Invited to the dance but not a part of the party

(Note: the following piece is the opinion of Kyle Bauer and not of Neal Ruhl or any other member of the website)

By Kyle Bauer

I guess I should’nt talk anymore about Oakland University. They are relevent to me and my co-host, but other than location are they relevent to you? No, especially because that is a simple matter of coincidence.

But I have found a reason to bring them up one last time to the public and that is because what every other team has done in this tournament. For the first time, there are going to be more double-digit seeds in the sweet 16. Even teams that failed to advance, such as Robert Morris, a 15 seed, almost bumped off a soft Villanova team in overtime. Parody has captured the imagination of the people and pundits as many have proclaimed this “the best opening weekend ever”.

It appeared that if it were going to be any tournament a school like Oakland would ascend, it would be this one. Instead they sealed their national annonimity for another year. I’m sure there’s a few people who figured OU couldn’t handle the travel of going all the way from California to Milwaukee. That’s what they deserve though.

OU apologists around town, and trust me, going to this school I am surrounded by them, need to decide what this team is. For the duration of the year, despite a blowout against Michigan St. and losing at home to Eastern Michigan, travel was to blame for how poor they played against the big programs. I concurred with that and understandably so, especially against Syracuse, Kansas and Oregon which were all a part of whirl-wind road trips that didn’t aid them in games they probably would have lost anyway.

Suppressed thoughts were, why is Oakland getting blown-out so soundly by these teams? In the past Oakland seemed to have Oregon’s number, beating them two years in a row, including in 2007, when the Ducks were ranked. Yet Oregon beat them by double-digits.  Another alarming loss was against Memphis. A small team that OU should have matched up well against, that missed the tournament in a rebuilding year. They were never in the game losing 77 to 46.

But I bought in because of Oakland’s impressive 20-1 in-conference record. Unfortunately I’m starting to wonder if the Summit league has any validity at all. If it should even be in the same class as say the Big Sky or Ohio Valley conference. For example, Murray St. was only a couple points away from going to the sweet 16. That is part of my point but I digress. Oakland’s Summit league performance was outstanding and generated excitement all the way around. Even though Oakland did exactly what they were supposed to do, going off pre-season expectations.

When Oakland went into the game against Pitt, it seemed as though the stage had been set for them to get on the train of mid-major upsets. Especially considering the Big East was at the end of three and almost four of them, that first day. The Grizzlies got off to a rousing start. Then Derek Nelson, who might be the most physically gifted Grizzly, went down and missed most of the first half. An amazing shot by Ledrick Eackles was reversed after the referees decided during the inbound that he charged. Those were factors in the game going in the opposite direction, they were not determining factors though.

Oakland came out working the ball inside and creating space for open shots. They forced turnovers and fouls on Pitt. After those occurences they lost their composure and began to rush shots and run out of position defensively. That is no excuse, you never saw Murray St., or Ohio lose their composure. Oakland was supposed to be better than both teams. I’m left thinking that both would have easily disposed of the Grizzlies off of heart alone.

Yet, I’m hearing more excuse making and suddenly “oh well this is only Oakland second appearance, you can’t expect them to beat a program like Pitt!” Well Wofford was making their first appearance and they almost knocked off Wisconsin. It was not an excuse for them and I’m sure their student body and local media would not apologize to the team for a decisive loss.

Oakland could have been a part of the party. They could have been one of the mid-major teams that have destroyed brackets everywhere. Instead they put up one of the worst performances of the tournament. They played like a 16 seed, which I sincerely believe Lehigh put up a tougher game than them.

Because of this, I do not see any true progress made in the program because this was a truly forgettable performance. OU didn’t even have to win, they just had to make it close. By not doing that, only a score was posted on Sportscenter, no highlights. The game-stories were buried in the back, even on a local scale. And the team whose Summit League Championship celebration wasnt carried live, who had to stay in the suburbs of Milwaukee instead of downtown, the school CBS gave no coverage to on selection Sunday, played like they deserved the obscurity.

For at least another year the Golden Grizzlies will come from California.

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I have not been to Caesarland in years.

By Kyle Bauer

You could argue that with the Little Caesars Bowl, it was the quasi regional pizza chains re-coming out party. At one point the Perms (Mike Ilitch) Pizza house, had George Burns as a spokesman, and were renown for their funny commercials.

The chain fell on hard times in the late 90’s and closed over 3,000 stores and shuttered in several markets.  It was in the early 2000’s when they came up with the Hot ‘N Ready, saving the company and starting a pizza chain revolution.

With profits back up, The Perm swooped in and saved the Motor City Bowl, offering up sponsorship.

So I wondered, to an expanded national audience if The Perm would come at us with his high quality commercials, we’ve come to know and love. You know, the one you always see watching Red Wings games with the “last slice swiper”, the kid playing the Hot N Ready guitar, maybe the one with the Hot N Ready sign break dancers or my absolute favorite, the black and white one with the train conductor and the magical floating Little Caesars. I wish the Little Caesars by my house had a train conductor and floated. Maybe if it were magical, it wouldn’t be dirty all the time and they would actually have Hot N Ready’s prepared.

Little Caesars has by far the worst commercials. They used to have a reputation for having the best.

Finally the Perm got off his butt and gave us a new set of commercials, that look identical to ones Ford is using to push the F-150’s. Should of had Dennis Leary voice them. Obviously Ilitch went into “priotities vs. overhead mode” after the small collapse in the last 90’s. He slashed the budget from the commercials down to what weve seen this past decade. Now there seems to be more money in them, but they still sucked.

As for the game, it was good to see Marshall back in a bowl game in Detroit. Unfortunately it was a poorly played game across the board and each half was lopsided. True, it went down to the wire but the execution from both teams was horrendous.

What I care about more, was that North Carolina took their annual invite to the Meineke Car Care Bowl to go up against the ‘stache. Unfortunately, I’m back to questioning God again. With around 1:30 left, Pitt was attempting a 48 yard field goal, UNC jumped off-sides in a baffling choke job. Right as the evil ‘stache was up against the ropes, about to lose his third game in a row and lose another bowl game, he gets a break, and Pitt does just enough to in good field goal range and take the lead. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates then crapped himself when attempting to lead the comeback and the ‘stache prevailed.

Way to choke North Carolina. Now I’m going to have to hear about the ‘stache and how he got 10 wins and how Pitt is back. Theyll open up ranked in the top 10 next year because they barely beat an unranked team in a third-rate bowl game.

Today is a dark day for me. For Florida fans, it’s apocalyptic. Urban Meyer is stepping down for reasons that are health related. I am not sure why exactly this is being done. If you recall, after the SEC Championship he checked into a hospital for dehydration. Honestly at this point, I cannot fully trust Meyer and whether or not there is a grand ulterior motive. But I highly doubt that because this seems to be a medical issue, and why would you step down from a gig that is better than most NFL jobs? Hopefully this isn’t a cancer situation.

This means there will be a trickle down effect and another mid-major sub BCS program will have their coach harvested. I am looking at Kyle Whittingham of Utah to replace Meyer, similar to the Butch Jones-Brian Kelly carousel.

Finally, I suppose I will address Joe McKnight not playing in the Emerald Bowl due to an NCAA investigation. I’ll sum it up like this, if he wasnt under an investigation, he would had been injured. It doesnt matter.

Since nothing compelling happend in the NFL, heres a wrap on “Championship Saturday”

 

Are you there God?

It’s me, Kyle.

Thank you so very much for giving Cincinnati the will to come back and defeat the evil ‘stache. I know your angels were working hard to keep all just and right in the world.  Just when I was beginning to lose faith in all humanity, you saved me. When Pitt place-holder Andrew Janoco inexplicably dropped the snap, I looked up and knew you were there. When Tony Pike lofted up a pass with 39 seconds left, I pointed up towards your direction, in reverence and celebration.

Around the holiday season I want to see good prevail. The evil ‘stache would only use his victory to further harm those who get in his way. Some times I get angsty and insecure because every year the evil ‘stache looks as though he will finally find the glory that has long eluded him. Thankfully you always find a way to stifle him.

Now I only ask that you use your power to protect the strippers that may be sacrificed in the wake of his loss.

Also, I think I just had my first period. What do I do?!

Thank you God. 

Kyle  Bauer

In all seriousness, I couldnt be more happy that the evil ‘stache was defeated. It was favorite coach (Brian Kelly) vs. most despised coach (I think you guys have finally figured it’s Dave Wannstedt). To see Cincinnati to win, and the way they won, was a dream come true.

Speaking of despised coaches, Bo Pelini may be on that list now. The defensive improvement Pelini has made in Nebraska is remarkable. It might be the most noteworthy accomplishment in college football. I do respect him for this. What I do not respect him for, is the call he made late in the fourth quarter to give up a touchdown attempt and go for a field goal. Especially with only a two-point spraed and 1:42 left on the clock. It was a typical overly conservative, douchebag coaching move. With the best quarterback-receiver tandem in the country pacing the cage, you wear down that clock as much as you can. At least make a couple more honest attempts at forcing Texas to need a touchdown and burn another 30 seconds, maybe even more. The Nebraska passing game underneath was tending to rip off small chunks of yardage and was certainly more effective than their brutal running game. Of course, the black-shirts are back and I get why Pelini would put the game on their backs. Still he and Alex Henry, put the Huskers in a very bad position, one that I forseen Texas capitalizing on immeadiately.

I was very much hoping to see Nebraska win. I’m not necesarily a BCS opponent. Really, I wanted to see TCU play Alabama. While I enjoy watching Cincinnatis uptempo style, TCU plays a SEC style of football. Staunch defense comibined with a consistant, pounding, running and short passing game. They would be a good matchup to Alabama. Which I think Mark Ingrim is the best running back in the country, I think TCU’s defense might have a shot at netrualizing him.

Saying that, the Texas defense will bring it against Alabama. There is an intrigue to seeing a smaller program play an SEC powerhouse like Alabama, but Texas is a balanced team that offers a great match up.  There is no definitive answer to whether Texas or TCU is better. The Longhorns have shown many weakenesses this season. TCU has spent majority of the season beating up on San Dieago State.

The best two teams in the country will be playing eachother for the national championship.

This is all I got on the SEC Championship game…

(photo courtesy of inquisitr.com who provided the caption and 
apparently is the media outlet that has the balls to post this picture.)

Last night was another classic installment of (insert Big 10 team here) versus Hawaii. This game has been another Holiday tradition of mine, since Michigan took on the RAINBOW Wariors in their 1998 regular season finale.

Every year I sit down in my chair by the Christmas tree, pour my first glass of egg nog for the season, and stay up until 3am watching this game. Nothing feels better to me when Hawaii beats some Big 10 team “on vacation”. Unfortunately that didnt happen last night, as Wisconsin routed the Warriors. Even more unfortunate, I did not get to see the game. I was at a Christmas Party, at a house that did not get ESPN 2. I was depressed to say the least.

Heres looking forward to the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Also I have to mention Grand Valley State making it to the Division 2 championship game. Currently I am blogging from the GVSU campus and while I unable to attend the game yesterday, I will say that the pride is swelling and the booze is flowing.

Overall, it was a great “Championship Saturday.” The ‘stache and Tebow lost. It could had been better but I’ll take it.

Goodnight Jamario Moon

Real Deal on Sports Weekly Poll: Best Mustache

Kyle mounted a bit of a comeback at the end, but it was too little too late congratulations Dave Wannstedt.