to play football, not to play trumpet
This week The Ugly Game of the week hands out our very own post season awards. I may call these the Schnellys, since 1. he almost ended his career with a winless season, 2. karma is a bitch after all those years at Miami, and 3. just look at the guy:
No, wait, that's Captain Kangaroo. My mistake. Here we go:
Here clearly is the most interesting man in the world.
The "Viagra" award for inability to score is a tie between New Mexico and Florida Atlantic. New Mexico is last in red-zone efficiency, scoring at a 61% rate (Stanford leads with 63 for 64 attempts), while FlaAtl is last in total offense. Both teams are 119th and 120th in scoring offense. That's a toss-up to me. Congratulations, you both win. No, I'm not going to GIS for anything related to Viagra, at work or ever.
The "Turnstyle" award for worst defense goes to Kansas. Dead last in total and scoring defense, they've given up 50+ 4 times, and 40+ 8 times (including one in a win). Turner Gill, we hardly knew ya. Well Kansas, there's always basketball.
Worst Coach Still Employed goes to Robb Akey of the Idaho Vandals. The Vandals are 19-43 since 2007, and 2-10 this year. It's cold and lonely in Idaho, so maybe they could get Dennis Erickson back a la Billy Martin. Honorable mention goes to Rick Stockstill, coach of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, for having the best MST3K "Big McLargeHuge" name on a 2-10 team. Because I can:
Worst Combined Record in a Bowl Game goes to Florida versus Ohio State in the TaxSlayer.com (sic) bowl. Both teams are 6-6 and 3-5 in conference. Both teams are about +5 Points For/Points Against, and neither team is very good on offense. Honorable mention goes to Illinois versus UCLA for playing without coaches. I expect someone on the sidelines spinning a Twister spinner thing calling plays "Run Left! Pass Right!" Not quite what I had in mind, but it'll do:
And the award for The Worst Team in the Country goes to New Mexico, who combines their bad defense with an equally bad offense, making one wonder if they could beat themselves, and if so, how? Honorable mention goes to UNLV, who managed to lose to New Mexico by a TD. New Mexico started off the season with a 4 point loss to CSU, then got clobbered by Arkansas and Texas Tech. They took Sam Houston State to OT, scoring a game-tying TD as time expired, but had to settle for a FG in OT and couldn't stop the Bearkats (sic). The bright spot on the season was against UNLV, scoring on their first play and second drive, then missed two FG attempts, finally scoring a TD in the last minute to seal it. New Mexico does have the spectacularly named Crusoe Gongbay at running back.
Congratulations, your award is Bob Davie. Good luck with that. Footbaw!
It's Thanksgiving week, so here's my list of things I'm thankful for (on the topic of ugly games, that is).
1. Eastern is bowl-egible. They've got a long way to go to get the third MAC bowl spot, but they can at least dream of the Famous Idaho Potao Bowl. Don't we all. Beating Northern Illinois this week would help their chances a little, but they'll need some help. Northern Illinois looks to be in the upper echelon of MAC teams, with a 6-1 conference record and winning a trackmeet against Toledo 63-60. That game featured 11 passing TDs. Bonus EMU related thankfulness: me making ESPN wonder "Why is Eastern's page getting so much traffic from Colorado?" I know Eastern is the Eagles, but they will always be the EMUs to me.
2. Florida Atlantic is down to their last two chances to end the season winless. I think I'm becoming a kinder, gentler person who wants to see them win. Unless I don't like their coach or something, like Alabama. Their next two games are against teams with 3 wins, but Troy was in that category as well and FAU lost by 27. FAU has a -24 point scoring difference, so this may be a big hill to climb for the Owls.UAB is almost as bad, with a -22 point scoring difference, but I think the competition in C-USA is better than the Sun Belt. I'm going with green bean casserole, because who likes green bean casserole?
3. The Big East. I could have written this entire column for the season with just the Big East. For example: the team currently leading is Louisville, 6-5 overall. Rutgers is tied with a conference record of 4-2, then Cincinnati and West Virginia are tied at 7-3, 3-2. I'm really hoping that Louisville beats USF and everybody else loses so there can be a 5 loss team in the BCS. There's way too many combinations at this point to figure it out, but at best, a 9-3 team is going to win the conference. This one gets the KFC Potato Bowl, because everything is in one big pile, and the end is not very good.
Now with bacon!
4. That everything looks like it's shaping up for Sparty to get fed to Oklahoma, or Oregon, or Arkansas. Karma, baby. The crazy man throwing the pie should be Chip Kelly.
Hey, Seth created the cupcakes tag for me, so I'm beating this dead horse until the end of the season. This week, we go Ugly, Old School. That's it, I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the mid-week MAC games. They're not games. They're the old football games where the pieces would buzz around the board. They're Rock-em-Sock-em Robots. They're monkey boxing. You know, these guys
I mean, Western and Toledo scored 129 points. If you were playing a drinking game where you had to do a shot on every turnover, you'd be dead.
Florida Atlantic is the last school without a win this season. Here's their season stats: passing yards - 111th, rushing yards - 115th, points for - 120th, points against - 107. In addition, they are playing Troy, who is no slouch themselves. "Don't sell yourself short, you're an incredible slouch." Troy has two wins, against Middle Tennessee and UAB, and is also right around the 100 mark in points for and against. Why are there so many schools named Owls? Who thinks owls are menacing? (Sorry about the links, embedding is disabled for some reason).
Speaking of Owls, Rice plays Tulane. Rice is 2-4 in conference and coming off a drubbing by Northwestern. Tulane just got pantsed by Houston, 73-17. The last competitive game they played was against Syracuse, which says a lot about Syracuse. They've lost 8 straight conference games. I think this one comes down to logo, and if you squint, the Rice "R" looks like an owl facing left. So advantage Owls. "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish."
Last, we have an "I Have No Idea" game between Penn State and Ohio State. Does Penn State deserve their #12 ranking? Is Ohio State better or worse than 6-4? Can either team move the ball far enough to kick a field goal, or will we see a "Fair Catch Kick" decide the game 3-0? "Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh? "
The Ugly Game of the Week has deja vu all over again. So after last weeks' MAC-tion, featuring such games as Northern Illinois 63, Toledo 60 and Miami 35, Akron 3, we get another 4 midweek MAC games. I just can't do it again. You know how after you look at your monitor all day, it starts looking funny? Well, I swear I've looked at Western Michigan versus Toledo already. So instead, since the season is starting to wind down, this week starts Bad Bowl Watch 2011. Who's looking to be bowl eligible, and what does that mean for our faith in humanity? (Note to self: do not google "deja vu" at work. Or at home.) So instead I will haunt your dreams.
First off, Temple is 5-4 and 3-3 in the MAC. This week they play Miami(the hockey one). Temple has been to three bowls in their history: 1935, 1979 and 2009. They need to win at least one of their remaining games against Miami, Army or Kent State and they're in. Remember this is the same Temple that was forced out of the Big East in 2004 for a "lack of commitment to the football program from university officials." The MAC has three bowl bids, and there's a huge pileup at 5-4 vying for the 4th slot, so this is really up in the air. In MAC-land, bowl eligible != bowl bound. But the MAC gets to choose from such exotic locales as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Little Caesars Bowl Bowl, and GoDaddy.com Bowl featuring MAC versus someone from the Sun Belt. This is an amazing image, by the way. Look closer.
Syracuse is 5-4, 1-3 in the Big East. This week they play USF to try for their 6th win. Their bowl eligibility may come down to the season finale agsinst Pitt, who is currently 4-5. I think there is still a scenario where Syracuse can win the Big East and get a BCS bid. I'm all for this. The Big East gets five bowl bids, so Syracuse has to climb over the likes of UConn and Pitt or Rutgers to win their way into the Beef O'Brady Bowl or the Champs Sports Bowl. Whoo? Whoo. Note that "orange optical illusion" doesn't come up with much, so this is all I've got:
The UGotW presses on irregardlessly. This week featuring hot, hot MAC-tion. Someone at ESPN must have lost a bet, and that bet was "I bet you can't show 4 straight MAC games with a straight face." That was quickly followed by the other guy saying "Oh yeah? Watch this!" So we get this:
As an aside, GIS for "big mac" also gets this:
Which means I'm not looking any further for that image at work. Rule 34 and all.
Tuesday rings in November and week 10 of the NCAA football season with Northern Illinois and Toledo. Both teams are 5-3 and battling for the lead for the MAC west division, with EMU I might add. Edge in this one goes to Toledo for playing without a nickname until 1923, then created one on a whim by a reporter for the student paper. The Daily would be proud.
Wednesday continues the Two Good MAC teams theme, with Temple playing The University of Ohio. Both teams are 5-3, and battling for the MAC east lead. So is this ESPN's new plan? To show hard-fought battles between two plucky, undersized, understaffed teams to show the amateur nature of college athletics? Or, to hype up THE GAME OF THE MILLENIUM: LSU VERSUS ALABAMA!!! THE ALABAMAGEDDON! That is a retorical question.
Moving on, MAC week starts running out of steam on Wednesday with Akron playing Miami (The hockey school, not the football school). Akron is still looking for their first conference win, while Miami just got buffaloed by the Buffalo Buffalo. At least there's an ACC "game" on opposite, FSU versus Boston College. BC has the tiebreaker for worst record in the ACC by virtue of their win against Maryland last week. FSU get the "Deja Vu" award for beating Duke and Maryland by the same score in back-to-back weeks, 41-16. One extra point for the odd 41 and 16 point scores. That's a Brian-level prediction.
Friday ends MAC week with a thud, with Central playing Kent State. Central is last in the Battle For Michigan, an imaginary trohpy I made up for the Michigan directional schools. Eastern won it, with Western taking a solid second. Northern did not play. Now that I've written 1600 words about the MAC, let me say a couple things about Friday's other game: USC versus Colorado. USC may not be as good as they usually are, but CU is worse than usual. Their lone win this year was against rival CSU, and they're hanging around the bottom of most NCAA categories. They are giving up just under 40 points per game. I have a friend who went to CU, and I haven't been able to call him in months.
Saturday will be like a bright, sunshine-y spring day after that week. But, just because they can, Hawaii versus Utah State starts at 12:00 eastern Sunday, making for six straight days of bad football. Hooray Rainbows!
UGotW starts working overtime. Why ESPN, in their infinite wisdom, decides that crappy games should be played mid-week instead of, say, women's beach volleyball I have no idea. But they did/do/are/will. This week starts the annual carpet-bombing of your football-tolerance areas. Show me on the doll where ESPN touched you. At least I get Mondays to crank out this column.
Troy Trojans of Troy versus FIU Golden Panthers. Yes, Golden Panther sounds like the elderly version of cougar. The fact they're from Florida only reinforces this horrible image. Add into the mix a pack of Trojans, and the mental eye bleach will be flowing. Both teams are 1-2 in conference, and that conference is the Sun Belt. Yes, the same Sun Belt that's currently lead by Arkansas State and/or Louisiana-Lafayette. FIU's QB is named Wesley Carroll, which sounds like something out of a Dickens novel, and Troy's backup is named BJ Chitty. So in case the starter gets knocked out, the announcers get to say "They're bringing in the Chitty second-string QB." I got your Golden Panther, right here:
UConn versus Pitt. Both teams are 3-4 and 1-1 in conference. A Wednesday night game at Heinz field in Pittsburg? Expect lots of empty seats. The Big East is looking like the team that stumbles the least will win again this year. The fact that Rutgers is in contention for a BCS bowl should give everyone shivers. Much like the Upperclass Twit of the Year contest, I'm going with Nigel Incubator-Jones over Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith.
If you're still watching these games by Thursday, you will be convinced that ESPN hates you and is laughing at your, and/or you are a degenerate gambler. Thursday brings us Virginia versus Miami(Yes, That Miami). Both teams 4-3, both 1-1 in conference. I'd respect Miami more if they just installed stripper poles for the cheerleaders, and shot money out of a cannon whenever they scored. SAT analogy time. Miami:NCAA football::XFL:NFL. QED. Who thinks Miami is a mess? This guy:
I still think this game should have been scheduled for Sunday, but nevertheless we get BYU versus TCU. We get the school founded by the guy who didn't exactly believe in the separation of church and state versus the school originally built right in the middle of Ft. Worth's vice district. I'll take slightly crazy over stark raving looney any day. Winner gets a Touchdown Jesus, if that's your thing.
Saturday wraps up with a "Someone gets a win" game. Mississippi State and Kentucky are both 0-3 in conference and 3-4 overall. I should point out that I picked Mississippi State in my Pick 6 picks, which is turning out to be not-so-good. I think Kentucky is the exceptionally bad team of these two, having a -11 margin between points-for and points-against. Granted, they've already played LSU, Florida and South Carolina, but none of those games have been what you'd call competitive. MSU features a receiver named Chris Bumphis, so there you go. The Egg Bowl looks to be a snooze this year.