Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 11 Praemium Terribilis

"Who are you?"

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible," said the little man, in a trembling voice. "But don't strike me--please don't--and I'll do anything you want me to."

"I thought Oz was a great Head," said Dorothy.

"And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady," said the Scarecrow.

"And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Man.

"And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion.

"No, you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."

"Making believe!" cried Dorothy. "Are you not a Great Wizard?"

Making believe is what many college teams and players have been doing this year indeed, as we present our week 11 “Terrible Awards”, affectionately known as “The Suckies”.

Cumberland Awardnamed in honor of the Cumberland team that took a 220-0 thrashing at the hands of Georgia Tech in 1916, this award honors the team that took the soundest beating of national significance in the past week.

Week 11 Winner – Miami

And so I thought the Orange Bowl was a terrible Beast, much like our Tin Man thought of the Great Oz, yet in the final moments of its life as the home of Da “U”, a meek and heartless Hurricane squad lost 48-0 to Virginia.

So in the “OB’s” final Miami game, “Quarterback U” failed to score even a field goal. The ‘Canes had 189 yards total offense, with only 94 yards passing, in the defeat.

Even the Hurricane’s recruits are questioning the heart of this team. (h/t EDSBS)

Alas though no simple wizard exists to bestow a heart here, and whatever heart there was in the Orange Bowl will soon face the demolition man, the venerable (and somewhat drippy) stadium having gone out in a shut-out.

Honorable Mentions – Connecticut (27-3 to Cincinnati), Wake Forest (44-10 to Clemson)

Ron Zook AwardFor the coach who is “always getting better," even if that betterment is not discernable to the rest of us.

Week 11 Winner – South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier

Dorothy had mistakenly thought Oz to be a great head, and perhaps so had South Carolina in hiring Steve Spurrier. Sure, the old ball coach has past success that no one can question. But at this point, South Carolina simply is not getting better. What began as a season with great promise (many picked South Carolina to compete or even win the SEC East), the once 7th ranked Gamecocks find themselves 6-5 overall and facing the prospect of not going to a bowl game. In getting blasted by Spurrier's alma mater, the ‘Cocks have now lost 4 in a row, and hated rival Clemson stands ahead with an 8-2 record. A possible .500 season looms for the Gamecocks.

Spurrier was famed at Duke and Florida for “coachin’ up” players that otherwise were overlooked or didn’t have the right motivation. Whether that touch is lost, or South Carolina simply has a roster of the uncoachable will be seen by next season, when the players will be mostly Spurrier recruits.

Honorable Mention – Charlie Weis, Charlie Weis, and Charlie Weis. Hell, he’s big enough to be three coaches.

Ron Powlus AwardGoes to the nationally anointed one and presumptive Heisman candidate that didn’t quite live up to his hype during the past week.

Week 11 Winner – Boston College’s Matt Ryan

It wasn’t so long ago Ryan was perhaps the “loveliest lady” of college football and prime Heisman candidate, and his Eagles BCS title game contenders. In fact, it was only 2 weeks ago. Now they are merely a scarecrow. After 2 consecutive losses to the likes of FSU and Maryland, BC’s title hopes are vanished, and any mention of a trip to New York for Mr. Ryan forgotten. Though his stats weren’t terrible against the ‘Terps, Ryan’s 2 interceptions contributed greatly to the Eagle’s loss.

Honorable Mention – None

Prairie View Awardgiven each week to the specific squad (offense, defense, special teams or otherwise) that distinguishes itself for pure, unadulterated suckiness. The award is named in honor of the Prairie View Panther team that lost a college football record 80 consecutive games during the 1990’s.

Week 11 Winner – South Carolina’s Defense

They were once truly a “ball of fire”, much as the cowardly lion saw the great Oz. A formerly vaunted and top ranked South Carolina defense that was giving up only 16.5 ppg (through October 20) gets shredded in two consecutive games. The stats tell the story –

Against Arkansas – 651 total yards, 48 points
Against Florida – 537 total yards, 51 points

South Carolina is now ranked 40th in scoring defense nationally at 23.5 ppg, one spot worse than Maryland. Total defense finds them 52nd surrendering 372 ypg.

Perhaps the old ball coach can give them the courage they so badly desire.

The Blue AwardNamed after September 1, 2007, the date “everything changed”, this award commemorates the team that overcame enormous odds to their undying detriment, thus losing to a team that they ought to have easily handled.

Week 11 Winner – Ohio State

"No, you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."

So it seems you were sweater vest, so it seems you were. Are you not a great wizard?

With the curtain stripped back and your machinations laid bare, perhaps a plea to Michigan not to “strike you” will go heeded.

But I doubt it.

Honorable Mentions – Notre Dame. Though losing to service academies seems now to be a habit.

The Roy Riegels AwardNamed in memory of Cal Bear Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels who while playing in the 1929 Rose Bowl picked up a Georgia Tech fumble and ran for 65 yards – the wrong direction, costing his team the game. This award honors the college football player who committed a blunder of such enormity that it perhaps single-handedly cost his team the game.

Week 11 Winner – Cal’s Nate Longshore

We have run our course of Oz-ian comparisons, but the once heralded Cal Bears might need a dose of brains, courage and heart after losing their 4th game of the season. The Riegels award this week goes to the mishap prone Longshore, who in the final minutes of the game against USC fumbled a snap and threw an interception, thus ending any hopes of a Cal comeback against the tepid Trojans.

We urge all this week’s winners to remember a lesson from Dorothy – when matters get to be too much to handle, simply click your Nike clad heels and repeat three times “There’s no place like home.”

Won’t likely do you any good, but it could make you feel better.

No comments: