Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
5-5 after the first two weeks was slightly under my goal. It seems like I've had more bad luck than good so far so maybe the ball bounces my way a little. And for a change there don't appear to be any emotional picks making my list this week. We're still in the part of the season where offenses are gelling and getting a little better. In a couple of weeks the defenses will catch up and there'll also be more upsets. But for now, it's still time to roll over the cupcakes.
Utah -24 UTAH STATE
I'll hand things over to ESPN for a second:
"No. 22 Utah visits Logan on Saturday night looking for its 11th straight win over its non-conference rival.
Utah State took the first meeting between the teams in 1892, winning 12-0, but that was hardly a sign of things to come. The Utes have won more than 70 percent of their games against the Aggies, going 75-28-4 in 107 meetings."
Utah has already been tested on the road at Michigan and then kept their composure to dispatch UNLV last week. Utah State is licking their wounds after a 42 point defeat in Eugene, OR last week. I think the mighty Utes get up for this rivalry game and put a hurting on the Aggies.
Georgia -7.5 SOUTH CAROLINA
Why would I pick UGA to cover after they've let me down so many times? I'm pretty sure I've sworn to only pick the over/under in Mark Richt games before. And hell I once declared UGA covering in the 2004 edition of this game to be the lock of the century to only watch them fail to cover. Me picking UGA to cover basically reminds me of this:
But this line just seems like bullshit. South Carolina hasn't been pulling any punches the last two weeks, they look impotent offensively. I know that Spurrier seems to get his team up for big games and can at special times find a way to exploit a defense. I think the daytime kickoff for UGA helps, and I really don't expect South Carolina's defense to keep the Dawgs in check all day. UGA by at least 14.
Oregon -8 PURDUE
I seriously thought about taking the over 60.5 in this game. I know that the Ducks can put up the points, but Purdue is still untested at this point. I don't see any reason to believe that the Boilermakers are a tougher test than Washington at this point. Also, maybe it's just me but Oregon seems to fly under the radar a little bit as a top 16 program in the nation? They've been consistently good for around a decade. Off the top of my head and in no order I'd maybe list the top 16 over the last 10 years as:
Oregon, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Auburn, UGA, UF, Tennessee, FSU, Virginia Tech, Miami, Wisconsin and then maybe another Big 12 team (Nebraska or Kansas State?)
MICHIGAN STATE -17 Florida Atlantic
First off, I respect The Schnellenberger. But FAU got spanked by 42 in Austin. The Spartans proved their offensive mettle by putting up 31 at Cal and then putting away E. Mich by 32 points last weekend. It's a long trip up to East Lansing and I expect it to be a longer trip back.
ILLINOIS 25.5 U. La. La.
It's always fun when the Rajun Cajuns of Oohlala come to town. The Illini appear to have a juggernaut of an offense and the Cajuns are more than willing to let that status remain true. On the other side of the ball, Illinois' defensive weaknesses should be masked slightly by Lafayette's one dimensional offense. Even the Zooker can put 8-9 men in the box. You know that Illinois is good for a minimum of 45 points so it becomes a question of how much ULALA can score. I don't think it's more than 21.
Last Week: 3-2
AUBURN VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE PREVIEW
It appears to my untrained eye that Auburn has the ability to put together everything offensively but it certainly isn't a given. Chris Todd isn't lights out with his current arm strength and Kodi has been relegated to DJ Shockley/Tebow duties as a specialty QB. The rest of the skill players are quality but there aren't really a lot of All SEC guys there. The offensive line appears to be top notch though. So given the current offensive philosophy Auburn is capable of putting up 30-50 points but it's going to require every player hitting on all cylinders. This is not an offensive team that's going to rattle off 2-3 long touchdowns a game at this point. Part of that is recruiting and part is the unfortunate injuries the WR corps has already suffered.
Miss State has been sporting a solid defense for a couple of years now and should at the very least be able to slow Auburn's rushing game. However I don't think they are particularly capable of stopping a spread attack. Playing nickel or dime doesn't play to their personnel strengths.
The Auburn defense vs. Miss State putrid offense should be a near shutout performance. The Tigers front seven is a talented and six of the positions have great depths (Weak DE is a concern). The secondary is paper thin but the starters are more than capable. Auburn should grab an interception or two and generally harass the Bulldogs offense all day. Once again, I'm not an X's and O's expert, but it appears to me that Auburn has stuck to a pretty base defense the first two weeks. I haven't seen many blitzes at all. I don't know if that's holding out for SEC games or LSU specifically or just Rhoads' generally conservative philosophy.
There could easily be some special teams fireworks from either team that swing the game. But when it comes down to it, Auburn pulls out the victory. By 3, 7 or 10 someway they make sure to put enough points on the board to come out victorious. And of course there is always the chance they whip out a 30 point victory.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Matt Ryan started his career off with a bang. Connecting for a 62 yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins. The ball was thrown before he broke, hit the receiver perfectly in stride, and the Jenkins raced to the endzone. Things stayed at the level of awesomeness for the entirety of the game. I was hoping that the smashmouth philophy/ball control/field position philosophy that was preached in the offseason would allow the Falcons to stay in most games and hopefully they would come down to a big play. And maybe Atlanta would be able to pull out 5-6 wins. Well Matty Ice said screw that and brought the energy back to the Georgia Dome. I couldn't be happier.
And you have to ask the question, was Bill Parcells snubbing the Falcons the best thing that could have happened to the Falcons?. The early returns on Thomas Dimitroff's first draft picks and his signing of Michael Turner look fantastic. After the future looking so dark and miserable a year ago, hope is renewed. Matty Ice, Michael the Burner Turner, and solid defense are ready to play.
Friday, September 05, 2008
For the second year in a row the opening week was less that kind to me. An unspectacular 2-3 which included Wisconsin giving up a TD with 38 seconds left to blow it. Then of course was the debacle that was my Clemson/bama prediction. Apparently I need to get less info from the autigers.com board which may be a little biased. That still doesn't explain Rob Spence pulling a 2003 Nallsminger vs. UGA offense in which he decided to not give the ball to either of his splendid running backs. This week I hope to get things back to my typical early season success. Because without the typical flurry of September wins, my late October and November collapse will be even more costly. The kinks should be worked out of several offenses and it's time for the dominant teams to put some big numbers up on the board.
GEORGIA vs Central Michigan over 56.5
In the Chippewas 14 games last year, 12 of those contests featured over 57 or more total points. Including BCS games of 7-52 at Kansas, 14-70 @ Clemson, and two games against Purdue 22-45 and 48-51. Georgia seems quite the candidate to put up a large number offensively. I could also see the Dawgs giving up a couple of 4th quarter scores when the 3rd team secondary is in against Dan Lefevour.
NOTRE DAME -21.5 San Diego State
There is some caution with this being the season opener for the Irish. Then there's less caution when you realize that the Aztecs lost at home last week to Cal Poly 27-29. I don't get this line at all, are there that many people who hate the Irish enough to put money against them just for the hell of it? I'm assuming that Notre Dame wants to win big and hopefully pick up some votes in the polls.
Cal -13.5 WASHINGTON STATE
Last week Cal hung on for a 7 point victory in a shootout at home over Michigan State. Washington State got waxed 13-39 at home by the visiting Mike Gundy 41 year olds. I think Cal should torch a miserable Cougar defense and Washington didn't show anything last week to imply they could attack Cal's defense. I'd say the Bears by 21.
Texas -26.5 UTEP
In case you missed it, UTEP lost by 25 at Buffalo last week. I guess UTEP is getting some points for it being a home game. But I'm guessing there are going to be a ton of Longhorn fans in the stadium. I'm the Miner want to protect their home turf, but at some point you sell your ticket for $150 to the crazed Texas fan right? So without much talent, and not much of a home field advantage, what does UTEP have to offer? This basically comes down to how much Texas' coaches care about winning big. And I've learned in recent years that Mack Brown has no problem destroying teams.
AUBURN vs. Southern Miss over 45.5
This one seems like an absolute lock to me. Larry Fedora debuted as Southern Miss' new coach last week in a 51-21 victory against U-La-La. The Golden Eagles gained 633 total yards and managed to give up 394 (263 rushing). In Auburn's "disappointing" offensive opener last week they gained 406 yards (321 rushing).
So you have a coaching staff and players who have heard all week how "miserable" their offensive performance was after an offseason of anticipation going against a less than capable Southern Miss defense. There is also a very slim chance that Auburn pitches back to back shutout efforts. I think 42-17 seems about right.
Last week: 2-3
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
This picture was the tipping point for me. I've seen bama fans deck anything and everything out in houndstooth over the last several years. Paying homage to tradition is one thing but it's moved on to idol worship. Which would even be somewhat understandable, if Bear Bryant actually wore houndstooth. I'm not the first person to address this, but I'd like to hear a reasonable answer. Every single picture of Bear Bryant online shows him wearing a hat, usually black and white plaid but sometimes other colors. Not once, anywhere on the internet can you find a clear picture of Bear Bryant wearing a houndstooth hat. They aren't out there. And in case you don't know the difference:
Houndstooth (which has jagged edges)
Bear Bryant wearing his usual black and white plaid hat
So please, anyone, tell me how this got warped into an obsession of houndstooth? And really to most college age bama fans, that's what it is right now, a worship of a pattern and not the Coach who died before they were born. So I'm begging anyone to find a picture of Bear Bryant wearing houndstooth and send it to me.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The Railbird makes it back onto the blogroll with his rant on the Clemson/bama game. Good to have you back. Just keep up that one post a month momentum.
I've been reading The Foggy Monocle pretty regularly for awhile now. Hell, it was pretty much the inspiration for the Drunken Tailgate. They take submissions of email/im/text recaps of the night before's debauchery. It's hit or miss but I really enjoyed this tale of ridiculousness in Atlanta.
And the only person who "would dig" the new Steamhouse is someone who hadn't been to the old one. We stopped by the new location a few Fridays ago around 1am. Including the bartender and cop, there were 3 people inside when we arrived.