SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/16/2006 03:14:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part I
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Greetings, college football enthusiasts. Presumably like you, I woke up in my hotel room this morning grinning from ear to ear. I think there was some fist-pumping involved. What a glorious, glorious day.
And then boom -- the buzzkill. Sitting in construction traffic on the south side of Chicago, a city that doesn't seem to acknowledge college football exists (both major sports stations were discussing the White Sox), the only game I could find on the radio was … Syracuse-Illinois. And it was everything you'd expect of a Syracuse-Illinois game: sacks, fumbles, "Illinois just scored for the first time in two weeks." Give the Orange credit, though -- a week after nearly knocking off one Big Ten team (Iowa), they're crushing this one. Clearly things are getting better in Year Two of the Greg Robinson era. Ron Zook Year Two … not so much.
∙ Iowa isn't exactly looking like gangbusters this week, either, although Iowa State always gives the Hawkeyes problems. The Cyclones have bottled up RB Albert Young. QB Drew Tate, on the other hand, has three touchdown passes.
∙ ESPN extraordinaire Joe Schad, sitting a row in front of me in the press box, points out that Arkansas freshman QB Mitch Mustain is airing it out against Vanderbilt (12-of-17, 210, three TDs through three quarters) while Georgia seems to be keeping the kid gloves on Matthew Stafford (6-of-10, 50 yards).
∙ Rough day for Dave Wannstedt. After getting up 10-0, Pittsburgh has allowed 31 unanswered points to Michigan State. The Spartans had put up 431 yards as of early in the fourth quarter -- which should catch the attention of both teams warming up in front of me as I write this, Notre Dame (which plays MSU next week) and Michigan (Oct. 7).
∙ The Notre Dame press box has got to be the only one in the country where you can find yourself plugging away at your laptop five seats away from a guy in full Irish regalia (jersey and cap). The whole "no cheering in the press box" thing is not strictly enforced here.
∙ I can't say I'm surprised that Ohio State came out flat against Cincinnati the week after its enormous game at Texas. The Buckeyes are running away with it now, though, and RB Antonio Pittman is having a big day.
Anyway, the important stuff's about to get started. I'm going to do my best to keep tabs on the other big games (LSU-Auburn, Louisville-Miami, Oklahoma-Oregon) while covering this one. The next blog entry, however, probably might not come until late tonight, when I will be coming to you from the couch of Notre Dame student Chris Kozelichki, a Mailbag reader who offered to host me for the night games.
You can always tell Auburn has the money for the officials..that receiver fumbled the ball before the body touched the ground, but no replay, but LSU Hester caught the ball, then stripped, but officials jumped on it to overturn it and call it an incomplete..Just wish officials would do their jobs without cheeting..
I think that you, Luke Winn, Grant Wahl, and Dr. Z are talented writers, with some content to go along with the entertainment. I would have to say that SI.com is very good. I would also have to say that CNN has otherwise turned into the equivalent of the fluff segment of a local TV station. It used to be old school, hard news and now it is limp wristed crap. For what that is worth.
Keep up the good work on your end, and maybe some of it will rub off on your peeps over in the news areas, and they will get off their ass and cover the news.
Just got back from the UGA win over UAB. This defense is one of the best I have seen in college football in a long time. Stafford has an Elway-like cannon for an arm. The Freshman either needs to develop touch or the Bulldogs need faster receivers!
I guess you don't like people who are happy that ND got whipped. Can you say "over-rated" ?! That is exactly what ND is/was. Go Michigan! What's with the LSU game? 7 to 3 that's a baseball score. So do either of these teams look like contenders? I think not. Big shake-up in the top 10 coming up.
Yes, the first two calls mentioned in the Officials vs LSU game were wrong, but not game changing. If the receiver on the picked up pass interference call would not have caught the ball anyway, why wasn't the same judgement used when LSU picked off the ball earlier in the fourth quarter? I have to agree with the money idea for the officials. LSU seems to get the short end of bad calls when they play at Auburn.
The officiating has screwed Oklahoma out of a win. First on the kick-off that didn't travel 10 yards and then on the tipped ball that wasn't called. That was the worst officiating job I have ever seen. Oklahoma should be furious for having the game taken away from them.
so, i guess no one thought to tell UM that it's just a really bad idea to go into PapaJohn's stadium and jump on the Cardinal. you'da thought they'd've paid attention to what happened to the other teams who did that..oh wait, i'm talking about UM, nevermind.
Now we've got to wonder which game is LLoyd Carr going to lose that he's supposed to win......my money's on Michigan State....Kudos to Ron English.....I actually saw great tackLing from the Michigan D!!!!
Stewart, I know you were watching Mich-ND, but have you gone back and watched the reversed call in LSU-Auburn? According to the rules, the officials were right. Can someone in the press please say that so Auburn will quit looking like goats? (Yes, I went to rulebook online. And no, I'm not an Auburn person - and I'm a GIRL!!!)
Stewart, please view the video tape from the Oklahoma-Oregon game. Give your opinion as to whether the Oregon player touched the ball before it went 10 yds on the onside kick. Even Dan Fouts thought so. Additionally, on the pass interference call, it is obvious by the trajectory of the ball and the fact that it was a spiral that suddenly started wobbling that it was tipped by the Oklahoma lineman. How is it that Oklahoma gets jobbed by the replay officials two years in a row??? What good is replay when they still screw up the calls, and even an Oregon homer (Fouts) thinks Oklahoma got robbed!!! What pathetic officiating. Do they watch the same video we do??? They must not or else they are just that incredibly incompentent! Either that or they just ruled for their Pac 10 home team...How weak for a game to be ruined by poor officiating once again.
Mandel, I would say you are typically pretty good in terms of your prep and analysis of big games each week but you clearly blew it big time on the Mich/ND game. You actually took ND above the spread! whoops!
Hey I called it! I wrote over two weeks ago the ND was not that good and that the D was over rated, but you never posted my prediction. I assume now the humble pie should be sour and ND jock strap lovers scratching their heads finding another excuse or reason to give ND the title.
Once again on a national stage the SEC proves that it has the worst officials in college football. LSU's Hester clearly fumbles out of bounds after a catch, but it is overturned as incomplete. Auburn's fumbles aren't really fumbles - not to mention three late hits out of bounds that weren't called against them. But, the ultimate proof...taking the game out of the players hands by REVERSING a pass interference call that you've already announced. Unbelievable. Worst officials ever!