Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Sep 2011

SDA: One Year Later

by Brian Fremeau and Robert Weintraub

Last week was all about bouncing back from an opening weekend loss, and the theme for Week 3 is renewed memories from a year ago. Auburn and Clemson went to overtime in 2010. Oklahoma visits Florida State a year after thrashing the Seminoles in Norman. Notre Dame will face its last-second demons in a matchup with a Michigan State team that pulled off a brilliant fake field goal to win last season. Texas travels to Pasadena to take on the UCLA team that kicked off last year’s season of misery. Nebraska meets Washington for the third time in 12 months. Utah and BYU were conference mates last season. Ohio State and Miami were programs in good standing when they clashed in 2010.

A lot has changed in the college football universe in the last year, and in some cases, the results this season may be a total reversal from the last time the programs above faced off. On the other hand, the top teams in college football are pretty much rolling along as expected, and this week may not produce much of a rankings shake up when it is all said and done. Road tests for two top-five teams in LSU and Oklahoma will help sort it all out.

Previews

No. 3 LSU (-3.5) at No. 25 Mississippi State (Thursday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

Note: the Rushing, Passing, Standard Downs and Passing Downs S&P rankings below are raw and unadjusted for opponent. They are not the schedule-adjusted "+" numbers you will see later in the season. The overall F/+, FEI and S&P+ rankings are still very much based on preseason projections.

OVERALL When LSU
Has the Ball ...
When Miss. State
Has the Ball ...
Category LSU
(2-0)
Miss. St.
(1-1)
LSU
Off
Miss. St.
Def
LSU
Def
Miss. St.
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 3 41
2011 FEI Rk 1 39
2011 S&P+ Rk 13 38 27 25 7 62
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 52 94 9 22
2011 Passing S&P Rk 53 38 20 59
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 55 64 26 10
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
77.8% Run
(ninth)
64.3% Run
(41st)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 33 29 10 68
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
37.8% Run
(29th)
51.0% Run
(11th)

Much as Saturday's thisclose loss at Auburn felt like a pivotal moment for the nascent Bulldog program, many folks in Starkville argue that the really important game comes tonight, when highly-ranked (and my personal No. 1 at the moment) LSU crosses the border for a nationally televised, cowbell-laden showdown. Should Chris Relf, Vick Ballard, and the other maroon spreadsters in Dan Mullen's offense crack the vaunted Tigers defense, they would be right -- the loss to those other Tigers will be instantly forgotten in StarkVegas. The "When MSU Has The Ball" matchup is fascinating -- LSU has given up only 91 rushing yards in two games, while MSU has piled up 642 yards thus far on the ground. The incentive for the home team to run it is stark, though -- Patrick Peterson and his mates intercepted Relf five times in last year's meeting in Death Valley, a rare easy LSU win. Double-P may be gone, but Tyrann Mathieu t'ain't. Overall, LSU has won this matchup 11 straight times, including a deja vu game two seasons ago, when the Bulldogs were stopped at the goal line with the game on the line. The Bengals are still without wideout Russell Shepard, a player missed much more than suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson, but MSU had a difficult time covering Auburn's receivers last week, and Jarrett Lee should find some holes in the secondary. The promised hostile atmosphere would be a factor against most teams, but LSU and the walking chaos theory it employs as head coach have proven immune to enemy crowds in recent years, and shouldn't be affected much.

Auburn (+3) at Clemson (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Auburn
Has the Ball ...
When Clemson
Has the Ball ...
Category Auburn
(2-0)
Clemson
(2-0)
Auburn
Off
Clemson
Def
Auburn
Def
Clemson
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 10 17
2011 FEI Rk 11 10
2011 S&P+ Rk 9 31 1 21 46 52
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 40 58 104 59
2011 Passing S&P Rk 22 80 73 45
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 40 56 91 34
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
67.9% Run
(28th)
60.0% Run
(59th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 16 60 101 60
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
25.0% Run
(91st)
35.6% Run
(45th)

Auburn has been living on the edge for so long it seems routine, but the first reincarnation of its nine lives was this game last season. Clemson led 17-0 at Jordan-Hare Stadium and dominated the first half, but Cam Newton and company roared back to force overtime, then won when Clemson's redshirt freshman kicker missed a field goal in extra time. Chandler Catanzaro is still kicking for Clemson, but after two games, the 2011 version of the Paw doesn't impress as much as last year's squad. Clemson's struggle with lower division Wofford (35-27 thanks to a late score) didn't get the play that Auburn's miracle against Utah State did, but it was just as telling. Both defenses have been atrocious over two games, but at least Auburn a) played a good Mississippi State offense led by Chris Relf last week, and b) stopped Relf on the goal line when it counted. Neither team has generated much of a pass rush (three combined sacks between the teams) or protected the passer (ten sacks allowed combined). Whichever side can find some pass rush to replace departed high-round draft picks Nick Fairley and Da'Quan Bowers will have the advantage. Side note: given Urban Meyer's history with Auburn and his heavily rumored role in the Newton quasi-scandal last season, should he really be in the ESPN booth calling the game?

No. 15 Michigan State (+4.5) at Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Mich. State
Has the Ball ...
When Notre Dame
Has the Ball ...
Category MSU
(2-0)
Irish
(0-2)
MSU
Off
Irish
Def
MSU
Def
Irish
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 27 19
2011 FEI Rk 32 24
2011 S&P+ Rk 19 17 16 12 26 31
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 23 30 25 66
2011 Passing S&P Rk 15 91 19 32
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 35 46 5 51
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
69.9% Run
(24th)
44.5% Run
(113th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 42 90 50 19
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
29.7% Run
(73rd)
27.5% Run
(86th)

Vegas seems confident that Notre Dame’s turnover issues aren’t systemic and that the Irish are going to stop coughing up the football at such an alarming rate. The F/+ ratings agree, ranking the Irish as one of only two top-20 teams to have suffered a loss this year. Despite that, something still doesn’t feel right about picking Notre Dame until they prove they aren’t just spectacular between the 20s. The fourth quarter defensive letdown against Michigan (especially in the secondary) was the first time in more than six games where the Notre Dame defense was exposed a weakness. Now in comes Michigan State, fresh off a destruction of Florida Atlantic in which the Spartans allowed the Owls to gain only one first down. The Spartans delivered a gut punch to Notre Dame in East Lansing last season with an overtime fake field goal, their seventh victory in the last 11 games of the series. Kirk Cousins ranks fifth nationally in completion percentage (79.1) and 14th in quarterback rating. Yeah, but Notre Dame is ready to break through, right? Right?

Tennessee (+9.5) at No. 16 Florida (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)

OVERALL When Tennessee
Has the Ball ...
When Florida
Has the Ball ...
Category Tenn.
(2-0)
Florida
(2-0)
Tenn.
Off
Florida
Def
Tenn.
Def
Florida
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 40 8
2011 FEI Rk 44 6
2011 S&P+ Rk 29 10 26 6 44 23
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 70 1 61 10
2011 Passing S&P Rk 5 22 51 41
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 27 9 89 19
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.5% Run
(53rd)
72.0% Run
(18th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 17 8 44 30
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
28.9% Run
(81st)
29.7% Run
(73rd)

Back when Peyton Manning was leading Tennessee, this was the biggest game of the season in the SEC. Now, when Manning is available to walk down the street named for him outside Neyland Stadium and hang on the Vols sideline, his alma mater is getting it back together. Taylor Bray may not be Peyton, but he's a damn sight better than any UT quarterback of recent vintage, and he and his fellow sophomores Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter destroyed a decent Cincinnati team last Saturday. Bray has completed almost 80 percent of his passes on the young season; he'll be taking aim at a Florida defense that has given up only three points so far, albeit against Florida Atlantic and UAB. Tennessee hasn't beaten a ranked opponent on the road in ten tries, and its young team may be in for a shock upon encountering the Swamp in full cry for the first time. Of course, Florida is almost as young as the Vols, sporting 35 upperclassmen to UT's 31. The great John Brantley Experiment under new OC Charlie Weis is still in flux. While Brantley has looked far more assured than his twitchy 2010 campaign, he only has thrown a single TD pass, against two picks, in the twin Florida routs. The Gators will probably rely early on the running of Chris Rainey before unleashing Brantley downfield.

Washington (+16.5) at No. 11 Nebraska (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN)

OVERALL When Washington
Has the Ball ...
When Nebraska
Has the Ball ...
Category UW
(2-0)
NU
(2-0)
UW
Off
NU
Def
UW
Def
NU
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 68 24
2011 FEI Rk 76 23
2011 S&P+ Rk 51 25 29 16 75 45
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 73 62 77 47
2011 Passing S&P Rk 25 30 87 55
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 36 35 69 54
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.6% Run
(51st)
76.6% Run
(12th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 62 40 114 58
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
37.8% Run
(29th)
37.0% Run
(35th)

Washington and Nebraska played twice last season and the games were night and day. The Cornhuskers opened up a can on the Huskies in Seattle early last year, and quarterback Taylor Martinez ran up 280 yards of total offense in the process. Then the teams met again in the Holiday Bowl, a game that Nebraska had no interest in playing in, and Washington took advantage. The rubber match in Lincoln favors the Huskers once again. Martinez ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game -- he's the only quarterback ranked in the top-30. The Huskies are off to an okay start, besting a dangerous Hawaii team last week after escaping an FCS upset bid in their opener. New sophomore quarterback Keith Price faces a legitimate defense for the first time in Nebraska though, and our numbers expect Washington to struggle to move the ball. Nebraska and Martinez can explode if their defense can force three-and-outs, and after last week’s wake-up call versus Fresno State, expect Nebraska to find its mojo in their final test before Big Ten conference play begins.

No. 23 Texas (-3.5) at UCLA (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN)

OVERALL When Texas
Has the Ball ...
When UCLA
Has the Ball ...
Category Texas
(2-0)
UCLA
(1-1)
Texas
Off
UCLA
Def
Texas
Def
UCLA
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 45 74
2011 FEI Rk 50 76
2011 S&P+ Rk 40 66 76 62 14 68
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 52 109 34 50
2011 Passing S&P Rk 76 69 29 33
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 56 109 19 33
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
76.2% Run
(13th)
71.4% Run
(19th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 65 37 24 51
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
32.4% Run
(57th)
36.8% Run
(36th)

UCLA isn’t a very good football team. Texas ought to be a very good football team based on talent, but has had tremendous difficulty showing it lately. Last season’s Longhorns skid was initiated by UCLA’s surprise romp in Austin, an upset made entirely possible by four first-half turnovers and an inability for Texas to generate any kind of offensive threat. The Texas quarterback situation is exciting if not entirely settled, as three different Longhorns saw action in last week’s comeback victory over BYU. Case McCoy is the crowd favorite, and not just because of the adoration of his older brother, Colt. McCoy completed 7-of-8 passes last week in relief and the offense rallied to erase a 10-point halftime deficit. UCLA will have some trouble getting anything going against the Longhorns defense, however, so it won’t likely take much heroism on the part of the Texas offense to win. The Bruins sleepwalked through a victory over San Jose State last weekend, and the Rick Neuheisel pink slip march is right on schedule. Beat Texas again? Well, Karl Dorrell had a few nice wins in his last season too.

No. 22 Arizona State (+1) at Illinois (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, BTN)

OVERALL When Arizona St.
Has the Ball ...
When Illinois
Has the Ball ...
Category ASU
(2-0)
Illinois
(2-0)
ASU
Off
Illinois
Def
ASU
Def
Illinois
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 29 34
2011 FEI Rk 26 45
2011 S&P+ Rk 30 22 32 9 35 56
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 38 7 46 15
2011 Passing S&P Rk 9 9 57 12
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 4 13 53 42
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
58.3% Run
(67th)
69.9% Run
(23rd)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 31 41 81 2
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
30.3% Run
(71st)
53.3% Run
(seventh)

Illinois is off to a nice start with big wins over Arkansas State and South Dakota State, but this week’s game presents another challenge altogether. The Illini have only given up 446 yards in two games –- Arizona State’s lanky quarterback, Brock Osweiler, almost put up that much total yardage himself against Missouri last week. Arizona State is on a mission with its new uniforms and Pac-12 championship mindset. On the other hand, the Sun Devils haven’t won a road game against anyone other than Washington or Washington State since 2007, and trips east haven’t always been kind to west coast programs. Pass this test with flying colors and our numbers will be fully on board. Illini quarterback Nate Scheelhaase doesn’t get much attention, but he can beat defenses with his arm and feet. He’ll be hunted by fearsome linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who needs to be accounted for on every play, even if he isn’t making his mark on the stat sheet.

No. 17 Ohio State (+3) at Miami (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Ohio St.
Has the Ball ...
When Miami
Has the Ball ...
Category Ohio St.
(2-0)
Miami
(0-1)
Ohio St.
Off
Miami
Def
Ohio St.
Def
Miami
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 14 30
2011 FEI Rk 11 29
2011 S&P+ Rk 21 35 35 27 15 40
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 80 86 32 51
2011 Passing S&P Rk 35 101 42 91
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 53 47 33 74
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
68.6% Run
(26th)
65.2% Run
(35th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 39 120 6 66
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
34.2% Run
(49th)
36.4% Run
(40th)

Tats vs. hookers -- which is the stronger inducement for football players? This game might not settle that eternal debate once and for all, but the argument should prove a worthwhile distraction at the bar while you watch these two tarnished programs scramble to return to the glory of their legendary BCS title matchup of 2002. OSU looked slow and thin at several positions while scraping past Toledo a week ago, while The U hasn't played since Labor Day evening, a tough loss at Maryland without eight suspended players, including quarterback Jacory Harris. To the surprise of many, coach Al Golden has reinstalled Harris as the starter despite the game performance of backup Stephen Morris against the Terps. The Buckeyes have a bubbling controversy under center as well. Joe Bauserman has looked scarcely better than Bowzer of Sha-Na-Na, while the Horseshoe faithful are baying for much-hyped backup Braxton Miller. Miller can't be ready, or coach-for-now Luke Fickell would surely trot him out there after last week's performance, right? Many of Miami's top defenders return for the game, including Sean Spence and Ray-Ray Armstrong, and Bauserman has frozen like a startled deer under duress from blitzers in his first two games. Look for the Canes to come after him early and often. Ohio State will attempt to counter with a running game led by Carlos Hyde, who has 169 rushing yards in two games. Turnovers played a big part in last year's game in Columbus, and could well again. Let's hope the game doesn't come down to an exceptionally late, obviously blown pass interference call...

No. 1 Oklahoma (-3) at No. 5 Florida State (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Oklahoma
Has the Ball ...
When Florida St.
Has the Ball ...
Category OU
(1-0)
FSU
(2-0)
OU
Off
FSU
Def
OU
Def
FSU
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 2 4
2011 FEI Rk 3 4
2011 S&P+ Rk 2 6 8 5 2 12
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 21 11 78 64
2011 Passing S&P Rk 31 2 1 16
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 21 2 29 44
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
58.1% Run
(69th)
53.8% Run
(86th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 47 28 72 5
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
11.5% Run
(120th)
22.4% Run
(102nd)

This game was forecast before the season as a major landmark on the long drive toward the BCS Championship Game, yet little buzz has been attached to the two teams so far, mainly due to the tissue-soft opposition they've squashed as a tune up to this get-together in Tallahassee. FSU thought itself fully resuscitated last season, but was rudely awakened to reality in Norman, when the Sooners demolished the Noles secondary in a 47-17 blowout. OU quarterback Landry Jones completed 30-of-40 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns in their last meeting, and he's back in command of the nation's third-ranked passing attack after two games. What has changed in 12 months that gives Seminole Nation hope for a different result? Little can be gleaned from FSU's destruction of Charleston Southern and Louisiana-Monroe, but new quarterback E.J. Manuel looks capable of putting up points on the Sooners, who are thin at linebacker, though they get bull-like defensive tackle Stacy McGee back off suspension. FSU supporters need to believe that their pass rush has developed enough to put heat on Jones, that its secondary, led by Greg Reid, can hang with Oklahoma's receivers (starter Kenny Stills is also back from a one-game suspension), that the home crowd and Florida heat play a factor, and that all the conference realignment talk engulfing OU proves a distraction. A few lucky bounces wouldn't hurt, either. Fans of BCS chaos should root hard for the Seminoles, for without an Oklahoma loss someplace, they will waltz into the title game regardless of whoever else is unbeaten. (This means you, Boise State.)

Utah (+5) at BYU (Saturday, 9:15 PM ET, ESPN2)

OVERALL When Utah
Has the Ball ...
When BYU
Has the Ball ...
Category Utah
(1-1)
BYU
(1-1)
Utah
Off
BYU
Def
Utah
Def
BYU
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 43 42
2011 FEI Rk 47 38
2011 S&P+ Rk 39 47 51 23 30 87
2011 Rushing S&P Rk 69 24 45 117
2011 Passing S&P Rk 92 36 66 82
2011 Std. Downs S&P Rk 86 16 48 113
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
56.5% Run
(73rd)
45.3% Run
(111th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P Rk 98 49 32 83
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
23.4% Run
(99th)
29.5% Run
(75th)

Utah ditched the Mountain West last year for the Pac-12. BYU ditched the Mountain West for independence. It’s the first time these programs will meet in a non-conference game since 1898. The rivalry might actually be a bit more rabid due to the split, especially since both programs claim hard feelings about the way it all went down. Both teams are coming off close losses last week and both are expected to have decent seasons the rest of the way. BYU’s been carried by its defense so far, forcing three-and-outs on half of Texas’ possessions last week and holding both Ole Miss and Texas under 20 points. Utah came within a blocked field goal of taking USC to overtime last week, but they’ll need some more offensive consistency from quarterback Jordan Wynn this week in order to beat the Cougars. Wynn is only completing 55 percent of his passes and hasn’t been able to get anything going down field (4.9 yards per attempt, only two completions of 20 or more yards).

Storylines of the Week

Robert Weintraub: Yes, that's Georgia Tech, progenitors of the triple-option under Paul Johnson, that is ranked 23rd in the nation in passing. Tevin Washington, who looked over his shoulder all summer at potential replacement Vad Lee, is firing 'em like he's Joe Hamilton. Sure, the Jackets have played Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State, a directional buffet that has helped balloon the passing numbers. And yes, he only has 14 completions on 21 attempts so far. But Washington is averaging 22.5 yards per attempt! He also has five touchdowns, and is racking up 36 yards for every completion. For perspective, the great Robert Griffin III is at 14.3 YPA. Of course, he played TCU in the opener. Tech steps up slightly in class with a home game against Kansas this week, but the Jayhawks are miserable against the pass so far this season. I say Johnson should re-assess his entire career and go full-on run and shoot from here on out.

Brian Fremeau: I’ll be paying close attention to a couple of games that didn’t make our list. Navy travels to South Carolina to face Steve Spurrier and the SEC East favorites. Navy hasn’t faced an SEC team since 2004 and hasn’t played the Gamecocks since 1988. In the last five seasons, however, the Midshipmen have elevated their play significantly, and Navy has caused fits lately for major conference opponents when they have had the chance. The triple option isn’t easy to defend when you play against it for the first time, so this one is on upset alert. The first two Friday night features have been spectacular games as well, so keep an eye on Boise State’s trip to Toledo. The Rockets almost pulled off a major upset in Columbus last week and can keep this one within a couple of scores if they remain disciplined. Boise State won’t get much poll credit if they thrash Toledo, but I’ll be impressed if it gets completely out of hand in their favor.

Picks

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Rob F/+
LSU -3.5 Miss. St. LSU LSU*
Auburn +3 Clemson Auburn Auburn
Michigan St. +4.5 Notre Dame MSU ND
Tennessee +9.5 Florida Tennessee* Florida
Washington +16.5 Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
Texas -3.5 UCLA Texas Texas
Arizona State +1 Illinois ASU Illinois
Ohio State +3 Miami Miami Ohio St.
Oklahoma -3 Florida State Oklahoma Florida St.
Utah +5 BYU Utah Utah
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
Last Week Season Total
F/+: 6-3-1 (1-0) 10-9-1 (1-1)
Rob: 6-3-1 (0-0-1) 10-9-1 (0-1-1)

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 15 Sep 2011

13 comments, Last at 18 Sep 2011, 12:36am by Tom Gower

Comments

1
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 5:57pm
2
by Alexander :: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 6:14pm

I love the line on Oklahoma. I understand the Florida State hype, but in College football I need you to "prove it." I like the Sooners to win, and 3 points is nothing.

3
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 8:09pm

Quick picks: LSU, Clemson, Michigan State, Tennessee, Nebraska, Texas, Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and BYU. Clemson and BYU are the counter-consensus picks, and I'll go with the Tigers against the Tigers as my Edelstein lock.

13
by Tom Gower :: Sun, 09/18/2011 - 12:36am

Last week, I went 6-3-1 (0-1), 1-1 counter-consensus, with all Rob-F/+ consensus picks 4-1. Cumulative: 11-8-1 (0-2), 3-2 counter-consensus, with all consensus picks 6-5. This week, barring an incredible miracle comeback by BYU, I'll finish 5-5 (1-0), 1-1 counter-consensus, with all Rob-F/+ consensus picks 3-2. Cumulative: 16-13-1 (1-2), 4-3 counter-consensus, with all consensus picks 9-7.

4
by andrew :: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 8:11pm

I'm still not over that PI call in 2002 in the Canes / Buckeyes game...

5
by Anon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 8:17pm

"And yes, he only has 14 completions on 21 attempts so far."

That's a pretty decent completition percentage.

6
by Solomon :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 9:34am

A couple corrections to note:

1. "... the Sun Devils haven’t won a road game against anyone other than Washington or Washington State since 2007..." Arizona State won at Arizona last year 30-29 in double overtime.

2. Stop complaining about the Ohio State-Miami championship game. Although the flag came late, it was definitely defensive holding (if not pass interfence). Holding is an automatic first down as well. Furthermore, Chris Gamble was blantantly held on Ohio State's last regulation drive with no call. He still caught the third down pass beyond the marker but was incorrectly ruled out of bounds. Replay was not in effect yet. Stop blaming the refs; some calls went against Ohio State. Ohio State won the game fairly.

7
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:00am

Side note: given Urban Meyer's history with Auburn and his heavily rumored role in the Newton quasi-scandal last season, should he really be in the ESPN booth calling the game?
-----

Why would ESPN care? Those asses put Millen in the booth for the Michigan-Michigan State game when most fans were secretly hoping he would get assassinated.

12
by witless chum :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 11:57pm

Maybe that's the point of employing Craig James. Everything else pales in comparison as far as conflict and sleazyness.

8
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:04am

VT thrashed FSU last year by running crossing routes all day through their secondary, where their DBs consistently lost at least one receiver in the traffic. I haven't seen anything yet to suggest that they've cleaned that up and can stop Okahoma'a even more prolific passing.

9
by bird jam :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:17am

Vol fan here. I'm cautiously optimistic about tomorrow, but by what metric is Cincinnati considered "decent"? Is that just Weintraub Cinci bias? Over-reaction to them hanging 72 on Austin Peay? I wasn't impressed by that team. Pead is for real, but their defense is dreadful. And they made some mind-boggling decisions in that game on a couple of 4th downs. They didn't look to me to be significantly better than Montana was the week before.

11
by Robert Weintraub :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 3:28pm

I would say they qualify as decent because of the ability of the QB and WRs. The fact that Tennessee humbled them redounds to their credit, not necessarily blame for the Bearcats. If Cincy stinks it up from here on out, retracted, but I think they'll be competitive.
And, for the record, I have no dog in the UC fight--while I love the Bengals, I have no Queen City ties and feel nothing one way or the other for UC.
RW

10
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 11:01am

Nice win for F/+ with LSU last night, but that was not a fun game to watch.