Degrees of Disorder

As one college sport nears its post-season, and another makes its way through the pre-conference schedule, it is only natural to expect a little disorder. Add in a little professional stuff and the result bears the resemblance of chaos.

Early season hoops tourneys and non-conference games certainly whet the appetite of many an eager fan. Some coaches might not possess the same vigor for these match-ups. Oregon’s Ernie Kent looks to life after Aaron Brooks as his Ducks seek to build off their Elite Eight finish last season. The Gaels of St. Mary’s had a different idea in mind as they topped the #12 Ducks 99-87.

The hoopsters aren’t the only team struggling on the Eugene, Oregon campus: the Duck gridiron gang is having a difficult time arguing that one man doesn’t make a team. After rising to #2 in the polls Oregon lost Heisman trophy-candidate, quarterback, Dennis Dixon, to a season-ending knee injury, and this weekend the Ducks lost to UCLA 16-0.

The Ducks’ loss has opened the way for the once-left-for-dead USC Trojans who have also shown one player can make a difference. After looking average in a loss to Oregon earlier this season the Trojans have since answered their own ‘Booty’ call. QB, John David Booty, has returned from a broken finger on his throwing hand to lead the Trojans back into the BCS hunt. Thanksgiving night’s trouncing of Arizona State served notice that the Trojans are back. This came after close calls earlier this season against Washington and Arizona, and the upset loss to the Stanford Cardinal who converted a fourth and ten to win the game.

The Cardinal didn’t need to convert a fourth and ten Saturday against 2 and 10 Notre Dame. Instead they needed to convert the four field goals missed in a 21-14 loss.

The Buffalo Sabres have reeled off four wins in a row including an upset of the first place Ottawa Senators.

#4, Brett Favre – is doing his level best to make sure all of us forget his recent retirement soap operas. He has led the Pack to a 10-1 record. He also played his part in one of the more entertaining turkey days of recent history. 20 in a row? Good Lord!!!!!

20 is two less than the number of punts attempted this season by Chris Hanson of the New England Patriots.

20 is the age of Jimmy Clausen who, along with Robert Hughes and Duval Kamara, offers hope when the Irish open practice next Spring.

Hope springing eternal is something the Angels of somewhere-in-the-state-of-California-not-exactly-sure-where will be looking for. The Angels signed Torii Hunter to a multi-year deal because “they needed to protect Vladdy” in the lineup. Hmmmm….didn’t they just trade Orlando Cabrera who batted .301 last year? And didn’t Hunter bat .287?

The Irish football team wasn’t the only ND squad to ‘wake up the echoes’. The ND women’s soccer team was one of three schools to upset #1 seeds in the Women’s College Cup. Coach Randy Waldrum’s Lady Irish knocked off the North Carolina Tar Heels. Meanwhile the UConn Huskies took down Stanford, and Penn State lost to West Virginia.

The folks of Morgantown enjoyed this past weekend because not only did their Mountaineer women’s soccer team advance, but West Virginia football should ascend to the #1 spot in the country vacated by LSU. The Tigers took a rapping from ‘Run DMC’ – Darren McFadden and the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Mountaineers throttled Big East rival, UConn, 66-21. Only Pitt stands between the Mountaineers and a trip to the national title game.

West Virginia is finding life in the Big East to be to their liking since the defections of Boston College and Virginia Tech. Those two former Big East schools will battle for the ACC title next weekend (Maybe the Big East isn’t so weak after all). The winner earns a BCS berth. The last time the Hokies looked this good on the gridiron they were singing the praises of Michael Vick. Now he is singing this:[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=mc5sDt4ppnE]

The King makes his debut on the Clipboard.

If West Virginia can pull this off their opponent is still up for grabs. Missouri and Heisman hopeful, Chase Daniel, knocked Kansas from the ranks of the unbeaten. Only the Warriors of Hawaii remain undefeated, and they don’t stand a pineapple’s chance in hell of getting a sniff of the title game. Mizzou plays Oklahoma for the Big 12 title and a chance at the national title game. Hawaii upended Boise St. 39-27. The same Boise St. who rocked the Sooners in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.

13 Responses to "Degrees of Disorder"

  1. Muels   November 25, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Just wondering how long until Syracuse is officially looking for a new football coach…and maybe some real uniforms (ugh!)…

  2. Wally   November 26, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Aside from Ohio St fans, is anyone not rooting for a West Virginia vs Missouri BCS Chan’ship game???

    Hawaii is this year’s Boise State. Well, it’s a bit early to say that … but I think they’ll beat Washington Saturday to cement an invitation to a BCS bowl. Never thought I’d say this, but the Rainbow Warriors play better defense than folks think.

    This just in … the spread offense is the rage, but you have to have a very mobile QB to pull it off. If you’re not running it, you may not score enough points to contend for the NC. And most teams are ill-equipped to defend against it. How else could Illinois beat Ohio State in Columbus?? If you’re playing a spread team, you better be ready to score at least 30 yourself or you’re not going to win the game.

    Did anyone witness the Stanford vs Notre Dame game and see the unbelievable reversal of that fantastic touchdown catch by David Grimes??? I know I was rooting for ND, but how on Earth could they overrule the field judges on this one? That was one of the finest diving catches I’ve ever seen … and it was a catch!!! There wasn’t ANY EVIDENCE to the contrary. Seems the replay judge is the President of Stanford’s Booster Club.

    Speaking of Irish football … now that this season is mercifully over, we look forward to next year. Here’s the 2008 slate:
    S06 SAN DIEGO STATE
    S13 MICHIGAN
    S20 @ Michigan St.
    S27 PURDUE
    O04 STANFORD
    O11 @ North Carolina
    O25 @ Washington
    N01 PITTSBURGH
    N08 @ Boston College
    N15 @ Navy (Baltimore)
    N22 SYRACUSE
    N29 @ Southern Cal

    It appears to be quite a bit easier than this year’s schedule. I’ve already set my expectations … anything less than 7-5 should bring severe heat onto Weis and his staff. This team has a way to go with basic blocking and tackling, but another year of maturity plus excellent talent in the Frosh-Junior classes “should” lead to a better than .500 record … with just average coaching. I think Weiss & Co are better than average, but the proof will be on the field in ’08.

    Saw several games at the Great Alaska Shootout. Butler won the tournament, and although they may not end up being a Top 10 team, they sure are fun to watch. The way they unselfishly move the ball around to the open man is a thing of beauty. Mike Green has to be one of the best guards in the country. And AJ Graves is pretty good too. They’re a modern day “Hoosiers” story … I thought I saw Gene Hackman on the bench 🙂

    Wally

  3. ccww   November 26, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Did not SEE the Grimes catch – listened to it. The announcers -yes Pro ND- Don Criqui and Alan Pinkett- were stunned. Ten plays later they were still discussing it and looking at the monitors. On the topic of radio broadcast – ND and Westwood One have sadly parted ways after 40 years of coverage. I hope this isn’t the makings of a Sirius deal. I can just see someone in upper management seeing the ND move as a coup. Might take some losses early to help build Sirius for later.

    What would have happened if ND played Stanford and Duke earlier this year? Let’s say in September. This team wasn’t going to a bowl, but getting some wins under their belt early could have helped this team’s confidence and could have resulted in a .500 record.

    Robert HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUghes is gonna be a great one.

    I was caught off-guard when I saw AJ Graves in the Sporting news college preview. I thought he was a senior last year.

    Spread offense and no-huddle is a thing of beauty. If hockey and basketball can play 80 plus games with continuous flow, then why can’t football play 19? Sounds crazy but how much actual time is spent playing during a football game?

    Casey

  4. ccww   November 26, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Almost forgot – I would love to see Mizzou versus WVU.

    Casey

  5. ccww   November 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Wally,

    How was the trip?

    Casey

  6. Wally   November 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Casey —
    This was my first time to Hawaii. It was AWESOME, but quite pricey. First 3 days were in Honolulu near Waikiki Beach. Went there mostly to see Pearl Harbor. You can still smell the oil where the USS Arizona is sitting on the floor of the bay. Quite sobering … I think about half of our PH casualties were from the Arizona, most of them forever entombed on the ship. Then we toured the USS Missouri battleship upon which the Japanese signed the surrender treaty that ended the war. Then we spent 7 days in Maui, which is where the “relaxing part” of our vacation took place. Great condo right on the beach … several GREAT beaches in the area and lots to do. Every day we had great weather … Sunny and low 80’s. One surreal experience (other than watching Duke spank Illinois at the Maui Invitational and seeing MJ) … we drove up to the summit of the Haleakala Volcano (10,000 ft) where the views are astounding … and the temps were about 40 degrees!!! Everyone had a great time. I’d love to go back soon … but will need to save up first. Although expensive, it’s quite nice to have a place we can call “paradise” that’s actually in the U.S. We got back Thurs morning about 10am … just in time to catch some football.

    Wally

  7. Reynell   November 26, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    What is the allure of West Virginia? Everyone has beat Kansas down all season because “they haven’t played anybody.” Look at WV’s schedule. It’s filled with over-rated teams. The ranked teams include UCONN (they play Div. I football there?), Cincinatti, Rutgers, and of course South FL. Non-conference they have played Louisville, who if you do not recall, LOST TO SYRACUSE AT HOME! A 37.5 point underdog or some god awful spread. The schedules of the ranked teams they have played are a joke too. UCONN almost lost to Temple on a dropped pass that was really caught in the final moments by Temple for the win. That’s Temple ladies and gentleman – who took on the nation’s longest losing streak this year after Duke beat Northwestern. In case Casey blows me in, I’m a Temple grad and we suck!

    If WV drops out of the top two somehow and they draw an Ohio State or a Georgia, they’d get annihilated. Watching Pat White against that defense would be like watching a freshman quarterback who went to a private school and played cream puff Californian teams his whole high school career try and make it at a top notch DI school. Wait – that sounds familiar…

  8. ccww   November 26, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Brother Reynell,

    Coming in strong on the Clipboard. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I gotta break open a Sam Adams after reading that.

    Casey

  9. Aaron Smith   November 27, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Reynell,

    I agree with you and I think that is the problem with the BCS.. We have teams that are not necessarily the best teams playing for the championship, but teams with the best record. In any other sport – college or pro – they would go through a playoff and probably exposed..

    Check out the article Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com. He makes a lot of sense, but with so much money wrapped up in bowl games I am not sure we will see and end to the BCS.

    Furthermore, why do some conferences play conference championship games and some don’t? Missouri has to beat Oklahoma to get into the championship, while Ohio State is sitting at home done for the season. Meanwhile if Mizzou loses, Ohio St may leap frog them in the NC…

    Are you kidding me? Does that make sense?

  10. Aaron Smith   November 27, 2007 at 9:34 am

    Wally,

    Good see you back on the board.. Glad your trip to paradise was enjoyable.. Haleakala Volcano is incredible.. Almost feels like another planet when you are up there..

    Hopefully the Warriors will get some respect if they run the table and get into a BCS bowl. I think Colt Brennan looks like he will be a pretty good pro QB.

  11. Wally   November 27, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Reynell —
    I don’t think anyone is claiming that WVU is undoubtedly one of the Top 2 teams in the country. (Although I personally think they are “very good” … Top 6 … with A LOT of talent on offense). No, the allure of a WVU vs Mizzou chan’ship match-up is that it will piss off a lot of people and, hopefully, push the NCAA one step closer to instituting a playoff. That’s what most of us really want, isn’t it???

    By the way … here are two more opinions … 1) Mizzou will definitely deserve a spot in the chan’ship game IF they knock off Oklahoma Saturday. Hard to argue with a 13-1 record, very recently knocking off two Top 10 teams, and winning a major conference chan’ship. 2) Not so sure Ohio State is even a “Top 3” team. They’re “good”, but they played a pitiful non-conference schedule, a weak Big 10 schedule (this year), and they totally dropped the ball against a beatable Illinois team at home in Columbus in November when they controlled their own destiny. Beating a medicore Michigan squad by a whopping 14-3 margin to close it out doesn’t exactly impress me.

    Of course, a playoff would help settle these issues … on the field! I say take the Top 8 teams in the final BCS rankings and hold four awesome playoff games at the “traditional bowl sites” (Sugar, Rose, Orange, etc) on New Years Day. Then, match up the winners in the subsequent weeks. How hard is that??? Not very. How exciting and profitable is that???? Extremely.

    Wally

  12. ccww   November 27, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    BCS standings as of today – Mizzou, WVU, OSU, Georgia, Kansas, Va Tech, LSU, USC. In other words – 2 teams from the Big12, 1 Big East, 1 Big Ten, 2 SEC, 1 ACC, and 1 Pac-10. Which means if we had an 8-team playoff right now for the ‘National’ Championship six of the eleven 1-A conferences would be represented.

    Part of what is great about the hoops tourney is that all conferences are represented. Then we get the George Masons, the Belmonts, the Gonzagas, and the Indiana States…yeah Indiana State ’79. For that matter where did Marquette come from in ’77?

    I love the end of the season conference tournaments in hoops. I would love to see the same excitement for each of the eleven football conferences in the country. Each conference gets an automatic berth, and add on 5 at-large bids. Then we could get a look at the teams in the Mountain West, Mid-American, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt. Let’s not forget the WAC. Boise St. from the WAC provided last year’s big story, and Hawaii could be this year’s, but based on the BCS, the Warriors wouldn’t get a sniff.

    The way college football is setup right now, those aforementioned conferences are relegated to feeding from the bottom. The only way they can get any notoriety is to do what Boise St. last year, but the Broncos didn’t even get a chance at the title. Yet as crazy as it is Michigan-who lost to Appalachian St.- could have ended up in a BCS game(they were ranked 21st going into the OSU game) had they beaten OSU. Or as it stands now OSU, who barely beat three-loss Michigan, can still end up in the title game. By the way OSU played the following: Akron, Youngstown State, Kent St., Minnesota, and Northwestern.

    More than giving all conferences an immediate chance, over the long haul this would change the recruiting landscape. Now those schools from the Sun Belt, Mid-American, etc. could go into the homes of top athletes and sell them on the chance of getting into the national spotlight. It would take a while, but there could be a balancing of competition. Right now the power conferences have too much margin for error – again look at OSU or even USC. They can lose a couple but based on their past they still get consideration.

    I know part of the rebuttal to this is that we need to take baby steps. Sucks to baby steps! That’s what we’re doing right now. If we go with only eight it would give opponents fodder to argue against such a system because only eight teams would not give a true representation of what a playoff could accomplish.

    Start the tourney on dec. 23rd – eight games on that day. The kids can get home for the holiday, and they have enough of a buffer to prepare after exams. 4 games on New Year’s. 2 games the following weekend and the title game the next week.

    Casey

  13. Wally   November 27, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Casey —
    Would love to see more than 8 teams in the hypothetical season-ending tournament … 16 would be ideal … for many of the reasons you enumerated. BUT … I also considered what was “practical” given today’s landscape, the “bowl tradition”, and the current arguments opposing a play-off. Given all of these “constraints”, an 8 team playoff would not be a baby step, but instead would be a giant leap. Remember, people have posed the possibility of a “plus one” system in the near future to address the BCS “inequity”, which I think is total horsecrap and merely the baby step you’ve described. On the other hand, I think the only way we could get a 16 team playoff would be to shorten the regular season and start playoffs in early December or late November. Something we have to keep in mind is that football is entirely different from basketball in one key aspect: you get the stuffing beat out of you on game day and it really does take a full week to recover … assuming you’re not out for the season. Therefore, adding more games adds weeks to the season, not days.

    Wally

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