Which brings me to my beef for the week: why did NBC cut away from parts of each band's halftime show? It was the only damn reason that game should be on national television.
If the network really wants to sell some advertisements, let them run long through the game. Nobody wants to watch those schools actually play football. All anyone wanted to do was watch the Tiger Marching Band and the Human Jukebox throw down in Reliant Stadium.
You suck, NBC. I'm adding you to the list. Again.
[Games I Took In This Week]
Western Michigan v. Northern Illinois
Pittsburgh v. West Virginia
Texas v. Texas A&M
Arkansas v. Louisiana State
Arizona v. Arizona State
Nebraska v. Colorado
Maryland v. N.C. State
South Florida v. Connecticut
Florida State v. Florida
Fresno State v. Nevada
Notre Dame v. Stanford
[Notes About This Week's Ballot]
1. Not a lot of teams moved in my ballot this week and I feel very good about that.
2. The teams that did change position moved for a few reasons. The first being that I'd rather not see a team play (like Penn State) than watch a team play and perform poorly (LSU and Notre Dame). I'm not sure why I feel that way, or even if I should, but I do.
The second reason for the changes is that teams like Fresno (well, only Fresno) proved once again that I am a world-class sucker.
3. I was really on the fence about putting Oklahoma in and taking Texas Tech out. Any strong feelings about that?
4. The big question going into this weekend is how much to reward West Virginia if they beat South Florida.
5. I didn't see the Georgia Tech/Georgia game, so I'm a little wary on where to slot Tech. I know they kept it close, but how much can you reward a 7-4 club? I really don't think they belong in the Top 20, but I'm not so sure they should be rotting at 24.
6. After watching New Hampshire throttle Colgate on Saturday, I'm willing to hear arguments for the Wildcats.
|FootBlogPoll: Week Fourteen|
Perry Patterson's Last Pass in Orange?
Or at least that's what I'm told.
If you've never been to a Harvard-Yale game, it is essentially the world's privileged and elite rewriting the rules of acceptable social behavior. It's an eclectic mix of binge drinking, stumbling from dizzying heights, binge drinking, bands in crappy blazers, and binge drinking.
Basically, the perfect setting for hilarity to ensue.
If you're interested in reading some accounts of The Game (and all the bullshit that preceeded its playing this year), Google News may be for you.
As it turns out, Yale ended up grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory this year by allowing the Crimson to crawl back from the brink of annihilation to win 30-24 in three overtimes. This victory marked Harvard's fifth consecutive victory over Yale in The Game. I, of course, managed to watch none of this comeback as I confidently left the 'Bowl in the third quarter assured of a Yale victory considering they were up 21-3.
Instead of watching the Elis pile it on, I thought it'd be more fun to watch Syracuse get its ass beat by Notre Dame.
So, for the record, that's:
Stupid Decision by Glaude: 2
Not Being a Retard: 0
[Games I Took In This Week]
Harvard v. Yale
Syracuse v. Notre Dame
Alabama v. Auburn
Georgia Tech v. Miami
[Notes About This Week's Ballot]
1. How high can you really put a three loss Georgia Tech team?
2. How far to drop a schizophrenic Miami squad?
3. I feel good about moving Fresno State up after the Playstation game they had with Southern California this weekend.
|FootBlogPoll: Week Thirteen|
Unreal City,It was that kind of week in college football. Nine of the 25 teams I ranked last week lost (some in the most horrific of fashions) thus leaving a bunch of leaks to plug with this week's edition.
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!
'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'
T.S. Eliot - The Wasteland (1922)
[Games I Took In This Week]
Another respectable football weekend turned in by me:
Boise State v. Fresno State
Rutgers v. Louisville
Northwestern v. Ohio State
Connecticut v. Pittsburgh
Florida State v. Clemson
Navy v. Notre Dame
Southern California v. California
Iowa v. Wisconsin
Louisiana State v. Alabama
Auburn v. Georgia
Amherst v. Williams
[Notes About This Week's Ballot]
1. After Louisville, I have no idea where those teams should go or whether they should even appear on a ballot.
2. If you have a trained eye, you will see that Wisconsin, despite losing this week, did not drop in my ballot. And I feel pretty OK about that for some reason. Maybe because the ass-end of this ballot is a complete and utter question mark.
3. To LSU and Auburn: Thanks for the vindication.
4. The only real questions I have as to specific slotting is whether PSU should swap with ND (I can't see why other than the fact that ND has one more loss), whether West Virginia should slide ahead of Fresno State, and where Florida goes (if they belong anywhere).
|FootBlogPoll: Week Twelve|
During this past week there has been a lot of ink dedicated to reminiscing about the number 44 and its impact on the Syracuse community. Rather than compiling and exhaustive list of these articles, I'll highlight only a few. Other remembrances can be found through a Google search.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Scott Pitoniak penned a nice piece entitled 44 Facts About SU's Most Famous Number. Amongst my favorites are:
5. Twenty-five players have worn the number at SU.
6. Halfback Gifford Zimmerman was the first, in 1921.
7. Fullback Rob Konrad was the last, in 1998.
12. Ernie Davis ultimately chose SU over Notre Dame because of the opportunity to wear 44.
16. Floyd Little and Michael Owens are the only 44s to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
18. 44 is the first football number to be retired at SU.
25. John Mackey, an All-American tight end for SU during the early 1960s, wore No. 88. He liked to joke that he was twice the player No. 44 was.
27. Ernie Davis, though he never played for the Browns because he was stricken with leukemia, had his No. 45 retired by the team.
34. Jim Brown scored six touchdowns and kicked seven extra points in his 43-point explosion vs. Colgate. He would have finished with 44, but he missed one of his PATs.
44. Gross has hinted that 44 won't be the only football jersey taken out of circulation. Other candidates: the No. 5 worn by quarterbacks Donovan McNabb, Marvin Graves and Bill Hurley; the No. 39 worn by fullbacks Jim Nance and Larry Csonka, and the No. 72 worn by defensive end Tim Green.
Maybe the best memories of 44 were written by those not in the employ of a particular newspaper. Capturing this spirit, the Post-Standard contributes a nice scapbook of 44 memories. Favorite passages include:
As I recall, Jim Brown used to leave a lacrosse game to run the 440 or other event, when both lacrosse and track were scheduled at the same day/time.And you have to love cheap shots against Auburn:
Jim Brown’s strength of character has always been outstanding - his personal motivation to achieve athletically, his sense of self-worth when he retired from pro ball after 10 remarkable seasons, (have never seen the idea that the death of Ernie Davis and their planned dual running back future with the Cleveland Browns had something to do with Jim’s leaving) and the courage he has had to speak up regarding the treatment and needs of African-Americans, particularly at the time he first did so. He also helped bring an improved conscience to Syracuse University regarding recruitment and treatment of black athletes.
The long line of No.44’s has been remarkable for both their on-field and off-field character.
Without a doubt, my favorite memory of No.44 is Michael Owens scoring the two point conversion against West Virginia to give Syracuse a perfect record of 11-0 and an undefeated 1987 regular season.SUAthletics.com
Every time I put the tape of that game in I had to fast-forward to the end, McPherson pitching to Owens, him speeding into the end zone just inside the pylon. Too bad Pat Dye didn’t have the same courage in the Sugar Bowl that Coach Mac showed on that memorable day in the Dome.
Last, but not least, is the athletic department's complete composite of Syracuse players that have donned #44.
The dossiers are sparse prior to Jim Brown, but afterwards are worth a glance.
But I decided to piece one together anyway.
With Syracuse sporting a 30 game schedule this season, I decided to save my sanity and only make predictions as to wins and losses rather than writing a little blurb about why the team will perform as anticipated. There's no real science as to these predictions; they are merely gut reactions.
|2005/6 Syracuse Orange Hoops Schedule|
* = Coaches v. Cancer Tournament (New York City)
# = Coaches v. Cancer Tournament (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Twenty wins is a reasonable possibility, but Coach Boeheim is really going to have to put in a terrific coaching effort to get the Orange to that plateau considering the unyielding series of landmines that will be this team’s Big East Conference schedule.
Many outlets have already catalogued Syracuse’s strengths and shortcomings and there is no reason to repeat many of these sentiments. As such, the following serves as material supplemental to those previews.
This blog has always been dedicated to the promulgation of original content generated by an alternative approach to reasoned analysis. Throughout the football season this was done, albeit sporadically, through different statistical means, although primarily from a team approach. For basketball season, this notebook will incorporate many of the methods and approaches developed and adapted by John Gassaway, Ken Pomeroy, and others as an effort to further the scope of discourse created by such analysis.
Without further ado, here are a bunch of wonky-looking numbers.
The data below represents the production value generated by Syracuse’s returning players from 2004 (sans Matt Gorman who redshirted last season). For a primer on the statistical values employed, the following may be of assistance:
[Non-returning Players of Significance]
The data below represents the production value generated by Syracuse’s non-returning players from 2004 (sans walkons).
[Newcomers of Significance]
[Around 800 Words Concerning the 2005/6 Orange]
Gerry McNamara has all the tools to become an unstoppable force in the college game. The only thing holding back the Scranton Sharpshooter is his, at times, deplorable shot selection. While averaging almost 16 points a game last season, this was more the residue of McNamara lofting up an incredible amount of shots rather than knocking down jumpers at an efficient rate.
McNamara’s points per weighted shot (PPWS) is a great indicator of this fact. With a PPWS of 1.091, McNamara was a fairly average shooter (in terms of efficiency) despite his legendary reputation as a long range marksman. This conclusion is further supported by McNamara’s pedestrian 49.31 effective field goal percentage (about 3 points lower than the team’s effective field goal percentage – 52.35)
In short, it’s not a question of Syracuse finding ways for McNamara to get his shots; it’s a matter of McNamara selecting what shots he should take when delivered the leather.
One other note on McNamara: he is by far a better court general than critics give him credit for. Having an assists per 100 possessions value of 8.251, McNamara is more than capable at dishing the rock to capable finishers. He can play the point efficiently, and this will be a great weapon should Josh Wright falter or the need arises to play either Eric Devendorf or Louie McCroskey with McNamara in the backcourt.
Roberts’ performance this season may ultimately decide whether Syracuse is a four seed this season or a low eight. He is the epitome of an “X Factor” and has some large shoes to fill with the absence of Hakim Warrick.
Despite playing on 18.5 minutes per contest last season, Roberts made the most of his opportunities. Relying mostly on a wide array of tongue-wagging dunks and sly, back to the basket play, Roberts was quite efficient as a finisher closing the season with a 1.153 PPWS. Not shabby considering virtually all of his attempts came from inside the arc and away from the charity stripe.
The question will be whether Roberts can maintain this kind of efficiency as he becomes the second or third scoring option on the floor rather than the fourth guy to touch the leather. If he can, Syracuse will not have to rely on playing stingy defense and driving down the number of possessions afforded to an opponent.
Speaking of defense, Roberts is going to have to fill the rebounding void created by Hakim Warrick’s and Josh Pace’s departure. Roberts’ rebound percentage mark of 11.9 last season is respectable, but considering that it was generated with the assistance of two adequate Windex men in Warrick and Pace, Roberts will have to become very assertive on the glass this season. Demetris Nichols has never been strong on the glass and given Matt Gorman’s questionable ability to bang underneath, Roberts is going to have to shoulder a large load.
Louis McCroskey & Demetris Nichols
If you’re not rebounding and not playing spectacular defense, you better be able to shoot.
And last season, McCroskey and Nichols couldn’t. The numbers don’t lie here.
In 2004, Nichols registered a PPG of 3.9, a PPWS of 0.950, and an eFG% of only 45.15. In an apparent effort to outpace his classmate, McCroskey took the bar even lower with a PPG of 5.6, a PPWS of 0.896, and an eFG% of only 44.
Given the makeup of the 2005/6 edition of the Orange those numbers just aren’t going to cut it. Nichols and McCroskey need to become viable options on the floor because relying on a freshman (Devendorf) to drop 10 to 15 points a game is a dangerous proposition. And given the fact that these two guys are going from 15 to 20 minutes a game players to 20 or 25 minutes a game options, there is little room for them to continue their inconsistent play from last season.
The four words that Watkins needs to keep in his head this season is the following: Stay on the floor.
Despite logging only 14.0 minutes a game last season, Watkins managed to register 55 total personal fouls in 26 games. That amounts to just over a foul every 6 minutes. As the only center on this team with any sort of meaningful collegiate experience, taking fouls at that rate cannot occur. Especially considering the potential force (both offensively and defensively) Watkins could be inside for the Orange this season, Watkins needs to find a way to avoid being disqualified.
Watkins may not have the intangibles that Craig Forth did (i.e. setting screens, making faces of frustration, fastidiously adhering to the layup over the power slam), but his production was just as efficient, if not more (Watkins logged an eFG% of 61.19 compared to Forth’s 54.7 eFG%). And all this came as a sophomore.
With this in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Watkins become a valuable inside option much along the same lines as Etan Thomas was, and given the fact that Syracuse hasn’t had an inside offensive/defensive presence like Thomas since he graduated, this could become a great weapon for Coach Boeheim.
It’s all about balance. And balance, in the end, benefits everyone.
Just last week, Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese had his contract with the conference extended through the 2009-10 academic year.
Whether or not this is a good thing, I do not know. What I do know is that Tranghese has his work cut out for him. Over the next four years, Tranghese must tackle issues concerning:
- The size of league membership and what effect it may have upon a potential split between the football and non-football institutions;
- Television contracts (especially for football);
- The conference's continuing membership in the BCS syndicate (in whatever form the association may take);
- The potential defection of Pittsburgh or Syracuse from the conference;
- Notre Dame's role as a partial Big East member;
- Bowl contracts and payouts; and
- The Big East Basketball Tournament and whether to add another day to the schedule to allow more universities to compete.
|Big East Football: Week Eleven|
|11.09.05||West Virginia v. Cincinnati||Cincinnati, OH||ESPN2||7:30PM|
|11.11.05||Rutgers v. Louisville||Louisville, KY||ESPN2||8:00 PM|
|11.12.05||Connecticut v. Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh, PA||ERT||12:00 PM|
|South Florida v. Syracuse||Syracuse, NY||TBA||1:30 PM|
[Game of the Week]
Chas continues to keep his eye on the Big East race and pens another concise edition of "Winning the Big East."
With this in mind, the game of the week should be either Connecticut taking on Pittsburgh or Rutgers facing Louisville as both of these tilts have significant implications on bowl possibilities.
However, given the magnitude and pageantry that will be this Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse and South Florida get the nod for the Big East game of the week, even though the Orange will be blown off their own carpet.
Death to the infidels!
[Games I Took In This Week]
Given that this was the first Saturday in about two months that I could completely dedicate to college football, I indulged myself to a ridiculous degree. In whole or significant part, I watched the following games:
Connecticut v. West Virginia
Toledo v. Ohio
Minnesota v. Indiana
Iowa v. Northwestern
South Florida v. Rutgers
Michigan State v. Purdue
Tennessee v. Notre Dame
Wisconsin v. Penn State
Illinois v. Ohio State
Vanderbilt v. Florida
Miami v. Virginia Tech
Stanford v. Southern California
Brown v. Yale
[Notes About This Week's Ballot]
The way I see things at this point is as follows:
1. Southern California and Texas are clearly the best two teams in the country at this point. No other squad out there is playing the game as balanced as these two teams are right now.
2. The next tier of teams rolls from 3 to 9 in my ballot. I am willing to listen to arguments for clubs swapping positions within that tier, although I am not real certain that anyone other than Penn State may be getting a "raw deal."
3. Tier 3 stretches from 10 to 14. All these clubs appear flawed in one way or another, but if they are able to gain any consistency, could move into the second tier. The only questions I really have about this tier is whether Oregon should be at the doorstep of this group and whether UCLA should even have membership at this level.
4. Texas Tech and Fresno State sit lively in the fifth tier. Should these teams even be here? Is there any reason to believe that the clubs behind them are more worthy of slots 15 and 16? Does this even matter?
5. Slots 17-25 round out the sixth and final tier. This tier seems dominated with teams having a lot of potential, but have not yet found a way to maximize it. Any suggestions on slotting in this group would be beneficial as I haven't a) seen TCU play; b) seen Colorado play since they were hammered by Miami; c) vested any faith in Florida State since they failed to blowout Syracuse; and d) decided whether I should grow some stones and slide Northwestern past Georgia Tech (gasp!).
|FootBlogPoll: Week Eleven|
Even though things appear fairly dormant, there is a lot of stuff going down. This afternoon I updated the Tipping Points data and am still working toward making the blog look less drunk when viewed with Firefox.
As you'll notice, the data derived from Syracuse's last four games has yielded some interesting results. I especially enjoyed seeing the Orange accumulate a negative True Offensive Benefit value against Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Now that's classy.
First time in 30 years, eh?
I would've bet the tens of dollars I have in my bank account that Coach Boeheim would have been tossed at least once during his tenure before last night. That streak was almost as impressive as the lacrosse team's consecutive Final Four streak.
Around The Blogosphere
Big Ten Wonk is back, and the wonkiness is candy sweet.
And in other notable returns, Kyle Whelliston is on board for another season of defending basketball vagabonds. His first stop this season? The Carrier Dome next week for the Orange's tilt against Bethune-Cookman.
The Blue-Gray Sky has officially delved into the joy that is modified pythagoras. In a spirited essay reminiscent of many of the notes I've made about Syracuse football (and for that matter, college football in general), Jay does a nice job assembling the data and structuring a reasonable analysis.
If you're interested (and I have no idea why you would be), you can compare Paul Pasqualoni's pythagorized record to some of Notre Dame's greats by just clicking here and here.
If you're not reading mgoblog everyday, you should. In Brian's latest edition of "What Steams My Clam," the young Michigander takes Jason Whitlock to task for his blatant jackassery not once, but twice. Bravo!
Not to be outdone, EDSBS chimes in with their All-Race Team.
And finally, I find this incredibly interesting and am interested in seeing where Syracuse stacks up.
That be whack!
So, in order to eschew my responsibilities to the English language, maybe it's time to take a glimpse at the "Somewhat Midseason, Yet Hopelessly Too Early Big East Pythagoras."
Pythagoras, in their very nature, are a contentious topic; they are often best supported when all the data to be considered has been accumulated, and even then, their purpose and accuracy is often shadowed in doubt. But for the sake of creating an introduction to this essay, I've decided to assemble some Pythagora data for review, even though it is clearly not appropriate.
(If you want to compare the data depicted below to its 2004 counterpart, click here. If you want to laugh at Syracuse's historical Pythagora record under Paul Pasqualoni, click here.)
|Big East '05 - Pythagorized!|
This is probably the residue of Connecticut playing a whole lot of junk early in the season and now forced to play tougher opponents during their Big East schedule.
Even in a non-Pythagorean sense, Cincinnait has gotten more done this season than anybody would have anticipated just three months ago.
|Big East Football: Week Ten|
|11.02.05||Connecticut v. West Virginia||Morgantown, WV||ESPN2||7:30 PM|
|11.03.05||Pittsburgh v. Louisville||Louisville, KY||ESPN||7:30 PM|
|11.05.05||South Florida v. Rutgers||Piscataway, NJ||ERT||12:00 PM|
[Game of the Week]
Every game this week is the "game of the week" as each contest is busting with implications.
Chas over at Pitt Sports Blather did a nice little shakedown of what each contending team needs to do down the homestretch to assure itself a BCS bid. With Chas' comments in mind, it appears as if this week will be the first in a series of dominos to fall in determining who will gain the right to get waxed by the SEC's second representative to the BCS.