Sunday, January 25, 2004
The USA and the UK take the prize for having the fattest populations. Success in civilization often has an "overweight price". The resulting "fitness" crazes which periodically hit the scene in order to counter the deficits of urbanized "civilized" living are thus no accident. Most of these fitness programs, however, are not suitable for everyone.
As many studies have discovered, see e.g. this Harvard study, WALKING is just about the healthiest thing we can do.
There is now a new, sportier - and perhaps healthier - way to walk: Nordic Walking, first developed in 1997 in Finland, and increasingly adopted in Scandinavia - see e.g. About and Leki - is an emerging "trend sport" here in Germany.
Indeed, Santa brought us Nordic Walking poles for Christmas and we are out getting into shape using this simple fitness concept. For more details see here.
Nordic Walking can be "easy" or "strenuous" depending on how you do it - so always check with your physician before pushing your body too far and make sure to get proper instruction on the proper use of the Nordic Walking poles.
At Yahoo! Sports we read that Providence upset No. 4 Connecticut 66-56 in a Big East conference game, again confirming our view that the Huskies were overrated this year. Top-ranked Duke beat Georgetown 85-66 and 8th ranked Pitt beat 13th ranked Syracuse convincingly 66-45. The game of the day on Saturday the 24th was a cliffhanger with IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) beating Oral Roberts in THREE overtimes as Odell Bradley scored 41 points for IUPUI.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
As one can read at Yahoo! Sports, No. 6 Louisville destroyed No. 5 Cincinnati 93-66. That removes the Bearcats from the top 10 and from my previously claimed No. 1 position. How can a team which has beaten other teams by an average of abou 26 points a game suddenly lose by the same amount? Cincinnati, after leading early 19-12 and then falling behind at 44-40 at the half, were than absolutely dominated by Louisville in the second half 49-26. Hard to believe that a team can lose its cool this way. On other courts, 1st-ranked Duke beat a goood Maryland team 68-60 and No. 3 St. Joseph's remained unbeated by netting Massachusets 92-67. In another battle of ranked teams, 19th ranked Miss. State beat 18th ranked Florida 79-68.
7th ranked North Carolina, flying high after its win over Connecticut, fell in overtime to Florida State 90-81. A real schocker was unheralded Richmond (10-8) beating 12th ranked Kansas AT Kansas 69-68. The Jayhawks are struggling this year.
It has been a year of one upset after the next. This looks like a year in which literally anyone could win when March madness comes to town.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Connecticut, which we have said all along is over-rated this year, but which had moved to the Number 1 spot in the rankings in spite of an early season loss to Georgia Tech, lost again, this time to 11th-ranked North Carolina 86-83.
3rd-ranked and previously undefeated Wake Forest lost twice in succession to No. 16 Texas 94-81 and No. 2 Duke 84-72. Obviously, this should put Duke at the top of the rankings the next time around.
Since No. 5-ranked Kentucky lost to Georgia 65-57 - Georgia has been playing well recently - three still undefeated teams will probably move up in the rankings:
4th-ranked Stanford, which defeated Cal 68-61 after defeating then No. 3 Arizona 82-72 the previous week
6th-ranked Saint Joseph's which defeated Forham 79-35 and Xavier 81-73
7th-ranked Cincinnati which defeated No. 21 Marquette 85-73 and RCU 85-57. The game against Marquette was the closest all year for Cincinnati, who have been defeating opponents by an average of 26 points. We rank this team No. 1 until they get beaten. They will get a good test of strength when they play 9th-ranked Louisville on the road this week.
One team that was truly brought back to reality was 13th-ranked Oklahoma, which was crushed by Connecticut 86-59, and then lost to unranked Oklahoma State 77-56 and Missouri 79-75. The Sooners will surely fall out of the rankings entirely.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
It is hard to believe that a very good Georgia Tech lost to a weaker Georgia five, but I think they will recover and continue to play good basketball the rest of the season.
Cincinnati at the moment looks overpowering, beating good teams by 30 points - and I would rank them Nr. 1 at the moment as Connecticut was lucky to win at Rutgers by a point, though they are now a much better team since Villanueva joined them during the season.
Creighton should be in the top 20, still being undefeated and also having beaten a good Nebraska team, which is now 10-1 and looking very strong defensively. The Huskers might play some surprises this year.
That's it for now.
Callahan is the new Nebraska Cornhusker Football Coach
In an excellent article by Trev Alberts, ESPN.com carries a story about Oakland's head coach Bill Callahan becoming the head coach of the Huskers at Callahan brings credibility, which was published January 8, 2004
As a Husker alum, I can say, OK, we can live with Callahan. He will keep the interest in Nebraska football alive and kicking - and that is the main thing. Whether he will produce a national champion - that remains to be seen. My choice was Larry Kehres of Mount Union - and Callahan will be measured in my book against Kehres, so that we will expect a disciplined culture of excellence to be established again in Huskerland. We also trust he will keep Bo Pelini who seems to be a wizard at defense. Given the fact that Callahan is a wizard at offense, the NU future looks "promising".
Monday, January 05, 2004
The Associated Press reports in the ESPN article Nutt rejects 'Huskers that Housten Nutt is to stay at Arkansas.
Our reaction is "thank goodness for that". Nutt is surely a fine coach, but he is not what NU needs.
The Huskers, who should have fired Solich already in the previous year after a terrible season in 2002, and who should then have hired Urban Meyer - who was available (an subsequently went to Utah), but did not, are now in a quandry, since it will become more and more difficult over time to hire a top new coach from another university this late in the game. Moreover, any new coach will know he is on a veritable hot seat and will be gone quickly if he does not challenge for the national championship soon.
True champions as coaches are few - and you see this championship caliber in their track record. Wishful thinking will not work in merely hiring an experienced big-league coach, who thus far, however, has not vaulted into this championship category.
In my view there is only one possibility at the present time to save face and that is to keep Bo Pelini as head coach at NU for the next year, conditional upon success in the coming year. If he makes it fine, then he has won the job, if not, I would try to hire Larry Kehres of Mount Union who would bring a "culture of excellence" to Huskerland which they appear to currently need at all levels.
Kehres asks his recruits "are you a good man?"
And the Nebraska football team needs quite a few more good men.
Saturday, January 03, 2004
2003 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL GAME PREDICTIONS - RESULTS MANDEL and KAULINS COMPARED page 2
AXA LIBERTY BOWL - Utah vs. Southern Miss
Andis Kaulins called it for Utah 24-17.
Stewart Mandel called it for Utah 28-13.
Utah was favored by 2 over Southern Miss. The final score was Utah winning 17-0 as the game was actually quite close on statistics. In fact, Southern Miss punted far fewer times but lost 4 fumbles. Urban Meyer continues to show his coaching magic for Utah.
Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Both Kaulins and Mandel beat the spread. Mandel was closer on score, so that Kaulins leads Mandel 10-6 on closeness of the calls.
Kaulins is now 13-3 and Mandel 12-4 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Both Kaulins and Mandel are 9-7 against the spread.
MainStay INDEPENDENCE BOWL - Arkansas vs. Missouri
Andis Kaulins called it for Missouri 27-24
Stewart Mandel called it for Missouri 31-23
Arkansas was favored by 2.5 points. Arkansas was inspired by an 18-point second quarter and won 27-14. Missouri piled up more yardage but had two passes intercepted and lost one fumble whereas Arkansas had no turnovers. Missouri was stopped twice on 4th down plays inside the 10-yard line, once from the 1 and once from the 8. One of the Arkansas TDs was a gift after the Missouri center hiked the ball over the punter's head and one of Arkansas interceptions came on an attempted fake field goal by Missouri. Frankly stated, Missouri lost the game because of stupid coaching and bad play-calling.
Both Kaulins and Mandel failed to call the winner and neither beat the spread, though Kaulins was closer, increasing his edge over Mandel to 11-6.
Kaulins is now 13-4 and Mandel 12-5 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Both Kaulins and Mandel are 9-8 against the spread.
Diamond Walnut SAN FRANCISCO BOWL - Boston College vs. Colorado State
Andis Kaulins called it Colorado State 34-23
Stewart Mandel called it for Boston College 27-24
Colorado State was favored by 1 point at game time. The final score was Boston College winning 35-21. Boston College intercepted 5 passes and that was the name of the ball game. Coloardo State's premier quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt played with a 2 and 1/2 inch titanium rod in his throwing arm, which he had broken at the end of the season, and that surely did not help the Colorado State cause. If we had known of the injury prior to our call, we definitely would have called this game for Boston College.
Mandel called the winner and Kaulins did not. Mandel beat the spread, Kaulins did not, reducing Kaulins edge over Mandel to 11-7.
Kaulins is now 13-5 and Mandel 12-6 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Kaulins is 9-9 and Mandel is 10-8 against the spread.
OUTBACK BOWL - Iowa vs. Florida
Andis Kaulins called it for Iowa 23-22
Stewart Mandel called it for Florida 20-14
Florida was favored by 3, but Iowa won easily 37-17 as Fred Russell ran for 150 yards. As we noted in our analysis, Iowa had the All-American kicker in Kaeding, so we calculated 3 field goals into the equation, which proved to be correct, but Iowa made two more TDs than expected. Kaulins beat the spread, Mandel did not.
Kaulins called the winner but Mandel did not. Kaulins leads Mandel in head-to-head competition 12-7 on calls.
Kaulins is now 14-5 and Mandel 12-7 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Both are 10-9 against the spread.
Toyota GATOR BOWL - West Virginia vs. Maryland
Andis Kaulins called it for Maryland 27-20
Stewart Mandel called it for Maryland 30-21
Maryland already had beaten West Virginia in the regular season 34-7, so why should they not win again? Favored by only 3 points, the Terps beat the Mountaineers hadns down 41-7. West Virginia had no answer to Maryland QB Scott McBrien who completed 21 of 33 passes for 381 yards and 3 TDs. Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner but Mandel was closer on score, reducing the Kaulins lead to 12-8 on calling the games against Mandel. Both beat the spread.
Kaulns is 15-5 and Mandel 13-7 in calling the winners of the games. Both are 11-9 against the spread.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL - Georgia vs. Purdue
Andis Kaulins called it for Georgia 23-21
Stewart Mandel called it for Purdue 21-16
Georgia was favored by 3 over Purdue. Georgia broke into a quick 24-0 lead in the first half but the Boilermakers pulled to 24-10 at halftime, and then, in an improbable comback in the last two minutes, Purdue scored a touchdown and a field goal to tie the game 27-27 when Georgia, instead of running the clock out to win the game, ran and lost a fumble in the last minute, permitting Purdue to make the tieing field goal. Luckily for Georgia, they won the game in the first overtime 34-27, but perhaps Purdue was more deserving for coming back from being so far down. Kaulins called the winner, Mandel did not. Both did not beat the spread. Kaulins leads 13-8 against Mandel in calling the games.
Kaulins is 16-5 in calling the winners, Mandel is 13-8 in calling the winners. Both are 11-10 against the spread.
ROSE BOWL - USC vs. Michigan
Andis Kaulins called it for Michigan 34-30
Stewart Mandel called it for USC 38-31
There is no question that USC has a fine team, but Michigan, which had not played for 40 days, put on a poorly coached and poorly prepared appearance, several times having to call time-outs because the coaches were not ready with the next play on the field. Neither team was effective in moving the ball on the ground and Matt Leinart, the USC quarterback, won the QB battle against John Navarre, who preferred to be sacked rather than throw the ball away when no receivers were open - being sacked 9 times out of 19 non-completions, in spite of completing 27 of 46 passes, which is basically unforgivable for any competent quarterback. Based on the poor Michigan showing, we remain unconvinced that USC would beat Oklahoma or LSU. Michigan controlled possession of the ball by 35 minutes to 25 minutes, which hardly makes USC a dominant team. The final score was USC winning 28-14. Kaulins leads 13-9 against Mandel in calling the games.
Mandel called the winner of the game, Kaulins did not. Mandel beat the spread, Kaulins did not.
Kaulins is 16-6 in calling the winners of games, Mandel is 14-8. Mandel is 12-10 against the spread. Kaulins is 11-11.
FedEx ORANGE BOWL - Florida State vs. Miami
Andis Kaulins called it for Miami of Florida 34-21
Stewart Mandel called it for Florida State 23-19
Florida State was favored by 2. The final score was Miami of Florida winning 16-14, as the Hurricanes piled up nearly twice as many net yards on offense as the Seminoles.
Kaulins called the winner of the game, Mandel did not. Kaulins beat the spread, Mandel did not.
Kaulins leads Mandel 14-9 in calling the games in direct head-to-head competition.
Kaulins is 17-6 in calling the winners of bowl games, Mandel is 14-9. Both are 12-11 against the spread.
SBC COTTON BOWL - Mississippi vs. Oklahoma State
Andis Kaulins called it for Oklahoma State 43-39
Stewart Mandel called it for Ole Miss 31-27
Who would have thought that OSU's QB Josh Fields would throw for more yardage than Ole MIss's Eli Manning and still lose the game? But that is what happened as Ole Miss, favored by 2.5 points, won 31-28.
Mandel called the winner of the game, Kaulins did not. Mandel nowbeat the, spread Kaulins did not. Kaulins leads Mandel 14-10 in head-to-head calling competition. Mandel is 13-11 against the spread, Kaulins is 12-12.
Kaulins is 17-7 in calling the winners of bowl games, Mandel is 15-9.
Chick-fil-A PEACH BOWL - Tennessee vs. Clemson
Andis Kaulins called it for Tennessee 35-21
Stewart Mandel called it for Tennessee 29-13
Clemson, which finished its season in outstanding style, continued true to top form by thrashing Tennessee 27-14. In fact the ACC looked very strong in bowl game competition, as Maryland, Clemson, North Carolina State and Virginia have thumped the other leages. The only exception is Florida State, which lost barely to the Miami Hurricanes, 16-14, which surely is nothing to be ashamed about. At the moment, this looks like one of the strongest football leagues in the country. The player of the game was Clemson QB Charlies Whitehurst, often calling the plays pro-style in a hurry-up offense at the line of crimmage, which gave Tennessee substantial problems on defense. That is the way of the future in football, in my opinion - more brains at quarterback will give you a winner ....
Neither Kaulins nor Mandel called the winner nor beat the spread: Kaulins was closer on the score spread and now leads Mandel in calls 15-10. Mandel is 13-12 against the spread, Kaulins is 12-13.
Kaulins is 17-8 in calling the winners of bowl games, Mandel is 15-10.
Tostitos FIESTA BOWL - Ohio State vs. Kansas State
Andis Kaulins called it for Kansas State 27-17
Stewart Mandel called it for Kansas State 24-12
No one can predict the kind of nonsense that Ell Roberson was involved in prior to this bowl game, apparently violating curfew and getting into other difficulties. After reading about those affairs, we knew the Wildcats were going to lose, as they did 35-28 to the Buckeyes. Apparently, many college coaches have trouble with discipline among their players. This is a shame and greatly detracts from the status of these players in the eyes of the fans. There is a golden rule in life - first business, then pleasure. Whenever this order is reversed, losses follow. Neither Kaulins nor Mandel called the winner nor beat the spread. Kaulins was closer on the score spread and now leads Mandel in calls of the games by winner and spread, 16-10. Mandel is 13-13 against the spread, Kaulins is 12-14.
Kaulins is 17-9 in calling the winners of bowl games, Mandel is 15-11.
HUMANITARIAN BOWL - Tulsa vs. Georgia Tech
Andis Kaulins called it for Tulsa 36-33
Stewart Mandel called it for Georgia Tech 22-17
Georgia Tech was favored by 7.5.
We had been calling games on the side of Georgia Tech all season, and, as it turns out, we should not have shifted gears for this game, as Georgia Tech, which led only 10-3 at halftime, then absolutely demolished Tulsa in the second half, winning 52-10. with P.J. Daniels rushing 31 times for a massive 307 yards in the game.. When you get that kind of a change between halves, it usually means some good coaching on the side of the winner. Mandel called the winner and Kaulins did not. Kaulins leads Mandel 16-11 in head-on competition.
Mandel is 13-14 against the spread and Kaulins is 12-15.
Kaulins is 17-10 in calling the winners of bowl games, Mandel is 16-11.
NOKIA SUGAR BOWL - LSU vs. Oklahoma
Andis Kaulins called it for Oklahoma 45-21
Stewart Mandel called it for Oklahoma 28-17
The favored Sooners were pasted 21-14 by LSU finishing off a dismal performance by the Big 12 in bowl games. What was once the proud and strongest football conference in America has apparently had a reverse in football fortunes as 6 teams in the Big 12 - Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Kansas - lost in bowl games. Only the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Texas Tech managed to come out on top.
In any case, Oklahoma sure fooled us. What had been touted as one of the best teams of all time turned out to be not even one of the best teams of the year, as OU managed only 12 first downs against a tenacious LSU defense and was limited to 154 yards total rushing and passing. Heisman Trophy winner Jason White completed only 13 of 37 passes for 102 yards for no touchdowns and two interceptions - absolutely disastrous statistics - the Heisman this year clearly went to the wrong player.
Neither Mandel nor Kaulins called the winner, but Mandel was closer, giving a final result in favor of Kaulins 16-12 in head-to-head competition in calling the games. Since neither beat the spread, Mandel finished 13-15 against the spread and Kaulins 12-16.
Kaulins finished 17-11 in calling the winners of bowl games and Mandel 16-12.
All in all our prognostications were certainly nothing to write home about. Calling 5 of the last 6 games wrong did not help. We hope to do better next year.
Do not believe everything you read online or elsewhere. It always pays to check!
A case in point is the following page at Yahoo! Sports, where the winner of the January 2, 2004 Cotton Bowl is erroneously shown to be Oklahoma State, which actually lost to Mississippi.
The error is even carried forward on the box score page - at least, this error was uncorrected at the time of this posting.
As a Nebraska alumnus, I simply do not understand how the head coaching job at NU can be offered to a coach at Arkansas who is merely 48-27 in six years with the Razorbacks, worse than the record that Solich had, and I was a staunch supporter for Solich to be fired. Not only that, they are offering Nutt twice what Solich was being paid, which was far too much to begin with.
See the January 4, 2004 story ESPN.com - NCF - Nutt remains undecided on 'Huskers job.
My own opinion on Nutt as coach is, who cares?
This is not my view of a coach who is going to put NU back on top of the football world and I am beginning to think that the hiring of Pederson as NU Athletic Director was also a mistake.
If you want to put NU football back on top again, you hire a coach who has shown that rare excellence in coaching which makes champions. We do not doubt that Nutt is a very fine coach, but we see no evidence that he will bring back the days of national championship Husker glory to Lincoln, Nebraska.
Friday, January 02, 2004
2003 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL GAME PREDICTIONS - RESULTS - The Predictions of MANDEL at SI and KAULINS at SportPundit COMPARED
Compared below are the predictions of Stewart Mandel at Sports Illustrated with SportPundit:
(Actual scores will be added as they come in. We have the "form" winner already in place prior to the game.)
New Orleans Bowl - Memphis vs. North Texas
Andis Kaulins called it for Memphis 31-24
Stewart Mandel called it for Memphis 28-16
The final score was Memphis winning 27-17
Comment: The passing of Danny Wimprine proved more effective than the running of Patrick Cobbs.
Both Kaulins and Mandel were correct on the winner. Both beat the spread. Mandel was closer on score by 1 point.
Mandel leads Kaulins 1-0. Kaulins is 1-0 and Mandel is 1-0 on calling winners. Both are 1-0 against the spread.
GMAC Bowl - Miami of Ohio vs. Louisville
Andis Kaulins called it for Miami of Ohio 52-31
Stewart Mandel called it for Miami of Ohio 34-17
The final score was Miami of Ohio winning 49-28
Comment: Ben Roethlisberger threw for 376 yards and had 4 TD passes. He will enter the pro draft. Calvin Murray and Mike Smith added 224 yards rushing. Louisville put up 492 yards rushing and passing, but it was not enough.
Both Kaulins and Mandel were correct on the winner. Both beat the spread. Kaulins was closer on score by 4 points. Kaulins was exact on the spread (21 points). Comment: given the potent offenses of both teams, we are surprised Mandel put his predicted score so low.
Mandel and Kaulins are tied 1-1. Kaulins is 2-0 and Mandel is 2-0 on calling winners. Both are 2-0 against the spread.
Mazda TANGERINE BOWL - North Carolina State vs. Kansas
Andis Kaulins called it for North Carolina State 35-21
Stewart Mandel called it for North Carolina State 40-34
The final score was North Carolina State winning 56-26.
Comment: NC State QB Rivers completed 37 of 45 passes for 475 yards - what a great game for him.
Both Kaulins and Mandel were correct on the winner. Kaulins beat the spread, Mandel did not. Kaulins was closer to the score by 7 points.
Kaulins leads Mandel 2-1.
Kaulins is 3-0 and Mandel is 3-0 on calling winners. Kaulins is 3-0 and Mandel 2-1 against the spread.
PlainsCapital FORT WORTH BOWL - Boise State vs. TCU
Andis Kaulins called it for Boise State 52-31
Stewart Mandel called it for Boise State 42-27
The final score was Boise State winning 34-31.
Comment: The Broncos QB Ryan Dinwiddie continued his winning ways, passing for 325 yards and 3 TDs, aided by David Mikell't rushing. TCU put up a surprisingly good fight as Lonta Hobbs and Brandon Hassell both rushed for over 100 yards.
Both Kaulins and Mandel were correct on the winner. Neither beat the spread. Mandel was closer to the final score by 5 points.
Kaulins and Mandel are tied 2-2.
Kaulins is 4-0 and Mandel is 4-0 on calling winners. Kaulins is 3-1 and Mandel 2-2 against the spread.
LAS VEGAS BOWL - New Mexico vs. Oregon State
Andis Kaulins called it for Oregon State 38-31
Stewart Mandel called it for New Mexico 26-20
The final score was Oregon State winning 55-14.
Comment: Who would have expected such a blowout as the Beavers completely dominated the Lobos
Kaulins called the winner. Mandel did not. Kaulins beat the spread, Mandel did not.
Kaulins leads Mandel 3-2.
Kaulins is 5-0 and Mandel is 4-1 on calling winners. Kaulins is 4-1 and Mandel 2-3 against the spread.
Sheraton HAWAII BOWL - Hawaii vs. Houston
Andis Kaulins called it for Hawaii 45-43
Stewart Mandel called it for Hawaii 45-29
The final score was Hawaii winning in 3 overtimes 54-48 after inexplicably failing to run the clock out at the end of regulation time when Hawii led 34-27. They passed instead on 3rd down, which backfired. A brawl ended the game, which Hawaii justifiably won, piling up much more yardage than Houston - but we were correct that it would be closer than the 10.5-point spread. Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Kaulins beat the spread, Mandel did not.
Kaulins leads Mandel 4-2 on closeness of the calls.
Kaulins is 6-0 and Mandel is 5-1 on calling the winners of the games. Kaulins is 5-1 and Mandel 3-3 against the spread.
MOTOR CITY BOWL - Bowling Green vs. Northwestern
Andis Kaulins called it for Bowling Green 38-28
Stewart Mandel called it for Bowling Green 35-14
The final score was Bowling Green winning 28-24.
Bowling Green, favored by 7.5 points at the time of our prognostication, was hampered by 3 Northwestern interceptions in the first half, cutting off scoring opportunities, but Josh Harris ultimately completed 38 of 50 passes for 386 yards as Bowling Green came back to win in the fourth quarter.
Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Neither beat the spread. Kaulins was closer to the score by 11 points.
Kaulins leads Mandel 5-2 on closeness of the calls.
Kaulins is 7-0 and Mandel is 6-1 on calling the winners of the games. Kaulins is 5-2 and Mandel 3-4 against the spread.
INSIGHT BOWL - Virginia Tech vs. California
Andis Kaulins called it for California 35-27
Stewart Mandel called it for California 31-28
The final score was California winning in a real scoring humdinger 52-49. Mandel was closer on the score hitting the spread of 3 exactly. Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Both beat the spread as the Hokies were favored to win by 2.5.
Kaulins leads Mandel 5-3 on closeness of the calls.
Kaulins is 8-0 and Mandel is 7-1 on calling the winners of the games. Kaulins is 6-2 and Mandel 4-4 against the spread.
CONTINENTAL TIRE BOWL - Pittsburgh vs. Virginia
Andis Kaulins called it for Pitt 30-28
Stewart Mandel called it for Pitt 34-20
Virginia was favored by 2.5 points. We were worried a bit about our call on this one and indeed, Virginia won 23-16 in a very evenly matched game as Pitt simply could not put scores up on the board despite moving the ball well. Pitt failed to score on four runs after 1st and goal from the four-yard line in the 1st quarter - that kind of thing is always the fault of stupid coaching and/or miserable playcalling. That set the tenor of the game in favor of Virginia, who thereafter scored a quick touchdown. The Virginia secondary kept Larry Fitzgerald well in check.
Both Kaulins and Mandel did not call the winner. Neither one beat the spread. Kaulins was closer in the score by 12 points. Kaulins leads Mandel 6-3 on the accuracy of the game calls.
Kaulins is now 8-1 and Mandel 7-2 in calling the winners of the games. Kaulins is 6-3 and Mandel 4-5 against the spread.
MasterCard ALAMO BOWL - Nebraska vs. Michigan State
Andis Kaulins called it for Nebraska 34-20
Stewart Mandel called it for Nebraska 28-24
Comment: Bo Pelini made a very successful debut as interim coach of the Cornhuskers, with the Huskers rolling up 389 yards on offense and holding a potent Michigan State offense to only 156 yards passing and 18 rushing. The Husker defense interecepted 3 passes, which has been their season per-game average, leading the nation. The offense still showed great signs of weakness and an inability to put the ball into the end zone - a problem which the Huskers will have to solve by the coming season. Will Pelini be named head coach? Who knows.
The final score was Nebraska winning 17-3. Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Kaulins and Mandel beat the spread which was 2.5 points initially and 3 points at game time. Kaulins called the spread exactly at 14 and was closer by 10 points than Mandel to the actual spread of the final score. Kaulins leads Mandel 7-3 on accuracy of the game calls.
Kaulins is now 9-1 and Mandel 8-2 in calling the winners of the games. Kaulins is 7-3 and Mandel 5-5 against the spread.
EV1.net HOUSTON BOWL - Navy vs. Texas Tech
Andis Kaulins called it for Texas Tech 45-38
Stewart Mandel called it for Texas Tech 50-32
After a scoreless first quarter and in spite of nearly 300 yards rushing by Navy, Jim Symons passed for 4 touchdowns and nearly 500 yards in leading the Red Raiders to a 38-14 win over the Midshipmen. Navy narrowed the margin to 24-14 to start the 4th quarter, but after that it was all Texas Tech. Navy simply could not get into the end zone.
Both Kaulins and Mandel called the winner. Mandel beat the spread of 13 points, Kaulins did not, reducing the Kaulins leading edge to 7-4 in the closeness of games called.
Kaulins is now 10-1 and Mandel 9-2 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Kaulins is 7-4 and Mandel is 6-5 against the spread.
Pacific Life HOLIDAY BOWL - Texas vs. Washington State
Andis Kaulins called it for Texas 40-33
Stewart Mandel called it for Texas 34-24
Texas was favored by 7 in the opening line and by 9 at gametime, but the uninspired first quarter - a punting duel - was an omen of things to come. The Longhorns certainly did not live up to expectations as Texas QB Chance Mock completed only 14 of 35 passes for only 181 yards and Vincent Young 6 of 14 passes for only 15 yards. Cedric Benson did not get over 100 yards rushing in spite of 22 carries. It is hard to understand how a team with as much talent as Texas has can play this bad - and we attribute that always to bad coaching. Matt Kegel for Washington State completed 18 of 32 for 203 yards and two TDs and it was enough for the upset win 28-20.
Neither Kaulins nor Mandel called the winner, nor did they beat the spread. Kaulins was closer to the actual winning margin by 3 and now leads Mandel 8-4.
Kaulins is now 10-2 and Mandel 9-3 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Kaulins is 7-5 and Mandel is 6-6 against the spread.
SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC - Fresno State vs. UCLA
Andis Kaulins called it for Fresno State 31-28
Stewart Mandel called it for UCLA 24-23
The final score was Fresno State winning 17-9. As we mused in our analysis of this game, the only way to beat Fresno State - as Colorado State showed - was by rushing and we did not think UCLA had the rushing offense to do this. In fact, they only managed 68 yards on the ground. The excellent Fresno State passing defense permitted only 11 of 31 completions. Fresno State had more than twice the number of yards rushing and QB Pinegar completed 12 of 26 passes including 1 TD - but the game was decided by the rushing game as Fresno State kept possession for about 36 minutes.
Kaulins called the winner, Mandel did not. Kaulins now leads 9-4 in the direct comparison of game calls by score.
Both Kaulins and Mandel beat the spread which favored UCLA by 4 initially and 3 at game time.
Kaulins is now 11-2 and Mandel 10-3 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Kaulins is 8-5 and Mandel is 7-6 against the spread.
Gaylord Hotels MUSIC CITY BOWL presented by Bridgestone - Auburn vs. Wisconsin
Andis Kaulins called it for Wisconsin 27-24
Stewart Mandel called it for Auburn 23-16
After the ball game was tied 14-14 late in the 4th quarter, Wisconsin let the game get away from them and Auburn, favored by 3, won on two quick closing TDs 28-14. Mandel called the winner and Kaulins did not. Kaulins now leads Mandel 9-5.
Mandel beat the spread, Kaulins did not.
Kaulins is now 11-3 and Mandel 11-3 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Both Kaulins and Mandel are 8-6 against the spread.
Wells Fargo SUN BOWL - Minnesota vs. Oregon
Andis Kaulins called it for Minnesota 31-20
Stewart Mandel called it for Oregon 35-31
The final score was Minnesota winning 31-30. Kaulins called the winner. Mandel did not. Kaulins leads Mandel 10-5.
Neither Kaulins nor Mandel beat the spread which was in favor of Minnesota by 4 points.
Kaulins is now 12-3 and Mandel 11-4 in calling the winners of the bowl games. Both Kaulins and Mandel are 8-7 against the spread.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
ESPN.com news services of January 1, 2004 reports at ESPN.com - NCF - Vermeil: KC's Saunders turned down Nebraska that:
"Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders turned down the coaching job at Nebraska...."
As an NU alumnus, my comment is that the manner in which the head coaching position has now been handled by NU athletic director Steve Pederson after the Solich firing - which I supported fully - is not good - first leaving everything up in the air for fans, players and coaches, clear through the bowl game, and then getting a rejection to boot on New Year's day. This is just not good style in any league.
Pederson expects success from his coaches - and we expect success from HIM. The same rules apply to everyone and Pederson is now 1-1 in my book, a win for firing Solich, a loss for not having long ago had his replacement ready.
My favorite as new head coach of Nebraska - which missed the chance of getting Urban Meyer last year, the coach that I recommended, if NU had only fired Solich then - is Larry Kehres of Mount Union - who has instituted a climate of excellence at Mount Union that would not hurt the swampland that Huskerland has become. I would have supported Pelini as head coach, but his sideline behavior in the Kansas State and Michigan State games indicates that there are self-control problems present here - one is reminded of Woody Hayes. Nebraska needs discipline.
The Solich legacy of recruiting undisciplined players continued after the Alamo Bowl as one of the freshman players ran into trouble with police. See http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1697004. These kinds of things were virtually unheard of in Devaney and Osborne days and they have to stop if Nebraska is to become an elite football school again.
Former Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska once was quoted as saying: "What's wrong with Mediocrity?" The current answer for Huskerland can only be - "Nothing, it is what you have in Nebraska at the moment".
It will be interesting to see how this saga develops.
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