Sunday, September 07, 2008

College Football, Week 2

Here's your Week 2 insights. NFL Week 1 insights coming Tuesday, though the 'Skins have already played.

First off, how weak did the Big Ten look? Ohio State damn near got beat by Ohio at home, Wisconsin struggled early against Marshall before waking up, and Michigan looked awful against Miami (Ohio). At least Northwestern beat poor Duke.

Second, your BCS-crasher watch: East Carolina destroyed #8 West Virginia, and since their schedule is really weak the rest of the way, they should be able to be undefeated with no problem. BYU survived Washington, but only because they paid off the refs or something. Seriously, I wonder if the same people who officiated the Vanderbilt-Florida travesty from three years ago worked that game - it was the exact same B.S. call that led to the 35-yard PAT, which got blocked and thus did the Huskies in. And Utah? See below.

Third, Arkansas looks really bad this year. Maybe they shouldn't have fired Houston Nutt.

On to the games I care about:

Vanderbilt 24, #24 South Carolina 17: Wow. I can honestly say I didn't expect this, especially not after we essentially nuked USC's season last year in Columbia. Vandy actually looked good in this game - the defense was excellent, and we capitalized well on some big USC mistakes. What I especially like: instead of giving the game away at the end as is Vandy's custom, we pounded out a rushing first down and ran out the clock. You know, like a good team would do.

One note on the Spurrier era at USC - the Ol' Ball Coach isn't putting up the kind of offensive numbers he was famous for at Florida - and it's not as if he's facing harder teams. Is he just not as motivated? Is he only able to recruit defensive players? Or has the game passed him by?

Virginia Tech 24, Furman 7: Well, I guess when you're Virginia Tech you're supposed to beat Furman, so I don't have much to say here. I guess the only thing I really have to say is that the loss to ECU doesn't look so bad now.

#22 Utah 42, UNLV 21: After what UNLV did to Utah last year, this feels good. It was dicey for a while, but a good end-of-half score tied it up and the Utes' offense woke up in the second half. However, I don't think Utah can afford the kind of first half they had this week against Wyoming or New Mexico, and definitely can't afford it against the Brig.

And granted, Washington's probably a better team than Michigan, but the fact that BYU had trouble with their mediocre major-conference opponent kinda makes me smile a little.


lsmsrbls said...

"What I especially like: instead of giving the game away at the end as is Vandy's custom, we pounded out a rushing first down and ran out the clock. You know, like a good team would do."

Yes! I was so excited to see Vandy play the whole game. At South Carolina's last possession, I was pretty much already looking at it as if the score were tied. Then shockingly Vanderbilt actually kept playing. Have they figured out how to play for all 60 minutes? I thought this was great.

Mike said...

I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the B.S. call in the BYU-Wash game. Ours was B.S., for sure - all the guy did was pump his fist. The Washington quarterback threw the ball in the air, which is clearly grounds for the penalty call as phrased in the rulebook. (ESPN went over this extensively.) Do I think it's just? No. But given the rules, it was the correct call.

The Vanderbilt defense was really solid, only looking remotely weak on the one drive. The offense still made a few costly mistakes (the fumble on the option, of course, and let's not forget that one pass Nickson threw directly to the SoCar LB that would have been picked 9 out of 10 times), but they also made plays when it counted. Hawkins is looking like quite a serviceable back and played with a lot of heart, and Nickson's mobility is turning into quite an asset. I remain, as always, cautiously optimistic. We should beat Rice, Duke, and probably MSU. I'm a little warier about Ole Miss now - before Wake, I wasn't buying the hype, but I concede they're a pretty solid team. Still, I figure either the Rebs or the Deacs are beatable. Same for UK, which is decidedly weaker this year than last.

Hot damn, but I do love football season.

Jeff said...

Mike - Caple says it better than I could. Regardless of whether the letter of the law was violated, there's no way this kind of conduct is what the law was aiming for. A little prosecutorial discretion, as it were, is called for here.

Lindi said...

Jeff I didn't realize you were such an opponent of the Cougs.

Jeff said...

I think it's pretty much required if you're a Utah fan, right? :-P

Just ask your mom and Parker what their reaction was when I showed up at their house for the BYU game wearing red...

Besides, after you guys pulled two straight bizarre, improbable victories over the Utes, I think you can forgive us a little bitterness.

Mike said...

I object to the call, but I object more to comparing it to the ludicrous call against Vandy back in 2005. In the Commodores' case, there was literally no justification for the penalty. In this case, I can't fault the refs for making the call they did. The rule does not mention taunting or anything that would provide leeway in making the decision - that's a fallacious argument. It says, "After a score...the player in possession must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot. This prohibits: c) Throwing the ball high into the air." This is exactly what happened. Do I think it was the right call? No, the ball was clearly thrown in celebration and there was nothing unsportsmanlike about it - but I refuse to condemn the officials for making a legitimate call based on the rules regardless of how much I can't stand BYU. I say rewrite the rule to clarify intent rather than being mad at those who enforce it.