Friday, October 31, 2014


Game Day

Either genius or insanity

11/20/2013

FIRST DOWN

Ah, yes. Twitter. Where characters are capped at 140, and I.Q. is capped at 104.

The social media world was a funny place early Sunday evening, especially if you chase collegiate sports for fun, profit or some combination therein. Feeds became littered with airmails from two camps: Ohio State/Big Ten fans (and media) bitching about the impending threat of the Baylor Bears to Urban Meyer’s well-planned end-around into the national championship game; and Michigan/Big Ten fans (and media) bitching that, like a Thanksgiving turkey, their men’s basketball team wasn’t “done” yet, and therefore a loss to Iowa State in Ames should come with an asterisk, or, hey, let’s just forget it ever happened, and Go Blue.

Which, come to think of it, is how things work inside The Jim Delaney Bubble. If you don’t like the conversation, change the subject.

Or the rules. Whatever works.

DM Art Center

The computers love Baylor, which drives the old money club bonkers, because the computers only see numbers and points and resumes, and not 25-some years of football irrelevance. The computers only care that Art Briles’ team averages 61 points per game. The computers only know that the Bears have stomped the two “good” teams they’ve met, Oklahoma and Kansas State, by an average score of 38-20.

The computers don’t give a chip about lineage, or history, or tradition, or Brutus, or Woody, or Archie Griffin, or Eddie George, or Meyer’s pedigree.

The computers think beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater is a significant, signature win. And if the Bears stick that pelt on their wall this weekend, they’ll probably leapfrog the Buckeyes into the BCS’ No. 3 spot for good.

Conversely, the computers don’t think beating Michigan in Ann Arbor is a significant, signature win. And we might side with the PC crowd on that one. This fall, it’s the Buckeyes, Wisconsin, Michigan State, a gap the size of an outlet mall… then The Little Eight.

The computers say dropping 71 on Iowa State and 73 on West Virginia is more impressive than dropping 56 on Purdue and 60 on Illinois. If you don’t like it, take it up with Bill Gates.

Or wait till next year, when the College Football Playoff folks get together in a room and hunker down for the worst six months of their entire freaking lives.

Which begs the question, of course: What would happen if Bears and Bucks met on the field? This year, we’ll never know, and the arguments rage on, well into the night. Which is either genius or insanity, depending on how you want to look at it.

 

THE BIG EIGHT

Ranking the best eight teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten, one through eight…

TEAM (RECORD) / UP NEXT

1. Ohio State (10-0) / vs. Indiana

2. Baylor (9-0) / at Oklahoma State

3. Wisconsin (8-2) / at Minnesota

4. Michigan State (9-1) / at Northwestern

5. Oklahoma State (9-1) / vs. Baylor

6. Oklahoma (8-2) / at Kansas State

7. Texas (7-3) / Idle, vs. Texas Tech, Nov. 28

8. Kansas State (6-4) / vs. Oklahoma

 

ONE MAN’S RUNNING HEISMAN BALLOT

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: First half versus a middling Syracuse bunch: 19-of-21 passing, 277 yards, two TDs. Second half: Sat. Fair enough.

2. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: Already has three five-touchdown games this season after rallying the Bears past Texas Tech. Threw for three more scores, moving his preposterous touchdown-to-interception ratio to 24-to-1.

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Has already thrown for five more touchdowns (31) than he did a year ago (26), but lacking that “Heisman” signature victory. Taking down LSU on the road could change that, though. In a hurry.

 

SET YOUR TIVO

The games you won’t want to miss…

1. Oklahoma at Kansas State, FOX Sports 1, 11 a.m.: The third-hottest team in the Big 12 right now (The Wildcats) host the league’s biggest enigma. It’s Jedi Master (Bill Snyder) vs. Padawan (Bob Stoops), but the Sooners have yet to lose in Aggieville under their current coach, and have averaged an insane 58 points per game over their past two trips to Manhattan.

2. Texas A&M at LSU, CBS, 2:30 p.m.: The last time these two met, Johnny Football threw three interceptions in a 24-19 Aggies defeat at Kyle Field. A&M visited Baton Rouge five times between 1986-95, and went 2-3; this is the program’s first visit to Death Valley since 1994

3. Baylor at Oklahoma State, ABC, 7 p.m.: For all the marbles in the Big 12 — or for a share of the marbles, at the least. Stillwater hasn’t been kind to Art Briles, either: The Bears have surrendered an average of 49.3 points over their last three visits to Okie State. First team to 50 wins, and we don’t mean that in jest.

 

THE HOT SEAT: DANA HOLGORSEN, WEST VIRGINIA

Someone in the Big 12 was going to lose to Kansas, sometime. But that it happened to be our man Dana, and it happened to be last weekend — a 31-19 Jayhawk rout in Lawrence, the program’s first league win since 2010 — was just more salt poured into an open wound. Holgorsen is 6-11 over his last 17 contests with the Mountaineers, and a seventh loss this autumn means they’ll be home for the holidays for the first time since 2001. The Davenport native may have two saving graces, though: One, he’s current athletic director Oliver Luck’s guy. Two, he’s in the middle of a coach-friendly, six-year contract which rakes in a reported $10.75 million, guaranteed, through 2016. Nice work, if you can keep it. CV

Sean Keeler is a columnist/blogger with FOX Sports Kansas City and FOXSports.com. From 2002-2011, Keeler was on the staff of The Des Moines Register, where he was named one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. You can read him at FoxSportsKansasCity.com and at FoxSportsMidwest.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@seankeeler) and through his Tumblr blog: seankeeler.tumblr.com.

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