Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wofford? How about UMass

Know what the biggest upset last weekend was? Wofford College over Appalachian State. Hands down, no doubt about it -- anyone in 1-AA beating ASU this year is insane. That's how good the Mountaineers are. As you can imagine, I'm not done with my 1-AA ranting yet. But for now, on to this weekend's big games.

Games that look good but aren't:
#1 USC at Washington. I like Ty Willingham, and I like Washington, and I'd like him to be successful so that Notre Dame will feel stupid. However, this ain't happening.

Auburn at #3 Florida. This game, at the beginning of the year, had some serious hype. The Tigers were the only team to beat UF last year. However, this year they already have home losses to USF and a putrid Mississippi State team.

Games people should be talking about:
#6 Cal at #11 Oregon. The PAC10 will start to get some respect one way or another. If ABC shows some shitty ACC game instead of this, I will lose it. This game may feature the nations most electrifying player (DeSean Jackson) and its most underrated quarterback (Dennis Dixon).

#5 West Virginia at #18 USF: Matt Grothe of South Florida is also in the conversation with Dixon for most underrated QB. In fact, Dixon, Grothe, and WVU's Pat White are three of only six quarterbacks in the country without a pick.

My game:
Okay, so I'm a homer, and I'm more of a homer for UMass than I am for any other team I've ever rooted for. That being said, I think Saturday could be the day. UMass has played eight division 1-A opponents in its history, and has lost eight times. However, they play just a little better each time around. Last season, the Minutemen traveled to Navy, and a late fumble by Matt Lawrence cost them dearly in a 21-20 loss to the Midshipmen. Navy went on to finish the regular season 9-3.
This year, Lawrence is our go to guy. Think he's hungry for redemption? I'd say so. Now the obvious counter-argument is, "You got BC at a baaaaad time". Well, maybe so, but I wouldn't want it any other way. The #11/12 team in 1-A vs. the #2/2 team in 1-AA. Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but there was a similar matchup almost four weeks ago at the most famed stadium in college football (sans Rose Bowl). Yeah... let me refresh your memory.
So this weekend, I'll be in Chestnut Hill, section PP, wearing the maroon #84. I'll be there not to see my school get cremated by BC. I'll be there to see them pull off the biggest win in school history, including the win over Adrian Peterson's Georgia Southern team in the 1998 National Championship Game. I'll be there to see UMass beat a school from the flashy ACC, carrying 85 scholarship players to our 63. I'll be there to see what no one in America is predicting. Go ahead, read the previews. "Boston College's next three opponents are UMass, Bowling Green and Notre Dame. Look for BC to start 7-0." Guess what, we aren't Bowling Green, who struggled with Temple. We aren't Notre Dame, who have been outscored about 1,000 to 3 this year. We are UMass, and we have a good football team.

That's what I'm looking for.

Go U.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Winners, losers, and cheaters.

College football has its first awesome weekend coming up. At least, I hope it does. Perennial powers collide when Notre Dame visits the Big House at 3:30, and then again when Florida State plays at Colorado at 10. Oh... wait... those teams all suck.
On to the good games.
Tennessee at Florida: It's is a game I'll probably watch for 8 minutes, then get so disgusted with that I throw a baseball through my television. I am frigging sick of Florida, and I know I'm not alone there. That being said, they are definitely better than Tennessee, plus they just own this game. The pick: Florida by 10.
Ohio State at Washington: UW beat Boise State last weekend to end the longest winning streak in the nation. Unfortunately, Boise State is basically the Ian Johnson show this year, so I'm not terribly impressed. I will be if they can win this Saturday. I'll also be thrilled. Hell, I'm takin' 'em. The pick: Washington by 1.
Arkansas at Alabama: I'm really going to enjoy this. Why? Because I can't stand Nick Saban. Don't get me wrong, I think he's as good a coach as there is in the country, but I also think he's an idiot in terms of his decisions on leaving a good situation at Michigan State, then leaving a great one at LSU. Finally he realized that he belongs in the SEC, not the AFC. Still, I'll enjoy seeing Darren McFadden shred his defense. The pick: Arkansas by 14.

Louisville at Kentucky: When you look at the best quarterbacks in the country, a few guys just have to be on the list. Matt Ryan, Pat White and John David Booty definitely, Colt McCoy, Colt Brennan and Tim Tebow probably, and maybe a Nate Longshore here and an Armanti Edwards (yup) there. However, two guys who have to be near the top are Brian Brohm and Andre Woodson. These guys are nice. The problem is, Kentucky's defense is okay, and UL's is frigging atrocious. The pick (UPSET SPECIAL): Kentucky by 7.
USC at Nebraska: This could be a great game. USC could also win 56-10, but judging by how poorly they played against Idaho, I wouldn't count on it. Dear Trojans: Having 9 good running backs isn't better than having two great ones. The pick: USC by 13.
Boston College at Georgia Tech: I really would like BC to start 4-0 so that UMass can make an Appalachian State-esque splash on September 29th, but I just don't know if they can win this game. Tashard Choice is just straight narsty, plus the game is in Atlanta. Hey, what's up with BC playing three ACC games in the first three weeks? Not to mention two of them against the defending ACC champion and runner-up? The pick: GT by 4.

As promised, there is also the loser list. Meaning that there are some games this weekend that are just unfathomably terrible. Here are the worst of the worst in 1-A. No picks here, sorry.
Temple at UConn: Temple lost 42-7 against Buffalo last weekend. That was Buffalo's third win in the past two seasons. Temple also doesn't have a stadium. Too bad the Big Five don't do football. Otherwise Villanova would get to smack the Owls around too.
Illinois at Syracuse: I don't know about the rest of you, but I remember a time when waking up on a Saturday meant turning the TV on around noon and seeing ESPN+ showing Donovan McNabb run the option with Kyle McIntosh. That team was nasty. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Eastern Kentucky at Western Kentucky: Again, I give props to WKU for making the leap to 1-A, and they seem to be doing an okay job. But seriously; who the hell are they playing? Last weekend they beat West Virginia Tech by 87 points. That's not a typo folks, it was 49-0 in the first quarter. Ridiculous.
Notre Dame at Michigan: One of these two teams will be 0-3 by Saturday evening. Here's the matchup: Irish running game (F) vs. Michigan's run defense (F). Irish passing game (F) vs. Michigan's pass defense (F). Michigan's running game (B+) vs. Irish running defense (D-). Michigan's passing game (C) vs. Irish passing defense (D). Looks like Michigan should take this one. If Mike Hart weren't playing, ABC would seriously have to consider pulling this game in favor of whatever the best Ivy League matchup is.

And finally, the cheaters. A moment for me to express myself.

For the past half dozen years or so, the suspicion of players using performance enhancing drugs to gain an advantage on the field has gone from occassional mutterings to the full-fledged outcry and demand that players be banned from their sport. Through this entire time, I held the comfort of knowing that surely it was only guys like Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Justin Gatlin, David Boston and Shawne Merriman who were doing these substances. Never would such a shadow be cast over my beloved Red Sox or Patriots. Until it happened.
Rodney Harrison did it. He did it, and then he admitted it, and now he is serving his suspension. And to me, it isn't enough. I actually have my own Harrison jersey, though I'll probably throw it in the fireplace the next time I dig it out of my closet. There is only one thing worse than losing in my opinion, and that is cheating. Actually, cheating and lying is the worst combination, but cheating alone is still about as severe an offense as there is in these games. Rodney Harrison will now forever be under suspicion, even though he claims to have only used the substance for a short time. He deserves that suspicion, and more. In fact, I'd say Bill Belichick should release him. At least I had originally thought that, until it came out that he, too, is a cheater.

Yes, the Patriots had someone on the sidelines videotaping Jets defensive coaches signaling in plays. This is about as blatant an offense as there is. The NFL confiscated the tape and confirmed what the Pats have been doing. About as "caught red-handed" as it gets. This turns my stomach. Maybe it's pathetic, that in an offseason that saw Pac Man Jones participate in a strip club melee that resulted in a man being paralyzed, and Michael Vick plead guilty to sponsoring illegal dog fighting, that I am so disgusted by stealing plays. But that is where I stand. I would rather lose than cheat.
Any day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Quick Comment on Appalachian State vs. Michigan

Okay, so everyone's explanation for what happened in Ann Arbor yesterday is, "Lloyd Carr isn't producing, and Michigan was unprepared". I want to make sure that at least someone puts this in writing, so here it goes:

Appalachian State is a great football team. Armanti Edwards is a great football player. ASU won championships the last two years (and will probably do it again this year) because they are a good team, not because they're a 1-AA (or FCS) school. If they joined the ACC today, they would beat a handful of teams in that conference. If they played Michigan 5 times, would they more than once? No, they wouldn't. But it's no more absurd than a team from the MAC beating a team from the Big Ten. Those kids can play.

Everyone got it? Good.

Also, quick congrats to Clay Buchholz for his no hitter against Baltimore. Clay has big balls.

And UMass... awful performance against Holy Cross. 57 penalties and 12 turnovers. Fortunately they were playing a school from the Patriot League so everything is okay. BC in t-minus four weeks.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

This is known as "The Happies"

Happy opening day to all. Big, big Saturdays in Berkeley, South Bend, Chestnut Hill, and especially Blacksburg.

Personally, I'll be heading a tailgate at the UMass vs Holy Cross game (as well as attending) at 11:30. Should be a good game, and by good I mean not-close-with-the-good-guys-on-top.

I have plenty to say about a cetrain Patriots safety later, so if you want my first real thoughts on performance enhancers (I've stayed away from it during Bonds' last month or two), stay tuned.

Enjoy the games everyone, and sorry again about a lack of updates.