Handicapping Week 9

We begin this week with the dog, of the Dawgs.

Two weeks ago, the University of Georgia introduced it newest mascot; Uga VIII.  The 13 month old, 55 pound white English bulldog, is registered as: “Big Bad Bruce,” in honor of Dr. Bruce Hollett, a faculty member of the veterinary school, who has treated the line of dogs that are raised by the Seiler family of Savannah, Georgia.

University president Michael Adams participated in the ceremony by placing the traditional spiked red collar around the dog’s neck.  While Athletic Director Greg McGarity said, “As our mascot, Uga VIII represents everything we want our student athletes and fans to be; proud, loyal, tenacious, and relentless.”

This weekend, let’s see which teams perform like dogs, and which shows its faithful a championship pedigree by collaring another opponent.

No. 1 Oregon at No. 24 USC (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)  With apologies to Mel Brooks and his sci-fi spoof “Spaceballs,” Oregon moves at; “ludicrous speed.”

In fact the only place on game day with more speed than Eugene, Oregon is; Daytona, Florida on race day, or a Meth-factory in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Ducks feeding frenzy, averages nearly a point a minute (55 points a game), and the highest scoring team in the land lights the scoreboard, almost as quickly as a New York hotel general manager calls an exterminator.

The controlled mayhem is directed by its dual-threat freshman waterbug QB Darron Thomas -17 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions.  This down shifter is greatly assisted by Heisman Trophy contender, LaMichael James, the nation’s leading rusher, and a pair off field stretching wideouts: Jeff Mael and D.J. Davis.                     . 

The opportunistic D, featuring backers, Spencer Paysinger, Casey Matthews and end Kenny Rowe, leads the nation in turnover margin (plus 12), and has a baker’s dozen worth of interceptions, but will be tested by the Trojans.

Once the Darlings of L.A., USC has been abandoned by its coach (Mr. Pumped and Jacked, Pete Carroll) and the Glitterati have melted away. 

These Men of Troy, saddled with probation and bowl exclusion, but averaging 37 points a game, are guided by its cannon armed QB, Matt Barkley (20 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) the nation’s sixth most efficient passer.   The rest of the Coliseum caravan moves behind a pair of quality backs; Allen Bradford and Marc Tyler, and the receiving duo: Ronald Johnson and Robert Woods.

The Monte Kiffin coached D, behind All-America tackle Jurrell Casey and backer Devon Kennard, has been shockingly woeful, (8th from the bottom defending the pass), while surrendering a porous 24 points a game, which is not a good recipe against the high flying Ducks.

Despite the Duck’s Bernie Madoff-like numbers, we think Lane “Violation” Kiffin gets his signature win, and for the fourth consecutive weekend, a number 1, goes down on the road.

No. 7 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) The team from the “Show Me State,” has done just that.

The last time Missouri stood 7-0 (1960), a skinny Irish Catholic guy by the name of: John Kennedy was running for the White House job.

Missou, averaging 34 points a game, is directed by its steady hand, QB Blaine Gabbert (11 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks Henry Josey, DeVion Moore and a pair of chain moving (109 catches) receivers; Michael Egnew and T.J.Moe.

The nation’s fifth stingiest D (13 points a game) featuring backers Andrew Gachkar, Zaviar Gooden, and end Aldon Smith, stones runners, but has some difficulty defending the pass.

In Lincoln, the Huskers freshman magician Taylor “T-Magic” Martinez is the igniter of the nation’s fifth best rushing (290 yards a game) attack.

The QB (8 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) is America’s ninth best rusher (124 yds. a game- 12 TDs) and is assisted by quality haulers; Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead, and a pair of receivers that would not qualify for an All-State policy; Niles Paul and Brandon Kinnie.

The D, attacks behind All-Americas; tackle Jared Crick, corner Prince Amukamara and backer Lavonte David (11 tackles a game) brilliantly swats away passes, but is less than pedestrian, stopping the run.

We think it’s the Big Red, who puts on the show against Missou.

No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa (Ch. 5, 3:30 p.m.) The last time Sparty stood 8-0, (1960) on the last weekend in October; “96 Tears,” by the Mysterians was the number one song in the land.

This East Lansing mystery tour is directed by it senior leader QB Kirk Cousins (14 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) with big assists from his B&B tailback duo: Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell, and a pair of glue fingered receivers; B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell. 

The Michigan State D, led by All-America backer Greg Jones, backer Eric Gordon and safety Marcus Hyde, allows a miniscule 17 points a game, is a plus-9 in turnover margin, but struggles defending against the pass.

The Boys of the Corn would love to pop a hole in the Spartans record.

The Hawks fly on the dart throwing arm of QB Ricky Stanzi (16 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions), the nations second most efficient passer.

The Iowa City iceman is assisted by his top 20 hard charging tailback; Adam Robinson, (9 TDs), and a trio of chain moving targets; Marvin McNutt, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and tight end Allen Reisnser.

The country’s 11th stingiest D (15.7 points) which features All-America end Adrian Clayborn, along with tackles Karl Klug and Mike Daniels, swallows runners, but shows some vulnerability defending the pass.

This game takes place on All Hallows Eve, which is the appropriate time for the Spartans’ Carriage to turn into a pumpkin.

No. 3 Auburn at Mississippi (ESPN2, 6 p.m.) In Oxford, Mississippi, the home of iconic novelist William Faulkner, it’s Auburn’s Cam Newton, who is hoping to add another chapter to his gravity defying story.

Awakening the echos of Bo Jackson, the Tigers Gibraltar-sized Heisman Trophy leading QB (13 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) is sixth overall in rushing – (an eye-popping 1077 yards) – and third in pass efficiency.  Mr. Everything is assisted by tailbacks Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and his favorite target, wideout Darvin Adams.

The attacking D, led by tackle Nick Fairley, backer Josh Bynes and end Antoine Carter, crushes runners, but defends a pass (19th from the bottom) about as well as NPR tolerates free speech.

Mississippi’s D, which is 19th from the bottom in, points (32) allowed, has the Rebels in retreat mode.  The “strength” of this colander eleven is its corps of backers; Jonathan Cornwell, Allen Walker and D.T. Shackelfort, who defend the pass as well as John Hood, defended Atlanta, against William T. Sherman.

Oregon’s dual threat transfer quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (10 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions – 56% completions) directs a pedestrian offense (40th in scoring), with assists from tailback Brandon Bolden and wideout Markeith Summers. 

Newton writes another chapter in his season long best seller, as Auburn continues its remarkable march.

No. 8 Utah at Air Force (CBS College Sports, 7:30 p.m.) The Utes are once again stealthy flying disguised as one of the nation’s best.

Utah, the third highest (47 points a game) scoring team in the country, is better balanced than the Wallenda family.  These scoreboard assaulters are directed by the steady hand of QB Jordan Wynn (12 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) with assists from tailbacks; Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata, and a pair of quality wideouts; Jereme Brooks and DeVonte Christopher. 

The nation’s fourth stingiest D, (12.8 points), attacks behind corner Lamar Chapman, backers; Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez, and defends the pass and the run with equal ferocity.

The Falcons fly on the legs (I know; mixed metaphor) of the nation’s top ranked rushing attack, which is averaging 326 yards a game. [Note: one of its talented charges, tailback Jared Tew is out with a broken leg.]

These Colorado Springs fliers soar under the direction of option QB Tim Jefferson, with an assist from tailback Asher Clark, who will have to carry the load for his fallen teammate.

The D, backboned by backers Jordan Waiwaiole and Brady Amack shoots down the pass, but is 10th from the bottom stopping the run, which is not a good recipe against Utah.

The Force might have the F-16, but Utah continues to fly on its “stealthy” undefeated way.

 

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

Last week’s record: 2-3                                                Season record: 24-16.

Make sure to read our weekend recap, which will be up and running in our blog on Sunday by noon,

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