Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Musings: College Football Is America's New Pasttime

The Monday Musings has a baseball flavor to it this week. Perhaps it symbolizes the official passing of the torch that football is the new "America's Pasttime." To that I say ...

1. Play Ball! Illinois and Northwestern faced off in a game at Wrigley Field. About the time they were wrapping up, Army and Notre Dame were kicking off at Yankee Stadium. Without the understanding that these sites have some history hosting college football games, I would think that this whole neutral site fad had gone too far.

2. I thought baseball was over. While some teams were playing in baseball venues, others were scoring at the rate of a baseball game. The 9-6 score in the Texas A&M-Nebraska game looks more like some thing out of the College baseball World Series than a Big XII gridiron battle. 

3. 56 points … in the first half. South Carolina scored 56 points in first half against Troy. The boys of Troy should be grateful that Steve Spurrier called off the dogs early. Wisconsin had just 38 points last week when they put up 83 on Indiana. Who knows how many the Gamecocks could have ended with.

4. That was different. LSU won a shootout this week against Ole Miss, 43-36. The Tigers have the best defense in the SEC, and they typically win in a grind it out defensive battle. LSU had not allowed more than 30 points all year.

5. The future is now. BYU had a freshman as their leading passer, rusher, and receiver in their 40-7 win over New Mexico. True freshman Jake Heaps was the leading passer (231 yards). Another true freshman Joshua Quezada was the leading rusher (107 yards), and redshirt freshman Cody Hoffman was the leading receiver (71 yards).

6. The Big Dud. Stanford and Cal faced off in their rivalry game dubbed The Big Game. After the Bears scared Oregon, 15-13, last week it looked like this would be a classic showdown in the rivalry. Imagine the place it would have in Cal legends recounting how they spoiled Stanford's dream season and BCS hopes. Well, it was 31-0 at half time and 45-0 after three quarters of play. The Big Game turned into the big dud. 

7. Why should we throw the ball? Illinois struggled to find a reason to throw the ball on Saturday. Mikel Leshoure was so effective running the ball, there was no reason to do anything else. Leshoure averaged 10 yards a carry, and he carried the ball 33 times. For those not so savvy with math, that equates to 330 yards. That is a good passing game for any quarterback, and a good rushing day for three running backs.

8. Fact or fallacy? Fallacy. Boise State dispelled all those complaints about the unfair blue-on-blue advantage that they have at home. Friday, the Broncos took to their blue field with orange uniforms. Fresno State still couldn't keep track of them, and the Broncos galloped to a 51-0 win. What's the excuse now? They look like construction barrels, so the Fresno State defense tried to avoid them? Nice try.

9. Road block. USC lost their third consecutive game to Oregon State in Corvallis. Astonishing! You have to go all the way back to 2004--the undefeated, undisputed national championship--to find the last USC victory over Oregon State on the road. In 2006 and 2008, the Trojans were able to use late game rallies to make it close, and almost pull out a win, but this year there was none of that. It started ugly and ended ugly.

10. Back to baseball. Jake Locker passed up millions to come back for his senior season. He even passed up hundreds of thousands of dollars this summer by not participating in Los Angeles Angels baseball work outs. After another miserable performance (10-21, 68 yards, 1 Int) even in victory, Locker's best move might be going straight back to baseball.

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