Wednesday, January 28, 2009

L is for Go Long

Our first and only non-CFB clip, but anytime you throw a football over three cartographically significant elements (road, wires and river would all make a USGS 1:50,000), you get to be on the Index.

This clip (with over 1M views, so you may have seen it) comes to us from Sparta, NC, which has several ties to college football.

No, it doesn't, really, though it is the fictional home of Charlotte Simmons, the heroine of Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons," a masturbatory novel written by a really old white guy about a college freshman who has tons of loose sex with athletes at her school. This may or may not resemble some elements of college football.

So rather than any team's colors, we instead ring today's clip in pink and point your soberer instincts to the NC State community today where tonight they mourn the loss of Kay Yow, the school's women's basketball coach for 37 years and a breast cancer survivor for over 20, Yow was every bit the cancer-crusading icon locally that her former Wolfpack collegue Jim Valvano was nationally. The outpouring locally here in the Triangle has been terrific, and if you see WBB teams in pink unis this weekend it will be in tribute to Yow, so take a few minutes to read it over.

Still, hell of a throw, huh?

Monday, January 26, 2009

K is for "Keith's KHITBASH KOs 40K Kid"

I'm not sure what I like best: Fouts' puppet, or when Jackson fronts him up and screams, "Read mah hat, trick!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

J is for Jailbreak

"Here they come!"
...cries Griese, measure and nuance chased from his voice, the only way the Pros call football's most arguably-racist but way-too-vivid-to-retire defensive euphamism. Can it be a coincidence that this call - this simple three-word alert -is the name of the music score for the Star Wars tie fighter attack, where the ragged band of heroes are hunted, surrounded and attacked from every side? Don't get cocky, kid.

That's the Jailbreak Blitz, football's most kinetic gamble, the 10-minutes of an 80s action-movie climax rolled into 7 seconds panic.

This clip was posted to show off Cal's Desean Jackson getting blow'd da'f up downfield, but ignore that, and focus instead on what Griese is seeing at the line of scrimmage, because its the Aliens-in-the-cieling, Uncus-chases-Magua, Give'em'Hell-54 flaming circus of rage called from the booth and lit by the safeties that lands in Jackson's grill.

Here they come.

I is for Ito, as in "I'm Jeremy Ito, and You're 8-and-1"

From The Index

What's your favorite Thursday Night upset?

Like no other night, the winds of upsets howl on Thursday. This is college so nobody goes to class on Fridays, and even those who do won't be going THIS Friday because ESPN is in town (HERE! In Chippewa Falls!! ESPN!!!!) and the whole damn country is watching.

Of course, they're watching to see the other guys, Program U, who rushed for a billion yards against Tech last week, and whose secondary can tackle UV-rays and whose showdown with Factory State is only 3 weeks off. They're here to check the box marked "Us".

But what they don't know is that tonight they are alone out here, and the weather is cold and raining and hot and humid and windy and snowing, which is PERFECT for our offense. And there's only 100 or so of them and they're wearing white and there's 70,000 of us, and they just drove 80 miles through towns and farms and freeways and they were lined with our banners and our signs and our fans on top of their campers, and we're wearing blood-soaked red and death-posse black and glowing-royal blue and that crazy shade of green that only we make look tough, and when they trot on the field a little tight and a little scared, that's the tell that they've realized too late that the Thursday wind is howling, and they are in its teeth.

So what's your favorite Thursday upset? Florida State-UVa? Nebraska-Arizona State? Maryland-Northern Illinois? Missouri-Troy? USC-Oregon State?

I'll take Rutgers 28, Louisville 25, 2006, the worst football program of all time lying in wait for the newest, slickest, high tech football machine of the decade, completed with
florida-bred receivers and a 4th-year QB robot Brian Brohm. TO the fight Rutgers brought a fat coach, a gayish hook-line (chopping wood?), a deleriously unheralded quarterback, undersized runners and a defense that was down 21 in the first quarter.

Game highlights:

But there were signs of hope: as Rutger's D chipped away at the LV legs, Ray Rice pounded on LV's fast but skinny Dline and QB Mike Teel played with the kind of panicked ingenuity that began to remind some of Michael J Fox on a skateboard.

As the final minute wound down, Rutgers had the game tied when up stepped Jeremy Ito, from the fabulously unRutgers hometown of Loma Linda, California (inland empire what what!), for a game-winning 33yarder...

Which he SHANKED!

Flag. Offsides LV. Spent against Rutgers' will, LV gave up a fatal mistake.

Back came Ito, visibly grinning at his shank and possibly high.

When he hit it he knew it was good, so sure in fact, that he didn't watch the ball go through. Instead he stomped away from the line, spotted ESPN's fancy FieldCam, raised one finger in the air and put himself in college football's image cannon for eternity.

From The Index

From The Index
From The Index

Have Some.
Love, The Judge

Thursday, January 22, 2009

H is for Hitler

Funny thing about Hitler: he LOVES the SEC, to the tune of 3-of-6 3-of-7 4-of-8 4-of-9 4-of-10 4-of-11 5-of-12 rants!

Update 6:
The SEC returns with South Carolina! "Almost seven wins a row."

Update 5: UVA!
"We lost to Duke! No one loses to Duke!... it makes me want to kill myself." - Crafty historical accuracy!

Update 4: It's almost creepy that the only place Hitler seems to like more than the SEC, and is at his funniest discussing, is - guesses? - the state of Utah (see Bonus at bottom of post).

UPDATE 3: Washington. "Someone bring me my Paulsbo RV catalog from 1990 so I can remember the good old days!"

UPDATE 2: Florida, via Orson at EDSBS.

UPDATE #1: - Texas A&M - "We're like the Taco Cabana of football." (ed note: Taco Cabana rules).

6 - Auburn - "No one could find Auburn on a map. They think we're in Georgia."

5 - LSU - Hitler hates Jarrett Lee

4 - Texas - "I'm still a Longhorn. Maybe Missouri will beat them."
(WARNING: I considered dropping this one from the list because it drops the N-word (on Obama(!)), but then I thought: "Wait a second - do I KNOW this WASN'T made by a black guy, cuz that would be OK, right?" Let's give Longhorn nation the benefit of the doubt and just assume....)

3 - Notre Dame - "Delusional Notre Dame Fanboy"

2 - Tennessee - "I miss Ainge!"

1 - Utah - "They have everything! Name recognition, a National title, the true Gospel." You think it's about the BCS. But Hitler doesn't hate the BCS. Hitler hates Mormans.

BONUS! BYU ANSWERS! - "Don't worry darling. I hear 'Phantom' is playing at the Venetian." Zing!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

G is for the Godfather of Roll

Its rare to find a 10 second video that lets you say, "You can see the earth shift right... there!" but here it is, the play that won the 1996 Big 12 title game for Texas, and embarrassed No. 1, 21-point favorite Nebraska so badly that their subsequent collapse took the entire Big 12 North with them.

Monday, January 19, 2009

F is for Fight Songs

The Index has examined Fight Songs in the past, including in this post a few years back. And if you've ever thought, "somebody should make a site with all the big school's fights songs,
someone did.

And now, a Girls Singing Fight Songs Countdown:

5 - Ohio State. Everything about this video is a delight, especially the defiant can-do clapping from Maddie, The Gutsy Brunette Who's Not Afraid To Run With Big Blondy. She spent $249 at the salon this week and was up at 4am this morning so the water would be hot before the rest of the house got up, cuz it's gameday in Columbus, Big-B, and you best believe Maddie came to play.

4 - North Carolina. UNC has the best fight song in America that never makes any "Best Fight Songs" lists, performed here by the OMG Best-Semester-Abroad-EVER! Quints. And note the veteran anticipation that Blue Shorts shows by dropping her wallet just a beat before Da Bounce kicks in. Heady! They don't skate to the puck in Chapel Hill, they skate to where the puck is gonna be!

3 - Michigan. It's actually way harder than you'd suspect to find YouTube videos of college girls singing fight songs, but much easier than you'd believe to find videos of babies and children doing so. So I picked the funniest one.
Also: Even babies hate Michigan.

2 - Texas. I'm not sure I get it - what does this clip buy you that Walter Cronkite doesn't?

(Might as well tell you: if you click through, there's a full HD version)

1 - Notre Dame. "In the rugged mountains of Western Mexico?" This clip must be the greatest college-spirit-in-remote-locations pull since Earnest Shackleford taped his EA Sports cameo on Elephant Island - "EA Sports - if its in a 14-day trip across open Antarctic ocean in a life boat including through a hurricane that sank a 500-ton steamer the same night, it's in the game!"

E is for Edwin Baptiste, WR, Morgan State

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”
- Martin Luther King Jr., who would be 80 today.

Concentrate on living the Simple Art today. Edwin Baptiste has the flying thing covered.

(click through for better-than-usual "high quality" option)

36: yards completion vs. Winston-Salem.

Baptiste attends Morgan State in Baltimore, where you don't have to practice to get to Carnegie Hall (yes, as in THAT Carnegie) but the Index is pretty sure Baptiste does.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

D is for Defense

"It may have been the greatest goal line stand in college football history. It certainly would have been the greatest goal line stand if had not been against Kansas."
- Bill Dwyer, LA Times, Aug 29, 1993

First and Goal, FSU 8yd line
(VIDEO NOT EMBEDDED - Click to open YouTube page )

Defense Index:

92, 95, 97, 99, 99: Temperatures reported during the hours of the game (noon to 5pm) by NOAA weather station at Newark Intl Airport (EWR) a few miles away from the game.

8:01: Elapsed time from 1st down snap to 4th-down whistle.
11: Snaps inside the FSU 8 yard line
9: Snaps inside the FSU 4
7: Snaps inside the FSU 2
3: Snaps inside the FSU 1
0: Kansas points

Make sure you catch Keith Jackson's call at 7:47 ("and HE didn't score!") as disbelief settles in.

Post Script Index

4: Shutouts, including this game (42-0), pitched by FSU in 1993.
3: Points allowed to NC State in 62-3 November game.
14: Total points allowed by FSU in first 5 games.
31: Points allowed through eight games.

Friday, January 16, 2009

C is for Confidence

Confidence Index

-42: Stanford v USC

I dug this one up from my EyeTV archive (brilliant product) and posted it myself. Had to be done.

I know my USC friends are currently brewing up a "how could you?!?" email. I'd be disappointed if they weren't.

Here's my Top 5 reasons:

1 - "No, we just didn't make it, I'm not gonna worry about that."
2 - "We dropped a couple balls, ya know, we had guys open and stuff like that."
3 - "Stanford did a nice job down there on the goal line."
4 - (laugh) "We'll be alright."
5 - "We'll get this done."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

B is for Brad Butler, UVA left guard

It's at 1:26.

This play comes from the 2005 UVA-BC game, which (despite the ABC feed) was unseen by most of the nation since it was up against eventual National Champ Texas and Vince Young whipping Oklahoma 45-12.

Butler Index

35, 7, 2:
Yards and points that Butler GAINED for UVA, and BC players ejected as a result of this play: 5 yards for offiside on BC on this play (personal fouls against Butler and Al Washington offset, with Washington ejected); 15 yards on linebacker Brian Toal on the next play , for going after Butler (Toal's penalty put UVA on the 23, from which they scored on the next play); 15 yards and an ejection of the 'victim', All-American defensive end
Mathias Kiwanuka, for taking a swing at Butler later in the quarter.

Final score of game, won by BC. At least one post-game quote from a BC player attributed BC's late winning surge in the game to outrage over Butler's play.

Beyond that, Butler was suspended by UVA (though only begrudgingly by Al Groh, it seems) that week.

*Update*: I showed this clip to a few of my classmates who went to UVA. They said this play is Legendary in UVA - and probably BC - circles. They said this play brought a wave of scorn on the program.

And that it bumped up Butler's draft prospects by several rounds. Scouts, they said, suddenly started liking his "fiestiness."

Kiwanukawent on to win a Super Bowl ring with the Giants, as one the pass rushers who shut down Tom Brady.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A is for Astounding App State Win

This is NOT the Michigan game. This is WAY better (at least, in some ways).

Here is tape - actual tape! - from the astounding 2002 App St.-Furman game. Here is my dissection of it from last year, after the Michigan game put App in the headlines.

BRIEFLY: App and Furman are bitter rivals, both ranked in the Top 10ish of I-AA.

1. Furman, which has dominated the game but trails by 5, drives the ball and scores a TD to go up by 1 with only seven seconds to go (TD is the first clip of video).
2. Now ahead by 1, Furman's coach decides to go for two, believing a 3-pt lead would be insurance against App winning on a field goal, while a PAT for a 2pt lead does him no good (defensible decision).
3. On the 2pt, QB throws an INT to a slow App St. lineman, who turns upfield (bad luck, but no harm done).
4. Now here's the genius: the lineman IMMEDIATLY laterals to a D-Back who is trailing him. He doesn't wait until he gets hit and in trouble or until the rest of Furman's players turn around and start pursuing, he does it RIGHT AWAY.
5. The D-Back, with an escort, blows by the QB, then stays in bounds against another pursuing Furman player for a length-of-field 2pt-conversion for APP.

Which erases Furman's lead and puts App back in front by 1.

THis video, as you'll see, looks like tape from 2 fans with cameras, one on the sideline (the key lateral takes place just feet from the camera) and one on the sideline.

Bonus Easter Egg: the only guy who has a shot at him is the QB; judging by the lazy slap he lays on the guy, its clear he hasn't done one or both of two math equations:
1 - how far from out of bounds they both are.
2 - what is about to happen on the scoreboard

Thursday, January 08, 2009

BCS Championship Index, Grand Unified Edition

In search of the superstring, quark or neutrino of CFB that will tell us, with blinding, universal simplicity, who the hell is gonna win.

For starters, I don't need Ferme Lab to tell me its been a while since two such overtly arrogant, unlikable teams got at it, huh?  Not that Ohio State, SC, LSU, Texas and the rest aren't arrogant.  But in terms of the players and staffs both just radiating entitlement and disdain for their opponent, these two are arrogant and don't see why they should pretend they aren't.

Many questions may decide the game.  Here's one that won't:

Can OU stop Tebow/Harvin et al?

Sure as gravity, which is Step 1 in any Grand Unified Theory worth its weight, OU gives up lots of points.  Florida scores plenty, by crazy, Tebow-fed, Harvin-fired, Meyer-madness methods.  They can roll down the field in perfect form, and they pick up cheap stuff as good as anyone.  They'll score.

The question is: when?  Let's explore that.

Four Tough Games
60:  FLA first-half points in games against Miami, LSU, UGA and BAMA.
97:  second-half points in those games

I sensed it having watched these games, and those numbers confirm it.  Against good teams, Florida wins late.

How does that match up with OU?  Intriguingly, it turns out.

Four More Tough Games

91:  points scored by OU in the second QUARTER of its four toughest games, Texas, Tech, OkSt and Mizzou.  For comparison....
154: points scored by Florida in 2nd Quarter of ALL 13 GAMES.

122: 1st Half points, same games
101:  2nd half points, same games
129-68: Same stat (!) if you (very reasonably) substitute the stats from OU's win over TCU for Ok State.

OU plays football like certain UFC fighters with preposterously chiseled bodies and low body fat - they bring one round of pure electro-magnetic fury (Step 2 in our theory).  If you make it to the bell, you know they're spent.

So given that Tebow will score some but probably not enough to overcome OU's best effort, the question really is:

Can OU throw on Florida?

All other questions either don't matter, or aren't questions.  This is the Heavy Lifting of the Grand Unified Theory, exploring the Weak and Strong forces of our equation, Passing O versus Pass Rush.

I think I'm most fascinated by Florida's fate in last year's Outback/Cap One bowl (can't remember which), when they got TORCHED through the air by the supposedly-slow-witted and plodding Big 10 also-rans from Michigan.  Sure it was the swan song of Llllllloyd, Chad Henne and his trio of ThreeLetterWord-ING-ThreeLetterWord recivers (Arrington, Hemingway, Manningham).  But that was absolutely the last time Florida faced anything like the passing game for OU.  And that Florida defense - or rather, any defense even remotely similiar to that one - would be a monsterous underdog to OU's passing game.

So is Florida better?  A lot better?  Tough to say, since they played few competant passing teams.  We could start here:

174: Passing yards allowed per game by Florida.
19:  National rank.

But then... who throws a lot in the SEC?  Does that tell us anything?

How about if we look at completions-per-game.  Why that stat?  Well, mainly because that's what OU is going to be looking for - lots of completions.  Why?  Attempts are just attempts, and yards per game suffers from long-ball variations and the general truism that passes are longer and easier between the 20s.  Completions, on the other hand, suggest a rhythm.  Anyone can hit two 40 yarders in 2 attempts and look great if you run the ball 10 straight times to set them up.  But to pile up completions, you need a plan and you have to impose it - 5 yard out, 7 yards to the TE, run, 12 yard screen, 5 yd out, etc.

If you have a lot of completions, your O is beating the opposing defense.

16.6:  Completions per game allowed by FLA defense.
37:  National rank.
Other teams allowing between 16 and 17 completions (ie, 16.1, 16.2, etc) per game.

Northern Illinois
Air Force
Penn St.
Wake Forest
Notre Dame

A mixed bag of peers, for sure.  BUt not damning.  In fact, hard to read.  Can we say that Florida definetly doesn't have an elite pass defense?  Or does no one throw against them in the SEC?
   One thing's for sure - OU will:

24.9: OU completions per game (12th nationally, with Texas and Purdue).

(And for you puritans -
3: National rank of OU's passing offense, in yards per game.)

Perhaps, though, we are missing half of the equation.  If Florida DOES stop OU, what is that likely to look like?  What factor will have to be in play?  Corners swatting away endless bombs?  Not likely.  Judging half by what we saw from OU this year, and half from what we saw from Fla against MIch last year, I think we can add that to the Questions Which Aren't Questions-pile.  Tebow will get his points, but Fla's coverage will not slow down OU.
  Which is not to say OU won't be stopped.  The last time OU took a Heisman-winning QB to a national title game, they discovered that ninja receivers and brilliant schemes are for shit if the other DLine holds a dance party in the backfield.

How to measure that?  Well, how about sacks?  They won't need a sack every play, of course, but if you get one sack out of every five good rushes, that still makes sacks a good barometer of pressure.
  Looking at sacks, we can ask if Florida's D gets to the QB better than, say, Texas or Tech or Ok St?  And, alternately, does OU's line generally give Bradford a lot of time?

31:  Sacks, Florida in 2008
31:  National rank (not a typo)
(for comparison
42:  Sacks, OU
3:  National Rank)

1: National Rank of Texas, who beat OU
2: National Rank of TCU, who OU whipped
5: OU opponents with more sacks than Florida - Texas, TCU, Tech, Mizzou, Nebraska
6: National Rank of Ol' Miss, who beat Florida - the only SEC school in the Top 25 of sack leaders

hmmm.....  sacks are not Florida's thing nor the SEC's in general, and Florida lost to the one school that does it well.  And OU is 4-1 (almost 5-0) against teams that are really good at sacks.  Hmmmm....

OU Offense vs Fla Defense, or, The Grand Unified Theory of Passing

So let's roll it all together.  Can Florida's defense get to Bradford - ie, gets some sacks - enough to break up OU's passing game long enough for Tebow and the offense to crank out points in the second half?  Or will OU's line keep Bradford safe long enough for him to find a rhythm which, almost definetly, will spell first-half doom for the Gators?

Grand Unified OU Offense
29:  OU completions per Sack-allowed (In English, Bradford completes 29 passes between sacks - enough for perhaps 3 length of the field drives).
2: National rank of that stat.  Only 5 teams are over 20.
421: OU passing yards per sack-allowed - a flat-stupid number.
1: National rank of that stat.
385, 295, 271:  2nd (T Tech), 3rd (Miz) and 4th (Boise St) in that category.

Verdict:  OU's protection and Bradford's production is, collectively, WAY better than anybody else in the country and miles past anybody in the SEC.

Grand Unified FLA Defense
8.6: Fla completions allowed per sack made.  To put that in context, if an 80 yard drive lasts 9 plays and if a sack kills a drive, then - on average - you can't drive the field on FLA by passing.  Barely.
29:  National rank.
72:  Yards allowed per sack made.

Verdict:  Florida has caused a decent amount of trouble - though not complete chaos - for passers in a league short on good passing.

Grand Unified Advantage:  OU.

And since run games, special teams, coaching adjustments and mental focus never matter, you can take that as a lock!