Rrrrrrghggggghhghhghh. We've lost three times now this season. The first two didn't really bother me a whole lot. (Maybe the GT one would've if they'd gotten blown out by Middle Tennessee and then killed us, but regardless.) This one makes me ANGAR. I am DISAPPOINT. And all sorts of other interweb words.
We just lost a very winnable game. A thousand mistakes - 999 by us, one by the refs - and every one of them was taken full advantage of. You can't give up 44 points and not expect to give some credit to the opposition, but make no mistake: we don't lose that game if we don't hand it over ourselves. Goats include:
-- Everyone who took a personal foul penalty, but in particular, Sean Cascarano, who piled up two (one of which turned a 2nd and 3 into a 2nd and 18, which in turn caused a pass play instead of a run play, which itself turned into an interception), and Kevin Parks, whose PF turned a 3rd-and-6 from the LTech 7 into a 3rd-and-21.
-- Dominique Terrell, whose hands of rock caused the abovementioned INT, which became an LTech touchdown within a minute or two.
-- Mike Rocco, who got desperate and forced passes that no human quarterback could have completed and of course saw them go back the other way.
-- Whichever dumbassed referee called roughing the passer on Eli Harold, giving LTech a free and undeserved fourth-down conversion, which of course became a touchdown within a minute or two.
-- Khalek Shepherd, or whoever's job it was to align the team for fourth down at the end of the game.
Of course that would be how that game would end; such a mistake-filled affair with an endless supply of bullets for self-foot-shooting could not possibly have ended any other way.
I had a lot of individual observations, but most of them melted away, leaving only the lingering stink of what sh/c/would have been. Let's see how many remain:
-- Demeitre Brim's burned redshirt is officially worth it. It would've been even more so if we'd won, since his touchdown-saving tackle turned into a goal-line stand and no points for the Bulldogs. Nice damn hustle. Anthony Cooper, too.
-- I haven't visited their boards, but I understand Louisiana Tech fans are shocked and appalled about never having seen a dirtier team in their life. Of course, there's always two sides to every scuffle and late hit, but keep this in mind also: I've only ever seen two quarterbacks kick an opposing player. Marcus Vick and Colby Cameron. Not good company to place yourself in.
-- CATCH THE BALL. (This also goes for Brandon Pettigrew, by the way.)
This week's depth chart lists the dreaded OR at quarterback. Mike London alluded to the possibility that his picks might be on the receivers, except for the one that bounced off Terrell's hands which was definitely on the receiver. Rocco is often required to throw to a spot, rather than a person, and trust that the receiver will be there when the ball is. That said, it's hard to imagine anything but a switch this week. It's a good time for it: it's one thing when your screwups cause the team to lose the game, but when they also contribute to your teammate losing his job, it helps the message sink in just that little bit more. Apparently the offensive guards are on notice too, because they also got the OR treatment, with Ross Burbank moving from center to push Sean Cascarano.
The (new) official blog position on the QB derby: I don't care any more. Both Rocco and Sims can get us to a bowl, which is the season's goal. But the larger point: expectations for both are starting to converge. Rocco is pressing and it's not working. Sims finally had the first ounce of pressure he's had all season put on his shoulders, and responded well. Throw either one out there against Duke, I don't care.
Oh well. Prediction summary:
-- Virginia's running backs total more than 116 yards. Yup. As expected, there was room to run. A little, anyway. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks totaled 142, and Jones averaged 4.6 a carry with a longest of only 13 (thus, consistency.)
-- Mike Rocco gets back to completing more than two-thirds of his passes. Sad to say, no: 14 of 23 isn't that bad, but it's not two-thirds.
-- Colby Cameron throws for over 300 yards. No again. Cameron had only 218. That's not a bad showing at all by the defense; they generally forced him to stay short and underneath and didn't get burned deep.
-- Louisiana Tech is held under 3.5 yards a carry. Le sigh. Not even close, as the Bulldogs actually outperformed Virginia on the ground. The hell, man.
-- If Virginia holds the turnovers to no more than one, they'll win by double digits. Null prediction, but the way things were going in the first half, I've got no doubt it would've been true.
So: 8-for-25 on the season. I was better at this last year, I think. Also, since I predicted a win and we did not win, the overall prediction record goes to 4-1 and 0-3-2 ATS. Do not bet actual money using these scores I've been telling you.
Blogpoll ballot ahoy:
A lot of shuffling, which is natural. You're reminded to remember that a team can win and drop, or lose and go up. Everything is reevaluated fresh every week, so where you were before isn't going to be a factor. That leads to some oddball drops, like TCU from top-15 to nowhere. (27th, FWIW.) That's partly because they added a lackluster game to their resume, partly because their opponents didn't fare too well, and partly because some new teams were added to the eligibility mix.
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This week you had to be 3-1 or better, so 3-2 didn't cut it, and that dropped six teams out of contention, two of which had been ranked before. (Actually five. Minnesota is the sixth; they lost to go to 4-1 without any wins over a Big Five team, which is also a requirement.) Seven teams moved in to replace them in the consideration pool.
If I had to point to the strangest thing I see here, it's probably Texas Tech at 18th. But, like, it's not like these other teams are such hot stuff that a great injustice is being done. So I left it.
If you're wondering who the next five are, in order it's USC, TCU, Louisville, Duke, and Utah State. It doesn't say much for the resumes of the contenders this year so far.
Senior Seasons ahoy. And whether you want it or not, an update on the GP South Blue Devils, the alma mater of yours truly: this weekend they dropped 50-odd points on Port Huron Northern and moved to 5-1 on the season. This Friday is huge: the annual rivalry game against the Norsemen of GP North. South has won the last two, but this has only scratched the surface of payback for a seven-game losing streak and something like fifteen of the last eighteen or whatever. The way Michigan high school rules work, a sixth win would clinch a playoff spot, so it's a big deal.
Anyway, back to the shit you care about.
Damascus 23, Sherwood 20: Zach Bradshaw "set up two scores" with a 44-yard diving reception and a 73-yard punt return. Damascus is 5-0.
Gilman 37, Mt. St. Joseph 7: Micah Kiser had eight tackles, and Gilman is 3-2.
Ocean Lakes 21, Salem 15: One of the latest whines out of Hokieland is that Smoke Mizzell shouldn't have five stars because what you do on the field counts. Scoreboard. Whether Corwin Cutler or Bucky Hodges was the better quarterback on Friday is very debatable. But Cutler is the one with three stars, Hodges with four, and Cutler is the one who emerged victorious, and at worst, matched Hodges throw for throw. Cutler and Hodges each threw a touchdown, and Hodges had more yards but Cutler a better percentage. Let's hope any future Cutler/Hodges matchups end the same way. Ocean Lakes is 6-0.
Salisbury 34, Berkshire 0 (Sadiq Olanrewaju) - Salisbury is 2-0.
St. Peter's Prep (NJ) 56, BC High 0 (Jack McDonald) - BC High is 2-1.
South Iredell 33, Malden 10 (LaChaston Smith) - South Iredell is 6-1.
A.L. Brown 38, Cox Mill 34 (Keeon Johnson) - Brown is 6-1.
Houston Westside 58, Houston Chavez 7 (Hipolito Corporan) - Westside is 3-2.
Oscar Smith 38, Lakeland 9 (Zack Jones) - Oscar Smith is 3-2.
Osbourn 30, Potomac 14 (Donta Wilkins) - Potomac is 2-3.
Fork Union 33, Valley Forge (PA) 0 (Malcolm Cook) - FUMA is 5-1.
Benedictine 35, St. Christopher's 18 (Jack English) - St. Chris is 3-2.
Varina 27, Lee-Davis 0 (Tim Harris) - Varina is 3-1.
In the injured players department, neither LaChaston Smith nor Keeon Johnson played in their games, and Andre Levrone and Good Counsel were off this week.
Last little bit of the weekend: Via MGoBlog, guess what the most-watched football game last weekend (or two weekends ago, whatever) was? I'll save you the guessing: Michigan-Notre Dame. Guess what series is being killed off in a couple years? Michigan-Notre Dame. Why is this important? There is no possible way NBC is happy about Notre Dame killing off its best game. Likely result: any NBC contract offer where NBC can count on seeing Michigan on the schedule will be higher than one sans Michigan. Which in turn means a very good chance either ND decides it prefers the ACC's TV money, or adds Michigan back to the schedule. Either is fine by me.