College Football Week of 09/6/08
Wake Forest's Sam Swank saved the conference with his game winning 41-yard field goal against Ole Miss. Without the senior’s late game heroics the Atlantic Coast would not have a team in the Top 25.
Riley Skinner had another efficient performance, completing 32 of his 43 attempts and throwing for 262 yards and two TD.
Houston Nutt and the Rebels missed a big opportunity to steal one on the road. But if Texas transfer Jevan Sneed continues to play well Ole Miss should be bowling come December.
Bringing back the “U”
The Gators got the victory on Saturday night, but not without a fight from Randy Shannon’s boys. Miami’s defense looked just as athletic as Florida’s.
The Hurricanes went into the swamp believing they could win that game just the way Hollyfield did when he walked into the ring against Tyson.
Yes, Florida had too many weapons on offense, but it was nice to see some fire and passion from the Miami program again.
Contender Evaluation: Penn State
The Nittany Lions have been the most impressive and overlooked team in the Big Ten thus far. Penn State has been able to establish a running game, racking up 572 yards and 11 touchdowns in their first two games on the ground.
Key Games: 9/27 Illinois, 10/11 @ Wisconsin, 10/25 @ Ohio State
Down and Dirty
West Virginia got beat up and down the field, getting out muscled by East Carolina for 60 minutes.
The Pirates dominated the line of scrimmage. The ECU offensive line drove Mountaineer defenders five yards past the line of scrimmage and the D-line kept All-American Pat White in-check all game.
Skip Holtz team has now beaten last year's ACC and Big East champion in consecutive weeks.
Although it’s sad to see the weather prohibit college football, I’m glad the NCAA has decided to do the smart thing and cancel the games. With that said, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends who have been affected by this Hurricane season. God Bless.
The ACC’s and Big East’s struggles continued this week, and yes, both conferences are still affiliated with the BCS. (See letter “Q”)
Maryland 14 Middle Tenn. 24
Syracuse 28 Akron 42
Connecticut 12 Temple 9
West Virginia 3 East Carolina 24
It was the first of the season for Oklahoma. Cincinnati hung with the defending Big XII champs for a half and it could have been longer if not for the Bearcats going for it on fourth and two early in the third quarter.
Good news for the Sooners is Bradford found another receiver in freshman Ryan Broyles, and big TE Gresham looked dominant. Bad news is Stoops found out he might have some weaknesses in the secondary again, especially the deep ball.
The ball being thrown is apparently the determining factor when deciding to flag a celebrating-game-tying touchdown. I was watching the 18-play drive and thinking to myself, “Jake Locker is carrying the Huskies on his back, making absolutely spectacular plays.”
It’s a shame that a great quarterback duel had to be decided by a gut-feeling. I know the conference and the NCAA has to back the referees on Saturdays, but it would be nice to hear a mistake was made and that an effort to prevent future occurrences is a priority.
This isn’t the first time Pac-10 officiating has decided the outcome of the game: Oklahoma fans remember the botched call that cost the Sooners a win against Oregon in 2006.
1. QB Austin Davis, S. Miss: 33 for 50, 266 yards, two TD, two INT.
2. RB Foswhitt Whittaker, Texas: 12 rushes, 72 yards.
3. WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma: 7 receptions, 141 yards, one TD
4. QB Robert Griffen III, Baylor: 15 of 19, 294 yards, three TD. 10 rushes, 42 yards, one TD.
5. WR Jermaine Kearse, Washington: two receptions, 54 yards one TD.
Jumping to Conclusions
Predictions for next week
Fresno State 28 Wisconsin 24
Could be in trouble
BYU 27 UCLA 21
Closer than you think
Oklahoma 42 Washington 27
No way Jose
Southern Cal 41 Ohio State 17
Knowing Your Team
Rich Rodriguez is still trying to figure out what kind of personnel he has in Anne Arbor. Michigan struggled on offense against a weak Miami Ohio defense, failing to manage 300 yards of total offense for the second straight week.
The Wolverines still haven’t found an answer in the running game or at the quarterback position. I think it’s safe to say the Blue and Gold are at least a year away from competing for a Big Ten title again.
Oh, and Rich, here’s a news flash for you: Running a quarterback draw on third and 10 isn’t going to pick up a first down this year. Perhaps a bigger font could help Rodriguez see it doesn’t still say “White” or “Pryor” on the back of the jerseys.
Lighting it up
The PAC-10 elite continue to put big numbers on opposing teams. Arizona State has looked impressive out of the gate, and Oregon and Cal are both averaging over 50 points a game. The trio are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack as the main challengers to dethrone Southern Cal.
The conference is starting to become very top-heavy.
Moving Past Week One
Several teams were looking to get back on track this week after disappointing season openers.
Virginia Tech made the move to Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, which was a no-brainer considering the inconsistent career of Sean Glennon, but the real verdict on the Hokies new QB won’t come until next week against Georgia Tech.
Clemson and Texas A&M
Clemson rebounded from last week’s disappointment, establishing a run game against the Citadel and Texas A&M managed to survive on the road against New Mexico without their starting quarterback Steven McGee who was injured on the first series of the game.
Pitt struggled again and to make things worse the team that upset the Panthers last week, Bowling Green, got blown out 42-17 by Minnesota at home. It could be a very short stint for Dave Wannstedt in Pittsburgh.
Yet the same look for Charlie Weis. Notre Dame played just as bad as they did a year ago, barely edging out a bad San Diego State team which lost to FCS Cal Poly last week.
Not to mention the Irish got help from the officials to pull out the win (I’m still not convinced that Aztec RB Brandon Sullivan fumbled on goal line).
You have to wonder if the success in 2005 was really the work of the seniors Tyrone Willingham brought to South Bend. I can’t see Weis winning more than six games this year, nor lasting much longer with the Irish.
Ohio State, Auburn, South Florida, Georgia, and Texas Tech.
That’s what Matt Grothe did by talking smack to Central Florida about last year's 64-12 thrashing. Of all the games this week, this one by far had the best atmosphere. It felt like a bowl game.
The Knights fell inches short of a first down in overtime after mounting a furious fourth quarter comeback to tie the game. In a weak Big East, the Bulls have a good chance of winning the conference, but will need Grothe to immerge into a smarter quarterback if South Florida hopes to get a BCS bid.
Question of the Week
Will the winner of the ACC or Big East deserve a bid to the BCS?
With no team living up to the their pre-season expectations, it’s hard to believe a team from either conference will be better at the end of the season than some of the second and third best teams from the stronger BCS conferences.
With BYU, Fresno State and East Carolina all having legitimate chances of crashing the party too, at-large bids could be at a minimum as it is. As of now it’s hard to believe any team from either conference will be deserving of or able to compete in a game come January.
But there’s still a lot of football to be played, so it’ll be interesting to see how the season of the Cinderella plays out.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the finish to the Rice-Memphis game it’s worth a look. Check it out.
Star Performance of the Week
Cincinnati WR Marshwan Gilyard’s 365 all-purpose yards kept the Bearcats in the game for a half against Oklahoma. The junior caught seven passes for 119 yards and added another 246 on special teams including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Heck, with the injury to starting QB Dustin Grutza, Cincy should think about letting the guy play QB too.
1. Southern California
Yes, the Trojans were idle this week, but USC is the only team in the country that hasn’t shown a weakness yet.
The Sooners out muscled Cincinnati 52-26, but OU showed some vulnerability against the deep ball. But isn’t that the only way teams beat the Sooners?
The Gators struggled to move the ball in the first half against an athletic Miami defense, but got things rolling after halftime.
4. Louisiana State
Hurricane Gustav postponed the defending national champ’s game against Troy. The game will be played Nov. 15.
The offense looked impressive again. Chase Daniels and crew continue to put up huge numbers. The Tiger are averaging 52 points per game on offense.
Five Things to Watch for Next Week
1. Kansas vs. South Florida (Friday, 8 ET)
Todd R leads his underrated Kansas Jayhawks into Tampa to face Matt Grothe and the 19th ranked Bulls.
2. Ohio State vs. Southern Cal
Ready or not, the Buckeyes travel to the Coliseum to face the mighty Trojans. Good luck, Beanie.
3. Wisconsin vs. Fresno State
BCS hopeful Fresno State should not be taken lightly. The Bulldogs have a legitimate shot to beat the Badgers at home.
4. BYU vs. UCLA
The Cougars look for a second straight win against a PAC-10 opponent.
5. Georgia vs. South Carolina
First BCS conference opponent and SEC road test for the Dawgs comes against a desperate Spurrier squad looking to avoid a 0-2 conference start.
Victory Lane: (Notable teams trying to avoid a 0-3 start)
Washington State vs. Baylor
Ohio vs. Central Michigan
Syracuse vs. Penn State
Oregon State vs. Hawaii
Washington vs. Oklahoma
New Mexico vs. Arizona
Ohio State struggled to move the ball without their star running back. Jim Tressel has to be concerned with the performance of starting quarterback Todd Boeckman. The senior has been inconsistent with the deep ball, which allows the defense to commit more to stopping the run.
But perhaps more troubling for the Buckeyes was on defense. OSU struggled to stop the mobile Boo Jackson and looked vulnerable against the run, especially up the gut. As the season continues look for Terrelle Pryor to slowly replace Boeckman under center.
Guys that probably aren’t household names, but will be come December:
TE Shawn Nelson (Southern Miss) DT Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech) QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) TE Dennis Pitta (BYU)
Your BCS bowl match-ups right now:
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. California
Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Missouri
Sugar Bowl: Louisiana State vs. West Virginia
Fiesta Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida
National Championship Game: USC vs. Oklahoma
Teams the country shouldn’t sleep on:
Programs on the rise: Miami, Alabama, UCLA, Penn State, Oregon, East Carolina, California, Fresno State.