College Football Week in Review #3
Yeah. You know the drill by now.
1. Big Ten Talk
Games I watched at least a quarter of:
As CFN said, this was a doozy: a combination trap game/hangover game. The Bucks had to avoid the lingering affects of a heartbreaking loss to Texas, while simultaneously trying not to look ahead to the big matchip with Iowa the next week. Things got off to a scary start, as SDSU's first play from scrimmage was a bubble screen that turned into an 80-yard touchdown, but after that the OSU defense stiffened considerably, only allowing 99 more yards the rest of the game.
Troy Smith started his first game at QB since the Michigan game, and, in my opinion, he's still an unknown. He makes more plays than Zwick, but he takes more risks (if I see him rifle one more slant pass into double coverage, apparently thinking "I'll just chuck it as hard as I can, and worse case scenario is it ends up incomplete," then I'm gonna hang myself). And the passing offense as a whole just didn't look sharp, either. Bright side is, through three games, San Antonio Pittman looks like a solid RB. Not spectacular, but Jonathan Wells-level adequacy. Hey, it's better than what we've had the last two years.
Anywho, big game this weekend. Can Iowa win on the road? Can OSU put the Texas loss fully behind them and start playing some high-quality ball? We'll see.
Okay, seriously, was there ever any doubt that they'd win that game? I mean, leading up to it, not, like, during the game. This is what MSU does: they beat highly-ranked opponents and fuck up against crappy teams. It's been going on for years. Take this little bit of info, from our best friend, Stewart Mandel at cnnsi:
"Since 1997, the Spartans -- try not to blink when you read this -- have gone 9-1 against top-10 opponents. Unfortunately, when it comes to foes ranked No. 11 or lower over the same time period, they're a somewhat more modest 46-43. For years, Michigan State fans have endured a roller-coaster of exhilarating highs and embarrassing lows. Knock off No. 6 Michigan one week, lose to Indiana the next (2001). Beat 9-0 Wisconsin 49-14, then lose 37-13 to 3-7 Penn State (2004)."
I mean, I knew they had "Jekyll and Hyde"-ish tendencies, but Jiminy. And I read somewhere else that, out of those 9 wins over top-10 teams, they've lost the very next game six times. Bizarre. So I guess, in a way, their follow-up game this week against Illinoize in the true test of whether or not this MSU is "for real," or at least, as "for real" as an MSU football team can be. Then they have Michigan coming into East Lansing the week after that. Big couple of weeks for MSU football.
Throttled Eastern. Whatever.
Picked up an OK win at North Carolina, 14-5. Since North Carolina played Georgia Tech super-tough the week before, does that mean this win is more impressive for the Steeking Badgers? I haven't got a fucking clue. I still don't trust John Stocco. I still like Brian Calhoun. Barry Alvarez is ... there. Still. For a couple more months. We won't know anything tangible about this team until Big Ten play starts.
Games I didn't watch at all:
Lost at Cal, but kept it tighter than a lot of people thought they would. In fact, the Illini led 17-7 at halftime. I guess things royally fell apart in the second half. Could give MSU a scare this weekend in Champaign. RIDE THE SPAGHETTI!!
Somewhat suprisingly, they beat the snot out of Kentucky in one of those psuedo-rivalry games that get the participants all jacked up, but fail to interest, well, anyone else in the county. After beating Nicholls State by 4 and Central Michigan by 7, this performance came out of nowhere, and quite frankly, I'm not even sure it actually happened. Do we have any actual documentary evidence of this, you know, occurring?
Beat Northern Iowa 35-21. Whatever.
Big Ten play may be rough for Randy Walker's boys, as they gave up 245 rushing yards to Northern Illinois's Garrett Wolfe two weeks ago, and 290 yards on the ground to pass-happy Arizona State on Saturday. What the hell will Wisconsin do to them?
As of right now, the Boilers are 4-point underdogs going up to the homerdome to face tha goofers. I'm shocked by that, but whatever. Anyway, Purdue got a better-than-it-looks 31-24 win over an improving Arizona team late Saturday night. No one noticed, and no one cared. I still say this team is gonna be nasty. Ray Edwards may be the most underrated player in the Big Ten, now that Drew Stanton is getting pimped like he's a North Caroline basketball player. Can't wait to watch that Minny/'Due game. BOILER UP! EVERYBODY GOTTA BOILER UP!
For the 17,00th consecutive year, Minnesota enters conference play undefeated, with no one having a single clue how good they are, because they played absolute SHIT in the non-conference. This year, Penn State joins them. The two teams are 6-0, beating the crap out of Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Tulsa, ITT Tech, and DeVry. Prove that they didn't.
2. Oklahoma Stinks
Because it can't be said enough.
Also, it bears mentioning that just about the worst thing possible happened for the Sooners this past Saturday, in regards to their hopes for this season: Rhett Bomar improved dramatically, even looking like an actual, honest-to-God quarterback, seemingly alleviating what was thought to be OU's single biggest concern. Yeah. And they still lost by 17. All is not well in ... Oklahoma.
Norman, that's it! Norman.
3. Yes, Virginia, you're still a fraud
Cuhhhhhhh-rap. Way to stick it to Syracuse, boys, with that last-second field goal. Whatever. I'd rank N.C. State ahead of them every day of the week and twice on Sunday. That is, if N.C. State could ever figure out a way to win a close game. Ooh, I have an idea: DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER!! DON'T GET SO MANY STUPID-ASS PENALTIES!! YOU FRIGGIN'- wait, where was I? Oh yeah, Virginia. I don't think there's any way that any of the voters who keep sticking this team in the top 25 every week have ever watched the Wahoos play. THEY'RE NOT GOOD. Repeat: NOT GOOD. That is all.
4. Classic ... when?
ESPN Classic's "Classic Now": for all those people who said "You know, these old sporting events are okay, but what I REALLY love are the stupid asides made by Mike Gleason or whoever right before or right after the commercial breaks! They should do an ENTIRE SHOW of that stuff!"
5. Everyone should hate the polls
Okay, let's do a little (NERDS!) math here. Or some kind of mathematical/philosophical theorizing here. Ahem:
Let's suppose that Team A loses at home to Team B.
Then, let's assume that Team B loses at home to Team C.
Teams A and B are each 2-1, while Team C is 3-0.
Where would you rank the three, based on that information?
C, then B, then A, right? Of course you would.
However, if you substitute "Michigan State" for "Team C," "Notre Dame" for "Team B," and "Michigan" for "Team A," apparently the answer comes out in reverse, at least, according to the dumbass pollsters. Why? Because Michigan was #3 in the preseason, while Notre Dame and Michigan State were unranked.
This, of course, is reason #67,417 -- or, perhaps more accurately, the 67,417th manifestation of reason #1 -- why the preseason polls are a complete fucking joke. (And shit, we're not even getting into the idiocy of how Iowa is still ranked ahead of Iowa State in one of the polls.) Preseason polls color everything that happens during the season, and it's bullshit that they have this much influence when they're essentially guesses about what will happen, and, even worse, they're often relatively baseless guesses. Of course, maybe it's even deeper than that, and it's just that the voters are THAT FUCKING STUPID. I guess we'll get a better idea when the Harris Poll comes out next week or in two weeks or whenever the shit that thing gets released.