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Guest columnist John Kinsley breaks down the tape of every deep pass in the NFL in 2017 and comes away with a shocking conclusion: even without Andrew Luck, the Colts had the best long-ball quarterback in the league.

01 Sep 2005

Seventh Day Adventure: Welcome Back

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

It's difficult to be funny while we have such an overwhelming tragedy occurring in this country. Whether or not we can manage to make you laugh, please consider a donation to the American Red Cross or other worthy charity. If you can't get on the Red Cross site, try calling 1-800-HELP-NOW. Remember, send your Red Cross e-mail receipt for $10 or more (more is better) to Katrina@footballoutsiders.com and receive the latest updated spreadsheet with our exclusive KUBIAK fantasy projections.

Russell: Welcome to season two of Seventh Day Adventure, your guide to the college games and lines each weekend. And remember, just because we're wrong 54% of the time, that also means we're right 46% of the time!

Vinny: I only wish I was half as successful at my day job. Kidding, of course.

Russell: Of course. The NFL has once again abandoned Labor Day weekend so that the NCAA's student-athletes can present a five-day football festival, starting Thursday night, Sept. 1 (Steve Spurrier's debut as South Carolina head coach) and continuing right through Monday night (Miami at Florida State).

Vinny: Willie Williams out past 10 p.m.? Yikes. That's got NC-17 written all over it.

Russell: Let's get to it!

Bowling Green (+2.5) at Wisconsin, Saturday, Sept. 3, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Barry Alvarez could be in for a nasty surprise in his final season opener as the Badgers welcome Omar Jacobs and Bowling Green to Mad-town. Alvarez is stepping down after this season to concentrate on his duties as Wisconsin's athletic director, but he may want to get an early start on his post-coaching career after this game.

Vinny: Jacobs had some absolutely sick passing numbers last year: 4,002 yards, 41 TDs and only 4 INTs. Bowling Green is breaking in new starters on the right side of the offensive line. But tailback P.J. Pope (15 TDs, 6.2 yards per carry in 2004) returns, as do receivers Charles Sharon (1,070 yards, 15 TDs) and Steve Sanders (984 yards, 8 TDs, plus his great work on 90210: "Marriage, black jack, it's all a crap shoot.").

Russell: On the flip side, when Big Ten teams take on the MAC, one advantage they can usually count on is the matchup of their O-line vs. the MAC team's D-line. Expect the Badgers to try to pound the running game with Colorado transfer Brian Calhoun and wear down the Bowling Green defense, keeping Jacobs on the sidelines. After all, Wisconsin led the Big Ten in time of possession last year. If the rushing attack can't carry the load, QB John Stocco will need to make some plays down the field.

Vinny: When teams forced Stocco to beat them last year, he came apart like a cheap suit. I doubt the Falcons can shut down the Badger running game, but I think BG will keep the game close enough to cover. They won't get intimidated by the environment at Camp Randall. This is a team that has competed in places like Norman (losing 24-40 in 2004), Columbus (losing 17-24 in 2003) and West Lafayette (winning 27-26 in 2003).

Russell: Wisconsin will be breaking in a new defensive line, something that's not exactly advisable against a passer of Jacobs's caliber. I like the Falcons to win outright on the road.

Notre Dame (+3) at #23 Pitt, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: What would ordinarily be a ho-hum game, especially on a Notre Dame schedule that includes three of the preseason top four teams in the country (USC, Tennessee, and Michigan) is anything but, as both programs are breaking in new coaches. Heck, Pittsburgh is even breaking in new uniforms and a return to the "Pitt" nickname that former coach Walt Harris distanced himself from.

Vinny: Harris distanced himself all the way to Stanford this year. Dave Wannstedt should find that his "rah-rah" coaching style goes over better in the college ranks. It certainly has for Pete Carroll. Meanwhile, Charlie Weis fashions himself as a cross between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound pleasant, or even advisable.

Russell: Weis and Wannstedt certainly know each other from their NFL days, when Wannstedt's Dolphins took on Weis's Patriots twice a year. Wannstedt seems to be settling into the college game nicely and has already scored some recruiting coups. I think he could be very successful, especially in the watered-down Big East.

Vinny: Agreed, provided Wanny can lock down the top-notch western Pennsylvania talent that usually flows towards State College or elsewhere (Morgantown, Ann Arbor, etc.). I'm sure his moustache could help with that. By the way, I've decided that Wanny looks like a young Tony Orlando.

Russell: You can't convince me Wanny and Bill Cowher aren't related, and now they coach teams that share the same stadium. What are the odds? Vin, I don't know about you, but I'm terrified of Weis at Notre Dame. I think they may have finally hired the right guy, and more importantly, I think the administration has had enough of the losing and is willing to support the program in the way it needs to be supported. That means you won't hear about Weis not being able to get the recruits he wants through admissions, and you also won't see too many schedules like this year's monster slate. If Notre Dame wants to compete for national titles, they simply can't play this kind of schedule, and Weis knows it. NBC, get ready to promote a few matchups with the Rutgers and Louisiana-Monroes of the world.

Vinny: As a Michigan guy, I'm not terrified of Weis, but I probably should be. Maybe it's because of his striking resemblance to Rodney Dangerfield. You think he walks around practice pointing to Burt Young while telling his players, "I never get physical. I just get upset. And when I get upset, HE gets physical!"? Or that he walks into meet-and-greets with Irish boosters shouting, "I hear this place is restricted Wang, so don't tell ‘em you're Jewish, okay?"?

Russell: Um ... anyway, I expect Notre Dame to scare the living daylights out of plenty of teams this year. You certainly know they'll be prepared as well as their opponents. They're also going to knock off at least one really good team (let's hope it's not next week against you-know-who). But I like Pitt at home in this one. I'll lay the Figgie with Tyler "I only drop F-bombs after beating ND" Palko.

Vinny: I'm going with another road dog here. All the returning starters on the Irish offense, combined with Weis' alleged genius, should keep ND in this game enough to cover.

#18 Boise State (+7) at #13 Georgia, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Boise State ventures far from the Kryptonite-like powers of the Smurf Turf in an effort to build on the respect for the program they earned in last year's 11-1 campaign, a season that ended with a narrow Liberty Bowl loss to once-beaten Louisville.

Vinny: All the offense in that one made it the third most entertaining bowl game last year, behind Iowa-LSU (Capital One Bowl) and Texas-Michigan (Rose Bowl). Incidentally, that was the first time Boise State lost on either ESPN or ESPN2, dropping its record to 15-1 in such games. Dan Hawkins's squad has also scored more points than anyone else going back to the 2000 season.

Russell: Georgia is replacing a lot of talent, with QB David Greene and defensive stalwarts David Pollack and Thomas Davis off to the NFL. Plenty of blue-chippers remain, but the Georgia defense will have its hands full with slippery Boise State QB Jared Zabransky.

Vinny: Yep, the thing about Zabransky is he's just as dangerous running the ball (13 TDs last year) as throwing it (16 TDs). In fact, while you would think all those wacky WAC teams are pass happy, the Broncos scored 49 rushing TDs last year to only 18 through the air. Their offense could be just as good this year.

Russell: Can D.J. Shockley be this team's Tee Martin? If he can, Georgia has a chance to be in the national title hunt. I've never been a big Georgia guy. Personally, I think Mark Richt is a candidate for the "does less with more" label that Lloyd Carr is always getting hit with. Still, I like the 'Dawgs to put away Boise in the second half by pounding the ball behind Max Jean-Giles. Georgia covers.

Vinny: I'm not a Shockley fan, but I agree that Georgia RBs Thomas Brown and Danny Ware should have big days in this one. The 'Dawgs win by a couple touchdowns.

Georgia Tech (+7) at #16 Auburn, Saturday, 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Auburn is one of the nation's more interesting teams. Everyone knows the Tigers lost a ton of talent off last year's 13-0 squad, including four first-round picks in the 2005 NFL draft. But the defense should still be a monster behind new coordinator David Gibbs. If highly touted QB Brandon Cox doesn't screw things up, Auburn will win plenty of games this fall.

Vinny: It wasn't as good as Auburn's, but the Jackets had very good defense last year, finishing 12th in the nation in total defense. They have returning all-conference honorees at defensive end (Eric Henderson), linebacker (Gerris Wilkerson) and safety (Chris Reis). Plus, QB Reggie Ball returns with WR Calvin Johnson and RB P.J. Daniels.

Russell: There sure seems to be some buzz about the Yellow Jackets (sorry, couldn't resist) this fall, but I'm not buying in. I'm not quite sure how Chan Gailey still has his job, and I'm guessing he won't if the Jackets disappoint. I think the number's too low. I like Auburn to cover at home, provided Katrina didn't mess up the Tigers' preparation too much.

Vinny: I think Auburn's front seven will be a lot for Tech's patchwork offensive line to handle. Still, Cox will be under plenty of pressure under the lights at home in his debut, and I think Ball will make enough positive plays to keep Tech in this one. The Jackets cover.

#22 Boston College (-3.5) at BYU, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Ahh, finally a home underdog to consider. You know how I love those home 'dogs.

Vinny: As much as I love those new Nacho Cheese-flavored Bugels® that are now featured prominently in the vending machine down the hall from me at work?

Russell: Well, almost. Boston College is a team loaded with sleeper potential in the newly reconfigured, 12-team ACC. There are huge question marks surrounding most of the teams in the Coastal division, especially with Florida State. If things break right, BC could find itself playing for the ACC championship in Jacksonville on Dec. 3.

Vinny: No sale. Tom O'Brien has BC playing solid football year in and year out, but I doubt he'll ever get the Eagles to a conference title. Maybe it's the lack of talent at skill positions, or just O'Brien's conservative nature, but they can't seem to break big offensive plays when they need them. Especially when they fall behind in games.

Russell: Provo used to be a feared road trip for visiting non-conference teams (just ask Miami in 1990), but no so much any more. The Cougars should be improved, but I like DE Mathias Kiwanuka (20+ sacks over the past two seasons) and the Eagles to cover on the road.

Vinny: BYU is undefeated in home openers over the past four seasons, but they're 0-10 against ranked opponents since 1999. Granted pre-season rankings don't mean much, but that's still an eye-opener. None of that happened under the watch of first year BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. Is that really his name? Sounds like the name of a bully at a chess camp. Anyways, I'm also going with the Eagles to cover. Senior QB Quinton Porter should be able to direct a methodical BC attack behind a veteran offensive line.

#17 Texas A&M (-1.5) at Clemson, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Yet another home 'dog to ponder. Texas A&M is high on everyone's list of sleeper teams this season, mostly because of potential Heisman QB Reggie McNeal. The Aggies improved to 7-5 in their second season under Dennis Franchione, getting ambushed at Utah in the opener, but putting a major scare into Oklahoma by the end of the season. Of course, then they got crushed by Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl. Still, big things are expected in year three, which also means it's probably time for "Mr. Loyalty," Franchione, to start looking for another job.

Vinny: I'm sure Bobby "Century 21" Petrino can recommend a realtor. The Aggies hammered Clemson 27-6 in College Station last year. And this is a much more experienced Aggies team so, unlike last year, they should be ready for a road test in the opener. Plus, Clemson isn't anywhere near as good Utah was last season.

Russell: Agreed. In fact, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden probably should think about getting the resume in order. A win over daddy's Seminoles in an otherwise down year probably won't be enough to save him this time. He has to hope that QB Charlie Whitehurst can forget all about last season (17 INTs, 7 TDs) and recapture his 2003 form.

Vinny: Bowden has voiced concerns over whether the Tigers smallish defensive front will be bullied by the Aggies' offensive linemen, notably LT Jami Hightower (355 pounds) and RG Aldo de la Garza (324 pounds). Clemson must replace five starters on defense, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year LeRoy Hill. Bowden has also installed new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

Russell: I like the Aggies to cover on the road. I'm surprised the number is this low. In fact, I'm going to make this my first Fred Edelstein lock of the new season.

Vinny: I also like the Aggies to cover here.

#8 Virginia Tech (-5) at N.C. State, Sunday, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: The home 'dogs are coming fast and furious now as the Marcus Vick Show, Mach 2 ("We hope you enjoy our new direction!") takes flight against the Wolfpack in Raleigh.

Vinny: This is one of those strange conference games disguised as a mere opener. Led by DE Darryl Tapp (16.5 TFLs and 8.5 sacks in 2004) and CB Jimmy Williams (5 INTs and 5.5 TFLs), the Hokie defense returns most of its starters from a unit that allowed just 12.8 points per game (2nd in the nation).

Russell: Chuck Amato, who's known as an offensive wizard, had a team that stunk it up on offense last year. Could it be that all the offensive coordinators who've departed Raleigh in recent years have taken a toll? The much-traveled Marc Trestman will be the Pack's fourth offensive coordinator in six years.

Vinny: Quite possible. The Wolfpack also lost defensive coordinator Reggie Herring in the offseason. Under Herring, N.C. State finished first in the nation in total defense last year. He left behind DEs Mario Williams (15 TFLs, 6 sacks) and Manny Wilson (7 sacks). There should be plenty of NFL scouts scouring this game tape for defensive prospects.

Russell: I'm very tempted to take N.C. State and the points at home, but I get the sneaking suspicion that Team Beamer Ball will come up with a big special teams play to seal the deal. VaTech covers.

Vinny: I'm not convinced that the Pack will be able to move the ball against the Hokies, or against anyone else for that matter. I like the Hokies to win big. This is my Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week (cue the music).

Russell: We don't have any music.

Vinny: Dammit.

#9 Miami (Fla.) (-3) at #14 Florida State, Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Vin, what in the wide world of sports is going on in Tallahassee? And most importantly, how is Wyatt Sexton's Lyme disease?

Vinny: Sexton will sit out the season while being treated for the disease, which is obviously no laughing matter. Meanwhile, star CB Antonio Cromartie (torn ACL) and DT Clifton Dickson (academics) are out for the season. And two starting linebackers, Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson, were arrested and charged with misdemeanors but won't miss any games while their cases are pending.

Russell: I just don't know what direction FSU is headed these days. Part of me thinks Papa Bowden is headed for a Joe Paterno-like slide.

Vinny: If The Visor was still in Gainesville instead of over at South Carolina, we would have heard plenty of one-liners directed Bowden's way this offseason. Drew Weatherford has been named FSU's starting QB after Xavier Lee missed some recent practices with a sore shoulder. Both Weatherford and Lee are redshirt freshmen. Look for 'Noles RB Leon Washington to carry the ball early and often against the 'Canes.

Russell: Miami is loaded as usual, but with question marks at QB (sophomore Kyle Wright gets the nod there). Still, FSU doesn't have an athlete the caliber of Miami CB/WR/KR Devin Hester. I think he'll be the difference-maker. Miami covers on the road.

Vinny: Yep, even though it's a rivalry game and they have the home field, I just don't see the 'Noles keeping this close. With 10 starters back on defense and a flock of game breakers on offense, Miami coasts in a laugher. And Willie Williams is on his best behavior.

(College fans, make sure you also check out the Confessions of a Football Junkie 2005 NCAA preview.)

The Picks
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" in bold)
Game Vinny says Russell says
Bowling Green (+2.5) at Wisconsin Bowling Green Bowling Green
Notre Dame (+3) at #23 Pitt Notre Dame Pitt
#18 Boise State (+7) at #13 Georgia Georgia Georgia
Georgia Tech (+7) at #16 Auburn Georgia Tech Auburn
#22 Boston College (-3.5) at BYU Boston College Boston College
#17 Texas A&M (-1.5) at Clemson Texas A&M Texas A&M
#8 Virginia Tech (-5) at N.C. State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
#9 Miami (Fla.) (-3) at #14 Florida State Miami Miami

Posted by: on 01 Sep 2005

115 comments, Last at 09 Sep 2005, 4:02pm by CaffeineMan


by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 1:13pm

In a demonstration of how writers don't understand the concept of altitude, I'd like to point out that Ivan Miesel at ESPN.com picked the Colorado kicker for his pre-season All America team. Apparently, he has a lot of unreturnable kickoffs. No, really?

by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 9:42pm

Ivan's pretty solid as far as college football writers go (not very far), but he does have a flair for the obvious sometimes.

by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 2:02am

Great work by everybody with the KUBIAK vs. Katrina fund. .. we're easily over $3500 raised.

Now, let's get some college football discussion going. Nice to see Spurrier's Gamecocks throwing deep early and often tonight. Welcome back, Coach Visor.

by Moe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 8:33am

If instead of a football, the Heisman statue guy was carrying a cupcake, then Maroney from Minnesota would be a leading candidate for the award.

He thrives on these early season opponents.

Interesting how both the Vikings and the Gophers have potent offfenses but supect defenses.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:00am

I think Bill Snyder is usually the de facto winner of the Cupcake Award (not always deservedly).

If I'm a South Carolina fan, I'm more worried about the defensive and turnover meltdowns in the second half than I am happy about the fairly productive offense. But it could just be first-game jitters. And seeing the first of would could be many visor throws was comforting.

As for the weekend, I think Miami will roll Florida State - I'd make it my Fred Edelstein Lock if I were picking.

And Texas A&M at -1.5 vs. Clemson? That seems rather low. What gives? I know Clemson is supposed to be improved this year, but unless Francione keeled over and DIED in the past few days and I didn't notice, 1.5 seems miniscule.

In other games, USC -35 or so at Hawaii - I'm not sure USC can cover that. This will be a good test of their young defense. Hawaii isn't a strong team overall, but they have a good offensive squad, even without Chang.


by Derek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:28pm

Maroney does destroy Minnesota's weak early season foes but he also averaged 7.6 ypc against Michigan, 7.1 ypc against Wisconsin, and 8.2 ypc against my Hawkeyes last year (even though he did step out of bounds during one lengthy run in the Iowa game). Those were the 3 best teams in the Big Ten last season...of course, the Gophers lost all three games.

His worst game was against Alabama in the Music City Bowl (29 carries/105 yards/3.6 ypc) when he never broke one of his trademark long runs. The Gophers won 20-16 and Marion Barber had 187 yards on 37 carries (5.1 ypc).

by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:52pm

I just hate it when programs like Minnesota, Kansas State, and Texas Tech want to be taken seriously but refuse to schedule anything but cupcakes. You don't have to play ND's schedule, but would one of three non-conference games against a school from a BCS league be too much to ask?

by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 1:55pm

I forget who it was, but yesterday some moron on ESPN was talking about how he picked Minnesota to win the Big Ten last year, and how he would have been right if he could just change one play each in the Michigan and Iowa games. First of all, I really hate the whole "if we could just change one play" thing. If Illinois could just put 14 players on the field at a time, they'd win the Big Ten.

But here's the more important thing: It wasn't true, damn it! Even if Minnesota had won both those games, it would have been 5-3 and third place in the Big Ten. Is there no accountability at all for the moronic things the talking heads say?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 2:08pm


Were I in charge of one of the BCS ranking computers, I would heavily weight nonconference strength of schedule.

A team cannot control whether or not its conference foes are strong, it has to play them. It can't choose which ones to play in a given year, either - that's set by the conference. Some years you play the top, and some years you end up playing more of the bottom.

But a team has complete free reign to choose its nonconference schedule. If, using that free reign, it chooses to pack it with a Division II or I-AA opponent, along with Devry and Buffalo, then they don't deserve, regardless of their conference wins, to be ranked above those that found at least moderately decent teams to play. (I'd also try to take into account the fact that sometimes a team is good when a game is scheduled, but is on a downturn when it is played years later - if a team made an honest effort to find a good opponent, that should at least partially count).

I don't care if someone says "Well, our conference A is tougher than someone else's conference B so we need easy games to start the year. Or, as Snyder has publicly said, his team takes time to warm up so he needs warmup games. Well, fine then, but don't then complain when (for example, in 2002) out of the top 8 teams in the BCS standings, you're the only one left out.


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 4:34pm

I'm not sure I agree with MDS. I don't think Illinois could win even playing with 14. OK, with 14 they should, but I don't think they'd be much better than 6-6 with 12, and maybe 9-3 or 10-2 with 13. With 14 you're looking at one of those silly "Could [best college team] beat [worst NFL team]" questions. Give me the worst NFL team, 73-6.

There's something about Texas A&M I just don't like this year. They seem to be getting an awful lot of hype, and I'm not really sure why. Did they have just a ton of young guys last year who are supposed to be more mature and better now? Is it because Franchione's been there long enough to have his guys/system in place?

Same thing with Georgia Tech. Every article I read or person I hear has them as a sleeper pick to win the ACC. Huh? Maybe I just have a hard time trusting them, because my last memory of them is of the QB throwing the ball away on 4th down.

In honor of Wyatt Sexton, here's one of my favorite Ralph Wiggum quotes, from a get-well card he made for his teacher:

"Dear Miss Hoover, You have Lyme disease. We miss you. Kevin's biting me. Come back soon! Here's a drawing of a spyrochete. Love Ralph."

Is ANYONE picking FSU to win that game? I don't think I've heard a single person give them a chance. Sure their QB situation is uncertain, but so is Miami's. Now I'm also thinking Miami will win, but it can't be that incredibly obvious, can it? If it is, why is FSU ranked so high? Shouldn't #14 beat #9 maybe, what, 40% of the time? Yet this is being treated by the media as a bigger gimme than Toledo/Western Illinois (62-14, speaking of 1-AA cupcakes).

by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 2:45am

Hey, Bill Snyder did play USC a couple years ago back when 6 hot games was enough to win Carson Palmer the Heisman.

by Meat Lockyard (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:03am

Speaking of altitude, I've got tickets to the Colorado-Colorado State game tommorow (today/Saturday) in Boulder. The rivalry has produced some of the most exciting games I can remember in the last few years, but maybe I have a dual-home-team bias. Last year it was the only game CSU came out for.

The best thing about in-state rivalries is guarenteed victory parties!

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:21am

Call me crazy, but one aspect of college football I love - the arguments that arise each year from strength of schedule, including OOC scheduling. It provides so much fodder for discussion.

Especially when a team feasts on a creampuff schedule then gets gut-punched in a bowl game.

Yeah, I know...bowl games.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:25am

Domer, at least you don't have to worry about where your team stands on the strength-of-schedule argument this year. I'm flabbergasted every time I look at ND's schedule. How does Notre freakin Dame play 4 of 5 on the road? ND should never play 4 of 5 on the road at any point of any season against any opponent. College football is a sport of haves and have-nots, and ND is always going to be the biggest of the former group. As such, they can control their schedule. They can insist on 2-for-1 deals with opponents (two trips to South Bend for every one ND makes to their place).

That schedule is a recipe for mediocrity. If USC played that schedule this fall, people would be picking them to go 9-2 at best. The Irish could be really good this year and go 6-5.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:23am

And that Heisman year for Mr. Palmer, USC's SoS was #1, and KSU's was in the 40s even given they played SC (10-2) that year.

Not coincidentally, KSU was (as has happened to them more than once) the only of the top 8 BCS-ranked teams to be left out.

The funny thing is, Snyder got a lot of credit for playing USC those two years - and he won both - and yet when interviewed after that year, he said it was a mistake to do so (which he got ripped for, as he always does when he gives his "Easy noncon schedules are good!" opinions).


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 12:03pm

I don't get ND's schedule either. Now this is how a big-time program schedules: home vs Miami (OH), Texas, SD State, and Iowa, before the first road game. If OSU can get every non-conference game at home every year, there's no reason for ND to play everyone on the road. Seriously, if you can get 7 of 11 at home, why not?

One more thing about KSU playing USC - I have sometimes pointed out those games as examples that maybe KSU was actually trying to play quality teams, but let's not forget that when those games were actually scheduled, USC was not, well, USC. They were down for a couple of years, so maybe Snyder thought he was getting a big-name, major-conference opponent that would go 5-6, but he could say "hey, we tried to get good opponents!" I think that if he knew how good USC would be by the end of 02, there's no way he would have scheduled them for the beginning of 02.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 12:48pm

Part of Notre Dame's problem, though, is the NBC thing.

While it doesn't say in their NBC contract that they actually have to play decent teams, NBC doesn't want to show 8 ND home games a year, 6 of which are against Tungsten Tech and the Snyder Team O' the Week.

And ND isn't going to get the Michigans and USCs of the world (not to mention ND tries to play Navy every year, usually Air Force as well, etc., although those they could easily do a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio) without doing home-and-homes.

The big teams in a conference don't necessarily have to do that and can simply schedule a standard SEC every-nonconference-game-at-home schedule - which I don't agree with actually - I dislike when schools say "We have 11 games and we HAVE to get at least 7 at home, and we refuse to travel for nonconference games!" When the NCAA moves to its 12 game schedule in a few years, I would love if they set a maximum of 7 home games out of that 12, save when a team uses the Hawaii exception (but they'd never do that).


by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:03pm

Tarrant is exactly right. As long as Notre Dame wants its own national TV contract, it's going to have to live with a tough schedule. NBC won't pay them the big bucks to play against Utah State, and Notre Dame can't get USC or Michigan to do a 2-for-1.

Lee Corso just speculated about whether posing in Gentleman's Quarterly will make a player mentally soft. And ESPN has already insulted every real fan by having that moron husband of Jessica Simpson on. Can the games please start now?

I am officially ready for the Ron Zook era to begin.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 3:25pm

MDS, how you feeling about the Zook era at halftime?

The thing with ND, is there are degrees of scheduling. They played Army, Navy and Air Force one year during the NBC era.

They could still play USC, Michigan, Michigan St., Purdue, Pitt, then add say a Baylor, and Indiana, Stanford, Rutgers, and two MAC schools. The schedule would still be tough, you'd still have good games for NBC, and they'd have a chance to compete.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 3:43pm

Hope you're enjoying the Ron Zook era so far. Is this the year Rutgers finally attains mediocrity, and possibly above? Or is the cupboard really that bare in Illinois? I do think Zook will have them semi-respectable within two years, but this first year could be really rough.

Did anyone see that crazy diving TD by the Michigan State runner? That's one of those plays worthy of a Major League quote: "Nice catch, Hayes. Don't ever f'ing do it again."

Speaking of f'ing, Tyler F'ing Palko gets to play against ND tonight. I'm excited about this game, seeing two NFL coaches in their debuts (Weis gets all the attention, but I'm interested to see how Wannstedt does at Pitt). And this game being at night guarantees the sweetest words I've heard today - "ABC tripleheader." I moved to Dayton not long ago to start a new job, and decided to not get cable for a while (possibly ever). It hasn't been a big deal, until today. Man, I miss ESPN today. Anyway, let's hear it for tripleheaders over the air!

Is anyone watching Oklahoma? How does Peterson have 8 carries for 5 yards? How does that happen?

Right now they're talking about how the NCAA has relaxed their rules to allow schools to help the families of hurricane victims. I know this decision was pretty much a no-brainer, but why am I so surprised that the NCAA got it right? Is my opinion of the NCAA really that low?

Play of the day that I've seen so far is Iowa's punt return TD against Ball State. It looked like something out of a video game. A really bad, completely unrealistic video game.

Man, I missed football! This is freaking sweet!

by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 4:12pm

I hate the Illinois football program. They're about 10 years away. From 4-7. How is it possible to be this bad. You can't keep it close at home against Rutgers? Everyone said Zook was going to be a great recruiter. I don't care if you're Dale Carnegie, you can't walk into a kid's home and get him to choose your school over Michigan or Ohio State if you can't beat Rutgers at home.

Adrian Peterson has a high ankle sprain. That's bad news. This really, truly, is the year Texas beats Oklahoma.

Speaking of Texas, can we all agree that the Texas-Ohio State winner gets to be No. 1 in the Football Outsiders rankings until beaten? Teams should be rewarded for scheduling games like that.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 4:48pm

They just switched over to the Oklahoma game, and they look really bad. Down 17-10, their QB just threw it right to a wide-open CB. Now TCU is driving it fairly effortlessly, and if they score here it could be over.

Never mind. Freak play, throw hits the TCU receiver in the helmet, bounces high in the air, and OU picks it off and gets a great return past midfield. If they come back to win, that's easily the play of the game.

Horrible throw on 3rd and 8 (lucky not to be intercepted), then a wide-open drop on 4th (not the best throw, but definitely should have been caught). Now TCU has it at their 45 with 4:13 left, and OU's offense looks terrible. If they don't turn it over or allow a big punt return, they're in great shape.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:02pm

The Ron Zook era has begun! Illinois football: If you're a third-rate team and you miss four field goals, we'll beat you in overtime!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:02pm

And Oklahoma goes down. Wow. On their last drive they had a receiver wide open (TCU big-blitzed) for the tying TD, and a horrible underthrow let the DB catch up and break it up. As much as I rag on Jason White, there's no doubt that if he was QB, it was a touchdown. Maybe they need to check with the NCAA and see if they can bring him back for a 15th year.

Maybe Texas will actually beat them this year, but it will look like much less of a big deal now. (I still believe Brown can find a way to blow it, though)

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:03pm

MDS I guess we're all guilty of forgetting that Rutgers is, well, Rutgers.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:14pm

You know, I watched a Rutgers game last year for some reason, and I remember them going on and on about how Schiano had recruited kickers aggressively because he wanted solid special teams. They couldn't quit talking about how important Ito was to them (he had something like 5 or 6 FG's that day). I doubt 2/6 was what they were hoping for. And how did they blow a 17-point 4th quarter lead?

I know this is talked about every year, after talking heads run the annual "Is this the year for Rutgers?" stories and they ruin it by sucking, but Schiano has to have had the worst timing of anyone ever. He leaves Miami to take over a pathetic Rutgers program, and soon after Butch Davis bolts for the NFL, and they hand the job to Coker. So Schiano is stuck with a sorry program, while Coker is basically handed a national title and a good shot at a second. I can't imagine the game of "What if..." that must go on in his head after days like this.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 5:36pm

I was too busy watching my alma mater, so I didn't see much of Bowling Green-Wisconsin. Anyone have thoughts on my boy Omar Jacobs? His numbers look pretty good, but it appears that in the second half Wisconsin had BG's offense figured out. I do worry that Jacobs is a little bit more of a system quarterback than NFL teams like, but I still see big things in his future.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 6:03pm

MDS - Jacobs looked pretty good, but he has some seriously flawed mechanics. He throws sidearm a lot, or throws flat-footed or off the back foot. It works for him but I'm sure we're going to be hearing about it a ton when he enters the NFL draft.

Meanwhile, Michigan is the college version of the KC Chiefs. ... Can't be stopped, can't stop anybody. Can we please tackle?

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 6:20pm

I think the NBC effect on the ND schedules is not as strong as some of you believe - an ND team with a better record may be a better draw (although you may argue ND fans will watch regardless, and non-fans would rather tune in to see them lose.)

The thing that toughens our schedule on a cyclical basis is the waxing and waning of Purdue, Michigan State type teams. Purdue is at a high point, and will soon regress to their appropriate level.

In any event, that Michigan game - nice offense, and thanks for the turnovers, Huskies.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 7:35pm

The final score here is going to look deceptively like a blowout. Michigan's offense has done their part, of course - they look pretty scary. But their defense has not looked good at all. NIU is just putting it on the ground at the end of every 30-yard gain. Maybe some of it is tackling technique (UM trying for the strip every time?), but I doubt that each of these 14 fumbles (or however many, I stopped counting long ago) was the result of good defense.

They had better improve some fundamentals by next week (tackling), because I don't think ND will just drop the ball when breathed on like NIU. Now granted, Notre Dame may not have the caliber of talent that NIU does (waiting for angry response), so even if they hold on to the ball they may not rack up the yards as effortlessly as the Huskies have. But if UM gives up 30-yard chunks next week, and hopes to survive by waiting for the Irish to fumble, they could be in for a long week.

Of course they'd still win, 48-45, because ND can't stop them either.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 8:19pm

Colorado-Colorado State might be the best game of the day. Tied with 1:30 to play, when CU scores on a spectaculare run after an interception. Then CSU drives the length of the field in less than a minute to tie the game at 28 with 36 seconds to play. Damn, I missed football.

Trogdor, I grew up in Dayton. Unless your job includes scantily-clad coeds and/or free liquor, I can't imagine it was worth the move. Why, man? Why?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 8:34pm

Well, since I'd lived in Toledo for the past 11 years, it's not like it's that big of a change. If anything, this area is a little nicer, and the nearby bigger cities (Columbus and Cincy) are both so much nicer than Detroit, so it's slightly better probably. But probably the biggest thing was the much, much better job, and the benefits it brings. In all, it was a good move for me. On the negative side, I'm out of the Browns TV area and into the Bengals (which means Sunday afternoon = restaurant with TVs), but I also drop the Lions (YES!) so I can get the best FOX game each week, and I shouldn't be forced to watch Michigan as much either, which is good.

And Washington loses a tough one. Not the best beginning to the Willingham era.

by RU 4Ever (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:44pm

I kept my mouth shut when you chose not to make any predictions on Rutgers, I would appreciate it if you would not jump on the criticism bandwagon post-debacle.

Don't forget your roots Jersey Boy.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:46pm

Man. 6 Boise State turnovers, all directly attributable to the QB, in the first half? That isn't good. Terrible mechanics, bad tosses, fumbles. The announcers made a mention that the last time that QB played, he threw an INT to end his time in a game. And now, much later, the first play of the game, he throws another INT. I thought Boise State would at least be respectable, but not if their QB can't tell the team's receivers apart (and some of his INTs were like, direct throws to the Georgia secondary - not even close!).

What a unique day of games. I turned on the USC game, just a minute or so in, and the score was already 7-0 on an interception return. 21-3 USC at halftime.

And all those people that took TCU straight-up vs. OU are collecting big dollars now.

And ND scores a touchdown on a zillion-yard screen pass for which it seemed like the entire Irish team was downfield to block for the receiver.

Man, I love college football.


by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:33pm

Trogdor - we'll see how the ND NIU talent comparison shakes out. I like our new offense.

I'm not angry. I'm thrilled.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:33pm

Man, 28-10 late in the second quarter. ND is beating the stuffing out of Pitt. Hee-hee-hee.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:43pm

Penn State-USF game:

OK, this is USF. This isn't a powerhouse, so take from this what you want. USF can pass just about as well as Penn State can (that is, not at all) so this wasn't exactly a test of PSU's secondary.

But PSU's run defense is ridiculously strong. Just don't even bother trying to run against them.

PSU's offense looks like they accidentally borrowed the Atlanta Falcons: QB draw, QB draw, reverse, run, QB draw, incomplete incomplete incomplete. Derrick Williams had a beautiful catch, but no one has to worry about Penn State's passing game so long as Michael Robinson is behind center. All of Robinson's passes were inaccurate - sometimes by ten yards or more. His mechanics were awful, and his pocket presence was terrible, getting sacked often from his blind side, and fumbling twice. I'm worried that Paterno's unfortunately too attached to his QB coach - who also happens to be his son.

Thankfully, Robinson's complete inability to hold onto the ball (and pass) means that the NFL probably will not be subjected to Michael Vick part 2.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:48pm

Just trying to get a rise out of ya, Domer, that's all. At this point it looks even more silly though - ND looks great tonight. I don't know who's winning next week, but if I gambled I'd be taking 'over' for sure. First punt loses!

Wow, I just noticed Tennessee only beat UAB 17-10. Any chance someone saw the game and can tell us what happened?

I was really disappointed to see the Georgia/Boise score. I expected a lot better out of BSU. It's always sad when you think the small school has a legit shot and they get totally smoked.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:55pm

And adding to the list of odd things today, I don't think I've seen a team forget to send a holder onto the field for the extra point before. It's not like the holder usually has a lot of jobs - follow the kicker onto the field, pal.

That's about the only thing that's gone wrong for ND tonight though. 35 points in the first half against a returning BCS* team. That's not bad at all. I think maybe the whole "their playbook is too big" storyline was a tad bit overblown, no?

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:56pm

Let's all remember that this is only the first week and the old adage about teams making their biggest improvement between weeks 1-2 sometimes applies. I don't expect Michigan's rushing defense to be quite so putrid next Saturday. But I'm already getting sick at the thought of all the "Notre Dame is back!!!!" cover stories this week. Do you think sportswriters just save those so they can recycle them every five years or so? Just remember Irish fans, everyone was hailing Ty as a miracle worker after his first eight games, and that didn't turn out so well ... yes, I hate ND.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:02pm

Hey Russell, pthtbptthptt.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:11pm

Ah, Russell's just drunk again.

Don't listen to him, Irish fans! Your team is invincible!

I just took a quick look at ND's 2002 results, just to see if I remembered correctly. It looks like in those first 8 games, 6 of them were pretty close (I remember them having absolutely everything going right for them early that year), with the only convincing wins being over Maryland and Stanford. This game does have a different feel to it, although admittedly it's way too early in the season and this game isn't even over yet.

Hey, they're talking up Vince Young's passing ability! He's having a good passing day, against what can only be described as top-notch competition. I'll make a bold prediction - it won't be so easy next week.

Wow, I didn't know Charlie Whitehurst was still at Clemson. Wasn't he on the field for Florida State's great puntrooskie play years ago?

Heh - the New Big East! With a BCS bid for the champion! And a December 23rd bowl for 2nd place, because we totally suck!

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:11pm

Sorry, I don't know what posessed me there. Wait, yes I do. It was the site of Aaron Taylor gloating on the ABC halftime set.

I'm surprised by how good ND looks tonight, but then again, not really. You knew Weis would have them ready. As I said in the article, I'm terrified of him. I stil say the schedule's too tough for them to do any better than about 7-4, but I wouldn't be surprised if they managed to beat USC, Michigan (egads) or Tennessee, while also losing to someone like Stanford.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:16pm

I wish I resembled that remark, Trog. No alcohol for me today. Just finished a cup of coffee so I'd have a prayer of staying awake in the second half of the night games. Such is life with early-to-rise little ones.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:40pm

Hi, I'm #51 for Pittsburgh. We just made our first defensive stop of the game, so I think I'll kick the QB and shove an O-lineman, to keep our streak of defensive ineptitude alive.

Oh wait, that's Blades. He must think he's playing for Jimmy Johnson at Miami or something. Idiot.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:38am

Enjoy your Martz award, Mr. Franchione, you've earned it!

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:50am

We didn't get the TA&M game here, what happened?


by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:19am

I see that Texas A&M lost, but it doesn't mention what decisions were made that could have affected things.

Quality writing on ESPN.com about the TCU/OU game - "Bomar fumbled - one of four Oklahoma turnovers, including four lost fumbles, on the day." I'm sure it'll be edited soon though.

USC looked pretty good, although I worry about their defensive line. They got very little pressure on the Hawaii backfield. Certainly the offense looked almost unstoppable.

Georgia Tech just intercepted a nice pass - pressure on Cox (Auburn QB), hit him while he was throwing, and the ball just floated into the middle of the field for an easy pick. Could we have another upset on our hands? Of course, they got nothing on the pick and just punted it away.

Looks like Vinny wins 7th Day Adventure Week 1...


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:20am

A&M scored a TD to go up by 1, about halfway through the 4th quarter. For some reason I cannot imagine, they decided to kick (and go up 2) instead of going for 2, for the 3-point lead. I bet you can guess what Clemson did with 6 seconds left to win it.

I'm all about taking one until you need two, and not getting too caught up in the point differential until time is a factor. But halfway through the fourth is late enough to assume that there aren't many scores left in the game, and being up be 2 is insignificantly better than being up 1. You pretty much have to go for 2 in that case, and put yourself up by a field goal. There is almost no downside - only if you allow a safety, or the attempt is returned for 2. The odds of these have to be much less than allowing a FG in the next 8 minutes (and can't be much higher than having your kick blocked and returned for 2). I can't think of why thy wouldn't go for it. It seems like the absolutely obvious decision, I can't understand what they were thinking.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:28am

That is STUPID.

If there's only enough time, one assumes, for one more score (and it's by the other team), then being ahead by 1 and being ahead by 2 are identical, but being ahead by 3 means overtime (where Ron Zook will beat...wait, wrong game).

I can't believe any coach would make that decision. Did anyone ask him afterward what he was thinking, in one of those zillions of press conferences? If he answered with anything other than "I was a moron and wasn't thinking" then he's lying heh.

Texas A&M's 'historic' snipe of Francione from Alabama hasn't exactly reaped the massive dividends they had hoped...


by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:33am

The difference between this and Ty's first year is that the wins then were a "house of cards"...no offensive TDs for the first three games (or something like that).

This looks like we actually have a balanced offense.

With no talent, of course.

The ND/Mich game may very well be 77-74.

Oh, hey, Air Force beat Washington. Clearly a talent problem, again.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:34am

Unfortunately, ABC switched back to Notre Dame after the field goal (they didn't wait for the ensuing kickoff, since Franchione did have the sense to call timeout with enough time left to make them kickoff afterwards), so I didn't get to see any postgame interviews. I only knew about it at all because they updated the score, and Saunders mentioned that "for some strange reason the Aggies only kicked" or something. Which just goes to show, when John Saunders is ragging on your decision, it ain't a good one.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:35am

OK. GT/Aub announcers:

"That was a great football play." Ugh. I hate it when announcers say that. That's been discussed here before, but it just bugged me. Especially because he said it while watching like the 3rd replay of a very clutchy/grabby long-distance incompletion. When it happened live, he says "He had his arms all over him, how was that not interference!" First replay "Yeah, there was a lot of contact there." Second replay "Wow, their arms were touching a lot." Third replay "That was a great football play."

Translation: "I think it was a penalty, but they didn't call it, and I don't know why, and I need to say something to fill up this particular 10 seconds of time."

Another pick by GT, and GT, up 6, has 2nd and goal from the 15, with 2:45 left.


by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 1:45am

Sheesh, Domer, you're rather bitter given the big win today. Especially considering you're preaching to the choir, you and I have had numerous discussions about how the talent excuse (usually attached to academic standards) was BS.

So looks like 5 ranked teams taken out so far - Oklahoma, Auburn (in 92 seconds from now barring a miracle), Texas A&M, Boise State, and Pittsburgh.

One more is guaanteed to lose (Miami or FSU), with 2 others (Va. Tech and Louisville) also waiting to play Sunday. 5 on the first weekend - that's quite a few for an opening weekend, as college football goes.

Auburn fumble, game over.


by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:22am

Nah - just pointing that out. I'm giddy right now, but I think the Michigan game will be a war. Too close to call for me.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:44am

ND's offense certainly looked scary today, but we don't know how good (or bad) Pitt really is. I will say I'm already tired of seeing Al Czervik on the TV screen every couple seconds. It's almost like he's screaming at his players just so he can guarantee he gets more air time. This guy might actually have a bigger head than Bill Parcells, if that's possible. But I can understand why ND fans are psyched about the guy with a performance like that.

We do know Michigan's defense is still EXTREMELY suspect. (So much for the renewed work ethic, more speed, new D-line coach, and same D-coordinator). And ND's fireworks today will certainly get their attention, and respect. As a Michigan guy, I like that ND did well today, b/c Michigan went into last year's game way too relaxed (albeit with a QB a few weeks removed from his senior prom and with a game plan from the Bo era) after the previous year's 38-0 stomping in Ann Arbor and ND's bad loss at BYU the week previous. And the Irish made Michigan pay for the over-confidence.

Regardless, I have to agree with Domer that the hype will be at a fever pitch for this game, which will be fun. It's really been missing from this game for a while.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:01am

Other random thoughts:

USC: Offense didn't seem much different post-Norm Chow, but again the opponent probably told USC less about themselves than scrimmages against their own defense. At least we saw some gratuitous shots of Jerry Glanville on the sidelines. Always good for a chuckle.

Tennessee: Phil, one of your QB's transfer, and you still decide to go with rotating QBs? Just pick one!

OSU/Texas: I didn't learn much from either's tune-up today. But what a matchup next week.

Omar Jacobs: Reminds me a little of Josh Heupel in that offense, taking what the defense gives him. A much better arm than Heupel, but that's nothing to brag about. Agree that his throwing motion is a little strange (as is Tyler Palko's).

OU/Franchione: Ouch.

PSU: Didn't see any of the game, but there's no doubt that JoePa is way too loyal to JayPa and Michael Robinson. I also get the feeling that, even with a great defense, PSU folks are putting A LOT of faith in two true freshman (King and Williams) to turn things around this year.

Bob Davie: I still say he's one of the better (if not the best) color guys around in the college game. He actually describes strategy and the plays he would call in situations that arise instead of just reacting to bad officiating (see Dan Fouts). At least they got Davie away from Mark Jones and his Slam Posse for a while. What happened to Mike Gottfried? Regardless, I think Davie is a big improvement in that pairing with Ron Franklin.

by Tom (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:57am

USC: I only saw most of the first half, but if I were the Trojoans, I'd be concerned about how Hawaii was able to drive the ball down the field early in the game. The D-line clearly isn't ready for prime time comeptition, but they were playing Hawaii.

Ohio St: Justin Zwick looked like he did in the Alamo Bowl, and not like the Justin Zwick who played at the beginning of last year. He probably deserves to start against Texas, and work Smith in. I didn't see a running back with explosiveness, though, nor was the defense up to the 2002 standard. I didn't see Texas beat up UL-Lafayette, but I'm thinking next week's game won't be the same sort of rout the 2002 Wash State game was.

Illinois: Nice win, Zook. Give up 9 scoring opportunities in the Big 10, and you're toast.

OU: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

UMich: The Maize and Blue are nigh-unbeatable at home, but they regularly seem to have games like this, where they let an inferior team play too close. If the ND game was in South Bend, they'd lose, but it's not.

ND: I think Pitt is just that bad. But this is college football, and it's possible to go 9-2 without being all that good.

BGSU/Wisconsin: Hey, Omar, try not hitting your receivers in the hands. Wisconsin early in the second half was a thing of beauty if you're a running game purist; they came out and just put hats on people and moved the chains that way. That's the real difference between the MAC and the Big Ten, that and the depth. If I were looking at drafting Jacobs, I'd want to do an in-depth evaluation. You'll clearly have to rework his mechanics to succeed at the next level, but that's not an easy project. I don't know that you'll get 43 carries out of a running back every week, though.

Colorado/CSU: I saw much of this game, and am still trying to figure out how Colorado won. They weren't beating people one-on-one on offense, were getting beat on defense, and at one point I called the next three plays sitting on my couch, flipping channels. Snark about Maisel selecting Crosby up at #1, but he hit one in practice from 65 that might've been good from 75. Granted, the Prison is up near 5400 feet, but that's still serious distance. CSU wins this game if they don't keep turning the ball over.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:36am

They won, but Air Force also had a bizarre decision to kick instead of go for two. They scored a TD midway through the fourth quarter to close the gap to 17-12, and they kicked to make it 17-13. Why? If you go for two and make it, you're only down a field goal. If you miss, you need a TD to win -- just like you do if you kick. Air Force did score another TD so no one will bother to point out the stupid decision.

I missed most of the evening games because some guy my wife (barely) knows had a wedding reception in Indiana. I must say, as a Chicago resident, that whatever the hell city I was in may only have been 50 miles away, but it was also half a world away. Why does anyone choose to live in Indiana? But more importantlly, why does anyone choose to have a wedding during football season? Find me a religion where all the holy ceremonies are between February and August and I'll convert.

But the one nice thing about the evening was the radio. I heard some guy on the radio do the most novel thing: He just spent 10 minutes giving a rundown of the day's games, describing what had happened and why. He didn't express a lot of outrageous opinions or make a bunch of lame jokes, he just talked about football. I have no idea who this guy was, but I wish all sports radio folks would emulate him.

Tom, what's Crosby's longest kick outside Colorado? I just think it's ridiculous that a guy who writes about football for a living would write this...

"Possibly Colorado's strongest positions are kicker and punter, where Mason Crosby and John Torp both return from stellar seasons. Crosby made 19 of 23 attempts last year, including a 60-yarder; Torp averaged 46 yards a punt."

...without bothering to point out the elevation factor.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 8:50am

One thing I was just thinking about is that the two teams that were hardest hit by the draft, at least by my subjective judgment, were Oklahoma and Auburn, and both lost. Oklahoma had 11 players taken, more than any other team. Auburn had four players taken in the first round. It's hard to make up that kind of a talent drain. I haven't studied this in any detail, but I'm guessing if you want to pick some disappointing teams, a good place to start is which teams had the most players drafted

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 9:31am

Trogdor, you mentioned that crazy Iowa punt return. Did you hear how Trev Alberts described it on ESPN? He said, "He picks up the punt and has the presence of mind to take it in for a touchdown."

Right, presence of mind. That's what he showed. Because that guy's athletic ability is about the same as mine, but he had the presence of mind to take it in for a touchdown. I would've just picked it up and punted it back the other way.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 10:24am

Re: 60

Mike, I think you're dead on about the draft affecting OU and Auburn. Of course, I think the biggest missing piece for Oklahoma was the guy who didn't get drafted -- Jason White. He may not have been an NFL prospect, but with him under center, Stoops hasn't had to worry about his QB position for the past several seasons. Suddenly, he had two extremely green players at QB and boy did it show.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:39am

I don't watch a lot of college ball but it is really cool to see this much college discussion in the thread. I watched some bits and pieces, and was really psyched to watch the last five minutes when I stumbled across OU losing to TCU only to have ABC switch away so we could watch ten minutes of babbling in the BC-BYU pregame. At least the mountains looked nice.

Two questions: How badly did Boise State set back the cause of all mid-major conferences yesterday, and what the heck was Hawaii-USC doing on at 7pm EDT/1pm local instead of where it belongs, at midnight eastern/6pm local?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:11pm

Re: 63.

#1. Terribly. And the team hurt the most isn't really Boise, but Utah from last year. Lots of people out there said that Utah wasn't for real, and Pittsburgh certainly wasn't a strong enough opponent to change anyone's mind. There were many comments that if an undefeated mid-major team like Utah or Boise played a real team, they'd get blown out of the water. Now that last year's undefeated (in the regular season) Boise (that really didn't lose THAT many players) got rolled by a "real" top team, it'll just be that much harder for them to convince anyone they belong.

Although, let's face it - most teams would have beaten Boise if they played like they did yesterday. Even if you disregard the fumbles, Zabransky made some terrible decisions, some without even any pressure. He looked completely inept out there, and not like the QB that tore apart the competition previously.

#2. We all know this answer. A TV network doesn't put the season opener of the #1 team at midnight :)

Here, we didn't even get OU/TCU. I can't remember what we did have at the time (one channel had BG/Wisconsin...don't recall the other) but I'm pretty sure that the non-BG/Wis games were blowouts that they showed us every minute of.


by Tom (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:42pm

Re: #59
Crosby's longest field goal away from home last year was a 52 yarder in the game against Washington State in Seattle. He only missed 2 FGs on the road last year... a 41 yarder that was blocked and a 50 yarder (going by box score, not sure if it was distance or accuracy). His kickoffs yesterday were good, but not great, considering the altitude. I think he's a legitimate All-American candidate, based on accuracy alone.

Re #64
OU/TCU was an ABC game in the noon ET time slot. Here in Chicago, that meant OSU-Miami. After that game was over, they showed some of OU/TCU, but left it for the start of NIU/UMich. The OSU game was over at 34-0, but this is Big Ten country; in a non-Big Ten market, I would have switched if I were ABC.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:45pm

My least favorite thing about football on TV is the networks' practice of showing us blowouts or opening kickioffs when fantastic finishes are going on elsewhere. I just got Sunday Ticket, so I should never have this problem with the NFL again, but it's a big problem with college. Maybe I should get GamePlan.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:51pm

Networks are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

I would love it if they would switch away from 35-point leads and go to some game that's actually, you know, competitive. However, my parents actually get pissed off enough to call and write to the station if a station (ABC, Fox, whatever) switches away from a college game of a team they like to show another, even if that team is up by 50 in the 3rd quarter and playing against Wahoo Tech. And if it happens again the next week - they call again, and send another letter. And I'm sure they aren't the only ones. (I never understood why they did that, though)

We were given OSU-Miami at the noon slot - now that you've mentioned the games, I can say what it was we had :)


by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:46pm

Back to what I was saying about the draft, keep in mind that Florida State had both offensive tackles and three defensive linemen drafted this year. That really leads me to believe that they're going to struggle against Miami, which has a very good line returning on both sides of the ball (especially if Eric Winston is healthy.)

Has anyone ever done a study of how well the number of players drafted predicts a college team's decline? If not, maybe I should.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 4:18pm

Re: 66

Mike, I have GamePlan and I love it, except for one problem. They only allow 3:30 time blocks for each game on each channel, and you'd be surprised how often that's a problem. For example, yesterday's Michigan game kicked of at 3:30 on the same channel that had the noon Oklahoma game. Well at 3:30, there was still 10 minutes to play in Oklahoma, so I didn't see the Michigan game until midway through the first quarter.

If there's one thing the NCAA really needs to do to college football, it's figure out a way to shorten the games. 3:45-4:00 is not at all uncommon. Is there any reason why the clock should be stopped to move the chains except in the last 2:00 of the first half and the last 5:00 of the second? That would probably trim 15 minutes right there.

Also, Mike, you'll love Sunday Ticket, but there is one drawback. If a game is on in your local area, you won't see it on Sunday Ticket. So let's say the Bears are on in the early timeslot on a Fox doubleheader day. There's a huge NFC matchup for the late game. If the Bears go to OT, rules require that the Chicago market be shown the game in its entirety. Meanwhile, you won't be able to catch the start of the second game on NFLST, because it's also *available* locally, even though you'd miss the start because the Bears run long.

It doesn't happen often, and occasionally they'll "light up" the channel for the late game until the early game ends, but there are times when you miss something.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 4:51pm

I haven't seen much of WV/Syracuse yet, but they just showed that the teams were a combined 0/14 on third down in the first half. Ouch. Unless the defenses are incredible, that just sounds like ugly offenses. (make that 0/15)

I don't know of any real studies that have been done on post-draft declines, but it sure would be nice. I know OSU had a "down" year last year (granted, still better than 70-some programs' best years) after having about 14 players drafted. On the other hand, there are teams like Miami that have had ten guys drafted every year for several years before it's noticable. If we do put something like that together, we'd of course want to check both total draftees and first rounders, maybe even a 'weighted average' (higher rounds count more) and include undrafted FA's that make pro rosters. It will be interesting to see exactly how much a team can 'reload' before it becomes 'rebuilding'.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:41pm

Re: losing players in the draft, Trogdor has it right. Some teams can survive after losing a number of players if they weren't superstars or key players. For instance, USC has probably lost as many players as just about anybody the last couple years, but it's just been a blip on the screen b/c none of them were top 10 picks except Mike Williams. Pete Carroll is obviously killing out there in the recruiting game, so kids step right in and flourish with their talent (and some pretty good coaching). But let's see what happens in 2006 when Leinart, Bush, et al. are in the NFL. There will be plenty of talent waiting in the wings, but there will be a noticeable drop-off in performance in 2006.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:53pm

Has anyone seen the comically bad Big East commercial being aired ad-nauseum this weekend? It features all the conference's football coaches lamely attempting to pump up their conference. Greg Robinson says, "Welcome to hard-hitting, exciting football" with all the enthusiasm of Larry David during a book tour. Obviously, Mike Tranghese was suffering from some conference envy with all the major defections to the ACC. He clearly had to resort to extortion (and possibly torture) to get these guys to do some PR. Bobby Petrino looks like he's been administered some nitrous oxide. It's so bad it's good.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 6:00pm

PSU: Didn’t see any of the game, but there’s no doubt that JoePa is way too loyal to JayPa and Michael Robinson. I also get the feeling that, even with a great defense, PSU folks are putting A LOT of faith in two true freshman (King and Williams) to turn things around this year.

Too bad you didn't see the game. Those two are scary good. Williams had a beautiful jumping 20-some yard catch, and probably would've had an 80-yard touchdown had he not been held (which was, of course, the reason he was held).

King had a 61 yard reverse - where he fumbled at the end, though he was carrying the ball in the correct arm, so he fumbled out of bounds. Robinson - a fifth year senior - doesn't carry the ball in the correct arm.

King doesn't seem like a very good corner - he was beaten, along with a safety, by a USF receiver who jumped in the corner of the end zone while King just sat there staring. But on offense, he should be good.

The main problem with trusting two WRs to spark an offense? The fact that their QB only attempted 15 passes the whole game.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 6:22pm

Why oh why do new coaches insist on installing a full-blown 'West Coast Offense' when the team has been primarily an option team? Nebraska sucked bad at it last year, and from today's game it looks like Syracuse is in for a loooooong year. Would it not make more sense to gradually increase your reliance on passing (since the talent already there is entirely running-based) with a goal of having the full passing offense in place in 2/3/4 years, and recruiting accordingly?

Maybe they think they'll just take the early lumps, that their system can't really be integrated in pieces, or that it'll help recruiting QB/WRs to go full passing right away. But I can't see how it can possibly help recruiting to go 3-8. Would you rather play for a coach who's willing to really suck for a few years while the old players leave and he brings in guys for his system, or for one who adjusts his system to the talent already in place to remain somewhat competitive while his kind of players are phased in? Doesn't the latter seem like a much better coach, who doesn't need everything to be perfect and in place in order to compete? Isn't that the guy a star HS player would rather go play for?

by Domer (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:02pm

Yeah, the Big Least commercials are high on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. For some reason, it bothers me that the South Florida coach calls his team USF, as if everybody will know which team he's referring to.

All of the conference and university ads are ridiculous, though. And pretty much the same. Show some ivy and brick, a rainbow coalition in lab coats and then pan up to sunny blue skies. Hooray!

Let's see some footage of 6th year burnouts knocking back 40's and downloading illegal tunes.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:56pm

Louisville-Kentucky: Great game, but would it kill the announcers to learn the rules? And would it kill the officials to review the biggest play of the game now that college football has replay? Watch that Kentucky fumble near the goal line again, remembering that if any part of a player's body is out of bounds, and that player touches the ball, the ball is dead.

by MDS (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 8:03pm

Louisville has the ball and the lead with two minutes left, and Kentucky is out of timeouts. Do they run up the gut to take time off the clock? No. Roll out pass, incomplete, clock stops. Announcer Bill Curry calls it a "brilliant call." The mind reels.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:26pm

Re: VaTech/NC State - Both Marcus Vick and Jay Davis look vastly improved. Davis looked totally clueless last year and has much more confidence/pocket presence this year. VaTech kept Marcus in the pocket for most of the first half, but they've let him loose on some QB draws (and he hasn't disappointed with his moves) and some moving pockets in the 2nd half. Older brother Mike is watching on the sidelines, devouring hot dogs like they're about to be banned by the FDA. (Would the Atlanta Falcons team nutritionist please pick up the white courtesy phone?)

And Marcus could certainly show Vince Young how to throw a football. Even putting genes aside, I think Marcus is a much better NFL prospect at QB than Young.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 9:22pm

Whooo! FSU/Miami! Anyone else remember when they opened the season against each other ranked 1 (FSU) and 2 (UM), and Miami smoked them 31-0? I think that was the last time I picked FSU in this game in a year where Miami didn't suck. That was like 1987, I think.

How did Vick really look last night? I've read a lot of stuff raving about him, but his stats don't look so hot (10/21, 130-ish yards). Is this a case of media hyping him despite evidence to the contrary, or is there some reason for it?

So far it looks like FSU is borrowing Michigan's run defense. Early prediction for next week: UM 78, ND 65.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 9:36pm

And Seminole fans can start hating instant replay, at least until they get one in their favor. Oh wait, nevermind. Interception for poetic justice.

Am I still allowed to call them the Seminoles, or will the NCAA send their bowtie-wearing goon squad to rough me up for my insensitivity?

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:12pm

Trogdor, I thought Vick looked pretty lousy as a passer. He seemed tentative at times and missed some fairly easy passes.

Devin Hester, feel free not to screw up a return. I know you say you're the next Deion, but one thing a lot of people fail to realize about Deion is that he wasn't just a burner; he was a very smart return man who knew when to stay away from the ball, when to fair catch it, and when not to run it out of the end zone.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:18pm

Wow, that was a beautiful interception.


by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:31pm

Great job of keeping your head on straight when trying to come back, Miami.

OK fine, Hester was pushed a bit - I could see that call going either way. But while it wasn't on camera, what could #34 possibly have done to get EJECTED with a bonus 15 yards for Florida State? I mean, you see a lot of spearing, pushing, and shoving that goes on in the average college game that only gets standard 15 yard personal foul penalties. I'd like to know what that guy did that was beyond the norm.


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:32pm

Hey, 30 yards of dumb penalties on Miami, including one on the aforementioned special teams ace Hester. Not a good way to help your lousy QB, guys.

I wonder about that pass interference call against FSU on the last series. I know he never looked back or anything, but can it really be interference if the ball hits you before you ever make contact with the guy? That said, I can't blame the official for calling it, just on review it didn't look like it was actually interference. Of course, with a good throw it would have been a TD.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:37pm

Way to dodge a bullet there, Miami. If that penalty had been before the change of possession...

Of course, that 15 yards negates nearly all the advantage they gained by stopping the fake. They were worse off than they would have been if FSU had kicked it into the end zone. I don't think they're gonna win unless Coker gets control of his team.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:38pm

Another 15 yards of stupid penalties for Miami. Their heads don't seem like they're in this game. However, despite FSU being ahead, and Miami having made a lot of mistakes, it's by no means out of reach and Miami has moved the ball with ease, with only the turnovers and missed field goals hurting them.

We'll see...


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:41pm

Indeed. If they had spent their 2nd rounder on Nugent, they'd only be down 10-6 right now. But they decided to spend their money elsewhere I guess.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:07pm

Great strategy by Miami, and I'm really surprised FSU didn't see it coming. Why let them just run out the clock when you can force them to punt?

Fumble! Go down! Too late! That would have been a huge break for Miami, they could have gotten a Hail Mary attempt if nothing else. Too bad their guy didn't think to get down quickly enough.

The question I was going to ask was, if they forced 4th down, what should Miami do? Set up a return or go for the block? Based on how much time remained, should FSU even bother kicking, or just run around and run time off the clock? Or try a fake punt, with the assumption that time would run out if unsuccessful? I guess we'll never know...

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:10pm

The ABC crew is having a terrible game. They were wrong on the review of the muffed punt, they never told us what No. 34 did to get ejected, Musberger at first thought an interception was a completed pass, etc. And now Michael Irvin is on.

Eric Winston looks very tentative. The reports have said his knee is fine, but it doesn't look like it. He looks like he has no drive at all. He just waits for the guy he's blocking to come to him. And where has Orrien Harris been?

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:13pm

Nine seconds isn't really enough to do what Miami was trying to do, assuming Florida State isn't completely stupid (which probably isn't a safe assumption with Bowden Jr. calling the shots). All Florida State has to do is have two plays that take five seconds each. Just have your QB scramble around for five seconds on each play. That's really easy considering you can tell your offensive linemen to hold -- you don't care about losing the 10 yards because you're just going into halftime anyway.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:15pm

At least on the punt, Danielson didn't deny that he had called it wrong. I absolutely hate it when announcers say one thing ("He definitely made the catch"), the officials rule otherwise, and suddenly they knew all along that the replay showed it was incomplete. At least he had the guts to admit he had called it the wrong way. It's not as good as being right, but it's better than being wrong and insulting our short-term memories.

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:23pm

Yeah, but Danielson should have explained the rule better (and, as I mentioned, the ESPN announcers didn't know the rule at all in the critical fumble in Kentucky-Louisville). One thing I don't like is how the announcers are near-unanimous in their support of the addition of replay, but sometimes the replay officials come to a different conclusion than the announcers do, and the announcers won't tell us whether the officials were wrong.

Ted Koppel just reported that the SuperDome is coming down. I remember the morning of 9/11, before we really knew what was going on, hearing Tom Brokaw say, "I don't know how you can repair damage like that. They might just have to tear the World Trade Center down." And I thought to myself, how is that possible? Physically, how could you tear down such an enormous structure? It was only minutes later that it collapsed before my eyes.

by Russell (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:58pm

OK, I'm finally caught up on TiVo so I can participate in the discussion now.

What a sloppy game. Does anyone think FSU has a prayer of holding on here?

MDS, I also found that comment by Koppel about the Superdome interesting. The Saints have the potential to be a feel-good story this year, except that it sounds like Benson is going to try and use Katrina to get out of his lease in NO without paying millions in escape clauses. There's also an on-the-record report from someone in the Saints organization that Benson is going to refuse to refund season tickets, citing fine print about natural disasters. Check out profootballtalk.com for the unseemly details.

Strange the story isn't getting more play, particularly because a Saints official went on the record about it, but then again, there are slightly more important things to cover in New Orleans these days.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:06am

You know, it seems like every year when I watch Florida State-Miami, I think the quarterbacks are the two worst players on the field. That's certainly the case this year.

Free Xavier Lee!

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:09am


I cannot believe how terrible the FSU quarterbacking is right now. That was right in the numbers of the Miami player, just dropped. Were it not for the Miami turnovers, FSU would have 0 points (and hell, even with a turnover a la the blocked punt, FSU managed zero points given FIRST AND GOAL after the turnover...)


by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:10am

Is it just me, or is FSU doing everything within their power to give the game away to Miami, and Miami's just so inept they can't take it?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:16am

OK, I was just busy for the last half hour or so, and don't have Tivo, so help me out here. The last play I saw was FSU blocking a punt and getting 1st and goal inside the 5. How did they manage to not score?

This Miami O-line doesn't seem to care very much. Do they have something against their QB they're trying to get him hurt? At least make an Ole'! motion and pretend to be a bullfighter when you let three guys run in unblocked.

(Does anyone know how to make the accent mark appear over the e?)

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:21am


It went something like,

Run up the middle, stuffed.

Run up the middle, stuffed.

Run up the middle, stuffed.

Missed field goal.


by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:26am

Man, it's been a while since I've seen quarterbacking this inept. And what a lousy snap that was.

Are these really both top-15 teams? Or did a couple of I-AA teams sneak in and steal the uniforms?


by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:31am

#99: As an alumni of a I-AA team, I'm insulted- I've seen better play from that caliber of team than these guys. This is a suckfest.

Meanwhile, my roommate and I are wondering why Miami's even bothering with the pass, when they've been successful at running the ball when they've consistently gone to it for a few plays.

by Russell (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:32am

Let's not forget how good both of these defenses are. Making your first college start in a game this big against defenses this talented is no easy task.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:41am

That Miami TE looks pretty good. I hope he doesn't have a motorcycle.

The defenses are good of course. And the O-lines aren't looking all that adept at pass blocking, particularly Miami's. But even considering those things, these QBs are looking pretty bad. I bet they can't wait for the Dukes, Wake Forests and The Citadels on their schedules, to see what these guys can do against lesser competition.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:46am

How many 3rd downs (including 3rd and 19) has Miami converted on this drive? And there's another one. It seems like they stop Miami cold on 1st and 2nd down, then Miami pulls a big play out of its ass on 3rd down, every time this drive.

FSU certainly is looking back at that 1st and goal on the 5 that ended with zero points and thinking "Ugh."

And after they finally manage a stop on 3rd and goal, almost a helmet-taking-off penalty on FSU...ruled that the helmet was knocked off (OK, he was hit, but it wasn't knocked off really...but maybe it was jarred or something where he couldn't see without taking it off).

Wow, a terrible field goal snap, and a worse hold, for Miami...and no timeouts left for either team.

I really want to go to sleep, but I have to see how this suckfest ends. Can't be long now.


by Russell (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 12:46am

No Brent, this game isn't a "dandy." It's a train wreck. Kind of like my picks this week.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 1:00am

Actually, as ar as 10-7 games go, I thought it was pretty darn exciting. For a while there, I couldn't tell if those were the two best D-lines in the country or the two worst O-lines.

I think Kyle Wright will be a pretty good QB when it's all said and done (I think he's only a sophomore). If he ever gets time to throw.

And I still think Vick looked good last night when he had time to throw. He made some really pretty passes in traffic and on the run. His stats weren't great b/c he had to throw a number of balls away b/c of pressure. And he made one scramble that was very reminiscent of his brother.

by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 1:31am

FSU-Miami: FSU may have ended that losing streak, but they still don't have a quarterback. I bet Xavier Lee gets the start next week, but I don't know that it will matter. I think Kyle Wright will be pretty good, if (1) he gets time, which he should against lesser teams and (2) he doesn't turn into Chris Rix, whose brain was full when he started college. These two teams both have enough talent to play on New Year's Day, and I think Wright will probably win the last game of the season if he stays all 4 years, but I'm thinking VaTech is the best team in the ACC.

by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 2:20am

I agree that Wright showed a lot more promise than the FSU fellow - he was so bad he could barely complete a pass to a guy on the other team...

But at the same time I have never seen such a comedy of errors on the football field (and remarkably, the teams did it all themselves, without any help from the officials.) I think we've seen a pretty good demonstration this weekend that while you can win in the NFL with a mediocre-or-worse QB (see Ravens, SB champs), you cannot survive in the college game without a competent player in the pocket. We also saw the importance of special teams demonstrated in this game - it will rarely win the game for you, but by god it can lose it. (And finally, the importance of actually achieving something before acquiring a flashy nickname, Mr Hester...)

by Domer (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:30pm

Russell and Vinny:

Are there any decent Michigan blogs going? I'm not looking for "Wolverines 48, Irish 0" type commentary. I'd like to read insightful analysis. Some young ND guys put together a good one at http://bluegraysky.blogspot.com/ and I am looking for something comparable this week for UM.

by Buddha (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:17pm

Domer: http://mgoblog.blogspot.com/

UM 107
ND 106

Can Michigan please tackle someone? ANYONE? I hear Lloyd benched Gabe Watson. Hey Lloyd, unless you can magically turn your safeties into real safeties and your outside linebackers into outside linebackers, you got issues.

My only solace as Michigan fan is that they played a vanilla defense and offense all day. I think the goal of the game was to "not show anything to ND no matter what." In that case, it worked. Unfortunately, I don't think they needed to play a vanilla defense to demonstrate that they couldn't tackle, didn't know where to be on defense, and were too slow in the secondary.

This year is going to be Henson's last year all over again. Dominating offense coupled with the worst defense in the history of Michigan football.

Maybe THAT would finally get Hermann fired?

by buddha (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:18pm

One more thing,

as a Michigan fan, I never thought I'd be pining away for the good ole days when Lloyd "bend and then break" Carr was defensive co-ordinator...

What happened to the Jim Hermann of 1997? The one that actually used the speed of his linebackers?

by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 8:39pm

Buddha - Those are all valid questions. One thing I will say is that getting a consistent pass rush and penetration on running plays makes everyone (LB's, DB's) look faster and tackle better. Michigan just hasn't had anyone who could consistently get into the backfield since that 1997 team.

by Domer (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 10:42am

Thanks. I'll check it out.

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 2:42pm

I will say I’m already tired of seeing Al Czervik on the TV screen every couple seconds. It’s almost like he’s screaming at his players just so he can guarantee he gets more air time.

I know this is a late response, but I just couldn't let this go. Vinny, this is unfair. Yeah, I know, you're obligated to hate ND because you're a Michigan guy. I'm not kindly disposed towards them either, having competed against them in my sport in college and found them talented but arrogant. But Weis' personality, love it or hate it, is a constant. He's been a loud guy since the beginning of time. This has nothing to do with the camera. When Pats players were asked what the biggest difference was without Weis in training camp, one said: "Well, it's a lot quieter!"

Sure, Weis wants to be in charge. He's ambitious. Hate the guy if you want, hate the ND hype machine if you want, but don't go too far down the path of blind homerism in your analysis. I'm pretty sure Weis is a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 9:05pm

CM - Obviously, I'm a Michigan guy, but I don't think my comment re: Weiss was an instance of blind homerism. I'm always annoyed when a coach is constantly shown on the television instead of the players, whether it's Weiss, Parcells, Phil Jackson or Joe Torre. Sure, the dominant personalities get featured more. And I've got nothing against Weiss personally; I'm sure he isn't yelling to get more air time -- hence my use of "almost" -- I was just expressing how annoying it is to always see him.

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/09/2005 - 4:02pm

Vinny, sure, then blame the TV guys. They control the camera shots. Your comments were directed at Weis and seemed to attribute a motive to his actions that I just thought was totally wrong.