Saturday, November 24, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 12

In the big money grab game known as conference musical chairs, the biggest loser has been the WAC. All the realignment that went into effect this season left the WAC with only 7 teams, and they had to add 2 new teams just to have that many. Next season there will be only 2 teams left, as five schools will be heading for greener pastures. So instead of having Idaho and New Mexico State play every week in a best of 7 for the conference championship, WAC football will cease to exist beginning in 2013. So who will be the conference's last-ever champion? The 2012 title was all but wrapped up last Saturday in a wild game at Ruston, LA.

Defending WAC champ Louisiana Tech has gotten all the hype - and the top 25 ranking - this season thanks to their 9-1 record, with the only loss coming to Texas A&M. Meanwhile, the team I suspected might be better - Utah State - has been under the radar all season. The Aggies, 8-2, very easily could have been undefeated coming into this week, having barely lost on the road to Wisconsin and BYU. But they knew they wouldn't be able to steal any of LA Tech's thunder because they wouldn't be meeting the Bulldogs until Week 12. Finally getting their shot, USU jumped to a 17-3 halftime lead.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Short but not small - TJ2K12

"I was 5-8 and wasn't growing."

Dealing with that bit of reality during his sophomore year in high school, Tim Jennings decided to quit basketball and give football a try. It turned out to be a decision that has served him quite well, you think? He may be short, but Jennings has been absolutely huge for the Chicago Bears during the first half of the 2012 NFL season, making big plays on a regular basis. When he had 2 INT and 2 PBU in a victory over the Colts in the season opener, I just thought it was an excellent game against a rookie QB playing his first game. Nothing special. But no, Jennings was just getting warmed up. After picks in Weeks 2 and 3, he was named NFC defensive player of the month for September. And in October, in Week 8, he made one of the Bears' biggest plays of the season - a pick six with the Bears trailing the Panthers in the 4th quarter.
I never thought I'd be doing a piece on Jennings, a cornerback now playing his 7th NFL season. Of course, I never thought he'd ever be leading the league in interceptions either.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 11

Heading into Week 11 there were 6 remaining undefeated teams in Division 1-FBS. The big five - Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State occupied the top five spots in the weekly AP rankings. And then there was Louisville - the ugly duckling of the bunch - way down at #11, behind five teams who were not undefeated. That's the kind of respect the Big East has been getting lately, and deservedly so. In fact, if you examine the first 9 games on Louisville's 2012 schedule, you could make a convincing argument that the Cardinals didn't even deserve to be as high as #11. Among their 6 home wins were close calls against North Carolina, South Florida, and Cincinnati. And their 'best' road win was against 4-5 Pittsburgh.
So I suppose it wasn't surprising that when the Cardinals traveled to Syracuse last Saturday for their toughest road game of the season so far, they fell flat on their faces, losing for the first time this season, 45-26. It was the Cardinals' misfortune to be the opponent on Senior Day for Syracuse.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 10

Thanks to the 50,000-watt blowtorch that is WWL, my affinity for LSU football began at a young age. So I'm accustomed to the pain of seeing the Tigers lose at home to Alabama. But that loss last Saturday night? Man, hands down that had to be the most painful one of them all. Just when it looked like LSU had things under control, just when it looked like they might win, Alabama suddenly drove 72 yards in a 5-play drive that took just 43 seconds, scoring a TD with :51 remaining on the clock to steal the game 21-17 and end LSU's hopes for a 2nd straight SEC championship as well as a return trip to the BCS title game. No, I was not quite as disappointed as freshman CB Jalen Mills (photo below) and the rest of the LSU players; but no doubt this one is going to sting for a very long time. 
With the win the Crimson Tide remain ranked #1 and improved to 9-0. They also improved to a ridiculous 17-4-1 against LSU in their last 22 visits to Baton Rouge.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

129 yards to the house!

With a title like that, you probably already know what this post will be about ...... the CFL, of course, where the field of play is 110 yards long and the end zones 20 yards deep. I haven't done anything on the CFL since 2009 and wasn't planning on doing anything this year. But when I found out what happened with Trent Guy back on Sunday, Sept. 23, I knew I was going to have to do something.
After wrapping up his college career at Louisville in 2009, Guy, a Charlotte native, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers and spent 2010 on their practice squad. He was released at the end of training camp in 2011 and this year found his way to the CFL, where having a good kick returner is more a necessity than the luxury it is for NFL teams. In the photo above Guy, a 5-8, 171 WR, is celebrating his 1st TD in a Montreal Alouettes uniform - on a 9-yard catch and run with 4:54 remaining in the 2nd quarter. But a little later, it was his 2nd career TD that caught everybody's attention.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 9

If at first you do not succeed, try, try again - until the other team scores a touchdown, that is .....

I had the Purdue-Minnesota game on the list of games I wanted to watch for Week 9. But there were several other games I needed to see, so I ended up skipping the Boilermakers and Gophers. Now, after reading what happened at Minneapolis last Saturday, I'm kicking myself because of all the interesting stuff that I missed. Not the least of which was a sequence at the beginning of the 2nd half.
After converting a 3rd and 10 on the first series after halftime, Purdue QB Caleb TerBush tried to hit WR Gary Bush on 1st down, but the pass was broken up by senior CB Michael Carter. 2nd and 10: Carter again breaks up a pass to Bush. So what does Purdue do on 3rd and 10? Right, throw the ball to Bush. And yet again Carter made them pay, this time intercepting the pass and taking it 43 yards to the house (photo above) for his 1st career TD.