Saturday, September 15, 2007
I know it was against one of the worst teams in CFB this year. And I know it's only September. Still yet, the scoreboard and boxscore doesn't lie - ILLINOIS pounced on the CUSE today in the Carrier Dome (41-20). And it really wasn't that close save a late on-side kick recovery by the Orange, and conversion. Sure, we were almost a 2-TD favorite. I know that, you know that. But you still have to show up and play the games. Anything can happen when you hit the road, especially in a hostile dome environment. We took care of business today, mostly on the ground - hammering out 350+ yards of total rushing. We stampeded the ORANGE, no way around that. And the passing game with Williams and McGee was an efficient 15-20 for 132 yards and 1 TD (no picks). Illinois is 2-1 heading into next week's game on the road in Bloomington, IN. Bring on those nasty Hoosiers. We're ready. Anybody. Anywhere. Anytime. Cheif's goin' bowlin' this year.
Wow, what a Saturday of action in CFB today. Several themes emerged. The BIG - 10 bounced - back strong after a few soft weeks to start the year. Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana all won, convincingly. Ohio State looked particularly impressive in Seattle on Lake Washington against the Huskies today. It was a Tressel-like process of dismantling the young DAWGS with stout defense and a relentless offense which just continues to pound and pound and pound its opponents into submission. I'm not sure there is a better - prepared team in America, week in and week out. The Buckeyes are for real this year, even without Troy Smith and Teddy Ginn. The Senator just finds a way to win the big game (Florida excluded). I think he's 8-3 all-time verus top-10 opponents. But the Huskies shouldn't hang their heads in shame. They just lost to a better team today. Jake Locker is a future star in Seattle. They will make some noise this year in the PAC-10. Watchout for Washington next season - that could be special.
And how about those WILDCATS from Kentucky under the leadership of Rich Brooks (former Duck coach). Wow, what a game and what a comeback. First time in 30 years that Kentucky beat a top-10 team. And to do it in that fashion with time running out on the clock. Louisville had won the four previous matchups. But, when you don't have a defense you are in trouble. Defense wins big games and championships. You can't expect your offense to hang 60 points a night on the opposition. That was a great game. Too bad I came up on the losing end of that coin flip. Same for Bama and the Hogs. Looks like Saban has the TIDE rolling this year. Of couse, it doesn't hurt to have a little home cooking with the officianting. There were some questionable calls and clock management issues late in the game which were both factors in the outcome. Still yet, the TIDE found a way to fight back after the Hogs scored 21-unanswered points in the 2nd half. I love Saturdays.
Trojans - statement delivered, big time. They answered all of the critics tonight on the road in Lincoln. It was close for a while before the USC offensive line started opening up monster holes for the committe of running backs featured by USC. Honestly, this one was never in doubt. The Trojans just have too much of everything for just about everybody in the land. That was clear again tonight. Nebraska is a good football team and should challenge Missouri for the BIG-12 North. But, that's about as far as that will go. There's football speed and there's USC speed. There's football acumen, and there's Trojan football. USC has been the best team in the country for the past five years. The BIG-12 Champ will once again come from the Southern division of that conference in the form of TEXAS or OKLAHOMA. Give Pete Carol two weeks to prepare for a game and you practically hand in the W. He and his staff have proven that time and time again in some of the biggest games and most hostile environments in college football. Kudos to the Husker nation and 283 consecutive sellouts. They may just be the best fans in the game.
And on the opposite end of the spectrum of excellence is Notre Dame. Just how bad can it get for the Golden Domers this year? Well, I'm not sure I see a win on the schedule, especially considering that Duke won today in Evanston over Northwestern. I think the irish only had 79 total yards of offense today, including 33 rushes for -6 yards on the ground. Ouch - not good. I didn't even watch much of that 'game'. Mike Hart backed up his words with a huge day on the ground as Michigan seemed to find its direction again. Although, that's not saying much since most teams will get 'healthy' against Notre Dame this year. It's going to be a long fall in South Bend, indeed. Quick send help, the Irish have fallen and can't get up. They've been outscored 102-30 this year. And for the first time ever, they've given up 30 points for five consecutive games. This team is going in the wrong direction. To quote Coach Weiss, "One game is worse than the next game." I was going to say that the loser of the UM/ND game today would know what it's like to be DUKE. But, after their win today, ND is looking up at the bottomside of the Blue Devils.
Looking good - (buy this stock) -
- Boston College - very impressive road victory tonight against the vaunted defense of Georgia Tech. Matt Ryan kept throwing and throwing and throwing all night for almost 500 yards. Wow, very impressive. Keep in mind that Georgia Tech one its first two games convincingly, against Notre Dame and Samford. Ugh! What was I thinking?
- Florida - the gators don't rebuild under Urban Meyer. They reload. And Tennessee is a good football team. But, that was ugly. I can't remember the last time anybody beat them in the SWAMP.
- Oklahoma - the Sooners are rolling this year under a freshmen QB, Bradford. They look solid on both sides of the ball.
- USC / LSU - no surprises here. These are the two best teams in the game today with Oklahoma a close 3rd.
- Ohio State - very impressive win today in Seattle. They showed me something.
- Kentucky - great win today for Rich Brooks. They're not done yet either.
- ILLINOIS - it's early, but buy low and sell high. I'm buyin' into Zook this year.
- Oregon - good win today at home against Fresno State who almost beat A&M last weekend. Congrats to Mike on this 200th win. Free the Duck!
- BAMA - and wait until Saban gets his guys in there.
- Duke - first win in 22 games.