Conquered favorites and other notables picking up the pieces of shattered ambition this week:
• DAVID WAS ONLY +36.5. The stakes of Stanford's upset keep rising: I saw the Cardinal as 38.5-point dogs on Friday, beat reporter Scott Wolf (who's taken to calling Pete Carroll "Caesar," as in Question for Caesar: How does it feel to get outcoached by a punk?") put the line at 39 immediately after the game, I heard "40-point underdog" all weekend and now read 41-point underdog in the L.A. Times. The least of them is still the greatest upset in the history of the sport, replacing Syracuse's win over Louisville three weeks ago.
The Cardinal lost its first three Pac Ten games - to UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State - by an average of 30 points. Below are the major stat categories tracked by the NCAA in which Stanford finished 90th or worse in 2006, i.e. among the bottom 30 teams in the country, with 2007 ranks after Saturday's win in parentheses:
Passing Offense: 95 (46) Turnover Margin: 112 (46)
Total Offense: 118 (83) Passing Efficiency: 94 (93)
Scoring Offense: 118 (92) Sacks: 111 (15)
Rushing Defense: 117 (81) Tackles For Loss: 115 (21)
Total Defense: 97 (105) Sacks Allowed: 119 (114)
Stanford still can't score or stop anyone, but there are two huge, probably not unrelated leaps: sacks, tackles for loss and turnover margin. The Cardinal had four sacks against John David Booty and collected the four infamous interceptions in the second half.
Not that everyone is all that broken up about it, if you ask Sports By Brooks:
OMG! We lost? Like, I'm not even going to smile when John takes body shots off my bare, impossibly supple stomach tonight!
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Among those at the Hollywood hot spot, which is a favorite of Matt Leinart, was quarterback John David Booty, who was observed doing shots and enjoying the company of several members of the fairer sex (not that there's anything wrong with that!).
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Trojan partisans might not agree with that last line, though, in fairness, Booty was only trying to numb the pain of the broken finger he suffered at the end of an interception-free first half (disturbingly referred to somewhere as "a cracked middle finger"), which has already, ah, shouldered its share of the blame and could sideline Booty for this week's game with Arizona - but that's the only reason. Carroll stuck with Booty, figuring if Drew Bledsoe could do it, so could JDB, and suggested elsewhere that losing linemen Chico Rachal and Kris O'Dowd on the same play against Washington has hurt much more: "We were fine and something hit the fan. There's been a big fallout and it hasn't felt the same way since."
USC Sports Talk does not agree (image is USCST's):
1. Give the senior QB an opportunity to play and prove himself. COMPLETE
2. Allow praised QB to compete for Heisman Trophy. COMPLETE
3. Pull senior quarterback and replace him with the more talented redshirt sophomore quarterback who possess greater athleticism, confidence, arm strength, heart, and intelligence. PROCESSING...
4. Sit back and watch as your offense flourishes under the new field general.
John David Booty is under the bus.
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Oregon's Addicted to Quack certainly hopes not.
• WHERE FOR ART THOU, SCHADENFREUDE? UCLA doesn't even get the basic enjoyment inherent in a stunning rival loss, itself a shamed loser against a winless team for the second time in three weeks, and for the second time stuck on a meager six points. The first stop after even the most minor Bruin setback should always be Bruins Nation, because you know what's coming, and after another colossal debacle, Nestor doesn't disappoint:
All these humiliations have taken place despite UCLA giving Dorrell every chance to succeed. It has markedly improved all the facilities during his tenure. It has let him liberally hire and fire mediocre assistant coaches (paying them at a handsome level unprecedented in UCLA AD's penny pinching history), and it has even let him get away even after shaming the program by having character with criminal past o the program.
And now deep into his 5th season, we are at a point when it is clear to anyone with a functioning sports brain that Dorrell is a failure.
I interrupt here only to say this is the exact reaction after every L.A. loss over the last two years. Not that it's wrong, just noting in light of the "it is clear" line that certain people thought it was fairly clear before his third season, and have never stopped saying so. Continuing:
If Dorrell loses 4 more games, he is done, which means this joke needs to go 3-3 with a victory over Southern Cal rest of the way, before getting canned at the end of next season.
That's all there is left to it. Fortunately for the Idiot he gets his toughest opponents - Cal, ASU and Oregon - at home.
I'd caution against celebrating early thinking it is all but a done deal and that our program will just free fall down the stretch. (yes, fans, don't get your hopes up for spectacular failure just yet - ed.)
So what we can do for now is to keep the chatter going?
There is one thing we can do that can be extremely effectively. And my appeal goes out to the students who read this blog or DumpDorrell.com. Please consider organizing yourself in a methodical, systematic, and deliberate manner operating within all campus rules and regulations, and start voicing your concerns straight to the Chancellor and the Athletic Director in a way, that is visible to us (so we can amplify it here) and to the traditional media. Again one of the reason Notre Dame officials moved fast on Willingham was when they heard students were organizing demonstrations on campus. It got their attention. And it will get their attention in Westwood.
I will leave you this quote from Shannon Tevaga in the Daily News re the call on 4th and 1: (at the ND 32 on the first possession of the third quarter, where Bethel-Thompson was sacked for an eight-yard loss - ed.):
I can only imagine what some of these kids are thinking inside that they can't share in the MSM. Dorrell and his clowns are destroying the careers of all these kids (costing them millions) right in front of our eyes...
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McLeod Bethel-Thompson: nice name, not so nice at football.
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But there was Thompson, needing consoling and support after Saturday night's game. There was injured quarterback Patrick Cowan, at his side. And there was Olson, a couple of locker stalls over, shooing away the media as if they were Canadian Soldiers in Cleveland.
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The Times would also like to know why, exactly, coaches didn't call Rasshan's number even after it was painfully obvious Bethel-Thompson was no Tavita Pritchard:
Rasshan was ready. Coach Karl Dorrell wasn't. The Bruins offense, he said, could not call that audible.
Rasshan was recruited as a quarterback and trained two seasons to be a UCLA quarterback before moving to wide receiver over the summer. Yet, when the offense failed to re-boot under Bethel-Thompson during Saturday's 20-6 loss to previously winless Notre Dame, Rasshan was considered user unfriendly for reasons beyond his control.
"It wasn't an option," Dorrell said in a conference call Sunday night. "He hasn't had any reps in quite some time at quarterback."
The question some might ask is, "Why?"
The Bruins' top two quarterbacks have not been healthy in the same game this season. Olson missed one game because of a concussion and Cowan missed the first three because of a partially torn hamstring and the last two because of a partially torn knee ligament. Yet, the Bruins seemed unprepared for disaster, with Bethel-Thompson and freshman Chris Forcier, who they hope to redshirt, as the only backups to Olson on Saturday night.
Dorrell had considered resorting to the Rasshan option going into the season opener at Stanford, when Cowan was out because of a hamstring injury. Dorrell said they had a "package" ready for Rasshan in case of emergency. When an emergency came Saturday, the expiration date on that package had passed.
"We haven't practiced that package since the early portion of the season," Dorrell said. "We thought the injuries our quarterbacks had were not long term. We thought that Pat would be back soon. . . . We felt in pretty good shape."
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Get `em next time, big guy.
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I understand a little better now. Thank you, Karl Dorrell.
• DAWGS SMELL THE BLOOD OF A DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. If it's measured perspective you're looking for on Georgia's blowout loss at Tennessee, you might find Dawg Sports, or an extraordinarily judicious Paul Westerdawg up your alley. We, however, are looking for instant, frothing rage, and for that, we turn to Chip Towers' Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog. The author is stunned but patient about UGA's unravelling in front of his eyes, but his commenters couldn't unload much more bile:
FIRE HIM. HE HAS TO GO. GEORGIA WILL NOT WIN ANYTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE WITH HIM HERE.
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...the Dawgs seem to be looking for leadership on defense. They look absolutely awful and the snowball is getting bigger. I thought 51 pts was bad last year...they are just continuing where they left off.
By 6th Straight LLoss in SEC East
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Dawgs players are flat and on their heels. Does the defense have a game plan? Did WM think the vowels would roll over? Seems an awful lot like very poor planning. Looks like 0-6 against eastern division is all but in the books.
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This D sux. Willie Martinez should have been fired two years ago. Stafford may not be all we thought he was going to be. He consistently misses open guys. P* poor effort all around so far. WE all should have seen this coming. We've only played well in one game all year, against OSU. It's going to be a long year after today. We will lose to Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and have to fight like he!! to beat Troy.
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I'm a Bulldogs fan and I'll be one till the day I die but Willie Martinez is testing me. It's as if he's trying to call the worst defensive package possible. He's got to go. UGA's defenses have been ranked well under him not due to his coaching but in spite of it. Our defense makes plays on pure talent and is handcuffed by Willie's inept coaching. Today we're seeing the football equivalent of the Britney Spears VMA awards performance by Willie Martinez. So bad you just want to cry in pity.
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We look like chumps. Humiliating.
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There are 70 comments. I stopped after about a dozen.
Georgia also learned Sunday it will forge ahead without Thomas Brown, who will miss the next month and possibly the rest of the regular season with a broken collar bone. But that's not the grand insult to the inconsistent Dawgs, delivered by the AJC's Jeff Schultz: "I dub thee `Georgia Tech.'"
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Moore is closer to sanity when he says Georgia Tech is too talented to be sitting at 1-3 in the ACC with losses to Virginia and Maryland and bemoaning what could have been on a last-second field goal when the team should never be down 21-3 to begin with. If the Willie Martinez comments made you uncomfortable for some reason, you might want to skip the ones directed at Chan Gailey.
Elsewhere in Disillusion...
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Nebraska: barely hanging on. Actually, the defense went ahead and let go against Missouri.
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• All coaches, players and fans have experienced devastating defeat, but suspended Texas safety Tyrell Gatewood wants to ask: Have you ever experienced devastating defeat....on weed? Perhaps you have, and perhaps the, uh, perspective worked out for you, but for Gatewood, his arrest after UT's loss to Oklahoma Saturday night destroys whatever hope he held of returning to the team after an initial possession arrest three weeks ago.
But you know what? As the comments to the Gatewood story point out, at least UT has $$ and CLASS & TRADITION, unlike those FREAKISH smelly WHITE TRASH kinda fat & pudgy & clueless GOOBER PYLE look-a-likes from A&M. So take your two-game lead in the division and stick it up your freakish smelly ass.
• Steve Kragthorpe after Louisville's home loss to Utah Friday night: "We did not play well on defense at all." What gave it away, coach? Forty-four points? Five hundred eighty-two yards? Twenty-two plays of double digit yards?
Krag's prescription: "We've got to do a better job of not making mistakes, and if we make mistakes we've got to get them corrected to where we don't make them again." Mmmmm...insightful.
• Bret Bielema has handled everything else well as a young, first-time head coach. How about losing? Tyler Donovan is set to set single-season Wisconsin records for completions, yards and touchdowns, after his 392-yard day, and it's not stopping anyone from thinking he still looked awful against Illinois.