Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Scientists Find Oldest Living Animal, Then Kill It

British marine biologists have found what may be the oldest living animal — that is, until they killed it.

The team from Bangor University in Wales was dredging the waters north of Iceland as part of routine research when the unfortunate specimen, belonging to the clam species Arctica islandica, commonly known as the ocean quahog, was hauled up from waters 250 feet deep.

Only after researchers cut through its shell, which made it more of an ex-clam, and counted its growth rings did they realize how old it had been — between 405 and 410 years old.

Another clam of the same species had been verified at 220 years old, and a third may have lived 374 years. But this most recent clam was the oldest yet.

"Its death is an unfortunate aspect of this work, but we hope to derive lots of information from it," postdoctoral scientist Al Wanamaker told London's Guardian newspaper. "For our work, it's a bonus, but it wasn't good for this particular animal."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vikings Mean Little

I think all Eagles’ fans are jaded enough by the 2-4 start- plus a healthy dose of actually seeing an actual good local football team the last decade or so- to not proclaim anything powerfully determinant about this third win up at Minnesota.

The Vikings are lousy at the one thing that translates into consistent success in the League- throwing the football. Therein lies all the difference. The Eagles couldn’t run it a lick. But if you can throw the football semi-effectively, the level a “good” McNabb- continuing his incremental progress seemingly can give you since the second half of the Chicago game, the door is open to two scores and something north of 20 points. Add that to a quietly competent defense- who in six, non-Detroit, competitive contests have allowed a mere six touchdowns- there is a repeatable formula for eight-nine wins.

Enough guarded pessimism. It is a road win- a win that saved the season. So, while I am by no means suggesting the play-offs are probably or likely; they are just still possible. In fact, the biggest obstacle isn’t the Eagles so much- as the tricky schedule they’re left with: six/seven games left with above average teams, Dallas twice, at New England and New Orleans and Washington.

Take away the 0-2 start, I think they probably get there. But with it, Philadelphia needs help.

But at 0-2 and 1-3, the season focus changed. A fair goal for this pretty okay group was get back to .500 early enough that the second half of the season has relevance: 3-3, 4-4, 5-5. A square mark is out there for them now. The next three offer a win (Miami) and a pair of toss-ups where the Eagles figure to be narrow underdogs. Hard to see them winning, or losing, this pair: home for Dallas, away at Washington. Figure a split- and 5-5 is there for them.

They still leaves a hard last six- but at least it is a relevant December- something not guaranteed at 0-2. Or yes, even now frankly.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Switch For Switch Sake

After last night's loss to Memphis, I am forced to rely on an old canard: Time for a quarterback change!

First- can we agree that the Scelfo experiment just needs to end? No bitterness or rancor. Just please stop. I’m not saying it was a failure- or not worth trying- but it is time for it to terminate. Another 100 throws from this guy is simply not necessary to evaluate his potential going forward. Raise your hand if you are not 100% certain what we have in young Scelfo. Obviously his intangible “fire” was a nice boost to rally the troops versus LSU- but diminishing returns are kicking in. Scelfo isn’t really translating much in terms of actual production- a real problem in this League

I don’t want to take the red-shirt off anyone- so I vote for Elliott. And if you want to continue to sub in Moore- a guy who, unlike Scelfo, would benefit going forward from a few dozen throws while seeing the elephant; I’m cool with that.

Look, it is imperfect- and you could successfully argue Elliott deserved to lose his starting nod after the Lions’ mess. But...

He’s the one guy on the roster you know, for certain, can point to anything in his past that proves he can play C-USA football at a plus level. In 2005, he blew up Rice for 300 yards/3 TDs- and was okay in spot duty elsewhere. Some his later starts were shaky- but Tulane just couldn’t block those teams- not Scott's fault.

And he wasn’t that bad against MSU- completing something like 55+% of his balls. And now that Forte has been established as a real C-USA style threat- something not true after MSU/Houston, I think it might be a little “easier” for Scott to play. If Tulane could just get 225 yards out of the passing game, we’d be a whole lot better. And I think Scott can do that more often than not.

And isn't like Tulane is trying to develop Scelfo- taking snaps away from him at this point isn't hurting his progress. And if you aren't trying to mature the qb position- if you are trying to merely win games now- well, let's give Scott a try against conference competition.

Also, Tulane has real questions at qb for next year. Next year, Tulane has a hot RS Frosh- but you know, that isn’t a done deal. Let’s find out what we have in the RS junior Elliot once and for all. We know Scelfo, let’s know Elliot- before next year. If he’s a bust, then we know the qb has to come from the kid or Moore.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Get On The Heisman Train

Meet the nation's #1 rusher!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Home Dome

Some curious signs from Vegas this week- as the the line for Memphis-Tulane opened with the Tigers -1 over the Wave. But that line has since moved pretty firmly away from Memphis- and now our own Green Wave is a narrow -1.5 over the Tigers. Apparently someone at the Golden Nugget woke up to the fact that, since the second half of the SE Louisiana game, the Wave has moved a minute but tangible step up in class- clear from the bottom 15 programs in college football to whatever the next tier is. That new level means this game with Memphis is now a toss up- and the Wave deserves a slight nod for being at home.

Nevertheless, I started this week confident taking points and Memphis was the correct path. Okay, Saturday, the Wave offense “woke up”- or at least was able to turn Forte’s offense into the actual point total needed to win in this League. But as I alluded to yesterday, the usual formula to get to five scores is throw it for 300 plus/rush it for another 100 plus. Tulane did it “the other way around”- which I suppose works too- but is hard to duplicate regularly. To wit, you get a career rushing game from your tailback- and still needed OT to beat a wretched SMU outfit.

So I’m pretty sure- since the Tulane quarterback situation is still not even mediocre, and the Wave objectively can’t expect another 300 yard rushing day- the offense comes back 10-14 points this week. Add last week’s concerns- particularly the recent grueling schedule: on the road, no off weeks, the emotional LSU tilt, back-to-back OT, Forte’s workload- have not gone away.

Then as the week progressed, I started to grow optimistic. For one thing, the defense figures to move up. SMU’s quarterback Willis is a true C-USA player- an offensive machine designed to torture. Memphis doesn’t bring a player of that caliber in here this week.

QB Martin Hawkins and RB Joe Doss exploded last week- but this is C-USA. You have to discount occasional cartoon numbers. More likely, these two Tigers have been banged up and ineffective for long stretches- so figure they come back some as the Wave defense has contained offenses a step down in class from SMU.

Sounds like a C-USA game- a shoot out- but one where both offenses look to get into the 20s to win, rather than the 30s. So again, toss up- but one where you pay a negligible price to get the “home Dome”. Frankly, for a month now Tulane has definitely been moving forward; Memphis maybe only for a game? I’m pretty sure you’ll get an “A” or “B” effort from Tulane. Memphis- who knows? They got questions at RB, QB, rush defense- and one solid effort is simply not a trend.

If you are a taker of my three-win season prediction, this is one game you probably have in the “probable win” bucket- from season inception until today. I see no real reason to deviate from that. I like the Wave here- and will cheerily give the 1.5 points.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Ten Games Left? That Many?

With four losses in the bank- and really hard trips to New England and Dallas remaining- the Eagles season is probably over. There are still ten games left- and in the NFC, until you lose that eighth game, you’re in the wild card hunt- but really, there isn’t much evidence that the Eagles are anything better than the undistinguished morass of NFL teams slogging toward seven, eight, nine wins. Maybe even less, certainly closer to seven, given their bad start.

There is ire in the papers today- but really, the Bears played a very tight road game: zero turnovers, solid defense, a composed quarterbacking performance. And the Eagles weren’t bad exactly: no turnovers, they ran it well, allowed one TD (albeit a crippling one). But they are just so passive, so easy to play against. The Eagles don’t challenge anyone; they’re so cool about everything. There are too many positions, way too many snaps where Philadelphia is blasé about mediocrity- a sort of crippling ennui.

Look at the safeties. In any accurate ranking of the 22 starters the Eagles presented yesterday, the 21st and 22nd players unfortunately play the same position: safety. Quintin Mikell on a good day is an adequate replacement- playing regularly he’s a problem. And Sean Considine is as close to an outright bust as you can get for a first day draft pick. He’s played here three years and has one career non-garbage time INT, zero big hits, zero big plays, zero sit up and take notice moments. He’s just out there game after game after game: floating around, missing one tackle badly a game, every game- passive, unthreatening. There is no sense something good, something aggressive, something winning will happen when the play goes his way. Anyway, there is no doubt who has the worst safety combo in the NFC right now- and ouch, did it cost as Griese made them look bad again and again. Not just the last drive, but every third and seven all afternoon long.

Can Andy Reid run his stupid punting school on his own damn time? Please? And speaking of the worst duos in the NFL, how about the deadly mixture of Buckhalter and Mahe returning kicks/punts? Right now, put you hand in the air if you’d agree the result of all kicking plays would be Eagles assuming possession on their own 20, with no fumbles? Pretty fair deal. The return game is the single biggest intangible in the NFL- and the Eagles bring nothing scary- they’re again blasé about the utterly unchallenging nature of their return game and punter. It is a dozen plays a game where they just hope nothing bad happens.

But the ultimate in passivity is the quarterback. Donavan’s numbers aren’t “bad”. He’s completing 60% of his passes- seven TDs versus 2 interceptions. Fine.

But Donovan was never a plus as a pocket quarterback generating plays down field or in the red zone. So much of his big play, score the damn ball capacity was based on his lateral mobility- and that is just gone. And if you can’t pass proficiently downfield, in the red zone, or generate unorthodox big plays... well then, the team cannot generate the “routine” red zone touchdowns or bolts of lightening scores in the passing game- which is why the Eagles haven’t scored the ball passing outside of the Lions’ explosion.

Other than getting the ball to Westbrook 20-25 times a game, the Eagles just aren’t dangerous. That old 30-40 snaps a game where Donovan was potentially dynamite does not exist right now. Plus- roll eyes- add in even more Buckhalter!- because Westbrook can’t handle 20 carries- means another half dozen passive, hope nothing bad happens snaps a game. It adds up. There are like 130 total plays in an NFL game- and the Eagles approach something like 80% of them simply hoping something kinda okay will happen.

The quarterback and coach have simply not figured out to get to a productive post-injury version of McNabb- which is particularly galling because with any sort of positive quarterback play- Garcia! Feeley!- they’d seriously probably be something like 4-2.

Is all lost? Not quite- but getting close. The first must-win of the season is on tap for next Sunday- up at Minnesota. And Vegas still thinks there is a wild card quality team struggling to get out- as the Eagles are a narrow road favorite. McNabb is making a sort of incremental progress, the defense is young and increasingly good (not great- you can move it on them outside the red zone) for long stretches. But pulling the plug on the status quo isn’t in the cards yet.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Someone Has To Win

The New York Post puts Tulane +6 over SMU. The "Toledo Improvement" seems scheduled to continue.

Obviously, this game feels like the last two road tests. SMU (1-5, 0-2) is in the midst of a disastrous campaign versus expectations- mainly because their defense is circa 2005 Tulane-level bad. So, like with Army and UAB, Tulane is in their class. It is a winnable game- and you’re getting points. Based on that rudimentary logic, I’ve taken the Wave two weeks in a row- and split. Frankly, these three games feaure(d) fair spreads- hard to find a definitive pick.

This week, I am leaning away from Tulane. I’m skittish about the injuries- particularly to the offensive line. I’m querulous about some of the “changes” Toledo made after his stern comments this week to the Advocate- complaining about the penalties and sitting down some guys. The changes are a net plus- I mean, who does it going forward behoove us to learn more about: Phillip Davis or Charles Harris?- but maybe not this week. A new punter on the fly? A new corner?

The vagaries of the schedule are not encouraging. Tulane has not had an off-week this season. This is the third straight road game- and a sequence kicked off by an emotional/ physical LSU tilt. If you assign the Wave a very fair “A” grade for the LSU game, they’ve slipped off that a bit each week: 57 minutes of “B” versus Army, a little less versus UAB. This week features a little more grind, a little more give- and I imagine, a little more slippage.

Two weeks ago, SMU played a strong game with UTEP, a “better” C-USA team- and last week was okay at times versus USM. Both efforts would have gotten them a one score plus win versus Tulane.

Worse, unlike Army or UAB, Mustang quarterback Justin Willis is a true C-USA style player- capable of the big cartoon numbers required to hang 35 points up there if he’s inclined. Our defense hasn’t really been tested by a C-USA offense like this- “cartoon-like”- since Houston- and well, that wasn’t too positive.

The Wave will score north of 20 too. SMU is B-A-D on defense, and Forte will eat them up. But can the inexperienced Scelfo and real inexperienced Moore show enough on the road to get to that fourth/fifth TD needed to be in this thing late? I’m doubtful.

I just don’t think Tulane can keep up. There is going to be pressure to score here, not just methodically play offense with Forte. And the schedule has been hard lately: Jackson, King, McKinney, Kropong, Holt are all evidence of the wear. I mean, I think we’d all feel better about this match-up if the Wave had an off-week to heal up some of these guys.

There is 28+ point game out there this weekend- a hard number for Tulane to catch up to. I doubt they can; I’ll give the six.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Toledo Improvement Continues

Good news readers! The “Bob Toledo Improvement” is scheduled to continue this weekend: SMU is -6 over the Wave.

Touring out little Tulane world's many chat boards, there wasn’t much commentary after this weekend’s loss. It seems like last night’s loss was “turn off the lights” for a lot of folks in 2007. I suppose that, even if you had the Green Wave at seven wins, you could write off the Mississippi State/Houston/LSU losses as hard games to win. But I had the Wave at three- and to get there I had them splitting this pair with the Blazers and the Cadets- and missing those opportunities is a whole different ball of wax.

It is official; Tulane is a bad football team. Forte and the defensive line are plus C-USA units; nothing else is. One could be tempted to put the o-line, three out of four games featuring over 200 yards rushing, and other elements of the “okay” defense in there- but I imagine, once it is a top-half C-USA team over on the other side, it’ll be back to being unable to block or stop anyone.

That all being said, how do you turn 500 yards of offense and a defensive effort that allowed a mere two touchdowns into a game where you trail most of the second half by multiple scores? How does that happen exactly?

Part of it, is that in addition to being bad, Tulane is easy to play against.

I don’t mean in the sense that they don’t run enough trick plays, etc. I mean regular football stuff: they commit a dozen penalties every game because they don’t line up right, have the correct guys on the field or lack the discipline to stay on-sides. The best offensive player also fumbles the most (a bad dichotomy), the “manage-the-game” qb throws multiple picks in Blazer territory. The bigger the kick-off return the more likely it is to go for a score.

Conversely, both Army and UAB struck me as “hard to play” against- at least the Saturday Tulane saw them. Take Army- even down ten points they continued to force Tulane to execute kicks and punts and third down conversions and not commit penalties and move the clock again and again and again- until, after 57 minutes, Tulane made mistakes. Like the Cadets, the Blazers aren’t good- but they also never stopped executing the routine stuff either. Both teams kept the pressure on for sixty minutes. They never allowed Tulane to score “bolt of lightening points”- but rather forced Tulane to execute 12 good football plays to score- and that just isn’t Anthony Scelfo and company.

I never got a sense UAB were beating themselves. Yet, that fear of turnovers and bad kick coverage and “can we play prevent?” hangs over everything Tulane does.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Worrying About Math

I worry about math. It is what I do for a living. And “the math” tells you an awful lot about your football team and where it is going.

That being said, there is little direct encouragement from the Eagles 16-9 soporific win over the Jets Sunday. I guess it is a road win- never can discount those, but gosh: the Jets are real bad. And yes, the defense is gaining credibility. Remove the entire garbage time nature of the Detroit game- and the defense has allowed three touchdowns in four games. That is math working for you- not against!

The defense isn’t without issues- but they seem correctable. The normally strong defensive backfield is temporarily short two Pro-Bowlers- which means opponents can complete balls. But get the Eagles in the red zone, with the back of the end zone acting as an extra defensive back- and the Eagles are a unit than can stop you. The defensive front is young; Trent Cole continues to be a relevation. Get the other good corner on the field, and the Eagles have a good unit between the 20s too.

I’m not going to re-hash the obvious problems on offense. One touchdown against the Jets is not encouraging (although the five field goal attempts suggests they are moving the ball). Obviously, absent Westbrook, Philadelphia is easy to play against; they don’t scare. The quarterback natural elusiveness is largely gone- which is real problematic inside the red zone. The wide receivers are back to being a problem. The whole thing feels like last year when it took the Eagles eleven games and six losses to figure out how to play professional offense. Hopefully, it won’t take as long this year.

But back to the math. The math that worries me is the schedule. It is easy to look at what passes for the three-win teams (for today, a fair accounting of the group the Eagles will fight the wild out card with): Detroit, Washington, Seattle, Arizona- and remark fairly confiedently the Eagles are on that level.

But Philadelphia has three losses already, plus two games I don’t think they can win: at New England, at Dallas. That equals five, leaving just one loss in the remaining nine games to get to six for the season. Philadelphia has four division games left- and can probably only lose one- a tricky proposition in an improved NFC East. I guess they could get in at 9-7 too- but their slate is already littered with division losses- with makes a tie-breaker tricky.

I just don’t think 10-6 is likely anymore with the schedule left- which makes the play-offs less than a 50-50 proposition at this point.


Friday, October 12, 2007


Well, Tulane couldn't manage to beat Army last week- is there anyone else worse out there?

Well, I present you with the University of Alabama-Birmingham. They're worse than Army. Unfortunately, the New York Post also puts them -3.5 over Tulane today.

Tricky. Unlike last week’s easy pick (Army shouldn’t be seven over anyone), this seems like a real fair line- a quirky pick to try and better the 4-1 ATS* mark so far.

It is probably an on-field toss up- UAB rating a slight edge from whatever advantage they conjure up from being what passes for “home” at way too many C-USA venues.

Helpfully, UAB is a circa 2005-Tulane level mess on defense- and Forte is very capable of tearing up these bottom C-USA teams for charismatic numbers. Despite the Wave’s mounting injuries/questions up front at tackle and tight end, Forte ought to have right around 200 yards of total offense. Quarterback Scelfo is probably incapable of exploiting this rushing attack- which means, like last week, Tulane is looking at a number probably closer to 17 rather than 27- but they'll also probably score and have the ball long enough to protect the defense.

I get a sense you might see some aggressive quarterback “flexibility” this weekend if the Wave can’t turn Forte into actual points- and that is an intangible that leans Tulane’s way.

UAB has some quarterback injuries- and two of their offensive linemen are apparently out. The latter is particularly helpful- because over the last ten quarters a quality C-USA defensive front has been trying oh-so-hard to break out at Tulane. Pre-season, I opined that Tulane would have to allow at least 100 points less versus last year to get past “real bad”. Well, Tulane is making a determined run at that substantial improvement. I don’t think UAB can block Tulane- how is that for a bold statement concerning Tulane’s defense?- which means they are probably mired south of 20 too.

That makes this pick pretty clear- two teams that aren’t a lock to score three touchdowns- then you have to take the free points, right? Plus, I like three indeterminate factors here: Tulane did travel well last week for 57 minutes, I’m hopeful another qb will play some if Scelfo continues to struggle scoring and the Tulane kicker seems to make “make-able” field goals (no free points given away due to kicking follies). In fact, the OT miss aside last week, our punting/kicking isn’t great- but it isn’t the utter field position cancer its been.

Now, while I’m no fan of Toledo so far, I disagree with recent conundrum presented on fan sites that “Tulane won’t win a game this year cause we’re improving!” I picked three wins pre-season- and I’m sticking with that- if just because there are games like this left on the schedule. Tulane can win this game- will not get blown out- and you’re getting the hook on the field goal. I like it. Give me Tulane, two weeks in a row!, and the 3.5

* SE Louisiana was straight up.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mr. Bold

The BlogPoll is up- and apparently I have won my second ever Mr. Bold Award. I think I won once for the initial poll last year when I was going through an “SEC is awesome” thing- ultimately proved sort of right by Florida!

I don't find my ballot insane though; I do have Cal at #1 for bad reasons vis-à-vis LSU. But this is a Tulane blog- so cope. I probably do have Virginia Tech too high- but I was sort of forced into that by having Clemson too high before that. Life is like that sometimes- wrongs just accumulate.

But I bet almost the entire reason my poll is divergent is my refusal to buy any Big East team in general- South Florida as a top ten outfit in specific- and I will not rank Hawai’i out of the #25 spot until they beat someone of marginal significance.


Let Scott Chuck It

Over the next few games, I want Scott Elliott to get some chances to play quarterback.

Now, Scott wasn’t good against Southeastern- lost his starting role fair and square. And I think Anthony Scelfo did a very commendable job. He played a physically courageous game versus LSU- and a pretty heady one too, protecting the ball.

But the Army game showed the limitations of the “all Scelfo, all the time” approach. To wit: how do you turn 200 yards of rushing, plus an entire day versus a bad Cadet defense, into a mere 17 points?

I think the answer kinda starts with the quarterback.

Look, the quality C-USA quarterback is a big number generating guy. It is a League that for all its faults scores points in bunches- and Scelfo is sort of mis-cast in that role.

It isn’t that he can’t play quarterback- if you wanted a heady, protect the ball kind of guy, he could well be worth a look. But that 22-for-37 for 300 yards and 3TDs performance- the performance that gets you to the four-five TDs you need to be in a lot of C-USA games- that just isn’t Scelfo. Thus, Tulane can play well on offense but generate too few points- and thus still be a single play away from trouble all afternoon long.

Now, we’ve seen that 22-for-37 for 300 yards and 3TDs performance though. That was Elliot’s line against Rice.

It might have been a fluke- but these recent tests against Houston and MSU were a lot harder than Scelfo’s Army one. Anyway, we’ve seen enough of Scelfo to know he’s a sort of a charismatic holding action at best- and Tulane could learn something good about Scott if they find away to let him get a series or two against some of these more “shaky” league opponents.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Buddy Teevens

Tulane fans! You're sitting there.... thinking it....

Buddy Teevens.

I mean, you gotta consider it. The vapid nature of the team and coach suggest Teevins more to me. But, hey you could make a case. Even worse, Jim Harbaugh won last weekend.

How you feel that Stanford win feels this morning in the Tulane athletics department? But, I sense only on the scoreboard did Stanford "win". I didn't see the game- but I'm sure USC had more classless personal fouls.

Toledo-nauts- I share your misery. Back from West Point, it was worst loss I've ever seen live. The penalties- more dumb and frankly dirty play. Cheating on a FG attempt with a "tee" of some sort; did I hear that right? Add that to our total of umpteen personal fouls too. Toledo must award "Buckeye" stickers for them or something. And the Hail Mary.... great- dumb, dirty and now unlucky too.

Can we now at least be spared one week, one measely week, of Bob Toledo being lauded for teaching Tulane all sort of special winning ways? Can I be spared, for one week, of any doubt for having concerns about the all knowing, newspaper jabbering, know it all Coach Annie Sullivan? One week. So far, by any fair metric, he is... well, not doing too good.


Thursday, October 04, 2007


Saturday features a trip to Army for both our Green Wave and Frank Helps You Think It All Out!

Pretty exciting! Unfortunately, so far, I am just not feeling the Toledo experience. Sure, he is a good quote and a glad-handler of the first order. Clearly Tulane needed more of that. But, I find it exasperating to point to anything on the field- any player, any unit- that is definitively better since he got here. And Vegas seems to agree- putting Army a stout seven points over Tulane- a swing of twelve points from last year. I can only imagine the Toledo-nauts’ reaction had Scelfo “lost” twelve points to Army in a single year.

Scelfo won this game last year. Consequently, it is important game for Tulane- you can’t argue for progress if Toledo and crew are losing absolutely every game Scelfo won last year. Heck, forget a .500 season. If you have Tulane and Coach Sullivan winning, say two I-A games, this is one they probably have to have.

And yet, Tulane is a seven point underdog...

Well, stout hearts, right people?

Seven is a lot of points for a team that could barely handle Rhode Island. At home. Plus, I am a little hopeful for two reasons.

One is that the defensive front showed a sustained pulse for the first time this season. Army’s offense is no great shakes- the 37 points versus Temple were the result of three TDs via specials team and defense and general Temple idiocy- and a mere fourteen first downs versus the Owls is kind of a disgrace. I imagine, unless Tulane is careless with the football and kick coverage, Tulane can keep this team south of 30. To cover seven points, Army needs to win by two scores. And if you can’t get 28+ points- and I don’t think Army can on mere offense alone- that is a forlorn climb.

Second reason: yes, Matt Forte is the most overrated player in the 20 years I’ve followed Tulane football. But Matt normally plays real, real well against these outfits featuring a half-dozen guys playing regularly on defense who might not start at Tennessee-Martin (like Army for example!). Forte should have both a fat and prodigious day, both rushing and as a receiver, against a defensive "front seven" featuring a couple of good I-AA prospects.

150+ yards rushing, plus some chain moving receptions from Forte and wide-outs who figure to open a lot, suggests Tulane will score and move the clock. This both protects the defense and again serves to keep the Army point total down. Plus, sustained rushing success will keep both the rush off and “pressure to do everything” from young Scelfo.

Add in the requisite turnovers from a pretty bad Army team, and the fact that their kickers are worse than ours- and I sense Tulane is no lock to be out of this by the requisite two scores. Not a lay-up like last year- but I like Tulane in this spot. So I’ll take Tulane and the seven points.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

BlogPoll is Out!

The BlogPoll is out- driving some traffic here due to my vote for California as #1. My ballot is here.

As the Tulane voter in this poll, I actually watched LSU struggle pretty mighty for three quarters to beat a bad Green Wave outfit (wrote about it here). I had been voting the Tigers #1 recently- but after that...

Well, then Cal looked pretty darn good- and if you dismiss raw pedigree, their paper resume is probably better than USC. And they get USC at home.

Before I knew it, I had voted them #1. I know it isn't bullet-proof analysis- but their body of work is better than USC's right now in 2007.



I don’t know much about the Colorado Rockies. I’ve often been semi-sympathetic to the baseball writers’ bias toward east coast players for significant post-season awards- just because I know it is difficult to follow players who play a lot of games when I’m asleep. And baseball is like that, it is the sustained exposure- night after night on the “early” Baseball Tonight and the NY Post’s morning box scores- that familiarize you with players and teams.

So I am going to forego a sustained analysis- if anything I think this is a series can be overthought. The Rockies seem to be similar to the Phillies- but the Phillies mix in some good line-up speed with their long-ball prowess. Obviously both clubs hit a ton. But no team in baseball probably benefits more from the shortening of bullpens and the starting rotation than the Phillies. Philadelphia had a bad ‘pen most for the year- but for a month now they’ve quietly had three relievers who cover the three key-roles: left handed situational guy, set-up and the hammer. All three can get three outs.

And no more Eaton, Garcia or Leiber! No more cringing two, three times a week when the Phillies starting pitcher strolls down the third-base line pre-game. The Phillies are only carrying ten pitchers- dropping Eaton entirely, opting for a third catcher- which means both they are confident in the pitching they are carrying and frees them up to use Coste as a free extra move as a bat anytime they want.

So, I'm optimistic about this spot. Best-of-5 is never a sure thing- but both I and Vegas think Philadelphia will win today. Spotting a team a game in an abbreviated series is a sure recipe for trouble- which means the Phillies got a very good chance to advance if Hamels pitches to expectation.


Monday, October 01, 2007

What Victory Looks Like!

So very, very, very sad.

Somewhere Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick are soft tossing. Billy Wagner and Tom Glavine are not.

I had wanted the Yankees- but the Red Sox will do just fine also!

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