Friday, December 19, 2008

Streit's Bowl Picks: December 20-21

"There's nothing quite like Bowl Week, it's the best time of the Year..." That is how the jingle that ESPN used to run for it's Bowl Week began. The first weekend of the 2008-2009 bowl season brings us 5 games. Here are my predictions for this weekend's slate:

Eagle Bank Bowl - Navy vs. Wake Forest
- This is a rematch from their September 27 meeting that saw Navy upset Wake, 24-17. The Deacons came into the game ranked and looking like an early favorite in the ACC. But 6 turnovers, including 4 interceptions by quarterback Riley Skinner, killed the Deacons and allowed the Midshipmen to escape with the win. Navy closed its season with a shutout of rival Army, but I look for the Deacons to get some revenge in this one.
Wake Forest 27, Navy 21

New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State vs. Colorado State
- Fresno State was destroyed by the Broncos of Boise State in their final game of the season and are looking to close out a season that opened with high expectations on a high note. Colorado State reached a bowl game by winning its final two games of the season on the back of halfback Gartrell Johnson (1,191 yards and 10 touchdowns). Look for Bulldogs senior Quarterback Tom Brandstater to close out his career with a big game against the Rams.
Fresno State 31, Colorado State 24

St. Petersburg Bowl - Memphis vs. South Florida
- After reaching #2 last season, the Bulls opened the year with high hopes of a Big East Championship. But after losing their last 3 game, the Bulls finished a disappointing 7-5. Two junior college transfers, quarterback Arkelon Hall and Curtis Steele, helped turn the Tigers 0-3 start into a 6-6 bowl season. Look for South Florida's defense, ranked 13th in the nation and led by DE George Selvie, to hold Hall and Steele in check while Matt Grothe does just enough to lead the Bulls to victory.
South Florida 30, Memphis 20

Las Vegas Bowl - BYU vs. Arizona
- BYU and its high powered offense led by QB Max Hall, WR Austin Collie, and TE Dan Pitta head to the desert to take on Mike Stoops' improving Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats capped their season with a win over Arizona State to finish at 7-5. Look for a shootout between two high scoring offenses that in the end will see BYU with too much firepower for the 'Cats to answer.
BYU 45, Arizona 38

New Orleans Bowl - Southern Miss vs. Troy
- Troy won the Sun Belt conference this year, but the season would have been so much better if they had not collapsed in the fourth quarter at Baton Rouge. The Trojans had LSU on the ropes, but failed to deliver the final punch. The Trojans look to get that 9th win that was stolen from them against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles stood at 2-6 in late October and needed to pull off four straight wins just to make a bowl. Look for DuJuan Harris of Troy to run wild and the Trojans to win big.
Troy 38, Southern Miss 13

Look for the quality bowl match ups to kick into full gear beginning Tuesday when Boise State takes on TCU in the Poinsetta Bowl.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Bowl Pool picks are due in to me at before kickoff of the first game saturday morning.

There will not be an entry fee to join the pool, but we will give away a $25 gift card for as a prize for the winner.

We will operate the pool under the following rules:

-Make your picks straight up, not against the spread

-Scoring will work as follows:
Pre-New Years Day, Int'l, & GMAC Bowls - 1pt.
New Years Day Bowl - 3 pts. (includes Cotton and Liberty)
BCS Bowls - 5 pts.
Nat'l Champ game - 8 pts.

1st tie breaker: closest to total # points scored in title game
2nd tie breaker: most # of BCS bowls picked correctly (includes nat'l title game)
3rd tie breaker: most # of bowl games pick correctly
4th tie breaker: fight to the death

Leave a comment with your e-mail in it to let me know you want to participate, or send me an e-mail at I will then send you the spreadsheet to fill out your picks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What would Lewis Grizzard have written about Chizik?

With the fiasco that has been Auburn hiring Gene Chizik, you have to wonder what Lewis Grizzard would have thought about the whole situation. In 1980, Grizzard wrote a piece about Doug Barfield who had recently left as Auburn's coach. Auburn was attempting to hire Vince Dooley away from Athens and in all the media mess, Barfield became the forgotten man. It seems like the Auburn boosters were sticking their noses into the football business even back then:

I remember back several weeks ago when the rumors started flying that Barfield would be fired. A man named Charles Smith, a member of the Auburn Board of Trustees, made all sorts of noise about finding a coach who could be tougher on the players than Barfield.

Charles Smith runs a laundry in Montgomery. Can you imagine having some guy who runs a laundry deciding how well you were performing in your chosen profession?

More on Doug Barfield from my friend in Auburn:
“He’s warm. He has more class than he’s ever been given credit for. He’s kind. And under all this pressure and criticism, he was a man of steel.”

While auburn officials offered Dooley the farm this week, Doug Barfield quietly resigned. He said, “I don’t want to be anyplace I’m not wanted.” He also said, “But I don’t feel like I have to hide my face.”

I wouldn’t be a football coach if you gave me the pick of cheerleaders.

Monday, when all the hoopla about Dooley was at its height, Doug Barfield was in Montgomery.

He had been summoned for federal court jury duty. Each prospective juror was asked to stand before the court and give his name, place of residence, and occupation.
Doug Barfield stood and said:
“Doug Barfield.
“Auburn, Alabama.
War Eagle. ***

How many people remember Doug Barfield? Probably about as many people who will one day remember Gene Chizik.

***You can read the rest of this story and others from the 1980 season in "Don't Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me" by Lewis Grizzard available HERE.

BulldawgJosh and Bubba's 80's Music Video of the Week

This week, we bring you John Cafferty and his 1985 classic "Hearts On Fire " from the movie Rocky IV. This song does not have an accompanying music video and this allows us to give you one of the great motivational movie montages of the 1980's as Rocky trains in Russia, fighting Communism and big, doped up Ruskies.

The synthesizer solo at 2:48 is totally awesome and seriously, that's one big damn Russian.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Atlanta Falcons - NFL Story of the Year?

Lewis Grizzard once wrote this about the Atlanta Falcons:

"The Falcons lost a game to the Chicago Bears 36-0 and the Falcons' coach blamed it on poor officiating. The Falcons have been big losers most every year they've been in Atlanta, and a man fell out of the stadium during a Falcons game once and was killed. I think he jumped after another Falcons' holding penalty."

For many years, being a Falcons fan has been like a putting your hand against an electric fence, getting shocked and backing off, but going right back to touch the fence again. Every so often, it has looked like the franchise may be starting to turn things around. In 1998, the Falcons came from nowhere to go 14-2 and reach the Super Bowl. The team looked solid under Dan Reeves and it looked as though the futility might end. But when Jamal Anderson went down for the season with a knee injury, the 1999 Falcons once again found themselves with a losing record.

A few years later, with new coach Jim Mora, Jr. and star quarterback Michael Vick, the Falcons won the NFC South and made it to the NFC Championship game. But over the next two seasons, the Falcons would go 8-8 and 7-9 and Mora was eventually fired. Bobby Petrino was brought in as the new coach, but suddenly dog fighting charges appeared for Michael Vick. With the team in disarray, the 2007 Falcons stumbled to a 4-12 record that included Petrino quiting on the team midway through the season. Coming into the 2008 season, most experts predicted only 2 or 3 wins for the Atlanta franchise that has never had back to back winning seasons. 14 games later, the future of the Falcons looks bright as the team sits at 9-5 and in the middle of the NFC playoff hunt.

Falcons' owner Arthur Blank wanted to change the image of his team and he brought in Thomas Dimitroff from the New England Patriots to help. They cut a number of veteran players who were cancers to the team (Alge Crumpler, Deangelo Hall) as well as some good guys who were just past their prime (Warrick Dunn and Rod Coleman). They then brought in Mike Smith from the Jacksonville Jaguars and signed free agent running back Michael Turner. But the biggest decision was the drafting of quarterback Matt Ryan, who was taken over Glenn Dorsey at the third overall pick.

Throughout the 2008 season, these Falcons have shown that they are different from the Falcon teams of the past. They have built a solid foundation of young players mixed with some key veterans to form a team that is already making the days of Michael Vick seem long ago. The team pulled off an amazing victory over the Chicago Bears when, down 1 point with only 12 seconds on the clock, they received a kick-off, completed a long pass, and kicked a game winning field goal to steal a victory. They have dominated weak teams (Oakland) and defeated others in hostile environments (winning on the road in Green Bay and San Diego). The difference in this Falcons team and those of years past is HEART.

The decision to draft Matt Ryan may be looked at as one of the best draft day decisions of recent memory. Ryan is the front runner for the rookie of the year, an MVP candidate, and has replaced the hated Vick as the new face of the franchise. Michael Turner has shed his role as LT's backup and proven his worth as an every down player. Coach Mike Smith has led a team picked to finish dead last in the conference to a winning record. The future is bright for the Falcons.

Small Reaction to "ESPN's Bowl Mania"

I wanted to post these thoughts in the comments section of Streit's post below, but I thought that my rant was a little too wordy for the comments. Our readers may find that it's too wordy for the blog in general, just as the rest of the BNE crew usually tell me that I'm too long-winded, but...sorry. I have made considerable progress in condensing the length of my blog entries since my first post back at the beginning of the season. The following comes from an e-mail exchange between Streit and myself this morning:

"I tried to watch the show during the Sunday Night Football commercials last night but the needle on my in-home obnoxious meter never even twitched to indicate it would dip below 'OBSCENE.' I noticed that it did present a lower reading when I changed the channel back to SNF on NBC, but the lingering effects of Bob Costas on Football Night in America coupled with the fact that I bet big money on the Giants who were anemically incapable of scoring points kept the meter at a higher reading than I anticipated. At least the fluctuation let me know that the meter wasn’t broken.
I stopped watching the Bowl Mania show with about six or seven of Jesse’s picks remaining. All of them were in the top quarter of his highest confidence rankings and I knew he would never pick a MSU upset with that high a confidence rating. I was sure he would pick the Dawgs and rank them highly, but I am surprised to hear he put them as his number one pick.

Last year we had an office pool for the bowl picks and I chose Florida over a terrible Michigan team with a lame-duck coach as my number one confidence pick. Like I’ve always said, I will always, always root against Florida, no matter who they’re playing, even if I’m going to lose money. Most of you were at my house to watch that game, so you remember what happened. Also, you’ve probably never seen me so happy to lose so much money, unless you were in NOLA for Streit’s bachelor party and you happened to be sitting close enough to me at Déjà Vu to clearly see the expression on my face through the thick clouds of smoke and vaporized VD during the two and a half hours I spent 'conversing' with the nice lady who sat on my lap."

I just thought I should share my thoughts since I've been completely snowed-under with work and school lately and I haven't been nearly as active with my posting as I had hoped to be. My contributions to the blog at this point have been limited to a few sporadic posts which are quickly overtaken by some of BNE's regularly scheduled content, comedic additions to a few of the comments sections on other contributors' posts, and most largely, grammatical editing duties once the entries are posted to the public. Now, let it not be said that I haven't contributed!

Be sure to post your comments to Streit's post with your thoughts about UGA being Palmer's most confident selection out of this season's bowl slate. In the comment section of this post, go ahead and tell me how much you enjoy my writing, how much you wish I would post more, how much you value the grammatical integrity of pieces posted to the internet and the importance of proper grammar and spelling in the world today, etc. Or--take the opposite approach on all of those topics...

ESPN's Bowl Mania Show

Last night the evil empire that is The Worldwide Leader ran a show called "ESPN's Bowl Mania." They advertised the show by saying that were going to preview all 34 bowl games, however they ended up only talking about approximately 10 games and just picked winners for the rest (despite the show being on for 3 hours). The only true predictions were provided by Jesse Palmer, who had a board showing each of his picks ranked by confidence. Out of all of the games he ranked, who do you think he picked as the team he was most confident would win?

No, not Alabama over Utah (which I would have picked) or even his beloved Gators over Oklahoma. No, Jesse picked Georgia to beat Michigan State as the pick in which he held the most confidence. He said he thought we were going to destroy Michigan State in what will be a NFL showcase game for Stafford and Moreno. While I think we will win, I do not think this game will be an absolute blowout.

Any thoughts?