-Can we officially shut the fuck up about Jake Locker now? I don't care if he was playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, 4-20 for 71 yards, a TD, and 2 INTs is unacceptable. If you take away a 45 yard TD strike to Jermaine Kearse, he was 3-19 for 26 yards and 2 INTs. He's got lots of talent and I'm sure he's a perfectly decent kid but the idea that Locker is the ultimate prospect in this year's NFL Draft is inexplicable. His Heisman campaign is obviously deader than dead at this point and I see no reason that he won't be the next Tim Couch.
-Here's a random one: Kansas is down 31-10 to Southern Miss...they score a touchdown with 5:17 left in the game...and go for two?! Uh...what? Who did the math on that one? What possible scenario are they planning for? Are they planning cut the deficit to 13 instead of 14 in hopes that, in the event that they have to settle for two field goals at some point, they can still tie the game (with the addition of another touchdown)--all within the time frame of the last 5:17 of the game. Or maybe they just wanted to ensure that if they did score two more touchdowns, they would WIN the game, instead of sending it to overtime. Or perhaps they were planning on going for two again if they scored again, in order to, you know, cut the deficit to 5...for some reason. The point is, Turner Gill is probably a misunderstood genius.
-It occurred to me while watching the Georgia Tech/North Carolina game that it seems, by and large, that everyone has basically figured out Paul Johnson's triple option attack. For the first couple years he was there, it was this mystical thing that no team could prepare for unless they had more than a week to do so (hence their struggles against teams with a long week to prepare as well as in bowl games), but now teams (especially in the ACC) are becoming more and more adept at playing assignment football. The only thing that makes it work at all is the fact that the Yellow Jackets have superior athletes to many of the teams they play (especially in the backfield). The only reason it was effective this past week against the Tarheels is that the Tarheels were decimated by suspensions, lacking depth at key defensive positions, which made it easy to wear them down. Just wait til they meet Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia in four of their last five games (and three of those are on the road with only Miami coming to Bobby Dodd Stadium).
-Anyone who was lucky enough to have seen the Auburn/Clemson slugfest will attest to the fact that it was one of the hardest hitting games they've seen in quite some time. I certainly can't remember the last time I saw that much violence in a football game. It's a shame that Kyle Parker could barely breathe without excruciating pain radiating through his body for the most crucial parts of the game (no way he misses a wide open receiver in the end zone if his ribs aren't throbbing) but even in defeat, Clemson did the ACC proud. It still lacks a marquee non-conference win but the Tigers did a lot on this night to improve the ACC's image after some ugly losses. On the other hand, if you thought Auburn and Clemson was a war, just wait until Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks roll into Jordan Hare. More on that later...
-Speaking of the SEC, let's talk about the two SEC openers:
*Florida/Tennessee: Well, the Gators did look a little bit better. Brantley at least seemed to find some rhythm eventually. However, in the first half, at least, they looked like the same team from the first half of the USF game and the Miami, OH game. Mike Pouncey continued to struggle with snaps and the running game never really got going with Jeff Demps averaging less than 3 yards per carry. The defense again had to bail the Gators out by capitalizing on a few royally stupid throws by Vols first-year starting QB Matt Simms and if not for a brilliantly called fake punt on a stalled drive late in the third quarter of a 10-10 ballgame, who knows if the Gators would have escaped with the win? Kentucky comes to The Swamp this weekend and that will be the last chance the Gators will have to work out all the kinks before their trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium begins a brutal six-game slate that includes clashes with LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina--all of which they will lose if they play the way they've played the first three games.
*Arkansas/Georgia: I'm not exactly sure what to make out of this game but I damn sure don't see what about this win was impressive enough to rocket Arkansas into the top ten. Their defense was able to get a good pass rush when they wanted to but they had problems all day stopping the run and were consistently vulnerable to the long ball. Ryan Mallet will win his share of games for them this year but there's only so much he can do and that will become apparent this week when the Tide roll into town.
-First, let me say that I'm glad Mark Dantonio is out of the hospital and doing fine. That being said, you couldn't write this stuff. College football head coach calls for a fake field goal on fourth down in a do-or-die overtime period to win the game and then goes home and has a heart attack three hours later. If it was fiction, it would be bad fiction. And while we're on the subject, as gutsy as the call seems on the surface, the more you think about it, the less gutsy it seems. I mean we're talking about a 46-yard FG attempt by an inexperienced, unreliable kicker. Granted, it was 4th and 14. I'm not saying it wasn't gutsy because it took some serious brass balls to try "Little Giants" on 4th and 14 but I'm just saying going for the field goal may not have even been the higher percentage choice.
#19 Miami, FL @ Pittsburgh
I have to say, I watched Pitt's season opener against Utah and I watched Miami's gut-wrenching loss to Ohio State and based on what I've seen from these two teams, I don't think Pitt will even come close in this one. The Hurricanes have way too much athleticism on defense for a Pitt team with no passing game and a struggling Dion Lewis. Even if Pitt's defense forces a few Jacory Harris miscues--and I don't think they will because Utah's Jordan Wynn exposed a massive amount of holes in the Panthers pass defense--the offense won't be able to capitalize on any field position that's outside of field goal range. Picking the Canes over the Buckeyes was a homer pick. This one is completely and totally rational. I would put every penny I had on the Canes to cover the spread if I had even a single penny to my name.
Hobbitcore sez: Miami
#1 Alabama @ #10 Arkansas
Wait. You mean this week's only matchup of two top ten teams (alliteration is always awesome) isn't the Game of the Week? Well, maybe theoretically, but A. I don't see any reason why Arkansas should be the #10 team in the country and B. they don't match up well at all with the Tide. This one might be close for a half or even for three quarters depending how much time the Razorback offensive line can give Ryan Mallet to work with. But, eventually, the Tide will pull away. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson will pummel the Arkansas front seven into submission and Greg McElroy and Julio Jones will exploit a very vulnerable secondary with at least 3-5 deep balls much like Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs did last week. Bama wins and also covers the spread.
Hobbitcore sez: Alabama
#16 Stanford @ Notre Dame
The Irish are looking to rebound from two absolutely excruciating losses (continuing a trend that began last year). Unfortunately, they have to rebound against probably the best NFL prospect in college football right now. The good news for Irish fans is that they match up considerably better against the Cardinal than they did against Denard Robinson and the spread option. This game will be close because they know how to defend Andrew Luck's offense--in theory. The Irish will lose another heartbreaker because they can't defend Andrew Luck's offense--in practice.
Hobbitcore sez: Stanford
#24 Oregon State @ #3 Boise State
This one is actually closer to being Game of the Week than Bama/Arkansas. Anyone who expects the Broncos to blow the doors off of the Beavers, prepare to be disappointed. The Beavers have one of the more dynamic offenses in the country and will have no trouble keeping up in a shootout. This one won't quite reach that level--although there will be a pretty respectable amount of points put on the board--because Boise State will come up with just enough defense to get past the Beavers.
Hobbitcore sez: Boise State
#22 West Virginia @ #15 LSU
I was entertaining the possibility of making this my upset of the week pick. I really like West Virginia's speed and Noel Devine is the kind of back that could give the Tigers fits. But LSU also has their share of speed and although Jordan Jefferson won't be special, he'll have a good enough game and his backs will help him out just enough to win a squeaker. LSU simply doesn't lose night games in Death Valley.
Hobbitcore sez: LSU
GAME OF THE WEEK/UPSET OF THE WEEK
#12 South Carolina @ #17 Auburn
I was kind of surprised to find that Auburn was favored in this game. They are coming off of a huge win in an all out war with Clemson and Cam Newton is pretty impressive but the Gamecocks have been impressive in their own right, specifically Marcus Lattimore and Stephen Garcia. If you thought the Battle of the Tigers was physical, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Cam Newton and Marcus Lattimore are gonna be looking for contact all night long and Stephen Garcia isn't afraid of taking a lick or two either. I really, really like the Gamecocks right now, they seem like they have all the pieces in place to make a run at the SEC East crown.
Hobbitpick: South Carolina 22, Auburn 17
Keys to the Game
-Don't miss ANY blocks
-Spy Cam Newton
-Get Garcia's jersey dirty
-Tackle soundly; don't try for big pops on Lattimore
-Make SC's offense one-dimensional
Miami, FL (-3.5) over Pittsburgh
Toledo over Purdue (-11.5)
Tulane over Houston (-19.5)
North Carolina (-1.5) over Rutgers
Ball State over Iowa (-28)
My Heisman Ballot (if the voting ended today)
1. Denard Robinson
2. Ryan Mallet
3. Justin Blackmon (leads the country in receiving yards and scoring)
ACC: Miami over Florida State
Big 12: Nebraska over Oklahoma
Big East: West Virginia
Big Ten: Ohio State
Pac 10: Oregon
SEC: Alabama over South Carolina
BCS Championship: Alabama over Nebraska
Sugar: Boise State over Oklahoma
Orange: Miami over West Virginia
Fiesta: TCU over South Carolina
Rose: Oregon over Ohio State