Thursday, September 29, 2005

College Football Week 4 Analysis

"I know it's late, and I took all year, but you can stop complaining, 'cause I'm finally here..." - Kanye West from 'Late'

I apologize for the delay. When Texas doesn't play, I really don't seem to care about the weekend. That was a joke. So...let's get into it...Oh, before I begin, thanks for the inquiries. This thing takes a little work, and I was a trifled wiped out Saturday night, so I do offer my apologies. This week, I've gotten over my prejudices, and added the Pac 10. Let's roll...

Texas A&M 44 - Texas State 31
#23 Iowa State 28 - Army 21
Colorado 3 - #9 Miami 23
K State 54 - North Texas 7
#16 Texas Tech 63 - Indiana State 7

Texas had the weekend off, which allowed me to watch this weekend's games with relative ease and no knots in my stomach. This week, the Big XII won the games it should have won. The Aggies of A&M got a double digit victory over (who the hell is) Texas State, while Iowa State escaped the Black Knights of Army by seven. K State beat North Texas, as they should, and the nation's top passing offense, the Red Raiders of Texas Tech, took out a great deal of frustration on the Larry Bird's alma mater, Indiana State. The lone loss for the conference was to Miami. Colorado should lose to Miami in the Orange Bowl, so there were really no surprises here. OU, Mizzou, Kansas, Nebraska, Baylor and the aforementioned Longhorns had the week off, so the week was a quiet one for the Big XII who went 4-1 overall, but 0-1 against ranked opponents.

The Big XII has a number of great games this weekend. While Texas will stampede over Missouri, Baylor and A&M will play a tough game, in which the Aggies will defend Kyle Field and the Bears will leave with their first loss of the season. Okie State will defeat Colorado to remain undefeated, while in a battle of unbeatens, Iowa State will travel to Husker country and leave Nebraska with their first loss of the season. Undefeate K State will lose (that's right, lose) to mercurial OU, as Texas Tech will be throwing all over Kansas's Jayhawks in an easy victory during yet another battle of the unbeatens. The conference championship will likely be decided in Dallas in two weeks as this year's edition of the Red River Shootout takes place at the aging Cotton Bowl. No predictions yet, but you know who this writer is ridin' with.

#15 Alabama 24 - Arkansas 13
Auburn 37 - Western Kentucky 14
#5 Florida 49 - Kentucky 28
Vanderbilt 37 - Richmond 13
Wyoming 24 - Mississippi 14
South Carolina 45 - Troy 20
#7 Georgia 23 - Mississippi State 7
#4 LSU 27 - #10 Tennessee 30

Quite a few conference games for the SEC this week. In an early battle for conference supremacy, Tennessee dashed probably national championship hopes by downing the Tigers of LSU in Baton Rouge on the national stage with a thrilling come from behind victory by 3. This win for the Vols perfectly crystallizes the up and down season that they're having, after losing the previous week to Floriday, they come back on the road and beat LSU, go figure. Roll Tide! Alabama got over early trouble and pulled away from trap game artists Arkansas. Alabama is undefeated, and if Brody Croyle stays healthy, there is really no limit for this team. Auburn (naturally) beat Western Kentucky, because they are Auburn and they do have pride. Top ranked Florida continued its winning ways by beating Kentucky by 20+. This game would have been much worse if Urban hadn't pulled the starters early.Vanderbilt is 4-0 baby! Granted the win was against the Spiders of Richmond, but 4-0 is a beautiful thing nonetheless for Vandy. The Ol' Ball Coach and his Gamecocks made quick work of Troy, winning by 25, and those Dawgs of UGA keep winning, this time to the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. The conference's lone loss was Ole Miss losing to Wyoming.

The SEC is heating up. There are quite a few teams who are undefeated, but one won't be after this weekend. Florida and Alabama are playing this weekend, in a must win game for both undefeated teams. And though the game will be played in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, I just don't see how the Tide can beat Chris Leak and Co. However, if they get to him early, and shut down the receivers and force him to be more mobile, then 'Bama's chances will increase heavily. Vandy will (should) beat Middle Tennessee to move to 5-0. Tennessee will handle Ole Miss, LSU will bounce back and beat Sly Croom's MSU Bulldogs, and Auburn will handily defeat the Gamecocks of USC.

Big Ten
#8 Ohio State 31 - Iowa 6
Penn State 34 - Northwestern 29
#18 Minnesota 42 - #22 Purdue 35
#11 Michigan State 61 - Illinois 14
#17 Wisconsin 23 - Michigan 20

The class of the conference is quite easy to surmise. It's clearly Ohio State. Trouncing the previously highly ranked Hawkeyes of Iowa, Ohio State rolled to a 25 point win last week. The Nittany Lions of Penn State are 4-0 after beating Northwestern last week by 5. Minnesota beat Purdue to stake its claim for conference superiority by downing the also ranked Boilermakers. Michigan State continued its improbable journey of a season by thrashing Ron Zook's Fighting Illini by 40+ points, and Michigan continued its downward slide by losing to Wisconsin in Madison.

With the week off, the rest of the conference will look to catch up with Ohio State. And if you want to argue with me about that last statement, note that though the Buckeyes have lost one game, they're still ranked higher than anyone in the conference, so back up. Though Indiana is undefeated, Wisconsin, still high off of last week's victory, should beat the Hoosiers. Illinois and Iowa is as even as they come, but look for the Hawkeyes to make a statement early and punch the Illini in the mouth all afternoon. Michigan State will continue its winning ways by defeating the downtrodden Wolverines of Michigan. However, with nothing much left to play for this season, this game will be Michigan's Rose Bowl, so look for them to fight with everything they've got to ruin State's chance at a perfect season. In a battle of the unbeatens, Minnesota will travel to Nittany Lion territory and will leave there more than likely 5-0. But, if Joe Pa's boys pull off the win, they will be the media darlings of the next week (remember who said it first). Notre Dame at Purdue looks to be a great matchup in which The Irish will properly handle the Boilermakers, much like they did former head coach Ty Willingham last week (that broke my heart to type that).

North Carolina 31 - NC State 24
#9 Miami 23 - Colorado 3
#21 Boston College 16 - Clemson 13
Maryland 22 - Wake Forest 12
#19 Virginia 38 - Duke 7
#3 Virginia Tech 51 - #25 Georgia Tech 7

In a battle for state pride, the boys in blue beat NC State by seven in a game that really decided nothing but bragging rights. Miami ran all over Colorado at home, while BC edged Clemson. Maryland defeated Wake Forest, while UVA punished Duke by 31. V Tech, extolled a great deal of frustration on the formerly high flying Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. Viral meningitis might be tough, but that Hokie D seems to be worse. An ailing Reggie Ball, did all he could, but it wasn't nearly enough against the boys from Blacksburg.

The big story hear is Virginia Tech. They are so for real that it's almost comical to think that G Tech had a chance last week. The talk show hosts in Atlanta were talking so much trash about how the Jackets were going to come in there and sting the Hokies. No such luck. However, Calvin Johnson of G Tech is truly a star in the making. He had an amazing day, and is a fast rising NCAA star as well as a future NFL standout. But I can't say enough about Marcus Vick, who showed a loaded arm, great poise and decision making. G Tech quickly found out that playing V Tech on the road is much different than playing UConn at home. Georgia Tech has the week off, but V Tech will be punishing undefeated West Virginia this week, while Virginia will roll over Maryland and move to 4-0. BC will beat Ball State, Duke and Navy are a toss-up, while North Carolina will probably lose to Utah in Chapel Hill. Clemson will beat Wake handily, Florida State will put a hurting on Syracuse at Doak Campbell Stadium, and Miami will win south Florida supremacy by defeating the USF Broncos.

Pac 10
#12 California 41 - New Mexico 13
Washington 17 - #13 Notre Dame 36
#1 USC 45 - Oregon 13
#14 Arizona State 42 - Oregon State 24

Other than the Notre Dame win, the Pac 10 games had probable outcomes. Actually, including the Notre Dame game, the Pac 10 games had probable outcomes. As I predicted last week, Oregon gave USC trouble early and led at the half 13-0, but the two time defending national champions came back and put on at 45 point offensive display. Arizona State beat Oregon State handily, and Cal made quick work of New Mexico.

This week, USC will beat the Sun Devils in Tempe. They will do it with precision, style and speed. Undefeated Washington State will probably lose to Oregon State on the road. Coming off of their first loss of the season, the Ducks of Oregon will travel south to Stanford and defeat the Cardinal. Cal will go 5-0 at home by defeating the hapless Wildcats of Arizona, while the UCLA Bruins will lose a tight one to Ty Willingham's Washington Huskies in Westwood.

I was talking to a buddy this week, and I came to the conclusion that there could be a serious bottle neck at the top of the Top Ten standings at the end of the season. USC will be undefeated, there's no question about that. Sure, there's UCLA and Notre Dame, but come on. Texas could likely go undefeated as well. Virginia Tech could also go undefeated. The only possible bumps on their schedule are BC, Miami and at UVA respectively. But, they're probably not going to lose at least until the conference championship game against Florida State. Michigan State will not go undefeated. That's right Ryan. They still have to play Michigan this week (which the Spartans will beat), but next week they've got Ohio State in Columbus. Ohio State is not losing anymore games at home this season, so do the math. And even if somehow they get past the Buckeyes, they have to play Purdue, Minnesota and Penn State to end the regular season. Currently that trio is 10-1. The Big Ten championship will be begin to take shape after the game between the Buckeyes and the Spartans. The champion of the SEC could be one of a few things...If Florida or Georgia go undefeated and win the conference, they should play in national championship game solely from strength of schedule. The winner of the Florida-Georgia game will decide the champion of the division, while the other division will probably be Alabama or Tennessee. Alabama has quite a bit riding on this week's game against Florida. Either way, this should be a fun week to watch football. Once again, I apologize for the delay.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

On a Saturday in September

On a Saturday in September

The lights were glaring,
the mood was right.
There was quite a bit of scarlet
in the Horseshoe that night.
AJ Hawk, Schlegel and Carpenter played,
and it was Vince and the Longhorns that they tried to slay.
Early on the visitors in burnt orange and white,
Scampered to an early lead with all of their might.
But eventually, the home team rose like cream,
And it became the kind of game that one only could dream.
Tied at ten, and then the Bucks went up by six,
AJ and the boys soon slowed down Vince and dispensed vicious licks.
But the Horns were astute, and saved their time outs,
And when they cut the defecit to three,
Their faithful began to shout...
"Texas, Our Texas All Hail the Mighty State"
This was one helluva game being played on this date.
And as Vince came out for the second half,
There were new plans coming from OSU's defensive staff.
Turnovers accounted for Ohio State's lead,
And before you knew it,
Texas had given it away, and from their mouths, started to bleed.
But OSU couldn't get more than 3 at a time,
And the Texas D was catching them left and right on a dime.
The Buckeye linebackers were brilliant and fast,
And very reminiscent of Buckeyes from the past.
On the same day when Michigan and Iowa fell,
OSU couldn't fully draw Texas under its spell.
And the Horns hung on,
While Vince kept trying,
And when I looked up,
the Horns were close to tying.
But in the same time it took to scan and read,
Vince lofted a pass
To Limas Sweed.
Just like that, the Horns were up again.
Under review, the officials agreed,
And Vince, Mack and the Horns scored 23.
Ahead by one, they nervously kicked off.
A fumble on the return, but that was called off.
Then Zwick rolled left, and fumbled the ball,
#39 from Texas picked it up and ran tall.
As Texas rejoiced and the game looked in hand,
Several delicious seconds ticked away,
As a quiet took over the stands.
Texas failed to score, on a showboating play.
But quickly made up for it, the 2-point way.
And with the safety moving the Horns lead firmly to three,
It was obvious to a nation, to believe in V.
Carpenter said before the game,
That Vince wouldn't leave with the same fame.
And he was right, for his fame changed,
From a candidate, to a frontrunner in the Heisman game.
And Texas is #2, and OSU will fall,
But we will always remember this game in early fall.
As one of the greatest ever.
Oh Mack Brown was clever,
The day he started Vince over Mock,
And he had to be thinking about that as the time slipped from the
From the polls OSU will be falling,
And their fans excuses will be apalling.
Now the Horns will be media darlings,
And from all over the country SI, ESPN and Fox will be calling.
And the Horns will be bigger than sliced bread,
But thoughts of OU should be on their minds instead.
So for this Texas fan,
Pure bliss is my feeling...
For we charged into to Columbus, own the place,
and left the Buckeyes reeling.

- Joseph S. Carlos