Monday, November 30, 2009

Hopefully they're auctioning those helmets off so they can't be worn again

The most predictable college football season I can remember continued toward its inevitable conclusion over the weekend. Only Nebraska can stand in the way of the championship matchup everyone had forecast before the season, and unlike when Texas did it to them in 96 they don't have enough offense to surprise the Longhorns. Certainly no one was surprised by the events in Gainesville, as UF hammered the Noles without even having to really break a sweat. I really disliked the uniforms, especially the helmets, but Nike pulled this crap all over the place. Clemson kids were wearing shiny metallic orange shoes, LSU looked like Washington - there was just no need for all the wardrobe changes in a sport that revolves around tradition.

Bobby Bowden says he wants to coach FSU again next season, even though there's no evidence of any kind he's coaching them right now. Looks like that situation will come to a boil in the next couple of days. Other schools resolved their situations quickly, with Louisville and Marshall dumping their coaches. Al Groh's inevitable canning by Virginia led to the weird moment of the weekend, with the coach reading a poem (complete with his own verse at the end) at his press conference after another Virginia Tech loss. Charlie Strong's name is being thrown around for jobs, but I don't see an obvious fit yet of the ones that are currently open.

As for a job that's not open officially yet, Spencer Tillman of CBS claims Brian Billick is a legit Notre Dame candidate. Tillman has clearly been exposed to toxic chemicals from Tim Brando's hair dye that are making him hallucinate. Let's see here: Billick's a lifelong NFL guy known for his supposed offensive genius. He has a Super Bowl ring to show off, and is known for his arrogance. Hmmm... sounds familiar. Weis at least was an ND alum with recent success. Billick's a BYU alum who didn't win a playoff game his last six years in the league and hasn't gotten a serious look at a job since the Ravens fired him. Brilliant idea, Spencer!

Does anyone at ESPN hold their commentators accountable when it comes to facts? During the inane "Final Verdict" segment of College Football Final Saturday, Mark May said Alabama would beat Florida this weekend. To support his theory, he cited Florida's performance against the three SEC West teams they've played. This is a verbatim quote...

"Florida struggles with Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State. Alabama wins impressively over those teams."

There is one team that has stayed within ten points of Florida during their 22 game win streak - Arkansas. Bama beat them by 28. On that game, May is correct. Some of us who prefer our analysis a wee bit more thoughtful then just comparing scores would point out that:

1. Florida played Arkansas much later in the season when the Arkansas offense had gotten much more comfortable with Ryan Mallett at QB
2. the game was the week after UF's huge road game with LSU and was tailor made for a letdown, which most of us pointed out before the season
3. Florida won against Arkansas despite being -4 in turnovers including two inside the Hogs ten, and perhaps their performance in the other 11 games of the year might be more reflective of their merits as a team.

Regardless though, at least May is accurate that Bama clearly did better against Arkansas than UF. On the other two he's either wrong or exaggerating. Florida dominated their game with LSU, winning 13-3 after leading the whole way and allowing the Tigers just 162 yards total in Baton Rouge. Alabama trailed in the fourth quarter at home before winning 24-15. Bama's margin of victory was bigger than UF's against Mississippi State, but neither team allowed an offensive touchdown and at no point was Florida in danger of losing. May conveniently ignored comparing Alabama's performance against Eastern teams versus UF's as well - the Gators performance was vastly better against Tennessee in particular. If ESPN's going to insist on turning every show into a sports debate, is it too much to ask them to provide factual context as part of the discussion?

Florida basketball had a fantastic weekend, remaining unbeaten by knocking off Michigan State and then finishing the job against Rutgers the next day. They will be ranked when the polls come out today. They also get a boost from FSU's peformance in Orlando, as the Seminoles won the Old Spice Classic last night. Florida already has more valuable wins out of conference than they did the last two years combined, and with neutral court games against Syracuse and Richmond plus an NC State road trip and Xavier at home they have a chance for more. I really like what I'm hearing about this team right now - can't wait to see a game live once I'm not slammed with football stuff.

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