Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Those Noisy Boise Boyz (Goliath vs. Godzilla)

Once you catch yer breath, take a step back and ponder exactly what Boise State accomplished last night (as the clock was inching past 1 a.m.), the first words outta yer mouth are likely to be, "Goddammit, San Jose State had these guys beat. HAD 'EM BEAT!!!"
The next thought that'll cross yer mind is whether the Western Michigan BRONCOS can follow the trail blazed by BRONCO Mendenhall (whose BYU Coogs frickin' jacked Oregon) and these supposedly-upstart Boise State BRONCOS when WMU tangles with the Cinshitnati Bearcraps in the International Bowl on Saturday night.
Rock on, America ... you've got Western Michigan playing on Sat. nite ... on the same day as the first round of NFL playoffs, two nights before the Blackeyes-Alligators national championship game.
(On that Bronco note, it's messed up what happened to Darrent Williams)

It's the easiest thing in the world to do -- gettin' a major buzz on when a New Year's Day jam-packed with the robust flavour of bowl-game goodness is capped by that Oklahoma-Boise State game and its taser-gun-of-an-ending drama.
Each and every one of us is sprinkling the expression "un-frickin'-believable" into our Tuesday-after conversation.
However, let's everybody slow down a sec and obey the speed limit.

Each and every one of us were left breathless and mind-blown by a game which ended with a sequence of: 1) A handsomely-crafted TD drive with a team using its 2-minute offense 2) A game-tying, 2-point conversion completion after penalties on the previous 2-point, pass attempts 3) A pass to absolutely no one which is intercepted and returned for a TD 4) A 4th-and-18 completion which turns into a 50-yard, hook-and-ladder TD with 7 seconds remaining in regulation 5) A one-play TD drive of 25 yards on the first snap of OT 6) A TD on a halfback-option pass by a reserve receiver as the QB goes in motion from the shotgun set 7) A game-ending, 2-point conversion on the best-executed, Statue of Liberty play that we'll see in our lifetimes.
However, before we check with the rule book as to whether we're allowed to call it, "a walk-off, Statue of Liberty 2-pointer," we'd better do a reality check.

All of the good feelings aside, what did Noisy Boise actually accomplish with the win over the Sooner Schooner? According to the gents who rank such teams, that was a No. 9-ranked team beating a No. 7-ranked team.
According to the Scripture, it's easier to envision a David-vs.-Goliath matchup when Goliath is ranked higher than No. 7.
And, not to burst anyone's bubble, but this outcome does nothing to move Div. I-A football closer to a national playoff.
No way, San Jose.

With attendance records being shattered at many of the bowl-game sites (not to mention the tourist dollars spent at those sites) and with TV revenues healthy, what possible motivation would college administrators have for tampering with the status quo.
That is, unless it's to add four of five more bowl games.
Those feasibilty studies and viability reports conclude that the bowl-game scenario is best left as is, so that we may have arbitrarity (is that a word?) and convolutedness (is that?) in our stable day-to-day lives.
Also, it gives Herb Kirkstreit something to think about on those same-day jet trips from Auburn to Penn State.
That is, something other than which co-ed he'd like to bang.
That is, which co-ed who least reminds him of his wife and kids back home.

The Texas Hold 'Em/World's Strongest Man branch of the Disney Football Complex shouldn't climb on any soapbox, given that in its SporkCenter time-waster, two-loss LSU was awarded the make-believe championship in the imaginary playoff format.
Remember this planet's mantra, however: You can't spell "seLf-deStrUct" without an "L," an "S," and a "U.."

Speaking of which, if we leave it in the hands of those who currently do the voting, Boise State would never sniff a prime-time showdown against Goliath.
If it came down to puttin' their money where their mouth is, pollsters would do the predictable thing: Keep Boise State down.
In a "playoff" paradigm, Boise State's berth in said format would be given to 12-1 Wisconsin or to the bellyachin' Tommy Tupperware's Auburn proGRUM ... or to America's favorite 2-loss team with the 6-foot-10, 295-lb. scatter-armed QB ... L! S! U!
All ya get from this arrangement is David gettin' stiffed.
And then it's just Goliath slugging it out with Godzilla.

But, lookee here! In a Haystack-it Bracket which was outlined a few weeks ago, 11 conference champions plus the independent entry makes for a 12-team playoff which actually works.
That's because it was invented by someone who actually watches college football.
Religiously ... not part-time like Leak Orso, who watches 2 games per weekend and sometimes forgets to take the meds which tell him that there was college football which existed between 1963 and 2002.

For review: The Haystack-it Bracket had 9th-seeded Boise State playing 8th-seeded Houston for the right to play No. 1-seeded Florida. The Florida/Boise State-Houston winner would meet the #3 Oklahoma/#11 Mid. Tenn. St.-#6 Ohio State winner in the national semifinals.
As you recall, the lower half of the Haystack-it Bracket was structured so that the semis pitted #4 Wake Forest vs. #12 Notre Dame/#5 Louisville winner against the #2 USC vs. #10 Ohio/#7 BYU winner.
All good fun.
All very equitable.
Win your conference -- or forget it.
Right, LSU? (wink, wink)

As per Boise State creating greater Idaho awareness or familiarizing America with the SmurfTurf in its stadium, well ... it's a feel-good story.
But it won't last.
It's a lot like the mythological beast which the media created with Jason McIlwain. We remember how we wept when we saw what he did (well, some of you did) -- but when you asked America about it three weeks later, America couldn't remember if the kid was retarded or a spastic or if he was that deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball.
Right ... J-Mac ... he's that kid with artism.
J-Mac is artistic, gotcha ... Roger that, America.

Lest we forget, Boise State was 12-1 in 2002, 13-1 in 2003 and then 11-0 in 2004 ... and a dream season came crashing down for those 11-0 Bronks when those Cinder-fellas were upended by a Little Engine That Could -- the mighty-mite, lefty QB from Louisville ... Stefan LeFors.
Stefan LeFors will ALWAYS remain the fan fave of some of us, mostly because he is the only one in his family who is not deaf.
Boise State QB Jared Zabransky -- everybody's fave tatts-on-biceps QB (especially the big "Z" tatt on the right bicep) -- was the soph. QB who was outgunned by Stefan LeFors two years ago, 44-40 in the Liberty Bowl which no one cared about.
Of course, Boise State initially rose to prominence under Dirk Koetter and his Bronk teams of '99 and '00 which were allowed to play their bowl games on their blue home turf -- beating Louisville and UTEP in squeakers.

When Zabransky and the Boise Boyz had to take their show on the road against the big boys, it wasn't against Goliath or Godzilla, but rather the Georgia Bulldogs in hostile environs early last season.
The Bronks got schooled and Davey went home to tinker with the slaying potential of his slingshot.

The thing is, a lot of Daveys are going to get shunned as long as geniuses such as Herb Kirkstreit uses the power of his hazel eyes and his lounge-club voice to talk us into bed with pillow-talk such as "USC is a great, great team ... when they show up" and "The speedy SEC has so many speedy teams with great team speed" ... and "Ohio State's D needs to get after it."
In other words, as long as LameDay remains fixated with five or six schools' quest for the national championship, all the upstarts are gonna get is a delightful holiday trip to Fort Worth to help sell Bell Helicopters.
Rutgers was a cute story ... but once the Knights lost, LameDay snubbed them on Prom Night.
"Howzabout you New Jersey jerkoffs playing in a bowl on the NFL Network where 17-20 people can watch you so that you don't disrupt America's USC-Michigan viewing pleasure?"

West Virginia was a sleeper of a team last year ("sleeper" in the sense that LameDay big-leagued 'em because WVU wasn't Texas or USC). Then, the 'Neers wetn out and dazzled us (and stunned Georgia) with the big W in the Sugar Bowl.
But, once these upstarts lose a game, watch how quickly cockroaches such as Ex-Mr. Scholastic Sports America, Leak Orso and Herb Kirkstreit scurry under the fridge.
'SC got taken to the limit a few times this season and Herbie said, "USC should apologize for the way they've played the past few weeks."
Apologize to who?
It was kinda sad how Herbie sprained his ankle jumping off the bandwagon, then acted all wounded and full of scorn when Pete Carroll didn't stroke his hair and assure him with, "You're OK, big fella. Let it out, honey. Hey! Howzabout if I talk to Tommy Trojan about lettin' ya ride Traveler? Would my big boy like that?"
Remember ... Herbie's preseason nat'l champ. matchup was Notre Dumb vs. Miami (not the one in Ohio), so, yeah, definitely ... Herbie Handsome had a hard-on against all who betrayed him (and because Herbie perceived Brady Quinn's girlish cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes to be threats to his handsomeness) ...

LameDay's steady stream of non-information is one-half of the problem ... actually, make that 63 percent of the problem. As we've stated here for the past several weeks, all that seems to come out of Leak Orso's mouth is, "Mike Hart needs to run the ball effectively to set up the play-action pass for Chad Henne" -- which is pretty much all he had to offer as an opinion for his so-called "Michigan Keys To Victory" for games vs. Ohio State and 'SC.
Same sh*t, different week for Leak Orso.
What Leak Orso forgot to tell the Ann-Arbor-istas is that Michigan's 11-0 record needed an asterisk (i.e. * -- accomplished against a sorry Big Ten schedule).
Hence, when Michigan's defense got blow-torched by Troy Smith and John David Booty, the LameDay mood was, "Aww, shucks ... that Lloyd Carr is a proud man, so go easy on him, America's bloggers."

Newsflash for LameDay: Michigan's defense is really, really, really overrated.
End of discussion.
Oh, and Chad Henne seems to have problems locating those tremendously-gifted receivers.
Which, in the '06 Big Ten will still get ya 7 or 8 wins.
Which is why, in the Haystack-it Bracket, the Big Ten Conference was seeded No. 6 -- which isn't all that bad because a quarterfinal game between Ohio State and Oklahoma does look intriguing.

Speaking of Oklahoma, those of us who sometimes put the Sooner Schooner atop our list of "My Faves," were NOT totally disheartened by last night's outcome. It didn't lead to the burning of OU apparel as what might've been the case when Elvis Peacock and Horace Ivory were struggling or when Jason White was blowing out another knee and Nate Hybl was called in to perform miracles.

Speaking of miracle performances, the way that Boise State executed those three noteworthy plays at the end of the game, it sorta took the sting outta any OU favoritism. A college football fan who actually watches college football HAD to admire the smooth manner in which the Boise Boyz operated with the game on the line.
It was one of those rare occasions when a coach and a team "took" control of a game, rather than one team handing it to the other.

Then again, OU had accomplished all of its handovers earlier in the game. When all that Herb Kirkstreit could muster as analysis for his sneak peeks was "Adrian Peterson, Adrian Peterson, Adrian Peterson," those of us who watched college football knew that the game would boil down to Paul Thompson's ability to establish consistency.
After all, that was the deciding factor vs. Nebraska in the Big XII title game.

Yet, aside from his last-minute drive in regulation, Thompson was erratic. He twice badly underthrew receivers for would-be TDs (having one knocked down near the goal line and another intercepted on the goal line by Marty Tadman).
Of course, Tadman had the INT TD (when Thompson was throwing to god-only-knows who) and Thompson lost that fumble on his own 3-yard line to set up the Ian Johnson TD which made it 14-0.
The fumble ... well, sometimes that's just bad luck, a missed blocking assignment, whatever.
INTs are almost always due to bad reads and bad throws.
However, no one in Sooner Nation is pining for the days of Rhett Bomar, no way.

OU's defense -- which Herbie forgot to mention was frickin' lit up by Oregon -- was a problem area. Since there are 2.7 talented QBs in the Big XII, this was a deficiency which Stoops could often get away with.
However, on the first play after the Marcus Walker INT TD which made the score, 35-28, OU allowed TE Derek Schouman to get open for 36 yards to midfield.
On the halfback-option TD (caught by Schouman) which made the score, 42-40, LB Zach Latimer didn't do much of a job holding up the TE in the logjam at the line of scrimmage.
If teamwork is what you're looking for, then it was fun to watch both Walker and Latimer miss making plays on Drisan James on that 32-yard jaunt through the Sooner D on the TD in the final minute of the first half which put Boise up, 21-10, at intermission.
For good measure, it was James -- the guy who caught the pass before pitching on the hook-and-ladder -- who burned Walker badly on that 49-yard TD pass for the first score of the game.

If OU had won that game -- and for fans to salute Walker as a hero on an INT TD during a complete mixup in the pass-route -- well, that would've been wrong.
Maybe Marcus Walker is a swell guy, top-notch student and all-around good citizen, but, here's the juice:
He sucked on New Year's Night.
He didn't make any of us forget Chijoke Onyenegecha's exploits as a Sooner DB.

That's yer bottom line: A Boise State team which SHOULD HAVE LOST TO SAN JOSE STATE, GODDAMMIT, clutched up and beat a pretty good (but not great) Sooner Schooner.
And, those final minutes, were unforgettable fun.
But, let's tone down the David-vs.-Goliath angle because none of us saw Jared Zabransky's tatts dissecting a defense of Rocky Calmus, Torrance Marshall, Derrick Strait, J.T. Thatcher and Roy Williams, okay, OK?
And, this Boise State team wasn't better than BYU's 14-1 team of exactly 10 years ago.
Or Tulane's 12-0 team of '98.
Or Utah's 13-0 team of two years ago.
Or Clemson's 12-0 team of '81.
Or Toledo's Tangerine Bowl champions of 1969 (11-0), Tangerine Bowl champions of 1970 (12-0) and Tangerine Bowl champions of 1971 (12-0).
Or Marshall's 13-0 team of 1999.

Because, "we are ... MARSHALL!"

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