Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:26 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.
We hope you've starved yourself this week because you're going to need plenty of room in your stomach to get through this week's menu, and although we can't promise you anything featuring streaking referees and fighting, we're sure you'll find these meals as fulfilling just the same.
Missouri vs. #4 Oklahoma State - FX, 12pm ET
On paper this one may not seem all that interesting, but Missouri is yet to lose at home this season, and let's not forget that the Tigers knocked off Oklahoma in Columbia last season. It's possible that the Tigers could end another school from Oklahoma's title hopes again this Saturday. Of course, it won't be easy considering the offensive firepower that the Cowboys will be bringing with them. - Tom Fornelli
#7 Clemson vs. North Carolina - ESPN, 12pm ET
Clemson survived their first trap game on the road, marching back from 18 down against Maryland to prove - for the moment - this Tigers team is for real. Now they have a chance to return to the comfy confines of Death Valley for one last warm-up before traveling to Atlanta for arguably the toughest challenge left on the conference schedule in Georgia Tech. North Carolina doesn't run the option, but they do have a terrific ground game led by redshirt freshman Gio Bernard. Bernard has been sensational for the Tar Heels, and ranks third in the ACC with 109.57 yards per game. The Tigers, on the other hand, are one of the league's worst defenses against the run. North Carolina's defense has been beaten on the perimeter this season, and their weakness in the secondary will likely be their downfall with no answer for Sammy Watkins and DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins. - Chip Patterson
Purdue vs. #23 Illinois - ESPN2, 12pm ET
This game will be worth your attention. Bold statement, but it's true. Here's the deal: if Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins get their game back up, you'll want to watch, because that's the best QB-WR combination in the Big Ten. And if Scheelhaase and Jenkins get bottled up like last week, look out, because we might have an early upset on our hands, and those are a fun way to start a Saturday. See? Win-win scenario all the way. - Adam Jacobi
#1 LSU vs. #20 Auburn - CBS, 3:30pm ET
So Auburn has a defense with some success against LSU-style offenses, the host Tigers won't have Tyrann Mathieu or Spencer Ware, and the game's being played in bright, Death Valley-neutralizing sunlight. It's too bad Auburn is sending Clint Moseley out for his first career start at quarterback, or Gene Chizik's bunch could have made a real game of this. (if Moseley is a revelation? They still might. - Jerry Hinnen
#5 Boise State vs. Air Force - Versus, 3:30pm ET
Is there anybody left on Boise State's schedule that can knock the Broncos off? Maybe, but odds are that it won't happen this week as Air Force makes the trip up north to play on the blue turf. Still, even if Boise is likely to win this game, tuning in to see the Broncos playing a home game is seldom a choice to regret. - TF
Miami vs. #22 Georgia Tech - ESPN, 3:30pm ET
Miami turned the corner against Virginia Tech, and has been playing some of their best football of the season in the last three quarters. But they welcome a Georgia Tech team that got beat around by Virginia last week, and will be looking for a bounce back victory. This game is a must-win for the Yellow Jackets if they plan on competing for a Coastal Division title, and a must-win for the Hurricanes to establish some kind of momentum in a frustratingly inconsistent season. If Miami wants to pull the upset, they need to get Lamar Miller going on offense. A good rushing attack will keep Paul Johnson's pounding offense off the field, and after Miller was held to 29 yards against UNC last week he's due for a big game. - CP
#2 Alabama vs. Tennessee - ESPN2, 7:15pm ET
The drama and intrigue in this edition of the "Third" Saturday in October positively abounds: can the Vols score a touchdown? Can Trent Richardson break the 200-yard mark? Will Nick Saban decline to score a final humiliating touchdown out of respect for his old assistant, Derek Dooley? Has Smokey finally been fitted for the retina-protecting dog goggles (or "doggles") required by repeated visual exposure to Dooley's pants? (The actual and inevitable outcome, that we're not so intrigued by.) - JH
Notre Dame vs. USC - NBC, 7:30pm ET
One of college football's greatest rivalries gets a bit of a twist this season. For the first time in history, Notre Dame will be playing a night game in South Bend. Can Touchdown Jesus see in the dark? Also, emerging victorious could help catapult the winner back into the rankings, and for Notre Dame a win keeps its slim BCS hopes alive. - TF
#3 Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - ABC, 8pm ET
This game features two offenses that both come into the game averaging more than 43 points a game, so if you're looking for a shootout to spend your evening with, this will likely be your game. The question will be if Seth Doege and the Texas Tech offense can still have as much success against an Oklahoma defense that's better than any other it has faced this season. - TF
#8 Stanford vs. #25 Washington - ABC, 8pm ET
Andrew Luck and Stanford haven't played a ranked team all year but that will change with Washington rolling into Palo Alto. The Huskies, with quarterback Keith Price and running back Chris Polk, will present a test for the stiff Cardinal defense that is missing a few key defenders. Of course, Luck has to be licking his chops to face the Pac-12's worst pass defense. - Bryan Fischer
#16 Michigan State vs. #6 Wisconsin - ESPN, 8pm ET
This could be the Big Ten's last, best hope to see Wisconsin get knocked off before the championship game -- and MSU just lost its top DE Will Gholston to a Big Ten-mandated suspension for punching Taylor Lewan last Saturday. Whoops! The rest of the Spartan defensive front is fierce, though, and perhaps we'll finally be able to see what happens when an opponent challenges Wisconsin for all four quarters this year. Perhaps. - AJ
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Washington State vs. Oregon State - Fox Sports, 10:30pm ET
Oregon State is off to their worst start in years and Mike Riley and company are looking to turn things around while seeking revenge against a Washington State team that upset them last year and cost them a trip to a bowl game. The Cougars have been competitive in the first half of their last two games but the question is if they can finish against OSU. - BF
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Air Force, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Bryan Fischer, Chip Patterson, Chris Polk, Clemson, Clint Moseley, DeAndre Hopkins, Derek Dooley, Gene Chizik, Georgia Tech, Gio Bernard, Illinois, Jerry Hinnen, Keith Price, Lamar Miller, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Mike Riley, Missouri, Mountain West, Nathan Scheelhaase, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Pac-12, Paul Johnson, Purdue, Sammy Watkins, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Seth Doege, Spencer Ware, Stanford, Taylor Lewan, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington State, Will Gholston, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the third quarter of Michigan State's 28-14 victory over Michigan last Saturday, MSU star defensive end Will Gholston was seen throwing a punch at Michigan lineman Taylor Lewan, connecting somewhere around Lewan's neck or lower face mask. The incident drew a 15-yard penalty against Gholston, but he wasn't ejected, and Mark Dantonio left him in the game for the rest of the afternoon. Similarly, Dantonio left Gholston atop the Spartan depth chart this week heading into a critical battle with Wisconsin.
The Big Ten wasn't exactly impressed with Dantonio's approach to discipline, it seems, because the conference announced today that Gholston would be suspended for one game after the incident:
After the Michigan-MSU game, we groused that Mark Dantonio's reputation as a disciplinarian didn't match his record, and that his stated policy of "zero tolerance" has now become more of a running gag than an actual aspect of Dantonio's approach to running his team. This latest move by Dantonio -- to figuratively punt on suspending a player who punched an opponent on the field of play, and make the Big Ten take care of it -- sounds much more like a coach concerned with winning the next game than one willing to take discipline seriously.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:00 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
WISCONSIN WILL WIN IF: The offensive line keeps doing its job. At this point, it's just not plausible that Russell Wilson will make unforced errors at quarterback, or that the Montee Ball/James White tandem won't be able to take advantage of a point of attack being dominated by blockers. Thus, if Wisconsin's blockers are able to keep up their performance from this season (and really, the last two seasons as well), the Badger offense is probably going to score at least 31 points (and possibly much more). Assuming the defense doesn't completely gag, that should be enough to seal a victory in East Lansing.
MICHIGAN STATE WILL WIN IF: Its defense can exert its will once again. Ever since the Spartans allowed 31 points to Notre Dame in that embarrassing Week 3 loss, their defense has bowed up substantially. They almost managed a shutout at Ohio State, frequently eliciting boos from the Buckeye faithful as the defensive front forced Braxton Miller from the game. The defense held Denard Robinson and Michigan to 14 points the next week, even icing the game with a pick-six in the fourth quarter. And now, it's got to solve a Badger offense that has basically done everything correctly thus far this year. So what defensive performance will we see from MSU? The one it got against Notre Dame, or against OSU?
X-FACTOR: Will Gholston's status. The MSU defense is going to need all the help it can get slowing down Wisconsin's offense, so whether stud DE Will Gholston will play is going to be hugely important. Gholston was flagged for punching Michigan OL Taylor Lewan during last week's game, and though he wasn't ejected for the foul, the Big Ten may still choose to suspend Gholston for a game, as it did with Illinois LB Jonathan Brown after Brown gave Northwestern OL Patrick Ward a "low blow" via a well-placed knee. For what it's worth, MSU is not choosing to suspend Gholston, as he remains atop the depth chart for this week's game, but until the Big Ten agrees that no suspension is needed, Gholston's status remains in doubt.
Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:08 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 3:08 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
WINNER: The general order of the universe as we knew it in the spring. Michigan State beat Michigan, Ohio State beat Illinois, Wisconsin beat Indiana, Iowa beat Northwestern, and Penn State beat Purdue. All normal ideas for the casual Big Ten fan during the off-season, more or less. Yet those first two results are rather surprising, because it was Michigan and Illinois coming into the week undefeated and ranked 16th or higher, not MSU or OSU. On Saturday, the Spartans and Buckeyes looked like the teams we figured they'd be coming into the year, though, and in a way so did the Wolverines and the Illini.
Michigan State's victory was the most impressive of the week (sorry, Wisconsin), because nobody has bottled up the Michigan offense like that this year (more on the particulars in a second). After Notre Dame thwacked the Spartans in Week 3, it was fair to wonder if Michigan was also about to run up 30+ points and shut down the MSU rushing attack. Neither happened, and the Spartans are now all of a sudden back in beautiful shape for the Big Ten Legends Division race -- just like we figured before the season.
LOSER: Those do-everything quarterbacks I was so proud of last week. So, Taylor Martinez had the week off, so he's off the hook. Denard Robinson and Nathan Scheelhaase, though? Last week, the two QBs averaged 267 yards passing, 102 yards rushing, and four TDs in their team's victories. Extrapolate those types of numbers over 12 or 13 games, and you've got a Heisman finalist.
Extrapolating single games out for a year is stupid, though, because on Saturday, those numbers dropped substantially. Scheelhaase threw for 169 yards and rushed for 49 more, while Robinson's numbers were a dismal 9-24 for 123 yards passing (one TD) and 18 rushes for 42 yards (another TD). Not surprisingly, both QB's teams lost by double digits. It's certainly fine to have a do-everything quarterback helming your offense, but that just means it's imperative that that quarterback actually puts big numbers up; if he doesn't, that team's in real trouble.
WINNER: Illinois' pass defense. Wow, the Illini held Ohio State to 17 yards on Saturday! That's quite an accomplishment! Yep, 17 yards on 1-4 passing. But wait... if the Buckeyes only passed four times for the entire game, then that means... uh-oh.
LOSER: Illinois' rush defense. Oh, there's the rest of the story. Ohio State rushed 51 times to the four passes, totalling 211 yards on the ground, and Dan Herron led the way with 113 yards in his first game back from suspension. Honestly, Illinois' effort on defense wasn't bad, and holding OSU to 4.1 yards a pop on the ground isn't really cause for panic, but this was an Illini rush defense that had been ranked ninth in the nation coming into the week, averaging 2.3 yards per carry given up. The Illini front seven had a reputation to uphold, and it didn't do a great job of it.
WINNER: Somehow, inexplicably, Penn State. Penn State is 6-1 and on the verge of being in the Top 25. That is amazing news to anyone who has watched Penn State play, because the Nittany Lions are, at times, bafflingly bad on offense. The QB rotation between Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden continues to confound PSU fans, the rushing game comes and goes, and Penn State has now beaten the foursome of Temple, Indiana, Iowa, and Purdue by a grand total of 25 points. This team should not be 6-1, but there's no "should" column next to wins and losses.
The latest victory is a 23-18 decision over hapless Purdue, a game that should have been tied in the 4th quarter at 20-all if Purdue hadn't missed a PAT then missed a 2-point conversion to make up for the missed kick. Now, to be fair, Purdue never led, PSU never let Purdue manage so much as a first down after the game was 20-18, and the game ended with Penn State up 5 and taking knees inside the Boilermaker 10 yard line, but it was still another ugly, wretched affair all around. And yet just like the 4-point win over Temple and the 6-point win over Indiana, Penn State just did all it needed for the victory, and nothing more. Hey, a win's a win.
LOSER: Mark Dantonio's reputation as a disciplinarian. It seems like every season, fans are treated to anecdotes about what a great coach Mark Dantonio is, and how high his standards of player discipline are. "Zero tolerance" are his words, not ours. And it also seems like every season, there's an instance of Dantonio basically punting on discipline with his star players, like with Chris L. Rucker rejoining the team immediately after serving an 8-day jail sentence, or B.J. Cunningham taking part in a massive brawl on campus and missing one game as a result.
With that in mind, then, it's really not surprising to see star DE Will Gholston allowed to stay in a game after he punched Michigan OL Taylor Lewan (who, to be fair, had been holding Gholston's head on the ground earlier in the play). It was Gholston's second personal foul of the afternoon, with the first being a combination of a late hit and a face mask on Denard Robinson. The Big Ten may very well intervene and keep Gholston out for next week's game against Wisconsin, but the fact that Dantonio kept Gholston in the game after both incidents speaks far, far louder than Dantonio's claims of "zero tolerance."
WINNER: The Iowa athletic department. Before today's game, the fans at Kinnick Stadium were all given two-sided cards for one of those old-fashioned card stunts. The end result was really, really cool, and don't be surprised to see more of this type of thing around college football stadiums nationwide in the next few years or so.
LOSER: Iowa's Northwestern demons. For years, the Hawkeyes have struggled mightily against Northwestern, sometimes even at the expense of BCS bowl dreams. All in all, coming into today, Iowa had lost five of its last six against the Wildcats -- and the last four losses featured double-digit Hawkeye leads.
So when Iowa ran up a 17-0 lead on Saturday, then watched the Wildcats string together drive after drive to tie the game up at 17-17, it was only natural for Hawkeye fans to think, "here we go again." Fortunately for the home crowd, Iowa responded with 17 straight points of its own, and held on for the 41-31 victory. The win pushes Iowa to 4-2 (1-1) on the year, and with Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska all looming on the schedule, this win was crucial to the Hawkeyes' hopes for securing another winning season.
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Tags: Adam Jacobi, B.J. Cunningham, Big Ten, Chris L. Rucker, Denard Robinson, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa Card Stunt, Kinnick Stadium Card Stunt, Mark Dantonio, Matt McGloin, Michigan, Michigan State, Nathan Scheelhaase, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rob Bolden, Taylor Lewan, Temple, Week 7, What I Learned, Will Gholston, Winners and Losers, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 5:03 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
MICHIGAN STATE WON. No. 23 Michigan State picked up a huge victory win a 28-14 win over No. 11 Michigan, knocking the Wolverines out of the ranks of the unbeaten. Denard Robinson had his worst day of the season, throwing for 123 yards and rushing for only 42 more while cycling in and out of the lineup with backup QB Devin Gardner.
WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartan defense showed that its dismantling of Ohio State in September was no fluke, holding Michigan to 250 total yards and 3-15 on third downs. Robinson was hounded constantly on passing plays, and Michigan always seemed to be facing 3rd and long. Meanwhile, Edwin Baker was just unstoppable on the ground for MSU, gaining 167 yards on 26 carries.
WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: This game was very much in doubt in the fourth quarter, but when Michigan got the ball back with 4:51 left and a 21-14 deficit, Denard Robinson opened up the drive by throwing a back-breaking interception which was taken to the house by MSU defensive back Isaiah Lewis. Ballgame.
WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: This victory makes it four straight for Michigan State over its in-state rival, and the Spartan seniors are going to be happy ot graduate having never participated in a loss to the Wolverines. More than that, though, MSU is now in prime position to challenge for the Legends Division crown; whoever takes the October 29 game between MSU and Nebraska is probably going to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.
WHAT MICHIGAN LOST: Michigan loses its unblemished record and its spot at No. 11, but it might actually be worse than that. For Michigan fans, it's hard not to feel a little deja vu after this loss; for the last two years, Michigan has raced out to an undefeated record early, only to collapse down the stretch. With the meat of the schedule coming and MSU demonstrating a perfect blueprint on how to beat this year's Wolverine squad, that all might be coming to pass again.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Will Gholston had a fine day for the Spartans, but he probably shouldn't have been on the field for the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, Gholston was flagged for piling on Denard Robinson well after the play was over, then wrenching Robinson's helmet around for good measure. Later in the quarter, Gholston was being manhandled away from the play by Michigan OL Taylor Lewan, and when Gholston made it to his feet, he summarily punched Lewan in the facemask. Famed referee Mike Pereira said on Twitter that he would have ejected Gholston, and it's entirely possible that MSU or the Big Ten will suspend Gholston next week when Wisconsin comes to town.