Monday, Monday…

October 8, 2007

Well, it sure feels good to finally win again, especially after looking like pure shit in back-to-back road games. And believe it or not, it seems things have taken a turn for the better on the field as we finally have a running game again, thanks to Evan Royster and Rodney Kinlaw. Kinlaw struggled early, fumbling on PSU’s opening drive but redeemed himself in the 2nd half when Royster went out with an injury to his thigh and went on to garner 168 yards rushing on 28 carries.

I want to focus more on the former though: I find it sad that it took Austin Scott getting kicked off the team in order for Evan Royster to get a legit shot at proving himself on the field. He sure did not disappoint, rushing for 88 yards on 16 carries. What really impressed me about Royster was his ability to just lower the shoulder and burst through the blocking holes while dragging defenders along with him, he’s a real North-South runner in the mold of Tony Hunt, one who just pounds away while tiring out opposing defenses throughout the game. It makes me cringe at the blind loyalty our coaching staff shows to seniors who routinely fumble the ball away while talented youngsters like Royster sit on the bench. No matter though, as I suddenly have a lot more hope for us against Wisconsin. Hell, oddsmakers seem to feel the same way too, as we are currently a 6.5 point favorite on Yahoo’s College Pick ‘Em.

Evan Royster: Coming To An Unprepared Defense Near You.

A Few More Thoughts on this past weekend:

  • While I’m definitely more optimistic than last week, I’m still keeping level-headed regarding the outcome of our season. Iowa is a terrible, terrible, team that not only is depleted due to injuries/suspensions, but lacks talent in key positions, particularly on offense. Their offense performed like a bunch of kids randomly assigned to a flag football team in gym class that had never played before, Jake Christensen mis-fired on his throws early and often, and the running game struggled to find holes to go through. We’ll find out a little more about ourselves when Wisconsin comes to town this weekend.
  • We got the best of both Morellis: There was the Morelli who avoided sacks, planted his feet, and let it fly about 60 yards downfield for a completion and slew together a string of consecutive brilliant passes and then there was the Morelli we’ve all come to know and accept, throwing INTs on back-to-back drives, the latter being one of the more idiotic decisions I can recall him ever making by trying to force a throw when he was in the process of being sacked. I should remind you at that point, we were ahead by 13 points with 8 minutes left, simply trying to milk some clock and maintain possession, absolutely no need to be forcing throws like that, just take the goddamn sack. This did lead to a unintentionally humorous moment however, when the student section cheered Morelli for throwing the ball away during the drive that would put us up 27-7, sticking the final nail in Iowa’s birdhouse.
  • Chris Bell’s wide-open drop was inexcusable but I’ll give him a pass because: (1) Anyone who has played football at any level (whether it be backyard two-hand touch, flag, pee-wee, high school, etc.) has likely fucked up on a freebie at some point in their careers and (2) Watching the replay on TV, it seemed to me that Bell was already concentrating on what kind of end zone celebration he would do to commemorate losing his TD virginity and forgot that he needed to secure the ball first.
  • Dan Connor and Sean Lee: Can you find a more brilliant linebacking tandem college football right now? Also, I’m still waiting for the student section to begin chanting Sean Lee’s name like Chong Li in Bloodsport everytime he makes a brilliant play.
  • I also can’t talk about this past weekend without addressing the never-ending parity that seems to have struck every weekend thus far this season: Appalachian State’s upset will not be topped, but USC’s unexplainable loss to the Stanford Tree-Huggers came pretty face-slappingly close.
  • Hey, Mike Hart: It looks like Jim “He’s Not a Michigan Man. I wish he’d never played here.” Harbaugh has done something your team has failed to do in a long time: beat USC.


You know how Mikey likes it…

  • On paper, Wisconsin losing to Illinois seems like a monumental upset but in reality the Badgers were a team on borrowed time. Their defense is extremely vulnerable to the ground game and their offense consists of one strategy: feed the ball to PJ Hill.
  • The two biggest coaches (literally) also garnered key wins, as Mark Mangino’s Kansas squad remained undefeated with an upset over a “hello, goodbye” Top 25 team in Kansas State and Charlie Weis’ Fightin’ Irish pulled a stunning 20-6 upset at UCLA, launching the Bruins into the running for the “Bo Pelini Sweepstakes.”


It’s not too often that both these coaches manage to snag bigger wins than their Body Mass Indexes.

  • The one team that managed to emerge from this clusterfuck of a weekend unscathed was #1 LSU, and even they came damn close to being an upset victim. Luckily for the Tigers, Les Miles has giant, squirrel-sized balls. How else do you explain going 5-for-5 on 4th down conversions (including one with LSU down by only a field goal late in the game and inside Florida’s 10 yard line.)

les-miles-nuts.JPG

If you thought I had a lot on my mind in this entry, just wait until tomorrow’s Big Ten Power Rankings. In the meantime, it’s back to work I go…

Advertisements

Jake Locker Is My Homeboy

September 14, 2007

It’s amazing what a couple of wins will do for your popularity, especially if one of those wins is against the defending Fiesta Bowl champs. Jake Locker, the Washington QB who I’ve been touting as the “next big thing” for over the past week has helped me immensely in breaking the century mark for the number of viewers in one day (114 on Thursday).

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Jake Locker is kind of a big deal.

Through yesterday and today, I’ve had a total of 73 Jake Locker-related searches lead to people finding my site. I dunno how you all found this page because I just did a google search for “jake locker” myself and my website doesn’t seem to appear within the first 12 pages, you guys obviously must have a lot of free time on your hands. Nonetheless, I hope you’re enjoying the site, and feel free to leave a comment if you feel there’s something else about college football’s latest rising star that needs mentioning.

I really feel a win over Ohio State (-4) this weekend will catapult Locker to a Keanu Reeves savior-like status amongst the Husky faithful. Not to mention “Locker Nation” would multiply in size and become large enough to overpower the KISS Army, and that’s exactly what I’m predicting: UW will win 21-17 in a classic Big10-visits-Pac10 trap game.

Now, let’s move on to my Friday predictions of other relevant contests:

Notre Dame (-7.5) at Michigan – In what should end up being the “Cripple Fight Of The Year” Two freshman QB’s in battled-tested Jimmy Clausen and Ryan Mallett will square off in a game that will be played on ESPN Classic for years to come. The thing to look for in this game is how many people walk out of the Michigan locker room alive when Mike Hart goes Latrell Sprewell on his teammates should Michigan lose this one. Look for ND to end its offensive TD-less streak when Jimmy Clausen throws a couple of TD strikes but it won’t be enough because Mike Hart is going to run all over the “Little Giants” caliber Irish defense. Michigan wins this one 28-17.

That’s ONE…ONE offensive touchdown! TWO…TWO offensive touchdowns! HA HA HA HA

Tennessee (+7.5) at Florida – Tennessee’s apparently banged up and so is Florida. However, Tennessee’s already shown it can’t defend worth a lick against teams with a solid offense (see: Tenn-Cal game) and Florida’s shown no signs of slowing down offensively despite losing Andrew Caldwell at wideout. This game will likely be a shootout with the Gators coming out on top: 41-31.

Texas (-18) at UCF – This is a rare sight: A BCS conference team agreeing to play a game on the home field of a non-BCS team. In my “College Pick ‘Em” league on Yahoo, I have UCF beating the spread, the Knights appeared to have some problems shutting down the pass but against the run, they’ve been okay. Albeit, UCF’s only played one game and that was their 25-23 “upset” over NC State. I just have the feeling though that this game will be closer than the oddsmakers have it. I’m not calling for another UCF upset by any means though, Colt McCoy at QB and Jamaal Charles running the ball will be too much for UCF to handle in the end. Did I mention how good Texas’ defense is? Longhorns 27, Golden Knights 17

USC (-9.5) at Nebraska – Make no mistake about it, Nebraska will keep this one close. Memorial Stadium will be the loudest its been since the glory days of Nebraska football and the “Sea of Red” will no doubt make TV viewers’ eyes bleed. USC is also coming off a 2-week layoff from a game against Idaho in which they looked far from impressive so there’s definitely a chance they could start off rusty which in a game like this could give Nebraska some early opportunities to score first and build a lead, forcing USC to rally in a raucous environment. Meanwhile, Nebraska’s defense has been solid against the pass thus far this season but they’re gonna have to kick it up a notch in order to give John David Booty and company a difficult night. Nebraska’s QB Sam Keller also needs to play the best game of his career, not necessarily in the stats department but simply in terms of making smart decisions and keeping mistakes/turnovers to an absolute minimum and their RB Marlon Lucky needs to be able to run until his legs pump battery acid…and then run some more. I’m extremely tempted to take Nebraska in the upset here but my gut feeling tells me they’re gonna come up just a tad short. USC escapes with a 24-21 victory.

On a side note:  here’s to hoping that ABC/ESPN gets smart and decides to have Brent Musberger blow into a breathalyzer before every game and during every TV timeout, and then flashing the results on-screen much like those “decibel meters” they sometimes show on sports broadcasts to measure crowd noise.  That way, when he starts going on one of his off-topic conversations with Kirk Herbstreit, we can all confirm the ambiguous.

You gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel Lucky?”

Last but not least: I am still sticking with my 45-3 prediction for PSU over Buffalo tomorrow (that’s right, we’re beating that 34-point spread). The offense will put up a performance similar to the FIU game and the defense will continue to keep our opponents’ rushing totals in the negatives. This game will be over by halftime. End of discussion. Enjoy the games, everybody…Viva La Jake!


Week 2 Recap – “Celebrity Jeopardy” Style

September 10, 2007

Another wild weekend in college football has come and gone and this year is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent college football history. The storyline of this past weekend were the numerous upsets courtesy of South Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington plus the near-upsets of Wisconsin and Hawaii.

I am not bothering with a detailed post-game analysis on our victory over ND, the rest of the PSU bloggers have done that. However, I should say that the Big Ten in general looks weeeeeak. We definitely did not look like a team that during normal years would have a shot at winning the conference, but this isn’t any ordinary year: Michigan is setting futility records, Ohio State suffers from a lack of offensive firepower (we have the firepower, we just can’t seem to utilize it as much as we should), and Wisconsin needed a last-minute TD to avoid losing to a “2 wins in 2006” UNLV squad.

Instead, I’m going to have some fun here and attempt to recap the weekend by using quotes from the greatest series of SNL sketches ever. I’m talking of course, about “Celebrity Jeopardy.”

The day is mine! I’ll take “Famous Titties” for 400. – The day certainly did belong to Washington QB Jake Locker, whose talents I praised this past weekend in correctly predicting that Boise State would get upset by the Huskies. Locker’s passing numbers weren’t the most eye-popping (13/25 193 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) but he ran like hell over the Boise defense, 16 carries for 84 yards and a score. I really think Ohio State is in for a rude awakening this upcoming Saturday as the whole nation will finally get to see Locker in action (it’s a 3:30 kickoff on ABC).

We meet again, you loggerheaded tickle brain poppycock! I cut an album of filthy limericks just so I’d be eligible! – Miami and Oklahoma met again for the first time since the 1980’s when Barry Switzer’s Sooners were swept three straight times by Jimmy Johnson’s ‘Canes. Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, it wasn’t the same old song and dance as they ended up on the wrong end of a 51-13 ass beating. Perhaps Miami head coach Randy Shannon should re-consider the “no guns” policy he enacted…

“Yeah, I speak a little French: You’re an ass-bite, pardon my French!” – If East Carolina didn’t already expose Virginia Tech as a faux-Top 10 team last week then LSU’s beatdown in Baton Rouge left no doubt in people’s minds that the Hokies don’t belong in the Top 25, let alone the Top 10. Watching the Virginia Tech offense operate is like watching Muhammad Ali try to partake in a game of “Jenga.”

I’ve spent five years of my life trying to invent an “anal bum cover”, failing to do so is my greatest regret! – South Florida has spent the previous ten years of its collegiate football existence trying to garner that “program-changing” win. Last year they beat West Virginia on the road, which certainly was a big deal. However, that is child’s play compared to beating a storied SEC program like Auburn on their home turf. Auburn was practically trying to hand USF the game with their 5 turnovers and should have gotten whooped. Fortunately for Auburn, USF kicker Delbert Alvarado has no concept of kicking accuracy (2-for-6 on field goals), if you saw the way he shanked most of his kicks you know where I’m coming from.

Somebody needs to remind Delbert what sport he’s playing, you can’t bend it like Beckham and expect to kick it through those narrow uprights most of the time…Speaking of kicking, does anyone want to bet that Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville isn’t kicking himself for sitting on the ball with 49 seconds left in regulation and playing for OT instead of trying to drive down the field for a potential game-winning field goal?

None of you knows? No one can figure out if the hot tea is hot or cold? Thank God! Keanu Reeves. Is it “Iced tea”? No! It’s hot tea! Well then, I have no idea! – Anthony Morelli had some nice throws that very few QBs could connect on, but he also made his share of foolish mistakes. This was particularly true when it came to the concept of checking down on his receivers. There was one play where Deon Butler was streaking down the left sideline, at least five yards ahead of his defender and my entire section noticed this and was just waiting for Morelli to release a potential TD strike but alas, AM was too busy staring down the right side of the field where he would ultimately throw an incomplete pass.

I’m willing to chalk this up as a bad day for AM but I can’t help but wonder if perhaps FIU and Tennessee’s defenses were just THAT incompetent?

Morelli may know kung-fu, but can he utilize it when needed?

I’m gonna play it safe: I’ll wager $0. – Charlie Weis had the right game plan for Jimmy Clausen, throw a bunch of swing passes and 5-10 yard out patterns along with the occassional shot down the field. However, I can’t help but wonder if Weis was throwing in the towel when he was still going with this same “play it safe” strategy with ND trailing by 2 TD’s in the 4th quarter. Eventually, Clausen was forced to start taking some risks but not before the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

I should say this about Clausen though: The kid showed a ton of poise for this being his first ever start and in one of the most hostile of environments against one of the most feared defenses in the country. Clausen was running for his life many times and was sacked 6 times but not once did he get roped into making a foolish play (which is was 99 out of 100 freshmen QB’s making their debut on the road would do). The interception in the end zone late in the game was not really Clausen’s fault as his receiver could only get a hand on it and tipped it into King’s hands.

Bottom line: Clausen will be the real deal sooner than you think. It only makes this upcoming weekend’s cripple fight with Michigan all the more intriguing.

Speaking of Michigan…

That’s nice, you put a “Kick Me” sign on Mr. Travolta’s back… – Oregon took a page out of Boise State’s playbook in their 39-7 romp of Michigan. QB Dennis Dixon gave the ball to RB Jonathan Stewart on the old “Statue of Liberty” play (or as Jon Stewart likes to call it: “NAMBLA”), which still ended up being about a 20-yard gain for Stewart when a Michigan defender failed to tackle him in the backfield.

Now, let’s take a look Mr. Reynolds’ answer: “Check Out Keaton’s Back.” – A couple plays later on that same drive, Dennis Dixon called a FAKE Statue of Liberty and ran into the end zone untouched. I don’t think I’ve ever burst into laughter over a football highlight as much as I did when I first watched it. Are you kidding me? First, you snuff out a real SOL play which only ended up in positive yardage because Michigan apparently no longer teaches its players to tackle and on top of that, you get completely tricked by a FAKE SOL play? Wow, just wow.

Burt Reynolds would be proud of Oregon’s trickery

“He is the current U.S. President…He has white hair, and you’ve probably seen him in the news…His first name is ‘Bill’….Mr. Goldblum, I know for a fact you had dinner with him recently…His last name is Clinton!…His name is Bill Clinton, please someone simply say, ‘Who is Bill Clinton?’. Someone just say it! Anyone? [ buzzer sounds ] …And the show has reached a new low.

– The state of the Michigan football program? Complete disarray. A week after suffering the greatest upset in college football history, the Wolverines came out flat and uninspired against Oregon. That hasn’t stopped this year’s planet Earth nominee for “Biggest Douche In The Universe” Mike Hart from guaranteeing victory over Notre Dame this upcoming weekend.

Earth to Mike: if your teammates display the same kind of tackling skills they showed these first two games, you’re in for a rude awakening when Jimmy Clausen dinks and dunks you guys to death.

Well.. uh, this is.. uh, Jeopardy.. Seeing as there are.. uh.. one, two, three, four, five. six.. ahh ..seven.. uh, seven different catagories.. – Like Jeff Goldblum, Lloyd Carr is sitting at his podium doing tai-chi, oblivious to the fact that the entire fan base hates him and wishes he were already canned. This simply makes his post-game press conferences all the more awkward/amusing.

See the difference? Me either.


Hail, To The Victors…

September 1, 2007

I only have three words to describe today thus far: UN…FREAKIN’…BELIEVABLE! I dare someone to name me a crazier start to the opening weekend of college football than a Top 5 ranked program and perennial conference favorite losing at home to a D-IAA program. Notre Dame’s 1995 season-opening loss to Northwestern was trumped today by Michigan losing in the Big House to a tiny little mountain college called Appalachian State, marking the first time ever that a D-IAA school beat a Top 25 school.

Watching this game was like watching Daniel-San deliver the winning “crane kick” to Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid (a fitting analogy considering Michigan’s Cobra Kai-like fan base)App State jumped out to a convincing lead, only to have Michigan rally back to reclaim the lead, and despite the go-ahead field goal by App State with 30 seconds left, the Wolverines had their “Finish Him!” moment with a seemingly routine mid-range field goal…only to have it get blocked.  Game over, Elizabeth Shue runs onto the field to hug the hero while Mr. Miyagi shows his quiet approval on the sideline.


Appalachian State is the BEST…AROUND…Nothing’s gonna ever keep them down!

For comedic purposes, I was hoping to see the Michigan A.D. run up to Lloyd Carr after the game and hand him a nice pink slip after the most embarrassing loss by far in Michigan football history. Considering the fact the Michigan scout.com board is in total nuclear meltdown right now one might think Lloyd’s *hours* are numbered in Ann Arbor. What I really want to see though is Michigan’s constant shit-talking tailback Mike Hart declare a vow of silence for the rest of season like Paul Dano (the Nietzsche-reading teenager) in Little Miss Sunshine.

A few quick thoughts on today’s annihilation of FIU:

– Save for a couple nice cuts to the end zone, Austin Scott disappointed me. Expect to continue seeing Kinlaw get some quality PT, maybe even Royster as well until one of these backs establishes themselves as the main man.

– Morelli was awesome, throwing for 300 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs, and most importantly no WTF-type throws. He seems to be doing a much better job of checking down on his receivers as opposed to staring down the primary receiver like he did last year. It was also nice to see a little more variety in the passing game with some nice over-the-middle throws coupled in with some shorter routes and “let it fly” deep passes. I was telling everyone last year who jumped off or were seriously contemplating jumping off the Morelli bandwagon that Morelli was the second of coming of Kerry Collins (take your lumps during the first year as a starter, and then come back with a vengeance the following year by ripping it up through the air and being a true leader of the offense). While we still have a whole season ahead of us, they likely won’t be laughing at me anymore…

– The defense was good as advertised, apparently those D-line injuries didn’t mean jack squat with regards to shutting down the running game as we held FIU to -3 yards total rushing.

Bring on the Irish…(who are currently being shut out at the half by Georgia Tech)