Handicapping Week 6

We begin this week with a dose of: Rah! Rah! Rah! Sis! Boom! Bah!

In the earliest days of college football, the University of Chicago was a national power.

It was coached by one of the sport’s icons, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and its resume included a national championship.

But in 1939, after some soul searching, the Administration decided to cancel the sport, fearing, that the real mission of its university, was being compromised by football.

It proved to be a wise decision, as today, Chicago is considered one of the nation’s finest academic institutions.

In 1969, at the behest of the student body, football made a return to downtown Chi-town, but in the form of lower level Division III.

But it’s the smart kid’s cheer, that caught our eye, and ear. 

It reads: Themistocles, Thucydides, the Peloponnesian War, X-squared, Y-squared, H2SO4, Who For? What For? Who we gonna yell for? Go Maroons!

This weekend, let’s see which teams are deserving of a cheer, and which leave it’s fateful with a maroon pallor, after watching the beloved alma-mater get annihilated, like the Greeks against the Spartans.

No. Texas vs. No. 3 Oklahoma (Ch.5, Noon) – Cotton Bowl, Dallas.

There’s been an awakening in Austin.

In last season’s staff shakeup, after the Horns had slipped as badly as John Henry on his yacht, coach Mack Brown found a gem in defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who came to the UT campus from Mississippi State.

He has transformed the UT colander defense into the country’s stingiest (14 pts. a game) elevens in America, anchored by backer Emmanuel Acho and safety Kenny Vaccaro.

Unfortunately, for the followers of Bevo, the Burnt Orange offense is like the Obama Administration, still a work in progress. 

This pedestrian group is directed by the untested QB combo; David Ash and Case McCoy, with assists by tailbacks, Malcolm Brown, Fuzzy Whittaker, and wideouts; Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis, is improving, but has yet to earn its spurs. 

But all of  that would change, with a victory over OU.

The Norman invaders have been destructive.

The Sooners, the nation’s eleventh highest scoring team (42), boomer behind a pair of All-Americas, QB Landry Jones, and his Linus-blanket target Ryan Broyles.

The remaining cast is also a high grade cut, and includes; wideout Kenny Stills and walk-on tailback Dominique Whaley.

The D, backboned by end Ronnell Lewis, backers Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort, operates with a “bend don’t break” mentality, and is surrendering less than 16 points a game.

In the 106th edition of this classic rivalry, we think the better weapons are on the OU side, hence Oklahoma goes whistling down the plain, and back to Norman, with the victory.

No. 17 Florida at No. 1 LSU (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) The Florida schedule maker must be a diabolical distant cousin of Stephen King.

How else to explain the second week of its “horror” schedule, that has the Gators playing consecutive weeks against the two top ranked teams in America.

Old, wide friend, Charlie Weis, is the architect of Florida’s revamped pro-style attack, led by its Mercury-infused roadrunners, Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey.

Unfortunately, for the Gator faithful, starting QB John Brantley (ankle) is out, so Florida will send true freshman QB, Jeff Driskel, into the Den of Pain, known as Death Valley, which put the Gators in a bigger bind, than the President of Greece.

It will be up to Swamp Nation’s suffocating D, (14 pts. a game) led by backers Jelani Jenkins, Jon Bostic and tackle Jaye Howard, to hold serve, if the Gators are to have any chance.

Les Miles Tigers are intent on darkening the horizon of the visitors from the Sunshine State.

LSU’s signature is a defense (12 pts. a game) that would be the envy of that Carlos Santana, look-a-like madman, Muammar Gaddafi.  

It features “Mr. Turnover Creator,” corner Tyrann Mathieu, his All-America partner, Morris Claiborne, and tackle Bennie Logan, who are harder to crack than a Vatican vault.

On offense, the ground attack, led by tailbacks; Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, sets the tone, while QB Jarrett Lee, along with returning Prodigal Son QB Jordan Jefferson, have done a nice job managing the offense.

When the Tigers do air it out, Odell Beckham, and Rueben Randle, are big play targets.

We think Death Valley lives up to its name, as the Gators faithful leaves Baton Rouge with a deficiency of vitamin D.

No. 15 Auburn at No. 10 Arkansas (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Auburn’s Tiger cubs have brought an unexpected roar to the faithful of the Plains.

Despite an offense, which at times is as dull as an ABBA concert, (80th), QB Barrett Trotter (9 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), has grown on the job.

He receives huge assists from his game-breaking tailbacks, Michael Dyer (18th, 113 yards a game, 7 TDs), and partner, Onterio McCalebb.  When he throws, Emory Blake is a primary target.

The D, led by backers Daren Bates, and Jake Holland, has tightened, but still surrenders points faster than the Washington Generals.

The Hogs have roasted teams with an aerial show worthy of the Blue Angels.

Bill Clinton was occupying the Governor’s Mansion, the last time so many balls were in the air, at one time, in Fayetteville.

This sky rodeo is directed by its maestro QB Tyler Wilson (10 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from an unstoppable trio of receivers; Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, and Cobi Hamilton.

When the Razorbacks slop it, tailback Ronnie Wingo can butcher a defense.

It’s the D, which at times, is exposed more than Marilyn Monroe, and led by backers Jerry Franklin and Alonzo Highsmith, which causes Nightquil nights for coach Bobby Petrino. 

At game’s end, the Hogs first Alum, Bill Clinton, will be smiling, as Arkansas; “Woo Pig Sooie’s” the Tigers.

Missouri at No. 20 Kansas State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) The Boys from the “Show Me State,” are a very dangerous foe.

Dual-threat QB James Franklin, (7 touchdown passes – 1 interception), and his tailback Henry Josey, are the principal plough-share ponies, behind a ground attack that averages 253 yards a game.

When Missou’s signal caller does throw, he has a pair of chain-moving targets; T.J. Moe and Wes Kemp.

The D, led by end Brad Madison, backers Andrew Wilson, and Zaviar Gooden, swallows runners, but looks like a cook in a greasy spoon swatting at flies, when it attempts to defend the pass.

In the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas, they called it; “Snyderized.”

Translation: that’s when its 72 year old iconic coach, Bill Snyder, who is in his second tenure as the KState head man, knocks off a team, that the experts feel, he has no business beating.

These one-dimensional cardiac Cats (5th from the bottom passing), have its highest ranking since 2004.

The director of this Wildcat resurgence, is its Himalayan sized (6-5, 226) QB, Collin Klein, who averages more than a 100 yards rushing, with assists from tailback John Hubert, and when he throws, receiver Chris Harper is a solid target.

The top-twenty D is classic Snyder, and stones runners behind backer Arthur Brown, and corner, David Garrett.

We have a hunch that the KState carriage changes back into a pumpkin, and it’s Missou, who “Snyderizes” the Manhattan icon.

Ohio State at No. 14 Nebraska (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Never mind!

In Columbus the chaos continues to percolate.

Three major offensive players, Marcus Hall, Dan Herron, and Devier Posey, were slated to be reinstated for this game, after serving the imposed NCAA suspensions for last year’s tattoo scandal, but when it was learned, that these nitwits were “overpaid,”(I hate when that happens), for their summer jobs, additional game suspensions were added.

Without fresh troops, as the Scarlet and Grey faithful are painfully aware, the Bucks offense will remain as inept as the United States Congress.

The quarterback combo of Joe Bauserman, and Braxton Miller, shares the command of this sleepy hollow (91st in scoring) offense, with “help” from a pedestrian pair of tailbacks; Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall, along with chain-moving wideout, Jake Stoneburner.

It’s been the stout D (14pts a game), behind backers Andrew Sweat, and Etienne Sabino, that’s been the backbone, and season savior, for the Bucks interim coach, Luke Fickell.

In the first Big Ten game in Lincoln history, Huskers coach Bo Pelini will be facing off against his alma-mater.

Unlike its counterparts, Nebraska’s problems are on the defensive side. 

The vaunted Black Shirt’s defense, led by All-America backer Lavonte David, and end Cameron Meredith, is more of a shade of grey, (ranking 73rd in points allowed – 27 pts.), while remaining equally ineffective, against both the run, and the pass.

On offense, at least up to this point, the Big Red’s dual-threat QB, Taylor “T-Magic” Martinez, (1 more interception than touchdown – 50% completions) has been as magical as a Spam dinner.

The one dimensional passing offense (16th from the bottom), has been carried by its stellar ground attack (249 yards a game) led by Martinez, and his game-breaking tailback, Rex Burkhead.

In a rebound game, we think the Bucks stops in Lincoln, as Nebraska rebounds, with its first Big Ten victory.


Last week: 4-1.                                             Season record: 17-8.


That’s it from cyber space.  Be sure to read our weekend recap, which will be up and running by noon on Sunday.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.              pk


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