Friday, November 14, 2008

Thoughts on College Football: Week Eleven

Yes, it's Friday and I'm just getting to last week's college football action.

Buffalo 37 - Miami(OH) 17
A fine alternative to watching election returns. This game also reminded me of what I don't particularly enjoy about non-great non-BCS teams-the dependence on a low percentage deep pass plays as a key component of the offense. Buffalo was somewhat better at that, and clearly better at the parts of the game better than that, so them winning decisively was a fitting result.

Utah 13 - TCU 10
I ended up watching not too much of this time, concentrating instead on the DEN-CLE NFL game going on at the same time. I will point out, however, that TCU scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, then did hardly a single thing the rest of the game. The defense didn't do a bad job, but it's hard to overcome that much lack of offense.

Nevada 41 - Fresno State 28
Does Pat Hill hurt his team by aggressive non-conference scheduling? Or is his team not really that good, and get an inflated rep by playing teams that may not be operating at peak performance early in the year? I mean, Hill seems to have a really good rep and he hasn't sniffed a conference title this decade.

Ohio State 45 - Northwestern 10
Northwestern: not a good 7-2 team. Ohio State: a much better 7-2 team. The Buckeyes pumped the score up a little this game, throwing deep after the game was well in hand in the fourth quarter, but they dominated this whole game.

Michigan State 21 - Purdue 7
Purdue sucks. We knew this.

Michigan 29 - Minnesota 6
Minnesota: also not a great team with fewer losses. This is probably the only game ever where MGoBlog predicts a Michigan loss and I'm absolutely confidence Michigan will win.

Texas 45 - Baylor 21
Woo, pretty deep pass. I wonder if the Bears' defensive backs are tired of seeing that completed against them? Another "who we thought they were" game.

Iowa 24 - Penn State 23
I admit it, I thought Penn State had this game in hand until relatively late in the 4th. 23-14 is normally a clinched game for a top 5 team, even on the road. There's no accounting for bad QB play, though, as Nittany Lion QB Daryll Clark was 9 of 23 for 86 yards and a costly 4th quarter interception. See my comments earlier in the year about quality QB play determining college football's hierarchy.

Alabama 27 - LSU 21 (OT)
At one point during this game, Gary Danielson remarked that LSU QB Jarrett Lee would be a 50% completions on the day if he completed HIS NEXT 10 PASSES. Yes, Alabama has a defense, but most of the putridity (4-18) was Lee's gross incompetence. It says really little of Alabama that they were only able to score 21 in regulation-Georgia and Florida both put up 50+ on the same Tiger defense. Remember, the Tide have a worse passing offense than the famously mediocre Buckeyes of 2002 that upset Miami.

Oregon State 34 - UCLA 6
Remember those signs of competence UCLA showed in the second half of the Tennessee game? Yeah, that seems like a long time ago.

Cincinnati 26 - West Virginia 23 (OT)
Bill Stewart still has a job.

Texas Tech 56 - Oklahoma State 20
Tech's offensive possessions: fumble, TD x8, fumble. Day-umn. The defense didn't put up a bad showing, either, but it's really, really hard to lose games with that sort of offensive efficiency. It's also really, really hard to put up that kind of offensive efficiency against anybody this side of Washington State, and the Cowboys aren't that bad. Also, I can't help but share this shot of coach Mike Gundy when Oklahoma State was on defense.

Florida 42 - Vanderbilt 14
Yes, Florida put up a pretty good offensive performance of its own.

Boston College 17 - Notre Dammit 0
Most notable for Todd Blackledge's Taste of the Town segment. As I predicted, it was Italian food this week. What I didn't predict, though, was this monstrosity of an outfit.

And such was the week that was in my eyes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Total Titans

A couple posts on Total Titans I haven't mentioned: one midseason review, I asked some questions about the Bears that MVN's Bears writer answered, and did the same for his questions about the Titans.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


More links... must post more links...

If I did more screen-cap/video work, I'd be doing more on things like looking at pursuit angles.

Fluff on LenDale White, from Paul Kuharsky. Praise for his feet (eh), production (thanks, OL), and vision (eh). Better at going forward and not trying to take everything outside now, but that doesn't make him good. Ron Dayne still looks like a really good comp.

Lombardi on Singletary, among other topics. Another great player who failed to have an understanding or even acceptance of players who didn't play the way he did is Michael Jordan, who apparently delighted in humiliating Kwame Brown in practice during his comeback with the Wizards.

How valuable exactly is the statistic punts inside the 20? Not quite as worthless as you might think. Unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible to divorce punters and their statistics from their coverage units.

18 to 88 took a look at the tape of Titans-Colts, and came away somewhat optimistic.

Surprising draft prospects from NFP.

Roos, Haynesworth, Finnegan, and Fish made Pro Football Weekly's first-half All-Pro team.

Courtesy of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a look at Phil Fulmer's contract (PDF). If you haven't read a college contract before (I think the only other one I've linked to is WVU coach Bill Stewart's), it's worth a gander. Note how much of the income comes from actual coaching, and how much from other activities. And, yes, the reported $6 mil to buyout Fulmer's contract is legit. Sports Economist properly notes these buyouts are market-driven, silly as they seem. Note, though, that four agents represent almost all coaches, an interesting marketability and market power point.

Ok, the deepest foray into politics. For ESPN, Lester Munson looked at the sports impact of the Obama election. The key point, and one of local interest, is Obama's election likely increases the likelihood Chicago will throw a bunch of money down the drain on boondoggle public projects host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Note also that McCain (as with Romney) were among the more aggressive people in exposing the bribery relating to SLC's hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics. If you're a single issue sports-subsidy voter (and I don't recommend you are), you were probably much better off with McCain instead of Obama. Sorry. (For the record, I didn't vote this year, partly because I didn't support either McCain or Obama.)

Finally, so as not to end on a political note, Smart Football breaks down last weekend's Texas-Texas Tech game. More love for Mike Leach's awesomeness, and do read the Michael Lewis profile if you haven't already.

And, if you believe it, I'm actually caught up through Tuesday's reading. Amazing, I know.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


More link dump content.

The BCS as an exercise in matching. For all its flaws, it's definitely better than what came before it.

Love for Cortland Finnegan.

A list of the Mormons in the NFL. No Titans.

More awesomeness from Smart Football: on line splits.

More on the value of a touchdown and the value of a passing touchdown. I've been meaning to muck around with the "true" value of the various elements to quarterback ratings, but that's probably an offseason project.

More defensive dorkery from DGDB&D.

Draft geekery: National Football Post's top 10 RBs. See also RealScouts on the top senior running backs.

Dr. Z and Mike Giddings on the NFL team of the 1990's.

LenDale White talked to The Sporting News before the Colts game. Fluff, of course.

Breaking down Ohio State's spread attack.

Love for Kerry Collins after the Colts game, from RealScouts. You mean you can pass against a 4-4 on regular downs? See also Ted Sundquist's review.

The big thing about this year's Titans team that makes them better: they're winning games by more than one score.

Michael Lombardi breaks down how the Giants have drafted. A similar post may be forthcoming on the Titans, or at least where the starters came from. See also Rick Gosselin on where the Giants' starters came from.

UPDATE (11/5/08 2215 CT): Added the Gosselin link to the last item.

Thoughts on College Football: Week Ten

Company this weekend, so this post is a little delayed.

Cincinnati 24 - South Florida 10
How the mighty have fallen-a year ago the Bulls were #2 in the country, and unbeaten. A collapse at the end of last year, though, and the bloom was really off the rose. The initial optimism after a victory over Kansas is over, as the defense didn't do its job and Graunke didn't make the plays again.

Michigan State 25 - Wisconsin 24
This really felt like a Life on the Margins game-Sparty really outplayed Wisconsin, but almost didn't win.

Purdue 48 - Michigan 42
Yes, Michigan doesn't have a very good defense. Pat, don't use putting up lots of points against Michigan as a justification for claiming Penn State has a good offense. Also, cool winning TD on a hook-and-ladder play.

Pitt 36 - Notre Dame 33 (4 OT)
This has to be the most boring 4 OT game in which every OT had a score. Ineffective offense-Pitt should never pass, ND should never run, and ND's offense features too many stupid low percentage deep fades. I spent too much time watching this game.

Florida 49 - Georgia 10
Of course, this game was so awfully uncompetitive that watching Pitt-ND wasn't the worst alternative. Georgia really got stomped-UF is playing much better than they were earlier in the year. That, or Georgia really isn't that good. I've suspected that for quite a while now, and I can't tell how much of this game was UF and how much was UGA.

Oklahoma 62 - Nebraska 28
OU is back to its normal ways, putting up a huge early lead and then taking the rest of the game off. Doesn't do much to support great defense.

Texas Tech 39 - Texas 33
Ah, what a great game. Exciting, back and forth, surprising results, dramatic ending. Texas Tech really impressed me on both the offensive and defensive lines-they won both matchups, the same way Oregon State did when they upset USC. The challenge for the Red Raiders will be going undefeated-I think they'll hold off Oklahoma State this week, but lose in Norman to Boomer Sooner.

Oregon State 27 - Arizona State 25
Close game, not great teams. I'd still love to see Oregon State win the Pac-10.

And such is the week that was from my more distracted-than-normal view.