Handicapping week 6

Before we begin – it was correctly pointed out by one of our “loyal” readers that our win/loss total was posted incorrectly – or as this gentleman said – “It looked more like Enron accounting.”  To set the record straight: our record was incorrectly posted as 17-8, when in fact we stand at 14-11, after a pair of 2-3 weeks.  But in reality, in this very exciting and unpredictable season – a winning record at this point, although below our usual “high” standards – it’s not that bad.  As the philosopher once said, “Two weeks does not a season make.”  We have contacted PricewaterhouseCoopers for assistance and they will work closely with us to monitor the accounting practices. Now, to the business at hand: – the handicapping of week 6.

 

We begin this week, banned in the home of Buddy Holly, Lubbock, Texas. 

Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has issued a team-wide ban on the use of twitter.  The edict went into effect last week after one of his players “tweeted” that coach was late for a team meeting.  The erudite and eccentric coach, a lawyer, who has an affinity for pirates, said, “Players don’t need to twitter or Facebook, they are simply stupid distractions.  I think that a guy who plays college football gets enough attention.  It’s a bunch of narcissists that want to sit and type stuff about themselves all the time.  We’ll put mirrors in some of their lockers, if that is necessary, but they don’t have to twitter.”

Hey coach, tell us how you really feel.  This weekend, let’s see which teams mirror the game plan, and which “face” the facts, and tweet out an SOS. 

No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU (Ch.4, 8p.m.)  I know it’s early, but this may be the game of the year.  In the last three years, the winner of this game has won the national championship. And since taking over their respective programs, these coaches are a combined: 95-20.  But Urban Meyer is 0-2 on his visits to LSU.  Florida stat: Coach Meyer is 28-3, when he has a week to prepare for a particular opponent.  Assuming its All-World quarterback Tim Tebow is playing (concussion), if he can’t go, sophomore quarterback John Brantley will get the start.  Either way, the Boys from the Sunshine State should be fine.  TT, who has better leadership skills than General David Petraeus, is the nation’s third most efficient passer, (6 touchdown passes – 1 interception) and team’s second leading rusher.  If Brantley starts, the Gators will smoothly motor, riding the nation’s top rushing (over 300 yds. a game.) team.  Florida attacks utilizing a stable of backs featuring; Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey.  When the former Heisman Trophy winner does throw, he relies on wideout Riley Cooper and his All-America tight end Aaron Hernandez to move the ball.  When this entire offensive cocktail is mixed together, the results are explosive, as Florida shakes as America’s second highest scoring team.  But despite that offensive dynamism, it’s the Gator’s D, which causes the acid reflux in the stomach lining of opposing coaches.  This speed infused, snarling bunch, is tougher than a $2 steak, ranks first in total D, while surrendering a total of 29 points.  This Iron Curtain with a drawl, is led by a quartet of All-Americas; backer Brandon Spikes, end Carlos Dunlap, corner Joe Haden, and safety Ahman Black.  If Tebow doesn’t play, these guys are strong enough to carry the UF banner to victory. 

Up to this point, LSU’s lofty ranking seems more like a game of 3-card Monty game.  It just doesn’t seem to be on the level, as the Tigers have had more escapes than Harry Houdini.  But a victory on Saturday night, and Les Miles’ boys, earns an all expense paid trip to Las Vegas, and a legitimate front table seat at the WSP – World Series of Poker.  The reason for those feelings is an offense, which ranks a Temple-like 99.th  These toothless Tigers pounce with its dual threat, learning curve quarterback, (7 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions) Jordan Jefferson.  The QB is assisted by a pedestrian pair of runners in Charles Scott and Keiland Williams, along with a tandem of secondary stretching receivers, Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver.  The oatmeal-bland D, led by backer Harry Coleman, tackle Drake Nevis and end Rahim Alem, keeps finding a way to keep teams out of the end zone.  We think Tebow – QB or not to QB – LSU goes back to shuffling cards.  But there is a caveat of karma floating around LSU. 

It was during the Eisenhower Administration – a half-century ago – when Tiger stadium last saw a pair of top five teams come – a – calling.  It was Halloween night, 1959, when tailback Billy Cannon ran his way into immortality, and ultimately, to New York, to hold a Heisman Trophy.  Late in the game Cannon fielded a punt then weaved his way, breaking seven tackles, down the sideline, on an 89 yard game winning scoring jaunt, defeating, then No.1 Mississippi, 7-3.  So who knows?    Also, during this decade at night in Death Valley, LSU is a USC-like 45-4, and have won 32 straight at home under the lights.  But we’re sticking with the Gators.

 

No.3 Alabama at No. 20 Mississippi (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) Woodrow Wilson (1920) was in the last year of his White House tenure, the last time Alabama scored at least 30 points, in its each of its first five games.  Junior quarterback Greg McElroy (9 touchdown passes – 1 interception) has been the spark, responsible for igniting this pyrotechnic Tuscaloosa exhibition.  The director of the nation’s eighth highest scoring offense, relies heavily, on the running ability, of a trio of shifty tailbacks, featuring Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Terry Grant.  This group drives America’s tenth best rushing attack.  The unheralded, but starry QB also has a pair of sure handed targets, in tight end Colin Peek, and wideout Julio Jones.  But it’s the defense that makes the Tide rise.  Coach Nick Saban’s D, hits harder than Bernie Madoff hit his client’s retirement accounts.  These fearsome junk-yard dogs are led by this All-America threesome: backer Rolando McClain, corner Javier Arenas, and nose Terrance (Mount – 365 pounds) Cody.  They are ranks second overall nationally, and corral an offense, better than Gil Favor corralled his cattle. (You have to be over 50 to get the Favor reference.)

The Grove hasn’t had this much excitement since the ‘Ol Miss Campus produced consecutive Miss Americas.  Unfortunately, for the Rebel faithful, quarterback Jevan Snead, a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate (9 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions, 50% completion rate) hasn’t lived up to the hype.  The rest of Coach Houston Nutt’s offense; tailback Brandon Bolder and wideouts Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge have also gotten dusty on the trail.  The D, moves with a different strut, and are definitely crown worthy.  This group, led by backer Patrick Trahan, end Kentrell Lockett and All-America end Greg Hardy, is the sixth stingiest in the nation (10 points a game) and has been the grits to the Rebels season.  We think the fireworks show gets bolder and brighter, as Alabama walks even closer to a potential crown. 

Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) In Mad-Town (Madison) they have temporarily called off the dogs against Coach Bret Bielema.  You win a reprieve, when your team struts out to a surprising 5-0 start.  Wiscy’s top 20 scoring attack is directed by its impressive quarterback Scott Tolzien (9 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from a pair of glue fingered targets in tight end Garrett Graham and wideout Nick Toon.  As with most successful Wisconsin teams, the real mover and shaker for the Madison eleven; is its signature position of tailback.  The Badgers have a good and big one, in 250 pound clock controlling John Clay, who also pounds along as the nation’s fifth leading runner.  The opportunistic D, behind backers Mike Taylor, Jaevery McFadden and end O’Brien Schofield, is in the top 20 in sacks, has grabbed 7 interceptions, and is 4th nationally in turnovers gained

In its last three games, albeit against overmatched “Matchbook U’s,” the Ohio State defense has allowed a total of 113 yards of rushing, while surrendering a miniscule total of 14 points.  These Sons of Woody, are the country’s 8th stingiest group, and inhale runners, behind backers Brian Rolle, Ross Homan, and end Cameron Heyward.  Unfortunately for the Buckeye faithful, the Scarlet and Grey have more often resembled the days of Woody’s – three yards and a cloud of dust offense – than the go-go style of the “modern” era.  The Bucks highly touted, and abundantly talented quarterback Tyrelle Pryor (8 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) remains, like our recovering economy, very much a work in progress.  The strength of the OSU offense is the reliability of its tailback tandem; Brandon Saine and Dan Herron.  On a Saturday in the Horseshoe, we think that the spirit of Woody prevails, as the Bucks run to another home victory.

Michigan at No.12 Iowa (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  May the Force be with you.  Translation: so goes its impish true-freshman QB Tate Forcier, so go the Michigan Wolverines.  The kid, (9 touchdowns – 3 interceptions) is the glue of the Maize and Blue.  He is assisted by the tailback tandem of Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor, the quarterback’s change-up partner; Denard Robinson, and the receiving ability of Darryl Stonum and Martavious Odoms.  This group isn’t scintillating – but when the game is on the line, they simply find a way to win.  The D, led by backer Obi Ezeh, tackle Ryan Van Bergen and All-America end Brandon Graham, ranks 99th overall, and is about as weak as the latest US employment figures.    

Iowa has won 9 straight, and is 5-0 for the first time since the “heady” days of; Bill and Monica – 1995.  The signature of this Kirk Ferentz coached eleven, is the corn-fed D, who are the tenth stingiest in America.  These Hawkeyes are led by linebacker Pat Angerer – who plays that way – along with fellow backer Jeremiha Hunter and end Karl Klug.  The offense is commanded by quarterback Ricky Stanzi (8 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions).  The QB is cocooned by a seasoned offensive line, and is helped by the running of tailbacks Adam Robinson, Brandon Wegher, and the field stretching ability of Trey Stross and Marvin McNutt.  We think the Force fades, and Bill and Monica enjoy a victory cigar, as the Hawkeyes climb to 6-0. 

Boston College at No. 5 Virginia Tech ( TV38, noon) The BC faithful are hoping that the home-town heroes second venture away from the confines of Chestnut Hill, will allow the Eagles to soar to new heights.  One thing is certain; BC has found a quarterback.  Despite BC’s 95th overall offensive ranking, Dave Shinskie (7 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions) the ‘seasoned’ 25 year old freshman “Goldie Oldie,” is climbing nicely on the learning curve.  In addition to Jesuit prayers, the QB is nicely assisted by his water-toting tailback Montel Harris, and the clutch receiving of wideout Rich Gunnell.  The foundation of the Eagles surprising season is the nation’s 20th stingiest defense (15 points a game), led by freshman backer Luke Kuechly and lineman Alex Albright.

Even though his completion percentage is a shade under 50%, the Hokies quarterback, Tyrod Taylor (6 touchdown passes – 1 interception), is developing into a team leader.  The dual threat director is greatly assisted by one of the nation’s best, in tailback Ryan Williams (8 td’s), who sits 8th overall in rushing.  Taylor also has a pair of field stretching receivers in Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale.  To this point, Bud Foster’s lunch pail D, featuring backers Barquell Rivers, Cody Grimm and end Jason Worilds, hasn’t lived up to its  usual Blacksburg standards, as opponents have been able to run on the Hokies.  But we think it’s:  “Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi, …”as VaTech continues to make its case for BCS supremacy.

Last week’s record: 2-3                               Season Record: 14-11. 

Check in Sunday at noon, for our weekend recap.

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