Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thoughts on College Football: Week Three

Week 3 of the 2008 college football season is in the books, which means it's time for another installment of Tom's thoughts on the college football games he watched some (generally, at least 5 minutes) of.

North Carolina 44 - Rutgers 12
The bloom is definitely off the rose that was Greg Schiano's coaching career. Craig James kept talking about how Schiano was such a good defensive coach. Evidence of that has been almost completely lacking of late. In particular, the safeties are incredibly awful. Ever since the upset win against unbeaten Louisville in 2006, Rutgers has been on a fairly consistent downward spiral, to about the level of Glen Mason's Minnesota teams.

South Florida 37 - Kansas 34
For my money, the best game of the weekend. This was a real back-and-forth contest, as KU went up early, USF battled back to take the lead, KU tied the game at 34, then was driving for the winning score when USF intercepted and returned the ball to set up the game-winning FG as time expired. I liked Kansas last year, and was excited to see them play, so the result was a disappointing one for me. Here's what I saw:
1. Todd Reesing is probably the best QB in the country if you're not allowed to throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield. He's incredibly accurate on short passes, and is even excellent with placement.
2. Reesing's arms look like mine. I hardly ever work out, and when I do it's cardio, not lift. The lack of arm strength showed on the key interception-the ball just took too long to get 25 yards downfield and was a little underthrown to boot.
3. It's a good thing Reesing doesn't aspire to playing in the NFL, because he doesn't have a future as an NFL quarterback. I love the guy, but he just doesn't.
4. Kansas needs Anthony Collier back. The USF defensive ends, George Selvie in particular, were just destroying the Jayhawk offensive tackles all night.
5. Kansas needs Aqib Talib back-they simply don't have enough talent, and in particular speed, on defense. KU also failed to catch Matt Grothe's attempted gift-wrapped interceptions in the first half, which ultimately helped cost them the game.

Illinois 20 - Louisiana-Lafayette 17
Fodder for my belief the Illini aren't nearly as good this year as a #24 ranking and the hype they've received would support.

Maryland 35 - Cal 27
I missed Cal's 4th quarter heroics, so to me this was a 28-6 game. It looked about like that, too, as the Twerps vastly outplayed the Bears in the first half. Blame an early start and traveling 3 time zones if you like, but the Bears just didn't have it early in the game. Then again, maybe they're not nearly as good as we think they might be.

BYU 59 - UCLA 0
Wow, what should we think of Tennessee after this game? I know the Vols beat UAB, 35-3, this weekend, but this was an impressive shellacking by the Cougars.

Oregon 32 - Purdue 26 (2OT)
I missed the third quarter of this game, when Oregon made their comeback from a halftime deficit. Purdue was dominating this game early, shredding the Oregon defense, but that stopped. PU was up 20-6 at the half, but UO was nearly even in things like yards and time of possession. I don't really know what to think about either of these teams-Curtis Painter still doesn't look like an NFL QB to me, and Oregon is just, uh, I don't know, I've never been able to figure them out.

Notre Dame 35 - Michigan 17
You know that Michigan defense that was supposed to be pretty good this year? Uh, yeah, forget about that. Right now, my Golden Domer hatred outweighs my ability to give them any credit. I'm also trying to limit my sadism, so I'm resisting the urge to laugh at Charlie Weis for getting injured.

Georgia 14 - South Carolina 7
This was a much less impressive performance against the Gamecocks than that turned in by Vanderbilt last week. I don't know if Spurrier is continuing the hex he had over the Dawgs, but they never seem to play well against him. They didn't lose like they did last year, but SC fumbled in the 4th quarter going into the end zone and was intercepted near the goalline at the end of the game. One of these weeks, I need to pay close attention to a Georgia game so I can get a good read on Matt Stafford and refine my opinion of him as an NFL quarterback. He had one simply marvelous, #1 pick-type throw, but finished the game averaging under 10 yards per completion. He's also not a read-option quarterback.

Auburn 3 - Mississippi State 2
No, that score is not a typo. Auburn got some crazy levels of hype from SEC fans this year, based solely on "OMG Tommy Tuberville always has a really good team even if he pulls it all out of his ass". The Tiger offense this game, though, made you yearn for the days of Brandon Cox. Yes, I do remember he once completed as many passes to Georgia as he did to his own teammates. The only consolation is that Mississippi State's offense was, if possible, even worse. The Bulldogs' longest play through 58 minutes was 13 yards, and they failed to convert on 3rd down a single time for the entire game. The key strategic decision was going for it on 4&15 just on the Auburn side of the field rather than trying to punt the ball and pin Auburn deep in hopes of obtaining another safety. Yeah, it was that kind of game.

Oklahoma 55 - Washington 14
Oklahoma is much, much, much, MUCH better than Washington. Not a surprise, of course, but this was an absolute shellacking. Tough to get much of a read on Oklahoma, as they were mostly content to run the ball. Easy thing to do when your running backs are getting 5 yards downfield without being touched.

USC 35 - Ohio State 3
An anticipated game, but one that didn't live up to its billing. USC just dominated the Buckeyes in all phases of the game. Ohio State has a bunch of problems, a couple personnel related and a couple related to coaching. The personnel ones are (i) the lack of a big-play threat on offense, ever since the departure of Ted Ginn, and (ii) the lack of an elite edge rusher. Gholston served that purpose last year, but they don't have anybody this year. They'd be a much better team with a guy like the aforementioned George Selvie. Oh, btw, Todd Boeckman still sucks.

Wisconsin 13 - Fresno State 10
Fresno State hits its wheelhouse again, losing a game it easily could have won to a BCS team. I think Wisconsin's QB slide continues, as Stocco > Donovan > Everage. P.J. Hill is also fairly unimpressive in a Ron Dayne-style bruising way. Fresno's senior QB at least didn't seem to make all the senior mistakes Paul Pinegar did, but, man, their wideouts really are WAC-caliber players. FSU was also the beneficiary of some hometown replay reviews, most notably an early 4th quarter fumble that was somehow ruled an incomplete pass.

I know these game recaps probably aren't up to my usual, or perhaps aspired-to, standard, but I wanted to get them in tonight while the memories are relatively fresh, plus I'm tired. Writing blog posts with your eyes closed is something that makes you grateful for being a touch typist. With that, that's all on this week. I'll be out of town next weekend, but will probably watch a fair bit of college football anyway and post about it on my return.

UPDATE (9/15/08 0027 CT): Inspiration for this Doc Saturday's take.

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