Sunday, October 23, 2005

BlogPoll Week Nine: Yawn

Mauling the Mormons

Things were a little nerve-racking to start, and who knows what would have happened if MoSto’s fumble hadn’t trickled out of bounds deep in Irish territory, but Brady put on a passing clinic against an overmatched Cougar defense and we ended the Stadium losing streak. On a not-so-good note, however, our defense took about seventeen steps back from the USC game.

I’m not sure if Tommy Z tackled a guy square the entire game, and it wasn’t just him who was whiffing on the BYU ball-carriers. Our safety play as a whole was terrible, as the middle of the field was open to John Beck anytime he decided to throw up the seam. Our corners missed tackles on the quick passes to the wide-outs and if it wasn’t for some timely blitzing and solid defensive line play (Ronald Talley!) for stretches that got the ball back into Brady’s golden hands, this might have been a severe letdown game, because the crowd definitely wasn’t into it and the defense had seriously regressed.


Prancy Pants

Everyone on campus loves D-Walk. We love the way he beat Michigan last year, we love his enormous head and we love his dad, but he’s been less than stellar at times this year. After watching Tyrell Sutton, Kenny Irons and Joseph Addai blast through people in the Northwestern/Michigan State and LSU/Auburn game yesterday, I wish we had a running back that did that: Get the ball, look at his potential holes, choose one immediately and then burst through it.

It would be different if D-Walk had the Barry Sanders speed that meant for every time he danced around in the backfield and got caught for a loss, he’d turn three more runs upfield for a big gain. He doesn’t have breakaway speed and against Ol’ Rocky Top’s defensive line, he’s definitely not going to be able to run between the tackles. Maybe he’ll get a little more physical as time goes on, but methinks James Aldridge will be getting some carries as a freshman next year.

(Also, if you were under the impression BYU’s 3-3-5 was hard to run against, either due to someone misinforming you or just by looking at our game in Provo last year, BYU’s last three opponents – Colorado State, New Mexico and San Diego State- rushed for an average of 172 yards against them, with CSU only getting 30 in that mix. Our number from Saturday, despite the fact I realize we weren’t attempting to establish the run in any way: 44, and that’s with Asaph Schwapp’s 27 yards in garbage time.)

Rocky Top

Two weeks until the Volunteers come to town, and this game will rely entirely on our defense just getting a few stops and not giving them anything easy. For an offense that’s struggled as bad as Phil Fulmer’s has this year, making them earn a consistent 10-play drive will be a big advantage. With their front seven, we won’t be able to run the ball much, but with the way the passing game is going, that doesn’t seem like it’ll be much of a problem if the offensive line doesn’t let the big guys come crashing in on Brady every play.

Fear The Wildcats!

After Northwestern made Drew “Classiest Guy In The World” Stanton and the rest of the Spartans look ridiculous yesterday, they kept their tie for the Big Ten lead, sharing one loss with Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Sadly for the Wildcats, they still have to face Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State. While they get the first two at home, that game in Columbus can’t make anyone sporting purple very comfortable.

If you asked me to pick the Big Ten champ for you right now, I would say Penn State, and with some degree of confidence. Their schedule breaks pretty nicely, getting Wisconsin at home, along with Purdue, and ending the season at Michigan State. Granted, that MSU game could be tricky, but they can’t stop anybody, so Michael Robinson should be able to put up some points. Purdue is a joke, and since Penn State’s run defense stifled Laurence Maroney, there’s no reason to think they won’t do the same thing against Wisconsin, whose defense is about as good as Michigan State’s.

It also goes well for them because the tie-breakers all fall into their hands. They already beat Northwestern and Ohio State, and they can knock Wisconsin to two losses with a win in Beaver Stadium. Should it end up going to the out-of-conference records, Penn State’s cupcake September will give them the advantage over the Wildcats and Buckeyes, who lost games to Arizona State and Texas. Obviously, things will not go as smoothly the rest of the season as they did against Illinois last night, but the Nittany Lions have put themselves into a good position.

Northwestern to the BCS?

Bowl Gazing

Pat Forde is already writing the Longhorns into the Rose Bowl, and while the numbers speak towards that, I can’t help but wonder if things might go south for them should Texas Tech and/or Ohio State fall off the map. Imagine Va Tech beating a two-loss Miami team, a one-loss Florida State team and a two to three loss Boston College team over the next month and a half, which will blow away anything the Longhorns can hope to achieve.

It’s not like its Texas’ fault, because they scheduled the game at Ohio State and could probably safely assume that somebody – anybody- in the Big Twelve would step up as a national contender, but Oklahoma and TAMU fell flat on their faces, while Nebraska, Mizzou, Iowa State and Colorado all failed to step up in any sort of way. If Texas Tech can end up 10-1, Mack Brown wouldn’t have to rally for many votes, but when you consider the Red Raiders’ best win so far is the narrow-victory over Nebraska, those computer numbers might get smaller and smaller if Va Tech can win out in a tough ACC.

As far as the Irish go, if we can win out (so basically, if we beat Tennessee and don’t totally collapse against Navy, Syracuse or Stanford), the BCS would love to have us. If Texas goes to the Rose Bowl, then it’s an interesting toss-up of whether we’d be facing the ACC champ in the Orange or the Big Ten champ in the Fiesta. From what I understand, if the Fiesta Bowl loses their Big 12 Champ, then they get the first at-large pick, and would most certainly take us and our money-spending alumni. I’m not really happy with that, unless we end up playing Penn State, because I’d really like to spend New Years on South Beach watching Rob and Brendan die, then rekindling the rivalry with the Hurricanes.

CBS's predictions.
CFN's predictions.

Week Nine Poll

Very, very little in the way of changes at the top. 15-25 is a clusterfuck of the greatest degree. If you have any idea how Northwestern or West Virginia would fare against Auburn or Tennessee, please enlighten me, because the only thing I’m sure of this week is that Texas Tech is getting dropped. I realize they outgained the number two team in the country, but when you look at their “Quality Win” list, it pretty much doesn’t exist. They don’t even really have a quality loss – ala us against USC, Fresno State vs. Oregon, WVU vs. Va Tech – to hang their hat on. Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself.

1) Southern Cal
2) Virginia Tech
3) Texas
4) Georgia
5) Alabama
6) Notre Dame
7) Miami (Florida)
8) Louisiana State
10) Penn State
11) Florida State
12) Oregon
13) Ohio State
14) Boston College
15) West Virginia
16) Northwestern
17) Wisconsin
18) Florida
19) Louisville
20) Auburn
21) Tennessee
22) Fresno State
23) Texas Tech
24) TCU
25) Michigan

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