Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quick 1st Half Thoughts on Vandy vs. UGA...

A couple quick thoughts that I posted over on David Hale's UGA blog:

Why not go for deep with 1-second left on the clock before halftime?

Why take a knee when the defense jumps offsides? That's twice that I can remember that the opposing defense wasn't offside but Stafford took a knee instead of taking a chance downfield (this game and the Florida game last year when a DL popped Stafford and got a 15-yd penalty).

Also, is it me or are Stafford's mechanics still lacking for a top-10 NFL pick? He underthrew Green and MoMa deep with the MoMa throw picked off by Moore on what was otherwise a solid drive.

Total domination for the second week in a row in the stats but the score doesn't reflect it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Night Action...Kansas comes to South Florida

Time: 8:00
Where: Tampa, FL
Who: Kansas vs. South Florida (-3.5)

Let me begin with this: South Florida is developing into a damn good program. Kansas, well, the verdict is still out if they will remain in Big XII contention year in and year out going against more established programs such as Nebraska, Colorado, and (gasp) Missouri. All of which should continue to outrecruit Kansas.

With all that said, I'm picking Kansas. In Todd Reesing I trust. Also, a 7-pt victory over UCF last week for USF did not exactly inspire confidence. Who knew Todd Reesing beat out my boy Matt Stafford for the 4A player of the year in Texas? Also, The Great Mangini outweighs Weis and doesn't care. I know they're on the road and playing against one of the better (or, at least, faster) defenses that they'll face, but Rock Chalk, Jayhawk takes it 34-24. Respect.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is East Carolina Legit?

The media is now hyping ECU to epic proportions following their dismantling of WVU yesterday. Obviously, the back-to-back wins look really impressive and, on paper, are probably the two best wins any team in the county can claim after two weeks. Having said that, let’s get a little crazy here and suggest that Virginia Tech really isn’t all that great and WVU is undergoing massive change with their new coach Bill “I’m terrible” Stewart. Virginia Tech is not a top 25 team this year and only crept into the preseason rankings as a result of their past history and the probability that they will contend for a championship in the very weak ACC. Having said all that, ECU needed a blocked punt TD with less than two minutes to go to win the game. That’s hardly a blow-out against a team that lacks any impact skill position players.

The West Virginia game was a statement game for ECU and completely embarrassed WVU (which I am very grateful for). ECU showed a fast, aggressive defense, exactly the one needed to counter the spread attack of WVU. But, again, this WVU team is not the team from last year and was ranked so high due to its success last season and the prior couple years under Rich Rod. Bill Stewart, inexplicably, has tweaked Rich Rod’s spread that so perfectly fit Pat White to a more pass-oriented attack. The issue that I have with this is that it takes the physicality of WVU’s offense out of the game. WVU used to manhandle and punish defensive line’s and had a nasty, intimidating attitude (remember Owen Schmitt?). All the same, ECU dominated WVU, which is still the favorite to win the Big East (that’s not saying much though), and looked sharp throughout the game in an electric atmosphere in Greenville, NC.

Up to this point, ECU undoubtedly should be ranked in the top 25. But for those buying into the media calling for ECU to be ranked in the top 15 or top 10, I beg for you to remember Hawaii last year and all the other supposed BCS crashers. We all rout for the underdog and I love what Holtz is going with the ECU program, but I do not think that they could win any BCS conference (even the Big East – I think they would wear down and trip up a couple times along the way to Rutgers, Louisville, Cincy, South Florida, or even UConn). If ECU manages to keep it together and go undefeated, I would love to see them in a BCS game (not the title) and possibly bring some magic to the bowls like Boise State did.

So, I guess it comes down to what is considered to be legit. For non-BCS teams, I think going undefeated with victories over four BCS teams (NC State and UVA still to go) would seem to be legit. Undoubtedly, a team needs to beat a ‘legit’ team, unlike Hawaii last year, to be considered a top 25 team. At this point, the jury’s still out if VT and WVU are ‘legit’ and could render all this hype meaningless.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 1 Recap

Week 1 Quick Thoughts:

Way to make us proud Pitt (sorry Mark May), Texas A&M, Miss. State, Clemson, VT and all the others (including Michigan). UGA is not the #1 team in the country, and I fully expect the rankings to reflect such (my top 4: OSU, USC, OU, and UGA). Oklahoma and the winner of USC/OSU for the BCS (I'm still going Buckeyes as long as Beanie's healthy). I wish this was UGA’s year, but the recent season-ending injury to Jeff Owens, the leader of UGA’s DL, leads me to believe otherwise.

By now, everyone has watched and read about what a joke Clemson is again. Pitt and Texas A&M are jokes as well. Sherman may already be on the hot seat, and Wannstedt has to be close to the end of the line (could be next week if Buffalo surprises). Speaking of the MAC, the Gophers squeezed out a victory against now MAC bottom feeder Northern Illinois. Things could get ugly, like last year, when the Gophers travel to Bowling Green this weekend. Juice surprised me with his arm, but I’m still not sold on the Illini this year (believe Penn State and/or Wisconsin will be #2 in the Big 10/11). The SEC beat the ACC twice times by a combined score of 68-10. Mississippi State and Arkansas disappointed for the SEC. I continue to believe Ole Miss will be bowl bound this year, and this weekend only further confirmed my belief. Oh, and I still believe the ACC is better than the Big East and UNC will be bowl-bound, even after that weak performance over McNeese St.

Week 1 Game of the Week (Clemson/Bama) Recap:

"I think the ACC is just as good as the SEC," Harper said. "I think we didn't have a good showing tonight, but I think the two conferences are very equal."

Hmm, having watched the game as well as the past several years of SEC/ACC matchups (i.e. FSU/UF, GT/UGA and for anyone bringing up Clemson/USC please check on the last time Clemson was shut out at home), I think I’ll have to disagree. I still believe the ACC is a better conference with the addition of Miami, VT, and BC, but these are tough times for a conference steeped in tradition (okay, maybe an exaggeration but FSU, Miami, BC, and VT all have decent tradition).

And, I had to laugh at this little excerpt from

Clemson already trailed 3-0 when Harper underthrew a wide-open Aaron Kelly down the left sideline on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage, turning a potential long gain into a near-interception. The Tigers attempted their first run from scrimmage on the next play, but the carry didn't go to either Davis or C.J. Spiller, who comprise arguably the nation's top tailback tandem. The ball instead went to true freshman Jamie Harper, who fumbled at Clemson's 31 to set up Leigh Tiffin's second field goal of the night.

Clemson never recovered.

Bowden acknowledged Sunday that he promised the first carry of the season to Harper while recruiting the former four-star prospect from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian. Bowden didn't regret the decision and noted he made similar types of promises to Davis, Spiller and former Clemson receivers Justin Miller and Roscoe Crosby while recruiting them.

Georgia Southern vs. Georgia Recap:

I’m pretty sure that everything that needs to be said has already been said by those who make money doing this, but as for my two cents:

The offense and defense looked sharp (at first). I have difficulty understanding why Joe Cox was put in on the third series of the game. I don’t want to question CMR’s decisions, but it seemed that Stafford and the offense lost its rhythm briefly with Cox taking the helm. UGA will need Stafford to realize the vast potential that keeps the NFL scouts drooling if UGA is going to win the SEC (first things first before talking NC),. Knowshon was, well, Knowshon. Richard Samuel and Caleb King (why didn’t he get in earlier?) showed flashes of their ability while making enough mistakes (fumble for Samuel and picking up blitzes for King) to keep them hungry and sick RB Coach Ball on them. Samuel is a bruiser and straight ahead runner who isn’t going to make many people miss, while King showed the moves and speed that everyone’s been talking about since his HS days. As for the WR’s, I’m still not sold on Durham (dropped a 3rd down bomb by Stafford) and Moore (seems to lack sure hands/confidence). Massaquoi and Green are sure-handed receivers with both looking good (MoMa had some great hands while getting pushed out on the sidelines). I wonder how much we will see of Tavarres King throughout the season. Overall, the offense flashed its potential, leaving me wanting more.

As for the defense, UGA looked good – for the first 8 snaps. It looked like Owens’ injury deflated the mood of the defense, and I don’t blame them. Owens was one of two leaders of the defense, with Ellerbe being the other. UGA has now lost its best DL and OL for the year. I fully understand that UGA has good depth on its lines, but I think this injury could have huge implications if Corvey Irvin doesn’t became a dominant DL like Owens suggested at SEC Media Days and Kade Weston doesn’t return healthy and angry. It was mentioned during the game that something like 10 of the 12 offenses that UGA will face run some form of the spread. While UGA has been recruiting players to defend the spread (notice the accumulation of defensive speed – sometimes instead of size like Curran), it was disappointing to see the running lanes that GSU had after the 1Q. I know we were up 38-0 before GSU started scoring, but that’s overlooking two drives into our red zone that GSU failed to capitalize on (missed FG; interception). Everyone who says UGA did what they needed to do and let GSU score early seems to be overlooking that little fact against our #1 defense. I’m not angry about it, though, because I think Willie M. is angry about it and will correct it going forward.

- Positives: RB’s; Stafford; the freshman (specifically, Marcus Dowtin, Blair Walsh, and AJ Green)
- Negatives: DB tackling; DL against the run; kick-off coverage
- Unknowns: Stafford’s communication/confidence in WR’s (some drops, some poor throws); OL

Week 2 Preview:

Central Michigan vs. Georgia – for those who don’t know Dan LeFevour, he is one of two QB’s to ever thrown for 3,000 yds and rush for 1,000 yds in a season (the other being Vince Young). While everybody in Georgia was talking about Georgia Southern possibly being this season’s App. State, Central Michigan is the better bet. Why not? Well, Clemson destroyed CMU, hanging 70 on the Chippewas last October.

It’s a tougher test than GSU for our defense. It’s another tune up before starting the SEC slate and anything less than 45 points from UGA’s offense and a 20 point win would be a disappointment. I’ll take a win any way that we can get it without a major injury.

As for other games, East Carolina will not beat West Virginia. I know some are throwing that out there given ECU’s win over Virginia Tech, but they are looking over one glaring fact: West Virginia has a pretty good offense unlike VT (no WR’s or RB’s not to mention Glennon isn’t that great). On Thursday night, South Carolina at Vanderbilt should be decent matchup facing Chris Nickson and Vandy’s option look against a stout South Carolina defense. Who will quarterback for Spurrier? Also of interest is Wake Forest, which showed impressive efficiency in dismantling Baylor, against Ole Miss, sleeper in the SEC West, and Georgia Tech’s triple option against Boston College’s defense. At quick glance, potential upsets include Bowling Green over Minnesota (if Minny’s favored) and UL-Monroe over Arkansas. Overall, a pretty weak slate ahead of Week 3, which undoubtedly will feature the 3rd game of the century (see: USC vs. ND and Texas vs. USC) in 8 years as Ohio State travels to Southern Cal.

Week 1 Picks Review:

I was traveling this week and didn’t have time to post, but I picked 18 games to begin the season (I have alibis that would state such). I tend to do better at the beginning of the year with picks so I decided to load up.

Vanderbilt (+3.5) @ Miami. Anytime an SEC time as an underdog against a MAC team, I take it. Vandy didn’t disappoint. I liked the option from Nickson, and DJ Moore lived up to his hype. I didn’t expect such a whipping though, 34-10, ‘Dores.

Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina (+10). It was only a 10-pt. game last year and VT’s offense is awful. I didn’t think ECU would win (27-22), especially via Beamer ball.

Bowling Green @ Pittsburgh (-13). I saw LeSean McCoy and the return of WR Derek Kinder, Pitt’s #1 receiver. I also took into account the better recruiting talent of Pitt and forgot that Coach Wannstedt isn’t a coach.

Hawaii @ Florida (-33.5). Last year, June Jones called Tebow a system QB when comparing Colt Brennan and the Heisman winner. Then, he left Hawaii with the departing Colt Brennan, leaving a deflated Hawaii to play a motivated UF team. SEC 97, Hawaii 20. Hopefully, that’s the last we hear from Hawaii again (I said the same thing after Georgia demolished Boise State, but the Blue Broncos beat Oklahoma the next year).

USC (-19.5) @ Virginia. I wanted to go to Charlottesville with some friends to see the game. It’s not too often that you get to see the most dominant team of the decade play. Southen Cal looked good in a romp with plenty of depth (52-7).

Oklahoma State (-7) @ Washington State. OSU has a potent offense; Wazzy is a complete unknown with a new coach and a new QB. OSU in a romp.

Tulsa (-13.5) @ UAB. Apparently, some thought the departure of QB Paul Smith would affect OC Gus Malzahn’s system. Apparently, some thought UAB HC Neil Callaway could coach. Both were apparently wrong. Tulsa runs away with it.

Northern Illinois @ Minnesota (-8.5). I know the Gophers suck. I know they sucked last year against non-BCS and MAC foes as well. As much as I knew, I believed in the Mighty Golden Gophers in year 2 of Tim Brewster, at least against to what’s supposed to be an awful Northern Illinois team. The Gophers pulled it off late, though, to secure a 31-27 win.

Louisiana-Monroe @ Auburn (-26). My theory was that Auburn’s two QB’s would be battling it out for the starting role and would put up a ton of points trying to outplay one another. After 85 yards of passing, it wasn’t so much the offense as much as the defense in a 34-0 shutout. All the same, Auburn covers.

Memphis @ Ole Miss (-7.5). Ole Miss is one of my sleeper bowl teams and Memphis is just bad. I know it’s a rivalry, but Memphis has been terrible since Deangelo Williams left for the NFL.

Florida Atlantic (+24) @ Texas. Texas has a young secondary. Texas also has a new stud DC in Muschamp. Muschamp won out over QB Rusty Smith and FAU’s huck-and-chuck offense.

Arkansas State (+19) @ Texas A&M. Javorskie Lane was hurting; Arkansas State has been making some strides; TAMU has a new coach. I don’t care. This is a terrible loss and a huge upset. I thought this was too many points but didn’t see an upset.

Boston College (-9.5) vs. Kent State. 21-0 shutout. BC has a good defense but a new QB.

Alabama (+4.5) vs. Clemson. Clemson’s weaknesses were OL, DL, and LB’s. Bama has weak LB’s, DL, and skill position players but a dominant OL. I picked on SEC lines and a belief that Bama had the better OL and DL. I did not know that Bama’s OL and DL were that much better.

Illinois vs. Missouri (-9). I didn’t believe in Juice, and I thought that the loss of J. Leman would affect the Illini D. Juice impressed but Mizzou covered. Mizzou looks to be a little overrated at this point in the season and needs to toughen up the defense otherwise I think they’ll trip up in the Big 12 North where only Iowa State is a gimme this year.

Washington (+13.5) @ Oregon. I want to believe in Willingham and Locker. Oregon played their 3rd or 4th string QB. What an embarrassment. Willingham needs to beat ND to save his job at this point.

Colorado State (+11) @ Colorado. Double digits in a rivalry game seemed a bit much. Good for the Buffs. RB true freshman Scott looked decent, and I expect big things throughout the year.

Today’s Games (season to date = 11-5):

Fresno State (+5) @ Rutgers. I see no reason other than the home-field that Rutgers should be favored. Fresno State is a sleeper to sneak into the BCS and has played several BCS teams successfully over the past several years.

Tennessee (-7) @ UCLA. UCLA has a new coaching staff and new QB. Tennessee has the better talent and Crompton is a capable QB for a seasoned offense. Look out for Gerald Jones, Arian Foster, and Lennon Creer on offense. Will Berry play on both sides of the ball? I question UT’s front 7, but the secondary is fast and athletic. I don’t understand why more people seem to talk about South Carolina than Tennessee. UT has the talent to win the SEC East if things break their way (see Alabama in the SEC West). I like Norm Chow but still question Neuheisel as a coach going back to his CU tenure. UCLA has all the makings of a sleeping giant, but it will not awake this year. Vols roll.

Shout Outs:

Congrats to Chad, by the way, for what I believe was an 0-3 performance against me this week. Silver, I'm disappointed that you had no faith. Then again, if my team lost its home opener two years in a row, I wouldn't have much faith either. James, if you had the exact same roster as last year, there's a decent chance that you could win the ACC. Ben, I'm beyond words how you went to Athens and didn't get in the game. If James and his girlfriend can get into an SEC bout, I don't see how you didn't make it in against a 1-AA team (I know you have an excuse and am waiting). I apologize if I'm a bit surly, UGA has now lost its best o-line and d-lineman after only one game. It could still be a great year but UGA has a lot to overcome. Oh, and I was stuck in Connecticut through it all for what turned out to be not much of a family reunion (my parents were the youngest in attendance besides my sister - 21 - and me). Miserable. Finally, I said I wouldn't let the football season suck me in, and here it is, week one, and I can't look away.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Some quick thoughts on the upcoming season

Sick and tired of Georgia fans coming out of the woodwork. Tickets are now $10,000 when they used to be just $2,500 a few season ago. All of a sudden, message boards are filled with UGA fans, claiming that UGA is the best team ever and should have won the NC last year and is a lock to do so this year.

Again, I prefer to stick to the facts:

UGA beat Bama in a miracle OT comeback
UGA beat Vandy on a miracle fumble and last second FG
UGA was blown out by UT
UGA beat a Hawaii team that would have been a sub-500 SEC team (yes, I’m saying that it was the equivalent of beating an Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina or Kentucky). Actually, that was a pretty big win for the Dawgs since we lost to a team that we were supposed to blow out in our last BCS game (2005 Sugar Bowl against WVU).

Look, I know UGA is stacked at most positions this year and returns an absurd # of starters. But, I also know that UGA has an incredibly difficult schedule and has often been tripped up in the past. The last time we had the same SEC slate was in 2004 (Greene and Pollack’s senior year), when we were a shoe-in for the SEC East title. Then, we made it through Alabama and blew out LSU in a revenge game only to fall flat against Tennessee (19-14) led by freshman QB Erik Ainge (3-0 against the Dawgs in his career. I, for one, am glad to see he’s gone and wish another Clausen was there to take his place). Although we beat UF (which, combined with LSU, really made our season), we lost to Auburn (which went undefeated) and handed the SEC East to Tennessee. Oh, I would also like to point out that we will have a first-year placekicker. With all the right breaks that a SEC team needs to win the BCS, it makes me a little uncomfortable knowing that we will likely have to rely on a freshman kicker to win a game at some point in 2008.

I have always thought that 2009 looks to be the best year (assuming, Stafford and Knowshon return. At this time last year, I never thought that we would be concerned with losing either of these two before 2009.). Our non-conference slate is more difficult with three BCS teams (Ok. State, ASU, and GT – ASU will take a step back after losing QB Carpenter but GT will likely be better in year two of the Paul Johnson era and with dual-threat QB Josh Nesbitt entering his Junior year). We, however, will get Arizona State and LSU at home and drop Alabama for Arkansas. Our beginning slate will be just as difficult (@ OSU, vs. USC, @ Arkansas, vs. ASU, vs. LSU, @ UT), but we will have a bye ahead of the UF game (remember the importance of the bye week in this series) and Tennessee Tech before Auburn.

2008 Predictions
- The SEC East will be won on November 1 in Jacksonville, FL
- Notre Dame will win 9 games
- USC will win the Pac-10
- North Carolina will go to a bowl game
- Clemson will win the ACC
- Ohio State will win the Big-10/11
- LSU will not win the SEC West – it will be down to Auburn and Alabama in the Iron Bowl

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A New Beginning...

The site has been refreshed ahead of the 2008 season, which began officially yesterday with UGA's starting of spring practice (well, at least for me).