Posted by Walter
#1 Ohio State
Coach Tressel is thrilled to be
heading the Power 10 for another week.
heading the Power 10 for another week.
Walter: Well, I admit it, I've just run out of things to say about this team. So I will use this space to address two players who I feel are as deserving as anyone of all-america status, but probably won't even be in the conversation. I speak of WR Anthony Gonzalez and RB Antonio Pittman. Gonazlez has put up 34 catches for 522 yards and 5 TD this season, probably not enough to get him on the AA team ahead of guys like Calvin Johnson and Mario Manningham. That said, Gonzalez has been a first down machine this season, and has played his two best games in the Buckeye's two biggest games (@ Texas he had 8 for 142 and a TD, and @ Iowa he had 5 for 77 and 2 TD). This is Ohio State's best WR, not Ted Ginn. As for Pittman, his stats don't blow you away either (126 carris, 673 yards and 8 TD). But make no mistake, he, not Troy Smith, is the most important player in the Ohio State offense. Pittman is one of two players to score a TD in every game this season (the other being Jorvorski Lane, who is essentially a goalline back for A&M), and he has been the mark of consistency that this team takes it lead from.
Frazier - Forget it. I'm using the space to run another funny picture. We all know they are the best team in the country right now, and there is only one game that matters.
Fuck it, I miss Terry Tate.
Walter: How ridiculous is the Michigan front seven, well Penn State's Tony Hunt came into the game with three straight 100 yard efforts. Not only did Michigan hold Hunt under 100 yards, but they held the Nittany Lions to -14 yards rushing for the game! I'll tell you what, this Michigan team may be the best in the entire nation. Not even Ohio State can match their combination of suffocatingly physical defense, and efficiency on offense. Still doubting the Michigan defense? Well take a look at what PJ Hill and the Wisconsin offense has done to every other team they have faced this year, and then look at what Michigan did to them. This front 7 is scary good. I think the Oakland Raiders would take all seven Wolverines over their starting 7 right now!
Frazier - Their defense is playing out of its' mind right now. That front seven has been absolutely devestating to everyone they have played. They knocked two Nittany Lions quarterbacks out of the game, and completely dominated Tony Hunt. They shut down PJ Hill earlier in the year, and they are holding teams to a paltry 30 yards/game on the ground right now. Not a whole lot else you can say about them. Although their play calling did get a little too conservative in Beaver Stadium. They let Penn St. hang around for too long, and then a careless defensive effort allowed PSU to close to within seven with a chance to tie in the final minutes. A perfect season can disappear just like that. Still, they are playing as well as anyone in the country right now, and if they were hosting the Buckeyes than they might find themselves national title frontrunners right now.
Walter: Well the Trojans have been thoroughly uninspiring this season, but still maintain this top three status based on the rule of attrition. In fact, that might be the best way to describe this team this season. They keep winning, albeit unimpressively, while other previously undefeated teams fall from the ranks. Given the current landscape, and the Trojan's upcoming schedule, it appears that if the men of Troy can hold serve at home (against Cal, Oregon, and Notre Dame) they will be playing in the BCS title game. Here's to hoping one of those three knocks them off their perch though (my money is on Cal).
Frazier - They managed to get here by attrition. Their entire season reminds me of the NCAA Tournament with their "survive and advance" mentality right now. And sometimes it's good enough to win the title, but in football it just isn't going to be. They really need to show me some more life. Booty is looking like a substitute teacher right now. He has the lesson plan, and he knows the material, but it just isn't working for him. He needs to step forward and be a leader. Seeing Leinart leading his team by example in Arizona makes me think that as much as they miss his talent, they probably miss his leadership and heart more than anything right now. USC used to talked about dominance, about never thinking they would lose, about wanting to crush opponents and looking forward to game day. This team is like the nerd who scored the hot chick, all they can think about is not screwing it up.
Hey, USC! Don't screw this up!
Eyes on the prize(s)!
Eyes on the prize(s)!
Walter: Two good things from their scare against Cincinatti: (1) they won the game, and (2) Brian Brohm was able to play an entire game and shake most of his rust off. That said, after a performance like that you have to wonder if maybe the injury to Michael Bush is finally catching up to this team. Brohm is great, and Petrino is proving to be a borderline genius, but it's hard to imagine a team could lose a player like Bush and not miss a beat for the whole season. This is the time of year when teams have enough game film and scouting to really be able to scheme effectively against even the most powerful offense. This is when you need your outstanding players to be outstanding, and where a team like Louisville really misses a superstar like Bush. I think this weekend's game against a much improved Syracuse at the Carrier dome has a chance to be a major upset. Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson is a former NFL and NCAA defensive coordinator, and I bet he comes up with something to slow the Cardinals down.
Frazier - It was tough keeping them ahead of WVU after their scare against Cincinatti. However, they deserve a lot of credit for playing and winning a close game, and now that Brohm is back they are going to get even better. Maybe shaking the rust off against the Bearcats WAS a good idea, so that he'll head into Syracuse reading to play at a high level. This is when they need to focus most, because they could get caught looking ahead to their apocalypse in two weeks.
#5 West Virginia
Walter: Hard as it is to believe, this game at UConn is by far the hardest that the Mountaineers will have played this season. No disrespect to UConn, but that does speak to the absolute absurdity of the WVU schedule. Now as for the game, this is another Big East contest that may be worth keeping an eye on. West Virginia has been sluggish on the road thus far this season (see East Carolina), and UConn will absolutely be up for this game. While the Huskies can't match WVU's talent, they are a solid team (3-3 this season), playing at home, and have the ability to run the football. UConn is extremely well coached and could provide WVU with some early fits. That said, come on......West Virginia you guys should be embarrassed with this schedule.
Frazier - If a team falls in the forest, and no one not from West Virginia is around, does it make a dent in the rankings? Seriously, does it even matter? All West Virginia can do is keep winning (and they certainly will this week) and pray that the computers suddenly fall in love with them. It would be a shame to have an undefeated WVU team behind a team like Auburn or Florida with a loss at the end of the year, but they have played some pretty pathetic competition. Anyways, hopefully everything works itself out.
Walter: What a difference a week can make. Auburn did get a little lucky against Florida (the botched punt), but the bottom line is that they made fewer mistakes than the Gators, and won the game as a result. The interesting thing will be seeing whether this game is a climax for the Tigers season, or whether they use this momentum to win the SEC and possibly clinch a berth in the BCS title game. On a side note, I cannot help but wonder how this season might have unfolded if redshirt freshman linebacker Tray Blackmon had not been suspended for the first 6 games. Blackmon is an absolute animal at linebacker, and his speed and tenacity makes the Auburn front 7 so much more formidable. Would his presence have been enough to stop the Arkansas running game? Who knows. But I can tell you he would have made a HUGE difference.
Frazier - Welcome back! I kind of missed these guys last week. Their game against Florida was certainly sloppy at times, but they made enough plays to win. They also managed to avoid costly mistakes which really made the difference in a close game. The win puts the Tigers in position to win out and have a very real chance at the championship game. While they may have that loss to Arkansas, I think there is a very real chance that the Hogs end up with a couple more SEC losses. After last weeks performance I can't help but wonder what exactly happened in that game? Further proof that in the SEC you have to come to play each and every week.
Walter: You know, up until Saturday I felt bad for Chris Leak. I always thought he was a good player, and I thought the Gator faithful were treating him unfairly in this whole Tim Tebow fiasco. Well, after Leak's stinker of a game against Auburn I have no sympathy left for him. Leak quickly becoming a more contemporary Peyton Manning. A hugely talented, highly touted quarterback, who seems to always play his worst when the lights shine the brightest. Now I mean no disrespect to Manning (who I admire, and truly believe will one day win the Super Bowl), but don't you get the feeling that the 2007 Gators might be poised for a championship season under Tebow (a la the Tee Martin led Vols winning the title a year after Manning's graduation)?
Frazier - This offense just isn't tough enough to play with the big boys. Auburn smacked them around. What would Leak have done against that awesome Wolverine rush? Would he have actually started crying in the huddle? Well, if Florida keeps winning and Michigan can't handle OSU, we just might find out. I think it'd be hilarious. As for Tebow, he is definitely a better fit for this offense, and I like his toughness and athleticism, but I am willing to be that he would have made plenty of freshman mistakes against the Tigers. Meyer is no idiot. He has put Tebow in positions to succeed. He has given him limited looks, and a small part of the play book to master, and has used him as a change of pace player. As good as Tebow has looked at times, one only has to examine the work of other uber-recruits like Juice Williams, Matt Stafford and Mitch Mustain to find the flashes of brilliance that made them such coveted players, as well as enough mistakes, poor reads, bad decisions, and costly turnovers to give a head coach nightmares. Ultimately, Tebow will probably have more success than Leak, but he would not have lead the Gators to victory last Saturday, end of story.
Wait, why doesn't Chris Leak fit
in this offense?!
in this offense?!
Walter: Alright, it might just be time for me to issue a formal mea culpa regarding Erik Ainge and the Vols. I will not, nor do I believe I must, issue one to Phil Fulmer. All the Vols success this year has done, is magnify just how much damage Fulmer's conservative play calling has done to this progra low these last 10 years. With all the offensive talent that the Vols have had, it is very clear that Fulmer should have handed the keys to the offense to a play caller like Cutcliffe long ago. Who knows that might have been.
Frazier - Fuck you, Erik Ainge. I still think you're lousy. I also think that Cutcliffe is a genius. The Vols have looked pretty good the last several weeks. Although they are hard to figure out. For as much credit as you have to give them with the way Cal has played, you also have to subtract a lot from the Georgia win, since the Bulldogs lost to Vandy. So what does that mean to the Vols? It means that the state of Tennessee (and any other mediocre football team) owns UGA right now. It also means that I think the Vols are in for a couple of pretty impressive wins (possibly over Arkansas) and some tough losses (at South Carolina looks worrisome to me).
Walter: Well, the Bears didn't beat Washington State with offense, but rather with defense. That is a scary thought. Cal has been consistently putting up 40 points over the past few weeks, and what happens when their offense has an off day? The defense nearly pitches a shutout against a talented Wazzou offense (remember what Alex Brink, Jason Hill and co. did to USC?). California is peaking at the right time, and it is just about make or break time for this team. As well as they've played, if Jeff Tedford's team can't come through with a victory over USC the season has to be considered a failure. One more thing, why isn't Desean Jackson getting more hype? Do people not realize just how good this guy is? The guy has sub 4.3 speed and is an absolute gamebreaker in the passing and return game. I mean is it me or is this guy the reincarnation of Rocket Ismail!!!!?
Frazier - I want to warn my fellow motorists out there. The big man is driving the Bears bandwagon right now, and it's careening out of control, and he may or may not be drunk. If the Bears defense can keep it up, USC is in a LOT of trouble. I'm definitely impressed with this bunch, and they are really a team to watch in the second half. Remember, it's been USC's defense over the last few years that have won championships, and defensive failures that doomed them last season. Tedford appears a step closer to reproducing that formula.
Get out of the way!
The Bears are coming through!
The Bears are coming through!
Walter: While everyone wants to get excited about Colt McCoy's 5 TD passes against Baylor, I'm still not buying it. McCoy was OK against Oklahoma, and terrible against Ohio State. Until he does it against some big time competition I'm not buying. This weekend will be a great opportunity for McCoy, as the Longhorns travel to Nebraska. They should win the game easily, but I will be more intersted in watching McCoy play than in the actual score. I certainly hope that this Longhorns team loses again this year, because I just couldn't handle it if they ended up in the BCS title game. They already proved they don't belong on the same field as Ohio State, must we witness it again?
Frazier - Ugh. This is pretty much it for the Longhorns. They have to travel to Nebraska and beat the enigma that is the 2006 Huskers. Nebraska is running like they used to, but their defense was shredded by Kansas (among others) and they were a total non-factor when they "played" USC. Yet, this is the toughest game left on the schedule for Texas (by the time they play A&M, the Aggies will have blown a couple of winnable games). I'm not sold on McCoy either, but the Big 12 is an absolute joke this year. They have enough talent to win out, but their first real test since the loss to Ohio St. may not come until their BCS game. Yikes.