Who’s That?

by A.J. Coltrane

Breakfast on Saturday was at the Elliot Bay Brewery on Lake City.  The Mississippi State/Texas A&M game was on the TV.

The MSU quarterback made a pretty throw on the move….

Me:  “Who’s that?”

My Dining Companion:  “Oh no.”

….

See, everytime I say that phrase it indicates in a new Man Crush. And I never shut up about who I saw. I deposit that thought places like this.

The most recent “Who’s that?” was Colt McCoy (as a Freshman). Earlier “Who’s that?” athletes have included Kevin Garnett and Randall Cunningham.

So… Meet Dak Prescott:

He's basically the same size as the Defensive Lineman(!)
He’s basically the same size as the Defensive Lineman(!)

A little bit of research this morning shows that he’s currently the #13 NFL QB prospect (linked above), and he’s SI’s frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. Prescott is listed at 6’2″, 235 pounds, though he’s likely both shorter and heavier than that. (For comparison, Marshawn Lynch’s listed weight is 215.) From what I saw he throws a nice spiral and has excellent touch and accuracy. I’ve read that his best comp is Tim Tebow, except that Prescott can throw, and he has a nice, over the top motion, rather than Tebow’s mess of a delivery.

Dak Prescott

And then the bartender changed over to the Ohio State game… Which makes MSU appointment viewing soon.

Hence the “Oh no.” from my dining companion. (That, and I won’t shut up about it.)

When Real Life Imitates a Video Game

By Blaidd Drwg

Back in late November, Fresno State was on a roll – they were undefeated and there was talk of a BCS birth. They had just 2 games left, against the then 5-6 San Jose State Spartans, and then the Mountain West Championship game. In case you are not familiar with Fresno State, they run a very high octane offense, finishing 2013 ranked #1 in FBS Passing Yards (at almost 400 a game) and #6 in points scored (at 43 a game). Defense, however was not their strong point and they gave up about 30 points a game.

Rewind back to November 29th and the San Jose State game. San Jose State is another high-powered offense; ranking #6 is Passing and averaging 32 points a game, coupled with a terrible defense (giving up 35). The game had the making of a video game shootout, which it ended up being. Here are the HALFTIME stats for the game:

 

  FRES SJSU
1st Downs

22

23

3rd down efficiency

3-5

5-6

4th down efficiency

0-0

0-0

Total Yards

469

537

Passing

354

481

Comp-Att

22-30

28-33

Yards per pass

11.8

14.6

Rushing

115

56

Rushing Attempts

12

17

Yards per rush

9.6

3.3

Penalties

2-27

3-35

Turnovers

0

2

Fumbles lost

0

2

Interceptions thrown

0

0

Possession

11:33

18:27

 

The score at the half was 42-41 San Jose State. Combined, both teams managed to rack up just over 1000 yards total offense in just 30 minutes of play. Amazingly, every score in the first half was a touchdown and they were all scored by the offense, so that means that Fresno managed to put up 41 points and 469 yards in just 11 and half minutes of holding the ball. SJSU eventually pulled away and won the game 62-52, ruining Fresno’s BCS hopes, and the teams managed “just” 376 yards of combined offense the rest of the way.

Some other game tidbits:

  • Three of the 4 punts in the game occurred in the first half
  • Neither team started any drive in their opponent’s territory until the last drive of the game when SJSU recovered an onside kick at the Fresno 46 and ran the clock out.
  • The first half had only one drive lasting more than 3 minutes – a 7 play, 77 yard drive by SJSU that took 3:27.
  • Fresno State only had 1 receiver reach 100 yards despite having 516 team passing yards (SJSU had 3 guys reach that total)

It is fun when an actual football game plays out like a video game one.

What’s in a Name?

By Blaidd Drwg

As if one Wonderful Monds wasn't enough (love the afro)
As if one Wonderful Monds wasn’t enough (love the afro)
There were actually 2 of them.
There were actually 2 of them.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.I think this gets my vote for the worst name in sports. His actual first name is Ha’Sean, according to Wikipedia, which is bad enough, but why the hell would you go by ‘Ha Ha’? I am not even going to touch his last name.

Oh, and he is apparently an NFL prospect. Could you see Roger Goodell going up to the podium and announcing, “With the 23rd pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, saftey,  from the Alabama Crimson Tide,” with a straight face?

Wonderful Terrific Monds (either I or II) he is not. I bet you had no idea that there were 2 guys named Wonderful Terriffic Monds (The father played football and the son baseball).

Edit – I stand corrected, there were actually 3 Wonderful Terriffic Monds. It appears that the football Monds was actually WTM II and the baseball Monds is WTM III.

Observations on the New Mexico Bowl

By Blaidd Drwg

I love college bowl season – you can get some interesting matchups, especially when you involve some of the mid-major teams in the early bowls. Case in point is the New Mexico Bowl played on December 15th. It involved a 7-5 Nevada team vs. an 8-4 Arizona team. So what, you might ask. Well, let’s just say this sums up the kind of game you would expect (numbers represent their ranking among FBS teams):

  Arizona Nevada
Passing Offense 25th 52nd
Rushing Offense 16th 7th
Points Scored 16th 17th
Points Allowed 106th 102nd

Two teams with high powered offense and no defense, you would expect this game to play out like a video game, which it effectively did. Nevada rolled up 659 yards of offense in this game while Arizona managed a “meager” 578. The teams collectively converted 5 out of 6 4th down chances, combined for 7 turnovers, Nevada lost leads of 21-0 and 45-28, Arizona recovered an onside kick and went 49 yards in about 27 seconds to score the winning touchdown in a 49-48 victory. The game, despite its lack of defense, was actually very entertaining to watch. Arizona actually scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the game to pull of the come-from-behind victory.

One thing I had not realized about Arizona – their running back Ka’Deem Kerry, ended the season with 1929 yards and 23 TD’s. How much more under the radar could this guy be considering he is from a BCS conference and plays for a team that was ranked at one point this season. Oh, and he will only be a junior next season.

Former BC Eagles in the NFL

By Blaidd Drwg

There are currently 15 former Boston College Eagles in the NFL. They are:

Ron Brace – Patriots
BJ Raji – Packers
Gosder Cherilus – Lions
Jo-Lonn Dunbar – Saints
Matt Ryan – Falcons
Will Blackmon – Giants
Ricky Brown – Raiders
Mathias Kiwanuka – Giants
Jereny Trueblood – Buccaneers
Tim Bulman – Texans
Chris Snee – Giants
Antonio Garay – Chargers
Dan Koppen – Patriots
Mark Colombo – Dolphins
Matt Hasselbeck – Titans

Of course, there is also the BC connection with Tom Coughlin at the helm of the Giants. Not bad for a school that has not exactly been known as a football powerhouse over the years. Since my beloved Steelers are out of the playoffs, I usually end up rooting for the team that is left with the most BC players, which is, the Giants. Their playoff run is an interesting one this year, considering that they could potentially face a team in every round of the playoffs that has at least 1 former BC player on it:

Wild Card Round – they beat the Matt Ryan lead Atlanta Falcons
Divisional Round – they play the Green Bay Packers who have BJ Raji on their Defensive Line
Conference Championship – They could potentially play the New Orleans Saints with Jo-Lonn Dunbar roaming the secondary
Super Bowl – They might end up playing the New England Patriots with Dan Koppen on the offensive line.

It probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but as a BC alumnus, I think it is cool.

Football this Holiday Season

By Blaidd Drwg

I have already expressed my righteous indignation over the entire BCS system here, and I read something recently in the Seattle Weekly about the entire bowl system that leads me to believe that it makes money for the people running the bowl and screws the schools over.

To make matters worse, this season, the #7 team in the country, Boise State, didn’t get to go to a BCS bowl because they are not in an AQ conference and did not win their conference title. Fine, except that #13 Michigan, a school with 2 losses (more than Boise), who didn’t win their conference, didn’t play in their conference championship game and didn’t even win their division within their conference, gets to go to a BCS bowl. On what planet does that make sense?

Boise State’s consolation prize, a 6-6 Arizona State team in the Las Vegas Bowl. I watched about 2 minutes of the game and it was obvious that Boise was making a statement that they were unhappy about their bowl placement – they essentially ran the Sun Devils out of the building. It would have been much uglier for Arizona St. if it weren’t for the Boise turnovers that did what the Sun Devil defense couldn’t – keep the Broncos offense out of the end zone.

Normally I love watching college football and the bowl games at the end of the season. Based on the stupidity of the system, I think I am going to pass this year. Luckily, thanks to the way the calendar falls, we have NFL games on Christmas and New Year’s weekends this year. I would much rather watch the riveting Colts-Jags game on New Year’s Day than any of the bowl games that are being played.

Assorted Sports Thoughts

by A.J. Coltrane

Mike Leach to the Cougars: 

To quote Leach – “You can win here and win big, I believe.”

Washington State football just got a lot more entertaining — I may actually make a point to watch a game or two next year. WSU will throw the ball all over the place, and historically that’s what they’ve done when they’ve been good. At the very least they’ll be fun to watch.

The Sounders get a new keeper:

The Sounders signed 6’5″ Austrian keeper Michael Gspurning. From the Seattle Times: “Gspurning’s size lends to a more aggressive approach in coming out to defend crosses, and he is also more comfortable having balls played back to him and using his feet

The News Tribune has more information about Gspurning, including this YouTube clip of five of his saves:

I’m predisposed to like tall keepers — Kasey Keller would have had a hard time getting to Save #3 on the video, though Keller likely would have been playing another step or two to his left to cover that angle and would have stopped it anyway.

Gspuring is a 30 year-old veteran keeper. I have high hopes the Sounders won’t miss a beat.

Finally, the NBA is dead to me, but:

The Miami Heat signed Shane Battier. I think this is about as important as any signing in the league this year — Battier is absolutely the perfect fit to go with Wade and Lebron. Battier doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be productive, he’s a very good perimeter defender, he’s a good rebounder, a good passer, and he’s a good 3-point shooter. He may wind up being more valuable to the Heat than Chris Bosh. Really, the Heat are the “Big 2 +1” anyway, not a “Big 3”. As Battier approaches the late phase of his career he could basically be Robert Horry all over again. Mike Bibby just signed somewhere else, and if the Heat can get anything besides a corpse to play the point then they have to be heavy favorites to win it all this year. They don’t even need a traditional point guard, it could be a Steve Kerr equivalent and they’d be fine. (Any of the triangle offense non-traditional point guards would work — Kerr, Paxson, Harper, or Fisher. They just need long-range shooting and (ideally) someone to get in the way of quick little guards.)

Bleh.

The BCS Needs To Go

By Blaidd Drwg

The process is entirely to skewed to hand out bids to the “power” conferences and really goes out of its way to prevent deserving teams from getting into the big bowls in favor of lesser teams from the big conferences. There are 10 spots in BCS bowls – numbers 1 and 2 in the rankings play in the national championship game and there are automatic bids for the Big East, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Pac 12 conferences. There are also 2 at-large bids, only one of which goes to a non-AQ conference if it is ranked in the top 10. The only up sides is that no conference can have more than 2 BCS teams, unless the conference winner is not ranked #1 or #2 and the top 2 teams are also from the same conference.

Here is how bad it looks right now:
There are 2 non-automatic qualifier schools currently ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings – Houston at number 6 , and one of 2 undefeated teams left in college football, and Boise State, who’s only loss this season is by 1 point to the 18th ranked TCU Horned Frogs. Both teams have one game left against tough opponents and if they both win, only one of these teams is going to make it to a BCS bowl game. The other gets to go to a second tier bowl.

The Big East does not have a team currently ranked in the top 25, yet will be sending a team to a BCS bowl. The conference winner has the potential of being the 7-5 Louisville Cardinals, who are in 1st place and their season is done, and could end up there depending on what the teams with remaining games do this weekend.

Thanks to USC being ineligible for post-season play, the inaugural PAC 12 conference championship features the 10-2 Oregon Ducks vs. the 6-6 UCLA Bruins. If somehow UCLA pulls off the upset, you will have a 7-6 team from the PAC 12 in a BCS game.

Right now, the at-large bids are predicted to be Houston and Michigan. Michigan, while 10-2, is currently ranked 16th and didn’t even make it to its conference championship game. How does that make sense?

It gets even stranger with the top 2 teams in the country. Alabama is currently #2 and is done with its season. Its only loss was to #1 Auburn, but they finished second in their division and are not playing in their conference championship game. It is unlikely that Alabama will move from the #2 spot after the games this weekend. Auburn, currently ranked #1, plays #12 Georgia in the SEC championship game this weekend. If Georgia wins, they get a BCS automatic birth. The consensus is that if Auburn loses, they would not drop lower than #2, meaning Alabama moves up to #1 (most likely). This sets up a national championship game where neither of the teams involved won their conference.

I don’t care if they are the 2 best teams in the country. If college football wants to have this stupid setup for a championship and all of these mega conferences with conference championship games, teams should be excluded from playing in the national championship games if they can’t win their conference.

Huskies and Being Ranked in the Top 25

By Blaidd Drwg

Hey, the Huskies are ranked! Good for them, but before you get excited and start booking you tickets for a BCS bowl, the Huskies are probably going to make their top 25 appearance a brief one. While 5-1 is a nice start of the season, they have really beaten no one of any consequence – They managed to squeak by Eastern Washington, a FCS team with a 3-4 record and Hawaii, a team that traditionally does not play well on the road, in their first two home games. They then got lit up by Nebraska on the road. They have since strung together wins against Cal, Utah and Colorado who are a combined 0-9 in Pac12 Play. Not exactly facing murderer’s row with that lineup. They now have to play Stanford on the road and this has the potential to get ugly folks. Here’s why:

The Huskies currently rank 77th in the nation in points allowed, giving up 28.5 a game. The only two teams in the top 40 in the nation in scoring they have faced are Nebraska and Hawaii, who hung a combined 83 points on the defense. Stanford currently ranks 5th in the nation in scoring – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they put up 50 on the Huskies defense. The Huskies offense has only faced one top 25 defense – Utah and only managed 24 points against them (they did score 31 total – one touchdown was on a fumble return). Stanford’s defense is ranked 5th in the nation and has been locking down opponents all season. I just don’t see the Huskies putting up more than 21 against the Cardinal. The short version, the Huskies can’t win the game if they can’t stop Stanford and I just don’t see it happening. My prediction Stanford wins going away 49-24.

On the bright side, the Huskies still have the benefit of playing in a very weak conference and should end up the season 8-4 or 9-3. Of their remaining games, they only have a real challenge in Stanford, Oregon and USC (they luckily avoid having to play Arizona St.) and they should roll over on Arizona, Oregon St. and Wazzu who are just a combined 5-13 and not very good.