Run and Shoot: 11 Lessons Learned from Week 8

« 11 Lessons Learned from Week 7 | Main | 11 Lessons Learned from Week 9 »

11 Lessons Learned from Week 8

I would make an opening comment about college football before we get to the lessons we learned from this weekend, but I'm being blinded by this giant burnt orange steer that seems to be crowding all the limelight.

(Party At Ground Zero! Good to see the members of the band Fishbone enjoy going to Clemson games.)

Lesson 1-
I don't mean to be repetitive here, but we discovered once again that it's still Texas' world and we're merely living in it.

... and this time it's because of the defense.

("Is that a PLEDGE PIN?! On your UNIFORM?!" Texas D-coordinator Will Muschamp doesn't care if his team is winning by 30, he's still reading the riot act to 4th team scrubs that allow touchdowns.)

Yeah, I know, they gave up 31 points and 348 yards and saw Chase Daniel connect on 31-of-41 passes. But while Colt & Co. seemed to be running downhill in racing out to a 35-0 lead in about the time it takes to eat a bomb pop, the defense was holding the Tigers to three three-and-outs to start the game (after suffering only two through six games). In fact, the Horn D held UofM to 14 yards in its first 15 plays and made Chase Daniel look harried, scurried and buried most of the first half.

Hate to say this, but the Horns made Mizzou look more like Wazzu. Is there a word for "beyond impressive” to describe the No. 1 team here? How about if we just say the Longhorns currently look resplediculatedational!

Lesson 2-
I don't think college football has seen the type of QB-receiver chemistry between Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley since, well... Gus Dorais and Knute Rockne.

You heard Herbstreit and Musburger, McCoy has taken the front-runner position in the Heisman chase now. And a huge part of that has been the fact that Shipley, his high school chum, is injury-free and always there to catch a quick flip at the first sign of a blitz. With his cutting guile and surprising speed, McCoy has simply been nails in the air and on the ground. How about this stat, McCoy is 57-of-67 for 614 yards in the games with Oklahoma and Missouri. Oh and not a single turnover.

(Part man. Part machine. All Longhorn. Colt McCoy is the main reason Texas is the toast of college football for the second straight week.)

Lesson 3-
We found out Saturday that other than Texas, you could argue that Virginia has been the hottest team in October.

Credit to Al Groh. He could've lost his team after getting head-banged by USC (52-7), UConn (45-10) and Duke (31-3). But since those ugly losses, the Wahoos have gone 3-0 with wins over Maryland (31-0), East Carolina (35-20) and Saturday at home to No. 18 North Carolina (16-13 in OT).

(UVa coach Al Groh seems remarkably calm for a man whose team looked lost in the woods on the way to Grandma's house just a few weeks ago.)

To beat UNC for the 14th straight time at home, QB Marc Verica had to lead UVa on an 82-yard scoring drive in the last two minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime. Cedric Peerman scored the game-tying touchdown and the game-winning touchdown on a pair of two-yard plunges to secure the win.

Lesson 4-
We know that the state of Michigan looked more like the state of Washington with its horrible weekend.

Michigan and Michigan State had high hopes coming into games with Penn State and Ohio State, but got pile-driven 46-17 and 45-7 respectively. The Wolverines came out on fire with 185 yards in the first quarter, but got just 106 the rest of the way in getting outscored 36-7 in quarters two, three and four.

(Penn State D-end Aaron Maybin - #59 - has been flying around like whirling dervish so far this season, tied for second nationally in sacks. Because of efforts like this the Nittany Lion D has brass cajones so far this season.)

MSU, fresh off a big rout of previously unbeaten Northwestern and with a cock-of-the-walk stride, got debunked by a suddenly ultra-confident Buckeye team. Javon Ringer, a main source for all their hubris coming in, ran for just 67 yards on the day. Meanwhile OSU’s Beanie Wells went for 140 and Terrelle Pryor was 7-for-11 with 116 yards through the air and 72 on the ground to pace the Bucks.

These wins set up what amounts to a national championship elimination game in Columbus as the Lions will go into the Horseshoe this coming Saturday.

Lesson 5-
We saw another great example of why having polls decide bowls and national championships is an awful idea.

I know you're not supposed to compare teams by scores, but sometimes the situation screams for it. Oklahoma and BYU entered the weekend separated by one team in the Top 10. At No. 6 and No. 8 respectively, it's reasonable to say that both were within eye-shot of the national championship game. But here's what's NOT reasonable: OU beat TCU 35-10 back in September, meanwhile on Thursday TCU punked BYU 32-7.

Do the math. BYU didn't belong in the top 10. Just imagine if the Cougars fluked out a win in Ft. Worth and HAD gone unbeaten. It's the ghastly spirit of 1984 all over again.

(Sorry Max Hall, screaming for divine intervention from Joseph Smith himself isn't going to help your team at this point. The Coogs went down in flames at TCU.)

Lesson 6-
Ft. Worth is becoming the graveyard for BCS dreams and win streaks.

With the Horned Frogs ending BYU's hopes for a BCS season, it marks the third time in last four years that a mid-majors' BCS hopes bit the dust in Amon Carter Stadium on a Thursday night.

TCU beat Utah 23-20 in OT.
The year after Urban Meyer led them to the Fiesta Bowl, the Utes came into the Frog den with an 18-game winning streak, dating all the way back to the 2003 season. But Tye Gunn shot them down with a TD pass in overtime.

BYU beat TCU 31-17.
The tables were turned on Gary Patterson's charges here as the Coogs ended TCU's 13-game win streak. That left the Frogs one win short of the school mark of 14 wins, which was set by Davey O'Brien and the 1938 national championship team.

Lesson 7-
We may have discovered the biggest FREAK OUT team since the 1976 Missouri Tigers.

It's this year's Maryland Terrapins.

When you buy tickets to join this bandwagon, get ready for multiple loop-to-loops and 60-foot plunges on that ride of adrenaline and anger. After the 26-0 squashing of No. 21 Wake Forest on Saturday, UMd is now 3-0 against ranked teams this season. But at the same time, remember that they also lost to a team named Middle Tennessee and at home to then 1-3 Virginia (who beat them 31-0). In the win over Wake, QB Chris Turner was 28-of-41 for 321 yards against what was previously the top rated pass defense in the country.

For those of you wondering, Al Onofrio’s '76 Missouri outfit beat four Top 10 teams during the course of the season, including USC, Ohio State, Colorado and Nebraska, but finished bowl-less at 6-5 with many inexplicable losses.

Lesson 8-
Making a head coaching change in the middle of the season is always a bad idea.

Tommy Bowden didn't do a great job at Clemson, having never gone to a BCS bowl, won 10 games in a season or even winning a conference title during his tenure. Still, it's never a good sign from the administration, to the fans or to the next incoming coach when the head honcho is forced out or fired after six or seven games. It's kind of like a new girl friend bragging that she left her ex after freaking out on him, causing a huge scene at a crowded four-star restaurant. It'll happen to you too.

(Dabo Swinney wasn't successful in his first game as Clemson's head honcho. But I loved this scene here. After his punter jogged slowly off the field after shanking a punt, he instructed his player to go back to midfield and RUN off.)

Lesson 8A-
We also found out that Father Bobby needs to go ahead and leave his post after the end of this season, regardless of the results.

In case you haven't noticed, Bobby Bo has become merely a figurehead for the Seminole program. Most of the time during games (and especially during the Thursday night win at N.C. State) he stands way downfield from the action, not bothering to wear a headset and not consulting with his coordinators. Sure, he's an icon and can go out on his own terms, but if you're that detached from your team's play-to-play operation, go ahead and turn things over to Jimbo Fisher now.

Lesson 9-
Football in the West is still football in the worst.

Without going into all the fuzzy geography here, just know that Washington State lost to USC 69-0, San Diego State lost to New Mexico 70-7, Idaho lost to Louisiana Tech 46-14, Washington lost to Oregon State 34-14 and Utah State lost to Nevada 44-17.

Those five occidental accidents are now a combined 4-32. The four wins? One being against lower division Portland State, another being against lower division Idaho State and then the last two wins feeding off of the Vandals.

Lesson 10-
We learned that the karma police is going to get Texas Tech.

Up 36-25 with :23 left in the game at Texas A&M, Raiders coach Mike Leach not only decided against taking a knee with the ball at the five yard line, he called for a running play to Shannon Woods, who came up just short of the goal line. Not satisfied enough with that, Leach then called for a coach's challenge on replay. Then, after it is ruled no touchdown, he once again eschewed the knee and had Graham Harrell run the ball in with :19 seconds left.

(Note the score and the time remaining in the game as Graham Harrell scores this touchdown. Not cool.)

Hmmmm, oooookay (I say while standing with arms crossed and one eye-brow raised).

Don't worry, Leach and the Raiders will get theirs. They may be 7-0 now. But Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma loom on the horizon. Karma, do your work.

Lesson 11-
We finally saw some good football from Syracuse.

No, not anywhere in that gawd-awful 45-13 loss to South Florida. I'm referring to the movie The Express, the story of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, which I saw this week upon its release.

Great movie. Well-acted, good story and not a lot of hokey Hollywooding or awful "Oh c'mon" roll-the-eyes moments like a lot of sports movies incorporate.

Favorite part? After Syracuse beat Texas in the 1960 Cotton Bowl, coach Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) told the team that the trophy presentation would take place at the Oak Hill Country Club, but the club didn’t allow blacks inside. So the team opted to go to a local-yokel Dallas barbeque joint. Quick cut to show the team hooting and hollering with the trophy while the Lonnie Brooks Blues Band was jammin' on "Big Dog Movin' In." Beauty song.

Oh and the special effects artists did a wicked-good job of recreating old Archbold Stadium (the predecessor to the Carrier Dome), with its Romanesque facade, and the Cotton Bowl, in its pre-upper deck layout. Apparently Ryan Stadium at Northwestern was used as a basis for a lot of the old stadium footage.

There were only a couple of oddities (re: creative licenses) to the flick:
1- Coach Schwartzwalder tells the team that they must beat No. 2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl to win the national title. But in those days, the champion was crowned at the end of the regular season.
2- The movie showed the final score of that Cotton Bowl game to be 22-14 with Davis knocking down the final Hail Mary pass attempt of the game near his own end zone. The final score was actually 23-14.
3- Davis was shown sitting out the third quarter of the Cotton Bowl with a hamstring injury in the locker room (cue the sad, slow music). But in reality, Davis never sat out, even grabbing an interception on the second Texas drive of the second half.
4- Jim Brown, a mentor to Davis, is shown in the stands at Davis' first Syracuse game. I'm guessing the Browns would've had a game that weekend and he'd be in Cleveland that day.
5- Though there was a handful of incidents and racial epithets thrown around when Davis is at Syracuse in the movie, by all accounts, African Americans were treated remarkably well at the upstate New York campus in the late 50s and early 60s.

But I do have one last question:

Who got portrayed worse in The Express…
A- West Virginia fans.
B- Texas football players.
C- The state of Arkansas in general..

(Never mind the horrible comb-over, how the hell can John Parker Wilson play an entire 3-hour football game and still have perfectly coifed hair without any sign of sweating?)

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


DI-A College Football

↑ Grab this Headline Animator