Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top 25 Preview: The Musical!

Hmm... the 94 Reznor seems to have a better tannin base than the 99...
and I think I detect a trace of cinnamon!

In another attempt to spice up the weekend preview, which really just serves as a vehicle to entertain myself, this week I’m trying the musical pairing approach for each game. Much like a wine pairing at dinner, the idea behind this is that you could put the recommended record on repeat during any of these games and it will compliment the main course perfectly as it wafts through your speakers. Some of these are probably a little far-fetched, and most will fit the mood in name only, but hey, how else am I supposed to fill an empty Wednesday at the office?

Football-wise, probably not a whole lot of room for movement this weekend as Boise, USC and Cincinnati each have the weekend off and the teams playing above us probably will not lose, but we can always hold out hope, right?

#4/4 LSU vs #1/1 Florida

Sommelier recommendation - Andrew WK - I Get Wet. The title may not bear any significance on the game itself, but for anyone who has heard Andrew WKs opus to partying, puking, and poon, you can’t deny it’s the perfect mood enhancer for a night game in Baton Rouge against the #1 ranked Florida Gators. When it’s time to party, the Tigers will party hard.

Although I think most people assumed TX/OU would be the first game of the season to pair two top 5 teams, I don’t know that you could ask for more than it to happen a weekend early in Baton Rouge. Obviously the biggest question is: Will Tebow play? The last update I’ve seen is that Tebow has been practicing but is not yet cleared to play which raises the age old conflict of: Is a coach going to put the team or the player’s safety first? If it was up to Tebow, you’d have to imagine he’d be out there playing harder than ever, but a concussion isn’t an injury to take lightly, and oftentimes it takes the coaching staff’s sensibility to calm down an emotional player. I expect this decision to come down to the wire and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tebow doesn’t play.

No matter, if Florida’s 16th ranked defense is so talented, they shouldn’t have any sort of issues with LSUs currently 99th ranked offense. However, it being Saturday night in Baton Rouge, don’t hold out for some crazy things to happen, and if Florida’s sophomore QB John Brantley gets his first career start in that environment, you have to give somewhat of an edge to the Tigers based on the crowd alone. There’s no defense like 85,000 rage fueled Cajuns. I still think the Gators can win this game either way as they shouldn’t allow too many points to LSU, but if Tebow sits, it’s going to be one hell of a battle. No matter, the loser of this game isn’t going anywhere as they should still sit in front of the 1 loss teams as well as Boise. This game will not affect our ranking at all.

#5/5 Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

Sommelier recommendation - The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. Despite their win last week against Florida State – a highly, highly overrated Florida State. Thanks, BYU – I fully expect the BC team that was held to 50 yards of total offense against Clemson to show up in Blacksburg in the now annual revenge bowl. Just like their Irish brethren the Pogues sang, expect that Mick squad from Baaaahston to get full rum, sodomy and the lash treatment from the Hokies- light on the rum, heavy on the sodomy and lash.

Believe it or not, Boston College owns a 3 game regular season win streak against the Hokies. Of all the teams with recent football success, for some reason I’ve always felt that Boston College is the least deserving, and I can’t really say why, although the area having the most appalling sports fans ever could have something to do with it. Sure, the Hokies have rallied the past 2 seasons to beat the Eagles in the ACC Championship game, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. Both teams come into the game with 4-1 records, with the Hokies dropping their opener against Alabama and BC losing the above mentioned Clemson game. The teams look to be pretty evenly matched, with VT having a better offense and BC owning the better defense. However, there’s no denying that Tech has done it against much better competition (Bama, Miami, Nebraska) than Boston College (Northeastern, Kent State, Wake). For this reason, and pretty much this reason only, I think Virginia Tech rolls and keeps an outsiders chance at the National Championship game. An Eagles win would be huge here from a TCU ranking standpoint, but with the game in Blacksburg, I wouldn’t expect it.

#9/8 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Sommelier recommendation - Modest Mouse - Good News for People who Love Bad News – Obviously I wanted to go with, “Jump Around” here, but the game not being in Madison, I had to pass. Ohio State is 4-1 and ranked in the Top 10 with their only loss coming to 7th ranked USC. Wisconsin is 5-0 and, despite being unranked, has aspirations that the Bret Bielema era in Madison is finally taking a turn for the good. On paper this game should jump out to anyone as a huge upset alert for the Buckeyes, but you have to ask yourself: Do you really have faith in a Wisconsin team who is 5-0, yet remains unranked? That has to be a red flag. However, Ohio State more or less lives and dies by Terrell Pryor and surely that behavior will catch up to them eventually. Good news for Buckeyes fans who like bad news – and based on Tressel's National title performances, they do -this one looks a lot like the Illinois game two years ago. I’m calling the home upset.

It’s still strange to see a BCS team with a 5-0 record, including a win over a conference rival, sit outside the Top 25 (although they do sit 25th in the coaches poll and 26th in the AP). I guess the pollsters are finally coming around the to reality that Big Televen is a crap. This one looks to play into the hands of Ohio State as Wisconsin is a team that loves to run the ball, and the Buckeyes are a team that loves to stop the run. Still, Wisconsin leads Ohio State in all offensive categories, so this isn’t exactly going to be a game where the Ohio State defense can just show up and expect to shut the opponent down. Terrell Pryor has come along rapidly in the weeks since the Buckeyes lost to USC, but he’s due to drop off. Vince Young he is not – and yes, it pains me to speak his name, but I’m not afraid to admit his abilities while in Austin – and everyone outside of Columbus should realize that. We’ve had a Top 10 team lose in each of the previous 4 weeks - let’s keep that trend going, cheese heads.

#11/11 Miami, FL vs. Florida A&M

Sommelier recommendation - Dr. Dre - The Chronic 2001. Given the team, the chronic part should be a given, but with a 3-1 record and coming off a big takedown of Oklahoma, this season has many Hurricanes fans thinking like it’s 2001 when the ‘Canes won the national championship with the self proclaimed “greatest team ever”

Believe it or not, this one is a semi upset alert for Miami, despite the way they opened the season. Florida A&M may be in the MEAC, whatever that is, but the Rattlers feature a very solid quarterback in Curtis Pulley and arguably the best return man in the game with LeRoy Vann. Does it matter? Probably not. Despite the no show against Virginia Tech – and a team opening up with their biggest rival in Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma, don’t they deserve some slack? – this Miami team is really very good and should stay right on Virginia Tech’s heels in the ACC Atlantic race. Every team has a letdown game, but I think the Hurricanes got theirs out of their system in Blacksburg. Miami QB Jacory Harris probably doesn’t have to resort to his Spongebob tactics from last week, and he shouldn’t have to. This one could end up closer than Miami hopes, but they’ll get the job done and stay right on us in the rankings.

#12/14 Iowa vs. Michigan

Sommelier recommendation - Radiohead - Kid A. No significance, that’s just a great fucking album. Also, I couldn’t think of anything to dedicate to this weak yet inevitably overhyped matchup of two teams that would be middle to back of the pack if they weren’t in the Big Televen.

Ugh, is Kirk Ferentz the most overhyped coach in the history of sports, intramurals included? This guy is constantly mentioned in coaching circles as being NFL material, yet he can’t even win his own conference outright and splits his post season residence between the Outback Bowl and the Alamodome. Not impressed. As I think I mentioned in the recap Monday, Iowa has a knack for winning their tough games pretty handily (at Penn State, at Arizona), yet can’t take care of business against their poor opponents at home (Northern Iowa, Arkansas State). I’m honestly not sure how to categorize Michigan, but for those of you who watched their game last week against Michigan State, it’s apparent that they have something pretty remarkable in QB Tate Forcier, despite the loss. Both teams feature pretty lukewarm offenses (Michigan is 49th, Iowa 79th) but where the two teams differ is defensively as Iowa has one of the best in the Televen and Michigan, well, does not. In fact, Iowa hasn’t allowed a rushing TD in 33 quarters and has already forced 14 turnovers this year. Defense wins championships, so, against my better judgment, I’m going with Iowa.

#13/17 Oregon at UCLA

Sommelier recommendation - Yo La Tengo - I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat your Ass. Really, this is just a great album title and I couldn’t do this post without using it. However, in recent years UCLA has proven just as much against supposedly superior competition when they come into the Rose Bowl (18th ranked Tennessee last year, USC in 2006 – a win that denied USC a shot at the national title) and this could be a chance for the LA also-rans to do it again. UCLA is 3-1 having only lost a tough one to surprisingly potent Stanford. We hope and pray this Ducks are due a loss – could this be the LA team that beats them?

Oregon has all the makings of a team on the rise – overcome controversy? Check. Overcome an early season loss to a top 10 ranked team? Check. Blow out the darkhorse candidate in your conference race? Check. Continued by not having a letdown game against your conference cellar dweller the next week? Check. Coach reimbursing fans for said controversy? You get the idea. However, behind Boise State, Oregon is the team we need to hate the most right now as they are doing nothing but bolstering an otherwise disgraceful schedule for the Broncos. An Oregon loss or two – and it’s very possible based on their remaining schedule – would likely kill an undefeated Boise’s chances of staying ahead of an undefeated TCU. Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli has looked lost at times this season and is battling an injury suffered last week against Washington State. Unfortunately, and counter to the sommelier’s suggestion, UCLA has an AWFUL offense and I can’t honestly determine how they’ve managed to go 3-1 to this point as they rank 106th in the country. To Oregon’s credit, they don’t exactly have huge firepower on that side of the ball, ranking 64th, but what they do have is a defense that has really come together since beginning league play. UCLA also plays pretty solid defense, ranking 20th nationally, so that must be their bread and butter this season. These two teams have split their last 4 meetings, with UCLA winning the last one at home. Call me crazy, and looking at their offensive numbers I would most certainly qualify, but I think UCLA is not afraid of Oregon and, while they may not beat their ass, I’m calling the upset.

Editors note: I’m picking against Oregon the rest of the year for the Frogs sake, so get used to it.

#14/12 Penn State vs. Eastern Illinois

Sommelier recommendation -The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die. Well, this one certainly works two fold with Joe Pa surely only being able to shake off mortality for a few more years, as well as what the result for Eastern Illinois will be in the Happy Valley. Also, greatest rap album of all time, and it's not even remotely close.

Penn State finally showed some offensive backbone last week in dismissing Illinois, and they should be able to continue flexing their muscles against D-IAA Eastern Illinois. Thanks for Romo. Assholes.

#15/13 Oklahoma State at aggy

Sommelier recommendation - Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral. As in, the aggy season from here on out as they begin 8 straight conference games. Sure, they rolled over cupcakes in their first three games, but when they had to face an actual team – and a tepidly mediocre Arkansas team at that – they were blasted. Dez Bryant wants to F your cornerbacks like an animal, A&M. He will make you hurt.

God Bless em. aggy so desperately wants to be back in the Big 12 South picture. They only need three more wins to reach bowl eligibility – and with Colorado, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor on the schedule, it should be attainable – but they’re still 5th place in the Big 12 South at best, and that’s only because Baylor’s Robert Griffin is done for the season. 6-6 tops. Whoop. On the bright side, they actually have an offense this year, averaging 545 yards and 38 points per game, although their defense will go ahead and spot you 25 points just for showing up. Aggy gives up 372 yards per game of offense weekly – an area where Okie Lite ranks pretty highly. While not at the top of the gene pool, Oklahoma State at least ranks more towards the center of the pack defensively and as long as they aren’t playing a CUSA squad has faired pretty well. Bottom line: If Arkansas’ last place defense can hold aggy to 19 points, OSU should have no issues.

#16/15 Kansas vs. Iowa State

Sommelier recommendation - Prodigy - The Fat of the Land. Well, that one should be pretty obvious, and if it’s not, google image search: Mark Mangino. Besides, techno music and football always go together.

Kansas offense = gud. Iowa State defense = bad. We won’t know what to think about Kansas until they play Oklahoma in two weeks, but we know Iowa State lost to Kansas State who lost to Louisana Lafayette, so I’m going to go ahead an pass judgment on this one. Kansas. Big.

Not a great weekend for college football watching, which is just as well as I will be in attendance at the Arkansas/Auburn game and won’t have access to much. That game kicks off at 11AM – thanks, ESPN – so I fully plan on being settled in by the time TCU kicks off against Air Force. Take care of business there and, assuming we have another Top 10 ten team crap the bed, our climb will continue. Until then, Go Frogs!

Speaking of Jeremy Kerley.....

Here is a pretty good highlight reel from him at Hutto. It's good stuff.

Pack your bags for...Shreveport

Scott Ferrell of the Shreveport Times is reporting that the Independence Bowl will announce later this week that they've reached an agreement with the Mountain West to send a team to Shreveport starting with the 2010 season, where they would face a team from the ACC.

It's not as if Shreveport is the most exotic destination or that playing in the Independence Bowl is a dream that a lot of kids grow up with, but at least this shows that MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson is staying aggressive in improving (even if just by a bit) the Mountain West's bowl line-up. This game is easy to travel to for TCU fans, is played on a better date (after Christmas) than most of our current bowl partners, and pays much better as well ($1.1 million). Plus it's good to get a bowl game in which the MWC plays someone other than the WAC.

Morning Dump

TCU's Jeremy Kerley not concerned about lack of receptions Star-Telegram

TCU men's basketball team building for now and future Star-Telegram

TCU's Zvonko Buljan receives advance building in MWC

Two top defenses square off in TCU-Air Force game Dallas Morning News

TCU-Air Force preview Sporting News

TCU remains BCS dark horse

Air Force football team has to prepare for TCU offense
Colorado Springs Gazette

NFL pipeline: Hawthorne makes most of chance Corsicana Daily Sun

Kerley to play baseball?

According to today's Skiff, yes. Kerley, who was a four-year letterman in football, baseball and track at Hutto, is apparently going to suit up for Coach Jim Schlossnagle and the baseball team this spring. After the SMU game Saturday night, Patterson said:

"Let me tell you something, Jeremy Kerley is a special cat. He's probably going to play for the baseball team this spring. He has a 95-mile-per-hour fastball and he'll probably be an outfielder or a designated hitter or runner."

Move over, whoever Schloss had pencilled in as his #1 option for pinch-running.

Hats Off For TCU Hospitality

In a juicy article found by one of our readers in the opinion section of the Daily Campus (SMU's equivalent of the Daily Skiff), Jordan Jennings, a Sophomore Journalism major, offers us her take on her experience in Fort Worth this weekend.

Forget the five-star hotels, luxury suites, room service and spa specials that many SMU students enjoy on trips out of town.

My weekend’s journey to Fort Worth included a shagged carpet motel, faulty room keys and optional color TV. As far as room service goes, the drive-thru McDonald’s was my best option.

Despite SMU’s embarrassing loss to TCU last year, a stampede of semi-faithful Mustangs journeyed to the TCU campus with high hopes, and a little liquid courage, that Bo Levi Mitchell and friends could rescue the Iron Skillet from its Horned Frog captives. Sadly, though not surprisingly, Aerosmith’s “Dream On” became the weekend’s theme song.

Fort Worth welcomed SMU with gray skies and pouring rain. Apparently, the Big Guy upstairs detected the tension between the teams and decided to set the weather dial appropriately.

TCU does not have the same country club appeal as SMU, but it definitely has the spirit; the campus was covered in purple.

A large group of SMU fans crowded into Fort Worth sports bars and restaurants to wait out the rain. We all stuck out like a sore thumb.

Unlike the TCU fans, many of us neglected to deck out in SMU apparel and show off our school spirit. Swarms of purple chanted their fight song as we lassoed our ponies above our heads, far too
forgetful to sing our own.

As for SMU’s school spirit, it looked like SMU fans chose from three options for this weekend’s competition. We could dress appropriately in red and blue, marking ourselves as lambs for the slaughter. Or we could go in under the radar in neutral colors hoping to blend in as neither reptile nor equine. Or we could arrive with Highland Park arrogance in our expensive cars and Ralph Lauren chic attire.

SMU lost but was not defeated. It was a moral victory; we still had a reason to hold our noses high.

The Mustangs have come a long way since last year’s embarrassing slaughter. June Jones is doing something right. Hopefully, within the next few years he will have righted the ship and we will be able to taste victory on a more regular basis. It will be like the old days, when SMU had the Pony Express.

It wasn’t until my friends and I decided to make the short trek home to Dallas that night that we discovered that the game wasn’t the only thing lost this weekend; my ride had somehow lost her car keys and wallet.

Fortunately, one more night of slumming in Fort Worth made me appreciate the comforts of home.

But class is not always defined by wealth and affluence; sometimes it’s all about good manors and sportsmanship. TCU welcomed us in the true spirit of a good college rivalry. I tip my Stetson to the Horned Frogs of Fort Worth.

Pony up Mustangs. There’s always next year.

I was going to bold everything that I found to be ridiculous in this article, but the whole thing would be bold.

Jordan can be reached for comment at