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Posts Tagged ‘East Carolina’

Understandably we expect the first couple of weeks of the season to be a testing period. Most teams have to tune up against token opponents to be ready to start showing their true personality and potential beginning in weeks 3 or 4. Week 3 indeed showed the true potential of some teams, and warning signs for others.

One of the things we are beginning to see is some definite stratifying of teams. After this week we see perhaps 3 top teams that seem to have a free pass to the post season, USC, Oklahoma and Missouri, followed by a tier of very good teams such as Florida, LSU, Georgia, Wisconsin. Then there seems to be quite a fall over to a another tier of a few teams, and then the stragglers toward the bottom. Our thinking is that as teams begin conference play in earnest this week or next, this stratification will probably become more definitive, barring another 2007 where there was a significant upset or 4 every week.

We also are beginning to deduce that conference play is going to be brutal this year. The Big-10, recently decided on the last game of their season between Ohio State and Michigan, seems to be somewhat wide open with OSU, Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois and Purdue all in the hunt. The Big East seems a bit wider open with the apparent weaknesses in Rutgers and West Virginia. With top 25 teams Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and Texas Tech, the Big-12 could be up for grabs (not to mention how Oklahoma State could be a spoiler). While USC seems invinceable, Oregon and Arizona State might have something to say (not to mention the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde-like UCLA). The SEC has power written all over it (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, LSU) while the ACC seems similar, though much weaker.

As for Week 3 results, some key losses, and poor performances, move alot of teams up that we might not have fathomed in weeks 1 and 2. With losses by Ohio State, Kansas and Arizona State (#5, #11 and #12 respectively), and a poor performance by Auburn, we see Alabama and Texas Tech moving up this week, despite expected performances. So here’s the top 25:

#1 USC (2-0) defeated #5 Ohio State (2-1) 35-3 at home. Next week: Bye. We hate to say we saw this coming, but we did. However we didn’t expect such a dominant performance by SC and such a disappointing performance by the OSU defense. And please don’t talk to us about OSU not having Beanie Wells. IF one player was responsible for a 32 point thumping, then we’re pretty sure that said team shouldn’t be in the top 10 to begin with. If USC can manage not to have a mental slip up, they would be favored to be one of the title participants in Miami.

#2 Oklahoma (3-0) defeated Washington (0-3) 55-14 at Washington. Next week: Bye. Not really much to report here. OU was up 34-0 at halftime, and cruised with almost 600 yards of total offense, relatively balanced between the pass and run. We cant see anyone to challenge OU with the possible exception of Missouri in a theoretical Big-12 Championship.

#3 Missouri (3-0) defeated Nevada (1-2) 69-17 at home. Next week: Buffalo (2-1) at home. We were plenty pleased to see the Missou defense rise to the occasion this week after not showing much the first two weeks of the season. QB Chase Daniels had a big day going 23 of 28 for 415 yards and 4 TDs. Jeremy Maclin was the prime target, as he turned in a 6 reception/172 yard/3TD performance.

#4. LSU (2-0) defeated North Texas (0-3) 41-3 at home. Next week: At Auburn (3-0). LSU improved to 16-0 in non-conference games under Les Miles, and 32-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt conference. LSU continues to have a powerful running offense, but we are beginning to be concerned about the lack of a passing game for the Tigers. Eventhough this week the attack was balanced among the 415 yards, the somewhat anaemic passing game could be of particular importance as LSU begins conference play next week against Auburn.

#5 Florida (2-0). Did not play. Next week: At Tennessee (1-1). The Gators and Tigers are in a virtual tie in our minds, both certainly in the right place with regard to the top 10, and clearly at the top of what we consider to be our second tier teams. The Gators needs to show us, and everyone else, that they can really put a game together offensively, with some semblance to last year. We appreciate Coach Meyer’s concern that Tebow can’t get hit 200+ times, but its clear that their offense isn’t hitting on all cylinders yet.

#6 Georgia (3-0) defeated South Carolina (1-2) 14-7 at Columbia, SC. Next week: At Arizona State (2-1). While we are pretty comfortable with the Bulldog Defense, we continue to be disappointed at their offense. For a team that boasted two Heisman candidates on offense (Stafford and Moreno), they should have done much better against a pretty mediocre South Carolina defense, but didn’t. In fact, the SC offense outperformed them by almost 40 yards. However, we know this is a pretty tough rivalry too.  Two critical turnovers by the Gamecocks literally handed the victory to the Dogs. They’d better find some offense before next week against the Sun Devils.

#7 Wisconsin (3-0) defeated #25 Fresno State (1-2) 13-10 in Fresno. Next week: Bye. Wisconsin looks and feels each week like a Big Ten team of the 70s. This was a tough victory by the Badgers, on the road against an amazingly talented team that is MUCH better than the 1-2 record they sport. Both defenses were extremely good, despite giving up over 300 yards, but Fresno State fumbled the game away. The best that can be said is that Wisconsin does find a way to win, but its P.J. Hill driven. If he goes down for any time this year, like last year, the Badgers could be in big trouble.

#8 Texas (3-0) did not play due to Hurricane Ike. Next week: Rice (2-1) at home. Hard to really see what the Longhorns can do since they’ve played pretty much a powder puff schedule. This week’s opponent, Rice, however, who has a pretty potent offense, could give a decent test to the Longhorn defense. We might could extrapolate a little bit next week.

#9 Alabama (3-0) defeated Western Kentucky (1-2) 41-7 at home. Next week: At Arkansas (2-0). There certainly wasn’t anything wrong with Alabama this week, running up 557 yards of total offense and allowing only 158. Granted it was against Western Kentucky, but we expect good solid, expected performances by top 10 teams. Interestingly, three different Crimson Tide backs rushed for at least 50 yards, as Bama ran for 282 yards as a team.

#10 Texas Tech (3-0) defeated SMU (1-2) 43-7 at home. Next week: UMass (2-1) at home. QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree kept up with their conference rivals Daniels-Maclin by leading the Tech offense to 693 yards of total offense. Harrell was 31 of 48 for 418 yards and 5 TDs. Crabtree had 8 receptions for 164 yards and 3 TDs. Now here was the surprising stat: Tech had 180 yards on the ground, something that could cause some opponents grief later on this season. Kudos to the Tech defense playing a bend but not break defense against the spread offense of SMU.

#11 Ohio State (2-1) lost to #1 USC (2-0) 35-3 at USC. Next week: Troy (2-1) at home. Let’s put some things in perspective here. The Buckeyes were never in the game against USC on Saturday, true. OSU seems to have no running game without Beanie Wells, but that wouldn’t have made a difference against USC. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Buckeyes could still be the best team in the Big-10, which we’ll see in a couple of weeks when they open against Minnesota. Now, look down below this #10 spot. Would you pick OSU as the underdog? Yeah we didn’t think so either.

#12 Auburn (3-0) defeated Mississippi State (1-2) 3-2 at Starkville, MS. Next week: At #4 LSU (2-0). This seems to be a recurring theme with Auburn…we’re disappointed. The Tigers generated 315 yards of offense against a pretty mediocre MSU, and only got 3 points to show for it. The good (or sad) news was that it was enough to win. Every week, Auburn seems to underwhelm, and at some point, we just have to drop them until they can do something. We’ll bet next week won’t be it against LSU.

#13 Penn State (3-0) defeated Syracuse (0-3) 55-13 at Syracuse. Next week: Temple (1-2) at home. We continue to be impressed with the Nittany Lion team that consistently plays at a high level. This week the offense generated 560 yards while allowing only 159. Is Penn State the best in the Big-10 at this point? Certainly they look more consistent, especially with Evan Royster performing at such a high level (he had 13 rushes for 101 yards). So we’re optimistic.

#14 BYU (3-0) defeated UCLA (1-1) 59-0 at home. Next week: Wyoming (2-1) at home. We were pretty upset last week that BYU barely edged out a win, but this week, they more than made up for it. The Cougars handed UCLA their worst defeat in 75 years. They led 42-0 a halftime, and cruised. BYU QB Max Hall was 27/35 for 271 yards and 7 TDs (yes seven).

#15 Oregon (3-0) defeated Purdue (1-1) 32-26 at Purdue. Next week: Boise State (2-0) at home. There was over 900 yards of total offense in this game, 500 of which belonged to Oregon, as they had to rally to win. RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for 120 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. This was an impressive performance on the road for the Ducks, and we were pretty impressed with Purdue also.

#16 South Florida (3-0) defeated Kansas (2-1) 37-34 at home. Next week:At Florida International (0-2). We expected a pretty offensive game, and we got it. Both teams combined for almost 900 yards, which was what we thought might happen with Reesing (Kansas) vs. Grothe (South Florida). Its hard to gauge the overall performance, but we were impressed that the Bulls came back this week with a solid performance. However, the defense sure could use some shoring up.

#17 Illinois (2-1) defeated Louisiana Lafayette (0-2) 20-17 at home. Next week: Bye. Illinois seems to be doing what it takes to win, but not much more. Juice Williams had a good day throwing for 147 yards going 13 of 25. Game ball honors should go to RB Daniel Dufrene who had 19 carries for 126 yards. The first conference test for the Illini will come next week against Penn State.

#18 East Carolina (3-0) defeated Tulane (0-2) 28-24 in New Orleans. Next week At N. C. State (1-2). We’re beginning to think we should give Tulane some respect. They kept Alabama in check last week, and this week they play ECU tough. After beating Virginia Tech week 1, and dominating West Virginia last week, ECU needed all 4 quarters to win though (the score was 21-21 after 3). ECU QB Patrick Pinkney went 22 or 32 for 260 yards and 2 TDs. While we like the Pirates, we think they are a bit overstated in the national polls at the 14-15 slot. We’d like to see a bit more domination on a weak schedule to move up.

#19 Utah (3-0) defeated Utah State (0-3) 58-10 At Utah St. Next week: At Air Force. The Utes keep on winning, albeit against rather meager competition. QB Brian Johnson was 22/31 for 204 yards and 2 TDs, while the Utah defense only allowed a total of 116 yards total offense.

#20West Virginia (1-1) did not play. Next week: At Colorado (2-0). The Mountaineers need a good game against the Buffaloes to regain some respect and momentum. Colorado has a stiff defense so, WV might find themselves behind the 8-ball again.

#21 Wake Forest (2-0) did not play. Next week: At Florida State (2-0). Early season test for the Demon Deacons coming up next week against a rejuvenated Seminole team. It might a battle at this point of the best the ACC has to offer.

#22 Kansas (2-1) lost to #16 South Florida (3-0) 37-34 in Florida. Next week: Sam Houston State (1-0) at home. The Jayhawks played good, but not good enough. Kansas QB Todd Reesing was 34/51 for 373 yards and 3 TDs. Normally this would be a stellar afternoon, but the Jayhawk defense allowed 458 offensive yards to the Bulls, and they just didnt have it down the stretch.

#23 Arizona State (2-1) lost to UNLV (2-1) 23-20 at home. Next week: Georgia at home. This might have been the shocker of the week. Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter had a decent week going 13/23 for 242 and 2 TDs, but the Runnin Rebels exploited the ASU defense for 343 total yards. The differentiator was a blocked FG at the end of the game that would have tied it up. We aren’t going to give up on ASU quite yet tho. The game next week will be a huge game for both teams.

#24 Florida State (2-0) defeated Chattanooga (1-2) 46-7 at home. Next week: #21 Wake Forest at home. The Seminoles might just be the best the ACC has to offer early in the season. FSU racked up 484 yards of offense split fairly evenly between the pass and run. The balanced attack is impressive for a traditionally pass-oriented team. Next week they’ll get a solid challenge in Wake Forest.

#25 Clemson (2-1) defeated N.C. State (1-2) 27-9 at home. Next week: South Carolina State. The Tigers hang in here this week just edging out Fresno State for the last spot, mainly because we have an unwritten rule that we can’t drop a team out of the 25 when they win. Clemson still isnt impressing much, though. QB Cullen Harper is doing his part however, going 20/28 for 262 yards and 2 TDs. Don’t look now, but Harper has a 2008 QB rating of 142.29. Thats not bad considering the struggles that Clemson is going through.

Dropped out: Fresno State.

On the Bubble: Fresno State, TCU,  Oklahoma State, Boise State.

Most Impressive: USC, Missouri, Penn State.

Least Impressive: Auburn, Ohio State, Arizona State, Kansas

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Week Three’s games begin some interesting matchups that could have long term effects for some title hopefuls. There are three inter-Top25 battles that might at the very least give us a glimpse into the future, and at best could dictate who’s out early in the BCS title hunt. So without further ado, let’s how week three shapes up with the top 25.

#1 Oklahoma (2-0) at Washington (0-2). It’s pretty hard to think that the Huskies will be able to mount even a mild interference here. However, they have been known to rise up and give a good showing now and again. But we think that the Sooners would need to have an awfully flat week, and the Huskies would need to play the game of their life.  We’ll take the Sooners by 24.

#2. USC (1-0) home against #5 Ohio State (2-0).  The Buckeyes haven’t shown really well in two outings. Last week it was all they could do to get past lowly Ohio. It’s true that they were without their Heisman candidate Chris “Beanie” Wells, but it seemed to us there was something a bit more fundamentally off. With Wells back in the lineup this week, look for a good 20 carries from him unless USC just scores at will. USC will most certainly see a very fast defense, and a top notch linebacking corps. Look for both teams to make use of different looks and blitzes to keep the other’s quarterbacks off guard. Home field makes the difference: Trojans by 10.

#3 Georgia (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1). If Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are going to make 2008 a breakthrough season, it needs to start this week against the Dawgs.   SC looked really good the first week but against Vanderbilt, just totally looked like another team. So, which team will show?  We think it really won’t matter in the end. Georgia should prevail on the road, and with plenty to spare.  Dawgs by 26.

#4 Florida (2-0). Bye. They’ll play the following Thursday against Tennessee.

#5 Ohio State (2-0) at #2 USC (1-0) – See above.

#6 LSU (1-0) home against North Texas (0-2). Oh my Lord who scheduled this masscre.  Folks this is a National Champion contender versus quite literally the 13th grade.  North Texas Coach Todd Dodge, former legendary 5A high school coach of National powerhouse Southlake, recruited all his players to come play for him in hopes of turning the NT program around.  There were alot of very idiotic people in Southlake that swore their football team could beat college teams.  Not LSU tho.  They may call this one  on some mercy rule, or on account of Hurricane Ike.  Tigers by 55, unless rain is so hard that no one can see.

#7. Missouri (2-0) home against Nevada (1-1). Missouri already is looking good, but defensively hasnt solidified, but then its still pre-season for them, Nevada is not to be taken lightly, however,  Both teams are consistenly in the top 5 in offense. The Wolfpack will be missing their starting RB Luke Lippincott who tore his ACL in the game against Texas Tech. Look for an easy Tiger win here, and perhaps look closely to see if the Missouri defense can put up a good effort.  Tigers by 24.

#8 Wisconsin (2-0) home against Fresno State (1-0). This should be a humdinger of a game. The Bulldogs are coming off a bye week after an impressive win against Rutgers. So another cross country trip for them to a much better team. Let’s dont write this one off too quickly. Fresno State stiffled a big O-line and traditionally good rushing game of Rutgers, and exploted their defense.  Wisconsin on the other hand has showed two teams..one that runs the ball all day long with P.J.Hill, and one that passes at will.  We’re a bit inclined to think that the versatility of Wisconsin’s offense could be trouble for Fresno State.  However, if the Badgers come in with anything but their “A” game watch out.  Wisconsin by 13.

#9. Auburn (2-0) at Mississippi State (1-1). Auburn keeps playing solid, ball-control offense with a very stingy defense, but hasn’t gone over the edge in overwhelming much lesser opponents. They should have another opportunity to overwhelm if they want to this week against Mississippi State. There’s not alot that can be done here, as long as Auburn shows up.  Tigers by 20.

#10 Texas (2-0) home against Arkansas (2-0). Due to a projected landfall for Hurricane Ike, this game has been moved to Sept 27, so the Longhorns get a week of rest.

#11 Kansas (2-0) at #19 South Florida (2-0) on Friday night. This should shape up to be the Kansas offense against the Bulls defense. Kansas QB Todd Reesing seems to be hitting on all cylinders, while the Jayhawk defense hasnt lost much.  South Florida stumbled a little last week but gutted it out in a tough interstate win against UCF.  I have alot of respect for tough games like that building some character. Matt Grothe will need to have a MUCH better outing to keep the Bulls in it.  Jayhawks by 14.

#12 Arizona State (2-0) at home against UNLV.(1-1). Its hard to see much of any scenario that doesn’t include a big night for ASU QB Rudy Carpenter. UNLV got thumped hard by Utah last week, and ASU is more diverse and powerful team.  Sun Devils by 22.

#13. Texas Tech (2-0) at home against SMU (0-2). While Tech hasnt quite gotten into their normal offensive groove, SMU is a bad team in transition, June Jones or not. Look for the Red Raiders to perhaps find the gear offensively, but really watch their defense to see if there is marked improvement. If not, TTU wont be long in the top 25.  Red Raiders by 27.

#14 Alabama (2–0) at home against Western Kentucky (1-1). In Alabama we have another split personality team. They practically destroyed Clemson the first week, but last week against a hapless Tulane team they struggled. The Hilltoppers can run the ball quite well, but traveling on the road to Alabam isnt going to help much. Tide by 26.

#15 Oregon (2-0) at Purdue (1-0). The Ducks looked downright invincible last week. Traveling cross country could be a little bit of a factor, but we see the Ducks prevailing here. Oregon by 18.

#16 Penn State (2-0) at Syracuse (0-2). The Nittany Lions have shown nothing but good solid footbal on both sides of the ball. Syracuse just won’t have anything to stop PSU.  Penn State by 24.

#17 East Carolina (2-0) at Tulane (0-1). The stories are still there. Could ECU be the BCS buster this year? Possibly. They should absolutely no problems with Tulane. However, Tulane played Alabama close last week. ECU has beaten #17 Virginia Tech and #8 West Virginia already.  They shouldn’t have much problem with the Green Wave. If they dispatch them convincingly, look for them to move up even more. Pirates by 21.

#18  Illinois (1-1) at home against Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1). Illinois is going to be working overtime to get themselves together agianst someone and so it might as well by La-Lafayette. Juice Williams should have a field day. Illinois by 17.

#19 South Florida (2-0) at Kansas (2-0) – See above.

#20 West Virginia (1-1) Bye. After than miserable showing against ECU, they need a week or 5 off.

#21 BYU (2-0) at home against UCLA (1-0). This is another one you’ll wish you could watch.  UCLA showed alot of poise and talent in upsetting Tennessee, while BYU needed a lousy “excessive celebration” to steal their victory last week.  We might be dreaming, but we think this could be a very good game and it wouldn’t surprise us if UCLA pulls the upset. If they do, the PAC-10 all of a sudden looks pretty strong.. Cougars by 6.

#22 Wake Forest (2-0)  at Florida State (1-0). We probably think that WF is a better team than 22, but they havent played like it quite yet.  Here’s their chance. FSU debuted quite nicely and looked tough on defense.  We think that the home field advantage could make the difference.  Wake by 3.

#23 Clemson (1-1) at home against North Carolina State (1-1). Tommy Bowden’s Clemson Tigers better start acting like their mascot namesake. One of the polls already dropped them.  We aren’t so cruel.  The Tigers should find a way back into the list with a big victory here.  Tigers by 21.

#24 Fresno State (1-0) at #8 Wisconsin (2-0). See above at #8.

#25 Utah (2-0) at Utah State (0-2). The Aggies got annihilated by Oregon last week, and the Utes should have just as much to share. Utes by 30.

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