Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:16 pm
As we reach the point in the year where we give thanks for what we are appreciative of, I'm giving thanks that after 2 of the busiest weeks I've had at work, I am now on a week's vacation, and have a chance to get caught up. So this time, for the first time ever, I'm running two editions in the same post. Now obviously I'm going to have to check back and try to remember everything I wanted to hit on. I know Notre Dame is at the top of my list. The LSU debacle from last week will definitely be there. And the coaching carousel finally began to turn in both the NFL and NBA. So sit back and enjoy two weeks and 20 tidbits worth of sports knowledge.
1) And so it begins ...- After last year of watching "As the Lane Turns" and seeing Scott Linehan call his shot, the NFL's coaching front was very quiet. The hammer finally fell on Dick Jauron of the Bills. He was done in by the simply unrealistic expectations caused by the fast start that the team got out to last year. It does go to prove just how important the QB position is in the NFL, and just what a lack of depth there is there currently.
2) ... again- Last year the first two coach firings in the NBA occurred about this time, and this year we already have one. Byron Scott was let go by the New Orleans Hornets, and hearing some of the reasons as to why, they sound to me more like reasons as to why this move was made far too soon. To me, it all seems like a power play by team president and NBA no-nothing Hugh Weber.
3) Even as one of the biggest ND haters- I was completely confused at the end of the Notre Dame Pitt game and exactly what the replay official saw. To me, it seemed clear that Claussen's hand was firmly clutched around the football during the entire forward motion. Now, I won't say the Domers got jobbed, as had the play stood (which IMO it should have), it would have been 4th and 16 and tough to overcome. Remember, I'm of the mind that blaming losses on the officials is loser speak and I site that I have only seen two games where officials have difinitively decided a game, the Oklahoma Oregon game a few years back, and the Colorado fifth down game. But to me, this was a clearly blown call. Remember, it was called incomplete on the field. I was watching an NFL game earlier this year where this exact play happened, and it was initially ruled a fumble and was OVERTURNED on replay to an incomplete pass. Plus, several people have pointed out to me that the whistle blew before Pitt had possession of the "fumble," calling into question whether or not the play was even reviewable (at least to the point where Pitt could even be awarded the ball).
4) Jay Cutler is horrible- Watching the 49ers Bears game, it made me realize one thing. The Broncos gave the Bears the worst fleecing sinec the Lions fleeced the Cowboys in the Roy Williams trade. I mean, the trade would have been bad had it just been picks given up for Cutler, but throw in Orton, too. And some Bears fans were asking what happened to their running game. That's simple. Jay Cutler. Yes, the O-line is also not playing as well, but Forte didn't all of a sudden suck. Jay Cutler thinks it's all about him. And as far as building for the future, the Bears can forget about that one as well. Somebody suggested they need to draft a great receiver. The problem with that is they don't have a pick until at least the third round. The Bears have no future. They mortgaged it for Cutler (and Gaines Adams).
5) Pats 4th and out- I can understand where some people are coming from trying to defend coach Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down late and on his own side of the field. Afterall, it was essentially a playoff game and will go a long way toward deciding home field. That one game represented a three game swing, two for the points in the standings, and another 1/2 each way for the tie breaker. Still, to me it was very odd, and I'd much rather try to make Peyton drive much longer, no matter how well he had been driving it against you recently. Huge win by the Colts.
6) Trojans defense snapped- I had pointed out going into the Oregon game that the prior two weeks the Trojans defense looked flat and were not playing up to USC standards. Ever since then, they've done nothing to improve, proving that sometimes it is hard to just reload instead of rebuild, even if you are Pete Carroll. The loses on defense over the years have clearly caught up, and this will be USC's first year not in a BCS bowl game in a long time.
7) Horned Frogs roll- TCU continued to roll, destroying their toughest remaining opponent in Utah by a 55-28 score. Should Texas lose, or should Bama or Florida lose before the SEC Championship game, I can only hope the BCS does the right thing and sends the lizards to Pasadena on the 7th.
8) Houston loses another it shouldn't- As much as I like Case Keenum and the huge numbers he's been putting up this year, you cannot afford to lose to UTEP and UCF. That just cannot happen, especially after beating Oklahoma State.
9) tOSU going to the Rose Bowl- By beating Iowa in overtime, Ohio State will be making it's first trip to Pasadena since something like 1999. Hard to believe, but a lot of the years they won the Big 10, they went to the Championship game. And remember, Penn State won last year.
10) Another reason I hate Gary Bettman- The Lightning were screwed out of a point on 11/14 while playing the Kings. On what should have been a game winning goal by the Lightning in OT, the up ice official ruled that the Kings goalie was interfered with on the play and waved off the goal. Here's the problem. The Lightning player was clearly pushed in there by a Kings player. How is this kind of play not reviewable? Bettman either needs to revisit his horrible rules, or send these officials back to school.
1) Hold that Tiger timeout- Wow, what a horrible series of play calling and clock management displayed by the LSU coaching staff at the end of the Ole Miss game. You have it first and 10 at the 29 with around :40 seconds left and two timeouts. First play: incompletion. Okay, not too bad, although with two timeouts and in field goal range, you can run or use the middle of the field. Second play: sack. Cannot happen in that situation. Now you're out of field goal range. First timeout. 33 seconds left. Next play, some ill-conceived screen play that loses like seven yards. Now it's fourth and forever. The clock is at 27 seconds. Somehow, as you are discussing whatever on the sidelines, you let the clock run all the way down to 9 seconds before calling the timeout. Now, you throw a hail-mary. And in the most improbable situation, you complete it at the five, but there is only one second left. And you are caught completely unready. Your field goal unit is not ready to go, although there may have not been enough time to get them on. So, your QB attempts a SPIKE?? With one second left on the clock??? And the great thing is in the hurry up confusion, it was discovered on video that Miles was the one telling him to spike it. You have to run a play. You have to hike it and throw it to the endzone. Even in Death Valley, the final second runs off the clock on a spike. It was clear the coaching staff was lost, and even more so on a play that was probably meant to go into the endzone ends up completed on the 5 instead. It is your responsibility as a coach to be ready for every possibility, and to have your team ready. One fan suggested they should have celebrated the play, as it would have stopped the clock. Now, while I have no experience actually calling a college game with college rules, I'm pretty sure the clock starts on the ready for play just like it would normally. He did have an interesting idea, though, as the clock WOULD stop as they march it off, and maybe have given them enough time to get the FG unit on. Still, all in all, some of the worst coaching I've seen, EVER, and inexcusible from a BCS champion winning coach. That last TO had to be called right after the screen play. You have to extend the game.
2) Weis' swan song- I think the second consecutive loss on senior day by the Fighting Irish pretty much spells the end for Charlie Weis. Afterall, his winning percentage is right up there with Davie and Willingham, and I can't remember the last ranked opponent he's beaten. On the flip side, it was good to see the Huskies win their first game since losing Jasper Howard. Seeing coach Edsall's emotions during the post-game was touching, especially knowing how heart-felt they were.
3) Some absolutely inexcusible NFL performances- Wow, Steelers lose to Chiefs (I know, Moo, you saw it coming the whole way). The Bengals get a gift to move another game up, only they turnover the game against the Raiders on a late TD and then fumble the ensuing kickoff. And the Cowboys take a late TD and only hang 7 on the lowly Redskins in a win.
4) The Jets crash land and the Broncos pull up lame- After starting off 3-0 and fueling speculation again of an all NY Super Bowl (the Giants haven't been performing much better), they have only won 1 of the last 7 and Sanchez is looking very much like a rookie. And the Broncos after their 6-0 start have dropped 4 in a row and now find themselves looking up at the Chargers.
5) Redemption for VY- Ever since being forced back into the lineup by owner Bud Adams (who probably gave coach Jeff Fisher the double barrelled single finger salute in the process), the Titans have not lost a game and have suddenly found themselves back in the playoff hunt, although they probably dug themselves too deep a hole to begin with.
6) Oregon Arizona classic- In one of the most interesting games of the year that I could only see via ESPN360.com thanks to ABC thinking that because I live in Florida the Texas beatdown of Kansas would be more interesting to me, DESPITE the fact that their number 1 crew was at THIS game, Oregon won in double OT in come back fashion, setting up this week's rivalry week matchup with Oregon State with the winner getting a trip to Pasadena on Jan 1st to play tOSU.
7) Huskers Shuck Kansas State to win Big 12 north- Nebraska's defense again looked dominant in setting up a trip to Arlington to play Texas on Dec. 5th. I'm looking forward to see how well the blackshirts match up against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns. In an ironic twist, had K State won, they would have been playing against Texas. By losing, not only will they not, but they also will not be bowling.
8) ACC Championship game set, too- I'm actually looking forward to seeing C.J. Spiller coming here to Tampa to take on Georgia Tech and the triple option. The good thing is I think this game should sell better than last year's Va Tech BC game. Short of getting FSU and/or Miami in the game, this was the best we could do, and should at least generate some more local interest as the teams are much closer.
9) To all the SEC haters- Yes, ramble on about how we are two deep (we are). Pile on us for how we are down for the second year in a row (we are). Get on us for scheduling weak teams late in the year (only because we start our conference season earlier than anybody other than the ACC, which starts out the gate). The SEC has TEN, count 'em, TEN teams that are bowl eligible. Yes, we might not have the great teams outside of UF and BAMA, but we have a WHOLE LOTTA good ones. And we have to play eight games against said teams. And I would argue that just about every conference is down this year. That's why you had a C-USA school in the Top 15 for most of the year.
10) Turkey games on turkey day- I'll break my rule because I was going to get on this point anyway, but even the one slightly intriguing NFL game on Thanksgiving turned out to induce more yawns than the trytophan in your Thanksgiving turkey (unless you were a Broncos fan). Honestly, I was watching the Texas Texas A&M game and just flipping between commercials. The Lions sucked and have for years. Then you match them up against one of the top 6 teams in the conference. Conversely, you match up the Cowboys against the Raiders??? Seriously, the Raiders??? The NFL really needs to revisit it's Thanksgiving day policy, as "tradition" is quickly turning in to the "tradition" of people turning their TV sets off early.
Tags: Arizona Wildcats, bad call, bad clock management, bad coaching, bad defense, Bad officiating, bad play calling, bad regionalism, Best game I watched on the internet, bowl eligible teams, Bud Adams, Byron Scott, Case Keenum, Charlie Weis, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Clemson Tigers, Coaching changes, conference strength, Connecticut Huskies, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Dick Jauron, Gary Bettman, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Houston Cougars, Indianapolis Colts, Jasper Howard, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher, Kansas State Wildcats, Les Miles, LSU Tiger, Matt Forte, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, NHL, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oregon Ducks, Pitt Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Edsall, replay, Rose Bowl, SEC, Southern Cal Trojans, Tampa Bay Lightning, TCU Horned Frogs, Tennessee Titans, Thanksgiving Day games, tradition, Vince Young
Posted on: December 31, 2008 12:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2009 9:00 pm
Well, I'm doing better with my bowl picks, although still around .500 overall, better than .333, though. After starting off 2-4, it quickly became 2-6 going into Saturday. Then I rattled off 7 straight winners before tanking both games last night and currently sit at 9-8. I'll need some help down the stretch if I want to obtain my usual Meatloaf accuracy rating. Anyway, here goes what I learned this week.
1) Opening up on the ice - As I will be doing this more and more after both football seasons wind down, I figured I'd open with a hockey take. I'm really looking forward to the Wings Blackhawks game tomorrow at historic Wrigley Field. Should be an interesting matchup. I liked last year's edition between the Penguins and Sabres, especially since snow and wind were affecting the game and created for interesting conditions. In fact, they changed the way the teams were skating half way through each period to make it equal. This should be a fun contest.
2) Firing Squad - As usual, the NFL season closes with a flurry of head coaching changes. Guess Mangini isn't "Mangenius" anymore. Expect a couple more over the next few days, although not as many as usual since so many got dumped mid season. I know a lot of people in Tampa are calling for Gruden's head, and he definitely has some culpability for what happened, but to me that's a very nearsighted view. Besides, unless you have Cowher already lined up, who are you going to get in here that's better than Gruden. Nobody in my book.
3) Late season choke jobs - Wow, how badly did the seasons end for my Bucs, the Broncos, the Jets, and the Cowboys (more on them in a sec). The Bucs uncharacteristicly lost 4 games in which they either led or were tied at some point in the 4th quarter, the Jets couldn't win on the west coast, and the Broncos just needed 1 win or a Chargers loss in the last 3 weeks, and couldn't do it. By the way, look for the Chargers Broncos to be cranked up a few notches next year. With Jay Cutler's moronic rantings after the game (BTW, Jay, if the Chargers are as bad as you say they were, why did you just get smoked by them? Keep your mouth shut next time. This wasn't the first time Jay's said something completely asinine, either) and the Chargers sending out playoff notices for ticket sales BEFORE the game was officially over (yes, I know a comeback was unlikely, but still, would have it killed you to wait the extra ten or so minutes of real time?), things could get very ugly.
4) Putting the "Fun" in dysfunctional - Is there a more dysfunctional organization than the Cowboys? I do know this for a fact. There is definitely not one more undisciplined. And Jerry Jones needs to realize A) this isn't fantasy football. Throwing the best collection of talent at different positions almost NEVER equates into the best team and B) The best owners in football are the hands off owners, who allow football decisions to be made by football people. And he wonders why he hasn't won squat since the people JJ put in place have gone. In fact, this is the ninth year in a row that Dallas has lost it's final game of the season and 12th in a row without winning a single playoff game. Cowboy fans, how long will this remain acceptable to you?
5) When Irish eyes are smiling - Notre Dame fans reminded me why I can't stand them again this week. They're already proclaiming "they're back" after winning ONE GAME against a mediocre Hawaii team. Even if this is a sign of things to come, and even if they do win 9 games to become BCS eligible as they should with THAT schedule that features Pac 10 powerhouses
6) Remember when Jan. 1st was "Man Day" - I got this idea from a thread started by another community member on the NCAA page, but it got me thinking back to when there were like 10 bowl games on New Years Day, packed from morning to night on all the major networks, often with three different ones going on at the same time so you would have to get extra TV's or abuse your picture in picture. I miss all that. Maybe it's just me, but that was fun. I realize they are trying to avoid the game's going on at the same time, but would it really kill them to compact the bowl schedule a little and put more games back on the 1st? And what's with these minor bowls being played after the 1st? Either move them before the 1st where they belong, or axe them all together. Sheesh.
7) Weekly look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this week are the aforementioned New Year's day outdoor NHL game, The Rose Bowl (which I believe will be closer than most people think), the Cotton Bowl (again, I believe will be closer than most think), and the NFL playoffs (more on these in a moment)
8) Buccingator's continuing Bowl Picks - Here's my picks for all the remaining games besides the BCS Championship game. I'll have a whole big point or two on next week's edition.
Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force 41 Houston 27
Sun Bowl - Pitt 27 Oregon State 20
Music City Bowl - Boston College 23 Vanderbilt 20
Insight Bowl - Kansas 38 Minnesota 17
Chik-Fil-A Bowl - Georgia Tech 41 LSU 17
Outback Bowl - South Carolina 17 Iowa 14 (don't know why I'm picking against Shonn Greene. Just a gut feeling. Only gave this game a 3 confidence)
Capital One - Georgia 28 Michigan State 20
Gator - Nebraska 20 Clemson 10
Rose Bowl - USC 20 PSU 17
Orange Bowl - Cincinnati 31 Virginia Tech 21
Cotton Bowl - Texas Tech 31 Mississippi 30
Liberty Bowl -Kentucky 20 ECU 13
Sugar Bowl - Alabama 27 Utah 13
International Bowl - UConn 24 Buffalo 21
Fiesta Bowl - Texas 34 tOSU 17
GMAC Bowl - Tulsa 38 Ball State 24
9) A Look Back - 8 weeks ago, I gave everyone my NFL postseason predictions, and I must say I was 9 for 12 on getting the participants correct, and even had some of the seeds correctly figured. A local newspaper columnist asked who had Miami and Atlanta making the playoffs and if you raised your hand, you were lying. My response was when. Before the season, NO WAY would have I had Miami or Atlanta making the playoffs. That's why I wait until after week 9 when everybody's played half their schedule. By doing so, I had both Miami and Atlanta in the playoffs (although I had the wrong one as division champs). The only picks I missed on were I had New England in instead of the Colts in the AFC (didn't see the Colts 9 game winning streak coming), and I had the Bucs over Carolina and the Packers over the Vikings in the NFC (don't know what I was thinking with that Pack pick, ugh). See, if you wait to do it at the right time, you don't make stupid picks like the Cowboys running away with the NFC or the Browns making noise in the AFC (and I still curse the NFL for scheduling so many of their games on TV. That was putrid).
10) A Look Ahead - Okay, time for my official NFL playoff predictions. Back 8 weeks ago, I had the Giants facing the Steelers in my home town of Tampa on Feb. 1st, and I see no reason to back off that now. Also see no reason to back off the high number of wild card teams winning in the first round. I had three of four winning back then, I almost had four of four winning now.
Wild Card Round - Ravens 16 Dolphins 10, Colts 27 Chargers 20, Falcons 27 Cardinals 13, Vikings 24 Eagles 21 (I almost went Eagles, and would have if the game were in Philly)
Divisional Round - Titans 17 Ravens 13 (although I could see the Ravens winning), Steelers 24 Colts 20, Panthers 27 Vikings 14, Giants 24 Falcons 20
Championship Round - Steelers 17 Titans 10, Giants 27 Panthers 24
Super Bowl - Giants 24 Steelers 23
Tags: Bill Cowher, Bowl Game Predictions, Bowl Games, Chicago Blackhawks, Choking, Coaching Carousel, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Red Wings, Dysfunctional, Eric Mangini, Hawaii Bowl, Jan. 1st, Jay Cutler, Jerry Jones, Jon Gruden, Late Season Collapses, New York Jets, NFL Playoff Predicitions, NHL, NHL New Year's Day game, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Outdoor Hockey, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Bucs, Wrigley Field