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The College Football Czar: Week 3
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press ^ | September 13, 2012 | Daniel Clark

Posted on 09/13/2012 7:07:41 PM PDT by Daniel Clark

The College Football Czar Week 3

Week two in review: The College Football Czar stumbled to a 12-9 finish after dropping three one-point games on Saturday afternoon. For the season, his record stands at 32-16, for a .667 winning percentage.

Four ranked teams were upset over the course of the day, most notably #8 Arkansas, which was toppled by the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in overtime. Almost as shocking was #13 Wisconsin falling to Oregon State, 10-7, which resulted in the firing of Badgers’ offensive line coach Mike Markuson.

That OSU-Wisconsin result was one of three home victories for Pac 12 teams against Big Ten opponents, with UCLA bumping off Nebraska, and Arizona State drubbing Illinois. Suddenly, the Pac 12 looks considerably deeper than it did just a week ago, a development that ought to give a punt in the posterior to USC, which turned in an indifferent performance for the second time in as many weeks.

As you’ll see referenced later, it was a terrible week for the replay officials, who wrongly overturned at least three calls that had clearly been correctly made on the field. In a particularly egregious example from the Notre Dame-Purdue game, the replay official didn’t understand the rule, and the referee, powerless to correct him, had to be the one to announce the stupid decision to the viewers.

Announcers often defend replay by saying the important thing is to get the call right in the end, but it’s not as if the replay officials consistently get the calls right. The best that can be said is that the replay system results in a somewhat higher percentage of calls being made correctly. The question is whether that degree of improvement is worth extending the length of the games and disrupting the teams’ momentum. Just saying “get the call right in the end” is not a good enough argument.

The latest Lardhead of the Year Award nominee is the ACC, for allowing Notre Dame to join, in all sports except football. Future ACC members Pitt and Syracuse have sat through this picture before, as members of the Big East. That league extended a lifeline to the Irish basketball program, which had until then made a tradition out of losing to the likes of Duquesne and Valparaiso, and molded them into a perennial tournament team. The non-revenue ND teams have benefited as well. And what did the Big East get in return? Bupkus!

The Big East seemed to hope that the Fighting Irish football team would eventually be taken in as if through osmosis. Everyone realizes now that this will never be the case. It’ll never happen in the ACC, either. The Fighting Irish without football are not your saviors. To the contrary, they’re Notre damsels in distress.

Sept. 14 Washington State at UNLV

The 0-2 Rebels have already let one of the big leagues’ bottom dwellers get away, in a 30-27 triple-overtime loss to Minnesota on opening Thursday night. That wasn’t as tough a loss as they’d suffer a week later, though, when they basically dominated Division I-AA Northern Arizona, but squandered a 14-point halftime lead in a demoralizing 17-14 setback.

WSU barely pulled out its game against I-AA Eastern Washington, 24-20, to even its record at 1-1. The Cougars did not get the better of their lower-level foes on the stat sheet, but blocked an EWU extra point, and scored on a 60-yard boot from Andrew Furney to account for the margin of victory.

Lots of football coaches might be distracted on a road trip to Vegas, but considering its proximity to Area 51, Mike Leach and that permanent just-spotted-a-UFO expression of his should feel right at home.

Washington State 19, UNLV 13

Sept. 15 Virginia Tech at Pitt

The Gobblers were lucky to complete a 23-yard fourth-down pass to set up a tying field goal in their opener against Georgia Tech, after failing to execute the always cunning two-minute, relentless bubble screen offense. For a minute there, the College Football Czar was beginning to think VT stood for “very tedious.”

By all stats other than the final score, you’d think that Pitt’s 34-10 loss to Cincinnati had been a fairly evenly contested game. The numbers that told a different story were the ones on the backs of the Panther defenders as they lay sprawled all over the Nippert Stadium turf. Five days after getting manhandled by the offensive line of Division I-AA Youngstown State, they proved it wasn’t a fluke by allowing an uncontested 58-yard touchdown run on their first defensive play of the game.

Not a single unit on the Panthers’ team has been at all cohesive so far, but they’ve still got great team unity. How does the Czar know this? Because they have no names on their jerseys, of course. There’s no “I” in “Pitt,” you know.

Virginia Tech 26, Pitt 0

Navy at Penn State

What does it say about your future if you’re a second string quarterback, and your name is Bench? PSU Freshman Steven Bench got into the game to throw seven passes during last week’s 17-16 loss at Virginia, two of which he completed, for 12 yards. He might get more playing time if he could kick, after Sam Ficken missed 4 of his 5 attempts, including a potential game-winner as time expired.

Even more harmful than Ficken’s foot was the fact that the Nittany Lions had to settle for field goal attempts after each of three takeaways inside the Cavalier 20. On a fourth occasion, they recovered a fumble at the UVa 29, and eventually had to punt.

The Midshipmen badly needed their rest last week, and not from doing push-ups. The Plebes normally keep count their team’s score that way, but to tally the total from their 50-10 blowout loss to Notre Dame in Dublin, the push-ups could have been done by Gilligan and Mister Salty. A three-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half was about their only offensive highlight of the game.

Due to the Sandusky scandal, Beaver Stadium has prohibited the Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline,” because of the lyrics, “Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you.” The Czar doesn’t know what song they will replace it with, but he trusts it will not be “Rough Boys” by Pete Townshend.

Penn State 13, Navy 10

USC at Stanford

The Trojans have looked nothing like national championship contenders in lackluster wins over Hawaii and Syracuse. They seemed uninspired in early nonconference games last year also, including a 19-17 scare against lowly Minnesota, before hitting their midseason stride.

In SC’s unsettling 42-29 win over the Orange, senior QB Matt Barkley tied a school record with six touchdown passes, matching his own marks from a year ago against Colorado and UCLA. He only threw for a total of 187 yards, however, during a 23-for-30 performance.

The Cardinal looked lame in their opening game as well, when they barely staved off Bay Area rival San Jose State, 20-17. They had an easier time last week against Duke, when wide receiver Drew Terrell opened the scoring on a 76-yard punt return, and later added a TD reception, powering his team to a 50-13 rout.

Could Stanford, of all schools, kindly knock it off with the gangsta uniforms already? Who do these guys think they are, Notorious PhD?

USC 38, Stanford 21

Alabama at Arkansas

After starting Razorback QB Tyler Wilson left last week’s game with a head injury, backup Brandon Allen got off to a good enough start, tossing a touchdown pass to stretch their lead to 28-7 early in the third quarter. From that point on, however, he went 3-for-17 for 55 yards and an interception, allowing Louisiana-Monroe to come back in an overtime stunner.

That loss to ULM is rightly causing fans to question the hiring of oddball journeyman coach John L. Smith, formerly of Idaho, Utah State, Louisville, Michigan State, and most recently, I-AA Weber State. While at MSU, Smith once shocked reporters by slapping quarterback Jeff Smoker in the face. “Oh, he likes it,” the coach explained. “Our guys are into pain.” If the Razorbacks were willing to hire a guy like that, how ashamed could they have possibly been of Bobby Petrino? At least he was a creep who could beat Sun Belt Conference opponents.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide wiped out Western Kentucky 35-0, on the strength of a plus-4 turnover margin. If there was any cause for concern, it surprisingly came from the Bama running game, which ground out 103 yards on 30 carries against otherwise overmatched WKU.

The fans had better start warming up their pipes for that “SEC” cheer of theirs. The Czar has an hunch that it’s going to come in handy.

Alabama 40, Arkansas 7

Wake Forest at Florida State

In 2008, two games against lower-division opponents failed to prepare FSU for its ACC opener, which they lost to the Demon Deacons 12-3. Last week’s game was so pointless they didn’t even bother finishing. After multiple lightning delays, they agreed to end their 55-0 romp over the now infamous Savannah State Tigers, six minutes into the third quarter.

One of many drawbacks to opening against weak opposition is that the Seminoles still don’t know if they have a serviceable running back. Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. are each averaging more than seven yards per carry, but how impressive in that, when they’ve been impeded more by wind resistance than by opposing tacklers?

The Deacons have won 4 of the last 6 games in this series. If they can continue that success this week, they could be on their way to a 6-0 start, their next three opponents being Army, Duke and Maryland.

With last week’s game tied 21-21, WF held North Carolina out of the end zone for two chip shot field goals. This allowed QB Tanner Price to drive his team 93 yards, and sneak in the final score of a 28-27 victory.

Why are they called the “Demon” Deacons? Is it because they deem things? A useful power, the Czar supposes, but hardly intimidating. The Crowbarin’ Deacons would be a lot scarier.

Wake Forest 21, Florida State 18

Arizona State at Missouri

Considering the tempo at which ASU coach Todd Graham likes to play, he must be salivating over the game films, watching the Tigers get gassed in last week’s 41-20 fold-up against Georgia. Mizzou had led 20-17 at one point, with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Sun Devils sporked a Scheelhaase-less Illinois team, 45-14, holding the replacement Ilini passers to a total of 101 yards. They made up more than half that total in interception returns, running up 53 yards on three picks.

If Missouri is the Show Me State, then why does it now believe it’s in the Southeast? It must not be very bright. Otherwise, it would be called the Explain To Me State.

Arizona State 35, Missouri 31

Notre Dame at Michigan State

Last week’s 20-17 Irish win over Purdue included the worst moment in a dismal day for replay officials around the country. The on-filed officials had correctly ruled quarterback Everett Golson out of bounds just short of the goal line. The replay official overruled the call and awarded a touchdown, with the explanation that the ball had touched the pylon.

One slight problem: the pylons are out of bounds. The ball must break the plane of the goal line to the inside of the pylon to be a touchdown. In this case, the ball had made contact on the opposite side of the pylon, which should have brought up fourth-and-inches. The fans in East Lansing already know this, because they were victimized by a similar call against Michigan in 2008, although Sparty proceeded to win that game anyway.

The Spartans knocked around nemesis Central Michigan 41-7, finishing their drives far more effectively than they did in a tough opening win over Boise State. CMU didn’t score until they returned an interception from freshman backup QB Connor Cook, with a minute and a half to play. Mark Dantonio’s team has yet to allow an offensive TD through two games.

According to the roster, Irish wide receiver John Goodman is 6-3, 215. Not bad, for a guy who was once too fat to play Babe Ruth.

Michigan State 27, Notre Dame 17

La.-Monroe at Auburn

In case you’ve never heard of Louisiana-Monroe, she’s the lesser known sister of Marilyn, who never became famous because she couldn’t do that Ginger Grant lip thing.

AU hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown since the first quarter of their opener against Clemson. Since then, five field goals and an Onterio McCalebb kickoff return have accounted for all their scoring.

Not to take anything away from the Warhawks’ 34-31 overtime upset of Arkansas, but it was only made possible by the fact that they were facing the Hogs’ backup quarterback in the second half. The question now is whether the 0-2 Tigers have got anything other than backup quarterbacks on their roster. Sophomore Kiehl Frazier turned the ball over five times in a 28-10 loss to Mississippi State, but was still allowed to take every snap of that game.

For decades, the fans in Jordan-Hare Stadium have been hollering “War Eagle.” When the Warhawks show up, will they figure it’s close enough?

Auburn 14, La.-Monroe 3

California at Ohio State

When the Buckeyes invited Cal-Berkeley for a visit, they thought it was the brother of one of the girls from Saved by the Bell, and naturally wanted to get on his good side. Now that they realize it’s just a second-echelon Pac 12 football team, they won’t be nearly so hospitable.

The 1-1 Golden Bears are allowing a touchdown more per game than they did last season, and they haven’t even gotten to the tough part of their schedule yet. Now, they open their road schedule with consecutive road games at OSU and USC, before returning home to face Arizona State.

They’ve had a slight problem printing the programs for this game. It seems the folks at O-goal posts-triangle-O are stumped by the word “California.” They keep asking if it’s spelled with one little teapot, or two.

Ohio State 41, California 22

Uconn at Maryland

Terps’ coach Randy Edsall takes on his former team, a week after dispatching another Big East opponent, in a sloppy but satisfying 36-27 win over Temple. Edsall’s team committed four of the seven turnovers in that game, but his freshman QB provided some needed stability.

Perry Hills, whose name makes him sound like an entire high school team, tossed two TDs and rushed for a third, without repeating the pickoff problems he had a week earlier against William & Mary.

The Huskies’ offense went to mush last week, in a 10-7 loss to Nc State. As a team, they gained just 35 yards on 32 carries. Sophomore QB Chandler Whitmer did pass for 204 yards, but he was picked off three times, and took a sack on a fourth-and-2.

Now that the Terrapins have got wings on their helmets, perhaps Gamera should be their new mascot. He’s not doing much else these days but appearing on Japanese celebrity game shows – which are hardly worth watching ever since Pat Morita went to that big center square in the sky.

Maryland 27, Uconn 9

Virginia at Georgia Tech

The Yellowjackets’ last opponent was the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College, thereby validating Jerry Seinfeld’s theory that you’re only rooting for the clothes.

In last year’s 24-21 loss at Charlottesville, GT only threw the ball eight times all day. Quarterback Tevin Washington completed only two passes to his own teammates, and just as many to Cavs’ defenders.

The Cavaliers needed four missed Penn State field goals, and a plus-4 turnover margin, in order to edge a scandal-ridden, transfer-depleted Nittany Lion team by a single point. Yet coach Mike London reacted as if he’d just won the Orange Bowl. No Gatorade bath is warranted for beating this year’s PSU team. In fact, if you lose, they dump Fruitopia on you.

Georgia Tech 9, Virginia 6

Boston College at Northwestern

Hats off to the Wildcats, and the visiting Vanderbilt Commodores, for actually daring to finish last week’s game in a driving rainstorm. What will be their next death-defying feat, kickoff returns?

The Cats seem to be having success in their search for a feature running back. Little-utilized junior Venric Mark got set and goed against Vandy, for 123 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Through two games, Mark is averaging 5.4 per carry, for a total of 205 yards.

The Eagles’ opening 41-32 loss to Miami looks far worse than it did at the time, since the Hurricanes were blown off the field by Kansas State a week later. BC’s attempt to open up its offense seems to be working, however, after a 537-yard effort in that opening defeat. Last week’s 34-3 win over I-AA Maine was unremarkable, except that sophomore WR Spiffy Evans caught a TD pass, and scored again on an 82-yard punt return. Rumor has it that coach Frank Spaziani has already gotten a verbal commitment from Evans younger brother, Neato.

Northwestern 37, Boston College 33

Florida at Tennessee

The Gators had lost three in a row on their opponents’ turf until last week’s 20-17 triumph at Texas A&M. They were unwittingly aided by ESPN’s Lee Corso, who lamely picked A&M without putting anything on his head. The letdown across the College Station campus was palpable through the TV screen. Not even Kirk Herbstreit was amused.

There will be no such lack of enthusiasm at Rocky Top, where they’ve been rowdy without reason since the latter stages of the Phillip Fulmer era. They must be confident in having their best year at least since 2007, when they finished 10-4. In this year’s neutral-site opener against Nc State, quarterback Tyler Bray completed long TD passes during a 333-yard effort.

Coach Eb’s Volunteers improved to 2-0 by roughing up Division I-AA Georgia State, 51-13. A couple more wins like that, and they’ll be ready to play in the Rutabaga Bowl.

Tennessee 29, Florida 24

Brigham Young at Utah

Ute QB Jordan Wynn is officially out of football after suffering his latest in a long series of shoulder injuries. Jon Hayes was adequate in relief against Utah State, but his tying TD pass in overtime was called back on a penalty, in a 27-20 defeat last Friday night.

The Cougars’ helmets say “Y,” but the answer was not “because we like you” after the 54-10 drubbing they took last year in front of the home fans. However, that was before they turned the offense over to QB Riley Nelson, who is 10-1 since stepping in during last year’s USU game.

It appears that the Utes will lose to both intrastate rivals this season. This being a presidential election year, they might take solace in the fact that Bill Clinton finished third in Utah in 1992, but was still the winner when it was all over.

They wouldn’t want to do anything else like Bill Clinton, though. Not without getting their shots, anyway.

Brigham Young 34, Utah 17

Rice at Louisiana Tech

Tech allowed almost 700 total yards last week, and won. Despite being outgained by Houston 693-598, the Sonny Dykes’ team won 56-49, thanks to a more balanced attack than their one-dimensional opponents, and the only two takeaways of the game.

Owl kicker Chris Boswell connected on all four field goal attempts, including a 45-yarder as time expired, to clip Kansas 25-24. David Bailiff’s team had an equally climactic victory over Purdue early in 2011, but didn’t have another noteworthy win during a dreary 4-8 season.

Most of LTU’s teams are known as the Bulldogs, except for the women’s basketball team, which calls itself the Lady Techsters. If they were any good at it, they’d know that when you text, you’re supposed to shorten words when you misspell them. Misspelling words the long way is just plain dumb.

Louisiana Tech 58, Rice 50

Bowling Green at Toledo

The way these neighboring rivals have started the season, this game could be the biggest thing to hit Toledo since Jamie Farr’s proboscis. Each team is 1-1, with the Falcons’ loss coming in a 27-14 tussle with Florida, and the Rockets’ in a 24-17 overtime battle at Arizona.

UT quarterback Terrance Owens was drafted this past spring by the San Diego Padres, which came as a surprise to him, because he’s not a baseball player. Apparently, the Padres looked at his throwing motion, and figured a zillionth-round pick was well worth the gamble. Owens is content to stick with his current sport, especially after throwing for 300 yards and four scores in a 34-31 win at Wyoming.

Do you get the impression that the College Football Czar watches too many old TV shows? Well, it sure beats watching too many of the new ones. Even the 15-second promos of Two Broke Girls have been proven to cause death by stupidity in lab mice.

Toledo 49, Bowling Green 34

TOPICS: Society; Sports
KEYWORDS: analysis; collegefootball; predictions

1 posted on 09/13/2012 7:07:43 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
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To: Daniel Clark

LA Monroe will beat Auburn and crack the top 25! Book it!!

2 posted on 09/13/2012 7:12:43 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: Daniel Clark

All of the games Florida plays, Tennessee is the one I want to win the most.

3 posted on 09/13/2012 7:15:06 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: Daniel Clark

I’ll be rooting for the USC Trojans to massacre the Stanford Indians. Without their starting center, the Trojans will be tested, but I expect them to rise to the occasion.

4 posted on 09/13/2012 7:19:20 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: dfwgator

>> All of the games Florida plays, Tennessee is the one I want to win the most.

A Florida fan — or maybe it was a Bulldog — explained to me why Tennessee picked that color of orange. Do you know why?

5 posted on 09/13/2012 7:27:09 PM PDT by Nervous Tick ("You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.")
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To: Nervous Tick

Because they wear it to the game on Saturday, they wear it to go hunting on Sunday, and they wear it on Monday when they are picking up trash along the highway.

6 posted on 09/13/2012 7:31:09 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: dfwgator

Yep. Versatile! :-)

(Not that I have anything against Tennessee, just thought the joke was funny.)

7 posted on 09/13/2012 7:32:44 PM PDT by Nervous Tick ("You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.")
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To: TigerClaws
LA Monroe will beat Auburn and crack the top 25! Book it!!

For my daughter's sake,I hope you're wrong ;-) She has really been looking forward to being at Auburn's first home game of the season. She's developed a real love of AU and Jordan-Hare stadium!

8 posted on 09/13/2012 7:56:04 PM PDT by GizmosAndGadgets (How Free Are You In America Today?)
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To: TigerClaws

Leonard’s losers, Auburn

9 posted on 09/13/2012 7:56:59 PM PDT by political1 (Love your neighbors)
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To: TigerClaws



10 posted on 09/13/2012 8:13:48 PM PDT by Clint N. Suhks (EAT MOR CH)
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To: Daniel Clark
Yes sir! 'Toppers beat Kentucky!
11 posted on 09/15/2012 10:52:46 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (And yet...we continue to tolerate this crap...)
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To: WKUHilltopper

I think we should kick UK out of the SEC for that.

12 posted on 09/15/2012 10:55:39 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: dfwgator

LOL! UK’s RPI is 74 and WKU’s is 73. The numbers suggested it would be close—I just didn’t expect heart attack close! LOL

13 posted on 09/15/2012 10:59:52 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (And yet...we continue to tolerate this crap...)
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To: Daniel Clark

A “shout out” for “FR Home Team” Fresno State...69-14 winners over Pac-12 Colorado!

14 posted on 09/15/2012 11:20:52 PM PDT by Drago
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