STOCK DOWN: The “November to remember.” Well it was fun while it lasted. After beating SMU, it looked like the Mids might’ve had a real shot at winning out and getting to their ninth-straight bowl game. It wasn’t meant to be. San Jose State completely sold out to stop the run, parking their safeties within 7 or 8 yards of the line of scrimmage and basically ignoring the pass. Navy couldn’t take advantage. People seem to think that passing isn’t supposed to be anything more than a sideshow in the Navy offense, but that’s not true. The offense has its roots in the run & shoot. The whole point of taking the slotbacks out of the backfield and putting them on the line of scrimmage is to stretch the defense. To make them respect the threat of the pass. If they don’t, then you have to make them pay the price. Navy couldn’t. They better fix that soon, though, because that’s the approach Army is going to take. If you want to see a game where Navy did make the defense pay for lining up this way, look here.
STOCK UP: Yellow journalism. It’s alive and well! Calling the post “Budget Crunch” and comparing Niumat’s salary to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs? Completely— and intentionally– misleading. Ricks has always disliked the idea of service academies as they exist today, and he’s entitled to his opinion. But if he’s willing to skirt integrity and stoop to garbage posts like this to try to sell his ideas, then maybe he doesn’t think they’re strong enough to stand on their own merits.
STOCK UP: Baylor. ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN ROBERT GRIFFIN
STOCK DOWN: Miami. No bowl for you. One wonders if we’d have seen this announcement if the Hurricanes were headed towards the Peach Bowl and not the Independence Bowl.
STOCK UP: Houston. The Cougars passed the first test in their 3-game gauntlet to end the season, topping SMU 37-7. While Case Keenum and the offense are usually the story with this team, it was the defense that led the way this time. The Mustangs were held to 263 yards and committed two turnovers, including only 24 rushing yards without Zach Line. Houston is now ranked #8 in the BCS and faces a very good Tulsa squad to finish the regular season.
STOCK DOWN: Rematches. One of the great things about college football is that you rarely see a rematch. Each game is its own micro-season. You get one chance to prove your superiority over your rival, and that’s it. If you fail, it’s better luck next year. That’s what makes each game so tense, so exciting. For that reason (and others), nobody wants to see LSU-Alabama again. Less hope the madness of this past weekend continues so we aren’t stuck with reruns.
STOCK UP: Chaos Theory. From the befuddling mess of one-loss teams vying for position in the BCS standings, to the inconceivable and pathetic five-way tie atop the Big East, college football has ceased to make any sense to me. How else can you explain dual Oklahoma and Oklahoma State implosions, or Southern Mississippi’s loss to a UAB team which might just be among the worst college football teams ever? I have no idea. I guess I should be thankful for some of the chaos. Believe it or not, my alma mater has pulled off three straight (if not entirely unforeseeable) wins in the final minutes of games to pull even at .500. Famous Potato Bowl here we come!
STOCK DOWN: Illinois. Seriously, is this the same program that went to the Rose Bowl a few years ago? Not only did Ron Zook pull a “talk to the hand” when asked about his job security early last week, but his Illini have dropped five consecutive games after a 6-0 start. There’s usually no shame in losing to Wisconsin, but considering Illinois jumped out to a 17-7 lead on Saturday, the “woulda, coulda, shouldas” of one of the biggest crash-and-burn stories of the year likely will persist well into the offseason. The same might not be said for Zook’s gainful employment.
STOCK UP: Manti Te’o. I don’t know if anyone took time out of watching Navy’s teeth-pulling loss to check in on senior day from Notre Dame stadium, but if you did, you probably saw the last college home game for what I believe to be the single most dominant linebacker in college football today. The Hawaiian native is just unblockable, and consistently makes impact defensive plays for an Irish team that has risen to 22nd in the latest AP Poll. Despite being banged up, he leads the Irish with 103 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. For a team which is still struggling to consistently put together offensive drives, Te’o’s play has made all the difference in keeping Notre Dame relevant.
STOCK DOWN: Tuner Gill’s job security. Anyone who has ever met the former Buffalo coach will be the first to tell you he is one of the true “good guys” in the game, but Kansas has been anything but a good story this year. After blowing close games to Iowa State and Baylor in the previous two weeks, Gill’s Jayhawks sleepwalked through a 61-7 blowout loss to Texas A&M, which took off its own perennial underachiever mask for a week to hold Kansas to just 197 total yards. Kansas hasn’t won a conference game in two years, and with the nation’s most porous defense, it’s tough to see them getting a win against Missouri next week. I hate to say it, but Gill’s days in Lawrence might be numbered.
STOCK UP: Louisiana Tech. Sonny Dykes’ team might just be the hottest non-BCS team in the country, and more than likely sealed a WAC Title with a 24-20 win over Nevada on Saturday. Six straight wins (including five on the road) is a lot to ask of a team after staring 1-4, but resiliency has been the name of the game in Ruston. They proved it in a big way against the similarly hot Wolf Pack, who blew a 20-3 lead fourth-quarter lead by allowing Colby Cameron to connect on three late touchdown tosses.
STOCK DOWN: Stockings, as in Christmas. The other day at work while attempting to watch Navy struggle in an eventual loss to San Jose State on a slow-as-heck internet connection, a kid came to my desk and told me the exact number of days until Christmas. It made me smile, and reminded me that just because Navy’s bowl streak has come to an end, doesn’t mean we all have to say “bah humbug” for the next few weeks.