The title, inspired by what was fairly good T.V. show before it vanished weeks ago, is for my top 9 College Basketball teams at the moment. Though hopefully none of the players on this list are ever involved in a bank robbery. I'll be posting my top 9 every Wednesday as we head down the home stretch of the season. This is just MY top 9 teams, as of the end of games tonight. East Coast games at least, some late starts will not come into play until the following weeks. Without further ado.... The Nine N' 5
1. North Carolina
UNC will be moving up to #2 in the USA Today poll, but here they're an easy choice for #1. Mainly because of their utter dominance over everyone since falling to Virginia Tech. UNC has throttled 5 strait opponents since the loss, including tonight's 105-64 win over Miami. Miami isn't any good, I know that, but Clemson, and Arizona are solid and they were both blown off their home floors. UNC should hold this spot through next week as I don't think Duke can beat them even at home.
This Week: 2/3 @ NC State, 2/7 @ Duke
I know they just lost to Washington, but that was without Aaron Brooks, that game I have no doubt is an Oregon win if he plays. Oregon has been fantastic this season picking up road wins over Arizona, and Washington St., to go with home wins over UCLA, and Stanford. Can the Ducks hold this spot though? They're hitting the L.A. double dip over the next three days as they head to UCLA tomorrow, and then to USC on Saturday. There's a good chance Oregon loses both games.
This Week: 2/1 @ UCLA, 2/3 @ USC
I can argue for the Gators to be higher, and I still think they're the best "team" but they tend to fall asleep, and let inferior opponents hang around. One of these nights it's going to get them beat, tonight however, they came back from 12 down to beat Vandy by 10 tonight. Just imagine if they had played that way the entire game, if they do that Florida might win this game by 40-50 points, and completely destroy all that Vandy has done recently. I like Georgia's odds to shock them next Wednesday but I don't know that I guarantee it.
This Week: 2/3 Tenn, 2/7 @ Georgia
While they beat the Gators they've lost to Oral Roberts, and while OR is a solid pick to pull an upset with Caleb Green and Co. Kansas shouldn't be losing to them. Georgetown beat OR by 15, so Kansas should have probably won that game by at least 27. Even worse the Jayhawks were at home. Kansas sits here maybe on talent alone, I think next to UNC, maybe even ahead of UNC they're the most talented team in the country. But they have a lot of no shows and youth is no longer an excuse, as it was in the past two NCAA tournaments. Kansas will host Texas A&M on Saturday which could determine the Big 12 winner as its the only time the two teams meet this year. I don't know if Acie Law is enough, but they're defense should frustrate Kansas and they have a shot to win this game.
This Week: 2/3 Texas A&M, 2/7 Kansas St.
The Badgers took a bit of a fall after tonight's loss to Indiana, this loss however doesn't have as much to do with their #5 ranking as you'd think. Wisconsin despite their 21-2 is a bit overrated, they play great team defense but too often rely on just Alando Tucker to do the scoring. Tucker is a fantastic player, a contender for national player of the year, some would say he's even the current leader in that race, but he cannot carry Wisconsin by himself. I thought Wisconsin was playing to many close games with bad teams, and they'd lose soon. Indiana doesn't really fall into the bad category, but this in my opinion is a game a top 5 team wins, on the road or not. Wisc. should have no problems bouncing back against Northwestern and Penn State, though NW did give them a scare a few weeks back this one is in Wisconsin.
This Week: 2/3 Northwestern, 2/7 @ Penn St.
Despite Saturday's loss to Stanford I still think UCLA is a top tier team, though if they lose to Oregon tomorrow they may lose the Pac-10 altogether. UCLA is a lock for at the very least a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament as their gritty defense continue to frustrate people. Aaron Afflalo has been fantastic this season but he, much like Tucker won't be able to single handily carry their offense come march. The loss of Ryan Hollins inside has hurt this team more than I expected it to, and their vulnerable against teams with dominating big men up front like the Stanford twins. If UCLA does end up a #2, they better hope Ohio State is not the #1 in that bracket as that's exactly the kind of team they do not want to have to go through to make the final four. They should stay in the top 9 even if Oregon gets them again as long as they beat USC next Wednesday.
This Week: 2/1 Oregon, 2/3 Oregon St., 2/7 USC
7. Ohio State
The Buckeyes fall all the way to #7 mainly due to the fact that they have yet to beat a true contender. Also their one win over a ranked opponent came at home against a Tennessee squad that has since fallen out of the rankings with Chris Lofton hurt. OSU needs to beat Wisconsin in their rematch to get any final four consideration around here. They were absolutely destroyed by Florida, and lost close games to UNC, and Wisconsin. While some would say I'm over valuing the Florida loss because Oden was still getting adjusted, I disagree. Oden made one bad foul after another in that game and didn't play for most of it, allowing Al Horford and Noah to dominate the inside for the most part. Oden was dominant defensively when he was on the floor though, and for that reason OSU if they can beat Wisconsin when they get their rematch in Columbus on February 25th. After beating Purdue tonight they must go to Michigan St., and take on a team that probably should have beaten them last week if not for their bad first half. I'll take MSU this time, and do so with confidence.
This Week: 2/3 @ Mich St., 2/6 Michigan
8. Washington St.
Arguably the third best team in the Pac-10, Washington St. is coming off a thrilling loss to Oregon in overtime. A game that they probably should have won, but Aaron Brooks as I said before is clutch. Derrick Low has been truly amazing this season including his 37 points in the Oregon loss. WSU really has no bad losses unless you count the 14 point loss at Utah. Which I would understand, outside of that game though they're lost to good teams in UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford by a combined 9 points, 3 points each which has to hurt. Head coach Tony Bennett has opened up the offense and these guys are making him look like a genius for doing it. If WSU goes into Arizona and wins this week they are the 3rd best team out west in my eyes, despite Arizona's recent slide they're still a good team. With that said I like WSU to prolong the 'Zona slide and then beat Arizona St. as well.
This Week: 2/1 @ Arizona, 2/3 @ Arizona St.
The best way for me to explain Marquette's place in The Nine despite some bad loses is their recent history along with one phrase; "match up nightmare." The three guard offense of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wes Matthews has been frustrating to many of their big east foes, including the team they beat out for this spot, Pittsburgh. The Golden Eagles went into Pitt and walked out with a victory, just a week earlier they blew WVU out by 18. Marquette is one team to avoid in a one game situation as you never know what D. James might do, he's drawing comparisons to former Golden Eagle Dwayne Wade. I'll call shenanigans on that one but he has been impressive thus far and as only a sophomore he's only going to get better. These guys gotta beat Providence to at least maintain this spot, Rutgers shouldn't be a problem.
This Week: 2/3 Providence, 2/7 Rutgers
Others Receiving Consideration:
Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Duke, Butler, Air Force, USC, Stanford, and Nevada.
The Bottom 5:
These are the 5 teams I consider to be the most overrated, and most likely to be exiting early come march.
5. Duke - Almost off this list.
4. Texas - Won @ Texas Tech tonight, something Kansas and A&M couldn't do/ But Still needs to show more consistency.
3. Michigan State - That's IF they make the tournament.
2. Alabama - Getting throttled by average and bad teams on the road and their still ranked?
1. LSU - No excuse to lose Alabama at home, none. Auburn blew them out at home for f#%@s sake.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
And Other NBA Ramblings
First of all I'm sorry about the lack of updates but school and work have really eaten up a lot of my time as of late. This should continue but I guarantee I will update at least 1-3 times per week.
For weeks now everyone has been chomping at the bit to see Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson on the court together for the very first time. On Monday everyone finally got what they were waiting for in Anthony's return against the Grizzlies. While many media outlets have acknowledged that the Nuggets are not quite on the level of a Dallas, or Phoenix. They do seem to think this is a match made in heaven after watching these two guys pour in the points against cellar contenders Memphis and Seattle. As fantastic of a shooter as Ray Allen is he can't beat the Hawks by himself, and he certainly can't beat the sudden "contender" in Denver either. I'd like to take this time to remind everyone of just a few short years ago, when Vince Carter was shipped to New Jersey. Everyone seemed to think "Oh Snap!" a championship was clearly in the near future of those juggernaut Nets. I am having a little bit of a problem though, I can't seem to remember what year it is New Jersey won it, or even made the finals after the trade. I'm sure everyone would argue this isn't a valid comparison as New Jersey didn't have a big man like Denver does in Marcus Camby. I'd say your right but there's one thing New Jersey did have that could potentially make up for that, its name is Jason Kidd. I'd also say Camby is nothing more than a Dikembe Mutumbo clone with a decent mid-range jump shot. Kidd's ability to make his team mates better appeared early on to be making up for the lack of size, much like 'Melo and AI's scoring ability will early on make up for their lack of a true reliable point guard, sorry Steve Blake.
Speaking of Mr. Blake he's not even starting in Denver, AI starts at the point, with J.R. Smith is playing the two-guard spot. 'Melo, Reggie Evans, and Camby make up the front court and it sounds like a solid team, which is exactly what it is (lineup according to ESPN). A solid team, but not quite a contender just yet. I might change my mind if Denver slid Blake into the starting lineup, and Nene suddenly started earning his paychecks to take over as the starter next to Camby. Nene however appears to be hampered a little bit from last years injury still making Evans the only other option up front. The biggest problem with the current starting lineup is Smith, he's a shoot first type of guy on a team where he needs to be a creator. Denver may have been better off keeping Andre Miller and trying to emulate the Suns run n' gun style with Smith and 'Melo as the focal points. I know Miller tends to lean into the shoot first realm himself, but he's a better passer than AI, and Blake combined. But after 'Melo's hit and run on Mardy Collins they panicked and made the deal for AI. AI more or less turned them into the Sixers of the Larry Brown era winning just 6 of 14 games before 'Melo returned.
All that said theirs only one top tier West team I would give Denver a shot to upset in the playoffs, that team is the Phoenix Suns. You may ask why, so I'll tell you exactly why. Its somewhat of a long shot but I think Denver could run with Phoenix, and they can certainly score in bunches. While the book on Phoenix is usually to slow them down, I don't like Denver as much in a set offense with their lack of a true point guard. If 'Melo, Smith, and AI are hitting they're shots and passing well, I think they have a shot. Some would say what about Amare and Marion on the inside? I happen to like Camby and Nene on Amare defensively if they can stay fresh from all the running. Marion would be the X-Factor for Phoenix in the end though, as Denver really has no one who can even contain him like Camby could contain Amare. Interestingly enough I think this is a match up we'll see in the first round, unless of course Denver can catch Utah who is struggling lately. Denver currently sits 4 games back of Utah heading into Friday, so the lead is not insurmountable by any means with lots of basketball to play. I like Utah to hang on though because they play true team basketball and should be able to beat Denver heads up. Okur is fantastic and stretching the floor and keeping Camby out of the inside where Boozer can dominate Evans, or anyone else Denver would throw at him.
Agree? Disagree? Regardless, this is one person who think Denver has become nothing more than New Jersey West. So welcome one and all, it's about to get overrated out here.
Other NBA Ramblings:
-Nash should be MVP again the way things are going, regardless of what I've said in the past you almost have to give it to him.
-The All-Star starters are out, and in no real surprise Nash is not a starter because he can't dunk over Tim Duncan. Neither is Dirk, as the fan voting continues to be a joke. The West Starters are Duncan, Garnett, Bryant, McGrady, and Yao who will not play due to injury.
-In the East they got it right outside of the Shaq voting, the guy has only played 6 games, Dwight Howard deserves his spot. The East starters are Wade, Arenas, Shaq, Bosh, and LeBron.
-These guys probably should but will not make the teams Caron Butler, Josh Howard, Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Rip Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Joe Johnson.
-Greg Oden kinda looks like Marcus Camby type to me, but with improved offense he could be as dominant as every else thinks. I'll take Dwight Howard instead any day of the week though.
-Why is everyone sleeping on Houston? They're probably the 3rd best team out west if T-Mac stays healthy and effective when Yao gets back. I like their chances of passing San Antonio in the second half if Yao picks up where he left off.
-Shane Battier defensive player of the year so far hands down. I've watched him infuriate Kobe Bryant for 3 quarters a couple times this year. The Rudy Gay trade might not be as bad as I originally thought. If its not him, I like Marion in Phoenix to win it.
-Kevin Durant is probably the next Tracy McGrady from what I've seen, he's long and can shoot from everywhere just like McGrady, I do think he needs to add some muscle before he can dominate at the next level though.
That's it for now...
Friday, January 19, 2007
Yesterday while watching ESPN the latest Michael Vick disappointment broke, I'm sure you've all heard about the water bottle. But it's not this I was most amused about, but it was in watching Rich McKay comment on the situation I realized something. Rich McKay is Jeff Garcia's father. While I may be wrong here, I doubt it, and if I am it may just be that Rich is indeed Jeff's older brother. The adjacent photo's really do not do the similarities justice, but I had a hard time finding a decent picture of McKay. If you get a chance, I'd recommend catching McKay's comments again on T.V. and then tell me you don't see the resemblance. If this isn't breaking news I don't know what is.
As for the Vick incident, I can't say I'm terribly surprised given his obscene gesture earlier this season. That was indeed directed at his home town fans, as ridiculous as that is. I know new head coach Bobby Petrino thinks he can finally be the one to make Vick earn his paycheck. But I think everyone knows that's not the case, Vick is as Mora Sr. put it "a coach killer." Not to mention you know Al Davis is salivating at the idea of watching his quarterback make two guys miss before getting sacked. This year no one missed Walter or Brooks, Vick could at the very least run away from the offensive line immediately after every snap right? I honestly would not be shocked if they could get the #1 pick for Vick, given how friendly the Raiders have been to felons in the past. Vick would love it, spend the off-season out in the sun, smokin' a J with his boy Randy. Perfect fit for all parties involved. Meanwhile Matt Shaub quickly develops into a solid, yet unspectacular quarterback who wins games under Petrino. Who the Falcons would take #1? Calvin Johnson I would have to think, they need a true game-breaking WR who will hang on to the ball. Johnson could be that guy, though I do agree #1 is very high for a WR. If they can unload Vick and his contract in exchange for a big-time WR I think they take that deal and walk away laughing. For more on the Vick situation and some good links, check out Deadspins post regarding the overrated QB.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Today the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors agreed on a trade that will send Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Josh Powell to Golden State. While the Pacers will add Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod in what I consider to be a VERY lopsided trade. What in the world is Larry Bird thinking about? Is this the only way for them to get rid of Jackson? That seems to be the only logical explanation from where I'm sitting. The Warriors add two fantastic athletes in Harrington and Jackson, as long as Jackson stays out of trouble this is a great deal for Golden State. Harrington should be perfect inside next to Biedrins, with his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting as well as rebound well in traffic. Not to mention Harrington just signed a 4-year deal this off-season and he's still young at just 26 years old. Jackson meanwhile can stroke it from all over the floor and should be a perfect backup to Matt Barnes if he doesn't start, as both players have a similar game. Jackson is obviously the veteran and I think it would be smart of him to not complain if he can't steal Barnes' starting job. I like this team a lot going forward, depending on how they come together they could be headed in the direction of Phoenix's fun and gun style if Baron Davis can run it. Jasikevicius should be a solid backup to Baron he should flourish when Golden State is running, as he can create open looks for his teammates.
From the Pacers side of this deal I see only one positive, Ike Diogu, the second year forward is a tenacious rebounder inside who at times draws comparisons to Barkley on the glass. He's a gritty inside presence, though he has to be at only 6'8", injury concerns are his only holdup as he's missed quite a bit of time since being drafted. While Golden State did not want to part with Diogu I think they finally found the time to do it with the players they were getting in return. The Pacers replace two athletes with two stiff in Murphy and Dunleavy, mostly Dunleavy though. Where is Mike going to play? Are they going to start him at the 2 Guard spot? Granger should be starting at the 3 spot and drawing the toughest defensive assignment each night. Dunleavy meanwhile should make some shots but that's about all he'll do as even a mediocre athlete can beat him of the dribble every time down the floor. I hope O'Neal's there to turn them away of Indy could be in for some lopsided losses as they adjust. Murphy is not as bad as Dunleavy, he's definitely a double-double threat every night and he plays hard. He can also shoot from the outside and should create a little extra space for O'Neal when he's moving around. I just don't know that he can compete with even some of the top tier big men in the east.
Indiana will claim this isn't them blowing it up, but it sure looks like it. If I were them I'd try very hard to send Dunleavy to the Clippers and get Maggette if I could.
Webber to Detroit
I hate this deal for the most part, if Webber stays healthy it could work, but when was the last time he was fully healthy? Thats right, never. I'm putting my money on a Webber injury within a week after Nazr Mohammed is traded, and if he's back for the playoffs the lack of chemistry will hurt the team. It is worth the risk for Detroit if it works out, because they can unload a bad deal (Mohammed), while getting Webber for the minimum. After all his buyout from the 76ers pays him all but 5-7 million of his massive contract. By the way, I nominate Billy King for the worst GM in the NBA, that Kings-76ers deal still looks horrible from Philly's side.
That's all for now....
Friday, January 12, 2007
Early NBA MVP Watch
It's only January but I'd like to take a look at who just might pick up the hardware at the end of the season. While the winner of this award, at least recently doesn't win the NBA Championship. He at least gets to stock his mantle full of hardware. Oh, and I don't care what professional athletes say, they play for this stuff. Never mind winning championships these guys are chasing an individual legacy, who cares about all this team stuff anyway? (NOTE: To qualify for this list a player must appear in the top 5 of a given category as of this posting.)
Steve Nash: 19.6 PPG, 11.3 APG
The two time MVP is averaging career highs across the board while leading his team to the second best record out west. Along with a measly 15 game winning streak. Team accolades mean nothing to me when looking at an MVP, it's all about individual accomplishments on this list. Nash has plenty of those as he passes his way toward a potential third strait MVP award.
Gilbert Arenas: 30.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.03 SPG
Arenas has been lights out from the field the last month or so, including a 60 point performance on the eve of my birthday in Kobe's house. Kobe had criticized Gilbert's shot selection and Agent Zero let him know what he thought about it. Gilbert does all this without much of an inside presence to keep the defense from shading the perimeter, making it that much more impressive. I don't wanna hear Antwan Jamison as an inside presence because he's not, the guy spend too much time on the perimeter himself.
Kobe Bryant: 28.0 PPG, 5.4 APG, 1.27 SPG
Kobe has taken a new approach this season getting his teammates involved rather than just trying to break scoring records. This is a bad thing in my opinion, after all its Kobe who dropped 81 points on Toronto last season. I don't know what everyone else thinks but I want Kobe to come out and start firing again, take a Que from Gilbert and go crazy. Watching one player try to beat 5 by himself is much more exciting then watching team play at its finest. Many argue Kobe has matured and learned how to lead. I disagree, he just wants to prove to Shaq he can do it without him. Otherwise, he'd be chucking 40 shots a game and averaging in 40's as the leagues most capable scorer should.
Carmelo Anthony: 31.6 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.5 SPG
Despite all the games he's missed, Carmelo has looked fantastic since the Nuggets acquired fellow scoring machine Allen Iverson. The Nuggets are 3-7 with Iverson and everyone is talking about how he and Carmelo will play together. It really doesn't matter, I'd almost prefer a thug death match at halftime of a home game to decide who's team this is. Carmelo I think would take Iverson down in that battle based on his shot on Mardy Collins during last months much publicised brawl. When Carmelo comes back he'll pick up where he left off scoring at will. While Iverson just wonders who he should punch in the face to get as motivated as Anthony will be.
Dwight Howard: 17.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 1.89 BPG
Howard in just his third season has turned into the guy the Magic thought he would be when they drafted him #1 overall out of high school. Howard leads the league in rebounding at just 21 years of age and isn't going to get any worse. He dominates the inside like a young Shaq, making even some of the better big men look like Patrick O'Bryant. I look for Howard to flirt with 20-20 averages down the road, he's not there yet but when he gets there he'll own this race.
The Pick: Gilbert Arenas
You have to have that killer instinct to be the MVP of my league and Gilbert has that. You also have to be a guy who can do it all himself and does, Gilbert also fits into that category. Kobe finishes a close second but because of his new found team first mentality he loses points.
Noticeable Omissions: Lebron James, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Micheal Redd.
None of these guys are top 5 in any statistic, so they can;t make my list. Yao would have been if not for his 2 points in the game he was injured dropping his scoring average almost 6 points in the process. T-Mac gets a mention for the way he's played since Yao went out and he returned to the floor after missing games with back spasms. If he stays healthy I like T-Mac to make this list by the end of the season if he continues to dominate. Redd is going to miss way to much time to win the award, not to mention he's not currently a top 5 guy.
Least Valuable Player: Jason Kidd
His stats don't make a difference to me though he has been bad shooting the ball. When your afraid of your wife you have a problem. Not to mention this is the same guys who beat her up when he played for Phoenix. Has she been working out more over the years to get that eventual payback? She even yells obscenities at him during games from her front row seat, this I find especially hilarious because athletes should be used to this. Man up Jason, or your a lock to win this award.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
BCS Winners & Losers
The five BCS games this season provided everything one could have imagined when the match ups came out 38 days ago. From predictions rang true, to predictions gone very terribly wrong. We seen arguably the best BCS game of all-time when Boise shocked Oklahoma with late game tricks that were a treat to watch. We watched in shock as Florida, who many thought would get throttled by Ohio State, instead was blown out themselves. We laughed (or at least I did) as Notre dame once again looked like a 1-AA team against a big time opponent. So who were the winners and loser of this seasons BCS games? Here are one man's opinions:
This category was going to Boise State before the national championship game kicked off. Florida rolled over Ohio State 41-14 in one of the more shocking title games in recent memory. Many people believed the only way Florida won this game was in a barn burner. Yet Ohio State had a good chance to blow Florida off the field in the eyes of the expert. I'm not going to claim I saw this coming. because I didn't. Chris Leak a senior QB who was booed at home this season started the game 9-9 and was nearly perfect on his way to the MVP trophy. The Florida defense made Troy Smith look like Brady Quinn, Smith finished 4-14 for 35 yards along with -29 yards on 10 runs, and two turnovers. It was 34-14 at halftime and everyone who was watching knew it was over.
Runner-Up: Boise State
Everyone knows what happened in the last 2 minutes of that game so I won't recap it. But I myself still can't believe it.
After all the complaining and claims they were screwed you would have thought that Michigan would have went to the Rose Bowl to prove a point. Well they did, but not the one they wanted to I don't think. Michigan was absolutely dominated in the second half by USC in a convincing victory 32-18. The Wolverines refused to abandon the run despite being held to .4 YPC. USC came out passing in the second half to turn a tie game into a rout. Dwayne Jarrett torched the UM secondary for 205 yards and two scores on 11 catches. John David Booty, who couldn't get going against UCLA suddenly morphed into Carson Palmer at halftime. In large part because Michigan's defensive strength is up front, USC did the same thing Ohio State had done. Abandoned the run all together and chucked it 45 times. UM may still enter next season at #1 because of all their returning offensive starters. But if they let Henne take that kind of beating they're not going to beat anyone.
Runner-Up: Notre Dame
Another Bowl game thumping for the Irish. You think Weiss will come under fire like Willingham did? I doubt it, but having lost 9 strait bowls by an average of 17 points, he better figure out something to earn that contract.
Winner: Chris Peterson
After his team not only blew a 28-10 lead but went down 7 points Chris Peterson pulled out the gadget plays. On 4th and 18 with just seconds left Peterson pulled out the "hook-and-ladder" for a 50 yard TD to send the game to overtime. That however wasn't enough, after Oklahoma scored on just one play in OT, Boise State used a WR pass to pull within one point. Peterson then decided to go for 2 and put it all on that one play, one chance to win, or lose it. Win it is exactly what they did, on the "Statue of Liberty" play, Zabransky faked a screen pass, and then handed it off behind his back to HB Ian Johnson who ran in for the score untouched. Peterson took chances and they worked out, or he may be the loser here. However, since they did work out he gets to be the genius this year.
Runner-Up: Urban Meyer
I still can't believe how well Florida played in the National Title Game. Meyer deserves a lot of credit for this one in just his second year at Florida.
Loser: Lloyd Carr
It's a toss up really between he and Charlie Weiss here. Carr gets the nod because he appeared to make no adjustments at halftime of the Rose Bowl. The game was tied 3-3 and neither team could get the run game going. Meanwhile, Chad Henne was being blitzed nearly every down and just could not get any time to throw. So what does Lloyd do? The same thing Lloyd does every year sticks with his original game plan. His reward? A 14 point loss that should have been bigger than that. The Wolverines did go pass happy after they got down 19-3 at the end of the 3rd quarter. But it was a little to late and the USC passing was unstoppable.
Runner-Up: Charlie Weiss
Wow, Chuck needs some defense. Anyone with a decent passing attack can put up 40 on the Irish with little effort.
Winner: JaMarcus Russell
Russell dominated the Irish defense with 3 Touchdowns (1 rushing) and 332 pass yards. He improved his draft stock more than probably anyone else, drawing comparisons to Daunte Culpepper in the Sugar Bowl. While I will say I think that comparison is a bad thing as Culpepper without a Randy Moss go and get it like receiver is a horrible quarterback. Regardless Russell is probably heading to Oakland, where he can throw to Moss and look like a quality QB. Before being exposed as a fraud when Moss decided to hate him and moves on much like he did in Minnesota.
Runner-Up: Dwayne Jarrett
209 yards and 2 scores on 11 catches I think is all that needs to be said. The UM secondary was clearly over matched by the big receiver, he should be a solid NFL WR. That is of course as long as he doesn't decide to take after his buddy Mike Williams.
Loser: Troy Smith
While he wasn't a top 5 pick by any means Mr. Smith may slip out of the first round after his horrible performance in the title game. He would be best served going late first round to a team who has a solid offensive line. He ended a stellar season tragically going 4-14 with a pick and a lost fumble against Florida. If Brian Brohm does come out I think he's a lock for early second round.
Runner-Up: Brady Quinn
Once again Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman put up a horrible performance against a good defense in a big game. Throwing for just 148 yards and 2 TD's and 2 INT's, this I don't think hurts his draft stock however. He's probably perfect for the Detroit Lions as they love to take over hyped guys who are inevitable busts. Though they say Kitna is the QB for next year I'd love to see what the Bears think about playing Brady behind the horrendous offensive line the Lions have.
Glendale, Arizona was the site for the two biggest upsets of the BCS this season. The University of Phoenix stadium hosted both the Boise State-Oklahoma thriller as well as the Florida-Ohio State shocker. Overall only the former was a good game, the rest were hardly entertaining. Another lackluster bowl season in terms of entertainment, but I doubt the NCAA is complaining as they count their profits. Playoff anyone?