Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Week one of the I-A playoffs

That's what this past weekend of major college football felt like, the opening round of a national playoff. It produced one of the best weekends of college football in recent memory. Oregon and Oregon State played a barn burner on Thursday night where the key plays down the stretch were not long pass plays or lightning quick touchdown runs, but an old fashioned, grind it out, eat up the clock 7 plus minute drive by Oregon that featured a couple of fourth down plays and stiff-arm to end all stiff-arms by Oregon's tank of QB. Friday's Mac championship was slightly less entertaining, but still worth a look-see. Saturday's early game was a "leave-the-defense-at-home" shootout between the ground game of Pitt and the spread attack of Cinncy. After a dud of an SEC championship game, the weekend finished off with a trio of interesting games - Georgia Tech / Clemson in a back and forth ACC championship game, UConn / South Florida in the snow (the way football was meant to be played), and the Pièce de résistance, a near all time upset in the Big 12 championship game which featured a bone-headed play that almost cost Texas a Big 12 title and a chance at the national championship. It was a treat to watch, and they were all games that would have been more meaningful if we had a full 16-team playoff, instead of the abomination we have now. Even the MAC championship game would have had a large TV audience if the winner go an autobid to go play at Alabama or at Texas in the first round of the really, really, Big Dance.

-What the heck was Colt McCoy doing? I'm only a marginal Texas fan, and I was freaking out and yelling at the TV. I can't imagine what it must have been like for Longhorn, Cornhusker, Horned Frog, or Bearcat fans watching it live. I also don't understand why Mack Brown didn't call timeout once the clock went past :10 and the ball had still not been snapped. I understand wanting to take one shot at the end zone, but call your TO before the play, set it up, and then run the FG unit out after the incomplete pass. Like in the Les Miles fiasco against Ole Miss, i don't understand how coaches who make millions of dollars, can't find one cheap grad assistant willing to work for peanuts whose sole job is to watch the clock and tell the coach when a timeout is needed.
-I wonder if Jesus ever had as bad a day against the Romans as Tebow did against the Tide.
-Boise State has finished three of the last four regular seasons undefeated and has not gotten a single first place or second place vote in the coaches' poll or Harris poll. Great system we got here.
-I was disappointed to see that the Richmond / Appalachian State game, a match up between the champions of FCS the last four years that was won in the last 30 seconds didn't even warrant a minute of highlights on Sportscenter. I understand why the game didn't get televised except through ESPNU, but come on, throw us a bone.
-There were a couple of interesting comments at halftimes from coaches who run offenses similar to Rich Rod's. Oregon and Cincinnati both run spread offenses that stretch the field vertically and horizontally and incorporate zone read options, bubble screens and the like. I think that if, or when, the offense gets going here, it will look very similar to both the Ducks and the Bearcats - quick strike, fast paced, not much concern for time of possession. Both teams trailed at halftime of their respective games after their opponents had put together long, grind-it-out drives. When asked by the sideline reporter what was wrong with their defense, Chip Kelly responded, "Our offense" In other words, if we execute better on offense, defense won't matter. When asked nearly the identical question, Cinncy's Brian Kelly responded, "We are who we are." In other words, we'll have to try and outscore them.
-The Big Ten bowl match ups almost make me glad we are staying home for the holidays. Texas Tech might throw for 1000 yards on our defense, and Miami would play action us to death. Don't even want to think how bad our linebackers would look trying to stop Georgia Tech's triple option attack. Perhaps that's just another indication of how bad we are - when you look at all the bowl teams, and none of them look beatable, maybe you're not ready to go bowling.
-The Boise State / TCU Fiesta bowl is horrible. Not bad as in it won't be a good game, but bad as in neither team gets a chance to prove themselves against a big boy. It's a perpetuation of the "nobody will play you" / "Who have they beaten" cycle that all mid-majors go through in both football and basketball.
-Anybody have a clue what's going to happen with the Heisman? My ballot has McCoy, Suh, Ingram, CJ Spiller, and Toby Gerhardt, but I'll be darned if I can figure out the order.
-In news you may have missed, both Hofstra and Northeastern dropped their football programs this week. While that might not seem like a big deal, it might change the balance of power in the FCS subdivision. Both were members of the Colonial Athletic Association, which had four teams in the elite eight, and has two remaining teams in the FCS Final Four. The disappearance of two of the bottom teams in that league might force some of the stronger teams to look for scheduling opportunities in the FBS division. League champ Villanova beat Temple, Richmond beat Duke, and the league was responsible for four of the five wins by FCS teams over FBS teams this year.
-Golden Rankings, and the 16 team bracket coming tomorrow evening.