Coming up on the half way mark of the college football season and now we enter conference play in earnest. There will be several big games every week now until conference championship games. Last week I went 3-2, as LSU failed to cover but Ohio State did (which still surprises me, Wisconsin did not play well)t in OT, so I finished 3-3 and am now 21-11 for the season. There are some really, really good game this week and the National Championship game participants could look to this week as a deciding factor.
Game #1: #6 USC at #25 Notre Dame. So far this season the Trojans have only given up 43 points in five games and are +101 points in differential; they should be undefeated except for their annual lapse against a Pac 10 team. The Irish are only a +44 points in differential and have given up 119 points. Notre Dameâ€™s defense is simply terrible, especially on the edges and USC gets their #1 wide receiver and main deep threat back this week (plus the playbook is expanding for the freshman QB). The Irish have had the same defensive problem for a few years: slow, terrible pass defenders, and horrific tackling. Donâ€™t look for the Trojans to simply run straight ahead as Washington did (thatâ€™s really the only solid point of the Irish defense). Notre Dame is 4-1, but probably the weakest 4-1 possible and they could easily have been 1-4 at this point. How they magically got into the Top 25 on a bye week speaks to probably the occasional manipulation of the polls to make the match up a little better. USC is currently favored by 10. Donâ€™t worry about the points here, take the Trojans to drive another nail in the Charlie Weiss retirement package.
Game #2: #8 Cincinnati at #21 South Florida. This should be a really good game against two undefeated teams. History has been against the Bulls, who tend to start fast and then have trouble sustaining their momentum. This is as high as Cincinnati ever been ranked and they look like the real thing, they are currently #3 in the nation in scoring. The glaring difference between the two teams is the 100 yard per game in passing advantage and their QB Tony Pike is an under the radar Heisman candidate. Weather could be a factor with some rain and game time temps in the 80â€™s. The Bearcats are currently favored by 4. Cincinnati may well end up undefeated this season and if USC isnâ€™t in the BCS Championship game then weâ€™re pulling for Boise State and Cincinnati. This should be a very good game, but take the Bearcats.
Game #3: #22 South Carolina at #2 Alabama. By virtue of mainly a lackluster performance by Texas rather than their own performance, the Tide moved up in the polls to #2. South Carolina and the Ole Ball Coach have been up and down. Some weeks they look good and some weeks they donâ€™t. They have a better defense than offense, but they can score. While it appears that Alabama should move undefeated to the SEC Championship game, this could be a trap game. Alabama is currently favored by 17. Iâ€™d like to see an upset, but donâ€™t see a home let down by a Nick Saban coached team. The Tide wins, but wonâ€™t cover, take the Gamecocks and the points.
Game #4: #20 Oklahoma at #3 Texas. This is the annual rivalry game. These teams both have Heisman QBâ€™s, both teams are very even (although the Sooners are not scoring as much in comparison to their offensive stats). The Sooners have the pressure. They have to win to be in the BCS discussion. If they lose they are not playing on a January 1st Bowl game, despite their fan base. They also have the better defense. Texas did not look good last week and in a couple of games they have played badly in the first half. The Longhorns are currently favored by 7. This is always a close game and Texas played badly last week, take the Sooners and the points.
Game #5: #4 Virgina Tech at #19 Georgia Tech. On paper this looks like another win for Virginia Tech, they have the advantage in scoring and overall defense. But, they are not strong against the run, which is pretty much the strength of the offense of Georgia Tech. VT struggled a lot against the power running game of Nebraska and nearly lost the game. Georgia Techâ€™s triple option is difficult to defend if you only see it once a year. If VT were coming off a bye week and had more time to prepare I might go with them, but they arenâ€™t and they are traveling (and played badly in their only other road game this season against Duke). The Hookies are favored by 3. Iâ€™m not convinced by VT, take the Rambling Wreck and the points.
Bonus Pick Texas Tech at #15 Nebraska. We like the continually improving Nebraska Cornhuskers. They are coming off a very good win against Missouri where they showed that they can explode on offense. Their defense if top 10 and they should handle Red Raiders passing attack (especially with their rush). Nebraskaâ€™s Mr. Suh (you always call a 6-4 300lbs d-lineman who can run faster than most running backs â€śMr.â€ť) should get Heisman consideration, heâ€™s the most impressive pass rusher and run defender Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. Tech can only pass, they are averaging only 78 yards per game rushing and they have a really porous defense. The Huskers are favored by 11. Nebraska is back in the Big 12 (I would not be surprised if they won the Big 12 Championship) and will be back in the national discussion by next year. Take the Huskers.
In the Top 10, #5 Boise State has Tulsa and should remain undefeated. LSU has a bye after a rather embarrassing loss at Florida; embarrassing in that they could score a single touchdown. #7 Ohio State is fine over Purdue; #9 Miami should handle UCF easily.
The BCS rankings come out after this week, some tinkering has already been seen, moving a one defeat Virginia Tech ahead of the undefeated Boise State, the almost magical moving of Notre Dame into the top 25 after their bye week (that shouldnâ€™t last after this week). The undefeated Cincinnati finally moved slightly ahead of Ohio State. Undefeated TCU, which is a very good team, is still not in the top 10, stuck at #12. BYU, which had gotten to #6 lost a game (to a top 10 team) and nearly dropped out of the Top 25 and now has only moved up to #18. The BCS continues to be a rigged and manipulated way to determine the teams in the National Championship game. Itâ€™s the system that exists, but it needs to be changed. The absolutely worthless Coaches Poll needs to be dropped. Coaches have no time to evaluate teams other than their next opponent. I imagine most, if not all, of the picks in the coaches poll are done by either (1) the schoolâ€™s Sports Information Director, (2) some grad assistant, (3) a member of the coaches family, or (4) throwing darts.Posted by Narnia3 at October 15, 2009 12:41 PM | TrackBack