It is Thanksgiving week folks and if you're a true southerner like myself that means collard greens, stuffing, mac and cheese, cornbread and the oh so delectable fried turkey. I hope everyone is set up to have an awesome holiday and pour one out for your's truly as Wednesday is my 25th birthday. I'm in my mid-twenties now; I hear it is all down hill from here.
On the college football front this was shaping up to be a mundane week without a lot of excitement but as usual the God's of college football wouldn't allow for mediocrity. They are all powerful and glorious in their ability to, as Tupac put it, "make a dollar out of fifteen cents." We thought we'd be scraping the barrel but we're eating high on the hog with the juicy morsels dropped by the greatest national past time; college football.
Since Notre Dame doesn't get their own section; as much as they feel they're entitled to one, we'll drop some ND feelings here before getting into the nation's league problems. For the Golden Domers things got pretty ugly this weekend. From Weis' dismissing of Alex Flanagan during the post game interview and seemingly sealing his fate to the UConn back-to-back phantom holding calls and the Haden/Hammond Notre Dame gushing there was veritable feast for ND haters.
On the good side Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen had another banner day and appear to be two games away from only seeing South Bend on their bye weekend next season.
Read more for the rest of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...
The Big XII
The Good- Rivalry week has some much needed juice in Big XII country. The Aggies are bowl eligible, playing good football offensively and will be the Longhorns best defensive test of the season. Oklahoma is fighting off a 6-6 season when the Cowboys come to Norman. Meanwhile the Cowboys are fighting to stay in the hunt for their first ever BCS bowl game of the era.
The Bad- Kansas State is sitting, locked in, at second overall in the Big 12 North. Their season is over and they're going to finish as the divisional runner up with a 6-6 record. They'll also be sitting at home as they are ineligible for bowl play thanks to playing Tennessee Tech and UMass this season.
The Ugly- The Border War between Mizzou and Kansas was supposed to play a major role in determining the Big 12 North Title. The game was supposed to be about Gary Pinkel's offense vs Mangino's offense. Now as we sit here, heading into the final week of 2009's regular season this game is about Kansas scrapping to get bowl eligible and Mark Mangino's temper and his pending removal.
The Big Ten
The Good- Two teams should finish in the BCS Top 12 giving the conference yet another two team BCS year. It is impressive for a conference that much of the nation has relegated to the back burner. A testament to their ability to just hang around.
The Bad- Michigan not going bowling again after playing Ohio State surprisingly tight in their last game. This makes two year in a row, not even Notre Dame experienced two bowl-less season so the Wolverines are quite restless. On a good note, Greg Robinson's defense did only surrender 318 yards this weekend; almost two hundred yards below their standard output this last month.
The Ugly- The season is, for all intents and purposes, over for the Big 10. They'll be out of sight and out of mind. This doesn't bode well for the Iowa cause of getting into the Fiesta or Orange Bowl and it most certainly won't help the Buckeyes in preparing for their January 1st Rose Bowl game that looms some 38 days and two major food holidays away.
The Pac 10
The Good- Great game weekend overall in the league as both Cal-Stanford and Oregon-Arizona came down to the wire. Cal running back Shane Vereen put on a show, outshining Toby Gerhart's 4 TD effort by sprinting to a 42 carry 193 yard and 3 TD game plus getting the W for the Bears. Jeremiah Masoli cemented his name as on of the frontrunners in the Pac10 player of the year sweepstakes with his come from behind win over the Wildcats.
The Bad- Andrew Luck looked like a freshman this Saturday. The guy Harbaugh has been touting as an unreal freshman finally looked like an inexperienced youngster. His statline from the game was absolutely frosh-esque; he went 10-30 for 157 yards, no touchdowns and one very costly interception.
The Ugly- The Arizona student section was the most ridiculous, uneducated pathetic excuse for football fans. They epitomized the "we might not win the game but we've never lost a party" atmosphere that has plagued a lot of non-traditional football schools. Fans at USC, LSU, Bama, Notre Dame, Florida et cetera understand that a game's not over until the clock hits 00:00.
With over a minute left the Arizona students started jumping the railings and lining up around the football field. If they had been up two scores, had the football and were in plus territory that might have been borderline acceptable; MAYBE. But they weren't, it was a one score ball game, Oregon had the ball inside the 40 and they were driving. In my One Sentence Predictions last week I picked Arizona to win, after watching these ignorant fans I switched that sentiment real quick and apparently I wasn't alone.Idiots.
The Good- The league's much maligned title game got what it wanted; almost. With Clemson as the Atlantic representative the Tampa game now has a proven, tried and true team that will travel fans in a very big way. The Yellow Jackets are a question mark as they've got a smaller alumni base and for al their rich tradition they're not as national of a name as Miami would have been for the Coastal. All in all this should be the best turn out for the Conference Title until next year's game in Charlotte.
The Bad- The ACC bowl picture looks pretty bad. They're not fulfilling their slotted nine bowls and what's worse is the league is only going to get seven total teams into the post season. It is nice to have five teams ranked in the BCS Top 25 but when only seven teams have .500 or better records the league definitely looks bad. Here's to hoping they are able to come out with at least 4 wins.
The Ugly- While the overall bowl picture is fairly haggard the Atlantic Division is even more morose. The division has just three teams bowl eligible compared to four from the Coastal and they only have two teams likely to finish with winning records; Clemson and Boston College. Sorry FSU but beating Florida, especially with EJ Manuel at quarterback,is about the longest long shot in this season.
The Big East
The Good- UConn got their first big win following the devastating loss of Jasper Howard. This was Randy Edsall's signature win and although it came against a mediocre, at best, Notre Dame team, this will help the head coach get some much needed juice for his budding program. After playing UNC, Rutgers, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Pitt to one score losses this was the time the Huskies finally got that elusive close win.
The Bad- Coaching situations are about to get ugly in the Big East, two imparticular; Louisville and Cincinnati. Both are at opposite ends of the spectrum, Louisville is turning bad because of Steve Kragthorpe's in ability to post wins or reach the post season following his succession of Bobby Petrino. Cincinnati could get ugly with the appeal to keep Brian Kelly after the impending push by Notre Dame and possibly Michigan as well. Money will be flying around and there is no certainty either man will be at the school past December.
The Ugly- UConn's phantom holding calls. They were both so ridiculous that I had to run them back multiple times to even see a semblance of a penatly that could be called. The stalk block holding called on the wide receiver was absolutely egregious and the holding call on the reach block was non-existant as well. It was an ugly, ugly push to keep the Big East down and lift ND up and thankfully the Huskies held on.
The Good- Ole Miss has finally clawed their way back to respectability. They aren't sitting there at the same table with Florida and Alabama as pundits had suggested they might during the preseason but they're rubbing LSU's nose in it right now. The Rebels beat the Bayou Bengals in Oxford to put a good ending on a hard fought contest. Dexter McCluster had a heckuva senior night as he ran and threw touchdowns.
The Bad- Willie Martinez is the worst defensive coordinator south of the Mason-Dixon Line. He is absolutely incapable of inspiring his players and with all of the great physical talents he has in Athens he is fielding a defense that is completely inept. They're devoid of attitude, swagger or want to. They don't tackle, cover or pressure the quarterback and what's worse is they aren't in the right positions to be successful. The Georgia defense needs an overhaul and while I don't like to call for a man's job, the fact remains that the defense needs a facelift.
The Ugly- Gary Crowton, Les Miles and Joe Robinson can all put their hands in and take equal parts of the blame for the loss. The staff is under heavy fire for wasting at least 15 seconds of clock time and essentially blowing their shot at beating the Rebels.Just watch the ineptitude for yourself folks, this is absolutely pathetic. I love Les Miles, he's a wildcard, but this was absolutely putrid clock management.