Marshawn Lynch on Yardbarker

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, November 26th, 2007

Hopefully he’ll write up more than his old QB Nate Longshore. [Yardbarker]

My Poll of 25…and BCS Projections, Week 14

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Figures that the moment I put Kansas and LSU in the title game, both of them lose. What a great season it’s been for a college football fan. Well, at least for one who doesn’t gamble like a square (that’s actually every season, but you know what I mean).

Submit your Top 25 (or 20 or 10 or 5, whatever is in your reach) and BCS Projections in the comments.

1. Missouri (11-1). I really like Missouri. Solid team on both sides of the ball. They came out in that Kansas game and took that game by the throat, forcing the Jayhawks into catchup for three quarters. Really like Chase Daniel too–that’s going to be one tough foe for their bowl opponent to knock out.
Destiny: Win the Big 12 title and they’re in the title game; lose and they could disturbingly be in the Cotton Bowl. So don’t lose Tigers.

2. West Virginia (10-1). I have to admit, a Missouri-WV title game would be exciting to me. Just not terribly exciting to anyone else.
Destiny: Win a home game with decrepit Pitt and they hit the title game; lose and they’re sticking oranges in their mouth a la Vito Corleone.

3. Georgia (10-2). I always like teams that finish well. After what seemed to be a season-ending blowout at Tennessee, they have crushed Florida, Auburn, and Kentucky, and dusted off a brief challenge from Georgia Tech. But they need tons of help to get in
Destiny: Will need to hope Tennessee beats LSU (for strength of schedule), or both Missouri and West Virginia losing to somehow sneak into the title mix. Some permutation of that. Otherwise will be in a BCS bowl.

4. Ohio State (11-1). If you are rooting for a plodding, methodical BCS title game, by all means root for Missouri or West Virginia to lose next week. Next year this team can compete for a title. Not this year.
Destiny: If Missouri and WV both win, they’ll be in the Rose Bowl. If one loses, title game time. Let the South cringe.

5. Kansas (11-1). Fiesta Bowl? Top ten finish to the regular season? Solid year, methinks. Just not a title contender.
Destiny: Start packing for Arizona, fighting Manginos.

6. LSU (10-2). Darren McFadden is going to have fun playing with the Patriots next year. He’ll be a great backup quarterback.
Destiny: Taste that Sugah. Chances at title game slim to none unless they win the SEC title by 70 points.

7. Virginia Tech (10-2). The fact that Virginia Tech is ranked above LSU in the computers with the same record is a little bizarre. Hokies have played some solid ball the past month, but 48-7 still sticks.
Destiny: Win and they’re in the Orange Bowl; lose, and they get a fruitbasket of peaches and Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Outside shot at the title game, but they’d have to PUMMEL Boston College to pass one of the five teams above them, and hope West Virginia and Missouri falter.

After the jump, the non-title contenders.

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Topics: Bowls, College Football, Polls, Predictions | Comments Off on My Poll of 25…and BCS Projections, Week 14

Action Jackson Preview, Week 13 (Cranberry Sauce)

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

With Cal off and a regular season collapse nearing completion, I won’t pay much attention to general football this week. Okay, that’s a lie. But I’m exhausted from readying the offseason posts, so I’m going to sit on my ass and chow down, just like everyone else. I might check in for a special Thanksgiving weekend post or two, but not terribly likely. I’ll be back on Monday with some Big Game material and a clearer rundown of bowl scenarios. Enjoy stuffing your gut with turkey, Golden Bears.

Thursday
USC at Arizona State, 5 PM, ESPN
. For the Rose Bowl edge, depending on what happens with the reeling Ducks and Pac-10 rivalry week. Shaping up to be a lovely Thanksgiving of pigskin with the NFL matchups.

Friday
Nebraska at Colorado, 9 AM, ABC. Farewell Huskers. Enjoy your decade of mediocrity along with the Hurricanes and the Seminoles. Thank small favors you’re not the Irish.
Ole Miss at Miss State, 9:30 AM, Online.
Arkansas at LSU, 11:30 AM, CBS. This should be good for a thousand more heart attacks in the Bayou.
Texas at Texas A&M, 12:30 PM, ABC. If Texas wants in on the BCS, they need to win here and hope Oklahoma blows a gasket in their rivalry game. A win at least assures them a decent venue in San Diego or Dallas. Unless they really want to go to Jacksonville for New Year’s.
Boise St. at Hawaii, 6 PM, ESPN. It’s riding on you Boise State. Statue of Liberties, quadrulple laterals, a wide receiver playing deep safety, ten offensive tackles….or you can just play defense. Do what you can to take down the Rainbows.

Saturday
UConn at West Virginia. 9 AM, ESPN
. For the Big East BCS bid.
Virginia Tech at Virginia, 9 AM, ESPN2.
Tennessee at Kentucky, 10:30 AM, CBS.
Strange how conference tiebreakers work–if Tennessee wins, they win the SEC East; if they lose, it belongs to Georgia.
Oregon at UCLA, 12:30 PM, ABC. Oregon 2007=Cal 2006. Devastating loss early, convicing wins in the middle…only to blow it on a road trip down south when baller Dennis Dixon can’t ride out the storm. Just watch USC beat ASU, break Rudy Carpenter’s leg, turning the USC-UCLA game into a battle for the Pac-10 title. What a fucking bizarre season.
Kansas State at Fresno State, 12:30 PM, ESPN. What a bizarre game to put on national TV. Excuse me if I don’t watch a second of it.
Notre Dame at Stanford, 12:30 PM, ESPN2. As far as three weeks ago, I would have considered this an exercise in pigskin sadism. Now I might be actually scouting for Stanford’s strengths and weaknesses. I do not want to lose the Big Game. It’s all we have left to hang onto.
Oklahoma St. at Oklahoma, 12:30 PM, FSN. Remember when this was an actual rivalry that people cared about? Yeah….
FSU at Florida, 2 PM, CBS. One of those rivalries that was a lot more entertaining ten years ago. Now it’s just Gator beatdowns in the Swamp and an occasional Seminole upset in Doak Campbell. Actually, that’s what it was back then too. Gators playing for New Year’s Day; Tim Tebow playing with a force field encased around his body.
Clemson at South Carolina, 4 PM, ESPN2. Still reeling from that Clemson meltdown last Saturday. The ACC is so shitty, a one man team has now engineered two fourth quarter comebacks against their top two teams.
Wazzu at Washington, 4 PM, FSN. With Wazzu’s obliteration/bowl elimination this weekend, this game means nothing to anyone. It’s all pride for apples.
Alabama at Auburn, 5 PM, ESPN. The Iron Bowl never fails.
Missouri at Kansas, 5 PM, ABC. Would you have thought this rivalry would produce the most meaningful November result of all? No, you wouldn’t.

Topics: College Football, Previews, Sports | Comments Off on Action Jackson Preview, Week 13 (Cranberry Sauce)

Mike Stoops: Double Agent of the Big 12?

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

(This article probably became moot once Oklahoma fell prey to a heavy dose of Lubbock Leaching Saturday night, but hey, Mike held up his end of the bargain.)

There are some who say Oregon’s loss in the desert is karmic justic (cough cough Oklahoma fans). I go the other way on this one: You should be thanking that guy on the sidelines.

[youtube TJ3d1sSsaXw]

Let’s face it. No one thinks this modicum of dignity is really here to compete for a Pac-10 crown. No, Mike Stoops’s job is to ensure that his honest, diligent, class act of a brother Bob doesn’t have to worry about a Pac-10 power taking away a BCS safety bid from Oklahoma. He eliminates one team off the bat (his own) with poor recruiting and no power running (always good for seasonal 1-4 starts), but saves enough moxie and fueling testosterone for that long-lasting November upset that makes sure Oklahoma is in great shape.

Let’s break down this hairbrained theory more closely.

2004: Oklahoma rolls to 12-0 and the national title game; big brother Stoops doesn’t need that much help. Mike nevertheless goes 2-1 in November after a glorious 1-7 start, including snatching away the Territorial Cup from a decent Arizona State squad. Not really a good indicator year, considering how Jason White ran over the conference.

2005: Oklahoma loses an early game to UCLA. In order for his brother to avoid rematch with UCLA in the Holiday Bowl (because a one-loss Bruin team who would eventually get trampled by USC would have been consigned to Sun Bowl exile), Mike Stoops’s 2-6 Wildcats go into the Rose Bowl and trounce a BCS-bound UCLA team 52-14, sending them to El Paso. This could also be considered the moment when Bruins Nation turned on Karl Dorrell. Bob Stoops is saved an ignominious rematch and knocks out (guess who) Brady Leaf and Oregon, 21-14 in San Diego.

2006: For the third year in a row, Oklahoma put themselves in the BCS hole by losing to Texas and getting jobbed in Oregon. Of course, 3-5 Mike Stoops could not let this stand. Quickly he disposed of the two possible BCS at-large bids from the Pac-10 (Wazzu and Cal), and then routed Oregon at Autzen. Luckily, a late Texas collapse propelled Oklahoma to the Big 12 title, and Mike Stoops took the pedal off the wheel to avoid respectability, getting knocked around by Arizona.

2007: Oklahoma stumbles against Colorado, knocking them out of the title race for all of two weeks. 2-6 Arizona quickly makes their move, knocking off UCLA from the Pac-10 leadership and then rambling all over Oregon in the sloppiest upset ever to keep their faint bowl hopes alive. Of course, Oklahoma shits the bed against Texas Tech, almost certainly knocking them out of a BCS title game. So with Oklahoma now in control of their own fate (win out and they’re in a BCS bowl, lose one more and they can book tickets for Dallas, Jacksonville or San Diego), Arizona will likely take the gears off and get smashed in the Territorial Cup again.

Yeah, does that seem like a coincidence? Now you must be thinking, correlation does not imply causation. However, college football is not a place where logic is considered. How else would this dunderhead be capable of manipulating space and time?

[youtube QJYajDpGVLw]

Mike Stoops, fucking over his team, and then fucking over the Pac-10. See you next year, you conniving bastard.

Action Jackson Preview, Week 13 (BCS Scenarios)

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend has always been my favorite week of pure college football, long before I became a Golden Bear fan. The weather still has the last crisps of fall before the cold winter months set in. And the most beautiful part is that only one team (Ohio State) has secured a BCS bid. We have eleven spots up for grabs!

This week the answers start to take formation though; we might be very close to figuring out who belongs and who doesn’t, as the nightmare scenarios for a national title game for FOX start emerging out of the woodworks (West Virginia-Kansas and Ohio State-Missouri are improbable but possible scenarios). Despite the misery of the Bears, as a college football fan, I’ve really really enjoyed this season. Watching a college football team plod to 13-0 isn’t terribly fun, and seeing fantastically ridiculous scenarios like this one play out. Here are the BCS implications and predictions (and I predict all my predictions will be wrong).

SEC: LSU of course has the prettiest road, and can probably clinch their ticket to the Superdome (for at least the Sugar Bowl) with a win on Friday at Arkansas, and can lock up their date in the Title game by beating the SEC East champ. Tennessee controls their destiny–win out, and they’re going to the BCS party, maybe the Orange, most likely the Fiesta. Another loss sends them to a New Year’s Bowl. Georgia needs to hope Kentucky beats up the Vols to get into the SEC title game, and they have to win out and hope for some major help above them to get to the title game.

Yet even if Tennesse doesn’t make it, Georgia might be better off not getting pounded into the ground by LSU. Because, horrifyingly enough, a third loss for the Bulldogs paves the way for…

…Florida, amazingly still has a sliver of a chance at the Sugar Bowl if they beat the Seminoles, but they’re going to have to hope (1) Tennessee loses at Kentucky, (2) Georgia loses the SEC Championship game, and probably (3) Georgia loses at Georgia Tech. I can certainly see (1) or (2) happening, but (3)? Oh wait, this is the season where nothing that’s supposed to happen happens. Start Gator chomping, Swamp faithful.
BCS qualifiers: LSU (title game), Georgia (Sugar)

Big 12: Behind LSU stands the showdown of Free Mason states. Oklahoma’s fall to the Leach boys now puts the Kansas-Missouri a showdown for the title game: The winner is almost guaranteed an at-large bid–win the Big 12 Championship Game against either Oklahoma (who has to beat Oklahoma State), or Texas (needing an Oklahoma loss to leapfrog them) and get ready for New Orleans. And you know FOX has been waiting all year to pump up that Missouri-LSU national title game.

The loser of next week’s showdown is still in pretty good shape to make the BCS though, as long as the winner beats off the Big 12 South champ. There won’t be much of a precipitous fall for either team as long as the game is not a rout, and it’s either. The road for Oklahoma and Texas is simple: Win out, with the Longhorns needing a Sooner collapse against their State rivals. However, neither team looks especially likely to pull off anything but the Cotton Bowl. God, championship games are stupid.
BCS qualifiers: Kansas, Missouri (winner in the title game, loser in the Fiesta)

The Big East can secure their bid on Saturday morning in the West Virginia-UConn game. West Virginia wins one more and they secure a BCS bid. If they win out, they have to hope the Kansas-Missouri winner LOSES to Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 title game, OR LSU loses one more. Otherwise, they can probably pack for Miami. If UConn pulls off the upset in Morgantown, they go to the Orange Bowl, and WV probably packs for El Paso. Have fun with that…UCLA? I dunno who goes here.
BCS Qualifier: West Virginia (Orange).

In the Pac-10
, the winner of Arizona State-USC has the inside track for at least the Rose Bowl; UCLA is eliminated with an Arizona State win, a devastated Oregon can retake control of their destiny with a USC win–and of course Oregon and UCLA square off this Saturday.

Of all the teams, the Sun Devils seem to be in the best shape; even a loss against USC still leaves them in very good shape for a BCS bowl by winning the Territorial Cup, and a win over the Trojans leapfrogs them over the Buckeyes and into the national title discussion. However, they will need at least three teams above them–Kansas, LSU, West Virginia, Missouri–to go down. Not likely at all, but you never know.

The Trojans need one more Oregon loss to take control of their Pac-10 destiny; win out and they’re heading back to the Rose Bowl. The enfeebled Ducks need Arizona State to lose to get to the Rose Bowl, but even winning out keeps them alive for an at-large bid. Unfortunately, now down to only Jonathan Stewart, it’s going to be tough for that offense to move the ball at UCLA and Oregon State, both of whom will present severe difficulties for a worn down defense and a now immobile offense. And the Bruins–the fucking Bruins–need to win out and the Sun Devils to collapse to get to the Rose Bowl. Yes, a 7-5 Bruins team can feasibly win the Pac-10. That scenario will probably make everyone at Bruins Nation start to uncontrollably sob.
BCS: USC (Rose), Arizona State (Fiesta)

The ACC, thankfully, has almost no shot at New Orleans (now watch seven BCS teams drop games and plop up Virginia Tech). The Virginia Tech-Virginia winner plays Boston College for a shot at the Orange Bowl. In any case I’m completely ignoring the ACC, since our likely Emerald Bowl opponent will almost certainly not be on TV.
BCS: Virginia Tech (Orange)

Elsewhere: Looming on the outside is Hawaii, whose date with the BCS seems closer than ever. At 15th, the Rainbows are coming closer to controlling their own fate by winning out against Boise State and Washington. With Virginia-Virginia Tech dueling and USC-ASU also battling, the losers likely fall below them and pave the way for Hawaii to jump into the BCS race, most likely the Sugar or the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State has faint hopes if they beat Hawaii, but they’re going to have to hope for epic collapse above them. Teams that would really love to see Hawaii fall? Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Oregon.

BCS: Hawaii (Sugar)

The Big Ten is done. Ohio State will be locked in for the Rose Bowl. I don’t really see the Buckeyes making it back to the title game barring drastic collapse; Arizona State, Georgia, Virginia Tech or USC will probably leapfrog them if other teams fall.

Still nearly 20 teams vying for 11 spots. Commence the bloodbath.

Report Card, Cal-UW

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, November 18th, 2007

California Washington Football

Quarterback: B. After the horrors of last week, Nate turned in his most solid performance since Oregon on Saturday, seemingly putting to rest any speculation on whether that ankle was fully healed. Although Washington is not USC, 20-28 for 3 scores and 1 INT against any defense is supremely efficient. He did throw the pick early that gave the Huskies a huge cushion TD though, and as the game wore on he did miss on a few crucial passes (underthrowing Jordan on a sure TD that instead turned into the field goal). That delay of game near the end just made me sigh–although I was reassured by Nate’s overall performance, he still hasn’t proven he can lead a team back.

Running back: B+. What hasn’t been said about Forsett? Guy’s a horse, and played strong through the 3rd quarter before finally getting plowed over by a well-rested Washington D. Montgomery again didn’t show much (didn’t have time to show much), but we really missed Best today–drives stalled everytime Justin tired out, and the Bears didn’t have that solid second option to spell him.

Receivers: B-. Lavelle Hawkins might be a fine NFL receiver one day, and certainly had his fair share of good catches, but only if he learns how to catch with his hands. All those incomplete attempts at body catches (I think 3 in all), plus his crucial fumble late really cost the Bears. Jordan stepped up huge with that huge catch on Longshore’s underthrow when Jackson went out (DeSean himself did what he could against the Husky secondary), and Stevens and Morrah had nice route on their scores.

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Cal-Washington Liveblog and Open Thread

Posted by: Avinash on Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Watching Cal-Washington Online–copy URL on this link and paste it onto your media player (preferably Windows Media Player; go to File–>Open URL and then paste there)

I’ll be watching some of the game on TV and will try my best to be humorous and uplifting. Because after all, it’s only a game. Hell, I might even make some jokes. What else can you do when you’re playing for peanuts?

All reports are that Locker will not be starting, making a decisive victory all the more imperative for the Golden Bears going into the Big Game. Tedford has not lost to UW. Let’s keep it that way.

1:02: Awesome; we’re making Rankin look like Adrian Peterson. 7-0 Huskies. Our best defense is the wet turf.

1:07: Wow. 14-0. Apparently Cal decided its best move was to put in second and third stringers and pull the D-line. Great idea, because they get plowed off the field on a slightly longer possession. So they’re sturdier at giving up 7 points! Ha-ha, made a funny!

1:23: Naturally, Cal strikes back, 14-6. Very nice drive, certainly the best Longshore has thrown since Oregon. But it’s also the 1st quarter, and this is Washington. Naturally, we follow it up by botching the extra point snap and giving up 35 yards on the kickoff return. Sweet.

1:26: Very nice stop by the Cal defense, with great coverage and pressure on that 3rd down possession. The thing with Washington is that they’re a three quarter team; if you only play them for 45 minutes this year, they’ll probably pull it out or hang tight. But there’s that pesky 4th quarter that overwhelms them. By the end, their legs are pretty shot.

(Of course, not seeing Jake Locker lineup here always helps. Still disgusted by that end of 1st quarter score.)

1:45: Very strong second drive by the Bears. Longshore finally looks back to normal. Well, that, and this Washington defense really really sucks. 14-13. As for the defense, they’ve found a nice strategy for stopping the offense–stopping the run. Really novel concept. Another three and out.

1:47: Everyone’s in a tizzy that Jackson sat on the bench dejected for most of the game. He’s been doing that all year guys. He’s thinking how far his draft stock drops with every mediocre performance (only three good ones all year). Come back next year man! It’ll be tops!

1:49: I am Nate Longshore, and I do not fear the zone! I will throw it right into your defender and I dare him to catch it! Another pick straight to the linebacker. You can guess what’s coming next…

1:51: Run, run, run, TD. 21-13 Washington. *rolls eyes*

2:00: Ugh, is DeSean hurt? I can’t really tell. He’s been pulling this wincing/moaning act all year. I do this all the time in Ultimate Frisbee, so it’s hard for me to believe he’s hurt (that knee buckle looks tough, but it doesn’t look awful).

2:05: Defensive pressure is an interesting concept. Usually it makes it tough for the quarterback to make good decisions in the pocket. Glad to see Bob Gregory has discovered it in time for ensuring bowl eligibility. Punt.

2:09: Awesome call on 3rd and 6 on the run draw to Forsett for 60 some yards. We ran it last week, it bites again this week. Followed up by the excellent TD throw to Montgomery. This is a combination of great blocking and running and terrible defense. You take what you can get at this point. 21-20.

2:16: Great stop by the Bears! Now you can take the ball back, take a shot or two, kneel on the ball if it doesn’t work…oh God Hampton, what are you doing? LET IT GO!

2:22: TD off a strange Bonnell throw, but nice grab up in the air by Reece to haul down the score 28-20. 14 points off turnovers for a weak Bears defense. You can’t make mistakes on offense and special teams like that. You just can’t. This defense isn’t strong enough to hold up on a short field. We’ve seen this all year, especially on the road.

2:32: Thought they would throw down the field, but I guess Longshore really can’t throw deep anymore, kneeling down to end the half. Another frustrating half of Cal football, although I’ve seen so much of them this past month that I sort of take it in stride (Aw shucks, we’re trailing to one of the bottom-dwellers in the Pac-10 at the half? I guess it’s sadder that I’m not too shocked.)

2:55: I haven’t watched much Husky football this year, but I’ve seen enough. So I’m a little surprised that no one touted Louis Rankin as the second coming of Archie Griffin. 220 yards on 19 carries. That’s run defense of a special kind my friends. The losing kind. Thankfully, the Huskies still have no idea how to pass protect, giving up the sack to Follett. Field goal makes it 31-20.

3:00: I can see why Tedford is concerned with letting Nate air that ball out. Longshore’s sure TD ball floats and looks way underthrown for Jordan, adjusting well to make a great catch. Against better secondaries that’s either an incompletion or a pick. Thankfully, these are the Huskies.

3:05: Our run blocking at the goal line always makes me weary. Where the hell did the holes go? Forsett runs into the line and then gets mauled on 2nd and goal. Field goal makes it 31-23. So many points in so little time. Head floating. Eyes dilating.

3:09: I keep on thinking if Jake Locker was in this game, we’d be down by 20. I also think that if Jake Locker was in this game, he’d have broken three more bones in his body. Bonnell overthrows, then underthrows. Punt.

3:13: Quick stop by the Husky defense, who force Longshore to throw it up and away, with some nice containment of Forsett. I’m not liking this–the Bears need to keep this at one score to keep the ground game going. Longshore dependency never ends well.

3:25: I knew we’d gone too far in this game without a ref hosejob. Intentional grounding completely ignores the fact that Bonnell threw a lateral backwards, which should have been a fumble recovery for the Bears. Instead the Huskies throw a bomb to Ellis over the freshman Conte, which sets up 3 more points, 34-23. Oh Pac-10 refs, why must you always shine on those silly Huskies. First Yvenson Bernard, now this.

3:30: Fumble on Hawkins which was clearly caused by the ground–so it’s not a fumble. Of course the spineless morons officiating this game will never have the backbone to overturn it. Which they don’t. Could we really be heading to the Armed Forces Bowl?

3:37: Great stand on 4th and short. The Cal offense rewards the defense by getting a holding and a personal foul to get to 2nd and 32. Bears fans are rewarded to the sight of Forsett limping off. Maybe we should start setting the tree-hippies on fire. Certainly that will appease the football gods and realign karma in our favor.

3:47: Punt return by the Huskies goes 40 yards to the Husky 11; although the punt returner steps out of bounds. Perhaps we should just let Washington run TDs into the end zone and then come back and convert TDs for 2 point conversions; we can cut into the lead more quickly that way, one point at a time. I think it’d be a groundbreaking strategy. Field goal makes it 37-23.

3:56: Is Longshore going to take flak for losing this game? Probably–he did throw one pick that could be the difference in the end. But overall this has been his best game since Oregon. Hawkins has dropped a few balls too, including the crucial 3rd and 22 ball that needed to be reined in.

4:00: Want to look like the next Marcus Allen? By all means, sign up to play Cal! You can run through the tackles, you can break through the tackles, you can discover deep holes, and then just keep on moving those feet! Scamper all the way! The offensive line just needs to move forward a little and the D-line will oblige by falling to the ground!

Someone named Brandon Johnson has just run over 100 yards. The Huskies have 328 on the game. All this without Jake Locker. I should have just spent the past three and a half hours staring at dog shit. It would have been way more enlightening and far more productive.

EDIT: I didn’t even mention the fact that Washington got the ball to start BOTH halves because of a brainfart by our captain. Result? 10 points. It’s been that sort of season.

37-23, Washington. Report card tomorrow. After that…a nice long two week break from Cal football. Thank God.

Who Could Our Bowl Opponents Be? (Sun and Elsewhere)

Posted by: Avinash on Friday, November 16th, 2007

sunbowl

We covered the Emerald possibilities yesterday–onto the other prospects, examining mainly the complexity of the Sun Bowl choice. Most of these possibilities are burning alive with Oregon’s predictable collapse in the desert. Better pencil in San Francisco, but this is just in case.

You can vote in the sidebar for the conference you’d like to see, based on these two previews of non-information.

Sun Bowl

Onto El Paso, which is certainly not out of reach. Usually a Big East #2 or Big 12 #6 team rotates this spot. Since a Big 12 team took the spot last year (Missouri), it’s probably the Big East’s turn. To be honest, I’m a little wary of the Sun Bowl, not only because of the fact that it’s El Paso, but because the teams we could face have a much more legitimate chance of beating us than our Emerald adversary.

[TABLE=6]

Usually the Sun Bowl gives the second best tie-in. For the Big East #2 spot, there are three teams with the best prospects: West Virgina, UConn and Cincinnati.

Cincinnati seems to end up here, assuming West Virginia runs the table and beats them and UConn. They beat up Oregon State by 31, tore apart Rutgers, South Florida and UConn. But they also lost to painful Pitt, whose head coach continues to be Wannstastic in college as he was in the pros. I’m going to guess they’re like the UCLA of the Big East–they get up for the big games and then lose head scratchers. So I’m firmly convinced will be entrenched in a dogfight against this team. Powerful offense, strong ground defense–the sort of team that we’ve struggled with all year long. Wooo!

UConn is an interesting possibility if they hold on and Cincinnati loses another game (their West Virginia game this Saturday being the toughest). I’d be much happier to face off against the Huskies than the Bearcats, since (1) UConn will send even less fans than Cal, and (2) their offense is much much weaker, as in I have no idea who their QB is. They do give up a lot of yards, but seem to keep the points low.

I sure as hell do not want to face West Virginia, who would drop here with losses to either Cincinnati or UConn. Pat White is the Dennis Dixon of the Big East, and that defense is rock solid, giving up barely 270 yards per game and 94 on the ground. Would be a nightmarish New Year’s Eve present to face the likely raging Big East contender.

The darkhorse in this race (and it’s a really black steed) is Pitt, who would have to win two of their last three to even be bowl-eligible, which includes at Rutgers, South Florida at home, and at West Virginia. Yeah, that’s not happening. Too bad. It’d have been fun to beat up on Dave Wannstache.

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Action Jackson Preview, Week 12

Posted by: Avinash on Thursday, November 15th, 2007

dennisdixon

Welcome to the calm before the storm. A relatively light week in college football, which probably means the #1 and #2 teams both go down again (hey look, I’m half-right so far!). December can’t come quickly enough for BCS opportunists. Cal-UW is at 12:30 on ABC, but here’s what else is on tap.

Thursday

Oregon at Arizona, 6 PM, ESPN. Trap game? If this was the week after ASU, I’d say so, but Dixon should be back to full strength by Saturday. On the other hand, Mike Stoops is half man, half season, the Vince Carter of the Pac-10. Starts weak, gets eliminated from bowls, then roars to a strong second half and another stellar 5-7 season. Good work Stoops. Can’t wait to see you next year–gag.

Friday

Hawaii at Nevada, 8 PM, ESPN. Ahh, WAC Fridays, what would I do without you. I root for 100 points.

Saturday

Ohio St at Michigan, 9 AM, ABC. Hatred. Anger. Pain. History. Rose Bowl. Keith Jackson. Wait…no Keith? Sigh.

[youtube sTSvbv9uLlY]

Purdue at Indiana, 9 AM, ESPN. The Big Ten game everyone’s been waiting for!

Syracuse at UConn, 9 AM, ESPN2. Huskies still control their destiny–stomping over the Orangemen could do quite a bit.

Missouri at Kansas State, 9:30 AM, FSN. A trap game obvious to anyone who’s been watching this year.

Kentucky at Georgia, 9:30 AM, Online. Last big test for Georgia. Kentucky ready to play spoiler these last two weeks. Gators openly rooting for them the whole way.

LSU at Ole Miss, 12:30 PM, CBS. Let’s see how Les Miles turns this into a two TD comeback.

Penn St. at Michigan St., 12:30 PM, ESPN. Lord.

Oregon St. at Washington St., 3:30 PM, FSN. If you want Cal in the Sun Bowl, root for Wazzu. If you want Cal to stay in the Emerald Bowl, get some Beaver fever.

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Oklahoma St. at Baylor, 4 PM, FSN. Oh man, ever felt the excitement for a Baylor game?

BC at Clemson, 4:45, ESPN. Seemed a lot more interesting two weeks ago. Would be nice to see Clemson start sticking nails into the coffin. Or gags into Matt Ryan’s puke-prone mouth. Either would work.

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West Virginia at Cincinnati, 4:45, ESPN. Even if the Buckeyes falter, BCS hopes are well and alive in Ohio–if Cincinnati can crush up on West Virginia.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 5 PM, ABC. Mike Leach in primetime, ready to spoil up Stoopsie. Oh, the entertainment just writes itself.

Who Could Our Bowl Opponents Be (Emerald)?

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

emerald bowlWell, guess what. After bashing the conference for weeks, it looks like I’ll be watching ACC football these next two weeks. What goes around comes around I guess.

Here are the likelihood of bowls, in order: Emerald Bowl (most likely), Sun Bowl (possible), Las Vegas (doubtful), Holiday Bowl (pipe dream). If Ragnarok is correct, by all likelihood, the Emerald Bowl is in our sights, because you know UCLA is going to pull some amazing shit and beat either Oregon or USC. However, if UCLA loses out, and Oregon State loses one of its last two, AND we win out, then there’s a good probability we go to the Sun Bowl. Certainly looks likely, but whatever, this year has been anything but predictable in the Pac-10.

So I’m going to take a look at the top 3 bowls, post by post. Time to roll our possibilities out.

Emerald
So we’d get the ACC #5/#6/#7 this year, which just seems completely unfair on paper. Of course UCLA completely embarrassed the conference last year by spotting 44 to turgid Florida State, but that is why Karl Dorrell is Karl Dorrell. I actually think the Sun Bowl is still within our reach, although I’m sure most Cal fans would prefer to lose at Washington and stay in San Francisco then spending New Year’s Eve in male escort-friendly El Paso.

Who’s currently battling it out in there for sub-mediocrity in the consistently medicore Atlantic Coast Conference?

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fsusluttyCurrently occupying the positions are Wake Forest, NC State, and Florida State. We can probably count out the Seminoles–they were here last year, and I don’t think the Emerald wants a repeat ACC team. Nevertheless, if Florida State does return, fresh off their second year of phasing out academics, I’ll be a little concerned–their run D is top-notch, giving up only 100 yards a game. Of course, considering the quality of ACC running backs of late, this probably doesn’t mean too much.
Naturally, FSU has its own troubles running the ball (120 yards per game–their leading rusher averages around a superb 65), and getting into the end zone (24 points per game), but they keep their opponents out too (20 points per game)–a typical, plodding, 21st century Bobby Bowden season. Plus it’d be fun to see the appropriately named De’Cody Fagg march into Castro on a Saturday night.

Naturally, as a childhood Gator fan, I would love to crush the Seminoles and their moronic fans. USC fans might be empty, but FSU fans are worthless. These are the people that make NASCAR a legit sport. I despise this team.

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