A view from the stands

A view from the stands

Thursday, November 6, 2014

College Football Previewing Week #11

Did you catch it? Two thirds of the regular season has gone bye bye. Here it is, Week #11...

We've got nice little theme here this week... It's very simple "Win... You get to stick around, stay a part of the conversation. Lose, tough $h!+, better luck next year." simple as that... 

And while that's always the theme, we've got heavyweight bouts all day on Saturday.

We get it kicked off at 11:00 a.m.

Baylor @ Oklahoma (Line: Baylor +5)

It's simple, Baylor, you already have one loss. 1st in offense this, points that, defense this, turnovers that... AHH! Save it! I don't give a damn. If you want to keep your hat in the ring for one of those playoff spots, you are just going to have to walk into Norman and kick someone's ass... simple as that. 

Oklahoma, you were supposed to be somebody this year, 2 losses... looks more like you're just another somebody else. Now you got somebody on your doorstep ready to kick your ass... Let's find out a little more about who you are.

2:30 p.m.

Texas A&M @ Auburn (Line: Texas A&M +23.5)

A&M, you're the perfect example of what not to be. Yeah, you came out and put it on South Carolina, You felt real good about yourselves, didn't you?... You could have stayed hungry, could have stayed pissed off and focused... instead, you started coming up with your own nicknames and focused on the flare and the "razzle dazzle". And what happened? You got your ass whooped all over the place. Here's a chance to show something. You gonna do it? Or you gonna be focused on how your jersey's look?

Auburn, excellent game last week on the road at Ole Miss, but let's call a spade a spade, you got a little lucky with that Treadwell fumble...

Side: For those of you who missed it, Sophmore, Laquon Treadwell played a hell of a game for Ole Miss, he was getting blocks, and making some big time catches (He had 10 on the day, which was a career high for him) He was just flat out getting after it... It was an outstanding performance on the evening. His 10th catch came in the 4th quarter with 1:37 left to go, Ole Miss Trailing by 4, 35-31, he broke 3 tackles and took it in for the touchdown (Or so we thought), The Rebel fans went wild, but Treadwell was motionless on the field. He got snapped backward by the tackle and then was hit from the front. WATCH IT HERE. As a fan of the game, it hurt to watch, but you could at least find some peace by saying "at least he got the TD"... Until the replay showed that the tackle from behind caused him to 1. dislocate his ankle. 2. break his leg (fibula). Fumble INSIDE the 1 yard line!!!! and then 4. Take a shot to the head... At which point in time you COULD NOT help but feel for the guy, Absolutely everything that could go wrong for the man did. He played so well that game, and to see it end like that... it was tough... The result was, Auburn recovered the fumble in the end zone and since Ole Miss was out of time outs, they were able to take a knee to win the game 35-31. It was just a tough way to see a game end...

Let's get back to this week... Auburn, you've been pretty good and you got a little lucky last week, but that's alright, cuz right now you got yourself a seat riding shotgun for this playoff. You just simply need to keep proving why you're there. Aggies are in town... are you going to screw around? Or are  you going to drop the hammer on them?

 Notre Dame @ Arizona State (Line: Notre Dame +2.5)

Clear the ring and call in Mills Lane....  In one corner we've got the 1 loss Irish who feel they were cheated out of a win against Florida State, in the other corner, the 1 loss Sun Devils who tend to get a little tougher at home and may be a little hungry to avenge last years loss to the Irish.

This is it, can't have 2 losses and expect to stay in the conversation with the big boys. A loss here for either is going to send them packing for one of those 2nd Tier bowl games in late December. In short, I expect a fight.... Literally.... "Let's get it on!"

6:30 p.m.

Kansas State @ TCU (Line: Kansas State +6)

...Speaking of fights... I could say the same thing here... Loss vs. Loss, Sorry, but a Loss here and you gotta go. We're going to have whole lot of Purple in this one. Who's the real "Purple People Eaters" this year?

When I think of Bill Snyder (K-State) and Gary Patterson (TCU) I think of two guys with that run their programs with pure class and integrity.... and that's great in all (I really do respect the way they run their programs), but that's just going to have to take a back seat this week, because we ain't got time for no choir boy $h!t... it's time to get nasty... Or it's time to go home.

What's it going to be?

7:00 p.m.

Alabama @ LSU (Line: LSU +6.5)

... It's amazing to think this game is "second fiddle" to one or two of these other games this week. However, I assure you the boys on the field in this one couldn't disagree more. Tell LSU they are out of it... Go ahead, tell em... They may actually enjoy "being out of it", with nothing to lose these guys are very dangerous people. I don't know if they're going to win or not, but I do know when it's all said and done, they are going to physically punish Alabama. The Tide will know they were down in Death Valley. By the way... this is Lane Kiffen's first trip ever to Tiger Stadium. He should have a good time calling plays down there...

As for Alabama... I would have some words of warning for these guys, but it's just another day for them. These guys live with a target on their back, There's always someone coming for them week in and week out. This time it just so happens to be the guys from the county jail psych ward.

Ohio State @ Michigan State (Line: Ohio State +3.5)

One more Loss vs Loss battle to thin out the crowd....

Boy's I don't know how to tell you this, but you need to win this just to tag along with the rest of the big boys... You don't get to be up there with them... you just  get to tag along...

Bottom line, you don't need to just win the game... You need to win the damn game!

Everyone's taking Michigan State, and when all the signs point that way, it's easy to see why. However, that's usually the best time to go the opposite way, remember last year in the Big 10 Championship, everyone was taking Ohio State...

.... Week 11... Load 'em up, We're getting down to it, and we're playin for Keeps!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

College Football Previewing Week #10

This week there may not be a "whole lot" of big time games, but there are a few games you should keep your eye on. So let's get to it!


#2 Florida State @ #25 Louisville (Line: Louisville +3.5)


1. It's a Thursday night game!
2. We all know about Florida State, but Louisville has a very serious D!  Least amount of yards given up in the country, and 4th in points allowed at less than 15 per game... Oh, and FYI they take the ball away too, 15 INT's on the year second only to the "Land Sharks" of Ole Miss and some forced fumbles... Top that off with their 29 sacks on the season and we're looking at some guys that are going to get after Mr. Famous Jameis.

Wow, why haven't we talked about them before, and aren't they favored tonight?

Well when you can't pass the ball and you're even worse at running the thing, it's hard to score points. And when your QB is constantly getting sacked and your running backs/receivers are coughing the ball up, you're not going to get too much press.

- The Lousiville QB's have been sacked 27 times this season, that's 7th WORST.
- The Cardinals have 12 fumbles... 12! on the season. Protect the Pill Son!

That said, If the Cardinal D can find a way to create those turnovers they've been doing this season, and give their offense the short field to work with... And, if the Louisville line can maybe block a guy or 2 and the the boys can hang on to the ball... We've got a game on our hands.

and once again... It's a Thursday night game... And The fans will be ready for Halloween.

I'm rooting for the Cards to pull the upset... and these Thursday night games have a history of causing chaos...


2:30 p.m.

Florida Vs. #11 Georgia (Line: Florida +12.5)


1. It's the "Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"
2. If Florida doesn't get the W, Will Muschamp can just head back and start cleaning out his office.
3. Nothing screams college football more than this... Watch the video from the Florida/Georgia game back in 2007  below (and look at the confusion on Tebow's face...) That's how the tone for the afternoon is set!

#7 TCU @ #20 West Virginia (Line: WVU +5.5)


Playoff implications are on the line for TCU, and they are looking better and better each week. At the same time, West Virginia can still win the Big 12.

I'll gladly give up the 5.5 points and take TCU in this one. Since that letdown against Baylor where they gave up 24 points in the final 11:30. They have just been ruthless... Just STOMPING guys. These are angry people, just give them what they want and get out of the way.

6:00 p.m.

#3 Auburn @ #4 Ole Miss (Line: Ole Miss +2)


You already know why you need to be watching this one. 2 damn good teams going to go at it. It's time for the wild SEC West to start devouring itself. Winner get's to stay in the playoff picture, loser get's to play the role of spoiler for the next guy on the list.

Let's make it clear, the playoffs may " Officially Start" on January 1. But, they're already well on their way. And this appears to be an elimination round for these two.

6:30 p.m.

Stanford @ #5 Oregon (Line: Stanford +7.5)


While Stanford has been very mortal with 3 losses thus far this season, they seem to be kryptonite the Ducks. Granted, Stanford has only allowed 12.5 points per game this season, but considering they can't score any points themselves, this SHOULD be Oregon's game to win... They just need to keep Mariota upright and off his back. 

Later Games.

#12 Arizona @ #22 UCLA (Line: Arizona +6.5)
I'm not sure how UCLA can be favored in this game....

#17 Utah @ #14 Arizona State (Line: Utah +6)
It would really be nice to know what team I should get excited about out west. In the mean time, we'll just keep them "all" on the radar.

Friday, October 24, 2014

College Football Previewing Week #9

Well, the guys on College GameDay will tell you "This is a take care of business kind of week"... I like to cut through the crap,,, "There ain't much $h!+ going on this week" There is one game worth tuning into, which I'll get to here in a second, but other than that, the score tracker app on your phone will do just fine this week... And I don't want to get ahead of myself, but it doesn't look like you'll need much more than that for next week as well.

So why even bother? Well, if I've learned nothing else, I've learned there is ALWAYS a "complete shocker" sometime during the weeks of 8, 9, 10 and 11 that sends the college football world upside down.

That said, here are a few games to check in on every now and then.

11:00 a.m.
Texas @ #11 Kansas State - Line: Texas +10
The Cats had a big upset win IN Oklahoma last week (insert proud face here: I took the Cats and the points against the Sooners), they've got 1 loss, IF they can keep it that way, they'll be in the mix come the end of the season, considering that 1 loss was a tough one against Auburn. And as I've stated Texas is a wildcard every week.

2:30 p.m.
#1 Mississippi State @ Kentucky - Line: Kentucky +13.5
I hope this isn't a game, but simple question... Would you get excited to play Kentucky? Remember, we're talking football, not basketball. With that said, Kentucky IS improved, are they a real threat? Well if you're out drinking all the bourbon in Lexington the night before the game, yeah they could be. Dogs, please just stay focused and kick ass like you're supposed to.

Michigan @ #8 Michigan State - Line: Michigan +17
1. It's still a "Rivalry" game (please notice the quotation marks)
2. It COULD be the last time you see Brady Hoke on the sidelines wearing the "maize" and blue..
3. For god's sake the line is 17,... Check in to see if the Wolverines can at least cover.

#22 West Virginia @ Oklahoma State - Line: West Virginia +1
Well, both teams may have 2 losses, 1 loss each in conference, a Big 12 Championship is still not out of the question for either of these teams (though not likely)... AND Wow! The spread is only 1 point!

5:00 p.m.
#15 Arizona @ Washington State - Line: Washington State +2.5
As the line shows, this is a potential upset. These are 2 offenses that can put points on the board. The real bet here is the over/under at 72.5 points. Personally, I think were talking more 80+ when it's said and done.

7:00 p.m.
#13 Ohio State @ Penn State - Line: Penn State +14
1. Penn State is at home and has had 2 weeks to prepare, and after dropping 2 in a row. They kind of need this. 
2. ... It's on ABC???

7:30 p.m.
#4 Alabama @ Tennessee - Line: Tennessee +17
Because Robin Kiffin (Lane's mom) is worried about her baby boy being on the sideline when he returns to Tennessee for the first time... Awww...

On a serious note, while lengthy the CBS report is an interesting read.

Late Game:
#20 USC @ #19 Utah - Line: Utah +1
1. Should be a good game
2. MAYBE someone will look like they want to win the Pac 12 South... Maybe...

Finally!!! Let's talk about the game to WATCH!!!

... and to no surprise, it's down in the Southeastern portion of the country....

6:15 p.m.
#3 Ole Miss @ #24 LSU - Line: LSU +3.5

I'll let those guys on ESPN talk about how good the Ole Miss D is, and how Bo Wallace has done a good job, not turning the ball over the past three or four weeks. You want that info, turn on GameDay or head on over to ESPN/Yahoo whatever your favorite sports site is... I don't really care...

Because it's not the "stats" that's going to make this one fun to watch... it's the recent history between these two that's going to make this one enjoyable...

You: "Case, the 'history' between LSU and Ole Miss?"
Me: "Yes... the history between these two... stay with me, clearly you've forgotten what's gone on over the past few years..."

Let's start back in 2011 when the #1 Tigers were on the road at a VERY YOUNG Ole Miss, as expected, LSU crushed the Rebels. Les didn't want to run up the score, and instructed his offense to take a knee, which is commendable when you're up 52-3... BUT! It did raise a lot of eyebrows considering there was more than 5 minutes to go in the game... (and not to mention the 2 timeouts the Rebels had) Some say this "Started the war" between Ole Miss and LSU...

Then in 2012, the 8th ranked LSU Tigers hosted the unranked (Young) Rebels. Ole Miss fought hard and took a 7 point lead (35-28) with 11:11 to go in the game, LSU tied the game on a punt return with 9:10 to go, and... with 15 seconds left in the game, Jeremy Hill went over the top to give LSU the win, 41-35... And this is what Les Miles had to say after the game...

(Note: this was NOT a response to a question, this was his opening remarks)

If you're confused, it's ok... You're not the only one. The SEC was very confused and concerned. They employed the National Security Agency (NSA) to break down the coach's comments to better understand his mental stability and... just exactly what in the hell was he talking about?

Top officials at the agency worked on the case around the clock for months with no luck...

Finally, one of their  local sources provided them with a lead of 2 masterminds that were fluent in the language...

When these were the 2 guys that walked in...
They said "F--- It", and added the speech to the wonders of the world list...

Last year, back in Oxford, the Rebels finally (with some experience under their belt) got their revenge against the 6th ranked Tigers. It was very similar to the game in 2012, Ole Miss went into the 4th quarter with a 10 point lead, 24-14. LSU whittled away and tied it up with 3:19 left in the game. However, this time Ole Miss would not be denied. They chewed up the remaining time on a 13 play drive which ended with a 41 yard field goal to pull off the upset 27-24.

So what does all this mean for this year? Well it's funny how the tides have turned, we've got a veteran Rebel team ranked #3 in the country vs a VERY YOUNG  LSU. The only difference is talent pops up like weeds at LSU (and it has to with the revolving door to the NFL they've got going on over there). 

This year's cast of characters for LSU (or roster as some call it) includes 18 TRUE FRESHMEN that have already seen the field, with many starting or seeing significant playing time, including QB Brandon Harris (TRUE FRESHMAN QB in the SEC...) and RB, Leonard Fournette who has already started his own personal Heisman campaign, but is going to need some time to work on the pose...

Rookie, what are you doing???
You've got the whole thing jazzed up... 
You've gotta bring that right leg over and lean to the left...
... and what are you doing with that left hand? Are you calling someone???? 

What's the matter with you?

Here... Please, just take a look at Dez, he's got the idea...


Anyways, let's get back to this... Young LSU... Veteran Ole Miss...

The Ole Miss "Land Shark" D is the real deal (and #1 in the country) giving up a stingy 10.6 points per game. 

Vegas has the Tigers as 3.5 dogs... But even with that experience gap, the game is still in Death Valley, "Where dreams come to die" -Les Miles. AT NIGHT. Now, Dak Prescott, and Mississippi State went in there at night earlier this year and put on a show... But to think LSU would lose 2 games at home AT NIGHT and one of those losses ISN'T even against Alabama (who they play at home in a few weeks) is almost incomprehensible. 

That said, I expect the Rebel's to be prepared for this. Hell, the last 2 years have been a dog fight between these 2...

All the football logic is saying "Take Ole's Miss!" They've got the D, Bo Wallace has played well as of late, they're hungry, they're making plays...But I can't do it. I gotta take LSU... But! bet your ass I'm going to take those 3.5 points Vegas is giving out. I may need them. We'll call it a... "Just in case".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What No One ELSE is saying about the Notre Dame Pass Interference Call

Everyone is talking about the pass interference call on Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise that cost N.D. the game last night in Tallahassee.

If you watched the Notre Dame/ Florida State game last night, you heard Kirk Herbstreit say "He's just blocking" referencing how Prosise came off the line with no intention of looking to catch the ball.

Most sites that I've seen are faulting Prosise for the penalty that cost Notre Dame the game, and they have followed Herbstreit by commenting on "the appropriate way" to run the "rub route".

So I'm putting this out there for 2 reasons.

1. C.J. Prosise may have not done anything wrong, and the penalty may have resulted in a mental mistake by Corey Robinson and also maybe by Everett Golson as the play was intended to be a screen rather than a "pick pass."

2. Even if the play was intended as a "pick pass," I wanted to bring to the forefront how close the play was to being a screen pass, in which case C.J Prosise's block was legal... and they would be partying in South Bend.

When you watch the replay, you see the line of scrimmage is just outside the 2 yard line. Corey Robinson (who eventually catches the ball) is in the backfield at the 5 yard line. When the ball is snapped he starts running the out. What I want to point out was that he begins his route "flat" for the first two steps... but then, he starts "floating" towards the goal line (it is a natural thing to do in the situation). He catches the ball at roughly the 1 yard line (1 yard beyond the line of scrimmage). However, had he continued his route "flat" and/or caught the ball somewhere between the 2 and 3 yard line (JUST behind the line of scrimmage) it's actually a screen pass and C.J. Prosise's block is completely legal... and the Irish win the game.

So if the Brian Kelly called up the screen, Prosise did what he was supposed to do. It was Robinson's fault for crossing the line of scrimmage before catching the ball and Golson (to somewhat of a degree) for not keeping the pass behind the line of scrimmage (But, he needs to throw it where Robinson can catch it obviously).

And even if the play was intended to be a "pick pass" as many other people and sites are suggesting... watch again to see how close the play was to being a screen and making Prosise's block legal. 1 yard makes all the difference in the world.

Watch the replay here. If Robinson catches the ball on right side of the black line. No penalty... N.D. touchdown.

Offensive Pass Interference Call Replay

Here is Mike Pereira talking about the play, If you look at his screen you'll notice the ball is out of Golson's hand and Robinson IS JUST!!! past the line of scrimmage.

And here is a view from the sideline for a different angle...

Terry Williams provides a good description of the situation in "The Hardest Call in Football"

"Offensive pass interference (OPI) is any contact upon a defensive player initiated by an offensive player legally beyond the line of scrimmage (LOS) during a forward pass play in which a forward pass crosses the LOS.  It is the responsibility of the offensive player to avoid the opponents.  In other words, the offense knows it's going to throw a pass.  Therefore, on pass plays when the pass is going to be thrown beyond the LOS, all offensive players are restricted.  They are restricted from initiating any contact on a defensive player who is beyond the LOS from the time the ball is snapped until the pass is touched by any player or game official.  If the pass does not cross the LOS (e.g., screen pass behind the LOS, blocked pass at or behind the LOS, etc.), an official should not enforce pass interference."

Who made the mistake? You decide, but before seeing the tape here was Brian Kelly's comments on the play.
Kelly said the referees didn’t provide an explanation for the pass interference call on Prosise. “We execute that play every day. And we do it legally and that’s the way we coach it. We don’t coach illegal plays,” Kelly said. Prosise “did exactly what he’s coached to do — exactly what he’s supposed to do.”

Whatever you decide, it could have been, and was close to being a screen pass in which case there is no penalty...

Friday, October 17, 2014

College Football Previewing Week #8

Aight... Here's the skinny on everything you need to know about all the action tomorrow.

Here are the notable games you should keep an eyeball on...

3:00 p.m.
#10 Georgia @  Arkansas (Line: Arkansas +3.5)
- Arkansas played both Texas A&M and Alabama real tough over the last 2 weeks, could be an upset if the Dawgs take their foot off the gas.

6:00 p.m.
Tennessee @ #3 Ole Miss (Line: Tennessee +16)
- Don't doze off Rebels... The Vols are CLAWING for a win. - This SHOULD be a stomping though.

6:30 p.m.
#19 Nebraska @ Northwestern (Line: Northwestern +7)
- The Cats lost their first 2 games of the season and we wrote them off, then they beat Penn State on the road and followed it up with an upset of Wisconsin. Then they blow it against Minnesota, where a kickoff return cost them the game. Who are these guys? They can't run the ball and they don't score much, but no one seems to want to score on them.

9:30 p.m.
#23 Stanford @ #17 Arizona State (Line: Arizona State +3.5)
- Does anyone want to win the Pac 12?

And here are the games in focus this week...

11:00 a.m.

#14 Kansas State @ #11 Oklahoma (Line: Kansas St. +7.5)

Anytime two ranked teams take the field in conference play it's a big game. Here are the facts: Kansas State is undefeated in conference play. They, along with Baylor and Oklahoma State are top dogs. Oklahoma... is Oklahoma, they do have that loss to TCU, but by no means are they out of this thing.

Obviously we've got Oklahoma as the favorite at home, but we're really looking at two evenly matched teams. AND K-State has had two weeks to prepare for the game. Now while that ole dog Bill Snyder hasn't fared too well against the Sooners with 7 wins and 12 losses (3-8 down in Norman). 2 years ago after a bye week, the Cats did go down there and hand the Sooners a loss 24-19.

I think most of us are aware of the talent on Oklahoma, but K-State aint no slouch either. They gave a very good Auburn team all they could handle a few weeks back. I'm curious if the Sooners are going to give Kansas State the respect they deserve....

By The Numbers:

  • Passing Yards (Per Game)
    • Kansas State #51 - (255.0)
    • Oklahoma #52 - (254.5)
  • Rushing Yards (Per Game)
    • Kansas State #46 - (189.0)
    • Oklahoma #43 - (191.0)
  • Points For (Per Game)
    • Kansas State #16 - (40.8)
    • Oklahoma #17 - (40.5)
  • Yards Allowed (Average Per Game)
    • Kansas State #44 - (444)
    • Oklahoma #42 - (446)
  • Points Allowed (Average Per Game)
    • Kansas State #33 (21.0)
    • Oklahoma #42 (21.5)

... That's called two equal teams. I've gotta take the 7.5 points their giving out with K-State, but I think the Sooners get them in a close one.

#4 Baylor @ West Virginia (Line: West Virginia +7.5)

Baylor vs West Virginia is a big game? Yes it is, get your pencils out, we've got red flags everywhere. Let's get the easy stuff out of the way... Baylor, big comeback win at home with 24 unanswered points in the last 11:30 to pick up the W over TCU 61-58. By default, when the next game is on the road after a win like that, you're on upset alert.

I know what you're thinking "But Case, the Baylor offense..." Yes I know, WE ALL KNOW why Baylor SHOULD roll we don't need to get into that. I aint interested in talking about something we already know...

With that said, what you may not know is West Virginia can (still) sling it with anyone in the country. No one has hooked up for more yards than Sr. QB, Clint Trickett and Sr. Wide Out Kevin Stats who have connected for 888 yards this season. Trickett has some other options as well and he is 3rd in country with 2203 yards... So these guys can move the ball down the field in a hurry... and while improved, I wouldn't exactly say the Baylor D is something to write home about after giving up 58 points last week.

It depends on how you want to look at it, but West Virginia might have a little MO on their side as well... in the "nobody-cares-news" the Mountaineers are coming off their own come from behind victory on the road against Texas Tech in a similar situation, scoring the last 17 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a game winner as the time expired. This week they've got the home crowd and even though they're not ranked, a win over Baylor will put them right back in the middle of the hunt for the Big 12.

Baylor got the better of West Virginia last year 73-42, but I have a little history lesson for you girls and boys that may have forgotten. This was the game 2 years ago that put Geno Smith on the map (and briefly in the Heisman talk) after completing 45 of 51 against Baylor, for an insane 656 yards, 8 TD's, and a Mountaineer victory 70-63. The jokesters were out comparing the Baylor defense to "no defense" after Geno's Pro Day where he had 4 incompletions compared to 6 in the game against Baylor. Here is the tweet that started the conversation.
"Geno Smith at #WVU Pro Day: 60-of-64 (93.7%) vs. no defense. Smith vs. Baylor: 45-of-51 (88.2%). Meaning Baylor's D is 5.5% better than air." - Patrick Southern 

 Since then Geno hasn't done much except throw interceptions and yell "F--- Y--" at loyal Jets fans...

... OK back to 2014...  I haven't seen an over/under on this game, but these boys are going to light up the scoreboard, so don't get too excited about that first touchdown.

As I look at it, West Virginia may not be aware they're supposed to lose this game, so Baylor better get focused, otherwise a letdown will be brewing for the Bears.

2:30 p.m.

#21 Texas A&M @ #7 Alabama (Line: Texas A&M +13.5)

We can keep this one short and sweet. If Bama wins, Texas A&M will have dropped three straight in the SEC West... And that will pretty much do it. Kevin Sulin can start formulating a plan of attack for next year. If A&M can pull the upset on the road, which is "something of a possibility" given Alabama's lackluster performance over the past couple of weeks (a 14-13 win over... Arkansas??? and a loss to Ole Miss) ... all joking aside, the state authorities may want to have the national guard standing by, an angry riot is not out of the question if the Tide go down this week in Tuscaloosa... These people (if you want to call them that) are not used to losing down there. Let's agree to come together on this one and hope the Tide roll...

Side Note:

You can argue all you want, but I'm telling you, IF Bama's going to get back on track they're going to need Lane Kiffin to wipe that stupid look off his face... 

Yes, That one!

Because they were doing a lot better earlier this season when he was in hiding... 
...Or "Stealth Mode"... 

Damn it Lane! We can still see you!

And really, the boys looked a lot happier, and things seemed to be going better when he wasn't there at all...

3:00 p.m.

#15 Oklahoma State @ #12 TCU (Line: Oklahoma State +10)

Looks like we're going to learn a lot about the Big 12 this weekend...

Oklahoma State has rattled off 5 in a row when no one was looking... and no one really wants to look when it's against the likes of Kansas and Iowa State... None the less, they are undefeated in Big 12 play. The did play Florida State tough for three quarters in the first game of the season, but we don't know too much about this team, and I'm not sure they know too much about themselves either, this is a young team. We'll see how these guys come together as conference play picks up.

Obviously, I talked a lot about TCU last week. This is a big game for them, how do they handle adversity?

I think Gary Patterson gets the Horned Frogs re-focused and they pull away from the Cowboys in the fourth quarter.


7:00 p.m.

#5 Note Dame @ #2 Florida State (Line: Notre Dame +12)

Really don't think we need to explain why this is a big one... This isn't just a #5 @ #2, this is the undefeated, fifth ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on the road, in Tallahassee versus the undefeated, second ranked Seminoles of Florida State...at night... in prime time! ... It gives me the chills just saying it. Oooo

... Now that we've gotten the adrenaline out of the way, let's talk about this a little. When I hear "Top 5 Notre Dame, Florida State, getting ready to go at it!" I think "Boom! The excellence of 1993, Competition at its finest."

When we step out of fantasyland known as the past, and come back to the reality of 2014, there's just this... let down, as things are just... different...

We do have the Noles off of their National Championship, but they don't look anything like last year's team... Or anything like the Noles of the 90's. Last year's team was top notch, giving up 14 points or less in 11 games while putting up no less than 37 points (averaging 51 points), and "the Noles of the 90's"... well.. THEY WERE 'THE NOLES OF THE 90'S" absolutely crushing guys.

This year's team, different story. The analysts have this years Florida State team scheduled in the playoffs, not because they look the part, because they just can't find anyone on their schedule that's good enough to beat them (including the Irish). It's almost like they're the little brother that get's to tag along in this year's playoff... as long as they keep their room clean...

When people are talking about this year's Florida State team the tone is really "Well we're not sure if Florida State is really that good this year, or if they're really one of the top four teams in the country, but what are we going to do? NOT put an undefeated Florida State, defending national champion in the playoff?". I can't say I disagree, but I will say the "tone" speaks volumes of the ACC. There were some people that got excited for Florida State game on the road against N.C. State given their "history of troubles" there, but that was for shit.

In short, we're looking at an undefeated #2, Florida State, where the consensus is "They're good, but... they're really not that special"

Now that we've addressed Florida State and that these guys are "Just a good team". I want to focus on the Irish. Over the past two weeks, I've talked to a dozen or so Notre Dame fans about this game, and the feedback I got... to me... was just sad. There was hope, but there was no confidence. The worst response I got was from a guy who was all "Irished out" (he had the hat on, the T-shirt under the hoodie) who said "Ahh, I don't think we have a chance, I just hope we come out and play well." Now this was just one guy, so I wont tear him apart, but I can't tell you how many times I heard "If we can just get by" or "somehow pull this off" (as if it was a magic trick to win a football game)... I don't necessarily.... have a problem with this coming from fans, as they can think/feel/believe whatever they want...

...The problem I have is that this is the message that's being sent out from the football program at The University of Notre Dame. "We're going to try to 'get by', we're working, we're trying to figure out how we can 'get by'"... trying to "get by"?! GET BY?!!! Are you kidding me?! Who are you? An aging stripper with no high school diploma or any other skills that's just been demoted to the Tuesday lunch shift with three kids to feed?... You are supposed to be the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. And that's the problem, and it's been that way for the past 15+ years now.

"Case, we played for the National Championship in 2012" Yeah you did... You "got by" the regular season, and you.. yourself... were "in shock" when you were able to (or "found a way to") beat Oklahoma on the road, and then in the National Championship you ran across a team that "expected" to be there, and they put it on you... "As Expected".

If Notre Dame wants to keep slinging around "tradition" like they do, "expectations" need to re-evaluated. As the years keep passing the only "tradition" or message out of Notre Dame these kids... or shall I say recruits... are seeing is one of "hope" and "mediocrity". That one guy said "I hope we come out and play well". There shouldn't be any hope involved, he should expect Notre Dame to come out and play well. They may be the Irish, but where did the Fight go?

I can see I'm getting long winded, so I'll wind this down. I don't have a pick in this one, I "hope" (as I've been conditioned) to see a good game. I "wish" for a great game, like the one back on November 13, 1993... but I guess I shouldn't "expect" one... I don't know what I'm supposed to "expect."

I used to be a Notre Dame fan when I was a boy, but I got tired after 7 or 8 years hearing how good they were 7 or 8 years ago... "Tradition" as they like to call it, isn't history, it's a perpetual practice of excellence. A practice that has been excused from Notre Dame for far too long.

I know no one cares what I have to say, but here's my challenge to both of these teams:

You may have won some games, you may have even played for or won a National Championship. But your program used to have an attitude. You didn't just execute, you did it with extreme prejudice. Your tradition wasn't so much about the wins and losses; Your tradition was about the nasty bad ass attitude you brought to the field game after game, year after year... Show me that tradition again. Show me the ruthlessness you had back in 1993.

Monday, October 13, 2014

College Football Week 7 Recap: Routs & Rallies

So, another big week in college football... Alabama HANGING ON against Arkansas??? What the hell is going on down there? We'll let that one slide and focus on other action that took place.

TCU... What happened? I'm glad Vegas is paying me out considering I got 8.5... but as a fan of TCU in this one, I'm shocked. For those of you who only saw the final Baylor 61 - TCU 58... you missed the whole story. TCU went up 21 points with 11:39 to go in the game (58-37) on a Pick-6, I was so proud, TCU was "making the statement" I thought they would make. I'm still trying to figure out what in the hell happened over those last eleven minutes... Did TCU think the game was over? Did they start serving cocktails on the sideline? I don't know, I would love to say they started playing the clock and we're playing the "prevent D", but that wasn't the case. For the last 11:30 Baylor was just  better than TCU. The Frogs outplayed Baylor for  the first 3+quarters, but the fourth quarter belonged to the Bears. they just said, "No sir, we are not going to fold, this is our house"... and it was. This was simply the definition of "fighting through adversity" and perseverance. I solute the Bears on an outstanding comeback.

I would like to add, the comeback was so big, Baylor fans themselves were in shock. If you caught the end of the game, the Baylor fans (after scoring 24 points in the final 11 minutes) had the look of "Ahhh what do we do?" and then after a few minutes, there was a consensus that was like... "Ahhh let's rush the field" Yeah... go ahead it was the biggest comeback in your school's history. Get on out there.

Let's move on down to the South Eastern part of the country...

Mississippi State gets their 3rd win in a row against a top 10 opponent 38-23. While the final suggest the Dogs (Mississippi State is  "The Dogs", "The Dawgs" are down in Georgia) handled Auburn (and they did jump out to a 21-0 lead), there was a questionable PI call in the 4th quarter that went against Auburn on a Mississippi St 4th and long. It was the turning point in the game. Instead of it being Auburn ball down 8, Mississippi St. got the huge first down and the drive resulted in another 3 points, that momentum carried over to the kickoff as the Dogs special teams caused a fumble inside the Auburn 20, 2 plays later (after a nice pass from Dak to Malcom Johnson) Josh Robinson punched it in and that was it. The cow bells were out and the rednecks were rockin StarkVegas.

Debbie Downer: Dak, did throw 2 picks on the day, with one of them being in the Auburn endzone (which is a "no-no"), BUT!!! the 367 all purpose yards (246 yards through the air, 121 on the ground) along with 3 TD's (2 rushing, 1 passing) is plenty to cover. The Dogs roll on, and the Heisman talk heats up.

Obviously right now we can't talk about one Mississippi school without discussing the other as well. Ole Miss had an impressive win on the road at Texas A&M. This was pretty much one sided as the Rebels went up 21-0, and then 35-7 with the defense accounting for 14 of Ole Miss's 35 points. There's really not much to say about this... It was an ass whoopin', The Aggie fans were filing out early.

No Gurley... No Worries for Georgia, They rolled 34-0 without Heisman candidate Todd Gurley and let's highlight the big time play from the Georgia D, The Tigers were on their half of the field most of the day, and when they did cross the 50 the Dawgs were taking the ball away. 5 turnovers (4 picks and 1 fumble) on top of 4 "three-and-out's" is the recipe for a shutout. The offensive side of the story can be spun in two ways. "Nick Chubb steps up and carries the load for Georgia" or "The Dawgs deflate the ball in win against Mizzou." In the first scenario we discuss the true freshman, Chubb carrying the ball a lofty 38 times (when an individual RB will  typical carry the ball 15-20... 25 to 30 times max) for 143 yards and 1 TD. In the second scenario, we highlight the success of the run game as sophomore, Brandon Douglass added 65 yards to Chubb's 143, on 13 carries as Georgia ran the ball 58 times on 86 plays (67%), but note the potential balance issue Georgia has going forward, especially with Gurley out, Keith Marshall and Sony Michael (the other standout freshman) gimpy with injuries. I'm not a huge fan of Hutson Mason (as I've stated before), I thought Georgia should have gone with Brice Ramsey or someone younger to get him some experience rather than going with a Sr. with a lower ceiling. I watched the game and I saw a coaching staff that is aware of the issue, Mason only threw the ball 28 times for an AVERAGE of 5.6 yards... His LONG... 14 yards. (He's ONLY averaging 6.5 yards per attempt this season) that's "Quarterback management" right there, Keep the ball away from Hutson, and when he does have it, let's let him do very little with it. To Hutson's credit, he did get a rushing TD on the day. However, it was one of the least athletic plays possible, he damn near tripped over his own feet and actually fumbled the ball JUST as he crossed the plane... Real smooth Huts.. Real smooth... Check out the replay.

Obviously, we don't argue a winning formula, but I am going to raise my hand and say, "There's going to be some guys coming up on the schedule, and they're going to put some men up in the box, what's our plan going to be? this aint no secret." The Dawgs are going to have to be able to throw the ball a little more if they plan on going to Atlanta in December. 

Let's turn our attention out west... and the Pac-12 mess...

The headlines read "USC holds off Arizona's rally"... They should say "Cat's piss it away" or maybe a little more politically correct, the local papers might say "Kicking game kills the Cats". USC got the W 28-26. Zona down 14-6, had a field goal blocked to end the first half. Then after going down 28-13, Arizona came back scoring 13 unanswered. They went for 2 to tie but failed twice after a PI call on the first attempt. Still down 2 with a minute to go, the went for.. and got... the onside kick. Huge! A couple quick hitters and The Cat's were looking at a 36 yard field goal for the win. The snap was there, the kick was up and she was good... Ahh but wait, we had the ever famous "timeout right before" the snap... Let's line up and do it again... Oh shit, pushed it to the right, USC escapes. (On the positive side, Arizona covered the 2.5 spread, winner, winner, chicken dinner! Pay me my money)

Watch the shank here. The whining makes me want to puke. 36 yards, right between the hashes, what else you want sweetheart? Shut up and make the damn kick!

(He doesn't deserve the name Casey, crying like a little [you know what I'd say]... What the hell's a matter with you? You didn't get the job done. You lost... it sucks, so be it... Shut up! Pick your ass up off the ground, dust yourself off, and get your ass ready for the next one.... I could backhand him)


Ok let's get re-focused...

Oregon got their W against UCLA, I was focused on the other 2:30 p.m. games, so not too much to comment on. It really looked like the Ducks were in control the whole way (This was pretty much the theme of the afternoon, beat downs across the country), eventually going up 32 points in the fourth quarter 42-10, with UCLA chipping away late to make it look a little  more respectable than it really was. Final Oregon 42- UCLA 30.

So in the Pac-12 we've got Oregon who still has some challenges left, but they control their fate in the North followed by a very "mediocre" looking Stanford. In the South, USC is now the lead pony, but their conference loss to Arizona State really leaves the division up for grabs. Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah are all in the mix and UCLA has an outside shot, but they're going to need some things to go their way to really get back into this thing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

College Football Previewing Week #7:

Here is your guide for this week in college football! 

11:00 a.m. Games:

#13 Georgia @ #23 Missouri - Line Missouri +3
(Line remains Missouri +3 after the Todd Gurley Suspension)

Last year Missouri went down between the hedges and got a big W, 41-26. It was the classic case where Georgia simply wasn't prepared for the game. The Mizzou D had 4 turnovers: 2 picks off Aaron Murray and a sack fumble returned for a touchdown. In short, Murray was Missouri's best player. 

This is a MUST WIN for Georgia. If they win they hold their fate in the East. If they lose, they need Missouri to lose 3 games in the SEC. (remaining schedule: @ Florida, vs Vandy, vs Kentucky, @ A&M @ Tenn, vs Arkansas) and Georgia would have to win out (@ Arkansas, Florida, @ Kentucky, vs Auburn) otherwise Mizzou will take the East. (note: Florida could still slide in to take the East, but I don't see it happening)

Yesterday, I was going to give up the 3 and taking the Dawgs, Georgia didn't have Gurley last year and I thought he (and his beastly 8 yards per carry) would be the difference maker this year, but due to his suspension yesterday. All bets are off... Does the Georgia run game and offense go to hell? Or does true freshman Nick Chubbs step up and carry the load? Your guess is as good as mine. As always... Saturday will tell the tale.

Texas vs #11 Oklahoma (The Red River Showdown @ The Cotton Bowl) -Line: Texas +14.5 

This used to be the game to determine who was going to win the Big 12, but TCU taking down Oklahoma, and the Baylor spanking of Texas has made this the one the opening act for the Big 12 on Saturday. These teams still don't like each other and I am interested to see how this shakes out. I'm a non-bettor in this one, but I would say Texas covers the spread. (I've got Texas as a wild card in every game this season), but Oklahoma takes the game.

Northwestern @ Minnesota - Line: Northwestern +4 (Yes Minnesota is the favorite)

Somehow this has made it to be a big game... not sure how, but Northwestern has cleared Penn State and Wisconsin. On the other side, Minnesota is 4-1 (The Loss to TCU doesn't look so bad, but no notable victories as Michigan continues to slide). Both of these teams control their fate in the conference.

Minnesota has had 2 weeks to prepare for this, while Northwestern is going to have to get past the potential for the classic post big game let down (The W over Wisconsin last week) that so many teams suffer from. I think they can and will. I'm a non-bettor due to Minnesota's bye week, but I like the Cats straight up.

2:30 p.m. (Buckle Up- Big Games!)

#2 Auburn @ #3 Mississippi State - Line: Mississippi State +2.5

And the crew from College Gameday is loving it. No need to leave the state of Mississippi just a short 97 miles to this week's destination in Starkville, MS (from Oxford last week)
2 top 5's squaring off... Just another day in the SEC West... Get the popcorn, this is sure to be a show. Auburn has proven me a fool, they are for real. At the same time I'm a believer in this Mississippi State team lead by Dak Prescott. This is what makes the SEC so great. 

If you were to try and break down the numbers, you'll drive yourself mad.

Total O:
Miss St #20 - 2709 yds (50/50 - run/pass)
Aub #36 - 2486 yds (54/46 - run/pass)

Points Per Game
Miss St #12 - 42.6
Aub #13 -40.0

Total D:
Miss St #76 - 2132 yds given up
(Note: They played Texas A&M, The #1 O in the country by yards and gave up garbage yards to them and LSU)
Aub #15 - 1533 yds given up

Run D:
Miss St #13 - 491 yds given up
Aub #14 - 501 yds given up

Miss St 12 total (9 picks, 3 fumbles)
Auburn 7 (7 picks)

Points allowed
Miss St #22 - 19.4 per game
Auburn #9 - 14.4 per game

... Oh and by the way, you can actually just throw out all the numbers, because these two teams have HISTORICALLY had great games. In 2010, when Auburn won the National Championship with Cam Newton and went 14-0... The final score of the Miss St game was 17-14. and in 2011 Auburn came up with a Massive Tackle at the goal line with 10 seconds to win the game. I'll just let the video below do the talking.

The odds-makers are all over this one, I can't pick, I just want to enjoy the show. Gun to the head? It's really hard to pick against Auburn right now. But, I really just need some more COWBELL! Let's go Bulldogs! Come on, Gameday is in town, MORE COWBELL!

#9 TCU @ #5 Baylor - Line: TCU +8.5 (down from TCU +10.5 on Monday)

Another tale of 2 undefeateds getting ready to square off. 

When you look at the line of 8.5 in favor of Baylor, I think the perception has clouded the reality in this one. The perception is that TCU, even with their solid D (which they are known for) won't be able to "keep up" or score with the Baylor Offense that leads the nation with 51 points per game. However, the numbers and the history between these two teams tells a lot different of a story. By the numbers, TCU is no slouch averaging 42+ points per game (11th in the country), so it's not like the Horned Frogs can't score with these guys. At the same time, we are all aware of TCU's strength on D, which ranks 7th in points allowed and 7th in yds per game. And let's give a little credit to Baylor's D which SOMEHOW turned it around. They are 5th in both points allowed and yards per game (that is a huge turnaround from how bad they were last year and in 2012), but thus far they haven't seen the competition (Oklahoma) like TCU has. So you make some adjustments and all of a sudden we've got some numbers that look very much the same.

We can take this a little further and look at the past few meetings between these two. When you look at this, you're really looking at two teams that really battle it out... and maybe you could even argue that TCU has the edge given they stuck it to Baylor two out of the last four years.

2013 (@ TCU): Baylor 41, TCU 38 (TCU had the ball 2nd and 10 from the 23 with 11 seconds left, Instead of going for the tie, TCU threw a pic in the Baylor endzone to seal the deal)

2012 (@ Baylor): TCU 49, Baylor 21

2011 (@ Baylor) (with RG III): Baylor 50, TCU 48 (TCU rallied and scored 25 points in the 4th quarter to take the lead 48-47, Baylor was able to take the lead back with a field goal with 1 minute remaining. TCU was on the march but was out of timeouts and on 3rd down threw a pick which ended the game)

2010 TCU rolled 45-10 at home.

That said, I'm loving TCU and the 8.5 points their handing out. Will they win? Well the game is in Waco, so you would think the Bears have the advantage there, but I think this would fit nicely into the trend of losing at home this year. Let's put a few dollars on TCU and the money line... I wonder what the payout would be if I took TCU and gave up 8.5 points... That's right, too much TCU D for the Bears. I like the Horned Frogs on the road to pile on the points in a statement game! (... now don't let me down....)

#12 Oregon @ #18 UCLA - Line: UCLA +2 (Down from +3 on Monday)

In 1 week this has gone from "The Game" to "Damn! we gotta have this". Given the layout of the Pac 12, Oregon is in little better shape. They could lose this and they still control their fate in the North to get to the Pac 12 championship (although 2 losses on the resume doesn't look great when it comes to the playoff picture). UCLA on the other hand, if they lose, the trek back to the top of the South becomes a little trying. They would have 2 conference losses, 1 to Utah (who is in the South also) and they are looking up at a whole bunch of teams: Arizona (no losses), and USC, Arizona St and Utah, who each have 1 loss. UCLA would have to win out, and they're going to need some help. Their win over Arizona State helps the cause in the long run, but overall, it doesn't look too promising for the Bruins.

2 teams with bad losses last week... The "story" here is Oregon's offensive line that is laid up in the training room with injuries and UCLA's line, or should I say their lack of one. The Ducks are starting a true freshman AND a walk on at the tackles. Yes, a TRUE FRESHMAN and a WALK ON... at the tackles... This has resulted with 12 sacks in their last 2 games (5 against Arizona last week). On the other side UCLA's line might improve if they started using some walk ons and true freshmen, they let up 10 sacks against Utah and a total of 23 on the year (4th WORST in ALL OF FOOTBALL... But they are still better than SMU, Idaho and Wake Forest, so they got that going for them... Which is nice...).  Bret Hundley has spent more time on the turf than the grounds crew... And it doesn't look like that's going to improve this week.

At the end of the day, I'm just not much of a believer in UCLA as I said at the beginning of the year. I liked Utah last week (14.5 point dogs) strait up and I'll give up the 2 points and take the wounded Ducks this week.

North Carolina @ #6 Notre Dame - Line: North Carolina +16.5

The only reason I brought this up is it's a classic trap game for the Irish, a hard fought win over Stanford last week and they've got the big one next week on the road @ Florida State. Standing in the was is a pitiful North Carolina team, 3 straight losses (@ East Carolina, @ Clemson, and vs VT - all by 14+ points) Seeing that, it's going to be hard for Coach Kelly to get the Irish focused for this one (I don't even know if they need to be, N.C. may have shut it down for the season after their last loss). If North Carolina was going to put a charge into a game to make a statement this would be it (Georgia Tech is the only other ranked team on their schedule). It would be the first signs of life out of them all season. Even so, trap game, I'm staying away. As a non-bettor, North Carolina covers but lose by 10 to an Irish team that starts slow.

8:00 p.m.

#3 Ole Miss @ #14 Texas A&M - Line: Ole Miss +2 (down from +3 on Monday)

Ole Miss coming off the biggest win in school history with the second best D in the country by points allowed (8th by yards). On the other side, A&M is coming off a beating from the other school in Mississippi, but they still have the best offense in the country (by yards).  This should be a great game, but I think the Rebels are going to be a little hung over while the Aggies come in focused. I hope I'm wrong as I will be rooting for the Rebels, as such, my heart is getting in the way, so I'm a non-bettor. It's always hard to go against a solid D, but the head is saying give up the 2 and take the Aggies.

Fun little fact: As stated before the Ole Miss fans stormed the field and stole the goal posts after the victory over Alabama. The result was a $50,000 fine from the SEC for rushing the field (Come on.... what's that about? Fines?!... The SEC should have paid Ole Miss $50K for beating Bama... Just increased the value of the SEC brand name... damn...) and $25,000 lost due to missing goal posts. $75,000 in total damages due to the event. 

What you may, or may have not known is later Saturday evening one of the criminals (yes it is still a crime to steal goal posts) tweeted a photo of one of the posts in his apartment and said they were going to cut it up (Not exactly something I would personally flaunt, but it is what it is) The punishment for their crimes? Ross Bjork (the AD for Ole Miss) tweets "Save me & Coach Hugh Freeze a piece..." but to his credit, Ross did warn the delinquents to be careful when cutting it and said University personnel could cut it for them to ensure their safety... Thanks for stealing our goal posts.

Ross's response resulted in MASSIVE support. Ole Miss was ready to absorb the fine and replace the posts themselves (pennies to them) but fans reached out to ask how they could help, so they set up a donation page and raised over $95,000... I guess some criminals couldn't carry one of the posts that far and Ole Miss personnel found it near the stadium the next day, so they cut that up and used that as donation gifts.

Ross has since become "stern" and when asked in an off camera interview about the criminals he responded "Of course we're not going to press charges... unless they try and sell it"

This link below details the story.. but my favorite part of this...

"They walked it right down the middle of the road, and even the cops stopped to watch and give the guys thumbs up."

Ok!!! Back to Business!!!! Quit Screwing around!!!!!!

9:30 p.m.

USC @ #10 Arizona - Line: Arizona +2.5

USC seems to be having some trouble establishing themselves and Arizona is trying to get over the hump. The W last week on the road against Oregon was big... But these things go "Win 1 and you get some attention, Win 2 and some people start taking note, Win 3 and now you're somebody." (unless it's the SEC). I think it's interesting they come in as underdogs in their own home after that big win in Eugene to this 2 loss USC team. Obviously, the experts are looking for an Arizona letdown here. However, they had extended recovery time (Their last game was on a Thursday) and I think they take this and run. They take this underdog status and use it as motivation (Even though they're ranked #10, to be considered an underdog at home is insulting). At the same time, I'm not sure how USC is going to respond. They need to win this or they go down 0-2 in conference (both losses on the same side) and Sarks first season at the helm doesn't look so good with 3 losses through 6 games... So there's plenty to fight for. Even so, I like Zona. For the record, I'll be a "little-bettor" in this one.

... Just another great week in college football. Enjoy!