2021-01-13 10:22

And that's the end of the season.
Still, I did not really warm with it overall.
It did not help that the conferences did start on different timeslots, with different schedule and it did also not help that the virus protocol did lead to many games being canceled.
Comparison of strength was always a problem for the 125 teams playing, but with so many games canceled, interconference games almost not existing and sometimes only a handful of games played by a team, how do you determine a true champion, if that is really necessary in time like this?
Well, the NCAA did try it with the FBS the best way possible, I guess under such conditions.
For you info, the FCS, the level of strength below the FBS, did move all season (on current status of planning) to April/May for postseason and I actually n don’t know when or how many teams will actually start the regular season on that level.

Saturday, January 2
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
#23 NC State vs Kentucky

A very strange game, at least for me.
NC State did more or less not show up for 1st half, did throw an INT, missed a FG and did only trail 0-13 at the half.
Lucky them, I guess.
Then NC State got some energy for the 2nd half and scored (after missing another FG on the 1st drive of 2nd half).
Then it went back and forth on field positions, until NC State throw another INT.
But they held Kentucky to a FG and scored after that a TD. 14-16 now.
Then they stopped Kentucky, got the ball back and ... did throw another INT.
Kentucky scored, the Wolfpack scored and Kentucky recovered the onside-kick, finished.
The Wildcats won 23-21 by play good and error free, while NC State did ALMOST win this, but committed 1 error too much.
Jacks BOWL Score: 15-7

Saturday, January 2
Outback Bowl
Ole Miss vs #11 Indiana

Indiana did commit less errors than NC State, but they lost also.
That we-are-better-than-you-think-attitude by Indiana didn't have a big effect on Ole Miss and they did control the ball most of the game, leading 20-6.
Indiana score their 1st TD, the Rebels miss a FG and the Hoosiers did score again and suddenly we had a tied game at 20.
But, somehow, did Ole Miss find their confidence back, marched over the field and scored for the final score of 26-20.
Indiana had over 4 minutes left to play, but their drive did stuck at Ole Miss 40 yard line on 4th and long.
Lane Kiffin got as reward on his 1st season as HC a prolongation already.
Jacks BOWL Score: 16-7

Saturday, January 2
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
#25 Oregon vs #10 Iowa State

I was a bit surprised that Matt Campbell, HC of Iowa State, did not get a Job by some other, bigger school, after his results at Iowa State.
I mean he did get not a losing team, he got one of the worst teams.
This season he won almost the Big12 and did also win the Bowl against the PAC12 Champ Oregon 34-17.
But he is still Cyclones coach.
In the Bowl he did coach excellent, his team did lead early and basically never looked back.
Oregon came close when they tied the score in the 2nd quarter at 14, but Iowa State did score, made an ONSIDE KICK without a need, recovered the ball, and scored again.
Oregon score a FG before the half and then committed so many errors in the 2nd half that they were held scoreless.
Great game by Iowa State.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-7

Saturday, January 2
Capital One Orange Bowl
#5 Texas A&M vs #13 North Carolina

This was strange also, but in a different way.
North Carolina did play on the same level as A&M, trailed at the half 13-17, led in the 3rd 20-17 and then, for whatever reason, North Carolina did fall apart.
The Aggies tied the game, UNC scored and the Aggies did also score, but something had changed and it showed later, when UNC was unable to stop Texas A&M, but were unable to score on their own.
At the end they lost 41-27.
It sounds more than it was, but for s strange reason UNC did not play well in the 4th quarter and led Texas get the game.
Jacks BOWL Score: 18-7

Monday, January 11
CFP National Championship pres. by AT&T
#3 Ohio State vs #1 Alabama

For the first 20 minutes or so this game did look quite even, but then did Alabama shifted into the next drive and went up, up and away.
At that time did Alabama lead 21-17.
Both teams had scored TDs, were able to move the ball, Alabama had a turnover and just at that moment held Ohio State to a field goal, got the ball back and scored a TD.
Bang, 28-17.
No reason to fear, right? Both teams did move the ball before.
But Alabama force a punt after 5 plays, needed 3 plays to score a TD again and held Ohio State again away from scoring range.
Bang. 35-17 at the half.
Tough, against the #1 team in the country to come back, right?
Well, Ohio State did try, for maybe 1 drive, but then the juice was gone and it was all Alabama, who did cruise this one home with a final score of 52-24.
Nick Saban has now won 7 National Championship, more than anyone ever since the Polls were used (somewhere around 1936).
That's quite an accomplishment.
To be fair, no team in the past since let's say 20 years, had the chances Saban had.
In poll era the championship is given by the major polls, no playoffs except the past few seasons, no BCS. Just opinions.
Saban (and of cause all other coaches in the past 20 years) had the chance the give at least 1 last statement by the team, playing #1 vs #2 or playoffs between the best 4 teams.
If you win this, you are Champ. Before that there was opinion 1 vs opinion 2 and it was tough to get enough votes on your team to be #1 at the end of the season.
So what coaches like Bear Bryant had done was to field a very convincing team, many times over the whole season and then have enough votes to become champs.
If they would have given +1 game against #2, maybe some coaches would have a lot more championships under their belts, or much less.
Regardless, Saban can be proud of his titles with 2 teams.
Jacks BOWL Score: 19-7

Small notes of news here.
The famous Heisman Trophy was won by Alabamas WR DeVonta Smith, who was one of the cornerstones of Alabamas excellent offense and who had a major impact, also in the final, scoring 3 TDs.
Pre-season favorite Travor Lawrence, QB of Clemson, did finish 2nd.

Then some HC positions were filled and opened.
Biggest change came from Texas, who did Tom Herman go after 4 seasons, even after he did win the Bowl and might have moved the team further into a positive direction.
Likely his results over the 4 seasons were behind the expectations, especially regarding Big12 Championship competition and in the rival games against Oklahoma.
Texas did assign the team to Alabamas OC Steve Sarkisian, former HC of USC and Washington, who did crash his HC career temporally with his Alcohol addiction and based on that very strange behavior.
It seems he did sort things out under various coaches (he was also in the NFL for some time) and got the gig at Texas after this great Alabama season for which he was awarded as best assistant national.

Boise State has filled the position opened by Harsins departure with Andy Avalos, a former Broncos Linebacker, who has been the Oregon Ducks DC for the past 2 years.
It's Avalos 1st HC gig.

The HC of Marshall was let go by not renewing his contract. Marshall is looking into their options for new HC, the position is right now not filled.

So, that's it for the Block of Granite Blog for this season.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully, see you in August for the next season.

'Til next time

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2021-01-08 12:45

Location: Deventer Devils Press Room
Date: 3rdh January 2021
Time: 09:00

Person: Billy Groeneveld & Ronald Vennegoor & Itso Muriki
Title: Head Communications & Owner & Head Coach

Press Conference where new Head Coach is announced

Groeneveld: Welcome all to this press conference. Uhm, I will first read this press announcement after which you will get to opportunity to ask questions to Ronald and our new Head Coach. Here we go…

“We are extremely excited to be announcing the new Head Coach of the Deventer Devils today, Itso Muriki. We really think we have a steal here. He is from the tiny island country of Comoros in the Indian Ocean. With a population of less than a million and just of the coast of Africa, this country is not known for it’s american football accumen. However via his business contacts, Ronald heard about this amazing coach who was meditating on american football tactics whilst sitting in a wooden hut in the jungle.

Always looking out for talent in unlikely places, Ronald was intrigued by this coach. He recently went to visit him on Comoros. After talking to Itso for two days and nights about football without sleeping he was so impressed that he flew in someone from the league to have Itso take the Standardised Coaching Test (SCT). As you know this gives a good objective scoring system to assess how good a coach is. Itso scored a whopping 92 which is almost a perfect score. Ronald was so impressed that he offered Itso a job on the spot. He was very impressed with his football knowledge but more importantly, he really believes, that being from outside Europe, Itso can instill a culture in the Devils that matches Ronald’s values and ambitions.

Of course Itso has little experience actually coaching a team and he is prone to inconsistent play calling but we are building for the future here and we believe Itso can grow with us to become the powerhouse that Ronald knows we will become.”

OK, so having read that, I am now opening the floor for questions…uhm…yes, you there on the first row.

Bart Kampman: Hi, Bart Kampman from the Deventer Chronicler. I saw coach Muriki arrive today and it is fair to say that he quite the staff with him. I saw many guys in robes accompanying him and also some ladies in white cloaks. Can you comment on that please.

Vennegoor: I’ll take this one. These are not paid personell as Itso has advised me that these are volunteers who are working for him. The dress in indeed different from ours but please have a bit of an open mind. We don’t all have to wear a suit to be accepted here. The Devils are a meritocracy. If you can do your job well, you deserve to be here no matter what you look like.

Bart Kampman: Fair enough. But what do you have to say of the dark smoke and loud songs that have been eminating from the Devils’ facilities. Also, we have seen that the club shop has been filled with hellspawn paraphernalia. Surely this cannot be related to american football?

Itso Muriki: Allow me answer these question. Your question testifies of a closed mind. You western people see all of life as one dimensional. American football is more than physical actitivities and tactics. There is much that cannot be seen. But something that is unseen can be present.

You see, American Football is violence. Violence is a dark force. Therefore American Football is a dark force. An unseen force, yes, but present nonetheless. Ask any player and instinctively they will recognise what I am talking about.

Through my meditations I have found ways to manipulate and channel this dark force, it can strengthened with certain rituals and practices. It can improve players and how they function as a unit. Ronald has recognised the potential of my ways. He is a great and wise leader.

Ronald Vennegoor is visually getting excited when hearing this comment

Billy Groeneveld: OK, that is enough for now. You over there with your hand raised

Yannik Veldhoven: Hello, Yannik Veldhoven, RZA Mag. Very interesting stuff. I am sure you will have an impact on the league. How remains to be seen. However, Mr Vennegoor, who will be doing the play calling from now on. Is that Coach Muriki’s job?

Ronald Vennegoor: Yes correct. Since I’ve done the play calling we have won 13 games out of 27. Quite the achievement with our roster you must admit. However Itso will get full control of the first team bar recruitment. The home game on 9th on Jan against Budapest Wolves will be his first game in charge.

Yannik Veldhoven: I saw that you finally have played first round draft pick QB Albert Jacobs in some games against non-competitive teams (editor: BOTs). He has had a passer rating there of 145.34! When will he play in competitive games? What is holding you back?

Itso Muriki: Again, allow me to answer this question. I am currently holding séances with all the players to assess how strongly developed their dark energy is. Once I’ve concluded this I will reshuffle the Depth Chart accordingly. If QB Jacobs has high levels of dark energy he will surely be in the line up. It is too early though to make any statements on this. I expect…

Billy Groeneveld visually is starting to look uncomfortable when hearing the last part of Itso’s answer.Ronald Vennegoor is nodding eagerly along though throughout the answer from Itso

Billy Groeneveld …well uhm I think that is about enough for today. Coach Muriki has a busy schedule today. Thanks all for attending.

Editor Note: with big thanks to Rufio13 for providing inspiration for this blog post. His report on the Deventer Devils can be can be read by clicking below link and it's well worth read as well as all the other writing he does in the Elite forum:
Rufio13's report on Deventer Devils at the end of this editon of the Blowing Smoke publication

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