Wow, what a weekend. A good time was had by all. That said, for parents of young tots who may or may not be allergic to a full night's sleep, the clock-falls-back day is hugely underrated. It's one of the 10 best days of the year to be honest. It's nowhere near Christmas, Thanksgiving Memorial Day or the 4th of July, but it dominates Flag Day and some of those other non-descript days that get a little more pub.
Glad we could discuss that. Now from the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
Monday morning college football quarterback - LSU-Alabama edition
Five things we learned from this year's "Game of the Century," or if you have been trapped under a rock that's under a rock for the last 10 months, LSU's 9-6 overtime win over Alabama on Saturday night.
1) The difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is well noted. Well, the difference between LSU and Alabama and the rest of the SEC and in turn the rest of college football is huge. Each of these teams averaged roughly 40 points per game before Saturday's slugfest, which did not include a TD and was as good as advertised defensively. There's something nostalgic and emotionally charged about a game where first downs feel like accomplishments, and that's one of the best ways to describe Saturday night. First downs felt like a big deal.
2) As good as the game was and as superior as these teams appear, there should not be a rematch in the national title game if there's another unbeaten team out there. And you can make a pretty strong argument that even if there's a one-loss Stanford, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State that wins its conference championship, one of those team should go over Alabama. The 5-at-10 thinks a team that can't win its conference title should get the chance to play for a national title. Plus, for all you playoff proponents out there, this was a national quarterfinal (it likely gets LSU into the SEC title game, which has been a national semifinal for the last five years), and how is it fair to LSU, which beat Alabama on the road no less, to have to beat them again in the bowl game.
3) LSU's staff is underrated. Les Miles was the best coach on the field Saturday night. John Chavis was the best coordinator. And this LSU staff has put together a team that can beat you in variety of ways. We have said from the beginning that Alabama's defense is the best we've seen in a long time, and we still believe that. But this stat is mind-boggling about the recovery speed and talent of the LSU secondary: On passes that travel 20 yards or more in the air, LSU has more interceptions (7) than completions allowed (5).
4) A very influential side piece to the game was Alabama's kicking woes. Fret not depressed Alabama fans, help is on the way in Calhoun's Adam Griffith, and our prep ace Stephen Hargis tells you about it here (Griffith excited to kick for Alabama).
5) We had great participation in people trying to pick the score. We had three people guess LSU by 3 - TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer, "The Show" host Chris Goforth, and Memphis Exile. Here's the debate: On the radio last Thursday, Goforth said it would be 9-6 LSU. So he nailed the exact score. Granted, that can't be held against Weeds or Memphis Exile because we did not require that. We're inclined to give Exile the prizes (tickets to the Mocs football finale, some TFP gear) since Chris and Weeds are for all intent and purposes, sports professionals. Anyone have a different view?
Monday morning college football quarterback - Rest of the on-the-field stuff
1) Stanford continues to roll along. The Cardinal thumped Oregon State and are now 14-0-1 in their last 15 games against the spread. That said, it was a less-than-good-week for the Fab 4 (plus 1), we went 3-3, hitting the under on Alabama-LSU, Stanford and Arkansas and missing UNC, Ole Miss and Alabama. There were a few other games we hit - USC, Houston, etc. - but we went with Alabama. So it goes and the Fab 4 is 31-17-1 against the spread.
2) Any win was a good win for the Tennessee Vols and yes, Saturday's counted. A quick start against an undermanned such as MTSU is paramount. The longer a team let's a homecoming foe hang around, the more dangerous the visitors become. UT started quickly - Austin Johnson's pick and return was HUGE - and finished meekly. Is it troubling that UT has any many second-half touchdowns as the 5-at-10 in the last four games? Yes, yes it is. But worrying stats after a win is better than worrying about improvement after a loss. Certainly the fact that Tennessee would be the absolute beast of the Big East, Sun Belt, Big Sky or any other meddling conference is not exactly an overwhelming confidence boost to Johnny Vols Fan, but a win is a win. Right?
3) Show your gold Vandy. Yes, the Commodores have long since been the innovator and expert on tough-luck losses to better-talented teams, but Saturday in the Swamp was different. The 'Dores lost 26-21 to Florida, marking their third SEC loss by less than a touchdown to a superior foe. In year's past, this would simply be "Pulling a Vandy." But Saturday was different. Pulling a Vandy has always followed a specific formula: Build a quick lead, normally with the help of a big special teams play or a defensive score; Let all the other fans watching other games switch over because Vandy's on the verge of pulling an upset; Stand tough on defense for three quarters before tiring out; make a critical offensive mistake, be it a turnover, penalty or a failed attempt on third-and-1; let the foe score with less than 120 second left to win. Saturday, though, Vandy was down 17-0 at halftime and it could have gotten out of hand quickly. But Vandy fought and scrapped and scored with less than a minute left and if the 'Dores could have recovered the last on-side kick, well, who knows. We asked last week if UT fans would trade Derek Dooley for Vandy coach James Franklin, and now we ask the same thing to Florida fans: Would you trade Will Muschamp for James Franklin? It may be too early to answer that about Muschamp, but if the question was posed to Vandy fans, here's saying they just screamed "No way," into their computer screens.
4) Arkansas hammered South Carolina on Saturday night in the "If a top-10 game falls in the forest the same night as LSU-Alabama, will anyone outside of Arkansas watch it?" game. We're going to break down Arkansas all this week and try to talk Johnny Vols Fans into believing they have a shot against the Hogs this weekend (and try to talk the 5-at-10 into it, too). But let's cover Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks really quickly. They now head to Florida needing to win and needing help to win the SEC East. They are 7-2, but there is an overriding sense of disappointment and doom right now in the program. Sure losing Marcus Lattimore was a brutal blow, but something seems like the wheels are about to fall off in Columbia. We've even heard that this may be the final run for the Ol' Ball Coach. Wow.
5) Hottest SEC team not centered in Baton Rouge? Yep, Johnny Bulldogs Fan, it's Mark Richt and your Georgia Bulldogs. Winners of seven straight after losing their first two, the Bulldogs have the inside track to return the Georgia Dome to face LSU (barring a stunning surprise) for the SEC championship game (which ironically is where they started the season against Boise State, and it likely could mean Georgia will play the two teams in the BCS title game in the same Atlanta venue). Want to know the least hottest team in the SEC? Yep, the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears and the coach formerly known as Houston Nutt, who were thumped by 17 at Kentucky. Yes, the same Kentucky team that scored all of 14 points against Western Kentucky, put 30 on Ole Miss. Ouch. And Houston, make sure your TV resume is polished up, something tells us you're going to need it very soon.
Monday morning college football quarterback - New division
There are not five things here, rather two news items that must be discussed.
1) Welcome to the SEC Missouri, and welcome to the SEC East. The diagonal line that puts Missouri into the East (or more correctly the Northeast) allows for the easiest adjustment schedule-wise during this time of transition. What it likely means for football is, teams will play all six of their divisional foes, their one traditional rival from the other division and one rotating opponent from the other division.
Welcome aboard. As for the story is true that the SEC slow-walked this deal in hopes that the news would not take away from the LSU-Alabama game, well OK. Whatever. But if that's the real reason, then why did the SEC not move the rest of its games to other times that were not opposite the LSU-Alabama game. Seems a little too convenient for us (and the extra time certainly helps with any tampering charges the Big 12 may be examining).
2) The awful mess that is brewing at Penn State is tragic. And disgusting.
Former longtime Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been arrested on charges of raping young boys out of a charity foundation he started to help young boys. The attorney general's report can be found here.
If you want to read the report, please know it's disgusting. And infuriating. And it should cost Joe Paterno his job. Dude has been an icon of college football for the last 50 years, but according to the grand jury testimony he was informed about a child being raped in the Penn State locker room and all Paterno did was tell his AD. The people Paterno informed - AD Tim Curley and PSU VP of finance and business Gary Schultz - have been indicted for perjury in this case. Curley asked for administrative leave and has since resigned, and Schultz has retired amid the scandal.
"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters," Paterno said in a statement Sunday. "While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred."
That's not acceptable. On any level, including Pennsylvania State law which requires state employees to report this kind of information to authorities. And while Joe Paterno did not witness the event, he certainly should have directed the assistant coach that reported it to him to go to the authorities. Plus, it's impossible to think that once Joe Paterno was given this information, he would not call Sandusky, a former player for Paterno and a coach that worked for Joe Pa for 23 years and was believed to be the front-runner to be Joe Pa's successor. C'mon.
Plus, there's no telling how many more kids have been assaulted and/or violated by Sandusky in the nine-plus year since the 2002 incident. A week ago it would have been impossible to envision a scenario that would cause Joe Pa to leave in any other manner than a farewell tour embraced by the masses. That seems highly unlikely today.
This and that
- Tony Stewart called his shot and delivered on it. The driver known as "Smoke" said he was coming for Carl Edwards and the points lead in a diatribe that was part entertainment/part threat and 100-percent truth. Edwards somewhat light-heartedly dismissed Stewart's remarks, but it's doubtful he's dismissing anything this morning. Stewart won again Sunday at Texas - his fourth win in the Chase - and is three points behind Edwards.
- We'll cover this more in the Power Poll on Tuesday, but there is really no way to overvalue a quarterback in the NFL. And while there appears to be a lot of good teams in the league, they are all flawed with the exception of the Green Bay Packers, who appear to be on another level than everyone else right now.
- The NBA gave its players an ultimatum this weekend. The players gave the NBA a shrug. Each side is giving its fans the cold shoulder, and here's saying the fans will return the favor in the days - and maybe even the years - to come.
Despite the loss, Alabama is still No. 3 in the BCS standings meaning that more than likely a rematch is on the horizon.
If LSU runs the table and Alabama finishes 11-1, is a rematch in our future. Should it be?
What do you think?