Monday, September 21, 2009

From the Weekend That Was

Even though I was faced with a battle against a combination of whooping cough, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, post nasal drip and perhaps a touch of the black lung, I managed to plow through something like 11 hours of college football on Saturday just so I could have something to write about here today. Well, that’s not actually true. I did it because I’m sort of an addict and like all addicts, despite my condition and environment, I had to have the good stuff.

Anyway, I’m trying on a new pair of pants around here (and yes, they were from the Pants Store) so there’s a little more content below all the game recaps. So feel free to stick around and read that after you are reminded of all the ways your team did or did not disappoint you over the weekend.


Kentucky 31, Louisville 27
If you live outside the state of Kentucky (with the exception of fans of these schools), there is literally zero appeal to this game. Kentucky football isn’t bringing anything glamorous to the table and the days of Louisville lighting up scoreboards and piling up yards are gone. So what we had left was two teams with bad defenses giving up points to mediocre offenses. Luckily, this game came on during the time when most people were getting ramped up for the Florida/Tennessee game and no one was really paying attention.

The only thing worth noting here was that Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders broke his arm when one of his players crashed into him as a play spilled into the sidelines. Tennessee fans would want you to believe he broke it while aggressively putting his hands around his throat while calling plays, but that would be incorrect.

Alabama 53, North Texas 7

Just never listen to me when it comes to point spreads. I know nothing.

Florida 23, Tennessee 13
It wasn’t the raging bloodbath that many were hoping for, and actually was a pretty boring game, but what America did get out of this was a blueprint on how to beat Florida. A patient, time-consuming ground game, mixed in with some play action and screens, and a defense that takes away deep plays, calls some great blitzes and puts the burden on the Florida rushing game to win. You really can’t put into words how well Tennessee’s defense played considering they weren’t getting much help from their offense. Of course, Tennessee played about as well as they could have played on defense (and arguably on offense given what they have at quarterback) and still lost. However, a team with a competent quarterback and offense in general can beat Florida, provided they get a defensive effort and game plan like the ones Tennessee put up.

If you’re Tennessee, obviously you have to be pleased with how well your defense played. On the other side, your offense did better than expected, but you have to be frustrated with the quarterback play. As mentioned above, average quarterback play gives them a real chance in this game. Of course, they had no one on the sidelines that could give them that so they really had no chance. I was especially confused by the complete lack of urgency when the Vols got the ball back with six minutes to go, down two scores. I understand that was the plan that got them there, but with six minutes left and down ten you have to be aggressive. If not, you’re absolutely going to lose, which they did. Perhaps some no-huddle, maybe a trick play or a shot down the field against single coverage should have been in order. Instead, they bled the clock down and it eventually ended with Crompton throwing a pick with two minutes left. Their strategy was great up until that drive.

As for Florida, I’d be a little worried on offense. They didn’t get much by way of their receivers and Tebow really felt some pressure from the Tennessee defense (three sacks), but at the same time they did hit up an SEC defense for 200 yards on the ground, which makes winning much easier. Defensively, they were a little shaky against a one-dimensional offense, but basically shut down the Tennessee run game at the right times and forced Crompton to throw. But by no means is this a terrifying defense. Florida is still a really good team and will be extremely hard to beat, but Tennessee showed it may not be as difficult as previously thought.

One final note, I thoroughly enjoyed the opening shot of Ed Orgeron trying to get the team fired up in the tunnel before they took the field. It brought back some memories of lambs being led to the slaughter.

LSU 31, Directional School 3
Interesting note that I heard on ESPN is that in the history of the games between these schools, Louisiana-Lafayette has never scored a touchdown.

Mississippi State 15, Vanderbilt 3

Only Dan Mullen’s bounce back kept me from a perfect week in the picks. I watched for maybe 10 or fifteen minutes and all I saw was a trainwreck of offensive incompetence, led by Vandy’s revamped offense. Give credit to State’s defense for not giving up any big plays and keeping a crappy offense in neutral. They did what any decent defense should do to a bad offense. And in all seriousness, if State got to four wins, I’d be very impressed.

South Carolina 38, Oceanic Directional School 16
In addition to the list of diseases above that I’m currently battling, I’m now dealing with nausea and probably an ulcer all because of Ole Miss’ Thursday night game against South Carolina. Remember all those diseases that people in your wagon party used to get in Oregon Trail? I’ll probably have all of those by then. I’m going to be an absolute wreck by the time Thursday gets here.

Ole Miss 52, Directional I-AA School 6
Typhoid, diphtheria, dysentery, measles, scabies, rabies, raging fever, lice. I’m pretty sure I’m already showing symptoms of at least three of those.

Georgia 52, Arkansas 41
Easily the most entertaining game of the weekend. Lots of offense and a pair of defenses that did their best to get out of the way of those carrying the ball. We knew Arkansas’ defense was bad, and they certainly upheld their reputation, and now we know that Georgia’s defense is officially horrible as well. They’ve given up 912 yards and 78 points in two conference games. Arkansas is on pace to break that level of terribleness, but right now Georgia is our leader in bad defense.

And thanks to that shoddy Arkansas defense, Joe Cox showed real quarterbacking skill, so much skill that I’m sure he often said to himself, “Wow, how did I do that?” If Georgia can keep up the receiving combination of A.J. Green and Michael Moore, there’s hope for their offense yet. We’ll find out more when they play LSU in two weeks.

As for Arkansas, if Ryan Mallett has time, he will destroy opposing defenses. Georgia was eventually able to cut down his time to throw and that was the end of the Arkansas offense. He was much better than I expected, some of that was due to Georgia’s defense, but I thought he played well considering there wasn’t much happening by way of the run. If Arkansas’ defense can show up to any games, this won’t be a fun team to play, despite the potential one-dimensional nature of this offense.

Auburn 41, West Virginia 30
Hey, guess who else’s defense stinks? The Tigers got rolled up for 500 yards and did so while generating six turnovers. I think West Virginia might have had an outside shot at 750 yards of offense had they not turned it over so much. The good news for Auburn is that their offense is not the spectacular disaster it was last year so their defense doesn’t have to be that good. Although if the defense continues this level of suckiness, they’ll need the USC offense circa 2005 to hold on to some wins. We’ll find out if this Auburn offense is for real when the go to Tennessee in two weeks. And I suppose if Jonathan Crompton lights them up for some significant yardage in that game, we’ll know that their defense is one of the worst in the country.


Florida State 54, BYU 28
I mentioned during last week’s “call-in show” that I thought BYU had a strong to quite strong chance to beat FSU. What an idiot I am. I completely forgot about the Mississippi State team in 2000 that traveled to BYU and simply pummeled the Cougars without mercy, 44-28. They were 20 times faster and it often seemed like it was 15 on 11 because of their team speed and BYU’s lack thereof. In that 2000 game, State ran for 200 yards (FSU ran for 300+), created four turnovers (FSU created 5) and simply blew them away with speed. Now why I didn’t see FSU doing the same thing is beyond stupid. The lesson, per the usual, is that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Also, maybe Oklahoma really is bad.

(Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches.)

Joe Cox, QB, Georgia
Abandoned and left for dead on the side of the road by most Georgia fans, Cox picked himself up, found his way to Fayetteville and turned in a great game against Arkansas. Granted, he was facing Arkansas’ non-existent defense, but 18 of 26 for 375 yards and five touchdowns is still pretty impressive. Sure he’ll probably come crashing back to earth, but at least for this week Joe Cox looked like he belonged in the SEC.

(Given to the player who caused his team’s fans the highest degree of wailing and gnashing of teeth due to blown assignments and generally piss poor play.)

Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee
A fairly obvious pick and perhaps the one player who might win this award multiple times, but Crompton’s performance in Gainesville was 1,000% awful. 11 of 19 for 93 yards and two interceptions and he did that while playing in an offense that would have been declared conservative in 1949. Had Tennessee’s defense collapsed and forced the Vols to throw much more than they did, he could have made a run at six interceptions. Our loss more than anything.


(Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him.)

Monte Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator, Tennessee
The most powerful offense in the SEC and its spread formations, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and the smartest man in the entire world running the show was stacked up against Kiffin’s defense and for the most part, he held them in check. Yes, his defense did give up large chunks of rushing yards, but if not for their outstanding pass defense and pressure, Florida might have covered that 29-point spread.


Ole Miss at South Carolina

Arkansas at Alabama
Let’s see this Arkansas offense against a real defense. I’m really looking forward to see what Saban has in store to slow the Hogs down and what Petrino will do to challenge Saban’s defense. Very interesting coaching matchup.

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