Friday, January 1, 2010

Three O'Clock: It Never Ends

Auburn beat Northwestern 38-35 in overtime to win the 2010 Outback Bowl.

In a surprise, Florida State is leading West Virginia 16-14 early in the third quarter of the Gator Bowl.

Penn State is winning the Mud Bowl at Orlando, 13-3.

And in West Lafayette, the No. 4 Purdue basketball team is leading West Virginia (No. 6) 28-20 with six to go in the first half.

I need a water break after that Outback Bowl.

From Greg Kinczewski at the game [via Blackberry]: "If your QB throws five picks and your kicker misses three field goals and an extra point and you still should have won but didn't, it makes you wonder what cosmic fates are at work."


Okay, how about a tough question for everyone:

Say Stefan Demos makes that 37-yard kick in overtime, and Auburn still gets the roughing the kicker penalty. If you're Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, do you take the tie and give Auburn the ball back for a second overtime, or do you take the first down, knowing your kicker is hurt, and go for it all?

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. I'd say you take the points and trust your defense to slow Auburn. But Fitz is a gambler, so you never know. The way the kicking game had been going, trusting to any future field goal attempts was risky, especially with Demos hurt.


Gator Bowl: Florida State scores again to make it 23-14, but Noel Devine comes right back for the Mountaineers and they're driving into Seminole territory.

Mud Bowl: LSU got a 24-yard Jordan Jefferson TD pass to Brandon LaFell and is back in the game, 16-10.

Halftime, Purdue-WVU: Purdue leads 37-32. Forward JaJuan Johnson has gotten to the line early and often (9-10 FT) and has fifteen points and six boards to lead the Boilers. Erstwhile Kelvin Sampson recruit Devin Ebanks has six as part of a balanced West Virginia attack.


Some final stats from the wild and wacky Outback Bowl:

Mike Kafka: 47-for-78, 532 yards, 4TD, 5INT, 29 rush yards, TD.
Zeke Markshausen: 13 rec, 90 yards, 2 rush, 7 yd, failed fake field goal rush.
Andrew Brewer: 8 rec, 133 yards, 2 TD, 1-1 2pt conversion passes.
Sidney Stewart: 10 rec, 97 yd, TD
Drake Dunsmore: 8 rec, 114 yd, TD
Stefan Demos: 0/2 FG, 3/4 XP, 5 punts for 159 yd (31.8 average). Auburn's Wes Byrum hit his only field goal and all five extra points, while punter Clint Durst averaged 42 yards on six boots.

Chris Todd: 20-for-31, 235 yd, TD
Kodi Burns: 0-for-2, 2INT
Ben Tate: 20 rush, 108 yd, 2 TD
Darvin Adams: 12 rec, 142 yd. The rest of Auburn's offense caught eight passes.


Noel Devine has sixteen carries for 168 yards and a TD. West Virginia is back within two at 23-21. LSU just punched in a one-yard rush and has taken the Mud Bowl lead 17-16 in the fourth quarter.

This is turning into one heck of a day for college football.


Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson are wrecking West Virginia. It has turned into a blowout in West Lafayette, as the Boilers lead 62-39 about midway through the second half.


Penn State just got a clutch field goal from the right hash mark to take a 19-17 lead. One minute to go in the Capital One/Mud Bowl.

Florida State is going to win the Gator Bowl and send Bobby Bowden out with one last victory, as they lead by twelve with less than a minute left.


Rose Bowl, coming up next! I've got Oregon, but would like to see Ohio State keep it close, and certainly wouldn't mind a Big Ten win.

Capital One/Gator Bowls/Outback Half #2

I thought about titling this article "How to Take Advantage of Your AD/HD While Watching Sports."

Seriously, three games at once? And, by the way, my DVR isn't working. It's goanna be the Outback Bowl on my computer (thanks, ESPN360) and channel flippin'.


Bob Griese: "Without those three interceptions, Northwestern would be tied 14-14."

"Northwestern is definitely the Rodney Dangerfield of the Big Ten: They get no respect."

Bob Griese is definitely the John Madden of this broadcast booth. Minus, you know, the likeability.

"Auburn is dominating the turnovers, that'd square things up real quick." Uh, yeah.


Outback: Auburn's 'wildcat' QB Kodi Burns throws INT #2 near the goal line. Cats have the ball again. No mistakes, boys. FYI (Papa Noffke asked) the Over-Under for this game is 54.5. Auburn is giving 8 points.


Capital One: Anyone else miss the Citrus Bowl? Terrible field conditions are no surprise after watching Wisconsin-Miami play here a few days ago. They couldn't fix that thing up? Penn State punts, LSU has the ball early in the first.


Gator: West Virginia touchdown! Jarrett Brown rushes for it. Apparently, he wanted to play for Florida State, but wasn't recruited there. 32 yard rush TD.


Outback: Another defensive stand for the Wildcats. You really can't fault their defensive effort this game. After an incomplete and a sack, they face 3rd and 12:

Deep ball, intercepted. 4 for Kafka. I just threw up a little bit. I'm guessing this is not how he saw this game going. Honestly, it's not much worse than a punt, but all the pressure goes on the D again. If I wanted to watch a Bears game, I'd be doing this on Sunday. Kafka threw seven INTs all year in the Big Ten and has four today?


Capital One: Penn State punting again. Still 0-0. It's midway through the first and that field is already half mud. It's goanna be a mess.


Gator: FSU trails 7-0, but is driving in Jacksonville.

Outback: NU linebacker Nate Williams just about forced a fumble, but it will go as an incompletion. 4th-and-7, Auburn punts into the end zone.


Outback: Auburn is starting to turn the heat up on Kafka, with a sack and a hurry.

WR Andrew Brewer just drew a huge pass interference call for the first down. On 3rd-and-8, it's another bomb down the right side... Brewer beats his man and TOUCHDOWN, WILDCATS! This one is for 35 yards and gives #12 two TDs on the game. He and Walter McFadden are jawing out there. 21-14, Auburn. One possession game. Six turnovers, total. Cats still alive!


I'm going to go ahead and focus on the Outback for now, since it's a "quagmire" in Orlando according to ESPN and the Gator Bowl can wait.

Nate Williams comes up with a huge sack of Chris Todd. The Wildcat band plays "Mambo." Auburn punts to Brewer on the 34-yard line, and Northwestern will have it again in good field position. Big possession.

!!!!!! DRAKE DUNSMORE 66 Yard TD REC !!!!!

What a play down the sideline for Dunsmore! He got it out of the flat on a screen pass, dodged two Auburn defenders, broke a tackle around the fifteen, and busted into the endzone. Huge, huge play. Demos sticks the extra point. 21-21.

End of the 3rd quarter, and who woulda guessed that after throwing four interceptions, including two in the endzone, Mike Kafka could come back and toss a pair of huge TDs. Northwestern's receivers are having themselves a monster game.


Whew. Talk about momentum swings. In other news, LSU just moved inside the 10 at the Capital One Bowl and looking to knot things up at 7-all. I didn't catch how Penn State scored.

At the Gator Bowl, West Virginia has stretched their lead to 14-3 as Noel Devine punched in a one yard touchdown with five minutes to go in the first quarter. I don't think Florida State can keep up with this Mountaineer offense.


Outback Bowl: Northwestern has the ball again, and the Wildcats are tearing into the War Eagle defense now. Auburn gets a roughing the passer penalty tacked on to what was already a Northwestern first down.

Zeke Markshausen just bobbled a long, diving grab down the middle. Tough play to make.

Aaaand... Mike Kafka just threw a fifth interception. He overthrew Andrew Brewer, who was wide open, and the Auburn defender got up after slipping and found the ball falling into his hands.

Kafka is 29/47 for 389 yards, 3 TD, and 5 INT. He also has 13 carries for 29 yards, leading the team. Nobody else has more than twenty yards on the ground.

Drake Dunsmore: 7 rec, 109yd, TD
Andrew Brewere: 5 rec, 108yd, 2 TD
Sidney Stewart: 5/56
Jeremy Ebert: 4/49
Zeke Markshausen: 7/41

Some good work from the wideouts there. Kafka has got to get it under control.


Outback: Auburn WR Darvin Adams has twelve huge receptions, out of Chris Todd's 19 completions. Northwestern's defense has three sacks and two picks.

The crew just missed an obvious hold on Corey Wootton, and Auburn is inside the ten yard line for the first time in a while. First and goal, Auburn.

Ben Tate scores from five yards out. 28-21, War Eagle back on top.


It's 7-3 in the Capital One Bowl early in the second quarter. Daryll Clark is over 100 yards passing with a TD for Penn State.

With time winding down in the first quarter of the Gator Bowl, Florida State trails 14-3 but is in the red zone.


Outback: 4th quarter, 9:34 to go - Kafka just threw the ball out of bounds instead of forcing it! Progress!

Northwestern has a first down in Auburn territory near the 50. Big Drake Dunsmore is a tough matchup for Auburn, and Jeremy Ebert is having himself a surprising game, too.

3rd-and-4 - Kafka airs it out... BREWER ONE-HANDED, but there's a flag.

Offensive pass interference and Fitzgerald is furious. 3rd-and-20. Steward catches it out of bounds and NU will have to punt.

::bleep:: that.

Text from Noffke: "Bullshit." Couldn't have said it better.


Outback: Auburn just ran a tricky end-around all the way to the fifteen. Fifty yard gain and it's Ben Tate Time, as he punches it in, with the excessive celebration penalty that Auburn appears so fond of. 35-21, and coach Gene Chizik is not pleased with the penalties.

Auburn: 10 penalties for 114 yards.
Northwestern: 3 penalties for 25 yards.

Those five picks are absolutely the story of the game. That, and the Brewer pushoff for offensive PI that stalled a key drive.

Just around seven and a half minutes left, and NU trails by two scores.


Auburn kicks from the fifteen, again. Stephen Simmons bobbles the kick but scoops it up and gets a good return to near midfield. Markshausen makes another possession catch. He has 87 receptions on the season!

Dunsmore takes it to near the Auburn 40. Stewart catches one for no gain, and the 'Cats will face another third-and-medium, which they can't convert. Northwestern will try to get this fourth down play - the broadcast reminds us they're 8 of 15 on the year....

Jacob Schmidt gets it, but the clock keeps tickin'.

5:20 to go.


4th-and-6, Wildcats. We see a highlight reel of Kafka's five picks today. Interesting comparison to Houston's Case Keenum, who Dave Pasch reminds us had only six INTs on the season before throwing six more in his bowl game vs. Air Force.

First down catch for Stewart with 4:44 to go, and the 'Cats keep rolling (barely).


Kafka just got bailed out in the end zone when Andrew Brewer tipped a pass away from the Auburn defender. Would have been an INT. After another short Ebert reception, it will be a third fourth down attempt for the Wildcats.

Auburn calls timeout. Fourth-and-five.


In the Gator Bowl, Florida State has pulled it to 14-10.

Penn State leads 10-3 in the Capital One Bowl. I want a picture of that muddy field on my Capital One Card!


Markshausen converts the fourth down and then gets the Wildcats inside the five. 2nd-and-goal.

Aubun has nine in the box, Kafka keeps it...

He got a nice push there from one of his offensive linemen and is in for a TOUCHDOWN, which is under review. Probably goanna stand.

It does, but Demos has his extra point blocked! Oh no. 35-27, as Demos just kicked it too low.

With 3:20 to go, do you go for the onside kick? Northwestern has two timeouts.

Stephen Demos continues his rough day with a weak onside kick attempt, which Auburn keeps easily.


Why are two guys in Auburn visors wandering around on the Northwestern sideline?


Outback Bowl, CRUNCH TIME - Ben Tate fumbles right in front of Pat Fitzgerald! Unreal!

The Wildcat offense has the ball again after Brad Phillips forces a fumble. Shades of Anthony Thomas, anybody?


Auburn is playing prevent. 1:46 left in the fourth. That Auburn defensive line is suckin' air.

Walter McFadden continues to play well as he just defended a pass aimed for WR Ebert.

3rd-and-10: Sidney Stewart gets it short, and it'll be yet another fourth down. Northwestern timeout.


Here goes. Five wideouts, Auburn blitz, and on the SACK, Auburn facemasks Kafka!

It's goanna be a first down! They could have called either a horse collar or a face mask there.

11 penalties for 130 yards.

Kafka to Sidney Stewart... TOUCHDOWN!

Can they get the two point conversion? 33-35.

YESSSSS!!!! I hate to use all caps, but I am screaming and hollering here in Bloomington! Kafka reverses to Andrew Brewer, and he throws a wide open two point conversion toss. How about that comeback? The Outback Bowl is knotted at 35-all. 1:15 to play.

(West Virginia-Purdue has started in West Lafayette)


OUTBACK: Northwestern's special teams comes up huge, forcing a fumble on the kickoff which gives the 'Cats the ball on the 50. Less than a minute to go.

Arby Fields gets a good run, his first of the game.

According to sideline reporter Rob Stone, Demos "feels comfortable from 52-53 yards." However, he just missed an extra point. Right now, it would be a 40+ yard attempt, and Schmidt runs up the middle.

Field goal coming. Suspense is unreal. Three seconds to go. It will be a 44-yarder.


Stefan Demos: Wide Right. We're going to overtime at 35-all. Demos has missed two field goals and an extra point today.

I can't help but remember the 2005 (?) Sun Bowl, when my neighbor in Evanston was the Northwestern kicker and had a terrible game.


Penn State leads LSU 13-3 in the Capital One Bowl.

West Virginia has a one point advantage on Florida State in the Gator, 14-13.

Purdue leads 6-2 on West Virginia in basketball action.


Auburn goes on offense, as Pat Fitzgerald is working the crowd. Get up, fans!

Ben Tate should be getting a heavy work load in this overtime.

Yep. He gets a first down and then punches it within the ten. He's over 100 yards on the game and here comes Kodi Burns, who can't get the first down. It's third and goal. Tate should be coming back in.... nope!

Todd gets deflected by LB Quinn Davie and Auburn will settle for a field goal by Wes Byrum. He nails it and it's 38-35.

Northwestern ball.


Whooooo boy. Bang-bang play there on a Zeke Markshausen attempted reception. There are flags on the play, which was ruled a catch and fumble. Kafka recovered it back near the...

It looked like an incomplete pass to me. And then the ground jarred the ball loose.

Everybody is dying in suspense. What are these flags?

"Illegal Bat of the Ball," Bynes, Auburn. Now it's under review. Did Markshausen have possession?


Review calls it a catch, and Zeke was down before the fumble. It'll be 3rd-and-1.

Kafka: 46-for-75 today, over 500 yards. WOW.

Northwestern pulls the "rugby scrum" play again, and Kafka barely gets the first down at the 15.


Ohhhh no. Kafka just got sacked, maybe fumbled, it's under review. GROUND CAUSED THE FUMBLE. This should get reversed.

Reversed. It's going to be second down at the 30, and Northwestern has GOT to move the ball here and not force Demos to kick another long one.


2nd-and-24, incomplete.

3rd-and-24, complete to Markshausen in the middle of the field at the 19.

Come on, Demos. 37 yard attempt. He hit the &^#$% upright. Flag down. You're kidding me.

Roughing the kicker, #46, Auburn! First down! And Demos is hurt.


So here we go again. Northwestern has a first down on the nine yard line and just needs a touchdown. Kafka goes short to Zeke around the six, incomplete.

2nd-and-goal. Trips left. Five wideouts. Kafka dodges a sack but only gains two yards, and it's goanna be third down.

3rd-and-goal. Four wide. Auburn plays good coverage and Kafka rushes for a few.

Here comes totally inexperienced freshman kicker... A FAKE!

Northwestern gets stopped at the two as Markshausen can't get in on the tricky snap.

Auburn's going to win 38-35 despite a ton of penalties.


Well, you can pretty much blame Stefan Demos for this loss. 0-3 on FGs, missed an extra point. At least he beat Indiana with a 49-yarder earlier this year, right?

Mike Kafka overcame five interceptions to finish strong, but ultimately it's just not enough and the Northwestern Wildcats can't finish the unlikely comeback. What a heartbreaker.

Props to Auburn for getting a difficult stop in overtime.

I'm moving to Live blog #3 for the second halves of the Cap1 and Gator Bowls and the Purdue/West Virginia game.

The Outback Bowl - Live Blog Madness

Dragged myself out of bed just in time to catch a cool Capital One Bowl Week montage, and the Outback Bowl kickoff.

Some excitement right out of the gate here, as Auburn gets a tip drill INT off of Scott Concannon's fingertips and the ball on the 32. Northwestern's defense is going to have their hands full with Auburn RB Ben Tate. He's a powerful downhill runner.

1st Quarter, 12:25 to go: Touchdown, Auburn. Kodi Burns punches it in from the one yard line. Auburn runs a no-huddle, which Northwestern's defense normally only sees while they're on the sidelines watching their own offense. 0-7, Tigers.

Ahh, the Outback Bowl commercial! Outback CEO Jeff Smith appears to be watching the Outback Bowl from the... bar of an Outback Steakhouse? Really? Whatever, he's happy to be there.

The announcing team today is Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, and Chris Spielman.

Northwestern gets the ball back.

1Q, 8:05: 4th & 1 on the Auburn 31. Timeout, Northwestern. Go for it? Kick a field goal? It's 65 and rainy in Tampa. (16 and sunny in Bloomington... why am I not at this game?)

First down, Kafka rollout to Stewart! Northwestern dinkin' and dunkin' their way down the field.


Oooooooohhhh.... that's not good. Auburn corner Walter McFadden got the ball in the end zone off Zeke Markshausen's fingertips and took it all the way down the sideline... touchdown. His second INT, both off Wildcat hands, and we're only midway through the first quarter. 102 yard pick-n-grin.

That was the seventeenth play of the drive for Northwestern. Not. Good. 14-0, Tigers.


Touchdown, Kafka to Brewer! Corner of the end zone. 14-7. Northwestern's defense follows it up by forcing a three and out, and gets the ball back. Can you recover from two first quarter INTs? McFadden's excessive celebration penalty set up fairly good field position, and Mike Kafka is really looking sharp.

It's worth noting that much like Jay Cutler this year, neither of those picks was really his fault.

(From the announcers: "Florida gets a chance to send Urban Meyer off to his rest with a win. Jesus, don't bury him yet, guys!)

Outback Steakhouse commercial count: 4. Again, it's the first quarter.


Stefan Demos misses a 48-yard FG attempt.

Bob Griese, your thoughts on the Texas Tech/Mike Leach debacle? "Well, you don't treat a kid with a concussion by putting him in a closet..." Yes, Bob. That's the problem.

According to Outback Steakhouse, I can get a six ounce sirloin, three lobster tails, and a famous side (steamed vegetables! Score!) for $14.95. If it's a langostine lobster, does that really count? Regardless, I'm goin' Outback tonight. Using my Capital One card. After telling my friends from my Konica Minolta and/or Nokia phone... yeesh, maybe I should tape delay and avoid these commercials.


Northwestern just got bailed out on a failed fourth down conversion review. Ball on the 38, but Drake Dunsmore gets stuffed on the inside delay toss, and Demos rugby-punts it to the 20. Auburn ball again. Let's make a play, defense.

Just spotted Corey Wootton (I can NEVER remember how to spell that name... Wooten? Wooton? Two T's, Mark.) on the sideline by Fitz. He is a huge guy. If he goes later than the mid-second round this spring, he's a steal. Why isn't he playing?


Auburn WR Darius Carr just pushed off Brendan Smith and caught a 46-yard TD from Chris Todd. Offensive pass interference? Apparently not. 21-7, Auburn. Damn. Looks like my projection may be a wee bit off... nothin' new there.


2Q, 8:00 Another Northwestern drive founders near their own 40. It's raining again in Tampa. Looks warm... sigh.

Good time to NOT let this game get out of hand if you're Northwestern.

A nice montage of Auburn running backs through the years; Bo Jackson, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Rudi Johnson James Brooks... Ben Tate is #5 on the all-time list. Impressive.

Auburn reverse, and Tate gets the first down, carrying Northwestern defenders across the line. The bench is "fired up." Again, NU needs a stop here.

Injury Timeout, and it's Vincent "Bo" Jackson headlining the obligatory Auburn commercial! In response, Northwestern's ad features a large purple door. Darnell Autry, where you at? We couldn't get Wilbon, either?


We're down to two minutes in the second half, and Northwestern faces third-and-long deep in their own territory after finally stopping that Auburn offense. Timeout, Auburn. Kafka and the Wildcats really need a first down here, if nothing else to keep War Eagle off the field and go into the locker room with no further damage...

Long ball, triple coverage on Brewer, way overthrown. Punt upcoming. Raining more heavily. I think this favors the Auburn running attack in the second half. Demos gets an awful punt which the officials are spotting... on the 24? The 36? An 18-yard punt and you can freakin' BET that Auburn comes out running.


Option toss to Auburn's 'wildcat' quarterback Kodi Burns... long pass...

INTERCEPTION, Sherrick McManus! And Northwestern gets it back in lousy field position. Let's do something, boys!

Walter McFadden, who has been Auburn's playmaker with those two picks, is limping, but out there. Big reception to Stewart around midfield, and he gets one foot in. This should stand up in review. Still 21-7.

As the commentators note, why didn't Auburn just run the ball? Bob Griese: "How dare you question [Auburn OC] Gus Malazhan?" Well, Bob, he just turned the ball over on what should have been an easy 3.

Play stands, Northwestern is driving with 1:04 to go. Timeout.


Auburn end zone INT. Mike Kafka is doing his best Jay Cutler now, with two redzone INTs.

Halftime, and Northwestern trails Auburn 21-7. Story of the game? Kafka's three interceptions. Not a good half. It's amazing that the Wildcats are still in this game.


Halftime Show: Mike Leach has some very strong words on Adam and Craig James. It's amazing how much this guy sounds like Bobby Knight. Wonder if they went huntin' together down there.

Just for fun, here's a list of Northwestern's draft prospects in 2010, according to

Corey Wootton: No. 9 overall, No. 1 DE (!!!)
Sherrick McManus: No. 126 overall, No. 16 CB
Brad Phillips: No. 187 overall, No. 9 FS
Mike Kafka: No. 207, No. 11 QB (ESPN has him as #15)

... WR Andrew Brewer, SS Brendan Smith, FB Brendan Mitchell, OT Kurt Mattes, WR Zeke Markshausen, and DT Marshall Thomas are also listed as free-agent calibre.

Auburn's guys?

Ben Tate: No. 89, No. 5 RB
Antonio Coleman: No. 204, No. 20 OLB
Walter McFadden: No. 303, No. 31 CB

DT Jake Ricks, QB Chris Todd, TE Tommy Trott, LS Clayton Crofoot and others are also listed. Tommy Trott? Clayton Crofoot? Zeke Markshausen would fit right in on this squad.

It's 12:49, and the Capital One Bowl will be starting in about ten minutes, along with the Gator Bowl and Bobby Bowden's Swan Song. I'll go ahead and start up a parallel live blog for the 1 PM Games.

Also, No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 6 West Virginia is coming up in CBB after the Outback, which sounds like a must-watch.



From Greg Kinczewski, who is at the Outback Bowl in Tampa [via Blackberry]:

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We make two trips inside the ten and come away with negative seven points. Oh well, the defense should be well rested and hope springs eternal."

A well-rested defense could be big against Ben Tate and the Auburn offense in the second half.

No more mistakes, Kafka. NU is still very much alive. Somehow.


Consolidating live blog into post with Capital One and Gator bowls, which have now started. You can read above.

New Years Day Bowl Marathon!

Hey, everybody.

It's been a long coupla weeks of unreliable posting for me, so to shake off the rust, I've decided to do something a little wild for New Years Day; I'll be trying to watch all five bowl games and keep a running journal here on Armchair Superstar. The lineup is Big Ten-heavy (isn't it always on Jan. 1?), which certainly doesn't hurt my interest level. Here's how it looks on what should be a great day of college football:

11 AM (ET): Outback Bowl - Northwestern vs. Auburn

If this isn't a reason to shake off those New Years hangovers (not me, I'm sober these days!) and get up early, I don't know what is. The Wildcats were rewarded for their sizzling finish to the season with a trip to the Outback Bowl, their best bid since 1997. Northwestern comes in 8-4, while Auburn is 7-5 after fading down the stretch. However, the Tigers played Alabama tough to finish their season.

All the hype around this game focuses on offense, so I expect a defensive battle.

Northwestern wins, 24-20.

1 PM: Capital One Bowl - #13 Penn State vs. #12 LSU

This is another Big Ten-SEC battle (the conference drew two SEC opponents, two from the ACC, two from the Big 12, and one from the Pac-10) which means we'll be hearing, yet again, about strength vs. speed. Blaaaah.

To me, the most important stat is that the Nittany Lions have scored 50 more points and allowed 50 fewer this season than the Bayou Bengals. That's a 9.3 ppg margin. Plus, Joe Paterno against Les Miles is a coaching matchup that the old man ought to dominate.

Penn State, 27-17

1 PM: Gator Bowl - #16 West Virginia vs. Florida State

Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno will be dueling for viewers, as both play in the one o'clock spot. I'll probably be flipping to the Gator Bowl on Capital One Bowl commercials, unless I go the ESPN360 route and watch 'em both at the same time.

Logic says to go with the Mountaineers, who have been better all year. I also happen to like West Virginia better, in general. So we'll call this a close one.

West Virginia, 36-33 (OT)

4:30 PM: Rose Bowl - #8 Ohio State vs. #7 Oregon

Much as I like to see the Big Ten succeed during bowl season, this looks like a bad matchup for State. Oregon is running with authority, and the Buckeyes offense has sputtered at times. Also, Terrelle Pryor is hurt. I think Oregon's big three (Masoli, James, Blount) wear down The Sweater and pull away in the 3rd quarter.

Oregon, 31-14

8:30 PM: Sugar Bowl - #3 Cincinnati vs. #5 Florida

I'll be very happy if I last this long. The Sugar Bowl this year has a ton of storylines - the last game for Tim Tebow, The Departed Brian Kelly, Urban Meyer's injury status... but I think the real story will be QBs Pike and Collaros for 'Nati. One or the other is going to outduel Tebow in prime time. This game is on Fox, and I will cry if Joe Buck is announcing. Please, no Buck.

Cincinnati 34-24

There you have it! Check in tomorrow to keep up with me and all the college football action.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mike Leach Fired by Texas Tech

Well, he went to court today seeking an injunction that would allow him to coach the Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl, but instead Mike Leach got the pink slip.

Tech officials handed his lawyer a notification of his firing 'with cause' before either side could enter the courtroom.

This story has an unusual Indiana connection, because Texas Tech gave Bobby Knight his second chance to coach after all of the goings-on at IU, yet canned Leach, the most successful coach in program history with an 84-43 record, after just one incident. Plus, the two kind of resemble each other, no?

CNNSI's Stewart Mandel has a great indepth piece here.

And yes, you can add another name to the list of people I'd love to see (A) as IU's next football coach or (B) as the Bears offensive coordinator! How sweet would that be? You think he couldn't work magic with Cutler and the undersized Bears receivers, not to mention a running back who is money catching the ball out of the backfield?

Anyway, just a thought.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Maurice Creek Out for Season


That pretty much describes the scene in Bloomington last night after Indiana's leading scorer (and the top freshman scorer in the country!) went down with what was later diagnosed as a broken knee.

Yeah, Maurice Creek is done for the season. IU was up 57-23 when he got fouled on a layup attempt and landed awkwardly.

It's really a shame because he was having one hell of a season so far, averaging over seventeen points a game including the 31-point outburst that kept Indiana alive against Kentucky.

More on this later, but I just wanted to get the news out there and get myself off of the writer's block that's been holding me down since two weeks ago.