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The College Football Czar: Week 4
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press ^ | September 20, 2012 | Daniel Clark

Posted on 09/20/2012 7:33:05 PM PDT by Daniel Clark

The College Football Czar Week 4

Week three in review: The College Football Czar barely averted a losing record last week, clawing out a dismal record of 9-8. For the season, his record stands at 41-24, for a .631 winning percentage. When the Czar has blown the big games, he’s been really thorough about it, as evidenced by his upset pick of Wake Forest against Florida State. It turned out that FSU had every bit as easy a time in its ACC opener as it had in its first two games against lower-division competition, as it walloped Wake 52-0.

USC’s listless start to the 2012 season finally caught up with it in a 21-14 loss to Stanford. The play of senior QB and presumptive Heisman candidate Matt Barkley is bound to call into question his decision not to enter last year’s NFL draft.

The Czar saw the week’s weirdest result in person, as his hometown Panthers – laughing stock of the football world through the first two weeks – rose up and manhandled mighty Virginia Tech, 35-17. Although the Czar had the matchup tabbed as a Booby-Trap Ballgame in his preseason issue, Pitt’s early performances had persuaded him that they had no chance whatsoever.

Although this is a college football publication, the Czar has got to address this past Sunday’s controversy from the Giants-Buccaneers game, because of what it says about the ongoing wussification of the sport in general. The Giants were getting ready to take a knee to end the game, and clinch a 41-34 victory, when the Bucs had the audacity to run the last play like they meant it, in an effort to force a fumble. When the two coaches met to shake hands afterward, the Giants’ Tom Coughlin had some pointed words for his rookie counterpart, Greg Schiano, formerly of Rutgers.

ESPN’s PrimeTime panelists agreed that Schiano had violated the “etiquette” of the game, and that his team should have just meekly rolled over and accepted defeat like a Frenchman. The NFL has ruled that the Bucs won’t be punished because they didn’t violate any rules, but nobody’s saying they did. They just committed a breach of football “etiquette.” The final play of the game shouldn’t really count, you see. It’s purely ceremonial, and the proprieties must be observed.

Not only shouldn't the Bucs have hit anybody on that last play, but they should have curtsied before leaving the field of play. Schiano, being a rookie NFL head coach, should have shown more deference to his Super Bowl-winning opponent, perhaps by laying his windbreaker across a puddle for Coughlin to walk over. Furthermore, etiquette dictates that after the game, Schiano should have sent a letter to the Giants’ locker room, hand-written in calligraphy, thanking them for being such gracious hosts. The letter may be accompanied by a single, long-stemmed rose, but anything more would be gaudy.

That’s the end of this week’s football etiquette lesson. Next time, we’ll learn how to discretely clean your cleats, and how to pretend not to notice that your opponent’s tattoos are misspelled. Until then, ta.

Sept. 21 Baylor at La.-Monroe

The belligerent birds are still spoiling for a fight, even after splitting a pair of overtime games against SEC opponents, defeating Arkansas 34-31 in week two, and falling to Auburn 31-28 last Saturday. In each case, ULM rallied from a 28-14 fourth-quarter deficit to force OT, but this time they came up empty in the extra frame, after having a 37-yard field goal blocked.

Last week, the Bears took on Division I-AA Sam Houston State, which shouldn’t have been much of a challenge considering that Richard Boone has been dead for about 30 years. SHSU led 20-10 at halftime, however, until BU took over in the second half to win 48-23. Coach Art Briles must have bristled at the performance, in which QB Nick Florence threw his first two picks of the season, the Bears were stopped on a fake punt. Kicker Aaron “The Stork” Jones became the team’s all-time leading scorer, but he also missed two field goals, from 40 and 24 yards.

It’s only natural that The Stork decided to spend his college years in Waco. Where else would one go in order to learn how to be lassoed?

La.-Monroe 29, Baylor 27

Sept. 22 Temple at Penn State

The way the Owls bungled away their game against Maryland two weeks ago, they better have learned to take care of the ball during their idle week. If not, they could be in for another ugly game, against a Lion team that is plus-8 in turnovers in its past two games.

The Nittany Lions used four takeaways to blow open a 34-7 victory over Navy to pick up their first win in the Bill O’Brien era. One nagging question that remains is the PSU kicking game, after Sam Ficken missed one of his five extra points, and was not given a chance at a subsequent 25-yard field goal attempt. O’Brien insists that his decision had nothing to do with Ficken’s inaccuracy, and that he simply “felt good about” going for it on fourth and goal (from the 8?). Don’t be surprised if the coach becomes susceptible to those good feelings whenever his team crosses the opposing 30 from now on.

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any creepier in Happy Valley, along comes Franco Harris and his unseemly obsession. At the opening game, the delusionally loyal Franco sat in a private box, accompanied by a life-sized cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno. What’s next, inflatables?

Penn State 21, Temple 20

Maryland at West Virginia

WVU quarterback Geno Smith threw for 411 yards and five TDs in a 42-12 win over Division I-AA James Madison last Saturday, but the reason he was able to rack up numbers like that was because coach Dana Holgorsen left him in until their second possession of the fourth quarter.

The nature of Holgorsen’s offense distorts the passing statistics to the point where you can’t take Smith’s 88 percent completion rate seriously. You almost have to subtract most of Tavon Austin’s receptions from the WVU passing stats, since many of those are on patty-cake pitches that are almost impossible not to complete.

Anyone who saw the Eers’ blowout of Clemson in the Orange Bowl knows that their numbers can’t be read the same way as those of a team with a more traditional scheme. This isn’t to say that Smith can’t be a Heisman candidate, but before any sportswriters cast their ballots, they should try actually watching a game for a change.

The Terrapins never came out of their shells in a 24-21 loss to Randy Edsall’s old team, the Uconn Huskies. The Terps compiled a meager total of 205 yards for the game, making it very difficult for them to come back after spotting the Conn Men a 7-0 lead on a punt return.

Why on earth would the Mountaineers play a neutral-site game against a lower-division team in Landover? Haven’t the poor fans in that town suffered enough?

West Virginia 49, Maryland 23

Kansas State at Oklahoma

Coach Bill Snyder chastised his Wildcats for a complacent attitude going into last week’s 35-21 win over North Texas. The question is whether that’s an accurate assessment, or merely a rationalization, to explain why such a flat performance shouldn’t be expected this week in Norman.

The Sooners seemed unmotivated themselves for their 24-7 opening win at UTEP, and a 69-13 drubbing of the I-AA Florida A&M Rattlers doesn’t disprove a thing. In that week one game in El Paso, OU only led 10-7 in the fourth quarter, until they finally took control after foiling a fake punt.

In case you’re curious, here are the thankfully seldom-heard lyrics to the fight song the OU band plays incessantly throughout the game: “Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, OK U, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, OK U, I’m a Sooner born and Sooner bred, and when I die I’ll be Sooner dead, Rah Oklahoma, Rah Oklahoma, Rah Oklahoma, OK U.”

The song’s title, cleverly enough, is “Boomer Sooner.” It was written in 1905, and was officially the stupidest song in human history until 1983, when it was dethroned by ZZ Top’s “TV Dinners.”

Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 31

Arizona at Oregon

The Fighting Ducks took their webbed foot off the gas pedal too soon in each of their first two games. Against Arkansas State, they exploded for a 50-3 second-quarter lead, then fizzled the rest of the way to a 57-34 final. When facing Fresno State a week later, they led 35-3 in the second quarter, but then needed a late score to stifle an FSU rally, 42-25.

They played a similar game last season in Tucson, where they led the 35-3 with two minutes to play before halftime. The Wildcats rallied for three TDs within the next ten minutes of game time to pull within eleven, before UO got back on a roll, to win by a final of 56-31.

The U of A had its way against a higher-ranked Oklahoma State team two weeks ago, at least as far as the final score of 59-38 was concerned. They did allow the Cowboys to ride roughshod over their defense for 636 yards, however – a figure that was mitigated by four turnovers and an OSU record for penalty yardage.

Football players usually dump Gatorade on their coach as a means of celebrating a victory. The Cats need to do it several times a game, just to prevent Rich Rodriguez from spontaneously combusting.

Oregon 47, Arizona 33

Michigan at Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish rarely sweep the Michigan schools, but they seem to have already done the difficult part, having dispatched the Spartans last Saturday, 20-3. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 to the Wolverines, though, including last year’s 35-31 defeat at Ann Arbor, over which the golden domers must be arboring a grudge. They had taken a 31-28 lead with just 30 seconds to play, only to see Denard Robinson drive his team 80 yards in three plays for the win.

So far this year, ballyhooed Wolverine running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has been about as tough as a light, flaky, crescent roll. Having been suspended for the Alabama game, he returned against Air Force to gain just 7 yards on 8 carries. Even last week against woeful I-A newcomer Umass, he gained a modest total of 85 yards. If Toussaint’s team can’t run the ball, Robinson will need to be more accurate than usual, against an Irish defense that has not yet allowed a 200-yard passing game.

The Irish face both Stanford and USC later this season. If you’re trying to figure out how last week’s Cardinal upset of the Trojans will affect ND’s BCS rating, then congratulations, you are a Lardhead.

Notre Dame 28, Michigan 25

California at USC

If former Penn State RB Silas Redd transferred to Southern Cal because he wanted to win a national championship, then he should have thought of that before rushing for only 13 yards on 11 carries with a fumble in last week’s 21-14 loss to Stanford.

The Golden Bears have yet to beat a I-A opponent, but they did have an encouraging game in last week’s 35-28 loss at Ohio State. Brendan Bigelow is not a big load, but the sophomore tailback crushed the lumpy nuts for 160 yards and two TDs on just four carries.

Trojan coach Lane Kiffin criticized senior QB Matt Barkley after the game, for making two “really poor decisions” that resulted in interceptions. Fair enough, but as long as Kiffin is acknowledging poor decisions, what about a head coach who has a 7-point third-quarter lead in a low scoring game, and eschews a 30-yard field goal attempt to go for it on fourth down? Mind you, this occurred after Barkley’s two mistakes that were supposedly so critical. Kiffin had a chance to take a 17-7 lead, but wouldn’t let freshman Alex Wood attempt the chip shot.

By now, Barkley may be thinking he’s made another very poor decision, by earning no money while playing another season for Lane Kiffin.

USC 26, California 17

Rutgers at Arkansas

The Scarlet Knights, in their old-fashioned wind-up toy outfits, march into SEC country following a series of methodical but unimpressive wins. RU is 3-0, but the most they’ve scored in a single game is 26, and that was against Division I-AA Howard.

Last season, the Razorbacks were happier to be at home than Arnold Ziffel watching TV. So far in 2012, they’ve been upset by Louisiana-Monroe on their alternate home field in Little Rock, and then been flattened in Fayetteville by #1 Alabama, 52-0. Against the Tide, freshman QB Brandon Allen threw for only 60 yards, while giving 59 yards on two interception returns. Starter Tyler Wilson has been medically OK’d to return to action this week, but as of this writing, eccentric coach John L. Smith has not announced a decision on who will start.

Whenever the Hogs travel to Little Rock, they leave mascot Sue E. Pig at home, because they’re afraid to get her too close to you-know-who.

Rutgers 16, Arkansas 10

Missouri at South Carolina

Easy wins over Conference USA foes East Carolina (48-10) and UAB (49-6) have given sophomore Dylan Thompson valuable experience, but coach Steve Spurrier insists that Connor Shaw and his tenderized shoulder are tough enough to jump right back into the starting lineup.

For the second time in as many games, the Tigers were dominated in the fourth quarter, but against Arizona State, they’d already built a 24-7 lead going in. A late goal-line interception by safety Kenronte Walker turned back the Sun Devils, to put away a 24-20 victory.

Each of these schools is located in a town called Columbia, but neither is affiliated with CBS. Everything with “Columbia” in its name always denies any affiliation with CBS, because they don’t want to be blamed for inflicting Charlie Rose on people at 7 in the morning.

South Carolina 41, Missouri 31

Utah at Arizona State

USC’s unexpected loss to Stanford blows the Pac 12 race wide open, giving everybody in the division except Colorado a realistic chance. The Utes are in a relatively favorable position, not having to face either Stanford or Oregon in the regular season.

After their team blocked a 51-yard BYU field goal attempt, the Mighty Utah Student Section (acronym MUSS) swarmed onto the field in celebration. One slight problem, they did so while the ball was still in play, resulting in a 15-yard penalty to the Utes, and a second chance for the Cougars. The subsequent 36-yard attempt hit the upright, though, sparing the fans in Salt Lake from a moment of Kentucky-like infamy.

ASU coach Todd Graham may have yet another new team, but he’s got the same old wardrobe. That fuddy, tunic-like white windbreaker he wears has a distinct maternity-wear look about it, as if he’s got a little Sun Devil in the oven.

Arizona State 27, Utah 22

Clemson at Florida State

Son of Clem easily defeated Man of Fur 41-7, in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Game of the Week. After playing this ACC opener, he’s off to face the Smog Monster in a neutral-site game on top of the ruins of Tokyo.

As the Czar, of all people, is well aware, the Seminoles slammed Wake Forest 52-0, on the strength of an incredible 9-carry, 197-yard performance by running back Chris Thompson. The senior, who had suffered a broken bone in his back while losing to WF a year ago, scored on runs of 74 and 80 yards.

The Tigers took the last meeting 35-30, for their fourth of eight consecutive wins to start the 2011 season. They only finished 10-4, though, suffering all four setbacks away from home.

So who’s Clem? You’ll have to wait for the prequel, at which time Son of Clem’s title will be changed to Clem IV: A New Clem.

Is the College Football Czar already resorting to this in Week 4? It promises to be a long season.

Florida State 44, Clemson 35

Kansas at Northern Illinois

Since the hiring of the Offensive Goo, the Jayhawk offense has been seeping downfield more slowly than ever. Their 20-6 loss to TCU follows a 25-24 defeat against a Rice team that allows twice as many points to just about everyone else.

NIU is always happy to return to Huskie with an “ie” Stadium, but they made themselves right at home last week at Michie with an “ie” Stadium, where they won a 41-40 shootout against Army.

Why is Huskie spelled with an “ie”? Because the rule is I before E, except after C, and there’s no C in “Huskie.” Come to think of it, there’s no C in “Jayhawk” either. So why aren’t they called the Jaiehawks? Just unliterate, I guess.

Northern Illinois 26, Kansas 21

Oregon State at UCLA

Both teams pulled surprising Week 2 upsets of Big Ten opponents, the Beavers bottling up Wisconsin 10-7, and the Bruins outbattling Nebraska 36-30. At this point, the Czar would have to say the blue bears’ win was bigger, because that Husker team has drubbed two respectable opponents, whereas the cheeseheads continue to crumble offensively.

OSU was idle last week, making them the only team in major college football to still have only played one game this season. Their postponed opener, against I-AA Nicholls State, has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 1, barring any postseason commitments for either team.

A “Bruin” is really just a French bear. That’s a distinction without a difference, because it’s a little-known fact that all bears are French. How can you tell? Just follow your nose.

UCLA 24, Oregon State 16

San Jose State at San Diego State

The Spartans go on the road for the first time since a tough 20-17 loss to Stanford on the season’s opening Friday night. In last week’s 40-20 victory over Colorado State, they almost flawlessly executed Operation Fales Safe, in which QB David Fales completed 27 of 34, for 370 yards and three TDs.

The Aztecs never trailed against the I-AA North Dakota Fighting Hostile And Abusives, but the 49-41 game was uncomfortably close throughout. Tight end Gavin Escobar had nearly half of SDSU’s receiving yardage, pulling down five catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Of course, SJSU’s version of Fales Safe only involved the bombing of the opposing secondary, and not the most densely populated city in the United States. Only Henry Fonda, everybody’s friendly neighborhood Commie sympathizer, could pull off something like that.

San Jose State 30, San Diego State 23

East Carolina at North Carolina

The Pirates’ 24-14 road win over Southern Miss has sent timbers shivering throughout Conference USA, the East division of which now lacks any clear favorite. ECU trailed 7-3 at halftime, but converted three third-quarter turnovers into an insurmountable 24-7 lead.

This is the Tarheels’ first real home game under Larry Fedora, following tough road losses to Wake Forest and Louisville. Last week at the U of L, they trailed 36-7 at the half, but rallied to a respectable 39-34 finish. They’d have never had to come back like that if they’d been able to run the ball, though. As a team, they tallied only 47 yards on 17 carries.

In case you missed it, this past Wednesday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, according to whoever’s in charge of deciding such things. Unfortunately, Johnny Depp now has people believing that pirates talk like Harvey Fierstein. Do we really need a day for that?

The College Football Czar spent the day talking like ECU coach Ruffin McNeill, but everyone just looked at him like he was a loony. Some people have got no holiday spirit.

North Carolina 31, East Carolina 19

Fresno State at Tulsa

The 2-1 Bulldogs could hardly have made a Boulder statement than they did last week at Colorado, when they ran the Buffaloes out of their own stadium for 55 first-half points. Rookie head coach Tim DeRuyter called off the Dogs in the second half of the 69-14 runaway.

This is the second year for former TU quarterback Bill Blankenship as head coach of his alma mater, and so far, he’s got a more than respectable record of 10-6. In fact, all five teams to which the Golden Hurricane lost in 2011 (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Houston and BYU) went on to win 10 or more games. So far this year, their only defeat has been to Iowa State, which is currently 3-0.

Blankenship is like penmanship, except that it’s for the spaces in between the words. The Czar always got high marks in blankenship. He could leave spaces so blank, you could eat off them.

Fresno State 49, Tulane 44

Louisiana Tech at Illinois

The Fighting Illini hope to have Nathan Scheelhaase back from his ankle injury this week, although backup QB Reilly O’Toole enjoyed a confidence-building game in a 44-0 whitewash of I-AA Charleston Southern. They may need all the quarterbacks they can get, to keep up with a 2-0 LTU team that has scored 56 points each against Houston and Rice. The Bulldogs have given up plenty of points also, but not until they’ve had their games well under control.

Sonny Dykes’ Dogs have now won 9 of their last 10 games, although the one loss – a 31-24 Poinsettia Bowl setback against TCU – was arguably their most impressive performance among them.

Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln – to which those techno-geeks from Ruston respond, “linkin’ to what?”

Louisiana Tech 26, Illinois 16

New Mexico at New Mexico State

Each team is 1-2, but still looking for its first win against a Division I-A opponent. Bob Davies’ UNM team hasn’t had much of a chance, having faced Texas and Texas Tech in consecutive games, which they lost by a combined score of 94-14. NMSU had to rally last week just to lose to UTEP by the unembarrassing score of 41-28. A week later, they went to Ohio and got rolled, 51-24.

Our 47th state is known as the Land of Enchantment, which came as news to the College Football Czar, who had always thought the Land of Enchantment was Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania.

Even before that last sentence, you’d probably already guessed that the Czar doesn’t get out much.

New Mexico 29, New Mexico State 26

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

1 posted on 09/20/2012 7:33:14 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
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To: Daniel Clark

Glad to see USC lose last week and be out of the running so early.

Alabama is the real deal. Game against LSU will be epic in a few weeks.

Arkansas will rebound and win this week.

I haven’t seen FSU play yet and don’t know if they are for real. ACC is weak. Florida is solid this year though and that game will be a challenge.

Auburn is down this year.

Whole Big 10 is down this year. Alabama absolutely destroyed Michigan.

2 posted on 09/20/2012 7:35:39 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: Daniel Clark
USC 26, California 17

I'll be in the Coliseum cheering on the Trojans. Just hope I don't hear the Cal band play "Happy Days in Dixieland" after the game--they only play that when they win.

Fight on and blacklist the Commies!

3 posted on 09/20/2012 10:38:23 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: Daniel Clark; All

Just wonder what Oregon offense would do if they played 3d quarters with their starters? My college fantasy team (yes I play fantasy football w college) has Ducks RB Thomas and QB Mariota...and could use a full 4 qtrs from them

Great picks...although I think NM State will beat UNM. Even with Bob Davie as coach...UNM is a bad program that still is smarting from running out Rocky Long a few yrs ago

4 posted on 09/21/2012 6:43:47 AM PDT by SeminoleCounty (Blaming Terry Jones for the recent Muslim riots is like blaming the St Louis Rams for football)
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