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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bye Week

I'm taking a bye week to muorn the loss of hope in Athens, Georgia. What a great 4th quarter. What a heart-breaking OT loss.
The sun will come up tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 8 Looked Great!

While Week eight did in fact look great, I have to say that I had a bad taste in my mouth leading up to it. I sat and wondered why that was for the longest time and then remembered that Week Eight is the Return of the BCS Standings!!!. Duhn Duhn Da Naaaah! Let the complaining begin! Computers and computer nerds will now tell us who the number one team in the land is. This week’s winner: Oklahoma! Not Oregon… Oklahoma! Forget it. I’m not even going to spend the 10 pages I need to explain this.

Instead, I’ll say Happy Birthday to my Mom! Happy Birthday Ma’! While she is a much bigger NFL fan and probably only reads this because I write it, she does follow the college football blog loyally. Thanks mom.

Let’s get on with…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#11 Missouri over #1 Oklahoma 36-27
Oklahoma turned the ball over 3 times and gave up 16 points in the 4th quarter. Hope they enjoyed being the #1 team for a week. Their defense also gave up 486 total yards. Wow. Not that I thought Oklahoma should have been ranked number one this week, but I did think they had a better defense than that. Congrats to Missouri who now sits at 7-0 and in control of the Big-12. They should also get a big push from the computers this week and could be sitting in the top 5 come Sunday afternoon. But, next week is going to be a big test on the road at Nebraska.

#4 Auburn over #6 LSU 24-17
I’ll admit I laughed a few weeks ago when somebody said they thought Cam Newton was the front runner for the Heisman. I’m not laughing any more. He is leading Auburn in every category. This week he only passed for 86yds and 0TDs going 10 for 16. But, he ran the ball 28 times for 217 yards and 2TDs. Auburn is now 8-0 and the SEC’s last remaining undefeated team thanks to Mr. Newton and should be able to cruise to the Iron Bowl matchup against Alabama at the end of the year. LSU has a top 10 defense and lives by that defense. However, in this back and forth game they just had no answer for Newton and Auburn’s run game.

#13 Wisconsin over #15 Iowa 31-30
What a game! Fake puts, 8 lead changes, a final drive to win it and positioning for bowl games for both teams. Ohio State has the Big-10 under control for the moment, but both of these teams were looking to make a claim on Saturday night. Did you know that with the Badger’s win this series is now all tied up at 42-42-2? They’ve played each other 86 times and this was a great one to tie it all up. Man I wish I could have seen this game.

#16 Nebraska over #14 Oklahoma State 51-41
What happens when Oklahoma State’s offense meets Nebraska’s defense? A low scoring game right? Nooooo. Offense! Offense! Offense! See below for our player of the week from this game. Nebraska to me got two wins this week. One they erased the loss to Texas last week and two they beat another top 15 team to help them get back up in the rankings. They also showed that they are a much better team than they were last week by going on the road and taking care of business. The Huskers are now 6-1 and have a chance to take back the Big-12 next week when Missouri comes to town. I hope they win so they can have a shot at leaving the Big-12 as Champs.

DON’T CALL THEM UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Unranked Iowa State over #19 Texas 28-21
Unranked Syracuse over #20 W. Virginia 19-14
Unranked Baylor over #22 Kansas State 47-42


Don’t call them upsets! Anybody could have seen these coming. Listen, I’m not even going to justify each of these losses with a comment. Only K State was playing on the road and not even in a “tough” environment at Baylor. Texas just got back into the rankings by beating Nebraska last week and now they just lay down for Iowa State? W. Virginia hasn’t looked all that great all year, so no surprise that a 4-2 Syracuse came in and beat them. The 20-25 spots in the rankings should be a revolving door from here on out.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#2 Oregon over UCLA 60-13
The Ducks are ready to be the Nation’s #1 team. They should have been this week, (yes, I know they were the AP #1, but we have to live with the system we’re given by the almighty BCS) but they weren’t. Oregon is really tough at home and this week was no exception. Tons of yards (582 total/312 passing/270 rushing), a backup running all over the place while the starter got some rest (Alston Jr. 8 carries for 75yds and 3TDs) and a QB that is damn good (Thomas 22/31 for 308yds and 3TDs and 5 carries for 48yds); Oregon’s offense is scary! This week they travel to USC (the one in California) and hopefully we won’t see them as the next #1 team to get knocked off.
Honorable Mention to #10 Ohio State putting up a 49-0 score on visiting Purdue.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez. If you’re talking about the Heisman, this guy has got to be in the conversation. This week he led Nebraska to a great win after losing last week by going 23 for 35 for 323yds and 5TDs. That’s right 5TDs! He also ran for 112yds on 19 carries. Remember, this guy is a FRESHMAN! He may be just a freshman, but he is impressive. And, while he may be in the conversation, he’s just a second place candidate at this point.

Just to take a quick look here at the 2 QBs I talked about this week and their numbers so far:

Cam Newton; QB Auburn, 6’6” 250lbs. Junior: Passing: 90/138 for 1,364yds and 13TDs with 5INTs. Rushing: 157 carries for 1,077yds and 14TDs with 0 fumbles.

Taylor Martinez; QB Nebraska; 6’1” 205lbs. Freshman: Passing: 66/111 for 1,046yds and 8TDs with 3INTs. Rushing: 100 carries for 870yds and 12TDs with 0 fumbles.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Thankfully I didn’t buy that plane ticket to Vegas that I was talking about. Last week I picked Akron over W. Michigan as my pillow fight. The Western Michigan Broncos beat the Zips 56-10 driving Akron’s record this year to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the MAC. Ouch. It must suck to be an Akron fan in these dark times.

This week I’m going to try and rebound like Nebraska and make a trip to the Patriot conference. I’m going with the Bucknell Bison (1-6, 1-1) to defend their house against the visiting Lafayette Leopards (1-6, 0-1). What is the Patriot conference you ask? Why it’s the power house that includes: Lehigh (5-2), Georgetown (3-5), Colgate (4-3, but they have clean teeth), Holy Cross (4-4 but leading the Nation in Hail Marys), Bucknell (1-6), Fordam (3-5) and Lafayette (1-6).

Thank you for reading. This is the end.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week 7 Smack Down

How many upsets can college football produce in two weeks? A lot. When is a bye week a good week? This week. Is Boise State poised to get more first place votes than Oregon or TCU? We shall see. This week showed off some parody in college football which to me is a good thing and this year’s spots in the National Championship game are still up for grabs. I think Oregon has the best chance but also has a tough schedule coming up and could be the next number one team to get knocked off. The SEC west is about to get crazy as 2 undefeated teams (AUB and LSU) and once beaten Alabama are about to go round robin. But we’ll get to that later.

GAME OF THE WEEK
:
#7 Auburn over #12 Arkansas 65-43
I can’t remember the last time a score shocked me as much as this one. I thought Auburn had a chance to win especially playing at home, I knew both offenses were much improved and I knew this was going to be a good game, but I didn’t expect both defenses to part like the Red Sea. Wow. 1,036 total yards in the game! Auburn ran for 330yds and Arkansas threw for 428. Really this came down to Arkansas’ 3 turnovers 2 of which were INTs and Ryan Mallet isn’t looking like the Heisman candidate that he was earlier in the year. Auburn is now sitting at 7-0 on the year and could be poised to make a play for the SEC West crown.
There were a few others of note, but this week, like last week, is about the upsets.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:

Unranked Texas stings #5 Nebraska 20-13
Nebraska had so much to play for in this game. Ranked #5, leaving the Big-12 after this year, revenge for last year’s Big-12 Championship Game loss… the list goes on. Statistically this game was close but Texas just jumped out to a first half 17-3 lead and just managed to hang on in the second half thanks to a lethargic Nebraska offense. This win probably won’t salvage Texas’ season, but it must feel good to stick it to Nebraska one more time.

#18 Wisconsin over #1 Ohio State 31-18

The Big-10 is now Wisconsin’s to lose or Michigan State’s to win right? This marks the second straight week that the number one team in the land has fallen. Oregon the new number one by default? I think so. Ohio State looked way overrated in this game even if Wisconsin is one of the toughest places to play in the Big-10, they should have put up a better performance than this one. Again, this game was fairly statistically even, but The Badgers just scored early and then again late in the game when OSU probably thought that they would just cruise to a victory. It’s hard to call this one an upset and I really think Wisconsin can now make a play for the Rose Bowl depending on Michigan State’s next few weeks.

Unranked Kentucky defends their house and takes out #10 South Carolina 31-28

This had trap game written all over it. USC took out #1 Bama a week ago and then had to go on the road to play a tough Kentucky team. UK is better than their record indicates and now the SEC East is just one big mess. Kentucky owned the second half of this game after trailing 28-10 at the break. Kentucky QB Mike Hartline threw 3 of his 4 TDs in the second half the last one coming with just 1:15 left to go.

Honorable Mention
to: Unranked Mississippi State taking out #22 Florida 10-7 in The Swamp! Where are you Tim Tebow? Oh that’s right; in Denver. Florida is looking rough right now and has fallen to 4-3 on the year with all 3 losses coming in SEC play. Also thank you to unranked Hawaii for knocking off #19 Nevada and getting rid of a pesky fly in the BCS ointment.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK
:
#3 Boise State over San Jose State 48-0
Blah Blah Blah. Please somebody schedule these guys so they’ll have to play a real opponent. I give them credit for playing VT and Oregon State this year, but they need to get out of the WAC.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
I’m giving this to Auburn’s Cameron Newton. The QB is 6’6” and 250lbs. and can run. Saturday he threw for 140yds going 10 for 14 with a TD. Not a big deal. But he ran for 3 TDs and 188yds on 25 attempts. This guy is huge and can move. Expect more from him in the coming weeks and if he keeps playing like this he could take Auburn a long way.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Florida International over North Texas was my pick for this week and once again I was MONEY! Fla. Int. 34 N. Texas 10. I’m going to test the power of my picks and this blog this week and go to a MAC matchup. W. Michigan (2-4, 1-1) at Akron (0-7, 0-3). I’m picking Akron! Go Zips!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It’ll be a Brave new World

Well the Bobby Cox era came to a close this week and I have to say that while I am sad to see him go, I’m not all that disappointed with the Brave’s finish this year despite them losing in the first round. It was a good year for the Braves all things considering. They spent the better part of the summer overachieving and in first place and they made it to the playoffs as the NL wildcard team when a lot of people wrote them off after the loss of Chipper Jones late in the year.

Freddie Gonzalez will take over as Braves manager come spring training and he’ll have a lot of tough questions to answer. Who will play 3B? Who is going to be in the outfield? Who is going to close games out of the bullpen? Where are the runs going to come from in the lineup?

Surprisingly, the Braves finished the year 13th in runs scored, 14th in batting average, 18th in slugging percentage, and 4th in on base percentage. At no point did they ever look like that kind of offense to me. While those numbers are in the middle of the pack, I never saw this year’s team as any kind of offensive power. The strength of this year’s team was obviously in its pitching. (3rd in ERA, 5th in WHIP,, and 7th in BAA). Tm Hudson was a stud all year long and D. Lowe was awesome down the stretch. It’s no wonder that out playoff series was the first in history to have all the games decided by one run.

Next year has more questions than answers right now. While the starting pitching should be improved with the return of JJ and Tommy Hanson entering his third year, the offense needs to be overhauled. Only Brian McCann put up solid numbers throughout the year. Martin Prado should return fully healthy but can he put up those kind of numbers again? Will Derrick Lee be playing first base? Will Jason Heyward get it together and perform at a consistent level all year long? Who knows?

I do think that the Braves can contend next year. But, they are going to need to pick up some offense in the market because I just don’t see chipper Jones coming back and even if he does, you know he’s only good for about 80-90 games.

But, all that can wait till Spring. For now, it’s time to say goodbye to Bobby Cox. He’s been with the Braves since I was a little kid and I’ll miss seeing him get thrown out of games. I had to look it up, but Russ Nixon was the manager in Atlanta before Cox. Who the hell is Russ Nixon? Anyway, Cox managed 4,508 games (he won over 2,500 of those) and led the Braves to 14 straight Division Titles and that one World Series Championship. He won manager of the year 3 times in the National League and once in the AL with Toronto.

One of my favorite Bobby Cox quotes about being thrown out of games was this one:
"I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ He said, ‘Go have a couple cold beers and get in the cold tub or something and relax. And then you’ll probably have to write a $500 check. Or you can do what I do, write a $10,000 one and tell them when it runs out, let me know'."

Here’s to you Bobby! Atlanta will miss you!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 6 Rivalry Relevancy

Let me not delay this beyond the first sentence; yes, Alabama did lose to South Carolina. There are also too many important upsets to even include an upset section so, I’ll just have an expanded games of the week section.

This week however is about the relevancy of rivalries once again. Michigan v. Michigan State, Miami v. Florida State; neither of those games has been interesting since the late 90’s. This week however all four teams face each other ranked and looking to move up the rankings. The SEC put up some good matchups this week and the ACC is trying to sort out their conference as well. Kansas State tried to make a play for the top 25 by upsetting Nebraska but that didn’t work out and Penn State tried to salvage the start of their season but failed when Illinois came to town and laid a beating on them 33-13.

Let’s not delay; on with…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#19 South Carolina upsets #1 Alabama 35-21
Alabama had won 19 straight games coming into Saturday’s visit to Columbia and South Carolina had never beaten a #1 ranked team. Didn’t matter when Spurrier, Stephen Garcia (17/20 201yds 3TDs) and Lattimore (93yds and 2TDs.) decide to put in their best efforts. And it’s not like Alabama killed themselves in this game. Both teams had 1 turnover and really it was just a story of USC’s run defense shutting down Alabama’s run game. Alabama couldn’t have expected to win when they only rushed for 36yds. Is this the year that South Carolina turns the corner? They’ve already beaten Georgia, Florida isn’t looking all that good this year and their only loss is to Arkansas who is going to end up in the top 25. I wish I could have watched this one.

Unranked Oregon State upsets #9 Arizona 29-27
All this game really means to me is that Oregon is in the fast lane to the Rose Bowl. The PAC-10 has some parody now and it’s not just the So. Cal show. (unranked USC lost to #16 Stanford 37-35 this week) With Alabama’s loss Oregon should be ranked #2 this week. But I will give Oregon State some credit here for playing in a back and forth game on the road and winning by 2. This is also a good win for the boys in blue Boise St. because one of their wins is over the Beavers who will move up in the rankings this week as well.

#17 Michigan State over #18 Michigan 34-17
Denard Robinson is human after all. He threw three picks in this game and despite his 301 total yards and 2TDs, Michigan State collected a huge win in the return of their head coach to the sidelines. Sparty exposed Michigan’s defense raking up 536 total yards and scoring 24 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. MSU is now 6-0 for the first time since 1999 and, like South Carolina, is looking to take advantage of a conference down year and claim a conference title. I’m just glad this rivalry meant something this year and I hope that despite my hatred for Michigan, that both teams continue this for the next few years.

#23 Florida State over #13 Miami 45-17
Remember when I said that if Florida State got blown out by Oklahoma a few weeks ago that it might just send them on a downward spiral? Well I guess I was wrong; since then they’ve won 4 straight and outscored opponents 144-58. This is a huge win for this program on the rebound after that nasty business with Bowden and in Fisher’s first year. It doesn’t hurt that Ponder is now a Senior and is playing his best football since coming to FSU. He’s already thrown for over 1,000yds and 10TDs this year and has FSU with the best record in the ACC. Again, I’m happy to see this rivalry relevant again and like Michigan v. Michigan State I hope it continues for the next few years.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
Louisville over Memphis 56-0
Memphis on the right, Louisville’s numbers on the right. That’s all that needs to be said.
1st Downs 13 22
3rd down efficiency 3-16 6-11
4th down efficiency 0-0 0-0
Total Yards 223 574
Passing 184 275
Comp-Att 16-30 17-22
Yards per pass 6.1 12.5
Rushing 39 299
Rushing Attempts 34 34
Yards per rush 1.1 8.8
Penalties 6-38 4-26
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Possession 33:14 26:46

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Remember last week when I thought 62 pass attempts was good enough for player of the week? Well I’m going to make that claim again. Except this week I’m going to go with Taylor Potts from Texas Tech who threw just slightly less and went 42 for 59 for 462 yards and 4TDs with only one INT.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
I am ON FIRE!!! Last week I picked New Mexico State to beat New Mexico while both teams were winless. And… they did. New Mexico State collected their first win by beating New Mexico 16-14 on a 4th quarter field goal. This week we’re going back to the SunBelt for Florida International’s (1-4) visit to North Texas (1-5). I’m going to go against my instinct to pick the home squad and go with FIU to win.

That’s it kids. Sorry for the rushed version this week, but I have no power and am running on battery. Thank the good Lord that the Dawgs got a win this week over UT 41-14.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week 5

Yet another week and not too many surprising outcomes. You’ll have to excuse me if this post seems a little disjointed because I’m distracted by the fact that my Atlanta Braves are unable to win one game and make it into the playoffs. Tonight is the last night of the season so its win and you’re in time for the Braves. Hopefully tomorrow I wake up a happier man and see my team headed for the first round of the playoffs.

But as far as college football goes there were a few good games on the slate but not too many that proved to be very surprising. I think that this week was just one of those weeks where the games just needed to be played to make sure that the teams that were supposed to win did. Did that make sense? I told you I’m distracted by baseball.

Some interesting facts that I saw this week: with Notre Dame’s loss to Stanford last week, they have now not beaten a ranked team since 2006. And, there are now 5 undefeated teams in the Big-12 with K-State, Missouri and Oklahoma State still unranked among those undefeated teams. But, Texas is still ranked with now two losses. We’ll get to that in a minute.

In other news apparently my mother went to her first college football game in her life yesterday. She attended the Citadel vs. Western Carolina game. Too bad the boys from Charleston’s military college lost 24-13. Don’t worry mom, with better teams come better games. Maybe in the comments section we’ll get a full report on this one.
On with the…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
Sorry SEC fans, Alabama cruising by Florida 31-6 doesn’t count as a game of the week.

#4 Oregon takes out #9 Stanford 52-31
Big big big win for Oregon. This maybe the PAC-10’s year to challenge the SEC as the nation’s top conference and Oregon looks to be the conference’s best contender. Stanford has a good squad this year and I expect that they will rebound from this nicely, but Oregon was expected to win, needed to win and did win. Having Oregon’s RB James run for 257yds and 3TDs doesn’t hurt either. The only drawback to this game was the 3 turnovers by each team. They can’t continue to do that.

#8 Oklahoma over #21 Texas 28-20
The Red River Whatever is always good even if Texas just dropped 14 spots in the rankings after last week’s loss. Do they drop out of the top 25 after this one? We shall see. Oklahoma didn’t look great and played sloppy ball, but came out with a win and really just avoided being this week’s big upset.

#24 Michigan State upsets #11 Wisconsin 34-24
This game doesn’t belong in the upset of the week because both teams came in undefeated and this was what a lot of the pundits had predicted anyway. Plus, I love to see Wisconsin lose when they’re overrated anyway. MSU has now quietly started the year 5-0 and has the emotional wave of their coach having had a heart attack but still coaching the team. Big effort from MSU’s QB Cousins who went an amazing 20 for 29 for 269yds and 3TDs and he’s also quietly putting together a nice start to this year. Too early to say he’s an early candidate? Hmmm… You heard it here first.

#12 LSU survives Tennessee 16-14
Tennessee had this game won. The clock struck zero with Tennessee ahead 14-9. Game over right? Nope. The Vols had 12 men on the field and gave LSU one more play at the one-yard-line. LSU had screwed up the snap on that play and Tennessee should have had one of their biggest road wins in the past 10 years. Instead they gave LSU one more chance and they took advantage of it. This game just goes to show that good teams capitalize on mistakes and bad teams just keep making them. But, weird ending aside, this was a great defensive battle and deserves to get one of this week’s nods. By the way, LSU is 5-0 for the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons.

UPSET OF THE WEEK:
Unranked Washington (2-2) goes to So. Cal and takes out #18 USC 32-31
Like I said earlier, this maybe the PAC-10’s year. Washington looked bad in their two losses (especially their phenom QB Jake Locker, who I’ve made fun of on this blog before) and had many thinking they were not going to come close in this game. Others thought that USC was ranked that high on name alone, but still thought that they would have no problem with Washington at home. But, this ended up being the second straight year that Washington has upset USC and Jake Locker passed for 310yds, 1TD and rushed for 110yds in this one. Locker had a great game and the kicker did his job as time expired. A lot could be said about this game, but I’ll just say it was huge for both teams and for drastically different reasons.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#3 Boise State over unranked New Mexico 59-0
The Lobos were involved in one of our pillow fights a few weeks back and lost to UNLV. So what happens when they play Boise State? They make another appearance on the blog in the beat down section. Boise State, like I said plays nobody the rest of the year and this is just the start of that. New Mexico managed just 208 total yards but still won the time of possession. If that’s any consolidation to them.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
I should give this to Michigan’s Robinson again with his 494 yards of total offense, 3 passing TDs, and 2 rushing TDs in a win over Indiana. Not too early to say this guy is the front runner for the Heisman. But, I’m going to switch and give it to Jerrod Johnson from Texas A&M even though his team lost and he threw 4INTs. Just hang with me for a second. His defense sucks and he had to throw the ball all over the field to receivers that had a lot of busted routs. He just kept throwing and kept trying to win. He went 40 for 62 for 409yds and 5TDs with those 4INTs. 62 pass attempts!!! Damn.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
I should go to Vegas and start picking these games because I’m on fire this year. Last week I picked LA Lafayette to beat North Texas and they did 28-27 in a great pillow fight.
This week I’m going to keep picking on New Mexico. It’s a classic MWC at WAC instate smack down as New Mexico (0-5) goes to New Mexico State (0-4) to settle the argument over which New Mexico team is the worst. And, I’m going to ride my hot hand and say New Mexico State wins it.

That’s it kids. I’m out of here to go pray that the Braves figure out a way to back into the playoffs.