Week 5 Predictions Recap
1. More Chaos As LSU Becomes The Newest Top-5 Team To Lose
I was wrong about this one, and boy was this game ever boring. Neither of these teams had played defense very well, but they sure made each other look good in this one. It was a 6-0 LSU lead going into the fourth quarter thanks in great part to an incredibly sloppy game by Joe Cox. He missed open receivers all afternoon. Nobody did much on offense until the fourth quarter. Georgia took a 7-6 lead early in the quarter. Georgia’s defense managed to hold for about 11 minutes, but with just under 3:00 left in the game, LSU scored its first TD to take a 12-7 lead. The Bulldogs answered with another TD with just over a minute to play.
But, following a totally bogus excessive celebration call that forced Georgia to kick off from its own 15, LSU’s Trindon Holliday returned the kickoff 40 yards to the Georgia 38. One play later, Charles Scott broke a 33-yard TD run that proved to be the game winner. The SEC sent an apology to Georgia, but that’s very little consolation today. It doesn’t change that the Bulldogs lost and it doesn’t put them back in the top 25.
Cox came out with a 123.04 rating that belies how he played most of the game. He was really off on Saturday. He had more than half of his yards just on those two second half TD drives. Outside of those two drives, he only had 103 yards. He had 33 yards in the first half. Of course, Cox didn’t get much help from the rushing game, which mustered only 45 yards. And, despite these abysmal offensive numbers for Georgia, LSU only had six points until late in the fourth quarter. Ugly, ugly game for both sides.
2. OU Will End Debate Over Whether Miami Is Overrated…They Definitely Are
Call me an ACC hater if you want, but even though I was wrong on Oklahoma winning this game, I maintain that Miami is overrated. Oklahoma blew this game. They were in control with a 10-0 lead in the first half, and they just quit, allowing Miami to score 21 unanswered. The Sooners made bad play calls all night, running when they should have been passing and passing when they should have been running.
I was very disappointed with OU’s defense in this one. Jacory Harris threw picks on each of his first two possessions, but then the defense allowed him to settle in and pass for three touchdowns. They also allowed 140 yards rushing to a team that had only rushed for more than 90 yards once (against Georgia Tech). There’s only so much you can expect of an offense missing Sam Bradford and Jermaine Greshman…but, what’s the defense’s excuse?
Both teams also had lots of bad personal fouls and unsportsmanlike penalties. They combined for 19 penalties for 194 yards. Just another example of a lack of discipline.
I have to say, this game was over on the second play of the second half. When Landry Jones fumbled deep in Sooners territory, leading to an easy TD for Miami, I knew this game was over. And Big Game Bob Stoops blew it again. My buddy, Travis, pointed me towards this interesting comment on ESPN.com:
I’m not sure what’s more amazing, that Bob Stoops is only 4-8 in games decided by three points or fewer in his 11 seasons at Oklahoma or that he has had only 12 games out of 137 decided by no more than a field goal. Pete Carroll is only 5-8 in three-point games at USC. Maybe dominant coaches struggle in close games? Then I looked at Mack Brown. He’s 17-3 in three-point games at Texas and has won his last 14 dating to the 2001 Big 12 Championship Game. Wow.
Stoops is now 1-6 in non-conference games against ranked opponents going all the way back to his 2005 Holiday Bowl victory over Oregon. It’s pretty safe to stop picking Stoops against ranked non-conference opponents.
3. Big Weekend For Big Teams From Big East And Big Ten
This pick was very much a mixed bag. The teams atop the Big East all had great weekends. West Virgina dominated Colorado and Pittsburgh crushed Louisville in mid-week games. Then, South Florida creamed Syracuse, vaulting them to No. 23 in the new AP Poll. And Cincinnati continued its winning ways as it laid the wood to hapless Miami (OH). The Bearcats are now ranked No. 8. And those four teams atop the Big East are a combined 17-2. Dang.
The Big 10…not as good a weekend as I’d expected. First, Michigan lost to Michigan State. I thought Michigan State’s defense was suspect going into this game, but it was Michigan’s offense that couldn’t get its act together. Until the final two possessions of the fourth quarter, on which Michigan tied the game to force overtime, the Wolverines had just 113 yards of total offense. Tate Forcier made some great plays at the end (with some help from one of the worst late hit calls I’ve ever seen) and almost completed an amazing comeback, but this game was really only exciting for a few minutes, and Michigan didn’t look anything like the BCS contender some were hoping they’d be. They deservedly fell out of the top 25 for that performance.
Iowa won to move to its best start since 1995, but they barely scraped by a really bad Arkansas State team. That did not look awesome for the Hawkeyes.
What also did not look good for the Hawkeyes was the way that Penn State struggled for most of the game against a really, really bad Illinois team that lost 37-9 to Missouri and 30-0 to Ohio State. Now, Penn State managed 513 yards and 35 points, but they were only up 14-3 going into the fourth quarter. And only 175 of their yards came on passing. Daryll Clark is the one I really want to see something from, because when I watched him against Iowa, he seemed like he had no field vision, no pocket awareness and no sense of timing. That he couldn’t correct that against Illinois, of all teams, does not bode well for the Nittany Lions.
And, of course, Ohio State crushed Indiana. Nothing interesting to recap there. I just have to say that, yet again, I’m not terribly impressed by what I’m seeing from the Big 10, aside from Ohio State. The Buckeyes seem to be the only ones capable of competing on a consistent basis.
4. South Florida Will Show Why They Should Be Ranked
They did, and they are. Mission accomplished. Now they just need to climb the ladder and challenge Cincinnati for the Big East title. South Florida has the week off, and then play the Bearcats at home in a Thursday night game. That’ll be one to watch out for.
5. Washington Will Rebound In A Big Way With A Win Over Notre Dame
Washington really let me down with this one. They held the lead four times but their defense could never hold. The offense also struggled in the red zone, having to settle for three field goals, all of which were 40 yards or shorter. Washington had a nice comeback, but you can’t allow a team to go for 530 yards and expect to win. Washington has a nice offense, but their defense will have to learn to make a stop and hold a lead if they actually want to go anywhere.