Saturday, November 15, 2008

Week 12 - The Great Giveaway Continues in Champaign

CHIEF on the TRIBE - More of the same against Ohio State today. I haven't seen anything quite like what's going on in Champaign this year in quite some time. And if you hurry, you're likely to partake in the great gift giveaway of 2008, just in time for the holidays. The Fighting Zookers are surely in the giving mode after exchanging another win for a loss. Ugh! And basketball doesn't look to be any respite this year. The Illibuck returns to Columbus for another year, at least.

I'll spare you the details, but for the 6th time this year we snatched defeat from the grasp of victory. I think our offense, defense, and special teams had more to do with Ohio State's 30 points than the Buckeyes did. We dominated statistically only to lose on the scoreboard yet again. Our mistakes in just about every facet of the game also accounted for all of their scoring. Ugh! It's like Holtz and May said at halftime, we should have been leading 20-16 instead of trailing 23-13.

For the game, we outgained them 455 to 354, with 200 more passing yards. They did dominate the time of possession but that's only because Tressel hates to pass (49 yards on just 10 attempts with Pryor). And when you have Chris Wells in your backfield, why not? On defense, we didn't force them to go 80 yards all day. Seems like all of their points came from the short field, blocked punts, or key penalties - all gamebreakers. And when you play the Senator, you can't expect to win that way. We made it way too easy for Ohio State today to get the win. It's a comedy with just about every snap.

I'll say it again, I don't think there's another team in conference (and few in the land) who have more raw football talent week in and out at every position. And while that may be debateable, it's not very hard to argue that there isn't a more self-destructive team in the country. We beat ourselves more than we get beat by the opposition. Instead of being 9-2, 10-1, or 11-0 we're just 5-6 and not likely to make a bowl game this year unless we pull off a miracel road-win in Evanston and get some help from a desperate bowl game.

And, it's hard to believe that Williams was once on the ESPNU Heisman list. Ugh! Juice is simply not the same QB as he was back in September. It's obvious to me he's pressing or injured, perhaps psychologically. There probably isn't a QB in the land with more raw skill or athletcism. His problems are mostly between the ears.

Around the nation - Things are bad in Champaign - no doubt. But things are worse in Ann Arbor these days after Michigan dropped its 5th home game of the year (3-8 on the season). Not only is this its first losing season since 1967, but Saturday's loss to NW ensures the Wolverines can't win two games in a row for the first time since 1962. And for the first time ever in its 129-year history, BIG BLUE has 8 losses. Ouch!

I have so say that I'm somewhat surprised to see that FSU lost to BC, Vandy beat KY, and UNC lost to Maryland. There were other really close games; just ask Wisconsin and LSU. But let's give some love to the Commodores (Vandy) after becoming bowl eligible for the first time in 26 long years. They've fallen short so many times lately in big games against KY and TN. And if they beat the VOLS next weekend, VANDY would tie its SEC record for wins with 3 (record dating back to 1935).

Other winners and losers today include Bama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC - all revenging devasting losses last year in respective games against MSU, NAVY, ILLINOIS, and STANFORD. And how about Rutgers; is there a better 2nd-half story this year? Scarlet Knights have won four in a row after dropping their first five of six. And dont' look now, but NW is 8-3 this year and has a chance to get to 10 wins for the first time since 1995 when it went to the Rose Bowl. Wow, I would not have expected the better BIG-10 team from the Land of Obama this year would have been the Evanston Pussies.

And how about the losers? Michigan, Tulsa, FSU, Illinois, and Minnesota top this weekend's list of dissappointing performances. How do the Golden Hurricances lose to Houston? And with their win over UNC, Maryland now has 7 wins in a row over ranked teams. As for the tribe, we're on the verge of becoming the 2nd team in 43 years to have a losing season after going to the Rose Bowl the prior year. Ugh!

My New Top - 10:

  1. Bama - exorcised some demons yesterday by blowing out State and holding them to just 35 rushing yards for the game (1.6 average).
  2. Texas Tech - bye week this week before travelling to Norman next Saturday where just about everything, including the Heisman trophy, hinges on the outcome.
  3. Texas - ensured their 8th-straight 10-win season last night in defeating KU.
  4. Florida - much like #3, the Gators are lurking and surging. But unlike Texas, they control their BCS championship aspirations by simply winning out. Today, they dominated Carolina in the swamp. Spurrier Cocks took a beating today, worst loss ever.
  5. Oklahoma - see #2 above. If the Sooners can beat Tech next weekend that the BCS chaos will reach new levels. Somewhere in Austin Mac Brown is hoping for a 3-2 Boomer Sooner outcome.
  6. USC - surprised to see they gave up 23 to Stanford, but really weren't challenged all night. Although, the defense did give up a hundred - yard rusher tonight. Hmmm.....
  7. Georgia - I know the Busters (UTAH / Boise State) won't like this. But does anybody honestly believe that a WAC or MWC team can beat the Bulldogs in the BCS? Remember last year?
  8. Utah - remain undefeated. BYU is up next.
  9. Penn State - Joe Pa's boys finally showed up in the 2nd half against Indiana.
  10. Boise State - see #8. I'm just not too sure how good this team really is right.

Final Notes- And what's with all the hurdling going on in CFB these days? I mean, what happened to lowering the shoulder and steam-rolling defensive backs and linebackers. Mark my words, that sooner or later defensive personnel will be coached-up to stand up and the result of a hurdle won't be pretty. You can piece together that Minolta moment. Ouch!

How about Notre Dame? The Irish squeaked out a win in Baltimore yesterday afternoon over Navy. Clearly, the Irish had a gameplan to just pound the rock, then pound it more. But talk of Weis' demise in South Bend are premature. To quote Lou Holtz, "every time you turn one corner there's always another corner. " Clearly, they're not back yet - more work to do in SB. But for now, the Irish are bowl eligible (meaning they're guaranteed to play somewhere in the post-season).

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