I commented on blogs Saturday rather than blogging here.
Still, I looked better than all but Missouri, Oklahoma and USC.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Anthropologists will look back on this Saturday and recognize it as the day the Pac-10’s claims to being the best or second-best conference in America died.
BYU stomped UCLA. Oklahoma thundered past Washington. Maryland upended Cal. UNLV beat Arizona State in overtime. TCU thumped Stanford. Friday night, the lowly Bears of Baylor crushed Washington State. New Mexico beat Arizona. Oregon barely squeaked by Purdue in double overtime.
Apparently, leaving the West Coast and/or playing out-of-state, non-directional, non-FCS schools is what trips up the Pac-10, which means there’s going to be a lot of middling seasons on the coast.
The only bright spot was USC’s win over Ohio State, and, at this point, that might not be worth much, given how poorly the Buckeyes played.
And considering the Big 10’s struggles, I’m hearing rumors that the Rose Bowl might be renamed the Wilted Awful Stuff Your Girlfriend Rejected Bowl.
The Angry Beavers
Oregon State won. So they might take umbrage to the above.
Like I care.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
If you’ve never seen Avatar, I don’t blame you, but the concept of the show is that there’s a young boy who travels the world learning the secrets of wise old people and using them in the fight against evil.
To me, that applies to the University of South Florida. Last year, they started fast and then found ways to lose games they should have won. This year, it’s the reverse.
Last week, the defense held on to stop UCF after some poor fourth-quarter play; this week, the defense gave up a couple of late scores to a very good Kansas team, but the offense made enough plays to get the Bulls in field goal range and a USF kicker made a clutch field goal for the first time since the City of Tampa adopted the Gramatica family.
Given how shallow the Big East is, it’s not unfathomable that the Bulls, now past their two early tests, could be undefeated until November or December. If so, I’m not betting against them when they travel to Morgantown.
I was high on Oregon the first two weeks, but now, after nearly laying a Nike-sized egg at Purdue, I’m not sure what to make of them.
Justin Roper, who had been an excellent triggerman for the first two weeks, left the game in overtime with knee trouble, and threw two picks prior to the injury. The running backs, who had been waving back at opposing defenses en route to the end zone, suddenly started fumbling. The defense, quite good against Washington and Utah State, couldn’t contain a Purdue team until it really mattered.
So which Ducks are the real ones? I’m going to hope that it’s the electric ones we saw the first two weeks, and their schedule, which doesn’t take them out of the Pacific Time Zone again and has just the nightmare date at USC left as a game where Oregon won’t be favored, will allow them to show that form.
Having Chris Harper mature into a real quarterback, one who, like, throws and stuff, would help.
Missouri has the best passing game in the country. I won’t go so far as to say it’s the best offense, thanks to Oklahoma and USC’s balance, Georgia’s possession of Knowshon Moreno, and Florida’s explosiveness, but Missouri’s aerial assault is going to weather all the flak it takes this year.
Chase Daniel is completing 72% of his passes, has almost a thousand yards through three games, and has thrown just one interception against his ten TDs. Jeremy Maclin’s the best slash player in America. And Chase Coffman is probably going to win a Mackey Award playing in this offense.
The defense hasn’t faced anything since Illinois to be scared of, and won’t until Texas, so it’s going to be difficult to judge Mizzou as a complete team for a while. But, boy, is that offense good.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
You know how on the show, it got to the point where a team could only win if they swept the challenges and got all the Pendants of Life, then had a fortuitous route to the artifact in the temple that swung around the Shrine of the Silver Monkey?
That’s what scoring on USC’s defense is going to be like this year. It’s stout against the run, menaced Todd Boeckman all night, and allowed no big plays downfield. About the only gripe one could have against it is that Terrelle Pryor did get some yards with his feet, and the old liabilities of the pro-style system against the spread offense were momentarily resuscitated.
Oregon’s the only name of note that could challenge this team when motivated. With that caveat, which is more than a minor worry for a school that’s trademarked the stunning lapse against a team with no business beating it, the Trojans should start checking Orbitz for the best tickets to Miami.
The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo
Uh, why are Penn State and Wisconsin suddenly the best teams in the Big 10? Anyone?
Georgia didn’t play well against South Carolina by any conventional pundit’s metric.
But in this rugged SEC, which just gets better and better (it’s a collective 26-6 right now, and three of those losses are in-conference), a win is the only possible measure of playing well.
Georgia’s going to have to win two or three more close games this year even to make the SEC Championship Game; Florida’s schedule is too comparatively easy for the Dawgs to stick around the conference title race after one poor showing.
And, in a year when it looks like there’s going to be an unbeaten in USC, it defies logic to think that the backdoor routes to the title of the 2006 Florida and 2007 LSU teams will be available to the Dawgs.
So there’s going to be Saturdays like this one. Georgia just needs to make sure, despite whatever kooky hi-jinks transpire over the course of the episode (and, yes, this team will see many twists and turns) they come out with the win at the end. (I’m thinking Knowshon Moreno can take care of the teen pregnancy.)
Joe McKnight is not quite human. He glides across the field, makes jukes that make Kirk Herbstriet go straight to the video game comparison, and generally appears more elegantly fast than everyone else in pads on the field.
Is he the next Reggie Bush? Perhaps. But, for now, he’s the first and only Joe McKnight. That’s enough.
Super Sloppy Double Dare
Michigan and Notre Dame. Auburn and Mississippi State. Really, I need not say more.
But I will: the entire Big Blue-Golden Domers game was an exercise in settling the echoes for good, and only Michigan’s allergy to possession made a still-anemic Irish team look good. I wouldn’t say either of these teams is good; looking at their schedules, I would be surprised to see either not bowling at year’s end.
On the other hand, Auburn and Mississippi State both played great defense for 60 minutes, with the Tigers holding the Bulldogs without a third-down conversion in 14 tries. And though I’m pretty sure both offenses could have gone four or five overtimes without a touchdown, the fourth quarter from Starkville was the most entertaining quarter of football on Saturday; a slobberknocker with a ton of fumbles, it summed up a weekend of tenuous play from the entire nation pretty well.
Photo of the Week
I’ll try to find one every week; you can find this week’s here.