Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 3: We actually learned some stuff

I really should try to start these posts before Monday, yes? Anyway ...

Oklahoma wins, destroys every Florida State player: Oklahoma's defense was flat-out violent Saturday night, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. It was kinda like watching the good-old-days Miami defenses that just hurt people -- the carnage was everywhere (I'm honestly relieved that Kenny Shaw isn't permanently damaged). That's really the one thing OU has been missing the past few years; I honestly can't remember the last time I saw Oklahoma just grind out a win against a similarly elite team. And yes, Florida State is an elite team -- my questions were answered. The defense was everything it was hyped up to be (and then some), and E.J. Manuel did a lot of good things when his passes weren't getting tipped and his shoulder wasn't getting destroyed. Also, Dustin Hopkins has a ridiculous leg. The problem I see is the lack of a running game; if/when Manuel plays like crap, I could easily see the 'Noles laying an offensive egg and losing to somebody they shouldn't (although it's hard to envision it mattering against any team on the schedule other than Miami or Florida). As for OU, the path is pretty clear (Texas is the "pretty" part) to 8-0. The last month might be interesting, but this is a really good/possibly great team.

Landry Jones is a stone-cold killer: Srsly. Just forget about the "199 yards with a TD and two picks" part and go back to the play immediately before Oklahoma's game-winning touchdown. Here's the scenario: FSU has just tied the score at 13-13 in the fourth quarter and has every ounce of momentum, and there are roughly 80,000 people at Doak Campbell rockin' the Tomahawk Chop and throwing spears at each other (or something). It's third-and-13 for OU at its own 41. Somebody on the interior of the O-line gets pwned, and the result is a defensive tackle who's about three feet away from killing Jones, causing the stadium to explode and giving FSU the ball back with eight minutes left and a chance to win. Landry Jones, meanwhile, gives this guy the proverbial middle finger and hits Ryan Broyles right between the freakin' numbers for 22 yards. In video form (note that the next play is the beautiful pump-and-go to Kenny Stills):

That's doin' work.

Miami manhandles Ohio State in hilarious fashion: Miami went 54 yards on the first play from scrimmage and led by a touchdown 2:13 into the game. They could have stopped there and won; that's how awful Ohio State's offense was. Here's the combined passing line for Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller: 4 for 18 for 35 yards (!!!) and one pick. They made Jacory Harris look like Peyton Manning despite him throwing three Jacory Harris Specials (two that actually got picked off and one that should have been a walk-in pick six). The OSU defense also had no answer when Miami pulled out the old-school Student Body Left/Right to get Lamar Miller outside and ran it over and over and over and over. Miller ended up with 184 yards, and even if you excise the 54-yarder on the first play, he averaged five yards a pop. All the things I said about Ohio State being just fine now seem ... ummm ... not accurate? The defense is still good but not great, and the passing game is 2008 Michigan-esque. And after Colorado this weekend, OSU's next four games are: Michigan State, at Nebraska, at Illinois, Wisconsin. Yikes. I have no idea what to say about Miami. Is the defense really that good? If so, there's not a team they can't beat unless Jacory Harris throws a handful of devastating picks, which will assuredly happen. I like their chances in the ACC a hell of a lot more than I did three days ago, but I still have a hard time seeing anything better than about 9-3 given the fact that (a) they already have a loss and (b) they still play road games at Va. Tech, Florida State and South Florida.

Notre Dame finally stops playing like crap, crushes Michigan State: It was bound to happen eventually. And just to be clear, finishing minus-1 in turnover margin means "not playing like crap" when compared to ND's first two games. A few observations: Michigan State's offensive line is bad (29 total rushing yards for a team with Edwin Baker, Larry Caper and LeVeon Bell is awful), Notre Dame's lines (on both sides) are pretty good and Tommy Rees is going to be terrifying once he figures out where NOT to throw the ball. Also, "Little Giants" derp lol:

Not this time, Sparty. I'll say it again: Barring another five-turnover disaster at some point (which is entirely possible), there's not another game on the schedule Notre Dame should lose until the regular-season finale at Stanford, which might be a de facto BCS play-in game. Get Lou Holtz on the phone for a ridiculous prediction, stat.

Auburn's miraculous win streak is over: Gene Chizik's soul is apparently worth 17 games. As expected, it was the defense that let Auburn down -- not that 24 points is great, but it should at least be enough to keep you in the game. Auburn's secondary just isn't very good, and Tajh Boyd lit it up like a freakin' Christmas tree (30 for 42 for 386 yards and four touchdowns) to the point where Dabo Swinney was forced to summon his inner Mike Gundy (the happy version):

Statistical tidbit: Auburn is now 117th in total defense. After Florida Atlantic on Saturday, the next four games are as follows: at South Carolina, at Arkansas, Florida, at LSU (wwwhhheeeeee!). So a win against Clemson would have been nice since they'll be a lot tougher to come by in October. On the flipside, Swinney's job is now slightly safer than it was a week ago ... but that goodwill won't last long unless Clemson actually wins a meaningful ACC game for the first time in forever. The next two on the schedule: Florida State and at Virginia Tech. Good luck with that.

Florida might be really good: My two takeaways from the Florida-Tennessee game: Florida's defense is borderline dominant, which probably has something to do with Will Muschamp being a crazy but awesome defensive coach (the Bo Pelini of the SEC?), and John Brantley looks roughly 6 billion times more comfortable and effective in Charlie Weis' offense than he did in the thing Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio were running at the end. Oh, and Chris Rainey is fast and actually has a useful role. I thought at the beginning of the year that South Carolina and Georgia would be the default top two in the SEC East, but Florida might be better than either one (pending upcoming games against top-five teams that will tell us a little more than a home game against .500-ish Tennessee).

Texas curbstomps UCLA into submission: Man ... UCLA is awful. Kevin Prince played three series and threw three interceptions, at which point it was 21-0 Texas and the game was over. Richard Brehaut was slightly less terrible but not nearly good enough to make it matter. Barring a massive turnaround, Rick Neuheisel's gone. Meanwhile, Case McCoy! Malcolm Brown! Texas got competent quarterback play and good running back play for the first time in ... umm ... I don't even know. How Garrett Gilbert managed to keep his job for the past year-plus is a mystery, because McCoy just went out against a pretty decent defense on the road in his first start and went 12 for 15 with two touchdowns and no picks. And Brown was just as good, finishing with 22 carries for 110 yards and a spectacular touchdown; he clearly needs to be a significant part of the offense, especially given the unknown quantities at the QB spot. But still: Texas haz offense?

Utah wins Holy War, takes over Provo: The score at halftime Saturday night was Utah 14, BYU 10. It seemed like a typical Utah-BYU game. About 27 minutes later, Utah had 40 (!) more points and BYU was still stuck on 10. The reason: BYU had seven turnovers, including six lost fumbles. Six! From the start of the third quarter to the 14-minute mark of the fourth, BYU ran 10 offensive plays while Utah scored four times. BYU isn't terrible -- they lost to Texas (in Austin) by one point last week after leading most of the way -- but seven turnovers lol. I bet Max Hall loved it. BTW, Utah is pretty good ... like maybe the best team in the Pac-12 South, which is kinda frightening considering that (a) this was supposed to be a rebuilding year and (b) recruiting has improved significantly with the help of the whole Pac-12 thing.

Oklahoma State and Tulsa play all night morning: I will never understand why this game wasn't postponed to Sunday or canceled. Kickoff came at 12:16 a.m. local time after three-ish hours of weather delays that would've had sane people saying, "It's just not gonna happen tonight." The game ended at 3:35 a.m. This probably sucked for everybody involved, from the players to the refs to the fans (although Brandon Weeden didn't seem to have much trouble). I hope whoever had play-or-cancel authority had to get up early Sunday morning.

Georgia Tech runs for 50,000 yards (roughly): Hyperbole simply wouldn't be sufficient, so I'll just reprint most of Georgia Tech's box score from Saturday's 66-24 win over Kansas and let you be amused:
  • Total yards: 768
  • Rushing yards: 604 (lol wut)
  • Yards per rush: 12.1 (an NCAA record)
  • Completions-attempts: 4-7
  • Yards per pass: 23.4
I don't even know what to say.

Player of the Week: Toledo caveats go here (especially now that we know Ohio State just isn't very good), but good lord: Kellen Moore went 32 for 42 for 455 yards and five touchdowns Friday night. He accounted for all but one of Boise's scores in a 40-15 win and now has a pass efficiency of 187.56 (fifth in the country) through two games, both of which were played on the road against legitimate Division I teams. The guy is a walking quarterback clinic.

I also feel obligated to give a shout-out to Texas Tech QB du jour Seth Doege, whose line against New Mexico was just as ridiculous as Moore's: 40 for 44 (90.9 percent!) for 401 yards and five touchdowns. He'd be my player of the week if he'd done it against somebody less abysmal than New Mexico, but alas. He'll have to settle for the Division I record for highest completion percentage in a single game -- doing it while throwing 44 passes is truly phenomenal, competition be damned.

Louisiana Tech's defense is the Conference USA equivalent of Notre Dame's: I'm sure you don't care about this, but Louisiana Tech was leading Houston 34-7 on Saturday with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Final score: Houston 35, Louisiana Tech 34. Case Keenum FTW.

Post-Week 3 top 10: I actually have some level of confidence about most of these teams. Yay.
  1. Oklahoma
  2. LSU
  3. Alabama
  4. Boise State
  5. Florida State
  6. Oregon
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Stanford
  10. South Carolina (or Texas A&M or Nebraska or Virginia Tech or whoever)


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