Wednesday, November 30, 2011

West Coast Flop

For everyone of us that refuses to give credence to any and all things West Coast football, the beat goes on! The inaugural PAC-12 Championship Game is just another perfect example why when it comes to football on Saturdays, the West Coast and the PAC-12 is JV!

Let's Get After It. . .

10. The expansion of the PAC-10 to the PAC-12 has gone off with very little fanfare. Additions Colorado and Utah combined for a less than steller 10-15 record in their first season on the Left Coast. An even more degrading 6-12 record in-conference.

9. Neither PAC-12 Heisman candidates; SoCal's Matt Barkley nor Stanford's Andrew Luck will be participating in the conference's inaugural championship game. Worse? Their teams tout a combined 21-3 record yet PAC-12 'commish' Larry Scott couldn't find a way to get the 'real' PAC-12 South champs into the title game?

8. PAC-12 South "Champs" UCLA, had to apply and get awarded an exemption to participate in a potential post-season bowl game. Why? Because 1 of 2 teams on national display in the PAC-12 Championship Game ended their season with a 6-6 mark, one win shy of becoming bowl eligible through the typical way, winning.

7. SEC East Champion Georgia finished their regular season with a 31-17 road win against in-state rival Georgia Tech. SEC West Champion LSU finished their regular season with a 41-17 victory against a #3 Arkansas team. Big Ten Leaders Champs Wisconsin finished with a 45-7 victory over a ranked Penn State team. ACC Coastal Champs Virginia Tech finished with a 38-0 road victory over Virginia. Those PAC-12 South "Champs" UCLA, they were like lambs sent to slaughter as Southern Cal tuned them up, 50-0.

6. Whose genius idea was it to play the VERY FIRST PAC-12 Championship Game on a Friday night, December 2nd? As Henry Hill said in GoodFellas "Friday night was for the girlfriends, Saturday night was for the wives." College football is to be played on Saturdays, not Friday nights, let alone a BCS Conference championship.

5. It's the lowest price ticket around, or as I like to refer to it as, the easiest to get! As outlined in this article, compared to the SEC the PAC-12 Championship Game 'cheap ticket' is as little as seventeen dollars which is $121 dollars cheaper than it costs to sit in the last row in Atlanta this Saturday for the SEC dance. In case you aren't putting this together, conferences expanded to have championship games to have increased revenue, not a discount to the main event!

4. UCLA can get an exemption to participate in a postseason bowl while they didn't meet the seven-win qualifier, but somehow Larry Scott can't require them to NOT fire their head-coach heading into said championship game? How can it be good for the PAC-12 Championship and any revenue which would have been made, if one of the two teams has a head coach on the sideline who has ALREADY BEEN TERMINATED?!?!? Since last Sunday, Washington State has fired Paul Wulff, Arizona State has fired Dennis Erickson, and UCLA has fired Rick Neuheisel, the difference? The Cougars and Sun Devils weren't playing in their conference championship!!!!

3. USC should be playing in this game. I know they've been banned from post-season play, I know they aren't eligible to play in any bowl games, and we don't have the time or the energy to ponder how it's fair for Pete Carroll to be bolt to the NFL without a penalty and Reggie Bush to be making millions in the same league, but somehow the institution which gave them their start is on probation. That being said, the Trojans waxed UCLA 50-0 last weekend, they went to Autzen and dropped Oregon, dashing their national title hopes, and no one is going to stand up for them? Really? Their own conference commissioner who from day one said the penalties were too severe, isn't going to step-in and make a change to the conference by-laws to allow them to participate? Hmmm.

2. This has got to be an empty win/night for Oregon right? They choke in big games as it is, see; 2010 National Championship, 2011 Cowboy Classic, and their November 19th coughing up at a second-straight title bid at the hands of USC, but now they're going to celebrate a PAC-12 Championship with a trip to the Rose Bowl, having never beat what most consider the best team in the conference? Someone should have told Phil Knight that the next time he wants to bring out a 'Nike' athlete on the sidelines of a big game, it probably shouldn't be a player who failed to show up in big games countless times in LeBron James, not a good idea. Who's next? Jim Kelly?

1. Last but not least, why would the PAC-12 sign-off on having their conference championship game played on Oregon's home field? Nearly every other conference plays a neutral site conference championship game, in order to be you know, neutral. Yet the PAC-12 is headed to Eugene? Oh wait, I get it . . the only place the PAC-12 would sell out is in Eugene!

For more LynchyRightNow during Championship weekend, follow us on Twitter!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Urban Who? This is Hoke Territory

In his first season in famed Ann Arbor, Brady Hoke is already writing himself into Wolverine lore. As I wrote last winter, Brady Hoke is everything that former Wolverine head coach Rich Rodriguez (from 2008-2010) was not. With one regular season down, that ain't conjecture . . . . it's a fact. Capping off a remarkable 10-2 year at Michigan, Hoke led the Wolverines to their first victory against rival Ohio State in seven years, just one of his big accomplishments this season.

1.) Down 24-7 heading into the fourth quarter on September 10th, against storied Notre Dame playing in a remarkable setting under the lights at The Big House, Hoke and Michigan stood tough as the Wolverines put 28 points on the board to overtake the Irish and come out with a 35-31 victory. Yet, it was Hoke's call to have his offense go for the victory with eight ticks on the clock, when a simple field goal to tie was still an option. These are the moments, that when they work out, simply endear a coach with his fans.

2.) After dropping two of three, with losses to Michigan State and Iowa, the Wolverines needed to bounce back against Illinois on November 12th in Champaign. After clinging to a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter, with star quarterback Denard Robinson knocked out of the game, Hoke turned to sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Calling Toussaint's number 27-times, the Youngstown native would rack up nearly 200 yards on the day while earning Michigan the win they needed, 31-14.

3.) November 19th, Big 10 matchup in Ann Arbor, Nebraska enters The Big House ranked 16th in the nation. The Wolverine defense swarms Cornhusker signal-caller Taylor Martinez as the Michigan offense puts together their best game of the season in a 45-17 blowout win. The Wolverines were taking form at the best time, with Ohio State just days away.

Now, boasting a victory over Ohio State and very successeful regular season, Brady Hoke has the Wolverines awaiting a possible 'at-large' bid to a BCS Bowl game, only something Michigan faithful were only dreaming of during the previous three seasons.

Our hat goes off to Hoke and the Wolverines, for more LynchyRightNow, follow us on Twitter!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What A Roar!

Were you shocked? Stunned? Did you even have to think twice? In 'Red Stick,' you thought it was going to happen? No way, no how. A 41-17 rout of the 3rd-ranked Razorbacks left zero doubt with pollsters, fans, BCS computers, and possibly most important, themselves.

How many programs can spot the 3rd-ranked team in the country, who just won seven straight, fourteen points? How many programs in the country get their stars to show up week after week and make THE play that turns the game? The answer is in their BCS ranking, one.

The Tigers had the over 100,000 packed into Tiger Stadium rocking yesterday afternoon. Superstar defensive back Tyrann Mathieu takes a 92-yard punt return to the house which knotted the game at 14. Beleaguered senior signal-caller Jordan Jefferson ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run to increase the LSU lead to 38-17 in the fourth quarter. Future 1st-round pick, corner back Morris Claiborne, intercepts a Tyler Wilson pass late to end the Razorbacks comeback chances. LSU's 'players' showed up in a big way in a post-Thanksgiving SEC dogfight.

From the first week of the season to the last, LSU has impressed. Not one, two, but three star players suspended in-season and still LSU never dropped off. The win in Tuscaloosa, the heart-stomping defense, and the consistent beat downs of SEC heavyweights, LSU's season has been packed with highlights;

Beating the 3rd-ranked team in the country, twice. It didn't get past the 'Mad Hatter' in his post-game interview. In the wake of their 41-17 victory over Arkansas, LSU head coach reminded everyone that they opened the season hanging 40 on the then ranked #3 Oregon Ducks.

LSU has truly been road warriors. You all remember their OT, hang-on 9-6 victory on the toe of Drew Alleman in Tuscaloosa. However, the Tigers also put up victories in Starkville, Morgantown, Knoxville, and in Oxford. None of which proved any contest for the Tigers, outscoring their opponents 156-37 in those four road games alone.

More on that score differential. Is there a better team in college football at adding style points? Outscoring opponents by an average of 28-points (four touchdowns), the Tigers have no problem putting the hurt on opposing teams. More so, LSU held opposing teams to less than 10-points in seven of their twelve games while scoring north of forty in eight of those same twelve games.

No team across the nation has been as dominating as LSU. Luckily, this wasn't the last time we get to see these Tigers, not a chance. After clinching the SEC West and capping off a 12-0 regular season, LSU heads to the SEC Championship Game and possible shot at the BCS National Title. Geaux Tigers!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful

While we're most thankful for a friday afternoon throw-down in Baton Rouge, between the #1 'Bayou Bengals and #3 Arkansas Razorbacks, we've got some more stuff on the docket. If you're attempting to avoid watching the parade and want a little college football 'stuffing,' get after it!

This is what we're thankful for . . .

To the BCS, a playoff on it's own. Week 10; #1 LSU vs. #2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. While a 9-6 OT loss may not have been what the packed house at Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium had been hoping for, nothing showcased the nation's top two defenses better. Week 11; The high-flying Oregon Ducks go into Palo Alto and torch a #4-ranked Stanford team ending their National Championship bid and letting everyone know they could possibly be the best of the '1-loss' teams remaining! Week 12; How's a #2 ranked Oklahoma State, #4 ranked Oregon, #5 ranked Oklahoma, and #7 ranked Clemson all taking a nose-dive with losses sound? For the detractors of the Bowl Championship Series, isn't this the best way to sort it out? For three consecutive weeks we've had major landscape changing football outings, something a playoff could only wish for. As for Week 13; #3 Arkansas has an opportunity to play big-time spoiler heading to Baton Rouge to beat the top-ranked LSU Tigers. The Iron Bowl (Auburn vs. Alabama) on Saturday, topped off with #5 Virginia Tech vs. in-state rival Virginia with an opportunity to compete in the ACC Championship. The BCS, well it works!

To Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley; Since he and the 'Men of Troy' stormed South Bend in late October, we saw this coming. Despite a post-season ban, (see; Reggie Bush), Barkley is leading the Trojans on a late-season, statement making tour, ripping right through the PAC-12. After going toe-to-toe with Heisman frontrunner and future top-NFL pick, Stanford's Andrew Luck, we took notice. Then there was Barkley's arrival in Eugene, Oregon this past weekend. Like Maximus arriving in Germania, Barkley squashed the Ducks hopes of a National Championship, they silenced a packed house in Autzen, and he himself put up his banner game as a Trojan. Four quarters later, completing 76.5% of his passes, while finding the endzone four times, and what we wrote a day earlier came true, Matt Barkley is going to give NFL 'war rooms' something to think about!

To our 'flighty' favorite coach, ex-Gator Urban Meyer; At 46-years old, Meyer felt the need to leave Gainesville and the Gators just two years into a six-year contract in order to get healthy and spend time with his family. That was on December 8th, just last year. Over the past year Meyer has worked with The Worldwide Leader, covering you guessed it, college football. Now, less than a year from his resignation, Meyer is rumoured to be headed to Columbus. For Buckeye fans, Urban Meyer is the best thing possible. What better way to forget Jim Tressel, 'pins' for Tattoo's, and Terrelle Pryor, than with college football's most elite available head coach, Urban Meyer. With the Buckeyes being out of the mix this season, the Big 10 is going to need it's banner carrier back next season, that's why we're thankful that Meyer isn't holding out for South Bend and possibly is headed to Columbus.

To Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly; I'm a big fan of the junior linebacker, BIG FAN! Named a finalist for the Butkus Award this week, announced on December 7th, Kuechly is in the midst of one of the most productive careers of any linebacker in recent college football history. A part of over 520 tackles, nearly 300 solo tackles, averaging north of 14 tackles per game, and more than 10 tackles in 33 of his 36 career games, how's that for production? With Kuechly being announced as a finalist for the Butkus Award (given to the nation's top linebacker), the Rotary-Lombardi Award (nation's top lineman or linebacker), and the Bronko Nagurski (nation's top defensive player), it's safe to say that the under-recruited linebacker from Boston College has really impressed. For his Boston College Eagles (3-8) Kuechly has been one bright spot in a season full of disappointment.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, eat as much as you can and un-button the top button if you need to men!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Bama Coming Ya'll

First off, two things . . .

(1) The 55,000 rocking Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa last night were amazing from the opening kickoff through the second overtime. It was going to be awfully difficult for the #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys to go into that building and stay focused. Ten penalties and five turnovers later, they got bit.

(2) With Stanford falling last week and Oklahoma State having the stage to themselves on Friday night, the Cowboys were in the pressure cooker. All eyes on newly anointed Heisman front runner Brandon Weeden, a direct path to the BCS National Championship, and the stage looks like it was too big for that program.

Where are we now?

Assuming (and I agree that assumptions in college football aren't wise) LSU remains unbeaten, both against Arkansas on Friday, November 25th and in the coming SEC Championship Game, they'll await an opponent in the BCS National Championship Game. We're making the case that the team they'll meet in New Orleans for the 'crystal football,' should be their in-conference rival; Alabama.

The Crimson Tide are the best of the '1-loss' programs, period. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart caused a ton of problems for LSU when they came to Tuscaloosa, despite the Crimson Tide's 6-9 overtime loss against the 'Bayou Bengals. Place the emphasis on overtime-loss here. Alabama's only blemish on their record is an extremely tight defensive battle with the consensus best team in the country. That's enough to say they don't deserve a re-match with no AQ-undefeated's remaining? Of course not. Running back Trent Richardson and Alabama deserve a shot more than any of the '1-loss' teams. I'll reiterate, in the last five games including that loss to LSU, the Crimson Tide have allowed no more than the nine-points they allowed to those Bengals. You want to see two evenly matched teams compete for the National Championship, find a way to put Alabama in front of the lot!

Why not Oregon!?!? I can sum it up really quickly;

(1) LSU hung 40 on Oregon back on September 3rd; You want that again?

(2) Ducks star running back LaMichael James has rushed for 103 yards on 31 carries in his two games against SEC heavyweights. In that game against LSU earlier this year and against Auburn in last seasons BCS National Championship? I'll pass.

Friday, November 18, 2011

College Football Friday

We're closing in on the end of the college football season, with the SEC on a virtual week off, LSU vs. Ole' Miss, Alabama vs. Georgia Southern, and Georgia vs. Kentucky, we're going through the rest of college football and what's on deck!

Let's Get After It!

Quarterback Brandon Weeden & the 'Pokes' get their tune-up tonight in Ames, Iowa. Then, they welcome the Sooners to Stillwater. Win out and the undefeated Cowboys will find themselves on their way to the BCS National Championship and Weeden will wind up in New York with the Heisman finalists. How have the Cowboys got to this point? Along with Weeden and big-game receiver Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State also presents an explosive ground attack with running back Joseph Randle. The Cowboys sophomore running back has peeled off 993 yards this season. His most impressive stretch this season was at Mizzou then back in Stillwater against Baylor where he ripped up 290 yards on 28 carries while scoring seven rushing touchdowns. With that kind of production on the ground and Weeden & Blackmon doing their thing through the air, it's no wonder the Cowboys boast one of the nation's most explosive offenses.

So. Cal quarterback Matt Barkley has two weeks. Two weeks to prove he's a Top 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. With his Trojans being barred from post-season play and the PAC-12 Championship, Barkley is going to put his best foot forward against both Oregon and UCLA to close out the season on November 26th. In Barkley's last three outings the Trojan offense is averaging over 40-points a game, while Barkley himself has thrown ten touchdown passes in that same stretch. Even more impressive is Barkley's ability to stay mistake free. The junior quarterback has thrown just six INT's to go along with his 29 touchdown passes. From every angle Barkley is having his best year as a Trojan while being asked to do much more in the offense. Even more impressive is what he's going to do in NFL Draft Rooms, he's going to force Indianapolis to either draft Andrew Luck or someone else, because Seattle, Washington, and Miami aren't giving up the farm when Matt Barkley will also be available. I expect the junior signal-caller to show up big in Oregon and put Autzen Stadium on the edge this weekend.

Typically, I need an excuse to watch Big 10 football. What?!?! Sorry that I don't yearn for ground and pound, slow-paced football. (Don't get me started on Denard Robinson, who can't throw the ball, and Russell Wilson, who is a fraud leaning on Montee Ball's great season). That being said, both Wisconsin and Penn State play big games tomorrow which will have Rose Bowl implications. For all the Penn State coverage for the wrong reasons over the last few weeks, these athletes would love to put it behind them and reach the Rose Bowl. As for Wisconsin, a trip to the Rose Bowl might make them feel better after having their BCS National Championship hopes crushed earlier this season in Lansing. Can Penn State show up in The Horseshoe and win a very tough road game? I doubt it. Ohio State's seniors are out on 'Senior Day' in Columbus and their last home game. If there was ever an afternoon they were going to show up in a big way it'd be tomorrow. The Badgers however are going to roll through the Illini despite it being a road game for Wisconsin. Why? Illinois is reeling with four straight Big 10 losses after opening the season 6-0, expect another loss and the Big Ten Leaders Division to be decided at Camp Randall next week.

Why am I discussing Houston quarterback Case Keenum? I've been down this road before, with former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, they're great quarterbacks on the college level who put up mind-numbing numbers in a system designed for their abilities. Keenum's Houston Cougars are undefeated, ranked #11 in the BCS, it's impressive, but that is where they stop if you ask me. They aren't Boise State who goes out of conference to beat teams like SEC heavyweight Georgia. His toughest opponent this season was UCLA, a team which is ranked 92nd in points against this season. The Keenum apologists who want to send him to New York with Heisman finalists better be sending Kellen Moore from Boise there as well. I'll give them their due, because to remain undefeated in college football from week to week is hard to do, anything can happen. Ask Oklahoma what happened when Texas Tech came to Norman, ask Wisconsin what happened on the last play of the game in Lansing, ask Andrew Luck what happened last week in Palo Alto? Houston staying undefeated is impressive, but there are limits to the props we'll give them!

Another exciting Saturday on deck, for more LynchyRightNow, follow us on Twitter!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penn State Pontificating

Is it too early to do this? Nahhhh. By next season, the once-proud Penn State Nittany Lions are going to have to turn the page and hire a new head coach, responsible for one of the toughest tasks any head coach has ever had to do. It's hard enough to follow a Demi-God, but in the wake of recent events in Happy Valley, the task is on an entirely different level. While we're probably not going to get the call to assist the new administration at Penn State on their coaching search, we'd still like to offer up our assistance.

Let's get after it!

Greg Schiano, Rutgers University head football coach. In our opinion, Schiano might just be the only candidate with connections to the Paterno-era (defensive backs coach '91-95) that we'd even seriously consider, that is if he'd do the same. Not once but twice Schiano has balked at the opportunity to leave Piscataway for greener pastures, those pastures being in Miami at another of his former coaching stops, defensive coordinator 1999-2000. So why would Happy Valley under their current circumstances draw him out of New Jersey? (1) Schiano has to have concerns about Rutgers place in The Big East conference and the conferences' viability going forward, concerns that don't exist in The Big 10. (2) His familiarity with recruiting in the Tri-State area. Most recently, Schiano and Rutgers landed Pennsylvania's own Chris Muller, offensive tackle from Boyertown, PA and pro-style quarterback Blake Rankin from Bloomsburg, PA. This isn't recruiting on South Beach. (3) Schiano can win, he's turned Rutgers into a winning program. Aside from 2010 and a down year, Schiano had been to five consecutive bowl games with a 4-1 mark. Furthermore, the type of program Schiano runs wouldn't be that far of a cry from what Penn State has run, on the field that is. If the new Nittany Lions brass can get past Schiano having a link to the previous administration, then he might just be a very good fit.

Charlie Weis, University of Florida offensive coordinator. I cannot imagine Weis is long for second-fiddle in Gainesville, and wouldn't be shocked in the least if he made a move at a head coaching vacancy this coming offseason. That being said, doesn't he seem like a good fit in Penn State? Weis is bold, he's brash, he's upfront, he's larger than life (and I'm not talking about his struggles with weight). It's going to take someone like Weis to shake up Happy Valley. Forget what people said about Weis when he was on his way to South Bend, about bringing his three Super Bowl rings into living rooms of perspective recruits, about being an offensive genius, or anything else for that matter, Weis is a game changer. He still commands respect, could get Penn State alumni excited about football again, and is a big enough name to start the process of pointing the program in the right direction. To me it seems as though Weis just fits comfortably here. On a football level, he can scheme very effectively on offense and could bring in defensive help as well. For Penn State, Charlie Weis would be a different type of help in Happy Valley, a help they desperately need right now, and unlike his time in Notre Dame, he wouldn't be the main attraction, there is a bigger picture.

Kirby Smart, University of Alabama defensive coordinator. Had you asked me on September 11th if Kirby Smart was leaving Alabama at seasons end I would have responded; most definitely. However, that was in the wake of his former Alma Mater, the Georgia Bulldogs, jumping out to an 0-2 record with losses to both Boise State and South Carolina to open the season. I thought Georgia coach Mark Richt was boiling on the hot seat and Georgia would most definitely make another run at Kirby Smart as they had following the 2009 season to add him as a defensive coordinator then. With Richt and Georgia peeling off eight straight wins and firmly placing themselves in position for a shot at the SEC Championship, it doesn't look like they'll be a vacancy for Smart in Athens. Which brings us in a round about way to Penn State. Everything about Kirby Smart will be new in Pennsylvania, for both him and the Nittany Lions. Smart has made coaching stops in Tallahassee, Baton Rouge, Athens, and Tuscaloosa, make note of the geographical nature of his stops? He's never coached north of the Mason-Dixon line. Isn't that part of what we're looking for here though? No ties to the region, as far away from the program you can get, yet a man who brings a winning nature with him and the drive to put a powerful defensive product on the field every Saturday. But let's call a spade a spade here, Kirby Smart has been working alongside college football's premier coach in Nick Saban nearly every day since 2004, give or take a season here and there.

Disclaimer; Left out is former Gators head coach turned ESPN college football analyst Urban Meyer, he isn't coming back into the college football fold just yet. If I were to look into the future for the 47-year old Meyer, I'd say his next job won't be till 2014 when Notre Dame gets tired of current head coach Brian Kelly's sideline ways and his failure to reach a BCS bowl game.

It may be too soon to begin thinking about this topic, but just to give you a taste of well-researched coaches that Penn State should be proud to interview and think about hiring, we got it!

For more LynchyRightNow, hit us up on Twitter!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tebow Bottom Line

Are you tired of Tebow-mania yet? We're not. In fact, we're not even close to tired of hearing/watching/talking about the Broncos 24-year old starting (for now) quarterback. After Tebow's most recent victory, a 17-10 win in Kansas City, we're yet again all buzzing about his play.

The Broncos asked Tebow to use his arm just a mind-boggling eight times while they went to the ground an equally mind-boggling fifty-five times. Was it the dominance of their rushing attack? 244-Yards on the ground, despite injuries to running backs Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee. Was it a lack of trust in Tebow's passing ability? A 47.3 completion percentage in his three previous starts. Whichever it may be, the fans have made their decision, head coach John Fox doesn't have the same faith and affection for Tim Tebow under center as they who watch him play obviously do. This is a very big problem for the Denver Broncos brass. Now 3-1 as a starter in 2011, Tebow has the Broncos just one game back of first place in the division and is also growing support outside of the organization with every win he posts in the standings.

Bottom Line; He's winning, selling jerseys, positively affecting the Broncos 'brand,' better yet he's doing everything an organization should want in a quarterback. It's about time John Fox put on a poker face and get behind Tim Tebow.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

College Football Stadiums; Our Bucket List

In light of recent events, I want to re-introduce everyone to why you can still love College Football. In previous months, even leading into this week, some of the shine on college football Saturdays has come off. However, as a passionate fan of the real 'American Pastime,' I want to help get you all back on board. What better way than to go coast to coast putting some of the greatest venues on display . . .

This is our 'College Football Stadium Bucket List,' if you will.

Michigan Stadium, ANN ARBOR, MI (Big Ten)* - New entry this year. It was the Michigan/Notre Dame night game in Ann Arbor that did it for me. Like the majority of college football stadiums, they’re rocking come Saturdays in the fall. However, this one was different. This was ‘The Big House’ in all its glory, holding 114,000+, playing football under the lights, this became bucket list stadium worthy without a doubt! It’s also the only Big Ten stadium which is making our list. *Disclosure; we’re visiting Ann Arbor pre-October, I don’t do vacations in cold weather cities.

Rose Bowl, PASADENA, CA (PAC-12) - One of my earliest big-game sports memories was Super Bowl XXVII, Cowboys vs. Bills, held in The Rose Bowl. I remember the images of the Cowboys and Bills players alike in awe of the moment, in awe of what lie ahead, and of course in awe of the Rose Bowl towering in front of them, and from that moment on I was sold. The Rose Bowl easily makes our College Football stadium bucket list, even if the reason centers around a pro-football moment.

Neyland Stadium, KNOXVILLE, TN (SEC) - I don't know if it's the checkerboard end zones, the Tee Martin National Championship, the setting of the Smoky Moutains and the Tennessee River running in the background, or maybe the 100,000 plus fans decked out in their creamsicle colored Volunteers gear. Whichever it may be, we're hooked on a trip to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Autzen Stadium, EUGENE, OR (PAC-12) - It's Oregon, and I'm guessing the only reason I'd ever be in the state. The Oregon Ducks' Autzen Stadium is widely considered the loudest stadium in college football. In recent years it has become a favorite of mine to watch on television, the high-flying Ducks seem faster when playing at home, the fans don't seem to ever sit down, and the atmosphere is spine chilling. We'd be all fired up to watch the Ducks tear up a PAC-12 opponent, including in-state rival Oregon State in what is referred to as 'The Civil War.'

Memorial Stadium, CLEMSON, SC (ACC) - The Tigers have an astounding home field advantage in the Atlantic Coast Conference when opposing teams enter Clemson's Death Valley. An over 70% winning percentage when playing at home, the Tigers storm down a hill onto the field of play with each of them touching 'Howard's Rock' on their way in. Some great east coast football, amazing golf courses, and a raucous crowd filling Memorial Stadium, Clemson makes our list.

Lane Stadium, BLACKSBURG, VA (ACC) - Thousands of grown-ups doing the 'Hokie-Pokie,' Lane Stadium letting off a resounding 'gobble-gobble' to get the fans on their feet, serving up giant turkey legs to their scores of fans, all things my relatives told me they experienced at Lane Stadium. Our favorite though? The fans all collectively rattling their key chains during 'key play' moments of the game. With fans this friendly and this into the game, how could we not add the Hokies and a trip to Blacksburg to our 'bucket list.'

Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA (SEC) - Night games in Red Stick?!?! Forgetaboutit. Fans tailgating for more than 48-hours before game time, a purple and gold passion for all things LSU Football, and of course the three "B's," beer, bourbon, and barbecue. Described by legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, "being inside Tiger Stadium feels like you're standing inside a drum." Looking down on the field and seeing that 'Tiger-Eye' in mid-field while fans bounce up and down all around you, Baton Rouge's Death Valley might just be the most terrifying place for opposing fans.

Bryant-Denny Stadium, TUSCALOOSA, AL (SEC) - A trip to 'Bama is a trip to football royalty. Filled with a rich history, filled with great football, traveling to Tuscaloosa is a tailgater's dream. Hounds tooth pattern all over the campus, tents for tailgaters as far as the eye can see, and the statues of each of 'Bama's National Championship winning coaches. Alabama has got to be a destination for any fan of college football, with one of the most treasured programs of all time, they're a must watch in Bryant-Denny!

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, GAINESVILLE, FL (SEC) - Everything about the famed 'Swamp,' gets us excited about going to see the University of Florida. University Avenue littered with orange and blue fans all enjoying sunny Florida game day afternoons. Smokers all over campus making up some of the best food the south has to offer. The boiled peanuts I read all about seem awesome! To see the statues of their Heisman winners, and hear 'The Swamp' rocking, we're all in!

Husky Stadium, SEATTLE, WA (PAC-12) - Mount Rainier rising up in the back drop, pressed up against Lake Washington, Husky Stadium could possibly be the coolest setting for a college football game. One of the few stadiums in the country where tailgating takes place not only in parking lots but also on water. And you know what that means, right?!?! The finest seafood from coast to coast. All the salmon, oysters, and crab one man can handle, cooked anyway you want. Tailgating on a boat before you head in to watch the Huskies, not any amount of rain the upper Northwest can bring could would wash away this experience.

Hope that makes you think about a different side of college football. Catch us anytime on Twitter & Follow TheRightNowPodcast weekly, (or when we get around to it!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Keeping it 'light' is what we generally like to do here, after all sports are a form of entertainment, aren't they? However, I do find a sense of social responsibility to speak, or write in this case, and give my opinion on the grotesque happenings recently brought to light at the State College of Pennsylvania.

There are moments which we as fanatical college football fans forget what we are engulfed in. We're engulfed in a machine, a multi-billion dollar revenue building machine. College towns in the middle of Nowhere, USA are responsible for developing a corporation centered around collegiate athletics and more specifically, college football. The lines of amateurism and professionalism are crossed more often than not, money is and becomes a much larger factor than academia, morality, and social responsibility, it's what this machine called college football is. 'The Machine,' does more than cross lines, it creates individuals who are entrusted with more power than CEO's of Fortune 500 companies, individuals with more say than elected officials, individuals turned millionaires who see nothing but the color of the almighty dollar.

Now for the baffling part of recent days. Officials very high on the food chain at Penn State University, a demigod head football coach, a seasoned athletic director of an elite college football program, and a head of campus security for a college boasting an enrollment of nearly 95,000, never once picked up a telephone and made a phone call to report suspicion of criminal conduct too grotesque to speak of. How does that happen? How does sexual assault of a minor by a man entrusted to care for the very individuals he abused go unreported by men of this like? Based on the words which I wrote in the previous paragraph, I hope you picked up on my point. These men, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, and former vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, all did nothing to protect children from a predator they were close to. For whatever reason, that doesn't matter the least bit, they ignored the opportunity to protect children. We need to have an issue with this. We need to find out why the graduate assistant felt like he needed to tell Paterno rather than the police, why Paterno felt the need to only speak with the athletic director, why the athletic director and VP of finance and business felt a suspension from the university was the only thing they needed to do after hearing of this, why the president of the university did nothing further when approving the suspension of that sexual predator. Firing? Loss of jobs? That is NOT enough. There are too many questions that need to be answered. Why does a graduate assistant not leave the university immediately upon realizing that the sexual predator was not in handcuffs for what he'd done? Start there. This thing has more legs that need to be uncovered because we should not be satisfied with firings, resignations and retirements!

After hearing the grotesque details of the allegations, I can't continue to write about this. I will end it like this however, we should mark the day on the calender as the last time we allow head football coaches and officials of major colleges and universities to have more power than they ought to. The power to cover up scandal, the power to skirt social responsibility, the power to leave our youth unprotected from the world around them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

To End All Discussions

Time flys when you're having fun. The most anticipated November 5th I can remember is finally here. Roughly 35,000 non-ticket holders have descended on Tuscaloosa, just for the experience. Another 101,821 rabid college football fans will pack Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night. ESPN's College GameDay is in the house, all the parties have arrived unscathed, it's Nick Saban & Les Miles, it's Heisman candidates Tyrann Mathieu & Trent Richardson. For the naysayers of The BCS, what have you got to say for yourselves now? #1 vs. #2 are playing each other for what is perceived to be a spot in the BCS National Championship, what more could you ask for? Time for (1) Louisiana State vs. (2) Alabama, no holding back. . .

For all things 'Bama and 'Bayou, let's get after it!

He isn't the first below average height, game-changing running back out of Pensacola, Florida to tear up the Southeastern Conference, but he's pretty special; see Emmitt Smith. Alabama's Trent Richardson will for sure eclipse 1,000 yards for the season later tonight and most likely add to his eye-popping 17 touchdown total, but even more so he could place himself atop any and all Heisman candidate lists. Richardson has had a pretty special season thus far to say the least. In seventh-ranked Arkansas' only loss they received a healthy dose of the Crimson Tide's powerful junior running back. Richardson banged out 211 all-purpose yards including 126 on the ground to lead Alabama to a 38-14 victory. 111-rushing yards in Happy Valley, 181 in The Swamp, and 183 in Oxford, Mississippi, yet tonight could be Trent Richardson's night. With the nations top defense in LSU coming to Alabama, Richardson has the opportunity to have his moment and put the 'Tide in position to win a National Championship.

About that defense of the 'Bayou Bengals, it's nasty, it's fast, it is bar none the most dominant defense in college football. Their defense has held conference opponents to just 41-points in five contests, which includes both Mississippi State and Tennessee playing in their home stadiums. You know 'Honey Badger' Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Morris Claiborne, but they aren't the only players on that secondary that demand attention. Safety Brandon Taylor and Tharold Simon (1 INT, 27 tackles), are adding teeth to that defense and making it nearly impossible for teams to go to the air on LSU. As for running on LSU's defense? Don't think it is going to come easy for Alabama and Trent Richardson. Super-Oregon running back LaMichael James got just 54-yards on 18 carries. Auburn's sophomore running back Michael Dyer got to sixty-yards, twenty-nine coming on one carry. A defensive line with the likes of Keke Mingo (4 sacks), Sam Montgomery (4 sacks), and Michael Brockers to name a few, strikes fear throughout the Southeastern Conference. Alabama and Nick Saban's offense will have their hands full as LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has his defense on all cylinders.

LSU doesn't have the only defense playing on Saturday night, 'Bama's no slouch. Between cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, defensive end Courtney Upshaw, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, the Tide put a defense on the field that has at the very least three first round picks in next years NFL draft. Want numbers? The Alabama defense is allowing just 6.8 points per game, that's less than a touchdown with an extra point per game! Only Arkansas has scored in double digits (14) and since that game the Tide defense has allowed just ten-points to Florida, shutout Vanderbilt, allowed just 1 first quarter touchdown against 'Ole Miss before shutting them down the next three quarters, and held Tennessee to just a pair of field goals, how's that for dominating? With Hightower and Upshaw looking to torment LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee into mistakes, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick looking to make a statement in the secondary, the Tigers are going to have to pull out all the stops against this rock solid defense that hasn't given an inch all season.

Where is the quarterback talk? With these two defenses, it is no surprise that we have failed to get to the signal callers anytime sooner! To Alabama's A.J. McCarron, he's playing close to error free football completing 67% of his passes and managing to throw only one interception since the first game of the season. However, it's clear that Saban is holding him back to ensure that Alabama stick to it's plan, play stout defense and run the football. McCarron isn't going to be allowed to feel forced to make extra plays on Saturday night, you can bank on that. As for LSU and quarterback jarrett Lee, with he and Jordan Jefferson both capable of playing the position, Miles has the ability to change up the speed of the offense at anytime to give different looks to Alabama. It wouldn't surprise me however if one of these three quarterbacks makes an unexpected play to win his team teh game, with so much of the focus placed in other directions all week!

'Bama key: The Tide are going to lean on Trent Richardson, we know that. Over the last 477 touches, Richardson hasn't lost a fumble. For Alabama to put it together on Saturday night, they'll have to make sure that continues for no program in the country takes advantages on turnovers as LSU does.

LSU key: Shut down Alabama receiver and return man Marquis Maze. There may be no shutting down the likes of Trent Richardson, but Maze is a playmaker who will feed off that crowd in Tuscaloosa. If the slew of LSU cornerbacks can make Maze a non-factor on offense and contain him in the return game, they'll load the box and make the evening real difficult for Richardson and the Alabama rushing attack.

Prediction: Alabama 28 LSU 24

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