Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Wolverines’

Amikacin For Sale

Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by -- as you might imagine -- CBS Sports.

Week 6


Through 4 October 2009


Amikacin For Sale, After the games of this past weekend, my ballot seems to have settled down a bit near the top, but the back end continues to be a bit of a rollercoaster.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for week 6 of the 2009 season:

My Ballot for the Week











































































































































Rank Team Delta
1 Florida --
2 Texas --
3 Alabama --
4 LSU --
5 Boise State --
6 Southern Cal --
7 TCU --
8 Ohio State --
9 Penn State 2
10 Iowa --
11 Virginia Tech 1
12 Mississippi 1
13 Miami (Florida) 6
14 Cincinnati --
15 Notre Dame 2
16 Kansas 4
17 Oklahoma 8
18 Oklahoma State 3
19 Auburn NR
20 Nebraska 2
21 Wisconsin NR
22 Oregon NR
23 Pittsburgh 1
24 Missouri NR
25 Georgia 10
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: UCLA (#16), Houston (#18), California (#23), Michigan (#25).

Explanations after the jump...

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses


Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

bullet You Can Do Better Than That:

Both the Iowa Hawkeyes (10) and the Oklahoma Sooners (17) win the “You Can Do Better Than That” award this week for leaving me unimpressed with their performance, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15) are an honorable mention on this one.  Iowa, after managing to up-end the Penn State Nittany Lions (9) a week ago, the Hawkeyes barely managed to beat Arkansas State (NR) this past week.  Thus, despite the win, Iowa stays put.


As for Oklahoma, well, they lost to the Miami Hurricanes (13) in a nailbiter, but with an overall record of 2-2, I simply cannot justify the Sooners being much higher, despite my belief that they are a solid team.

bullet Tussle at the Top:

Again, the LSU Tigers (4) are in my top 5 more or less by default, though they beat the Georgia Bulldogs (25), their performance was less than awe inspiring.  This week, however, they take on the Florida Gators (1) in Baton Rouge for what is sure to be a slugfest on the bayou.  If LSU wins, then they are sure to move up, if not, then they likely drop like a stone.  Whether Tim Tebow suits up for the Gators will undoubtedly have a huge impact on this game.

bullet Returners & First Timers:

Based upon their strong showing against my Tennessee Volunteers (NR), the Auburn Tigers (19) lead the way with the new faces in my ballot.  At 5-0, I figure the Tigers have earned a spot in the poll.  Whether they can keep it remains to be seen as they get set to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (NR), LSU Tigers (4) and Ole Miss Rebels (12) before the end of October.  For now, however, they’re in like Flynn.


Joining the Tigers are the Wisconsin Badgers (21), Oregon Ducks (22), and Missouri Tigers (24) all of whom have managed to compile strong records so far this season.

bullet "Now Departing at Gate 21...":

After only one week in my poll ballot, the Houston Cougars (NR) walk right back out the door after losing to the UTEP Miners (NR) in a game which apparently featured no defense whatsoever.  They are joined by UCLA (NR) who was bested by 4-1 Stanford (NR); the Michigan Wolverines (NR) who lost to intrastate rival Michigan State (NR) for the second year in a row; and the California Golden Bears (NR) who continued their lay-down-and-die routine against the USC Trojans (6)—allowing 62 unanswered points between scores over the last two games.

Parting Thoughts

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all insults comments.


You can view the final results of this week's poll over at CBS Sports later this week and check out an analysis of how the collective blogging brain-trust arrived at this week's result. If you're craving even more BlogPoll goodness, Amikacin results, Buy generic Amikacin, you can also check out how other bloggers voted and see how your team fared across the Blogosphere.


-- So it goes…About Lawvol



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2008 CBS Sports BlogPoll Ballot: Week 12

Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll hosted by—as you might imagine—CBS Sports.

Week 12

Through 15 November 2008

Things are really tightening up as we head into the last few weeks of the 2008 College Football Season. This week is the first week in over a month where the Top-10 managed to keep it together. Thus, most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here is my preliminary BlogPoll Top 25 for this week:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank
Team Delta
1 Alabama --
2 Texas Tech --
3 Florida 1
4 Oklahoma 1
5 Texas --
6 Southern Cal --
7 Missouri --
8 Boise State --
9 Utah --
10 Ohio State --
11 Penn State 1
12 Ball State 1
13 Oklahoma State 3
14 Georgia --
15 Brigham Young --
16 Pittsburgh 1
17 Michigan State 1
18 North Carolina 7
19 TCU --
20 LSU --
21 Cincinnati 2
22 Oregon State 4
23 Maryland 3
24 Oregon 2
25 Northwestern 1

Dropped Out: South Carolina (#21), Florida State (#22), Virginia Tech (#24), Tulsa (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

Florida (3) & Oklahoma (4):

As much as I hate to admit it, the Florida Gators may be the team to beat at the moment.  They absolutely annihilated a really solid South Carolina Gamecocks (NR) squad that I had ranked at # 21 last week.  Florida looks much better now than they did early in the season, and I believe their loss to the Ole Miss Rebels (NR) probably did them more good than harm by forcing the Gators to focus in on what they needed to do to win games.  Since that loss, they have absolutely killed every team they have played.

The Oklahoma Sooners, however, didn’t play this week.  I typically try not to penalize a team for not playing, but I really feel Florida is a better team.  Thus—in theory—I would have had Florida jumped them even if they had played.

Georgia (14) & LSU (20):

Both the Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers stayed put this week, despite winning their games while teams around them moved up.  The reason for this is simple—style points do count.  Both of these teams eked-out close wins versus the Auburn Tigers (NR) and the Troy Trojans (NR) respectively.  These games should have been blow-outs in favor of the Dawgs and the Tigers.

In fairness to Georgia, their game was less troublesome for me than LSU’s come-from-behind victory over the Trojans—especially considering the Georgia / Auburn game is to some extent a rivalry game.  Thus, I contemplated dropping LSU a position despite the win.  I realize the Tigers were deflated after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide (1) in overtime the week before, but their effort and performance in the first 45 minutes of the game against Troy was pitiful.  I decided against dropping them due only to the fact that I have to give them some respect for scoring 30 unanswered points to steal the victory away from a tough Troy team.

Returners & First Timers:

On the heels (no pun intended) of their victory over the North Carolina Tarheels (18), the Maryland Terrapins (23) return to my ballot.  They are joined by the Northwestern Wildcats (25) who bested the pathetic Michigan Wolverines (NR), and two teams from Oregon.  The Oregon State Beavers (22) make their first appearance of the season thanks to their victory over the California Golden Bears (NR)—the Beavers have slowly cobbled together a nice season after their unlikely upset of the Southern Cal Trojans (6).  The Oregon Ducks (24) have more or less been in my poll ballot every other week throughout the season (or at least it seems that way).  The last time they left, I predicted that they would not return.  Shows what I know…

"Now Departing at Gate 21...":

As I discussed above, Florida’s manhandling of the South Carolina Gamecocks (NR) earned the ThunderChickens a departure from my poll one week after they arrived.  The Florida State Seminoles’ (NR) loss to the Boston College Eagles (NR), and the Virginia Tech Hokies (NR) loss to the Miami Hurricanes (NR) led to the same quick departure for those two members of the ACC.  The real loser of the week, however was the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (NR) who were obliterated by Houston in a 70-30 rout.  Ouch!

The Rest of the BlogPoll

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all comments.

As for the rest of the BlogPoll, well, you can check out how other bloggers voted and how your team fared across the blogosphere over at MGOBlog, and view the BlogPoll Top 25 results each week over at CBS Sports.

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


2008 CBS Sports BlogPoll Ballot: Week 11

Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll hosted by—as you might imagine—CBS Sports.

Week 11

Through 08 November 2008

Things stay interesting this week, but Penn State and Iowa may have helped keep the BCS committee from facing a repeat of last year's debacle. Thus, here is my preliminary BlogPoll Top 25 for this week.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank
Team Delta
1
Alabama --
2
Texas Tech --
3
Oklahoma 1
4
Florida 1
5
Texas 2
6
Southern Cal --
7
Missouri 1
8
Boise State 4
9
Utah --
10
Ohio State 3
11
North Carolina 6
12
Penn State 9
13
Ball State 2
14
Georgia 4
15
Brigham Young 1
16
Oklahoma State 6
17
Pittsburgh 2
18
Michigan State 4
19
TCU 8
20
LSU 6
21
South Carolina 5
22
Florida State 4
23
Cincinnati 3
24
Virginia Tech 2
25
Tulsa 1

Dropped Out: California (#20), Georgia Tech (#21), Northwestern (#23), Minnesota (#24), Maryland (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

Movin’ on Up:

I have decided that the North Carolina Tarheels (11) may be the best 2-loss team in the country, or at least look like it at times.  This weekend they won going-away against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (NR) Thus, Smurfs move up six spots in my ballot this week.  This a real credit to the coaching of Butch Davis who has taken the Tarheads from the bottom of the pile in a very short period of time.  No wonder the brain-trust in Knoxville is so interested in Davis as a possible replacement for the Great Punkin.

Penn State (12):

What the heck happened that allowed the Iowa Hawkeyes (NR) to beat the Penn State Nittany Lions?  Iowa is a good team, don’t get me wrong, but Penn State should have walked in, taken its win, and gone about its business.  So much for that undefeated season.  On the bright side, at least Penn State didn’t get beaten—and badly—by the hapless Michigan Wolverines like fellow Big Ten comrade Minnesota (NR).

Returners & First Timers:

The new faces this week include the South Carolina Gamecocks (21) who have quietly bounced back from a horrible start to build a nice season.  I guess the Ole Ball Coach still has it.  The Florida State Seminoles (22) make their second appearance in my ballot this season, courtesy of their 41-27 spanking of the Clemson Tigers (NR).

Behind these two are the Cincinnati Bearcats (23), Virginia Tech Hokies (24) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (25).  I have one question for the Tulsa fans: exactly how many hurricanes come through Oklahoma?

"Now Departing at Gate 21...":

Easy come, easy go… To my disappointment, the California Golden Bears (NR) lost to the Southern Cal Trojans (6) but in highly respectable fashion.  Georgia Tech (NR) lost to this week’s posterchild—the Tarheads—while Northwestern (NR) succumbed (or perhaps “sucked” is more appropriate) mightily versus the Ohio State Buckeyes (10).  The poor Minnesota Golden Gophers (NR) apparently forgot they had a game as they were backhanded by Michigan.  Finally, the Maryland Terrapins lost to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (24)—which they never should have done.

The Rest of the BlogPoll

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all comments.

As for the rest of the BlogPoll, well, you can check out how other bloggers voted and how your team fared across the blogosphere over at MGOBlog, and view the BlogPoll Top 25 results each week over at CBS Sports.

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


On Remote: Just Past Halfway…

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Last week offered some great in-conference matchups and a couple turned out to be more lopsided than many thought. The great conference games continue this week, as the races begin to take shape.

Indeed, the conference races will continue to take shape as the temperatures drop around the country (it was 86 in Knoxville yesterday) and leaves start falling everywhere. Yes, I'm avoiding mentioning Tennessee's now meaningless season by discussing the weather...

Another larger storyline that's been discussed already this week is the Big 12's apparent attempt to claim itself as the best conference. While the league is pretty good at the top, I still think the SEC has better depth, even with the struggles of Tennessee and Auburn.

Anyways, here's the games to watch, and hopefully this time I'll do a better job picking them - I picked LSU, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and they all lost...


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Vanderbilt at Georgia (12:00, RayCom): So much for that little run. Vandy just missed out on a huge opportunity to get to 6 or more wins. There's still chances with games against Kentucky, Tennessee and Duke, but beating Florida, Georgia and Wake Forest may be a tough order. Vandy's offensive struggles were exposed last week against Mississippi State, and Georgia's not the best team to face with an iffy offense...

The questions with Georgia: they left plenty of points to be gotten last week against the Vols, with two picks and kicking four field goals. They better not overlook Vandy, as trips to LSU and the showdown with Jacksonville come in the next two weeks.

Ole Miss at Alabama (3:30, CBS): Alabama comes off the bye looking to continue the momentum from hammering Georgia and edging Kentucky two weeks ago. Ole Miss has been better, yet horribly inconsistent, beating Florida on the road but falling to Vandy and South Carolina at home.

I don't expect Ole Miss to win, but they should keep it close. I'm still expecting Alabama to lose a game, but it won't be Saturday. The matchup to watch is the Tide's offensive line against the Rebels' defensive front. The only way Ole Miss can win is limiting the turnovers that hurt them in their two home SEC losses.

Arkansas at Kentucky (7:00, ESPNU): Give me some credit, last week I didn't explicitly pick Arkansas to upset Auburn, but I did say the Hogs were gonna get somebody at some point this year and they did. Can they follow it up? Kentucky's offense is still struggling, so Arkansas can certainly keep it close. This is a big game for UK's bowl hopes, as they sit at four wins on the year.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="222" caption="This 63-yard TD run by Michael Smith led Arkansas to the upset over Auburn. Can they Hogs get UK this week?"][/caption]

Mississippi State at Tennessee (7:00, PPV): Ugh. Good thing this game is on pay-per-view...who wants to watch these offenses?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Uh oh...Mississippi State held Vanderbilt to 107 yards of total offense..."][/caption]

Obviously I do, because I'll be there in the fourth row. I'm expecting an ugly game with points few and far between. Tennessee can't really lose at home to Mississippi State, can they? State has played decently the past two games, and no doubt have some momentum coming into Knoxville. How does Tennessee show up with nothing but pride to play for? Is Phil Fulmer the next coach to be Croomed like Ron Zook and Mike Shula?

LSU at South Carolina (8:00, ESPN): Ouch. Didn't see that coming. LSU got crushed by Florida, and now they travel over to Columbia to a Carolina offense that's gained some confidence with SEC road wins in Oxford and Lexington. Whoever's been playing QB for the Gamecocks - Chris Smelley and/or Stephen Garcia - have actually done pretty well.

LSU's defense isn't what it was last year - they're 9th in the league in total defense. Carolina's defense is going up against an inexperienced QB and an offense that got beat physically by Florida last week. How do they respond?

Honestly, I want to say Carolina will win. But this is historically one of those "almost" wins for the South Carolina program. "Almost" as in they "almost" win a huge home game over a better opponent. That said, I think LSU bounces back, setting up that showdown with Georgia next weekend.

Florida is off this week, but I want to give a little shout-out to Brandon Spikes. Now I hate the Gators and hope they fail at everything, but when something's funny, it's funny. Here's Brandon Spikes' attempt at a punt into the stands after a pick-six...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeib4I8hlO4[/youtube]


OTHER CONFERENCES

Some Mountain West love: big game tonight for unbeaten BYU, as they travel to TCU tonight. The unbeaten Cougars essentially have two tests between them and a BCS Bowl: tonight and the season finale at fellow unbeaten Utah. Keep an eye on this game...

The Weekly Duke Update:After a bye week, the 3-2 Blue Devils are back in action with a big game, at home against young Miami. Just 4.5-point dogs, Duke looks for the upset. This game is on ESPNU at 3:30, so if Alabama starts killing Ole Miss (and you actually have ESPNU), switch on over and see if the missed Coach Cut can lead Duke to the upset. The emptiness of Duke's stadium won't have any adverse effects on the Canes - they're used to it...

Big XII

Kansas at Oklahoma (3:30, ABC): Oklahoma and Bob Stoops is going to be pissed off. Poor, poor Kansas. They avoided OU and Texas last year. Er, not this year. How Kansas stops OU I have no clue. Then again, the Sooner defense got worn down watching Texas go up-and-down the field on them in Dallas. Kansas keeps it close - for a half.

Missouri at Texas (8:00, ABC): So much for Missouri beating Oklahoma State by three TDs. The Tigers essentially gave the game away, and now face a make-or-break game at #1 Texas. I say make-or-break because Missouri's schedule is pretty clear sailing after this game, and they obviously have to win to stay relevant in the title race.

Can Texas return to earth after beating their hated rival last week? This should be a pretty high-scoring game (duh, it's the Big XII new Pac 10...), and entertaining. I think Texas wins the game in the fourth quarter.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="279" caption="Javon Ringer faces a tough Ohio State defense Saturday afternoon"][/caption]

Big Ten

Ohio State at Michigan State (3:30, ABC): Yes, people, Michigan State is very much in the Big Ten race. Of course they have to beat Ohio State to stay there. The Spartans are led by HB Javon Ringer, but the Ohio State defense is tough up front.

Ohio State has been overly impressive on offense. They have actually been kinda bad. If Michigan State doesn't give up a special teams or defensive TD to the Buckeyes, I like their chances to keep Ohio State's offense in check. The winner would become the biggest challenger to the dominance Penn State has shown this year.

Michigan at Penn State (4:30, ESPN): I know, I know, Michigan sucks and Penn State is really good. Thought losing to Toledo is bad? The Wolverines better be ready to get blasted Saturday. Penn State is a legit team. Keep in mind two things: (1) Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan since 1996 and (2) they are at Ohio State next weekend.

Outside of these games, there isn't much else. We all know USC will win the Pac 10 and whoever wins the Big East doesn't matter. As it is, enjoy this weekend...


Images Courtesy of: Dave Martin / AP (Daylife)Rogelio V. Solis / AP (Daylife)Nam Y. Huh / AP (Daylife)

That’s Better…Quality Football Time

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Week Three!

It's that time again - Thursday morning, meaning the weekend is just around the corner. And of course weekends in the fall are all about college football Saturdays and hoping I'll win my weekly fantasy matchup on Sundays.

Tennessee Football

This week is different from the first two in two ways: first, Tennessee finally FINALLY plays a freakin' home game. This good because (a) I'm pretty sure every Tennessee fan is ready to play another game, if for no other reason than to get the remaining bitterness from UCLA out of the mouth and look ahead to the Florida-Auburn-Georgia death-road and (b) home games weekends are what make my fall semesters (don't forget about the facelift renovations to Neyland Stadium as well).

While Tennessee plays a cupcake in UAB, there's plenty of other games around the country to look forward to this week. It's the week before conference play becomes the norm and there are some great matchups.

You know the deal by now - I'll talk about the SEC games and then the national games of note. However from this point on I'll change my approach with this section: I'll be more decisive and selective with which games, and they'll get attention the same way the SEC games do. Why am I switching things up a little? Because I want to. And I can. Anyways, the games...


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

UAB at Tennessee: Oh, to be back in the student section at Neyland Stadium. I already said what I was looking for this weekend here, so I won't go into that. What I'm probably most excited about the actual game? Finally getting to sit in D, thanks to the death of Orange's Nation illegal block seating.

Arkansas at Texas (ABC, 3:30): Hurricane Ike striketh (not literally...yet) - Arkansas won't go down to Austin and get hammered until September 27. They host Alabama next weekend, an intriguing game and the first SEC game in under Bobby Petrino. My guess is the Hogs will need the work after escaping total embarrassment by slipping past Western Illinois and UL Monroe.

Georgia at South Carolina (CBS, 3:30): So now Georgia begins the utter brutality (yes, more brutal than a cop at an East Carolina game) that is their schedule. The desperate Chickens seem to be reeling - or wait, that's just reality setting in...

I'm interested to see how UGA handles their first big test of the year. South Carolina's defense should keep it close, but are the Gamecocks gonna score? I know they always play UGA tough at home, this game is generally a pretty hard fought, low-scoring game, and Spurrier is good for one win a year over the East's Big Three, but I just don't see them winning this game.

Middle Tennessee State at Kentucky/Rice at Vanderbilt: These would be snooze games, except for the small fact that BOTH UK and Vandy - whom I was not expecting much from - have a chance to be 3-0. These were the penciled-in Ws for both teams coming in, and losing would really put a damper on any bowl hopes, especially for the Commodores.

Western Kentucky at Alabama/Samford at Ole Miss: Snooze games of the week, though I'm interested to see if the Tide play any better than they did last week against Tulane.

North Texas at LSU: After some uncertainty due to the aforementioned Ike, this game will be played in Tiger Stadium. It's gotta be tough on the Tigers, especially since if they don't play this one (they probably will) it will be a two week bye before they go to Auburn. I just gotta wonder what being an LSU student is like amidst multiple hurricanes...

Auburn at Mississippi State (7:00, ESPN2): Ah yes, more SEC football. I'm still not sold on Auburn's offense, they looked better against Southern Miss, but definitely still sluggish. We'll have to see how they handle a road game against a team that beat them last year with defense.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="214" caption="Yes, Chris Todd, I know it is just Starkville, but your first SEC road game is your first SEC road game..."][/caption]

Auburn should win because I don't think Mississippi State can score on the Auburn defense, but State could easily catch War Eagle looking ahead to home games against LSU and the Vols coming up. Can Sly Croom make it four-in-a-row against the state of Alabama?


FIVE MORE TO WATCH

Ohio State at USC (ABC 8:00): First, I'm glad these two teams are playing this game. Second, anything I could say in terms of analysis about this game would just be more of what you all have already heard/will hear. ESPN's Pat Forde wrote a good piece about this game here. I'll take the easy route and borrow a video from Thomas the Terrible over at YMSWWC...that you can watch by clicking HERE!!

Kansas at USF (Friday ESPN2, 8:00): Kansas is playing someone with a pulse! Kansas is playing someone with a pulse! USF could the JV League's best (oh, I'm referring to the Big East as a JV league from here on), though they almost blew a lead to Kevin Smith-less UCF last week before winning in OT. I like the Bulls because KU is a joke. Yeah, I said it. A joke.

UCLA at BYU (ABC, 3:30): Both of these teams had their last games given to them: UCLA by Tennessee's coaches and BYU by moronic Pac-10 refs. It's BYU's second and last Pac-10 opponent in their BCS-busting quest. They need this to get out of East Carolina's shadow.

I just hope UCLA doesn't get blown out, though it would absolutely confirm the last 0.5% of doubt I have that their win over Tennessee was a complete and total fluke (it was, there's no denying it).

Oregon at Purdue (ABC, 3:30): The undercard to the epic Big Ten-Pac-showdown later in L.A. Purdue has consistently been beaten by every team they play that has a pulse recently, and Oregon is under-the-radar out West after losing the Dixon/Stewart combo.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Oh the color clash when the Vols and Oregon play a home-and-home..."][/caption]

If I had to pick a favorite Pac-10 team, it would be Oregon. Honestly, it's the jerseys. Give them credit for being fashionably bold. In all seriousness, the Pac-10 needs somebody to at least come close to USC, and Oregon may be the only hope. So I hope they cream Purdue. Plus I just don't like the Big Ten.

Wisconsin at Fresno State (ESPN2, 10:30): A big "respect" weekend for the Big Ten, though I see them losing all three of these games. Fresno, like the aforementioned Pirates, has a chance for a second "name" win early in the year, though this would be bigger than either of the Pirates' wins - not to take anything away from them.

HONORABLE MENTION: ESPN has a high school game tonight between lawvol's Tar Heels and Rutgers. Cal is off to a fast start, having beaten Michigan State and Washington State on the road 66-3 last week. They now go cross-country to Maryland (ESPN, 12:00). Much in the same realm as Oregon, I hope Cal wins, because the Pac-10 needs some challengers to USC and the Bears and Ducks are the best bets.

And finally, if you want to watch an overhyped game featuring two offensively offensive teams (one of whom lost to Utah and the other who was all but beat by San Diego State), you can watch Michigan at Notre Dame. Neither of these teams win 8 games this year, why the overhyping this meaningless game?

Oh, to be in Section D Saturday afternoon...


Images Courtesy of: Todd Vanemst / AP (Daylife)Kevin Briody / seattleduck.com

Rejoice! Football Is Here!

Ah yes, my first post with my new digs here at Gate 21 - and thanks to those who have so kindly welcomed me so far. Hopefully it's up to lawvol standards, as I've told him that he may fire me/kick me out/banish me/screw with my posts if I don't meet the excellence that he's built with his work here. Anyways, on to my opening week preview...

I cannot believe the beginning of football season is just mere hours away. Indeed, after a seemingly eternity of an offseason - with the last few non-Olympic days being the longest - it's go-time.

However, for us Vol faithful, we have the unfortunate task of being made to wait a couple more days for our opener out in LA. Of course I'll take playing primetime Labor Day Monday night.

As a student though, my weekends have always started on Thursdays and this year it's even better: only having Tuesday/Thursday classes means I get four-day "weekends"...MONEY. But not getting our home opener for a couple more weeks? Garbage...

Anyways, there's plenty of football before then, and that's where I come in. I'm going to go through some of the more notable games this weekend and let you know what games I'll be watching and what else I'll be looking for.

Two things: first, I'm going to always include all games with SEC teams because it's the SEC. Given the choice between the SEC and the NFL, give me the SEC PLEASE!

Second, the first week is always the weekend with the most boring lineup of games. All the big BCS teams are playing State Directional Schools, many being I-AA teams, which I am totally against (unless it's Appalachian State, more on that later). Anyways, here it goes...


THURSDAY

NC State at South Carolina: Basically the first game of the year. It's not literally the first one, but it's the "marquee" ESPN game, so it's good enough for me to tune in. If the Gamecocks struggle, then well, we'll just know that still don't have enough for the East's Big Three - NC State isn't very good.

Vandy at Miami (OH): Vandy losing would honestly not shock me. The 'Dores are gonna be really green on offense and the Redhawks are one of the MAC's contenders. That said, Vandy, please don't lose to a MAC team. Actually this game gets started 30 minutes before the NC State-South Carolina game, so those of you with ESPNU can actually get a little football headstart on those of us who unfortunately don't have that channel.

Elsewhere, Jacksonville State visits Georgia Tech, and while this game wouldn't even get noticed, the fact that Ryan PerryLou is JSU's QB has a bit of my interest. Also, if you're one of those Pac 10 types, Oregon State plays at Stanford on ESPN2.


SATURDAY

UPSET ALERTS: East Carolina "hosts" Virginia Tech in Charlotte, and the Pirates played VT pretty tough last year. Also, I'm not so sure about this move.

Mark it down: Utah is going to beat Michigan. Virginia might make things interesting with USC. Florida Atlantic thinks they have a shot at Texas - I say that's a lie.

The only other non-SEC games of note...Oklahoma State-Washington State in Seattle, TCU-New Mexico, and Michigan State-Cal, Washington-Oregon. Yes, these games wouldn't even be sniffed if not for a lack of any other games worth a crap...

Illinois vs. Missouri in St. Louis: Seriously, who thinks Illinois is any good? Were they any good last year? They sure didn't deserve that Rose Bowl. I have a slight bias towards Mizzou, but they should roll the Zooker this year.


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Hawaii at Florida: Word on the street says Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes won't play. Not like that improves Hawaii's chances of stopping Tebow. Thousands of miles and like six time zones away?

The game starts something like 6 a.m. Hawaiian time. Oh, and I know from experience in mid September last year it was like a billion degrees, and it's still August. Ouch.

Oh, and I'm sure Urban won't call off the dogs. Florida should get 50 in the 3rd quarter...

Georgia Southern at Georgia: UGA's gonna win the game, but a late surge has put the Eagles ahead in suspensions, where previously UGA had a large advantage. The only question in Athens will be if Southern scores more points than suspensions...

Mark Richt won't run it up like Urban will, though. Oh, GSU has Ohio State transfer Antonio Henton at QB. Hmmm....

Appalachian State at LSU: I WILL be watching this game on ESPN. Stop thinking upset, it's not going to happen, but Appy State and Armanti Edwards keep it close, but really they aren't sneaking up on anybody this year.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="415" caption="Not sure I would be diving over the line of scrimmage against LSU's d-line if I were Armanti Edwards... "][/caption]

Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech: Please explain to me why MSU agreed to play this game in Ruston? They'll win (I think), but it makes no sense.

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn/Western Illinois at Arkansas: Snooze...

Tiger High at Ole Miss: If Memphis won this game, I think it would be kinda funny. Talk about ruining a debut...

Really though, from where I'm from (Memphis) this game is a pretty big deal and I would much like to watch it on TV, but its pay-per-view...Oh well...

Alabama vs. Clemson in Atlanta: This is a great game for some Vol fans. Obviously ,we all want Alabama to get crushed, but I can't lie and say I would get a laugh out of the Tide spoiling Clemson's season in the opener. I'll still probably root for Clemson...

In all seriousness, I get the feeling the pressure falls more on Clemson than on the Tide, what with the high expectations this season and all. Bama's the underdog, as they should be, but that could easily play into their favor. And kudos to whoever decided to play this game, because it's the best game Saturday. I'm going to be enjoying it, that's for sure.

And finally, Kentucky plays at Pizza Box Stadium against Louisville Sunday afternoon, and UK might need this if they wanna sniff a bowl game. Monday's appetizer for the real game of the week is Fresno State-Rutgers, which should be a pretty good game despite it, well, being Fresno State and Rutgers...

I know all but a few of these matchups pretty much suck, but football's football people, and I'm ecstatic it's here.


Image Courtesy of: NY Times / AP: D. Burleson

Flashback: The Great Games — The 1996 Citrus Bowl

Flashback

The Great Games | Gate21.net

1995-96 CompUSA Citrus Bowl

(1 January 1996)

Tennessee Football vs. FB-OhioState[1]

Tennessee 20 Ohio State 14

Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

Continuing on with 1995, after beating Bama soundly and ending the 10-year drought against the Crimson Tide, the Tennessee Volunteers finished out their regular season at 10-1. Their only loss coming at the hands of the Florida Gators in a 62-37 drubbing which tarnishes the 1995 team’s otherwise exemplary record. Tennessee finished the season ranked 4th, but in the days of the so-called Bowl Alliance, the "premier" bowls were reserved only for conference champions, thus, Tennessee received a bid to the "first outside the money" CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl to take on the similarly situated Ohio State Buckeyes, who lost their last game of the season against arch-rival Michigan, and with it the Big 11 10 title, and ended the seasons ranked ... uhh ... 4th also.

1996 Florida Citrus Bowl

Cover from the Official 1996 Citrus Bowl Program. Ohio State later sued the bowl committee for omitting "THE" (in all caps and 72 pt font) from their name -- the matter was ultimately resolved in a settlement whereby Ohio State received a case of oranges and an autographed photo of Mickey Mouse.

The fact of the matter remains, no matter what either school would claim publicly, neither Tennessee nor Ohio State wanted to be in Orlando on New Year’s Day. Both had completed 1-loss seasons, and both came within a half of playing for the National Championship or, at a minimum, playing in one of the top-tier Alliance Bowls. Ohio State wanted to be in Pasadena and Tennessee in New Orleans or Tempe. Regardless of what they wanted, they were set to play one another in a game which -- in my book -- ranks as one of the best bowl games I’ve ever watched in person or on television.

Ohio State came in smarting from the late season wrench Michigan had thrown into their "destiny" to play in the Rose Bowl. Despite this failing, Ohio State running back Eddie George had won the Heisman Trophy only weeks before the game in Orlando -- which made them feel a whole lot better about having their entire season implode in Ann Arbor -- as it did so regularly under then coach John Cooper.

Tennessee on the other hand, found itself on the outside looking in as Florida waltzed into a date with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl. In retrospect, however, Tennessee is probably glad it didn’t make the trip to Tempe, since Florida took it the hard-way in a 62-24 slobberknocking by Nebraska, which led Steve Spurrier to ask in a halftime interview, "Can someone ask that scary man with no facial expressions and his corn-fed boys to stop hurting us. Please... "** Still, at the time Tennessee was highly disappointed at being left out of the big one, and all they had gotten to make them feel better was a few free passes to Disney World courtesy of the bowl committee.

By the time the teams, fans, alums, bands, and hangers-on arrived in Orlando, both had several weeks simmer and let the bowl slight fester.

One thing that became immediately apparent to me when I arrived in Orlando was that many Ohio State fans had very little respect for Tennessee. Now this is not meant as an indictment of the entirety of the Buckeye Nation, but at the time it seemed that Ohio State not only felt that they had been slighted in terms of bowls, but also in terms of opponents. In the interest of full disclosure, it is worth mentioning that my better half is an Ohio State graduate and -- when not playing Tennessee -- I pull for the Buckeyes. Still, at the time, in all of my interactions with Buckeye fans during the run-up to the New Years Day game, it seemed that Ohio State was assuming that they would simply show-up and beat Tennessee handily.

In all honesty, at the time, I thought they might be right...

Tennessee had turned the early-season disappointment of getting absolutely slaughtered in the second-half at Gainesville versus the Gators (which is right near the top of my all-time least favorite games), into something really special. Still, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the Vols speed would match up with the strength and running ability of the Buckeyes (where have I heard that one before?). While I was never one to open doubt that team, in my mind, I felt there was a distinct possibility that Tennessee could lose ... and badly.

There was so much going on that week, in preparation for the game, that I didn't have too much time to worry about it ...

If you’ve never been to a game, you really should go, at least once. They can be one hell of a lot of fun, and are wonderful experiences. I must say, despite the misgivings surrounding the 1996 Citrus Bowl, it is (and remains) one of the best run bowls anywhere. Regardless of whether Tennessee and Ohio State thought they deserved to go elsewhere, the City of Orlando really knows how to host events, and they do a bang-up job when it comes to the Citrus Bowl (now known as the CapitalOne Bowl). There are more events, parades, parties, pep-rallies, and so forth than you could possibly attend (unless you actually have to play Rocky Top till you’re blue in the face at each one, that is). In the days leading up to the game, I had a blast ...

... at least that’s what everyone tells me.

At any rate, after several beautiful sunny days in the high 70’s, New Year’s Day arrived, and the weather that day -- more or less -- reflected the physical and mental states of many who had "Given Their All for Tennessee" in the New Year’s Eve Debauchery category. It was foul. The temperature had dropped, and it rained incessantly throughout the 12 hours leading up to the game. By the time I arrived at the Citrus Bowl, along with 350 of my dear friends (the Pride of the Southland Marching Band) it had already been determined that the bands would not be permitted to perform their pre-game shows as planned, because the field -- just like those New Year’s partiers -- just wasn’t up to it.

So, there we sat -- all 70,000 football fans, clad in Orange or Red Ponchos -- in the rain, waiting for the mud to start flying...

The game started and Ohio State scored first, taking a 7-point lead over the Vols, in the first quarter, who were really unable to get things going on the offensive side of the ball. During this time, every time the Buckeyes had the ball all that could be heard was a constant chant from the Buckeyes of "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die!!!" which, got old real fast for Tennessee fans. I also thought that the other 10 guys on offense for Ohio State -- out there busting their hump as a team -- were probably getting tired of it as well.

Then, in the second quarter, Ohio State drove down inside the 5, and looked as if they might add to their lead, putting Tennessee even farther behind. The Tennessee defense, however, held, and Ohio State was faced with 4 and goal. Rather than kick the field goal, the Buckeyes chose to try and run it in on the legs of "Ed-die" and put the game out of reach for the Vols. When the snap came, however, it was Tennessee’s Bill Duff who grabbed the spotlight -- and the momentum in the game -- as he clotheslined "Ed-die" a good yard behind the line of scrimmage and trounced him down to the grass.

At that moment, the entire complexion of the game shifted, and Tennessee began to stretch its legs...

Soon thereafter, Tennessee was on the board with as Jay Graham rumbled 69 yards to knot the score at 7. Peyton Manning added to that in the third-quarter, and Jeff Hall sealed the deal with two field goals in the fourth. Here’s John Ward (along with Fred Thompson) with the highlights:

As for "Ed-die," the Heisman trophy winner was held to a season-low 89 yards rushing, and was effectively stopped from the second quarter on. In an altogether more humorous note, after the Tennessee defense stopped him on the 2 yard line, the crowds shifted and it was the Tennessee fans who started chanting "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die!!!" which ended up being even louder than the Ohio State fans, and far more exuberant.

To their credit, however, the Buckeyes bowed their backs and fought to the very last. In the end, however, it was Tennessee’s tenacity on defense which won the day, as they fought down to the wire to keep the Buckeyes from finding the endzone again, and potentially stealing the game away. Until the final second was off the clock, the game was never a sure thing for either team.

Final Score Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14.

ohiost95paper[1]

The win over Ohio State was one of the hardest fought victories against long odds that I ever personally witnessed the Vols record. Finishing the season 11-1, propelled the Vols to final ranking of No. 3 in the AP Poll and a No. 2 ranking in the final coaches poll -- ahead of Florida. That final ranking made the Citrus Bowl seem like quite a prize indeed, and looked far better than the beating that the Gators took in the desert of Arizona.

After all, Orange juice tastes much better than Cactus juice ...

-- Go Figure …


** The quote from Steve Spurrier is complete bullshit, but I would have given real money to hear him say that.
Images Courtesy of: UTSports.com • The VIB
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