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22 Sep 2005

Seventh Day Adventure: Snack Break

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Vinny: OK, after going 1-7 last week, I'm taking requests from anyone who wants me to pick against their team. All I ask in return is a bag of Fritos® and maybe a Take 5 bar.

Russell: Whose performance was worse Saturday, yours or Stanford's? After losing to Division I-AA California-Davis, coach Walt Harris issued a public apology. Would you like to do the same?

Vinny: Uh, maybe next time. In a related story, I'm going to weigh 400 pounds if they don't get rid of the vending machine down the hall from me.

Russell: Can I get one of those in my office? Our chip guy's idea of a "premium item" is a bag of ginger snaps. Where are the Suzy Q's®?

#21 Iowa (+7) at #8 Ohio State, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Vinny: The Buckeyes still appear to be in a post-Texas fog. The Hawkeyes should get their attention, but probably not as much as a visit by 80's supergroup GreatWhiteLionSnake. Sorry, couldn't resist a shot at the Buckeye linebacker corps' flowing locks.

Russell: Michigan may have the OSU crowd beat in terms of the number of adult males wearing jean shorts, but the Bucks have definitely got us in the player mullet department. This is the first meeting of the year between teams in the Big Ten's "big three." Although Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State each have a loss while Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan State are all undefeated.

Vinny: Ohio State was crushed 33-7 in Iowa City last year. But that was before Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. really emerged as game-breakers. Smith has yet to regain his 2004 form. And he isn't getting the ball to Ginn or Santonio Holmes much between his happy feet and all the QB draws called by Senator Tressel. I thought the Buckeye offense would be a juggernaut this year -- like it was late last year -- but it has disappointed thus far.

Russell: The offense wasn't a whole lot better with Justin Zwick under center, but Troy "one read and run" has to get his playmakers some touches. Look for some wacky plays this week, maybe Ginn under center for a few snaps.

Vinny: The Hawkeyes somehow eked out 10 wins last year when they were down to their 5th-string running back. Albert Young is healthy this year and has bolstered the Iowa ground attack. Not sure about an outright win, but Iowa covers.

Russell: How many first-round linebackers will be on the field in this one? A.J. Hawk? Abdul Hodge? Bobby Carpenter? Chad Greenway? Still, I think The OSU has the edge in overall defensive quality. That will be enough, combined with the crowd noise in Columbus, to contain Iowa QB Drew Tate. Ohio State wins by 10, earning a little revenge for last year.

#11 Purdue (+3.5) at Minnesota, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Vinny: This game could be a case of strength against strength: Purdue's stout run defense vs. the always-impressive Gopher rushing attack. But late in the game, it might be weakness against weakness: the Boilers have allowed nearly 650 passing yards in two games, while the air attack has always been Minnesota's El Guapo.

Russell: I would argue that an opponent with a pulse has been Minnesota's El Guapo. Glen Mason, it's time to take the program to the next level by scheduling a non-conference game against a team that people have, you know, actually heard of. When was the last time Minnesota beat a quality opponent in Big Ten play? It doesn't happen very often after the Gophers fatten up on their annual September slate of patsies.

Vinny: Mason also needs to trust his quarterback for once in a big game and let him throw on first down, and not just when the Gophers fall behind. I think Bryan Cupito, probably the best passer Mason has ever recruited, would benefit from some throwing success before crunch time. And opposing defenses might soften a bit against the run. Instead, Cupito (and Asad Abdul-Khaliq before him) inevitably finds himself in 3rd-and-long situations late in big games with the Gophers trailing by a score or two. Not a recipe for success.

Russell: Purdue, meanwhile, is quietly getting the job done. They gutted out a tough road win at Arizona last week to improve to 2-0. Brandon Kirsch hasn't quite made anyone forget about Kyle Orton and Drew Brees, but he's been solid and Jerod Void is a straight-ahead masher at tailback.

Vinny: Picking Glen Mason in a big game is like hitching a ride with Billy Joel. I wouldn't recommend it. Purdue wins by a touchdown.

Russell: Can't argue with that logic. Purdue will grind out a win, and we won't have to hear about Laurence Maroney for the Heisman after this week.

#15 Georgia Tech (+11) at #4 Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: The big question in this game has to do with the health of Georgia Tech QB Reggie Ball, who sat out last week's win over Connecticut with a bout of viral meningitis. I don't even have a joke here, but I think I should.

Vinny: It's a shame 80% of the country can't see this game over the air, as ABC wants everyone to see Al Czervik's boys tune up Ty Willingham's squad in Seattle.

Russell: For the record, I like ND by about 48 points in that one, and don't think I won't claim it as a win if my other picks follow their usual form. Virginia Tech has to be the most under-the radar fourth-ranked team in college football history, although they probably don't have radar in Blacksburg, Virginia. Georgia Tech represents the stiffest defensive test for Marcus Vick and the Hokies thus far this season, and VaTech didn't exactly light up the last tough D they faced -- N.C. State in the opener.

Vinny: Besides the quarterbacks, there's also the Calvin Johnson - Jimmy Williams matchup, which should have NFL scouts drooling. But then most scouts have an overbite anyway.

Russell: I like Georgia Tech's grit, and if Ball is close to 100%, I think they can make this a very close game. Even without him, I think 11 is too high. I'll take the Yellow Jackets and the points.

Vinny: Agreed. I'm also going with the road dog (Georgia Tech).

#14 Michigan (-2.5) at Wisconsin, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: I don't know if it's a sign of my terminal Wolverine fan-induced illness, but I didn't take one second of pleasure from last week's 55-0 pasting of EMU. Michigan makes me super nervous in this spot -- beat up, on the road, against a good team, at night.

Vinny: I'm not sure who's hurting more, the Michigan offense or the Badger D-line. The Wolverines have been down their top two right tackles, their starting tight end, and RB Mike Hart. Hart and backup RT (Kolodziej) might be back Saturday. And after losing much of its defensive line to the NFL, Wisconsin has Jamal Cooper out for the year, Justin Ostrowski out indefinitely, and Kurt Ware out with chicken pox. Offensive lineman Joe Cooper may help out the Badger defense in goal line situations this week.

Russell: Lloyd Carr, who always gets plenty of support from the two of us, is losing his reputation as a giant killer. 1-3 in his last four against Ohio State. 1-3 in his last four against Notre Dame. 1-3 in his last four bowl games. It does seem like the groundswell of disappointment among Michigan fans is growing, but I'm not ready to join them just yet.

Vinny: Both quarterbacks have something to prove. John Stocco wants to show he can be a factor in a big game. Chad Henne wants to regain the form he showed as a true freshman last year. As always, the crowd should be fairly oiled up in Madtown by kickoff, especially with the late start. Michigan is generally a terrible favorite, but when the line dips under a field goal, the Wolverines tend to get the job done. Michigan is the pick.

Russell: The Michigan defense, which got pushed around in the opener, looked pretty good against Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan. The Wolverines still allow too many third-down conversions, but the pursuit angles and the tackling have improved. They'll need to keep it up against Brian Calhoun and the Badgers. Wisconsin's straight-ahead, no-frills offense has always been tailor-made for Michigan. The Wolverines haven't lost to the Badgers since 1994, and this won't be any different. Michigan sweats one out by at least a field goal.

Memphis (-1) at Tulsa, 7 p.m. ET, UPN/Local TV

Russell: This week's blogger special takes us to Tulsa, where the Golden Hurricane host the Memphis Tigers. Wow, a rare Saturday Conference-USA game. No wonder it's on UPN. Fellas, don't you know if you want national exposure you have to play on Tuesdays or Wednesdays? As an aside, I didn't even know UPN covered college football. Is Urkel going to be on the call?

Vinny: Fair question. Tulsa got into the win column last week with a 54-2 score against North Texas (after a safety by Kathy Ireland). The Golden Hurricane was stomped by Minnesota in its opener and then served as the ham and eggs for Oklahoma's TCU hangover in week two.

Russell: Memphis has struggled early this season, derailing the Heisman hopes of DeAngelo Williams. A late-season injury and a glut of talented backs made Williams decide to forego the NFL draft last season, but you have to wonder how much his stock has fallen due to the early difficulties.

Vinny: These are two pretty good offenses by Conference USA standards. Memphis gave Ole Miss a game before falling 10-6 in its opener. That's good enough for me. Heck, I'll make the Tigers my Fred Edelstein Lock. This is a calculated risk that we don't have any readers who are Memphis fans.

Russell: Well, maybe there's a Tulsa fan out there, and you'll get that Take 5 after all. I like Memphis on the road here as well, as Williams finally gets it going.

#1 USC (-21.5) at #24 Oregon, 7 p.m. ET, ABC

Vinny: I caught most of USC's first half against Arkansas, and it was like watching an Xbox NCAA Football game of ... well, USC against Arkansas. The Trojan offense is putting up some staggering numbers. So much for missing Norm Chow.

Russell: Given that it was an SEC team, and not even a traditional SEC doormat, that the Trojans did that to, that might have been one of the most impressive woodshed jobs in college football history. I mean, Texas Tech put an 80 on the board last week, but it was against Sam Houston State. Four touchdowns on their first eight offensive snaps? Has any team ever done that in a matchup of Division I-A teams before?

Vinny: The Trojans were reportedly so nonchalant about the drubbing they were putting on the Hogs that they were text messaging friends in the stands during the game. The young Trojan defense still needs some work, but you have to believe Pete Carroll will have it rounded into shape soon.

Russell: Autzen is a tough place to play, and the Ducks are coming off a win over Fresno State in which they rallied from a 17-0 hole. That should provide some practical experience for dealing with Hurricane Troy. Still, that number is huge. Double-digit home dogs are always tempting. Gulp. Give me the Ducks and the points as USC saves a little something for next week's roadie to Arizona State.

Vinny: During this dominant run, USC is usually kind enough each season to make one road trip interesting, but I'm not sure this is it. Kellen Clemens, Demetrius Williams & Co. should score some points, but it won't be enough to keep pace. USC covers the big number.

#10 Tennessee (+6.5) at #3 LSU, Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Note: Late Thursday, LSU officials postponed this game to Monday from Saturday because of the threat of Hurricane Rita.

Russell: What did Tennessee do to deserve the two-game road trip from hell (Florida then LSU)? Did their coach tip off NCAA investigators about recruiting activities at a rival school, then refuse to show up at SEC media day after getting subpoenaed? What? He did? Those facts couldn't be related to the schedule, could they? (I love taunting conspiracy theorists).

Vinny: The Tennessee offense looked very shaky in the Swamp. The running game was abandoned too soon by Randy Sanders, but the Florida defense plus an injury to guard Cody Douglas were factors. Now the Vols have reshuffled their offensive line again heading into this game. And Tennessee will travel to Baton Rouge on game day so as not to tie up hotel rooms needed for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Russell: LSU, meanwhile is one of the biggest mysteries in college football. Thanks to Katrina, they've only played one game, and it was on the road, switched to Arizona State in the storm's aftermath. This is the first major sporting event in Louisiana since Katrina. Let's hope Rita leaves the region alone.

Vinny: It looks like Phil Fulmer has settled on Erik Ainge at quarterback -- for now. The Tennessee defense still looks strong. Still, there's too much going against the Vols here: on the road, in Death Valley, under the lights, the post-Katrina emotion, the Vols' offensive woes, etc. I think LSU wins big.

Russell: LSU used to play the QB shuffle with mixed results, just like Fulmer is doing now. But now it's JaMarcus Russell's job, and he delivered against ASU, throwing a game-winning TD on fourth down in the closing minutes. The Tigers have defensive concerns, but I'm not sure Tennessee will be able to exploit them. And coach Les Miles looks stylish on the sideline with that ultra-mini headset. Compare that to http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2004/writers/stewart_mandel/07/27/mailbag/p1_fulme... " target="_blank">Fulmer's sideline get-up. Edge, Miles. I like LSU to cover here as well.

Vinny: Look at you, Nick Bakay.

#18 Arizona State (-6) at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET, TBS

Russell: I'm glad to see this line moved from the opening number of ASU -4.5. Shows me I do know something about college football, because I thought that was the strangest line of the week. Arizona State is a legitimate top-15 type team, and they can score with anybody. Oregon State just got thrashed at Louisville, giving up 63 points in the process. I thought I was going to have to invoke the "when you see a line that's too good to be true, it is" rule on this one.

Vinny: Mike Riley's second act at Oregon State hasn't turned out to be quite as successful as his first -- at least not yet. WR Mike Hass is the best player on this team, but he can't do things by himself. It won't be as bad as the Louisville debacle for the Beavers, but Arizona State wins in a walk.

Russell: Thanks for keeping things brief. I think, given our records, we probably should keep it to 2,500 words.

Vinny: You're welcome.

Russell: Arizona's Sam Keller can fall out of bed and throw for 400 yards, which he needs to do because the Sun Devils can't run the ball at all. Still, that's not good news for a Beaver secondary that is still smoldering with third-degree burns and flashbacks of Brian Brohm. Arizona State will keep the misery going with a big win. The Sun Devils are my Fred Edelstein lock.

The Picks
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" in bold)
Game Vinny says Russell says
#21 Iowa (+7) at #8 Ohio State Iowa Ohio State
#11 Purdue (+3.5) at Minnesota Purdue Purdue
#15 Georgia Tech (+11) at #4 Virginia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech
#14 Michigan (-2.5) at Wisconsin Michigan Michigan
Memphis (-1) at Tulsa Memphis Memphis
#1 USC (-21.5) at #24 Oregon USC Oregon
#10 Tennessee (+6.5) at #3 LSU LSU LSU
#18 Arizona State (-6) at Oregon State Arizona State Arizona State
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 1-7 (0-1) 10-13-1 (0-3)
Russell 3-5 (1-0) 8-15-1 (1-2)

Posted by: on 22 Sep 2005

59 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2005, 7:30pm by Carl

Comments

1
by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 10:08pm

I may be the only one watching Air Force-Utah right now, but I think Herbstreit is doing an excellent job of explaining the quarterback's responsibilities in the Air Force option attack. Interesting stuff.

2
by Russell (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 10:49pm

You're not the only one watching.

I'm flipping between Utah-AFA and Texas A&M-Texas State on Fox Sports Southwest for those that have the Directv sports pack. Surprisingly, it's only 13-7 A&M in the second quarter.

I didn't catch Herbstreit's analysis, but it doesn't surprise me. I think he would make an excellent full-time color guy.

3
by Doc Love (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:40am

When are you guys updating the DVOA rankings?

4
by Joey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:06am

In last week's USC-Arkansas game there was a point when the Trojans had scored 4 TDs on a grand total of 8 offensive plays. All offensive TDs...no defensive or special teams scores. I can't remember ever seeing anything like that before. Incredible.

5
by Nate (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:34am

USC had something like 1:48 time of possession by the end of the first quarter ... and was up 28-0.

6
by Ferg (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:40am

although they probably don’t have radar in Blacksburg, Virginia.

I tried that line in traffic court. No dice.

7
by Terrance (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 7:55am

Big and PAC are also two deceased rappers. Heh.

8
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 10:10am

I would like to offer my personal thanks to the crew for not Edelsteining USC this week.

Although if I had to pick one, I'd pick ASU as my Lock this week, and that's scary. A 6 point line just seems waaaay too low for that game. Did the oddsters not watch any of ASU's games to date?

T.

9
by DMP (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 11:26am

Come on, State, get rid of Illinois. Pretty please. Make it good so these guys have to sweat balls breaking down the East Lansing Lambaste next week. Don't fall in the trap. Oh, the pain of being a hopeful Spartan...

10
by real fred eddelstein (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:08pm

arizon st.-Going to lose. Ever heard of a look ahead. This is what happens when a team is dreaming about playing USC next week meanwhile they have to play Oregon St. who is highly motivated on focused on them since they are a top 15. On road in conference enough already. Idiots!

Purdue is awful. They can't throw against a decent team and there run defense has seen nothing like the gophers at home. Prediction Pain!

Tennesee aint losing two weeks in a row. There defense is sick and that qb at LSU isn't Chris Leak. Tennesee wins on defense.

11
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:17pm

Great to hear from the real Fred E! How was your stay in the pokey?

12
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:44pm

Freddy seems to have lost his lisp. Maybe he got some help from Schillinger or Adebisi.

13
by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:58pm

The last comment was deleted, not because the 'real fred edelstein' made fun of our picking records -- heck, we make fun of ourselves all the time -- but because it wasn't in the spirit of keeping the discussions on this site intelligent and respectful.

We will not allow FO's discussion threads to degenerate into name-calling and flame wars like most do. So please, everyone, let's keep things respectful.

14
by Steelersin06 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:31pm

Vanderbilt is currently on top of the SEC East.

15
by LTA (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:07pm

In my mind, there are a couple obvious strategies for beating (or at least competing) with USC, but I don't see many teams on their schedule that can put them into practice.
Basically, you would want to limit USC's big plays by keeping everything in front of the defense. Use a strong front four to bring pressure and drop lots of players into coverage. Much like with the cover-2, you let the Trojans have lots of short yardage plays but don't allow the 70 yard touchdown passes. Thus far, the Trojans offense has been able to make a lot of highlight reel plays. So you see if USC gets a little impatient and forces something or if they will actually take what the defense is giving them. And the more plays per drive, the more opportunities for a fumble, interception, sack, etc.
On offense, you need to have a ball-control offense that can consume long portions of the game clock to wear down the defense and (most importantly) keep the Trojan offense off the field.
Unfortunately, the Ducks don't have either of these things. Their defense and front four have been below average thus far and their offense is a no-huddle, quick-strike attack. Tackling in the secondary has been poor at times and the pursuit angles are often wrong. This is why, as a Ducks fan, I don't see us hanging with the Trojans.

16
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:19pm

BOTH of you pick Purdue this week? NNNOOOOOOO!

Where do I send the Fritos and Take 5 bars?

Actually, Purdue matches up well with Minnesota, but I only say that because historically they haven't passed well. If Minnesota has improved their passing game, it could be bad.

Early prediction: next week Brady Quinn has two different 100+ receiving yard tight ends.

17
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:28pm

LTA:

I believe this is the exactly strategy the USC defense usually takes. The best example, I think, is the Cal game last year. Cal manhandled the Trojans - between the 20 and the 20. However, multiple times within the 20, they got absolutely nowhere.

I also think that the "Pinch an Inch" strategy described I think in a CNNSI article could work - a strategy of intentionally using as much time as possible and using as many downs as possible, to tire the defense and keep the USC offense on the field. He also suggested essentially going for it on almost every 4th down and 5 or less (his reasoning being that the odds are USC will score whether it's 30 yards or 70 yards to go, so why not try to keep your offense on the field?).

That said, I think the 21.5-point spread might be a little high. 20.5 I might think OK - but that 3-touchdown bar is pretty prohibitive.

I saw today that Tennessee says they were willing to forfeit their game against LSU if the SEC refused to reschedule the game, which is now on Monday. Heh. I couldn't see that happening.

T.

18
by Steelersin06 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:28pm

I would also like to point out that Vandy beat Arkansas...at Arkansas. As an alumnus of Vandy I would love to think that this is the year we dominate the SEC and beat UT, I would not talk up USC's domination of Arkansas too much. USC is a great team, but Arkansas is a terrible team this year.

19
by peachy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:36pm

Perhaps we're just terrible, cynical people, but my reaction to the "UT prepared to forfeit" story was a disbelieving snort. It may sound good in the press, but the AD has to know he'd be hunted down with deer rifles if he actually did something like that...

20
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:38pm

peachy:

I agree. Hence the "I couldn't see that happening." It's easy to say "We're so concerned about our students we'd have forfeited!" after the game has been rescheduled.

T.

21
by Joey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 7:14pm

Yes. Tennessee was pouring it on pretty thick. "Oh, look at us. We're so safety conscious we'd just forfeit. LSU might be willing to risk the lives of all their people, but not us."

22
by real fred edelstein (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 8:29pm

Hey Vinny and Russell,
I enjoy reading your post and figured the implied sarcasm would be seen through the harsh words. My mistake.
Keep up the good work.

Always love getting flawed reasoning to help me figure out which side my money should be on.

Good Luck and please don't stop predicting

23
by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 9:30am

Re: 22

No worries. While making fun of our performance is certainly warranted, let's keep things to a certain level of civility.

Did anybody watch Iowa State-Army last night? I know it sounds cliche, but man does Army play hard. They really should have won that game, but did themselves in with mistakes.

24
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 11:18am

Bobby Ross is the right man for the job at Army. But you know something that bothers me? His salary is $600,000. That makes him the single highest-paid employee of the federal government. He makes something like three times what the highest-paid U.S. Army general makes. I know Army claims that the money comes from a separate fund for athletics and blah blah blah, but the bottom line is when you read about West Point you always read that they don't put sports on a pedastal like other schools do, and Ross's salary indicates otherwise.

25
by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 1:02pm

MDS, I can't argue with your logic. I think it's ridiculous that public universities all over this country pay over $1 million a year to a football coach, many of whom make another $1 million or more from *other sources*.

But, like it or not, it's the cost of doing business. If Army is going to continue to compete in Division I-A, which I think they should, they need to have a coach like Ross. And it is true that the school is only paying him I believe $150,000. The rest of the money is coming directly from private donations. The academy went to the boosters and basically said, you want a top flight coach, we need money. And the boosters responded.

26
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 4:49pm

I think Iowa may have been the second-most overranked team to begin the year (after the Sooners, of course). They just got completely destroyed today. As bad as it was, it really should have been worse (notice the running OSU theme of missed opportunities), with the Buckeyes fumbling twice inside the five, and the punter just dropping the ball to give up a FG. It was just total domination today.

For once, OSU's offense actually looked good. Gonzales had a great day, and they ran the ball very effectively (why they hadn't faked the handoff on every QB draw, a la Vince Young, I'll never know). If the offense had played even a quarter as well against Texas... As is, they have a tremendous defense, and great special teams. If they get anything at all from the offense and don't trip all over themselves, they win easily.

OK, now I get stuck watching ND beat Washington by 45. It would be more if Notre Dame had any talent at all, but of course we know that they don't. The announcers are talking about how Weis stepped right into a great situation offensively with so many starters returning. Why does it matter how many guys came back if they all sucked, as we heard all last year? An experienced piece of crap is still a turd.

Punt block by Kentucky. Let's see if they can score here. If so, it will be the first time Urban Meyer's team has trailed in something like 10 games. That's pretty amazing.

27
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 4:55pm

First comment:

OK, I officially apologize to Tressel, everything is okay with the OSU offense. Holy crap, talk about a demolition. Thank you Iowa, your services in the Top 25 will no longer be needed.

Second comment:

Oh my God, what a rollercoaster ride for Penn State vs. Northwestern. PSU has five turnovers in the first half (3 INTs, although to be fair 2 of them were tipped off of receivers hands), ends up down 23-7, and then outscores Northwestern 27-6 in the second half, with the lead bouncing around at the end (27-26 PSU, 29-27 NW, 34-29 PSU) and Penn State scoring the game-winning TD on a 9 play, 80 yard drive in 1:19. I was worried about PSU's season going completely in the toilet with this game, but I love the fact that they fought back from down 16. This is a spoiler team just waiting for a cocky ranked team to come along.

28
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 5:04pm

Pitt is beating Youngstown State 16-0 at halftime. This would not be happening if Tressel was still there... Go Penguins! You can do it!

Leak just threw a TD pass on a play Vick could learn a lot from. He was flushed from the pocket, and instead of taking off for a 4-yard gain on 3rd and 8, he kept running until the coverage came up, then threw it to a receiver in a soft spot. Using the threat of the run to set up a big pass - something guys like Young and Elway got the hang of. If Vick ever does it, look out.

Also, the announcer pointed out something on that play - Leak tucked the ball like he was going to run, and that's when the defense came up to him. A simple move to put it back in throwing position, easy TD. Man, if Vick ever learned that...

29
by Ferg (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 6:54pm

Trogdor, which Vick? New Mexico is looking really smooth today, just standing back and tossing it around.

30
by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 6:59pm

RE 24, 25
If you think Ross is making a lot, check out Fisher DeBerry, coach of the Air Force football team. It's been a while since I saw his pay quoted, but I am pretty sure it is higher than the other two academies' head coaches. He has been there over 20 years (behind only JoePa and Bowden). Plus, Air Force is usually more competitive than Navy, and almost always better than Army.

31
by vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 7:06pm

So much for purdue's run defense.

32
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 7:07pm

Ron Mexico, of course.

And this ND/Washington game is a lot closer than I thought. If not for some horrible red zone mistakes by Washington they could be in it.

So far those picks are looking sweet. Nice to see things are really back to normal around here.

33
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 7:41pm

Difference between good and bad teams:

On their last series, Washington had receivers wide open for potential big gains or TDs on two plays, and just missed on both.

On their last series, Notre Dame had a deep receiver get open, and scored.

The opportunities in this game have been fairly even. But Notre Dame has taken advantage of theirs, while Washington has screwed up on nearly all of theirs. And now it's 29-3.

Virginia Tech looks pretty good.

34
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 8:07pm

... and the countdown to East Lansing Lambaste has begun. Lets hope Wolvies get the job done right at Madison today to set this up right.

Even if just for a week, how do you like MSU, PSU, and Minnesota at the top of the Big Ten standings? The meek shall inherit the earth, I guess.

35
by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 8:28pm

Trogdor:

You are correct, sir. The UW receivers were dropping passes well into garbage time, as well. Both D's were giving up the yardage, but UW was the least opportunistic team I've seen in a long time.

On the talent issue, it's funny to hear the game commentators quoting UW (and former ND defensive coordinator) Kent Baer as saying that "when we got fired, people said we hadn't recruited well. But ND's players look pretty good this year, don't they?" Way to indict the Willingham staff's coaching skills, Kent.

Did anyone watch the MSU game? Was Illinois in it at all or did Sparty dominate from the outset? I too am looking forward to the UM MSU game.

36
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 10:27pm

Well, either South Florida is an overlooked powerhouse, or Louisville is perhaps a mite over-rated...

I was going to mention USC's less than blazing start, but I see they've just finished off a five-play, 76-yard TD drive... nevermind then.

37
by Nate (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 10:30pm

I actually watched the whole Illinois-MSU game (what can I say, I'm an idiotic Illini fan). MSU averaged about 34.4 yards per rush and never threw an incompletion. Complete domination from the outset (actually they went 3 and out their first possession, but after that...), basically. They may lose some games (although their defense was good enough to shut down Illinois), but it won't be because their offense didn't put up any points. Stanton, good o-line play, and a bunch of good running and receiving options = a deadly offense.

38
by DMP (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 10:53pm

Oh, sweet Lord. Please don't tell me Henne just slipped and fell and didn't even get a Hail Mary pass off. That's not possible. Has anyone gone from hero to Navarre in three games? Wolvies aaer still scary next week though with Mike Hart back. That kid is pure magic.

39
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 10:58pm

Not been a great season so far for ranked Big 10 teams, eh?

40
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 11:20pm

Whatever Pete Carroll tells players in the locker room must be incredible stuff because his teams always come out having made amazing adjustments after halftime.

First quarter - Oregon 10, USC 0. USC looked terrible, turning over the ball on the opening kickoff (leading to a field goal), and a Leinart interception in the end zone returned 68 yards, leading to a TD on the drive.

Second quarter, USC 10, Oregon 3, the teams head into the locker room with Oregon up 13-10.

3rd quarter, USC goes nuts, scoring 21 points to Oregon's zero.

It's now the 4th quarter, Oregon drove to the USC red zone, but just turned it over on downs on 4th and goal from the 6, after having a touchdown called back due to penalty.

So not a great game, but looks like it'll be a win nonetheless. The scary part is that the USC defense has played very well - after the first two scores, which were on a short field, the defense has bottled them up pretty well.

Of course one nice thing is that for some reason, here in DC, ABC decided to show Catch Me if you Can instead of the game, so most of the country did not see the game. At 31-13, that might be considered respectable by the pollsters.

Oh, never mind, 40 yard touchdown by Reggie Bush, 38-13.

T.

41
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 11:20pm

I have one question. Who the hell does Colorado have at RB that they were going to move Brian Calhoun to WR?

42
by vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 11:34pm

Ugh. Lloyd Carr's worst coaching job in years. Can't leave points on the field in the first half like that. And why not put 9 in the box early on that last drive. If they score, you get the ball back.

43
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 12:18am

Well, so much for the Cards romping through the Big East and crashing the Rose Bowl... hmm, Pitt is now higher in the conference standings than Louisville.

44
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 2:05am

I've got a comment on replays from the PAC-10 replay officials.

The first one I saw was a touchdown taken away from the Washington QB during Washington-ND. It looked like he tight-roped across the sideline, and on his last step in bounds propelled himself forward to hit the pylon with the football in his possession. He just about hit the ground with one of his feet the same time the ball hit the pylon. The official on the field ruled it a TD, but it was called back to the 1. I always thought you could advance the ball before your feet landed out of bounds. An extreme example would be if Superman was playing. Let's say he takes off in-bounds at the 50 yard line, then flies 10 yards out bounds before any part of his body hits... the ball would be spotted at the 40 yard line because he wasn't out until he reached the 40.

45
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 2:08am

The second PAC-10 replay I saw was the punt that bounced off of a USC blocked and was recovered by Oregon. Oregon punted, ball hit the leg of a blocked and after the scrum USC had the ball and was awarded it on-field. The replays showed Oregon #44 as the first one to the ball, but you can't tell if he gained complete possession because the ball is covered by the pile in all video angles. The ref came back and said there was conclusive evidence Oregon recovered the punt.

Did anyone else these these calls?

46
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 9:57am

Re: #44.

The rule states that if the official is absolutely sure you are fully out of bounds, then you can no longer advance the ball.

This came up in a game last week too, where a player was running to the end zone and leaped to get the ball "across the plane" but he was outside the pylons (and didn't touch the pylon with the ball) while in the air. He was ruled out of bounds at the 1. At the minimum, to score, the ball must be in-bounds.

I'm not sure if that's only a goal line thing or whatever, but it's happened recently besides the one yesterday.

As for #45, I think the Pac-10 officials need a bit of work on how to do calls to account for replay. In the ASU/OSU game, there was one ASU touchdown where the player clearly fumbled right before the goal line. Oregon State recovered, and none of the goal line officials had signaled touchdown on the play. About 4 hours after the play was over and OSU had recovered and was celebrating, one official suddenly throws up his hands announcing a TD, when none had signaled it during the play. The officials hadn't even conferenced. One of them just decided, late, that it really was a TD when he didn't think so earlier.

On review, the TD stood because the goal-line camera angle was blocked, and while one of the other angles made it pretty clear the ball came out before he crossed, you couldn't see the goal line in that angle, so it wasn't conclusive proof.

No referee signaled TD during the play, only afterward. If it takes that long for a referee to decide it was a TD, it the original call should have stood, and had a potential TD be the result of the review.

Oh, and on a minor note, it'd be nice if they were consistent with the terminology they use. One thing I like about the NFL is that they tend to use the same terms "After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stands" etc.

In ASU/OSU, at one point you had the ref saying "After review, there is conclusive video evidence for the call to be overturned." That's fine. Another time, the referee said "After review, there is no conclusive video evidence for the call to be overturned, the ruling on the field stands." Fine.

But then on another play the referee said "After review, there is conclusive video evidence (leading to the crowd going absolutely nuts cheering because he didn't say 'no') that the ruling on the field should stand (crowd does a double-take, starts booing)."

Sheesh, give 'em a script.

T.

47
by Joey (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 1:13pm

Ref. #30

The Air Force Academy does not release DeBerry's salary figure but estimates are he makes about the same as Sonny Lubick, who coaches at Colorado State. As of 2004, that was a base salary of $350,000 with a total package of around $500,000.

Link is to an article on the subject.

48
by Joey (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 1:21pm

The Miami-Colorado game featured one of the most pointless replay reviews ever. First quarter, scoreless game, and CU's QB scrambles on third down and goes out of bounds about two yard short of the marker. The game is stopped 4-5 minutes while they review the spot. Then, they leave it as originally spotted! There was no way CU was going for it on 4th even if they had respotted. Crap like that totally destroys the flow of the game.

49
by DMP (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 1:40pm

Definitely too many replay reviews in the games yesterday. There shouldn't be any. If we're going to have replays, players called out on penalties, and coaches making $1M+, then we should just go ahead and treat this as a pro sport, with fully salaried and insured players.

On a completely different note: I thought Chris Spielman did a great job on the color during the Purdue-Minny game. He may not have the prettiest voice, but he sure can break down what's going on the field and make good suggestions. Compare that to the two senile gentlemen babbling through Michigan-Wisco. Ay, caramba.

50
by Joey (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 2:25pm

Actual exhange between a couple announcers of a game I watched the other day. One thought replay was great. The second one said he thought it made it too much like the pro game.
Announcer 1 retorts: "And what's wrong with that."
Announcer 2 replies: "Because it's not the pro game."
Can't make it any clearer than that.

51
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 3:00pm

I think Sean McDonough does a good job calling anything (football, baseball or golf). Mike Gottfried, however, is unbearable. No surprise he hasn't gotten a coaching job since being fired from Pitt almost a couple decades ago.

52
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 4:20pm

I personally think replay is an excellent idea - is there any worse feeling in sports than having your season shot because of a ref's mistake? But, as much as possible, its use should be restricted to plays of real importance.

53
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:08am

Aw, crap. So much for my "out of nowhere" Penn State over Ohio State. Minnesota's ranked now, so if PSU goes in there and beats them, they'll probably face Ohio State ranked.

What's with Minnesota being ranked so high, too (18)? I thought that win over Purdue said more about Purdue than about Minnesota.

54
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 10:08am

I have some comments on the weekend, but since it's Confessions day, I guess waiting for that to go up would be better than posting in a thread that will soon die...

T.

55
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:48pm

Where should Minnesota be ranked? Who knows? They can run the ball on anybody, but whether their quarterback can punish a nine in the box defense is still an open question, although I liked how Cupito didn't fold up after putting his team behind with a terrible interception. If they actually have a competent defense this year, and I don't know that they do, then they are a top-20 team.

Much more will known after travelling to Happy Valley and Ann Arbor. Heck, they might even have a chance against the Buckeyes in the Metrodome; nobody really has a running attack like Minnesota's, which makes them tough to prepare for. I think Joe Tiller said as much. Ohio State's linebackers vs. Minnesota's pulling center and guards will be interesting match-up, if Minnesota's defense can keep it close.

56
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:03pm

I still think South Florida should've let Louisville look a little better. If they had played them close, maybe they would've been ranked, too.

Early rankings always crack me up. Most of the time I feel that it's not that teams are overrated, it's that other teams are underrated. I don't think that Michigan's bad, for instance. Just that Wisconsin's better than people think. Ditto with Louisville and South Florida.

57
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:52pm

I should mention that the FWAA (yes, that's me, too) voted the South Florida Bulls the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week."

It was their first win (ever) against a ranked team.

For some reason, I have the munchies right now.

Must. Get. Tostitos.

58
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:39pm

Carl:

To be fair, the team's only 9 years old. What's surprising is that it only took 9 years to beat a ranked team.

59
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:30pm

I only included the snippet because it was a snack food, and Russell, et al, called this... Well, you get the point...

Go Bulls!