I hate to be the old guy on the porch yelling at kids to get off of his lawn.  I try to embrace change…from the 12-game regular season in college football (that was really tough because 11 is divisible by–never mind) to NFL’s playoff expansion that robbed the 3rd best division winner of a first round bye in 1990 (some habits die hard).  I’m not supportive but at least understanding of the multitude of helmets and uniforms a school wears…up to and including North Carolina’s “reflective heel” the other night against Duke.  But–I wish teams would wait just one week to tip off the college hoop season.  I’ve still got my football fever going– and all of a sudden Maryland’s played three games, Georgetown plays its third today and Virginia’s already 4-0.  What’s notable about the Cavaliers’ start is that I actually would have wanted to see their game against George Washington– a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from the previous season.  Sadly, that’s the exception instead of the rule.  It’d be one thing if the early season smorgasborg brought quality opponents to Verizon or XFinity– but Fordham, Wagner and St. Miscellaneous just don’t cut it.  It’s the equivalent of getting filled up on bread before your Bloomin’ Onion arrives.  I wouldn’t mind if it were just one game pre-Thanksgiving to whet one’s appetite…but instead we’re being force-fed steak tacos as an appetizer.  I don’t want more than one order–please!  Either reduce the number of pre-Thanksgiving games or delay the opener to the Friday before Turkey Day–and please get off my lawn.

 

I will admit the NCAA gets a lot of grief.  Justifiably so.  The unwieldy organization chooses to act like a powerless confederation when schools jump leagues yet brings the hammer if a 19-year old gets a free sandwich.  An organization that is ridiculously behind the times on athlete compensation…but won’t let you take a non-sponsored cup to press row at the NCAA Tournament.  But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel…for years the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament has had what is in effect an opening/play-in round.  They’ve titled it the “First Four” and the record books treats those games in Dayton like “First Round” Games…causing confusion when the round of 64 is now the second round and so on.  I feel uncomfortable with the second/third round labeling of the first weekend games–and just refer to them as “round of 64” or “round of 32”.  Somehow the NCAA finally woke up and announced they will call the round of 64 the First Round…starting in 2016 (hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day).  Sanity at long last!  I‘m not saying they’re going to get major issues right all of a sudden…but that’s a start.

 

Alma Mater Update– Syracuse-Pitt isn’t Penn State and it’s not West Virginia.  But as long as the Nittany Lions are in the Big 14 and the Mountaineers are in the Actual 10…next to BC the Panthers are the Orange’s big rival.  Sadly the Orange are reduced to the spoiler role as a 3-7 start prevents them from the glory that is a Pinstripe Bowl appearance.  Pitt is 4-6 and on the precipice of postseason elimination (they have to sweep SU and Miami to become eligible)… I think I’ll be reading Jim Boeheim’s autobiography “Bleeding Orange” and wondering where the offense is going to come from after their loss to Cal and near defeat to Iowa at MSG.I

 

Maryland at Michigan– Welcome to THE BIG HOUSE.  Michigan Stadium seats over 109,000 fans…unfortunately for the UM faithful the team hasn’t given them much to cheer about this fall.  A 5-5 start with home losses to Utah and Minnesota.  A coach under fire…and an Athletic Director shown the door.  The Wolverines have won 3 of 4 thanks to improved defense (-9 rushing yards allowed against Northwestern)… but QB Devin Gardner is a shell of his 2013 performance (21 TD’s passing with 11 rushing last year–8 and 3 this fall).  Speaking of seniors slipping, CJ Brown tries to turn around what’s been a disappointing fall as well (5 TD’s and 6 INT in Big Ten play).  If only Maryland had a ground game…Terps tumble, 26-14.

 

Virginia hosts Miami– can the Cavaliers end a four game losing streak and keep its bowl hopes alive?  Will runningback Kevin Parks shake off the November frost (56 yards on 20 carries this month)?  Is Greyson Lambert’s play forcing Mike London to junk the Magic Eight Ball once and for all? “Better not tell you now” is the reply.  The Eight Ball would have a field day with the Hurricanes–since joining the ACC, they’ve represented fool’s gold more often than not.  Nobody follows up a “turning the corner win” better with a loss than this program over the last decade.  After their incredible effort that just came up short against #1 Florida State–this is just the type of game the U loses.  And who doesn’t want the Charlottesville faithful to have a faint hope of the postseason leading up to their annual smackdown by Virginia Tech?  Cavaliers come up huge, 33-27.

 

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest– I certainly didn’t see the Hokies bouncing back to beat Coastal Divsion leading Duke.  That win puts Frank Beamer’s team one victory away from becoming bowl eligible…begging the question- do you want to see this team play a 13th game?  Michael Brewer makes too many mistakes…the running game remains dormant…and special teams is a myth.  Still, this team is only a pair of field goals and a touchdown away from playing for an ACC championship.  Wake Forest is one field goal away from going winless against FBS competition.  Hokies destroy the Demon Deacons, 44-13.

 

Howard handles Hampton, Georgetown loses to Holy Cross, James Madison rips Elon, Towson tops Rhode Island, William & Mary edges Richmond, Morgan State beats Delaware State.

 

Last Week: 4-4.  What can you say– Shelly took the leads…

Overall: 78-32.

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