Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday 12/04 A.M. Quickie:
Pats, Hawaii, Taylor, Rutgers, More!

Today's Names to Know: Patriots, Bart Scott, Jabar Gaffney, Hawaii, Glenn Dorsey, Karl Dorrell, Chris Peterson, Tim Duncan, Rutgers, College Bowl Pick 'Em!

MNF: Pats escape Baltimore. For a single moment, we were all Ravens fans. They were leading the Pats with under a minute to play.

Then Brady-to-Gaffney happened, and 12-0 was the result.

For another moment, we were all Ravens fans: When Bart Scott drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, he reflected the frustration felt by ALL of us – every fan who would like to see the Pats lose and saw what might have been the closest things will get.

(Even if secretly -- or openly -- we would all like to see them go 19-0, if only for the history and to shut up those 1972 Dolphins alumni. Now, if we could only get accompanying quiet from Pats fans, it's something everyone could possibly get on board with. Unfortunately, quiet from Pats fans ain't happening. Ever.)

In the beginning of the season, the Patriots were blowing teams out; now, they are barely escaping – last night the closest finish yet.

But the fact is, the Pats are still winning: That the Ravens were leading with less than a minute to go is the power of the NFL's parity beginning to take its toll on the Pats, but the fact remains:


Pats fans can claim nervousness, but it feels disingenuous. They can claim continued arrogance, but it feels insufferable. The bottom line is that they can continue to claim they are undefeated.

Sean Taylor Funeral: Here's hoping it brings even a little bit of consolation (and perhaps even closure) to his family, friends and fans.

More CFB/BCS/Bowl Talk: The "Why Not Hawaii?" Movement. Yesterday, all that talk about Hawaii being a national-title contender was more for fun than for real. But you can feel the meme advancing, just like I put it in my Deadspin column yesterday:

"Given the way many — including me — consider UGA the best team in the country right now, wouldn't a sudden contrarian surge of AP support for Hawaii as champ put the perfect cap on this most imperfect of seasons?"

(H/T to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for putting that quote in their BCS analysis roundup.)

But you can nearly feel it: By the time we get to the Sugar Bowl, there will be legitimate momentum behind the idea that if Hawaii beats Georgia (given the respect most "experts" have for Georgia right now), they will earn enough first-place votes in a "protest" vote by the AP to make the notion of a "split" champ interesting. (The first thing I think of is BYU in 1984, which would be the closest analogue.) Of course, Hawaii has to beat Georgia first.

CFB Awards Season: Glenn Dorsey wins the Nagurski Award as CFB's top defender. I have a feeling Dorsey will sweep any/all awards in which he is a finalist. (No, Heisman doesn't count.)

MLB Hot Stove: Winter Meeting Mania! The Rays got rid of their second insanely talented (and possibly insane) outfielder by trading Elijah Dukes to the Nats, where presumably Dukes will fall under the tutelage of reformed wack-job Dmitri Young, whose brother Delmon was the first troubled-but-talented Rays outfielder to be traded this offseason.

Andy Pettitte returns to the Yankees: Not nearly as interesting as if they got, say, Johan Santana. The Yankees better not hope that's their big pitching pick-up of the offseason.

Speaking of which, while the Yankees seemed to take the hard-line with the Twins regarding Santana, the Red Sox are wisely saying, "Let's make a deal." When they get Santana and end up winning the next four World Series, the Yankees will be kind of bummed about their decisions this week.

More Hot Stove: What about Erik Bedard? If Johan Santana is out of your price range, how about Erik Bedard, who might be the second-most-talented starting pitcher available in the trade market. He could be a difference-maker to a contender.

CFB Coaching Carousel: Karl Dorrell out at UCLA. Now, UCLA isn't a Top 5 job, but it sure is intriguing. You play in a huge market with an insane recruiting base. They should have their choice of good candidates, and I'm betting they get Boise State's Chris Petersen, who denies he was even contacted about the job. (But I'm with Orson at EDSBS: Mike Leach is a phenomenal fit there.)

Michigan can't find a coach: What was that last week about Michigan being one of the Top 5 jobs in college football? Ohh, right: I said IT'S NOT. And the fact that no one wants the job -- aside from current assistants, who are paid to want the job -- confirms it. What a complete insult.

Baseball Hall of Fame Vets Committee: Marvin Miller not being in the Baseball Hall of Fame is probably the most egregious (and obviously intentional) slight of any Hall of Fame in sports.

NBA: Tim Duncan is only going to miss a few games with that sprained knee. Again: This just highlights how useless the NBA regular season is; Duncan's status won't become material until, say, May.

CBB: Rutgers women are on a mission. On the day Don Imus returned to the air, the No. 6 Scarlet Knights beat No. 3 Maryland 68-60. As the most high-profile program in women's basketball (eclipsing even Tennessee or UConn, unfortunately for non-basketball reasons), they can single-handedly drive more interest in the sport with a big season.

CBB Tonight: Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose -- all at Madison Square Garden. Arguably, these could be the first three picks of the 2008 NBA Draft, all in the same building and on national TV tonight. Beasley is arguably the best power forward in college basketball; Mayo is arguably the best shooting guard in college basketball; Rose is arguably the best point guard in college basketball. Needless to say, it's a big night.

NFL: Packers' board approves Mark Murphy as team president. Chalk another leadership position with a storied sports franchise to a Northwestern guy. First, alum Joe Girardi was named manager of the Yankees; now, the NU AD is put in charge of the most iconic franchise in pro football.

Finally, I intentionally didn't mention Florida's Capital One match-up with Michigan yesterday (see: I don't inflict my Florida fandom on you ALL the time).

Anyway, yeah: Florida is going to wax them, giving Lloyd Carr a send-off fitting a guy who spent his last season completely befuddled by the idea of defending the new-fangled spread offense. I would also like to see a small measure of beatdown for the temerity Michigan fans had last season in protesting that they, not Florida, should have been in the national title game.

Meanwhile, Florida will win impressively enough to springboard them to a 2008 preseason No. 1 ranking, which they will hold all next season en route to a national title. (There: Aren't you sorry I circled back to talk about it?)

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Joey said...

If Ohio State ends up winning the BCS championship, the voters will have a hard time not voting them #1 next year since they will have most of their team back. It could change with early entries, but this was supposed to be the down year for next year. Also, the schedule looks better next year with a USC matchup.

Florida will definitely be up there. Besides, the whole preseason #1 is more of a curse than anything. OSU started off 12th this season.

Unknown said...

Right before the first Pats attempt on 4th down, I saw how fast Baltimore got ready and thought "Oh crap. The Pats better call a time out, Baltimore's ready." Then the snap...the stuff...and...timeout Baltimore?!?!
The defense is the heart, soul, personality, and strength of the Ravens. Why, why, why would you ever call time out for that defense?! There's enough defensive experience there that you should not need a timeout. Billick is a dumbass.

That being said, I like my Steelers chances a little more. Pats O=line hasn't been right for two weeks. Hopefully it extends for a third. (Though Big Ben adn Hines are still going to ride the bench this week in fantasy)

PatriotsNation said...

Sorry Dan I was never a Raven fan even for a millisecond!! Pats win and go 12-0 with perfection still intact!!

Coach Chip said...

I think if any team is undefeated their fans have a right to talk. If Jax was 12-0 it would be Dan's top story every day. That's one of the great things about being a fan: brag when you're on top and listen to everybody else when you're not.

JCT said...

Dan, if you think UGA is the best team in the country right now and they are returning almost their entire team, how do think Florida will be preseason #1 in 2008??

I think both will be definitely top 5 next year. We both had young defenses that are returning and OLs with another year under their belt.

Geoff said...

Ummm, who exactly else doesn't want the Michigan job? I think I missed the part where like 10 other coaches have turned them down? I am assuming that is what happened overnight based on your post?

Beetle said...

It appears blow-hard Hank Steinbrenner has made yet another crucial blunder, thereby giving the Sox the inside track on Johan.
Say it with me now....Johan, Beckett, Dice K, Schilling, Bucholtz, Wakefield.
Becket is going to push 25 wins if he is matched up against #2 starters all season.

wolverine425 said...

Dan, come on now...

What was that last week about Michigan being one of the Top 5 jobs in college football? Ohh, right: I said IT'S NOT. And the fact that no one wants the job -- aside from current assistants, who are paid to want the job -- confirms it. What a complete insult.

It still is a top job, they just aren't rushing into any rash decisions. Less Miles tried to pull a Saban on them, if he flips back I highly doubt they hire him. Michigan is still one of the best jobs...are you telling me that the Ole Miss job is better because they filled their coaching vacancy in less than a week with Houston Nutt? I don't think so. The brass at Michigan is being patient in their coaching search. Sure Miles was our top choice, but he's not the end all be all of coaches. I say bring Lloyd back for a few more years!!!! Go BLUE. And...(yak) GO BUCKS, BEAT LESS MILES.

Hank Wackman said...

Another blueprint to almost beat the Patriots.

Hank Wackman said...

Also, I love the big, tough, strong, intimidating, crybaby Ravens players. How have they shaped the conversation of that game to bad officiating? That is the LAMEST excuse you can use.

Especially when the officiating was even. They only called that one holding penalty. The Ravens were holding the whole game.

Oh, and nice timeout chokers.

Unknown said...

C'mon, Dan. You know if your team was undefeated, you'd be insufferable too. Give Pats fans a break. This is a once-in-a-lifetime season.

danwise1856 said...

Dan, dont count out Michigan just yet.

Weren't you the one last year telling Ohio State fans not to get too caught up in the hype and that the had yet to be played???

What happened? Thats right, Florida won.

After this season especially, I would think you might think twice before saying West Virginia (Florida) will wipe Pitt (Michigan) off the field

DSCommenters said...

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Beetle said...

By the way,
I can understand most people wanting the Pats to lose, if the Steelers or Colts were winning every game, I'd be rooting against them, but i can't see how ANYONE can root for that Ravens team. They are loud-mouthed, jig-dancing, punks who seem to represent everything that is wrong with the NFL.
I would have much rather lost to the Eagles last week (a hard nosed, over-achieving, team with class) than lose to the Ravens.
Bart Scott...what a thug.
I hope he gets hit with a suspension.

Jason B. said...

While Florida does look like they can beat (maybe even "wax") Michigan, we shouldn't "crown them" just yet. If college football has taught us anything, it's that there are no guaranteed winners before the games are played(see OSU and Oklahoma last year, and West Virginia and USC this year).

And Michigan is still a top job, Miles just took more money (everyone together now - it's always about the money). I don't think prestigous or great programs can just sway candidates over other BCS schools if they don't offer the money.

Darklawdog said...

Next year: Ohio State vs Florida for the national championship. Oh how I pray for that sweet redemption... I guess I am getting ahead of myself. tOSU needs to beat LSU first.

I do remember watching the LSU vs. Arkansas and LSU vs. Tennessee game thinking, tOSU would destroy this LSU team. A month layover gives LSU the chance to get healthy. Hopefully, they can get healthy so we can see the team that supposedely was so great earlier this year.

Hmmm.. no access to the other blog. 1) you haven't had a chance to approve me or 2) I have annoyed you to the point you won't approve me.

marcomarco said...

Unfortunately, quiet from Pats fans ain't happening. Ever.)

Got that right.

Dan, I have to play the hypocrite card here. You've been Thumping your chest about 19-0 since July, and now you're openly rooting against your prediction? You even suggested that last night's game was going to be Just another Pats blowout


I don't quite understand this one:
Pats fans can claim nervousness, but it feels disingenuous. They can claim continued arrogance, but it feels insufferable.

Last night's nailbiter under-one-minute-left can-we-possibly-pull-this-one-far-out-of-our-asses game winning TD... How are nerves disingenuous?

I'm certianly not feeling arrogant today. A better word would be 'Lucky'.

PS. Thanks for the timeout call, Ravens.

Mark R said...

Here's the thing: because it's the Dolphins that are the only undefeated team, it's not a big deal--"Miami fans" is the very definintion of oxymoron. But does America really need another reason to hate jackass Boston fans? Because they would NEVER EVER EVER shut up about it.

marcomarco said...

@ peter

Dan's insufferable about every team/player he's got wood for (Re: Gators, Wizards, Jags, Teboner) , so i'll take that jab with a grain of salt.

Jingoist said...

Say what you want, 12-0 is 12-0. But like I said last week- losing Rosie Colvin just aged the LB corp extensively (more minutes for the old men of the "D"- Bruschi, Seau, Vrabel). They look brutal.

And their line play on both sides of the ball is horrible for 2 straight weeks. I'm worried they are playing on rep only, but there's no fire there right now. And Dean Pees needs to take a page from Jimmie Johnson and Rex Ryan and call something interesting for this defense. Their schemes are too "vanilla" right now.

Buster Olney is reporting the Twins have requested medical files on Lester- a sign they are moving closer to the deal. And to all those "Fans" out there who are arguing against trading for Santana because of some perceived loyalty to the youngsters, look at it this way. We are replacing our #5 spot starter (Lester) with a #1.

Here's another way to look at it- Curt Schilling is now your #4 starter. Seriously. How could you ever complain about his trade? Other than the fact you just paid 8 figures for your #4 starter. But hell, that's just being picky.

Cody said...

I don't think Billick called the timeout. I think (will have to watch a replay when I get home) that an assistant coach called that timeout. If that is the case the timeout should never have happened becasue assistant coachs are not allowed to call timeouts, only the players on the field or the Head coach.

The holding in the endzone that gave the Pats the game is the call everyone is talking about. I thnk the bogus defensive holding call that went against the Ravens in the 2nd Q was just as big. It happeed on a 3rd down and Brady threw and incomplete pass which would have set up a difficult field goal attempt in the wind. But the defensive holding gave the Pats a first down and they went in to score a TD which tied the game at 10

Boomhauertjs said...

"For a single moment, we were all Ravens fans. "

I don't think anyone from Cleveland will ever be a Ravens fan, even for a single moment.

Bryan said...

Karl Dorrell is an African American coach. WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?? Where's the OUTRAGE??

pv845 said...

Does anything think that KU does not have an argument for the preseason number 1 over UF if they win their BCS bowl game? They return 17 starters on both sides of the ball. Laugh all you want about their SOS, but they still score points.

Jen said...

What is the big deal that Michigan doesn't have a coach yet? It's only December. What, you want them to rush and get Charlie Weis II?

DSCommenters said...

lawdog check your spam filter. I know I sent you the invitation to join the new blog.

jbiz said...

I love when non-football guys, or guys who have never played or coached, make comments about a coach being befuddled by a new-fangled offense.

If high school coaches can make adjustments on a weekly basis for a team that decides to run the spread that year, I think a D-1 college coach could do it.

The difference maker will be the different wrinkles and adjustments the offensive coaches can make based on the defensive scheme designed to stop the spread that the opponent has been running for 12 games. The advantage to the spread or any option offense is that it can be tweaked a number of times to take advantage of which ever defensive scheme they are playing.

I don't like Urban Meyer, but that was why they dominated last year. Their game plan (not overall offensive scheme) was better and they made better in game adjustments. The proof of that work was against Tennessee. Florida had 2 three and outs while they read the Vol D and what their tendencies and reads were. They made their adjustments, and proceeded to whip the hell out of them.

Unknown said...

With the Pats having the Steelers, Jets, Dolphins and Giants left a big hurdle is this week. People were saying be careful if the Pats have nothing to play for the last week and Giants are fighting for their playoff lives. However the opposite seems true right now. Giants have a 2 game lead for the WC spot now. Most likely they will have their playoff fate sealed as the first WC team. Pats may be playing for history.

JCT said...


They have to rush, because it is recruiting season. Would you commit to a school, if you didn't know who your coach is?

High Desert Liz said...

Wow, what a game last night! You knew the Patriots would come back to win. Seems like destiny to me.

High Desert Liz said...

Michigan fans have to feel insulted, how do you NOT get the coach who says that the Wolverines were his "dream job"? How do you mess that up? :)

Brian in Oxford said...

Agree with cycledan...

The Giants suddenly have a pretty good lock on the 5 spot. But it'll be a Saturday *night* game, so expect the same kind of frenzy as in Baltimore last night.

BobbyStompy said...

Rooting against the Pats, Mr. Florida?

I believe Jabar Gaffney is a Gator; why weren't you rooting for HIM?!

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Richard K. said...


Your take on the UCLA job is dead on. But when I read it I could have sworn you were talking about a different one.

Insane recruiting base? Huge market? Not top 5? Sounds a bit like the Georgia Tech job, which only yesterday, you claimed wasn't that good.

The only differnce is this: GT is in a conference that the right coach could walk in and seize but has tough academics to balance. UCLA has BS academics (I've never heard of a UCLA player failing out) but a conference that looks to be a USC whipping boy for the forseeable future.

Jen said...

I know it's recruiting season, but I don't think Tressel wasn't signed until after the 1st of the year.

Since Les(s) just gave Michigan his "supposed" turn-down on Saturday, there hasn't been much time to do anything.

Mills said...

Scott Rolen for Capuano + prospect deal has ceased.

David Kippe said...

looks like the Tigers getting Willis and Cabrera is a done deal, wow!

Matt T said...

The top 3 next year is going to be some mix of OSU, Georgia and Florida, who knows what order.