Shank's first column in five days treats us to a conversation with USC football coach Pete Carroll
, formerly of the New England Patriots, and a semi-preview of tonight's bowl game between USC (-7 or -7.5, depending on your local bookie) and Boston College.
He is the man who bridged the gap between the Tuna and the Hoodie. He is the first head coach hired by Bob Kraft, forever known around New England as Mr. Pumped-and-Jacked, and tonight he’ll be coaching USC against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl.
Pete Carroll still follows the Patriots and says he has fond memories of his three seasons as their head coach.
Overall impression of the article: Not great, not terrible = Meh, until I got to this part:
Ask him about Boston College and he sounds like Belichick artificially inflating the upcoming tomato can.
The use of the phrase 'tomato can' to describe a mere touchdown underdog doesn't quite work, in my opinion. 'Tomato can' implies an easy win against a pushover opponent. Because I only track NFL games like this, I can't provide a true apples-to-apples comparison to recent college football games, so let's review what Shank may have called last week's 'tomato can' games, in order of tomato can goodness (home team in CAPS):
1) DEN -14 vs. Oak = OAK upsets Denver, 20-19.
2) AZ -12 vs. Det = AZ wins 31-24 and takes the final lead with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
3) BAL -11 vs. Chi = BAL wins easily, 31-7.
4) HOU -10.5 vs. Stl = HOU wins 16-13, takes the final lead with 4:36 remaining.
5) Min -9 at CAR = CAR upsets Minnesota 26-7, breaking out the can of whupass on Brett and the boys.
6) PHI -8.5 vs. Sf = PHI wins 27-13.
7) NO -7 vs. Dal = DAL upsets an undefeated team, 24-17.
8) Ne -7 at BUF = NE wins, 17-10.
Taken together, we have 8 'tomato can' games that resulted in three upsets (OAK, CAR and DAL), two that were competitive (AZ / DET and HOU / STL), one 'meh' game (NE) and two 'tomato can' wins (BAL and PHI). If Shank's going to continue the use of that phrase, he may wish to consider changing the parameters to larger point spreads.
Honorable mention: SD -6.5 vs. Cin. was won by San Diego, 27-24 on a last-minute field goal, and SEA -6.5 vs. Tb was won by Tampa Bay, 24 - 7.