Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week #9 - Meltdown in Madison ...

CHIEF on the TRIBE - It's like I said last week, it's the little things that matter most. More of the bad same this week from the tribe: senseless penalties, turnovers, blown coverages, and missed tackles. It's almost as if we find new ways to beat ourselves. And against Wisconsin for Pete's sake, ugh! Not good. No my friends, Wisky didn't beat us today. We gave that win away. This year's team is a work in progress to be kind. We're not very good week to week; consisteny is the word of the year. And with four games to go, 2-2 seems reasonable, but maybe not good enough for a bowl game. We still don't have a good win on the year. But after today's defeat in Madison, we now have two bad losses in conference. Yuck! And Zooker has still yet to win in Madision. I don't like Camp Randall at all.

I knew this was a bad match-up for us this week coming off a blowout win at home against Indiana. We're just a middle of the pack FBS club, nothing more or less. We don't know what it takes to play championship football. Wisky had nothing to lose at home today after losing four straight in conference. It was a game we should have won going away in the 2nd half. Yikes ...

Williams had a terrible day on just 17/32 for 223 and 3 INTS (with 2 TDs). Yuck! And the Illinois running game was held in check all day, posting just 77 yards on the ground. Regis was a blip on the radar at best on just two catches. What the hell guys! And learn how to line up to take a snap. WTF! Discipline, respect, honor, pride - go look those up in the dictionary this week in between classes. Or don't come out to play next weekend. Nobody will want to watch. Up next, Iowa. Get ready to play guys. Nobody will give it to you. You have to earn it. When does basketball season start?

Message to Coaches - Well, and 4-4 we're on the outside of the bowl picture looking in. And with four tough games ahead of us against bowl-eligible or winning programs, it's not going to be easy. Needless to say, six wins gets you eligible to play in the post-season. But, we'll likely need 7 wins this year, especially when considering we don't have ANY quality victories. Sorry, beating Michigan and Indiana don't cut it this year. We'll have our chances against good Iowa and Ohio State programs, but we can't falter against Western Michigan or Northwestern. But it all starts next weekend at home on Dad's Day against the Hawkeyes. If we address the little things and play with some passion and discipline we should win all four of them. I don't think anybody has near our talent, save for perhaps Ohio State. But we've proven time and time again that our own worst enemy out there at times is ourselves. Ugh! Oye .... ouch.

I need to see more urgency and heightened awareness of distance and down. I need to see more confidence that we will score on every possession and stop them from scoring when they have the ball. Just watch what Tulsa did in the 2nd half this weekend against UCF. Do it like you've done it before; and again. Don't take any play for granted.

“We can be a good team but they’re going to be held accountable, especially the older guys,” Zook said. “It’s not the way it was before we got here. If we want to be the kind of program we want to be, guys have got to bow up.”

“If we’re going to be a winning team and beat this curse of not having two winning seasons in a row, we have to be smart,” linebacker Brit Miller said. “If we do our jobs, we win.”

Elsewhere around the Nation -

Every week matters. Every week is a championship in the balance. Every week is a play-off. Every week is an opportunity. There is no static state. You're either moving up or down.

Penn State / Ohio State - a defensive battle for sure. And the playcalling was very conesrvative for long stretches of this game. But give credit to Ohio State and that defense. The offense needs more work in the passing game. The pathway is clear for Penn State's run to the national - title game. Unlike my Illini, this team just doesn't beat themselves. I don't think the Nittany Lions even had a penalty tonight in Columbus. It's shaping up for JoePa's 3rd championship. 381 for Mr. Paterno. 1 for 7 in Columbus, first since 1978. Nice job. Yeah, you're worthy..... for now.

Texas / Okie State - How much longer can the Horns continue to run the gauntlet? Colt McCoy is amazing. I think he went 25-28 tonight against a pretty good Poke squad. First it was Oklahoma, then Mizzou, and now the Cowboys from Oklahoma. Up next in Lubbock on Halloween weekend is Texas Tech; who whacked a good Kansas club at home in Lawrence today. Wow, that should be fun. Can Texas possibly do it again, four in a row? It's Colt's world, and we're just living in it. As of today, McCoy is your Heisman winner. Unless they lose.

Alabama / Tennessee - What happens if both Texas and Alabama run the table? It's going to be tough, but the TIDE look for real this year. Just ask Tennessee who was man-handled tonight at home in front of 102K.

My New Top-10, BIG -12 Love!:

1) Texas - three monster wins in a row, unparalleled. Up next the Red Raiders in Lubbock.
2) Alabama - good road win in Knoxville. Perhaps the best team in the SEC.
3) Penn State - no doubt the BIG-10 front-runner. It might just be JoePa's year.
4) Oklahoma - keeping pace with the top-3 if one should stumble. Tough club.
5) Florida - starting to peak at the right time of the year. Up next, the cocktail party.
6) USC - still lurking. Great individual talent. Not sure this is a great team yet.
7) Georgia - impressive in Baton Rouge. Up next, the GATORS! Make mine a double.
8) Texas Tech - may not be a better offense in the country. But can they stop anybody good?
9) Oklahoma State -no shame in today's loss to Texas. Almost pulled it off.
10) Utah - undefeated likely into the Holy War with BYU.

FINAL NOTES - The game is changing. If you can't score, and score often, you aren't ranked in the TOP-10. Just ask Ohio State. Everybody at the top in FBS football can light it up like chain smoker in a tobacco shoppe. Sure, defense is important. And it's even been said that defense wins championships. Maybe so. But, you can't win if you don't score. And, let's be honest. You can't ask your defense to stop the opposition and score in the same sentence. At least not week in and out. A great offense can hide the mistakes of a marginal defense (Texas Tech). Of course, it doesn't hurt when you team doesn't make many mistakes. The best teams tend to not beat themselves.

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