Saturday, September 21, 2013
Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 4)
Upsets Last Week: N/A
Upsets Overall: 3-1
Doing great so far but most of the picks so far have been pretty easy (and I got lucky with the Canes/Gators upset pick)
-Obviously, the big story of the week was #1 Alabama travelling to #6 Texas A&M for an epic SEC West showdown that was almost every bit as epic as it was billed to be. It started in somewhat similar fashion to last year's game with A&M jumping out to an early 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. This time, however, the Tide answered back furiously with five consecutive touchdowns over the course of the next 23 minutes (spanning three quarters, including a 21 point 2nd quarter), capped off by a spectacular 73-yard interception return for a TD by Vinnie Sunseri. Unfortunately for the Aggies (and for Johnny Football's Johnny Heisman hopes), that pick-six and a horrible interception thrown by Manziel on the goal line when it was tied at 14 were the one and only difference in this game, which was only in doubt when the Aggies stormed back in the 4th, highlighted by a 95 yard TD pass from Manziel to WR Mike Evans (7 rec 279 yds and just the one TD somehow) that made it 42-35 with 8:04 to go. The Tide made short work of said doubt, however, when they marched 65 yards in over five and a half minutes in a classic Saban scoring drive to make it 49-35 with 2:28 remaining. Manziel certainly has time to claw back into the Heisman race which is wide open after a few underwhelming performances against inferior teams by Tajh Boyd but he can't make such crucial errors at such crucial times. Moments like these define the Heisman race and separate Heisman candidates from Heisman winners.
-Although it was overshadowed by other captivating stories, one of the biggest stories of the weekend, as far as I'm concerned, was the travesty that took place in Tempe. Here's the scene: Wisconsin had just scored a TD in a 32-24 game to make it 32-30 but after missing the two point conversion, they stopped the Sun Devils and got the ball back with 1:36 left at their own 17. QB Joel Stave drives the Badgers down to the Arizona State 13 with 18 seconds left. What happens next was a massive clusterfuck. Stave snaps the ball and runs between the two hash marks to set up the field goal--only it doesn't appear that he actually touched his knee to the ground. Some of the ASU players jump on the ball, thinking it's live, but the refs rule him down and try to reset the ball. At least one ASU player stays on top of the ball long after the whistle is blown and the play is ruled dead, which should have been a delay of game penalty. Then, the refs take forever to reset the ball, leaving Wisconsin with exactly a second to snap the ball and spike it, which, of course, they failed to do. After a short conference in front of basically the entire Wisconsin team screaming at them, the refs said fuck the lemons and bailed. I've never seen anything like it in 20+ years of watching football. Shame on you, Pac-12 officials.
CLICK "READ MORE" FOR PICKS ON FLORIDA/TENNESSEE, NOTRE DAME/MICHIGAN STATE, AND LSU/AUBURN AS WELL AS HEISMAN PICKS AND BCS PROJECTIONS
North Carolina @ Georgia Tech -- ESPN -- 12:00pm
ACC games are always so difficult to pick but so much fun to watch because there's so much parity. People always talk about the superiority of the SEC over other conferences (as well as that of BCS conferences over non-BCS conferences) due to the "day-in-day-out" of playing the Alabamas, LSUs, Georgias, South Carolinas, and Floridas of the world. The thing is, the depth of the SEC stops there. A&M is a new addition (and likely will go the way of Cam Newton's Auburn team once Manziel is gone) and each of these teams has had at least one down year during the recent years of SEC dominance, making the conference about 4-deep and sometimes even 3-deep. The ACC, on the other hand, has consistently had at least half the conference in the ACC title hunt. FSU, Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke have, at one point or another, had a legitimate shot at the crown and five of those teams (FSU, VT, GT, Clemson, WF) have won the last seven ACC titles (and BC won the Atlantic twice in that span). BUT ANYWAY...North Carolina's got a hell of a QB in Bryn Renner but Georgia Tech's got one hell of an offense. I said a few years ago in this column that after the initial mystique wore off, most teams in the ACC figured out Paul Johnson's offense pretty quick. Now it actually kind of seems like Johnson has figured this out and fine tuned that triple option into a well-oiled machine that can chew up chunks of yards and chalk up points on the board no matter how prepared you are for it. North Carolina's had a bye week to prepare but they had one last year too and they still got steamrolled by the Jackets' offense. They can't stop the Ramblin' Wreck.
Hobbitcore sez: Georgia Tech
Tennessee @ #19 Florida -- CBS -- 3:30pm (UPSET ALERT)
Tennessee looked like they might have some potential when they forced 7 turnovers against Western Kentucky but Oregon put that to bed in roughly the same amount of time 21 of their 25 scoring drives this year have taken: under 2 minutes. They'll give Florida a lot more fits than Oregon, especially with the turnover-prone Jeff Driskel, but I just don't think the Vols are quite ready yet to go into the Swamp and beat the Gators.
Hobbitcore sez: Florida
Michigan State @ #22 Notre Dame -- NBC -- 3:30pm (UPSET ALERT)
Michigan State's offense has been appallingly bad. They scored a grand total of one offensive touchdown in their first two games against Western Michigan and South Florida (who gave up 53 points to McNeese State in their opener) before a much-needed date with Youngstown State. Mercifully, Notre Dame's defense is pretty bad but not nearly bad enough. The good news for Sparty is that their defense has scored four touchdowns this year and the Irish offense is a little turnover-prone. If the Irish can eliminate mistakes, the Spartans won't be able to touch them but if MSU starts forcing some turnovers and turning them into points, this could get really interesting.
Hobbitcore sez: Notre Dame
Purdue @ #24 Wisconsin -- ABC -- 3:30pm (UPSET ALERT)
Purdue gave Notre Dame a pretty good run for their money last week but the Boilers can't run the ball to save their lives and if you can't run the ball to save your life against Wisconsin...you're going to die.
Hobbitcore sez: Wisconsin
Utah State @ USC -- ABC -- 3:30pm
Wait, how in the actual hell did this get on network television?
Hobbitcore sez: USC
Arkansas @ Rutgers -- ESPN -- 3:30pm
Seriously, it's a really slow week this week.
Hobbitcore sez: Arkansas
#23 Arizona State @ #5 Stanford -- FOX -- 7:00pm
By the numbers, this is probably the "best" game of the week but I refuse to elevate it to "Game of the Week" status. The Sun Devils have themselves a pretty good QB but they're no match for Stanford.
Hobbitcore sez: Stanford
Auburn @ #6 LSU -- ESPN -- 7:45pm
This might be one of the most intriguing matchups of the week just because it's a rivalry game and we don't really know who either of these teams are yet. We'll find out tonight. Nick Marshall has a long way to go but he's riding a huge wave of confidence after a clutch game-winning drive against Mississippi State last week. LSU QB Zach Mettenberger has been ultra-efficient against subpar teams but completed only 50% of his passes and threw only one TD against TCU. I still like LSU at home to come up with enough plays on defense that the outcome of this one will scarcely be in doubt.
Hobbitcore sez: LSU
#15 Michigan @ Connecticut -- ABC -- 8:00pm
I mean it's a REALLY slow week this week...
Hobbitcore sez: Michigan
Kansas State @ Texas -- ABC -- 8:00pm (UPSET ALERT...wait, really? Texas is favored?!)
Texas badly needs a win right now. The expectations were high this year. A locker room full of returning starters. A relatively easy schedule. A wide open Big 12. A Texas-sized chip on their shoulder from years of Post-Vince Young mediocrity. Mack Brown knew this year had to be the year. And what happens? They give up 550 rushing yards to BYU in a 40-21 loss and 272 rushing yards to Ole Miss in a 44-23 loss. So who better than the team that lost their opening game to North Dakota State (they're better than you think, but still...) to ease the Longhorns' blues? Well...I dunno about that. KSU is surely not what they were with Collin Klein behind center but they still have RB John Hubert and an offense built around running the ball. The natives will be restless in Austin for the Horns' Big 12 opener and I'd love nothing more than to be able to say with confidence that Texas will bounce back and refocus their sights on the Big 12 title with a nice conference win but I just can't. They're in deep trouble and I don't know if they'll be able to dig out. Frankly, I'm not sure Mack Brown is coaching this team next year. Losing Will Muschamp to Florida by way of keeping him as "coach in waiting" was a big mistake that's still stinging and the Horns will be ready to move on if they don't win the Big 12 this year.
Hobbitcore sez: Kansas State
1. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
3. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Georgia (-33) over North Texas
Louisville (-42) over FIU
Michigan (-19.5) over Connecticut
Purdue (+22.5) over Wisconsin
USC (-6.5) over Utah State
ACC: Clemson over Miami
Big XII: Oklahoma
Big Ten: Ohio State over Michigan
Pac-12: Stanford over Arizona State
SEC: Alabama over Georgia
National Championship: Alabama over Clemson
Orange Bowl: Michigan over Miami
Sugar Bowl: Oregon over Texas A&M
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Louisville
Rose Bowl: Stanford over Ohio State