Shabbat Shalom

September 6, 2008

Saturday’s action is far from over, but already a number of interesting stories have developed.  Ohio State barely survived a rough game against Ohio.  Michigan nearly lost to Miami of Ohio.  Ole Miss made it a nail biter with Wake Forest, and East Carolina proved that they deserved to be ranked after totally dominating No. 8 West Virginia and that “potent offense” led by “Heisman Candidate” Pat White.  Washington’s Jake Locker was inappropriately flagged for excessive celebration and the referees handed BYU a close game in Husky Stadium.  And despite what many writers said might be a close game after a number of Penn State suspensions and dismissals, the Nittany Lions handed the Oregon State Beavers their own asses, wrapped up in cellophane in a carefully arranged gift basket of shame.

 

While that Big Ten victory was rather impressive (and it came over a Pac-10 team which makes my heart hurt just a little), the Big Ten was looking marshmallow soft until it happened.  Yes, Wisconsin and Purdue also got the job done today in convincing fashion, but let’s be honest, they were playing cupcakes.  When Michigan and Ohio State both trail for quite a while and barely hang on to win games that they scheduled as for-sure victories, I said to myself and out loud to my father, “Dude, the Big Ten sucks.”  All I know is, Ohio State needs a complete renovation if they don’t want to be totally embarrassed in the Coliseum next week.  Yeah, USC had the week off, and could look at the Ohio State game and think, “Wow, we are gonna punk these fools,” but you had better believe that regardless of how either team starts the game, USC is going to do Arizona proud and “bear down” in a serious way at home against the perennially overrated Buckeyes.  Boeckman is seriously at risk of being injured, and OSU’s young QB Terrelle Pryor didn’t show nearly enough promise to even challenge USC’s defense at all.  I can’t wait for the Big Ten’s best team to get trounced by the Pac-10’s best, a USC team that ends up coughing up a couple games most years regardless of being the conference champion.  Says something about the strength of the conference versus the Big Ten, does it not?

 

Staying within the Pac-10, my very own Oregon Ducks put up 66 points at home against a ridiculously weak Utah State team, so I can’t get too excited about the point total.  However, I can get excited about a couple of things.  One being the fact that LaGarrette Blount was able to get enough touches to break 100 yards on the ground, another being that a number of other bench players got a chance to gain some experience, and probably one of the best things about this game being that the Ducks were able to get a win wearing those ridiculous yellow helmets that everyone hates so much.  Not only did we break the curse that those helmets have thus far brought, but we were also able to get our one game a year to wear them out of the way safely, leaving the rest of the season potentially yellow-helmet-free.  Good idea, Ducks.

 

Now that I have gotten these few things off of my chest, I’m going to continue to watch this Miami vs. Florida game and root for a Hurricanes upset.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Never hear the end of it from the fans for those stupid yellow helmets – Oregon Ducks

Continue to struggle next week – Big Ten

Somehow turn it around and spoil some Pac-10 hopes – Oregon State Beavers

Suddenly realize being the head coach is more pressure than you thought – Bill Stewart

Make it to the BCS from a non-BCS conference – East Carolina Pirates (yaaarrrrrgh)

Be bored until next Saturday – me

 

 

 

 

 

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Wait Just A SECond

September 3, 2008

Before I write a post in which I rattle off all kinds of stats from the 44-10 stomping of UW that the Ducks issued last Saturday night (which I promise I will), I am going to add to the never-ending argument about college football conference strength.  I hit on this argument in a previous post, and given a recent blog posting by my main man Ted Miller, who writes the Pac-10 blog for ESPN’s website, I decided it was important to reiterate.  But don’t go thinking I just feed off of other people’s blogs for my own material (although I often reference Ted Miller), I was also inspired to write about this after watching UCLA knock of Tennessee in overtime Monday night.

 

Every season, we hear about how strong the SEC is and just how much in front of the other BCS conferences they are.  They have “incredible depth” and “extremely tough schedules” which allows the pundits to forgive multiple losses and let them play in major bowl games while teams from the other “weaker” conferences get left out.  Yes, the SEC has long been successful, and it has much to do with their geographic locale and the culture that exists there.

 

The Big 12 and the Big Ten have also been lauded throughout history as being football powerhouses, and it cannot be denied that in the past, they indeed have produced much success.  Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State (among others), are all tremendous programs that have perennially been competitors.  Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska have been great in the past, although lately the latter two have been replaced in the marquee by Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Tech.  This speaks to the verifiable strength of the Big 12.  Now, while the Big 12 will make a lot of noise this year and should be rewarded for it, the Big Ten is more a less a joke.  Ohio State is going to get beat soundly by USC, Michigan is going to struggle again, and we all know what Oregon is going to do to Purdue.  I’ll give the Big Ten Penn State, they will probably have a solid year.

 

The beef that I have (again, reiterating) is with the SEC’s insistence that they are so much stronger than the Pac-10.  Since 1998, when the BCS era began, the Pac-10 is 10-6 vs. the SEC.  Ten wins, six losses.  Sure, its not total domination or anything, but it is a comfortable margin, and given the fact that the SEC seems to think they dominate other conferences, it’s an interesting contradiction.

 

A highlight in this argument as of late was Monday night’s shocker in Pasadena.  UCLA, a team picked by many to finish in the middle of the bottom half of the Pac-10, knocked off an 18th ranked Tennessee team that many pundits said was flying under the radar in the SEC and was poised to challenge for the conference title.  Sure, it wasn’t a blowout, and in the first half it was totally ugly.  But they bottom line is that UCLA gave Tennessee the ball FOUR TIMES in the first half on interceptions, and even with those turnovers the Vols were unable to get it done against a team they were supposed to easily dispose of.  That’s two years in a row that Tennessee has come out west and been beaten by a Pac-10 team at the beginning of the season (last year they were beaten by Cal at Memorial Stadium).

 

We’ll see what the Sun Devils can do when Georgia rolls into the desert in a few weeks.  Honestly I think that will bump the count to 10-7 overall, but it would really strengthen my argument if they pull the upset in Tempe.

 

And to reiterate yet again, USC is going to beat Ohio State, but that is hardly going out on a limb.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Win in Tempe – Georgia Bulldogs

Beat SEC opponents in major bowl games – Pac-10 teams

Still refer to the depth of the SEC even after Tenn and MSU got upset in Week 1 – sports writers from anywhere other than West Coast

Do hundreds and hundreds of pushups on Saturdays this season – me (Oregon points)

Suffer a letdown after a great victory in their opener – UCLA

Start reading this blog – millions of people


Busted Bracket

April 5, 2008

Well, if anyone’s bracket still looks good, I bet its for one of two reasons.  (A) It got totally destroyed early, most of the damage done in the first weekend of play, followed by some more interesting bends and breaks in the Sweet Sixteen, and now your bracket looks good if you disregard the first couple weeks because you are either boring, uneducated about the history of the tournament, or are just one of those “geniuses” that picks the number one seeds all the way through and somehow got it right this year or (B) you are a computer program.  Either way, all number one seeds?  Come ahhhn…

Being a Pac-10 guy, I’m kind of glad the Bruins are there.  As much as I have a difficult time rooting for a team that I love to hate during the regular season, I would like the Pac-10 to go ahead and keep establishing itself.  We certainly have won a lot of titles over the years in a broad range of sports, but I would really like to see our basketball and football prowess keep reaching higher and higher.  That said, I think that UCLA is going to have a tough time with Memphis.  K-Love is super-legit, but Joey Dorsey is more athletic and more experienced, and he has a whole crew of guards to help him that are more dominant than UCLA’s backcourt.  Collison and Shipp are quality guards, but they are going to have their hands full tonight.  I’ll say Memphis over UCLA 83-74.

As for the other side, its Roy Williams’ current team versus Roy Williams’ former team, and in this one, I’m going to have to give the nod to Roy in the present tense.  But I’m not sure it’s because he’s coaching, but I certainly do believe that it obviously has a lot to do with the continued outstanding performances given by my clear cut Player of the Year, Tyler Hansbrough.  Of course, having a guy as smooth as Ty Lawson to feed you the ball helps, but Hansbrough’s will to win and his knowledge of the game surpass most other players in the college game right now.   Kansas is usually a speedy team, one which only narrowly escaped the upstart Davidson Wildcats and their sophomore phenom Stephen Curry, but should be able to put up a better fight against the Tar Heels.  But I have to give the edge to the boys in baby blue, and I’ll have to apologize to my buddy Scott for not picking his Jayhawks, but UNC is just a little too solid.  UNC over KU, 78-71.

I can’t imagine asking for a better Final Four, nor can I wait to see just what goes down.  UCLA-Memphis starts at 3:07 PM PST on CBS and UNC-KU is immediately after.