Tuesday, November 29, 2011


LSU takes care of the whole chaos thing: Arkansas was up 14-0 midway through the second quarter and seemed to be in pretty good shape until LSU went on a 44-3 run over the next two and a half quarters. Srsly: LSU went from a two-touchdown deficit (and one of those TDs was an incredibly fluky fumble return) to a three-touchdown lead in 25 minutes of game time. It wasn't as close as the score indicated, and the score wasn't close. LSU ran the inside zone (either the toss or handoff version) probably 35 times on its 46 running plays and finished with 286 yards on the ground, including 48 when Jordan Jefferson faked the inside zone and did this:

Yeesh. Tough to defend the fake when you've seen the non-fake version about 17 times in a row. LSU eventually kicked a field goal to go up by 24 with about five minutes left, which was totally unnecessary but understandable given the possibility of losing the SEC championship and watching voters do something inexplicable. Anyway, the field goal prompted this absolutely hilarious reaction:

Awesome. The thing I noticed in this game more than any other was the pure physical dominance of LSU's lines, especially on offense. There's a reason this team is 12-0 and scoring 38 points per game despite having two mediocre quarterbacks and zero elite skill-position players. What I said the other day about the Arkansas game being meaningless is even more true for the SEC title game: There is nothing that can happen that will convince me LSU isn't the best team in the country. It'll only be meaningful for Georgia, which can still play in a BCS game as SEC champion while the second- and third-place teams play for the national title (yup). And since a one-loss Oklahoma State isn't jumping a one-loss LSU in any poll, the BCS title game is gonna be a rematch. I'm OK with that this year. There's not a team out there that can make a serious case to be ranked ahead of LSU or Alabama.

Gus Malzahn gets pwned: Speaking of Alabama, the Auburn game was interesting for all of 10 minutes, at which point Bama scored to go up 14-0. That was it; Auburn technically scored twice, but one of those was on a strip-sack fumble recovery and the other was on the opening kickoff of the second half. The offense did nothing. Auburn finished with 140 yards and nine first downs. Nine. Clint Moseley had the ball on 22 plays and produced a total of 54 yards. The Bama defense produced more points (six) than the Auburn offense (none). It was awful. On the flip side, Trent Richardson went off for a ridiculous 203 yards (a career high) on 27 carries. Auburn's run defense is terrible, but still ... I mean ... 203 yards. I'll have no real arguments if Richardson ends up winning the Heisman. So Alabama is done at 11-1 and is all but assured a spot in the title game. Oklahoma State might be able to make things interesting with a 700-point win against Oklahoma; even that probably wouldn't be enough. As for Auburn, the Gus Malzahn era ended (I'm assuming he's gone for a head coaching job) in craptacular fashion. The offense regressed over the course of the year as the quarterbacks went from meh to terrible, so that's gonna be an issue for the next O-coordinator. The defense also wasn't good. Next year's Auburn will be a lot more experienced but in need of some serious improvements to be anywhere near the level of Alabama and LSU in the West. Insert Paul Finebaum joke here.

Clemson has almost completed its collapse: The headline pretty much says it all. South Carolina is a solid team but has a flaming bag of poo for an offense right now and just dominated Clemson, which has now lost three of four and is on its way to a 9-4 finish after an 8-0 start (guh). I just don't understand what happened to Clemson's offense. Tajh Boyd was playing over his head early in the year, but still ... I dunno. Clemson has put up a total of 43 points in its last three losses, during which time the running game has almost completely disappeared and Boyd has thrown two TDs and five picks. Prior to that, they were averaging 40.6 per game. Weird. I said this eight days ago:
Has a coach ever started 8-0 and gotten fired? Dabo Swinney might give it a run.
I stand by that statement. Too bad Rich Rodriguez already jumped at the Arizona job

Montee Ball has many touchdowns: Wisconsin and Penn State were allegedly playing for the Leaders East Division title. It was a complete obliteration. Penn State put up its usual 200-ish yards of total offense while Wisconsin went off for 450 and 45 points, both of which are pretty ridiculous against a legitimately excellent Tom Bradley defense. A lot of that was due to Montee Ball, who had four more touchdowns and now has absurd 34 (!!!) this season. He's five away from Barry Sanders' all-time record of 39 and has two games left; that is amazing even if it's gonna take him 14 games to do what Sanders did in 11. Hilarious stat of the week: Ball has six more touchdowns this year than Penn State. Anyway, Wisconsin is headed to the Big Ten title game to play Michigan State. I'm pulling for Wiscy so that (a) Michigan State will once again win 10 games and get left out of the BCS and (b) the Big Ten will have a serious Rose Bowl representative rather than one that'd be a 20-point underdog against Oregon.

Virginia gave it a good run: Virginia beat Indiana by a field goal earlier this year and lost to NC State by two touchdowns yet was somehow playing Virginia Tech for a spot in the ACC title game Saturday. The result was about what I expected: Va. Tech 38, Virginia 0. The Techies went ahead and took care of any concerns about an unwatchable conference championship game and will now be the beneficiary of Clemson's downward spiral, which means they're probably headed to the Orange Bowl for the fourth time in five years. I'm not sure if that says more about Virginia Tech or the ACC. As for Virginia, Mike London did a ridiculously good job this year given the recent history at UVa and what he had to work with. It's interesting that he turned down the Penn State job a couple weeks ago; Virginia seems like a fairly low-ceiling stop. Then again, he's spent basically his entire career at either Virginia or Richmond, and the quality of life in Charlottesville is probably phenomenal when you're making $2 million a year.

Game of the Week: I love the Texas-Texas A&M game and will be a sad panda next year when Texas is playing Kansas (or whoever) and A&M is playing Ole Miss (or whoever) on the day after Thanksgiving. Stupid greed. At least they went out with a good one:

Eternal bragging rights FTW. A couple thoughts: Texas desperately needs to find a quarterback next year. Whether Case McCoy is that guy is pretty tough to say, but a team that has a lot of talent just about everywhere else is gonna have an awful offense as long as the QB is putting up atrocious numbers like 4.1 yards per attempt. Manny Diaz did what he had to with the defense (ninth in yardage this year) but didn't get a lot of help from the offense. Also, Texas A&M is so unclutch (I could just copy this part and repost it every week). A&M finished 6-6 and had a fourth-quarter lead in five of those six losses. Guh.

The Pac-12 South is so, soooo awful: I don't even know where to start. I'm not sure whether the best summary of the division is that UCLA won it (for a given definition of "won") despite losing 50-0 (!) to USC or that Utah could have won it by beating freakin' Colorado but couldn't do what basically everybody else has done this year. Pathetic. ASU needed Utah to win to have any shot at winning the division; when that didn't happen, they went out and wrapped up an 0-4 finish by losing at home to a pretty mediocre Cal team. UCLA is a 30-point underdog (30!!!) against Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and is gonna end up 6-7, which means no bowl game despite nominally winning the division. Rick Neuheisel has already been fired. So has Dennis Erickson. In short, USC is right:


Player of the Week: Matt Barkley. Numbers (against an obviously motivated UCLA team): 35 of 42 for 437 yards with six touchdowns and no picks. Matt Barkley should be in the Heisman discussion. He's been on fire all year and has numbers that are now better than Andrew Luck's (look it up) on a 10-2 USC team.

Maryland plays well in the second half: Maryland led NC State 41-14 midway through the third quarter Saturday. NC State got a touchdown a couple minutes later but still trailed 41-21 going into the fourth. After that ... ummm ... yeah:

NC State TD 14:56 Tony Creecy 11 Yd Pass From Mike Glennon (Niklas Sade Kick)
NC State TD 13:28 Mike Glennon 1 Yd Run (Niklas Sade Kick)
NC State TD 07:08 James Washington 1 Yd Run (Niklas Sade Kick)
NC State TD 02:18 George Bryan 7 Yd Pass From Mike Glennon (Niklas Sade Kick)
NC State TD 00:27 C.J. Wilson 59 Yd Interception Return (Niklas Sade Kick)

NC State scored 35 points (!!!) in about 14 minutes and went from trailing by three touchdowns to winning 56-41. They scored a touchdown on six straight possessions. It was ridiculous. I'm not sure whether the fourth quarter or the last three were more inexplicable given Maryland's complete suckitude this year. Maryland beat Miami in the opener and didn't win another game all year other than the gimme against Towson at the beginning of October. That qualifies as suckitude. It also equals 2-10, which equals the worst mark Ralph Friedgen ever had before getting fired last year at the end of an 8-4 season that resulted in him being named ACC Coach of the Year. On a related note, John Feinstein and a fairly vocal group of Maryland students already want Randy Edsall fired.

Luckiest play in the history of luck: Matt Miller picked a good spot to lie down:


This game definitely happened: Florida State and Florida apparently decided to determine which team's season would be more disappointing by playing a game. Florida State won. Huzzah. Here's the worst part: FSU had 95 total yards. Seriously. Florida had 184 total yards but lost because John Brantley threw three picks in the first 20 minutes (lol) in his home finale to set up two easy FSU touchdowns. He left with an apparent concussion shortly thereafter and was replaced by Jacoby Brissett, who did produce a touchdown but also threw a pick and finished an atrocious 4 for 13. Good work, Charlie Weis.

Something seems wrong about this: Tennessee lost 10-7 to Kentucky (?) and finished 5-7. No bowl for you (losing to Kentucky = not deserving of bowl anyway). Vanderbilt destroyed Wake Forest 41-7 and finished 6-6. Bowl for you. THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US.

Just draw a team out of a hat plz: There are three teams kinda-sorta tied (and still in contention, obviously) at the top of the Big East, which unfortunately is still required to send a team to the BCS. Louisville is in the clubhouse at 5-2; West Virginia and Cincinnati are both 4-2 and should win this weekend (West Virginia plays USF and Cincinnati plays UConn). There are like 7,289 potential scenarios here because of tiebreakers and whatnot, but to make it as simple as possible: West Virginia goes if it's a three-way tie, Cincy goes with a win and a West Virginia loss and Louisville goes with a Cincinnati loss. One of those three things has to happen. I'm kinda pulling for West Virginia since the offense is relatively entertaining and might be able to produce a decent bowl game rather than the typical Big East embarrassment. My hopes aren't high.

Post-Week 13 top 10: I'm not sure I'm changing anything this week. Crazy.

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Oregon
4. Oklahoma State
5. Oklahoma
6. Stanford
7. USC
8. Boise
9. Virginia Tech (OMG slight change!)
10. Arkansas


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