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BCS Crashers?
Fact: These three are good!
Four weeks into the college season, it’s clear who the potential party crashers are - Houston, Boise State and TCU. Now, all three have plenty of football ahead of them, but after marquee wins by each program, it’s time to dream, right? Right?!? The NFL weekend has some intriguing, perhaps unexpectedly so, matchups as well. Enjoy the newsletter and as Chris Level always says...Keep hope alive!
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Baltimore (3-0) vs. New England (2-1)
October 4, 2009 - CBS 12 PM CST Vegas Line: Patriots -2 / 44.5
t 2009 ATS Record 3-0-0 2009 Over/Under 2-1-0 Last 5 Games 9/27 W, Cleveland 34-3 9/20 W, @ San Diego 31-26 9/13 W, Kansas City 38-24 1/18 L, @ Pittsburgh 14-23 1/10 W, @ Tennessee 13-10 156.7 ypg - 5th 273.7 ypg - 5th 34.3 ppg - 2nd 51.0 ypg - 1st 231.7 ypg - 17th 17.7 ppg - 11th +3 - 6th 2009 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 108.0 ypg - 17th 287.0 ypg - 3rd 20.0 ppg - 17th 88.3 ypg - 10th 174.0 ypg - 6th 16.7 ppg - 7th +1 - 12th 2009 ATS Record 1-2-0 2009 Over/Under 1-2-0 Last 5 Games 9/27 W, Atlanta 26-10 9/20 L, @NY Jets 9-16 9/14 W, Buffalo 25-24 12/28 W, @ Buffalo 13-0 12/21 W, Arizona 47-7

Last Meeting: New England - 27 vs. Baltimore - 24 (12/3/2007)
When the Ravens have the ball... The offensive onslaught from the Ravens continued last weekend with the Ravens amassing 479 total yards and 28 first downs against the hapless Browns last weekend thanks to a balanced attack that included 142 rushing yards and 337 passing yards. While the Ravens have gone up against patsies in KC and Cleveland, it is obvious from watching them that they have taken a big step forward offensively. Joe Flacco has been outstanding with a QB Rating of 100 while averaging 280 passing per game. The Ravens know they can run the ball with some success against the Pats, but don't assume they will get ultra-conservative here because they aren't afraid to let Flacco do his thing anymore. Fantasy Report Willis McGahee, Ravens RB - No When the Patriots have the ball... The Patriots have figured out need to panic in this spot just because what I have been preaching since the beginning of the year - they need of the Patriots name value.  McGahee to re-establish the running game and forget the 2007 version of Tom is running great and still gets the goal line totes. Brady. The Patriots offense has tried to carry on like it is business as   usual, but Brady hasn't looked sharp and is averaging just 6.13 yards per Tom Brady, Patriots QB - If you have a attempt with a QB Rating of just 79.9. With Wes Welker out, teams good option as a second QB, you can have done a nice job of taking Moss away and defenses don't appear to look in that direction, but I think Brady be as afraid to blitz the Patriots as they were in the past. The Patriots should be a decent play this week. got back to their roots and re-established their running game by playing much of the game with Brady under center and in 2-TE sets.  The big question is can they run the ball at the Ravens? Conclusion: I hate to say it, but the Patriots almost have to consider spreading the field out against the Ravens even though that strategy hasn't been all that successful this year. If Welker returns, he could give the Patriots offense a big boost, but the Ravens are simply the more well-rounded team right now on both sides of the ball. Are the Ravens ready to take that next step in this spot?

Ravens - 21 vs. Patriots - 20

Oakland (1-2) vs. Houston (1-2)
October 4, 2009 - CBS 12 PM CST Vegas Line: Texans -9.5 / 41.5
t 2009 ATS Record 1-2-0 2009 Over/Under 1-2-0 Last 5 Games 9/27 L, Denver 3-23 9/20 W, @ Kansas City 13-10 9/14 L, San Diego 20-24 12/28 W, @ Tampa Bay 31-24 12/21 W, Houston 27-16 103.3 ypg - 20th 119.7 ypg - 32nd 12.0 ppg - 30th 155.0 ypg - 28th 211.0 ypg - 14th 19.0 ppg - 15th -1 - 16th 2009 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 70.7 ypg - 30th 262.7 ypg - 9th 21.7 ppg - 11th 204.7 ypg - 32nd 231.7 ypg - 18th 28.7 ppg - 29th Even - 15th 2009 ATS Record 1-2-0 2009 Over/Under 2-1-0 Last 5 Games 9/27 L, Jacksonville 24-31 9/20 W, @ Tennessee 34-31 9/13 L, NY Jets 7-24 12/28 W, Chicago 31-24 12/21 L, @ Oakland 16-27

Last Meeting: Oakland - 27 vs. Houston - 16 (12/21/2008)
When the Raiders have the ball... Jamarcus Russell has been just as bad as the Raiders hoped he wouldn't be this year and they have to be getting to the point where they are considering what their contingency plans are regarding the QB position for not just the future, but also for this year. The Raiders employ a zone game for much of their rushing attack and McFadden is a good fit in that regard, but teams just don't respect the Raiders passing attack enough to keep both their safeties out of the box. I look for the Raiders to put McFadden in more "Wildcat" situations since the Texans haven't proven that they can maintain line assignments and defensive responsibilities on defense. The Texans might be less aggressive with their schemes this week in order to limit the big play potential of McFadden.   When the Texans have the ball... The Raiders didn't chase Andre Johnson down all over the field with CB Nnamdi Fantasy Report Asomugha last year and they kept him on just one side last Darren McFadden, Raiders RB - McFadden week against the Broncos as well. It will be interesting to see hasn't really cranked it up yet this year like I if they put him in Dre's pocket and let him stick him all over expected him to do, but it's the Texans - you have the field. Even if Johnson is taken out of the game, Schaub to start him. has proven that he is more than willing to take advantage of his many targets. The Raiders have an athletic trio of LBs Matt Schaub,Texans QB - The Raiders have the and their defensive front is better with Richard Seymour best CB in football in Asomugha, but Schaub's there, but they still are having a tough time stopping the run.  offense is diverse enough to take advantage of several targets. The Texans running game should continue to show improvement after Chris Myers, Kasey Studdard and Mike Brisiel had their best game of the year last week. Conclusion: I would love to sit her and tell you that the Texans are finally going to step it up on defense and put on a show, but I just can't do that until I see the defense actually show me something for 60 minutes. The Raiders have some speed at the skill positions and chances are they will bust a big TD at some point, but the Texans have too much on offense and the pass rush will finally show up in this spot.

Texans - 27 vs. Raiders - 21

October 4, 2009 CBS 3 PM CST
This game will truly be a battle of wills as the Jets bring their stingy, attacking defense into the Dome to take on a Saints offense which has the potential to be nearly as potent as the Patriots offense from 2007.  Typically, the Saints have been very inconsistent against physical teams like the Jets and the Saints are trying desperately to shed their "soft" label.  The Jets are hoping that their rookie QB, Sanchez, can rise to the occasion yet again.   The Jets are averaging 123 yards less of total offense per game than the Saints and they have been out-gained in both of their games since they defeated the

VEGAS SAYS: NO -7 / 45

Texans.  However, the Jets aren't trying to win any games with their offense.  They want to play strong defense, turn the Saints over, hit Drew Brees in the mouth and then play efficiently on offense.  The Saints, on Fantasy Report the other hand, want to get rid of the The Jets have a terrific cover ball quickly when the Jets blitz and CB in Darrelle Revis and the they want to prove that they can stop Jets aren't afraid to stick him on the run and play physical defense. one WR, but the Saints might be   too deep at WR for Revis to I think this is a great indicator of what follow one WR.  Marques both teams really are.  The Saints have Colston is an average WR1 a chance to prove to people that they start here while the Jets have a are much more physical on both sides solid RB2 start in store for of the ball than they have ever been Thomas Jones and a flex under Sean Payton while the Jets are start rating for Jerricho trying to prove that they can do to Cotchery. Brees what they did to Brady which is frustrate him and impose their will.


DALLAS (2-1) VS. DENVER (3-0)
October 4, 2009 FOX 3:15 PM CST
I will be the first to admit that I thought the Broncos would be one of the more disappointing teams in football, but here they are at 3-0 and despite how weak some of the competition has been or how lucky they were to beat the Bengals, they are still better than I expected. 

VEGAS SAYS: DAL -3 / 43.5

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are 2-1 but it just doesn't feel like a team that will be serious contenders in the NFC.  A win in Denver would be a nice feather in their cap.   Dallas is in good hands at the RB position whether it is Jones, Choice or Barber, but Romo

hasn't been the QB that everyone expected him to blossom into a couple of years ago.  The Broncos transition to a 3-4 has gone much better than expected (could it have been worse Fantasy Report than their 4-3?), and the addition of Brian Dawkins has added not only a The Broncos WRs Brandon level of physicality to the defense, but Marshall and Eddie Royal also a degree of confidence and have turned into nothing more leadership. than suspect fantasy starters at   best thanks to the design of The Broncos offense is still very much a the offense and QB Kyle work in progress.  While they have Orton.  With Felix Jones out, check Barber's status, but two solid WRs, the best young LT in Tashard Choice is a very the game and a solid 1-2 punch at RB, solid RB1 option if he ends up their QB is only a game manager and starting against the Broncos. not much else.  The Cowboys pass rush will be critical here as well their ability to run it right at Denver.


Tampa Bay at Washington - Two bad teams who can't find their way.  Tampa's excuse is that they are going young and they are in the middle of a rebuilding process.  The Bucs offense was atrocious last week against the Giants and their defense is non-existent.  The Skins are 1-2 but they barely got by the Rams and they lost to the Lions just as I predicted here last week.  Washington is bad, but the Bucs are worse.  That's all I can say about this game - Bucs - 16 vs. Redskins - 24   New York Giants at Kansas City - The Chiefs have lost five straight matchups to the Giants dating back to 1995 and this version of the Chiefs is one of the worst we've seen potentially.  They can't get the running game going and Matt Cassell could be the next Rob Johnson.  The Giants finally got Brandon Jacobs going last weekend and their defense is enough to put the clamps on the Chiefs provided they don't come out outrageously flat here - Giants - 24 vs. Chiefs - 14   Tennessee at Jacksonville - The Titans played evenly or even better than the Jets last week but they were doomed by turnovers.  Sitting at 0-3, the Titans are desperate for a win, but the Jaguars have to be happy with the poise that QB Garrard showed last week against the Texans.  The Jaguars run defense started to break down in the 2nd half last week and if that happens against Chris Johnson, look out.  I can't see MJD putting it on the Titans defense like he did to the Texans - Titans - 21 vs. Jaguars - 13   Seattle at Indianapolis - Sure, the Seneca Wallace-led Seahawks almost knocked off the Bears last weekend, but they didn't look all that great while the Colts have come out and played pretty consistently to start the season.  Look for the Colts to go up top and get the lead early and then ride that clock and running game in the second half - Seahawks - 14 vs. Colts - 35   Cincinnati at Cleveland - The Browns can't run it and they can't throw it and they can't play defense but at least they are at home here.  The Bengals are a fluke TD against the Broncos away from being 3-0 and their wins have come against the Steelers and Packers.  The handicapper in me says beware of the division, home dog but the realist says that Cleveland can't pull this one off - Bengals - 21 vs. Browns - 14   Detroit at Chicago - The Lions continue to take baby steps and those steps include committing to a running game and letting QB Stafford learn on the job. The Bears had all kinds of problems with the Lions last year and this year their running game just isn't the same. Jay Cutler's heroics have helped them to victory in two straight games but the Bears miss LB Urlacher and if not for two missed FGs in each of their wins against the Steelers and Seahawks, they could be at 0-3. The Bears will handle this one though and Cutler will have a 3 TD game - Lions - 14 vs. Bears - 31   Buffalo at Miami - Miami is sitting at 0-3, but they've just lost their starting QB so the prevailing notion might be that "desperation" will take a backseat to bad QB play from Henne.  However, the Bills are beat up badly on defense especially in the secondary and their offense is at odds with Marshawn Lynch now coming back and with Terrell Owens and Lee Evans displeased with their roles in the offense.  The Dolphins have faced the Colts, Chargers and Falcons offenses so facing the Bills will be like taking a break - Bills - 13 vs. Dolphins - 21   St. Louis at San Francisco - Heartbreaking loss for the Niners against the Vikings in the standings but they also lost Frank Gore for a few weeks.  The Niners are a team who relies on defense so any hit they take on the offensive side of the ball shouldn't be taken lightly.  I thought Boller looked decent in place of the injured Kyle Boller but the Niners will be game-planning for him this week so things will get tougher.  Steven Jackson has two straight 100 yard games but he's got his work cut out for him against the Niners defense - Rams - 10 vs. Niners - 17  

Green Bay at Minnesota - We all know about the hype surrounding this game so I'll just stick with football.  These two teams split out last year but the Vikings were the more consistent offensive team of the two.  The Vikings have wins over Cleveland and Detroit and needed a miracle to beat San Fran so I'm not sure that their 3-0 should be feared by the Vikings.  Offenses have been able to run it against the Packers which bodes well for the Vikings, but the Packers will offer a difficult challenge because they can got with 3 and 4 WRs the entire game if they so choose.  This one will be close, but unfortunately for the human race..... more Brett Favre talk will be coming - Packers - 23 vs. Vikings - 24 San Diego at Pittsburgh - The Steelers are sitting at 1-2 and could easily be 3-0 but they haven't been able to close out games which is what they were so good at last year.  Without Troy Polamalu, the Steelers don't have that playmaker on the back end that their defense relies on.  The Chargers offense has been potent once again this year, but their rush defense is a shell of what it once was and the team is banged up on both sides of the ball.  Steelers in desperation mode don't lose this one - Chargers - 21 vs. Steelers - 24 (Overtime)

Category Away Teams Home Teams Favorites Dogs Away Favorites Away Dogs Home Favorites Home Dogs Record 27-20-1 20-27-1 26-21-1 21-26-1 11-5-0 16-15-1 15-16-1 5-11-0 Percent 57.45% 42.55% 55.32% 44.68% 68.75% 51.61% 48.39% 31.25%

• • • • • • • • • •

Jaguars are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 home games Ravens are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a S.U. win Over is 11-1 in Buccaneers last 12 vs. a team with a losing record Browns are 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall Over is 12-1-1 in Saints last 14 home games Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings between Oakland and Houston Texans are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games in October Colts are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a SU win of more than 14 points Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite Packers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. NFC North

One of the most jarring feelings in the world is to go into a situation with preconceived notions only to have them shattered.  For instance, is there anything worse than when you were a kid and you thought you were going to have a nice cold glass of milk but the milk ended up being spoiled? Kurt Warner, Steve Slaton and Eddie Royal have all been sour milk so far this season. Conversely, there is nothing better than going into a movie theatre with your girl to see a movie that you don't even want to see and then coming out of the theatre having thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the flick. DeSean Jackson, Willis McGahee and Joe Flacco are those unexpectedly enjoyable chick flicks.  Basically, those guys are this year's "Big Fat Greek Wedding". One game is just one game while two games is simply considered a "small sample size".  However, three games provide us with enough data that we can start to shift some of our preconceived fantasy football opinions so that we can make rational decisions as we try and march towards the playoffs. No Fluke Here It's time to face facts.  The Baltimore Ravens actually have an offense this year and Joe Flacco is a quarterback who can post legitimate fantasy numbers. McGahee's rushing yards aren't overwhelming, but he's getting it done in the redzone.  With Flacco, he's not only throwing touchdowns, but he's also proving that he can rack up the yardage as well now that the Ravens have The Bears think they've found a keeper in Johnny Knox but despite the fact that he's been able to get into the end zone twice and hit a couple of big plays, I don't expect for Knox to be anything more than a feast or famine wide receiver in that offense. The Panthers' Steve Smith is one of the most talented wideouts in the game, but he has two things working against him -- a nasty temper and a poor starting QB. opened up the playbook for him. While many people had written off Ced Benson as a bust, it was obvious from watching the slimmed-down version of Benson last season that he still had a chance to do some damage this year.  Benson has kept his weight down and is running with as much burst as I've seen him run with on the professional level. Did I mention he even had a 13 point effort against the dreaded Steelers rush defense?  Jump aboard because Benson's start is not a fluke. While Eli Manning might have struggled for awhile last year to find an in-season replacement for Plaxico Burress, it looks as though he's settled in nicely with Steve Smith as his top target and I don't expect Manning to suddenly stop throwing to his top target. Buyer Beware Devery Henderson had a terrific first week and he plays in a prolific offense for a prolific quarterback but there are simply too many targets available to Drew Brees for Henderson to be anything more than a Flex starter or WR3. While Smith might continue to get his catches and stockpile some yards, I think his trips to the endzone this year will be few and far between and I'm a little concerned with how the fiery wide receiver is going to react if the Panthers keep losing and Jake Delhomme keeps tossing interceptions. I know you think the Steelers defense is a machine, but that machine has a tendency to break down when Troy Polamalu is out and the Steelers defense could be without him for awhile so beware if you have the Steelers and don't be afraid to start your WRs if you are going against them. Don't Give Up Steve Slaton isn't going to be the same fantasy stalwart that you saw last year, but he's far from being done.  Last week against the Jaguars, Slaton began to run with much more confidence in the second half and the offensive line started opening more holes for him.  There are still some big games ahead for Slaton. Terrell Owens is up to his press conference tricks again, but guess what? The squeaky wheel gets the grease and Bills head coach Dick Jauron is already talking about getting the ball in Owens hands more because he knows that Owens can make plays and Owens can make the locker room a living hell. I wouldn't worry too much about Kevin Kolb's performances over the last two weeks. Once Donovan McNabb is healthy again, he'll be the quarterback racking up the long touchdown passes to DeSean Jackson.

Last week, the Texans defense allowed another 50+ yard run, watching J’Ville’s Maurice Jones Drew to run unabated to the house for a key touchdown in the first half of the Jag 31-24 win last weekend. What happened? Glad you asked.


The picture on the left is the side view and the picture on the right is the endzone view.  We want you to pay attention to Fred Bennett (arr0w), Tim Bulman (yellow circle) Brian Cushing (black circle) and John Busing (square) as we move to the next diagram as several elements lead to the long touchdown run. You can see in diagram 3 that the Jags are bringing a WR in motion to make the Texans respect the possibility of a reverse.  In diagram 4, Cushing sees the play starting left and commits aggressively into that gap.  Busing also starts to aggressively pursue rather than maintain his backside responsibility. In diagram 5, Bennett comes way up the field to contain the reverse which is a no-no.  He should have stayed there on the line of scrimmage or at least a yard deep.  In diagram 6, you can see the play counter to the right side and Bulman is getting washed down while Cushing can't flow with the play because he has overcommitted.  As Busing leaves the backside, look how large the hole is.







As you can see, the huge hole is created because the reverse action hopes to keep the farthest backside defender (Bennett) at bay to help widen the backside hole.  The play starts left before countering right, but Cushing is too aggressive and takes himself out of the play while Busing's failure to maintain his responsibility on the backside is the final piece to the long TD puzzle.



Oklahoma (2-1) vs. Miami (2-1)
October 3, 2009 - ABC 7 PM CST Vegas Says: OU -7 / 49.5
196.3 ypg - 33rd 256.3 ypg - 32nd 452.7 ypg - 18th

2009 Ranking
Run Offense Pass Offense Total Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Total Defense Scoring Defense 111.0 ypg - 93rd 268.7 ypg - 24th 379.7 ypg - 52nd 26.0 ppg - 72nd 159.0 ypg - 86th 175.0 ypg - 35th 334.0 ypg - 50th 27.3 ppg - 85th

2009 Schedule L, BYU (Dallas) 13-14 W, Idaho State 64-0 W, Tulsa 45-0 10/3 @ Miami Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #12 Landry Jones RB #7 DeMarco Murray FB/TE #34 Matt Clapp WR #8 Brandon Caleb WR #80 Adron Tennell TE #83 Brody Eldridge T #71 Trent Williams G #74 Brandon Simmons C #61 Ben Habern G #75 Tyler Evans T #76 Jarvis Jones Defense DE #33 Auston English DE #44 Jeremy Beal DT #93 Gerald McCoy DT #86 Adrian Taylor LB #4 Ryan Reynolds LB #22 Keenan Clayton LB #28 Travis Lewis S #27 Sam Proctor S #20 Quinton Carter CB #2 Brian Jackson CB #1 Dominique Franks

40.7 ppg - 8th 40.7 ypg - 1st 182.7 ypg - 40th 223.3 ypg - 5th 4.7 ppg - 1st

2009 Schedule W, @ Florida State 38-34 W, Georgia Tech 33-17 L, @ Virginia Tech 7-31 10/3 Oklahoma Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #12 Jacory Harris RB #2 Graig Cooper FB/TE #5 Javarris James WR #47 LaRon Byrd WR #3 Travis Benjamin TE #18 Dedrick Epps T #64 Jason Fox G #66 Harland Gunn C #70 A.J Trump G #74 Orlando Franklin T #65 Matt Pipho Defense DE #90 Steven Wesley DE #56 Marcus Robinson DT #57 Allen Bailey DT #92 Josh Holmes LB #31 Sean Spence LB #50 Darryl Sharpton LB #44 Colin McCarthy S #7 Vaughn Telemaque S #6 Randy Phillips CB #1 Brandon Harris CB #9 Sam Shields

Keys to the Game Juking Jacory - Miami QB Jacory Harris has been one of the early stories in college football this season. His performances at Florida State and against Georgia Tech alerted the nation that Harris was ready to lead the U back to prominence. But, Virginia Tech ended all of that talk, didn’t kill it, but stopped it for the time being. How? The Hokies got pressure on Harris with four and then played different zones behind. Mixing coverages - Tampa 2, quarters, whatever - it worked. Expect OU DC Brent Venables to have a strong plan, ala the Texas Tech game, last year for Mr. Harris on Saturday night. Can you block me? - OU’s Gerald McCoy is without peer right now in college football. I saw with my own two eyes up close and personal the beat down he put on BYU’s offensive line. His ability to “stack and shed” - play with his hands in other words - is paramount to his success. If Miami plans on moving the football on the ground, its offensive line must find a way to move McCoy out of the middle. Double him, post him and scoop him, if you can. It’s going to be a tough night for the interior of the U’s OL.

To QB or not QB - Since late in the second quarter of the opening game against BYU, the question as to whether the Trophy would return and if so, when, has been weighing on the minds of Boomer Sooner fans for the past four weeks. I would say that nearly every Sooner fan wants to see him return, but I’m not totally sure that a 100% healthy Landry Jones isn’t a better option. And, here’s why. First of all, the offense has found a little bit of a rhythm with Jones under center. Now, it’s clear why Jones was a backup, but wouldn’t you want an offense that has its tempo down pat and has its identity before a big road game? I would. Now, is there a guarantee that Jones won’t shoot himself and, therefore, his team in the foot? No, but I’m going to take the chance that Jones can make the safe throws and we’ll rely on the running game to give Miami problems. The OU offensive line has to come through in a big game. There are many who think that the OL single-handedly gave away the BYU game. This is that one shot to redeem itself; with some help from Landry Jones it can happen. Conclusion - I don’t think ultimately that Miami was as good as the number 9 ranking it had at the beginning of last weekend. Furthermore, if the OU offensive line can respond well, it has the chance to be as good as its ranking. I think a healthy dose of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown will be the determining factor in an OU win.

Oklahoma - 28 vs. Miami - 21


LSU (4-0) vs. Georgia (3-1)
October 3, 2009 - CBS 2:30 PM CST Vegas Says: UGA -3 / 52
130.3 ypg - 74th 179.8 ypg - 90th 310.0 ypg - 105th

2009 Ranking
Run Offense Pass Offense Total Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Total Defense Scoring Defense 112.3 ypg - 90th 245.0 ypg - 42nd 357.3 ypg - 74th 30.8 ppg - 44th 112.8 ypg - 42nd 243.0 ypg - 90th 355.8 ypg - 67th 29.8 ppg - 95th

2009 Schedule W, @ Washington 31-23 W, Vanderbilt 23-9 W, ULL 31-3 W, @ Miss. State 30-26 10/3 @ Georgia Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #9 Jordan Jefferson RB #5 Keiland Williams TE #19 Deangelo Peterson WR #1 Brandon LaFell WR #80 Terrance Toliver TE #18 Richard Dickson T #70 Ciron Black G #65 Lyle Hitt C #53 T-Bob Hebert G #68 Josh Dworaczyk T #78 Joe Barksdale Defense DE #84 Rahim Alem DE #87 Chauncey Aghayere DT #92 Drake Nevis DT #91 Charles Alexander LB #56 Perry Riley LB #24 Harry Coleman LB #54 Jacob Cutrera S #3 Chad Jones S #15 Brandon Taylor CB #7 Patrick Peterson CB #29 Chris Hawkins

28.8 ppg - 53rd 134.8 ypg - 65th 198.8 ypg - 48th 333.5 ypg - 49th 15.3 ppg - 23rd

2009 Schedule L, @ Oklahoma State 10-24 W, South Carolina 41-37 W, @Arkansas 52-41 W, Arizona State 20-17 10/3 LSU Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #14 Joe Cox RB #22 Richard Samuel FB #49 Shaun Chapas WR #8 A.J Green WR #82 Mikey Moore TE #81 Aron White T #72 Vince Vance G #71 Cordy Glenn C #61 Ben Jones G #79 Justin Anderson T #60 Clint Boling Defense DE #42 Justin Houston DE #58 Demarcus Dobbs DT #56 Geno Atkins DT #95 Jeff Owens LB #35 Rennie Curran LB #50 Darryl Gamble LB #38 Marcus Dowtin S #3 Bryan Evans S #9 Reshad Jones CB #2 Brandon Boykin CB #23 Prince Miller

Keys to the Game Ten Spot - Can we get LSU true freshman Russell Shepard out on the field a little more, Coach Miles? This kid might be the best offensive weapon you’ve got in the stable and he gets a handful of snaps? Put him in the slot and bring him in motion. Just watch what happens on defense. Panic. Sheer panic. Any guy going in motion toward the QB who can throw is the most dangerous guy in football. Add in the fact that Shepard is as good in space as anyone LSU has on the roster and that makes it imperative for #10 to see the field on a consistent basis. Okay, rant done. Green with envy - The great equalizer in any offensive situation is being able to take a quick three step drop or even a one step drop and throw it deep up in the air. Then, hope and pray. When UGA WR AJ Green is on the receiving end, Georgia’s in good shape. Green is more than just a deep threat/hope and a prayer type of receiver, but when things get tough for Georgia, QB Joe Cox looks up #8 no matter how many guys are covering him. Just toss it up deep downfield and watch the sophomore go up and get it. Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Michael Floyd all have similar abilty to “go get it”, but LSU’s worry this week is Green.

Who wants to run? - SEC football games are supposed to be knockdown drag ‘em out power struggles, right? Games that end in three hours after bare knuckle fistfights and most importantly, with a lot of running. So, what happened, fellas? Where did the running games go for both teams. LSU couldn’t run the ball to save its life against MSU. When the Tigers have run, it’s been predictable out of the I formation or on Trindon Holliday reverse runs. Like I said, predictable. The Tigers can’t knock anyone off the ball - LSU OT Ciron Black has played like a freshman, not a returning pre-season AllAmerican candidate. The Tigers ran for 30 yards against Mississippi State on 31 carries. Georgia, on the other hand, is averaging 112.8 yards per game, which is 90th in the nation. So, a team that returned all five starters up front is 90th in the nation in rushing? Wow. Now, the two teams can’t get away from their best assets: wide receivers - AJ Green and Brandon LaFell for LSU. But, the team that can carve out 150 yards rushing will win. Pure and simple, old school SEC ball. Conclusion - I was one of those people who really believed in LSU before the season and there’s plenty of assets there to believe in, but I don’t see a team living up to its promise. Georgia has improved every week and I like Cox to Green with a run game chaser, so to speak.

Georgia - 24 vs. LSU - 17

USC (3-1) VS. CAL (3-1)
October 3rd, 2009 ABC 7 PM CST

VEGAS SAYS: USC -5 / 47.5

win over USC and the dream of an undefeated season ended that day up in Seattle. The key to this game is how USC attacks the Cal offense. The conventional thought is that USC will load the box, especially with the linebacker-sized safety #2 Taylor Mays in the secondary, to stop former Heisman candidate Jahvid Best. QB Kevin Riley was 12 of 31 against Cal Players to Watch RB #4 Jahvid Best Oregon and this QB #13 Kevin Riley USC defense is DE #44 Tyson Alualu more athletic and DE #97 Cameron Jordan more aggressive. USC QB Matt Barkley is back and the USC offensive staff must find a good balance against Cal. It must stretch the field and keep Cal from loading the box to stop the USC run game. USC can expect 8 in the box much of the time as well.

What a disaster last weekend was for the Cal Bears! Sixth in the nation after a 3-0 start, including a 14 point win on the road at Minnesota, the Golden Bears went to Eugene and got whacked. And, by whacked, I sincerely mean a butt whipping. 42-3. Ugly. So, how does Cal intend to get back on track? Beat USC Players to Watch USC. Something QB #7 Matt Barkley it hasn’t done since RB #4 Joe McKnight 2003 when Matt S #2 Taylor Mays Leinart was a first LB #54 Chris Galippo year starter for USC and Aaron Rodgers was being benched in the second half. The last time the Trojans ventured out away from the Coliseum, Washington was storming the field after a 16-13

USC has a better opportunity to achieve an effective pass/run balance with Barkley back under center. USC will hold Best under 85 yards rushing and turn over Riley two key times in an ‘SC win.

October 3rd, 2009 NBC 2:30 PM CST
Washington had been the nation’s darling after knocking USC from its undefeated perch (as a Pac-10 team has done each of the past four years). But, after an improbable win at home, the road wasn’t so kind to the Huskies, as U Dub went to Stanford and got lit up by RB Toby Gerhart and the Stanford running game in a 34-14 loss on the Farm. The Domers followed up a narrow win over Michigan State at home with a late second come from behind win against Purdue in West Lafayette. A win in which Jimmy Clausen may have cemented himself as the unquestioned leader of the Irish. His return to the game in the fourth quarter was stuff of Hollywood legend, but he didn’t do it with luck - his throws were NFL worthy. QB #10 Jake Locker RB #1 Chris Polk LB #9 Donald Butler LB #40 Mason Foster
Washington Players to Watch

VEGAS SAYS: ND -12.5 / 55.5

Washington had major success in the last three quarters against the Trojans by harrassing USC QB Aaron Corp. The Trojans signal caller, dealing with a bum knee, had limited mobility and he couldn’t get away from the rush to make a play. Clausen’s turf toe will keep him from leaving the pocket and UW knows it. Expect Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt to turn up the heat with a plethora of blitz packages to force Clausen into early, wild throws. If the Notre Dame Players to Watch Irish can pick up QB #7 Jimmy Clausen the blitz, then WR #23 Golden Tate Clausen should be TE #9 Kyle Rudolph able to riddle the S #28 Kyle McCarthy secondary. Notre Dame may use a spy to account for mobile dual threat star QB Jake Locker. The defense has plenty of athletes to account for Locker, especially at linebacker, but the LBs have to also account for RB Chris Polk. If the Irish can force Locker into 3rd and long, it’s perfect.

A win like the one that ND had over Purdue can be a huge boost for a young team needing some confidence. Clausen will ride that confidence wave to another solid ND offensive performance. Without Michael Floyd, his go-to guy is TE Kyle Rudoplh. With Armando Allen back, it’s ND’s day.

Thursday October 1st
Colorado at West Virginia 6:30 PM ESPN - The Buffs and Rodney Stewart ran all over the Mountaineers last season in Boulder, but this isn’t a good Buffs team, especially out on the road. West Virginia had last week off after a physical game at Auburn. With time to rest, revenge on its mind, QB Jarrett Brown probable to play and a subpar CU team coming to Morgantown, take the Mountaineers. Big - WVU - 49 vs. CU - 21 Southern Miss at UAB 7 PM CBS CSTV - UAB got crushed last week by Texas A&M 56-19 and that doesn’t bode well for a visit from Southern Miss. This Golden Eagle squad is pretty good, led by RB Damion Fletcher, and nearly knocked off Kansas last week on the road. A second straight road trip won’t slow USM down much at all - USM - 49 vs. UAB - 21

Friday October 2nd
Pitt at Louisville 7 PM ESPN - Pitt’s Dion Lewis is a stud, pure and simple. Even against a fairly stout NC State run defense, he piled up 5 yards a carry in a losing effort (19 for 95 yards and two touchdowns). Louisville really has no chance to stop him - Pitt - 42 vs. Louisville - 21 Utah State at BYU 8 PM - BYU has too many weapons for Utah State, although USU should put the ball in the end zone a couple of times. Go with Max Hall and company in their fourth win of the season. - BYU - 38 vs. Utah State - 20

Saturday October 3rd
East Carolina at Marshall 11 am CBS CSTV - Marshall had a huge win over Memphis last weekend, but facing a physical ECU team doesn’t bode well. The Thundering Herd will answer the bell, but ECU has too much on both sides of the ball, even though it’ll be on the road - ECU - 29 vs. Marshall - 21 Northwestern at Purdue 11 am Big Ten Network - The Wildcats have lost two in a row, including a tough home contest last week to Eric Decker and Minnesota. But, Purdue lost a heartbreaker at home to Notre Dame - a game it had control of throughout until the final 24 seconds. Purdue will get a solid game from RB Ralph Bolden and ride his back to a much needed Purdue win - Purdue - 31 vs. Northwestern - 28 South Florida at Syracuse - Well, I guess we all found out who BJ Daniels was last weekend? The USF redshirt freshman from Lincoln High in Tallahassee got his first start against FSU in Tally last Saturday and responded with a sublime performance that was a big reason the Bulls knocked off FSU. Can he do it two weeks in a row - maybe, maybe not, but Syracuse won’t offer as much resistance against USF - South Florida - 28 vs. Syracuse - 14 Toledo at Ball State - Man, if this one tickles the fancy, then something might be wrong with you. Even I’m not all that interested in this one - Toledo - 38 vs. Ball State - 17 Virginia Tech at Duke - Virginia Tech is just another team trying to protect against a big game letdown one week later. The Hokies played as well as they have at any point in the last few years in last week’s pasting of Miami 31-7. Every facet of the game played out exactly the way Tech wanted, but at Duke, wait, does it matter? Virginia Tech has crushed Duke since VT entered the ACC in 2004. 2009 is no different - Virginia Tech - 34 vs. Duke - 7 Washington State at Oregon - The Ducks proved all of us who believed them at the outset of the season right with a butt whipping of Cal last week. QB Jeremiah Masoli finally got his passing game going and it led the Ducks to its first Pac-10 win of the season. They’ll get conference win number two this weekend - Oregon - 35 vs. WSU - 14

Saturday October 3rd (CONT’D)
Tulsa at Rice 6:30 PM CBS CSTV - I really wish that Rice had its squad from last year to take on Todd Graham at home and punish the hell out of him. The team, I like. The coach? Not so much. Unfortunately, the 2009 Owls are struggling in the win column after four games against a pretty tough slate. Tulsa’s arrival doesn’t make it any easier Tulsa - 49 vs. Rice - 24 SMU at TCU 7 PM The Mtn. - TCU could be stepping right into a trap game one week after a hard fought victory on the road. But, Gary Patterson has been down this road before. Remember the win over Oklahoma a few years back that was followed up by a SMU upset? I’m absolutely sure Patterson remembers. TCU will force a couple of key turnovers with its pressure and walk away undefeated at 4-0 - TCU - 34 vs. SMU - 13 Alabama at Kentucky 11:21 am ESPN Gameplan/SEC Network - How good is Alabama? The defense completely shut down Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett one week after he lit up Georgia for 408 yards and five touchdowns. Kentucky’s claim to fame was, well, knocking out the Chosen One last week at home. This is not a good matchup this week - Alabama - 35 vs. Kentucky - 10 Arkansas State at Iowa 11am ESPN2 - Perfect spot for a letdown for Iowa after the win at Penn State, but at home against a decent Arkansas State squad, don’t expect the letdown to nip Iowa in the backside. The defense won’t give up a touchdown and may end up scoring. Keep an eye on #94 Adrian Clayborn and #9 Tyler Sash on defense - Big Ten Defensive player of the year candidates - Iowa - 27 vs. Arkansas State - 3 Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington) 6:30 PM ESPN2 - There’s a part of me that thinks that A&M is for real, but the test is this week. A&M hasn’t beaten anyone and even ardent A&M fans will tell you that same thing. And, if there has been a constant this year in college football - if you’ve played patsies, the first game against a Big Boy football team is an eye-opening (and often times losing) experience. If A&M can force a couple of Ryan Mallett turnovers and force the Arkansas defense to have to defend Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray, along with the vaunted A&M passing attack, then the Ags have a shot. A good shot. But, Arkansas has played Georgia and Alabama in back to back weeks and won’t be stunned by the Aggies speed on offense. Hog RB Michael Smith must be, and will be, a huge X-factor this week. He hasn’t been the runner he was last year, but that was due in part to who he faced the last two weeks. However, this week, he’ll rush for over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns in a fun, action packed game in Jerry World - Arkansas - 38 vs. A&M - 31 Auburn at Tennessee 6:45 PM ESPN - Something tells me that Tennessee can salvage its season right here and now with a win over undefeated Auburn. The key is going to be slowing and disrupting the pace at which Auburn and Gus Malzahn want to run their offense. Having Monte Kiffin as DC for Tennessee should give them hope that the ‘D’ can get stops and get Auburn’s offense off the field. Malzahn will want to run 75 to 80 plays against the Tennessee defense, but he won’t get the chance. RB Montario Hardesty will keep the Vols in the game early with his bruising style and the defense will make a couple of plays late to get a well-earned, hard fought Vol win - Tennessee - 23 vs. Auburn - 17 Central Michigan at Buffalo - After an improbable win to start the year at UTEP, the Bulls have lost three straight including last week’s tilt at Temple 37-13. CMU, on the other hand, has won three straight after an opening night loss to Arizona. It wouldn’t matter what these two teams did last week or any other week, CMU wins big - CMU - 49 vs. Buffalo - 17 Cincinnati at Miami Ohio - Cincinnati is a good football team. Real good. Miami University is not. You do the math - UC - 54 vs. Miami - 10

Saturday October 3rd (CONT’D)
Ohio State at Indiana 6 PM Big Ten Network - Indiana had a sweet game plan for Michigan last week in the Big House, but gave up a late touchdown in a 36-33 loss to the Wolverines. The triple option look out of the pistol formation gave Michigan fits, but Ohio State has seen it and has experience playing it already this year (Navy game). Indiana had trouble stopping Tate Forcier and will have just as many problems halting Terrelle Pryor. Bucks make a statement on the road - Ohio State - 45 vs. Indiana - 17 Georgia Tech at Mississippi State 6:30 PM ESPN Gameplan/CSS - Inches separated Mississippi State and an upset of LSU last weekend. Now, here’s the nearly impossible part - gameplan for a non-conference game against one of the most difficult offenses to prepare for in the entire country in six days. Ouch. MSU got a wonderful performance from its running backs, in particular Anthony Dixon, but the running on this day will be done by the Yellow Jackets crew - Anthony Allen, Roddy Jones, Josh Nesbitt and the Hammer Jonathan Dwyer. Tech with a solid win on the road - Georgia Tech - 31 vs. MSU - 17 Houston at UTEP - The Cougar coaching staff has to be terrified of this game, the first of a three game road trips. UTEP has underachieved all season long. However, at home with a chance to open CUSA play with a win against the ‘hot’ team in the league, the Miners are going to be loaded and ready for this one. The Coogs late finish on a horribly humid Houston evening may have sapped them of their energy, so it’s imperative that UTEP hit them early and often to stay in the game. If the Coogs get on the board early, it could be a runaway and honestly, no secondary/defense has been able to stop QB Case Keenum. More importantly, his running backs Charles Sims and Bryce Beall are stepping up in a big way to complement Keenum and his wide array of receivers. This is a great offense that UTEP won’t stop for a full four quarters - Houston - 49 vs. UTEP - 34 Kent State at Baylor - Oh, wow, what a horrible loss for Baylor! Robert Griffin is out for the year with an ACL tear and the bowl chances for Baylor may have dissipated in the Waco night as well. That is a different story for a different day. This will be a smashing - Baylor - 42 vs. Kent State - 17 Memphis at Central Florida - At home the UCF Knights are 2-0. On the road, the Knights are 0-2. Against D1A teams, Memphis is 0-3. This one appears to be pretty easy to call - UCF - 27 vs. Memphis - 20 Michigan at Michigan State 11am Big Ten Network - The Spartans are up to their old tricks. Their old John L. Smith tricks. Sparty has lost three in a row to Central Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Three tough teams, no doubt, but losses nonetheless. However, similar to UTEP above, a win over hated Michigan,err, hated 4-0 Michigan is a great way to kick start the rest of the year for the Spartans. Now, it’s not outside the realm of possibility, even in Ann Arbor. UM QB Tate Forcier is hurting with a sprained shoulder and Michigan State is not a bad football team. QB Kirk Cousins is throwing the ball much better, but the Spartans can’t throw three interceptions against a good Michigan squad and hope to win. CB Donovan Warren is one of the best in the nation and he’ll be ready to jump some routes, making big plays throughout. The Wolverine defense has to step up sometime. How about this weekend? Michigan - 38 vs. MSU - 27 New Mexico State at San Diego State - ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz - San Diego State - 17 vs. NMSU - 16 North Carolina State at Wake Forest 2:30 PM ESPNU - No matter what anyone expects in this one, it’ll go the opposite way, no question. NC State has won three straight since the opening night loss to South Carolina, while Wake Forest has been up and down, beating Stanford with a wonderful comeback, then falling short at Boston College after tying the game in regulation. My gut tells me that State QB Russell Wilson is too tough to stop, but this one in Winston Salem, I really like Riley Skinner and think he’ll pull some magic from his hat in a Wake win - Wake Forest 23 vs. NC State - 19 Kansas State at Iowa State (Kansas City) 2 PM FCS Central - I want to be excited about Big 12 North football, but these teams are triggering the meter - Iowa State - 38 vs. KSU - 21

Saturday October 3rd (CONT’D)
Ohio at Bowling Green - Bowling Green is a good football team at home, so I’m taking the Falcons in a big MAC matchup - BGSU - 31 vs. Ohio - 21 Ole Miss at Vanderbilt 6 PM ESPNU - Ole Miss is still smarting from the South Carolina beat down last week, but at least the Rebels have had a few extra days to ruminate on all that took place last Thursday night. Vandy won in Houston against Rice, but Ole Miss is a different story altogether. I think Ole Miss will bounce back and that’s going to mean QB Jevan Snead gets his act together yet again. He can’t put the weight of the season on his shoulders, and he doesn’t have to with Dexter McCluster and Brandon Bolden running the rock. Just make the ‘right’ play and the offense will get back on track against a less than 100% defense - Ole Miss - 24 vs. Vanderbilt - 14 Oregon State at Arizona State 6 PM Vs. - I don’t really know what to think about the Beavers. Two huge games at home - two straight losses. Couldn’t score against Cincinnati. Couldn’t stop Arizona from scoring. I’m not a huge fan of Arizona State and I’m not totally sure what to expect from them. ASU took Georgia to the wire on the road and at home should take care of business. But, one thing I’ve learned in this season, just when you think you know what SHOULD happen it won’t. Ride the Rodgers bandwagon one more time - Oregon State - 38 vs. Arizona State - 34 Penn State at Illinois 2:30 PM ESPN/ABC - Illinois is playing worse than 80% of the teams in D1A. They won’t catch Penn State napping, one week after losing to Iowa at 21-10 at home. I can’t see Illinois doing enough of anything against a good Penn State defense. On a dry afternoon, Penn State QB Daryll Clark should get it back together in a Nittany Lion win - Penn State - 28 vs. Illinois - 13 South Carolina State at South Carolina 6 PM ESPN Classic - Uh, really?!? - South Carolina - 42 vs. SC St. 3 Temple at Eastern Michigan - Temple is a dadgum juggernaut (tongue planted firmly in cheek), but Eastern Michigan has competed with the best in the Big Ten. EMU gets Ron English his first win as a head coach - EMU - 31 vs. Temple - 21 Tulane at Army - This Army team is a competitive, physical playing bunch. Head coach Rich Ellerson is one hell of a coach and he’s got this team believing it can win nearly every week and get to a bowl game. Army has to find a way to stop RB Andre Anderson, but I think it will and get another win - Army - 27 vs. Tulane - 24 UC Davis at Boise State - This is a Dan Hawkins special...and a blowout waiting to happen - Boise State - 63 vs. UC Davis - 13 UCLA at Stanford 2:30 PM ABC/ESPN - The Cardinal ran for about a million yards last week against Washington in a massive Pac-10 win. Stanford now sits at 2-0 in the conference, while UCLA hasn’t met defeat this season, riding a three game winning streak into this important matchup on the Farm. UCLA won’t get gashed in the running game as Washington did last week and the key is going to be how much the defense gives up to Toby Gerhart after first contact. If UCLA limits what he does on first and second down and forces QB Andrew Luck into making a ton of third and longs, the Bruins will leave with a win. The Bruins don’t generate much offense, but the defense will take care of business against Gerhart, Luck and company - UCLA - 20 vs. Stanford - 14 UNLV at Nevada - The battle for the state of Nevada should be an exciting one, especially if the Wolf Pack can bounce back with a little offense. Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has to take 65% of the load of the offense and quit relying on the running game to bail them out - Nevada - 35 vs. UNLV - 28 Wyoming at Florida Atlantic - Tough loss for FAU last weekend against ULM at home, but with Wyoming playing in the humidity and heat down in south Florida, I’m going with the Owls at home in a bounce back game - FAU - 27 vs. Wyoming - 25

Saturday October 3rd (CONT’D)
New Mexico at Texas Tech 2:30 PM FSN - These two teams have so much turmoil going on off the field that it’ll be refreshing for both teams to just get on the field and play a game. If Tech can continue to run the ball with Baron Batch, Harrison Jeffers and Eric Stephens, this offense can be fairly potent. Mike Leach won’t run much more than the 36 times the Red Raiders ran the other night. It won’t really matter here as Tech rolls big - Texas Tech - 49 vs. New Mexico - 21 Western Michigan at Northern Illinois 2:30 PM CSNC - Consistency plagues Northern Illinois. One week after taking care of Purdue, the Huskies laid an egg against Idaho at home 34-31. Western has won two straight, but that was against Miami and Hofstra. That streak ends as NIU takes one at home over WMU with a strong running game NIU - 31 vs. WMU - 24 Colorado State at Idaho - This Idaho team is a bit better than a lot of people expected, as is Colorado State, although the Rams got beat by BYU last week. I think CSU is better at this point of the year than Idaho, so I’m rolling with the Rams - CSU - 31 vs. Idaho - 17 Wisconsin at Minnesota 11 am ESPN - The Badgers are undefeated at 4-0, including last weekend’s 38-30 win over Michigan State. But, the Badgers haven’t gone on the road yet this season, so no one knows how QB Chris Tolzien will respond against a physical Gopher defense. The key for Wisconsin is going to be stopping WR Eric Decker and Tolzien keeping eight guys out of the box by throwing accurately downfield to TE Garrett Graham. Those are two massively big IFs and I don’t think the Badgers will stop Decker completely. That and the fact that the Gophers are a tough squad playing in the new TCF Bank Stadium on campus. The other U knocks UW from the ranks of the unbeaten - Minnesota - 31 vs. Wisconsin - 21 Clemson at Maryland 11am ESPNU - Maryland is a bad football and perhaps getting worse. A visit from a tough, physical defense and an explosively built offense is definitely not the right tonic for Terrapin success. Clemson RB CJ Spiller should have a big game against the Terrapin defense - Clemson - 35 vs. Maryland - 17 Florida International at Louisiana-Monroe 2:30 PM ESPN Gameplan/Comcast - FIU got Toledoed last week at home while ULM traveled to south Florida for a huge win over FAU. Can it happen a second time in a row? I’m going to say no - FIU - 31 vs. ULM - 28 Florida State at Boston College 2:30 PM ABC/ESPN - The confidence that BC garnered last week hanging on for an overtime win over Wake Forest is as important in this battle as anything else. The defense has been stout throughout the first four games, but the offense hadn’t done much in games against D1A teams. Florida State is still smarting from a USF upset. What better way for the Seminoles to rid itself of the headache that was last week? Get on a plane for Chestnut Hill. Two years ago, FSU knocked Boston College out of the #2 ranking in the nation. Two weeks ago, FSU did the same to formerly ranked #7 BYU. BC isn’t BYU, nor is it 2007 BC, so expect the Seminoles to bounce back with a tough win behind QB Christian Ponder - FSU - 24 vs. BC - 20 Air Force at Navy 2:30 PM CBS CSTV - This battle is always fun and should be over in two hours. Navy QB Ricky Dobbs is as good as any option QB the Midshipmen have had in quite some time. Air Force QB Tim Jefferson is a whiz as well, but Navy has too much speed at the skill positions for a gritty AFA squad - Navy - 27 vs. AFA - 20 Virginia at North Carolina 11 am ESPN Gameplan/Raycom - Throughout this game, I’ll be thinking of who’s going to replace UVA head coach Al Groh at year’s end. His assurances to UVA hierarchy about contending for national championships have turned out to be his death knell. But, on to this game, the Tar Heels will make the Wahoos pay for showing up one week after getting crushed by Georgia Tech. GT ran the ball all over ATL on UNC, but the Wahoos don’t put pressure on the UNC run defense like GT can, and did. North Carolina in a rout - UNC 41 vs. UVA - 14

1560 The Game is a proud sponsor of both the Rotary Lombardi Award, given annually to the most outstanding interior lineman in the nation, and the Paul Bear Bryant Award given for the Coach of the Year. Here is my “unofficial leaderboard” for each award. For more info. on each award www.rotarylombardiaward.org and www.americanheart.org/bryantawards

There may be no more dominant lineman this year than Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy. His performance in the opener against BYU was sublime and put him in the lead for this award. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh has been as good as advertised for the Huskers at his three technique position. Florida C/G Maurkice Pouncey leads the Florida offense, with or without QB Tim Tebow. Alabama’s Rolando McClain is the leader of the Alabama defense in the middle and might be the best linebacker right now in the nation. Iowa needs to be represented and the two defensive ends Broderick Binns and Adrian Clayborn have been a nightmare to block. Just ask Penn State’s offensive line. Texas DE Sergio Kindle hasn’t piled up huge numbers, but he came up big in Texas’s win over Texas Tech with a sack, forced fumble and a QB hurry that led to an interception. Virginia Tech DE Jason Worilds is much deserving of consideration. Two names to keep an eye in the future are two young bucks from the Pac-10 - LB Chris Galippo from USC and Arizona State true freshman LB Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State. Neither one will win the award this year, but in the future, these will be names you hear often.

The college football season has been a coach’s nightmare so to speak but a dream for college football fans. However, there’ve been a number of coaches who have stepped to the forefront with what they’ve done early in this season. One of my clubhouse favorites at this point has to be University of Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. I love his demeanor, his toughness and his control of the situation. He’s been at Houston for all of 16 games and he has this city buzzing with all that he’s done. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz has the Hawkeyes playing well the last three weeks. And, by playing well, I mean exceptionally well. Alabama’s Nick Saban is proving to everyone around the nation that he’s still one of the best teachers of the game. He loses his quarterback, an All-American left tackle and now his starting all conference linebacker and it hasn’t stopped the Alabama train at all. Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s career as head coach at Oregon couldn’t have started any worse with a debacle up in Boise, no coach has battled as much adversity and gotten his team back in the national scene like Kelly has this season. Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly was on many ballots for the Bear Bryant Award last season, but if the Bearcats continue undefeated, you can engrave his name on the trophy.

The Hot 100
Here’s the Hot 100 for week four... Thanks to one of my good friends Wallis Marsh I was lucky to see one of this year’s best games in the opening weekend - BYU (1) vs. OU (2) in Dallas. But, last night, I was fortunate, on so many levels, to be at one of those “I was there when games” when Houston (3) knocked off Big 12 foe Texas Tech (4). I went through a phase when I didn’t want to go to games live because I felt like I was missing the day in college football. Plus, I really didn’t want to see UNC (5) or Duke (6) much on a Saturday after a week of accounting work. Regardless, last night reminded me why a live college football game on campus is, well, let’s just say it ranks right up there with “relations with significant others” and a good helping of crawfish etouffee. After a four hour show on campus with a cast of thousands, I had given serious thought to heading home and watching the game at home, along with a number of other games going on at the same time. But, I headed over thinking I just had to see Tech on the same field as Houston yet again - something I, and many others, hadn’t seen since the end of the SWC. I had silently made a wager with myself that if it became a blowout or it was obvious that big, bad Tech was too much for Houston, I’d take off. I didn’t believe that to be true, but when two teams finally get on the field, you just never know. A couple of plays into the game, Houston DT David Hunter (7) had a strip sack on Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts (8) and well, let’s just say I settled into my seat next to my buddy 1560’ own David Nuno (9). 170 or so plays later, it was over and U of H head coach Kevin Sumlin (10) had another “biggest victory in school history” type win. Two games in a row. But, let’s look at what happened in between those 170 some odd plays at some incredible performances. Obviously, all of the talk will be about the Cougars valiant effort and with good reason, but you better recognize Texas Tech safety Cody Davis (11) for the 15 tackle performance he had. He was everywhere and saved at least three “home runs” with open field tackles. I can’t say enough about the performance of #16. As a former safety, I couldn’t believe what an effort this kid was putting forth. LB Brian Duncan (12) was just as good in the middle for the Tech defense and DE Daniel Howard (13) was a pass rushing menace. Throughout the game, David and I kept commenting on the fact that Houston QB Case Keenum (14) was a little off. Just didn’t ever seem like he could get in a good rhythm. But, on the 95 yard drive for the game winning touchdown, he made a winning play every time he touched the ball. Conversions on 3rd and 4 early in the drive. Converting a 4th and 3 to WR Patrick Edwards (15). Hitting Tryon Carrier (16) on the big throw to put the Cougars down inside the ten yard line. Then, taking the QB draw into the end zone for the game winner. What made this so much more impressive, he had thrown a pick to freshman Will Ford (17) on the previous drive that could’ve been the death knell for the Cougars. But, Keenum bounced back with a drive no U of H fan will ever forget. It doesn’t happen without a sublime performance by the Cougar defense in the fourth quarter, led by inside linebacker Marcus McGraw (18). 19 tackles are one thing, but his leadership was quite another. When linebacker Matt Nicholson (19) was injured on third down on the goal line, McGraw had to rally the troops on fourth down and one from the 6 inch line. And, he did. That fourth down stop will be remembered for a long time. But, for a guy who isn’t as big as most Big 12 safety, he made every play he needed to make, although...

...the Texas Tech running backs might have been the most impressive unit I saw this weekend. Baron Batch (20), Harrison Jeffers (21) and Eric Stephens (22) must continue to be a big part of this offense. The three combined for 32 carries, but probably should’ve had 40 to 45 carries. Batch, in particular, was a monster - whether he did it on runs or screen catches - the Cougars could NOT tackle him in space. I had said before the game that the one difference in the two offenses was the fact that Houston OC Dana Holgorsen (23) would use his two backs Charles Sims (24) and Bryce Beall (25) together, but that was not a typical Mike Leach (26) trait. However, last night, the Tech offense was at its best when two of the Tech backs were on the field together. Speaking of the Houston backs, these two guys are perfect complements to one another. Sims makes Beall more dangerous and vice versa. These two really got the Coogs through some tough spots when the passing game wasn’t just in synch. When zeroes hit on the clock, I sat there watching Cougar fans rush the field in a scene I’ll never forget. Ever. I’ve been to see #1 vs. #2. I’ve seen bowl games. I’ve seen upsets. I’ve seen rivalries. I’ve seen championship games. That game last night rivals anything I’ve ever seen. Atmosphere, great solo performances, classic finish - it had it all. I wish you all could’ve been there to see it. To put it in a nutshell, I did a four hour show, watching the entire game, did a post game video with Nuno and finally got home at 2 in the morning. First thing, I did was crawl up on the couch with DVR remote in hand and watch fourth quarter again. Suffice it to say, I’m a bit tired, but going to suck it up. That got me thinking about the best games I’ve seen in person... 1. 1999 #1 Tennessee at Florida (27) 2. 1993 Sugar Bowl Alabama upsets Miami for National championship (28) 3. 1994 Auburn upsets Florida (29) 4. 1996 #1 Florida at #2 Florida State (30) 5. 2009 Houston knocks off Texas Tech (31) 6. 1997 Georgia upsets Florida in Cocktail Party (32) 7. 1997 Florida beats Peyton Manning for final time (33) 8. 2006 CUSA Championship - U of H beats USM (34) 9. 1985 Cotton Bowl - Flutie and Boston College against Houston (35) 10. 2009 BYU upsets #3 Oklahoma in Dallas (36) Honorable Mention: 2005 ACC Championship game - FSU upsets Virginia Tech, 1999 Florida State against Florida and 1995 Florida against Florida State (37) Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli (38) had been taking some significant heat from the Duck faithful, but with a 21-25, three touchdown performance, Oregon fans had better back off. He found his guy TE Ed Dickson (39) eleven times and behind his leadership, the Ducks are 3-1 after a 42-3 smashing of Cal (40). Speaking of Cal, what in the world happened? I’ll tell you - QB Kevin Riley (41). I know it’s not just one guy, but we’ve been talking about him for two years. It was his year to be the Man. He was 12 of 31 on a day when the Ducks challenged him to be perfect. The Ducks defense took RB Jahvid Best (42) right out of the game. I said last week this Oregon defense was starting to look pretty good - CB Walter Thurmond III (43), LB Casey Matthews (44), LB Spencer Paysinger (45) and Terrell Turner (46) are the leaders of that unit and getting better every week. The scary thing is that they’ve done this without one of the conference’s best safeties TJ Ward (47) who hasn’t played since the Boise State opener. When he gets back, look out. But, the Ducks need him back as Thurmond is out for the season after hurting his knee on the opening kickoff. First Ward and now Thurmond? Who’s next?

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen (48) has my respect after coming back into last night’s game against Purdue. WR/RB Golden Tate (49) kept them close with big runs out of the Wildcat and as a RB, but when the Irish needed their leader to come through, JC did with a late touchdown toss to TE Kyle Rudolph (50). Stones, cajones, whateveh - the kid showed him against Purdue. Virginia Tech (51) is a more dangerous offense with RB Ryan Williams (52) than with powerful Darren Evans (53) in the backfield. I’m sure offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring (54) would like to have both, but Williams is quick as a hiccup and explosive at the same time. When QB Tyrod Taylor (55) relies on his play making abilities and takes what the defense gives him, this can be a good offense. It’s just a matter of being consistent play in and play out. T Ed Wang (56) and G Sergio Render (57) lead an experienced line that can hit you in the face. Miami (58) found that out in a bad way on Saturday. Speaking of the Canes, how about taking the loss with some humility? Miami T Jason Fox (59) says afterward that the better team didn’t win. Say what, bro? The only way we know who’s better is for the two teams to play one another. Guess what, Jason - you got waxed 31-7. Don’t try to convince me who’s better, I saw it with my own two eyes. On that day, when it mattered, Virginia Tech was better. Much better than Miami. How do I know - scoreboard, pal. Florida QB Tim Tebow (60) took a wicked hit on Saturday night and may miss next weekend’s game against LSU in Baton Rouge. I’m not convinced that the Gators won’t be fine with backup John Brantley (61) in the lineup, as long as Jeff Demps (62) and Chris Rainey (63) are healthy. I understand that Gator followers will have a coronary if he doesn’t start, but this offense is great with him, decent to pretty good without him. With a defense that has Ryan Stamper (64), Brandon Spikes (65), Janoris Jenkins (66), Joe Haden (67) and Carlos Dunlap (68), the Gators should be fine. How about LSU FS Chad Jones’ (69) performance against Mississippi State (70)? Game changer? How about Game Saver? A 93 yard punt return that rivaled any long return you’ve ever seen. A pass knock down on third and goal when the Bulldogs had a chance to win the game outright. This guy is making leaps and bounds improvement at his safety position, but needs some help on the offensive side of the ball. And, that’s what has me perplexed - the offense. At what point did the power running Tigers turn into the namby-pamby spread offense running Tigers. LSU T Ciron Black (71) was an All-SEC selection - he’s been below average all season long. RB Charles Scott (72) and Keiland Williams (73) have nowhere to run. And, by nowhere, I mean, well, no-where. This is where I might think about scraping the Les Miles (74) I formation, ground-and-pound football and push the boundaries of OC Gary Crowton’s (75) spread ideals. Play Russell Shepard (76) in the slot and have him go in motion every play. Put Williams on the field with Shepard, Terence Toliver (77) and Brandon LaFell (78) - stretch teams sideline to sideline and start forcing teams to account for QB Jordan Jefferson’s (79) deep throwing skills and the sublime running skills of every other skill player on the field. This offense has to change. Don’t look now, but there are three non-BCS teams that have a better than average shot at winning all their games - Houston, we talked about, Boise State (80) we’ve mentioned prior to this week. But, the one other team to keep an eye on is TCU (81). The Horned Frogs knocked off an underrated, but explosive Clemson (82) squad on the road. The only other true road tilt for TCU is at BYU (1) while Utah (84) ventures to Fort Worth later in the year. Texas Tech G Brandon Carter (85) has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Mike Leach who also stripped Carter of his captaincy. Tough situation that has not been made absolutely explained just yet.

Baylor (86) may have lost its shot a bowl game this year as QB Robert Griffin (87) tore his ACL against NW State. That’s now two QBs who have torn ACLs against outclassed opponents. USF QB Matt Grothe (88) tore his ACL against Charleston Southern. Those two seemingly held the fortunes of his respective university in his hands/arms/legs, but tragedy struck in games that shouldn’t have even been played. Speaking of USF (89) and the loss of Grothe, how about what BJ Daniels (90) did in his hometown to the overrated FSU Seminoles (91)? He accounted for 341 yards and two touchdowns (both throwing) in the upset - as improbable a win as any upset this weekend. Speaking of upset, how about Steve Spurrier’s (92) Gamecocks (93) knocking off #4 Ole Miss (94) on Thursday night? I wasn’t totally surprised, given the fact that South Carolina had been tested, but Ole Miss had a bye week and a game against SELA. Ole Miss had no answers for Eric Norwood (95) and Cliff Matthews (96) off the edge. Missing Michael Oher (97) and Peria Jerry (98) is reasonable but Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead (99) has no deep outlet and misses current Steeler and former Rebel WR Mike Wallace (100) in a bad way. Snead was only 7 - 21 for a handful of yards. He’s nowhere near being the best quarterback in the SEC - right now he’s probably behind Tebow, Joe Cox, Ryan Mallett, Jordan Jefferson and Chris Todd.

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