Monday, November 14, 2005
Sure this weekend had a lot of great football...
but imagine how great Florida-USC, Bama-LSU, and Auburn-Georgia would have been if they would have been a triple-header at the Meadowlands! One day, SEC football might be able to equal the passion of a bunch of mercenaries cheered on by fans wearing sweet hats like this, right Peter? We can only dare to dream. Anyway, on with the thoughts on this weekend:
1. ESDBS makes a great point on Urban Meyer: if you line his expected first-year record up against those of Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel, Mark Richt, Nick Saban, or Bob Stoops, then he doesn't look so bad. His offense is very unique and it would stand to reason that it would take him a while to get it humming. On the other hand, there are two factors weighing against this defense:
a. Meyer inherited a ton of talent from his good recruiting, but bad everything elseing predecessor. It's not as if he was taking over the burning carcasses left by Gerry DiNardo or John Blake. It's possible that Zook's recruiting classes were overrated, it's possible that it takes at least a year to disinfect the Florida players from their creeping Zookism, or it's possible that Meyer is struggling despite a very talented roster.
b. Charlie Weis is 7-2 with a team that was 11-13 for the past two years. Steve Spurrier is 7-3 with a team that went 11-12 for the past two years. Weis got his job after Meyer passed on the Notre Dame job to head to Gainesville. Spurrier got his job after passing on the Florida job to take over in Columbia. Hence, Meyer will always be compared to those two. Right now, the comparison doesn't look good.
(And by the way, I loved the Axis & Allies reference. There were all sorts of pitched battles for all-important Karelia at the ol' homestead during high school. And yet I was mystefied that women didn't want to shag.)
2. There's just something dislikeable about Chris Leak. I can't put my finger on it, but he has that "Marino in the Twilight" ability to get way too bitchy at his own teammates when things aren't going well. He just doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who can turn things around when times are tough (and friends just can't be found.) Then again, when rallying, it helps to have pass plays in the playbook that go more than ten yards downfield. Or a hurry-up offense.
3. A Florida friend e-mailed me today with the following subject line: "hello from the depths of despair."
4. Going into the 4th quarter of the Alabama-LSU game, I uncontroversially pronounced that the only way that Alabama was going to win would be if they could dodge bullets until overtime and then hope for a turnover or a missed field goal from LSU. From LSU's last drive of the second quarter on, the Tigers were a markedly superior team on both sides of the ball. JaMarcus seems to be progressing fairly well. I wonder how Ryan "I'm coming to Baton Rouge to start this year" Perrilloux feels about that.
5. My friend Ben e-mailed today to ask if Bama fans would react differently to Brodie Croyle if he was Black. Personally, I agree with the inference that Croyle is overrated. Yes, his protection isn't very good and his receivers don't do much to help him out, but if I had a nickel over the past few weeks for every time Croyle missed an open receiver deep and then made the James Jackson face (those of you who watched Georgia in the mid-80s surely remember the oft-beleaguered James Jackson hoofing the ball 60 yards downfield and miles over everybody's head before looking back at the sideline, half disgusted and half wondering what went wrong,) I'd have enough to be a Greek shipping magnate (and that's when the fun begins.) On the other hand, Croyle doesn't turn the ball over much, so he's at least innocuous, kinda like his look-alike Ringo Starr. Anyway, I suspect that Bama fans would be very critical of a quarterback, White or Black, if he wasn't playing well. These are, after all, people who tend to place a high importance on winning (but not as much as Lou from Yonkers who wants to talk about the Giants' punt coverage.) The ameliorating factors for Bama fans are: (1) Croyle's Dad, who was a star for the Bear; and (2) Croyle's hype coming out of high school. Brodie also signed with the Tide in the aftermath of the disastrous 2000 season and stuck with the program through probation and a litany of coaches, so there's some loyalty credit there, as well.
6. I wish I knew how Bama's running game was so good in the first half and completely non-existent in the second stanza. They seemed to be onto something when they started running toss-sweeps and then I don't recall Bama sticking with those plays in the second half, but I may just be crazy.
7. This has probably been beaten to death, but what possible justification did Mark Richt have for not letting Auburn score once they had first and goal from the two with 90 seconds to go? If you let them score, then you have 90 seconds to drive down the field and score a touchdown. What are the odds of that in college football with the clock stopping after first downs, a hot quarterback, and a titanic tight end who cannot be single-covered and who would be an ideal target for an end-of-game jump ball? 20%? 25%? Now, what are the odds that Auburn fumbles the ball (especially when they're focused on keeping it,) misses a glorified PAT, or allows Georgia to score on a five-second drive? 1% each? How is it that both of Richt's biggest end-of-game boo-boos have occurred at home against Auburn?
8. On the long 4th and ten pass to Aromashodu, did anyone else have flashbacks to the '04 Tennessee game, where Tennessee scored on their opening drive because they converted two third and longs by getting Georgia safeties to blow assignments and leave receivers uncovered way down the field? Georgia seems to have problems with their safeties making bad decisions at critical times in zone coverage. And don't you think that Al Borges knew that when he dialed up the "Seamers" play from the one-back, three-wide formation in NCAA '06?
9. Some day, I'd like to do a college fight song version of "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy," the book about famous ways that people have butchered rock lyrics. I'd have to start with my wife's version of the Auburn fight song. My indoctrination efforts have imparted some of the lyrics to her and she's taken the rest and run with it. From the woman who brought me "Hail, Hail to Michigan, the Champions of the World":
"War Eagle, fly down the field/always to conquer, never to yield/War Eagle, fearless and true/fight on, you orange and blue"
"War Eagle, fly down the field/put down your sword and pick up your shield/War Eagle, fearless and true/he's good to me and he's good to you"
Maybe you have to know Andrea to find this sort of lyrical butchering amusing. Her abuse of lyrics and foreign names (Pedro Stojakovic, Blobbity Divac, Hedo Turkogooloo...and that was just one night at Philips Arena) are a terrific source of comedy. Anyway, I can't stop laughing at the idea of the bird who's a friend to all or a team that sings about its commitment to disarmament.