SEC Shocker: Auburn Upsets Alabama

December 2, 2013

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With just a second remaining on Saturday and the game tied at 28, Alabama lined up for a game winning 57 yard field goal.  Make the kick and they are in the SEC title game, just one step away from the National Championship game.  Miss the kick and they just go to overtime, right?  Well, Auburn’s Chris Davis grabbed the missed field goal in the end zone and raced 100+ yards for a touchdown to give Auburn the win.  Alabama’s quest for a third straight national title is almost certainly over.

Ohio State won a squeaker over Michigan, 42-41.  Michigan ran a failed 2 point conversion on the final play, going for the immediate win instead of playing for overtime.  While I understand the emotion of going for it, I rarely think that going to two in this situation is the right move.  Overtime is essentially a coin-flip, with the home team having a slightly better than 50% chance of winning.  Unless your success rate on two point conversions is greater than 50%, kick the PAT and take your chances in overtime.

So, where does this leave us?  Florida State and Ohio State have direct paths to the title game.  If they win on Saturday, they are virtually guaranteed to play for the championship.  If one of them falters and Auburn beats Missouri in the SEC title game, Auburn would earn a berth.  Missouri is #5 in the BCS standings (behing Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, and Alabama) but would likely vault to #2 if they beat Auburn and one of the top two loses (Alabama is idle, but I believe Mizzou would leapfrog them with a win).  If Ohio State and Florida State both lose, Alabama could slide into the title game through the back door, facing either Auburn or Missouri for the National Championship.

My Iowa State Cyclones had a disappointing year, finishing the season at 3-9.  For one Saturday in November, though, they made the fans proud.  The team stuttered out of the gates and were down 31-7 to West Virginia as the national anthem was finishing up.  Iowa State forced four turnovers in the second half and a 24 point fourth quarter flurry tied the game and pushed the game to overtime.  Iowa State prevailed 52-44 in triple overtime.

The Broncos beat the Chiefs on Sunday, pushing KC’s losing skid to three games following a 9-0 start.  Not to worry, Chiefs fans, KC is still is very good shape to make the playoffs and plays a couple of weak teams down the stretch.  Meanwhile, Peyton Manning’s exit from Indianapolis is working out well for both teams.  Andrew Luck has played well for the Colts (especially for a 24 year old QB) and the ageless Manning has been at the top of his game, no doubt aided by the thin air.  After all, the ball travels 10% further and the receivers have less resistance when running.  It’s surprising that Manning doesn’t throw an 80 yard TD on every play, given these advantages.  I expect opposing coaches to start calling for a humidor.

In baseball news, the A-Rod appeal saga continues.  New York Magazine has a lengthy article about the background of the case, including information on all the money paid to informants.  Millions has been spent  trying to obtain or hide information.

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BCS National Championship

January 10, 2012

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I did learn three things watching the National Championship game last night.

  1. Brent Musburger likes to use the phrase Honey Badger more than I like to eat Beef Jerky (trust me on this one…I am a big fan of beef jerky)
  2. No one outside of Alabama or Louisiana really even wanted to see these two teams play again in a bowl game this year.
  3. Another over hyped, super boring, BCS National Title Game.


Did anyone outside of Alabama or Louisiana really even want to see these two teams play again in a bowl game this year.

Matching up teams that have already faced each other in the same season always seems to be a recipe for disaster – at least in terms of creating an exciting bowl game to tune in and watch.

It has happened plenty of times before. Oklahoma and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day 1979, Miami and Florida State faced off a few times in bowl games to see who could have the most unsportsmanlike penalties called on their team.

This year was no different. All that was proven is that Nick Saban had his team better prepared, better coached and more confident and it showed last night.

Somewhere Mike Gundy is wondering how the Oklahoma State Cowboys would have fared.

I realize the Cowpokes blew a game to lowly Iowa State on the Road earlier this year. But I am sure they would have generated more than 92 yards of total offense which was the output of the Bayou Bengals.

Many folks in SEC country will say that these two teams have stellar defenses, and that is what wins championships, and that is why neither team can score touchdowns against one another in what becomes a punt, pass and kick competition without the passing.

While it is apparent that both teams are loaded with talent on defense, Jordan Jefferson is not a good passer. LSU was unable to even move past midfield until late in the 4th quarter. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron had a career game mainly due to a fine game plan that had him frequently rolling out of the pocket and completing short passes. This appeared to get him confidence early.

Bama threw the ball early and often at Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu. Unfortunately for the basically home crowd LSU fans, Mathieu was basically unable to make any significant plays in the ballgame defensively.

I guessed I also learned that honey badger don’t care that elephants are dominating his football team.

Oh well, as most all college football fans say everywhere else but in Alabama….

There is always next year.

Stay Classy, Tuscaloosa.

Be A Good Sport

February 18, 2011

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On Thursday, Harvey Almorn Updyke, Jr. was arrested on one count of first degree criminal mischief.  His bond was set at $50,000 and Updyke faces up to ten years in prison for his crime.

What was his crime?  Being too much of a fan of the University of Alabama.

Updyke is a die-hard Bama fan, but lives near the campus of the University of Auburn.  In November, he drove to the campus and sprayed some trees in the area known as Toomer’s Corner with the herbicide Spike80DF.  The herbicide, which is use to kill trees, is fatal in conentrations of 100 parts per billion (or 0.1 parts per million).  Tests of the soil around the trees found concentrations ranging from .78 parts per million (7 times the fatal concentration) to 51 parts per million (500 times the fatal concentration).  In other words, the trees will almost certainly die.  I don’t think you need to be a “tree hugger” to be appalled by the wanton destruction of century old trees.

I’m not an Auburn fan, nor much of a follower of the SEC as a whole.  I wasn’t aware of the post-game tradition of fans toilet papering the trees to celebrate wins.  Apparently, it’s a pretty big tradition, and Updyke was trying to kill this tradition by killing the trees.

After Updyke called a Birmingham radio station last month to brag about the stunt, it was only a matter of time before he would be arrested.  He identified himself as “Al from Dadeville.”  Dadeville has around 3000 residents.  I’m sure a handful are even named Al … and maybe a couple of them happen to be Alabama fans in the shadow of the Auburn campus.

Updyke’s court appointed attorney filed a motion to withdraw from the case.  The reason?  Seems that the lawyer had perviously been employed as a part-time professor at Auburn.

I guess Updyke thought he would be hailed as a hero by Alabama supporters.  He certainly doesn’t have the backing of the Bama athletic director.  AD Mal Moore commented, saying that the poisoning was “a terrible thing to do.”  I applaud Moore for publicly denouncing the act, so that there can be no uncertainly whether or not the administration would condone such acts.  Rational people would realize that Alabama wouldn’t condone this, but perhaps Moore’s words stopped one extremist in his or her tracks.  I’m sure a great many Crimson Tide fans put aside their hatred of the Tigers for one day to feel some sympathy for Auburn.

Updyke should have asked himself WWBBD – What Would Bear Bryant Do?  I suspect that Bryant wouldn’t have stooped to vandalism.

Sadly, this sort of thing is not completely unprecedented in sports.  Back in 2002, White Sox fans William Ligue Sr. and his son (William Jr.) attacked a completely defenseless Tom Gamboa, the first base coach for the Royals.  Gamboa suffered permanent hearing loss as a result.  Sadly, the younger Ligue bragged about the incident online later.

And who can forget the knife attack on Monica Seles in 1993 – by a fan of Steffi Graf would hated seeing Graf lose to Seles.  Seles returned from the traumatic attack two years later, but nor at the same level of consistent excellence she had achieved before.

I’m a huge sports fan, and I have intense dislike for a number of teams.  Johnny Goodman knows how much I hate the Nebraska football program.  However, I would never dream of doing something like this.  Sports are great, but in the end, it’s a game.  There are more important things in life.  Ratchet the rhetoric down a bit.

Suh for Heisman

December 8, 2009

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A lot of water cooler talk around the offices this week after the games this past weekend.  Today, Johnny Goodman looks to find the truth about many of the issues in College football.

Fact- Alabama and Texas will play in the BCS Championship game

Truth- yep I can’t come up with another argument here.  These are the two most deserving teams and I have no beef with that

Fact:  Alabama beat Florida soundly

Truth:  Florida really isn’t that good.  Who have they beaten or dominated all year.  Heck I think the SEC is terribly overrated this year.  A lot of good teams yes, a lot of GREAT teams?  C’mon…no way…This conference gets more verbal blow than anything and it is totally unfounded this year.  Play a bowl game or better yet a nonconference road game outside of the southeast sometime.  What is your conference record the last 51 times you have left the southeast?  25-26.  Overrated!!!!

Fact:  Mack Brown was named Big XII 2009 AP Coach of the year

Truth:  Did you watch the Texas vs. Nebraska game?  Then tell me which team imposed their will and their style of play and was :01 away from pulling off the upset as a 15 point underdog.  Coach of the year?  This guy can’t coach at all.  If Tom Osborne would have had the talent Texas gets every year in their program the Huskers would have had about five more national titles during his tenure.  Mack Brown is a average coach in arguably the easiest place to land fantastic recruits.  Saturday night was just another example of that.  His total and complete mis-management of the game clock at the end of the game almost prevented his kicker from having a shot at the game winning kick and the Horns from a shot in the BCS title game.  This guy is the luckiest coach ever…but he isn’t even in the top three coaches in his own conference.  Frankly I am surprised that Texas fans are not piling on about this right now.  After they get wood-shedded by Alabama, maybe they will be.

Fact: Cincinnati deserves to be playing in the BCS game against Alabama

Truth – you gave up a forty spot to Pittsburgh?  The argument stops there.  The Panthers are not exactly an offensive juggernaut.  Brian Kelly likely is gone to Notre Dame, and bad coaching by Wannestadt might make it a certainty now.  The Bearcats are good, but top 3 in the county???….nope.

Fact:  The refs put back one second on the clock in the Big XII title game

Truth:  They did get this one right although I hate to admit it being a Husker fan.  If time expired it would have made LSU coaching buffoon moves at the end of the game a few weeks ago look like no big deal.  The Truth also is that the #3 team was lucky to escape and was dominated by a team with a far superior defense who unfortunately for them has an offense that would barely be effective in your kids Pop Warner league.

Fact:  This year is a toss-up for the Heisman Trophy

Truth – Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh should win the award but won’t.  Lets run down the top candidates here.  Tim Tebow – nope –  lost last game and cried on the sideline.  There is no crying in Football Timmy! – and had average statistical year, Colt McCoy, laid an egg in final game and last second (literally) gaffe almost cost team a shot at the title game.  Jimmy Clausen – hardly.  Mark Ingram – you can’t get pulled in the next to last game for being ineffective and win THIS award.  Toby Gerhart – I could see this as I think he has been most consistent – Suh –has been dominating in every big game for the Huskers defense which is very good.  He had 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles – 8 for losses – an numerous hurries in the Big XII title game.  Can you honestly say there is a better or more dominating player in the country this year?