Sunday, September 28, 2003

The bad news is, after a win like yesterday's, Tedford certainly can be assured that the pros will come a'calling. Perhaps the most surprising thing was, CAL's 34-31 win in triple OT was no fluke; the Bears completely outplayed USC in the first half, allowed the Trojans to remain in the game with some costly interceptions, but prevented them from making any of the patented big plays on offense that might have broken CAL's back. Echemandu had perhaps the biggest rushing performance in Berkeley since Russell White, and both QB's stood out. And most critically, Tyler Frederickson's 51-yard kick in the 4th quarter reclaimed the lead for the Bears just when it seemed USC might pull away after scoring two quick third quarter touchdowns, and his field goal in the third overtime, after two previous kicks were blocked, was uber-clutch. GO BEARS !!!

As a post-script, I thought I would print an e-mail received from my shaved-head compadre from Joxer Daly's, Matt C.:
First let me congratulate you on a fine Cal victory. You just cost us a shot at a national title and perhaps the Rose Bowl. A few thoughts:

1. I had no idea how this game would go beforehand but I was 100% sure that it would be trouble for S.C.
2. I'm not even going to attempt to spell your running back's name but suffice to say he's a badass.
3. Your starting QB puts up 21 first half points and basically shreds the "great" S.C. defense and gets pulled. Keep him in the game and it doesn't go to overtime.
4. Matt Leinart sucks.
5. We were way overrated and I suspected as much.
6. I'm a conservative, which usually makes me right, but the word has no place on the football field especially when deep in the opponent's territory and down by three, not one or two but three. Three consecutive rushes to set up a possibility that your kicker will kick you into overtime? S.C. was in that position because of the pass.
7. The "great" Norm Chow(box) cost us that game.
8. Our secondary couldn't cover a bed.

Since it's too early to comment on Smythe's World, and I'm sure you'll have something to say about the game, I was wondering if you couldn't somehow transfer this e-mail into your comments section. For I have neither the patience nor the desire to type this whole thing up again.

Again, congratulations on a fine victory Mr. Smythenheimer, I'm off to what used to be known as "the happiest little place on Earth" so I can get knee deep into about 33 gallons of alcoholic libations. I deserve it after watching that debacle.

Love always, Matt.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The NCAA has denied the ACC's request for a waiver from the 12-team limit for conference title games. This decision means that 1) the ACC will hunt for another team, possibly Notre Dame, more likely East Carolina or Central Florida, to fill up its quota, and 2) the Big Ten will also have to expand if it wants to hold a title game.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Yeah, right: The judge assigned to hear the criminal case against Maurice Clarett is the son of former Buckeye head coach Woody Hayes.

Monday, September 15, 2003

An utterly nondescript Saturday of college football, with the exception of Michigan's stunning 38-0 rout of Notre Dame. For those who've already penciled the Wolverines in as a no-brainer in the Sugar Bowl, remember that they must face Oregon (this week) and Iowa on the road, and Ohio State and Purdue at home, before they complete their season. Speaking of the Buckeyes, they escaped with yet another close shave at home, 44-38 [OT], this time to North Carolina St., and fell another spot in the rankings, while Florida St. rallied late to edge Georgia Tech, 14-13. The national title aspirations of Texas and Wisconsin ended with shock losses at home, to Arkansas and UNLV, respectively.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Three hot games later today: Arkansas travels to Austin to renew their heated rivalry with longtime Southwest Conference foe Texas; Ohio State tries to rebound from a flaccid effort last week, and overcome the season-long suspension of Maurice Clarett, by hosting the Wolfpack of NC State (another blogger predicts a 22-19 Buckeye victory); and Michigan attempts to avenge its first loss of last season against Notre Dame.

Two games worth examining for potential upsets: Fresno State travels to number-one ranked Oklahoma in an attempt to solidify its reputation as one of the most fearless road opponents in college football, and Hawaii makes a rare non-conference trip to the mainland to face U.S.C., which struggled to hold on last week against B.Y.U. The evening features a rematch of the game that sent the Nebraska Cornhusker program into the toilet last year, against Penn State, and UCLA attempts to win its first game for Karl Dorrell versus Illinois at the Rose Bowl.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

If I live to be a hundred (or even forty, assuming I can last out another month), I may never see a better football game than last night's battle between Florida and Miami, won by the Hurricanes, 38-33. It featured just about everything, from a long punt return for a touchdown to several big plays by the Florida offense to a huge comeback, from 23 points down, in the second half by Miami. In between there was a stunning breach of etiquette by KJ Winslow, who after scoring mid-way through the final quarter to bring Miami within two points, taunted the Gator fans in the end zone, inflicting an unsportsmanlike conduct flag from the officials and moving the 'Canes out of range for the 2-pointer that would have tied the game. Didn't matter, in the long run.

All sorts of other terrific games, as well, including what would have been a monumental upset in Columbus, a near scare at the Colisseum, and another big comeback, this time in the more predictable locale of South Bend. More later.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

The usually-excellent conservative legal blog, Volokh Conspiracy, had this unfortunate cheap shot yesterday on the Alabama budget crisis. Quoting the nation's paper of record:
The Horror!

After the rally at Troy State, Lucy Skellett, a sophomore cheerleader, explained how the budget woes affected her. Last year, the cheerleading squad got to travel with the football team. This year, there is no money for away games.

"Four games," Ms. Skellett said. "That's all we get to cheer now, is four games. You know how hard we work out for that?"

If Alabamians won't vote for a $1.2 billion tax increase to help out Ms. Skellett ... well, I'm just speechless. Oh, the humanity!
As an unabashed and unapologetic fan of cheerleaders and cheerleading, I feel it incumbent to defend the honor of Lucy Skellett and the rest of her teammates on the Troy State squad. Unlike college football and basketball players, cheerleaders don't get paid for what they do. A great deal of work and practice goes into it, and their only reward (besides an improvement in their social life) is to hear the third-rate cracks from the geeks and nerds they won't go out with (like me).

More to the point, however, is the fact that this budget cutback is happening at Troy State. Not Alabama. Not Auburn. Troy State. I guarantee you, if the Crimson Tide were forced to cut back on any aspect of its football program due to budget cuts imposed by an outdated tax code, the powers-that-be in that state would rise up, and demand higher taxes !! But since the cutbacks are occurring at a "lesser" state school (no doubt similar sacrifices are going on at the historically black colleges in that state as well), well, we can laugh at the poor girl who has to work her ass off (figuratively speaking) for the honor of being treated like a joke by her home state.

What possible motivation does a school have in agreeing to play Fresno State as a road non-conference opponent?

Speaking of which, the big game tomorrow is Florida v. Miami, at the Orange Bowl. The Gators always did the smart thing under Spurrier: duck the 'Canes, schedule softies from the Big West at Gainesville, maintain their dominance over Tennessee and Georgia, and hope that the big game with State was at home. Believe it or not, while Spurrier was coach, Florida did not win a single non-conference game on the road during the regular season. Here is the ESPN game plan schedule for tomorrow; Over/Under in Santa Monica will have all the games, including pivotal Buffalo at Iowa and Troy St. at Minnesota showdowns, the Ohio State-San Diego State passion play, as well as Miami's anticipated ass-kicking of their hated rivals.

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