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Archive for the ‘NCAA Football’ Category

BCS Aftermath

Posted by Matt on January 9, 2009

ok

Fat band girl’s tears sustain me.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | Comments Off on BCS Aftermath

Buckeyes Lose Again, Receive BCS Ban

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 9, 2009

OSU09TEX_51

Growing up, we all remember how the Buffalo Bills in the NFL would always win the AFC Championship and then when they got to the Super Bowl, they would fold up like a beach chair.

And for the third straight season the Ohio State Buckeyes are showing that they are slowly developing into the Buffalo Bills of college football, losing again on the big stage that is the BCS , this time a 24-21 loss to the Texas Longhorns in the Fiesta Bowl.

Of course, the Longhorns came into this week’s game as an 8-point favorite and had Heisman finalist Colt McCoy leading the offense, so this latest loss was supposed to happen.

But for the first time in the 3 losses, including the two in the Championship Game where they were manhandled by quicker and stronger SEC teams like LSU and Florida — which if I stand correct run the spread offense — the Buckeyes had a chance to win this game against the Longhorns.

But as Texas scored a second touchdown to make it 17-6 in the third quarter, the hopes of Columbus turned into another long offseason as the Buckeyes lost their third straight Bowl game, the first time that’s happened since 1990-92 when John Cooper was at the helm.

Their loss to Texas drops the Buckeyes to 0-5 against top-10 opponents since beating #2 Michigan in November of 2006.

And to top it all off, the Buckeyes’ seniors, all 28 of them, missed an opportunity to record their 43rd win, which would have been the most in school history for a senior class.

While last night’s loss was a downer for the 2008 Big 10 Co-Champions, the Buckeye seniors can safely say that they went 4-0 against the Maize and Blue and according to the Columbus Dispatch, we are at day number 1,872 — which is equivalent to five years, two months — since Michigan defeated the Buckeyes in football.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Buckeyes Lose Again, Receive BCS Ban

What Is The Damn Problem?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 17, 2008

In the 91 years prior to 2003, the football program at the University of Memphis had only three Bowl appearances, the last coming in 1971 when Fred Pancoast led the Missouri Valley Conference-champion Tigers to the Pasadena Bowl.

Thirty-two years later, Tommy West and legendary running back DeAngelo Williams, now with the Carolina Panthers, led the Tigers to the New Orleans Bowl where they would beat North Texas and begin a stretch of five Bowl games in six seasons, being one of only a handful of schools to do that.

While for the fact this would be a huge accomplishment for a once moribund program, it hasn’t been the case for the Tigers, who has seen attendance drop to 25,000 fans per game, a far cry from the 41,000 average that came to the Liberty Bowl in 2004 to see DeAngelo Williams and company.

And now the question that one would pose to the uninformed observer would be this: what is the damn problem with the Tiger football program?

OK, I know two reasons of the problems with the Tiger football program, the first one being that Memphis is a basketball school first and foremost and will always be that way.

But that’s no valid excuse because in recent years, basketball powerhouses like Louisville, which as we all know was a member of Conference USA and decided to pump money and energy into their football program by building new facilities including a brand-new, on-campus stadium to replace aging Cardinal Stadium in 1998.

For that reason, the Cardinals are in the Big East and the Tigers are still toiling in Conference USA.

In the last eight years, the Tigers have spent a grand total of $6 million on football-related improvements and are finishing a fund raising campaign worth $3 million to build a new state-of-the-art weight room at the Murphy Athletic Complex.

That’s probably a third of Nick Saban’s salary at Alabama.

Another valid point is the fact that, instead of watching the Tigers, fans would rather head to Oxford, Starkville, or Knoxville to watch quality football, and from a person who has a bunch of friends that cheer for Ole Miss, Mississippi State, or Tennessee, that’s a justifiable reason.

They have a great tailgating atmosphere, meaning the tailgate area is close to the stadium and not miles away and they have tradition in their programs as well.

Memphis doesn’t.

Then you have to throw in the fact that Memphis, unlike those three schools, schedule non-conference foes like McNeese State, Nicholls State, and neighborhood rival Arkansas State on a regular basis.

Tennessee this year went to UCLA, Mississippi State went up against Georgia Tech and West Virginia this season, and Ole Miss last season played Missouri on the road.

People, from what I’ve learned in Sport and Event Planning class, aren’t going to be amped for a game against Nicholls State or Arkansas State.

They’re not going to return if the atmosphere around the stadium sucks balls.

And finally, no one is going to return if the team isn’t winning (see the Grizzlies for proof).

So what needs to be done?

You tell me.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 5, 2008

Ladies and gentleman, let’s get ready to rumble as tonight, at the Georgia Dome, the Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Florida Gators in the under card match leading to the National Championship game.

These two teams, coached by men who have won National Championships before — Saban at LSU in 2003-04, the first for the Bayou Bengals in 46 years and Meyer, who just did it in 2006-07 by beating the Ohio State Buckeyes and forcing Jim Tressel to take self-esteem classes in the offseason.

Of course, Tressel didn’t learn his lesson when LSU beat another tattoo on him in the National Championship last year, making the Buckeyes the first team to lose back-t0-back BCS Championship games.

But that’s another story.

The SEC Championship Game is, according to your drunk uncle or Rece Davis, one of the premier games in the race to see who will head to Miami and play for the National Championship.

And while Oklahoma, who made it to the Big 12 Championship Game because of some crazy 3-way tie with Texas Tech and Texas, are heavily favored in their showdown with Missouri in San Antonio, the SEC Championship Game is without question, the true deciding factor before we all see who will be popping bottles on South Beach.

Alabama’s journey to Atlanta, for the most part, has been focused more on their blue-collar defense. Ranked 2nd in the country against the run by allowing only a paltry 73.6 yards and 2.7 yards per carry, the Tide could put a dent into the running attack of the Gators, which consist of Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow, and Chris Rainey.

Not only that, the Tide has two workmen on the offensive  side of the ball, Andre Smith and Terrence Cody, who have given John Parker Wilson plenty of protection.

Speaking of Wilson, the senior quarterback hasn’t done much of anything throwing the football. Where as Tebow has electrified Gator fans with his feet and arm, Wilson has only thrown for 200 or more yards in four games this season.

Want to know how many touchdown passes Wilson’s thrown?

Nine.

Mainly because Alabama relies on the running attack, which finished second behind Florida in the SEC with a little over 200 rushing per game.

At Florida, however, the offense lives and dies with Tebow, wide receiver Percy Harvin, and running back Chris Rainey, all of who have rushed for more than 500 yards this season.

And for the most part, Tebow has thrown the ball more, with over 2,000 yards passing and 25 touchdown passes to go along with the 507 yards he has rushing.

Pretty different from Wilson, don’t you think?

And while the whole world waits to see what will become of the BCS, including all of us here at The Nasty Boys, we would like to extend a big thank you to the SEC-related blogs that link with us throughout the college football season.

May your team’s Christmas season be merry and bright.

That is, if your coach doesn’t get fired.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | Comments Off on Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Vanderbilt Just Saved Our Ass

Posted by Agent Z-Ro on November 22, 2008

In a Saturday that the Football Wildcats had (mercifully) the week off, its previous and its upcoming opponents were duking it out at the creatively named Vanderbilt Stadium. The Filthy Volunteers from the University of Tennessee won convincingly 20-10 behind an apparently impressive second quarter in which they scored all of their 20 points. Offensively UT was running roughshod over the Commodores, compiling 243 rush yards in the contest; but the passing game was hilariously bad, only attempting nine passes and completing just four. With TWO picks! When your QB’s are that bad, I’ll give you the two completions for the picks because technically, they were completed passes. So the Volunteer quarterbacks (they played two) combined for a QB rating of 30.55 (with 6 for 9 passing in sarcastic asshole statland), sickly numbers for a high D-1 program.

The defense was king as they spent the day stonewalling the ‘Dores, allowing only 23 yards on defense on 28 rushes. 28 rushes! That equals up to less than one yard per rush. I would rip on Bobby Johnson for being one dimensional and not opening up the playbook, but the Steamboat Captains also attempted 43 passes, one of which was completed for a touchdown. A Tennessee touchdown. So it was pretty clear that today the ‘Vols established the run game and did not let go of the ball. It was a nauseating game to watch, but that was because of the day-glo orange that was tainting my television screen.

So how does that help us, the Wildcat nation? In the 16 years of Phillip Fulmer’s career, he has never NOT won more than two games in the SEC. His program’s decline has been a pleasure to witness, but let us not forget, he is a coach with seven SEC east titles and a National Championship. He would not just lie down and get thrashed in his last season and go out as ignominiously as only having one win in conference play. But I digress, it really doesn’t matter what that tub of Krispy Kreme’s reputation looks like when he leaves. But it does matter for the players. The Volunteers were mired in a 3-game losing streak and underneath a shadow from the cloud of Fulmer’s impending resignation and a very sour fan base. I have maintained since Nov. 3rd that his announcement that early in the season would provide inspiration and stir up pride for his team, and make the last game of the season against Kentucky a triumphant exit for the coach. Rockne would have be proud. Then the Volunteers showed how much they were willing to fight for their coach with a 7-13 loss to Wyoming at home. Yet they rallied against Vanderbilt today and got their second conference win, and with that we can only hope that they will be content with the domination of the state of Tennessee, and proceed to lay down against us.

I have been a fan of UK football since the Curry era, and in my entire life the Cats have not eaten Tennessee in football, 23 years. There have been many, many chances in that time, most notably in the last few years. But it has always resulted in a loss. 23 years. Imagine everything that has happened since November of 1984, but the one thing that hasn’t happened is UK beating UT in football. And GOD I hate Tennessee. For just a sampling of the list of reasons, my friend from the University of Alabama will take over:

So rest up boys, you have a coach to disgrace and a streak to kill.

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Football | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

SEC Rankings – The Return

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 20, 2008

After returning home from the Big Easy on November 14th and witnessing history on the following day, I’m back again to present you the SEC Rankings for the week of November 16th.

1. Alabama (Auburn is looking to make a case on Thanksgiving Saturday to make a Bowl and seven in a row against the Tide. Problem is, this Tide squad is pretty damn good.)

2. Florida (Another SEC East title and a chance to head to the BCS when the SEC Championship Game takes place on December 6th. Florida has a cupcake and a team fighting for position in the ACC remaining on their schedule.)

3. LSU (Last year I asked Crichton graduate Grace Walker for grace when Mizzou played the Kansas Gayhawks Thanksgiving Saturday. Apparently that same grace Grace Walker brought that Saturday in Kansas City came to Baton Rouge when LSU made their historic comeback against Troy.)

4. Georgia (Narrow win against Auburn puts Dawgs in position for a chance to head to the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. Chances are, if they lose to Georgia Tech, then the Liberty Bowl will come calling. But I disgress.)

5. Ole Miss (Houston Nutt has done more with Coach O’s players than Coach O did with Coach O’s players)

6. Vanderbilt (A 26-year wait has ended in the West End. A win over Tennessee would make the 2008 Vanderbilt football season even sweeter.)

7. South Carolina (A woodshed beating was not a way to welcome Steve Spurrier back to Gainesville.)

8. Kentucky (It’s OK, UK fans, at least you guys are going to a Bowl game just like Vanderbilt.)

9. Auburn (Iron Bowl game should be a motivating factor with the Plainsmen. I mean, it’s against the #1 team in the country.)

10. Arkansas (Sense of urgency is needed for Hogs if they want to go to a Bowl game. They can start with a victory over Mississippi State.)

11. Tennessee (This week Crichton SGA President Mequitta Williams took a tour of the Knoxville campus with the Grim Reaper. Apparently, the Grim Reaper killed the Vols’ season long before they got there.)

12. Mississippi State (Didn’t this team go to a Bowl last year?)

My time’s up. Don’t forget, you can read more of my musings at my personal blog, “The Kid In The Press Box” at http://thepressboxkid.wordpress.com

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Comparing Teams By The Numbers

Posted by Matt on November 13, 2008

Below is a side-by-side comparison of two current anonymous college football powerhouses that have a legitimate shot at, if not inside track to, the BCS National Championship game. I use the term “anonymous” loosely because if you really sit and think about how the numbers are laid out, you can figure out the two teams fairly quickly and that my lead to a personal bias. So don’t do that. Take an objective look at these numbers for victories only and realize how impressive both sides really are.

Weekly Margins Of Victory

Team A

Team B

1

25

46

2

16

23

3

36

4

42

24

5

6

30

31

7

6

30

8

18

9

42

58

10

6

39

11

36

28

Total Games

10

8

Total Points For/Against

479-232

355-76

Average Scores

47.900-23.200

44.375-9.500

Average Margin

24.7

34.875

# Of Ranked Opponents

3

2

Bold margins denotes games against ranked opponents.

The majority of each teams’ column is comprised of that week’s margin of victory as opposed to score just to mask the games some and to look at games in a more basic fashion. Team B is scoring nearly as much per game as is Team A — and against a similar number of ranked opponents — while allowing far fewer points on defense. Of course Team A has been more consistently good accounting for 10 games versus Team B’s 8.

Which is the better team between Team A and Team B? You decide. Is either team the best team in the Nation? Who knows. And will these two teams play in the BCS National Championship? Only time will tell.

Two things that are for certain, however, is that both teams are playing some of the best — if not THE best — football in the country right now and a lot has to happen before any of the above questions can be answered. But by that time, answering the above questions will be that much easier.

Either way, the comparisons are remarkable. College football at its best.

P.S. If you haven’t already figured it out yet, Team A is Texas Tech and Team B is Florida…but don’t tell anyone, it will be our little secret…

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Comparing Teams By The Numbers

SEC Rankings – Election Week

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 7, 2008

randibishop2

After electing our first African-American president in Barack Obama and surviving an assassination attempt, I’m here once again to present to you the SEC Power Rankings for the week of November 2nd.

1. Alabama (Don’t expect these guys to fall off the top anytime soon. Of course, there’s a chance that LSU could beat the Tide in Baton Rouge as part of Nick Saban’s return to Death Valley.)

2. Florida (Looks to be a clear road for the Gators in quest for the SEC East crown. But Vanderbilt always seems to play the Gators close and could, if the football gods allow it, beat the Gators for the first time since 1988.)

3. South Carolina (Let it be shown that the Gamecocks got Fulmer fired, whether  or not you agree with the way it was done.)

4. Kentucky (Three straight bowl games, something that hasn’t happened in a long time, has the folks in Lexington beaming with glee.)

5. LSU (Your former coach is coming, men. How will you respond?)

6. Georgia (Blowout loss hurt Dawgs’ chances at SEC East crown.)

7. Ole Miss (Nutt is doing a great job turning the fortunes of the Rebel football program around.)

8. Vanderbilt (Bye week was needed for ‘Dores.)

9. Auburn (Tigers can still reach .500 in the SEC West.)

10. Arkansas (They deserved to be ranked higher than Tennessee.)

11. Tennessee (Remaining games are for pride, not for too much of anything else.)

12. Missississippi State (Basketball’s looking good these days in Starkville.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | Comments Off on SEC Rankings – Election Week

SEC Rankings – Week 9

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 31, 2008

So after another long week here in the Volunteer State, except here in West Tennessee where the University of Memphis beat a punch-less Southern Miss team and lost another quarterback, I am back to present to you the SEC Power Rankings for the week of October 26th.

1. Alabama (No sign of collapse in Tide Nation, but the LSU game is still looming for Saban’s boys.)

2. Florida (During the basketball season, Vanderbilt handed the Wildcats their worst SEC loss ever. Eight months later, the Gators put a similar stomping on Kentucky and is now trying to make their case for Atlanta on Saturday when they face Georgia in Jacksonville.)

3. Georgia (If those two girls in that picture had played for LSU last weekend, do you think Georgia would have gotten out of Death Valley alive? Judging from that picture, probably not.)

4. South Carolina (According to our friends at Gate21.com, who also run a SEC Power Ranking column, the Gamecocks are 5th heading into tomorrow’s game against Tennessee. With LSU losing like they did against Georgia and the possibility that the Gamecocks could play themselves into the SEC East race if they win against the Vols, 4th is a safe ranking for the time being.)

5. LSU (At least they have the Alabama game to look forward to.)

6. Kentucky (One more win and Matt’s boys will be Bowl-eligible. Thankfully, one of those wins could come this weekend when they face Mississippi State and those annoying-ass cowbells.)

7. Ole Miss (Where would this bunch be today if Coach “O” was roaming the sidelines?)

8. Vanderbilt (I wonder if my old friend Kasi can rub her belly for a sixth win for the ‘Dores. Heck, it worked in 2006.)

9. Auburn (The Tigers made a visit to my friends at the Interstate Blood Bank on North Cleveland Street to get some offensive help. Let’s see can they salvage the season with their new-found offense.)

10. Arkansas (We beat LSU last season because of you, Coach Nutt!!!! Now we get embarrassed because of Bobby P.)

11. Tennessee (This just in, Crichton SGA President Quitta Williams has been named head coach of the Volunteers. Only qualification is that her former neighbor is a former classmate of current Vol Ellix Wilson.)

12. Mississippi State (No comment, please.)

My time is up. If you’re in the Memphis area, come see me perform at Republic Coffee located at 2924 Walnut Grove Road in the Binghampton neighborhood every Tuesday night.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 13 Comments »

What Penn State Means To The Big 10

Posted by Agent Z-Ro on October 29, 2008

The game that occurred Saturday night between the two juggernauts of the Big 10 was football the way it was meant to be played…in the 1930’s. Even with 280+ (pfft!) yards of total offense from both sides the only trip the endzone was a 1 yard run by Penn State’s sophomore backup QB Pat Devlin with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. But the victory was secured and Penn State’s national title hopes are alive. But what does this mean in the grand scheme of the national title hunt, and by proximity, the perception of the Big 10?

Both of the teams ranked ahead of Penn State (#1Texas, Big 12 & #2 Alabama, SEC) are facing tough weeks against ranked opponents and, beyond that, a conference championship if they can get there. The likelihood that one of them will lose over the course of that time is far greater than State, thus putting the Fighting Paterno’s in a position to slide into the National Championship game while having rested since November 22nd. Aside from the extra prep time, it will give them more opportunities to scout the potential competition and will possibly give them the winning edge.

But who are we kidding? Every time a Big 10 team gets to the National Championship they get cut down like baby mice under a lawnmower. Not that I haven’t enjoyed seeing Ohio State get crushed the last two years (I enjoy it a little more when that happens, I think), but it is time the Big 10 sends another challenger forward to try to capture the crystal oblong. But do the Lions of Nittany have anything to offer that could improve their odds of bringing the ‘W’ home?

For the last several years, OSU has put forward a team of similar blueprint: talented but largely overrated quarterback with a huge arm, one solid receiver and one solid tailback, all cushioned by a generally effective defense. Then they get to the National Championship game against a team of NFL prospects who have cut their teeth on quality teams throughout conference play. You know how the rest of it goes (And how sweet it is!). But we can only hope in the mythical world where one of the top two teams lose late and Penn State holds out against the Michigan State Javon Ringers, that State can bring at least something resembling a game to the table. With three receivers in the neighborhood of 30 catches and a QB that is 3rd on the team in rush attempts, you have to admit that the blueprint is very different and should pose more of a problem for defenses of either conference. Even a competitive game could prove to a national audience that the Big 10 can produce something besides the crap cake that it has made itself appear to be.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Mike Hamilton, Please End The Nightmare

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 28, 2008

Dear Mike Hamilton,

I am writing this letter as a disgruntled sports fan, foremost a Tennessean.

For 17 years, Coach Phil Fulmer has patrolled the sidelines at Neyland Stadium and whether you like him or not, has coached the Volunteers to two overall SEC Championships, five outright SEC East Division Championships, and most importantly, a National Championship in 1998.

He’s coached players like Peyton Manning, Peerless Price, Robert Meachem, Casey Clausen, Erik Ainge, Tee Martin, Gerald Riggs, Ellix Wilson (I went to grade school with him), Cedric Wilson, Al Wilson, Todd Helton, and countless others to bowl games as well as burgeoning NFL careers.

But in the high-stakes world of college football in 2008, I, along with the numerous friends I know that are Vol fans, believe that you, Mike Hamilton, as athletic director of the state’s flagship school can end this nightmare by getting rid of Fat Boy Fulmer.

Look at the facts. The Vols, in the ten years since that glorious season when it seemed as if they could do no wrong, has been stagnant in their success.

Since 1998, the Volunteers have gone to three SEC Championship Games and lost them all, most notably the 2001 SEC title game in which the Volunteers were heavily favored and lost to an upstart LSU team that was then coached by Nick Saban.

So in one night, Mr. Hamilton, the Vols went from BCS contenders to the 2002 Citrus Bowl, where they would beat Michigan 45-17.

Then you have the 2005 season in which the Vols would go from #3 to not being mentioned at all, capped by a loss to Vanderbilt — a team that, as I write this, is one win away from being bowl eligible this year — behind the arm of then quarterback Jay Cutler at Neyland Stadium.

It’s one thing to lose big to Alabama on the same night that your university honors the 1998 National Championship team, but on a crisp and clear November day three years ago how could your coach lose at home to a school that is more focused on producing scientists than football talent?

Answer that, Mr. Hamilton.

From what I understand, your former employer Clemson University, a school steeped in football tradition got rid of Tommy Bowden this season after going 17 years without an ACC Championship.

Certainly (and this comes from a guy who may or may not told Lloyd Carr that the game was passing him by on this same blog last football season) you can read this letter and do us Tennesseans all a big favor by ending what has been a nightmarish season in Knoxville and across the state.

From what my experts tell me, Dyersburg native Bradley Greer might be your best choice for head coach.

At least he knows how to motivate.

Yours for minimum wage and beer,

SGA Senator Doc Hancock

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Bone To Pick

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008

I have a bone to pick and I am going to talk about it right now.

You see, I have been in many debates regarding the best college football conference in America (I say it is the Big 12 right now, contrary to what many might guess when they think of me).  Now I need to note that I have been in these arguments against my own will because I am the type of guy that doesn’t give a shit.  I worry about Kentucky (and whatever is best for Kentucky) and that is about it.  I don’t have an opinion about much of anything else in life, especially the Big Ten conference (hell, I am not even a voter….*gasp*).

Regardless, there are people in my life who are Ohio State fans and thus they are Big Ten fans (aren’t there eleven teams in that conference?) who insist on debating with me on the best college football conference in America, the Big Ten or the SEC…(even though I don’t want to debate and I still say the Big 12 right now), as well as arguing the general shaft Ohio State apparently gets in the media, the rankings, etcetera.

The first argument I have heard is that with Beanie Wells, the Ohio State versus Southern California game would’ve been a whole different game (apparently one that wasn’t a blowout).  Well you know what, with last years offense, this year’s Kentucky defense would be undefeated.  Unfortunately Woodson and Company aren’t here anymore and that is just part of the game; a team has to adapt to what they do and don’t have.  Excuses are like assholes, everyone has got one but they all stink.

The second argument I have heard came two weeks ago when the new college football rankings came out and Texas Tech was ranked higher than an Ohio State team that had been recently embarrassed by USC this season…and LSU a year ago…and, oh yeah, Florida two years ago.  A certain friend of mine could not believe that Texas Tech was ranked higher than Ohio State.  Why did he/she feel this way?  Because he/she applied the same type of stereotype to Texas Tech (that they aren’t a historically good team) that most top 25 poll voters apply to their entire voting repertoire: if you were good 20 years ago, you’re good now and if you’re not a member of the college football elite, you don’t stand a chance.

Oh, by the way, Texas Tech beat #23 Kansas 63-21 today…

The third argument isn’t so much as an argument as it is just me ranting.  Watch this week’s Georgia versus LSU game and then watch this week’s Penn State versus Ohio State game and get a real grasp on the snooze fest that Big Ten football presents.  3-3 at Halftime?  Come. On.

To me, Ohio State fans are like the annoying WWE superstar who won’t admit defeat even when he loses a cage match to The Undertaker for the championship at WrestleMania.  They’re a “never-say-die” species no matter what the outcome is.  And yes, I agree, there is something to be said about perpetual support but there is also a fine line between what is realistic and what is simply annoying as all hell.

It may just be me but I have a strong desire for humility in all aspects of life and it often seems to me that Ohio State fans (and many other teams’ fans — I am looking at you, Kentucky basketball fanatics) not only lack the modesty that is required to be successful in college football but they also expect to be represented highly by the rankings, regardless of what happens on the field.

I realize that I am more pessimistic about my teams than most people are; however, what can you expect from a guy who has dealt with the futility of Kentucky football and the Cincinnati Reds as well as the obsurdity of the Cincinnati Bengals?

All that it takes to be a tolerable fan is to have some self-awareness about your team as well as legitimate expectations regarding results, rankings, and the media.

Except for the Bengals, they don’t deserve the time of day.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008

Discuss this article now over at ACC vs. SEC!: Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today

The last time the University of Kentucky Wildcats were ran out of a football stadium it was a 49-0 loss on the road to LSU during the 2006 season.  At that moment the Cats were 3-4 and at an impasse, if you will, on the season, forced to dig deep in order to recover.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Kentucky decided to finish strong, going 5-1 in their remaining six gamest including a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl, the Wildcats’ first Bowl game in seven years (at the time) and first Bowl victory since 1984.

Fast forward to 2008.  After an electrifying, albeit very late, 13 point comeback in the final five minutes of last week’s game against Arkansas, the Cats looked poised to turn their season around with quarterback Mike Hartline’s new found confidence — he did, after all, earn an ESPN helmet sticker for his two touchdown passes in the final four minutes against the Razorbacks.

Today, Kentucky took their 5-2 squad and 7th ranked scoring defense in to The Swamp to take on the mighty Florida Gators team that hung 51 points on the road against the same school that last dismantled my Wildcats.  The problem is someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today.

Florida scored 28 points in the first 12 minutes of the game — including two one-play touchdown drives on the heels of back-to-back blocked punts of Kentucky’s Tim Masthay.  Trust me, it didn’t get any prettier after that.  Add another blocked kick in the form of a Lones Seiber field goal attempt to go along with a Mike Hartline interception returned for a touchdown to start the Second Half and you have yourself the ingredients for a world class blowout.

Throw in some other random plays that were probably poorly defended (sorry for the lack of detail but I just couldn’t bear to watch) and you have a final score of 63-5 with a special thanks going to Florida punter Chas Henry for the botched punt that nearly doubled our score with a safety late in the 4th Quarter.  We needed all the help we could get.

After today’s embarrassing loss — coming two years to the month after the aforementioned spanking at the hands of LSU — many fans may be asking: where do we go from here?

Contrary to what some my expect, I am going to leave the crucifying to another blogger and go out on a limb and say that rest assured, Kentucky can still go up;  the wheels haven’t fallen off just yet.  Coach Brooks still has this team in a much better position now than it was when he inherited it in 2003 and anyone who disagrees can look directly at the recruiting classes between 2002 and 2009 (not to mention those two Music City Bowl victories he has lying around).

According to Scout.com, the 2002 recruiting class for the University of Kentucky contained 1 4-star, 1 3-star, and 17 1-star recruits.  In contrast, Brooks’ current class of 2009 high school graduates is comprised of 1 5-star, 1 4-star, 11 3-stars, 5 2-stars recruits, and only 1 1-star recruit, good enough for the 23rd best recruiting class in the Nation.

Unfortunately some reading this will say that the 2009 class cannot help us now and they’d be 100% correct.  But this blogger is not giving up on what the Wildcats still have on the field this year, understanding that there is a lot of talent that is no longer on the field thanks to injuries — most notably ones of the season-ending variety to super play makers Dicky Lyons, Jr. and Derrick Locke.

Kentucky is just a mere win away from being Bowl eligible for the third straight year and if the Wildcats can manage to squeak in to post-season play this season, it will be the first time since the Paul “Bear” Bryant era of the 1950s that this team has gone to three straight Bowl games, adding to the history the Rich Brooks-led Wildcats have already made.

At the end of the day Big Blue Nation never expected to beat Florida today, let alone win the National Championship this year, but what fans of Kentucky did expect is another Bowl appearance and another Bowl victory and both are still well within reach and that is what is most important, especially for recruiting.

Nevermind today’s loss; what is done is done and fans need to quickly move on because a loss by 58 and a loss by less than 8 are both still losses.  As embarrassed as I am by today’s performance, as many Big Blue fans are, we must implore the team to press on and come home from Starkville with a victory next week, setting the table for a three game stretch that includes Georgia and Tennessee with (hopefully) Bowl eligibility already in hand.

Despite the fact that the first exhibition basketball game is just 12 days from today, I urge the Wildcat faithful to not look towards basketball season too quickly.  Granted someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today but I am confident that it won’t happen again.

Not, at least, with what is on the line for the Cats over the next four games: making history.

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Football | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

SEC Rankings – Birthday Week

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 24, 2008

After two weeks away from the rankings due to a death in the family and with the season once again starting up in North Highland Park, I am back to present — with the help of new Lara Croft model Alison Carroll — the SEC power rankings for the week of October 19th.

1. Alabama (Relax, the Tide has learned their lessons from last year’s free-fall. Time to take care of business against the Vols.)

2. Florida (After thrashing LSU on October 11th, the Gators have Matt’s Wildcats heading to the Swamp. Of course this would mean another outstanding performance by Tebow.)

3. LSU (Apparently, the grace of Grace Walker saved the Bayou Bengals from losing to the Gamecocks. Not to mention a former Kentucky football player that is now a referee.)

4. Georgia (Tough road trip comes for Dawgs as they take on LSU in Death Valley.)

5. Vanderbilt (Still looking for that sixth win. It might come this Saturday.)

6. South Carolina (What team loses a game in which a referee makes a hit on your quarterback?)

7. Auburn (The Interstate Blood Bank on North Cleveland Street can help you with your anemic-ass offense.)

8. Ole Miss (Another valiant effort came up short against the Tide last Saturday. Now Coach Nutt heads back to Fayetteville for a “heartwarming” reunion.)

9. Kentucky (Can their defense stop the Gators and crush the Heisman hopes of Tim Tebow?)

10. Tennessee (For Vol fans who read this blog, the first basketball game is November 15th against Chattanooga.)

11. Arkansas (Men, your former coach is coming back to Fayetteville, what do you do?)

12. Mississippi State (For State fans who read this blog, the first basketball game is November 15th against Centenary.)

My time’s up. If you’re in the Memphis area, come see me perform every Tuesday night at Republic Coffee, 2924 Walnut Grove Road near the Central Library.

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The College Football Weekend That Was…

Posted by Baller on October 14, 2008

College Football’s Cinderella, Vanderbilt, toppled by lowly Mississippi State.

Auburn upended by a horrible Arkansas.

LSU humiliated by Florida.

Kentucky beaten by South Carolina (Yes, this is considered an upset.).

Michigan beaten for the first time by a MAC team in 25 attempts.

Now lets get into the Top 5: Oklahoma was beaten by rival Texas by ten points. Missouri was beaten by Oklahoma State. And aforementioned LSU was romped by Florida. So why is this happening two years in a row?

Why, for one hundred years were ranked teams mostly safe from upsets, especially when ranked in the Top 5, but now upsets seem to be happening over and over? Personally I enjoy seeing good teams get beat. I am a South Carolina fan and we are never good so we don’t have to worry about being “upset”. We just lose.

But ever since the scholarships were cut down to 85 the playing field from the big schools to the lower tier schools has become more and more even. Add in better equipped high school programs and better weight training at a younger age and you have more and more athletes around the country. There are also more athletes playing football now than any other sport and at any other time. No more sharing with baseball, only with basketball, mostly. Now in order to be a good program and a good team you have to recruit well but also you have to coach well and prepare your team well. No longer can you rely solely on speed and talent to win.

Just ask all the teams that have been beaten this year and last.

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Yes, Kasi, Vanderbilt Is 5-0

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 5, 2008

One thing about America is this: they love a great underdog story.

Whether it’s the New York Giants beating the New England Cheaters in this year’s Super Bowl or last September when the Appalachian State Mountaineers shocked the Michigan Wolverines, football in general over the last few years has given us plenty of surprises.

But Saturday night, in front of  a national audience and a sellout crowd at Vanderbilt Stadium, another surprising story took place as the Vanderbilt Commodores (that’s right, Vanderbilt) defeated my beloved Auburn Tigers 14-13 to move to 5-0, their best start since World War II.

Did I mention that for the first time since my birth year (1984) the ‘Dores were ranked heading into the game?

Number 19, to be exact.

And while Auburn and their horrendous offense trekked out to a 13-0 lead, many of the faithful in Nashville began to have the same feeling that Cub fans like fellow TNB scribe Bob Swerski had going into this postseason.

Obviously, while the feeling quickly died away as Vanderbilt’s defense stepped and made plays and backup quarterback MacKensie Adams, filling in for injured starter Chris Nickson who aggravated his shoulder in the beginning of the game, made sure that the Vanderbilt football curse, real or imagined, stay at bay for at least another week.

And when Auburn tried to come up with a game-winning drive and make it 14 straight against the Commodores, Myron Lewis made two signature plays that slammed the door on the Tigers, including an interception of a pass by Chris Todd with a little over 2 minutes to go in the game.

Talk about Music City Miracle II.

What was amazing about this win over the Plainsmen was the fact that bowl representatives from every corner of the world was there to see if Vanderbilt, long known as the butt of jokes in the SEC and the college football world, could be for real.

If there was any notion of how real this Vanderbilt squad, let it be known that should Vanderbilt drown out the cowbells in Starkville this Saturday, Vanderbilt will have the magical six wins they’ve been craving for for 26 years.

And at a time like this maybe Vanderbilt, like the other state schools in the SEC football, rightfully deserves their moment in the sun.

It’s been 26 years in the making.

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College Football 2008: The First Week Of The Upsets

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 30, 2008

This past week those in the college football world noticed an astonishing turn of events. USC lost its golden armor, UGA lost their strength, Florida lost its super powers, and the rabid Badgers could not handle the rabid Wolverines. This past weekend was the end of the road for one team and the beginning for others.

Let’s start with USC and Oregon State. USC came into this game with a little bit of arrogance. Everyone was talking about how they would run the table in the Pac-10 and that there wasn’t a team that could stop them this season. Well Oregon State heard what was being said and didn’t like it one bit. Oregon State jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Trojans and took it from there. The one problem for Oregon State, however, was that they began to play, “let’s not lose the lead by turnovers” and went three and out on their next four possesions. USC, on the other hand, took their first two possesions of the second half and made it a 7 point game. Oregon State would intercept a Mark Sanchez pass and turn it in to a touchdown, saving what could’ve easily turned out to be a coemback win for USC. The lesson here is: if you’re beating a team at the end of the first half, continue doing what was working. If you’re winning because you’re attacking don’t stop attacking until the game is in hand.

Next we’ll go to the battle between Georgia and Alabama. There isn’t much that can be said about this game as Alabama came out ready to play and Georgia didn’t. Alabama jumped out to a 31-0 lead on UGA before Saban came down with a case of conservativitis. Though the Tide would only score 10 more points it prooved to be enough against the Bulldogs. The final score was 41-30 with UGA scoring two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes. Another lesson of what could possibly happen when you become too conservative: had Alabama not scored those ten points we would be looking at a 31-30 game where UGA would probably take the extra point on the first of their last two touchdowns leading to a 32-31 Georgia win. Granted Alabama scored 10 points but you can’t just change your game plan because you’re winning big in the first half. Keep doing what was working until the other team learns how to stop it or until the game is in hand.

Now we’re off to Gainesville, Florida — the site for the Rebels and Gators shoot-out. Florida would have problems with their offense yielding three fumbles and two turnovers-on-downs. Ole Miss threw one interception and had one turnover-on-downs of their own but they would also add a field goal and 4 touchdowns to compensate for their mistakes. The game was over when Urban Meyer decided to take a chance on 4th and 1 instead of giving their senior kicker, who hasn’t missed a field goal this season, a chance from 49 yards out. Florida had the lead going into the second half but Ole Miss came out in the third quarter and scored 17 unanswered points to take the lead again by 7. Florida scored to tie it in the fourth quarter but Ole Miss would answer for yet another 7 point lead. Florida drove down the field and put the ball in the end zone one last time but had their extra point blocked and their fate sealed. The lesson here is that no matter how good your team is, you can always be plagued by turnovers.

Our final stop is The Big House, where Michigan was playing their 500th game against the undefeated Badgers. Michigan lost four fumbles and threw an interception, all in the first half, and when Wisconsin took a 19-0 lead going into halftime, many people probably thought, “Jeez, this game is over. It’s 19-0 and Michigan has turned it over 5 times.” Don’t tell that to Rich Rodriguez and his team, though, as they came out in the second half with a passion. With a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter Kevin Koger would catch a Steven Threet touchdown pass drawing the score within 12, 19-7. With a little over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter Brandon Minor would race 34 yards for another touchdown, suddenly making it a 5 point game. The first play of Wisconsin’s ensuing drive would give the Wolverines their first lead of the game, as Linebacker John Thompson would take an interception the distance for a score and 5 minutes later Sam McGuffie would punch in a two yard run giving the Wolverines a 27-19 lead. The game wasn’t over yet, though, as Wisconsin would score with 19 seconds left in the game, needing only a two point conversion to tie it up. Everidge would complete the two point conversion, but to an ineligible receiver. The illegal man downfield penalty would force Wisconsin back 5 yards for another attempt and this time the pass sailed high to clinch the Wolverines stunning 27-25 comeback. The lesson here is that no team is ever out of a game until that final whistle blows.

None of these teams are out of the National Title picture by any means, with the only exception likely being Wisconsin. The Badgers droped to 17 in the AP poll and 18 in the USA Today Poll. Florida is down to 12, while UGA is 11th and USC is 9th. Florida and Georgia have the best chances of getting back to the top considering strength of schedule and also assuming that neither team loses again. Granted one of them will lose when they play eachother but the team that goes undefeated the rest of the way will have a good chance at the National Championship game. USC also has a solid shot at making it back to the big game but they will have to hope that certain teams lose while they finish their Pac-10 schedule unscathed. Nonetheless it is shaping up to be yet another very exciting college football season.

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SEC Rankings – Week 4

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 26, 2008

Your neighborhood Mapco Express and Huddle House would like to present you the SEC Rankings for the week of September 21st. These rankings are brought you in part also by the Cellular South and Yum’s, located in the beautiful Springdale neighborhood at the corner of North Hollywood and Jackson Avenue.

1. Florida (The third Saturday in September looked more like a massacre of sorts at Neyland Stadium.)

2. Georgia (Trip to Arizona State proved to be beneficial as Bulldogs left the Valley of the Sun with a win over the Sun Devils.)

3. LSU (Saturday’s game against Auburn was indeed an instant classic.)

4. Alabama (Apparently the Tide made Petrino wish he was back in Atlanta coaching the first-place Falcons.)

5. Vanderbilt (If the Rays can make the playoffs, certainly the ‘Dores can get to a bowl game.)

6. Kentucky (Will the bye week prepare the ‘Cats for their SEC opener next week?)

7. Auburn (Close game against LSU Saturday echoed memories of the 1994 Auburn-LSU game. Now it’s time for War Eagle to beat the stuffing out of Dr. Greer’s beloved Tennessee Volunteers.)

8. Ole Miss (Again, the Rebels lose to Vanderbilt.)

9. Tennessee (In church Sunday, my pastor talked about how he went up to Knoxville to pray for the football team. Apparently, that didn’t help.)

10. South Carolina (It was Wofford, people.)

11. Arkansas (See above for why the Razorbacks so low on my rankings this week.)

12. Mississippi State (Gave up 3 points to Auburn September 13th, and then play sloppy against Georgia Tech? Only in Starkville.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. Pick up my debut book, “Candy Bars and Fly Balls” at Bookstar in Poplar Plaza and the Crichton College Bookstore in North Highland Park.

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Entitlement…

Posted by Baller on September 26, 2008

Entitlement. An amazing word. What do we as fans do that makes us believe we deserve something from complete strangers? We expect kids, 17-21 year olds, to live out what we could not accomplish ourselves. If a coach, who has years more experience attacking a certain situation goes against what we think is right, then we rip that coach apart and say he needs to be fired.

Am I aside from this?

No, I get caught up in the heat of the moment as some of you have seen. I have also been on the coaching side of things as well and understand what coaches go through. Now to be specific I am a South Carolina Gamecock, through and through. But there is one thing I am beginning to get sick of though: The lack of loyalty since Spurrier’s arrival.

It seems to me since Spurrier’s hire that fans have begun to assume or expect more out of our team; but what of our 100+ year history has you expecting more? Building a program takes time and we spent way too long not building one. Lou began building us the right way, like it or not, and Spurrier is continuing. I am a student at USC and I’m sick of reading articles in “The Gamecock” bashing our team. First, they don’t double check their stats and get facts wrong and second, they have not been fans of USC long enough to really care.

My second gripe with USC fans is the booing. How can you boo someone in a Gamecock jersey? Are you serious? Since when do we do that? Are we in Philly? Are we Clemson? Have some loyalty. NO! Have some class. We are known for having the best fans in the country; we need to start showing it. We do not have a top tier program so I am not sure what you are expecting when you step into Williams-Brice. If you are expecting Spurrier’s teams from the 90s, well defenses have caught up and athletes are way more abundant. So how about you cheer for your Gamecocks, rain or shine, because when we finally do shine… it is going feel so amazing.

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OSU At USC: In Review

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 18, 2008

Saturday September 13, 2008 the Buckeyes participated in the “Clash in the Collisieum” with the USC Trojans. I wouldn’t even really call it a clash, it was a clash between USC’s offense and OSU’s defense but it was a pillow fight when Ohio State was on offense — and USC put a piece of steel in their pillow cases.

The Trojans came out ready to play and beat the Buckeyes into submission. Mark Sanchez was 17/28 for four touchdowns and one interception. He threw for 172 yards and was never sacked. Joe McKnight led the Trojans rushing offense with 12 carries for 105 yards and with Stafon Johnson only getting 4 carries for 23 yards, it’s easy to say that McKnight is Carroll’s choice for the running back position. On the other side of the ball, the Trojan defense was impeccable, forcing two interceptions and a fumble to go along with five sacks. The Trojans were just fired up for this game and dominated the Buckeyes from start to finish.

The Buckeyes came into this game with one thing on their mind: National Championship or nothing. And honestly it seems as if they’ll come away with nothing this year. The Bucks couldn’t get anything going on offense after their second drive resulted in a field goal. They had a total of 207 yards, with 136 passing yards combined between Boeckman and Pryor. Boeckman was 14/21– not a bad percentage — but when thats only for 84 yards with two interceptions, one of which goes for a touchdown, it is not as impressive. Pryor was 7/9 for 52 yards, really not bad for a freshman who’s supposed weapon is running — which he had 11 attempts for 40 yards and was Ohio State’s second leading rusher for the game. No Chris Wells for Ohio State really hurt them as a team because the running game seems to struggle without him, but you can’t rely on just one running back. Ohio State was sacked 5 times (Boeckman 4 times, Pryor once) and  that doesn’t shine too well for the veteran offensive line.

In the end the game was pretty much decided at halftime when a touchdown was called back for Ohio State and Boeckman proceeded to throw a pick six to Ray Mauluga — who looked to have stepped out of bounds on the play.  But none the less it was 21-3, USC. When you don’t win the turnover margin, you’re most likely going to lose the game. The Trojans only turned the ball over once when, with 6 seconds left in the first half, Sanchez threw a pass into the end-zone that was intercepted. The Buckeyes however threw two interceptions and lost the ball a third time on a fumble.

“The Trojans proved to everyone why they’re the best team in the nation.”

This is being said by a lot of college football analysts. Don’t make me laugh, the Trojans don’t deserve the number one slot just yet. Sure, they beat Virginia 52-7 and the Buckeyes 35-3, but Viriginia is a team that is in a rebuilding year and Ohio State even had trouble with Ohio University. I understand that Ohio State is a good team and with Chris Wells I’m sure that it wouldn’t have been 35-3.  Having Chris Wells in the huddle is a huge boost in confidence for that Ohio State offense. However, the Trojans haven’t played against #2 Oklahoma, #3 Georgia, or #4 Florida and won’t unless they face one of them in the National Championship. You simply can’t imply that because USC beat Ohio State then that makes them the best team in the country. USC has a pretty breezy schedule from here on out, their toughest game is against Oregon on October 4th while Arizona State could give them a pretty good game as well. Right now the number one thing that USC is worried about is not getting depantsed by Stanford again.

Ohio State will be looking to rebound this weekend against Troy, a team that is averaging 45 points per game and beat a strong Middle Tennessee State team 31-17.  After having their game with LSU postponed, Troy took down Alcorn State 65-0. Ohio State needs to make sure that they don’t do with Troy what they did with Ohio and underestimate them as a team. Ohio State should win this one, but don’t be surprised if they struggle early. The final point here, is that if Ohio State doesn’t beat Troy by more than 14, then you can count on them losing the Big Ten to either Wisconsin or Penn State.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

SEC Rankings – Week 3

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 16, 2008

After watching a thrilling baseball game on the football field in Starkville and inching closer and closer towards my 24th birthday, I am back again with my SEC power rankings for the week of September 14th.

1. Florida (After Georgia stumbled against South Carolina Saturday, the Gators are at the top of my power rankings after their Bye Week. Up next for the Gators is a tough Tennessee team looking to do nothing more than pull off the upset.)

2. LSU (Impressive showing against North Texas, now it’s time for War Eagle to try to beat a tattoo on the Bayou Bengals.)

3. Georgia (Sorry, Dawg fans, lackluster win against the Gamecocks doesn’t really carry weight this time around, does it?)

4. Alabama (Another impressive win over a cupcake. Big deal.)

5. Auburn (The Tigers could have used the bat of Bo Jackson on Saturday night. Now they’re going to probably need the same luck from 1994.)

6. Tennessee (Upset could put Vols back in the SEC East hunt.)

7. Kentucky (This time the grace of God saved the Wildcats against Middle Tennessee.)

8. Vanderbilt (3-0 meaning that the ‘Dores are three wins away from Bowl eligibilty.)

9. Arkansas (Bye Week gives Razorbacks a chance to rest up for their SEC opener.)

10. Ole Miss (The columnist has no reason for the Rebels right now, please leave a message.)

11. Mississippi State (An ‘E’ for effort against War Eagle Saturday.)

12. South Carolina (Is the fat lady warming up for the Gamecocks?)

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Doc Hancock’s Grand Tour Of C-USA: Houston Cougars

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 12, 2008

Editor’s Note: My apologies to Doc and company, it is my fault this is late to the presses. Thanks, Management.

Houston Cougars

Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (1st year)

Stadium: Robertson Stadium (32,000)

2007 Record: 8-5 (6-2 C-USA West)

Postseason: Lost to TCU 20-13 in Texas Bowl

Key Returnees on Offense: QB Case Keenum

Key Returnees on Defense: NT Eli Ash, DT Tate Stewart, DE Phillip Hunt, LB Cody Lubojasky, CB Brandon Brinkley, SS Ernest Miller, FS Kenneth Fontennette

The Skinny: After an 8-5 record in 2007 under coach Art Briles, the Cougars said goodbye to the longtime coach, who went to Waco to try his hand at turning around Baylor’s fortunes on the gridiron and hello to Kevin Sumlin, who spent five seasons at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops. With that he also brings in Dana Holgorsen, who served as offensive coordinator at Texas Tech to implement a new offensive scheme coupled with the offensive attack Briles had during his time at Houston. Case Keenum will be back for his sophomore season after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in his freshman season. The downside of it was the fact that Keenum also had 10 interceptions. But while he put up impressive numbers with his arm, he also put up impressive numbers with his feet, rushing for 412 yards and 9 touchdowns.

On defense, the Cougars will welcome back end Phillip Hunt, who led the team in sacks with 10.5 and safety Kenneth Fontennette, who was second in tackles for the Cougars in 2007 with 69.

Doc’s Prediction: After another banner season in 2007, the first without Kevin Kolb at quarterback, who is now studying under Donovan McNabb in Philly, the Cougars again will challenge the Golden Hurricane for the C-USA West title. With the Golden Hurricane coming for a visit November 15th, every game before that is nothing more than a warmup for the showdown with Tulsa.

Projected Record: 9-4 (6-2)

2008 Houston Cougars Schedule

August 30th-Southern

September 6th-@ Oklahoma State

September 13th-Air Force

September 20th-@ Colorado State

September 27th-@ East Carolina

October 11th-UAB

October 18th-@ Southern Methodist

October 28th-@ Marshall

November 8th-Tulane

November 15th-Tulsa

November 22nd-Texas El-Paso

November 29th-@ Rice

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SEC Rankings – Week 2

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 11, 2008

After a week of being on best behavior and saying goodbye to North Highland Park’s greatest basketball player, I have once again returned to present to you the SEC Power Rankings for the week of September 7th.

1. Georgia (The real season begins this week when the Bulldogs face South Carolina.)

2. Florida (Impressive win against Miami on Saturday and plenty of momentum to go into next weekend’s showdown with Tennessee at Neyland.)

3. LSU (Bye week gives the Bayou Bengals plenty of time to rest up for the showdown with Auburn.)

4. Alabama (Two impressive wins so far this season will make another dogfight in the SEC West.)

5. Auburn (As Director of Hottie Recruitment and Auburn fan Joel Pierce said to me Saturday, there’s room for improvement for the boys from the Plains.)

6. Kentucky (Relax, it was a bad Louisville team and Norfolk State. Their ranking isn’t going to be that  high for long on the power rankings.)

7. Tennessee (Dr. Greer, I think you better fork over my BBQ ‘n Coke come September 27th when Auburn beats a tattoo on the most overrated team not named Clemson.)

8. Ole Miss (That team didn’t look like the team from the Coach O era on Saturday against Wake Forest, did it?)

9. Vanderbilt (2-0 on 25th Avenue South? Quick, call Satan!!!)

10. Arkansas (Hogs will have to wait to take their beating by the Longhorns. That will come September 27th by the way.)

11. South Carolina (The Spurrier “I Quit” Watch is on in Columbia.)

12. Mississippi State (Dawgs hit the .500 mark and I’m still building my stable of young ladies to talk to.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. Enjoy your Saturday of college football and read my book, “Candy Bars and Fly Balls”, available online and also in stores around the Memphis area.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

USC Or OSU? The Debate Is On!

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 11, 2008

The debate may even date back to the last time Southern Cal and Ohio State played: who would win in a match-up between OSU and USC?

The last time they played was back during the 89-90 season when USC “beat” the Buckeyes. The Trojans and Buckeyes were playing in brutal weather, Ohio State scored with a two point conversion to put them down 35-26. The referee called USC’s coach and OSU’s coach together to confer about the game being called. Ohio State’s coach said that if they didn’t get the onside kick back then they could call the game, which is what happened. The game was called after the Trojans recovered the ball. To make it even worse for the Buckeyes’ coach is that after the teams and fans left the stadium, the weather cleared. So the debate continues, who would win in a game between Ohio State and Southern Cal? We all have a chance of finding that out this Saturday.

Let’s just start by saying, the #5 Buckeyes are 2-0 and the #1 Trojans are 1-0. OK so they’re both undefeated, that doesn’t mean much since neither team has played many games. What does matter however, is who they’ve beaten. Ohio State shut down Youngstown State 43-0, oh you mean you’ve never heard of the Penguins? They’re an FCS team that used to be coached by OSU’s current coach, Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes looked horrific in their second game of the season without Chris “Beanie” Wells as they held off THE Ohio University 26-14, you mean you’ve never heard of the Bobcats either? They’re a team from the Mid-American Conference and are actually pretty good, but their games aren’t normally televised unless they’re are playing someone like OSU. Ohio State has a long road ahead of them if they continue to play like that. Although it was more than likely a time where you know you are playing a team at the top of the polls and look ahead towards them and don’t worry about a team that you should beat senseless, you still have to take it one game at a time.

The USC Trojans manhandled a Virginia Cavaliers team that looked pretty confused when they played. The final score was 52-7 and the Cavaliers looked as if they were sleep walking trough the game. Mark Sanchez may have had great numbers in that game but there were several throws that he made that the Cavalier defense just didn’t capitalize on. Other than Sanchez the running backs did pretty well too, but again the Cavalier defense just isn’t what it used to be.

Ohio State will have a tough time against the USC offense if they play like they did against Ohio, although I don’t think USC will spread the field nearly as much as the Bobcats did. If I were Pete Carroll though, I would be spreading that field like crazy, seeing as how the Buckeyes have a history of not being able to stop it. The Trojans need to get Sanchez to make smarter throws and realize that what he did against Virginia won’t work against Ohio State. Also, why not give the running backs the ball some more? C.J Gable and Joe McKnight combined for only 13 carries and 133 yards. Granted the Trojans ended with 208 yards on the ground but you’re two best backs only took the ball 13 times. I know that Carroll probably wanted to give Sanchez some good game experience against Virginia before facing Ohio State but you have 3 good running backs in Gable, McKnight and Stafon Johnson, get them some experience too.

As for Ohio State there is really only two things they need to do on offense: block a lot better than they did against Ohio and put Terrelle Pryor in for more than just two plays. They need to pull a 2006 Florida and work Boeckman and Pryor so that the defense can never get used to one quarterback.

There really is no clear cut winner. Ohio State fans are going to say that they’re going to win, and if they end up losing they’ll probably try to find an excuse like they did in 2006 when Florida beat them. USC fans are going to say that they’re going to win, and if they end up losing they’ll probably try to find an excuse such as not having an experienced quarterback.

As for my opinion I believe that Ohio State ends up winning the game on the fact that Sanchez isn’t ready for a big game this early. If the game was later in the season I would probabaly go with USC but Ohio State wins this one by a score.

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South Carolina Dropped the Ball… Again…

Posted by Baller on September 8, 2008

The Gamecocks messed up when Lou Holtz retired by hiring Coach Steve Spurrier.

Now, before you jump all over me, I praised the university for this hire at the time, but as the saying goes hindsight is always 20/20. No coach in the 1990s could outscore or outwit the “Ol’ Ball Coach”, but that was then and this is now. Ever since Steve made the jump to the National Football League he has not been able to catch back up to the college game.

“He doesnt have the athletes he had at Florida though at South Carolina.”  Are you kidding? We had the #2 WR class in the country two years ago and the year before that we had the most kids out of the state of Florida. This is Spurrier’s 4th year and his offense is still not working.   Has the Run ‘N’ Gun ran it’s course? No, the ‘Run N Gun’ is still used across the country with success, even in Division 1A. So we can not use the excuse that his offense doesnt even work.

So whats wrong with South Carolina? I am not even going to begin to believe that I know what is wrong, but when I look back at past UF games, the routes his WRs ran are not being run at South Carolina. His OL at South Carolina is not blocking like it did at UF. And why hasn’t he fired John Hunt? There are better coaches out there that would love to coach at South Carolina. But I digress about Coach Spurrier; he will go down as one of the greatest coaches of the 90s, and possibly ever. That’s it though.

What we should have done: In 2004, when Coach Holtz stepped down, we should have hired Skip Holtz as our new Head Coach. Carolina fans never gave Skip a chance when he was at Carolina because when he was “offensive coordinator” his father had full control over his calls and didnt let him open the offense up. I never remember hearing a Carolina fan saying, lets keep Skip Holtz so I dont want anyone posting that in here.

South Carolina’s future:  So why do we need Skip Holtz? ECU went 4-8, 1-11, and 2-9 before he came. Yes his first year they went 5-6. But since then, they have gone 7-6 and lost their bowl game and 8-5 and won their bowl game. Currently they are 2-0 ranked #14 with back to back wins against ranked opponents. He has done this with two stars and three stars. Last year’s class? Ranked 81st by Rivals. That means he is able to get things done without elite talent. Imagine what he could do with SEC talent like he would have at USC. I think he would have us on the right track in no time. His style of play is that of his father’s, not that flashy but it gets the job done. Hard-nosed defense, wrap-up tackling, turnovers, smart QB play and fast RBs.

Please Skip. Come back to South Carolina.

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