We begin this week, with an excess, from Texas.
In Allen, Texas, the local high school football team, recently christened the opening of its brand new football palace; a $59.6 million sunken-bowl stadium shrine.
This cathedral to the “god of pigskin” covers 72 acres, and includes a high-definition video screen, free Wi-Fi, and seating for 18,000.
To put that absurd price tag into perspective; the lovable old dump in Foxboro, formerly known as Sullivan Stadium, the place where the plumbing was always a “crap” shoot, and the home of the then, Boston Patriots, was built for $10 million!
It is another amazing, and ridiculous example of priorities gone amuck, especially when one considers that there are 23 million Americans, either out of work, or under-employed. Amazing!
This weekend let’s see which teams celebrate with excessive exuberance over its big victory, and which appear bankrupt, on its way to another, chapter eleven season, and placing its coach’s job, in jeopardy.
No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) [Note: If Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is out (likely), the marquee aspect of this game is relegated to Off-Off-Broadway status. If he can go, game on!]
The Tide is one of the three beasts in the 2012 college football season; along with LSU and Oregon, everyone else, and that includes USC, is paying tribute.
“St. Nick”, Coach Nick Saban, who is a Belichickian clone, has Alabama laser focused on trying to become the first consensus, repeat national champion, since the: 1994 – 95 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
(USC won back to back in; 2003, 04, but not consensus, split.)
These Tuscaloosan Titans, are directed by its Clark Kent commander, junior QB A.J. McCarron, who already wears a national championship ring.
The unassuming leader, is assisted by a true freshman slasher tailback, T.J. Yeldon, and his equal billing partner; Eddie Lacy.
The young receiving corps, led by Kenny Bell, and Kevin Norwood, possesses more speed, than an underground meth-lab.
The foundation of the entire operation is under the protection of the country’s best offensive line, anchored by a pair of All-Americas; guard Chance Warmack, and center Barrett Jones.
The Tide’s D led by All-America safety Robert Lester, and nose Jessee Williams, attacks with the ferocity of V.P. candidate Paul Ryan’s pen, when he eviscerates a budget plan presented by the democrats.
In Fayetteville, instead of a high end chop entrée, the Hogs, without Tyler Wilson, are looking like some bad sausage.
If the SEC’s best QB can’t go, freshman Brandon Allen will be given the controls.
The rest of the top-shelf quality control offense includes the rushing tandem; Knile Davis, and Dennis Johnson, and a pair of quality receivers; tight end Chris Gragg, and wideout Cobi Hamilton.
The Hogs pedestrian D, led by tackle Robert Thomas, and a trio of backers featuring; Alonzo Highsmith and Tenarius Wright, won’t cause many sleepless nights for offensive coordinators.
Regardless of who’s under center, it will be yells of; Roll Tide! on the plane ride back to Tuscaloosa.
No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee (ESPN, 6 p.m.) The Gators elite D, featuring safety Josh Evans, end Sharrif Floyd, and backer Jonathan Bostic, possesses Daytona speed, and suffocates the opposition with the precision of the original strangler; Boston’s Albert DeSalvo.
[Note; starting backers; Jelani Jenkins and Ronald Powell are out.]
The Gator’s D will keep the Swamp, from draining down, and determine the success of Florida’s season.
On the other side of the ball, this isn’t your father’s, or Steve Spurrier’s, offense.
Central command has been given to dual-threat QB Jeff Driskel, with a huge assist from starry tailback Mike Gillislee, and primary target, tight end Jordan Reed.
In Knoxville, there is a feeling of football revival in the Smokey Mountains; the Checkerboard Faithful is well aware, that this game will be the Vols first true measuring stick, of just how far their up the mountain, they have climbed.
It also may go a long way in deciding the future employment of Tennessee’s embattled Coach, Derek Dooley.
The Boys from Rocky Top are directed by its rocket armed QB Tyler Bray, who has the luxury of focusing on a pair of dynamic field stretching targets; Justin Hunter, and Cordarrelle Patterson.
But the rushing attack, featuring tailbacks; Rajion Neal, and Martin Lane, doesn’t measure to SEC standards.
Dooley’s best off season move was the hiring of D-coordinator Sal Sunseri who was imported from a certain team that resides in; Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Backers Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson are the backbone of the Vols D which will not be intimidated by its southern visitors.
This has potential to be another SEC classic, and we think it’s the Vols, at home, who secure the W, and climb another notch up the mountain.
No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) In this game, the Irish will taste its first real entrée of the season.
Brian Kelly’s eleven is directed by its athletic dual-threat, learning curve QB, Everett Golson, with a seasoned reliever, Tommy Rees, only a finger point away.
The QB’s primary targets; All-America tight end Tyler Eifert, and wideout DeVaris Daniels, can be explosive.
The down hill running attack, features the tailback trio; Theo Riddick, George Atkinson III, and Cierre Wood, who are a combination of speed, and power.
The improving D, although the corners remain a mystery, is anchored by its All-America backer Manti Te’o, with assists from his partner Dan Fox, and end Stephon Tuitt.
The East Lansing faithful are looking for payback.
The Spartan’s tensile strength is its kryptonite defense, which has yet to allow an offensive touchdown, and has limited the opposition ball carriers to less than 3 yards a carry.
These intimidating, and marauding, Sons of Duffy Daugherty, who lasso the opposition better than Will Rogers, are book ended by a pair of All-Americas; end William Gholston and corner Johnny Adams, with a huge assist from its linebacker threesome; accentuated by Max Bullough.
MSU’s offensive igniter, is its Gibraltar sized cannon ball (6-2, 238) Le’Veon Bell, who sets the tone for State’s attack.
Sparty’s newbie QB, Andrew Maxwell (2 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions) is still searching for his comfort zone.
We think in Spartan Stadium, its payback time, indeed, as Duffy’s Boys leave the Irish, feeling green.
No. 2 USC at No. 21 Stanford (Fox, 7:30 p.m.) The Cardinal is the only Pac -12 team that All-World QB, and Heisman Trophy leader, Matt Barkley (10 touchdown passes – 1 interception – 67% completions) has yet to notch a W.
The Glamour Boys from LA are intent on erasing that blemish in Palo-Alto.
In addition to its golden boy QB, the Trojans rumble behind Penn State transfer, tailback Silas Reed, his talented partner Curtis McNeal, and the best receiving tandem in the nation, All-America Robert Woods, and equally dynamic, Marqise Lee.
The D, also known as the Magnificent 7, attacks behind All-America safety T. J. McDonald, corner Nickell Robey, and backer Dion Baily.
These are not your father’s Cardinal.
To paraphrase an old friend, the “snake oil salesman,” Rick Pitino, “Andrew Luck is not walking through that door.”
John Nunes has been given the keys to the car, and so far, he has yet to open it up to full throttle.
The QB leans heavily on his bell-cow tailback Stepfan Taylor, and a Linus-blanket, pass catching threesome; tight end Zach Ertz, and wideouts Ty Montgomery, and Drew Terrell.
The D behind All-America backer Chase Thomas, and his talented partner Shayne Skov, is susceptible to the pass, which is not a good recipe against the mighty Trojans.
You know what they say about paybacks; and USC marches out of Stanford Stadium with “Fight On!” blaring in the background.
Wake Forest at No. 5 Florida State (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m.) Before the Wizard of Winston-Salem, Deac’s Coach Jim Grobe (70-67-11 plus years) stepped foot on the Wake Forest campus, his five previous coaching predecessors were a Red Sox woeful: 96-202! Yikes!!
One of the keys to Grobe’s success, in a school where class attendance is mandatory, is his philosophy of; red-shirting almost every incoming freshmen class.
The Demon Deacons are led by its three Amigos; QB Tanner Price, tailback Josh Harris, and glue fingered wideout, Michael Campanaro, but are somewhat hamstrung by an inexperienced offensive line.
The D’s strength is its front seven, featuring nose Nikita Whitlock, end Zach Thompson, and backer Justin Jackson.
In Tallahassee, the patience of the faithful is being tested, as it thirsts for a return to; the days of glory under Bobby Bowden.
In its first two games, Jimbo Fisher’s boys expanded its waistline, by munching a pair of cupcakes, but now, the business of playing real football, is finally commencing in Doak Campbell Stadium.
The Noles leader is its erratic, but talented, dual-threat QB, E.J. Manuel, who is assisted by the tailback tandem; Devonta Freeman, and James Wilder, while receivers Kenny Shaw, and Kelvin Benjamin, are field stretching dynamos.
It remains to be seen, if this offensive eleven can show extended consistency.
On the other side of the ball, Florida State’s D, is as sure of a thing, as Secretariat running at Belmont.
These bare knuckle battlers, featuring All-America end Brandon Jenkins, his partner Bjoern Werner, and backer Vince Williams, are tougher than a UFC Champion, and are intent, in once again, making FSU relevant on the national scene.
In a game, that will be a lot closer than the experts believe, Wake will battle hard, but ultimately it’s the Noles D, who scalps to the victory.
Last week’s record: 3-2 Season record: 8-2.
Be sure to read our recap which will be up and running by noon Sunday.
Until then, smile, and listen to the music. pk