The less-than-stellar second week of the 2008 college football season.
I didn't get to see as much football this weekend as I would have liked, as various family functions meant that my football time was greatly diminished. Luckily, this was a pretty awful week for college football and I didn't end up missing much. Most of the top 25 were playing vastly inferior opponents and the games that weren't over before they started were sloppy and badly played.
Ohio at Ohio State:
Ohio St 26
The inability of the Buckeye Linebackers to move laterally and properly defend the spread option is starting to become a bit of an albatross for OSU. Ohio, who were obviously outclassed at almost every position, were able to keep the score down and stay in the game well into the 3rd quarter because they were able to run the ball effectively. The Bobcat's first string Quarterback, Theo Scott, was knocked out early in the game and backup Boo Jackson(seriously) played well as long as he never attempted to pass the ball. He consistently made plays with his legs, but gave the impression of never knowing quite where the ball was going to land when he let go of it. All in all, a pretty underwhelming performance by Ohio St, who need to hope last week was an aberration if they have any shot against USC.
West Virginia at East Carolina
East Carolina 24
West Virginia 3
On one hand, it was probably too much to expect the Mountaineers to be a top 10 team after losing most of its coaching staff and returning only a handful of players, even if one of them was Pat White. On the other hand, East Carolina is legit and Patrick Pinkney needs to start getting more attention. In his first two games against Virgina Tech and West Virginia he completed 41 of 51 passes for 447 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.. That's deadly efficient. The Pirates are a good, but not great, team with a nasty defense and a soft schedule the rest of the season. History tells us that they slip up somewhere, and a November 15th date at rival Southern Mississippi seems to be the most obvious place, but if they manage to run the table they'll be able to make a serious argument they deserve a shot in the title game.
Miami(Fl.) at Florida
I could only keep half and eye on this game while I was entertaining company, eating finger foods, and drinking a fair amount of beer, but what I saw were two good defenses and one good offense. Miami's young defense managed to hold up well against the Gators for 3 quarters before being worn down by the Tebow express. They may not have been good enough to win in the Swamp, and their offense looked completely lost at times, but the defense might be good enough to make a run at the title game in a very weak ACC. Florida seemed to have a lot of trouble running the ball, and that may end up being a liability in the SEC.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your SEC East division-leading Vanderbilt Commodores!
Currently, the standings in the SEC East look like this:
South Carolina 0-1
Yes, we've only completely two weeks of the season, but the Commodores are in first place! Vandy's next two games are against Rice and at Mississippi, which are both winnable. It's possible that they could still have a least a share of the lead in the SEC East before playing Auburn on October 4th. It's amazing what Bobby Johnson has been able to do with the program. They play hard, they play smart and while they're still outclassed by every other team in the conference, they've suddenly become a team that no one wants to play.
The Futility of the Irish, or Whatever happened to all of those recruits, Charlie Weiss?
Notre Dame looked sluggish and uninspired against a pitiful San Diego St. team. It's looking more and more like those Top 5 recruiting classes hauled in by Charlie Weiss were busts and that Tyrone Willingham was a much better coach than he was ever given credit for. There was hope among some Notre Dame supporters that this was a team that could win 9 games. The team I see is only marginally better than last year's disaster. I think they'll be lucky to finish over .500.
Speaking of futility, some predictions regarding the weekend to come:
Kansas beating South Florida fairly handily. The Jayhawks are still a very talented team, and that offense should be able to put up a ton of points on anybody. South Florida isn't bad, but I don't see them doing well in a shootout, even at home.
Michigan at Notre Dame is an unwatchable train wreck. I'll be shocked if there are less than 6 turnovers between the two teams. Michigan wins 19-12.
Wisconsin and Fresno St., with a start time of 10:30ET Saturday Night, will lull a nation into bed early with their particular brands of smash-mouth, grind it out, running based, play good defense and punt style football. Effective when done correctly, but no less boring. Wisconsin wins, America loses.
Curtis Painter is a seriously good quarterback and Purdue's system is designed so that he can put up a ton of points. The Boilermakers get Oregon at home this weekend and have a chance to pull of the upset. It should be tremendously entertaining, as the offenses are capable of putting up anywhere from 70 to 100 combined points. I think I'm actually more excited about this game than I am for Ohio St. at USC.
Trojans by 14.