Friday, November 17, 2006

Sorting Out The MOTOR CITY BOWL Confusion

Anybody in the marker for THE priceless College GameDay moment of ’06?
Any disputes were laid to rest two months ago when Grandpa Corso was seated with his colleagues outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum many hours before the USC-Nebraska game.
As is customary, Grandpa placed the headgear of “his pick” to win that night’s game on his head and, aw sheeeet, Gramps, you’re frickin’ embarrassing yourself, ESPN, college football and those who enjoy college football which is cluttered by the schtick and B.S. which ESPN piles onto the sport.
For the record, Corso was placing the shiny Tommy Trojan headgear onto his head backwards.
What made the moment super-unfunny was that Gramps didn’t realize that he was putting it on backwards.
What made the moment mega-super-unfunny was the message which appeared on “the crawl” at the bottom of the TV screen at the time that Gramps was buzzin’ from Geritol and OraGel:
“Three Delaware players plead guilty to breaking into teammate's apartment and stealing liquid steroids."

God bless ESPN and its mission to bring us Gramps’ shenanigans and tomfoolery, not to mention Herb Kirkstreit’s Pepsodent smile.

However, the subliminal message which ESPN is transmitting to your brain is: “College football is about Lee Corso, Lee Corso and Lee Corso, so look away when you see negative things such as football players pleading guilty to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.”
Besides, Delaware is Division I DOUBLE-A. We don’t do those things in Div. I-A.

Again, this is more fodder for the crusaders whose battlecry is “A PLAYOFF SYSTEM SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK IN AMERICA!” If a playoff system was “the right way,” then why are Delaware Blue Hens players stealing liquid steroids? What’s with that win-at-all-costs mentality, anyway?
In the Div. I-A paradigm, we settle matters in a user-friendly/Corso-friendly, bowl-game scenario.
And, ever since Lispy McMushmouth (read: Lou Holtz) isn’t coaching any more, Division I-A players don’t need performance enhancers, particularly ill-gotten performance enhancers.

The guilty pleas entered by Demetrice Alexander, Danny Jones and Jeffrey Robinson avoided a trial which was to begin less than a week after the plea agreement was reached.
Sentencing for the three players is scheduled for December. Alexander and Jones face possible sentences of three to 42 years; Robinson, two to 29 years.

This is nothing like the old days when the programs coached by Lispy McMushmouth (read: Holtz) at Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina were busted by the NCAA for various misdeeds (improper payments, non-students doing classwork for so-called student-athletes, probably point-shaving, too). Even a super-sized, spittle-spraying jackass like Lispy McMushmouth knows that using a shotgun in the commision of a crime such as jacking somebody else’s liquid ‘roids, well … that’s bad.
Then again, the mere mention of a shotgun might make Lispy McMushmouth a little jumpy since that’s how one of his former Notre Damers checked out after a puzzling auto mishap.

So, as we await the Blue Hens slipping into their Orange Jumpsuits, let’s examine this week’s landscape which ranges from the team with the same winged helmet as the Blue Hens to the program located five time zones west of Delaware.
Time to tackle the menu:

MICHIGAN @ OHIO STATE -- Although this game has NOTHING to do with establishing inside-lane position for the Motor City Bowl, there remains one vital component worth discussing. In the previous 17 meetings between teams ranked No. 1 vs. No. 2, the underdog has a 15-2 record. Is that good news for a 'Reens team which is a 6 1/2-point underdog to the 'Eyes? It is if you’re somebody unlike the Pitchfork, who believes that a $5-bill equals a sawbuck and a $10-bill is a c-note.
For those of us who aren’t Mr. Moneybags/Mr. Big Spender, matters such as 15-2 records vs. 6 ½-point spreads aren’t of major concern.
But, here’s the thing: A lot of people believe that this ‘Eyes/’Reens showdown will be epic, maybe even Biblical – kinda like when Simon Phoenix and John Spartan had their final confrontation in “Demolition Man.”
Such visions of grandeur might’ve seemed like a stretch – but now that we’ve been handed this note that Bo Schembechler died within the past few hours, it’s easy to begin formulating headlines which scream, “Will Bo’s Passing Have Less Of An Impact Than Henne’s Passing?”
Nobody’s sure that Henne is capable of a big passing day against a better-than-Northwestern defense. No one’s sure if the Blackeyes won’t stuff Mike Hart into a sack and then throw that sack into the frigid waters of the Olentangy.
Fowler foolishly misinformed America that “the stakes have never been higher” than they are now in this storied rivalry.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
To match the words coming out of Fowler’s mouth with the thoughts inside his head, we need to hear Chris say, “The PILE OF CASH has never been higher” in this rivalry.
Lest Fowler forgets, all SIX TIMES in the seasons 1970 thru 1975, Bo brought an UNDEFEATED Wolverine team into the clash against the Buckeyes – and four of those times, Bo did not get the “W” which would’ve sent his team to the Rose Bowl.
Since the early ‘70s was the Dark Ages when America didn’t have the Meineke Car Care Bowl Which Was Formerly The Continental Tires Bowl and/or the now-defunct/forever-in-our-hearts Poulan Weed Eater Bowl, those four Michigan teams had as much “at stake” as today’s team (just without the fancy, schmancy $11-14 million payout on the line).
Lookit up: 9-0 in 1970 … 10-0 in 1972 … 10-0 in 1973 … 10-0 in 1974 … those teams’s seasons were DONE after failing to beat OSU.
That ’73 Buckeye team is ranked in the Top 5 of the Pitchfork’s all-time legendary squads. And, although Bo tied ‘em, 10-10, there was “no soup for you!”
Yes … Bo was “bowl eligible,” but, back then, it was a daunting undertaking to load up the covered wagons and make the 15-day trip from Michigan to Texas for the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Most parties who dared make the journey usually lost a dozen men to attacks from the Apaches or from fighting the coyotes which would try to steal the children in the middle of the night.
Hence, the STAKES have been just as high in OSU-Mich.

Pre-2006, the CASH has not.
Which is why Delaware players who wear the same helmets as Michigan felt the need to arm themselves with shotguns and burglarize the apartment of a teammate.
OSU 19, Mich. 18

IOWA @ MINNESOTA -- Where would anyone rather be than watching this mammoth tilt? Shooting rusty tin cans with a B.B. gun? Listening to a lot of Marilyn Manson on an iPod? Attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle which has a skill-level listed as "suicidal"? Shopping at Eddie Bauer to find a new shirt to match those new Wrangler jeans? Eating Ore-Ida tater tots?
As per the tater-top issue, that depends.
Are we eating them off of our half-naked girlfriend's chest as her cleavage acts as a ketchup reservoir?
A ruling, please! As per matters, gridiron-related, there's more at stake here than merely a big pig statue ... as the standings indicate:
1.(tie) Ohio State (7-0) and Michigan (7-0)
3. Wisconsin (6-1)
4. (tie) Penn St. (4-3) and Purdue (4-3)
6. Indiana (3-4)
7. (tie) Iowa (2-5) and Minnesota (2-5)
9. (tie) Northwestern (1-6), Michigan St. (1-6), Illinois (1-6)

By locking up 7th place, the winner would all but guarantee a quasi-semi-automatic berth in the Motor City Bowl. This would mean a lot to the Gutless Gophers since they were defeated, 34-31, in last year's Motor City Bowl by blowing leads of 14-0 and 21-7 and allowing an extremely mediocre UVa QB named Marques Hagans to complete a rather high (for him) percentage of passes (25 of 32) for wayyyyy too many yards (358).
Minn. QB Bryan Cupito tossed 4 TDs in that Motor-City thriller, so you know he's on a personal mission to avenge all that's worth avenging.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves because if the Golden Goofballs lose to the rival Hawkeyes (something they've done -- quite convincingly, actually -- four of the past five years, including last year's 52-28 thumping at Iowa), a 5-7 record will NOT get Minny to a bowl.
With a defeat, the Floyd of Rosedale will reside in Iowa City for another year ... and what a damper that would put on such a hard-fought season for the Goofballs, who are only one month removed from that heroic 10-9 victory over North Dakota State in which the Bison came into the Metrodome and ran 86 offensive plays to 54 for Minny.
If not for that heroic blocked field goal on the game's final play, Minnesota could've pulled the plug on this season a long time ago and gotten more of the Twin Cities' residents to get concerned about what the F is wrong with the Vikes.
Damn you for making us fall in love with you, NDSU's Kole Heckendorf and Jeremiah Wurzbacher.
And, pity the fool who meets the Grouchy Gophers in this year's unforgettable Motor City Bowl.
That is, unless Iowa is the Big Ten rep in Motown or Pontiac or wherever the F it is they're playing the ballgame this year (probably the Joe Louis Arena parking lot).
Iowa's 6-5 record belies a myriad of problems which has beset a dysfunctional squad, which, in the eyes of many, was supposed to at least push the Buckeyes and the Wolverines this season. A lot of people are scratching their heads and asking themselves, "Does Drew Tate still play for this team? Or has he already checked into The Brad Banks Academy of Hawkeye Heisman Hopefuls Who Have Since Disappeared?
If we asked everyone in the classroom, "Raise your hand if you think that Iowa will lose this game and backslide into a bowl game."
First ... 17 of the 23 hands in the classroom go up immediately.
Then, the 18th and 19th hands are raised.
Seconds later, up goes Hand No. 20 ... and No. 21.
Look! There's another hand ... we're up to 22.
Hand No. 23, though ... she won't sell out her Hawks.
Goofs 18, Hawks 11

INDIANA @ PURDUE -- This one's a bonafide "all-or-nothing" proposition for the IU Hooters. If they win, the cream-&-crimson stand an excellent chance at its first bowl game (likely the Insight Bowl) since the '93 Independence Bowl-loss to Virginia Tech. If IU loses, however, the Bumblermaidens will walk off with their 11th Old Oaken Bucket in 12 seasons and, on top of that ... IU will have a 5-7 record and will NOT be bowl-eligible. That would not be a very nice present for second-year head coach Terry Hoeppner, who was undergoing brain surgery. The man who coached Ben Roethlisberger at Miami probably deserves to have his team fight just as hard for him as he did for his own life. But, this is Bloomington -- and the track record is woeful. When Hoeppner had the lads off to a 4-1 start last year, they came through by losing their final six games by scores of 38-21, 41-10, 46-15, 42-21, 41-14 and 41-14. Way to D up, B'Town. Of course, when the Hooters were 4-3 this year and contemplating late-Dec. in sunny Florida, they lost, 44-3 at OSU, 63-26 at Minnesota and 34-3 to Michigan. The Minnesota defeat was disturbing, considering that the Gophers were 0-5 in the Big Ten and were only two weeks removed from being COMPLETELY outplayed in a 10-9 win in the Metrodome over North Dakota State. IU could've turned the Golden Gophers in Gutted Gophers, but, alas ... Anyway, freshman QB Kellen Lewis, at this point in his Hooters career, looks better than Antwaan Randle El did at the same point (considering Randle El had a better supporting cast which, surprise, surprise, was mismanaged by Cam Cameron). Kel's fate won't be any better than 'Twaan's was in his first Old Oaken Bucket game (a 52-7 blowout in West Lafayette). FYI: With a victory, the Bumblermaidens will become the worst 8-win team in the history of college football since Maryland '06.
Soph. QB Curtis Painter ... you just never know when that kid's gonna go off for a 191-yard/one-TD/two-INT showcase of his mad skillz.
Purdue 40, Indiana 18

UC-BERKELEY @ SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA -- In Pete Carroll's first game as USC coach in Sept. '01, his Trojans churned out a hard-fought, 21-10 victory over a gritty, gutsy San Jose State team at the Coliseum.
Coach Pete then lost his next two games in the Coliseum (to K-State, 10-6, and Stanford, 21-16).
That 2001 season must seem as though it was five years ago, given that, after a 2-6 start, ‘SC needed to win its final four regular-season games to finish 6-6 and earn that berth in the Las Vegas Bowl opposite Utah.
However, super-handsome QB Carson Palmer came out flat in a 10-6 loss to Utah in that bowl.
Despite that indoctrination (whatever an indoctrination is), 'SC has been nothing but upper-echelon ever since:
61 consecutive games scoring at least 20 points since that Utah loss …
31 consecutive wins in the Coliseum since that loss to Stanford …
18-0 in November games under Carroll …
Looks as though Oski will be violated by the business end of Traveller’s hoof.
If this game was in Berserkley, Team Tedford might have a fighting chance. But, since The Ted is coming to L.A. armed only with a Nate Longshore (whatever a Nate Longshore is), forget it, okay? It is an odd juxtaposition (whatever a juxtaposition is) considering how the ’05 Trojans were on everybody’s All-Time Greatest Teams of All-Time Ever list, but then it was a notorious bandwagon maker/breaker ESPN which denounced everything ‘SC was doing in ’06.
Herb Kirkstreit went so far as to say “USC should apologize” after wins of 28-22 over Wazzu, 26-20 over U-Dub and 28-21 over ASU.
Most of America didn’t realize that this was Herb Kirkstreit’s way of playing God … a Championship God whose own resume shows 0-3-1 vs. Michigan and 0-4 in bowl games, yet didn’t feel the need to make his alma mater apologize for playing in that junior-college conference known as “the Big Ten.”
’SC’s okay -- very much okay -- and Traveller just keeps on keepin’ on, playing “Conquest” after all those crucial stops on the defensive side of the ball.
So, yeah … Cal will act in a complicit manner in running ‘SC’s streaks (see above) to 62, 32, 19-0.
'SC 29, UCB 18

THE TURTLE @ CHESTNUT HILL – Before now, there existed no accurate gauge to measure the truly crappy 8-2 teams of this century … no way to quantify teams whose true measure belied its 8-2 record.
Say hello to the Under Armour Performance Apparel Marketing Guinea Pigs which you know better as the University of WeMustProtectThisHouse! (or Click-Clack Tech, take yer pick).
The local buzz is that 6XL (maybe 7XL) head coach Ralph Refrigerator has perhaps tossed his 6XL sweatshirt into the ring for some national Coach of the Year honors for what he’s done with the Click-Clack Tech after two 5-6 seasons while wearing Under Armour Performance Apparel.
Just goes to show that no one should ever underrate the value of click-clacking their way to protecting this house.
What the Ralphfrigerator did was to mold a team of “hungry” ballplayers who simply destroyed William & Mary (a 27-14 final which was more like 63-0); eviscerated Mid-Tenn. State (a 24-10 final which could’ve been 56-0 with a few bounces going differently); humiliated up-n’-coming (but winless) Florida International (a 14-10 final preserved by an INT on the Maryland 3 in the final minute … but a 77-0 rout would’ve been the real final if Refrigerator hadn’t gone easy on FIU); rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit to win at Virginia (a UVa. team which a lot of people’ picked to finish #1 … #1 in Charlottesville … ); destroyed NC State, 26-20 (a game which most observers felt should have been 41-0 at halftime, rather than 9-0); then shocked the football world by leading up to this week with wins over Florida State, Clemson and Miami. Aif that isn’t enough to get The Ralpfrigerator to the Coach of the Year, there is simply no just^^^^^ … WHAMMO!
You can’t type it with a straight face. Seriously, for anyone who’s watched college football for more than 15 minutes, this Maryland team is not merely garbage – it’s 8-2 garbage. The Twerps stockpiled three ugly wins over non-conference cupcakes and just so happened to out-ugly programs such as FSU, the Clumsy Tigers, The U and U-Va. during abysmal, underachieving seasons.
About the only thing more unwatchable than Maryland football is watching Ralphfrigerator shower.
And TiVo-ing it.

“Click clack!” America saw the real Twerps when West Virginia micturated on ‘em in a Thursday niter on ESPN. So, in the Clack-Clackers’ first-ever trip to Chesnut Hill, they’ll need a bang-up job from QB Sam Hollenbach.
Against the ‘Canes last week, The ‘Bachster was 11 of 16 for 202 yards, which included TD throws of 65 and 96 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Uh-oh, you cheated and did the math, didn’t you, America?
Follow along, kiddies:
202 minus 65 and 96 equals 41. 11 completions minus two TD-bomb completions equals nine completions.
Hence, Sammy HollaBack had 41 yards on the nine completions which were not 65- and 96-yard completions against a napping secondary.
41 yards on nine completions … click-clack, knick-knack paddywhack! For a team which ran 37 offensive plays.
Actually, that aforementioned shower scene doesn’t sound so bad … once we consider that it’s either that or watching Maryland’s offense (which, an unidentified source said, was what psycho killer Jigsaw used to torture to death his victims in “Saw III”)
As for BC, none of us understannd that font of the unreadable numerals on their back.
Boston College 23, Maryland 18

SAN JOSE STATE @ HAWAII -- Most of this nation doesn't know a thing about Colt Brennan, the gunslingin' Rainbow QB from Laguna Beach – mostly because ESPN is too lazy to give ya anything other than The Other QB Named Colt (McCoy for Texas) and the PK Named Colt (David for LSU).
College LameDay informed us that college football is about Herb Kirkstreit’s hazel eyes (and not his 0-3-1 record vs. Michigan and his 0-4 record in bowl games) and it’s about week after week of stories about college coaches and the lives of college coaches and the dedication of college coaches (and not the players who lay it on the line for college coaches).
For those of us who are graduates of SJSU, this game in the islands might appear as though it could be a roadblock to the Spartans’ first bowl game since that 1990 Califorrnia Raisin Bowl smackdown of Central Michigan.
Dick Tomey’s 6-3 Men of Sparta are coming off of a tough, 23-20 loss at home to undefeated Boise State, so a trip to combat “Colt 43” (that’s how many TD passes he has so far this season) isn’t exactly the place to start building some postseason Mo'.

No matter what LameDay forgets to tell ya (be it upbeat positive stories about players or Blue Hens in big trouble), June Jones did one helluva job cleaning up a Hawaii program which Fred vonAppen left in a shambles while he was hangin’ out and waitin’ for an NFL team to call.
Jones, though, took a ’98 team which was 0-12 and turned matters around immediately, the result being a 9-4 season in ’99 which was capped by defeating a decent Oregon State team in the Oahu Bowl.
It is, though open for debate as to whether the ’99 Rainbows were better than coach Tim Kaulukukui’s 1949 team which was 6-2 before losing, 75-0, to Pacific and 74-20 to Stanford (in the Pineapple Bowl).
That HAD to be tough on the Kaulukukui family.

And, since Colt Brennan is from Laguna Beach, it stands to reason that when he was in high school, he might’ve received some tutoring at the Steve Clarkson Academy of Championship QBing … a passer’s Taj Mahal which was founded on the principles of former SJSU QB star, Steve Clarkson.
Hey … it’s what made a household name out of Bobby Sabelhaus.

Well, now that June Jones is finished de-programming all of the Clarksonicity outta Colt, it’s not unrealistic to expect five or six TD throws to boost his season total to 48 or 49.
Still, SJSU-Hawaii fills our hearts with whimsy – since some of us came this close (“this close!”) to attending that ’99 Rainbows game at Spartan Stadium.
Hawaii won, 62-41, so now SJSU must heed the words of wisdom from announcer Don LaFontaine:
“Payback … this time it’s for real!”
Hawaii 50, SJSU 18

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