Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week Five – Conference Play Begins For Real

There have been conference games sprinkled throughout the schedule up to this point, but it really gets under way this Saturday with well over half of the BCS conference teams playing conference match-ups.  Not to depress anyone but one-third of the season is over. 

SEC Games – 4-3 straight up last week; 31-5 for the season

Georgia @ Colorado – A big gap in talent level exists between a mediocre SEC team and a mediocre Big 12 team.  UGA has A.J. Green back too.  UGA 24-17

Tennessee @ #12 LSU – This is the battle of the struggling offenses.  The Vols are 119 out of 120 teams in Division I on third down conversions and 113 out of 120 in sacks allowed.  LSU’s QB, Jordan Jefferson, has managed somehow to throw for less than 100 yards in each of the last three games (thanks for the stat JT).  LSU’s defense, led by defensive back/return man Patrick Peterson, has been flying under the radar because LSU fans are so pissed about their offense.  This unit has had 11 sacks in the last two games and Peterson has had 2 punt returns for a TD this year, leading the genius himself Les Miles to say this after last week’s game, “When he's hydrated, he's the best in the country, arguably having not seen anyone else.”  Very profound as usual Les!  Getting back to the game, I expect LSU to get a lot of pressure on Matt Simms and maybe kill him by the end of the game.  LSU won’t do much on offense either.  It may be good to use this game to get a nap in before the next one.  LSU 19-9

#7 Florida @ #1 Alabama – Is Trey Burton the next Timmy Tebow?  Get ready for Verne and Gary to ram that down your throat all night Saturday.  The answer is a very simple no.  Kentucky was caught off guard by CUM (Coach Urban Meyer remember) using Burton like he did last week, and it’s Kentucky folks.  They don’t necessarily scare anyone with their defense.  Jeff Demps, the 5’8”, 180-pounder that Urban likes to run up the middle 15 times a game has been wearing a walking boot all week because of a foot injury.  He will be ready supposedly.  This comes down to Florida just not having enough offense.  Bama is in the middle of a tough three game stretch here, but they continue to stay focused as they have throughout the first part of the season.  Bama 27-16

In the ugly SEC games this week, Auburn’s easy schedule continues over Louisiana-Monroe, Connecticut over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss over Kentucky and Mississippi State over Alcorn St.

Notable Games Around the Nation - 2-0 straight up last week; 11-1 for the season

#21 Texas @ #8 Oklahoma – See “If I were a bettin’ man…” segment below.

#11 Wisconsin @ #24 Michigan StateWisconsin is very overrated in my opinion.  They open up the Big Ten schedule on the road at Michigan State who has performed well this season; their coach even had a heart attack after the overtime thriller against Notre Dame.  I just don’t think these teams are much different than one another.  Wisconsin has gotten used to losing games on the road over the last four years going only 10-9.  I like the home team here.  Sparty 17-13

#9 Stanford @ #4 Oregon – This will be the best game of the day in my opinion.  I have had a chance to watch both of these teams play a couple of times and both are very good and well-coached.  This could end up being for the Pac-10 title, which I think is the second best conference in the nation.  This game is Stanford’s power vs. Oregon’s speed.  Oregon’s #1 scoring offense and Stanford’s #4 scoring offense in the nation.  Oregon’s #3 scoring defense and Stanford’s #12 scoring defense.  These two teams may be the most impressive teams through the first four weeks of the season.  I can’t wait to watch it; it will definitely be a two TV night in the living room to catch this and the Florida-Alabama game.  In a matchup like this, I’m going with the home team.  Oregon 36-33

If I were a bettin' man... – 0-2 against the spread last week (Vegas is getting this thing figured out); 5-5 for the season

#21 Texas @ #8 Oklahoma (-4) – The Red River Rivalry lost a little bit of its luster for this year last week when Texas was unexpectedly blasted by UCLA at home.  Oklahoma has had their share of tense moments with narrow victories over Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati between a dominating performance against Florida State.  Texas seems lost right now without Colt McCoy.  They are trying to become a running team because they have a young QB, but haven’t been successful.  I think OU has simply had a tough time focusing against some of their early competition, but when they did against FSU, the game was over early in dominant fashion by the Sooners.  When this game features a new QB on one team (Garrett Gilbert) and an established QB on the other team (Landry Jones), which is the case this year, the team with the experienced QB wins most of the time in the recent history of this series.  It makes sense because this is a huge game for both teams each year and the experienced QB will be the one most likely to handle the pressure.  Mack Brown has shown little confidence in Gilbert at this point.  I look for OU to load up to stop the run and let Gilbert beat them.  He won’t…take Boomer Sooner to cover the slim 4 point margin.

Tennessee @ #12 LSU – Total points under 42.5 – See above.

And They Muffed Joseph Michael -

It would be really easy to write about the Arkansas Razorbacks this week and more specifically Ryan Mallett considering they outplayed the number one team in the country and who I think is head and shoulders the best team in the Nation.  But, anyone who has ever played sports knows that no on earth feels worse than Ryan Mallett and the rest of the Hogs.  But they played a hell of a game and had they caught a few breaks and not made a few timely mistakes, I would be skipping this week because I would still probably be on Dickson Street.

So here's who muffed it.  Texas, Texas, Texas... What the hell?  You waited 13 years for payback for "Rout 66" in 1997 where the Bruins beat you in Austin 66-3.  Not only did you have a chance for payback, you were playing a 1-2 team with a quarterback who looked like George Strait trying to act in "Pure Country", clueless.  This Bruin team's only win was against Houston who lost their top 2 Quarterbacks during the game and even though they were up 17-3 when Case Keenum and the backup went down.  A 14 point deficit is nothing for the Cougars Offense with Keenum. Regardless, Texas was ranked #6 in the country and this was supposed to be more of a walk through or scrimmage than a ballgame.  What happened was just a sequel to "Rout 66", "Rout 22", that doesn't have the same ring, but it was still a really bad loss and the score doesn't tell the tale.  There really isn't much I can say about this except, total embarrassment for Texas fans.  UCLA threw the ball 8 times. 8 times.  Some Pee Wee teams throw the ball more than 8 times.  Texas had the #2 ranked rush defense in the country and gave up 264 yards.  Of course it didn't help when the special teams and offense turned the ball over 5 times.  Mack Brown said after the game "It was a rear end kicking.”  I disagree - it was a full blown ass whipping.  On top of all that The Red River Shootout is this weekend and neither team has looked very impressive as Oklahoma beating Air Force 27-24 and Cincinnati 31-29 in their last two games.  Surprisingly, Gameday still chose the right game with Stanford at Oregon.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Texas got beat by UCLA 34-12 with the crowd more than half gone by the end of the game.  That is not Texas Football, what happened to the eyes of Texas?  And that is not what you want heading into one of the two biggest games of the Big 12's season,  The Red River Rivalry. Goodbye Big 12, it was a nice run.

Enjoy the games!

One more thing…everybody wish Money in the Bank good luck at the Baggo Tournament at Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart this weekend.

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