Carrier Classic, Veterans, Lions and Huskers Trash Talk

Alright, as you may have heard, there has been a bit of excitement in college sports this week. We first hit on it last Saturday as we slid into another seemingly routine weekend of trash talk. But it has indeed mushroomed into an oxygen consuming goliath and, quite frankly, it has that level of significance in many respects. Marcy has done a couple of very good posts on the background and why Penn State is special in her life and that of so many others, and a more detailed post on timing and charging details. There is a little of my input in the latter, but I will be along, in a separate post, with some thoughts and observations on the legal status of the overall Penn State matter.

I will also be along with the college football rundown for the weekend as an update to this post in a little bit and, likely a separate post for the NFL Sunday slate, because there are some great games, including Jets and Pats.

But, for now, the first ever Carrier Classic is starting on ESPN and, I have to say, this thing looks freaking cool. They have a first rate court set up, with stands and all the hoopla, on the USS Carl Vinson, a 1,092-foot-long, 244-foot-high floating battle city. It is still on the water though, and it is outdoors in the port at San Diego. That is going to affect the shooting and play of the teams a little, just how much we will see. Oh, and Mr. and Mrs. Obama are there. It is a really great gig for Veteran’s Day. Gotta love it.

Tonight’s classic pits the Spartans of Michigan State and Tom Izzo against the Tar Heels of North Carolina and Roy Williams. Seriously, college basketball does not come much more steeped in tradition than that. Carolina has owned MSU lately, winning seven of the last eight and the Heels are pretty much a consensus preseason number one in the land. Hard to pick against them. But never count out any team coached by Tom Izzo, even though the Spartans are looking at a rare rebuilding year. Magic Johnson, Mr. Sparty himself is in the house as is the Tar Heels’ Big Game James Worthy. Guess Michael Jordan is too busy trying to screw current players now that he is ownership in the NBA.

Anchors Aweigh mateys! See you in comments and will add in college football later tonight, but feel free to trash on any, and all, subjects you can think of. Drink sailors!

Saturday’s College Football: Okay, the Carrier Classic was pretty cool and the shots looking out over the court and off into the ocean sunset were simply stunningly beautiful. But we are on to football. The Gulf coast Pirate’s Houston Cougars have already done their work and moved to a remarkable 10-0 after rolling up 73 points on woeful Tulane; the Cougs need to be rewarded with a substantial bowl game. Similarly Virginia Tech has already dispatched the Rammblin Wreck of Georgia Tech and looks good for the ACC championship game.

The most important game today is not the Penn State game against Nebraska; no, the most important game is the Oregon Quackers at the Home of the Tree, Stanford. Stanford is number 4 in the BCS and Oregon number 7; the implications are simply huge for both the national championship picture as well as the North division berth in the Pac-12 championship. Both teams have good defenses and fast, wide-open offenses. Both have extremely good ground games (nobody notices this about Stanford, but they really do). Everybody knows about the Duck’s LaMichael James, but Sethfan Taylor is a killer too. There are going to be a LOT of points scored here, but Stanford is at home in Palo Alto and I will take Andrew Luck over Darron Thomas; a hard fought win for the Tree is the prediction.

TCU and Boise State is always a good game, but TCU is not the team it has been the last few years, the Broncos should roll again. Auburn versus Georgia will be a great SEC game; I’ll take Georgia this year. Oklahoma State is in Lubbock. Texas Tech has had an up and down year; here’s hoping they get it together for an upset of OSU. Florida at South Carolina will also be a pretty good game. I would have taken the Gamecocks easy before Marcus Lattimore went out for the year, but now it is a tossup.

That leaves the game that will, for mostly all the wrong reasons, hold the nation’s attention today, Nebraska at Penn State. Obviously there is a situation going down in Happy Valley. It is not so happy these days. Comments discussion in Trash Talk is always wide open, but I am not going to go into substantive analysis of the facts and legal analysis here in this main post body. There are already three substantive posts where we have done that (here, here and here) and I will likely be along with something more later today or tomorrow.

But the game itself is very notable as the Nittany Lions are 8-1 and undefeated in Big-10.2 play. Their last three games of the year are, however, starting today, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsinl the last two on the road. Both have pretty solid defenses and spotty offenses. Despite being without Paterno and the assistant coach who was effectively offensive coordinator, Mike Mcqueary (who claims to be in protective custody and double fisted drinking), my guess is the team is way more focused and motivated under interim coach Tom Bradley. Bradley has been there a long time and can run the team just fine, in fact he was already doing a lot of that when Paterno was still there. McQueary may actually be more of a loss during the game. But it is Senior day and the last home game these players will play at Penn State. If Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, who was very close to Paterno, can put together a decent game, then I think the Nittany Lions surprise a whole lot of people and pull off the win. Say what you will about the mess roiling PSU, the kids on the current team did not do that; I will be rooting for them today.

There you have the rundown. Lots to jaw about today, we will do a separate post for the pros and tomorrow, and there are some good games there too. Let the trash flow!

Notice of Errata: Um, I actually did mean to mention the Mighty Ephs versus the Jumpin Jeffs. Yes, today it is the official “Biggest Little Game In America” and they will be playing for all the NESCAC marbles. Amherst rolls in undefeated at 7-0 and Williams right behind at a respectable 5-2. The Lord Jeffs are led by super running back Evan Bunker, while the Ephs seem to have a last minute question at QB between Chris Cleary and Adam Marske. This is gonna be a real barnburner humdinger as Keith Jackson would say!

Put Down The Ducky Trash

Is another fine Saturday with a host of great college football games on tap. It’s hard to get anything past the king of sports, ESPN, and they have chosen Autzen Stadium, home of the Oregon Ducks, as the site of their ESPN Gameday. Now there may be a few other college football games going on today, for instance there is a rumor that there is such a game up there in the big mitten of Michigan. But we’ll get to those also-rans in a minute.

The game of the day, in this case actually night, is the University of Oregon versus Arizona State University Sun Devils. Oregon comes into tonight’s game ranked Number 9 in the country and the Sun Devils number 18. I Have said it before, but if you’ve never been to a game at Autzen Stadium, you just don’t know. The place is freaking crazy and loud. They do it right up there in Eugene. The Ducks are the enemy for a Sun Devil fan, but I can honestly say I’ve never been to a more fun, and wild, stadium for college football game. Today, the Ducks have a wounded wing in tailback LaMichael James being out. James is killing this year and had three straight games of over 200 yards rushing going. But today his cleats will likely be filled by super freshman DeAnthony Thomas. The Ducks’ only loss this year is to LSU in the opener, so do not be fooled by their record, they are still big, bad and can flat out fly on the field turf in Autzen.

ASU, so far, has been a curious team. The Devils started the year with absolutely a ton of promise, but have been literally decimated by injuries. The hardest hit has been the secondary, led by stud All Pac-10 corner Omar Bolden. The Devils have an inconsistent ground game, which makes QB Brock Osweiller, who is tall and very good, a target. If the Devils linebackers can contain the Ducks just a bit, and ASU can get a halfway decent running game going, they have a real shot. Those are huge “ifs” though, and I just don’t see it; look for the Quackers to roll. But it would look to be a very entertaining game to watch, and since it is the late national night game on ESPN, everybody in the country can. Go Devils, put those Duckies down!!

Because I need to stay alive for another week in order to turn the Emptywheel blog into ALL BABY JESUS TEBOW, ALL THE TIME, I will also report there appears to be another big rivalry game today; in fact, it just started. That, for those scoring at home (and even if you are alone) would be Michigan/Michigan State. Yep, the Wolvereenies are gonna visit Sparty in Lansing. Big Blue is 6-0 and Sparty 4-1; but Michigan has run into the Green Machine looking good the last few years and gotten taken to the cleaners, thus starting a downhill spiral for the remainder of the season. But the Merlots are helmed by Brady Hoke now, and even though this is in Lansing, it just feels like it is Michigan’s year in this grudge match. The Big Blue defense is gelling a little, although still giving up big points. On the other hand, it is pretty windy, which could turn some of Denard Robinson’s floating passes into sitting ducks. Michigan is also hobbled by Brandon Herron and Marvin Robinson being out for the game on defense. Kirk Cousins is a lot better suited to pass in the wind than Robinson. Close game, but I think the Bo Merlots pull it out and move to 7-0.

I am going to add some more content on NCAA and a pro section in a bit, but this will get folks going for now.

Okay, a few additional NCAA games of interest. Texas A&M is up 24-14 on Read more