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From the Nosebleeds – Why we all should have known Oregon State would beat USC

From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pattison Pundit. Essentially, anytime one of the Pundit’s buddies, or anyone else decides that they have something they need to get off of their chest about the sports world, this will be their forum. I’ll edit the post and add my own take, but the floor is yours. Feel free to email me anytime with your rants, raves, concerns, critiques and/or analysis. Today we have Jacobs, who saw the Oregon State win against USC coming, and thinks you should have, too. Jacobs, the floor is yours.

So I talked to you earlier this evening about watching the USC game, right?  Your answer, as I expected, was “Oh yeah, that’ll be a good game…or not. Are you kidding me, man?  They’re going to kill Oregon State!  Didn’t you see what Penn State did to them?”

A typical answer, and honestly, most college football enthusiasts wouldn’t have disagreed.  Not me. I just knew. (Editor’s note: Alright Miss Cleo, just relax). I knew that Oregon State had good players.  Not just playmakers that have been drafted in the past, like Chad Johnson and T.J. HoushmaMillyVanilly, but playmakers right now.  Playmakers like junior quarterback Lyle Moevao, who somehow, after getting wrecked by Penn State, has averaged almost 275 passing yards per game, throwing 8 touchdowns. Though, to be fair, he has thrown four picks.  And this is the same single caller who beat USC two years ago. (Editor’s note: Actually, that was Matt Moore. Moevao’s lifetime stats for 2007-08: 174 – 304, 57% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. A playmaker? Haven’t really seen him enough to give an accurate assessment, but judge for yourself).

Wait, did I mention they have playmakers now? (Editor’s note: Yes, I believe you suggested it).  Like receiver Sammy Stroughter, who overcame severe depression and mental problems, quitting football for over a year (even though he was considered to be a possible All-American candidate) to come back and play his last eligible year at Oregon State to show people he can still rip it up. And you can’t forget about freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed 37 times for 186 yards and 2 TDs (all 5’5”, 176 lbs. of him). (Editor’s note: Raise your hand if you live outside of Corvallis and had ever heard of the guy). By the way folks, say what you want about the PAC-10, but they have (and know how to produce) kick-ass running backs. (Editor’s note: They have turned out some killer backs. But enough about O.J. Simpson…)

I most definitely won’t forget how Penn State blew Oregon State out of the water, but this is the mother of all rebounds! (Editor’s note: I think that broad Patty I was with last night might disagree).  Against #1 USC, who is supposed to be ready for everything and penciled into the BCS National Championship game after their crushing defeat of Ohio State. Whatever. Oregon State proved that they can still play with the big-timers. But wait! (Editor’s note: Oooh, is there a surprise?) They have beat USC three out of the last five times they’ve played them.

Hmmmmmm…..interesting.  As I said before, Oregon State is a pesky team for USC, kind of like Minnesota has been for Penn State for the past decade. (Editor’s note: Since 2000, Penn State is 2-3 against Minnesota).  They play hard against USC and still have good players and excellent athletes. Did I mention they have playmakers? (Editor’s note: YES!!!)  Regardless, Oregon State executed poorly against and planned poorly for PSU. (Editor’s note: And they traveled across the country and played them in Happy Valley, an environment I’m not sure they were quite used to). However, I think they learned a few things from that severe ass-whooping and moved on to bigger and better things. In other words, they put that loss in the rearview mirror and realized they had bigger fish to fry…but only if they could handle it. (Editor’s note: Two clichés are better than one, people – can you handle that?). In this case, it was #1 ranked Southern Cal.

I applaud the performance, even though the Oregon State coaches backed off and got extremely conservative in the 2nd half.  In fact, the only connection this game had with the Penn State game was that the Oregon State coaches must have taken pointers from Jay Paterno and Galen Hall about being huge pussies at the end of an important game. (Editor’s note: Somebody’s feeling a bit saucy, eh?)

Surely, the conservative and trusted coaching mentality would have been to run the clock out, but you could see that USC adjusted and started gaining momentum in the 2nd half.  Instead of continuing the balanced offensive attack that gouged the USC defense in the 1st half, Oregon State turned almost exclusively to the ground game in the 2nd half.  This was unacceptable to my semi-educated football mind – KEEP PRESSURING THEM! (Editor’s note: Hey, he said it).

I rooted for Oregon State not only because I am sick of USC dominance/&^@% kissing/*$@# sucking (Editor’s note: Wow, even I’m blushing), but because I want to see how many eraser shavings can be accumulated from weekly AP voters’ ballets. Plus, this defeat will only help Penn State to move into the AP top 10 – a place where they belong if they can execute against Illinois in the same way that they executed against an Oregon State team that beat the overwhelmingly favored and top-ranked USC Trojans.

-Jacobs

PS: The most important topic I chose NOT to discuss begs the following question: Honestly, can you be THAT surprised by the outcome of this game after what last year taught (and showed) you?

The Pundit responds: Ok, where to begin. First of all, I have never been a believer that the past performances of one college program against another should help to dictate future ones, unless one program is traditionally powerful while the other is, well, Temple. The Oregon State team that beat the USC team two years ago is not the same team, with the same players, as it is now, and neither is this USC team. That was then, and this is now. Secondly, after watching Oregon State get absolutely dismantled by Penn State, you can’t tell me that anyone with any sort of football brain at all would think that this team wasn’t completely overmatched, on paper, against USC. A USC team that, even if you weren’t penciling them into the BCS title game yet (which I wasn’t, because they seem to have one meltdown a year), seemed pretty dominant after last week. Ohio State may not have had Beanie Wells, but I’m not sure that he could have saved them. Third – Oregon State did not have nationally recognized playmakers, at least before this game. They may have had great players who played out of their minds, but you can’t tell me that Jacquizz Rodgers was on your radar. He may turn out to be the truth, but I sure as hell had never heard of him until last night. Four – if Penn State beats Illinois, that itself should be enough to push them into the top ten. Illinois is a quality opponent, and Penn State has absolutely embarrassed everyone they’ve played so far. And finally, shouldn’t I have expected this upset after the giddy mayhem that was last year’s college football season? Well, truthfully, no, because the entire idea behind an upset is that you aren’t expecting it. If enough people thought that Oregon State could beat USC last night, then it wouldn’t have really be an upset, right? I mean, who in their right mind would have thought that Stanford would have beaten USC last year? You may keep the possibility of an upset in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you actually think it will happen – which, of course, is what makes it so fun and exhilarating when it does.

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Eagles Preview and more

This Eagles season, more than many in recent history, is chock full of questions. So many, in fact, that I decided to do my entire Eagles preview in question format. I could make a slew of blanket claims, hoping I got some of them right, guys don’t get injured, etc. Instead, I’m going to focus on the aspects of this team that are huge question marks. I’ll put the answer that would benefit the Eagles, but not necessarily my opinion, after the question. At the end, I’ll give my prediction based upon how many questions I think the Eagles will answer to their benefit. Everybody have their number two pencils ready? And…go!

1. Will Donovan McNabb stay healthy? (Huge Yes)

2. Will Brian Westbrook continue to be one of the best best weapons in football – for 16 games? (The Biggest Yes)

3. Can Tony Hunt become a reliable fullback? (Yes)

4. Will Lorenzo Booker and Correll Buckhalter be able to spell Westbrook? (Yes)

5. Will the receiving corps hold water until Kevin Curtis comes back? (Yes)

6. Will they drop too many passes again this year? (No)

7. Will DeSean Jackson be a big-play threat? (Yes)

8. Will L.J. Smith reestablish himself as a quality TE? (Yes)

9. Will the offensive line stay healthy? (Yes)

10. Will the offensive line protect McNabb? (Yes)

11. Will our offense be more productive in the red zone? (Yes)

12. Will Andy Reid commit more to the running game? (Yes)

13. Will the DT’s get a surge up the middle, stuffing the opposing team’s running game? (Yes)

14. Will one of the DE’s other then Trent Cole become a consistent pass rusher? (Yes)

15. Will we get a bit more production from Darren Howard? (Yes)

16. Will the young linebacking corps swarm to the ball, wreaking havoc on the opposing team’s running game? (Yes)

17. Will the young linebacking corps make too many mental mistakes? (No)

18. Will the three corner circus be effective? (Yes)

19. Will Asante Samuel live up to his huge contract? (Yes)

20. Will The Agent Fatale turn Lito Sheppard into a media whore, convincing him to go by an alternate moniker such as LS or Lito Dos Seis? (Nooooooooooooooooooooooo)

21. Is Brian Dawkins past his prime? (No)

22. Will Quentin Mikell be a liability? (No)

23. Will Jim Johnson draw up a wild array of blitz schemes that work? (Yes)

24. Will David Akers return to form? (Yes)

25. Can DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps consistently be dangerous return men? (Yes)

Quick note: A couple of these are huge, much more drastic than the others – namely, number 1 and 2. If McNabb or Westbrook get hurt, they won’t make the playoffs. So, the following scores are assuming that McNabb and Westbrook will stay healthy.

If the answers to 23-25 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they represent the NFC in the Superbowl.

If the answers to 20-22 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they win the NFC East

If the answers to 15-19 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they make the wildcard.

Any less and they miss the playoffs.

The Pundit’s Take: I have the Eagles positively answering 18 of these questions, putting them solidly in the wildcard. Questions I think they fail on: 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 17. Again, if either McNabb or Westbrook gets hurt, all bets are off. And now, your full NFL season prediction.

NFC Playoff Teams

1. Dallas (Wins NFC East, and yes, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate writing this)

2. Green Bay (Wins NFC North)

3. New Orleans (Wins NFC South)

4. Seattle (Wins NFC West)

5. Philadelphia

6. Minnesota

(Eagles beat Seahawks in first wildcard, and Minnesota beats New Orleans in a wild weekend. Dallas beats Minnesota, and the Eagles shock the Packers, at Lambeau, behind a classic performance from Mr. McNabb. And then, in the most tragic moment in Eagles history, the Cowboys beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, causing the city of Philadelphia to be the first area ever in American History to be put into a “State of Depression.” Nobody shows up to work for a week, mass looting ensues, and broken beer bottles littered on the street make it impossible to drive anywhere. God, I really, really hope that I’m wrong.)

AFC Playoff Teams

1. New England (AFC East champions, losing three in the regular season)

2. San Diego (AFC West champions)

3. Jacksonville (AFC South Champions)

4. Pittsburgh (AFC North Champions)

5. Indianapolis

6. Cleveland

(Jacksonville crushes the Browns, and the Colts beat the Steelers in a competitive game. Jacksonville’s defense and running game are just enough to propel them past the now Merriman-less Chargers, and the Colts squeak by the Patriots in another classic between the two, this one ending in overtime. Jacksonville relishes its opportunity to play at home, exorcising their Colts demons and winning to go to the Superbowl)

Superbowl prediction: Every year, I want to put the Eagles here. I really, really do. And every year, I pray the Cowboys don’t make it here. But this year, they will. And I think that they will beat the Jaguars. (Editor’s note: Feel free to find The Pundit and to kick the shit out of him). I’m sorry, I feel like a traitor, but I think Adam Jones is going to be a clutch addition, I think Tony Romo will be a more focused force, I think Marion Barber will have a big year. I just don’t see a ton of weaknesses on this team. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sit in a cold shower with my clothes on (Editor’s note: YES HE DESERVES TO DIE, AND I HOPE HE BURNS IN HELL!)

Oh, and please read this in case you’re not sure what just happened above. Focus on paragraph four. And ignore Sports Illustrated from now on, please.

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