Handicapping Week 8

We begin this week with a member of the AARP.

Earlier this year, Allan Moore, a 61 year old Vietnam veteran, and the grandfather of five, became the oldest person to ever play in a college football game.

The cleated codger kicked an extra point for NAIA Division Faulkner, in its September 10th season opener, a 41-19 victory over Ave Maria at Montgomery, Alabama.

In keeping with his age, “Boomer,” Moore’s kicking style is strictly “old school.”

He uses a square toe shoe, and eschews the soccer style approach, kicking straight on.

This weekend, let’s see which teams reward its senior alums with another square-up victory, and which, might be in need of a few Ave Maria’s, after once again, getting kicked around, by the opposition.

No. 4 Wisconsin at No. 15 Michigan State (ESPN, 8 p.m.)  This is a match worthy of; Fisher and Spassky.

Wiscy, 6-0 for the first time since 2004, has displayed more offensive firepower, than a Libyan rebel.

The nation’s highest scoring eleven (50 pts.), is directed by its Heisman Trophy contender, QB Russell Wilson (14 touchdown passes – 1 interception – 74% completions), who as the nation’s pass efficiency leader, operates with the precision of a diamond cutter.

Despite those outer galaxy numbers, the Badgers identity remains its ground attack (257 yds. a game), featuring tailbacks; Montee Ball (16 TDs, 108 yards a game), his running mate, James White, and backboned by an 18 wheeler sized offensive line.

When the Camp Randall dart thrower takes to the air, he has a trio of big-play targets; Nick Toon (dinged, may play), Jared Abbrederis, and Jacob Pedersen.

The D, led by backers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor, stiffens in the red zone, surrendering a munchkin sized, 9 points per game.

Sparty’s D is harder to crack than the secret ingredient in grandma’s Thanksgiving gravy.

These East Lansing guardians, behind backers Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, and tackle Jerel Worthy, are second overall, allow 10 points a game, and play with the same simmering anger, and disdain, that Mitt Romney holds toward Rick Perry.

The offense is directed by its steady leader, QB Kirk Cousins (8 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions), with assists from receivers; B.J. Cunningham, and Kershawn Martin while tailbacks; Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell, control the clock.

We think the explosiveness of Wisconsin will be somewhat neutralized, but we see Russell Wilson being the difference maker, as the Badgers continue its march toward perfection.

No. 6 Oklahoma State at Missouri (FX, Noon) In the Bob Seeger classic; “Against the Wind,” one of the lyrics reads: “Let the Cowboys ride, against the wind.”

In Stillwater, the OKState Cowboys have been galloping, with the wind at its back.

The Boys from Boone Pickens University have been a seasonal gusher, averaging 49 points a game.

The Pokes have been lassoing opponents with its gunslinger QB, Brandon Weeden (16 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), his All-America wideout Justin Blackmon (7 TDs), who averages eight catches a game, and finishes with high caliber tailback, Joe Randle.

It’s the porous D, (allowing 27 points), resting in the lower end of the rankings, and featuring end Jamie Blatnick, and backer Shaun Lewis, that causes more agita in oil country, than a dry well. 

It may eventually be the reason, the winds of fortune change for Mike Gundy’s crew.

The football team from the “Show Me,” state is a very dangerous opponent.

Missou’s balanced attack is led by its dual-threat QB, James Franklin, with assists from the country’s ninth leading rusher; Henry Josey (9 yds. a carry, 119 yards a game), and receivers: T.J. Moe and All-America tight end Michael Egnew.

The Tigers ground assault, averaging 236 yards a game, ranks in the top fifteen, and the Boys from Columbia are twenty-sixth in scoring, averaging 35 points a game.

The strong pass D, led by backer Andrew Wilson, and end Brad Madison, will be severely tested by the octane infused visitors.

We think this will be a very close game, but ultimately, the wind continues to be on the back side of the Cowboys.

No. 19 Auburn at No. 1 LSU (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) Auburn’s roster has more kids than a pre-school playground.

But despite that youthful exuberance, Gene Chizik’s Tigers have matured into seasoned winners.

Outside of the poisoned oaks at Toomer’s Corner, the biggest issue on the Plains has been the inconsistent play of QB Barrett (10 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions – 54 % completions) Trotter.  Chizik shares those same concerns, and is making a change to sophomore Clint Moslely.

But regardless of who is under center, the Tigers lean heavily on its relentless ground assault, led by starry tailback Michael Dyer (107 yds. a game – 8 TDs.), and his backfield mate, Onterio McCalebb.

Auburn’s new signal caller also has the comfort of focusing on tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen.

The early season gaps of its maligned D, featuring end Corey Lemonier (10 tfls – 6.5 sacks), and backer Darren Bates, have, in recent weeks, clamped tighter than the lips, of that snarky, snake-oil salesman, Larry Lucchino.

Release the hounds!  Storm the Bastille!

Those are the emotions that flow through offenses, when facing one of the best college defenses of recent vintage.

The Bayou Bengals fourth rated D, is steeled by All-America corner Morris Claiborne, his soon to be All-America partner, Tyrann Mathieu, and end Sam Montgomery.

These angry disruptors, surrender a miniscule 11 points a game, and pounce with the ferocity of a Wall Street Occupier toward a Goldman Sachs executive.

The Tigers offense, directed by its proficient senior QB, Jarrett Lee (11 touchdown passes – 1 interception), with assists from its Death Valley battering ram, Spencer Ware and chain-moving wideouts Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, is averaging 38 points a game.

We all know the result of the French Revolution!  LSU remains number one.  (Late word out of Baton Rouge – Spencer Ware and Tyrann Mathieu – suspended for this game.)

Texas Tech at No. 3 Oklahoma (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) The Red Raiders D folds faster than the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

But its offensive aerial show is the envy of David Mugar.

QB Seth Doege (18 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – 70% completions), is the pyrotechnic maestro of the nation’s ninth best scoring (43 pts.) team.

He is assisted by a trio of fuse burning receivers; Alex Torres, Cornelius Douglas and Eric Ward, while senior tailback Aaron Crawford, (replacing injured Eric Stephens), handles the ground duties.

The aforementioned D, featuring backers Blake Dees, and Cqulin Hubert, gurgles ninth from the bottom stopping the run (219 yds.), which is the wrong recipe against the Sooners.

The Norman invaders continue to pile up conquests.

America’s sixth highest (45 pts.) scoring bunch, is commanded by its All-America gunslinger, and Heisman Trophy candidate, QB Landry Jones (16 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), with a huge assist from his Linus-blanket, All-America receiver, Ryan Broyles, (9 TDs – 10 catches a game), the NCAA’s all-time leading pass receiver.

When OU runs, it leans on walk-on tailback Dominique Whaley to carry the load.

The country’s eleventh stingiest D, (11 pts.) continues to harass quarterbacks, behind its angry book-ends; Frank Alexander (9.5 tfls – 6.5 sacks), and Ronnell Lewis.

The Sooners are riding a 39 game home winning streak, and Bobby Stoops is a jaw-dropping; 75-2 in Norman!!  Two words; Sooner Boomer!

No. 22 Washington at No. 7 Stanford (Ch.5, 8 p.m. regional) The last time the Huskies were 3-0 in the PAC-12, it was called the PAC-10, and Bill Clinton (1997), was chasing Monica around the White House.

U-Dub has also scored at least 30 points in six consecutive games, for the first time, in the 120 year history of Washington football.

In addition to coach Steve Sarkisian, the leader of this Husky revival is QB Keith Price, (21 touchdowns – 4 interceptions), with assists from the nation’s seventh ranked rusher, Chris Polk, and a quartet of receivers; Jermaine Kearse, James Johnson, Devin Aguliar and tight end Austin Jeferian-Jenkins, who have grabbed 16 of those TD throws.

The D, led by backer Cort Dennison, and end Everrette Thompson, surrenders 28 points a game, and ranks fourth from the bottom defending the pass, a recipe for disaster against the Cardinal.

The Boys from the Farm own the nation’s longest winning streak at 14, and are enjoying its best start, since Harry Truman (1951) was holding White House recitals for his daughter Margaret.

(As an aside: Truman once wrote the following to a Washington Post reviewer after he panned Margaret’s voice.  “I have never met you, but if I do, you’ll need a new nose, and plenty of beefsteak, and perhaps a supporter below.” 

(How come we can’t find guys like Harry anymore?)

The Cardinal fly on the arm of its All-World, and Heisman Trophy leader, QB Andrew Luck (18 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions – 71% completions), the best gunslinging prospect this side of Stanford alum, John Elway.

The country’s fifth highest scoring (45 pts.) eleven, also motors on the legs of tailback Stepfan Taylor, and a pair of hybrid tight end/receivers; Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener.

The D, behind backers Chase Thomas and Max Burgin, stones runners, while allowing a puny 11 points a game.

These Farm Scholars have held opponents to under 20 points in twelve consecutive games, which is the longest Cardinal streak, since the three yards, and a cloud of dust days of; 1941.

It’s been a nice run by Washington, but Mr. Luck mushes the Huskies back to Seattle.


Last week:  4-1.                                                                 Season record: 25-10.

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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