Thursday, November 06, 2008

Week 10 Review/Week 11 Preview

Week 10 Review: Iowa @ Illinois and Notre Dame vs. Pitt

Let me say this: these two teams should not play at the same time. Too difficult to try to follow both. And even though ND/Pitt had a one hour head start, the NBC commercial-fest and four overtimes put the two games in nailbiter mode at pretty much the same time. Aaargh.

Sadly, the results were the same on both sides: inability to make the big play when it counted. Both quarterbacks showed their youth and inexperience. Iowa's offense line was particularly porous in the second half; the Irish couldn't score a TD from the 25-yard line four frickin' times.

So now both remain at five wins, a victory away from bowl eligibility (a guaranteed trip somewhere for the Irish, a Detroit punishment or shutout for the Hawks) and facing foes from the East on Saturday.

I'm just sitting back, waiting for Cat Lassie to rescue the season.

In addition to being an Iowa/Irish fan, it also sucked in Week 10 to be a fat, crappy coach. The school can call it "resigning" ... I'll call it what it really is: being fired.

Leading the charge was Fat Phil Fulmer of Tennessee and his amazing sweaty/lactating nipples.

Phil had a great run at UT, but he was getting run over by the new breed of SEC coaches (Meyer, Saban, Miles, even Richt).

We all know about the MAC's inferiority complex, and to stay competitive with the big conferences, Toledo fired Tom Amstutz.

Toledo has only two wins this season, one over Michigan. Bowl-ineligible MEECHIGAN! Since when is beating Michigan not enough to save your job? What kind of a world are we living in? What's next, a black guy for president?

And though he's not technically fat, Ron Prince is bad.

I think many people saw his firing coming a mile away, like "introductory press conference" away. As the offensive coordinator at Virginia, his offenses were never particularly good. And in the last three games, K-State has given up something like 500 points.*

Anyway, he should have been fired on the spot the day he let this happen:

Good grief, is this now the pre-eminent fat coach in football?
Even Charlie can't break through walls and shout "YEEEAAHHHH!!!" like Mangino.

Pick Six: ah geez, do I have to still do this? OK, fine:
  • Auburn lost.
  • Texas lost.
  • South Florida lost. (I think I've lost faith in Leavitt as a coach. Perhaps more on this in a future post.)
  • Ball State continues to climb up the rankings.
The damn cat went 4-for-4 with two byes, including Illinois over Iowa and Cincy over USF, two losses that hurt like his back claws ripping into the fleshy side of my left hand.** TM is sitting on her lead, playing the four corners offense and waiting for the clock to run out.

The obligatory scores:

And a quick national recap: WF? WTF?!? Wake Forest went to overtime--OVERTIME--to beat Duke. Granted Duke is a little better this year, but we're talking about a team that was nationally ranked to begin the season couldn't put away the smart kids in regulation. Sigh. And check out Southern Cal's scoring defense the past few weeks. Holy crap I am not looking forward to Nov. 29.

And, briefly, The Huskers: Ouch. Maybe we'll see Herbie next week. But not today.

Week 11 Preview: Put Up or Shut Up

Iowa will face 11 guys in white uniforms on Saturday. But they'll also be facing this:

Goddamn, I've seen that video three times since it first aired, and I get chills every time.

The Hawks have been sporadic this year and need a signature win if they want to go anywhere in December. I wonder who's going to show up: the fierce, determined team that crushed Wisconsin and Indiana, or the fuzzy, unfocused guys who sleepwalked through the Illinois game. Stanzi doesn't have to be the Manzi, but he has to be mistake free-zi at the very least. If the defense can shut down the "Spread HD" like Ohio State did (at home like Iowa will be) and keep it close, maybe we can keep it close enough to have a break go our way.

But there are two sides to every story (you like how I worked in "The Story" there?), and the flip side is Penn State on a mission to win every single game of 2008. Living in Nebraska, I saw how the Huskers put every fiber of their being into winning a national championship when their legendary coach announced his retirement in 1997. I can't root against Iowa of course, but watch that video again. How do you root against that?

Notre Dame needs to shake out of the lethargy that has gripped the middle third of the season. Throwing away the lead at Chapel Hill, a bye week, a scrimmage against Washington and the third-quarter hibernation/overtime impotency against Pitt: all point to a hump to get over. And we're gonna do it against these classless clowns:

Boston College is, in many ways, the opposite of Notre Dame. They have won 12 or so bowl games in a row, whereas ND has lost 10 or so in a row. That is proof that ND is a far, far better program.

(If you don't care about bowls, skip this:) Here's the reason. Bowls are not about matching up equal teams. Bowls are not about conference supremacy or bragging rights. They are about two things: travelling fan base and television revenue. Because ND is a national draw, they get promoted up into higher-tier bowls than their on-field performance would merit. Bowl organizers know this makes the actual game a potential mismatch with a talent disparity. But the fans who will attend the game and the thousands watching at home more than make up for that risk. BC, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. No one gives a crap about BC, fans or TV executives, so they get "demoted" to lower-tier bowls, where they face less-talented teams.

BC has won 5 in a row (I think) against ND. It's time for that "little brother rising up" crap to stop. Much like Iowa, it would be the first notable victory of the year, against a once-ranked team.

Both games should be fun to watch. Go Hawks! Go Irish!

* -- Estimate.
** -- If you ever wonder where writers get their gift for descriptive language ... sometimes it comes straight from real life experiences.

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