Monday, September 21, 2009

CFTop10 Week 3 Upset Review

I would like to start this week out with a review of the Trojans. The loss to Washington has to be the biggest upset of the year. All the intrigue because of the coaching staff is fun to think about, but what this boils down to is that USC is not playing USC ball right now. You cannot turn the ball over like they did. They left 24 points sitting out there on the turf. It is going to be hard to beat any well coached team like that. Especially when those turnovers are in your opponents territory.

There are a few other things that makes the loss so aggravating and it stems from several larger issues. The play calling seemed to be vanilla once again. It has been this way for such a long time. The loss of Ronald Johnson is painfully obvious. USC cannot spread the field with Williams and Ausberry. The coaches are not confident enough in the other receivers they have that can spread the field. They don't use the size advantage of Ausberry in screens and slants. In fact, they really don't want to throw the ball at all. Which I find very interesting considering they called almost 40 pass plays against Ohio State. Pete should have sucked it up and pulled Corp for Mustain the moment they lose confidence in his arm.

For all the raving about Aaron Corp coming into this game, I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe that he is worthy of the 2nd spot let alone the first. It is plain to see why Pete was so eager to name Barkley the starter. Will he make every pass he throws? No, but sure won't short hop a 15 yard pass to a wide open Anthony McCoy with the game in the balance. No one knows Corp's strengths and weaknesses better than one man. Steve Sarkesian. He was his OC and QB coach for two years at USC. Nick Holt knows that just as well. It was obvious that USC was not going to run him, and they sure didn't show any confidence in throwing the ball. The two coaches on the other side of the field are the two people in the world that could take advantage of everything Pete was going to give. I didn't see Corp throw a decent ball all game. But I did see 4-5 passes that scared the poop out of me.

The killing point in this was the final USC drive. They got into UW territory and were completely one demensional. There was to threat to throw. There was no threat for the QB to run. USC lined up and said stop us if you can. In the last several years every loss but Oregon has been because of this attitude. Stop us if you can.

Why the complete loss of confidence in the talent? I don't know. Pete has a tendency to go extremely conservative and let his talent win the games. A lot of this can be attributed to a couple of things. First, attrition. USC loses lots of players to the draft. A lot of guys leave early. You can probably see why Pete was so angry about Mark leaving early. There was little confidence in the other QB's. USC has lost a lot of coaches. All of this leads to continuity issues. It is amazing to me that they have kept it up this long. You look at Florida and they lost 3 or 4 games 2 years ago including their bowl game. LSU has had some 3-4 loss seasons. Oklahoma is going to do so this year. Would I call this a rebuilding year for USC? Probably not. They truly do reload. I expect USC to roll over their competition when Barkley is behind center. The USC defense is really really good. USC doesn't turn the ball over and they win huge. The defense doesn't get the kind of pressure on it when the O does its job.

In the end there is no excuse to lose to Washington. None. USC was not outplayed, they were out coached. Holt and Sark made adjustments. They put in different personnel to stop the Trojans. Pete kept his cards on the table face down. At some point you just have to throw caution to the wind and let your guys loose.

Other than Sark and Holt I give my game ball to Joe McKnight. The guy was a warrior on Saturday. He turned his ankle, and came back. He got his leg rolled up on, and came back. He fought for every yard he got even after the injuries. In the three years he's been here I was not ready to crown him our guy until this year. He needs to hold onto the ball, but he is playing with a strength he has not shown before.

If USC wants to avoid going to the Holiday Bowl (which is looking very likely) they need to step up the offensive play calling and let it loose.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CFTop10 Pac-10 Week 3 Picks

I've changed my mind on the USC v UW game.

Cal @ Minn
Pick: Cal 35 Minn 10

USC @ Washintgon
Pick: USC 42 UW 3

Utah @ Oregon
Pick: Oregon 32 Utah 21

Arizona @ Iowa
Pick: AZ 20 Iowa 10

SMU @ Wazzu
Pick: Wazzu 28 SMU 21

Cinci @ Oregon State
Pick: OSU 35 Cinci 31

San Jose State @ Stanford
Pick: Stanford 28 SJS 14

Pick: ASU 35 ULM 14

UCLA @ Kansas State
Pick: UCLA 21 KState 7

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CFTop10 Week 3 Games

This week has a bunch of very interesting games. Things will really shake out this week in terms of the overall picture of the Top25 teams in the country.

10. Georgia Tech +4.5 @ Miami -4.5
Pick: Miami to cover. This is going to be a real test for Miami's defense. If they can hold serve and allow their offense to get something going, they can pull out a win here.

9. Tulsa +15.5 @ Oklahoma -15.5
Pick: Oklahoma to cover. Oklahoma's defense is very suspect and Tulsa's offense can be potent. It will be very interesting to see how Oklahoma rebounds after the loss to BYU (Idaho State is not a game). I would not be surprised to see Oklahoma not cover here while looking ahead to a big game against Miami.

8. USC -20.5 @ Washington +20.5
Pick: Washington and the points. USC wins this but I am not sure they cover. The offenses and defenses are going to be very similar due to the closeness of the coaching staffs. I expect that UW will play safe and run the clock. This will bring the score down. USC covers if it scores quickly in the first.

7. Utah +4 @ Oregon -4
Pick: Oregon and the points. Oregon wins this one running away in the 4th. It will stay close early on but the speed of the Oregon offense will begin to roll at the end.

6. Georgia -1 @ Arkansas +1
Pick: Arkansas and the points. Georgia has looked absolutely hopeless so far this season. Arkansas has a ton of talent ready to explode. Ryan Mallet has the best arm in the country and USC transfer Broderick Green is a beast. Arkansas wins this ballgame.

5. Cincinnati 0 @ Oregon State 0
Pick: Cinci has been rolling up the offense, and destroyed OSU last year on their home turf. I don't expect the same thing this year. Even though OSU struggled against a UNLV team defensively, Quizz had almost 200 yards rushing. If OSU can take the lead early I like them to win this game on the backs of the Roger's brothers.

4. Nebraska +4 @ Virginia Tech -4
Pick: Virginia Tech to cover. VT is only going to get better with each game. After a hard loss and a blowout win they should have the confidence to win this out. Nebraska is playing well but they are a year away from the return to the top.

3. Florida State +7.5 @ BYU -7.5
Pick: Florida State and the points. FSU has a significantly better defense than anyone BYU has played to this point. I think they jump out and surprise the Cougs early with hard hits on Max Hall. Hall doesn't make great choices all the time and doesn't have an elite arm. The speed of the FSU defense will open up the offense.

2. Tennessee +29 @ Florida -29
Pick: Tennessee and the points. Tim Tebow has already come out and vowed revenge on Kiffin for his comments about his coach. Ahhhh, poor baby has to stick up for his coach. Tennessee is going into the lions den. The Tennessee offense won't do a whole lot against the speed of Florida's defense, but expect their defense to put up a fight all day long. Florida wins this one by 20, but not 29.

1. Texas Tech +17.5 @ Texas -17.5
Pick: Texas Tech and the points. Texas has yet to play a game this year. Mike Leach and that funky offense will keep the ball going all day and McCoy off the field. I don't expect TT to come out and win this on the road, but Texas won't get spoiled again this year by the Red Raiders. Texas wins by about 10.

Darkhorse upset of the week: South Carolina over Ole Miss.

Monday, September 14, 2009

CFTop10 Week 3 Top 10

After much deliberation on this topic I finally feel comfortable with what I am about to pick. A lot of football is still needing to be played, but enough has happened to make me believe I have seen enough for now.

10. Ole Miss - Slow start but nice finish. I am starting to falter on my feel with them. They have too many questions for a very veteran team.
9. Boise State - Oregon's win over Purdue makes them look better, but Oregon is still not a great team. BSU solid against perennial 'powerhouse' Miami of OH.
8. Penn State - Still solid on offense. Let's see how they do against a quality foe.
7. Ohio State - Yes they lost, but they played as well as I've seen them play defensively in about 4 years. They won't face a faster defense again this year and so their offense will pick up dramatically.
6. BYU - Slow but solid against Tulane.
5. Alabama - Nice win over FIU. They beat a very good VT at home. I should move them up but I still cannot get over their bowl game.
4. Cal - Destroyed a D2 opponent. Yeah.
3. Texas - Sure they pulled away in the second half, but the first was very ugly for a very veteran team.
2. Florida - Haven't beaten anyone, but look very solid against very inferior opponents.
1. USC - Without several key starters and a true freshman QB, USC went into Columbus and beat an Ohio State team that was ravenous. OSU needed this game. They NEEDED this game. You could feel it. But in the end, USC won. As of right now, with the way USC played at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year, they are the best team in the country. They went on the road and beat a very good OSU team. They will only get better.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CFTop10 Week 2 Review

Very exciting week in College Football. We are starting to see who are players and who are not. While some schools should be ashamed of themselves for their scheduling, others should be applauded and given credit in the rankings, not just lip service.

10. Hawaii @ Washington State
Pick: FAIL. It looked for a little while that Wazzu was finally going to get out of the losing slump. Didn't happen. Paul Wulff is going to be in a heap of trouble if he cannot find a way to win some games. Unfortunately, he won't win any in conference.

9. Idaho @ Washington
Pick: FAIL. Washington didn't cover, but they laid the whooping down on Idaho. Washington is coming into their own with the new life being inserted by the coaching staff. Kudo's to Sark and Holt on the win (albeit Idaho is one of the worst programs in FBS).

8. Utah @ San Jose State
Pick: PASS. San Jose has good coaches. They are a ways from being a good team, but they did well and beat the spread. Utah looks fairly vulnerable and could face some tough tests on the road coming up soon.

7. Vanderbilt @ LSU
Pick: FAIL. LSU rolled over a very inferior opponent but failed to cover the spread in a very dirty game.

6. Stanford @ Wake Forest
Pick: FAIL. Stanford had every opportunity to win this game and just watched their 17 point lead slip away. Rather pathetic outing for a team that prides itself on its mental toughness.

5. South Carolina @ Georgia
Pick: PASS. South Carolina is not a great team, and neither is Georgia. But Spurrier and his boys almost came with the upset, but beat the spread.

4. Purdue @ Oregon
Pick: PASS. Purdue brought their game and Oregon woke up from the dreamstate the blue turf put them in. They held on to win and Purdue beat the spread.

3. Notre Dame @ Michigan
Pick: FAIL. No excuses here. Notre Dame flat stunk it up. They had a lead, lost it. Had a chance at redemption, lost it. It is going to be a very long season for Notre Dame if they cannot keep their poise defensively. The good news here? Dr. Lou is wrong again. So is Beano Cook for that matter. No NC for ND.

2. UCLA @ Tennessee
Pick: FAIL. I have nothing to say here. UCLA looked dreadful but came out with a win, much like last year. Both teams have a lot of growing to do but this ugly game was just that unpredictable.

1. USC @ Ohio State
Pick: FAIL. Sitting in the Horseshoe for this game was unbelievable. I don't think I have ever heard a louder crowd or seen a more exciting game in person before. It was obvious that Ohio State's defense came to play. They gave so little room for error for USC. They played fantastic. USC's defense played lights out with the exception of a few plays. Ohio State has nothing to be ashamed of. They played like a team in desperate need of national credibility. I believe they earned it last night. USC? Wow. Never doubt Pete Carroll. He knows football and he knows who is the man for the job. Matt Barkley just put himself in the drivers seat for a Heisman hopeful next year. His numbers may not have looked great, but with 4-5 throw aways, 4 drops and 2 PI's not called, his numbers are actually very very good. Especially when he was asked the throw the ball almost 40 times in his second game, in that stadium.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

CFTop10 Games of Week 2

This is honestly one of the worst weeks of college football I have seen in years. We have about 15 Div 1 teams playing Div 2 opponents. Top that off with another 10-15 top programs playing non-conference games with teams that have losing records over the last decade. The BCS is ruining college competition and not instilling the creation of rivalry games. For all their talk of keeping college sports pure, their formula rewards teams for winning records not quality of competition.

Having said that, here are the best games of the week (as sad as this may seem):

10. Hawaii -2 @ Washington State +2
Pick: Washington State and the points. I don't know what to expect here, but Wazzu has to win sometime. The spread is so thin that its hard to pick some one but that means the Vegas hasn't got a clue either. Wazzu is in dire need of a win so I think that Hawaii won't cover.

9. Idaho +21 @ Washington -21
Pick: Washington to cover. As funny as it seems, we have a Washington team on a 15 game losing streak as a 21 point favor over another FBS team. Goes to show you how much Jake Locker meant to this team last year and how tough of a schedule they have played. Washington is a new team right now and I expect them to roll.

8. Utah -13.5 @ San Jose State +13.5
Pick: San Jose State and the points. San Jose State may have been embarrassed by USC last week but they are certainly a better team that the score showed. They play very very good defense. They show a lot of different looks and their talent is on par with Utah.

7. Vanderbilt +13.5 @ LSU -13.5
Pick: LSU to cover. Once again we have this Vady build up because their QB threw for like 600 yards last week. LSU isn't elite by any means right now, but Vady is a bottom feeder. They get rolled this week.

6. Stanford +3 @ Wake Forest -3
Pick: Stanford and the points. Wake has been solid the last several years but the Cardinal are a physically and mentally tough team. Probably the toughest playing team in the country. They aren't as talented as a lot of teams but they make up for it with their heart. Stanford wins solidly.

5. South Carolina +7 @ Georgia -7
Pick: South Carolina and the points. A battle of the defenses right now. As hard as that may seem. South Carolina plays hard defense, their offense is streaky but they can come on strong. They have some serious talent available. It will be closer than 7.

4. Purdue +12 @ Oregon -12
Pick: Purdue and the points. Unless Masoli and the offensive line do a complete celebrity makeover session this week, I cannot envision them winning by double digits. Especially not with the nice running attack Purdue has. If BSU could run the ball with ease, so can Purdue.

3. Notre Dame -3 @ Michigan +3
Pick: Notre Dame to cover. Michigan is still not ready to face FBS opponents. ND has had a hard time the last several years but their talent is here and its at least better than Michigan. The off field problems with Michigan is a much bigger problem than people realize. It's hurt the team depth and continuity. Notre Dame wins well here.

2. UCLA +9 @ Tennessee -9
Pick: Tennessee to cover. UCLA is still so very young. They have some very talented players but not enough. Karl Dorrell really left the cupboard pretty bare. It will take some more time for the sun to shine on Westwood. Tennessee has an incredible coaching staff and some great talent left over. They win big.

1. USC -6.5 @ Ohio State +6.5
Pick: USC to cover. Frankly I am a little surprised that the line is only 6.5. After the beatdown that OSU received last year, losing a ton of talent on defense and skill players on offense, I would think that USC had a greater advantage. Their skill players are back, as well as their DB's and OL. It's the same OL that blocked for McKight's 100+ last year and protected Mark Sanchez. Look for USC to start a little slow on offense but take over in the 2nd when the OL and DL start pushing people around.

Darkhorse upset of the week: San Jose State over Utah.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

College Football's Top 10 Week 2

I am having a very difficult time looking at the Top 10 polls and rationalizing the picks that are out there. Every poll have the same formula of Florida, Texas and USC in the top spots. Alabama got some first place votes in the AP. I don't understand how the voters do this. They want to take into consideration last year (vote Florida and Texas 1 and 2) and then completely forget the buttwhooping Utah placed on Alabama and give them a #4 ranking. In my mind there is very little reason to believe that Florida is the clear cut #1. They didn't play the correct team (or teams) in the NC game last year. Both Texas and USC had more credit for that game than Oklahoma (which just lost to a scrappy but not elite BYU team) to play in that game. Having said that I am now refusing to vote a #1 team right now. Neither Florida, Texas or USC has shown they are deserving of the title with their opening games. Especially Florida.

10. Boise State
Reason: They looked very sloppy against an Oregon team which will lose 4-5 games this year. But they won. I don't expect that they will be troubled by anyone else on their schedule (maybe Tulsa) but Oregon will show to be so overrated it will hurt them in the longrun.
9. BYU
Reason: Oklahoma looked overwhelmed at times and I believe they will lose 3-4 games this year. They have a tough schedule coming up with a FSU team that may surprise them. Won't help them that Oklahoma isn't going to be as good as advertised.
8. Penn State
Reason: They looked very solid, but they lost some talent and were destroyed by a USC team in their bowl game.
7. Ohio State
Reason: They lost a lot of talent and its shows. They won't stay in the top 10 much longer.
6. Alabama
Reason: They dealt a blow to a VT team that just looked sad at times. I still am having a hard time getting over how poorly they played in their bowl game.
5. Oklahoma State
Reason: They put a whooping down on Georgia. Very solid team on offense and their defense will be probably 2-3 in the Big12 behind Nebraska and Texas.
4. California
Reason: They play extremely good defense and Reilly is showing he can run a very potent offense with Best at the #1 back spot.
1a. Florida
Reason: Returning NC. Lots of talent on both sides of the ball.
1b. Texas
Reason: Should have played for the NC game last year. Lots of returning talent on both sides of the ball.
1c. USC
Reason: Should have played for the NC game last year. Best RB's in the country and they are all sharing time. Best OL in the country. Will have as punishing of a defense as last year.