Archive for September, 2007

Pregnancy in a nutshell

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

WARNING: Clip contains profanity!

From Knocked Up:

Heh.

A very funny movie, that is — especially when you’re expecting. :)

Penalties galore, then and now

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

USC’s 16 penalties against Washington last night “was not a school record, it just felt like one,” Scott Wolf points out. Well, yeah — I could have told you that. I remember vividly when USC set its school record for penalties, which was also the Pac-10 record for penalties: 21 of ’em. It was September 25, 1999, and the #16-ranked Trojans lost to upstart Oregon, 33-30 in the first conference game of my freshman year. The Trojans would ultimately finish the season 6-6, 3-5 in conference, though head coach Paul Hackett would save his job for one more year by beating UCLA for the first time in nine tries (despite committing 16 penalties in that game as well). Only after following up that season with a 5-7 mark in 2000 (after again starting the season in the Top 25, #15 to be exact) did Hackett finally get canned.

I mention the 1999 Oregon game because you might recall me referencing it a week-and-a-half ago in my post “On being an Irish fan,” as an example of me mocking the Trojans back when they were laughably bad:

[I]f I dig through my old photos…I believe I’d find a picture from the fall of 1999 of my dorm-room whiteboard after a USC-Oregon contest in which Paul Hackett’s Trojans set a new Pac-10 record for penalties in a game. My reaction wasn’t to wail and scream and gnash my teeth and wring my hands; I don’t do teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing; it’s not my thing. Instead, my reaction was mockery. I don’t remember exactly what the whiteboard said, but it was something along the lines of congratulating the Trojans for their glorious Pac-10 record.

I found that photo, BTW:

Anyway… back to last night. What to make of USC’s performance? Boi From Troy is happy because pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and the Trojans still won. This sentiment was expressed last night at the college-football blog 100% Injury Rate:

The only team that can beat USC is USC. And let me tell you why. Quite simply, there is no team in college that can go on the road, commit three turnovers, have a punt blocked, commit 16 penalties for 160+ yards, and lose two great O-linemen – all against a decent opponent – and win. No one. LSU can’t do that, Cal can’t do that, Ohio State can’t do that. USC played one of those games where they literally did everything they could to keep shooting themselves in the foot and still beat a decent Washington team. That is incredibly impressive. Of course, if USC plays like they did on Saturday against LSU, Cal or Ohio St. they’d be crushed. But the fact remains, they did everything wrong on Saturday against Washington and still won. That’s pretty remarkable. USC is the only team that can stop USC. And they almost did it on Saturday.

On the list of things that went wrong, in Boi’s view, was the officiating:

(more…)

Tropical update

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Another tropical storm, Melissa, has come and gone this weekend while I’ve been too busy blogging about college football to pay attention to the tropics. Also since my last update, Lorenzo has made landfall and died over Mexico, and Karen has petered out over the Atlantic. Alan Sullivan explains:

This season is just plain strange: it has brought an exceptional number of duds. Evidently long-range forecasters like Dr. Gray were half-right. Preconditions for a real storm-fest were present, but tropical systems have been snuffed by unusual upper winds that I began to notice in May. Only Dean and Felix escaped, running straight west at very low latitude.

Sullivan also thinks the National Hurricane Center is “getting sensitive to blogosphere charges of count-padding.” He notes a line in the discussion from when Karen was designated that he interprets as meaning, effectively, “Hey, guys, we didn’t even want to name this one, so back off.”

The great LSU-USC debate, 2007 edition

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

The new college football polls are out. In the AP poll, LSU moves ahead of USC by a meaningless margin of 2 points and one first-place vote; the Tigers and Trojans are essentially tied. USC maintains a reasonably comfortable lead in the coaches’ poll. (The new Harris Poll — which, unlike the AP, actually counts for BCS purposes — isn’t out yet.)

Frankly, I agree with the AP on this one. As I said yesterday, I’d have put LSU #1 on my ballot this week, if I had a vote. But it doesn’t really matter anyway. If both teams win out, they’ll play in the title game. It’s only if one or both falters that the race gets interesting.

Apropos of which: Cal is #3, Ohio State #4 and Wisconsin #5 in both polls. South Florida rockets all the way from #18 in both polls to #6 in the AP poll, #9 in the coaches’ poll. Boston College, Kentucky, Florida and Oklahoma make up, in differing orders, the rest of the Top 10.

The Gators clearly have the inside track to the title game among the one-loss teams, IMHO. If they win out, which would entail capturing the SEC crown and probably beating LSU twice in the process, they will certainly be ahead of any other one-loss teams in the pecking order, and possibly ahead of any undefeateds from the Big East as well (though I don’t think it would be justifiable to put them ahead of USF, given the Bulls’ win at Auburn). I imagine there might even be an argument about a one-loss Florida team vs. an undefeated Big Ten or ACC team, given the number of “quality wins” Florida would have to collect along the way (and given how last year turned out).

Anyway, next week’s supposed marquee games will, as it turns out, feature #1/2 LSU vs. #9/7 Florida and #10 Oklahoma vs. #19/16 Texas. Looming larger now are Ohio State-Wisconsin on November 3 (though I suspect the Badgers will lose before then, possibly next week at resurgent Illinois) and USC-Cal on November 10 — the latter a very possible #1 vs. #2 matchup, if both teams win out till then and LSU loses to Florida next week (or to Kentucky, Auburn or Alabama in the weeks that follow).

P.S. Florida’s loss yesterday means one thing for sure: we won’t have to deal with the nightmare scenario of LSU and Florida splitting the season series (i.e., the winner of next week’s game then loses in the SEC title game), each finishing with one loss (to the other), and then arguing over who deserves a spot in the BCS championship game — or even contending that they deserve a championship-game rematch. Now we know for sure that at least one of them will finish with at least two losses. Thank goodness.

“This is not a class in temporal logic!”

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

And now, for a little change of pace from football… here’s one of my all-time favorite bits of Star Trek dialogue. It’s from the episode “A Matter of Time,” and Captain Picard is trying to convince a time-traveler — who claims to be a historian from the future — to use his foreknowledge to help Picard decide whether to take a risky action that could save, or kill, millions of people on the planet below. Here it is, for your viewing and/or Brendan-mocking pleasure:

“It’s not theoretical, it’s not hypothetical, it’s real!”

Kill the Rally Monkey

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

UntitledKill the Rally Monkey.

*Signed*: Red Sox Nation

PS: And go Indians–kill the Bronx Bastards!

Trojans survive Upset Saturday carnage

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

USC survives, 27-24. Phew.

Good effort, Huskies. Way to hang in there till the end and make a game of it. As for the Trojans, it’s nice to see that we can still win while playing like we’re sleepwalking, committing 843 penalties for 458,629 yards (or something like that), and generally looking kinda crappy. But this sort of effort won’t cut it when we travel to Oregon, Cal and Arizona State.

Meanwhile, Auburn stunned Florida, 20-17, hitting a last-second field goal to win it. Wow.

The #4 Gators join #3 Oklahoma, #5 West Virginia, #7 Texas and #10 Rutgers as losers this weekend. Again, wow. Check out next week’s likely Top 4:

1. USC or LSU
2. LSU or USC
3. Cal
4. Ohio State

Holy hell!

If Florida beats LSU next week, and the Trojans and Bears win out through October and the first week of November, the Cal-USC game on November 10 could be #1 vs. #2!!!

By the way, let the record show that I was the first person who labelled today “Upset Saturday.” And that was at 2:02 PM, before any of the day’s Top 10 losses! :)

P.S. Auburn’s win over Florida isn’t just big for Auburn. It’s huge for Big East co-leader South Florida, which knocked off Auburn on the Tigers’ home field two weeks ago. It was starting to look like USF’s win over Auburn was going to lose some of its lustre, but not anymore!

If the Bulls can run the table in the Big East, they can present themselves as serious national-title contenders. Imagine the following scenario: USC wins out and finishes #1. Florida recovers from tonight’s loss, knocks off LSU next week, wins out and captures the SEC crown. The Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 don’t produce any undefeated teams. South Florida, however, wins the Big East at 12-0. So… who is USC’s opponent in the BCS title game? Florida, the SEC champion and defending national champ, can make a case for itself at 12-1… but what about USF? They’d be 12-0, Big East champs, and with a win over the team that beat Florida. Seems to me, the proper matchup in that scenario would be Trojans vs. Bulls.

Of course, that exact scenario probably won’t happen, but in any conceivable scenario, it’s very good news for USF that Auburn picked up this victory, and it’d be even better news if the Tigers seize on this win and really turn around their season.

Needless to say, any national-title talk is a long way off — and personally, I doubt USF will win out. Based on watching them play, I don’t actually think they’re all that good. But it’s still fun to speculate about such things. :) A more immediate question is where the Bulls will be ranked next week. They were #18 this week, but the combination of their win over West Virginia with Auburn’s win over Florida, plus all the other upset losses, should allow them to move up significantly.

If I had a vote, here’s what I think my ballot would look like, off the top of my head:

1. LSU
2. USC
3. Cal
4. Ohio State
5. Kentucky
6. Boston College
7. South Florida
8. Wisconsin
9. Florida
10. Oklahoma

P.P.S. The Terrific Twenty-Three is down to a Fantastic Fifteen: Boston College from the ACC; Kansas and Missouri from the Big 12; Cincinnati, South Florida and UConn from the Big East; Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Big Ten; Arizona State, Cal and USC from the Pac-10; Kentucky and LSU from the SEC; and Hawaii from the WAC. And with three of the four participants in next Saturday’s supposed Games of the Century (OU-Texas, LSU-Florida) suffering losses today, the only unbeaten-vs.-unbeaten matchup next week is Ohio State at Purdue.

P.P.P.S. If anybody’s wondering why I still haven’t posted the pick ’em contest standings… I’ve misplaced the spreadsheet that I need to calculate ’em. It must be on one of my external drives. I’ll try to find it tomorrow. :) Sorry!

BEAT THE HUSKIES!!!

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Er, sorry, forgot to post a USC-Washington game thread earlier. It’s a scoreless tie at the end of the first quarter, with USC looking very sloppy so far. Oh yeah, and two of our starting offensive linesmen got injured on the same play. D’oh!

Meanwhile, Auburn is beating Florida 7-0 early.

UPDATE: UW scored, USC answered, and it’s 7-7. Meanwhile, Auburn’s lead is now 14-0! War Eagle!

UPDATE 2: Another Trojan injury! Good grief!

Forget the third string. Could USC’s all-gimp team beat Notre Dame? :)

UPDATE 3: Trojans 17, Huskies 14 at halftime.

UPDATE 4: Heeeere we go. Bring on the Pete Carroll Second-Half Magic!TM

UPDATE 5: UW looks asleep, but USC hasn’t done anything yet either. Still 17-14. Meanwhile, it’s now the fourth quarter in Gainsville, and Auburn leads 17-3. Woooo!

According to Brent Musberger, if either USC or Florida loses tonight, it’ll be the first time since October 11, 2003 that five Top 10 teams have lost in one weekend. I remember that day very well: it was two weeks after USC’s triple-overtime loss to Cal, which had dropped the Trojans from #3 to #10 in the polls. They had climbed back to #9 the week before, on the strength of their win at Arizona State; I lived in New York City at that time, but I was visiting Becky the weekend of October 4, and we were at Sun Devil Stadium for the game — which turned out to be the first win of the 34-game winning streak. Anyway, I was back in New York on October 11, and Dane happened to be in town, so we got together and went down to the bar where the USC alumni club was meeting to watch the Trojans play Stanford. We watched the scoreboard giddily as one Top 10 team after another lost: #3 Ohio State, #5 Florida State, #6 LSU, #7 Arkansas and #10 Nebraska. I think we may have had a few drinks to celebrate those losses and USC’s win; I recall stumbling toward the subway later, marvelling at the beauty of being in a city where picking a designated driver isn’t an issue. :) Anyway, as a result of those losses by previously undefeated teams, and of USC’s easy win over the Farm, the Trojans climbed all the way back to #5 in the AP poll and #4 in the coaches poll the following week. It was almost like the Cal loss had never happened. October 11, 2003 set the stage for USC’s eventual split championship with LSU. (In fact, if I’m being honest, the biggest reason USC was ranked #1 in the final regular-season AP poll, with LSU #2, is because the Trojans suffered their loss two weeks before the Tigers did.)

UPDATE 6: USC 24, Washington 17 with 11:01 left in the fourth quarter. This one may actually go down to the wire!

UPDATE 7: 15 penalties, 151 yards. Is this a Paul Hackett-coached team???

Also, will Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit please stop talking about irrelevant s**t and TALK ABOUT THE GAME?!? It would be different it this were a blowout, but it’s a close, exciting game!! The endless headshots of the two announcers are getting extremely old, too. Show the field, show the players, show the coaches, show the fans, show the cheerleaders… show something other than two white guys sitting in a bland booth talking to each other! Ugh!

UPDATE 8: AUBURN WINS!!!! WOOOO!!!!!!

Meanwhile, it looked like Washington had intercepted the ball in their own end zone with 3:06 left down by just 7, but it now appears it will be overturned on replay and USC can go for a field goal to take a 10-point lead.

UPDATE 9: Field goal good! 27-17 Trojans.

Colorado stuns Oklahoma! [and Texas loses, too!]

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

WOOOOOO!!!

HUGE win for the Colorado program, needless to say. It was 24-7 Sooners late in the third quarter, and 24-10 going into the fourth, but the Buffaloes scored 20 unanswered (17 of those in the fourth) to win it, 27-24. Wow!!

I’m super annoyed at myself for not watching. The game was televised here, but I had the TV on the Clemson-Georgia Tech game (on mute) because the OU-CU game wasn’t close the last time I checked. D’oh!

Anyway, now we probably won’t have to worry about any damn LSU-USC-Oklahoma controversy this year. Thank goodness. If the Trojans and Tigers both go undefeated, I’d love to have an undisputed title game between ’em. It’d put about four years of angst to rest.

I guess this means I’m rooting for Oklahoma against Texas next week. The more undefeated teams lose, the better! Not only to facilitate a possible USC-LSU battle, but also to facilitate a possible Rutgers or South Florida title-game appearance if USC is the only undefeated team left at the end of the season. (Obviously I refuse on principle to contemplate scenarios that involve USC losing. :)

P.S. Maybe I won’t have to worry about Texas: they’re losing 24-14 to Kansas State at halftime! Woo!!! Texas & Oklahoma suck!!! :)

UPDATE: Texas is going to lose!!! YEEEEEAAAH!!!! WOOOOO!!!!! Second year in a row they’ve lost to Kansas State.

But it looks like the Rutgers dream is going to die. They’re trailing Maryland 27-17 with 6:45 to play. This hasn’t been a good 24 hours for the Big East. First the #5-ranked Mountaineers, considered the conference’s one true “elite” team, loses in conference play, and now Rutgers, the presumptive class of the conference in the wake of WVU’s loss and Louisville’s collapse, is losing to a middling ACC team. Yuck.

UPDATE 2: Kansas State 41, Texas 21, final. Woohoo!

So much for next Saturday’s Red River Shootout having massive national-title implications. The Big 12 is now, in all likelihood, irrelevant to the BCS race. The Pac-10 and SEC have the inside track to the title game.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if Auburn could stun Florida at the Swamp tonight? It would totally cap off the day. (And, um, you know what wouldn’t totally cap off the day? USC losing to Washington. Yeah. Let’s have none of that.)

Meanwhile, Rutgers scored a TD, and is within 3.

UPDATE 3: Maryland wins, 34-24. So much for the Scarlet Knights inserting themselves into the national-championship discussion. The remaining undefeated teams in the Big East are… Cincinnati, South Florida and UConn!

So, four Top Ten teams have been upset in the last 24 hours: #3 Oklahoma, #5 West Virginia, #7 Texas and #10 Rutgers. In addition, previously undefeated Clemson, Michigan State and Oregon lost today. So the Terrific 23 is down to 16 and counting. Still to play: #1 USC (at Washington), #4 Florida (vs. Auburn), #8 Ohio State (at Minnesota) and #24 Cincinnati (at San Diego State).

UPDATE 4: Another reason to like Colorado: their coach is a Great Big Sea fan!

Suddenly it’s a ballgame!

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

It’s Purdue 26, Notre Dame 19 with 7:58 to go. Evan Sharpley, replacing the injured Jimmy Clausen, is looking Brady Quinn-esque all of a sudden; Tennessee’s own Golden Tate is looking Jeff Samardzija-esque; and Purdue is looking Michigan State-esque, circa 2006, as they “pucker pucker pucker” away a big lead. And of course, that lead could have been bigger (like, 42-19) if they had more of a red-zone offense. On the other hand, it could have been smaller (like, 26-24) if Notre Dame could kick a freakin’ field goal or extra point. Apropos of which, apparently Charlie Weis plans to go for 2 and the win if the Irish score again. Seems sensible to me, given that the kicker is 1-for-3 on PAT attempts that counted, 2-for-5 when you include the ones that were nullified by penalties. First, though, we need to stop Purdue on this drive.

GOOOO IRISH!!! BEEEEAT BOILERS!!!

UPDATE: Can someone explain to me how the F*** that was a touchdown?? His ass was on the ground!! WTF??? Why do we even have replay, if they aren’t going to take extra time to look at a play like that??

Regardless, 33-19 Purdue, 5:33 left. So much for that.

UPDATE 2: Aaaand an interception in the end zone effectively ends the game.

0-8.

UPDATE 3: 33-19, final.

So, was this a “moral victory” for the Irish? Certainly, they played better in the second half than they have all year. On the other hand, Purdue was definitely puckering. From what the announcers were saying, the Boilermakers have made a habit of playing lazy in the second half this season, and they continued that habit against the Irish today. No way do the next three teams on Notre Dame’s schedule let them back into the game like Purdue did. (Well, UCLA might, but only if they’re having one of their Karl Dorrell SpecialTM “lay an egg” games.)

On the other other hand, the Notre Dame team that took the field two weeks ago against Michigan wouldn’t have taken advantage of the opportunities Purdue gave them. So yes, there’s improvement. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I agree with AlGoldenDomer that “the 1st half may have been our worst of the year” — well, maybe not worst, but certainly worse than anything except the Michigan game — and that matters too. I think Camarillo Brillo puts it best:

We did show some heart. Sharpley played well. Tate and Kamara came on big, and they deserve more PT. Defense stepped it up a bit in the 2nd half.

However….

We were getting our asses kicked in the first half. [Defensive coordinator] Corwin Brown’s scheme for the Purdue offense was for s**t. We sat back in a passive base defense, like Minter and let Purdue shove the ball down our throat. We got very little pass rush on Painter. The wide-outs on Purdue were abusing our secondary.

Our special teams are beyond bad. Two missed PATs a missed FG, numerous poor squibs that gave Purdue great field position, terrible blocking on punt returns and kick returns.

Weis made some bad decisions. Where was Robert Hughes? Okay, he got stuffed on 4th and 1, who hasn’t? Bronco F***ing Nagurski couldn’t pick up 4th and 1 with this line. Tate was all over the field making great catches. Why put him on the bench? Why put Brian Smith on the field after that stupid personal foul? (two fouls if you count the uncalled one before that)?

It was a nice comeback but on the main this team is an undisciplined mess.

I’ll say it again. Charlie, you are the head coach. You are the man who swaggered into South Bend and proclaimed that when it came down to Xs and Os you would not get beat very often. Charlie, it’s about alot more than X’s and O’s right now. It’s about managing the game, preparation, making smart substitutions and keeping your players in line. The reality is, Charlie, you are 0-5. That has never happened before in the history of Notre Dame. Your contract was extended after 7 games in your first season. You are getting paid millions of dollars. This is your team, these are your recruits. Fix the problem, Coach Weis.

Upset Saturday?

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

A few halftime scores from around the country:

LSU 10, Tulane 9 (Tulane was up 9-7 until the Tigers got a field goal just before halftime)

Northwestern 16, Michigan 7

Illinois 21, Penn State 17

Indiana 21, Iowa 7

UPDATE: Looks like LSU is pulling away. No surprise there. But how about Duke being within 3 points of Miami in the fourth quarter? The same Miami that crushed Texas A&M last week?

UPDATE 2: LSU and Michigan won, but Illinois and Indiana pulled the upsets.

Meanwhile, undefeated Division I-AA team UMass is making it a ballgame against undefeated Division I-A team Boston College.

It’s now or November: let’s get a win, boys

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

[Well, I suppose I can let the blasphemy below stand, but I’m going to bump this post above it, at least. :) -ed.]

*    *    *

With apologies to the Neudorffs…

GOOOOO IRISH!!! BEEEEEAT BOILERS!!!

UPDATE: We’ve got Erin Andrews! w00t! And apparently she’s been looking deeply into Charlie Weis’s eyes.

UPDATE 2: If you look deeply into Charlie Weis’s eyes right now, you’d probably see… panic. It’s 10-0 Purdue already, with 5:49 left in the first quarter, and the defense looks like s**t. Boilermakers moving the ball at will.

On the bright side, here’s one of the many reasons I love Becky: for the last three Saturdays in a row, she’s made some sort of a yummy dip for us to eat while watching football:

Mmm… vegetables.

UPDATE 3: What the hell was that? Darrin Walls just gave up on that tackle. It was like he just sort of assumed Greg Orton would go out of bounds… and as a result, Orton got loose for an extra 10 yards. Completely pathetic.

UPDATE 4: A sampling of commentary from ND Nation:

how f’n embarrassing

It cannot get worse than this.

HOLY F**K

F**k this. Good thing I have a kid’s soccer game to get to.

this is just bloody awful.

Unf**kingreal.

We Are TOAST

USC will beat us by 80

UPDATE 5: I wrote earlier this week that “I feel like some of my fellow Irish fans aren’t fully grappling with the enormity of the team’s suckiness.” Well, over on ND Nation, I think the “grappling” process is beginning. There are several comments along the lines of, “This is the worst team I have ever seen,” and there’s this post, which I agree with 100 percent:

We are inexplicably bad…in EVERY facet of the game. I can understand rebuilding. There is no excuse to be this bad, across the board. Yes, it’s Ty’s fault. But this is Weis’ fault primarily. This team should be competitive by this point, and they’re not even close.

The combination of our “improvement” against a very mediocre Michigan State team and our “brutal” early schedule (whose already clearly overrated “brutality” is looking even less fierce at the moment, with Penn State losing to Illinois, and Michigan — whose big “quality win” is over Penn State — losing to Northwestern) allowed some Domers to fool themselves into thinking that we’d be doing much better if we were playing weaker teams. Now, they’re saying things like this: “The sad thing is PU isn’t even good. That’s how bad we are.” “Nope. They’re a .500 Big 11 team.”

It’s 23-0 with 2:50 left in the first half. Two touchdowns and three field goals. If Purdue had any kind of a red-zone offense — if, say, we were playing USC or Boston College today — it’d be 35-0 right now. We’re lucky to be “only” behind 23-0.

Well, I was going to wait until after the game

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

However, seeing as how Brendan has just picked on the BBD (Big Bass Drum, for you non-Purdue people), I just can’t let that go.

Notre_dame_sucks_4

GO BOILERS! BEAT THE IRISH!

(Yes, I realize I may have just forfeited my guest-blogger privileges, lol. It was worth it ;))

Black is white, up is down in Big East

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

#18-ranked South Florida upset #5 West Virginia tonight, 21-13, in a sloppy but entertaining Big East showtown that ESPN2’s Sean McDonough introduced as “the biggest game in the history of our Friday-night telecast.” And the outcome makes it the biggest win in the history of USF’s young football program.

With the loss, the Mountaineers join Louisville and Pittsburgh in a tie for last place in the Big East, while South Florida is tied with UConn and Syracuse for first. No, it’s not opposite day: those are really the current conference standings. Who’d have thunk it? Huskies and Orange and Bulls, oh my!

Of course, the standings don’t mean much at this point (everybody is either 1-0, 0-1 or 0-0 in conference play), but the more important point is that South Florida and Rutgers are now the presumptive front-runners for the Big East title (although, don’t sleep on Cincinnati). McDonough even suggested that USF, which has a pretty favorable schedule outside of the Thursday-night showdown at Rutgers on October 18, could find itself in the national title discussion if it runs the table.

Methinks it would take a lot of attrition among the other members of the Terrific Twenty-ThreeTwo before most people would start seriously considering the Bulls for a title-game spot — but hey, that does tend to happen, so it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. (It would help USF’s case if Auburn could turn its season around, thus making the Bulls’ win at the Tigers’ home stadium look more impressive. That could be especially helpful if we end up having a BCS debate between an undefeated South Florida team and, say, a one-loss Florida or LSU team.)

Personally, I don’t think USF is actually good enough to be true national-championship material. In fact, notwithstanding my bias toward mid-majors and other little-team-that-could success stories, I don’t think they’re close. In both of their games that I’ve watched — tonight’s sloppy triumph, and the even sloppier win over Auburn three weeks ago — the Bulls won largely by taking advantage of a ton of unforced errors (and a few forced ones, too, in fairness), and would have won more easily if they hadn’t made a fair number of bad mistakes themselves. I suspect that’ll catch up with them at some point, and they’ll eventually lose a game or two.

But their rise to prominence is a great story regardless, and if they do end up running the table, they certainly deserve to be duly considered as a national-title contender out of the very competitive league that the Big East has become.

The Red Sox are the AL East champions!!!

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Woohoo!!!

Thanks, Orioles!

Yankees suck!

P.S. This is the first time Boston has won the American Leage East since 1995, and it breaks a string of nine consecutive Yankees division titles.

UPDATE: And the Cubs are NL Central champs!

P.P.S. I can say this without risking a jinx now, right? BOSTON’S MAGIC NUMBER IS ZERO!!! :)

I must say, though, I don’t think the Red Sox should be stealing the White Sox’s song:

BOSTON (AP) — Jonathan Papelbon danced barefoot in the infield. Daisuke Matsuzaka smiled and bowed to a group surrounding him. And the sound system played “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Huh? Anyway, the article continues:

Ecstatic fans joined in to savor Boston’s first division title in 12 years — and the end of the New York Yankees’ long run on top.

More than an hour after the Red Sox beat Minnesota 5-2, the Yankees lost at Baltimore to make it official. Moments later, Boston players popped champagne corks in the clubhouse while a few thousand fans left at Fenway Park let loose, the echoes of their cheers spreading through the mostly empty stadium.

“I pulled my hamstring jumping off the couch,” said manager Terry Francona, who watched the end of the Yankees game in his office with general manager Theo Epstein and owners John Henry and Tom Werner. “It’s fun to see grown men act like little kids.”

With Boston’s win, New York’s loss and Cleveland’s 5-3 victory over Kansas City, the AL playoff pairings were set: The Los Angeles Angels will open at Boston, and the wild-card Yankees will start at Cleveland.

Beat the Angels!!