Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kicking Off

TigerBlog has no idea exactly how many college football games were available on his TV last weekend.

He knows that there were 10 at noon Saturday alone. He didn't watch too much of any of the games, and for that matter he can hardly remember what any of the matchups were.

Except for one. Penn State versus Temple, which was a 3:30 start.

That was a pretty good one. Especially if you were rooting against Penn State. TigerBlog didn't really care all that much who won. He tuned in when it was 10-10 and went back and forth between that and the James Bond marathon that was on all weekend.

From what he saw, Temple simply overwhelmed Penn State's offensive line. The result was that Christian Hackenberg, Penn State's quarterback, was sacked about a thousand times, as the Owls rolled 27-10.

As anyone who paid any attention at all knows, the win was the first by the Owls over Penn State since 1941. TigerBlog was more interested in how many games that was, rather than how many years.

For instance, Princeton beat Vanderbilt in 1940. If Princeton were to play Vanderbilt again, announcers could say that Princeton hasn't beaten the Commodores since 1940 - but that's only one game, which Vanderbilt won in 1941.

In the case of Temple and Penn State, it was actually 40 games in a row that Temple had lost. That's more impressive to TB than the years.

TB attended the opening football game at Miss TigerBlog's high school. Football is huge there, and both sides of the field were jammed. TB doesn't know how many people that was, but it was several thousand.

It was an interesting game, to say the least. MTBHS led 13-6, but the other team had third-and-goal from the 1 on the final play of the third quarter and 4th-and-goal from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Neither played worked.

MTBHS then took the ball and went on about a 20-play drive or so, taking 10 minutes off the clock and finally stalling on the other team's five, where a fourth-and-goal failed. This left the other team with two minutes, no timeouts and 95 yards to cover.

As it turned out, OTHS made it about 92 of those yards. The game ended on a fourth-and-goal at the three or so, with an incomplete pass into the end zone. Prior to that, OTHS's quarterback looked like John Elway on the drive.

So MTBHS won 13-6. Each team had the ball once in the fourth quarter. The 12 minutes of the quarter took about 15 total minutes to play.

The NFL season begins tonight, with the cheaters who won the Super Bowl last year against the Steelers. TB figures that he watched fewer than 10 total plays from the NFL preseason.

His Super Bowl prediction for this year? He doesn't have one. Hmmm. It's not looking like it'll be the Giants, TB's favorite team, though the Giants didn't look like Super Bowl contenders in either of the last two preseasons when they won it all.

It doesn't look like it'll be the Redskins either. That was MotherBlog's favorite team.

How about the Eagles and the Ravens? TigerBlog will go with those two.

All of which brings us to Princeton football.

This has always been the worst week for Ivy League football teams. Everyone else in the world is playing. The NFL is starting. College is in Week 2. High schools and even Pop Warner are underway.

And Ivy League teams have another week to wait.

TigerBlog, were it up to him (which it most decidedly is not), would have Ivy teams open this week and then play five games, taking them into mid-October. Then all eight teams would take Oct. 17 off, by which point they will all have played two league games and all three of their non-league games.

They would all come back the next weekend, leaving a five-week, five-league game sprint to the finish line.

The downside is that practices would have to start earlier, which means increased costs. The way upside is a week in mid-season for a little rest and recovery.

TigerBog has been advocating for this for years. He can see this happening before, say, an 11th game, especially an 11th game in 11 weeks. And 11 games in 12 weeks takes you back to starting this past weekend, which means much earlier camps, which translates into much greater costs

For now, it's 10 games, 10 weeks. The opener is still more than a week away, for Princeton at Lafayette next Saturday evening.

Once game week arrives, teams have a much different routine than they have for preseason. That's what makes this week so frustrating. Everyone is pretty much over training camp, but there is no opponent waiting on Saturday.

It'll be here soon enough. Just not as soon as it is for everyone else.

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