Sunday, September 2, 2007

First Saturday........ wow!

The first full Saturday of college football provided ample evidence of why college ball is a superior product to the NFL if for no other reason than there were 14 channels showing games throughout the day…. 8 channels even if one does not have the Game Day package. The NFL will force feed whatever game they think we want to watch to the two networks on Sunday morning and afternoon and unfortunately, they think we all want to see Brett Favre every Sunday. And "no" - not getting a stinking satellite dish for the NFL's bland, mediocre product.

…but hey, enough griping…. and how about them Mountaineers? Of course, this reference is to the Appalachian St. Mountaineers who went into the Big House and beat the #5 Michigan Wolverines. Aside from the outcome of the game, what was amazing about it was that often times when a heavy underdog makes a run at the favorite, there is a point in the game when the favorite finally wakes up, gets its act together and reasserts control of the game.

At this point, the ‘dog usually just accepts its fate, collects the game check and heads back home, thank you very much. Well, there appeared to be about 3 of those moments late in the game (full disclosure: this game was one of only 7 games in the nation, it seemed, that was not televised to us at BwD HQ. Tracking of the game was accomplished via game breaks and hi-lites) and App. St. refused to play its role. They just would not go away. They hung tough, made their own breaks and simply beat the pants off the Wolves for what is being called the greatest upset of all-time in college football.

(again, we weren’t able to watch the game live but apparently, Lloyd Carr, the Michigan head coach went for a two point conversion after a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Of course, the conversion failed and of course he spent the rest of the game chasing that lost two points that not coincidentally was the margin of loss for Michigan.

This bit of going for the 2 points before you absolutely have to is maddening and is perhaps one of our biggest coaching pet peaves. It makes zero tactical, strategic and psychological sense to ever go for two points any earlier than the 4th quarter where you believe you may only get the ball back one or 2 more times. Again, coaches watch game film… they don’t watch football.)

Some observations from some of the other games:

One had only to look at the length of the grass on Notre Dame's home field prior to their game against Georgia Tech to determine the degree to which the Irish had upgraded their speed. The stuff was at grazing height. The Commanche National Grasslands has shorter blades than that of Notre Dame stadium. Of course the proof is in the pudding and that 33-3 beating only confirmed that Charlie Weiss’s speed project has a way to go.

This website’s figurehead was in mid-season form for last night’s ABC prime-time match-up between Cal and Tennessee. The man takes a lot of grief for his style but it was great to hear his signature “You’re looking live at…”, “Folks,…” and “Pardner,…” for what was a rollicking, back and forth affair.

Also, the nation got a good look at this much-hyped “West Coast speed” phenomena. Tennessee, themselves, has long had a tradition of recruiting speed (many of their skill position players over the years also ran track in the Vols power house track and field program) but it was obvious that Cal’s receivers and return men had another gear beyond what the same for the Vols possessed. And DeSean Jackson went from the fringes of Heisman talk to the ‘A’-list with his performance last night.

USC looked flat and completely uninspired against Idaho. One almost wonders if coaches prefer that to say the 79-10 nuking of North Texas by Oklahoma for season openers before going into the teeth of the schedule. What did the Sooners learn about themselves before facing Miami, F-L-A next Saturday? Pete Carroll on the other hand has plenty of ammo to work with over the next two weeks before SC goes to Lincoln to take on the Corn Huskers.
Man, that was fun. Lookin' forward to next week.


B-Daddy said...

I remind you of your August 13 post where you said "...there is no reason why the Pac-10 should not be more on par with the SEC." Doesn't Cal's convincing win over Tennessee somewhat rebut your statement?

Dean said...

Always felt that these conference arguments are sort of like cotton candy. Looks fun and appealing in an odd sort of way but ultimately is a messy, sticky affair owing in large part to the lack of substance.

In this case it was just one game so I don't know how much you can take from it. And it was a game Cal HAD to have. Outside of beating SC 4 yrs. ago, the Cal program did not have any signature victories.

Great win for Cal and a good win for the Pac-10 but I don't think it definitevly proves anything.