Friday, January 30, 2009

State Project #32 - New Mexico

New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. One thing they are not enchanted with in New Mexico is college football.

Teams – 2
Winning percentage – 29% (7-17)
Bowl game winning percentage – 0%
Teams making bowl games – 0
Conference championships - 0
Ranking points at year-end – 0
Summary – When you think of hotbeds for football, New Mexico is pretty far down on the list. Perhaps not even on the list. Hal Mumme and Rocky Long both were released on their own recognizance. A New Mexico fan started a “We miss Dennis FranchioneFacebook group, but no one else joined.
Best team – New Mexico Lobos 4-8, with a victory over the hated Aggies.
Worst team – New Mexico State Aggies 3-9
Highlight of the year – The Lobos nearly beat the Utes on November 1, dropping the home game 13-10. They gave the Utes a better game than Alabama.
Lowlight of the year – the Aggies 47-2 loss to Utah State spelled curtains for coach Hal Mumme. You know your team sucks when they lose to Utah State by 45.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

State Project #33 - Washington

Teams - 2
Winning Percentage – 8% (2-23)
Bowl game winning percentage – 0%
Teams making bowl games – 0
Conference championships - 0
Ranking Points at year-end – 0
Summary – what an ugly year for the Apple State. The Sonics leave for Oklahoma City. The Mariners suck. The Seahawks suck. Microsoft stock is down. The Apple Cup game between the state’s two FBS programs went into two overtimes in some sort of twisted joke. It’s like Job moved to the Pacific Northwest and became a sports fan.
Highlight of the year – firing Ty Willingham.
Lowlight of the yearnot firing Ty Willingham sooner
Best team – Washington State went 2-11
Worst team – Washington went 0-12

The State Project - College Football

Last year, the geniuses at Storming the Floor did a "State Project" where they evaluated the state of college basketball in each state. I thought it was a brilliant idea. So, I'm ripping it off and doing the same for football, FBS style.

Here's the deal. We rank all the states with two FBS teams or more, with rankings based upon a secret formula considering won-loss records, bowl appearances, bowl victories, conference championships and end of year rankings. In an acknowledgement that in state recruiting is easier, and that some schools have lots of intrastate competition, schools got a nominal amount of extra credit for being in a state with more FBS schools.

So, from 33 all the way up to 1, here we go...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Mountain West

The Mountain West is trying to wedge their way into the BCS. First thought is, you can't win if you don't enter. The second thought is they have as much chance of getting into the BCS as you do having your boss take less of a year-end bonus so you can have a larger one. His comment would be, "But if I do that, there's more for you and less for me. Why would I do that?"

My skepticism aside, let's consider the facts:

Here are Jeff Sagarin's ratings of the conferences:

1 - ACC
2 - Pac 10
3 - Independents
4 - Big 12
5 - Big 10
6 - SEC
7 - Mountain West
8 - Big East

1 - Big 10
2 -ACC
3 - Big 12
4 - Pac 10
5 - SEC
6 - Independents
7 - Big East
8 - Mountain West

1 - SEC
2 - Big East
3 - Pac 10
4 - ACC
5 - Big 10
6 - Big 12
7 - Mountain West
8 - Independents

1 - SEC
2 - Pac 10
3 - Big 12
4 -Big East
5 - ACC
6 - Big 10
7 - Mountain West
8 - Independents

1 - SEC
2 - Big 12
3 - ACC
4 - Pac 10
5 - Big East
6 - Big 10
7 - Mountain West
8 - Independents

Here are the highest ranked teams for each conference, 2004 - 2008

ACC - 7, 5, 23, 9, 17. Average = 12.2
Big East - 5 (Louisville, who was in CUSA at the time), 6, 23, 3, 26. Average = 12.6
Big 10 - 12, 3, 4, 11, 8. Average = 7.6
Big 12 - 3, 1, 16, 2, 3. Average = 5
Independents - 31, 8, 21, 74, 51. Average = 37
Mountain West - 4, 15, 13, 17, 5. Average = 10.8
Pac 10 - 1, 2, 2, 4, 2. Average = 2.2
SEC - 2, 7, 1, 1, 1. Average = 2.4

And the lowest ranked teams for each conference, 2004-2008
ACC - 90, 133, 153, 109, 57. Average = 108.4
Big East - 94 (Temple at 115 was dropped), 114, 73, 113, 104. Average = 99.6

Big 10 - 101, 96, 108, 123, 125. Average = 110.6
Big 12 - 103, 83, 94, 117, 114. Aveage = 102.2
Independents - 33, 86, 122 (165 ranked Temple now in MAC), 131, 161. Average = 106.6
Mountain West - 110, 128, 128, 120, 136. Average = 124.4
Pac 10 - 108, 81,124, 70, 138. Aveage = 104.2
SEC - 125, 107, 78, 80, 93. Average = 96.6

So, if you look at these facts with a slant toward rationalizing the MWC into the BCS, you have the following: in 4 of the past 5 years, the highest ranked Mountain West team has been higher ranked than at least one of the present BCS eligible conferences. The average ranking for the highest team in the MWC is considerably higher than the average ranking of the ACC or Big East representative, however Utah is the only MWC team to ever get a BCS bid.

On the low end of the totem pole is more of what plagues the MWC. The average lowest ranking is 124.4, and is significantly lower than the peer group that they seek.

Conversely, the BCS was designed to identify and reward top teams, not penalize crappy teams. Being that the Mountain West has consistently had a competitive top team in the rankings, you can't ignore the fact they deserve an automatic BCS bid just as much as Notre Dame, the ACC or Big East.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mack's House

Grabbed this off of a former classmate's facebook page...

Coach Mack Brown, after living a full life, died. When he got to heaven, God showed him around. They came to a nice little house with a small Longhorn flag in the window."This house is yours for eternity, Mack," said God. "This is very special; Not everyone gets such a cozy house up here."Mack felt special, indeed, and walked up to his house.On his way up the porch, he noticed another house towering above the others.Just down the street. It was a multi-story mansion with a Crimson and Cream Sidewalk, a 50 foot tall flagpole with an enormous OU Sooner flag, and in Every window, he could see Sooner fans. Mack looked at God and said "God, I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I have a question. "God asked "So what do you want to know, Mack?""Well, why does Bob Stoops get a better house than me?"God chuckled, and said "Mack, that's not Bob's house, it's mine."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apparently Chattanooga was already booked

Well, the Sooners have done it again...releasing the 2009 football schedule today, the Sooners scheduled a challenging contest against the Idaho State Bengals on September 12, 2009. The big news on that day, it's my pop's 70th birthday.

Let's take a look back at this year's Idaho State team. This is not your typical Bengals team. When I think of Bengal football, I think of Chris Henry smoking dope, or Reggie McNeal puking and getting arrested. Not these Bengals. These guys are fine, upstanding citizens of Pocatello, Idaho. At least I hope they are. They went 1-11 last year, capping off the year with a stunning overtime victory over Sacramento State. Hopefully they aren't that bad and football and a bunch of thugs. The remainder of the 2008 season was lowlighted by: losing 42-7 to Boise State to open the season, followed by losing 42-27 to Idaho. So yes, The Bengals are the third best team in Idaho, and they are the Sooners home opener. The closest the mighty Bengals came to a second victory was a 38-35 loss to North Dakota. So, in a nutshell, they were 1-10 against FCS opponents, and 0-1 against FBS foes. Only one of their losses was a single digit loss.

If you are interested in going to this game next September, please let me know. I think there will be some tickets available in section 38.

On a brighter note, there are some intriguing games on the schedule. The Sooners will open up their season - and JerryWorld - against the Fighting Mormons. An early October trip to Miami opens a tough four week stretch at Miami, hosting Baylor, in Dallas for the RRR, and then to Lawrence to battle Phog U.

The premier home games will be the Bedlam game against the Pokes the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the Sep 19th tilt against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Pile on Stoops Week

It's easy writing this week to pile on Bob Stoops...doesn't win the big one, can't win a bowl game, etc. Here are a few rebuttals:
  1. Conference championships: Stoops has won 7 conference championships in ten years. While Texas has gone 3-1 against OU in the past four years, that's translated into exactly ONE Big 12 South Division championship. Seems to me like there are other big games in the conference that lead to conference championships. In hindsight, those games against Kansas State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are pretty important, too? Aren't they Mack? Stoops starts every year with the goals of a) win the Big 12 South; b) win the Big 12 Championship; c) play for National Championship; d) win National Championship. He's won the Big 12 South seven times, the Big 12 six times, played in four NCGs, and won one. It's an impressive resume.
  2. Quality of Bowl Opponents, part 1: Winning conference championships leads you to playing in higher profile bowls, against better teams. For programs who have played more than 5 bowl games in the past ten years, here are the top 10 by winning percentage of the opponent prior to the bowl game: 1) Southern California: 87.4%; 2) Louisville: 86.6%; 3) Oklahoma: 86.55%; 4) LSU: 84.8%; 5) Ohio State: 81.5%; 6) Florida: 81.0%; 7) Miami (FL); 79.4%; 8) Michigan: 79.2%; 9) Virginia Tech: 78.8%; 10) Florida State: 78.6%. Of those schools, Miami, Southern Cal and LSU are the only schools to have a winning record in these bowl games. So, one of the things is that Stoops is playing some of the top teams in the country. For example, no one else beat USC in 2004, and no one else beat Boise in 2006. On another note, Louisville really snuck in there, didn't they? They've gone 3-5, losing to 10-3 Boise State, 10-2 Colorado State, 11-2 Marshall, 13-1 Miami (OH) and 11-2 Virginia Tech.
  3. Quality of Bowl Opponents, part 2: following are the top 5 by Point Differential of the opponent: 1) Oklahoma: 20.18; 2) Southern Cal: 19.27; 3) Ohio State: 16.61; 4) Louisville: 16.44; 5) Florida: 16.24. This is another example of how the quality of opposition is at a higher level when you play for championships every year.
  4. Record against ranked opponents: Stoops is 33-13 against ranked teams. That's 12-0 at home, 7-3 away and 14-10 on neutral territory. Neutral territory games include playing LSU in New Orleans and Florida and Florida State in Miami. I'm not making the "Dallas is in Texas" comment here, tickets are allotted evenly and the field is equidistant between the two schools.
  5. Loyalty and Success don't go hand in hand: There are eight programs that have played in bowl games the past ten years: OU, BC, Florida, FSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas and Virginia Tech. That doesn't rebut anything, but FSU, OU, Texas and Virginia Tech are the only four that have had the same coach during that tenure. So Stoops is in rare air in terms of success and loyalty to a program.

So you can all pile on and say Stoops is no Pete Carroll or Mack Brown, or Urban Meyer, or Les Miles or Nick Saban or whoever else. The fact is that Stoops is not based in a recruiting hotbed like Florida, Southern Cal, Texas or Louisiana. Stoops takes home grown kids like Jason White or Sam Bradford and sprinkles in some Texas and Colorado and other state talent to compete with the big boys. He doesn't go on national TV and whine about the tie breaking system of his conference. Is he perfect? No. Would I fire him and hire anyone else? No.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tebow applies for TRO

by Legal Correspondent Cedric Benson

Miami (LTP) - Florida QB Tim Tebow appeared in a South Florida courtroom yesterday seeking a temporary restraining order against Fox Sports Play-by-play man Thom Brennaman yesterday.

Tebow pleaded with Judge Galen Hall, “This man just creeps me out…first he says on national television that ‘if you’re fortunate to spend five minutes or twenty minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it’…Someone told me
after the game about that, and I thought that was kinda creepy. Then, after the game, he follows me into the shower – which is off limits to media – and wants to spend his five minutes with me in there. Fortunately, Brandon Spikes removed him.”

“Later, I returned from the shower to my locker and Brennaman was still standing there. He said he’d read where
I’d done circumcisions before He said he thought the doctor had done his circumcision improperly, dropped his pants and asked me to take a look at the doctor’s work. At that point I ran screaming from the locker room.”
Judge Galen Hall issued an order requiring Brennaman to stick to working baseball games and banned him from being within 100 yards of Tebow.

Upon learning that Brennaman was a MLB broadcaster for the Reds, he has chosen to stay in school for his senior year to decrease his chances of playing for the Cincinnati Bengals.

When asked to comment on the situation, Peter King, a friend of Brennaman’s said, “I’ve never seen such
obsessions with an athlete before in my life. And I’m never talking to Brett Favre again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 EARLY Preview

BYU in Dallas - if Bradford comes back, this is a W. If Bradford doesn't, we starting an inexperienced QB in a season opener against a Mountain West foe. We've done that before. Tossup, if Bardford goes, W if he stays.
at Miami - Randy Shannon has a new offensive coordinator, and he needs it. We should be able to beat the Canes in South Florida. W.
Some spare unnamed 1-AA opponent at home. W.
Tulsa - Todd Graham continues to honor his week-old 10 year contract extension. The Sooners should get a W here.
Baylor - at home, we get a W.
Texas - I've done some statistical modeling, and Ryan Reynolds is not projected to blow a knee out until the Kansas Game. W.
at Phog U - The heart of a struggling Jayhawk D unit was their LBs, and they are losing several of them. W.
Willie and Friends - Bill Snyder's not going to turn in around in a day. W.
at Bugeaters - The Husker O returns three starters next year. W.
Cash Machine U - I think the Aggies will be better in 09, but they're not beating OU in Norman next year. W.
at Dust Pirates - We've lost two in a row in Lubbock. L.
Boone State - these games have been close in Stillwater. In Norman, not so much. W.

That leaves the Sooners 11-1, which would likely give them an eighth Big 12 championship.

Friday, January 9, 2009

No More Crying

In the words of Mike Treps, Jiminy Christmas! Would you people stop crying on national TV? First, we have the kid losing it in the UT game a few years back, and another little nipper during another Sooner beatdown.
Now, the clarinet player cries and Fox captured it for us to be ridiculed on the interwebs for years to come. Look, we Sooners are now 0-5 in our last five BCS games, and 1-3 against Texas over that same period. We’ve got to handle losing a little bit better. You don’t have to like it, just do it withs some level of grace and/or class. So, here we have some simple rules for going to an OU bowl game or OU-Texas game…
1. Don’t cry during a football game loss. Really. This isn’t the SEC. Nobody died because of the game. The sun will come up tomorrow, 93% of you still have a job, and you have enough disposable income to attend this game – or were able to secure enough credit to go to the game, but don’t have the money? Perhaps that’s why you’re crying. Pardon me, I digress.
2. If you – or your blessed offspring - must violate rule #1, excuse yourself politely from your seat, go to the restroom, and have yourself a good cry. Since we’re likely not playing a Big 10 team (else we wouldn’t be losing, and this whole thing would be irrelevant), you’re unlikely to
encounter a couple getting busy in a stall.
Enough already. Keep your chin up.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Congrats to the Gators

If you'd have told me before the game that we hold Florida to 24 points, I would have bet we win the game.

Missing those two scoring opportunities in the first half REALLY hurt the Sooners.

Tebow is a good QB, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. The Fox guys slobbering over him is sickening. I don't think he was playing defense for the Gators, and the defensive play bailed them out. Going into this game, the Sooners had 80 drives into red zone territory, and had come up with 76 scores. Tonight they went 2-4.

1st Half Thoughts

!@##$!@#$ I would have kicked two field goals and been up 13-7 at this point (assuming we didn't allow a KO return for a score after the FGs).

The D has been playing really well, and I'm quite pleased with that.

After one half, here's how Tim Tebow ranks versus the Big 12 QBs:

Interceptions in a game against the Sooners:
0 - Robert Griffin, Baylor; Colt McCoy, Texas
1 - Graham Harrell, Texas Tech; Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State
2 - Tim Tebow, Florida; Chase Daniel, Missouri; Joe Ganz, Nebraska; Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M; Todd Reesing, Kansas
3 - Josh Freeman, Kansas State

Tebow can still overtake Freeman in the second half.

Really...disappointed is the family friendly word...that Sooners were not able to convert McCoy's interception into points.

We've laid such eggs the past several big bowl games, though, I've got to confess I'm a bit relieved we're in the game.


National Predictions

Jay Christensen at the Wiz of Odds lists 36 different predictions here. 32 of 36 prognosticators pick the Gators, with an average score of 36-28.

Dang. I hope all but 4 of them are wrong.

SEC Speed

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Five Things that could point to a Sooner Victory

  1. Chris Brown runs effectively
  2. Sam Bradford has time to throw
  3. Sooner kick coverage allows no returns past midfield
  4. Sooner D creates turnovers
  5. Percy Harvin twists his ankle coming out of the locker room, loses his balance and falls down on Jeffrey Demps, breaking Demps’ leg.

The LandThieves BCS NCG Preview

Breaking away from poetry to write a bit more about this one.

Florida defense vs Oklahoma offense: there’s much ado about Florida’s speed, and their ability to cover, rush the passer, etc. Texas has speed and pass rush ability, as does TCU. This has proven out in pre and postseason nonconference games. While Texas didn’t knock anyone’s socks off last night in the Fiesta Bowl, it wasn’t the lack of speed that got them in trouble, it was power running and a slippery dual threat QB that kept TOSU in the game. In the TCU game, Bradford was 19-34 for 411 yards and 4 TDs. Granted, some of that was aided by two slips by TCU defenders. Let’s look at the Texas game, another game against a topflight D. In that game, Bradford was 28-39 for 387 yards, 5 TDs and 2 interceptions. The second interception was a throw into the end zone as time expired on a ten point loss. In the loss, Bradford averaged 10 yards per attempt and completed almost 72% of his passes. The question at hand will be Oklahoma’s ability to run the ball. Against UT, the Sooners compiled 13 total rushing yards, and lost the time of possession battle 37 to 23. OU has run the ball better since then, but really hasn’t played teams that were adept at stopping the run. Against TCU, the Sooners rushed for 36 yards. If Florida can stuff the run, and make OU a pass-only offense, then they will be able to take control of the game and get Bradford more on the run. Alternatively, looking at Florida’s stats tells you they are better pass defenders than run defenders. Teams were able to run the ball semi-well against the Gators gaining between 3-5 yards / carry in most games, but the Gator D shut down their passing games. Aside from the loss to Ole Miss and, the Gator’s foes were averaging 3-5 yards per attempt. If OU is getting 5 yards per attempt, that’s going to get you in trouble. It seems kind of simple to say, but if OU can run the ball effectively and make the Gators play run and pass defense, Bradford can lead the O to score some points. If Chris Brown and Mossis Madu can’t find anywhere to run, it’ll be a long night in Miami.

Oklahoma defense vs the Florida offense: I think this is a difficult matchup for the Sooners. The Sooner defensive stats are somewhat misleading, but make no mistake, this is not the 85 Sooners. The Gator strength is running the ball and having a balanced attack. The Gators have four backs with more than 50 carries that average more than 7 yards per carry. Speed is the name of the game, as 3 of the four weigh in at less than 200 pounds. That’s probably better for the Sooners, ad I don’t think they would matchup well vs a power running game. The Sooner D allowed only 2.4 yards per carry in the first half this year, which is pretty solid. The second half was a different story, with the Sooners allowing 4.05 yards per carry then. Why were the better against the run in the first half than the second? I don’t know. I know many of the games were over by then. Oklahoma has to shut down their running game, then get pressure on the passer. However, Tebow is difficult to bring down.
What the Sooner D lacked in domination was made up for in turnover margin. The Sooner D was excellent this year at third down conversions and creating turnovers. Why was that the case? One, I believe the Sooner D is quick, and most years have been ball-hawking types of units, and two, the proficiency of the Sooner offense forced the opponent to take chances and force the ball where they otherwise may not. On the contrary, Florida takes care of the ball well and is 13th in the country in third down conversions.

At the end of the day, the Sooners D performance in the last three BCS games has been atrocious, allowing 55, 43 and 48 points. And statistically, I believe those teams were better than this one. That leaves it up to the offense. I don’t think the Sooners can trade scores with the Gators, as I think the Gator D is more likely to stop the Sooner O than the Sooner D is likely to stop the Gator O. So, I’m not feeling very warm and fuzzy at this point.

How could I rationalize a surprise performance by the Sooner D?
  • Frank Alexander. FA has been a beast since he returned from a stabbing after the UTC game in late August. His pressure from the defensive end spot could be critical.
  • Experience. The Sooners had three first year starters in the LB this year. Now, it’s the end of the season, they’ve had a season of experience, and another month of practice at the end.
  • Motivation. Stoops plays the underdog really well. All this talk about no defense, and the Sooners not being able to keep up with the Gators, will hopefully be a motivation factor to Stoops, Venables and the player to have a superior performance.

What do I think will happen? Florida victory, 45-35, and I'm hoping I'm wrong.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Score Crawl You Haven't Seen

For several days, we were subject to the Ohio State factoid, "OSU is 5-0 against the Big 12 in bowl games."

Last night while watching the Fiesta bowl, I found on that Florida is 1-4 in bowl games against teams presently in the Big 12. The last time they defeated a present Big 12 team is 1960, when they beat Baylor in the Gator Bowl. The four losses were to: Missouri (1966); Nebraska (1974); Texas A&M (1977); and Nebraska (1996).

Points Allowed in Bowl Games

Texas is now 2-0 when I root for them in bowl games. 'nuff about that. With 32 games played, here are the average points per game scored by each conference.

Independent - 34
Big 12 - 31.2
Pac 10 - 27.6
Mountain West - 27.4
Conf USA - 27.0
Sun Belt - 25.5
SEC - 25.3
WAC - 24.8
Big East - 24.3
ACC - 24.1
Big 10 - 20.7
MAC - 16.3

There were two independents in bowl games, and two teams from the Sun Belt conference. All other conferences had at least 4 representatives.

In a shocking development, the Big 12 averaged more points per game than the other conferences.

Defensively, it went like this:

Big East - 18.3
Pac 10 - 18.6
SEC - 20.6
ACC - 23.8
Independent - 25.0
Sun Belt - 25.5
Mountain West - 26.6
CUSA - 27.0
Big 12 - 29.2
MAC - 29.3
Big 10 - 30.0

Defensively, the Big 12 is near the bottom, but is in better shape - so far - than the MAC and the Big 10.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tebow would be 4th best QB in Big 12

I just got off the phone with Larry Birdine and he thinks this was a bad idea.

Dominque, shut up.

Not only did you just inpsire the Gators, you may have offended Zac Robinson, Todd Reesing and Robert Griffin.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Haiku

Ohio State Buckeyes
Never lost to Big 12 team
in bowl game. 'til now.

Bowl Conference Perf

With 31 of the 34 bowls completed, I decided to do a little more analysis of how the conferences have done in the bowl games, to see if my Pac 10 rant was backed up by facts. So, I did an expected (based upon Predictor ranking of Jeff Sagarin) win/loss record and compared it to the actual win/loss record for the conferences:

Conf / expected w-l / actual w-l

BCS eligible and MWC
ACC : 8-2; 4-6
Big 10: 1-5; 1-5
Big 12: 4-1; 3-2
Big East: 3-3; 4-2
MWC: 2-3; 3-2
Pac 10: 4-1; 5-0
SEC: 2-5; 5-2

Other conferences
Conf USA: 1-4; 3-2
MAC: 3-1; 0-4
Sun Belt: 1-1; 1-1
WAC: 1-4; 1-4

Instant comments from this:
  • The Big 12 had just as good a chance at 5-0 as the Pac 10, but upsets by Oregon and Ole Miss did them in.
  • If there's ever an effective argument against 34 bowl games, the fact that the ACC has 10 teams in bowl games has to rank high on that list.
  • The MidAmerican Conference has not fared well this bowl season, and this doesn't bode well for Ball State vs Tulsa on Tuesday.
  • Sagarin completely dissed the SEC, but as usual, they've proven out to be a formidable conference against non-Sun Belt Conference foes. They've gone 5-2 in bowl games even with the most surprising upset of the bowl season going against them.
  • Pending games effect the SEC (1), Big 12 (2), Big 10 (1), CUSA (1) and MAC (1).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

M-W-C! M-W-C!

I watched bits and pieces of the Sugar Bowl last night and read some accounts this morning... this was not a flukish, hook and lateral followed by a halfback pass followed by a statue of liberty. This was a team that outgained the Tide 349-208, held the vaunted Bama power rushing attach to 0.9 yards per carry, and converted 6-14 third down opportunities while holding Saban's squad to 4-13.

It's time to point out that: a) Utah beat Oregon State, something USC could not do; b) Utah was one of two teams to beat TCU; c) Utah beat BYU; d) Utah beat Alabama by more than Florida.

While everyone's argunig about how to do playoffs, keep in mind very viable options come out of non-BCS schools. Even when they're playing someone other than the Sooners.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Stoops vs Nutt

After watching part of the Rebel victory over the Dust Pirates, I realized that Houston Nutt took a team that won 10 games in 3 years and won 9 games in the first year he was there. The predecessor, Coach O, was a well known recruiting machine and defensive line coach. Sound familiar?

Made me wonder who did the better coaching job in succeeding a bad head coaching experiment? Bob Stoops in 1999 (7-5) after 12 wins in the previous 3 years by his predecessor? Or Houston Nutt in 2008, leading Ole Miss to 9-4 season and wins over a national championship game participant and a team that kept Texas out of the national championship.

For the short term, I'll have to tip my hat to Houston Nutt, even though Stoops laid the foundation in that year to win the national championship the following year.

If you have a differing opinion, 'splain it in the comments.

International Bowl Haiku

Huskies beat the Bulls.
If you watch, you should live in
Another country.

Big 12 in Bowl Games

With 5 games under our belt, lets look at how the Big 12 teams have done so far.

  • Missouri defeated Northwestern 30-23. Northwestern averaged 24 points per game this year, and defensively gave up 20 points per game on average. Missouri held the Wildcats below their average point total offensively, and scored more points than Northwestern normally surrenders.
  • Kansas defeated Minnesota 42-21. Minnesota averaged giving up 24 points per game, and averaged scoring 23 points per game. So Kansas scored more than Minnesota usually surrendered, and held the Gophers to fewer points than they usually score.
  • Oklahoma State lost to Oregon, 42-31. Oregon averaged 41.9 points/game coming into the contest, and OSU held them to their average. Oregon averaged giving up 28 points per game, and Boone State scored 31, so they exceeded the average.
  • Nebraska defeated Clemson 26-21. Clemson averaged scoring 25 points per game and defensively averaged allowing 17 points per game. The Husker D held the Tigers to below their average on offense and the Bugeater O scored 26 points on Clemson, more than 50% over the average.
  • Texas Tech lost to Mississippi 47-34. Well, this one blows my theory. The Red Raider D didn't show up for this one. Ole Miss averaged 30 points per game, but averaged relinquishing 18 points per game. Ole Miss allowed double their average points, but scored their second highest point total of the season.

In summation, in each instance above the Big 12 team scored more points against their bowl game foe than that team usually surrendered. In all but one of the games above, the Big 12 defense held the team to their season average or below.


I've always thought an eight-team playoff was too few, as the process for getting to eight would still leave many out in the cold that are potentially worthy. However, here are the bowl results to date of the teams ranked 9-16 in the BCS standings.

16th ranked BYU lost to unranked Arizona, 31-21;
15th ranked Georgia beat 18th ranked Michigan State, 24-12;
14th ranked Georgia Tech was obliterated by unranked LSU, 38-3;
13th ranked Oklahoma State was beaten by 17th ranked Oregon, 42-31;
12th ranked Cincinnati was beaten by 19th ranked Virginia Tech, 20-7;
11th ranked TCU beat 9th ranked Boise State, 17-16;
10th ranked Ohio State plays 3rd ranked Texas Monday.

In summary, 7 teams have played so far, with only two matching up against one another. The three teams playing ranked foes, but lower than 16, are 1-2, and each game was decided by more than one score. Two teams playing unranked opponents laid an egg, each losing their game by double digits.

What does this mean? Beats me. Anytime you put 100 18-21 year old kids in a new city with lots of "entertainment options" you have a few variables in play that create anamolies. Seems to me like 16 is just as flawed as 8.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sun Bowl Highlights

If you ever wanted to see 45,000+ people dance to YMCA, with the Village People leading them, click here.

Allstate Sugal Bowl Haiku

Utes versus the Tide
You're in good hands with Saban.
Crimson Tide wins big.

Autozone Liberty Bowl Haiku

Get in the zone. Ash Judd's zone.
Wildcats pull away.

Pac 10 Bowl Success

While everyone salivates over the Pac 10 going to undefeated in the bowl games, let's take a look at those games:

  • USC clobbers Penn State 34-24 - actually a 1 vs 1 matchup that the Trojans dominated. Of course, most pundits had Penn State as the lowest ranked one loss team from the BCS conferences, and USC-West was a 9.5 point favorite.
  • Oregon State squeaks by Pitt, 3-0 - OSU was favored by 2.5. Oregon State winning without the Rodgers brothers is impressive, except it was against the Wannstaches. Oregon State finished 3rd in the conference, and Pitt was 2nd in a mediocre Big East. Pitt's four losses this year were to Bowling Green by 10, Rutgers by 20 and Cincy by 7. Pretty exclusive company the Beavers are in on this one.
  • Arizona defeats BYU 31-21 - Arizona was favored by 3 and won by 10. Actually a victory to hang your hat on, except when you consider that BYU was the third best team in the Mountain West conference. The Pac 10 now stands at 2-6 versus the Mountain West this season.
  • Miami beats Cal 31-24- Cal, fourth in the Pac 10, took on the 4th place team from the ACC Coastal Division (and probably 6th best in conference) in what was essentially a home game for the Bears. The Bears were a 8.5 point favorite.
  • Oregon vs Oklahoma State - the #2 team in the Pac 10 beats up the #4 team in the Big 12 South. Oregon was a 2.5 pt underdog. If we flipped it, where Texas (or Oklahoma) played Cal, how do you think that would turn out?

So, in summary, the Pac 10 went 5-0 in straight up and 4-1 against the spread. The Pac 10 representative was favored in all but one game.

ATT Cotton Bowl Haiku

Last Cotton Bowl game
Rebels versus Dust Pirates
The Great Pirate wins.

FedEx Orange Bowl Haiku

Bearcats trounce Hokies
In seventy-fifth classic.
Teams avoid Diddy.

Random New Years Day Thoughts

I woke up this morning still thinking I would have the great conflict of day mingling minor around the house errands mixed in with football. After looking at the day's slate of games, not so much. Matt Hinton and Holly Anderson lament it as well here.

Vanderbilt got 8 first downs (going 1-15 on 3rd down conversions) and 16 points while beating BC for the Commodore's first bowl victory since 1955. Just win, baby.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: the ESPN sports crawl yesterday informed me that Mike Shanahan was 1-4 in NFL playoff games since Elway retired. John Elway is 0-3 in Super Bowls when Terrell Davis isn't playing. Let's not underestimate the best #30 not named Steve Sewell.

My how times have changed: yesterday, we found out that while preparing for the Orange Bowl, the Cincy Bearcats moved out of their hotel to avoid Diddy's entourage and the New Year's Eve festivities. When I was in school, the artist formerly known as Prince would have moved out of the hotel to avoid the noise and entourage of the mid-80s Sooners.

Happy New Year to all.