(19)Florida 31,Tennessee 17
Butch Jones in the offseason had pointed to this game as one that could make Tennessee relevant again in the SEC. The game started well for the Vols as they intercepted a Jeff Driskell pass and returned it for a touchdown. Driskell left the game and never returned. Both coaches then got conservative and the game got ugly. The battle of Somme in World War I was more attractive. Seven turnovers in the first half and the Florida defense owned the line of scrimmage. Tennessee had 31 yards on 25 plays at halftime. Florida’s defense is led by future first round picks: DT Dominique Easley and CB Louchiez Purifoy. The Gators lead 17-7 at the break. Driskel’s replacement Tyler Murphy executed to long second half drives to build the Gators lead to 31-10. After the game we found out Driskell is gone for the year. This offense was suspect with Driskell and could even be worse now.
SEC trainers always talk about how harder teams hit when conference schedule starts. You can see some dirty plays as well but nothing compares to Australian Rugby where earlier this week a player got an eight game suspension for biting an opponent’s scrotum. Amazingly thing is it’s not new to Australia; it’s the second time it has happened in the last 10 years.
(22) Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13
You pretty much knew this game was going to be a defensive struggle from the start. MichiganState came in with the number one rated defense in the country but they are certainly offensively challenged. The defenses didn’t disappoint. Both teams were held under 260 yards of offense and both QB’s were lucky to complete 50 percent of their passes. ND won a game much like they did all last year. Tommy Rees was good enough to lead two touchdown drives and MichiganState had to settle for field goals rather than touchdowns when they got into the redzone.
Big future draft match-up was Notre Dame young WR Davaris Daniels against Spartans corner Darqueze Dennard. Dennard got a couple of interference penalties called on him and they were crucial. At the end of the day Daniels only caught three balls for 6 yards.
(5)Stanford 42, (23) Arizona State 28
Was surprised how easily Stanford handled ArizonaState. We love the way Arizona State Marion Grice runs; he is definitely in the running for top back in college football. Grice had a huge test going up a great Stanford front seven that included draft prospects: DE Josh Mauro, DE Ben Gardner, OLB Trent Murphy and ILB Shane Skov. This Stanford run defense gave up a ton of yards last week at Army. This week they held Grice in the first half to 7 yards on 10 carries. By that time Stanford was up 29-0 and the game was over. Mauro was very impressive in the game. His size and speed for a big man is something the NFL scouts love to see.
Offensively Kevin Hogan did his job as he always does. He is nothing flashy a couple of touchdowns and a high completion percentage. Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney is not fast but always seems to get by the first tackler. He had two touchdowns.
RIP Ken Norton Sr that died earlier this week in Arizona. Still remember being upset that Norton was robbed the heavyweight championship in Yankee Stadium in 1976 against Muhammad Ali. Norton was interesting because he struggled against big hitters like: Shavers and Foreman but arguably beat Ali all three times he faced him. Norton would later say he was so disheartened by the loss in Yankee Stadium that he never trained properly again for a fight.
(19) Baylor 70, Louisiana-Monroe 7
Monroe came in 2-1 with a decent showing in a loss to Oklahoma and a victory over WakeForest last weekend. This was the best defense Baylor had faced this year. It didn’t matter. The Bears offense looks unstoppable so far this year. QB Bryce Petty threw four touchdowns and great running back Lache Seastrunk had 156 yards on only 10 carries to lead the way to victory. Count us in on the Seastrunk for Heisman talk. Wouldn’t be great to have two Baylor players win the Heisman in the last three years? The Bears defense is much improved too. Kolton Browning gave teams like Arkansas and Auburn fits last year. The Monroe QB completed only 17 of his 41 passes and was picked off twice.
(10) Texas A&M 42, SMU 13
Johnny Manziel played just over a half of football but he didn’t show any hangover effect from last week’s game against Alabama. Manziel accounted for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Malena scored twice as well for the Aggies. Malena had 71 yards on only 13 carries. Four minutes into the third quarter A&M was up 39-6 and most of the starters were pulled from the game.
How good is Johnny Manziel? Website MMQB came out this week and mentioned that in the last two years Manziel’s total quarterback rating against Alabama is a 70. The rest of the quarterbacks that Alabama have faced since the start of last year have a combined rating of 18.
There is a special place in hell for the college basketball coaches that use A&M’s Billy Kennedy’s Parkinson’s diagnosis against him. It came out this week after A&M landed top 50 recruit Alex Robinson. Robinson said several teams tried to get him not to go to A&M and they mentioned he shouldn’t go with a coach that has Parkinson’s. We would love to see the names of these coaches made public.
USC 17, Utah State 14
This was another ugly football game. It was worse than the contrived fights between Lou Holtz and Mark May. Nothing says phony better than Holtz and May pretending to be mad at each other.
Both teams like in the Notre Dame game were held under 300 yards of offense. Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton came into the game leading an Aggies attack that gained 550 yards per game. The Trojans limited the Aggies to only 285 yards all day. The USC defense is for real. The best player for us on the Trojans defense is DT Leonard Williams. Only a sophomore but Williams is a dominating presence for the Trojans. He’s going to be a high draft pick.
USC games are so tough to watch. Cody Kessler is awful at QB. He was able to throw one touchdown pass. It was an even game the whole way. USC had 282 yards of offense. A field goal early in the fourth quarter held up for the victory.
(1)Alabama 31, Colorado State 6
Alabama is not the best team in football. They haven’t played a complete game yet. In this game they didn’t convert a third down until there was three minutes left in the game. Like in week 1 the Alabama offense seemed lost. You can claim it was a hangover effect from the A&M game or that the ColoradoState coach was familiar with the Tide offense. Either way it’s making excuses for team that doesn’t look like the number one team in the nation. Colorado State Head Coach Jim McElwain was the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-2011 helping win two national championships for the Tide. The offensive line isn’t that good. TJ Yeldon had only 49 yards. The team rushed for 3.1 yards per carry at home against ColoradoState. The Alabama defense bounced back after a poor performance against A&M and limited the Rams to 279 yards. A blocked punt helped the Tide build a 17-0 halftime lead. Still like last week Nick Saban wasn’t happy.
It was a real treat watching Czar Nick Saban on the sideline last week during the “Game of the Epoch” showdown with Johnny “Hancock” Manziel and Texas A&M when an Alabama Cornerback got beat on the outside by an Aggie Receiver Mike Evans for a 95 yard touchdown. “Chuckles” Saban went ballistic, called a timeout so this gave the Emperor a full 45 seconds to scream, stomp up and down, berate & go face to face with his player.
He was so upset, red in the face & animated we thought this could only end in a number of ways:
A) by little Nicky suffering a stroke
B) by escalating his rage to the point of channeling the darkest moments from the careers of Bobby Knight & Woody Hayes and committing Career Suicide.
C) by scaring the living Hell out of that player and the rest of the team so that they would be too terrified to leave College Station with anything less than a win.
Well the answer was “C” but you have to wonder if there might be a better way, because Nick’s methods invariably deliver diminishing returns and inexorably cause “Burnout” to the facilitator.
Maybe Saban should take instruction on a more civilized approach regarding verbal interchanges with players from Irish Poet Seamus Heaney who passed away this week. He wrote that the key to effective communication was:
“Speak with directness, but envelop it in a sheath of kindness and a common shared humanity.”
Nebraska 59, South Dakota State 20
Bo Pellini did his “Lee Elia” impression by ripping the Nebraska faithful fans. Reminds us of when Elia was Chicago Cubs manager and said “Ninety-five percent of the world works and the other five percent attend Cubs games.” Deadspin broke the story. At least good journalism is being done someplace in this country. Wonder if Husker fan wish they had Frank Solich back as head coach?
The Huskers were without Taylor Martinez in the game so they used two quarterbacks to rip their FCS opponent. Star of the game for Nebraska was RB Ameer Abdullah who ran for a career high 139 yards. Problems still remain for the once vaunted “Blackshirt Defense”. SDSU’s Zach Zenner ran for over 200 yards and the Jackrabbits had 25 first downs in the game. Our prediction is Nebraska will have a new coach next year.
(24) Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10
Wisconsin was coming off a horrible last second horrible loss at ArizonaState. Blame Badger QB Joel Stave for placing the ball on the ground without actually touching his knee to the grass.
Badgers have two studs that can run the ball in Melvin Gordon and James White. The trait we like about both of them is they can break tackles much better than a guy like Montee Ball last year. On a third and one in the first quarter White broke a tackle in the backfield and raced 70 yards for a score. Gordon finished with 147 yards and White 145. Purdue stopped the Notre Dame rushing attack last week and kept the game close but couldn’t do anything to stop the Badgers this week.
(15) Michigan 24, UCONN 21
How is Michigan even ranked after the last two weeks? They maybe 4-0 but please they look horrible. Huskies came into the game 0-2 having lost to not so powerhouses Towson and Maryland. This team is coached by Paul Pasqualoni. What else do you need to know? Michigan jumped out to a 7-0 lead when on a 3rd and 11 Devin Gardner scrambled 17 yards for a touchdown. Tommy Harmon’s family wish he’d stop wearing his number after throwing for only 111 yards and 2 picks. With ten minutes to go the big play in the game was an interception by Michigan’s Desmond Morgan and he returned it to the Uconn 12. The Wolverines tied in on the next play. Michigan ended the game on a 17-0 run but this team should drop in the polls.
We do like the way Michigan looks in their classic uniforms. Speaking of uniforms don’t know if you saw actor Russell Brand got in trouble at the GQ awards that were sponsored by Hugo Boss. Brand brought up the Hugo Boss outfitted the Nazis. He mentioned that Hugo Boss made the Nazis look fantastic then he goose stepped across stage. He was thrown out of the post award party
(6) LSU 35, Auburn 21
The best team in the country so far this year to us looks like LSU. QB Zach Mettenberger was solid against a good Auburn defense led by OLB Dee Ford and CB Chris Davis. Mettenberger is helped by two stud receivers and a great running back. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham combined for 12 catches and 177 yards. Running back Jeremy Hill had 183 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns. Cam Cameron looks like a great pick-up so far for Les Miles as the offensive coordinator. His play action game suits the LSU offense. Late in the game star DT Anthony Johnson left the field with an injury. Bayou Bengals need him in the middle of their defensive line.
Texas 31, Kansas State 21
The hot seat isn’t hotter for any coach in the country than for Mack Brown. Not to mention he usually get outcoached in this game by Bill Snyder. Snyder has a knack for taken a less talented squad and beating the over-talented but under-achieving Longhorns. KansasState had won five straight in this series. That wasn’t the case in this game. Texas players showed up. DE Jackson Jeffcoat usually under-achieves but this game showed why some scouts think he has first round talent. He played an inspired game and was a force all night long. The star offensively for Texas was RB Jonathan Gray who rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas had to stop Wildcats RB John Hubert on the ground. Longhorns had given up 822 yards on the ground in the last two games. Hubert only had 41 yards on the night. For one night Mack Brown can quiet his critics.
Longhorn fans hope Brown will right the ship but we think he will do it with the same deft skill that Captain Francesco Schettino took the Costa Concordia around GiglioIsland in the Mediterranean.
Syracuse 52, Tulane 17
Syracuse switched quarterbacks and what a difference it made. Terrel Hunt threw for four touchdowns and ran in another. This was a huge improvement for the Orange offense. Special teams were the difference in the game as well. Syracuse blocked two punts and a field goal. Tulane fumbled a punt return deep in their own territory.
Syracuse wore there blue and orange helmets for the game. Almost looks like someone spray painted by mistake the back of their helmets orange. It reminds us of Gang tags spray painted over existing artwork on highway over-passes in Los Angeles, so maybe this is a clever tie-in with the release of “Grand Theft Auto V.”
Two notes on NFL Running backs.
With the Cleveland Browns trading Trent Richardson we would like to congratulate new Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam, who in one week has managed the almost impossible achievement of falling below the late Art Modell, Lebron James and Lyme Disease in popularity polls taken in Northern Ohio.
1.) “You can’t go Home again”, Thomas Wolfe, circa 1940
2.) “There are no Second Acts in American Lives”, F. Scott Fitzgerald circa 1941
3.) 7 carries, 4 yards, 0.6 yards per carry… Brandon Jacobs first game back with the Giants last week against the Broncos.