Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Musings: Ohio State Buckeyes Arrive Late and Leave Early, But Still Get The Job Done

Thanksgiving weekend is typically one of the greatest weekends of college football. This year was no exception.

1. Arrive Late, Leave Early. Looking at the box score to the Ohio State-Michigan game, the scoring by quarters stuck out to me. Ohio State scored 0, 24, 13, and 0 points. While the Buckeyes were held scoreless in the first and the fourth quarters, they did enough in the second and third to win. Of course, it helps that Michigan only made a cameo appearance in the second quarter.

2. Rewarding Mediocrity? Auburn jumping Oregon into the top spot in the BCS is like rewarding mediocrity. Oregon thumped a good Arizona squad 49-28. Auburn, on the other hand, fell behind 24-0. It took injuries and turnovers for the Tigers to claw their way back for a one point win. I am not trying to take anything away from the win for Auburn. It’s just that I don’t understand how you can move Auburn ahead of Oregon on the merits of the two games that they played.

3. Special Teams is 1/3 of the game. You hear coaches say it, and it is very cliché, but special teams directly decided the outcome of two games this weekend. The high profile game was Boise State-Nevada, where the Boise State kicker missed two “easy” field goals. One at the end of regulation that would have ended the game, and another in overtime that would have forced Nevada to score a touchdown to win. The other game was BYU-Utah. BYU had a 16-10 lead and forced Utah to punt midway through the fourth quarter. The Utah punter shanked the punt, but to Utah’s great fortune, hit a BYU cover man. Utah was able to recover the ball and eventually scored a touchdown to go ahead 17-16. BYU was still able to drive into field goal range to attempt a game winner with four seconds to play. Utah blocked the kick.

4. Stuffing the ballot. Two weeks after running up the score on Indiana, Wisconsin was at it again. This time they rolled up 70 points to Northwestern’s 23. Wisconsin needed all the votes they could get to assure itself the Big Ten AQ spot in the BCS. Since Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State all have identical 7-1 conference records, the team with the highest BCS ranking gets the BCS bid.

5. Is nothing sacred in the MAC? In back-to-back weekends, Ohio and Miami (OH) beat up Temple. Wins in those two games would have put Temple in the MAC championship game. Now the Owls are third in their division.

6. The new WAC is Conference USA? Forget the fact that the Mountain West Conference is adding Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, and probably Hawaii. Conference USA is where you need to go to see wild and high scoring shootouts that the WAC became known for 20 years ago. Conf. USA games featured scores like 56-50, 45-38, and in every game, the winner scored over 30 points, except one (Rice had 28).

7. Fisher makes a splash. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is making a splash his first year as the head man in Tallahassee. The Seminoles beat Florida for the first time since 2003, and they will be playing in the ACC championship game for the first time since 2005.

8. Contract Extension? Will we be hearing about a contract extension for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly? His Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat USC for the first time since 2001. When Charlie Weis lost to the Trojans 34-31 in 2005, he was rewarded with a generous contract extension.

9. Pulling for South Florida. There has to be little question that the Big East powers that be are silently rooting for a South Florida win this week over UConn coupled with a West Virginia win. If UConn wins, the Big East would be sending an unranked representative to the BCS.

10. Top heavy. The Mountain West Conference is often criticized by BCS bullies that it is a “top heavy” conference. Let’s throw that label on the Big Ten this year. Three teams are 11-1, after that the next best team is 7-5. How should I say this? A Big Ten conference schedule wouldn’t exactly qualify as, um, murderer’s row.

Other recent posts on COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAVEN:
Poll Results: Who Will Win The Big XII?
College Football Haven Top 25, Week 13, 2010
Game Predictions, Week 13, 2010
Weekly Trivia: Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Longhorns Win-Loss Record
Heisman Hopefuls: Oklahoma State Cowboys Justin Blackmon Is Added To The List
Michigan Wolverines Will Fire Rich Rodriguez Next Monday

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