Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 5 - Games to Keep an Eye On

The last weekend in September has us at Week 5 for College Football and I'm convinced this is the quickest month of the year. It truly flies by.

Amazing game last weekend as FSU steps up and comes from behind to beat Clemson at home. E.J. Manuel stepped up big, and the Chris Thompson + James Wilder Jr. tandem looks stout and like its January football ready.

Oregon State picked up a big road win, South Carolina destroyed Missouri, LSU escaped with a key road win against Auburn, Notre Dame held Michigan in check and they crack the Top 10, and Georgia put down Vanderbilt.

Here are this week's Games to Keep An Eye On:

Baylor at West Virginia (Noon)
  • West Virginia opens Big XII play this weekend at home against Baylor
  • Its going to be a shootout and watching these true to fashion conference passing attacks go at it will be fun
  • WVU has too many weapons for Baylor to handle this weekend and Geno Smith will shine in this one
  • Geno has thrown to Tevon Austin and Stedman Bailey for over 60 completions, 677 yards and 10 TDs - and he's been ultra efficient with 0 interceptions
  •  Look for West Virginia to pull this one out as Baylor will keep up but WVU will pull away late
  • Take WVU by 10
(Photo courtesy of Justin K. Aller)

Tennessee at Georgia (3:30 PM)
  • This is the CBS Game of the Week and its is shaping up nicely
  • I wonder how much intel Coach Vince Dooley is shipping out of state to his son up in Knoxville as the Vols prepare for UGA this weekend?
  • All kidding aside - this is going to be another really good installment in this heated rivalry
  • Georgia's offense has been performing well, putting up great numbers behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The pair have combined for 670 yards and 9 TDs
  • Not to be overlooked Todd is averaging 9.2 yards/carry!
  • Can Georgia stay crisp and start out strong?
  • Tyler Bray is an amazing prospect and his primary targets this year are Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson - he's thrown for 510 yards & 6 TDs between the pair
  • Georgia's secondary will have their hands full
  • Which Offensive Line steps up here the biggest?
  • Bottom line Georgia has been building depth dealing with some suspensions and doing a great job, but now they are finally back to 100% on the defensive side of the ball
  • Alec Ogletree is back
  • Bacarri Rambo is back
  • And always keep an eye out for Jarvis "Sackman" Jones he's got a nose for the ball and he's been arguably the best defensive player in the country
  • Look for this one to be closer than Georgia wants it but look for Malcolm Mitchell to come up with a big grab - he's been lightly used on offense this year and he could be utilized to deliver the knockout blow
  • Take Georgia by 13
(Photo courtesy of John Kelley)

Ohio State at Michigan State (3:30 PM)
  • This has Ohio State written all over it.
  • Braxton Miller is playing some of his best ball as the centerpiece of the offense
  • If MSU wants to have a chance they will have to shutdown running lanes and force Braxton to pass
  • Le'veon Bell is going to be the focus, but the passing game will have to take it to another level - and I just don't see it happening with Ohio State's new leadership
  • If Ohio State cannot stop Le'Veon Bell then it could easily swing the other way
  • Notre Dame handed Ohio State the blue print on how to shut MSU down
  • Ohio State's defense returns 9 starters
  • This is the first really big test for Urban Meyer's spread offense in conference play
  • Take OSU by a 7
(Photo courtesy of Jamie Sabau)

Texas at Oklahoma State (7:50 PM)
  • OK State is 2 weeks off an upset blow delivered by Arizona. Of all teams Arizona?!
  • They beat up on Louisiana Lafayette last week, but they are going to have their hands full as Texas comes to town Saturday night
  • Statistically Texas is much improved from last year - most notably on the defensive side of the ball
  • If anyone remembers their struggles last year against UCLA where they literally forgot how to tackle - then you'll understand where I'm coming from
  • Texas is explosive and playing solid ball with a balanced offensive attack
  • I think this one comes down the wire and who has the ball last
  • David Ashe is noticeably more accurate this year and not throwing it away
  • Take Texas by a field goal
(Photo courtesy of Edward A. Ornelas)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 4 - Games to Keep an Eye On

Anyone familiar with what crazy looks like?

Its really hard to describe it, but you know when you see it. Webster's Dictionary just updated it and you'll notice a fresh picture of John L. Smith., Arkansas' Head Coach. Please check this video and let me know if you think otherwise.

Yeah something is not right there. Word on the street is Arkansas will have a new Head Coach by Christmas, and my money is Tommy Tuberville. Born and raised in Arkansas, SEC tested and approved, he's got the inside track to me, but stranger things have happened before.

Week 4 is here and without further adieu here are this week's Games to Keep an Eye On:

Oregon State at UCLA (3:30 PM)

  • First off both of the these teams are much improved from last year
  • For UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel out and Coach Mora in this is a noticeably improved squad
  • Mainly their QB situation looks much better with Freshman, Brett Hundley 
  • And their ground game is looking improved as well with Senior, Jonathan Franklin holding his own
  • UCLA ripped up Nebraska a couple weeks ago 36-30
  • Oregon State beat a down Wisconsin program last week by 3 and while I think the program looks better, I still think The Beavers are just PAC-12 middle of the pack material, as the Wisconsin win is mis-leading (The Badgers are down this year)
  • Look for UCLA to win this by 2 touchdowns
(Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn)

Missouri at South Carolina (3:30 PM)
  • This is the CBS Game of the Week
  • Missouri's first SEC road test and it will be an amped up and an unfriendly Carolina crowd which will be very unwelcoming come kickoff
  • The Tigers coming into town with Spurrier still sipping on champagne from his 200th win and Marcus Lattimore going into the Carolina records books as the all-time RB with the most TDs in school history (43) passing legendary George Rogers.
  • Look for Carolina's defense to hold court at home at give the offense some good field position
  • Question many South Carolina fans are asking with what the future holds for the QB position, and those are not great questions to be asking as October looms
  • Conner Shaw is going to get the start, but with a deep should bruise on his throwing shoulder combined with a coach that calls a ton of deep downfield plays and a sometime shaky offensive line, you get the idea - Shaw could get banged up and pave the way for upstart Sophomore, Dylan Thompson
  • Many Carolina fans think he's the future and this is typical vintage Spurrier having 2 QBs to work with
  • Missouri is no slouch and they have a pretty good squad
  • Look for Dorial Green-Beckham to get some passes thrown his way. He's a freshman that is just waiting to standout and turn it loose. AT 6-6, 220 he's hard to miss. If Mizzou can pull it off on the road, DGB will be key. Be on the lookout for the home run ball
  • Tailback Kendial Lawrence will get some touches but Carolina's defensive front should be fine there
  • Carolina will be without D.J. Swearinger for a helmet to helmet hit last week and this will have an impact. DJ is one of best players in the Carolina secondary
  • Carolina could be in for an upset, but I like The Gamecocks at home with Spurrier on the big stage and Lattimore to handoff too
  • Carolina wins this one by 10
(Photo courtesy of Bill Greenblat)

LSU at Auburn (7:00 PM)

  • Brian Van Gorder's presence in Auburn will have a positive impact on The Plains but not in time to handle LSU when they come to town tomorrow night
  • Statistically LSU is right where they should and Auburn is on the verge of dropping off the map
  • Auburn is plagued by QB issues with Kiehl Frazier. He's currently got just 2 TDs and a whopping 5 interceptions, and 2 losses this season (and we're just 3 games into the season)
  • Auburn's defense is bad too. Basic fundamental tacking is off. BVG will get that tuned up in due time, but LSU will have a its way with Auburn tomorrow night
  • LSU's defense is loaded 
  • LSU's ground game is no joke
  • Plus they actually have a down-field passing Quarterback - something that was really and very apparently missing last season. Yep Zach Mettenberger is going to a star for LSU. This is his first road test and he might be a little shaky but he'll come out with a W
  • Keep an eye on the LSU offensive line and the ground game. Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue are going to light it up. Together they've combined for 573 yards and 8 Touchdowns, and they've been used sparingly
  • I like LSU by 17 
(Photo courtesy of 247)

Michigan at Notre Dame (7:30 PM)

  • All the Notre Dame haters stop reading!
  • Notre Dame under Brian Kelly is getting back on the scene, and under the bright lights of an NBC nationally televised game tomorrow night, they will get another W and advance to 4-0 and a Top 10 ranking
  • Give it up to Manti Te'o he is the real deal.He's an All-American and boy does this guy have heart. He recently lost his grandmother and his girl friend (both passed away recently) and the entire stadium is paying respect and tribute to thier captain this weekend. Students will be wearing leis to show their support. He had a monster game last weekend against Michigan State after he just received the news.
  • Look for him to take it out again - this time on Denard Robinson 
  • Look for Bob Diaco to take a page from Alabama, who laid down the blue print for how to stop The Wolverines from doing what they want - get Denard out in space
  • Look for Myrtle Beach standout Evertt Golson (QB) to have a good game along with Cierre Wood at RB
  • If Michigan is going to have a chance, Denard is going to have to have a monster game (something he is very capable of having) and The Wolverine secondary is going to have to shut it down
  • I like The Irish by 10
(Photo courtesy of Sam Wolson)

Vanderbilt at Georgia (7:45 PM)
  • No love is lost between these 2 programs after last year's chippy game if you missed it - in short - there were a number of take-out-their-knees shots taken by Vanderbilt, Georgia fought back
  • At the end of the game it got really testy when Vandy Head Coach Franklin stepped up to the wrong man in Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham and state troopers had to intervene- VIDEO
  • Last year's shouting match aside, Georgia has been pretty darn good even with a number of guys on the bench due to mary jane issues.
  • Georgia has been propelled by a defense that is tightening up every week. Jarvis Jones is having another All-American year
  • D Line is another strong suit for Georgia with Abry Jones, Cornelius Washington, John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers - all have upped their game from last year
  • Malcolm Mitchell is guy to also keep your eye. He should be playing both sides of the ball in the lost art of iron man football
  • Look for Vandy to put a good fight but ultimately get road graded as reports out of Athens Coach Grantham was blessing out the Defense for not playing good enough
  • Somebody is going to get it come Saturday night and I've got a good feeling its not going to be The Dawgs
  • Keep an eye on the Georgia backfield (Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall) behind a constantly improving O Line
  • Take Georgia to win by 3 touchdowns and an amped up home crowd
(Photo courtesy

And now for the Game of the Week - the marquee matchup...

Clemson at Florida State (8:00 PM)
  • You're not going to want to miss this one
  • Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd, and Andre Ellington are one of the best trios in the ACC
  • Problem with Clemson is the defense - very suspect if you keep a close eye on them
  • I'm not sure they are up to the task considering of the FSU weapons
  • FSU's defense on the other hand is 2nd best in the country good
  • FSU also has a season QB in EJ Manual 
  • RB Chris Thompson is averaging a whopping 14.1 yards a carry!
  • And with a pair of talented wideouts in Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin it looks as though the Noles are back
  • I like FSU in this one with an off the richter scale crowd tomahawk choppin at The Doak
  • Noles by 14
(Photo courtesy of Melina Vastola)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Week 3 - Games to Keep an Eye On

What a great Week 2. Arkansas goes down in flames to ULM,  Nebraska gets man-handled by UCLA. I don't think anyone had both those upsets on the radar.

Arkansas is a full blown grease fire right now, and Nebraska is another loss away from one. Who had UCLA putting up an astonishing 648 yards against Nebraska? With Burkhead on the bench injured, and with starting defensive tackle Chase Rome leaving the team, some might wonder if the wheels are starting to come off a bit.

Anyone catch the end of the Notre Dame game? I've watched the last 2 minutes Notre Dame marching down the field a couple times now, and I am convinced the Irish got some favorable calls to edge out the win. Take the 1:45 marker where the officials missed 2 egregious calls (1) Tommy calls a timeout when they had none. The penalty, which again did not get called, should have resulted in a loss of down. Plus (2) They let the play run as the center snaps the ball with 0 left on the play clock. The play utlimately resulted in a first down, and kept the ball moving toward the go ahead score. The officials also missed a definitive offensive pass interference call that could have been a Purdue interception. Just something to keep an eye on.

With that said let's jump into Week 3's Games to Keep an Eye On:

Wake Forest at Florida State (Noon)

  • Much has been made of recent history where Wake Forest has won in recent history
  • Wake won 35 - 30 in 2011
  • Wake lost 31 - 0 in 2010
  • Wake lost 41-28 in 2009
  • Wake won 12-3 in 2008
  • I think FSU's is going to rise up and shut it down against the Deacs this year.
  • Brandon Jenkins is out for the season and just how big of deal will that be
  • Look for FSU to win by 4 TDs after FSU makes them 1 dimensional
(Photo courtesy of Reid Compton)

Alabama at Arkansas (3:30 PM)
  • I hate to say it Razorback fans, but you guys are a grease fire right now.
  • Petrino once again has left a program better than he found but seemingly in shambles
  • Its a complex problem and John L. Smith is not the man for the job - plain and simple
  • Saban and his squad will lay waste to Arkansas
  • Look for The Tide to win this one going away
  • Alabama's defense is once again too good. Keep an eye on #54 Jesse Williams.
  • I like the Tide by 2+ TDs
(Photo courtesy of

North Carolina at Louisville (3:30 PM)
  • Now this has the makings for an overtime game, if I ever saw one
  • UNC in Week 1 lit it up against Elon, then losses to Wake Forest in a close one
  • Louisville lapped Kentucky in Week 1, then beat Missouri State soundly
  • Bryn Renner is a pretty efficient QB for UNC
  • I like UNC to pull this one out by a field goal in overtime
(Photo courtesy of Keith Coward)

Virginia at Georgia Tech (3:30 PM)
  • This is a stark contrast in ground games
  • Georgia Tech's running attack is pretty good
  • Virginia's not so much
  • Tech's defense is better too
  • Georgia Tech will be riding high, especially after everyone gets revved up after seeing the newly unveiled Bobby Dodd statue this weekend
  • Georgia Tech wins this one by 2 TDs
(Photo courtesy of

Florida at Tennessee (6:00 PM)
  • I'm really surprised CBS didn't pull and SEC double header on this one
  • None the less ESPN has it and Game Day will be there
  • Lee Corso shenanigans aside this should be a doosie
  • Florida won a big road test last weekend in College Station with no relevant game footage to go on
  • They essentially shutdown A&M in the second half and that's where Florida's defense came into their own this year
  • Tennessee is looking much better this year, with essentially a new coach staff around Coach Dooley
  • But let's be honest NC State is middle of the pack ACC and Georgia State? C'mon
  • Edge goes the Gator Defense behind: Shariff Floyd, Dominique Easley, Jon Bostic, and Jelani Jenkins
  • If you don't know these guys, you will after Saturday
  • Tyler Bray is a heck of QB and I think he'll have a good day - if not a tough one, but a timely interception will prove to be the difference
  • Gators series winning streak is at 7
  • Gators win this one by 7 and move it to 8 in a row on the Vols
(Photo courtesy of Kim Klement)

Southern Cal at Stanford (7:30 PM)
  • This is the west coast game of the day
  • Both teams have played a little cat and mouse in preparations for this one
  • Its a tight balancing act, showcasing your stuff on a national stage, but keeping some the finer details hidden from an upcoming in-conference opponent
  • Another game that on paper looks like it could go to overtime, but I like Matt Barkley in this one
  • He's a 5th year senior who is taking 1 class this year, so he's got all day- check that all week to study film and practice for the upcoming opponent
  • In contrast Stanford's Junior QB, Josh Nunes is nothing to scoff at, but taking 1 class at USC versus a full load at do the math
  • Too many weapons for Stanford to deal with this year: Silas Redd (RB), Robert Woods (WR), and Marqise Lee (WR) will be too much to handle minus Coach Harbaugh and Andrew Luck (both are in the NFL now)
  • Southern Cal wins this one by 7
(Photo courtesy of Tom Melton)

Notre Dame at Michigan State (8:00 PM)
  • A perfectly timed we're kind of in the ACC press conference and oh yeah Notre Dame is on during prime time this Saturday night on ABC = Ratings Bonanza
  • You saw my notes at the top, I think the officials propped Notre Dame up a little during the 2 minute drill. 
  • Not saying they would not have won, but you go pop in the tape and tell me something does not smell a little fishy
  • That aside both coaches are steering their teams in the right direction for sure
  • MSU's defense is stout but so is ND's
  • I think this one comes down to QB play + RB
  • I give the edge to MSU and this is by virtue of one man - Le'Veon Bell. He's on my watch list this year. As a Junior he's approaching 2000 yards. 
  • If anyone is up to the task is Manti Te'o
  • Looks like an epic showdown and worthy of a primetime slot
  • Take the phone off the hook for this one, because if history serves us right this one is coming down the  wire
  • Could easily go either way, but Coach Dantonio, one of the best in the biz, pulls out another against The Irish
  • MSU by a field goal
(Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus)

Texas at Ole Miss (9:15 PM)
  • I'm bucking the system and still calling them The Rebels
  • The nation will be flipping back between this and Notre Dame and this will hold the audience for sure
  • Can Coach Mack Brown get his act together?  Doubtful but he's got Manny Diaz running his Defense and he's no slouch
  • Does Texas have enough to stop the Ole Miss ground game which has been electric?
  • Probably
  • If you were paying attention, you noticed that a Rebel defensive back, Trae Elston, was suspended for this game for a nasty goal line play to stop a touch down. I use the word nasty loosely here, as it was a potential scoring play for the opponent. People will reply with defenseless play, but I honestly thought in the heat of the moment that it was a helluva play, and he should be playing in this game. Just my 2 cents
  • Decide for yourself: VIDEO
  • Bo Wallace could have one helluva coming out party if they can pull this one out in Oxford
  • Texas wins by 10
(Photo courtesy of

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 2 - Games to Keep an Eye On

We've got one week in the bag. Michigan was destroyed by Alabama. Southern Cal, Clemson, Tennessee all put on good shows. I was extremely impressed by Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State), Andre Ellington (Clemson), Matt Barkley (Southern Cal), Tyler Bray (Tenn.), Todd Gurley (Georgia), Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and T.J. Yeldon (Alabama). They all had monster week 1 games, and it will be fun to keep an eye on them as the year progresses.

With Week 2 upon us, let's dive into the key matchups.

Miami at Kansas State (Saturday Noon)
  • Miami is coming off a pretty good road win to start the season. They beat up Boston College, but the game was a little sloppy and lackluster for my taste.
  • Duke Johnson is the real deal for Miami. He blew it up last week (7 carries, 135 yards & 2 TDs).
  • This weekend's matchup versus K-State is a much different animal. Remember K-State beat Miami last year, and they play much better ball the Boston College
  • K-State has not been shutout in over 190 games (longest streak in BIG-12)
  • Look for Kansas State to have their hands full, but to win this one by a field goal with solid D and a great running attack
(Photo courtesy Al Diaz)

Auburn at Mississippi State (Saturday Noon)
  • These two programs really hate each other. Last year's matchup or the year before for that matter.
  • Bottom line these games are always exciting and close
  • Keep both eyes on this one
  • Auburn got a little roughed up against a solid and not yet 100% Clemson squad last week in the Dome. Tackling was poor and the offense was pretty vanilla.
  • Miss. State is fired up for this one and Dan is looking for Win #2 and with a solid QB in Tyler Russel at the helm, I can understand why
  • I see Auburn going 0-2 and loosing this one by 7
(Photo courtesy of Vince Ferrara)

East Carolina at South Carolina (Saturday 12:30 PM)
  • Scary news out of last week's game. Conner Shaw with a deep bruise on throwing arm. Look for more of the same as he really likes to run
  • Lattimore is back and after a 1st touch fumbe he reeled of 2 TDs and 110 yards
  • And boy did DJ Swearinger get away with a pass interference late in the game. Vandy would have had the ball late in the game on the other side of the 50 with less than 2 minutes to play down by 4. Deep sigh of relief USC fans the SEC officials had your back.
  • South Carolina should be concerned in the big picture - I don't see anyone on the edge that scares me. Maybe a WR will step up in Alshon's absence...either way they've got Lattimore and a stingy defense up front
  • South Carolina will pull away around halftime and never look back
(Photo courtesy of Streeter Lecka)

Florida at Texas A&M (Saturday 3:30 PM)
  • Welcome to the 2012 season and to the SEC
  • A&M did not play last week, so it's a blessing and a curse
  • They have plenty of time to prepare for Florida, who really has nothing to game plan against since there is no relevant game footage of them, but they could come out a little rusty due to no live reps
  • Florida looked rough against Bowling Green. For a second there, I thought we were going to have an upset. Florida is very bland on offense and lacking in confidence
  • Driskel is the QB but I'm not so sure if it will not take him until mid-season to hit stride behind that shaky Offensive Line. Defense is pretty good, but there are holes.
  • I'm looking for A&M to make a splash and pull an upset
(Photo courtesy of Sam Greenwood)

Washington at LSU (Saturday 7:00 PM)
  • LSU trotted out ex-UGA quarterback Zach Mettenberger and he looked as UGA predicted pretty darn good.
  • LSU's ground game and defense picked up right where they were last year and they played and all around solid game
  • Washington will have their hands full in this
  • Look for LSU to win by 4 TDs
(Photo courtesy of Richard Reddman)

Nebraska at UCLA (Saturday 7:30 PM)
  • Taylor Martinez lit it up against Southern Miss. You might say well its Southern Miss. 354 yards passing and 5 TDs is stout whatever you're measuring against.
  • Coach Pellini has Nebraska charting towards the top in almost every statistical category and I expect them to keep it up with solid play again on Saturday and lace up UCLA
  • Nebraska has a solid ground game that balances everything out with Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead in the backfield
  • Look for Nebraska to win by 10

Georgia at Missouri (Saturday 7:45 PM)
  • This weekend's marquee game of the day as Missouri is formally introduced with an in-conference matchup against Georgia.
  • This is the 5 star take the phone off the hook game of the day
  • Expect a lot of UGA fans to be in attendance (with the Falcons in KC on Sunday, many are making a big football weekend out of it)
  • Missouri will be pumped and Franklin is an amazing dual threat QB
  • Missouri also has a stud freshman in Dorial Green-Beckham, but don't get caught looking because WR Jimmie Hunt can get it done too
  • If UGA's defense is up to the task they should handle business and come home with a W
  • Aaron Murray is veteran at this point, Todd Gurley made a big Freshman splash last weekend
  • UGA will have to play sound defense where they keep their lanes to mitigate Franklin's running out of the pocket
  • Latest from the program is Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo, Chase Vasser, & Sanders Commings will not play in Saturday night's game (all starters)
  • All that aside, I like GA by 10+ in this one