Saturday, September 08, 2007

Week #2 Wrap...Down Goes BIG BLUE, Again!

Isn't it great? I gotta admit that the final score didn't totally surprise as much as the outcome. Congrats to the U of O for playing a near perfect game in Ann Arbor today, especially on offense. Everything was working for Bellotti's boys on the road, including the statue of liberty (courtesy of Boise State, no doubt) and fake stature of liberty plays. Wow, the Ducks had Michigan on a string like a puppet most of the afternoon. Stewart had some highlight-reel rampages through a swiss-cheese Michigan 'D'. And yes, for the 2nd straight week in a row the Wolverines go down hard at home to an unranked opponent that was faster, sharper, and just better.

Michigan has now lost four games in a row dating back to the Ohio State game last year; something which hasn't happened since the 60's. But big kudos today Oregon who just played a great game. The Ducks had 624 yards of total offense today, pretty balanced in the air and on the ground, while holding Michigan to just 365 total yards. It was a one-sided affair petty much from the start of the 2nd quarter. This one was over at the break. It's hard to tell how good the Ducks are right now. We know for sure Michigan is pretty bad.

So, where does BIG BLUE go from here? 0-2 to start the year at home, worst since 1959. We're talking about the winningest program in CFB history. Today marks 4 straight games giving up 30 points or more. Short answer is nowhere, they get a bleeding Irish squad who lost big today in Happy Valley to Penn State. Who'd have thought that 0-2 Notre Dame comes limping into the 'BIG HOUSE' to take on 0-2 Michigan? Wow, that's a story in and of itself for two of the most storied college programs. But it's true. Will Michigan even be competitive this year? Is it time to stick a fork in Lloyd Carr once and for all? What coach, another week of bad preparation? Honestly, to me it comes down to the spread offense and team speed by the opposition. Michigan just doesn't match up well against high-powered speedy offenses that run the 'West-coast' model of football. Good news for Michigan is that Notre Dame is conventional in that sense. I feel for Mike Hart (stud running back and former Heisman candidate). He's the only one with character and is guaranteeing a win next weekend at home against the Domers. I like that pick right now, I think.

And how about those Oklahoma Sooners? They miticulously dismantled an undiscipled Miami 'team' in Norman today, 51-13. The Sooners looked like men against boys today on both sides of the ball. Their speed and strength and just about every position was impressive to witness against what was thought to be a decent Miami team under 1st-year coach Randy Shannon. Watch out for Oklahoma going forward. The Red River Showdown with Texas is starting to look like a great game (October 6th in the Cotton Bowl). Signature win for them to date.

Illinois won convincingly today at home in a fashion I was expecting, 21-0 over Western Illinois. But kudos to the Leathernecks who held us scoreless in the 1st quarter until the running game kicked in under R. Mendenhall (139 yards) - a true stud. Unfortunately, we had too many mistakes today (fumbles, holding penalties, untimely sacks, and bad throws). Juice also didn't have any TD passes today versus 1 interception on 13-25 passing for 135 yards. Regis Benn lead the ILLINI today in receving on 5 catches for 62 yards. We did end up with 400 total yards on 80 plays while holding Western to just 148 on 55 plays which tells me the defense has come to play this year. We amassed 21 first downs to their 4. It was a decent but not great win. Next weekend we travel to Syracuse for a rematch of a game we should have one in Champaign last year. Let's hope for a different outcome this year.

What else did I see today that was impressive? Nebraska held on late for a very good road win in Winston Salem, NC today against a very speedy and athleteic Wake Forest squad. This was a trap in my opinion with USC looming on the horizon next weekend, in Lincoln. When you consider that Nebraska has never played a road game against an ACC team it's even more impressive. Good news, the Husker defense made big plays all day - especially late in the game with WF driving for the lead. The bad news, Sam Keller needs to work on his play - especially in the passing game. He just didn't look comfortable in the pocket all day with several poor decisions and overthrows. Washington looks to be a year ahead of schedule with its 2nd win in a row, this time over the Fiesta-Bowl Champions from Boise. Wow, it looks like Mr. Willingham has the Huskies pointed in the right direction. Their defense has been very impressive over the past two weeks in particular. Boise State is known for its high-powered nifty offense. Good win today at home against a ranked opponent for the dawgs. BC dominated a weak NC STATE team today in Chestnut Hill to earn two staright ACC wins (nothing to sneeze at in the age of September cream puffs).

Texas opened up a 4th-quarter can of whoop ass on TCU to pull away 34-13. The Longhorns finally figured things out in all aspects of their game. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you have a great defense that not only forces turnovers but turns them into touchdowns. And, Penn State figured things out in the 2nd half to pull away from anemic Notre Dame bunch. For a while I thought the Nittany Lions were on upset alert. It's going to be a long season in South Bend this fall. Will Charlie be around next season? I don't see a win on the schedule until November and by then it may not matter much. LSU is frightening right now. I seriously doubt there is a better team in the land including USC. They're totally dominating in every facet of the game. I haven't seen a defense that fast and that physical in a long long time. They will hit you, and hit you, and hit you, and hit you all night long. Offense isn't that bad either (again, very fast and physical). Wow, lookout. Bayou Bengals have reloaded. They could easily beat the Saints and 10 other NFL teams. Here's the complete TOP 25 Roundup from FoxSports.

Other teams on the rise:
  • Georgia Tech - 69 to 14 today over Samford. Michigan, take note.
  • Rutgers - 2 more to continue an amazing run dating back to last year.
  • USF - The Bulls downed a giant tonight on their home turf.

Others on the decline or at least going sideways:

  • Michigan, Michigan, Michigan - gone. Unbelieveable collapse to start the year.
  • Ohio State? Sure they're 2-0 versus Ohio but it hasn't been pretty or convincing.
  • Florida State who almost lost today at home to UAB. Definitley Miami.
  • Georgia who lost at home to SC (16-12). It was an ugly offensive showing for UGA.
  • Oregon State. What was that Thursday night? No QB = big trouble.
  • Auburn. Those Tigers were living on borrowed time before tonight anyway.

My Top 10 after Week #2:

  1. LSU
  2. Oklahoma
  3. USC
  4. West Virginia
  5. Florida
  6. Texas
  7. Louisville
  8. Cal
  9. Wisconsin
  10. UCLA

A little PAC-10 / West-Coast love for the teams from California. But honestly, does any team in sports have prettier unis than the Bruins from UCLA? Love the powder blue and gold.

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