DT's Picks of the Week: Sept26

Doubting ThomasContributor ISeptember 26, 2008

My how a week can change things... We began last week with USC having just annihilated Ohio State in LA, Georgia had struggled to beat an unranked South Carolina team, East Carolina looked like dark horse national title contender, and BYU survived a trip to Washington on an excessive celebration penalty that set up a blocked extra point.
Flash forward 7 days later... Unranked Oregon State just knocked off #1 USC last night. Georgia rolled against Arizona State, cinderella ECU lost to a horrible NC State squad, and Oklahoma may be our new #1 team in the polls. That's just a few examples to get us started!

Week 3 Upsets
Colorado beat #21 West Virginia, NC State upset #15 East Carolina, Boise St bested #17 Oregon

Injury Report
- Starting North Carolina QB TJ Yates will miss at least 6 weeks due to a broken bone in his left ankle that was suffered during the Tarheels near-upset of Virginia Tech last week.
- South Carolina WR Kenny McKinley (hamsting) may not play this week versus UAB. As well,  DE Jordin Lindsey and RB Mike Davis are both serving 1-game suspensions for violating a policy on class attendance. 
Ohio State RB Chris "Beanie" Wells (foot) is listed as probable for this week's game against Minnesota. Meanwhile, OL Steve Rehring, will miss his second straight game (foot).
- Georgia DE Roderick Battle will again miss another game (neck) and may return next week against Tennessee.
-  Miami(FL)will be without the services of both RB Javarris James(ankle) and S Randy Phillips(leg) as they open conference play against North Carolina. James is expetced to miss at least this week, and it is possible he will miss next week's rivalry game against Florida State. Phillips had surgery on his leg and will be out at least 6 weeks.
- Clemson's best offensive linemen (according to O-line coach Brad Scott), OL Chris Hairston, is marked as doubtful this week due to a lingering moped accident that has already caused him to miss 2 games. 
- Oklahoma DT Demarcus Granger is expected to miss 3-4  weeks due to a foot injury suffered against Washington two weeks ago.

Quick Hits
- USC's loss last night to Oregon State was a shocking development for casual college football fans. The came less surprising to those who follow the sport more closely, however. Would DT's Picks of the Week© have been bold enough to call for the upset, especially given the 24.5 points Vegas was giving the Beavers? Probably not. But, we are not shocked that Oregon State won this game and handed USC their second consecutive loss in Corvallis last night (the Beavers also beat the Trojans at home in 2006). Teams in the Pac-10 are not afraid of Southern Cal; and this has begun to show. This year marks the third straight year in which head coach Pete Carroll's team has lost at least one conference game in which they were a huge favorite (the aforementioned two losses to Oregon State, and last year's loss at home to Standford). USC can hammer out-of-conference foes home or away. But this loss should result in some serious answer seeking from USC fans and alumni, as this program seems to be beginning to develop a Clemson-esque habit of losing games they should be winning. Ohio State haters may say all they want to knock the Ohio State program, but the losses OSU has suffered the past few years have only been at the hands of elite teams. These types of losses should be unacceptable for a program that has been one of the best of the decade; and should definitely result in much greater national backlash than they have been subjected to thus far...
- Speaking of Ohio State: Word is out of Columbus that head coach Jim Tressel has taken over a much more hands-on role with running the entire team since their loss to USC. Some of areas he has invested himself are: coaching the offensive line (including some uncharacteristic yelling and getting in players' faces), making changes to both offensive and defensive line personnel, and switching to Freshman QB Terrelle Pryor as their starter. "It wasn't a group decision," Jim Tressel said. "I wasn't voted in. They didn't ask me to come down there." Tressell just gave himself the job, showed up at the offensive line drills, and started yelling. "It's like, 'The big man's here... We've got to really do things right,'" left guard Jim Cordle said, "and really play fast and really play hard, even in the little drills we do at the beginning of practice." Tressel has involved himself in the details of line play than the players or coaching staff have ever seen. Based on last week's improvements and DT's lack of confidence on the  assistant coaching staff, this could yield high dividends for the Buckeyes as far as we're concerned.


Mindy Edwards (Bexley, OH)  How would you rank the top teams thus far? Who are your top 10?

DT: Our emailer sent this request in prior to last night's loss by the nation's top team. However, we sure that she will not mind if we include that in our evaluation... There are so many unknowns as of yet with quite a few teams, as they have not played teams of the same caliber of talent through the first few weeks. But based solely on the play on the field and who each team has played, not on preseason rankings or other factors, here are DT's top 10 teams through today:

1. Oklahoma

2. Georgia

3. Florida

4. BYU

5. Alabama

6. LSU

7. Missouri

8. Auburn

9. Penn State

10. Wisconsin


Email your own question or comment to DT: questionDT@hotmail.com


Picks of the Week

University of Alabama-Birmingham @ South Carolina (South Carolina -25)


Normally, we'd have picked any SEC team over UAB without a second thought... But South Carolina struggled with the mighty Wofford Terriers last week. Seriously... The game was close in the 4th quarter against WOFFORD. Head coach Steve Spurrier has some serious work to do if he wants to keep this team from being amongst the bottom of the SEC. Severe problems abound, and need to be fixed before they reach the tougher 2nd half of their schedule. This team could easily be looking at another season that ends in 5 consecutive losses.
UAB 17, South Carolina 28
Maryland @ #20 Clemson (Clemson -11.5)
Maryland is an improved team that defeated a ranked California team two weeks ago. The Terrapins also usually play Clemson quite tough and physical; so this game is likely to be won or lost in the trenches. Clemson seems to have gotten themselves on track after their rocky start with the loss to Alabama. Maryland's passing offense and defense are clearly suspect, however. To insure a victory, the Tigers' offensive line just needs to give enough time for QB Cullen Harper to get the ball to all of their speedy play makers like WR Jacoby Ford and RB C.J. Spiller.
Maryland 21, Clemson 34
#8 Alabama @ #3 Georgia (Georgia -7)
The Crimson Tide has begun to roll again. Head coach Nick Saban has the wheels turning and is quickly using the resources of this program to get things back into order. This weekend they face off against potentially the SEC's top team. Surrendering yards and points through the air should be a concern for Alabama, considering Georgia has a top 30 pass offense thus far in the season and Bama's defense has been severely weak in this area. However, The Tide can definitely stop the run and will have their hands full with RB Knowshon Moreno. Games like this can often come down to penalties and turnovers, and DT forsees both of those playing a role in this close contest.
Alabama 27, Georgia 28
#24 Texas Christian University @ #2 Oklahoma (Oklahoma -18.5)
TCU has a tough defense this year, which leads the nation in rushing defense and is 15th in preventing the pass. As well, they rank 12th in rushing offense thus far. The Horned Frogs play quite well against Oklahoma, and won their last meeting in Norman in 2005. They'll be confident they can do it again and will not be intimidated. The Sooners, meanwhile, are excelling on both sides of the ball and do not expect to slow down. This is a match-up of two of the nation's more penalized teams, and may mean he winner will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes. Or, maybe Oklahoma's offense and the desire to fill the recent vacancy at the top spot of the polls will just be too overwhelming.
TCU 21, Oklahoma 31
Minnesota @ #14 Ohio State (Ohio State -18)
Last week, OSU's young phenom QB Terrelle Pryor got his first start and looked very good. He has all the makings of a superstar. On defense, younger players are getting an opportunity and making plays. Ohio State had 4 TDs against Troy, and all were off of Pryor's arm and not his feet. The Golden Gophers do have the BigTen's leading receiver in Eric Decker, a WR that is quick and has a talent for getting open. But outside of their biggest threat, Minnesota is an up-and-coming teams with an average offense & rush defense. Their pass defense leaves a lot to be desired and could be exploited. Add in Pryor's ability to run and throw the ball, mixed with the return of "Beanie" Wells, and the Buckeyes have no excuse to lose this game.
Minnesota 14, Ohio State 35
Wisconsin @ Michigan (Michigan +6)
The only reason DT wanted to include this game is because Vegas is just begging betters to take Michigan and the points. Take Wisconsin to cover.
Wisconsin 27, Michigan 17