Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finally - a good win and bowl eligibility ...

I know Persa was out, but the 48-27 victory today over Northwestern in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley was just what the doctor ordered in what had to be the spectacle of the day. And for all of the chatter and criticism of the old ball park and its layout for football, she held up pretty well as center stage in what hopefully won't be the last time these two teams battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Tihs game was the talk of the town all week in the Windy City. It's good for college football. We need more events like this. That was fun! Every game should have all of its possessions heading towards the west endzone.

As for the contest itself, it was the Mikel LeShoure show, literally. Big guy amassed an Illini high 330 yards of 33 carries. It was the best rushing performance in CFB this year; and one that would make Red Grange very very happy. Mikel literally carried the Zooker, the team, and our bowl chances on his broad shoulders and thick quads. It was an epic performance, worthy of comparison to other Illini greats like Red Grange and Howard Griffith. Clearly tihs will go down as one of our greatest grid-iron exhibitions. He's averaging 197yards / game in his last three outings. That's a great sign as we get ready to board the charter for Fresno and bowl season. It's time for a road trip. We need to bowl upgrade.

And after two dismal weeks with losses against Michigan and Minnesota, the defense actually played more aggressively and made plays today against a very crafty and disciplined Pat Fitzgerald squad. Without Persa, they are NOT the same team for sure. That kid may be the 2nd best QB in America behind Luck. Still, they remain one of the most disciplined and efficient clubs in the nation. Today's win was no small victory. With the win, we move to 2-0 at Wrigley all time.

Inside the numbers today, we amassed 519 rushing yards - the most since 1944 against Illinois State during the WAR. 24 of our 26 first downs were on the ground. Very impressive running of the rock. And this year's team continues to score points in bunches, posting 40+ now in four of our last five games. Opposing offenses will have to score to keep up with us going forward. And the stat of the day, 42 minutes of ball possession time to their 18 minutes. Total trench domination.

Yes, the defense played better today, but not great. They did force three ealry turnovers that led to a quick 21-7 lead. In our last five games, we've forced a total of 16 turnovers for 69 points while just turning it over five times. Another good sign is to be +11 in the turnover margin in late November.

On the national scene, very impressive performances today by Wisky and Stanford, both on the road in hostile rivalry games. How about Andrew Luck, best QB in the nation? The Badgers just too the wood to Michigan's 'defense' all day long. And while I didn't actually see Stanford smack CAL in the BIG GAME, I'm sure the same can be said there. Mixing up the standings this week, based on what I've seen on the field against scheduled opposition. I've seen a lot of football this year and believe these are pretty close to being what should be. So, wihtout further delay, here is my revised top-ten list as we head into Thanksgiving:

My Latest TOP-10:

1) Oregon - on the bye week this week and getting ready to host Arizona.
2) Auburn - Ditto for the tigers, and it all comes down to the Iron Bowl.
3) Wisconson - Badgers are almost playing perfect football in all three phases.
4) Stanford - The Cardinal is on fire. En Fuego! No identity crisis here.
5) Boise State - I know how good they can be. Not sure how bad they are.
6) TCU - Ditto, same as #5. The schedule provides little examination.
7) Oklahoma State - Yes Ted, I as right about your Huskers not being worthy.
8) Ohio State - Buckeyes with another solid road performance in Iowa City.
9) Alabama - Tide will get a shot to stop Cam Newton and Auburn this week.
10) Arkansas - Great road win in Starkville against and improved Bulldog club.

And a special feature this week, the best teams in each conference right now:

BIG TEN = easy one here, Wisconsin. No style points. They are just that good.
PAC TEN = tough call here, but the Chief is going with Stanford. En Fuego!
SEC = I'll go with Auburn, for now. May be S. Carolina or Alabama eventually.
ACC = Va. Tech. Hokies are rollin' and doing Boise a favor with every win.
BIG 12 = Down to Bedlam. Chief likes the Cowboys from Stillwater.
BIG EAST = Who cares?

Games on the horizon during Feast Week (looking forward to these):

1) Michigan State / Penn State
2) S. Carolina / Clemson
3) Florida / Florida State
4) LSU / Arkansas
5) Miss State / Ole Miss
6) Oklahoma / Oklahoma State
7) Notre Dame / USC

Finally, bowl games we should see / deserve but may not get:

Rose = Stanford / Wisconsin
Sugar= Arkansas / Boise State
Orange = Va. Tech / Oklahoma State
Fiesta = TCU / Ohio State
Title = Auburn / Oregon

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Week #10 - Fight 'Em Until Hell Freezes Over ...

And then fight 'em on the ice! I mean, wow - what a weekend of CFB. So many TOP-25 teams lost today (FSU, Mizzou, Utah, Alabama, Oklahoma, etc ...). It's never the same game twice.

As for the Chief, he bit the painful bullet today up in Ann Arbor. What a deflating 3OT loss on the road, in a game we should have won. Not too much that can be said when you lose 65-67 in the conference's highest-scoring contest of all-time. I swear I saw Fisher and Henson on the sidelines during the 2nd half. No defense, like we normally see from the PAC-10 week in and out. Ugh!

As for the national scene, it couldn't get more chaotic now that Alabama has two losses. I'm not convinced just yet that Oregon AND Auburn run the table. Who would have thought that Florida, Texas, USC, and Alabama would have NO shot at the BCS this year. Ohio State is virtually in the same boat. Winds of change in college football - and they feel refreshing. Here's my new TOP-10:

My Revised TOP-10:

1) Oregon - Another week, the same story. But can the scoring continue forever?
2) Auburn - Distractions, no matter. Feels like a team of destiny to me.
3) TCU - Great road win in Salt Lake. But was Utah overrated?
4) Boise State - Doing what they do best and still not good enough.
5) Stanford - Fear the Fighting Harbaugh's from Palo Alto.
6) LSU - I have no idea how they won. But they just keep winning.
7) Wisconsin - Road graters, giving new meaning to shovel-ready.
8) Ohio State - Fundamentally sound and well coached. Red vests for everyone.
9) Nebraska - They own the tie-breaker with Oklahoma State.
10) Oklahoma State - Cowboys are peaking at the right time.

So, where does that leave us? I will tell you. Ponder these round one play-off match-ups as we get ready for those always exciting conference championship games:

Oregon Hosts Ohio State in Eugene. Rematch of the 2010 Rose Bowl.
Auburn Hosts Wisconsin on the Plains. North versus South.
TCU Hosts LSU in Ft. Worth. Miles versus Patterson. Chess match.
Boise State Hosts Stanford on the blue turf.

It just doesn't get any better than this. Of course we can find a way to make an eight-team playoff work. All we would need is one more game in early January to get from 8 to 4, from 4 to 2, and from 2 to 1.

web site counters
ISP unique hits since Aug. 2k6

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?