blueollie

Pre-packing entertainment: college football memories

Oh yeah, I am painfully aware of the fiasco in the Senate. I’ve had some things to say and I am getting way more responses on Twitter than I am used to.

My political account is here:

Now if I could remove just ONE politician from office (by edict) : well, it would be Trump since he is unstable and has the nuclear codes. But if he were a stable person (and just did stuff that I didn’t like politically), then I’d remove McConnell, as he has quite a bit of political skill.

Now for the post Since I am talking about disasters and dumpster fires and NOT talking about my own footraces, that means Illinois football.
I’ve had season tickets for 6 years (and I did see them a couple of times in person..one was a 51-3 loss to USC in the 1990s)

I also went to 4 years of Navy games (and caught a couple of road games) and 9 years of University of Texas games.

Now Navy and Texas were much more successful, overall, than Illinois. In the 6 years I’ve had season tickets, 7-6 and 6-7 were the BEST records.

So riddle me this: (aside from the singular 51-3 loss I talked about): who got beat the worst at home among Texas, Navy and Illinois? (for a true home game, not a “road home game”)

That’s right: TEXAS.

I am not counting the 46-3 loss in the Cotton Bowl to a strong Miami team.

The 1988 Texas team got annihilated 66-15 at home by Houston (quarterbacked by future Heisman trophy winner Andre Ware) and the 1989 team got smeared 50-7 by Baylor. And there was the 1976 team that got drummed 30-0 by Houston at home and 27-3 by Texas A&M.

Navy: while I did see Navy get stomped 33-0 by Notre Dame in 1980, that was in Giants stadium in New Jersey..same with the 35-0 pounding by Houston. But at home, the worst loss was 30-14 to Syracuse (who had future NFL greats Art Monk and Joe Morris).

But Illinos: in the 6 years that I watched them at home, well, they lost a lot of games but, as a rule, they never lost by 30 points or more at home the way that Texas did.

2011: 31-14 to Michigan (17 points). 2012: 52-24 to La. Teach (ok, it was up to 52-17 when La. Tech let up), 35-7 to Penn State , 2013: 56-32 to Wisconsin and 60-35 to Ohio State, 2014: 30-14 to Iowa, 2015: 28-3 to Ohio State. 2016: 40-17 to Minnesota (misleading), 34-10 to Western Michigan, 48-23 to North Carolina, 28-0 to Iowa (ok, 4 losses by 20+ points is a lot).

But nothing as bad as what I saw with Texas; no 30+ point losses at home. The biggest spread was 28 points.

Weird, huh?

July 26, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

What’s in store for Illinois Football this year?

Ok, time to speculate on what might happen to Illinois football.

I’ve heard it said that Illinois regressed between 2015 and 2016. I am not so sure.
Yes, Illinois went 5-7 in 2015 and 3-9 in 2016. BUT:
1) the 5-7 record was against a schedule that featured 8 Big Ten games; the 3-9 featured 9 Big Ten games.
In 2015, the Illini went 2-6 (narrow win vs. Nebraska at home, easy win at Purdue); the 2016 version went 2-7, winning easily at Rutgers and narrowly at home vs. Michigan State.

2. As far as the non-conference schedule, in 2015 they had two easy wins vs bad opponents, a blowout loss to North Carolina and a very narrow win vs. Middle Tennessee (missed field goal at the very end). In 2016, the Illini faced North Carolina and a strong Western Michigan team (both blowout losses) and one very bad FCS team (easy win)

3. In 2015, two of the wins were, well very fortunate. As I stated earlier, Middle Tennessee missed a 41 yard field goal at the end and the game against Nebraska: well, let’s just say that Nebraska had the game all but won and had some terrible clock management with about 1:2x to play and Illinois out of time outs. Those could have easily been losses.

On the other hand, Illinois really should have won the Purdue game at home; they made some key mistakes in regulation and in overtime.

So what is in store? Via ESPN

Sat, Sept 2 vs Ball State 68.7% -11.2 (104) —
Sat, Sept 9 vs Western Kentucky 52.0% -5.3 (80) —
Fri, Sept 15 @ South Florida 14.5% 3.9 (47) —
Fri, Sept 29 vs Nebraska 36.4% 1.6 (56) —
Sat, Oct 7 @ Iowa 13.5% 5.4 (40) —
Sat, Oct 14 vs Rutgers 56.2% -7.4 (88) —
Sat, Oct 21 @ Minnesota 25.5% -1.4 (68) —
Sat, Oct 28 vs Wisconsin 6.3% 17.5 (9) —
Sat, Nov 4 @ Purdue 49.0% -9.5 (97) —
Sat, Nov 11 vs Indiana 33.2% 1.0 (59) —
Sat, Nov 18 @ Ohio State 0.8% 29.1 (1) —
Sat, Nov 25 vs Northwestern 16.3% 8.8 (29)

What this means: Illinois is favored in 3 games (Ball State, Western Kentucky, Rutgers), and almost even vs. Purdue.
Best chances for upsets: Nebraska and Indiana at home, Minnesota on the road.

My take:

1) Western Kentucky is underrated. They split with Louisiana Tech last year; I really do not see the Illini winning this game.
2) As far as Illinois vs Purdue: the visiting team has won the last 5 games. Maybe we will see a 6’th?

I can really take nothing for granted; not even Ball State (though the Illini really should win that game).

My best guess:
6-6 if everything goes right (wins over Ball State, Rutgers, Purdue, the 3 of (WKU, Neb, MN, IN, NW)
2-10 if everything goes wrong (Ball State, Rutgers)

Realistically: 4-8 (a lot like Beckman’s 2’nd team), with wins over Ball State, Rutgers, Purdue, and ONE of (WKU, Neb, MN, IN, NW) This closely aligns with the above ESPN model, that has Illinois winning 3.7 games.

The bottom line is that the Illini lost almost all of their best players from last year, save the star wide receiver who hurt his knee the last two years in a row; will be the same?

Most of the magazines are saying 2-10 to 3-9.

Fan note: the fact that I made up a spreadsheet of Illinois games (season tickets), Illinois State games (maybe 3?), Colts games (maybe 2?) and Bears games (1-2?) means nothing. 🙂

Workout notes: 5 treadmill miles in 1:02:15 (walking); thunderstorms outside.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, walking | | Leave a comment

Great Playoff Games! (for a change)

You can tell that the games are good when I get nervous watching them…and none of the games involve *my* teams (*)

Packers vs. Cowboys: a classic; 3 50+ yard field goals in the final 1:38. The Packers were leading 21-3 in the first half, but the Cowboys rallied to tie it.

Here is a close up of the catch from the NFL’s Instagram feed:

packerscatch

Steelers vs. Chiefs: also a good one. The Steelers moved the ball up and down the field but had to settle for 6 field goals. The Chiefs got the only 2 touchdowns but still lost.

A key play came late in the game when it appeared that the Chiefs had tied the game on a 2 point conversion. The left tackle was flagged for holding which forced the Chiefs to try the 2 point attempt from further out:

chiefholding

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Sorry, but that was totally holding; he had his arm wrapped around the front of the body from shoulder to shoulder, THOUGH I’ve seen linemen get away with worse.

(yea, in HS, I’ve gotten a few of these calls…due to my slow feet)

(*) currently, “my” teams are the Bears )3-13) and the Colts (8-8); basically *my* teams are the ones I get to watch in person.

How they have gone:

early, up until 1975: Packers (dad liked Vince Lombardi)
1975-mid 1990’s: Cowboys. Lived in Texas for much of that time; and while in the Navy, Austin, Texas was my “home”.
1983-1984: Patriots were also my team, as I got a chance to watch a few of their games live in old Sullivan Stadium
1990’s-2009 none, really, “sort of” Bears
2009-2015: Rams; my wife took me to a Rams game and I saw a few games every year
2016-now: switched to the Colts and Bears as those are the teams I get to see.

Side note: I did catch one Tampa game when I lived in Florida, one Rams game back in 1984 and I was on leave near Los Angeles, and one Colts game in 1983 when I was on vacation in Baltimore.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL | Leave a comment

Sports: Bradley Basketball (men) on the upswing…and NFL

Last night, Bradley shot the lights out (8-17 from 3 point range, 55.1 percent overall) and beat struggling Northern Iowa 72-61

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Bradley just sizzled during the first half, and did enough to put the game away during the second half.

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But, to be fair, UNI was without its best player, though BU was missing a key player as well.

Still, after repeated beat downs, it was nice to see BU turn the tables.

NFL: the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles…and are going to play in a stadium that holds less than 30K for at least 2 years?

Interesting…given the “empty seats” we are seeing in many stadiums, perhaps pro teams are going to “club seat only” type stadiums and relying on television for the average fans?

January 12, 2017 Posted by | basketball, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Thrilling finish to the National Championship game and pick plays

Like many college football fans, I was spellbound by Clemson’s 35-31 thriller over Alabama. Clearly, these really were the best two football teams in the land, and they played an “instant classic” game; it reminded me of the Texas vs. USC thriller so many years ago.

But this game had some controversy toward the end. Because I follow Notre Dame (one of “my” teams, albeit behind Navy, Texas and Illinois), I remembered this “pick play” which DID draw an “offensive pass interference” penalty.

ndfsupickplay

But this play did NOT:

Why? This article has a nice explanation of the difference. Roughly speaking: it isn’t illegal if you can get the defenders to run into each other, but one isn’t allowed to block downfield (not past 1 yard).

Here is another article about these type of pass patterns (albeit at the NFL level)

January 11, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | Leave a comment

NFL, NBA or MLB: live and on TV: what do you chose?

Ok, I’ll ask a question:

on television, you get to watch ONE regular season game: MLB (major league baseball), NFL (pro football) or NBA (pro basketball).
Which do you choose? Assume that all are equally meaningful games.

Now same question, but this time, you offered a ticket (with companion of choice) of similar level to MLB, NFL, or NBA. Assume equally meaningful games, pleasant weather, etc.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, football, NBA, NFL | Leave a comment

Comment from the Oklahoma vs. Auburn football game

I was watching the Oklahoma vs. Auburn football game, and one of the announcers remarked that one of the Oklahoma running backs was suspended from the team for a year after an incident.

I saw the video. The player got into a verbal argument with another student. The student pushed him and slapped him, and the player punched the other student, who fell and hit a table face first, sustaining fractures.

There was a plea deal and the football player lost a year. I do not know if the other student was charged with assault.

Evidently the player has some anger issues; he was suspended for a game for tearing up a parking ticket on campus.

Oh, I’ve discussed such issues before. Issues like assault are serious issues, but sometimes, assaults ARE provoked. That doesn’t justify disproportionate retaliation (e. g. if someone slaps me, I am not justified in getting a gun and shooting them) but assault prevention/reduction programs do have to deal with “not provoking assault” in the first place.

January 3, 2017 Posted by | football, social/political | | Leave a comment

New Year 2017: Colts vs. Jaguars, Pacers vs. Magic (and I used up “spouse points”)

We celebrated New Year’s Day in Indianapolis. First, we made the Colts vs. Jaguars game (1 pm ET). Then we made the Pacers vs. Magic NBA game (6 pm ET). Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse are about an easy 10 minute walk apart.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-9-58-35-pm

The football game: The Colts won 24-20 with the winning score coming with 9 seconds to go. The irony is that the Colts won in almost exactly the same way they’ve lost this season; they were outplayed for the first 58:20 of the game, but had one last good drive. They threw an interception, lost a fumble on a “t-formation” snap from center and got a punt blocked. In fact, the Colts were outgained 470-384.

But…after getting pushed all over the field for most of the first half (and getting booed), they were down 17-0 prior to driving for a field goal. The Jaguars drove but then missed a 30 yard field goal; so the half ended 17-3.

The Colts held their own in the second half, getting a drive to cut the lead to 17-10 The defense got some stops and some turnovers, and so the Colts made it 17-17 in the 4’th. But with 2 minutes to go in the game, the Jags blocked a Colts punt; there was a delay in the game to see where the ball should go, as the punter made a desperation throw (forward)…so the ball went to the scrimmage lines.

The Jags tried three runs to force the Colts to use their time outs. They kicked a 41 yard field goal, and a touchback on the kickoff placed the Colts at their own 25 with 1:32 to go…and no time outs.

They drove it to the 20 using passes and “spike to stop the clock”. Then the Colts threw a pass that ended on the 1; a quick spike stopped the clock at 14 seconds. Time for perhaps a shot in the end zone, but they couldn’t afford a sack or a stop in the field of play. They got the TD with 9 seconds to go…on a short pass. I really thought that the Colts were finished.

The Jaguars reminded me of the Browns against the Chiefs last year; they had a bad record (and of course, still do) but came in and played hard.

My photos:

Barbara with the Bill Hudnut statue (former Mayor of Indianapolis)

barbarahudnut

Random fan.

barbarabuttshot

Colts enter the field.

coltsjagsentry

The action from our perch in the first row of the upper deck; I sat next to the same two ladies that I sat next to last year (for the Texans game)…4 seats over.

coltsjagsaction

We then walked to the Pacers game; we had to wait a few minutes as they let people in 1 hour ahead of time. I did see a few Colts jerseys there. Note: they had a nice crowd (17,500); there were a few empty seats in the “non-luxury” sections.

The Pacers won 117-104, getting 35 points in the second quarter to lead 62-51. They shot 40.9 percent (9-22) from 3 point range; or put it this way: the Magic made 10-38…one more 3 point basket made but 16 extra attempts to achieve that! Also, the Pacers were 22-24 from the free throw line; the Magic were 10-11.

My photos

selfiepacers

The cheerleaders

cheerleaderbutt

The massive scoreboard

hugescoreboard

There is someone rappelling down…hard to see but look at the center.

rapelldown

Pacers enter

pacersenter

Tipoff

tipoff

The Turner Block Rowdies

turnerblockrowdies

January 3, 2017 Posted by | basketball, football, NBA, NFL, travel | , | 1 Comment

Armed Forces Bowl 2016: Navy loses a heartbreaker to Louisiana Tech 48-45

One of our mini-vacations was to go to Fort Worth to see the Armed Forces Bowl between Navy and Louisiana Tech. Navy came in with losses to Temple in the AAC Championship game (34-10) and to Army 21-17. Louisiana Tech lost a shootout to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA championship game, though they had defeated WKU in the regular season. I saw this bowl in 2013.

So it was no. 2 Conference USA vs. no. 2 AAC, and it was a great game. Navy piled up 459 total yards, including 300 on the ground; Louisiana Tech got 497, with 409 coming via the air.

Tech won 48-45, but it was quite a shootout, with the winning points coming on a field goal on the last play of the game.

The Bulldogs started things off with a big kick return from half of their two man wrecking crew; that set them up at the Navy 16 and the Bulldogs punched it in. Navy fumbled on their second play from scrimmage and the Bulldogs answered with a field goal to go up 10-0 early. The teams settled down, and aside from a rare punt, it was score, score, score.

Navy went in to the half trailing 31-24.

The second half saw Navy eat up 7 minutes to tie the game at 31. Tech fumbled in scoring position on their next position but Navy had to punt. Then Tech scored to go up 38-31; but the Midshipmen answered.

latechnavy20162

Tech scored again in the 4’th to take a brief lead. Then the Mids got the ball back, lost their starting quarterback (who was 3’rd team at the start of the season) only to have the backup run for a touchdown on his first touch. 45-45! But that left 3:46 on the clock, and the Midshipmen had used their timeouts. So the Bulldogs moved the ball and wisely milked the clock, which enabled them to kick the winning field goal on the final play of the game.

Overall, it was wild. Navy complained about some calls. One pass interference call, you can see in a gif file. The Navy defender did tug at the arm..which is a penalty.

navy_pick

But this hand fighting was overlooked on other plays; my guess is that the Tech receiver, being an outstanding player, got the benefit of the doubt. And no. 5 just killed up; 200+ receiving yards.

latechnavy20161

la_tech_td_big

My photos

The game itself

The Bulldog offense lines up

latechoffense

latechoffense2

Navy’s offense

navyoffense

Navy’s defense regroups

navyregroup

High drama at the end; 17 seconds to go; the Tech band in the background.

highdramaattheend

Before and after the game

Where I did my exercise walk prior to leaving for the game: this old golf course has been converted into a park with sidewalk trails; it includes a dog park.

oldgolfcourseacross

Barbara and Jacob near the Davy O’Bryan statue on the TCU campus.

babsjacobdavyobryan

The opposing band

latechband

The Brigade contingent at the game. This was me 36 years ago (at the old Garden State Bowl in December 1980)

brigadecontingent

Navy enters the field!

navyentersthefield

Halftime enlistment ceremony

enlistment

Selfie at the game

babsmeselfie

On the way back to the car: note the purple (TCU’s color)

purpleandsilvertreestcudec2016

Mexican food after the game

mexicanfoodafter

December 25, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, travel | , | Leave a comment

Colts turn the game over to the Texans 22-17


Though the Colts outgained the Texans 348-316, the Texans controlled the ball, ran for 185 yards and got three turn overs; one on a strip sack, one where the quarterback was hit while passing…and one when the Colt receiver just plain fell down. And the Texans kicked 5 field goals (Colts missed a 55 yard attempt just prior to halftime).

It started out promising, with the Colt quarterback making a 33 yard run as the Texan left end broken containment. But that lead to a field goal..which the Texans quickly matched. It was 10-3 at the half.

The third quarter saw the Texans take a 16-3 lead, partially based on a field goal after a turn over. But then the Colts struck back with a drive and were driving again and had the ball first down on the 1. But a tackle for a loss lead to a third down inside the 5..and the quarterback getting hit while attempting to throw and fumbling, which the Texans recovered.

So it remained 16-10 and the Texans drove to kick a field goal.

The Colts did strike back with a long pass, but Texan running put them in position to kick another filed goal. But it was only 22-17. The Colts had one more drive but failed on 4’th and 1 to end the game.

Overall: the extra turnovers just killed the Colts, as did the Texan ground game and accurate field goal kicking.

Photos:

coltstexans2016aftergamegroup

coltstexans2016earlyaction

coltstexans2016fieldgoal

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December 13, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment