Monday, December 28, 2009


Believe it or not, the Panthers are decent. They're floating around that 8th spot in the Conference. Beating them on the road is a nice little snack.

Tim Thomas was outstanding. He allowed a weird goal that came off a bad-angle shot and found the .01% of the post side that Thomas didn't have covered. It was a shot meant to create a juicy rebound, but sometimes guys get lucky.

After that, he was like Dominek Hasek out there. I've seen much better outings by him, this year and last, especially in terms of positioning. But his athleticism atoned for those shortcomings in anticipation.

Ryder tipped in the Bruins' first goal, his 10th of the year. Sturm's game-winner was his team-leading 11th. Sturm's speed coupled with Savard's vision and touch will make for a deadly combination once the two spend enough time together to figure everything out.

Bruins @ Lightning tonight at 7:30.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Rick Silva


A lot of people gave BC a chance in this game. And that chance would be if USC decided not to show up and give 100%, BC would win. In fact, I'd say that most people out there felt like USC at 80% would be quite sufficient to bury the Eagles.

Well, USC did show up. And Boston College still lost. But it was hardly the shellacking that was anticipated by some people (including myself) out there.

In fact, in many ways, BC cost themselves the game. Shinskie's interception, Montel Harris fumbling the ball on the USC 6 yard line. And of course the missed extra-point. BC struggled with the wet conditions much more than USC. And in the 1st quarter, BC was clearly nervous and jumpy, especially Shinskie.

The Mountain West officiating crew also did their part. These guys were probably expecting a match-up like BC/Arizona, not BC/USC. They weren't blatantly biased, except when it came to instant replay. What was clearly an incomplete pass (receiver out of bounds) was ruled a completion, then upheld. Instead of 2nd & 10 on the BC 44, the Trojans were given 1st & goal on the BC 6. They then scored a touchdown.

In the 3rd, with USC up only 17-13, BC punted. The ball bounced off a Trojan, who was engaged with BC's Luke Kuechly. Kuechly then pounced on the ball. The officials reviewed the play, then decided that the USC player had been blocked into the ball. Even though the USC player was blocking Keuchly forward, and literally stepped into the bounce of the ball. BC would have had possession on USC's 30 yard line.

Officiating aside, BC lost this game on their own. I like David Shinskie, but he's not the long-term solution at QB. He's steady. And against the likes of Maryland and NC State, he's more than adequate. But BC has a desire to move beyond the middle of the ACC. BC wants to do more than get to Emerald Bowls. David Shinskie simply isn't the QB to get them there. At least not now.

BC usually gets good QBs (Matt Ryan, Brian St. Pierre, the Hasselbecks), so I'm sure a solution at the position will eventually be found.

But I can't wait for BC's 2010 campaign. The QB situation will at least no longer be a massive question mark as it was in the summer of '09. Montel Harris (1,457 yards, 14 TDs) will be back for his junior season. Luke Kuechly (142 tackles, 81 solo tackles, 2nd in country in both categories) will be back for his sophomore season. And All-American Mark Herzlich will also return.

Did anyone else think how ridiculous USC's post-game exuberance was? I mean, they won a 3rd-tier bowl game in their home state against a team that has academic standards. Good job! Maybe next year you'll be able to beat Washington!


Photo Credits:
AP Photo


Here we have the Bowls just before the really big bowls. The appetizer bowls, so to speak.

Monday 12/28 - 5:00PM - ESPN2
Independence Bowl - Shreveport, LA
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Georgia Bulldogs
In another year, this matchup would induce salivation. Now it's two struggling programs trying desperately to regain their glory. But Georgia is in better shape than A&M. Don't expect the Aggies to muster the same kind of effort that kept them close with Texas. Georgia will roll through them. But I also include a picture of this Texas A&M girl because she's hot and I never get a chance to pick A&M cuz they suck.

Tuesday 12/29 - 4:30PM - ESPN
EagleBank Bowl - Washington, DC
UCLA Bruins vs. Temple Owls
Normally this would be a no-brainer, but Temple was 9-3. UCLA was 6-6 and only got in because Army couldn't hang on to a lead against Duke. UCLA was 8th in the Pac-10. But Temple did lose to I-AA Villanova. They rolled through the MAC, but couldn't beat Ohio to clinch a spot in the MAC title game. I'm not impressed. I'm picking UCLA.

Tuesday 12/29 - 8:00PM - ESPN
Champs Sports Bowl - Orlando, FL
#15 Miami Hurricanes vs. #25 Wisconsin Badgers
Not a bad matchup here, should be fun to watch. Miami is very close to being back to their elite form, but they're not quite there. Wisconsin has been up and down all year, in and out of the Top 25. Miami has the talent, relative homefield advantage, and they'll win.

Wednesday 12/30 - 4:30PM - ESPN
Humanitarian Bowl - Boise, ID
Bowling Green Falcons vs. Idaho Vandals
Essentially a home game for Idaho. But I bet even they are pissed they have to spend New Year's Eve Eve in Idaho. I'm tempted to give Idaho the edge. But I know nothing about Bowling Green, so I'll pick them instead.

Wednesday 12/30 - 8:00PM - ESPN
Holiday Bowl
#20 Arizona Wildcats vs. #22 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska was close to a BCS berth, but instead they wind up in San Diego. Things could be worse. Arizona quietly put together a nice 8-4 season and deserve their #20 ranking. But I think Nebraska's defense makes a big point in the Holiday Bowl, and the Huskers triumph.

Tons of previews coming Wednesday.


Did it feel like 2007 yesterday at Gillette Stadium? Wes Welker catching 13 passes, Randy Moss hauling in 3 scores. The defense taking advantage of a one dimensional opposing offense. It was a nice bit of '07 that was replayed in Foxborough yesterday afternoon.

I'm not going to go nuts over a win against the strictly mediocre Jaguars. But the Patriots looked 100 times better Sunday than they did in Buffalo. Drives were finished (so long as Maroney wasn't the closer), and points were scored. This makes the defense's job much easier.

The Patriots clinched the AFC East title. It doesn't seem like a big deal anymore, as this is the 7th time in 9 years that the Pats have won the division. Ho hum, right? Well, the Patriots had 5 total divisional titles BEFORE 2001. And 7 since. This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

Wes Welker's 13 receptions helped extend his franchise record to 122 receptions. He won't break Marvin Harrison's single-season record of 145, but 122 catches in only 13 games played is nothing short of inhuman.

Randy Moss supporters can rally this week, and point to another brilliant performance. But to me, his outstanding work only proves that he occasionally quits on his team. With the Patriots, at least, he's able to reapply himself. And that's excellent. But his great games only help demonstrate his major flaws.

The Pats are currently the #3 seed in the AFC, and would host the 8-7 Ravens in the Wild Card round. But Baltimore is tied with a total of five (5) teams at 8-7. It's a traffic-jam for the Wild Card spot.

Patriots @ Houston (one of those 8-7 teams) next week.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo


Without Paul Pierce, and on the road (at Christmas), the Boston Celtics took on and defeated the Orlando Magic 86-77.

Rajon Rondo nearly had a triple-double, with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Tony Allen filled in more than adequately for Pierce, contributing 16. Ray Allen had 18. Garnett had 10, Rasheed 11 off the bench.

The Celtics' defense held Orlando to 77. The 2nd quarter was sheer dominance, as the C's won the period by a 20-8 margin. The Magic average 101.2 points per game. Not surprisingly, the Celtics have the best team defense in the NBA, allowing an average of 92.0 per game.

They're now 1-1 against Orlando, 1-0 against Cleveland, and have the best record in the Eastern Conference by 1 game.

More good news, KG isn't expected to miss any time after taking a nasty tumble in the 4th.

Celtics @ Golden State late night tonight.

Boston Globe

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack