Turkey Day weekend is wrapping up and the turkey sandwiches, turkey salad and left over stuffing are slowly being consumed and placed in Tupperware for devouring come Monday's lunch time. Folks have got Christmas trees set up, lights are being placed and while the bulk of America is getting ready for "the most wonderful time of the year" people like us are slowly coming to the realization that we're getting closer to the end. We've got a couple regular season contests remaining; thank you Pitt-Cinci and Oregon-Oregon State plus The Game of the Decade is set so we're not going cold turkey just yet guys.
This weekend was rife with disappointment on the grand scale, teams lost games that they owned, rivalries gained new meaning and seasonal ineptitude was as prevalent as ever. In some cases like the SEC, the Big East and the Virginia Tech "the rich got richer." While for the ACC, the Big 10 and several coaches the cyclical poverty reared its ugly head again.
Steve Kragthorpe and Al Groh are our first casualties while Dan Hawkins is spared thanks to their picuniary short coming in Boulder. Big Ol' Charlie is on the hot seat and since he's not being allowed to recruit the West Coast this week it seems the writing is on the wall. It'll be a shame since his offense has been one of the most exciting to watch this season; no offense to Steve Addazio but the dive, dive, Hernandez, dive gameplan didn't compare to Weis' wide open style.Without further ado here is the post-Thanksgiving The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...
The Pac 10
The Good- There are so many good things to write about the Pac 10 so we'll just run them all down because this is without a doubt the most fun league of the season. The league's scheduling gets a nod, a game that was about pride in August will now decide the Pac 10 title; Oregon can go to their first Rose Bowl since 2001 by beating the Beavers or they can send arch rival Mike Riley to Pasadena. Stanford slapping around Notre Dame after letting the Irish have some hope for a late season victory; its unreal that Toby Gerhart can do this all on a robotic leg.
The USC-UCLA rivalry is alive and well. Its like Rick Neuheisel new they needed a shot in the arm and Pete Carroll decided to stick a big middle finger right back at him; take that Harbaugh and Pac 10 be on alert, the Trojans are like elephants; they won't forget this season.
*Notice the frantic and repetitive screaming of "THIS IS AWESOME"
The Bad- The "almost melee" that ensued following Pete Carroll's flashing of his manhood. This was bad not because of the poor sportsmanship or the possibility for an FSU-Florida-Miami styled brawl; had that happened it would have been The Ugly. No this was bad because it was pretty clear neither team had the stones to actually do much more than talk. UCLA got their dander up but didn't have the marbles to throw hands. If this had been Oregon LeGarrette Blount would have falcon punched Taylor Mays in front of Pete Carroll.
*ITB doesn't condone on field brawls; but backing up talk is what makes us football players. If you don't back it up you're just like a basketball player; "hold me back, hold me back"
The Ugly- Washington State's situation. Not only does it seem like they're not improving but there doesn't look to be much of a "promising future" in Pullman. They're next to last in recruiting for the upcoming season, they've committed a kid that has zero stars and Paul Wulff is still coming back for an encore.
For the rest of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly read more...
The Big XII
The Good- If you're thinking I'm going Texas here you're wrong. I'm going Texas A&M. Jerrod Johnson showed me more in his Thursday night loss than I've seen from any player in the Big XII not named Ndamukong Suh. The kid was the best quarterback on the field Thursday; if he had a Jordan Shipley to throw to and a Sergio Render to harrass the opposition he'd be a Heisman candidate. Sure McCoy will get thrown a bone for "having a Heisman performance" against A&M but the fact that Johnson and Co put up 39 points against the #2 team in the nation shows me plenty about how truly special Johnson can be next year.
The Bad- Here's where I go Texas; their defense was absolutely putrid. They gave up 97 rushing yards to aforementioned quarterback Johnson to go with his 342 yards passing and the gaudy 199.79 quarterback rating. The way I see it Texas' defense lost this game. They have had question marks all season and Johnson completely exposed their short comings in all three areas of the unit. Nebraska's lack of offense should help keep them undefeated but should this team take on Florida it'll be quite a treat to see Tebow and that speedy cast test Muschamp's all-knowingness.
The Ugly- As documented by the Ralphie Report the Colorado administration did a pathetic job of selling their decision to keep Dan Hawkins. Those surrounding college football know that it is a largely financial decision however their press release was a certified joke. Lying to children is one thing; lying to (relatively) learned, (decently) well read college football fans is another.
The Big 10
The Good- Illinois scheduled a game for this past weekend. The Illini put together a solid comeback effort against the number five Bearcats of Cincinnati. Had Zook been a little more lucky or just better his team had a legitimate shot at beating Brian Kelly's squad. Their pat on the back isn't for their play however, its for scheduling a game past Thanksgiving. Kudos to the Illini and the Zooker he's done something right.
The Bad- There's a reason the Big 10 is completely forgotten about until the bowl games and it is their horrible scheduling. The league takes the last two weeks of the season off, its the equivalent of asking a girl to the prom in January and then deciding to hide from her until the day before the dance in April.
The Ugly- We'll continue to bash their scheduling here. The Big 10 wonders why they've been boat raced in the Rose Bowl and the Championship Game. Here's an idea; don't freaking shut down your season while everyone else is still getting better. There's no worse idea than sending kids home for Thanksgiving, letting them get fat and happy, then trying to amp up the intensity. It is absolutely stupid, period.
The Good- Miami and Virginia Tech are the only good to come out of this weekend. They're the only two of the ACC's three ranked teams to win this weekend. VaTech took care of business against the Wahoos and effectively ended Al Groh's career while Shannon and Co took their step towards ten wins by manhandling USF and showing the Bulls they aren't part of the Big 3 just yet. VT will have an outside shot at a BCS bowl with their win and that could be a good thing for the league.
The Bad- UNC's pass defense. Personally I've never been one to speak ill of the UNC staff, personnel or decisions. After watching the Tar Heels blow their lead against the Wolfpack and completely implode defensively in the backend I find myself not minding if a few defensive backs decide to go pro. The Heels made Russell Wilson look like Tom Brady as they floundered about miss-timing their jumps, gambling on interceptions and overall not matching the NC State intensity for four quarters.
*Now Sakerlina fans have again validated their claim that a 6-5 SEC team is better than an 8-3 ACC team
The Ugly- Clemson and Georgia Tech have single handedly dealt the league a black eye that makes Jimmy Clausen's shiner look like a lovetap. Losing to lower tier SEC schools was exactly what the conference didn't need to have happen on Saturday. Clemson got absolutely smoked by the Gamecocks; a series they have dominated lately. Georgia Tech got slapped around by a Georgia team that hasn't stopped a soul all season. The two teams playing in the ACC title game couldn't beat two teams that lost to Florida by a combined score of 65-31. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C
The Big East
The Good- Cincinnati maintains their unbeaten streak by surviving against the Illini, Friday after Thanksgiving. The defense gave up a ton of points and struggled with Illinois athleticism but they are still in the conversation for the BCS title game should Texas slip up. Brian Kelly and the Bearcats are the story of the league right now and on a collision course with Pittsburgh to decide if they get an automatic bid or if they're resigned to playing the "at-large" waiting game.
The Bad- Pittsburgh getting snuffed out in the Backyard Brawl. The Big East went from having the possibility of two at-large bids to rooting like heck for Cincinnati to beat Pitt and keep them in the discussion. They wasted a heroic effort by Dion Lewis by allowing the Mountaineers to truly achieve payback for the 2007 beat down bestowed upon them in Morgantown. Pitt is essentialy out of the at-large discussion, they've got to beat Cincinnati to get an automatic bid and they're bowl picture looks a lot more like Charlotte than Tempe at the moment.
The Ugly- The end of the Kragthorpe era is upon us. Its not ugly because it is over, we all knew this day would come with his losses mounting and Louisville's inability to generate any sort of momentum post-Petrino. This is ugly because they're having to fork over $2.2 million dollars to a guy who went 15-21 in The Ville. If there is anyway bloguin or any other job would fire me for being completely inadequate and incompetent, pay me $2.2 million dollars and then I could get another, less stressful job please sign me up for that.
The Good- After an afternoon of utter ulcer inducing stress in Alabama the perfect season is all good. The Tide let the War Eagle/Tigers hang around for as long as they could before finally getting rid of their in-state rivals. With Mark Ingram sidelined quarterback Greg McElroy should the nation that he can get it done with his arm and lead the Crimson Tide to a victory. His short pass to win was exactly what the critics needed to see; the young quarterback coming through when the money was on the line. Bama and Florida in the SEC title game; both undefeated, for me this is the national title game.
The Bad- Mark Ingram's Heisman shot took a tremendous blow Friday afternoon. Not only was the Heisman front runner stymied by the Auburn run defense but he ultimately left the game due to injury and his status for Saturday is somewhat unknown. With Tim Tebow having an absolutely banner day and Colt McCoy's performance against Texas earning him a ton of love nationally it looks like Ingram is the big loser in this week's Heisman sweepstakes. Looks like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx got to the sophomore.
The Ugly- Tennessee's win over Kentucky was absolutely no thing of beauty. They rode Montario Hardesty hard, to the tune of 179 yards, as they eeked past the Wildcats for a streak lengthening win. Its ugly not only because of the fashion that Kentucky lost the game but the fact that if an overachieving Wildcats team cannot end the streak this season then their doesn't appear to be much hope for future Kentucky squads. Lane Kiffin has the recruiting train rolling, the Volunteers are on the way up and sadly, Kentucky can't beat them at their low point.