Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Last week I let my good pal Mr. Kenny Rogers help me out with the top 25 preview and he let me down big time. This week I’m going to let my other OG friend help me out, and hopefully he’ll have a little bit more luck. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Hank Williams! Now I know a lot of you are going to say, “You mean a country music singer who died in the 50s at the age of 29 is who you believe is the Original Gangster? Are you a moron?” and to that I would answer, “May I direct you to songs such as ‘You’re gonna change or I’m gonna Leave” and “My Love for you (has turned to hate).” The fact is, long before Biggie and Tupac were referring to women as “hos” and R. Kelly was peeing on teenagers, Hank Williams was teaching women their rightful place in the pecking order – second, and sometimes third behind dogs – and making no amends about it. Besides that, he’s probably the greatest song-writer of all time, Bob Dylan be damned, and he ended up being such a perfect teammate for me on this week’s preview that he may even make a few encores throughout the season. Other than that, the other change I’m making is my arbitrary game ranking system as, no matter what, ALL of these games matter due to the ranking proximity the respective teams and the Frogs. Anyway, without further ado, Hank, take us away! Again, spreads reflect the home team.
#8/8 Boise State (-17) at Bowling Green.
Hank says – "Settin’ the Woods on Fire"
I'll gas up my hot rod stoker
We'll get hotter than a poker
You'll be broke but I'll be broker
Tonight we're settin' the woods on fire
As in, what the Bowling Green fans will do to the foliage around town if their team wins. With Boise, Bowling Green hosts a top 10 team for the first time ever. Bowling Green nearly upset Missouri last weekend in Columbia, MO after leading 20-6 late into the third quarter. However, they quickly gave up 3 TDs to end the third and start the fourth and fell just short, 27-20. A loss like that will either crush a team’s spirit and send them into a tailspin or put a new, positive spin on their season, so it will be interesting to see how Bowling Green responds. Boise State, coming off a 9 day layoff, will have to play this game without leading rusher DJ Harper and will also be playing with their highest regular season ranking in school history. The Broncos know that if they win this game there is pretty much nothing between them and a BCS bid save strength of schedule. Boise should win, but the Falcons will cover.
#9/13 Miami vs. #11/12 Virginia Tech (+1.5)
Hank says – “Move it on Over”
This dog house here is mighty small
But it's sure better than no house at all
So ease it on over (move it on over)
Drag it on over (move it on over)
Move over old dog cause a new dog's moving in
This one is a personal dedication from Miami to Virginia Tech as, until proven otherwise, Miami looks like the front runner in the ACC. Since joining the ACC from the Big East in 2004, Virginia Tech has won the conference 3 times and is typically in the mix throughout the entirety of the season. However, with the Luis Vuitton wearing Jacory Harris under center, Miami has beaten their main rival Florida State on the road as well as presumed conference favorite Georgia Tech in their first two games. If they can beat VT here, they then welcome in a banged up but improving Oklahoma Sooner team to the Joe Robbie Landshark Orange Pro Player Bowl Stadium in what could be the biggest game of the year in the regular season-for the entire NCAA. IF they can win both of those games, the ‘Canes should roll to an ACC title and perhaps have a shot at the big one. Virginia Tech on the other hand already has a loss on the season and needed a miracle finish to sneak past Nebraska last weekend while giving up 343 yards of total offense, although it should be mentioned that all of Nebraska’s points came on field goals. Virginia Tech has had problems scoring at times, and having a fired up ‘Canes defense that only allowed 228 total yards to Georgia Tech’s high powered triple option attack doesn’t bode well for the Hokies. A Hokie win would have little to no affect on us as the media’s fascination with Miami would probably only have them swap places in the rankings. Doesn’t matter, because, as Hank said, move over old dog cause a new dog’s moving in in the ACC title picture. ‘Canes win a tough one and the Frogs move up.
#12/10 USC (-45.5) vs. Washington State.
Hank says – “I watched my dream world crumble like clay”
You promised darlin' that we'd never part
But now you've gone dear, breakin' my heart
I saw saw your love dear, fade and die away
I watched my dream world crumble like clay
First of all, yes, you read that right – USC is favored by 45.5 points over a Washington State team that beat an apparently much improved SMU team last weekend despite likely not having their starting QB and best defensive player, Taylor Mays. I know you have to look at the coming off a bad loss/making a statement factor in situations like this, but good grief! I’d take the points all day. The “Dream world” in this case is obviously a BCS National Title shot that will once again elude the Trojans, who have now lost 5 games to unranked opponents since 2006, despite only dropping one to a ranked team. I know Pete Carroll is supposed to be the most amped up and jacked motivator on the planet, but with these consistent disappointments, I’m starting to wonder if he’s simply becoming the recruiting savvy/coaching fail Mack Brown of old. No matter, there’s no way the Trojans are going to lose this game, especially when you consider that in the 68 times the two teams have met, the Cougars have lost sixty. Sixty one should be quick and painless.
#13/11 Ohio State (-14) vs. Illinois.
Hank says – "I’m Free at Last"
I'm free at last from love and all its' worries
I'm free because you wanted it that way
Now you can go but there's no need to hurry
'Cause ne'er again will I ask you to stay.
Hank’s dedication isn’t so much for either of the two teams playing in this game -although it could perhaps refer to Jim Tressel finally taking off Terrell Pryor’s training wheels last weekend - but instead is specifically for TCU fans in regards to new Illinois/former TCU OC Mike Schultz. I can’t help but think GP felt the same way when the two parted ways last year. Some people – no, not Bucknasty – attempted to defend Schultz by pointing out the record setting offense of last year, but, based on this year’s early returns, I’d say the Anderson/Fuente two pronged approach is working just fine. Schultz wasn’t so much an offensive coordinator as he was an OFFENSIVE coordinator, if you catch my drift, and ne’er again will we ask him to stay, as if we ever did. Oh yes, but there’s a game to be referenced here. So far this year, Ohio State has survived a scare against Navy, lost a heartbreaker to USC and dominated Toledo. Illinois, on the other hand, was destroyed by a Missouri team who may or may not be all that great, and beat Illinois State, who I’ve never even heard of. Based on that, I’m taking the Buckeyes to win and to cover. You might be thinking, “Now wait just a minute – remember what happened to OSU last time these Illini came into the Horseshoe?” and in response I would simply remind you that Mike Schultz is still their OC and that man couldn’t game plan his way out of a paperbag with a hole in it, let alone figure out a top ranked defense like the Buckeyes. Note to Tressel – defend the short side option and you’re good. Hank approves.
#14/15 Cincinnati (-16.5) vs. Fresno State.
Hank says - "You better keep it on your mind"
Now if you go out and start a playing around
Your baby's gonna tear your playhouse down
You better keep it on your mind (all the time)
You better keep it on your mind (all the time)
You'll be moanin' and a groanin', Lord you better keep it on your mind
After three very convincing victories to open the season, including road wins against then Big East favorite Rutgers as well as a non-conference game against ranked Oregon State , Cincy fans must have themselves a big ole BCS boner for the second straight year. With USF QB Matt Grothe going down with a season ending injury and the Rutgers game being out of the way, it would seem the only thing standing between Cincinnati and a big money bowl is West Virginia. However, they better keep the Bulldogs and NCAA leading rusher Ryan Mathews on their mind, because they’re notorious for tearing down unsuspecting team’s BCS playhouses down. After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Wisconsin and having a furious comeback attempt fall short against Boise last week, the Bulldogs are going to come out ready to light someone up. To this point the Bearcats have had little trouble stopping the run, holding Rutgers to 50 yards and a strong rushing Beavers team to 102. However, Boise hadn’t had much trouble in this department either, and they gave up 320 to Fresno. Fresno’s pass defense is no slouch either, holding BSU QB Kellen Moore to 181 yards in the air, but I still think Cincy’s Tony Pike has what it takes. A Fresno win here would be huge for the Frogs and the MWC as it’d put the Big East back in their place, but I don’t see it happening. Cincy wins, but Fresno busts a few big runs to keep it under two scores.
#16/16 Oklahoma State (off) vs. Grambling State.
Hank says – We live in two different worlds
We live in two different worlds, dear
That's why we're so far apart
You made your world out of vows that are broken
I built a world in my heart
As in, Grambling State is in a whole different world than what they’re used to. Oklahoma State may have lost some swagger after that loss to Houston, but a chance to beat up a little guy should help ease the pain some, especially after an uneven performance against Rice. Shreveport and Stillwater may not be all that far apart geographically, but they definitely live in two different football worlds.
#17/23 Houston (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech.
Hank says – "My bucket’s got a hole in it"
Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
I can't buy no beer.
Iowa at Penn State may be the primetime game on Saturday night, but for my money, this is the marquis game in the evening time slot. Their bucket may have a hole in it, but I’m sure these low rent fans will still buy plenty of beer. The bucket I’m referring to, of course, is the scoreboard, as these two offenses average somewhere in the neighborhood of a billionity points a piece. We all know about the quarterbacks for both teams – doesn’t it seem like Keenum has been there for more than 4 years? – so there’s no sense rehashing any of that. What IS worth noting is that Houston hasn’t been ranked since 1991 so this will be their first time playing a truly meaningful game in a long, long time. Tech is coming off a tough loss to Texas that they probably feel they should have won, so you have to think they’ll want to outclass these guys and prove that Houston’s pimp slapping of Okie State was just a fluke and that they’re still just a CUSA team. Houston may not have jumped us in the rankings yet, but win this one and they absolutely will. With arguably the two trashiest fan bases in the state going against one another, it would be much more pleasurable if both teams came down with the swine flu and the game was a double forfeit. However, and as much as it pains me to do it, we’re going to have to go for the Raiders in this one. They’ll likely hop into the rankings with a win, but they still have to play Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, so I wouldn’t worry about a rankings climb. Tech has little man syndrome almost as bad as Aggy, so they’re going to want to come out and win this one to prove they belong in the Big 12 South discussion more so than Oklahoma State. Houston will be fired up and had 2 weeks to prepare, but I think Tech pulls it out and TCU will control their destiny in the BCS picture.
#18/25 Florida State (-14.5) vs. South Florida.
Hank says – "We’re getting closer to the grave each day."
Sinner man won't you stop now and pray
Leave the road of sin alone
Let Jesus lead you home
We're getting closer to the grave each day
With Bobby Bowden still on the FSU sidelines, this song title was simply too easy, but it works well for both teams. A couple of years back, South Florida was poised to become the second best team in the state behind the Gators as Florida State and Miami had taken several steps back. Now? Not so much. After the ‘Noles gave BYU a magically atomic wedgie last weekend and Provo, and Miami has become everyone’s BCS darkhorse, the Bulls have fallen to the back of the pack in the Florida football picture – and that was before starting QB Matt Grothe went down with a season ending ACL tear. I’d give this game a more in depth preview, but, seeing as how Grothe is out, there’s really no way to look at this fairly. FSU, having finally discovered their offense, should take this one pretty easily and make that Saturday afternoon Ensure taste extra sweet and calcium-y for Bobby Bowden.
#19/20 BYU (-16) vs. Colorado State.
Hank says - "I’ve been down that road before"
A little fellow about my size got tired of being pushed about
So he went to work and when he got through he'd knocked every one of my teeth out
One time too many I'd rubbed him wrong and he evened up the score
Now that's what happens when you get too big for your britches
And I've been down that road before
To the BYU Cougars, who have yet again failed in their Quest to be a BCS buster. Last year it was the Horned Frogs who got tired of being pushed about by the media and pollsters in favor of BYU and laid an Amon G Carter worthy ass whipping on the Cougars. This year the wheels came off even earlier as a Florida State team who had had all of their teeth knocked out during the week by the media after a dismal performance against Jacksonville State unloaded on BYU who once again proved they’re just a little too big for their magic britches despite beating Oklahoma. This game is very intriguing as a MWC fan, though, as Colorado State comes in a surprising 3-0 for the first time in 15 years. Although their season opening win at Colorado looks hella-tainted considering what the Buffaloes have done since then, the Rams have also beaten a Nevada team who, despite current performance, came into the season a major BCS busting dark horse. BYU hasn’t lost a home conference game in the last 12 tries, nor to the Rams in 5 years. Unfortunately for the Rams, I think the win streak ends here. These guys have been quickly rebuilding under Steve Fairchild – we can all recall last year’s ugliest game of the season – but I just don’t think the talent is there yet. CSU may one day make the MWC the Big Four, but not this year. BYU wins handily.
#20/19 Kansas (-13.5) vs. Southern Miss.
Hank says - "5 shots of whiskey"
It's all gone wrong
since you've been gone
So give me 5 shots of whiskey
to help kill the misery and pain
you put me through
To Southern Miss since they inexplicably fired coach Jeff Bower, as well as a suggestion to their fans for proper game viewing in anticipation of what Todd Reesing is going to do to this defense. For those of you who are unaware, last weekend Southern Miss hosted UVA – the same UVA we played in week 1 with the same offensive playbook – and gave up 390 yards of total offense, including 312 yards PASSING the ball. Yikes! They also trailed 27-10 at halftime before battling back for a 37-34 win in the fourth quarter. Kansas QB Todd Reesing has thusfar averaged 270 yards and 2 TDs passing per game, in comparison to Jameel Sewell of UVA who came into last weekend’s game averaging 100 yards and 1 TD – and we know how he gained said TDs. I’m not mathmetician, but that seems to be a pretty significant difference in talent. Mark Mangino may not look like much, but he’s turned Todd Reesing into a pretty decent passer despite his stature, and the Southern Miss defense should only be a small bump in the road until Big 12 play starts. Kansas will easily cover that spread – your official lock of the week, unlike last week’s lock that wasn’t really a lock at all.
So that’s what you have. In a perfect world, Boise, Houston, Cincinnati and Ohio State would all be upset, but even one of those outcomes should give us a rankings boost. More importantly though, we must take care of business this weekend at Clemson. A win there will definitely give us some traction and clout with the voters. Keep the faith and to all the underdogs this week, Hank says, “ Rock my (rankings) Cradle Once again.”
You know your fans are pussies when even the jokers at ESPN are ripping on them. Gonna be a whole lot more of this on Saturday (but as the previous post mentioned, too bad most of us won't be able to see it).
This is Clemson fans every season - WithLeather
How in the WORLD is a game between the #15 team in the country and one of the ACC teams with the largest fan bases NOT ON TV?!? If this game were being played at TCU, I guarantee you it would be on national TV on Versus (which nearly everyone has) and most likely in HD. But since it's being played at Clemson, a member of a "major" conference, the game is only available online...and only available to certain people online at that- you have to be a customer of an ESPN360-affiliated ISP (internet service provider) to be able to watch.
For all of the complaining that we do about the MWC's TV contract, at least we don't have to deal with this 360 bullshit all the time. Basically what ESPN has done here (and remember, ESPN was founded to be and still bills itself as the "worldwide leader" in providing sports fans with the prime content they desire) is they've paid the ACC millions of dollars for the exclusive right to broadcast their games...and then warehoused attractive games like TCU-Clemson so that fans CAN'T watch...just so that their competition can't provide those games, either. I'm sure that most of the guys that founded ESPN in the late '70s with the intent of providing sports content 24 hours a day to fans are probably all either dead or retired now, because I'm sure if they were still in charge, they wouldn't support this type of competition-squashing that in the end, hurts the fans.
Unfortunately, with all the billions that ESPN has made over the years hacking your eyes and ears to a bloody pulp with their over-coverage of the Yankees, Lakers and Red Sox, they can pretty much do whatever they want. So instead of continuing to whine, let's look at what you need to do to make the most of this crappy situation and be able to watch the game on Saturday if you're not among those making the trip.
First, go to ESPN360.com and click on either "get access" or "watch now". That will prompt a drop-down menu of 360-affiliated ISPs (common ones on the list: AT&T, Grande, Comcast. Common ones NOT on the list: Charter, Timer Warner). If yours is on there, you're golden- just follow the instructions from there and you should be good to go.
If your ISP isn't among those that carry ESPN360 (read: they decline to pay ESPN exorbitantly for the right), don't start crying like I did- you still may be in luck. There is a feature on 360 called "remote access" that allows customers of 360-affiliated ISPs to watch from any computer. So you'll need to find a family member or friend who does have 360 to go sign up for remote access and then give you their username and password so that you can watch from your computer. (Before you go and start sharing usernames and passwords with everyone you know...apparently some Georgia Tech fans did this a few weeks back and ended up getting blacked out of watching the game once the IT people at ESPN figured out their scheme. Just a warning.)
Pretty ridiculous that you, as a fan of the #15 team in the country, have to jump through all of these hoops just to watch your team play, right? It's all very confusing and you know what? I can't even tell you with any certainty that the information I've provided you with is even accurate! I apologize if it isn't, but I'm even skeptical that this will all work out. If remote access to ESPN360 ends up working, great- if not, we're very lucky to have the great radio broadcast team of Brian Estridge and John Denton. There have been a few threads on killerfrogs discussing how to access 360, and I would recommend reading as much as you can on the situation so that you don't end up having a panic attack on Saturday. Those threads can be read here and here.
If all else fails, there is a game-watching party starting at 2:00pm Saturday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
TCU's Hughes thrives after switching to 'D' USA Today
TCU's Patterson dislikes the spotlight Las Vegas Review-Journal
TCU's Hughes a handful Charleston Post and Courier
Clemson prepped for chance against No. 15 TCU AP
TCU vs Clemson Preview CBS
Tigers ready for test against TCU The Item
Clemson playing Beamer ball? ESPN
Dabo Sweeny's weekly press conference highlights Tigernet