Random News of the Day: Let's Go Bowling!

Random News of the Day: Let's Go Bowling!

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
9:45 AM

By Joe Collins

There's a scene in "The Blues Brothers" where a few of the former bandmates end up playing in a sleazy hotel lounge to make ends meet. The spinoff group now calls themselves "Murph and the Magic Tones" and belt out songs like "Cuando Cuando Cuando" to a sparse, apathetic crowd. Their outfits--raspberry-red tuxedos--look like something out of a prom at Hand Me Down High School. It's a sad getup and it serves as the benchmark for how far the band had fallen from the glory days.

Boise State? Let me introduce you to Murph and the Magic Tones.

The battling Broncos, media darlings since the hook and ladder play against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, were always the David to certain college football Goliaths: the BCS and muscle conferences like the SEC to name a few. They won 24 straight games over the last two years, prompting the obvious question: "Should Boise State, a team from the scrappy WAC, be allowed to eat at the adults table and play for a national championship, even though their conference schedule might not be as daunting as some of the other big boys like Auburn, Oregon, Ohio State...etc?

We found out over the weekend as Nevada shocked Boise State 34-31 in overtime, sending the Broncos into the "Cuando Cuando Cuando" tier of bowl hierarchy. Get this: not only will Boise State not play for the BCS championship, but here are two possible bowl games where the Broncos might land: the Humanitarian Bowl-- their home field (nothing says postseason fun like a 22 degree day in Boise) and the...wait for it...Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Who needs the BCS Championship when there's the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl? Here's hoping that Boise State can put the band back together for a stellar run in 2011.

I feel for Boise State. I really do. I think we should do something to make the Broncos feel better. How about we just let every team bust a move in the postseason dance? Heck, by comparison, it'd make Boise State look bigger. Seriously, college football is already playing the "everybody gets a trophy day" card with endless, meaningless bowl games as it is. Let's liven it up even more! Your team went 2-10 this year? You're in. Winless in conference? Step right up. Program on probation? Bowl game elation! Set your DVRs for the following:


Duke (3-9) vs. Kansas (3-9)

Basketball megaphone Dick Vitale finds another way to plug Duke and Kansas basketball by having their football teams play each other at Tropicana Field. Game is shown with a continuous picture-in-picture of the Cameron Crazies jumping up and down.

CRAIG T. NELSON BOWL (Minneapolis, MN)

Minnesota State (12-0) vs. Minnesota (3-9)

Minnesota State head coach Hayden Fox finally got a winning squad! Fox, with his outstanding coaching staff comprised of Luther Van Dam and Michael "Dauber" Dybinski, will play a pesky Golden Gopher team fresh off an upset of Iowa. Brett Favre, who is scheduled for the coin toss, will also make an announcement of his playing status in 2011.

MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS BOWL (Minute Maid Park--formerly Enron Field, Houston TX)

Southern California (7-5) vs. Any SMU team from the early 1980s

USC and SMU exchange pleasantries on a field that is trimmed to look like a 100 bill. The winner of the game gets to pick one of 26 gray suitcases a'la "Deal or No Deal." One suitcase has "NCAA death penalty" on the inside. All the others have various amounts of prizes, including cash and the phone numbers for blue chip prospects. Howie Mandel is the special guest referee.


Maine South (12-2) vs. Akron (1-11)

Welcome to Hollywood! Matt Alviti, the sophomore quarterback of the IHSA 8A state champs, gets his first crack at becoming a rags-to-riches celebrity story. He has to face competition that is a bit older, though. If he is victorious, he gets a full-ride scholarship to the school he just beat in this very bowl game: Akron-- a program that actually lost to Gardner-Webb in 2010. Early line: Maine South (-7)


South Central Louisiana State University (6-6) vs. Louisiana Cougars (12-0)

It's a breakout year for the 6-6 Mud Dogs, who are paced by a water boy-turned-linebacker named Bobby Boucher and----- err..... wait...this has already been done. Next.

AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL BOWL (Anywhere in New England)

Colgate (7-4) vs. San Jose State (1-11)

I love this game for a lot of reasons. First, it gets a brain school into a bowl game. Good luck finding a Patriot League or an Ivy League team in this year's bowl lineup. I dare you. And it also matches the school with the best graduation rate among athletes --Colgate is 100-- with the worst in college football's bowl subdivision: San Jose State chimes in at only 53 (Source: NCAA and USA Today-- Average four-year graduation rates for players entering school from 2000-03). The halftime show: the last 20 minutes of "Stand And Deliver."

Maybe we don't need a playoff system at all. Maybe all we need is a couple of NCAA suits and television executives who are willing to listen for 20 minutes.

Or something like that.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7


Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career


Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.