Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:34 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.
With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.
AP Poll Coaches Poll Harris Poll BCS
(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)
Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC
Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team of the week: Michigan State
Smash-mouth, hard-hitting defense and a solid (but certainly not spectacular) offense but Sparty just can't get much respect. They beat Michigan and held Denard Robinson and his explosive offense to just 250 total yards and 14 points. Edwin Baker, the touchdown maker, ran for 167 yards against an improved Wolverines defense too. We'll really see what they're made of this week but they should be higher than 15th in the AP and Harris Polls after their performance last week. They've proven more than Nebraska or South Carolina and probably should be in the 11-13 range.
Overrated: South Carolina
The Gamecocks are ranked 14th in the AP, 12th in the Coaches and 13th in the Harris Poll. First off, let's say that they lost their quarterback, top offensive player and running back Marcus Lattimore and struggled to beat Mississippi State 14-12. They really haven't beaten anybody convincingly outside of Kentucky before the injuries so it's safe to assume they're probably going to struggle in the near future. Is this a one-loss top 25 team? Sure. Top 15? Ehh...
A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.
Welcome back Jon, it's been a while since you found yourself in this space. We've got several issues with the ballot you turned in, starting with putting Clemson 3rd. In case you didn't watch (and you probably didn't), the Tigers needed a late 4th quarter rally from 18 down to beat Maryland. The Terps also rolled up 468 yards and 45 points on the defense, not exactly top three caliber. It's also concerning to see Stanford ranked behind Oregon and Arkansas at 10th, two spots ahead of a way to highly ranked Auburn team. Wilner doesn't respect Kansas State much either, putting them 20th behind 11 teams with at least one loss. Oh yeah, Texas is still ranked too, as is USC.
What were you thinking? Craig James
Is there a more maligned broadcaster than James? Judging by Twitter, I'd say no. Either way, he's also an AP voter despite the issue of having an active lawsuit against him by a former coach. Perhaps that was what was weighing on his mind when he turned in his AP ballot this week. It's not terrible but there are a few interesting choices. Of course he has SMU ranked 25th but that looks good considering he put Wake Forest 23rd overall. Yes, the Demon Deacons have had a nice season but they lost to Virginia Tech 38-17 this weekend and their other loss is to Syracuse. Not a top 25 resume at all. James also has Oregon 7th, higher than anybody and higher than undefeated Wisconsin.
Tags: ACC, AP Poll, Arkansas, Auburn, BCS, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bryan Fischer, Clemson, Coaches Poll, Craig James, Denard Robinson, Edwin Baker, Harris Poll, Jon Wilner, Kansas State, Kentucky, Marcus Lattimore, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oregon, Pac-12, Poll Attacks, Poll Reactions, Ray Ratto, Scott Wolf, SEC, SMU, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Texas, The Poll Attacks, USC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:39 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.
At this point, the Tigers clearly care more about what's going on in the BCS standings -- where they also rank No. 1, by the slimmest of margins over their Tuscaloosa rivals -- than in the AP or Caoches polls. But since the AP does crown half of the national championship and the Coaches poll is a full third of the BCS formula and the Harris Poll tends to track both traditional polls closely, no one's going to start ignoring the AP or coaches in Baton Rouge (or anywhere else) anytime soon.
As for those polls' treatment of the Tigers this week, it was mostly the same-ol'-same-ol'; LSU is still No. 1 in the media balloting by a relatively comfortable margin, No. 2 in the Coaches behind Oklahoma, and ahead of No. 3 Alabama in that poll by a slim margin. But worth noting this week is that LSU and Alabama have dramatically closed the gap on the Sooners. Despite Oklahoma still commanding the lion's share of first-place votes (31 to LSU's 15 and Alabama's 12), LSU stands only 16 points out of first place, and Alabama only 7 additional points behind LSU. The 23 points separating the top three teams is nearly seven times smaller the margin between the Tide and No. 4 Wisconsin.
In other words: the way LSU and Alabama are annihilating opponents right now, the Sooners had best not put anything less than their best foot forward if they want to stay atop the Coaches.
Aside from the same closing of the gap in the Coaches just described for LSU, it was business-as-usual for the Tide after their 52-7 demolition of Ole Miss. We've said for many weeks that both of the SEC's top dogs deserve to get the nod over the Sooners, since the Tide and Tigers have each been every bit as dominant while playing decisively more difficult schedules than Oklahoma's; it's nice to see the BCS agree.
The Hogs enjoyed a bye week but still moved up a spot in the Coaches, thanks to previous No. 10 Michigan falling from the ranks of the unbeaten. No movement in the AP, though, with teams 1-through-9 all winning. Arkansas remains the second-highest-ranked team with a loss, behind Oregon ... but shouldn't they be ahead of the Ducks? Both teams' only loss came to one of the LSU/Alabama juggernauts, but while the Hogs have defeated two other top-25 teams in Texas A&M and Auburn, Arizona State is the only Duck victory of note. The Hogs should move up.
14/12. SOUTH CAROLINA
The Wolverines' fall results in the Gamecocks moving up a slot in both polls. But we're not sure anyone who watched Carolina survive Mississippi State by the skin of their teeth truly believes the Gamecocks are one of the top 15 teams in the country. Of the seven collective losses suffered by the polls' consensus top 16 teams, Carolina's is the only one that didn't either come 1. to an undefeated team 2. on the road.
With the Tigers' offense still sputtering, the eye test suggests Auburn is ranked about where it deserves to be at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. But does that give Gene Chizik's team enough credit for its schedule-to-date? Between handing South Carolina its only loss so far (and in Columbia, no less), beating two other middle-of-the-pack SEC teams, and only losing to two top-10 teams at those team's places, it's not surprising the BCS computers call Auburn the nation's No. 14 team.
24 (tie)/unranked. GEORGIA
The Bulldogs reenter the AP poll at its very bottom, one notch ahead of Penn State. But while we'd like to give the Dawgs credit for losing their two games to a pair of top-15 teams, we think the Coaches have it right in selecting the Nittany Lions instead; PSU has one fewer loss, their win over Iowa is just as impressive as any on UGA's resume so far, and it's not like the Lions' only loss of the season (a 27-11 defeat to Alabama) isn't entirely understandable.
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:42 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A handy recap of who (and what) really won and really lost in the SEC's Week 6.
WINNER: Trent Richardson. On a day when the SEC failed mightily to produce anything resembling a classic game -- of the league's five matchups, two were won in overpowering fashion by its resident pair of 500-pound gorillas, and the other three were all varying degrees of "slopfest" -- Richardson nonetheless delivered a classic performance. The career highs in yards (183 yards) and touchdowns (four) were nice, but lots of running backs can amass gaudy numbers. What made Richardson's night special was the fury with which he punished Ole Miss's defenders on his runs between the tackles, and then the startling elusiveness he flashed once he found the open field; this juke is going to be a staple of highlight reels for weeks to come. The statistic that best reflects Richardson's night? The 11.2 yards he averaged across his relatively meager 19 touches.
With Marcus Lattimore going down with an injury today (more on this in a moment) and Tyrann Mathieu having a quiet day by his standards despite the total domination shown by his LSU secondary (1 pass broken up, 1 tackle, nothing in special teams), Richardson is now the SEC's far-and-away most viable Heisman candidate. And if the Ole Miss game is any indication, his campaign might just be getting warmed up.
LOSER: the SEC East. Thanks to the decline of Mississippi State, the East's record vs. the West isn't quite as lopsided as it was last year. But that doesn't mean the top of the division is any stronger than it was last year; based on the evidence of Saturday, it's even worse. South Carolina scored a total of two touchdowns while wheezing their way to a four-point win over a State team in offensive disarray. Georgia collected four turnovers from Vanderbilt and outgained the 'Dores by nearly 100 yards and still came within one Hail Mary off a receiver's hands from losing in Nashville. And Florida gained all of 194 yards against the nation's 105th-ranked defense at Auburn. Sure, the East champion won't have a prayer against LSU or Alabama, but with two of its title contenders having already lost to Gene Chizik's team and the third barely any less convincing-looking, the East champion might not even be any better than fifth-place in the West. Still.
WINNER: Ted Roof. After his Tiger defense was eviscerated for more than 1,150 yards in just two weeks by Mississippi State and Clemson, Roof was the most unpopular person on the Plains this side of Harvey Updyke. But thanks to the rapid maturation of players like sophomore defensive end Corey Lemonier (three tackles-for-loss, two sacks, four QB hurries vs. Florida) and sophomore cornerback Chris Davis (five tackles, one pass breakup), Roof's unit suddenly looks in much better shape than celebrated coordinating counterpart Gus Malzahn's--and was largely responsible for both Auburn's win in South Carolina and over Florida Saturday. The Gators' quarterbacking woes no doubt helped, but short, quick running backs like Chris Rainey have given Roof's defenses fits in the past. In the present, Rainey was bottled up to the tune of just 33 yards on 16 carries.
LOSER: South Carolina's offense. Let's get the obvious out of the way first: if Lattimore's injury keeps him out for any extended length of time, that's a massive, massive blow for the Gamecocks. Players of the big sophomore's ability simply aren't replaceable in midseason (if ever), and Carolina doesn't have much depth behind Lattimore to begin with; his substitute against the Bulldogs was true freshman Brandon Wilds, who entered the game with all of eight career carries.
But there's even more worries for Steve Spurrier past his running back situation. Connor Shaw's explosive performance against Kentucky looked like a mirage after he threw for an average of just 5.5 yards on his 28 attempts, with two interceptions; his banged-up offensive line opened holes for just 2.6 yards a carry, two weeks after Lattimore averaged less than 4 vs. Auburn; and Alshon Jeffery continues to be nearly invisible, collecting the game-winning TD vs. State but just four other receptions for all of 20 yards. If Spurrier can't fix things -- and likely do it without Lattimore -- his team may not win again until the Citadel visits on Nov. 19.
WINNER: Rueben Randle. Is anyone happier about Jarrett Lee's late-career renaissance than LSU's No. 1 receiver? The former five-star struggled to make an impact his first two years in Baton Rouge, but with Lee at the controls Randle has become one of the league's biggest deep threats. After 5 more receptions for 86 yards and a score against Tennessee, Randle is averaging an even 19 yards per reception--the best mark in the SEC for any receiver with more than 20 catches for the year.
LOSERS: Anyone who tuned away from Georgia-Vanderbilt. Though it was too sloppy by half to qualify as a good game, the ending of Bulldogs-Commodores was as wild as any game in the SEC this season. Up 33-28, the Dawgs drove deep into Vandy territory and looked to have the game salted away before Aaron Murray was picked off by Casey Hayward at the Vandy 2 with 2:30 to play. But Jordan Rodgers was only able to drive the 'Dores to their own 25 before being picked off himself with 1:10 left. The Bulldogs weren't able to run out the entire clock, though, and had their punt blocked, almost returned for a game-winning touchdown, and eventually recovered by Vandy at the Bulldog 20 with 7 seconds left. Rodgers' Hail Mary hit a falling Chris Boyd in the hands, but Boyd was unable to bring it in, and one final desperation play fell short ... after which Vandy head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham nearly sparked a brawl by angrily yelling at each other at midfield.
Not a bad bit of drama for a game the few people who were watching potentially turned off once Georgia went up 33-21 early in the fourth quarter.
LOSERS: Gamblers who took South Carolina to cover the 3.5 points against Mississippi State. The Gamecocks' voluntary safety on the final play of the game -- reducing a four-point margin to two and flipping the result of the game against the spread -- cost worldwide bettors as much as $30 million, according to one report. We're skeptical the numbers for your run-of-the-mill SEC game run quite that high, but we'd still advise Spurrier not to walk down any dark alleys this week.
WINNERS: Hearts belonging to fans of Alabama and LSU. While fans in Columbia and Auburn and Athens and Starkville have all had their turns reaching for the blood pressure medication (Auburn's more than once), those in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge haven't had to worry. After winning their two games Saturday by a combined 90-14 score, the Tide and Tigers have now won their eight total SEC games by an average score of 37-8. The closest call? LSU's 19-6 "escape" at Mississippi State, which at the time was viewed as a disappointment for the Bulldogs.
Now, we're wondering if maybe they ought to put up a plaque to commemorate the achievement.
Tags: Aaron Murray, Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Arkansas, Auburn, Brandon Wilds, Casey Hayward, Chris Boyd, Chris Davis, Chris Rainey, Clemson, Connor Shaw, Corey Lemonier, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Gus Malzahn, Harvey Updyke, James Franklin, James Franklin the Vanderbilt coach not the Missouri quarterback, Jarrett Lee, Jerry Hinnen, Jordan Rodgers, Kentucky, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Ruden Randle, SEC, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, Ted Roof, Tennessee, The Citadel, Todd Grantham, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu, Vanderbilt, Winners and Losers
Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 12:05 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Heisman candidate Marcus Lattimore left the game for South Carolina late in the second half of their win over Mississippi State. And he may not return for some time.
The initial diagnosis from the locker room is that Lattimore has suffered a left knee sprain. Steve Spurrier told reporters after the game that Lattimore's injury "could be serious" and that the sophomore "could be out a while." Lattimore is scheduled for an MRI either Saturday night or Sunday morning once the team returns to Columbia.
Via the Twitter feed of CBSSports.com Gamecock RapidReporter Josh Kendall, here's Lattimore leaving the State road team's locker room:
Lattimore was injured on a 2nd-and-4 snap on the Gamecocks' game-winning touchdown drive. Bruce Ellington took a snap as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation, with Lattimore used as a blocker on the right side of the field. As Ellington ran by, a Bulldog fell and rolled into the back of Lattimore's leg.
Lattimore was immediately taken to the trainers' table and surrounded by teammates and his mother. He eventually left the field on crutches.
Freshman Brandon Wilds was used as the Gamecocks' replacement tailback following Lattimore's injury. He finished with 8 yards on five carries.
Lattimore scored the Gamecocks' first touchdown of the game but had largely struggled against the Bulldogs, gaining only 39 yards on 17 carries to that point.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 8:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Because in the end, the lackluster Gamecock offense threw away one fewer scoring opportunity than the lackluster Mississippi State offense. After driving 69 yards in 10 plays for a 7-0 first quarter lead, the Bulldogs took 18 snaps in Carolina territory over the rest of the game, spread over five drives ... and turned all those opportunities into a total of three points. Paticularly damaging were a pair of second-half possessions, one of which yielded a first down at the Carolina 31 and the other a first-and-goal at the 5. The first ended with a missed 40-yard Derek DePasquale field goal attempt, the second with only three points after multiple missed passes into the end zone.
In a game in which the two teams finished only five yards apart in total yardage -- 294 for the Bulldogs, 289 for the Gamecocks -- that Shaw was able to hoist his pass towards a target like Jeffery while Tyler Russell had no such red zone help made all the difference.
WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Not until one final missed opportunity went by the boards for State. Russell enjoyed a decent (if not exactly "good") game in his first start of the season for Dan Mullen, completing 11-of-29 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown, several third-down conversions, and just one batted interception ... until with less than two minutes to play and his team on the Gamecock 32, Russell launched a hopeless airball which safety D.J. Swearinger duly intercepted. Ballgame.
WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: The spoils of victory may be overshadowed by the costs if Lattimore misses any length of time with his injury, but a loss to the flailing likes of the Bulldogs would have all but ended the Gamecocks' hopes of going to Atlanta. As it stands, Steve Spurrier still has a lot of work to do offensively (and possibly without his greatest weapon) to get his team into the kind of shape necessary to beat Florida or Arkansas. But they're still alive.
WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE LOST: As with Auburn and Georgia, another game against a beatable opponent--and this time at home. A winning regular season looks to be out of reach with the likes of Alabama and the Razorbacks still on the schedule, and an upset vs. Kentucky or Ole Miss would now leave the Bulldogs home for the postseason.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Depending on which sportsbook you placed your wagers at, Carolina came into this game a 2.5 to 3.5-point favorite. That didn't matter with the Gamecocks sitting on their 14-10 lead and State out of timeouts at game's end. But with four seconds remaining and the Gamecocks snapping the ball on fourth down, Spurrier elected to have Shaw run out the clock by running out the back of the end zone from the 9. That safety pushed the final margin to 2--and made any gamblers (or CBSSports.com Experts) who had picked the Gamecocks to cover sudden, stunning losers. Rest assured the Gamecock fans who had their money on the home team will have a few choice words for the Ol' Ball Coach after that one.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:45 pm
Remember how nice the weather was last week? It might be even better Saturday. Temps are still getting cooler, yes, but there's sun basically everywhere, and we will tolerate no complaints about 60s and sunshine over the majority of the country. Not when we all know what arctic hell awaits in the coming months. As always, all times eastern.
No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State, 12:00, East Lansing, MI: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Indiana at No. 4 Wisconsin, 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, partly cloudy
No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00, College Station, TX: Upper 60s, clear
No. 15 South Carolina at Mississippi State, 12:20, Starkville, MS: Upper 60s, clear
No. 1 LSU at Tennessee, 3:30, Knoxville, TN: Upper 60s, clear
No. 12 Georgia Tech at Virginia, 3:30, Charlottesville, VA: Upper 60s, clear
Ohio State at No. 16 Illinois, 3:30, Champaign, IL: Low 60s, clear
No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas, 3:30, Austin, TX: Low 80s, clear
No. 2 Alabama at Ole Miss, 6:00, Oxford, MS: Mid 70s, clear
No. 5 Boise State at Colorado State, 6:00, Fort Collins, CO: Low 80s, clear
No. 19 Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 6:30, Winston-Salem, NC: Upper 60s, clear
No. 8 Clemson at Maryland, 7:00, College Park, MD: Upper 50s, clear
Florida at No. 24 Auburn, 7:00, Auburn, AL: Upper 60s, clear
No. 17 Kansas State at Texas Tech, 7:00, Lubbock, TX: Upper 70s, clear
No. 7 Stanford at Washington State, 7:30, Pullman, WA: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Late night kickoffs
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas, 9:15, Lawrence, KS: Upper 60s, clear
No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon, 10:15, Eugene, OR: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Kickoff Weather, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, MWC, Non-BCS, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Pac-12, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Tailgate Weather, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington State, Weather Updates, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 3:40 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.
This week we're offering a menu that is a bit low on carbs. It's not that we don't have plenty of interesting choices to offer you this weekend, but there isn't exactly a must-have on the list. Which I suppose is a good thing considering all the big meals we've all been ingesting the last few weeks and the pounds they've packed on, we could all afford to eat a bit more salad this weekend.
#23 Michigan State vs. #11 Michigan - ESPN 12pm ET
This game has it all: rivalry, firepower, and consequence. Michigan State is looking to continue its reign in this series, having won the last 3 in the series. Michigan will need to get Heisman candidate Denard Robinson rolling and light up the scoreboard; that hasn't been much of a problem for UM this year. At stake is probably the best shot at challenging Nebraska for the Legends Division crown; the loser, meanwhile, will need a lot of help in the race. - Adam Jacobi
#21 Texas A&M vs. #20 Baylor - FX 12pm ET
Robert Griffin is appointment television no matter who Baylor is playing, but considering that Texas A&M is statistically the worst passing defense in the country, this one could be really fun. Of course, Texas A&M isn't exactly a slouch either, as Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have done a good job of covering up that secondary's mistakes on offense. This one could be a pretty nice shootout to start your day with. - Tom Fornelli
Mississippi State vs. #15 South Carolina - SEC Network 12:21pm ET
Is Connor Shaw for real or not? The Gamecocks' now-unquestioned starting quarterback looked the part against Kentucky, but a veteran Bulldog secondary playing at home in Starkville is a much tougher test. And if Tyler Russell's breakout second half against UAB was more than illusion, State could have put some of their offensive woes behind them as well. Whichever quarterback proves last week's performance wasn't a fluke should come away with the victory. - Jerry Hinnen
Tennessee vs. #1 LSU - CBS 3:30pm ET
For the second week in a row, the Tiger defense gets to face a backup quarterback making his first start of the season. The Vols' Matt Simms has a lot of advantages Florida's Jacoby Brissett didn't, though: he'll be at home; he's a senior who started eight games for Tennessee in 2010; and he saw the LSU defense up close and personal playing against them last year. Too bad the Vols don't have the running game to keep the Tigers from teeing off on Simms all the same. - JH
#22 Texas vs. #6 Oklahoma State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
Did you know that Mack Brown's Texas teams have never lost a game following the Red River Shootout? That record is likely going to be in serious jeopardy with the Oklahoma State offense coming to town, but if the Longhorns can manage to keep Brandon Weeden in check and pull off a win, it'd be a very large step in returning the program to where it once stood. Or you should watch just to see if Oklahoma State can finally hit the century mark. - TF
Virginia vs. #12 Georgia Tech - ESPNU 3:30pm ET
The last time Virginia took the field, they needed overtime to steal a 21-20 victory over Idaho. With an off week to get healthy and prepare for the Yellow Jackets' option attack, the Cavs defense will try to live up to their 311.8 yards allowed per game (ranked third in the ACC). Tech coach Paul Johnson criticized the decision making of quarterback Tevin Washington in last week's 21-16 win over Maryland, and cited a lack of "continuity" as a reason for their uncharacteristically low score. Look for Georgia Tech to try and use this game to get their methodical attack back on track. It might be more than a young Virginia defense can handle, even with a week to prepare. - Chip Patterson
#16 Illinois vs. Ohio State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
The Illini look to continue their tear through a stunned and unsuspecting slate of opponents and run their record to 7-0. In Illinois' way is mighty Ohio State, who's got the talent to win the battle up front on both sides of the ball. If OSU doesn't have Braxton Miller at 100% after last week's ankle injury, though, can the vaunted Buckeye rushing attack pick up the slack and turn drives into touchdowns? - AJ
Maryland vs. #8 Clemson - ESPNU 6:30pm ET
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd wasn't wearing hip pads for "swag reasons." Now he has to shed his hip fashion style in order to protect his strained hip against Maryland. Boyd may have been carted off the field last week against Boston College, but he'll be lining up under center on Saturday night in Byrd Stadium. Maryland, on the other hand, won't make a decision regarding their starting quarterback until game time. Starter Danny O'Brien was benched in the 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech in favor of freshman C.J. Brown, who ran for 124 yards in just one half of action against the Yellow Jackets. But Brown struggled throwing the ball, so it will be interesting to see what head coach Randy Edsall decides to do. The last time Maryland played a primetime game at home, they wrapped themselves in the state flag and pulled out a victory. Tune in to see what fashion statement they make this week. - CP
#24 Auburn vs. Florida - ESPN 7pm ET
In a matchup of teams with passing games that will be lucky to reach "mediocre" -- the Gators thanks to John Brantley's injury, the Tigers due to Barrett Trotter's ongoing struggles -- the winner should prove to be whichever team can get their pair of star tailbacks on track. With Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on one side and Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb on the other, backfield head-to-heads don't get a whole lot better than this. - JH
Washington State vs. #7 Stanford - FX 7:30pm ET
The Cardinal have the country's best quarterback in Andrew Luck and the conference's toughest defense (just 10.6 points per game allowed) so this should be a relatively easy road trip for the Cardinal. Head coach David Shaw will likely want to establish the running game this week after tilting heavily in favor of the pass last week against Colorado. The question probably isn't if Stanford will win, but by how much. Washington State showed they've got some fight in them last week before coming up short against UCLA. - Bryan Fischer
Kansas vs. #3 Oklahoma - ESPN 2 9:15pm ET
This is a pretty late start for a game that's being played in Kansas, but I have to believe it's some kind of strategy. Maybe the Jayhawks are hoping that by starting the game later, nobody will be watching the Sooners offense destroy a Kansas defense that has been shredded by everybody it's faced this season. This one likely won't be competitive for very long, but who knows? - TF
LATE NIGHT SNACK
#9 Oregon vs. #18 Arizona State - ESPN 10:15pm ET
They're still the conference king until knocked off their perch but Arizona State will present a stiff test for Oregon this weekend. The Ducks are not as good as they were last year on defense and will be missing star running back LaMichael James but Kenjon Barner and freshman DeAnthony Thomas are able replacements for him on offense. The atmosphere at Autzen at night should be a big advantage but expect a tough Sun Devils defense to force a few turnovers and make things interesting. - BF
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Andrew Luck, Arizona State, Auburn, Barrett Trotter, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Boston College, Brandon Weeden, Braxton Miller, Bryan Fischer, C.J. Brown, Chip Patterson, Chris Rainey, Christine Michael, Clemson, Colorado, Connor Shaw, Cyrus Gray, Danny O'Brien, David Shaw, DeAnthony Thomas, Denard Robinson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Idaho, Illinois, Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Demps, Jerry Hinnen, John Brantley, Kansas, Kenjon Barner, Kentucky, LaMichael James, LSU, Mack Brown, Maryland, Matt Simms, Michael Dyer, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Onterio McCalebb, Oregon, Pac-12, Paul Johnson, Randy Edsall, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Tajh Boyd, Tennessee, Tevin Washington, Texas, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Russell, UAB, Virginia, Washington State
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 6:36 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
I've made a huge mistake.
The last few weeks, as I was clawing my way back into the race and approaching Woman, ready to pass her, I got overconfident. Sometimes the problem with being Man and being awesome is that it gets hard to control the ego once in a while. I did a terrible job of this last week, and because of it, I'm back in second place. I've now dropped a game behind Woman in the race, but it's okay. All I have to do is spew some cliches and I figure I'll be right back in this.
You know, going to take this competition one game at a time. Give them all 110%. So let's get to it for this week.
Michigan State (-3 1/2) vs Michigan - Saturday, 12pm (All times Eastern)Man - This is a tough one to call. Michigan has played really well so far this season, but since 2008, Michigan State has had the Wolverines number. Combine that with the fact that the game is being played in East Lansing, and it makes me lean towards Sparty. And as I'm leaning, I remember that the Michigan defense has improved a lot stronger than any of us expected, and I remember how Michigan State's offense looked against Notre Dame. So I'm taking the points and saying that Michigan takes the state back on Saturday. Pick: Michigan
Woman - "Thank goodness, life at Michigan is back to normal, more Bo and Lloyd than Rich and Rod. But that doesn't mean no bumps in the road. Today's game is that bump. Spartans will win. Not as certain they'll cover." Pick: Michigan
Machine - It's a clean sweep as The Machine sees Michigan pulling off what looks to be quite the thriller. Fitzgerald Toussaint scores a touchdown in the final minutes to tie the game, and then scores a couple more touchdowns as Michigan wins 41-37 in double overtime. Pick: Michigan
Texas A&M (-9 1/2) vs. Baylor - Saturday, 12pmMan - This one seems so simple to me that I'm actually a bit scared of it. Like Vegas knows something that the rest of us don't. Baylor and Robert Griffin have been lighting secondaries up all season long, and Texas A&M's secondary has been lit up all season long. I don't know if Baylor wins, but I have to think it covers that spread. Pick: Baylor
Woman - "Baylor will exact revenge on the field as well as off for the Aggies SEC defection. (Based on this secret video of the last Big 12 meeting between the schools' attorneys, it's gonna get real, y'all.)" Pick: Baylor
Machine - The Machine sees Texas A&M putting together its most complete game of the season as the Aggies take care of Baylor 38-21. Pick: Texas A&M
Mississippi State vs. South Carolina (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 12:21pmMan - Sure, Connor Shaw isn't playing Kentucky this week, so life may not be as easy for him replacing Stephen Garcia this time around, but he still has Marcus Lattimore to turn around and give the ball to. Combine that with the fact that Mississippi State's offense has looked anything but potent this year, and I have to go with the Gamecocks. Pick: South Carolina
Woman - "Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier dumps his troubled QB mid-season, then bans a reporter for not towing the party line. What the Gamecocks got is failure to communicate." Pick: Mississippi State
Machine - Bring back Stephen Garcia! The Bulldogs roll 37-13. Pick: Mississippi State
Tennessee vs. LSU (-15 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Tennessee doesn't have Tyler Bray and it has to face the LSU defense? My prediction here is that Phil Simms is going to be really mad at Gary Danielson on Sunday. Pick: LSU
Woman - "Still riding Miles' Magical Mystery Tour. (Vols' loss at home last week to Georgia makes the ride easier.)" Pick: LSU
Machine - The Machine seems to have more faith in Matt Simms than either Woman and I do, but it's still not enough as LSU wins 28-17. Pick: Tennessee
Texas vs. Oklahoma State (-7 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Texas was a bit exposed against Oklahoma last week, and I'm pretty sure that Oklahoma State noticed how well Landry Jones performed against that Longhorns defense. I see no reason why Brandon Weeden can't do the same this week, and although I feel that Texas will have more success on offense, it won't be able to keep up with the Cowboys. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman - "Here's a stat from Burnt Orange Nation: In thirteen years at Texas, Mack Brown has never lost the game after the Red River Shootout. Between that and points..." Pick: Texas
Machine - The Machine sees a lot of angry Texas fans in the future. Oklahoma State tears Austin apart, winning 48-20. Pick: Oklahoma State
Illinois (-3 1/2) vs. Ohio State - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Is there an Option C? I mean, I either have to rely on an Ohio State offense that has looked terrible for most of the season to finally put together a complete game, or I have to give up points with a team that is coached by Ron Zook. Illinois has only beaten Ohio State once under Zook, but that was the year the team ended up in the Rose Bowl. Well, Illinois isn't going to the Rose Bowl this year. Pick: Ohio State
Woman - "Illinois is 6-0 with 2 division wins. Ohio State is .500 with two division losses. So this should be easy. But I'm just waiting for that fateful day when Illinois pops a Zook. Like, this Saturday." Pick: Ohio State
Machine - Well it looks like Illinois' unbeaten season is coming to an end this weekend, as The Machine has Ohio State winning as well, 31-17. Pick: Ohio State
Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech (-7 1/2) - Saturday, 6:30pmMan - I haven't seen a whole lot of Wake Forest this season, but I have seen enough from Virginia Tech to be a bit leery about giving up over a touchdown on the road. I'm not sure if the Deacons knock off another ACC favorite this weekend, but I think they can keep it close. Pick: Wake Forest
Woman - "Wake Forest has quietly laid down four impressive wins in a row, and is 3-0 in the ACC. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech,1-1 in the ACC, was last seen playing for its life against NFL farm club the Hurricanes. Upset alert: The Hokies aren't going to see Wake Forest coming. (For the sake of illustration, let's say Virginia Tech is the TV news producer and Wake Forest is the turkey.)" Pick: Wake Forest
Machine - Sorry, Wake Forest, but The Machine does not believe in Cinderella. Virginia Tech 48-10. Pick: Virginia Tech
Texas Tech (-3 1/2) vs. Kansas State - Saturday, 7pmMan - As I said last week, I've become a firm believer in Bill Snyder and what the Wildcats are doing. Until they let me down, I'm not picking against them, especially if I'm getting points. Throw in the fact that Texas Tech has lost Eric Stephens for the season, and it only makes me more confident in this pick. Pick: Kansas State
Woman - "Texas Tech's at home and out to avenge a painful loss to the Aggies last week. Kansas State has yet to experience the agony of defeat this season. You're about to land in a tangled heap at the bottom of a ski slope, Wildcats." Pick: Texas Tech
Machine - The Machine sees Kansas State's unbeaten season coming to an end this weekend, but it has no knowledge of the Kansas State bus being covered in anything. Texas Tech wins 31-17. Pick: Texas Tech
Auburn (-1 1/2) vs. Florida - Saturday, 7pmMan - I'm not comfortable at all with this pick, as neither team has done much to instill any confidence the last few weeks. Yes, Florida wasn't exactly facing the easiest competition in the world, but I'm not sure either quarterback is capable of taking full advantage of the Auburn secondary. That being said, I don't have much faith in the Auburn offense either. So I guess I'm just going with homefield advantage. Pick: Auburn
Woman - "I looked for something trending in either of these teams and none of it's very good. The one thing that stands out is how Florida couldn't put more than one touchdown on the board either of the last two weeks. That doesn't speak too well for its QB-by-committee approach and I can't see how that'll change in a hostile Jordan-Hare." Pick: Auburn
Machine - Chris Rainey saves the day for Florida with a 73-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give the Gators a 27-21 win. Pick: Florida
Oregon (-15 1/2) vs. Arizona State - Saturday 10:15pmMan - This game would normally be easy for me to pick because, aside from Stanford, I just don't think there's anybody else in the Pac-12 that can hang with the Ducks. The problem is that Arizona State kept things close enough against Oregon last season, but that game was played in Tempe, and Autzen Stadium is a different beast entirely. I also worry about the absence of LaMichael James, but the Ducks have enough weapons on offense and know how to use all of them that James' absence may not be a major problem. So I'm going with the Ducks, even if I had to think about it a little. Pick: Oregon
Woman - "Forget football, who's going to win the Style Bowl? Two fashion dynamos go padded shoulder to shoulder this weekend and like everyone knows, in football, as in fashion, one week you're in and the next, you're OUT. Oregon has shown an ability to transform even basic black into something original, and last week's eye-popping green with the retro duck made everything old seem new again. ASU, on the other hand, is stuck with a hopelessly dated color palette and when they tried doing something different with black? Well, auf wiedersehen, ASU. But before you air kiss Heidi, I'll take the points." Pick: Arizona State
Machine - There are going to be a lot of points scored in Eugene on Saturday night, but The Machine sees the Ducks getting the majority of them. Oregon wins 55-38. Pick: Oregon
StandingsSeason Record (Last Week)
1. Woman 41-24 (7-3)
2. Man 40-25 (6-4)
3. Machine 34-31 (5-5)
Tags: ACC, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Bill Snyder, Bo Schembechler, Brandon Weeden, Chris Rainey, Chris Simms, Connor Shaw, Eric Stephens, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Florida, Gary Danielson, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas State, LaMichael James, Landry Jones, Lloyd Carr, LSU, Mack Brown, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Marcus Lattimore, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Phil Simms, Rich Rodriguez, Robert Griffin, Ron Zook, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Bray, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest