Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday in the blog, Week 3

12:20 a.m., CDT: Thanks to any and all who may have read this today -- it was my first live-blogging attempt, and it went OK (though it probably should've gone better).
Anyway, here are some scattered thoughts from what we saw today:
-- If I see that Volkswagen ad one more time, I'm going to stop liking Brooke Shields.
-- Here's what's weird about Auburn's offense: their vertical passing game plan appears to be the following: "Throw the ball up for grabs and hope we get a pass interference call." Maybe that works in the Sun Belt.
-- I nailed my Alabama prediction and my USC prediction. Two out of three ain't bad.
-- Speaking of USC, the highest praise I can give them is this: when historians look back on this decade, they'll think of USC. In the history of college football, one team springs to mind with every decade -- it doesn't mean there weren't other good programs at the same time, but one program put its stamp on the period by being a consistent winner, showing up in every national conversation and generally being loathed by the rest of the country. In my head, here's what I think of for each decade:
  • 1970s: Alabama.
  • 1980s: Miami.
  • 1990s: Nebraska.
Which brings us to Pete Carroll's Trojans. Since starting the Carroll era 2-5, USC has lost exactly nine football games, visited the Rose Bowl every season except 2004 (and that was because they were playing for the national title in the Orange Bowl) and won at least a share of the crown twice. And ohbytheway, they've lost in those big bowl games exactly once: against Vince Young and Texas in the '06 Rose Bowl.
Which, of course, brings me to my point: what would cement USC's legacy the best would be to face the SEC champ for the title. Florida, Georgia, LSU ... someone like that. Because, honestly, if they don't -- if they wind up crushing Oklahoma again, or knocking out some upstart like Missouri -- we'll go to our graves wondering how those Trojans would've played against the boys from the South.
And that'd be a shame.

Back with more tomorrow, I suppose. At some point, I'm going to have to cut my grass.

5:50 p.m., CDT
: Poor, poor South Carolina. They've absolutely out-played Georgia in the second half of this game today, and it's gone begging -- a fumble at the goal line, a monster punt from UGA and a failed fourth-down attempt. Sad, really.
Elsewhere, apparently Notre Dame beat Michigan. I don't know how, of course, because I spent much of today watching Ga. Tech on my second screen. I'll say this: the biggest problem with Paul Johnson's flexbone is that it can't move the ball very far very fast. So when they get behind late in games, well ... it's trouble.
Predictions for tonight: Auburn scores a late touchdown for the cover in Starkville; Alabama scores a flurry early and lays off the gas; and USC beats Ohio St. by 21.

4:45 p.m., CDT: Ian Rapaport just wrapped up a predictably bland session with Tom Roberts in the Alabama pregame. He's a very good writer. And that's about it (and that's no knock -- I'm not even the first one, so I should shut up).
Anyway, cruddy weather has become the story across much of the Midwest and Southwest today. Driving rain made the FAU-Michigan St. game look miserable, and it's just picked up in South Bend, also. Nasty. And that's not even mentioning the fact that the replay of TD Charlie's injury gave me sympathy pains (sadly, no video at this point).
In other coaching news, it appears UGA's defensive coaches just started screaming at one another prior to a crucial third-down snap. Of course, UGA got the ball back, so maybe it wasn't that big a deal.
Tight games all over, so I've gotta split. Back in a bit.

4:05 p.m., CDT
: Business has picked up significantly. South Carolina is going to the locker room with a lead against UGA; Va. Tech blocked ANOTHER extra point (they're leading 14-9 at half over Paul Johnson's crew); and not only is Notre Dame handling Michigan, but Touchdown Carlos is on crutches after getting his legs cut from under him by one of his players ("he got Lee Ziemba-ed").
Also, I just found the 'Bama pre-game on the Internet. Although I won't say where, because I don't want storm troopers coming to my office.

3:10 p.m., CDT
: We've shifted venues for the rest of the evening -- we're now coming to you live from The Daily Home offices in Talladega, Ala. Some observations since last time:
-- Listened to the Stanford-TCU game on the way in via Sirius. The Cardinal suffered an incredible turn of events early in the fourth quarter, when an apparent punt return for a touchdown was reversed on review (he stepped out of bounds at the 13). The drive ultimately ended with an interception in the end zone.
-- Ga. Tech-Va. Tech is currently showing on ABC -- the Hokies elected to wear one of the oddest uniform combos I think I've ever seen (if you haven't seen it, I don't think I can describe them).
-- The officials in the Georgia-South Carolina game just made one of the oddest calls I think I've ever seen, calling pass interference (on a USC interception) and a block in the back (during the INT return) and ruling the fouls "offset," causing the down to be replayed. Isn't interference an automatic first down?
OK ... so they conferenced and got it correct.
-- One more thing from this game: Steve Spurrier has to be on the verge of either retirement or an aneurysm.

12:06 p.m., CDT
: Currently, Maryland is whipping Cal, Michigan St. & FAU are trading fumbles in the rain and Tennessee is pushing around UAB. Not a strong start Saturday III in college football.
Also, I know I'm infringing on Awful Announcing's territory here, but the fact that ESPN keeps foisting Pam Ward onto the college football audience is one of the great ongoing tragedies in sports. Not only is she not good, she's just as bad now as she was when she first started. And yet ESPN keeps running her out there every year. Is it possible they just do it for the amusement of jerks like me? I wonder.
UAB is cooked, by the way -- not only are they already behind 14-0, but Aaron Johns -- yes, the same guy who started at TB for 'Bama in the '04 Music City Bowl -- is apparently done for the day with a rib injury. Yikes. This seems like a good time to mention that UAB's head coach is the same guy who called the majority of the plays for Alabama during the disastrous 2000 season. Just saying.
Two other things:
-- I know this is a strange place to put such a thought, but this morning I got sucked into Ben Affleck's "Forces of Nature" on TBS, which always happens because the movie itself is so bizarre. If you've never seen it before, here's a quick recap: Affleck's character is supposed to be on his way to his wedding to Maura Tierney (in Savannah, of all places), but his plane is involved in some kind of trouble, causing him to somehow get hooked up with the completely crazy Sandra Bullock; the two of them drive to Savannah, quickly bonding as the viewers wonder which moderately attractive actress he'll eventually choose. I don't know what it is about this movie -- Affleck's acting? the bizarre plot? -- that sucks me in, but it happens every time. Should I be admitting this in print?
-- If you're ever looking for an incredible TV viewing experience and live around Birmingham, check out WOTM and their myriad replays of local Friday-night football action. It's always worth the watch, if only to hear each local announcer. Some of them genuinely make an effort to be professional and call the games, and some of them just rant and rave and generally make asses out of themselves. Needless to say, I love it.

10:30 a.m., CDT
A few years ago, I was watching ESPN's College Gameday and realized the aggravation far outweighed whatever enjoyment I was getting from the telecast. Honestly, how much hard analysis do you get out of your average Gameday broadcast?

Here are things you learn, in order:
-- Lee Corso makes some funny sound effects.
-- College students sure can come up with creative posters.
-- Kirk Herbstreit went to Ohio State and has 19 children (or something).

Now I watch Gameday for only a few minutes each Saturday -- long enough to discern where they are and pick out the funniest posters in the crowd. Here are the ones I see this morning in Southern California, in order ...

  • MY FOOT HURTS (a reference to Chris Wells, I guess, unless the dude's foot actually hurts).
  • WE DON'T PLAY CUPCAKES (actually, you play in PAC-10).
Pretty tame in comparison to some other campuses (my personal favorite was from 2005, at Penn St.: "AJ HAWK PLAYS WITH MY LITTLE PONIES"). Still not bad, though.


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