No Sleep Till Football

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2012 NCAA Football Week 2 – MUST SEE GAMES!

Week 2 is a little light as far as big games are concerned, but who’s complaining! I’ll still spend all day Saturday watching these guys throw the pigskin around!

Week 2 is a bit weak as far as schedule is concerned, but this is an intriguing game with Washington traveling to Death Valley to play a night game in Tiger Stadium that will be anything BUT easy! The key for this game is taking a look at how poorly Washington did against San Diego State in last week’s opener when it came to the running game. The Aztecs ran for 199 yards on 40 carries (5.0ypc) even though Washington was able to pull off a 21-12 victory at home. Last week against North Texas, Kenny Hilliard, Alfred Blue & Michael Ford ran for 314 yards on 37 carries (8.5ypc). You put those two stats together & you get a picture of LSU grinding up the Huskies with their ground game. Keith Price is a dynamic QB for Washington & I’m interesting to see what he can do against the LSU defense, but if Washington can’t stop LSU from running the football, it’s going to be a very long game for the Huskies.
Can’t wait to see this one. It looks like Arizona didn’t play too well last week beating Toledo 24-17 in OT, but a closer look shows that the Wildcats did what new HC Rich Rodriguez wanted. The Cats ran for 237 yards (5.8ypc) and passed for 387 giving them over 600 total yards! Arizona suffered a bit with being -2 in TO margin, having a bad 3rd down conversion rate, and a few too many penalties which probably kept the game a bit closer than Arizona wanted. Even with those miscues, the 624 total yards of offense was 6th most last week. Who had the most offensive yards? Oklahoma State! The Cowboys totaled 682 yards in their 84-0 romp of Savannah St. last week in Stillwater. That’s instructive. OSU had just 58 more total yards than Arizona, but 60 more points! That’s efficiency! I’m a bit dubious of OSU as they hammered an FCS team & ran for almost 400 yards. If Arizona can stop the running game a bit things will get interesting. This is also a pretty good test for Oklahoma St.’s defense. An exceptional barometer game that should be EXPLOSIVE! Can’t wait to see it.
Missouri’s first game as an SEC member was a dominating one with a 62-10 win over SE Louisiana that was 62-3 before the Lions scored a garbage TD to get to double digits. Unfortunately for the Tigers, their second game as a member of the SEC won’t be as easy. These two teams have only met once before. It happened back in the 1959 Orange Bowl when Georgia beat Missouri 14-0. Now they’ll meet every season in the SEC East. RB Kendial Lawrence was an absolute beast last week rushing the football while the Bulldogs weren’t so great at stopping the run in their 45-23 opening win over Buffalo. I’m not saying Lawrence is going to run over the Georgia defense, but the play against Buffalo at least allows us to speculate. Georgia is Georgia. If I hadn’t of picked Alabama to play for the national championship against USC, I was going with the Bulldogs. They didn’t miss a beat last week with Keith Marshall & Todd Gurley running the football. Don’t be surprised if Mizzou keeps this one close. HC Gary Pinkel is one of the absolute best coaches in college football. I don’t know if Missouri can win, but a great performance would have me thinking Mizzou finishes 2nd in the SEC East.
Unfortunately for HC Will Muschamp & the Gators, the Texas A&M game against Louisiana Tech was rained out meaning they still don’t have any idea of what the Aggies might try to do under new HC Kevin Sumlin. Florida had a rough week last week beating Bowling Green 27-14 in Gainesville. It wasn’t the best way to start a season especially considering the Gators committed 14 penalties for 106 yards! Muschamp did put the QB issue to rest naming Jeff Driskel the starter, but the star last week was RB Mike Gillislee who ran for 148 yards & 2TD for the Gators. Florida’s identity is really changing from the Steve Spurrier/Urban Meyer days. Muschamp is running a more pro-style offense & making the running game a priority. Meyer did this too, but under the disguise of a wide open offense. It’s certainly a culture change for the Gators. I can’t wait to see how A&M plays this down on Saturday. They lost some key people last season, but Florida is a team the Aggies can beat especially if Florida is as sloppy as they were last week. Can Missouri & Texas A&M win their first SEC games?
One of the most impressive teams in Week 1 had to be Nebraska. Rex Burkhead barely played, but the Cornhuskers put up 49 points on a very good Southern Miss team. QB Taylor Martinez looked like a completely different QB as his accuracy issues miraculously vanished on his way to carving up the Golden Eagles defense! Nebraska’s rush defense could have been a little better, but the passing defense was incredible. Burkhead is supposed to be 100% this week adding a lethal dimension to an already very good offense. If Martinez keeps this up then Nebraska wins the Big 10. UCLA couldn’t have been happier in Jim Mora Jr.’s first game as HC as the Bruins hammered Rice 49-24. Maybe Mora really will be the guy to bring UCLA back to prominence. There is no reason why the Bruins shouldn’t be a threat to win 10 games EVERY YEAR! UCLA has a couple of dynamic playmakers on offense. RB Johnathan Franklin has always been good so him running 214 yards & 3TD on 15 carries was nothing new last week. QB Brett Hundley is just a rFR but played well. I think Nebraska wins, but it’ll be interesting to see the barometer for UCLA.
Utah St. is fast becoming one of my favorite college football teams. HC Gary Andersen gets it and he’s a name to remember when big time jobs start opening up. In the 4-years before Andersen took over, the Aggies went 9-38. Andersen got Utah St. to a winning record & a bowl last year for the first time since 1997! Utah St. lost some SIGNIFICANT contributors from last season RBs Robert Turbin & Michael Smith along with LBs Bobby Wagner & Kyle Gallagher. That didn’t stop them in the opener against Southern Utah in a 34-3 win. Joe Hill, Kerwynn Williams & Robert Marshall ran for 232 yards & the Utah St. defense was stifling. Utah was also dominant in their 41-0 opening win over N. Colorado! Utah allowed the Bears just 114 total yards & 7 first downs while RB John White & QB Jordan Wynn were practically unstoppable. I love both teams really. Obviously I’m high on Utah as I have them in my Power 15, & I really like Utah State. This is going to be a great game & Andersen will have the Aggies revved up playing a home game against the big state school. Can’t wait to see this one!
This game is more interesting about the psyche of Michigan than it is about the actual matchup. We know what Air Force is going to try and do. They are going to run the ball all game long, and they showed last week that they are a pretty good run defense team as well that stinks in defending the pass. This is actually somewhat interesting as Michigan had a very bad night defending Alabama’s running game while Denard Robinson looked awful throwing the football. This will play into Air Force’s hands which could make this more of a game than it should be. I really want to see how Michigan responds to being humiliated on national television last week. If they bounce back extremely well then last week was a lot more about Alabama than it was about Michigan. If the Wolverines come out flat and don’t play well, then there might be problems in Ann Arbor. The bad taste of last week only goes away with a blowout loss over the Falcons & I’m not sure Michigan gets that type of win over a team like Air Force.
After watching LSU & Alabama play last week, this SEC West game doesn’t have as much meaning because the teams have absolutely no chance at winning the SEC West! Still the game has some pretty decent consequences. Auburn didn’t play poorly against Clemson last week, but still lost. Mississippi St. was up 35-0 on Jackson St. before you could blink & cruised from that point forward. The Bulldogs are going under the radar because of Alabama, LSU & Arkansas, but MSU gets Arkansas in Starkville & a win there could push the Bulldogs to a final record of 10-2 which has to put them in the top-10 if their only losses on the season are road losses to Alabama & LSU. They have that sort of potential. A 10-2 record would show HC Dan Mullen taking MSU to the next level & either he’d get the Bulldogs to be a national player or he’d leave for greener pastures. On the other side, a loss by Auburn would put War Eagle at 0-2 & with the schedule they have it could mean a 6-6 season which has to make HC Gene Chizik’s seat a little warm. Is he really living off a spectacular season from Can Newton? Is his performance at Iowa St. really more indicative of his overall ability as a HC? Tons of subplots here.
I think Notre Dame shocked quite a few people with their 50-10 blowout win over Navy in Dublin Ireland last week. Naysayers will point out that Notre Dame should beat Navy 50-10 whether they play the Middies in Ireland or the parking lot outside Soldier Field! However, if you’ve followed ND closely the last few years you’d know how difficult Navy has been for Notre Dame & what a sea change this is for the Irish. QB Everett Golson is the real deal. If he stays healthy then the Irish are going to be extremely dangerous. Notre Dame also ran the ball exceptionally well behind Theo Riddick, George Atkinson and Cam McDaniel. The Irish were without Cierre Wood and still ran the ball with reckless abandon. The defense played out of their minds even if they were playing without the departed Aaron Lynch! Pudue had a great game last week hammering Eastern Kentucky and I’m surprised HC Danny Hope is going with Caleb TerBush over Robert Marve at QB considering how well Marve played. Unfortunately for Purdue it won’t matter if ND plays like it did last week. The Irish have put you on notice!
I thought the Hurricanes did a great job last week against Boston College in going up to Boston & beating BC 41-32. Boston College had some leads during that game & even raced out to a 14-0 lead, but the Hurricanes never gave up, stuck it out & start the season 1-0. QB Stephen Morris did a pretty good job under center while true freshman RB Duke Johnson ran for 135 yards & 2TD on 7 carries. Johnson is being favorably compared to Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson which is flat out scary. Miami’s rush defense was solid & I really think Al Golden is going to have Miami-FL competing for national championships sooner rather than later. Kansas St. opened up their season with a 51-9 win over Missouri St., but through 3 quarters the Wildcats were up just 16-9! K-State scored 5-4th quarter TDs to really blow the game open. I love this game as a barometer game for the Hurricanes. Kansas St. ran the ball really well against Missouri St. and it’ll be interesting to see how Miami-FL defends. I also can’t wait to see more of Duke Johnson! Should be exciting in Manhattan this Saturday!
This is another interesting one. UCF’s star has been on the rise for some time now and the Knights are expected to win Conference USA this season. Ohio St. isn’t eligible for postseason play, but if they were I’d be willing to bet that most would have the Buckeyes playing in the Big 10 championship game for a shot at either the Rose Bowl or even the BCS Championship! From that perspective you would think Ohio St. should roll through this one, but last week both teams took on a couple of MAC schools with similar results. Ohio St. beat Miami-OH 56-10 while UCF took care of Akron 56-14. You can argue that Akron is worse than Miami-OH so the Ohio St. win is marginally better. On the other hand you can argue that UCF won on the road so their win is more meaningful. Talent & size will be an issue in this game for UCF, but if they keep it close it’s just as good as a win really. If Ohio St. pull off some 30-40 point win, then good grief Urban Meyer has taken to Ohio St. like a fish to water and the Buckeyes have a real shot at a perfect 12-0 season and a potential #2 ranking by season’s end.
Nothing really fancy here for this game being one of the more interesting ones. Last week Wisconsin beat Northern Iowa 26-21 in a game that was probably closer than what it appeared. New QB Danny O’Brien was practically flawless while RB Montee Ball ran for 120 yards & a TD. Northern Iowa scored a couple of 4th quarter TDs after Wisconsin built a 26-7 lead so nothing really to write home about. What was interesting was to see Wisconsin play such an efficient game, play outstanding rush defense against an FCS school & yet still walk away with just a 5-point victory at home!? Is this cause for concern or just some cray anomaly that happens sometimes in college football? Oregon St.’s opener against Nicholls St. was suspended so the Beavers are opening up their season at home against a ranked team. That’s no easy task, but OSU has a shot to win if Wisconsin has a game like they did last week. I’m very interesting to see what the final score is if Wisconsin plays that well. Another close one could raise some suspicions about the Badgers in 2012.
THE BATTLE FOR THE CYHAWK TROPHY! I know I say this every year, but of the “state” rivalry games where team X plays team X-State, I really love the Iowa/Iowa St. game. I also really like Colorado/Colorado St. too which is my other favorite. I’ve oftentimes wondered why this is. There are other state rivalries that would seem to be better. You have Michigan/Michigan St., Florida/Florida St., Arizona/Arizona St. and Oklahoma/Oklahoma St., but for whatever reason I’m really drawn to this one. Part of it I suppose is that Michigan’s big rival is Ohio State. I’ve always believed the Florida St./Miami-FL game is bigger & better than Florida/Florida State. Oklahoma’s rival it always seemed had been either Texas or Nebraska. Even Utah/Utah St. is starting climb up the charts for me although when you think big rivals for Utah you immediately go to BYU and the HOLY WAR! That leaves Iowa/Iowa St. as being king for me with Colorado/Colorado St. as prince. I’ve always rooted for Iowa in this game because I’m a Big 10 guy, but lately I’ve been pulling for ISU because I like Paul Rhoads quite a bit.
Nevada got off to a great start last week going into Berkeley & beating Cal 31-24! The Wolfpack got a last minute score from Stefphon Jefferson to ice the game & come away 1-0. It was classic Chris Ault football in the pistol formation as Nevada ran the ball down Cal’s throats, dominated time of possesssion and kept the Bears off the field to prevent them from scoring. QB Cody Fajardo was efficient while Nevada racked up over 200 yards of rushing. Just like in their old WAC days, Nevada & Boise St. will battle it out for the Mountain West title. USF had a pretty easy time with Chattanooga last week beating the Mocs 34-13 in Tampa. BJ Daniels had a solid game, but the story was the stifling defense of the Bulls. I love this game for USF. If Skip Holtz is the guy & USF is ready to make a move, they should be able to go into Reno & beat Nevada. If they come out a loser then it’s bad for the Big East, but also bad for USF who seemingly can’t get over the hump. USF is a top-20 program in the making, but can’t quite seem to put it all together for one season. Great barometer game for both schools.
As the season moves forward, the less important the Penn St. games will become, but after a tragic home loss to Ohio last week, Penn St. still remains relevant if only because they will probably lose to Virginia this weekend in Charlottesville. The wheels wouldn’t be completely off, but other teams will start to smell blood and you would have to wonder when & if the Penn St. players would simply quit on the team. A loss to UVA wouldn’t be awful, but then Penn St. comes home for two games against Navy & Temple. Those are two games PSU should have won, but Penn St. should have beaten Ohio & that didn’t happen. HC Bill O’Brien has a huge task in front of him, but the biggest may be simply getting a win & moving forward. At their very best Penn St. maybe wins 5 games, but if things really hit the rails their only real winnable game in conference play will be a home game against Indiana. Worst case for Penn St. right now is 0-12. That would be absolutely stunning, but the possibility is there even if it is exceptionally slim.

September 7, 2012 - Posted by | Air Force, Arizona, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Iowa St., Kansas St., LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Mississippi St., Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma St., Oregon St., Penn St., Purdue, South Florida, Texas AM, UCF, UCLA, Utah, Utah St., Virginia, Washington, Week 2, Wisconsin

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