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Tag:Jon Gruden
Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week of Oct.12th

With Halloween fast approaching, this week, I give you, my loyal fans, the treat of a baker's dozen of topics that enlightened me in the sports world this week.  Usually, I keep these to 10, so as not to get too verbose, but certain weeks (I had one last year around Thanksgiving), no matter how hard I try and combine up my points, 10 just isn't enough.  And looking ahead to next week's slate of games, it might very well happen again.  The remote will be smokin' this weekend.

1) Huskers shuck Mizzou- In a game played under a heavy downpour, Nebraska could have easily packed it in going into the fourth quarter down 12-0, but instead amped up the D and used two picks to help Zac Lee throw 3 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to ringing up 27 unanswered (missed a 2 pt. conversion) and a huge 27-12 victory over Big 12 north rivals Missouri.  Now the game later this year against Kansas looms big time and could determine who goes into Cowboys stadium on Dec. 5th.

2) Badgers/Tigers not yet ready for primetime- No, I'm not talking about the good ol' days of SNL, I'm talking about the current season of Saturday college football.  Two teams that were struggling for early respect despite being undefeated went down on Saturday afternoon.  I knew that Auburn's defense was inconsitent at best and Arkansas could score, but the fact that Auburn's offense took until the second half to show up, and by then it was already far too late, was a huge surprise.  As for Wisconsin, if you look at the pure stats, you'd think that they won the game, but they did just enough not only to keep tOSU in it, but win it convincingly.  You'd think there was no way since tOSU's offense had less than 200 yards, but there was all kinds of hidden return yardage for both the tOSU defense and special teams.  In fact, they accounted for three touchdowns for the Buckeyes.  Further proof that stats can lie.  The showdown in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14th looks huge now, and will likely decide who plays in Pasadena (no, not on the 7th).

3) Where's Johnathan Crompton and what have you done with him?- Look, I've already been on UGA's offense this year, looking basically lost losing Stafford and Moreno from last year, but I thought it was an absolute physical IMPOSSIBILITY for ANYBODY to make Johnathan Crompton look like the second coming of Peyton Manning.  Afterall, I forget if it was going into this game or the Auburn game last week, but here was a QB who's coach had ZERO faith in him as reflected by the offensive play calling, and had thrown 8 TD's and NINE PICKS on the season.  If I was Mark Richt, who I love as a coach, I'd want to hide after that defensive showing.  I do love ANYTHING that humiliates the Bulldog program, though, even if it is seeing Lane get his first SEC win.  Wonder if he was up all night Saturday singing "Rocky Top?"

4) Some "Snead" remarks about Jevan- Ugh!  So much for all that talk about Heisman darkhorse and number 1 overall draft pick.  This kid looks absolutely lost this season.  And his frustration is showing more and more every game.  Now, as much as I'd like to hang it all around his neck, okay, so not really, but a lot of the media and Ole Miss fans do, it's simply not ALL his fault.  First off, he needs some people around him to start to step up and make some plays.  But most of all, AT LEAST half of his problems I hang firmly around the necks of his offensive linemen.  Todd McShay ran a good piece on ESPN's College Gameday showing two clips from the South Carolina game.  On the first clip, South Carolina rushed TWO, count 'em, TWO people on the play, and Snead was still sacked.  That's unforgivable.  And so what does Houston Nutt do in response to this?  Well, since we can't block two with five, we'll keep BOTH running backs in for extra protection.  The result of this play?  South Carolina rushes three people against the seven, and while Snead had plenty of time, he has THREE receivers going up against EIGHT men in coverage!  Do you think anybody was open?  Nope, didn't think so.  So say what you will about the kid buying into his own hype, whatever, but there are some serious issues with one of the media darlings who was supposed to contend with Alabama for the SEC West this year.

5) Hold that Tiger- Really.  Did the experts not see this one coming?  Well, seeing as how Darst was the only one on this website to pick the Gators, and Kirk Herbstreit was the only one on Gameday to call it (more on this in a bit), even getting ribbed by Corso, obviously not.  Everybody was so wrapped up in the Tebow/No Tebow/Will he play/Won't he play (more on this next point) what effect will it have on the Gators that they somehow forgot that the Gators sported going into the game, the NUMBER 1 DEFENSE in the nation and the NUMBER 1 running game in the nation.  These remain whether Tebow or Brantley is under center.  Overall, a brilliant game plan by Urban Meyer to get a tough SEC road victory.  Florida was ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT of both sides of the line of scrimmage.  It's one thing to let your opponent know you're going to run dive plays 80% of the time early on.  To still do it and do it effectively against a team with the athletes on defense that the LSU Tigers possess is another.  And kudos to Herbstreit, for not only pointing out that Tebow will play (according to Herbstreit, he thought Tebow would play great.  I thought he played well, and as good as could be expected due to the concussion), but calling out the Gator defense, specifically Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes and predicting they would play great and carry the Gators to the win.  While Dunlap played well, Spikes was a man amongst boys, and word came out that Herbstreit's comments made their way to the Tim Tebow of the Gators D, and he used it as motivation.  In fact, Meyer came out today and said if anybody else in the media wants to make similar comments about Tebow or Riley Cooper, to be his guest.  And to all the people (in particular Pac-10 fans who have absolutely no grounds to stand on whatsoever) who were calling this a boring game and the SEC overrated, this was good clean defensive, ram the ball down your throat and you can't stop us football.  And, it was the perfect gameplan for the situation.  If you don't believe that, just ask the previous 32 Saturday night opponents of LSU in death valley and ask them what their result was.  Offense is sexy, sells tickets, and can win you games, but defense wins championships.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  If you don't believe it, look up who's won the last three BCS National Titles and will likely be favored to do so a fourth time. 

6) I'm not a neuropathologist, but I'll darn sure play one in the newspaper/internet- Can the media stop already with the ridiculous pre-guessing and second guessing involved with Tebow playing the LSU game?  I'm sorry, Greg Doyle and William Rhoden, but I'll darn sure take the UF medical staff's opinion over yours any day.  I guess your journalism degrees somehow came with a minor in sports medicine.  I mentioned after the Kentucky game that it wasn't going to be Urban Meyer or Tim Tebow who decided on whether Tebow would be able to play, it would be the doctors.  None of the ridiculous speculation by these Web MD's changed that.  And honestly, with the D and running game, I believe that UF wins the game with John Brantley, so why risk it if he's not 100%.  I think the fact Tebow was on the field meant that he was (although obviously the playbook was scaled back a bit.  Sure didn't seem to shy away from contact, though, did he?).  Oh, and guess what?  Tate Forcier of Michigan has a concussion and has already been stated he will start if cleared.  Where's the outcry against Rich Rodriguez and Forcier should not play articles?

7) Horns Hooked in AP- Had to calm down a bunch of Longhorn fans this week who got their panties in a bunch because Alabama overtook them at number 2 in the AP poll.  First off, in the two human polls that are used in the BCS formula, Texas is still number 2.  Secondly, should the big three keep winning out, there's this little game in Atlanta on Dec. 5th that either Alabama or Florida will have to lose, so even at number three, keep taking care of your own business, and everything will work itself out.  Honestly, I'm not impressed by the fact that Texas seemingly has to throw the switch in the second half every week.  And if you don't think Florida and Alabama are the two best teams right now, we'll show you on Dec. 5th and again on Jan. 7th, IMHO (of course, one of them can lose before then, and I'll look pretty stupid.  I'll take my chances right now, though).  However, worrying about these things on Oct. 11th when any/all (we already know at least one will have to) of them can still lose is pointless.

8) DolphinMania runs wild(cat) on the Jets- Wow, what a game last night.  Another classic MNF in the rivalry between these two teams.  Honestly, I was a bit surprised that with defenses on both teams I would consider to be in the top half of the NFL, that neither team seemed to really be able to stop the other.  In the end, though, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski seemed to be the only ones outside the Dolphins offense who realized that on 3rd and goal from the three, with ten seconds left AND A TIMEOUT, that Miami just might run the ball.  As they both astutely pointed out, you get stopped, you call the TO and go for it on fourth down.

9) The best and worst of the NFL so far- Can you believe that the two best teams in the NFL right now might have met in week one, with one taking a miracle play to beat the other in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals?  Honestly, you look at all the undefeated teams, and nobody's played anybody except for these two, and they are still winning (yes, obviously the Bengals have the one loss).  On the flip side, I believe the Rams are the worst team, but if I had to pick a team to go winless this season, the team with the best chance based on their schedules is my Bucs.  And somebody PLEASE explain to me how a team has a QB go 2 for 17 passing and still wins the game?  And why is JaMarcus Russell still a starting QB in this league?  Just how many wasted first rounders are the Raiders going to have (that DHB pick looks awesome right now)?  Couldn't happen to a more hapless, senile owner.

10) Some NHL thoughts- Well, the Lightning pulled off the 4 point minimum I wanted last week (although not the way I expected) going 1-0-2, then picked up a huge win against the Panthers last night.  Right now, they are currently in first place in their division and have more points than the Redwings.  The Bolts D is playing better as of late.  The fact that this team still remains unable to score in shootouts, however, is bothersome at best.  The defending champion Penguins are off to a hot start amassing 10 points already.

11) A special look ahead to Thursday night's NCAA game- I usually don't take a whole point for a look ahead, but this week's Thursday night game is huge for the Big East.  Regardless of who wins, they need these two teams to put on a great show to bring some respect and interest back to the league, and I believe they'll do it.  It was mentioned during a recent Big East broadcast I was watching that the league needs Pitt to win to carry this league, but I just don't argee with it.  I think both Cincinnati and USF are perfectly capable of performing this function, and I think the winner of this game is likely to play in Miami on January 5th.  Of course, Pitt being undefeated in the conference is still not out of conversation, but I also think West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers when they play well, can all help this league.

12) Weekly look ahead- Wow, let's see.  In college, give me the aforementioned Bearcat Bulls game, the Red River shootout to see if OU's vastly improved D can carry their struggling (by their standards) O, Arkansas Florida to create a second common opponent for UF and Alabama to compare them better (I think UF had a better showing at Kentucky than Alabama did which somehow gets overlooked), Alabama South Carolina to see where these two teams really stack up, USC Notre Dame to see just how Doyle's number one QB in the land does against a real defense (a lot of people are picking the Irish in this game, which would be a huge blow to both the Pac-10 and my keep ND out of the BCS hopes), Nebraska Texas Tech to see if the black shirts can slow down the suddenly revamped and rerevved Red Raiders offense, and Virginia Tech Georgia Tech in what should be one of the better ACC matchups of the year.  If the Hokies dominate, look for them to enter the title picture if one of the big 3 slips up.  Like I said, the remote will be smoking.  For the pros, give me Carolina Tampa Bay sorry, I'll actually be in attendance for that debacle (although it could be worse, I could have tickets to KC Washington), the Giants Saints to see which nts team stays unbeaten, Vikings Ravens to see if Baltimore can recover from two straight tough losses, Bears Falcons to see which one of these teams is likely for real and wild card material, and finally Broncos Chargers to see if Denver can keep it going with a tough road game.  Good slate for the paid athletes as well.

13) MLB LDS look back and LCS predicitions- Well, I got three out of four right, although I had all of them going longer than what they did.  I knew Boston had some holes, but didn't expect them to get exposed that thoroughly by LA, especially since I thought playing in the AL East would toughen them up.  TBS lost a lot of money by all of the series ending so quick.  But that can happen in short series.  I know last year, Philly beat LA in the LCS, but I just think the Dodgers have too much for them this year.  Don't see it going less than 6, however (in fact, I'll call it Dodgers in 6), and as much as I hate to, I'll go Yankees in 5 setting up the LAD NYY series you know baseball is praying for for not only the east coast west coast thing, but also the Torre back to New York thing and Manny against the Yankees.
Posted on: October 1, 2009 12:21 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

Again a day late, but this time it was by choice.  See, I knew I was going to be long winded on a couple of topics very near and dear to my heart, the Bucs and the Gators (hence, the name BuccinGator).  Wanted the extra time to collect my thoughts and make sure I got everything out there.  So without further ado, 10 things ...

1) The Ol' Ball Coach shuts down Ole Miss- I'll start with the Thursday night game.  Now, I'm not going to jump on the Ole Miss was overrated band wagon.  In a year where many a team already has one loss, they were just beneficiaries of everybody else losing earlier in the year and their starting ranking which was probably a little too high based on what they did last year and returning Jevan Sneed.  But while SEC detractors point to this game as a sign of how the SEC is overrated and not that good, I point to this game as a sign of why the SEC is so great.  You better bring your A game every week, and you better be ready to play against some slobberknockering defenses.  I'm still a big Houston Nutt supporter (and Arkansas fans, check out how his replacement did this week.  More on that later), and I still like Jevan Sneed, just think it was a case of where they ran up against an equally matched South Carolina squad in their stadium, and got outplayed.  While Ole Miss was overrated through mostly no fault of their own, the fact is that South Carolina was probably more underrated.

2) Big 10 replay officials trying to overtake Pac 10 as being the most boneheaded and ignorant of the rules- Wow.  What in the world is the point of having a replay system if it's not even going to be used properly?  Come with me, my little chickadees, to last year, ironically involving the Michigan Wolverines.  Forgot which side of the play they were on, but there was an absolutely ridiculous call that thankfully had no bearing on the outcome of the game against Michigan State in which a receiver was awarded a touchdown because his foot smooshed the pylon, which the replay official THOUGHT was in bounds.  Nevermind the fact that 98% of the receiver's shoe was clearly Oscar Bravo.  Now, spin it forward to Saturday afternoon, where an Indiana University receiver and Michigan defender CLEARLY had dual possession of the ball upon hitting the ground and then the defender wrestled the ball away and was awarded the interception.  Even in the pros, where the ground does not end a play, the tie goes to the receiver.  And no, Michigan fans, there is nothing in the rule that deals with who has "more" possession or whatever else you were trying to argue.  I don't care if the defender has the ball locked to his chest, if the receivers hands are around the ball, that's it.  And to me, it definitely appeared that the IU receiver had the better possession until it was ripped out ON THE GROUND when the play is over in college.  Point is it's a moot arguement, and the rule clearly states that it should have been IU's ball.  Their coach had every right to chuck his gum a la "Mr. Perfect" Curt Henning, and they should have had the chance to see if they could produce the winning drive.  Now we'll never know.

3) The running of the Bulls D-Line- Daggummit!!!  The Seminoles just had absolutely no answer for the University of South Florida's D-Line.  And it's nice to see others step up and make plays while George Selvie is getting double and triple teamed.  They just decimated the Seminoles offense and forced four fumbles.  And the Seminoles secondary was non-existant on several plays.  It doesn't help that your best secondary guy is a smurf who plays 10 times his size.  I love Greg Reid, but all teams have to do is throw it whereever he's not.  And even if he's there, he can get picked on in goalline situations where his height becomes a true disadvantage.  The Noles need to solve their inconsistancy on offense, showing up only on odd numbered games (which bodes well for my Gators as they are game number 12).  Defensively, they are consistant, though.  Consistantly bad.  Going to be a long year for the Noles, who are still expected to win the Atlantic Division and make a trip to Tampa.  For the Bulls, though, this was a huge win for recruiting.  I hope both they and Cincy can stay undefeated heading into the upcoming Thursday night game here in Tampa.  The Big East could use the positive exposure that that game could bring them.

4) The "U" downgraded to a Tropical Storm- Again, I'm not going to jump on the Miami was overrated bandwagon, as I think it's great what they are doing, winning two games when many expected them to be "0-4 out the door."  I think they are still in for a solid year.  Just obviously were not ready to make that next step in a true return to national prominence.  Great game turned in by the Hokies.

5) Razorbacks hog-"Tide"- Again, I am not a huge Nick Saban fan, but you have to be impressed with what he is doing in Tuscaloosa.  Moreover, I love each and every time anybody, and I do mean anybody (okay, well maybe not Lane Kiffin, but it's close) in the SEC can put a beat down on that despicable turncoat of a man that coaches the University of Arkansas.  Sure, Saban is a bit of a turncoat himself, but what he did is Mother Teresaish compared to Petrino, especially what that waste of humanity did to the Falcons, a team that I am by no means a fan of.  Razorback fans, I hope every year you finish behind Ole Miss in the standings.

6) Rookie head coach makes a mistake most Pop Warner league coaches wouldn't make- Okay, I am officially convinced that the football gods are out to get me by putting a horrible Notre Dame football team into a BCS bowl game to be slaughtered.  Last week it was Michigan State icing it by throwing a pick.  This week, with no timeouts left and after being stopped on a running play and starting to scramble around in an effort to clock the ball which would have brought up third down with under 30 seconds left, Perdue gift wraps the game by calling a timeout FOR Notre Dame.  For what???  To get the right personnel on the field??  You already had the right personnel on the field the previous play, and if you SERIOUSLY wanted to make changes, let Notre Dame clock it, and THEN you can run out a new unit.  That kind of absurdity can't even occur at a high school head coaching level, much less the collegiate level.  It's not often coaches truely win or lose games for you, but in this case, Perdue's coach singlehandedly blew it by not being aware of the game situation.

7) Some general NFL musings- I can't pick a Bengals game right, so the Browns will probably win this week.  Brett Favre ripped my heart out and cost me my overall lead in my Pick 'Em pool.  But what a play.  The Vikings got him to make those plays in exactly those types of situations.  Still hate his guts, though, for the stunts he's pulled, especially this offseason, but have to give credit where credit is due.  The Patriots grounded the Falcons, showing they still have some work to do.  The Lions beat the Redskins in a game I called correctly.  Even though they were 0-2, the Lions were playing better football than the Deadskins, and it showed on Sunday.  Now even worse, the Deadskins play my Suckaneers this Sunday in the Toilet Bowl.  Ugh!  And finally, Jake Delhomme is finished.  Yes, the pick six was Steve Smith's fault, but there was absolutely NO reason for Fake to be throwing it there IN THE FIRST PLACE.  He was well covered and would have been tackled immediately in a situation where the Panthers needed to have a sense of urgency.

8) Hey, hey, hey, we're the Suckaneers- Oh my god.  I've slipped back into the seventh circle of Lemon [sic] Bennett hell with my favorite NFL team.  And Bucs fans have nobody to blame but themselves and the atrocious sports media we have down here in my fair city (although many are still trying to blame Jon Gruden).  The media here wants to be coddled to, and got it for years from Tony Dungy (who to be fair is a great coach and even better human being) and Rich McKay (who I can't say the same for).  Then came in brash Gruden who wouldn't bend to their every whim.  So they began running stories, began sowing discontent, and everybody down here bought it (except for the one piece of decent media, the Pewter Report, who told it like it was the whole time, good or bad).  Then Gruden gets the axe, which I didn't have too much of a problem with, except that you need to replace him with a Shannahan or Cowher.  Then came the whole Derrick Brooks debacle, which if Gruden had done, people here would have been screaming bloody murder against him.  Look I still hope Morris succeeds, but it is obvious this coaching staff is coaching very poorly and are currently in way over their heads.  And hopefully Buc fans will now pull theirs out of the sand and realize what a great job Gruden did with what little talent he had.  I know this team is rebuilding, but they were one fourth quarter defensive collapse in ANY of the last four games in which they were tied or had a lead in EVERY SINGLE ONE of them away from making the playoffs last year.  To take this many steps back is inexcusible.  I had this team pegged for 4-12, but now I'm thinking 2-14 is more in line.  And the yahoos down here were actually psyched after the Cowboys loss, spewing 8-8 or 9-7 and how great the offense is and how they'd been waiting for something like that for years.  Well, I for one was not buying it, and they were exposed by the Giants this week.  Fans forget, this team was 14th in total offense last year, which is respectable, especially when you can throw the type of defense out there we had thrown from 1997 through the first twelve games of 2008.  Now the defense is just plain horrible.  And the offense, I'm afraid fans will realize, is more in line with the 25th overall ranking they have right now than the 4th overall ranking they had going into the game, although with the D it's not likely to matter much.  Oh, and yeah, Jon Gruden was the one holding Michael Clayton back.  Since week one, he has TWO receptions and dropped a sure touchdown.  Yup, all Gruden's fault.  Clayton is a great receiver and worth every penny the Bucs spent on him this offseason.  Buc fans, reap what you sow!!!!  And to further my attack on the media, and why I think this area does not deserve baseball, the St. Pete times runs a horrid article on the Rays about a week ago saying how Jason Bartlett and Carl Crawford's best value (along with one other player) lies in trading them?  Are you FREAKING kidding me?  Bartlett, your team MVP, and Crawford, who you dumped Scott Kazmir's salary just so you could keep him?  And even at $10 million, which I think is ridiculous, in MLB terms is a bargain for a player of Crawford's talents.  Yeah, let's just go back to the dark ages of finishing last every year and drawing 5,000 fans a night.  Not like they had a winning season this year, right??  What's that, they did??  Could have fooled the press down here who got spoiled by a World Series appearance last year.  People down here want to make me vomit.  We are the biggest bunch of front running bandwagoners, and sadly, we're probably the best sports market in the state as Miami and Jacksonville are worse.  Pathetic!

9) ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!- I am so sick in the aftermath of the UF-Kentucky game of EVERYTHING that is coming out, that I feel like being concussed.  Everybody just needs to get off of everyone's cases right now, because everything that has been said is absolutely ludicrous.  As soon as I saw a replay, I knew exactly what had happened, and just became concerned for how bad of a concussion Tebow had.  Don't know why it took like 10 for most people to realize it was hitting the right tackle's knee coming down who was being blocked back into him, and not the hit that caused the damage.  The first person people need to get off the case of is the Kentucky blitzer (pretty sure it was an LB) who hit Tebow.  You have clowns like Dennis Dodd on this site running articles about whether or not it was a clean hit.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  Why not just have QB's wear dresses and play two hand touch?  And again, it wasn't the initial hit that was the problem.  It was a very clean football play.  The second person people need to get off the case of is the UF left tackle.  People, he was blocking the man he was supposed to block.  In football, you block inside out.  In that situation, the blitzer is TEBOW'S responsibility to pick up, and he didn't do it.  And if there was going to be a shift of the O-lines responsibilities pre-snap had the blitz been recognized, that would have fallen with either Tebow or the Pouncey twin that plays center, not the left tackle.  The third person people need to get off of is Urban Meyer.  The suggestion that it's the way Tebow plays and he runs to much is beyond ridiculous.  I must have missed where Tebow was injured on a running play.  I could have swore it was a pass.  And his style of play is irrelevant of the situation in which he got hurt.  Even a pocket passer like Peyton Manning would have been injured whiplashing his head and neck on the leg of an O-lineman.  Give me a break.  Tebow gives as much punishment, if not more so than he receives.  And the fourth person is Tebow himself.  Everybody's suggesting after this that he needs to change his style of play and this and that and the other.  That would be the absolute worst thing he can do.  You have to dance with the girl that brought you there.  If you really want Florida to become more of a passing team, just play John Brantley.  And enough with all the talk of Tebow and the LSU game and putting the national title above the kids health and whatnot.  It may surprise most people, but the decision for Tebow to play or not play this week won't come from Tebow or Urban Meyer, it will come from the UF medical staff, which I have every faith in making the correct call one way or the other.  And if Brantley has to play, I'll take my chances.  Obviously Tebow's leadership will be missed, and the style will be different, but if that's how they have to go, if we lose, we lose.  I still think UF has a shot to win even with Brantley at the QB spot, although obviously I would prefer Tebow.  Oh, and to top it all off, watching ESPNU on Sunday, they had reaction from a Gator fan at a Gainsville bar.  Here's what this genius had to say.  He talked about how upset he was that the UK players and fans were being all disrespectful cheering and celebrating when Tebow went down.  Um, excuse me?  Just exactly what game was this chuckle head watching?  Was it some different feed than the one from ESPN2 that I saw?  This wasn't the FSU game where the fans (surprisingly in my book, as I always thought FSU has great fans) were actually cheering when Percy Harvin went down.  Hell, I could have swore I was watching a UF home game as the 15,000 Gator fans in attendance were making far more noise than the Wildcat fans.  Want proof of that, watch a replay of the Chris Rainey punt block for TD.  No, the Kentucky fans weren't celebrating, and the only players celebrating were the one who got the sack and one of his teammates in the immediate aftermath.  Afterall, he had just made a great, CLEAN, football play.  It wasn't like when the Gator bench emptied, the Kentucky players were on the field dancing around a la, "Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead."  Come on ESPN, you broadcast the game.  You have to do a better job editing your pieces.  I'm sure there were other Gator fans at that bar with better comments than what this moron came up with.  All in all, though, this whole situation and experience just further enhances my dislike of most of the media.  But that's why knowledgable people stop by my blog, right?

10) A look at the week ahead- The things I am looking forward to this week are the Buccaneers Redskins game, the start of the NHL season!  The puck drops for real tomorrow night.  Woo hoo!!!  Look for some ice talk to kick in on my blog.  Anyway, to football, give me LSU Georgia and Oklahoma Miami, and in the pros Jets Saints (go Jets, if nothing else than to shut the Aint fans up), Steelers Chargers to see if the Steelers can regroup, and the MNF game of the Vikings and Packers for obvious reasons.

Bonus parting shot- Great job by the Cal Berkley Bears setting up their matchup with USC this week.  They go into Eugene against a struggling Ducks team and get absolutely SMOKED.  And thanks to Ole Miss, Penn State, Cal, and Miami for letting USC jump right back up in the polls, despite losing to a team that just got smoked by Stanford.
Posted on: December 31, 2008 12:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2009 9:00 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Dec. 29th

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 USC Washington AND Washington State, first off, put together SEVERAL 9+ win seasons and then get back to me and secondly, you do realize the reason you won your first bowl game in TEN tries is because you were matched up against a team with similar or slightly less talent, correct?  When you do become BCS eligible next year, you will once again be over matched and start your NEW bowl losing streak.  Congratumafrigginlations!!!!!

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

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com