A View from the Sideline

Plenty of eyes will be on Norman, OK, where Landry Jones makes his first start for OU. But, the focus for the nation will be on Columbus where #3 USC takes on #8 Ohio State. The Matt Barkley experiement continues on Saturday, while OSU QB Terrelle Pryor is the grizzled vet. “Coogahs 2Nite” travels to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State and Notre Dame goes to Ann Arbor. Not an alltimer sort of week, but solid nonetheless. We did a college podcast this week click on link below
http:// www.divshare.com/ download/8448594-94b

A full NFL slate begins this weekend, highlighted by the Kickoff game Thursday night when Tennessee travels to Pittsburgh. Of course, the last time these two faced off, the Titans scored a big-time victory, capped off by the desecration of the Steelers’ Terrible Towel. The return of Tom Brady to the Patriots will have the nation’s attention on Monday night against the Bills. The Texans have expectations this year and take on a Jets team starting a rookie QB. Check

out our podcast on the Jets/ Texans matchup on page 3. Hope

THEN

NOW

you enjoy NFL Kickoff!

Opening Weekend is HERE!! Part Deux
In 1959, a group of groundbreaking gentlemen set out to create a rival football league. They were called “foolish”, perhaps even bordering on “stupid”, but 50 years later, the AFL eight teams are ’s thriving as members of the NFL. With the NFL opening this Thursday, it should never be lost on anyone how important the AFL was, is and always will be to the NFL. Time to get it on!
Catch Lance Zierlein from 6 to 10 am daily, alongside John Granato. Listen to John Harris on the Sean and John show, with Sean Pendergast show 3 to 7 PM daily. www.1560thegame.com

Tennessee (0-0) vs. Pittsburgh (0-0)
September 10, 2009 - NBC 7:30 PM CST Vegas Line: Steelers -6 / 35
t 2008 ATS Record 12-4-0 2008 Over/Under 8-8-0 Last 5 Games 1/10 L, Baltimore 10-13 12/28 L, @ Indianapolis 0-23 12/21 W, Pittsburgh 31-14 12/14 L, @ Houston 12-13 12/7 W, Cleveland 28-9 137.4 ypg - 7th 176.2 ypg - 27th 23.4 ppg - 14th 93.9 ypg - 6th 199.8 ypg - 9th 14.6 ppg - 2nd Even - 16th 2008 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 105.6 ypg - 23rd 206.3 ypg - 17th 21.7 ppg - 20th 80.3 ypg - 2nd 156.9 ypg - 1st 13.9 ppg - 1st + 3 - 12th 2008 ATS Record 9-7-0 2008 Over/Under 8-8-0 Last 5 Games 2/1 W, Arizona 27-23 1/18 W, Baltimore 23-14 1/11 W, San Diego 35-24 12/28 W, Cleveland 31-0 12/21 L, @ Tennessee 14-31

Last Meeting: Tennessee - 31 vs. Pittsburgh - 14 (12/21/2008)
When the Titans have the ball... The Titans aren't a hard offense to figure out.  They want to run the ball down your throat and then pass it just enough to keep you honest without having to lean on QB Collins to win any games.  Chris Johnson gave the Titans a "homerun" dimension last year with his speed, but getting loose for big runs against the Steelers is nearly impossible.  Collins certainly isn't mobile, but he gets rid of the ball fairly quickly so the chess match between Steelers DC Dick LeBeau and Titans OC Mike Heimerdinger will be an interesting one as some teams have had success against the Steelers by going 4 wide and spreading them out.  Fantasy Report Does Heimerdinger have the guts to try that with Collins and his Lendale White, Titans RB - Hard to give subpar WR corps? the starting nod to Lendale White against ferocious Steelers defense.  Sit White and find someone else. When the Steelers have the ball... I look for them to test the   defensive front of the Titans to see how sturdy they are without Albert Jeff Reed, Steelers K - The Steelers Haynesworth.  Last year, the Titans won 31-14 as they sacked Ben kicker was solid last year and he figures Roethlisberger 5 times, had 4 takeaways and limited the Steelers to to get more FG attempts than extra just 71 yards rushing.  The Titans have good speed up front on their point tries tonight.  Start Reed. defensive line and that can be a problem for the Steelers at times, but without big Haynesworth in the middle, the Steelers might have some success if they run it straight at the Titans.  I look for the Steelers to utilize a controlled passing game while testing the Titans rush defense early; however, even without Haynesworth, this won't be easy for the Steelers offense unless they win the battle in the trenches.   Conclusion: What separates the Steelers from another defensive-minded team like the Ravens is that they find ways to get big plays from their offense and/or special teams when they are at home.  If the Steelers can hit a couple of big plays, they will win because I expect LeBeau to load up the box against the run all game long in order to force Collins to beat them and I don't think Collins will handle the pressure of the Steelers defense in Heinz Field.

Steelers - 20 vs. Titans - 16

New York (0-0) vs. Houston (0-0)
September 12, 2009 - CBS 7:30 PM CST Vegas Line: Texans -5 / 43.5
t 2008 ATS Record 7-9-0 2008 Over/Under 8-7-1 Last 5 Games 12/28 L, Miami 24-27 12/21 L, @ Seattle 3-13 12/14 W, Buffalo 31-27 12/7 L, @ San Francisco 14-24 11/30 L, Denver 17-34 125.3 ypg - 9th 206.4 ypg - 16th 25.3 ppg - 8th 94.9 ypg - 7th 234.5 ypg - 29th 22.3 ppg - 18th -4 - 18th 2008 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 115.4 ypg - 13th 266.7 ypg - 4th 22.9 ppg - 17th 122.6 ypg - 23rd 213.9 ypg - 17th 24.6 ppg - 26th -13 - 31st 2008 ATS Record 8-8-0 2008 Over/Under 10-6-0 Last 5 Games 12/28 W, Chicago 31-24 12/21 L, @ Oakland 16-27 12/14 W, Tennessee 13-12 12/7 W, @ Green Bay 24-21 12/1 W, Jacksonville 30-17

Last Meeting: New York - 26 vs. Houston - 11 (11/26/2006)

JETS/TEXANS PODCAST - CLICK LINK AND HIT PLAY BUTTON http://www.divshare.com/download/8448642-4eb
When the Jets have the ball... The Jets averaged 125 ypg on the ground and that number is getting ready to go up this season under new head coach Rex Ryan who will undoubtedly look for his offense to pound the rock.  With rookie QB Mark Sanchez pulling the trigger, that is probably a smart move.  The Jets have a solid RB in Thomas Jones but the guy who will terrify the Texans during meetings this week will be Leon Washington who is a terrible matchup for any of the Texans LBs.  I wouldn't be shocked to see the Texans run more zone when Washington is in the game.  I'm just not sure the Jets are good enough to beat the Texans without Mark Sanchez making some plays and that is tough to do in your first NFL game.   Fantasy Report When the Texans have the ball... Texans fans have pretty much Leon Washington, Jets RB - Washington marked the Jets game down as a win, but that is a dangerous thing isn't going to get a ton of carries, but to do when you realize that the Jets new head coach, Rex Ryan, was he'll get enough touches to make a at the helm of the Ravens defense when they destroyed the Texans difference so start him as a "flex". last season.  While the Jets don't have Haloti Ngata, they do have   some good talent and their 3-4 front is going to cause some issues for Owen Daniels, Texans TE - Daniels only Texans center Chris Meyers which might force the Texans into had three TD catches last year despite running outside much more.  The Jets have a tough duo of inside a ton of catches.  Look for the Texans LBs, but Steve Slaton and Owen Daniels have a chance to cause to look for him more in the redzone matchup problems in the passing game.  The Texans passing game should excel but running it could be tough for the Texans. Conclusion: I think Texans defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, can take more chances on defense since it is unlikely that the Jets will ask Mark Sanchez to beat the Texans with big plays down the field.  If Bush can scheme a way to slow down the running game, the Texans will be in great shape because they should be able to get some points on the board.  If the Jets can control the running game on both sides, they've got a real shot here.

Texans - 21 vs. Jets - 20

PHILADELPHIA (0-0) VS. CAROLINA (0-0)

VEGAS SAYS: PHI -1.5 / 43.5

Jake Delhomme still has one of the most dangerous September 13, 2009 WRs in the game in Steve Smith, there has to be FOX 12:00 PM CST questions in the locker room about Delhomme's This game is a matchup of what was versus what could ability to carry the team deep into the playoffs. be.  The "what was" sideline will feature panthers on   their helmets and a QB who is coming The Panthers should be able to run off of one of the worst playoff games Fantasy Report the ball fairly effectively against the I've ever seen.  The "what could be" The Eagles are a blank page in Eagles in this one, but if the Eagles sideline features a stable of some regards.  I'm not 100% sure put the Panthers in bad down and playmakers wearing green all at the who will be the big scorer from distance situations, they have a chance disposal of one of the most successful the WR corps this year so keep a to force Delhomme into mistakes.  QBs in the NFL over the last decade. close eye on everyone so you can On the other side of the ball, the   tell which way Donovan Carolina Panthers have to make sure The Panthers running game was just McNabb might be leaning this that they don't fall prey to the big play terrific last year and I don't see any year in terms of his favorite target. as the Eagles now have Brian signs of it slowing down - even if Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Stewart isn't back to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin who can all take 100%.  However, in the NFL, you can control games it the distance on any given play. with your rushing attack, but occasionally you have to win them with a few big plays through the air.  While

PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA - 24 VS. CAROLINA - 17
CHICAGO (0-0) VS. GREEN BAY (0-0)
September 13, 2009 NBC 7:30 PM CST

VEGAS SAYS: GB -3.5 / 46

Packer fans are the most excited they've been about a Packers offensive unit since a QB named Favre had no gray facial hair.  Both teams looked at their schedules at the end of the Ryan Grant got off to a lousy start last  2008 season and saw several missed year but closed the season very opportunities for wins that probably strongly.  Aaron Rodgers put would have resulted in a playoff birth.  Fantasy Report together a stellar first season as a The question on Sunday is which Donald Driver has been starter and he has more than enough team will make the most of their incredibly consistent and he will weapons to keep the Bears secondary opportunities? get his fair share of chances to occupied for most of the game. add up the fantasy points against   the Bears secondary. The Packers   The Bears hired Rod Marinelli will have a very tough time This game has all the makings of during the offseason to help with the matching up with Greg Olsen turning into a shootout since the defensive line and restore the fire and since they will have to be more Packers are still learning the 3-4 passion that has been missing from concerned with Matt Forte and defense and since both teams have the Bears defense since former DC Devin Hester. QBs with big-play arms and big play Ron Rivera was let go.  The Bears are WRs.  I will be very interested to see extremely deep up front and they feel if Jay Cutler is able to limit the bad like they have a chance to get after mistakes he was making last year.  If not, the Bears teams on defense like they did a couple of years ago. won't win this one.  

PREDICTION: GREEN BAY - 28 VS. CHICAGO - 24

PREDICTIONS ON ALL NFL GAMES THIS WEEKEND
Dallas at Tampa Bay - Jon Gruden did a hell of a job coaching the Bucs over the last couple of years considering the marginal talent they have on their roster.  Raheem Morris is now in charge, but the Bucs just fired their offensive coordinator and their QB position is still a mess.  The Cowboys don't have T.O to throw to anymore, but maybe they will feel less pressured to throw it and more comfortable relying on the running game - Cowboys - 21 vs. Bucs - 14   Detroit at New Orleans - The Lions won't go winless this year, but they also won't be winning this one.  The Saints passing game is terrific, but they’ll unleash the running game early on against the Lions.  With the Saints able to run it better this year and with the Lions still way behind where they need to be offensively, this one will turn into the laugher than you are expecting - Lions - 17 vs. Saints - 38   Minnesota at Cleveland - The Vikings are the favorite here but this one is a tricky spot. Eric Mangini was the head coach with the Jets last year so he is well aware of what Brett Favre's strengths and weaknesses are.  Favre looked good against the Texans in the preseason, but the Vikings would be ill-advised to put too much in his hands.  I look for a rowdy opening day crowd in Cleveland and a surprisingly effective passing game leading the Browns to the upset Vikings - 20 vs. Browns - 21   Denver at Cincinnati - The Bengals might suffer through some rust here as QB Carson Palmer is just coming back from his ankle injury that he suffered in the preseason.  The Broncos have been terrible against the run over the last few years so we'll see if Cincy tries to take advantage of the Broncos rush defense and their new 3-4 defensive alignment.  Don't look for much from the Broncos offense here - Broncos - 14 vs. Bengals - 24   KC at Baltimore - The Chiefs demoted offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, but I don't think that matters since Todd Haley is prepared to handle the offense.  The bigger problem for the Chiefs is that they’re terrible and Baltimore is good.  The Ravens are going to give Haley a game that he’ll never forget. That’s not good. Chiefs - 3 vs. Ravens - 30   St. Louis at Seattle - It is hard to look at Seattle's performance last year and apply that to what the Seahawks are likely to do this year.  The Seahawks started the season with almost all of their WRs on the shelf and then Matt Hasselbeck got hurt for much of the year.  I look for a revamped Seahawk team to make a statement against a Rams club that is still in really poor shape on both sides of the ball - Rams - 13 vs. Seahawks - 24   Jacksonville at Indianapolis - Speaking of injuries, the Jaguars running game never got going last year thanks to devastating injuries to their guards.  Fred Taylor is gone, but Maurice Jones-Drew is the bowling ball that the Jags will use to try and crush the Colts front.  The problem for the Jaguars is that their defense showed signs of cracking last year and that is a big problem against the Colts.  I still think this one is close - Jaguars - 21  Colts - 24   Miami at Atlanta - The Dolphins were a terrific story last year and I do believe that their defense is legit, but let's look at the facts.  The Dolphins don't have a top flight QB or WR like the Falcons have.  The Dolphins won 9 of their last 10 games and none of those wins came against a team with a winning record. Mike Smith has done a good job of re-tooling the Falcons defense and it will show on Sunday - Dolphins - 14  Falcons - 20

 
Washington at NY Giants - The Giants running game is the straw that stirs the drink, but the drink just got stiffer with Albert Haynesworth in the middle for Washington.  The Redskins passing problems are well documented, but Clinton Portis is still effective and their defense is still a factor so this one could be an upset if they get unexpectedly solid play from QB Campbell.  Never mind - Redskins - 17 vs. Giants - 21   San Francisco at Arizona - The 49ers won 4 of their last 5 games last year after they started to buy into the identity that Mike Singletary was setting for them as a team.  Singletary has hinted that the Niners will try and run it 60% of the time, but that philosophy will be tested if the Cardinals get up on top of the Niners quickly.  I honestly believe the winner of this game ends up winning the division and the Niners have a shot - Niners - 21 vs. Cardinals - 23

 
Buffalo at New England - The Patriots survived without Tom Brady last year but things continue to change in New England with Bruschi, Vrabel and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels all gone.  The Bills will sit in their Cover 2 and hope to get a good rush with four, but if they don't get after Brady somehow, they have no prayer here.  Bills QB Trent Edwards must have a prolific game in this one to have a chance - Bills - 16 vs. Patriots - 27   San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers turned into a pass-first team last year thanks to a subpar season from LaDainian Tomlinson and a defense that lost its mojo.  The Chargers are hoping that with Shawne Merriman back they’ll do a better job of getting after the QB.  I am interested to see if the Raiders can ram the ball down the Chargers throat with their running game.  If so, this one goes down to the wire - Chargers - 24 vs. Raiders - 20

FANTASY NEWS AND NOTES
1. As of Thursday afternoon, Saints RB Pierre Thomas appears to be a player who owners need to rest in week 1.  While Thomas started to practice with his teammates on Thursday morning, the Saints aren't going to take too many chances with their top RB against a Lions team who they should handle regardless of starting RB.  Sit him out this week and wait for next Jonathan Stewart is back at week. practice for Carolina and HC John   Fox makes it sound as though 2. I know most owners have given up on the Cleveland Browns when it Stewart will be a factor in the comes to their fantasy football prospects, but I think Brady Quinn has a running game despite just now chance to show some real improvement from last season.  If that happens, getting back to practice.  I would Braylon Edwards could easily jump back into the top 10 to 12 fantasy only start Stewart if you're WRs.  Quinn won't be anything other than a fantasy backup, but if he desperate because the Panthers plays well, Edwards probably plays well. have to feel completely   comfortable with Stewart before they will trust him with too many 3. If you have Seahawks RB Julius Jones, you might want to consider carries and I don't see that starting him.  Jones has had a great deal of success against the Rams happening yet. defense in the past and I still don't expect Edgerrin James to come out in game 1 and take away too many of Jones' carries.

NFL NEWS AND NOTES
1. I can't remember the last time I saw an offensive coordinator fired in the preseason just a week or so before the start of the season.  Well, now I've seen it three times!  The Bills, Bucs and Chiefs all got rid of their offensive coordinators which immediately sends up a couple of different red flags.  What problems existed that would lead a head coach to make this type of drastic change so early and will the switch of play-callers have an immediate negative impact on the teams' offenses?  The Bucs offense was going to be suspect with or without Jeff The return of "Cadillac" Jagodzinski as OC so look for them to struggle.  The Bills are looking to Williams to the starting lineup simplify the offense so that shouldn't hurt their prospects while the Chiefs has been one of the best stories have their head coach calling their plays so don't expect too much to be lost of the preseason, but he has gone there.  If anything, I'm curious about whether the Chiefs are going to be a through two different knee pass-happy offense or an offense that tries to run the ball. surgeries in the past so I'm very hesitant climb aboard the Caddy   bandwagon.  Still, I have to give 2. Two years ago, the battle of Miami vs. Atlanta would have been one of props to Raheem Morris and the biggest snoozers all year, but after last season's miraculous turnaround the offensive staff in Tampa for by both teams, this matchup is one to watch.  The Falcons strike me as the going with the guy who they team who is more likely a legit contender once again in 2009, but you never thought was the best rather than know how a second year QB like Matt Ryan is going to respond.  The the guy who just got paid the big Dolphins offense looks shaky with Chad Pennington under center, but free agent deal (Derrick their defense looks like the real deal. Ward).   3. Tila Tequilia is making herself look like an idiot these days with her ridiculous tweets about Shawne Merriman, the Chargers and what took place on the night that she claims Merriman assaulted her.  While she might be a reality television moron, that doesn't mean that there isn't any merit to her claims.  While also I don't know what happened on the night she claims Merriman choked her, I do know that there was a tremendous amount of "turd factor" following Merriman around thanks to his misdeeds in college.  I know that at least ten teams had him off their draft board and probably more if they did their homework on his background.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND

WEEK 2

USC (1-0) vs. Ohio State (1-0)
September 12, 2009 - ESPN 7:30 PM CST Vegas Says: USC -7
R
153.0 ypg - 55th 210.0 ypg - 55th 363.0 ypg - 61st

2009 Ranking
Run Offense Pass Offense Total Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Total Defense Scoring Defense 342.0 ypg - 7th 278.0 ypg - 25th 620.0 ypg - 4th 56.0 ppg - 6th 9.0 ypg - 2nd 112.0 ypg - 19th 121.0 ypg - 6th 3.0 ppg - 10th

Keys to the Game What to do about 2 - Terrelle Pryor didn’t set any records with his play last Saturday. In fact, decision making wasn’t always at a premium, but you know who’s keeping the Projected Starting Lineups Projected Starting Lineups USC defensive staff up late at night this week? Yep, #2. Offense Offense Why? What’s the most dangerous aspect of Pryor’s game? QB #7 Matt Barkley QB #2 Terrelle Pryor I would think the one thing the USC safeties have to know RB #4 Joe McKnight RB #1 Dan Herron is to stay deep in coverage no matter if Pryor has escaped FB/TE #40 Rhett Ellison FB #44 Zach Boren the pocket and is running upfield. What Pryor has WR #18 Damian Williams WR #12 Dane Sanzenbacher probably improved more than anything else is his ability to WR #9 David Ausberry WR #8 DeVier Posey stay focused on receivers downfield when he scrambles. TE #86 Anthony McCoy TE #86 Jake Ballard USC cannot allow Pryor to find a wide open receiver LT #71 Charles Brown LT #55 Andrew Miller behind the secondary after a scramble situation. LG #68 Butch Lewis OR LG #65 Justin Boren #53 Jeff Byers C #50 Mike Brewster 4th Gear - The Navy film probably doesn’t do a whole lot C #53 Jeff Byers OR RG #70 Bryant Browning for USC, but the USC film over San Jose State tells you #61 Kris O’Dowd RT #64 Jim Cordle everything you need to know about RB Joe McKnight. RG #56 Alex Parsons We’ve been waiting for him to show up in a big way and RT #70 Tryon Smith this could be the year. But, it’s in a game like this that Defense Defense Reggie Bush set the world on its ear. Can McKnight give DE #96 Wes Horton DE #84 Doug Worthington the Buckeyes back seven problems by exploiting seams in DE #93 Everson Griffen DT #72 Dexter Larimore the Buckeye defense? He’d better, such that he can assist DT #44 Christian Tupou DE #90 Thaddeus Gibson his true freshman QB Matt Barkley, starting his 2nd game. DT #91 Jurrell Casey DE #97 Cameron Heyward MLB #54 Chris Galippo WLB #51 Ross Homan Kurt with a K - The Buckeyes lost a ton of leadership when SLB #17 Michael Morgan MLB #36 Brian Rolle Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis graduated. WLB #6 Malcolm Smith SLB #38 Austin Spitler However, the Bucks are blessed to have Kurt Coleman S #2 Taylor Mays S #4 Kurt Coleman leading the 2009 defense from his safety position. He’s a S #26 Will Harris S #21 Anderson Russell solid tackler and a proven playmaker - he had nine tackles, CB #15 Kevin Thomas CB #13 Andre Amos forced a fumble and picked off a pass against Navy last CB #36 Josh Pinkard CB #5 Chimdi Chekwa week. The secondary is in good shape against USC with Coleman making tackles & covering the middle of the field. Conclusion - The OSU haters (and there are plenty) had to absolutely love the narrow win over Navy. But, Navy’s offense is unconventional and gives every team problems. Getting help from his ‘D’, #2 will turn in a #1 performance in a huge win.

2009 Schedule W, San Jose State 56-3 9/12 @ Ohio State 9/19 @ Washington 9/26 Washington St. 10/3 Cal 10/17 @ Notre Dame 10/24 Oregon State 10/31 @ Oregon 11/7 @ Arizona St. 11/14 Stanford 11/28 UCLA 12/5 Arizona

31.0 ppg - 43rd 186.0 ypg - 87th 156.0 ypg - 38th 342.0 ypg - 62nd 27.0 ppg - 82nd

2009 Schedule W, Navy 31-27 9/12 USC 9/19 Toledo (Cleveland) 9/26 Illinois 10/3 @ Indiana 10/10 Wisconsin 10/17 @ Purdue 10/24 Minnesota 10/31 New Mexico St. 11/7 @ Penn State 11/14 Iowa 11/21 @ Michigan

Ohio State - 23 vs. USC - 17

CLEMSON (1-0) VS. GEORGIA TECH (1-0)
September 10, 2009 ESPN 6:30 PM CST
Last week, we had two sort of snoozers on Thursday night, but when these two teams take the field this Thursday night, that should all change. Now, the game might take all of two hours, but it’ll be a fun two hours that’s for sure. Although CJ Spiller left last week’s win Clemson Players to Watch over MTSU with QB # Kyle Parker an apparent leg RB #28 CJ Spiller injury, the DE #93 DaQuan Bowers Clemson medical DE #7 Ricky Sapp staff has said his injury is not considered to be serious. That’s great news for people who want to watch two of the top five running backs in the nation - Spiller and G Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer. Both backs scored the

VEGAS SAYS: GT -5.5

first time they touched the ball last week - Dwyer on a long run and Spiller on a 96-yard kickoff return. Stopping each back is the key for each respective team, but the method for doing so is a tad different. Clemson must play responsibility sound option defense against the vaunted GT spread option. All GT needs is one nonresponsible player and Dwyer is house-ing it. G. Tech Players to Watch A Back #21 Jonathan Dwyer QB #9 Josh Nesbitt G Tech’s approach FS #1 Morgan Burnett to stopping Spiller DE #91 Derrick Morgan is similar. But, the onus is different stay in your pursuit lanes, don’t penetrate and open seams in the defense and then when he’s in the open field, tackle well. And, with some help from FS Burnett, the Jackets will do that.

PREDICTION: GEORGIA TECH - 31 VS. CLEMSON - 21
Man, this one has me conflicted. I really like Clemson QB Kyle Parker’s ability to make plays and Spiller’s game breaking skills. But, in Atlanta, with the spread option getting cranked up yet again, I just don’t think Clemson’s ‘D’ has the discipline to handle it for a full four quarters. Go with GT!

SOUTH CAROLINA (1-0) VS. GEORGIA (0-1) VEGAS SAYS: UGA -7
September 12, 2009 ESPN2 6:00 PM CST
In the opener, the South Carolina Gamecocks scored all of ten points against NC State. Yes, this is a Steve Spurrier coached team. Ten points should never be enough to beat another BCS team, but on that night, it was enough to beat NC State 10-7. The problem is the defense can’t carry this team throughout the grind of a season in the SEC. Not to mention South Car. Players to Watch against a Georgia QB #5 Stephen Garcia team looking to RB #10 Brian Maddox make amends after OLB #40 Eric Norwood S #24 Darian Stewart a rough 24-10 loss on the road The key difference for Georgia this week, has to be getting, and keeping, WR AJ Green involved in the game. He had all of four catches for 52 yards, most of the time matched up against All Big 12 CB Perrish Cox. The Gamecock corners are solid and good athletes but not in the same realm as Cox. Consequently, UGA QB Joe Cox must exploit those Gamecock cornerbacks as much as possible especially with Green. On the flip side, Georgia must find a way to protect Cox against a strong South Carolina pass rush, led by OLB Eric Norwood. If Cox isn’t protected, UGA has no shot at all. NC State’s Russell Wilson had limited time to throw much of the night, but when he Georgia Players to Watch did get time, he QB #14 Joe Cox found open LB #35 Rennie Curran receivers. S #3 Bryan Evans WR #8 AJ Green Offensively, the Gamecocks have a gaggle of running backs, but it might be time to unleash true freshman Jarvis Giles for more than a handful of carries in this one. He showed plenty of burst and power and could be the one guy who has the explosiveness to riddle the UGA D.

PREDICTION: GEORGIA - 20 VS. SOUTH CAROLINA - 13
Georgia is in a must win situation. Start the year 0-2 and there’s a good possibility that the Bulldogs finish no better than 7-5 with the monster schedule they have. But, behind Cox throwing to Green downfield and continued progress running the football, UGA should escape with a hard hitting win.

NOTRE DAME (1-0) VS. MICHIGAN (1-0)
September 12, 2009 ABC 2:30 PM CST This is the way Notre Dame and Michigan is supposed to be. Remember 1988 - the Reggie Ho game? Remember the next year - the Rocket launches twice? How about 1991 and the Desmond Howard show? THIS is what a rivalry is all about...well, at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But, this matchup has as much athleticism as this game has seen, on both sides, in a number of years. Now, I’m not talking about a ton of first rounders in the 2010 NFL Draft because it’s young talent. Young talent that is fast. Speed kills, right? That’s evident with these two teams this year. QB #7 Jimmy Clausen WR #23 Golden Tate WR #3 Michael Floyd TE #9 Kyle Rudolph
Notre Dame Players to Watch

VEGAS SAYS: ND -3.5

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen was 15 for 18 with four touchdowns - yes, any day in which a QB throws more touchdowns than incompletions...you save that day on the DVR. Against Michigan, I don’t think the Wolverines will stop the ND passing game. It’s not just Michael Floyd - it’s Golden Tate and TE Kyle Rudolph, as well. Eventually, one of those cats is going to going to be in man coverage. And, that’s not Michigan Players to Watch good news for the QB #5 Tate Forcier Wolverines. QB #16 Denard Robinson LB #45 Obi Ezeh DE #55 Brandon Graham Michigan’s ‘O’ is so much more explosive with Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson at QB, but they need to play from ahead. They won’t have that chance. The only way Michigan wins this game is if it can ‘program’ the game the way it wants, not chasing ND throughout.

PREDICTION: NOTRE DAME - 28 VS. MICHIGAN - 17
I’ve thought for a couple of years now that the Notre Dame offensive explosion was going to happen. And, maybe this is the year, well, if last Saturday is any indication. Regardless, Clausen will shine yet again and, with RBs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes, the Irish can keep the UM ‘D’ guessing.

HOUSTON (1-0) VS. OKLAHOMA STATE (1-0)
September 12, 2009 FSN 2:30 PM CST During the LONG college off-season, most of the talk about the Oklahoma State Cowboys centered on the Triplets on offense - Zac Robinson, Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant. And, with good reason. This is one of the best offensive skill player trios in the nation. But, all the talk did was overshadow the Houston Players to Watch defense, a defense QB #7 Case Keenum that held Georgia RB #25 Bryce Beall to ten points last WR #35 Tyron Carrier week in a 24-10 LB #55 Marcus McGraw OSU win. Beyond that, one of the most impressive aspects of this defense was this group’s tackling and how improved it was over last season. And, that was even without senior LB Orie Lemon who was lost before the season started with a torn ACL. The Cougars got their season off to a fine start, taking care of business against Northwestern State 55-7. QB

VEGAS SAYS: OSU -15.5

Case Keenum riddled the Demons with four touchdowns and 359 yards through the air. But, OSU is a much different animal. The one key to focus on this Saturday is how the Cougars decide to attack the OSU defense. The Houston staff has a ton of respect for OSU CB Perrish Cox and may not throw at him much during the OSU Players to Watch game. But, what QB #11 Zac Robinson they’ll want to do S #31 Lucien Antoine is force Cox to WR #1 Dez Bryant come up and make LB #20 Andre Sexton tackles as much as possible. So, expect Houston to utilize the quick passing game - slants, hitches and bubble screens to get the ball to the explosive Houston receiving corps. OSU is going to attack with the run game against a young Houston defense. Hunter didn’t have Heisman numbers, but against U of H, he and Keith Toston might.

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA STATE - 49 VS. HOUSTON - 31
DC Bill Young has become one of Mike Gundy’s best assets on defense and I think the ‘D’ will be the key. The ‘D’ must tackle well in space, which is an absolute against the Coogs, while QB Robinson has to find his groove early. But, plenty of Hunter/Toston on the ground will result in an OSU win.

“PUT THE FILM ON, BRO” - BYU ZONE BLITZ
IN THE FILM ROOM WITH JOHN HARRIS
Last week, the biggest surprise in the entire nation was the play of the BYU Cougars defense and the defensive game plan constructed by defensive coordinator Jaime Hill. Here’s a look at the zone blitz that BYU utilized against OU.

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The Sooners come out in four wides with a single back in the backfield and it appears BYU is lined up accordingly. But notice the two linebackers in the circle. Are they truly threats to the pass protection? The Sooners think so and line up RB Chris Brown to the right side to help block them

As soon as the ball is snapped, the Sooners have to know they’re in trouble. The two linebackers have dropped into coverage to replace the void in the defense - out in the flat. At the top of the screen, the Cougars are sending three rushers against only two OU linemen. Someone is coming free.

Clawson
LT Trent Williams has engaged the DE who has looped outside, while left guard Brian Simmons has engaged the defensive tackle to his side. But linebacker Coleby Clawson, who originally lined up outside, darts inside and has run to QB. Look at the WRs in the pattern; the play is nowhere near developing. The right side of the line? Blocking air. Clawson has drawn a bead on Bradford and is ready to make him very uncomfortable before he throws. Look at Bradford’s mechanics on this play - this tells you nearly everything. His front foot, which should be pointed directly at his receiver, is pointed toward the sideline. He knows he can’t step into his throw and it ends up being wide and outside.

Clawson puts the first hit of many on Bradford on this drive. Hill used a similar concept on the succeeding play which is the one that knocked Bradford out of the game. I don’t mean this as piling on, but Bradford had to read this a little better. Look at the first diagram - there’s not a BYU defender anywhere near his two inside receivers. Either one of those WR is going to be wide open or BYU is dropping defenders to that area. He should’ve accounted for that by shifting his RB to other side or he should’ve thrown quick and hot to one of his receivers on that side.

PREDICTIONS ON ALL D1A GAMES - TV GAMES IN RED
Friday September 11th
Colorado at Toledo 8 PM ESPN - Colorado got knocked off at home by hated rival CSU, to a point where CU had to watch the green and gold faithful bum rush the field after the win. Toledo put some points up on the board against Purdue. But, CU should come back for a narrow win. CU - 42 vs. Toledo - 34

Saturday September 12th
Central Michigan at Michigan State 11 am ESPN or ESPN2 - Sparty was fairly dominant over Montana State as expected, but CMU’s vaunted offense got shut down in Tucson against Arizona. The Spartans defense is just as good as Arizona’s, so don’t expect much to change other than the time zone - Michigan State - 34 vs. CMU - 17 Duke at Army 11 am ESPN Classic - The Rich Ellerson era started off with a bang and a win over Eastern Michigan, while the Duke season, well, didn’t start so well - a loss to Richmond. If Duke can’t go to Michie Stadium and get a win, it’s going to be hard to get a win all season long. Desperation is on the side of the Blue Devils and QB Thad Lewis - Duke - 23 vs. Army - 21 Eastern Michigan at Northwestern 11 am Big Ten Network - Northwestern hammered Towson with a strong running game, while EMU struggled with Army. After watching the goings-on in the Big Ten, I’m not totally convinced that Northwestern can’t get in the mix for, at a minimum, third place. QB Mike Kafka runs for 100+ and leads the Wildcats to a second straight win - Northwestern - 38 vs. EMU - 21 Fresno State at Wisconsin 11 am ESPN or ESPN2 - it was a shaky start to say the least for Wisconsin - hanging on for a 28-20 win over NIU at home. Fresno State is playing this weekend at 9 am, which is typically never good for west coast teams. Wisconsin should continue to ride RB John Clay and new starting QB Chris Tolzien to a win over FSU - Wisconsin - 24 vs. Fresno State - 16 Iowa at Iowa State 11 am FSN - I didn’t think this one would be close before the season started, but after watching the Iowa offense sputter around against Northern Iowa, I’m not convinced that Iowa is that much better than Paul Rhoads’ Cyclones. The difference will be Iowa’s defense, a unit that’ll hold Iowa State’s QB Austen Arnaud in check Iowa - 23 vs. ISU - 10 North Carolina at Connecticut 11 am ESPNU - U Conn got a great win over Ohio on the road to start the season, but moving back to the Rent won’t be easy with a blazingly fast Tar Heel squad coming to town. The Tar Heels have found a true running threat in Shaun Draughn and he should have 125+ yards to lead the Heels to a big win - UNC - 31 vs. U Conn - 17 Pittsburgh at Buffalo 11 am - Buffalo lost former QB Drew Willy to graduation and RB James Starks to a seasonending injury, but still went to El Paso and knocked off UTEP 23-17. Pitt is the most talented team Buffalo has seen in quite some time and even at home, the Bulls will struggle with the Panthers - Pitt - 31 vs. Buffalo - 21 Stanford at Wake Forest 11 am Raycom/ESPN Gameplan - Of course, I love battles that include “smaht kids”, and this one is just that. But, it’s also one of the most intriguing games of this week given last week’s results. Wake lost at home to Baylor and really struggled with Baylor’s offensive speed. Stanford doesn’t have that type of speed, but it does have QB Andrew Luck and a punishing running game led by Toby Gerhart. Given the fact that Baylor ran for 197 yards against Wake Forest, expect Stanford to follow a similar script. But, QB Riley Skinner is bound to respond to one of the worst games in his career (three picks last week) - Wake Forest - 27 vs. Stanford - 21 Syracuse at Penn State 11 am Big Ten Network - The ‘Cuse is much improved over previous years and QB Greg Paulus is at least a solid option at that position. But, this is PSU, led by Daryll Clark and a dominant defense. Forget it, Orange - Penn State - 44 vs. Syracuse - 13

PREDICTIONS ON ALL D1A GAMES - TV GAMES IN RED
Saturday September 12th (CONT’D)
Western Michigan at Indiana 11 am Big Ten Network - Indiana started with a win, but Western Michigan got thumped in Ann Arbor. Western Michigan will struggle again, although it’ll be a close finish - IU - 27 vs. WMU - 24 Troy at Florida 11 am SEC Network - ESPN Regional - Um, Troy lost last week and will come back with a vengeance...next week. Florida is scary good this season. Yes, I know it was Charleston Southern, but you can tell this team is as good as any repeat champion as we’ve seen since 2005 - Florida - 54 vs. Troy - 13 Arkansas State at Nebraska - The Huskers should bat ASU around for a quarter or two before taking control in the second half - Nebraska - 41 vs. ASU - 14 BYU at Tulane 2:30 PM ESPN2 - BYU was stellar on Saturday night in an upset win over OU, but the biggest surprise was how fast, quick and aggressive the defensive unit was. Tulane won’t be a walkover in the ‘Dome, but they’ve got to get more consistency on offense around QB Joe Kemp. Tulsa moved the ball when it wanted against Tulane and BYU should do the same. The Cougars know now that they can’t look ahead, but they’ve got to come off of cloud nine to win this one convincingly - BYU - 38 vs. Tulane - 21 Howard at Rutgers - These two teams should only play two quarters. After the horrendous loss to Cincinnati, it’s going to get ugly, early. Mercy rule, people - Rutgers - 63 vs. Howard - 3 Idaho at Washington - The Vandals got a wonderful win over New Mexico State, but the Huskies are as improved as any team in the nation. They gave LSU all it could handle on Saturday night. And, oh by the way, the Huskies have QB Jake Locker. Enough said - Washington - 42 vs. Idaho - 21 Louisiana Tech at Navy 2:30 PM CBS CSTV - One week to prepare for the Navy option attack is rough, especially after getting physically beat up at Auburn. This should be a completely underrated competitive game, but one Navy should control with its run game and explosive option attack - Navy - 31 vs. La. Tech - 24 TCU at Virginia 2:30 PM ESPNU - Tough spot in some sense for UVA. The Wahoos lost to D1AA William & Mary last weekend and now must face a team rested and ready for its opener (TCU was off last week). I don’t see any reason why TCU shouldn’t take care of business in a systematically destructive way - TCU - 27 vs. UVA - 10 Illinois State at Illinois 6 PM Big Ten Network - There was probably no more disappointing team in week one than Illinois. Not only did Missouri hand the Illini their lunch, but it did appear that the Illini opened a can of quit in the second half. It’s also a team with impressive athleticism that can turn the season around in a hurry. That turnaround starts here - Illinois - 49 vs. ISU - 12 Memphis at Middle Tennessee 6 PM ESPN360 - Both teams struggled in losses to Ole Miss and Clemson, respectively. But, Memphis looked solid for about three quarters and I’m riding the Curtis Steele train all the way to a Memphis win - Memphis - 31 vs. MTSU - 17 Mississippi State at Auburn 6 PM ESPN360 - If this one ends up 3-2, I’m done. Auburn turned it on in the second half against La. Tech, roaring to a big win, while Mississippi State took care of business against Jackson State. I’m not convinced that the Bulldogs are ready for big boy SEC football, but they’ll still compete for new head coach Dan Mullen. I’m rolling with the over this week...over 5 that is - Auburn - 23 vs. Mississippi State - 7 Texas at Wyoming 2:30 PM Vs. - It may not look like a tough challenge on paper for the Longhorns, but any team from a non-BCS conference treats a game like this as the BCS national champ. game, especially a home game. Texas hasn’t been an up and down team since Colt McCoy took over at quarterback. The ‘Horns take care of business no matter who they play, with McCoy providing the right amount of calm and leadership - Texas - 49 vs. Wyoming - 10

PREDICTIONS ON ALL D1A GAMES - TV GAMES IN RED
Saturday September 12th (CONT’D)
UCLA at Tennessee 3 PM ESPN - Payback’s a, well, you know. This time the Bruins fly east to Knoxville to take on the new look Vols. The Lane Kiffin led new look Vols. RB Montario Hardesty will find the going a little tougher against the vaunted UCLA front seven. But, Tennessee can set itself up for a solid season with a strong win over the visiting Bruins - Tennessee - 24 vs. UCLA - 14 Eastern Washington at Cal 4:30 PM Comcast/ESPN Gameplan - So, how good do you think RB Jahvid Best really is? Luckily, Eastern Washington won’t see Best for more than about a quarter and a half - Cal - 54 vs. EWU - 7 Air Force at Minnesota 6 PM Big Ten Network - This one could be fun. The opener in the new Minnesota Stadium could’ve been a bit dicey if the Gophers hadn’t pulled one out of the magician’s hat in the Carrier Dome last week. Air Force ran all day on outmanned Nicholls State and will give the Minnesota defense all it can handle. In a mild upset - Air Force - 35 vs. Minnesota - 28 Bowling Green at Missouri - Boy, how good were both of these teams last week. BG QB Tyler Sheehan lit up an extremely athletic Troy defense, while Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert did the same to Illinois. Missouri is the better team and Gabbert will second that notion with another great game in win number two - Missouri - 42 vs. Bowling Green - 30 Florida International at Alabama - Do you think SEC Guy even knows what a Florida International even is? Whether he does or not, the Tide won’t have a problem at home for the first time this year - Alabama - 54 vs FIU 10 Idaho State at Oklahoma - OU isn’t nearly as powerful as we all thought it was going to be. But, it won’t matter, at least this week against an outmanned Idaho State squad - OU 63 vs. ISU - 7 South Florida at Western Kentucky 6:30 PM ESPN360 - The Hilltoppers are no match for Matt Grothe, George Selvie and the rest of the athletic Bulls - USF - 42 vs. WKU - 14 Vanderbilt at LSU 6 PM ESPNU - I really want to believe that Washington is much better than last year, but a 31-23 win over the Huskies doesn’t exactly have me feeling all warm and fuzzy about LSU. But, it was sort of a tricky spot against a healthy Washington team, with a couple of athletes, well prepared, up at night and in a place its never played. Vanderbilt is breaking in a new quarterback but QB Larry Smith looked good before cramps took over. But, against an LSU ‘D’ that has something to prove back at home, he’ll struggle. The run game is much improved for Vandy, but it won’t be enough to overcome LSU in Baton Rouge - LSU - 27 vs. Vanderbilt - 14 Kansas at UTEP 6:30 PM CBS CSTV - The Miners were horribly disappointing against Buffalo in a revenge game in El Paso. And, if that’s any indication, UTEP will get UTEPPED on against a powerful Kansas offense - Kansas - 42 vs. UTEP - 21 Southeast Missouri State at Cincinnati - Consider me swayed. I didn’t think Cincinnati would have a strong year with all of the holes the defense had to fill after 2008. But, if the game against Rutgers is any indication, the Bearcats could be looking at another ten win season - Cincinnati - 56 vs. SEMO - 7 Western Illinois at Northern Illinois 6:30 PM ESPN360 - Northern Illinois had Wisconsin on the ropes in the fourth quarter but couldn’t deliver a knockout blow to win that one. It should dominate early and often against WIU NIU - 42 vs. WIU - 17 New Hampshire at Ball State - Ball State lost to North Texas last week. At home. What makes me think that it can beat a D1AA power? MiQuale Lewis? Okay, you convinced me - Ball State - 31 vs. UNH - 20

PREDICTIONS ON ALL D1A GAMES - TV GAMES IN RED
Saturday September 12th (CONT’D)
Oregon State at UNLV 7 PM CBS CSTV - The Rodgers brothers are back and that’s not good news for the Rebels, a 38-3 winner over D1AA Sacramento State. Oregon State is no Sacto State - Oregon State - 38 vs. UNLV 21 Central Florida at Southern Miss - UCF was trailing D1AA Samford in the fourth quarter, but pulled out a 28-24 win. USM rode the Damian Fletcher train to a smooth 52-0 whitewash of Alcorn State. I don’t think UCF can fully stop Fletcher - USM - 31 vs. UCF - 20 East Carolina at West Virginia - The Pirates delivered a butt-whipping to WVU in Greenville last season, but can the same song play out in Morgantown? Don’t think so. WVU took a while to get loose against Liberty, but it was definitely looking forward to the physical Pirates - WVU - 31 vs. ECU - 21 Hawaii at Washington State - Hawaii escaped against DII Central Arkansas although no one knew it had played, signed 12:05 am kickoff. Washington State has taken some steps and could get a win over a 2008 bowl team. Really? Yeah, why not - Washington State - 27 vs. Hawaii - 26 Jacksonville State at Florida State 5 PM ESPN360 - The Seminoles have a short week to prepare, so don’t expect them to blowout JSU. In the first half - FSU - 51 vs. JSU - 10 James Madison at Maryland - The Fridge’s Terps had better bounce back or it’s curtains for him and his staff. They’ll respond this week against JMU - Maryland - 35 vs. JMU - 14 Kansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette - This is the worst Kansas State team since Bill Snyder took over the Wildcats the first time. ULL isn’t a world beater by any stretch of the imagination, but in a monumental upset - ULL - 24 vs. KSU - 20 Miami U at Boise State 7 PM ESPN360 - Boise State just has to settle in and take care of business from here on out. There won’t be one game in which it’ll be the underdog the rest of the way. But, taking it one at a time is the biggest challenge for BSU. This week, the Broncos should be in good shape - Boise State - 35 vs. Miami - 7 Tulsa at New Mexico 7 PM Mtn. - Tulsa’s offensive machine is in good hands - Texas transfer G.J Kinne (man, another one?) has a strong handle on this one, especially against a New Mexico defense that was shredded by Texas A&M in College Station last week. Tulsa WR Damaris Johnson is one of the most dynamic players in the nation and should be a key figure in this one - Tulsa - 41 vs. New Mexico - 13 Purdue at Oregon 9:15 PM FSN - I would think that the Ducks are going to rally given the unfortunate events of last week, but the offense has to show that it’s got a pulse. Boise State didn’t run all over Oregon, even though the rushing stats were positive for the Broncos. The defense gets another test facing Purdue RB Ralph Bolden, who had 234 yards and two touchdowns last week against Toledo. UO isn’t Toledo and it’ll prove that to Purdue on Saturday night - Oregon - 35 vs. Purdue - 21 Utah at San Jose State 9:30 PM ESPNU - Utah QB Terrance Cain stepped right into the starting lineup for former starter Brian Johnson and didn’t miss a beat. RB Matt Asiata ran for 156 yards against Utah State. Point is that SJSU won’t have a whole lot of success stopping Utah, even at home - Utah - 35 vs. SJSU - 14 Kent State at Boston College 1 PM ESPN360 - Boston College has to hold up the integrity of the ACC. Good luck, BC. Well, at least, it should do it this week - BC - 28 vs. Kent State - 13 Marshall at Virginia Tech 12:30 PM ESPN360 - The Hokies will bounce back against a tough minded Marshall squad. Blacksburg isn’t a very forgiving place - Virginia Tech - 31 vs. Marshall - 14

PREDICTIONS ON ALL D1A GAMES - TV GAMES IN RED
Saturday September 12th (CONT’D)
Morgan State at Akron - Morgan State is no Penn State - Akron - 51 vs. Morgan State - 7 Murray State at North Carolina State - See above, just change “Morgan State” to “Murray State” and “Penn State” to “South Carolina” - NC State - 38 vs. Murray State - 3 Northern Arizona at Arizona - Maybe the Desert Swarm 2.0 is in vogue in Tucson yet again. The Wildcats held vaunted CMU to six points, which was a shock for a lot of people named John Harris. This should be a cakewalk Arizona - 35 vs. NAU - 3 Ohio at North Texas - The Riley Dodge era started well at Ball State, a 13-1 team in 2008, and now the Mean Green return home to face an Ohio team that lost to U Conn 23-16 last week. Ride the hot team in this one - North Texas 24 vs. Ohio - 21 Prairie View A&M at New Mexico State - NMSU will get its first win of the season. Bank on it - NMSU - 63 vs. PVSU - 14 Rice at Texas Tech - The Owls gave up what seemed like 1,000 yards on the ground against UAB, but this is a young defense that’ll catch its stride later in the season. The good news is that Texas Tech head ball coach Mike Leach won’t run the ball more than 25 times in this game. But, even in throwing the ball all over the yard, the Red Raiders have the distinct advantage. Expect QB Taylor Potts to have a 400 yard/4 TD night against the Andrew Sendejo-led secondary Texas Tech - 49 vs. Rice - 31 SMU at UAB - Two words: Joe. Webb. SMU has no chance to win with Webb taking snaps under center for UAB. He ran for over 130 yards last week against Rice. He should equal that number against SMU this weekend - UAB - 41 vs. SMU - 24 Southern Utah at San Diego State - This is a lock. San Diego State wins! San Diego State wins! Not much more to say about that - SDSU - 51 vs. SU - 13 Texas-Southern at Louisiana-Monroe - In some strange faraway place, I’m totally intrigued by what Johnnie Cole is doing at Texas-Southern, but ULM will roll big after losing at Texas last weekend - ULM - 54 vs. TSU - 14 Weber State at Colorado State - QB Grant Stucker was solid in his debut as starting QB for the Rams in a massive win over CU last Sunday night. Weber State stayed competitive against Wyoming, but CSU is no Wyoming. Bomb Ass Cookies for everyone! - CSU - 51 vs. Weber State - 14

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTES BY JOHN HARRIS
Thoughts from first weekend of college football... 1. Man, the wildcat has caught on like wildfire – nearly every team that I’ve watched this weekend has some form of the Wildcat in the game plan and is showing it in the first week. Why? Preparation. Opposing defensive coordinators are now going to have to spend hours preparing for the Wildcat look. Unfortunately, with nearly everyone running some version of the scheme, it’s not a unique look and won’t cost teams in preparation time down the road. They all look the same, too, with guys who can’t throw taking the snap from center. But, analysts and the sort have to be careful in some sense with the Wildcat. Just because a guy takes a shotgun snap that isn’t typically a QB DOESN’T exactly mean it’s the Wildcat. What makes the Wildcat special in some sense is the use of the tackle over concept. 2. The Big Ten and the ACC weren’t thought to be world-beaters this year, but are you kidding me? In the Big Ten, Ohio State faces a game tying two point conversion late in the fourth quarter against Navy. Iowa has to block not one, but two field goals on the last play of the game to beat a D1AA team Northern Iowa. Illinois was flat out embarrassed by Missouri. A joke. Thank god for Michigan or the conference wouldn’t have had even a decent win. The ACC? Not much better. Duke and UVA lost to D1AA teams at home, while Wake, NC State, Virginia Tech lost tough games to schools from BCS conferences. Clemson’s win over MTSU was the conference’s only win over a D1A school (MTSU). 3. UGA’s secondary was laying serious wood on Oklahoma State receivers all day long, even on All-American Dez Bryant. But, in the third quarter, safety #9 Reshad Jones put a hit on OSU TE #81 Justin Blackmon that gave me a tingly feeling all over. But, then a 15 yard penalty was called for unnecessary roughness on the receiver. Now, the ref says #18 who is giving some kind of throat slash, but his reasoning was meant for the hit. He wouldn’t have said “unnecessary roughness on the receiver” and meant that for the throat slash on #18 Bacarri Rambo. This was a bullbleep call to say the least and cost Georgia huge. First, he hit Blackmon with his shoulder, this was not a spearing at all. And, if you want to say he’s defenseless, then Zac Robinson shouldn’t have thrown the ball. This is football; it’s a collision sport and that was a bad call. This officiating crew will see that when they watch this film. Basically, Jones got a penalty for hitting Blackmon too hard, but when S Bryan Jones knocked Dez into next week, nothing was called. Nothing I hate more than a lack of consistency, especially from my favorite group on Earth – the refs. 4. Virginia Tech fans aren’t happy this morning after another loss to a big-time BCS conference’s program, but I’m telling you right now DE #6 Jason Worilds is a big-time player. Wow. His burst off the edge is insane. He can play off blockers and make plays in the run game. He can redirect once he has the tackle beat rushing the passer, such that he doesn’t get pushed past the quarterback on the pass rush. I liked him before, but I really like him that much more now. But, the story of this game was the continued progress of sophomore RB Mark Ingram. Since Alabama decided to change its philosophy prior to the 2008 season, the run game continues to make progress (the 2009 Sugar Bowl notwithstanding). And, the beneficiary last night was power back Ingram. As I noted in my Keys to the Game, he was the hammer, rushing for 150 yards, a career high and running over nearly every Hokie in sight. RB Roy Upchurch contributed 90 yards as well and as long as the defense can respond a little better in sudden change situations, ‘Bama is going to be tough to beat with this running game. 5. Ohio State got a scare against Navy, but it’s not too surprising for a couple of reasons. One, preparing for a true option team like Navy is extremely difficult. And, two, keeping the Buckeyes focused on Navy when USC is looming was maybe more difficult. Navy just sent Diet Dr. Pepper dabblers into scramble mode – I still think Ohio State will play better against USC’s more conventional offense. OSU QB Terrelle Pryor looks 1,000 times more comfortable in this offense and, in particular, throwing the football. And by the way, this Navy offense has some quickness, perhaps more than this unit has had in past years. QB Ricky Dobbs, outside of his heinous throwing decision on the two-point conversion, is going to be a monster to stop this year. The other thing is that your offense is probably going to get only two drives per quarter if the Navy offense is clicking.

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