Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mountain West’

For those of you wondering where the weekly post has been, we do apologize for the inconvenience.  Last Friday Korky came down with a rather nasty bout of pneumonia and was put in the hospital for 5 days.  Not to fear, he’s out and writing again.  My thanks to my great friend Steve for visiting and keeping his spirits high during the downtime.

Enough of that. Since we are already a bit late on this, we’re going to combine the weekly posts. Usually we have one post just announcing the results and ranking, then another around Wednesday to predict the following weeks’ games. So we’ll just combine the two here this week.

Week 6 ended up almost exactly the way we thought it would, except for the lackluster performance of South Florida, who seems to be repeating their nose-dive act of 2007. Maybe we’ll all learn not to run them up to the top 10 so soon….oh wait, we do that with Georgia every year too don’t we. But as for general comments we have a few regarding this week’s rankings.

Since Florida State seems to have settled on a QB they look a lot better, but we’ll wait for them them to win another game at least before ranking.  The ACC and Pac 10 are causing most of the heartburn this year it seems.  The former is nearly flat lining this year, and the latter is so topsy-turvy you never know who’s gonna beat whom any week.  Plus, the Big 10 has become the Big 2 again, but not the ones we usually think of.  PSU has replaced Michigan and Wisconsin has taken over the occasional interloper role Iowa and Michigan State shared for decades.

And because of the change in who the power teams are in some of those conferences, several schedules are back-loaded this year, even though they’re playing the same schools on the same weeks as in years past.  You’d think some would be easy, like OSU-Mich not being for all the marbles this year, but USC thought the same last year vs. a mediocre UCLA, and that didn’t turn out so well.  So some of those year end rivalry games can still have an impact.  Auburn is perfectly capable of biting ‘Bama in the backside, though I don’t see A&M beating Texas no matter what.  And keep in mind that OU has struggled with the Stillwater crowd in recent years.

In any case, there were some minor surprises but nothing that we didn’t allude to.  We did mention that we were high on the Vandy-Auburn game and sure enough the Tigers did fold under the pressure. We were a bit disappointed in Fresno State not taking care of business against Hawaii too.  So, here we go…the new Kathman-Patton Top 25 with a look toward some pretty important games here in Week 7 that may prove to disrupt the list rather drastically next week.

#1 Oklahoma (5-0). Defeated Baylor (2-3) 49-17. This week: #5 Texas (5-0) in Dallas. Oklahoma pretty much did what they were supposed to do against Baylor, seeing that the Bears haven’t had a winning season since perhaps Mike Singletary was an All-American there.  Needless to say this week’s Red River Rivalry with Texas will take on a special importance with both in the top 5. The real facts are here, that neither team has played a gamely opponent yet. OU’s opponents are a combined 12-15 on the season while Texas’ are 11-16. OU has outscored their opponents 248-69 (avg 49.6 – 13,8) while Texas has outscored their opponents 236-57 (avg 47.2 to 11.4), so hardly a demanding schedule so far. But, of course that all changes on Saturday. This will be the 10th time that this matchup has seen two top-5 teams contesting for supremacy, with Oklahoma winning the last 3 times both were ranked in the top 5. We dont see this changing much.  Texas has been able to easily overwhelm their opponents with an oversized defensive line that stops the running game and then eventually drowns the opposing QB.  However against the OU offensive line, they’ll have no such luck. Sooner QB Sam Bradford, one of the most accurate and highly ranked QB’s in the country, should have a field day against a very inexperienced Texas secondary that has given up HUGE passing yardage (over 300 against Rice and over 400 against UTEP).  On the flip side, OU’s defense is very fast, and the secondary has been outstanding. The OU defense allowed only  36 total yards against Chattanooga, and not a single 300 yard passing day.  With OU tending toward big first quarters (over 100 pts of their 248 came in the 1st) its possible that this game could be over fast.  Sooners by 17.

#2 Missouri (5-0). Defeated Nebraska (2-3) 52-17. This week: #17 Oklahoma State (5-0) at home. We must admit that the Mizzou-Nebraska was a disappointment.  After being the staunch defensive coach at LSU, everyone was expecting more from the Nebraska D which averaged well over 40 pts/game last year. Such was not the case. Missouri scored at will, and easily all night long. So we credit a great Missouri offense, but perhaps not as much as a really bad Nebraska defense, and almost inept offense.  We think that the Tigers are in for a much tougher game this week with Oklahoma State. With the Mizzou defense still somewhat suspect from a pass defense standpoint, this could be a perfect storm with Cowboy QB Zac Robinson riding into town. Robinson very simply is one of the top ranking QB’s in the nation with a 72% efficiency and with a 204.58 passing rating (compare this to OU’s Sam Bradford at 204.97 and Tiger QB Chase Daniels at 196.28). Robinson also can add an extra dimension by running the ball as he did last week against Texas A&M when he ran for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns.  All in all OKST averages 530 yards per game and about 53 points, so you do the math (yes 1 point per 10 yards gained), which is pretty phenomenal. We think both defenses could get a workout.  This is definitely an upset watch game for us this week, but we’ll edge with the home team. Missouri by 4.

#3 LSU (4-0). Did not play last week. This week: At #12 Florida (4-1). It’s been 18 years since there has been a meeting of the former two national champions, so in the first of many SEC showdowns, this one should go a long way to help clear up some lingering doubts on both teams. To say that Florida has been an enigma this year would be an understatement. Last year’s Heisman winner, Gator QB Tim Tebow has been a bit throttled this year in efforts by Coach Urban Meyer to reduce his hits (he had well over 200 last year).  As such, Tebow has been somewhat relegated to more of a pocket passer, with some escapism allowed on rare occasions.  WR Percy Harvin has also had some injury issues.  However, Florida DID put a nice game together this past week in dominating a mediocre Arkansas team. LSU is in its familiar setting, atop the SEC West along with Alabama (while Florida sits a game behind Vanderbilt and tied with Georgia). But LSU relies on its defense, and its a very good one.  The offense has had its ups and downs this year as Coach Les Miles seems to have finally settled on Sophomore QB Jarrett Lee who has been impressive in his last two games. LSU has won 4 of the last 6 meetings between the two ball clubs, and in the battle of “former” champions, the home team has never lost.  While we’re not always so respectful of such stats, in this kind of battle you can’t ignore them either. LSU by 6.

#4 Alabama (6-0). Defeated Kentucky (4-1) 17-14 at home. This week: Bye. After coming off a mixed-view victory over Georgia the week before, the Crimson Tide almost let one slip away on the last play of the game. But, good teams find a way to win when they play below par, and so they did against Kentucky. It seemed that the Tide was playing the whole game the way it did in the second half against Georgia, showing defensive vulnerability in both run and pass.  The game was won when the Kentucky QB literally dropped the ball and it rolled into the end zone and was recovered for an Alabama TD.  Hence we still don’t buy into the #2 ranking that the AP writers seem to have magically manufactured.

#5 Texas (5-0). Defeated Colorado (3-2) 38-14 in Boulder. This week: #1 Oklahoma in Dallas. See analysis and prediction under Oklahoma. Sooners by 17.

#6 Penn State (6-0). Defeated Purdue (2-3) 20-6 at Purdue. This week: At #20 Wisconsin. PSU-Purdue is always a tough rivarlry, especially when played in Indiana. However, the Nittany Lions controlled the game in most every way. It was a typical PSU game, with a solid, tough defense leading the way so that an consistent offense could rack up yet another 400+ yard offensive day and put up points while eating the clock.  QB Daryll Clark posted 18/26 for 220 yards while RB Evan Royster ground out 141 yards on the ground. Wisconsin lost a heart breaker to Ohio State. The Badger defense allowed the Buckeyes to drive down the field with less than 2 minutes left, to hand over the victory.  All of a sudden, Wisconsin is sitting at 3-2 with back-to-back conference losses. With the shape of the Big-10 this year, the Badgers have to make a stand and it has to be THIS week against conference co-leader Penn State.  The bright spot for Wisconsin however is still that P.J. Hill is nearly unstoppable and the Offensive Line is reall stellar. We think the Nittany Lions could be in for a tough Saturday. However, with a questionable defense, the Badgers may just be in the same kind of matchup, if not worse, as they just had with Ohio State. Penn State by 10.

#7 Texas Tech (5-0). Defeated Kansas State (3-2) 58-28 at KSU. This week: Nebraska (3-2) at home. The Red Raiders had all cylinders clicking against the Wildcats in a showing that was worthy of their high ranking. Graham Harrell led the TTU offense to yet another 600+ yard offensive day going 38/51 for 454 yards and 6 touchdowns, two of which were to Michael Crabtree. Perhaps hidden under the gaudy passing numbers was the fact that the Red Raiders ran the ball for almost 140 yards again, with both Shannon Woods and Byron Batch sharing the load. The Tech defense gave up some significant yards on its first drive, but after that shut the Wildcats down to nil, until a blocked punt and a late TD made the score much higher than was actually endured.  We’ve already lamented Nebraska’s poor defensive performance against Mizzou (see above).  While we’re really sure that Nebraska couldn’t possibly be so bad two weeks in a row, we also remember that TTU went to Lincoln last year and hung 70 on the Cornhuskers. We’re pretty sure that won’t happen, but comfortable in saying that Tech rolls.  Red Raiders by 21.

#8 USC (3-1). Defeated Oregon (4-2) 44-10 at home. This week: Arizona State (2-3) at home. After a very tacky loss to Oregon State, the USC Trojans went home and apparently had a revitalization treatment, Pete Carroll style. The game started eerily familar, with the Ducks running game really taking it to the Trojan D. This didn’t last long however, as the USC offense was NOT comotose as it was against the Beavers. QB Mike Sanchez found seven different receivers for 341 yards and 3 TDs. The turning point was just prior to halftime when the USC offense/defense exploded for 19 point in the last 40 seconds to go up 27-10.  Arizona State is another team that has fallen from grace rather quickly having been originally a top 10 contender. Things just haven’t come together for ASU the way they had hoped, and after losing to Cal 24-14 (their third loss in a row) things don’t look promising. The Sun Devils have lost 4 in a row against USC and that string could be easily extended. USC might have to bring in backup QB Mitch Mustain since Mike Sanchez endured a bone bruise against Oregon. It shouldn’t matter tho.  Trojans by 13.

#9 Brigham Young (5-0). Defeated Utah State (1-4) 34-14 at Utah State. This Week: New Mexico (3-3) at home. We’re pretty sure that everyone in the country was looking for a blowout in the BYU-Utah State game, but it didn’t happen, unless you call a 20 point win a blowout.  While BYU had a solid game, Utah State had allowed 66, 58 and 42 hung on them in the previous 3 weeks by non-ranked teams. We expected much more from BYU, but perhaps they rested too much. BYU probably has one of the easier schedules of top 10 teams right now. TCU and perhaps Utah could be their only ranked opponent tests the rest of the year, so BYU must put pedal to the metal and annihilate their opponents if they look to advance. Once BCS rankings come out, we’re figuring the Cougars could drop a few spots. New Mexico will provide token resistance this week. Cougars by 24.

#10 Ohio State (5-1). Defeated #20 Wisconsin (3-2) 20-17 at Wisconsin.  This week: Purdue (2-3) at home. Watching last week’s OSU-Wisconsin game gave us the deja-vu that we were watching one of the classic Big-10 games of the past, except that the ball was in the air too much. But nevertheless, the Buckeyes showed some real character going down 17-13 late in the game when they gave up chunks of rushing yardage to P.J. Hill and the go ahead TD.  Terrelle Pryor took hold of the OSU offense and marched the length of the field for the go-ahead score with 1:08 left. The defense held the rest of the game. Chris (Beanie) Wells also had a big day rusing for 168 yards and a TD. With the maturation of Pryor and a healthy Wells, we’re sure that OSU can evolve into a contender in not only the Big-10, but also nationally. Purdue, on the other hand, looks to play the spoiler role.  They played well against Penn State, but lacked consistency against a tough defense. Purdue might find the going even tougher against OSU.  Buckeyes by 10.

#11 Georgia (4-1). Did not play last week. This week: Tennessee (2-3) at home. The Bulldogs have had an extra week to get rid of the bad taste of a 41-30 thumping by Alabama. They hopefully watched film of the second half of that game and if so, can draw tremendous confidence. The Georgia defense is as strong as any when they focus, and they’ll be at home. Tennessee has struggled against itself all season. The Vols can move the ball when they have to, but have been characterized with large-scale defensive lapses, and untimely offensive gaffes.  They played Auburn very well, but could never get things going offensively, though their defense was outstanding. A similar story occurred in the UCLA game earlier in the year.  If this game was being played in Tennessee, we’d be a bit more contemplative, but since its not, we don’t see much way that Georgia doesn’t bounce back with a vengeance.  Bulldogs by 24.

#12 Florida (4-1). Defeated Arkansas (2-3) 38-7 at Arkansas. This week: #3 LSU at home. See analysis under #3 LSU.  Tigers by 6.

#13 Vanderbilt (5-0). Defeated #22 Auburn (4-2) 14-13 at home. This week: At Mississippi State (1-4). There aren’t too many in the CFB community that would have thought that the Commodores would have been atop the SEC East six weeks into the season.  The fact of the matter, is that if Vanderbilt can beat Mississippi State on the road this weekend, they’ll be off to their best start in 80 years. They are already at their highest ranking in 50 years, so this team really has the impetus. To prove that, they lost their 1st string QB last week (Chris Nickson) so backup Mackenzi Adams stepped in and threw 13/23 for 153 and 2 Touchdowns against one of the stingiest defenses in the country. they also gave up two quick TD’s to Auburn and fought back to win. Hapless Mississippi State is yet again the cellar dweller in the SEC West, but they seem to be a team rebuilding.  Despite their 1-4 record they have averaged giving up only 21 points per game, and even lost to Auburn only 3-2.  The trouble is on the offensive side of the ball where they are averaging only 16 points/game.  That could be a bad sign against a very tough Vandy defense. We think this might be closer than alot of people think, because the Commodores are coming off a tremendously emotional victory, so its normal to play down a little. We still think its definable for them tho. Vanderbilt by 13.

#14 Utah (6-0). Defeated Oregon State (2-3) 31-28 at home. This week: At Wyoming (2-4). Utah has been consistently good this year, and proved it by rallying with 8 points in the final 89 seconds to beat Oregon State just one week after the Beavers had upset USC.  While the Utes seemed to move the ball, their defense was plagued all day, giving up over 400 yards of total offense to the Beavers  However, against Wyoming this shouldn’t matter much. Wyoming’s offense is averging only 9 points per game. Utes by 28.

#15 Kansas (4-1). Defeated Iowa State (2-3) 35-33 at Ames, IA. This Week: Colorado (3-2) at home. Kansas has struggled all year despite great efforts by Todd Reesing and his offense. However, they had to rally from 20 points down to win last week, and that begins to be a warning sign.  Kudos to the Jayhawks to come back from that deficit, but whoa did they get exploited early on. Reesing and company generated 436 yards of offense but gave up 4 turnovers,including 1 interception.  Colorado seemed poise to make a stand against Texas but found themselves out of their league. Kansas isn’t in the same league, but they’re certainly higher than the Buffaloes.  Jayhawks by 10.

#16 Boise State (4-0). Defeated La Tech (2-2) 38-3 at home. This week: At Southern Miss (2-3). Let’s not kid ourselves, BSU is a force to be reckoned with and are a near shoe-in to win the WAC this year. The Broncos generated 564 yards of total offense in obliterating Louisiana Tech, led by Kellen Moore who threw for 2 TDs and D.J. Harper who ran for 2 more. Up next is Southern Miss, who comes off of a tough 40-37 overtime loss to UTEP. Look for the Broncos to score at will. Boise State by 23.

#17 Oklahoma State (5-0). Defeated Texas A&M (2-3) 56-28. This week: At #2 Missouri (5-0). Actually we think that this game could be one of the key matchups of the week. Read about it under #2 Missouri. Tigers by 4.

#18 Michigan State (5-1). Defeated Iowa (3-3) 16-13 at home.  This week: At Northwestern (5-0). It does seem a bit weird ranking a 5-1 MSU and not ranking the 5-0 Northwestern Wildcats but we can either declare our brilliance or wallow in our humility at the end of this game. Save for a comeback that stalled against Cal in week one, we’d be having two undefeateds here, but such is not the case. MSU continues to make some noise worthy of a ranking while Northwestern just pretty much gotten fat on some easy pickings. Both teams disposed of a common foe, Iowa the last two weeks, MSU winning 16-13  and Northwestern winning 22-17. MSU sports the better offense with RB Javon Ringer, while Northwestern has a great defense (allowing only around 12 points per game. We think that the Spartans should be able to push the Wildcats around and work for a methodic offensive win Michigan State by 11.

#19 Virginia Tech (5-1). defeated Western Kentucky (2-4) 27-13 at home. This week: Bye. The Hokies are beginning to play the kind of ball that everyone hoped they would. They’ve always been characterized by a strong defense, outstanding special teams, but a rather mediocre offense that spun games away at times. Now firmly entrenched Sophomore QB Tyrod Taylor has lead his team to four straight victories after being humiliated by East Carolina in week 1.  The interesting thing is that Taylor has settled in the last few weeks at around a 60-62% accuracy and 170+ yards, which is what is expected of the offense for Tech. He’s even put QB ratings in the high 150’s, which is darned good.  Watch for a rise from VT as they seem to be emerging as the team to beat in the ACC.

#20 Wisconsin (3-2). Lost to Ohio State (5-1) 20-17.  This week: #6 Penn State at home. Read analysis under #6 Penn State.  Last stand for Wisconsin before being labeled a “spoiler”.  PSU by 20.

#21 South Florida (5-1). Lost to Pittsburgh (4-1) 26-21. This week: Bye. To say that the Bulls were uninspired and disappointing would be an understatement. They’ll need to buck up quickly so that don’t repeat their 2007 dive.

#22 Auburn (4-2). Lost to Vanderbilt (5-0) 14-13 at Vanderbilt. This week: Arkansas (2-3) at home. Poor Tommy Tubberville. He’s got to be thinking how long does it take to learn a new offense?  But thats just what’s going on.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Tiger Defense, but we imagine push came to shove when Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin was fired because his offense was 104th in the nation. So, maybe this is a good move.  We’ll see as an underachieving Arkansas comes calling. Arkansas just doesnt seem to have all the pieces in the right spots right now.  QB Casy Dick is making all kinds of mistakes, and most have been terribly costly. The truth is though, that if the Razorbacks could have ONE good game it could be interesting. It’s very hard for us to predict this one, but our hunch is that Arkansas won’t be able to do anything against the Auburn defense, and that the AU offense, in whatever mode, should be able to capitalize.  Auburn by 8.

#23 TCU (5-1). Defeated San Diego State (1-4) 41-7 at home. This week: At Colorado State (3-3). Don’t look now, but here’s comes TCU again. After getting dumped hard by Oklahoma a few weeks ago, TCU didn’t let that settle in. They have managed to pick up the pieces and move on with the same tough defense. On the offensive side of the ball, TCU does it mostly on the ground. For instance in their drubbing of SDSU, backup QB Marcus Jackson threw for 115 yards and a TD, but also ran for 131 yards and 3 TDs. Their opponent this week, Colorado State, comes off an impressive victory over UNLV where their offense generated over 500 yards of offense. QB Billy Ferris was 15/21 for 294 yards and a TD, while RB Gartrell Johnson steamrolled through the UNLV defense for 191 yards and 3 TDs.  So what we seem to have is two very good offenses going at one another. TCU might have the upper hand in defense which could make the difference.  Horned Frogs by 8.

#24 North Carolina (4-1). Defeated UConn (5-1) 38-12 at home.  This week: Notre Dame (4-1) at home. In a conference that’s certainly not impressing anyone this year, North Carolina somehow has found a way to make things exciting. In last week’s game they kept sending a linebacker at the punter, kept handing off to a former safety and somehow put its bulky defensive tackle in position to intercept a pass. The Tar Heels’ defense got offensive — and for that matter, so did the offense and special teams — and that led to a statement victory. They’ll host a rebuilding, but much better Fighting Irish team that seems to be playing better each week. The Irish have an identical record at 4-1 but aren’t ranked, the first time in 28 occasions the Irish have started a season with only one loss through five games and still been unranked. This game proves to be season maker or breaker for North Carolina though, much more so than for ND.  As such we wonder if Butch Davis’ team is up to the challenge.  We’re putting this one on upset watch, and giving the edge to the Irish.  Notre Dame by 6.

#25 California (4-1). Defeated Arizona State (2-3) 24-14 at home. This week: Bye. The Bears round up the top 25 this week and enter after a pretty nice win over ASU. Cal has gradually seemed to emerge as at least a player in the Pac-10 now. They can put lots of points on the board (over 40 in two of their last 4 games) or they can grind out victories as they did over the Sun Devils. QB Nate Longshore was 17/28 for 198 yards and 3 TDs last week for instance. Of note tho, the Cal defense forced 3 turnovers that fueled the overal victory.

Dropping out: Oregon, Connecticut, Fresno State

On the Bubble: Northwestern, Florida State

Most Impressive: Missouri, Penn State, Texas Tech, USC

Least Impressive:  South Florida, Auburn

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (6), SEC (6), Big-10 (4), MWAC (3), ACC (2), PAC-10 (2), WAC (1), Big-East (1)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »