Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Week 6 In Review

LSU at Vandy
Imagine if the Apollo Creed-Ivan Drago fight in Rocky IV had gone eight rounds, but the outcome remained the same? The only thing this blowout lacked was Dolph Lundgren standing over a fallen Commodore and sneering, "If he dies, he dies."

Vandy QB Jay Cutler spent the better part of the evening running for his life as LSU's stout defensive line and relentless blitz pulverized his protection. To demonstrate the overwhelming talent disparity between the two teams, consider that it took LSU committing four turnovers, missing two field goals, and giving back over 100 yards in penalties for Vandy to trail 12-6 at the end of the third. LSU turned it on in the 4th as the good guys' tank ran empty, finishing 34-6.

Note to O-line recruits out there: get a copy of this game somehow. Watch and see Vandy's line get pounded. You could be the answer to our prayers. Come test yourself against the best defenses in the college football world in the SEC. You'll be fed like a king at the nation's top training table. You'll get a world-class education and socialize with beautiful women from all over creation. Come to Vandy and make a difference. I can't possibly beg any more.

Oklahoma at Texas
My buddy Nate called this one "OU Liberation Day" in celebration of the Longhorns ending Oklahoma's five-game winning streak in this series. The final score was 45-12, though the outcome never was in doubt. The conventional wisdom for beating Texas until recently was to stuff Vince Young and let him beat you with his arm, since he struggled with the passing game. With 240 yards of passing and a stable of ballcarriers pounding away at OU's rebuilt defense, Texas really looked unstoppable.

Something else for you to think about: Bob Stoops probably misses brother Mike, his former DC and now head coach at Arizona, more than he realizes. Mike's departure at the end of the 2003 season coincided with Oklahoma's defensive failures against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship, LSU in the national title game, and last year's embarrassing performance against USC. You used to not be able to beat Oklahoma deep or push them around at the line, and both are happening now with regularity. There's a reason why DC Brent Venables is still around while Mike Stoops and Bo Pelini have moved on: they're in demand, and he's not.

Arizona at USC
If and when USC ever decides that they want to show up for all four quarters, they will be unstoppable. Until then, they will let inferior teams like the Wildcats hang around long past their level of talent would dictate. Upcoming games against Notre Dame, Cal, and UCLA will give the Trojans a chance to either find their next gear, or hang themselves.

FYI, Matt Leinart, while still better than 95% of all college quarterbacks, is no longer driving this offensive juggernaut. Backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White are providing the yardage and moving the chains.

Wake Forest at Florida State
FSU is quietly finding its offensive stride with freshman QB Drew Weatherford, who passed for 351 yards en route to a 41-24 victory over a decent Wake team. If you remember, Weatherford stunk up Doak Campbell Stadium against Miami in his first game, but he's coming around and making Nole fans forget that Chris Rix ever happened.

Note to ESPN Gameplan Program Manager (like you're really reading this): this game was blocked out of my Gameplan package for TV. You showed it online only. What gives? I pay big money to watch 25 games every weekend. Show every game that is regionally syndicated, or risk losing more subscribers.

Georgia at Tennessee
I love watching Tennessee lose, and this was no exception. Mark Richt has the Vols' number, winning the last three at Neyland Stadium with superior special teams and game management. This game was no exception, as the Bulldogs rode a punt-return touchdown and a handful of Tennessee turnovers to a 27-14 victory on the hill.

As for Tennessee, it is a crime that a top ten program like UT cannot get decent play from the quarterback position. In the last season and a half, it has trotted out Brent Schaeffer (who is no longer with the program), Erik Ainge, and LSU transfer Rick Clausen with mixed and mediocre results. Ainge, with every physical gift under the sun, either can't or won't learn and execute the offense. Clausen has an average arm and limited athletic ability, making coach Philip Fulmer's hesitation to play him all the more understandable. For the love of Shuler, Manning, and (Casey) Clausen, nail this down already!

Wisconsin at Northwestern
Classic trap game for the Badgers, whose fantastic production from RB Brian Calhoun and 5-0 record masked a porous defense that is more matador than gladiator. Wisconsin struggled to beat North Carolina 14-5 in its only other road game, and Northwestern has been known to play tough at home. The Wildcats got the duke in dramatic fashion, a 51-48 shootout more likely seen in the WAC than the Big Ten.

What I wouldn't give to have Randy Walker's spread offense in place at Vandy. Good schemes neutralize talent deficiencies.

Virginia at Boston College
I don't care one bit about either of these chronically underachieving ACC squads, but the cheap shot by UVA's Brad Butler on BC DE Mathias Kiwunaka was complete bullshit. Why not take a page from the WWE and sock him in the jaw with a roll of quarters while you're at it? Butler's been suspended and Kiwunaka's not disabled, thank goodness.

Anyone else think Boston College is an awkward fit in the ACC?

Minnesota at Michigan
I have to admit that I didn't see this one coming. Michigan, fresh off its gut check win over Michigan State, was supposed to ride its newfound swagger and newly healthy sophomore back Mike Hart to victory over the Gophers in front of the home crowd. In fact, Minnesota hadn't beaten Michigan since 1986. I was in first grade then and had no clue that anyone lived north of Texas (or would want to).

Michigan's defense is disappointing, as is its wide receiver play. Both Jason Avant and Steve Breaston are failing to make plays the way Braylon Edwards used to. TE Tyler Ecker has stone slabs for hands. This isn't your older brother's Wolverine squad, and "Three-Loss Lloyd" Carr has more losses earlier in the season than I can remember him ever having. He's about to be run out of Ann Arbor on a rail.

Ohio State at Penn State
Heavyweight fight. Electric atmosphere. This was a real slobberknocker, and the team who made the fewest mistakes was bound to win. Penn State committed no turnovers, while shutting down Ohio State's admittedly anemic offense for a 17-10 statement victory. I would have given anything to be there to hear the crowd's reaction to Tamba Hali lighting up Ohio State QB Troy Smith from the blind side to force the game-clinching fumble.

I shed no tears for Buckeye fans, who are the foulest and most obnoxious I've ever run into (worse than Middle Tennessee's, probably because they have something to actually be proud of). These folks bragged that Jim Tressel was superior to Mack Brown before their game against Texas because he'd won a national title three years ago and was a better game manager. Now they're ready to lynch him after a tough road loss. College football is crazy stuff sometimes.

Final Thought
Middle Tennessee, keenly aware that the loudest noise coming from its football stadium recently has been the sound of crickets chirping, is now sending game tickets home with Rutherford County schoolkids. Wow. The sad thing is, none of them will read the fine print, where it clearly states that all persons with teeth will be turned away.


Anonymous VanderbiltJoe said...

I like your blog. I try to get around here every day or two. I think that you're well-reasoned and articulate, so I make sure to read all your posts on VandyMania too.

I've noticed that you are a big fan of Chancellor Gee, and for future fodder, I would be very interested in what you have to say about the restructuring, particularly the approach to football (Is it just lip service?).

Keep it up!

5:07 PM  
Anonymous doremorrison said...

your blogs are great--i'm impressed that you have interesting stuff to say on a daily basis. your game analysis is great too

it's apparent that you spend some time in crafting your blog--it's always very reader-friendly...many articles i read on the internet, i only get half way through, because they grow boring...not in your case though. you have an excellent voice and a great ability to keep readers interested.

keep up the good work.


5:12 PM  
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