For some reason, some people thought that a mere geolocational shift away from the siting of most of my favorite teams would lead to a sudden abandonment of lifelong allegiances. While that idea plainly is ludacris, I’ve always been interested in what’s happening within my immediate locality, so it’s only natural that I would want to xzibit that sort of content in addition to continued addressing of my non-spatially bound interests. These are concepts that can coexist in my mind and on this site, but you don’t have to take my word for it, because there’s photographic evidence of this unity after the jump.
The first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in the books, and half of the teams are back home hitting them, their basketball days finished until next season. First, a look at which teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen, then a check on the standings in ALDLAND’s bracket challenge. Continue reading
- Despite some fight from Valparaiso and surrendering turnovers in spades, Michigan State pulled away to a win in the tournament’s opening game.
- Newly anointed Gonzaga nearly blew their opportunity and almost became the first #1 seed to go down in the first round, escaping with a win over a Southern team that would not go away.
- Harvard University, which has so little going for it, finally found some success in the realm of sport, securing its first tournament win with an upset of #3 New Mexico.
- New Mexico State also lost yesterday, making this article really sad.
- Colorado State’s win over continually hapless Missouri was a yawner…until it wasn’t!
- When will we stop underseeding the Pacific Twelve? Oregon pulled one of the least surprising 12-5 upsets ever by knocking off Eddie Sutton-less Oklahoma State, while #12 Cal eked one out against #5 UNLV.
- As usual, I got greedy with underdogs in the early rounds, so the dispatching of UNLV and Belmont wasn’t too kind to my ALDLAND bracket. (If you’re a junkie, you can see the updated standings here. We’ll do a deep analysis after the first two rounds are complete.)
On that last point, keep an eye on Ole Miss and Wisconsin today, outcome to be determined by the severity of Marshall Henderson’s inevitable hangover.
Hello, listeners! After a short(ish) layoff, ALDLAND is back with a podcast to get you ready for the college basketball season! Also included is discussion of the BCS standings and what we think will happen if there are more than two undefeated teams at the end of the season. We pinky swear that you won’t have to wait as long for the next ALDLAND podcast. Look for more exciting content in the weeks to come, as next weekend ALDLAND will bring you coverage of THE GAME, live from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:
"Let's call it Frankenstorm!" "Actually, that was the name of the doctor, not the monst-" "SHUT UP, DALE."—
sir broosk (@celebrityhottub) October 26, 2012
Nothing is weather until it’s New York City weather, which means that, as of sometime today, we have ourselves some weather. Somehow unsurprisingly, the indomitable Clay Travis has himself a man on the scene, reporting live from the south shore of Long Island. Somewhat surprisingly, there has been a dearth of Point Break references being made, so that’s something we collectively need to work on. And while the Frankenstorm/Hurricane Sandy caused the main presidential candidates to take a break from the campaign trail, it didn’t stop sports this weekend.
Saturday was a tumultuous day in college football’s top 25, with undefeateds Ohio and Mississippi State taking their first losses of the season, Wisconsin losing to Michigan State in overtime, Oregon State losing to Washington, Florida losing to Georgia, USC losing to Arizona, Rutgers losing to Kent State, and Michigan losing to Nebraska. Although not technically an upset, Notre Dame surprised most people outside of South Bend by beating Oklahoma in convincing fashion. The Georgia win is significant because it dashes the order that was starting to distill in the highly competitive SEC East. The Arizona win is significant because 1) aren’t they really bad??, and 2) it weakens Oregon’s strength of schedule, because the Ducks were relying on a win against USC to buoy their BCS ranking that continues to fall despite an unbroken series of mathematically mind-boggling wins.
In the NFL, the Lions beat the Seahawks by scoring touchdowns in both halves of the game, and even daring to take a lead in the first half. The Falcons preserved their position as the NFL’s only undefeated team by beating the Eagles, a team where the only constant now seems to be the walrusness of Andy Reid’s mustache. (Reid fired his good friend and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during Philadelphia’s bye week last week, and after yesterday’s game, Michael Vick said that Reid was contemplating a change at quarterback.) In a real accordion-style game, the Giants went up 23-0 on the Cowboys, then went down 24-23, before coming from behind in some technical sense to beat Dallas, 29-24. Andrew Luck led the Colts to an overtime victory against the Titans, the Broncos beat the listless Saints by twenty, and the Bears survived a scare from the visiting Panthers, beating Carolina by one.
Finally, the sad World Series came to an end last night when the Giants beat the Tigers 4-3 in the tenth inning of game four. It’s San Francisco’s second championship in three years. More on that later in the week.
Michigan’s last-second victory over Michigan State last Saturday afternoon was a historic one for the Wolverines, marking the program’s 900th overall win and their first win over Sparty in five tries.
Despite nasty weather forecasts, the day remained dry and not too chilly, which made for a comfortable setting in which to watch one of the most competitive games I’ve seen in the Big House in recent memory.
While local radio callers and personalities, in the days leading up to the game, were predicting multi-touchdown margins of victory for Michigan, Saturday’s contest featured only one touchdown, and it belonged to the Spartans.
Although Michigan led for much of the game, this one really was the Spartans’ to lose, which they did, chiefly as a result of a missed field goal early and an inability to manage the final 5:48 of the game, eventually giving up a game-winning field goal with five seconds remaining.
College football rivalry losses on the road always are going to be rough, and that’s especially true when your team gave the game away, but as I said in our tailgate full of Michigan fans afterwards, there’s no MSU fan on earth in 2008 who, if offered a 4-1 record in the next five meetings with Michigan, would decline. And while these programs look, for the moment, to be trending in the opposite direction– Michigan on the upswing and MSU on the decline– that 4-1 record is good enough for me right now. At least until November 2, 2013.
We’re into the meat of the 2012 football season with heavy games for most teams from here on out. It’s also the time when teams’ reputations for the year become solidified. One such team is Auburn, which fell to 1-6 on the season, 0-5 in conference with a 17-13 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville. Four years ago, I watched these teams play under the lights in the same stadium. In 2008, Auburn was 5-0 and highly ranked, but the game outcome was the same. This year’s win over the TIgers/Plainsmen/Eagles won’t do as much for the Commodores’ strength of schedule, but it does push them to 2-3 in the conference, and it’s an important win to kick off the second half of a schedule that should be easier than the first.
While Vanderbilt took a necessary step in the positive direction Saturday, Michigan State took another step toward a lost season with a 12-10 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. More on that game later in the week. Back to the SEC for a moment, where the Eastern division is one of the most power concentrated and confusing divisions in the nation. Florida swamped South Carolina, 44-11, to go to 7-0 (6-0), while Georgia escaped Lexington with a 29-24 win over Kentucky. If Florida’s going to lose a game this year, it will be next week when they host Georgia, because the rest of their schedule is soft cake (Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, and Florida State). In the SEC West, LSU and Texas A&M renewed their rivalry in a compelling game featuring early Aggie control and a Tiger comeback win.
Elsewhere in the top 25, Alabama and Oregon rolled. Two quick notes on Oregon: 1) I’m worried that Florida’s #2 rating in the first BCS, together with their easy finishing schedule, will mean that we don’t get to see Alabama and Oregon in the national championship game, a matchup that feels very compelling and intriguing; and 2) the ALDLAND staff is still waiting on it’s autographed Oregon cheerleader calendar. Jog back to the SEC West, where Mississippi State is the most unheralded undefeated team in the country. After beating MTSU Saturday, though, they’re unlikely to stay that way, finishing with Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. Of course, nothing is more perennially unheralded than the Starkville Dogs, and that schedule only has something to do with it. Most of the rest of the top 25 won, including Clemson, Oregon State, and Stanford in important conference games. The upstart Texas Tech Red Raiders survived in triple overtime to beat TCU, and the very impressive Kansas State beat West Virginia in Morgantown 55-14 in a game in which I’d only somewhat jokingly predicted WVU would score 100 after being embarrassed the week before. Dana Holgorson’s air raid offense appears to be out of jet fuel.
On Sunday, the Vikings continue to mount an increasingly compelling challenge to those who would dismiss them by going to 5-2 with a win over flash in the pan Arizona. RGIII continues to impress despite another close loss, this week to the Giants. The Saints doubled their win total by beating Tampa Bay, and the Raiders came back to beat the ailing Jaguars, who lost Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert, sending out the bat signal for David Garrard (I hope). The Patriots beat the Jets in overtime, although VSL’s Bobby O’Shea, a noted Jets fan, thinks that something is wrong in New England, and I’m inclined to agree. Whether it was the defensive injuries Baltimore suffered last week or Houston’s push to come back from a loss, the Texans returned to 2012 form with a 43-13 win over the Ravens.
In baseball, the World Series is nearly set. The Tigers are in(!), and the Cardinals and Giants are playing a game seven right now, which the Giants are winning 7-0 in the fourth. In other current news, Ndamukong Suh just separated Jay Cutler’s neck from the rest of his body. Bears 10, Lions 0 in the first half.
A glutton for entertaining punishment (my teams are 0-fer when I’ve seen them live this fall), I’ll be back on the road this weekend, this time joining Brendan in Ann Arbor for the Michigan/Michigan State game. No current Michigan player has beat Michigan State– the Spartans have beaten the Wolverines four straight times– and MSU has made life difficult for Michigan QB Denard Robinson in particular.
I was in the Big House at the beginning of this current streak, when MSU won for the first time in Ann Arbor in eighteen years. I am worried that I will be there when the streak ends, too, and it has a good chance of ending tomorrow. Before the season started, I was sure that Michigan would win this game. After the first couple weeks of the season, MSU definitely looked like the better team, though, but after what we’ve seen recently from each squad, I’ve reverted to my preseason position: this is Michigan’s game to lose.
Michigan State has not looked good at all in recent weeks. For them to win tomorrow afternoon, they’ll have to have a complete game on both sides of the ball, something they have yet to accomplish this season. The X factor this week is coach Mark Dantonio. The MSU staff hasn’t been the same since the departure of offensive coordinator Don Treadwell, but Dantonio always seems to save something for big games. I don’t think he’s in danger of losing his job right now, but with now-dashed Rose Bowl hopes running high headed into this season, his seat may be feeling a bit warm. He has to know, though, that all will be forgiven in East Lansing if his team beats Michigan tomorrow.
Whatever happens, we all can agree that the Paul Bunyan trophy is ugly.
After a brief break, ALDLAND is back with a stellar new podcast. Click on the play button and you will hear discussion of the first college basketball coaches poll, as well as the embarrassment facing the Auburn Tigers as a touchdown dog at Vanderbilt this weekend and the big in state battle in Michigan. Seriously, click it right now!
Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here: