Id’ be lying if I said this didn’t hurt. On every possible level this at the very least kind of sucks. I still wish Georgia was playing tonight. Aaron Murray claims to be “over it.” He moved on faster than I did. That’s embarrassing. Even aside from that still-stinging defeat, the end of college football season is a dark time for me every year. The transition to the offseason and basketball is never easy.
The only thing that could soften the blow is a convincing Alabama win. I hate Notre Dame. The Irish haven’t been relevant for years. This is just their third 10+ win season in the last 18 years. But if you were from a foreign country and came to the United States at any point during that time period and watched College Football on TV (you’d never leave!) you’d think the Fighting Irish were perennial champions. They aren’t. And I don’t want them to be.
If Notre Dame wins the National Championship this year then my children will likely be hearing about it 20 years from now, even if the Irish don’t win another game. I don’t want another generation stuck watching the golden helmets on Saturday when a better team is playing. I don’t want another Manti Te’o making tackles the way a middle linebacker should and getting hailed as the greatest thing since all you can eat seats and sporting events. I don’t want it.
I want Alabama to win. I’m not happy that Saban is back in the game, but I want him to win. A Crimson Tide victory squashes (for now) the evil that is Notre Dame and furthers the cause of the greatest conference in the history of college football. So can they do it?
Of course they can. I’ve watched Alabama and Notre Dame play several times this year and here are some eye-ball tests that favor the Tide:
- Frankly, I don’t know that Notre Dame can score – at all – against Alabama. Alabama has the best defense in the country, and I’m not sure that Notre Dame’s offense is anymore advanced than say…Mississippi State.
- Manti Te’o is a good linebacker. I couldn’t tell you another ND backer’s name because every tackle is credited to Te’o even if he’s on the sideline. Manti Te’o is not as good at the linebacker position as Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon are at the running back position. I am confident of that.
- Furthermore, Notre Dame’s front seven has never, ever, even in their wildest dreams seen anything like Alabama’s offensive line.
- I joke a lot, but when I watch Notre Dame play I see an 8-4 team.
Statistically the gap closes a bit, but Alabama played five teams that were ranked (at the time) in the top-25 and Notre Dame played only four. Alabama’s two best wins are close victories over 7th ranked Georgia and 8th ranked LSU. Notre Dame’s two best wins are against 6th ranked Stanford and 11th ranked Oklahoma. The two share one common opponent – Michigan. Notre Dame beat Michigan at home 13-6. Alabama beat Michigan in Texas 41-14.
The math favors Alabama (although not by the margin of the spread) and so does common sense. Roll Tide…tonight and tonight only.
That’s all I got/
I hate everything about GoDaddy.com. I hate their commercials. I hate their hard-to-use registration options. I hate their bowl. I also hate crappy teams playing in January, as I think I mentioned yesterday.
Here is every reason why you should not support this game between Kent State and Arkansas State:
- Nick Saban went to Kent State. Nick Saban is evil.
- Kent State lost to Kentucky by 33 points.
- Kentucky scored 47 points against Kent State. That’s two more than the Wildcats scored against Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisville and Mississippi State…combined.
- Kent State only beat Ball State by two points. Neither Kent or Ball is a recognized State.
- Kent State defeated on BCS Conference opponent this year, Rutgers.
- Prior to defeating Rutgers, Kent State had not defeated a BCS Conference opponent since August 30, 2007.
- Arkansas State was briefly home to Gus Malzahn. Enough said.
- Arkansas State lost to Western Kentucky. In football.
- Arkansas State did not defeat a BCS Conference opponent this year.
- Their last BCS Conference win was on August 30, 2008.
- Both of these teams stink.
That’s all I got/
If you like January Bowl games, and I bet most of you do, you will hate today’s BBVA Compass Bowl. There once was a time when playing in a January Bowl meant something. That time – whenever it was – is long gone. Northwestern, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Ole Miss, Kent State and Arkansas State all “earned” January Bowls this year. Those eight teams lost a combined 35 regular season games this year. Even more depressing is the number of BCS Conference opponents those eight teams beat during the regular season: 28. And eight of those wins belonged to Northwestern, the lone team on this list belonging in the top-25 (Kent State is ranked 25th with just one BCS-Conference win).
These teams aren’t terrible, but they’re January-Bowl bad. Ole Miss had a great year (by recent Ole Miss standards), but the Rebels went 6-6 overall, 5-6 against the FBS, 3-5 in the SEC and 3-6 against BCS Conferences. They shouldn’t be playing in January. The same can be said for Pittsburgh. The Panthers went 6-6 overall, split games against FCS opponents (beating Gardner-Webb and losing to Youngstown State!!!!), went 3-4 in the Big East and 4-5 against BCS Conferences.
BBVA Compass, how can you use the term “compass” in your brand name if you don’t even know the rightful spot on a calendar for your game? And if you’re such a financially logical banking solution, what makes you think people would watch your game between two teams that combined to win just 38.89% of their games against major conference opponents on the same day that the NFL playoffs begin. Use your head.
I quit. Ole Miss wins. SEC! SEC! SEC!
That’s all I got/
Have you guys seen the new iPhone 6? It’s made entirely of cotton. Wait? That’s just a rumor? Oh, then why the heck is AT&T sponsoring the Cotton Bowl? You’re right, it doesn’t make sense. And why is this game sandwiched between a bunch of BCS Bowls? Oh, so WifeYouCrazy has some football to watch on Friday night. I get it now.
Bottom line: this is going to be interesting. Oklahoma opened the season with a lot of hype and Texas A&M opened it with a lot of laughter. Nobody (myself included) expected the Aggies to have the season they did. And nobody knew Johnny Manziel for anything other than the arrest that everybody seems to have forgotten about now.
Statistically, I’m not sure that there is a whole lot to differentiate either of these teams. Texas A&M probably holds a slight offensive edge due to a higher scoring average (42 ppg against BCS opponents for the Aggies, 38 for the Sooners) in a tougher defensive conference, but defensively the two teams look eerily similar.
I do think Oklahoma presents a more balanced team as A&M is extremely QB-dependent. Obviously, every team relies on the quarterback, but when Manziel is less than awe-inspiring the Aggies tend to lose. Against Florida he accounted for just 233 total yards and 1 TD. Against LSU he threw three interceptions and managed only 27 rushing yards on 17 carries. A&M lost both games.
To say that Oklahoma will be focusing on Johnny Football is a gross understatement. Oklahoma is focusing on Johnny Football the way Pixar is focused on making animated movies. Any other focal point is a waste of time.
Can Oklahoma’s efforts yield results? That remains to be seen. The Sooners largely contained Collin Klein, but his 149 passing yards and 79 rushing yards were still enough to give Kansas State the win. He’s two-thirds the football player Johnny Manziel is – at best. And the fact that Oklahoma’s other loss came in the form of 30 points surrendered to Notre Dame (a team that averaged just 26.1 points in their ten other games against BCS Conference foes, which featured an OT game and a triple-OT game).
I think A&M can have success against the Sooners. And so does the math.
Enjoy the game.
That’s all I got/
The Sugar Bowl:
I tweetered about this last night to the point of exasperation, but here are a few bullet points on Florida’s loss to Louisville:
- I’m really, really glad that Charlie Strong didn’t come to Tennessee.
- Now I see why he stayed, that team is talented and most of the talent is coming back.
- I’ve said this before, but the Big East was underrated this year.
- Florida still doesn’t have an offense. Never have, at least not this year.
- Anybody who thinks this is an indictment against the SEC, please explain your logic after reading mine in the next three bullets.
- Last time I checked the winner of an automatically-qualifying BCS Conference beat the non-winner from another.
- Last time I checked Florida finished second in their division within the SEC.
- I’m not discrediting Louisville, they were the better team. But I’m making the point that it shouldn’t be so absurd that the best team in a BCS Conference beat the second best team in another conference’s (supposedly) weaker division by 10 points.
- The math said to take Louisville, as the Cardinals were getting 15 whole points.
An Interesting Thought on Gambling:
There have been eight bowl games thus far with double-digit point spreads. Four favorites (Cincinnati against Duke, Arizona State against Navy, Oklahoma State against Purdue, FSU against Northern Illinois) covered the spread and four underdogs (SMU against Fresno State, Minnesota against Texas Tech, Georgia Tech against Southern Cal, Louisville against Florida) covered the spread. That’s not surprising at all. In fact, by design it seems like a favorite should cover about 50% and the underdog should cover about 50%.
What stands out is that three of the four ten-digit underdogs who covered the spread (all except for Minnesota) also won the game outright. Fresno State was favored by 11.5, but SMU won 43-10. Southern Cal was favored by 10.5, but Georgia Tech won 21-7. Florida was favored by 15, but Louisville won 33-23. The combined gap between the spread and the actual score in those three games was 94 points. That’s huge. The odds of those things happening are slim.
Also of note: the DudeYouCrazy Normalized Scoring Model is 19-11 with five bowl games remaining. At worst it will close out with a 54.29% winning percentage. But I’m hoping I close out with five more wins to threaten 70%.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Aside from the fact that a brand of chips is sponsoring a bowl that Chip Kelly is coaching in, I’m really excited about the Party Bowl tonight. Kansas State and Oregon represent the dreams of mid-November that came crashing down when everyone lost – seemingly on purpose – to pave the way for another SEC National Championship. As for what you should expect? I’m not totally sure.
Oregon’s coach, Chip Kelly, seems NFL-bound as he’s being pursued by the Bills, Browns and Eagles for a head coaching gig (I’d love to see him coach the Eagles’ speed, for what it’s worth). Meanwhile Kansas State’s coach, Bill Snyder, seems bound for a bowl of jello and an early evening in a recliner at the age of 73. Something has to give.
I like watching Oregon play. There I said it. I rooted hard for Oregon against Auburn a few years ago. I said it. I even tweeted “War Duckle” a number of times. You mad, bro? Oregon is exciting. On the other hand, I can’t remember anything about Kansas State even though I watched them play three or four complete games this year. They’re that unimpressionable. But, perhaps that’s what you get when Calvin Klein is your quarterback and an old man is your coach.
Despite all of this, something tells me that old-man football just might win out again here. Oregon’s offense has a lot of moving parts, and as a physical Stanford team showed, when the timing is off the wheels roll in the wrong direction. I can’t help but think the long layoff and the distraction of Kelly’s potential departure might do some damage. But at the same time, don’t be surprised if nobody from the entire state of Kansas, let alone from Kansas State’s team, can physically keep up with the Ducks.
I’ll leave you with this: the math says Kansas State will narrowly cover the spread. Let’s see what the game says.
Enjoy it, I think it could be a good one.
That’s all I got/