Welcome to the Big Leagues, Colt

January 2, 2008

Last night’s Sugar Bowl was immensely satisfying. I have been sick and tired of the Colt Brennan hype machine since, oh, about last year’s bowl season. It got even worse when Hawaii plundered the bakery that is the WAC and somehow played an even worse non-conference schedule to finish the season undefeated. I didn’t want to see him get injured (although Georgia’s defense appeared to be trying to accomplish just that with as many fearsome hits as it delivered), but to see him humbled on the national stage was great, and possibly even good for him as he heads into draft workouts.

I found an article at Foxsports.com with some quotes of his, and I’d like to share them with you now:

  • “When you play against a team like this, you can’t miss a beat. We didn’t do that.”

No joke, Colt. When your whole team has 4 guys who might in a dream scenario play in the NFL, you have to absolutely perfect because every mistake becomes a sack, turnover, or touchdown for the other team.

  • “We knew coming in this was probably the best defense we’d ever faced. We really wanted to do something special here tonight, but we just couldn’t get any momentum going. We have a lot of drives that didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t so much a question of X’s and O’s. They just won the battles all night.”

Perhaps, but your X’s and O’s guru on the sidelines also had a hard time not calling slow-developing pass plays despite the fact you became intimately familiar with the inner workings of the “Sportexe Momentum 41” playing surface of the Superdome.

  • “Everybody knows the SEC is the fastest league in the country. We just couldn’t simulate that in practice with our scout team.”

Self-explanatory. It’s similar to Billy Donovan’s comments about Marresse Speights and Alex Tyus – they’re suffering in practice because there’s no one else on the team like them to hone their skills against. Okay, back to football.

  • “We had never played in this type of element before. We tried as hard as we could to keep everything the same as we have all season long, but it just seemed like we weren’t used to the venue as big the Super Dome. Georgia plays in this kind of environment in the SEC every week all season.”

If anyone has questioned whether playing on big stages every week helps teams of the major conferences, here’s your proof that it does make a difference. Hawaii started 1st and 20 on its opening drive due to penalties, and it was all downhill from there. Before you bring up Boise State last year, remember that the Broncos had a similar harrowing experience at the hands of Georgia in Sanford Stadium in 2006, and BSU regularly plays at Pac 10 venues.

  • “We have done a good job most of the year protecting Colt,” [Head Coach June] Jones said. “But they had eight sacks and a couple of times we didn’t touch anybody. They just blew in and whacked him.”

Well said, June. That about sums up the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

If last year’s Fiesta Bowl set up this season’s craziness from week to week, this year’s Sugar Bowl most likely sets up next year as a season of juggernauts. Florida, Georgia, and maybe LSU in the SEC, Ohio State in the Big Ten, Oklahoma, Missouri, and maybe Texas in the Big 12, and USC in the Pac 10 all appear set to dominate next season.

West Virginia in the Big East would have counted if Rich Rodriguez had stayed, and then Pat White and Steve Slaton would have stayed as well. If WVU hires former Rodriguez assistant and spread option fan Butch Jones away from Central Michigan, and Jones can convince White and Slaton to stay, they might yet have a chance. After all, Jones molded Dan LeFevour into only the second guy to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season, Vince Young being the first.

Virginia Tech will likely be the titan of the ACC, but the rest of that conference save Boston College is so bad, it’d be difficult to tell if the Hokies are really that good. BC won’t qualify as a juggernaut because it wasn’t one this year and is losing its senior starting QB Matt Ryan. No one else in the conference will clock in as better than “surprisingly good.”


BC – VT Was an Abomination

October 26, 2007

What a horrible, horrible game. When people ask how you can tell if a game has good defense or bad offense, or what’s the difference between good offense and bad defense, this game offered a tutorial on both.

For most of the game, it was bad offense. Look, I know both defenses played well, especially the Virginia Tech defense, but there was a lot of bad offense. Sean Glennon still is not a BCS conference-caliber QB, and Matt Ryan played like, well, Sean Glennon. VT was cruising to an easy shutout win.

But then, VT did something unpardonable. Something unthinkable. Something that anyone who knows and follows football knows you should never, ever do. They went into the prevent defense. I’ve been saying for years that the only thing the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning, but I am hardly alone in my disdain for the prevent. Here’s all you need to know:

On the final two drives, Matt Ryan went 9/15 for 157 yards and 2 TD. Previously, he was for 16/37 for 128 yards for 0 TDs and 2 INT. He had 4 passes complete for longer than 10 yards (32, 18, 14, 12), which together represent 59% of his passing yards at that point. On the final two drives, he had passes complete for 23, 22, 20, 16, 20, 15, 12, and 24 yards (in that order) and had only one completion less than 10 yards (for 5 yards). It’s one thing to try not to give up the big home run play, but if you’re going to surrender 15 – 20 yards per pass, what’s the use.

Matt Ryan finished the game with one of the most deceptive lines of the year – 25/52 for 285 yard, 2 TD, 2 INT. The 25/52 part is the most indicative of his night, because he sucked a lot. He just got lucky at the end that VT quit playing defense and managed to muff an onside kick. He looked awful, and should gain no brownie points for this game.

The last thing I wanted to hear was what Craig James was saying in the booth on SportsCenter after the game. His position was that BC affirmed its position as the #2 team in the country and that Ryan showed he was one of the best in the country. No, no, No, NO, NO! BC showed that it’s a team with no depth that can’t handle playing in the rain. It would probably get stomped by Kentucky, Oregon, Florida or any other team with a decent or better offense. This game was an indictment on VT and specifically Frank Beamer’s late-game strategy. Even Glennon could have driven down the field with how soft the Hokie corners were playing.

Again, this is what we learned tonight: BC is awful, VT is worse, Matt Ryan is a good but not great QB, and the ACC should probably lose its automatic BCS bid if these are really the best two teams in it. I’m done for the night.