COLLEGE EFFING FOOTBALL
Okay, so one weekend of that most holy of sports is in the books. Did we learn anything? While Dids was out on a blind date with a racoon, would Torgs and I be able to hold up after twelve consecutive hours of drinking? Is there any way we could analyze anything that happened Saturday after about 7:00 p.m., which was just about the time when we started feeding cheese fries to each other at the bar by dangling hunks of it over each other's mouths? I'm not sure I have any answers to these questions, so I'm just gonna say what I think about college football.
It looks like ... YES! It's SHAMELESS GIMMICK time!!!
So, stealing liberally from ... Jesus, too many people to count, Dids and I are gonna start a (hopefully) weekly little do-dad here titled...
THINGS I THINK ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL, AND MAYBE, FROM TIME-TO-TIME, ABOUT OTHER SHIT, TOO
Catchy name, I know. You're gonna be wearing "Things I think about college football and maybe from time-to-time about other shit too" t-shirts, and eating "Things I think about college football and maybe from time-to-time about other shit too"-O's for breakfast before you know it. Now that's good for your colon. Plus, then maybe we can shorten it up and acronymize it, since that seems so cool nowadays, and call it "TITACFAMFTTTAOST." Then we'll all feel like we're in some kind of secret club, as we talk about TITACFAMFTTTAOST in front of people WHO WILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT!! It'll be SO COOL!!
Okay, maybe not.
Anywhoo, it bears mentioning that TITACFAMFTTTAOST will begin every week with Big Ten talk. So, without further grundulation, onto this week's list...
1. BIG TEN TALK
Pretty nice week here, with the 10-0 start (Purdue was off). While yes, the majority of the conference played games against absolute laugher opponents, at least our power teams, you know, WON GAMES, and in reasonably impressive fashion, unlike the Big XII. But that's for later. Anyway, good week. And this upcoming one is gonna be YOOGE, what with OSU/Tay-hass and ND/Michigan. Hopefully we'll have more on that later in the week. I will say, right now, that CFN's predictions are already up: they have OSU defeating Texas 19-17 and No-trah Dame pulling the stinky pinky in Ann Arbor, 27-23. I think those are just Fiu's picks; CFN always ends up by week's end having like 1,800 different predictions up there from different people who write for them. Also, Zemek has written up one of his always-interesting "Perspective Pieces" about the latter game. I often don't agree with his views on what's "pretty" or "entertaining" about the game, but the cat can frame a matchup like nobody's business. Anyway, there that is.
Okay, onto this past weekend:
That was a shockingly easy game. Well-times blitzes rattled Josh Betts throughout the first half, and he had obvious happy feet by early in the 3rd. The DBs covered and the linebackers were, well, the linebackers. All part of a solid game from the Silver Bullets, who held Miami to 165 yards of offense before the "Red Hawks" went on two long oh-by-the-way drives in the last seven minutes against the second-teamers.
As for the offense, I'd say the implementation of the spread is pretty much complete. I figure, what, 60-70% of all offensive plays run were out of the shotgun? And I liked the playcalling for Zwick: primarily bubble screens and other short passes to the wideouts. When you've got the talent at receiver that we do, I'm all-for getting them the ball early out on the edges and letting them do what they can do. Plus, as we said this weekend, if defenses are gonna pay that much attention to Theodore Reginald Inge, Jr. this year, then yes, San Antonion Holmes (as opposed to San Antonio Pittman) is gonna have a yooge year. He's nearly as fast, has better hands, and is a far better route runner. Add in White Anthony Gonzalez and 1st-team All-Carlos Huerta Team member Roy Hall, and this WR corps is certainly an embarrassment of riches. And, like I said, I'm not embarrassed.
Much shorter thoughts on teams whose games I saw at least a quarter of:
Well, we learned nothing. Except that the Hoosiers were one CMU dropped 40-yd TD pass from ending up in overtime with a lower-tier MAC team. A win is a win, I guess. But damn, I wish he had caught that ball.
Nice win for the Zookster. They got down and battled back valiantly, even though they've got, you know, NO talent there. Although the new QB seems pretty good. Basic? Vlasic? Ah, fuck. Pickles.
Yeah, we learned nothing. I mean, yeah, Laurence Maroney is really good. But we knew that already. "Some Minnesota running back rushed for 200 yards in their opening game against Buttfuck State Community College." We've been hearing that shit going back to the Tellis Redmon days. If anything, Gopher fans should be apprehensive because Brian Cupito looked even shakier than he looked last year. They shoulld have beaten the Golden (*cringe*) Hurricane worse. Like I said. We learned nothing.
You had to have the feeling, as Herby said during GameDay Saturday, that the Badgers had just heard too many people over the last few weeks predict that they were gonna lose, at home, to Bowling Green. I like BG, but my old high school's football team could run the ball on them, and my old high school's team is terrible. Still, you had to figure this Calhoun kid would be good. Maybe not "270 yds" good, but good. Again, let's see them -- and especially their "looked a step slow all day" defense and QB John Stocco, who oh-by-the-way starred in the 1985 classic My Science Project -- against a better defensive team than Bowling Green before we say "Holy crap, they're gonna be better than I thought!" Although I have to give the Badger D and coordinator Bret Beliema a ton of credit: they made some halftime adjustments that royally slowed down that BG passing game.
If you're a Michigan fan, you have to be scared of that D, and pretty much everyone up here is. Problems that have been systemic over the past few years don't seem to have gotten any better, as Northern Illinois rolled up 411 yards of total offense and, barring turnovers (of which the Huskies had 5), probably would have made the game VERY interesting. Quite simply, there are huge questions with this defense -- 211 rushing yards?!? -- and unless a bunch of them get answered this week, then Saturday's ND game has "38-35" written all over it, because...
... yes, the offense looks outstanding. I'm still not sure they can totally compensate for the loss of Braylon Edwards, but Jason Avant, and NOT Steve Breaston, has the best opportunity. He's like the San Antonio Holmes of Michigan: everyone has fallen in love with the flashier punt returner, and they've forgotten to give credit to the guy who's a BETTER RECEIVER. Oh well. Again, a lot of questions will be answered this weekend.
Now, for teams that I didn't watch...
It was Ball State.
It was Kent State.
Okay, a little more: Michigan State is gonna have the best offense in the Big Ten, one which may be top-10 nationally, AS LONG AS Drew Stanton remains healthy. They run the ball extraordinarily well, and Stanton's an underrated passer. Plus, they have outstanding unheralded receivers. But as good as their offense is, their defense may be just as bad. Teddy Inge made them look like they were fenceposts in the ground last year, and they've only gotten worse. But damn, they should play a few wildly entertaining games. Michigan fans in particular have to be terrified of that October 1st trip to East Lansing.
It was Ohio U.
But supposedly they have some super-stud freshman RB who will be taking the spot vacated by tremendous runners Jason Wright and Noah Herron the last few years. They'll do their customary "4-4, winning one game we shouldn't and losing one game we shouldn't" dance this year, culminating in a Motor City Bowl appearance. Whatever.
Struggled wayyy too much with a garbage South Florida team. Where was all that new offensive whiz-bang? Will Michael Robinson still be the starter by mid-season, when the Lions will likely upset OSU, because that's what they do in Happy Valley? I have no idea. But the offense still looks shaky. We shall see.
2. Not a good weekend for the mid-majors who were looking to step up and bite the big boys. Aside from TCU's inexplicable manhandling of Oklahoma, the Little Programs That Could got pushed around for the most part on Saturday. Most noteworthy of which was Boise State getting their lunch fed to them by a Georgia team that no one knew what to do with going into the season. Some people are saying that the Broncos nearly undid everything they built up over the last 3 or 4 seasons ... I wouldn't go that far, but you can bet that people who were just recently convinced that BSU was a legit program are having serious second thoughts. How long will it take to win them back? The Broncos had to win TONS of games to get to this point, then they got a legitimate shot at a solid BCS-conference team, and they just got their asses handed to them. Let's wait and see how this plays out in the polls.
Elsewhere, the MAC, whose copious good press prompted GameDay to do an extended feature on "Which Big Ten team is gonna lose to a MAC team today?", absolutely craooed the bed in its three high-profile matchups with Big Ten schools. BG got shoved around by Wisconsin, Miami was never in the game against OSU, and Northern Illinois looked good but came up significantly short at Michigan. In fact, the only MAC team that won this weekend was Toledo, who throttled some I-AA school. Ouch.
Although props to Utah, for staying the course and beating another lower-level BCS conference team. I still don't know what to make of that team.
3. Word on CFN's front page and elsewhere is that Trev Alberts has been fired from ESPN. He was reportedly sick of being second-banana to Chris, Kirk, and Lee, and didn't bother showing up Sunday, leading to his ouster. Well, now you're no banana, Trev. And you've stuck Rece Davis alone with the loathesome Mark May. Poor Rece.
4. Not a good weekend for the Big XII. Outside of Texas's pasting of UL-Lafayette and Missouri's drubbing of I-AA Arkansas State, the Great Plains League did little this past weekend: Oklahoma lost to TCU. Texas A&M lost to Clemson and 9th-year senior QB Woody Dantzler ... I mean, Charlie Whitehurst. Kansas and Kansas State let Florida Atlantic and Florida International stay within two scores of them. Iowa State beat I-AA Illinois State 32-21. Nebraska beat I-AA Maine 25-7. Oklahoma State squeaked by I-AA Montana State 15-10. To their credit, Colorado picked up a solid win over Colorado State in what is possibly the most underrated rivalry game in the country. But man, what a shitty weekend for the "powerful" "Big" Twelve.
Oh, by the way, in the newest coaches poll, Oklahoma is still ranked, and TCU is not. I FUCKING HATE PRESEASON POLLS!!!!!
5. You can move the ball on USC's defense. Not sure if it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things, but, uh ... I guess if you can keep their offense off the field, you've got a shot. A little bit of one.
6. Tennessee may be just as overrated as we all thought. I know UAB has a solid team, but there's no way in hell they should have a 4th-and-goal, with under 2 minutes left, only down by 7, against the #4 team in the country.
I'm tired and hungry. I'm gonna go get a taco. Dids, Torgs, anything to add?