As we enter Halloween Week here at 10TILTW (hey, that's catchy), we have been treated with some epic collapses and great games, been tricked by the ghoulishly sub-standard SEC officiating, and have had to listen to coaches whine like Banshees over how it was somebody else's fault they lost games. So, here is the knowledge that was imparted to me by the sports world this week, hopefully presented in a way not to zombiefy you.
1) Where has the spread option gone?- As a Gator fan, I feel Tim Tebow's frustration as to the offenses lack of production. And while people like to point to the receiving core, which is a little part responsible, I by far give more fault to Steve Adazio, the Gators O.C. Over the past few games, one of our greatest plays, where Tebow sweeps out and has the option to A) keep it, B) pitch it to Demps/Rainey, or C) shovel it inside to Hernandez has completely disappeared from our playbook. It was instrumental to our BCS title last year, and very few teams have the athletes or the discipline to shut all three options down. Even Meyer commented after the game they needed to put Tebow in better positions. While the first pick 6 was totally Tim's fault and led from a 20-3 halftime game to a 13-10 halftime game, there was no reason for him to be throwing 1st and 10 from his own 2. Also, our offensive line's pass blocking has become suspect. They're still great run blockers, and we have FIVE people that can run the ball. Tebow's already proven in the past he can win a game with his arm if he has to. With the Gators D, I think we need to get back to running it for 300 yards a game, even if it's not "sexy" or will get you 50+ points.
2) Hindsight is always 20/20- I can feel Dan Mullen's pain on the pick return for a "touchdown" call, but he absolutely deserved to be reprimanded for asking for the video replay judge to be suspended, and here's why. IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!!!!! He did his job to the best of his ability, and Mullen should know that. In order to overturn a call on the field, the replay judge MUST MUST MUST have conclusive evidence that the original call was wrong, otherwise he HAS to let the play stand. And there's the crucial point. Folks, I want you to pay attention to the next college football game you watch, and listen to what the referee says after a replay. If he says replay has CONFIRMED the call on the field, then that means that there is conclusive visual evidence to uphold the call. If he says THE RULING ON THE FIELD STANDS then that means there was not conclusive visual evidence to there being a botched call. Now was the call botched, absolutely. And was there conclusive evidence, yes. Want to know when this conclusive evidence came? After ESPN had like three minutes to throw their two CRAPPY angles together, sync them up, and show them as one image. Know when that happened? AFTER the replay official made his decision. And it wasn't an in and out, either. Before then, you could guess all you want. But you CANNOT guess in replays. You cannot feel. Watching it live, I thought it was a TD, although I wanted to throttle Dustin Doe. Watching the replays, I was like, uh oh, but from ESPN's best angle, it looked like he had it in the endzone. From the reverse angle, you could speculate that it wasn't a TD. Like I said, it wasn't until they synced them up that you knew for sure they blew it. But Dan, if you want to blow a gasket, either A) blow it at the on field officials who were obviously not in position to make the call (which probably still would have gotten you reprimanded) or B) blow it at ESPN. For a network that paid a whole bunch of money to broadcast the games, would having a camera on the goalline, from either end, hurt? And then lost in the mix was that it would be a touchback and Mississippi State would have 1st and 10 from the 20. BUZZZZZZZ. Mississippi State was called for an illegal shift on the play. Had it correctly been called a fumble, the Gators enforce the penalty. We can second guess the results until the cows come home, but honestly, did anybody get the impression that the Bulldog offense was going to do ANYTHING against the Gator D that night. Be honest, Gator haters. Didn't think so. Still, the SEC has a bunch of cleaning up to do, as do the Gators.
3) Mountain of a blocker- In a game that took me back to when Jarvis Moss blocked three kicks against South Carolina during our '06 title run, Terrance Cody of Alabama blocked two kicks against the Volunteers to preserve a 12-10 victory. Now after the game, Lane whined like a little girl about Cody not being flagged for taking his helmet off. If you can show me that he did that before the clock hit double zeroes, then by the letter of the rule, he does have a point. But in a sport, and particularly a conference that is too strict and has bad rules regarding celebrating/personal fouls the like, I was glad to see this one go. That rule was meant for players immediately after the play expressing their frustration, and by letter celebration, too. Cody was yards away from the play, near his sideline, going further away from the action, and was celebrating a great win. Now, had he done it right after he blocked the kick, while still in the middle of both lines or just coming out, then yes. But in this case, let it slide. A good no call in my book, and I have no love for Bama or Nick Saban, although I'm sure Vols fans would vehemently disagree. Update: I should have realized it at the time, but one thing that led to Kiffin being reprimanded is even if they had called Cody for unsportmanlike, it's a post play foul. In other words, it would have been Bama's ball 15 yards back from the previous line of scrimmage. So sorry Vols fans, you lose that game anyway. Still a great effort put forth.
4) Hope you didn't go to bed at halftime- God, I'm getting tired of having to give love to the Saints. There is talk of the Saints as the best team in the NFL. I'm sorry, but the BEST team in the NFL does not get down 24-3. That being said, only a GREAT team comes back from that defecit, and the Saints are clearly a great team. And Dolphin fans should want to throttle their coach for making a rookie mistake. Late in the first half, down by the aforementioned 24-3 and out of timeouts, Brees hits Colston for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but was subsequently (and accurately) overturned to first and goal from the half yard line. Saints have :05 left on the clock, and the referee announces to the world "The clock WILL start on the ready for play whistle." New Orleans has their field goal unit already on the field content to get it to 24-6 as they have to snap the ball quickly. All of a sudden, whistles. Timeout Miami. EXCUSE ME?? Timeout for what? Oh, to let Drew Brees "talk" Sean Peyton into going for it (wasn't much of a conversation, more like a Peyton Manning we're going for it) and getting a touchdown scored against you right before half. Great job!!!
5) On the Eighth week of football the Huskers gave to me- Eight turnovers against the Cyclones. And four inside the enemy 5. And yet they were still remarkably in that game. That had to hurt big time for Nebraska fans, and I know it did (from reading HuskerTex's blog http://huskertex.blogs.cbssports.co
6) Hurricanes start OT strong, quickly fizzle out- Just like some real tropical systems, the Hurricanes received the ball first in OT and hit a 19 yard run on their first play. From there, they proceeded to gain not another yard and kick a field goal. Miami could have taken the three off the board as Clemson was offside on the FG, but I agree with the decision to leave the points on the board (would have been fourth and goal from the 3. Maybe if it was closer). Then Clemson gets a 26 touchdown on their possession to win the game in what was a closely contested back and forth affair in which both teams trailed several times.
7) Horns hook Mizzou- In what had to be Texas' best, most complete game of the season, they defeated the Tigers 41-7. Unlike previous Longhorn games where they seemingly flipped the switch at halftime, even in the OU game, McCoy started out 11 for 11 and the Horns put TD's on the board with their first three drives. And would you believe that the leader in the Big 12 north is Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats??? Whodathunkit?
8) Icy thoughts- The Avalanche are surprisingly leading the league with 20 points, the Devils scored a huge victory over the Pens, who still lead the Eastern conference, and the Ohretchkin [sic] led Capitals have suddenly and drastically (although predictably) seperated themselves in a muddled Southeast division. And I'm still miffed that the Lightning CANNOT score a goal in a shootout. This last one against the Sabres, they had SIX cracks at it. Zero goals.
9) November diamonds- I'm sorry, but as much as I'm hoping for a good, long, competitive World Series, I'm also hoping for miserable weather and unplayable nights. Something absolutely has to be done about the baseball schedule so that we don't end up in this situation. The best thing that could happen is that the weather somehow adversely affects the Yankees, and George and his boys get POed. They need to start sooner, schedule doubleheaders, fix the playoff TV schedule, something. As for my World Series prediction, as much as I should have learned not to bet against the Phillies, and as much as I can't stand the Yankees, the Yankees have done good for me so far this year, and I see no reason to hop off the bandwagon. I say Yankees take it in Yankee Stadium in game 6.
10) The look ahead- Things I'm looking forward to this week are USF West Virginia to see if the Bulls can get out of their yearly October swoon, Georgia Florida, which is still the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, no matter where the teams are in the standings, K State Oklahoma to see if the Wildcats just might be for real, Texas Okie State, to see just how much the Cowboys miss Dez Bryant who will be gone for the rest of the season, and Oregon USC, to see if the Ducks can take care of what the pollsters seem unable to year after year. For the Pros, give me Giants Eagles, Jet Dolphins II, Vikings Packers II, and Saints Falcons to see if the Saints can stay unbeaten. And obviously, the World Series (of Poker, J/K).