Handicapping Week 2

We begin this week with a misdiagnosis of colossal proportions.

This past summer, Lou Holtz, the only coach to take six different teams to a bowl game, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Holtz is most renowned for his eleven year tenure at Notre Dame, where he compiled a Rockne type record of: 100-32-2, while leading the Irish to its last National Championship in 1988. 

None of those accomplishments would have occurred if this Ohio native had paid any attention to his East Liverpool High School guidance counselor.  This was his encouragement to an impressionable high school kid, “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on, but you don’t even suspect anything is going on.”  Wow – now that’s Lincolnesque.  .

This weekend, let’s see which teams perform like their clueless, and which guided by wise counsel, execute the game plan to perfection.

No.3 USC at No.8 Ohio State (ESPN, 8 p.m.)  After gorging itself on a cupcake – San Jose State – The Men of Troy march into Columbus with an eye focused on the main entree.  Old friend Pete Carroll is blazing new territory at USC.  Carroll’s Trojans are an astounding 82-9 in its last 91, and have rolled the Vegas trifecta of 7 consecutive Pac-10 Titles, 7 consecutive eleven win seasons, and 7 consecutive BCS bowl appearances. 

The reins of this dynasty have been handed to true freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, but the kid of Homeric talent, isn’t expected to do it all himself.  The QB is assisted by literally a Tailback U half-dozen starry runners, featuring Joe McKnight, along with an All-America receiver in Damien Williams, and the entire package is nicely protected by one of the nation’s best offensive lines, featuring All-Americas Jeff Byers and Kristofer O’Dowd.  The D returns only three starters led by its undisputed leader is All-America safety Taylor Mays, but Pete Carroll’s specialty is defense, and he thrives on being challenged.

Fairly or unfairly, after all, Ohio State has played in two of the last three BCS Championship games; the reputation of the Big Ten will once again, be on the line, this Saturday in the Horseshoe.  Can the big dog from the Midwest, take on the lead dog from the West Coast?  OSU is directed by its duel threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who still hasn’t shown that he can throw the ball down field with any degree of accuracy.  The rest of the OSU offense remains in a rebuilding mold.  The o-line is shaky, the tailback spot is shared between Dan Herron and Brandon Saine, and no one from the receiver corps has yet to distinguish himself.  The strength of the Buckeye D is in the line; featuring ends Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward, along with nose tackle Doug Worthington.  We think the Big Ten’s reputation takes another ding, as Carroll’s Boys say; “Goodbye Columbus,” and leave with their bellies fully gorged.

No.18 Notre Dame at Michigan (Ch.7, 3:30 p.m.)  What a difference a week makes.  Before their season opening performances, both of which were sharper than Dean Martin in a tuxedo, this game on paper fell into the “ho-hum” category.  One week later it’s moved into a “must watch” Emmy contender. 

There is now a line waiting to find a spot on the Irish bandwagon.  But, the wise philosopher once said, “One game does not a season make.”  This week we’ll find out if ND is for real or simply Memorex.  With Charlie Weis once again calling the plays, the performance of junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen along with the running of Armando Allen and the field stretching ability of best pair of receivers in the nation, in All-America Golden Tate, and Michael Floyd, even has Touchdown Jesus in a smiling mood.  The blitzing D is another matter for the Golden Dome faithful.  Although it pitched its first shutout of the Weis era last week, there are still a lot of candles being lit in the Grotto for their continued well being. 

The much maligned Wolverines coach Rod (Rich Rodriguez) is finally breathing easier, now that he has found not one, but two, duel threat quarterbacks, in freshmen Tate Forcier (starter) and Denard Robinson to direct his spread attack.  The running game is spearheaded by the tandem of Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor, and the bell tolls for the QB’s favorite target, Junior Hemingway.  The D’s front seven is stout led by All-America Brandon Graham and backer Obi Ezeh, but the secondary remains a question, which is not a good recipe in facing Clausen. Fully aware that we are never on the right side of a Notre Dame contest, we think, in this 37th meeting between the two winningiest college football programs, that it will be the speed of Michigan’s ferret quarterbacks who will carry the day, as ‘Hail to the Victors,’ rings around the Big House.

UCLA at Tennessee (ESPN, 4p.m.)  With a victory, Coach Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA Bruins, otherwise known as; the “other” team from the City of Angels, will garner some hard earned attention.  The offense under the guidance of his guru offensive coordinator Norm Chow is directed by quarterback Kevin Prince, with assists from tailback Johnathan Franklin, and wideout Taylor Embree.  If the o-line jells quickly, this could be an explosive attack.  The D is led by its All-America tackle Brian Price, with help from backer Reggie Carter, and a strong dose of the Bosworth brothers, Kyle and Korey. 

Newly minted Vols coach Lane Kiffin, who, “never met a man he liked,” has injected more life back into Knoxville than Dr. Frankenstein brought to the Bavarian countryside. The hope for the orange clad faithful is that, if there is a Saturday nightmare, it occurs on the visitor’s sideline.  UT’s catalyst is senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton, with assists from the nation’s top running back recruit Bryce Brown, (who’s already made an impact), along with a pair of wideouts in Quintin Hancock, and Marsalis Teague.  The D is anchored by All-America safety Eric Berry, with help from backers Nick Reveiz, Savion Frazier, and end Chris Walker.  In a close, hard fought contest, we think Boys from the West Coast fly home with the words to Rocky Top, ringing in their ears. 

South Carolina at No.21 Georgia (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)  South Carolina’s Head Ball Coach really likes his team.  Steve Spurrier has also found renewed energy and purpose, hiring six new assistants, and building, or rebuilding, what he refers to as a “new era” at South Carolina. 

Despite his legendary offensive credentials, it will be the Gamecocks attacking, stifling D, led by backers Shaq Wilson, Eric Norwood, and end Cliff Matthews, who will determine the success of the Cocks season.  Talented quarterback Steven Garcia is searching for consistency, almost as intently as Diogenes searched for an honest man. Spurrier, and the South Carolina faithful, are simply hoping that it doesn’t take as long for the quarterback to locate it.  If Garcia does indeed figure it out, this team could be more than just SEC spoilers.

Georgia has opened its SEC schedule with South Carolina every year since 1992, and during the Mark Richt tenure, the Dawgs have gone 6-2 against the Gamecocks.  The Bulldogs are directed by the steady hand of senior quarterback Joe Cox, with big assists from his All-America receiver A.J. Green and the pounding of tailback Richard Samuel.  The D is attacks behind its All-America backer Rennie Curran, and his fellow backers Marcus Dowtin and Darryl Gamble.  In a game that will have more hits than the Erin Andrews video, we can’t see the Dawgs starting the season 0-2. 

Stanford at Wake Forest        There’s been a long dry football drought on the Farm at Palo Alto.  Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal, who are tilling for its first winning season since 1999, is led by its talented sophomore Andrew Luck, with assists from senior tailback Toby Gerhart and a pair of wideouts in Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu.  The physical D, behind end Erik Lorig, Tom Keiser and backer Clinton Snyder, isn’t afraid to attack, and takes a bend don’t break attitude. 

If Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe can lead his Demon Deacons to its fourth consecutive winning campaign, it will be a first on the Winston-Salem campus since the Truman Administration in 1948.  The director of the Wake attack is its talented senior quarterback Riley Skinner who is helped by his tailback tandem of Kevin Harris and Devon Brown, and a pair of sure handed targets in Marshall and Jordan Williams.  The ball hawking D, features tackles Boo Robinson, John Russell and backer Jonathan Jones, but the secondary is young and inexperienced.  West Coast to East Coast, noon time kickoffs are brutal, but we think that the crop is finally fertile on the Farm, and Stanford flies home with a victory.

Last week’s record:  3-2.

We begin this week with a misdiagnosis of colossal proportions.

This past summer, Lou Holtz, the only coach to take six different teams to a bowl game, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Holtz is most renowned for his eleven year tenure at Notre Dame, where he compiled a Rockne type record of: 100-32-2, while leading the Irish to its last National Championship in 1988. 

None of those accomplishments would have occurred if this Ohio native had paid any attention to his East Liverpool High School guidance counselor.  This was his encouragement to an impressionable high school kid, “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on, but you don’t even suspect anything is going on.”  Wow – now that’s Lincolnesque.  .

This weekend, let’s see which teams perform like their clueless, and which guided by wise counsel, execute the game plan to perfection.

No.3 USC at No.8 Ohio State (ESPN, 8 p.m.)  After gorging itself on a cupcake – San Jose State – The Men of Troy march into Columbus with an eye focused on the main entree.  Old friend Pete Carroll is blazing new territory at USC.  Carroll’s Trojans are an astounding 82-9 in its last 91, and have rolled the Vegas trifecta of 7 consecutive Pac-10 Titles, 7 consecutive eleven win seasons, and 7 consecutive BCS bowl appearances. 

The reins of this dynasty have been handed to true freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, but the kid of Homeric talent, isn’t expected to do it all himself.  The QB is assisted by literally a Tailback U half-dozen starry runners, featuring Joe McKnight, along with an All-America receiver in Damien Williams, and the entire package is nicely protected by one of the nation’s best offensive lines, featuring All-Americas Jeff Byers and Kristofer O’Dowd.  The D returns only three starters led by its undisputed leader is All-America safety Taylor Mays, but Pete Carroll’s specialty is defense, and he thrives on being challenged.

Fairly or unfairly, after all, Ohio State has played in two of the last three BCS Championship games; the reputation of the Big Ten will once again, be on the line, this Saturday in the Horseshoe.  Can the big dog from the Midwest, take on the lead dog from the West Coast?  OSU is directed by its duel threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who still hasn’t shown that he can throw the ball down field with any degree of accuracy.  The rest of the OSU offense remains in a rebuilding mold.  The o-line is shaky, the tailback spot is shared between Dan Herron and Brandon Saine, and no one from the receiver corps has yet to distinguish himself.  The strength of the Buckeye D is in the line; featuring ends Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward, along with nose tackle Doug Worthington.  We think the Big Ten’s reputation takes another ding, as Carroll’s Boys say; “Goodbye Columbus,” and leave with their bellies fully gorged.

No.18 Notre Dame at Michigan (Ch.7, 3:30 p.m.)  What a difference a week makes.  Before their season opening performances, both of which were sharper than Dean Martin in a tuxedo, this game on paper fell into the “ho-hum” category.  One week later it’s moved into a “must watch” Emmy contender. 

There is now a line waiting to find a spot on the Irish bandwagon.  But, the wise philosopher once said, “One game does not a season make.”  This week we’ll find out if ND is for real or simply Memorex.  With Charlie Weis once again calling the plays, the performance of junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen along with the running of Armando Allen and the field stretching ability of best pair of receivers in the nation, in All-America Golden Tate, and Michael Floyd, even has Touchdown Jesus in a smiling mood.  The blitzing D is another matter for the Golden Dome faithful.  Although it pitched its first shutout of the Weis era last week, there are still a lot of candles being lit in the Grotto for their continued well being. 

The much maligned Wolverines coach Rod (Rich Rodriguez) is finally breathing easier, now that he has found not one, but two, duel threat quarterbacks, in freshmen Tate Forcier (starter) and Denard Robinson to direct his spread attack.  The running game is spearheaded by the tandem of Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor, and the bell tolls for the QB’s favorite target, Junior Hemingway.  The D’s front seven is stout led by All-America Brandon Graham and backer Obi Ezeh, but the secondary remains a question, which is not a good recipe in facing Clausen. Fully aware that we are never on the right side of a Notre Dame contest, we think, in this 37th meeting between the two winningiest college football programs, that it will be the speed of Michigan’s ferret quarterbacks who will carry the day, as ‘Hail to the Victors,’ rings around the Big House.

UCLA at Tennessee (ESPN, 4p.m.)  With a victory, Coach Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA Bruins, otherwise known as; the “other” team from the City of Angels, will garner some hard earned attention.  The offense under the guidance of his guru offensive coordinator Norm Chow is directed by quarterback Kevin Prince, with assists from tailback Johnathan Franklin, and wideout Taylor Embree.  If the o-line jells quickly, this could be an explosive attack.  The D is led by its All-America tackle Brian Price, with help from backer Reggie Carter, and a strong dose of the Bosworth brothers, Kyle and Korey. 

Newly minted Vols coach Lane Kiffin, who, “never met a man he liked,” has injected more life back into Knoxville than Dr. Frankenstein brought to the Bavarian countryside. The hope for the orange clad faithful is that, if there is a Saturday nightmare, it occurs on the visitor’s sideline.  UT’s catalyst is senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton, with assists from the nation’s top running back recruit Bryce Brown, (who’s already made an impact), along with a pair of wideouts in Quintin Hancock, and Marsalis Teague.  The D is anchored by All-America safety Eric Berry, with help from backers Nick Reveiz, Savion Frazier, and end Chris Walker.  In a close, hard fought contest, we think Boys from the West Coast fly home with the words to Rocky Top, ringing in their ears. 

South Carolina at No.21 Georgia (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)  South Carolina’s Head Ball Coach really likes his team.  Steve Spurrier has also found renewed energy and purpose, hiring six new assistants, and building, or rebuilding, what he refers to as a “new era” at South Carolina. 

Despite his legendary offensive credentials, it will be the Gamecocks attacking, stifling D, led by backers Shaq Wilson, Eric Norwood, and end Cliff Matthews, who will determine the success of the Cocks season.  Talented quarterback Steven Garcia is searching for consistency, almost as intently as Diogenes searched for an honest man. Spurrier, and the South Carolina faithful, are simply hoping that it doesn’t take as long for the quarterback to locate it.  If Garcia does indeed figure it out, this team could be more than just SEC spoilers.

Georgia has opened its SEC schedule with South Carolina every year since 1992, and during the Mark Richt tenure, the Dawgs have gone 6-2 against the Gamecocks.  The Bulldogs are directed by the steady hand of senior quarterback Joe Cox, with big assists from his All-America receiver A.J. Green and the pounding of tailback Richard Samuel.  The D is attacks behind its All-America backer Rennie Curran, and his fellow backers Marcus Dowtin and Darryl Gamble.  In a game that will have more hits than the Erin Andrews video, we can’t see the Dawgs starting the season 0-2. 

Stanford at Wake Forest        There’s been a long dry football drought on the Farm at Palo Alto.  Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal, who are tilling for its first winning season since 1999, is led by its talented sophomore Andrew Luck, with assists from senior tailback Toby Gerhart and a pair of wideouts in Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu.  The physical D, behind end Erik Lorig, Tom Keiser and backer Clinton Snyder, isn’t afraid to attack, and takes a bend don’t break attitude. 

If Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe can lead his Demon Deacons to its fourth consecutive winning campaign, it will be a first on the Winston-Salem campus since the Truman Administration in 1948.  The director of the Wake attack is its talented senior quarterback Riley Skinner who is helped by his tailback tandem of Kevin Harris and Devon Brown, and a pair of sure handed targets in Marshall and Jordan Williams.  The ball hawking D, features tackles Boo Robinson, John Russell and backer Jonathan Jones, but the secondary is young and inexperienced.  West Coast to East Coast, noon time kickoffs are brutal, but we think that the crop is finally fertile on the Farm, and Stanford flies home with a victory.

Last week’s record:  3-2.

Season Record:        3-2.

Season Record:        3-2.

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