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12/17/2018 - 4:53pm College football as a whole…

College football as a whole is drifting away from what once made it so wonderful.

There was a time when a good season was celebrated, and a great season was treasured.  Now it seems to be: "win it all or the season is a bust."  The pageantry and spectacle of college football on a crisp autumn afternoon is now overtaken by a quest for winning at (almost) any cost.

I still love the game, but I'm not going to invest my soul in it.

12/17/2018 - 4:48pm I might be wrong, but a ton…

I might be wrong, but a ton of guys seem happy to run through walls for him.

I'm reminded of that video Joe Milton put out there of the locker room after the Michigan State win.  In context: Harbaugh chokes up relating how many players assured him they had his back; Milton says, "It's okay, coach, cry."  Then the team spontaneously gets up and as a group they start jumping around, with Harbaugh in the middle, arms up in the arm, a look of pure joy on his face.

That did not look like a locker room in disarray.

12/17/2018 - 3:16pm Would that transition -- OL…

Would that transition -- OL to NT -- be one where learned skills would transfer easily?  Or would Onwenu have to take a step back and learn a bunch of new things?

And do you think Onwenu could excel at NT?  Or would he be a good space-eater but probably not be a disrupter in the middle?

12/17/2018 - 3:10pm The alternative is to put up…

The alternative is to put up roadblocks to transfer and have a potential issue brewing within the team.  If the young man really wants to go, it's best to just let him go.

12/06/2018 - 10:26am I prefer college football to…

I prefer college football to pro football.

I very much appreciate the skills and athleticism of the pro players. 

That said, there's something about the rough edges of the college game -- that is, the imperfections due to younger players, the differential in talent at various spots, and the excitement that ensues from that.  Add to that the enthusiasm of many of the players who are experiencing big-stage football for first time.  It's a more exciting game to watch.

College basketball is the same way compared to the NBA.  Some of the best basketball I've ever seen is the NCAA tournament when they're whittling down from 32 to 16 -- sometimes the opposite of flawless basketball, the but the energy and excitement is off the charts.

11/29/2018 - 10:58am Back in the "old days" we'd…

Back in the "old days" we'd play the various bowls, they'd come out with a final poll, and then we'd have a grand time arguing about stuff until March.  Half the fun of sports is debating stuff.

I hate the playoff system.  As you say, "CFP or bust."  It's creating an environment where teams will do almost anything to get into the playoffs.  It's triggered an arms race for the top, and only a very small handful of teams can sustain that.  We're already seeing the same small handful of teams in the CFP each year.  It'll coalesce around perhaps six or eight teams year after year after year.  The top talent will naturally go to those six or eight teams, further cementing the disparity of talent.

The jeannie is out of the bottle, though ... there's too much money in it, and there's no going back.  So they'll just ride this money-machine into the ground.  

11/27/2018 - 9:40am Agree on Alabama, Clemson,…

Agree on Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State being in the "elite" category.

Second tier is led by Georgia and Oklahoma, with Georgia showing signs of being ready to push into the top tier.  Maybe Oklahoma, but they have to show they can get past the big games.  

11/25/2018 - 6:54am Michigan vs. Alabama would…

Michigan vs. Alabama would have been worse.  Much worse.

11/13/2018 - 8:26am I know you were aware ... I…

I know you were aware ... I was just amplifying the point that Michigan really is in the driver's seat if they just keep winning.  

I'm pretty sure Michigan will beat Indiana, but a close game could work against Michigan if the committee is really torn between Oklahoma or a one-loss Alabama.  But if Michigan continues to dominate defensively they'll be okay when it comes to picking the four teams for the playoff.

Speaking of Oklahoma ... everyone is assuming a WVU-vs-OU showdown, but WVU goes to Stillwater this weekend, and OK State is a tough game at home.  I would not be shocked if WVU drops that game.  Then the Big 12 enters the chaos zone, unless OU kills WVU and takes the championship.

 

11/13/2018 - 7:52am Beat Indiana first, then…

Beat Indiana first, then beat Ohio State, then beat Northwestern ... do that, and Michigan is in the playoff.

11/13/2018 - 7:39am I didn't see any reference…

I didn't see any reference to lodging, so I'm going to guess it's a one-day road trip -- over on the day of the game, and return after the game.  Indianapolis is not that far from Chicago, so that should be possible.  Long day, but possible.

11/12/2018 - 6:17pm And Noel Devine / Steve…

And Noel Devine / Steve Slaton. That three-back combo (including White) was terrific. RT has been trying to recreate that ever since.

11/11/2018 - 3:37pm Ever since Rutgers' entry to…

Ever since Rutgers' entry to the Big Ten was announced, I have wondered what math was used to justify the decision.  Was the business case there to begin with, or was it built upon assumptions they expected, or hoped, to materialize?  Or was it made based on some non-quantifiable justification?  

Maryland I can kinda-sorta see if I squint.  Rutgers was a head-scratcher from the beginning.

11/08/2018 - 12:04pm 26.5+ years and counting …

26.5+ years and counting ... :-)

11/08/2018 - 11:32am Many years ago (1992) my new…

Many years ago (1992) my new bride -- who was from Atlanta -- went with me to White Castle in Canton.  It was her first time.  She opened the burger and looked at the onions and the steamed patty.  She didn't eat it then, and she never has since.

As for me, I love sliders.  They make me burp, but it's a small price for the pleasure of slamming down a sackful.

11/08/2018 - 11:27am Cracker Barrel is a popular…

Cracker Barrel is a popular place for Thanksgiving dinner.  A few years back I went there with my wife and mother-in-law.  The place was packed.  It was an hour wait at noon.

11/06/2018 - 11:20am So there's two kinds of…

So there's two kinds of collarbone breaks -- one where it snaps completely apart, and the other where it bends and partially breaks, but does not snap apart.  I don't know what McCaffrey has, but I'm going to guess the latter, given how he got up and moved after the hit.  Very painful, but the bone is still in one piece.  That's what I had (twice), and after a few weeks of painful reminders not to move certain ways, things started to get better.

11/06/2018 - 7:32am 21-0 at the end of the first…

21-0 at the end of the first quarter will shatter most dreams ...

11/06/2018 - 7:30am That's like saying pizza is …

That's like saying pizza is "literally unedible." At the end of the day, it's still pizza, it cannot be that bad.

Totally off the OP topic, but I'm trying to think of a pizza I've had where it was truly so horrible I had to push the plate away.  I've had pizza less good than other pizza, but never so truly horrible I could not stand it.  Pizza seems to have a relatively high floor.

11/06/2018 - 7:27am I like Karsch, but his voice…

I like Karsch, but his voice is not neutral.  3 hours of that could be difficult to take.

11/06/2018 - 7:22am This is spot on.  It's the…

This is spot on.  It's the result / down / distance thing I want after a play completes, and in some cases that takes 10 to 20 seconds to hear.  

Last year I thought he was starting to improve a bit, but he seems to have regressed.

I've listened to various college games on Sirius radio, and in general the announcers for other teams are much better at the PBP aspect of this.  The best are restrained and efficient in their delivery of information.  It can be quite enjoyable listening to a game on the radio if the announcers provide the right commentary.

I wonder if there's training for being a play-by-play announcer?  He could benefit from some coaching on fundamentals.  

11/06/2018 - 6:28am I know next to nothing about…

I know next to nothing about Rutgers other than their record.  Can their defensive line do anything against Michigan O-Line?  Because if they can't generate pressure, then it's going to be a long night for Rutgers.  I don't think it'll be all rushing, either ... if they can keep Patterson safe in a clean pocket he'll go downfield.  Patterson probably won't do much rushing himself, though.  

My take: Patterson takes a breather in the 3rd, Peters comes in and does just fine in relief.

11/05/2018 - 6:48am The 1976 team notched 5…

The 1976 team notched 5 shutouts, including a (glorious) 22-0 rout of Ohio State.

Sadly, they lost to Purdue on a last second field goal that went wide.

11/04/2018 - 12:07pm Agree, although it can mess…

Agree, although it can mess with one's head.  I broke my left collarbone twice, and it's a painful recovery.  To this day I subconsciously protect my left side.  It totally messed up my golf swing.

McCaffrey's a competitive dude, and he has benefit of trainers that will guide his rehabilitation.  He'll be back.

11/04/2018 - 12:03pm You may be right, but I…

You may be right, but I would think we would have seen the "sunglass look" before now.  My experience with transition lenses is they go dark even on overcast days.  I think it's the UV light that triggers the change.

11/04/2018 - 8:14am Alabama is a league of their…

Alabama is in a league of their own this year.  I didn't think LSU was as good as their ranking suggested, but I also didn't think they'd get trucked like they did.  And that was at LSU at night, which is often a very challenging venue.  Yet Alabama rolled, 29-0, with the stats showing Alabama domination.  Unless something really, really weird happens, it looks like it's Alabama's trophy to lose.

11/04/2018 - 8:00am Alabama does not lack for…

Alabama does not lack for scoring.  I wonder if it's a case many of their scores originate outside the red zone?

11/02/2018 - 2:12pm What a fantastic movie.  I…

What a fantastic movie.  I re-watched it this past weekend.  Then I turned on the commentary from Coppola and watched it again.  Lots of great "behind the scenes" stuff provided.

So many great lines and scenes, but I have to say that the baptism scene is one of the finest segments in film history.  Apparently Coppola had doubts about that scene after filming it: it didn't quite work, he said, until the musical director added the swelling organ track at the end.

11/01/2018 - 2:17pm Thanks!  To your point -- (a…

Thanks!  To your point -- (a) Yes, it's hard to argue with Don Brown when it comes to defense questions, (b) there is role for beefy linebackers for certain situations, and (c) on the whole, I think Mason on offense is better overall, for him and the team.  

11/01/2018 - 12:36pm Furbush has 3 tackles and 2…

Furbush has 3 tackles and 2 assists in 8 games.  He notched an interception against WMU.  I don't have situational stats, but I'm guessing Furbush is used in obvious run situations and goal packages.

They're similar in size: Mason is 6'3" and 254 pounds; Furbush is 6'5" but lighter at 237 pounds.  I don't think Mason could put on the weight to play interior DL, and I doubt he has the length and speed to play edge.  So if Furbush is the model, then "limited involvement" is the answer.

 

 

11/01/2018 - 11:21am Michigan wins out, Clemson…

Michigan wins out, Clemson wins out, and you have two of: 12-1 Big 12 champ Oklahoma, 12-1 SEC Champ, or 12-0 ND

I think in that scenario, the order of precedence would be:

  • Clemson is a guaranteed lock for the playoff.
  • Notre Dame at 12-0 would be a lock for the playoff.
  • Michigan at 12-1 > Oklahoma at 12-1
  • SEC champ at 12-1 > Michigan at 12-1
  • Michigan at 12-1 > SEC non-champ at 12-1

So, unless something weird happens, I see it: Alabama (SEC champ), Clemson (ACC champ), Notre Dame (undefeated, and because it's Notre Dame), and Michigan as Big Ten champ.

11/01/2018 - 10:31am I love the Ben Mason…

I love the Ben Mason reference ... "YES COACH!" I would love to have been in the room to witness that.  

I wonder how Don Brown would use Ben Mason on the defensive side of the ball?  He was originally a linebacker, and I think it was Brown who was instrumental in recruiting him.  But Brown seems to like really fast linebackers.  I wonder where and how Brown would use Mason if he had him at his disposal on defense?

10/30/2018 - 10:24am True, but I think the…

True, but I think the intensity of the controversy diminishes considerably from 4 teams to 8 teams.  The debate about the 5th best team in the country is a more significant discussion than who's the 9th best.  Beyond about 8 teams we're down to teams that very likely have little claim on being the best in the country.

10/30/2018 - 9:12am if forced to choose between…

if forced to choose between 5 or more equally deserving parties, the current system will only create more controversy

Most certainly true.  No disagreement there.

The committee hopes there each year will bring four clearly deserving teams.  So far they've largely accomplished that.  Last year was the closest call with disaster: they let Alabama in as a one-loss, no championship team.  The Big 12 and Pac 12 are helping by being pretty meh.

10/30/2018 - 8:48am I think the committee will…

I think the committee will be reluctant to send two SEC teams again this year, unless there's a compelling case to be made.  Last year it was dominant-but-one-loss Alabama, and Ohio State with a big fat black eye from the Iowa game.  It was a risky move for the committee last year, but it worked out since Alabama won it all.

10/30/2018 - 8:44am Well, there will be no…

Well, there will be no undefeated Big 12 champ this year, so your problem of five potential teams doesn't apply.  The Big 12 will not send a rep this year unless the other things I stipulated don't happen.  It'll be SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Independent.  

In short, the SEC champ is always in, unless it's a really, really flukey year and a team like Kentucky wins the SEC with a loss or two.

An undefeated Notre Dame is always in.  But they have to be undefeated.

An undefeated conference champ from Big Ten, Big Twelve, or PAC-12 is in; and if each has an undefeated champion, then the order of preference is: Big Ten > Big 12 > Pac 12.

The ACC is a weird one ... if Clemson is champion, they're in over Big Ten or Big Twelve.  Otherwise, the ACC is probably on par with the Pac-12 in terms of conference order.

I tend to agree that a four team playoff is a problem.  I think they'll go to six or eight eventually, but not right away.

Also, I tend to think the playoff system itself is horrible and is killing college football.  But then, I'm an old guy who grew up in 60's / 70's, and I loved the way the bowl games worked out back then.  New Years Day was special.  

10/30/2018 - 7:42am The SEC champion gets in,…

The SEC champion gets in, regardless of who it is, regardless of record.  Because S-E-C.

Notre Dame: if undefeated, they're in, guaranteed.  One loss at this point in the season and it'll come down to whether the SEC offers a compelling non-champion team.  If SEC only sends one, then a one-loss Notre Dame is in.  Because Notre Dame.

For the ACC, if Clemson, then they're in.  Otherwise, the conference champ go back into the pot to be stirred and see who comes out.  This year that means if not Clemson, then nobody.

For the Big Ten, if Michigan or Ohio State win the rest of their games and take the B1G championship, they're in.  But only if it's one of those two; if some team out of the west trips up the east team in the B1G championship game, then it's into the pot to be stirred.  This year that means if the west representative wins the B1G, the B1G sits out the playoffs.

For the Big 12, if undefeated, then they're in.  The Big 12 has no currently undefeated teams.  Therefore, if Oklahoma wins out, then maybe, depending on the SEC shakeout combined with Notre Dame's final record.  No chance West Virginia gets in, even if they win the Big 12.  Because it's West Virginia.

For the Pac 12 ... forget it.  They're out.  A one loss Washington State doesn't get in, a two-loss anyone else doesn't get it.

UCF: not a chance, they won't be in.  Even if undefeated.  They'd get trucked in the playoff, and the committee wants to avoid that scenario, because then they have to explain themselves.  (Last year the committee's prayers were answered when Alabama won it all.  Had Alabama lost, then they would have to explain why they let Alabama in when they weren't even in the SEC championship game.)

Unless bad things happen, it's: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan.

Chaos scenario: LSU beats Alabama, Alabama loses to Auburn, and the SEC east team wins the championship game; Clemson trips up prior to the ACC championship, then they lose the ACC championship; Notre Dame notches two losses between now and selection; the Big 12 ends up with three teams with two losses, with WVU named the champ; Northwestern wins the B1G; Washington State wins the Pac-12.  The only sure thing from that scenario is the SEC champ gets in.

10/29/2018 - 2:55pm So what's more demoralizing…

So what's more demoralizing for a defense -- to have a team march down the field rarely facing third down, or to put teams into 3rd down (especially third and long) and getting gashed to give up the 1st?  

The former just means the defense isn't very good.  The latter says the defense might be good, but they fail to step up when it's really needed.  

The best is to force 3-and-out a lot.  Hello, 2018 Michigan defense. :-)

10/29/2018 - 12:50pm Nice analysis of the 1st…

Nice analysis of the 1st down prior to 3rd down.  I've long wondered about that.

Back when Oregon was an offensive juggernaut, they'd show some ridiculously low number for first downs overall, and show very few third-down numbers.  That's because they'd score in about three plays, with what few 1st downs they notched coming off of 1st down plays, and they almost never faced a 3rd down.  

That worked until Auburn's defensive line decided to change the narrative a bit.

10/28/2018 - 8:14am I think Sumlin will do for…

I think Sumlin will do for Arizona what the fans of Arizona want ... which is put up 7-5 or 8-4 seasons, beat ASU about half the time, and go to non-playoff bowl games.  This is Sumlin's first year, so there's some slack offered.  

Right now the fans of UA are looking towards basketball season.  Not because of the current FB record, but because BB is the game here, not FB.

(Recruiting to Tucson is hard ... hard like recruiting to Nebraska.  Tucson is a minor city wrapped around the university and county government.  Beyond that, it's a sprawling retirement center everywhere else.)

10/27/2018 - 7:17am Lots of good memories of…

Lots of good memories of Barry Sanders with the Lions.  He was very definition of quick, which is different from fast.  Sanders was both, but his defining element was unbelievable quickness. 

The 1989 draft shaped up like this for the top five overall:

  1. Troy Aikman (Cowboys)
  2. Tony Mandrich (Packers)
  3. Barry Sanders (Lions)
  4. Derrick Thomas (Chiefs)
  5. Deion Sanders (Falcons)

Which brings up two questions:

Question 1 -- Imagine you're an NFL GM in 1989, you have the #1 overall pick, and you're looking at those five.  You do not have benefit of knowledge of the future.  Who do you take?

Question 2 -- You're the NFL GM in 1989, but you have benefit of future knowledge and know how their careers go.  Who do you take?

10/26/2018 - 1:33pm Again, not a big NBA fan, so…

Again, not a big NBA fan, so I'm just asking questions out of curiosity.

Googling around, I found some 2017 articles talking about the role of center in the NBA.  They spoke of how the position is evolving, with centers being not just rim-protectors in the paint, but having a wider defensive role.  Googling further, some opinions offered that Shaq was an outstanding rim protector, but less good at other defensive roles.  

Which makes me wonder if big-man players like Deandre Ayton -- who went to UofA, in Tucson, which is where I live -- are still seen as valuable because they're more than just big men in the paint?

OT - I once saw Manute Bol play ... it was one of only two NBA games I've ever attended.  That dude was tall and skinny.  He also didn't hustle much: my memory of that game was he jogged back and forth.

10/26/2018 - 11:50am I remember being there.  It…

I remember being there.  It looked like good fun.  The game against Indiana was also good fun to attend.

10/26/2018 - 11:40am I'm not really much of a pro…

I'm not really much of a pro basketball fan, but I'm old enough to have seen the changes over the years.  One thing I notice is the role of the "big man" center is nowhere near what it was before.  I wonder if a guy like Shaq would be a top draft pick in today's game.  I tend to think not.  

10/26/2018 - 9:33am I'm a big fan of being able…

I'm a big fan of being able to move the chains, so that's great news.  Thanks!

10/26/2018 - 9:02am Honest question, because I…

Honest question, because I just don't know ... where would Cade fall on the Denard/Navarre scale for QB mobility?  I see on the internet he has 38 carries for 39 yards, but that could be because that offense isn't QB-run oriented.  Any insights?

10/25/2018 - 9:39am (No subject)

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10/25/2018 - 9:36am (No subject)

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10/25/2018 - 7:25am There is almost no chance…

There is almost no chance that Michigan is ahead of Notre Dame in the first playoff release unless Notre Dame loses

Agree.  Any P5 team that goes undefeated will be in the playoff discussion (ND is "independent," but has that weird ACC alignment for football, so they're considered P5 by that and their history).  There are exceptions: the SEC fields two particularly strong teams; the undefeated team is called Oklahoma State; or it's a PAC12 school. :-)

I don’t know if they’re even playing, or if they are, against whom

Their remaining schedule:

Oct 27 - Navy at "home" (ND is the home team, but game is in San Diego)
Nov 3  - at Northwestern
Nov 10 - Florida State at home
Nov 17 - at Syracuse (really at Yankee Stadium in NYC)
Nov 24 - at USC

Any of those games could be a trap game: Navy has snuck up on ND several times in recent memory; at Northwestern could be interesting; FSU at home would be a red flag if FSU weren't so bad.  USC is always a wildcard, but they aren't very good either.

Here's an article (link) that talks to ND's journey, who's left, and who might surprise the Irish:

10/24/2018 - 4:15pm Does anyone know how PFF…

Does anyone know how PFF actually works?  Do they watch every game, and chart every player?  That would take an army of people.  What's their business model -- who pays for this effort?

I love the confirmation of Michigan players it provides ... I just don't understand how it works.