Monday, September 20, 2010

From the Weekend That Was

Week:  6-2
Season:  25-3

Arkansas 31, Georgia 24
Two things we learned about Arkansas this weekend:  One, Ryan Mallett CAN have a good game on the road in the SEC.  21-33 for 380 yards and 3 TDs, 0 INT certainly qualifies in that department.  Two, in the words of an angry Dennis Green, Arkansas is who we thought they were.  Great offense led by a quarterback who is one outstanding game against Alabama away from officially seeing the Matrix.  However, it is still a team with a defense that remains bumbling around in the putrid category.

The Hogs entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 24-10 lead.  They promptly allowed three drives that started in Georgia territory to enter the Arkansas side of the field, one which ended in a turnover on downs and two that ended in seven points for Georgia (these came within four minutes of one another).  If not for a Georgia safety taking one of the worst angles I've ever seen at a wide receiver, that defense could have worked some more magic in overtime (we all know Arkansas was going to miss the game-winning field goal).  If not for Aaron Murray, who may be good one day, but today is not that day, and a Georgia offensive line that resembled the Giants trying to block the Colts last night, this is probably a game Arkansas gives away.  But, to their credit, they went on the road, made the necessary plays to win and beat a team they were better than, which is something good teams do (or so I've heard; I know nothing of watching a good team play).

Vanderbilt 28, Ole Miss 14
(Old school Jefferson Pilot intro music begins playing)
(Highlights chronicling Ole Miss plays of failure in the 2010 season begin playing)
(This takes at least five minutes)
(Live shot of Dave Neal standing on a podium with Houston Nutt and Pete Boone)

Dave Neal:  We're here live in Oxford, Mississippi for our Nexium Purple Pill postgame show.  We've just watched Vanderbilt run through Ole Miss like Dave Rowe through a halftime spread of hot dogs and nachos.  Now joining me are Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and athletic director Pete Boone.  They're here to accept the label as the worst team in the Southeastern Conference, which they firmly and convincingly ripped away from Vanderbilt today.  And presenting the label is my old partner, Dave Rowe.  Dave...

Dave Rowe:  Thanks, Dave.  Coach, Pete, here ya go.  (Hand over label.  Blank stares ensue.  Rowe either doesn't have any questions or freezes at the prospect of talking outside the booth.)

Dave Neal:  Well, coach, what kind of work did you put in to make this happen?

Houston Nutt:  Gosh, Dave, I gotta tell ya, it wasn't easy.  Lots of poor choices.  Lack of offensive linemen.  Players that may not have a pulse.  Defense that still can't stop that read option play.  Enricky Davis up the gut.  Anyone up the gut.  Defense that let Larry Smith throw underneath when he can't throw deep to save his life.  Plays that I should know aren't gonna work.  It was a total team effort.  Not gonna mention the coaches for reasons I won't explain.

Dave Neal:  Well, congratulations, you've definitely earned it.  (Looks at Pete Boone)  Pete, how about your coach and his team?

Pete Boone:  (Looks up from texting on his phone)  What?

Dave Neal:  How about your coach and this team?

Pete Boone:  Hold on, Leach is explaining how the Air Raid works.  (Steps off the podium to talk with the obsessor of Blackbeard)

Dave Neal:  Well, folks that just about does it for us here.  Until next year in Nashville, Ole Miss has the right to be known as the worst team in the SEC.

And scene.

On a side note, after we lose to Fresno State and Kentucky and Alabama rolls us something like 55-7, I'm not sure how Nutt survives.  We'll be 1-5 and have the pulse of Ed Orgeron's 2007 team.  This very well could be the third year since 2007 in which a State or Ole Miss coach gets canned after the Egg Bowl.  Especially after State runs for 300 yards and wins by three or four touchdowns.

If there is one positive thing about this team, and there is ONLY one positive thing, it's watching Jeremiah Masoli play.  Although not particularly strong in the passing game, his athleticism and the power with which he runs are enjoyable to watch.  Too bad he is wasting those gifts in Oxford, like so many before him.

Alabama 62, Duke 13
I checked and Duke's defensive coordinator is not Don Lindsey or Chuck Driesbach.  However, it is one of David Cutcliffe's long-time disciples, Marion Hobby, which explains the wet paper towel resistance shown to Alabama's offense.

Florida 31, Tennessee 17
For the record, I think Tennessee could be the one SEC team Ole Miss beats.  Their offense is miserable and most importantly, THEY DON'T RUN READ OPTION PLAYS.  That game has the chance to be  the least watchable game this season, even surpassing Saturday's Vandy game, which made Sun Belt fans scoff in disgust.  And yes, the Florida/Tennessee game falls in the top ten of that category.

Auburn 27, Clemson 24
Are all the body parts that were involved in this game fully accounted for?  Three trips by the cart to take players off the field, Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker nearly had one of his lungs explode through his chest and one of Auburn's running backs probably just realized he is in fact not walking through a sunny meadow with a polar bear discussing the economies of Bolivia and Chile.  Had it gone to another overtime, a second cart might have been pressed into service.

Aside from the violence, which hit a record 25 on the 1-to-10 scale I keep in my head, Auburn continued to reveal who they really are.  A running team with an athletic, yet horrible throwing quarterback (who so far has only shown the ability to throw the ball to WIDE OPEN wide receivers) and a team with a bad defense.  However, unknown to me until Saturday night, was that Auburn very well could be the New Israel.  According to Gene Chizik, when asked about the outcome of the game, he replied, "Something something something "this is a God thing tonight.""  So beware you Philistines, Babylonians, Canaanites and Persians of the SEC.  Although, I suppose the New Israel will not have to fight those people, but, nevertheless, Gene Chizik IS NOT PLAYING AROUND.

Kentucky 47, Akron 10
Mike Hartline:  3 weeks, 0 INTs.  UNREASONABLE.

LSU 29, Mississippi State 7
Thanks to new cable company's channel packages and its failure to correctly install Internet at my house, I was not able to watch on ESPNU or via ESPN3 online.  From what I gather, this too was a miserable game to watch, full of turnovers and the standard inept LSU offense.  I see from looking at the box score that Dan Mullen went back to the ground game, rushing 44 times and passing only 18 times, but unfortunately, five of those 18 passes were intercepted.  This, of course, means that next week he needs to throw fewer than 10 times, eventually working his way down to zero passes a game.

Once again, Chris Relf appeared to be the only offense the Bulldogs could put together and when he went out with an injury it was essentially over.  Vick Bellard and LaDarius Perkins combined for a robust 42 yards on 21 carries, but Robert Elliot, rockin' the deuce, perhaps showed some promise for relief of Relf with 39 yards on nine carries.  Of course, I have no idea when any of these guys played, so those may have been garbage time yards.  Regardless, everyone outside of Baton Rouge (excluding the State fans in the stadium) were ultimately disappointed that Les Miles teased us so well and then did not put Jarrett Lee into the game.  BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  A black day for college football.

South Carolina 38, Furman 19
Put Garcia on the big board with two interceptions.

Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31
A game which nearly game all fans a heart attack and actually caused a coach to have a heart attack.  In case you somehow missed it, Michigan State said to hell with it, we're faking this:

And not long after the game, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack.  I have yet to hear a report that suggests the large amount of testosterone flowing through his body was partially responsible for the heart attack, but I'll assume that it was.  Also, it was enjoyable to see the Notre Dame band trapped between a wildly celebrating opposing team and a concrete wall.

Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
21-33, 380 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
See above.

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
Tyrone Nix, Defensive Coordinator, Ole Miss
In the fourth game of seeing a team that uses read option plays (Auburn 2009, MSU 2009, Jacksonville State and Vandy), Nix's defense gave up 227 rushing yards on 41 attempts (5.5 per attempt). This included a 35-yard touchdown run and 80 and 15-yard runs in which the rusher was not even touched. How in the hell this is still happening is either atrocious coaching, undisciplined players or what we probably have, a deadly combination of both. And congratulations to Coach Nix, this is the first time an assistant has ever won this award.

Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him
Robbie Caldwell, Vanderbilt
My apologies to Coach Caldwell. I had the Commodores squarely pegged for an 0-12 campaign. An excellent job doing what Ole Miss is powerless to stop: THE READ OPTION.

2010 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the season
1. Jeremiah Masoli 4
    Tyler Russell  4
3. Cam Newton 3
Chris Relf 3
Matt Simms 3
6. Aaron Murray 2
Jordan Jefferson 2
Ryan Mallett 2
Stephen Garcia 2

Alabama at Arkansas
If Ryan Mallett pulls this off by playing extremely well, he shall wear the crown of the best quarterback in America. For Arkansas to have a chance, they need Matrix-seeing Mallett and a defense in general to show up.

Georgia at Mississippi State
Mark Richt is in a full-blown staring contest with an 0-3 start in the SEC. And as is Dan Mullen. It's only September and we've got another SOMETHING MUST GIVE game.

South Carolina at Auburn
This is a game Spurrier should win. Can he keep Garcia under control to prevent Auburn from pulling yet another game out of its ass?

West Virginia at LSU
A collision of fan bases that should be thoroughly documented by news agencies across the country. I demand at least 15 photo essays from the events in Baton Rouge.

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