New Year’s Trash

The dawn of a new year always brings with it hope and change. Unlike the hollow rhetoric at 1600 Pennsylvania NW, there is a whole lot of real change going on in the football world. And some actual football too!

Let’s start with the hope and change. Because that is always wonderful when it is actually in play. So far, there has been change noted in Detroit, Washington, Houston, Minnesota, Tampa and Cleveland. They may all think they have immediate hope, but Detroit is the place where it really may be true. The Lions are chock full of talent and if they pick the right new coach to bring some discipline, both mentally and physically on the field, they have a real shot at being elite.

The team that everyone is talking about, the Skins, is going to be a tougher road. RG 3-13 is a self centered basket case with a father that needs to find a different hobby. And while Griffen is the focus, the root fact is Washington is pretty bereft of on the field football talent and leadership on both sides of the ball. And the retirement of London Fletcher is only going to make the situation worse. Houston might have some hope, but their QB situation is a real problem that new coach Bill O’Brien will have to solve. Matt Schaub went from solid to flimsy in less thatn a year. Will O’Brien try to coach him back up, or will the Texans cut bait?

Okay, on to the bowl games. There were a couple of big ones yesterday, and the big ones start up today. Yesterday the story was, as it probably should have been, the most exciting man in college football. Johnny Football. Give the Dookies credit, they put up an unexpected hell of a fight in the Chick-fil-A Eat More Chickn Bowl. But they don’t call him Johnny Football for nuthin. The evidence is in the video above. Wow. In two seasons at Texas A & M, here is the kid’s bottom line: 63 passing touchdowns, 30 rushing touchdowns, 20 wins and a Heisman Trophy. Not bad.

In two other New Year’s Eve games, the Pac-12 kicked some ass. Which was good seeing as how the ASU Sun Devils got their ass kicked the night before. UCLA killed Virginia Tech, and Rich Rod’s Arizona Wildcats put a licking on Boston College.

But that was all then, it’s a New Year baybee! We have games to be played in the new year. Bowl games, including the Grandaddy Of Them All. Which, of course, will feature a conifer tree instead of the Devils and, thus, Bmaz will be watching from the comfy confines of his couch instead of Pasadena as he was hoping for. Oh well, whadda ya gonna do? The Tree is ranked number 5 in the country, but Sparty is number 4 and has an absolutely killer defense. My gut tells me to go gang green here, but there is one hard and fast rule in life that, while not totally perfect, is close to it: NEVER BET THE BIG-10.X IN THE ROSE BOWL. Never. Remember hallowed names like Bo and Woody? People in the Pac do. Cause they kicked their asses so consistently.

Nebraska has no business being in a New Year’s day bowl game and you have to think the Dawgs will remind them of that. Same goes for Iowa, and LSU will so instruct them too. Wisconsin is a closer call with South Carolina, although the ‘Cocks are a lot better team on paper and should win the game on the field. If all goes according to plan, it will be yet another 0 for New Year’s Day for the B1G. Yeah, I know, nobody saw this coming.

Which leaves UCF versus Baylor here in the Fiesta Bowl. Looks boring from the names, but could be an excellent game. Nobody knows the Knights of UCF, but they have a good coach, George O’Leary, and a really good QB, Blake Bortles. For all the hype surrounding Johnny Football and some other college QB’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bortles is the first QB off the board come NFL draft day. Baylor has the better reputation and national profile, but I am taking the Knights in an upset.

On January 2nd, look for Alabama to take out their frustrations on Oklahoma. Big time. Well, that is it for now, more trash this weekend.

85 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    “Remember hallowed names like Bo and Woody? People in the Pac do.”

    You just go ahead and plan for a game coached by those two, and watch the Spartans turn the Tree into mulch.

    But I’ll give you this much credit: at least the Pac put a team in Teh Rose Bowl that actually is close to the Pacific.

  2. Jim White says:

    @Peterr: Mulch?


    We’ll check back on that idea about 8:30 or 9 this evening, when B1G has been humiliated once again.

    And when the SEC is up to 6-0 for bowls (in what prognosticators have called a “down year” for the SEC…).

    Teh Dookies put up a good fight last night as their offensive coordinator looked good as he packs up for Gainesville. I cringe when I think about how badly Muschamp will destroy yet another creative offensive force. It’s still not too late for Foley to go after Charlie Strong or James Franklin, but he’s going to screw around and let all the good coaches move this year, leaving no options when he finally fires Muschamp.

  3. lefty665 says:

    RG3-13 is inspired:) He may have a hard time shedding that. He’s a kid, and his old man’s a pain, but the real problem with the Skins has not changed in the last decade and a half. It was, is, and will continue to be owner Dan @#$%^&*() Snyder. Other personnel changes, on the field or off will not fix that. Who with any sanity would want to dive into that cesspool?

  4. lefty665 says:

    @bmaz: And, George Allen’s other son Bruce is GM. That bodes even more ill. All indications are that he’s as big a jerk as George Jr is and the old man was.

  5. dakine01 says:

    @Peterr: I dunno, O’Brien may think Teddy B is a better option all the way around and more pro ready (assuming CW is correct that Bridgewater will leave with degree in hand rather than return for senior year)

  6. P J Evans says:

    The latest report is that Schu is stable but still critical. They did another surgery, and they’re starting to see some signs of recovery.

  7. scribe says:

    I’m watching outdoor NHL hockey from The Big House, where it appears to be snowing like the proverbial f*ck – so much so that they have to interrupt the game to have rink crewpeople pushing snow shovels to clear the ice – and cold as the brass monkey’s you-know-what. During the interruption, the one announcer related that a ref handed him a whistle to get it warmed up – the ball inside was frozen to the body.

    Oh, to have the hot chocolate concession today.

    Me like winter.

    And they want to play the Super Bowl outside in a Noo Yawk – correction, Noo Joisey – February. Can’t see that anything would go wrong with that.

  8. JohnT says:

    I’m kinda wary of Manziel. Maybe I’m wrong, but he seems to be a typical Houston Cougar type QB. In that they put up a alot of good numbers, but for some reason it doesn’t translate well to the NFL. But then again, maybe he’s the one

    Teddy Bridgewater seems to be the consensus #1 QB, but is he the next Chris Redman?

    Bortles seems like a sink or swim type QB, either he’s gonna be pretty good for awhile, like Roethlisberger, or he’s gonna be buried on the bench like Ryan Mallet

  9. Francine fein says:

    @scribe: Watching it here in Ann arbor … But not outdoors where it’s 12 degrees. These guys sure work harder ( it seems to me…sitting by the fireplace) than the football players. Game tied.

  10. Rosalind says:

    Lisa Fischer! Darlene Love!! Merry Clayton!! the other one I can never remember!!

    go Stanford!!!!!

  11. sluggahjells says:

    New Year’s to you all.

    The key to the Stanford-Michigan State game will be if Montgomery and Rector can get open vs Dennard and Waynes with Drummond.

    Important for Montgomery’s draft stock that he does not get completely shut down by Dennard, who is the best in the nation.

  12. sluggahjells says:


    Manziel has improved his pocket passing and is bigger than a lot of people give him credit for, but honest, him being projected as a Top 5 pick is really a reach in my mind.

    Bridgewater and then Bortles are clearly superior, and I would argue I would rather have Boyd and Murray before Manziel for lower value. Maybe even Carr and Mertenberger.

    Bortles is the real deal. He is smart, makes great reads, and stays calm in the pocket.

  13. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: You all are thinking too clinically here about Johnny Football. Houston has stunk up the NFL all year, and just up the road in College Station is this guy who has been doing the exact opposite. In the eyes of the Houston Faithful, if they *don’t* draft Manziel, they will be up in arms — which in Texas may or may not be a figure of speech.

    Never mind whether he fits the profile of a good NFL QB.

    Never mind whether he fits the style of offense the coach/GM wants.

    Never mind whether he has the maturity to function in the NFL.

    This is all about optics, and if Houston doesn’t draft him, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do. And if they don’t draft him, they better pray that whoever they draft with pick #1 is a huge success from day one. If he isn’t, the “we shoulda drafted Johnny!” chorus will start up, and will grow exponentially starting on day 2.

    For Houston (and perhaps no one else), the safe pick — and by far the best pick from a “make the season ticket holders happy” — is Johnny Football.

  14. sluggahjells says:


    They can be upset, but fans don’t decide who you draft. The GM does and Bridgewater (plus Bortles) are better QB’s than Manziel. Even Hundley is a better quarterback prospect than Manziel.

    Plus the Texans fans will still come to the games and sellout the building, like they did this season when they team lost the last 14 games thanks to injuries and just bad luck.

  15. sluggahjells says:


    Optics will lead you to LOSE in the NFL…..It’s about the substance, not the style.

    If it were optics, than the Jaguars would have signed Tim Tebow. And clearly, that did not happen.

  16. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: The Jags are not in Texas, and football in Texas is the state religion. They make Jim White’s SECishness look pedestrian.

    The hype in the Republic of Texas around Manziel is mindboggling, and if you think optics don’t matter in Texas, I direct your attention to Jerry Jones and his egotistical stadium.

    In Texas, style matters a helluva lot.

  17. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: When I got home last night from PA to find that sheet of ice covering our driveway, I realized the trip to PA felt like a vacation from winter. It’s been going strong here. Expected to hit -1F tomorrow.

  18. P J Evans says:

    High schools in Texas don’t schedule anything for Wednesday nights, though, because that’s church night for a lot of people. (I’m a heathen, by their lights.)

  19. sluggahjells says:

    @Peterr: Yeah, I don’t think you know you are dealing with here with me, lol

    Again, optics for fans DON’T matter in the NFL over substance. Wins matter. The substance matters, and O’Brien won’t draft Manziel just because he is from the state. Doesn’t work that way. Sorry to break that news to you.

  20. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: Spare me the personal insults.

    For NFL fans, you’re right. But for the broad swath of the public — including the public increasingly asked to pay for stadiums et al. — emotion is at least as big a deal as stats.

    Right now, Houston has zero wins in 2014. The Manziel boosters will tell you that with Johnny Football behind center at Houston, they will win the Super Bowl.

  21. bmaz says:

    Stanford’s play calling in critical situations has been atrociously conservative. They deserve to lose this game. Bleech.

  22. sluggahjells says:

    Once again, you can’t overpower the MSU defense. They are too tough and can handle Stanford’s power….Just awful from Shaw.

    I like David Shaw, but he was too arrogant this game.

  23. sluggahjells says:


    Not conservative, just arrogant.

    shaw thinks he line, which is the best in the nation, can overpower anyone, and you can’t do that against an elite,, tough defense….This is not Oregon, but Michigan State.

    Too arrogant from Shaw.

  24. Jim White says:

    @Peterr: Heck, no. It was cold for here (50’s) and raining. I watched from the comfort of my couch (and my NordicTrack).

    Congrats on a B1G win. Didn’t see that one coming. I have to agree with bmaz that Stanford’s offensive playcalling had zero imagination. They almost never moved the pocket and or used any kind of misdirection. Gotta move things around against such an aggressive and muscular defense.

  25. sluggahjells says:

    Shaw’s rising reputation takes a bit of a hit for me today. He didn’t coach with his head consistently and put too much on his great O-line today.

  26. emptywheel says:

    Really glad MSU won but that was a great game until the Tree started running into brick walls repeatedly.

  27. bmaz says:

    @sluggahjells: No, the B1G still sucks royally. They will quickly return to getting their ass kicked in the Rose Bowl next year. They always go back to losing after one of their random spurious wins.

  28. Peterr says:

    @Jim White: Can you say “Fair weather fan”? Sure you can.

    And you get no sympathy here. It’s around 10 degrees here and falling, as is the snow. They’re predicting about 4 inches or so by morning. The Kid is upset because tomorrow is still winter break, so it’s not like getting a bunch of snow and cold will cancel school. “Why couldn’t it wait until next week to snow?!?”

  29. jo6pac says:

    @bmaz: The first college game I have watched in 30yrs but as a 9er fan you are right the same insane game calling. The stripes call the same bad game here but any team on the left coast doesn’t win by 30, well lets just say chances are reduced by 70% of winning by the stripes.

    Stanford lost by calling the of offense like the 9ers do. Sad

    Then again in my part of Calli it’s 53 at this time.

  30. bmaz says:

    @sluggahjells: “Another Pac-10/12 flop in the Rose Bowl”. You utter dumb statements like that and yet have the temerity to insult our commenters and act like some unimpeachable font of sports knowledge and opinion? What a joke.

  31. emptywheel says:

    Is it too soon to start hoping Dantonio moves slightly SE for a new job in the pros next year?

    I mean, I’d be perfectly happy if he stays in Lansing. BUt he could coach the Kitties on-paper superb D without even selling his house.

  32. sluggahjells says:


    Not insulting Peter and all, just having a discussion with on how GMs work, there was no insult of him there at all. Weird that you think that.

    D’Antonio likes MSU, and wants to build. Definitely not a pro style coach right now.

  33. sluggahjells says:

    @bmaz: Well, Pac 10/12 teams do lose Rose Bowls now…Like, it has actually, you know, happened, lol.

    Stanford flopped against a quarterback in Cook who is still shaky and made four terrible throws and only paid for one. Also, Shaw, who is a rising coach, really blew it today and had as bad a game calling day as he did vs Utah. Dreadful.

    So yes, it was a flop.

  34. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: “I don’t think you know you are dealing with here with me” sure sounded condescending and belittling to me. But then maybe that just proves that I don’t know who I’m dealing with, right?

    In the NFL, the bottom line metric for most clubs is not wins but dollars. The two are not independent, but they are also not identical. The NFL has more Bill “How much did I make today?” Bidwells than George “Spend whatever it takes to win” Steinbrenners.

    Houston signing Manziel would boost their revenue from jersey sales, and allow them to boost ticket prices without a peep. Yes, they’d still have to win on the field for long term money, but the guaranteed up-front short term income boost from simply drafting him would be quite something.

  35. sluggahjells says:


    Okay, just asking Peter, have you interviewed NFL persona and GM’s, like I have, and cover the NFL actually as my job. Because what you are saying is just opinion and not actual fact.

    I’m trying to give you facts here, but you are sounding Skip Bayless here.

  36. sluggahjells says:


    You are wrongly assuming that Bridgewater won’t boost sales…Every skill position player drafted high, especially the QB, has sales increased. Bridgewater is a huge star too now.

  37. JohnT says:

    @sluggahjells: I like Bortles. I mentioned him in a Trash Talk a few months ago. I like his size and composure in the pocket.

    If he had the fire and drive of Manziel, he’d be the consensus #1 pick. But, like I said – and I could be wrong – I think he’s either sink or swim

  38. sluggahjells says:


    Bortles is definitely the safer option, it’s why he is more Top 5 on most people’s board.

    He is a safe option for sure, not a risk.

  39. scribe says:

    @Peterr: Tim Tebow is still available. He’d make the Texas fundies happier than all get-out. Houston could hire him tomorrow. If I was Johnny Football I’d stay in college just to avoid being drafted by Houston. There are at least 3 management-driving-the-team-to-Hell franchises in the No Fun League: Cleveland (3 Stooges run the place), DC (as discussed above) and Houston.

  40. sluggahjells says:

    Good comeback from Baylor….A sleeper if he declares in the draft to watch out for from the QB position is Austin Petty. He has always been accurate and just had a great season this year. Showcasing in this second quarter why.

  41. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: Again with the insults?

    No, I don’t know who you are, as you go by the somewhat obscure nom de blog that I haven’t seen used elsewhere as a byline by those who regularly interview NFL persona and GMs [GMs aren’t NFL personae?]. But “trust me ’cause I know important people” is not an argument that generally works well around these parts.

    I don’t know any GMs personally, but I’ve seen more than my share of management decisions by football executives driven by factors other than an exclusive focus on winning. Again and again, I’ve heard owners and GMs quoted as saying some version of “We’d love to keep Player X, but his contract will get too rich in three years, so we’ll trade him now while his value is up and get some cheaper talent to use in the meantime.”

    See, for instance, Scott Pioli, the former GM in KC, as he talks about the lessons he has learned as a GM:

    5. I learned that the BIG business of football is here to stay and it will only grow while continuing to change leadership dynamics within organizations. Fortunately, I have worked for two franchises and owners who understand the natural internal divide between football and business. However, I have witnessed friends deal with this dynamic that fosters internal politicking and reveals insecurities on both sides of an organization.

    The football side creates a constant drain on an owner’s finances. We are walking expenses. Most of the time we approach an owner with something that is going to cost him money: signing a player, hiring a new assistant coach, hiring a new scout, requesting new technology, new video, new equipment for player performance. Everything we do costs the owner money. The business side is charged with generating revenue so the entire business can operate, including the football side.

    Very often people on the business side of an organization have similar backgrounds to the owner. They speak in a language much more familiar to an owner. An owner might be more naturally inclined to gravitate toward the revenue-generators, and that can fuel insecurity on the football side. However, owners love the allure of the sport. This is why they own teams. The owner’s passion for the game of football and desire to be close to the gladiator component feeds the insecurities of the business side.

    Often, the two sides are trying to poke one another in the eye or win favor in the eyes of the owner behind closed doors. The relationship between business and football is one of interdependence and the two sides truly need one another in today’s NFL.

    But hey, what does he know?

    Right now, the business-side argument in Houston is likely in favor of Manziel, as a huge bonus to the balance sheet. Advertising revenues will go up, ticket revenues will be up, merchandise revenue will be up . . . The football side may (and probably does) disagree about Manziel’s value to Houston — but at this point, I’d bet on the bean counters winning the argument rather than the football folks.

  42. CTuttle says:

    I must say that the Sparty game was the best bowl game so far, most of them have been seriously lopsided affairs…! Tho, the Baylor/UCF game is entertaining so far…! Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to all…! *g*

  43. sluggahjells says:


    How am I insulting you? I asked if you covered or interviewed any player or GM in the NFL or worked in sports journalism.

    If that is what qualifies as an insult for you, then I shudder to think if someone ever curses you out with what you would do.

  44. sluggahjells says:


    Where in that whole information from Scott does he mention that he drafts players with a heavy focus on local popularity?

    He didn’t say that anywhere there.

  45. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: Sluggah, I’m a pastor, with fairly thick skin, and I’ve been insulted in blatant ways and in very veiled ways. Here in this thread, you come across to me as someone who believes he knows better than everyone else in the room, and believes that everyone else in the room ought to simply shut up if they don’t agree what you’ve said. I’m fine with trash talk — that’s the name of the thread, after all — but saying “shut up and listen to your betters” isn’t trash talk. In my book, that’s an insult.

    To return to your last question, no, Pioli never said that he would draft a first round pick solely on what the fans think. For that matter, I never said that Houston would draft a first round pick solely on what the fans think — with the operative word being “solely.” But Pioli is saying exactly what I said, that GMs do not make first round draft choices SOLELY on the basis of what the stats suggest or the football brains believe. When it comes to “solely,” you’re the one saying it’s solely the stat side, and fans and bean counters don’t matter. Sorry, but it’s a both/and, not either/or.

    And lest you think that only mere fans would think that Manziel might be worth a first round pick, I give you this from someone else whose job it is to watch these things, who thinks the stats argument favors Johnny Football over Bridgewater.

  46. Peterr says:

    @sluggahjells: It was right there in the second paragraph I quoted above: “The business side is charged with generating revenue so the entire business can operate, including the football side.”

    That revenue comes from the fans, either directly from tickets and merchandise sales, or indirectly from ad revenue. Pioli’s point is that the business side and football side have to work together in making personnel decisions.

    OK then, yourself.

  47. sluggahjells says:


    Oh dear……Peter, just say you think Manziel is a better quarterback than Bridgewater and Bortles. That is all you have to say.

    There’s a reason why, again, Bridgewater has been #1 and stayed at #1 for over a year now with Clowney. He has a better arm and better pocket presence and doesn’t make risky throws like Manziel, as well as having better size than him.

    Speed is similar since bot are duel threats, although Bridgewater does not look to run.

  48. sluggahjells says:

    @Peterr: And if you actually knew me, especially with me being Christian, I’m as humble as I can be in regards to not being a know it all now.

    If you knew and followed me, like Marcy does and BMaz use to do, than you would know that just because I mention some things called facts that does not mean I know it all. It’s just my job, and that’s all.

  49. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Peterr: Not everyone in Houston is that high on Manziel. We just got rid of one Aggie and now we’re going to get another? Maybe, but ….. not so fast.

    As far as him being the ‘safe’ pick I’d refer you back to the Vince Young situation when VY came out.

  50. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @JohnT: Maybe he’s a Houston Cougar type quarterback because his coach is a former Houston Cougar – among other things. Manziel will be wanted by someone because the pro game is moving towards more of a Houston Cougar type game. I’m not convinced he’s the best QB out there because of his size (look how RGIII, another Houston Cougar recruit before Briles left for Baylor, is getting beat up in the pros) but someone is going to take a flyer on him. You can be sure of that.

  51. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Peterr: Dude – Vince Young won a fucking national championship at the state’s premier school and was the prototypical size for an NFL quarterback. They still didn’t take him when they had the chance. If the new coach likes Manziel then they’ll take him. If he doesn’t then they won’t. Simple as that.

  52. sluggahjells says:


    Greta move by them, where Houston would have been smart to hire him……Though Glennon impressed as the year progressed, I wish Lovie would have a better QB under him.

  53. jo6pac says:

    So I take timeout of my busy retirement schedule to watch the first college game I’ve seen 20+ years and what’s my reward. It’s to watch Stanford play the same insane game as the 9ers. WTF happen to making adjustments during the game to take advantage of what the other team is giving you. Michigan did and good for them. You should see the comments over at SFC everyone is shaking their head going WTF.

  54. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @jo6pac: What did they all expect Shaw to do? Michigan State put enough men in the box to stop the run and get pressure on the passer and their defensive backs still allowed Stanford receivers no separation. It looked to me like Michigan State was just a damn good team – especially defensively and Stanford simply lost to a good team having a good afternoon.

  55. What Constitution? says:

    It looked like Stanford’s coaches just couldn’t fathom the idea that anyone could actually stop Gaffney repeatedly. Disappointingly uncreative loss for Stanford, but MSU really stepped up and ended up deserving the win. One thing was really impressive to me — even as he was getting beaten up and carrying the ball 9 plays out of 10, that Gaffney dude was offering a hand to help up every MSU defensive player that had just leveled him, even into the fourth quarter. It was quite the anomalous display of sportsmanship, though maybe he was just dizzy. Congrats to MSU.

  56. P J Evans says:

    They’re expecting seriously frozen tundra at Lambeau. Windchill expected to be somewhere around -30. (Fahrenheit, yes, but at that temperature it doesn’t matter much.)

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