Saturday, September 06, 2008

Week 2 Wrap

I mean, what good is the BTN anyway (BIG TEN NETWORK) when they don't even broadcast the best games in my market (PAC NW)? Who cares about Marshall / Wisconsin anyway? Chief was a bit peturbed this week as he had to GAMECAST the ILLINI game (versus Eastern) on CBS.SPORTTSLINE.COM. Such is life for a BIG-10 supporter the the Willamette Valley.

Chief on the Tribe - As for the game itself, by all accounts is was an OK win. Nothing special in any way. After all, the Panthers from Charleston, IL (DIV1-AA) aren't exactly a powerhouse anymore now that Romo plays for the Cowboys. For my liking, there were far too many turnovers (4 fumbles) and senseless penalties. Juice himself, a work in progress, accounted for 3TDs and 3 turnvers, including 2 picks. I think Zook said it best, "He threw some ducks, but we all know he can throw the football."

And the defense looked anything but stellar. Don't focus so much on the 21 garbage points in the 47-21 blowout, but be concerned about the another rusher getting big chunks of yardage against a defense that should be getting better and better. No doubt, we miss the senior leadership of Jay Leman. T. Bess had 183 yards on just 15 carries for EIU. Clearly coaches, we have some work to do on defense if we hope to contend in the BIG-10. Can't give up 200+ rushing yards in back to back games going forward.

On the plus side, Dufrene continues to look good (not great, but good enough) in replacing Rashard with another 100 yards on just 13 touches. At 201 pounds, he has enough power to get the tough yardage and good speed to bust a few for big yards. And when you look at the complete body of work, 53 rushes for 399 yards as a team, you have to conclude we're moving in the right direction. We did rack up 533 yards to their 278 total yardage; which is what you'd expect in a DIV1-A / DIV1-AA matchup. Up next, another cupcake in Louisiana Lafayette. There's more room for improvement.

Around the Nation - how about those ECU Pirates? Wow, back to back BCS busters in the past two weeks after downing WV today, and quite convincingly I might add. This is a dangerous team. They're doing it with amazing energy, determination, and execution at key moments in games. And speaking of execution, or lack thereof, there's Notre Dame who had to battle, claw, and survive that mighty Western powerhouse in SDSU. Ouch. The shine is definitley off the golden domers. With a few seasons under his big belt, Charlie Weiss' squad continues to struggle with turnvers, establishing the run, and poor tackling. There's little to no passion on the field these days if your an Irish fan. They actually gave up more yards to SDSU (345 to 342yds.). Sorry Jimmy, it's hard to belief you've come a long way since last year. Five other things we learned.

5 Disappointers -

  • Notre Dame - what more can be said? New year, but same struggles. I'm not sure there's another in on their schedule until Syracuse, at home. Oh, how bad is the offense? They're lucky they didn't play CAL POLY today.
  • PAC 10 Officials - first we had the Oklahoma / Oregon debacle a few years ago. And then today, the horrible 'unsportsmanlike' call against Locker in the Husky / BYU game. I feel for you Jake, I really do. I love the PAC-10. Conference of champions (SPCoC).
  • Michigan - They won, and that's about all you can say (beating Miami, OH). Oh how times have changed.
  • Arkansas - Barely beating Louisiana / Monroe isn't what I think of when I think of SEC domination.
  • Ohio State - With or without Beanie, this team is simply overrated. I'm not sure they're the 2nd or 3rd best team in the BIG-10 (behind Penn State, Illinois, and Wisonsin). Will USC even be motivated to show up next week?

5 Pleasures / Surprises -

  • ECU - and more ECU. 1st VA TECH. Today WVU. I'm a believer. Are they BCS bound? Back to back ranked-team victories over BCS teams. Wow!
  • BIG-10 - as a conference we went 11-0 today. Not a bad bounce-back after week 1. And there was that can of WHOOP ASS delivered to the BEAVERS (competition optional) courtesy of Penn State. It's amazing what $800K can buy. Here are the rest of your BIG-10 Lessons.
  • WF - finally some showup by an ACC team. Wake is clearly the class of the ACC this year, which isn't saying too much.
  • BYU special teams - seemed just like the UCLA bowl game from last year. A kick is a kick and a block is a block. 12 in a row now is the longest in the land.
  • I know they'll bounce back sooner than expected, but for now - I'm enjoying a respite from the usual Ohio State / Michigan 'hype' that usually dominates BIG-10 headlines. Clearly these two programs are down this year. The rest of us now have a chance to showcase our talents. And here's your GAMEDAY FINAL.

My NEW TOP-10:

  1. USC - even with a week off the Trojans gained ground on the nation. I've said it before and will continue to say it for quite some time: AFC, USC, SEC, and NFC in that order.
  2. Missouri - yeah, back to back 50-point weeks is good.
  3. Oklahoma -
  4. Florida - A win over Miami since 1985. Started slow. Then answered most questions. I have them ahead of Georgia just based on strength of schedule so far.
  5. Georgia - A great team no doubt. Still not sure based on injuries and schedule. Play somebody already....
  6. LSU - Only Hurricane Gustav could stop the TIGERS this week. See #5.
  7. Auburn - Moving up a bit after a credible win against Southern Mississippi.
  8. Penn State - Wow, down goes SPCoC. Who said Oregon State was an upset threat? This was an ugly game, no doubt. A long flight home for the Beaver Nation, for sure.
  9. Wisconsin - Slow start at home versus Marshall before rattling off 51 straight points.
  10. Texas / Tech - Take your pick here with TEXAS or TEXAS TECH.

Bonus coverage - early USC / BUCKEYE prediction for WEEK3: USC 99 - OSU 2. Seriously folks, this one won't be close.

Looking Forward to WEEK3 - Here are a few highlights on the schedule in WEEK3. I'll be curious to see how these turn out:

  • Oregon @ Purdue (another BIG-10 / PAC-10 clash in West LaFayette).
  • Michigan @ Notre Dame (somebody has to win this, right?).
  • Ohio State @ USC (I want to see just how large the gap is right now).

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