LSU players with the Golden Boot, I believe after last year’s game.
I updated the records in my LSU/Arkansas blog and added a brief game summary for the game yesterday (this was originally published on 11/30).
I didn’t realize it until after the game was played (although I knew changes were coming), but this was sort of a bittersweet ending for the LSU-Arkansas “black Friday” tradition. Granted, it’s not much of a tradition as compared to Ohio St.-Michigan and so forth, but with LSU playing Arkansas at the end of the year (the day after Thanksgiving the vast majority of the time) the last 2/3 of my life is meaningful to me. I remember LSU playing Tulane annually, but I don’t remember that game being one to get excited about. (I was a toddler the last time Tulane beat LSU and barely a teenager when the annual series was canceled.)
Of course, I’m glad LSU won this last game, but I’m also glad Arkansas represented themselves well. It wasn’t good for my nerves, but it just wouldn’t have felt proper for this to be an easy win. I mention in my blog how often in the last 13 years it’s been a close game, so this was fitting. I wouldn’t mind if Arkansas got a good team again, but sometimes there are too many good teams in the SEC, especially as long as LSU has to play Florida every year along with the SEC West slate. The Gators will be back too.
I also liked that LSU usually played Arkansas in Little Rock since the campus was less lively with it being Thanksgiving weekend. I imagine LSU people who traveled to the games liked them being closer as well. The late great George Carlin did a bit about football vocabulary versus baseball. Baseball is played at a park. Football is played on the gridiron in places like Soldier Field and War Memorial Stadium (which is what they call the one in Little Rock). I went to my first game at the L.A. Colliseum last year. There is just something special about stadiums like that. “War”, as I understand the locals call it, was built around 20 years later, but it’s a similar type of severe concrete architecture. I think the Arkansas fans treated it as something special as well.
If I had my druthers, the last four SEC opponents would be Ole Miss (on or around Halloween), Alabama, Mississippi St., and Arkansas, but no such luck. Whether I like it or not (it has its good points, to be honest), Texas A&M and Missouri have joined the SEC, so now there is that to contend with. Before last year, when LSU played Texas A&M (back in the mid-1990s and before), it was in early September; but that doesn’t work now, especially now that we’ve often been playing one of the neutral-site kickoff games. (Next year, LSU will start the season against Wisconsin in Houston.)
I can understand it, and it will probably work out though. We’ve played Auburn (often in September, but Mississippi St. and the non-conference slate will bump them to the first week of October next season) and Florida (usually in the second week of October) early on in recent years, and we don’t need another big game so early in the year. Also, Texas A&M lost their traditional Thanksgiving game with Texas, so they have to play somebody. Missouri should be a good game today; but it’s not a bordering state, and there isn’t a meaningful history between the two schools.
As for Missouri, they’re really out of place being forced into the same division with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in particular, so giving them and Arkansas a close geographic annual rival makes a good bit of sense. Arkansas isn’t the most natural fit in the SEC West either. Their closest divisional opponent is Ole Miss, a six-hour drive away from the Arkansas campus. (Not that LSU is situated that much better in reference to other schools.) Also, interestingly enough, Tom Dienhart, who wrote to argue for Arkansas to join the Big XII seven years ago (he wanted them to kick out Baylor), got one of the match-ups he wanted after all.
Sometimes when I talk about realignment, I’m an advocate for disturbing certain traditions; but I don’t deny that it doesn’t always feel right immediately afterward even if the changes eventually work and the new reality can become an improvement. I mentioned Auburn, for instance. They didn’t have a rivalry with LSU to speak of before 1992 either, but it’s been a fun series too, and it will continue as far as I can tell. (Although to be honest, they might make more sense in the East.)
Arkansas was sort of a replacement for Tulane (even though they overlapped a few years) anyway, and LSU wouldn’t have been playing the Razorbacks every year if it weren’t for the previous SEC expansion. It became a fun, back-and-forth, competitive series like many of the more long-term and consistent rivalries seem to be. I’ll miss that, along with the other quirks I mentioned.
Maybe something similar will develop from the Texas A&M series. The one this year was better as an LSU fan, but maybe there will be some more like last year to entertain the more neutral fans. I hope they make it at night after all the NFL games end. One thing I didn’t like about the Arkansas series was when it was played at home for LSU, it was often one fewer night game. I also wasn’t thrilled that this season’s game against Texas A&M was during the day, not that I wasn’t satisfied with how that one went.
Also, it’s not like LSU will stop playing Arkansas. That game is set for November 15 next year, apparently in Fayetteville. It could still be an important part of the schedule for either team. Not really relevant to LSU, but I also thought it was interesting that the Hogs will play the Aggies in Jerry World in late September.
So I guess this will be the new Thanksgiving week alignment for the SEC teams; I hope it will stick:
LSU-Texas A&M (Thanksgiving Day)
Mississippi St.-Ole Miss
(* = non-conference game)
Many of you probably know where to find my other blogs (such as more detailed rankings discussion) by now, but if you need specific directions, let me know. Everything is published there first.
What a weekend of College Football – this is what it should be like every stinking week!!! For those who want to see the BCS sweat just a little bit, this past CFB weekend was just for you because now it’s utter chaos and could be devastating if Michigan State wins next week over Ohio State. I’m in the minority, but I don’t believe either Florida State OR Ohio State is worthy of the NC Game.
I spent the majority of yesterday and today listening to the bias in favor of Ohio State and I wonder "Really?" So I say OK justify it, and all I get is "Undefeated". OK, fair. So by that standard (and I know Doug hates this) why isn't Northern Illinois in the discussion? They're undefeated. They play a D-1 schedule. So tell me why Ohio State, or for that matter Florida State is more deserving. See my point about how ludicrious that argument is?
Take it a step further: If the decision is that that NIU is unworthy, then what are they or the MAC, MWC, CUSA, Big East, or Sun Belt doing in D-1? Why if they have ZERO chance of being recognized, let alone have an actual chance don't they create their own division?
At first glance, Florida State/Duke might not seem to be a challenge, but…
40 years of watching football and what Auburn did to Alabama at the end I only saw once and that was at a HSFB game.
Did anybody catch that ass-whoopin Arizona State put on Arizona? This is a team who might challenge UCLA next season for sure.
Speaking of being dominated, the Ultra $ucky Cheaters took a beatdown from UCLA, and while I don't care it's significant to see the power shift down south.
My Bowl Picks. This is as of right now:
NC Game: Florida State/Auburn
Rose: Stanford/Ohio State
Fiesta: Oklahoma State/UCF
Cotton: Alabama/Michigan State
My CFB Top 25. No offense, but I’m not ranking four-loss teams. I have respect for SOS, but four losses is four losses. Nobody has a better resume than that.
Auburn (11-1) (4, Won vs. Alabama 34-28). Next: Missouri (SEC Championship Game)
Missouri (11-1) (5, Won vs. TAMU 28-21). Next: Auburn (SEC Championship Game).
Oklahoma State (10-1) (1, Idle). Next up @ Oklahoma 12/7
Florida State (12-0) (2, Won @ Florida 37-7). Next: Duke (ACC Championship Game).
Alabama (11-1) (3, Lost @ Auburn 34-28).
Ohio State (12-0) (6, Won @ Michigan 42-41). Next: vs. Michigan State (Big 10 Championship).
Michigan State (11-1) (8, Won vs. Minnesota 14-3). Next: vs. Ohio State (Big 10 Championship).
Baylor (10-1) (10, Won @ TCU 41-38).
Stanford (10-2) (11, Won vs. Notre Dame 27-20). Next: Arizona State (PAC 12 Championship).
Arizona State (10-2) (14, Won vs. Arizona 58-21). Next: Stanford (PAC 12 Championship Game).
Oregon (10-2) (12, Won vs. Oregon State 36-35). From NC contenders to ugly uniform matchup.
Duke (10-2) (15, Won @ North Carolina 27-25). Next up: Florida State (ACC Championship).
Oklahoma (9-2) (13, Idle). Next up vs. Oklahoma State 12/7
Northern Illinois (12-0, Beat Western Michigan 33-14).
UCLA (8-3) (19, Won @ USC 35-14). This will be a very tough team next season!
Fresno State (10-1) (9, Lost @ San Jose State 62-52). Next up: Utah State (MWC Championship)
LSU (8-3) (17, Won vs. Arkansas 31-27). Once again, prevent defenses prevent wins.
South Carolina (10-2) (21, Won vs. Clemson 31-17).
Clemson (10-2) (7, Lost @ South Carolina 31-17).
UCF (10-1) (22, Won vs. South Florida 23-20).
North Dakota State (10-0) (21, Idle). Hey Big 12, Why not?
Louisville (10-1) (26, Idle). Next 12/5 @ Cincinnati.
Cincinnati (9-2) (23, Idle). Next 12/5 vs. Louisville.
Wellllp. Last week to put it bluntly in the clearest terms and simplest definition, sucked. Ive been prognosticating games for a long time and its been a while since I had so many picks go so diametrically opposite of what I predict. I mean, ive had a below .500 week here and there over the years but 3-10-1? Holy obfuscation Batman! I really blew it. So as we hit the back quarter of the regular season. We have no more byes, full slates of games and good solid analysis and better picks. The odds are being provided by ESPN Scorecenter since my usual reliable source at bodog.net decided to stop posting…the odds are for entertainment and comparison purposes only and though you might get a hot plate if you come to the Hoodwood Hideout on Thanksgiving, you wont get any love if you try to hit me up to cover your bad bets.
NFL WEEK 13
Sunday, December 1
Cardinals (7-4) @ Eagles (6-5)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Eagles by 3
Last Week Cardinals defeated Colts 40-11, Eagles were on a bye
Fast Fact Eagles QB Nick Foles has thrown 199 passes without an interception, the team record is 224 held by Michael Vick.
The aviary team battle is between a pair of surprising teams in contention. Nick Foles has passed with grace and aplomb and has pushed the Eagles back to the forefront of the NFC East, meanwhile with a whole lot less fanfare Carson Palmer has quietly led the Cards into the playoff hunt with solid play and a defense that is a lot better than expected. Most of the time I would say the Western based Cards would be dead meat headed East but I’m not so sure. I still have a hard time trusting Carson Palmer in big games and this one looks to be a big one. Still the Cards defense has been on point the entire season and I think that they make a huge statement.
Pick-Arizona (Upset of the Week)
Bears (6-5) @ Vikings (2-8-1)
Mall of America Field @ HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis 1:00 (FOX)
Last Week Bears lost to Rams 42-21, Vikings played Packers to 26 all tie
Fast Fact Vikings tie was their first in 35 years, which was also against the Packers
Blowing a big lead and played to a tie the Vikings nightmare season slogs on, but the Bears are falling apart fast as the let the Rams just whale on them to the tune of 42 points. Josh McCown is suddenly looking mortal and no one is really sure if Jay Cutler is all the way ready yet. I’m tempted to call the game for the Bears on GP but I recall how the Vikings moved the ball with ease against the Bears in the Midway a couple months ago. I know its bias but I think the Vikings are due and the Bears are simply not as good as many wonks think that they are.
Jaguars (2-9) @ Browns (4-7)
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 CBS
Favorite Browns by 7
Last Week Jaguars defeated Texans 13-6, Browns lost to Steelers 27-11
A couple months ago this game was looking like a battle for the number one pick, especially after the Browns had seemingly surrendered with their trade of Trent Richardson. The Jags looked hopeless for the first two-plus months of the season but have sprung a pair of road upsets against divisional rivals. The Browns offense is what usually betrays them but I think that they will find the sledding fairly easy against the pedestrian Jags defense while the Jags offense will have their hands full with an underrated Browns defense aching to take frustrations out on someone.
Dolphins (5-6) @ NY Jets (5-6)
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Jets by 2½
Last Week Dolphins lost to Panthers 20-16, Jets lost to Ravens 19-3
Fast Fact Jets QB Geno Smith completed 25 passes for the entire month of November, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill completed 28 passes last week against Carolina
This may be a matchup 5-6 teams but both are fighting hard to stay on the edge of the playoff picture. The Dolphins played the Panthers very tough before taking the loss while the grinning jeering buffoon that is Rex Ryan looks more the goof as his teams offense continues to blow hot and cold from week to week and have scored only 17 points in the last two games. I really distrust the Jets on either side because they betray my pick when I take them then play like gangbusters when I don’t. I don’t trust the Dolphins either but they are playing with a little more consistency on both sides of the ball and Ryan Tannehill has played respectably in spite of playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in pro football. I know I’m likely going to regret this because that grinning jeering idiot of a Jets coach usually has one more miracle game to burn me with.
Patriots (8-3) @ Texans (2-9)
Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Patriots by 9
Last Week Patriots defeated Broncos 34-31 in OT, Texans lost to Jaguars 13-6
Fast Fact The Patriots have won 27 of the last 29 in the month of December
The Pats are feeling quite froggy after rallying smartly from a 24-0 deficit to stun the Broncos, the Texans on the other hand thought the season could get no worse but then shamed themselves with a putrid effort in a shocking loss to the Jags and now in last in their division. Tom Brady is playing a whole lot more consistent with Rob Gronkowski to throw to and the Pats defense while not world class is still good enough to bully a team like the Texans who just want it to be all over
Pick-New England (Lock of the Week)
Buccaneers (3-8) @ Panthers (8-3)
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Panthers by 8½
Last Week Buccaneers defeated Lions 24-21, Panthers defeated Dolphins 20-16
Fast Fact Panthers QB Cam Newton has completed 64% of his passes during the Panthers 7 game winning streak and has had four games during the with a QB Rating of 111.0 or better
The Panthers are riding a franchise best seven game win streak and the sparkling play of Cam Newton and an underrated lockdown defense. Coach Ron Rivera played riverboat gambler with gutsy 4th down calls on a couple drives against the Dolphins and came up aces to get the win. Meanwhile the Bucs have been on a nice roll of their own, quieting the butt of joke talk with a 3 game win streak of their own highlighted by a stunning rout of the Lions in Motown. Mike Glennon is solidifying himself as the unquestioned leader of the offense but the curve gets noticeably steeper against a Panthers defense that will not bend as easily as the three previous victims. I would be worried that the Panthers might look past this game to their high stakes primetime showdown with the Saints next week but I don’t think that will work.
Titans (5-6) @ Colts (7-4)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Colts by 4
Last Week Titans defeated Raiders 23-19, Colts lost to Cardinals 40-11
Fast Fact Colts have won 17 of last 21 meetings and nine of last ten
The Colts are a tough team to figure, they should be running away with the super weak AFC South, instead they are getting repeatedly hammered in games that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile the Titans rebounded from their humiliating loss to the Jags by winning a thriller in Oakland. The Colts aren’t a world beater but they are good enough to beat on their weak divisional opponents. This isn’t a team that I trust in the playoffs but they’re good enough to beat the Titans at home…I hope
Falcons (2-9) @ Bills (4-7)
Rogers Centre; Toronto Ontario, Canada 4:05 (FOX)
Favorite Bills by 3
Last Week Falcons lost to Saints 17-14, Bills were on a bye
Fast Fact The Bills play a single home game in Canada’s largest city which is about 90 miles north of Buffalo, about a 2 hour drive
A game so unremarkable that is was banished to Canada. But seriously, this is a real snoozer of a game, I’m thinking that normally the Falcons would feel right at home on the fast track of the Rogers Centre turf, but they have been playing so badly as of late that I think the Bills have better than a punchers chance. The Bills have been playing decently too having rung up 37 points on the Jets vaunted defense. I’m thinking the Falcons have mailed it in.
Rams (5-6) @ 49ers (7-4)
Candlestick Park, San Francisco 4:05 (FOX)
Favorite 49ers by 8
Last Week Rams defeated Bears 42-21, 49ers defeated Redskins 27-6
Fast Fact WR Tavon Austin joined some high company with his multiple 50 yard scores in back to back games. Only hall of famers Jim Brown and Gale Sayers have accomplished this feat
The Rams are on the fringes of the playoff race and have played well as of late scoring 80 points in their last two games, routs of the Colts and Bears. The Niners looked good to start got edged in a couple games to start November and bounced back strong to whip the Redskins. As much as I admire the Rams recent strong play, I just can’t take seriously as a playoff contender. The Niners defense is a lot better than the Colts or Rams and will show that in spades
Bengals (7-4) @ Chargers (5-6)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:25 (CBS)
Last Week Bengals were on a bye, Chargers defeated Chiefs 41-38
Fast Fact The Bengals set a franchise record with 31 points in the 2nd quarter against the Browns 2 weeks ago.
This is an intriguing game, The Bengals come in rested and in high spirits after smashing the Browns in week 11, the Chargers won a thrilling shootout over the Chiefs with an eyebrow raising 41 point performance, Philip Rivers could win comeback player of the year for his solid play this season and he has kept the Chargers on the peripheral of the playoff conversation. The Bengals have shined defensively yet their weapon laded offense has scuffled along as of late held under 270 yards in each of the last three games. They should find the sledding much easier against a Chargers defense that allows a conference worst 389.5 yards a game. I can’t shake the feeling that this is a trap game waiting to happen for the Bengals given their 2-4 record on the road, but I will go against my better judgment.
Broncos (9-2) @ Chiefs (9-2)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 4:25 (CBS)
Favorite Broncos by 4½
Last Week Broncos lost to Patriots 34-31 in OT, Chiefs lost to Chargers 41-38
I guess this doesn’t have the sexy appeal it did two weeks ago when once beaten Broncos hosted the then unbeaten Chiefs. The Broncos blew a huge lead last Sunday and lost and the Chiefs are looking like a team exposed after getting nowhere close to Peyton Manning during their week ten matchup. I think both these teams’ flaws are beginning to surface. Peyton Manning isn’t one that likes to play in the cold and the injuries that the Chiefs are suffering on their defense is seriously taking their collective toll. I still think with all the warts the Broncos are still the better team and if given the kind of time the lack of front line pressure is affording by the Chiefs. Manning may be able to pick apart their D.
NY Giants (4-7) @ Redskins (3-8)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 8:30 (NBC)
Last Week Giants lost to Cowboys 24-21, Redskins lost to 49ers 27-6
After a pair of Sunday Night heavyweights, this one sounds like a snoozer. The G-Men wasted chance after chance to knock off the Pokes and get deeper into the NFC East scrum, while the Redskins are another loss away from packing it in mentally. RGIII and Eli Manning already look as if they have the thousand yard stare from getting hit constantly. I think the G-Men have a lot more going for it on both sides of the ball and will take a page from the 49ers dissection of the Redskins last Monday. This will be another beating in the nation’s capital before a disinterested national audience.
Pick-New York Giants
Monday, December 2
Saints (9-2) @ Seahawks (10-1)
Century Link Field, Seattle 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Seahawks by 4½
Last Week Saints defeated Falcons 17-14, Seahawks were on a bye
Fast Fact The last two teams that had 13 game or longer home winning streaks saw those streaks end at the hands of the Saints
Without question the best game of the week, a high stakes meeting between two divisional leaders is the penultimate game. Drew Brees is throwing like a boss and while Russell Wilson doesn’t have as a gaudy numbers he has piloted the Seahawks to the NFL’s best record. The winner here will have an inside track on the coveted #1 seed and both are just about cash money at home. The Saints have the wherewithal to beat the Seahawks at home and can put up the kind of high scoring game that they are known for but something can’t let me pick them. The home team in this matchup has the definitive advantage and with the ear splitting mind numbing noise of Century Link and the lunatic loud fans that inhabit. It’s going to be a wild time. It’ll be close, but I think the home team wins a thriller.
Last Week: 3-10-1 (Lock correct, Upset incorrect as a tie)
While anticipating the potential body count in one of my favorite TV shows tonight...
Have you been paying attention to the Celtics recently? The Saturday night game was too late to be included in the column this week, but there were three games over the past week and Boston picked up two wins. They are an unremarkable 7-11 as I write this but one thing that seems to be trending is the sudden scoring consistency of Jeff Green.
The week started with a 96-86 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The team was led by Jordan Crawford's 21 points. Gerald Wallace had a big game with 17 points and Brandon Bass added 16 points. Jeff Green had 13 points and Courtney Lee finished with 11 points. Rookie Phil Pressey had a career high 8 assists.
Against the Grizzlies, the Celtics were completely out of sync in the first quarter and trailed 27-13 after one period. They actually managed to outscore Memphis in the second half, but the first half deficit was too much to overcome.
Green had 26 points and 7 boards to top the scoring column for the Celtics. Jared Sullinger had a huge game with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Avery Bradley scored 16 points. Bass was the top rebounder for Boston with 13.
Last night, the shoe was on the other foot for the Cleveland Cavaliers as it was the Celtics using the first quarter to blow out their opponents 28-10. The final socre was 103-86 and it was Green scoring a season high 31 points that led the way to victory. Bradley had 21 points. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger added 12 points apiece while Jordan Crawford had a triple double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
In looking over Green's recent production, you would see that since the November 20th game against San Antonio Green has averaged more than 22 points in the last 6 games. He's had a string of double figure scoring totals over the course of the season thus far, but he had back to back games of 2 and then 4 points and questions about his consistency arose as they have when he doesn't "step up". I've said much the same thing when I bring his name up.
But he seems to have recently found a new level. For me, being a consistent scorer doesn't necessarily mean you have to lead the team in scoring each game. But you do have to be in double figures and do it game after game. You have to be one of the players that can be "the man" in a game at any given time.
Questions about Green's consistency will likely still remain, but over the last 6 games, Green has seemed more comfortable with the expectations on him to be one of the main producers of offense for the Celtics.
And if that streak continues, it can only be a good thing for the fortunes of the Celtics season.
I had another crappy week in fantasy football. I went 0-2 for the week. One of the losses was the biggest blowout of the week in that particular league. I had a chance to win the second matchup but the failure of the players I had in the Monday night game to do anything statistically sent me to the second loss.
Oh well, try try and try again this week.
Mass Maritime - While the season is over for the Division 3 Buccaneers, postseason accolades are being announced. My ex-player E.J. was named an all-MASCAC first team selection.
In a game that featured just how the fortunes of a team can change drastically within a season, Texas beat Texas Tech 41-16.
If you haven't paid attention, Texas started the season off so badly that the defensive coordinator was fired and it looked like head coach Mack Brown was going to be following him out the door and not necessarily at the END of the season. But the Longhorns are now 8-3 and looking pretty good overall. Perhaps they aren't on par with their glory days but from the way they started to 8-3, it is a decent improvement.
As for Texas Tech, rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury started out 7-0 and was the toast of college football. One has to wonder what is being said about him now after 5 straight losses. The Red Raiders are still bowl eligible. But when they were 7-0, they looked like a team headed for a major bowl. Now, they are looking at something equivalent to the Poulan Weedeater Bowl.
It is not exactly a bold statement to say that college football coaches can be the living embodiment of the phrase "huge jackass". But Nebraska coach Bo Pelini seems to be redefining the qualifications. The Cornhuskers started out okay, but a blowout loss to UCLA didn't have many people happy. A loss to Minnesota in Week 9 wasn't good either. But after two big wins over Northwestern and Michigan, it looked like Pelini's hot seat was cooling off.
A loss to Michigan State wasn't too bad because the Spartans are one of the better teams in the country. But losing to Iowa (38-17) in the regular season finale was pretty bad. 8-4 is an unacceptable season for the Cornhuskers, and there has been a number of seasons under Pelini that have ended with 4 losses.
If the losses weren't bad enough, Pelini basically dared Nebraska to fire him at the post game press conference. They guy has failed at his job of bringing the Cornhuskers back to national title contender status and he's calling what he thinks is a bluff by the Nebraska administration?
The AD is publicly standing by the coach, but I am really unconvinced that will be the case after the school's bowl game, win or lose. I've always thought when a coach makes that kind of "if they don't like the job I'm doing, fire me" statement, that's exactly what a team should do.
I know the constant speculation on job security can be wearing on anyone, but if you blow up in public it makes you and the school look bad and a parting of the ways looks better than suffering through another season of will they or won't they.
San Jose State knocking off #16 and previously undefeated Fresno State 62-52 has to be one of the bigger upsets of the week. The win was huge for the team not just because of the upset over a ranked team, but it was also their 6th of the season making them bowl eligible.
SJSU quarterback David Fales (pictured below) had what had to be the game of his life with 547 passing yards and 6 TDs.
Of course Penn State beating #14 Wisconsin 31-24 was a big win in the otherwise kind of disappointing Nittany Lions season. I know they have 7 wins, but for some reason I think fans and observers alike were expecting a bit more from them this season.
Duke beat North Carolina 27-25 to finish the regular season 10-2. Coach David Cutcliffe (pictured below hugging player David Helton) was carried off the field by his players as they celebrated making the ACC championship game where they will face Florida State.
Other rivalry games - Ohio State beat Michigan 42-41 after the Buckeye defense intercepted the pass for a two point conversion with 32 seconds left in the game. It does raise the question of why you would try to score the go-ahead points instead of taking the tie in a big game such as this.
The Kansas State-Kansas game saw the Jayhawks lose 31-10. The only reason I brought up this game was at 3-9, what's the over-under on Charlie Weis coaching at Kansas next season?
When two teams are ranked inside the top ten, the lower ranked team winning still counts as an upset right? Well, no matter how you look at it, #10 South Carolina beating #6 Clemson 31-17 had to have the Gamecocks strutting like peacocks last night.
It's been a long long season for Hawaii. But they remain winless no longer after their 49-42 defeat of Army to finish 1-11. Quarterback Sean Schroeder (pictured below with coach Norm Chow) passed for 3 TDs and ran for another to run Hawaii's record against Army to 3-0.
Alabama - And the earth trembled. With a game for the ages in terms of competitiveness if not excellence of execution, the Crimson Tide blew chance after chance to put away the Auburn Tigers in the latest Iron Bowl.
A.J. McCarron passed for 3 TDs, T.J. Yeldon ran for 140 yards and a score and yet it was a horrible performance from the defense and special teams that doomed in stunning fashion the chances for a 3rd straight national title.
You'd think a McCarron 99 yard TD pass would be the play of the game but with a 109 yard return by Chris Davis after a missed Bama field goal with 1 second left, Auburn totally shook up the BCS field and won 34-28.
The Crimson Tide defense gave up 296 rushing yards (393 total). Auburn's QB Nick Marshall threw for 2 TDS and had 99 rushing yards and rushing TD.
The special teams were a disaster as kicker Cade Foster missed 3 field goals before being pulled for the second string kicker for that last 56 yard FG attempt. The sub kicker had taken just two kicks in his CAREER before the attempt.
Alabama had nothing in the way of fast guys on the field and when Davis ran the missed kick back, no one could catch him.
I've said all year that Alabama was the best team in the country because they started at #1 and never lost. But the Tigers got two miracles in the last two weeks and enlivened that "War Damn Eagle" cry.
There's just nothing to say. Bama blew their multiple chances and Auburn took advantage to mark the biggest upset of the weekend.
Congratulations to the Tigers.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The holiday tournaments were underway this Thanksgiving weekend as teams head all over the country and even out of the country for their next round of games.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears weren't headed to any holiday tournaments. They dropped to 1-4 after losing on their home floor to Quinnipiac 75-65. Kenzie Williams led the team with 15 points while Hannah Wilkerson had 12 points.
While the start has been less than auspicious for coach Kellie Harper, she did have some fantastically joyous news to share on November 27th. She gave birth to her first child, Jackson Kenneth Harper. Congratulations to Kellie and her husband/assistant coach Jon Harper.
Hartford - Another team that has seen their season get off to a rather disastrous start, the Hawks got blown out twice this week and lost a total of three times and stand at 1-6 on the year.
The first loss was to Central Connecticut State, where they lost 82-50. Alyssa Reaves and Alyssa Englert scored 11 points apiece to lead Hartford.
A brief "highlight" and post game comments video can be seen below.
Hartford then went on the road to play in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament where they faced Missouri in the first round. The Hawks got 11 points from Cherelle Moore but shot just 32.7% from the floor in their 68-45 loss.
In the consolation tourney game on Saturday, it was a closer game, but St. Francis (NY.) captured the 56-49 win. Freshman Morgan Lumb (pictured below) had a career high 16 points to lead Hartford while Amber Bepko finished with 12 points.
I'd like to weigh in with an opinion on what exactly is going on with the Hawks, but for a change, I simply can't. I don't understand why they are playing so badly. They seem to have players who can make something happen, but nothing seems to be coming together for them as a whole. I might be able to say something more once I see them play next Sunday (December 8th) when they visit Boston College.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols ran off three wins this past week and remained undefeated at 7-0. They blew out Oakland 84-50 behind 15 points and 11 boards from Bashaara Graves. Meighan Simmons had 14 points and Ariel Massengale scored 13 points while dishing out 6 assists.
The team then jetted off to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam tournament. In the first game, they held off Virginia 76-67. Meighan Simmons (pictured below) exploded for 32 points (including 8 three pointers) and 5 assists.
Massengale had 10 points and a career high 13 assists. Cierra Burdick added 10 points and 6 boards.
In the tournament final, the Lady Vols just demolished SMU as they captured the tourney title 87-47. Ariel Massengale had 16 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds and Jasmine Jones (pictured below) had 13 points. Bashaara Graves had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Speaking of buzzer beaters, there was a rather huge one in a New York high school playoff game between New Rochelle and Mount Vernon back in March 2013. I remember seeing the shot when it happened. Sports Illustrated had a really good article about the game, the shot and the principals involved that appeared in the most recent issue. You can check out the story (and video) via this link (you have to watch a quick video to unlock the story on the SI.com website): http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20131127/new-rochelle-the-shot/index.html
BOSTON COLLEGE NOTEBOOK
Women's Soccer - The BC women's soccer team beat Illinois last Sunday 4-1 to advance to this past Friday's Elite Eight game against #3 Florida State. Unfortunately for the Eagles, their season came to an end with a 4-0 loss to the Seminoles. They finish with a 13-10-1 record.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles found themselves on the wrong end of two losses this week. They dropped at 5-1 game to Maine and then fell short of a huge comeback and lost to Holy Cross 5-4 after spotting them a 4-1 lead. It was the first loss ever to a team from the Atlantic Hockey conference. They are 8-4-2 on the season now.
Women's Hockey - In the first of back to back games against #3 Cornell, the Eagles lost 2-0 but rebounded last night to win 4-1 and raise their record to 12-4-1.
Women's Volleyball - With consecutive 3-1 losses to Syracuse and Notre Dame, the Eagles season came to a close with a 9-23 record.
Men's Basketball - Ryan Anderson (pictured below 1st) scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to power the Eagles to a 75-67 overtime win against Sacred Heart. With a 3-4 record, the Eagles are in the midst of a weeklong break for Thanksgiving.
Joe Rahon (pictured below 2nd) finished with 19 points, including 9 in the overtime period. Olivier Hanlan had 15 points.
Women's Basketball - The women's team was off to Mexico for three games in the Cancun Challenge over the holiday weekend.
According to a tweet from coach Erik Johnson, he made the mistake of drinking the water and ended up having to visit TWO hospitals for reasons you can probably suss out for yourself.
Also, with the school running their annual Thanksgiving weekend ticket sale, I was able to pick up tickets to a couple more games. And I paid just $1 a ticket and I'll be seeing games against North Carolina and Syracuse to go along with that December 8th game against Hartford I mentioned above.
As for the games in Cancun, the Eagles blew out UNC-Wilmington 75-54 with Kristen Doherty scoring 13 points to top the scoring chart for BC. Kat Cooper had 12 points and Kelly Hughes added 11 points and 8 boards.
Game two of the tourney was against Iowa. The Hawkeyes came away with a 78-68 victory despite 18 points (including a career high 5 threes) and 5 rebounds from Kelly Hughes. Kristen Doherty (pictured below leading the pack) had 16 points and Lauren Engeln added 11 points.
The odd thing about the Eagles losing this game was that they shot better from the 3 point range and won the battle of the boards. The overall shooting percentages for both teams were pretty close as well.
The final game of the three game set was against USC and the Trojans just trounced the Eagles in the first half. It was 45-18 at the break as BC couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. It was UGLY as they fell to 3-4.
The terrible thing about playing so bad in the first half is that it makes the fact they played USC even (34 points eas) in the second half. 79-52 was the final score and shows just how far the Eagles have to go.
Kristen Doherty and Katie Zenevitch each scored 12 points to pace the Eagles.
Football - The regular season came to a stunning and disappointing end last night for the Eagles. They were ahead 31-27 late in the game but Syracuse marched down the field and scored the go ahead TD with just 6 seconds left in the game and won 34-31. The loss drops BC to 7-5 while Syracuse becomes bowl eligible with their 6th win of the season.
With their most potent offensive weapon out of the game, it was up to QB Chase Rettig to be more than a game manager. His numbers weren't outstanding but he had the results that had the Eagles in the lead late. He was just 11-19 for 168 yards with an INT. But he also threw for 2 TDS. Going above and beyond normal level of expectations, he had 85 yards rushing (including a 54 yard run) and scored on a 1 yard run.
The biggest failure on the day was the Eagles defense. Despite getting a sack and an INT, they gave up 480 yards in total offense (270 rushing yards). The failure to get stops when they needed it is what will be seen as the main sticking point for the loss.
Thanksgiving - I had a pretty good meal on Thursday. All the traditional foods (except stuffing which no one in my family likes) were on the menu with two kinds of pie for dessert. We all helped out in the preparation of the food before devouring the finished product!
I actually didn't go to the neighbor's for dessert like we usually do.
Xmas - With the Black Friday kickoff to holiday shopping season, I am happy to say that other than regular weekly spending, the only extra spending I did was for those BC women's basketball tickets I mentioned above. I only went out once on Black Friday and it was horrible so I've never done it again.
Speaking of horrible...do you remember last week's Sunday Musings when I talked about my plan to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Tuesday? I've been watching the show for decades and on Tuesday I actually realized something I'd never caught before.
Did you know that there is a murder at the end of the show? I'm not kidding, there really is a murder in the 49 year old holiday special.
At the very end, when the elf is dumping the toys out of the sleigh. He gives them an umbrella. But then he gets to one of the misfit toys. It's the bird...but he can't give him an umbrella, so he just lets the bird go. Except the bird is the one that can't fly, he swims! J'ACCUSE! Murder most ahem "fowl"!
Other than watching the holiday movies on the various channels (Hallmark, Hallmark Movie, Lifetime, etc.), I don't usually do anything Christmas related (shopping doesn't count either, I do that all year long) until December 1st. So today will be the first day I pull out my Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas CDS and play them a number of times over the next month.
You can check out the band's big instrumental hit "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12-24" below. Though I always make it a point to acknowledge that the song was originally recorded by the heavy metal band Savatage from which TSO became a side project of before becoming the monster holiday hit that it is. The song was on the Savatage concept album Dead Winter Dead but when they sent the song to radio stations, no one would play it. And now it is a big holiday rotation hit.
TV - Tonight is the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. It looks like it is going to be a bloodbath too with some scenes appearing to be lifted straight from the comics.
Music - I got the new Chastain CD Surrender To No One this week via a download link from the record company releasing the disc. I'll be reviewing it at a later date. But you can check out the title track here:
WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! It's Snoopy. Good mourning and Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. No Snoopy isn't fast but he flies planes, dog fights the Red Baron and is just my most favorite cartoon character along with Underdog, Mighty Mouse, Top Cat, Bullwinkle and pretty much the old school stuff from the 60's & 70's. Snoopy brings me joy. I still have my stuffed Snoopy. Lost his hat and scarf long ago. His head flops to the one side but I still have him. I used to have a Bugs Bunny but the neighbor kid stole him.......Dratz.
So any how, I hope all of you are doing well and aren't still stuffed from Thanksgiving over indulgences. My stuffed nose and coughing have slowed down. While I was sick I'd drag myself out of bed to find stuff on You Tube to listen to. Found lots of Frank Zappa concerts. Click and go back to bed to listen. Dude is the best box of musical chocolates ever. Pure genius he was. The best Mental Toss Flycoon ever. Or was that dental floss tycoon? The man surrounded himself with top rate musicians and sometimes he just directed on stage letting them shine. No big ego party. Of course they were playing his music. He was a prolific writer.
After a couple Zappa concerts I found The Arctic Monkeys. They did a show at the Austin City Limits festival that is way worth checking out. Favorite song has to be "I bet you look good on the dance floor". Worth a look see.
TONY STEWART UPDATE
Isn't that scooter cute? For the past couple weeks Tony has been getting around with a cane. Says his time table to get back in the car on February 23rd for the Daytona 500 is still on track. He still has pain. Like 100 nails being hammered into his leg but the doctors assure him this is his nerves working to get his shattered leg healed up. I'm sure the slowly but surely thing is not working for this race car driver. That scooter is cool though.
CONGRATS TO THE ALMIROLA'S
Aric & Janice Almirola welcomed a daughter this week. Abby Lynn Almirola and mom are doing fine.
FIRE AT THE HARVICK HOME
The Harvick's were awoken in the wee hours when the fire alarm went off. Turns out the fire started in the basement. Except for some structural and water damage all is well health wise for the Harvick's. They're thankful for the response by the fire trucks and for all the well wishes.
BODINE OLYMPIC BOBSLED PROJECT
Geoff Bodine used to drive Cup cars back in the day. Having an engineering degree he has become involved in NASCAR driving the pace car some times, and other developmental projects. Did you know that he made bobsleds for the USA Olympic team? His sleds have given them 6 medals. Two of them gold. They defend their gold in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this February.
Geoff has been working on affordable low maintenance multi use training sleds tailored for use by paralympics. Most are manufactured for one rider his are for 2.
They're being fabricated in Mooresville, NC and assembled in a shop near Huntsville owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano and his dad, Tom.
So if you're in need of a practice sled they run around $20,000.
NASCAR BUYS IOWA SPEEDWAY
No Sprint Cup races are planned at this track but the 2014 schedule has some big races on it. There will be 2 Nationwide races held in May & August, 2 K&N Pro Series races held in May & August and then a truck race & IndyCar combo weekend in July. Get your tickets. They do sell you the whole seat but you'll only need the edge.
GEN 6 REPORT CARD
The new NASCAR Cup Series car has gotten good grades. There were 11 drivers that beat track qualifying records. Seems every week is was a new record. Johnson got 3 and Kenseth got 2.
51.2% of drivers finished on the lead lap.
127,306 green flag passes. Up from 17,398 in 2012.
83.1%cars running at the finish of the race. Up from 74.7 in 2012.
It also went on to talk about # of different winners, # of lead changes and # of drivers that led at least one lap. All the stats pointed up. Some big gains and others just a tad. All in all the drivers are happy with the car and so is NASCAR.
OMG!!!! It's Joe Namath and Hines Ward. Wonder why Joe isn't an ESPN or FOX commentator. Would love to hear what he has to say. Wonder if he has his panty hose on to keep warm.
I can tell you there will be some very happy NFL fans this Christmas mourning. I packed a lot of NFL coats. Didn't see any names I knew when I was packing the Steelers jackets but I'm sure somebody loves me and can over look any naughty things I did this year.
I'm beat. Time for a shower and those nice pillows waiting for me. My Sunday mourning routine will be breakfast with my most handsome grandsons for sure. Haven't held the new one much because of being sick but I can oogle from afar.
You all take care, travel safe and rock that remote. It's Sunday you know.