Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Revolution Was Televised ... on ABC

1453. 1644. 1917. And now, Halloween 2009.

Like the Byzantine, Ming and Romanov empires, all good things must come to an end. Such was the case for the Trojan Dynasty that has ruled the Pac-10 since 2002.

In retrospect, it was easy to see that this was a rebuilding year for USC. It lost most of its defensive stalwarts, including an entire linebacking corps that went among the first 38 picks in the NFL draft. It lost its star quarterback, who now hot dogs it for the New York Jets. It even lost its offensive coordinator to a rival Pac-10 school.

But because it's USC, it was assumed that it'd go on like business as usual ... until Saturday night, when the Oregon Ducks formally pronounced the fin de siecle with a resounding quack.

(Continue to BCS Guru)

So What's Wrong with Georgia?

And What’s with Georgia?

With a little help from our good friend Lane Kiffin, Florida is the 2009 SEC East Champion. Pencil in your trip to Atlanta.

As for the win that put us there, I’m really starting to wonder if Georgia hasn’t entered the realm of unhealthy obsession of all things Florida. How in the world does it make sense in a season that you are 4-3 to break with a hundred plus year tradition and wear black helmets for the first time? Against a team you are solid double digit underdogs, at that. I thought the black helmets looked very cool, but now they are just a further symbol of Georgia’s futility against Florida. Why not save that for a better year in a game that, you know, mattered?

(Continue to Saurian Sagacity)

Todd Bounces Back in Auburn Win

Chris Todd throws pass against Ole Miss (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

I was wrong.

There, I said it, but don’t tell my wife.

Before Auburn played Ole Miss, I wrote that the Tigers should bench starting quarterback Chris Todd in favor of backup Neil Caudle if they stood any chance of upsetting the Rebels.

Well, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn stood by their man and he delivered. Todd wasn’t great, but effective, completing 12-of-22 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ stirring 33-20 Southeastern Conference victory that snapped their three-game losing streak.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

Oregon's Job Is Not Complete

Oregon dominated the Trojans 47-20. The Ducks got a Freshman QB in Matt Barkley at home, but so did Ohio State, California and Notre Dame. Oregon did what they were supposed to do and that was beat a USC team that is inexperienced and trying to find their way.

This was a very impressive win by the Ducks. Oregon’s Chip Kelly is in his first season as the head coach and he accomplished what Jim Tressel, Charlie Weis and Jeff Tedford who are coaches with much more experience could not do and that is defeat the Trojans when you have them at home. USC was ranked #5 in the BCS and this victory should result in Oregon climbing up the BCS Standings.

(Continue to Inside the Pac-10)

Cavs Welcome Back All-Purpose West

Coach Mike Brown still had to wonder how his Cavs might look when all the pieces were in place. Brown, as with almost everybody else, knew he had been blessed with a good collection of splendid talent, but how to blend that talent had been his struggle.

It didn't help Brown, a defense-minded coach, that he was forced to play without Delonte West, his hustling, all-purpose guard who had to sit out the first three games of the season with psychological problems.

His mind right now, West returned to a standing ovation Saturday night, no small matter to Brown. He was as pleased to have West in the lineup as the fans were, because West can open Brown's offense in ways not possible without him.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Another Test for Mark Sanchez

Someday soon it will be time to measure up Mark Sanchez again. Maybe the next time he plays in cold weather, which wasn't so successful two weeks ago against Buffalo. Maybe it's when he plays Buffalo next, since that's the team that picked him off five times in that game. Maybe it's the next matchup against the Patriots - in New England, instead of in front of the home crowd.

But this week the object of scrutiny is not the rookie quarterback - it's the rookie coach. The last time the Jets played the Dolphins, Sanchez was fine. It was Rex Ryan's vaunted defense that looked exposed just three short weeks ago against Miami and its wildcat formation.

That shortcoming seems a bit more magnified following the Saints' ability to neutralize the wildcat last week as they staged a monster comeback on Miami.

At the same time, the Jets' defense was showing signs of life again after a couple of 'just OK' weeks - nothing close to the way they started the season. But that performance comes with a huge asterisk, because it was against the subpar Oakland offense.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Last-Minute NFL Picks

The combination of Halloween in the Big Apple and the end of Daylight's Savings Time got me all messed up last night and this morning, so this is truly a last-minute posting. With that being said, and having gone 10-3 again last week (56-28 overall so far) I am just going to make my picks without any comments this time:

Houston at Buffalo

Texans 28, Bills 13

Cleveland at Chicago

Bears 31, Browns 17

(Continue to NFL Guru)

Allenby's Mouth Reaps Reward

Shortly after losing to Anthony Kim in their singles match at last month's Presidents Cup, Robert Allenby made some disparaging remarks about Kim having been out drinking late the night before.

It was a classless move by Allenby, and even though the two reportedly had met to clear the air, it seems Kim hasn't forgotten what was said.

The duo met up today during the semifinals of the World Match Play Championships in Casares, Spain, and Kim exacted some revenge on Allenby with a 5 & 4 victory to advance to the finals against Angel Cabrera.

But it wasn't the win itself that gave Kim his vengeance, it was how he went about it. During the first half of the 36-hole semifinal, Kim refused to concede any putt to Allenby, no matter how short the length. Usually in match play a short putt is concede quickly, but Kim was having none of it in the early part of the match and by the time they completed the first round Allenby was displeased.

(Continue to Par for the Course)
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