Saturday, September 09, 2006

Week 1 thoughts / Week 2 picks

Why are most of my college football posts coming out just before gametime on Saturdays? Because that’s how The Man wants it! Please redirect all calls and complaints to The Man. Thanks.

My thoughts on Week 1 of the college season and my picks for this week:


--This is Tubby on the successful fake punt following the Wazzu win: “The Mississippi gambler is back … it went perfect … that won’t be the last one.” All right, Tubby, how many things are wrong with this little interview? 1) Please, don’t refer to yourself with a nickname someone else has given you. It’s just not dignified. 2) From the sound of it, you really do need to make sure you give your arm a good stretching before you pat yourself on the back with that kind of intensity. I swear, you could pull something. 3) If you really are planning on running more fake punts this season, wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to say “No, I’m not planning on running those any more, too risky, thanks for asking” than saying “Why sure we’re going to try to trick people some more. It’s only matter of time, bro!” You know that the whole goal of the fake is to catch them by surprise, right Tubbs? Sheesh. 4) Do remember, Tubby, that as well as the fake punt worked, it didn’t turn the momentum of the game. Your team missed a FG on that possession and the Cougs left the field celebrating like maniacs.

--I’m usually not one to go the hyperactive student route of whining and complaining about national media ignoring Auburn—on the contrary, I prefer it when Auburn earns as little buzz as possible—but what’s with Steve Slaton being shown so much more Heisman love than Kenny Irons? Sure Slaton had a tremendous year last year, but leading the SEC in rushing after playing only 9 games isn’t noteworthy? And as for Week 1, only an idiot would say Slaton’s 215 yards on 34 touches (one reception) vs. Marshall was more impressive than Irons’s 223 total yards on 23 touches vs. Washington St. I suspect if both these guys continue to play like this it’ll work itself out over the course of the season, but it just seems a little strange at the moment.

--Speaking of national media reaction, thanks to Tennessee’s bludgeoning of Cal and Notre Dame’s “shocking” (if by “shocking” one means “completely predictable”) almost-choke at Georgia Tech and Ohio St. looking like world-beaters, no one even seemed to notice the nation’s No. 4/No. 6 team crushed a solid Pac-10 team. Hooray! Maybe we’ll have a chance at LSU yet.


--There are two ways to look at the Tennessee victory: a) They broke a couple of big plays, picked on that one corner who was so in over his head he’d already drowned, and basically looked better than they are b) DAMN. Me? I’m in the latter camp. Tennessee had the talent to play like that last year; it just fell apart thanks to the QB controversy, poor coaching, and eventually lack of confidence. Well there’s no more Rick Clausen now, Cutcliffe isn’t a savior but he’s an improvement at OC no question, and I think the lack of confidence issue is no longer an issue. Until I see Florida put some kind of running game together—honestly, what has Meyer done to DeShawn Wynn?--the Vols are the SEC East favorites.

--Hawaii gave ‘Bama a taste of what Kenneth Darby is going to face all season long: approximately 14 guys in the box and all the space to throw in John Parker Wilson could want. Their season is going to hinge on how well Wilson can take advantage of that space. Simple as that.

--Vandy is back to their bad ol’ Woody Widenhofer days: solid D anchored by an outstanding, NFL-quality linebacker—this year’s model is Jonathan Goff, who made, oh, 46 tackles against Michigan—and no prayer on offense.

--Georgia and LSU: yawn.

--Thanks to the poetically-named BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ole Miss looked much better on offense against Memphis than they did at any point last season. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they looked downright mediocre on defense. Still not sure how much different Oreron’s record is going ot be in Year Two than Year One.


--It’s been said, but it bears repeating: More than anything else, Miami and Florida St. struggle against each other to open the season because they are poorly, poorly coached teams. The ‘Canes were an absolute train wreck and the ‘Noles were barely better. Why do I get the feeling that each team’s defensive coordinators—good ol’ Mickey Andrews and Miami’s Randy Shannon--would make better head coaches than their head coaches?

--Everybody wants to pile on Colorado, Duke, and New Mexico for losing to D-IAA teams, but at least the teams they lost to were successful I-AA teams. Purdue won, but they were only ahead of Indiana St. by five, 33-28, late in the third quarter. Not only is ISU I-AA, they finished 0-11 last season! So how many points are we looking at Ohio St. scoring on the Boilermakers … 70? 80? I say they go for triple-digits.

--Michael Bush or no Michael Bush, Louisville will still win the Big East. Petrino will find a way.

Weekend picks

Ugly, ugly ugly start to the year with my 1-2 performance last week. Neither of my two underdog picks came close to covering. Stick with another favorite this week. (Spreads here.)

Auburn (-21 ½) over Mississippi St. I know I know, a homer pick, but even on the road, I can’t see Auburn’s D allowing more than 7 points to the wretched Bulldog O. Even on the road, I can’t see Auburn’s offense putting up less than 28. 28-7 is the only possible score in which MSU would cover … and I happen to think other scores are a lot more likely.

Texas Tech (-7 ½) over UTEP. How, exactly, is a Mike Price defense supposed to shut down a Mike Leach offense?

Miami (Ohio) (+18) over Purdue. I got burned backing a MAC underdog last week, but obviously Purdue is not Wisconsin.

Just for the hell of it, I’m also going to offer three NFL picks, because I can: Eagles (-6) over Texans, Chargers (-3) over Raiders, Browns (-3) over Saints.

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