Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 1, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FOOTBALL!....I know that my loyal readers have been waiting impatiently since January for USC football threads to start up again, and tonight's the night! Can't you feel the excitement as the Trojans take on the fabled University of Idaho ....um....what are they, anyway? Oh yeah, Vandals. The University of Idaho Vandals.

Anyway, here's hoping that this isn't a premonition of things to come when top ranked teams take on lightly regarded nobodies.....

Kevin Drum 10:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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i thought they were the Idaho Foot-tappers.

Posted by: kid bitzer on September 1, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Their linemen have a wide stance. (lame, I know, someone should be able to do much better).

Posted by: lk on September 1, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Michigan. ( Heart broken. )
Lots of games today, tonight --and college football season is underway. Horray!!!

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 1, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hurray for Appalachian State...which, everyone should know by now, is pronounced App-a-LACH-ian, not App-a-LAY-shun.

I had a guy in the office today cheering on App State because he's a Notre Dame fan who hates Michigan, especially after the pasting the Wolverines put on the Irish in South Bend last year. So he got a taste of his own medicine later that afternoon, thanks to Georgia tech (go ACC!). And my Terrapins looked pretty solid vs. Villanova, FWIW.

Posted by: Vincent on September 1, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Good teams should never schedule weak teams. There's no up side and a huge down side.

It's no fun to lose to a good team when you have expectations of being national champion. If you lose in the first week, you have a chance to bounce back, but losing to a 1-AA team, no matter how good it is for that division, guarantees that Michigan is not going to play for the championship.

Posted by: freelunch on September 1, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Freelunch - When you say good teams should never schedule weak teams, I assume you are saying quality programs like Appalachain State should not schedule teams like Michigan.....

Just think how bad the Wolverweenies would have lost had they played a Pac-10 team.

Posted by: bmaz on September 1, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Of course good teams should schedule bad teams. If you have half a chance at winning the national title, you should start off the season with a patsy. It's the college equivalent of an exhibition game. Let a ton of guys play, work out schemes, etc.

Thing is, you should do it like Oklahoma did it. They won 79-10. Michigan fell asleep. My beloved Texas Longhorns almost suffered the same fate. They fended off mighty Arkansas State (not Arkansas, mind you, Arkansas STATE) 21-13. That is NOT the way to play your first game of the season. It's going to be a long year. Oh well, at least I have my 2006 Rose Bowl DVD to pop in to the player, eh Kevin Drum??

Posted by: Woody Bombay on September 1, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, Buckeyes roll, Irish humiliated, Michigan utterly humiliated.

Pretty good weekend. I'm happy.

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 1, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Bring it up more often.

Best sport going.

Ohio State fan first. Big Ten second.

Posted by: jharp on September 1, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Ohio State can say that they are second only to the Gators. Maybe they will meet again. Perhaps for Ohio State the fourth meeting in two years will be the charm.

I do remember hearing some sports prognosticators saying that Michigan would be the team to beat for the championship this year. I just don't think that they expected the beatings to begin so soon.

Posted by: BearCountry on September 2, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Cal is going to get you this year. See you in November.

Posted by: nameless bob on September 2, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

I am so excited that it's football season that I can't even comment in the right place.

Posted by: Mazurka on September 2, 2007 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Two words: GO BEARS!!!

It's official. Cal 45, Tennessee 31. America's team, the California Golden Bears, have defeated the mighty Tennessee Volunteers in a thrilling contest. While other ranked teams play some patsy in their opening game (such as Idaho or Youngstown State*), only Cal had the courage to schedule a ranked opponent for their first game and the fortitude to pull off the victory.

Kevin, circle November 10, 2007 on your calendar. Remember this date well. For on that day, the University of Spoiled Children, the University that gave us O.J. Simpson, James Dobson, and Pat Nixon, will taste bitter defeat at the hands of the Golden Bears.

(Before I get snarky responses, please note that I know Cal is not "America's Team," I support the U of Idahos, the Youngstown States, and the Appalacian States against the bigger name schools. However, I do HATE USC!!!)

Posted by: adlsad on September 2, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Point taken, but Appalachian State is no nobody, or weak, as they've won the I-AA Championship two seasons running.

If Michigan was going to start scheduling I-AA schools, maybe they shouldn't have chose the most dominant one in the country.

Posted by: Jimm on September 2, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus, why the expectations game? You're going to outscore them by 50. No reason pretending it's more exciting than it is.

Posted by: B on September 2, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to point out for the record that the top ranked teams are mostly afraid to play a Boise State or Utah, much less travel and play these teams, so they schedule cupcakes (USC, I will admit, is the exception...say, when have you seen Texas leave home much less play anyone besides a cupcake until the conference schedule starts?). The Boise State's or Utah's of the world will play anyone anywhere, and they don't buy their way out of home and home series like some coward teams constantly do. Then when these non-BCS teams run the table people whine that they shouldn't get to play for championships and such because they didn't "play anybody". This keeps the top ranked teams in the family so to speak and everyone is happy except the people who are not.

Posted by: flounder on September 2, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Flounder, Texas played at Ohio State at the beginning of the 2005 season, and they played in Austin last year. Both times the road team won.

Posted by: boat shoes on September 2, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Lightly regarded"??? I wouldn't normally read a football post, but I guess I better, if I'm going to help you keep up your high standards for English usage. If there is an opposite to "highly regarded," it definitely isn't "lightly." Just call them lightweights and get it over with.
Reminds me of my favorite inane football commentary ever, "He's universally considered the most underrated player in the NFL." Of course, it is possible that everyone thinks that everyone else has too low an opinion of somebody, but the basic idea is pretty funny anyway.

Posted by: Mark Gilbert on September 2, 2007 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

USC schedules and lays 38 points on the weak WAC Vandals... Cal schedules and lays 45 points on the #15 SEC Vols? You should certainly be proud of the school you didn't go to, Kevin. Oh, that's right... you didn't go to any of them.

Posted by: DOW on September 2, 2007 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bears and Trojans fans take note. You must come to Tempe this year; and we got a real coach now. I don't know how good the Devils will be this year, but they are going to be a hell of a lot better than they have been in a long time; and a lot better coached. It should at least be interesting.

Posted by: bmaz on September 2, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

So, the Cal Bears play 15th ranked Tennessee and the wimps of troy play mighty Idaho, eh? Yea, I can feel the SC "excitement.

Posted by: Far North on September 2, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK


Second to the 2006 Gators, in football and in basketball, is a pretty damned good spot. It's better than all the spots lower down. Cough . . Trojans . . . cough.

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 2, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

bmaz >"...Just think how bad the Wolverweenies would have lost had they played a Pac-10 team."

Oh, you must mean like this

"Envy is thin because it bites but never eats." - Spanish proverb

Posted by: daCasacadian on September 2, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a kinda fun Southern - sooo hee - Football story:


Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on September 2, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

No, no, no!

Now the REAL football - Aussie Rules - starts the serious part of the season:

Geelong (1) vs Kangaroos (4) - Qualifying final 1
Port (2) vs West Coast (3) - Qualifying final 2
Hawthorn (5) v Adelaide (8) - Elimination final 1
Collingwood (6) v Sydney (7) - Elimination final 2

Go Cats!!! (that's Geelong, of course)


Posted by: BrettC on September 2, 2007 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bow down to Washington! They looked like a different team from the one we've watched the past few years. The pasting UW gave Syracuse on the road was certainly more impressive than SC's effort against mighty Idaho at home. The Pac 10 will be a lot more competitive this year.

Mush, Huskies!!!

Posted by: DevilDog on September 2, 2007 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Appalachian State is no nobody...as they've won the I-AA Championship two seasons running."

So how would ApState rank numerically if I-A and I-AA weren't separated? Which I-A teams wouldn't want to play Appalachian State, besides the obvious of Duke and Buffalo?

Posted by: ThresherK on September 2, 2007 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Hail to the Victors, er, no - Well, we'll just put on our Blue and Gold jersies, er no - Congrats to Appalachian State - The NFL scouts must drool over the speed of their wide outs.

Yeah, Pac 10 teams will romp over the Big 10 - Somehow this message never was received in Pullman.

Kudos to California for winning a game they were supposed to last year.

And, can't forget my mighty Jayhawks for thumping Michigan, well, Central Michigan that is. Would the Wolvees have been much different?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Like almost everyone of real discrimination, I support all Pac-10 teams. But Jeff Tedford (or someone) made a major blunder on 3rd-and-goal late in the game last night; this kept the Golden Bears from a final TD which would have made the final score 52-31. That larger win would have been much more helpful in terms of the national polls. Huge blunder--and it actually gave Tennessee one last chance to get back in the game.

RE Michigan: An upset, but hardly as shocking as the way it's being played. The Big Ten was embarrassed all year long against other conferences in 2006, and Michigan and Ohio State were massacred by USC and Florida in their respective bowl games in January (after all that late-November screaming about how they should play each other in the national title game). But football punditry is simply unable to take note of relative conference strength. They ranked Michigan right back at #5 this year, and everyone was shocked, just shocked, to think that they could be extended by the nation's best 1-AA program.

Posted by: bob somerby on September 2, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, Kevin has every right to root for USC, though I'll continue to urge him to broaden his vision--and widen his human sympathies--by supporting the entire Pac-10. If you simply look at last year's interconference scores, it's fairly clear that the SEC and the Pac-10 were the two best conferences in 06. (The Big 10 and Big 12 were woeful.) Despite that, ESPN was full of commentary yesterday about how everyone is full of questions about our mightiest conference. And, of course, these insightful pundits were shocked, simply shocked, to think that Great Michigan could have lost.

Posted by: bob somerby on September 2, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, that Appalachian Spring.

Springtime for Appalachian, winter for Michigan.

Yeah, and all of those "insightful pundits" mentioned are not the NFL scouts perusing the SEC and smaller schools throughout the south.

Even lowly Kansas is being led by a soph QB out of Houston.

Shame that so much aid seems to have gone to LSU and not Mississippi State. Haley, call DC.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

You guys must all still have your freshman beanies in mothballs.
Having been in Ann Arbor on a home game day, I've seen first hand the pathetic spectacle of apparent adults stalking the city in their game gear and looking for the old sandwich shoppe that is no more.
Groundhogs! Groundhogs!

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 2, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Dunnnn dun dun dun da dun.. gator bait! 49-3 in our exhibition game. :p

Posted by: Tim P. on September 2, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK



Posted by: adlsad on September 2, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Chipmunks, Chipmunks, fight, fight, fight

Posted by: Jasper B "J.B." Biggley on September 2, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

So, the Cal Bears play 15th ranked Tennessee and the wimps of troy play mighty Idaho, eh? Yea, I can feel the SC "excitement.

And in two weeks, when U$C is playing Nebraska, the wimps of UC Berkeley will be playing mighty Louisiana Tech.

SOS arguments at this point are really stupid. I hate U$C even more than I hate UC Berkeley, but $C always plays a decent schedule. They'll have one cupcake, one strong opponent, and Notre Dame, who could go either way. The fact that their tough opponent comes in week three instead of week one doesn't mean anything.

Good teams should never schedule weak teams. There's no up side and a huge down side.

There's about $5MM worth of upside for Michigan in those types of games. They don't have to play them on the road next year. Michigan is going to play four road games and eight home games this year. They're not going to have give App State a game in Boone, NC for return. They just have to cut them a nice check. It's not about working on schemes, or getting everyone into the game. It's about a big payday with no reciprocity.

Posted by: Seitz on September 2, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

To the UW fan: Don't read too much into the Huskies' win. As a native Syracusan, I can honestly say that the Orange are a long way removed from the halcyon days of Brown, Davis, Little, Csonka, etc. (And SU should never wear all-orange uniforms, unless they have some deal going with optometrists of central New York.) SU also made a terrible blunder a few years back by not aggressively pursuing ACC membership when Virginia Tech -- thank you, Mark Warner -- bumped it out of line. If the Big Ten is seriously interested in a 12th team, SU should (discreetnly) lobby like heck to get that invitation and renew the Orange's fabled rivalry with Penn State.

Posted by: Vincent on September 2, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't calling a team the Vandals morally equivalent to calling one the Cherokees or Seminoles or Sioux?

Posted by: anandine on September 2, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Or the Vikings from Portland State University in Portland - The birthplace of June Jones and the run and shoot - Oh, how all of these ex-Bergenites will be offended in Dawg Country, Seattle that is.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
"Forward" is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Raise her glowing flame
Stand, Fellows, let us now
Salute her name!

[And down with SC!]

Posted by: Jeff Alworth on September 2, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think rich and famous rock and roll bands should *donate* some time to play a set of songs during halftime at college games. How about Dusty and Billy show up and play:


Perfect song for a labor day weekend game. Hey, just two or three songs, dudes!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not at all surprised that perennial Div 1-AA powerhouse Appalachian St. did well in the Big House; I am surprised that Lloyd Carr let his team think, like Kevin, that they were "lightly regarded nobodies". Anybody payng any attention at all to 1-AA knew that wasn't true.

U-RAH-RAH Wisconsin...
Hail to thee we sing...
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater...
U-RAH-RAH Wisconsin

Posted by: Robert Earle on September 3, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK


Better Academics
Better Athletics

It must be sad to live in LA and not be a bruin. No wonder trojans are so defensive and petty.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on September 3, 2007 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Go Ducks!!

Posted by: Oregonian on September 3, 2007 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Not the Idaho Visigoths?

Now there's a missed opportunity...

Posted by: Doug on September 3, 2007 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Portland State ... The birthplace of June Jones and the run and shoot."

Well, June's out here in Honolulu now. Hawaii's ranked #23, and is poised for a real run this season with a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in QB Colt Brennan (who, the truth be told, really should have won it last year), and three receivers who are legitimate All-American candidates as well. Last night, Brennan went 34-40-0 for 416 yards and 6 TDs -- and he only played in the first half.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 3, 2007 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

On Wankonsin! P***ies tossin!
Hands right down our pants!
Tug our balls and scratch our scrotum,
A teabag in our grasp.
Pullin' Johnson, in Wisconsin!
'Bating is our fame
Wank, wank -- wank, wank, wank! (ahh!)
We're all on the game.

"Were jackoffin' Tommy Thompson!"
Jerk off wankers sing!
Four inches is an exaggeration,
Three we just might swing.
On, Wisconsin! Strokin' Johnson!
Master our domain
Stand, Fellows, and reach around
The Packers do the same!

Posted by: Badgers Suck on September 3, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

See, now if you were really clever, you would have done a little research, you could have found that "On, Wisconsin" was written by a man named W.T. Purdy, and then you could have signed your post as "W.T. Purdy", saying that these were the real lyrics as you had intended them, or some such, instead of the oh-so-clever moniker you did manage to come up with: "Badgers Suck". How long did you work on that one?

Or, if you had balls, you could have signed you real name. But no.

So, to sum up: Clever? Not so much. Balls? None. Nice job!

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