WCTC 1450 AM Radio interview and Steveo’s Salvos

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Click on 1450 WCTC logo above to hear our interview on August 17 with Bert Baron for a college football preseason preview. WCTC is the Flagship Station of Rutgers Football.

From the “You can’t make this stuff up category”: in 2004, my nine year-old son Eric and I took a ride to Lafayette College in Easton, PA where we saw The Harvard Crimson defeat the home Leopards, 38-23. After the game we walked near the visitors’ locker room to check out the weight room facilities at Fisher Field House and heard some kind of rousing school song coming from the Harvard locker room. The Crimson finished that day with a 3-0 record. They reeled off five more wins to enter tied with Penn both at 5-0 in early November for the Ivy League race. Eric and I went to Franklin Field in Philadelphia to see a de facto Ivy League Championship game. Harvard RB Clifton Dawson ran for 160 yards that day in Harvard’s 31-10 win to clinch at least a tie for the Ivy League Championship. I actually wondered if Dawson had any chance at making it to the pro level. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 186 yards and two TDs. A week later, The Crimson defeated their bitter rival Yale to win the Ivy League outright. Fast forward to the Discover Orange Bowl on January 4, 2012. On a cold, Miami night after Charlie Murren and I went to K-Mart to buy jackets and gloves to watch the game, Number 22 West Virginia was up 21-17 over Number 13 Clemson early in the second period when LB Darwin Cook recovered a fumble at the one-yard line and raced 99-yards to extend the Mountaineer score, 28-17. On the arm of QB Geno Smith, it was all Mountaineers after that as they continued extending the score with his 407 passing yards and six TD tosses. The Mountaineers set an Orange Bowl scoring record trouncing the Tigers, 70-33. Who could ever imagine in 2015, with the inexcusable sucker punch thrown by a former New York Jet teammate at Geno Davis, that the former Ivy League QB we watched in 2004 would be stepping in for a high-powered record-setting WVU quarterback? We never know who we’ll see when we attend these games. That’s a big part of the fun of following college football…

Miami wasn't as cold though as was UNH at Villanova in 2009.

Miami wasn’t as cold though as was UNH at Villanova in 2009.

Navy football captains QB Keenan Reynolds and NG Bernard Sarra were both recently asked the same question in media interviews and came back with similar retorts. ”Now that Navy is in a conference for the first time, have your season’s priorities changed?” Pundits wanted to hear if a conference championship in the American Athletic Conference transcended everything else for USNA football after being an Independent for 134 years. Both responded in separate interviews that “it’s different here.” The focus is still on winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. The award has been presented since 1972 to the service academy who dominates head to head play between Army, Navy, and Air Force each year. Air Force leads in seasonal wins with 20, Navy 17, and Army 6. Navy’s taken nine of the last 12 after Air Force dominated for many years. Secondly, they said getting to a bowl game is still a priority. For that, the Mids will have more opportunities this year now as part of the American Athletic Conference. Reynolds said though that he understands winning the championship gets his team to a better bowl. We will see USNA focus on its priorities this year when we will see them host Air Force on October 3 and face Army in Philadelphia on December 12. The Mids have won 13 straight over Army. That’s big for Navy Seniors – throughout the entire Brigade, not just for the players. What’s interesting this year is that we will see Army’s last game on November 21st   before Navy when we celebrate our 500th game.   The Cadets host Rutgers. They get three weeks to prep for Navy.  With conference play, Navy plays Houston on November 27. If the Mids get to the AAC Championship, they will play that on December 5. Will we hear that they were looking past that game to Army? We will also see Navy host South Florida in the first AAC game we will see them participate in. Among the seven bowl contracts that the AAC has, one is the Military Bowl played right in Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium. With other AAC bowls in Miami, Boca Raton, and Hawaii, we’re sure the Mids have set their sights on doing some travelling…

The Houston Cougars will be one on navy's annual rivals in the Western Division of the American Athletic Conference.

Navy will play Houston annually in the AAC.

Let’s do some math here. Does this make sense? To us, this is the square peg in a round hole. Sports illustrated in its infinite wisdom, selected eight SEC teams to finish in its Top 25. Six are from the SEC West. Looking at their schedules and if it’s a real dog fight between all these schools that are supposedly so evenly matched, let’s predict that they split the games evenly they play among one another and beat everybody outside of these eight. If there are an odd number of games that a team plays among the eight, let’s say they finish with one more win than a loss. We won’t bring up strengths of schedules (and mostly home games) at this point, but maybe with the lower teams with only three losses, they could all be in the Top 25, but more interestingly the SEC may not have a team in the Final Four depending on other team’s bodies of work.  In this scenario, the two SEC East teams have one loss (this means Georgia could lose to Missouri but it would beat Alabama and Auburn, or beat Missouri for the East outright and split with the other two). In the West, Ole Miss and LSU will have two losses. Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, and Mississippi State would all have three wins and three losses among the eight. So a 1-loss East team faces a two-loss team for the SEC championship? No brainer that Georgia or Mizzou gets first crack to the Final Four if they win. If a two loss team wins it, will any SEC qualify to go?     Let’s look at it from a different perspective. In order, the SEC teams ranked No. 2 through 25 are Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri, Arkansas, LSU, and Mississippi State. Based on this order, let’s say the top rated team defeats all the lower rated teams that they play among these eight. Start from the bottom. They may win all their other games, or they may not. Let’s look at No. 25 Mississippi State. At best under this scenario they finish the regular season at 6-6. Do wins over A&M, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Northwestern State, Troy, and Louisiana Tech earn them at Top 25 ranking? I hope not. Those wins aren’t deserving of a Top 25. No. 23 LSU finishes 7-5 here. SI Writer Gabriel Baumgaertner writes, ”After the home opener against McNeese State, there will be no easy prey for the Tigers.” We beg to differ. SEC wins in this scenario are over aforementioned Mississippi State and unranked SEC teams South Carolina and Florida. “After McNeese State”, Eastern Michigan, Syracuse and Western Kentucky are teams on par with SEC play? If so, the MAC, ACC, and Sunbelt are just as good as the SEC, right? But that’s not something the SEC will admit to. Arkansas loses four head to head bouts here and gets by UTEP, Toledo, UT-Martin, and maybe Texas Tech all at home? Maybe Top 25. Wins over LSU and Mississippi State are not of note. Who did those two beat? The point is if you guarantee these squads should to lose five or six games and not beat anybody of note, how do you include them in your Top 25? Realistically, these are two extremes. It will end up somewhere in the middle as the better teams primarily dominate the lower ones, and a few teams from outside will beat these eight. In the end, it just doesn’t make sense that all these teams can be ranked in the Top 25.

We watched Mizzou beat Arkansas in the 2007 Cotton bowl before the Tigers joined the SEC.

We watched Mizzou beat Arkansas in the 2007 Cotton bowl before the Tigers joined the SEC.

About Steveo

This website is dedicated to my unique and ongoing adventure to continue to see every major Division 1A (I despise the moniker "FBS") football team play in person at least once. I've seen all 124 teams in existence as of 2013 play and plan to attend games with the five newest editions in the next few years. This also records my ongoing adventures attending as many college football games as possible every season. I "officially" started this crazy goal in 1979. The upcoming 2014 season will be the 35th straight year of sharing this fun endeavor with others in person and through weekly reviews about each game I attend. Entering 2014, I have attended 459 NCAA football games at all levels. My book, Tales from the Tailgate: From the Fan who's seen 'em all! published in 2011, tells my story over 30 years of when I attended a game in person played by each D1A team for the first time. Now, I haven't attended a game at every major stadium on each campus (yet) because I'd probably be unemployed and definitely divorced by now. However, I'm proud to report that I remain gainfully employed and have been married to the same woman ("Saint Laurie") for almost 25 years. We have two kids that have recently ventured away from our home in Byram Township, NJ over the last few few years. Our daughter Alex is a junior at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), and our son Eric is now enlisted in the United States Navy (Go Navy!). You will find that my site and my book focus on enjoying a passion for college football and great opportunities to have fun with friends and family around the country.

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