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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

January 14, 2008

And when the dust settled, the LSU Tigers were champions, deservedly. Well, probably. For our take on such controversies as fans of the USC Trojans or Georgia Bulldogs might suggest, see our imminent print edition, where we gather up our final thoughts on the BCS Championship game itself. For now, however, final thoughts on the pick of the New Year bowls and beyond.

Michigan 41, Florida 35
As a sometime–fan of Wolverines football, I'm excited about the end of the Lloyd Carr era, and yet happy for him that he went out a winner in probably one of his best games ever. Good decisions, good coaching. If only the whole year had been like this. Similarly, Chad Henne's best game as the Wolverine QB at the end of a career that largely hasn't lived up to expectations. But on this day, he upstaged the Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow. Wow, without looking up the all–time stats, it seems like Heisman winners get a real hangover in bowl games, doesn't it? That's certainly a three game skid right now.

Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
And another Heisman finalist gets upstaged. With an anger that befits a Missouri team denied a BCS berth, the Tigers stomped the Razorbacks. McFadden managed 105 yards, sure, but Tony Temple was the story with 4 scores, 281 rushing yards. Away from McFadden, the Razorbacks produced nothing, and I can't help but feel that the Petrino era at Arkansas is going to be nothing but ugly without McFadden.

Texas Tech 31, Virginia 28
3 scoring passes and a 400 yard game from Graham Harrell included 17 straight points in a come–from–behind victory. Early on, this one looked like it was going all Virginia's way, and while everybody reported Tech's great offense and wide receiver Michael Crabtree, it was the mental determination of the Raiders to climb back into it that really impressed here. All the same, Virginia were a different team before and after passer Jameel Sewell got dinged in the fourth quarter, coinciding with the Red Raiders' comeback. Sewell has been rock–solid in key moments this year, and not having him was the key to the result.

USC 49, Illinois 17
With all the talk of the national championship being open to a split decision, should LSU top Ohio State in a scrappy finale, USC played their part in any future controversy by dominating Illinois in the Rose Bowl. But while USC rolled and proved that their talent–base will again be at the top of the preseason polls next season, Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall tallied 155 yards in a losing effort – a 9.1 yard average. Tack on 5 catches for 59 yards, and there's reason to think McFadden might not be the only stud underclassman RB in the draft. In fact, Ray Rice of Rutgers and Johnathan Stewart of Oregon also declaring early, this is shaping up to be quite a year.

Georgia 41, Hawaii 10
People were wondering if Hawaii belonged, or whether they could pull a 'Boise State'. Apparently, they didn't belong. Now people are wondering if coach June Jones made the right choice by leaving outsiders Hawaii for an SMU program that, while storied, lives in an even more obscure conference, and is as bad now as Hawaii was before Jones arrived out on the islands. My thoughts are that no matter how bad SMU's fortunes since the 'death penalty', any team living in Texas, even one down on it's luck, will have an easier time of recruiting than one in the middle of an ocean; that SMU is desperate enough to give a coach with June Jones' resume facilities and assistance he could only have dreamed of at Hawaii; and that for all the years without a bowl game, never EVER would an SMU team look as much like a deer in the headlamps as Hawaii did in this game.

West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
Commentators gushed about how good Georgia and USC looked in their BCS games, and how they might get a slice of the national title. Yet West Virginia impressed me more. Sure, Bob Stoops and Oklahoma helped West Virginia a little too, but with Steve Slaton out of the game, Pat White reminded everybody what a dual–threat looked like before Tim Tebow, and WR Darius Reynaud and RBs Noel Devine and Owen Schmitt showed us how much talent there is in West Virginia. Bill Stewart had this team ready, and one day later the 'interim' was removed from his coaching title. In what turned out to be a pretty good bowl season with plenty of tight games, I didn't enjoy any blow–out more than this one, because the Mountaineers truly earned this one.

Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 21
One comment covers what I thought of this result: Mark Mangino, the butt of many jokes due to his girth, was voted coach of the year and this game showed why – it's rare that somebody out–Beamers Frank Beamer. Amazing to think that this team, the only one–loss team other than Hawaii, still finishes the season ranked no.7. Hoorah for the lone AP voter who gave them a no.1.

LSU 38, Ohio State 24
Sorry folks, you gotta read the print version for this one. I will say this, though: despite USC being our consensus preseason No.1 when the talent was evaluated logically, our college football preview was actually colored purple and gold, and we illustrated with a picture of Les Miles holding up a trophy. I guess sometimes you just have to go with instinct!


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