The Ocho

A home away from home for the college football fan who's tired of the talking heads not knowing what they're talking about.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Most disappointing team of 2005


Runner up: Purdue:

Honorable mention: Louisville, Texas A&M, Pitt, Arizona State.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Fowler tape: Is Tuberville vindicated?

Tommy Tuberville recently criticized ESPN as being too powerful and agenda driven, accusing Mickey's sports network of hyping particular teams for the national championship b/c of their high profile QBs and contracts ESPN and ABC have with certain conferences. The following is a link to a tape of Chris Fowler of ESPN's Gameday being interviewed by Texas players David Thomas and Michael Huff where Fowler indicates that the Gameday crew does indeed like matchups it can "hype," that they're driven by their own "agendas," and that he wants to see Vince Young and Texas vs. Matt Leinart and USC in the Rose Bowl.

Forward to around the 17 minute mark:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is Fisher DeBerry right?

In one of the major college football controversies of the week, Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry is in hot water for suggesting that black people (or "Afro-Americans", as he likes to call them) run faster than white people.

As someone who lived close enough to Atlanta in 1996 to attend track and field olympic events, I can honestly say that when France and England are represented exclusively by black people in their track and field events that might be considered a clue. Does anyone disagree with DeBerry's comments?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Defense rules

As expected, 8 of the top 10 teams in the NCAA's total defense rankings are from the Big 3 conferences: SEC, ACC, and Big 10. Texas of the Big XII is in this year after adding Gene Chizik, an SEC defensive coordinator. It's no wonder those are the three best leagues in college football, by quite a bit, and the only 3 that should have automatic BCS bids (the SEC should get one for each division).

Sunday, October 23, 2005

props please

about a month ago i predicted the texas/texas tech score would be 55-17.

final score: 52-17

just call my 900 number to get next week's winners free!

texas v. usc in the polls

i sure hope texas picks up some 1st place votes in the polls. after the last few weeks, it seems evident that texas is fielding a more complete team. usc is an offensive juggernaut, but their defense is a sieve. and i disagree with pundits who assume usc's defense will just "get better" as the season progresses. we are in week 9 and their defense is running out of time. i don't think they could hold texas under 40. the question is, can the texas defense hold them under 40?

The unbeatens... (and which ones will lose)

After Texas annihilated Texas Tech, we are left with 6 unbeaten teams in college football a little past the midpoint of the season. However, by the end of the season, we can expect that only 2 teams will be left standing. Let's look at the potential landmines left on each unbeaten team's schedule, and which teams will be the first to lose:

Georgia: Georgia will lose next week against Florida. Simply put, the Bulldogs will be playing a quarterback making his first start against a dominating defensive team. Much has been made about how Leak has not adjusted to the spread offense, but let's remember that Florida was competitive against a strong LSU squad, and that they beat Tennessee. After Shockley's injury, Georgia was outscored by Arkansas 13-6. If Georgia pulls off a miracle this coming weekend, their luck will certainly run out when facing Auburn in two weeks.

Virginia Tech: While everyone else keeps praising the Hokies, I see a flawed team. I think Vick can get rattled -- indeed, he threw 3 picks against Maryland. Maryland simply wasn't good enough to capitalize on those mistakes. That will not be the case against quality teams like Boston College and Miami, both of thom the Hokies get at home. I think Virginia Tech's perfect season comes to an end during this stretch, most likely to the Hurricanes in an epic, defensive battle.

Alabama: The reason I did not rank Alabama at the beginning of the season is because I figured Shula would make some asinine decisions that would cost Alabama key personnel throughout the season (and I thought a shaky offensive line would lead to Brodie Croyle's season ending by now). With an average head coach, I stated Alabama would win the SEC West and finish in the top 15 nationally. Fast forward to the midpoint of the season, and Alabama is looking just like the "if only..." team they were last year. Despite a 6-6 record last year, there was a feeling amongst the Alabama faithful that the Tide could have gone undefeated last year. Usually, I dismiss such talk as Tide fans looking through their Crimson colored glasses, however, we actually had a point last year. Shula's decision to keep Croyle in against Western Carolina despite a 30+ point lead led to end of Croyle's season, and, not surprisingly, Alabama's season. This year is no different in that Tyrone Prothro's injury will likely cost Alabama an undefeated season. With Prothro, Alabama keeps the defense honest, and is allowed to open holes for Ken Darby. With the passing attack dangerous, Alabama would have been able to navigate around potential landmines LSU and Auburn. However, with a limp passing attack, the games against the latter two teams will prove too difficult a task. Look for Alabama's dream season to end in the absolute worst imaginable fashion -- a loss to the hated Auburn Tigers in the final game of the season. (Why not against LSU? Because the schedule breaks favorably for the Tide. Alabama should be able to get the young wideouts some invaluable work against Utah State and Miss State, and I believe these reps should be enough to beat out a tough LSU team.)

I think the above 3 teams will lose this year, and thus, given that USC and UCLA play each other, we will only have 2 unbeaten teams this year. Texas will play the winner of the USC-UCLA game for the national title.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

OT: after 28 years of frustration and longsuffering

The astros are playing for the world championship of professional baseball. i'll take the astros in 7, oswalt on the mound to wrap up the series in chicago. great, i am dog tired, but i may not get any sleep until saturday night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I foresee a big weekend in the Heart of Dixie

Both Alabama schools should win handily, setting up an Iron Bowl for all the marbles, the likes of which we haven't seen since at least '94.

Tenn should be able to dominate Alabama on both lines of scrimmage, as even OM was able to do. However, assuming Alabama doesn't continue to get receivers hurt, Brodie Croyle and that talented bunch of WRs should have a field day vs. the Vol secondary. (Jason Allen wasn't a big time SEC safety, much less a CB). Darby has also made that O-line look better than it is. Shula isn't my favorite coach, but he has had the Tide up for all 4 games vs. Tennesee and Auburn. He knows which games really matter to the Tide faithful, and has had the team playing well against them, even when they weren't the better team. This year, they are better than Tennessee, and they will beat them in Tuscaloosa this weekend, 31-14.

Auburn invades LSU, and brings the #1 scoring offense and #1 scoring defnese in the SEC with it. Brandon Cox has gotten the first road game jitters out of his system. After a shaky first half, Cox threw for 3 second half TDs in Fayettenam in a game described as "the game of the year," and "the Super Bowl" for Arkansas. Now, he and West Coast Offense guru Al Borges get to take aim at Bo Pellini's pass "defense" (see my post on Pellini from a couple of weeks ago). Auburn won't be able to run the ball effectively against LSU (the Bayou Bengals lead the SEC in run D, allowing just 69.8 ypg), but look for a barrage of TDs from Cox and WR standouts Ben Obomanu and Devin Aromashodu. Also, this is the game that made Courtney Taylor a superstar last year. After a disappointing '05 campaign thus far, look for CT to score at least once in Red Stick.

Auburn 38, LSU 17.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Week 8 - BCS Poll is Out

After having recovered from the pain of that last second loss to Michigan at the Big House, I return with my thoughts about the season so far, my games of the week this week, and the Penn State Update.

#1 - And then there were 7 - Only seven teams remain unbeaten this week, as PSU and FSU both fall out of the mix. These undefeated teams are clustered, with two each in the Pac 10, Big 12, and SEC, and the lone remaining team in the ACC. So what are the chances to these teams to stay undefeated?

Let's start with Va Tech, who thankfully for it has no undefeated teams left on its schedule. That having been said, the Hokies have to beat BC, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and UNC to stay unbeaten, plus a likely game against FSU in the ACC title game if they run the gauntlet. Va Tech has yet to really be slowed down by any opponent, with their closest game being a 34-17 win over WVU. I think the Hokies have both the talent and the schedule to make it, as both the BC and Miami games are in Blacksburg.

Going alphabetically by conference, we come to the Big 12, with the other Lone Star State Showdown this weekend, as Texas Tech comes to Austin to try to upset the Longhorns. Maybe I'm giving Tech too much credit, but I don't think this going to be the blowout most everyone else expects. Texas has a good D, but a defensive coordinator untested against the craziness that is Mike Leach. That having been said, if it does become a shootout as I predict, Texas still has the weapons to take this one and mow down its remaining Big 12 opponents. Tech, if by some chance they win, still has the potential to struggle with both a resurgent OU and Texas A&M (if they manage to pull their collective heads out of their, well, you know). Texas has the edge, and is likely to be going to Houston to face Colorado (probably) in a rematch for the Big 12 title. Last time that happened, the Longhorns lost, after a similar early season pasting of the Buffs. I wouldn't expect history to repeat itself this year. Look for Texas to go all the way.

Next up is the Pac-10, which also features a battle of its unbeatens, USC and UCLA, on 12/03. I don't expect that game to be between undefeateds, and could be between two one-loss teams. UCLA, while playing much tougher than recently, has had to pull out last minute wins against the likes of Washington and Washington State. With both the Beavers and the Sun Devils waiting for them, I expect UCLA to have lost at least one game before the Battle for LA. USC, meanwhile, has become the Luckjans this year, with three come from behind victories in a row now, capped by the very questionable aid of Reggie Bush to get Leinart into the end zone this past Sat. With both Cal and Fresno State before the UCLA game, USC has every opportunity to lose. Unfortunately, for fans of everyone else, USC has just demonstrated the mojo to pull a win right out of their ass, when you least expect it. Despite the hopes of the rest of college fandom, USC will manage to pull at least three more (probably the other two will be closer than they should be too) wins, and run the table.

Finally, we get to the SEC and Bama and Georgia. We'll take the east one first. UGA goes all the way to the championship game of they beat Florida this year, without a loss. They get Auburn at home, and will be flushed with victory if they manage to steal one from the Gators (very doable this year). Auburn may give Georgia a hard time, but again, the Bulldogs have just been winning this year. If Auburn can walk out of Death Valley with a win, check back with me next week. Bama? 13-10 win over Ole Miss? I don't think so - they'll lose to LSU, and probably Auburn as well. Georgia, meanwhile, if they manage to not get tripped up before the SEC title game, will face either LSU or Auburn, and manage to once again almost go undefeated.

So there you ahve it - my mid-season prediction that Texas and Va Tech should win out, and USC shouldn't but probably will anyway. What does that mean?

#2 - BCS rankings - It means the Hokies get to be this year's Auburn. Texas has a pretty commanding edge over the Hokies, which seems pretty insurmountable at this point if both win out. Again, now that we're here at mid-season, I'll update my BCS bowl picks, and start throwing in some of the other bowl picks as the season continues. Here's what I think the BCS will look like this year: undefeated champs of the ACC, Big 12, and Pac 10 Va Tech, Texas, and USC; Big Ten champ Penn State (I think we have only two touch games left, Wisc. and at MSU, and I think we take them both, even without Derrick Williams); Big East champ WVU (Bye bye Louisville, and welcome to a BCS (kind of) conference);, and SEC champ LSU. Throw in FSU and Texas Tech as your at large teams, and the bowls look a little something like this:
Rose - USC v. Texas; Sugar - LSU v. Va Tech; Orange - WVU v. FSU; and Fiesta - Texas Tech v. Penn State.

#3 - TCU, What the hell? - I'll make this call now. TCU is going to finish out the rest of the season without anymore losses, win the MWC in its first year in, and look back at the SMU game. I guess that's why we actually play the games . . .

Games of the Week -

1. Va Tech at Maryland - One of the remaining roadblocks to a perfect season, the Terps look to be beaten by the Hokies. Expect them, though, to test them as much as WVU did. This one will be won by less than 10 points, but I think the Hokies roll on with a 31-24 win at Maryland.

2. Ohio State at Indiana - Terry Hoepner has done amazing things with the Hoosiers this year, including getting fans excited about Indiana football. The Hoosiers have been playing people a lot closer than expected, and this one is at home. Ohio State may have an off day, but will probably still manage to pull off a win. I give this one to the Bucks, 27-17.

3. Texas Tech at Texas - I went into detail above, but I'll repeat my score: Texas 48-45.

4. Tennessee at Alabama - Who wins this one? Who knows? Both teams have been sporadic, but the edge has to go the Tide, with the game in Tuscaloosa. Alabama 14-10.

5. Auburn at LSU - Ah, the Tiger fight! The joy of having teams with the same mascot in the same conference playing. LSU showed it could gut it out against Florida, and still can't quite figure out how it lost to Tennessee. Meanwhile, Auburn has gotten back on track after the unfortunate earlyt loss to a Ga Tech team that's looking worse and worse. The home Tigers have the edge - it's a night game in Baton Rouge. No matter what happens, there will be drunken revelry all day long, but LSU walks away with another squeaker 17-14.

And now, the Penn State Update

Penn State at Illinois - So we don't have Derrick Williams? So it's on the road? So it's homecoming for the Illini? Sorry, Illini, this is a win. Illinois will keep alive its bid to remain winless in the Big Ten (I feel your pain - I really do), after being whipped by 36-13 by Indiana. Indiana! That, and my boys are going to be hungry for a win. We'll call off the dogs in the third quarter, but we win this one 44-7.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What might the BCS poll look like if it came out today?

Well, sports fans, it's almost THAT time of year again. Come Monday, it'll be all right; Come Monday, major conference commissioners will be holdin' each other tight. They've spent thousands of days in that brown lonely haze (of clinging to a sucky system), and they just want that poll back by their side. So it will be, come Monday, October 17, when the first BCS poll of 2005 comes out. What will it say?

Well, clearly, we don't know, b/c we don't know what will happen this weekend. Also, our ability to ascertain where everything would be right now is impaired b/c two computer polls - Kenneth Massey's and Peter Wolfe's - aren't out yet, and won't begin to publish until the BCS poll beings to publish. But, dear readers, I'm here to tell you that based on our imperfect knowledge, we may be in for a surprise, if everything holds as is. The Texas Longhorns - a clear, solid #2 in the polls we've seen thus far - may not be in such a solid position (and indeed, may not be #2 at all). Texas 2005 could be in the position of Auburn 2004 should 3 BCS teams go unbeaten.

Here are the caveats,a nd then the numbers:

1) I had to run two sets of calculations, b/c we don't have the Massey and Wolfe polls. Set 1 takes the 4 that we have now, and makes the simplifying assumption that these are the four that are kept. Set 2 took the average of those four and assigned those as the values for the other two for each team, and then dropped the highest and lowest. Each calculation affected different teams in different ways.

2) Both sets of calculations assume that Massey and Wolfe will affect all teams in precisely the same way, which is almost certainly not going to be the case. Massey was the first to go for USC over OU as #1 last year, and one of only two that ultimately did so. His formula may offer something wild and crazy.

3) The human voters haven't yet settled on a consensus #3 yet. Texas is currently a strong #2, as was Oklahoma a year ago. However, a year ago, chasing SC and OU was not only Auburn, but also unbeaten Wisconsin and Miami from BCS conferences. Ultimately, Auburn closed the gap with OU when it become the only remaining challenger, pulling even one week, and ultimately finishing relativley close (much closer than Virginia Tech, the current human choice as #3 is to Texas). That means that the current numbers are inflated to favor Texas.

4) I wasn't a math major, so check my work. The current formula gives the following weights:

1/3 to the Coaches' Poll
1/3 to the Harris "Interactive"(don't know WTF that means) Poll
1/3 to the average of the 6 computer polls, excluding the highest and the lowest for each team.

The components are calculated by dividing the # of points for each team divided by the total number of points availabe in the human polls (the denominator is 2850 in the Harris Poll, and 1550 in the Coaches' Poll). In the computer polls, the teams are assigned the inverse relative value of their rank on a scale of 25 (being ranked #1 = a 25; being ranked #25 = a 1).

The values of each component are expressed from a minimum of .0000 to a maximum of 1.000, summed, and divided by 3. Here goes.

Set #1

1. USC .9709
2. Texas .8946
3. Va. Tech .8900
4. Georgia .8736
5. Fla. State .8729
6. Alabama .7330
7.Penn St. .7317
8. Miami .7291

Set #2
1. USC .9709
2. Va. Tech .8866
3. Texas .8796
4. Fla. State. 8761
5. Georgia .8703
6. Penn St. .7837
7. Alabama .7547
8. Miami . 7341

The picture gets bleaker for Texas when one considers that Va. Tech has two of the top 8 remaining on its schedule, FSU has one, and UGA and Bama would have one each if each remains unbeaten.

I think this is all academic, b/c we won't have a repeat of last year. USC is going to lose, both SEC unbeatens are going to lose, PSU - #1 in the computers under both sets of rankings right now - is likely to lose, and VT one of VT and FSU is guaranteed to lose. However, it's still interesting to see that the computers still exercise the veto power that has spurned Miami, USC, and Auburn in recent years, and threatens to do the same to Mack Brown and Texas this year.

It could happen, so you better watch.

UPDATE: SynTex from Hornfans has apparently seen the Kenneth Massey poll (It's not linking off of the BCS website), and has a set of calculations showing Texas holding a precarious lead over VT at #2, by a margin of .0014.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Don't buy the hype on Texas Tech

I know this post will put me at serious risk of being kicked out of the JoePaUberAlles wedding, but it must be said. This website was founded to rail against the biases and misleading directions of the establishment college football media, and there's nothing those people love more than passing the damn football for no particular reason. And so the media have found a soulmate in Mike Leach.

It's tempting to fall in love with Mike Leach. As football coaches go, he's clearly an oddball. For starters, like Dennis Franchione and Charlie Weis - and no other head coach in the post-David Cutcliffe era - he didn't play college ball. He's clearly an intellectual, with a law degree and an avid interest in things like art and literature. With some football coaches - R.C. Slocum comes to mind - it's obvious that they couldn't do anything else. Not so with Leach. Such a bright guy with a famously engaging personality could have made his bones in many a profession. Additionally, his creativity has paid dividends. He's had a nice run putting up some nice numbers on some teams with more talent than his desert squadron, and some down right gawdy numbers on some with equal or lesser talent.

But, alas, though ESPN Magazine did a huge story about Leach and his "winning big" in Lubbock, a 4-5 loss program he inherited, and a 4-5 loss program he has run. Now, alas, his Red Raiders are unbeaten, knocking on the door of rankings never before seen in the dry county in which Tech sits, and thought - dare I say even by the Ocho's resident Longhorn?! - as a potential roadblock to Mack Brown's following in the footsteps of Roy Williams (the coach, not the WR or DB). Fear not, fellow (sort of) teasips. This Tech team poses no threat to Texas, and Leach's program has peaked and is fading in the Big XII.

But, you may ask, how can that be? The Red Raiders are off to a fast 5-0 start and wowing the voters. First, let's admit that their first 3 games don't really count. Second, let's look at broader trends. I too, friends, was once enamored of the Chinese fire drill that is Coach Leach's offense. It's fun to watch, and can confound even the savviest eye at first glance. However, even the defensive wasteland that is the Big XII (38.8 ppg in 5 bowl games vs. teams from BCS conferences a year ago) has begun to catch on to Leach's gimmicks. Dont' get me wrong: his gimmicks are effective at first. Looking at the TT O-line, one's first resppnse is simply "they just don't space themselves that way. They just DON'T." Ultimately, there's a reason why they don't, and a reason why offenses usually use a tight end and a fullback to block, and actual running plays to run. But the TT shtick can be hard to handle at first b/c it's just so . . . weird.

But once the newness wears off, friends, it's all over for Mr. Leach and his tortilla throwing buddies. Last year, every coaching staff that had seen Leach before did better against him than it had previously. This year, that trend continues. Kanas - lowly Kansas - despite trading a home game in Lawrence for a road game in Lubbock, held Texas Tech to 158 fewer total yards and one fewer offensive TD. Nebraska (of we suck and barely beat Pitt fame) - cut the Raiders' point production in half from a year ago. The lesson? Even in a bad defensive league, people are catching up with Texas Tech. Gene Chizik and Carl Torbush have proven that they can hang tough in a good defensive league, so Texas and A&M ought have nothing to worry about, and the Raiders are likely headed back to another 4 loss season.

Predictions on THE game of the week??

Opelika 35, Enterprise 14.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

texas v. ou

not much to say about this game. bomar was obviuosly over-matched by the texas defense.

and that texas passing game, downfield! unbelievable.

some concerns from the game:

kick-offs and coverage are still not great.

selvin young needs to duct-tape the football to his arm and just live with it for the next 7 days.

and where are all the penalties coming from.

Texas needs to clean it up to compete with the USCs and VaTechs of the world. It looks like Texas Tech is the only serious obstacle on the way to an undefeated season. now i'll just cross my fingers and hope for vatech, georgia, bama, florida st., and even penn st. to lose a game along the way.

Joe Pa really is uber alles . . .

After having been mired in bad seasons, stupid penalties, and crucial turnovers for 4 of the last 5 seasons, Penn State's 17-10 victory over Ohio State last night, for me, is about the equivalent of an alcoholic having his first drink in 10 years. Your head swims, you get all warm, and you suddenly want more, more, more. This year's Penn State seems perfectly placed to keep providing more, more, more.

I will boldly make this statement right now: Penn State can beat any team in the country, if Michael Robinson and company on offense can avoid turning the ball over. Period. Texas, USC, Va Tech, anybody. More importantly, Penn State can and will beat its five remaining Big Ten opponents if the offense can continue to hold onto the ball.

The offense is good enough to not just put up enough points to squeak past what the defense allowed, but power through teams with defenses not as stellar as Ohio State's. Case in point: Minnesota. The Northwestern game, you might say; what about Northwestern? 4 first half turnovers turned into 13 points for the Wildcats. Perhaps that game was a turning point: the point where the team finally believed it could win again. Perhaps Penn State will stumble on the road, as it still faces games at Michigan, Illinois, and Michigan State. Perhaps . . .

But I will make my claim now that the defense is stout, the offense is potent, and the Nittany Lions will win the Big Ten, and, if other teams manage to stumble by December, should be playing in the Rose Bowl again. WE ARE . . . PENN STATE, and we are happy.

Friday, October 07, 2005

week 6 picks

Texas vs Oklahoma (+13.5): Can Rhett Bomar keep the Texas defense honest with his arm? I think that Oklahoma is rapidly developing into a decent team, and by year's end, this team could give Texas a run. But not now. Look for Texas to break the streak convincingly (I would not bet on this game, but I thought I should at least make my pick here). Texas 28 Oklahoma 17.

As for games to wager --

LSU (-15.5) at Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt just lost by 2 points to Middle Tennessee State University at home. MTSU had not scored double digits in a game before they played Vanderbilt. It was a good run, but this is the game where Vanderbilt is truly slapped back down to Earth. LSU 38 Vanderbilt 7.

Maryland (-28.5) at Temple: Temple is god-awful this year, and Maryland just put up 45 on a Virginia squad with a decent defense (yes, I know they were missing Ahmad Brooks, but 45 points??). Maryland 49 Temple 13.

Georgia (+3) at Tennessee: If Clausen is less than 100%, do not expect him to be the steady, guiding force behind the Volunteers. Ainge does not have his teammates confidence. Meanwhile, Shockley is a senior who has seen his share of big games throughout his career (yes, even as a backup). Georgia just has the better overall talent, and Tennessee just has not looked right all year. Plus, Georgia has owned Neyland stadium as of late. Georgia 24 Tennessee 20.

Ohio State (-3.5) at Penn State (sorry Dave): Penn State put on an impressive performance against Minnesota, but let's not forget that Minnesota hadn't played an offense with a pulse. Also, this is still the same Penn State team that nearly lost to Northwestern. Ohio State played well enough to beat Texas, and they have obliterated every team they have faced since then, including a decent Iowa squad to the tune of 31-6. Michael Robinson will have all sorts of problems against this potent Buckeyes defense. Penn State is good, but Ohio State is on another level right now. Ohio State 27 Penn State 10.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Week 6 - What Will Happen Next?

Here it is, Week 6, and the crazy world that is college football continues to surprise us. Here are my thoughts on some of the aspects of this year's season, my games of the week, and of course, the Penn State report.

1. Sorry, You're Not Invited - The BCS Cinderella game is over, with UTEP's loss last week. In fact, the ranks of all the undefeateds were winnowed in a number of games last week. All 4 of the unlikely unbeatens (Vandy, Kansas, Baylor, and Indiana) lost, with Vandy's being the most heart breaking. Vandy - you beat two SEC opponents, and lost to MTSU? A Sun Belt team? Really? Baylor, on the other hand, nearly upset the Aggies, in a game that many (including myself) expected to be a vengeful romp after A&M's loss lost year at Baylor. The Bears almost pulled off the upset AT KYLE FIELD!!! Longhorn fans, I think it's time to stop worrying about your visit to College Station.

2. Survivor - College Football - The ranks of the unbeatens have been winnowed again, with a grand total of 12 teams still unbeaten. Michigan State has done it again, by dropping a game against the Wolverines with an utter lack of defense. Florida lost to a resurgent Bama, only to watch the Tide lose its most exciting playmaker for the rest of the season. So of who's left, who's likely to keep the dream alive? USC and Cal are still both unbeaten, which is likely to stay true until their match-up on Nov. 12. Look for the winner of that game to be the Pac-1o champion, as UCLA, also undefeated, looked pretty awful against Washington, and even if it beats USC, is likely to have picked up a loss or two on the way. Penn State's dream season has a good shot at ending this week, when the Buckeyes come to town, though I think the game is winnable by the Nittany Lions if they play like they did against Minnesota. Alabama will feel the loss of Prothro, and Mike Shula has a habit of losing at least one game he shouldn't. Georgia remains undefeated, and pretty unimpressive, but with Tennessee underachieving and Florida's vulnerabilities highlighted this past weekend, has a good shot at making it all the way. Wisconsin could have a dream season, after its win against Michigan and no Ohio State on the schedule, but games against Minnesota, Purdue, at Penn State, and at Iowa jeopardize an undefeated season. Texas will almost certainly be able to contain Texas Tech, knocking them out, and should remain undefeated if Mack Brown can get over the hump and whup the Sooners this weekend. Nebraska will fall eventually, as its offense seems almost as bad as Penn State's last year. FSU and Va Tech are both likely to run the board, with a showdown in the ACC Championship game. All signs are starting to point at potentially 3 or maybe even 4 unbeaten teams by season's end. Heck, if Penn State or Wisconsin can run the table along with Georgia, Texas, USC/Cal. and FSU/Va Tech, we'll have a controversy never seen before regarding the BCS championship. Still, it's only the second week of October - expect some more losses by the 12 teams left standing, some quite possibly coming this week.

Games of the Week

1. Texas vs. OU -
How can you not lead off with this one? Mack, this should be your year. TCU beat the Sooners. Watch that tape. UCLA beat the Sooners. Watch that tape. Stop Adrian Peterson, throw deep, and win the game. Or, return to your form years' past, and play so conservatively even Pat Buchanan thinks you're too far right. As much talent as the Horns have, their coach holds them back on this one, and I'm calling it OU over the Longhorns, with some key turnovers a la Missouri, 14-10.

2. Illinois at Indiana - The battle for last place in the Big Ten, interesting only to see how the conference's two first year coaches handle each other. Terry Hoeppner has kept the Hoosiers competitive, which is more than the Zooker has done at Illinois so far. Can a game have a negative score? Still, since it's a home game, I'm giving the Hoosiers the edge in this one, as both schools really look forward to basketball starting soon.

3. Baylor at Iowa State - The Bears continue their quest to get bowl eligible, as the Cyclones lick their wounds after the loss at Lincoln. Is Baylor for real, or do they just give the Aggies fits? And are the Cyclones really back, or does the Big 12 North just suck that much? My money's on the latter, but the Cyclones should still have the edge here.

4. Cincinnati at Pitt - Can Wanny manage his first IA win against the Bearcats, who have been almost equally awful this year? You know, I don't think so. Cincy at least has managed one win against the MAC's Eastern Michigan, though a 7-3 win over IAA Western Kentucky looks pretty awful. For once, Rutgers isn't the most likely team to be in the Big East basement (aside from Temple, well on its way to zero wins for the season). Another basement battle between first year coaches, Wanny's utter ineptitude will give way to Cincy's lack of talent, with the Bearcats getting their first Big East victory in this game.

5. Cal at UCLA - The battle to be the challenger to USC. Both teams are undefeated. Two teams enter the Rose Bowl, only one team leaves. UCLA has managed to get here undefeated, but its come-from-behind victory against Washington last weeks has to give Cal the odds in this game. Cal's offense finally seems to be gelling, and expect the Golden Bears to end this year's campaign for the Bruins as the two teams of bears battle it out in the Granddaddy of them All.

And, finally, the Penn State report, and wouldn't you know it, it would be a game of the week without my ties

Ohio State at Penn State

The battle of the defenses, and at least one of these teams has an offense this year. Guess what? It's not the Buckeyes. This game has been close, even in Penn State's decline, with a narrow loss in 2003, and only special teams and turnovers keeping the Buckeyes on top last year. The game's back in Happy Valley, Penn State just crushed the golden boys from Minneapolis, and this game will be another step in JoePa's return to the Big Ten championship circle, if not the Rose Bowl itself. Right? Well, to borrow from Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend. I like the Nittany Lions in this matchup, but the Minnesota Michael Robinson has to show up, and not the Northwestern Michael Robinson. Turnovers, again, will be the key. Both teams feature solid defenses, and Ohio State has been anything but impressive on the offensive side of the ball. Penn State, on the other hand, has shown in the turnover-less game against Minnesota what it can do if it doesn't give the ball up. The Ohio State defense will provide a lot more pressure than Minnesota did, despite the Penn State offensive line looking better than it has in years. If Michael Robinson can avoid turning the ball over, I think the freshmen playmakers at wide out and the steady attack that is Tony Hunt wins this one for JoePa, especially after a little visit to Austin by the offensive staff to see how the Longhorns did it. Without turnovers, expect a close 21-17 win by the Nittany Lions. With turnovers, expect a 28-7 win by the Buckeyes. Remember, Michael - the ball is your friend and you shouldn't hand it over to those nasty white jerseyed folk from Ohio. Really. Let's go, Lions!!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

What if history repeats itself?

If USC, Texas, and Virginia Tech run the table, who gets left out? I don't think it will happen, b/c USC is going to lose, but suppose the '04 situation repeats itself. Who's this year's Auburn?

I think it's Texas.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


the mizzou game was pretty ho-hum. vince had some runs that will be on his heisman montage at the end of the year.

anyone care to make texas/ou predictions?

i'll say 27-13.

Saturday, October 01, 2005







We now return you to your normal programming.