Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board

The opening weekend of college football has come and gone--even if it did last for a full 5 days--and has brought exposure to many teams that usually fly below the radar, while other supposed powerhouses were just exposed. Therefore, while most of us were spending our Labor Day at the lake or cooking out, many coaches across the country spent theirs trying to figure out how to avoid failing to live up to preseason expectations. It seems that after a full off-season of wandering what the 2005 season would bring, the answers that we were sure would come with Week 1 were instead replaced by still more questions. Are half of the Top 25 teams that overrated? Have more starting quarterbacks ever looked so rusty? Is the Big 12 South no longer the toughest division? Has the ACC truly become the best football conference? Will USC now have to actually prepare for the Notre Dame game? Is it possible that Phillip Fulmer is getting fatter?...But be patient. The answers will come as there's much more football to be played. So if your team spent much of this week back at square one, don't count them out just yet b/c they still might actually make a run once they get things figured out. However, if they don't show much promise this week, you might want to start to panic. With that said, let's see what will happen...

Alabama 31, Southern Miss 10. In his 3rd attempt, Mike Shula finally got his first win over a Tennessee team. It's just to0 bad that they weren't from Knoxville. While Tide fans were happy to get the victory, the return of Brodie Croyle and Ken Darby did not exactly lead to the offensive fireworks that were anticipated. However, ESPN commentator Rece Davis wouldn't put all of the blame on the shoulders of the backfield because he thinks Shula is "so conservative (on offense) that some people think he could be the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter." While that might be a couple many of us could do without, if they produced championship children, it just might be worth it. Anyways, this week Jeff Bower will bring his Southern Mississippi team to Tuscaloosa for what has now become their season opener after their game with Tulane had to be postponed. This means that Sr. QB Dustin Almond will be making his first start against the Tide instead of the Green Wave. Don't think that he hasn't ever played, though. Last year, he threw for over 1800 yards and 12 touchdowns. On the other end of most of his passes will be a seasoned veteran in Antwon Courington who had close to 50 catches last year as a junior. However, Southern's TB Larry Thomas is also making his first start after rushing for only 350 yards last season. Therefore, look for the inexperienced running game to keep the Golden Eagle offense from ever really getting in gear and for the Tide offense to run a little more smoothly than last week resulting in Alabama winning the last scheduled game in this annual series.

Auburn 28, Mississippi State 20. There's an old saying in football that teams will show their most improvement between the 1st and 2nd games. For Auburn fans, that means that this game could be the most important one on the schedule. Tre Smith's measely 53 yards on 12 carries definitely reminded Tiger fans what they miss from a year ago, but Brandon Cox's 342 passing yards (even if they were overshadowed by 4 INT's) did offer a glimmer of hope. In Starkville, the Bulldogs have some newfound hope as well as they scored over 35 points for just the 4th time since 2000. And the emergence of WR Keon Humphries (TD catches of 34 and 49 yds) has also given State supporters reason to cheer. So what did we learn about these 2 teams last week? Auburn will not blow out anybody this year, and Mississippi St. will not be blown out by anybody this year. Therefore, this should be a close one. Since only 2 defending SEC champs have lost their conference opener since 1990 (bonus points if you can name who and when), one has to think Auburn will pull it out. However if they don't, everyone keep a close eye on the Chancellor's private jet.

Michigan 35, Notre Dame 24. After the Golden Domer's opener, Irish fans are wondering why Charlie Weis wasn't voted to be the Pope a year ago instead of Benedict. However, Tyrone Willingham also got off to a fast start in 2002. He even beat Michigan. BUT that game was played in South Bend, and this one is in Ann Arbor where Notre Dame hasn't won since 1993 . While Weis might be one of the best offensive minds ever, Lloyd Carr knows a little something about defense. And with Chad Henne and Mike Hart balancing the offense, the Wolverines will protect their Big House. Don't count Notre Dame out yet, though, because they will probably win their next 3.

Georgia 35, South Carolina 14. When Steve Spurrier announced in the offseason that he would be coming back to the SEC, fans of Florida, Georgia, and especially Tennessee tried to wake themselves up becuse they thought they were caught in the worst nightmare of their lives. Actually it was Spurrier who was in the nightmare as the "ol' Ballcoach" soon learned he didn't have his "ol Ballplayers." While Blake Mitchell did put up some good numbers in the Gamecocks opener against a team on a 16 game losing streak, it was nothing compared to the assualt displayed by Georgia's DJ Shock-and-Awe-ley. After last weekend, it's pretty clear that Georgia is no longer a dark horse in the East and also that South Carolina is not quite yet a contender. That's why the Bulldogs should roll in their conference opener, and the Gamecocks will have to try again next week to get their first SEC win.

Texas 30, Ohio St 28. Ever since January 1, everyone has been wanting to see if Vince Young could do to the Buckeyes what he did to their archrivals in the Rose Bowl. In what was one of the greatest performances ever displayed by a college quarterback, Young propelled the Longhorns onto many experts' short list of national title contenders even if Mack Brown is still the coach at Texas. But for the UT faithful to have their California dreams come true, they first have to beat Ohio State in a game that former Buckeye Kirk Herbstreit has said is bigger than the Michigan game if that is even possible. While Texas no longer has Cedric Benson to keep defenses honest, a tailback committe led by Selvin Young seems to work just as well. On the other hand, Ohio State has somewhat of a QB controversy as Justin Zwick has shined during Tony Smith's suspension. Therefore, Ohio State might have some difficulty in its offensive scheme, leaving Ted Ginn Jr. (OSU's counter to Vince Young) unable to make the big plays he's known for unless he can find a way to make them on special teams (an area Texas struggled in last week). Add in the fact that Jim Tressel's team must also overcome the SI cover jinx this week, and it could be a cold walk back to the locker room after this one's over. It's a good thing Tressel will have his sweater vest to keep him warm.

Well, that's it for this week. In closing, I'd like to point out the new addition of Pimp/Wimp of the Week. Be sure and come back Sunday or Monday and give your nomination for next week's winners to be awarded on Tuesday. Also, some games on the list for next week are Alabama-South Carolina, Tennessee-Florida, Arkansas-USC, and Notre Dame-Michigan State. Let me know what the 5th game should be. I'll be taking suggestions until Tuesday, and every vote does count...

18 Comments:

Blogger Josh Manley said...

This is the second week there has been no mention of the D2 top ten ranked Delta State Fighting Okra. If this continues, I will quit sending folks to read the blog.

By the way, is there anyone else out there wondering why Mike Gottfried is not announcing with Ron Franklin? I am experiencing great pain listening to Bob Davies. I am not sure Jefferson Pilot would even hire him.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick Manley said...

I agree with my brother josh...why is Franklin not with Gotfried..kind of like Siegfried without roy...disregarding the tiger...Kyle, I have to give it to you this week...you have outdone yourself...great stats and commentary..and you picked some tough games...also, like the pimp of the week...josh, Divison 40 teams don't make this blog, so no more mention of DSU

Thursday, September 08, 2005 7:02:00 PM  
Blogger horner said...

kyle,
i missed reading and posting last week...no internet access, but i can quickly see that this is more of the same biased anti-auburn rhetoric. does it hurt you that badly to pick auburn that you only do it when you are forced to. and quit with the jetgate references, we've lost finally, so now you have something else to talk about.

and by the way...anybody hear about trev alberts getting fired? if so, i'll miss him about as much as i miss terry bowden.

Friday, September 09, 2005 6:09:00 AM  
Blogger mattkeathley said...

If we have to start seeing Delta Mistake scores, could we also get a C.B.U. athlete of the week story, maybe a women's field hockey story etc.?

Friday, September 09, 2005 6:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

the pupster. back in action.

Friday, September 09, 2005 6:34:00 AM  
Anonymous olemissbuckeye said...

Kyle,

Good blog. However, you have shown a Nick Manley-esque misunderstanding of college football north of the Mason-Dixon. Ohio State's suspended quarteback is TROY Smith(ok..nitpicking). Furthermore, Ted Ginn Jr. will get his. I offer exhibit "A" http://www.collegefootballnews.com/2005/Columnists/JH/HowTo_Texas_OhioState.htm

Despite the talent of OSU's receivers(Santonio Holmes...anyone...anyone?), Vince Young plus Ramonce Taylor plus Selvin= trouble. Overall, its hard to argue with you final outcome. Hopefully you are wrong,the OSU defense lives up to it's nickname of the "Silver Bullets" and steak is whats for dinner in the Shoe.

Friday, September 09, 2005 6:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Great stuff
However, I did hope to see Vandy- Arkansas . This is the year of the Dores- look forward to another action packed Saturday

Friday, September 09, 2005 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger Josh Manley said...

I am interested in the Trev Alberts story. Any clues out there?

If division 40 and "Delta Mistake" is all you got, then I am going to continue on my crusade. You could at least show some originality. The Statesmen win by 20 at Parker Field tomorrow. Go Okra.

Finally, Kyle is 4-3 in his predictions, not 4-1. He attempted the ND-Pitt/FSU-Miami game at the end of his previous blog, but picked wrongly.

Friday, September 09, 2005 8:31:00 AM  
Blogger horner said...

just looked up some info on trev alberts....

he's out. seems he didn't want to come to work on sunday because thought he, rece, and mark may were getting the short end of the stick. anyway, something about lou holtz taking his place. here's the website i found the article on: sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/football/ncaa/09/06/alberts.espn/

Friday, September 09, 2005 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

horner,
anti-auburn rhetoric??? i've picked them to win both weeks even though after last week, it's hard to justify ever doing that again.

olemissbuckeye,
the tony smith must've just been a typo kinda like the "its hard to argue with YOU final outcome" in your comment. my apologies, and any supposed lack of knowledge a/b the big 10 could really just be a lack of interest in a conference that is overrated at the beginning of every year...

finally, trev alberts was fired for being his normal self-centered, egotistical self by calling ESPN Sunday and saying he was not coming to do the show b/c he was tired of playing 2nd fiddle. guess that strategy didn't work as he thought it would...

Friday, September 09, 2005 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

anybody wanting to see a good take on the firing of trev alberts, check this out
http://john-benjamin.blogspot.com/
and go to the albert's axed post...

Friday, September 09, 2005 2:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHY NO MENTION OF THE UNDEFEATED VANDERBILT COMMODORES!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:01:00 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Got to go with Florida State and Boston College for the 5th pick.
Congratulations go out to Vandy for their second straight come from behind road victory as they came back from an 11 point deficit to defeat Arkansas 28-24. Vandy's next three games are against Ole Miss, Richmond and MTSU, so 5-0 is not out of the realm of possibility.
A little tidbit for Bama's game against South Carolina, expect a defensive scheme similar to Southern Miss as Steve Spurrier has former Golden Eagle defensive coordinators John Thompson and Tyrone Nix as his co-coordinators.

Monday, September 12, 2005 7:05:00 AM  
Blogger Josh Manley said...

Delta State won 43-14. They are 2-1 and 1-0 in the Gulf South Conference.

Prothro's catch against USM was the most amazing catch I have ever seen.

Vandy is 2-0? I am waiting for the apocalypse to happen any minute.

The Big 10 is awesome.

Monday, September 12, 2005 7:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Russell said...

So Kyle how about the scare in Bama land this passed weekend. over a 100 yds. in penalties wins about 0 ballgames. Good to see you back in your element. At least you aren't still running with the Trumps anymore... I was getng worried.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous the O zone said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:06:00 PM  
Anonymous the O zone said...

kyle we are about to fight if you remove my post again

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

you gotta keep it clean...or at least be man enough to use your real name...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:37:00 PM  

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