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Saturday, November 17, 2007

College Football Picks

29-28 on the year, had a rough week last week. This week may not be any better, the games are tough. Off we go!

Notre Dame -7 over Duke
The (non) Fighting Irish haven't had many chances to beat up on people this year, but i think they roll the Dukies. And if not.... well, that's just sad.

Ohio St. -4 over Michigan
Ohio St. has won 8 of the last 10 against the Wolverines, and i think the roll continues. This game is for the right for whoever wins to get blown out in the Rose Bowl...

Rutgers -12.5 over Pittsburgh
Rutgers are at home, and I think they get it done. Pitt is not very good...

Kentucky +8 over Georgia
I'm not sure the Wildcats can pull out the win, but I think Andre Woodson will keep it close.

Cal -7 over Washington
I think Call goes up to Washington and gets the job done. They've had a disappointing season, and i think they take their frustrations out on the Huskies.

Virginia Tech -17 over Miami
Miami is flat out bad this year, and Blacksburg is a tough place to play. Of course, every time i pick the Hokies, they screw me...

Boston College +9 over Clemson
Consider this like the Kentucky pick. I'm not sure BC wins, but Matt Ryan is too good not to put up points and keep it close.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oregon's #83 Should Be Fired

Watching very little of the Oregon - Arizona game because the Suns are on (I'm a homer), but did flip over in time to see the Oregon fake punt attempt at the beginning of the 4th quarter. It was a FANTASTIC fake, with a driect snap to the up-man, who ran untouched 40 yards down field. As he was coming up on the Arizona return man, the runner was looking at his teammate, #83, to block for him. If #83 puts any kind of block, or hell, if he even JUST GETS IN FRONT OF THE ARIZONA RETURN MAN, the Oregon runner scores. Instead? #83 decides it would be a good idea to run five yards to the right of the Arizona player, who promptly tackles the Oregon runner and causes a fumble, which Arizona recovers. Pathetic...


Bob Melvin, your 2007 NL Manager Of The Year.

I can't say i'm surprised, since he led his team to the most wins in the NL, a division crown, and an appearance in the NLCS. I did wonder how much of a vote Clint Hurdle of the Rockies would get though...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Notre Dame Dilemma

Those of you who follow this blog or know me at all are aware that i have an unhealthy distaste of all things Notre Dame, for more reasons than i can list here. So it has brought me great personal joy to watch the Fighting Irish football team wallow in their own filth this season. That being said, i have conflicting feelings regarding their coaching situation.

Charlie 'The Great' Weis, whose brilliance as a playcaller was going to give Notre Dame a 'decided schematic advantage every game', now sits with a career record of 20-15, with two games left in the season. Assuming he wins his last two games (and even though they are against Duke and Stanford, that's a HUGE assumption), Charlie will finish his third season with a 22-15 record. As you may or may not recall, Ty Willingham was fired after three years at Notre Dame, with a career record of 21-15. Pretty similar.

Want to go more in depth? Ok, here we go. Willingham was 0-3 against USC, ND's biggest rivalry. Weis is also 0-3. Bad on both sides. How about top twenty competition? In games in which their opponent was ranked in the Top 25 at the time of the game, Willingham was 7-8. Not really good, but around .500. Weis is 4-8 in games in which his opponent was ranked in the top 25 at the time of the game. Advantage: Willingham.

Now, let's look at one of the 'reasons' Willingham was forced out by the boosters of Notre Dame. It was said at the time that the boosters, and the administration, were embarrassed by the number of losses by 20+ points under Willingham. How many such losses were there under Ty? 5. Under Weis? 7, including 4 just this year.

Add up the numbers, and you get a strikingly similar record under the two coaches, with some evidence pointing out that Willingham may have been, in fact, better up to this point. Here's some more fat to chew on. Weis' most successful season? His first in South Bend. That means his best season as a coach came with him coaching players that Willingham brought into the program. This year, which is the worst year in Notre Dame football in 50+ years, has come with some of Willingham's players, but a lot of the players Weis brought in. Was Willingham the better recruiter as well?

More to the heart of the matter: The flak that Weis is getting now, while somewhat small locally but large nationally, has come as a direct result of the Ty Willingham situation. Up to the point Willingham got fired, Notre Dame had given every other coach in it's history at least 5 years to build the program and prove himself (with the exception of the George O'Leary debacle, which doesn't really count). When the Notre Dame administration and boosters forced Willingham out after just three years, they set a precedent that they are no longer an organization built on honesty and integrity. They became like almost every other college in big-time football: All about the winning and the money.

During Weis' first season, in which they were running through college football and putting up great numbers, the Notre Dame administration gave him an extension on his contract. Caught up in the euphoria of success and the fear of Charlie bolting to the NFL, Notre Dame decided they had to lock him up long-term. You think they don't regret that decision now? You think they wouldn't mind re-visiting his original contract after this season, when Notre Dame could re-sign him for a LOT less? Instead, Notre Dame made a knee-jerk reaction, and opened itself up to criticism in the event of a historical collapse, just what happened this year with the non-Fighting Irish.

Am i saying Charlie should be fired? Absolutely not. Despite this disaster season, i still think he is a decent coach. And he does have one of, if not the, top ranked recruiting classes coming in, so he is doing something right. What i do think, however, is that Willingham got a really bum deal, and Weis is getting lauded for performing essentially the exact same as his predecessor. For his part, Weis has admitted that this season has been a disappointment and that they should be better. He has also shown loyalty to the University that lavished him with praise at the start of his tenure, instead of opting to jump ship when the going was tough.

Whatever happens from here on out, it will be interesting to see how Weis performs the next few years, and what kind of leeway Notre Dame and its boosters afford Weis going forward. It's also good to see Willingham landed on his feet, and is doing just fine out of the spotlight coaching at Washington...

College Football Picks Review

3-4 this week. Not a great showing, due to two more teams winning but not covering. Worthless. 29-28 on the season. Sorry for the lack of NFL picks, was at NASCAR all weekend and just didn't get around to it. What can i say. Back to regular updates in the next day or two...