Saturday, September 17, 2005

"There's Something About Charlie"

This is a tough game to predict, if only because Michigan State hasn't played anybody yet this year. Is it the MSU team that got crushed lowly Penn State at the end of the year, or the squad that blew out then-undefeated Wisconsin and traded touchdowns with Big Ten champ Michigan for three overtimes? Drew Stanton's rolling, but it's against Hawaii and Kent State. It's very possible Brady would have those kind of numbers if he hadn't spent his first two games at Heinz Field and the Big House.

Normally, I would really buy into the "Letdown Game" argument. Despite coaches' best efforts, a team will generally come out overly cocky and way too confident for their next game after beating a big opponent (ie, Michigan), get down early and never be able to reach the emotional point where they can match the intensity of their opponent. Somehow, I don't see Coach Weis letting that happen. Do you know who never loses Letdown Games?

The Patriots. And since we're the Patriots West, I think that qualifies us to never lose Letdown Games. Charlie's been quite adamant about how he won't let the distractions of a home football weekend get to his team, including calling the annual Friday pep rallies "a dog n' pony show". Do you think the team hasn't heard this, and that if someone misses a block on the opening kick-off, they'll immediately be pulled as an example to the rest of the team?

I'm going to make this pick based on the fact we won in East Lansing last year, and despite the fact MSU is hammering the Golden Flashes and Rainbow Warriors of the world, their defense isn't ready for D-Walk. Drew Stanton will get his numbers, I have no doubt. He's mobile and he's accurate, but the defense will lock down in the red zone again and our offense will be so excited for their home debut that after some hiccups early, we'll be getting our workout for the week after the amount of push-ups we do.

Go Irish, Beat Spartans.

Irish 38, Spartans 27

Charlie smiles after another Irish victory, eager for the praise and free dinners the alumni will be tossing at him all night.

Other action you might want to look into today:

Ol' Rocky Top at Florida, 7:00 CST - Urban Meyer's first big test of the season and Patrick and I's first official big bet of the season after the South Bend Police Department ruined our pool last night. The Gators' decided they were going to show off their running game last week after Leak's passing exhibition in the opener against Wyoming, but they won't be able to gain much ground against the Vols if they just line 'em up and go. I'd be more enthusiastic for Tennessee if they weren't trying the two-quarterback system (Does this ever work? Ever?), but I'm getting thirteen points, and since I think the Vols are winning outright, it won't be a problem.

Boston College @ Florida State, 6:45 CST - I really hope BC just rolls over the 'Noles, even though I realize it's some sort of blasphemy saying that as a Notre Dame student. My allegiance of hate goes back much deeper against Bobby Bowden's team than it does the newest member of the ACC, so here's hoping the Golden Eagles make quite the splash. If they can contain the two-headed monster at FSU tailback, they will.

Purdue at Arizona, 9:00 CST - Arizona sucks, but Purdue struggled at home last week against Akron. Considering their schedule, we won't know if the Boilermakers are for real, if they keep winning out, until October 1st when we come a knocking. Of course, if they lose before then, it makes the "Overrated Team With Easy Schedule" label a lot easier to attach.

Miami (FL) at Clemson, 2:30 CST - Clemson somehow won in Miami last year, and I can imagine the 'Canes would like some revenge something fierce. But, unless one of Miami's offensive guards block somebody, there will be no way for Kyle Wright to get the ball out to any of his talent wide-outs. Throw in the fact Tyrone Moss is banged up, and it could be a long second game for the freshman starter. I'm going to say Clemson holds serve at home, quickly followed by Hell freezing over.

Arkansas at USC, 9:15 CST: - It's going to be hard, but we all need to root for the Trojans until mid-October. I don't want a one-loss USC team coming in here, despite the fact they'd still be USC, they'd still have Bush/Leinart and they'd still be the defending champs. Considering Vandy beat the Hogs last week, I'm thinking USC won't be having much trouble.

Other Games O' Interest: Oregon State at Louisville, Fresno State at Oregon, UConn @ Georgia Tech, Central Michigan @ Penn State (just kidding), Pitt @ Nebraska (0-3, Diamond Dave?!?!), Northwestern @ Arizona State.

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