Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week Six – It’s Go Time!

As we step further into the best regular season of any sport in the world, we have some challenges for some top teams this weekend.  Also, some of the big time rivalry games get cranked up.

SEC Games – 6-1 straight up last week; 37-6 for the season

#12 LSU @ #14 Florida – Both teams are coming off of losses…oh wait, after further review, just Florida lost last week.  Please excuse me while I vomit about the outcome of the LSU-UT game one last time.  CUM (Coach Urban Meyer of course) tried to get cute with a jump pass against Bama last week.  He had two problems though:  1) he was playing Saban’s defense and 2) Tebow was in Nashville preparing to hold a clipboard all day the next day instead of being the one to throw the jump pass.  Both of these teams have issues – LSU having more because of their luckier than good head coach.  This one is simple – CUM is pissed, Les is dumb, and LSU doesn’t have enough offense although they have the talent to be really good.  I will be rooting for LSU and I still like their defense, but Gators find a way to score some points…Florida 23-13

Tennessee @ Georgia – First time since 1906 these two traditional powers face each other with both having losing records.  I deem this the Hangover Bowl.  Which team will be able to get up for this game after huge disappointments last weekend?  We all know what happened to the Vols.  Even worse (maybe), the Dogs lost at Colorado and the Buff fans stormed the field…after beating a 1-4 team.  Richt is feeling the heat to say the least.  I can see this one going one of two ways:  big Bulldog win playing to support their coach or a narrow Vol win.  I think AJ Green picks the Vols defense apart on 3rd downs, and the Vols play it close for a while but fail in the end once again.  Georgia 27-16

#11 Arkansas vs. Texas A&M in Dallas - See “If I were a bettin’ man…” segment below.

#1 Alabama @ #19 South Carolina – Bama ends its brutal three game stretch and South Carolina has had a week off to get way too over-hyped for this game.  I’ll say it again…Bama’s focus being a repeat champ is just amazing to me.  Saban really has them brainwashed.  Hey, whatever works.  I like the Cocks balance on offense this year, but I am not completely confident in their defense.  Spurrier will once again yank Garcia when Garcia makes a mistake just to show the national TV audience that it is not his fault.  South Carolina ‘wants” to win, but they are pretenders in my book until they pull off a win like this.  Bama 28-13

In the “I’d rather go shopping with Samantha” SEC games this week, Vanderbilt over Eastern Michigan, Auburn beats Kentucky (in a close one) and Mississippi St. defeats Houston.

Notable Games Around the Nation - 3-0 straight up last week; 14-1 for the season

#23 Florida State @ #13 Miami – Man this used to be the game of the year.  I barely heard anyone talk about it on the national level this week.  It is slowly becoming a very important game again – at least in the ACC, which has been terrible thus far this year.  I think Miami is the better team before considering the home field advantage.  The Noles defense is questionable at best, especially playing in Miami.  Jacory and the boys have a field day…Miami 33-19

#17 Meeeeechigan St. @ #18 Meeeeechigan – How quickly Rich Rod gets off the hot seat with an easy opening schedule and a freak of an athlete running past all the beefy northern teams.  The schedule is about to get a lot tougher for the Wolverines in the upcoming weeks, but I say they remain undefeated for at least one more week.  Once again, it just comes down to who the home team is in this 'defense optional' game.  Wolverines 42-34  

If I were a bettin' man... – 2-0 against the spread last week; 7-5 for the season

#11 Arkansas (-6) vs. Texas A&M in DallasWhy does this line keep going down in A&M’s favor?  Did they suddenly get a defense that could stop someone or a QB who does not turn the ball over?  The Hogs have some frustration to unleash.  I see this game being just like last year’s where the Aggies kept it close for about a quarter and then it got out of hand although I am kinda tired of hearing how each week is the game the Hogs running game is gonna breakout.  Truth is, as long as Mallett is behind center and Petrino is on the sideline, there will be no running game of any significance.  Hogs win big in the Big D (or A).   

Southern Cal @ #16 Stanford (-9.5) – This line is not right if you have seen each of these teams play this year.  It’s easy to look past Stanford if you only watched them play at Oregon last week, but Oregon is positioning themselves to play for the national title.  I have yet to see USC show any interest in a game this year.  They are the walking dead.  They have nothing to play for due to the offseason sanctions, and they are playing like it.  Stanford is one of the most physical teams in the nation.  USC is one of the most finesse on both sides of the ball.  USC will once again not be interested even though they should be playing for revenge since the Cardinal smacked them around 55-21 last year.  It’s simple – Stanford is better than last year, USC is worse than last year and it’s in Palo Alto.  I’ll take the Cardinal BIG.

And They Muffed Joseph Michael -

We have a unique situation this week where two teams actually muffed it in the same game, Tennessee @ LSU.  But before we get to the game, let's first take a second and look back at how these two programs have put themselves in these situations.  One program is just having a run of bad luck and the other who has hired a guy that I'm not sure is qualified to take your order at McDonald's.  Keep in mind, Ernie is a friend of mine, so I have come to have a respect for him and the Tennessee Volunteers.  Especially since I heard the story of the beer bottle getting thrown through the TV when Charles Woodson won the Heisman over Peyton Manning in 1997.  Phillip Fulmer was a great man, and as best I can tell, was well liked by Volunteer fans.  Fulmer was born in Tennesssee, played for the Vols, and was even an assistant for the Volunteers for 13 years before replacing one of the all time great coaches in college football Johnny Majors.  It was a decision that was not very popular with the Vol fans, but the results won all the nay sayers over very quickly.  A career 152-52 record and a record of 98-34 in the SEC, an SEC Championship and of course the 1998 Championship.  Ironically, his worst year was his last.  Then this is where I say bad luck came into play, you hired Lane Kiffin.  I wouldn't trust Lane Kiffin with my 78 year old grandmother in a room by themselves after he'd had a couple of beers.  He embarrassed a program and did it with no class.  Paid no mind to how Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer and all the great players along the way had built such a fantastic program.  After a year of what I imagine Ernie answered more questions about his team's head coach, he left and went back to USC where he will fit in nicely.  In my opinion, now you've got the right guy.  He has the pedigree (his father was the great coach of the Georgia Bulldogs Vince Dooley) and has a pretty impressive resume.  And if you go by stars in recruiting, which I do, he is holding his own with the big boys and pulling in some nice players....

Now let's look at the other side of this coin.  How this guy has won on any level is baffling to me.  I would read you some quotes but instead I'll just link the website and enjoy yourselves. ....  And I feel terrible because I feel LSU fans pain too because I had to endure 10 years of Houston Nutt who may as well have been holding pom poms on the sideline.  Les Miles' time management skills are worse than Yogi Bear's, and the only reason Yogi Bear ever got anything done is because of BooBoo pestered him to death until he got it done.  I'm sure everyone remembers the LSU/Ole Miss game last year Jordan Jefferson from LSU got sacked and it took them 10 seconds to call time out.  Then they completed a 7 yard pass to Stevan Ridley and it took them another 10 -12 seconds to call time out.  Then Jefferson completed a pass down to the Rebel 5 and all they had to do was get down and spike it.  Bring on the kicker and kick the game winning field goal. Instead total chaos - they didnt have that extra 20 seconds, didn't spike the ball and HD Rebel sucked out a 25-23 victory over the Tigers.

So we move in to 2010 - Tennessee @ LSU where the Vols were 17 point underdogs and after the first play of the game it looked like the route was on in Death Valley.  But Tennessee played good defense the rest of the quarter and had a few drives and late in the quarter Tauren Poole dove in to tie the game at 7.  Not much happened on the offensive side of the ball in the 2nd quarter except apparently Gary Crowton and Les Miles got amnesia and forgot that Jarrett Lee had thrown more interceptions returned for touchdowns then anyone in my lifetime.  So he got a lot of work and played fairly well, but did fail to throw a touchdown to Tennessee.  And while I see the thought process because Jordan Jefferson has been struggling, you're substituting the blind for the blind.  So we go into halftime tied at 7.  Not as boring of a game as it sounds because it was very physical and your typical SEC football game.  3rd Quarter goes along about like the 2nd with both teams missing opportunities for big plays, and we go into the 4th all tied up with LSU driving.  What I have failed to mention because I got so caught up in LSU deciding to go with 2 Quarterbacks is that Stevan Ridley was a Beast.  Why he didn't get 35 or 40 carries is beyond me because you would've thought after the 15 swing passes LSU had thrown with about 2 being successful that they would just pound it.  Back to the game, Josh Jasper kicks a field goal to pretty much start the quarter to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead.  The Matt Simms and Tauren Poole Vols led their team back down the field and with 11 minutes to play Simms took it into the endzone from 3 yards out, extra point good and it's 14-10 Rocky Top.  The rest of the game was a battle and mostly a field position fest until LSU got the ball back with little time remaining.  They took their final timeout on 4th and 14 with Jarrett Lee on the field.  He then threw a strike into triple coverage that somehow found its way into Terrence Tolliver's mitts for a 20 yard gain and a first down.  After an 8 yard pass, Dooley took a timeout to settle the defense down.  On the next play Stevan Ridley ran for 2 yards to the 8 giving the Tigers a 1st and Goal.  Then after a pass interference call in the end zone placed the ball at the 2, on 1st and Goal Jarrett Lee threw a pass that apparently Les Miles didn't like seeing.  So with 30 seconds on the clock he brought in Jordan Jefferson with zero timeouts. They ran a quarterback sweep out of the Wild Whatever the hell you want to call it, and he was stoned at the 1 and a half.  The next 20 seconds were crazier than Lady GaGa's Halloween Costume.  I mean there were more people running on and off that field, it looked like McDonald's at 7:30 in the morning on the first day of school.  What happened next I'm still trying to wrap my head around.  LSU snaps it with about 2 seconds left past Jordan Jefferson and he goes and dives on it around the 17 with zeros on the clock.  Game Over.  The sky is falling in Baton Rouge, but wait, there is a flag on the play.  Apparently during all of the chaos Tennessee had too many men on the field, and LSU was awarded a penalty inside of the one.  They finally give it back to Ridley who bulls his way in for the score and the win.  Knowing Les Miles the way I do, I am surprised that he didn't say that was all part of the plan and they had it under control, but the bottom line is Les Miles is starting to reach Houston Nutt status and that's a place no coach wants to be.  LSU should be a top 5 team year in and year out; I just don't see it with Miles as the coach.  For Volunteer fans, it hurts.  I feel your pain; it's been 12 years since the "Stoernover" in Knoxville and I still think about what might have been.  But there is good news.  I think you got the right guy for the job and someone who is going to run the program with class and make all the former greats proud.

Enjoy the games!

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