December 11, 2007

Football NIT - Semi-Finals

The First Round is over and the NIT FINAL FOUR is SET.

The Football NIT is further proof that the world is demanding a playoff system in NCAA football. This blog has seen a spike in numbers that cannot be explained by anything other than an outcry by the college FB world of blogggers.

Deadspin - deemed the College FB Consolation Bracket worthy of a link
With Leather - and Sophia wanted to help "clean up" college football
Sports Illustrated - thought Ole Miss had a shot in the "what-if" eight team tourney
Bucknuts - agrees that the NIT would get better ratings than the rest of December's bowl games
Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician - will be disappointed Syracuse couldn't even score in our to
Double Extra Point - is happy the season is continuing (even if it still includes Callahan) in Lincoln

But if the powers that be won't give it to us with the best of the best, we'll continue on with the worst of the best. It is time for the Semi-Finals...

The C.I.A. Bacardi Bowl
#6 Miami
#2 Notre Dame
Location: Havana, Cuba
Corporate Sponsor: gfsg
TV Broadcast: NFL Network
Last Bacardi Bowl Game: 1937, Auburn-7 vs. Villanova-7

The Fighting Irish are riding high after their first bowl win in 13 years ending a 9 game bowl losing streak. Don't tell the Irish fans but the Refigerator Bowl isn't officially recognized by the NCAA anymore. Miami thought they were going to be sitting at home during the bowl season for the first time since 1997, but Selection Saturday was kind to them and they took this opportunity by the horns as they routed Syracuse in the opening round.

This game is being watched very closely by the CIA for obvious reason but unfortunately it isn't being watched by anybody else because it is broadcast on the NFL Network.

Both teams have relatively new head coaches on their respective sidelines. The Charlie Weis Era in South Bend got off to a real bang as the Irish have attended consecutive BCS Bowls under coach Weis. The Randy Shannon Era in Miami hasn't exactly exactly been quite as successful. He is currently the first coach to have a career losing record at Miami since Nick Saban's cousin Lou in the last 70's (tru, I didn't make that up).

This game was a tale of two halves. Miami came out ready to dominate and crush the overrated and offensively inept Fighting Irish. Through the first 2 quarters the Hurricanes led 31-3.

But let's remember that the offensive genius, coach Charlie Weis, is also a pupil of Bill Belichick. And ole'Charlie was employing some illegal sideline video taping. Since we are off US soil, the NCAA doesn't sanction and there was already high end CIA spy equipment in the vicinity, the Irish used it to their advantage. They "camera-gated" into the 2nd half and the once inept offense was crisp and continually hitting the Hurricane's right in they eye of their weakening storm.

By the time the Hurricanes knew what hit them it was too late. The Irish we already in FG range in the final minute of the game. Their offense stalled as they no longer knew the blitz packages but they were able to kick a 33 yd FG to win.

Miami - 41
Notre Dame - 43

Mike Huckabee for President Gotham Bowl
#8 Nebraska
#5 Minnesota
Location: New York, NY
Corporate Sponsor: Mike Huckabee for President
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Last Gotham Bowl Game: Nebraska-36 vs. Miami-34, 1962

The underfunded but surging presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee wisely got on board with this sponsorship long before it became as popular as it has. Fortunately for Huckabee this is the game to watch of the semi's, unfortunately it is on the Big Ten Network and most of America won't be able to view it.

These two team share some history as they have battled 51 times with MN leading the series 29-20-2. But Nebraska has dominated the more recent games.

  • Nebraska holds 14 game current win streak vs. Minnesota
  • Average score of last 10 games 6-49
  • Minnesota has been shut out in 8 of the Nebraska victories
On to the game...One might think that as the defending Gotham Bowl Champs this clearly gives Nebraska a distinct advantage. But we all know the mental toughness and preparedness that the Tim Brewster led golden gophers have shown all season. So I don't think the cornhusker familiarity with the Gotham Bowl will come into play this year.

You'd think this game is all about the offensive systems. Both coaching staffs came to their respective schools singing the praises of their offensive "systems."

Spread Coast Offense vs. West Coast Offense

But these teams made the NIT based on their defenses. The spread and the west were shut down as the defenses were prepared to take away these systems. Both Nebraska and Minnesota had to revert back to their old form and utilized what was once dominant rushing attacks. Some greats were in attendance and suited up at halftime.

Nebraska started with the ball and put their great backs in the Wishbone.
  • Johnny Rodgers
  • Ahman Green
  • Mike Rozier
Minnesota rotated some of their great backs in and out of the Power I...
  • Bruce Smith
  • Lawrence Maroney
  • Daryl Thompson
The game was all about ball control and Minnesota had it last. They drove 60 yards on 21 plays as they scored as time expired, made the only converted PAT of the game and won ending the recent Cornhusker dominance...

Minnesota - 31
Nebraska - 30

That sets up a Minnesota vs. Notre Dame NIT Championship. Please vote as fan vote will account for 10% in determining who wins. The Gopher Nation writing staff which is NOT affiliated with the Writers Guild of America accounts for the remaining 90%.


Sammy Vegas said...

60 yards on 21 plays? Did you see our defense this year? If Nebraska could of held a team an average of 21 times in a row under 3 yards a play it would have been un-frickin-believable. Good luck against Notre Dame - that Charlie Weis is worth every penny.

GopherNation said...

it was more of an indictment on the gopher offense than the Nebraska defense.