Week Fourteen: Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.
One more upset. It's out there. Either Florida State, Colorado, or UCLA is bound to pull off an upset this weekend and throw the BCS into a bit of disarray. Of course, don't discount Georgia winning either, and that may be the upset this weekend, but it wouldn't be the mind-numbing, throw the BCS into chaos upset that one of those other three would be.
Akron, Akron, Akron. At 6-5, Akron looked like they had a shot to go to a bowl game. However, now they have to play in the MAC Championship Game. Because of all the different rules involved, Akron must win the MAC Championship Game to qualify for a bowl game. Is this yet another way that Akron finds a way to get left out of a bowl game? Last year, they were 6-5 and got skipped over by Marshall, a team that they had beaten. This could be even more brutal. Did Akron want to play for the MAC title, or did they just want to get to 6-5 and hope they got picked?
Louisville, which hasn't been able to have nearly as much success on the road this year as they have at home, will play a very poor game at Connecticut this Saturday night. With Brian Brohm out with an injury, the Cardinals may find themselves in a world of trouble against a UConn team that just beat USF last week and needs a win to become bowl eligible.
Speaking of the Big East, West Virginia will struggle as well at USF this Saturday. The Mountaineers have clinched the Big East, USF has been pointing to this game, and the Bulls are a very good home team. USF needs this game more, but WVU is the better team. This may be the most entertaining game of the weekend if both teams come ready to play.
Remember that some of these things are gross overreactions to the way teams played this weekend. These are not necessarily straight predictions, but rather thoughts that many may not consider that are very distinct possibilities.
News & Notes
David Cutcliffe has returned to Tennessee to be the Offensive Coordinator next season. This should help improve the Vols sagging offense.
Bowl Invites so far:
Arkansas State- New Orleans
BYU- Las Vegas
Colorado State- Poinsettia
Arizona State- Insight
Boise State- MPC Computers
Boise State- Liberty
Les Miles, LSU head coach- "We have eliminated any open weeks and we have gone and we have caught a pretty fast pace and we are performing well. When you look back you realize a different start and we could be talking about an undefeated LSU team. We have overcome the obstacles of hurricanes and the absence of bye weeks. This team has a great perspective and they haven't spent a lot of time looking back. They can see the task at hand, and they are focused on it to achieve it."
Mark Richt, Georgia head coach- "The field position will be very important in this game. It usually is when you have two strong defensive teams that are playing well. Offenses are making plays here and there but not enough to sustain and 80-yard drive. If you force an offense to go 70 or 80 yards, it's tough to do. The one thing that you can do to change that is have a great return."
Mack Brown, Texas head coach- "When I'm old and looking back and gumming my food, it (a conference championship) will be something that I will be really proud of. Right now I think it's something that is important to The University of Texas, this group of players, the program and our coaching staff. I have talked to the older coaches about what they have accomplished and they all say when you get through and you look back, you get involved with some of that and you are proud of that, but still even the relationships that you make with your fans and your boss and staff members and players are much more important than the number of games you have won or the significance of them. Getting to play for the conference championship is big, but very few people have played for a National Championship so obviously that would be really special."
Gary Barnett, Colorado head coach: "We are obviously the underdog if you guys didn’t know that. They have been a great team all year and it’s just a great challenge for our guys. Our goal was to get to this game and redeem ourselves from a year ago. I didn’t put on our board how many games we needed to win to get there, I just said let’s get there. I looked at all the records today (in the Big 12 North) and we are 5-3. The next closest team is 4-4, so we win the North and get a chance to play Texas. I think everyone in this program is excited about our opportunity."
Pete Carroll, USC head coach: "The situation that we all hope for, in our program we always want to give ourselves to get in that Rose Bowl. This year it takes on a little bit different significance, but yet the line has always been the same. The goal in this program has always been to own the Rose Bowl and to do that you have to win your conference. It just happens that every few years it changes what that game is about. It is really exciting and we are pumped up about it and we can't wait to get going."
Karl Dorrell, UCLA head coach: (on winning the Pac Ten Coach of the Year Award) "I am very appreciative of my peers, and the recognintion they have given me. Even more, it's an honor to be alongside the coach across town, who has accomplished some very special things with his program."
Rant of the Week
This week's rant comes from a disgruntled Michigan fan. It's easy to see why Michigan fans are disgruntled. After all, they went 7-4 and lost to their two biggest rivals, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Not a particularly happy season in Ann Arbor.
It's unquestioned that the Wolverines have the elite talentlevel to compete for the national championship year inand year out, but due to untimely, unexpected losses year in and year out they are never in the position todo so. I believe Coach Carr is a good coach, but farfrom an exceptional coach, and I am hardly the onlyone who shares this belief. I see the Wolverines as a very mentally soft team, or unprepared at times. Granted, we did pull together this year to be in position to win the Big Ten title for a third straight year, but in every loss except the Notre Dame one, we blew the games within the last minute. All the elite level universities have the same talent pretty much across the board, nowadays it just comes down to coaching and experience more than anything. Our coaching staff is also in the habit of playing not to lose, except in the most dire and uncommon of circumstances. Through the entire third quarter and almost all of the fourth, the Wolverines had the Buckeyes stopped/shut down. Up by nine, they stopped bringing pressure and sat back in zone that allowed Ohio State to move the ball and come back for the win. And for the coup de grace, our player was not even aware of the situation at the end of the game to get out of bounds. The coaches need to HAMMER that in in such a crucial situation. I guess I'm trying to see if you agree with all that rambling that the Wolverines have not been coached up mentally enough for these situations, and that the coaches do not playto win. It may be Carr, it may not; wouldn't he have the power to overturn any calls he disagrees with, even though it is the coordinators job to call the right plays? Obviously something is not working up in Ann Arbor. Any chance of Bo coming out of retirement?
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Bo coming out of retirement. HA! That was a pretty good one, Justin. Anyway, as I've said before I get complaints like this almost on a weekly basis about Tennessee, Ohio State, and Michigan. Seems like strange partners if you ask me. That being said, there appear to be some coaching problems at both Michigan and Tennessee. They play games not to lose and close to the vest. This can work most of the time with teams as talent rich as Michigan and Tennessee. Still, it means that in a season where things don't go your way, like they didn't in Knoxville this year when they lost three games in the final minute, you're going to find yourself with a losing record. Phil Fulmer is being forced to change or he will be gone. Lloyd Carr may have to have a season like that for the pressure to really mount on him. At Ohio State, Jim Tressel is a little bit safer because his national title was more recent, but he too plays games very close to the vest. That could one day get him into a load of trouble as well.