Tag Archives: college football

Barkley’s Back! Watch Out Pac-12, BCS

Man, today is probably the most excited I’ve been about USC football in years. It’s hard to get excited about a team when the games don’t count for anything. Next year, the Trojans are off probation, and I certainly know how good it feels to be off probation! I’ve been a USC fan since 1995 when my sister enrolled there.  Since I chose to go to school at a mid-major conference school, I didn’t have a football team. Well, we did in the past – a damn good one at that – but we had too many black people. In 1951, the USF Dons went undefeated, but were uninvited to any bowl game because they had, gasp, three black guys! That team is still the only college team in history to have three future NFL hall of famers (Bob St. Clair, Ollie Matson, and Geno Marchetti). They surely would’ve had a fourth, if it weren’t for a devestating, career-ending injury sustained by Burl Toler. Still, he went on to become the first black referee in the NFL, so that’s still pretty notable. Add to that, the team’s information director, a guy by the name of Pete Rozelle, went on to play a small part in the NFL’s history, serving as commissioner from 1960 to 1989.

Those days are long gone though, so I’ve adopted USC as my college football team. It’s been a rough few years, but as I mentioned, the Trojans are off probation and back in the thick of things next year. Not many people realize this, but they finished the season as the 5th ranked team in the nation in the AP poll. I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t watched them much in the last 2-3 years since they weren’t bowl-eligible. The exception being the big win over Oregon this year. I can’t imagine I would have watched in on an average Saturday night, but I was in Utah that weekend for my grandfather’s funeral. It was a great game, and I was excited for what could be next year, but I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that quarterback Matt Barkley wouldn’t be there. Even leading up to today, I didn’t really hold out much hope that Barkley would return for his senior season. He would have been a consensus top 10 pick in this year’s NFL draft, and I still can’t really see any kid wanting to play for Lane Kiffin. But Barkley is different. He’s one of those once in a decade players who had dreamed of playing at USC his entire life. Following in the footsteps of Matt Leinart from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, Barkley also chose to return for his senior season. What makes it special, though, is this year it’ll count.

The Trojans finished 2011 with a 10-2 record, that of course went largely unnoticed. Their two losses came against an Arizona State team that was a LOT better than the one playing in tonight’s Las Vegas Bowl, and a triple-overtime thriller against an elite Stanford team. Not only is Barkley coming back, but he’ll have his two best receivers returning as well. Sophomore Robert Woods and Freshman Marqise Lee combined for 184 receptions, 2,435 yards, and 26 touchdowns. Running back Marc Tyler graduates, but Curtis McNeal was the team’s leading rusher. With probation behind them, I’ve got to believe they’ll have one or two future Heisman candidates coming in next year to take handoffs. They are expected to lose junior left tackle Matt Kalil to the NFL Draft, but you can’t win them all. Next year, though, the Trojans just very well may. I hope Oregon and Stanford enjoyed the run they had, because next year the Pac-12 goes, once again, through Southern California.

The Big Least

Big East Football: Coming soon to San Diego, California

Man, how desperate is the Big East? It’s almost as if they sent out an open invitation to anyone who wanted to join. Geographical common sense aside, I get why they wanted to add Boise State. Conversely, Boise State’s incentive to join the conference can be summed up in two words: Automatic Bid. Just a few days after BSU coach, Chris Petersen, talked publicly about his, and most everyone else’s, disdain for the much flawed BCS system. At least by moving to the Big East, they can’t be shut out of a BCS bowl bid if they have a 1 loss season. The rest of the conference looks like a who’s who of “is that the best you got?” teams. Houston’s coming off a nice season, and SMU and Central Florida are each good once every 10 years. By far, the acquisition that makes the least sense is San Diego State. Seriously, this is what it’s come to? The Big East now has a school located on the West Coast. The rivalry possiblities are endless. I can only imagine how huge San Diego State vs. Connecticut games are going to be. Or SDSU vs. SFU. There’s going to be a lot of frequent flyer miles racked up in the Big East for years to come.

Meyer In; Erickson, Neuheisel Out

Urban Meyer Named Ohio State Head Coach – Shocker. Meyer’s “time off to spend with his family” was the coaching equivalent of Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries. None of us believed him, and what made it worse was, like Kim, he actually believed himself. And then, despite our low expectations, he comes back not even two full seasons from when he walked away. Let’s not forget to mention that Ohio State is even less removed from its relationship with Jim Tressell. What a dirty pair. These two parties deserve each other. Have we still not heard of any sanctions against the school from the NCAA? Is Meyer planning on coaching non-bowl eligible teams for the next few years? USC is still paying, so I expect Meyer to be severely handcuffed for the duration of his new contract.

Dennis Erickson Let Go By Arizona State – This one was a little tough for me to agree with. Erickson’s had an up and down tenure at ASU, but he had them off to a 6-2 start, with some decent credentials (wins over USC and Missouri, and respectable losses at Oregon and Illinois). But the Sun Devils ultimately lost their last four games and finished 6-6, which would mark the fourth consecutive year that Erickson failed to crack the .500 mark. I don’t know why all these Pac-12 ADs think their schools should recruit the same caliber players as USC and Oregon. Erickson played the hand he was dealt, and appeared to have some momentum going forward. He should have got one more shot at it. But, state rival Arizona made news last week when they hired Rich Rodriguez, so I guess ASU had to try and outdo them.

Rick Neuheisel Let Go By UCLA – The coach will not be returning next year, but he will be coaching in the Pac-12 Championship. I’ll never understand that one. How is he gonna care about that game? Sure he’ll want those kids to win under his watch, but I don’t think I’d be putting my best effort forth. It’ll be interesting to see how Neuheisel prepares the Bruins for a deathtrap this weekend. UCLA has to go into Oregon and play a 10-2 Ducks team that is probably looking ahead to the Rose Bowl. This is coming off a 50-0 loss at the hands of USC, which is probably what cost him his job.

Is It Fall Yet?

Now that we’re fast approaching the most boring time of year in sports, I found myself especially missing college football this weekend. With the exception of the Super Bowl next weekend, (yes, it’s a pretty big exception) there’s not much exciting going on for the next few weekends for the sports fan. I watch more than my share of NBA and college basketball, but they’re just not the weekend event that football is. The season may be a long ways away, but these two links got me pretty excited for the 2011 season….

Fbschedules – I could waste a day checking out every team’s schedule for the upcoming season. Especially with all the teams changing conferences. Boise State in particular – even though the dates have yet to be worked out, they host TCU in a Mountain West matchup… can’t wait for that game every year.

MaxPreps Top 20 Recruiting Classes – To know what games are gonna be big, you’ve got to know what teams are gonna be good. Since you can’t see them on the field yet, you’ve got to go with the experts’ rankings. And since it’s 2011, you can check out the players’ credentials for yourself.

Tigers Out Slop The Ducks

The National Championship last night had it’s moments, but for the most part was a pretty boring game, and it looked like both these offenses weren’t in sync, which was the opposite of what everyone was hoping for. I wanted Oregon to pull out the win or find some way to get the game into overtime, but instead we got one of the lowest scoring, and boring bowl games of the year. Congratulations goes out to the Auburn Tigers, too bad that trophy will be taken back in the next few years and nobody will really care that it was taken back, because we obviously know something is up with money going to Cam.

After watching this slopfest of a championship game, I couldn’t help but wonder if this game would’ve been much better if they had played it slightly sooner than 20 weeks after the season. Sports aren’t supposed to be played like this. I’m the kind of guy that complains when there are too many days between games in the NBA Finals or MLB World Series games.  I understand that Bowl games are a big part of New Years day, but why do we have to wait an extra ten days to put the National Championship game on? The simple answer is money of course. It’s like starting from scratch for these two teams though. We may as well have the game right before the season starts, because both teams looked like they were in week 1 for most of the game. Unless Cuban figures out some way to get us a college playoff, the only way to fight back will be to boycott the championship all together. Nobody buying tickets to the game, and nobody watching is the only way we have any hope of changing the crappy system. That being said, I can’t bring myself not to watch, so it looks like we will have to watch two rusty teams play for the National Championship every year for the rest of my lifetime…

Bowling In The New Year

New Year’s Day isn’t quite what it used be, but at least a few Bowls have remained committed to the tradition. There are still six games on the January 1 schedule, but the fact that there are seven more games after today really says something. Nonetheless, I’ve been glued to the TV today and plan to be for the remainder of the holiday. It’s always fun to see what games you end up watching versus what you were anticipating the most. I figured I may as well chime in with my observations periodically throughout the day….

TicketCity Bowl – Northwestern vs. Texas Tech – I don’t even know if I get ESPNU, because there’s never been a game on the channel that I’ve wanted to watch. This game was a pretty good matchup on paper, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to watch it if there were better games on. Looks like there’s plenty of offense though. Taylor Potts seems to be making a case to be included in the “Year of the Quarterback” group. I’ve got it on in the background now, if nothing else just because it’s the latest into the game. Northwestern has the ball down 14 with 6:21 left right now.

Capitol One Bowl – Alabama vs. Michigan State – I might have been most excited for this one. Michigan State looked pretty good this year and Mark Ingram and Julio Jones would surely go out in style. The game’s turned out to be a lopsided affair, but it’s still been entertaining, despite the score. 35-0 Tide in the 3rd quarter.

Gator Bowl – Michigan vs. Mississippi State – I’ve ended up here a lot as a result of the aforementioned game being a disappointment. Denard Robinson is always entertaining, and the atmosphere’s been a electric. Mississippi State has taken a huge step forward this year, and win over Michigan would cement a Top 20 finish for the year. The Bulldogs lead 31-14 early in the 3rd.

Outback Bowl – Florida vs. Penn State – This one’s had the most hype. It’s Urban Meyer’s last game after six whole seasons. It’s also Joe Paterno’s 114th last game as head coach of Penn State. I don’t care too much for the coaching storylines, but I do hope Paterno coaches Penn State until he dies. I know the administration is pretty ready for some new blood, and I know they were pretty bad for a few years there, but despite a 7-5 down year, they’re still coming off three 11 win seasons in the last 5. They went 9-4 the other two years. Most schools can only dream of that kind of success. Who’s going to take them higher than they already are? Having said all that, this game’s turned out to be the closest of the bunch. Therefore, it will likely remain in sole possession of the TV screen for the duration of the final 22+ minutes. Tied at 17 now.

Rose Bowl – TCU vs. Wisconsin – I’m still pretty bitter this wasn’t a Pac-10 / Big Ten matchup. Sure Oregon got the BCS nod, so they weren’t obligated to have a Pac-10 team, but Stanford was right there for the choosing. TCU could’ve played in the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. All complaints aside though, this was still a pretty good matchup, and certainly the main event. I can’t imagine Oklahoma and UConn is going to blow people away. The Rose Bowl lived up to the hype though. After a fast start, the scoring become fewer and farther in between, and it ended up coming down to the last drive for Wisconsin.

Fiesta Bowl – Oklahoma vs. Connecticut – Yep, just like I thought. This game is teetering right on the border of too boring to watch, but too close to turn off. Now that the NHL Winter Classic is over, it’s not like there’s anything else to watch instead. Part of me wants Oklahoma to destroy UConn so it’s that much more obvious to the BCS the Huskies have no business being in this game. The other part of me wants them to at least make it respectable. I guess I’m pretty much getting both right now. Whether or not UConn pulls off a miracle is yet to be seen, but should they lose, as expected, they can find a consolation in the fact that they’ve put up a better fight than major conference schools like Florida State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Colorado, and Iowa State.

NCAA Bowl Schedule Isn’t THAT Bad…

Since I don’t work in professional sports anymore, I find it harder to keep espn.com open on my browser at work. Therefore, I’ve had to find alternate means of keeping up with my sports news. Recently, I’ve channeled my inner-old guy and have started tuning into sports talk radio on my way to and from work. This morning it was Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio griping about the bowl schedule. In the afternoon it was local sports clown Grant Napear ranting (what else is new?) about the horrible matchups. Now I’m not usually a glass-half-full guy, but I don’t see what the problem is. Yes, there are plenty of boring games and terrible matchups, but I wouldn’t call this one of the worst lineups in recent memory. Nevermind that none of my BCS predictions panned out, there’s still plenty of intrigue as far as I’m concerned. Here’s my Top Three and my Bottom Three for the upcoming bowl season….

#1 – BCS National Championship – Oregon vs. Auburn: It’s the national championship game, what else needs to be said? It’s tough to argue the only two major unbeaten teams – with apologies to TCU – being in the big game. It features two of the four Heisman finalists in Cam Newton and LaMichael James and two historically great programs. The only downside is we have to wait until January 10 to see it.

#2 – Rose Bowl – Wisconsin vs. TCU: Sure, a Pac-10-Big Ten matchup of Stanford-Wisconsin would have been the logical choice here, but Wisconsin is widely considered to be the next best team outside of the two unbeatens. Either they’ll solidify that spot, or TCU will make a good case for a share of the national championship – though they won’t get it.

#3 – Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Boise State: I know, the Las Vegas Bowl isn’t exactly the pinnacle of postseason college football, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this will be a great game. I picked both of these teams to earn BCS berths, but a couple of late season losses killed those hopes. Nonetheless, it will feature two teams that have both put together undefeated seasons recently.

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Showdown In Reno

There’s three big games in college football today featuring a matchup of two Top 25 teams. You’ve got Oregon-Arizona and the biggest game of the year possibly in Auburn-Alabama. But, the one I’m looking forward to most is the nightcap, Boise State at Nevada. We all know where the Broncos stand, but what few outside of Nevada realize, the Wolfpack are enjoying quite possibly their greatest season ever. With BSU set to move over to the Mountain West next year, this will be the final conference matchup between the perennial champions, and maybe their greatest challenger this decade. I could delve into an in-depth preview of the game, but clearly this game is going to hinge on one factor: UNR’s mindset. Despite growing up a mere 100 miles from Reno, I’ve only seen one sporting event there, and I was fortunate enough for it to be a huge basketball upset of then #2 Kansas. Although, that game wasn’t necessary for me to understand how great Nevada fans are. The Wolfpack are the only game in town, if you don’t count the AAA-Reno Aces or the NBDL’S Reno Bighorns. The stadium is going to be rocking tonight, so it’s all going to come down to how the players come out the gates. They could either ride the emotion of the crowd and play the game of their lives, or they could buckle under the pressure and suffer a similar fate to that of their WAC counterparts in Fresno, who lost 51-0 last week. I’m so fired up for this game though, that I looked into getting tickets for the game. Not surprisingly, they’ve been sold out for some time now. It’s not a bad consolation that I’ll be in nearby Lake Tahoe for the weekend, so I’m really looking forward to catching the game somewhere in Wolfpack country. The game kicks off at 7:15pm Pacific Time at Mackay Stadium in Reno and can be seen on ESPN

Doin BCS Bowl Projections

Without bashing the BCS, or fully knowing the rules these days (are the ACC and Big East still guaranteed a BCS berth? I hope not), here goes my predictions for this year’s BCS Bowl matchups. It’s tough because there’s so many teams from the West up high in the rankings, but we all know the BCS likes SEC schools, and even Big Ten and ACC teams. By factoring that in with projecting the rest of the season, here’s what I’ve come up with.


Stanford wins out and finishes 11-1, enough to let the Rose Bowl have a coveted Pac-10 team, and one who hasn’t been there very often, but has a huge following. Expect a sea of red on hand to cheer on the Cardinal against Oklahoma…. or maybe some other team. I’ve got Oklahoma finishing 10-3, but there’s going to be a logjam atop the Big-12, so this could easily be Missouri, Oklahoma State, or Baylor, or even a team from another conference altogether.

Nebraska will get the obligatory Big-12 berth in this game, thanks to a 11-2 finish with a conference championship over Oklahoma. TCU will be unhappy, but I see them losing to Utah. Having that one loss relieves some of the pressure on the BCS to include smaller schools that go undefeated.

Also taking the heat off the BCS will be Boise State’s regular season loss to either Fresno State or Nevada on the horizon. Alabama will end up in Florida despite beating Auburn, because they’ll come up short in the conference.


Utah will go undefeated, but once again get snubbed out of fear of a Utah-Oregon television ratings disaster. Like clockwork, they’ll opt for a one-loss goliath and Utah will be left to face another SEC team.


Ah, a BCS dream matchup. Despite being a West Coast team, the Ducks have a huge following, so ratings shouldn’t be a problem for the committee here. And Ohio State is always a slam dunk on a national stage. This should be one of the best National Championship games in a long time.

Hand It Over Already

Denard Robinson is running away with the Heisman, so hand it over already, there is no other player even in the discussion right now.  He led newly ranked Michigan to a late game victory over Indiana yesterday, but what’s more impressive, was his body of work on the day.  How’s this for fantasy stats, 277 yards passing with 3 TD’s, and 217 yards rushing with 2 more TD’s?  On top of that, he was an efficient 10/16 through the air with no picks, and only needed 19 carries to break 200 on the ground.  He became the first player in NCAA history to have two games of over 200 yards passing and rushing in the same season.  Two games, and we’re only five games in!  He’s also doing this on the road (@ Notre Dame & @ Indiana), in hostile environments.  Needless to say, he is the single most important player to his team, anywhere.  Even #1 ranked Alabama kept it rolling without last year’s Heisman winner Mark Ingram earlier this season.  Oh and by the way, he’s also electrifying to watch, which is a Heisman trait.  I can’t wait to see his highlights every Saturday!

I could go on forever about this guy, but the numbers speak for themselves, here.  http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=480237

And if reading isn’t believing, how about seeing?  Here.

And this was one of his “average” performances.  It almost sounds cliché to call him the next Michael Vick, it seems any running QB gets those comparisons now, but Denard Robinson does remind me of Mike Vick.  Which brings up an interesting argument, is he an NFL QB?  I know he flourishes in a Rich Rodriguez system out there in Michigan, but regardless of the system, he is putting up good passing numbers.  And of course, his ground game, which might be the best in college, could be an advantage at the next level.  So doesn’t that make him a potential NFL star behind center?  I don’t know what the experts are saying, but I think he can be.  I remember on one of the Doin-Work e-mail chains, we spoke of how it was difficult to read the transition of QB’s from college to the pros, and whether they’ll make it, well I think Denard Robinson is a prime example of that.  But without looking too far ahead, there’s one thing that’s not hard to read.  Denard Robinson, Heisman Award winner.

Labor Day Ramblings

Three day weekends are never a bad thing. You everything you want to in the first two days, and have an extra day to come back to the reality of knowing that tomorrow you will be heading back to work. I pretty much missed all of the first college football Saturday of the year, but fortunately the game of the week is on tonight. The Sportschump broke it down what the teams looked like, so that helped. In an attempt to get myself ready for the upcoming NFL line predictions, I figured I’d start my ramblings with my pick for the college game of the week.

Virginia Tech (+2) Over Boise State

I’m going to be rooting full force for Boise State, but in the end, I have a tough time seeing them coming out the winner. I’m not basing this pick off the players, the coaching strategies, or even team strengths. I’m mostly picking Virginia Tech because they are at home, and the underdog. Since Boise State has to travel to the other side of the country, it’s going to be an even tougher task for them than just playing a great team. I think this is one of the biggest factors that’s overlooked in a game. Teams don’t do well traveling from the westcoast (sort of) to the eastcoast in the NFL, so why should they in college?!? Hopefully this game lives up to the hype, and we get a close one. Anytime you can take the home team with points in a game that you aren’t sure who’s going to win, you do it. The Hokies win unfortunately win tonight!

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis finally ended his holdout agreeing to a contract worth $46M for four years, with $32M of that guaranteed. He held out to get paid as much as Asomugha, but didn’t really get close to his numbers, and isn’t even the second highest paid cornerback in the league (making less than Asomugha and Champ Bailey this season). I’m not sure I understand why he incurred half a million in fines only to sign this four year contract when it sounded like the Jets offered him that wacky ten year $120M deal. I’m on my own island when it comes to understanding contracts, so maybe that offer had a lot of incentives, and the guaranteed money wasn’t where he wanted it to be. To me, it’s like watching a porno for the dude “actors”, it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but $32M guaranteed > $1M this season… Who knows, I just hope Hard Knocks will clear that up for me on Wednesday night, and now maybe Rex Ryan’s #2’s will play a lot better now that Revis pushed one of the #1’s down to a #2. Are the Jets the favorite to win the Super Bowl now? Maybe, but it all still comes down to how well the Sanchize does, and it’s sounding like the experts have less and less confidence in him. If you somehow didn’t know that Revis was an amazing cornerback, our buddy Weller broke it down like only he can.

Floyd Mayweather apologizes?!? He made this racist rant challenging everything he could conjure up about Manny Pacquiao towards the end of last week. Not surprisingly, it ended up making him look foolish.

Floyd likes chicken so much he's becoming one!

He apologized after the video hit the newswires, but I’m not sure why he was calling him out in the first place. It seemed like a month ago, the fight was going to happen, and Pacquiao conceded to some things in the contract to get this fight going more on Mayweather’s terms. Once again pretty boy Floyd backed down. I’m actually shocked that he apologized. I didn’t really know that this guy even had the word sorry in his vocabulary. Maybe he finally realized that he was the idiot ducking the fight that could save or  revive boxing. I’m not sure how these guys can’t agree on a $100M+ fight. It’s just ludicrous that they are holding this sport hostage, and denying us a chance of seeing rematches as the two slowly grow out of their primes. Mayweather has never been short on confidence, but you have to believe he’s scared at this point, since we’ve never really seen him apologize about anything. If he’s truly the best, he needs to prove it, and I don’t think he is even drinking his own Kool-Aid anymore.

The Padres lost their 10th consecutive game. They are scratching for answers anywhere they can find one, but just flat out aren’t playing well. I was one of the semi-doubters, but was still rooting for them more than against them. I understood how they were getting it done for most of the season, yet I still couldn’t really understand, if that makes any sense! This bump in the road might be showing that they don’t have enough offense, and their pitching might just be too young. The NL West is starting to heat up with the Rockies, Giants, and Padres all in contention now. Two weeks ago, I thought the Padres were going to walk into the playoffs, now they might have to use Latos more than they originally wanted to, and are finding it’s never easy to close out a division title. In contrast to the Padres sudden demise, is the big rise of the White Label Hot Rockies, who seem to come out of nowhere at the end of each season. They’ve won 11 of their last 15, and have a former A’s player, Carlos Gonzalez, who is putting up some MVP type numbers. Too bad for C-Gon, that he has to compete with guys like Pujols and Votto are pushing for a triple crown. This might be the most interesting race in baseball down the stretch, so stay tuned!

Trojans Win Track Meet At Aloha Stadium

David Ausberry, a 6'4', 235 LBS WR, pushed away CB Lametrius Davis with one arm after catching the ball and strolled into the end zone.

Here’s some observations I had from last night’s USC vs. Hawaii opener, and the nightmare on defense, for both teams…

  • USC’s offense looked mediocre when you take into account Hawaii has a terrible defense that was outsized on the line by a wide margin
  • USC’s defense looked absolutely terrible, missed tackles and blown coverages galore
  • Hawaii’s offense looked very good, even their 3rd string QB passed for 2 TDs, which is the only solace for USC
  • USC’s offense will only get better, they’ll have 4 effective RBs with four different styles of play, and they have about 6 WRs that when healthy would start anywhere in the country
  • 2 possible Heisman candidates stood out last night as well as a possible third: Matt Barkley and Ronald Johnson looked in sync and ready to go from snap 1, and Tyler looked strong and quick.


Passing Offense: B+

Couple of bad drops/deflections, couple of holding calls, but for game 1 on the road, a very good showing

Running Offense: B-

Mark Tyler waited for this opportunity for a long time. He started this year at #4 on the RB depth chart. He showed why he's now #1 after putting up 154 yards rushing and a TD in the opener.

Easy to look good running against Hawaii, should have run for 300 yards and didn’t.  See Wisconsin last year.  Younger Oline but so much talent

Passing Defense: D-

Perhaps deserved an F but the Off bailed them out.  Young secondary looked terrible, blown coverages and hands on defenders all over.  Pass rush was ok.

Running Defense: C

Line looked a little tired toward the end, but that’s what happens when your thin after injuries and key departures.  Room for improvement, especially tackling

Special Teams: C

Only highlight was Ronald Johnson’s (ill-advised) spectacular return, but again against a weak defensive team.  What was the 2 point conversion thing???  Yuck

Overall: C+

Not a good performance against a weak Hawaii team.  Coaches should be worried.  Oline really should have dominated more against a smaller but speedy D.  The Defense looked the part we expected: very young and inexperienced.  Pass rush will look better against normal offenses, this was a quick strike run&gun so the pressure they did put on was impressive.  Tackling should get better as they did not tackle in fall ball, so all kinds of room for improvement there.  And kick a point after for chr sake.  That was embarrassing.

Gut Reactions to Lane Kiffin Being Named Head Coach at USC

Big news out of Los Angeles as USC announced that Tennessee Head Coach, Lane Kiffin (and his dad of course) will be replacing Pete Carroll. Just when I thought Kiffin was out of my life for good, here he comes back through the Rose Garden to patrol the LA Coliseum sidelines once again – this time as the Head Coach. His father, Monty, will be running the defense for the Trojans. While my first reaction was relief that the coaching vacancy has been filled already, I must admit I was hopeful that someone else, like Jeff Fisher would get the job. The upside is that the Trojans will get an established coach, although the jury is still out on his abilities as the man in charge. Kiffin, of course, didn’t have the most glamorous run at the helm of the Oakland Raiders, but looking back, his record was no worse than anyone else to come through Oakland in the last 6 years. In his only season in Knoxville, Kiffin led the Volunteers to a 7-6 record (4-4 SEC). What will be most interesting to see is how the recruiting season pans out. Will players be as excited to play for Kiffin as they were for Carroll? Will Lane be bringing any of his Tennessee players with him? While many questions will remain open for the months to come, one thing has been cleared up – that being the coaching position – so at the very least, USC can move on and look to rebound from their most disappointing season in the now-defunct Pete Carroll era.

After splitting the last three football seasons between Oakland and Knoxville, Little Kiffin is returning to Watts.

Pac-10 Sucks It Up For The Holiday Season

Oregon capped off a crappy bowl season for the Pac-10. The Ducks were smothered 26-17 by team sweater-vest tonight in the Rose Bowl. It wasn’t all that great of a game, just like many of the other games that Pac-10 teams decided to NOT show up for. As a whole they went 2-5, and the only teams that seemed to actually want to play were USC and UCLA. I guess there’s something in the water in Socal, like salt, but something went wrong for everybody else. Arizona, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, and Stanford all seemed to forget how to play. I was especially disappointed in the Arizona performance, and was glad I only caught a quarter of the game. They must have been thinking about their New Years Eve plans more than the game. Personally I thought we’d do a lot better, but I guess it proves that the Pac-10 isn’t as strong as I thought. I truly thought Stanford, Oregon, and Oregon State would pull out wins. I guess if there was a playoff setup we wouldn’t have made it anywhere… Anyways, now we can move to a new decade. One that will hopefully be a stronger one for the Pac-10!

NorCal Sports Tonight

There are some pretty big games for Northern California teams tonight, starting with the Pointsettia Bowl, where Cal will face off against #23 Utah.

Pointsettia Bowl – California vs. #23 Utah. 5:00pm PST

Utah is the better team, finishing the season at 9-3. Their 3 losses came to good teams; Oregon, BYU, and TCU. Cal, on the other hand, is without superstar running back, Javhid Best, but Shane Vereen has filled in pretty nicely since Best went down with a back injury. Vereen ran for over 400 yards in his last three games, and Utah doesn’t have the best run defense, so the Golden Bears should at least be able to move the ball, which should keep them in the game.

St. Mary’s vs. USC. 2:00pm PST

USC was struggling, losing three straight, before winning their next four, including a blowout of #9 Tennessee. St. Mary’s, meanwhile, is off to an impressive 10-1 start, but they’re lacking some defining wins over quality programs. They do have a win over Oregon in Eugene, but beating the Trojans would be huge for their NCAA Tournament resume.

Sacramento Kings vs. Lebron James. 7:00pm PST

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a four game roadtrip that concludes with their Christmas Day showdown with the Lakers. Tonight, though, they make a stop in Sacramento to take on Tyreke Evans and the surprising Kings. Sacramento is one game under .500 at 13-14, already within three wins of last seasons total. It should be close to a full house with Lebron in the building, so expect to see another throwback, loud Arco Arena.

University of San Francisco vs. CSU-Bakersfield. 5:00pm PST

Okay, so this isn’t really a big game at all, but the Dons have lost 8 of their last 9, and they travel to Seattle to take on #22 Washington on Sunday. They’ll need to handily defeat the Road Runners of Cal State Bakersfield (1-8) if they’re going to have any momentum whatsoever going into West Coast Conference Play.