North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Posts Tagged ‘College football

North of the 400’s BCS Bowl Selection Special

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Although the BCS matchups haven’t been announced yet, though it’s pretty easy to determine who will play who – most of the bowl games are pre-determined. The hard part is determining who the at-large bids will be.

For me, that’s also the fun part – choosing who’ll play who, what matchups make the most sense both to football fans and to the BCS itself, from TV ratings and general interest standpoints. What two teams would be the most fun to watch? What two teams would draw the most causal fans? And, most importantly, what two teams deserve to play for the National Championship?

But for my sake and yours, I’m only going to predict the major bowls: The Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and BCS Bowls. Sorry, International Bowl. Read the rest of this entry »

Tebow dominates in Gators win

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Late in September, Tim Tebow made a promise. Standing in front of the TV lights, reporters and banks of cameras, his team upset by Ole Miss, he promised the room that no team was going to play as hard. That nobody was going to push their team as hard.

That nobody was going to play as hard for the rest of the season.

Thursday night, Tebow fulfilled his promise with one of the most dominating performances in recent BCS memory, the best since Vince Young’s rout of USC three years ago.

In what was primarily a defensive affair for the first three quarters, Tebow led the Gators to an upset win over number-one ranked Oklahoma, 24-14. He was a monster all over the field, throwing for over 200 yards and rushing for over 100 more. He directed two late Gator drives to put them in front and the Sooners just couldn’t retaliate.

How fast this game changed.

Early in the fourth, the Sooners had all the momentum. They had held down Florida’s offence, limiting them to just two majors, and had picked off Tebow twice. In just two and half minutes, the Sooners moved 76 yards and tied the game up at 14 on a Sam Bradford pass.

The Sooners QB was playing great so far, and finished the night with over 250 yards passing with two majors – and if not for a Gator interception at their three yard line, it would likely have been three.

The Heisman Trophy winner was cool in the pocket and completing his passes; on the drive that ended with the Gator pick, he completed seven passes in a row as the Sooners moved across the field. Oklahoma was looking good – mostly, anyway.

Because when it seemed to matter most, the Sooners just couldn’t convert. Twice in the second they were inside Florida’s 10 yard line with a first and goal. Twice nothing came of it.

That wasn’t the only time that Florida’s defence shut them down; they blocked a Sooner field goal in the third – their ninth block of the season.

In all, the Gators defence took a Sooner offence that had only scored less then 45 points once this season – 35, against TCU – and limited them to 14. They took a dominating quarterback, one who threw for over 350 yards per game, and held him to just over 250, taking the Sooners biggest weapon and all but muzzling it.

In all, the game was a slugfest, sloppy even, and most definitely not the shootout that all indications thought it would be. It didn’t matter. Florida was soundly the better team in Miami tonight – and Tebow, delivering on his promise, was definitely the better quarterback.

Written by M.

January 9, 2009 at 5:26 am

Raiders outlast Longhorns in a Texas shootout

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Back and forth, back and forth. It was a see-saw-like finish on Saturday night, when the Texas Tech Red Raiders outlasted the Texas Longhorns in an instant classic.

There was a comeback, a controversial call, fans all over the field and a finish which I believe may already be airing on ESPN Classic.

Early, the matcgh was all Raiders, with them getting on the board every way they could: a safety, a field goal and a major. Their defence held the Longhorns offense to just three yards after the first quarter and held them to only two field goals at the half – but the game quickly turned into a Graham Harrell/Colt McCoy duel, the kind football doesn’t see nearly enough of.

Down 22-6 at the half, Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy led his team to a near improbable comeback, driving down the field with seeming ease: 58 yards in two and a half minutes; 91 yards in 14 seconds; 80 yards in just over four minutes. McCoy was airing the ball with ease, making huge plays and spreading the Raiders defence thin. He would finish the night with two touchdowns and almost 300 yards passing, the majority of them in the second half.

That 91-yard touchdown seemed to send a message: Texas was still in this game, and the Raiders pounded back in response. They moved to the Texas 12, where a touchdown would have sealed the win. But after a 15-yard penalty and three straight incompletions later, they settled for a field goal. 32 – 26, for Tech.

So the Longhorns were still in the game, then. McCoy passed and ran them all the way down to the Texas five-yard line, where Foswhitt Whittaker ran in the go-ahead major: 23-22 Texas, with just 1:29 left. Then Harrell took the Raiders on his back.

Four straight passes led the Raiders to the Texas 28. Game over, right? After all, they needed just a field goal, something they had been hitting all game. Simple, no risk involved. But on Harrell’s next pass, the ball took a funny deflection – one that was almost picked off by Texas. A lucky break for the Raiders.

Harrell followed it with a pass to his right, to Michael Crabtree along the sidelines, who ran it in for a touchdown with only a second to play. Fans come pouring onto the field from all over, crowding the players and forcing the goalposts to get lowered. All the while, the replay booth is checking the catch: did Crabtree step out of bounds?

As it turned out, he didn’t, the extra point was good and the field had to be cleared again. One second left… Well, stranger things have happened. But not tonight: the kickoff was lateralled, then fumbled and Tech came up with it and the win.

Brent Musburger, one who has been prone to hyperbole, called the finish unbelievable. Indeed, it was one of the better – the best, even – finishes so far this season.

Plus, it was both a huge upset and a huge night for the Raiders. Just look at the numbers: 579 total yards, with McCoy throwing 474 of them. Two recievers with over 125 yards reciving. Nearly 37 minutes of possession. 32 first downs. One turnover. One hell of a finish.

And a win over the number one ranked team in the country.

Written by M.

November 2, 2008 at 5:05 am

Let down by the BCS

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Looking back with sober reflection, I can honestly say just three words about this year’s Bowl Championship Series:

“That was it?”

Normally, even in light of biased polls and the opinions of writers from Duluth, the bowl series produces at least one game that was interesting. Not always the kind where your hat blows off the top of your head, spilling your drink as you stand up…

But the kind where you watch the whole game, even if you have no rooting interest. Even if you couldn’t name where the school is located, let alone more then two players on the team.

Even if it’s being called by Brent Musberger.

But this year, for no rhyme or reason, the BCS was a bore. A letdown. A series of unfortunately unexciting games.

Now I’ve said many times – including on this blog not too long ago – that I don’t think college football needs a playoff. And I still believe that, even in spite of all logic, for reasons that I’m sure nobody agrees with.

But after this year, I’m starting to reconsider my stance.

Last year we had an instant classic in the Boise State/Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl, a thrilling shootout that left no viewer sitting down. Before that, there was the FSU/Penn State Orange Bowl, a triple OT thriller. There was the 2005 Rose Bowl, won on a final-second kick by Texas.

(I don’t mention the Texas/USC Game simply because I feel it to be the greatest game I’ve ever seen. It was a rare alignment of the college football stars, so to speak, and cannot be replicated year after year.)

But there’s always a few stinkers too: teams that played in a weak division, perhaps, or were just plain overrated.

And two years into the BCS Bowl, that’s what both games have been: stinkers, of the highest order (or is odor?).

Twice Ohio State has made the bowl, riding the polls and a schedule against such tough teams as Kent State, Northwestern and Akron, who didn’t even score a single offense point against them in a 20-2 drubbing.

And both times in the BCS Bowl, Ohio was slammed, embarrassed by teams from the SEC.

So perhaps the system that organizes the bowls are flawed – if the polls took quality of opponent into their rankings, for instance (SEC teams would rank higher, as they play in a tough division; Hawaii wouldn’t since they play in a weaker division).

Maybe if the BCS left out the AP Poll, which rewards writers who vote for big-name schools or for a hometown favorite.

Maybe the proposed playoff system, where the current bowls would be used like an elite eight, would work to weed out the weaker teams.

But now, after a whole series of stinker bowl games – yes, even the Orange Bowl – it’s time to start looking for alternatives to the current system.

Anything to keep that lousy Buckeye team from choking in the BCS Bowl again.

Written by M.

January 11, 2008 at 7:39 pm