Swamped by the Tide by Bob Ryan

Having the opportunity to watch the entire Mizzou-Bama football game yesterday, many thoughts flooded into my head….

…no one ….aside maybe from… maybe….a hard partying Mizzou fan after hours of celebrating….. Expected Mizzou to beat Alabama… but the hopes were that it’d be “competitive”… the 1st quarter kept those hopes alive

…Bama’s outside receiver speed was too much for our secondary…well designed slant patterns isolated the defenders for those speedsters….which were used repeatedly in the 1st half

…to me…Missouri demonstrated a strong, powerful running game through much of the first half….you can’t run much being down 3 or 4 TD’s so it sagged in the 2nd half..

….I thought that Mizzou’s defense hit “hard”, ran to the ball well. The front four defensively and the LB corp seem solid against the run. I do think that some of the hits bordered on being “late” hits. The removal of a player for “targeting” was an example of this type of play.

…Mizzou plays hard….real hard….and must be acknowledge in a very positive  way… somehow though… I sense that they are a bit undisciplined.  It’s my experience that if a team isn’t Disciplined….disciplined deep down…when things start to go poorly in a game….they fall apart in a hurry.  Look at the S. Carolina game…I rest my case.

…..Drew Lock does have a strong arm…no doubt about it. It’s his feet…..he doesn’t seem to be able to throw well while moving. Also, the many QB drills used to develop the QB foot skills of moving 2 steps this direction, then 2 another direction, than another to avoid a pass rush (used so well by most NFL QB’s….who’s goal is to stay alive)…is not part of Lock’s arsenal.  You don’t have to be a “runner” but rather a QB that can elude deftly the d-line pressure and STILL make a good pass. Personally, I don’t think that this guy isn’t a 1st round pick…and I’d question if he’s a 1st day pick due to his throwing while moving deficiencies.

…Nick Saban….Alabama already had the foundation in place….it’s been there since the great Paul “Bear” Bryant made Alabama into a powerhouse.  Saban learned his craft under the Don James.  James may NOT have won national championships (he was best known for his work @ Washington)…but he could coach.. and teach others to Coach. It was James (while at Kent State in 1973) who  suggested.. actually insisted…that Saban should join his staff.  Saban didn’t jump at the chance…he was reluctant…his thoughts were that he’d join his Dad in the car business….Saban declined James’ offer despite being flattered…then James played the card that Saban couldn’t trump….James pointed out that Saban’s wife still had a year in college remaining…. why not stay and coach..and then the journey began for Coach Nick Saban. Saban realizes that now,” I would never be a coach, never be sitting here as a coach if it wasn’t for Don James,” Saban said years ago “And I’ve tried to take a lot of the philosophical things that he does when it comes to creating values for players, not only how you develop on the field, but how you develop them as people.” Btw….Saban NOW realizes that it was a good choice as he said,” “I was always around cars and probably would have gone to some place to learn how to be in the car business, some kind of way,” Saban said. “And I think that when my mind does drift, I often times thank Coach James for this job, because every car dealer that I’ve ever had or known all wants to be a coach. So I think he headed me in the right direction.” Saban’s career has taken him as head coach to Toledo, Cleveland Browns, Michigan State, LSU (won a national title), Miami Dolphins(sub .500) and finally…his final spot….Alabama. He’s now tied the Bear with 6 National Titles…..but he doesn’t walk on water – but he DOES bring in top level assistants to continue to evolve his game and his approach… He’s gone through a myriad of offensive coordinators with different approaches and adapted along the way. His offense has evolved into the free wheeling, passing offense that is now accepted as the “norm” in college football. ..and yet….his 2 QB system of last year had 1 passing QB and 1 running QB.  Now that takes some skill to balance that difference in approaches. Remember when Mizzou’s defensive line was so good under Coach Gary Pinkel?  Who was the D-Line Coach….Craig Kuligowski…Kuligowski left the staff of Coach Odum to go to Miami U….and now….he’s the associate Head Coach @ Alabama…and of course the D-Line coach.  Top assistant coaches are a prerequisite for any successful program.  Does Mizzou have “top level” assistants?…which is the responsibility of the Head Coach to procure.

…Mizzou—has 6 games remaining in the 12 game schedule…Memphis are took Central Florida to the limit on Saturday. Actually, I think will work in Mizzou’s favor….playing them the week AFTER a big emotional game. #18 Kentucky and  @#14 Florida follow. Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas are all winnable games…but probably not as easy as some thought a few weeks ago (like me)

…btw….I wish these announcers wouldn’t keep throwing out “how fast” coaches are reaching win plateaus.  Playing 12 regular season games,followed by Post season conference games, bowls or final 4 games takes a team/coach up to 15 games a year.  For decades, teams played 10 games and a much smaller percentage of teams played in a bowl… Heck, good coaches SHOULD  have more wins with  15 possible games as opposed to 11 over several years ago.

Two other exciting NCAA football games….

…..the upset Specialist—Pittsburgh—put up a valiant, terrific, inspired effort but fell to Notre Dame in a game that went right down to the wire. ND is now 7-0 but they had to come from behind to snatch this win. Pitt…relying on their strong run game scored on a 1st possession—which was a thing of beauty…. 17 plays, 88 yards, six first downs, consuming 9:43 of the clock and ending with Quadree Ollison taking a direct snap, faking an end-around handoff and running into the end zone on second-and-goal from the Irish 9. Later in the 1st half,  a 99 yard KO return by Maurice French and had a 14-12 until the 4th quarter. QB Ian Book found Miles Boykin with only 5:43 remaining in the game to put the Irish up 19-14.  The last 5 minutes had several emotional changes…at one point Pitt’s QB Kenny Pickett scrambled around pressure… advanced forward….then retreated a-apparently thinking that he was close to the LOS…he completed the pass for a key first down. However, on review….1st noticed by the ND announcers,…Pickett had passed the LOS so it was an illegal pass….5 yards & loss of down. Coach Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers were looking to upset an AP top-five team for the third straight season after knocking off No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley during the 2016 season and No. 2 Miami last November in Pittsburgh. This game brought back memories of the 2012 game when Notre Dame beat Pitt 29-26 in thrilling overtime game.

…another exciting…albeit rainy…. game that caught my attention was the UCF-Memphis game.  The Tigers jumped out to a 27-7 over the #10 ranked UCF. When TD Gabriel Davis got behind the Memphis defense for a 74 yards TD strike from McKenzie Milton @ the10:45 of the 2nd quarter making it 17-14, you thought that Memphis’ bubble had been popped…..no sir….the Tigers made it 30-14 with just 2:04 remaining in the first half. When UCF’s Matthew Wright kicked a 44 yard FG to cut the lead to 30-17…it still didn’t feel like a rally was on the horizon. UCF Head Coach Josh Heupel gambled in the 3rd quarter. On a 4th and short, his team stood a yard or 2 behind the LOS…came quickly to the LOS went straight to their stance…with a power backfield. They faced a loaded defensive alignment with all 11 defenders within 4 yards of the ball.  Behind a strong offensive line surge and the lead block of his 300lb+ FB (who actually knocked down the LB)Taj McGowan used the push at the point of attack, burst into the open and outran the secondary to make it a 30-24 game as one could feel Memphis losing hold of the game. Early in the 4t quarter, UCF took possession at th UCT 26.  Two passes for first downs by Mackenzie Milton kept the drive going for the Knights. Milton closed out the drive with a 7 yard TD run…the PAT made it 31-30. Memphis would get the ball 3 more times but couldn’t even get close enough for a FG attempt. This was Central Florida’s closest win after coasting in their first 4 wins…included in the list is a 45-14 win over Pittsburgh…note the game above for Notre Dame against Pittsburgh!  UCF has no chance…in my opinion…of making the final 4 NCAA playoffs…even if they go undefeated again(they’ve won 17 straight! Their remaining schedule is Temple, Navy, U of Cincinnati, So Florida. They aren’t in a power 5 conference soooo…..what do they do. The good teams won’t schedule them because they might lose!! I’m asking…how can an outsider get into that final four when schedules are drawn up YEARS in advance?  I’m suggesting….but it’ll never happen….that NCAA schools wipe out their future schedules for the first 2 weeks of the season….let the good teams find other good teams to play…maybe even conference challenges (like in basketball)  a SEC-Big 10 challenge; or PAC 12-BIG 12, ACC-Indpendent for 2 years …then after 2 years modify which conference would play each other….like SEC-PAC 12 or…whatever…it should would be better than the MO State’s of the world being sacrificial lambs  and becoming fodder just for $$$ so the “big boys” can get a W.

If one listed the top 10 of the NCAA…..without considering their pre-season rank, how many players will go to the Pros, what they did last year, the Coach’s pedigree….simply by which teams have beaten the best teams…or losing in a very tight game to another highly ranked team… ONLY that as a  factor… since the committee doesn’t’ want to use a analytics system of points on a computer..let’s break it down to who have you beaten..take away the names…then look at how they look..who’ve they played to this point, how they’ve won the games….go ahead …rank the teams….

Here’s the data…their record, which conference their opponent competes, record of that opponent now and the score….rank them now. I’ll let you know later which teams that are represented here.

Team ABC (7-0) beat SEC team (3-4) 22-17, beat an ACC team (3-3) 56-27, beat a Big 10 team( 6-1) 24-17, beat MAC team(3-4) 24-16, beat an ACC team (3-4) 19-12, beat a Pac 12 team (4-2) 38-17, beat a ACC team (4-2) 45-23, best 3 teams with winning records…most of any of the top 4 teams.

Team XYZ (7-0)  beat a Sun Belt (5-1) team 48-7, beat an SEC team(5-2) 28-26, beat a Southern Conf team (2-3) 38-7; beat an ACC team (4-2)27-23, beat a ACC team (3-3) by score of 63-3, beat an ACC team (1-6) 49-21..played 2 .500+ teams for power 5 conferences

Team  QQQ (7-0) has beaten a ACC team (2-5), a SEC team(5-2), Sun Belt team 3-4, SEC team(5-2), Sun Belt team(3-3),  one SEC team(1-6) & SEC team(3-3)… so  they’ve beaten two teams with winning records

Team NNN(7-0) .. beat PAC 12 team (1-5) 77-31, Big 10 team (1-6) 52-3, Big 12 team (3-3) 40-28, Big 10 team (3-3) 30-14,American Conf  team(2-4) 49-6,  Big 10 team (4-3) 49-26, Big 10 team (4-2) 27-26..played 2 teams with winning records

Go ahead ….rank them…

High School Game of the Week points out the importance of the kicking game…especially when the teams are so evenly matched.  Ft Zumwalt North came into their game against Timberland as one of the undefeated teams in the area. It was a terrific game…close from start to end. They are 2 of the top 3 teams in the GAC Central Conference. North scored the only points of the 1st quarter on a 6 yard run by Joel Hilliard, the PAT by Owen Sears made it 7-0.  Timberland tied it up at the 11:21 mark of the 2nd quarter with a 36 yard pass from Cole Martin to Jarrett Wilson. North answered. Joel Hilliard found Isiah Hartup on a 38 yard score. The PAT kick  attempt was unsuccessful. Timberland scored again late in the 2nd (0:24) on a 10 yard pass from Martin to Brett Hiatt. Parker Brown converted the PAT. It was 14-13. The game…and momentum… kept going back and forth. Zumwalt scored…tried a running extra point which failed. Timberland scored the next 2 TD’s but missed their 2-point pass attempt on the 1st score of the 3rd quater.  So Timberland held a  27-25 lead after 3 quarters. Cole Martin scored the next TD of the game for Timberland, who now held a 34-25 lead after the PAT. Zumwalt N kept fighting , scored  when Grant Latina caught a 68 yard pass from Joel Hilliard less than a minute later.  The defense of both teams stepped up in the last 7 minutes of the game and neither team scored again. Timberland held onto a thrilling 34-32 conference win and knocked FZN from the ranks of the unbeaten.

…Special Tip of the HS hat to Notre Dame Softball team who won the Lutheran South softball district. The Rebels edged Ursuline Academy 4-2 in the Championship game. The 3 district wins raised ND’s record to 11-11-1 for the season. They came a long way from the 1-6 start to the season! Notre Dame  drove home the winning runs  in the top of the 7th inning when Soph Allison Kaiser lined a base hit to center field driving home two runs. That made the score 4-2…which was the final score. Kaiser was EXACTLY the batter than Notre Dame wanted at the plate. She holds the 11th highest average in the entire St.  Louis Area at .594..wow! Ursuline, who also was a surprise in the District, knocked off Affton 15-8 to reach the Championship Game of District. Urusuline scored 10 runs in the 7th inning for an unbelievable comeback in the semifinals. Congrats to both teams!!

 ….yea…yea….I know that baseball is still going on….hope they finish soon….spring training opens up in just over 3 months  ….some random thoughts about the playoffs and players…

….Cards aren’t just chasing the Cubbies….the Brewers have assembled a good team.

….If I lived in Chicago and was a Cubs fan…I would have been thrilled to hear the Cubs GM upset with their play…sure they won 95 games but he felt that they didn’t have their foot to the metal at all times..contrast that with…. our usual…..we’re staying the course dance.

…I’m actually sorry that Adam Wainwright is returning…I’m afraid that not much good will come of it.

…So…..we got the “dog” of the Miami OF….Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna

….Clayton Kershaw isn’t the same any more…..he’s lost something….which happens to ‘em all

…I don’t think that Jeff Gyorko will be a Cardinal next year…but what will we do…what can we do… with Fowler?

Poll results–  Team QQQ is Alabama; Team XYZ-Clemson; Team NNN is Ohio State; Team ABC is Notre Dame  …thanks for the read… Bob

 

 

Comments

  1. Yes, Saban is a tyrant, but I believe he is fair and just wants to outwork and out plan everyone else. He is the Bill Belecheck of college football. They are both similar in how they deal with everyone outside of their loop and let their record on the field represent who they are.
    BK

  2. My 4 College NCAA Football play offs teams right now:
    1. Bama 2. Clemson 3. ND 4. Sooner Boomer
    5. Watch out for the Ducks
    Pretty cool: 4 teams in Same conference are in the final 16 of STATE softball
    Notre Dame, St. Dominic, Borgia & Father Tolton
    Like Brew Crew vs Bean Town in Fall Classic
    Can’t wait till the football Game in Mexico in Nov— Chefs vs Lambs
    MB

Speak Your Mind

*

three × two =