Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boise State: Thanks for the Ride

Boise State faced a realty check last night. The Broncos did lose a football game and with it their BCS hopes.

They dodged opponents and BCS haters for a long while this season. Boise was 10-0 but then Mr. L called.

But there is no shame in losing. Outstanding teams do loss. Boise didn’t lose to a cupcake in Nevada. The Pack is a mighty fine club.

America thanks you for the ride. It was fun cheering for you. You will be back. Excellent teams find a way for a return trip. You are an excellent team.

Our favorite underdog is reduced to TCU. The Horned Frogs carry the football for the non-BCS schools’ hopes now. It would be great if they could slide someway, somehow into that No. 2 BCS slot.

Right now, it looks like Oregon-Auburn for the title. But I think a final with TCU would add a little ice cream to the cake.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Auburn Shows Up Big

I must admit going into the Auburn-Alabama game I believed the Tide had an excellent chance to win. At early stages of the year, the so called experts thought they were the best team in America.

And with only pride to play for against Alabama’s arch rival, it looked really good when the Tide stormed out to a 24-0 lead. The problem for the home team was Auburn woke up. Wow.

The Tigers played with a renewed sense of urgency in the second half and kept their BCS title hopes alive. In fact, Auburn dominated Alabama in the second half.

Auburn’s performance proved to me that it may be the team of destiny this season. The Tigers have now trailed in eight of 12 games and keep looking beautiful.

With all the distraction about quarterback Cam Newton, Auburn refuses to lose. The Tigers are apparently made of steel.

Auburn fans wanted to run Coach Gene Chizik out of town when he first arrived, but now probably think he is the best thing since sliced bread.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I hope my United States readers are having a blessed Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for even in tough times. And I am sure my readers outside the states have much to be thankful for too.

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your support.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ohio State's Gordon Gee Stirs the College Football Pot

Nothing like a college president disturbing people the day before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ohio State President Gordon Gee referred to Boise State and TCU indirectly when he mentioned “We (Ohio State) do not play the little sisters of the poor.” Ouch.

Gee, who is known for his bow tie selection, better remove the tie and really think about what he said.

Obviously he ticked TCU and Boise State off. The Boise State President responded and I don’t think he asked Gee out for dinner.

Second, Gee better check the Ohio State football schedule. Outside of conference play, the Buckeyes played a light schedule. Some call them patsies, others cupcakes.

This is another case of the big guys trying to keep the little guys from joining the party. If Boise and TCU remain undefeated, they should be invited to the BCS. End of discussion.

Ohio State might claim that it is The Ohio State University, but then the Buckeyes should act like it and play some good competition in the non-conference portion of their schedule. End of discussion.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Bo Pelini Situation

You have noticed this progression of events too many times in college sports. The head coach does something wrong. Athletic director and president/chancellor publicly denounce the coach’s action. Coach publicly says he is sorry.

That’s exactly who happened with Nebraska coach Bo Pelini this week. Pelini put on a show of major anger Saturday night in the Huskers loss to Texas A&M on national TV. Bo was anger at his starting quarterback and the officials and let his strong feelings known in visible ways

We don’t know if ‘ole Bo was truly sorry for his actions. Only he knows for sure. We do know his bosses were not pleased.

They say timing is everything. Bo picked a bad time for his anger. These days with the media, one needs to be extra careful because the news cycle is 24 hours. Bo was not only noticeable on TV but on You Tube too. The matter was sliced and diced

Bad, bad publicity for Nebraska and its football program. Bo forgot that he is not only head football coach, but CEO on the field. He didn’t take care of it behind closed doors out of the public eye.

Football coaches are emotional guys. I get that. But this time emotion crossed the line and ‘ole Bo paid for it.

Coaches are so scared about providing bulletin board material for their opponents. Maybe some coaches need to realize that the public has their own bulletin boards.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Crazy Big Ten Football Race

The Big Ten Conference still has three team tied for first place heading into the final league weekend.

For a good while last Saturday it looked liked Michigan State would fall from the top, but the Spartans rallied against Purdue. Wisconsin went to Michigan and handled the Wolverines, while Ohio State survived Iowa.

This week, Michigan State is on upset alert. The Spartans travel to Penn State and Joe Pa’s club (although inconsistent this season) could gain the victory.

Ohio State should beat Michigan in Columbus, but maybe the Wolverines have an upset left in them. But I reasoned the same way last week against Wisconsin.

Of the three teams, Wisconsin seems to have the easiest game. Northwestern is not playing good football now partly because the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Dan Persa.

If there remains a tie, the tiebreaker gets confusing for a guy without math skills. Regarding head-to-head play, Michigan State and Ohio State did not play. Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker over Ohio State and Michigan State owns it over Wisconsin. The BCS ratings are also a factor. This week, Wisconsin is 7th, Ohio State 8th and Michigan State 10th.

So hopefully some clarity will come this weekend. If not, we leave it up to the math people.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Iowa-Ohio State Meet in Iowa City

What figured to be a red-letter Big Ten game at the beginning of the football season will not happen today in Iowa City, Iowa.

Ohio State (9-1, 5-1) is the only team playing for the Big Ten title and BCS aspirations, while Iowa (7-3, 4-2) hopes to spoil the Buckeyes plans and moved up in the bowl pecking order.

Iowa should provide Ohio State some stiff competition. Some say the Hawkeyes play according to the strength of its competition or big name opponent. The last two weeks Iowa looked sluggish in a win over Indiana and then fell to Northwestern last week. The Hoosiers and Wildcats aren’t exactly the cream of the Big Ten.

Ohio State has frankly played weak competition. The Buckeyes did defeat a solid Miami of Florida team, but lost convincingly to Wisconsin. So people are still wondering if the Buckeyes are huff or puff. Today’s game should be a good indication.

It’s senior day in Iowa City. Iowa can take its frustrations out on Ohio State. The Hawkeyes have plenty of motivation despite a disappointing record.

Ohio State better bring its A-game or the Buckeyes will be in trouble.

Friday, November 19, 2010

College Basketball Galore

If you are a college hoops fan, forget you are in preseason training and grab the remote. The basketball season is here in earnest.

ESPN started the glut of TV games earlier in the week. The sports giant featured games over a 25-hour period. Now, ESPN is a major player in showing holiday tournament games as well.

You definitely need a well-defined schedule to know who is playing, when and what channel. Yesterday, I wanted to watch Harrison Barnes and North Carolina play Hofstra. I turned to the basic ESPN. Wrong. I found it over on ESPN2.

I don’t remember when this sea of games on TV the week before Thanksgiving started, but this appears a win-win situation. Fans actually can watch some interesting match ups instead of seeing their team play some lower Division I school. TV receives advertising and viewers. Teams can visit some interesting places and put it on their recruiting pieces. Announcers can warm up for the conference season.

But college basketball fans, a bit of warning. Pace yourself. It’s a long season. You don’t want to peak too early.

Enjoy the games!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Backup Quarterback

You think being a backup quarterback on a college football team is an easy role?

Sure most guys run scout team plays in practice. They stand on the sidelines at games with a baseball hat and maybe a clipboard. The coach may also recruit them to relay plays to the starting quarterback on the field.

But sometimes the backup quarterback actually sees playing time. Sometimes it’s when his team is either far ahead or far behind. Sometimes the starter gets injured.

But how would you like to be Iowa State quarterback Jerome Tiller this week? He is the backup turned starter because last week senior quarterback Austin Arnand suffered a knee injury.

This game isn’t just any game. The Cyclones need to win the game to be bowl eligible. They have one shot left as Iowa State hosts a talented Missouri team (8-2).

All eyes are on Tiller. Sure the Iowa State coaches will downplay Tiller’s role. “It’s a team game you know, Tiller just needs to manage the game---don’t need a great game from him,” blah, blah.

Tiller’s good news is he has starting experience. He started two games last season for the then also injured Arnard. The bad news is the difficulty of the opponent in a must-win situation.

Many fans naturally love the backup quarterback. If Tiller leads Iowa State to a victory Saturday, the fans might turn it into an actual love fest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Connecticut Women March Forward

The streak now stands at 80.

After a few tense moments near the end of the game Tuesday night, the Huskies stopped Baylor 65-64 for their 80th straight win.

Baylor had an opportunity to stop the streak, but a long three-point try fell well short.

So Geno Auriemma’s group moves on to the next milestone. Eight more straight wins and Connecticut ties the UCLA men’s record of 88 consecutive wins.

The Huskies' program is simply amazing. People don’t talk about dynasties in sports much anymore, but we have one clearly here. The old saying, “It’s better to be lucky sometimes than good” doesn’t apply to Connecticut. The Huskies usually dominate opponents. Baylor’s scare last night was a rare occurrence.

Connecticut is great for women’s basketball. The Huskies are the poster child and will continue to play the role.

Some might want Connecticut’s streak broken, but I say play on women. This isn’t America’s hatred team. This isn’t the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys.

The streak will end. Basketball is such a game of luck—one bounce there, one tip here. But Connecticut streak is a feel good story. And we definitely need more of those in sports these days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Texas Longhorns' Woes Continue

Texas is simply a poor football team this season. The Longhorns prove it about every week.

If I’m a Texas fan, pain is a constant factor.

Most of the country received the Texas-Oklahoma State game on ABC last Saturday, so people could observe first hand how bad the Longhorns are.

Texas has now loss four straight and four total home games. The Longhorns are 4-6 and need to beat Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M to become bowl eligible and avoid their first losing season since 1997.

Texas should beat Florida Atlantic to end its losing skid, but the Aggies should defeat the Longhorns.

Even if Texas wins its last two games for bowl eligibility, do you as fan want to go to a bowl game as a .500 team? This is Texas not some team hoping for a bowl. Remember, the Longhorns were in the national game last year?

If I was Texas, I would stay home, lick my wounds and try to figure out what happened to this once promising season.

Even Bevo (the team mascot) needs some rest after watching this year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Iowa Lays Another Egg Against Northwestern

This is starting to sound like a broken record for the Iowa Hawkeyes—a serious broken record.

Iowa loses again to Northwestern. Count them Hawkeye fans. Your team has now lost five out of the last six to the Wildcats. Coach Kirk Ferentz has losing records against only two teams—and you guessed it—Northwestern is one of those teams.

Most teams consider Northwestern a victory on its schedule. Iowa is probably wishing the Wildcats didn’t reside in the same division next year when Big Ten alignment kicks in.

Iowa fans saw trouble early Saturday when Northwestern took a first lead. But the Hawkeyes seemed to take control in the second half building a 17-7 lead. Then Northwestern kicked in its usual magic against the Hawkeyes and scored 14 straight points for the victory.

Iowa has trouble against pesky, mobile quarterbacks and Northwestern had one in Dan Persa. Running or throwing, the Hawkeyes couldn’t stop Persa. End of story.

Iowa’s hopes of a Big Ten title are now over. It is now playing for bowl position. The problem this week is that Ohio State comes to town with still a shot at the Big Ten crown.

So suddenly the two teams are coming from opposite directions. This is all because Iowa cannot beat a team that finds much joy in defeating the Hawkeyes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oklahoma State and Texas in Reverse Roles

In my humble opinion, the college football TV menu this Saturday is weak. But the Oklahoma State-Texas game might be a steak and potatoes affair.

The Cowboys have put together a stellar season at 8-1. But Oklahoma State mirrors Oregon in that both schools have teased on the national scene, but never delivered the big blow.

Oklahoma State is in position to win the Big 12 South and go to the championship game. Usually Oklahoma and Texas are in the Cowboys way, but not this year.

The Cowboys have a long line of solid quarterbacks and this year is no different with Brandon Weeden. The 27-year-old is a former minor league baseball pitcher with a strong arm. The Pokes also feature a solid running game with Kendell Hunter and Joseph Randle.

Texas is fighting to play in ANY bowl game. You read that right. Its 4-5 record shocks the football world. The Longhorns have lost three straight and they have lost three home games this season. A defeat today, makes that four and four.

Texas fans hope their team comes out of the funk soon. Texas did inflict Nebraska with its lone loss, but that seems years ago to Texas fans. It looks like some Texas assistant coaches will be looking for work next season.

But unless you are a diehard Texas fan, you will want to cheer for the Cowboys in this one. Wouldn’t an Oklahoma State-Nebraska game in the Big 12 championship sound good?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Northern Iowa Faces Syracuse in Hoops

Membership does have its privileges.

Northern Iowa played well on the basketball big stage last season and the national attention has gotten the Panthers into the big boys club.

Northern Iowa begins its season tonight at the Carrier Dome against 10th ranked Syracuse.

When America last experienced the Panthers they lost to Michigan State in the Sweet 16. But the game before, Northern Iowa shocked No. 1 seeded Kansas. Northern Iowa was on the map. National media all of a sudden came to Cedar Falls, Iowa.

So it’s Missouri Valley against Big East in an interesting opener.

The Panthers lost three starters off last year’s team, but Northern Iowa had a deep rotation so the younger guys will play more valuable minutes this season. Senior point guard and starter, Kwadzo Ahelegbe, is the key to the Panthers this year.

Northern Iowa has started its season out slow in the past, so it must bring its A-game tonight to have a chance against the Orange.

The Orange also returns two starters but possess better talent on paper. Syracuse always gets big-time recruits and this year is no exception. If you are Northern Iowa, look out for center Fab Melo.

Northern Iowa needs a strong showing to remain in the big boys club. After last season however, never count the Panthers out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cam Newton Story is Sad

In a perfect world, Cam Newton would be leading the Auburn Tigers to the national championship game and become the Heisman Trophy winner.

But Newton’s world is far from perfect these days. The march to the national championship game and the Heisman is marred by a huge cloud over Newton’s college career.

Did he and his family seek money from Mississippi State during the recruiting process? Was there a cheating problem when he was enrolled at Florida? These are a couple of the serious allegations involving this gifted athlete.

This stuff has yet to play completely out and it’s already ugly. Somebody did something wrong, it’s just finding out who and what.

Taking Newton and his family out of the equation, imagine the public relations mess at Auburn, Mississippi State and Florida.

I can just imagine the tone of the athletic departments at these schools. It’s stressful. People are on edge. What will happen? The athletic media relations departments’ job now is to put out fires.

Auburn appears the school with the most to lose. Auburn says it has done no wrong. Coach Gene Chizik says Newton will play Saturday. But the situation appears fluid.

Bottom line: the real dark and ugly side of college athletics marches to the front of the news cycle again. Sad, sad and sad.

A salute to all the veterans out there today. Good job and thank-you. My dad served in Germany in WWII and I think of him on days like today. He passed away in 2000.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alabama in a Spoiler Role

Alabama’s defense of its national championship is over.

The Tide’s loss to LSU last Saturday dropped them to 7-2. And with the defeat, all those national experts still in love with Alabama’s chances are suddenly silence.

The Tide is now officially yesterday’s champion.

What happened? That’s the old question begging answers but lacking. Was Alabama championship material this season? Did Nick Sabin’s boys pat themselves on the back too many times? Did they crumble being the hunted team? Is the SEC just too tough?

Alabama should still qualify for a nice bowl. But its biggest game now is the last one against the old rival Auburn. Alabama is square in the path of Auburn’s run to the national championship game. Alabama enjoys beating Auburn every year. But under the Tide’s circumstances, a victory this year would be sweeter than an Alabama peach.

Alabama’s pressure is over. Auburn’s pressure builds every game. If the Tigers remain undefeated going into the Alabama game, as broadcaster Keith Jackson used to say, “Oh Nellie.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dan Hawkins Can Rest Now

Colorado fired football coach Dan Hawkins Tuesday. No surprise there. People were planning Hawkins’ football funeral for over a year.

The last straw was losing to Kansas in the fourth quarter last Saturday. Hawkins had to go. His 19-39 record in five years was painful for all who love the Buffaloes.

The talk was Colorado wanted to fire Hawkins last season but couldn’t afford the buyout in these tough economic times. But a program can take so much suffering and it was time to say good-bye.

But if I was Hawkins, I would be relieved. No more being on the national hotlist firing talk. No more wondering about his status. No more listening to the persistent rumors. It is all over. Done. Finished. Even in defeat, Hawkins must have some peace now.

Hawkins will be okay. He’s a football coach. He was successful at Boise State and he will find success again. He will land an assistant’s job somewhere or maybe a head coach at a lower Division I school.

It will be interesting to see who Colorado hires. Brian Cabral was named interim coach. He has been a loyal assistant for 21 years. Why not give him the head job? I understand he is player’s coach and a good guy. And I bet he would come at a reasonable price.

There is some mention of Colorado bringing back Bill McCartney. McCartney had major success in Boulder and guided the Buffs to a national championship.

But at age 70, does McCartney really want to return to Boulder? Does Colorado really want him?

This is a key hire for Colorado. The Buffs want to make a splash when they move to the Pac-10 next season. Plus, Colorado has been on the highest mountain and it wants to return.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nebraska-Iowa State Postgame Talk

Nebraska made one important decision Saturday that had a huge impact on the Huskers 31-30 overtime victory. And few if any mentioned it.

Nebraska lost the coin toss for the overtime period but chose which direction the teams would go in the overtime period. The Huskers decided both teams would face a stiff wind. Nebraska had its signature running game going so the wind wouldn’t bother that. Iowa State was moving the ball through the air with the wind at its back.

And the wind did hinder the final play of the game.

Nebraska scored first in overtime and kicked the extra point. Iowa State countered with its own touchdown. Then the Cyclone lined up for the extra point kick and faked it. The pass was headed for a wide-open Ryan Franklin in the end zone, but the wind kept the ball in the air too long and the Huskers intercepted.

Iowa State lost the gamble and lost the game.

After the game, people questioned why Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads instructed his team to take a knee with 40 second left in regulation and three timeouts at the Iowa State 20-yard-line. However, people praised Rhoads’ choice in overtime.

I agreed with Rhoads’ strategy in overtime. I figure the game favorite always has the advantage in overtime. The underdog has already overachieved in regulation and the momentum usually swings back to the favorite. That’s why it makes no sense to trade scores with the favorite. Gambling is a good strategy.

Rhoads has gambled on different occasions in the past and it came out well. Unfortunately this time, Rhoads was on the wrong side.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Basketball: Small College Syle

Jamestown College is a small NAIA school in North Dakota, but the Jimmies captured a big win on their opponent’s home floor Friday night.

It was coach Matt Murken’s first victory as a head man as the Jimmies destroyed Northwestern of Iowa, 80-64.

Jamestown kept the game close in the first half but exploded in the second half with deadly shooting including a number of three-point baskets.

I made the journey to Orange City to watch my friend Murken. Murken and I were teammates on an Athletes in Action basketball project to East Africa last summer.

“Murk” looked pretty dapper with his orange tie, white shirt and dark suit. He definitely looked like a coach and sounded like one too. He had several conversations with each of the three officials during the night.

He had a big smile on his face when the game ended. He will remember that first victory and hopes for many, many more in the future.

Murken has a long climb to chance one of our other coaches on the Africa trip, however. Oregon Tech’s Danny Miles has garnered over 600 wins. Murken joked with the African coaches that he and Miles had won over 900 games between the two.

Nice going, Murk. Keep it going and go Jimmies.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alabama: Still in Title Talk?

The college football TV people still thinks Alabama has a shot at the national championship.

Really? Wow.

The Tide is ranked sixth in the BCS. TCU, Boise State, Utah and Auburn are all ahead of them for the second spot. TCU plays Utah this week, so one team will drop out. And Alabama has its annual showdown with Auburn at the regular season end, so it can make up ground there.

But Alabama still has the TCU/Utah winner and Boise State to leap frog. And this assumes the Tide remain undefeated in their remaining games. That won’t be easy.

Alabama travels to Baton Rouge this week to take on the 7-1 LSU Tigers. LSU has surprised some folks this season and it isn’t out of the question that it could pull out a win Saturday.

Still if Alabama makes it to the Auburn game with all its T’s crossed and I’s dotted, Auburn will make it difficult. Cam Newton and the Tigers will be ready.

So for all you Alabama supporters, go ahead and hope. If the Tide can survive all those landmines, they deserve it.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paul Rhoads: Great Fit at Iowa State

Paul Rhoads is putting smiles on the faces of Iowa State football fans again.

To the outside world, a coaching record of 12-10 in your second season is no big deal. But to Cyclone fans, it is a cause for celebration.

Rhoads took over a program that had won five games in two years. The previous coach, Gene Chizik (now at Auburn), basically dumped the program and Iowa State.

Rhoads, who grew up down the road from Iowa State, was looking for work after Auburn fired him as defensive coordinator.

Rhoads biggest job was salesman. He had to sell recruits and fans that Iowa State could win again. Sales are one thing and doing it is another.

Rhoads knew it would be difficult. Iowa State is a difficult job. It’s hard to get top-notch recruits. Iowa State doesn’t normally compete for Big 12 titles. The Cyclones are usually near the bottom.

But Rhoads had been an assistant at Iowa State and actually told people he wanted to coach there.

Last season, Rhoads led the Cyclones to a 7-6 record including a signature win at Nebraska and a bowl victory over Minnesota. Fans were giddy.

This season, Iowa State has faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation. And things looked pretty bleak at one point after back-to-back poundings against Utah and Oklahoma. Then the Cyclones traveled to Austin, Texas and defeated the Longhorns for the first time ever.

So with a 5-4 record, Iowa State needs one more victory to become bowl eligible. The Cyclones would love to take care of that chore this week with another upset win against Nebraska.

With the tough schedule, it is amazing that Rhoads has his team in position for more bowling. It’s not difficult to understand why Iowa State fans really like this guy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nebraska-Iowa State Presents Interesting Match Up

Nebraska continues its Big 12 Conference farewell tour Saturday in Ames against Iowa State.

This game may be closer than the 18-point spread. The Huskers (7-1, 3-1) battle a Cyclone squad who was about dead after blowout losses to Utah and Oklahoma. Then the magic happened at Texas. Now Saturday’s home team needs one more win (5-4, 3-2) to become bowl eligible.

It will be interesting to see what Nebraska team shows up. Will it be the club that pounded undefeated Missouri last week or the team that blew a tire at home against Texas?

The Huskers shouldn’t lack for motivation. Last year, Iowa State traveled to Lincoln and upset Nebraska 9-7. Then Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads appeared all over You Tube with his victory speech “I’m so proud to be your coach…”

Nebraska is still playing for an outside chance at the national championship. The Huskers are ranked No. 7 in the BCS and have dates with Kansas, Texas A&M and Colorado beyond Saturday. Traveling to College Station figures to be Nebraska’s toughest game of that bunch.

Apparently, starting quarterback Taylor Martinez will play Saturday after spraining an ankle last week. Cyclone fans would prefer backup Zach Lee who couldn’t move the Huskers in last season’s game as Nebraska was bit by the mistakes bug.

Iowa State needs to hang on to the ball this week to have a chance. Turnovers have killed the Cyclones in their losses.

The game is on ABC, but only goes to 13 percent of the nation.

Is this an upset waiting to happen or will Nebraska prevail?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Harrison Barnes: Preseason All-American

Freshman Harrison Barnes hasn’t even played a game for North Carolina and he is already gaining honors.

Barnes was named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America Team recently.

Barnes is probably the most celebrated player ever to come out of the state of Iowa. Barnes prepped at Ames High School and averaged 19.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds last year in leading the Little Cyclones to another state title.

I watched Barnes’ press conference when he selected North Carolina. It was a big production. Iowa State, located in Ames, was also a finalist, but the Cyclone fans knew that was a long shot. It’s pretty tough to say no to the elite programs in America when EVERYBODY wants your services.

But we Iowans will still watch Barnes’ career closely.

We have been hearing about this guy in Iowa for years. I have watched him played on TV. It was like wow—what a player. He’s 6-8, quick and can jump. He was rated the No. 1 high school player in the country last season.

But he still needs to perform in college. And apparently people are firmly convinced he will. At least the AP voters are.

The Tar Heels need Barnes. North Carolina was an average team last year. North Carolina doesn’t do average. It plays for national championships. Coach Roy Williams wants Barnes to help the Tar Heels return to the top of the ladder. Ole’ Roy loves cutting those nets down.

Based on his potential, Barnes might just give Williams his wish.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Michigan State Falls Hard

The fact Michigan State lost to Iowa Saturday didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was that the game was over in the first half.

Michigan State came into the game the most disrespected undefeated team in the country. Turns out, the Spartans proved the doubters right.

For the Spartans, Saturday was a train wreck. Michigan State looked scared, tight and flat all on the same day. The Spartans gave the game away with their turnovers. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a rough game with interceptions and not being able to move the offense. Michigan State should have never left East Lansing.

And despite all its troubles, Michigan State played a team that was just angry. The Hawkeyes suffered a bitter loss to Wisconsin the week before and the home team came out focused. The Hawkeyes were world beaters Saturday.

So you add the Spartans’ woes and Iowa highs and it translates into one word: ROUT.

Michigan State is now the most disrespected one-loss team in the country. The Spartans dropped to 16th and 15th (AP and coaches respectively) in the polls this week. Last week, they were No. 5.

There is also now a log jam at the top of the Big Ten standings. Four teams have one loss. Two of the contenders, Ohio State and Iowa, play Nov. 20 in Iowa City.

What do you think about the Michigan State fall?