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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 4 of the college football season

1. Georgia Tech is an interesting study.  I know they haven't seen a top 5 defense yet, but any question about whether they can do it against a "real" team....well those doubts should be gone after they put just shy of 500 yards up against the Tarheels.  I know the Hells lost a couple of high draft picks, but this was a damn good defense last year when most of those guys were suspended.  496 total, 312 rushing....those are impressive numbers.  The triple option is still just as difficult to defense as ever, maybe even more because noone runs it so it is hard to prepare for.  Throw the very real capability to throw the ball down the field, and this is a really interesting offense.

I won't say that I am buying into the Yellow Jackets as a contender, but there offense just might be for real.

2. All that noise about San Diego State having been built to beat Michigan....Uhm...yeah, how did that work out for ya out west?  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love what Brady Hoke had going out west, but I think that the comments about the talent level at Michigan being down are overstated.  This was still Michigan, and they were still getting quality athletes. 

Here are their rankings for the last 4 years from Scout.com

2011: 23rd
2010: 12th
2009: 14th
2008: 6th

And they are currently slated for #1 looking at 2012.  Yeah, they are not the same vaunted defense that they were, but these are quality athletes with a genius running the defense.  Michigan will be back to the top level of the country within 2 years.

3. I wasn't confident in the Noles high ranking at the start of the year, but don't read too much into their early struggles.  They haven't lost a game with the starting receivers available, and have been killing themselves with penalties.  They are not a top 10 team, but there is talent there, and the pressure might be off now.  That said, Taj Boyd is a great player and Clemson is a damn fine team. 

4. I feel myself slipping down the slope of rooting for the OKState Cowboys again.  I flirt with this every year when I look at the fun style that they play and the athletes that they trot out on the field year after year.  This was a huge win, over a great A&M team, on the road.  That said, their interior run defense got exposed in a big way.  Their offense is great, but they have some good  teams coming up, so I'm going to stay off the bandwagon for a bit longer till they can prove that they can stop the run.  It's odd to think, but a team like Kansas State could be a threat the way they run the ball.  Yeah, OSU has better athletes than near every team in the country, but it's weaknesses that count in the tough games.

5. You can say what you want about Alabama's lack of balance, but Trent Richardson is the driving force for their offense, and that is a lot of force to deal with.  They have, arguably, the best defense in the country, and great rushing attack, and they are getting better at QB.  Ok, ok, so maybe making less mistakes at QB would be a better way, but they are loaded enough that they could win the title a game manager at QB....again. 

You don't beleive me?  Well, Arkansas was supposed to be a threat in the SEC west.

6. South Carolina needed thisVanderbilt is not a great team, but they are well-coached and improving, and they got dominated.  Now, if you look at the numbers you see quickly that USC's offense did not do well, but their defense is a really great unit.  The GameCocks need to lean back on Lattimore and Jeffry.  If they can get those guys 40 touches a game, they will be tough to beat.

7. OU has to be the favorite in the country right now.  Their offense is the combination of a fast paced attack, with the talent on both lines to match up with anybody in the country.  So, you give the defense great athletes to match up against and remove the time that they have to match up, and you are going to make things difficult.

On Defense, their front 7 with Travis Lewis back is as good as any in the country.  Their young secondary is improving, but these are all blue chippers and they will get there.  They got a good test against Missouri's spread attack, and this game was not as close as the score.  After Missouri's strong start, OU adjusted and hammered them the rest of the way.

8.  Jarrett Lee just always seems to do enough.  I am intrigued as to what would happen if LSU ever got a real challenge and they needed him to sling the ball around the field.  I have a feeling, after watching him throw the ball that he could do it.  He has a good arm, throws a nice deep ball, and is accurate. 

9. Arizona State has not been as consistent as you would like from team who is chasing a conference championship and the associated BCS bid, but they are the best team in the Pac-12 south at this point.  Their defense took a couple of turnovers away from USC and the offense was dynamic and efficient.  They seem to be improving as the season goes, but at this point they are a long shot for a top bowl game.  I just don't think that half of the Pac-12 matches up with the rest of the country, including the Pac North.

10. The Big 12 looks like it is going to hold on, which is not surprise to me.  There was a lot of talk about it being a house of cards, but the remaining schools are long-time members of the NCAA with strong history of their own.  This is all about money, and the central time zone has value.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 3 of the College Football Season

Well, we are just about done with the non-conference schedules, and there were some big games this week.  Toss in the latest on potential re-alignment, and what do we have?  Well.......

1. Clemson's comeback win against Auburn is the kind of win that turns a corner for a program.  Taj Boyd was masterful in the comeback and all those good recruiting years have the Tigers' roster full of talent.  I think they are still going to be hard pressed to get a conference title, but they might have some momentum.  Now, the question is how will they stand up to the Noles?

2. The Vols still can't beat the Gators.  Oh, and letting John Brantley play in Charlie Weis' offense was a masterstroke.  He was never going to succeed in a spread-rushing attack, but is one of the better pro-style prospects in the country and fits the new O to a T.  Mind you, he still needs to improve, but a great move for him and the Gators.

3.  Michigan State is not the #15 team in the country at this point.  Dantonio will have them winning games they shouldn't, but Notre Dame's D is not that good

4. Texas isn't quite back, but at least they know who their QB is going to be this year.  168 yards for McCoy is not great, but doing it on 15 attempts is solid

5. Looking at the trouble that South Carolina had with Navy at home begs a question.  If USC is the best in the SEC East, then what the hell happened to the SEC East?

6. Ok, if Arizona State is the best in the Pac-12 South, and they can't beat Illinois, and went to OT against Missouri, then the Pac-12 south is not good....at all.  Mind you, there are some nice players on that team, but they are not ready for primetime.

7. Uhm, Miami's defense?  Yeah, they are pretty good, but I don't know that they are as good as Ohio State made them look.  Seriously, you leading passer had 22 yards?  I thought Bausermann had a chance to be solid enough to start a year, but he was shook.  It's time to bench him and let the kid have his shot.

8. The OU - FSU game was a great game between 2 very good teams.  It was physical, and outside of a nutjob linebacker for the Noles, pretty cleanly played....oh yeah with one exception.  FSU gets some momentum early and has what looks to be a touchdown or near touchdown pass and the receiver gets 2 helmets to the head?  That's dirty and really was a shame to have that be such a big play in such an important game that was played so well overall.  Taking nothing away from OU at all, because they were the better team that night.  FSU will be there, but their best players are too young at this point to really be considered a title contender.  That play, however, inspires a thought.  Personal fouls against defenseless receivers shoudl be spot fouls.  If you are going to launch yourself and deliver life/career threatening blows to the head, which are considered personal fouls, then all benefit should be taken away from you doing that.  The Sooners saved 15 yards and were able to hold the Noles to a field goal rather than have FSU score a TD to tie the game early. 

9. I cannot wait for the Oregon - Stanford game.  They are, pretty clearly, the class of the Pac - 12 and the winner will be a heavy favorite to represent the conference in the BCS.

10. So, my latest thoughts on conference re-alignment?

      I think the ACC has the chance to end any question about what the best basketbally conference in the country is by accepting Syracuse, Pitt, and UConn if that rumor proves true.  People look at this re-alignment only from a football point of view but in the ACC basketball is king and adding even 2 of those 3 premier teams would be huge.  Additionally, leaving the Big East to join the ACC would be a small recruiting boost for those schools as the ACC, though not the SEC, is better respected than the Big East in the football world.

     OU's statements that they are willing to stay if the Big 12 kicks out the existing president and makes some changes is huge.  Regardless of Texas, OU gives the conference a potential flagship program.  Toss into that the the PAC-12's reported decision to stand pat for now, and I think now is the time for the Big 12 to be aggressive.  With a few moves, they could move from deathbed to one of the potential power conferences. The moves to my mind are:
     1. Kick out the president and work on the reforms that are needed to keep OU.  This will keep OSU as well, and give you a chance of keeping the conference together overall.  This is reinforced by the Pac-12 decision because UT doesn't have another top-tier choice at this point unless they go independent.
     2. Recruit new schools.  With the Big East weakening, go take TCU.  They are a regional fit and are very solid in a number of athletic programs having a top tier football program and a CWS level baseball program.  Take a look at schools like BYU, Houston, and Boise State who have managed to shohorn their way into the national conciousness.  These are teams that could compete right now in football and each of them is solid in at least one other sport while fitting into the region.
     3. Flip that growth and momentum into a new TV deal that includes the LongHorn network with some short of profit sharing across the board.  UT may not like that, but once you have grown, and have OU committed, they can leave if they want to.

DAMN I LOVE FOOTBALL SEASON

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thoughts from week 2 of the college football season

Well, week 2 has come and gone, and I almost didn't get this post out before week 3 started, so here we go.  What did I think about week 3 of the season?  Well......

1. Oklahoma State is damn scary on offense and I really love the diamond formation.  You look at it and you flash back to watching teams running the full house backfield stuff.  I love it because it reminds us that there is very little new under the sun.  If you have more blockers at the point of attack, you will succeed.....(extra periods for emphasis)

Oh, and I am starting to have real concerns about the strength of the Pac-10 south.  I mean, ASU is the class of it and they had to go to OT to beat a rebuilding Mizzou team? Ouch  Hey, nothing against the Tigers, but a potential conference champ should thump a team that strugged against the other Miami.


2. One more note about Arizona State.  They might not be as good as advertised, but I do now understand the fascination with Brock Osweiler.  He is big, strong, and much more athletic than the standard 6'8" QB.


3. The state is Iowa is in shock, and I LOVE IT. 

4. Uhm, I know it's early, but Wisconsin is 2-0 against BCS teams and Russell Wilson has a QB rating of 237.6.  Do you know what it takes to get a rating of 237.6?  Well apparently it takes 27 of 34 with 5 TD's and 0 INT's.  Oh, and he ha 73 yards rushing on 6 carries and a TD. I can't wait for this one.  In the meantime, they have to be the favorite in the Big 10.

5. Speaking of the Big 10?  I know the Buckeyes are missing some starters and all, but 27-22 against Toledo?  That kind of effort is not going to cut it against the Canes.....and disturbingly, this is the second week in a row that I will be rooting for the Canes.  I feel so dirty.

6. Auburn may not be a great team, but they are unbeaten and they are putting on some damned exciting games.

7. Well, in the battle of the smart kids....Duke has some smart kids.

8. I almost forgot what the Oregon offense could do when their O-Line wasn't overmatched.  D.A.M.N.

9. Man those SEC teams are playing some damned tight games, but aren't they supposed to known for their defense?  People can say what they want about Mark Richt, he can coach offense with anybody.

10. I am the first to admit, that being an FSU fan, I am a little biased, and I know they haven't played anyone yet.  I am also pretty nervous about OU coming to town after last year when they rolled us and kicked us back to the Sunshine state, but........2 games and the opponents have 10 points, 1 offensive touchdown and less than 300 yards of total offense.  Now comes the big test. :)

11. I am pretty sure that I could gladly watch Denard Robinson play football every day.  He is scarily similar to Mike Vick when he was at Va Tech.  He doesn't quite have the same kind of arm, but he does have that kind of effect on the game.  That said, Notre Dame is snake bit, there is no way a team with their firepower should be 0fer.


BRING ON WEEK 3!!!

An interesting read from our friends at Zen College Life

Hey everybody, I know that there is a lot of talk flying around about the potential realignment upcoming in college football.

From my personal point of view, well frankly, I am not sure what I think about it.  On the upside, big conferences may lead to an easier transition to a tournament-type of situation.  After all, if you have to win your conference title game to be considered for the National Title, that's kind of like an elite 8...ish

But the other side of me just looks at this as a way for the "have's" to extend the power difference.

I'll have more to come on this, but had an interesting POV shared from our friends over at Zen College Life.  Forget what is good for college football for a few minutes, or what is good for your personal POV.....their approach was What is good for the teams?

This is likely a good way to look at it because it's how the teams/schools are going to look at it.

A fairly quick read, but there are a couple of intersting points.  One thing I noticed was that the PAC-N didn't get much attention in there, and that makes a lot of sense.  Teams that are not west of the Central Time Zone are going to get killed in regards to TV dollars if they join the PAC-10 and their games are scheduled for Prime Time out west.  We don't like to think about TV paying for sports, but let's be real, that's what all this is about.  What conference pays the best?  That money is coming from their TV contracts in a big way, and these teams in the Central Time Zone (Big 12) have one big advantage.  Their games are scheduled so that they can potentially be watched nation wide.  If a team like OU or Texas joins the PAC-10, their games are going to scheduled later in the day and they are going to lose the East Coast and there is no way that they will get the same dollars as if they were available nationwide.

Any way, take a read, and come see us again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Impressions from the first week of College Football

Well, let's look at this chonologically. That is to say, I learned a lot of stuff about the teams calling them selves "major" college football teams this weekend, and I want address those items (or at least the ones I felt like talking about) in the order in which they were learned.

1. The Memphis Tigers are really not very good at football.  It wasn't that long ago that they were a very solid mid-major team behind Deangelo Williams.  They got absolutely shredded by a decent Mississippi State Bulldog team.  I say decent...Yes, they are ranked, and yes, Dan Mullen is a heck of a coach with a devastating offensive attack, but 59-14?  D. A. M. N. 

You know what giving up 59 points means?  Well, in this case is means the Tigers had the ball 16 times, and scored TWICE.  To make that worse, they only had 2 turnovers, unless you count them going for it on 4th down 3 times and missing.  Just pitiful.

2. Wisconsin is the favorite in the Big 10, they  have to be at this point.  I know UNLV is not good, but Russell Wilson is the most talent they have had at QB, well.  ever.

3. Robert Griffin III is no Cam Newton, and no.....that is not an insult.  This is an Olympic-level hurdler who just threw for 359 yards and 5 TD's against a Gary Patterson defense.  I know Baylor can't stop anyone, but this guy is going to be in the Heisman talk all year long.

4. Uhm.....Auburn?  I kind of cocked an eyebrown when people were predicting them for 6 wins.  After the Utah State game, well 6 games looks like it might be the over.  They stole that game, seriously, they should be arrested.

5. Ohio State is not going to miss Terrelle Pryor for long.  Bauserman looks to be a better passer and is much more athletic than advertised.  And with Braxton Miller at the QB of the future, they are in very good shape at the QB spot.

6. Alabama's and Virginia Tech's defenses are as good as advertised.  They QB's are as bad as feared.  There is talent for both teams at QB, but they are going to need more production.  It will be interesting to see if QB play will hold Bama back enough to give Penn State a chance.  My first thought is ..... no

7. The Noles are ready for primetime on defense, but their O-Line needs some work still.  ULM gave them an interesting test with their 3-3-5, and they passed, but more like a B- than an A.  They have speed all over, and their D dominated the game, but they are going to need to find a way to run teh ball against OU.

8. Uhm, about that prediction I read that USC would be winning the Pac-12 south?  Uhm.....does that mean that Minnesota just got way better?  I'm so confused.

9. So, about that Oregon/LSU game.

My first thought was that Oregon just proved the old axiom that you had to have balance to play with the big boys.  That is to say that you need experience and talent at the skill positions and experience and beef up front on both sides.  It is absolutely true, that bringing  rebuilt lines to Dallas to play a team loaded with beastly athletes like LSU, was not a preferred situation for the Ducks.  However, I can't help but wonder one thing.

What if Cliff Harris is there to further lock down the LSU receivers, while returning punts?  The chances are, a more experienced returner doesn't have the turnovers that the backups did.  Further, taking that wear off of JaMichael James and Kenyon Barner would have likely kept one of them available.  Is that enough to change the result of the game?   Hmmmmm, I wonder.

10.  Texas A&M.....well, they are a damned talented and dynamic team.  After all, SMU was a bowl team last year, running June Jones' vaunted Aerial attack.   A&M shut them down and lit them up. So, yes, the Aggies are a very good football team, and their administration is still full of sore losers.

I mean seriously, you turn down the chance to be part of the Longhorn network, and now you are taking your ball and going home because it's worth more than you thought it would be?  That's great guys, hope you get drilled, over and over and over again in the SEC.

Now, the Big 12 just needs to call up TCU, BYU, and Houston/Tulsa and get back to it.



Ok, I'm ready for week 2.  2 day and we are going at it again.  Bring on the Pokes and the Cats.