Handicapping Week 11

We begin this week with a pennant: well hung.

In 1976, Jere Loneman was the editor LSU’s student paper.

In its April Fool’s edition, the staff superimposed a photo, of then Coach Charlie McClendon, onto the body of a reporter, who lounged on a tiger rug, wearing nothing but a strategically placed LSU pennant, that was borrowed from the book store.

When McClendon saw it he responded, “Look at the size of that pennant!”

Needless to say, when offered, the bookstore refused to take back the strategic covering.

This weekend, let’s see which alma mater waves its team pennant on high, and which watches, as its team gets exposed, by a superior opponent.

No. 6 Oregon at No. 3 Stanford (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) It’s another Heisman showcase for Stanford’s marquee QB; Andrew Luck.

But more importantly, the victor moves into the top spot of the PAC-12 North Division, with the inside track to punch its ticket into the inaugural championship game.

The identity of the high flying Ducks, (46 points) is the nation’s fifth best ground attack (298 yds. game), featuring the country’s leading roadrunner; LaMichael James, (over 150 yds. a game – 7 yds. a carry).

When its All-America needs a blow, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas serve as quality plow horses.                                                      

The director of the Green from Eugene, is its dual-threat QB, Darron Thomas (19 touchdowns – 5 interceptions), with assists from wideouts; De’Anthony Thomas, and Tuinei Lavasier.

The D, behind backer Josh Kaddu, and end Dion Jordan, surrenders 20 points a game, but overall, hasn’t performed to recent Phil Knight University standards.

The smart kids on the Farm can score (48) almost as quickly, as they compile SAT points, or another woman accuses Herman Cain of sexual harassment.

As mentioned, the Cardinal is commanded by the Heisman Trophy leader, QB Andrew Luck (26 touchdowns – 5 interceptions), arguably the most dynamic marksman since the days of another Stanford grad; John Elway.

The gunslinger relies on a powerful ground game which features; Stepfan Taylor, and Tyler Gaffney, while wideout Griff Whalen and tight end Coby Fleener providing chain moving targets. [Note: Linus-blanker favorites, tight end Zach Ertz, and wideout Chris Owusu, are out.]

The nation’s eleventh stingiest D, stones runners behind backers; Chase Thomas and Jarek Lancaster, but shows some vulnerability defending the pass.

Stanford, the owner of the nation’s longest winning streak (17), doesn’t manufacture luck, it has its own under center, and like the aforementioned SATs, it adds another number to the streak.

No. 24 Auburn at No. 14 Georgia (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) On the Plains, Gene Chizik’s Tiger Cubs, have exceeded expectations.

The switch to QB Clint Moseley (4 touchdown passes – 1 interception) has provided an offensive spark, but it’s the running tandem; Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, which makes Auburn motor.

The D, led by safety Neiko Thorpe and end Corey Lemonier, is shakier than the state of Oklahoma, or a European government, and surrenders an average of 27 points a game.

When the Sons of Vince Dooley opened its season with a pair of losses, the Century 21 signs were being readied.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the unemployment line, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs reeled of seven consecutive victories and instead of a slip of pink, a contract extension may be in order.

The Dawgs control of its SEC East destiny, and are on track to make its first SEC Championship game appearance, since W’s second term in 2005.

The leader of this Athens revival, is its starry QB Aaron Murray (23 touchdown passes – 8 interceptions), with assists from a punishing freshman tailback; Isaiah Crowell, and a pair of pass catchers; tight end Orson Charles, and wideout Tavares King.

But the D, led by backers Jarvis Jones, and Michael Gilliard, which has more bite than UGA IX, is the biggest reason for the revival at Georgia.

Forget the for sale sign, the Dawgs streak climbs to eight, and Mark Richt will be prowling the Red and Black sideline for an extended period of time.

No. 19 Nebraska at No.12 Penn State (ESPN, Noon) Happy Valley it is not.

As a scandal of unseemly proportions engulfs its campus, Senior Day 2011 will long linger for the alums, parents, and players, of the Penn State family.

But with television commitments, and 100,000 “zealots” filling Beaver Stadium, the show must go on, thankfully without its coach, Joe Paterno.

Rolling into this cesspool of complicity, is the Big Red of Lincoln, who never envisioned that its initial visit to State, as a Big Ten member, would be treated as an afterthought.

The main pistons driving the Huskers 13th ranked ground assault, is its bruising tailback; Rex Burkhead (105 yds. a game – 13 TDs), and the legs of its erratic, but hardened dual-threat QB, Taylor Martinez (9 rushing TDs).

When the QB’s anemic aerial display (100th) does connect, the receiving tandem; Kenny Bell, and Brandon Kinnie, have combined for the spaghetti thin total; 38 catches and a pair of touchdowns.

The once vaunted Black Shirt D, featuring All-America backer Lavonte David, and end Cameron Meredith, has been shredded more than a box of wheat from Nabisco.

And despite the fact that Phyllis Diller scores more often than Penn State; the Lions stand alone as the team with conference’s only unblemished record.

The Nits fruitless scuffling for points (100th – averaging 21 a game), relies on its stud tailback; Silas Redd, while QB Matt McGloin (7 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) remains, like the hole in Boston’s downtown crossing, a never ending work in progress.

The season savior has been PSU’s titanium D, which features a trio of disruptors; backer Gerald Hodges, and tackles Jordan Hall, and Devon Still (15 tfls).

This group has proven harder to penetrate than Mitt Romney’s personality.

In the, “Joe is Gone” game, despite our lack of trust in Bo Pelini, we don’t believe Penn State can block out the distractions, as the Big Red of Lincoln, drives away with a crucial victory.

On a editorial note: knock down the statue!!

TCU at No. 5 Boise State (Versus, 3:30 p.m.) Only in college football.

Boise stayed for all of one season, as both of these teams move on to new conferences in 2012.

But there will be few tears shed, as the Horn Frogs have been Mountain West heavies.

A 2011 Rose Bowl victory, a MWC winning streak of 21 games; and more impressively, 11 straight on the road, clearly validates the reputation of the Boys from Forth Worth.

Gary Patterson’s high hopping Frogs, eighth in scoring (41) are commanded by QB Casey Pachall (19 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions) with assists from tailbacks; Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and wideouts; Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson.

The D, led by end Stansly Maponga, and All-America backer Tank Carder, is usually the Frogs steel backbone, but this season, it has been prone to some cracking.

In the potato capital, the Broncos, the seventh highest scoring (43) offense, is directed by its dart thrower, and Heisman Trophy candidate, Kellen Moore (29 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), who now holds the exalted title; the NCAA’s all time winningest QB.

The Boise Peeler, who is more accurate than Big Ben, is assisted by tailbacks; Doug Martin, and D.J. Harper, (1100 yards, and 15 TDs), while receivers Matt Miller, and Tyler Shoemaker, have hauled in 17 of those touchdown throws.

The D of the blue turf monsters surrenders less than 17 points a game, and attacks behind its All-America tackle Bill Winn, and end Tyler Crawford.

We think the Potato Kings end the streak, and keep its national title hopes very much    alive.

Wake Forest at No.8 Clemson (ESPN, Noon) Jim Grobe may be the most underrated coach in America.

The only person who does more, with less, is Martha Stewart.

The Deacons pedestrian offense, is directed by its quality QB, Tanner Price (15 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions), with assists from his big play receiver (8 TDs-17 yds. a catch), Chris Givens, and tailbacks; Josh Harris, and Brandon Prendergass.

While the oatmeal bland D, featuring tackle Nikita Whitlock, and backer Scott Betros, surrenders an average of 27 points a game.

For the past two weeks, Clemson has marinated with the taste of its only loss.

And it is scratching like a thoroughbred in the starting gate, for a chance to get back onto the field.

The Tigers, the nation’s 14th highest scoring team (38), have more offensive stars than the Milky Way.

The celestial igniter is its All-America caliber QB, Tajh Boyd (25 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), who has the luxury of targeting one of the nation’s most dynamic receivers: true freshman Sammy Watkins.

This prodigy, along with his partners; tight end Dwayne Allen, and wideout DeAndra Hopkins, have combined for an eye-popping; 145 catches and 19 touchdowns.

The ground attack is handled by its downhill runner Andre Ellington (ankle).

The D, led by end Andre Branch (12.5 tfls, and 8.5 sacks), and backer Jonathan Willard, constantly causes Pepto moments for the Tiger faithful, and may ultimately cause Clemson’s downfall.

Wake is having a nice year, but after sitting out last week, there will be too much firepower on display in Death Valley.


Last week’s record: 4-1.                                               Season record: 35-15.


Be sure to read our weekend recap which will be up and running by Noon, Sunday.

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


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