Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NCAA Explosion!!!!!

With the 2007-08 College Football Bowl Season a little more than a week away, it is time once again to pound your head against the wall while you watch 2-3 weeks of meaningless football before getting to the only game that matters, a wait that is only worsened by the fact that you spent nearly two weeks watching no football at all (since there wasn’t any on). We all know the system currently in place is fucked, and numerous people have presented alternatives (the best being the Crystal Bowl, which this is loosely based on and is unfortunately no longer online). The problem with these alternatives is that they don’t do enough for me. Sure, a playoff would be sweet, but there would still be problems. Therefore, I present the follow completely-unrealistic-yet-totally-sane solution to the BCS Problem. Yes, there is a playoff, but before that can happen, this must happen...


The key to any system reboot of college football must begin with making sure every conference has a championship game. In order for this to become a reality, however, the composition of many of the conferences must be shaken up. While this may upset some hardcore purists, let me just say that by creating conferences that can all support a championship game the integrity and importance of the conference regular seasons will be maintained and perhaps even strengthened. To begin with, the SEC and Big 12 must remain the same, serving as shining examples of how things are supposed to be done. The rest of the conferences will shake out like this (with new members in italics):




South Florida

Wake Forest

Florida State


North Carolina State


Virginia Tech


Georgia Tech

North Carolina

Miami (FL)


The ACC was actually alright the way it was, but Boston College just doesn’t make geographic sense, while South Florida definitely does. Boston College then will go to the…



Boston College







West Virginia






See, doesn’t that feel better? While Boston College strengthens the league, Navy, Temple, Marshall, and Buffalo weaken it (although it has always been a pretty top-heavy league anyway). But the league roster must number 12, and since geography obviously is important to me, these must be the teams. It does add some intriguing turf wars, though, with Marshall-West Virginia, Temple-Rutgers, and Syracuse-Buffalo.





Michigan State


Notre Dame



Ohio State


Penn State




This is the conference that gave me the most trouble. Although I only added one team, it is the biggie that everyone knows should be in the Big Ten, but never will be. Beyond the sweet deal Notre Dame has with NBC, they also have rivalries with teams all over the country, and joining the Big Ten would put an end to most of them (at least on their current yearly basis). The bigger concern, however, is whether or not to put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division. On the one hand, it would be awesome to have them facing off in the conference championship game every year. It would not be so awesome, however, if they played that game one week after they just met in their annual regular season finale match-up. By putting them in the same division, that game could still happen without the risk of a repeat the next week. I’ll leave them in separate divisions for now, but am totally on the fence.




East Carolina


Southern Miss










Only a minor shakeup will be required here, with TCU returning to the C-USA to take the place of the departed Marshall and Tulane moving to the East Division for geography and balance’s sake.



Bowling Green

Miami (OH)



Eastern Michigan


Kent State


Central Michigan

Ball State

Western Michigan

Middle Tennessee


Northern Illinois

Army comes in to replace Buffalo as the token shitty New York team, while Middle Tennessee plays the southern oddball role filled earlier by Central Florida. Neither of these teams makes a whole lot of sense here, but somebody had to replace the departed Temple and Buffalo.

PAC 10


Oregon State


Boise State

Washington State





Arizona State




Fresno State

I really like how this conference shakes out. Boise State can definitely hang with the Oregons and Washingtons, while Fresno State can always get hot again like they were a few years ago. Both schools seem to fit in both style and geography.



Florida Atlantic


Florida International

Western Kentucky



Louisiana Tech


Arkansas State

North Texas

Being at the bottom of the conference barrel, the Sun Belt is the only conference with fewer than 12 teams and unbalanced divisions. Perhaps some other D-II or whatever the hell it’s called now teams will step into the conference as Western Kentucky will in a year or so. Louisiana Tech returns from the West to see familiar faces in Monroe and Lafayette. All in all, who really cares?






San Jose State

Utah State

New Mexico State

San Diego State



Air Force


New Mexico



Colorado State

The former Mountain West and WAC re-combine forces to form the largest conference in the country. While the re-shuffling deprives the conference of mid-major powers TCU, Boise State, and Fresno State, the payoff of the new conference championship game is worth it. You see, under the new rules…


…while there will also be six at-large bids determined by BCS rank. See what I meant about the conference schedule still mattering? Getting into the conference championship is akin to getting into the first round of the playoffs, since most teams will have to win their conference to assure a spot among the sixteen team national playoff field. Let’s just go through what this year’s conference title games would look like and see how much each match-up would mean to each team (the number indicates BCS rank, while CAPS signals my projected [or the actual] winner).

ACC: 15 Clemson vs. 3 VIRGINIA TECH

Virginia Tech would probably still have a shot at an at-large berth following a loss, while Clemson would absolutely have to win.

BIG 12: 6 Missouri vs. 4 OKLAHOMA

We’ve already seen how this plays out, with both teams still securing playoff berths.

BIG EAST: 14 Boston College vs. 9 WEST VIRGINIA

Both teams would be playing for their playoff lives due to the relative weakness of the Big East.

BIG TEN: Michigan vs. 1 OHIO STATE

Michigan would obviously need to win while Ohio State would probably not fall out of the top 10 with a loss (despite their weak schedule).




Obviously all three of these games would be do-or-die.

PAC 10: Oregon State vs. 7 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

This game would be a must win for both teams since USC would have three losses after a defeat here.

SEC: 16 Tennessee vs. 2 LOUISIANA STATE

This could possibly be a must win for either team, as well, as LSU would suffer their third “L” with a loss.

MWAC: 10 HAWAII vs. 17 Brigham Young

Here’s yet another win-or-go-to-the-Hawaii-Bowl game, with Hawaii’s consideration for an at-large team resting entirely on their undefeated record. With a loss to BYU, you can kiss that cow goodbye.

After the 10 conference champions have been crowned, the BCS Rankings will then be used to determine…


…who will be:

5 Georgia

6 Missouri

8 Kansas

11 Arizona State

12 Florida

And, for all the people who say debate is good for the game, I present your sixth and final at-large team…

13 Illinois

Following a national bye week (which would have been last weekend), these teams will then play a


held at the higher seeds’ home stadium (with the exception that an at-large team cannot host a conference champion, as seen in this season’s Kansas-West Virginia match-up). The bracket will play out as follows (with the numbers being the seed and the CAPS signaling the projected winner):

16 Florida Atlantic @ 1 OHIO STATE

8 Kansas @ 9 WEST VIRGINIA

Ohio State should be prepared for a home laugher after already hosting Youngstown State, Akron, and Kent State earlier in the season. Kansas versus West Virginia has the makings of a shootout.

13 Illinois @ 4 OKLAHOMA

12 Arizona State @ 5 GEORGIA

Both Illinois and Arizona State have the weapons to cause some teams trouble; unfortunately, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia falls under that category.

11 FLORIDA @ 6 Missouri

14 Central Michigan @ 3 VIRGINIA TECH

Florida should win another shootout involving a Big 12 school versus Mizzou, while Va Tech rolls Central Michigan.

10 Hawaii @ 7 SOUTHERN CAL

15 Central Florida @ 2 LOUISIANA STATE

People expecting a shoot out between USC and Hawaii will be gravely disappointed, as will anyone expecting Central Florida to be in the game past half time.

The next week will kick off…


which will start off by building up to the playoff games with lesser bowls. Now a loud argument against a playoff system has been that it will render the bowl system meaningless. In order to test this theory, I will now present each bowl match-up with and without a playoff and you tell me how much more meaningless the bowls become (and, just for kicks, I’ve put my picks to win in CAPS and an * next to the actual bowl game and a + next to the game that I feel would be more exciting).


Poinsettia Bowl: UTAH vs. Navy

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

New Orleans Bowl: MEMPHIS vs. Florida Atlantic *

Memphis vs. TROY +

Papa Bowl: Southern Miss vs. CINCINNATI

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

New Mexico Bowl: NEVADA vs. New Mexico*+

Ball State vs. NEW MEXICO

Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA vs. BRIGHAM YOUNG

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff (and BYU will win)

Hawaii Bowl: BOISE STATE vs. East Carolina*

FRESNO STATE vs. East Carolina

This game’s about a wash in excitement level between the actual and imaginary match ups.

Motor City Bowl: PURDUE vs. Central Michigan*+

PURDUE vs. Bowling Green

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. TEXAS*+

Oregon State vs. TEXAS

Champs Sports Bowl: BOSTON COLLEGE vs. Michigan State

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Houston*+

TCU vs. Nevada

This match-up would change because TCU and Houston would now both be in the C-USA.

Emerald Bowl: Maryland vs. OREGON STATE*

Maryland vs. BOISE STATE+

Meineke Car Care Bowl: CONNECTICUT vs. Wake Forest

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Liberty Bowl: CENTRAL FLORIDA vs. Mississippi State*+

TULSA vs. Mississippi State

Alamo Bowl: PENN STATE vs. Texas A&M

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Independence Bowl: ALABAMA vs. Colorado

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Armed Forces Bowl: CALIFORNIA vs. Air Force

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Humanitarian Bowl: GEORGIA TECH vs. Fresno State*

GEORGIA TECH vs. Indiana+

Sun Bowl: SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Oregon

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Music City Bowl: KENTUCKY vs. Florida State

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Insight Bowl: Indiana vs. OKLAHOMA STATE*

WISCONSIN vs. Oklahoma State+

Chick-fil-A Bowl: AUBURN vs. Clemson

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TENNESSEE*

Michigan vs. TENNESSEE+

Gator Bowl: Texas Tech vs. VIRGINIA

This match-up remains the same even with a playoff

International Bowl: RUTGERS vs. Ball State*

RUTGERS vs. Northwestern+

GMAC Bowl: Bowling Green vs. TULSA*+

Ohio vs. IOWA

The meaningless bowl games remain just as meaningless, with 12 of the games going unchanged and five of the changed games producing more exciting match-ups. Also, three more slots would open for bowl-eligible teams that have gotten passed on this season (Ohio, Iowa, and Northwestern) which will make those university presidents and alumni associations happy. As for the remaining bowl games, they will be used for the…


with the idea being that the 5 BCS Bowls (plus the national championship game) and two relatively major bowls will be used to host the remaining playoff games. For this exercise, I chose to add in the Capital One Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. Both usually host marquee match-ups, and are located in markets that could handle a major bowl (Orlando and Dallas). Where each match-up is held is up to the bowls on a rotating system. For the quarter finals, the BCS Bowl (or host city, since the actual bowl doesn’t decide the championship anymore) furthest from the last time it hosted the national title game would have first choice for its game. Therefore, Pasadena would select

Rose Bowl: 7 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA vs. 2 Louisiana State

USC is the natural choice for the Rose Bowl and the Trojans should handle LSU in what amounts to a home game.

The next choice would go to Tempe, who would select

Fiesta Bowl: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 9 West Virginia

Ohio State has a history of traveling well to Tempe, and the Buckeyes will step up and finally beat the spread offense that has vexed them in the Jim Tressel era.

Being the first year they have been involved in the national title picture, Dallas and Orlando would flip a coin, but it doesn’t really matter since the obvious sites are

Cotton Bowl: 4 OKLAHOMA vs. 5 Georgia

Georgia is the better team, but Mike Richt’s teams just have too long a history of choking.

Capital One Bowl: 11 FLORIDA vs. 3 Virginia Tech

LSU already showed what the speed of the SEC can do to the Hokies, and—like Georgia—Va Tech has a history of choking.

The remaining BCS Bowls would make up the semi-finals, with the city not hosting the national title game getting first choice. Therefore, Miami would select

Orange Bowl: 11 Florida vs. 7 SOUTHERN CALIFONIA

USC has the speed on defense to slow down the Gators, while also possessing enough firepower on offense to overpower the Florida defense.

New Orleans would then be left with

Sugar Bowl: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 4 Oklahoma

The Sooners would be heavily favored in this game, which means that they would most likely lose, as Bob Stoops has failed on three previous occasions (’04 Sugar Bowl, ’05 Orange Bowl, and ’07 Fiesta Bowl) to win when favored. Jim Tressel, meanwhile, has proven he can be quite effective as the underdog (’03 Fiesta Bowl), which he would be again in the

National Championship Game: 1 OHIO STATE vs. 7 Southern California

USC is fast, but not Florida-fast, and the Trojans run a conventional offense, which the Buckeyes have proven they can stop. Beanie Wells would grind out a tough game on the ground to give Ohio State the edge in a relatively low-scoring affair. A rivalry would continue from the Woody Hayes days that would continue over the next two seasons (USC and Ohio State start a home-and-home series next year) and, more importantly, Ohio State (or whoever your favorite team is that you would pick to win if you wrote this) would prove without a doubt that they are the best team in the country, which, come January 8, 2008, we will unfortunately still not know.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lazy NFL Preview


y-New England 12-4
Buffalo 8-8
NY Jets 6-10
Miami 6-10

y-Cincinnati 10-6
x-Baltimore 9-7
Cleveland 9-7 (That's right. I believe the hype.)
Pittsburgh 7-9

y-Indianapolis 11-5
Jacksonville 9-7
Houston 6-10
Tennessee 6-10

z-San Diego 13-3
x-Denver 10-6
Kansas City 6-10
Oakland 5-11

Wild Card
Denver over Cincinnati
Indianapolis over Baltimore
San Diego over Indianapolis
New England over Denver
Conference Championship
New England over San Diego


z-Philadelphia 11-5
x-Dallas 10-6
NY Giants 6-10
Washington 4-12

y-Chicago 9-7
Green Bay 8-8
Minnesota 7-9
Detroit 6-10

y-New Orleans 10-6
x-Carolina 9-7
Atlanta 7-9
Tampa Bay 5-11

y-Seattle 9-7
St. Louis 8-8
San Francisco 7-9
Arizona 7-9

Wild Card
Chicago over Dallas
Carolina over Seattle
Philadelphia over Carolina
Dallas over New Orleans
Conference Championship
Dallas over Philadelphia

New England over Dallas

Drew Brees (New Orleans)
Offensive Player of the Year: Stephen Jackson (St. Louis)
Defensive Player of the Year: Champ Bailey (Denver)
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Wright (Cleveland)
Coach of the Year: Bobby Petrino (Atlanta)
Not As Bad As You Think (Team): Cleveland Browns (Honestly, there is too much talent on this team for them to go 4-12 or 3-13 as most in the national media predict. This is the best I've felt about a Browns team since they came back in 1999, and that includes the year they made the playoffs.)
Not As Good As You Think (Team): San Francisco 49ers. (If you combined the 49ers with the Cardinals, then you may be onto something. As it stands, both teams are still a year away.)
Not As Bad As You Think (Player): J. P. Losman (Buffalo)
Not As Good As You Think (Player): Ronnie Brown (Miami)
Best Division: AFC North
Worst Division: NFC West (not a single Super Bowl contender)
Best Offense: New Orleans
Best Defense: Oakland
Worst Offense: Kansas City
Worst Defense: Detroit


(Home Team In CAPS)

New Orleans (+6) over INDIANAPOLIS
MINNESOTA (-3) over Atlanta
ST. LOUIS (-1) over Carolina
Denver (-3) over BUFFALO
HOUSTON (-3) over Kansas City
WASHINGTON (-3) over Miami
New England (+6.5) over NY JETS
GREEN BAY (+3) over Philadelphia
CLEVELAND (+4.5) over Pittsburgh
Tennessee (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Chicago (+6) over SAN DIEGO
Detroit (+2) over OAKLAND
SEATTLE (-6) over Tampa Bay
NY Giants (+6) over DALLAS
CINCINNATI (-2.5) over Baltimore
Arizona (+3) over SAN FRANCISCO

Monday, August 13, 2007

2007 Conference USA Preview

Conference USA is the gateway conference from the mid-mid-major conferences (MAC, Sun Belt) to the mid-majors (WAC, Mountain West) and even the BCS. Cincinnati, South Florida, and Louisville went from Conference USA to the Big East, while TCU stepped laterally into the stronger Mountain West. None of the current programs, however, look like they are going to step up anytime soon.

Order of Finish

C-USA East

  1. Southern Miss Golden Eagles 10-2 (8-0)
  2. Marshall Thundering Herd 7-5 (5-3)
  3. UCF Knights 6-6 (5-3)
  4. East Carolina Pirates 4-8 (4-4)
  5. Memphis Tigers 4-8 (3-5)
  6. UAB Blazers 3-9 (2-6)

C-USA West

1. Houston Cougars 9-3 (7-1)

2. Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9-3 (6-2)

3. Rice Owls 6-6 (4-4)

4. SMU Mustangs 3-9 (2-6)

5. UTEP Miners 5-7 (2-6)

6. Tulane Green Wave 1-11 (0-8)

Conference Championship

Southern Miss over Houston

Can you imagine, Brett Favre over Andre Ware in the C-USA championship? Unfortunately, no player near the caliber of these two is playing in the C-USA today, so we can only dream. Still, that should be a pretty entertaining Wednesday night football game.

Bowl Bound Teams

The C-USA champion gets an automatic bid into the prestigious Autozone Liberty Bowl, so book a trip for the Golden Eagles to Philadelphia. Houston should be able to handle Kent State in the GMAC Bowl, while Tulsa will find itself in the Bowl. Marshall will probably go to the Texas Bowl, while either UCF or Rice will find themselves in the New Orleans Bowl vs. Troy.

Players to Watch

  1. Damion Fletcher, RB, Southern Miss, SO
  2. Kevin Smith, RB, UCF, JR
  3. Justin Willis, QB, SMU, SO
  4. Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice, JR
  5. Albert McClellan, DE, Marshall, JR
(Media all-conference team)

Fletcher led the conference in rushing last year as a freshman, posting a 1388-yard, 11 TD season. Smith ran for 934 yards and 7 touchdowns in only 9 games, so watch out for him if he can stay healthy. Willis had a fantastic freshman year, throwing for 2047 yards with a 26-6 TD-INT ratio. Dillard hauled in 91 catches for 1247 yards, 21 one of those catches for TDs. McClellan is coming off an 11 ½ sack season.

Best Chance for an Upset

Tulsa over BYU, September 15. I don’t really have any justification for this pick. It just kind of seems like an upset that would happen, no?

World Beaters (Toughest Schedule)

Southern Miss. After opening with Tennessee-Martin at home, the Golden Eagles travel to Tennessee, and then have a date at Boise State and their blue field on September 27. Arkansas State comes to Hattiesburg for the season finale, and while they are from the Sun Belt, they are one of the top 3 teams.

Sucka Ducks (Weakest Schedule)

Memphis. The Tigers host Ole Miss to open the season, then travel to the scary, scary confines at Arkansas State, before returning home for a monster test vs. Jacksonville State. Middle Tennessee then comes to town later in the year, meaning the Tigers scheduled a Division I-AA school and two Sun Belt schools, which is excusable only if you are in the Sun Belt.

Best Mascot

Marshall Thundering Herd. In a tight race (every team but Memphis, Rice, and Houston has interesting names), the Thundering Herd prevail. Even though no one really know what kind of animal makes up the herd, everyone knows that you don’t want to fuck with one when it is thundering.

Which program is the next to take the Louisville-South Florida-Cincinnati-TCU (to an extent) leap up?

Probably Southern Miss. They have a five-year record of 39-25, including one conference championship. They haven’t had a losing season in 13 years, and have gone to a bowl game in 9 of the last 10 years. They’ve had the same coach, Jeff Bower, for 16 years, which is a good sign of program stability. Plus, they produced Brett Favre, one of the top 5 quarterbacks ever. Marshall is another candidate, if only because they have constantly been an upward moving program, from Division I-AA’s Southern Conference to the MAC to the C-USA. I’m sure Marshall envisioned dominating the C-USA the way they did the MAC (where the Thundering Herd rattled off 5 conference titles in their first six years in the league), and thus leveraging themselves into an offer from (most likely) the Big East. Unfortunately, the program has really leveled off, in recruiting as well as in on-the-field performance. Gone are the days of Chad Pennington to Randy Moss, and there is no sign that they are returning anytime soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Browns Preseason Game 1: No Brady Quinn, Browns get the win

Just some thoughts on the Browns first preseason game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs…

  • Charlie Frye looks like the clear-cut choice for the starting quarterback job. Frye went 12-15 for 122 yards and made excellent decisions in the passing game. His only poor choice was another bonehead move in the red zone, this time when he tried to scramble into the end zone with 12 seconds left in the half, the ball on the seven-ish yard line, and the Browns out of timeouts. Frye was stopped short, and the clock ticked to zero with Cleveland getting nothing to show for an impressive two-minute drill run by Frye. (Frye also fumbled a lateral to Jerome Harrison that was returned for a touchdown, but the decision was right. Frye should have just waited for Harrison to get out more into the flat.) Derek Anderson didn’t really get as many opportunities to throw as Frye, but when he did, he did not look sharp. A lot of his passes would sail over his receivers’ heads or dive at their feet, and his decision making was shaky. Twice Anderson checked out of a play on a blitz, and twice the play he checked into did nothing. (The first play was a Jason Wright run directly into the hole where three Chiefs were blitzing, and the second was an ineffectual pass to a tight end over the middle.) Ken Dorsey proved that he is nothing more than a third string quarterback, as his arm strength prevented him from throwing more than 10 yards downfield. Brady Quinn did not play, despite the promise made by Coach Romeo Crenell that he would get a few plays.

  • Jamal Lewis looked good in limited time, running the ball 4 times for 20 yards and snagging 3 catches for 16 yards. Lewis’s success came despite the Browns rarely employing a fullback in front of him, which is Lewis’s preferred style of running. Jason Wright ran hard, but right into Chiefs defenders. He is going to have to learn some shake-and-bake moves or how to take a hit, or else have his season ended very soon by multiple concussions. Jerome Harrison led the team in rushing with 8 carries for 33 yards, but looked the worst out of the three running backs. First, he had the aforementioned fumbled lateral with Frye that Harrison just gave up on, allowing the Chiefs to return it for a touchdown. Then Harrison fumbled again on the next series, but the ball was recovered by Travis Wilson. He did improve on his blitz pickups from last year, but he still dances too much in the hole and looks like a work in progress. The Browns best run of the day came on an end-around by Josh Cribbs for 12 yards, although I don’t know how necessary it is to be running trick plays in the preseason. All of the backs had much larger holes than Browns backs of years past have had, with Seth McKinney and Joe Thomas standing out. Thomas, however, did look shaky in pass-protection, twice getting flagged for holding and constantly getting beat on inside moves. He did show good recovery after getting beat, though, and his quarterbacks still got the ball off in time, so that’s a good sign, I suppose.

  • Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, and Joe Jurivicious were absolute non-factors in this game. Travis Wilson stood out with 2 catches for 29 yards, with a big one coming on third down on Frye’s end of the half two minute drill. An interesting development is taking place on the third tight end front, with Buck Ortega (4 catches, 39 yards) and Ryan Krause (2 catches, 34 yards) looking very impressive and incumbent Darnell Dinkins looking awful, in both pass-catching (not his strong suit) and blocking (what he’s there for).

  • The defense looked dominant—although the Kansas City offense was atrocious—with Kamerion Wimbley looking like he’s ready to make the jump into the NFL elite. Rookie cornerback Eric Wright looked solid in coverage and in run support, while linebacker Kris Griffin impressed among the backups. An area of concern had to be stopping the run out of zone coverage; twice on third and long the Chiefs ran and picked up 15-17 yards. Other than that, the defense looked very impressive (although I don’t know why they showed so many blitzes).

  • Phil Dawson looks like he’s past his late-season slump from last year, drilling three field goals (rookie Jesse Ainsworth missed his only attempt wide-left). The return game was two different stories. On kick returns, the Browns excelled, highlighted by Chris Barclay’s 88-yard touchdown return late in the fourth quarter to win the game. On punt returns, however, Cribbs and rookie Syndric Steptoe made poor decisions. Cribbs and Steptoe both fielded a punt inside the 10 (a big no-no), and then Steptoe let a punt go that bounced at the 20 and ended up being downed inside the 10. Hopefully the injured Tim Carter can do a better job when he gets healthy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

INTERNET Road Trip 8/9/07

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 MAC Preview

I’m a bit partial to the MAC, with two member schools—Kent and Akron—located in my proverbial backyard and knowing people who attend or attended a few others (Miami, Bowling Green, Toledo, Eastern Michigan). That being said, the MAC is still a relatively weak football conference. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s no Sun Belt. The MAC is right there on with Conference USA and the WAC, and actually surpasses those conferences some years, but not this one. So without further ado, let’s GET TO GETTIN’!

Order of Finish

MAC East

  1. Kent State Golden Flashes 7-5 (6-2)
  2. Ohio Bobcats 9-3 (6-2)
  3. Akron Zips 7-5 (5-3)
  4. Miami Redhawks 6-6 (4-3)
  5. Bowling Green Falcons 5-7 (4-4)
  6. Temple Owls 3-9 (1-7)
  7. Buffalo Bison 0-12 (0-8)

MAC West

  1. Western Michigan Broncos 8-4 (6-1)
  2. Northern Illinois Huskies 8-4 (5-2)
  3. Ball State Cardinals 8-4 (5-2)
  4. Toledo Rockets 7-5 (5-3)
  5. Central Michigan Chippewas 3-9 (1-6)
  6. Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-11 (0-7)

Conference Championship

Western Michigan over Kent State

First off, don’t ask me why the MAC plays an unbalanced schedule. It almost makes my head explode. As for the standings, I see Kent sneaking into the conference championship on one of those fluke seasons where they’re not the best team (Ohio and Miami definitely are better, and Akron and Bowling Green could make a case, as well), but just happen to win the right games to sneak in. The East (and the MAC as a whole) usually plays out that way, with Ohio sneaking into the title game last year and Akron winning the whole thing the year before despite not being the best teams in the division. As for Western Michigan, my conference champs, they’re coming off an 8-5 season and have the schedule to, again, win the right games. I pick the Broncos over the Golden Flashes because I just can’t see Kent winning a MAC football championship in my lifetime.

Bowl Bound Teams

The MAC gets three automatic bowl bids, with the champion usually playing in the Motor City Bowl, meaning Western Michigan will be playing in front of a home state crowd. Kent will go to the GMAC bowl, while Ohio will find itself in the International Bowl. Northern Illinois and Ball State will have strong cases for at-large bids, while Toledo, Akron, and Miami will need some serious help.

Players to Watch

  1. Nate Davis, QB, Ball State, SO
  2. Kalvin McRae, RB, Ohio, SR
  3. Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan, SO
  4. Louis Delman, FS, Western Michigan, JR
  5. John Greco, OT, Toledo, SR

Davis, the preseason Player of the Year, is the most talented player in the MAC. He will battle it out with fellow sophomore LeFevour—coming off an impressive 3031 yard season with an amazing 26-10 TD/INT ratio—to see who will be the next great MAC QB. McRae is a touchdown machine (15 TDs last year) while Greco is the best pro prospect in the MAC. Louis Delman is preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

(Media picks here.)

Best Chance for an Upset

There are a few candidates in the MAC:

· Toledo over Kansas, September 15

· Ball State over Indiana, November 3

· Miami over Vanderbilt, October 27

I know these aren’t the most earth-shattering upsets, but they’re the best the MAC can hope for this year. As the young QBs mature, perhaps bigger shocks will be in store.

World Beaters (Toughest Schedule)

Miami. The Redhawks travel to Minnesota, host Cincinnati, go to Colorado, and then play Syracuse at home over a four-week stretch in September. Then they travel to Vanderbilt on October 27. I know none of those teams are in the upper-tier of their conferences, but the talent difference between the best of the MAC and the worst of the Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC is still wide, while Cincinnati was a bowl team last year (and is coached by Brian Kelly, who won the MAC last year with Central Michigan).

Sucka Ducks (Weakest Schedule)

Ohio. The Bobcats open at I-AA school Gardner-Webb, and then travel to Sun Belt pushover Louisiana-Lafayette the next week. An impossible trip to Virginia Tech follows on September 15 before a return to Athens to host Wyoming. The Virginia Tech game almost makes up for the first two dates, but it has to be one or the other: either a Division I-AA school or a Sun Belt school.

Best Mascot

None. Most of the teams have pretty standard fare (Bobcats, Rockets, Falcons, etc.), while the unique ones are confusing. What is a Zip (a kangaroo, apparently) or a Golden Flash (a hawk, apparently). Buffalo is the worst, going with the obvious Bison.

Is Any MAC Program Big Ten-Worthy?

No. Ever since the Big Ten made its desire for a twelfth team known, it has been kicked around locally that a MAC team should be considered, due mostly to the geographic considerations. First of all, travel isn’t what it used to be. The need for close geographic proximity is obsolete, as proven by Boston College’s inclusion in the ACC. Second, no MAC program is anywhere near ready to be a Big Ten team. Besides the obvious lack of talent, no MAC team has the facilities nor the student body to compete with the behemoths of Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State. Even if a team was to be picked from the MAC, what team would it be? Over the past five years, there have been five different MAC champions (including Marshall, who is no longer in the conference). Only one team has posted a winning record in each of the past five seasons, Northern Illinois, and the Huskies never could parlay those wins into a conference championship. This parity is what makes the MAC exciting and an enjoyable conference to follow; it is also the main indicator that no MAC program is ready for the Big East, let alone the Big Ten. The worst program in the Big Ten the past five years has been Illinois; don’t you think that if the Fighting Illini were in the MAC, they would have one at least two conference championships over those same five years? Actually, they would probably have four, every year except 2003, when Big Ben was still at Miami, Omar Jacobs was setting records at Bowling Green, and Garret Wolfe was still running wild at Northern Illinois. Until a MAC program can have a sustained run in the five to six season range like the seasons Bowling Green, Miami, and Northern Illinois had in 2003, I just can’t see the Big Ten pillaging the MAC.

Barry Bonds and 756

So the inevitable has happened and Barry Bonds is the new home run king, which is a shame. Henry Aaron carried the title with dignity and class. Bonds seems like he'll be a surly asshole about things, just like he always is. I mean, can you imagine Bonds congratulating the next home run king (likely Alex Rodriguez, which I'll get to in a second) the way Aaron did for Bonds, even though Aaron has done everything but say he doesn't think Bonds deserves to break his record? I wish the next crown-bearer will be more gregarious, honest, and nicer, but A-Rod--the inevitable suitor--is just as testy as Bonds, but in a completely different way (where Bonds will just ignore reporters, A-Rod will feed them cookie cutter lines lacking any empathy). A-Rod cheats, too, but unlike Bonds's shady, mysterious dealings with banned substances, Rodriguez lays it all out on the field, peeking back at the catcher, knocking the ball out of mitts, and yelling at fielders trying to catch fly balls. And while there is a certain edginess to cheering for Bonds, cheering for A-Rod just makes you a dork.

On another note, don't you think it's weird that the most memorable baseball call from 2007 won't be the call of 756 (which is a pretty good call, actually)...

...but this?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Mighty Quinn has arrived (finally)

Brady Quinn finally signed with the Browns today, and all I have to say is why bother? Why not just make him sit out the rest of camp? He's so far behind now that what's the difference, right? But since that didn't happen, let's take a look into the crystal ball and see how Quinn's new five-year, $20 million contract (which could turn into $30 million, with incentives) will play out.


Quinn won’t even see the field before the third preseason game, as Coach Romeo Crennel proved that he will punish rookie holdouts during Braylon Edwards’s rookie season. At about the ten game mark, with the Browns out of the playoff race and Crennel fired, Quinn will be thrown into the fire, and will show incremental improvement every week, giving the Browns and their fans a glimmer of hope for the next season. During the off-season, Quinn will act like a queer.


Quinn will pick up where he left off, justifying the Browns surrendering a top-5 pick to Dallas for his rights. The Browns get off to a surprising start, and Quinn is the talk of the NFL. After two weeks of this, everyone in America is sick of it and now hate the Browns for being good and getting attention (unlike before, when America hated the Browns for sucking ass and being a joke to the national media). The Browns just miss the playoffs, but Quinn is playing at a Pro Bowl-level by the end of the season. During the off-season, Quinn will act like a douche.


Quinn will holdout of training camp, demanding that he be paid like the Pro Bowler he played like at the end of the previous season (but is not actually, since he didn’t make the Pro Bowl). After missing the first two and half weeks of camp and drawing the ire of fans and teammates alike, Quinn will sign a seven-year, $80 million extension. He will then blow out his knee in his first preseason appearance, putting the rest of his career in question. During the press-conference announcing the devastating news, Quinn will cry uncontrollably, and not only when he is talking, but when others are as well, until eventually the entire room goes silent, waiting for him to compose himself (which he does after another 10-15 minutes).


Quinn will miss the entire year rehabbing. When he is not in the gym or in the tape room, he will act like complete Clown Shoes.


Quinn will report to camp in fantastic shape, but will have to compete with last year’s starter, Drew Stanton, who won fans over with his gunslinger ways in Quinn’s absence. Neither QB will gain an edge on the other, and the Browns enter the season with Quinn as the starter, but Stanton just as deserving. Cleveland will be split into two camps, either pro-Quinn or pro-Stanton, reminding those with a memory span longer than two years of the Tim Couch vs. Kelly Holcomb debate. I will then kill myself. (Also, Brady Quinn will act like a complete queer who smells vinegary like a douche and will wear a big pair of ridiculous Clown Shoes.)