Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back to FOOTBAW!!!

OK, so I had to stray a little into basketball there yesterday. So sue me.

But not so today. Today we return to the sport that is nearly at hand, and have a look at some of the interesting bits out there on Al Gore's greatest invention.

First, there is this article from The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. It's been a while since I have seen a mainstream sports media outlet rub salt in a wound like this. It starts with the title, which is fittingly "Flashbacks of 41-14 Loss to Florida Still Haunting Buckeyes". Stings a little but not too bad, right? But it does get better:

The loss of so many well-known standouts from last year's team - Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith, receivers Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Ginn Jr., tailback Antonio Pittman, three defensive linemen, two starters in the secondary - may actually make it easier for the Buckeyes to purge those dreadful memories. At least that's the hope.

"I think they've probably been beat up enough. We're ready to move on," Heacock said of the returning players.
Heh. If this isn't a "Poor wittow Buckeys" moment, I have never seen one. Jeez, the angst is killing me. Congrats to The Ledger for totally emasculating the Big Ten's most accomplished football team.

On the heels of some friendly give and take between myself and Bobby O'Shea of Vanderbilt Sports Line, we have this article over at The Sporting News. It seems like the eight wins Bobby predicts for Vandy is too low a bar for the team -- they are setting their sights on not just any old bowl, but a BCS bowl.

Having lofty goals is definitely a good thing, but one must wonder if the word "realistic" should enter into their thinking. Is it really realistic for Vanderbilt to get invited to a BCS bowl, given their schedule? VSL hasn't yet gone that far, but one thing is for sure -- the Commodores will be no pushover this year. Consider the rest of the SEC on notice. Whether the rest of us "pundits" believe it or not, the 'Dores claim to believe.

The Associated Press defends the Pac 10 from the evil SEC and, in particular, that minion of Saban Satan himself, Les Miles. The article points out proudly that four of USC's last five losses have come against Pac 10 teams, dating back to 2002:
But to some critics — including Miles, perhaps — those results only support the perception that the Pac-10 has become USC and the Little Nine. The Trojans have won or shared four straight conference titles.

The perception is, so to speak, miles away from reality. Most of USC’s recent trouble has come in its own backyard.

Four of USC’s last five losses, dating to October 2002, have come against Pac-10 rivals.

Now, think about that for a minute. In the last 4 years, USC has suffered only 4 defeats at the hands of conference foes. No SEC team can even come close to matching that 4-year conference record. For example, in that same time period, Florida lost something like 11 games to conference foes. Auburn lost 9. LSU lost 10. You get the picture, but apparently Pete Carroll doesn't:
“If you look at our score spreads, in-conference versus out-of-conference, it’s obvious that our toughest games are in the conference,” Trojans coach Pete Carroll said.
Yeah, Pete. Exactly. Your conference is so tough, all nine of them have been able to hang one whole defeat per year on your team in the last 4. Hello, Pete! Remember the theory of holes ...