Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Dude, Where's My Coach?

NCAA Football

Toledo 49, Bowling Green 41: It may be the best rivalry in the MAC. Did I mention BGSU (not a state, by the way) was up 27-7 at the half, and had all the momentum? Well, that didn't stop Toledo from scoring 27 points in the third, and another 15 in the fourth. Defense, who needs defense? Meanwhile, look for Bowling Green's head coach Gregg Brandon to move up in the world some time in the next few years. Brandon was Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator at BG, and he helped develop the now-famous spread option attack Meyer uses at Utah.

Pitt 16, WVU 13: Are we sure we want to give the Big East a BCS bid? I mean, I know ND lost to Pitt, but honestly.

Texas 26, Texas A&M 13: The lowest point total one team can get in a football game (other than 0) is 2, right? Not in college. On the rare occurence that there is a safety on a two point try, one point is awarded to the team that scores the safety. Now, you think, why and how would the team going for two somehow run 97+ yards backwards into their own end zone? Ah, but it doesn't have to be that way. Texas went for the one-point kick, which was blocked. A&M picked it up and tried to run with it. Therefore, the refs ruled, this is now a two-point try. But then, the A&M player fumbled into the end zone, where it was recovered by another A&M player, who was down. One point safety!

Arizona 34, Arizona St 34: Hey, Arizona actually is a state. I could tell you what this does as far as setting ND's Insight Bowl opponent, but I'm too lazy right now.

Louisville 70, Cincinnati 7: I'll recall what the Lorain Morning Journal wrote earlier this year, as tOSU prepared to play the Bearcats: "Cincinnati isn't a pushover this year." Right. Well, Stefan LeFors did only have 79 yards passing, so you can't blame the Cardinals for running up the score... Or can you, when you consider Louisville is pushing for a BCS bid at #8 and may be trying to influence the pollsters? Still think human polls are a good idea?

Boise State 58, Nevada 21: Oh, Boise State (not a state) is also pushing for a BCS at large spot? Really?

Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 10: OK, I'll admit it. USC played one decent team this year, but that's it.

Tennessee 37, Kentucky 31: Yeah, but it took a last-minute touchdown to do it. Eh, a win's a win.

Syracuse 43, BC 17: Are you still sure you to give an automatic BCS bid to the Big East?

Missouri 17, Iowa State 14: Aw man, I really thought ISU belonged in the Big 12 title game.


Bengals 58, Browns 48: When you win a game like this, you say "Instant Classic." When you lose a game like this, you say, "where was the defense?" Then you say, "oh yeah, it was there on that last play, when Kelly Holcomb tried to throw a screen and Deltha O'Neal picked it off for the deciding touchdown." Well, I should give the Browns credit where credit is due. As Hal Lebovitz pointed out, they could have just quit on Butch Davis, but they played hard for 60 minutes. They didn't tackle well at all, but they played hard. I'm also very surprised that SportsCenter didn't throw up a "Most Losses While Throwing for 400+ Yards" in honor of Holcomb, who also accomplished the feat in that disasterous playoff game in '02. On a final note, I'm really surprised I'm still not having Fiesta Bowl flashbacks as TJ Houshmandzadeh caught 4 passes for 79 yards, rushed twice for 17, and was even thrown in to return a kickoff.

Colts 41, Lions 9: Maybe I just ate too much turkey, but for a while I thought I was watching Madden's Football 101 (not Bob Davie's Football 101). Jinx alert: You know what, I don't think I've seen the Peyton Manning Face once this season. Oh well, the playoffs are coming up soon, as is the cold weather.

Cowboys 21, Bears: I couldn't be happier for the way Julius played in the national spotlight. 150 rushing yards and two TDs. That's a great way to get the Stephen Jackson monkey off his back. When watching Dallas play the Browns earlier this season, I was extremely worried that Julius would be a bust - he looked extremely overmatched up to the point where he injured himself. But, with 231 yards in two games back from injury, I think it's safe to say he's going to be a good one.

Texas 31, Titans 21: When the NFL was planning realignment, Cleveland offhandedly suggested that the Texans be placed in the same division as the Browns. The reason? The old AFC central got two "gimme" games a year while the Browns were just starting out, so why can't the favor be returned by giving the Browns two "gimmes" a year versus the new Houston franchise? Well, that didn't happen, and it's a good thing for two reasons. One, as painful as it is now to watch division games, it's a great concept to have the only other three teams in your division be your three biggest rivals. Two, Houston looks pretty good this year. I don't think the Browns would want to face them.

Steelers 16, Redskins 7: Roethlisberger was 9-20 for 131 yards and no TDs. Hmm, maybe he's just on a good team.

Eagles 27, Giants 6: Sorry Ellen - again I didn't get to see this one. But, I'll chalk Eli's 6-21 performance up to "growing pains."

Dolphins 24, 49ers 17: And the "Don't Be That Guy" Award goes to Miami this time around. In a "you can't make this up, but you probably should have seen it coming" twist of events, Miami outscored San Francisco 17-14 in the fourth quarter. Coming into this game, Miami had scored 17+ points in a game only 3 times this year. San Francisco has gotten 14+ in a game 8 times, but that doesn't help when you've given up at leat 21 points in every game you've played. (Note: I'm writing this on Monday Night, so hopefully TMQ doesn't scoop me.)

Jets 13, Cardinals 3: So, if you don't give up a lot of points, you don't have to score a lot? Huh.... (Or, should I ask, 'so, if you play crappy teams, you don't have to score a lot?')

Patiots 24, Ravens 3: If Bill Bellichick coached the Ravens, Steelers, or Bengals right now, I'd be in the deepest pits of depression. One, this is a guy Cleveland fired (fortunately, he was gone before the Baltimore franchise started). Two, while I'm sitting through tons of poor football coaching, here's a guy who's doing all the right things - playing guys on both sides of the ball (fun to do, and fun for teammates to watch, especially when they succeed), stressing team players over talent and perceived stardom, and knowing exactly what it takes to win. Basically, I would have a hard time hating this guy, and that would tear me apart to see him do all these things while wearing black and purple.

Packers 45, Rams 17: I was really bitter about having to see John Elway in the pregame piece. Then, I realized that Mike had to put up with an entire game full of Brett Favre butt-kissing. I'm sorry you had to see that, Mike.

Coaching Carousel

  • Yep, Ty is gone. Credit goes to The Backer for breaking the story. Check out the Irish Trojan's Blog for a timeline of the events. (It's days like this when I wish that I would have taken Dave up on his offer to let me become a full time blogger.)

  • I found out myself at about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon. I was still at lunch, my dad had just gotten back. Somehow our lunchtime conversation involved a comment about him putting in a resume for the Florida coaching job (since, as a state university, it's a publicly posted job opening). I get a call from him, "Looks like I don't have to put my resume in at Florida - I can put it in at Notre Dame." "You're kidding!"

  • Kevin White will discuss with the players whether or not they want to go to the Insight Bowl. At the time of this writing, I'm hoping for a scoop from one of my on-campus sources.

  • Butch Davis resigned from the Browns Tuesday, and OC Terry Robiskie was named interim head coach. No, I do not want Davis at Notre Dame.

  • Rumor has it that Norm Chow has accepted the head coach position at Stanford. This likely leaves Washington for Ty.

  • I just got off the phone with the fired up old woman from NSS who's also an ND fan. She had just heard the news at about 6:15pm on CNN. She felt bad that Ty was blamed for the close losses. However, she retold a story about her row 16 seats at a game this season. She paid attention to Ty the whole time, and she became increasingly upset that he coached by body language and a "Devil Stare," and not by actually telling the kids what they did right or wrong. She also told me, for approximately the 75th time, that she has quit donating to ND ever since her husband, the ND grad, passed away. Her husband at timed donated $100, but she says she simply throws away repeated requests for funds.

Random Thoughts on Sports Announcers

Joe Buck: I wanted to like him because of his dad Jack. But, I had trouble standing the Buck/McCarver team. It turns out, I just hate McCarver. Put Buck in the football booth, and he's a great annoucer.

Al Leiter: A great pickup by Fox during the playoffs. I've learned so much about being a pitcher from just a few short series. I don't know how he'd do in a two-man booth, but I definitely found him very interesting.

Steve Lyons: Quirky, but that's Psycho for you. Being the "second team" color guy is the perfect spot for him.

Steve Kerr: Started as a commentator on TNT last season. He's a natural. If you didn't see him play in the finals two years ago, you wouldn't have guessed he was a rookie.

Steve Beuerlein: Ah, yet another Steve. Beuerline is in his rookie year as fourth-string commentator for CBS. There are times when you can tell he's new at this, but he shows signs of being a solid color guy.

Mark Price: In his first season doing local broadcasts for the Cavs. Rough around the edges, but it's freaking Mark Price. I idolized this guy growing up.

Lewis Johnson: NBC's ND sideline reporter, he was in the studio for last Saturday's Grambling (not a state)-Southern game. Didn't appear to be overmatched at all. Can this guy replace Tom Hammond and/or Pat Haden in the booth?

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Indians re-sign Bob Wickman. The Tribe needed a reliable veteran at the back end of the bullpen after last year's woes. As a major plus, Wickman isn't Armando Benitez, who Cleveland was also after.

  • The new Sony MP3 Walkman looks pretty cool. But judging by the commericials, the Walkmans can only play crappy covers of otherwise decent songs.

  • Congrats to ND Women's Basketball. Thanks to a 6-0 start, and losses by UConn, Tennessee, and Texas (the team that beat Tennessee), the Irish have climbed to #3 in both polls. I could be wrong (and I know I'm lazy), but I believe this is the highest they've been since the national championship season.

Highlights from my 5-Year High School Reunion Last Saturday

  • The night started with dinner at bar #1. Nothing interesting there. I drove over to the hotel where some people were staying for the night. We left are cars there and walked to bar #2, home of the reunion.

  • The reunion was scheduled for 7-11pm. The ND-USC was scheduled to kickoff at 8pm. No problems, it's a bar - there's bound to be a TV, right? Well, there would be, if we weren't in the private room on the third floor. Dah.

  • Saw a few people I've seen recently, others I haven't seen in 5 years. At least after 5 years, most people had given up their years old little kid grudges.

  • Did I mention the beer at this place was free? Good times.

  • Ran into my first girlfriend from age 14. She's now married with a kid, with another on the way. (Neither are mine, geniuses.)

  • Also there, of course, was my friend and "Professional Student" CJ. CJ started at the U of Dayton in '99 and is still there. On a positive note, I was invited to relive college parties by taking a trip down to UD.

  • Rumors have been confimed that my cousin is now engaged. Naturally, he left it to our grandma to spread the news.

  • My Buddy Matt made a cameo appearance, in from Seattle for the weekend. With an engineering degree from Purdue, a master's at Case Western, and a job at Boeing, he easily won the most impressed looks.

  • I was able to find two TVs on the second floor, but both were showing the Cavs game. Fortunately, a few ND fans showed up around the end of the Cavs game, so they were able to switch a TV over for the second half. I caught SC's drive to make it 20-10, then left after ND failed to cut into that lead on their next drive.

  • After much reminiscing, my next trip down to the second floor didn't happen until after the game. I asked one of the ND fans the final score, unfortunately. Noticing my ring, she asked what class I was in. "'03." Feeling old, she replied, "'95."

  • After my cousin, CJ, "Merc", and I closed out the party with the bartended. Afterwards, we met most of the class back at bar #1.

  • Of course, back at bar #1, everyone wanted to dance. I don't blame them - the cover band there was great. CJ and Merc tried to get me out on the floor, but I resisted. A random guy at the bar felt my pain. "I get bugged to do that all the time. You just have to wiggle and giggle." Sounds like a new catchphrase.

  • The night ended around 1:30 as the cousin needed a ride home after a 3-state day (flight from Arizona to Michigan with the fiancee, the a lone drive from Michigan to Lorain). So, I decided to call it a night, too. Good times.

  • Yes, things were much more fun than I've writting. I'm just a little too distracted by Jeopardy! right now. Suffice it to say, this may have been the best non-ND weekend I've had since graduation.

kankasports KankaNation Hall of Fame

It's back! Voting for the second annual inductions into the KankaNation HoF will start today. Ballots will be due by 5pm on December 31st. All readers of KankaNation are eligible, whether or not they're regulars. To vote, email a list of up to 10 candidates to kanka@kankasports.zzn.com.
This year, as our readership has increased slightly, I will say that it takes 5 votes for a player to make the Hall of Fame. However, anyone who received votes last year, but did not make the HoF, will start off with 1 vote (therefore requiring only 4 people to vote them). Last's years winners and vote getters can be found here.