SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
11/24/2007 03:56:00 PM
Saturday Observations, Part I
Missouri fans have never experienced a Border War of this magnitude.
Scott Sewell/Icon SMI
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- So, I tried diligently to provide you guys a taste of the pregame Border War “scene” here, but unfortunately, I’ve not had much luck. Presumably, there are 80,000 Kansas and Missouri fans in this town right now, but either they’re not staying downtown or they’re already at the stadium.
I ended up at McFadden’s Sports Saloon, a brand-new (two weeks old) sports bar across the street from the brand new Sprint Center (a basketball arena without a basketball team), where there are a healthy amount of both Kansas and Missouri fans. The scene, however, could best be described as “tame.”
I’ve heard no smack-talking. I’ve heard no cheering. Mostly, people are just eating and drinking in close proximity to each other.
I did, however, happen to sit down at the bar next to an impressively dressed Tigers fan. Mizzou grad Tara Taylor is wearing a Tiger-striped faux vinyl jacket over a customized T-shirt bearing the message “Mizzou/MU Rules/KU Drools.” When I asked why everybody was so subdued, Tara said, “I’m trying to be nice and bring good karma to my team.”
I just think neither Jayhawks nor Tigers fans have ever been in this position before, and they don’t want to jinx it.
Tara and her friends were in agreement, however, that the scene will likely be much nastier in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot tonight. From the articles I read this week, I don’t think the stadium’s security personnel have any idea what they’re in for. Combine fans of two bitter rivals in a game of such extreme stakes at a stadium where they sell beer inside -- if that’s not a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is …
• I had a bad dream last night that I woke up and the only thing on TV was ACC football … oh wait, that wasn’t a dream.
• Boy did Virginia Tech’s offense come to play today. QB Sean Glennon (13-of-19, 260 yards, one TD) played arguably the best game of his career, constantly drilling it to his receivers downfield in an ACC division-clinching win over Virginia. So the stage is set for a Boston College-Virginia Tech rematch next week in Jacksonville.
• A quick word on Hawaii’s victory over Boise State last night: Say what you want about the Warriors’ schedule, but there’s no question they’re fun to watch, especially in that stadium. (Is it just me, or is the field smaller? Why does it always seem like Colt Brennan is one throw away from the end zone?)
Barring a collapse against Washington next week, Hawaii is headed to the Sugar Bowl -- where it now appears they will face the SEC champion. Now there’s a storyline for you.
• Finally, speaking of the SEC, you’ve got to give it to Ole Miss: The people running that place are redefining Ole Miss/Clemson Syndrome (to the point where I may have to take Clemson out of the title).
As I understand it, the school fired David Cutcliffe three years ago because he couldn’t recruit. So they brought in Ed Orgeron, who recruits with the best of them -- then fired him before he even had the chance to coach half his recruits.
As recently as a week ago, Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat expressed his continued confidence in Orgeron, despite his 0-7 mark in the SEC at the time. A week later, Ole Miss is looking for a new coach? So what changed? The Rebels blew a 14-0 lead in the Egg Bowl, that’s what.
If you think that’s a foolish reason to fire a coach … you’re absolutely right. But that’s what happens when the guy pulling the trigger (Khayat) is a former football player; emotions lead to poor business decisions. Best of luck to the Rebels in their coaching search. I hope they find whatever it is they’re looking for -- if such a person actually exists.
The play of the ACC games wasn't as bad as the announcers. One game proclaimed that he really didn't have Tebow on his ballot because McFadden was more integral to his team's offense. How many touchdowns does Felix Jones have? How many TDs does everyone else on Florida's team have (that aren't passes from Tebow)?
Right now I'm watching one of the teams considered 'elite' in the SEC having their hands full with a middle-of-the-pack ACC team. I can't wait to hear what the SEC Homers say if the Yellow Jackets win.
This will be a "Boarder War" game to remember, and possible one for the ages. With National Championship inplications, it dosent get any better than this. As a 1994 MU graduate, we always looked forward to the MU - KU games. I still remember the 1990 basketball match up of #1 ranked KU and #2 ranked TIGERS in Columbia. MU won and took a first seed into the NCAA tourney. The details of MU's first round exit escape me, but it was good while it lasted! Any victory over the Jayhawks is a sweet one. Watch out for that Tara Taylor character, she is a "wild one". Jinx out!!
Fans of either team wouldn't be downtown. Not even close, which is why you probably aren't seeing much. You'ld probably see more down near the Plaza area. You need to remember that with a 7 start, KU less than an hour and Columbia about 2 hours away, most won't come till they open up the stadium to tailgating.
I'm curious to see how the cold weather is going to affect the game. I'm afraid it might hurt both offenses and those who haven't seen these teams aren't going to see the two at their best.
Seriously - he's not at Arrowhead? Instead, he's at one of the most uninspired locations in Kansas City to watch the game? No one is going to get rowdy near the Sprint Center - the people there are too concerned about their 401(k) plan and their image to really let loose. If he wants a true feel for the game, head to either Westport, Johnson County or maybe even the parking lot at the stadium -
if LSU beats georgia or tennessee, yes a huge if, some of the computers are going to keep them above a couple 1 loss teams. so the question is how far down do they end up in the polls (not after this week, but after next where they might add a W over a top 15 team) and can they somehow still make the NCG?
LSU only has a shot if they win the SEC, if Oklahoma beats the Mizzu/Kansas winner, and then WVU loses to Pitt next week. Ohio State is idle at one loss, and a two loss team has never played for a BCS title. LSU was given two chances by the pollsters and I doubt they give them a third shot. In all reality, the pollsters might give Oklahoma the nod over LSU in that scenario. I think LSU is a dead duck.
some of the computers are going to keep them above a couple 1 loss teams
I sincerely doubt it. The double-whammy of LSU losing and Kentucky losing (to a team LSU hasn't played) is going to cost them dearly in the computer rankings, especially considering the opponent. WVU and OSU were already strongly respected by the computers (T-3rd in the latest rankings, with ASU who'll drop since they lost); it'll very likely be KU/Missou Winner easily taking 1st in the computer rankings, WVU second (presuming UConn doesn't pull a miracle), and OSU a strong third. Even if LSU beats Tennessee next week, I don't think they'll gain enough push to get over OSU in the computers (the ideal scenario for them would've been for UK to win and to beat a 2-loss Georgia next week; in that situation it was a possibility).
I think the real question here is who would Oklahoma prefer to play? I think it's clear the West Virginia is going to make it into the title game now. Pitt would have to bust White's ACL to have a chance in hell.
So does OU want Kansas or Mizzou? They narrowly beat Mizzou, who I believe has more big game experience this year. Kansas is explosive, but they haven't played anyone of merit all season.
If I'm Oklahoma, I think I'd like to see Kansas next week. Their offensive line would dominate the Kansas defense, and big time games are usually won in the trenches.
"The double-whammy of LSU losing and Kentucky losing (to a team LSU hasn't played) is going to cost them dearly in the computer rankings"
not as much as you think, again assuming LSU beats that team they haven't played next week. the colley matrix website lets you plug in future games. and while i know it doesn't take into account all the other games that will happen. a 11-2 LSU finishes ahead of a 11-1 Ohio St and 12-1 Kansas (not that a 12-1 Kansas would make a difference elsewhere). But LSU still has a decent chance at finishing #2 with an oklahoma win next week.
Maybe you'd be right if the computers had all the say, but 2/3rds of the BCS equation is from pollsters, and they will punish a team that loses their second game so late in the season. I think a OU Big 12 win puts WVU at 1st, OSU at second, and then either OU or USC at third, with LSU following up at 5th.
Stew said: "I just think neither Jayhawks nor Tigers fans have ever been in this position before, and they don’t want to jinx it."
Nail on the head, good sir. After Fifth Downs and the "kicked ball" and all the other bad twists that have happened to Mizzou over the years, we've got a feeling of "what's next." My hope is that all that pain and suffering in the past two decades will be cashed in over the next six weeks or so and bring Mizzou to new heights.
As a current student and sports photographer at Ole Miss I have a different take on why Coach O got fired. Ole Miss fired their head coach not just because they blew their 14 point lead to state in the last 6 min of the game. Any coach who on 4th and 1 at the 50yd line with a 14 point lead decides to go for it is out of their mind. Additionally at the LSU game the previous week, every one in the stands and on the field knew what kind of plays coach O was gonna use. Additionally ever since our Home coming game vs. LA tech, which we barely won against, on the stadium is almost deserted. Only the die hard fans still go to Ole Miss for the game. Everyone else stays in the grove. Poor Head Coaching + declining attendance lead to him getting fired. Coach O was definitely the best recruiter we have had, but talent alone will not win games.
Let's face it - Stew is in the "quiet zone" because Stew doesn't have a clue about KC *or* the Big-12.
The biggest disappointment this year *isn't* the repeated defeats of top ranked teams.
It is that Sports Illustrated chooses to retain a college football writer with limited perspectives, who truthfully knows nothing about the overall makeup of the sport. Why else would he continue to promote the losers (LSU, OSU, etc.) and ignore the winners for more than half the season? He *STILL* hasn't discovered the Big-12!
Are you guys really serious? There is absolutely no way that LSU is going to be able to make it into the national championship game at this point. Even if Missouri wins tonight and then loses to Oklahoma, you still have West Virginia, Arizona State, and Ohio State who will be ranked higher that LSU, and I'm notsaying this from the standpoint of an SEC nay-sayer.
I love SEC football, I have two degrees from SEC schools. I don't believe that there is another conference in the country that can come close to delivering the same level of excitement and intensity across the board. The fact that upsets like LSU Arkansas happen is a sign of parity. No other conference has the same depth of competitive teams, hands down.
But really, lets be honest. LSU is not one of the top two teams in the country right now. Sure they have beaten several ranked teams, but they have lost to several unbeaten ones as well. Sure, their only two losses were in triple overtime, but thats just a matter of perspective. What looks from one angle (that of an LSU fan) like a team with 2 more losses than it should have due to bad luck, looks from another angle as a team that has 3 more wins than it ought to have due to a few lucky breaks (i.e. florida, auburn, and alabama). Its not that they don't deserve to go to a BCS bowl, But when you are ranked number 1 and you lose on thanksgiving weekend on your home field to an unranked team, and that loss is your second of the season, unless the rest of the country has three losses or more your team doesn't deserve the opportunity to play for the national championship.
I think when a #1 team with field advantage loses to an unranked team, it shows that people need to open their mind to teams other than the usual. Oregon is done with out Dixon, as are many other teams that quickly broke the top 10 this year, only to fall just as quick. One team that hasn't done that is Hawaii, and yet they remain undefeated. Consistently winning games even with out their their star QB. People complain that Hawaii has the weakest schedule... Well, you haven't seen them lose to an unranked team (but it's quite alright for their to be a 3 loss team ahead of them). I think that this week, Hawaii needs to be ranked in the top 10. Pending a win against Washington, there will need to be some apologies required, including from Mr. Mandel.
I, along with Joseph, am an Ole Miss grad from 1991, and I totally agree with what he said. Coach O would have been at Ole Miss next year had he not made the dumbest call of the year going for it on 4th and 1 from midfield. Boone had no choice, because the big money people at Ole Miss probably told him that Boone would be gone if Orgeron stayed.
I personally think Orgeron deserved a fourth year, but his bonehead game day coaching cost him his job.
quick question: what happens if hawaii wins on saturday and all the 1 loss teams (save tOSU who is idle) lose? OU wins the big 12 and WVU loses to Pitt? I'm not saying that the Warriors belong in the National Championship game, but it would probably be another egg in the face of the BCS system, having either a 2 loss team in the championship game while an undefeated team is left out or having a team with UH's schedule in the championship game. I'm sure the BCS officials are all jumping the Missouri and West Virginia bandwagons right now.
Coach Shrek had to go he never should have come. Ole Miss gaave Cutcliffe an ultimatum and he surprised them by letting them fire him. The had no Bobby Petrino waiting for a plane ala Auburn and Tuberville. Ogre was like the 7th person on their list after other better coaches with HC experience turned them down. Let's hope they had a committment from Houston Nutt or Coach Fran, or Terry Bowden or even Mike Singletary before they pulled the plug this time.
Speaking of Mizzou and Ole Miss I remember New Years day 38 years ago or so back when both programs were among the elite in the SEC and the Big 8. Ole Miss and Archie Who played Arkansas and Bill Montgomery in the Sugar Bowl and Mizzou was playing one of the better Penn State teams in the Orange Bowl.
More on Ole Miss firing coach Ed Orgeron: He probably got the axe because he recruited a bunch of freakin' criminals.
I'd rather my alma mater, Ole Miss, lose every freakin' game and have honest (as honest as you can get) players on the field losing, rather than the bunch of scum they got under coach O -- stealing crap from motel rooms -- you gotta be kidding me!