Thursday, October 29, 2009

Report From New York City

I live in Kips Bay- an area of Manhattan blessed with a fair degree of thirtysomething nightlife- exciting bars/restaurants such as McCormick’s and Coppola’s. Man, was the crowd stumbling out of such joints a little worse for wear last night. Walking around, you could almost drink the frustration. Smelled not yet like panic- more like trouble. Except for the Mets’ fans, who wore smug expressions of “I told you so”.

Much work needs to still be done. For one thing, the Phillies' bullpen door swings open tonight. But, let’s face it, the Phillies needed that one. I find the series a toss up- but must admit I felt, before the first pitch, a certain wisdom in the status quo. An even match-up for the most part- but the Yankees probably in six and seven, largely because of the extra home game at the end.

To erase that equation, the Phillies needed to get one or two they shouldn't. And last night falls into that category: on the road versus the Yankees' ace lefthander. A Game One victory probably means the Phillies, at a minimum, get it back to the Bronx.

In fact, it is hard, with three games still left in Philadelphia, to see the Yanks winning this short of the full distance. Down one, and a bullpen that- outside of the closer- might be imploding faster than the Phillies, makes it hard to imagine the Yankees ripping off four out of five. Particularly with another Lee start to come (I’d save him for Game 5), three games in Philly left to play, and a clear shot at some point at the Yankees problematic fourth starter.

I'll take a Game 7 crap shoot with CC making his third start. Frankly, this moves the Phillies chances to slightly better than 50-50 from 1-2 against.

Now we move into the tricky part- the Phillies have a real answers at both the top of their rotation (Lee) and bottom (Happ and Blanton). In the middle, Pedro and Hamels- maybe not trouble, but mysterious. If it were a map- it would be real “Here Be Dragons” territory.
Nevertheless, thanks to Lee, you could argue tonight is a stone free one: maybe Pedro has one more great start in a big spot in him? You know he'll be fearless and jacked. But a two-love lead on these characters would be immense- and Burnett is not untouchable. This is the Phillies one chance to keep this from being a series that hinges on single starts and lucky at-bats- seize the day sort of stuff. So, I am off the free one- this isn’t the NBA where you can assume by default that great teams defend home court.

Must step on Yankee throats now- another 0-for-8 from A-Rod and Texiera would go a long way to putting a lot of doubts and pressure on some guys who might not handle it real well.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Unsatisifying Appetizer

In a frankly boring exhibition, the Eagles routed the hapless Redskins last night 27-17- a thoroughly unsatisifying World Series appetizer. Yes, one can’t go too crazy on a football team after the total domination a division opponent on the road- leading by seventeen the entire second half until garbage time. But man… apparently the terrible loss to the Raiders did not exactly cause the Eagles to refrain from looking past this Washington outfit: a zillion penalties, that old offensive ennui we associate with a bad McNabb day, a second half devoid of offensive aggressiveness.

Still, after adding in the fourth starting MLB of the campaign, the defense seems back to fine- holding five of their six opponents to 17 points or less. Only the Saints have managed to humiliate them. Seems like the Eagles should be able to keep the offensively struggling Giants to something manageable this Sunday.

But, a pair of giant plays to DeSean Jackson aside, the Eagles did nothing on offense all night. McNabb's TD pass to Jackson came on a third-and-22 play- how can that happen? His sixty-yard plus TD run was helped in large part when two Redskins both couldn’t get off blocks by WR Maclin.

While not the biggest problem, the bloom is quickly coming off the rose for rookie RB Shady McCoy. He can’t block the pass at all (arguably worse than Ryan Moats right now) and 14-for-38 ain’t gonna cut it at the tailback position. He has got to do better- unfortunately for the Eagles, there are no viable candidates to absorb those touches.

The contributing second tailback position, a must with a Brian Westbrook roster presence, has been a problem forever around here. And it looks like Brain is out at least a month with conscussion symptoms. At my most ornery, I’ve never been a huge Westbrook fan- a guy paid like a franchise back who simply never could handle a weekly load of fifteen-twenty touches. That unreal strain on the roster made guys like Buckhalter and Reno Mahe key contributors at the worst times. Coupled with his blah play and ridiculous cap number, I can confidently predict Westbrook won’t be back in 2010. I don’t think the Eagles will miss his occasional contribution(s).

I just get a feeling the Eagles are trying to hold on until the offensive line completes its restoration to health- slowly, slowly, now three starters back- and then plays a few games together. Guard Todd Herremans was able to restore more order to the chaotic interior (until he wore down badly late)- as Haynesworth was not a complete terror. I think as the other guard and tackle come back, the inconsistency in rushing the football and pass rush pressure will ease. The skins are missing left tackle Chris Samuels and right guard Randy Thomas- look at the mess they are on offense. JC and Portis used to be able to play in spurts, right? Also, is there a more tired act in sports than those Washington fans dressed as Hogs?

I would like to make it official, I have had it with the Eagles punter. Let’s get some guys in here please.

In the end, it is hard to figure out where the Eagles are. They stand at 4-2. And that is a bad 0-1 against great team, and 4-1 versus some lousy ones (I don’t mark’em down that much for the Raiders- this is a hard game to expect perfection). So they are better than lousy and a clear step below great. That is a big gap- you could put them anywhere between real mediocre and good. Beats me. I started at 10-6, something like 4-2 in the division, still feel good about it.

Lastly, Ralph Vacchiano writes about the Giants today:
Are they a power running team? A passing team? A team led by a blitzing defense? What’s their true identity? And why does it seem to change week to week?
At least, we don’t have that problem: the Eagles are a throw it and throw it some more team!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Sort of Stopping Southern Miss

The New York Post takes a minute from breathlessly anticipating a Phillies-Yankees series to put up Southern Mississippi -21.5 over the Tulane Green Wave. And we are off to a great 5-1 ATS start here- bowl eligible with a win against the number this week.

Naturally, the number grows bigger each time the Wave plays a first division C-USA outfit- the Wave was unable to cover 14 versus Tulsa to open the season, or 19 last week versus Houston.

But to me, that is the rub. The Wave hung with the Cougars for a half. Conversely, Southern Miss ain’t piloted by a second tier Heisman Trophy candidate. Southern Miss is not legitimately hanging around and inside the national top 25 polls.

Southern Miss can do one thing real well- run the football. RB Damion Fletcher has had a wonderful C-USA career- and he know doubt will go for a buck-fifty here. But USM’s 28th ranked rushing attack is also part and parcel with issues throwing the football. They probably will eschew the pass for long stretches- content to rush the football and consequently move the clock. It is safe- but just not a prescription for 40 points- which the Golden Eagles probably need to be sure of covering.

Yes, the Golden Eagles play some defense too- but even seventeen Tulane points is a real threat when you’re chasing three scores plus a hook. The "new" Tulane quarterback situation is merely status quo really- it is always in flux possession to possession. Frankly, uncertainty at quarterback under Toledo is sort of normal now; it is priced in. Ryan Griffin isn’t making a big difference tomorrow.

Tulane simply ought to be able to hang out a little longer here. USM is just not as explosive as Houston/Tulsa. And a game that is competitive into the second half makes a four score separation problematic.

It is not an easy pick. Toledo is a bad football coach unable to get a quarterback to play at a plus level or the team to play hard each week. Bad things repeatedly turn into blowouts. Going with Tulane is never routine or easy right now. But this line is too much. Tulane plays credibly for stretches- give me the Green Wave +21.5

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Pennant! Redux!

There is an old baseball saying that “pitching and defense win championships”. Well, the Philadelphia Phillies managed to prove that hitting an absolute ton also works too.

Every time you looked up the Phillies weren’t flirting with “crooked numbers” per inning- but rather threatening to score double digits through six, seven innings. Last year’s outfit was sort of a lighter version of the early Jeter Yankees- a good offense and a rock-solid bullpen that reduced games to six inning affairs. This year, the Phillies should hand out helmets to the fans in the outfield- as balls rocket out with alacrity (outside of Lee, the Phillies ERA is close to five).

Again, this is Charlie’s great post-season (so far). He’s managed his limited pitching options pretty brilliantly- have you noticed he has identified a mid-game go to guy in Chad Durbin? Those three, four outs Durbin has quietly been providing solve a third of the mysterious nine outs you need to get nightly from the ‘pen. Park, Madson, Eyre, all have issues- but Charlie has managed to introduce them into games where their limitations are hidden. And he has used the extra roster spot to carry Happ and Blanton as emergency, mostly effective, options.

Add in a Dodger outfit that lacked serious starting pitching- a season up for grabs and here come Padilla?- and no sustained offense that approaches the terror the Phillies middle does. As Conlin wrote yesterday:
Rollins . . . Victorino . . . Utley . . . Howard . . . Werth . . . Say them loud enough and it's almost like begging for mercy.
In the end, the Phillies are easy to love because we’ve seen this core group- Victorino, Werth, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Madson, Hamels, etc.- grow up together, rather than be imported in here as mercenaries. Only Ibanez is a large role-player and key free agent pay-day acquisition. Not that the Phillies aren’t a ridiculously well-paid collective, but we’ve seen the disappointment and evolution. I sppose someday we’ll see the regression- compensated by the dazzling October nights this group has provided again and again.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Phillies Win The Pennant! Again!

The Phillies Win The Pennant! Again!

Praise God- and not our strength for it.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Blog Is Closed

Frank Helps You Think It All Out is closed- as I am off to Mexico for a few days of sun. Remain on constant vigil- the Phillies need all of us!

Big Trouble

It isn’t so much the New York Post puts the surprising #23 Houston Cougars -19 over Tulane. It is just we’ve seen this movie a lot at Tulane the past two years.

UTEP proved a semi-bad can play and beat these Cougars if the offense comes to play. But one absolute truism of the Toledo regime is that when Tulane steps way up in class, say not a .500 team, but a good 6-2 C-USA outfit- the results are not good, and sort of exponentially worse. See last year’s games versus Rice (42-17), Memphis (45-6), Houston (42-14) and Tulsa (56-7).

Put the Wave down a touchdown in Vegas, you could get some verve. Put them down twenty, it is trouble with a capital “T”. Worse, good C-USA QBs tear the Wave up- Case Keenum figure to go absolutely nuts. Thirty, forty points beating are the norm.

Even worse, putting aside the Tulane’s pitiful track record versus well quarterbacked, superior teams- there is just lots of bad coach mojo working here. Of course, this being Bob Toledo- there are questions again about whether the right quarterback is playing.

This position is never settled with Bob- Tulane has played 29 games under this guy now and it is freaking always a mystery who will be starting a month form now under center. I’m not crazy about Joe Kemp either, but a kid who is completing 65% of his passes in a ball control style passing attack, is doing what you want. At 70% will people be satisfied- I mean, what is the right, acceptable number? Even the turnovers aren’t so bad when you consider half his attempts are obvious passing situations (with Tulane well behind or facing third and forever)

Worse, just how into this season are our players? Witness the desultory loss against a team that is simply not 31-10 better than Tulane. Marshall just doesn’t have that much more talent- there are pieces of a decent offense at least at Tulane. But Tulane either can’t or won’t play for Coach Toledo under real duress. We saw a whole lot of this style passive resistance versus better C-USA teams all second half last year. This is about where in the season is started to fall apart in 2008- where the “chances to play a credible game for sixty minutes” dry up. A hallmark of the Toledo regime is turn turtle under pressure- that rather than fighting bravely for a good loss, the team just sort of shrugs.

Frankly, I think I would take Houston and 30- candidly the Cougars could probable score 50 this week if they wanted to. Fortunately, you need only give 19. It isn’t the end of the season- there are some winnable, less miracle needing, spots in four weeks. But this is a definite bad spot- needing Tulane players who believe good things can happen. Cougars embarrass Tulane very big here.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rocktober is Over

I’ve seen that look before- the one covering the Rockies fans’ faces after the Philadelphia Phillies rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, ending their season. Maybe it was the 2002 NFC Championship Game versus Tampa Bay. Maybe Dale Hunter ending the 1998 Flyers season. To be alive entering the building- and oh so dead leaving it.

So the only team with any hope of derailing the New York Yankees continues to the next round. I’m surprisingly confident- Philadelphians know for a fact that Randy Wolf and Vincente Padilla can be had- and those two characters figure to make like four starts here.

Ultimately, this series victory further validates Charlie Manuel. Any fool can probably win this thing once via superior talent or luck. And I am the first guy to ding Charlie as an in-game strategist.

But this series, he and his approach shined. The hallmark of this organization under Charlie has been 27-outs, 162-games. They never quit- always give the A-level effort. Buried behind the Mets, a gut punch last night during the Rockies own three run eighth inning rally… doesn’t matter. The Phillies pick themselves up- and generate good at-bats, get good speed on the bases, pressure, more pressure, until one of their big RBI bats crunches one.

But, in addition this time, Charlie did a great job with the pitching. He has zero trusted bullpen options and no clear solutions as to the game three starter. But he got the pitchers with the best chance to succeed in the game again and again. Colorado can’t hit left-handed starting pitching- well, here is lefty after lefty. No closer? Well, defer to what we can do… get Madson in the game in the most crucial situations regardless of inning, get Eyre to faces bunches of left-handed hitting, mix and match Happ and Blanton from the rotation or long-relief to get the next six outs, spot Lidge where he only need to get one out and not three on a back-to-back night.

Not all the moves worked- the Phillies surely have real ‘pen issues- but a lot did because guys were brought in to pitch in situations they arguably could handle. Eyre might not be a ninth inning candidate- but he is sort of a candidate to get a couple of lefties out- so he is in position to succeed getting left-handed hitting out in the ninth, right?

So good job Charlie.

(ed. note- a more cheery Game 7 ending versus Washington)

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Sporting Life Is Worthwhile

Sunday was obviously one of those days that really makes me glad I give so much time and effort following professional sport. Gosh, was I ever rewarded as yesterday? Is there anything more wholesome than being parked with your youngest brother, on the third floor of the ancestral family home, being forced fed bad middle relief until 2:30 in the morning? My forehead literally hurts from disgusted and frantic rubbing. And then, Nelson-like victory!

But first, off to the Linc to watch the Philadelphia Eagles half-interestedly dismantle a hapless Tampa Bay outfit. And this victory was despite playing pretty bored and stupid. Again, particularly over the Philadelphia offense, hangs this sense of preseason game eight or so- the constant breaking in of new weapons (McNabb and Maclin), experimenting with old (Westbrook was back- sort of, at times), sharply calling a halt to proceedings to run odd “wildcat plays” (this experiment is simply not working). Heck, even Kolb got in for a play to hand it off for some reason- causing the Eagles to burn a timeout when Vick didn’t re-enter promptly enough. Or something like that. MLB Trotter showed up, played some- then shuffled off to deeper parts of the roster.

On defense, Philadelphia just looks so bored and commits rashes of penalties. Frankly, everyone the Eagles play- outside of New Orleans- seems simply horrid. Coach Andy seems to want to use this games in some sort of giant bloodying exercises for all new the offensive performers.

Of course, then the four plus hour NLDS marathon with Colorado. You have to sort of watch just to see who Charlie will pitch next. It is weird, you find yourself arguing vociferously for inanities like “Bastardo now!”- and no would be shocked if Randy Lerch surfaced as a situational lefty. After Charlie’s machinations failed in Game 2, he seemingly pressed more of the right buttons in Game 3.

Every move is fraught with the worst perils. Introducing Blanton early means guys like Scott Eyre need to move past comfortable situational roles. Removing Eyre short of said full inning means burning Madson early than wanted. And of course, the whole axis of decisions moving closer and closer to the closer: Brad “Rockets Red Glare” Lidge.

Still, we’re alive- and the Rockies face trouble- needing to beat Lee or Hamels back in Philadelphia- and whipping quality starting LHP is not their thing. So: Don’t worry Red Sox fans! The Phillies will take care of those Yankees for you yet!

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Friday, October 09, 2009


The most frustrating thing about the Phillies 5-4 loss to Colorado in Game 2 was the way every potentially suspect part of the Phillies was magnified in one shot: Howard’s throwing, Charlie’s in game managing, the bullpen.

Charlie’s decision to have both suspected Game 3 starters pitch out of the bullpen (both Blanton & Happ) has drawn a lot of controversy.

First, Bill Conlin:
Will Terrible Thursday be remembered by Phillies fans as a pitching version of 1977's Black Friday?

The question hangs like a cloud of frozen breath in a walk-in freezer after an excruciating, 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies. It will be answered this weekend in a Denver ballpark where the fans will turn blue long before those mountains on a chilling Coors can.

Between them, starter Cole Hamels and manager Charlie Manuel might have blown up the jury-rigged pitching staff in Game 2 of a National League Division Series that appeared so signed, sealed and all but delivered after Wednesday's sandblasted, 5-1 victory over the resilient Rockies.
Conversely, Sam Donnellon:
Manuel's not scared. He's a pragmatist. As he noted yesterday, he's been piecing together his bullpen from the first game of the season, forced by a suspension, injuries and ineffectiveness into trial and error, trial and error, trial and error.
I tend to come down with the latter. Charlie had his chance for a kill shot right there- and he took it. Didn’t work. But Game 2 in a five game series is not too late to start moving the switches in earnest. Heck, if the Phillies manage to win the series now, pretty much no matter what machinations are required, Hamels can start Game 1 of a subsequent series and Lee is generally available. So Charlie didn't burn long term surplus starting pitching.

Burning excess short term starting pitching would be a problem if Charlie actually gave up something tangible… but I don’t know if he did. The Phillies both entered and exited the second game needing to get fifteen innings (or so) out of Blanton, Happ and Pedro in Colorado. I’m pretty sure nothing that happened to change the Phillies ability to do that. Less than twenty pitches is not going to affect either of those guys to pitch an effective four to six innings over the weekend.

Maybe Pedro is now forced to start- but of the three, I’d rather him start than relieve- so what is the big deal? Sure, it is going to be cold in Colorado- but he is going to have to pitch and get nine to fifteen outs some time with this bullpen. At worst, Pedro is moved up to start game three rather than either game four or some ill-defined future relief stint. A small trade to take a shot to end the series.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Three Wins In A Row?

The dead-even Tulane Green Wave finds itself a three point home ‘dog this weekend to Marshall.

And I feel almost a little panicked. Up from a potential rock bottom, the Wave is now coming off two straight emotional “had to have them” wins. They seem pretty healthy (unfortunately, so is the Herd). The defense was very good versus the Cadets. And Marshall is a game Tulane could absolutely win. It a pure dash of prosperity- and I suppose it is a factor handicapping this game. It is just I don’t know exactly how to deal with it- call it the wages of prosperity: could the Wave actually look past opponents? maybe the Wave might react to bad luck by playing confidently?

In the end it comes down to four doubts.

I doubt Tulane can muster the same intensity a third week in a row after two utter “must have” close wins. It is a lot to ask of any team.

Second, I’m not sure of a single good defensive performance, against a very one dimensional Cadet team, now means that Tulane can keep an adequate C-USA attack under control.

Third, Darius Marshall is real close to being a super League tailback (already second team all C-USA, leads I-A in per game rushing) Marshall can flat out block the running game- and that is a chronic problem for Tulane's defense. Darius figures to have a monster 200-something yard day against the back-seven of the Tulane defense.

Lastly, Marshall is still a step better than Tulane. Perhaps it is now a small step, but a step nonetheless. Could Tulane play a credible game with an upper echelon C-USA outfit like East Carolina? After all, Marshall does have three wins in five tries. Before we mock any, we got Army and McNeese in our victory bucket.

With that sort of rushing attack and Tulane’s awful special teams, Marshall is going to score north of thirty here. I’m doubtful Tulane can keep up- and three points is not much of a head start.

I’ve picked Tulane ATS three games in a row now- largely due to the fact I figured they simply weren’t as bad as Tulsa and BYU were capable of making them look. Here, I figure I’m giving Marshall three because Tulane simply isn’t as good as either McNeese or Army were capable of making Tulane look.

I’m nervous about this pick though. I wonder if it is again influenced by the fact I cannot accept that Tulane is a class better than 2008, therefore should totally expect to play a toss up game with Marshall (the very definition of the level up from C-USA style “terrible”)- and then be happy with the 3-point head start?

No said this was easy. Nevertheless, I’m picking Marshall here- looking to improve on the 3-1 season mark ATS*

*the McNeese State pick was straight up

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Monday, October 05, 2009

On How To Handle Prosperity

Well, I guess rain makes it look like football. Gumbo in the rain, along the Hudson River, is very restorative. And speaking or restoratives going down easy, the Tulane Green Wave will now face a new challenge: handling prosperity. Their 17-16 win over Army at West Point makes it two wins in a row- and squares the season mark.

Sure, Tulane is better than Army- and not by a little either. But as always, the kicking follies: blocked punts, missed FGs, kick-offs out of bounds- plus other special teams follies (why is it the more the more important the kick-off return, the more likely it being returned 40+ yards?). Ross Thevenot had a horrid game until the last FG.

And, as always, “personal foul is how we roll”. Can’t maul the kicker in a one score game. Can’t take a selfish, emotional penalty after a huge turnover. A sloppy turnover, many penalties and a bad kicker almost turned this into a loss- except Army features the exact same three problems!

Junior DT Oscar Ponce de Leon will never in his life have to wonder what was his best game at Tulane. Army tried everything: run at him, double-team him, run away from him- and he just held his place inside. The reason Army’s offense fell apart more and more throughout the day is Oscar would not be moved inside, the ‘backers were free to move further and further to the edges of the box to compensate for their lack of speed to the edge and to deal with Army wide OL splits. Those run to the tackle and off-tackle plays ceased to work once Oscar single-handedly clogged the middle and killed any fullback-style dives.

Robottom has to do more than almost make a potential horrid bonehead special teams contribution (mishandling a rolling punt everyone else managed to get away from) if Tulane is going to win four games. He is a horse, get him the ball. I don’t understand why he is one the punt return anyway- everyone else manages to get by with one guy back there, Tulane wants Banks to get touches- what is the problem?

The quarterback is getting better. It is kind of fun to watch Kemp grow- almost like T. Jones in the 80s (Shaun King arrived God-like). He is much maligned- but he is completing 2/3rds of his throws. Army was committed to forcing him to throw yesterday- they were all over Anderson from the get go. And, while far from a finished product, Kemp made repeated, on target, low risk throws- plus he made a play or two stepping up, and threw a few gorgeous balls outside the numbers (the first TD pass was excellent).

My only bone with defense is, again, some thing bad happens and they immediately turtle. Just once, I’d like to see them rise up and stop someone after a blocked punt, etc. Against a good team, a blocked punt cannot turn into ten minutes of mailase and ten unanswered points every single week.

Bottom line: like last week, any win is a good one around here. But I thought after Tulsa and BYU, I had seen nothing that made me move off 4-8. And after McNeese State and Army, I have seen nothing to move me off 4-8. There is still a long way to go to match the firepower generated by say UTEP and Houston yesterday. But, the Wave seems a whole step better than last year, that is solid improvement.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Did Army Score 50 Last Year?

The New York Post puts Army -6.5 over Tulane for Saturday’s tilt up at West Point. Perhaps it is the ongoing glow, a sort recurrent optimism, emanating from the Phillies third straight NL East crown, but I like Tulane here on Prediction Thursday.

Not an easy pick, mind you. Under Toledo, I always get this impression that 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 “manage-the-game” qb throws multiple picks. The bigger the kick-off return the more likely it is to go for a score.

No one has pressed those buttons harder than Army: last year’s utter shellacking at Homecoming and the Wave’s complete late fourth quarter unraveling in 2007. Toledo has been badly outcoached in both games- and the team was utterly unprepared last year. On the road, in the forecasted rain, down a score or two early, this could get to “start the bus” territory before half.

Here, my optimism is centered on the fact I just don’t think Army is that good. Their last two homes games featured indifferent opposition- Ball State and Duke- that Army could not blow out. Throw in some bad weather, indifferent Cadet quarterback play (not one quarterback has ten total completions for the season?!)- and Army is no lock to get to 30 points. For one thing, they haven’t this year.

And the Cadets will need to score. Throw out Tulane’s efforts versus Tulsa and BYU- two outfits that present a whole different class of defenders than Army. Frankly, I’m not sure Army is a whole class better than McNeese either- which means Tulane should be able to rush for a big number here and thus score some. Tulane can put up four touchdowns, rush for close to 200 yards. They can get some big plays from a pair of skill players (Robottom and Williams) I don’t think Army can cover out on the perimeter. Plus, Army plays that same sort of curious special teams we play. Points, plus ball control (did you know the much maligned Kemp is completing almost 70% of his passes), maybe bad weather- and it will be hard for Army to get two scores separation- heck, let alone outright win.

I normally would be worried about yet another ragged performance from the defense- particularly with a new MLB coming in to play versus a real tricky offense. But if Tulane can’t suck it up here and play hard- against a team that utterly humiliated them last year- when are they ever going to come to play?

Ultimately, I just don’t think the Wave is a two win disaster like last year. The Green Wave defense is probably terrible- but the quarterback is not an absolute zero and the troika of Anderson, Williams and Robottom is pretty good. And if they are a four-ish win team, like I expect, this is a game they ought to be in until the end. Plus, you get 6.5 points.

I’ll take them gladly, give me Tulane +6.5 over Army.

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The East Falls!

The East Falls! Again! And again! Prepare the William Penn jersey.

Praise God- and not our strength for it.