Monthly Archives: September 2010

Handicapping week 5

We begin this week with pair of battling mascots.

Two weeks ago, in Columbus, mighty Ohio State clobbered its in-state rival Ohio; 43 -7.  But the real action occurred before the game, when the Ohio mascot, Rufus the Bobcat, tackled Ohio State’s mascot Brutus Buckeye from behind, touching off an impromptu wrestling match.  The entire episode was witnessed by over 100,000 angry Scarlet and Grey zealots. 

It seems the culprit, Ohio student Brandon Henning, had been planning this stunt for over a year, ever since he got the mascot gig.  His actions forced Ohio University to issue an apology to Ohio State, and this nit-wit, who is no longer enrolled at Ohio, was banned from any further affiliation with Ohio Athletics.  The best line came from Bobcat Coach Frank Solich who said, “Obviously, we needed to tackle the guy with the ball, not the mascot.”  Succinctly, and perfectly put.  This weekend, let’s see which teams perform like its masquerading as football team, and which parades with its mascot in a victory celebration.  

No.7 Florida at No.1 Alabama (Ch.4, 8 p.m.)  This is the ultimate pay back for the Gators, who are riding a regular season winning streak that has climbed to two-dozen. Unfortunately for the Swamp Faithful, Tim Tebow is not walking through that locker room door.  Florida’s offense (78th overall) which had been as reliable as Lindsay Lohan staying out of jail might be starting to find its chomp.   Junior QB John Brantley (6 touchdown passes – 1 interception) with assists from his water bug tailback Jeffrey Demps (foot bruise – probable), receiver Deonte Thompson, and newly installed eye-opening true freshman; qb/wr/rb, Trey Burton are beginning to find its persona and the end zone.  The Gators ferocious D, behind tackle Jaye Howard and backer Jelani Jenkins swallows runners better than Joey Chestnut, surrenders less than 15 points a game, and leads the nation in interceptions with twelve.

The Bama backfield could challenge the Kenyans.  These yardage churners led by All-America and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, who runs like Secretariat, (an eye popping 9 yards a carry), and his running mate Trent Richardson, blend together, better than Gleason and Carney.  The Tides UFC-tough triggerman is; “Mr. Undefeated,” senior quarterback Greg McElroy (leg contusion), who is seventh in the nation in pass efficiency, and a better leader than the entire Congress.  The QB, who has won 17 consecutive SEC games, has a Linus-blanket, big-play target in All-America wideout Julio Jones.  The nation’s stingiest D, who has surrendered a jaw-dropping combined total of six points in the second half, and is allowing less than 10 points a game, is anchored by a trio of All-Americas; end Marcell Dareus, Dont’a Hightower, and safety Mark Barron. In Tuscaloosa, the Tide, who has won 28 consecutive regular season games, continues to rise, as Alabama answers another huge challenge.  One other note; the team ranked No.1 in the AP poll is 27-0 at home since 1995.  Roll Tide.

No.9 Stanford at No.4 Oregon (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  The Cardinal is flying.  Stanford, under its fiery coach Jim Harbaugh is off to its best start (4-0) since Ronald Reagan was sitting in the Oval Office – 1986.  The nation’s fourth highest scoring offense (48 points a game), is directed by its dual-threat QB, Andrew Luck (11 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions), with assists from a pair of chain moving tailbacks Tyler Gaffney and Stepfan Taylor.  When Luck takes to the air, his accuracy is greatly enhanced, courtesy of receivers; Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whelan.  The country’s twelfth stingiest D (13 points a game) is dotted with disruptors reflective of its coach’s personality, and is led by end Chase Thomas and tackle Sione Fua. 

In Eugene, it’s been; a Duck feeding frenzy.  Oregon, the highest scoring eleven in the land (57 points a game), motors behind its All-America tailback LaMichael James and his running partner Remene Alston.  That running attack, the nation’s third best, has comforted Sophomore QB Darron Thomas (10 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) who  is maturing into an equal partner, especially when he focuses on his pair of glue fingered targets; Jeff Maehl and David Paulson.  The D, attacks behind tackles Brandon Bair, Zac Clark and backer Casey Matthews.  This group leads the country in turnovers gained, and is the nation’s third (11 points a game) toughest to crack.  In Autzen Stadium, one of the loudest stadiums in the college landscape, the Duck feeding frenzy continues as the Green from Eugene soars over the Cardinal.

No.21Texas vs. No.8 Oklahoma – Dallas, Cotton Bowl (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.)  In the spirit of Diogenes, the Horns are continuing its search for any offensive consistency.  UT’s sophomore QB Garrett Gilbert (4 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions, 63% completions) has performed below Austin expectations, while the best runner in the Texas stable, (which ranks 76th overall), might be its mascot; Bevo.  The receiving corps, led by Mike Davis, and James Kirkendoll, has operated more like the Texas two-step.  The D, a deceiving, second overall, is anchored by a pair of All-Americas; end Sam Acho, corner Curtis Brown, and has kept Mack Brown season off life-support.

To paraphrase Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers, Oklahoma has been whistling down the offensive plain, but remains at a whistle-stop; on defense.  The Sooners offense is directed by its dynamic sophomore quarterback (9 touchdown passes -3 interceptions) Landry Jones.  The OU gunslinger is greatly assisted by his game breaking pair; tailback DeMarco Murray, who is having a Heisman Trophy season, and his Store 24 (always open) All-America target, Ryan Broyles, who leads the nation in receptions per game with ten.  The D, which features a pair of All-Americas; end Jeremy Beal, and backer Travis Lewis, ranks 97th overall, and has looked as woeful as Jack E. Robinson does to the electorate on a Massachusetts election ballot.   In the Red River Rivalry, where Texas has won four of the last five, we are tempted to go with the desperate Horns, but we think Diogenes continues his search, as the Stormers from Norman, in a shootout, prevail.

No.11 Wisconsin at No. 24 Michigan State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m. regional) The Badgers, who are 13-11, and 4-8 on the road in Big Ten play over the last three years, has bludgeoned teams, by pounding its 250 pound All-America battering ram, John Clay.  Wiscy’s bulldozer, who is riding a streak of ten consecutive 100 yard games, is given the occasional breather by his very talented backfield mate; James White.  The entire Madison operation is directed by the steady senior leadership of QB Scott Tolzein (70% completions), and his targets Lance Kendricks and Issac Anderson.  The Mad-Town D, which surrenders less than 15 points a game, is anchored by ends; Louis Nzegwu, J.J. Watt, and backer Kevin Rouse.

The Spartans, who are attempting to start 5-0 for the first time in 11 years when a guy named Nick Saban roamed its sidelines, can also till some soil.  Quarterback Kirk Cousins, commands a group of earth movers; tailbacks Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell who have combined for 970 yards rushing.  And when the QB takes to the air, he has the luxury of focusing on a threesome of big-play targets; B.J. Cuningham, Kershawn Martin, and tight end Lance Kendricks.  The D, led by All-America backer Greg Jones and fellow backer Eric Gordon crushes runners, but is very susceptible defending the pass.  Sparty has lost 14 of its last 15 to ranked opponents, and in a rock’em-sock’em, seesaw battle, we think the crew from Mad-Town batters its way to victory.

Virginia Tech at No. 23 NC State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m. regional) The Hokies offense is like Switzerland, stuck in a state of neutral.  The leader of this mediocre bunch is its dual-threat QB Tyrod Taylor (5-touchdown passes – 2 interceptions) who also leads the team in rushing.  He is assisted by his All-America tailback Ryan Williams, his partner Darren Evans and field stretching wideouts; Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale.  This group, at least so far, will not cause any sleepless nights for the opposition’s defensive coordinator.  VaTech’s D-coordinator Bud Foster young guns, led by backer Bruce Taylor, end Steven Friday and safety Eddie Whitley is slowly maturing into the traditional nasty persona expected in Blacksburg. 

NC State finds itself in the rankings for the first time since 2003.  Old friend Tom O’Brien, and these Sons of Phillip Rivers, might finally have something smoking in Raleigh.  The Wolfpack is led by its starry QB Russell Wilson (11 touchdown passes – 1 interception) who makes a mistake about as often as Einstein.  The rest of the top-twenty offense fires behind tailbacks Mustafa Greene, Dean Haynes, and a three-pack of receivers; Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams, and T.J. Graham.  The D also has its own threesome of fast paced intimidators; backers Nate Irving, Audie Cole and Terell Manning.  O’Brien has never started 5-0 in his career, but we think the smoke signals in Raleigh read; the Wolfpack howls to another victory.

(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)

Last week’s record:  4-1                                          Season record:  14-6.

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Recap week 3

Whew!! That’s the sound coming out of Tuscon, Norman, Tuscaloosa, and Ann Arbor this morning.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama staged a mighty comeback, down 13 in the second half to defeat Arkansas 24-10, and hang onto its No.1 ranking.  It was classic ‘Bama, no panic, a reflection on the persona of Coach Nick Saban, combined with talent in the form of its devastating running tandem; defending Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and his partner Trent Richardson, along with a shut down opportunistic defense.  The Tide has now won 17 consecutive SEC games, and its starry field general, quarterback Greg McElroy, remains undefeated as a starter at Alabama.  It was also the farewell tour of Arkansas quarterback’s Heisman Trophy hopes.

What’s wrong with Oklahoma’s defense?  OU, who at one time lead 24-9, had to hang on to defeat an average Cincinnati team 31-29, as the Sooners D was shredded for almost 450 yards!!  Yikes!!

In Tuscon, last week’s signature victory over Iowa would have been all for naught if Arizona quarterback Nick Foles didn’t lead a late touchdown drive to defeat Cal 10-9.  Cal’s field goal kicker, Giorgio Tavecchhio, who had made his previous three, missed a 40 yarder with less than three minutes to go, keeping the Wildcats who now find themselves 4-0 for the first time since 1998.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan rolled over Bowling Green 65-21, but in the Big House over 100,000 of the faithful held its collective breath as its “Mr. Everything,” quarterback Denard “Shoelace” Robinson stayed on the ground after another of his scintillating runs.  It turns out Robinson, who carried five times for 129 yards, was fine (knee tweak) but was held out for the rest of the game. Shoelace will be lacing them up next week against Indiana.

In the old friend department:  Coach Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack have something smoking in Raleigh, as NC State, after its big road win against Gerogia Tech 45-38, is 4-0 for the first time since 2002.  And up at Hanover, New Hampshire Coach Buddy Teevens (Silver Lake Regional High School) has his Dartmouth Big Green 2-0 for the first time since the Clinton Administration, 1997. Congrats!!

Touchdown Jesus must be on a sabbatical. Notre Dame was embarrassed at home by Stanford 37-14, as the “Fighting” Irish fell to 1-3.  Two way player – linebacker and fullback – Owen Marecic, scored on a pick six, and on a run, to cap off a memorable day.  Irish Coach Brian Kelly is the right guy – it’s just going to take some time, after Charlie Weis left the cupboard quite empty. 

Sobs.  That was the sound emanating from Austin, as Texas was humiliated by UCLA 34-12.  It was the worst loss in the Mack Brown era.  The last time UCLA came a calling to Royal/Memorial Stadium it was the “Rout 66” game; UCLA 66 – Texas 3, the year before Brown’s arrival.  The Bruins had 224 yard of rushing, while Texas managed only 85.  Double Yikes!!  Here’s our guess, you won’t be seeing UCLA on the Horns schedule for another 13 years!! 

Temple’s Al Golden, a former Penn State player and assistant coach gave his mentor all he could handle before the Owls finally fell to the Nittany Lions 22-13.

Back in the SEC; Auburn fell behind again, this time 20-7 to a very good South Carolina team, before rallying back on the legs of its rising star, goliath quarterback Cam Newton, (6-6, 250 pounds) who rushed for 176 yards.  Every time the Tigers needed first down yardage, or a big play, Newton answered.  If Auburn continues to win, the big QB will start to get some serious Heisman consideration. 

LSU coach Les Miles said it best, “We’re 4-0 the hard way.”  The Tigers defense is harder to crack than Fort Knox, but its “offense” is as sickening as a De Coster egg.  Starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, for the third consecutive game, failed to pass for 100 yards, and at times was booed by the Death Valley faithful, as LSU hung on to defeat West Virginia 20-14.  It was ugly. 

In the Swamp, the Gators finally found some offense, as tailback/receiver Trey Burton broke one of Tim Tebow’s Florida records; scoring six touchdowns.  Burton becomes the fourth player in the storied history of the SEC to accomplish such a feat, as Florida toyed with Kentucky; 48-14. 

In Boise, the Broncos who defeated Oregon State 37-24, didn’t earn enough style points to silence its critics, although quarterback Kellen Moore was once again spectacular. 

It was ugly in the Horseshoe for Eastern Michigan as the Buckeyes pummeled the Eagles 73-20, as OSU scored its most points since the Truman Administration – 1950.

In Minneapolis it’s almost inevitable that the coaching resumes will begin to flow.  Coach Tim Brewster’s Golden Gophers fell to Northern Illinois 34-23 dropping its record to 1-3 before it even starts Big Ten Play.  During the game Minnesota twice had fourth and one, and twice they were stopped.  Double Yikes!!

There is also some serious soul searching going on in West Lafayette, as Toledo, who started the game ranked as the nation’s worst total offense, put up 378 yards in defeating the Purdue Boiler Makers 31-20. 

Finally, in Athens, Georgia, Coach Mark Richt and his Bulldogs find themselves 1-3 and 0-3 in the conference (first time since 1993) after losing to Mississippi State 24-12.  The win broke a nine game losing streak for Coach Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs.  And the Bulldogs, with the supposed pedigree, find themselves with its first three game losing streak since 1990.  Break out the fire extinguishers, Richt’s chair just started smoldering.

(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)

That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be up and running with our analysis of week fire Wednesday night, until then, Peace and listen to the music.

Handicapping week 4

We begin this week with a mascot, and an example of how too much of a certain spirit, can curtail school spirit.

Penn State student Clint Gyory, the Nittany Lions mascot, received a month long suspension from his duties of; wiggling into his Lions costume.  The reason; in early August, Gyory was cited for public drunkenness and criminal misconduct, and the Penn State Athletic Department determined a certain punishment was warranted.   Here’s a hint Clint, next time, keep the head, on your head.  This weekend let’s see which teams play like it’s wearing a costume, and which, send the spirits of its spirit-filled faithful soaring, by imbibing in the celebration of another victory.

No. 1 Alabama at No.10 Arkansas (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.)  The Tide, which hasn’t lost an SEC regular season game in two years, flows into Fayetteville, intent on partaking on some bacon.

Alabama is directed by its undefeated, Montana-cool, and Rhodes Scholar candidate quarterback, Greg McElroy (an eye-popping 17-0 as the starter in Tuscaloosa), with huge assists from the best tailback tandem in America; Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and his partner Trent Richardson.  The QB also has the luxury of targeting one of the nation’s best big-play wideouts, All-America Julio Jones.  The D, although young, particularly in the secondary, has earned Aretha Franklin respect, firing behind a trio of All-Americas; end Marcell Dareus, backer Dont’a Hightower, and safety Mark Barron. 

If the Hogs are to butcher Alabama, it will be on the slicing right arm of its All-America quarterback Ryan Mallett.  The Prudential sized (6-foot-7, 238 pounds) QB is helped by a threesome of quality targets; All-America tight end D.J. Williams, and a pair of squirrel –quick wideouts; Joe Adams, and Greg Childs.  Unfortunately, the Hogs running attack is lamb soft.  The D, featuring backers Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson,                                   is fast and much improved.  In Fayetteville, which hasn’t hosted a meeting between top ten teams since the last year of the Carter Administration (1979), the Tide continues to rise, as Alabama dines on a menu of BLT’s. 

No.24 Oregon State at No.3 Boise State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  Welcome to Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.  OSU’s senior band of brothers, All-America tailback Jacquizz, and wideout James, are the catalyst behind the Beavers offense.  It’s a good thing these guys operate in Cadillac quality, because sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz is still in his apprentice stage, operating more like a used Yugo.  The D, led by tackle Stephen Paea, backer Dwight Roberson and a pair of lanky safeties, is mistake prone, and has allowed the opposition a decided difference in time of possession.  In a preparation note; the Beavers painted one of its practice fields blue.  Hey, whatever works!

Sweet 16, that’s the streak the Boys from Idaho are presently peeling.  These blue turf monsters, who are 63-2 at home since 2000, and riding a streak of 26 straight, are led by its peppermint-patty cool, All-America quarterback Kellen Moore.  The starry QB is assisted by a pair of touchdown making wideouts; Austin Pettis, and his partner Titus Young.  When the Broncos do run, they buck behind a quality tailback; Jeremy Avery.  The D, anchored by All-America safety Jeron Johnson and end Shea McClellin,                          is equally dynamic, and hit like broncos.  In Boise, the streak climbs to 17, as the Broncos dam the Beavers, and lays a legitimate claim as one of the best in the nation.

No.12 South Carolina at no.17 Auburn (ESPN, 7:45 p.m.)  The Gamecocks are crowing, and the Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, has a new spring to his step.  The Cocks are directed by its gristle-tough, dual-threat junior quarterback, Stephen Garcia, with assists from his sensational true-freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore, (who runs like the late Willie Galimore of the Bears) and a foursome of sky-scrapper receivers; featuring Alshon Jeffrey and Tori Gurley.  The D, led by tackle Travian Robertson, and end Devin Taylor, is jet-fueled, punishing, and meaner than a Monday morning hangover. 

The Auburn offense has disappeared faster than the oil in the Gulf.  The question on the Plains remains; can its goliath (6-foot-6, 247 pounds) newly installed, dual–threat quarterback, Cameron Newton, who leads the team in rushing, become a consistent passer?  The QB, who reminds one of Nuke Larouche, (Bull Durham) is assisted by tailbacks; Onterio McCalebb, freshman sensation Michael Dyer, and receivers Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery.  The D, which punishes with backer Josh Bynes, tackle Nick Fairley and end Antoine Carter are equal-opportunity disruptors.  Fully aware that Spurrier is 8-15 against ranked opponents since taking over at USC, we still think the Cocks, who have lost five consecutive SEC road games, continue to crow, as South Carolina becomes a serious SEC threat.

No.22 West Virginia at No.15 LSU (ESPN, 9 p.m.)  If Coach Bill Stewart’s Mountaineers are to continue to climb the rankings, it will need to be guided by its offensive triumvirate; dart-throwing QB Geno Smith (7 touchdown passes – 0 interceptions, 70% completions), mercury-fueled tailback Noel Devine, and receiver Javon Austin.  These amigos can light a scoreboard, faster than Bernie Madoff swindled a dollar, or Paris Hilton cops a plea.  The D stones runners, behind its own dynamic threesome; backers Anthony Leonard, Bruce Irvin, and end Scooter Berry.

 LSU has a secret weapon; a night game at Death Valley.  Under the lights, during the Les Miles era, the Bayou Bengals are a dominating 25-1, and since 1960 the Tigers are an astounding 216-60-4 after sunset.  In addition, the last time a non-conference team to win at Tiger Stadium, traces all the way back to the last months of the Clinton Administration, September of 2000. LSU roars with a concussive defense, featuring a pair of All-Americas; corner Patrick Peterson and backer Kelvin Shepard, along with tackle Drake Nevis.  It’s the offensive production that causes the nausea amongst the Baton Rouge faithful, and often looks as weak as the Administration of New York Governor David Patterson.  This group is directed by its erratic two-way QB, Russell Shepard, and employs a running game that looks like it’s stuck in some Gulf oil. We think, LSU at night is too high of an obstacle for the Mountaineers to climb, as the Tigers win a close one.

NC State at Georgia Tech (ESPN, Noon) Although it has taken him longer than he expected, old friend, Coach Tom O’Brien has the Wolfpack howling, with its first 3-0 start since 2002.  The leader of this resurgence is a cannon armed junior quarterback Russell Wilson (8 touchdown passes – 0 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks Mustafa Greene, Dean Haynes, wideout Jarvis Williams and tight end George Bryan.  The snarling D, which has yet to surrender a point in the third quarter, is angrier than Jimmy Carter, and attacks behind backers Terrell Manning, Audie Cole and end Michael Lemon.

Just as the swallows return to Capistrano, Coach Paul Johnson has the Jackets on the run.  Tech’s “flexbone” option ranks third in the nation, averaging over 340 yards a game, while the passing “attack,” sits one spot from the bottom.  The ringmaster of this circus is its senior dual-threat quarterback Josh Nesbitt (36% completions) with assists from chain moving runner Anthony Allen.  The D, behind backers Steve Sylvester, Brad Jefferson, and end Izaan Cross is solid, and will keep GTech in every game.  In a very close game, Tech has won seven consecutive ACC games; we think the jacket is a better fit on Tom O’Brien. 

Last week:  1-4                                        Season record: 10-5

(Material from other sources was used in this report.)

Make sure to read our recap, which will be up and running Sunday by noon.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.

Recap week 3

Wow! What a weekend!! 

Faked field goals in overtime to win, a blocked extra point for the win, huge comebacks, some falling short at the last second, others surviving, it was another classic, college football, Saturday.

We begin in Ann Arbor at the Big House.  Mighty “Meeechigan” and Coach Rich $Rod considered this as simply a payout game, another notch in the win column, and a breather, before they get back into action with the “big boys.”   But the quality team from Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship university, University of Massachusetts –marched into Maize and Blue Country with a different idea, they came to win.  And for a great part of the afternoon they had the Big Blue Faithful with thoughts of Deja-vu, Appalachian State -2007, before finally falling to the Wolverines; 42-37.

It may be Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood – quarterback Denard Robinson, the Wolverines scintillating QB, but it sure isn’t Greg Robinson’s town, Michigan’s beleaguered defensive coordinator, who saw his “defense” surrender over 430 offensive yard to UMass.  Yikes!  That doesn’t bode well for the Michigan’ future. 

In the call of the year category, the winner is: Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio.  Needing a 46 yard field goal to send the game into the second overtime against arch-rival Notre Dame, the coach called for a fake, and he holder Aaron Bates threw a perfect 29 yard pass to Charlie Gantt to seal the improbable victory 34-31.  I wonder if the Bates kid is any relation to Norman, because he did stab ND in the heart.

On Thursday night, old friend Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack defeated Cincinnati to climb to 3-0 for the first time since 2002.

On Friday, the WAC conference stretched its muscles as Nevada, whose last win against California occurred during the Woodrow Wilson Administration in 1915, toyed with the Golden Bears, as its starry dual–threat quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was responsible for five touchdowns,  running  for three, and passing for two, as the Wolfpack howled over Cal; 52-31. 

In Athens, the thermal units around the seat of head Coach Mark Richt continue to warm as the Georgia Bulldogs have started 0-2 in the SEC for the first time since the first year of the Clinton Administration – 1993.  Double YIKES!!  In the third week of the season, the SEC hopes of these Sons of Vince Dooley, are probably already over. 

Ohio State kept another streak alive in its 43-7 beat-down of Ohio; it hasn’t lost to an in-state team since the Harding Administration – 1921!!

Welcome back to the reigning Heisman Trophy winner – as Mark Ingram, and the Crimson Tide, tuned up for this Saturday’s gigantic clash against Arkansas by destroying Duke 62-13.  In his first carry Ingram rumbled for 48 yards, and had over 100 in the first quarter – 3 carries for 101 yards.  There have been games where Duke’s basketball team struggles to score 62. 

In the “grass is always greener” department – Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt – at the last minute decided to bring in disgraced former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, to lead Rebels.  Well there are a lot of tears being shed in the home of William Faulkner, Oxford, Mississippi, as Ole Miss (1-2, including a loss to 1AA Jacksonville State) lost to Vanderbilt 28-14.  Vandy 1-1 in the SEC snapped a 10 game conference losing streak, as new coach Robbie Caldwell got his first win.  Congrats.  Even Faulkner would like this story.

Coach Al Golden’s star has now climbed into Carl Sagan territory, as his Temple Owls defeated UConn 30-16, climbing to 3-0 for the first time since the Carter Administration – 1979.  If Temple’s is smart, they’ll offer the coach a lifetime contract today.  He may not take it, but why not offer.  Penn State better be on its toes this week when the Owls come a hooting.

Jake Who?  Nebraska toyed with the Washington Huskies and its starry quarterback Jake Locker 4-20-71 yards, 1-td, 2-interceptions, rolling to 56-21 victory.  The Cornhuskers QB, Taylor Martinez was by far the better signal caller, and Locker’s NFL cache is definitely dropping. 

May the Force be with you!  Air Force went into Norman and gave mighty Oklahoma, winners of 33 in a row at home, a real scare, as OU escaped with a 27-24 victory.  AF rolled up 351 yards on the ground the most ever surrendered by a Bob Stoops coached team.  The Sooners Heisman Trophy candidate, tailback DeMarco Murray gashed the Force for 148 yards, and was immense in moving the chains. 

In Madison, a blocked extra point with four minutes left prevented Arizona State, which outplayed the Badgers, from tying the game, and potentially sending it to overtime.

When is a game tying field goal in overtime good, then not good?  That’s what happened in Auburn as the Auburn Tigers battled back from a 17 point deficit against Clemson escaping with a 27-24 ot victory.  In the overtime period, Auburn had the ball first, and settled for a field goal.  Clemson, after missing a wide open receiver in the end zone, lined up to kick a chip shot.  It was good, but wait, a penalty flag moved it back five yards.  On the second try – no good, Auburn wins.  WOW!!

Finally in the desert, in a game filled with penalties and mistakes, – Iowa – who had won 17 of its last 19 – fell behind 27-7 only to rally all the way back to tie – they missed an extra point or the Hawkeyes would have been up by a point, only to see Arizona, in a signature victory – storm back for a 34-27 victory.  It ended the National Championship dreams for the Iowa City faithful.

What a weekend!!

We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 4, Wednesday night.  Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.

Handicapping week 3

We begin this week with a twist on the term “laundry game.” 

It is defined the following way: A team, let’s say the vintage Green Bay Packers, has already won the game, by simply walking off the bus.  The opposition, staring at the names on those Packer jerseys, instantly knows, it has no chance, hence the term; “laundry game.”  Our college laundry poster boy is; Georgia’s All-America receiver A.J. Green. A.J. sold his 2009 Independence Bowl jersey for $1000 to an individual, deemed by the NCAA, to be an agent.  It cost Green a four game suspension, the team its star receiver, and who knows how many victories, not to mention, potentially millions of dollars in the NFL draft.  Nice going A.J.  This weekend, let see which teams play like they aren’t worthy to put on its jersey, and which play so well, its highly prized jersey hardly gets touched.

No.6 Texas at Texas Tech (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  Fresh off its annual two week Cupcake U binge, the Horns are ready to sample from the entrée.  It is said that everything is bigger in Texas, well then, try these numbers on for size.  During the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns are a jaw-dropping 130 – 27, and in the month of September, Mack’s boys are 37-3.  When the Sons of Bevo out rush an opponent, it is virtually unbeatable (108-3); which is why Brown is desperate to settle on a primary tailback.  Unfortunately for the Austin Assassins, the search continues, as Texas is starting its third different tailback, giving this week’s nod to junior Fozzy Whittaker.  The Burnt Orange is directed by sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who is assisted by a pair of quality targets; freshman Mike Davis and senior John Chiles.  One of the main reasons for that unsettled backfield situation is the fissures and cracks shown in the Horns offensive line.  Overall, these Lone Star cowpokes, have sputtered like the corruption crack-down of the Karzai Administration. On the other side of the ball, the D, led by a trio of disruptors; All-America end Sam Acho, his partner Eddie Jones and corner Curtis Brown, is as smooth as George Clooney sipping from a glass of bourbon.

New Red Raiders coach, Tommy Tuberville is about to get his first dose of Big 12 football.  The scoreboard lighting Lubbock eleven, is commanded by touchdown maker; QB Taylor Potts (7 touchdowns – 0 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks Baron Batch, Erick Stephens and the wideout tandem of seniors, Lyle Leong and Defron Lewis.  The D, led by safety Cody Davis and a pair of backers Brian Duncan and Bront Bird, has improved, particularly in pressuring the quarterback, but can have lapses almost as egregious as the Congressional testimony of another Texas alum; Roger Clemens.  In the home of the Big Bopper, “who knows what you like,” on Tuberville’s birthday, we think the Red Raiders, in a close one, enjoy a piece of celebratory victory cake.

No.9 Iowa at No.24 Arizona (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)  The Hawkeyes faithful received an early Christmas present, when the Iowa administration locked up its highly respected and highly sought-after head coach, Kirk Ferentz through the 2020 season.  These Children of the Corn attack on the arm of senior QB Ricky Stanzi, who is as tough as a $10 steak, but can be erratic, often throwing one too many to the opposition.  The QB is aided by a corn-popping tailback, Adam Robinson, and a trio of quality receivers, tight end Allen Reisner, and wideouts Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.  The D, behind its All-America end Adrian Clayborn, and tackles Karl Klug and Mike Daniels, is as ornery as Naomi Campbell dealing with her maid.

The last time Arizona hosted a game between ranked teams, Bill Clinton was deep into his second term – 1998.  The Wildcats offensive fireworks, light the sky better than a Tuscon sunset.  One of the main reasons for this desert optimism, Coach Mike Stoops Cats returns ten offensive starters.  This group is highlighted by an experienced offensive line, and led by starry junior quarterback Nick Foles, with help from tailback Nic Grigsby, and glue-fingered wideout Juron Criner.  The D, featuring All-America corner Trevin Wade, tackle Justin Washington and backer Paul Vassalo, lost seven starters to graduation, and at times, appears weaker than the presidential campaign of its hometown US Senator, John McCain.  The Zona faithful has called for a Red Out Saturday night, but we think it’s the Boys of the Corn, who leave the Tuscon faithful with red rimmed eyes. 

No.12 Arkansas at Georgia (ESPN, Noon) In an aerial attack worthy of the Flying Wallendas, the Razorbacks slice opponents on the dart-throwing arm of its All-America skyscraper, quarterback Ryan Mallett.  The maestro of Coach Bobby Petrino’s “go-go” offense has the luxury of choosing from a batch of receivers, but focuses on All-America tight end D.J. Williams, and wideouts Greg Childs and Joe Adams.  When the Hogs do decide to plow some earth, tailbacks Broderick Green and Knile Davis are capable of churning up yardage.  But as Hog nation is well aware, it will be the D, behind backers Jerry Franklin, and Anthony Leon, that will determine the level of success for Arkansas.  If this group can measure up, it could be a very special year for the Fayetteville faithful.

These are desperate times, full of agita, for the Athens faithful.  Another loss and Bulldog Nation’s beloved Dawgs, in only week three, will be out of the SEC race.  If that should happen, the seat of Coach Mark Richt will be hotter than a ticket to a Justin Bieber concert.  So far, the Georgia offense, without its All-America receiver A.J. Green, is like looking at Lady Gaga in a black cocktail dress, it’s just not the same.  Richt has entrusted his future to red-shirt freshman QB Aaron Murray, who has the luxury of relying on a trio of quality backs; Washaun Ealey, Caleb King (shoulder) and Carlton Thomas, along with wideouts; Kris Durham and Marlon Brown, who although not in Green’s class, can still cause damage.  The Georgia D, led by a threesome of backers; Justin Houston, Akeem Dent and Cornelius Washington, are fast, smart, but after last week’s performance, there is a lingering question about its physicality.  In a game of desperation, with a heavy dose of Pepto-Bismol, we think, somehow the Dawgs, between the hedges, gets the job done, keeping its season off the ventilator. 

Clemson at No.16 Auburn (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Last week Clemson, who is searching for its first ACC Championship since 1992, played Presbyterian.  This week, Coach Dabo Sweeney’s Tigers ride into Jordan-Hare Stadium, on the Plains of Auburn, into a much more hostile cauldron.  QB Kyle Parker is director of these Sons of John Heisman. The signal caller is cocooned by an experienced offensive line, a pair of backs; Andre Ellington and Jaime Harper, meshed with the pass catching ability of tight end Dwayne Allen, and wideout Terrance Ashe.  The D, behind All-America safety DeAndre McDaniel, tackle Jarvis Jenkins, and end Da’Quon Bowers is tested and stout.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik has the faithful in a revival mode.  The Tigers, who have won 13 in a row at home against Clemson, are commanded by former Gator, and dual-threat quarterback, Cameron Newton.  The flashy QB has better moves than; Tony Manero of “Saturday Night Fever,” and is perfectly tailored to direct offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s spread attack.  The dynamic leader is assisted by the tailback duo of freshman Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and a pair of chain-moving receivers Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery.  The D’s strength is its front seven, featuring backers Josh Bynes, Eltoro Freeman, tackle Nick Fairy and end Antoine Carter, all of whom have a soft spot for attacking quarterbacks.  We think the Auburn revival tent continues to expand as the Tigers pass the basket after a win over the Orange from Clemson.

 UConn at Temple (Noon – regional TV) In most cases, when speculation revolves around the home team’s football coach changing his address, the letter L (losing) is usually the culprit.  But in this situation; UConn’s Randy Edsall, and Temple’s Al Golden the letter W (wins) is more appropriate.  At season’s end, both coaches will be on the very short list of some very interesting available jobs. 

The Huskies attack is led by its steady senior quarterback Zach Frazer with a big assist from its downhill runner, Jordan Todman, and receivers Michael Smith and Kashif Moore.  The D, featuring All-America backer Lawrence Wilson, fellow backer Scott Lutrus and end Greg Lloyd are almost as relentless in its pursuit of the quarterback, as a Tea Party candidate, in bashing the establishment in Washington, D.C.   

Resplendent in his throw-back crisp white shirt and red tie, Temple coach Al Golden hooted his Owls, (who were kicked out of the Big East Conference,) into its first winning season since the George W. Bush Administration 1990.  These Philadelphia flyers, who return 21 starters, power behind its starry sophomore tailback Bernard Pierce (hand), his running mate Matt Brown, junior quarterback Chester (fumble) Stewart, and a pair of wideouts; Michael Campbell and Rod Streater.  The D, led by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, backer Stephen Johnson, and end Adrian Robinson, has been harder to penetrate than the boardroom of Goldman Sachs.  In a very close game, we think the resume of UConn’s Randy Edsall will be the game changer. 

Last week’s record: 5-0                                       Season record: 9-1

(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)

Make sure to read my weekend recap – which will be up and running by noon on Sunday.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.

Handicapping Week 3

We begin this week with a twist on the term “laundry game.” 

It is defined the following way: A team, let’s say the vintage Green Bay Packers, has already won the game, by simply walking off the bus.  The opposition, staring at the names on those Packer jerseys, instantly knows, it has no chance, hence the term; “laundry game.”  Our college laundry poster boy is; Georgia’s All-America receiver A.J. Green. A.J. sold his 2009 Independence Bowl jersey for $1000 to an individual, deemed by the NCAA, to be an agent.  It cost Green a four game suspension, the team its star receiver, and who knows how many victories, not to mention, potentially millions of dollars in the NFL draft.  Nice going A.J.  This weekend, let see which teams play like they aren’t worthy to put on its jersey, and which play so well, its highly prized jersey hardly gets touched.

No.6 Texas at Texas Tech (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  Fresh off its annual two week Cupcake U binge, the Horns are ready to sample from the entrée.  It is said that everything is bigger in Texas, well then, try these numbers on for size.  During the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns are a jaw-dropping 130 – 27, and in the month of September, Mack’s boys are 37-3.  When the Sons of Bevo out rush an opponent, it is virtually unbeatable (108-3); which is why Brown is desperate to settle on a primary tailback.  Unfortunately for the Austin Assassins, the search continues, as Texas is starting its third different tailback, giving this week’s nod to junior Fozzy Whittaker.  The Burnt Orange is directed by sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who is assisted by a pair of quality targets; freshman Mike Davis and senior John Chiles.  One of the main reasons for that unsettled backfield situation is the fissures and cracks shown in the Horns offensive line.  Overall, these Lone Star cowpokes, have sputtered like the corruption crack-down of the Karzai Administration. On the other side of the ball, the D, led by a trio of disruptors; All-America end Sam Acho, his partner Eddie Jones and corner Curtis Brown, is as smooth as George Clooney sipping from a glass of bourbon.

New Red Raiders coach, Tommy Tuberville is about to get his first dose of Big 12 football.  The scoreboard lighting Lubbock eleven, is commanded by touchdown maker; QB Taylor Potts (7 touchdowns – 0 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks Baron Batch, Erick Stephens and the wideout tandem of seniors, Lyle Leong and Defron Lewis.  The D, led by safety Cody Davis and a pair of backers Brian Duncan and Bront Bird, has improved, particularly in pressuring the quarterback, but can have lapses almost as egregious as the Congressional testimony of another Texas alum; Roger Clemens.  In the home of the Big Bopper, “who knows what you like,” on Tuberville’s birthday, we think the Red Raiders, in a close one, enjoy a piece of celebratory victory cake.

No.9 Iowa at No.24 Arizona (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)  The Hawkeyes faithful received an early Christmas present, when the Iowa administration locked up its highly respected and highly sought-after head coach, Kirk Ferentz through the 2020 season.  These Children of the Corn attack on the arm of senior QB Ricky Stanzi, who is as tough as a $10 steak, but can be erratic, often throwing one too many to the opposition.  The QB is aided by a corn-popping tailback, Adam Robinson, and a trio of quality receivers, tight end Allen Reisner, and wideouts Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.  The D, behind its All-America end Adrian Clayborn, and tackles Karl Klug and Mike Daniels, is as ornery as Naomi Campbell dealing with her maid.

The last time Arizona hosted a game between ranked teams, Bill Clinton was deep into his second term – 1998.  The Wildcats offensive fireworks, light the sky better than a Tuscon sunset.  One of the main reasons for this desert optimism, Coach Mike Stoops Cats returns ten offensive starters.  This group is highlighted by an experienced offensive line, and led by starry junior quarterback Nick Foles, with help from tailback Nic Grigsby, and glue-fingered wideout Juron Criner.  The D, featuring All-America corner Trevin Wade, tackle Justin Washington and backer Paul Vassalo, lost seven starters to graduation, and at times, appears weaker than the presidential campaign of its hometown US Senator, John McCain.  The Zona faithful has called for a Red Out Saturday night, but we think it’s the Boys of the Corn, who leave the Tuscon faithful with red rimmed eyes. 

No.12 Arkansas at Georgia (ESPN, Noon) In an aerial attack worthy of the Flying Wallendas, the Razorbacks slice opponents on the dart-throwing arm of its All-America skyscraper, quarterback Ryan Mallett.  The maestro of Coach Bobby Petrino’s “go-go” offense has the luxury of choosing from a batch of receivers, but focuses on All-America tight end D.J. Williams, and wideouts Greg Childs and Joe Adams.  When the Hogs do decide to plow some earth, tailbacks Broderick Green and Knile Davis are capable of churning up yardage.  But as Hog nation is well aware, it will be the D, behind backers Jerry Franklin, and Anthony Leon, that will determine the level of success for Arkansas.  If this group can measure up, it could be a very special year for the Fayetteville faithful.

These are desperate times, full of agita, for the Athens faithful.  Another loss and Bulldog Nation’s beloved Dawgs, in only week three, will be out of the SEC race.  If that should happen, the seat of Coach Mark Richt will be hotter than a ticket to a Justin Bieber concert.  So far, the Georgia offense, without its All-America receiver A.J. Green, is like looking at Lady Gaga in a black cocktail dress, it’s just not the same.  Richt has entrusted his future to red-shirt freshman QB Aaron Murray, who has the luxury of relying on a trio of quality backs; Washaun Ealey, Caleb King (shoulder) and Carlton Thomas, along with wideouts; Kris Durham and Marlon Brown, who although not in Green’s class, can still cause damage.  The Georgia D, led by a threesome of backers; Justin Houston, Akeem Dent and Cornelius Washington, are fast, smart, but after last week’s performance, there is a lingering question about its physicality.  In a game of desperation, with a heavy dose of Pepto-Bismol, we think, somehow the Dawgs, between the hedges, gets the job done, keeping its season off the ventilator. 

Clemson at No.16 Auburn (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Last week Clemson, who is searching for its first ACC Championship since 1992, played Presbyterian.  This week, Coach Dabo Sweeney’s Tigers ride into Jordan-Hare Stadium, on the Plains of Auburn, into a much more hostile cauldron.  QB Kyle Parker is director of these Sons of John Heisman. The signal caller is cocooned by an experienced offensive line, a pair of backs; Andre Ellington and Jaime Harper, meshed with the pass catching ability of tight end Dwayne Allen, and wideout Terrance Ashe.  The D, behind All-America safety DeAndre McDaniel, tackle Jarvis Jenkins, and end Da’Quon Bowers is tested and stout.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik has the faithful in a revival mode.  The Tigers, who have won 13 in a row at home against Clemson, are commanded by former Gator, and dual-threat quarterback, Cameron Newton.  The flashy QB has better moves than; Tony Manero of “Saturday Night Fever,” and is perfectly tailored to direct offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s spread attack.  The dynamic leader is assisted by the tailback duo of freshman Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and a pair of chain-moving receivers Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery.  The D’s strength is its front seven, featuring backers Josh Bynes, Eltoro Freeman, tackle Nick Fairy and end Antoine Carter, all of whom have a soft spot for attacking quarterbacks.  We think the Auburn revival tent continues to expand as the Tigers pass the basket after a win over the Orange from Clemson.

 UConn at Temple (Noon – regional TV) In most cases, when speculation revolves around the home team’s football coach changing his address, the letter L (losing) is usually the culprit.  But in this situation; UConn’s Randy Edsall, and Temple’s Al Golden the letter W (wins) is more appropriate.  At season’s end, both coaches will be on the very short list of some very interesting available jobs. 

The Huskies attack is led by its steady senior quarterback Zach Frazer with a big assist from its downhill runner, Jordan Todman, and receivers Michael Smith and Kashif Moore.  The D, featuring All-America backer Lawrence Wilson, fellow backer Scott Lutrus and end Greg Lloyd are almost as relentless in its pursuit of the quarterback, as a Tea Party candidate, in bashing the establishment in Washington, D.C.   

Resplendent in his throw-back crisp white shirt and red tie, Temple coach Al Golden hooted his Owls, (who were kicked out of the Big East Conference,) into its first winning season since the George W. Bush Administration 1990.  These Philadelphia flyers, who return 21 starters, power behind its starry sophomore tailback Bernard Pierce (hand), his running mate Matt Brown, junior quarterback Chester (fumble) Stewart, and a pair of wideouts; Michael Campbell and Rod Streater.  The D, led by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, backer Stephen Johnson, and end Adrian Robinson, has been harder to penetrate than the boardroom of Goldman Sachs.  In a very close game, we think the resume of UConn’s Randy Edsall will be the game changer. 

Last week’s record: 5-0                                       Season record: 9-1

(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)

Make sure to read my weekend recap – which will be up and running by noon on Sunday.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.

Recap week 2

With the exception of the ND/Michigan game, “Monster Saturday” as it was billed, turned out to be as weak as “Hurricane” Earl.

In Ann Arbor, Houdini lives – in the name of Denard Robinson.  The Wolverine’s quarterback (258 yards rushing, 250 passing) and late game heroics, leading Michigan down to field for the winning touchdown with 27 seconds left, has, through two games, been a Heisman – like magician.  Coach Rich $Rod, who had fire extinguishes in every draw, his seat was so hot – now finds himself 2-0, and nationally ranked later today, as The Maize and Blue defeated Notre Dame in scintillating 28-24 victory.  Robinson, known as “Shoelace,” dances like Bo Jangles, and does all his wizardry, without lacing up his shoes.  As one commentator said, “You’ve got to lace ‘em up tight, if you want to beat Shoelace.”

The ACC is reeling as its “stalwarts;” Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Virginia Tech all went down.

“Sunday morning coming down,” by Kris Kristofferson, is how the faithful feel this morning in Blacksburg, as Division 1AA James Madison, went into Lane Stadium, and shocked the Hokies 21-16.  It was VaTech’s second loss in 6 days, leaving not only its national title hopes in ashes, leaving its season in ruins.  YIKES!!! 

Around the same time that was occurring, another ACC team with big aspirations, Florida State was being embarrassed in Norman, Oklahoma, as the Sooners took the Seminoles to the woodshed 40-17.  The Heisman Trophy hopes of FSU”s quarterback Christian Ponder, also disappeared with his woeful stats: 11-28,113 yards and a pair of interceptions would indicate.  From our perspective, we have never seen why the experts drool over this kid.  It was also one of the worst loses in FSU history, as OU quarterback, Landry Jones, threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns.  All Bobby Bowdon, who molded FSU into a pair of national championships, wanted was one more year; could he have done any worse than Jimbo Fisher yesterday?  I think not.

In the “Dead Man Walking,” category is; Minnesota coach Tim Brewster (15-25, into his 5th year), who saw his Gophers lose at home to Division 1AA South Dakota State, 41-38.  Yikes.  In this tough jobs economy, there will definitely be an opening in Minneapolis. 

What a difference a week makes.  After scoring only a field goal in week one, newly minted coach Turner Gill and his Kansas Jayhawks got its first win in the Turner regime, knocking off 15th ranked Georgia Tech 28 – 24.  Tech’s defense will be a problem all year.

In Columbus, the Buckeyes lowered the national hurricane warnings as Ohio State stifled another potential Heisman Trophy candidate, intercepting Miami quarterback Jacory Harris four times, in its 36-24 destruction of the U. 

In the weekend’s wild one, Wake Forest outlasted Duke 54 -48.  This game was tied 35-35 at the half, and both teams combined for an astounding 49 points in the second quarter!!

Another employment opportunity will be available in Boulder, Colorado, as Coach Dan Hawkins (17-34) and his Buffaloes were embarrassed by the Cal Bears, 52-7. 

One team that so far, doesn’t look over-hyped is; the Iowa Hawkeyes, who rolled over intra-state rival Iowa State 35-7. 

In Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide’s quarterback Greg McElroy continues on his remarkable unbeaten streak – 32-0 as a starting signal caller – which traces back to the eighth grade.

Old friend Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack are 2-0, for the first time since his arrival in Raleigh some 3-plus years ago.

In Columbia, South Carolina a star is born.  His name is Marcus Lattimore – 37 carries, 182 yards, and 2 td’s – and he’s a true freshman.  For anyone over the age of 50, Lattimore rhymes with Galimore, and that’s how he runs, like the late, great Chicago Bears back, Willie Galimore.  Watch out for the Gamecocks, this version is Spurrier’s best team, and may be one of the best in the SEC.  

Air Force won a big one against rival BYU 35-14, as it gets ready for this weekend’s clash in Norman, against mighty OU.  But in order to win that one, the Force must be with you!!

That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be up and running with week three Wednesday night, until then, peace and stay safe.  pk