Thursdays With Raider: Johnny Football


Raider Thoughts

Saturday afternoon, I’m minding my own business while the girlfriend and her mother went to have mother/daughter time, when I’m reading throughscores, tweets and spam email.  I’m an order of wings away from a fairly typical Saturday for me as I read…”You Can Get an Online Degree…Tweet by Pat Forde…Texas A&M 20, Alabama 0…Free Coupon From Buffalo Wild Wings…Hmmm, what sounds good for lu—” wait, that can’t be right. Some line producer in New York or Bristol clearly didn’t learn their typing skills from Mavis Beacon.  I must investigate…

(switches channel)

(Texas A&M 20, Alabama 0)

(Send a text to my brother. “We are all Texas Aggies now.”  Tweet to you, “We are all Texas Aggies now.”)

How incredible was that game?

1. At frequent points throughout that game, A&M went to a no-huddle/hurry-up offense.  Sound familiar?

2. Two uncharacteristically hilarious plays lost it for Alabama.  The firstone, the T.J. Yeldon fumble, lead to a 42 yard pass from Johnny Manziel to Ryan Swope.  This is Sleepy Floyd going baseline on Michael Cooper in the ’87 playoffs kind of inexplicable.  Nobody throws for 42 yards in one play on the Bama defense.  Cam Newton and Tim Tebow could run on them, but I may be off base here when I say that Johnny Manziel just might be Tebow with a better arm.  OCam Newton without a pocket full of $100 bills.

3. Second, and the coup de gras of the entire game, was A&M getting a first down thanks to encroachment from Bama LB Tyler Hayes.  Shocking as that was, I was practically expecting Nick Saban to stroke out on the spot.  I’m almost certain that I was secretly hoping for that to happen.

4. Postulate for a minute how significant of a victory that really was for A&M.  You’re an institution that has for all practical purposes been defined by the Texas Longhorns.  (I still remember a BYU fan snark about the Utes “how does it feel to be defined by your rival”?)  Well, if any school was defined by their rival, it was Texas A&M.  What big victory has A&M had up untiSaturday in their entire history that somehow didn’t involve Texas? What better way to steout of that burnt orange shadow than to punch thebaddest dude in the prison yard for all the world to see?

A few other items to discuss:

–This is all well and good until one realizes that USC could gum thiswhole thing up.  Consider that Alabama still lingers at #4 in the BCS.  Also consider that USC could potentially play two of the three teams in front of them (Notre Dame, Oregon).  I’m not sure how I’d react if SC decided to aid and abet Bama backing into the title game, and I really don’t want to find out.  And of course, Tim Brando called his shot after the Bama loss:

"I expect the winner of the SEC Title game to have a spot waiting in the BCS Championship game. Bama is not out of it, and Georgia has a shot"

If that happens, I’ll cut you Brando, so help me God!

–Not to sadistically rub salt in the wound of my favorite team’s fan base, but I had heard here and there that the Huskies getting beat to a pulp by Arizona boded well for us on Saturday night.  I couldn’t agree.  The Dawgs still had Keith Price and a whole bunch of speed on the offensive side of the ball, which is one of about 75 kryptonites for the Utes right now.  And for anyone who may go around blaming Kyle for all of this…well, I think that’s the wrong scapegoat.  You all know full well that letting Kyle go may create more problems than it solves, and if I see a Gordon Monson column detailing how we fired the best thing that ever happened to us, I’m going to scowl at all of you.  Don’t make me do it.

–I wouldn’t be too disappointed however if someone in the coaching staff started giving Sitake the hairy eye-ball.  (The “hairy eye-ball”

–As I kind of suspected it would, this 2012 Raiders campaign has turned into a pretty sweet looking grease fire.  What does it say, besides “well I can’t hate on him too much now”, when Carson Palmer’s 368 yds/2 TD/1 INT is actually the most significant bright spot?  If there‘s competence afoot here, then I suppose patience is in order.  I guess.

–So I performed the act of sadomasochism that was watching theConference basketball preview on the Pac-12 Network.  The host of said show made mention of the fact that the Pac-12 Network will feature every team in the conference at least 11 times.  Oh, great.  Is that a threat or a promise?  Admittedly, my sole interest in this season is to see how good Jordan Loveridge will be, only to probably watch as he transfers to Creighton in a few years.

—–I’ve now arrived at the “let’s talk about our feelings” portion of my relationship.  When asked why I don’t share feelings, I thought about it and figured “I’m a man.  Men show feelings during sporting events and bar fights.”

MAC Thoughts

You know, I’d don’t know the last time I got that into a game that didn’t involve Utah.  It was also the 2nd time in my life I’ve ever rooted for Texas A&M, here are the highlights from the first.

Now admittedly I derive as much pleasure from that video as I do from porn.  It was a different time.  Wyoming had won the ’87 and ’88 WAC titles and then this Detmer guy shows up and there was a real worry BYU was simply going to go back to kicking all our asses again.  The other thing is that BYU ran their mouths from the time the bowl was announced that they deserved a better team to play.  BYU gets weekly karmic payback now but back then, not so much.

As for the ‘Bama game, one of the announcers actually said about Saban that his system depends upon having all the best players.  Is that really a system.  In fact if you have all the best players, should you win most of the damn time.  God I hate that guy.

In any event, I’ll always have a place in my heart for the Texas A&M Aggies, as how bad could a group of folks be who put up a scoreboard just so their dead mascots know the score of the games.  Bless your heart A&M

As for what Tim Brando said, if that happens, it’s time for a riot.  Even my Georgia buddy said, “you can’t have happen what happened to us at South Cakalaky and get a shot at the national title.”  Mostly I enjoy the term South Cakalaky.

Finally as to our Runnin’ Ute hoopsters, there is something about Mr. Loveridge, that I find troubling.  It’s that he is the best player on our team and it isn’t close.  Now it is nice that we have a player with talent, but the fact that we don’t have others, well I find that alarming.

I also want to alert you and our readers to a name, Prezmek (pronouced Shemk) Karnowski.  He is a giant manchild of a center that Gonzaga signed.  And he can do something so few bigs can do today, pass the ball.  Utah took a big run at him and we’re all going to wish we’d landed him.  Kid is a playa.


Washington at Colorado

Raider Thoughts

The amazing thing about this conference to me is the fact that nearly everyone’s crystal ball is foggy as all get out.  I‘m reasonably certain that the Dawgs will drop a nuke on the CU defense, but if there are two certainties in the conference this season, it may simply be that Oregon is very good and Colorado isn’t very good.  While I’m at it, if I set and over/under on the number of yards Bishop Sankey will have in this game at 149 1/2, where do you go with it?

Mac Thought

I know I gush about Sankey but it’s pretty cool I saw him in high school.  He’s like John Wendling with talent (inside Rock Springs joke there folks).  He was so good his high school decided to forgo a QB and a handoff and just snap the ball to him.  And they were an injury from a kid who went to Stanford away from being State Champions doing that.  Also I need to say my weekly prayer that Jon Embree doesn’t get fired because it’s so rare when I have a connection.


Raider Thoughts

As I described earlier, there’s that lingering scenario where Alabama canback their way into the title game.  That gets set into motion if the Trojans beat the Bruins and SC does indeed go on to win the Pac 12 South. Because–and please don’t construe this as a knock on the Bruins–if you think about it, UCLA going up to Autzen and beating the Ducks is doubtful.  USC going up there and doing it is much more likely.  All that having been said, though, I do like Nick Hundley and unless thing go awry in his career, he will be very tough for us to beat.  (Heed these words, Travis Wilson!)  But a late-season beauty victories would be par for the course.  It would bevery USC of them.

MAC Thoughts

Doesn’t the way the Hundley kid play remind you Randall Cunningham?  I don’t think he’s as athletic as Cunningham but he’s long and thin and throws the ball so well.  My hope would be at this point that the Pac-12 simply agrees that we’re all going to roll over for Oregon.  Lets don’t allow them to screw the west this year.  We deserve this damnit.  To paraphrase you, “we’re all Oregon Ducks now.”

Washington St. at Arizona St.

Raider Thoughts

Wait, ASU is now at 5-5?  Yes, the team that dismantled us in every facetof the game earlier this year has lost four in a row.  In their defense, though, they’ve played better teams on at least two occasions (Oregon, USC) and two teams that matched up well with (UCLA, Oregon State).  But fortunately, Wazzu is here to save the day.  Hey, speaking of Wazzu, I will now give you the opportunity to do a victory dance concerning the Mike Leach/Marquess Wilson saga.  Observe: 

““My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not “tough love”. It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride. I resign from this team. I am deeply sorry to those I am letting down.”

The worst part of all of this from my vantage point is the fact that somewhere there’s a vindicated Adam Jones.  I shudder to think that Craig James’s snot nosed punk kid was right about him all along.  Not sure how to reconcile that particular feeling. 

Mac Thoughts

I think the same thing that has been happening to Arizona is going on with Arizona St.  They both had some pretty good first level talent.  So we got them when they were healthy.  But now both teams are dealing with multiple injuries and are struggling down the stretch.  I think Rich Rod is a better coach than Graham so they’re holding it together better.

As for the Wilson thing, the longer this goes, the more this has the feeling that maybe Wilson was the problem.  I mean Wazzu stood up and fought against UCLA last week when a team quitting on an abusive staff would never had done that.  Besides I don’t want to live in a world where Craig James is right.

Stanford v Oregon

Raider Thoughts

Given what I wrote about the USC/UCLA game vis a vis preventing Bama from backing into the title game, you probably thought I forgot about Stanford.  Well, yeah, I did.  Sue me.*  Also given the fact that the Cardinal are a mere two scores away from being undefeated themselves, none of what I described above will matter if the Ducks don’t take care of business.  On the Stanford side of things, I would give up at least a year off of my life to have a team that is good enough turn the ball over four times–like they did against Oregon State last week–and still win.  Some guys have all the luck. 

MAC Thoughts

I think we should say Stanford is one score away as they scored against Notre Dame but it wasn’t counted under the we’re going to do anything for Notre Dame rule.  And I generally have love for Stanford, but this is a bad matchup for them.  I think the Ducks just overwhelm them.  Plus I hope Larry Scott has convinced them, OSU and the team in the Pac-12 game to just lay down and screw the SEC.  Don’t let me down Larry..

Arizona v Utah

Raider Thoughts

I can think of no better opponent for this defense to shine than against Arizona.  As you live in Wildcat country, do you get the impression that the U of A has looked very impressive one week (USC and Washington come to mind) and then proceed to look like John Mackovic is coaching them again (iparticular, the UCLA game)?  While at this point in the long history of Ute football I don’t think it’s a reasonable thing to ask for Kyle‘shead on a silver platter.  But from here on out, Ute fans, I would implore you to ask yourselves the following question in every game for the foreseeable future: did this team look unprepared or simply overmatched? 

MAC Thoughts

Like I said above, Arizona is just thin.  When Arizona went to Oregon, they were only down 14-0 at the half and in the game made six trips into the redzone with no points.  By the time Arizona got to UCLA, the defense is depleted by injuries and Matt Scott wasn’t 100 percent from USC before he was reconcussed against UCLA.  Its why I don’t think he’ll play on Saturday and I don’t think Arizona will be effective on defense and Utah wins.  At least I hope

As for the odd anger of Ute fans.  We have to accept that this was a hard thing to do and it’s going to take some time.  Plus Washington beat Stanford and Oregon St. in Seattle, so maybe we shouldn’t shame ourselves for losing there as well.