Friday, December 31, 2010

Bowl Pool Update: December 31, 2010

Wha happen?

Army 16, SMU 14
I watched the first half of this game before running a few errands. My impression was that SMU was clearly the better team but was being undone by turnovers and missed opportunities. I got home and called Todd to ask him what happened. He told me that he doesn't think he's ever seen a bowl game where one team was that much better than the other, and still ended up losing. SMU doubled Army in total yardage and had a 6.9 to 4.0 advantage in yards per play. Once Army got the lead, they did a great job of killing the clock. Due to long drives by both teams, SMU only had three drives in the second half. Those drives covered an average of 78 yards per drive, and led to two touchdowns and a missed FG that would have won the game. Army didn't turn the ball over, while SMU threw two interceptions, had a fumble returned for a TD, turned the ball over on downs once, and missed two field goals. Twenty-six of our 32 entrants picked SMU, and they (we) were right to do so.

Syracuse 34, Kansas State 32
The closest game of the bowl season (up to that point) ended on a terrible, terrible call by the Big Ten officiating crew working the game. Down eight, Kansas State scored a touchdown with 1:24 left in the game. The receiver gave a brief (about 1.5 seconds) military-style salute to some K-State fans in the crowd, and got flagged for "excessive celebration." Because of the penalty, the Wildcats had to attempt a game-tying two-point conversion from the 18-yard line instead of the three. They predictably failed. After the game, the receiver said that as he was running over to teammates after the salute, one of the officials said to him "wrong choice, buddy." The head referee said after the game that the officials who threw flags (yes, two of the refs saw the gesture and thought it was flag-worthy) deemed that the kid had violated Rule 9-2-1d, which states that a penalty shall be called for "any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself [or themselves]."

When asked exactly how the kid violated the rule, the head ref said "It was the salute, which was the judgment of the calling officials, which were the head linesman and the back judge. Two officials threw the flag, both judged it to be drawing attention to themselves, and that’s what the flag was for." This annoys the hell out of me, because the ESPN announcers were saying the same crap in trying to justify the call - they repeatedly said it was a penalty to do "anything" that "calls attention to yourself" (to their credit, after half-heartedly making this argument they came to their senses and agreed that the penalty was still way too harsh). Does anyone else see the problem with that sentiment, as well as the words of the head ref? YOU'RE IGNORING THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF OF THE PHRASE DESCRIBING THE ILLEGAL CONDUCT. It's not a penalty to draw attention to yourself. Players do that all the time; they are, after all playing a football game in front of a shitload of people watching both in the stadium and on TV. But watch a clip of the salute, and please, please point out to me what the hell was "delayed, excessive, prolonged, or choreographed" about it. If you can, I will give you a quarter*.

The other unintentionally hilarious and loathesome thing about this explanation? In flagging a simple, brief salute that in no way taunted or showed up the opponent and was about as innocuous as anything you will ever see get penalized on a football field, the officials themselves CALLED ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES by making the ridiculously harsh call. The "wrong choice, buddy" comment only further illustrates that these whores were trying to make themselves the show. Well, you succeeded, you assholes. The penalty has to be especially galling to KSU fans in light of...

North Carolina 30, Tennessee 27 (2 OT)
If you were watching this game, and particularly if you had just watched the previous one, it was pretty damn hard not to notice that the Tennessee players saluted constantly, en masse, every time they scored. Nary a flag was thrown, in spite of this officiating crew also being from the Big Ten. In fact, Tennessee's freshman quarterback Tyler Bray saluted numerous times and made a couple of gestures toward the UNC bench, including a double "throat-slash" motion after his TD pass in the first overtime (kudos to SportsCenter for showing that this morning). No flags were thrown. As an aside, Bray put on an absolute tour de force performance of unlikable bullshit, and it is going to be really really fun rooting against him for the next three years.

The story of this game itself, however, is the insane ending. Read more about it at Doc Sat, but briefly: Tennessee scored late to go up 20-17 and missed the extra point. UNC drove down the field and, at around the UT 30 with 16 seconds left, called a run in spite of having no timeouts. As the clock wound down, the UNC offense lined up to spike the ball and stop the clock, and their QB actually did spike it with 1 second left. In the meantime, the Tar Heel special teams freaked out and a bunch of them ran onto the field to set up a FG try. When the ball was snapped, UNC had seventeen players on the field, including the holder and kicker, who were lined up ready to kick behind the QB. Tennessee ran out onto the field thinking the clock ran out. The ref announced that the game was "over." Then the replay booth buzzed them, the play was looked at, and a second was put back on the clock, with UNC penalized 5 yards for having too many men on the field. They made the kick and won in the second overtime, when Bray threw a pick on UT's possession, making my night.

Warshington 19, Nebraska 7
Hey, it's a blatant no-show! Nebraska only gained 189 yards on 3 yards per play, and Warshington avenged their 56-21 home loss to the Huskers earlier this year. One person in the pick 'em picked Warshington. Eighteen of us, being aware of the result the first time these two teams played, put at least 30 points on Nebraska. From a selfish perspective, I went 1-3 yesterday and am still extremely confident that I picked the better team in all four games. Them's the breaks, I guess.

I don't feel like adding up all the possible points remaining (and "fuck you" to ESPN for not putting that on the page this year. What the hell is your problem?), so this is all you're getting on the top 15. Except that Javy went winless yesterday, so his pick set has gone:  L-L-L-W-W-W-W-L-L-L-L-W-W-W-L-L-L-L. Well done, sir.

1MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess11-7300
2Leave me alone JacksonMike N.10-8254
3JoannaTake a Guess9-9251
4Silent VelcroJoel M.11-7233
5katemunger 1Take a Guess9-9231
6I can haz Cam Newton?Todd11-7218
7Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.10-8214
8Boogr, Boogr, & FartyButtAl9-9212
9christmas aleScott9-9211
10Little Orphan AlyAly11-7205
13Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess12-6196
14astro1305 1Javy7-11191
14Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly10-8189

*I will not actually give you a quarter.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bowl Talking LiveBlogsplosion ... ism.

HERE WE GO... at 6:30.

Bowl Pool Update: December 30, 2010

So, wha happen?

Maryland 51, East Carolina 20
This game stunk and nobody cared. Two people in the pick 'em went with the Pirates. Those people made poor ... choices.

Illinoize 38, Baylor 14
In a virtual road game, with 60,000+ Baylor fans in the house at the Texas Bowl, Illinois beat the crap out of the Bears pretty much from start to finish. The Illini only outgained Baylor by 100 yards, which is a factor of Illinois absolutely owning field position in the first half and Baylor going on two 50+ yard drives in the first half that both ended with turnovers right around the Illinois 30-yard line. That total yardage number is a little deceptive, as the Illini had a 7.3 to 6.1 edge in yards per play, putting up 308 rushing yards when you exclude sacks. Members of the spread-happy Big Twelve are clearly not used to facing teams that actually try to run the ball: through two games against BXII teams with better records than them, the Big Ten is 2-0 and have outrushed their opponents 516 to 202, with an edge of 5.93 to 3.48 in yards per carry. Is this enought to keep The Zooker around?

Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10
Arizona had more rushing yards, more passing yards, and more first downs than their opponent. How did they lose by four scores? Say it with me: turnovers! The Wildcats turned it over four times to Oak State's zero, and one of those four was a 61-yard TaINT in the second quarter that swung the score from a possible 17-14 deficit for the Wildcats to 24-7. It was pretty much academic after that.

We have two new entrants into the top 15 of the pick 'em: say hello to Joanna and Al! Joanna leapt from the high 20s all the way up to a tie for fifth, on the strength of her 94-point day (30 on Maryland, 29 on Illinois, and 35 on Oak State). Al also went 3-0, netting 63 points. All told, 15 of our 32 entrants went undefeated yesterday. Scooter's won four in a row and five out of six. Todd has won six out of seven, and his lone loss was a 9-pointer. Todd McShay is still doing irritatingly well. Javy's picks have been an absolute roller coaster ride: he started 0-3, won his next four, lost his next four, and then went undefeated yesterday to settle at 7-7. Marianne is sitting in the 99th percentile nationally.

We still have twenty-one bowl games left to play! Four on tap today, and they all look completely uninteresting. Come on by for the chat at 6:30 tonight! DO IT!

1MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess10-4231281
2Leave me alone JacksonMike N.8-6231223
3Silent VelcroJoel M.9-5333211
4Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.9-5333202
5I can haz Cam Newton?Todd10-4371200
5JoannaTake a Guess7-7266200
8christmas aleScott8-6328194
8katemunger 1Take a Guess7-7231194
10astro1305 1Javy7-7231191
11Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess11-3377187
12Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly9-5328184
13Little Orphan AlyAly8-6336179
14Boogr, Boogr, & FartyButtAl7-7259176

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bowl Pool Update: December 29, 2010

We're getting to the meat of bowl season. Three more games today, four tomorrow, and four on New Year's Eve. Shit is getting real, yo. So, wha happen since our last update?

Air Force 14, Georgia Tech 7
Last year I waxed intellectual about the dreaded "no-shows" of bowl season. We got a classic one on Monday, as Georgia Tech took an early 7-0 lead and then proceeded to not just take their foot off the gas pedal, but brake, come to a complete stop, put the car in park, pull out a pistol, and shoot themselves in the face. GT was probably the better team but gakked this one away in hilarious fashion. This was typified by the following sequence: GT takes the second half kickoff and goes on an 18-play, 77-yard drive inside the Air Force five yard line, before fumbling the ball away at the Falcon two. Air Force goes three and out, but punt returner Daniel McKayhan loses his mind and decides to try and field a punt going over his head, at which he fails spectacularly, gifting the ball to the Falcons around midfield. The Tech D forces another three and out, and McKayhan again muffs the punt, which Air Force recovered at the 14-yard line. They scored four plays later. All told, the turnover count in this one read "Georgia Tech 5, Air Force 0."

N.C. State 23, West Fuckin' Virginia 7
Turnovers were again the story here, as the teams combined to put the ball on the ground eight times, five by WV and three by NCSU. The difference was that NC State only lost one, while the 'Eers lost 4 out of their 5. Add in a pick by Geno Smith and WV lost the turnover battle, 5-1, negating their advantage in yards per play. Turnovers will kill you. This is, after all, a football game.

Iowa 27, Missourah 24
Blaine Gabbert put the ball in the air 57 times, and the vast majority of those throws were very productive, aided by Iowa obstinately (and predictably) staying in their base 4-3 cover-two defense against Missourah's spread formations. However, Gabbert threw two incredibly costly picks: the first was an INT in the Iowa endzone after Mizzou had driven 70 yards inside the Hawkeye 15, when a TD on that drive would have tied the game right before halftime. The second came with the Tigers nursing a 4-point lead with under six minutes to play. Oh yeah, the big problem with that one is that Micah Hyde returned it 72 yards for a touchdown, providing the winning points for Iowa. These offenses were diametrically opposed: Missourah threw for 434 yards; Iowa 200. Iowa rushed for (at least) 225 yards; Missourah 78. Neither team fumbled and each quarterback threw two picks. Missourah's, obviously, were much more costly.

In the pick 'em, the most obvious thing you can notice about the top 15 below is that my previous posts completely screwed up the possible points remaining. Well, not completely: you get a correct sense of who has more points left than whom, I just didn'y give everyone the full number of points available to begin with. Because I'm stoopid. It's a harmless error, but yes, it makes me Tyrone.

1MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess7-4212300
2Silent VelcroJoel M.7-4172377
3Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess10-1165430
5Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly7-4145386
5Little Orphan AlyAly6-5145375
5Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.7-4145416
5Leave me alone JacksonMike N.5-6145309
9katemunger 1Take a Guess5-6143305
10Dantonios heart attackersElliott7-4141417
11I can haz Cam Newton?Todd8-3140440
13The D.E.N.N.I.S. SystemBen6-5133406
14christmas aleScott5-6123399
15astro1305 1Javy4-7122300

Monday, December 27, 2010

Georgia Tech vs. Air Force liveblogchattitude

Let's do this.

Bowl Pool Update: December 27, 2010

Quick update:

Tulsa 65, Hawai'i 35

Florida Int'l 34, Toleder 32
Best finish of the bowl season so far, and it's not even close. Toledo scored and got the two-point conversion to go up 1 with about 1:20 left to play. FIU converted a Boise-esque 4th-and-17 hook-and-ladder on their way to the game-winning field goal as time expired. When people talk about how there are too many bowls, it's games like this that are "Exhibit A" for why they are wrong. Any college football is better than no college football, and exciting finishes like this are worth the price of admission (which is nothing). I love bowl season.

In the pick 'em, Marianne and Joel continue their dance between first and second place. Todd McShay is disturbingly well-positioned to win this damn thing. Todd and Elliott are looking good, PPR-wise. Donnie Smavels, Chris C., "K. Keenan," Kat, and Evan are each an astonishing 2-6, with Evan bringing up the rear, in percentile 7.0 nationally. He hasn't had any of his 30+ point games yet, but still.  Shit, Evan.

1MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess5-3161108
2Silent VelcroJoel M.6-2149173
3Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly6-2139160
4Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess7-1127198
6Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.6-2126194
7Astro1305 1Javy4-4122108
8Leave me alone JacksonMike N.4-4118116
9The D.E.N.N.I.S. SystemBen5-3115193
10Little Orphan AlyAly4-4113153
11Dantonios heart attackersElliott5-397215
12I can haz Cam Newton?Todd5-395215
13Christmas AleScott4-494180
14katemunger 1Take a Guess3-593110

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bowl Pool Update: December 24, 2010

We've had some movement in the pick 'em. Unfortunately Todd McShay is still one of the favorites. So ... wha happen?

Louisville 31, Southern Mississippi 28
Louisville overcame a yardage deficit of over 100 offensive yards and a 14-0 first quarter hole, with the help of a timely turnover or two and some special teams gaffes by the Eagles. This has been the only close game of the bowl season so far. Joel, McShay, Smails, Javy, and Wolfe picked up an assload of points. Kate, Mike Neary, Aly, Sean, Frange, Al, Schill, Ryan, "K. Keenan," and Kat all lost at least 22 points by going with USM.

Boise State 26, Utah 3
Boise only punted once all game and accumulated 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in blowing out the Paper Utes. Boise looked disinterested in the first quarter, then outscored Utah 23-0 in the second and third quarters, then coasted to victory. Good enough. All of three people picked Utah in the pick 'em, but two of them - Kate and Mike Neary - put 30 and 35 points on the Utes, respectively. Eighteen of our 32 entrants put at least 30 points on Boise, and several others had the Broncos in the upper twenties.

San Diego State 35, Navy 14
This was a seven-point game going into the fourth quarter before SDSU punched in a couple of TDs to ice it. The Aztecs averaged 8.7 yards per play in putting up 555 yards of offense. This was a separation game in the pick 'em. Only ten of our 32 picked picked SDSU, and nine of those ten are in the top 13 in the pick 'em. An oddly large number of people put a LOT of points on this game, in both directions. And that probably explains why people who picked the Aztecs trend toward the top.

Overall, Joel continues his perfect record, as does *sigh* Todd McShay. Marianne is in second but her two losses were her 33- and 30-point games. The Mysterious Judge Smails is in fifth, but he/she has lost his/her 34-, 33-, and 30-point games already. Javy bounced back from his 0-3 start with three straight wins, vaulting him into the top 10 (although he's still dropped his 35-, 34-, and 33-point games). Toward the bottom of the top 15, Todd is looking dangerous, as he's only lost his 7- and 15-point games, with a shitload of possible points remaining. Below the top 15, the Brothers Smavels have iffy records so far, but the games they lost have not been high-value games, so they could jump up. Aaron Wilson is 4-2 and has lost two low-point games, so he won't be 24th much longer (provided he actually wins some games). Conversely, defending champ Chris C. is 2-4 and has lost some high point games. Frange, Al, and Schill have lost a bunch of really high-point games. Kat is second-to-last. Evan is last, currently in percentile 8.3 nationally.

Three games have been played since Jeff, Ryan, Scott, Sean, Todd, and I had our fantasy draft of the bowl teams. Todd owns the winners of all three games, and has jumped out to a 3-0 record. Jeff and Sean are both 0-1. No one picked Utah, so their loss didn't affect anyone.

Full top 15 of the pick 'em is below.

1Silent VelcroJoel M.6-0149211
2MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess 4-2132165
3Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess6-0119241
4Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly5-1114218
6Dantonios Heart AttackersElliott5-197243
7Christmas AleScott3-394227
7The D.E.N.N.I.S. SystemBen4-294237
9katemunger 1Take a Guess3-393172
9astro1305 1Javy3-393165
9Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.4-293227
12Leave me alone JacksonMike N.3-387177
13I can haz Cam Newton?Todd4-285253
14Little Orphan AlyAly3-381200
15Zoe's First Bowl Pick 'EmKristin3-377233

Monday, December 20, 2010

College Bowl Fantasy

So, Todd, Scott, Jeff, Sean, Ryan, and myself decided on a whim to have a fantasy draft of the bowl teams. We each draft 10 bowl teams, auction-style, creating our own rosters of teams. Whichever entrant finishes with the best record in the bowl games wins. Tiebreaker is total point margin (total points your winning teams won by [minus] total points your losing teams lost by). What transpired can be viewed below, if one were so inclined. For a brief overview, here is how everyone's rosters turned out.

TeamsLouisvilleArkansasMissouriWisconsinNavyMiddle Tennessee St.
San Diego St.GeorgiaMiami (OH)Ohio St.MarylandNevada
Boise St.South FloridaOklahomaStanfordToledoTCU
SMUMichiganPittNebraskaOklahoma St.Southern Miss
Texas A&MLSUNo-trah DameIllinoizeOregonClemson
Kansas St.Georgia TechAir ForceIowaSouth CarolinaAuburn
FloridaAlabamaMichigan St.Florida St.TennesseeWest Virginia
N.C. St.Hawai'iMississippi St.KentuckySyracuseTexas Tech
Miami (FL)BaylorPenn St.ArizonaBoston CollegeFlorida International
NorthwesternVirginia TechCentral FloridaTulsaEast CarloinaNorth Carolina

FYI, the four teams that did not get drafted at all were Army, Connecticut, Utah, and Warshington. Keep up with and we will eventually tell you who ended up winning this silly thing.


Bowl Team Fantasy Draft

The rules: we draft bowl teams. There should be six of us, and we draft ten teams each (there will be four leftover). $107 payroll to use. Best record of your ten teams at the end of bowl season wins. Tiebreaker is total point margin.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bowl Pool Update: December 19, 2010

So, our first day of games is in the books. Let's take a look at wha happen before addressing the early, early results of the pick 'em.

BYU 52, UTEP 24
In a colossal mismatch, BYU jumped out to a 31-3 lead and never looked back. BYU doubled-up the Miners in both first downs and total yardage, and scored at least 14 points in each of the first three quarters. In the pick 'em, there were TONS of points on this game, with the majority picking BYU (19-13; although there are 34 entrants in the pool, one of them -- the mysterious "JudgeSmails" -- accidentally made two entries, one of which has no picks in it, while Amanda signed up and forgot to make her picks).

Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17
Another blowout, No Ill got down 7-0 and rolled off 40 of the remaining 50 points scored in the game. Full disclosure: I picked Fresno State with 28 confidence points. As such, I don't understand how this game happened the way it did. Fresno played Wisconsin tough (sort of - that game wasn't anywhere near as close as the score made it appear) and beat Illinois. How could they not beat a Husky team that lost comfortably to the Illini? How could they get blown out? I don't understand Fresno at all. They seem so Jekyll & Hyde - they also hung with Boise for a full half ... before losing by 50. A quick look into their recent bowl resume reveals that they're 4-4 in their last eight bowl games, with the four wins all coming against BCS conference teams and the four losses coming against Tulsa, Colorado State, Wyoming, and now No Ill.  WTF? Again, quite a few points on this game in the pick 'em. I can take solace in the fact that I didn't lose the most points on this game - Frange put 32 on Fresno, and I haven't even gotten to Tyrone yet...

Troy 48, Ohio 21
Continuing the theme of the day, Troy got up on OU 41-7 by the early part of the third quarter in another dog of a bowl game. I guess games like these are the reason some people say there are too many bowl games. I firmly come down on the side of "blowout bowl games are better than no bowl games," but yeah, this one was ... not good. That's the main reason the majority of the Christmas party we were at last night spent a good chunk of the evening watching a VHS tape of this.

In pick 'em news, we have four 3-0 entries and a solitary one 0-3, with everyone else falling in-between. Leading the pack is Aly, who got 35, 18, and 28 points from BYU, Northern Illinois, and Troy, respectively. Joel Morgan's "Silent Velcro" and (*sigh*) Todd McShay are also undefeated with a good point haul. Sidenote: unfortunately Jesse Palmer did not put out picks on ESPN this year, so we can't measure ourselves against him and his gorgeous hair and teeth and *swoon*. So, instead we're getting Todd McShay, who is Todd McShay. And, also unfortunately, he's hanging in contention. Bummer. Our fourth 3-0 entrant is Elliott, who has accumulated fewer points, but is still in the running for a perfect entry. Marianne, Kate, and Mike are 2-1, but those "1"s were costly: they lost 33, 34, and 32 points, respectively, in their losses. I am not one to talk, obviously, as I lost 28 on Fresno.

Other bad losses: The Mysterious Judge Smails (Phil?) is in the top 15 with 35 points; the bad news is that he went 1-2 and lost his 34- and 33-point games. Oops. Other tough days: Al lost his 33- and 31-point games; Frange lost his 33- and 32-point games; Schill lost his 26- and 24-point games; Evan lost his 28- and 20-point games; and someone named "K. Keenan" lost his/her 33- and 26-point games. However, they all pale in comparion to our first...


Now, I know that some of you decided not to change your confidence points at all. And that's cool; it is somewhat daunting, and I can understand why someone would look at the number of games you have to pick and the user interface for adjusting the confidence levels and decide "the hell with this - I'm just gonna pick the games." But you know what? You better get some of them right early on. And that's where Javy comes in. Javy did not change his confidence levels. And he picked UTEP, Fresno, and OU. As such, one day into the bowls, he has lost his 35-, 34-, and 33-point games.

Shit Javy, get it together.

Top fifteen is below.

1Little Orphan AlyAly3-081279
2MarianneSharp 1Take a Guess 2-169258
3Christmas AleScott2-167287
4katemunger 1Take a Guess2-165261
4Silent VelcroJoel M.3-065295
6Chokin' on ApplesauceYours Truly2-154278
7Leave Me Alone JacksonMike N.2-153275
8Todd McShay's PicksTake a Guess3-046314
8Shablagoo!BringTheCrunchMatt N.2-146292
10god bless us everyoneDi2-142297
13Zoe's First Bowl Pick EmKristin and Zoe1-234285
13Where is LA
15aaronjw725 1Aaron2-132314
15Dantonios Heart AttackersElliott3-032328

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Group is Up!
The group name is "SUCCESS ONLY PLZ KTHXBYE"
The password is "boban"

Okay peaceout.