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Quick Content Update:

Two of our favorite features from baseball season will live on this season, though I still have no plans to re-start this site any time soon.

Voodoo Sabermetrics will now run on the far superior baseball site Babes Love Baseball.

Smells Like Pujols will be rejiggered a bit to determine the potential of minor league prospects to make the bigs, and run on my more focused sister site Bus League Baseball.

Huzzah!

High Ate Us

mash_goodbye.jpg

I’m starting to feel stupid about updating once a week if even that, so I’m going to make it official – the Extrapolater is going on hiatus for a while. I’m currently writing 2-3 posts a day at Storming the Floor, and trying to keep my freelancing going, and I don’t really have any creative juice left for general sports monkeyshines in this space.

I appreciate those of you who visited here often, and I won’t flatter myself by apologizing for shutting things down – there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and if you miss my particular style, I’ve simply chosen to focus it on college basketball – my favorite sport.

I’ve really enjoyed some of the debates we’ve had here, and the hilarity involved in bringing other great writers into the fold from time to time. Some of that may still go on, but it’s obviously not going to happen until early April at this point. It makes me a little sad, but like a waning romantic relationship, it hurts less to put the kibosh on it now than to zombie-walk through another few months.

Thanks again, and don’t forget to visit Storming the Floor, where Marco (who shut down Just Call Me Juice for the same reason) and I are examining the orange sphere with everything we have.

mcandersonsharp.jpgLast week, I previewed the Orange Bowl by comparing passing stats for the Kansas Jayhawks and the Virginia Tech Hokies. I am doing this to occupy my mind in the lengthy interval between the last game of Kansas’ season and the bowl. And also, hopefully, to give myself some evidence of equality, if not superiority, on Kansas’ part, to keep me from worrying too much.

So today, we check out the running game for each team:

Kansas

The Jayhawks were good for 2,359 yards on the ground this year, with 29 TDs. The vast bulk of those scores came from two men – Big Brandon McAnderson put in 1,050 and 16, and speedy Jake Sharp got another 788 and 7. Reesing can run, but nobody’s going to need to put a spy on him. It’s all in the rhythm of Thunder and Lightning for Kansas.

Virginia Tech

brandon-ore.jpgSophomore Branden Ore went for 876 yards and 8 TDs, almost exactly half of what he managed as a Freshman. His only 100+ yard game came against in-state rival Virginia. QB Tyrod Taylor got his Vick on (sans dogs) and managed 431 yards with 6 TDs, but he’s not on the field for every offensive snap. VTech’s overall numbers on the ground were underwhelming: 1,736 yards, 21 TDs.

Again, this is a surprise to me. Tech averaged nearly 33 points per game, so who’s doing all of that scoring? I’m guessing the defensive comparison will be an eye-opener.

Advantage, Kansas.

I’m going to simmer down the haters right quick by saying that I think Missouri got hosed. They proved they were a better team than Kansas a week and a half ago, and a second loss to Oklahoma doesn’t change that.

That said, I am also irrationally afraid that Kansas is going to get pantsed on national TV on New Year’s Day. If there’s one thing Kansas and Missouri fans can share this year, it’s that secret feeling of impending doom. In the backs of our minds, we know we got too good, too fast. Or too lucky, too fast. Whatever. For Kansas, there was no 8-4 or 9-3 harbinger. It was 6-6 with no bowl invite last season, and then 11-1 and the BCS a season later. It rings suspicious, it does…

So, rather than acting like a Cubs fan and claiming despair based on past experience, I’m going to try to use the statistics to bolster my sense of impending pantslessness.

We’ll start with…

glennon.jpg reesingmizzou.jpg tyrod.jpg

(The Orange Bowl sandwich: white bread between two slices of turkey)

Quarterbacks

The Hokies have been a two-headed monster this year, using both Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor. Glennon had 59% of the snaps and threw for 63% of the yards, including 11 of the 16 TDs through the air. Taylor has been decent with fewer snaps, but is clearly the more athletic option, running for 431 yards on the season and scoring more TDs on the ground than through the sky.

Team Totals: 58.9% completions, 2,585 yards, 16 TDs, 7 INTs

Kansas, on the other hand, is a one-man show. Spunky Todd Reesing has taken 93% of the snaps and hit for 32 TDs against 6 INTs. He has only 203 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, but his scrambling ability was on display at Colorado where he gashed the Buffs for 84 yards.

Team Totals: 64% completions, 3,534 yards, 35 TDs, 6 INTs

Hmm. The tale of the tape looks good for Kansas here. Of course, all of Reesing’s stats were aided by excellent offensive line play, which broke down a tad in the Missouri game. So the story becomes “if he has time, the kid can zip it”. Still, things are looking positive.

Next: Running Backs

I drove up to Philadelphia on Friday the 23rd to meet some blog-buddies and take in the Philly Classic basketball tournament.

Read my ode to the Palestra and the good times at Storming the Floor.

And now, back to my super-Turkey sandwich. One of many to come.

ku_fbc_mu_nk_10_t800.jpgI’m man enough to admit that my team got handed an ass-whoopin’ by a superior opponent. And really, we should probably thank the Tigers (if we didn’t hate them so darn much), since they spared us the embarassment of being exposed on an even bigger stage – the Big 12 title game.

I will say that I felt Kansas played a decent game. The Jayhawks proved that they are a great team, and that they have earned their success this season. But Missouri was just better.

The most obvious disparity was also the most crucial. The Tigers won the game on the line. You can talk about Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, and Tony Temple, but the Mizzou offensive line was alternately making walls and blowing holes for those excellent skill position players – without time to make moves, none of them would have been as effective.

Conversely, when Kansas had the ball, Todd Reesing did not have time to get comfortable, and Brandon McAnderson didn’t have anywhere to go after he pounded into the center of the black and gold defense. So there’s your game, right there.

So Missouri rightfully plays Oklahoma for a chance at BCS immortality next weekend in San Antonio. And Kansas waits to see where they slot into the bowl picture after an amazing one-loss season. It is instructive to note that prior to this, Mark Mangino had produced only one other winning season as a head coach – a meager 6-5 (3-5) two years ago that earned his team a trip to the Fort Worth bowl.

This postseason assignment should be…. significantly better, to say the least. As should Mangino’s next contract.

Another off-the-beaten-path choice for the feature this week.

Up front, I have to say – I love the Pixies. They were my favorite band in college, and they still hold up today. Black Francis is a guitar god, Kim Deal is his perfect alter-ego, and Joey Santiago and Dave Lovering are crucial to that fantastic mixture of genres that nobody has ever attempted aside from this band.

I added two clips here, to show the different ways that Kim Deal added the perfect touch to a tune:

Where is My Mind?

Without that high-pitched keening sound in the background, this is still a good song, but that backing vocal makes it impossible to ignore – the aggression is cut by that lost wail. Fan-damn-tastic song.

Gigantic

This one turns the tables, as Kim sings lead and BF adds his voice to the chorus. Not really a great moment in backup singing, I guess, but Kim sure was cute in it, eh?

There are so many examples of interesting backing vocals in Pixies tunes. Build yer own.

Happy Thanksgiving. I don’t know how to carve a turkey properly, so “Gouge Away” is sort of my theme song on the 22nd.