Monday, September 03, 2012

Week 1: The games I didn't bother DVR-ing

Holy Lord: Alabama. That is all.

Boise won't go unbeaten (or score points against legit defenses): I know it was Joe Southwick's first actual game and it was in East Lansing and yadda yadda yadda, but man ... Boise had two drives that went anywhere, and one of those ended with a goal-line pick. Of their 13 points, 10 came directly off mind-blowingly awful interceptions by Michigan State's Andrew Maxwell, who was actually worse than Southwick but got a win because (a) Boise's offense was totally and completely nonexistent and (b) Sparty figured out that giving LeVeon Bell the ball 100 times (roughly) would produce a lot of yards and probably enough points. I was a little surprised when the preseason polls came out and Boise was ranked 24th; that makes more sense now that the personnel losses on offense have manifested themselves. If there's any good news it's that there's nobody left on the schedule comparable to Michigan State defensively. Boise's offense might be nothing close to last year's yet still be good enough to run the table in the Mountain West. As for Michigan State, I'm not sure a win could've been much less impressive given that it was at home and against a team that didn't get to 200 total yards until the final seconds. Bell looked pretty good, obviously, and the defense had a lot to do with the aforementioned Boise crapitude, but Maxwell and the receivers were very meh. I have no idea what to think about the top half of the Big Ten.

Oklahoma might still have some issues: I watched significant portions of the game against UTEP and saw basically the decent-but-far-from-great version of Oklahoma that existed for most of the second half of last year. The same compound modifier would apply to any team leading UTEP 10-7 after three quarters and needing a couple late touchdowns to put it away. I don't understand what happened to the offense in general and Landry Jones specifically. Was Ryan Broyles that important? BTW, Jones went 22 for 36 for 222 yards and two touchdowns; those are respectable numbers but not the 400 yards and four touchdowns the guy was putting up regularly until halfway through last season. I dunno. What I do know is that Oklahoma's offense is gonna have to be better for that 11-1 prediction to work out since most opposing quarterbacks aren't gonna go 6 for 23 (!) for 39 yards (!!!) like Tennessee transfer Nick Lamaison did for UTEP.

Wisconsin WTF? I don't know, man. Wisconsin looked like Wisconsin when I was watching and was up 20-0 midway through the third quarter. Montee Ball was fine (120 yards and a touchdown, albeit on 32 carries). Danny O'Brien was better than fine (19 for 23 with two touchdowns and no picks). The defense was fine (for about the first 50 minutes). The fourth quarter wasn't fine: Northern Iowa just sorta hung around by forcing a bunch of field goals, got a bomb for a touchdown, got another bomb for a touchdown and was all of a sudden back within five with the ball in Wisconsin territory with three minutes left; a batted-down fourth-and-1 pass ended up being the difference between Northern Iowa having a legit shot to win and Wisconsin running out the clock. I can't really point to anything other than the Wisconsin secondary since Some Quarterback put up 265 yards with three touchdowns and no picks, but ... I mean ... Northern Iowa? Again: I have no idea what to think about the top half of the Big Ten.

Oklahoma State 84-0 ridiculousness: The score would probably be sufficient here but will be backed up by some similarly amusing numbers: Oklahoma State had nine rushing touchdowns, two players with three rushing touchdowns each (neither one of whom was Joseph Randle) and 682 total yards, with only 121 of those belong to starting quarterback Wes Lunt, who went 11 for 11 and was done before the end of the first quarter since it was 35-0 about 12 minutes into the game. It was not a game as much as a behind-the-woodshed whoopin' of epic and laughable proportions. BTW, I'm calling 1,000 total yards next week between Oklahoma State and Arizona. As for Savannah State, things will definitely get way easier next week against Florida State. Yeesh. Sacrificial lambs, they are.

Penn State's badness will be badder than expected: Getting outgained by 150 yards and outscored by 10 points at home by Ohio goes beyond "pretty bad" and into the realm of "awful." Maybe that shouldn't be surprising with a converted wideout starting at running back and the actual wideouts being guys with zero experience and the quarterback being Matt McGloin, but yikes. Barring significant improvement at basically everything, I'm having a hard time envisioning the tire fire of a team I watched Saturday beating anybody on the schedule other than maybe Navy, Temple and/or Indiana. That's three wins; that's not a lot.

Virginia Tech is still Virginia Tech: I don't even have anything insightful to add here. I watched basically all of the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game and could have been watching any Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game from the past five years, although Logan Thomas is better than any quarterback Va. Tech has had since the Vick family stopped producing really fast kids. Crazy stat: The winner of the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game has won the Whatever Division and played for the conference title every single year since the ACC went to its current alignment. Another crazy stat: There had never been an overtime game at Lane Stadium before Monday night. How does that happen?

Oh so Andrew Luck was kinda important? Stanford got outgained and finished +2 in turnover margin and still needed two fourth-down conversions and a fourth-quarter field goal to beat San Jose State (San Jose State!) 20-17 in Palo Alto. Whaaaaa? For reference, Stanford beat San Jose State 59-0 last year. I would be totally confused if Andrew Luck and half of last year's O-line weren't playing in the NFL right now. Josh Nunes went 16 for 26 for a whopping 125 yards (4.8 per attempt) and a touchdown; that's not awful but not good enough to produce many points, especially when the running game is putting up all of 3.8 yards per carry. Given the schedule, I could see Stanford losing four or five games this year.

Notre Dame woo: Obliterating Navy doesn't really mean anything other than this: Notre Dame's big guys are far superior to Navy's big-but-not-as-big guys. That in and of itself doesn't really mean anything either seeing as how Notre Dame beat Navy 56-14 last year in a game in which ND finished with seven rushing touchdowns and allowed only 196 yards on 50 carries. Being able to run the ball with some consistency would help Everett Golson a lot; the question is whether that consistency will continue when the opponent has D-linemen who weigh more than 240 pounds. We'll see. This game was basically the same as last year's game and thus equally meaningless, although it was probably helpful to get Golson a few game reps (in a road-ish setting) that had little to no bearing on the outcome.

Marcus Lattimore yay: Insightful analysis: Marcus Lattimore is still awesome. South Carolina lightened his workload a little bit against Vandy by running a lot of zone read and thus getting Connor Shaw 14 carries, but it was obvious from the 23 carries he did get (for 110 yards) that the guy hasn't lost much from the ACL dealie; he's still the most physically dominant running back I've seen since Adrian Peterson. He's also gonna get a crapload of carries against a couple teams later in the year and will either put up huge numbers on those carries or put up so-so numbers and see South Carolina lose since the passing game is still pretty uninspiring. Remember when the OBC was, like, not Bret Bielema?

Game of the Week: Northwestern 42, Syracuse 41. I wish I'd have seen this one live. ARGH. Northwestern led 35-13 midway through the third quarter, at which point Ryan Nassib went ham; he threw four touchdown passes in a span of less than 15 minutes of game time to put Syracuse ahead 41-35 with 2:40 left. Given the 931 yards of total offense, it probably should not have been a surprise that the lead didn't hold up (although Kain Colter apparently pulled himself in favor of backup Trevor Siemean for the final series). Northwestern drove to the Syracuse 33, got stopped on third-and-15 and then got bailed out by an awful unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty; the next play was a 9-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Fields that I can't show you because ESPN and YouTube are lame. Game over. BTW, Nassib finished with a respectable line: 44 for 65, 470 yards, four touchdowns.

Player of the Week: Sam Durly, who I had never heard of before Saturday since he plays for D-III Eureka College in Illinois. Numbers: 34 or 52 for 736 yards (!!!) and five touchdowns in a 62-55 win. LOLOLOLOLOL. And In the Guys You Might Be Familiar With category: Geno Smith, who went 32 of 36 for 324 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It's not the yardage volume that's amazing so much as it is the laughable touchdown-to-incompletion ratio against a not-totally-awful Marshall team. On a directly related note, West Virginia has now scored 139 points in its last two games. Yeah.

Catch of the Week: Obviously:

Well played, Vincent Devin Smith.

Nonsensical Score of the Week: Texas State 30, Houston 13. Texas State. The Googles will tell you that Texas State (a) is coached by Dennis Franchione and (b) had never played an FBS game prior to Saturday. Houston went 12-0 in the regular season last year and at one point was ranked in the top 10. Like ... I just ... wow.

Similarly Nonsensical Score of the Week: Youngstown State 31, Pitt 17. Yup. Youngstown State led by either 11 or 14 points for basically the entire second half. It was not close. YSU is a top-10 team in the FCS poll, FWIW, but still ... yeesh. I assume it was somehow Todd Graham's fault.

Tangentially related nonsensical stat: Why did Washington State finish with six points and 224 total yards (including -5 rushing) against BYU? The offense looked awful, which made no sense whatsoever seeing as how Mike Leach is Mike Leach and Marquess Wilson is one of the best receivers in the country and Jeff Tuel is at least average. No comprendo.

Nonsensical Play of the Week: You've seen this at least 37 times. And I bet it hasn't gotten old yet.

BTW, I have no idea how/why any of that stuff happened. I try not to think about it.

They're obviously 7 years old: The unedited version of the why-is-this-being-bleeped-out booth conversation between Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit while Alabama was pwning Michigan:

Tee hee. Brent Musburger is no Lee Corso.

Post-Week 1 top 10: As always, this is a who-would-beat-who guesstimation and therefore not a projection. The top is easy; everything after that is not.

1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. USC
4. Oregon
5. Umm ... West Virginia?
6. Oklahoma
7. Florida State
8. Georgia
9. Arkansas
10. Michigan State (only because I have to pick somebody from a group of about 10 equally uninspiring teams)


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