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December 18, 2009

A Terrible Blogger Goes Bowling

Filed under: Football — rmangum @ 10:57 pm
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Hi. My name’s Ray. I’m from Utah. We like college football here. We don’t like the BCS.

Here are my picks for this year’s bowl season. I’ll check back next month and see how I did.

BCS National Championship Game (if I can still call it that): Alabama vs. Texas– I going to call the upset here. After missing out on last year’s big game and going away empty-handed in another Heisman race, Colt McCoy wants this one bad. Texas wins by less than a touchdown.

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon– The Buckeyes surprised everybody by even making it to this one, but I still have no faith in them, especially in a BCS game. Masoli, James, and Blount all have a big day as Oregon runs roughshod over Ohio State.

Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Iowa– I think Iowa is something of a fluke. They’ve had good defense, but against the plodding offenses from the Big Ten, not the dynamic spread option of Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech wins.

Sugar Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Florida– God, I’d love to call another upset, but with their coach leaving for Notre Dame, will the Bearcats be prepared to beat Florida? Urban Meyer keeps Florida focused enough to beat Cincinnati.

Fiesta Bowl: TCU vs. Boise State– Boise simply hasn’t seen a team this strong on both sides of the ball. Not the Oregon team of the first week of the season, not even the Horned Frog team that beat them in a close one last year. TCU wins big.

Champs Sports Bowl: Miami vs. Wisconsin– I like this interesting North vs. South meeting of 9-3 teams. Hard to decide, but let’s just say I foresee bad things for the Big Ten. Miami wins.

Emerald Bowl: USC vs. Boston College– USC has shown that it’s not above losing to teams it should not lose to, but it’s hard to bet against Pete Carroll in a bowl game. USC.

Independence Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas A&M– The Big 12 overall was a confusing conference, but no team was harder to understand than Texas A&M. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up fifty points and win. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose by fifty points. Safest bet is Georgia.

Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Michigan State– This isn’t the same Tech team from last year, but the Spartans are downright mediocre. Texas Tech wins.

Holiday Bowl: Arizona vs. Nebraska– The cornhusker defense was so impressive against Texas that I’d love to pick them. If they had any offense whatsoever I would. What the hell, I will anyway: Nebraska wins with defense and kicking field goals.

Sun Bowl: Stanford vs. Oklahoma– This is another great matchup. With Stanford quarteback Andrew Luck out, it’s basically RB Toby Gerhart against a great Sooner run defense. Whoever comes out on top of that one wins the game. Stanford wins, but by fewer points than you’d expect.

Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. Clemson– C.J. Spiller. That’s all I need to say, right? Clemson wins.

Insight Bowl: Iowa State vs. Minnesota– Jeez, hard to even care about this matchup of two 6-6 teams. I’ll take Minnesota for the sake of my friends who are Gopher fans, and because I’ve got to pick at least one Big Ten team.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee– I didn’t get a chance to see either of these teams this year, so I’ll timidly pick the team with the better record. Virginia Tech to win.

Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Northwestern- I’m a big fan of Kafka, bit not the way they pronounce it in Chicago. It’s as simple as a poker hand: SEC beats Big Ten.

Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Penn State– Except maybe in this game. Joe Pa’s a better bet than Crazy Les Miles. Then again, it’s worth noting that LSU’s 3 losses were all within 10 points to excellent SEC teams Florida, Alabama, and Ole Miss. LSU wins a close one.

Gator Bowl: Florida State vs. West Virgina– Sorry, Bobby Bowden, but your kids won’t give you a big W for Christmas and your final game with the Seminoles. West Virginia comes out on top. Maybe you’ll get a nice tie or something.

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi– Another very intriguing matchup with a Big 12 school. Ole Miss defeated it’s Big 12 opponent in the same bowl last year, Texas Tech, and I suspect they’ll do it again.

New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. Wyoming– It’s not usual that the WAC has the edge on the Mountain West, but that’s the case here. Bulldogs win. Incidentally, how sad is it that the Cowboys get to leave Wyoming in the winter for a bowl trip to sunny . . . New Mexico?

New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Southern Miss– The odds have Southern Miss, but Middle Tennessee has the better record. I don’t know and definitely don’t care. How about a coin flip? Leave it up to the football gods. Heads Mid Tenn; tails So Miss. . . Tails it is.

Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. California– I’m not going to jinx my Utes, am I? With Jahvid Best out of the game, I feel confident enough not to. Go Utes!

St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida vs. Rutgers– I’ll take Central Florida, without thinking about it too much. Does that count as an upset? Is this game played in Russia?

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Oregon State– Despite so many offensive weapons, BYU has underperformed in the Max Hall era, losing when they need to win most and being lackluster in the postseason. I suspect they don’t much want to be in Vegas, where they’ve landed five years in a row. Mormons don’t belong in Sin City. The Beavers win a shootout.

Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs. SMU– Kudos to June Jones for bringing a demoralized team to their first bowl in 25 years, and a year after being 1-11. Too bad that Nevada’s awesome rushing attack will be too much to handle. Wolf Pack wins.

Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl: Ohio vs. Marshall– I didn’t know there was a Pizza Bowl. It’s pretty obvious when you think of it. Why not order a pie while you’re not watching . . . who was it again? Hey, Marshall has a guy named Marshall on their team. I think I’ll still take Ohio.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh– This was almost a BCS game. I’ll take Pittsburgh by the same margin they lost to Cincinati: 1 point.

Papajohns.com Bowl: Connecticut vs. South Carolina– Another pizza bowl. Another coin flip. Tails. South Carolina.

Humanitarian Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Idaho– Idaho, since they basically have home field advantage on the smurf turf of Boise. Don’t stare at the blue for too long.

Texas Bowl: Missouri vs. Navy– Once again, I’m unsure of whether to pick a middling Big 12 team. Let’s say Navy, even though they lost at Hawaii (no Pearl Harbor jokes, please).

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Houston– Houston has one of the most powerful air attacks in the game, while Air Force does it mosly on the ground. Neat irony, huh? I’d like to pick the Falcons in a good upset for the Mountain West . . . and so I will. Air Force.

Liberty Bowl: ECU vs. Arkansas– Razorbacks win a wild and sloppy one.

International Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. South Florida– USF just because.

GMAC Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Troy– Central Michigan sacks Troy.

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September 14, 2009

A Song for Sunday #25

Filed under: A Song for Sunday,Football — rmangum @ 1:04 am

B0002VERQA.01.LZZZZZZZI wanted to post this song last week to coincide with the first week of the NFL regular season, but my internet connection has been unreliable of late, and was down last Sunday. Oh well. Here’s A Golden Boy Again, the iconic composition for NFL Films by Sam Spence. Spence’s music is usually jazzy, madcap fun, but this one is epic, perfectly capturing the power and pathos of a football game. Spence was a soundtrack composer in the tradition of Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, and Raymond Scott. Not much of an innovator, his scores borrowed from everywhere, and some songs were just straight ripoffs. With this piece though, he really does something special, turning the tune “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor” into the sound of hard-won victory.

September 2, 2009

Tribute to Dr. Lou

Filed under: Football — rmangum @ 1:51 am

On the eve of college football’s first weekend, Lou Holtz blows his circuits and picks Notre Dame to play in the BCS championship game. Is he mad? First of all, there is no way the Irish can beat USC, which is a fact I think all by itself keeps them out of the BCS title game. Second, I think that at least one, and probably more than two, of the other teams on Notre Dame’s creampuff schedule will beat them, keeping them out of the BCS entirely. Will it be Nevada? Michigan State? Boston College? It will be somebody, rest assured.

Blitzcorner | Lou Holtz Picks Notre Dame to Win BCS

By the way, has anybody noticed the similarity between ESPN’s Dr. Lou and the Cartoon Network’s Brak?

January 6, 2009

Possible Red Takeover?

Filed under: Football — rmangum @ 1:52 am
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Of the BCS that is.

In this ESPN interview Utah alum Jamal Anderson makes a convincing case that the Utes football team deserves a share of the national championship after their awesome Sugar Bowl victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

default31Three days after the game, I’m still on cloud nine. I have to admit that I’ve been a skeptic all season, and expected them to lose, albeit in a close game. I’m glad to have been proved so wrong.

Two things I kept hearing during the buildup to the game: 1) Despite the letdown of not beating Florida in the SEC title game, coach Nick Saban would not let Alabama come into the Sugar Bowl unprepared, and 2) while Utah had obvious speed on defense and a great spread offense, Alabama would win out simply by being more physical (surely the most overused word in football).

The results? 1) Alabama clearly was unprepared, as Utah did nothing they hadn’t done all year long, from the no-huddle, two-minute drill offense to the way its sudden defensive line shifts drew false starts just as they did against TCU, and 2) Utah beat Alabama by being more physical, hitting harder and fighting for yards. You don’t hold Alabama to only 31 yards rushing without being tough and physical.

Hey sports journalists, the Mountain West is here to stay! And you can doubt whether the Utes should be number one, but please stop making excuses for Alabama (and I’m looking at you, Barry Switzer). You wouldn’t have done it for us. They were soundly defeated in a fair fight, period.

Fox Sports has a particularly good and balanced article on the game.

But the win is bringing a lot of heat to the BCS, and a great deal of criticism about the fairness of the system, like this ESPN video blog rant against the BCS. And that’s a good thing, not just for the Utes, but all the blue-collar teams out there. The BCS may be busted for good.

I don’t get to say this very often, but it feels good to be from Utah!

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