Adam Jones is the author of Jones Top Ten, and the new book Rose Bowl Dreams.
About the Author
Adam Jones is the author of Jones Top Ten, and the new book Rose Bowl Dreams.
Best of 2005
Written by Adam Jones
Bored at work? Or are you just depressed that in college football, as opposed to any other sport, we all are forced to sit around and wait a month between the end of the season and the next meaningful game anyone plays? To combat that depression, I give you the first annual JonesTop Ten Best of the Season column. Here's my year in college football for 2005.
"...the BCS settled on Harris Interactive to create for them a new poll of 114 former players, administrators, coaches, trainers, cheerleaders and at least one sousaphone player who once dotted the "i" for the Ohio State band." - season preview
"I've seen imperial storm troopers with better aim than the two-headed Sooner quarterback." - week one
"Arizona State made an unholy mess of Temple 63-16. Bill Cosby blamed his alma mater's lack of personal responsibility and materialistic cultural influences for the defeat then held a town meeting to chide the players in public." - week one
"1. USC: The Trojans did everything but mug Don Ho and steal the magic amulet from the Brady Bunch episode on their way out of town." - week one
"Russell rolled left. Luckily, LSU fans have also seen this show before. Shouldn't someone named "Early Doucet" catch this one for the Bayou Bengals? Even if, for most of the game, Early Doucet couldn't catch William Faulkner with free whiskey?" - week two
"...the swarms of Cyclone students onto the field at Jack Trice Stadium proved once again that no single regular season game in any other sport inspires the faithful the way that college football does dozens of times a year." - week two
"Oklahoma took the novel approach of simply not throwing the football to get past Tulsa 31-15. It was a two-point game going into the fourth when OU started handing the ball to Adrian Peterson and giggling like little girls on the sideline." - week three
"Vanderbilt beat Arkansas. It's all fun and games when Vandy beats Wake Forest, but Arkansas? That's likely to get somebody fired." - week three
"I can't help but wonder if horrified Tennessee fans everywhere are remembering when Steve Spurrier owned Phil Fulmer and wondering if Urban Meyer has picked up the mortgage payments." -- week three
"Now I desire Big Ten football about like a goat pines for a trombone, but I've got to give the big boys their due. Minnesota upset Purdue in an incredible 42-35 overtime cliffhanger with Laurence Maroney carrying the football 46 times for 217 yards (much to his agent's horror - 46 carries will turn a running back into the New Orleans Saints version of Earl Campbell in a hurry; can we at least get the kid his signing bonus first?)." - week four
"Nawth Klina beat Nawth Klina State 31-24. Is it just me or do the Tar Heels win just enough games for John Bunting to keep his job and lose just enough games for everyone to think he is an idiot?" - week four
"...USC/Notre Dame is in Technicolor. It doesn't even look like other college football games; it looks like a Disney movie." -- week seven
"As I turned the key in the ignition it occurred to me, for a few hours on a perfect afternoon anyway, I suddenly remembered being ten." - week eight
"Illinois must be the worst namesake state university in Division I. Not only do I think Illinois would lose to Washington or Kentucky, I also think Utah or New Mexico could beat them, Wyoming would beat them and either Arizona or Mississippi would blow them out." - week eight
"There is an AP photo in my Sunday paper of (Reggie) Bush making a cut so remarkable he looks like he's at the edge of the wake on a slalom ski. I don't know how the guy's ankles can withstand the force." - week eight
"In the one independent game of note, Notre Dame whipped BYU 49-23 and then had a knock-down drag out brawl in the library when an argument about New Testament theology broke out." -- week eight
"I guess they (USC) could lose hosting Wazzu for homecoming next week. I also guess I could play point guard for the Spurs if Tony Parker ran off to Tahiti with Eva Longoria and vowed never to play basketball again." - week eight
"Reality tends to trump romanticism. It's only on those rare occasions that they intersect when life seems transcendent." - week nine
"The Longhorns generally displayed the kind of bored and inattentive play that ruins national title runs. Then Vince Young emerged from the phone booth, ran for 267 yards and told the defense he was going to personally kick their collective ass if they ruined his Heisman bid." - week nine
"You know how you might spot your son the H and O when teaching him how to play HORSE? UCLA does the same thing except in real live college football games." - week nine
"2A. Virginia Tech: Hokies looked much better than Texas this week but the one orange sleeve look is killing me. You too, Florida. You want to impress me? How about all of your receivers just wear one glove?" - week nine
"USC and Texas are acting like two fourteen year-old boys who can't quit showing off because they like the same girl. Is 62-0 over Baylor really necessary? 37 points in the first twenty minutes against Stanford?" -- week ten
"Oregon, down to quarterback number three, aka "Ryan Leaf's little brother" won in gut-check time against Cal, 27-20. The Ducks are 8-1, which will lead to Leaf the Younger asking for a contract renegotiation." -- week ten
"At this point in JaMarcus Russell's career, one would half expect that if a terrorist took a hostage in the press box at the Georgia Dome during the third quarter of the SEC Championship game, Russell would calmly take the poor bastard out with a perfect spiral to the forehead before the authorities could arrive. Then, after throwing a couple of picks, our hero would calmly throw a 70-yard pass in and out of the hands of Early Doucet, off the helmet of Bennie Brazell and into the chest of Dwayne Bowe falling backwards into the end zone between three Georgia defenders to win it for LSU as time expired." -- week eleven
"Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt... When you are trying to become bowl-eligible for the first time since Joe Paterno last bought a new windbreaker, you do not lose to Kentucky." - week eleven
"He (Urban Meyer) threw all of the above away by losing to a God-awful South Carolina team coached by the one guy Florida fans still cry themselves to sleep thinking about in their darkest moments and who tends to engage in emotional and mental warfare against opposing coaches as if he were some evil clipboard-throwing concoction of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Cardinal Richelieu and James Carville all stuffed into a golf shirt and sweater vest and topped with a visor." - week eleven
"Ohio State just flat annihilated Northwestern 48-7. That's like sucker punching Al Roker on national television while he's congratulating your grandma on her 100th birthday." - week eleven
"Navy has not beaten Notre Dame since 1963. The Middies best shot at it was last year. Now they are going to have to wait until at least the second term of the Jenna Bush administration. At least Air Force was smart enough to take advantage of the Gerry Faust years." - week eleven
"A Minnesota tailback ran roughshod over Michigan State for 206 yards in a 41-18 win. His name is Amir Pinnix. Not Gary Russell, not Laurence Maroney, Amir Pinnix. The kid's never going to make it; his name sounds too much like "a mere pittance." That may be the worst name I've ever heard." - week eleven
"Anthony Gonzales's catch inside the five as he was being turned cranium over coccyx by a Michigan defensive back will be replayed on Buckeye pre-game radio broadcasts just as much as the Charles Woodson punt return is played on the Wolverine pre-game show. It was that good." - week twelve
"Uhm, Virginia, you see, the thing is, well, this is a rivalry game to Virginia Tech even if maybe it isn't so important to you. So, fellas, could you at least, well, get mad or something? Or maybe act like you care? Hokies 52, Cavaliers (and boy does that describe their level of play) 14." - week twelve
"A couple of readers have taken exception to me saying that South Carolina is a lousy football team (which is actually to their credit; I didn't say they were poorly coached or didn't play hard, that would describe Tennessee)." -- week twelve
"In another bizarre fog-shrouded game, Oregon beat Oregon State 56-14. I watched this one for a stretch and kept expecting a King Arthur movie to break out." - week twelve
"One spectacular collapse later, Colorado backed into the title game anyway. They didn't just back in; the Buffaloes went down the fire escape, into the alley, through the service entrance, into the kitchen, past the bar, across the wait stand and into the dining room. I'll take that payday, thank you very much, Cyclones. Kansas 24, ISU 21 in the Big 12 North: "Where everyone can grow up to be 6-5." " -- week thirteen
"...the 38-31 (victory over Stanford) was good. And so is the $14.5 million BCS check the Irish will soon cash at the First National Bank of Screw You We're Not Sharing With Anybody Because We're Notre Dame." - week thirteen
"Impressive Showing of the Week: The 13 Colorado fans who stayed in their seats at Reliant Stadium until the final gun and didn't even throw debris on the field." - week fourteen
Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame: The biggest of the big game receivers in college football looks like Geddy Lee. That's too much.
Max Gean-Jilles, Georgia and Eric Winston, Miami: During Georgia and Miami games this year I often took a few plays just to focus in on these two guys. How many NFL teams would trade one side of their line straight up for these two?
Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt: The kid is ice water and he won five games behind center for Vanderbilt. Who's the last guy to pull that off? That the Commodores aren't quite bowl-eligible is one of my personal disappointments of the year.
Taurean Henderson, Texas Tech: Repeat after me: he is not a great player because of the system; he's a great player because he is a great player.
A.J. Hawk, Ohio State: He's the best Buckeye linebacker I have ever seen. Think about that statement.
Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech: The winner of last season's JTT Underappreciated Player Award, Tapp was even better this season.
Mason Crosby, Colorado: There is almost zero chance for a kicker to be on my favorite players list, but Colorado basically takes the ball at the twenty, gets to mid-field and the Buffs are in field goal range.
Leonard Pope, Georgia: I lack Mark Richt's sophistication and experience, but if I coached Georgia, I would simply throw the football to Pope seven yards down field every single play.
JaMarcus Russell, LSU: There's just something about watching a supremely confident and gifted athlete when you have no idea what he is going to do next, good or bad. I call this the Evel Knievel syndrome. (Other Texas fans call this the Chris Simms years.)
Justin King and Derrick Williams, Penn State: Michael Robinson should be on this list, as well, but a seasoned senior quarterback is one thing, two impetuous and ridiculously talented freshman turning Penn State football upside down is quite another. Williams managed an entire season's worth of highlights in a half-season, regrettably cut short by injury. He may return for the bowl game. All King does is average 19.8 yards per catch and 13.4 (!!!!!!!!) yards on his 17 rushing attempts. Oh, he also plays cornerback.
A.J. Nicholson, Florida State: Ohio State has better linebackers, but FSU's are more fun to watch, especially this guy.
Sidney Rice, South Carolina: Steve Spurrier went 7-4 at a lower-tier SEC school with only two great players on his roster (safety Ko Simpson is the other one). Rice, only a freshman, ranks with anyone Spurrier has ever had at receiver. This will really be fun to watch next season.
FAVORITE TEXAS LONGHORNS THAT NO ONE HAS HEARD OF
1. Lyle Sendlein, center: The best player in the Big 12 not to make an all-conference team.
2. Tarell Brown, cornerback: Being the least-talented starter in the Texas secondary is a little like being the Radio City Rockette with the worst legs. He is still an NFL prospect and set a new UT record for "most times flagged for pass interference when not guilty of pass interference."
3. Matt Nordgren, quarterback: How would you like to be the one guy that your school's fans are terrified of seeing on the field if the game is on the line? Mack Brown actually burned a valuable time-out against Ohio State when Vince Young was shaken up just to keep Nordgren from taking a snap. He did do a great job holding on extra-points.
4. Ahmard Hall, fullback: Nothing like being the fullback for a team that runs out of the one-back 85% of the time. That's probably why Hall is so open every time he actually gets the ball thrown to him.
5. Neale Tweedie, tight end: Took the announcer forever to figure out who he was when he caught a key touchdown against Oklahoma State. Hint: He's the guy who is not David Thomas.
1. "Michigan State: OK, Spartans, when are you going to blow it this year? Want my guess? Try homecoming against Northwestern."
In week eight, Northwestern blasted the Spartans, 49-14.
2. "You know all those genius commentators who keep telling you that USC traveling to Autzen Stadium is the season's most dangerous game for the Trojans? Write this down. USC 42, Oregon 14. It might not be that close. Trust me."
Actually, the Trojans won 45-13. To be fair, Oregon played them tough through the first half.
3. "Tennessee or Michigan: I think both will fold before the season is out."
Tennessee folded like a cheap suit. Michigan opened 3-3, but actually salvaged a 7-4 season ending with a close loss to Ohio State.
4. "Arizona State is primed for their annual disappearing act."
This one was like taking candy from a baby. The Sun Devils started in the top ten and then needed a 23-20 win over Arizona just to reach 6-5. Their bowl opponent is Rutgers. That's right, Rutgers.
5. My super secret darkhorse national title contender is Alabama.
The Tide started 9-0 before an overtime loss to LSU.
1. "2. Oklahoma"
The Sooners were my pre-season #2. I thought - very incorrectly - that the whole world was vastly underestimating the Sooners. Adrian Peterson's ankle didn't help, but the problems ran much deeper than that.
2. "6. Florida: Urban Meyer win the SEC in his first try? Could happen."
No, it couldn't happen.
3. "Do you think there is any chance LSU will lose its first game in Baton Rouge (against Tennessee)? The Vols may get rolled."
The Vols did not get rolled, but instead recorded their high point of the season by coming back for a fourth quarter win over the exhausted Tigers.
4. "Some very good teams are on the outside looking in. The two best are Virginia Tech and Auburn, both of which will miss exceptionally smart senior quarterbacks in Bryan Randall and Jason Campbell. That's enough to keep them out of my top ten, although Marcus Vick at Va Tech could make me look very foolish."
Vick indeed made me look very foolish, even though he didn't play well down the stretch. Surprisingly, Auburn's Brandon Cox also made me look foolish and the Tigers finished in the top ten.
5. "Every writer takes a pass on predicting the Big 12 North this season, preferring to simply draw names out of a hat. I won't. I know the winner. Kansas. Check back with me in six months."
Six months later, a wretched Kansas offense did them in; Colorado won a pretty lousy B12 North.
1. Alabama's Tyrone Prothro catches a TD around the helmet of a defender. I have never seen anything like it.
2. Boston College's Mathias Kiwanuka chases down Florida State's Lorenzo Booker and prevents a touchdown in a situation where most defensive ends would have quit on the play because no one this side of Julius Peppers would have a remote shot at pulling it off.
3. USC's Matt Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett, no elaboration necessary.
4. LSU's Early Doucet answers the prayers of JaMarcus Russell and millions of Louisianans in the middle of the desert against Arizona State.
5. (tie) USC's Reggie Bush returns a punt 84 yards against Washington and every single one of the Husky defenders had a shot at him. It was impressive even by Reggie Bush standards...not to be outdone, Texas's Vince Young executes the "mother of all pump fakes" against Oklahoma State, opening the way for an 80 yard touchdown on a quarterback scramble.
7. Ohio State's Anthony Gonzales - the Buckeye's third receiver - saves Ohio State's season with a near-impossible catch as he was being turned upside down inside the Michigan five.
8. Auburn's Devin Aromashodu somehow gets behind the Georgia secondary on a fourth and eleven to save the Tiger's bacon and then fumbles the ball into the end zone. Auburn recovered, the ball was spotted at the point of the fumble and it allowed the Tigers to chew up the rest of the clock and win the game.
9. North Carolina's Wallace Wright drops BC's opening kick-off, picks it up as the BC coverage unit arrives, takes a quick turn to his right and races down the sidelines for a 90-yard TD.
10. Alabama safety Roman Harper crushes Tennessee's Corey Anderson, putting his helmet square on the football to cause the game-preserving fumble against Tennessee.
And another season is in the books. What did I miss? I look forward to hearing from you this month: firstname.lastname@example.org
What else are you going to do, keep up with your NFL fantasy team?
Next week: The JTT Bowl Preview
( categories: 2005 )