Before The Week 2 Games
- Final Thoughts
| Week 1
2011 Fearless Predictions
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- Obviously the main storyline this weekend is the tenth anniversary of September 11th and the memorials and tributes to honor the victims, but before it all happens, I desperately request that all the colleges, all the marketing types, all the leagues, all the athletic directors, all the NFL teams, all the pregame shows, all the announcers, and all the fans remember one key word: tasteful.
It’s never a bad thing to be understated.
This isn’t a time to sell a product by putting a person of uniform in an advertisement. This isn’t a time to rally and it isn’t a time to chest-thump with the “U.S.A.! U.S.A!” chant one minute, and then “Defense (clap, clap) Defense!” the next. This isn’t a time to be loud; this is a time for an extra long moment of silence.
This is a time to honor, reflect, and hope. It’s also a time to keep in mind that as horrific as the attack on our country was, buildings being blown up and terrorist attacks are a daily part of life in other parts of the world. It’s a time to keep in mind that because of what happened – politics and rhetoric aside - a lot of very brave young people are risking their lives right now so we all can do silly things like watch football.
And it’s a time to be very, very, very thankful that it really has been ten years, and as screwed up as our world might be, everything is just fine.
- And it’s also a time for the NCAA, the schools, the NFL, and everyone who has a hand in stadium security to take note of just how long it took to evacuate massive stadiums full of tens of thousands of people during the weather issues of last weekend.
- And it’s also a time to realize that we’re all supposed to have fun during the opening weekend of the NFL season and a terrific slate of college games.
- Yes, Georgia head coach Mark Richt is on a hot seat. We’ve got it. However, he’s not going to be fired after two games, and even if the Dawgs lose to South Carolina, with their schedule, the SEC East title is still on the table.
- But remember, while everyone likes to point out that Georgia misses the three best teams in the SEC – Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas – South Carolina misses the Tide and the Tigers, too.
- I want Notre Dame vs. Michigan to be better and bigger than it probably is and it probably will ever be again.
- It’s time to put the kibosh on the idea that any kid on the 2011 Notre Dame football team, and especially any 17-year-old recruit thinking of going to South Bend, gives a flying lick about the past glory of Notre Dame – they all grew up in a world dominated by Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, and the SEC. No player relevant to this year’s Irish team and no player who’ll have anything to do with the future of the program were alive the last time Notre Dame won a national title.
- I spent way too much time this week trying to convince people that Notre Dame is very good, and just had some very bad moments against South Florida.
- The under-the-radar game to watch out for: BYU at Texas. No one really notices, commented, or cared, but Texas didn’t exactly look like anything special in last week’s win over Rice. BYU has a defense, and it wouldn’t be the slightest bit shocking if it came away from Austin with a win.
- This could be the Sun Belt’s big moment. FIU has an honest shot of beating Louisville, Middle Tennessee (Georgia Tech), North Texas (Houston), and Arkansas State (Memphis) all get home games against bigger name teams.
- If Penn State pulls off the upset over Alabama, no matter how it looks, does it fly into the top five? If the Tide gets any semblance of decent quarterback play this year, and if the O line run blocks better than it did against Kent State, the season is over.
- Is it a good thing or a negative if Colorado loses to Cal and Utah loses to USC?
- I like you, Pac-12, but stop sucking. Pac-12, after losing America after Oregon got ripped up by LSU, and after Arizona got destroyed by Oklahoma State Thursday night, you had better bring it. Washington, don’t lose to Hawaii at home. Arizona State, play like the experienced team you’re supposed to be and beat Mizzou. Oregon State, don’t get obliterated by Wisconsin.
- Watch Northern Illinois against Kansas. If the Huskies dominate the Jayhawks in Lawrence, and if QB Chandler Harnish plays as well as he did in Week One against Army, NIU over Wisconsin in Soldier Field in two weeks won’t be a crazy upset call.
- Colorado State QB Pete Thomas didn’t push the ball down the field enough in the Week One win over New Mexico, but he completed 22-of-26 passes for 178 yards. Against a miserable Northern Colorado team this week, he could be just as sharp. The call: after two games, Thomas will have a completion percentage about 80%.
- In the I’m too lazy to look it up so I’ll throw it out there and assume it’s true category, I’ll make the claim that Kent State QB Spencer Keith set the unofficial Pete Fiutak acknowledged record for the fewest yards gained by the most pass attempts. He completed 20-of-47 passes for 99 yards against Alabama.
- This week, Syracuse plays Rhode Island, Pitt plays Maine, and West Virginia plays Norfolk State. Meanwhile, Clemson plays Wofford, Florida State plays Charleston Southern. Since Rutgers and North Carolina are already playing, couldn’t there be some sort of ACC-Big East challenge and throw out all these garbage games against FCS teams?
- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally “invest” what little money you might have left, I’d suggest taking a look-see at
Purdue -1 at Rice, UCLA -21.5 over San Jose Sate,
TCU -2 over Air Force, and my close, personal
favorite, Minnesota -20 over New Mexico State.
- By the way, I went 1-3 with these picks last week
in spectacularly flaming fashion, including an
Indiana loss to Ball State, Auburn's close call to
Utah State, and TCU's loss to Baylor. However, I hit my
Lock of the Millennium of the Week with USF.
- I want to see a Michigan go up 34-10 on Notre Dame
in the third quarter with the game halted
by lightning. only to see if Brian Kelly goes as
gently into the good night as Western Michigan did.
Vontaze Burfict aside, what exactly has Arizona State done lately to warrant heavy favorite status against Missouri? Until proven otherwise, I’m not sold on Dennis Erickson or the Sun Devils. Mizzou goes into Tempe Friday night and delivers the “upset”.
The hammy injury to Oregon State RB Malcolm Agnew is a lost opportunity to see how he might have fared against the Wisconsin D. The rookie and Quizz Rodgers heir apparent debuted with 223 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
North Carolina will embarrass Rutgers on Saturday largely because the Tar Heels D-line is going to treat the Scarlet Knights blockers like tackling dummies.
Now that the Alabama defense has proper motivation, a trip to Penn State, it’ll be fun to watch that unit operate at a high level. The Nittany Lions don’t harbor a single offensive weapon capable of stretching the Tide D.
After losing to LSU, it’s back to business for Oregon, which might hang 50 on Nevada this weekend.
Hawaii at Washington is one of the sneaky-good games of Week 2. The Warriors have the defense, of all things, to sweep its two games against the Pac-12 this month.
Am I alone in being very intrigued by Cincinnati at Tennessee? The programs are in similar stages of the life cycle, and Zach Collaros vs. Tyler Bray is going to be a terrific battle of the quarterbacks.
Has Mark Richt slept at all this week preparing for South Carolina? Even a wink?
Florida State playing Charleston Southern with Oklahoma in the on-deck circle is like flossing before eating a whoopie pie. What’s the point?
I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if Middle Tennessee upends Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have issues, and the Blue Raiders might be better than everyone assumed.
No one is talking about it, but BYU at Texas is a huge game for both schools. The ‘Horns need it, and the Cougs want it to make a national statement about the direction of the program under Bronco Mendenhall.
How beloved will Brady Hoke be in Ann Arbor late Saturday night if his Wolverines send Notre Dame to an 0-2 start? The Big House is always electric for those rare night games, but this one appears as if it’ll have even more juice than normal.
By Matt Zemek
MISSOURI-ARIZONA STATE: College football rulebook, chapter one, section 13-A, paragraph four states the following: “Arizona State University does not win these kinds of games.” Missouri, are you going to run afoul of the rules? Where’s your compliance department, Gary Pinkel?
OREGON STATE-WISCONSIN: In the “Denard Robinson / Taylor Martinez Premature Mancrush Ecstasy Derby,” Russell Wilson is easily the runaway winner this season. Let’s wait until he gets to the Big Ten gauntlet in October. For now, he’s playing teams that won’t rough him up or force him to show mental toughness… which he hasn’t yet proven he possesses in abundance. (Right, Maryland? Right, Virginia Tech?)
SAN DIEGO STATE-ARMY: Intriguing test for Los Aztecs: They’re better than Army, but they’re flying East for an early (Noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific) kickoff. As Jeff Tedford and Ken Whisenhunt could tell you, it’s not easy going to the East Coast for an early kick. You have been warned, Rocky Long.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-AUBURN: The Bulldogs and Dan Mullen don’t need to get cute in this game. Pounding the rock should suffice. Let the Cam Newton Intrigue Bowl commence. John Bond might want to be incognito during and after this contest.
ALABAMA-PENN STATE: One of the great quips from college football’s glorious history: When Bama played Penn State in the 1979 Sugar Bowl, the houndstooth hat was missing from Bear Bryant’s head. His explanation: “My mama always told me to take off my hat inside.”
VIRGINIA TECH-EAST CAROLINA: Be on guard, Hokies. More specifically, don’t spot ECU a quick 10 points. Logan Thomas needs to be eased into the 2011 season and the starting quarterback spot. (And no, that’s said with a straight face. If you want a joke, talk about Ole Miss football instead.)
CALIFORNIA-COLORADO: This isn’t being viewed as an official Pac-12 Conference game. I can just hear talk radio and Twitter exploding over this: LIBERALS JUST CAN’T ACCEPT BASIC TRUTHS, CAN THEY? ALL THOSE COMMIE-PINKO GRANOLA IDIOTS IN BERKELEY AND BOULDER ARE LIVING ON ANOTHER PLANET. LEFTIST MORONS. OBAMA PROBABLY DOESN’T THINK THIS IS A CONFERENCE GAME, EITHER.
TCU-AIR FORCE: Expect the Horned Frogs to restore order in this game. Air Force’s passing game is just a wee bit less powerful than Baylor’s.
HAWAII-WASHINGTON: This is a meaningful milepost game for the evolution of these two teams. Washington needs it more.
CINCINNATI-TENNESSEE: This will be better than Bengals-Titans, we can assure you.
SOUTH CAROLINA-GEORGIA: Please, college football analysts: When Steve Spurrier benched Stephen Garcia during the Auburn game last season, did the move not gain Garcia’s attention and make the erratic quarterback more dependable in crunch time? Did the move not pay off against Alabama and Florida? Did the move not lead to an SEC East championship? Last week, the first quarter benching against East Carolina was largely ripped by the media. However, from this vantage point, it’s clear that Garcia bought what his coach sold and, moreover, is now that much more trusted by coach and teammates heading into the Hedges. Spurrier is smart in unconventional ways – have we forgotten that?
BYU-TEXAS: This game will be shown on BYU TV in the coming weeks, right? Longhorn Network will probably replay it at some point. This will therefore become one of the most widely distributed replayed broadcasts of all time. Make it good, boys.
NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN: Am I missing something, since Notre Dame is favored? The Irish don’t have good quarterbacks right now. Am I wrong?
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- Georgia proved one thing last week - that it's the same mentally fragile Bulldog team that has resided in Athens for the last few years. South Carolina ROLLS Georgia, and the talk of Mark Richt being on the hot seat moves from a potential post-season move, to an any-week-now move.
- The game under the lights at the big house between Notre Dame and Michigan will live up to its unwarranted pregame hype. The outcome will be that we will have to hear about Michigan being "back" a bit prematurely in a season again.
- Talk of conference expansion again will not comply, and something of importance will take place on Saturday - when the focus should be on the field. CAN WE PLEASE JUST MAKE IT STOP?!?!?
- If any team can make a two quarterback system work, it's Alabama. The Tide wants to run the ball and play defense, and is fully equipped to do both. With that said, a road game at Penn State is still a big-time challenge for any quarterback, especially two with very minimal game experience. It'll be close in State College well into the fourth quarter.
- Speaking of Auburn, the Tigers aren't as bad as they showed vs. Utah State. The problem isn't talent, it's experience, and the Tigers learned a lot about themselves - both good and bad (mostly bad). But for a team as young as the Tigers, that might be the best possible thing that could have happened. Conversely, Mississippi State only proved that it could dominate an awful Memphis team last week - which it should be able to do if it wants to be part of the SEC elite.