Handicapping Week 7

We begin this week with an exorcism.

Last season, former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, led the Terrapins to 9 victories, and in doing so, was named ACC Coach of the Year.

His reward for such a successful season; he was impolitely shown the door.

The Fridge wasn’t just another coach. He’s an alum, and the architect of the Terps football revival, compiling a 74-50 winning record, during his decade as the College Park Head Turtle.

When asked on a radio station this spring, if he still watches Maryland football, the big man said, “I could care less about Maryland, I’ve burned my diploma.  They talk about Maryland pride, what a joke.”  Yikes!

This weekend, let’s see which alums burn with pride, over another victory by the alma mater, and which teams appear in need of remedial work, after another desultory performance.

No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State (ESPN, Noon) “Shoelace” continues to tie on W’s for Meechigan.

On Saturday afternoons in the fall, the Big House is transformed into Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood, as the Wolverines are looking to start 7-0 for the first time since 2006.

The Maize and Blue’s elusive touchdown maker (134 yds. a game, 8 rushing TDs), Denard Robinson, who is fourth in the nation in rushing, is harder to catch, than a tossed King Salmon, at  Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market.

The passing challenged QB (10 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions – 4th worst in nation), is assisted by tailback Fitzgerald Toussaiant, and when he can pinpoint his target, Jeremy Gallon and Junior Hemingway, are capable of making a big gainer.        

 

Its Michigan Man Brady Hoke’s D, anchored by safety Jordan Kovacs and backer Kenny Demens, and once the scourge of the Wolverine nation, (allowing a miniscule 13 points a game), which has the UM faithful filled with optimism.

The last time MSU won four in a row from its intra-state rival, JFK was in the White House hanging out with Marylyn.

Like its namesake, the Spartans strength is its defense. 

Mark Dantonio’s lancing attackers, backboned by backers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, are tops in total D, third in points allowed (10), and are harder to crack than the formula for Coke.

Sparty’s surprising sputtering offense, under the command of senior QB Kirk (6 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) Cousins, is operating as a middle of the pack yawner.

The QB is assisted by the bulldozing tailback tandem; Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker, and when he takes to the air, the signal caller has the luxury of throwing to a pair of chain-moving wideouts; B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin.

In a classic chess match, as long as its offensive line holds up, we think Sparty’s D ties the laces of Micheegan, as the East Lansing faithful warmly celebrate the memory of Kennedy and Monroe.

No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas (ESPN2, 9:15 p.m.) It’s been all gushers for the Cowboys of Boone Pickens University.

OK State leads the nation in scoring (51 pts. a game), and piles up points, faster than Rick Perry piles campaign cash.

QB Brandon Weeden (15 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions – 75% completions), is second in the nation in passing, and has shown better accuracy than Wyatt Earp.

The grey-beard (28 years old) gunslinger targets his game-changing All-America receiver, Justin Blackmon (6TDs), and when the Cowboys gallop, tailback Justin Randle (8TDs) runs with thoroughbred authority.

The D, led by backer Shaun Lewis and end Jamie Blatnick, surrenders 27 points a game, and in oil industry parlance, that’s a dry well, and might eventually, ambush, the Cowboys national championship plans.

The Horns, like the hole at Downtown Crossing, is still a work-in-progress.

Coach Mack Brown continues to alternate his freshman QB combo; Case McCoy and David Ash.

But in order for these youngsters to be successful, Texas must get production out of its run game, led by another freshman, Malcolm Brown, while wideouts Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have hands that are quarterback friendly.

The D, despite allowing 22 points a game, has been an Austin revelation, flying around and led by backer Emmanuel Acho, and safety Kenny Vaccaro.

We think the gushers continue for the Boone Pickens eleven, as OK State marches ever closer to its showdown with Oklahoma.

No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon (ESPN, 10:15 p.m.) An ASU victory, in this measuring stick game, will demonstrate to the Tempe faithful, that the Sun Devil resurgence is indeed an oasis, and not a desert mirage.

The offense, averaging 35 points a game, is directed by its Prudential-sized (6-8, 235lbs.) quarterback, Brock Osweiler (13 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), with assists from tailback Cameron Marshall (8TDs), and the wideout trio; Jamal Miles, Gerell Robinson and Aaron Pflugrad, who have combined for 11 touchdowns.

The steady D, which has collected 10 interceptions, attacks behind its “crazed” All-America backer, Vontaze Burficit (4 sacks – 5tfs), and his partner Colin Parker.

In Eugene, the Ducks loudest Quacker is out.

The heart, and legs, of the Quack Attack, the nation’s leading rusher and Heisman Trophy contender, LaMichael James, is out with a dislocated elbow.

But fear not, fans of the Green Machine, there is plenty of Duck feed still available for the Sons of Dan Fouts.

QB Darron Thomas (15 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions) is the director of the country’s second highest scoring group (50 pts. a game), with assists from tailbacks; Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas (7.6 yds. a carry), who must now handle the spotlight.

When Thomas does throw, senior wideout Lavasier Tuinei, is a comforting target.

The D, led by backer Dewitt Stuckey and safety Eddie Pleasant, isn’t Nike worthy, and struggles against both the run and the pass.

Despite the loss of its Mr. Everything tailback, we think the Boys from Nike University “swooshly” confirm; that the ASU resurgence, is indeed, a mirage.

No.17 Kansas State at Texas Tech (FSN, 7 p.m.) KState’s iconic 72 year old Silver Fox, Bill Snyder, at the helm for his second rodeo, continues to amaze everyone, except the Wildcats faithful.

Defense sets the tone for the Wizard of Manhattan, Kansas, and backer Arthur Brown and end Jordan Voelker leads a group that attacks with the ferocity of the Egyptian army against a protestor, while allowing a puny 16 points a game.

The one dimensional offense (5th from the bottom in passing), is commanded by its running field general, Collin Klein (6 touchdown passes 3 interceptions), who has 7 rushing TDs, and leads the team in carries, which is a dangerous formula for the long-term health of a quarterback.

The big man is assisted by tailback John Hubert, and when he goes over the top, Chris Harper is a primary target.

In Lubbock, Texas Tech puts on a better aerial show than Philippe Petit, the star of the documentary; Man on Wire.

Its launch commander is QB Seth Doege, (17 touchdown passes – 1 interception), the nation’s third ranked passer, who is another, in the long line of dart throwers, to matriculate through the Lubbock campus.

The gunslinger has a trio of wideouts; Eric Ward, Alex Torres and Darrin Moore, who have combined for 13 TD receptions.

On a down note, the Red Raiders were galloping on the legs of the country’s 15 ranked rusher, Eric Stephens, (8 TDs), who was averaging 114 yards a game, but its cornerstone tailback, is gone for the year, with a knee injury.

It’s the Tech D, which has more cracks than a Japanese nuclear power plant, and led by backers Blake Dees and Cqulin Hubert that causes Pepto nights for coach Tommy Tuberville, and the entire TT faithful.

In a tough game to get a handle, (we’re concerned about the loss of Stephens); we’ll take the firepower, and go with the boys from the Buddy Holly’s hometown.

No.7 Stanford at Washington State (Versus, 7:30 p.m.) In addition to owning the nation’s longest winning streak (13), the Boys from the Farm, the country’s seventh highest scoring eleven (46 pts. a game), are 5-0 for the first time (1951), since Harry Truman was playing poker and sipping whiskey in the White House.

The architect of this resurgence is its All-America, Heisman Trophy contender QB, Andrew Luck (14 touchdowns – 2 interceptions – 73% completions), the country’s third most efficient passer, and arguably the best player in America.

This bull’s-eye maker, who is allowed to call his own plays, is assisted by tailbacks; Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney and receivers; Chris Owusu and tight end Coby Fleener.

The nation’s sixth stingiest D (10 pts.), behind backer Chase Thomas and Max Bergin, crushes runners (less 3 yds. a carry) but won’t grade an A, defending the pass.

Wazzu is on the rise, but based on its preseason scouting report, it would almost be impossible for the Pullman Eleven to be pointed in any other direction.

The first sentence in this year’s Sporting News College Football Preview says it all; “For the first time in years, the Cougars shouldn’t be awful.”  Yikes!

Well, so far, so good.

Backup QB, Marshall Lobbestae (15 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions), who has earned the starting nod, is the director of the top twenty scoring (40 points a game) Cougs, with assists from wideouts; Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson.

When the Cougars do run, Rickey Galvin is a solid back.

The D, led by backers Alex Hoffman-Ellis and C.J. Mizell, allows a gushing 25 points a game, which is not the right recipe against the Cardinal.

Despite having played only one team with a winning record (Duke), it won’t be luck, but it will be with Andrew Luck, as Stanford extends the wining streak, with another toast to; Give-em, hell, Harry.

 

Last week’s record: 4-1.                                       Season record: 21-9.

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

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

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