Thursday, September 23, 2004

INDEX 4, Sept 23

Quote of the Week:

Bobby Bowden on the Florida State fans who booed Chris Rix:
"I loathe those kind of people; them daggum Playstation experts, them Playstation All-Americans up there who think they know football because they happen to see a television game. It'd be like me watching Dr. Kildare and think I could operate on a brain. He's a pretty tough nut."
Strong words from a coach whose last QB ended his career as a Heisman winner... and on the cover of a Playstation game. Though the Index does play on "All-American" level, anyone who's seen the Index play defense knows he is no "expert." So I'm not sure how much offense to take.
And besides, I've been a Rix fan since the FSU edition of ESPN's The Season, when then-sophomore Chris made his run into confession-camera history as a Real World Las Vegas' Stephen with an accent.
And with that, on with the index:

Stat of the Weak -
2: Public apologies issued by college football characters this week which made the "Apologies of the Week" segment of Harry Shearer's exquisite Le Show, the Sunday news show that must rank as NPR's best program. And they were doozies: Marshall coach Bob Pruett, in his weekly news conference leading up to last Saturday's game with Ohio State, called the Buckeyes "a bunch of Mandingos." He "profusely" apologized this week, claiming to have meant it as a term of physical superiority - a superiority, one black activitist pointed out, which made the Mandingo tribe of West Africa coveted as slaves; USC QB Matt Leinhart, in an interview with ABC broadcast prior to the BYU game, worse a Cardinal and Gold sweatshirt with "F*ck the BCS" across the front. He apologized on his

5: UConn's national television appearances this year (4 ESPN games and a regional broadcast available on Gameplan).

The Mighty Mississippi
3: Points by which Mississippi State squeezed by Vanderbilt in Overtime.
13: Years since I-AA Maine beat a IA school until beating Mississippi St. this week, 9-7.
14: Inches of rain at Southern Miss, likely the state's best team, where the game with Cal was cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan. I totally made up that rainfall number, but that's not the point. The point is, I think a Cal-Southern Miss game would probably have been a hell of a game, and would certainly have answered lots of interesting questions about the Pac 10 race and mid-majors in general.

Texas Goings On
91: Point swing (sort of) in TCU-Texas Tech game. What a game this must have been. TCU led the Red Raiders 21-0 early in the second before giving up 49 unanswered points on the way to a 70-35 loss. That's unbelievable. Does this unmask TCU as a not-ready-for-primetime mid-major or is it the dropping barometer of an approaching season of Texas Tech sweeping through the Big 12 and causing major damage - I need your REACTION!!!!

2: Years in row that San Diego State has played on the road against the defending Big 10 Champion.
3: Points they've lost by each time - 16-13 to Ohio State in 03, 24-21 to Michigan last weekend.
8: Rank nationally of SDSU's defense last year.
130: Yards receiving, with 2 Tds, for Braylon Edwards.
11, 94: Penalties and penalty yards assessed against SDSU in Michigan stadium.
2: Field goals SDSU's kicked missed in the 4th that would have tied the game.
109,432: This week's foray into fiction by the Michigan 'attendence' liars. Again, my take: It's Michigan's stadium and they can say whatever they like about it - but why does the media, whose job is to filter such things, report these plainly fabricated numbers?

Miami Must Feel Even Luckier Now
7: Fourth-and-1 situations Florida State converted against Alabama-Birmingham, including 2 for touchdowns from the 1.
1: Unsuccessful FSU fourth-down conversions, a fourth-and-10.
1: FSU punts, on a fourth-and-29.
1,500: Tickets FSU set aside for those forced to evacuate their homes in western Florida for Hurricane Ivan. Tallahassee sits about 100 miles east of Ivan's worst hit and several miles inland. 1,400 were claimed.

3: Drew's in the news this week - UCLA's Drew Olson, who handed off to Maurice Drew, and Drew Hixson, Tennessee Tech linebacker who spent the week in a coma after taking a big hit a week ago.
322: Yards rushing for UCLA's Maurice Drew against Washington.
75: Players in NCAA history to rush for 300 in a game, including WVU's Kay-Jay Harri's 337 against East Carolina last week.
5: Drew rushing TDs.
52: Inches from goalline UW's Charles Frederick estimated he was from the goalline when hit by 3 UCLA defenders on the game's final play.
1: Yards UCLA needed on a fourth-down 39 seconds prior to Frederick's last gasp. UW's defense held UCLA's Drew to no gain on a QB sneak on the play, keeping them alive for the final drive. To repeat: with a tailback who had spent the day running to within a Red Sox game-winning bloop of the all-time NCAA rushing record, UCLA needed one yard to seal the game - or just a good punt - and UCLA coach Karl Dorrell called a QB dive. Hmmmm.....
44: Points scored in the game's first quarter, with UCLA leading 24-20.
47, 62, 57: Distances of Drew's three first-quarter TDs.
169: Drew's yardage at the end of the first quarter on 4 rushes.

Why the SEC Should Always Go For 2s.
2: Major, season-defining SEC games won and lost on the following sequence: gruesome ticky-tack personal fouls against the visiting team leading directly to a game-winning kick, in each case hit by a kicker who had earlier missed a key PAT.
2: Steps an LSU defender exceeded in his "running start" toward the line in an attempt to block an Auburn extra point. He didn't block it, he just took more than two steps toward the line attempting to - which is a personal foul under a new rule this year. So when the kick missed, Auburn got to re-kick it (from 5 yds closer) on the penalty. Needless to say, that turned out to be a very big deal when Auburn won, 10-9. (And yes, that is very nearly the same useless call that allowed the Colts to beat the Bucs in overtime a year ago on Monday night, following a 21-point (28?) comeback in the game's final minute, when Simeon Rice was whistled for the same thing. One has to wonder if the ref (a Bucs fan? This Was the south) didn't see that game a year ago and think, "maybe one day I'll get to call that" and, in front of a crowd he knew would be happy about it, took his chance).
2: Qbs LSU now seems committed to, 5th year senior Marcus Randall and freshman
2: SEC title game participants, one of which this game defacto decided, since the remaining teams in the SEC West are Mississippi and Miss St. (see above), Arkansas and Alabama, which just lost it's QB for the season.
2: Weeks Georgia now has to prepare for LSU, its next game, to be played in Athens.

SEC Should Go For 2, Part 2
2: Helmet slaps exchanged between a Tennessee Reciver and Florida Dback in the closing minutes of the UT-UF game - and guess which one the ref saw? With Florida ahead, 28-27, and driving to run out the clock, a UT defender took a swing at Florida's Dallas Baker, who took a swing back - and the ref saw Baker. Instant horseshit Flag. The fallout was immense: what would have been, for Florida, a clock-running punt to, at least, UT's 20, was now a clock-stopped punt that ended up on UT's 39. Tennessee took the ball (and those 20 yards and that extra time) and drove 28 yards and then got a game-winning field goal from James Wilhoit. Needless to say, Wilhoit had just minutes before missed a PAT that would have tied the game.
2: Calls the refs actually blew on the play, according to the SEC commissioner of referees. He said (and any fool could see) that the call itself was badly handled (ignoring it or calling off-setting penalties was clearly the correct course). Then, after the penalty yardage was walked off, the refs did not restart the game clock until the snap. According to the SEC ref boss, they should have restarted the clock as soon as the ball was set - which would done one of two things: one, Florida could have bled off a full 25 seconds of play clock before the punt or, two (and more likely) UT would have been forced to use a timeout. Not an insignificant call when you realize that....
2: Seconds left on the clock when Wilhoit hit the kick.
50: Yards in that game-winning kick. That needs to be on the record, just to give the UT guy some credit. So shed no tears for the Gators - Florida could have stopped UT anywhere in the previous 5 plays.
286: Passing yards for Florida's Chris Leak, who would be the national player of the week if they had won. Among other things, he took UF 97 yards on mid-game drive to tie the score at 14 (7-for-8 on the drive) with no help from the running game, threw an 81 yard TD bomb to take a late lead and went overall 22-for-31 with just one sack and one INT.

And now, the long-running Ohio State Pathetic Stat of the Week:
5: Field goals Ohio State used to beat NC State, 22-17.

Joe Paterno Gets Another One Wrong
5: Turnovers Joe Paterno claimed no team could overcome to win a game, after PSU turned the ball over that many times in a loss to BC last week.
6: Turnovers by Penn State - specifically, QB Zach Mills - in a win against Central Florida, 37-13.
10: Turnovers by Zach Mills in 2 games - 6 interceptions (!), 4 fumbles. That's staggering since as a freshman and sophomore, Mills was one of those lazy-smile, follow-me QB warriors who was good for 14 points in 90 seconds when you need them.

Game of the Week: BYU at Boise State. Last real tune-up (and probably last time on TV) for Boise State before the Oct 23 collision with Fresno State.

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