Monday, October 5, 2009

12 Hours Later.....OK, 48 Hours Later- A Look At This Weekend In College Football, Plus Some NFL, and Even A Smidgen of Baseball

This entry is part of my review of the 2009 Rutgers football season. The Scarlet Knights were off this past weekend and will play Texas Southern this coming Saturday- but there still are a few things I'd like to mention regarding this past weekend.

Notre Dame and Michigan State win in OT. South Florida bulls their way back in to the Top 25. Greg Paulus has just thrown ANOTHER interception in the Carrier Dome. Auburn is for real, and California and Florida State are not. And the surprising Cincinnati Bearcats cruise to a win in one of college footballs longest rivalries.

We'll start off with the Cincinnati-Miami(Ohio) game, the 114th of a series that is the oldest non-conference series in the FBS, and the oldest west of the Allegheny Mountains. The then ranked #10 Bearcats (5-0) were held in check (by their standards) by the Redhawks (0-5), leading 23-7 at the half, but cut to 23-13 by Miami on a 19 yard Zac Dysert to Andre Bratton touchdown. But the potent Cincinnati offense put the Bearcats on top for good with two unanswered fourth quarter touchdowns. Cincinnati QB Tony Pike went into the game with an unbelievable 70.5% completion percentage. He had a pedestrian day, held back by a good performance by Miami on defense and blustery conditions in Oxford, Ohio. Pike finished the day 23 for 42 for 270 yards, with two touchdowns and one INT. Running back Jacob Ramsey ran for 103 yards with 3 TD's for the Bearcats. With that win, Cincinnati finds itself rankes #8 in the AP, and #10 in the USA TODAY poll, the highest ranked team in the Big East.

More Big East and other weekend sports.......

And this just coming in as I type this shortly before noon on Monday October 5th....Jim Smith, the chairman of the Florida State Board of Trustees, told the Tallahassee Democrat that its time for the Seminoles to make a change in leadership- meaning, the era of Bobby Bowden may be drawing to a close. With Jimbo Fisher onboard as the designated "head coach in waiting" Bowden may need to right the ship immediately. Currently the Noles are 2-3 overall, and 0-2 and in last place in the ACC's Atlantic Division following FSU's 28-21 loss to Boston College in Chestnut Hill on Saturday. This follows an embarrassing home loss to South Florida the previous week, and a loss to conference rival Miami to kick off the season. The upcoming slate of home to #22 Georgia Tech, @ North Carolina, home to NC State, @ Clemson, @ Wake Forest, home to Maryland looks winnable. The season finale at #1 Florida doesn't. My opinion....I'd hate to see Bobby Bowden go out this way, but the season can be salvaged because of the very weak Atlantic Division of the ACC. All you need to know is that Maryland, who turned the ball over five times in a 34-13 loss to Rutgers, is in first place.

More on this breaking FSU-Bobby Bowden news here.

More College football...

Michigan State beat cross state rival # 22 Michigan in overtime. The Spartans were 1-3 going into the game and needed the win badly, knocking off the then undefeated Wolverines 26-0 in East Lansing. The loss knocked Michigan out of the Top 25 in both polls, and necessitated an extra round for the house to be purchased in East Lansing sports well as in Morgantown, West Virginia.

As mentioned, Notre Dame needed OT to get past Washington in South Bend. More late game dramatics for the Irish, now 4-1, with their last three wins over Michigan State, Purdue, and Washington coming with three, three, and seven points. Their one loss, to Michigan, was by four points. And they say the "luck of the Irish" is nothing more than Gaelic mythology.

Auburn knocked off Tennessee to go 5-0 and move into the Top 25, while one of Auburn's early victims, 3-1 West Virginia, turned the ball over four times but still managed to stampede over the Colorado Buffaloes Noel Devine's 220 yards on 22 carries. Even a mathematical idiot like me knows that's 10 yards a pop, and its in Morgantown....and it translates to a 35-24 win for the Mountaineers.

Speaking of turnovers, I don't think I've ever seen a game that started out quite like South Florida at Syracuse on Saturday. Five minutes after kickoff there were five turnovers between the teams, three by the Syracuse Orange. At one point I could swear that "Yakketty Sax" was playing on the PA system of the Carrier Dome, and the late Benny Hill was reincarnated as a football player.

The PJ Daniels led USF Bulls won 34-20, with a 20-0 third quarter. USF led 14-13 at the half.

The Orange committed a whooping seven turnovers, five of which were interceptions committed by Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus. Paulus, the graduate student former Duke point guard, has flashes that make you wonder that if he had chosen football he could have developed into a collegiate star. On the year he has eight TD's, but nine INT's, and is passing at a 64% percentage. October began with The Cuse at 2-2 and full of hope. Its likely October will end with the Orange at 3-5 with a schedule that says home to West Virginia, at Akron, and at Pittsburgh.

Friday night I watched Pitt (4-1) at Louisville (1-3) in their Big East opener. It was 35-10 Panthers, and not even that close. Pitt looks like they could be a contender for the Big East title, and I'll get to see them live and in person in Piscataway a week from Friday. As for Louisville, what has happened to the program that won the Big East in 2006, and beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl? The fall was swift, and dramatic. They might be a year away from a resurrection. And that might not be enough to save coach Steve Kragthorpe's job.

Other stuff
I didn't get to see much of the NFL yesterday because of prior commitments, but what I did see had me alternately freaking out or shaking my head. The Giants looked solid in their win yesterday over Kansas City, but my heart stopped when Eli Manning clutched his Achilles tendon in that second half. I kept flashing back to Vinnie Testaverde with the Jets in 1999, a non-contact injury that had him out for the year. It looks good for Eli, so to speak, that there is not an Achilles tear, but as I type this the results of his MRI are not known.

And the Jets at New Orleans. Mark Sanchez, the rookie qb, looked like a rookie qb for the first time. Ball security is the issue with Sanchez, with three INT's, one for a pick six, and a fumble in the end zone that resulted in a Saint's TD. I don't put a lot of credence in quarterback ratings...but a 27.0 for Sanchez for the game really is pretty ugly. Next up for the Jets- Miami, on Monday Night Football.

And in baseball...just have to love a one game, winner take all playoff game for the AL Central title between the Twins and Tigers. Wouldn't it be fun to have two wildcards per league with one game play-in game on the Monday after the season ends?

And how about the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez- a three run homer and a the SAME INNING! A fantastic finish for AROD, as the Yankee third baseman finished the year with 30 homer, 100 RBI's, and a .286 average, despite missing more than a month of the season with an injury, and having only 444 at bats this season.

Let the playoffs begin!

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