Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week Four – This is Why the SEC Rules

Looking over this week’s schedule of games, you will note that there are four games where Top 25 teams go head-to-head.  Not surprisingly, three of these games will be played at an SEC venue.  Yes, that is SEC 3, rest of the nation 1.  After the picks, check out Joseph’s rant on the other Top 25 matchup that does not involve an SEC team.

SEC Games – 7-1 straight up last week; 27-2 for the season (Thanks again HDN)

#12 South Carolina @ #17 AuburnSouth Carolina had an easy week last week while Auburn had a very physical, hard-fought contest with Clemson.  If you didn’t watch the game, you missed a brutal, hard-hitting one (see Exhibit A here -  Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb was knocked out cold on the sideline – all the while still holding on to the football.  I’ll keep this one simple – the weakest unit in this game to me is the Auburn defense.  They have their moments but give up some big plays.  Cam Newton has been a little shaky recently too.  I’m riding Marcus Lattimore’s tough running in this one and a senior QB who is finally living up to expectations in Stephen Garcia with a clutch receiver in Alshon “I won’t be pumping gas for a living” Jeffery.  Cocks 27-23

#22 West Virginia @ #15 LSU – You could argue that neither one of these teams are worthy of their ranking.  In their first road game, West Virginia struggled at Marshall and should have lost.  Well, I have never been to Marshall, and I am sure it is a tough place to play (or not)…but I’m gonna say Death Valley at night may be a little more difficult.  The Mountain Dew-drinking, coal-mining Mountaineers have a new QB who has never seen an atmosphere like he will see this Saturday night.  More proof that the Big East needs to have its BCS automatic bid revoked…LSU 30-17

Kentucky @ #9 Florida - See "If I were a bettin man..." segment below.

Any other games?  Oh yeah…one more…

#1 Alabama @ #10 Arkansas – The Hogs had a dramatic win between the hedges last week while Bama played Duke.  Both teams have now been challenged (Bama’s dominating performance of Penn State two weeks ago).  Watch out if you are going – it is a Red Out (oh really).  I was expecting a Blue Out or a Green Out.  I think Bama wears red too and even have a script ‘A’ that is similar.  I digress…back to the game.  With the Hogs upcoming game with Bama in mind, I critiqued their performance last week more than usual because after all if the Hogs want to be in consideration for national title talk, they need to be a complete team.  While there was some good coming out of the game that everyone expected (passing game) and pleasant surprises (kicking game), I noticed a couple of things that will not allow them to beat Bama.  Georgia’s running backs averaged almost five yards a carry; UGA’s RBs do not compare to the best running back duo in the nation that the Hogs will see this weekend.  On the other side, the Hogs could not run the ball against a very average UGA defense.  Not being able to stop the run or run the ball will not beat a Saban team that is clicking on all cylinders.  Mallett will get his yards (and points) going up against a young Crimson Tide secondary.  This will be one of those typical Saban games where the Hogs may be down only 3 or 7 points, but it will seem like it is a 20 point game because of the way Saban’s teams just take complete control of the game with its methodical, hard-nosed style on both sides of the ball.  I think it will be close most of the game and Hog fans will be disgusted when they review the tape later looking over the 3 or 4 plays that could have went their way to pick up the win.  But, the truth is, Alabama is just too strong right now for anyone in the nation.  Bama 34-23

In other SEC games, this week Fresno over Ole Miss, Georgia over Mississippi State, Tennessee over UAB, and Vanderbilt doesn’t lose for the second consecutive week because they are off this week.

Notable Games Around the Nation - 3-0 straight up last week; 9-1 for the season

#16 Stanford @ Notre Dame – Jim Harbaugh has the Cardinal rolling – outscoring its opponents 155-41 so far this year.  Brian Kelly has lost two straight games in the final minutes to the Michigan schools.  I love Brian Kelly, and he will have the Irish playing well before too long, but he still needs time.  Everyone at Stanford has already forgotten about Toby Gerhart because of the balanced running attack and Andrew Luck at QB.  Cardinal 30-21

#24 Oregon State @ #3 Boise State – Gameday will be in Boise this weekend.  As sad as it is for college football, this is probably Boise’s last challenging home game, and we are not even in October yet.  I still like Oregon State a lot in the Pac-10 this year.  However, I have noticed a trend where the Beavers do not really care about non-conference games.  They typically use them to prepare for the conference season.  If you don’t believe, watch the TCU game from earlier and see for yourself.  They could have won that game, but it seemed at times like they really weren’t worried about it if they didn’t.  Boise will be trying to impress in front of a national TV audience in a way they did last week.  Do you think Boise was aware that Texas beat Wyoming by 27 points the week before they played them?  The answer is yes, and that is why Boise beat them by 44 last week.  It’s all about style points for them now, and that is all they have from here on out.  With that combined with the Beavers lackadaisical attitude about non-conference games and the atrocious blue turf, Boise wins 48-28.

If I were a bettin' man... – 1-2 against the spread last week; 5-3 for the season (of which two losses are thanks to Virginia Tech – can’t win with them or against them)

Cal @ Arizona (-7) – Cal is coming off of a miserable performance at Nevada and Arizona had a huge win at home against a top 10 Iowa team.  This one could be a hangover game for Arizona, but I don’t think so because it is another night home game.  It’s also the Wildcats first Pac-10 game of the year.  Cal has a tendency to fold once they start losing and Arizona’s defense got after Iowa last week.  My though here is pretty simple – Iowa is way better than Cal and Zona beat Iowa by 7 last week.  Take Zona at home.

Kentucky (+14) @ Florida – This ain't Tebow's Gators.  These guys are struggling to score.  They've been getting a lot of points off of turnovers.  Kentucky’s Cobb and Locke are by far the best offensive players the Gators defense has faced up to this point.  Here's the kicker (trend alert!): Florida is 1-7 against the spread the week after the Tennessee game the last eight years AND Florida has Alabama next week.  You don't think they are gonna have a hangover from a win against one of their "rivals" that CUM (Coach Urban Meyer that is) always stresses AND be looking ahead to Bama?  Remember just two years ago, this was the same week that Houston Nutt’s Rebels upset the Gators in the Swamp.  The Wildcats will put a scare into the Gators before eventually losing, but they can still celebrate their win against the spread!

And They Muffed Joseph Michael -

Gameday, I don’t know what else to say or even ask except for why?  It has no relevance whether or not the #24 Oregon St. Beavers @ #3 Boise St. Broncos this Saturday Night is the best game ever because on paper there is a better game being played right in the middle of SEC Country.  Even if #1 Alabama rolls over the #10 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, you still should’ve been there because what if???  It has been since 1979 that two top 10 team have met in Fayetteville and has been since 1981 that Arkansas has beaten a Number 1 team in Fayetteville.  That place will be a zoo all the way up to Gameday, during Gameday and long past Gameday into the night.  Hog Nation is hungry for something special and everyone including myself believe this weekend is their chance to get back on the National Scene.  But what you are telling me ESPN is a non conference game between Boise St. and a notoriously bad starting team in the Oregon St. Beavers is more important than a game that could in fact decide the SEC West?  Get real.

Now I’m no conspiracy theorist like my dad and think that everything is driven for some crazy reason.  But ESPN definitely has an agenda here.  I think in all likelihood it is to prove that they are powerful enough to send a mid major team to the National Championship Game if they have non stop coverage and a Home Depot commercial featuring Chris Peterson every commercial break.  If that is the motive, way to go ESPN.  You really knocked yourself out with that one.  I hate to mix in business talk with sports talk or whatever the hell this is, but ESPN is a monopoly in it's truest sense of the word.  I mean your top competition is FSN, and their video quality rivals that of a good 80's Porno.  Another prime example of ESPN getting over involved is in 2006.  From the start of November up until the Heisman Trophy presentation, all that was talked about on ESPN was how a sophomore had never won it and should never win it.  So Darren McFadden loses.  Then 2007 gets here and around the same time ESPN starts the same type of commercials saying it’s time for a sophomore to win it.  Now you can call me biased or what you will.  I realize Tebow is a wonderful person and he scored around 30 one yard Touchdowns in 2007, but if McFadden didn’t deserve it in 2006 as a sophomore, then Tebow didn’t deserve it in 2007 for the same reason.  I'm guessing most reading this can’t even tell me who won it in 2006.  And you can’t fool yourself…ESPN had a heavy hand in that.  They just don't get that it's sports and not drama.  Yes, sports are dramatic, but Braylon Edwards, the 50th best Receiver in the NFL, getting a DWI doesn’t deserve eight hours straight of news coverage.

I want you to notice that I am not ripping Boise St.  I assume there is some method to their madness in the fact that their field is blue, they play in a conference that is first of all called the WAC and secondly teams are strongly encouraged to wear four and sometimes even five colors on their uniforms.  And it's not their fault that ESPN has been trying to get them in the National Title Game since they beat an Oklahoma Sooner team who wanted to be at that Fiesta Bowl about as bad as I want to be at the reopening of Avatar at the IMAX.   Anybody, who believes Boise got Oklahoma's best shot, go back and watch the game.  I have several times, and you can see how interested the players were in that game.  But take nothing away from Boise, they won the game and should've gotten their due for that season.  And they did.

Now what ESPN is doing is becoming embarrassing.  They are trying to prove that they can make Whoopi Goldberg win Miss America.  Well, that's a slap in the face to all parties involved, and it's really one of the meanest things you can do.  I'll even go a different analogy route on this one because I know to anyone who has seen Mask (the one with Cher, not the one with Jim Carey, that calling someone ugly is rude, crude, and sociably unacceptable, which I agree, but I digress).  So here is the other comparison - if you tell someone they can sing good for long enough that can't, you can bet your ass they will end up on stage at a karaoke bar one night, and it may take years to finally happen, but when it does, what happens next is not pretty.  Now, I don't know if it's the fact that over 50 percent of people who work at ESPN that aren't former players, now spend more time playing World of Warcraft than they actually do studying sports.  Or if I’m just blowing this out of proportion, but either way, everyone in America knows where Gameday should be this weekend and ESPN blew it.  Reporting live from Boise, Idaho this is Joseph Michael following Gameday wherever they may roam.  See you next Thursday live from Ypsilanti, Michigan where perennial MAC powers the Ohio Bobcats face off against the Eastern Michigan Eagles...

Enjoy the Games!


  1. Great as always.
    I wish you were wrong about Bama, but unfortunately, it's going to take a much better team than the one that won in Athens last week to roll the tide. Atmosphere might help out (if the fans will STFU while we are on offense), but that doesn't mean much in the second half. It's hard to put a game away when you can't control the clock.
    As for the ESPN/Gameday situation: as usual, the truth is far less sensational than the theories. CBS picked up the game almost three weeks ago. Once that was done, ESPN would've had to buy the rights from CBS to park their big Home Depot RV in Fayettenam for Herbie to hunt strange on Dickson street. CBS made the gamble early that this week would be a big game, and ESPN was behind the 8-ball. Simple as that. I'm sure Arthur Blank's hatred of CBP, and thus his advertising sway with ESPN, is real, but not as real as his love of money. If ESPN had a do over, they'd be in Fayetteville this weekend.

  2. ESPN is the Wal-Mart of sports information.