Go Back to Mexico

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We're seeing a trend year to year with this Army team - the trend of gacking away winnable games. Army's at a point where they need to execute perfectly in all phases to compete the way the team is expected to compete, and when they don't - it's going to be bad news.

Army had stretches on Saturday where they competed and even bested San Diego State. This was exactly the kind of game that last year's Army team would come out of with a win. The way Army put the ball on the ground they gift-wrapped the game for the Aztecs.

For most the story was just that: Army needs to get a grip.

One year removed from owning the third-best turnover margin in the nation, the Black Knights committed eight fumbles, losing three, en route to a 23-20 loss Saturday vs. San Diego State, the first California opponent to visit Michie Stadium since 1980.

Not unlike last year, the team finds itself with all kinds of personnel problems. Steelman dinged up, down some linemen, and moving slotbacks to defense will test this team's resolve. Sal looks for a shakeup that would effect both sides of the ball.

Army needs Brian Cobbs, who opened the season as a slotback, to pick up on how to play cornerback again quick this week. Freshman Lamar Johnson-Harris, who made his first career start at cornerback, will play a role in Army’s future. But Johnson-Harris isn’t ready just yet. Cobbs entered West Point as a cornerback and was moved to slotback.

There is some justified bitterness over at Aztecs Killing Him, but the game's numbers weren't too far off of that site's prediction, so I don't know when their bump up in perception happened... certainly not between the opening kickoff and the final whistle. I think that those guys might be thinking this season out with last season's results.

San Diego State were the better team today,  but I can't help but think they got away with one of Army's wins.
At this point all we can do is wish the Aztecs well on their way back to where they came from and look to the next game.

Minus a fumble or eight this game would probably be a different Story.

Here are the game's Stats and Highlights

Army San Diego State Availibility

The link is up under the radio tab.


Friday Night Spites

The second week of the season is barely underway and already I am let down and frustrated by the circumstances surrounding the Friday evening games.

I've gone on record saying that I wholeheartedly oppose any form of overtime in college football. In short, I believe that in a system like the BCS that tries to determine the top two teams for a final championship bowl game, ties give us more information to judge the season on than mere wins and losses. Tonight's inter-sectional matchup between Missouri and Arizona State is an early, and relatively innocuous example of overtime presenting a false outcome. While a regulation time tie would give us less information today about the rankings of these teams this week - over the course of the season this tie might ring as a good tie or a bad tie for one or both of these teams, and ultimately the tie gives us more data to rank these teams at the end of the year. 

Missouri stormed back in the 4th quarter to tie the game, but overtime proved only that Arizona State could move a distance of 25 yards faster than Mizzou. I get that these are the rules that everyone plays by, but all things considered overtime is one of the most counter-productive institutions in the game today. 

Arizona State "winning" a game in OT in which I believe neither team was worthy of the top 25, will likely propel ASU into the top 25 and again perpetuates the continuing fraud of overtime in college football.


More disgusting even than that is the example that the pitiful Louisville Cardinals made with their sorry brand of football. FIU thrashed the Cards for their first win vs the Big East - a conference desperate to uphold its name as a proper BCS conference.

Look, I am invested enough a Big East fan to realize that I should put aside my utter hatred of the Louisville Cardinals and root for UL for the good of the perception of the conference. Fine, it's a bitter pill to take, but I realize that the public view of the Big East depends on wins like this- especially in the early portion of the season.

As I recall, Louisville came into the Big East full of swagger with talk of ace coaches, revamped recruiting, and dynamic football showcase. They delivered on that for about 2 years, giving Big East opponents fits during their short 2 year reign as the class of the Big East.

My beef with the Louisville situation is that they just can't compete with the class of the Sun Belt Conference - let alone the ass-end of the Big East. Fine so Louisville sucks - so what?

The kicker is that L'ville's move to the Big East reminds me quite a lot of the Big East's upcoming TCU experiment. There is of course no guarantee that TCU will flounder like the hilarious Louisville program, but I can sooner see TCU languishing at the bottom of the conference than flying a championship banner above their home field. I am certain that TCU is over their head with this jump up in competition, but my only true hope is that I am spared a new wave of nonsense about how TCU will wipe up the Big East for years to come. Trust me, I am not worried about that.


Breathing In

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Army's first game came all too soon - and with it the first loss of the season. (You didn't think USMA was going undefeated, did you?)

Well the season got a jump on me too, I was once again out of town for the opening weekend of college football season and I tried to stay on top of my obligations here, but I couldn't seem to hold it down. The yearbook posts will roll out on Wednesdays as if on a conveyor belt, but things I actually had to think out... the lead-ups to the season opener and my questionable blogpoll brackets suffered from inattention.

Well, I'm back now, and I'm ready to get this thing started.

Regarding the last game - Phil Steele has the most positive spin.

Northern Illinois was not as impressive as the 35-6 1H score would indicate as after an int and fmbl they drove 53 and 11 yards for TD’s to lead 28-6. They did go 82 yards for a TD with 7:29 left in the 2Q to make it 35-6 and Army went on a 14pl drive but fmbl’d at the NI5. NI led 35-6 but only had a 279-160 yd edge. NI was int’d on their first 3Q poss and went 62/4pl and 97/17pl for TD’s and led 49-6 after 3Q’s when they pulled their starters. Army went 49/4pl, 66/12pl and 83/14pl for TD’s the latter with :12 left.

That's Phil Steele's shot at making 36-6 at the half and the 49-26 final sound 'not impressive'.

Rich Ellerson's take on the NIU game was less favorable, but the most notable statements from the presser were about San Diego State.

"We have to make a choice and we have to get on it today, because we have another `Oh my goodness' outfit coming to town on Saturday. (San Diego State) had a big win in their opening week. By having Rocky (Long) there as their head coach they've kept great continuity in their program. They've been practicing against the option now for a little over nine months, going back to their bowl game against Navy and then Cal Poly and now us. They're obviously going to be as well-schooled as anybody that's ever played this offense."
You would think San Diego State was the second coming of Tom Osborne's Nebraska team circa 1994.

 Aztecs Killing Him is a decent San Diego State football blog, their 3rd 'Tec-nical Difficulties podcast will catch you up to how the Aztecs have been faring in the early stages of the 2011 season.
Check them out, they have a nice thing going on for themselves there.


Yearbook: Greensboro College Echo

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Greensboro College has their yearbooks online and they make a timely and fortuitous addition to the yearbook collection. Started 1833, Greensboro was one of the first all-women's colleges to open in the United states. Their Sports Information Dept. doesn't have their football media guide up, and I don't have the time right now to browse through all of the yearbooks so I don't have a lot of info on how old their football program is, nor how they have fared in their history - but the collection looks good and is very nearly complete. Their Extra Point online newsletter does a good job of keeping interested parties astride of Greensboro football events.

Including yearbooks from each decade from 1903 until 2005, this digital collection is a very solid collection of yearbooks. The years represented are 1903,1908, 1911, 1916-1999 and 2005. The first yearbook of the collection is 1903 when the text was known as The Tattler - after which the yearbook has been called the Echo.

This collection comes from what is a nice aggregation of small college yearbooks. We've seen school-led yearbook digitization projects and this is another state-led digitization project. I'm particularly excited about this one because it gives me some very nice content for my yearbook posts and include some relevant football schools, so we have a bunch more look forward to


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

___________________ © 2011 The Unbalanced Line ___________________

2011 Blogpoll Week 2

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Here's my ballot for week 2. I took some time to actually look at the bottom 10 teams this week, but while I'm much more confident about this ballot, I know there is a long way to go until this top-25 issue is settled.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings 

The Unbalanced Line Ballot - Week 2

1Boise St. Broncos--
2LSU TigersArrow_up 13
3Stanford CardinalArrow_up 1
4Alabama Crimson TideArrow_down -1
5Nebraska CornhuskersArrow_down -3
6Oklahoma Sooners--
7Florida St. SeminolesArrow_down -6
8Virginia Tech HokiesArrow_down -1
9Arkansas RazorbacksArrow_up 11
10Florida GatorsArrow_down -1
11South Florida BullsArrow_down -1
12Wisconsin BadgersArrow_down -1
13Penn St. Nittany Lions--
14Texas A&M Aggies--
15Ohio St. Buckeyes--
16Mississippi St. Bulldogs--
17Texas LonghornsArrow_up 5
18Missouri Tigers--
19Oregon DucksArrow_down -14
20Northern Illinois HuskiesArrow_down -4
21Utah State Aggies--
22Central Florida KnightsArrow_down -3
23West Virginia MountaineersArrow_down -5
24Tennessee Volunteers--
25Georgia BulldogsArrow_down -17
Dropouts: Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Nevada Wolf Pack, USC Trojans, Pittsburgh Panthers, Troy Trojans, Utah Utes
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Let me know your Top-25 thoughts in the comments.

I'll be back home on Thursday, and hopefully I'll be able to get into gear with the 2011 college football season.


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