No one knows if and when MD pays the 50 mil or less for early exiting the ACC. Sports change is difficult for me, and I won't rehash the opinions I've typed ad nauseum about missing Wacky Tobacky road.
As the disco dj's used to say 'the record keeps spinning...round and round".
So while I've noticed that Miami Fla , who joined the ACC less than a decade ago, is running up the men's hoop charts, I've focused more attention than usual to the Big10, and I've been impressed with the excitement of the Mich/Ohio St and Indiana /Illinois games and , of course, one can not ignore the Wisky bottles until katy bars the door.
Who doesn't know the Big10 football lore of the Bo & Big House, Woody Hayes, Bubba Smith, Leroy Keyes (Purdue), etc. More recently : Charles Woodson (Mich), one of a few defensive players to win the Heisman, Urban's growing legend in Columbus, Madison, WI maniacs.
in the past few seasons the Big 10 has improved it's lacrosse status and they'll need to get prepared for the Terps, one of the best LAX programs in the nation. During the year I spent at College Park, MD (1977-78) , I heard more "bad boy" bar stories about the lacrosse players than football players.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite childhood 45's. CCR's Fortunate Son http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbNnvPBokNs
It’s February and the stretch drive to the NCAA Men’s tournament is under way. For the 9th season, I bring you the Sheet of Speculation on the NCAA tournament. Call it the Spec Sheet for short. From now until NCAA selection show on March 17th, I will speculate on who I think will fill the 68 slots for the NCAA tourney. I don’t worry much about seeding; it’s who I think will get in. For right now, the teams are classified into two groups. Solid teams are on good track to make the tourney, and Work to do are teams that have a good shot but need to buff up their respective resumes to see their names among the chosen ones.
Solid: Miami Duke, North Carolina State,
Work to do: North Carolina, Virginia
Skinny on the ACC: Miami is the bully on the block this year, ask Duke who went to Coral Gables and got housed, ask NC who had the Canes come into the Dean Dome and dominate. Now ask NC State who lost a thrilling duel in Raleigh. The Canes are for real and it the Heels and Cavs who are scrambling for credibility.
Key Game: Virginia at Maryland Sunday 1p The Terps lack a quality win and the Cavs are needing to put some distance between them and a middling ACC pack
Projected Bids: 5
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Va. Commonwealth, Butler
Work to do: Charlotte, Saint Louis, LaSalle
The A-10 Spec is: The two newcomers in the conference are highly enjoying being the bully. The Bulldogs are ranked and the Rams should be. I think that they are solid for the tourney. Now the Niners, Billikens and Explorers might have something to say about this but the latter three need to keep banking wins to bulk their resume
Key Games: Va. Commonwealth at Charlotte. Saturday 7p The Rams will find out how dangerous a road venue Halton Arena is. The Niners who have tourney aspirations themselves would love to take the Rams down and bulk their own resume in the process.
Projected Bids: 2
Solid: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt
Work to do: St. Johns, Villanova
Big East Skinny: The Big East is having a nice last hurrah. The Cuse, Cards, Bearcats, Hoyas Iris, Golden Eagles and Panthers are on solid ground. Yes that is seven teams out the box. As of right now, it’s the haves and have nots in this conference. All the teams that I mentioned are ranked. UConn is only playing spoiler, since they are banned from the tourney this year. Most teams have to avoid taking dumb losses as the Bearcats did on Wednesday at Providence
Key Game: St. John’s at Syracuse Sunday 3p (ESPN) The Johnnies need another signature road win, the Orange have a 36 game win streak at home…good luck.
Projected bids: 7
Solid: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Work to do: Illinois, Purdue
The word on the Big Ten is: This is the elite league this year, the Hoosiers and Wolverines are top 5 and just about as safe as you could imagine. The Bucks, Spartans, and Gophers are ranked and are on pretty solid ground. The Badgers are the only unranked team here but I think that they are pretty safe but they could use a big win. Clown on the Illini’s 3-7 conference record but their stunning upset of the top ranked Hoosiers at the buzzer keeps them in the conversation.
Key Game: Michigan at Wisconsin Saturday Noon (ESPN) The Badgers would more or less make themselves bulletproof with a third win over a ranked team
Projected Bids: 6
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Work to do: Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland: Baylor and Oklahoma State played an absolute thriller not decided till the Pokes Markel Brown went coast to coast to a winning layup with .2 seconds to win it. The win keeps the Pokes hard on the Jayhawks (who are way safe as usual) heels in the Big 12. The Bears still need wins to build on. I’m not real sold on Iowa State yet, though I’ve always been fond of Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg’s coaching
Key Game: Kansas at Oklahoma Saturday 2p The Sooners have a single digit strength of schedule but no real signature win…but beating the Jayhawks would take care of that
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Southern Miss
Work to do: Central Florida, Memphis, Tulsa
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: Memphis is unbeaten in conference but their numbers outside of conference is so-so. They have no signature out of conference wins but no bad losses. Southern Miss has solid numbers but the C-USA is weak beyond them. Is this a one bid conference? I’ll put them down for 2 but there’s nothing ironclad
Key Game: Memphis at Southern Miss Saturday 8p Can the Golden Eagles slow down their longtime archrivals? Hattiesburg has long been a tough win for the visiting Tigers.
Projected Bids: 2
Conference Class-Mid Major
Work to do: Wichita State, Indiana State
Missouri Valley Skinny: The MVC is one of my favorite so-called Mid-Major and is always a fun watch. This conference has a ranked team in Creighton and despite a loss on Wednesday The Jays are way way safe but the Shockers took a bad loss to Southern Illinois and need to bank more wins to overshadow this hideous loss. The Sycamores are on the fringe and have a rout of the aforementioned Jays to put on their resume. They have as many good wins (Ole Miss Miami-FL) as horrid losses (Morehead and Drake) so they have plenty of work in front of them.
Key Game: Illinois State at Creighton Saturday 10p The Jays are in need of a bounceback but the Redbirds are just good enough to make it a tough home game
Projected Bids: 2
Solid: New Mexico
Work to do: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, Air Force
Spec from the Mountains: The Lobos are the ranked team but there are plenty of teams that could make a major move. The Rebels and Aztecs are the prime suspects here. But there are as many as 5 teams that could come out of this conference. Seriously they could have more than either the storied SEC or PAC12 and deserve it.
Key Game: New Mexico at UNLV Saturday 4p The Rebels could use the win to tighten the conference standings and get a signature win.
Projected Bids: 4
Solid: Oregon, Arizona
Work to do: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast: The Pac-12 has a couple top notch teams but after Arizona and Oregon it really falls off. I don’t trust UCLA any further than I can say Pauley Pavilion (It should be called Wooden Arena) but their buzzer beater against the U-Dub keeps them from another bad loss. The Sun Devils and the Cardinal really lack signature wins.
Key Games: Stanford at Arizona State Saturday 7p. Both teams need the win to be taken more seriously as legit tourney contenders
Projected Bids: 3
Solid: Mizzou, Florida
Work to do: Arkansas, UK, Ole Miss, Alabama
Spec is Down South: Yeah, I know the loss to Arkansas was ugly but the Gators are not in any kind of danger. Mizzou has made a nice transition to the SEC from the Big 12 and are playing well. They too are pretty safe The Hogs still have work to do but that win will go far. Ole Miss and Bama all really lack a signature win. Kentucky? (Long sigh) they are hanging around the peripheral but their tourney ticket is far from a lock. If they keep putting up solid wins they will be in better shape
Key Game: Mississippi St at Florida Saturday 5p The Gators need to bounce back strong and not get caught looking ahead to a visit from UK next week.
Projected Bids: 4
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State,
Spec on the WAC: The Bulldogs are the bully here, but they have a super weak schedule which their glittering unbeaten conference slate isn’t going to overshadow. The Aggies are 10-2 in conference but they have nothing
Key Game: Seattle at New Mexico State Saturday 9p The Aggies haven’t lost in the 2013 calendar year and need to keep banking wins to stay hard on the Bulldogs heels.
Projected Bids: 2
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs (I refuse to call them Zags) are top ten, son. You are out of your head if you question their dance ticket. St. Mary’s is only a game out of the top spot and might be very well safe. The Cougars are the wild card, they have no real signature wins but no bad losses they might need to keep banking wins they could have 23 wins going into the WCC tourney and still have no legit shot at the tourney unless they win it.
Key Game: Saint Mary at San Diego Saturday 11p If the Gaels want to keep up with the Bulldogs a win in SoCal is necessary.
Projected Bids: 2
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial and Big South always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, and SWAC projected bids from these conferences will be posted here starting February 21st
Since this is still early spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
Next Spec Feb 11 in the Hoodwood
Yesterday DEADSPIN broke the shocking, and odd story, that the dead girl friend of Notre Dame star linebacker, Manti Te'o, wasn't real...She never died, because she never existed...The story is crazy...I read the Deadspin piece 3 times...Why? Because it is a serious article, with serious allegations, and lots, facts and details...I watched the ND press conference last night...I've read everything I could find on this...It makes me want to puke...
For all the trash people sling at Deadspin, when they do a story like this, they get it right...Unlike Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and NBC, who all did stories on Te'o...They all sung his praises, and all talked about his relationship with this non-existent, dead girlfriend...None, did any investigating apparently...None did any real journalism...None, except the guys at Deadspin...This may be just me, but there are some people at ESPN, NBC, and Sports Illustrated, that need to be fired...
The story of Te'o losing his grandmother, and girlfriend, within 6 hours of each other grabbed people...Then he went out and played a stellar game against Michigan State...The next week against Michigan, he played even better, instead of attending his dead, non-existing, girlfriend's funeral...The Notre Dame student body, alumni, and fans across the country embraced Te'o completely...Hell, much of the college football viewing public found themselves captivated, and rooting for him...He had an great season, and fighting through the painful losses of loved ones was the driving force...
Then in the BCS Championship game, he played like a pile of shit...Maybe he had something on his mind? Notre Dame has since said he came to them just after Christmas, saying that he had been played, Catfished, whatever term you want to use...He found out December 6th...He told them after Christmas...They didn't say anything until the Deadspin story broke...Why such delay?
As much as I want to believe that Te'o got catfished...I can't...Read the DEADSPIN article...Closely...There are too many details to honestly believe that Te'o had nothing to do with this hoax...And if he really got Catfished...Fuck him...Because then he's just a really fucking stupid, idiot...Which would help my theory that Mormons aren't quite right in the head...
I knew I was going to have to write about this...I was hoping I wouldn't have to rip Te'o...But I just can't buy his side of the story...Maybe I've become to cynical...Maybe I've just excepted that we should just assume the worst case scenario first...But really, what has the world given us lately to help us hold onto hope, and not think the worst? Fucking, NOTHING!
As of now, I'm calling Manti Te'o fucking liar...An asshole...Clearly a little off in the head...He's fucked up...And he's lost a number of fans...If I'm right...If he is an asshole who was part of carfishing the public, I hope he blows out both of his knees at the NFL combine...I hope he feels some real loss in his life, not just pretend loss...Fuck Manti Te'o!
The basic idea of my computer ratings is to be a better version of the BCS standings, where the focus is on the top teams and having the correct top 2.
For the first few years, my top 2 agreed with the BCS top 2 with the BCS Champion finishing #1 in my final rankings. That changed last year when I had Oklahoma St. #2 going into the bowls and then LSU stayed #1 despite the loss to Alabama.
Once again this season, my top 2 was different from the BCS top 2. I had Notre Dame #1 going in, but Alabama was down at #4, below Florida and Ohio St.
Some might scoff at Florida, which didn’t even win its division, but neither did last year’s pre-bowl #3. Florida also managed to beat both LSU and Texas A&M, which Alabama could not do, and the Tide didn’t even face one of the top 3 teams of the other division until the SEC Championship game.
As for Ohio St., let’s face it: If they weren’t on probation, they would have been in the title game against Notre Dame.
Since I’m about to paste my top 25 below anyway, I’ll give it away. Alabama did finish as #1 in the final rankings this year, the second year in a row my (completely subjective) preseason #1 ended #1. And if we were to look at the top 2 now, what happens? Rematch! Alabama should have to beat them again. It would be even better if they had to beat Georgia again though. In addition, Alabama should also have to travel back in time and beat Texas a second time in 2009.
I’ll be really annoyed if Alabama has a November loss next year and ends up in the title game again anyway, especially being that their SEC East opponents in the regular season will be Tennessee and Kentucky while LSU, for instance, will play Florida and Georgia.
rank / team / prior
1 Alabama 4
2 Notre Dame 1
3 Ohio St. 2
4 Oregon 6
5 Stanford 5
6 Florida 3
7 S Carolina 8
8 Georgia 10
9 TX A&M 12
10 Kansas St. 7
11 Clemson 15
12 Florida St. 16
13 SJSU 14
14 LSU 9
15 Oklahoma 11
Continue to full blog.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!..Albeit a bit late due to my beloved Fighting Irish playing their last game just a couple days ago…I’ll get to that game in a minute. Shut up.
Once again it's time for Irish Shu to look back at their season. In the last edition I recapped the first 7 games, so now I'll review the last 6 including the championship game.
OKLAHOMA: I, being the ever-pessimistic beaten-down Irish fan was preparing for the roof to fall in on what had thus-far been an excellent undefeated season. I thought that if any team was going to expose the weaknesses my team had, it would be then-#8 Oklahoma at Norman…how very wrong I was, and how happy I was to be so! The dominating Irish D held the Sooners to a measly 15 yards rushing, bent but did not break by allowing Landry Jones to pass for 356 yards, but no touchdowns, and ran away in the 4th quarter in a 30-13 win at Norman. The Irish D did yield their first rushing touchdown of the season, but the backs of Cierre Wood, Everett Golson and Theo Riddick ran for one apiece to more than make up for it…It was the signature win for the Irish and Coach Kelly and the remainder of the season was definitely looking bright after this one.
PITT: Almost every great team has a “let down” game at some point in the season. Even the eventual champions in Alabama had one against Texas A&M. You could say this was the “almost let down” for the Irish…but by golly, they escaped with an ugly 29-26 triple overtime win over the eager Panthers. The Irish overcame a mistake-filled day that included 3 turnovers and a 20-7 4th quarter deficit. Everett Golson found it in himself to take charge after being benched, and the Irish got DAMN lucky when Pitt missed a 33-yard field goal attempt in the 2nd overtime on their way to the ugly win. WHEW!!!
BOSTON COLLEGE: The Irish went to Chestnut Hill to face an Eagle team that has given them problems in recent years and played an adequate, but unspectacular game on their way to a 21-6 win. Hapless B.C. was torched by Theo Riddick for 104 rushing yards and 67 receiving yards in a game that was not as close as the score made it seem, but still had a milquetoast feel to it when it was all said and done…perhaps the pre-game news that Alabama had just lost to A&M before the game deterred their focus? Who knows? Boston College would go on to a final record of 2-10 that ended with the firing of Coach Frank Spaziani after 4 seasons…ND D-Coach Bob Diaco was interviewed to take his place, but declined.
WAKE FOREST: The Irish showed a bit more of their true potential against the Demon Deacons as they routed them at home on Senior Day 38-0. The game featured touchdowns on their first 3 drives, offensive yardage output that was more than 2 to 1 over the Deacs and total domination…something the Irish had trouble showing in the 2 games prior to this one. The Irish then learned that they were in-control of their destination after both Oregon and Kansas State lost later that day…all they’d have to do now was go to the L.A. Coliseum and knock-off USC and the spot in the championship game was theirs!...uh-oh.
USC: A team does not make excuses. A team must play a game with the players they have…but to this day I still cannot help but wonder; would the outcome have been the same had Trojan QB Matt Barkley not suffered a separated shoulder the week before this one? We’ll never know, obviously, but it certainly didn’t help USC’s cause in the 22-13 Irish win that punched their ticket to the national championship game and ended a very disappointing season for a USC team that started-out ranked #1. Frosh QB Max Wittek gave his best in Barkley’s absence but still threw 2 interceptions and was flustered by the tough Irish D. The ND Offense, meanwhile, gutted USC for 439 yards including 146 rushing yards from Theo Riddick, but still left some points off the board and had to settle for 5 Kyle Brindza field goals in the win…still, though, it was a win that left the Irish as the only bowl-eligible team with an undefeated record. WOO-HOO!!!
National Championship game vs. ALABAMA: SIGH…outside of the Notre Dame fans themselves, nobody gave the Irish a chance in this one. Not to take anything away from the Tide, but the Irish defense that had been so dominant all season played nothing like they had been up until this game. They played a “matador defense” waving the ‘Bama ball carriers by and yelling “Ole’!” instead of wrapping-up and tackling, and the Irish O under-executed against a tough Tide D (something this O did a few times this year) on their way to the 42-14 ass kicking that gave ‘Bama their 3rd national championship in 4 years. The game was a pisser…and a disappointing end to the BEST season these Irish eyes have seen in over 20 years. Congratulations to Alabama. You came to play. That’s all there is.
So to wrap it up the Irish football season was awesome! Sure, it sucked to not win the championship and to get our asses kicked in said game…hey, I don’t deny that we did! But along the way the Irish:
- Flew to Ireland and trounced a pesky Navy team on a soccer pitch.
- Survived a strong defensive Purdue team while still trying to find an identity for their quarterback.
- Saw their Defensive leader in Manti Te’o come of age as he suffered the losses of his girlfriend and grandmother in a day, and play the game of his life against Michigan State that weekend on his way to becoming a Heisman finalist and winning a truckload of other individual awards.
- Shook the Denard Robinson monkey off their backs and beat Michigan for the first time in 4 years.
- Developed a good quarterback in Everett Golson, who went from a redshirt frosh with no experience at season’s start, to a MUCH improved leader and signal caller by season’s end…something that gives this team a good head-of-steam going-in to next year.
- Dominated a rivaled Miami team one week, and fight a tough Stanford team to an OT win the next…the same Stanford team that would eventually beat Oregon at Autzen Stadium and win both the Pac-12 Title and the Rose Bowl.
- Survived scares against a BYU team with a tough Defense (and the Irish playing without their starting QB) and an inspired Pitt team that really put everything out there to try to beat the Irish…and almost did.
- Survived their last “trap” game against a rival USC team on the road to get to the championship game in the first place.
- Put together their first undefeated regular season in over 2 decades.
This Irish fan says THANK YOU for an awesome season…and waits with concern to see what transpires in the off-season. The Irish don’t lose a ton of starters, although losing Te’o and All-American Tight End Tyler Eiffert among others will hurt, but they have an awesome recruiting class coming-in…
…However, as of this writing it is being reported that Coach Brian Kelly has interviewed for the head coaching job for the Philadelphia Eagles. Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco is also highly-coveted and may leave for a head coaching job of his own when it’s all said and done. We shall see what will become of all this.
Great season, nonetheless. THANK YOU! And GO IRISH!!!
As for my other teams and how they did:
MONTANA GRIZZLIES: My alma-mater was a program in-shambles this year after rape and assault allegations gutted the team and the coaching staff. It showed as the normally FCS championship-caliber Griz had a disappointing, but not surprising 5-6 season and didn’t even come close to making the playoffs…the good news? They can only go UP from here.
NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Finished with another 10-win season, which is good, but it ended with a THUD with ass-kickings at the hands of both Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship and to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl…not the way to go out. Obviously this team is not bad, but has pieces missing.
COLORADO STATE RAMS: Hate to say this, but my days as a Fort Collins resident and CSU Ram fan seem VERY long ago…as a result I’m not paying as much attention to them as I used to. Jim McElwain’s first year as coach was only barely improved from the previous 2 seasons the Rams had as his team finished 4-8…but in his defense, the Mountain West was more beefy this year with the addition of Boise State. We’ll see how they do next year.
CUSTER COUNTY COWBOYS: Yep, my hometown high school team. 2 years ago they won a State Championship. Last year, they made the State Semifinals. This year, they had a lot of underclassmen and rebuilt as they won some games, but just missed the playoffs…something they don’t do very often. Better luck next year.
Fellow You Gabbers: It is always a pleasure!!! Have an awesome 2013! I’ll keep reading your works. And still chip-in with a blog now and then.
PS BEEZE – thank you for encouraging me to contribute! Give lil Molls a kiss, ok?