Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 4)


The Gators and the Irish appear to be returning to the level they were at when these guys wore their uniforms

-Well, it was bound to happen.  When you decide to present yourself as a prognosticator of sporting events (especially college sports), there are bound to be those weeks that make you look completely ridiculous and cause you to second-guess whether anyone cares about the analyses of someone so incompetent as to be so blatantly wrong so many times in one week.  Luckily my confidence remains unscathed.  But let's still go down the list of reasons why I was a complete idiot last week!  In no particular order:
--TEAMS I MASSIVELY UNDERESTIMATE: Notre Dame (ugh), Florida (UGH), Stanford, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, California
--technically correct in picking Ohio State and Alabama although I thought the Buckeyes would cruise and Arkansas would keep it close...not exactly a win (certainly not a win "against the spread" as far as I'm concerned)
--It bears repeating that I was totally convinced USC would CRUSH Stanford.  I should really get two losses for that.  Fail.  (For that matter, I also thought Virginia Tech would destroy Pittsburgh.  Yikes.)

The Crimson Tide have unquestionably been the most dominant force in this college football season

-So, uh...can someone explain to me exactly how LSU has gotten 2 first place votes in the AP poll and 5 in the Coaches' Poll?  Don't give me the "they don't have time to watch the games" argument for the coaches either.  I think it's safe to assume they can read a box score and when you (Alabama) beat Michigan (at a neutral site) and Arkansas (on the road) by a combined score of 93-14...I dunno, to me it seems pretty cut and dry who the #1 team in the land is.  I can't imagine a reason to put LSU #1 other than politics.  And that's just sad.  Although, I suppose, inevitable.

-Speaking of the pollsters, I love seasons like this because they totally flabbergast the voters.  In the last two weeks alone, the AP poll has dropped 7 teams completely out of their Top 25 including #8 Arkansas following their loss to Louisiana-Monroe (which seemed a little reactionary to me at the time but after this week seems a lot more rational--to be fair, though, this isn't the same team without Tyler Wilson).

-Speaking of Louisiana-Monroe, they are no pushover.  If anybody should have been prepared for Louisiana-Monroe's best shot, it's the team that played them immediately following their huge upset of then-#8 Arkansas and yet Auburn still needed overtime to dispatch the Warhawks 31-28.

Last week: 4-4
ATS: 1-7
Overall: 24-9
ATS: 16-17

Zach Mettenberger is giving LSU fans hope that they might finally see consistency at the QB position

#2 LSU @ Auburn -- ESPN -- 7pm

LSU finally gets their first test of the season after steamrolling North Texas, Washington, and Idaho by a combined score of 145-31.  New LSU starting QB Zach Mettenberger has been creating a lot of buzz, completing over 70% of his passes in his first three games.  Of course he hasn't seen a defense like Auburn's but I still think he'll have some success against a pretty shaky Auburn defensive backfield.  I like LSU to make a statement on the road.  It should be relatively close in the first half but eventually the Bayou Bengals will open it up and cruise to victory.

Hobbitcore sez: LSU

Can Denard Robinson do enough to top Notre Dame's dynamic offense?

#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame -- NBC -- 7:30pm

This will be an interesting one to watch.  Notre Dame (unfortunately) appears to be the real deal but on the other hand it's difficult to say we know much of anything about Michigan yet.  One thing is for sure: they're going to need more than just Denard Robinson to beat the Irish.  If Notre Dame wins this one they'll undoubtedly shoot up into the top 10 and people will start talking national title.  Make no mistake, they're not ignorant to this fact.  Expect them to play like it.  Once people start talking national title...well, that will be a different story...

Hobbitcore sez: Notre Dame

Don't blink or you might miss Oregon WR De'Anthony Thomas, the fastest man in college football

#22 Arizona @ #3 Oregon -- ESPN -- 10:30pm

Rich Rodriguez's offense is really humming now after a shaky start in week one, scoring 115 points in their last two games.  However, Oregon's speed on both offense and defense will just be much too much for the Wildcats to handle, especially in the unfriendly confines of Autzen Stadium.  If you like high-octane offense and world class speed, you're going to want to stay up late for this one.

Hobbitcore sez: Oregon

Dark horse Heisman candidate Collin Klein


#15 Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma -- FOX -- 7:50pm

I don't know how or why but somehow the Sooners are favored by 16 points in this game.  I guess Vegas hasn't been watching them very closely.  Either that or they haven't been watching the Wildcats at all.  I think Oklahoma will have big problems with Collin Klein and I like K-State to pull out a close win to catapult themselves into the top 10.

The Upset Hobbit sez: Kansas State

Florida State QB E.J. Manuel needs to have a big game to beat the Tigers


#10 Clemson @ #4 Florida State -- ABC -- 8pm

This is a really, really tough pick.  I've been pretty steadfast in my belief that FSU is overrated but these two teams are incredibly evenly matched on both sides of the ball.  What that means is that special teams are going to play a crucial role.  In the end this game will come down to big plays.  Whichever team makes more big, game-changing plays on offense, defense, AND special teams will be the winner.

Keys to the Game
-Keep E.J. Manuel in the pocket (not only because he's so dangerous with his legs but he's also very dangerous with his arm when he's on the run)
-Keep everything in front on defense (last week against Wake Forest, FSU got a 60 yard punt return TD from Rashad Greene and TD runs of 74 and 80 yards from Chris Thompson)
-Get the ball in the hands of Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington (big plays, big plays, big plays)
Florida State:
-Protect E.J. Manuel and attack Tahj Boyd (this game is going to be all about the playmakers under center)
-Establish a running game (Clemson's defensive front is daunting, as usual, and FSU can't be one-dimensional...they may want to get E.J. involved in the running game or at least move him outside the pocket a few times)
-Keep an eye on Watkins and Ellington (if the Noles can limit the production of these two guys, it will be very hard for Clemson to win this game)

Hobbitpick: Clemson 29, Florida State 27

Out-of-Whack Spreads
Arizona (+21.5) over Oregon
Kansas State (+16) over Oklahoma
Rutgers (+9.5) over Arkansas

Heisman Ballot
1. QB A.J. McCarron (Alabama)
2. QB Geno Smith (West Virginia)
3. QB Collin Klein (Kansas State)

BCS Predictions
ACC: Clemson over Virginia Tech
Big XII: West Virginia
Big East: Louisville
Big Ten: Michigan State over Wisconsin
Pac 12: Oregon over USC
SEC: Alabama over Georgia

BCS Championship: Alabama over Oregon
Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia over Oklahoma
Sugar Bowl: LSU over Virginia Tech
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Wisconsin
Rose Bowl: USC over Michigan State

 My Top 25
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. LSU
4. Georgia
5. West Virginia
6. Clemson
7. Florida State
8. USC
9. Kansas State
10. Ohio State
11. Notre Dame
12. Texas
13. South Carolina
14. Florida
15. Stanford
16. Michigan State
17. Michigan
18. Nebraska
19. TCU
20. Louisville
21. UCLA
22. Arizona
23. Boise State
24. Mississippi State
25. Virginia Tech

Thursday, September 13, 2012

VIDEO GOLD: EPIC Power Rangers fan video

Lately, my buddy Jorge has been bombarding me with Power Ranger trivia and footage culled from the internets. I was searching for footage to combat his lust for obscure Power Rangers footage the other day when I came across this fan imation test footage. I do not know the story behind Mikethewolf the artist beyond his own website. However, his art is and this video are super cool. I love the bulky Power Ranger redesign and the fighting is fantastic. The overall look has a "cool" factor that Power Rangers hasn't had since I was nine years old. The fan film was created by Mikethewolf, a very talented artist. You can see his work at his deviantart page.

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 3)


The University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks celebrate a HUGE road upset of #8 Arkansas

-So, as is often the case, a week in college football that seemed unbearably boring on paper was incredibly interesting to watch on the field.  If you were to ascribe a headline to Week 2 it would probably be something along the lines of "UPSETS AND CLOSE CALLS!"  Let's go down the list:
No. 8 Arkansas fell to Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in OT
No. 13 Wisconsin lost to Oregon State 10-7 in a game I figured to be no more than "Montee Ball padding stats." (note: Ball had 15 carries for 61 yards and zero TDs)
No. 14 Ohio State got all they could handle from UCF in a game that was tied until 15 seconds to go in the second half.  OSU began to open it up in the 3rd quarter but still came up with only a 31-16 victory.
No. 16 Nebraska couldn't stop UCLA's dynamic new offense which proved that Week 1 was in no way a fluke by posting 36 on the tough Husker D.
No. 18 Oklahoma State, after blanking poor, lowly Savannah State 84-0, picked on somebody their own size and got a taste of their own medicine as a result (two cliches, one sentence? you bet), yielding 59 points to Rich Rodriguez's Arizona Wildcats with the help of four turnovers (including a devastating interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter) and 15 penalties for 167 yards.
No. 19 Michigan needed a whole lot of Denard Robinson heroics to pull them from the throes of a hangover game, barely getting by the Air Force Falcons 31-25.
No. 22 Notre Dame beat unranked Purdue 20-17 on a last second field goal

Texas A&M and Missouri are out to prove they can hang in the SEC

-The other big headline from this week, of course, was that Texas A&M and Missouri played their SEC debuts.  Both games played out more or less as expected, at least on paper.  Texas A&M took control in the first half and then folded like a card table in the second half (well, sort of...not really...I'll come back to this).  Missouri kept it close for three quarters before Georgia ran away with the win. But both Mizzou and A&M should come away from these games feeling as though they've proven they belong in the SEC.  Both stood toe-to-toe with quality SEC opponents (one a top ten team) and competed their tails off and played very, VERY physical football--especially Texas A&M.  The Aggies knocked the Gators on their asses in the first half.  You could tell the Gators were in no way prepared for that.  There was a signature moment--I wish I could tell you I remember when it happened or who was involved.  I want to say it was late in the second quarter and I'm pretty sure the perpetrator was A&M RB Christine Michael and the man on the receiving end was a member of the Gators secondary.  In any case, A&M broke a pretty big run to get the ball inside the red zone and when the Gators finally stopped Michael, he lowered his head directly into the gut of the defender and...just...absolutely LEVELED the guy.  Wow.

-Sadly (and/or, perhaps, mercifully) the epic battle between Florida State and Savannah State was called off with 9 minutes left in the third quarter and the 'Noles up 55-0, much to the chagrin of gamblers everywhere (who were, of course, refunded their money and all bets were called off).

Collin Klein torching the 'Canes' D

-The Homer Hobbit Says: As pathetic as the 'Canes looked Saturday, tell me this Collin Klein motherfucker isn't a beast.  Not only did he throw for over 200 yards on 11 attempts (9 of them completions) but he carried the ball a whopping 22 times for 71 yards and 3 TDs (two of them from a yard out and another from six yards out)--this allowed RB John Hubert to carry the ball a mere 19 times for 106 yards and one more TD.  Kansas State has one more tune-up game against North Texas this weekend before a date with the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman next Saturday.  I see an Upset of the Week in the making.  For the time being, Collin Klein is my dark horse Heisman candidate with 379 yards and 3 TDs on 71.8% passing and 135 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 35 carries.

Last Week: 9-4
*ATS: 6-7
Overall: 20-5
*ATS: 15-10
Upset of the Week: 1-0

* - ATS = Against the Spread -- not actually measuring how I do against the spread, obviously, since I don't pick scores or who is going to win by exactly how much, etc.  This is more of a subjective account of how I did predicting what would actually happen in each game.  For instance, last week I picked Kansas State to "squeak out a win" over Miami.  I correctly picked the winner but clearly was mistaken about the outcome of the game, so that counts as a loss.
** - by the way, this week I plan on being more discerning about the games I'm picking...I know I said I would pick every game on TV but the reality is setting in that no one gives a good god damn about Washington State @ UNLV this Friday night...anydangway...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 2)


-So I guess technically I got my Game of the Week pick right.  Not really though.  I expected Alabama to be the better team.  I don't think anybody expected that.  I think a lot of people are about ready to change their picks for the BCS title game--including me.  What impressed me most was the confidence of A.J. McCarron and the dominance of the very young defense.  If there was any doubt that Nick Saban is the best coach in college football right now, that's out the window.  

Le'Veon Bell breaking some ankles

-Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell looks to be in Heisman form already as do USC QB Matt Barkley, and West Virginia QB Geno Smith.  Denard Robinson and Landry Jones?  Not so much.

-Speaking of "not so much", there are several Top 25 teams who should be very worried right now:
Oklahoma looked very mediocre against lowly UTEP.  There was a lot of speculation about how Landry Jones would fair without his favorite target Ryan Broyles and he definitely looked lost at times.  The teams were tied at halftime and Oklahoma took a 10-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
South Carolina looked very beatable against an underrated but unranked Vanderbilt team.  Connor Shaw banged up his shoulder pretty bad in the second quarter and had to come out.  He eventually re-entered the game in the third quarter and now according to Spurrier, he can barely move his arm.
Georgia led the University of Buffalo Bulls 24-16 at halftime.  Not ideal.
Wisconsin had to fight off a late rally by Northern Iowa to squeak out a 26-21 win.
Michigan State and Boise State have elite defenses and Michigan State may have a Heisman candidate in Le'Veon Bell but both left Friday's game with more questions at QB than answers.  Boise State likely won't find their way back into the Top 25 again this year with all the questions they have on offense.
Florida didn't exactly look like world-beaters either, having more trouble with Bowling Green than expected.  They took a 17-14 lead into the fourth quarter and had 14 penalties for 106 yards.

-The Bill O'Brien era begins with a loss.  It's kind of a shame.  I kinda feel for this team and their fans right now.  They had nothing to do with any of this Jerry Sandusky business.  It was sort of interesting how the adrenaline and emotion of the moment barely carried the Lions to halftime and then it was like a sugar crash...BAM!  Deflated.  Give Ohio credit, they're a good football team but you still gotta feel for Penn State at least a little bit.

-So Oklahoma State somehow got lucky enough to get Savannah State University on the schedule.  They scored 35 points in the first quarter.  Then they added another 14 in the second quarter.  21 more in the third and another 14 in the fourth.  Final: 84-0.  They were favored by 58 points.  Vegas totally banked on this one too because 69% of people bet on Savannah State.  I guess they thought no one could beat anyone by 58 points.  Guess they've never heard of the famous 1916 Georgia Tech v. Cumberland College game.  Next up for the Tigers of Savannah State: No. 6 Florida State.  

-Speaking of cupcakes, it appears to be cupcake week in college football.  I guess Week 2 is as good a time as any.  Check out this Saturday's delectable dessert menu:
Western Kentucky at No. 1 Alabama (poor, poor Western Kentucky...could Alabama crack 100?)
Washington at No. 3 LSU (yeah I know Washington is in the Pac-12 but...still...)
Florida A&M at No. 5 Oklahoma (Landry Jones and co. need this...BAD)
No. 11 Michigan State at Central Michigan (I just wanna see Le'Veon Bell steamroll the Chippewas' defense)
Ball State at No. 12 Clemson
Austin Peay at No. 15 Virginia Tech

Duke Johnson in high school

-Just when I was getting myself ready to totally check out of the Canes season when they were looking completely lifeless in falling behind 14-0 at Boston College, Golden's boys reel off 41 of the game's next 50 points led by two electrifying Duke Johnson runs and three defensive takeaways (including a Denzel Perryman INT return for a TD).

-Speaking of the Canes, let me just say this one more time: What a bummer that Teddy Bridgewater de-committed from Miami after Randy Shannon was fired.  This kid is gonna be a stud.  He was 19/21 today.  Even against Kentucky, that's impressive.