Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Insight Bowl Running Diary

We're stealing an idea from The Sports Guy and doing a running diary of thoughts during the Gopher game as Jeff and I sit and watch the game. We'll switch off as we go.

-Kansas: one play. ONE F'ING PLAY!?!?! You've got to be kidding me. Is this Iowa all over again? I think I'm going to be sick. Yep, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Why did Theret bite on that route? Where's my beer?

-Brewster wasn't kidding when he said Pittman would be involved. Beautiful throw to Decker. And on the next play, there's that power running game by Tim Davis... I-formation, Weber under center and two TE's... and how about that? A TD by a fullback? What is a fullback? Did anyone else not know that we had one of those?

-"Big Play" Traye isn't starting? Did anyone else not know this? Disciplinary reasons?

-Eric Decker is back baby!!! And it looks like Weber's confidence came back with him.

-Who the heck is

- The Defense is getting SOOOOO close to getting to Reesing... this could be very interesting if they actually start to get to him.

-What is with the late hit by Small? That had nothing to do with being aggressive and everything to do with being stupid. That play set up a Kansas TD on a fade route on the next play.

-Gophers go 3 & out on the next series... shades of the last 1/3 of the season.

-ANOTHER late hit on the punt? I feel sick again. Or is that thirst?

-Meier... is... KILLING US!!! We're getting through the line of scrimmage, but Reesing is finding Meier or Sharp everytime.

-Penalties are killing us right now too... and some of these calls seem to be a bit phantom to me.

-Can someone please explain to me why we aren't double-teaming Briscoe?

-Holy crap, this game seemed a lot more promising in the first quarter. The offense has really stalled in the second quarter, and the defense is having a lot of trouble getting to Reesing, which means he has time to throw. This sucks.

-Our pass blocking is horses*#t. I'm switching to bourbon.

-I've been saying this all year, but Weber becomes a much better decision maker on throws when he rolls outside of the pocket.

-A blocked punt... a fricking blocked punt? Somebody shoot me.

- Jeffrick here at halftime. Great start to the game. A totally different Gopher team than we'd seen all season. How bout that I-formation? I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed the new Gopher offense- for the two series that it lasted. Now it's right back to that old Gopher team we've come to know and love through November. It makes me want to drink- well drink more than I already have been. Also, what would it take to get a double-team on Desmond "Donnie Brasco" Brisco of Kansas? The guy has seven catches at the half for like 943000 yards. Anytime he's been in single coverage, he's caught the ball. Alright then, time for the second half- hopefully it gets better.

- Mmmmmm Jermo just served up some rye. The second half is better already.

- Is it me, or does MikeMayock do a good job as an analyst? He watches a ton of film, and doesn't just point out the obvious like Madden, but tells you WHY the last play happened and what the teams were trying to do.

- Whoops I blinked and missed the Gophs first series. 3 and out? Good to see Brewster's halftime speech really got through tothe offense.

- Brewster apparently did NOT get the memo about Brisco. Thrown to twice in single coverage, and what do ya know- 2 completions! I know, I was as shocked as you were.

- Another long completion for Kansas. Honeslty, I'm half in the bag already, and yet even I know the Gophs need to switch tactics, because whatever they're trying to do is not working. If you're trying to get pressure and can't, does it make too much sense to drop 8? Oh, and I can't remember if I mentioned this, but doubling Brisco would be a good idea.

-I generally hate sideline reporters, and think they serve no purpose. Before this game my expection to this rule was Erin Andrews.I might have to add NFL Network's Lindsy Soto as my second exception. She's easy on the eyes, and a nice distraction from how Minnesota is playing right now.

-FUMBLE!!!!! The Gophs force a punt and then give it right back running a shotgun draw that I thought we had gotten away from with the new line coach. I don't care what the calendar says, it still feels like November.

- First play, option pass, touchdown to Brisco!!! Is it bad when as soon as Meyer gets the ball I'm yelling "PASS! PASS! PASS!" and yet nobody covers Bricso downfield? I mean if I can see it happening, why can't the defense?!? Jer just got up in disgust to get another rye. The only good thing that's happened in the last 5 minutes.

- Apparently the NFL Network doesn't think things are bad enough right now for Gopher fans, because coming out of commercial break they decided to show the highlights from the Gophs loss to Texas Tech the last time they were in the Insight Bowl. Thanks for that.

- Hey the refs finally called a penalty on Kansas! Good to know they're cheaters too! Makes it first and goal from the two. Really need a TD here to have a shot....AND right on schedule the Gophs are called for a false start. Minnesota have shot themselves in the foot so many times they're out of toes.

- 1st and goal- no. 2nd and goal- no. 3rd and goal- no. 4th and goal? Let's just say I'm not holding my breath. Timeout means a rye break.

- This Keystone Light commercial is funny. I love how in beer commercials average dudes like me get really, really hot girls. I've drank Keystone Light before and I can tell you, that does not happen. Truth in advertising my ass.

- I'll give you three guesses what happened on 4th and goal. Seriously, take your time and think about it....ready? You got it- nope again! The QB sneak from 2 yards out was NOT a good call.

- Gophers force a 3 and out. On 3rd down, Brisco gives a two-handed shove to Big Play Traye Simmons to create space. Offensive pass intereference? Of course not. What would a receiver have to do to get offensive PI called? If Brisco had a gun in his pants like Plaxico but shot the receiver instead of his own leg, would that be enough?

- With a lack of African American head coaches in college football, it looks like Minnesota is trying something new to get their own black coaches more exposure- bright yellow shirts. Seriously, the Gophs' black coaches are wearing bright yellow while everyone else is in white. It's definitely working because I've noticed them.

- Jeremy here, back to complain during the 4th quarter... they just flashed Weber's stats: 13-22 for 130 yards... it's the 4th quarter, this isn't good. But you know what is good... bourbon, you probably knew that was coming.

-Hey, how about that? The refs called a PI on a Kansas defender who was covering Jack Simmons. Didn't see that coming.

-This just in: the offensive line? Not that good. The running game? Not improved?

-Hey, TD pass to Eric Decker... that's guy is pretty good isn't he? You know what else is good? You get the idea... but it helps with stomaching this game. I have I mentioned that I want to puke? I want to puke.

-11:45 left in the game and it just occured to me that the Gophs haven't gotten a turnover yet... unless you count the garbage time just before the half that we intercepted... but Jeff and I have already decided that one didn't count.

-You know who loves Kansas? The refs. They love them.

-The Gophs are starting this drive pretty much in their own endzone... this should be fun.

-Jeff just said this (and he is right) "Why are we running a QB draw on 3rd & 17?"

-There are 4 minutes left in this game, the Gophs are down by 14, and I'm already trying to figure out how we are going to break down this game. Here's the thing, obviously we knew if they won that would be huge. If they kept it close, we'd be happy. Right now we are down by 2 TD's and it feels like a blowout. Except for the 1st Q, Kansas has dominated every aspect of this game.

-I haven't been keeping track of stats for this game online because we're watching it about 30 minutes delayed on the DVR... but I'm wondering if I'm going to possibly feel worse once I actually see them. Now I'm wondering if that is even possible.

-Reesing just ran for a first down and brought the ball inside the Gophers 1o... and with that play, I don't think seeing the stats could make me feel worse about this game.

-But you know what could make me feel worse? Jake Sharp scoring a touchdown on the next play. Have I already asked to be shot? Have I already mentioned that I feel sick? Have I mentioned the puking a little bit in my mouth (which has happened at least a dozen times during this game)?

-Remember in the Iowa game when we said that Troy Stoudemire was the lone ray of hope? He's also been a ray of hope in this game. Which is just... no comfort whatsoever.

-Adam Weber looks completely uncomfortable... Jeff calls it happy feet... I call it "I want to die."

-Kansas wins 42-21. Happy New Year Gopher fans... let the drinking begin... or in our case, continue.

Powers on Brewster

(In case you hadn't noticed, the new podcast is available, please check it out. We talk Insight Bowl, bowl predictions, Brewster's potential contract extension, and somehow manage to spend more time than necessary discussing holiday libation choices.)

I don't read the Pioneer Press nearly as much as I check out the Strib... and honestly I'm not sure why that is, because I am generally fairly impressed with how the paper on the east side of the river covers the Gophers.

I'm not sure what Tom Powers' history is with covering the Gophers, and I'm not sure what his tone has been about Coach Brewster. But Powers has a nice piece today about his experience in talking with the head coach before his press conference. It's a good read, so I encourage you to check it out.

The conclusion that Powers comes to about the Insight Bowl for the Gophers I think sums things up nicely:

"Here's your scorecard: A victory would be amazing. Playing well in defeat wouldn't be bad, either. Getting clobbered ... well, there are those 15 extra practices...If the Gophers are half as locked in as Brewster, they should play pretty well."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Don't forget about us

See, what had happened was...

Yeah, we've been really busy over the holidays. I know that's no excuse but... wait, yes it is. Anyway, despite holiday madness in our personal lives and year end craziness in our vocational lives, we will be recording a podcast tonight.

So if you are checking now, check back later tonight, or tomorrow morning, or sometime tomorrow before the game... we'll have a new podcast up. And we promise it will be a good one (pressure's on).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Closing thoughts

Over the last couple of weeks I've been trying to process my thoughts about our Gopher Football season. It wold be easy to write "if you had told me at the beginning of the season that we would be 7-5 and going to a bowl game I would have been ecstatic." But that has already been written. It's the truth, but it's already been said enough.

Before the season started I thought we'd be a 5 win team, and that if we won 6 games it would be a huge bonus for this program. What I didn't know going into the season was that as nicely as our schedule seemed to set up for us, I was way off about where it set up well.

Illinois, Indiana and Purdue prior to the season looked like the would have been very nice wins... what we know now is that all of those teams dropped off considerably this year.

Closing out the season with 3 out of 4 games at home looked like a nice chance to finish strong... what we didn't know was that our offense would force our defense to spend so much time on the field that they would run out of steam.

It's also been said several times that the Gophers feel a lot more like a 4 loss team than a 7 win team going into bowl season. I think we all feel a little beat up right now, and rightfully so. But looking at the season objectively, as a whole, it really was quite an improvement.

A team that didn't give us much to cheer about last year gave us plenty of reasons to sing the rouser this year. At the end of last season it certainly didn't seem like this team had a prayer at making a bowl game, and yet, we're on our way back to Tempe.

While our offense took a fairly large step backward, our defense took such a huge jump forward that they carried us to several wins. The juco transfers that Brewster brought in to shore up the defense did far more than shore it up.

All in all, it's a difficult time to feel optimistic, but I think that the future of Gopher football is very bright. Looking long term, it's an exciting time to be a part of Gopher football. I think we clearly have the right coaches in place, and recruiting classes that we can certainly build on.

I'm sure that we won't have any trouble cheering hard for the Gophs on NYE... but just in case you do, let's keep in mind where this program was last year at this time, and where we're going to be in the future.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it begin...

Another podcast available to you and boy have we got a good one... at least we think we do.

We had a really good conversation with a Kansas Jayhawks football blogger. DJ from Hawk Digest gave us some great insight into what we can expect from the Jayhawks on New Year's Eve, as well as giving us his thoughts on Glen Mason (who he actually liked, if you can believe it). DJ thinks his Jayhawks can put up 38 points on our Gophs, and predicts a KU win... can you say BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL?!?!?! (Okay, not quite.)

We also jabber a bit about holiday parties, coaching changes in college football, and some other stuff that you will probably find both stimulating and memorable.

Check it out (it's over to your right, also available on iTunes), and as we always ask, please let us know what you think.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five Big 10 Players Named to AP 1st Team

The Associated Press have announced their annual All-America team, and five Big 10 players made their first team: tailbacks Shonn Greene of Iowa and Javon Ringer of Michigan State on offense, and on defense Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin, and Ohio State linebacker James Laurenitis and corner Malcolm Jenkins. Laurenitis made 1st Team AP All-American for the third straight season, which is great because the Champlain, MN native did not get recruited by the Gophers. Thanks again, Coach Mason, we couldn't have used him.

When the year started, I think we could have predicted Laurenitis and Jenkins would have made this team, and quite possibly Ringer, but Greene (did you know he was selling furniture last year? Did you know that? DID YOU KNOW?!?! IT'S THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD!!! I'm so excited about it I'm going to strip naked, paint myself black and gold and go steal somebody's goal posts!!!!!!!!!) and Maybin (only got a shot to play because of injuries) were the biggest surprises.

As good a season as Eric Decker had, the ankle injury hurt his production late in the season, and to be honest, even if Decker had put in a full year I couldn't take him over Michael Crabtree or Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State on the first team. But assuming he stays and the offense improves, he'll have a great shot to make this team next year as a senior.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Who Do You Like?

That’s the big question being asked this time of year, whether it’s for the upcoming bowl games, the Heisman, or other player awards, and there seems to be as many awards as there are answers.

… is running an NFL-style 12-team playoff for college football, where you the people vote for the winner. Honestly, is it much different to have fans vote for the National Champion than the coaches or media? Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama got first round byes. First round matchups are already done, with Penn State “beating” Boise State, USC destroying Virginia Tech, Texas Tech over Ohio State (I voted for the Buckeyes, but America strongly disagreed), and Utah got past Cincinnati.

…Is there more bowl games or “Player of the Year” Awards? Ok, number of bowl games beats it by a pretty wide margin, but did you know there’s THREE official unofficial National player of the year awards? Besides the Heisman, we also have the Walter Camp Award (who voted for Texas QB Colt McCoy) and the Maxwell Award (who voted for Florida QB Tim Tebow for the second straight year).

A better question might be, whose system for deciding the best is more screwed up- the BCS or individual awards? Before you say BCS, help me try and figure out how the NCAA can have multiple awards for the SAME POSITION voted on by completely different people. They had their official awards ceremony last night, which to me tells us absolutely nothing about who the best really was this year. This drives me freaking crazy, that not only do we not have just ONE award for the national player of the year, but we seem to have different voters for every award. And this doesn’t just apply to the Heisman or Walter Camp or Maxwell. College football handed out its “official” individual awards last night, and the insanity continued. Case in point is that USC linebacker Rey Maualuga was named the Defensive player of the year award, obviously he’d be named the best linebacker too right? Nope. That’s what you get for using logic in trying to name the winners for anything in college football. Not only is it insane that Maualuga can be named player of the year but NOT the best at his position, the guy who won the best linebacker award was not named James Laurenitis. Who won it? Somebody named Aaron Curry from Wake Forest. Seriously. If that’s not the biggest slap in the face the Big 10’s received all year, I’m not sure what is.

There’s also not one but two different awards given out by two different voting groups for best quarterback- and right on cue, they not only voted for different guys, neither of the were McCoy or Tebow. The Davey O’Brien award went to Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award went to Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell. At this point, let’s just give every quarterback who starts a game this year an award. If you can get a famous college football name and give the NCAA some money, I’m sure you too can have an award and vote for whoever the hell you want!

They did at least get two awards right: The Doak Walker for best tailback went to Iowa’s Shonn Greene and the Biletnikoff for best wideout went to Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech. Those were so obvious even the NCAA couldn’t screw those up.

...Finally, the most overrated award in sports, the Heisman Trophy, will be handed out Saturday night in NYC. I realized that on the podcast I said I’d vote for Tebow and then by the end of my rambling explanation agreed with Jer that McCoy should win it. Let me clear it up by saying that while I do believe McCoy is the most deserving, I do believe Tebow will win it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gophs back to practice

An interesting tidbit from Kent Youngblood's Gopher blog yesterday. Looks like the stamp of Tim Davis is already being felt:
"There I was, watching the first half-hour of the Gophers’ first practice, and I’m seeing I-formations. I’m seeing fullbacks. I’m seeing offensive linemen put their hand on the ground... Quarterback Adam Weber opined that the Gophers could line up with two backs and the QB under center as much as 40 percent of the time once everybody has the changes down cold. Now, that might not happen by the time Minnesota plays in the Insight Bowl. But you can bet you’ll see some of it against Kansas."
Very interesting stuff. I was curious how quickly some of this change utilizing Davis' style would come about. It will be very interesting to see how much of this is used against Kansas. While the offense doesn't need anything to make things more confusing, the chance to get out and smack somebody in the mouth might be a nice change of pace for the o-linemen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's Right, We've Done Another Podcast

Don't believe me? Download it and see for yourself. This week we talk Heisman, bowl matchups, and the many, many, many, many (you get the idea) problems with the BCS. So go on, give it a listen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Insight Bowl opening point spread...

The point spreads for most of the bowl games have been created and the Gophers are opening up as 10 point dogs to the Jayhawks.

Clearly the Jayhawks offense vs the Gophers defense is going to be the story of this game. I think we all knew that Kansas would be favored, but it will be interesting to see how the line moves as we get closer to the game. The spread probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise as the Jayhawks have a prolific offense when it comes to scoring, and the Gophers ended up giving up a lot of points this season.

With a month to rest and heal I would expect our defense to get back to being the difference makers that we came to know during the first two months of the season. But the Jayhawks can move the ball through the air and on the ground and the defense is going to need to be fast and very active to make a difference.

A difference maker could be Willie VanDeSteeg. The Jayhawks did have some trouble protecting Reesing this year, and if that continues to be an issue, WVDS could have a field day in Tempe.

We'll continue to try to breakdown this match-up in the coming weeks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking back...

I thought it would be interesting to have a look at my preseason predictions, and how far off I was. So let's take a look at my "Stream of consciousness breakdown..." post on August 25th and see how wrong I was.
"I'm expecting 5 wins. I think this would be a major improvement over last year..."

Hey, what do you know, I was wrong! But I don't mind being wrong on this one, obviously. 5 wins would have been an improvement, but knowing what we know now, not exactly a major improvement. 7 wins is big, but the way the season ended leaves a bad taste.

"I expect the Gopher's to be much faster on defense and much more in-sync on offense. I expect they will win 3 non-conference games (N. Illinois, Montana State & Florida Atlantic, all at home, losing to Bowling Green on the road), and two Big10 games (Indiana & NWestern both at home). The team is still inexperienced, so winning a game on the road will be tough, in addition to the fact that the Big10 road schedule is REALLY tough (OSU, Illinois, Purdue, Wisky)."
I would definitely say that the defense was faster, but I was WAY off about the offense being in-sync... BOY, was I off. I guessed right on 4 of the 5 wins that I predicted, and was obviously very happy to be wrong about Bowling Green, Illinois and Purdue... but that N'Western loss still stings me. Our inexperience didn't seem to hamper us on the road, as we won 3 games away from the Dome (BG, Illinois, Purdue).

"If all goes according to my prediction (and why wouldn't it?) the Gophers will go into the final week of the season, welcoming Iowa, with a 5-6 record. And that's the trump card. On paper, Iowa is a beatable team, especially at home in the Gophers final game at the Metrodome."

"For the season, I expect...
... Adam Weber to be a solid starter, and do more with his arm than his feet..."
I was actually pretty close on this one for the most part, in my opinion. Weber did way more with his arm than his feet early in the year, but his legs definitely were a huge help late in the season.

"... the offensive line to shuffle and struggle most of the year, so Weber will have to do more throwing on the run."
The o-line, as well-documented, was a big problem. It didn't lead to Weber throwing on the run quite as much as it lead to just overall chaos for the offense.

"... David Pittman to make an immediate impact at a couple of offensive positions."
Not so much.

"... the defense to be faster and improved, but still mistake prone."
The D was clearly faster and improved, and the mistakes that they were prone to make often seemed to come on long passing plays down the field, which became their nemesis. I also think that at the end of the season the defense just got tired because they spent so much time on the field, and this lead to a lot of mistakes in November.

"... Coach Brewster and his staff to do a better job of managing the game (i.e. no blunders like when your opponent (NDSU) is on offense, is still in the huddle, and has only 5 seconds on the play clock... and Minnesota calls a timeout.)"
I think the jury is out here. I was disappointed with some of Brewster's in-game decisions throughout the season. I thought that clock management at times was questionable, and I thought that Brewster struggled with when exactly to be aggressive.

"... Jay Thomas to lead the team in rushing."

"... Eric Decker to be in the top 3 in the Big10 in catches and recieving yards."
Decker ended up 2nd in the conference in yards and first in receptions.

"... Jack Simmons to be the top tight end in the Big10."
Simmons wasn't tapped nearly as much as I had thought, or as much as I would have liked to have seen. He had a decent year, but certainly not the kind of season I had hoped for.

"... Marcus Sherels & "Big Play" Trey Simmons to lead the team in interceptions."
They actually ended up 1st (BPT) & 3rd (Sherels) with 4 and 2 respectively. Pretty decent season for the Gophs in terms of turnovers, and these guys certainly were a big part of that.

"... Simoni Lawrence to lead the team in tackles."
Lee Campbell actually lead the team with 75 total tackles and Simoni was 4th with 64. Kyle Theret had the highest number of solo tackes with 54. Simoni Lawrence also came in 4th in this category.

"... IF the Gophers DO win 6 games and make it to a low-tier bowl game, Reusse will write an article saying that this accomplishment means nothing because Mason would have done the same thing."
He hasn't written this article yet, but he did write an article this past weekend, which we talked extensively about on the podcast this week, in which he took a shot at Brewster, even though there had been no Gopher news in days.

Overall... The defense was much improved and probably a huge reason why we were able to get to that 7 win mark. The offense took a huge step back this year, which is obviously a huge concern, but the line is still very young, and having Tim Davis to coach them should make improvement a certainty by next fall.

All-in-all the biggest thing is that the Gophers won 7 games and they are Insight Bowl bound.


New Podcast

A new podcast has been recorded, posted and is ready for your listening pleasure (or annoyance, as the case may be).

This week Jeffrick and I recorded on a Sunday afternoon while watching the Vikings stumble to a win over the Lions. We discuss the Gophers season, how it started and how it ended. We also spend far too much time talking about this article from our favorite "Grumpy Old Troll," the Strib's own Pat Reusse.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Batch of Friday Musings

So yeah, Jer’s right, we’ve been slacking and I, for one, apologize. I’ve had a bunch of thoughts on college football from the past week, so since I didn’t get them spread out into a couple of posts, let’s just get them all in right here…

…A lot of Big 10 news this week like…oh that’s right the Big 10 continues to insist on wrapping up their regular season before Thanksgiving, so therefore there is really NOTHING Big 10 related to talk about. Awesome. I DO NOT want a conference title game (but allow me to say again they should drop at least one non-conference game so we only miss one team a year instead of two), but they need to play Thanksgiving weekend. There’s so much hype and chatter this time of year and yet there’s nothing Big 10-related to talk about. Boo-urns.

…Ok fine, I’ll weigh in on Charlie Weis and Notre Dame. But just this once. Should Weis have been fired this year? I like to see a new coach get 4-5 years to have his recruits and system fully in place. The Irish fired Ty Willingham too soon (although, with the way things went at Washington, looks like it would have happened eventually anyway), just as his kids were becoming juniors and seniors, the very group Weis has had his only success with. Weis needs one more year to prove himself with an entire group of kids he recruited, so I don’t have a problem with him getting one more year. What I do have a problem with is all of these Notre Dame people complaining. You want to complain about something? Complain about the group of people who run your school that decided to give Weis a 10 YEAR EXTENSION (10 YEARS! 10 FREAKING YEARS!!!!!) barely a year into his first season. That was stupid. Stoo-ped. You want to fire someone? Fire those people, or at put someone else in charge of executive football decisions. Because that, friends, is ridiculous.

…Ok one more Notre Dame thought- anyone else saddened to see Jimmy Clausen failing so far at ND? (Allow me a minute to laugh heartily at that thought) The kid who in high school rolled up to make the announcement he was attending Notre Dame in a stretch Hummer limo, and acted like the greatest player in the history of the universe (probably because everybody was telling him that). Two lessons to be learned here: 1) Clausen boys are average-at-best and generally disappointing college quarterbacks (older brothers Casey and Rick had less than stellar careers at Tennessee) and 2) nobody overhypes their recruits, and especially their QB recruits (remember Ron Paulus, who was SO GOOD coming out of high school Irish fans said he would win FOUR Heismans? How’d that work out?), more than Notre Dame. Nobody. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

…Hopefully this weekend’s slate of games are more exciting than last weekend’s. Last weekend we saw some old-school pre-BCS/parity-style beatdowns. The best game I saw (or at least parts of) was Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia. If you haven’t heard or seen it, new Tech coach Paul Johnson came from Navy and brought his old-school Nebraska triple-option run offense to the ACC. People laughed at the hire, saying BCS conference schools now have defenses that are way too fast for a traditional running option offense to work anymore. Well now that Tech are 8-4 are probably headed for a New Year’s Day bowl, nobody’s laughing, especially not Georgia. While it’s definitely true that defenses today ARE faster and stronger than ever, that doesn’t mean they’re better, for two reasons: defenses today are more undisciplined than ever, and they CANNOT TACKLE!!! Holy Christmas, watching that Tech/Georgia game, I was amazed/appalled at how many missed tackles the Bulldogs had (and that defense is loaded-LOADED-with NFL talent). The atrocious level of tackling in college football has become an epidemic, and because of that, Johnson’s old school triple option run-heavy offense works better than ever. Don’t be surprised to see more teams in coming seasons bringing that offense back.

…Can’t believe the stink some people are making because USC wants to wear their home uni’s this weekend in a road game against rival UCLA. Back in the day (in that crazy, long-ago decade called the 1980’s), the Bruins and Trojans both wore their home unis when they played, and from what I’ve seen, it looked pretty awesome to see the UCLA blue against the USC red and gold. Since that time the NCAA has instituted a rule saying the road team HAS to wear white, otherwise they forfeit one timeout each half. SC coach Pete Carroll has said he and UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel have agreed to allow the Trojans to wear their home reds in the Rose Bowl this weekend, and that Carroll has no problem giving up the timeouts (and with UCLA at 4-7 this season, why wouldn’t he?). The problem seems to be not just in Neuheisel agreeing to this, but also saying HE would give up a first half timeout as a gesture of goodwill. Bruins fans and others are outraged because they think UCLA is being pushed around by SC, and that they need to stand up to them and not be “disrespected.” Really? So it’s not ok to try to bring back a cool tradition? It’s not ok to build the rivalry by doing something that people from coast to coast will talk about? I just don’t get the outrage. If Neuheisel wants to give up a timeout to make it happen, I say good for him.

…The Big 12 just can’t decide anything. The latest example is Texas QB Colt McCoy being named the Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year…and then the same group of people voted him 2nd team all-conference behind Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. Only in the Big 12.

…Speaking of Bradford and the Sooners, how many points do they hang on Missouri? 50? 60? 65? I’d like Missouri’s chances if they had a defense, but since they don’t, I don’t see how they stay within a couple of TD’s of the ridiculous Oklahoma offense.

…Finally, I’m VERY excited for the SEC championship game. Florida has been the best team in the land since their shocking loss to Ole Miss (although with the Rebels finishing 8-4, that loss doesn’t look so bad now), yet Alabama continues to answer every challenge, and might be the most physical team in the country. I think Florida wins a close one, but it should be a great game. As for the Big 10 games this weekend- oh right, forgot, they’ve been done for two weeks. Well nonetheless, enjoy the games this weekend everybody, and as Seth Cohen would say “Happy Christmakah.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

All apologies...

We've been slacking... plain and simple.

We got fat and happy on the turkey and gravy of a post 4 game losing streak long holiday weekend where we didn't have to watch the Gophers lose a game that we thought they could win. Of course, they didn't even play, but at least we didn't have to watch them lose again.

Leaving the Iowa game was horrible, and it made me remember what the entire season felt like in 2007. Week after week of disappointment, head shaking and wondering if there was an end to this. 2008 was a reprieve with a 7-1 start, but then it all came back to us.

Add to that the post-Thanksgiving week catch-up game at work... and yeah, no excuses, we've been slacking.

We WILL be recording a podcast this weekend... put it on the board, you will have a podcast by Sunday night.

And you will have new and meaningful posts from us starting again very soon. We're getting our mojo back, recovering from a tough season end, and we're getting ready for bowl season.