Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 4)











HEADLINES

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 OVERESTIMATED: Tennessee, Michigan State, USC
--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

UPSET OF THE WEEK

#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

GAME OF THE WEEK

#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
Clemson:
-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

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