Friday, July 31, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Nebraska

Nebraska gets year 2 of Bo Pellini this year, combined with a weaker North division, and I expect them to end the season as the North Division champion. They’ve got to replace the QB, but expect Zac Lee to fill in capably for Joe Ganz. Defensively, the Huskers have had a full season and two springs to acquaint themselves with the Pellini defense, and I expect the Bugeaters to continue to improve there as well. I’ve got the Bugeaters going 10-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play, with their lone loss in regular season Big 12 play coming at the hands of Sooners. The non-conference loss is on the road at Virginia Tech. If my prediction of 10-2 is correct, this gent will have plenty to celebrate in Lincoln.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Kansas

Phog U lost the heart of their defense with the departure of their linebacking corp to the NFL and CFL, and only return one of their top 4 tacklers from last year. However, Todd Reesing is back, as is the entire receiving RB corps. Kansas first four games are against Northern Colorado, UTEP (on the road!), Duke and Southern Mississippi. I see them winning those and their first two conference games, but then the wheels come off with as they lose four of their next five, with the losses coming to the Sooners, Dust Pirates, Bugeaters and Austin County Correctional Facility. The Jayhawks will end the season at 8-4, second in the Big 12 North and in a bowl game. If Mangino’s team can sneak in a couple more upsets, perhaps this lady will change her tattoo to incorporate the football team.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Missouri

The Tigers lost six players to the NFL last year, in addition to college great Chase Daniel. The Tigers hadn’t had that many players go to the NFL since the 1981 draft. After that draft, the Tigers went 8-4, but didn’t match that win total again until 1998. I don’t expect the Tigers to be very good this year (they lost a lot on offense, and not enough on defense), but the bottom has fallen out of the Big 12 North again. The Tigers will lose on the road to start the year against the Illlini, on the road to Nevada, to the Bugeaters, Boone State, Austin County Correctional Facility, at home against Baylor (!), and to border rival Missouri. Just don’t tell this guy. That’s still good enough for 3rd in the Big 12 North.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sooner Great Rick Bryan Dead

Rick Bryan died at the age of 47 last night of an apparent heart attack. The Tulsa World has an excellent article here. My condolences to the Bryan family and friends.

In an unrelated note, two county deputies were killed in my hometown of Seminole, Ok while attempting to serve an arrest warrant last night. My prayers are with the families.

What a crappy way to start out the day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Colorado

Phil Steele points out that Cody Hawkins became the first 1-A QB to play for his father since Rodney Bryant played for Steve Bryant at Ohio in 1989. The Ohio Bobcats went 1-9-1 that year, and Bryant was replace by Tom Lichtenberg. Anytime you’re replaced by someone whose name rhymes with the Hindenberg, that’s not a good sign. Anyway, back to the Buffs. The Buffs return nine starters on an offense that – to put it mildly – sucked. They were last in the conference in rushing and points per game, and 11th in passing. I’m not sure it’s a good thing to return starters in that instance. I see Colorado finishing 4th in the North and going 4-8 this year, with losses at Toledo, at West Virginia, at Texas, to Kansas, Missouri, Cash Machine U, at Boone State and to the Bugeaters. There's little margin for error at this point in the Buffs history, so they need to make sure they listen to the coaches.

I would expect this from the Big 10

The LandThieves Investigative Team was unsuccessful today in the search for the truth. You see, here are the preseason poll results for the North

Bugeaters 172
Phog U 164
Mizzou 124
CU Later 100
Willie and Friends 81
Iowa State 33

This totals 674. Problem is, it should tally 672 (32*[6+5+4+3+2+1]). I sent a message to a spokesperson at the Big 12, but they apparently are getting ready for a media conference or something, and completely blew me off.

Same problem, except different, in the South:

Texas 174
Sooners 174
Boone State 130
Dust Pirates 89
Baylor 75
Cash Machine U 33

This totals 675. Again, we should get to 672, but we're three points off here. Where are the three extra points? Well, we can presume they are NOT in the Texas Aggies total, unless someone else voted them seventh in the division.

If the conference responds, you'll be the second to know.

Big 12 Media Poll 2009

Last year, I broke down the pre-season media poll for your. This year, it's a little tougher, as the math doesn't work, but the LandThieves Investigative Team is on the case. Here are some quick highlights from the release:
  • Only 32 votes this year, as opposed to 51 last year.
  • 31 of 32 voters picked Texas A&M last in the South.
  • Baylor has several fourth place selections as well, my guess is around 12 writers selected Baylor 4th, with Tech 5th.
  • OU and Texas were picked tied for first. I don't know what the tie-breaker format is for the Preseason poll. Mack Brown will be politicking to be declared the champion on College Football Live later today, I'm sure.
  • Four voters picked someone other than OU and Texas to be in second place. These votes appear to be split between Boone State and the Dust Pirates.

In the North:

  • Three voters selected Missouri for first. These voters must have mistakenly mailed in last year's ballot.
  • Iowa State was the nearly unanimous pick for last in the division, with the Wildcats presumably garnering the other last place vote.
  • While Nebraska and Kansas were selected the top 2 teams in the North, there were at least ten writers that has someone else in the 2 slot.
  • Second place in the Big 12 North is a crapshoot to figure out without the detail of number of votes for each team for each slot. However, from the information I could back into, it looks like Colorado had the most second place votes, and the most fifth place votes.

With the handing chads/math mistake, it's tough to break down with more certainty.

As the LandThieves Investigate Team finds out more on this story, we'll keep you advised.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Iowa State

Our number 5 prediction for the Big 12 North is Iowa State. Gene Chizik parlayed last year’s victories against Kent State and North Dakota State into a higher-profile job at Auburn. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. Cyclone coaching legend Dan McCarney, who turned the program into a competent BCS program, is LHAO, showing people his National Championship ring at Florida. Iowa State got back at Auburn for stealing their coach by hiring their fired defensive coordinator, Paul Rhoads. The last hire with Auburn DC ties worked out so well for the Cyclones. It’s Rhoads first head coaching gig, and he inherits 15 starters from last year’s team. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I see the Cyclones going 4-8 this year, with wins against North Dakota State, Kent State, Army and Kansas State. I used to refer to Iowa State as Baylor North, but that’s insulting to Baylor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big 12 Preview - Kansas State

We're starting off our Big 12 preview today with Kansas State, our pick for cellar dwellar in the Big 12 North this year.

Back in the day, I think Bill Snyder did the single best coaching job ever by breathing life into the Wildcat football program. However, the coaching staff of Leavitt, Mangino, Venables and Stoops is gone. Josh Freeman is gone. Snyder has his customary mix of juco transfers to close the gap, but I see too much turmoil in the program, and Ron Prince just wasn’t a good hire (note to self: don't hire an offensive coordinator as a head coach if his last three teams have decreased production from the prior year). I see the Wildcats as 3-9 this year, with wins against UMass, Louisiana-Lafayette and Tennessee Tech. They might suit this guy up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Heart of a Champion

Yesterday morning I was driving to the office listening to Mike and Mike on espn radio. In for Golic was Cris Carter, and they were discussing the once-in-a-lifetime run of Tom Watson at last week's British Open. Carter's comments surrounded the topic of, to paraphrase "there's no joy in being second", or as Ricky Bobby put it in Talladega Nights, "if you're not first, you're last". I have heard similar statements by Golic when the topic came up around last year's US open, as Golic blasted Rocco Mediate for having a blast while finishing second.

First, let's take a look at Golic's resume. He played from 1986 - 1993 for the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. The Oilers and Dolphins did not make the playoffs in Golic's years there, and the Eagles went 1-4 in the playoffs from 1987-92, when Golic played on the D-line there. They never even made it to the NFC Championship game.

Now, Cris Carter. Carter was a great WR and played for the Eagles from 87-89, Vikings from 90-2001, and finished his career in 2002 with the Dolphins. We know from research on Golic that the Eagles didn't win any playoff games from 87-89, so let's look at the Vikes. The Vikings were 4-8 in the playoffs during Carter's tenure, with two appearances in the NFC championship game. In 2000, Carter's experience and knowledge of what it takes to be a champion helped the Vikings get beat 41-0 in the NFC title game. Cris Carter never played in a Super Bowl.

But he's going to criticize Tom Watson, a man who won eight major championships during his career.

Even worse is ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler, who is constantly telling us what it takes to win championships. Legler played 10 years in the NBA, which is an impressive feat. However, his playoff experience? 3 games, 19 minutes. Total.

I'm not sitting here saying I only want to listen to players who have won championships (Joe Montana in the booth was a nightmare), but please don't talk like you know what it takes to win, when all your experience is finding out what you don't have to win. I realize failure is part of the road to success, but these gents never finished the road, but talk like they can't lift their hands because of the championship rings.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hall of Fame Cheater, Lou Holtz

Tonight Lou Holtz was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. This article tells you Lou is the only coach to lead six different teams to bowl games and four different programs to final Top 20 rankings. What it doesn't tell you is he's also one of the few coaches to lead three consecutive programs to major NCAA infractions. Let's go to the tape:

Lou Holtz coached the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 1984 and 1985 football seasons. In 1988, the NCAA detailed major infractions involving the Minnesota football and basketball teams included the period Holtz was at Minnesota.

Lou coached the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 1986 – 1996. In 1999, the NCAA issued a report detailing major infractions involving the football team from 1994 to 1998. Again, Holtz was head coach during part of that period.

Lou coached the South Carolina Gamecocks from 1999-2004. In November 2005, the NCAA issued a report detailing major infractions against the football program covering the period Holtz was at South Carolina.

Lou may have just been a victim of circumstance to happen to be the head coach when this cheating was going on. But it's an interesting coincidence, don't you think?

Nonetheless, he is deified by many. I'll admit I find him entertaining to listen to, but at least recognize the legacy. It's a similar record as Jim Harrick, or Jackie Sherril, but with more charm. And an ESPN contract.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NCAA announces sanctions against USC

The NCAA announced infractions against the USC Trojans today. LandThieves Pac 10 insider Todd Marinovich sat down with Haywood Jablome to discuss the infractions:

LTP: What sort of penalties will the Trojans receive?
NCAA: We’ve conducted a very thorough investigation, and we’ve decided the Trojans have suffered enough. Since Reggie Bush left, and housing was no longer provided to the Bush family or other Trojan athletes after the Yahoo! story, home values in Los Angeles County have fallen 40%. We think We think the Southern California fans have suffered enough.

LTP: You’ve got to be kidding me? You’re not going to punish the Trojans at all?
NCAA: We considered several penalties for the Trojans. However, our investigation did not indicate that anyone within the program was involved. Since several programs recently have cried foul for penalizing the program for fans or past coaches actions, we decided to take this new approach. Since Reggie was no longer with the program, and the agents aren’t associated with the program, there’s no penalty.

LTP: The Trojans don’t have to vacate any wins? Or Championships?
NCAA: Actually Reggie Bush has to vacate several Facebook friends. We felt like his Facebook profile was enhanced by his profile as a Trojan athlete, when in fact he was a professional. We’ve provided a list of 200 USC coeds that he must remove from his Facebook friends list.

LTP: Will the Trojans have any scholarship reductions?
NCAA:: We have made it very clear to the USC athletic department that any further scandals in the USC program could result in severe penalties to the Fresno State program.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

For The Wagerer in You

I saw these early betting lines this morning at the Barking Carnival and selected a few to share thoughts on:

  • Boone State is a 3 point favorite to Georgia - the Pokes are one of the "sleeper" picks that everyone is picking. Which doesn't make them much of a sleeper. If Gundy's boys win this, they'll be favored in the following six games and likely be 7-0 when they host Texas. I would take Georgia and the points.
  • Oklahoma is a 21 point favorite to BYU - that's a pretty beefy spread to a 10-3 team that has a bunch of 24 years olds on the roster. The Fightin Mormons return Max Hall as he pursues a PhD. I would pick the Sooners to win, but not to cover.
  • Oklahoma is a 10 point favorite on the road at Miami - if Miami ever gets an offensive philosophy again - and they might with new OC Mark Whipple, this is a tough spread to cover. Nonetheless, I'll take the Sooners and give points.
  • Oklahoma is a 3 point underdog to Texas. This seems about right to me, though I'd take the Sooners and the points.
  • Boone State is a 7 point underdog to Texas at home. The last two games ahve been settled by a total of 7 points, both Horn victories. Take Boone State and the points.
  • Oklahoma is a 9.5 favorite at Nebraska - 9.5 is a big spread on the road, but I believe in my Sooners.
  • Oklahoma is a 9 point favorite at Texas Tech - The Sooners last won in Lubbock in 2003. It could happen again, but I would take the Dust Pirates and the points.
  • Oklahoma is a 10.5 point favorite at home vs Boone State. In Norman, Stoops Sooners have won by 37, 43, 28 and 32, and lost by 3 to a Les Miles coached squad. Take Sooners and give the points.

As always the above predictions are for amusement purposes only. I'd be a skinny gambler.