Friday, October 15, 2010

Week Seven – BCS Shakedown Begins

The first BCS rankings come out on Sunday.  We already had our first major change to the polls last week with Alabama going down.  Assuming they handle yet another creampuff, Boise State is already predicted to be the #1 team in the first BCS standings.  Even funnier than that is that Ohio State (#1 in both human polls) is predicted to be 4th or 5th in the BCS due to their low computer ranking.  I predict this will be the craziest, most debated BCS in its 13 years of existence due to:  1) the three highly ranked “non-BCS” teams, 2) likely no better than one loss SEC teams, and 3) Big 12 undefeateds that have played zero or one ranked team all season.

SEC Games – 5-2 straight up last week; 42-8 for the season

#10 South Carolina @ Kentucky – South Carolina has to be feeling pretty good about themselves these days.  They just beat Bama for the school’s first win ever against a #1 team.  Couple that with their already FOUR bowl victories in its school history, and they are quickly becoming a legit 2nd-tier SEC team.  I predicted Kentucky to give Auburn fits last week, and they did just that with Aubie winning on a last-second field goal.  Under Spurrier, the Cocks have had many letdowns losing to the likes of Vandy and Kentucky when it appears that they are cruising in to the second part of the season a legit SEC East contender.  This year is the best shot they’ve ever had to win the East.  I think they win here, but close once again.  Cocks 24-23 

Mississippi St. @ #22 Florida – See “If I were a bettin’ man…” segment below.

#12 Arkansas @ #7 Auburn – The year of Auburn’s perfect schedule to make a run at the national title game continues this week with one of their most difficult games at home once again.  Cam Newton continues to impress.  The Hogs looked a little off last week; don’t know exactly what it is but something didn’t look right (at least they covered though!).  They have obviously had a problem putting together a whole game this year.  In three of their first five games this year, they have had a half where they have scored a TD or less.  In another game, they had two scoreless quarters.  Petrino has three wins against top 25 teams at Fayetteville – two being against Auburn and the other being against a Gus Malzahn coached Tulsa team.  Although this series has been unpredictable with the underdog, lower-ranked, or road teams winning its fair share, this one comes down to the game being played at Auburn to me.  The inconsistency of the Hog offense keeps me from picking them on the road this week.  They have become that team that puts up a lot of stats, but when they inch close to the redzone, something always happens.  Grab the TP; time to roll Toomer's Corner.  Auburn 33-31

In the “I’d rather go shopping for pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch instead of watching these” SEC games this week, Georgia over Vandy, LSU over McNeese St. and Alabama over Ole Miss.

Notable Games Around the Nation – 0-2 straight up last week; 14-3 for the season

#1 Ohio State @ #18 Wisconsin – A lot of the Ohio State haters are pointing to this one as when the Buckeyes go down and the national title game talk (and subsequent failure if they were to make it) ends.  I think Wisconsin is highly overrated.  They struggled at home against an average Arizona St. team that will finish in the middle of the pack in the PAC 10.  Their only other challenge was Michigan State, which they lost.  Since Ohio State only has to concentrate on winning a couple of tough games a year, they rarely have a letdown game.  Wisconsin will have the Buckeyes undivided attention, which is not good for the Badgers.  Ohio St. 27-13 

Texas @ #5 Nebraska (-9.5) – See “If I were a bettin’ man…” segment below. 

#15 Iowa @ Michigan – I am really putting two Big Ten games in the other notable games of the week?  I must be sick.  This will be an interesting one to me though.  A contrast in styles – fast offense versus a fundamentally sound, strong defense and an efficient offense versus a tackling optional defense.  Iowa’s defense is one of the best in the nation, and I think they contain Shoelace.  I’ll go with Iowa in this one although it is in the Big House.  Iowa 26-24 

If I were a bettin’ man... – 1-1 against the spread last week; 8-6 for the season

Texas @ #5 Nebraska (-9.5) – Husker players and fans have been counting down the days to this game for ten months now since they thought they were robbed in the Big 12 Championship Game in December.  The Huskers defense and Taylor Martinez’s QB play have led some blowouts so far for the Huskers.  The Horns have no identity on offense.  They’ve already tried to be a tough running team (hasn’t worked and won’t work against the Huskers front).  They are coming off of a bye, but I think their only other option is to unleash young Garrett Gilbert to throw the ball down the field like he hasn’t done up to this point.  I don’t think that will work this Saturday either going in to the most hostile game the Horns will be going into in a long time.  The usually cordial fans of the Huskers will be out for blood.  Also, something not to overlook…Bo Pelini and his brother Carl (D Coordinator) were very pissed about the way the Big 12 title game ended last year.  They know they won’t face the Longhorns again (likely ever unless in a bowl game) due to the Huskers moving to the Big Ten, and if they beat the Horns Saturday, they won’t be facing them in this year’s Big 12 title game unless OU has an epic meltdown.  So if you take all of that into consideration, Huskers roll big in this one and the Pelinis won’t let up.  I’m guessing Huskers by at least 17.

Mississippi St. @ #22 Florida (-7) – Urban is catching all kinds of heat this week.  Two game losing streak and letting an electric offensive player back on the team after he texted his girlfriend “time to die bitch” just a month ago.  According to CUM, letting him back on was because “he is not a violent person,” not because his offense is sputtering and he needs to add a playmaker to it (Rainey won’t be back until the Georgia game though).  On with the game…I still feel the same about Mississippi State; they are getting way too much hype for a potential six-win team.  What this line is telling me is that on a neutral site (if you take away the four points you get for being the home team), Florida is a field goal better than the Bulldogs.  Even more, you are telling me that if the game was in Stark Vegas, the Bulldogs would be a one point favorite.  This is hilarious!  The gap in talent is HUGE.  On the road so far this year, Miss. St. was destroyed at LSU and beat a Houston team on its 3rd QB of the year.  Granted, Urban isn’t going to run the score up because his old buddy Dan Mullen is on the other sideline, but you know if this game is close in the 4th quarter (doubtful), he will punch across another TD or FG to go up two scores late (and cover the seven points).  In summary, you got a desperate Florida team with a bye week next week with a healthier Jeff Demps playing with an overrated, undermanned opponent with inexperienced QBs at night in The Swamp.  Easy money!

And They Muffed Joseph Michael -

Wow, since Ernie covered pretty much everything, there really isn't a whole lot to add this week.  No teams did anything stupid last week and things are rolling along this college football season.  ESPN is pushing Nevada up the polls without them even coming close to covering the spread.  They are at #19 and the only team they've played that I'm sure isn't made up is the California Golden Bears.  So it should set up nicely when they play Boise at the end of the year and Boise wins by 5 touchdowns.  But that's not what I'm here for, and it seems like I said I wasn't a conspiracy theorist like my dad earlier this year?  I'm hear to bitch.  So let's do this, I said "no teams" shot themselves in the foot last week. But someone definitely muffed it.

Let's talk about three subjects that are very near and dear to my heart (imagine the most sarcasm you can in a person's voice or words when I say that....) in no specific order, the Arkansas Media, Michael Dyer, and Gus Malzahn.  Only one of them muffed it, but the other two sure as hell are reaping the benefits.  I'll start with the culprit, the Arkansas Media and I'll work my way down.  Bo Mattingly, Arkansas Democrat Gazette and anyone else giving Gus Malzahn and Michael Dyer a forum to voice themselves and bolster Auburn recruiting in the state of Arkansas, ESPECIALLY during game week, what the hell are you thinking?  They are gone.  Malzahn because of Nutt and Dyer because he's afraid of competition.  More on Dyer later.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Bo Mattingly has Malzahn on his show at least twice a month and that just shouldn't happen.  I understand Malzahn is from Arkansas and he may be a great coach, it's not my personal opinion, I've read his book and I can sum up pretty much every chapter by him saying "what you want to do is create a mismatch", or "speed the tempo up on offense and tire out the defense", yeah, I nailed that book summary.  But the man has gotten results everywhere he's been and I can't deny he has a knack for coming into Arkansas and taking some of our top talent to a team that we play every year.  I'm not saying that him being on the show or any other media outlet is the reason we lost Dyer last year, or are going to lose Frazier this year, but it damn sure doesn't hurt them. I have no vendetta against Malzahn and when he gets his head coaching job at Louisiana Tech or wherever he lands, let's have him on the radio and front of the newspaper every damn day for a month.  Malzahn Mania, it'll be like Hulkamania except without all the yellow.  But, while we're playing and trying to outcoach and out recruit him to win a ballgame every year, can we stop treating him like he is Robert Downey Jr. at a strip club???

Finally, I would be remissed if I didn't talk a little bit about what I think of Michael Dyer.  Last year, there were more reports of Dyer getting ready to commit to the Hogs then there were sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.  Which is sad twofold, A) because I love Nessy and B) I really wanted Dyer to come to play for his home state.  I think it's a great thing and would be very gratifying.  I mean, I know I'm on the Razorback faithful about a lot of little things they do, but every fan base has them.  What is unique about Arkansas is we are the only show in town.  Dyer chose to spurn his home state and go elsewhere because "Relationships" were better at Auburn. "Relationships" are more important than football down on the plains then they are on the hill.  Still, you have to remember this is an 18,19,20 year old kid saying these things. I honestly don't know his age.  So I let all this go, he's not the first big time recruit to say no to his home state and he won't be the last.  Hopefully, his career will be better than Cedric Houston, who???  Sorry Ernie, but that one really hurt me.  I've heard stories of Dyer telling Jerico Nelson, DD Jones, Jerry Franklin and a host of others not to worry, the only reason he was taking a trip to Auburn was to recurit for Arkansas, and I'm not even worried about that because I'm pretty sure those boys will handle that during game time.  But, I'll tell you what I can't let go.  Dyer having the Arkansas coaching staff send a Letter Of Intent the night before Signing Day getting the whole state's hopes up when he knew he was still going to Auburn.  Or the fact that he put a video on Youtube with two of his buddies and I guess his girlfriend (congratulations to him on that by the way, I didn't realize Martin Lawerence needed a stunt double on Big Momma's House) chanting "F Arkansas, F Arkansas", and then coming back and telling people from Arkansas about morals and family values in their own newspaper.  Hopefully that's something he'll learn, and soon.  As the great Tommy Tice says "stay humble or stumble", I just hope that when and if you do, the Arkansas Media is all over it and don't muff it again and they treat him like an Auburn Tiger, because that's all he is now, and that was all his choice.

Enjoy the games!

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