2005-11-14

Football Notes


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Quick, name someone who could damage TO's hopes of abandoning his reckless, selfish, out-of-touch, loose cannon image more than agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Bonus points to anyone who guessed Jesse Jackson. Yup, there was JJ with TO in front of the cameras (where else?). Not that anyone has suggested that this is a race issue. Of course to the Rev, if there's a situation that's newsworthy, there's got to be a race problem in there somewhere, and he's just the one to find it. TO has now moved to the head of Randy Moss' and Keshaun Johnson's Christmas card list.
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Interesting results in ESPN's "Who is #3?" poll. The given choices were LSU, Miami, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Other. At first I figured Miami, as they seem to have sentiment momentum since solidly beating Va Tech. But then again you can't swing a dead cat anywhere in this country without hitting a Notre Dame alum. The results ... the home states each went for their own team including Ohio which went for "Other" which I would assume is Ohio State. Most of the rest of Big 10 country went for Penn State narrowly over Miami. The SEC West states went for LSU. And most of the rest of the country went for Miami. Interestingly Wyoming and South Dakota went for Notre Dame. Apparently, of the three sports fans that live there, two are Notre Dame grads.
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Now that Alabama has fallen and, surprise of surprises, Texas and USC don't have any difficult teams remaining on their schedules, stand by for the "See, the BCS does work," talk. Have nothing to do with it. Referring back to the previous question, you've got at least four teams who could make a case for consideration in the National Championship picture if there weren't two undefeated teams. What if Leinart and Bush had gone pro? What if Jim Tressell could have decided on a QB? What if that call in the Notre Dame-USC game had gone the other way? What if there were one other good team in either the Pac 10 or Big XII? Don't tell me the BCS works. Over the past three years you've had one key team on the outside looking in with a legitimate complaint. This year you could have a half dozen or more. This whole thing is a play or two and a decision or two away from being a huge mess. Color me rooting for whoever plays USC and Texas.
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Little known nuggets on the mascot controversy front. Apparently the status quo's momentem arising from the Tallahassee exception was short-lived. The U of Illinois Fighting Illini pointed out to the NCAA that their name was based on their state's name. The NCAA quite agreed and ruled that the state name would have to be changed. Finalists in the name the state contest: South Wisconsin, Chicago and Friends, and Steve. Actually this isn't the first mascot controversy. Back in its formative years, Notre Dame's nickname was the Drunken Brawling Irish. Compromise gave us the Fighting Irish which seemed permanent enough. Now one wonders how long til some gender-confused Irish person becomes offended and jams the Serene Into Zen Irish down our throats. All of this is just the opening Greenpeace has been looking for as they prepare to go after Stanford (the Cardinal), Ohio State (some kinda nut, I think) and Nebraska. In Omaha they'll be buying up info-mercial time for their campaign and airing graphic documentary footage of the corn-husking process. Note, this is not for the squeamish. As soon as the ACLU can figure out what a Hoosier is, they'll be getting in the game too. (Editor's note: some of this was not true)
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OK, seriously, how lame is the Illinois ruling? Your nickname can be Illini, but your mascot can't be an Illini. North Dakota is still appealing which I know has the College sports world on pins and needles. It will be hard to imagine North Dakota as anything else besides ... ahhh ... whatever their mascot is right now. This was one of those things that can't be case by case and be taken seriously. If the NCAA was going to do this, they needed to do it across the board, no exceptions. Now, mind you, I don't think the NCAA should have stuck their nose in this to begin with. They wound up having to make exceptions because these mascots aren't always the affront that certain knee-jerks make them out to be. In addition, the matter was sorting itself out as a number of schools had already changed. By the way, I think St John's changing from the Red Men to the Red Storm is one of the coolest upgrades of all time. Marquette's shift from Warriors to Golden Eagles on the other hand ... weak.
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Finally, allow me to dote on Steve Spurrier one more time. This guy is my hero, and have I mentioned how great it is to have him back in the college game? He played the whole Carolina-Florida meeting just right. In advance he side-stepped all the invitations to talk smack. You know he was thinking, "Heck ya we can win this, but I'm keeping my mouth shut cuz if this just boils down to an athlete vs. athlete contest, we lose." Instead, another demonstration of just how important the coach is. Case in point: Urban Meyer's decision to kick a field goal with under three minutes left and Florida down by 11. Math is apparently not Meyer's strong suit. That field goal took the Gators from being down and needing two scores to win, to ... being down and needing two scores to win. Sure, after the FG, now one of the two scores needed can be another FG, but he was still banking on hitting the onside kick not once, but twice as well as making two field goals of moderate distance! Sorry, I'll take trying to pick up 15 from scrimmage over that parlay any day. Better yet, since you have a timeout in the bag, how about not taking the delay of game.

But this quote is why I appreciate Spurrier: "It's more fun when your team is not a dominating team, ... It's neat the way our guys are winning. We are defying logic." This guy loves his craft. Spurrier rocks. If he can do this well next year, he'll start to make some serious headway on his recruiting deficit, then look out!

As for the SEC East title ... people say, "Georgia just has to lose to Auburn and Kentucky and the Gamecocks are in," like it's a coin flip at worst. Ummm, Auburn maybe. Kentucky ... LOLOL. If it was the Lady Bulldogs basketball team, maybe. UK would have to try to keep it close and steal it at the end, though.

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