Saturday, September 08, 2007

The requisite live blog experiment

I've never tried to live-blog a football Saturday before. Why not change that now, with no build-up and a diminished readership since real life led me to slow down my posting? I'll update this post throughout the day -- more or less.

1:45 a.m. No objections to any of the helmet stickers. My own goes to Terry Grant. May he always run, in the words of Rick Bragg, "like something bad is after him."

With that, I close out more than 14 hours of continual posting and wish you all a lovely night. Thanks for reading, and Roll Tide.

1:40 a.m. As ever, Rece Davis is a voice of reason in the "Who's No. 1?" debate. Move teams up and down based on what they accomplish, not how you feel about them? Brilliant!

1:37 a.m. Kirk Herbstreit says USC hasn't played anyone yet, so it should stay at the top of the polls. What?

1:35 a.m. That LSU touchdown run was just sick. No clear-cut winner for the game-changing performance this week, though.

1:23 a.m. Troy kept the score respectable in the Swamp, a week after a physically draining trip to Arkansas. Larry Blakeney is doing something right on the Wiregrass.

1:12 a.m. With Boise State, Southern Miss, and TCU all going down today, Hawaii looks like the last great hope for the non-BCS conferences to break into the big bowls. I have my doubts.

1:09 a.m. South Carolina's win looks even better in retrospect. Steve Spurrier could be over the hump at last in Columbia, however odd it may be to see him leaning on the defense. Could the SEC East come down to the Gamecocks and Gators?

1:01 a.m. The Sooners looked good, but Texas won't roll over. That was a solid win over a good TCU team that was out for blood.

12:58 a.m. LSU should be ranked No. 1 next week. No one has ever dismantled a Frank Beamer team like that.

12:52 a.m. OK, Michigan and Notre Dame aren't doing very well. At the same time. And they're going to play each other. We get it.

12:48 a.m. Mike Hart guarantees a Michigan victory next week? Not sure if this is the right time for a Joe Namath moment.

12:45 a.m. College Football Final is here. Yes, I'm live-blogging this. Why not? Rece Davis is a vital part of my football Saturdays.

12:18 a.m. Yeah, about that Hawkins thing earlier? Never mind. Arizona State is in cruise control, and Dennis Erickson, as ever, is building something scary. This time, it's in the desert.

12:02 a.m. The Saturday live-blogging continues into Sunday, as Wisconsin finally dispatches with a Mountain West team that went 2-10 last year. Still, the lesson of the day endures: A win is a win.

11:50 p.m. Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! USF does it, 26-23. This may be the biggest win in the Bulls' history. Even if they won it because Auburn lost it. Big notch in the Big East's belt.

11:45 p.m. USF holds Auburn to a field goal. It shouldn't come down to another kick. But given recent history, it probably will.

11:41 p.m. Excuse me if this is rude, but I don't think a team that trails UNLV midway through the fourth belongs in the top five.

11:39 p.m. LSU mercifully opts not to hang half a hundred on the Hokies. Meanwhile, Tommy Tuberville opts to go to overtime.

11:36 p.m. Another field goal. Good, for a change. Tied at 20-20.

11:32 p.m. Two minutes. Eight yards. Please, no more field goals.

11:27 p.m. By every possible measure, Auburn should be losing big right now. But it's winning. Unreal.

11:17 p.m. Another missed USF field goal. That distinctly wasn't a touchdown. It wasn't even a field goal. Auburn is the luckiest team in the world tonight. This won't work against the SEC schedule.

11:09 p.m. A field goal! A field goal! My kingdom for a field goal! South Florida ties it up -- at last -- at 17-all.

11:07 p.m. LSU is setting ACC football back 30 years. 41-7. Ouch.

11:01 p.m. South Florida is getting chance after chance, but the Bulls can't get anything going. Auburn is doing just enough to win.

10:56 p.m. Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins has never lost a football game. Ever. And with the Buffaloes up 14-7 on Arizona State, that may not change tonight. Lots of Colorado fans figure Dan Hawkins has the answer for the Buffaloes' ills. But how many think he raised the answer from birth?

10:47 p.m. Blocked field goal attempt. There's a quarter left, but Auburn's probably going to win. It's that kind of a night.

10:43 p.m. USF is missing field goals in style tonight. Yet again, no points off a turnover. So Auburn promptly hands them another one. That's four. You may want to consider scoring this time, guys.

10:40 p.m. There's the third Auburn turnover. It's now-or-never time. Once more. USF really needs something to show for this.

10:38 p.m. Quentin Groves is hitting people so hard tonight that he's hurting himself. Still, South Florida keeps hanging in there.

10:35 p.m. Late in the third quarter of its second game, LSU gives up its first points of the season. On a run by Virginia Tech's backup quarterback. Building for the future and all that.

10:20 p.m. Hawaii ekes out a one-point win in a wild one on the mainland. Colt Brennan has to settle for a mere 548 passing yards.

10:15 p.m. USF's Nate Allen is becoming an all-star. Tremendous fumble recovery to keep Auburn from padding the lead.

10:14 p.m. Why is a top-five Wisconsin team playing at UNLV? Why are the Badgers losing late in the first half? And why is it all on that channel that shows bull riding and bicycle races?

10:08 p.m. Hawaii is in overtime at Louisiana Tech. You might think this would be a bar to a BCS bowl. But certain coaches who won't be named have shown that you can make the BCS even after a loss to the Ruston crew. Not if you're Hawaii, though.

9:56 p.m. LSU is administering an epic woodshed job to the Hokies. This is tough to watch. Which is why I'm not.

9:41 p.m. Auburn seizes the momentum and the lead with a TD just before half. The Tigers have dominated the second quarter.

9:24 p.m. Nate Allen snares an INT at the goal line just as I'm about to call an end to South Florida's luck. Without exaggeration, that may have saved USF's chances for victory.

9:12 p.m. Mississippi State has corrected that pesky "not scoring" problem in the Superdome tonight, amassing 38 points and a decisive win over Tulane. Yes, it's Tulane, but last year it was a loss. Unlike certain other games we won't mention.

9:05 p.m. Auburn finds the end zone for the first time tonight. 14-10, Bulls. Time to see if USF can withstand a little pressure.

8:58 p.m. Tennessee leads Southern Miss by eight in the fourth quarter. I've always thought the Golden Eagles deserve more credit nationally. They're consistently good and always a danger, year in and year out. I've long held that if even they joined the SEC, they would be making annual bowl trips within five years.

8:54 p.m. Jim Leavitt is doing the Bear's work at Jordan-Hare. It's 14-3. Jubilation isn't even the beginning of how to describe it.

8:48 p.m. LSU is having its way with Virginia Tech on both sides of the ball. It's already 14-0, and as much as it would pain the ESPN folks, this one could get ugly in a hurry. The Auburn game is a lot more interesting. I'm sticking with it.

8:24 p.m. Huge, huge, huge win for South Carolina. And they earned it. And now I get to see South Florida try to shock the world on the east side of the state. The Bulls just went up, 7-0.

7:57 p.m. Dinner break before the evening's main events begin. Just to notify the half-dozen or so of you who are reading.

7:54 p.m. Western Kentucky makes West Virginia Tech pay for what Florida did to them last week. Maybe 87-0 doesn't make the pain disappear, but it's also not a bad morphine substitute.

7:41 p.m. Steve Spurrier is back. The Gamecocks are dominating, and doing it between the hedges, no less. Plenty of time left, though, and Georgia's offense finally looks like it's clicking.

7:22 p.m. Around the SEC: Missouri is making mincemeat of The Orgeron's squad. Florida, which was tied with Troy a couple of hours back, has rebounded nicely to the tune of a 49-10 lead early in the third quarter. Kentucky is struggling to put away Kent State. Sly Croom's Bulldogs are edging out Tulane in a game that must be painful to watch. And Mark Richt's Bulldogs trail South Carolina 13-6 in the fourth in a game I really need to start watching.

7:07 p.m. The Seminoles bounce back to claim a 10-point lead. As erratic as their play has been, it's far from certain that they'll be able to hold it. But for now, this looks like UAB's annual close-but-
no-cigar upset bid. Whether the Blazers can recover from the disappointment will dictate the course of the rest of UAB's season.

7:01 p.m. Heartbreaker for Fresno State. A&M hangs on to win in three overtimes, 47-45. As good as the Bulldogs are, though, Oklahoma isn't Fresno State. Neither is Texas or Texas Tech, for that matter. Franchione has some long days ahead of him if the Aggies don't step it up. Somehow, I'll hold back my tears.

6:55 p.m. Touchdown, UAB! Blazers never say die.

6:53 p.m. Texas A&M goes up by eight. This may seal the deal.

6:48 p.m. The inevitable has happened in Tallahassee: FSU has taken the lead. Late in the third quarter. Over UAB. A football program that didn't even exist 20 years ago. Just FYI.

6:46 p.m. Texas A&M fans are moving from one end of their upper deck to the other. This is possible only because some fans have left. The game is in triple overtime, and people left. Wow.

6:43 p.m. Georgia and South Carolina are in the third quarter now, and I've barely watched any of the game. That, my friends, is a sure sign of an action-packed football Saturday.

6:34 p.m. Touchdown, Fresno State! The team not coached by Dennis Franchione takes the lead. And there was much rejoicing. Except from Jackie Sherrill, who is still in the broadcast booth.

6:27 p.m. After roughly 30 years of instant replay, Fresno hits a field goal, and we go to double OT at A&M.

6:23 p.m. This replay situation in College Station is one of the most bizarre things I've ever watched on a football field.

6:04 p.m. It still is. Huge clutch fourth-down TD by Fresno State. Overtime. All the air just got sucked out of Kyle Field.

5:53 p.m. Jackie Sherrill is in the broadcast booth for some reason. In other news, Texas A&M's human tractor-trailer smashes into the end zone for the go-ahead score with under two minutes left. Well, it was a nice thought, anyway.

5:34 p.m. Around the country: Washington retains that 14-point lead. Boston College has finished its punishment of N.C. State. And Notre Dame still doesn't have an offensive touchdown this season, even though it's leading in Happy Valley.

5:30 p.m. The FSU comeback begins, as the Seminoles now trail only 17-10. Against, I should emphasize, UAB. In other state football news, Florida and Troy are knotted up at 7-7.

5:26 p.m. That 12th man can't stop the Bulldogs from punching it in and tacking on the deuce. Tie game. This needs to continue.

5:24 p.m. Fresno State has the ball inside the Texas A&M 10, down eight in the fourth quarter. Do this one thing for me, Pat Hill.

5:17 p.m. UAB stuffs FSU on fourth down inside the Blazers' 10. Give 'em hell, guys. (As a side note, I've occasionally encountered puzzled looks when people learn that I'm an Alabama fan who also supports UAB. Why would this be so hard to believe?)

5:14 p.m. Also looking like an unstoppable force of nature today: Oklahoma. It occurred during the Alabama game, so I didn't give it the attention it deserved, but the Sooners' demolition of Miami was so convincing and thorough that Oklahoma has to be the Big 12 favorite right now and at least a sleeper pick to win it all.

5:11 p.m. Oregon pours it on, going up 39-7. The sad, sick realization that this year shall be very much the opposite of what was wished has entrenched itself in Michigan Stadium. The Pac-10, meanwhile, is looking like an unstoppable force of nature.

5:06 p.m. Touchdown, Blazers! UAB stretches the lead to 14. This would be huge. I want this. Neil Callaway needs this.

5:04 p.m. UAB is up 10-3 and inside the FSU 5. I've been silently engrossed for the last half-hour.

4:30 p.m. UAB lost to Michigan State by 37 points last week in a game that wasn't even that close. Now they're up 10-0 at Florida State. Is this really happening?

4:19 p.m. Halftime in Ann Arbor, where Michigan fans are getting their own personal taste of Alabama 2000. They don't seem to be taking it much better than Crimson Tide fans did.

4:14 p.m. Upset watch, at long last, over in Fort Collins. Jeff Tedford's squad dodges a bullet on the road.

4:07 p.m. Dennis Dixon tosses up a thing of exquisite beauty for another touchdown bomb. Oregon leads 32-7 in the Big House. Hope you enjoyed that Rose Bowl last year, guys. You won't be getting another one any time soon.

4:05 p.m. Upset watch back on in Fort Collins. Colorado State is back within six after a furious rally. The Mountain West brings it.

4 p.m. Washington may be for real this year. The Huskies are up two touchdowns on Boise State just before halftime, and they just held the Smurf Turfers to a field goal when they were threatening at the goal line. Good for Tyrone Willingham, a solid coach who has been overly scapegoated by Notre Dame fans in recent years.

3:52 p.m. And just like that, Cal rolls up 14 points to stretch its lead to 20. Upset watch over in Fort Collins.

3:40 p.m. Appalachian State will not have a major-league letdown. The legend-killers from Boone, N.C., are up 38-0 on Lenoir-Rhyne in the second quarter. The AP poll changed the rules Thursday to allow teams like Appalachian State to be ranked. I think they should be, at least next week, on general principle.

3:36 p.m. Could Cal have a major-league letdown on the road? The Bears are only up six at Colorado State in the fourth quarter. The same Colorado State that lost last week to Colorado, which finished 2-10 last season. You just never know from week to week.

3:32 p.m. Tom O'Brien is keeping the game closer than it has any right to be upon his return to Boston College. I still wonder why you jump from BC to N.C. State, no matter how upset you are.

3:18 p.m. Minnesota is locked in a grueling triple-overtime battle with Miami of Ohio to avoid starting 0-2 in the MAC. This might be a very bad omen if they played in, say, the Big Ten.

3:13 p.m. Jesse Palmer is on my halftime show. Why?

3:10 p.m. Michigan may want to reacquaint itself with the novel concept of pass defense. Lloyd Carr is so gone after this year.

2:58 p.m. Initial post-game impression of Alabama-Vanderbilt: A win is a win. The Tide survived some miscues thanks to superior talent, another sterling Terry Grant performance, and a few costly Vandy penalties and turnovers. Lots of people had this one pegged as an upset trap, and even though Alabama didn't pick up a lot of style points today, it'll leave Nashville with a win. That's enough for me. But it's not enough for Nick Saban. That's why we love him.

2:45 p.m. The victory formation seals up a win in the SEC opener. Final score: Alabama 24, Vanderbilt 10. Roll Tide.

2:42 p.m. Under a minute left? Must be Rammer Jammer time.

2:40 p.m. Commodores are getting injured right and left. They've never led. They've still shown no signs of giving up. Vandy fans can be proud of what Bobby Johnson is doing there.

2:37 p.m. Alabama milks that clock. Not pretty in the least, but very effective. Just like old times.

2:31 p.m. Controversial no-call in Winston-Salem. The Huskers hang on by the skin of their teeth to stay unbeaten with USC coming to swim in a sea of red next week.

2:27 p.m. Vandy mounts an impressive drive with its backup quarterback as the rain falls in Nashville. Touchdown pass to Not Earl Bennett in the back of the end zone. Alabama's still up 24-10.

2:21 p.m. In the game of the day thus far, Wake gets the ball back down three with under two minutes left. Last year was no fluke.

2:15 p.m. Elsewhere in the country: Chan Gailey angry. Enjoy the payout, Samford. Bob Stoops angry, too. Enjoy another hardcore out-of-conference beatdown, Miami.

2:04 p.m. Grant makes himself at home in the end zone. He may want to consider filing a homestead exemption. Nick Saban goes for two and gets it, because he's Nick Saban and he can. Alabama, 24-3. That looked like the backbreaker for Vandy.

2:01 p.m. Our halftime score is our score heading into the fourth quarter. Alabama is inside the 5 and about to change that, though.

1:56 p.m. Wilson probably should work on that "overthrowing wide-open receivers" thing. D.J. Hall should have two TDs by now.

1:55 p.m. It's hateful how good Terry Grant is. Hateful.

1:44 p.m. Alabama's defense is bending but not breaking. The same can be said for Vandy. Tiffin misses another long attempt, and status quo reigns on the scoreboard.

1:28 p.m. Not an auspicious start to the second half for the Tide offense. Great punt, though, if it's any consolation.

1:21 p.m. Halftime is lunchtime. So is the beginning of the third quarter. Posting will be limited for a little while.

1:19 p.m. Upset watch update: West Virginia and Ohio State have pulled away a bit. Wake retains the lead. And Miami has drawn closer to Oklahoma than anyone in crimson and cream would like.

1:04 p.m. Tiffin knocks it dead-center perfect. At halftime, it's Alabama, 16-3. And Nick Saban is not in the least pleased.

1:01 p.m. So was that slew of Commodore penalties. Welcome to the heart of the red zone, Crimson Tide.

12:58 p.m. Vandy's punting woes continue. That one was a gift.

12:54 p.m. The bad news: Tiffin misses a field goal attempt. The good news: It was from 49 yards, which is a really long way.

12:50 p.m. Jimmy Johns is a bulldozer with legs. That is all.

12:48 p.m. Zen question: Do commentators work for Lincoln Financial because they're named Dave, or are commentators named Dave because they work for Lincoln Financial?

12:35 p.m. A good-looking Tide drive stalls just outside the red zone. Leigh Tiffin drills one from 40 yards away, which has to be a big confidence booster. Alabama, 13-3.

12:29 p.m. Vandy gives it back on fourth down. A score there could have swung the momentum. As could that gift-wrapped INT that Vandy just dropped. You take them where you can get them.

12:24 p.m. John Parker Wilson tosses his first pick of the season. Bobby Greenwood answers with a monster sack. Hold 'em.

12:20 p.m. Upsets brewing? Wake Forest is up on Nebraska just before halftime, Marshall is hanging in there in Huntington, and Ohio State just hit a three-run shot to take a 3-2 lead over Akron. Only the first one seems remotely realistic.

12:17 p.m. Second huge Vandy play called back by a penalty. Alabama promptly responds by snagging an interception.

12:12 p.m. Spotted in the crowd: Two fans in body paint, one with "The Bear Is Dead" on his chest and the other with what appeared to be a less-than-genteel attack on Nick Saban on his. Classy.

12:10 p.m. The defense stiffens in the red zone. Just a field goal for you, Vandy. 10-3, good guys.

12:08 p.m. The Commodores are picking the Alabama defense apart on this drive. That doesn't help.

12:01 p.m. Vandy's punts have looked heinous so far. That helps.

11:53 a.m. Gritty goal-line defense by Vanderbilt. I'll take the field goal, though, especially given that it means the Tide didn't miss another field goal. Alabama, 10-0.

11:49 a.m. D.J.! D.J.! D.J.!

11:47 a.m. A fellow Tide fan asks me why Alabama is playing in crimson on the road. I realize that I hadn't even consciously noticed. It just looks so natural.

11:45 a.m. Two weeks, two games that started with quick-strike Alabama touchdowns. I could get used to this. 7-0. It's still early.

11:40 a.m. Javy! Javy! Javy!

11:35 a.m.
The Alabama game is underway. You'll read about little else here for the next few hours. My heart leaped out of my chest before that Vandy catch was called back, but my Crimson Tide responded well to the scare. Good opening defensive stand.

11:30 a.m.
I thought West Virginia would have the Big East locked up after I saw Louisville's no-defense job against Middle Tennessee State on Thursday night. Then came Marshall. Ugly, brutal first half for the Mountaineers, even if it is a rivalry game.


Anonymous Dixie's Football Pride said...

Minus just a handful of errors, Bama could have well scored into the upper 30's. Vandy wasn't stopping them, Bama was stopping themselves.

Roll Tide, brother.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Agreed. Alabama had some more of those red zone struggles that recurred throughout 2006. But it at least never felt like the game was in doubt because of them, so that was a refreshing change.

Thanks for reading, and Roll Tide.

9:25 PM  
Blogger King Cockfight said...

Mike Shula's new employer seems to not like winning either, including a bonehead attempt to convert 4th and 10 with David Garrard when he could have made his lead touchdown proof.

I hear Mississippi State could be hiring, though.

Duke, too.

5:54 PM  
Blogger King Cockfight said...

Our other fact of the day from The Land of Unfun Football:

Norv Turner (mediocre head coach and exceptional offensive coordinator) and Ron Turner (abysmal Illinois head coach turned decent Bears offensive coordinator) are brothers.

Commentary please.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

And thus we get a brief window into the world of why I don't live-blog NFL Sundays.

10:10 PM  

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