Thursday, December 30, 2010

Boise State-56, LSU-20

Boise, ID-The Broncos welcomed the LSU Tigers to their blue field, then hammered them relentlessly in all phases to advance to the NCAA Semifinals by a score of 56-20. Boise State jumped out to a 28-0 lead by scoring 4 of the first 5 times they touched the ball. They were led by QB Kellen Moore, who completed 32 of 38 for 370 yards and 4 scores. Running back Doug Martin ran for 129 yards and 2 TD, adding a third TD on a pass from Moore. Boise State outgained the Tigers 598-323.

Stevan Ridley ran for 109 yards for LSU. Jordan Jefferson threw for 203 yards and 2 TD for the Tigers. LSU trailed 42-7 before adding several scores in garbage time. Boise's victory guarantees a non-BCS conference will be represented in the semifinals.

LSU Tigers -0-7-3-10-20
Boise State Broncos-7-28-14-7-56

BSU-Martin 19 run (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Martin 7 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Shoemaker 33 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Gallarda 1 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
LSU-Boone 23 pass from Jefferson (Jasper Kick)
BSU-Hodge 11 run (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Martin 1 run (Brotzman Kick)
LSU-Jasper 37 FG
BSU-Avery 64 run (Brotzman Kick)
LSU-Jasper 36 FG
BSU-Gallarda 1 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
LSU-Joseph 16 pass from Jefferson (Jasper Kick)

Rushing-LSU-Ridley-22-109-0, Shepard-2-14-0, Ford-6-3-0, Murphy-1-3-0, Jefferson-12(-9)-0
BSU-Martin-22-129-2, Avery-11-84-1, Hodge-4-15-1
Receiving-LSU-Toliver-4-24-0, Shepard-4-21-0, Randle-3-47-0, Boone-3-46-1, Peterson-2-10-0, Tolliver-1-25-0, Joseph-1-16-1, Wright-1-14-0
BSU-Young-6-75-0, Pettis-5-52-0, Shoemaker-4-77-1, Martin-4-35-1, Efaw-4-33-0, Hiwat-3-41-0, Avery-3-41-0, Gallarda-3-16-2
Sacks-BSU-Root 2, Hout

Michigan State-48, Virginia Tech-13

East Lansing, MI-Michigan State's offense rolled up 618 yards against Virginia Tech, leading the way to a 48-13 victory and a berth in the NCAA Semifinals. Spartans QB Kirk Cousins threw for 384 yards and 4 TD. Edwin Baker ran for 154 yards and 2 TD for Michigan State, who scored 34 straight points after Virginia Tech tied the score at 7.

The Spartans scored 5 touchdowns of at least 34 yards as Michigan State dropped big play after big play all over the Hokies. Tyrod Taylor threw for 264 yards in a losing effort for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Hokies -7-0-0-6-13
Michigan State Spartans-20-7-14-7-48

MSU-Baker 2 run (Conroy Kick)
VT-Wilson 4 run (Hazley Kick)
MSU-Baker 71 run (Conroy Kick)
MSU-Cunningham 34 pass from Cousins (Kick Missed)
MSU-Cunningham 58 pass from Cousins (Conroy Kick)
MSU-Dell 77 pass from Cousins (Conroy Kick)
MSU-Bell 8 run (Conroy Kick)
VT-Hazley 31 FG
VT-Hazley 30 FG
MSU-Caper 51 pass from Cousins (Conroy Kick)

Rushing-VT-Evans-15-51-0, Taylor-15-50-0, Wilson-14-48-1, Williams-2-4-0, Thomas-1(-6)-0
MSU-Baker-20-154-2, Bell-11-83-1, Cousins-8(-3)-0
Receiving-VT-Roberts-5-88-0, Coale-4-60-0, Boykin-4-53-0, Smith-3-26-0, Evans-2-30-0, Parker-2-2-0, Davis-1-13-0, Dunn-1-7-0
MSU-Dell-4-107-1, Cunningham-3-98-2, Nichol-2-38-0, Gantt-2-36-0, Martin-2-26-0, Caper-1-51-1, Fowler-1-23-0, Bell-1-5-0
Passing-VT-Taylor-21-39-264-0-0, Thomas-1-6-15-0-0
MSU-Neely, Gardiner, Bullough

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NCAA Quarterfinals

As you may have noticed, I fell behind running the college football tournament with my trip out of town last weekend. I'm not going to call the quarterfinals the Elite Eight, as college basketball has already patented the catch phrases. Only 2 of the 8 home teams were able to survive the first round. Here are the matchups for the quarterfinals...

2010 NCAA Football Tournament Quarterfinals

Friday, December 24, 2010
4:30pm EST-#13 Virginia Tech (12-2) at #9 Michigan State (12-1)
8:00pm EST-#11 LSU (11-2) at #10 Boise State (12-1)

Saturday, December 25, 2010
12:30pm EST-#15 Nevada (13-1) at #1 Auburn (14-0)
4:00 pm EST-#14 Oklahoma State (11-2) at #5 Wisconsin (12-1)

Since these games have already been played (technically), I'll have results as soon as they become available. ;)

Nevada-41, Oregon-36

Eugene, OR-Nevada stunned Oregon 41-36 to claim the last quarterfinal berth in the NCAA Football Tournament. Nevada scored 4 touchdowns in 7:39 during the second and third quarters to turn a 20-7 deficit into a 34-20 lead that they would never relinquish. Nevada RB Vai Taua ran for 232 yards and scored 2 TD for the Wolf Pack. Colin Kaepernick threw for 192 yards and 3 TD and added a fourth TD on the ground for Nevada.

LaMichael James ran for 230 yards for the Ducks in a losing cause. Oregon was able to run the ball effectively, and QB Darron Thomas threw for 262 yards and 3 TD, but their leaky defense surrendered points in bunches, and they were not able to get it done in this one.

Nevada Wolf Pack-7-13-14-7-41
Oregon Ducks -13-7-3-13-36

Ore-Beard 45 FG
Ore-Huff 25 pass from Thomas (Beard Kick)
Nev-Ball 6 pass from Kaepernick (Martinez Kick)
Ore-Beard 31 FG
Ore-Maehl 7 pass from Thomas (Beard Kick)
Nev-Taua 21 run (Martinez Kick)
Nev-Taua 59 run (Martinez Kick)
Nev-Kaepernick 47 run (Martinez Kick)
Nev-Green 51 pass from Kaepernick (Martinez Kick)
Ore-Beard 20 FG
Ore-James 8 run (Pass Failed)
Nev-Matthews 28 pass from Kaepernick (Martinez Kick)
Ore-Williams 14 pass from Thomas (Beard Kick)

Rushing-Nev-Taua-29-232-2, Kaepernick-13-62-1, Randall-2-3-0, Ball-7-3-0
Ore-James-26-230-1, Barner-8-22-0, Alston-2-3-0, Thomas-10(-34)-0
Receiving-Nev-Matthews-3-43-1, Wimberly-3-23-0, Shepherd-2-35-0, Taua-2-34-0, Green-1-51-1, Ball-1-6-1
Ore-Maehl-5-106-1, Paulson-3-58-0, Huff-2-32-1, James-2-29-0, Williams-2-26-1, Tuinei-1-11-0, Davis-1-0-0
Sacks-Nev-Roy 2, Marshall, Johnson, Coulson

Oklahoma State-38, TCU-31

Fort Worth, TX-Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden threw for 510 yards and 4 TD to lead the Cowboys over previously unbeaten TCU. The Horned Frogs received a high seed in the tourney despite being from a non-BCS conference due to their unbeaten record, but their defense was no match for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys gained 565 yards of offense, as both teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense.

TCU QB Andy Dalton threw for 226 yards and 3 TD, but was picked 3 times, including a pick 6 from Shaun Lewis. TCU tied the score at 31 in the fourth quarter on a TD pass from Dalton to Josh Boyce, but Weeden brought the Cowboys 83 yards in 14 plays to the winning score with 36 seconds remaining.

Oklahoma State Cowboys-14-7-7-10-38
TCU Horned Frogs -7-17-0-7-31

TCU-Wesley 2 run (Evans Kick)
OK St-Blackmon 18 pass from Weeden (Bailey Kick)
OK St-Hunter 21 pass from Weeden (Bailey Kick)
TCU-Evans 23 FG
OK St-Anderson 9 pass from Weeden (Bailey Kick)
TCU-Brock 11 pass from Dalton (Evans Kick)
TCU-Boyce 24 pass from Dalton (Evans Kick)
OK St-Lewis 27 interception return (Bailey Kick)
OK St-Bailey 36 FG
TCU-Boyce 19 pass from Dalton (Evans Kick)
OK St-Moore 1 pass from Weeden (Bailey Kick)

Rushing-OK St-Hunter-23-50-0, Randle-4-18-0, Smith-2-10-0, Weeden-3(-23)-0
TCU-Tucker-12-127-0, Wesley-17-55-1, Dalton-9-54-0, James-4-20-0
Receiving-OK St-Blackmon-12-214-1, Cooper-6-63-0, Bowling-5-31-0, Moore-4-72-1, Hunter-3-43-1, Harrison-3-26-0, Anderson-2-30-1, Horton-2-7-0, Chelf-1-24-0
TCU-Boyce-4-80-2, Kerley-3-29-0, Young-2-34-0, Johnson-2-31-0, Brock-2-20-1, Frosch-1-19-0, Tucker-1-13-0
Passing-OK St-Weeden-38-55-510-4-0
Sacks-TCU-Luttrell, Coleman, Yendrey
Interceptions-OK St-Martin 2, Lewis

Wisconsin-38, Missouri-28

Madison, WI-Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien threw for 268 yards and 3 TD to lead the Badgers to a 38-28 victory and a berth in an NCAA Quarterfinal. Wisconsin used a balanced attack to roll up 511 yards of offense. Montee Ball ran for 128 yards and 2 scores, and John Clay added 112 more on the ground.

The Tigers tried to keep pace on offense but fell short. Blaine Gabbert threw for 334 yards, but was sacked 5 times and faced constant pressure all day. Missouri also had to cope with temperatures in the teens and a stiff wind that limited the deep passing game.

Missouri Tigers -10-10-0-8-28
Wisconsin Badgers-7-14-10-7-38

Mis-Josey 2 run (Ressel Kick)
Wis-Ball 64 run (Welch Kick)
Mis-Ressel 49 FG
Wis-Ball 1 run (Welch Kick)
Mis-Josey 3 run (Ressel Kick)
Wis-Kendricks 15 pass from Tolzien (Welch Kick)
Mis-Ressel 19 FG
Wis-Welch 28 FG
Wis-Gilreath 44 pass from Tolzien (Welch Kick)
Mis-Moore 2 run (McGaffie Catch)
Wis-Kendricks 36 pass from Tolzien (Welch Kick)

Rushing-Mis-Josey-12-57-2, Moore-9-47-1, Lawrence-6-31-0, Gabbert-18(-4)-0
Wis-Ball-15-128-2, Clay-24-112-0, White-3-11-0, Tolzien-6(-8)-0
Receiving-Mis-Moe-7-95-0, Egnew-5-33-0, Jackson-4-34-0, Kemp-3-84-0, Gerau-2-31-0, Washington-2-25-0, Josey-1-21-0, Moore-1-11-0
Wis-Toon-4-59-0, Gilreath-3-69-1, Anderson-3-48-0, Ball-3-22-0, Kendricks-2-51-2, Abbrederis-1-19-0
Sacks-Mis-Jackson, Sam
Wis-Borland, Nzegwu, Allen, Watt, St. Jean
Wis-St. Jean

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Blueprint

The New York Jets rallied with one their most complete performances of the season against Pittsburgh, winning 22-17 and moving a rather large step closer to their second consecutive playoff appearance under Rex Ryan. With a win this week against Chicago (or an Indianapolis or Jacksonville loss), the Jets are in. More importantly for Jets fans, the whole team, especially the offense seemed to re-establish the physical identity that carried them through the 2009 playoffs.

Since the start of the 2010 season, the Jets have gradually become more of a passing team. Mark Sanchez has already thrown 100 passes more than last season with 2 games remaining. As LaDainian Tomlinson started to wear down after his hot start, the Jets increasingly relied on Sanchez to produce points and big plays. This shift in philosophy, however, hasn't produced positive results on the field. The Jets would need to score 53 total points in the last 2 games to match the amount from last season's team, which was no offensive juggernaut. The 2010 Jets are outgaining the 2009 version in terms of yards, but they're leaving points on the field in the red zone every week. The combination of Sanchez's inaccuracy coupled with a lack of production in the red zone from the running game have led to many more 3's than 7's.

The Jets went into Heinz Field last week without having scored an offensive touchdown since Thanksgiving night against Cincinnati. Knowing they would need to control the clock to have a chance to beat the Steelers, the Jets pounded out 106 yards on the ground while Mark Sanchez took a week off from completing half of his passes to go 19 of 29 without a pick. Most of his throws were easy throws designed to move the chains and give the talented receiver corps a chance to make a play after the catch. Braylon Edwards played his best game in months, finishing with 8 grabs for 100.

When the Jets offense received a few shiny new toys in the offseason (namely Santonio Holmes and Tomlinson), the conventional wisdom was that the additions alone would make the Jets a more effective team. With their already stout defense, the Jets would be able to contend right away. At 10-4, it hasn't happened the way anyone expected. The Jets were fortunate to win several of their midseason games against lesser opponents, and the offense has been completely ineffective in every loss.

Most changes in the NFL come from necessity, and the blueprint from last week was no different. Being able to run and play the field position game is a weatherproof formula as long as you can bring your defense with you every week. The Jets stayed committed to the ground against the Steelers a week after throwing it 44 times in a loss to Miami. The defense gave ground but didn't give up any huge plays, and, in the end, survived.

Expecting more snow, wind, and bitter cold in Chicago, and nursing Sanchez and his damaged wing, I expect the Jets to again attempt to establish the run against a good run defense. If they are successful, the Jets will have gained back all of the confidence they lost in back-to-back division losses. They have been at their best under Rex Ryan in exactly this situation. They're on the road and many of the experts have chalked up last week's win to a lack of Polamalu. If they can win running the football on the road against two solid teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago in bad weather, then there's no reason not to be brimming with confidence heading towards January football.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Kickoff is tomorrow at 1.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Auburn-40, Alabama-38

Auburn, AL-Auburn didn't need a fantastic comeback in their rematch with Alabama. Instead, they pounded the Crimson Tide with 349 yards on the ground, seizing control of their first-round matchup with their biggest rivals shortly before halftime before hanging on at the end to advance, 40-38. Auburn running backs Onterio McCalebb and Michael Dyer combined for 300 yards and 4 TDs on just 23 carries, and Cam Newton completed 11 of 12 passes for 161 yards and a TD.

The two teams combined for 985 yards of total offense in the shootout. Alabama QB Greg McElroy completed 28 of 32 with 4 73 TD as the Crimson Tide threw for 402 yards in an attempt to keep up with the Tigers. Auburn's stout interior defense held Alabama to just 73 yards on the ground.

Alabama Crimson Tide-14-0-10-14-38
Auburn Tigers -7-13-13-7-40

Ala-Alexander 2 pass from McElroy (Shelley Kick)
Ala-Lacy 8 pass from McElroy (Shelley Kick)3
Aub-Blake 25 pass from Newton (Byrum Kick)
Aub-Byrum 39 FG
Aub-Byrum 29 FG
Aub-McCalebb 36 run (Byrum Kick)
Aub-Dyer 55 run (Kick Missed)
Ala-Shelley 46 FG
Aub-McCalebb 64 run (Byrum Kick)
Ala-Hanks 20 pass from McElroy (Shelley Kick)
Ala-Richardson 34 pass from McCarron (Shelley Kick)
Aub-McCalebb 2 run (Byrum Kick)
Ala-Jones 8 pass from McElroy (Shelley Kick)

Rushing-Ala-Ingram 20-73-0, Richardson-7-23-0, Lacy-1-2-0, McElroy-9(-25)-0
Aub-McCalebb-9-152-3, Dyer-14-148-1, Newton-24-28-0, Fannin-7-21-0
Receiving-Ala-Jones-7-80-1, Hanks-5-76-1, Richardson-4-51-1, Alexander-3-60-1, Maze-3-45-0, Dial-3-33-0, Ingram-3-28-0, Williams-1-13-0, Norwood-1-8-0, Lacy-1-8-1
Aub-Blake-3-56-1, Adams-2-32-0, Fannin-2-24-0, Lutzenkirchen-2-21-0, Burns-1-19-0, Zachery-1-9-0
Passing-Ala-McElroy-28-32-344-4-0, McCarron-3-4-58-1-0
Sacks-Ala-Sentimore, Moore, Murphy
Aub-Gaston, Fairley, Lykes, Humphries

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I was going to spend this column going off like a dental drill, but I decided against it in the end. The problem for me, and a lot of other long-time fans of the team, is that we've seen this movie many times before. Being a New York Jets fan often means being seduced and abandoned in December.

You won't find a lot of sympathy around the NFL. In the market where I reside the local fans are subjected to Carolina Panthers football, which makes the Jets look like the 70s Steelers. I had the great joy of witnessing last weeks abomination courtesy of some tickets from my friend Bob, and Atlanta made the Panthers look like a high-school team. Carolina can't win any matchups in their front seven, and their receivers are unable to separate and get open. It's hard to believe that they won a game this year.

Much like an NFL version of Scared Straight, watching the Panthers made me appreciate the Jets. At least there seems to be a foundation at key positions on the field that will allow the franchise to compete into the future provided that they have better drafts than they had in 2009. Young players like Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and David Harris form the cornerstones of the foundation. You may notice that I've left Mark Sanchez out of this equation, simply because I still have no idea what the end product is going to look like with this kid.

To say I've been disappointed with the way that Mark Sanchez has reacted to the situations he's been placed in the last 2 weeks would be a vast understatement. Sanchez has been wildly inaccurate, which is usually followed by the same hang-dog look you would see on a 9-year old who strikes out with men on base in a Little League game. He has not delivered, but even worse, he looks defeated. Rex Ryan admitted during the week that he considered pulling Sanchez in the second half against Miami, and it's hard to blame him. In the Jets 4 losses, they've scored a total of 18 points. If you can't score, you can't win.

I'm not going to go into the gory details of the last few weeks. If you've been watching, I'm sure you're as frustrated by all of it as I am. Most NFL players are able to move on to the next week, even if the fans are looking for a larger meaning in every poor performance. The facts are that the Jets are 9-4, regardless of how they've gotten there. They are still in the position that if they win this week in Pittsburgh and get some help, they can qualify for the postseason by the end of the day.

Here's a stat you may see today...the Jets have never won a game in Pennsylvania. I believe we're 0-6 lifetime in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will be without Troy Polamalu, his injured ankle, and his luxurious hair. Ben Roethlisberger has been battling multiple injuries and his offensive line is patchwork at best. But, they still have a devastating defense that is able to force mistakes and limit scoring opportunities. This isn't exactly the defense that you get well against.

For the Jets to have a chance to win, they will have to run the football against a team that only allows about 60 yards a game on the ground. They will have to avoid mistakes and recognize that punting the ball and playing the field position game while trying to force mistakes may be their best opportunity to win.

Young fans of the Jets deride the Same Old Jets fans, the people who have witnessed the horrors of seasons past and seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop, hedging their emotional bets to protect against the psychological damage of another unhappy ending. I don't consider myself a SOJ fan, but I feel their pain. It's hard to get up week after week when you know your team may not have what it takes to win it all, much less this Sunday's game. All it takes is one solid performance to have the whole fan base and the New York media singing a different tune on Monday morning.

Kickoff is 4:15 today at Heinz Field.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Virginia Tech-23, Stanford-17

Stanford, CA-Virginia Tech received a big assist from Mother Nature, as a driving rain and steady wind helped ground Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal, 23-17. The Hokies victory capped off a wild Friday that saw all 4 road teams come up victorious and advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Virginia Tech ran for 230 yards against Stanford and controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively.

The Hokies unleashed a season worth of hurt on Andrew Luck in one evening, sacking him 7 times and hurrying him on virtually every throw. Tyrod Taylor had an efficient game, completing 14 of 22 for 228 yards, including a number of big throws on third down to keep drives alive. Virginia Tech jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first 6 minutes in the game, then survived a late Stanford rally that tied it at 17. Two field goals from Chris Hazley was the difference for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech Hokies-14-3-3-3-23
Stanford Cardinal -7-3-7-0-17

VT-Evans 15 run (Hazley Kick)
VT-Wilson 5 run (Hazley Kick)
Stan-Baldwin 16 pass from Luck (Whitaker Kick)
VT-Hazley 40 FG
Stan-Whitaker 26 FG
Stan-Taylor 2 run (Whitaker Kick)
VT-Hazley 24 FG
VT-Hazley 26 FG

Rushing-VT-Evans-16-90-1, Williams-13-71-0, Wilson-12-57-1, Taylor-11-12-0
Stan-Taylor-21-72-1, Wilkerson-6-38-0, Luck-13-(-4)-0
Receiving-VT-Coale-5-79-0, Boykin-3-31-0, Roberts-2-28-0, Smith-2-12-0, Wilson-1-61-0, Davis-1-17-0
Stan-Fleener-4-45-0, Baldwin-4-41-1, Whalen-4-39-0, Owusu-3-60-0, Taylor-3-25-0, Reuland-1-10-0
Sacks-VT-Drager-2, Taylor-1, A.Hopkins-1, Gibson-1, D.Hopkins-1, Exum-1

Friday, December 17, 2010

Boise State-34, Oklahoma-26

Norman, OK-Boise State scored the first three times they touched the ball in the second half to turn a 16-13 deficit into a 34-16 lead, then held on to win 34-26 to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Broncos win meant that the road teams started 3 for 3 in the first round of the tournament. Oklahoma outgained Boise State 527 to 417, but they failed to produce touchdowns on multiple trips to the red zone. Out of 5 different red zone opportunities, the Sooners could only produce 1 touchdown.

Landry Jones passed for 441 yards in a losing effort for Oklahoma. Boise State QB Kellen Moore passed for 215 yards and 3 TD, throwing a touchdown on each of the Broncos first three second half possessions. Boise State also ran for 202 yards, while the Sooners failed to generate any kind of running game.

Boise St Broncos-3-10-14-7-34
Oklahoma Sooners-6-10-0-10-26

OU-Stevens 22 FG
BSU-Brotzman 36 FG
OU-Stevens 30 FG
OU-Miller 23 pass from Jones (Stevens Kick)
BSU-Martin 11 run (Brotzman Kick)
OU-Stevens 32 FG
BSU-Brotzman 37 FG
BSU-Young 3 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Martin 4 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
BSU-Efaw 1 pass from Moore (Brotzman Kick)
OU-Murray 2 run (Stevens Kick)
OU-Stevens 23 FG

Rushing-BSU-Avery-9-92-0, Martin-20-81-1, Hodge-6-34-0, Moore-1-(-5)-0
OU-Murray-16-65-1, Finch-8-30-0, Millard-2(-2)-0, Jones-8-(-7)-0
Receiving-BSU-Pettis-4-60-0, Young-4-33-1, Shoemaker-3-51-0, Hiwat-3-42-0, Martin-2-9-1, Avery-2-8-0, Efaw-2-3-1, Potter-1-9-0
OU-Broyles-10-127-0, Murray-7-45-0, Stills-5-99-0, Kenney-4-64-0, Hanna-3-68-0, Miller-2-32-1, Franks-1-6-0
OU-Lewis-1, Nelson-1

Michigan State-40, Arkansas-27

Fayetteville, AR-Michigan State running back Edwin Baker ran for 227 yards and 2 TD as the Spartans beat the Razorbacks 40-27 to advance to the NCAA quaterfinals. Michigan State rolled up 587 yards of total offense as Arkansas struggled to get off the field on defense. Spartan QB Kirk Cousins threw for 267 yards and a TD. Dan Conroy kicked 4 field goals for Michigan State.

Arkansas scored TDs the first two times they touched the ball on offense to take a 14-7 lead before surrendering a 30-7 run from Michigan State. Ryan Mallett threw for 282 yards and 3 TD, but threw 2 crucial picks in the second half which the Spartans converted into points. Knile Davis ran for 177 yards for Arkansas.

Michigan St Spartans-10-10-10-10-40
Arkansas Razorbacks -14-0-7-6-27

Ark-Davis 9 pass from Mallett (Hocker Kick)
MSU-Baker 37 run (Conroy Kick)
Ark-Wright 9 pass from Mallett (Hocker Kick)
MSU-Conroy 26 FG
MSU-Conroy 43 FG
MSU-Cunningham 34 pass from Cousins (Conroy Kick)
MSU-Conroy 38 FG
Ark-Davis 43 run (Hocker Kick)
MSU-Bell 3 run (Conroy Kick)
MSU-Baker 8 run (Conroy Kick)
Ark-Williams 9 pass from Mallett (Hocker Kick)
MSU-Conroy 28 FG

Rushing-MSU-Baker-25-227-2, Bell-13-99-1, Caper-1-(-1)-0, Cousins-6-(-5)-0
Ark-Davis-20-177-1, Green-9-25-0, Mallett-9-(-6)-0
Receiving-MSU-Dell-4-47-0, Cunningham-3-86-1, Nichol-3-34-0, Gantt-3-31-0, Linthicum-2-22-0, Bell-2-14-0, Caper-1-21-0, Martin-1-8-0, Baker-1-4-0
Ark-Williams-4-75-1, Adams-4-61-0, Wright-4-53-1, Hamilton-3-36-0, Davis-3-16-1, Tucker-2-25-0, Gragg-1-13-0, Green-1-3-0
Sacks-MSU-Norman-1, Drone-1, Johnson-1, Allen-1
Ark-Stadther-1, Thomas-1, Barnett-1
Interceptions-MSU-Robinson-1, Gordon-1

LSU-19, Ohio State-6

Columbus, OH-The LSU Tigers used a stifling defense and a ball control offense to defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes 19-6 Friday afternoon and advance to a quarterfinal game next weekend. Temperatures dipped into the 20s at kickoff with a light snow falling, and both teams attempted to use the ground game to move the ball. LSU held Ohio State to 209 yards of total offense and only 1 of 15 on third down conversions. LSU also controlled the clock, keeping possession for over 34 minutes.

LSU was led by Stevan Ridley, who ran for 105 yards and pounded out crucial first downs in the second half. Jordan Jefferson was only 10 of 21 throwing the football, but he avoided turnovers and threw the only touchdown of the game, a 23-yard pass to Terrence Toliver. Terrelle Pryor had a miserable day for the Buckeyes, only completing 4 of 15 passes and never mounting a serious threat after halftime. Daniel Herron was held to just 40 yards on the ground for Ohio State. Josh Jasper kicked 4 field goals for the Tigers.

LSU Tigers -3-10-3-3-19
Ohio State Buckeyes-3-3-0-0-6

Ohio St-Barclay 49 FG
LSU-Jasper 28 FG
LSU-Toliver 23 pass from Jefferson (Jasper Kick)
Ohio St-Barclay 43 FG
LSU-Jasper 44 FG
LSU-Jasper 32 FG
LSU-Jasper 33 FG

Rushing-LSU-Ridley-29-105-0, Ford 9-31-0, Jefferson 11-20-0, Shepard 5-17-0, Murphy 6-15-0, Blue 1-4-0
Ohio St-Saine-8-56-0, Herron-18-40-0, Hall 5-29-0, Pryor 12-8-0, Berry 2-8-0
Receiving-LSU-Randle-3-55-0, Toliver-3-40-1, Tolliver-1-20-0, Joseph-1-11-0, Peterson-1-6-0, Ridley 1-2-0
Ohio St-Posey-1-34-0, Sanzenbacher-1-18-0, Brown-1-13-0, Stoneburner-1-3-0
Ohio St-Pryor-4-15-68-0-1
Sacks-LSU-Levingston-1, Jones-1
Ohio St-Moeller-1

2010 NCAA Football Tournament

I'm a firm believer that if the NCAA had a playoff at the end of the football season, it would be the most popular event on the sports calendar every year, even bigger than the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl. I love and prefer pro football, but giant schools like Ohio State and Texas churn out thousands of graduates every year, alumni with a greater connection to their school than they would ever have with a pro franchise.

The hollow argument that a playoff system will somehow overwork the student-athletes involved doesn't hold any water for me. If the NCAA were to run a 16-team playoff, beginning this weekend, they would still be able to schedule a national championship game for Monday, January 10, the date of this year's BCS title game. The NCAA could even keep the bowl games if they wanted, filling the spots with teams that didn't qualify for the tournament, or with teams that have already been eliminated from the tournament.

Thanks to, we can play the tournament that the NCAA refuses to let happen. We can use the BCS to seed the top 16 teams, then begin with the first-round matchups today and tomorrow. Over the next 2 days, I will be reporting the game results from all 8 first round matchups in the fictitious 2010 NCAA Football Tournament. Here is the schedule for the first round...

2010 NCAA Football Tournament

Friday, December 17, 2010
12pm EST-#11 LSU (10-2) at #6 Ohio State (11-1)
3pm EST-#9 Michigan State (11-1) at #8 Arkansas (10-2)
6pm EST-#10 Boise State (11-1) at #7 Oklahoma (11-2)
9pm EST-#13 Virginia Tech (11-2) at #4 Stanford (11-1)

Saturday, December 18, 2010
12pm EST-#16 Alabama (9-3) at #1 Auburn (13-0)
3pm EST-#12 Missouri (10-2) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1)
6pm EST-#14 Oklahoma State (10-2) at #3 TCU (12-0)
9pm EST-#15 Nevada (12-1) at #2 Oregon (12-0)

A few notes on the tournament...I am not a fan of neutral site games. The home field advantage, especially at the college level, is a great reward for the teams with the highest seeds. This will be the case all the way through the national title game. Auburn has home field advantage throughout the tournament. I would much rather see the fans of the higher seeds get a chance to watch playoff games rather than a bunch of corporate suits and locals with no stake in the outcome. Also, we will re-seed after every round. There are no brackets in this tournament, so the best teams will have the advantage of playing the lowest available seeds. If Auburn advances past the first round, they will face the lowest surviving seed in the next round.

As you can see, 4 conferences received 12 of the 16 spots in the tournament. The SEC received 4 bids, followed by the Big 12 and Big 10 with 3 each, and the Pac 10 with 2. The ACC received 1 bid, and 3 non-BCS conference teams received bids as well. Only the Big East was left out (rightfully so, I might add).

I will have results as the games go final. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hearts and Minds


It's not often that a 9-3 team has to spend the week before their Week 14 game trying to prove they're legitimate. But, this is the position the New York Jets find themselves in after last week's misery in Foxborough.

Without rehashing the abomination, the Jets failed in every phase of the game. There were portions of the second half where the defense appeared to quit, which was somehow a better performance than the offense had. The offense appeared to quit sometime after the first possession.

There is far too much football remaining in the regular season to let last week's 45-3 loss destroy what had been built in the first 11 games. The Jets secondary looked completely lost without injured safety Jim Leonhard, and they have 4 games left to find a solution for the total breakdowns that took place Monday Night. The primary concern for the team for the rest of the regular season is to fix the glaring issues they're having and be playing the best football they can by wild card weekend.

This week, the Dolphins come to town clinging to their playoff lives. Chad Henne always seems to play well against New York, although the Jets were without Darrelle Revis in the first meeting of 2010. If Brandon Marshall's hamstring is healthy enough for him to go for Miami, he will have to cope with Revis outside, and should have a more difficult time on Sunday. The confidence of the entire offensive team, particularly Mark Sanchez, hangs in the balance this week. In their 3 losses this season, the Jets have scored a total of 12 points. Against New England, Sanchez missed even the easiest throws, badly missing short passes designed to gain yards after the catch. If Sanchez struggles with these types of throws, it makes you wonder if he'll be able to handle downfield passing if there is wind and cold in January.

If Sanchez continues to struggle, Jets fans may see a repeat of last January's game plan, with Sanchez throwing about 20 passes per game as the Jets try to run the ball down everyone's throat. It's a solid gameplan, as long as you don't fall way behind early. The running game was effective for most of the first half, but it wasn't enough to avoid a 3 TD deficit at halftime.

Which Jets team will we see on Sunday? Will it be the confident team that won 9 of 10 before last week? Or will it be the team that failed to show up last week, suffering the franchise's worst defeat in 24 years? The truth lies somewhere in between. I believe this team is not ready to be the best team in the league yet, but it certainly is better than losing by 6 touchdowns on national television. The weather forecast is calling for rain at the NMS, so the Jets will attempt to play caveman football and control the clock. This may be the way they have to play to compete the rest of the season, as Sanchez has regressed over the past few weeks.

There are multiple collapses littering the New York Jets history. They have become rites of passage for a battered fan base that has been led down the primrose path before. Waiting for the other shoe to drop has become too common a custom for Jets fans. The fans deserve a far better effort than they got last week. If the Jets want to be taken seriously as a football team, they must get a victory against Miami. After Miami comes Pittsburgh and Chicago on the road, so the opportunities don't get any easier. Step one in saving the Jets season kicks off at 4:15 pm on Sunday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

The New York Jets face New England on Monday Night in the most-hyped regular season game the Jets have played in recent memory. Both ESPN and the NFL Network have been all over this matchup since Thanksgiving Night, devoting portions of each night's coverage of the league to the myriad of subplots. It's a rare occasion when two divisional rivals arrive at the December portion of the schedule with matching 9-2 records, each knowing that a victory will give them the inside track to home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

Despite the importance of tonight's game, this is only Week 13. There are four games left for each team after tonight, and the winner will have only provided themselves an easier path. There is still a lot of regular season football to play. It was only two years ago when the Jets left Nashville with a huge victory over the previously unbeaten Titans and an 8-3 record, only to collapse down the stretch, finishing 9-7 and missing the postseason. Regardless of what happens tonight, both the Jets and the Pats will have a lot of work left in order to be humming by the second weekend in January.

The most interesting part of the game should be watching Rex Ryan attempt to confuse and frustrate Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense. Whoever wins this matchup should win the game. For the first time this season, Ryan, the notorious talker, has tried to be cagey about where Darrelle Revis will line up. Ryan's hope is that remaining silent will provide the Jets an advantage in Foxborough.

When the Jets acquired Antonio Cromartie in the offseason, I expected Ryan to take this approach each week, or at least against the best quarterbacks. The Jets would like to overload blitz on every play, or at least on most obvious passing situations. Forcing Brady (or a Manning, Brees, or Rivers) to locate Revis and Cromartie every play gives a quarterback a lot more to process when the play clock is winding down. Against a mediocre QB, you can throw Revis on the best receiver and remove him from the gameplan. Few teams even have that luxury, and it's a solid strategy. Against a great QB, if you remove his best receiver (or even his second best with Cromartie) he can still light you up with his third and fourth options. Anyone who watched last year's AFC Title game can confirm this, unfortunately. With two outstanding man-to-man corners, Ryan can attempt to use Revis on either Wes Welker or Deion Branch. He can use Cromartie on a tight end, like he did last week against Jermaine Gresham from Cincinnati. I expect Rex Ryan to attempt to do anything and everything in an attempt to disrupt Brady.

The Jets took a severe blow last week when they lost Jim Leonhard for the season with a broken leg. Leonhard is the Jets signal caller on defense and their punt returner. As is always the case in the NFL, someone will have to step forward and assume those responsibilities. I would imagine you may see Kyle Wilson or Jerricho Cotchery fielding punts, with an outside chance of Cromartie or Holmes returning punts as well. Hopefully, Leonhard's injury won't cause too much of a disruption with communication in the secondary. If the Jets were going to lose a key man for the rest of the season, at least they will have five games to work out the problems that will be caused by Leonhard's absence.

Rex Ryan has had tremendous success on the road, mostly because running the ball and playing solid defense works in any location. I expect the Jets to try to take a page from Cleveland's gameplan several weeks ago and try to pound the ball at New England and use play action to try to take advantage of one-on-one matchups outside. One of the startling revelations from the early season game against New England was just how much the Pats struggled matching up outside against Braylon Edwards and inside against Dustin Keller. Mark Sanchez had one of his most efficient performances of the season in Week 2 against what has been an Achilles heel for the Pats defense. The passing yardage they've given up this season is misleading, mostly because they've been ahead so much that the other team becomes one dimensional against them. Any Patriots fan will mention that their secondary is different than the one from Week 2, and they're right, they do have different personnel outside. But, if New England has trouble against the run Monday Night, the Pats could see a repeat from Week 2, as Edwards, Keller, and Santonio Holmes can take advantage all over the field.

As far as Mark Sanchez is concerned, he needs to make the easy throws this week, the very throws he passed up last week on his way to his poorest outing in over a month. The interception he threw last week against the Bengals looked like 2009 Sanchez, the indecisive rookie trying to make a big play with every throw, even if it's a big play for the other team. Unlike most New England games over the past decade, the Jets enjoy advantages in many areas of this matchup, and there's no reason not to stay aggressive when the opportunity presents itself downfield, but Sanchez shouldn't have to be heroic if the rest of the team shows up to play.

The New York Jets enter December with the best opportunity they've had to clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs in 25 years. Only once during that period have the Jets even managed a bye during the playoffs, which was in 1998 when the Jets beat Jacksonville at home before losing to eventual champion Denver in the AFC Title game. To say that, historically, the franchise doesn't usually find itself in this position is fairly accurate. We don't normally handle prosperity very well. Tonight, a golden opportunity to seize control of the division awaits the Jets if they show up to play in Foxborough.

It should be a fun Monday Night.