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» Scramble Over/Unders: the Norths

The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"

20 Oct 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Home Stretch

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: I don't know about you Vin, but it's midweek and my voice is still recovering from Saturday night in Happy Valley. That place was LOUD -- although the over-reliance on canned sound effects is a little disappointing.

Vinny: If I hear Kernkraft 400 again, I'm going to slit my wrists with a dull butter knife. (At least throw in some scantily-clad ladies like the video.) It was like a pre-season NBA game broke out. Or an episode of Sprockets. If they really are Penn State, like they keep reminding everyone, do they really need the techno and low-brow scoreboard graphics? I was actually happy to hear the silly lion growl just to break things up.

Russell: Nothing intimidates like techno! Yeah, that sort of stuff is beneath them. It's not like they're playing at Papa John's Stadium. What happened to letting the marching band play?

Vinny: Oh well, State College is still the best road trip in the Big Ten. And the Phyrst family confirmed that Ernie is still alive, which is nice.

Russell: Meanwhile, it was another not-disastrous week in the picks for us, keeping us both solidly over .500 on the season, with you holding a one-game lead in the overall standings.

Vinny: It's just a matter of time before our picks have a meltdown like Miami, Florida International, and Lamar Thomas. Frankly, I think Lamar has been overcompensating since he got caught by George Teague. Okay, no more YouTube clips, I promise. At least for this week.

Russell: What, are you angling for a chunk of that $1.6 billion? By the way, SDA can be bought. Call me! Um, kind of a limited slate of quality games this week as the sport catches its breath for the home stretch, with some enormous games to come in a few weeks. Let's get to it.

#5 Texas (-6.5) at #17 Nebraska, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: This is nominally a big game in the Big 12, but I just don't see it. Nebraska may be 6-1, but the Huskers haven't beaten anyone with a pulse. And in the only big game they've played to date, Bill Callahan played not to get embarrassed at USC.

Vinny: The Huskers have shown a commitment to their rushing attack this season (300 carries over seven games), but as you note, they stayed with it far too long (35 rushes for 79 yards) against the Trojans. Nebraska trailed for three full quarters in the game, but Zac Taylor only threw 16 passes. You know Texas, with the second-best rush defense in the nation, will make Taylor beat them. He's been very capable (14 TDs, 2 INTs, 65% completion percentage) thus far.

Russell: Texas is really starting to click on offense, as long as the opponent is not named Ohio State. Colt McCoy threw a school-record six touchdown passes last week in a shootout win over Baylor. With Nebraska's front seven underachieving for most of the year, McCoy should be able to put up some big numbers against the Black Shirts.

Vinny: The Texas secondary has also been vulnerable this year. Michael Huff and Cedric Griffin are in the NFL, and injuries and suspensions haven't helped. Tarell Brown (toe) and safety Marcus Griffin (ankle) return to the lineup this week.

Russell: Maybe the home crowd in Lincoln will inspire Nebraska to play a little more aggressively than they did in the L.A. Coliseum. I'll believe it when I see it. I think the line is way too low in this one. I'm going with Texas and getting my Fred Edelstein Lock out of the way here.

Vinny: Yeah, I think Texas wins by at least a touchdown. Mack Brown can get back to concentrating on his next cameo on NBC's Friday Night Lights

South Carolina (-3.5) at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. ET

Russell: Well, well. Look who has a chance at a bowl in the year after they lose a first-round quarterback.

Vinny: I can't believe Bryant Hahnfeldt actually hit that 33-yard field goal to upset Georgia last week. Vandy has been in that situation so many times lately (Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas, etc.) and always seems to botch it.

Russell: This is a critical contest for Vandy, which needs three more wins to go bowling. There are two possible wins (Duke, Kentucky) and two likely losses (Florida, Tennessee) left on the schedule, so this is a huge swing game for the 'dores.

Vinny: Vandy sophomore quarterback Chris Nickson improvised nicely against the Bulldogs, leading his team with 59 rushing yards and making some big throws. He had his hands full behind a makeshift offensive line and against a very good defensive line. And Earl Bennett pulled in eight catches for 88 yards.

Russell: South Carolina is 4-2, but has four tough games left, so they can't afford to slip up here. Steve Spurrier's crew hasn't shown quite the offensive growth that was expected in year two. I like how Vandy competes for 60 minutes, winning or losing. I'll take the Commodores as a home 'dog.

Vinny: Spurrier is now 14-0 lifetime against Kentucky after last week's 24-17 win, and is trying to go 14-0 against Vanderbilt. His recent recruiting classes haven't panned out that well, so he's used receivers Sydney Rice and Jared Cook in the Gamecocks' late game prevent defense. Now he's talking about using defensive tackle Stanley Doughty on the offensive line in short-yardage situations. South Carolina isn't as offensively challenged as Georgia, but I also like Vandy and the points here.

Kansas (+3.5) at Baylor, 3 p.m. ET

On a serious note:
Most college fans like nothing better on Sunday mornings than to sleep off the after-affects of Saturday's games, myself included. But this Sunday I'll be up early, walking with my family to raise money for Cure Autism Now, which funds autism research, treatment and awareness. Please https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=144270&lis=0... " target="_blank">consider a donation. No amount is too small! Autism is something that affects millions of Americans, my family included.
-- Russell

Russell: Not exactly a battle of Big 12 heavyweights here -- unless we're talking about Kansas coach Mark Mangino. (Thanks, I'll be here all week, tip your waitresses.) Still, this is an interesting matchup in that both these teams are in the hunt for a bowl bid.

Vinny: More fodder for the folks who think there are too many bowl games. I might be one of them after looking at these teams' resumes -- I'm not sure which one is less impressive. Baylor's best win is arguably a 34-31 triple overtime win at Colorado. The Jayhawks' best performance is a 13-7 home victory over South Florida. Yeesh.

Russell: Baylor plays a pretty entertaining brand of football under former Kentucky coach Guy Morriss. The Bears like to throw the ball (10th in passing offense) and has to like the matchup against a team that was just torched for 42 second-half points and 411 passing yards by Oklahoma State.

Vinny: Baylor leads the Big 12 in takeaways with 20. Of course, Baylor leads the conference in giveaways, with 19. At least they make things interesting.

Russell: Kansas runs the ball well, and the Jayhawks need to have success on the ground to keep Shawn Bell and the Baylor passing attack stapled to the bench. I think Bell will make the most of his opportunities against that porous Kansas pass D. I like the Bears at home.

Vinny: Well, Morriss somewhat resembles actor William Devane. Mangino, however, looks like a cross between Rob Reiner and Dom Deluise. Advantage: Morriss. Baylor covers (my Freddy).

Iowa (+13.5) at #2 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: I'm trying real hard not to get too excited just yet about this Michigan season. I don't care that Iowa lost to Indiana last week, the Hawkeyes are still dangerous. Lloyd Carr has done a good job of keeping the Wolverines on an even keel all year and not looking ahead, and he needs to do it for another week.

Vinny: (rocking back and forth, hunched over in fetal position while nodding)

Russell: Iowa quarterback Drew Tate can make some plays in the pass game, particularly if the Hawkeyes get him outside the pocket and employ a lot of three-step drops. You'd have to think that any coach who watched what Michigan's defensive line did to the Penn State QB depth chart would go that route.

Vinny: The short stuff has worked to some degree for Minnesota's Bryan Cupito and Wisconsin's John Stocco against Michigan. But Penn State didn't seem to have a plan. Even worse, the Lions' offensive line was so confused that it served up its QB on a silver platter. For Iowa, not having starting left tackle Dace Richardson available isn't a good start.

Russell: One thing we know: Iowa will not be able to run the ball. The Wolverines lead the nation in rush defense, and even if you take out their sack yardage and allow everyone else to keep theirs, Michigan would still rank fourth against the rush. I came away as impressed with Michigan's business-like approach last week as anything else. The Wolverines stay on track to take on Ohio State in the biggest game in the history of Western Civilization by covering the big number here.

Vinny: Chad Henne showed impressive command in the din of Beaver Stadium last week. And receiver Adrian Arrington (an Iowa kid) continues to step up in Mario Manningham's absence. For the Hawkeyes, I think Kirk Ferentz will have Iowa primed and motivated after the Indiana loss. This line is too high, even in Ann Arbor. Michigan prevails (I hope), but Iowa covers.

Alabama (+11.5) at #7 Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET

Russell: Tennessee seems to get lost in the SEC conversation this year, but the Vols' rout of Cal is looking better each week. They're right in the thick of the Arkansas-Auburn-Florida-Tennessee power struggle.

Vinny: Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach David Cutcliffe, who tutored Peyton Manning and Tee Martin during Tennessee's 1996-98 halcyon days, has done wonders for Erik Ainge's confidence (14 touchdowns, 5 interceptions). The Vols probably won't win the SEC East after already falling to Florida, but they're well positioned for a BCS game if they can survive the coming gauntlet of Alabama, at South Carolina, LSU and at Arkansas.

Russell: Alabama, on the other hand, is in the middle tier of SEC clubs, but they play things close to the vest, run the ball well and have the ability to control tempo of most games and draw the opposition into ugly, defensive struggles. Shockingly, Alabama coach Mike Shula was once the offensive coordinator for a soul-sucking Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that attempted to win every game 9-6. It's a good thing the Bucs now have offensive wizard Jon Gruden and attempt to win 13-7.

Vinny: Hard to believe. Receivers DJ Hall and Keith Brown have been a big part of the offense, but tailback Kenneth Darby is starting regain his form as the Tide offensive line comes together.

Russell: This is a big-time rivalry game and there is certainly no love lost between the fan bases (Albert Means, anyone?). Tennessee will win, but Alabama will manage to make them look bad and hold the score down in the process. I'll take the Tide.

Vinny: Agreed. Tide defensive coordinator Joe Kines will muck up the Tennessee game plan enough for this to be another SEC slugfest. Alabama is the pick.

#19 Rutgers (+6.5) at Pittsburgh, 5:45 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: Raise your hand if you thought the Big East would be deeper than the ACC this season. Beuller? It's certainly looking that way, with the winner of this game a threat to challenge Louisville and West Virginia in the coming weeks.

Vinny: Pitt would be coming into this game undefeated like Rutgers if not for a 38-23 loss at home to Michigan State (pre-perennial slap-happy Spartan collapse, of course).

Russell: The Rutgers defense is nasty, with Ramel Meekins leading the push from the front seven. The Knights lead the nation in scoring defense, although a lot of that is attributable to the schedule thus far. This is by far Rutgers's biggest game of the year, and maybe the biggest in program history since they took on Princeton in 1869.

Vinny: Special teams could figure a big role in this game, with Rutgers having blocked four punts already this season. On the other side, junior college transfer Lowell Robinson has been a real return threat for Pitt.

Russell: And don't forget Rutgers's standout kicker, Jeremy "Lance" Ito. Pitt has a big edge at quarterback, where senior Tyler Palko leads the nation in passing efficiency, while Mike Teel has struggled in the passing game. Ray Rice and the running game have carried the Knights. They'll do it again here. I'm taking the SUNJ. Hey Vin, that means Rutgers.

Vinny: Thanks for the clarification. Pitt hasn't beaten anybody. Okay, Rutgers hasn't either. I hate to egg on your Jersey pride, but I'll take the points and the Knights.

#23 Texas A&M (+2) at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. ET

Russell: So last week, I said Dennis Franchione was in trouble despite his team's 5-1 start. Then Texas A&M went out and beat previously undefeated Missouri, and now has a chance to get to 8-1 before playing Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas. I still think if the Aggies lose all three of those by considerable scores, that Franchione could be shown the door. But that's in the future. This week, A&M has to cope with the suddenly explosive Oklahoma State offense.

Vinny: You're assuming that Franchione won't jump to North Carolina, Michigan State or elsewhere before he's sacked at A&M.

Russell: You know Coach Fran is all about loyalty Vin. Just ask the folks in Tuscaloosa. Texas A&M is going to try and pound the ball with cartoonishly large tailback Jorvorskie Lane against the soft OK State run D. On defense, the Aggies have to cope with Adarius Bowman, who only had 300 yards receiving (and four touchdowns) against Kansas last week.

Vinny: I'm just heartened to know that there is still a Woods brother (D'Juan) in Stillwater. Woods hauled in the only other touchdown tossed by quarterback Bobby Reid (411 passing yards) against Kansas.

Russell: I'm not sold on A&M despite the win over Mizzou. But I trust Oklahoma State even less. The Cowboys' inability to stop the run will be their doom. I'm taking Texas A&M.

Vinny: Yeah, I can't figure out why the Cowboys are favored, even at home, in this one. New coordinator Gary Darnell has made the A&M defense into a respectable bunch. A&M cornerback Danny Gorrer should slow Bowman down enough for an Aggies cover.

#13 Georgia Tech (+7.5) at #12 Clemson, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Might as well save the best game of the day for last, as this should be an outstanding contest. Maybe the ACC didn't need to expand after all? I'm sure not too many people had this pegged as one of the games of the year in what was supposed to be a super-conference, but which has largely been a disappointment this year.

Vinny: I sure didn't. These are two head coaches (Chan Gailey and Tommy Bowden) who generally don't command much respect nationally. But with the hits that Larry Coker (lost control of his program) and Bobby Bowden (probably lost his mind a few years ago, if anyone can tell the difference) have been taking recently, they're probably behind only Frank Beamer in terms of esteem in the conference these days.

Russell: And if you saw the treatment Beamer's program got from Kirk Herbstreit a few weeks ago, I'm not sure you'd say that. To me, Beamer's close to heading down the Coker path. But back to this one, I like Reggie Ball, Tech's diminutive QB. But he's basically a 50% passer. Even so, receiver Calvin Johnson is putting up numbers worthy of Heisman consideration. I've been saying it all year, Johnson is more dominant at his position than any other player in college football.

Vinny: He's a freak, no doubt. Johnson has succeeded Reggie Bush as the college player who most looks like he's playing in a video game.

Russell: Georgia Tech's opponent last week, "bye," was tougher than Clemson's matchup against Temple. The Tigers can run the ball all day with James Davis and C.J. Spiller, and I'm not sure Tech's blitz-happy defense will be able to slow them down. Still, this is a big spread and the Jackets aren't afraid of playing on the road, having already won at Virginia Tech this year. These teams could well hook up again in the ACC title game, but round one goes to Clemson. I don't like the number, but I'll lay the points.

Vinny: Clemson has been hit with a slew of injuries, but the one-back system instituted by offensive coordinator Rob Spence has covered up a lot of those holes. In fact, the Tigers lead the nation in scoring. But I like John Tenuta's bunch to make this a ballgame. The Yellow Jackets cover.

Russell: I guess it's put up or shut up for us this week, as only your Wolverine paranoia prevented us from agreeing on seven of eight games.

Vinny: Uh, yeah. I'll be in my bunker if you need me.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Texas -6.5 Nebraska Texas Texas*
South Carolina -3.5 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
Kansas +3.5 Baylor Baylor* Baylor
Iowa +13.5 Michigan Iowa Michigan
Alabama +11.5 Tennessee Alabama Alabama
Rutgers +6.5 Pittsburgh Rutgers Rutgers
Texas A&M +2 Oklahoma State Texas A&M Texas A&M
Georgia Tech +7.5 Clemson Georgia Tech Clemson
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 4-4-0 (1-0-0) 32-24-0 (6-1-0)
Russell 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 31-25-0 (3-4-0)

Posted by: on 20 Oct 2006

154 comments, Last at 26 Oct 2006, 11:32am by Weekly Journalist

Comments

1
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 12:50pm

dear russell,

the most dominant player is manningham...calvin johnson is a freak but manningham has otherworldly field skills while only being slightly freakish...Manningham shouldn't be allowed to play college ball its too easy for him

2
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 1:38pm

Thank you, thank you for picking Texas. That gets my hopes up considerably.

And in the only big game they’ve played to date, Bill Callahan played not to get embarrassed at USC.

Say what you will about this game, but Carroll has complained that Bill Callahan showed people how USC can be beat, and that all of USC's subsequent opponents have been using the same game plan as Nebraska, which is why USC has had so many close games.

3
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 1:46pm

Re: 2

Scott, that's an excellent point about USC/Nebraska. Has Carroll said that publicly? If you have a link, I'd love to read that.

And don't mean to burst your bubble about the UT pick, but we are 20-13 when we agree this year (hey, I gotta crow a bit while it lasts).

4
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 1:49pm

Did the two of you last year bet that your losing ways would continue, or something? That's the only way I can figure that the Russell-Vinny Universe Altering Curse could be broken.

5
by Ty (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 2:19pm

Calvin's hands, size, speed, strength & 45" vertical remind me of one player: Michael Jordan. So if you want to know how Jordan would have played football just watch CJ. There has never been a wr in football with his ability.

6
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 2:53pm

Having seen Calvin Johnson play in person, I have to say that he should not be allowed to play college ball. Manningham is good, but Johnson is great. Imagine if he had a quarterback who wasn't as erratic as Ball and an offensive co-ordinator who didn't outthink himself.

7
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 3:06pm

We all agree that CJ is a freak. But if he can translate that then how come he doesn't have anywhere close to the numbers that Manningham does. I mean that guy does like two patterns and every cb knows what coming. He still gets behind everyone.

I'm telling you guys that he is the most dangerous player in cfb..including ginn jr. Look how ordinary Michigan looked against PSU.

8
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 3:14pm

James, you must surely acknowledge that a QB has something to do with a receiver's numbers, no?

Reggie Ball is not a qood quarterback. Chad Henne is becoming a very good quarterback.

Johnson will come out after this year, and will probably go in the top 3 in the draft. He might go #1 overall.

This is a guy who absolutely dominates even though his quarterback is a 50% passer and even though his team doesn't have a single other receiving threat.

I love Mario Manningham. Absolutely love him. But he's no Calvin Johnson.

We could also have a discussion about whether or not Michigan looked "ordinary" last week, but I'll save that for another day.

9
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 3:36pm

"Baylor covers (my Freddy)." If you said this to Beavis or Butthead, they'd go "heh, heh...covers his Freddy...heh, heh."

10
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 4:07pm

Scott, that’s an excellent point about USC/Nebraska. Has Carroll said that publicly? If you have a link, I’d love to read that.

Link under my name.

11
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 5:00pm

Russ,

I like to think the WR affects the qbs numbers more than the other way around. I mean Jeff Garcia without T.O is a prime example. Or Henne last year without Edwards, etc etc.

Henne's number without 86 last week 15/30/1 TD

Henne's numbers against a much better Wisconsin D with 86
18/25/211/2td....umm but 3 ints'

Meanwhile Reggie Balls numbers have barely changed since CJ got to Ga Tech. I just don't see him affecting his offense the way that Manningham has effected your beloved Wolverines.

Manningham has elevated the offense to national championship level. While Calvin Johnson only has impressive combine numbers.

12
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 5:12pm

Re: 11

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

Wisconsin does rank above Penn State defensively according to the stats, but the Badgers have played one team with a pulse (Michigan). Their 2nd-best opponent is Minnesota.

Penn State has played Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame this season. I think the defenses are probably a wash at worst, and at best I'd say Penn State's is more talented.

I don't think it takes anything away from Manningham to say that CJ is the more dominant college player.

13
by Peter (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 5:22pm

OK, um, I love Calvin too, but Ty, come on. Jordan? He's a football player, he's got at least 30 pounds on Jordan, and is shorter by an inch or two. I have no idea what this comparison tells us.
Also... no one with his ability, ever? Is he better than Moss was?

Manningham is cool, but much like other people have said, lets be a LITTLE concerned with setting.
Henny > Ball
Breaston/Arrington > Shmoes on GT (is Bilbo still around? I liked him...)
Lloyd Carr > Chan Gailey
Hart >>> Tashard Choice.
Even given all that, Calvin has more receiving yards and one fewer TD through six games.

I would also say that if Manningham took a conference contender to national title contender, Johnson raised a mediocre team to major conference (if the ACC still counts) contender.

14
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 5:58pm

24 rec/527yds/9tds

or

35 rec/559yds/8tds

We can agree to disagree I guess. I'm just sick of seeing Calvin Johnson annointed when he hasn't done anything special except have good numbers.

I guess I should just say that.

15
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:19pm

*clarification*

by good numbers I mean good combine numbers

16
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:20pm

Chipping in my 2 cents on the Johnson/Arrington debate, I have to agree with the majority that you can't penalize Johnson for being saddled with a much worse team. He has elevated GaTech to ACC contender, and that's impressive. He has a Randy Moss/T.O.-type skill set, and that's very rare. Hopefully he isn't quite as insane.

Manningham is a great weapon, but Michigan can win without him (the margin is just a lot smaller against very good teams). His absence probably cost Michigan 3-7 points against PSU, but that game wasn't as close as the score indicated.

17
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:22pm

Whoops, Freudian slip. That should have read "Johnson/MANNINGHAM debate."

18
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:24pm

Sure, Calvin Johnson hasn't done anything special. Just for the record, I believe that video features Tye Hill, Kelly Jennings, and Jimmy Williams, each of whom went in the first 37 picks this past April, attempting to cover Johnson. Nobody here is trying to deny Manningham is good, but I think Johnson is the most dominant college WR since Keyshawn Johnson beat Northwestern in the Rose Bowl.

19
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:46pm

Last week my record picking games improved to 5 - 2 after 10 point underdog Oregon State beat Washington outright (like Russell, I have to crow while it lasts).

I poredict that this week, the trail goes cold for Rutgers. I'm taking Pitt to win big and cover the 6 1/2 point number.

Thanks to Russell, Vinny, and everyone else. This site makes football Saturdays even more fun.

20
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 7:41pm

Kevin - Ditto. I always enjoy the banter here.

The latest rumormongering re: the Michigan-Iowa game has it that there may have been an injury or two in the secondary in the PSU game or in practice this week. Also, potentially some bad news re: Arrington, who may be out for the game tomorrow b/c of a disciplinary issue. Again, I'm just repeating total speculation, so caveat emptor.

21
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 7:44pm

If Calvin Johnson went to Michigan he'd be the front-runner for the Heisman right now. Clemson-Georgia Tech could feature the first and second picks in next year's draft with Johnson and Gaines Adams.

22
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 8:06pm

His absence probably cost Michigan 3-7 points against PSU, but that game wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

Oh, c'mon. The game was a two-score game until the late PSU score, and 17-3 doesn't look that much different from 17-10. I think the score indicated exactly how close the game was - Michigan could move the ball, poorly, and Penn State basically couldn't move the ball at all.

It's not like Michigan blew Penn State out of the water.

23
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 9:50pm

I agree with Pat- UM outplayed PSU, but it's not like they destroyed them. It looked like UM figured out PSU wasn't getting into the game without a turnover, so they scaled back the offense. PSU's defense did everything they could in the absence of offensive support.

As for Johnson/Manningham, give Johnson a competent offense around him and he's putting up obscene numbers. I've seen enough GT games to know that Reggie Ball is crap. The running story of CJ's college career is "what would he do if his offense didn't forget about him." In a way he reminds of Larry Fitzgerald at Pitt- the only person who could stop him was Walt Harris. I think there's s decent chance Manningham reaches that level by next year, but right now, I'd take Calvin.

24
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 10:32pm

Pat, I'm certainly not saying that Michigan blew PSU out of the water. I'm saying just what you said: PSU couldn't move the ball at all, save for a couple screen plays that caught the Michigan defense napping. As a Michigan fan, I've never been more confident with a 7 point lead at the end of the game.

25
by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 10/20/2006 - 10:38pm

#18:

Is there a Keyshawn Johnson phenomenon with highly-drafted WRs who dominated in college? That they play very well at the pro level, have long careers, but never become Hall of Famers?

Look at the most recent WR in the discussion as a potential Hall of Famer. Steve Smith was drafted in the third round I think, or even later. There are also a bunch of WRs who are sucessful who were drafted after a bunch of WR busts (see 2001 DRAFT), because they lacked "ideal height." (On the subject of ideal height, if the reason that cornerbacks generally aren't tall is that long legs make them less agile, how come no one focuses on that quality in WR?)

26
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 1:32am

Re #25
Check out the draft position rankings. You don't really see many WRs drafted really early (Top 5)--since 1982, it's been Irving Fryar and Kenny Jackson went 1 and 4 in 1984, Desmond Howard 4th in 1992, Michael Westbrook 4th in 1995, Keyshawn #1 in 1996, Peter Warrick 4th in 2000, Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson 2 and 3 in 2003, and Larry Fitzgerald and Braylon Edwards 3rd in 2004 and 2005 respectively. I don't know about you, but I don't find that a very inspiring history of NFL success. I don't know anything about Kenny Jackson, but the rest of those guys were all big stars in college. And most of them were big guys, too, and those that weren't (Howard & Warrick) were superb returners. But you can find good WRs in most any round, and the 3rd seems to be an especially good place for them. /Off-topic-ish.

27
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 1:34am

As a Michigan fan, I’ve never been more confident with a 7 point lead at the end of the game.

With Penn State's offense on the field, that is. Probably the biggest risk that Michigan faced was when they punted the ball back. God, I was so hoping for a broken return on that one...

Incidentally, one of the weirdest things about that game: look here in the official gamebook. Michigan had 5 third downs that weren't long (out of 16). Penn State had 2 third downs that weren't long (out of 15). Jeez! Talk about a defensive game!

28
by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:20am

I would think that you 'nerds' there at FO would be all about the Zombie Nation, what with it being a remix of an old C64 game (Lazy Jones) and all... ;)

29
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:38am

Hey masocc, get it right. We're geeks, not nerds!

30
by Yet Another Bryan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:34am

From the FAQ I saw that FO was planning to DVOA for college... are you just waiting until the somewhat less busy off-season to do more research on adapting it to the college game before next year, or is it abandoned? Just curious, since (obviously) conventional statistics can be even more skewed in college than the NFL due to most major teams playing mid-majors or I-AA programs. Rutgers #1 in scoring defense after facing such feared opponents as North Carolina, Illinois (sorry MDS), Ohio, and Liberty, for example.

31
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 1:35pm

Nebraska gets a reception for 20ish yards, the Texas defender slashes at the ball, rather than trying for the tackle. He misses, Nebraska receiver goes the rest of the way for the score untouched. Nebraska up 7-3.

32
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 1:51pm

Time for me to start spreading rumors- one of my friends is a Hurricanes alum, and he says Miami has it's eyes on Steve Spurrier to take over after the season.

33
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 1:52pm

Rutgers #1 in scoring defense after facing such feared opponents as North Carolina, Illinois (sorry MDS), Ohio, and Liberty, for example.

Hey, Rutgers never played Liberty. They played 1-5 I-AA Howard instead.

34
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:12pm

Nebraska seems scared on punt returns. Multiple times so far their returner has not only called fair catch, but refused to get anywhere near the ball. In the most recent moment, the returner is standing on the 25 yard line, he calls fair catch, practically runs away from the ball, and the ball rolls down to the 1. Nebraska is in a bad spot, has to punt, and Texas gets great field position which leads to a touchdown.

Terrible special teams play (although Nebraska did just block a Texas extra point).

35
by Yet Another Bryan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:12pm

Whoops, yeah, my mistake

36
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:25pm

Re: #28: Wow, I should have known that as a not-so-proud former Commodore 64 owner.

Now the Adrian Arrington rumors are being squashed and he apparently practiced yesterday.

37
by admin :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:29pm

I would like to thank the Syracuse Orangemen for proving that uniforms do not have to be new and "innovative" to be fantastically, jaw-droppingly ugly.

Orange trim on black does not work.

38
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:34pm

Can someone please explain to me why Nebraska fans seem so patient with Bill Callahan? They ran Frank Solich out of town after a 9-3 season brought his total record to 58-19. Assuming he loses today, Callahan will be 19-12 at Nebraska. Does anyone really think he's going to go 40-6 over his next 46 games to have a better record than Solich? And if he doesn't have a better record than Solich, how can the decision to fire Solich and bring in Callahan be seen as anything other than a failure?

39
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:38pm

Per WTKA in Ann Arbor, Mike Hart has a soft cast on his wrist today.

MDS - How about that score in Happy Valley?

40
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:43pm

I can live with white Nebraska kids who may never have seen a black person who wasn't holding a ball painting themselves black because the defense is nicknamed the "Blackshirts." It's the fright wigs and the painted-on lips that bother me.

41
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:44pm

Re: 38

I won't argue that Callahan is a great coach, because he's not. But, the difference is that the Nebraska fan base accepted that the Huskers wouldn't compete for national titles unless they scrapped the option, and that wasn't going to happen under Solich. The fan base is willing to take some lumps in order for Callahan to modernize the offense. Even if Callahan ultimately fails, Nebraska will be in better shape for the long run for having made the bold step to scrap the option before they fell further behind.

42
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:45pm

Steve Pederson (Nebraska AD) defended his decision to fire Solich and bring in Callahan (not Pederson's first choice) because he saw the talent level dropping in Lincoln supposedly because high school kids didn't want to play in an antiquated option running game anymore.

I didn't like the move because Solich was still winning at a pretty good clip (9-3 in his last year as MDS points out) and you can't base everything on recruiting rankings.

43
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:46pm

Aaron, you insensitive bastard. They're no longer the Orangemen, just the Orange. Apparently "Orangemen" was offensive to, I dunno, jaundiced Native Americans or something.

The linked article is about our old friend, the backup punter at Northern Colorado. Apparently he's being charged with 1st degree attempted murder. I'm no doctor or lawyer, but is this because he could have cut the femoral artery and caused a very quick death? It seems most likely that he wasn't trying to kill him, just to injure his leg, but stabbing him there could have killed him. Is it 1st-degree murder when someone dies accidentally during (as a result of) a crime? I thought 1st degree was for clear premeditated "I want to kill you", not for "I want to hurt/rob/whatever you" where the victim dies as a result. I thought in the latter cases, that's where lesser murder charges, manslaughter, etc come into play. Then again, I'm probably wrong. Please correct me if I am. I know we've got lawyers here. Thanks.

44
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:47pm

I continue to be amazed that JLS is still on the sideline every Saturday for Michigan State. I will be especially amazed if that's still the case this week.

45
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 2:56pm

Last word (from me) about the Nebraska situation. It wasn't just three losses, it was the nature of some of the losses in his last couple of years, when Nebraska had absolutely no hope against more athletic teams.

At this rate, JLS will not make it to the end of the year. Is there is a team anywhere, in any sport, that quits as regularly and as spectacularly as Michigan State? Unbelievable.

46
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:10pm

Y'know, it'd be a great thing, really great, if Penn State actually had an offense again.

As much fun as it is seeing a defense essentially outscore an offense...

47
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:19pm

"especially amazed"? I'm an idiot.

I'm heading out to the bar to watch UM-Iowa. Hopefully I don't have an "Aaron and Ian at Rock Bottom" experience.

48
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:20pm

Mother of God! Talk about a complete and utter waste of offensive talent for Penn State.

Morelli's last sack consisted of a seven-step drop, and then waiting around until he got sacked, as Deon Butler crosses the field completely freaking uncovered in front of him.

Sigh. This is probably one of the best sets of wide receivers that Penn State has ever had, and they're being totally and completely wasted because Morelli's not worth anything as a quarterback.

49
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:20pm

Re #43
I spent most of Criminal Law playing old Sega and Nintendo games on an emulator, but I'll see what I can do. Murder during the commission of a felony is first degree murder, but that's designed more like "you rob a bank, and run over somebody with your getaway care." Otherwise, first degree murder generally requires an intent to kill or maybe such a degree of reckless abandon that it rises to indifference of life or somesuch. So, first degree murder seems very, very aggressive to point of untenability to me. But I barely know Criminal Law and don't know Colorado law at all, so somebody who actually remembers the Model Penal Code should chime in.

Biggest surprise of the day so far: Northwestern 38 - Michigan State 10 in the third quarter. I thought this was supposed to be the Spartans' comeback game.

50
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:33pm

Re: 43

Unless they know something about the stabber's intent, I can't understand the first degree attempted murder charge either. In Colorado (and most other places), 1st degree requires "delibration and intent to cause death" or "extreme indifference to the value of human life," 2nd degree requires "knowingly" causing death, and manslaughter requires "recklessly" causing death. The article did mention that they were searching for an alleged accomplice, so maybe they have some idea, but I don't see it.

Colorado Code. Title 18 deals with Criminal Law. Here's the most relevant part:

18-2-101. Criminal attempt.

(1) A person commits criminal attempt if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of an offense, he engages in conduct constituting a substantial step toward the commission of the offense. A substantial step is any conduct, whether act, omission, or possession, which is strongly corroborative of the firmness of the actor's purpose to complete the commission of the offense. ...

Note: Intent required for attempted first degree murder. Intent required for attempted first degree murder is the intent to commit the underlying offense of first degree murder. Defendant must have acted after deliberation, and must have intended to cause the death of another person. People v. Juvenile Court, 813 P.2d 326 (Colo. 1991).

51
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:41pm

Holy crap, a law school class just broke out. Kidding, I'm dumbfounded as well.

Pat, in defense of Morelli, he hardly practiced this week. I realize that begs another question though.

52
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:47pm

Great moments in camera work: in the Texas-Nebraska game, cutting to the shot of the family member(?) cheering in the stands WHILE the player is running in for a long touchdown. Thanks, ESPN on ABC.

53
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 3:48pm

Vinny: I'd agree with you, if this didn't look like every week before this.

Derrick Williams barely has done anything this year. It's not because he can't, and Michigan fans should know that after he literally ran around a defender earlier in the year. It's because Morelli can't look past his first read, which is usually Butler because he's a better route runner.

Kapinos, though, is having one freaking hell of a game. About a 50-yard punting average, and something like 4 punts downed inside the 20. He keeps this up the rest of the year, and he's got an NFL career ahead of him.

54
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:03pm

Penn State offense: 10 (though hard to give them credit for the TD when they were handed possession on the 35)
Penn State defense: 9

Oh look! It's the 2004 version of Penn State! Thanks a bunch, Morelli.

55
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:04pm

The kickoff return in PSU-Illinois has to be the shortest kickoff return for a TD ever, unless someone accidentally kicked the ball backwards.

56
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:08pm

Nebraska uses a halfback pass for a touchdown, they lead Texas by 1 with a few minutes to go (Nebraska went for 2, but failed).

57
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:09pm

What's funny about that kickoff return is that it was a mistake for Scirotto. He should've kneeled down at the 1. As it was, he gave Illinois a chance - a chance in hell, granted, but a chance.

58
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:10pm

Re: 57

Yup, and Louisville just did the same thing, running for a TD up 8 with 1:40 left and no Syracuse timeouts.

59
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:14pm

Whoa, what's this... according to ESPN's site, Michigan State has come roaring back, now down only 38-31. They must be just agonizing for their fans, because they clearly have talent, but seem to only use it when reeeeeally far behind, or to build a big lead with just enough time left to blow it.

Whoa! Now it's tied! After coming back from so far down, you have to wonder what creative way MSU will find to lose this one!

60
by Kyle Manning (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:15pm

Michigan State has come back from 35 down to tie. What's the biggest comeback in NCAA history?

61
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:19pm

60: I believe it's Maryland with, you guessed it, Frank Reich at QB, vs. Miami.

62
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:20pm

Wow.

Nebraska running out the clock, and they fumble, Texas recovers, 15 yards short of field goal range, with 2 minutes to go.

63
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:20pm

Northwestern just threw an interception on its first play, so MSU starts its drive on the NW 30 with 3 minutes to go.

64
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:21pm

Pretty sure it is Maryland, 31-zip at the half at Miami.

65
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:23pm

And Texas gets a first down in field goal range, fumbles, and Texas recovers. Wow, Texas is getting the breaks - but Nebraska won't forgive themselves for that fumble. They had the game in hand.

66
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:24pm

FG, MSU! 41-38, 13 seconds left.

67
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:25pm

Nebraska wastes 30 seconds by not calling timeout on first down.

68
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:30pm

What in God's name is Bill Callahan doing? Doesn't call a TO until 30 seconds left, then wastes one to "ice" the kicker. Now he is going to waste a TO on a no-chance challenge. He just cost his team a chance to comeback, assuming Texas makes this FG.

69
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:31pm

Uh, I'd like to note that I called the Northwestern-Michigan State game right in #49-this WAS the Spartans' comeback game, just not in the way that most people thought it would be.

70
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:32pm

It was Maryland. Not any more. The Terps were down 31-0 in the third quarter. Somehow, a John L. Smith-coached team just recorded the greatest comeback in I-A history.

71
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:33pm

I think Bill Callahan has locked up the John L. Smith Trophy this week, barring something strange in the next 23 seconds. That challenge was inexplicable.

72
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:33pm

By the way, I highly recommend visiting the NCAA library and getting copies of their online materials. Their record and rule books are all available in PDF format - my link is to the 2006 I-A/I-AA record book. (5+ MB - not recommended for dialup)

73
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:34pm

Now they waste 11 seconds lateralling the kickoff for negative yardage, then use their final timeout. What is this team doing?

74
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:36pm

What the hell is Bill Callahan doing? First they try a Cal-Stanford lateral play and lose yardage, then they call timeout before first down. What, they didn't have a play already called during the commercial before kickoff?

75
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:37pm

If Callahan has any brains, Nebraska should have had the ball with about 45 seconds left and 3 timeouts. Instead, they get the ball with 13 seconds left and no timeouts. just inexplicable.

76
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:38pm

Re #68
Yeah, I think Callahan is the early JLS nominee for blowing the clock the way he did, though ULL coach Ricky Bustle deserves a mention for his job on Wednesday (see my comment in Confessions, #67 or here).

77
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:40pm

Let's not allow Callahan's stupidity to overshadow how stupid that jump ball that Mack Brown called was.

78
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:44pm

I don't know ... I'm sure Callahan is qualified - in fact, there may be some in Lincoln who believe it should be the Bill Callahan Trophy - but don't you have to give some consideration to the coach whose team blew a 35-point lead against the team coached by the man for whom the award is named? :)

79
by John (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:48pm

Re: 71 What was even more inexplicable was the announcer extolling "what a great challenge" it was. Can an announcer win the JLS trophy?? Or perhaps we need a separate award for the most moronic comment by an announcer.

80
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:49pm

What do you call Fitzgerald for, though? MSU's offense and defense just started playing better than his defense and offense, I'd say. I'm not sure that Fitzgerald did anything mindbogglingly stupid, like punt so the other team could run the clock out or throw his assistant coaches under the bus during the halftime interview and go pass-wacky up three scores in the fourth quarter.

81
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:51pm

I think having an honor for the most asinine or idiotic comment by a broadcaster would be a great idea. Especially for comments related to game strategy.

It could be called the Norman Einstein award, perhaps. Or, perhaps after last weekend, the Thomas award.

82
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:53pm

Re: 79

The Brent Musberger Trophy?

Re: 78

Looking at the play-by-play, I don't see anything obvious that Northwestern did wrong. Did anyone watch the bulk of that game?

83
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:57pm

Don't look now, but Miami's only up 20-15 at Duke and the Blue Devils have the ball on the Miami side of the field with less than 6 to play. Could Coker survive a loss in Durham?

84
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 4:59pm

I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where Larry Coker retains his job after this season, no matter what happens in the rest of this game. It's now on ESPN2, if anyone's interested.

85
by John (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 5:01pm

Tarrant, I think you could probably have three awards. Most moronic comment related to game strategy, most moronic non-football comment, and most random sequence of words which have no discernible meaning whatsoever.

86
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 5:08pm

Re #84
I was thinking literally, not figuratively. If Duke hadn't turned the ball 4 times, Miami might not have broken 10 points.

87
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 5:17pm

Ah, well, Duke had a chance to win, but got picked at the goalline on the last play. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

88
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 5:17pm

See, that's the problem. I was watching the Wisconsin-Purdue game (well, it was on, but I was charting the Buffalo-Detroit game from last week), and when it ended, I saw that Michigan State was coming back, so I switched over to Altitude (yuck) to catch the end, but by then, the damage had already been done.

I can't see anything obvious from the play-by-play - I'm assuming Northwestern is still using its spread offense, so it looks like they kept doing what they'd done to get the lead, which is certainly fine in my book. They did throw twice from the Spartans' 11, the second one getting picked off in the end zone, but you can't blame the coach for a QB's mistake or a DB's good play.

Plus it would be tough to give it to Fitzgerald this year anyway. It's not like he was preparing to be a head coach this season ...

89
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 5:26pm

Slightly off-topic: Can anyone, without looking, correctly sort the 12 ACC teams into the "Atlantic" and "Coastal" divisions?

90
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:10pm

Florida State is wearing the ugliest uniforms in recorded history- black tops, black pants, with garnet letting and gold trim.

91
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:25pm

Wow. The Michigan State comeback is officially the largest comeback in Division I-A college history.

92
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:40pm

re 89: I think I can.

Atlantic:
Florida St
Clemson
Boston College
Wake Forest
Virginia
Maryland

Coastal:
Miami
Va Tech
Ga Tech
UNC
Duke
NC St

No clue if this is correct...and if it is, I didn't cheat.

93
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:42pm

Re: 92

Close, but not correct.

94
by John (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:43pm

ND's in trouble. It warms the cockles of my heart.

95
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:49pm

Tulane covers!

96
by Matt (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 6:57pm

#79 I believe that when challenging in college football you have to use a timeout before hand. If you succeed you get the timeout back, if you don't you lose it. Callahan had already used a timeout to ice the kicker. There was no risk in asking them to look at the play, he couldn't have lost another timeout and the kicker, who I believe was not their regular kicker, had to wait longer.

97
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:07pm

Re #96
Correct on the rule, wrong on what Callahan did. Callahan took the first TO to ice the kicker. This left him with 1 TO left. Texas got out and lined up to go for the FG. Callahan THEN decided he wanted to challenge the play and took his second and final TO to do so. If he really wanted to challenge the play (I don't think he did), he should have challenged immediately, as in when he took the first TO. He burned 2 TOs trying to ice a kicker who'd been freezing on the sidelines doing nothing for the entire game, rather than using them strategically on the last drive to ensure his team had as much time left as possible to win the game.

98
by John (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:15pm

Seriously, I hate ND so much............

99
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:17pm

It's nice to see UCLA's Pac-10 defense show up when it counts.

100
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:18pm

That might have been the worst prevent defense I've ever seen. If you're going to rush 3 or 4, at least keep the other team from completing 20-yard sideline passes or 45-yard catch and runs.

101
by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:19pm

Same old story there(though I only watched the 4th quarter): Quinn looks great when nobody's near him, utterly worthless when pressured

102
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:19pm

And UCLA blows 10 seconds before they bother to snap the football. When there's 17 freakin' seconds left! Alabama matches their brilliance by tackling the punt returner. Before he gets the football. Yeah, that's a catch interference penalty.

103
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:24pm

if ND moves up in the polls this week, even one slot, I'm going to personally fly around the country and snipe each voter's ass

104
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:28pm

Cal goes ahead of Washington 24-17 after a TD and 2 point conversion with 1:52 left.

105
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:40pm

Final: Minnesota 10, North Dakota State 9. NDSU had a 42-yard FG that would have won the game blocked on the last play.

106
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:42pm

I was just watching the minnesota game too...and a bunch of the Gopher players charged the field after the kick was blocked. This isn't the super bowl, kids...but then again, a win over a I-AA school is a good enough reason to celebrate in minnesota these days...

107
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:43pm

Baylor comes back from a 35-17 halftime deficit to score the TD with 1:15 left and win 36-35 (2-pt failed). Congrats, Russell and Vinny, your first win of the day!

Nice Hail Mary by Washington to force OT against Cal.

108
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:43pm

Washington ties Cal on a 40 yard Hail Mary on the last play of the game and the ensuing extra point. 3 Cal players tried to catch the ball instead of knock it down, and it ricocheted to the Washington receiver on the two yard line, who just made it in the end zone before being tackled.

109
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:47pm

Same old story there(though I only watched the 4th quarter): Quinn looks great when nobody’s near him, utterly worthless when pressured

Not only that, but is anyone actually watching Quinn's fundamentals? They're horrible. His footwork is absolutely terrible, and he's still telegraphing about half his throws. Watch his drops - each step's length is almost completely random.

That's probably why he looks poor when pressured - his offensive line doesn't always know where he is.

110
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 7:51pm

Garrett Wolfe v. Temple: 17 carries, 45 yards in a 43-21 win. No, not impressive enough.

111
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 8:02pm

Alabama player needed better awarenesss. He caught the pass 8 yards downfield on 1&10, and instead of diving for the sticks, he tried to make a move and slip past the three defenders. He probably cost his team 10-15 seconds.

112
by FJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 8:03pm

Game over.....

Washington St. is pummeling Oregon, and they just returned an INT for a TD....

F

113
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 8:06pm

Tennessee gave up some yards, but they kept rushing 4 and broke through for 2 big sacks against John Parker Wilson as Bama was trying to drive for a game-tying FG.

Funny: Erik Ainge gets CBS's player of the game award for going 28-46 for 301 yards with 0 TDs and 3 INTs.

114
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 8:32pm

Pat, I might accept that about Quinn and the o-line if ND hadn't averaged less than 2 yards-per-carry. Weis didn't help matters by calling 45 passes in a game where his team was never down by more than a touchdown.

115
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 8:41pm

Hey, run blocking and pass blocking are two totally different things. But regardless of how good his offensive line actually is, trust me, watch his drops, and watch his head and shoulders on throws. He turns his head and shoulders dead toward the receiver before he even sets his feet to throw. He did it an absolute ton in the first half of the Michigan State game, and a lot in the UCLA game as well. In the Michigan State game, there were safeties breaking toward the receivers well before the throw.

He looked very good throwing when out of the pocket, but his pocket presence left a lot to be desired.

Weis didn’t help matters by calling 45 passes in a game where his team was never down by more than a touchdown.

Well, that's a given. But for a guy who's supposed to be an offensive genius, I can't believe Quinn's that sloppy fundamentally. He's definitely not like Weis's previous quarterback.

116
by BC Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 9:02pm

methinks it's time to put bc in the top 15, especially since we actually own the tiebreaker with Clemson.

117
by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 9:40pm

Clearly Quinn is telegraphing his throws, that's why Quinn got picked off....zero times today. And 4 times in 7 games, against 20 passing tds.

118
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 9:57pm

TO: Pat Nix, OC, Georgia Tech
RE: Calvin Johnson

I thought the point of sometimes using your best player as a decoy was so that you could be successful doing other things that weren't normally as successful, not to remain unsuccessful doing those things.

119
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:00pm

It's really amazing, watching Georgia Tech, to remember that Chan Gailey was once considered one of the best play-callers in all of football. Jerry Jones hired him as the Cowboys' head coach and specifically put in his contract that he had to call the offensive plays. Now I watch his team and I think it looks like my Pop Warner coaches would have done a better job calling the plays.

120
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:03pm

Clearly Quinn is telegraphing his throws, that’s why Quinn got picked off….zero times today. And 4 times in 7 games, against 20 passing tds.

Because we all know that college football is full of safeties who are able to pick up on the slightest things, clearly able to step into the NFL at a moment's notice.

I never said Quinn was a bad college quarterback. You can get away with sloppy fundamentals in college all the time.

121
by calig23 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:15pm

Re:#119

Maybe he just needs to have Kordell Stewart at QB?

122
by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 10:18pm

Pat:

Sorry - I shouldn't have jumped on it that way. I tend to blame our OL more than Quinn, and I admit I'm just touchy about witnessing the Troy Smith ESPN love-fest, when Quinn's stats TD/Interception ratio and performances against common opponents are strikingly similar.

I think Quinn will do well for the Raiders and Art Shell's successor.

123
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:04pm

Clemson looks great. They're a missed extra point in OT away from being ranked #4.

Ah, what could have been. And they need to ditch the purple unis.

124
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:04pm

Re #122
I'm confused. What common opponents are you talking about? The teams they played in common last year were MSU and Michigan, and Smith put up better stats in both games (10-15, 249, 3/0 v. MSU and 27-37, 300, 2/0 v. UM, while Quinn was 33-60, 487, 5/1 v. MSU and 19-30, 140, 2/0 v. UM). This year, they have three common opponents. Against MSU, Quinn was 20-36, 319, 5/1, while Smith was 15/22, 234, 2/0. The only game where Quinn looks better than Smith is against Penn State, when he went 25-36, 287, 3/0 v. Smith's 12-22, 115, 1/0, though Quinn had the distinct advantage of not playing in a rainstorm. And I'd wager Smith will look better against Michigan than Quinn's 24-48, 234, 3/3 did.

Except for the Penn State game, I'm seeing Smith consistently with better completion percentage, more yards per attempt, and more yards per completion, and he hasn't thrown an interception when it hasn't been raining. To me, that means Smith has put up better stats.

125
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:14pm

Nice TD catch by #89 (GaTech's other WR Johnson) off the Clemson DB's helmet. Tigers lead down to 17-7.

126
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:26pm

Baylor beats Oklahoma State 34-33, thanks to yet another missed extra point in OT. Has there been a week this year without one?

Clemson looks great. They’re a missed extra point in OT away from being ranked #4.

It's a nitpick, but I think West Virginia (who's still receiving 2 1st place votes, and has yet to have a close game) would still be ranked ahead of Clemson in the polls, making Clemson #5.

127
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:26pm

and he hasn’t thrown an interception when it hasn’t been raining.

It wasn't raining when he threw that interception.

That was them trying to test the Penn State secondary. They rapidly found out "oh crap, they don't suck this year, either", and promptly stopped trying to attack them at all.

128
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:29pm

Re: 126

That should be Texas A&M, not Baylor. Oops.

129
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:39pm

It’s a nitpick, but I think West Virginia (who’s still receiving 2 1st place votes, and has yet to have a close game) would still be ranked ahead of Clemson in the polls, making Clemson #5.

Nitpicking is OK...it's a message board and we're fanatics. Besides, you're probably right.

I love it when the media picks apart the computers while two voters have WVU (who wasn't beaten anyone) ahead of Ohio State and Michigan.

130
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:43pm

I love it when the media picks apart the computers while two voters have WVU (who wasn’t beaten anyone) ahead of Ohio State and Michigan.

And those voters could hardly be accused of a local bias - both are California-based (Los Angeles and Riverside). The lone West Virginia voter has them second, as do 10 others.

131
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:45pm

Re #127
Mea culpa. I had a work function and didn't see the game, just knew it rained almost the whole time.

132
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 12:11am

Yeah, I also had an advantage of living right near the stadium while I watched the game, so we could pretty easily tell what was going on weather-wise. Funny thing was it didn't even seem like it was going to rain that day until the game.

It started raining heavily about the second quarter or so - though it did stop raining heavily about the third quarter. Both teams pretty much stopped running designed throws deep down the field after that point. The only remaining deep throws from Smith were on broken plays.

But that first play was a clear shot down the field. Smith just dropped back and threw deep, and King just outran the intended receiver. Not really hard to do when you're the fastest guy on the team.

133
by Matt (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 12:34am

What's wrong with the Clemson retro's?

And I just won two vacation days off my GT boss!!

TIGERS RULE!!!

134
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 1:59am

What’s wrong with the Clemson retro’s?

Nothing, if you like watching a football team wearing pajamas.

And how about those Scarlet Knights? This is just getting out of hand. Shutting down Tyler Palko (except for one drive) shows their defense is for real. If Syracuse and Cincy can give Louisville problems, can Rutgers pull the shocker at home?

135
by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 6:54am

Pat, I can't argue Quinn's mechanics because I'm usually watching the line rather than the QB, but I still put this one on Weis. He didn't call short drops, he didn't call for rollouts, he didn't max protect. That said, Quinn shouldn't hold the ball so damned long and he should run more often. Of course it's possible that ND just isn't that good. A surprisingly close game against an overmatched opponent will happen during a season. But when a team keeps needing comebacks and last-second victories and keeps letting inferior teams hang around maybe shouldn't be ranked 10th.

And best part about MSU's comeback is the pain it causes Wilbon.

136
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 11:15am

133- Are those really retros? They just look like bad alternates to me.

Anyway, Clemson looked like a monster last night. If you're a Tigers fan, enjoy things while they're good.

137
by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 12:06pm

124:

I was looking at 2006 common opponents. I don't see how you assert Smith vs MSU was better than Quinn vs. MSU - "Against MSU, Quinn was 20-36, 319, 5/1, while Smith was 15/22, 234, 2/0." I'll take the 319 yards and 5 TDs.

In total for the MSU and PSU games:

Brady Quinn
Passing: 45/73 606yds .616 8 TD 1 INT
Rushing: 14/4 0 TD

Troy Smith
Passing: 27/44 349yds .613 3 TD 2 INT
Rushing: 11/28 0 TD

And they were both playing in the rain the same night - Quinn against MSU and Smith against PSU.

'nuf sed.

138
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 12:47pm

2005 MSU
Smith 10.64 YPA, 15.6YPC
Quinn 8.86 YPA, 15.95YPC
In a recurring trend, Quinn's numbers look better on the surface because Charlie Weis tends to be pass-whacky--more ATTs, a higher percentage of TDs from throwing. And the MSU games both years inflate Quinn's numbers because MSU got out to a big lead and Quinn had to throw to come back against a prevent defense. And if you look at 3rd downs, Notre Dame couldn't convert, going 6-18 last year and 1-11 this year, while tOSU went 1-6 last year (ESPN doesn't have the PBP for this game) and 10-16 this year.

It's forunate that Troy Smith had his only really bad game since PSU last year against one of their common opponents this year. He's efficient, accurate, and dangerous.

139
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 2:47pm

21,

Amen. Amen. AMEN.

The media lovefest for the Big 10 and Notre Dame is an annual irritation. This year is just another edition.

Wouldn't it be nice if Michigan actually played a solid football team so we could see how good they are (and no ND doesn't count)?. Wait, we'll be charitable and say that ND is a good team. Why is one game enough?

Same for Ohio State. Texas with a rookie QB playing at the start of the season was a decent opponent, but not nearly the test it would have been at the end of the year. Other than that, the Bucks' schedule is a complete joke.

140
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 3:40pm

The lovefest for ND is a given. As for the Big Ten, I haven't heard anyone suggest that it's tougher than the SEC this year. If Tommy Tuberville complains about it, it must be true.

141
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 8:18pm

#139- Not a huge Big 10 fan here, but exactly who is it that you want Michigan to play?

I mean, the teams always look good until they lose. Reality is Notre Dame is at very least one of the fifteen best teams in the country- again, I'm being REALLY conservative there.

FWIW, Michigan has given both Notre Dame and Wisconsin their only losses. I'm not sure, but I don't think any other team can say that they've beaten two one-loss teams.

142
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 8:27pm

You forgot to add, the Big 10 is slow, and our fourth-stringers are better than their starters, and they cheat just as much as us but why does the NCAA always pick on us and let them go? As an avowed SEC homer, I expected more of you.

OK, kidding aside, what do you think OSU's record would be if they played Florida's schedule?

143
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 9:12pm

Don't forget the now annual SEC crap about how the Pac Ten is soft and none of them can hang in the SEC because even the waterboys in the SEC can outrun Carl Lewis.

144
by Weekly Journalist (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 9:21pm

I can't wait for the Michigan vs. OSU game....winner goes on to meet Rutgers in the National Title Game!!!

145
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 10/22/2006 - 10:03pm

Re: 144, Don't forget Boise State.

146
by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:35am

142: Undefeated. That team is disgusting. Claim what you want about the Big 10, OSU and Michigan have been weekly the best teams. I think the SEC is the best conference, and I think whoever leaves the SEC with one loss will be better than any other one-loss team, but they won't be better than an undefeated OSU/Michigan.

Regarding Quinn/Smith, I think Smith has been the better quarterback this season, but only because his team has been so excellent that he's been able to Roethlisberger it and throw 20 times en route to a slaughter. Their running game and defense are so good he rarely plays the whole game. Quinn is inconsistent and has had some subpar games (GT and Mich). As pointed out by others, his counting stats will look better because he throws a lot more than Smith. That said he's an excellent college QB and has bailed his team out a few times already. Being #2 ain't bad.

A serious question... if Rutgers beats Louisville and WVU (basically impossible, but...), and USC loses... what happens?

147
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:47am

142- Maybe they lose to Tenneseee. That's a maybe though- an on-fire Ainge could give them problems. And that Western Carolina matchup Florida has in a few weeks looks difficult. :) That team is good, and their defense came along much quicker than I expected for having to replace so many players.

146- If it's ND that takes out USC, then ND would be ahead of Rutgers. Speaking of which, how much wailing and gnashing of teeth would there be if OSU took out UM, and ND ended up 2nd ahead of Michigan? Or if OSU lost, and Texas took the 2nd spot ahead of OSU?

148
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:17am

Alabama's offense continues to suck (besides when it plays Utah State or UL-Monroe) since the Protho injury. While they can move the ball for the most part...they cannot freaking score TDs to save their lives. Mike Shula has to make changes to the coaching staf or he is on the hot seat big time in 07.

149
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:23am

If it’s ND that takes out USC, then ND would be ahead of Rutgers.

Maybe, maybe not. Notre Dame's 4 games before USC are jokes (the three service academies and I-A winless North Carolina), which won't help them much in the computers or the polls. Would a Notre Dame win over USC (a week before the Rutgers-WVU game and the conference championship games) allow them to leapfrog Texas or a one-loss SEC team, not to mention an undefeated Big East team?

150
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:23am

Must ... close ... italic ... tags.

151
by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:33am

Rutgers, amazingly, might play as hard a schedule as Notre Dame. They both play UNC, they both two top 10 opponents (WVU/Louisville and USC/Michigan), and then a bunch of crappy teams. I guess the difference is that while Pitt might balance out MSU, GT lurks as a pretty good team on ND's schedule. Still... would one-loss ND really have a better claim than undefeated Rutgers?

Anyway, for the exact reason of the head-to-head, I don't see Michigan or OSU falling below the teams they defeated. They'll have lost to the #1 or #2 team in the country, voters don't usually hurt you much for that. I think the national title will end up being OSU/Mich vs. USC, or if they stumble, the undefeated Big East team. There was a little drama I saw coming last week when Auburn was above WVU in the BCS standings, but if WVU can bump up by playing UConn, they'll get a nice shot in the arm by taking out Rutgers and Louisville. Notre Dame can get to the BCS, but their schedule just isn't good enough without a LOT of losses above them to pop ahead of an undefeated team.

Also, I'd just like to point out that UNC now has a lame duck coach!!!! Honestly, this is the most exciting thing that has happened to our football program in years. I have hope again, rather than furtively wishing for us to lose to Duke so this wonderful day where Bunting is fired would come.

152
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 10:37am

149- You're probably right, but I'm pretty sure the universe would cease to exist if Rutgers finished ahead of ND. I just can't comprehend that right now. Then again, I didn't think I'd ever see the day where Duke nearly beats Miami, so maybe I just need to accept that college football has gone insane.

153
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:35pm

BTW, CSS will be showing Arkansas Tech vs. Southern Arkansas this Thursday night.

Yes, it's the Wonderboys vs. the Mule Riders. No, I didn't make that up.

154
by Weekly Journalist (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 11:32am

If Rutgers finished undefeated, with wins over two top 10 teams, they would have ever right to play in the National Title game ahead of any 1 loss team I can think of.