Monday, October 24, 2011

Alabama-Stanford? The Trash-talking Before That Game Would Be Delicious


Random thoughts from the weekend:

  • What would the spread be for a national title game between the Alabama/LSU winner and Clemson?  At least ten points, right?  The assumption would be that the SEC Champion would slow down the Clemson offense and would be able to do whatever they choose to do on the other side of the ball.  If North Carolina can manage 6.6 yards per play in a game at Clemson (albeit with six turnovers), then what would Alabama and LSU manage?  An Alabama/LSU game against Stanford would be more interesting because Stanford is a balanced team.  Plus, with the media’s obsession about quarterbacks to the detriment of paying attention to anything else (Exhibit A), there will be some distorted sense that Stanford is favored because they have Andrew Luck.  With the runaway popularity of the NFL and the ability to sell a storyline based around and individual, ESPN would be thrilled to pair a traditional power against Stanford in the title game, certainly as compared to Clemson or Oklahoma State taking the second spot.
  • So who thought that Ole Miss would be competitive with Arkansas?  The sad thing for Ole Miss is that they played their best game of the year, they led for the majority of the game, they rallied back when Arkansas took the lead, and then when they recovered an onside kick and had a chance to win the game, they left their fans with a rotten taste in their mouths.  Ole Miss ran two plays after recovering the onside kick at 29-24.  The first play was a sack.  Then, after an interminable delay getting lined up, Randall Mackey threw an interception into double coverage.  The prevailing sense I got from the conclusion was that Ole Miss has never thought to practice a two-minute drill because they assumed that they would never have the chance to use it.
  • Bo Pelini, the vintage Nebraska teams would not have allowed a 34-0 halftime lead over an overmatched opponent turn into a 41-14 final.  Tom Osborne would have beaten Minnesota by at least 65-3.
  • Georgia Tech was leading the nation in yards per play through their first six games.  In the last two weeks, they have gained 507 yards total on 4.1 yards per play.  Apparently, it’s not just teams with byes that can stop the Jacket offense because Miami had their way with Tech.  Now, a game that previously looked like a chance for the ACC to take the national spotlight has instead turned into a match-up between one team contending for the national title and a second trying to play spoiler.
  • In case you are wondering, I took great enjoyment from watching Gene Chizik on the sideline on Saturday.
  • And speaking of Instant Karma, Wisconsin got a taste of it on Saturday, as well.  You wait until October 22 to play a road game?  How about losing on a final-play hail mary, all while your coach makes a series of inexplicable tactical decisions?
  • How bad does Northwestern’s defense have to be to allow 34 points to Penn State in three quarters?  And why exactly was Pat Fitzgerald seen as such a great coaching candidate for Michigan (among other jobs) during the offseason?
  • Brian Kelly, how does it feel to get outcoached by Lane Kiffin?  Lane Kiffin!  Notre Dame built everything towards this game against USC – night game, huge recruiting weekend, four-game winning streak etc. – and then got totally dominated.  USC outgained the Irish by 176 yards and won the turnover battle 3-0.  31-17 flattered Notre Dame.