Saturday, November 01, 2008

Week #10 Wrap - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly ...

Well, you have to love the game of CFB. They say they remember November. It's never the same game twice. Each week is an opportunity to change your fortune and direction. The highs can be high; and the lows can be low. And remember the wisdon of Coach Mike Leach. When considering a ham and eggs breakfast, never forget that while the hen may be involved, the PIG is comitted. And TEXAS needs a bye week and playing Oklahoma, Mizzou, Okie State, and Texas Tech. Up next Baylor, at home. But what a special treat tonight on Halloween weekend in Lubbock. Wow, if you missed Texas / Texas Tech tonight, then you missed one of the best games of the year.

Theater at its best, no doubt. Good versus evil. Black hats verus white ones. The law versus the lawless. And tonight, the bad guys won (first win over #1 ever). This game had all of the drama, senseless violence, and true grit of a clasic American spaghetti western. Sergio Leone would be proud. I can still hear the bands battling in my head. What a soundtrack. Guns-up Red Raiders! Now, a few words as we enter the month of November:

1) I'd like to give thanks to Virgina after blowing a 7-point lead over Miami today with 55 seconds to go in the game after allowing a 95-yard TD drive to force OT where they lost on a turnover. Yes, Thomas Jefferson would be proud.

2) I'd like to give thanks to Notre Dame after blowing a 14-point 2nd-half lead to a one-dimensional Wannstedt - coached Pitt squad at home. Ugh! Slim Shady definitely got the better of the ND rush defense. And TD Jesus agrees with me, SINFUL! It was almost as if the sprinklers which came on early in the first OT session were symbolic of the tears we all had swelling up in our eyes.

3) Finally, I'd like to give thanks to FSU who fumbled on the 2-yard line while trying to punch-in the game-winning TD. No, it wasn't good enough to kick the FG and force OT. You had to fumble the game away to a GT club who had never beat a ranked Nole team. Yes!

Here's what else we learned this weekend from around the nation. Remember pre-season #1 Georgia and #2Ohio State? That was supposed to be our title game this year. Now both clubs have two losses and have no chance to play in Miami come January. Historic, since the inception of the BCS ten year's ago either pre-season #1 and/or pre-season #2 in the AP have reached the title game. Good stuff Stewart.

And what of Washington / Washington State? Whoa - these teams lost to USC and Stanford this weekend by a combined total of 114-0 (Wazzu by 58 and the Huskies by 56, ouch!). I agree with Borst of FoxSports.Com, we should call it the Pacific Northworst. Let's start calling it the Crapple Cup (November 22nd showdown in Pullman). Combined, they're 0-16 this year when you look at FBS competition. On average, the Cougs play to 48-8 losses while Washington is only slightly better, losing something like 40-16 each time out.

And what are some of the most likely BCS showdowns? Check back early and often. But, for this week, these seem as plasible as anything else I've heard:

BCS Championship: Penn State (12-0) vs. Texas Tech (13-0)
Rose Bowl: Oregon State (9-3) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
Sugar Bowl: Florida (12-1) vs. Big East champion
Fiesta Bowl: Texas (11-1) vs. Utah (12-0)
Orange Bowl: ACC champion vs. Alabama (12-1)

CHIEF on the TRIBE - well, it wasn't pretty but very effective nonetheless. We needed a quality victory like AIG needed a bailout. And while we had 3 turnovers, more penalties, and less total time of possesion, it was a victory to keep our season alive and our bowl aspirations in place (Insight Bowl against Nebraska or Champs Bowl against FSU?). At 5-4, we finally have a win in conference over a team with a winning record. Let's just take care of bidness over the next three weeks. I expect us to go at least 2-1 in that stretch with games @ Western Michigan (Detroit), at home against Ohio State, and at Northwestern in Evanston. 7-5 would be a successful campaign this year after going 9-3 in 2007. It's what I said back in August.

What did I like? The effort was better this week. We played with more urgency and better execution, especially on defense. I like the six sacks and scoop/score. Stanzi went just 10 for 30 against an improving defensive secondary. The kicking game seems to be improving, both kick-offs and field goals. Obviously, Eller was the hero tonight with his 46-yard game-winning effort. Juice did go 22/37 for 272 yards but did have two costly INTs.

What did I not like? Ugh! We have to stop turning the rock over. I like the 12% rule by Coach Locksley (no more that 12% bad plays including INTS, fumbles, penalties, drops, etc...). We were up around 17% for the day. Time of possession was low and so were the number of first downs (21 to 14, Iowa). We only had one first down on the ground - YIKES! Like I said, it wasn't a pretty win. But it was a win.

My New Top-10:

1) Alabama - Arkansas Sate is one thing. Up next, LSU in the bayou....
2) Penn State - Stage is set for Joe Pa. Just don't lose. Up next, @ Iowa.
3) Texas Tech - Guns up! Don't celebrate too long. You get Okie State next.
4) Florida - 1st of the one-loss teams. Fair enough, you won the Cocktail Party.
5) Texas - Tough loss in Lubbock. Grueling schedule. Beware Baylor.
6) Oklahoma - Poised to move up. Better hope Texas loses again. Aggies next.
7) USC - Cal visits next. Won't be quite as easy next week.
8) Oklahoma State - What happens if OSU wins out? Yikes. Bedlam! TT next.
9) UTAH - First BCS buster. Just keep winning.
10) Boise State - 2nd BCS buster. See above.

Conference Rankings -

1) BIG 12 - rather, the BIG12 South. TT, UT, OSU, and OU. Fear the firepower.
2) SEC - mostly Florida and Alabama this year. Rest of the teams are all down this year.
3) BIG10/ACC - take your pick here. Penn State is the cream of the crop.
4) BIG EAST - I guess WV is your frontrunner, for now.
5) PAC1 - it's all about one team and one team only this year, USC.

Looking ahead, WEEK #11 should be another thriller. Can't wait for Penn State @ Iowa, Okie State @ Tech, Bama @ LSU, CAL @ USC, and ND @ BC.

Final Thought - THE BIG 12 Mess: If you're like me, you wonder to yourself what are the various scenarios in the BIG12 with a bunch of teams staring at 1 loss, especially in the South. Trust me, it gets complicated - but I have you covered. Directly from the BIG12 Media guide, here is the official tiebreaker protocol. Pay particular attention to clause (b), three or more teams are tied. Step 7 of clause (b) has the winner chosen by a 'draw', yes - you heard this right. But based on their remaining schedules and projections as either favorites or dogs in each of the remaining games, things are looking good for Texas Tech - assuming they finish no worse than 7-1 in conference (losing at Oklahoma). Yes, check back with the rules early and often over the next month or so.

Wreck 'em, Texas Tech! Get your guns up!
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