Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Weekend That Was

21-year old Tim Tebow didn’t need Percy Harvin, but 24 years from now 45-year old Tim Tebow wishes he had played. Without Harvin, Tebow carried the ball 17 times (and 16 the previous week against Florida State when Harvin was injured), which was the highest number of carries since the Ole Miss game when he rushed 15 times for 7 yards and lost, 31-30 (maybe you heard about it).

Florida’s offense wasn’t as strong without Harvin (which is scary since they still scored 31 points), but they were able to take advantage of some good field position, hit a few big pass plays and run the ball when they needed to do so. Alabama needed a perfect game from its offense, mainly John Parker Wilson, in order to win and didn’t get it. Wilson delivered his normal performance (12 of 25, 187 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT) and if not for Julio Jones, wouldn’t have done much of anything.

I thought Alabama made some odd play-calling decisions when they mixed in a few deep balls and some non-play action pass plays after they were really punishing Florida on the ground. That got them in some long yardage situations, which always favors the team trying to defend Rush Probst’s student. And for the love of all things holy, how has Alabama not developed a fade play in the red zone for Julio Jones? I’m not a huge fan of the fade, but when you have a giant receiver that can’t be covered and catches everything in sight, perhaps you should look into such a play.

One last comment, up 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter, Alabama’s defense really melted away (especially after spending most of the third quarter on the sideline). Really good defenses slam the door shut when given that opportunity. Of course, it’s a little harder against Tebow and an appearance by the Florida running backs, but Alabama was in a great position to win and couldn’t hold on.

Oh, and again, Urban Meyer, please send those flowers and thank you note to:

Houston Nutt
c/o The University of Mississippi
1810 Manning Way
University, MS 38677

Hide the women and children. Ohio State is back in the BCS. Seriously? No, seriously? Have the past two years taught the BCS people nothing? I guess beating Michigan State means more now than it once did. I’m not a big fan of Boise State, but I’d rather see them in the Fiesta Bowl than Ohio State. We know what Ohio State is. A team that was skull-drug by USC and a team that lost in Columbus to Penn State and its backup quarterback.

I said after last year’s debacle against LSU if Ohio State made it back to the BCS, those in the BCS deserved to have their houses burned to the ground (which they may anyway for this money-whoring system we’re in now). I still think it’s an appropriate response.

Will SEC defenses prove to be the offenses’ of the Big 12 kryptonite? I’m really looking forward to seeing how Oklahoma and Texas Tech’s offenses do against Florida and Ole Miss’. Eleven SEC defenses rank ahead of the top defense in the Big 12 (Texas is at number 50, while Mississippi State is the lowest of the 11 at number 38). This could be because of the juggernaut offenses they all face or because they really stink. And maybe the SEC rankings are inflated because of the plethora of inexperienced and bad quarterbacks operating the conference’s offenses. I’m thinking we’ll find out that the Big 12 offenses aren’t as spectacular as they’re made out to be. Someone remind me of this when Texas Tech throws for 600-plus yards against Ole Miss.

Is it possible a BCS game could have a lower attendance than the ACC championship game? If Virginia Tech and Cincinnati have anything to say about it, it will. Well, probably not because Virginia Tech should travel fairly well and Cincinnati should bring more than the seven fans Boston College brought to the ACC championship game. All I really wanted to do here is point out this is an actual BCS game, not a Thursday night ESPN game.

Alabama, don’t pull a Georgia. No one wants to hear about Utah and the Mountain West. Remember a few years back in the Sugar Bowl (when it was held in Atlanta after Katrina) when Georgia found a way to lose to West Virginia? Well, that game is the reason we’ve been hearing so much about the Big East and why Cincinnati is playing in the Orange Bowl. Before then, the only time we ever heard about the Big East was when Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech announced they were leaving the conference. Now, they’re on ESPN every Thursday night in the fall and talking heads sing the praises of Rutgers and the rigors of going to Tampa to play South Florida. So, seriously Alabama, don’t screw this up.

Three games away from 0-16. Mark your calendars, Sunday, December 28 the Detroit Lions should be playing for history against the Green Bay Packers. The Lions have teased us before in 2001 when they started out 0-12, but rallied to win two games late in the year to finish 2-14. I think this team may be for real though. The soul-crushing loss on Sunday to Minnesota should have taken the last bit of fight left in them.

$3.99 buffets and Indians/Cubs trade talks. It can only mean one thing: Baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas! I think ESPN created these winter meetings as an excuse to get Buster Olney, John Kruk and the rest of the Baseball Tonight people to work a little extra for their paychecks. Technically it could be called a vacation for these guys, but ESPN at least makes them report once a day on what Yankees GM Brian Cashman said at 4 a.m. while waiting in line for the seafood buffet.

And speaking of the Yankees, it appears they’re trying to sign every free agent pitcher on the market. All 76 of them. Not sure how they’ll all fit on the roster, but if they throw enough money at enough players, some of it should stick and they’ll have a new pitching staff. It's science and responsible spending.

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