Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thoughts on College Football: Week Five

Still better late than never, thoughts on what I watched of the fifth week of the 2008 college football season.

Oregon State 27 - USC 21
A couple surprises for this game. First, I thought there was no way Pete Carroll wouldn't have has team ready for another trip to Corvallis, after losing their in their last visit two years ago. Second, OrSU's offensive and defensive lines held their own, at least, for the entire game against those same USC units that had dominated Ohio State in that blowout. Not a surprise: Mark Sanchez isn't a great quarterback.

UConn 26 - Louisville 21
I'm a Georgetown alum and fan. I hate UConn's basketball team, and Jim Calhoun. But, that hate doesn't carry over to UConn's football team. In this game, UConn seemed absolutely sunk after Tyler Lorenzen went out with an injury, and after Louisville went up 21-10 in the 3rd quarter, I assumed there was no way the Huskies could come back. Naturally, I once again underestimated Steve Kragthorpe's team-destroying ability, and the Cardinals' slide continued as they blew the lead.

Ohio State 34 - Minnesota 21
I spent a decent amount of time watching this game, and learned approximately nothing about each team. The final margin is . . . deceptively close, as the Buckeyes dominated this game. Pryor looked ok, Beanie Wells looked reasonably healthy, and a bunch of blah.

North Carolina 28 - Miami(FL) 24
A better game than expected-I thought UNC, another school I hate in basketball but not in football, was sunk when QB T.J. Yates went down, but they benched Paulus and Cameron Sexton threw 2 4th quarter TD passes to rally the Heels. This game also featured perhaps the week's most dramatic ending, as UNC turned a potential game-winning TD into a game-saving INT with :05 left.

Michigan State 42 - Indiana 29
A defensive optional first half, particularly the end of the second quarter, with two scores in the last two minutes. MSU's a better team than the Hoosiers. This game also featured, though I wasn't watching when it happened, a 97 yard TD pass turned into 2 points for the Spartans as IU was flagged for holding in the end zone. In a game that the Spartans led by 5, that's a pretty big turnaround.

Michigan 27 - Wisconsin 25
Ah, the joy/aggravation of college football. The Badgers DOMINATED the first half, forcing 5 Wolverine turnovers, and going in with a 19-0 halftime lead. And, then, kerphlut, for most of the second half-the previously moribund Michigan offense suddenly started gaining yards, Wisconsin stopped gaining yards, and a pick-6 provided the go-ahead score. The Badgers did recover to tie the game, with an apparent 2-point conversion, but were flagged for an awful illegal formation penalty and were unsuccessful from 5 yards further out.

Florida State 39 - Colorado 21
I haven't noted it yet, but I had a horrible week picking games. This was one of those I missed. I finally start doubting the Seminoles, and they beat decisively a less talented opponent. Sigh.

Auburn 14 - Tennessee 12
I'd like to nominate Auburn as the most overrated BCS team in the top 25. They had a surprisingly strong showing against LSU, but have otherwise shown almost no signs of competence, particularly on offense. So it was again this game-one good drive, and they sputtered around. A quality team would've beaten the Vols by 30.

Oklahoma 35 - TCU 10
If I did a poll, the Sooners would be my #1 team-they have stretches where they look so incredibly dominant on offense and defense. TCU did a good job to bottle up the run game, so Sam Bradford threw deep, and successfully-Oklahoma looked for a while like my Madden team, it was that ugly. They seemed to have a lot of problem covering for delayed blitzes, though, and Sam Bradford ate dirt for the first times this year. They're not unbeatable (they might go out and lay an egg like USC did-they've done it in the past), but they look it at times.

LSU 34 - Mississippi State 24
WTF? Seriously, WTF? How does a team as talented as LSU give up 24 points to a team as offensively challenged as Mississippi State? I know, the Tigers had some defensive line injuries, but give me a break. For the record, I'm not nearly as sold on Jarret Lee as many people seem to be-for LSU to be really successful, I think they need a QB at least as good as Matt Flynn was last year, and I see Lee being at most 75% of the way there.

Alabama 41 - Georgia 30
Ignore the final score-this game was Tide 31 - Dawgs 0 at the half. I suspected Georgia was overrated, despite having them #1 in my head six weeks ago, and this game proved it. I'm now on the Crimson Tide bandwagon, at least for a while-I don't know what Saban does, aside from work all the time, and I still don't like his overrecruitment, but the man can coach college football. The game where he goes back to LSU is going to be absolutely epic.

Penn State 38 - Illinois 24
Another game where I don't really feel like I learned anything. Illinois looks to me like a Glen Mason-era Minnesota team-4-4 or 5-3 in the conference, beats the bad teams, loses not particularly close to the heavyweights, and goes off to the Music City Bowl. This isn't a bad outcome for Illini fans, compared to the doom of recent years. As for the Nittany Lions, I still don't feel confident in how good they are.

And that was the week that was in college football in my eyes.

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