so much to stop the run options) the play-action will be insane.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:04pm

Mike Hart is starting to gash the PSU defense. The Lions need a stop and soon- it might help if Michigan could make a goofy playcall to kill momentum.

by Nate (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:06pm

And it's over. My Illini just lost at home to a middling MAC program. At least I still have the Bears (Chicago, not Cal).

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:09pm

The biggest thing he had going for him was just being a great guy running a clean, non-embarassing program, but a brawl like this should erode whatever vestiges of goodwill were left.

Remember the 7th Floor Crew?

Ohio U. 20, Illinois 17, final. It's the first win for the MAC in 14 games against the Big 10 this year.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:10pm

That brawl might be the nail in the coffin for Coker.

I haven't seen the brawl, and I have no idea who started it. However, we live in a politically correct climate that aggressively punish those that coach and play the games, so:

1. I predict Coker will be gone within 48 hours.

2. I would not be surprised if Miami at least discussed terminating their season based on the fight.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:14pm

I was ready to nominate Jeremy Kapinos as ROBO-PUNTER until that shank.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:19pm

The ESPN2 coverage is much better than FSU-Miami. I think they got rid of some of the screens, or they made the main picture bigger. At first I was a little mad because I would have an unwatchable game on ESPN2 rather than last week when they put the 2nd regional game onto ESPN2... although I'm stuck with USC-ASU still.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:20pm

However, we live in a politically correct climate that aggressively punish those that coach and play the games ...

What does political correctness have to do with it? It was an out-and-out, no-holds-barred brawl on the football field, the place where the coach should be presumed to have control of his players, not an explicit, misogynistic rap song.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:24pm

Why not just take the sack there, no different from grounding it

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:28pm

That was a terrible call. Shouldn't that be covered by the tuck rule? Is the tuck rule the same in college?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:29pm

The replay system is creating real problems for officials. If you call that Chris Leak play an incompletion, the play's over and it's not reviewable. But, if you err on the side of caution, knowing that you have replay, and call it a fumble, it's almost impossible to overturn the call. With that in mind, maybe it's time to move away from incontrovertible visual evidence as the collegiate standard for replay reversals.

For the record, I thought that was an incompletion. And you try to avoid the sack because you don't trust your kicker.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:32pm

What does political correctness have to do with it?

I've now the seen the brawl, and it was a wild one. The wildest ever? Nyet.

The fact is that entities are trying to out politically-correct one another. Has a coach ever been canned over a brawl? Nyet.

Unless you count the Clemson / SC "we won't go to a bowl" thing a couple of years ago, has a team ever suspended a season (speculative on my part) over one? Again. nyet.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:35pm

The fact is that entities are trying to out politically-correct one another. Has a coach ever been canned over a brawl? Nyet.

Aren't these contradictory statements?

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:38pm

I say you let that DB score, now you let them score a TD on the next play

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:38pm

Here's one coach that was fired and whose season was suspended as a result of a high school brawl. Link

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:39pm

And there was one of Chris Leak's "special" throws. Just crushing.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:40pm

Coker's going to get canned sooner or later anyway because of his record. No way he is still the coach next year.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:41pm

104- No.

106- You're wheeling out a high school coach as an example?

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:43pm

Time to bring in clutch god Tim Tebow to lead an improbable game winning drive

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:44pm

Darrell Clark makes Morelli look good. That should silence the whole "bench Morelli" stuff.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:48pm

106- You’re wheeling out a high school coach as an example?

I had 6 minutes, here's another one.

November 26, 1999:

Two people, including an Alabama State coach, were arrested after a bench-clearing brawl following the 76th Turkey Day Classic between Tuskegee and Alabama State. A police officer sustained minor injuries in the fight, which broke out shortly after Tuskegee's 37- 34 victory. Montgomery Police Lt. John McCall said some Tuskegee players ran to the Alabama State sideline and began taunting the players, making "vulgar gestures." Officers were able to get the fight under control in about three minutes, but some Tuskegee coaches began taunting the players again, McCall said. Police controlled the fight in about four more minutes. Frederick Nigel Newton, 24, a member of Alabama State's coaching staff, was arrested and charged with harassment after he allegedly shoved a police officer, McCall said. Tuskegee student Lawrence Strickland Jr., 18, was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct. He was arrested after he came onto the field, McCall said. Both were being held in the city jail. The officer, who was not identified, apparently tore cartilage in his knee, McCall said. Kevin Manns, Alabama State sports information director, said no serious injuries were reported. He declined further comment. "I don't know who hit who. I'm sorry that happened," Tuskegee coach Rick Comegy said. Alabama State coach Ron Dickerson said he would "see to it that it never, ever happens again." Alabama State president William H. Harris said in a statement the brawl was "unfortunate, and the type of behavior that the university strongly condemns." Harris said the university has requested video footage to review the incident.

December 21, 1999:

Ron Dickerson was fired as Alabama State's football coach Monday after two seasons, including a 2-9 campaign this year that ended with a defeat marred by a brawl.

I fail to see what's politically correct about calling for the firing of a coach who has no control over his players' on-field actions.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:48pm

And the Pontiac game-changing performance of the week goes to the officials who ruled that Chris Leak fumbled.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:49pm

When a media personality says that an athlete/coach will 'fairly or unfairly', 'deserved or not' be blamed for something, it's usually both fair and deserved

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:58pm

I had 6 minutes

You did? Exactly who was it that allowed you six minutes?

Since I need to micro-qualify, no NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or D-1 NCAA FB coach has ever been canned in the aftermath of a fight. I predict that Coker will be the first.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:59pm

Well, Coker is being fired because he sucks. The fight is just a convenient excuse, if they do indeed fire him

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:09am

Nice late hit by Woodley on Cionciolo. No flag, of course.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:11am

Excellent "defense" by PSU's receiver on that 3rd down play. Just flat-out tackle the DB, the worst that can happen is they call OPI (which of course they don't), otherwise it's an easy pick.

4th down throw is horrible, and Michigan wins.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:12am

Hard to get a comeback from a backup QB not named Johnny Moxon against a defense that good.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:13am

What a weird day in college football.

Vanderbilt over Georgia? Indiana over Iowa? Baylor leading Texas 10-0 before getting swamped? How about Rutgers completely demolishing Navy? A benches-clearing brawl in the Miami game that took almost two dozen police officers to break up? The Florida loss, one week after moving to #2 (ladies and gentlemen, I give you your new #2, the University of Michigan). USC leading 21-0, and ASU coming back (based on abysmal USC turnovers) such that it's tied 21-21 late in the fourth (now 28-21 USC)? Adrian Peterson out for the year, on a stupid play, that to me seemed partially his own fault, but in a situation where one could argue he shouldn't have even still been in the game?

Any given Saturday and such.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:13am

ASU's QB appeared to be over the line on that last pass. Hey, they called it.

If ASU can pull out a win here, could it be enough to save Koetter's job?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:16am

I know it's 4th and 23, but...


I certainly hope they have all 3 TO's left. If so, use one right away, then after 1st and 2nd downs, and if they stop 'em they'll get the ball back deep in their own territory with ~20 seconds left. 4th and 23 can't be that much more of a long shot.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:16am

Nope... because they stupidly punt on 4th and 23 with 1:23. Even with 2 timeouts, isn't the game over?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:17am

Oh my goodness, they only have 2 TO's. If USC is slow enough getting off the pile, they may be able to run the clock out entirely.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:18am

John L. Smith, meet Dirk Koetter.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:20am


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:21am

Game's over after this play. Unbe-freaking-lievable. You've got to be kidding me. I can't believe how stupid Dirk Koetter is.

by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:21am

Memo to ASU: If you're trailing with so little time left that the other team can run out the clock without a first down, you probably shouldn't punt.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:22am

Ok, can anybody on Dirk Koetter's staff count? USC gets the ball with 80 seconds left and you have 2 timeouts. They can run the clock down to 56 seconds before 1st down. 6 seconds off for a play, time out, 50 seconds before 2nd down. 6 seconds off for 2nd down play, time out, 44 seconds left before 3rd down. 6 seconds off for a play, third down, game over before you snap 4th down. And this is with optimal TO use. Instead, Koetter uses the TO before 1st down, costing his team 15 seconds. It didn't really matter, because you don't have to run 4th down in either event, but still. 4th and 23 stinks, but when the alternative is YOU WILL LOSE barring a Herm Edwards play, you HAVE to go for it. Losing a close game to the unbeaten #3 team-ranked team in the country speaks highly of your in-game performance, but this doesn't mean Koetter doesn't deserve to be fired.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:22am

Oh wait, never mind... new clock rules messing with my head. Punt, followed by timeout @ 1:19. 1st down run followed by timeout, ~ 52 seconds. 2nd down run ~ 26 seconds, 3rd down, kneel, game over.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:23am

Wow. John L. Smith for Dirk Koetter there. Punting on 4th and 23, with only 2 timeouts, and USC doesn't even need a first down. Just go slowly getting up, and the clock expires.

It may be 4th and 23, Dirk, but you're bound to get fired, you're 0-5 against Pete Carroll, and you're down 7, on the opposition turf, and the new clock rules will kill you. And as TMQ would say, now you're 0-6.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:24am

Re #53
We have our JLS Award winner for the week. And quite probably the year. Maybe even the decade.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:25am

Being ranked #2 in the AP poll seems to be some sort of curse this year. There have been four #2 teams so far this year, and there's going to be a new one (either Michigan, or USC) tomorrow (this ignores the fact that USC has been #2 in the Coaches poll for many weeks now).

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:36am

Thank goodness- we didn't really have a worthy candidate until Koetter butchered things tonight. Somebody there has to be able to do the math and realize that the game is over with a punt. Why not heave it downfield and pray for PI?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:59am

I thought Arizona should've gone for the hail mary heave on 3rd down.

Kind've like a "Surprise" Hail Mary... when the defense is not in their 8 DB coverage and rushing 3.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:13am

Wouldn't it be amazing if Miami loses to Duke next week? How many players need to get suspended for that to happen?

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:21am

Two hours later, I am absolutely dumbfounded that the Leak play was not overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. Did you hear Tuberville's response? "...well, if it they hadn't ruled it a fumble, it should have been intentional grounding." Ummm, the ball almost hit #84 TE Tate Casey, who was standing about 5 feet from Leak. Just a horrible call...I still don't get it, and the SEC replay official just cost his conference a chance to play for the BCS title. Just unbelivable.

As for the actual game, Auburn's D gets a lot of credit for adjusting at halftime, and Urban Meyer should get the John L Smith award for refusing to put Tebow in when it really mattered: 1st Quarter, 3rd & goal from the 4. No Tebow, and then there were a few times in the second half when Florida had 3rd and less than 5, no Tebow.

Even with the horrible call, Florida still had a very good chance to win...and Leak throws what might just be the absolute worst pass of his career.

Auburn didn't even score an offensive TD. I'm not taking this loss very well and I really want to see Auburn in Atlanta for the SEC Champ game b/c Florida is the better team and would annihilate them on a neutral field.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:24am

On the Florida-Auburn incomplete pass vs. fumble. From the replays it looked like whatever play was called on the field would stand.

If you looked at it as an incomplete pass, that is what you saw. If you looked at it as a fumble, that is what you saw.

More than 2 angles would've helped however... the ESPN2 commentators were going nuts after the call, but to me it appeared from the replay you couldn't conclusively say the defender didn't bat the ball out of his hand.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:28am

... and it was pretty hard to see how far the ball traveled "forward" since you can't tell when the ball came out of the hand.

It's why I hate the "tuck rule" in NFL. I'm not sure about the Patriots vs. Raiders game, but last seasons when it was called for Plummer, the ball actually landed behind Jake...

by pcs (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:47am

I just stopped in to nominate Dirk Koetter for the JLS Trophy, but I see we've got the situation well in hand.

by el carg (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 2:44am

War Eagle. Auburn and Tuberville win another one against a top 10 team. (ref post 34 -- Bo Jackson's #)

Florida is great, but Brandon Cox proved he is a pretty good qb himself tonight. The guy made some clutch third down passes. The defense woke up with some aggressive play and the Leak fumble/incomplete pass along with the gift interception sure did help.

I think he was throwing the ball forward and it was batted after it left his hand, but I'll take it. Just like LSU, there was a controversial call but the players won the game.

sidenote: I enjoyed the ESPN 2 coverage, and a big thing that was better than the FSU Miami was they had other games to talk about. Cowherd bugged me with his constant first half commentary on Tuberville's job in jeopardy -- it was funny that no on agreed with him. Dude is interesting, but his west coast butt sure has an inferiority complex against the SEC.

sidenote #2: It's crazy that perfection is demanded by college football programs, yet the NFL hasn't seen perfect since the early 70s.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 2:44am

I've waited too long to say "whoa, Fresno State stinks". Fresno is an astounding 1- 9 (!!!) since last year's classic vs Southern Cal.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 3:03am

Re #142
Dittoes on the Bulldogs. But give some credit to the Rainbow Warriors for taking what would for a normal team be a tough cross-country flight and putting up 68. June Jones and Jerry Glanville may have themselves a decent team (2 losses, at Alabama by 8 and on the Smurf Turf by a TD).

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 5:35am
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 5:47am

Awesome, it didn't even look like Miami set off the firecracker. I think it escalated when the Miami kicker gets taken down and kicked in the head at around 13 seconds.

21 seconds - #26 Miami uses the helmet as a weapon.
28 seconds - #28 Miami hitting the "B" button for a series of stomp attempts.

Everything seems to mellow out and then..

45 seconds - Florida International player gets bodyslammed. Probably #54, but couldn't see number.

I really like the rant of the color analyst 1:45. Sounds like he enjoyed the fighting... 100% sure he's a Miami ex-player... and Miami is all fired up about the fight... no doubt...

For those wondering, it didn't last 5 minutes, but it was entertaining enough... not sure what the fallout will be... probably suspensions and Coker gone at the end of the year.

by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 9:22am

I was going to nominate Koetter as well, but everyone thankfully took care of that for me. What bothered me even more was that ASU also had no urgency to run out the punt team. They took around 25 seconds getting them out there which also cost them any chance at getting the ball back. Also someone should point out this simple fact to ASU: You will save more time using the time out after first and second down, than after the punt.

After the punt the clock starts exactly with the 25 second clock, and they can burn off exactly 24 seconds and still snap it. After 1st/2nd down, they will take 5-10 seconds at least to unpile and get people placed before they even start the 25 second clock. Yes, the punt was stupid, but in future cases (Miami did this against FSU as well), you will save an extra 5-10 seconds using that timeout after a down instead of after a punt. The new clock rules might be stupid, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't learn them.

At the end of the Penn State game, on 4th down, the inside WR on the left side of the formation had his CB blitzing and no one near him to cover for at least 12-15 yards, and only needed 5-6 for the first. Why don't the audible him to a quick inside slant or something else that will get the 1st, give him a chance to break it long, or something? Instead he ran a 15-20 yard pattern that gave the secondary plenty of time to pick him up.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:17pm

Re 141: I give a ton of credit to the Auburn defense...they deserve it...they won the game. But Brandon Cox? Are you serious? Since when does completing a series of swing passes in the backfield, followed by the RB scampering for 10 yds qualify as the QB being clutch on 3rd down? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Cox completed a pass where he actually threw the ball further than 10 yards.

I really hope we see you in Atlanta. Looking at the schedules, I think it will happen.

by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 9:01am

Credit needs to be given to the Auburn Tigers' Defense and Coaching Staff. Auburn did much better on defense and continued to take advantage of Florida's secondary cushion.

Is it just me or does Florida give at least 1 receiver a 5-yard (often a 10-yard) cushion while backing up every play? Any team that wants it should be able to throw for 5 yards with 3+ YAC every play.

However, I believe the game also changed after Chris Leak took a big hit on an option play. Ever since his freshman year against the Seminoles, Leak has suffered as soon as he is hit hard or starts feeling pressure. I believe you will see his stats in the second half suffered greatly as a result.

by witless chum (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 12:08pm

Why were Mike Golic and whoever the other Mike is going crazy this morning? Not the first brawl that ever happened.

Why is this such a big deal in football anyway? Hockey and baseball basically tolerate occasional brawls and civilization has yet to fall.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 1:35pm

I'll probably end up posting this elsewhere, but: Levi Brown (LT, PSU) is not a first round draft pick. No way. In the Orange Bowl, he had far and away the worst game of any offensive lineman, and if I had time to chart the Michigan game, he probably would've been the worst there, too.

Yeah. Morelli didn't look that great under pressure (read: "bad"), but most of the pressure was coming from his blind side, due to missed assignments or just bad blocking by Brown.

Brown's got all the physical gifts, but he just simply doesn't understand the position well enough to play it.

by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 2:49pm


perhaps its a bit of racism, as most of the players on the teams are black (whereas the vast majority of hockey and baseball players aren't?) ....

so .... white/hispanic players brawl ... its "o.k." .... black players (especially YOUNG black players) brawl .... its major news?

(just a hypothesis .... )

by joe football (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 5:41pm

I think this brawl, clearly, is the begining of Miami turning around. It will be the excuse to fire Coker which means they instantly get better, and hopefully the bring in some incredibly shady coach(is Dennis Erickson busy?) and the team continues to misbehave as they improve, so everyone will look back and say this is where they got their 'swagger' back

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 7:09pm

149, excellent points, and 151...great insight.

I predicted that Coker would be fired today, and I'm glad I was wrong. Fire him for being incompetent, but this wasn't his fault. Remember, the Canes and Notre Dame had a huge fight in 1988. Did that make Jimmy Johnson or Lou Holtz poor disciplinarians?

Finally, I was astounded when before the game I saw Lamar Thomas listed as a broadcatser. Thomas was the most flamboyant, showboating player I've ever seen, and that covers a lot of ground.

Of course, the media's reaction has been the predictable mix of soap opera and soapbox.