Thursday, December 29, 2005

What's Next for Michigan?

First and foremost, I'm an Ohio State fan. But next, I'm a Big Ten fan. I was hoping Chad Henne would join the long line of great Michigan quarterbacks and execute a game-winning drive at the end of the Alamo Bowl. But it didn't happen. I honestly thought that Michigan would own that game from the beginning. But it didn't happen.

So my question is: When is it the right time to show Lloyd Carr the door?

I'm not saying that he should be fired this season, this is a guy that has been part of Michigan football for 25 years. And Michigan would not get rid of a coach on a whim and replace him with someone lackluster. All Big Ten programs are about proud tradition, and this is no exception.

And Michigan has been to a bowl game EVERY YEAR since Lloyd Carr has been there, 25 strong. That's a lot of years.

But sometimes to save the integrity of a program, you have to shake it up a bit. I don't know if there are any obvious successors to Carr, but something needs to be done. Maybe firing the Defensive Coordinator is a good start. I'll let my colleague respond as to what he thinks the next step should be.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm Not Done Yet, Michigan Fans

As long as Lloyd Carr is the coach, Michigan will find ways to lose games like this. End of story.
Tonight eight minutes left, eleven point lead on an unranked team, defensive pressure getting to the Nebraska quarterback. Then they lose the game. And to think that Michigan was *insulted* to be invited to the Alamo Bowl. They barely belonged on that field.

Four of five losses this year by 4 points or less. See a trend? Lloyd isn't a finisher and Michigan is no longer an elite program.

The luster of that '97 National Championship is growing dimmer by the second and these are dark times indeed in Ann Arbor.


I am cut to the core tonight and can't express the hurt and betrayal I am feeling. After College Football and I made up, agreed to give it another chance and she goes and fucks my best friend behind my back. ('fucks my best friend behind my back' is a euphemism for Boise State losing its first home game since 2001 and Michigan completing a 5 loss season for the first time in 20 years). Even if she promises to fire Lloyd Carr and bench Jared Zabransky I still won't take College Football back. I'm dumping that bitch for good.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Christmas Confession

Well, folks, it's impossible. I made a valiant effort to watch all the bowl games, and it's just not possible.

The story of Switters and the Bowl Games will not end up like Braveheart, Troy, Gladiator, or even Star Wars I, II, III, IV, V, or VI. It's not going to end with the hero (Switters) overcoming all obstacles to accomplish the ultimate goal and live on (or die) with my goals accomplished and the cause forever committed to posterity.

Nope, this story ends with Achilles, the tragic hero, just struggling to make it through the first quarter of the Kansas vs. Houston Fort Worth Bowl, in defeat, succumbing to all that was supposed to make him stronger. Shitty teams, shitty days to watch football, and less luster than could ever be imagined.

It started off strong. I watched the New Orleans Bowl. I watched the hometown Toledo Rockets dismantle UTEP's defense (that quarterback is going to be a star someday). I watched Cal against the Mormons, and really thought that I was going to make it. Then came Kansas vs. Houston. I'm not going to lie, it was family time at my house, I was trying to spend quality time with the family and still make me look not insane for wanting to watch this bowl game.

But by the time Trey Anastasio came on Austin City Limits on PBS, all bets were off. The bowl game challenge faded in my mind like so many other promises I've made and bets I've welched on. I gave up. I knew it was over.

So now I'm going to go back to being a normal football fan. I'll watch Michigan/Nebraska, Clemson/Colorado, Boise State/BC, Northwestern/UCLA, Miami/LSU, and all the bowls after New Year's Day. But I think the lesson that must be taken from this failed attempt at heroism is that a playoff system is the only way to keep people interested in more than 10 bowls. It must be done.

I tried, I failed, and for that I shall be put to death. And by death, I mean I'll be forced to watch the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whither a Hero?

I’m worried about Switters. He was only up to trough for 5 beers last night and it might have killed him. Where was his post-game wrap up of the New Orleans Bowl?

Did he check his Miller Lite cans for evidence of botulism before he drank? Did he mightily exceed his 5 beer pledge in jubilation over the commencement of bowl season and wander off zombie-drunk with a 5% BAC to die in some Ohio rubber town back alley? Was he roofied and molested and left bound to a chair with a rolled-up gym sock in his mouth and tiny clips holding open his eyes to a TV showing nothing but Sonny and Cher Christmas Special reruns?

If you kidnapped Switters and are holding him for ransom, I can tell you now he’s not worth much. In fact he owes me money. So whatever cash you get for him, you’ll have to earmark me a percentage. Substantial, baby.

Or you could just release him, because he’s behind the eight ball on his bowl reviews. It’s GMAC time tonight featuring Switter's hometown Toledo Rockets and the Miners of the University of Texas El Paso.

Knowing only that disgraced former Wazzu and Alabama Coach Mike Price, a pasty white Whack-A-Mole with a penchant for strippers, has popped up in El Paso to revive his career, I like UTEP. They're feisty and they carry pick-axes on the sidelines. That's intimidating.

They also have Carson Palmer's underachieving younger brother, Jordan Palmer, who promises to "go crazy for this bowl."

The matchup has all the makings of a shootout, so I'll take UTEP 55 to 42 over the Rockets.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what Switters has to say if/when he resurfaces.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Model of Bravery

We should all be so committed to self-improvement this Bowl Season as my penpal Switters. While the merits of his pledge to watch every single bowl game are obvious, I have to point out that, like any resolution worth fighting for, Switters' is not without its share of obstacles and suffering: namely, the 5 beer per bowl game promise.

This is a Man-sized promise calling for like 140 beers in a little over two weeks time in addition to the already rigorous holiday drinking load. Sure, on the surface 10 beers a day seems doable, but a close examination of the bowl schedule reveals some land mines. On December 30, for example, Switters will stare down 4, count 'em 4, games and 20 beers between noon and 7:30 p.m. eastern time. Simple math says, hey, that's less than 3 beers an hour, but then that's 7 straight hours at that rate. I'm taking bets on Switter's trips to the toilet and setting the over/under at 46.

But that's just the tune-up for January 2, 2006, the day Switters will be climbing the legendary Beer Mountain, with six bowl games and 30 foaming froth dogs to put down on the way. Fortunately, he'll get an early start with simultaneous games beginning at 11am, followed by another set at the 12:30 - 1 pm slot. If he's over the 20 beer hump by 4:30 and still alert, I give him good odds to ride out the evening schedule in style with a 10 beer buzz ushering him off to the land of nod shortly after West Virginia upsets Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Technique and preparation will be absolutely essential to Switters' success and I would suggest a suprapubic sports catheter as a necessary piece of hardware for the journey ahead. Needless to say I am eagerly anticipating reports on your progress.


An Early New Year's Resolution

I already quit smoking and I'm never going to quit drinking, so my challenge to myself is this:

I'm going to watch every single bowl game this bowl season.

That's right, starting in about 10 minutes I'm going to watch the Hooligans of Southern Arkansas play the Misanthropes of Western Suzzane. For real, I'm going to be Johnny Football, watching all the games, listening to the terrible announcers doing these games instead of being home with their families. And I'll get to see some future CFL stars in action.

Here are a few ground rules I'm going to set for myself:

1. I must drink at least 5 beers during each bowl game.

2. If there are multiple games on TV, I can choose one to watch as long as I promise to follow the other scores.

3. I'm allowed to switch back and forth if Family Guy is on.

One great thing about watching all of the bowl games is that, on this blog, you'll get all of the best commentary and analysis on all of the bowl games. So stay tuned. Hopefully I won't end up like this guy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

How do you spell "awesome"? ESPN

Perhaps this is a shameless plug to get noticed by ESPN, and if they care and read this column, I am officially announcing my campaign to replace Bill Simmons. SportsGuy, I am coming after your job with more arcane pop culture references and a pocketful of quaaludes so whatcha gon' do?!!?

However, I may handicap my chances with what I'm going to write next. I can't go on the record wholesale in support of ESPN. I take the good with the bad. They are owned by Disney and use their position to assert a pretty lame agenda, like pushing the NBA (see Peter King's excellent MMQB column for the real origin of this thought) when they should actually be doing what ESPN Classic did all day Saturday, show a marathon of Big 10 Instant Classic games. So to summarize, I am sick and tired of Stewart Scott, his lazy eye and his Bryant Gumble ebonic, quips telling me what's cool, but I absolutely love ESPN Classic.

If you missed this weekend's two-day Instant Classic Marathon I feel very sorry for you. It was an excellent prelude into the Bowl Season which officially begins tomorrow with the very exciting New Orleans Bowl (they're playing football in New Orleans?) featuring Arkansas State and Southern Mississippi.

About the only thing I can say about those schools is that I think Brett Favre went to Southern Mississippi and Arkansas State is, like, the second best school in Arkansas. I probably won't be watching, haven't seen either shool play all season, but I'm picking Southern Miss based on the ghost of Favre putting the Indians down with sheer, old man strength 35-10.

Now, a final conceit. ESPN did trick me into watching a bit of the LA Lakers/Washington Wizards game on Friday night. (I was waiting for a friend, okay?) I really haven't seen an NBA game in a long time, but I was struck by one thing as I was watching Kobe thrown down points in his little black tights. Is there anyone more angry-looking than Kobe Bryant? Ray Liotta maybe. But there is rage simmering just below the surface in both of these men.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Toilet Bowl

Jesus Christ, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl !!?!?!?!

Who gives a fuck?

It's time to face the facts when we think about College Bowl season. By and large, most of these games are little more than advertising gimmicks for the random, lame-ass companies that feel compelled to partake of the American sports marketing frenzy. Sadly at any competitive level, that is all sports is anymore. Vast sums of money are exchanged in a traditional, capitalist love-triangle of exploitationists. The players: NCAA conferences; the media; and corporate America.

Still, how is it worth it? What good is going to come for the San Diego County Credit Union to have some thinly-viewed national tv airtime and a football field 2/3 full with Navy servicemen (who have their own Credit Union, thank you very much) and a few Coloradoans who probably do their banking in *Colorado*?

All of which is to say that I whole-heartedly support a playoff system. I think the movement is gaining steam because what the market wants, and the market wants, the market gets. And as Switter's said it's true the two systems are not mutually exclusive. They would be competitive though, and I think a real playoff would eventually be a mercy kill the irrelevant bowls or at least severely dim their luster much like the NCAA Tournament has done to the NIT in basketball.

Except for this one that I'm proposing now: The Toilet Bowl. This would pit the two worst teams in I-A ball against each other to determine once and for all who is the crappiest team in the land. And here's the twist, the loser gets the bigger payout -- in theory a shot in the arm for the program. Thinking about a new practice facility to turn around your shitty team, University of Buffalo? Easy, just lose in the Toilet Bowl, and presto, bowl payment where none was likely before. It's kind of like winning the lottery, only more entertaining to watch. You could even throw in a pathetic halftime show like the world's bendiest kid,or the Regurgitator, both of whom I have witnessed and both of whom unapologetically suck.

This year, if we were to stage this bowlgame, the selection process would be simple. Two teams emerge at the bottom of the list.

Giving up 42.5 points per contest while only scoring 9.7, Temple played as an independent this year and finished 0-11 playing mostly ACC teams.

Meanwhile, out of the WAC, New Mexico State played one team in the Top 25 and went a mighty 0-12.

Let's pit this pair of desperate programs and see what corporation wouldn't want to slap it's name on the Toilet Bowl! I can see it now, the Bemis Flushables and Secretory Hygiene Toilet Bowl. Bring on the suck!

The "Other" Bowls

My question today is: Does anyone watch the "other" bowls? You know which ones I mean.

Now, the non-BCS games that feature marquee teams like Florida, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Boise State, are worth watching. I'll probably be watching every single one of those games. But I'm talking the Pioneer Purevision Las Vegas Bowl, or the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Last year, I went to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit to see UConn vs. Toledo. I had a great time, got so fucking drunk that I passed out during the 4th quarter, and when I woke up and tried to stand I fell over a few rows of seats. Then we went gambling in Detroit, it was amazing. But the game itself, and the attendance, was weak sauce.

I love sitting around, drinking 15 beers, and watching a college football game as much as the next guy. But this year there are 10-12 bowls that I won't be seeing, because I just won't care enough. And to watch a game, I have to care very little. You get the point, which brings me to the real point: Isn't the justification for not having a playoff system that they make too much money from these bowls?

Players' families, some sparse alumni, and weirdo diehard fans who get psyched for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl are the only people who care. So where is all this money coming from, and how would it not be more profitable to have 15 HUGE playoff games (assuming a 16-team field)?

The reasons for why a playoff system wouldn't work, given by this USA TODAY article are laughable at best:

1. "Could diminish interest in the regular season" -- Um, fuck off.
2. "The college game would become even more commercialized and professionalized." -- Are you serious?
3. "A 16-team, four-round playoff would be during many final exams and extend the season into the second semester. Players would be harder-pressed to be students." -- This is even funnier than the others!

Here's Texas A&M's coach's take: "I like the bowls."

No shit, asshole! The bowls wouldn't disappear!

The weirdos could still have their shitty bowls, and we could have our amazing playoff system. It makes college football fans salivate, but they say it won't happen. Can someone give me an answer that makes sense?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Perfect Gift for the Holidays

Before we get into any real discussion today, I just want to say that I was hoping this blog didn't turn into OSU-Michigan back and forth bashing so soon. I guess we need to get the low blows in early, before people start checking this place out.

I officially call a truce, no OSU or Michigan bashing from here on out.

But, in the spirit of the holidays, here's something that everyone on your Christmas (sorry, Holiday) list will enjoy.

Perfect for fans of LLLLoyd.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Word on Taunting with Musings by Conan, the Barbarian

What to do about taunting?

I dig what Switters and the ND fans are saying about taunting. I really do. It's not classy, it's not necessary and it can detract from the game. But it's human nature, as Conan, the Barbarian indicated in the following passage:

Mongol General: Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!
Mongol General: That is good.

So let's not pretend the Buckeyes are above playing dirty.

Despite the mild, calming presence of the wimpiest coach in Division I, (I have it on good authority that the only artists on Tressel's iPod are James Taylor, Kenny G and Sting - after his breakup with the police) Ohio State still manages to play some of the must thugged-out football since the XFL.

Just ask former Wisconsin QB Jim Sorgi, seen here bearing witness to tOSU's own brand of non-verbal communication a la linebacker Robert Reynolds.

It was later confirmed by instant replay, and medical forensics while Sorgi recuperated in the ICU, that what Reynolds was trying to communicate was a choke hold.

What's a little taunting compared to a choke hold?

Quick Note on "Smarja"

As the Notre Dame fans like to call him. For some reason, I was watching the Stanford/Notre Dame game at a bar that fine afternoon in California. Probably because it was a vacation weekend and football is great for vacations. Anyway, while he was running in for his first touchdown, "Smarja" turned around to the defender and gave him a little "come and get me" taunt with his free hand as he ran into the end zone. The wavy hair and Jeter-esque dancing and jumping around is just icing on the cake.

In fact, here's what some Notre Dame bloggers thought about it:

"Samardzija's absolutely silly and totally uncalled for taunt at the end of his first touchdown is very serious. Notre Dame isn't about that kind of stuff, and if Weis truly stands for the things he says he does he will sit Samardzija for some or all of the bowl game as a statement that principle IS more important than winning at Notre Dame."

"Taunting is for the likes of the "U", not ND. I don't know how to teach a lesson like that. Hopefully, Charlie does. We can't tolerate that stuff. It's immature, classless, demeaning to the other team."

"Do an end zone a high five...spike the whatever you want. Just don't taut the other team. This is what he did. Period. There is no place for this on the Notre Dame team. None. And surely we don't judge ourselves in relation to Flordia schools, do we? Please. There is a different standard at Notre Dame."

Even a criminal threat:

"[I]f I EVER see Smarja waving his little fingers tauntly at another player like on that first towndown I will leap out of the stands, sprint a 9.2 100 and take him out. After friends and relatives attend my funeral, I hoep all of you will post that I was justified."

But, no matter. Once "Smarja" sees a hit from Donte Whitner, he'll tone down his attitude a bit.

And Notre Dame hasn't seen a defense like this all season. It could be a long, hot night in Tempe.

My Take on Smardzija

Yes he looks like he got off the short bus, but I can't fully agree with Switter's scathing assessment of Notre Dame wideout, Jeff Samardzija, who emerged out of nowhere, or the Serbian part of Indiana, to have a pretty amazing (especially when you consider he's white) season. To wit, "the wavy-haired, arrogant sensationalist" caught 72 passes for 1215 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also threw in some excellent, celebratory high fives, which I guess prompted Switter's impression that he's arrogant. I just think he's excited, thinking, hey, I'm a white guy and scoring touchdowns in bigtime NCAA ball. This is pretty neat.

And that's exactly how goofy he looks too. (Notice the striking resemblence to N'Sync dandy, J.C. Chasez.)

But I don't want to sing his praises to highly, because I agree that they are going to lose to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. I think he plays a good game but tOSU defense led by the smarmiest linebacker ever, A.J. Hawk, give Notre Dame Brady Quinn too many problems, cutting into the Serbian's stats, and the Buckeyes win.

I also want to comment, briefly, on the Alamo Bowl. I don't think I should have to point out that the mighty Buckeyes were in that bowl last year and made a statement by whipping a Big 12 team. I won't say I'm clairvoyant, but I see the same thing happening this year as Chad Henne emerges from the rock he's been hiding under and Michigan unloads the chip on its shoulder by burying Nebraska in a snowstorm of points.

The other December 28 bowlgame to look forward to is the Micron PC Bowl, nee Humanitarian Bowl, on the blue turf in Boise, Idaho. The matchup itself is interesting, Boston College trying to be the first opponent to beat the Broncos in Boise in the Post 9/11 era (Washington State was the last, winning in Boise on September 8, 2001); but the subtext is also intriguing in that it may well be rising star Dan Hawkins' last game in Boise. Hawkins has recently emerged as the number one candidate for the Colorado coaching vacancy after Gary Barnett was let go for shameful behavior off field and shameful play on the field as evidenced by their 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game.

I will go on the record as a Boise State fan and say that while this may be a tough nut for Boiseans to swallow, it is absolutely the right move for Coach Hawkins. He deserves a crack at a big-time program and Boise State isn't quite a big enough pond...yet. I think he should take this job and I think he will. How he handles the transition and the fate of his team taking on a tough Boston College squad on December 28 will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's Fiesta Time!

Jim Donnan of ESPN says:

"This is a matchup that I think favors Ohio State a little bit because their defense matches up pretty well with Notre Dame's offense. Notre Dame's offense is great but their defense will have a hard time stopping Troy Smith and OSU. The Irish will need to force some turnovers to win this one."

Because my compatriot will be counting down the days until the epic December 28th Nebraska/Michigan Alamo Bowl, I figured we might as well start talking about the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2006. With how often we're in this bowl, it'd probably be cheaper for me to be a Buckeye fan if I just moved to Phoenix.

I thought we were outmatched by Penn State, and I said so. I didn't feel great about the Texas game, and I was right. But this time I think Tressel should spend a little extra time with his family during this holiday season. I don't think we have too much to worry about. I wonder if he wears sweater vests at home?

The key to this matchup is the Notre Dame wide receivers, led by wavy-haired and arrogant sensationalist Jeff Samardzija, against the Ohio State secondary. If the OSU defensive line can put enough pressure on Brady Quinn, allow the linebackers to drop back a little, and keep the defensive backs on their men, Notre Dame will come up short.

On the other side, the Notre Dame defense will not have a chance against our red-hot offense. Troy Smith knows what's up this year, and now that we have a bona-fide running back in Antonio Pittman, our offense will be hard to stop.

Most Notre Dame fans I talk to seem to think that Charlie Weis is playing in this game. He'll probably turn out to be a good coach, but is he really so epic after 9 wins? Irish fans just want something to latch onto, and I don't want to assume that it's about the school, but it seems like Weis is close to Saint status already. Anyway, this game will be more about physical football than about Charlie Weis.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Here We Come!

I initiated a trial separation with College Football after Michigan's third loss in four tries versus tOSU back in November, suggesting that we try it out as just friends. This lasted all of two or three weeks, and now we're talking on the phone and hooking up when we get drunk at parties. Pretty soon we're going to have to have another where is this going sort of conversation. So I'm getting ready by collecting by thoughts and posting them here in the College Football blogosphere. I've invited an antagonist as well, a Buckeye, so we'll see how that goes.

This might seem like an odd time to launch a College Football Blog, seeing that the season is nearly over, but I thought between the regular season and the Bowls we have an opportunity to analyze the past season, give it a fitting post-mortem, hype the shit out of the bowls, and start the ball rolling for a big 2006.

Maybe we can start by discussing the big, post-season prizes. What I liked: Paul Posluzszvzsyzyny for the Butkus award over A. J. Hawk. Hawk took it at the awards show with that slimy pinstripes on black shirt and tie combo, but Posluszszynsnyszy won it on the field. Except when he lost to Michigan.

I didn't like Reggie Bush for the Heisman. He was good but he did have Matt Leinart sharing the backfield and making it easier to be awesome. Which is why I liked Vince Young, who's been on some kind of march on destiny since last year's Rose Bowl, to win the Heisman. Who else, exactly is on that offense? Which is why he'd be the most impressive player in College Footballdom. And be warned, this is also my pick for the Rose Bowl, Texas over USC when Vince upstates Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

And I promise this Blog will only get better.