Sunday, October 09, 2011

Week 6: Entertaining but not surprising

Make the bad man stop: Oklahoma just absolutely destroyed Texas in every way possible. Landry Jones did his best Sam Bradford impersonation, throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns (almost all of it in a first half that ended with OU ahead 34-10), and Oklahoma didn't really need any of it; three defensive touchdowns meant Oklahoma's defense (18 points) outscored Texas (17). Oklahoma had 453 total yards; Texas had 259 and five turnovers. That is what you might call a behind-the-woodshed whoopin'. Texas' freshman QBs had no chance at all, and the running game was basically a nonfactor, at least in part because Bryan Harsin's running plays seem to take sooooo long to develop, which is bad when the defensive line is pwning the O-line off the snap. Texas is definitely better than last year but still not close to being a national title contender; maybe in a couple years, when Case McCoy/David Ash, Malcolm Brown and Jaxon Shipley will have a little experience. Oklahoma is there now: This team has it all and is on a smoothly paved path to 11-0, with Oklahoma State the only apparent roadblock en route to the BCS championship game.

LSU does what LSU does: The LSU-Florida game was over at the end of the first quarter, when it was 14-0 (it was 24-0 a few minutes later). There was no way true freshman Jacoby Brissett was gonna do anything other than get destroyed by that LSU defense; 8 for 14 for 94 yards with a touchdown and two picks qualifies as "destroyed," although I suppose it could've been worse. But what LSU keeps doing in impressive fashion is, like, scoring points, even against really good defenses like Florida's. Spencer Ware goes for 100 yards and a couple TDs every week, and for all the jokes I made at the start of the year about the quarterback situation, Jarrett Lee has been ridiculously efficient and has made just about every throw he's needed to make this year. Numbers from Saturday: 7 for 10 (yeah, LSU's running game and defense are that good) for 154 yards with a touchdown and no picks. I don't think he's giving up the starting job at this point -- Jordan Jefferson earned it in camp but has never played this well in games. Also, this play was hilarious from beginning to end:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's taunting. Must be nice to lose four points for taking a dumb penalty and be so good that you're all like "whateva."

Ohio State finds hope, then loses it in hilarious fashion: I wonder if it's more frustrating to just flat-out suck on offense or to play well enough to win but then implode in the fourth quarter? I'm guessing it's the latter. Midway through the third quarter, OSU led 27-6 and had the ball. Less than 15 minutes of game time later, it was tied. Recap: Braxton Miller fumbles, Nebraska scores, Braxton Miller gets hurt, Nebraska scores, Joe Bauserman sucks, Nebraska scores, Joe Bauserman sucks, Nebraska scores. Game over. And no, I'm not exaggerating about Bauserman's suckiness -- the guy went 1 for 10 for 13 yards and had at least two throws that went more than five yards over the head of both the intended receiver and the people standing on the nearest sideline. He was abysmal. This comment (one of the few coherent ones) from Eleven Warriors sums it up nicely:
I am officially boycotting OSU if Bauserman is on the field. I can't put into words how much I hate having him on the field.
I feel the same way except the opposite. Devastating loss aside, I'm wondering if Ohio State actually found something on offense or if Nebraska's defense is just that bad. I didn't see anything particularly creative or different or better from OSU other than the results. Maybe the threat of Miller's running ability is opening some things up; if that's the case, his sprained ankle came at an inconvenient time. As for Nebraska ... is this team really good? The running game is, but the passing game is totally unreliable and the defense is just kinda blah. The Legends West Division is looking way more open than I expected (woo Michigan?).

Game of the Week: Virginia Tech 38, Miami 35. Remember when this was the Game of Every Year in the Big East? Man ... good times. Anyway, Va. Tech was mostly in control of a pretty normal game until the fourth quarter, when craziness ensued: There were five touchdowns in the last 12:15. Va. Tech had a 10-point lead with nine minutes left and then was losing with two minutes left after Lamar Miller scored on a 30-yard run. Logan Thomas took the field and said "nuts to this," and in the span of five plays, Tech was inside the Miami 30. And then it was fourth-and-1. To the video!

Bonkers. This next video is Lane Stadium with five seconds left after the scoreboard-operating dude made the excellent choice to put on "Enter Sandman":

Yes. Bonkers.

Auburn continues being bipolar: As expected, Auburn's jump into the top 15 was as short-lived as it was illogical. Arkansas done whooped 'em. Auburn is just all over the place on both sides of the ball; I guess that's not that surprising for a team with 19 (or whatever the number is) new starters. The only guy who shows up every week is Michael Dyer, who's legitimately good. The passing game isn't so good and seems to be getting worse -- in the past two games combined, Auburn has thrown for about 200 yards with one touchdown and eight picks (lol). Barrett Trotter would have been yanked permanently by now if Kiehl Frazier were even close to being ready, which he isn't. The QB situation will probably be an issue all year. Everything else is a mystery that could be great or awful at any given time. There's basically zero chance this team beats LSU or Alabama, but anything from 8-4 to 6-6 is in play.

Florida State doesn't make any sense: The same team that basically played Oklahoma to a draw even after losing E.J. Manuel got Manuel back this week and responded by losing to Wake Forest. Que? Random stat: It was the seventh straight time a ranked Florida State team lost to an unranked team on the road. Seven straight times! That's awful. The supposedly dominant defense has given up 73 points in the last two games, and Manuel is talented but not good enough to make up for a nonexistent running game that's 115th in the country in yardage despite getting two cupcakes and Wake Forest in the first five games. That top-five preseason ranking was always too high, but man ... 2-3 with basically no shot to play in the ACC title game? Might wanna delay the return-to-glory declarations.

Oklahoma State bends Kansas over a table: It was 35-7 after the first quarter, 56-7 at the half and 70-28 at the end (and most of that 28 came in garbage time). Brandon Weeden had five TD passes in the first 30 minutes, including three in a span of eight plays from scrimmage, and finished 21 of 24 for 288 yards (that's a passer rating of 257.05). Okie State didn't punt in the first half. The starters didn't see the field after halftime. Etcetera. BTW, Kansas is now giving up 49.4 points per game (!!!), dead last in the country by about a full touchdown. The only other BCS-conference team giving up more than 35 per game is Arizona (117th at 37.5), which says all you need to know about both Kansas and Arizona.

Minnesota might be the worst Big Ten team in modern history: Yeah, let's do this one more time: Minnesota just lost to Purdue (a bad team that lost to Rice a few weeks ago) 45-17 in a game that wasn't even competitive. Purdue led 28-0 after the first quarter; those 28 points were more than they'd scored in any full game against a D-I team this year. Statistical rankings this year: 110th in total offense, 109th in scoring offense, 91st in total defense, 110th in scoring defense. And the other numbers aren't any better. I just can't believe or accurately describe how bad Minnesota is at everything. Brian at MGoBlog did the research to add some historical accuracy, and this is where things stand as of right now (in terms of a points-scored/allowed-per-game ratio):
Minnesota is currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten team since ... 1961. Minnesota's scoring percentage stands at 14.1% thanks to a kick return touchdown and a garbage-time drive.
It'll take quite a bit to be the Official Worst Big Ten Team Ever: the 1934 Michigan team (I'm glad I wasn't around to see it) lost all its games and scored 8.7% of the total points scored in those games. That's pretty freakin' terrible. Since World War II, the basement is 1957 Indiana at 11.5%, which seems more doable. That's your target, Minnesota.

Let's laugh at the schedule: Minnesota plays Nebraska this week. Kansas plays Oklahoma. Discuss.

Player of the Week: Ummm ... can I just have the non-evil version of Denard Robinson? He was 17 of 26 for 337 yards with two touchdowns and three atrocious interceptions and ran for 117 yards and two TDs. If that doesn't count, give it to Brandon Weeden. Landry Jones also did quite well.

Texas A&M bus ... ummm ... "vandalized": More entertaining than Texas A&M's 45-41 victory (after almost collapsing in the second half AGAIN) was the news before it:
LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas A&M's team buses were vandalized before the Aggies played Texas Tech, with drivers finding manure inside and outside the four vehicles. Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said Saturday that manure went "from one end to the other" inside one bus that couldn't be locked. The others had manure along the exterior. He tweeted that the outside of all the buses had vulgarities "spray painted" on them.
Lovely. I'm actually kind of impressed by the dedication to spreading that much manure but will never, ever park a vehicle of any type in Lubbock, Texas.

Post-Week 6 top 10: The usual except for the bottom, where picking teams 6-10 was pretty easy for the first time this year. Again, ignore the order of the top three since they're all basically equal.

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Wisconsin
5. Boise State
6. Oklahoma State
7. Oregon
8. Stanford
9. Clemson
10. Arkansas


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