Saturday, January 30, 2010



Read this and this, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what I'm thinking. (Maybe it will be great for old people. You know, the ones that actually have a 401(k) left and will spend money from it on technology.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Football Apocalypse

Al Davis was right. Lane Kiffin is a turd. (But hey, Tennessee fans, at least you got rid of him before he did any permanent damage!)

First, Pete Carroll leaves USC for the Seahawks. This wouldn't mean too much, except that Carroll already has a reputation as an average NFL coach. And the massive cheating scandal at USC is becoming too obvious for even the NCAA to ignore. The fact that the Seahawks don't have a president or GM (the guys to whom the coach typically report) doesn't matter. (Actually, the GM thing doesn't matter much if the franchise is run poorly. See Cleveland: bad owners hire backward. The GM should hire the coach.)

Second, Carroll went out of his way to deny that the move was related to the NCAA investigation. Right. As if he'd have admitted that was it exactly. Good cheaters don't wait to be punished, they move along and let the school take the blame.

Now, Lane Kiffin is leaving Tennessee for USC. After one season. A season in which he racked up quite a number of secondary violations.

Not the best candidate? Correct. Ill-suited for the position? What do you mean? It's not like he was the guy who made some of this happen in the first place. Oh wait, yes he was.

Brian Cook explains in more detail here. Basically, USC is raising a big armored middle finger to the NCAA. Yeah, we cheated our asses off. No, you're not going to do a damn thing about it, because everybody knows you only punish the little guys.

So one of two things should happen. Either USC gets the death penalty, or all hell breaks loose. Um, in a sense. (Because there's obviously a lot of cheating going on with respect to recruiting anyway.)

What will probably happen is that USC will have to forfeit some wins (yawn), they'll be on probation for X years, give up Y scholarships, and everyone involved will say they're very sorry, and they'll promptly start up again as soon as the probation is over.

What ought to happen is that both football and basketball should be suspended for a season; the head coaches and AD should be punished as well. That part's a little tricky, seeing as how they both ran for the door once they saw what was coming. Maybe a fine, one season's salary from each? Even if you banned them from coaching in the NCAA again for life, that might not be that effective. (Although the AD is still there. Suspending him would definitely have an impact ... but then again, if your AD got both your name programs killed for a year, you ought to be doing more than suspending him.)

NCAA, USC has called your bluff. It's time to turn over a full house.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Madden 10 blows

So I get a safety and force a free kick. I pause the game in the middle of the kick to check out what's on TV ... when I resume the game, the camera's locked on to the kicker. Never mind that I'm the receiving team. I'm lucky the game didn't make me fumble the kick so it could recover and return for a TD.

This kind of bug mystifies me. I cannot understand how a game that has been around for this long can be released with so many glaring errors in it. Somebody at EA needs to be fired for this.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

NCAA 10: Season 3 summary

We started off at Kansas State and actually led 31-20 before the sim decided to take over, eventually winning by 10 (after we scored a meaningless TD). After beating WKU, Central Michigan raked the defense for 48. Not a good sign for non-conference play.

After a bye week, we rolled UAB 31-3 and FAU 28-10. Fell behind Arkansas State by 17, managed to rally to get back into it, but then had a problem on a punt, didn't get away from it in time and gave up a fumble return for a TD, losing by 3. Crushed MTSU and Troy, which put us in a three-way tie with Troy and North Texas heading into our game in Denton.

It started off poorly: on one two-play sequence, we fumbled the ball and it stood, they fumbled it and it was overturned. Crazy finish: they kick a 50-yard FG to go up 27-24, we return the kickoff 91 yards to lead 31-27. They score in 1:18 to lead 34-31. We score at 2:08 to lead 38-34. UNT drives the length of the field, converting three fourth downs, including one that gave them the ball at the 1, first down. We call time out to get a better defense. They throw an interception ... but as we try to kneel down, the sim strips the ball. Fortunately we recover and advance it, run the time off and win. North Texas, thanks in part to sacks, had -39 yards rushing. Yeah, it was the #1 classic, almost 2000 points.

We ran through the rest of the Sun Belt with just the one loss, clinching another New Orleans Bowl spot. Against Louisiana Tech in the finale, for the first time I can ever remember, I pulled a sim on a punt: nice, high punt, no one blocking, I hit the returner just after he caught it to force a fumble, then held him down while a teammate recovered. (Of course he magically stepped out of bounds right after recovering it, so it wasn't just like the sim: the sim always scores on those. We did force a fumble on a regular play later, and we returned that one for a TD. And we had a fumble that I successfully challenged ...)

My running back won the Doak Walker Award. Pretty impressive for a sophomore, but in the past, award winners who return never live up to their previous seasons. Even if you have a good season, you don't get votes. Last season's winner, my now-senior TE, caught 82 passes for 835 yards and was omitted from the top 12. A sophomore corner (Robinson) finished 7th in Thorpe balloting.

South Florida in the New Orleans Bowl. Wow. We score with 20 seconds left in the first half to lead 21-20. They return the kickoff with 9 seconds left to lead 27-21. We return the kickoff at the end of the half to lead 28-27. South Florida leads next, 37-28. Then 37-35. Then 44-35. Then 47-35. I thought we were done: we had four interceptions at that point.

Great drive to cut the lead to 5, 47-42. We force a punt. Drive to score with 26 seconds left, converting the 2 to lead 50-47. They drive to midfield, heave a Hail Mary ... and we intercept it in the end zone. Crazy game. We had 480 yards total offense, 9-14 on third downs, 3-4 on fourth downs (which means we converted 12 of 14 times we had a third down). If it hadn't been for the picks – one of which was returned for a TD – we'd probably have won easily. We actually broke into the top 25 after that win, #21 ... the only time we've been ranked to date.

In-season recruiting went very well. We signed 3 four-star players (the #4 and #6 athletes and the #26 CB) and 4 three-star players (#31 WR, #21 athlete, #38 OLB, and #18 DT), 23rd-best class overall.

My top TE is leaving, as are two of my three best QBs, but the WR and HB are returning. I lose a good LT, but other than that, the seniors are passable but not irreplaceable.

This time, Michigan and Texas are interested in hiring me. (RR didn't get it fixed in Ann Arbor, I guess.)

Unfortunately, the WR who transferred from FSU is ready for the NFL, so my 92-rated WR is gone. Now I really need to sign a good one. The nice thing is we're getting an 86-rated LE transferring in from Georgia. Of course he's not eligible for a season, but I can use that depth. Right now my single LE is a 65.

I signed four more four-star recruits (#5 athlete, #7 athlete, #7 WR, and #6 OLB) and five more three-star recruits (#26 DE, #40 TE, #13 QB, #53 G, and one I couldn't find) to finish 24th overall.

We're C+ on offense (B- at HB, C- at FB), B- on defense (B+ at DE thanks to the transfer, no C-), B- on special teams and B- overall. Up to 47th in the preseason polls and of course favored to win our third straight Sun Belt crown.

Non-conference schedule includes Miami-Florida at Miami, USC in Lafayette (how did we do that?), and Tulsa at Tulsa ... of course we're playing at Louisiana Tech for the fourth game. Strangely, replacing a I-AA team with the Bulldogs kept my SOS at C-.

Now they want me to finish in the top 25 (I think I can) and play in a January bowl game. Um ... we don't get invited to those. And I doubt I'll run the table with this schedule and this team. Oh well ... here we go ...

NCAA 10: Season 2 summary

(Warning: gamer post.)

2010 started off poorly with losses at rival Louisiana Tech (who wasn't automatically scheduled, I had to add them) and home to UAB. The next game was the conference opener against doormat Western Kentucky.

As is so often the case, WKU did everything perfectly, resulting in my first ragequit in I don't know how long. They were up 42-21 in the second quarter ... you'd think I was playing LSU instead of a team that had been in I-A just two seasons. Of course, the second time I played the game, I won easily, 45-17. (In case it bothers you, I would have won the conference anyway. Unless I ended up throwing the disc into the street.)

We ran off six wins in a row, counting that game, including a double-overtime win over Middle Tennessee State. Next was a triple-overtime loss to Florida Atlantic, 71-63. (Yeah, my defense is still terrible, even considering the boost that the sim gets on offense.) We beat Monroe to clinch the Sun Belt, upset Mississippi in Oxford, and then got destroyed at 2-10 Minnesota: no ragequit, but I did go to super sim with about half the fourth quarter left when it was clear there was no point in finishing the game; the next-to-last play was a 94-yard TD or something like that for them. Remember, the Big Ten is a tougher conference.

We lucked out (or would have, in real life) by drawing the New Orleans Bowl as Sun Belt champs, right next door in New Orleans. We led UTEP 17-0 before the sim figured out what was going on and ran off 24 unanswered points. Unfortunately for them, we scored the last 14 of the game, held them on fourth and two from the 3, and that was that.

Recruiting went better this time: 1 4-star recruit (#13 CB, a juco but badly needed anyway) and 3 3-star recruits (#24 MLB, #27 SS, #39 FS – see a pattern?) during the season. I've got soft commits from a 3-star OT (#37) and a 2-star K (#30, needed because my current kicker hit the crossbar on a 43-yard attempt in the Superdome). Leading on 4 more players, second on 2 more, including the #1 punter.

My TE won the Mackey Award, which was nice to see: he was a monster in the passing game. 111 receptions, 1273 yards, 8 TDs. I hope he doesn't go pro. (Bonus! He didn't.)

We met two of our three goals, beating ULM and getting a bowl bid. As expected, no 5- or 6-star teams on the schedule, so I didn't get a chance at that one. I got a 5-year extension offer and accepted it. BYU and Penn State came calling (JoePa got forced out, I guess), but no thanks, this is for SEC promotion.

Conference USA came calling again, and once again UAB would be shown the door. (Ha. Good thing it wasn't based on in-season results.) No thanks. I'm holding out.

No incoming transfers. (But hey, no one wanted out either.)

Ended up with 7 3-star recruits, but no punter. (Hope one of my kickers can punt.) Again, we did much better than the rest of the conference. Also, I lucked out and landed a 76 punter as a walk-on. ha ha.

This time, we do get Louisiana Tech (on the road? I think not). Non-conference games are at Kansas State, vs. Central Michigan, and vs. UAB. (What's up with that?) No strength of schedule, but whatever, I'm not ready to compete yet. Better to build my roster depth before I make a run for the SEC.

We're also picked to repeat as Sun Belt champs. C+ offense, C defense, C+ special teams, C overall. Individually, we're best at WR (B-) and worst at OLB (D+). I'll guess 2012 before we can make a run at the SEC.