Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:14 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
NEBRASKA WON. That's quite the start for Nebraska. The No. 11 Cornhuskers dispatched Chattanooga by a score of 40-7 on Saturday. The man of the match was undoubtedly Taylor Martinez, who racked up 135 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Martinez also threw for 116 yards on 11-22 passing -- rather pedestrian numbers, especially considering the competition -- but his throws were generally accurate, even if some of the reads weren't ideal.
WHY NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska is a borderline Top 10 FBS team and a darkhorse national championship contender; Chattanooga's barely in the Top 25 of FCS. This was a mismatch from the start, and even a slew of Husker fumbles wouldn't be enough to keep this game even remotely close.
WHEN NEBRASKA WON: This game was never really in doubt, but it was still just 13-0 Cornhuskers late in the second half with Nebraska facing a 4th and 2 on the Chattanooga 46. Nebraska elected to go for it. Before the snap, Taylor Martinez obviously saw something he liked, and he called an audible before running an easy option around the left corner for the score. Martinez's escort down the corner was his pitch man, also unaccounted for. 20-0, ballgame.
WHAT NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska's off on the right foot for its inaugural Big Ten season, to be sure, but it would have been nice to see Brion Carnes (1-1, 19 yards) get more than a half-quarter of garbage time in at quarterback for the Huskers. Taylor Martinez may not suffer the same complications this year that plagued him down the stretch in 2010, but given his role in Nebraska's offense it's definitely a possibility, so it would behoove Bo Pelini to have as much experience as possible waiting behind Martinez in case bad luck strikes in a key game.
WHAT CHATTANOOGA LOST: Other than a game, not too much. The Mocs stayed healthy, and although there was some chippiness near halftime, they generally kept their composure and sportsmanship intact throughout the course of the game. This was a paycheck game, pure and simple, and there probably won't be much time spent on game film for 'Nooga before it moves on to its home opener against Jacksonville State next week.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Nebraska's Jared Crick got the ball into teammate Cameron Meredith's hands twice. Crick is a defensive tackle. Meredith is a defensive end. On one play in the third quarter, Crick deflected a screen pass high into the air, and Meredith came down with the interception at the Moccasin 3-yard line. Rex Burkhead would score on the next play. Later, in the first play of the fourth quarter, Crick blocked a Nick Pollard field goal attempt so easily that the ball hit somewhere around his armpit. The ball bounced away, right into the hands of Meredith, who returned it 13 yards (though a penalty nullified Meredith's return).
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 2:49 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Ah, sweet, glorious football. There's nothing quite like the first football Saturday of the season, when the days are warm, so are the nights, and you're liable to catch a major sunburn on half your face if you're sitting in the north or south part of the stadium. Lots of great games and great weather on tap today. All times are eastern.
Akron at No. 18 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Low 90s, clear
Utah State at No. 23 Auburn, 12:00, Auburn, AL: Low 90s, clear
Miami (OH) at No. 21 Missouri, 12:00, Columbia, MO: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Kent State at No. 2 Alabama, 12:20, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 90s, clear
Appalachian State at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 12:30, Blacksburg, VA: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 6 Florida State, 3:30, Tallahassee, FL: Upper 80s, partly cloudy
Chattanooga at No. 10 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 70s, storms
South Florida at No. 16 Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IN: Upper 80s, mostly cloudy, storms
Minnesota at No. 25 USC, 3:30, Los Angeles, CA: Lower 80s, clear
San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford, 5:00, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 80s, clear
Florida Atlantic at No. 22 Florida, 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Lower 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Missouri State at No. 15 Arkansas, 7:00, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 80s, clear
Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 9 Oklahoma State, 7:00, Stillwater, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
East Carolina at No. 12 South Carolina, 7:00, Columbia, SC: Mid 80s, clear
Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma, 8:00, Norman, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia, 8:00, Atlanta, GA (Georgia Dome): Mid 70, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oregon at No. 4 LSU, 8:00, Arlington, TX (Cowboys Stadium): Whatever temperature Jerry Jones says. But outside it will be in the high 80s
Late night kickoffs
Colorado at Hawaii, 10:15, Honolulu, HI: Upper 70s, showers
Tags: ACC, Akron, Alabama, Appalachian State, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Chattanooga, Colorado, Conference USA, East Carolina, FCS, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia, Hawaii, Jerry Jones, Jerryworld, Kent State, Kickoff Weather, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, MAC, Miami University, Minnesota, Missouri, Missouri State, Mountain West, Nebraska, Non-BCS, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, San Jose State, SEC, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Sun Belt, Tailgate Weather, Tulsa, USC, Utah State, Virginia Tech, WAC, Weather Updates
Posted on: November 9, 2010 12:01 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 12:13 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The latest BCS rankings are out, and there's not much to be surprised about; Auburn is No. 1, Oregon is No. 2, and TCU is No. 3. In the human polls, Oregon's easily the top-ranked team. and anyone who actually watches the games can see why: the Ducks play football at an undeniably higher level than anybody else in college football. It's that simple.
Ah, but this column is not to argue that Oregon deserves the top spot in the BCS rankings over Auburn; not only is that argument obvious, it's immaterial, because it wouldn't alter the BCS Championship Game in any way. No, the real issue here is that as of right now, Auburn doesn't belong in the national title game; TCU does.
Here's the deal. First off, there is no single-game performance Auburn has under its belt this season that is as impressive as TCU's 47-7 dismantling of Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Yes, Auburn beat LSU by a whole touchdown after rushing for 440 yards. Auburn also played every single non-conference game at home, against Chattanooga, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State, and Clemson (who, not surprisingly, took Auburn to overtime and likely would have won at Clemson). Auburn's best road win? 17-14 over Mississippi State. The fact that Auburn has gotten away with such scaredy-cat scheduling is a testament to the water carried by SEC apologists more than any serious examination of the Tigers' schedule. Auburn's strength of schedule is 40th in the Sagarin ratings. Granted, TCU's is 62nd, but that's not exactly the chasm of competition that any college football fan south of the Mason-Dixon would have you believe.
Second, and more to the point of deserving the No. 2 ranking: TCU would beat Auburn, and maybe by double-digits. Sure, TCU has never seen an offense like Auburn's or a quarterback like Cam Newton. By the same token, the Auburn offense has never seen a defense like TCU's, which is head-and-shoulders above everybody else's -- even LSU's.
In fact, between the two teams' offensive and defensive units, there's only one spot of mediocrity, and that's Auburn's defense. The Tigers gave up 43 points to Arkansas at Auburn -- and most of those points were to the Razorbacks' backup quarterback. The Auburn starters gave up two first-half touchdowns to Chattanooga, 16 first-half points to Arkansas State, 34 points to Kentucky, and 31 to Ole Miss. What's more likely: TCU puts up 30 on the Auburn defense, or Auburn scores 30 on TCU's? There's no way Auburn's the right answer there.
Look again at the Sagarin ratings linked above. TCU is ranked second. Auburn is fourth. In terms of the predictor (which uses point differential, which is strictly verboten in the BCS), TCU is still second. Auburn? 11th. On a neutral field -- like, say, a bowl game -- TCU would be favored in this matchup. Why? Because right now, TCU is better than Auburn.
Of course, this is all academic; as Dennis Dodd has correctly pointed out, if Auburn wins at Alabama two weeks from now then dispatches its SEC East opponent for the conference crown, the Tigers will likely have proven that they deserve the BCS Championship Game berth. Those are both big ifs; Auburn hasn't proven itself as a serious title contender away from Jordan-Hare yet. The Tigers win both of those, and they've earned a top spot. Until then, though, the TCU Horned Frogs deserve the title shot -- not Auburn -- and it would thus be erroneous to act disappointed if the Tigers stumble and "let" TCU into the BCS Championship spot they've earned so far.
Also, it's obviously worth mentioning that the fact that this debate even needs to take place at all is ludicrous; there should be a four-team playoff. A plus-one, if you will. TCU and Auburn deserve to settle this score on the field, and Auburn fans deserve to watch the real title contender through 10 weeks prove its mettle.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 4:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
Main Course - #19 Oklahoma State vs. #22 Baylor - 12:30pm - FSNI don't believe it. After weeks of barren morning slate after barren morning slate, we actually get a matchup of two ranked teams this Saturday morning. Surely my complaints have finally been heard and answered by the college football gods.
Granted, a game between Baylor and Oklahoma State doesn't usually carry such cache, but this should turn out to be a very fun way to start your Saturday, and chock full of calories otherwise known as points. Just do the math.
Both teams have high-powered offenses ranked in the top ten nationally, and both teams have defenses ranked in the lower third of the country. Which means it's going to look like a tennis match watching Robert Griffin and Brandon Weeden lead their teams back-and-forth down the field. If the prospect of possibly seeing 100 points scored doesn't do it for you, then I just don't know what I can do for you.
Side Orders: There's quite a bit of mediocre Big Ten fare on Saturday morning as the conference's power teams beat up on the nerds and goth kids, but one Big Ten game that may deserve your attention is Michigan and Illinois. The Illini are one of those teams that is a lot better than you think they are, as they're 5-3 and all three of those losses have been close contests against teams currently ranked in the top 15. Though I suppose you might want to tune in to see Florida destroy Vanderbilt, or see how much money Chattanooga offers Cam Newton to stop running over them.
Main Course -#6 Utah vs. #4 TCU - 3:30pm - CBS College SportsFor years, many a college football fan has clamored for a playoff to determine the national championship. We're not exactly close to getting one, but if ever there was a game that may as well be considered a playoff game, this is it. Oh, and it also features two teams who happen to be ranked in the top 5 in the BCS right now.
Those games don't come along very often in the regular season.
Whichever team wins this game basically assures itself a BCS bid, and strengthens its case to play for the title once the year is over. Plus, considering that Utah is bound for the Pac-12 and TCU may be heading east, this may be the last time we get to see these "mid-majors" square off during the regular season.
So take the time on Saturday to figure out where CBS College Sports is on your cable system and enjoy this one.
Side Orders: Now you all have CBS, so if you're not into that whole Mountain West thing, you could always turn to the mothership and watch Alabama take on LSU. The winner remains alive for the SEC title, and the loser is done. Oh, and you can watch the game while chatting with yours truly over on our Facebook page. Football and Tom Fornelli making smart-assed remarks to your honest questions? What gets better than that? Certainly not Oregon disemboweling a Jake Locker-less Washington team, or Penn State and Northwestern duking it out for fourth place in the Big Ten.
Main Course - #10 Stanford vs. #13 Arizona - 8pm - ABCStanford's chances to win the Pac-10 are somewhat slim at this point considering its already a game behind Oregon, and that its sole conference loss is to Oregon, but hopes are not dead yet. However, if they lose to Arizona on Saturday night they are. The same can be said for the Wildcats, who trail Oregon by a game as well but still get to travel to Eugene at the end of the month.
If Arizona loses this one, it's in the same boat as Stanford, and we may as well crown the Ducks champions on Sunday morning.
The good news for Arizona is that it won't need to rely on its backup quarterback as Nick Foles is expected to return, which means we get a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-10 as Foles squares off with Andrew "Jim Harbaugh's Other Wife" Luck.
Side Orders: There are some other nice choices on Saturday night if you prefer to try something else. South Carolina looks to keep its lead in the SEC East against the cannon of Ryan Mallett and Arkansas. Missouri will also look to keep its BCS hopes alive when it travels to Texas Tech, and I suppose you could tune in to see if Texas can lose yet again against Kansas State.
Late Night SnackNot much to dine on late this week, though if you're desperate for more football at the end of the night, you can tune in to see if Lane Kiffin can distract Matt Barkley a few more times against Arizona State. If nothing else, you might get some awesome Ace of Base action, and who doesn't want more Ace of Base in their beautiful life?
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Brandon Weeden, Cam Newton, Chattanooga, Florida, Illinois, Jake Locker, Jim Harbaugh, Kansas State, Lane Kiffin, LSU, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Missouri, Nick Foles, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Mallett, Saturday Meal Plan, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington
Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:17 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here are the main story lines to keep your eyes on in Week 10. You will be graded on this. Eyes on your own paper.
Who's the class of the Mountain West? For all the consternation caused by TCU jumping Boise State in the BCS rankings this past weekend, the real drama happens this Saturday at 3:30 on CBS College Sports, when TCU faces fellow unbeaten conference member Utah in a pivotal game that may have national championship implications. After all, if Utah beats TCU but doesn't hop Boise State in the BCS rankings, the Utes would be right to question why that'd be the case. If TCU wins and wins out, though, Boise State's national title hopes are effectively over regardless of the Broncos' undefeated record for the second year in a row.
And past the implications, it should be a really interesting game to watch; these two teams are some of the best-coached, toughest squads in all of college football, "non-AQ" label be damned. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is having another stellar season, and the Utes are tied for third in scoring offense this season. Oh, and both defenses are in the top six in both scoring defense and total defense ; TCU in particular hasn't even given up more than seven points in a game since September. Something's gotta give ... right?
Will the SEC races be over? The key SEC matchup this week -- almost by default, considering the glut of non-conference games there on Saturday -- is certainly No. 5 Alabama at No. 12 LSU , at 3:30 on CBS. Both teams are 7-1 and ready to make a push for, at the very least, an at-large BCS bid. But here's the thing: if LSU wins, the SEC West is basically over; Auburn would have to lose to both Alabama and Georgia the week prior for LSU to take the division title. Let's at least wait for Cam Newton to be declared ineligible first.
Meanwhile, No. 17 South Carolina could take a commanding lead in the SEC East... or all hell could break loose. Again. The Gamecocks travel to Fayetteville to put their 4-2 conference record on the line against No. 16 Arkansas . If the Gamecocks pull off the win and Florida drops their game against Vanderbilt (tell us it can't happen; go on, tell us.), SC takes the SEC West just like that. It could , technically, happen.
Will off-field distractions doom top teams? So undefeated No. 2 Boise State 's out of the national championship picture the way things look now, and it hosts a surprising 7-2 Hawaii . Drama?? No. 3 Auburn faces 5-3 Chattanooga , possibly without Cam Newton. And OK, technically, the Mocs are an FCS team, but still: intrigue??? Even No. 7 Wisconsin faces plucky Purdue , and Wisconsin has to deal with this blog that clearly makes fun of it and its fans. Chicanery???? Look for all three of these ranked teams to lose by at least 20 points this week as their worlds crash down around them.