Monday, November 17, 2008
The College football landscape remained mostly quiet over the weekend, with only one top twenty five matchup on the schedule. This means that many of your top teams saw little to no movement in their rankings. However, that should be considered the calm before the storm. The next three weeks will prove to be a mad dash to the finish, and it is anyone’s guest who will end up being the leader entering the clubhouse. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at how the top 25 shapes up for this week.
1) Alabama: Alabama must remained focused coming down the stretch of the season. They have a big rivalry game with Auburn coming up. And while Tommy Tuberville may be on his way out and Auburn is horrible, it is a rivalry game, and if Bama gets caught up in looking ahead to the SEC Championship game and Florida, it could all be thrown away in a heartbeat with a lost to Auburn.
2) Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are almost through the fire, but they have another major test on Saturday night when they take on the Oklahoma Sooners. If Texas Tech can hold off the Sooners, they will be a lock for the Big 12 South title, and a spot in the Big 12 Championship against Missouri.
3) Florida Gators: The Gators once again proved they are the hottest team in college football by dismantling the South Carolina Gamecocks. Once again Florida found itself dominating on defense and proving to be simply too fast for anyone to keep up with. Florida finds itself in a similar position that Alabama is in. They cannot look ahead, with the Florida State Seminoles coming to town. They must remain focused on that instate rival. Once they take care of business there, they can focus on the SEC Championship and Bama.
4) Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners will be forced to lay it all on the table in the upcoming weeks. Saturday Oklahoma host Texas Tech and if the Sooners can pull off the upset, they will slingshot themselves right into the thick of the National Title hunt, and probably cause the BCS computers to explode at the same time. All of which I would consider good things.
5) USC: Like several other teams in this poll, USC presents a number of interesting variables to consider when picking the BCS games. USC does not control their own fate in the Pac-10. Oregon State holds a tie breaker over them. However, at the same time, if the BCS turns into a jumble because Missouri knocks off any of the Big 12 South teams then you can bet USC will start clamoring for the right to play in the national title game. Make any else? Good I didn’t think so either.
6) Utah: the Utes have the best chance of being the team from a non BCS conference to make a BCS game. As it stands a team ranked inside the BCS top12 is automatically qualified to make the big show. Currently the Utes are seventh in the poll, and they are preparing for a big game against BYU. You can also bet that if Utah goes undefeated, and they can get some of the Missouri love they will want to at least throw their hat in the ring for a claim to play for a national title.
7) Texas Longhorns: The Longhorns have played some great football this season, but sadly there is a good chance they may not be rewarded for their effort. If there is a three way tie in the Big 12 South, the tie breaker goes to the team with the highest BCS ranking. The BCS computers tend to slam the team with the most recent lost. That means that despite beating Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, the Longhorns could miss out on the Big 12 Championship and a national title because they lost to Texas Tech more recently thus allowing Oklahoma to leapfrog them in the standings. I told you this could get real screwy.
8) Boise State: Boise State presents another interest BCS scenario much like their buddies Utah. Boise State is most likely to run the table and win another WAC title. And currently they are ranked ninth in the BCS poll this means they would also likely qualify for a BCS bid. In a perfect world Utah would lose to BYU which would put Boise in the BCS game without a doubt, but the world and the BSC especially are far from perfect. Boise State will need to win out, and get a little luck if they want to make it to the big show.
9) Penn State: Penn State is back on track after their misstep against Iowa a couple weeks ago. Now they are preparing to take on Michigan State in what will be a must win game. If Penn State loses the game, they are out of the Big 10 title hunt and likely out of the BCS. If they can knock off Michigan State, then PSU can punch their tickets to the Rose Bowl.
10) Ball State: The BCS gives this team no love. They dropped from 14-17 despite beating Miami of Oh. A shame really. Ball State did everything they were asked to do, and will get no love. I am sure Jason Whitlock will be complaining about this for years to come. Anyways, at least it has been a great story to watch this season.
11) Missouri Tigers: The Tigers have the chance to play the biggest spoiler roll in BCS history. It does not matter which one of the Big 12 South teams they play for the conference championship, all they need to do is win. If they do, the entire BCS will automatically go into overdrive in an effort to figure out who is the second ranked team in the country.
12) Ohio State: It’s Michigan vs. Ohio State week, and there is barely a buzz circulating around. That just goes to who you how far Michigan has fallen. OSU is out of the Big 10 title hunt, but there is an outside chance they can steal a spot in a BCS game. Especially if it can boil down between them and say a Boise State. The one thing hurting the Buckeyes will be their horrible performances in the last two BCS games and well any game out of conference as of late.
13) Georgia Bulldogs: Georgia had a good season, and a spot in the Capital One Bowl is nothing to be ashamed of. Just not exactly were they wanted to end up at when, they originally had hopes of winning a national title. The Georgia front office may want to start looking at their head coach as well, as his name is becoming a hot topic for many NFL GM’s.
14) BYU: The hopes for BYU’s perfect season are long gone, but they can still play a big roll on the national scene when they face off against instate rival Utah. A win against the Utes will knock them out of the BCS and allow Boise and probably OSU or another BCS Conference team to sneak into a game. BYU is on the clock as a spoiler team.
15) Michigan State: Despite being ranked this low, Michigan State has had a great year. Not many would have thought that coming down the stretch of the season, the Spartans would have the opportunity to win the Big 10 Championship. Their game against Penn State is as big as it gets. A win there and they are Rose Bowl bound.
16) Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State has had a great season. In many ways they are where Texas Tech has been for the past several years, a very good team but not ready to compete with the big boys in the Big 12 South. However, they will get one last crack at it, when they take on the Oklahoma Sooners. The outcome of the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma game will determine how important the Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State game is. No matter what, it looks like the Cowboys will be in the Gator Bowl and that’s not a bad place to finish things up.
17) TCU: TCU has had a great season with their only two losses to teams within the top 10. They are not in the running for any competition for any national or even conference glory, but they can be proud of the season they have had.
18) LSU: It just was not the year for the Bayou Tigers. The SEC just proved to be too tough for them. Now LSU needs to focus on finishing strong and letting things end on a high note.
19) Cincinnati Bearcats: The best in the Big East. The Bearcats are not a bad team, but it will be hard to swallow seeing them in a BCS game especially if they get stuck playing one of the Big 12 cast offs.
20) Pittsburgh: Pitt is in the exact same position as Cincinnati. The showdown between the two schools will determine who wins the Big East. It will also determine who will be the sacrificial lamb of the BCS.
21) Oregon State: Hanging out near the bottom of the top 25, the Beavers control their own destiny and that is important. With games against Arizona and instate rival Oregon the Beavers are primed to take home a Pac-10 title and in doing so, claim a trip to the Rose Bowl.
22) Maryland: The Terps have had an up and down season, but somehow they have clung around and fought themselves back into the top 25. The ACC is an absolute mess, and it is difficult to tell who will win, or who will do what. But out of a bunch of mediocre teams, Maryland appears to have the edge for the last twenty minutes.
23) Oregon: The Ducks are playing solid football. While they do not factor into the Pac-10 title hunt, they can play the roll of spoiler. They will travel to Oregon State to play in the Civil War. A win there and the Ducks can consider it a good season.
24) Miami: After a two year hiatus, the Canes are back. Miami is in the midst of a six game winning streak, and this team is beginning to look like your fathers Miami Hurricanes. They are tough on defense and have speed on the edges on the offense. The Canes may be young, but you better get used to seeing them in the top 25.
25) UNC: The Tar Heels lost to Maryland in a close one on Saturday, but they didn’t fall too far in the rankings. And considering that the next three teams I would rank are also all average ACC teams, I saw no harm in giving the Heels the spot.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-3
Baltimore Ravens 6-4
Cleveland Browns 3-6 (plays @ BUF tonight)
Cincinnati Bengals 1-8-1
The Steelers have come away in some close wins this season, thankfully, and that's what matters most. It wasn't pretty in last night's 11-10 win over the Chargers, but Ben Roethlisberger was mistake free (0 INT, 0 fumbles), and he remarkably threw for 308 yards. If head coach Mike Tomlin can get the offense going, the Steelers will cruise to another division title and possibly a first-round bye.
The Baltimore Ravens and rookie QB Joe Flacco have shown promise at times, but failure to finish games has been killing these Ravens. At this point, all John Harbaugh should be looking for from Flacco is mistake-free football. Keep the pressure off Flacco and this team has a shot at a wild card spot. Will they do it? No, Baltimore's remaining schedule is just too tough. Wait 'til next year, Flacco!
At this point, it's quite obvious the Browns and Bengals are out of the playoff picture. The only hope Cincy has shown was during yesterday's tie with the Philadelphia Eagles, 13-13. And, Browns coach Romeo Crennel has already replaced his starting QB, Derek Anderson, with the inexperienced Brady Quinn. That's a sign of desperation, and replacing Anderson was certainly not the answer to their struggles.
This division comes down to the Steelers and Ravens, and Pittsburgh is the team that knows what it takes to reach the playoffs.Division winner: Steelers
New York Jets 7-3
Miami Dolphins 6-4
New England Patriots 6-4
Buffalo Bills 5-4 (plays CLE tonight)
With a win over Cleveland tonight, the Bills could tie Miami and New England for second place in the division. This division could be the toughest to call at this point. Even with New York's 7-3 record, there really isn't a "powerhouse" favorite like there was last year. But I haven't given up on the Patriots just yet. In fact, Matt Cassel has shown he has what it takes to win games under Bill Belichick, and I personally am still leaning towards New England for the division title. This could be a real dangerous team if coach Bill can get the running game going, which will ultimately take the pressure off Cassel's shoulders.
I will just go back to that saying, "New England are the favorites until someone knocks them off." Tom Brady isn't the only reason this team went 16-0 last year. It's a team effort.
Well, Brett Favre is Brett Favre, of course. But, the Jets' defense doesn't equal the Pats' D, and the coaching is much better in Foxboro. Let's face the facts, New England is the better team, despite the 34-31 OT loss on Thursday. Patriots win division, Jets earn a wild card spot. Sorry Buffalo, but your great start was a fluke. Wait 'til next year!
Division winner: Patriots
Tennessee Titans 10-0
Indianapolis Colts 6-4
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-6
Houston Texans 3-7
I do not expect Jeff Fisher's success to dwindle to nothing at the end of the regular season. Come playoff time, the Titans will still be the number one team in the AFC, boasting a 14-2 record and an AFC South title. The duo of Chris Johnson and LenDale White has just been too much for opposing defenses, and the Steelers are the only tough defense remaining on their regular season radar.
Peyton Manning had another slow/tough start to the season, but he has the tendency to carry his team. It's not gonna be pretty, but Indy will get the fifth seed in the playoffs.
I am very disappointed in these 4-6 Jaguars. They were favorites coming into the season and they have disappointed pretty much everyone. But, I guess they aren't the only team to do that this year. This seems to be a pretty disappointing season, so far (yes, I'm looking at you Cleveland, New England, Dallas, Minnesota etc, etc, etc).
Houston remains the scum of the AFC South. Actually, the AFC for that matter. Wait 'til next year Houston!
Division winner: Titans
Denver Broncos 6-4
San Diego Chargers 4-6
Oakland Raiders 2-8
Kansas City Chiefs 1-8
This is what's holding the AFC back. An entire "suckish" division. This is ugly. What is up out west? Both west divisions have some of the worst teams in the entire NFL. What an embarrassment!
First of all, the 6-4 Broncos are extremely inconsistent. Second of all, Jay Cutler needs a little help in the backfield (and offensive line, as well). Injuries have decimated the Broncos on both sides of the ball. Third of all, the defense is horrific. The injury to All-Pro CB Champ Bailey hasn't helped that matter too much. The upside to the season? Young WR, Eddie Royal, looks promising, and has been a must in fantasy leagues around the Nation. Other than that, this is an embarrassment.
After the Broncos, the rest of the three teams have a combined record of 7-22. Whatever happened to all those Chargers fans in the beginning of the season? You know, all those AF's commenting on Galligan's NFL Preview...They were badmouthing him for picking Denver to win the division and look where LT and the Bolts are. I can't believe they are only two games back with a horrifying 4-6 record.
Don't even get me started on the Raiders and Chiefs! Wait 'til next year...Uh, can I just say the entire AFC WEST?!?!?
Division winner: Broncos (But, in order for this to happen, the Broncos D must actually play football).
Am I the only one on the planet who thinks Cris Collinsworth sucks. Its even worse when Petey gobbles down Collinsworth's word like the gospel.
Todays MMBBQ, was the particularly usual fare, where King talks about how awesome the Giants are, falls head-over-heels for a (losing) Patriots squad and him talking up fellow King-ite Collinsworth:
Frankly, this is what kills me:
"Ty Law now is gonna back off Randy Moss and give him a free release. I don't know about that one.''
-- Cris Collinsworth, on NFL Network's 34-31 New York Jets win over New England on Thursday night, talking with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, as the Patriots lined up for a fourth-and-one at the Jet 16.
Law had Moss, split wide right, in coverage. Law backed off all the way back near the goal line, didn't bump Moss in the five-yard bump zone like he'd been doing all game, and Moss boxed him out near the goal line to make a great touchdown catch, sending the game to overtime. As Collinsworth presaged, it was a poor decision by the Jets. (Even if Law had played bump with Moss, I bet Cassel would have thrown a fade to Moss in the corner of the end zone, and who knows, he could have caught a jump ball for the tying touchdown too. But I'm with Collinsworth. If the bump slows Moss down long enough to let the rush get to Cassel, it would have been worth it.)
Now, I work with Collinsworth, as you may know. And you could clearly take this as me just supporting my guy. But I can assure it's more than that. Collinsworth had a very good game Thursday night. Did you catch him saying near halftime that the Jets might be smart to take a better cover man, Law, and put him head-up on Jabar Gaffney instead of using Dwight Lowery there, because as long as the Jets were going to keep a safety in place to double Moss downfield, why not use the better cover-corner, Law, in single-coverage, even if it's against a lesser receiver? And that's what the Jets did at the start of the third quarter. Collinsworth does stuff like this two or three times in most games, and Thursday was a classic example.
And you could clearly take this as me just supporting my guy. But I can assure it's more than that.Really Petey? Should we just take your word for it? Collinsworth is the soothsayer of the NFL...All hail the Great Cris Collinsworth
And the best part? No Petey, no one caught Collinsworth talking (or his numerous gaffes) because...well...no of us could watch it...
What else ya got?
Well, there's this one: The Eagles have had two ties in the last 20 years. Both came on Nov. 16 ... yesterday, 13-13, in Cincinnati; and in 1997, a 10-10 cliffhanger in Baltimore.
-Makes me wonder how much it must suck to be his intern and/or the guy at Elias Sports Bureau who has to talk to him...
Here's what Peter spent 13 paragraphs or 768 words on:
What I Learned About Football This Week That I Didn't Know Last WeekRight. He also spent two paragraphs explaining how they stopped pads from smelling.
It is mid-November, and I didn't know this could happen: At least one NFL locker room does not smell.
This man is arguably the most famous football writer in America...
To quote Petey: "What a Country"
Dallas Mavericks owner and media tycoon has just been charged with insider trading according to a Yahoo/CNN Money Report.
The report stems from activity that took place in June of 2004, when Cuban instructed his broker to sell 600,000 shares of "Mamma.com" just one day before it took a 9.3% dive in value, saving Cuban approximately $750,000.00.
"As we allege in the complaint, Mamma.com entrusted Mr. Cuban with nonpublic information after he promised to keep the information confidential...Less than four hours later, Mr. Cuban betrayed that trust by placing an order to sell all of his shares."Cuban has yet to be reached for comment.
-Scott W. Friestad, Deputy Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. (Source:CNN Money)
The Wall Street Journal explains that Cuban was entrusted with the information that Mamma.com was "raising money through a private investment in a public entity, or PIPE." The following day, (after Cuban sold his shares) Mamma.com announced their move, resulting in the share price decline. PIPE transactions typically result in shares being sold at a reduced price (compared to the trading price) and result in a lowered trading price (as the information hits the market) as shares become diluted (more shares in the market) and the pricing of some shares is reduced (suggesting their actual value is lower).
Since Cuban's frustrated post in which he thanks the fans for hanging in their, we've yet to see any type of response, though we doubt there would be any...on his blog...before he gets arrested and receives the Martha Stewart treatment.
UPDATE 12:48 PM: Check out the text of the complaint from the SEC. Of note is that Cuban will be required to pay back the $750,000 he "gained" by selling his shares (by gained, we mean avoided losing), a prejudged amount of interest on said gain and a civil penalty (in accordance to the rule, not to exceed roughly $2.25 million)
The SEC obtained fairly specific e-mail and phone records. Of note: an e-mail entitled "Call me pls" from the CEO of Mamma.com which Cuban responded to roughly 4 minutes later, where he had an 8 minute and 35 second phone call. During said phonecall, Cuban was told by the CEO of the PIPE offering to which Cuban became purturbed and ended the call exclaiming: "Well, now I’m screwed. I can’t sell."
After investigating the PIPE withthe investment bank, Cuban called is broker and stated "sell what you can tonight and just get me out the next day.”
His broker managed to sell 10,000 shares that night (in afterhours trading) at roughly $13.50 per share. The following day his broker sold the remaining 590,000 at roughly $13.30 per share. That evening, Mamma.com announced the PIPE offering (at 6pm, after the market close). Mamma.com opened the following morning at $11.89, down 9.3%. The SEC also maintains that Cuban publically stated that he sold his shares as a direct result of the PIPE offering to Mamma.com
UPDATE II: Cuban has Responded on his blog
I've decided to forgo my Daily "Linkin' Logs" (at least for the time being) to bring to you my experiences as Agganis Arena last night.
First, the game. Northeastern battled B.U. hard in the first period, but Boston University out shot N.U. 12-5, a telling sign as the game progressed. B.U. managed numerous scoring opportunities in the first, but thanks, in large part, to goalie Brad Thiessen's efforts, they could manage nary a goal.
The same couldn't exactly be said for Terrier goalie Kieran Millan, who turned away 18 shots to earn his first career shutout. However, Millan was facing an inept Husky offense that not only could not get out of its own way throughout the game, but poorly returned to defense, allowing two fluky B.U. goals in the second.
By the third period, with Andrew Glass's legit icing-on-the-cake goal it was too little too late for the Huskies, even as they outshot BU 7-6 in the final period.
But beyond the game is the rivalry. Something that has really blossomed (again) with the resurgence of Husky Hockey on Huntington Ave. It was chipper, it was rude, it was fun and it was pretty typical of a BU-NU game (except many more NU fans at Agganis than I've ever seen).
And with that, I have no issues (respectfully) with the fans, who cheer loudly for their team and take part in the banter between fans (which admittedly can get stupid and take away from the hockey game).
What I took issue with (along with about 150 fellow Husky Hockey Fans) was the treatment we received at Agganis from the staff and personnel who felt it was their responsibility to ensure our experience (as paying customers) at Agganis was simply not as enjoyable as it would be for Terrier fans.
We were initially (as in 20 minutes before the start of the game) spoken to by an Arena official who warned us to "mind or P's and Q's" or we would be ejected from the game. Seemed fine. Husky fans are known to get a little rowdy and should be reminded that this is indeed an arena where respect is essential. Still, the idea that an official would seek our an opposing group of fans seems a bit questionable and slightly inflammatory to begin with.
One thing to note about Agganis Arena is their "Guest Conduct Policy." Ambiguous to say the least...
"Guest ConductSo let me get this straight, its a prerequisite to "...cheer loudly for the Terriers." - I guess that explains a lot to begin with, when part of your Conduct Policy includes cheering for the home to (and we're to assume only for the home team based on my experiences).
To help make Agganis Arena a safe and enjoyable environment for all Guests, we request that all Guests be courteous to those around them and abide by all building policies and regulations. Guests who do not conduct themselves in a proper manner and do not abide by building policies and regulations will be removed from the Arena.
Boston University athletic events are for the enjoyment of all in attendance and should be safe and fun. Fans are asked to behave responsibly at all games and to cheer loudly for the Terriers.
Boston University, the Hockey East Conference, America East Conference, and the NCAA promote good sportsmanship by student-athletes, coaches, and spectators. Please support the participants and officials in a positive manner. Throwing objects of any type and any profane, racial, sexist or other abusive comments or actions directed at officials, student-athletes, visiting team fans, spectators, coaches or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from AGGANIS ARENA."
Its important to note that this policy is basically a nice way of saying, "No swearing, no booing, no entertainment, no fun and we'll kick you out if we consider you doing any of the following" Frankly its worse than the "negative cheering" policy that infected PSU a few years ago. What that meant for the game was no chanting of "asshole" or "bullshit" during bad calls, non-calls, or displays that merit such a chant. Free speech? - Need not apply.
Of course this does not apply to the tradition BU Chant of (and I'm quoting here) "Fuck 'em up Fuck 'em up, BC Sucks!"
The game began and fans on both sides showed their support, but cheering loudly and most noticeably; standing. Within 15 minutes into the first period, both team's fans becoming incredibly loud and raucous (but controlled in that the game was not adversely affected) the NU fans were asked to sit down. Immediately NU fans pointed to BU fans on both ends of the Arena and decried "they're standing up, why can't we?" And they were immediately told that said section (108) was a "special section," the NU crowd is distraught. They ruefully sat down, but continued to cheer loudly. Chants of "Bullshit" were quelled immediately by section "leaders" acknowledging that fans would indeed be shown the door quickly.
Things quickly grew to a head as an already frustrated NU crowd stood after two BU goals in the 2nd period. Soon enough security guards and Arena officials were lining up in response to the issue...of standing up during a hockey game. Nevermind the raucous action of the BU crowd, which included profane and abusive comments (towards both the fans and the teams).
Finally, officials caught up with the leaders of the Husky crowd and explained that not only would they be ejected from the Arena, but also arrested for such "disrespect." They again despondently sat down never to stand again until the final buzzer.
An unfortunate result at Agganis, perhaps the nicest Arena in Hockey East, but one with the most uptight and rude officials and Arena Staff in the entire conference as well. To not be allowed to stand up during a game is almost sacrilege. Then again, an Arena with all but a no "negative cheering" policy (as well as no swearing policy...like your little boy hasn't heard that word before...from you), I guess this isn't surprising.
So let me be the first of many disappointed Hockey East fans to exclaim:
Agganis Arena...Sucks to B.U.