Thursday, December 16, 2010


Not a lot going on right now as I wait on the edge of my seat for Saturday's match up between Northern Illinois and Fresno State.  But we have had a few things go down this week that caught my attention, and not especially in a good way.
Let's start with Missouri's opponent in the Insight Bowl in just a couple of weeks, the Iowa Hawkeyes, where star wide receiver Darrell Johnson-Koulianos was dismissed from the team after Iowa City police arrested him for allegedly operating a drug house.  The rumors were flying this week as internet reports had up to 11 other players being dismissed or suspended due to failed drug testing.  This has proven to be overblown, but several other players suddenly deciding to leave the team absolutely caused some eyebrows to be raised.   Sad to see a kid that had an excellent chance to be drafted next April just piss his life away in his early 20's though.
The Big Ten conference held a presser to announce that they'd selected the names for their 2 divisions in football next season.  They also unveiled a snappy new logo that obviously was designed by the same guy that decided to put the United Nations peacekeepers in baby blue army helmets.  Going North/South or East/West simply wouldn't do for a conference such as the Big Ten, so they named the divisions the Leaders and the Legends.  This immediately led to jeers and derision as sports shows and fans alike now discuss the pomposity and arrogance of Jim Delaney and the Big Ten board.  Myself, I don't really care what they decide to call themselves, but I sure would like to know how much some advertising agency was paid to come up with a logo that I could have slapped together with Microsoft Paint in about 3 minutes.  And sky blue?  What the fuck is intimidating about sky blue?  And, 18 new post season awards?  What's next, participation medals?   
But when I was surfing around yesterday I came across the biggest gaffe of them all in my opinion.  The Oregon Ducks, home to college athletics sexiest cheerleaders and ugliest uniforms has absolutely outdone themselves with their new championship uniform, complete with neon green socks.  As I read, I realized that this will not only be the 13th game of the year for Oregon, it will also be their 13th different uniform.  Don't get me wrong, I'm jealous of all the Nike money that flows into Eugene and the fact that they broke into the national title game, despite playing the nations 71st most difficult schedule.  But lose the damn socks for the love of God.  Let's invest a little more money into some new cheerleader uniforms for those beautiful girls that make all of us Duck fans when they're on television.
That's all for today.  Time to get to the closet and see if I can find that old BYU cap from 30 years ago that I bought because I thought Jim McMahon was cool.    

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Bowl season:Week 1

When I was growing up, the bowls were even better than the regular season, at least generally.  Of course, when I was growing up, there weren't many bowls, and mostly they were played on New Years Day.  You got up semi early, plopped your ass on a couch, either your or a friends, and spent the day watching some of the greatest match ups of the year played in warm weather stadiums like Pasadena, New Orleans, Dallas and Miami.  There were a few games played before New Years such as the Sun Bowl in El Paso and the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, but those were just to whet your appetite until New Years day came along.
Now we have no less than 35 bowl games and it's touch and go if you're going to have the 70 teams reach that 6 victory plateau needed to get those 15 extra practices in that coaches value as much as spring ball.  Hell, we even have a bowl game being played in New York City this year.  While I realize that New York does a really nice job at Christmas, who wants to go watch a bowl game being played in Yankee Stadium at the end of December?  What comes next, participation ribbons for everyone?
So, whether they are needed or not, the bowl season kicks off next Saturday with 3 games that, while not being compelling, will be at least somewhat interesting.
The post season kicks off Saturday afternoon as the Brigham Young Cougars meet the University of El Paso Miners in the 5th annual New Mexico Bowl.  Both teams wound up with 6-6 records and have virtually nothing resembling a signature win.  The fighting Mormons open as 12 point favorites, and had been putting a few points on the board during their last few games.  UTEP really did nothing all season except scrap out 6 wins against such teams as Arkansas Pine Bluff, Memphis and New Mexico State.  BYU at least has a little bit of tradition on their side so I'm going to go with the Cougars to win and cover here.  I'm taking them 41-24.
In Boise, Idaho we have a bit of a better match up as 8-4 Fresno State Bulldogs take on the 10-3 Northern Illinois Huskies.  Both teams can at least count wins over Big Ten teams  this year as Northern Illinois bested Minnesota 34-23 while the Bulldogs closed out the year with a 25-23 win over Illannoy.  Combine that with their opening season win over Cincinnati and it was a pretty decent year for the Dogs.  Northern Illinois opens as 3 point favorites in this one, but I think that playing slightly better competition will work in Fresno's favor.  I'm taking them to cover and win outright.  Fresno State 38, Northern Illinois 34.
Easily the most desirable location of week 1 is the Troy Trojans putting their 7-5 record on the line against the 8-4 Ohio Bobcats in the New Orleans Bowl.  You can look for a solid win by either of the teams, but you just aren't going to find one.  But at least the fans of both teams are going to get a chance at some great food and entertainment before it gets too crowded with the Sugar Bowl crowd coming in.  Troy has pulled some decent upsets and has also played some big names close.  In a game like this, I tend to go with any sort of advantage one team could have over another.  In this one, I'll take the Bobcats with Frank Solich as their head coach.
That's it for this week.  Next week we'll have a few bigger match ups, including teams that you've probably heard of.  The (possibly) biggest bowl winner of the season will happen also when the Las Vegas Bowl hosts 2 teams that were considered legitimate threats to bust down the door of the BCS party.  Talk to you on Sunday.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Missouri fans, recruiting and other tidbits...

Well, the football regular season is over and we're working our way toward basketball season.  Nothing to do now except wait for the bowl games to begin, (1st 3 being on December 18th, just a few short days away) finish up with this years recruiting class, get out and support the basketball team, and, being Missouri fans, bitch like hell.  I hate to say that about a fan base, especially one that I consider myself to be a member of in good standing, but it's true.  I frequent a lot of message boards and am constantly amazed at the negativity our fan's.  The Tigers, by most were considered to be, before the season about an 8 win team, 9 if some things broke correctly.  Now, following a 10 win season, the third time in four years the Tigers have reached double digit wins, a large percentage of our followers choose to focus on the negatives.  Yes, we should have beaten Texas Tech.  And if you want to nitpick then yes, we probably also fell a couple of bowl games below where we could, note I said COULD have been selected, although our following the last couple of seasons probably doomed us there.  I choose to be happy myself about the fact that since the day Chase Daniel took over as quarterback in 2006, the Tigers have gone 48-18.  Folks with a bowl game to be played, Missouri has averaged over 9 wins a season.  Folks, the first Missouri game I can remember was played January 1st, 1966 in a 20-18 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.  Trust me on this one, these are the "good old days".
Now Missouri has the opportunity to send off our players to a great warm weather destination for a bowl game against a good, if somewhat underachieving Iowa Hawkeyes team from the Big Ten, the conference we hoped to be a member of this summer, yet we're complaining that we were passed over by the Cotton and Alamo bowls.  I get the snub from the Cotton Bowl and understand why folks are a bit pissed off by said snub.  They took a Texas A&M team that the Tigers throttled 30-9 at College Station a few weeks ago.  However, since that time the Aggies reeled off 6 straight wins, including victories over both teams that represented the conference in the title game, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  There is no way to say they weren't the hottest team in the conference down the stretch.  Their last trip to the Cotton Bowl was after the 2004 season, they have a huge fan base that's going to travel and put butts in the seats.  We forget that, outside of the BCS title game, the rest of the bowls are mostly concerned with showing a profit and making themselves look good.  While I don't agree with it, I get it and think they probably made a good choice.  As far as the Alamo Bowl, well Okie Lite finished with the exact same 10-2 and 6-2 conference record as the Tigers and the teams didn't play each other.  It's perfectly within their right to select the Cowboys.  And frankly, if you asked the Missouri players, I imagine they'd all prefer to spend a few days in Phoenix as opposed to Dallas or San Antonio.  Hell, the Insight Bowl even has a bigger payout than the Alamo so that's more travel money for Mizzou.  We need to get over the victim mentality and get behind this team.  The Tigers only lose 5 starters this year and the future indeed looks bright.
Another whine fest that I'm growing tired of is the one currently going on about the state of Tiger recruiting.  Yes, we currently lost 2 kids in Anthony Pierson and Sheldon Richardson that were our highest ranked recruits, but Big Shel has been uncharacteristically quiet since announcing he was flipping his commitment to USC while Pierson is reportedly heading to CoMo this weekend for an official visit.  I wouldn't write off either of these young men quite yet.  And even if they do both wind up elsewhere, why not concentrate on the kids we do have, such as Gerrand Johnson, a 270 lb defensive tackle that will graduate high school in December and enroll early at Mizzou.  Yep, he's only a three star kid, but take a look at his offer list.  The Tigers beat out such teams as Arkansas, Ol' Miss, Nebraska and Tennessee for his services.  He looks like the kind of kid that's going to pair with last years DT prize, Lucas Vincent to give Missouri a nice pair of tackles to build around once Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno graduate next year.   
In short, it's time Missouri fan grew a pair and decided to get behind the sports teams at our university.  Mike Alden has hired a couple of quality coaches that have established winning programs and graduated their players.  I, for one am going to do what I can to support them.  You can either continue to whine and bitch, or you can open your checkbook, buy a bowl ticket, get out to watch a top 15 basketball team and make a wrestling match, volleyball game or do a bit of hot stove work taking a look at what could be very good softball and baseball teams this spring.  Frankly, it looks to be a much better way to spend your time as opposed to the glass half empty approach.  But hell, that's just me.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 14 recap:Bowl selection Sunday

Well, for all intents and purposes, the regular season is over.  We'll still have a game or two this week.  I know the Army/Navy match up is yet to be played, and I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't some WAC or Conference USA type game that was hoping to achieve some sort of relevance by being a stand alone game, but it's pretty much over.  I'm going to miss it of course, but it's been an exciting and unpredictable year in college football and I expect nothing less from the post season.  The bowl bids come out this afternoon and I'll be talking about them later this week.  As it stands right now, it appears that Missouri will be heading off to San Diego on December 30th to face a 7-5 Arizona Wildcat team that finished the season with 4 straight losses.
I finished up the regular season pretty much the same way I started, going 3-1 straight up, but only 2-2 against the spread.  For the year, I'm 73-21 but only 41-44 playing against Vegas.  As I've said before, good thing I'm not a gambler.    
In Dallas, well Arlington to be exact, former Big 8 rivals Oklahoma and Nebraska faced off in the final, at least for now Big XII playoff game.  Corn nation and Colorado leave next year, the Buffs heading for the great waves as tasty buds of the Pac 10, soon to be Pac 12, while the hicks point the combines north as they drive off to the Big Ten, forever to be known as the Big Ten regardless of the number of teams.  The Sooners opened as a 4 1/2 point favorite in this game, and I expected them to cover, but the huskers jumped out to a 17-0 lead before OU shut down the offense to escape with a 23-20 victory.  I readily confess that I just detest both of these teams, but I suppose if someone was going to win the final championship game, it was better that it be someone that will still be in the conference next year.  OU will now set their sites on winning their BCS game, which will likely be against an over matched UCONN team in the Fiesta Bowl.  Possibilities for Nebraska would be Insight or Holiday against a future conference opponent.  To Oklahoma I say, congratulations and thanks for keeping the title in conference and sending the corn out as losers in their final conference game.  To Nebraska, well, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
In Charlotte, Virginia Tech won their 11th straight game after opening the season with 2 losses, one a real head scratcher to FCS team James Madison.  Va Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 263 yards, 3 touchdown passes and rushed for another as the Hokies blasted Florida State 44-33 in the ACC title game.  Virginia Tech had opened as just a 4 point favorite in this game and I expect them to cover easily and win big.  Frankly the game was closer than I thought it would be, but the result was still a win.  Va Tech now heads to an Orange Bowl which has given us such memorable games as Va Tech/Cincinnati parts 1 & 2 and Va Tech/ku the last few years.  For Florida State, I can honestly say I pretty much lost interest after Jenn Sterger and the Cowgirls graduated.  
The SEC title game provided exactly what I expected.  I took a look at Auburn coming in as merely a 5 point favorite and thought it looked like easy money for the gamblers.  And for once I was right.  Cam Newton, the best college football player that money can buy threw for 4 touchdown passes and ran for 2 more as the Tigers blasted the 'Ol ball coach and South Carolina 56-17.  Auburn now has a date with Oregon in the national championship game, which I do love, mostly because it gives me plenty of opportunities to hunt up photos of the Oregon cheerleaders, the best in the business in my opinion.  I expect Newton to win the Heisman and probably the NC game, only to have both taken away within the next few years when it's finally determined that he did indeed select Auburn due to a suitcase full of cash being delivered to his father.  Of course, that sort of thing isn't unusual, especially where the SEC is concerned.
In the final contest, in this week of uninteresting games, UCONN clinched the Big East automatic qualifier despite an 8-4 record.   No two ways about it, the Big East shouldn't be granted a BCS game this year, shouldn't have last year and probably won't until TCU joins the league in 2012.  The Huskies probably wouldn't have been better than Texas Tech this season, let alone teams like Missouri, A&M and Michigan State which will be playing in bowl games carrying much less prestige.   But, that is the system that currently exists, and will continue as long as it's lining the pockets of corrupt NCAA and BCS organizations.
This afternoon we'll hear the bowl announcements and shortly after we'll begin the annual whinefest of Missouri fans bitching about where our Tigers are being sent.  Naturally, a lot of fans will boycott, perpetuating our yearly snubs.  Oh well, that's a topic for another day.  Next time we'll take a look at all 35 match ups.  Have a great Sunday and keep warm. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Week 14: A list of disappointments.

I'm struggling this week to get excited about the upcoming games.  Since, if you've read my blog, you know I'm a shameless Missouri homer, you might think it was because my Tigers aren't in action.  Well, you'd be wrong.  Three championship games are being played, and frankly, they just don't appear to be compelling match ups.  Oh, there are some good story lines, I suppose.  OU and Nebraska playing in the final Big XII championship game is fitting, but by this time, I don't know if the corn have enough left offensively to hang.  Of course I could be wrong, and it turns out to be a fabulous game.  But I'm expecting to see some sort of 6-3 slug fest with a shitload of punts.  Va Tech and Florida State meeting in the ACC title game does absolutely nothing for me, and does anyone really expect South Carolina to stay with Auburn?
But worse for me than the week's schedule has been watching my team's fan base go into full blown whine and bitch mode.  I've been skimming Tiger message boards this week and am just aghast at what I've seen.  We're already complaining about the bowl game we're going to and I can understand to an extent.  Texas A&M has already been selected to go to the Cotton Bowl and the Tigers beat them by three touchdowns at College Station.  But the thing to remember is that other than the national championship game, and to an extent the 4 BCS games, it's pretty much a wash.  The conference shares bowl revenue so it really doesn't matter financially, and for the players sake, and that's what this should be about, a trip to San Diego would be a better reward than traveling to Dallas or San Antonio for the holidays.  One of my favorite sites is PowerMizzou, a pay site that I love for the work we get from Gabe and Pete, but the message board, which supposedly is full of rabid Missouri fans has become completely unreadable.   Tigerboard has always been a bit over the edge and continues, but at least it's a free site where fans from all schools are welcome.  Missouri Tiger fans have always been their own worst enemies, but that's a topic for another day and I'll quit my own whinefest now.
Moving on to the weekends contests, I currently sit at 70-20 straight up for the season, but 39-42 against the point spread.  If I'm going to catch up, I need a good week, followed by some good work on the bowl match ups.  With that in mind, I've devoted almost 10 minutes of research to this weeks games.  We'll start out in Dallas where corn nation meets up with the land thieves in the final Big XII title game, at least for now.  I suppose it's always possible that the league could expand back to 12 teams, but I can't imagine any school with common sense wanting to align themselves to a conference who's shelf life appears to be 5 years.  The Sooners open as a 4 1/2 point favorite in this game, which could also be listed as the over/under.  The hicks have been devastated with injuries on the offensive side of the ball and will have to rely on a stout defense to keep this game close.  I have my doubts they'll be able to do it.  OU has been beatable this year, but Stoops is good when he makes it to the title game and they have a pretty decent defense of their own.  I think Landry Jones takes enough control of this to allow the Sooners to put it away.  I'm picking OU to win and cover, 20-10.
You'd have never guessed it after consecutive losses to Boise State and FBS James Madison to open the season, but Virginia Tech sits at 10-2 and meets up with Florida State in the ACC title game.  Florida State has been fairly pedestrian, although beating in state rivals Miami and Florida was somewhat impressive.  The Hokies open as 4 point favorites, and I don't see them having any problems covering.  I'm taking Va Tech in a rout, 38-13.
In the SEC, Auburn and Cam Newton meet up with the 'Ol ball coach, Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks.  While it's entirely possible that Auburn may have all wins vacated at some point due to, well let's say irregularities with the recruitment of Heisman favorite Newton, it's SEC football and they aren't about to forego an opportunity to have a participant in the national championship game for the umpteenth year in a row.  Auburn rolls in this one, 45-21.
There are some other games that would normally be worth picking, but this year they were damn hard to find.  Arizona/Arizona State, USC/UCLA are pedestrian matchups at best.  I had to look to the Big East, which should NEVER be mentioned in a football blog to find 2 teams with winning records playing.  Yes, mighty UCONN travels to South Florida in a match up of 7-4 teams.  Due to being at home, the Bulls are a 1 point favorite.  I admit, I probably won't watch one second of this game, but I think they'll do just a touch better than that.  I'm taking USF to win and cover, 31-27.
That's all I've got for now.  Hope your holiday was great and you enjoy the weekends match ups.  I can't say that I especially will, but I've got next week off at work, and that always puts a spring in my step.  See you next weekend.