The head scratching and binge drinking continues.
I will say that I felt the defense has improved and the offense seemed to show more spark than the last three games. Not to say that the defense is anywhere near what we could call “good” right now, but a few stops (5 punts!!!) and an interception versus the number four offense in the country is certainly an improvement over what we had been seeing. Aside from a few instances, we didn’t have drives that in entirety featured wide open receivers without a defender in the same time zone. On the offensive side, it was surprisingly Geno that seemed to hold us back at times. The biggest issue we have on offense is a lack of consistent running game, but I have come to expect that as a weakness. Geno’s mistakes though, are a bit harder to swallow. I don’t mean to call the guy out as he has done so much for us in four years; it is simply shocking when he misses wide open receivers multiple times (I have about 3 to 4 images in my head on very easy throws).
None of what I said above really has anything to do with why we lost. A degree in football rocket science is not needed to understand that you cannot make the mistakes on special teams that we made and win a game. Those types of mistakes are the ones that if make against a 1-AA team, you will lose. No way you can get by with those against a formidable team. I guess the conundrum is, why are they occurring? Bad luck? Poor coaching, stupid players, lack of focus? Beer Sales? I am seeing a lot of comments that seem to settle around lack of focus and lack of commitment. I certainly am not in the locker room or around practice, so for me to pontificate would be a bit out of order, but as the old adage goes, where there is smoke there is fire. We now have three departed players in Pat Miller, Travares Copeland, and Pat Miller. Is this indicative of a coaching staff that is not reaching their kids, or simply a delayed, but natural occurrence that happens when a new coach takes over (remember it was just a tad bit awkward how Dana entered his pseudo-first year last year)? Unfortunately, this is not really a question that is typically answered in short order, but is found in following seasons. The staff either weeds out the kids who can’t buy in or are exposed as poor coaches. Sometimes, it is somewhere in middle. All I know is that it doesn’t look great for the rest of the year.
All you can hope is that local guys like Ryan Nehlen and Connor Arlia can step up and make big plays like they did on Saturday, fighting for the team they love, and spotting Austin/Bailey. Gotta love watching the WV guys who are just happy to contribute being out there. By the way, lost in all of this is that Bailey had another monster game last week. The best we can hope for is all the stars regain their stride and are well supplemented by “character” guys who prove that the departing crew equals addition by subtraction.
So, Gold Rush and Oklahoma. I dunno what to predict, other than I’ll be standing around a deep frying turkey by mid morning on Saturday and enjoying a few fine selections from this list.
Around The Nation
Didn’t believe me when I said that more of these undefeated teams would lose? Yea I know, wasn’t that tough of a prediction, but give me a break, my betting card for the year has looked like Edward Norton’s script in Rounders. I have no particular affinity for Texas AM, but love the fact that the SEC newcomer, who runs one of them daggumit spread offenses that will never work in the SEC, was the team that knocked off the invincible Alabama. It was shocking watching Johnny Manziel run up the points to get such a huge first quarter lead, but anyone could have guessed that Saban and crew would come back. The fact that Bama had the ball at the end win with a chance to win, and AM still held on to win is very impressive. Its a fun week to tune into the Finebaum show; I hope you have enjoyed.
Now what? Oregon has two big tests left in back to back weeks with Stanford and Oregon State. Both are solid teams and capable of winning. The Ducks will then get the winner of this week’s game between the Los Angeles schools in the Pac 12 title game. Snyder’s Squad goes to Baylor this weekend, then is off, and wraps up against Texas, avoiding the need to compete in a title game. Notre Dame also avoids the title game issue, gets another cream puff in Wake Forest, before playing USC in two weeks. Funny how USC can now play spoiler to two different national title contenders. Oregon easily has the toughest schedule left, but they just seem like they are on auto-pilot right now. Something about how there always seems to be a crazy Big XII upset at the end of the year has me leery of K State every week, and I still think USC will beat Notre Dame, so I am predicting Oregon vs K-State or the last standing SEC team.
While it is not assured yet, it is amazing to think that we may actually be looking at a non-SEC championship, after six years of SEC dominance and last year’s all SEC title game. Rest assured the south will be pissed, playing tons of David Allen Coe, and citing numerous passages of how the South will rise again. It doesn’t matter though; in a year that there are numerous undefeated programs from major conferences, you have to win out, no matter how tough your schedule is.
Speaking of USC, this is incredible work by UCLA students.
First, let me re-post this line from last week, including the link that I forgot to include. Its a good one: I respect this man. If you are going to go down for stealing, it might as well be for stealing beer. There is nothing wrong with that. Now if he had stolen the orange camo Keystone cans, the cameras would have probably never seen him.
If you thought that the BCS was confusing, the new playoff/contract/access bowl system is going to be wild. I am waiting for the year in which the winner of the “Group of Five” is a 6-6 team. The problem with all of these arrangements is that the conferences are out to protect themselves and not football as a product. There should be no guarantees any time you have an absolute, you open the door for a snafu.
This link pretty much sums up the personality of every other caller on the Paul Finebaum show. This is why we listen.
MUST SEE: This is a phenomenal recap of a couple of Alabama fans watching the loss.
Good Luck Sooner Hunting,