Sunday, November 23, 2003

Week 10

GAME OF THE WEEK: Missouri-Texas Tech
- why this dog of an also-ran match-up between two
teams who don’t play defense? Here’s why:
419: Yards accounted for, in combined passing and
rushing, by Missouri QB Brad Smith AND Texas Tech QB
BJ Symons in 62-31 Missouri win. Call it a draw.
1: Fair catches taken by Tech punt returner Loliki
Bongo-Wanga!!!! As I like to say, you can look it up

Having said that, misery is waiting for your game to
come on by having to wait out a Texas Tech comeback
attempt. 90 second pause, snap pass caught and run
out of bounds for 7 seconds off the clock, wait a
minute, pass out of bounds fo 6 seconds, wait a full
minute, pass out of bounds for 8, wait a full minute,
pass out of bounds for 5 seconds, turnover on downs
timeout Missouri, 60 yard Missouri TD scramble on
first down which means there’s gonna be 3 more minutes
before they kick it back to Tech. Total time for that
sequence to take place: 10 minutes. Total time off
the clock: about 40 seconds.
In the time it took Tech to run the clock from 12:45
into the 9s, I watched an entire episode of the
Simpsons (Lisa fueds with popular girl/Lisa Kudrow
over school dance (“but won’t the loud music scare the
ponies?”), while Bart and Homer try to get rich by
stealing used grease from fryers (“I’ve been muscled
out of every business I ever tried, including my
‘muscle for hire business!’”)

7: Different Computer rankings counted in the BCS
equation. What? WHAT? Who are these computers?
11: Spots higher one computer ranks TCU (5) than
Michigan (16). Same computer puts USC 8th and LSU
2: Computers, out of 7, that put USC in the top 5 or
Washington State in the Top 10.
24, 6: Various other computer rankings of Nebraska.
0: Computers that select any team besides Miami or
Oklahoma as No. 1 or No. 2. Hmmm....
Wow. What a useful tool these computer polls are.
So I studied just a bit how the BCS actually does
its math, and here is this week’s BCS rankings with
the computer polls totally removed:

1 – OU
2- Miami
3 – USC
4 – UGA
5 – FSU
- Change from actual BCS: Moves FSU from 3rd to 5th –

6 – OSU
7 – WSU
8 – LSU
- Change: flips WSU and LSU

9 – Nebraska
10 – Mich State
11 – Michigan
12 – Iowa
13 – TCU
14 – Oky St
15 - Tennessee
- Change: Bumps Michigan above Iowa (which – No! –
actually reflects an on-field result!); drops TCU a
bit – again, Duh.

0: Chance I’m jumping on the Give-TCU-A-Chance
bandwagon. Why?
4: Wins Northern Illinois – now banished to the BCS
land of wind and ghosts, along with equally worthy
Bowling Green – had against decent competition.
0: Wins TCU has over same, unless you count pitiful
Arizona, who they stomped by all of 3.

4: Factors remaining in the BCS equation in above
results - average of national polls (coaches and
media), strength of schedule, minus losses, plus
Quality Wins.

Unfair BCS Quirk of the Week:
1: Number of times a team can be rewarded in the BCS
equation for beating another highly-ranked team, even
if they beat them twice (example: suppose LSU meets
and again beats a one-loss UGA in the SEC title game.
UGA would and should still finish ranked in the Top 10
– but LSU only gets BCS points for one win over a Top
10 team). Short version: the BCS structure can
additionally punish, but not additionally reward,
conferences that play a title game.

Is OU unbeatable?
7: In points, OU lead over CU with 2 minutes left.
7: Yards to go on third-down for OU at that moment,
from their own 40. Facing a punt if they failed to
convert, OU called timeout.
60: Yards in touchdown pass Jason White threw out of
the timeout to seal the game.
186: OU rushing yards vs CU.
40: CU rushing yards.
2: Teams that beat OU last year that OU plays in the
next two weeks – and then Baylor!

117: Points in not-BCS-ready TCU win over Houston.
6:42: Time remaining when TCU scored it’s 62nd point
(final: 62-55)
1466: Total yards of offense (TCU 782, UH 684) –a
final curve and a home-stretch short of a mile.
3: 100-yard rushers and 100-yard receivers in game.
232: Yards receiving for Houston’s Brandon Middleton.
On six catches.
204: Yards rushing for TCU’s Robert Merrill.
19: Scoring drives
8: Scoring drives 58 yards or longer in 5 or fewer
6: Punts Again – 19 scoring drives, and 6 punts.

Offensive II
93: Points in the let’s-not-cut-away-from-it
Missouri-over-Texas Tech.
1128: Total offense. (598-530)
5: TDs scored by Brad Smith rushing.
291: Smith yards rushing.
4: Punts, total.

Eli for Heisman?
145: Passing yards for Eli Manning in 19-7 win over
230: Previous season-low for Manning.
3: Manning 300+Yard games.
5: Games in which Ole Miss has scored at least 40.
1: Of those, games they’ve lost.
409: In that 49-45 loss to Texas Tech, Manning’s
season-high passing yards.
- After starting slow and easy, Ole Miss lost a
shoot-out to Texas Tech how else?) and since then has
slowly picked its way through the SEC – eeked past
Florida on the road, smoked Arkansas State with
authority in an off-week, handled Alabama well and
then beat front-runner Arkansas. Very nice 2-loss
season so far, and only the Arkansas game argues
against Manning in the Heisman race.
2:* Ints thrown by Manning against Mississippi St.
0*: Manning TDs
2*: Eli completions on 3rd or 4th down, and one of
those was a tipped ball that didn’t even go far enough
for the first.
1*: Safeties sacked for.
36*: Seconds left in the first half when Ole Miss’
Mike Espy took a punt at the 4, set off towards the
left side of the field, reached the 20 and realized
the entire Bulldog return team was leaning that way
too, so... SPIN into a right cutback, shoulder past
the kicker and say goodnight, Irene! A jaw-dropping,
once-a-year, watch-it-30-times-on-replay,
talk-shit-to-the-screen move, a near-record 96 yard TD
return and one of the top 2 or 3 sickest plays I’ve
ever witnessed. Sadly, thanks to give-up Eli, the
world will not remember it.
*: PS2 only. When Manning took a sack on 4th and 20,
down 21-10 with 2 minutes left, had to go to the
reset. But they should let you save plays like that.

Further Mississippi State Special Teams
20: Yardline on which Kentucky’s Derek Abney ran into
his blocker and a Mississippi State tackler on the
last leg of a Punt return, whereupon he pushed both
guys the final 20 yards into the endzone.

Receiving the Heisman
2: More great receivers this year than there are
invitations to the Heisman ceremony - Pitt’s Larry
Fitzgerald, USC’s Mike Williams (both sophomores), Oky
State’s Rashaun Woods, UT’s Roy Williams, Michigan’s
Braylon Edwards (a junior) and Washington’s Reggie
Williams. That’s 6 before we even address The Man…
1: For-sure draft pick of Miami’s Kelvin Winslow, a
tight end. I think that’s spelled wrong. But I doubt
you’re confused. The lion running Miami’s all-new guy
That’s not just a great-stats list – that’s seven
guys who come out and change the directions and
outcomes of games, much in the same way we’ve
discussed a good QB should. I mean, did anybody see
Williams against USC? That should have been how it
was listed in the TV Guide: “Williams against USC”

Youth Movement
411: Yards of total offense put up by Florida – by
reputation, 2003’s “Better-Get’em-This-Year!” team –
in their most recent and most significant win, over
Arkansas (Arkansas put up 569, but never mind).
300: Yards accounted for by freshmen and sophomore
skill players, rushing and receiving. Florida QB Chris
Leak is also a freshman (130 for freshmen, and 170 for
superbly named sophomore Ciatrik Fason).
565: USC yards of offense against biggest-win-to-date
472: Yards accounted for by freshmen and sophomores
(377 FR, 95 SO)
And as for sophomore QB Matt Leinhart…
1251: Yards Leinhart has thrown for in last 4 games.
13: TDs in that span.
0: INTs in that span.
1: USC punts versus Washington.

14: points scored by Iowa on a 50+ yard INT return and
a blocked punt return against Penn State, more than
the margin of victory (26-14).

And now a few words about the Alabama-Tennessee game:
After a game of shared incompetence, blow
opportunities, cowardly playcalling and self-loathing
not seen since last year’s Orange Bowl, Tenn and
Alabama turned in a very competent and complicated
overtime. It was a good show..
Both teams scored more in OT than they did in 60
minutes of actual football. Both teams converted long
4th downs to stay alive, and in the first three OTs,
EACH team faced at least one 2nd or 3rd down longer
than 15.
Yet – like every OT game I’ve ever seen longer than
3, and most longer than 2 – it was entirely
Casey Clausen made exactly one high-level play, and
it was just barely enough to top Brody Croyle’s one
slightly-less-impressive big play, and that’s it. In
other words, out of the 10 offensive series’ after
regulation (which took well over an hour) we got two
money plays.
What was REALLY painful was the regulation,
dominated by an Alabama team terrified of closing out
a game.

14: Alabama snaps inside the Tennessee 10 on two
drives which resulted in no points. Sickening.
123: Seconds remaining in game with 20-13 lead when
Alabama ran the most mickey mouse punt play in the
history of time – they took a timeout (blown time
out), lined up their offense and as soon as the play
clock started, EVERYBODY sprinted off as the punt team
sprinted on, all in an effort to get Tennessee
unprepared for the kick. Only, they blew it when a
lineman didn’t get on in time letting Tennessee get a
receiver back.
I hope it looked cute because on the ensuing UT
4: UT passes over 10 yards, resulting in a TD with 20
seconds left, against a completely Chris
Webber-at-cruchtime-scared Bama secondary.
3: Consecutive wins in Tuscaloosa for Tennessee, the
first team to ever pull that off, but Clausen could
probably have picked up the tying TD against that
secondary if the the endzone had been in Mobile.
But the sorriness wasn’t over!!!
46: Tennessee yardline Bama started its final drive at
thanks to ugly return coverage and a facemask – WAY TO
19: Yards Bama’s Croyle drove Bama to set up a
possibly game-winning FG – which Tenn sort of blocked
and the kicker sort of missed.
And then the march through OT. Sorry, sorry game.

2: 5-or-more overtime games i've watched Tennessee
win, each a unique experience in viewing agony.

FINALLY - During regulation, did anybody see the
Tennessee receiver flat fall over like a cardiac
arrest victim? He was line up on the end, one foot
forward looking towards the QB, snap and he just
tilted over to the right and crashed over like the
cornerback was on Set-For-Stun. Didn't catch his own
fall, nothing. Damndest thing. But wait! The bama
guy starts pointing at him in what could have been
concern and could have been trying to draw a flag.
But the UT guy stood up, looked vaguely disoriented,
looked back at the QB, took a few step towards the
middle of the field and Claussen dropped a pass to
Could have been a ploy. I don’t know. But nobody
acted like they had just fooled anybody, and when was
the last time a trick play went for 4 over the middle?
Yet, nobody acted like a guy just went Hank Gathers on
2nd and 9. Weird.

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