Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jan 2, 2007 - Amazing Fiesta Bowl

I’ve seen a lot of football in my life, but that was awesome….Actually, I just started watching with about 10 minutes to go in the 4th Quarter. Good move by me. What a finish.

Not sure how Sooner is going to blame anyone but themselves on this one, but seriously, neither team deserved to lose

Crazy, zany and loony are three apt words to describe the end of Monday night's Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

You thought it would never end, but it did, with one of the most gutsy calls and remarkable plays in the history of college football.

Ian Johnson scored the game-winning, two-point conversion run to lift Boise State to a 43-42 overtime victory over Oklahoma.

The game-winning score was a playground play, a Statue-of-Liberty handoff from quarterback Jared Zabransky, who acted as if he was going to pass but instead handed Johnson the ball with his left hand.

"Another day at the office, huh?" Boise State Coach Chris Peterson said. "We gave them every trick in the bag."

Peterson said they wanted to run the Statue-of-Liberty play earlier but didn't have the chance.

But he saved it for when it counted most.

"We needed that play to get it over with," Peterson said. "They [the Sooners] are so physical up front, we had to try something a little different."

Johnson ran untouched into the end zone and heaved the ball into the stands as Boise State players rushed the field in a frenzy.

Boise State capped a perfect 13-0 season with the victory over Oklahoma, which finished 11-3.

Now, on to Cowboys playoff week:

Seattle papers discuss home field advantage …something the Cowboys don’t own…

"The playoffs are a whole different animal," Seahawks defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "It really doesn't matter who has been the best team, and truthfully home-field advantage doesn't mean anything."

Hold it right there. So why is so much emphasis placed on earning a chance to play at home in the playoffs? Why do teams not begin resting starters until they've clinched home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs?

Well, history shows that playing at home doesn't hurt. Just how much it helps, however, has become a bigger question after three of four road teams won in the wild-card round of the playoffs last year. Road teams have won the last four wild-card games in the NFC.

Playing at home is much more significant for teams in the next round of the playoffs. Of course, a team playing at home in the divisional playoffs also has an extra week off because it earned a playoff bye, which probably has more to do with that trend than anything else.

The home team's winning percentage in conference championship games is even lower than wild-card games, further proof that when both teams have the same amount of time to prepare, the question of where two teams are playing is not nearly as important as how they're playing.

And here are the raw numbers about the home team in the playoffs:

Looking at the home team's record in all playoff games since the postseason expanded to 12 teams in 1990:

Rounds---- AFC NFC Overall
Wild-card games 25-7 18-14 43-21 (.672)
Divisional ---- 23-9 28-4 51-13 (.797)
Conference championship 8-8 10-6 18-14 (.563)

Wow. Title games are only 18-14 for the home team, with the AFC going 8-8!

Mac Engle’s 3 reasons game

Three reasons the Cowboys can reach the Super Bowl

1Have you seen the NFC?

Every NFC team is heavily flawed.

The only team rolling right now is the third-seeded Eagles, who are on a five-game winning streak with a backup quarterback directing them.

The Bears have a problem at quarterback. The Saints have a problem on defense. The Seahawks haven't looked anything like the Super Bowl team of a year ago. And the Giants are an 8-8 mess.

So the Cowboys and their problems fit in with an NFC seemingly without a favorite.

2The road is the new home

The Cowboys finished 4-4 at Texas Stadium, and found themselves relieved at the prospects of going on the road for the playoffs. They were 5-3 on the road, and blew what appeared to be a road victory at Washington.

Barring the sixth-seeded Giants reaching the NFC title game, the Cowboys will play all of their playoff games away from Texas.

"You have to find some sort of momentum and that's probably it," tight end Jason Witten said. "We play better on the road."

3Scoring isn't a problem

The Cowboys finished with the fifth-best offense in the NFL, and their 425 points ranked fourth.

Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn each had more than 1,000 receiving yards. The running back tandem of Julius Jones and Marion Barber, above, combined to rush for 1,738 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Three reasons the Cowboys can't reach the Super Bowl

1Stopping teams is a major problem

Entering their game against the Giants on Dec. 3, the Cowboys' defense ranked fourth in the NFL. It finished the season 13th.

The past month the Cowboys' defense gave up an average of 30 points a game, and 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions. Other than a handful of stops against the Falcons on Dec. 16, the Cowboys couldn't slow any offense when it mattered.

"I can't tell you how frustrated we are," linebacker DeMarcus Ware said.

2Tony Romo has been playing like a first-year quarterback

Bill Parcells might have different expectations for Romo, above, because he's in his fourth NFL season, but Romo officially has returned from his trip to Fantasy Land.
What looked so easy in November was that difficult in December. He finished the final five games with a 77.1 passer rating, with six touchdown passes and eight interceptions, and he was sacked 13 times.

"Maybe it's because I'm too young to let go of a game or let losses go a little bit," Romo said. "It's very frustrating and disappointing for me. It's one of those weeks where I'm going to have to let it go when I get out of here."
And did we mention the defense?

3Maybe they were a victim of hype and weren't that good

In the end, the Cowboys finished with the same record as last season, 9-7. And that was with the addition of Terrell Owens, left, a young defense loaded with high draft picks and high-dollar free agents, and the return of left tackle Flozell Adams.
But these Cowboys who once looked so good ended up defeating only one team with a winning record, the Colts. That was on Nov. 19.

And did we mention the defense?

Gary Myers looks at the QB’s in the playoffs

The playoffs are supposed to be a new season, so maybe Eli Manning has it in him to complete 50% of his passes, Carrie Underwood's friend Tony Romo will stop turning the ball over and Rex Grossman can get red-hot and actually register on the quarterback rating chart.

And maybe one of these years, though it probably won't be this one, Peyton Manning will even make it to the Super Bowl with the one-dimensional Colts.

Misery loves company and coaches worrying about quarterbacks have plenty of it. It's the dominant theme of the postseason as Bill Belichick is the only one who can sleep peacefully. Tom Brady is 10-1 with three Super Bowl victories. Now consider the rest of the field:

• The other 11 quarterbacks are a combined 13-21 in the playoffs. Six of the 11 have never won a playoff game.

• Two have lost Super Bowls: Baltimore's Steve McNair when he was with the Titans and Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck. McNair, who is 5-4 in the playoffs but has not started a postseason game since 2003, is the only quarterback starting this month, other than Brady, with a winning postseason record. Hasselbeck is 2-3.

• Four are 0-1 in the playoffs: Eli Manning, Chicago's Grossman, New Orleans' Drew Brees when he was with the Chargers, and Kansas City's Trent Green.

• Two are starting their first playoff game: Romo and San Diego's Philip Rivers.

• Chad Pennington of the Jets has the third-best playoff record among this year's postseason QBs. He is
2-2. Peyton Manning is just 3-6. Philly's Jeff Garcia was 1-2 with the 49ers.


The Wire is Entertainment Weekly’s show of the year

The drug invading Baltimore is called Pandemic, and the implication is apt: On HBO's The Wire, every limb of the American big city — police, politics, schools, business, drugs — is sick, and each infected part is horrifically linked. Cash-strapped mayoral hopeful Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is told to ''hit your numbers or die in this room,'' while on the street, middle-management drug dealer Bodie (JD Williams) is also feeling the economic pinch: An encroaching gang seems ''like Wal-Mart coming to town.'' As dealers and politicos drum up business, the nominal good guys — cops and teachers — are defanged, forced to listen to consultants with catchy acronyms and no solutions.

Raucous, dying Tilghman Middle School is the heart of The Wire's fourth season, which follows four inner-city eighth graders as they stumble toward futures as gangsters, row-house losers, or, perhaps, survivors. The Wire is a wrenching, brilliant indictment of pragmatism and complacency, but it's never miserable to watch. The diverse, buoyant characters put up a good fight: drunken howls at the moon, quiet sketches in a junked-out textbook, tiny gestures of humanity, like trying to salvage at least one kid from the heartbreaking wreckage. The actors are flawless; the writing is lined with empathy, insight, and quick, shocking slaps. Never has a good gutting been more appreciated.

The Shield bumped back to April

Here's the bad news. The release date has already been bumped from February 27 to March 27, which confirms that the new season won't be back until April. Notice the box though? It says "Season 5" and not "Season 5 - Part 1." Initially, FX had set season five up as a 21 episode story arc. It would appear that it's now been split. The final ten episodes of what would have been called "Season 5 - Part 2" are now season six. The show was renewed for a final seventh season.

Tony Homo.com …Still funny…

UFC 66 Recap …Iceman cannot be touched….

Dwight Schrute calls you

Here is a promising new Texas Tech Blog

And the 2007 Cowboys opponents:

2007 Opponents
Along with the traditional NFC East foes New York, Philadelphia and Washington, the Cowboys will face off against the NFC North and AFC East in 2007. The Cowboys finished second in the NFC East, their other two 2007 opponents will be NFC South runner-up Carolina and NFC West runner-up St. Louis. Here is where those games will take place next season:

Home: N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, Washington, Green Bay, Minnesota, St. Louis, New England, N.Y. Jets

Away: N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Carolina, Buffalo, Miami



Is there really any doubt that Dallas is one-and-done in the playoffs? A few small observations after today's debacle against Detroit:

(1) Is there a reason Dallas doesn't run sweeps or screens? Every single running play is between the tackles, which does not seem to play to Julius Jones' strength (i.e., speed), and they never run screens, which would also seem to open up the field for the Cowboy backs. My guess is that these linemen are too slow and immobile to run those plays effectively. But it would sure be a nice change of pace to just slamming it into the line and calling that a running game.

(2) Romo is regressing pretty quickly. It's not politically correct to say this, but he throws a lot of bad passes every week and can get away with it in very small stretches. But over a longer period, you get what you got today, with multiple dumb turnovers in the red zone or deep in your own territory and a number of throws over everyone's heads. Now, he's adding carelessness running with the ball to carelessness throwing the ball. Mark my words: Dallas will be no better than an 8-8 team with Romo at QB. I've seen Brett Favre, and Romo is no Brett Favre.

(3) The Ware draft is rapidly sliding from an A to a C. Spears, Canty, Burnett -- all drafted in the first four rounds -- have had scant impact this year and seem to be getting worse. Ware is very good, and Barber is decent, and Jay Ratliff seems like a decent if unremarkable journeyman, but the draft everyone touted after it happened is now looking pretty ordinary.

(4) Parcells' teams here have finished extremely poorly. In 2003 and 2005, Dallas finished 2-2 in the last month of the season, while finishing 1-3 in 2004 and 2006. That's a combined 6-10 during the final month of each season that Parcells has been here. I don't know what that suggests, but it seems to me that it suggests that other teams are figuring the Cowboys out but Dallas doesn't make any adjustments as the season wears on. You can do that if you have superior talent, but Dallas doesn't have superior talent. Someone has to coach around here.

(5) Lastly, it's time for a new defensive coordinator. Flipping around the channels, I see other teams, with no more skill than Dallas has (if not less) who effectively blitz the quarterback and get 3rd down stops. Dallas's continuing inability to do either of these things seems like a scheme problem as much as a personnel problem. When Dallas blitzes, people just run right into the blockers and stop. Nobody seems to find gaps or rushing angles or anything. And the 3rd down performance is incredible. It's as though the team has a mental block on making 3rd down stops.

Dave in Tulsa

Boise State’s big moment

Giggs wondergoal!

The Shield promo


Buck's a critic said...

Super first, super gay, and super convinced we need to start casting VY's Canton bust now.

DrewJ said...

What a terrible, terrible bowl season for the Big 12.

CFB123 said...

All was not lost for the Big 12 as Texas Tech pulled off a monumental comeback of their own on Friday Night. In fact, it was probably the greatest comeback from the dead I'd ever seen prior to what Boise State did last night in the final minute + OT of the Fiesta Bowl anyway. Two absolutely unforgettable finishes, that's for sure. Damn, the NCAA needs a playoff system.

DrewJ said...

The Tech game was great. I somehow ended up in the middle of the Tech Allumi Club's watching party. They still had to have a monumental comeback to beat a 6-6 Minnesota game in the untelevised Insight.com bowl.

While Texas should be lauded for their comeback as well, is it really an achievement to almost lose to the #8 Big 10 game?

The Fiesta Bowl was a great game, but OU should be ashamed for Boise even being in that game.

A&M & KState - I don't even need to bring these pitiful games up.

I didn't watch the OSU game.

All in all I'd have to label this Big 12 bowl season as as giant turd sandwich. Certainly nothing was done to prove that the Big 12 is no longer at the highest pinnacle of college football.

Brandon said...

" Not sure how Sooner is going to blame anyone but themselves on this one, but seriously, neither team deserved to lose."

I'm going to try.

1st BSU TD was the result of busted coverage.

2nd BSU TD was the result of a fumble by PT. I'll give some credit to the BSU defense but PT was careless with the ball.

3rd BSU TD was the result of pass in the flat that should have gone for a few yards but when the distance because of a missed tackle.

4th BSU TD was the result of a tipped pass at the LOS.

5th BSU TD was the result of not being prepared for a trick play against a team known for trick plays. I would have brought the house on the blitz on 4th and 18 so as not to allow time for such a play to occur. If BSU's QB is going to beat us for the game tying score, he ought to have to do it with pressure in his face. That's just me, I suppose.

I give full credit to Boise State, especially after the Marcus Walker interception. They did what they had to do to get it to OT and that call to go for 2 in OT was a ballsy call.

I just think OU helped set that up by playing poorly in the first 37 minutes of the contest.

w1ld_b1ll said...

I am a sooner fan and I have to give the Boise State boys credit. They wanted it more. Their fans, coaches, and players wanted it more. I know it is chic to hate on the Sooners, after all, last I checked Dallas was in Texas. But they had a heck of a year and should be even better next year if (big if) they can find a quarterback with PT's work ethic but with more consistency. Maybe last nights poor showing will convince AD to come back... Bob... stop hating. Not all Sooner fans think everyone's out to get them.