Rushing The Field: Poll Anarchy

Well, seven weeks in and we’ve got the same damned problem we had last year with college football (or non-problem, for without these issues, the sport isn’t as half as fun to discuss or opine on.)  The field has leveled out so greatly that you have three of the top five getting knocked off on a Saturday.

Oklahoma and Texas were essentially trading blows for about three quarters, with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy upping the ante on who would be favored in the Heisman race. Texas turned it in the 4th quarter: prodding Bradford into picks and getting big play from McCoy (who was 28-35 passing, good accuracy) along with a huge 60-yard run from Chris Ogbonnaya, and the Horns took the win 45-35. However, any analysis of this game without a lament about the sorry Big 12 officials in charge is incomplete. I understand the reasons for stringent rules about roughing the passer or personal foul calls; you want to keep people from getting hurt. McCoy flopped twice on ruhses out of bounds that got called for 15-yard flags, he and Bradford both were given the gift of flags on roughing penalties that shouldn’t have been called, an OU interception that should have been in the first half wasn’t, and the OU punter put on an acting job that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been ashamed of.

The Swamp is an entirely different beast of a stadium, particularly for a new starting QB like Jarrett Lee in his first road game as LSU “supplied the butt” for Florida to whip, in Mike Patrick’s parlance.  Florida got out to a 20-0 lead at one point; LSU closed it to 6 points, but the Gators’ defense finally stepped up, turning the multitude of running backs of LSU into an ineffective rotation, and forcing them to try to win on Lee’s arm — never a good prospect for a redshirt freshman.  Urban Meyer’s squad wound up putting half a hundred on ’em in the first complete game where Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin were not the sole playmakers in the Gator spread.

T. Boone Pickens’ money is apparently going to good use; it’s enough to buy a defense when there apparently was none.  A 28-23 upset of Missouri at Columbia gives Oklahoma State some of the respect they’ve been seeking, as no other team made Chase Daniel look out of sync as often as the Cowboys did (Mizzou fans may be tempted to blame the fact that Daniel was wearing #25 in honor of a fallen teammate rather than his usual #10 jersey), forcing him into crucial picks late.  Zac Robinson was a revelation for those of us who haven’t taken the time to watch him, pulling touchdown passes out of his ass. One in particular impressed me in the second half: he rolled out left and had NOTHING at the time downfield, he’d just avoided a sack, and to avoid another one, he hurled it to a spot in the end zone where he had two receivers against one cornerback — leap, catch, touchdown.

Continue reading

Take The Skinned and Headless Bowling, Part II.

Kentucky 35, Florida State 28 – Not like FSU wasn’t completely shorn of players for the Music City Bowl, but it certainly didn’t look like it. The Seminoles were able to get offensive drives scoring and put up plenty of points — but the absence of players hit them hard defensively, where Kentucky QB Andre Woodson threw for four touchdowns and 358 yards against Bobby Bowden’s squad.

Cal 42, Air Force 36 – It seemed like Cal had no get-up-and-go early, with the offense sputtering under Nate Longshore and the Falcons getting out to 21 first half points. Kevin Riley then relieved Longshore and it was a completely different ball game, turning into an offensive shoot out. The crucial part came when Air Force QB Sean Carney had his leg bend in a way that really shouldn’t happen (so much so that announcer Dan Fouts told the audience to turn away), and the Bears were able to come back and solidify another winning season.

Oregon 56, South Florida 21 – Two things I learned from the Sun Bowl: the Big East isn’t as good as I thought yet, because South Florida, on paper, should have been much more competitive against a down on its luck Pac-10 team; Oregon is more resilient and has a better system than I thought, because for most of the season, I thought Dennis Dixon really was the ultimate key to it. He may be the best catalyst, but Justin Roper ran it well by using a heavy dose of running back Jonathan Stewart — 253 yards rushing.

Fresno State 40, Georgia Tech 28 – Pat Hill’s Mustache Riders romp on a BCS-conference opponent again while the Chan Gailey Equilibrium (TM EDSBS) strikes in combination with what is quickly becoming the Curse of the Interim — Jon Tenuta’s balls-out defensive calling skill didn’t work against Bulldog RB Clifton Smith, who rushed for 152 and 2 scores. Wait, Bulldogs? No wonder Tech folded — dogs, whether from Fresno or from Athens, seem to give them issues, and the Humanitarian Bowl was no different.

Oklahoma State 49, Indiana 33 – The Cowboys won on the strength of Zac Robinson; the QB threw for 3 scores and more than 300 yards in a game that very few got to see (thanks, NFL Network, not like many outside the fans of the two schools wanted to see the Insight Bowl.)

Auburn 23, Clemson 20 – So the Tigers have something interesting offensively going, with somewhat of a two-QB system between senior Brandon Cox and the future QB, Kodi Burns, who scored the winning touchdown in overtime after a game in which Auburn was able to put the screws to Cullen Harper, limiting Clemson’s attack in the Chk-fil-A Bowl.

Photo: AP/Bill Waugh

Mike Gundy Is Not Happy With A Certain Columnist.

After yesterday’s 49-45 win over Texas Tech, Mike Gundy took Daily Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson to task for this column she’d written about QB Bobby Reid. It is a glorious verbal smackdown, and makes me think he at least had bullet points on a note card for this, if not completely written out and rehearsed.

Mmmmm….that’s good bile!