Friday, September 28, 2007

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and almost all predictions wrong.

  • Notre Dame at Purdue (ESPN): Notre Dame reaches for a season of epic proportions! Epically terrible proportions, that is. Sitting pretty at 4-0 is Purdue, which has failed to score less than 45 points a game this year, though to be fair 3 of those teams were MAC schools. Nonetheless, unless the Irish offense has a serious jolt to the heart this weekend, look for the Boilermakers to prevail.
  • Louisiana State at Tulane (ESPN2): While I am not generally a fan of the transitive property of college football, I would like to note that both of these teams have played Mississippi State. LSU shut them out. Tulane allowed them to score 38 points. I'll predict something similar to occur, and that there will be at least 4 times more LSU fans in the Superdome than Tulane fans.
  • North Carolina at Virginia Tech (Raycom/Gameplan): While UNC has the better quarterback here, VPI has the better everything else.
12:30: Mississippi State at South Carolina (LF/Gameplan): Since Miss State has their SEC win for the year (pending playing Ole Miss), I'm going to go out in a limb here and say they're probably going to lose this game.

1:30: Oklahoma at Colorado (FSN): You know, this started off so strongly. Well, at least I thought it did. But I'm running out of witty things to say. I even took out the really low-tier games (other than the ACC and SEC Lincoln Financial Sports Games of the Week) to try to thin it out. Now this becoming all self-referential like the Castle Anthrax scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Therefore, let's "GET ON WITH IT!". Oh, and OU wins.

  • California at Oregon (ABC/Gameplan): Now it's time for the ABC SCHEDULING BLOCK OF DOOM! That's right kids, ABC picked up five games this weekend for reasons unknown. I guess they had a really hard deciding and just said, "ah screw it, let's just take them all!" If you're scratching your head trying to figure out what's going to be on in your area, here's a map. (Warning! PDF!) Now, to the game! This is actually a pretty important game that will go a long way towards determining who will challenge for the Pac-10 title (though since they play a round-robing schedule, USC will have to play both anyway). These are both pretty good teams, though in terms of OOC scheduling Tennessee is, of course, significantly better than Michigan. I'm not really sure who I like here. I would normally say Cal, but it's in Eugene so I really think this could go either way. Just for the sake of saying someone will win (and I don't really keep track of these anyway) let's go with Cal.
  • Kansas State at Texas (ABC/Gameplan): Since their opening game loss to Auburn, Kansas State has beaten San Jose State and DI-AA Missouri State. Texas got themselves back up on their feet after they nearly lost to UCF by beating Rice like it's the SWC all over again. Add in the "at Texas" part and the Longhorns will make everyone in Kansas wish the damn ABC stations will switch to one of the four other games available.
  • Maryland at Rutgers (ABC/Gameplan): People in ACC circles keep saying Maryland is still in the race for the Atlantic division crown. I say "what are you talking about, their only two victories this year are over Florida International and DI-AA Villanova and they lost to Wake Forest last weekend." (Strangely, you could make the same argument about Georgia Tech. Or perhaps not so strangely.) Rutgers is 3-0, but they may as well be 0-0 thanks to a less than convincing schedule (Buffalo, Navy, and D-IAA Norfolk State). It's tough to say who's better this year so far. Luckily, they'll play a game tomorrow and figure that part out for us. I'm going to pick Rutgers.
  • Clemson at Georgia Tech (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): The first thing I did when I got to this line was let out an audible sigh. I'll rehash the usual stat here: 9 of the last 11 of these games have been decided by 5 points or less. Unfortunately, those other two occurred during my freshman and senior years at Tech: the debacle after beating Auburn in 2003 (39-3) and last year's 31-7 buzzkill (no pun intended) coming off the high of winning in Blacksburg. Those other two were two of my favorite games as a student, though. 2004 was the damn luckiest series of events I think I've ever seen in a football game. The video starts on the 4th down play for Clemson. I have a full copy of the game on my computer, so allow me to recap what led up to that. (It's sort of like The Play, where it's a lot more interesting if you that John Elway led a, well, Elway-esque 80-something yard drive to put Stanford back in the lead before all the shenanigans occurred.)
    Clemson scores a touchdown to go extend their lead to 24-14 and Tech returns the kick-off from the 20 to about the 50 yard line. 3:11 is on the clock. Reggie tosses up about 3 balls that probably should have resulted in interceptions, but Tech perseveres. Tech gets a first and goal off a pass interference call, one of many Calvin would draw during his career. (This game was his coming-out party.) Tech is running out of clock as Calvin makes his catch on 3rd and goal with 1:50 to go. Tech botches the on-side kick and Clemson gets it on their own 32.5. On first down, Charlie Whitehurt bursts out of the back field and slides down field for a 9.5 yard gain. They measure, stopping the clock at 1:31. Chan calls Tech's last timeout. 2nd down features Charlie failing to gain the first down on the QB sneak. 3rd down features a hand-off a deep tailback who promptly fumbles. Clemson recovers and elects to punt on 4th down and takes the delay of game penalty. The announcers start to talk about that maybe Clemson should go for the safety here, and in retrospect many Clemson fans probably wish they did. With 23 seconds left, the Clemson long snapper snaps the ball 7 yards, which is about 8 yards short of where his punter is. The punter falls the on the ball at about the 10 yard line. Tech throws the fade to Calvin, which he catches (thus cementing the play as the backbone of the Georgia Tech goalline playbook for the next 3 years). Clemson makes it exciting by retuning the kick a pretty good ways and nearly getting the hail mary, but Tech wins 28-24.
    2005. The final score was 10-9, so on the surface that may not sound all that appealing. But it was. An exceedingly intense home game. Here's what I remember most about it. The boxscore for Clemson's last serious drive (they had a hail mary intercepted at the end) reads like this for their 4th and 8 play: "Charlie Whitehurst pass complete to Curtis Baham for 3 yards to the GaTch 36." Astute readers will note that is approximately 5 yards short of what they needed. And I remember exactly what happened. In the maybe 5-6 seconds that play took, I saw the whole thing in slow motion. I imagine this is the kind of thing people who coach and play football feel a lot, but as a random student in the stands that night I saw Charlie Whitehurst look desperately across the field for a receiver. Meanwhile, I saw Kenny Scott wait a few yards behind Baham, practically daring Whitehurst to throw it to his out man. (This is probably the only time I've been comfortable with the cushions we give on pass defense.) Out of options, Whitehurst throws the pass. Baham catches. Scott immediately tackles him. Game over for Clemson.
    Last year, unfortunately, the only thing that sucked more than Clemson's all-purple get up was us. At the half, it looked to be your typical Clemson-Tech game with Clemson up 7-0. Though Tech would put up a TD early in the 4th, the defense gave in with 58 seconds left in the 3rd as C.J. Spiller busted a 50 yard TD run. The only thing more surprising by the end was that it wasn't worse. The Clemson two-headed monster ran for 333 yards rushing while Tech had 88, with only 48 of them coming from Tashard Choice. More worryingly, Reggie appeared affected by the leg injury he suffered in the previous game against Maryland and had 12 attempts for 8 yards (though I imagine this includes sacks). Though the Jackets would end up winning 4 straight after this, this is the point in the season where we started to become a little worried about this team, worries that really began to manifest themselves in the 7-0 victory at UNC.
    While Clemson has feasted off a buffet of patsies since their opening title with FSU, Tech is reeling after two straight losses, one good (BC), and one absolutely terrible (Virginia). As I see it, the only things Tech has going for them here are: a) the expectations are off, at 0-2 in the ACC; b) Choice is supposed to be close to 100% after the hamstring injury suffered against BC; c) the game is not being played in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tech has to be absolutely mistake free (i.e., no muffed punts) and has to have luck on their side (i.e., no freak interceptions) that accounts for 2 of UVA's 4 touchdowns. It goes without saying we can't give up 333 yards rushing again. Unfortunately for us, Clemson's new QB also looks better so far than our new QB. Clemson's new QB, Cullen Harper leads the conference with a 181.99 QB rating and a 69.4% completion percentage. Taylor is next to last in the conference in both these categories. Injuries are also raving Tech. Although Choice is back, I don't know how close "close to 100%" is. Tech's #1 receiver has been injured all year (and missed the 2nd half against Virginia) but is expected to play. Correy Earls, who suffered a neck injury last week, is not. We're so injured at tight end that former defensive end and Bob Jones alum David Brown will switch between #55 for his offensive tackle duties and #82 for when he lines up as (essentially) an extra tackle. (Look for on-air mentions of Madison, AL, folks! Though it'll probably never beat when Keith Jackson mentioned Max Martin's hometown during the 2004 Rose Bowl.) Anyway, I've rambled enough. We desperately need to win this game, not only for ACC standing but also for Tech's bruised pride. (Well, and also bragging rights.) Will the defense look motivated? Will they start tacking people? Will the gameplan be adjusted from last year's debacle? (Hint: having 8 people in the box is meaningless if 6 of them are on the line.) Will the new QB tear apart our clueless secondary? Will the offense figure out how to convert 3rd downs, stop dancing around the in the pocket, and generally just catch some passes? We all thought that Taylor would need to be a caretaker in this offense, but with Choice hurt we've needed him to win some games for us, and it hasn't happened. Will it? Tune in Saturday!
  • Michigan State at Wisconsin (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): Whew. Finally done typing out that last one. Anyway, once again I lament the fact that Michigan State is no longer coached by John L. Smith as they go into Madison. Both these teams are decent, but I like Wisconsin better.
5:00: Florida State vs. Alabama (at Jacksonville, FL; CBS): Sweet, an out-of-conference neutral site game in week four! That's not sarcasm, either. Unfortunately, I don't like either of these schools and wish they'd die in a fire (as the kids say). FSU has done little to convince me they're decent, though, so I'll begrudgingly take the Tide.

6:30: California-Los Angeles at Oregon State (FSN): Probably the 3rd most important Pac-10 game of the day. The transitive property will fail once again (UCLA lost to Utah who lost to Oregon State) as UCLA should probably win.

  • Southern California at Washington (ABC): Washington, after initial early promise, has now dropped games to UCLA and Ohio State. They make it interesting here, but USC heads back from Seattle with the win.
  • Auburn at Florida (ESPN): Florida almost lost to DaCoachO and Ole Miss last week while Auburn did lose to Miss State two weeks ago. (Wacky Season '07, baby!) Florida, but Florida also should've won at Auburn last year. Either way, hopefully it'll be just as entertaining.
  • Ohio State at Minnesota (ESPN2): Ohio State, going away.
That's it, folks! Also, I should note I've updated the bowl predictions section, conveniently located on the right sidebar there. Now updated with all my results from past years! Check it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Notice! Week 4

I don't feel like doing the board this week, so just a few quick hits about who sucked this weekend:

Nebraska - Beat Ball State by 1 point - woo!
Louisville - Lost to the (formerly) worst team in the Big East, Syracuse. You gotta play defense to win games.
Georgia Tech - UVA is not a good football team - should have won by 14, but instead lost due to 2 fluke plays. We appear to be on the way to another 7-5 season, but Gailey will be forced out if he loses to UGA again.
Texas A&M- Embarrassed by Miami on national TV. Makes the ACC look a little better.
Clemson - Oh crap. At least it's at home.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week Five

This week's gonna be a little different. Normally, I would tell you everything I noticed about Saturday's action and make stupid predictions for the upcoming weekend. Instead, I'm going to fill this space with even more stupid predictions: I'm going to pick the conference and division winners before most teams have even played three conference opponents. Here I go (in alphabetical order)!

ACC: In the Atlantic division, Clemson and Boston College look like the only contenders. Both teams beat NCState by essentially the same score, so it's hard to say who is better. BC has to travel to Clemson , so I'll pick the Tigers.

In the Coastal division, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami all look like possibilities. (GT has two conference losses already with one to UVA, so they are an unlikely candidate.) None of them look that good. Just to be crazy, I'll go with Virginia. The Atlantic division champion will win the conference anyway.

Big 12: The conference champion is pretty clear: Oklahoma will run the tables in the South and continue towards this year's installment of "BCS Conundrum".

Kansas hasn't played anyone of consequence yet, but they are the only team in the North to take care of business. I'm going with the Jayhawks here, although Nebraska will probably pull it off. (These predictions are getting more and more ridiculous.) The two face off on November 3.

Big East: Connecticut...ha, just kidding. West Virginia will win the conference unless they lose at South Florida this Friday (8 PM ET, ESPN2). They could slip at Rutgers or Cincinnati, but I doubt it. USF has had an early run of success, but I don't think it will last.

Big Ten: Dang. This looked reasonably easy until Michigan beat Penn State Saturday 14-9. That throws the whole Big Ten picture out of focus. I'm not sure how Wisconsin is still ranked in the top ten, because they look pitiful. Ohio State has looked a little better, and Michigan State has squeaked by mediocre opponents.

Michigan already beat Penn State, so they look like a safe pick. They should be able to coast until November 3, when they go to East Lansing. Then they host Wisconsin (11/10) and travel to the Horseshoe of Buckeye Stadium (11/17). Lloyd Carr could yet save his job.

C-USA: Southern Mississippi or Central Florida could win the East, while Houston or Tulsa could win the West. I bet Houston will win the whole shebang. Not that it means much.

MAC: Buffalo (Bowling Green) for the East, Central Michigan (Ball State) for the West. Central Michigan overall.

MWC: BYU (UNLV). I'm getting tired of evaluating these second-tier conferences.

Pac-10: I'm gonna go against what I know will happen and pick Oregon. They crushed Michigan and took care of their other opponents to date. You probably expected me to pick USC like the rest of the sports media (is it presumptious to place myself in that company?).

Before you pounce all over me like a bunch of things that pounce, take a look at the Trojans' schedule. They have to travel to Oregon (10/27), California (11/10), and Arizona State (11/22). They are basically unstoppable in the Coliseum, but they don't fare so well on the road. The Ducks travel to Washington, Arizona, and UCLA. I don't see any stumbling blocks among that bunch.

SEC: Despite LSU's offensive struggles against South Carolina, the West is still fairly clear. The Tiger defense will help Les Miles survive Florida (10/6), Kentucky (10/13), Auburn (10/20), Alabama (11/3), and Arkansas (11/23). (Of course, Auburn and Florida are the only teams that will pose a threat to the Tiger offense.)

In the East, Florida just tripped against Ole Miss. The Gators have to go to LSU (10/6), Kentucky (10/20), and Georgia (10/27) back-to-back-to-back. Then they get a week off (play Vanderbilt) before going to South Carolina (11/10). I guess Kentucky could be a dark horse; Woodson went crazy against Louisville and Arkansas, and the Wildcats have a favorable schedule. My guess is Florida will pull it together, though.

Regardless, LSU will win the conference on their way to their national championship embarrassment of USC (can you tell how much faith I have in my Oregon prediction?).

Sun Belt: Troy posted points against Florida and Arkansas and beat Oklahoma State. If they don't win this conference, something is wrong. Florida Atlantic is the only other team I could offer. Analyzing the Sun Belt feels like such a waste of time, because it is.

WAC: Hawaii is the clear leader here, but Boise State could pull another "Cinderella" season (a cliche that should not be used outside of March Madness, although I just did that). The rest of this conference is trash. I can't believe Hawaii gets a ranking out of this.

Well, this has been ridiculously long. See you guys next week!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Weekend in College Football: Week 4 (Scott Sisson Edition)

17 years ago this November....

That was the last time Georgia Tech won a game in Charlottesville, VA. That FG broke a 38-38 tie with then #1 Virginia and vaulted Georgia Tech up the polls. Since then, Tech has not had a lot of luck against Virginia, in or outside of Charlottesville. Tech is 6-10 in the span from 1991 to 2006. Last year's Thursday night game ended a three game losing streak, and ended it with authority. Last year's starter is barely the starter this year and isn't doing terribly well. Anyway, enough of the jibber-jabber, let's get to the games:

  • North Carolina at South Florida (ESPN): The OOC embarrassment of the ACC continues as UNC loses to up-and-coming USF.
  • East Carolina at West Virginia (ESPN2): Despite the fact that Wednesday was Talk Like a Pirate Day, WVU rolls.
  • Georgia Tech at Virginia (ESPNU): Dear Raycom, thanks for not picking up this game and showing the next game instead. I would bet money there are more Game Plan subscribers than there are ESPNU subscribers (and I'm in the former group). Anyway, I don't like predicting our games. But we really need a pick-me-up after last week and we throughly embarrassed this same group last year. Well, they sort of embarrassed themselves. Nonetheless. We really need to win this game after last week, otherwise this season is lost. No pressure, though. And we need to get this damn Charlottesville monkey off our backs as well.
  • Clemson at North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): Let's see, NCSU is still terrible. Clemson is Clemson. I'll go with the occasionally purple-clad warriors here.
12:30: Florida at Mississippi (LF/Gameplan): I'm for any game that has the possibility of featuring the spoken word of the Orgeron. Also, Ole Miss lost at Vandy last week - UF rolls.

  • Army at Boston College (ESPN Classic): BC rolls.
  • Duke at Navy (CSTV): Despite all my wishes to the contrary, Duke won last weekend up in Evanston. Now they roll up to Annapolis, where Navy should be able to steam their triple option attack straight up the middle of Duke's ineffective blockade attempt of a defensive line. (Please don't hurt me.)
  • Michigan State at Notre Dame (NBC): See, the problem with John L. Smith being fired is that if he were still there this game would actually look pretty favorable for ND, since he's John L. Smith and all. Then again, I guess that's why they fired him. MSU goes to 4-0 and ND drops to 0-4.
  • South Carolina at Louisiana State (CBS): Slim pickings for the SEC this week if this is the CBS game. I think I'm one of 5-non UF or South Carolina fans that actually likes Spurrier, but if LSU is as legit as they appear this should be absolutely no problem for them.
  • Michigan at Penn State (ABC): Speaking of slim pickings... I can't conceive of a way Penn State loses here, but like GT going into the weekend they also have a significant monkey on their back. But PSU is good and it's in Happy Valley. I have to think they win.
  • Northwestern at Ohio State (ESPN): Uh...huh. NU, fresh off their loss to the (not-so) mighty Duke goes to Columbus. I'll take OSU here.
  • Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (FSN): Mike Leach (arrr!), fresh off thieving at least 45-points of their cupcakes opponents rolls into a team that claimed, pre-season, to have a superior offense. This supposedly superior offense then proceeded to produce 14, 42 (against FAU), and 23 points, the last in a rout against a team named the Trojans that is not located in Los Angeles. I've got a hunch TTU rolls here.
  • Maryland at Wake Forest (ESPNU): Maryland comes in fresh off their now-annual blowout loss against West Virginia. Meanwhile, Wake just picked up their first victory of the year against Army after close losses against Boston College and Nebraska. Neither of these teams has a victory over a significant opponent (UMD is 2-1 but the victories are over Villanova and FIU). This one is too close to call. My heart says Wake, but my head says UMD.
6:00: Kentucky at Arkansas (ESPN2): Fresh off their victory in the Intra-Kentucky Defense Optional Bowl win over Louisville, the boys from Lexington roll into Arkansas for a matchup that should probably see slightly less scoring. Let me also take this time to remind you that Houston Nutt is crazier than a sack of rabid weasels, as evidenced again last weekend. That said, Arkansas is still better than Kentucky. I hope.

7:00: Rice at Texas (FSN): So, uh, remember last year, when Rice had a good season and made a bowl? Yeah, it's not quite working out that way for them this year, with that 0-3 record and a loss to Nicholls State. Texas wins by at least 3 touchdowns.

7:45: Georgia at Alabama (ESPN): Ah, yes. This game. A game I dread. Whoever wins, we all lose. Since words cannot fully express the reasons why I dislike both these schools and everything they stand for, I'll just move directly into saying that I unfortunately think one of them will win. UGA has no wins to speak of and Bama beat Arkansas. Curiously, they both scheduled the same DI-AA patsy in Western Carolina - both won handily, but Alabama won, er, more handily. So I guess if someone is going to win, it'll probably be Alabama.

  • Washington State at Southern California (ABC): Wazzou has a loss to Wisconsin and wins over no one. Meanwhile, in Lincoln USC opened some holes. (That's 3 links to EDSBS now...) I'd say Wazzou doesn't have much of a chance.
  • Iowa at Wisconsin (Gameplan/ABC): Iowa lost to noted football powerhouse Iowa State last week. Oh, wait, Iowa State is completely terrible and has already lost to Kent State and Northern Iowa. So, uh, yeah, that's why the most of the country is getting a Pac-10 game instead. Badgers roll.
9:00: Purdue at Minnesota (ESPN2): What's up with all the Big Ten games this week? Did the Big Ten network go out of business already? (I know this didn't, but hey.) Purdue has feasted on MAC patsy, scoring 52 twice and 45 in their 3rd win. Meanwhile, UMN lost at Florida Atlantic last week and lost to Bowling Green. Purdue seems a pretty safe bet here.

10:15: Washington at UCLA (FSN): Going into last week, this had the makings of a pretty decent Pac-10 matchup. Washington losing to Ohio State is understandable. UCLA, however, pulled a "Georgia Tech at the 2005 Emerald Bowl" getting Ute-owned 44-6 last week. Whoops. Washington resumes their previously good season and hopefully takes the victory here.

Anyway, I realize this up early. I guess TAMU at Miami may be worth watching tomorrow night, but probably not. Anyway, I'm out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Notice! Week 3

Notre Dame - Holy crap this team is awful...I kind of wish they were at least decent so that GT's win over them looks like some kind of accomplishment, but I guess that isn't going to happen.
Northwestern - Lost to people might shut up about the ACC, but I doubt it.
University of Arkansas - Growing the legend of Saban by losing to 'Bama, not to mention wasting the efforts of Humanity Advanced, Darren McFadden.
UCLA - Got blown out by Utah, but don't confuse this Utah team with the Urban Meyer teams of a few years ago...this was just a decent MWC team, nothing more. Karl Dorrell will get fired if he doesn't beat USC again, and it will be traced back to this game.
Stupid GT Fans - A few gems of stupid from The Hive, the normally far too positive GT board:
The problem is the defense against passing; it always has been with Tenuta, and it will always be so. As long as Tenuta is the Defensive Coordinator, the teams with a good passer will tear us apart.

I knew the game was over when Boston College came out deep in their territory, junked the run, and decided to come out passing. They passed all the way to Tech's end-zone. I turned off the TV as I knew it was another loss because of Tenuta's ineptness against the pass.

We will lose to Clemson, UGA, and any team who has a good passer. This will never change at GT until Tenuta is replaced.

Any team that will throw the short pass to control the game and the long one occasionally to stretch our defense will beat us. When we are dominated in "time" by the opposing team by continuing to get first downs from the short passing game, we do not have the opportunity to get in a rhythm on offense. We feel pressured because we know the passing team will come right back on the field and control the game with the short passes.

I assure you, you can take it to the bank, it will "never" change at Tech until Gailey gets rid of the last obstacle to winning at Tech, and that obstacle is Tenuta.
Yeah - Chan should fire the man that's pretty much the only reason he still has a job. Without Tenuta's Top-15(ish) defenses, GT is probably a 4-8 team at best during the past 4 years. I'd also like to point out that no one else in the ACC has the QB or the OL to pull off the game plan BC used against Tech's D.

Auburn University - This is more to confirm Tito's feelings about his team than anything. That and they suck...the only game left for them is the Iron Bowl.

ESPNU - This is more at Comcast for not carrying it, but it upsets me that I'll have to get up early-ish and go to a bar to watch...

University of Virginia - ...this week's opponent. GT hasn't won @ UVA since 1990 when we upset them with a last second FG en route to our split MNC. This year would appear to be the end of that streak, since Jameel Sewell still sucks. Though he isn't as bad as he was in his first start against GT, he's still not nearly good enough to do anything resembling what BC did. Also, their WR have poor hands and their running game isn't anything special. I can't see GT losing this game, but being on the road might keep it close.

Week Four

Auburn lost again, this time to perennial SEC underdog Mississippi State. Sadly, this was not an upset, either. There was one bright side to the game: after two interceptions in his first two passes, Brandon Cox was sidelined in favor of Kodi Burns, a true freshman. Here are the players' stats from Saturday:
Cox, passing: 4/10 for 42 yards and 2 INTs
Cox, rushing: -2 yards on 2 attempts
Burns, passing: 8/12 for 65 yards and 1 INT
Burns, rushing: 87 yards on 22 attempts
Based on those numbers, which one do you think should be Auburn's starting quarterback? I don't think Burns is going to fix our problems by himself. I doubt he's ready for the pressure of high-profile games, either. I do know this: Cox's play should be regularly supplemented with Burns'.

Congratulations, Brandon Cox! You are no longer the undisputed starting quarterback!

In other news, USC trounced Nebraska 49-31. Somehow this victory was enough to preserve the Trojans' precious No. 1 ranking in both major polls. Meanwhile, LSU posted a measly 44 points on Middle Tennessee State, in addition to producing another shutout. Outscoring your opponents 137-7 in three games is somehow not good enough for a No. 1 ranking. Then there's Oklahoma. 184-26? Ridiculous. Of course, the Sooner schedule has been a little easier so far.Florida followed close behind with a 59-20 spanking of Tennessee in Gainesville. LSU at Florida on October 6 (8 PM ET, CBS) is probably going to be the best game of the season (until the rematch at the SEC Championship). I'd be surprised if either team loses its division, barring some kind of miracle in Tuscaloosa. Alabama did beat Arkansas and supposedly looked good doing it. I didn't watch the game after 'Bama went up 21-0, because I thought it might send me into a severe depression. An Auburn loss with 'Bammer and Trojan wins is more than my little heart can bear.

Tebow is so amazing that he can convince opposing teams to carry him into the end zone.

Finally, Michigan is not the worst team in the country. That honor goes to Notre Dame, who has opened 0-3 for the second time in school history. Both teams are poised to lose on national television this Saturday; the Irish host Michigan State (3:30 PM ET, NBC) and the Wolverines host Penn State (3:30 PM ET, ABC). The Nittany Lions have lost the last eight meetings. I know a few PSU fans, so I'm looking forward to the streak's end.

"It's not like it matters, anyway. We're both going to get fired."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

Week 3, ahoy! All times eastern, all games picked arbitrarily.

  • Pittsburgh @ Michigan St., ESPN - Why is this on here? Who knows! I'm not even sure who's going to win, so I'll guess MSU.
  • Central Michigan @ Purdue, ESPN2 - See above; Purdue.
  • Virginia @ North Carolina, LF/Gameplan - The "lolacc" bowl! Two throughly bad/mediocre teams face off in Chapel Hill. Virginia has beaten a 1A team this year, though it was Duke, so I'll give them a slight edge.
12:30: Mississippi State @ Auburn, LF/Gameplan -USF has sent the Auburn faithful's, well, faith into tailspin (just see below). However, while this game may not restore the faith, per se, it will sure help. Auburn rolls.

1:30: Iowa @ Iowa State, Versus - Included only because it's a rivalry game, and apparently the most expensive ticket in Iowa (if not one of the most in the country, especially considering the potential quality of play here). Iowa may get some in trouble because they're away, but should prevail.

  • Tennessee @ Florida, CBS - Potentially the best game of the day. Both of these teams have lots of questions with precious few answers this far into the season. Tennessee got beat by Cal, but had a tasty cupcake in the form of Southern Miss. Despite what Troy did last night, that doesn't really validate Florida's win over them. As pointed out by other sources, home team doesn't necessarily confer an advantage in this rivalry, nonetheless I like Florida here.
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan, ABC - The game of various names. I call it the Lame Duck Bowl, but I've also heard other good ones that I escape me right now. Both teams will start freshman quarterbacks, both of whom got experience last week (Clausen started, Mallett came for the supposedly injured Henne).
  • Ohio State @ Washington, ESPN - This game looks a lot more interesting than it did at the beginning of the year. But I don't think the freshman QB for Washington has seen a defense like Ohio State's, so I still like them here.
  • Texas @ Central Florida, ESPN2 - UCF beat NC State last week, sure. But make no mistake, Texas is - hold on a second here, Texas at Central Florida? Well, Texas will probably win, but hopefully they saw what Troy did to Oklahoma State - they need to be on their toes.
  • California - Los Angeles @ Utah, Versus - Why did I include this on the list? Why not? Oh, I guess I like UCLA.
  • Ball State @ Navy, CSTV - See above. I like Navy. Well, I don't like Navy (Dad went to West Point, after all). I think there is a good chance they will this contest, however.
6:45: Arkansas @ Alabama, ESPN - Will Nick Saban have time Houston Nutt's crazier-than-weasels offense? I don't buy into Alabama being back here, and I think, and hope, that McFadden leads the Razorbacks to victory in Tuscaloosa.

  • Fresno State @ Oregon, Gameplan - Fresno State almost got the job done in College Station last week, but that said, the game went into multiple overtimes. I can't imagine the Bulldogs being anything but sapped after that experience. Look for this to be close to the half, but Oregon pulls away in the 3rd quarter.
  • Mississippi @ Vanderbilt, Gameplan - "DaCoachO" rolls into Nashville. I saw some promise in Vandy last week, but precious few points outside even if they did get shafted again. My heart says Vandy, but my head isn't sure.
7:30: Louisville @ Kentucky, ESPN Classic - Another early-season rivalry game put into the backwaters of sports programming. Look for this game not to feature a lot of defense. (I'm not a betting man, but I might consider taking the over here.) Louisville wins, 55-35 or something like that.

  • Southern California @ Nebraska, ABC - Nebraska needed a few breaks to escape Wake Forest with a win. I see no reason why you should watch Southern Cal steamroll them when you could be watching...
  • Boston College @ Georgia Tech, ESPN2 -The first real test for Georgia Tech all season. Once again, I'm nervous because the so-called experts seem to think GT will win on the basis of its defense and Tashard Choice and friends. I have to admit, I like the idea. But I'm also very nervous about Matt Ryan. The crucial factor in this game is the amount of time he has to sit in the pocket. If we can break the pass rush, he will not have enough opportunities to exploit what is by far the weakest area of the Georgia Tech defense - the cornerbacks. If he can camp out back in the pocket, he will have a field day. The numbers are fuzzy on whether or not Boston College's run defense is any good. But hopefully Taylor gets over the jitters he had at Notre Dame and can complete some passes when BC is putting 8-9 guys in the box to stop Choice. If he can do his part to keep BC off balance, I like our chances here.
10:00: Florida State @ Colorado, ESPN - Man, if this were, like, 1991 this would probably be a great matchup. Now? Not so much. FSU has done little to impress me. I like Colorado here.

That's all folks. Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Week Three

I apologize profusely for my tardiness. Schoolwork and girlfriend time got in the way of college football, and I beg forgiveness from all of you.
I think it is now safe to say that 'Bama is back! After an impressive 52-6 clobbering of Western Carolina (2-9 in I-AA in 2006) and a noteworthy 24-10 shellacking of Vanderbilt (4-8 in I-A in 2006), the Tide is well on its way to an undefeated season and national championship under new head coach Nick "The Bear II" Saban. 'Bama is about to roll through home games against Arkansas and Georgia before traveling to Jacksonville to take care of Florida State. Daggum!

Ha ha ha...I remember this.
The Pac-10 pulled a likely stunt Saturday when all of the six active teams in the conference won their games. I wish I could chalk it up to weak opponents, but only Washington State's (San Diego State) was questionable. That and the domination of Tennessee by Cal just eat me up inside.
Surprise, surprise: Auburn is still an awful football team. The loss to South Florida would not have been less embarrassing had it been a win. Tiger tailback Mario Fannin fumbled on consecutive drives in Auburn territory. Receivers dropped passes, and defenders missed tackles. The defense looks slow. When we play a team that can run around the end, game over. The punting and punt coverage were even worse than last week.
My thoughts exactly.
And then there is Brandon Cox, who was so bad that he gets a paragraph all to himself. Cox was 16 of 35 passing with a pair of interceptions and a fumble on a quarterback sneak. (Let that sink in for a second.) He did run for near first down yardage once, but he looked hesitant doing it. Brandon Cox is at least 70% of the reason that Auburn will lose a lot of games this year. Now I know how a Florida State fan has felt in recent years.

Unfortunately, this is not worth any points.

I suppose it could have been worse. South Florida's placekicker had a Vaughn-esque night, missing three of six attempts with another blocked. Had he made any of those, overtime would have been unnecessary. Speaking of overtime, Tuberville somehow decided that letting the clock run out with two timeouts was a better idea than trying to get downfield and kick a field goal to win. That was a little confusing.

Will Auburn make a bowl game? Who knows. Out of the ten games left, only New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech look like definite wins. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Alabama are question marks. I'm not even going to hope for Florida, Arkansas, or LSU. In fact, I sold my ticket to the Swamp when I realized it wouldn't be much fun to drive six hours to watch us get clobbered. At least we're not...

Michigan, who was annihilated 39-7 in the Big House by Oregon. The Ducks made a mockery of Michigan's secondary, and the Wolverine offense was anemic once more. Perhaps a win over Notre Dame on the 15th will help Lloyd Carr keep his employment hopes alive. It wouldn't mean much, though; the Irish are 0-2 as well (this is the first time in history that both teams have had such poor starts).

Dear Michigan fans: This guy made your team look like a joke.

LSU looked phenomenal in their signature win over Virginia Tech. 48-7 is almost unbelievable. After a week off against Middle Tennessee State, Les Miles takes on Steve Spurrier. This will be the Tigers' only test until they host Florida on October 6. Besides Alabama, all of LSU's toughest games are at home. If there was ever a year to make a championship run, this would be it. Wouldn't it be great if they had a chance to destroy USC?

Maybe the Gators will trip them up, though. Apparently quarterback Tim Tebow learned how to throw during the summer. He's 31 of 46 so far, with 536 yards and six touchdowns. My only reservation is the defense, which looked iffy against a Troy squad that put up 31 points. I guess we'll see what happens against Tennessee this weekend.

You should probably watch TV this weekend, because it is the best one so far. Like I mentioned, Florida hosts Tennessee (3:30 PM ET, CBS), Michigan hosts Notre Dame (3:30 PM ET, ABC), and Arkansas goes to Alabama (6:45 PM ET, ESPN). I think Ohio State at Washington (3:30 PM ET, ESPN) could be a thriller, as could Boston College at Georgia Tech (8 PM ET, ESPN2). Why is GameDay going to USC/Nebraska (8 PM ET, ABC) for the second year in a row? Beats me.

Finally, prepare yourself for another Florida throwdown as the Hurricanes host the Golden Panthers! Pre-fight football game at 3:30 PM ET, then the punches start flying at 7!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On Notice: Week 2 (Special Guest Edition!)

Well, I'm doing On Notice! this week. You're just going to have to deal with it.

  1. "Da 'U'": When I wrote that I expected Oklahoma to win, I meant that Miami might actually bother showing up to Norman and give them a run for their money. Instead, Miami absolutely wilted. We now know for sure that neither of Miami's quarterbacks are any good and that Patrick Nix is still a terrible offensive coordinator.
  2. Auburn University: Sorry Tito. This game was fascinating in that it seemed as though both teams were desperately trying to lose up until USF punched in the winning touchdown.
  3. Keys: A recent article reminded me of a phenomenon that I really hate: students and spectators shaking keys. At Tech (and I imagine, most of the South) it symbolized the suggest that perhaps the opponent should being to warm up their busses. In the North (and places influenced by them, see Virginia Tech) it symbolizes a "key" play. Both uses are really terrible, and the former is just downright classless. Please stop doing it.
  4. Green Bay Packers: You may be wondering why a NFL team is on here. I'll tell you why. Because there's a decent chance Jared Lorenzen is going to start at quarterback in place of the injured Eli Manning for the Giants Sunday. Jared was a staple of those awful Kentucky games on JP Sports back in The Day, and I find it pretty amazing he managed to actually stay at quarterback all these years instead of being moved to say, fullback. So, yeah, Packers, you better watch out.
  5. Temple University: Temple confirmed their status as the worst team in major college football by getting blown out 42-7 in their MAC opener. And it wasn't a good MAC team either, it was perennial Bottom 10 contender Buffalo. Yeah.
  6. Duke University: Duke continues on their quest for a second consecutive winless season, as they lost to probably the only ACC team they had a chance of beating, Virginia.
  7. University of Michigan: On here until they win, which they have a fair chance of doing against fellow winless team Notre Dame in the Lame Duck Bowl this Saturday.
  8. Boston College: 2 of the 5 teams in major college football without the word "University" in their official school titles meet in Atlanta this Saturday. I expect this to be our first real test of the year, but I'll save the specifics for Friday.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Week 2 Games of Interest!

Couple of interesting games this week, but mostly crap. At any rate, we continue onwards! All times Eastern.

11:00: West Virginia @ Marshall (ESPN2): The Battle of West Virginia! WVU wins going away.

  • Miami (FL) @ Oklahoma (ABC): I'm not sold on either of these teams - they gorged themselves on cupcakes last week. That said, I have to give the edge to OU based on how terrible Miami's been the past couple of years.
  • Nebraska @ Wake Forest (ESPN): Another ACC-Big 12 game! Wake didn't exactly look awesome last week. I'm giving a slight edge to Nebraska here, even if I am rooting for wake.
  • Duke @ Virginia (LF/Gameplan): Both are terrible, but one is much more terrible than the other. Virginia wins a game!
12:30: Alabama @ Vanderbilt (LF/Gameplan): I so desperately want this to be close and for Vandy to pull off the upset. My brain tells me that it will probably go otherwise, as 'Bama fans are packing Nashville to see the Saban.

1:30: Samford @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): Included even though I don't get das 'U'. Tech should win this one without much trouble, and hopefully Bennett can work off his nerves in a half of work and get his timing down for the passing game.

2:00: California @ Colorado State (CSTV): Cal's second toughest OOC game - they need to win this to stay in the national picture after taking care of Tennessee this week. CSU and CU looked about level last week, so the boys from Berkeley should take this going away.

2:30: NC State @ Boston College (ESPN2): Important ACC divisional matchup, but NC State is still terrible as Tom O'Brien faces the school he jilted. BC wins to go to 2-0 heading into Atlanta next week.

  • Oregon @ Michigan (ABC): Ahahahahahaha. Sorry. Anyway. Oregon runs a spread-offense with a speedy quarterback, the same formula that App State uses. Oregon wins what originally looked like an intriguing matchip.
  • Fresno State @ Texas A&M (FSN): Is Fresno back to its giant-killing ways? Probably not. TAMU wins.
  • Boise State @ Washington (FSN NW/FCS Pacific): Washington claims to have a found a saviour in its young freshman QB. Boise State claims to be a legit contender. This is probably the Broncos' most import game until they play Hawaii. I'm going say Washington gives them a run for their money, but they're still Washington and Boise should win.
5:45: South Carolina @ Georgia (ESPN2): I hope against hope the boys from Columbia can go into Athens and whip the dogs. I hope is probably unfounded, though - UGA looked pretty good last week against Oklahoma State while the Gamecocks looked lackluster against UL-Lafayette.

6:00: Notre Dame @ Penn State (ESPN): Georgia Tech's renowned defense terrorized ND's QBs into 9 sacks last week. Penn State's renowned defense should do similar damage. Happy Valley should be pretty happy about this one.

7:00: TCU @ Texas (FSN): TCU also is claiming to be a mid-major to contend with this year along with Boise and Hawaii. To prove it, they need to go giant-killing in Austin. Will they prove it? Probably not, but they may make it interesting.

9:00: South Florida @ Auburn (ESPN2): Auburn shouldn't have any trouble with the Golden Bulls. However, they also weren't supposed to have any trouble with Kansas State last week. If the AU offense bothers to show up for more than the last 5 minutes of the game this week they should win this going away - however, USF is probably better than KSU and if Auburn stagnates again they may not get as many second chances.

9:15: Virginia Tech @ Louisiana State (ESPN): The marquee matchup of the weekend - we've got real national title implications here, folks. Baton Rogue will be as nuts as they can get, which is pretty nuts. Virginia Tech looked...uninspired on offense against East Carolina last week and let them hang around way too long. Meanwhile, LSU took a business-like approach in beating Mississippi State (who is probably just as good, if not worse, than ECU). I feel like overall, LSU is probably more competent on offense and just as good as VPI on defense. This, plus home field advantage, gives them a slight edge here. I don't expect a lot of points, though - something like 14-10 for a final would not be unsurprising.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

On Notice! (Belated Week 1 Edition)

Everyone's (well, the like 3 people who read this thing, anyway) favorite weekly feature announcing who sucked last week in CFB is back for it's second season!

1) University of Michigan -
This one is pretty obvious, but in case you didn't know UM lost to D1-AA (I refuse to call it the "Championship Subdivision") Appalachian State 34-32. WTG guys.
2) University of Virginia - Now we enter the Crappy ACC teams section of the post. UVA lost to Wyoming, and from what I hear, their QB looked pretty awful.
3) North Carolina State University - Lost to UCF - good job Tom O'Brien.
4) Duke University - Lost to UConn 45-14 in what was probably their best chance to win a game this season. The L streak is now at 21 and counting.
5) Sports Media - 2 things here: First, Lloyd Carr is not going to get fired at Michigan, no matter what those idiots keep calling for in their columns. Second, almost all the articles about the GT-ND game are about how much ND sucks, and in some you have a hard time telling what team they even played against. It'd be nice to give a little credit to GT for being a pretty good team, but I haven't seen any mainstream articles about this.
6) Charlie Weis - In retrospect, he must have been withholding the starting QB because he knew they all sucked. A "genius" should be able to get it done with less than top-flight talent and have his team looking at least somewhat prepared in Week 1.
7) Early Polls - Michigan at #5 looks pretty dumb right now. As does having FSU at #19 and BC and GT unranked. Good job dumbasses. (BTW, if anyone from the BlogPoll reads this, I would love to vote, and will announce my love for all things poll related)
8) Samford - Little D1-AA cupcake action coming up this weekend for GT - posters on GT message boards are like "if we don't take this seriously, we'll end up like Michigan!!!!1111". This is an obviously dumb statement - Samford and App State aren't even close in terms of talent. Plus, they're the Bulldogs.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Week One

Most of this week's games were mismatches of talent, but that didn't stop a large portion of the major powers from struggling (or in one case falling flat on their faces). Penn State, Florida, Oklahoma, and West Virginia took care of business, but...

LSU 45, Mississippi State 0: The final score here is misleading. LSU scored 17 points off of four interceptions in the first half, the final touchdown coming as time expired. You'd expect more from a highly-touted SEC offense. Bulldog quarterback Michael Henig looked awful the entire night and literally threw away the hard work of his persistent defense. Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom is still optimistic about his chances. Looking at his schedule, though, he would be lucky to win half of his games.

Virginia Tech 17, East Carolina 7: C'mon now. 17 points against a minor team from the Big East with a pirate as a mascot? 7 of which came from an interception-turned-touchdown? Pitiful. The Hokies travel to Baton Rouge next Saturday. I don't think they'll win.

Texas 21, Arkansas State 13: Two missed field goals, an interception in the end zone, and a penalty on a successful onside kick prevented Arkansas State from bringing down the Longhorns. Texas failed four straight attempts to score from the Indians' three yard line. Their quarterback is still named Colt McCoy. He's not VINCE YOUNG, but the name is still awesome.

Auburn 23, Kansas State 13: This was not the season opener I was expecting from my Tigers. Kansas State seemed to run the same short passing play once or twice every series, and Auburn did little to slow them down. The Wildcats even ran some double reverses for similar results. Auburn missed tackles all night, especially during kickoff coverage. To the credit of the defense, they did intercept Kansas State twice and forced one fumble for a touchdown. They missed two or three other interception opportunities, though.

These guys should never have had reason to celebrate.

Auburn's offense had a disappointing showing as well. Brandon Cox looked a little better than last season. Despite an inexperienced line which gave him little time to settle down, Cox completed 17 of 30 passes for 229 yards. However, most of his completions were to receivers who were wide open and forced them to come back for the catch. It didn't help that some of the passes which were on target were blatantly dropped (including one in the end zone).

Tuberville had better get to work before South Florida shows up next Saturday. This season could be a painful way to end my career in the student section of Jordan-Hare. At least the completely revamped kicking staff wasn't a problem.

"Why are we so bad right now?" a distraught and incredulous Tuberville asks his team.

Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32: Ha ha ha...this is hilarious and unbelievable at the same time. No team from I-AA has beaten a ranked I-A oppenent since the divisions were created in 1978. In a poll on, 42% called this the greatest upset in college football history. I think I agree. It's a shame this had to come at the beginning of the season, because everything else is going to pale in comparison.

28-14. Wolverine fans worldwide begin to fear.

I'll spare you the recap. If you didn't watch SportsCenter at all yesterday, this should get you up to speed. On a side note, some ASU students ripped a goal post out of their own stadium, which holds 85% less people than the Big House, and left it in the university chancellor's driveway.

The action continues tomorrow as Florida State travels to Clemson (8 PM ET, ESPN). Saturday's slate features some interesting interconference games, including:

West Virginia at Marshall (11:10 AM ET, ESPN),
Miami (FL) at Oklahoma (12 PM ET, ABC),
Nebraska at Wake Forest (12 PM ET, ESPN),
Oregon at Michigan (3:30 PM ET, ABC) (ha ha ha),
and Virginia Tech at LSU (9:15 PM ET, ESPN).

It looks like we'll have to wait until week three for the major intraconference battles to begin. See you again next Sunday!

Also: I was wrong about Tennessee/California. Darn.