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Week 5 Predictions Recap

with 10 comments

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.

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Written by Austin Swafford

October 6, 2009 at 3:38 am

10 Responses

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  1. Its was a very unpredictable weekend, I agreed with you on LSU, Miami, and Michigan. South Florida will always be the state of Florida’s underdog, just way too much traditional powerhouses for them to ever get the credit they are due.

    But one thing I didnt agree with you on is my Fighting Irish: How about some Love? KISS ME IM IRISH!! Claussen is turning in gutty performances every week and even his poorest game against Michigan, he still gave the Irish a shot at winning it.

    But until ND’s defense learns to tackle and stay in thier lane, they cant be competitive on a BCS blow level. You can out score EVERYONE

    T-Rizzle

    October 6, 2009 at 11:31 am

    • I’m guessing you meant you CAN’T outscore everyone, but I agree with you on Clausen. He’s playing great, and much as I hate to say it, he looks a heck of a lot more like a legitimate Heisman candidate than McCoy and Tebow right now.

      But, you’re also right about the defense. I have a hard time giving them credit when their defense looks like it could lose them a game on any given week. Since the Nevada game, opponents are averaging 427 yards per game on them. The only one that didn’t go for more than 400 was Purdue. That’s rough, and it’s something they’ll definitely want to straighten out with USC, Navy and Pittsburgh remaining on their schedule.

      Austin Swafford

      October 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

  2. Yeah, CANT would be the correct word!

    Clausen has been great, but QBs get so much blame/credit for wins and loses, I doubt he will be able to overcome his teams record and still win the Heisman.

    Of the “Big Three” (Bradford, Tebow, McCoy) I think Colt still has the best chance to win the “stiff arm”. He hasnt has as great a year as last season, but he still looks very good and you know how much the comittee hates the idea of a two time winner.

    T-Rizzle

    October 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm

  3. forgot to mention the other factor in McCoys favor is the same thing I mentioned about Clausen, McCoy has the best chance to go undefeated between him and Tebow, so I give him a huge advantage there.

    What odds do you give Tebow: 1- to play 2- to have a big game and win against LSU?

    T-Rizzle

    October 6, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    • I’ll agree with you there. McCoy definitely has the best chance right now of the big three preseason favorites. I’d honestly like to see him running it a little more like he used to. I think that’ll improve his play and increase his chances.

      I think Tebow is 100% to play against LSU. I can’t imagine they’d hold him out for that big game if he’s anywhere close to ready to play. As for having a good game…really hard to say. LSU hasn’t been great against the this year. They contained Joe Cox, but if you watch the game, that had as much to do with Cox as it did LSU’s defense. Cox had a chance to hit Green for a TD pass on the third play from scrimmage and he just completely overthrew him.

      Despite that spotty defense, I think they could really get after the QB, and that’s a really tough game to come back on. Tebow’s tough, so I’d go 50% on him having a big game. I really think it’s 50/50, just depending on what kind of pressure LSU can get.

      Austin Swafford

      October 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

  4. “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.” -AS

    As long as you post blatantly disparaging comments like these as left-handed criticisms of my Iowa Hawkeyes, I will continue to homer you up. 😉

    Maybe you meant “dominate” instead of “compete” because I thought the point of competition was to win… which Iowa has now done more of lately than any other team in the country except for Florida. More than Texas (by a game) and Ohio State has managed to compete (but lose) three times during that streak. And as for level of competition… Iowa’s opponents during that time have a win % of 0.68, while Texas’ opponents for example have a win % of 0.60 during their own streak of eight games in a row, and Ohio State’s opponents have an impressive (if not as impressive as Iowa’s) win % of 0.65 during Iowa’s streak. Also during that time Iowa has two wins over top-5 teams (both on the road… sorry, Penn State) while Ohio State has managed two losses against top-5 teams, including a bowl game at a neutral site and a home game.

    You can talk bad all you want about the Big-10 and Iowa, but a win is a win is a win. Close, as they say, doesn’t count in football. Criticize all you like, it is your blog after all. And when (big IF?) Iowa loses I’ll be the first to eat my words. But as far as I’m concerned, the Big-10 needs to stop being judged by Ohio State’s choke-jobs (just like the Big-12 isn’t judged by Oklahoma’s). I don’t know who these people are that you say were expecting Michigan to be a BCS contender, but the preseason polling had not only Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa picked to finish ahead of them, but Illinois, Michigan State, and Northwestern as well. If Ole’ Miss, Cal, or Oklahoma lose it just shows how tough and competitive those conferences are, but when Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan lose it shows how weak the Big-10 is?!!

    Double-standards be damned, homers go home.

    zeekgeek

    October 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    • First of all…homer it up. I have no problem with that.

      Secondly, I’m not sure how you figure that their two wins over top 5 teams were both on the road. One was at Penn State this year, and the other was against Penn State at home last year. And I’m sorry if I’m not outrageously impressed by beating a team that builds its reputation every year by beating up on teams like Akron, Coastal Carolina, Temple and Syracuse and annually loses to a team that a top 5 should beat (like Iowa).

      Don’t get me wrong – Iowa’s a good team. They might even be a very good team. And I think they deserve their ranking and probably even higher. And you’re right that a win is a win is a win. However, this early in the season, sometimes you have to predict and extrapolate a little, and it doesn’t look great when they scrape by teams like Arkansas State and Northwern Iowa. A team like that seems destined for a fall. I’ll eat my words if I prove to be wrong, but I think Iowa’s gonna lose one that they should win that’ll take all the luster off their season. They’ve got Michigan, at Wisconsin and at Michigan State coming up, so we’ll see where they stand after that.

      Thirdly, I agree that there’s a double standard with Oklahoma and Ohio State. I don’t know if you saw, but earlier this year I posted an article saying as much. I think Oklahoma is messing up the Big 12’s image just like Ohio State is, and I’ve been saying for years that I’m tired of them embarrassing us. So, at least you know there’s one out there who’s not hypocritical on that.

      Those win percentage and losing streak numbers are nice, but I think you ignored that Texas’s loss came at the end of the kind of schedule Iowa’s never played – neutral site vs. No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 11 Missouri, No. 6 Oklahma State and then they lost at No. 7 Texas Tech. That’s a brutal stretch, and I don’t pardon Texas losing. But, I would like to point out that the win percentages you’re showing come AFTER the hardest parts of Texas’s schedule. How exactly did you calculate those win percentages for Iowa’s opponents, anyway? Did you take their records from last year and this year, their records from the time they played them until now, last year and this year combined, or what? Because the best winning percentage for their opponents I can calculate by using the most generous of standards is 56%. So, any help you can give as to how that was caclulated would help.

      Austin Swafford

      October 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm

  5. My bad about the away thing… you are correct. One was at home.

    The calculation is the combined records of all opponents during the win streak (so, from the weekend of the Penn State game last year until now) and not including the losses that Iowa, Texas, or Ohio State put on those teams. So, no, it does not take into account that “brutal” four-game stretch of Texas, but then, their streak started after that stretch. Remember, they lost.

    And, no, I don’t consider that four-game stretch of Texas to be “brutal” or unlike anything Iowa would play… all those teams are Big-12, all South save for Missouri, and those rankings (which you so consistently rail against) were all early as you point out. That’s entirely my problem with this conference comparison… it’s a “brutal schedule” if the Big-12 beats up on itself (Texas loses to Tech, Missouri loses to all three South teams it faces, Oklahoma loses to Texas, and OSU loses to Oklahoma, Tech, and Texas)… but if Iowa beats Penn State, and Penn State beats Ohio State, and Michigan State beats Michigan, somehow that means all the Big-10 teams are weak. Pffft. They didn’t fare much better in bowl games either… nice to have Nebraska and Kansas to “prove” the conference is a powerhouse.

    All I’m saying is you say, literally, YOUR WORDS… “The Buckeyes seem to be the only ones capable of competing on a consistent basis,” and I say hogwash. If you think having close games against UNI or Arkansas State means that Iowa isn’t “competing” then I can’t be sure what any of your other words mean. Texas had a closer-than-it-should-be game against Tech, Florida didn’t exactly dominate Tennessee, and we ALL know LSU could easily be 3-2. Add to that Oklahoma’s losses, USC’s egg, Ohio State’s nail-biter against Navy (which was just as lucky a conclusion as Iowa’s against UNI, imho)… who exactly has competed?! Alabama? Boise State?!!

    If you agree there’s a double standard, then own it or discard it. I for one would like to see it stop being perpetuated under the guise of analysis. If you think Iowa will lose, that’s the point, not that Ohio State is the only team that competes.

    zeekgeek

    October 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    • lol…you want to compare UNI and Arkansas State to a conference game against the team that has the nation’s leading passer? Yeah, they had a closer game, but UNI and Arkansas State AINT Tech, either.

      And I think you missed the key words in my phrase. You’re hung up on competing, while the operative phrase is CONSISTENTLY. OSU is a consistently great team. Yes, they also consistently lose games to good teams. But, they don’t have seasons like Penn State where they are just inexplicably bad. They don’t have seasons where their offense looks completely impotent. And they don’t have seasons like Iowa’s last year where they were 5-4 before beating Penn State. Iowa is 21-17 in the last three seasons with only one season being over .500. That’s not a consistent competitor. Again, consistent being the key word. Iowa uncorks some really nice games sometimes, but I’m not seeing consistency there.

      And the reason I asked you how you calculated those percentages is this. You only get to 64% (that’s what I calculated) because you include Northern Iowa, which plays in Division I, not FBS. You can’t count their 9-1 record against Div. I schools…even the computers don’t take that into account. If you take them out, their opponents’ win percentage drops to 58%. Not looking quite as impressive without Northern Iowa’s non-FBS schedule. And, by the by, without that game against a Div. 1 school, Iowa technically has an 8 game winning streak, just like Texas. Funny how stats can be twisted to say what you want them to. Like making it seem Iowa’s played a much tougher schedule than they actually have.

      But, if you really want to talk about strength of schedule, let’s really talk about strength of schedule. If you go back to the beginning of Texas’ tough stretch, during which Texas and Iowa are both 11-1, Texas’ opponents have a winning percentage of 64 while Iowa’s have a winning percentage of 56. That’s even with me giving you Northern Iowa’s 13-1 Div. 1 schedule. Without that, Iowa’s opponents are have a 52 winning percentage. That’s a big part of why Texas was 14th in the nation in strength of schedule while Iowa was 63rd(http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt08.htm). And Texas was 12-1 against that schedule while Iowa was 9-4. This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about when I talk about competing consistently.

      And I’m far from being alone in my criticism of the Big 10. Jeff Sagarin’s totally bias-free computer rankings currently have them 6th…lowest among all major conferences.

      But, like I also said before, I’ll totally eat my words if Iowa comes out of their next three games looking good. I don’t think I have to tell you, but Iowa is 1-2 in their last three games against both Michigan and Wisconsin. If they come out of that three-game stretch looking good, then they’ll have proven something to me.

      Austin Swafford

      October 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    • All of that being explained, I hope it’s perfectly clear that Ohio State is not THE reason I and others think the Big 10 is overrated. It’s more far-reaching than just how Ohio State plays in bowl games. And I have things to back that up. I’m sure you’ll disagree, I just hope you don’t think that I’m bringing some kind of personal bias to the table. I genuinely have watched them and done research to come to my conclusions. If you noticed, I actually predicted that the Big 10 would have a really good weekend.

      I expected good things from them. It’s not my fault that they didn’t have as good a weekend as I expected them to. I’m just reporting the facts. Just like I did when I said this about the Big 12 in my post about UTEP: “It makes you wonder about Houston’s defense, and how Oklahoma State and Texas Tech couldn’t muster more offense than they did. In that regard (along with Oklahoma’s choke job against Miami), it was a very bad weekend for the Big 12.”

      Austin Swafford

      October 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm


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