Thursday, September 29, 2005

A September to Remember - Pat Forde

I must say that there is something appealing about this aritcle. I do agree with Pat that the game of the month had to be LSU and Tennessee (given the environment and events surround the contest).

Pretty in PINK - in Iowa City

At the University of Iowa, the visitor's lockeroom in Kinnick Stadium is PINK - yes PINK, from floor to ceiling and including the urinals. It's been this way for decades; ever since former Coach Hayden Fry decided to go with the rosy approach. According to Hayden, PINK has a calming and passive effect on people. Yeah - right. Then why aren't your lockerooms PINK?

I think the football program is trying to send a message to the visiting team - no matter who you are and how great you think you are, you are not as strong (physically or mentally) as the IOWA HAWKEYES. Enjoy your passive / calming shower after the game. Football is as much mental as it is physical.

No matter what the intent, it's really stirring up a controversy on campus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ILLINI FACTS - Mixed Bag of Success

How did we look so good on the road at CAL two weeks ago and so flat against Sparty at home last Saturday? Sure the ILLINI aren't in the race for the BIG-10 Title just yet. Our defense needs some work, especially in the secondary. Our offense looks good at times but can struggle against aggressive defensive fronts. It truly is gut-check time. We are a young team (more later). Michigan State is a great squad, but ILLINOIS was flat at home against Sparty last Saturday. Not sure why, but it won't happen again. We lacked energy and looked rather sluggish at times. We gotta do what we do best. Coach feels good about the IOWA game this weekend. Tune-in and see what happens.

When the bully takes your lunch money sooner or later you have to stand-up and make a stand, "No more Mr. Bully! This is my money and my lunch." All that aside, here are some interesting ILLINOIS football facts:

1) With 12 freshmen and 3 sophomores in the starting line-up, your Fighting ILLINI is the youngest team in the nation

2) Illinois is the only team in the BIG-10 to convert on all of its red-zone trips. We're 18 for 18 with 11 TD's and 7 FG's. Wow, only 13 other DIV 1A programs can say that.

3) On 51 total drives, the ILLINOIS defense has forced 17 three and outs (33%) and 20 punts (40%).

4) Our opponents have only converted 19 3rd-downs this season, 3rd fewest in the BIG-10.

Read the rest in this article.

Monday, September 26, 2005

LSU wins its Home Opener vs. Vols...NOT! Wo Nelly...

The first major sporting event in the state of Louisiana since Katrina and now Rita - yeah, this meant something. And, the LSU Tigers did their best to show us all just how much. They really dominated the first half and withstood a strong 2nd-half charge from Tennessee. This just in - LSU is good, especially in Tiger Stadium. They have the best team logo in college sports painted at the 50 yard-line; how cool is a single Tiger's eye piercing back at you? Nice touch guys...

But, it wasn't enough as Tennessee came back in the 2nd-half at Tiger Stadium. Wow - I am stunned. Down 21 points at halftime and 24-7 in the 4th quarter; RU kidding me? Rick Clausen is amazing. The VOLS rally around this guy. One of the best games if not the best game of the young season.

Tennesse is a very good football team with a lot of talent. That 4th - down conversion/TD late in the game really meant a lot for the offense under Clausen. Never say die applies to this team. What a 4th - quarter comeback by the VOLS (17 unanswered points). They could have easily quit for their coach in the 2nd - half. This was an EPIC battle of two SEC giants. What a great SEC match-up. Not sure where this Leave's Hillsboro's Eric Ainge (out for now - looking in).

LSU is loaded - deeper than deep at just about every position on the field. The SEC is stacked (4 of the top-10 teams and 5 of the top 15; wow). I love this conference. You really can't beat the atmosphere of southern football in the fall. Deep fry me anything with that strawberry wine.

If September is the kick-off month then October is movement month. Championships can't be won before Halloween, but they sure can be lost. We'll see who emerges unscathed as November arrives. There are a ton of great match-ups in this month. Sit back and enjoy. And for the record, both Tennesse and LSU have great fight songs. Love the battle of the bands all game long.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

USATODAY POLL - September 25th...

Michigan State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are all on the rise. Louisville had to take the fall of the week. Notre Dame is moving back towards the top. Bye Bye Michigan and Bye Bye Iowa. Actually, for the Wolverines it's the first time they're not ranked in the top 25 since 1998 (the winningest football program in the nation).

The BIG 10 is a real mess this year. Next week should provide some clarity: Michigan State hosts Michigan and Minnesota travels to State College to take on Joe Pa's Nittany Lions. Both of these teams can't be for real, so who is the pretender and who might be a contender in the BIG 10 this year?

I'm also eyeing that Notre Dame / Purdue match-up in West Lafayette. But the game of the week might be in Tuscaloosa as the Tide host the Gators. Gotta love those conference games. Bring on Week 5. Page 1 or BUST!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Week 4 Pick-Em Wrap - Almost....

I know there is one more big game this week on Monday night, but here is the Saturday early edition of Mirek's Pick-Em Wrap..... and with a win Monday night, Mr. Herrington will post the first 55 of the year!

Each week gets better and better and the season goes on. What another great fall Saturday of college football in America. There were a bunch of close battles and some major upsets on the grid-iron landscape. It's amazing how much a season hangs on just one win or one loss.

1) Did you see that Minnesota / Purdue game? Wow - how about that Gopher ground attack and Maroney? He is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Minnesota continues to roll over people. Very impressive. Maroney had something like 2 million yards rushing today. Glad I changed my pick before kick-off.

2) I feel good for Joe Pa - he's winning again and with YOUNG players. He' s got a pair of awesome freshmen in King and Williams. Pretty amazing finish to that game in Evanston against the Wildcats in the Kitty Litter Bowl. This one was a lot closer than it had to be, but give credit to Robinson for hanging in there after a real tough first half (4 turnovers). How did he complete that pass to Derrick Williams to seal the deal?

3) Notre Dame struggled early, especially in the kicking game, but then turned it on and pulled away from the Huskies. No big surprise here.

4) Texas Tech beat the mighty Sycamores of Indiana State. This is embarrassing for Texas Tech and the BIG 12. They should not be ranked in the top 25 with their schedule. Holy Cupcake city!

5) Va Tech, Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida, SC, and Vandy all rolled. Nobody is going to beat the Hokies in Lane Stadium this year. Period.

6) What happened to Louisville? They were pasted by South Florida. Holy Cow. Bye Bye birdies. These things aren't supposed to happen. Trickeration! Bye Bye BCS.

7) Patriacca called it: BC over Clemson. Good win for the Eagles on the road in the ACC. They belong.

8) Badgers win. Badgers win. Badgers win. I struggled with this pick because Michigan has won 21 straight conference openers. But, they've lost their last 6 road openers. This was a conference road opener. But, it was against the Badgers in Madison. Barry gets his first win over Lloyd - ever.

9) Alabama won - but struggled at times against the Hogs. This was a bit of a surprise. Hmm.....
Central Florida won; beating Marshall to end its 17 - game slide. Now Army and Rice carry that honor.

10) TCU 51 - BYU 50. Everybody go to church and we'll all feel better. Still, a lot of points. And, Tulane beat SMU. Hurricane Rita reminded us that there are more important things than college football.

Here is my top - 10 (before the Monday Night game):

1) SC
3) Va. Tech
4) LSU
5) Florida
6) Ohio State
7) Florida State
8) Georgia
9) Miami
10) Michigan State

Your Heisman contenders:

Bush, Leinart, Maroney, Young, and Stanton.

Oh those Ducks....Not enough QUACK ATTACK!

They had their quack - on for 2 quarters against the mighty men from Troy. But, the game is 60 minutes which ended up being 25 minutes too long for the Oregon faithul in Eugene. Wow - what a dominant 2nd-half performance on the road. The Trojan March continues - they might just be the best of all time.

What a tale of two halves....SC looked really bad in the first 25 minutes. I've never seen them struggle so much with their offense. How many penalties? How many drops? How many turnovers? Their defense kept them in the game holding the DUCKS to field goals until the Trojan offense got going.

But, give credit to Oregon and the Autzen faithful for a great first half. The crowd was definitely the 12th-man in the first half. The DUCKS had SC up against the ropes, especially in the first quarter but couldn't deliver the knock-out punch. SC hung around until the 2nd-half. The Ducks had their chances - but had to settle for too many field-goal attempts. This just in - SC is good: Bush, White, Leinart, Jarret, Smith, and the gang!

Their last 7 possessions: TD, FG, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD....that's more than Nebaska has scored all year. BUSH is a video - game freak.

No Fight in the ILLINI Today - Ouch

It was ugly - just about as bad as the final score 61-14. Got to give credit to Michigan State- they played a solid game. Our defense really had a poor showing. We couldn't do anything to stop Stanton and the Sparty's today. Without speed, it's hard to play team defense. Can't say that I'm too surprised. We only had 254 total yards on offense today. Not good. Michigan State is for real this year. Watch-out BIG 10.

We still believe - but there is a lot of work to do to get better. Zook will get us there, eventually. The Fighting Zookers will live to battle another day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

High School Football Power Rankings...

The top-25 of America's high-school football programs.

Wannstedt and Callahan are Failing the Grade in the College Game

Not a rosy picture for PITT or Nebraska this year or down the road under the current leadership of their respective head coaches.

Latest Recruiting BUZZ - SCOUT.COM

Pretty cool little article. You can view by team, position, and conference. No surprises at the top. UCLA is beating USC in the PAC10. Texas leads the BIG 12, FSU the ACC, Georgia the SEC, and Ohio State the BIG 10. I don't see Oregon anywhere near the top.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More Bans on Indians....

Looks like right now ILLNIOIS is the big loser on this one. I just want to know how the NCAA defines "hostile" and "abusive". The ban is scheduled to begin next year. There is actually an anti-chief web-site out there. Here is their mission and some insight into their mindset:

UIUC's official mascot and symbol, "Chief Illiniwek" is a racist representation of Native people created by non-Natives for the halftime entertainment and profit of non-Native people. It undermines Native peoples' right to self-determination by appropriating sacred aspects of Native political and religious culture. The "Chief's" performance is just as offensive to Native Americans as the Little Black Sambo and Amos & Andy stereotypes are to African American people. By mocking Native culture, the UI sets a dangerous precedent for racist representation of all other social and ethnic groups targeted for oppression
After 16 years of organizing efforts to eliminate "Chief Illiniwek," the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has yet to take decisive action to remove this stereotype of Native peoples from our campus and community.
However, as a result of YOUR efforts to educate the public about this issue and advocate for the "Chief's" removal, many members of the Board are now talking about "when" (not "if") the "Chief" will be eliminated.

Fallout from Texas and Ohio State

Whether you are a Buckeye fan or a Longhorn fan or neither, you have to admit that TEXAS and OHIO STATE was good for the game. Today, Tennesse and Oklahoma announced another big-time matchup for 2014 and 2015. Penn State and Alabama have a similar deal for 2010 and 2011. I think we'll see more of this going forward in the weeks and months to come. Hopefully, they won't be 5 to 10 years down the road.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Shots of the Week - SI Style....

Scroll through these at your leisure - they're the best shots of week3 SI style. Their gallery is probably the best. Awesome action documented. Here is a sample of Georgia QB DJ Shockley on the move! Check-out #11 of Beaver's QB Matt Moore. Ouch...

Who Picked WHOM...

Nice little feature which they had sometimes last year. Looks like they brought it back again in 2005 - at least for this week. Check it out when you make your picks.

For example, in the Penn State / Northwestern game 86% of the entrants are taking Penn State with an average confidence of 4.2 points compared to the 14% taking Northwestern at an average of 2.8 points.

The highest confidence so far is 98.5% for Bama over Arkansas at 7.2 points.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

ILLINOIS Fight Song - Oskee Wa Wa

Old Princeton yells her tiger, Wisconsin her Varsity, and they give the same old Rah! Rah! at each university.

But the yell that always thrills me, and fills my heart with joy, is the good old oskee-wa-wa, that they yell at ILLINOIS.

Oskee-wa-wa, ILLINOIS, our eyes are all on you. Oskee-wa-wa, ILLINOIS, wave your Orange and your Blue.

When the team trots out before you, every man stand up and yell, back the team to gain victory, Oskee-wa-wa, ILLINOIS.

Fox Sports Weekend Roundup - Wk3

Mr. Troy led the Trojans to an easy win. Will it be more of the same on the road against Oregon, or will the DUCKS ruffle their feathers in defiance and turn-back the #1 - ranked men of Troy?

GameDay Final - ESPN

A bunch of teams unleashed their offenses on tomato cans (cupcakes) this past Saturday. Then again, there were a few competitive games. I like the number #146,933 - the combined attendance in LA on a beautiful fall saturday afternoon. Not bad when you consider that UCLA was playing a weak Oklahoma squad and USC was taking on the HOGS.

Looks like the highlight game for WEEK#4 is going to be SC and Oregon. Iowa goes to the BIG HorseShoe to play Ohio State. BC goes to Death Valley to take on Clemson. Notre Dame travels to Seattle to play Ty Willingham's Huskies. Tennessee marches into the bayou to take on the LSU TIGERS. And, Michigan State invades Champaign to play the ILLINI.

But the upset of the weekend goes to UC DAVIS (DIV II) over Stanford on their home turf.

USC spends another week as #1

When you win 70-17 against an SEC team (and it could have been worse) you expect to receive most of the first-place votes. This makes 22-straight weeks for the Trojans of Southern CAL.

Notre Dame slipped 6 spots to #16 (which is about right). And Michigan State enters the top 25 at #17. Oklahoma slipped out of the top 25 (first time since 1999) and isn't even on the radar anymore after losing to the BRUINS.

IMAGES from Strawberry Canyon!

Some shots from the ILLINIOS trip Berkley. We'll get better. We'll play harder and smarter going forward. WE BELIEVE.....

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mirek's Week 3 Pick - EM Wrap - Wild!

What another great weekend in college football. The best game had to be ND and Michigan State. Sure the Irish lost, but this will go down as another classic. If you watched just one game, this weekend this should have been it.

Congratulations to Mr. Freddy (DUCKSNATCHAMP). That was impressive going 9 for 10 and only losing 6 points on the AF game. That easily could have gone the Falcons way and we would be talking the first 55 of the year.

Down 21 points late in the 3rd period, the IRISH rallied to tie and then lead by 3 points in OT only to lose on a TD romp for the ages to end the game. The IRISH really should have won this game. They outgained MSU by quite a healthy margin. I think QUINN passed for almost 500 yards. But, in the end, the IRISH had too many turnovers, penalties, questionable calls, and defenseive miscue at critical times to break through for the win. 1st time since 1887 where they scored 40+ points and lost. ND still should be ranked in the top 20 after this week, in my opinion. But give credit to those Spartans - 5 in a row in South Bend. This is getting to be a trend. IRISH over Wolverines and Spartans over IRISH.

Sure, there were several blowouts this weekend. Iowa, Penn State, Alabama, VA TECH, Georgia, TEXAS, TEXAS A&M, Louisville, Michigan, Texas Tech, USC, and even Indian all had blow-out wins over mostly cupcakes (tomato cans). The Red Raiders scored 80 points against Sam Houston State. Who cares. We hate the cupcake games.

Then there were the good games: Oregon squeaking past Fresno State. Virginia over Syracuse, BC and FSU. Florida over Tennessee. Wyoming over Air Force. Miami over Clemson in Death Valley in 3 OT's. Awesome. Just amazing! I love this game.

What about Oklahoma? How far have they fallen? Their young QB has a long way to go. They do have a running game with Petersen, but that's about it. It's going to be a long - year in Norman. Rebulding? Can you say reconstruction? Haven't seen this type of project since the civil war ended. Ouch!

Vandy is 3-0. Yes, Vanderbilt is 3-0 in the SEC and atop the lead. Wow! Who figured that?

Next week: USC at OREGON? Uh-Oh! Upset alert or another SC blow-out? Right now, I like the Trojans. We'll see.

PICK-EM is a mess at the top. Instead of separation, we have grid-lock at the top. Yuck! What a mess....I LOVE IT!

How about those ILLINI? They were up 17-7 at the half and 17-14 early in the 4th quarter before losing 35-20 to those mightly CAL BEARS in Strawberry Canyon. This was shaping up for the biggest upset of the day (#63 over a #15). Keith Jackson actually made reference to it late in the UCLA / SOONER game. Wehad them on the ropes. But CAL rallied in the 4th for the win. The are loaded and deep.

I'm proud of those ILLINI. Sure, we probably should have won this game, but we were also out-coached by Tedford in the 2nd - half. CAL made the plays in the 2nd - half and we didn't. That's why they play 60 minutes. The BEARS made the right adjustments and had the punt-return spark. We didn't. Next week we're at home hosting Michigan State. We can compete with anybody. We're not as far away as most think.

Nobody could beat the sunshine teams today: FSU, MIAMI, and FLORIDA all won their respective games.

Here's my TOP 10:

1) USC
3) LSU

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who is winning the early recruiting battle?

Check out the Sporting News site above to see how your school is doing. It's pretty clear that the big-time programs have the highest rankings. FYI, the highest ranking a player can get is a 5-star. NR is the lowest. Teams like TEXAS and OHIO STATE seem to be doing OK. Here is a brief summary and ranking of some selected higher institutions of learing:

Penn State - 5 committments to date averaging 1.4 stars.
ILLINOIS - 12 committments to date averaging 2.5 stars.
TEXAS - 24 committments to date averaging 3.7 stars.
A&M - 13 committments to date averaging 2.8 stars.
Nebraska - 7 committments to date averaging 2.8 stars.
BC - 13 committments to date averaging 2.6 stars.
BYU - 7 committments to date averaging 2.5 stars.
Oregon - 3 committments to date averaging 1.0 stars.
Ohio State - 7 committments to date averaging 3.9 stars.
ND - 13 committments to date averaging 3.2 stars.
OSU - 6 committments to date averaging 1.7 stars.
USC - 4 committments to date averaging 3.4 stars.
Miami - 6 committments to date averaging 3.5 stars.
Florida - 9 committments to date averaging 3.3 stars.
Auburn - 9 committments to date averaging 3.1 stars.


Illinois' defense is coming off its best game in more than six years, holding the Spartans to 231 yards, the fewest allowed by the Illini since Arkansas State had 178 on Sept. 4, 1999. San Jose State was held to only 15 yards rushing.

Illinois has won seven of nine meetings against California. Despite that, we're still 21 - point underdogs in Berkley. Go ILL-INI

Recruiting is Alive and Well Across the Country

Apparently, to nobody's surprise, Texas and Georgia are off to great starts in recruiting so far this year. Now is the time high-school prospects visit big-time universities as guests for 'visits'. Auburn is also in good shape. Florida looks to kick it up a notch with big games coming up; including Tennesse this weekend. It would seem that the rich just keep on getting richer.

ILLINOIS is off to a great start so far this year after landing Isiah Williams and three TOP - 100 receivers to date. We're really going after Adrian Cannon out of Michigan who has ties to Florida where is uncle lives. This guy is 6'2" and 195 lbs.

To see how your school is faring click on the link above.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ILLINI Spotlight - Freshmen Derrick McPhearson

HIGH SCHOOL: A four-star prospect by and ... Ranked 11th among Prep School prospects by ... Rated the nation's eighth-best wide receiver by ... Attended Fork Union Academy Prep School in 2004 ... Recorded 38 receptions for 778 yards and eight touchdowns in 2003 as a senior at DeMatha High School ... Also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, registered 23 tackles and three interceptions in limited defensive play ... Benches 320 pounds and squats 550 with a 38-inch vertical jump, while running a 4.38 40 time ... Named to the Washington Post's All-Metro first-team ... Helped lead DeMatha to a perfect 12-0 record and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship ... A standout baseball player out of high school was sought by many major league teams ... Hit .400 as a senior with five home runs.

PERSONAL: Would like to pursue a career in criminal justice ... Chose Illinois over Florida, Clemson, Maryland, Nebraska and Virginia Tech and had offers from LSU and South Carolina ... Father, Gerrick, played defensive back at Boston College from 1984-87 and went on to play in the NFL with the New England Patriots ... His mother, Kim, was a standout high school track star ... Is one of eight children ... Brother, Gerrick, is a cornerback on the Maryland squad.

Coach Zook Speaks ON.....

...on California:
"If you watch them, they are very talented. Their offensive line and running backs are good. They have a stable full of running backs. I remember watching their bowl game when I first got this job and thinking, `Holy smokes, I can see why these guys are upset about not playing in the BCS.' They were supposed to lose 26 guys, but it looks like they've reloaded. Their offensive line is huge. They lost receivers, but they have a receiver who has already had 11 catches in one game. They are going to be the best receivers we've seen to date. Their quarterback--we didn't recruit him. but we know of him. He's a very talented young man out of junior college. Evidently he has come in, and losing their starter didn't have a big effect on them. They play extremely well. They play with great effort, and I think that is one of the reasons why they have had so much success."

...on changing the mindset of his players:
"We feel like we have made some strides. In the spring and summer, one of the concerns I had was changing the mindset. We always talk about how winning is a habit, but unfortunately, so is losing. It takes 21 days to make a habit. How do you continually press and force and push them to believe? We've put ourselves in some situations in the last two games that you don't necessarily want to be in, but they hung in there. I have to believe that some of it is getting through. I don't think we are anywhere close to where we have to be yet, but once gain, the more positive things that can have happen after adversity, the more that is going to help with our attitude."

...on Cal head coach Jeff Tedford turning a 1-10 program into a 7-5 team in his first year:
"I remember when they came into our place and beat us in that close game. You could see them go up and us go down. You can definitely see a program like that get better, and it helps us knowing that we can do it, too. If they can do it, we can do it. "

...on what beating California would mean for the team:
"It would feel great. This is the fist time we've been 2-0 since I've been here, so 3-0 would be excellent. That would boost our confidence a lot. To beat a ranked team and go 3-0 to start the Big Ten would be excellent for our program."

Opening Statement
"I said last week that as a football team we had to make a lot of improvements. I think we did. Obviously, we have to make some more improvements this week. Last night's practice was very good; the players were into it. They are excited to have the opportunity to play a good opponent. As a coaching staff, we've talked about the fact that it's going to give us the opportunity to see where we're at. We keep on saying that every week, but every week there are tests involved. This is the next test to prepare us for the Big Ten Conference."

Separation Saturday - Week 3 Forecast

I'm calling WEEK 3 the first real Separation Saturday of the season. For the first two weeks it's been a quagmire at the top. No movement really between 1st place and 10th place. If I had to draw rank groups they would look like the image to my right. Note, I basically see our group breaking down into 4 quadrants as indicated by the red lines. Those who chose to pass on a week make up bucket 4. Those who have done their early season homework seem to be in bucket 1. I should also note that moving up or down a bucket in PICK EM is almost as easy as FOCAL @ INTEL. So don't get too comfy if you're near the top. Conversely, don't sweat it too much at this point in the year if you are in bucket 4. Mid-year foca (PICK EM STYLE)l is still 4 long weeks away. Think of me as self-appointed rank manager - I'll be issuing my input on each member at that time. So, bring your 2nd-half imbos to the mid-year session.

I expect some serious movement this week in the pick-em ranks. There are too many tough games to pick correctly in WEEK3, not to mention how you have to distribute the points. I find myself putting more points on teams I would normally not feel so confident in at this point in the season given the WEEK 3 match-ups. Don't get me wrong, those who chose to sit out a week have their work cut out for them if they want to really get back in the race, but it is doable with 11 weeks to play in my opinion. I like how Butler calls it a 'bye week'. Rule #1 in PICK - EM: There are no 'bye' weeks in the race for the championship. Who knows how the list will look come Sunday morning. I believe there will be some upsets on Saturday; I only knew now which ones to pick. So enjoy the log-jam at the top for now; it may be the last time we see such a tight grouping for a while.

Your Week 2 Power 16 - ESPN Ranking...

How does Michigan stay in any list with POWER in the title?

WEEK 2: The Bottom 10

Pitt makes the list for the first time in a while. Hard to believe that they were ranked #23 to start the year and were scheduled to play in Charlotte at the Meinecke Bowl against NC STATE. Yikes - that plan sure has changed.

Monday, September 12, 2005

ILLINI Dominate the BEARS in Berkley!

This Saturday marks the 10th meeting between CAL and ILLINOIS. The ILLINI lead the series 7-2, including 4-0 in Berkley against the Golden Bears. Cal won the last meeting 31-24 in Champaign under the strength of Aaron Rodgers. But, the last time we visited Berkley ILLINOIS came away victories 44-17 (2001) - the year we won the BIG 10 and went to New Orleans to play LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Although, if we emerge victorious this time it will be a major upset of astronomical proportion. CAL is ranked 15. ILLINOIS is currently ranked 63rd. We'll see come Saturday.

Death Threats and Officials for Florida / Tennessee

Side judge Bobby Moreau has been reassigned for this Saturday's Tennessee / Florida battle in the swamp. If I remember last year's game correctly, this is a good choice. Bobby done made a mistake which practically gave Tennesse the victory at Rocky Top. Go Gators - revenge is best - served in the swamp.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

IRISH RISE in national polls

And Texas is getting some 1st place votes. The coaches move ND up to #12. Iowa and Michigan take big tumbles. Ohio State hangs in there for now.

Images of Glory from Week 2

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Pick Em Week 2 Wrap...

Well lookie there - a 4 way tie at the top between Patriacca, Horton, Mirek, and Frey. Wow, what a game. Looks like a few of us had trouble getting our picks in this week. You snooze you looze! Week 2 of 2005 is going to go down as a CLASSIC weekend of college football. It had it all from match-ups, to upsets, to big-time programs clashing early in the season. I can't remember a better Saturday of games.

1) How about those Irish? Are there any doubters left in America? If so, they probably still think Gore beat Bush. Very impressive. They should jump into the TOP 10 after beating Michigan in the BIG HOUSE. That defense is under-rated. Watch-out SC! That October 15th match-up is looking better and better. It's going to be be harder for ND to live up to those high expectations.

2) So sad - even in victory. Oklahoma does not deserve to be in the TOP 25. The TULSA game was much closer than the final score. Adrian Petersen is amazing, but the Sooners are not. I don't think they had a completion in the 2nd half. Ouch. Bye Bye Oklahoma - make room for somebody else, at leat for now....but Adrian Petersen is the best rusher in the country - bar none. Oklahoma has no passing game. It's all about Adrian. He's a video game highlight machine. Wow - is he human?

3) How 'bout those ILLINI? 2-0 - yes we believe in Ron ZOOK! That was an impressive win at home against San Jose State. The program is on the right track. Next week is going to be tough at CAL. It's a learning process. One game at a time. Go ILLINI!

4) That Beaver / Bronco game was amazing. It looked like Boise State was in control most of the way but the BEAVER nation came through in the 4th quarter, despite the hail at RESER. How far have the Broncos fallen since that Liberty Bowl Classic last year?

5) Chalk this one up as surprising (Georgia over USC by only Two!). What happened to the mighty DAWGS from Gerogia? Answer - they were never so mighty to begin with. The Boise State game was a gift. Georgia will struggle on offense this year with Shockley as QB. He is a great athelete but not a decent QB. Watch-out DAWGS: your days are numbered!

6) What happened to those Hawkeyes? How did they win so convincingly last weekend and get blown out this weekend? Answer - they lost their QB with a concussion in the 1st quarter. Ouch, I had 6 points on the HAWKEYES. They're done for the year in terms of the title race.

7) BYU, Auburn, and BC looked strong today. No surprises there. How about those Tigers from Clemson? They like the close finishes.

8) Texas / BUCKS - instant CLASSIC, enough said. If you missed this game you missed one of the best college games in the last 25 years. It lived up to all of the high expectations - and then some. We need more games like this and fewer cupcakes.

9) Nebraska won today at home - big surpise of the Demon Deacons of WF. Who cares! Same for Oregon over Montana. Come on, play a real team. And get some real unifroms.

10) How about those Tigers of LSU? Good to see that at least for a few hours the Louisiana fathful had something to cheer for. Never say die. Blocked punt - TD. Blocked kick - TD. Even the ASU fans were cheering for the Tigers. It's going to be a slow, long, painful process - but the healing has begun.

And my top 10 after week 2:

1) USC
3) LSU

And my Heisman Hopefuls:

Young, Leinart, Bush, Peterson, and Ginn.

Those who probably lost ground this weekend:

Tate (Iowa) and Hart (Michigan).


This is what college football is all about. What a game. What a weekend. Gotta love the ND/Michigan and the Texas / OSU match-ups. We need more of these weekends. Both Ohio State and Texas should be pride of their programs and their efforts tonight. Ohio State should not fall that far in the polls. Who knows - these two teams may meet sometime in January on a different stage. Tonight - the game went the way of the Longhorns. This might just be their year. Vince Young looks in command of his game and the longhorn team. He can throw, he can run, he can think, and he can move. Congrats to Mac Brown and the Longhorn Nation. Hook-EM HORNS.

Fighting ILLINI now 2-0!

And a long way to go. But, the ILLINI are now on the comeback trail this year after beating San Jose State in convincing fashion today on Zupke Field at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL. We were supposed to win big and we did. San Jose State only had 17 yards rushing on 25 carries - that's good news for the ILLINOIS defense. The bad news is that they gave up 214 yards passing against a weak San Jose State team. But they do run the spread offense.

Our balanced offensive attack continued with 244 yards rushing and 246 yards passing for almost 500 yards. With 29 first downs we really controlled the clock, the line of scrimmage, and the game. More of the same is in order against CAL in Berkeley next week. That is going to be a tough tough trip especially with CAL rolling today in Seattle. They look good this year under Tedford's leadership. Ayoob, Lynch, and Jordan are an offensive powerhouse.

But for now, we're ranked up 7 more spots to #63 in the country. CAL is good. But this could be a close game if the team doesn't loose composure during the first bad break that doesn't go our way. CAL is beatable - defense not so great. Their offense is powerful but can make the big mistake now and then. We'll see how healthy they are going into the next game.

No cupcake here - ND for real!

Wow - ND is for real. If you saw even a little of the Michigan game today you now realize that the IRISH are back to stay for a while. They should crack the top-10 in the national rankings this week with their win today in Ann Arbor. With the toughest schedule in America again, this is a legit program to be feared by the remaining teams on their schedule.

Michigan really didn't look good today at all. They are definitely not deserving of their gaudy #3 ranking and SHOULD fall outside the top 10 landing somewhere around 12 or 15 in my opinion. They had only a few good offensive plays all game. Their defense didn't play consistently strong either. It's over for Michigan this year. But give credit to that Notre Dame defense. Stout!

NO cupcakes for the god squad from South Bend. Na Na - Na Na Na - Na Na Na Na.......Na Na- Na Na Na- Na Na- Na Na......Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na - Na Na Na Na!

Touchdown Jesus will be very tired at the end of the year. Charlie Weiss is looking like the new mastermind in college football. Good to see the IRISH back on the national scene. Love - em or hate - em, they are good for the game we all love! To quote Brad Nessler with ABC/ESPN - the Irish are starting to look Pretty Darn Good! That October 15th showdown is starting to look a little more interesting right now. Bring on the Trojans of Troy! Gotta love this game. Some where up there John Paul is smiling. Everything is coming up green. And there won't be a sober person in South Bend all weekend. If I only kept my original ND pick this week. I changed mine to UM at 0859 this morning. Ugh! It's been a long time since ND won two big road games like this to start the season (1918 - KNUTE ROCKNE). Wow some history.

Dont' be a Pick-Em Loser - get those picks in early!

Looks like a few of us have been having trouble getting picks in the system by kick-off on Saturday mornings at 9AM. It's still early enough in the season to play catch-up, but don't be a pick-em's hard enough to play catch-up in the Ronler group. And remember - don't hate the game just your sorry picks.

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