Friday, September 29, 2006
In review, I still went 2-2 with my picks....nailing one of them exactly (picking Western Michigan to cover a 30pt spread over Temple by a score of 41-7; to my gleeful astonishment, they beat Temple 41-7), and missing one very very badly (that would be picking UTEP to cover 9pts over New Mexico; UTEP happened to actually lose by 13).
So, I think I'll give it another whirl.....
Rutgers (-3.5) at South Florida
I live in the Tampa area, and there's one thing I can tell you: if USF happens to win, it won't be because of "home field advantage". There will be about 25k on hand for tonight's game, but make no mistake--the Bulls just rent space in my beloved Buccaneers' stadium. From the huge pirate ship in the north end zone, to the 532 (rough estimate) Bucs logos emblazoned around the stadium, to the red seats and red trim around the field (hmmm...kind of fitting for the Scarlet Knights actually) the Bulls lack a real home presence. And, Rutgers is just pretty dadgum good this year too. Rutgers 24, South Florida 14
Oregon (-1.5) at Arizona State
There just has to be something I'm unaware of (did half of the Ducks come down with mono or something?) because this just looks too easy. ASU has been one of the bigger frauds over the last few years, and Oregon is undefeated (speaking of fraud.....). This is probably one of those games where the leeches in Vegas make their killings, but I'm going to fall for it anyway. Oregon 34, Arizona State 26
Alabama at Florida (-15.5)
The Tide have no offense and Florida has a stout defense. And Urban Meyer has been looking toward this game for the past year after his 31-3 depantsing in Tuscaloosa in '05. Florida 34, Alabama 13
Kansas State (-1.5) at Baylor
Ditto my Oregon-ASU reasoning. This just looks too easy. There must be something I'm unaware of. Oh well. Kansas State 20, Baylor 13
Virginia at Duke
It's quite sad to see,
The Wahoos have sunk so low.
But Duke is still worse.
(The Pick: Virginia 20, Duke 17)
Maine at Boston College
BC bloggers unite:
O'Brien is not big-time.
This game proves nothing.
(The Pick: Boston College 34, Maine 10)
Liberty at Wake Forest
Wake-mania is here;
5 and 0 is on the way.
First place on Sunday!
(The Pick: Wake Forest 38, Liberty 7)
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech
Two things are certain:
Tech will struggle Saturday,
But Tech will still win.
(The Pick: Georgia Tech 24, Virginia Tech 21)
Houston at Miami
A breather at last?
Canes are still licking their wounds.
Cougars won't roll over.
(The Pick: Miami 30, Houston 17)
Louisiana Tech at Clemson
Tigers are in control.
This game's a mere tune up for
Big showdown with Wake!
(The Pick: Clemson 42, Louisiana Tech 16)
Yes my friends, the end of September will have Georgia Tech and....ahem...Wake Forest in the driver's seats for the ACC title game. I love this damn sport.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Allow me to redisplay his coveted framed piece here once more, because it sadly rings very true.....
Please note the subtitle of the piece -- "Possibly Better Than The Sun Belt". To the ACC's credit, I think we can remove "possibly" from that thought, but just barely.
Three different ACC clubs have played three different Sun Belt squads in 4 separate games so far this season - all at the ACC team's home field. The results are as follows:
Florida State 24 - Troy 17
Maryland 24 - Middle Tennessee 10
Georgia Tech 35 - Troy 20
Maryland 14 - Florida International 10
Since those matchups noted above, Troy managed to hold Nebraska to just eight touchdowns in a 56-0 squeaker, while Middle Tennessee played toe-to-toe with Oklahoma for approximately four minutes last Saturday in a 59-0 nailbiter. The combined margin of victory of the ACC schools over the Sun Belt schools (40) did not quite match Oklahoma's margin over Middle Tennessee in the first half of their matchup (45).
And the Big XII is supposedly having a "down" year on par with the ACC?
Alas, if your ACC spirit hasn't yet been stomped into powdery despair, tune in Thursday for the week 5 preview.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Games Watched: Georgia Tech-Virginia (1st half), Ohio State-Penn State, Arkansas-Alabama (OTs), West Virginia-East Carolina (4th Q), NC State-Boston College, Florida-Kentucky (part of the 2nd Q), Notre Dame-Michigan State (last few minutes--holy crap!)
>>Yep, Georgia fell that far despite winning and remaining unbeaten. Getting shutout for 3.5 quarters at home to awful Colorado means you are not a great team. They're on their 3rd QB so far this season; not good to be so unstable at that position.
>>Oklahoma and Clemson appear very impressive. Both destroyed semi-respectable (read: non 1-AA) opponents after coming off emotional games the prior week.
>>I probably should've dropped BC out of the poll, but quite honestly I can't find anyone else suitable for #25--Wake? Not yet. Purdue? Get a defense. Texas A&M? ehhh. Cal? Whoopty-doo, they beat perenially overrated Arizona St again.
Wake Forest (1-0 ACC, 4-0 Overall)
NC State (1-0, 2-2)
Clemson (2-1, 3-1)
Maryland (0-0, 3-1)
Boston College (1-1, 3-1)
Florida State (1-1, 3-1)
Friday, September 22, 2006
If I was a betting man, I'd plunk down some moolah on the following:
Louisville (-14) at Kansas State
I know, I know, the Cards are totally due for a letdown, especially with Brohm out for a few weeks. Whoopty-doo. Louisville 38, Kansas State 17.
UTEP (-9) at New Mexico
UTEP hasn't hit on all cylinders yet and are still 1-1, even with Jordan Palmer playing like brother Carson pre-2002. Plus, New Mexico just really stinks. UTEP 35, New Mexico 14.
Temple at Western Michigan (-30)
Temple has lost by 62 for two straight weeks......both by a 62-0 score. And the Broncos are better than most give them credit for. But, watch for a back-door cover if Western gets too far ahead too early. WMU 41, Temple 7.
Tulane (+36) at LSU
Chalk this one up to a weird post-Katrina vibe, combined with an LSU hangover from the Auburn loss. LSU 38, Tulane 14.
Cincinnati at Virginia Tech
Hokies look solid
But how good? I do not know
Fourth straight cake game
(The Pick: Virginia Tech 34, Cincinnati 10)
North Carolina at Clemson
Tar Heels, such a mess
Tigers, a power at last?
Proctor, Davis best in league
(The Pick: Clemson 37, North Carolina 13)
Rice at Florida State
Seminoles, a waste
On offense, a travesty!
No relief with Rice
(The Pick: Florida State 28, Rice 7)
Wake Forest at Mississippi
Yes, you read that correctly
Still unbeaten Sunday
(The Pick: Wake Forest 24, Mississippi 17)
Florida International at Maryland
The Fridge in a funk
Should find some relief right here
At least he's not Groh
(The Pick: Maryland 30, FIU 7)
Boston College at NC State
Coach Chuck's farewell tour
Eagles say a rude goodbye
No more bad shades!
(The Pick: Boston College 30, NC State 14)
So it's not my best effort, but it's been a rough week. And I know this sounds a little wacky, but I've predicted the ACC to go undefeated out of conference this Saturday. Stupid and foolish, I know. I'm a slow learner.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Virginia at Georgia Tech, 7:30pm ET
Al, Chan, disappoint
Each with unfulfilled promise
But Groh hits bottom
(The Pick: Georgia Tech 27, Virginia 10)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Sources inside the Seminole athletic department admitted, on condition of anonymity, that the "portion" was in fact the entire playbook, better known in team circles as "The Four".
Despite pleas from the FSU coaching staff, the playbook can be seen in the below photograph.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
All kidding aside, the results of last weekend have led me to just scrap my usual weekly recap. Each ACC club basically boils down to four different categories, and their results usually follow suit: the good (Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson), the well-meaning mediocre (Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest), the incompetently mediocre (Florida State, Miami) and the sucktacular (NC State, North Carolina, Virginia, Duke).
Just how bad is the league this year? For starters, the ACC's out of conference record stands at a paltry 15-9 (.625), with seven of those matchups - and one of the defeats - against 1-AA schools. But numbers don't do it justice...a list of the opponents should make it a bit clearer as to the gravity of the situation (* indicates 1-AA opponent).
Appalachian State*, 23-10 (NCSU)
BYU, 30-23 2OT (BC)
@Central Michigan, 31-24 (BC)
@Connecticut, 24-13 (Wake)
Florida Atlantic, 54-6 (Clemson)
Florida A&M*, 51-10 (Miami)
Furman*, 45-42 (UNC)
Middle Tennessee, 24-10 (UMd)
Northeastern*, 38-0 (VT)
Samford*, 38-6 (GT)
Syracuse, 20-10 (Wake)
Troy, 35-20 (GT)
Troy, 24-17 (FSU)
William & Mary*, 27-14 (UMd)
Wyoming, 13-12 OT (UVA)
A real murderer's row. Not one ranked team, just a single 1-A team with a winning record (Middle Tenn.), and six of the wins over 1-AA foes. And let's not forget Troy, Furman, Wyoming, BYU, and Central Michigan all came thisclose to pulling off ginormous upsets. The best win would appear to be BC's 2-OT home victory over 1-2 BYU. But the losses are what I find much more telling....
Akron, 17-20 (NCSU)
@Louisville, 7-31 (Miami)
Notre Dame, 10-14 (GT)
@Pitt, 13-38 (UVA)
Richmond*, 0-13 (Duke)
Rutgers, 16-21 (UNC)
@Southern Miss, 17-37 (NCSU)
@West Virginia, 24-45 (UMd)
Western Michigan, 10-17 (UVA)
See if you can detect a similarity among 4 of the above clubs.....that's right, 4 of those teams all come from a certain conference that just so happened to have been ransacked by the ACC just three short years ago. And three of those 4 losses to the Big Beast this year are what I would classify as the de-pantsing variety.
A quick rundown of the other major conferences' out-of-league records reveals the following:
Big Ten: 27-6 (.818)
Big East: 13-5 (.722)
Pac-10: 18-7 (.720)
SEC: 15-6 (.714)
Big XII: 25-11 (.694)
None of the above leagues aside from the Big XII has faced more than four 1-AA opponents each. Each league but the Big XII has at least one signature win as well (Big Ten- Ohio State over Texas, Michigan over Notre Dame; Big East- Louisville over Miami; Pac 10- USC over Nebraska, Oregon "over" Oklahoma; SEC- Tennessee over Cal).
So that clearly leaves the ACC and Big XII in a plummet to last in the major conference standings. And just based on winning percentage and having a conference member getting shut-out by a 1-AA school, I think the ACC went splat first.
Whatever voodoo Big East commish Mike Tranghese levied against the ACC, 'tis working. Payback is a bitch.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Dropped out: Miami (#20)
Games Watched: Boston College-BYU, Louisville-Miami, Michigan-Notre Dame (2nd Quarter), Oregon-Oklahoma (4th Quarter), Clemson-Florida State
--Yes, Oregon dropped 4 spots in the poll (to #20) despite "winning" against Oklahoma (who dropped one to #19). The Sooners had the game snatched from them via the horrid onsides kick call and the nearly equally atrocious pass interference call on the subsequent Duck drive. And the Sooners still almost managed to win in the end, in Autzen, against the Ducks and the refs
--The Top 12 in my opinion is clear, and then there is a pretty steep drop-off.
--Miami is in no danger of re-entering this poll for quite some time. Florida State is teetering on dropping out as well, but quite frankly I'm largely unimpressed by everyone outside the Top 18
And as a Seminole alum and fan, I will be doing some double-duty grieving as it has finally become apparent that Bobby Bowden's coaching career is flatlining. I love the man, but it's time he stop taking care of his incompetent son on the taxpayer dole, and it's time for him to enjoy his remaining years with Ann and the grandkids.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006
BYU at Boston College
Each with offense aplenty
The Pope's crew prevails
(The Pick: Boston College 28, BYU 20)
Wake Forest at Connecticut
Duke scared the Deacons
Huskies are more than just bark
Wake will feel the bite
(The Pick: Connecticut 17, Wake Forest 14)
Duke at Virginia Tech
Shot their wad, did Duke
And still fell short to the Deacs
No mercy from Tech
(The Pick: Virginia Tech 37, Duke 3)
Troy at Georgia Tech
Shot their wad, did Troy
And still fell short to the Noles
No mercy from Tech
(The Pick: Georgia Tech 24, Troy 7)
Miami at Louisville
Canes are underdogs
Just like last year at VT
The Cards miss Mike Bush
(The Pick: Miami 27, Louisville 21)
Western Michigan at Virginia
Al Groh, chessmaster
Now sweats over a MAC team
George Welsh smiles wryly
(The Pick: Virginia 20, Western Michigan 16)
Furman at North Carolina
Heel fans remember
Furman's ass-kicking of yore
Torbush really blew
(The Pick: North Carolina 31, Furman 10)
Southern Miss at NC State
A loss to Akron
Wolfpack Nation in uproar
Ain't seen nothin' yet
(The Pick: Southern Miss 20, NC State 10)
Clemson at Florida State
The Eighth Bowden Bowl
Tommy has beaten Dad twice
But Pops is at home
(The Pick: Florida State 24, Clemson 21)
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Maryland (2-0) at West Virginia (2-0), 7:45pm ET
After Ralph Friedgen played Steve Spurrier to Rich Rodriguez's Phil Fulmer in each of their first 4 seasons as skippers at their respective alma-maters (both were hired in 2001), Rodriguez has claimed the upper hand in the last two meetings, a 19-16 OT win in 2004 and a come from behind 31-19 closer-than-the-score-indicates victory in 2005. Prior to that, Friedgen unleashed hell on the Mountaineers to the tune of 32-20 in '01, 48-17 in '02, 34-7 in '03 and 41-7 in that season's Gator Bowl rematch. Alas, for Ralphie and his turtles, the mojo in this series has flipped decidedly into the couch-burner camp.
Both clubs have warmed up on lightweights, with West Virginia dominating Marshall and Eastern Washington by a combined score of 94-13 while Maryland turned in more workmanlike performances against William & Mary and Middle Tennessee. Simply put, the Mountaineers are flat-out more talented and explosive, something the Terps look unable to contain. And lastly, the Terps aren't so good at the football on Thursday nights, losing their last 4 appearances on that day by a combined score of 120-31, which leads me to believe that the Fridge has a wee bit o' trouble preparing in a short week. This certainly doesn't look to be one the best of Fridge's teams, while West Virginia is definitely one of the best opponents he's ever faced in his tenure in College Park. Not tonight, Ralphie.
The Pick: West Virginia 38, Maryland 17
Tonight's forecast in Morgantown calls for the unbearable stench of scorched, beer-soaked cloth upholstery
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Wake Forest 14, Duke 13
Only a comedy of errors by the Blue Devils prevented this one from being a Duke rout (yes, I actually said a Duke rout, in reference to football). A fumble at the Wake 1-yard line that went out of the end zone for a touchback.....dropped balls on easy wide-open passes....Duke penalties on defense, right after a tidy INT return....a missed 27-yard field goal...a blocked 28-yard field goal at the gun. Wake didn't win; Duke blew this one. This was the worst coaching performance of Jim Grobe's tenure at Wake. The Deacons should've buried Duke but instead were saved by the Devils themselves.
Virginia Tech 35, North Carolina 10
Apparently 19 INTs in 2004 while at Nebraska wasn't a fluke for UNC QB Joe Dailey, whose real identity as internal saboteur was uncovered quickly in his second go-around at a major conference program. Two horrific picks against the Hokies destroyed Carolina scoring drives, leaving the much improved Heel defense in a major hole for much of the game. Hokies' QB Sean Glennon was a tad shaky, but was bailed out by the Hokie running game and special teams. Yes, they blocked a kick. Water is wet, the sky is blue, Tech blocks kicks. Rinse and repeat.
Akron 20, NC State 17
My oh my how the Wolfpack deserved to lose this one, just on principle alone. Down 14-10 with a minute to play, the Pack punched it into the endzone to take the lead, and then went berserk like a peewee football squad at a post-game Chuck E Cheese party, drawing the dreaded 15-yard celebration penalty. Approximately 0.78 game seconds later, the very accurately named Zips stood at the Pack 1-yard line, and seemingly ran it in to win at the gun, 20-17. The miracle of photography has since indicated that perhaps Akron didn't actually score, but the damage was already done. State celebrated far too much for taking the lead against Akron, and then let Akron march down the field like Sherman through Atlanta in about 3 nanoseconds. Chuck Amato has met his Waterloo, and thy name is Zip.
ah hell, close enough
Boston College 34, Clemson 33 (2OT)
Amidst the pungent debris of most of last week in the conference, this one came out smelling like a rose. First of all, both teams displayed basic and fundamental concepts of good offensive football, which was nary to be found in ACC-Land lo these past few weeks. When all was said and done, this one really came down to Clemson's having the ball 1st and goal on the Eagle 2 in the latter half of the first OT, and then promptly retreating several yards on the next 2 downs and settling for a Jad Dean field goal. Forget questionable officiating, blocked extra points, and such. The Tigers had the game on the BC 2 with a fresh set of downs, and folded. But many thanks to the Tigers and Eagles for a bang-up game and a measure of hope that all is not lost in the ACC this season.
Georgia Tech 38, Samford 6
Sorry Jacket fans, but y'all are in trouble. Reggie Ball has morphed completely into Chris Rix, while Patrick Nix has mind-melded with Jeff Bowden. The Tech offense managed to put up just 24 points on the scoreboard against 1-AA Samford, with the stellar Yellow Jacket D running two Bulldog INTs into the end zone for the difference. Tech is now the Coastal Division equivalent to Florida State, and I mean that as an insult.
Maryland 24, Middle Tennessee 10
Not much to analyze here. Sam Hollenbach was his usual unspectacular self, although with no picks on the stat sheet. Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore look to be a nice 1-2 punch in the running game, while unfortunately the receiving corps is so uninspiring that I couldn't even tell you who the two starting Terp WRs even are. Hell, even the AP beat writer was searching for something, anything, to write about regarding this game. I've read longer recaps about the local Rotary Club pinochle prelims.
Virginia 13, Wyoming 12 (OT)
I'm pretty sure there was an even lower scoring OT game somewhere in recent NCAA history, but certainly not one more boring. 6-6 at the end of regulation. Just over 200 yards total offense for the Cavaliers in an overtime game. The lone bright spot for UVA was the defensive performance, holding the Cowboys to just over 300 yards after Pitt dominated the Wahoo D like Dave Wannstedt groupies at the Annual Kick-Ass/Take-Names Mustache Convention.
Miami 51, Florida A&M 10
Quite possibly the two most intriguing stats you'll see all year....Miami increased their rushing output by 16,950% from the Florida State game (339 yards vs. 2 yards), while Florida A&M ran for 8,900% more yardage (89 yards vs. 1 yard) than the Seminoles did against the Canes. Math is cool.
Florida State 24, Troy 17
Troy 3 - Florida State 0, at the half. Troy 17 - Florida State 10, mid 4th-quarter. In Tallahassee. Granted, Troy beat Missouri handily in 2004, and took LSU to the wire in Baton Rouge that same year, but something is so very wrong with the Florida State offense, the 119th rated (out of 119 for those keeping score at home) rushing offense in terms of yards per carry. That's 0.9 yards per carry, or 32 inches per rush. If Drew Weatherford just fell forward every down, that would surpass the current FSU output. This is the result of the spring and summer running game crash course headed up by Jeff Bowden? And Florida State University actually has a nepotism policy, which athletic director Dave Hart - to his everlasting regret and shame - allowed Bobby Bowden to circumvent when St. Mark Richt The Competent departed for Georgia. Although the Nole D got sliced and diced a bit too much by Trojan QB Omar Haugabrook, they slammed the door in the 4th quarter, setting up the go ahead score with a Buster Davis INT. I'd pay mad money to see a Mickey Andrews-Jeff Bowden cage match.
Fredo mucks up yet another weekly family business venture
And with this, I close the book on the first two horrid weeks of the 2006 ACC football season. Let us never speak of this again.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Games Watched: Boise State-Oregon State (2nd & 3rd Q), Virginia Tech-North Carolina, Akron-NC State (4th Q), Boston College-Clemson, Ohio State-Texas, Florida State-Troy (Sunday replay)