Handicapping Week 13

We begin this Thanksgiving week with a ticket to ride.

North Dakota State football Coach Craig Bohl has been tapped by the Fargo Police Department to be its new traffic safety pitchman.

In a radio ad that began running this week, Bohl speaks about a recent string of crashes in Fargo, which resulted in five fatalities.  The ad continues, stating that the police will be especially targeting; repeat traffic offenders.

The problem: Coach Bohl has been ticketed for at least 18 traffic offenses since his hiring in 2003, including 10 speeding violations in the past three years. 

Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes, who isn’t pulling the ad, said, “If officials had known about his driving record, he wouldn’t have been tapped to be the traffic safety spokesman.”  Really!!

This weekend, let’s see which teams play so poorly, it’s faithful demands a ticket refund, and which display such blinding speed, it leaves its followers saying, “Now, that’s the ticket.”

No. 2 Auburn at No. 9 Alabama (Friday, Ch. 4, 2:30 p.m.) To paraphrase former President George W. Bush, the Iron Bowl could be the “decider.”  This Tuscaloosan tussle carries more anticipation than a Bristol Palin dance. 

Auburn, the nation’s fifth highest scoring eleven (42 pts. a game), has a simple mission, win and advance.  Coach Gene Chizik’s Tigers, who have done a remarkable job staying focused on the prize, are guided by its “Mr. Everything” QB, Cam Newton, the overwhelming leader for the Heisman Trophy.

The Gibraltar-sized glider (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) (21 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) is ninth nationally in rushing (17-TDs), 2nd in pass efficiency, and is the first player in the history of the SEC to rush for over a 1,000 and throw for over 2,000 yards.  The maestro is assisted by tailbacks; Onterio McCalebb, Michael Dyer, and wideouts Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery.                                     .

The D, led by Nagurski finalist, tackle Nick Fairley, and backers Josh Bynes, and Craig Stevens, stones runners, but defends the pass (100th) about as well as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defends the TSA’s new regulations on pat-down screening

This is Alabama’s Super Bowl.

The reigning national champs are drooling at the prospect, of knocking its intra-state rival from its title chasing perch.

These Sons of Bear Bryant, who average 35 points a game, and have won 20 in a row at home (Groucho’s favorite town), are directed by “Mr. Steady,” QB Greg McElroy (17 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), with assists from the tailback tandem of Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson (knee – expected back) and All-America wideout Julio Jones.

The nation’s third stingiest D (12.82 pts.), is pure Saban, ranking seventh overall, leading the country in interceptions (21), and stifling the run and the pass with equal fervor.

In a game that will have more hits than Ichiro Suzuki, we think Alabama wins its super bowl, and knocks Auburn from its perch.

No. 3 Boise State at No. 19 Nevada (Friday, ESPN, 10:15 p.m.)  The college football power brokers have trouble annunciating the following: Boise State is the best team in America.  No longer; “the little engine that could,” the Broncos are elite.

The undisputed leader of the nation’s second highest scoring (47 pts. a game) team, is All-America QB, and Heisman Trophy contender Kellen Moore (28 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions- 71% completions), who is also tops in pass efficiency. 

This laser tosser is assisted by tailbacks; Doug Martin and Jeremy Avery, and a pair of Velcro handed wideouts; Titus Young, and Austin Pettis, who are as reliable, as an Elvis sighting in Vegas.

The country’s second stingiest D (11.5 pts.), and second overall, has accumulated 15 sacks in its last 3 games, and attacks behind end Shea McClellin, and backers J.C. Percy and Hunter White.  This wrecking crew is tops in stuffing the run, 7th in disrupting the pass, and has surrendered a Fort Knoxian cumulative total of 38 first half points.

In Reno, Nevada’s pistol offense had been smoking.

The nation’s fourth highest scoring (44 pts. a game) eleven, motors on the legs of the 7th ranked rusher, Vai Taua (1241 yards), who averages 124 yards a game, and has compiled a career total of 24; 100 yard plus games.

The pistol’s triggerman is the Wolf Pack’s dynamic dual threat QB, Colin Kaepernick (19 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), who has also rushed 16 TDs.  This touchdown maker also has the luxury of focusing on a pair of quality wideouts; Richard Matthews and Brandon Wimberly, and a high quality tight end, Virgil Green.

As the Reno faithful are well aware, the D, led by end Dontay Moch, tackle Brett Roy and backer Kevin Grimes, is 17th from the bottom defending the pass, which isn’t an award winning recipe against Boise.

The Broncos, who have only lost a mind boggling total of 4 WAC games in 10 years, also own a nation’s best 24 game winning streak; make it 25; as Boise State states it’s final case for playing one of the “big boys,” in the big game.

No. 20 Arizona at No. 1 Oregon (Friday, ESPN, 7 p.m.) After digesting its Thanksgiving meal, the Cats would delight in feasting on some Duck.

These descendants of the “Desert Swarm,” are commanded by its starry junior QB Nick Foles, (13 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions – 70% completions), who operates the 10th best passing offense in the country. [Note: fill in starter Matt Scott should be available] The dart thrower is assisted by his target of choice; Juron Criner, while the running game, in Tuscon, ranked 78th is simply an afterthought.

The Wildcats D, the nation’s 12th stingiest (18 pts.), led by end Ricky Elmore, and backer Paul Vassallo, is a plus 11 in turnover margin, and the backbone of these Desert Fighters.

The Ducks feeding frenzy (50 pts a game) continues to put stress on the country’s scoreboard operators.  In fact, the Green from Eugene can score faster than patronage king, Tom Petrolati, can add another constituent to the state payroll.

These roadrunners can downshift with the nation’s leading rusher, All-America LaMichael James (17 TDs, – ankle expected to play) who is averaging eye-popping 158 yards a game.

The pit crew consists of dual threat QB Darron Thomas (23 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), and wideout Jeff Maehl, who has hauled in 11 TDs. [Note: starting wideout Lavasier Tuinei is out; cracked shoulder blade.]

America’s 11th stingiest D (17 pts.), who has allowed a jaw-dropping total of 7 fourth quarter points, has 15 interceptions, and attacks with backers; Casey Matthews, Spencer Paysinger and end Kenny Rowe. 

The feeding frenzy continues, as Oregon, wins the PAC 10 Title, and gets ready for next week’s Civil War against Oregon State, by moving one step closer to punching its ticket into the national championship game.

No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 10 Oklahoma State (Sat. Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) Is it still a rivalry if one team, in this case Oklahoma, has won 7 straight, and “owns” an 80-17-7 series record advantage?

But fear not, Ok State faithful, these are not your father’s Sooners, or even Coach Bob Stoops for that matter, they struggle mightily on defense.

The Invaders from Norman feature an aerial assault that is the envy of fly boys from Boeing. 

OU’s wing man is its talented sophomore QB Landry Jones, (30 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions), the ace of the fourth leading passing offense, with assists from All-America wideout Ryan Broyles (12-TDs), the nation’s leading receiver in catches per game (9.64), and a punishing tailback Demarco Murray, who has crossed the goal line 14 times.  [Note: freshman Roy Finch is inching into the running rotation]

The D does have some quality in the All-America tandem; end Jeremy Beal, backer Travis Lewis along with fellow backer Tim Wort, but its porous 62nd overall ranking, has made it a Boomer Sooner bust.

The Boys from Boone Pickens University, otherwise known as Oklahoma State, have won 10 regular season games, for the first time in school history.

Coach Mike Gundy’s Cowboys, the nation’s top ranked offense, and third highest scoring (45 pts. a game) team, can fire more offensive bullets than a John Wayne retrospective. 

It begins with its sharp shooting QB, Brandon Weeden (30 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions), with huge assists from a pair of All-Americas; wideout Justin Blackmon (17 TDs), who has ten consecutive games with over 100 yards receiving and at least 1 touchdown catch, and finishes with elusive tailback Kendall Hunter and  his 16 TDs.

Unfortunately, the D, led by backers Orie Lemon, Justin Gent, and end Jamie Blatnick is weaker; (78th overall, and 12th from the bottom defending the pass), than the world’s response to North Korea aggression.

In the 105th edition of the Bedlam Series, we think the Boys from Stillwater run deep, breaking its losing streak, and earning its first spot in the Big 12 title game

Michigan at No. 8 Ohio State (Sat. Ch. 5, Noon) Baring an upset, Coach $Rich Rod’s Maize and Blue will be losers of five of its last seven, finish 3-5 in the Big Ten, and once again raise doubts about the security of his Ann Arbor employment.  Is a phone call to Stanford Coach and Michigan alum Jim Harbaugh in the offing?

The Wolverines are led by Mr. Robinson, its All-World QB, Denard (16 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions), who became the first player in NCAA Division 1 history; to rush and pass for at least 1,500 yards, while also establishing a new rushing record for quarterbacks. 

The top ten rushing offense and 5th rated overall gets contributions from tailback Vincent Smith and a pair of big play wideouts Roy Roundtree and Darryl Stonum. 

But as the Big House faithful are painfully aware, it’s the other Robinson, defensive coordinator Greg, who has been a poster boy for Pepcid AC. 

This group, featuring backer Jonas Mouton and safety Jordan Kouacs, causes more heartache, and heartbreak, than Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca.  It ranks a bottom feeding 99th in points allowed (33 pts. a game), 9th from the bottom defending the pass, and 8th worst in total D.

The Buckeyes, who are searching for its sixth consecutive Big Ten Title, are the first Big Ten team in history to have six consecutive ten win seasons.  They are also attempting to extend its winning streak over Michigan to six in a row, and eight of the last nine.

The nation’s ninth highest scoring team (39 pts. a game) is directed by its dual threat All-America QB Terrelle Pryor (23 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions), with assists from tailback Dan Herron and a pair of field stretching wideouts; Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey.

The D, led by All-America end Cameron Heyward and backers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, has 17 interceptions and is harder to penetrate than Afghan President Ahmed Karzai’s bank account.

These Horseshoe hitters, who are 43-5 in its last 48 Big Ten games, rank 3rd in total D, 5th against the pass, and 3rd in stoning runners, while operating as the nation’s fifth stingiest, allowing less than 14 points a game. 

In the 107th meeting, it’s “Goodbye Columbus” to the Boys from Ann Arbor, as Coach Jim Tressel’s Bucks, who are 17-1 in its last 18 November contests, plays its way into another BCS game.

 

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

Last week’s record: 5-0.                                            Season record: 40-20.

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

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving, and remember to be thankful. 

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