Thursday, November 16, 2006


With the buildup of the No. 1 'Eyes vs. the No. 2 'Reens, the prophets, propagandateers, the pragmaticists -- not to mention The Prognosticators Who Are NOT The Pitchfork -- have alluded to the need (or the hope of) a p-p-p-playoff for college football.
Mega-gorgeous dreamboat Herb Kirkstreit has gone so far as to imply that this planet might be headed for a "plus one" paradigm, wherein, after all the BCS bowl games are done, we'll have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship showdown/blockbuster.
Ergo, "five BCS games, PLUS ONE game featuring the best two winners."
For all the marbles.
And world domination.
And a mid-March trip to the White House for a meet n' greet with our next president, the unconfirmed-lesbian, wife-in-name only of ex-President Bubba.

Aside from living in a lawless society wherein Preisdent Hilary endorses drive-thru abortion clinics, Herb Kirkstreit's Plus-One Equation has one tiny flaw.
In the apocalyptic scenario of a No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan meeting a "Game of the Century" during the regular season and then going toe-to-toe in a "Game of the Century (The Sequel)" in a BCS showdown, the Plus One Armageddon might be as follows:
"Ohio State vs. Michigan, The Rematch of the Rematch (Because Twice Was Nice, But This Is For All The Marbles)."
And world domination.
Eventually, Plus One will pave the way for a "best-of-7" series ... featuring the 'Eyes and the 'Reens squaring off in a Game 7 in late-February.

Invariably, once we begin tinkering with the almighty BCS, it leads to a conclusion that many of us arrived at years ago.

It's fraught with all the perils and pitfalls of a bicameral legislature.

The facts are incontrovertible. When the Steelers won the Super Bowl, everybody knew that their triumph was the result of the Patriots having an off-year and the best team in football, the Colts, having an off-day.
The list doesn't stop there. The Florida Gators weren't the best team in college basketball (Duke and UConn allegedly were) ... Bernardini wasn't the Horse of the Year (Barbaro was) ... the Carolina Panthers weren't the best team in hockey (the Detroit Red Wings won the President's Trophy with the fifth-highest point total in NHL history) ... the Miami Heat weren't the best team in the NBA (the Mavs and/or Spurs were) ... and the St. Louis Cardinals stole the World Series trophy from the Yankees ...
And damn that foreigner downhill snowboarder chick who was awarded the gold medal when our U-S-A! U-S-A! Lindsay Jacobelis hotdogged it and fell on her ass en route to the gold medal (which was mistakenly awarded to that foreign chick who wasn't as good as Our Star-Spangled U-S-A! Lindsay).

Well, no one knows what Lindsay is using her ass for now that she's no longer using it in an ass-over-tea-kettle sceanrio on a Torino hillside.
Then again, she's proof positive that the "who's better?" argument is NEVER decided in a "play it off" scenario.
"Who's No. 1" is always a bloodless act of better marketing.
Such as: "The Steelers were awarded the Super Bowl because they were more blue-collar and, in the eyes of many ... more lovable."
And because, if they hadn't won the Super Bowl, Steelers fans were going to dump the city of Detroit, piece by piece, into Lake Michigan.
(Note: The same Detroit which is Jerome Bettis' hometown ...)

What Herb Kirkstreit's mega-mesmerizing hazel eyes fail to realize is that playoffs and Plus Ones merely give the "have-nots" an opportunity to rip off the "haves."
Lookit the data. If there existed a yearly open competition a desperately-needed College GameDay co-host, the Pitchfork would be sitting in the chair formerly occupied by Corso and, any time Herb Kirkstreit glossed over important subjects by flasahing his award-winning smile, my rebuttal would be, "Listen, America ... the guy seated to my left was 0-3-1 vs. Michigan and 0-4 in bowl games, so I'm disqualifying him from telling you how college football operates. Let ME explain to you how matters might go down in Tallahassee today ..."

The powers-that-be, however, couldn't live with themselves if there was an added intelligence quotient.

Besides, this is America ... land of "this season's best team" and "this season's playoff champion."

Now that we mention it, the West Virgina Mountaineers are the poster boys for playoff/plus-one odd-men-out, that is, if ya saw last night's win over the Pitt Panthers.
The 'Neers, jeez ... their defense is a little shaky and the special-teams are puzzling -- but super sophomores Pat White and Steve Slaton are killing machines.

WVU fell behind, 24-17, when Darrelle Revis had that highlight reel TD for Pitt. It's worth reviewing:
Revelle fielded the ball on a bounce at his own 27-yard line and then circled back toward his own goal line as he awaited a decisive first block -- which he got when teammate Derek Kinder de-cleated TWO 'Neers (#22 Ridwan Malik and #49 Ovid Goulbourne) at the 15.
As Revelle veered to the sideline, #42 Jay Henry took a lunge (and missed) at the 27 ... just before #15 Charles Pugh made a lunge (and missed) at the 33.
Revelle scooted free down the sideline until the punter (#40 Pat McAfee) missed him at the 23 ... and #3 Larry Williams made a tumbling miss at the 15 ... before #25 Tyler Benoit applied the lead-with-the-shoulder-without-using-any-arms technique at the 8-yard line ... leaving Benoit grasping at air as Revelle waltzed into the end zone as #86 Sam Morrone belly-flopped on the goal line during his in-vain attempted tackle.
Those eight Mountaineers that we just identified, well ... they're running lots n' lots of wind-sprints today.

Rich Rodriguez might've vomitted on the sideline, but once White and Slaton began to work their magic ... look out, Becky.
Only 1:19 after Revelle's TD, Slaton reeled in a pass from White and turned it into a 67-yard TD -- Slaton's third TD of the first half.
Slaton, though was limited to 7 yards on 6 carries in the first half (and that included his 15-yard TD run .. meaning that his other 5 carries netted minus-8 yards).

Bang! First play of the second half, Slaton busted loose for 10 yards and then White, on a keeper, bolted 64 yards for a TD (spinning Revelle around at midfield).
After Pitt downed a punt at the WVU 3, Slaton popped free for 35 yards on the first play (with 15 yards tacked on when Revell grabbed Slaton's facemask) and then White scampered free for 26 yards to the Pitt 21.
After Slaton gained 2 yards, White breezed 19 yards for a TD which made the score 38-27.
A tidy 97-yard drive in 1:33.

Slaton went from approx. the 5:00-mark of the third quarter until the 12:10-mark of the fourth quarter between touches. And, after a 6-yard gain snapped his nearly 7-minute drought, Slaton went up the middle untouched for a 55-yard TD which made the score, 45-27.
WVU ran out the game's final eight minutes driving from their 3 to the Pitt red zone when White (on a 3rd-and-12) gained 19 and when Slaton sprinted for 46 yards to the Pitt 13.
Rodriguez was classy about NOT tacking on one more TD to crack the 50-point mark, but Slaton (215 rushing, 130 receiving) and White (220 rushing, 204 passing) were completely outta control.

The thing is, while it's not the greatest Pitt defense in the world, it's not the worst, either. There may, though, be some confusion as to how many people forget that Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades is NOT related the HP BladeSystem.
"H.B." is for "Horatio Benedict," which just so happens to be his daddy's name, although we all remember him as "Bennie" when he was an All-America at Miami in the mid-'80s (back before H.B.'s uncle Brian shot and killed that guy and before H.B.'s uncle Al died in that car accident).
Bow your head, Hewlett-Packard.

It might be fun to see how an untested Ohio State defense would fare against Rich Rodriguez's offense and the two sophomores who make it go.
Thankfully, without a playoff system which would totally screw WVU, anyway, we'll never have to find out.

Speaking of playoffs, senior QB Brett McQuilken of Atholton and senior center Kevin O'Brien of Long Reach won't be participating in the postseason in '06 -- but they did end their high school careers in a glorious head-to-head matchup last Friday.
Planet Haystack acted as sideline correspondent for the confrontation (won by Atholton, 37-20, after rallying from a 20-7 deficit) by fulfilling a role of in-game conversations with the parents of the Notorious K.O.B. and B-Mac.
For the 82 percent of the crowd who wasn't paying attention to the game, the quality play of two of Hard Canny's top-flight performers with solid Christian values might've been overlooked.
In the spring, the Notorious K.O.B. will be on the mound for The Reach when he stares in to get the sign as B-Mac settles into the batter's box.

B-Mac's a nifty, nimble-footed southpaw QB who throws a dandy tight spiral (he won a quarterback competition at halftime of a Ravens game last month) while K.O.B. is the smartest kid on the offensive line for the Lightning.

The two players represent a fascinating dichotomy of prep football. B-Mac isn't quote-unquote "tall enough" (5-foot-9) to play at the next level and K.O.B. (at 6-3/225) isn't lard-ass-enough to be regarded as an all-county lineman ("ya can't teach size").

While K.O.B. had six OL teammates who tip the scales at better than 330 lbs., K.O.B. outperformed most of them due to better technique and game-smarts (and by not being a lard-ass sucking wind midway through the second quarter).

K.O.B. was snappin' the ball for an offensive in which misdirection in single-wing and spread formations makes for some razzle dazzle, but which doesn't always confuse opponents.

As Wilde Lake DB Oludamola Adamolekin told the Haystack, defensing such an offense is about assignment football and maintaining containment.

The Haystack regrets not having seen Adamolekin and his OL teammate Zach Hanks (someone with direct ties to one of the Pittsburgh Steelers' assistant coaches) in action for the Wildecats, but at least Hammond sophomore QB Samuel Plazak got to showcase his talents.

Mrs. PF7 saved the throwing shoulder of Samuel's big sister and while a big-sister softball SS/younger-brother QB paradigm may seem like a bit of a reach, let's remember the circumstances almost 20 years ago when I saw three girls named "Brady" tear it up on the softball diamond before they'd go home and pick on their little brother, Tom.

If only I could've done more for K.O.B. and B-Mac. They couldn't hear me as I was coaching 'em up from a distance.

Someone shoulda taught Kevin the value of the leg-whip.

It's a good thing that there are no playoff implications on this Friday. It's not like that unseasonable 60-plus-degrees-at-kickoff like last Friday. More like the high-30s-at-kickoff like the previous Friday, which, depending on your point of view was better than the Friday before that when it was wayyyy to windy ... and the Friday before that when the downpour was steady and constant.

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