Monday, December 7, 2009

The Monday Musings

Since Jer has already has an excellent post up on the Gophers going to the Insight to play Iowa State (seriously, each and every Gopher football fan should send Christmas cards to the Insight Bowl folks for taking Iowa State over Missouri. Tim Brewster should send flowers, chocolates, and Rolexes. Instead of playing a high-scoring team that could have blow us off the field, we instead get an almost carbon copy of the Gophs- good defense, and an offense even worse than ours. No really, they are. I didn't think there was a winnable bowl matchup available that didn't involve the word "Detroit", but I'm so thankful to be wrong. And so thankful to the Insight Bowl. THANK YOU!!!), I'll try and cover the rest of the goings-on (a word? probably not. But we'll go with it) from a busy college football weekend...

...I did say Alabama would beat Florida in the SEC title game, but I did not predict Bama QB Greg McElroy to have the game of his life and outplay some guy named Tim Tebow in the process. Kudos to Bama and their coaches for an excellent game plan, as they spread it out and threw early to keep the Gators off balance, then went to work with as good a 1-2 rushing combo as there is in the country in soon-to-be-Heisman winner Mark Ingram and bulldozing freshman Trent Richardson. Defensively, the Tide were so impressive slowing down the Urban Meyer spread, especially the run game. Because of Mt. Cody in the middle, the Gators were both unable and unwilling to run inside, and with SO much speed on the Bama D, Florida didn't have a hope in heck of getting yards going east and west.

...Bama was the clear winner of the battle of 1 vs 2, and they should just hand the BCS trophy the Nick Saban and the Tide right without even playing the next one. Stewart Mandel, like I'm sure everyone who watched both the SEC title game and Texas' lucky, sloppy, turnover ridden win over Nebraska, is expecting a Tide blowout win- and not just because of the two outcomes on Saturday. The stat that has me thinking Texas has no chance is this one from Mandel's weekly College Football Overtime column:

Consider: In his three games against top 40 pass defenses this season (Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska), (Colt) McCoy has thrown for an average of 192 yards, with two touchdowns and five interceptions. (Overall: 270.2 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs). Alabama's pass defense ranks seventh nationally.

Bama's defense, of course, is as good or better than anything Texas has seen all season (well other than practice. Let's not forget the Horns' D is also ranked top 3 in the country), and if they struggled to move the ball on Nebraska, how the heck will they do it against Rolando McClain, Mt. Cody and the rest of the Alabama D? Mack Brown and the Texas coaching staff will certainly earn their paychecks in the next six weeks trying to figure out just how in the heck they're going to beat Alabama.

...Cincy had an improbable fourth quarter comeback to knock off Pitt and make a BCS game, but you have to wonder what chance they stand against Florida. Sure, Cincy's passing offense will be better than anything Florida has seen, but the Gators will also be by far the most physical team on both sides of the ball that the Bearcats have played all season. Plus, there's also the looming question of who will be coaching Cincinnati by then?

...Love the TCU/Boise game in the Fiesta Bowl considering that TCU vs. Florida wasn't possible because of the order of selection. One of the country's best offenses against on the country's best defenses should make for great theater.

...Unless you're a fan of one of the three or four ACC schools that got passed up, how can anyone be against the Gator Bowl selecting 6-6 Florida State to play West Virginia? I am infinitely more interested in watching Bobby Bowden's swan song against his old school than I would have been if Miami, Clemson, North Carolina, or anyone else from the ACC was in this game. We talk all the time about how bowls are about money, so why is anyone up in arms about the Gator making by far the best business decision available?

...Speaking of the ACC, think they're regretting the whole conference championship game idea? They staged a fantastic game that barely anyone saw, either in the stadium or on television. The game was on ESPN directly opposite the Texas/Nebraska tilt (I don't know about you, but I was watching the Big 12 title), and while the game drew more fans than the 27,000 who showed up last year, 42,000+ this year isn't exactly something to brag about. How long until this game is moved to the home field of the higher ranked team just to ensure a sell-out?

...For the Big Ten, Iowa got the bowl bid they deserved, and I think got the best matchup possible for a Big Ten win. Yep, Georgia Tech's offense is potent, but the one thing the Hawks do well is defense, and Tech's defense isn't exactly great. While I will continue to hate Iowa with every fiber of my being, for the sake of the conference Iowa needs to win this game.

...Don't know about you, but I was pretty shocked when I heard the Outback was taking Northwestern over Wisconsin. Perhaps all the Wildcat fans who don't show up for home games will make the trip all the way down to Florida, but I can't believe the Outback passed up the 30 or 40,000 Wisconsinites who would have packed up their beer, brats and cheese, and made the trek down there. And even for television ratings, I can't fathom how Northwestern is more appealing. Did you watch one Northwestern game all year besides when they played Minnesota and you HAD to watch? Me neither. It also hurts the conference as I think Wisconsin had a much better chance to beat Auburn than the Wildcats do. Then again, I thought BuckyBadger would beat Northwestern and the Wildcats would have a down year (remember when we beat them? Sigh...that was fun), so what do I know? Watch Pat Fitzgerald waltz down there and beat the Tigers.

...We have plenty of time to preview and muse about all the bowl games, so I'll finish with wondering whether the Big Ten can get a winning bowl record this year. Looking at the matchups, it's not going to be easy, and your Maroon and Gold HAVE to win because of some other mismatches.

Dec. 29th
Champs, Orlando- Wisconsin vs. Miami
Should be the most competitive non-BCS game, and a virtual toss-up right now.

Dec. 31st
Insight, Tempe- Minnesota vs. Iowa State
I like the Gophs here, but then again I'm biased. And I also still can't believe we drew Iowa St instead of A&M or Mizzou.

Jan 1st
Rose, Pasadena- Ohio State vs. Oregon
Hard not to like the Ducks in this one. Heck, it's hard not to love the Ducks in this one.

Outback, Tampa- Northwestern vs. Auburn
Auburn has to be favored here by at least a TD, right?

Capital One, Orlando- Penn St. vs LSU
Might be nice for the JoePa's to actually beat a ranked team. Couldn't come at a better time, either.

Jan 2nd
Alamo, San Antonio- Michigan St. vs Texas Tech
With the suspensions at Michigan State, and considering we threw for 416 on them when they had everybody playing, will the Red Raiders be the first team to throw for 1,000 yards in a single game?

Jan 5th
Orange, Miami- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
Another toss-up of evenly matched, two loss teams. I'll favor Iowa with Stanzi back, but only because I have to.

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