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The College Football Czar: Week 9
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press ^ | October 25, 2012 | Daniel Clark

Posted on 10/25/2012 8:07:07 PM PDT by Daniel Clark

The College Football Czar

Week 9

Week eight in review: It was another above-average week for the College Football Czar, who went 14-4, improving his overall record to 106-50 and his winning percentage to .679. Among his better picks were the demise of the then-undefeated but badly inflated Cincinnati Bearcats, and Louisiana-Monroe’s 43-42 overtime win over Western Kentucky (predicted score 33-32).

Although week eight certainly had its share of excitement, it did very little to shake up the rankings. The highest-ranked team to lose to a lower-ranked or unranked opponent was the #21 Bearcats, whose defeat is referenced above. #24 Iowa State was also dumped by Oklahoma State, but other than that, the rankings held.

The SEC and Big XII are nearing a decision on the site for their proposed “Champions Bowl,” although the way the story is being framed is a bit overdramatic. There will not be any new game called the Champions Bowl. It’s just that those leagues are about to sign a deal with an already existing bowl – either the Sugar or Cotton – to host their game. So they’re not really going to torment us by putting another big game in a dreary, miserable, stinkin dome; they’re only going to alter the conference affiliations of an already existing big game in a dreary, miserable, stinkin’ dome. Seriously, even if those leagues are head-and-shoulders above everyone else, any real fan would still rather watch the Big Ten and Pac 12 champs playing outdoors in Pasadena than watch two even better teams participating in the Gloom Bowl.

Oct. 26 Cincinnati at Louisville

Last week, the Cardinals barely kept their unbeaten season alive in a 27-25 scare against South Florida, while the Bearcats were toppled by Toledo, 29-23. Both teams remain without a loss in Big East play, although Rutgers (7-0, 4-0) currently leads the league.

There was too much Munchie business last week in the Glass Bowl, where erratic sophomore quarterback Munchie Legaux played too big a role in UC’s loss to the Rockets. Legaux completed just 15 of 36 passes with two interceptions, while also rushing the ball nine times. Meanwhile, leading rusher George Winn only got 16 carries. Winn is averaging 6.3 yards per carry this season, but he’s only being given the ball 14.5 times per game.

The Cats have won the last four of these “Keg O’ Nails” games, including a 35-27 upset when they last ventured into “The Ville” two years ago. Perhaps the Cards suffered from the lack of an intimidation factor because the nickname for their city is too wussy for a keg o’ nails. “The Ville” sounds like someplace where people go around driving Priuses and wearing ascots. They could at least try calling it “The Ville of Death,” or something.

Cincinnati is known as the Queen City, but it’s Louisville that was named after a monarch with big hair and frilly clothing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that … even if there is.

Louisville 28, Cincinnati 12

Nevada at Air Force

The 6-2 Wolf Pack could easily be undefeated by now, if not for a pair of fourth-quarter collapses that have resulted in one-point setbacks. In week two, they blew an 11-point lead on two long bombs by an otherwise impotent South Florida offense, and lost 32-31. Last week, they took a 31-21 lead against San Diego State with less than eight minutes to play, only to let the Aztecs’ backup QB bury them, 39-38 in overtime.

It was Means to the end last week against New Mexico, as AFA linebacker Alex Means scored on a 65-yard interception return, and later thwarted an attempted fourth-down conversion, to lead the Falcons (4-3, 3-1) to a 28-23 victory, in a game in which they were otherwise outplayed.

It was good to see the Falcons revert to their traditional Lightning Eleven uniforms last week, complete with the players’ actual names on the jerseys. The Czar was starting to think there was some middle-aged man named Service, who was out to break Will Chamberlain’s record – and he doesn’t mean scoring over 100 points in a basketball game.

Nevada 45, Air Force 33

Oct. 27

Temple at Pitt

The Panthers tried to reestablish their ground game during a downpour in Buffalo, but only managed to slosh past the MAC also-rans by a final of 20-6. The only cause for excitement for the fans in the Iron City was that struggling kicker Kevin Harper connected on both field goal attempts in adverse conditions, the first of those from 45 yards.

The Owls led league-leading Rutgers 10-0 at halftime, but were stomped in the second half for a final of 35-10. A lame announcer might have said it was “a tale of two halves,” but then, every football game is a tale of two halves. There just aren’t any more halves than that. Not even in Canada.

Temple’s Owl nickname came from the fact that it was originally a night school, but it isn’t anymore. It’s like the poem says: The wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he heard, the more he decided to stay the hell out of Philadelphia at night.

Pitt 22, Temple 18

Ohio State at Penn State

The Czar didn’t mean it last week when he said the Buckeyes could continue to win crappily all the way to Indianapolis. That’s because they, being on probation, are ineligible to go to the Big Ten championship game. They did continue to win crappily, though, 29-22 in overtime against Purdue.

The turning point in that game was when alleged Heisman candidate Braxton Miller was injured on a tackle which, though clean, had a similar effect to the banned horse collar tackle. At that point, the lumpy nuts trailed 20-14, with Miller having completed 9 of 20 with an interception, and rushed for a modest total of 47 yards on 12 carries. Things did not go even that well initially for backup Kenny Guiton, but on the final possession of regulation time he drove his team 61 yards in 49 seconds to tie the score. Miller is expected to resume as the starter this week. Some people are very excited about that.

With all the transfers during the offseason, it looked as if the Nittany Lions had lost most of their more important parts. It appears now that they were only molting, as new coach Bill O’Brien has his rejuvenated team performing better than it did with all its star players a year ago. Last week, the PSU defense squelched Iowa’s running game for a total of just 20 yards on the ground, in a 38-14 thumping.

The Lions won last year’s meeting in Columbus, 20-14. Oh, wait a minute, the Czar stands corrected. Although OSU officially lost the game, the Lions did not officially win it, at least not anymore. But then, if nobody won, then who scored those 20 points? It couldn’t have been the ghost of Joe Paterno, because he … um … wasn’t around yet.

Penn State 21, Ohio State 20

Notre Dame at Oklahoma

The 7-0 Fighting Irish are second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 9.4 points per game. They have yet to face an opposing offense anywhere near comparable to OU, however, which could make for as rude an awakening as West Virginia got, once it finally had to face a couple competent defenses. For all their defensive dominance, the golden domers have won four games by seven points or fewer, including last week’s lackluster 17-14 battle of attrition against BYU.

The Sooners are fifth in the nation in scoring at 44.7 ppg, and they didn’t try very hard to raise that average during a 52-7 rout of Kansas, which they had led 52-0 five minutes into the third quarter. Contrast that with the Irish, who have called timeouts in order to cram in last minute TDs in both of their blowout wins this season.

If the Irish asked their former head man and Offensive Goo, current Kansas coach Charlie Weis, for advice on how to approach the Sooners, what kind of brilliance do you suppose he’d impart? Perhaps he’d tell them to throw the ball poorly, turn it over three times, leave gaping holes in the kick coverage, and just generally scramble around the field with the same unity of purpose as an electric football team. Mind you, his team lost 52-7 playing that way last week. But there were a couple unfavorable spots, and it was probably a bit windy. Nothing that reflected poorly on his genius, of course.

Notre Dame 31, Oklahoma 7

Mississippi State at Alabama

So far, the Bulldogs have matched Bama’s 7-0 record, but MSU’s three SEC opponents have been Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition, they’ve beaten up on three second-echelon Sun Belt conference teams (Middle Tennessee, Troy, and expansion team South Alabama), and Division I-AA Jackson State. As undefeated teams go, they rate somewhere between Louisville and Ohio, based on their strength of schedule. Things are about to get a lot tougher for them, though. Following this trip to Tuscaloosa, they host Texas A&M, and then travel to Baton Rouge.

Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron has not been intercepted in 154 attempts this season. For his career, the junior has so far thrown only five picks, as opposed to 35 touchdowns. Last week, he passed for a season-high 303 yards in a 44-13 tee-off against Tennessee.

The Alabama mascot is an elephant, and the logo on the field is a big “A.” The Oakland A’s mascot is also an elephant. Therefore, the College Football Czar deduces, the folks in the Tide’s athletic department must think the word “elephant” is spelled “A.”

Well, be fair. At least there’s an “A” in the word, so they’re partly right.

Alabama 24, Mississippi State 5

Texas Tech at Kansas State

These teams have taken turns saving Morgantown from burning to the ground, as the Red Radiers routed West Virginia 49-14, and K-State did likewise, 55-14. Now that they’ve done their good deed for the season, they can turn their attention to competing for the Big XII title. The Wildcats (7-0, 4-0) are currently all alone in first place, while Tech has lost only to Oklahoma.

The Raiders as a team have failed to reach the 100-yard mark in rushing three times during their last four games. Only a characteristically soft nonconference schedule has their ground game ranked as high as #79 at this point in the season.

The Cats are now #3 in the BCS ratings, after leapfrogging Oregon, presumably based on their superior level of competition. The big question is why they don’t also jump ahead of Alabama on the same basis. Think SEC teams play a tougher schedule? Look again. That terribly disappointing Michigan team the Tide trounced in their opener has been by far their best opponent so far, whereas Bill Snyder’s team has beaten #8 Oklahoma, Iowa State and WVU, all on the road.

If Morgantown ever really did burn, the only way you could tell would be from the warm smell of Cletus rising up through the air.

Kansas State 35, Texas Tech 19

USC at Arizona

Now that considerable doubt has been cast over presumptive Heisman frontrunner Geno Smith of West Virginia, there have been suggestions that Matt Barkley, who completed 19 of 20 in a 50-6 rout of Colorado, deserves a second look. Okay, so we’ve looked a second time, and seen that the senior slinger has thrown for under 200 yards in three of seven games so far this season. His season total of 1,773 yards ranks him 37th in the NCAA, and unlike Kansas State’s Collin Klein, he’s no threat to run the ball at all. Seen enough?

The Wildcats waylaid Washington last week in the desert, 52-17, for their first win against three losses in Pac 12 play. Keep in mind that those defeats included an overtime decision against Stanford, and a 38-35 loss to still-unbeaten Oregon State. In addition, their early nonconference wins over Toledo and Oklahoma State look more impressive in light of last week’s games.

If Southern Cal thinks it’s so cool, then how come it doesn’t have an iced tea named after it?

Arizona 31, USC 30

Florida vs. Georgia

For years, the event surrounding this neutral-site classic had been entitled The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Now that the PC police have invaded, it has probably been changed to something like The World’s Largest Outdoor Whole Foods Market. The catch is that these whole foods are fermented.

Bulldog safety Shawn Williams berated his team’s defense, himself included, after a shabby 29-24 win over Kentucky. That’s just what a senior on this squad should be doing right now, but he didn’t stop there. Instead, Williams offered his opinion that a couple of linebackers – and he mentioned them by name – should not be getting so much playing time. Hardly unifying stuff.

The Gators only gained 183 total yards last week, but still stomped South Carolina, 44-11, thanks largely to a plus-four turnover margin. The only reason Will Muschamp’s team allowed SC to score in the double digits was because they had a blocked extra point, which was returned all the way for a defensive two-point conversion.

The first time the College Football Czar encountered a “whole foods” store, he gleefully entered, only to walk away disappointed after finding that there wasn’t a single donut in the entire place. What a gyp.

Florida 19, Georgia 10

Navy at East Carolina

The Pirates, having been snubbed so far by the Big East, would surely like to repeat last year’s 38-35 win over the future Big East member Midshipmen. This season, none of their five victories has been of similar quality. The best opponent they’ve beaten has probably been UAB, which they held off 42-35 a week ago.

The Naval Academy had been stuck in the doldrums at 1-3 after a 12-0 loss at home to San Jose State, but they’ve since won road games over Air Force and Central Michigan, and last week they returned to Annapolis, and defeated another apolis, by edging Indiana 31-30.

Just as the Middies are preparing to join their new conference, we receive word that the program may be forced to disband altogether. As the president informed us this past Monday, most of the Navy has been rendered obsolete. “We have these things called ‘aircraft carriers,’ where airplanes land on them,” he helpfully explained. “We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” See? And you probably thought his stimulus package would never pay off.

Okay, so Indiana University is in Bloomington, not Indianapolis. The Czar had subconsciously moved them to the state capital because the mention of Bloomington reminds him that it’s the hometown of both David Lee Roth and John Mellencamp. Exposure to those two simultaneously is enough to break one’s insipid-ometer.

Navy 42, East Carolina 28

UCLA at Arizona State

This game represents the last chance for the Bruins (5-2, 2-2) to stay in the running to repeat as Pac 12 South champions. Okay, so they were the weakest division champions since the 1983 Oakland Invaders, but they still won.

The conference schedule is about to get a lot tougher for the blue bears, who, aside from facing both Arizona schools back to back, must end the season with consecutive games against USC and Stanford. They can’t afford to play the same way they have in their first four conference games, and expect to keep breaking even.

First-year Sun Devils coach Todd Graham likes to bore everyone with his yammering about his “high octane” offense. It’s really his defense that ought to be given that nickname, because the chemical formula for octane is C8H18, which is almost as many points as ASU gave up in the first half last week against Oregon. The score of that game was 43-7 just four minutes into the second quarter, at which point their merciful opponents called off the ducks and coasted to a 43-21 final.

The roughly 70,000 Devil fans who showed up for that game were dressed for a “blackout,” which was supposed to somehow energize their team. Before long, they simply looked like they were all in mourning.

Arizona State 35, UCLA 32

Nc State at North Carolina

The Tarheels’ four-game winning streak was snapped last week by their other local rival, Duke, 33-30. Larry Fedora’s team rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to take a four-point lead, only to let the Blue Devils march 87 yards for the winning score in the final three minutes.

Two weeks after shocking Florida State, the Wolfpack (5-2, 2-1) handed Maryland its first ACC loss of the season, 20-18. Sophomore WR Bryan Underwood pulled in six receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. It’s debatable how much credit NCSU deserves for that victory, though. Terps’ starting QB Perry Hills suffered a season-ending injury, and kicker Brad Craddock missed a last-second 36-yarder, which could have sent State packing an “L” for the trip home.

If any coach should be nicknamed The Hat, it’s Larry Fedora. Not only is he named after a hat, but he doesn’t often wear one. That’s what we clever people call irony.

North Carolina 19, Nc State 16

TCU at Oklahoma State

Freshman OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh had his biggest game to this point of the season, passing for 415 yards in a sound 31-10 beating of the Iowa State team that had upset the undefeated Cowboys a year ago.

The Horned Frogs had to go with a freshman QB also. After a slow start against Iowa State, Trevone Boykin has performed at least as well as Casey Pachall had prior to his suspension. In the past two games, he’s passed for a combined total of 594 yards, with eight TDs and two interceptions.

The Frogs’ 56-53 loss to Texas Tech looks superficially like the typical Big XII game, except that it took three overtimes to arrive at that score. At the end of regulation time, they were only tied 36-36. Even that result is out of character for this year’s Texas Christian team, which has trudged to unimpressive, low-scoring wins over the likes of Kansas, Virginia and SMU.

Arriving in Stillwater is a heck of a way for the Horned Frogs to realize that they’re not really frogs. Kind of a cruel bit of scheduling, really.

Oklahoma State 39, TCU 34

Michigan State at Wisconsin

This is a replay of last year’s slugfest in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, won by Wisconsin 42-39. It won’t be a preview of this year’s title game, with the Spartans already trailing Michigan by two and a half games in the Legends division. The Badgers (6-2, 3-1) are going to win the Leaders division, despite not being its leader. Ohio State and Penn State – both unbeaten in the conference – are ineligible, while Purdue, Illinois and Indiana are each 0-3 in league play.

In a game that typified MSU’s season, they held arch rival Michigan out of the end zone for the entire game, but still managed to lose, 12-10. Leading rusher LeVeon Bell didn’t ring true, as he clanged around for a mere 68 yards on 26 carries. Compare that to Badger backs James White and Montee Ball, who combined for 341 yards and five touchdowns to capture the Paul Bunyan Axe, 38-13 against Minnesota.

After the third quarter, everyone at Camp Randall Stadium starts jumping around, not coincidentally to the song Jump Around. Everyone except the Spartans, that is, who would probably all accidentally spear each other if they tried. If, on the other hand, Sweet Caroline were playing, they’d all spear each other intentionally.

Wisconsin 35, Michigan State 16

Oregon State at Washington

If the 3-4 Huskies can finish the more challenging part of their schedule with a second win over a ranked team, then their November foes will line up like easier pickings than cranberries.

Aside from the Thanksgiving motif, the Czar isn’t really sure why he wrote that, because cranberries aren’t easy to pick at all. It looks easy as long as they stay in the shape of the can, but when you go to pick them, they tend to ooze right through your fingers.

The 6-0 Beavers have managed to stay undefeated with backup QB Cody Vaz guiding them to victories against Brigham Young and Utah. Between those two games, the undersized junior completed over 62 percent of his passes, while racking up a total of 506 yards and three TDs, with no interceptions. That might make this seem like an inopportune time to perform a Vaz-ectomy, but now that Sean Mannion is ready to return from a knee injury, how could coach Mike Riley keep him out of the lineup?

Perhaps Vaz will become discouraged by this development, and decided to transfer, as so many quarterbacks do these days. Then, Coach Riley might say to him, “Quo Vadis, Cody Vaz?”

If Stephan Pastis wrote that in one of his comic strips, Rat would let him have it.

Washington 23, Oregon State 17

Kent State at Rutgers

At 6-1 with an upcoming home game against Akron, the Golden Flashes are having flashbacks to the early 70s, when they fielded three winning teams in a row. They finished the 1972 season at 6-5-1 after losing the Tangerine Bowl to the now-defunct Tampa Spartans program. Strangely, they were not invited back to a bowl a year later, when they went 9-2.

It’s easy to picture the Knights going 12-0 at this point, but anyone who argues that they would belong in the BCS championship is a lardhead. Their biggest win by far this year has been by nine over Arkansas. Alabama kicks the snot out of an Arkansas practically every week. Kyle Flood’s club is more reminiscent of the unbeaten Tulane and Marshall teams of the late 90s than the TCUs and Boise States of recent years.

KSU’s only loss this season has not coincidentally come on the other occasion on which they’ve tangled with a team from a BCS-AQ conference. If they were steamrolled in the second half of a 47-14 defeat at Kentucky, then how will they handle the more formidable Scarlet Knights, who are holding their opponents to 11.3 points per game?

Legend has it that RU was named the Scarlet Knights because, in the first-ever college football game against Princeton, they distinguished themselves by wearing red bandanas. In a similar vein, Princeton was called the Tigers because they wore those polo shirts with the little tigers on them. They would have instead been named the Alligators, if not for cuts in that year’s athletic department budget.

Rutgers 30, Kent State 3

Michigan at Nebraska

After the Wolverines were blown out of their opener by Alabama, some Michigan State players publicly berated U of M quarterback Denard Robinson. He sure showed them, by completing 14 of 29 with an interception last week. He was nevertheless part of a winning effort, as his team sent the Spartans home losers, 12-10.

The Cornhuskers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter in Evanston, to make Northwestern go nappy-bye, 29-28. Taylor Martinez, once known as a running quarterback, threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, while adding another 65 yards and a score on the ground.

Martinez only completed 9 of 23 against the U of M in last year’s 45-17 pummeling in Ann Arbor, which ended the N-men’s hopes of a division title. He’s obviously a different player this year, though. So are Wolverine QB Robinson and tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, and in their case, not in a good way.

Q: If Little Bo Peep lost her sheep, then what did Bo Pelini lose?

A: Sheep, but less poetically so.

Nebraska 27, Michigan 23

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

1 posted on 10/25/2012 8:07:13 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
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To: Daniel Clark

I think the “czar” has the Notre Dame - OU score reversed. Lose by 24 at home? Not hardly. Go TTU!

2 posted on 10/25/2012 8:13:39 PM PDT by crusty old prospector
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To: Daniel Clark

Ya that OU v ND prediction is funny. K State has a way better QB (if you go by things like numbers and ESPN qb ratings) than ND, way better special teams, and makes virtually no mistakes. They also won the TO battle 3 to 0 and still only won the game by 5. ND has a comparable defense to K State (better front 7 way worse secondary), a worse offense, a worse qb, ranks around 40 in penalties while K State is top 3, and ND generally can’t move the ball. They have about the 40th ranked scoring offense while OU has the 2nd ranked scoring D (both adjusted for competition while the game is still in question).
If K State needed 3 turnovers to win a close game, how many turnovers will ND need to blow them out? Not to mention OU is a different team now that their new WRs are gelling than they were when they played K State. Remember that time a Bob Stoops team got blown out at home? Me neither. Whoever this is, I would ‘invest’ absolutely anything they wanted against their prediction.

3 posted on 10/25/2012 9:53:11 PM PDT by JohnC2004
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To: Daniel Clark

On top of all that, ND runs a 3-4 defense. OU played Kansas last week who.also runs a 3-4. No comparison there, but when Kansas realized their LBs couldn’t cover the quick slot, they switched to a nickel scheme in a hurry. Brian Kelly said last week that they don’t have the personnel to run a nickel so they better pray to td Jesus that their 250 LBs can cover OUs slot receivers (right). Their only hope is to get a ton of pressure straight up the middle from their NT who is a BEAST.

4 posted on 10/25/2012 10:02:36 PM PDT by JohnC2004
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To: JohnC2004

Given the many losses and turmoil on Oklahoma’s O Line this year, that strategy might pay off. But Kelly better have plenty of depth in the LB corps because they’ll be getting a workout in coverage. Tough one for me as a Longhorn fan and a Catholic. Can’t decide to root for the ‘Domers or the Dirt Burglars....

5 posted on 10/25/2012 10:21:58 PM PDT by Crapgame (What should be taught in our schools? American Exceptionalism, not cultural Marxism...)
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To: Daniel Clark

That was a damned good call on Notre Dame!

6 posted on 10/31/2012 4:27:05 PM PDT by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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