Tag Archives: Oregon

College Football’s Back (and so are we)

With college football season back in swing, what better time to awaken College Sports Town from its summer-long slumber? Yes, we are still kicking here at College Sports Town, and we’re pumped that the big hits of college football season are back, with the crisp air of fall well on its way. Here are a handful of notes and thoughts through four days of college football season.

-The Big Ten didn’t have a great weekend. Which should not be that surprising because, outside of Ohio State and Michigan State, the league simply isn’t very good. Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska are all 0-1, and Penn State got drilled by Temple. All three of those schools were supposed to represent dark horses in the league. Wisconsin did not look ready for prime time against Alabama Saturday night. Bright Spots included Northwestern and Minnesota, which both looked the part of contenders in the talent-dry Big Ten West. Minnesota fell to TCU 23-17, but was hardly a pushover. NU meanwhile dominated Stanford up front in a 16-6 victory. Stanford probably is not all that great (unclear why they were ranked), but the Cats’ O-line looked vastly improved against the Cardinal’s vaunted front seven. The OSU-MSU race in the Big Ten East should keep the mediocre B1G relevant, but the soft underbelly of the conference is likely to keep dragging the conference down in 2015. It would be big for the league if somebody–anybody–emerged as a serious national player from the West division.

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

-News flash: the SEC is not going anywhere. The (relative) struggles of America’s most dominant conference made for a common storyline going into this year, with non-SEC teams winning the last two national titles, but the truth is the SEC was far and away the best and deepest conference in football last year. That’s not changing any time soon, either. The SEC flexed its muscles this weekend, with Alabama cruising by Wisconsin, Texas A&M blowing out 15th ranked Arizona State, and Auburn knocking off Louisville. Every SEC team that played won, aside from Vanderbilt…and the Commodores don’t really count anyway, do they?

-Bold Prediction: Oregon is going to fall off the face of the earth this year. Or at least out of the top 25. The Ducks showed some defensive cracks in their 61-42 win over Eastern Washington Saturday. Am I overreacting to a game that I didn’t even watch against one of best programs in the FCS? Maybe. Or maybe key personnel losses along the back line of their defense have left the Ducks vulnerable. We’ll see just how vulnerable they are when OU heads to East Lansing next week to face the potent passing attack of Michigan State. I expect the Ducks to get lit up. And I think they might be headed for their first single digit win season since ’07.

-We didn’t get a lot of compelling college football this weekend. Sure, it’s nice for the sport to be back, but I can’t remember an opening weekend with so few must-see games. Things got off to a rough start Thursday with UNC and South Carolina playing a sloppy game in prime time on ESPN. Both teams, unranked, looked mediocre at best. Michigan played Utah on Fox Sports 1, but that game also featured less than elite majors. Minnesota came to play against TCU, which was the best game of the night, but a 16 point Vegas spread for the game shows that it wasn’t exactly expected to be GameDay material. Saturday brought the typical barrage of FBS vs. FCS battles. Wisconsin vs. Alabama was the only game pitting ranked teams against each other. Sure, the Virginia Tech-Ohio State game tonight should be popcorn material, but college football fans deserve more than one game between ranked teams on opening weekend.

-Kansas State’s band’s got (wildly inappropriate) jokes!

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Looking Back on a Crazy Sunday in College Basketball

That was fun. Following an entertaining Saturday highlighted by Clemson’s upset win over Duke (made possible by a ridiculously one-sided second half in which the Tigers clobbered Coach K’s Dukies), things really got nutty yesterday. Iowa took down Ohio State in Columbus, Washington whipped Colorado, Stanford stunned Oregon, and struggling Northwestern knocked off Illinois. In today’s post, we’ll look at each of the upsets and what the results mean for the teams involved.

Iowa 84, Ohio State 74

Aaron White dropped 19 on Ohio State

Aaron White dropped 19 on Ohio State

Iowa was somewhat of a ticking time bomb. The Hawkeyes took Villanova to overtime in November, came three points short of an upset of Iowa State in December, and nearly beat Wisconsin in Madison a week ago. Eventually, they were going to knock off an elite team. Things crystallized for Iowa yesterday, as Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes put on an offensive show, scoring 84 points against the defensively formidable Buckeyes. At this point, Iowa looks like a legitimate contender for a Big Ten Title. The same can still absolutely be said of the Buckeyes, but Thad Matta’s team has now lost two straight (OSU came up short last Tuesday at Michigan State). Chalk it up to life in the Big Ten.

Washington 71, Colorado 54

A couple of months ago Washington was a mess. The Huskies couldn’t stop anybody–in back to back November losses in Madison Square Garden, Washington gave up 102 points to Indiana and then 89 points to Boston College. Lorenzo Ramar’s team has come a long way, and yesterday they pounded a Colorado team which entered the day ranked 15th in the nation. The Buffaloes were shut down offensively, shooting only 35% and making only one three. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilcox drained SEVEN treys for the Huskies, who are now 3-1 in Pac-12 play. It was Colorado’s first conference loss, but more could be coming with games against UCLA and Arizona on tap over the next couple of weeks.

Stanford 82, Oregon 80

After winning their first 13 games, Oregon is experiencing some turbulence. The loss to Stanford was the Ducks’ third straight and their second straight disheartening home loss (the first came at the hands of Cal). It is fair to blame Oregon’s defense for the mini-slump; they’ve given up a dreadful 278 points over their last three games (that’s 93 per). But give Stanford a lot of credit. They once again proved capable road warriors and limited themselves to just seven turnovers. Guard Anthony Brown was extremely efficient, finishing with 24 points on 12 shots. Oregon is now 1-3 in Pac-12 play while Stanford is 1-2. Both teams have some work to do.

Northwestern 49, Illinois 43

NU trotted out some new unis against Illinois. They might want to using those until they lose in them.

NU trotted out some new unis against Illinois. They might want to keep using those until they lose in them.

For the offensively challenged Wildcats to win games, they have to play great defense. They did that last night and got a major boost from a pair of rims that were quite unfriendly to the Fighting Illini, be it on long threes or put back dunks. Illinois finished the night with a putrid 28% field goal percentage, many missed put backs, and marginal production from star guard Rayvonte Rice. It was the second straight loss for an Illini team than ran into a buzz saw at Wisconsin on January 8th. For Northwestern, it was their first Big Ten win under rookie coach Chris Collins and a bright spot in what has been a season short on good moments. They celebrated accordingly.

Will tonight bring another round of upsets? Second ranked Syracuse will be on the road at Boston College and a win for BC would, well, be quite the upset indeed. Perhaps a more likely could-be shocker is Duke’s date with underdog Virginia in Cameron Indoor tonight. The Cavaliers have been balling of late (just ask FSU, Wake Forest, or NC State) while Duke has hit a bit of a rough patch.

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First College Hoops Notes of 2014

Kyle Casey posted a double-double and Harvard left no doubt as to what is the best college basketball team in Boston.

Kyle Casey posted a double-double in yesterday’s edition of Harvard’s yearly shellacking of BC.

It could be said that it isn’t really college basketball season until Harvard has blown out Boston College. The Crimson took down BC at Lavietes Pavilion yesterday evening (a game that included this little gem of a moment). The beat down, which has become somewhat of an annual tradition (the Eagles have now dropped six straight to the Crimson) was as good a way as any to start off  the 2014 portion of the current college basketball season. It is at this point that conference play commences across the country. What that means: a consistent stream of hella fun matchups every night should be the norm going forward. Illinois and Indiana kicked off their Big Ten slates with an incredibly entertaining overtime battle in Champaign on New Year’s Eve and things should only get better going forward. With that, I present to you my first disorganized mess of college basketball thoughts for 2014:

  • Northwestern will host the fourth ranked Wisconsin Badgers tonight in Evanston. I’m calling for an upset!! (Not really.) Road games in the Big Ten are tough. And there’s no reason Northwestern can’t win. (Aside from the fact that Northwestern is bad. And terrible offensively.) In all seriousness, the game should at the very least be low scoring–Chris Collins has dramatically improved the Wildcats’ defense in his first year at NU and Bo Ryan’s undefeated Badgers still play at a sluggish pace. Wisconsin should control the game, but don’t expect a blowout.
  • Another thought on the game: according to Northwestern’s website, the game is not yet sold out. Even with the students on break, that’s still less than impressive. (Chris Collins has some work to do in turning Northwestern into Duke. Hey...it could happen.)
  • Tonight’s game between Oregon and Utah is sold out and should be quite a game. The tenth ranked Ducks enter the game unscathed, but the host Utes could put an end to all the perfection around Eugene. Utah is the most efficient offensive team in the nation. The Utes shoot an outlandish 54% from the field and score 88 points per game! Sure, those numbers are boosted by a pair of games against non-Division One programs. But still! They can score, and the Ducks (who somehow score even more points per game) are not defensively dominant. That fact, coupled with Utah’s homecourt advantage have me calling for an upset here. (I’m serious this time.) Regardless of whether Oregon goes down, there should be many points scored.

    Buzz Williams' Golden Eagles got blown out by Creighton in their Big East opener.

    Buzz Williams’ Golden Eagles got blown out by Creighton in their Big East opener.

  • Michigan’s date with Minnesota should also be a pretty great tilt tonight. Michigan might be the best four loss team you’ll find, while Richard Pitino’s Golden Gophers have been formidable at home this year.
  • At 8-6, Marquette is in a real bad place when it comes to NCAA Tournament chances. Pretty crazy when you consider the fact that the Golden Eagles have not missed the NCAAs since 2005.
  • Final thought: ESPN’s College GameDay doesn’t start until January 18th. That’s a bit late right? RIGHT!?!?

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