2017 Bowl Bonanza Final Round-Up: The Agony of Defeat

images

It has been a tough bowl season in so many ways and the final game on Monday fell right in line. It felt like watching the Falcons in the Super Bowl of 2017. Man, can’t we Georgia based sports fans get a break!

It was certainly a tale of two halves or might we say, a tale of Tua’s half. Jake Fromm and the offense produced enough in the first half to give some amount of confidence to the fans and the defense certainly looked to be Alabama’s equal. Even in the second half it looked like Georgia was going to hang in and score enough to stay on top. The Genius on the sidelines for the Tide had other plans. Benching Hurts and sending in true freshman Tagovailoa was a semi-gutsy move that showed signs of desperation before it revealed its brilliance. Tagovailoa was not a pure rookie, having 470 passing yards, 8 touchdowns passes and two rushing scores on the season. Obviously, Saban knew what had in the stable and trusted the up and coming star. He wasn’t perfect, but he was certainly good enough to bring Alabama back to tie the game and potentially when it with a field goal. If the kicker had not slipped and missed the winning field goal, we would not have had the chance to see him shine one more time. After Georgia kicked a field goal in overtime and sacked Tua at the beginning of the Tide’s OT drive, the Dawg fans once again raised their hopes of winning the coveted title. With the second consecutive overtime game, Georgia was giving the nation more than it’s moneys worth of championship football. Tagovailoa dashed their dreams with an improbable 41 yard pass on the next play. Alabama was champs again, the fifth under coach Saban.

For our competition, the final didn’t change much of our standings. We finished with a tie in the office and no one was in reach of the overall winner. It was still fun to play our little game once again and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. Our final resting places for 2017:

Sprinkles and Stride: 24-17, Leo: 21-20, Scoot: 20-21, Rambo: 18-23, Trip: 17-23

Congratulations to Nancy and her incredible string of picks in the final stretch. She pulled away so fast that no one had a chance to catch her in the final games. Even though she didn’t pick the overall champion correctly, her margin was so great it didn’t even matter. Here’s how the top pickers finished.

1st place: (30-11) Nancy Brenneman

2nd place: (27-14) Doug Markott

3rd place: (26-16) Kelly Mensinger

4th place: (25-17) Seth Lazansky, Jennifer Lancaster, Colin Keiner, Lisa, and Buddy Brantly.

Congrats to everyone who beat our picks. Your prizes will be sent out to you shortly. Thanks again for playing our game and giving us a run for our money. We love engaging with you outside of camp and we look forward to seeing your faces once again this summer!

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #6: New Year’s Day Games, What a Ride!

images

 

Were the big games just last Monday?! This week has flown by, but it has been extremely full at the same time. I can’t believe this is Friday and I am just now getting to this, the 2nd-to-last wrap up post for the 2017 bowl picks.

Monday was an awesome day of football, regardless of how you finished or who you root for. Some of those games were nail biters and the football fan was entertained from beginning to end. Just in case you missed it, all five games featured an SEC team.

South Carolina staged a huge comeback against Michigan, giving Coach Harbaugh his first 3-game losing streak as their head coach. The Wolverines had 5 turnovers, one of which was an interception in the end zone that would have given them the lead back with 8 minutes to play. The final interception, with a minute remaining, put the nail in the coffin.

Auburn could not show the same class of football they used to defeat Georgia and Alabama in the regular season when they ran up against the undefeated Knights of UCF. The Knights successfully defended their argument for inclusion in the national title playoffs, finishing a perfect 13-0. Depending on where you side with the playoff selection process, you may agree with UCF’s AD handing out national champs t-shirts, preparing a parade, and hanging National Champion banners on campus. I think it is a little much, but hey, revolutions have been started with less.

I definitely did not have a favorite in the LSU v. Notre Dame game. LSU, for no real reason, has never been that big of a deal to me and I really don’t like entitled programs like ND. That said, you gotta pick one for this competition to work, so I went with the Irish. Their up and coming superstar wide receiver had an awesome game, capped off by an amazing one handed grab to score the game winning touchdown, and stop ND’s 9-game losing streak for games played in January. I am sure both teams will again find themselves high and lofted in the pre-season rankings for next season.

I don’t have enough time to cover the incredible Georgia v. Oklahoma game. It was certainly one most of us will never forget and one of the best ever played at the Rose Bowl. Baker Mayfield was everything we expected him to be and had the Dawgs whipped and whimpering at the half, down 17-31. A faithful fan would still have hope, but most of us watching the game saw a Bulldog team appear to be clearly outmatched. Whatever Kirby said at the half must have been amazing, because we saw a truly different team in the second half. Georgia would stage a comeback and then trade leads with the Sooners, ultimately tying the game with 55 seconds left to play. OVERTIME! Georgia was unable to get in the end zone and settled for a field goal, hoping their defense would hold Oklahoma to the same. Mission accomplished. OVERTIME No.2! This time Oklahoma started with the ball and was again denied the end zone, despite a penalty on the Dawgs that gave them an extra try on 2nd down. Georgia, unbelievably, blocked the field goal, giving them a chance to win the game with a TD or a field goal. Sony Michel redeemed his fumble-turned-touchdown from the 4th quarter and ran a direct snap in for the touchdown. It was absolutely magical. Headed home to Georgia to play for the National Championship, just 70 miles from the university, in the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

I have a lot of family and friends in the Clemson area, so I have a tendency to lean their way. I also cannot stand the arrogance and almost rude fandom I experience with some (not all) of the Tide fans I encounter. That said, I have HUGE respect for Saban and all that he has accomplished. He is an amazing coach and certainly the best of those still in business and arguably the GOAT. With almost a month to let his team heal and get some starters back on defense, I new  Saban’s Elephants would be hard to stop. Clemson did a wonderful job retooling from last year, but the youth of their team just couldn’t be ignored in this one. Bama dominated on defense and had an incredible short stretch where they converted back-to-back interceptions into touchdowns in just 4 minutes of the third quarter. If not for those two scores, we could have easily seen a 10-6 final score. Both teams were fairly incompetent against the others defense.

So here we have it. The last game of the year coming up this Monday. Two teams from the Southeastern Conference preparing to stake their claim as the best team for the 2017 season. It will be exciting to watch and I will do my best to keep my nails out of my mouth. As for our competition, it is mostly decided, at least the winner is. Our results before the last game are:

Sprinkles and Stride: 24-16, Leo: 21-20, Scoot: 20-20, Rambo: 18-22, and Trip 17-23

As for you guys, our guests, campers, friends, and family, your results are below. Our winner doesn’t even need to pick the right winner of the final game, she is that far ahead. Congratulations Nancy Brenneman, you had an amazing final stretch and blew away the competition. We will be in touch soon to settle up on your prize.

There are still opportunities for consolation prizes for beating our picks. Monday’s game could shuffle things a bit. Stride picked Oklahoma to win it all, but Sprinkles has a chance to improve to 25 wins. I won’t share her pick yet, so just hope you picked differently and she loses, if you are in need of one more win to best our office champ.

1st place: (30-10) Nancy Brenneman

2nd place: (26-14) Kelly Mensinger and Doug Markott

3rd place: (25-15) Seth Lazansky and Colin Kiener

tied with us: (24-16) Eric Hickerson, Carolyn Hickerson, Jennifer Lancaster, Julia Lancaster, Zachary Godfrey, Lisa, and Buddy Brantly

Best of luck on Monday! I just hope it is a good game, which it is shaping up to be.

Posted in Ramblings from The Rock | Leave a comment

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #5: A Great Day and a Bad One

imagesToday will be short and sweet.  A full weekend of new year’s festivities, year-end stuff, church, and company, plus two full days of big games, equals too much to update. We had a lot of good football so I wish I could spend more time on each game. There are a lot of great games today, really big ones, so I would rather not sit in front of the computer too long, either. :-) I apologize if this doesn’t reach to expectations.

I finally had a perfect day. On Friday I successfully picked all 5 winners. The games didn’t go as I imagined, but they were still wins. The Wake Forest-Texas A&M game was crazy with all those scoring records and yardage records. That was one wild shootout. N.C State- Arizona State was just as the vast majority of us predicted. Arizona State held their own in the second half, but could not over come the deficit from the first. In the Wildcats Bowl we had some wild cats leave the game. Both QB’s got hurt, with Northwestern’s unable to return, and Kentucky’s RB got ejected for his response to an official. A 2 point conversion denied was the difference in the game. New Mexico State and Utah State had to take their game to overtime. Utah State missed three field goals in this one, the last one in OT being the most painful. New Mexico State took their OT opportunity into the end zone for the win. The last game of the night gave Ohio State reason to argue their case for a bowl championship game instead of the Cotton Bowl. They were absolutely dominant on defense and USC’s superstar QB, Sam Darnold, never could get set.

Saturday was a different story for me.

Louisville didn’t have the right game plan to stop first time starting Mississippi State QB, Keytaon Thompson, and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson couldn’t overcome 4 interceptions to keep pace. Iowa State lost its first fumble ALL SEASON, but used it’s tough defense to keep Memphis from scoring late in the fourth. Running back Saquon Barkley did not sit out, as expected, so Penn State was able to outlast Washington. In the last game of the night, Miami could not get enough turnover chain celebrations to take down Wisconsin. Coach Richt’s ‘Canes looked like they had it under control, but Wisconsin’s QB, Alex Hornibrook caught fire and could not be stopped.

1-3 on Saturday. Friday had me pumped and Saturday returned the 2017 Bowl Bonanza humbling. Here’s were we are:

Sprinkles and Stride: 22-13, Scoot: 20-15, Leo: 18-17, Trip and Rambo: 16-19

You guys had some great movement, but our newest leader exploded for a huge gain. She went 7-2 over the last two days and opened up here margin in a big way. I haven’t looked at her picks for today, but I think it may be too tough for anyone to catch her.

1st place:(27-8) Nancy Brenneman

2nd place: (23-12) Seth Lazansky, Jennifer Lancaster, Kelly Mensinger, Colin Kiener, and Doug Markott

tied with us: (22-13) Justin George, Carolyn Hickerson, Zachary Godfrey, Sarah Pedro, Jeff Esping, Heidi Berggren, and Trey Hodges

just a game behind: (21-14) Thomas Darga, Eric Hickerson, Kosh Fort, Julia Lancaster, Terry McBride, Heather Godfrey, George Pelekis, David Maggiore, Joel Miller, Lisa, Ashley Kelly, Melanie Tarpley, Buddy Brantly, Heath Bell, and Thomas Benson III.

Today’s game are underway and several of them are too close to call. I am sure some of us will be happy and some will cry. I may not see .500 this year, but I have some great people keeping me company!

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #4: Some Teams Have a Quarterback, Some Teams Don’t

images

The excitement is building as the games begin to showcase the more notable teams and we get closer to the playoff games. It is also growing as we get closer to crowning our winner. We had some good shake up after yesterday’s games. Here’s a recap.

I read a comment yesterday that said the Virginia players must have bet on Navy, because they sure didn’t appear to want to win. After returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, the Cavaliers would never see the end zone again. Even an injury to the starting QB did not stop the Midshipmen. His replacement, Zach Abey rushed for 5 touchdowns! To make it more amazing, Navy only attempted one pass, and it was incomplete! Fitting that Navy should win the Military Bowl, right?

Next up was a good game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Oklahoma had a tough time really putting this one away as Tech pulled within 6 with 5:40 left to play. They had more yards on the day, which is surprising against such a high flying offense as the Cowboys’. As has been the story in so many games, the turnovers were the real difference. When you lose the ball, especially within scoring distance, it can take a lot out of your team. Do it twice and you are really going to have a tough time, especially against an opposing QB who ends his career with 52 school records. He probably isn’t going to take his foot off the gas.

TCU and Stanford were next up. Boy did they give the fans a show. At first, TCU QB Kenny Hill looked completely out of sorts, making terrible, uncharacteristically bad decisions. Stanford doesn’t usually miss an opportunity to make you pay for your mistakes. They capitalized on the moment and raced out to a 21-3 lead. The Horned Frogs appeared to be flat, but just like their last Alamo Bowl appearance, you could not count them out. They came back from a 31-0 deficit in 2015, so 18 points is nothing! Hill finally got rolling, scrambling, passing, and even catching touchdowns. (Coach Gary Paterson always has a trick play or two up his sleeve and he seems to know exactly when and how to use them.) It’s hard to hold back extremely talented offenses and it shows when you allow plays like the 93-yard pass Hill threw to Jalen Reagor and the punt returned for a touchdown by Desmon White. The Cardinal did come back to take the lead, but they missed the 2pt conversion and left too much time on the clock. Hill got TCU to field goal range and the defense sealed the win with an interception.

Unfortunately, the Washington State v. Michigan State game showed us exactly why it is hard to pick a winner in this crazy contest. You have to look at how teams played for the season, at the end of the season, what their coaching changes look like, and what players are going to be absent. If you aren’t privileged to some of that information, it is hard to make an educated choice. I am not saying that the game’s result would have been any different, but it sure would have been nice to know Luke Falk was injured and wasn’t going to be flinging the ball for the Cougars. It didn’t help that Coach Leach kicked the top receiver off the team after the regular season and the third best receiver left the team. I think the Spartans have a great defense, so it may not have mattered. It just would have been nice to see them play WSU at full strength.

Unfortunately for the staff, our current superstar had a bad day, going 1-3. Add to that a stellar performance from our guest pickers, and we find ourselves in a deeper whole than before. Here’s how we stand:

Sprinkles: 17-9, Stride: 16-10, Scoot: 14-12, Leo: 13-13, Trip: 12-14, and Rambo: 10-16

There was a bit of a shake up at the top of the field and more folks find themselves poised to beat our picks. Our lead picker struggled a bit and had to relinquish her spot. Many of you had great days yesterday and took advantage of some great picks.

1st place: (20-6) Nancy Brenneman (she picked all 4 correctly!)

2nd place: (18-8) Kelly Mensinger and Doug Markott

tied with us: (17-9) Kosh Fort, Seth Lazansky, Jeff Esping, Colin Kiener, Joel Miller, and Thomas Benson III

one spot away: (16-10) Eric Hickerson, Jennifer Lancaster, Sarah Pedro, Nella Mitchell, Trey Hodges, Ashley Kelly, Melanie Tarpley, and Buddy Brantly

I did not gain any real ground yesterday, but I did manage to remain off the bottom rung. Five of you are keeping me company. We can keep each other warm as we dwell in the cellar.

Have a great weekend and enjoy some football!

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #3: Almost A Perfect Day

imagesAlmost. I was just this close to 4-0. You can’t do that often and have as poor a record as mine. If only Arizona had…Wait. Enough of that! Let’s get into today’s game summaries!

First on the schedule was Florida State and Southern Mississippi. If you weren’t paying attention all season, you might have missed the fact that FSU was a .500 team this year and a loss to SoMiss would give them their first losing season since 1976! You might have thought this was a no-brainer that didn’t need any digging around for stats to help you make your pick. If you did pay attention to FSU’s downward slide, you may have been a lot more cautious in making your choice. At the end of the day almost 80% of us sided with the Noles. QB James Blackman threw for 4 touchdowns and he and his teammates proved to be much more talented than their foes. With Jimbo Fisher gone as head coach, I hope the Noles can return to some resemblance of their former selves. Make Bobby B. proud!

If you asked me if I thought a team could win a bowl game with only 200 yards of total offense, I would have said “no”. Especially if the other team was going to approach 400. Add the fact that the lesser team had lost it’s last 4 straight bowl games and my answer would have been even more emphatic…unless that team was Iowa. The same team that gave Ohio State a black eye back in November with a lot of trickery and some stellar defense. Yeah, they could probably pull it off. And, so they did. Running back Akrum Wadley had a homecoming, of sorts, growing up just 20 miles from last night’s frozen Yankee Stadium turf. His final game showcased all his talent as he ran for 88 yards, caught passes for 24 yards, and returned kicks for 171! His returns on special teams were almost equal to what the rest of the team did on offense combined! Add them all together and he 283 yards on the day. Boston College’s 3 turnovers were likely the difference in the game, as the final interception sealed the game and prevented the game tying drive. The temperature in this game, with wind chill, was 12…Fahrenheit!

Next up was Arizona vs Perdue. Oh, Arizona, you had it! You came back to take the lead from a 17 point deficit in the first half! Your star QB, Khalil Tate, threw his 5th touchdown pass of the night to take the lead with 3:21 to play! Why couldn’t you find one last stop, like all the ones you had previously in the second half? Why did you let Sindelar throw for 396 yards and complete a 38 yard pass to essentially win the game? I know the fake kneel down in the first half hurt your feelings, but it only gained them 3 points. Ugh, you messed up my perfect night. SMH.

To close out the night, we got to watch two former conference foes battle it out for some Big 12 vs SEC bragging rights. OK, so it was only Mizzou and Texas, but still! I have said it in the past, as a Baylor Bear, I loath the Longhorns and I hate to pick them, ever, but I just felt that Texas had a good change against the Deserters, I mean, the Tigers. I don’t suspect either team to be much better next season, so they might need to keep these game plans on the top of the drawer. Missouri had a strong run at the end of the season with an extremely potent offense and many thought they had a strong chance to stop the rising Longhorns. Living in SEC country, 60% of our pickers thought that would be the case. Unfortunately, sloppy play caused a safety, a failed 2-point conversion, three lost fumbles, and one interception and the Tigers just couldn’t get out of their own way. Play this one again, clean up the mistakes, and I bet you money Missouri wins.

As I have already brought to your attention, I faired much better than in the previous days. I still hold down the bottom spot here in the office and Sprinkles continues her crazy luck. Before we opened our competition for 2017, I asked the office gang if we should skip all the lesser bowls and maybe just do the ones post Christmas. I have not checked to see what my record would be if I had done so, but I am willing to bet it would be a whole lot better. I have lots of hope and confidence moving forward!

Sprinkles: 16-6, Stride: 13-9, Scoot: 11-11, Leo: 10-12, Trip: 9-13, and Rambo: 8-14

Our first place holder is still clinging to her spot and sharing it with no one. I won’t give away her winning secret, but it is obvious she has a keen instinct and lots of football savvy! There was some shuffling around after yesterday so some of you may see your name in a different spot. Let’s see how the first few places look.

1st place: (17-5) Kelly Mensinger

tied with us: (16-6) Nancy Brenneman and Doug Markott

one spot back: (15-7) Jeff Esping, Joel Miller, and Ashley Kelly

off by two: (14-8) Rose Kinard, Nella Mitchell, Colin Kiener, and Thomas Benson III

A few of you had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day yesterday and I am sorry for that. I know how ya feel! That being the case, I am no longer at the bottom of our entire group. Some of you kindly took my place, of which I am grateful. As I type, today’s games have begun and I am already back to my losing ways. I’ll check back in tomorrow and recap another round of games.

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #2: Can It Get Any Worse?

imagesIt’s a good thing my self-worth is not wrapped up in my bowl picks! My goodness, what an awful season I am having. I am glad I had Christmas activities keeping me busy and my mind off of football! Let’s take a look at the games over the holiday weekend.

The first game on Saturday had Texas Tech and South Florida meeting each other in the middle at the Birmingham Bowl. This game was super exciting for those of us offense-minded fans. After a tied first half, the Bulls and Red Raiders continued to trade punches. Like a good boxing match, the last few minutes showed a flurry of haymakers. In the last 4:30 we almost had four touchdowns! South Florida was able to stop the final attempt and hold on to win the Birmingham Bowl for the second year in a row. QB Quinton Flowers has now thrown back to back bowl game winning touchdown passes….in the same bowl. Hopefully he can get some love from the NFL scouts now that his college career is at an end.

In the next game Army used a 2-point conversion to take a 1 point lead over San Diego State and their superstar runny back, Rashaad Penny. Penny had 4 touchdowns and another incredible game, his 5th this season with over 200 yards. It is unbelievable to think that the Aztecs only ran 30 plays, had the ball for just shy of 14 minutes, and still scored 35 points. Ahmad Bradshaw, though, had 180 yards of his own for the Black Knights. It’s is also unbelievable to think a team can win a game going 1 for 4 in the passing game with a total of 6 yards trough the air. There were only 31 passing yards combined for the whole game!

The final game of the day was a total thrashing. For the second year in a row, Appalachian State beat Toledo in a bowl game. Last year was a 3 point difference. This year, a shutout. Over a team that averaged almost 40 points per game. Ouch. The Mountaineers’ defense was a huge factor in this one, allowing just 146 yards of offense for the Rockets and causing 4 turnovers. Toledo never got a chance to get something started.

Sunday played host to just one game. I know the bowl game stuff is a big deal for all these college players, but I wish they wouldn’t make them play on Christmas Eve, especially in Hawai’i. I guess if your family get to go, too, it’s not so bad. Almost everyone I know is either at a candlelight service or watching a traditional Christmas movie with family. Unless you’re an alum or a big fan of one of the teams, who’s watching?! Anyway, Fresno State won the game, finishing with double digits in the win column after having double digits in the loss column last year. Only two FBS teams have ever done that. The Bulldogs had 139 yards more offense than the Cougars and their kicker’s 12 points, 4 for 6 in field goals, was the major scoring difference.

Monday was Christmas Day, so thankfully no games. That brings us to yesterday’s games and catches us up on our competition. First up was Utah and West Virginia. With the win, Utah is now 11-1 in postseason games under their coach, Kyle Whittingham, who is now tied with Nick Saban for the most bowls wins by an active coach. Nice company. Of course, it must be said that WV was without it’s starting QB, out with a broken finger, and running back, who chose to sit out the game to protect his draft stock. Those factors always make it tough to predict who will win these bowl games. Nonetheless, Running back Zack Moss and QB Tyler Huntley had stellar games and pretty much did whatever they wanted to in this game. Both plan to return for their senior year, so look for Utah to continue their winning ways.

The middle game was a yawner, in my book. Duke had to beat Georgia Tech and Wake Forest just to get bowl eligible (6-6) and overcome a 6-game losing streak. NIU was relying on a redshirt freshman QB and running back to carry the load for them. All around, not much to see here. Duke had control of the ball game, other than a couple of possessions in the 2nd quarter when they let the Huskies score.

Last up was supposed to be the Josh Rosen show, as the UCLA Bruins took on the Kansas State Wildcats. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the potential #1 NFL draft pick play. After two concussions in November, the team doctors decided to rule him out for the bowl game. In the first half it didn’t appear to matter that Rosen was riding pine. UCLA looked dominant and took it to the lockers up 17-7 at the half. Whatever legendary coach Bill Snyder said to his team, somebody needs to bottle that and sell it. Kansas State came out in the second half and totally shut down the Bruins, outscoring them 28-0. From all the years of watching Coach Snyder and KState play my Baylor Bears, this game does not surprise me. If this is his last game at head coach, he certainly went out in style and exactly how the Wildcats have always played: determined and confident.

Sooooo, here we are. Before you look, it’s ugly for a lot of us. Me especially. I am at risk of not even finishing with double digit correct picks! I just want to hang my head in shame. I may have to revert to Sprinkles pick-the-best-mascot method. It certainly seems to be working this year.

Sprinkles: 13-5, Stride: 12-6, Scoot: 10-8, Leo and Trip: 7-11, and Rambo: 5-13

As for you pickers, here is how you shape up so far:

1st place: (14-4) Kelly Mensinger

tied with us: (13-5) Nancy Brenneman and Doug Markott

just a game behind: (12-6) Carolyn Hickerson, Rose Kinard, Kosh Fort, Nella Mitchell, Colin Kiener, Ashley Kelly, and Thomas Benson III

still in the chase: (11-7) Eric Hickerson, Abby Hickerson, Heather Godfrey, Zachary Godfrey, Sarah Pedro, Jeff Esping, Heidi Berggren, David Maggiore, Joel Miller, Buddy Brantly, and Heath Bell.

Just to be clear, I AM IN LAST PLACE OVER ALL! None of you have just 5 wins. Several of you fell pretty hard the last few days, but nothing like the streak I am in.

Today has four games. Hopefully my luck will change. We will see!

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2017 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #1: Can I Get A Do-over?!

imagesHello camp family and friends! I can’t believe we are once again enjoying the holidays and the football postseason. Well, at least some of us are! I have gotten off to a pitiful start and the losses just keep rolling in for me. Needless to say, my gut instinct has let me down this year. I won’t give up hope, but it will be difficult to come back from such a pathetic start. Oh, well, it’s still fun to watch a lot of football! Let’s get into some recaps.

Once again Grambling had the privilege of starting of the bowl season. Unfortunately they didn’t come away with the same result as 2016. Both quarterbacks had decent games. NC A&T QB Lamar Raynard overcame two interceptions and snuck it in for the tie-breaking touchdown with just 38 seconds on the clock. It was a tough defensive game and the Aggies had just enough to come out on top.

Temple stepped up the defense, just like they did against LSU, pulling away in the second half against North Texas. Brandon Silvers had an excellent game, throwing for 4 touchdowns while his defense kept the pressure on the opposing offense. They let the game get close, but never really lost control of this one. So far the majority in both games picked correctly.

Next up was Georgia State taking on Western Kentucky. The minority pickers were finally rewarded for taking a risk. In just the eighth year of the program the Panthers took home a bowl victory (they lost their first bowl appearance in 2015). 5 Panthers totaled 6 sacks and kept the Hilltoppers’ QB Mike White under pressure most of the game. Without a consistent running game, Western Kentucky was unable to get into the rhythm they wanted to play with.

Fourth up was another opportunity for the minority gamblers and they were rewarded for picking Broncos. This game had several long yard plays for both teams, which made for a lot of exciting action. Boise gave up two turnovers returned for touchdowns at the end of the first half, but restored their composure to win a game that only looked close on the scoreboard. Oregon was coached by their newly promoted head coach and it was a very lack luster start to his career at the helm.

Continuing the trend, Marshall reward the few. Three big plays gave them enough points to hold off the charging Rams. Under Mike Bobo the Rams have reached three straight bowl games, but they have yet to win one. With a contract extension in his pocket, hopefully Colorado State can fix this next year. Marshall is losing 13 seniors, but they don’t appear to be losing any steam.

The last game for Saturday was an emotional reward for Middle Tennessee. They were able to survive an injury riddled season to make it to the post season and take home a bowl win. Arkansas State never gave up. They fought hard and has a chance to win it in their last possession. A strip sack in the final minute prevented their comeback from happening.

FAU and Akron was possibly the most lopsidedly picked game for our little competition. It may prove to be the most lopsidedly decided game of the postseason. Lane Kiffin’s Owl embarrassed the Akron Zips, who never even had a chance. Can Kiffin continue his success with a win at Oklahoma to start next season?

Louisiana Tech did their best FAU imitation in their destruction of SMU. Six turnovers, two of which were pick-sixes didn’t help SMU’s cause any. They looked completely outmatched the whole game. The defense and offense for the Bulldogs was an incredible mismatch for the Mustangs.

Temple took on a tough FIU team in the next game. Unfortunately, FIU could not show how tough they could be. Starting QB Alex McGough left the game early with a broken collarbone and the Panthers never got their rhythm back. Temple didn’t have the same quality of season as they did in 2016, but they certainly proved they still their winning ways. A strong defense and running game should continue to put wins on the calendar for these Owls.

How the Bahamas became a location for a bowl is certainly curious. I guess somebody thinks football is better played in the heat. Even though the Ohio Bobcats are used to playing in cooler temperatures, they seemed right at home in the tropics. UAB football has a rough history the last few years and it would have been a storybook win for a school that cut football just a few seasons ago. Unfortunately they were no match for Ohio.

Our last game so far was played today between some cowboys and Indians. On paper I thought the Chippewas had a good chance to come out on top of the Cowboys. Unfortunately, I should have sided with history. Wyoming’s QB Josh Allen didn’t need to do much because his defensive teammates were so dominant. Eight turnovers should make it easy for your offense. At the end of the day, the potential top 10 draft pick declared his intensions to skip his senior season and take his powerful arm to the NFL.

So, now that our recaps bring us up to speed, here is how we stand. It wasn’t pretty for me and I don’t think my picks are going to recover enough to make me a competitor this year. Nonetheless, we have a few staffers trying to hold up our end of the fight. With two new pickers, we will likely have a new staff champion.

Sprinkles, Stride, and Scoot: 7-4, Leo and Rambo: 4-7, and

Trip: 3-8

These first few games have been tough on a lot of you, too. There are not many folks ahead of our picks, but there is a lot of football to be played and things tend to change a lot over the course of the bowl season. I hope we continue to see good football and have fun watching these results change over the next few weeks.

1st place: (9-2) Doug Markott 

2nd place: (8-3) Justin George, Emma Hickerson, Carolyn Hickerson, Rose Kinard, Kelly Mensinger, and Nella Mitchell

tied with us: (7-4) Nancy Brenneman, Brett Lazansky, Abby Hickerson, Jennifer Lancaster, Sarah Kate Lancaster, Zachary Godfrey, Colin Kiener, Trey Hodges, Dill, Joel Miller, Ashley Kelly, Kelly Buell, and Thomas Benson III

Traditionally I like to poke a little fun at the bottom dwellers. Since I am one of them, I can sympathize with you and will spare naming names, for now. I will say that Trip and I don’t have the worst record, but almost!

More to come soon. Have a wonderful Christmas weekend!

 

Posted in Contests, Ramblings from The Rock, Rambo's Reflections | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Calculated, Strong Rock Camp 2016

Thank you for visiting our session videos page. The links below will take you to some of the wonderful memories we made in 2016. You can see some of the wild and fun things we did, the creative things we shared in and made, the relationships that we built, and hopefully get a feel for what we learned while we were together.

Mini Camp A 2016                Mini Camp B 2016

Main Camp 1 2016                Main Camp 2 2016

Main Camp 3 2016

Our theme for 2016 was “Calculated”. Luke 14:28 says “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” Lifelines were themed around making decisions and what path they can lead us down. Whether it is deciding to jump off a diving board, how to spend your birthday money, or being calculated in choosing friends, each decision has consequences, whether good or bad. Counselors encouraged campers to think about the choices they make and what should go into making these decisions.  Rambo, our camp director, said it like this “Life is absolutely full of decisions we have to make and the consequences of some of those decisions can have a huge impact on the path we take. We should do our best to weigh out the consequences of our choices so we can make the best one to get us to our goals. Our future jobs, friendships, spouses, and a whole host of important things are hanging in the balance of the decisions we make. It is important that we do some outcome estimation ahead of our choices.” God has given us some incredible guidelines and boundaries to help us make decisions the way he wants us to make them. As our creator, he has a desired outcome for our lives and he certainly wants to help us discover what that is. Making the choice to follow him and let him guide our decisions is the best way we can experience all he has for us.

 

We hope you enjoy your time watching 2016’s videos.

Posted in Ramblings from The Rock | Leave a comment

Calculated Mini Camp A

We are always excited for what a session of camp has in store for each camper that joins us. It is hard to capture the entire experience, but our end of session videos are a great way to spark the memories and relive a little bit of what each session was like. We hope you enjoy watching your session’s video and everything that comes back to your mind as you do so. Feel free to share this page with your friends and let them see a little bit of why camp is so special. We hope to see you again soon and maybe have the chance to meet you friends, too!

 

Posted in Ramblings from The Rock | Leave a comment

Calculated Mini Camp B

We are always excited for what a session of camp has in store for each camper that joins us. It is hard to capture the entire experience, but our end of session videos are a great way to spark the memories and relive a little bit of what each session was like. We hope you enjoy watching your session’s video and everything that comes back to your mind as you do so. Feel free to share this page with your friends and let them see a little bit of why camp is so special. We hope to see you again soon and maybe have the chance to meet you friends, too!

 

Posted in Ramblings from The Rock | Leave a comment