Sunday, November 13, 2005


(Photos: Dylan Wilson,; AP)



2: Undefeated seasons since 1980, THE GREATEST COLLEGE GAME EVER PLAYED participants (Notre Dame 88, USC 04)
3: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia - (UGA 80, Auburn 93, 04)

57-19 (.750): TGCGEP participants, Cumulative record, last three years.
64-15 (.810): Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

3: Consecutive conference titles, TGCGEP participants.
3: Consecutive conference championship game appearances, Auburn-Georgia

108: Auburn-Georgia games.
0: Current SEC teams with more meetings.
1: Difference in series’ all-time point totals


Total passing yards, TGCGEP (2004 Heisman Winner 301, Presumptive
2006 Heisman Winner 264)
586: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia (DJ Shockley 303, Brian Cox 283)

328: Total rushing yards, TGCGEP.
373: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

160: Leading rusher, TGCGEP, (2005 Heisman Winner)
181: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia (Auburn’s Kevin Irons)

61: Length, in yards, of do-or-die, 4th down pass pulled off by visiting team to
set up winning points, TGCGEP.
64: LSame stat, Auburn Georgia.

9: Do-or-die 4th-and-____, TGCGEP
10: Do-or-die 4th-and-____, Auburn-Georgia.

13: Own yardline home team defense stopped Do-or-die passplay on, TGCGEP.
3: Same state, Auburn-Georgia.

7: Seconds left when winning points scored, TGCGEP.
8: Same stat, Auburn-Georgia.

11: Punts, TGCGEP.
11: Punts, Auburn-Georgia.

1: 100-yd receivers, TGCGEP (Dwayne Jarrett, 101)
3: Same stat, Auburn-Georgia (Auburn’s D. Aromashodu, 137; UGA’s
Massaquoi 108 and Leonard Pope, 102)

1: Field goals missed, TGCGEP.
0: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

1: Non-offensive TDs, TGCGEP.
1: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

7: Lead Swaps, TGCGEP.
9: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

3: Winning margin, TGCGEP.
1: Same Stat, Auburn-Georgia.

Average height of grass, Auburn-Georgia, in inches: 1
Average height of grass, TGCGEP in inches: gimme a break….


3: Number of plays from college games included in that night’s
SportsCenters' “Top 10 Plays of the Day."

1: Number of college football fan-contest gimmicks on “Top 10."

0: Number of UGA-AU plays in “Top 10."

Maybe it was just that we saw “Good Night and Good Luck” last night
after the game, but I find myself uncomfortably drawn to the to the eternal paranoids of the SEC: for once, someone is actually out
to get them.

Take a look around – anyone calling yesterday’s Auburn-Georgia game
the Greatest Game Ever Played? I’ll even take a sighting of an
“among the-“?

Pat Forde at ESPN gave it a ride, but he stopped short of even
comparing it to the Northern Indiana Affair.

And I bring it up only because absolutely EVER’Damn’BODY broke their
thesauraus in a rush to declare the Northern Indiana Affair as the
OU-Nebraska’74 of our time.

And now, a month later, UGA-AU was a better game, no contest.

The defeaning silence is louder than just a media-wide failure to
re-open the all-time Great Games lists. What the highlight shows DID
show us was plenty of LSU-Alabama, which, CBS will confirm, was an SEC
game. OK. That was a close game with – if you squint – slightly more
post-season bearing than UGA-AU. But it was soul-crushingly boring.
Tell the studio guys to ease up. We get it - THEY PLAY GOOD D! But I
know enough to spot two truly hopeless offenses when I see them, and
that was them.

But, of course, Gameday was AT Bama. And the rest of the national
media was either there or at… SC-Cal or something. Possibly watching
a “Bowden Bowl.”

(PS – number of plays it took for me to watch before an FSU QB threw
an interception: 2. Chris Rix, that was for you).

UGA-Auburn got down with Ron Franklin and whoever else stayed up til
11:30 ET to catch it. Which, apparently, was nobody.

How about astericks and caveats? Which game SHOULD have been better? Well, SC would have won by 20 if Dwayne Jarrett had caught ANYTHING prior to That Catch (I counted seven – SEVEN – cold drops). And Leinart had a concussion. And the whole
grass thing (lousy cheaters...).

USC arguably choked in that game, and grabbed it back when ND choked harder. And THAT'S the Greatest Game Ever Played?

Other than that, it was top-tier football.

There are no astericks, caveats or “yeah, buts-“ on UGA-Auburn. Both
teams, with healthy rosters, played flawlessly for every snap, except for UGA's dreary recievers. But that's not a choke - that's an UGA reciever. The Dawgs would
have probably played in two national title games this decade if their
receivers could hang onto key passes in big spots. An UGA drop in the
endzone is not a choke – it’s an UGA receiver earning his scholarship.

I certainly won't pick a winner from among them. It's just
disturbing that no one seems to think it was a race.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Big 10 Calculus (with Quiz!)

Greatest "Third-Best QB in America" of All Time?

12: TD passes for Northwestern's Brett Basanez
1: INTs.

  • Nobody else in a Big Conference is remotely close. Way back here, two laps down, in second place is Brian Boehm at Louisville (14 TDs, 3 INTs) or the absurdly-inflated Drew Olsen at UCLA (21-3).

311: Basanez's yds/game, 2nd among all major-conference QBs, which is really the same as FIRST among all such QBs cuz Texas Tech's QB is going to actually lead that category, hell or high water, every year so why even count them? (and, to be fair, Basanez is slightly behind ND's Brady Quinn, who's not in a conference).
5: Basanez Rushing TDs
38.8: Basanez rushing yards per game, 5th among major-team QBs.
62: Vince Young rushing yards per game.
50: Percent of Northwestern Big 10 games (2-of-4) in which Basanez has put up 49 points.
99: Points in NU's win over co-Big 10 leader Wisconsin, 51-48.
3: Consecutive wins over once-ranked teams (Ok, that includes Purdue..)

I love Basanez. Classic Warrior QB - never blinks, never misses, never panics. His team has failed him at key moments, but not vica versa. And the Index is delighted to gloat a bit over it's previous notices of Basanez.

Big 10 Calculus (with decimals!)

  • (assumption: the following Big 10 'contenders' each "win out" against non-contenders)

1: Magic Number, Penn State - must beat Wisco and it's over - Penn State owns
head-to-head tiebreaks with the other contenders.

1.3: Magic Number, Wisconsin - must beat Penn State, and it's probably over; does not play
Ohio State, so needs EITHER an Ohio State loss (see below) OR to win conference tie-break (that's 3 scenerios, 2 of which UW wins, 1 they don't - +.3)
(Mandatory Index Disclosure: Wisconsin played Temple. Cowards)

2.6: Ohio State - must beat Northwestern (and Michigan(+.3 for difficulty)),
need Penn State to lose and EITHER Wisconsin to lose or win conference
tiebreak (another +.3).

2 - Northwestern - just beat Ohio State and get PSU to lose - simple!

Quiz - Who are these guys?

Kai Ryssdal ("Riz-Dahl")
Scott Jagow
J.J. Yore
John Dimsdale

Is that....
A) The 2005 All Big 10 first team linebackers.
B) The male crew of NPR's Marketplace.

What the Media's not telling you today:

Just How Bad Tennessee Sucks

What that doesn't say - and it's irresponsible not to - is that if the
levees had held, Tennesse would be 2-4, with a bad loss at LSU. Any chance LSU physically
falls apart in the second half of their game if they hadn't spent the
two previous weeks emptying furniture from their apartments so homeless families could sleep on the floors?
Think maybe they missed a few protien shakes?
Think maybe that caught up with the D-line with a field temp of 98 degrees?

We're Number 2.75!

That Bowl System That Shall Not Be Named

I took a long look at BSTSNBN standings. 'Bout as fun as it sounds.

33: Percent of total formula that computers make up - 6 computers
each rank the teams; the highest and lowest ranking for each team gets
dropped; average of the other 4 becomes 1/3 of the BSTSNBN formula.
5: Out of 6, computers that have Texas #1.
5: Ranking, USC, in one computer. 4th in another. But here's the
real key one...
29: Out of a possible 30, (6 computers times 5 slots), Top 5 votes
that went to UT, USC, VT, UGA and Bama.
5: Computers which have 2-loss Auburn UNRANKED.
20, 20, 23, 23, 23, 24: Notre Dame.

What The Media Is Missing Today: It's not OK to roll your eyes and play cool at the
news that UT jumped SC under the "as long as they stay 1-2" pretense.
On its face, that's fine - UT-SC, and all's well that ends well.

But what every single serious commentator should be asking is: "Who's the next Cal?"
The real problem is the less-obvious but more important
jockeying down around the 8-9 slots, which will put one team in the BSTSNBN
for $10 mil, and one team in an off-brand game for maybe $1 mil. Is
someone down the list setting up as the next Cal?"

Monday, October 17, 2005

Index - Best Ever

Best Weekend Ever

(And I'll prove it by not even mentioning You Know Who-beats-You Know
Who-in-You Know What-Color Jersies
. If you'd like to know what i think about that game, read that link)
(and just for comparison, here's last year's Best Weekend, which was the best weekend since 2001. And it wasn't even close)

3: Still-undefeated teams that scored the winning points on their
final offensive snap (Alabama at the buzzer, UCLA in OT, and the
Heisman-pile-up in northern Indiana).
4: Still-once-beaten teams that scored the winning points on their
final touch (BC, Wisconsin, West Virginia (3OT), UVA)
2: Additional still-once-beaten teams that won by four or less (LSU,
Oregon State)

18: Games involving Top 25 teams this weekend.
8: Games in which teams came in with a combined two-or-fewer losses.
9: Top 25 games decided in Game Of The Year fashion - in the final
minute, overtime or with some neck-snapping twist of drama.
- BC, down big, scores go-ahead TD on Wake with 1:33 to go
- Wisconsin, down big, scores go-ahead TD on Minnesota on blocked punt
with 30 seconds to go
- UCLA beat WSU in OT
- West Virginia over LVille in 3-OT
- Florida State falls to UVA
- Alabama survives
And the Big Three:
- Penn State-Michigan
- the unimaginable events of Ohio State-Michigan State
- and the Northern Indiana affair

21: Points by which undefeated UCLA trailed Washington State... and
17: Points by which UCLA trailed in the 4th quarter... and won.
2: Undefeated teams suffering their first loss (Penn State, Florida
25: Avg number of seconds remaining in those losses when decisive play
was made (UVA intercepts Weatherford to end FSU's final comeback drive
at 50 seconds (more below); Penn State, well, ya know...)
3.5: Avg margin of defeat.
4: Unbeatens who cruised or sat it out (UGA, VaTech, UT and Texas Tech)
8: Number of real-time minutes it took for the following sequence of
game-deciding events to occur - one-loss Ohio State blocks a field goal
attempt by one-loss Michigan State and runs it back for a TD at the end
of the first half, turning a possible 20-7 halftime into 17-14;
one-loss Wisconsin, trailing by 10 late to one-loss Minnesota, scores a
TD, then blocks a punt for a TD to win; Alabama kicks a game-winning
field goal to win at Mississippi at the buzzer. Eight minutes (the
Index can attest to that time-frame because all three events were
described, live on ESPN radio, during an 8-minute car-ride).
17: Points by which Boston College trailed in the fourth... and won.
9: Points by which BC trailed with 3:29 to go... and won.

4: Games involving Pac 10 teams decided 3 or less
3: Big 10 games decided by 4 or less, plus Ohio State-Michigan State.
Speaking of which....

5:25: Time remaining in Ohio State-Michigan State game when Ohio State
Read that again. Now:
21: Points Ohio State had scored to that point, again, without a play
over the 50.
46: MSU Yardline that play was run on.
46: Yards in touchdown pass Ohio State scored on that play. So....
28, 1: Points scored by Ohio State and total snaps on MSU side of
field to do it. And here's how:
2: 50-yard Ohio State TD passes in the second half. And...
10: men on the field for Mich. State on field goal attempt on last
snap of half, allowing Ohio State to block it and run back the ball for
a TD - essentially, the game-winning play, the
Non-Northern-Indiana-Play-of-the-Week. And that coaching gaffe sent
MSU John Smith into a Nick Nolte-meets-Howard-Dean rage. LOVED IT. If
you haven't seen it, go find it. In fact, email me - i've got it on
tape, and i'll figure out how to send it to you.
4: Points in OSU lead, 28-24, with one snap inside the MSU 50.
28: Points OSU had scored to that point, leading 28-24.
4: TOTAL number of OSU offensive snaps on MSU side of the field.

17: In yards, margin of error in Alabama Brody Croyle's estimate of
his own game-winning drive (``We hadn't played well all day, and to go
80 yards to get a simple field goal ... That's what it's all about,''
Croyle said. In fact, the Tide went 63.) That said, a lot was on
display in that game - Alabama's resurgance behind the sublimely named
Croyle, and the first real game for Ed Orugun's Ole Miss - Oregun,
recall, was USC's defensive line coach before leaving this year to take
over Mississippi.
234: Passing yards Ole Miss held Croyle to.
100: Yards rushing for Kevin Darby.
283, 101, 31: Comparable stats and total Alabama points scored in
Florida game (yes, they had Protho in that game).

2: "Dadgums" issued by Florida State coaches/coaching alums this week
in a national setting 1) Bobby Bowden after Virginia's Marques Hagans
led UVA over FSU; ``We couldn't stop that dadgum No. 18."; 2) Mark
Richt, UGA coach and former FSU o-coordinator, discussing with Jim Rome
his experience as Miami's QB, where he was supplanted at starter as a
sophomore by then-freshman Jim Kelly. "That dadgum Jim Kelly. He's
living my life." Mandy couldn't have been happier with that one.
As for comments issued by SEC coaches Mandy had less love for:
0: "Great" teams Lou Holtz sees in the SEC, a comment he decided to
issue aprapos of nothing on Game Day Final. Lou's point - badly
delivered as it was - was that USC, Texas and possibly Va Tech are
playing quite a bit above the next tier of teams in the nation.
However, Lou delivered it as a two-senence chop at the SEC, causing a
napping Mandy to spring back to life on the coach and back up Lou by
affirming that "yeah, we suck so bad we have three teams in the top
ten. Who the Hell does Lou Holtz think he
2, 30: Number of times Lou said "Notre Dame did not lose" and the
number of seconds he needed to say it.
- and let's just say it: a Trev-less GameDay is a trainwreck.

5: TDs accounted for by Vince Young (3 runs, 2 passes) in blowout of
Colorado in a classic trap game.
336: Young passing yards.
2: Minimum number of national writers reported or confessed to have
declared Bush the Heisman winner in the ND press box. Over Vince
Young? Really?
2: Teams remaining on Texas schedule that scored 59 or more this
weekend (Texas Tech 59 and left-for-dead A&M with a holy-crap 62)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cash Me Out

Cash me out.
I'm rakin' in my chips and pushing back. If, as ol' Kenny said, you
have to know when to hold 'em, fold 'em and when to walk away, then now
is most emphatically the time to run.

28 wins. "I was there." Cash me out. Call me Alan Greenspan cuz
I'm walking away from this irrational exuberance before it swallows my
rationality, my 401K and possibly cardiac health.

Because what could be more irrational than the final 5+ minutes of
that game? If ever USC was Yahoo! at 120, it was the moment Brady
Quinn - so young, alone and unafraid that he looked embarrassed to be
there - trotted out, down by 4 and 85 yards away.

In keeping with any close Notre Dame game, I was desperately
reciting the rosary of Close Calls in the last 2 years and the escape
hatches SC had found each time. Moments that, at the time, felt big.

Though, we know now, they weren't.

There was the 2nd half dominance at Stanford 2 years ago. The way
they kept UCLA at bay in the final game. And Cal, when Aaron Rodgers
couldn't do it all. Last week there was Arizona, a mentally strong
team playing it's biggest game of the decade against a distracted SC;
one-trick but talented ASU the week before; and a lucky and brave, if
overmatched, Oregon the week before that. Hell, there was even VaTech
from 2 season-openers ago, the phantom pass interference and the way SC
capitalized on that sliver of opportunity.

All, in retrospect, were sure-thing, easy wins made dramatic not be the events on the field but
the ever-increasing weight of all the moments before piled on top.

I was madly flipping through those mental index cards - a fumble? A
key sack? Poor clock management and they'll run out of time? - as
Brady Quinn trotted out.

Afterall, hadn't SC just done The SC Thing? March down the field,
late, like the other team was wearing high heels? (nice grass, by the
way - we'll get to that).

And with all those thoughts, I was absolutely sure Brady Quinn was
going to- well, do what he did.

Drive ND down the field. mechanically, with trickery, smarts and
talent, take the lead and smoke off just enough clock to end the game.

And he did. Almost.

Three minutes later he made one mistake -
on a first-down inside the 30, he handed off to Walker, who gained
almost 20 yards, nearly scoring right there and insuring ND was going
to get in with about 2 minutes left, which they did.

(well, sort of - they gave Quinn the TD on a scramble where his
knees sure looked down at the 3 - NBC, house-organ to the end, never
replayed the decisive angle).

Only, thanks to that big gain, he did it with 2:04 left.

Door slightly open. Well, more like not double-bolted.

But out trotted Leinart and Bush and White and the rest, and they
looked beat. Slow, heads tilted almost imperceptably but vitally down.
NDs defense met at midfield. They looked smaller - they were - but
more alert and hungrier. They had only to play out the inevitable and
that would be it.

Then that sack. Third and 19. Hardly a whimper.

Underneath to Reggie, two jukes and dropped.

4th and 8. 4th and forever. 4th and 27-wins. 4th and the those
cheap-gimmick jersies. 4th and the whole unbearable, hometown-honk NBC

Time out. the last time out. Oh, get it over with...

To the line. Leinart waves his arms - an audible? You mean they
blew the timeout to salvage their whole season and he STILL thinks he's
so smart that he's gonna call a- HE CAUGHT IT! HE'S RUNNING! ANY FLAGS? NO FLAGS! STILL RUNNING! TOUCHD- tackled at the 10! Ok, fine, tackled at the 10, i mean, that's
good, right? it still counts, right? he, he, he- AT THE 10!

(here it comes, an oldy but goody, and if Dan Jenkins ever had a
moment in mind when he put it in the playbook, this is it:)


So now they're at the 10. The market held. Hoth held. Impossible

Fortunately somebody - certainly not me - was aware that SC still
had to, ya know, score the requisite points to exceed Notre Dame's
total score. It was a requirement - trivial as it seemed - that could
not be waved.

And they had a minute to do it.

Reggie run. Nope. Less than a minute.

Clocks running here - do we need a FG? They're gonna pass, right?
I mean, I know it's all just a matter of semantics now, getting the
points and flying off into history, but they actually HAVE TO DO IT so-
Leinart, keeper, SMASHES into three guys in the corner, lands in the
endzone - Touchdown!!!

No? Down at the- seven seconds left!!! We can't los- wait, he HAD
to get in- this can-

And we lost. Right there, on the no-inch(sic) line, on the last
desperate dive, on the shoulders of the defending Heisman winner, in a flurry of
confusion and fear, we lost.

And, after 15 seconds, I was feeling good - boots on, blaze of glory. We would have
the dignity of falling to the sword of desperation and effort, not on the
tip on an NBC script, and that, for me was going to be enough.

Oh well. We lost.

And then, impossibly, we didn't.

Fumble out of bounds.

Not, vitally, a fumble THROUGH the endzone, which would have been a
touchback and the ballgame, but an honest fumble out of bounds, to,
preposterously, stop the clock.

It even looked - and here's the kicker - totally accidental.

Luck? Hey ND, you can complain as soon as you stop somebody on 4th down and CUT YOUR GRASS!!! Maybe next time, Lucky Shirts. Until then, no complaints entertained.

Camera shows Carroll - spike it! Spike it! Translation: field
goal and overtime. Of course. What ELSE could you do?
Unless that's a fake. Or unless Matt and Reggie and the 11 guys out
there living this absurd moment decide to ride one more crest.

Snap. Push. Not in. Not even close. Roll right. Second surge.

Over, maybe- maybe-

Ref throws up his arms.

Leinart did it.

He limps and lunges to the sideline, alone and unafraid, and totally
empty. Two teammates carry him from the scene. He can't even stand.
They follow him to the bench. His teammates swarm him, he shrugs them
off. In the densest, brightest stadium on earth, he finds a quiet spot on the
bench and the hero of the moment - the man who led the drive, who made
the throw, who made the call, who made the dive, who won the day -
drops his head in hands and appears to start crying.

I've been saying all year there was too much between SC and the
finish line to pull it off - too much Pac 10, too many ND and Fresno,
too many chances to not win 32 straight.

I still thinks so. Now more than ever. I wrote a year ago that, to
build a 10 point lead on USC, Stanford cashed in 11 years of good
luck in 30 minutes: a once-a-year play (fake punt for TD) and once a
decade play (70 yard belly-run on last play of the half). They had no
more luck to trade away, which made SC's 2nd half comeback inevitable.
USC, winners of 28 in a row, 2-time national champs, with the last
Heisman winner and the but-for-Vince-Young next Heisman winner in the
backfield, has no more luck to trade away.

Legacy? They won, in a gaudy blowout, the 'Heaviest' game of all time - the
first-ever dueling Heisman winners, in a 1-vs-2 Orange Bowl showdown.
But that was no legacy. Too easy, and what was worth remembering,
Ashley Simpson ruined. In a way, they were cheated.
In fact, prior to last night, they had a shootout with surface-of-mercury-hot QB in Aaron Rodgers, and that was it.

Not anymore - now they've stared down Notre Dame in the only game Notre Dame will ever
have to beat the best USC team of all time, to break the streak, to do it
in South Bend, to grow the playbook and the grass for 2 weeks, to
wear the 'undefeated' jersies, yada yada yada.

Charlie Wiess could win three national titles, but he'll never be remembered more vividly for another moment.

Nothing more you can ask of a season or a team.

Now I'm gonna watch UT and stop trying to think of phony reasons that SC would stop Vince
Young. Now I get to watch UGA-Florida with Mandy and not worry about
secretly scouting their secondary. Now I get to find the next
Furman-Appalachian State crazy-finish on obscure cable and brag about
having seen it.
I'm gonna check into this Wisconsin offense, this Ohio State D and
this Penn State everything. And hey! Didn't you used to be Alabama?!?

Come to think of it, this might have been the greatest
college game of all time but this SURELY was the greatest football
Saturday that ever was. The Big 10 played 5 games and they all came down to the final snap. Same with Alabama. And UCLA/WSU. And West Virginia/Louisville. And UVA/Florida State.

And I pretty much missed it cuz of this whole
streak/jersies/legacy/7-inch-turf thing.

No more.

If SC loses out from here - even to Fresno St. (lousy Freedom
Bowl....) - my smile won't fade a shade (yes, even UCLA - i'll take a
loss there. It's time for that game to mean something again, and unlike ND, USC is the only road home for UCLA).

I wrote an essay two years ago - the night Carson beat ND, the night
the run truly began - where i asked for a moment of forgiveness while i
looked around and admired the view from the up here, cuz i'd never been
so high up the mountain.

Well, here's the top. Let me off. No more admiring the view - time
to head back to the lodge.

Good luck with Cal and UCLA and whoever you end up with in a bowl. I hope you win'em all (and I hope you don't get Texas, for your sake,
or Georgia, for mine). I hope you end up #1, three in a row. After that, you deserve it.

But cash me out.


ps - got UGA-Vandy on in the background as I type this. Somebody from
Vandy is from Howey-in-the-Hills, FL. See? Now I get to pay attention
to more shit like that.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Texas-OU and others

Considering that streaks of all kinds were the hot topics this week -
OU's 5 over UT, SC's 27-and-counting with streak-breaker ND looming -
let's start with THE Streak and some fantastic trivia about it the
Index just stumbled across:

Streak Shots

47: In games, NCAA-record OU win streak, accomplished
under legendary coach Bud Wilkinson.

37: In years, length of Wilkinson's first marriage before divorce.

27: Age of woman he married within a year.

17: Years Wilkinson was at OU.

0: Wilkinson home games during which it rained.

100: Percent of OU home games I've attended where it did (1/1).

As They Say On Hoth, "Here They Come."

299: Yards accounted for by UCLA's Maurice Drew in 47-41(!) win over

162: Drew punt return yardage.

65: Drew rushing yards.

52: Drew recieving yards.

20: Drew kickoff return yards.

135: Minimum rushing yards, each, for Cal's top 2 runners.

7:48: Time remaining in game when UCLA trailed 41-24.

- UCLA isn't demonstratably "better" than SC. But the trend lines are
sure starting to bend their way, huh?

As They Say In That Diet Coke Ad, "Dance All Night To
This DJ"

286: Yards accounted for by presumptive-Heisman
winner Vince Young in as-suspected-mismatch over unranked Oklahoma,

258: Yards accounted for by presumptive-liability DJ Shockley in
unanticipated-mismatch over No. 8 Tennessee, at Tennessee, 27-14.

27: Passing attempts for both QBs.

51.85: VY completion percentage.

59.25: DJ completion percentage.

70: Avg. Length of VY-led UT scoring drives.

73.5: Avg. Length of DJ-led UGA scoring drives.

(66.5: Avg. Length of VY-led UT scoring drives if you don't count the
1- and 2-play "Where'd-Who-Go?" busted play strikes in the second
quarter. Not Vince's fault OU can't tackle a running back dive - but
then, not exactly a resume bullet, either).

73: Yards in UGA's nail-it-in, fourth quarter scoring drive to go up
by 3 TDs.

9: Plays in drive - all runs by freshman T. brown.

30: Seconds remaining in first half when UGA's huge tight end Justin
Pope caught a DJ pass inside the 1yardline but failed to get in on
third down, with no timeouts left.

0: Seconds remaining when kicker brandon Coutu's field goal sailed
through after UGA successfully executed a clock-running field-goal
line-up. Pope was ruled down on about the 1-inch line - the REAL call
would have been to have DJ line everybody up real fast and take it in
on an unsettled sneak. But it was a terrific bit of hustle,
co-ordination and discipline to get that kick off.

1,1: Length in yards and plays of Tennessee's only scoring drive
prior to final two minutes - a QB dive after an INT return to the UGA

0: Seconds remaining in game when Tennessee scored it's second TD,
which is to say: don't let the score fool ya - UGA tore Tennessee
apart. In the two-tier list of unbeatens - SC and Contenders, Florida
State and Pretenders - DO NOT talk yourself into thinking UGA is in
the latter.

Big 10^2

99: Points scored by Northwestern and Wisconsin.... WHAT?

98: Total points in week 1 Wisconsin-Bowling Green game.

27: Total points at the half (17-10 UW)

41: Northwestern second-half points.

77: Completion percentage for losing QB, John Stocco, Wisconsin.

72: Comp. percent for Brett Basanez, NU.

244: Rushing yards for NU freshman Tyrell Sutton.

674: NU total offense (school record).

250: yards accounted for by UW's Brian Calhoun, 122 rushing and 128
receiving - first UW player ever to get 100+ in both categories in a

4: TD receptions by UW's Jonathon Orr.

16: Kicks attempted - 13 PATs, 3 Fgs

15: Kicks made - NU's kicker missed one PAT.

I'm Learning Excel

Points per game per team by conference

26.19: SEC (Miss St 14.1, worst in BCS)

26.7: ACC

27.75: Big East

30.71: Big 12

32.67: Big 10

34.69: Pac 10

Hello, operator? Connect me with the police. Somebody stole the Big

(With thanks to the Rabbi)

<bold><bigger>Dwindling Cast

</bigger></bold>9: Unbeatens - SC, UT, VaTech, FSU, Bama, UGA, Texas
Tech, UCLA, PSU.

2: Weeks until we can seriously consider what-ifs, but let's take a
preview, shall we?

5: Maximum which could be unbeaten for the bowls - each of the above
teams except Penn State must face another of the unbeaten teams by
season's end (SC-UCLA and UT-TT; VaTech-FSU and UGA-Bama in conference

Major Hurdles
(excluding Conf. Title

4: Penn State (Michigan, Purdue, Wisc- oh, forget it. Great year for
Paterno, but not that great).

3: SC (ND, Cal, UCLA), Bama (Tennessee, LSU, Auburn), UCLA (Oregon
St., ASU, SC)

2: FSU (Clemson, Florida), UGA (Florida, Auburn), TT (UT, OU)

1: VaTech (Miami)

0.5: UT (Greg Davis)

The Index Supports Our Troops

TCU Supports
the Troops

1:45: Time remaing in OU-TCU game when The Index walked into the Navy
bar in Naples, Italy, OU with a first down on it’s own 30, trailing

10: Hours of travel to that point in the Index’s return flight from a

47: Total hours of unbroken travel (“travel” = on a flight or waiting
for one in an airport) that trip would eventually add up to.

2: Yards gained in OU’s ensuing four plays, ending the game.

2: Out of 2 trials, number of times the Index’s Playstation predicted
a TCU win on Blaine 06’s Dynasty mode.

7: OU rank prior to losing at home to TCU.

7: Rank of Baylor(!) when beat by TCU in 1960, the last time TCU beat
a team ranked that high.

63: Adrian Peterson rushing yards.

7: Adrian Peterson first-half rushing yards.

- hard to know what to make of that. How totally has OU imploded
after the SC game last year? They got Tulsa before the season gets

<bold><bigger>Stat of the Week</bigger></bold>

6: Field goals by Clemson kicker Jad Dean (Jad Dean!) in 25-24 win
over Texas A&M.

2: Seconds remainng when he hit the 42-yard game winner.

5: Previous school record, held by Nelson Welch (Nelson Welch!).

3: Number of times Welch hit 5 in a game.

9:43: Time remaining when A&M coach Terry Franchoine passed up a 2pt
play that would have put A&M up by 3 (or 1) – arguably allowing Jade
to kick the winner 9:41 later.

3, 80: Plays and yards in that go-ahead drive.

3: Yards in third-down A&M failed to pick-up in 3-and-out possession
prior to Clemson’s game-winning final drive.

8: Consecutive carries by freshman running back James Davis on final
33-yard, 8-play drive to set up Jade’s winner.

4.7: Yards per carry for Davis on that final, four-minute drive.

(the Index chimes in: A&M had about ample chances to win that game
after Franchoine’s decision – their own three-and-out drive that could
have run out the clock and a third-and-4 where they failed to stop a
freshman running back)


</bigger></bold>98: Points scored in Wisconsin-Bowling Green game
(Wisc 56-42).

106: Points scored in only higher scoring Wisconsin home game
(Wisconsin 106, Wisconsin-Whitewater 0, in 1890). Write your own
Hillary joke.

258, 5: Yards and touchdowns rushed for by Brian Calhoun in his
Badger debut.

458: Yards passing for Bowling Green QB Omar Jacobs.

305: Jacobs first half total

4: Drops in second half – two for likely touchdowns – by BG’s top

24: Yards rushing for BG tailback PJ Pope before leaving the game
with a sprained ankle suffered when he was hit from behind while
blocking on kick-off duty (!?!?!).

13: Point in leads held twice by Bowling Green.

35: Wisconsin points in 2nd quarter.

14: Total points scored in the final 41 seconds of the first half

1: Total yards of offense for Bowling Green in pivitol third quarter.

<bold><bigger>Game Everyone Is Wrong About, Part 1: Michigan-Notre

</bigger></bold>32: Total games between Notre Dame and Michigan
(18-13-1 UM).

411: Yards of offense allowed by Michigan in 33-17 win over Northern
Illinois in opener.

1: Fumbles lost by Northern Illinois in 2004.

4: Fumbles lost to Michigan.

148: Yards rushing for NIU’s Garrett Wolfe.

7: Points separating Notre Dame from a 2-loss season in 2004.

0: Sacks allowed by ND against Pitt.

5: ND sacks.

5: ND running backs with better than a 5-yard-per-carry average
against Pitt.

0: ND three-and-outs prior to 4th quarter.

<bold><bigger>Game Everyone Is Wrong About, Part 2: Ohio State-Texas</bigger></bold>

15: Questions posed to and not answered by Ohio State coach Jim
Tressel at weekly press conference about which of his quarterbacks
will play against Texas.

155: Passing yards for OSU’s Justin Zwick, starting for the first time
since being benched in the middle of 2004 after dropping three
straight Big 10 games.

500: Dollars accepted by OSU QB Troy Smith, who replaced Zwick and
went 4-1 as starter down the stretch, from an OSU booster, causing him
to be suspended for the opener.

135: Rushing yards for Texas freshman Jamaal Charles, the
highest-ever total for a UT running back in a debut, against

21: Texas wins in its last 22 road games.

0: All-time Ohio State losses in home night games.

1990: Last Ohio State home non-conference loss.

0: Total games between Texas and Ohio State (also between Texas and
Michigan prior to last year’s Rose Bowl).

24: Age of OSU starting linebacker Anthony Schlegel, a transfer from
Air Force. Schlegel, who is married, is plays with AJ Hawk and Bobby
Carpenter, pretty much the only unit on the field where OSU has the
better players, and there its pretty close.

<bold><bigger>Again: Tennessee - Really?

</bigger></bold>12: Tennessee Yardline reached by visiting
Alabama-Birmingham, trailing UT 17-10 with less than four minutes
left. UAB QB Darrell Hackney overthrew his receiver in the endzone to
turn the ball over on downs.

86: Yards in UAB TD drive in the fourth to pull within 7.

274: Passing yards for Tenessee’s two QBs against UAB.

284: Passing yards for Hackney against Tennessee’s defense.

2: Tennessee’s pre-season ranking, according to Athlon.


20: Consecutive weeks USC has been ranked #1 in the AP poll.

21: Record number of weeks, held by Miami.

74: Matt Leinart career TDs, USC record. Leinart broke Carson
Palmer’s mark of 72 somewhere in the blizzard of TDs against Hawaii.

46: Points USC is better than Hawaii.

34: Points USC was better than OU.

7: Points TCU was better than OU.

<bold><bigger>Quick Hits


9: Sacks allowed by Miami against Florida State.

3: Field goals missed by Miami.

28: South Carolina rushing attempts against

32: South Carolina rushing yards.

56, 40, 31: Length of three Georgia scoring plays against Boise State.

6: First-half turnovers by Boise State QB Jared Zabransky, 4
interceptions, 2 fumbles.

2: Interceptions thrown in first two passing attempts.

3: Opening Boise State possessions that

5: Touchdown passes for Georgia’s DJ Shockley in three quarters.

105, 102: Yards receiving for Central Florida’s top 2 recievers.

79, 76: Yards receiving for Spurrier-coached South Carolina’s top 2

10: Scoreless snaps inside USC’s 20 for UCF in the 4th quarter.

17: Consecutive passes completed by Florida’s Chris Leak against
Wyoming, a school record, en route to 320 yards in passing.

16: Previous record, held by… Steve Spurrier.

66: Yards in kickoff return for TD by Wyoming’s… Jovon Bouknight!


Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Preseason Index - 2005

The Preseason Index
Talk-Myself-Out-Of-It Edition

5: Coaches departed from USC's 03-04 staff.
3:  Heisman trophy winners sculpted by Nation's undisputed best O-Co-ord, Norm Chow.  Gone.
33:  Age of his replacement.
85: Yards gained by OU's Adrian Peterson against USC's defensive line, coached by Ed Orgun.  Gone.
2: Departed All-Americans from that unit.
4:  Departed All-Americans from last year's Orange Bowl roster.
3:  USC red-ink rivals with new head coaches - ND, Stanford, Washington.  That's three killer games - including AT South Bend and AT Seattle, no less - with the other guy having the advantage of surprise.
2099, 1104: Yards passed and rushed for by Fresno State's returning QB and RB, who we picked up and shoved into what was an off week between Cal and UCLA.


9:  Back-to-back AP National Champs.
5:  Back-to-back champs since 1964, first year that the final AP poll was taken after the bowls.
0:  AP Three-peaters, any time frame.
0:  Ties and losses for would-be three-peater Alabama in 1966, who finished 11-0 and ranked #3.  Still ANOTHER vast injustice of history that would have FUBARed the BCS.

Notre Dame and Three-peats

3:  Number of times Notre Dame has ruined a potential three-peat.
1:  Of those three Notre Dame streak-stoppers, number accomplished on the field (ND beat Oklahoma, 7-0, in 1957 to prevent a Sooner three-peat; additionally, in 1980, ND beat two-time champ Alabama, but the Tide had already lost to Miss. St.)..
2:  Notre Dame "national championships" awarded in a year when a two-time defending champ finished the season undefeated (1966 Alabama 11-0, 1946 Army 9-0-1).
2, 9: Consecutive titles and wins for Notre Dame in 1948 when they met SC in the last game of the season.  SC tied the Irish, who then finished the year ranked #2 behind Michigan.  

1946, 1966, 1988: Notre Dame National Title seasons.  Lou broke the pattern by two years.  Otherwise, the Index would fold up shop right now.

There - i you're not convinced, fine.  I got two national titles hanging up there on three years of skepticism.  I've done my part.


25:  2004 Reception by Texas' top returning wideout, David Thomas, the first time Texas' top receiver did not catch 40 since 1997.
6:  Cedric Benson's rank among NCAA all-time rushing leaders, who is now in the NFL..
1:  National rank of Auburn's defense last year, the co-ordinator of which, Gene Chizik, is now Texas' new defensive co-ordinator.
9:  Returning UT defensive starters.
1:  Returners not projected to start - linebacker Eric Hall, who is projected behind Eric Foreman - no word on whether his new status as starter will affect his relationship with Donna, or whether or not Red will stop calling him "dumb ass."  One thing's for sure - UT opponent's will be seeing a lot more of the Millenium Falcon.
11:  Oklahoma players lost to the NFL draft this year, not including Heisman winner Jason White.

00:  yards gained on kick returns in two years by Steve Breaston, the Braylon Edwards replacement at Michigan.
6: Defenisve starters back.
37:  Number of points, minumum, yielded by michigan's defense 3 times in their final 4 games of last season.
21:  Points surrendered, minumum, in three other games.
0:  Michigan opponents held to under 10 points in 2004.

Sunshine State

0, 0:  State-of-Florida teams in the AP's 2005 final Top 5 and Top 10.
14:  Consecutive prior years a State-of-Florida team finished in the Top
11:  Years during that streak that two State-of-Florida teams finished in the Top 5.
12:  Prior to 2002, consecutive years that two Florida teams finished in the Top 10
3:  Current consecutive years that two Florida teams have failed to finish in the Top 10.
2:  Florida State projected starters lost for 05 season:  Antonio Cromartie, one the country's best cornerbacks blew an ACL in spring drills; Wyatt Sexton, who you pro'ly heard about.
9:  Returning defensive starters for Miami, equaling Texas'.
7: Out of a possible 8, returning defensive linemen on Miami's two-deep.  And the only spot not spoken for appears to belong to Willie Wiliams - the 11-time loser recruit-explosion from two years ago.  Keep your eye on #17.
   But not worry....
5:  returning starters on offensive.
1:  returning skill position starters.
30:  Passing yards in 2004 for Miami's top returning QB, Kyle Wright.  And we've seen over the last two years how well larry Coker brings along new, young QBs.

Punt returns

25.6:  Nation's best yards-per-punt return for Ohio State's Ted Ginn in 2004, then a freshmen.
4:  Including Ginn, number of freshman in that list's Top 4.
3:  Number of nation's Top 12 punt returners not back this year.
2:  Miami punt returners in 2004's top 10 - Devon Hester (to my eye, the most frightening offensive player in the country last year) and Roscoe Parrish.
5:  Total number of punts returned for touchdowns by Miami's two returners in a combined 39 returns.
5:  Total number of punts returned for touchdowns by Hawaii's Chad Owens (one more than Ginn) in 36 returns.
0:  TDs scored on a punt return by Georgia's Thomas Flowers, also a freshman, the only punt returner in the nation's top 15 (he was 11th, just ahead of Bragg, just behind Bush) not to take one all the way back in 2004.
8:  In inches, distance between average Reggie Bush return for USC (15.67) to UCLA's Craig Bragg (15.00).
4002:  2004 Yards passing for Bowling Green's Omar Jacobs, just the gaudiest of the ridiculous numbers put up last year by the nation's top returning passer.  For instance....
8:  Games in which Jacobs threw 4 TDs.
462:  Passing attempts.
41:  TDs
4:  INTs
2:  Consecutive 1000-yard rushing seasons by BG running back PJ Pope.
9:  Games in which Bowling Green scored 40 or more points, including it's final 7.
5:  Games in which BG scored 50 or more.  They hung 70 on Temple.  Speaking of Temple....

Who Said Getting Booted From The Big East Would be a Bummer:
6:  BCS-conference opponents on Temple's schedule.  Every single one of these teams will be referred to with the modifying phrase, "..., who scheduled Temple this year" for the whole the 2005 season:  Arizona State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Miami, Clemson and Virginia.
0:  presumed share Temple will get of ACC bowl money, despite accounting for four wins among it's likely bowl participants.  Just friggin' pathetic.
28-9:  Combined records of Temple non-BCS opponents Navy, Toledo and Bowling Green.
4:  Team in the country - USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia - with inarguably more difficult schedules than Temple.  The Index will accept nominations on others, but don't expect much sympathy.  Pitts' close.     

UGA-Boise State - a terrific game I can't believe either school ever considered scheduling.  What's the connection?  What assistant AD and what coach's wife knew each other to make this game happen?  And when was the last time two teams met and neither school had ever played a single opponent from the other's state?  I haven't seen it and refuse to look it up, but I bet it's true here.
1:  Rank on 'big' scale among all game's "in Boise State's existence" of Sep 3 UGA-BSU game, according to BSU QB Jared Zabrensky (also, from same source, something called off Yahoo, this Bizarro-World line:  "Zabransky.. acknowledges that (UGA's) David Shockley is a QB much like himself" - first off, it's DJ Shockley.  Second off, that's a testable hypothesis!)
2927, 16:  Zabrinsky's 2004 passing yards total and passing TDs.
464, 4:  DJ Shockley's 2004 passing yards and passing TDs.
113,0:  Shockley's rushing and yards and TDs in 2004.
326, 13:  Z's rushing yards and TDs in 2004.
85:  Length of 1 Zabrinsky TD run.
147: 2004 QB rating for Z, third highest among returners (unless you count EVERYBODY, including Northern Illinois Marcus Perez, whose 2004 line was: 1 att, 1 comp, 61 yds, TD - then Z isn't even in the top 20).

Tennessee:  I Don't Get It.

2: Preseason ranking for this team on several services.  AP has 'em 3, behind USC and Texas.
0:  established stud QB or RB coming back and the #1 returning QB had shoulder surgery, yet still Athlon calls  UT's QB and RB the fourth and ninth best units in the nation - surreal.  Proven ability to lose big games, even - maybe especially - at home.
9:  Tennessee players with legal problems over the summer..
3:  Number of games started by a QB last year who chose to transfer this summer.
   And this team is going to run over the SEC-and-a-title game?  Really?


2: Big 12 players killed in the last month.Aaron O'Neal, missouri freshman linebacker collapsed and died at practice.  Vernon Grant, senior and 3 year starter in OSU's secondary, car crash.
1992:  In yards, South Carolina offensive production kicked off team or suspended for 2005 in the of combined careers of Demetris Summers and Cory Boyd.  Summers has been South Carolina's rushing leader for two yearsl Boyd was second on the team last year in both rushing and recieving yards.  Summers was kicked off the team, Boyd suspended for the year, both for rules violations.
42: Sacks absorbed by Houston QB Kevin Kalb last year, nation's highest total.
19:  interceptions thrown by UTEP's Jordan Palmer - Carson's brother - highest among all returning QBs (second in 2004).
0:  returning starters on Iowa's defensive line, the team picked to by many to win the the Big 10.
48:  Average point total in last 6 Michigan-Ohio State games, highest of the major rivalries.  OK, I only looked that one up and UCLA - but I bet it's the highest.  And even if it isn't - Michigan-Ohio State shootouts?  What?
3:  BCS Conferences with a title game this year - Big 12, SEC and ACC, putting one more hurdle in front of a team ranked 1 or 2.
And finally, the players and teams you'd be a flat idiot not to watch:
1 - Vince Young.  I wrote last year that Vince locked up the Heisman, Leinart be damned, in the Rose Bowl.  I still say it's his until OU beats him.  And even if OU does, it will be mesmerizing to see Greg Davis' method to piss away the best player of the decade (or at least this side of ThisU's Solider)..
2 - Brian Boehm and Louisville.  The only AP first-place vote that didn't go to USC or Texas went to L'Ville, clearly from somebody who knows something, mostly how to read a schedule.  First off, the same team that stopped Boise State's winning streak is now a lock for an undefeated season in the BCS-automatic Big East, so be the smart guy who's 'seen'em play 6 times' by the time they get there.  And all they need is some stumbles from your other hitters - see final item above - to get into the Rose Bowl, which they could win.  Absolutely as reasonable a scenerio as, say, Iowa (no. 3 in athlon - come on...).  On top of that, Boehm is a friggin' witch - as a freshman with maybe a half-dozen garbage snaps to his name, he came in at Miami and stared down ThisU's defense for an entire second half for all the marbles.  not his fault the D gave the game away.
3 - Chris Leak and Florida.  Of all the horrifying raise-the-dead projects around the country, here's your Frankenstien.  hilarious schedule - Wyoming and Louisianna Tech to open; maybe Temple was booked.  And hasn't Leak had that look in the huddle for the last two years that says, "I know guys, but that's what coach wants to run."  Now he's got Urban Meyer, most of the defense and plenty of tailback behind him.
4 - UCLA and Maurice Drew.  They Host Oklahoma September 17.  Then we'll see.
5 - Michigan, Chad Henne (QB) and Mike Hart (RB) - Both sophomores who started as freshmen.  I'd like to see that, tradition-soaked Michigan going Bob Stoops on people.  But then, that defense can't stop shit.  And, come to think of it, I'd like to see that too.

And finally, Thursday, Sep 1, ESPN 2.  Oregon - a loud, proud Pac 10 team (with a TERRIFYING Playstation playbook) - opens their season, and ours, with what I'm sure they believe to be a patsy-for-hire.
   AT Houston.
   On a Thursday night.

   You know what that means.


Monday, April 18, 2005

The Other SC and Nebraska

111: Seasons, including 2005, that South Carolina has fielded a football team.
11: Returning South Carolina Football players arrested since the close of the 2004 season.
: All-time wins.
507: All-time losses.
38,806: Attendence at USC spring game, Steve Spurrier’s first public coaching display.

4: Position on the Nebraska QB depth chart of Joe Dailey, last year’s starter.

Friday, April 15, 2005


4: Returning starters who, according to the LA Times, might be academicaly ineligible, including wheelhouse-RB LenDale White and Steve Smith's personal Speed Bag.

And video games were involved. love it.


170: Collective starts of OU offensive line that took the field against USC.
60: Approximate starts for current listed starter (actual depth chart not yet announced).
19: Letters in OU cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha

More on OU:
Ivan Maisel: Head of the line

Friday, March 25, 2005

Archived - 2003 Bowl Games

Put up all 4 of my diaries of 2003's New Years and BCS games.

- Grossman and Florida-v-Navare and Michigan in, by far, the best bowl game of that year.
- The story about a guy named Mike Moran crumpling up an aluminium ashtray at Burger King and eating it on a dare.
- The unbroken awfulness of the Fox broadcast of Texas-LSU, which also was Chris Simms final game (and featured his - really - 1st touchdown pass in the Cotton Bowl).
- The Richt-v-Bowden match-up, featuring a Rix-less, and vastly outcoached Florida State playing two underqualified but fabulously exciting QBs against Georgia's D.
- USC, fresh off a then-bewildering late-season surge and utterly unexpected Carson Heisman, opening the Iowa game by giving up every inch of a 100-yard kickoff return... and then blowing Iowa away in every measurable way.
- Hot sluts TWICE.
- The dreary trainwreck of the Ohio State-Miami "national title" game, starring Willis McGahee's knee.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ch- Ch- Ch- Check it out

4: Consecutive items added to Just White Noise, my personal blog, that involve (or at least invoke) college football. Topics:
Tommy Lee Jones' new, instantly forgetable movie, "Man of the House," which is vaguely about UT's football team.

College ball's only real rival for on-TV sports drama, the Westminster Dog Show.


A delightfully ugly hat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

2005 US Army All-American Bowl

Somebody mentioned in an email that they had seen the Army All-American game in a bar. I can do you one better: I saw it on my couch.

9:08 – You’re looking LIVE at the AlamoDome, home to today’s “US Army All-American Bowl”, featuring 72 All-American high school football players, many of whom are going to announce their college choice today live, a fun way for each player to individually reinforce the game’s unspoken message to high schoolers: don’t join the army!
Accoring to Tom Lemming, a ‘recruiting guru’ and the color man today, USC’s current class isn’t in the top 10. Michigan is #1 with Tennessee #2.
9:11 – Maurice Wells becomes the first of our Future Soldiers-in-the-Kellen-Winslow-sense to declare his intentions for next year. The format for these declarations – which might be unique in all of TV - is that the kid is standing there surrounded by family, friends and hangers on, the sideline guy says, ‘tell us where you’re going,’ and then the guy reaches into a gym bag and pulls out the hat for his choice. Earlier they showed Adrian Peterson from a year ago picking OU. So Maurice Wells, a somewhat smallish, dreadlocked skinny kid who is apparently the top running back from the State of Florida, takes the Mic and throws out – minimum – 7 or 8 shout-outs: his neighborhood, his high school, several names like ‘li’ hank’ and ‘tyree’ and a woman named Jessica something. The sideline guy rips away the mic and tells him to get on with it – Ohio State.
Or rather, “Ohio State, baby.”
9:13 – Mark Sanchez, USC’s #1 QB recruit brings the West out. First play is a double reverse which goes nowhere. There are definetly some Matt Leinart related-program activities going on with this guy. Among other things, he has Leinart’s eyes and eyesbrows, Leinhart’s hair and Leinart’s general look of casual confusion.
9:14 – And here’s another: Sanchez drops the snap under center – maybe he IS the next Leinart. YES!!!
(pre-requisite on that joke is Leinart’s final offensive play of the season, a fumbled snap in garbage time against OU, but, really, it’s not a very good joke, so let’s discuss a better one, namely that that fumble was in the endzone and went for a safety, which cost USC two more points against OU and, evidently, three first-place votes in the final AP poll that instead went to Auburn. Sounds reasonable – with that safely, OU closed to within 36 of SC. Not exactly convincing, especially not when Auburn was taking apart Va Tech so badly that the Tigers had to milk 2 full minutes out of their last 3 snaps to avoid a punt that would have given Va Tech a look at winning the game. Hard to understand why it wasn’t a split title, in fact. Or Auburn’s outright)
9:15 – The East takes the field behind a QB named Paulus – who, rather than face the impossibility of living up to his name in the college football world, will instead play point guard for Duke, which, as an ugly white guy, he looks well qualified for.
9:20 – During a sideline interview, “Gametime” Raymond Henderson, a big ol’ boy, promises his college pick will “shock the nation.”
He picks Tennessee.
9:21 – The nation’s shock enters it’s second minute.
9:22 – Sanchez on first-down drops a perfect 30-odd yard pass into the arms of DeShaun Jackson who runs the rest of the way for a PERECT 68 yard TD. Just awesome, and both ends of that play are going to USC. Whoo hoo!
And the refs call it back for a – ready? – illegal man downfield. In an all-star game? Are you kidding?
Although in the ref’s defense, we’re all still a little shocked.
9:24 – I don’t know the names of either guy involved, but on the last snap, the West ran a run to the left, it was whistled dead mid-play and everybody pulled up except one East linebacker who went through a West tight end like wind through an open door. Shattering hit. If you haven’t seen a sports event in 10 years, you’ll be shocked to learn a fight nearly breaks out.
9:26 – Here are the rules: defenses must play 4-3, cannot blitz and 3rd and 4th down must be man to man. But let’s call back a 68yarder for a man downfield.
9:28 – West punts and it’s a FUMBLED SNAP!!!! However, the punter from Texas (“west” apparently stretches to Mississippi) booms it once he gets a handle on it. Clearly on the replay, he was baffled by the ridiculous gray-with-spiral-stripes Arena-league ball the game is being played with.
9:30 – Here’s a Big Ol’ White Boy with the biggest jaw on the field, Dan Doering, an O-lineman. He picks…. Iowa. This was the third guy to announce, all of whom (according to the helpful onscreen graphics) had Tennessee as a finalist. Shocking.
9:38 – Here’s a kicker named Zolton. Let’s see – 18 – that means born in ‘86. Were the 80s really so bad – really so soul-crushingly awful – that new parents of the day had to take it out on a generation? This isn’t new – watch the MTV reality show of your choice. Genesis, Ibis, Talan. Did Def Lepard really screw people up that badly? You think it’s funny now, but we’re 10 years away from having to deal with a population of adults named like infomercial exercise equipment. And Microsoft Word appears satisfies with the word ‘infomercial.’ Doom!
9:42 – Debut of Ryan Perilloux, Texas’ star QB recruit, and very definetly the owner of the best high school quarterback website on earth. He comes into the game and lays a beautiful 40-yard pass on a receiver, which gets knocked away by a defender but draws a flag for interference.
9:45 – Lemming calls Perilloux a “tuck-and-run” QB (that’s ‘black’ in recruit-speak). While Lemming is saying this, they show clips of Perilloux in high school throwing consecutive Pac 10-caliber 30-yard ropes, and he promptly does the same in our game, on top of the 40-yarder from a minute ago. Wonder if Greg Davis will get him to tuck and run that well.
9:46 – fumble!!!
9:47 – Time for another declaration!!!! Ryan Somebody, whose brother just enlisted in the army (there’s a wrenching social justice story in there somewhere) is going to “Iowa, baby!!!!”
That’s two for Iowa and three “Baby”s in four declarations.
9:51 - David Gettis, a tall receiver, is up. From Dorsey high (famous alum: Darryl Strawberry) in Los Angeles, Gettis has it narrowed to – can this be right? – Arizona State, Cal and… Baylor.
Huh? Pick Baylor, pick Baylor, PLEASE pick Baylo- BAYLOR!!!!!! YES!!!!
But… Really?
9:52 – Seriously – what’s going on here?
9:53 – Oh. He’s some sort of super-hurdler. Baylor for track. Got it.
9:54 – Ha!! A punt returner named House just had a moment. He caught the punt, when right, found nothing, came back left across the field and still had nothing. Obviously House and everybody else isn’t used to playing aganst guys as fast them but House pulls a classic – after he cut back across the field looking for a whole, no less than 4 West guys closed on him, without a single East guy within 15 yards, a situation House reacted to by giving the universal point-sign for ‘block him.’ Like who?
9:59 – Oh, wow. Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever seen in a sports event. Taken in it’s total big-picture sense, probably one of my top 10 favorite sporting moments ever. Wow.
Let me lay out what just happened.
Sanchez, who in the small amount of time he’s getting here is clearly a complete stud, threw a lovely post pattern to DeSean Jackson, who, despite the terrible stuff I’m about to say about him, is clearly the best non-QB on the field.
So on a post pattern, Jackson’s defender fell down, leaving him all alone over the last 20 or so yards to endzone.
So… Jackson went for one of those head first dive-from-the-five-yardline things. Only two things.
One, he clearly couldn’t jump far enough because he put one of his hands down at the two and tried to convert the move into a cartwheel-into-the-endzone.
But that meant he had to put his other hand down as part of the cartwheel – the one carrying the football.
Of course, he doesn’t think so.
After the play, he spends a minute taunting and celebrating and then comes over and starts yelling and pointing at the endzone as the refs stand there talking about how they are going to rule it.
Here is what they clearly have to do – the ball should be down at the 1, since he put the ball down there during the cartwheel and the ground can’t cause a fumble. I was hoping they’d rule it a turnover or touchback but clearly he was down.
Which is what the refs do – though they also tack on 15 yards for sportsmanship, which means a breakaway TD is now first and goal from the 16.
That was awesome.
10:02 – Sanchez pulls everybody out the fire by hitting some kid wide open for the TD.
10:06 – They just interviewed Kevin Jones, the Va Tech stud and this year’s NFL rookie rush leader. So coming back next year for the Eagles is Joey Harrington, who I still believe in, the NFL’s best sophomore RB in Jones, Roy Williams and Charles Rodgers, both of whom were hurt this year. Not a bad core.
10:08 – A KNEE!!! A giant lineman from Hampton, VA suffers a good, nasty, crippling knee. Not only can he not put weight on it, it hurts so bad he can’t even stand on his good leg and has to be carried. Sorry kid, but look at this way – when you get back, at least the schools who still want you will have a playoff.
10:13 – An east receiver named Rouse outjukes 3 guys on a slant but it gets called back for – ready? – illegal formation. Fans of income tax, near-beer and PG-13 movies everywhere rejoice.
10:18 – Purdue just pulled off the worst come-from-behind-to-tie in NCAA history. Sorry, different channel, but let’s discuss it:
With .9 seconds left on the clock and a tie game in overtime, Indiana Guy gets two free-throws. Makes one. Now, with .9 seconds left, NO WAY Purdue goes coast to coast for a winning shot, so you miss the freethrow right?
Nope – the guy does the ‘accidentally make it’ thing. Purdue can now run an inbounds play. The IU coach is going ape shit over it.
So IU doesn’t cover the inbounds which is REALLY bad but then when Purdue completes the Laetner-like fullcourt pass to Tall Purdue Guy under the other basket and he spins for an akward shot, Indiana FOULS him. The guy, obviously, makes the shot and now can go to the line and WIN the damn game.
And here’s the best part – the shot came after time expired and would not have counted but the FOUL foul came before time expired which meant he was allowed to finish the shot, regardless of the time.
So, quickly, IU’s mistakes – made the freethrow when missing would have sealed the game; didn’t cover the inbounds for a full-length pass; allowed the catch; fouled the shooter; did so in regulation to allow his late shot to count.
So Purdue steps to the line to win the game and… clank. Double OT. I’m quite sure it seems breathlessly exciting for everybody there, but come on…
10:19 – Back in the AlamoDome, a guy from Florida who missed his whole senior year is going to… Florida, “God willing.”
10:25 – Cool. West runs a reverse on a punt return, which gives two guys the chance to lay two savage downfield blocks and the play goes for 30 yards.
10:26 – Sanchez, back at QB, just misses Jackson deep.
10:28 – Sanchez hits a 39yarder to the Baylor guy with a perfect deep fade – don’t get used to it kid.
10:35 – During his declaration, a huge samoan linebacker lets his dad pull the hat out of the bag. Dad promptly puts it on his own head, and does so at such a pitched-up angle that you can’t see who it is. The kid, clearly pissed, rips it off dad’s head and, with a snarl at his dad says, “Southern California.” Sanchez runs in and hugs the guy.
10:41 – Sanchez, fresh off the TD and hug, gets handed some National Player of the Year award and he promptly thanks the Lord, the US Army, the city of San Antonio, his all star coach and the all star coach’s wife. Really.
That does it: Sanchez is the Next Big Thing.
10:43 – Cartwheel-King DeSean Jackson goes airborne to wrestle a would-be-interception away from the defensive back, completing a judo-type spin in midair to comedown with the ball. Best play of the game – and he deliberately, calmly hands the ball to the ref. Way to learn your lesson, young player!!!
10:44 – Perilloux hits another TD pass over the middle. Sanchez’s GOP-like image control aside, Perilloux is a dominant player. He’s 4 years better than the East’s defense and at least a couple past his own teammates.
11:01 – The West is up by about 200 points and Mandy just got up, so further updates may be sporadic.
11:06 – A player named Dayl Warley just picked Notre Dame. The sideline guy tries to get him to talk about the coaching change by saying, “say hello to your new coach.”
“Hey coach, HAAAAAAA!”
11:19 – Another Big ol’ White Boy is given some sort of Myoplex Strongest-Teenager-In-The-World award, and promptly picks OU.
11:50 – DeSean Jackson takes a double reverse and throws to Perriloux, who has snuck down into the endzone for still another TD.

That’s enough.