Saturday, September 12, 2009
The two marquee match-ups lived up their billings as Michigan pulled out the win with just seconds on the clock over Notre Dame, and USC squeaked passed Ohio State in what likely might be a preview of the 2010 Rose Bowl. Looking back in December, Michigan and Notre Dame will probably be one of the best games of the year (38-34, Wolverines). Hail to the Victors valient. Today, a star was born in Ann Arbon in the name of Tate Forcier. And give credit to Claussen who had a great game. BIG BLUE was just a little better. But make no mistake about it, Michigan is back, maybe not all the way back to national contender status, but they are back in terms of being competitive at least in the BIG-10. Rodriguez is a genius for getting players who can execute his brand of football. And it always seems to happen in year 2 of his program-building. Suddenly, my Halloween just got a lot more interesting.
And in Columbus, the outcome was the same as USC downed Ohio State, but it was a day of biblical proportions as the children led the way (Barkley over Pryor). Barkley was only 15-31 for ~ 200 yards with a pick, but the game-winning drive he engineered in the 4th quarter was epic. As if the Trojans needed any more confidence. USC now extends its winning streak over the BIG0-10 to 10 wins. Joe McKnight is a true stud in a stable of thoroughbreds. But give credit to Ohio State for making a game of it tonight in the BIG HORSESHOE. I have a feeling this won't be the last time we talk about Ohio State and USC this year.
As for Illinois, we rolled today over Illinois State 45-17, as expected. Eddie McGee looked good tonight in relief of Juice. The team dominated in many facets, but we're still a work in progress. We had almost 400 yards rushing averaging 8.3 ypc. Defensively, we still have issues. You just can't give up 400 yards to Illinois State and expect to win too many games in conference later in the year. Up next, we get a dejected Buckeye squad who will be playing its 3rd straight game at home next Saturday when they host the Chief. That could be interesting, especially if we're healthy. Message to Zook, tighten it up! We're still playing too loose with the rock. We need to be more consistent in matriculating the football and ending drives with 6 instead of 3.
And how about the PAC-10? Two huge road wins today at Rocky Top (Tennessee) and inside the HORSESHOE. Wow, very impressive. Even Washington won today (sorry John, the Cougars got whacked by Hawaii at home). Stanford gave WAKE all they bargained for in a close loss.
Now for my top-10:
- Florida - until somebody beats 'em.
- Texas- slow start today in Laramie, but then they rolled.
- USC - a little win today on the road won't hurt their rank.
- Alabama - Tide are rollin'.
- Penn State - It's September, so they won't play anybody until we host them.
- Ole Miss - SEC school that can move the ball and play defense. Dangerous.
- BYU - continues to impress this year. Title worthy?
- Boise State - looks like they're BCS bound.
- LSU - we won't know about this team until 10/10 when Florida shows up.
- CAL - Another big win tonight. Should be undefeated when they host USC.
Bonus Feature. I've been asked so many times of the years, what does it all mean? Trust me, we're all looking for answers. So here are a few of mine on the world of CFB and the race the championship. I'll be updating this section of the blog weekly after each Saturday of games. So check back often for my latest insight into the world of CFB.
- Winning still matters. The great thing about CFB is that every week is a playoff, a popularity contest, a scientified poll, and a bunch of hype rolled into one awesome package. Whether it's the raw competition, pure drama of developing players achieving and failing, or the passion of the fans in every region of the country; it's still the best thing going.
- Let's judge the quality of football and not the quality of the conference. Teams win and lose games, not conferences. I know it's only September with a lot of ball to play, but consider the potential options we could be faced with come early December: un-defeated teams in Florida, Texas, BYU, and Penn State. Wow, and only two get to the for the title? We need a play-off system. I propose an 8-team version that would elevate the game to new heights. And we'll only have at most 1 unbeaten come bowl season. Take it to the bank.
- And speaking of the BCS, it looks like a Florida / Texas affair right now. Here are the rest of the projections (which will change a bit or so over the coming months).