Monday, November 24, 2003

Rhodes Scholar Index - U.S. students selected as 2004 Rhodes Scholars - Nov. 23, 2003

6: Awarded to city of Boston
3: Harvard
2: BC
0: Previous Rhodes in BC history, which lets you know how Harman did.

nice work for the Eagles, particularly after the big WVU game, though how could you not fall for Morehouse College's Oluwabusayo Folarin. Just can't say enough about that name. Right there with Texas Tech's Lolika Bongo-Wanga and that sumbitch running back from Cal.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Week 13, Part II

Re: Cal 54-UW 7

729 yards of
offense. first losing season since forever. if cal
doesn't give the guy a contract, barbara hedges
should. either way, she's got to dump gilbertson -
took an odds-on heisman favorite and drove him into
the bench, and the team off a cliff. that guy was a
panic hire to get out from under the Neuheisal
implosion, and now its time to think clearly. how
many times does this kind of disaster get resurrected?

and i guess you can add Geoff McArthur to this year's
list of franchise recievers. that brings us to 8
(maybe just 7 if we do a straight swap, mcArthur
in-UW's Reggie Williams out (though I like having a
list 3-deep in Williams')). yet let's give the
heisman to Jason White - ridiculous.

why did this not help SC? well, i wonder who noticed
it? I didn't. And if it helps to illustrate SC lost
to a better team than we thought, it hurts the
argument that trouncing UW was an achievement (it's
pretty clear that SC broke UW's back and they've been
in freefall since, but that's kinda like Buchanan's
Palm Beach votes - obvious to all, but politically

And Cal is just a quirky, weird team. they aren't
nearly this good, just as they aren't really 3 points
better than SC. But they aren't as bad as they've
been either - i mean, they're OBVIOUSLY a bowl-worthy
team, but they still need to beat The Farm to get one.
strange team.
to break out a term i was reacquinated with
yesterday, the Pac 10 has had way more than its share
of statistical 'outliers' this year (just cuz i use
it, don't mean i can spell it!): runaway-train games
that really told us nothing about either team
(WSU-Oregon is the prime example), and this game - 729
yards of offense? that's at least 250 yards past the
silly line - is still another one.

but Adimchinobe Echemandu! Loliki Bongo-Wanga, call
your office!
Rivalry Week

still 4 games - all of them losable - for the
country's top 3 teams, so i don't quite like the
overall tone of this "well, i guess it's all decided"
but i do like the odds.

but here's a nice little story you might have missed
about a very small but very momentus event in 99 that
might be the crux point of all we see today:

Week 13

99: Yards in INT return-TD for UGA's Odell Thurman
against Auburn.
96: Yards in Fumble return-TD UGA pulled off earlier
this year against Tennessee.
against UGA by opponent in the redzone, cuz that's 14
they got for they ownselves.
2: Total carries for Auburn's Carnell Williams - the
SEC's top back - in the first half against UGA.
Strange, strange playcalling.
113: PATs in a row made, the nation's longest streak,
by UGA's Billy F'in Bennett - the Index's Official
Whipping Boy - before missing one against Auburn.
1: OVERTIME MARGIN OF VOCTORY of oh-so-recently
National Title "contender" Va Tech over - can it be? -
Temple. Absolutely, positively, ENOUGH of the Big
East. Good f'in riddance.

3: overtime margin of victory - also by missed kick -
for Ohio State over respectable Purdue.
8: OSU home games this year.
7: Wins, out of 10, by 10-pts or less.
2: Overtime wins at home
10: Total margin of victory over Bowling Green and San
Diego State.
2: Very possible final BCS rank for OSU if they beat
Michigan, even if SC wins out impressively. read this
to see why. How could this obvious distortion of
merit possibly come to pass? Computer f'in rankings.
- on the other hand, Ohio State would have to beat
Michigan, who is playing for the rose bowl and a
plausible shot at No. 2 themselves. Anybody worried?

3: Punts, combined, in 50-44 FSU win over NC State and
43-40 Texas win over Texas Techs.
106: combined 1st downs in those two games.
0: Tech Punts.
32: Tech first downs.
36: Consecutive plays allowed by UT in 3 straight Tech
TD drives to turn a 35-21 late-3rd UT lead into a
40-35 Tech late-4th lead. In other words - 36 plays
without a stop in crunch time.
2: NC State overtime road losses to BCS ‘contending’
296: Matt Lienhart passing yards against Arizona. He
came out with 7 minutes to go in the 3rd.
387: Total Arizona punting yards (9 punts between two
0: Total yards in punt returns for this week's
You-Can-Look-It-Up player, Arizona's Syndric Steptoe!
3: Possessions, combined, inside the opponent's 6 for
both teams which resulted in no points.
3: Mike Williams TD catches, ties school record.
26: Mike Williams' career TD catches, new school
23: Career games for Williams, a sophomore.
165: Consecutive passes for Leinhart without an INT,
the school record.
147: Previous record, set last year by YouKNowWho.

Leinhart should obviously not win the Heisman. Kellen
Winslow should. Leinhart could arguably be a
finalist, but arguably not. I just haven't seen
ANYBODY compare his year to YouKnowWho's. So I just

266: Leinhart's yards/game at 10 games
295: YKW's yds/gm after 10 games.
303: YKW's yards/game, post-Bowl.
28: Leinhart's TD passes in 10 games.
24: YKW's TD passes after 10.
33: YKW's in 13 games.
62.8: Leinhart completion percentage
63.2: YKW's.
7: Leinhart INTs.
8: YKW INT after 10 games.
7: Leinhart games with no INTs.
5: YKW games with no INTs
448: YKW's best-ever passing day (in must-win against
351: Leinhart's best-ever passing day - twice (back to
back, in must-wins against ND and Washington).

If you like brute numbers, ol' Blaine is tough to beat
(though, as we'll see, he's no Philip Rivers...). BUt
in the Major Theory of QBs - QB-as-warrior,
INT-vs-TDs, etc - Leinhart's right there. And
1: YKW's lead in losses.

Leinhart vs Heisman "leaders":
(yards/gm, comp.%, TDs, INTs)

266.2, 62.8, 28, 7: Leinhart (9-1)
277.4, 65.1, 36, 6: Jason White (11-0).
288.1, 62.8, 23, 8: Eli Manning's (8-2 record)
340, 72.3, 29, 6: Philip Rivers (7-4)
Week 12

You can keep Pitt, Clemson and Tennessee, winners in
games that were, in order, likely, plausible and
possible. A little eerie that they all happened on
the same weekend, but like Bob Slidel said in Office
Space, “there it is” (plus, SC needed all three of
those games, and anybody who isn't wearily resigned to
SC being on a magical run is not paying attention).

what put my jaw on the floor and kept it there was the
ass-kickin', wood-layin', shit-beatin' stompfest
administered to a nearly-Top 10 team by the
suddenly-74-Huskers Duke Blue Devils.
Break 'Em Up!!!!
I know Lein enjoyed that, as did Mandy who enjoys a
good Georgia Tech thrashing, but as the rabbi likes to
say, I wouldn't have taken that on a dare.

What we had this weekend, in one sense, was a
throat-clearing moment that we desperatly needed but
never got last year. A weekend when three teams on
the Will-We-Get-In-Bubble got exposed as the
DrKoop.Com-at-90-Bubbles they really were. You get
one about every third November, and it clears the way
for a genuinely nice title game - last year, for
example, you might have seen somebody sweep up Ohio
State, WSU and FSU. Put them all out of our misery.
Didn’t happen. So we got what we got.
This season, we needed somebody to shine a little
light on a few of the same – less Miami, much more FSU
and VaTech – and thankfully, somebody did. In no
small way, this weekend saved the season.
As for FSU and VaTech, when in this century has
either of them shown themselves to be a disciplined,
focused team that can play well in big games
On the VaTech side, you can’t be surprised – I
can’t ever remember this team winning a big game that
wasn’t Miami and half the time, they lose that one. I
mean, let’s remember – this “National Title Contenter”
played the Big East plus I-AA James Madison. As I’ve
said before, all I-AA games should be automatic BCS
losses. And – AND(!) – Pitt had only beaten them the
last two times they played. I guess the name “Vick”
on your roster buys you 10 or 15 poll slots you don’t
deserve. The story of this particular game should be
familiar to anyone who's ever seen an After School
Special - upstart wants it more - with Larry
Fitzgerald (3 catches on winning drive) in the Robbie
Benson role. No word yet on who plays
winning-TD-scoring running back Lousaka Polite (you
can look it up).
Now, as for FSU, I got a theory: first off, all
those #1 votes for OU should get transferred directly
to FSU Monday morning, because – as we all know -
everytime FSU fails to show up for a big game, they
suddenly become “legit.” This year with Miami, last
year with ND, every year before that... well, Miami,
again. Or their annual swoon to a dog on the road –
they walk away closer to the BCS than they were at
kickoff. So here’s the theory: I can only think of
two organizations that consistently benefit from
failure, and Jeb Bush is directly linked to both –
(By the way, to veer wildly into the political
realm: SENATOR Katherine Harris? Can we just rename
it the Politburo and be done?)
And now, ladies and gentlemen, a little bit late
but always on time, let’s give a big welcome to your
Chris Rix Meltdown! Put your hands together for 2
INTs, 16 completions and 4-for-14 on 3rd downs! He's
Chris Rix, everybody, and he's never at a loss for
choke-jobs or parking spots! Yow-zah! I kid cuz I
care! Chris Rix, everybody, tip your waitress!

Now let's discuss Miami, or as I'll now forever and
eternally refer to it, "ThisU." Cuz Kellen Winslow,
"he don't give a flyin' freak about nothin’ but
ThisU." LeBron, you're now #2 on the Next list.
Kellen Winslow is off the charts. This guy in an NFL
locker room? And to think, he’s just gonna miss his
chance to bitch-slap Melissa Stark on camera by two
years. DAMN! I saw it three times, and I'm still not
sure I didn't imagine it. "I Don't give a FREAK about
a Vol!" "This is war. He was trying to kill me. So
I'm gonna kill him first." And like the cherry on top
- say it!: "I'm a SOLDIER!"
Jim Healy, show yourself! Better still, when do we
get a Saturday Night Live sketch of Hardball With
Chris Matthews with Tracy Morgan playing Kellen? Come
ON! It would be better than the Harry Belafonte
episode (“I’m gonna say what the media is afraid to –
Osama Bin Laden is an Uncle Tom”).
Hand Him The Heisman. No dissent entertained.
He’s the greatest college prescence since Barry
So what happened to ThisU? I don’t mean to take
away from Tennessee – well, yeah I do. What kind of
call was that on 4th down to get in the endzone? An
END AROUND from the 1? That’s a losers call that
happened to pan out – no credit to the Vols. What
they DID do was dutifully sweep up all the mess ThisU
left them and barely not beat themselves. ThisU
handed the reigns to a freshman QB and he got worse
not better as the year went along. I haven't studied
it enough to know why this is true, but I suspect
something is deeply wrong with Brock Berlin (in
retrospect, if you're starting a guy who's on your
team cuz he couldn't start somewhere else, maybe
that's worth keeping an eye on). But the strange part
is, if at the beginning of the year, you'd given me
the chance to buy stock in a freshman QB being
sheparded along by Ron Zook or one under Larry Coker –
as Kellen says, “It’s all about ThisU.”
Funny how things workout. And I’ll also say
there’s a 30 percent chance that Kellen simply scared
Brock off his game. Picture it: It’s Syracuse week,
everybody’s loose, our young, mentally fragile
freshman Brock is a little lazy on a Tuesday, lobs a
few over Kellen’s head he should have zipped, and
suddenly Winslow’s in his face like an Infected in 28
Days Later. Goodbye Next Ken Dorsey, hello
brighter-orange Chris Simms.
Somebody should look into it.

Which leaves Ohio State, which hasn’t won – or
played - a road game in 15 years. Survives Penn State
by 1, 10 over Mich State, the beat goes on, badabum
dabum badah. I’m past the grudging respect part now
– as juggling acts go, I’m in bewildered awe of Jim
Tressel’s Muppet-like ability to keep so many balls,
bowling pins, chickens, lit-fused-bombs and other
Muppets in the air so long. I mean, we all know how a
Muppet act must invariably end (and Miss Piggy is
wearing a banana peel-dress at Michigan) but if
Tressel – and Krenzel – somehow get by Michigan , the
guys in the balcony might jump on the bandwagon.
(fun Evil Empire fact of the day: Microsoft word’s
spell check doesn’t recognize “muppet,” but DOES
recognize “Muppet.”)

Did anybody see Cal versus Oregon? I mean, not to
watch the game, but just visually absorb it? Holy
freak. My head almost exploded. You had the Ducks in
their green-and-yellow 70s Superfriends uniforms, Cal
in their own version of swooping-euro-Speedo design
outfits, and it was all arrayed on the 2-tone field of
Autzen. Just a BRILLIANT moment in Pac 10 football
history. I thought a preschool class had gotten loose
on Blaine’s Create-A-School. Football Anime. I gotta
go back to Logans Run for better costume design. If
you want to know when Joe Paterno had his
so-far-undiagnosed stroke, it was when this game got

I’ll say it: Anyone currently on the SC bandwagon
petrified of Oregon State? AFTER UCLA? Leinhart and
thems best put the hammer down by halftime, or I WILL
have a coronary. Just for fun, go look up USC ‘67,
your basic OJ-McKay-best-college-team-ever, and see
how they fared in a late-season gimme with Oregon

If I’m irrationally scared of Oregon State, I’m only
rationally scared of OU, and no more so now than I was
a week ago. I see that 77-0 (who do the Sooners think
they are are? Duke?), but I gotta slap down the
patented John Tamanaha 70-Point Game Theory, put forth
by JT in 91 after Penn State rang up 70-something the
week before they came to SC.
As John put it: “That just tells us Penn State is
very good. But we already knew that.”
Which we already knew about OU.
Anybody catch Reese Davis going head to head with
Trev over OU’s starting D playing out the third
quarter? Always fun to see Reese’s demeaner coming
back from commercials after those moments, when you
know Trev’s been threatening to snap his neck.
(If you need anecdotal closure: USC 21, Penn State
10. Only loss of the year.)

Attention - Hubris ahead: Can’t remember the last
time a “rivalry” week held so little tension. I
don’t mean to say “well, let’s just mail it in”
because i’m sure there’s an upset or two lurking out
there, but can you name a major showdown that isn’t
prohibitively one-sided on paper or even one that
means much? In short, all the rivalry games this year
will be contender-versus-spoiler – is that fun?
The only must-see game is probably Michigan-Ohio
State, for the Big 10 title (whatever that’s worth)
and the Rose Bowl, but that’s only worth so much since
the Pac 10’s best team will be in New Orleans or will
be hugely upset its not. Still, its Michigan by a
mile or at least it would be madness to bet it
differently. But then, maybe Tressell and Krenzel and
can put something together. I doubt it.
Florida-Florida State is a season-salvager for both
teams. Assuming the Gators are by then out of the SEC
title game, it’ll be fun to see Zook battle
gladiator-style for his job. SC-UCLA – the worst UCLA
in a decade against the best west coast team this side
– maybe that side - of Washington 91, which you could
dismiss with a wave of the “throw the records out”
wand, but the last two meetings have been listless,
ugly blowouts in which UCLA quit and the gap is larger
this time. For this game to be competitive, USC will
have to play very poorly, and then what have you got:
a good team playing bad. Set the TiVo.
Best game of that day should be Washington-WSU, but
even that one will be moot: if WSU beats ASU next
week, they clinch at least 2nd place – and an
SC-vacated Rose Bowl – before they ever see UW.
Still, no reason to think either will not play hard,
and you can watch Reggie Jefferson again.
Texas-Texas A&M might be fun –140+ collective
points behind OU, this could be like when Vic locked
the two rappers/drug rivals overnight in the shipping
crate in The Shield. Still, should be Texas big and
bloodless, and if it isn’t, fire the coach.

Though I guess, as Kathy Griffin put it, there’s a
little more wood in the campfire at Carolina-Duke, eh?
WEEK 10 continued, with Week 11 Preview
did anybody see the WSU-Oregon State game? I saw it
before i wrote my index and it was just obscene.
oughta hang it in the Whitney. unbelievable.

In all, 12 turnovers. And i'm not sure if that counts
the THREE safeties.

Washington State turned the ball over FIVE TIMES in
the FIRST HALF - and was behind by only 11. huh?
At one point in the second, they traded four
turnovers in about 9 plays, though i think the fourth
was called back for something.

And then came Scott Lunde, a WSU reciever who made all
8 of his catches - including 2 TDs in the fourth to
win it for WSU. Coming into the game, Lunde - a
senior - had 41 catches and all of 2 TDs.

just crazy.

on the other hand, that makes two crazy, silly games
WSU has won against Pac 10 No. 3 and No. 4s, and you
gotta figure that's the only way they have a real
chance to get SC - the oregon game was a 5-turnover
first half, only WSU turned into a halftime lead of
something like 40.
nothing about either game suggests WSU is going to
have a) an offense that can withstand SC's D or b) any
hope of stopping USC's talent on O.
Particularly B. SC could have put 60 on
Washington, and that was with mike williams pretty
much out.
But you never know about A - WSU's recievers, if
nothing ele, are big-time tall. not much regular
sized corners can do about that - which was the story
of the Oregon game.
Still, it's SC big or something very very very

FL-UGA. On paper it's all UGA, but the trend lines
are bad - 2 straight sleepwalks, beat up roster, The
Yoke of History; florida has had 2 weeks to get ready
- which might have been just enough time to let Zook
outthink himself.
If you see a knockout in red making out with a fat
guy, tell Mandy she was on TV!

anybody wanna buy a piece of Penn State hosting Ohio
State? Remember, Joe Pa got his Bear's-record-breaker
against a visiting OSU as the pivot point to a season
he started something like 0-4.
i won't be surprised.

Now Va Tech would surprise me. What on EARTH makes
you think this team - CHRONIC late-season/big-game
folders - can whither the corporate assualt of Miami?
Winslow and the three blondes from last year would win
this game. Forget it.

ND-FSU - wildfires. Earthquake. Pepper spray.

Oklahoma-OSU - a fourth-quarter, last possession game
if ever i saw one. maybe OU big early, but don't miss
the comeback. last two years were shocking. this is
just going to be a good game (i think - maybe OU
plants 56 on them, too. could be a hell of deal).
and if OSU don't get them, Nebraska gets to make its
case with Texas. Not that i'd straight pick NU -
could be Texas by 21 - as long as nobody else gets
convicted of interference. As wooderson might put it,
you might not see an OU-NU Big 12 title game, but it
would be a whole lot cooler if you did!
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.
Week 8

Top 5 Fun Things About Oklahoma-Texas

well, that was excrutiating. any rays of light? any
at all? not really. but i did get a kick out of a
couple things.

5 - The pregame shots of Major Applewhite and Josh
Hypl, former QBs at both schools, hanging out as
assistant coaches.
4 - Vince Young being the next Michael Vick.
3 - OU throwing slants and screens and, going for it
on 4th and 1 inside the 20 - in the 4th quarter.
2 - Chance Mock: The New No-Helmet Koy Detmer
1 - From ESPN.Com: What fans did remain at least had a
sense of humor. UT students seated about 10 yards
behind the Sooners bench caught the attention of true
freshman John Williams, a reserve defensive end who
likely will be redshirted.
"Hey, 98," yelled one student decked out in burnt
orange, "you'd start at Texas!"

personally, i think UT should jump on the 'alternate
the game between Dallas and OKC'-train. Hook'em needs
a change of venue worse than Kobe.

0: Seconds left on the clock in the first half in two straight games played at Tennessee when somebody scored a ridiculous, pure-luck touchdown that sealed a game – two weeks ago Tennessee scored on a Hail Mary to go up on Florida and rode that momentum through the second half. This weekend Georgia scored a – it’s true – 94 yard fumble return touchdown. Time expired in the half while UGA's linebacker was still about 70 yards away from the endzone.
2: Possible longest-ever TDs in that game – Tennessee had a 90 yard TD pass, its longest. The 94 yard TD return was actually UGA's 2nd longest fumble return.
1: Minimum number of arms Casey Clausen said he would have needed to beat Georgia after missing last year’s 18-13 loss.
97: Percent of responders who chose “The rout of 2003” as most satisfying win in Atlanta Constiution-Journal online poll to question: “Which win at Tennessee was more satisfying?”
3: Percent who chose “The exciting finish in 2001”
Week 7 Results and commentary on upcoming Week 8 games.

10: Years since Florida State and Miami met with both teams in the “Top 5.” You will hear that only about 10 billion times leading up to this weekend. But let’s look at it….
1: Oklahoma. Obviously.
2, 3, 4, 5: Rankings of Miami, Ohio State, VaTech and Florida State.
0: Teams ranked this week defeated by those teams.
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11: Rankings of LSU, Arkansas, USC, UGA, Nebraska (order varies depending on which poll you read), Texas.
4: Wins in that group over teams ranked this week.
3: Number of times that group has ALSO beaten big teams from the state of Alabama (SC over Auburn, Arkansas and UGA over Bama). And consider…
8: AVERAGE rank this week of the four teams to beat Alabama (OU (1), Arkansas (7), UGA (9), Northern Illinois (16). Auburn has lost to SC and Georgia Tech.
2: Total losses among 6-11 group.
2: Losses to fellow group members (LSU over UGA, Ark over Texas).

Leaving OU out, would ANYBODY like to pick anybody from the “Top 5” over anybody in 6-11 on a neutral field?

234: Yards receiving for Northern Illinois PJ Fleck, who also went for 116 and one the year’s best TD’s against Maryland, too. Forget their running back turner – Fleck or QB Josh Haldi has to be on the Heisman list.
By comparison, in must-win conference games this week:
108: Yards receiving for USC’s Mike Williams, his 3rd 100-yard game this year, 8th career.
22: Yards receiving for UT’s Roy Williams.

9: Consecutive quarters in which Baylor had failed to score against Colorado prior to kicking a field goal in the second quarter Saturday.
38, 1: Big 12 conference games, and wins, in Baylor history prior to CU.
1: Yardline on which CU had the ball, needing a touchdown to take a 4th quarter lead.
-2: Resulting yardage on run.
97, 55: In yards, length of drive, and length of scoring run, in Baylor’s ensuing, game-clinching drive.
17:15: Time it took Baylor to score 5 TDs in 42-30 upset of the year.
93: Florida State Rushing yards vs CU.
209: Baylor rushing yards vs CU.
- OK – so FSU threw for 450+. Still, the whole thing kinda takes the shine off the ‘They’re Back’ argument in Tallahassee.

1: Rank, Disappointments of the Year, Michigan.
2: UM Recievers who caught more than 100 yards of passes against Iowa.
389: UM Passing yards
195: Iowa passing yards
0: Wins, to six losses, for Michigan QB John Navarre against ranked teams on the road (that stat comes from the AP, and must not count the Outback bowl) – though in each of the last 3 (Iowa, Oregon, Ohio State last year), he was a single late play away from winning.
27: Points scored by Michigan in each of its two losses this year.
3, 4: Margin of defeat in both.
21: Points, total, in those games given up by turnovers or broken special teams play.

3: Estimated, minimum number of weeks it will take Texas to replay its entire early-season schedule with Vince Young instead of Chance Mock at QB (stat applies only to Danny’s Playstation).
1: UT’s national rank in scoring coming into Kansas State game.
69: Seconds remaining in first-half when UT scored its first offensive TD.
149: Young’s total yards in less than 30 minutes of playtime with a team high 80 rushing and 69 passing.
176: Total yards accounted for by KSU’s Ell Roberson.
2: Flying Walenda blocks thrown by KSU receivers in Robersons absolutely silly 27 yard 3rd Quarter TD. Second best TD of the day, top 10 of the year.
58: Yards of Texas’ Richmond McGee’s longest punt.
66: Yards KSU’s Jared Brite’s longest.
15 or 17: Number of punts in the game, depending on which stat you believe ON THE SAME PAGE on
17-3: Lead UT blew in that game.
12: UT Yardline on which KSU was standing, with the ball, the lead and 5 minutes to play, when Roberson fumbled.
88: Yards in ensuing Young-led UT drive to win the game.
4: Down on the goal line when Young vaulted in for the winning TD. “Nervy”

As for our 9-thru-11 members:
57-10: Combined second-half “score”* of USC’s three key games this year.
27-31: Combined first-half “score.”*
* Auburn, Cal, ASU. Reserves played significant part of Hawaii and BYU games.

0: Second-half points scored by Georgia in 37-17 blowout of Bama.

185: Rushing yards for Auburn’s Carnell Williams in 28-21, get-ahead-and-hang-on win over Tennessee. Did ANYBODY think Tennessee was for real? They beat Florida on, basicly, a school-record long field goal and a Hail Mary TD to end the first half. Then they hung on and waited for Zook to screw up. No way they win that way on the road. Among most one-loss, or even some 2-loss teams, no way Tennessee is a player.
1: Minutes remaining when Williams fumbled into the endzone against Bama, gift-wrapping a 7-5 win for the Tide (my playstation, 30 minutes ago – it’s official – I hate Auburn).

12: Consecutive inter-service academy games won by Air Force prior to losing 28-25 to Navy.
1-2: Rank nationally in rushing of Navy and Air Force, respectively.
294, 275: Rushing totals in the game, respectively.
10: Completed passes, combined, in that game (119 total yards)
2: Interceptions.
3: Punts, total, in that game.
22: Years since Navy last won the Commander In Chief’s Trophy by beating both Army and Air Force in the same year.
38: Unanswered points run up by Washington State against Oregon a week ago on turnovers.
39: Unanswered points run up by UCLA against Washington. Which proves again: The Pac 10 is just NUTS.

1: Open by miles, sure-TDs dropped by Oregon receivers against Utah.
2: Open by miles, sure-TDs dropped by Oregon receivers in blowout loss to Washington State.
3: Deflection-interceptions that WSU turned into TDs against Oregon.
1: Deflection-interceptions that Utah turned into TDs against Oregon.

I’m not saying it was only bad luck that sent the Ducks spinning down the drain – but they had some bad friggin’ luck the last two weeks.
They also are helpless – like, Iraqi-infinitry helpless – against tall receivers. Absolutely useless.

6.2: Average gain per rush for Mississippi runners against Florida.
2: Mississippi defenders who had Florida tight end Ben Troupe stopped and locked up at the 10. On a third-down, over the middle pass, Troupe caught it on the run, immediately vaulted a safety (like he vaulted Michigan’s safety in the Outback bowl last year) and then ran into the arms of 2 defenders who stopped him and wrapped him up. He promptly twisted loose, both Ole Miss guys fell over and he ran it in. Best catch-and-run TD of the year, at least best one with contact. When was the last time A TE was Florida’s top reciever? Troupe was Saturday. I suppose Kelvin Winslow is still the first-teamer, but that’s because Zook can’t coach.

55, 25, 33: Length of scoring plays of USC’s first 3 TDs. They punched in a 6-yarder late, but STILL no sign that they have any serious red zone offense for when the day comes that they need it.

9, 10, 11: As discussed earlier, rank of USC (my team), UGA (Mandy’s team) and UT (Danny’s team) this week.
70: Estimated percent chance that two of the three will meet in a bowl.
90: Estimated percent chance that two of the three will meet in a bowl if UT gets by OU this weekend. The ol’ one-loss conference-leader phonebooth only holds so many.
You have to pick UGA in the SEC now. Florida, UGA’s only stumbling block – both real and mental - is horrible and circling the drain like nobody in the country. Just a phenomenal collapse. If Kentucky’s QB took that sack, they’d be, what? 1-4? And UGA would whip LSU in a rematch on a neutral field. UGA misfired badly at LSU while LSU's offense basicly strung together a couple school yard plays to beat them and that won't work twice.
Now, I need to preface this by saying SC shouldn't have let their sorry asses lose ONCE and therefore any damn thing can happen, but SC shouldn't lose again - we stack up too strong against the rest of the Pac 10, with several weakspots (QB and tailback) getting stronger, not weaker. Specifically, them monkeywrench teams - UCLA and ND - are at all-time lows. WSU we get at home for a payback game. I can't explain Cal, except to say we were Due, and so now maybe we're not. And we don’t play cornered-and-injured Oregon.
So if neither UGA or SC ends up on the Main Stage – and good luck to ‘em if they do - then they'll HAVE to be 3-4 by then.
Anything can happen, but the two most likely big school teams to arrive at the BCS with one loss are USC and UGA.
UT has a tougher route, for sure: there’s OU and the Big 12 game and a sorta oh-no-please-no Nebraska. that's a lot of green (plus baylor!). So if either SC or UGA lose again - bingo, they drop right down into 2-loss Hook'em’s area.
The problem with that is that by the time everybody gets their dance card, the landscape is going to be littered with two-loss Big 10 teams. First up is Michigan - but then - just when is the bleeding going to stop there? Then you've got Purdue not playing Ohio State, and over here’s your Iowa. That's a LOT of Big 10 to find places for. A 2-loss (or 1-loss) UT (or SC) could get wahooed into a one-loss Ohio State pretty easy.
A short Week 5

52: Missouri victories over Kansas.
51: Kansas victories over Missouri.
1: ties in the series
7: Oregon turnovers in first half against WSU.
3: of those turnovers, tipped interceptions.
2: On-the-hands Passes dropped by Oregon’s receivers clear of WSU’s secondary by at least by at least 5 yards.
- so
36: Points Oregon trailed at the half when Oregon coach Mike Belotti told ABC’s sideline guy: “we got ‘em right where we want ‘em.”
9:04 left with 14 point lead when Alabama’s fumbled at the Bama 34.
27: Seconds left when Arkansas tied the score.
38: yards in FG Bama missed in OT.
sorry, sorry effort from bama at home.

40+: Length of end-of-half Hail Mary Tennessee pulled off to beat Florida, after which the Gators quit.
2: Yard line that Tennessee punted to TWICE in the fourth quarter to hold off Florida.

Week 4 Index (2003), Sept 20 (from Afghanistan)

For openers, the BSG’s mailbox hit it out the yard this week. One of his best efforts in months. Just about every question was terrific. Nobody does Shawshank references like BSG. Read it if ya ain’t yella (BSG is page2’s The Sports Guy, but I was introduced to him back when he was The Boston Sports Guy, or BSG)

Also: Shawshank Redemption; Huddsucker Proxy – two superb movies with totally inaccessable titles. If I told you one was an outer space sex comedy with Kurt Russell and Martin Short and the other was a Manhattan chickflick with Emma Thompson and Freddy Prinze, you’d have no reason – based on the titles – to not to believe me and you still wouldn’t have a clue which was which. Yet they are both mid-century, rural period pieces, narrated by wisely old black guys and star Tim Robbins with an identical haircut - not surprising since – yup – they both came out in 1994.

Each even has a Robbins-in-Christ-pose-in-driving-rain moment.

I’m in post travel, post3am stupor mode now, so plan on a lot of random thoughts cropping up in this Index:

72: Hours it took me to get where I am now, in Uknowheristan, either flying in cramped airline seats or sitting in cramped airline terminals. Still not enough to overcome the shock of last weekend. Consider: The first 3 weeks of this year gave us a seemingly endless stretch of monsterous collisions which left us with a pretty clear picture of the haves and have nots: (goodbye Auburn, hello NC State, etc). And we had a statistically suspicious number of truly Great Games, so what's not to like? Who could complain if it looked like this was the week it all got back to normal, when the lead pack surged from the field and everybody started pointing fingers up and down the polls, mostly because the chance to move was pretty much gone.
And what did we get? Well.... Wait. I don't think you can take it straight. I need to pad it. So I've decided to breakdown each big stunning stat from last weekend with a little stunning stat, from a sport you don't care about, a game between two teams you almost for sure have never or at least some kind of off-field misbehavior.

13: Miles (plus .1) that a chick ran in 75 minutes last weekend, the new female world record!!!! That's even farther than the 461 yards Toledo's Bruce Gradowski passed for to beat Big East Buzz Team Pitt, 35-33. 35-33, of course, couldn't be anything BUT a great game, but I only have the stats to go on, and when TOLEDO goes for 451 through the air, I think that Pitt-knocks-off-Miami hedge a lot of people (like me) were playing looks pretty thin.

2: Thailand Elephant Polo's rank on Chris Berman's Top 10 Plays of the Week.

6: Chick soccer, same list. Man, I hate Berman.

8: the COMBINED ranking Berman saw fit to award the contributions to football history of the state of Oklahoma - a 3-punt return-TD effort from one guy, and a 7 TD-catch effort from another, both NCAA records. Also, the number of snaps Kansas State had from a first-and-goal in the closing minute against Marshall and couldn't convert. Just sorry. What kind of team is that?

70: Points St. Ambrose put up in a shutout of Waldorf -the worst blowout of the weekend, way down there in Div 8 or wherever. Blowouts, of course, are something we're all used to, following Ohio State as we do. Along with that NC State game where the bucks blew out NC State for 3 overtimes - at home - they just gave us the second of twin minor-conference drubbings, first of San Diego State (3 pts) and - this weekend - Bowling Green (7). Break Up The Buckeyes! I guess we should blame it on being distracted by Clarrett, since in 6 of their last 7 games last year, with no such distraction, they blew out their hapless victims by an average of 5 points or overtime.

3: Total points scored by some place called Ripon in its surely-awful shutout of Knox College. So here's the question - if forced to watch one, which would you pick? A hideous 70-0 mismatch, likely played entirely on one side of the 50, or the agony of a 3-0 affair, probably contained between the 35s? Bonus if you can name the home state - I'll even accept timezone - of two or more of those schools.

3: Really good stories I found in my old newspaper, the Newport News (VA) Daily Press - we'll use them to introdude the next 3 items

120: Dollars that Chris Rix now owes the People of Florida for two parking tickets in 2 weeks - both for parking in handicap spots*, which is quite a statement on Rix but also a statement on FSU since that's almost the same number of rushing yards they allowed to Colorado's first-year RB Brian Calhoun in their game (Calhoun got 118. His previous high was 65 against CSU and both UCLA and WSU stuffed him). In short, like the crippled and lame of Tallahassee, I don't like FSU. So they "blew out" Colorado - at home, in the heat, and here's a quick look at CU: got by obviously terrible UCLA by all of 2 and got destroyed by an average Washington State, both at home. Some 'blowout.' And Rix - who gets nailed parking in handicap spots?!?! TWICE!?!?!? He's got a history of team-sinking meltdowns, they struggle with the run, and Bowden is in coaching freefall. NC State, the Index's official Team In Waiting, with Philip Rivers at QB and the scary-good TA McLendon at RB (who didn't play in their loss to Wake), is going to destroy them, ESPECIALLY the week before the Florida game. IF... NCS can stay away from the QB sneak double-dips from the 3.
*: from previous item, to be accurate, Rix's tickets were for parking in a handicap spot and for parking in a spot reserved for patients at a rehab center. Oh. That's not so bad, then.

6: Maximum Weeks that Norfolk State's tight end - the team's leading receiver - will miss with a broken leg suffered against VMI. If you're not sure who Norfolk State's starting tight end is, meet Goodluck Owi. And who had BetterLuck last week than special teams, where that same number - 6 - of special teams plays won - or lost - the weekend's two most significant games: Oregon blocked both a punt and a field goal and returned both for TDs, and ran back a punt for one to knock off the Big 10's best hope for an unbeaten team; and in what has to be an SEC championship game preview, Georgia missed 3 field goals and lost to LSU, 17-10.
And by the way: if you like defense, you loved LSU-UGA (a friend of mine said it "boring until the end," and I just have to take issue). Both teams played a ferocious, fleet, smart and aggressive defense for 4 hours. UGA's David Pollack and LSU's Chad Lavalais have got to be the best two D-linemen in the country. USC, as a team, might bring more heat, but those two are keepers. They rampaged through the other's offenses. And in the backfield, LSU's Corey Webster made 9 tackles, an interception and 4 pass deflections and was named national defensive player of the week.

93: On field temperature in Baton Rouge for LSU-UGA as Mandy and I watched on the sofa with snow falling in the backyard. Quite a day for the Mandoo - I leave, UGA loses, it snows. Okay - I made up the 93 degrees part; it was just good and hot there and good and snowing where we were. But what I didn't make up was UGA's David Greene, pinned at the 7, dropping into his endzone and throwing a quick screen to Tyson Browning - who promptly turned it into a 93 yard TD, UGA's longest ever TD pass, tying the game, swinging Mandy's mood all the way back to ecstatic and, I thought, punching my ticket for a solid Saturday night.

51: length of ensuing LSU drive to win it. Although UGA could have won it with just a decent day of kicking, and though both defenses were a couple breaks shy of shutouts, LSU won for one reason: their QB, Matt Mauck, in classic Applewhite Theory, couldn't throw hard, long or even very accurately, but he ran around like a warrior and, after UGA's freakish 93 yard touchdown, calmly came on and ripped the game back from them. The key piece was a grotesque lob, a schoolyard heave to the shortest receiver on the field who was on a zero-technique streak he wasn't even supposed to run. Mauck spotted him, ignored the set play and won the game. He summed up that little piece of QBing this way: "that was called, 'what's he doing?'"

Lighter side - Top Six Maxim/Stuff/FHM Covers I've missed in the last year, which was the last time I deployed and, therefore, the last time I even looked at those magazines (needless to say, the dayroom here has the complete library of all 3, but I could only find 6 worth mentioning - I mean, Kelly Hu? On a cover?!?!? Was Ricky Lake busy?):

6: Maxim Feb 03, nameless bikin girl.

5: Maxim Dec 02, "Pussycat Girls" with Carmen Electra in middle of 3 chcks.

4: Stuff April 03, Miller Lite Catfight chicks (teeeerific cover, but a genuinely horrible photo layout inside - the clips from the original commercial are better)

3: FHM March 03, 3-page, 9-chick foldout cover of the Baywatch chicks with - wait for it! - Carmen Electra. Beats the Miller Lite hos pretty much soley on volume.

2: Stuff October 03, Jag's Catherine Bell. Photographed correctly, she's such a fox - maybe my pick as hottest famous chick in America, certainly in the Final 4. I'm beginning to suspect she's probably tough to shoot, cuz sometimes you see her at certain angles and suddenly its not if she was the LAST immigrant grocer on Erf!! But they got the right guy on the trigger for this one, cuz everyshot inside is a homerun
And that's definetly the first time I've called a chick a 'fox' in print..

1: FHM May 03, Leeann Tweeden, which makes #1 not for Tweeden- who is boring on the cover and worse inside - but for 3 other reasons - one, there's a story about some friends of mine pulling off a killer rescue during anaconda (Mark Oswald and Caleb Etheridge were the PJs), then on page 117 is a hot picture of Lauren Bush, Dubya's niece who is WAY finer than Oswald and Etheridge combined, and for the "Average chick" on page 124 who is just SMOKING and is a freshman at.... NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY!!!!! The Captain has officially turned on the Bandwagon Light. Mind the gap.

156: Yards NIU Mark Turner ran for in a 19-16 win AT Alabama, who didn't give up that many yards to OU.

60: Yards punts by NIU punter Anthony Gallagher have gone in both the Alabama and Tennesse Tech games, and if you want to know why NIU is playing top teams close, circle Gallagher in red.. Against Maryland, he launched one 56 and he's averaging 46 per punt.

1: Games against non-MAC teams remaining, an upscale visit from Iowa State. After that, Toledo (NIU's only MAC loss, by 2 pts, a year ago) and Bowling Green are the last major games. I'll say right now that if they finish undefeated or with one loss, they should be in the BCS.

14: Teams in the MAC. You don't hear that much from the "is the MAC for real" crowd. I mean, you take any 14 teams, that's what? 30 games against 'big teams'? 5 or 6 upsets isn't that unlikely.

5: Consecutive home games William and Mary will now play since they cancelled their game with Maine due to storm damage to the stadium - even though the school's other sports continue to play away games and Maine offered to play in Richmond - basicly, they pussed out. They haven't practiced in over a week, so they went home. Understandable, but sorry for Jimmye - with a YE - Laycock.

And now, the Jason Marfell Memorial Section of the Index:

26: Yards Oregon held Michigan's Chris Perry - the nation's leading rusher and just flat-out Michigan's running back - in beating the Wolverines.

0: Interceptions that Oregon's 2-QB system, Kellen Clemens and Jason Fife, have COMBINED for this year.

33: Oregon's average scoring output under coach Mike Belloti.

2: Consecutive years that a Pac 10 team has blown out its BCS opponent in a game that arguably matched two teams better than either national title contender.

0: Games against USC this year. Lots of green between here and there, but a West Coast Iowa-Ohio State thing is now distinctly a dot on the horizon.
Week 4

So I guess the Willingham honeymoon, along with the
Michigan spaghetti, just hit the dining room wall,

16 – Minutes more that Georgia Tech held the ball than
Florida State in the first half of their game. Though
keep in mind…
8 - Minutes more Hawaii held than ball than SC in the
first half, which ended with SC up 31-6.
2 – Yardline Georgia Tech had a first and goal during
that first half.
4 – Consecutive plays FSU stuffed GT’s when GT skipped
the field goal.
1 – Final margin of FSU victory, 14-13.
2 – More lifetime victories for Joe Paterno (337) than
Bobby Bowden.
4 - Likely wins remaining for PSU this year: Kent
State (are they back to “Kent State” now?), Minnesota,
Northwestern, Indiana.
2 – Toss ups: Michigan State, Purdue.
3 - Likely losses: Wisconsin, Ohio State, at Iowa -
what’s that? 5-4?
1 – Easy wins remaining for Bowden (Duke).
4 – Better, but not much, than 50-50 to win: Colorado,
Virginia, Wake, Clemson.
4 – Tough games: Miami, At Notre Dame, NC State, Fla -
What’s that sound like? 6 wins? 2 tough ones, 3
50-50s and Duke? Let’s say 6.
1 – Likely lead for Paterno if you like my power of
prediction – and we know how good I am at prediction.
2: Losses in row for Colorado, at home, to the Pac 10.
This stat is only here to point out that CU-WSU this
weekend was a QB duel between Klatt and Kegel.
101: Years since Michigan shutout Notre Dame.
1: Passing yards for Notre Dame in the first half.
35: Michigan yardline Notre Dame never crossed.
111,726: “attendence” at Michigan-ND, an “NCAA
record.” Please. PLEASE. Someone stop the nonsense.
Stop reporting it, stop repeating it, stop allowing
it. Anytime Michigan or Tennessee is on ABC, the
school suddenly manages to squeeze 10 more yahoos into
the stadium than they “ever did before” and its an
“NCAA record.” Shows us the seats that were empty
last time. It’s fiction.
4 – in people, the total increase Michigan claimed to
have accurately recorded in crowd size between the
1999 and 2001 Ohio State games.
.0039 – claimed percentage change in that crowd, an
accuracy in measurement equivelent to counting, one by
one, every hair on your head, then ccounting the next
day and finding 4 more. Only instead of counting your
hairs by hand, you’re counting them through 100 or so
turnstiles run by minimum-wagers in yellow jackets who
couldn’t care about as much about the hairs on your
head as they do how many mokes show up for Ohio State.
151 – total by which the ‘new record’ surpasses that
2001 game (.13 percent change, or less than a quarter
inch of one sideburn).
4,000 – in people, minimum by which “record crowds” at
Michigan AND Tennessee exceed their stadium’s
0 – Explainations at either school’s website on how
this could be.
I’m so pissed off about this attendece thing, I’m
not going to be able to address the NEW Game of the
Year, Ohio State-NC State. Except to say:
2 – QB sneaks NC State attempted from the 5 then the 3
in triple OT which OSU easily stuffed. OSU hadn’t
stopped their passing game since halftime, and their
RB Terrance McClenden, was, as Donnie put it to open
the Big Lebowski “throwing rocks” with OSU’s D-line.
3: Games Of The Year so far, in week 3 of the Index.
0: Touchdowns scored in NINE GAMES against the
starting defenses of Georgia. USC and Michigan, each
with one stiff game among them. This weekend, SC was
up 52-6 on Hawaii when Carroll emptied the bench at
the end of the third and Georgia pitched a shut out
against no less than Lou Holtz until the closing
garbage minutes.
2: Games out of 3 that Florida has scored 60 points.
And they scored 30 in just over a half against Miami.
Tennessee at Fla next week – we’ll see.

Anyone care to play Rank’em?

1 – Michigan. A flawless team that beat Notre Dame
1a – Oklahoma. A flawless team that didn’t beat Notre
Dame 38-0.
3 – Georgia. A flawless team that peed its pants in
last year’s key Florida game.
4 – USC. Running game, check. Mike Williams and
others, check. Snap for snap, best defense in the
country, check-plus. But still no way to tell about
5 – Ohio State – Was #1 prior to SDSU game. As soon
as they win a road game, they can be #1 again. But
they only play 3, so screw them.
5 – Miami. They came back 30+ on Florida. But then,
they were DOWN 30+ to Florida.

not as good as last week, but then again, with
blowouts everywhere, neither was the week.

next week: Florida-Tennesse, or The "which scowling
white-guy coach finds burning crosses on his lawn when
he gets home" Bowl.

Week 1 Final, Aug 31

2: Headlnes about a death or a suspension for rules violation, each, out of the 8 headlines on ESPNís college football page Tuesday afternoon.

1: Years of eligibility remaning for former Michigan State center Brian Ottney when he left school and moved to LA last year. He had a seizure and died Tuesday.


6: Methods of scoring used by Texas against NMSU in a 10-minute span of the 2nd Q (in order: Kickoff return, TD run, Interception return, FG, TD Pass and PATs)

20, 7: Minutes into the game it took UT begin that scoring and points by which they trailed NMSU when they did.

7: Methods, total, used by UT by the end of the game to win 66-7 (Punt return for TD in 4th).

3: Methods I can think of that UT failed to use (safety, fumble return, 2-pt play)

1: Punts and Kickoffs returned for Tds, each, by Selvin Young.

1: UTís margin of victory in the first-downs war (17-16).

21, 1: Yards and rushing touchdowns by which Texasí back-up QB Vincent Young outrushed and outscored superback Cedric Benson (61-2 to 40-1) ñ that stat comes courtesy of our Hookíem Correspondent, the Rabbi. Hookíem Emergency Back-up Correspondent Lein wrote a teee-rific rant on the talent of Young which I can pass along.


8: Oíclock, in the AM, when myself, Mandy and the rabbi were at Anchorage sports bar The Peanut Farm for kickoff of UGA-Clemson.

Index Recommends: breakfeast burrito.

2: Empty tables in the house, out of about 30. We love our football in the 49th state!

5: Top 25 games on Peanut Farm screens. Head on a swivel, head on a swivel quick quick quick!

17: unanswered points scored by Wisconsin on the road in 24-17, final-minute win over West Virginia.

2: Rank of WVU-Wisconsin on games of the week, behind only the amazing Maryland-Northern Illini Thursday game.

1: Rank, of defensive plays of the weekend, of WVUís leaping, step-behind, tip-at-the-last-possible-second pass deflection in the 2nd Q. Unbelievable play.

2: Bad results of 3rd down play Wisconsin should have gotten in the 4th deep in WVU territory, down 17-10. Wisc QB Lee Evans got hit twice in the backfield and scrambled WAY too long not to get sacked, then, against the sideline he let loose a prayer of a lob down the sideline, into a group of about 6 guys, only one of which wasnít from WVU. Should have been a sack, then should have been intercepted. Instead, it was 17-17. And it seemed like every play was like that. Just a terrific game.

0: Touchdowns given up by USCís first-team defense in its last 4 games.

0: Total money-time experience of USCís key offensive players going into Auburn ñ rookie sophomore running back Hershel Dennis ran the ball for 85 and rookie sophomore QB Matt Leinhart came up with 2 Tds, 23 points and no turnovers. They collectively replaced Heisman-winner Blaine and Raiders steal-of-the-draft Justin Fargas. Iímnot saying either is the second-coming of anybody. But what that proves ñ the same way that weird orbits of far-away stars prove the existence of planets you canít see ñ is that SCís O line is good to go.

2: fumbles forced on consecutive plays in the 3rd Q by USC LB Matt Grootengood, the second of which USC recovered. What was most amazing was that he forced the first fumble from the QB as he sacked him, and on the next play knocked the ball loose from a receiver 20 yards downfield ñ just about as all-over-the-field as you can be, and my snapshot moment of USCís swarming, suffocating defense.

3,4,1: Plays it took USC to convert Auburnís 3 turnovers into 7, 3 and 7 points, which in a 23-0 game is pretty much your whole ballgame.

15, 11, 9, 8: length, in games, of nationís top 4 winning streaks ñ Ohio State, Boise St. USC and K State.

8: UGA players suspended going into Clemson.

2: Defensive starters out with injuries for the game.
0: Returning starters on the Dline.

85-15: Combined score of last 2 Clemson games.

1,000: number of times me, mandy and the rabbi made a ìstreet smartsî joke, after ABC ranked Clemsonís QBís strengths as ìStreet smartsî and ìgreat touchî (ie: canít throw long, canít throw hard).

3: Yardline Clemson was on, trailing only 16-0 in the 4th, when olí Street Smarts threw it straight to UGAís unbelievable David Pollack in the endzone. Ball game.

As a note, I think its important to realize that UGA and USCís twin road shutouts, though totally impressive, were actually very close games until late, where, in both cases, the losing defense realized its sorry offense wasnít going to win and just deflated. About half of both teamís points came in the 4th, after key last-gasp plays went bad.

Neither UGA nor SC showed off an unstoppable offense.

Both, however, showed unbelievable defense.

5: passing plays out of Clarett-less Ohio Stateís first 6 plays.

2: Rushing Tds for Ohio State QB Craig Krenzel, who is my Heisman winner ëtil somebody takes it away.

58: Yards rushing from OSU back named Maurice ñ Maurice Hall.

8: Ohio State homes games last year.

8: Same stat, this year.

0: points at halftime for Washington, which meant my picks for 1 and 2 were scoreless and dominated for the first 6 quarters of the year.

10: points South Florida simply handed over to Alabama in the final minute of the first half of their game ñ on a long pass to set up a TD, then by FUMBLING the ensuing kick-off. So rather than leading 17-7 on the road against a badly rattled, major program with a new, highly questionable coach that gets booed into the tunnel by its fans, they were instead tied 17-up to a major program on the road with an ecstatic sellout crowd and that just realized it was at least 4 TDS better than you. Fair to say Bama, with no less than OU next weekend, was a PERFECT look-ahead victim, and SF, as eminem might say, let it slip.

2: Number of times CBSís announcing team referred to Auburn as ìthe plains
Week 1, Early Edition

Aug 29

Return to top


Number of times, lifetime, i've seen the winning

play of a staggering football game, unfold as a

reception off an inadvertant foot deflection in the

endzone. The first was Nebraska-Missouri. The second

was Northern Illinois' staggering 20-13 overtime

victory Thursday night against #15 Maryland. I hope

that somewhere this season, i catch another college

game as good. I KNOW I won't see a pro game as good.

Just a delicious event from whistle to whistle. every

cliched "good thing" in college football was on

display, every single detail was satisfying. And it's

just as great a way as i can think of to kick off the

Season and the Index.


Years in a row NIU has opened with an upset of an

ACC school in overtime. But last year was Wake



Toes belonging to NIU's PJ Fleck which he managed

to drag across one inch of endzone on the screaminest,

leapin'est, holy-shit-in'est scoring streak in the

first quarter. Last year's season started with

Charles Roger's stunning catch to not-quite-beat Notre

Dame. This catch, though different, was every inch as



Yards of field goal NIU's kicker hit in the first

half, the school record, to tie the game 10-10.


Minutes left when NIU took over on it's 16,

trailing 13-10.


plays in the ensuing 84 yard, 7 minute drive to

tie it. They ran underneath routes. They ran a

perfect screen pass for 20 yards. They ran it at the

middle, outside and back the other way. classic,

textbook dog-at-home-on-thursday-night. We saw it a

year ago with Louisville-Florida State. this could

have been the same game (minus the rain).


Carries on that drive from otherwise bottled-up RB

Michael Turner, NIU's supposed go-to guy.


Yards passing for NIU's Josh Haisel, who stood in

against savage blitzes, made nearly no mistakes,

never, EVER blinked and was just your basic

warrior-quarterback of the highest order. he may

never be heard from again, but he brought it thursday.


points, for both teams, with 90 seconds to go.


seconds left when NIU forced MD to punt with the

tie scored.


seconds left when NIU completed a gorgeous

over-the-middle 20 yarder to set up a chip shot


at home.

on a comeback.

on national TV.

against a team which whipped Tennessee 30-3 in its

last game.

it was Meant To Be.

and Maryland blocked it. Damndest thing.



illion - Odds, to 1, of NIU's Dan Shelton being on

the field in overtime, after a crushing

foot-planted-body-forward knee-cranker hit he took in

the 3rd quarter. Looked as nasty as any you've seen,

from McGahee to Bo.


Yards in overtime touchdown pass Shelton caught,

on third-down. turns out, the knee was just a bruise

(Maryland should have quit right there, cuz that's a

Sign). he caught it at the 15, spun away from the

all-ACC corner covering him, and outran him to the

endzone. after the game, he told a sideline reporter

about the knee inury, "my leg went numb, it was a

little scare. But even if i tore my ACL, i wasn't

coming out that game."


Plays later that It Happened. MD's QB got chased into the

backfield on a busted paly and launched a prayer

toward the EZ. It sailed down towards his reciever and

a corner, who got tangled and fell over - the corner,

while falling, kicked the pass and NIU's Randee Drew

pulled it in back at the 5.

Ballgame. Pandemonium.

MD isn't that bad, and NIU isn't that good. It was

just one of Those Games. Opening day, at home, MAJOR

underdog on a peak year (senior heavy and expected to

win the MAC) against a heavily favored Power, who

spent all summer thinking of NEXT week's game with

Florida State.

And MD committed at LEAST three key penalties to extend

NIU drives, or kill thier own, and they got hometowned

on at LEAST one no-fumble ruling and, arguably, on a no-call for pass interference on the last play of the game.

And, discussed here before, it was a Thursday.

Dogs at home on Thursdays? set the vcr.

16hours 'til UGA-Climpson (purple jersies? we can

only hope (previewable on the pregame options of

Blaine 2004)), and we're already off and running.