Sunday, October 05, 2008

Thoughts on College Football: Week Six

Six weeks of college football in the books, and we're starting to get a decent read on teams.

Pittsburgh 26 - South Florida 21
I refuse to believe that a team coached by Dave Wannstedt, whom I almost always refer to by his wonderful nickname of Wannstache, can possibly be good. But, this Panthers team is a blown lead against Bowling Green short of undefeated after knocking off the Bulls. The Bulls, in this game, lived up to a friend's description of them as "the dumbest team in the country," with any number of boneless plays, and, unlike the Jayhawks, the Panthers took advantage of USF QB Matt Grothe's attempts to give them the football.

Utah 31 - Oregon State 28
The Utes looked much better than USC did last Thursday, not really getting blown off the ball on either offense or defense. This game, these two teams looked like they were about the same level. Ute QB Bryan Johnson was like he was the Michigan game-stretches of reasonably competent play, but also looking awful for stretches, and his team's offensive performance was the same.

Penn State 20 - Purdue 6
Snore. The Lions are clearly better than Purdue. This game looks almost close, but the Boilermakers were never in any real danger of winning this game.

Michigan State 16 - Iowa 13
The Hawkeyes got a late TD, to make things interesting, but only appeared to have slightly more than a non-zero chance of winning for most of the game. Iowa-Purdue should be an epic borefest.

Kansas 35 - Iowa State 33
The biggest WTF early result of the day was Iowa State up 20-0 at the half, and that score was not undeserved. A sign of the crazy momentum involved in CFB, though, is that Kansas had erased that deficit by the time the third quarter turned into the fourth, took a lead, then survived when the Cyclones missed a 2-pt conversion. The Cyclones were less able to take advantage of the Jayhawks' weakness at OT, but the lack of general ability on defense was again apparent, as is the lack of a reliable target on offense other than backup QB Kerry Meier. KU should still make a bowl, but they're a far cry from the top 4 teams in the B12.

Oklahoma 49 - Baylor 17
Boomer Sooner rolled on, taking a 28-0 lead in the first 15 minutes and rendering the last 3 quarters boring stat-padding and glorified practice. Next week's Red River Shootout will be the Sooners' first (and possibly only) real test of the regular season.

Notre Dame 28 - Stanford 21
I hate Notre Dame, but there's no way they're not making another bowl game they're going to get crushed in, so there is that, at least.

Illinois 45 - Michigan 20
Michigan really isn't that good this year. Their defense, in particular, is one you can make big plays against. The only problem with this game is the Illini's dependence on high-risk passes, which worked this game and against Mizzou, but didn't get completed against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Florida State 41 - Miami(FL) 39
I don't really have anything interesting to say about this game, just wanted to note how the mighty have fallen.

Alabama 17 - Kentucky 14
Ah, the vagaries of quarterback play in college football. John Parker Wilson was very good last week in the Tide's big win against Georgia, but couldn't hit the broad side of barn for most of this game (unless that barn was located about 8 feet over his receiver's head). If Kentucky was any good, they'd have won this game.

Vanderbilt 14 - Auburn 13
If Auburn had an offense, they'd have won this game. If Auburn had an offense, they wouldn't be Auburn c. 2008. The winning margin came on a missed extra point. Vandy will get killed by a complete team, but this year, who the hell knows who that is. I'm penciling in 4 losses for them, but they may catch lightning in a bottle c. 1995 Northwestern.

North Carolina 38 - UConn 12
UConn's backup QB <<<< UNC's backup QB. Also, YouCon needs to learn how to not get punts blocked. In my picks this weekend (all ATS), this was the only game I missed.

Texas 38 - Colorado 14
This game was, at least, marginally more interesting than the Oklahoma-Baylor game earlier in the day. Marginally. I'll be watching the Red River Shootout with great attention next week, but this game was largely overtaken by the much more interesting games taking place at the same time.

Arizona 48 - Washington 14
Washington, particularly UW without Jake Locker, is really, really, really, really awful. UA -21.5 was an easy call.

Ohio State 20 - Wisconsin 17
Man, I wish Ohio State didn't keep screwing the pooch in big games, because they've actually been pretty good. They weren't elite last year, and laid an enormous egg against USC, but they're pretty good again this year. I had them, in my informal and unofficial rankings, in the 15-18 range along with Kansas, before this game, but after this I'm more inclined to move them up to 9-12. I really should start doing rankings of my own.

Missouri 52 - Nebraska 17
It was Thanksgiving weekend of 2001. The Huskers were undefeated, ranked #2, and playing in Boulder against the home Buffaloes. The Buffs took an early lead, then kept scoring. And scoring. And scoring. But, though they were up 35-7 early in the second quarter, to me watching the game from several states away, they looked incredibly vulnerable, as though they were waiting for the Huskers to make a play. That never happened, though, and the Huskers haven't been the same program since. In particular, that feared defense, the Blackshirts have been sloppy. The nadir was probably last year's game against Kansas, giving up 76 points to them being more than the Huskers ever scored against the Jayhawks. This time, though, Mizzou just killed them, and TD at the end of the game doesn't change the fact that the Tigers could have pretty much named their margin.

And, such is the week that was in college football from my perch.

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