30 September 2011

South of the Great Salt Lake is a rallying team, and north exists one that easily loses leads

Last post I picked the Utah State Aggies to beat the Brigham Young Cougars by 7. Unfortunately, thanks to a last-minute touchdown catch off a deflection, BYU won 27-24. (WatchESPN has the game in its entirety here.) Now if you don't get my title, here's why:
- Utah State University is in Logan, Utah, a city about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City and on the north side of the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young University is in Provo, Utah, around 30 miles south of SLC and thus south of the Lake.
- The Utah State Aggies, a Western Athletic Conference team, played tonight at BYU, a longtime regional rival that became a Division I-A independent after about a decade in the Mountain West Conference. In 2010, Utah State beat BYU in Logan, 31-16. Utah State last beat BYU in Provo in 1978. Today's loss puts Utah State at 1-3, and all three of USU's losses so far have all been of 4 or fewer points and after USU led the other team in the 4th quarter. The other losses came against Auburn (the national champions) and Colorado State.
- In contrast, the BYU Cougars are now 3-2, and all 3 of their wins were decided in the 4th quarter. BYU rallied from a 4Q 13-0 deficit in its opener at Mississippi to win 14-13. Later in Provo, BYU won against Central Florida 24-17 having trailed 10-3 after halftime and drawn 17-17 after 3Q. Tonight, Utah State once held a lead of 24-13 in 4Q before their defense fell asleep and let BYU score 2 TD's.

Utah State kicker Josh Thompson unsuccessfully attempted to fake a field goal since he didn't want to kick from 48 yards (his longest this year is 41). As seen at the 2 hour 53 minute mark of the linked video, the ball bounced off the hands of tight end Tarren Lloyd. After USU lost the ball on downs, 7:51 remained in 4Q. BYU has the ball but fumbles in USU territory and now 3:53 left. USU advances the ball only 1 yard and punts all the way to BYU's 4-yard line with 2:36 left. This drive confirms that USU defense really slacked off in the final quarter as BYU's tight end Marcus Mathews would fetch the ball in the end zone after USU's cornerback Will Davis deflected it (this play is in the 3 hour 17 minute mark of video). ESPN replayed BYU's TD from an angle looking at the uprights, and it seems that Davis probably could've eyed Mathews:

Oh, it seems that J.J. di Luigi of BYU also deflected the ball. Had Davis gotten both hands on it it would've been like when Nevada made a last-minute interception to seal its 17-14 victory over SJSU 2 weeks ago.

The implications for SJSU's games against BYU, USU:
San Jose State plays BYU at Provo on Oct. 8. I'll be able to make a better prediction after SJSU plays Colorado State tomorrow, but for now it looks like BYU will steamroll the Spartans. Meanwhile, SJSU will play USU later in the month, and we'll see if USU can learn how to defend leads (which SJSU has been able to do this year, see last week against NMSU).

29 September 2011

A tardy little SJSU post game analysis and WAC picks for the weekend

I went to last Saturday's SJSU/NMSU football game, and SJSU won 34-24. Once again RB Brandon Rutley was a fugitive from the defensive justice. In the Spartans' first possession, he scored a 66-yard rushing touchdown; the Aggies scored a field goal on their first possession after the Spartans forced a 4th & goal from the 1-yard line. Although SJSU ended the 2nd and 3rd quarters with ties, SJSU scored a touchdown and field goal in the 4th and didn't allow any Aggie scoring to seal the win. Watch the full game on WatchESPN here.

Spartan QB Matt Faulkner threw no interceptions that day, and SJSU lost only one fumble, compared with the 3 lost fumbles vs. Nevada and the last-minute end zone interception that sealed the win for Nevada. However, the one interception that Aggie QB Matt Christian threw in the 3rd the Spartans returned for a TD to go up 31-24 in the 4th. While both teams (box score) had very close receiving yardage (NMSU 238, SJSU 236), the Spartans had the edge in rushing, 230-185, after falling behind to Nevada 138-261. This will be one key for the upcoming away game at Colorado State: outrushing wins games. Most telling of all: the Aggies racked 8 penalties for a loss of 76 yards, while SJSU had only one 5-yard penalty on an ineligible downfield pass. Two of those penalties came after SJSU 3rd downs, and one of them was during an SJSU scoring drive.

Preview: SJSU at Colorado State
On Saturday, SJSU plays the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins, Co. at 2PM Mountain Time (1PM Pacific too). Listen on the radio at KLIV 1590 (either on the air or streaming online) or if you have DirecTV watch on the MountainWest Sports Network "the mtn." I think the mtn is available in HD. So what's my pick for that game? Well, Colorado State's quarterback Pete Thomas will be quite a challenge for the Spartans, with a whopping 67.7% completion rate in 4 games! The last time the Spartans faced a quarterback with a 60%+ rate, they lost...56-3 to Stanford on the first season game, whose QB Andrew Luck had a 65.3% completion rate.

The Colorado State vs. Utah State game
However, keep in mind that the Rams' last game (in Logan, Utah) was against another WAC team, the Utah State Aggies, and Colorado State won by one only because Utah State's 2-point conversion after a TD failed. In that game, Pete Thomas completed 16 of 28 passes (57.1%), and Utah State's Chuckie Keeton completed 9 of 15 (60%). Utah State, who last year narrowly beat SJSU 38-34 in a roller coaster back and forth game, outrushed Colorado State 281-124 but lagged in receiving 86-108. In fact, although USU led CSU 21-13 with about 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter, CSU scored the tying touchdown and 2-point conversion after USU's Eric Moats fumbled a kick return, and while Utah State managed to score TD's on both its OT drives, Utah State's 2-point conversion in its final drive for the win was unsuccessful. (That game was also on ESPN3, watch in full here.) The Rams' only loss so far was 28-14 in an away game against in-state rivals Colorado Buffaloes (who joined the Pac-12 this year after being in the Big 12). Similar to the Utah State game, Colorado State won 14-10 against the still-winless New Mexico Lobos over a 4th-quarter go-ahead TD.

New Mexico Bowl champs
Here's another interesting historical tidbit: in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl, Colorado State rallied in the 4th quarter to beat Fresno State 40-35. SJSU won the 2006 New Mexico Bowl over New Mexico, 20-12.

The quarterbacks
And regarding quarterbacks: so far Matt Faulkner's only thrown interception was the end zone one vs. Nevada that prevented SJSU from taking a lead with one minute left. Meanwhile, CSU's Pete Thomas threw 3 interceptions in CSU's victory over Northern Colorado, and his completion rating has fallen each game from a high of 84% in the opener to 57% against Utah State. Against New Mexico State, Faulkner completed 63% of his passes.

So far, SJSU has never blown a lead to lose a game in 2011, but did in 2010 three times: against UC Davis (a I-AA team), New Mexico State, and Utah State. Colorado State has won two games on comebacks: the one against New Mexico and another in OT against Utah State. The factor that made the Aggies slide down the Rockies was the fumbled punt return by Moats. So far, SJSU has never fumbled a kick return. The Spartans' victory v. NMSU was a heavier victory than SJSU's one victory in 2010 - a 16-11 win over the I-AA Southern Utah decided by a last-minute TD run by Lamon Muldrow. SJSU's two victories in 2009 were in low-scoring contests: 19-9 over the I-AA Cal Poly and 13-10 over New Mexico State.

Now comparing other statistics between the Spartans and Rams. Meanwhile, Colo. St.'s leading wide receiver, Crockett Gilmore, averages 11.3 yards per catch as opposed to SJSU's Noel Grigsby with 8.5 yards per catch. However, SJSU's Rutley has 388 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry while CSU's Raymond Carter has only 245 (5.2/carry). Three Spartans (Rutley, Ryan Otten, and Jabari Carr) have had receptions/runs of 60 or more yards, a feat no Ram has yet. Defensively, as the SJSU preview article points out, in the past 2 games the SJSU defense has allowed 0 4th quarter scoring by opponents in both the past 2 games.

In coach Mike MacIntyre's second year with the team, the Spartans have now won a truly hard-fought victory with little flaws or carelessness. Still, the 3-1 Colorado State Rams appear to have the edge, and it is doubtful that San Jose State can really pull off an upset victory unless they continue improving. Still, at my most optimistic, my pick will be San Jose State by 3.

Other WAC Games...
Utah State at (I-A independent) Brigham Young (Friday at 6PM Mountain/8PM Eastern on ESPN and ESPN3.com): Utah State by 7. BYU has yet to win a game by more than 7 points this season and appears to be on the decline ever since leaving the Mountain West after 2010. BYU's victories over Mississippi (14-13) and Central Florida (24-17) both came following deficits. Meanwhile, Utah State appears to have promise this season. In its opener, the Aggies nearly beat the defending national champions Auburn Tigers...IN AUBURN, ALABAMA TOO!...but lost 42-38 after Auburn's successful on-side kick and subsequent touchdown. In that game, Aggie QB Chuckie Keeton's strong arm contributed to Utah State's surprisingly high score with 21 of 30 completed passes, and Keeton has an overall 66.7% completion rate this season compared to BYU QB Jake Heaps' 55.6%. Additionally, Utah State has scored 15 TD's on running plays, 13 more than BYU has this year.

That's the only Friday WAC game this weekend. All others on Saturday.

Nevada at (#4) (Mountain West Conf.) Boise State: Boise State by 10. As the currently 3-0 Boise State, which moved from the WAC to MWC this year, continues to rack high rankings and victories, Nevada is coming off a 2010 season from being the top WAC team to a possibly mediocre season. Boise State Broncos QB Kellen Moore is going to hunt down the Wolf Pack with his 79% completion rate and will give much advantage to the Broncos' receiving unit that has scored 13 TD's on receptions, while the Wolf Pack has only 3 receiving TD's as of now. In 2010, Nevada came back from behind in the 4th and beat Boise State 34-31 in OT.

Idaho at (Atlantic Coast Conf.) Virginia (will be on ESPN3): Virginia by 14. Besides the obvious competitive differences between the WAC and ACC, with 10 rushing TDs so far in 2011 and QB Michael Rocco having a 62.2% completion rate the Virginia Cavaliers will put their rushing game at an advantage. Furthermore, Idaho's only victory has come against the I-AA North Dakota.

Hawaii at Louisiana Tech (ESPN3): Hawaii by 7. Hawaii has yet to win any road games this season, and while both the Rainbow Warriors and Bulldogs QBs have completion rates in the 60 percent range, given how the Rainbow Warriors have scored 11 TDs on receptions they can put up a great offensive threat against LT.

New Mexico State at (MWC) New Mexico: New Mexico State by 9. With regular starter Andrew Manley out for the season due to injury, NMSU Aggies QB Matt Christian showed much potential in his first game of 2011, the loss to SJSU, with 17 for 28 completed passes. In 4 games, New Mexico Lobos have yet to win a single game...and are so bad they even lost to the I-AA Sam Houston State in OT! Furthermore, Lobos RB James Wright averages only 3.2 yards per carry over 114 yards, while Aggies RB Kenny Turner averages 7.

(Southeastern Conf.) Ole Miss (Mississippi) at Fresno State: Fresno State by 3. I was about to pick Mississippi alone on being an SEC team, but given how the Fresno State Bulldogs have a wide receiver (Jalen Saunders) who averages 30.5 yards per catch, I'd be a bit hesitant.

24 September 2011

PTC may not advocate censorship per se, but its tactics seem intimidating

swinging by its "Worst Cable Show of the Week" page I noticed in honor of the final season of FX's Rescue Me PTC decided rather than review the episode to write a review of moments from episodes of the show...all the examples were from 2006! (Rescue Me ran from 2004-2011.) PTC concludes: "Sadly, the industry seems resigned to forcing customers to pay for programming whether they watch it or not; but such customers can at least rejoice that, however many offensive programs they are supporting, at least Rescue Me is no longer among them." PTC uses that talking point over and over again in its reviews but seldom considered how people who view Rescue Me are subsidizing programming on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon that PTC would otherwise support? I've been monitoring the PTC since 2006 and now conclude that PTC is an intimidation organization that would rather stick to archaic, fundamentalist religious, authoritarian values and create a generation of unthinking zombie children who choose the bible over reason. I mean there's a reason why PTC would rather take the side of religion than a secular POV. This attitude regarding casual sex has been true of the PTC back in its founding in 1995 and now: it reviewed NBC's new show Friends with Benefits worst TV show of the week recently. Not only did PTC attack that show (which I haven't had time to watch, and I personally have little time to watch anything other than news and sports now that the new semester has begun) also PTC attacked other NBC shows Whitney and Free Agents:

As the new fall television season approaches, a preview of NBC’s upcoming sitcoms reveals its strategy for crawling out of fourth place: sex, sex, and more sex. Whitney – produced by and starring raunchy female comic Whitney Cummings, a staple of Comedy Central’s roasts – asserts the futility of marriage and the boredom of monogamy. The show Free Agents pairs a newly-divorced man with his newly-widowed female co-worker for obligation-free, clandestine sex. Over on the dramatic side of programming, the new show The Playboy Club instantly courts controversy with its name alone.

Again with PTC's one sided reviews, PTC didn't consider NBC's Parenthood or Up All Night that do cast two-parent families as main characters and in fact Up All Night is about two parents raising a newborn baby. And The Office characters Jim and Pam? If PTC really wants TV to be sanitized and friendly to "traditional values" as it wants why doesn't PTC try to attack society first? Maybe it's because nowadays more and more people know better than to be obsessively shame-fearing judgemental prudes. For example, since the 2000s more people choose not to be religious. In fact, the type of society that PTC would advocate would be Biblical or with Sharia Law if premarital/casual sex were to be a bad thing.

PS: In PTC's review of the Comedy Central roast of Charlie Sheen, PTC seems to assert that Comedy Central deliberately targeted teenagers by rating the pre-show TV-14-L but didn't point out that the actual show was rated TV-MA. A content rating doesn't indicate target audience!

23 September 2011

My WAC football picks for Sept. 24

New Mexico State (1-2) at San Jose State (0-3, 0-1 WAC): SJSU by 7. The two teams meet for the first time since October 30, 2010 when NMSU scored a touchdown with 0 seconds left to beat SJSU 29-27 in Las Cruces, N.M. While NMSU has not appeared in a bowl since 1960 and has yet to have an above-.500 season since joining the WAC in 2005, SJSU has a better track record of: 3 bowl appearances in the 1980s (as a member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association including winning the 1986 California Bowl), winning the 1990 California Bowl (while in the now-defunct Big West Conference of football), and winning the 2006 New Mexico Bowl (as a WAC school). Since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1996, SJSU has had three above-.500 seasons: 2000, 2006, and 2008. Additionally, from 2005-2010, SJSU is 5-1 against NMSU (the 1 being that ugly loss in 2010). Oh, if you wanna see highlights of that game, the New Mexico State Aggies YouTube channel has them:

One cause for concern though is NMSU's unlikely victory last week over the Big 10 team Minnesota that included the seizure of Minnesota Golden Gophers coach Jerry Kill (who was taken to hospital). Additionally, NMSU sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley has a 59% completion rate...higher than Matt Faulkner's 53%, and has passed for 892 yards compared to San Jose State's 477 among 3. However, SJSU has the edge in rushing, averaging 4.0 yards per carry in 367 yards and 4 touchdowns in contrast with NMSU's paltry 1.7 yards per carry in 155 with just 1 TD. While SJSU has yet to score a touchdown by reception (they almost did last week until that interception) in 477 receiving yards with an average 10.4 per catch, in 892 yards and 14.4 per catch NMSU has scored 6. NMSU's receivers are going to be the Aggies' driving force, and SJSU's defensive line needs to watch out and restrict yardage and break up as many passes as they can.

Elsewhere in WAC football...
Fresno State (0-2) at Idaho (1-2): Idaho by 4. A tough one, as both teams have extremely close stats in rushing, passing, and receiving (FS, ID). The Fresno State Bulldogs beat the Idaho Vandals 23-20 in 2010 at Fresno. Idaho needs to look out because Fresno's running back Robbie Rouse has been on the loose all season with an average 4.6 yards per carry in 365 and 3 of the 4 rushing touchdowns by the Bulldogs. Ryan Bass, the Vandals' RB, average 4.0 yards each carry in only 117, and his longest run was an 18-yard TD. Idaho, however, has a slight edge in receiving with six TDs in 666 (EVIL) yards vs. Fresno's 4 TDs in 639.

Louisiana Tech (1-2) at Mississippi State (SEC) (1-2): Mississippi State by 9. Don't let Miss State's 1-2 start fool you: the Southeastern Conference Bulldogs are coming off a breakout 2010 season that ended with a blowout victory over the Big 10 Michigan Wolverines in the Gator Bowl. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs...dang, this is the Battle of the (southern) Bulldogs right here!...have suffered two close losses to southern-region Conference USA teams: 19-17 at Southern Mississippi and 35-34 vs. Houston. In both games, La. Tech blew leads in 4th quarter. Mississippi State's 694 rushing yards far outweighs La. Tech's 522 and will play a greater role for the Bulldogs' offense than La. Tech QB Nick Isham's greater passing depth of 693 yards vs. Miss. State's Chris Relf at 493.

Nevada (1-1, 1-0 WAC) at Texas Tech (Big 12) (2-0): Texas Tech by 14. Another WAC team goes to the football-loving state? And it's sure telling how the defending WAC champions couldn't even play a BLOWOUT game against the worst WAC team of 2010 (no I'm not still gloating I'm just observing). The Wolf Pack's Tyler Lantrip has NOTHING (57.1% completions in 331 yards) against the Texas Tech Red Raiders' Seth Doege (81.8%, 727). These two teams diverge greatly in advantages of rushing (Nevada 544 yards and 4 TDs, Texas Tech 335 and 5) and receiving (Texas Tech 794 and 10, Nevada 395 and 1). In their last meeting, Texas Tech beat Nevada 35-19 in Reno on September 6, 2008. And that was when Colin Kaepernick (now with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers) was the starting QB!

Colorado State (Mountain West Conference) (2-1) at Utah State (1-1): Utah State by 6. The Utah State Aggies, otherwise not an extremely well-storied football team, showed some promise in its opener when it held 1st-half leads against the defending national champs Auburn Tigers but lost 42-38. Colorado State has had 10 bowl appearances since 1992 (the latest being a win in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl). (Before 1999, Colorado State was in the WAC.) Utah State, since 1998 and through 4 affiliations (Big West, independent, Sun Belt, and now WAC) has never had an above-.500 season since losing the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl. In both rushing and receiving, Utah State (6.7 and 12.2 vs. Colorado State's 4.2 and 8.8), and in rushing, Utah State has produced twice as many TDs as Co. State has.

UC Davis (I-AA) (1-2) at Hawaii (1-2): Hawaii by 10. Bummer. ESPN.com lacks stats for the UC Davis Aggies. Of course I-AA teams are easy wins for I-A WAC teams (unless it's SJSU in 2010 vs. UC Davis...)

18 September 2011

Another blown opportunity for the Spartans

San Jose State lost 17-14 to the defending WAC first-place team and defending Fight Hunger Bowl champion Nevada Wolf Pack on yet ANOTHER last-minute end zone interception. Similar thing happened in 2010 in the Spartans' game against Utah State. So far, SJSU is 0-3 including 0-1 in the WAC, and I initially got a bit heated and (sorry if it offended you on facebook) and predicted a winless season. HOWEVER...in terms of scoring deficits, SJSU is improving, having lost in week 1 to Stanford by 54 (57-3) and in week 2 to UCLA by 10 (27-17). In the UCLA game 2 weeks ago SJSU had tied the game 17-17 after 3 quarters then completely shut down afterwards. Yesterday v. Nevada, both teams were tied 7-7 after the first, then Nevada led 17-7 after 3 quarters, and then SJSU's Brandon Rutley made a 4th-and-1 touchdown run fighting off a pile of Nevada defenders to put the score where it ended up being. With just over a minute left in the 4th, SJSU had driven 69 yards all the way to Nevada's 15 yard line. Noel Grigsby caught Matt Faulkner's 1st-and-10 pass in the end zone out of bounds, so it was an incomplete. The dagger in the Spartans' chest came in Faulkner's 3rd-and-9 pass targeted to Chandler Jones that got intercepted by Nevada's Duke Williams. At least SJSU had 2 interceptions, including Peyton Thompson's 1st-quarter one at the end zone to disrupt Nevada's first touchdown attempt. Also, SJSU stopped Nevada on one of its two 4th-and-1 plays.

Some other statistical highlights:
- SJSU again improved in passing yards with a 152-112 edge over Nevada in contrast with last week when the Spartans trailed the UCLA Bruins by 30 yards (115-145). SJSU averaged 4.6 yards per pass v. Nevada, 1.1 better than against UCLA. Accounting for this improvement is the return of senior quarterback Matt Faulkner who recovered from concussions after sitting out the previous game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dasmen Stewart had some playing time vs. the Wolf Pack during the 1st half.
- However, SJSU slipped in rushing with just 138 yards yesterday vs. 202 against UCLA.
- Still, San Jose State quarterbacks have yet to complete a touchdown pass.
- Two of the three lost fumbles by the Spartans led to Nevada scores. First was in the beginning of 2nd quarter, game tied, and Pompey Festejo intercepted a Nevada pass and returned it for 30 yards only to fumble it in Nevada's 43, and Nevada scored a touchdown + extra point off that recovery. Also in the 3rd quarter, Dasmen Stewart fumbled on a 1st-and-10 (no he didn't rush 70 yards contra what ESPN play by play says), and Nevada scored a field goal off the recovery and led 17-7.

BTW, the whole game is available in its entirety at WatchESPN.com. (SJSU's final drive begins at 2 hrs 57 mins in the video.)

Elsewhere in WAC football...
The ONLY Western Athletic Conference team that won on week 3 was...Fresno State! A 27-22 win over the I-AA North Dakota. Two of my six picks from Friday were correct in terms of win/loss...I was almost right about UTEP/NMSU (UTEP won by 6, I thought NMSU would win by 3), almost right about SJSU (I picked SJSU by 7...almost was really SJSU by 4), and totally wrong about Hawaii/UNLV (I picked Hawaii by 17, but it ended up really UNLV by 20). NMSU's loss to UTEP could provide some relief and confidence for the Spartans, who face the Aggies in San Jose on Saturday afternoon. NMSU was the second-worst WAC team in 2010, and in that season the Aggies beat the Spartans 29-27 on a no-time-left touchdown; SJSU did rally from a 17-3 deficit to lead 27-23 with just under 4 minutes left. If SJSU does indeed redeem itself and beef up its defense and stop throwing interceptions and committing so many penalties it might earn its first victory of 2011 against last year's undesired foe. Otherwise it'll be yet another horrendous season and possibly lead to the firing of second-year head coach Mike McIntyre.

16 September 2011

My WAC football picks for Saturday

Nevada at San Jose State: SJSU by 7. SJSU has gone 8-2 in its past 10 home openers including last year a barely won contest against the FCS Southern Utah 16-11. As of now on ESPN.com, SJSU QB Matt Faulkner, a jr. college transfer who went to high school in Texas, has a passer rating of 113.3 compared to Nevada's starter Tyler Lantrip with 110.6. SJSU's backup Dasmen Stewart showed much promise last week against UCLA (15 of 31 completions, 111 yards) and has a rating of 72.4 vs. Nevada's backup Cody Fajardo (29.4). Both are redshirt freshmen! Brandon Rutley's 65-yard touchdown carry from last week notwithstanding, Nevada has an edge in rushing (average 5.5 yards per carry vs. SJSU's 3.8). Same with receiving, but no one in Nevada has outdone Noel Grigsby (with a high of 24 yards) or Jabari Carr (high 64 yards).

Idaho at #9 Texas A&M (Big 12): TAM by 28. Too easy to predict a regular national powerhouse is going to run over a mediocre mid-major conference team. Just like all those lopsided SJSU games vs. Stanford (lost 57-3) this year or last year v. Alabama (56-3).

Houston (Conference USA) at Louisiana Tech: Houston by 7. The C-USA Houston Cougars are coming off an abnormally mediocre 2010 season after being in bowls from 2005 to 2009. This game should come off similar to last week's UCLA/SJSU game where SJSU, coming off two very poor seasons, showed much potential against UCLA, whose 2010 season was also mediocre despite many bowl appearances in recent past seasons. In its opener, La. Tech faced another C-USA team, Southern Mississippi, and lost 19-17 following a 49-yard field goal by Southern Miss' Danny Hrapmann with 2.5 minutes remaining. Southern Miss is another routine bowl school like Houston...and Brett Favre went to USM!

UTEP (C-USA) at New Mexico State: NMSU by 3. UTEP used to be in the WAC but joined C-USA in 2005. Last time these two teams met (Sept. 3, 2005), UTEP won 34-17 in Las Cruces, N.M. However, UTEP has struggled in C-USA and made runner up bowl appearances in 2005 and 2010 and otherwise had below-.500 seasons the other times. In rushing, NMSU has the edge (2.3 vs. 1.3) and same in receiving (15.5 vs. 13.4).

North Dakota (Great West, FCS) at Fresno State: Fresno State by 21. What's more to say about a Division I newcomer and unimpressive FCS team that lost to the WAC's Idaho 44-14?

Hawaii at UNLV (Mountain West): Hawaii by 17. The U of Nevada Las Vegas team has had a HORRENDOUS several seasons recently compared with the WAC's U of Nevada RENO. And Hawaii has also been a regular WAC hotshot. To the bookies and gamblers in Sin City, it's obviously stupid to bet on the home team just because.

11 September 2011

Obligatory 9/11 post

On September 11, 2001, I was in fifth grade and learned about the attacks from a school announcement. I first saw the video of the plane crashes in the World Trade Center and Pentagon when I came home after school. This event was so serious that NEARLY EVERY broadcast channel jumped from regular programming to news coverage. Then came the war in Afghanistan a month later, and still continuing to this day with a drawdown a few years to come. The crazy thing was that the summer before 9/11 I visited China with my family, and to have flown on an airliner just a month before a terrorist hijacking...wow. I'm lucky my flight wasn't targeted. 10 years later, do we still have the same freedom we as americans were still able to have? The USA PATRIOT Act (this year extended by Obama til 2015) loosened restrictions on communications surveillance and wiretapping.

And look at all the hysteria by the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of thwarted, unsuccessful terrorist plots. First, in 2006 the TSA banned liquid bottles after some terrorists in the UK tried smuggling liquid explosives into a flight to North America. Then after the failed underwear bomber came body scanners. Even though they aren't the best at catching weapons, they're still around. And recently all those horror stories about excessive intrusion of personal privacy in pat down searches, such as elderly people needing to remove adult diapers or the man with a urostomy bag whose pat down got him wet. Doesn't this send the message to terrorists that they're winning? In comparison to what happened in Oklahoma City on 4/19/1995 when the federal government just treated Timothy McVeigh as a kook and prosecuted, convicted, and executed him? Rather than indicate that McVeigh would successfully scare the pants off everyone in America?

In contrast to what Clinton did to McVeigh, George W. Bush decided to go to war with Afghanistan and rejected an offer by the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden if the US ended military action in Afghanistan. (After the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Clinton administration aggressively sought bin Laden through military actions in the Middle East.) On May 1, 2011, US special forces finally killed bin Laden in Pakistan; Obama said in a 2008 presidential debate, "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." As screwy as Obama's leadership may be right now, at least this is a promise kept.

And apparently, Islamic terrorism may be a bit overblown:

Around the 4:50 mark of the video, this is where the "treat terrorists like kooks" debate begins between Thom Hartmann and A.W.R. Hawkins.

10 September 2011

SJSU football week 2: another parallel to 2010?

So SJSU just lost its 2nd game and is now 0-2 after a hard-fought 27-17 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. I notice a parallel between the first 2 games of 2010 too.

In 2010:
9/4/10: @Alabama (the defending BCS champions): SJSU lost 48-3
9/11/10: @Wisconsin (ranked #14 that week and Rose Bowl runners-up): lost 27-14

However, SJSU played its home opener on 9/18 and came from behind to beat Southern Utah 16-11.

In 2011:
9/3/11: @Stanford (defending Orange Bowl champs): lost 57-3
9/10/11: @UCLA (unranked, 0-1 from losing to the Conference USA Houston): lost 27-17

Next Saturday, SJSU plays its home opener against Nevada. Although Nevada is the defending WAC champion and defending Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl champion, its top quarterback Colin Kaepernick was drafted this year by the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. Furthermore, Nevada got steamrolled today by BCS runners-up Oregon 69-20. Now this looks like Nevada's SJSU/Stanford game, except with a little inflation due to the factor of Nevada coming off a 1st place WAC season v. SJSU being the worst in the 2010 WAC and Oregon being 1st, Stanford 2nd in the 2010 Pac-10 (the last season as Pac10, the Pac12 now has former Mtn. West schools Utah and Colorado).

End of rant, the interesting thing about the Stanford game was that both SJSU QB's threw no interceptions. In contrast, Nevada's senior QB Tyler Lantrip threw 2 INT's v. Oregon. A really telling, outlying statistic in Stanford's grand stomping of the Spartans. Notice these ratios too (again citing the linked box scores):
- Passing yards: Stanford 232, SJSU 210; Oregon 331, Nevada 233. Wow, Oregon's passing advantage (42%) far outweighed Stanford's (10%).
- Rushing: However, SJSU's rushing play may need some calibrating, as Nevada held a slight 283-272 edge v. Oregon. In contrast, Stanford outrushed SJSU...141-27!

In tonight's game, SJSU against was out passed 140-116. And also the flipside in rushing, 268-202 (a far cry from last week's 141-27). Meanwhile, nearly a year ago against the RANKED Wisconsin, SJSU had the advantage in passing yards, 252-191, but trailed in rushing 212-55! Furthermore, tonight against UCLA, SJSU had ties at two instances and scored in the first 3 quarters. Against Wisconsin, SJSU scored its 14 points only in the 2nd half. And how, do you ask, did SJSU lose tonight? Despite an exchange of turnover plays between the two teams as they were tied 17-17 (since 3:14 left in the 3rd), UCLA scored a field goal off an interception (20-17), and SJSU totally gave up and let UCLA get a TD to seal the deal.

However, much credit to Spartan QB Brandon Rutley for that 65-yard TD run late in the 3rd quarter to tie the game.

Here's hoping for continued improvement and competition against the now stripped-down Nevada next week! Although these first two games mirror the first two of the disastrous 2010 season, the statistics tell a rather positive story.

01 September 2011

...and they did

The Parents Television Council reviewed the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards as the "Worst Cable Content of the Week" as I predicte last post. With the usual too-much profanity and "we need cable choice" line. And targeting Lil Wayne's song "John". (Oh, they also mention the Beavis and Butt-head cameo with Nicki Minaj!) And what is it with the PTC's line about boasting about the largest number of 12-year olds when in fact the age group is 12-35? (12-17, 18-35 are the usual Nielsen rating age groups.) B&C reported: "The telecast, which saw Katy Perry and Adele top the award winners and Beyonce confirm her pregnancy onstage, was also the most-watched in the network's target of persons 12-34, delivering 8.5 million viewers and a 10.8 rating in the demo, according to Nielsen."