0812_gradkowskiWhen the local news teases a story about Bruce Gradkowski, internally one’s mind says “please oh please report that he’s starting a football game.”

Then the commercial ended, and the story came. Yesssssss.

Now that the Browns have put their third QB on IR, Gradkowski gets the start and the backup quarterback will be … [spins roulette wheel] Richard Bartel! Hey, that … kinda sounds like a quarterback name! Bartel, of course, is the pride of … [throws dart at map] Tarleton State, the Division II powerhouse!

Once again the Toledo Free Press accepts some words in succession by me, this time on Dave Clawson being the least insane thing to happen this offseason.

• Now then, via mgoblog is some Eastern Michigan football coaching talk. Hot! They still need one, it looks like. Also, they are seemingly going to try and play another year of football and not disband it and transfer the funds to their powerhouse curling program. A lot of names sure are floating around (for an EMU rumor, no less) but the interesting one is Chuck Martin, the Grand Valley State coach. If you remember last year, I suggested Michigan should take a look at him and his dynasty he built at GVSU. The guy before Martin is playing in something called an “Orange Bowl,” which sounds colorful and delicious. If EMU can land the next Brian Kelly, maybe the jokes will diminish. Maybe. But for now … the shirt, please.

• I thought if Ohio State was ranked at any point in the year, they’re immediately ranked No. 1. Isn’t this the agreement they had with the Associated Press voters (known colloquially as the Filler Copy Matrix)? Instead, they’re only 16th and a win over Jacksonville puts them at an unblemished 7-0. I guess that respect doesn’t carry over to the indoor variety of NCAA revenue sports. This gives, of the seven games, 1½ road games, and four more home games to finish out the year. Yep, they’ll have gotten to January with just one-point-five road games. If they win all those, and convinces ESPN that Jon Diebler looks like Tyler Hansbrough, they’ll be No. 2 before you know it.

Also, blog-rattling news coming up in a couple weeks.

Thank heavens legitimate journalists have subscriptions to Rivals.com — else we wouldn’t know who Virginia’s next football offensive coordinator might be:

uva_brandon

Yeah, that guy doesn’t look familiar at all. Daily Press, can you tell us?

Former Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon has been offered the vacant Virginia offensive coordinator position, according to a report on CavsCorner.com.

Ah. Well, he does know offense, and his teams have put up a ton of points, with the exception of, y’know, this past year. And Gary Blackney, when he stepped down from BG in 2000, became a DC for Maryland and it worked out well. (Fun fact: Blackney is currently the secondary coach at Central Florida right now. Odd.) It would make more sense for Brandon to get the ol’ band back together at Florida with Urban Meyer whose OC is now coaching Mississippi State.

It seems like a perfect fit, and I wish him the best of luck. A catastrophic problem could arise, however, if Meyer steps down or is kicked out abruptly and Brandon is named the interim coach, well, you saw what happened before.

So, there’s a Blade story about bloggers who blog about stuff about Toledo. Cool! Now let’s just command+F, S-U-S … not found? But I thought … I … was … the …

[runs out of room crying]

Over at Blogcritics I came up with non-playoff-related ways to improve the BCS and bowl system, a week after saying why some anti-BCS arguments just don’t work.

The good news is I don’t have to stop worrying about what obscure offensive/defensive coordinator will coach Bowling Green anymore. The bad news is they’re hiring a guy whose last OC gig resulted in the 9th worst scoring offense in the FBS. Hi, Dave Clawson. Welcome to the area. Literally.

[BG athletic director Greg] Christopher said on the day Brandon was fired that he would seek candidates with ties to Ohio or the Midwest. Clawson does not appear to have either.

That’s what went off in my head as I was reading through his previous destinations. Before Tennessee, he was at: Albany, Buffalo, Lehigh, Villanova, Fordham, and Richmond.

When the guy was hired last year down in Knoxville, his offensive scheme was deemed sort of complicated, as illustrated by this picture Rocky Top Talk found:

complicated_chessboard_medium

So that’ll be fun.

itscomplicated

A roundup of tonight’s college basketball action, in statistical pigeonholing format, if we may:

• Division I teams that played basketball tonight: 50
• Division I teams that scored at least 35 points in at least one half: 32
• Division I teams that scored at least 35 points in both halves: 12
• Division I teams that scored only 35 points for the entire game: one

• D-I teams that scored less than 20 points in one half: 5
• D-I teams that scored less than 20 points in both halves: that same one

Now That's What I Call Music! 35 album coverImage via WikipediaIf it hasn’t been made redundantly clear, scoring 35 points in a basketball game is only commendable if it’s well before the 40 minutes of regulation time has elapsed, and the level of competition is somewhere between high school JV and Magic Johnson’s Fastbreak. A Division I basketball team playing a winless team on the road? Yeah, not so much. Toledo went down 50-35 to Wright State, giving the WSU Raiders their de facto “best defensive performance ever” for holding an opponent to such a low number. Their previous defensive best was 37 against U. of Detroit last season in the Horizon League Tournament. UT, though, hasn’t scored this few points since, well, also last season (at Old Dominion).

Only one other team couldn’t make it to 40, and that was Ball State against ranked Purdue. Aside: I got a kick out of the AP lede: “Ball State hadn’t faced a suffocating defense like Purdue’s since the Truman administration.” Maybe it’s because I picture Gene Keady holding up a newspaper with the headline “BALL STATE DEFEATS PURDUE.”

Oh, and somehow UT out-rebounded WSU 37-36. This means that they also out-rebounded their own point total. Try sleeping soundly after that aberrant factoid. Justin Anyijong was as dominant as you can be on the boards when your team scores 35, as he grabbed eight rebounds, five of them offensive. Here was the problem though: 1-for-11 from the field. Harf.

jmu_whobeatwho.jpgI always love the iterative “this team lost to this team who lost to this team” chain of dominance that’s constructed every year. This year, though, all logical roads point to James Madison as being the best team in the land, and therefore the BCS champion.

For those not in the know, Championship subdivision powerhouse JMU is ranked 21st in Jeff Sagarin’s computer poll, and their 48-24 win over William & Mary secured them as the godfather of football. William & Mary went on to beat New Hampshire, who beat Army, who beat Eastern Michigan, who pretty much created this entire mess with their wins over CMU and BG. (Notre Dame wasn’t entirely helpful either. As usual.)

What about the Big XII three? Original theorist Ryne Crabb explains:

Oklahoma lost to Texas, who lost to Texas Tech, who lost to Oklahoma. Since neither of those three teams can figure out which one is the best, to hell with them all.

Well, then. That takes care of all loose ends. Kind of like in Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar needed a spot for the humility virtue, so they just put it off to the side.

(Fun fact: the JMU Dukes’ only loss? Duke. I guess I should throw the Blue Devils logo at the top. But I won’t, because this guy didn’t.)

James Madison is in the FCS Final Four, squaring off against Montana on Friday night to play for the Division I Championship in — where else? — Chattanooga, Tennessee. He notes that if JMU loses to Montana, the BCS champion can be traced all the way down to 1-11 Idaho State. I’m sure it’s possible to go down the line to Division II and beyond, but please don’t make me chart that.

My offering to the Toledo Free Press last weekend:

Two years ago, Northwest Ohio had college coaches named Tom Amstutz, Stan Joplin, Dan Dakich and Gregg Brandon. Also, Miley Cyrus was not a teen sensation and a gallon of gas cost … well, about the same as today. Ah, those were simpler times. Since then, Dakich, Joplin and Amstutz were kicked out of their respective offices, and with each dismissal, I was skeptical of the need to fire them.

It was unfair that he lost his job like this. Having said that, it’s time to argue something it looks like I should have argued long ago: Brandon deserved to be fired.

Other nuggets between the cushions:

• With a lack of teams with 6-6 records, Northern Illinois was the “last team in” a bowl game, going to the Independence Bowl and facing Louisiana Tech in Shreveport. I’m sure the crowd will be 50-50, don’t you?

It was probably the right 6-6 team to take, since four of the Huskies losses were by four points or less, three of them to bowl teams and the other to Tennessee.

• This just confirms that, yes, Bowling Green’s season is mercifully over. Considering NIU took down BG earlier this year — and that, oh yeah, there’s no coach — it’s probably for the best. BG will join Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, and San Jose State as teams with 6-6 records that didn’t get to play a 13th meaningless game. Four-team arbitrary playoff, anyone?

• The head coach opening is supplanted by openings at both coordinator positions too. They were hired away by — ready for this? — Toledo’s new coach Tim Beckman. M’kay, then. It’s a war, officially.

• But don’t worry. Bowling Green will be mentioned quite often this bowl season. Because, see, Urban Meyer. And stuff.

anyijongtipin.jpg

Mantis (Melbourne, Australia)Image via WikipediaUT “power” forward Justin Anyijong has the body of a praying mantis. When you’re 6′9″ and 205, you’re going to get knocked around if you’re guarding centers. Despite his 6 points, 7 rebounds, and small handful of hustle plays, it seemed like Anyijong found himself in turnover or near-turnover situations. You might’ve guessed that he lost a bet 8 years ago and as a result had to play college basketball.

Last year he was even worse. One of the funniest Google referrals I had was “will justin anyijong make it to the nba.” If it isn’t clear, Justin Anyijong was the last person I would have picked to make the winning basket in any game, let alone opening night of Savage Arena against the University of Massachusetts.

Yet when Ty Kent’s last-second drive tipped out, Justin was there in rebounding position and … Jesus Christ on a graham cracker he won the game. FOX Toledo has video of the final put-back, which sadly I cannot embed here without feeling really really bad about it.

This was a guy who turned the ball over in the final 30 seconds that lost the lead for UT. This was a guy I was cursing for, well, most of the game. But, hot damn, what a redemption story. There will be a two-month embargo on Justin Anyijong jokes effective immediately.

Photos of the new Savage Arena are forthcoming. They just have to be, like, downloaded and stuff.

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