Before this week is lost to LSU-Alabama hype, let’s pause to remember the weekend that was and reflect on some of the things that we learned:1. If you play a historically great 7-game series, they will come.
Through 5 games this year’s World Series was on pace to be the lowest rated Fall Classic ever. Last Monday’s Game 5 did a historically dismal 8.8 rating. (The low rating was especially surprising considering that Monday Night Football’s number was even worse.)
But by Thursday, American sports fans and television owners realized that they were missing out on one of the great World Series of their lifetimes. Thursday night’s 11-inning classic did a 13.7. Game 7 did even better. Its 14.7 was the best rating for a World Series game since 2004.2. Oklahoma State is as good as any college football team in the country.
After Saturday’s 59-24 beatdown of Baylor, the Cowboys are #3 in the BCS for the second consecutive week and are #1 in 6 of the 7 BCS computer polls.
While OSU’s much celebrated offense is averaging 50 points per game behind Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys’ defense is statistically one of the nation’s worst. But SI’s Stewart Mandel argues that Oklahoma State’s defense is much better than the numbers suggest:
Oklahoma State reminds me a lot of last year’s Oregon team, and not because of the array of uniforms. The Cowboys and Ducks both had an electrifying offense that overshadowed an unsung and frankly misunderstood defense. In fact, Brandon Weeden and Co.’s quick-strike attack contributes to the Cowboys’ unflattering defensive numbers. For one thing, the defense is constantly on the field, having played 660 snaps, including 105 on Saturday. By comparison, Alabama’s defense has seen 458 plays. Oklahoma State’s defense has essentially played two extra games.
Meanwhile, [defensive coordinator Bill] Young usually empties the bench by the fourth quarter, so the other team piles up meaningless yards and points against second- and third-stringers.
Regardless of what you think of their defense, the Cowboys control their BCS Championship Game destiny. And Bedlam is in Stillwater this year. I’m just hoping we get to see more of this:3. Case Keenum is setting records that won’t be broken for a long time.
Thursday night, while you were watching Game 6 of the World Series, Houston quarterback Case Keenum was throwing for 534 yards and 9 touchdowns against Rice. The 6th-year senior now has a record 139 touchdown passes in his college career, 5 better than previous Division I-FBS record holder Graham Harrell. Keenum already holds the FBS record for total offense and likely will break Timmy Chang’s record for passing yards next week against 1-7 UAB.
The ubiquity of the spread offense in recent years has changed the way we look at college football passing records. Chang set his record for total passing yards in 2004, and 9 of the top 10 passers in FBS history have played their entire careers since 2000. Harrell set his touchdown record in 2008, breaking a record set by Colt Brennan the year before.
Given this recent assault on the record books, it may seem naive to expect Keenum’s records to last. But Keenum has 6 more games (assuming that the 8-0 Cougars qualify for the C-USA championship game) in which he can pad his statistics. He is on pace to finish his career with more than 19,000 passing yards and 150 touchdowns. Even by spread offense standards, those numbers may be untouchable.4. North Dakota State is the class of Division I-FCS.
Drew Lange’s North Dakota State Bison went into Saturday’s game against #2 Northern Iowa ranked 3rd in the Football Championship Subdivision. NDSU beat their Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals 27-19 in the Fargodome.
Image credit: Tina Haines Photography via GoBison.com
Meanwhile, top-ranked Georgia Southern lost to Appalachian State.
The 8-0 Bison, who likely will be #1 when the new FCS polls come out, are now one of two undefeated teams remaining in the Championship Subdivision. (Sam Houston State is the other.)5. The Cardinals’ winningness rubbed off on their city’s football team.
On August 24 the St. Louis Cardinals were 10.5 games behind the Braves in the National League Wild Card race. You know the rest.
The Cardinals made an appearance with the World Series trophy before Sunday afternoon’s game between the previously winless St. Louis Rams and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were favored by 13.5 points; they lost by 10. The Rams took control early in the game, leading 17-0 at the half and 24-0 in the third quarter. New Orleans scored 21 second-half points, but never managed to cut the lead to single digits.
The Cardinals didn’t rub off on the St. Louis Blues, who lost two games in western Canada this weekend.6. Curtis Painter has wheels.
He may not be Peyton Manning, and he may not win games, but Colts quarterback Curtis Painter can run. Painter was the leading rusher in the Colts’ 27-10 loss to the Titans on Sunday, rushing for 79 yards on 7 carries (mostly in the 4th quarter after the game had been decided). He ran for more than twice as many yards on half as many attempts as the Titans’ Chris Johnson. (Maybe Tennessee should sign Curtis Painter, and his hair, to a $53.5 million deal.)7. The worst team in the NFL will win the right to draft Stanley Spadowski.
Every time I see Andrew Luck, I ask myself, “Who does he remind me of?” Saturday night, while Luck was talking to reporters following Stanford’s triple-overtime win over USC, it hit me. He looks like Stanley Spadowski, Michael Richards’s character from Weird Al Yankovic’s 1989 cult comedy UHF:
What? You don't see it?
If you think that’s anything but a compliment, you need to see UHF.8. Women’s Professional Soccer won’t leave its most marketable players in the hands of a negligent owner.
Late last week WPS eliminated its magicJack franchise. The Boca Raton team’s roster boasted some of the nation’s most recognizable women’s soccer players, including Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, and Meghan Rapinoe.
The magicJack’s owner, Dan Borislow, bought the team when it was the Washington Freedom, moved it to south Florida (where he lives), named it after his company (which makes a device that enables you to plug a standard phone into your computer’s USB port), then grossly mismanaged it. Apparently, Borislow did nothing to market the team; he didn’t even bother to set up an official team website. He neglected to submit game footage to the league and said that he was not interested in selling tickets.
Borislow also wore cleats to the practice facility so that he could scrimmage with the team. He fired magicJack coach Mike Lyons early in the season then made players double as coaches. Sometimes he coached the team himself.
WPS decided it would have no more of this nonsense. Unfortunately, cutting the magicJack leaves the league with only 5 teams, 4 of which are in the northeast.
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