Labor Day Bar-BQ and Cupcakes

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The start of college football season on Labor day weekend is a great American tradition.  A not so great tradition has become the large number of cupcake games.  Games where one school pays another to be a punching bag.  The worst offenders of this is the SEC.  It’s bad enough that these teams seldom travel out of there time zone.  But now scheduling teams such as Elon, Missouri State, Kent, Montana and Western Kentucky is a joke.  The SEC has collectively opted to avoid playing more conference games in exchange for games against division II schools in many cases.  This is how the SEC maintains the illusion of being a superior conference.  Extra homes games, weak non-conference games and they never leave their time zone.  I do give credit to LSU for scheduling Oregon today though Oregon will have to travel cross country to play the game.  I’m glad its finally college football season and it will be the perfect weekend if someone chokes on a cupcake.

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Alabama’s loving that Texas Home Cooking!

Today was one of the best days in college football that I have seen in a while.  With so much on the line, everyone left it all on the field.  With much focus on the BCS National Championship, I began the day really believing that Texas and Florida would fall leaving TCU to play Alabama in Pasadena.  Though that did not happen, there is some speculation that the Horned Frogs could jump the Horned Cows in the BCS standing.  As I watched Texas struggle against a strong Nebraska defense, it seemed that Nick Sabans worst nightmare was about to come true:  The possibility of losing another bowl game to a Mountain West team.  After being completely dominated by Utah last year in the Sugar Bowl, it appeared that Alabama would now have to face TCU, a fast, well balanced team that has traveled to the west coast several times this season for away games.  This scenario would put tremendous pressure on Nick Saban because he would not only be expected to beat a team from a ‘non-BCS conference’, but would have to do it against, arguably the best team in the country.  Of the remaining undefeateds, TCU probably matches up the best with Bama.  This appeared to be the match up as Sixty minutes into the game, Nebraska had pulled the upset, but the officials determined that Texas still had one second to make things right.  In watching the play in real time, it did appear that time had expired, but slowing down and scrutinizing the replay gave Texas a chance to win. 

So now Texas will go to Pasadena to take on the Tide.  If those guys in Vegas saw what I saw, I expect Alabama to be a heavy favorite, a larger favorite than they would be against TCU.  Alabama’s defense will cause the same problems for the Horned Cows that the Children of Corn brought to Texas tonight.  The difference will be that Alabama actually has an offense and will be able to score points on the Horned Cows.  In a game against TCU, I would expect a high scoring shoot out with a swarming TCU defense to tame the Roll of the Tide.  Though this will be Alabama’s first game west of the Mississippi and first game in another time zone, travel will not be a factor as they match up to dominate Texas.  It may be an entertaining game for a half, but at the end of the day, it will be like shooting Horned Cows in a barrel.

Charlie Weiss should look at USC, not the NFL

When Charlie Weiss was fired this week, it was immediately reported that six NFL teams had already contacted him.  It would seem natural for him to return to the pro league considering his previous success, but before doing anything hasty, consider the following.  Yes, Weiss failed as a head coach at Notre Dame, though I would argue that he maintained the status quo, but why split hairs.  Botton line is that he is out and as he considers his next gig, he should consider staying in college.

Returning to the NFL at this stage in his career would be a giant step backwards.  With his Superbowl pedigree, he still could not get a head coaching position in the NFL.  You can speculate why, maybe because he had Tom Brady right under his nose and did not recognize the greatness until Bledsoe got injured.  Maybe the NFL is more focused on affirmative action for head coaches or maybe he simply has Norm Chow disease.  Whatever the reason, a return to the NFL would be to tread water for the rest of his career as a Coordinator with the possibility of landing a head coaching position in a no win situation like Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo or Tampa.  Rather than pursuing that bad dream, I think Weiss should consider USC and USC should do like wise.  It would be a great fit for him as the Offensive Coordinator for the following reasons:

  • USC already runs a pro-style offense, so Weiss’ knowledge would be valuable and easy to adapt.
  • Weiss would have the opportunity to be mentored by Pete Carroll and truly learn the nuances of being a successful head coach in college without being under the microscope, something he won’t get in the NFL.
  • Many USC Coordinators go on to be successful head coaches at other major universities
  • Though Weiss did not win a lot of games, he demonstrated that his offense can put up a lot of points, something that USC lacked this year.
  • USC recruits the top skilled players in the country and many of them go to USC because it is their best route to the NFL.  Weiss and Carroll together would create a win-win-win for the players, the coaches and the teams.
  • Weiss has already achieved success in the NFL, but not leaving college on his own terms is something that he may regret for years to come.

Now I realize that USC has not expressed any public interest in Charlie Weiss and Jeremy Bates is officially still the coordinator, but sometimes in life you have to recognize opportunity, put away your pride and seize the moment.  USC has not been invited to the National Championship game since 2005 and has not won since 2004.  Though you can make a great argument that they should have been there a few more times, the reality is that the BCS is set up in such a way that USC (or any Pac-10 team) must be undefeated and dominate on the scoreboard to surpass the marketing of the SEC.  The BCS doesn’t care about cupcake schedules or excessive home games or the fact that USC logged more miles on their trip to Ohio State than Florida did in their 4 road games.  If USC wants to assume their rightlful position as the dominate program in the country, they need to continue to bring in the best atheletes and let them flourish under the football brain power of Weiss on Offense and Carroll on defense.  If Charlie Weiss wants to restore his reputation as an offensive genius, he should conside this – USC has the thoroughbreds to make Weiss’ offense shine and the defense to hold the leads and get the ball for him.  I think it is time that Mike Garrett make a phone call!

Fair and Balanced Poll, Week 13

As the year comes to a close, we are seeing less movement in the polls and fewer lurchers.  Texas and TCU still hold the top 2 spots and Alabama and Florida continue to drop, primarily because of their weak schedules.  I know that does not make some people happy because they have bought into the SEC hype.  The SEC Title game will be competitive and entertaining for sure, but don’t be fooled by the hype.  Alabama and Florida will put on a good show, but both will be exposed in the bowls games losing to Texas and TCU respectively.  The Big Ten season ended about a month ago which has allowed a few teams to drop.  I have always found it fascinating that teams drop on a bye week and now we are seeing teams drop because they finish their schedule early.  That is it for now.  Enjoy the poll.

Fari and Balanced Poll published, Week 12 – TCU #1

For the first time this season, the most complete and deserving team is actually #1 as TCU claims the top spot away from Texas.  The rest of the poll remains largely unchanged with the exception of the Temple Owls breaking into the top 25 as the anchor.  Clemson who had also been lurking has popped in tied at 24.  Dropping from the poll this week is Arizona after a touch overtime loss to Oregon last Saturday night in the desert.  I think we can say with confidence that this Arizona team is the best 6-4 team in the history of the state of Arizona.

Week 12 Analysis

Due to some very insightful feedback from smackerjacks, I am publishing my analysis of the previous week of College Football on the front page for easier viewing (and hopefully a wider audience!)

Texas did what they needed to do to win the Big-12 South and play Nebraska for the Big-12 title.  ‘Bama and Florida need to take football seriously and NOT schedule “little children” for the end of, or even the beginning of their schedule.  Seriously, Chattanooga from the 1-AA ranks who is only 4-4 in their own conference and that Sun Belt powerhouse Florida International who is 3-4 in conference and 3-8 overall?  Who approves these schedules anyway?  Florida should actually be embarrassed that they got scored on!  Both schools are cowardly, not willing to play real schools in non-con games, let alone other schools within their own conference in the “other” division.  They should play every team in the conference and do away with the conference championship game like a real conference that will remain nameless does.  Or are they afraid of succumbing to the same fate as Stanford against an unranked and very good Cal team, or potentially an Oregon against an excellent Arizona team, or USC against cross-town rival UCLA who is chomping at the bit for a bowl bid and would love to knock USC completely off the BCS pedestal this year.  The Pac-10 does what no other conference does – they play excellent football top to bottom and even the bottom dwellers are capable of having an incredible week here and there.  ‘Bama and Florida both deserve to be taken down a notch by Vanderbilt or Mississippi State, but they are just too afraid of their precious bowl bid to take a chance.  Boise and TCU both deserve to be in “the second game” in Pasadena in January, too bad that won’t happen.  I will relish watching each of them dismantle whatever team they get paired with, though, in their respective BCS games.  Oregon played tough, and anybody not considering Jeremiah Masoli for the Heisman has his head in the sand and obviously doesn’t think football is played west of the Mississippi.  Why is the BCS so in love with the ACC and SEC to give each conference so many teams in the Top-25?  Outside of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech  in the ACC, do they really think that the other “also rans” are that good – not so!  Miami might be, but as far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on them this year.  Talk about an over-rated conference, and we haven’t even addressed the SEC yet!!  That whole conference is over-rated from top to bottom!  At least the Big-12 looks realistic this year, and the Big-10 is just, well, big (and slow, and going to get crushed in the Rose Bowl January 1st – again).  I want to see Navy continue to win and finish out 10-3.  Talk about an under-rated team!  Pitt and Cinnci are on a collision course for the Big East title on December 5th and both have tough games in between their clash.  USC better watch out for UCLA and then a hungry Arizona!  They could easily end up 7-5 (4-5 in conference) and take a merciless beating in the press.  Take a look at the Brianinla rankings to see who I think deserves to be ranked!  Enjoy!