10 things I saw..............  

Posted by Walter

It is shocking to me that South Florida linebacker (1) Ben Moffit doesn't get more hype. This kid is an absolute stud middle backer, who is equally adept at stopping the run (8 tackles versus West Virginia) as he is dropping into coverage (2 picks, one returned for a TD). If this kid isn't the leading Butkus award candidate after that performance they might as well stop giving out the award. I cannot wait for the Patriots to draft this kid in the 2nd round next year......Everyone will remember this past weekend for the huge upsets, but the real question is will people remember the coaching performances both great and terrible? First up, the good: I have been all over (2) Tommy Tubberville this year, but he showed balls big enough to come in a dump truck when he went for it on fourth down up 7-0 in the first half. It was the right move. If you want to win a game against a higher ranked team on the road you have to take chances, but I bet 99 out of 100 coaches would have taken the 10-0 lead. Tommy put his ass on the line, and his players responded......Speaking of Auburn, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the BRILLIANT gameplans of both offensive coordinator (3) Al Borges, and defensive coordinator (4) Will Muschamp. Borges' gameplan was nothing short of genius. Auburn had three freshman starting on the offensive line, facing a defense whose strength is the pass rush along the front 4. So what does Borges do? He installs a dink and dunk passing attack almost exclusively out of the three step drop. He uses tosses and sweeps to get his young lineman into space and take advantage of an overpursuing front 7. Borges called a near perfect game, and used pretty much the only gameplan that this Auburn team could use against a far superior Florida defense......Muschamp was equally brilliant. Muschamp committed 8, sometimes 9 guys to stopping Tim Tebow on running downs, and turned his superior pass rushers loose on passing downs while dropping 6 or 7 guys into coverage. Essentially, Muschamp was able to turn the Gators into a one trick pony. Tebow accounted for 276 of the Gators 312 yards! The bottom line is that no matter how good you are, one player cannot win a game himself......The last of the brilliant coaching performance shout outs goes to little known (5) Matt Wallerstedt of Kansas State. Matt coaches the special teams and linebackers for the Wildcats, and his two units just about beat the vaunted Texas Longhorns themselves. Let's see, one of Wallerstedt's linebackers, Ian Campbell, returned a pick of Colt McCoy 41 yards for a TD. That's 7 points. His kick return units returned a kick 85 yards to pay dirt, and a punt 44 yards. That's 21 points. Throw in two field goals, and Wallerstedt coached players accounted for 27 points, outdoing the entire Texas team by 6. That is an assistant coach who earned his money!......Now on to the terrible. It comes as no surprise to anyone that Clemson's (6) Tommy Bowden is on this list. After a brilliant start to the season the Tigers lost a game they absolutely HAD to win at Georgia Tech. Tech came in losers of two in a row and in utter disrepair, and the Tigers commit mistake after mistake to hand them the game. Seriously, has there ever been a coach whose team loses more touchdowns because of penalties than Tommy Bowden? Ugh, I can't even begin to discuss this game, especially after my man Cullen Harper played his heart out only to be victimized by countless dropped passes (actually I did count, there were 7)......How dare you (7) Bob Stoops and (8) Mack Brown. How dare you allow your teams to look ahead one week to the Red River Shootout and get dropped by unranked teams that had no business even hanging around. How dare you deprive of the college football community of what would have been an epic showdown of undefeated rivals. It's not just awful for the teams, but it's awful for college football.......Welcome to New York for the Heisman ceremony Mr. (9) Desean Jackson. Jackson's eye popping performance against Oregon (11 catches for 161 yards and 2 TD) was the single best big game receiving performance since a guy named Braylon Edwards was at Michigan......And finally, I can't resist, if (10a) Anthony Morigami had half the stones that Auburn true freshman kicker (10b) Wes Byrum had, the Nittany Lions would be undefeated and the prohibitive favorites in the Big 10.

Week 5 Picks - Frazier  

Posted by Frazier

After a 5-0 week, I'm feeling good. So it's back to quick pick style. Also, I'm a procrastinating bastard.

@ South Florida +7 over West Virginia

Really? The Bulls won last year in Morgantown, and they are better this year AND at home. We're going full upset style. Bulls 31-28.

Clemson -3 @ Georgia Tech

Let's see, Clemson is playing as well as anyone in the country, and G. Tech just lost to Virginia? Upset alert? Maybe, but not today. I will kick myself when Tommy Bowden blows this one. Clemson, 20-14.

Alabama +2.5 @ Florida State

Gotta like Alabama in this. FSU are super frauds. Super-duper frauds. Extra frauds. Incredibly fraudulent. Not that I'm convinced about Bama. But FSU sucks. Bama 21-17.

Auburn +18 vs. Florida

The SEC is a different animal. Auburn may be bums, but they ain't losing by 18. Nope. They struggled against Ole Miss and now are going to blow out Auburn? Nah. Florida wins easily, but not by 18, 31-17.

Oregon -6 vs. California

Duck duck duck duck duck! I like Oregon a lot, and I'm not sure about Cal. Autzen stadium is a wild and crazy place, and the Ducks get it done in a fun as hell game. 38-30, quack attack.

Last Week: 5-0

Season: 10-9-1

Week 5 Picks - Walter  

Posted by Walter

@ South Florida +7 over West Virginia

This line just goes to show you that it will always be flash over substance. Not to say WVU has no substance, but they are the sexy, chic pick here, while nobody has really taken the time to look at what South Florida has done. South Florida beat Auburn this year when nobody thought they could. They beat West Virginia last year when nobody thought they could. The Bulls thrive on being the underdog, and coach Jim Leavitt is thrilled that the oddsmakers have put him in that position again. Seven points is a lot to lay on the road, especially when the defense you are lining up against has had your number. I’m glad to have all seven, but South Florida won’t need any. The Bulls do it again, 27-24.

Clemson -3 @ Georgia Tech

Binky alert, binky alert. Like I’m going to go against Cullen Harper. Still, this game looked like a preseason monster, but it has lost a lot of luster given the recent struggled of Georgia Tech. So far in 2007 Clemson and Boston College have been the class of the ACC. BC went into the Yellow Jackets’ stadium and torched the place, I’m betting Clemson will too. Last week was critical for the Tigers because they finally got Spiller and Davis going at the same time. Truth be told, until last week the only guy Tommy Bowden could rely on for consistent play was my man Cullen. If Spiller and Davis put together another strong showing, all the blitzing in the world won’t do Tech any good. Simply put, the three best offensive players in this game play for Clemson (4 if you count OT Barry Richardson). The Tigers take it in a semi-laugher, 33-17.

Alabama +2.5 @ Florida State

OK, now I know this Alabama team has been inconsistent on defense, but how can anybody justify laying points with a Florida State team that can’t score. I mean how many games do we have to see Drew Weatherford piss away before we wise up and realize the guy just isn’t any good. Alabama, on the other hand, has a QB who doesn’t have Weatherford’s size and measurables, but has the heart to get the job done. In fact, that’s all you need to look at in this game. John Parker Wilson vs. Drew Weatherford. Without even considering the fact that Bama can run the ball effectively with Terry Grant and FSU cannot, Wilson vs. Weatherford tells me to bet Bama and bet them big. It’ll be an ugly game, just the type John Parker likes. Bama takes it going away, 24-13.

@ Florida -18 over Auburn

Yeah I know that Florida struggled against an SEC cellar dweller last week in Ole Miss. And I know Tim Tebow still hasn’t played against any really tough competition. And I know Auburn can’t possibly be as bad as they’ve played……wait, I don’t know that. In fact Auburn is probably worse. They have absolutely zero offensive playmakers, and a QB that simply cannot exploit the one weakness in the Florida defense (the secondary). On the flip side, the Auburn defense has been very good, but they have got to be getting frustrated and are going to be dying in the Florida heat unless the offense can give them a break. This Florida team did not look good at Ole Miss. last week, but they are a totally different, and more confident team at home. They manhandled Tennessee and they’ll do the same to Auburn. The Tigers might not score in this one, so it won’t even take a Herculean Tebow effort to cover this number. Whethe they need it or not, he’ll deliver. Florida in a route, 37-10.

California +6 @ Oregon

It’s my old adage, when the punters aren’t going to be used at all, take the points. There is going to be no defense played in this game. You hear me, none! If you were to take all the players on both sides of the ball in this game and start a pickup game, I think the first 20 players taken might all be from the offenses. Dixon and Longshore. Stewart and Forsett. Jackson and Williams. I mean there is some star power in this game and I expect offensive explosions from both teams. I’d like to say the difference in this game will be one of the teams’ defenses but I just don’t see that happening. Both teams have experience in the secondary (usually the most important defensive unit in a shootout), but I just think both groups are totally outclassed by their wideout opposition. So what’s the score gonna be? Who knows. Call it 44-41, and I ain’t got a clue who comes out on top.

Last Week: 2-3

Season: 9-10-1

Power Rankings (Week 4)  

Posted by Walter

1) USC

Walter - Another week another win. Things won't get really interesting with this team until they travel to Oregon and get California at home in a three week stretch. I bet Pete Carroll has one eye on the TV this weekend.

Frazier - At this point it's a matter of fine-tuning for USC. They need to be firing on all cylinders when the level of competition steps up.

2) LSU

Walter - Everyone knows about the defense, but the Tigers offensive line was dominant against a stout South Carolina front 7 and they may have found their own version of "Tim Tebow" in the power running Ryan Perriloux.

Frazier - They still look scary. The offensive line is great, as is the defense. The 77 passing yards aren't terribly reassuring, but who needs to pass when you run so well? Everybody is looking forward to a HUGE game against Florida.

3) Oklahoma

Walter - Its very rare to see a BCS Conference team play a non-BCS in state rival on the road. What's not rare is to see the Sooner offense hang half a hundred on the opposition, something they've done in every game this year.

Frazier - Didn't love surrendering 300 pass yards in the first half, did love the lock-down in the second half, and the overall beat-down.

4) Florida

Walter - Nothing against Ole Miss. but if the Gators want to be in the elite of the elite that's a game they need to dominate. On the plus side, Tim Tebow has been unstoppable but he gets his biggest test against Auburn this week.

Frazier - Tebow's an excellent player, but he isn't winning a title on his own. The rest of the team needs to show more life or the Tigers (Auburn or LSU) will eat him alive.

5) West Virginia

Walter - We all know what the offense can do, but has anybody noticed that the Mountaineer defense has been markedly better this year? Still, tomorrow's game against South Florida will tell us all we need to know about both teams.

Frazier - We'll finally learn something about this team when they face South Florida. However, with Louisville completely disintegrating, WVU has a golden opportunity.

6) Ohio State

Walter - Until the Buckeyes beat someone with a pulse I won't be able to shake the feeling that they are frauds. Prove me wrong Jim. Prove me wrong.

Frazier - The big man forgets that no one in the Big Ten is showing much of a pulse these days. A flawed Buckeyes team may be a threat to run the table in an uninspiring conference.

7) California

Walter - Speaking of a show me game. The Bears have to travel to Autzen stadium to take on an Oregon offense that is just humming. If the Bears can waltz into Eugene and take down the Ducks then their game against USC becomes a showdown of epic proportions.

Frazier - Looking forward to learning something about Cal in this one. The game against Oregon should be epic, and is one of the more intriguing games on the calendar in the near future. As huge a game as LSU-Florida will be, this one might turn out to be more entertaining.

8) Clemson

Walter - Another week, another win, another dominating performance by Cullen Harper. Harper was nearly perfect against NC State and the Tigers finally got both James Davis and CJ Spiller going at the same time. This might be the most underrated team in America right now.

Frazier - If Clemson was coached by anybody other than Tommy Bowden I'd be getting quite excited by this team. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a classic Tommy team that will go 6-0 or better, and still manage to end the year as a huge disappointment.

9) Oregon

Walter - I'm not sure there is a defense in the nation that can slow down the Dennis Dixon led Ducks offense. All offseason we heard how Dixon would suffer because he played pro baseball. Now, if Dixon shines in a win over California we could be talking about him as a Heisman frontrunner.

Frazier - Dixon is incredibly fun to watch (always has been) but he's also been too cavalier with the football in making decisions. Well, he's cut down on the mistakes, and he's still showing his incredible athletic gifts. Reminds me of the way Favre has rejuvenated his career this year by being more protective of the football. If you don't turn the ball over, you can really get somewhere offensively.

10) Boston College

Walter - With the Eagles you always have to wonder about blowing a winnable game, but this ain't your father's BC Eagles. This team is talented enough to walk through the next three games and waltz into Blacksburg 7-0 and ranked in the top 10.

Frazier - The Eagles have a history of crapping the bed just when things are at their brightest (including a startling loss to NC State last year). However, Tom O'Brien is gone, and so maybe is the inevitability of underachieving. This team should easily roll over its' next three opponents.

Dropped off:

App. St. – Losing to Wofford? Yeah, it was nice to know you.

Just missed:

S. Florida - If they manage a win tonight you'll be seeing them soon.

Quick Hitch...  

Posted by Frazier

After my post regarding players I would want having my back during a bar-room brawl, we at the 323 got a very interesting comment. Now, while it is more likely to believe that the long, hateful, anti-American diatribe signed by Osama bin Laden was simply a mass posting by some anonymous asshole (since deleted, since we couldn't stand that much hate on our blog), I would prefer to believe otherwise.

I'd like to think that since college football represents so much of what it means to be American, and ultimately is a symbol of our strength and unity, that bin Laden himself has it out for the 323.

And if he does, I'd like to make this offer. If you give us an address, and we'll send you a 323 t-shirt (specially made for the occasion) and we'll see if that changes your mind.

I'd say that's more than fair. So just let us know where you are, Osama, and we'll make sure that it gets specially delivered by Mark Dodge and some of his former colleagues.

Tuesday Question - Frazier  

Posted by Frazier

So who do I want grabbing my back in an old-school brawl? How about these fighters:

#5) Anthony Scirrotto, S, Penn St.

Well, Scirrotto is on record as rolling pretty deep. When he got in a fight at PSU, he called in the posse and took care of the situation. Not that I'm condoning it or anything, but if I was in a scrape, I know Anthony would step up.

#4) Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

This isn't just a binky pick. Look, I love McFadden. We all know this. But Darren also has a history of stepping up to the plate when shit goes down. When someone tried to steal a relatives car at a bar last year, Darren chased the perp down and beat the living shit out of him. The man is a proven winner.

#3) Phillip Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma

Sometimes you just need the biggest man in the world backing you up. At 6'9 and 360, Big Phil is probably getting the job done.

#2) Owen Schmitt, FB, West Virginia

I'm a big fan of strong and crazy in this sort of situation. Owen is on record as having some ungodly lifting records at West Virginia. He can squat 650 lbs. and clean over 500 lbs. Those numbers are ABSURD. Add to that his mohawk and the fact that he's a fullback, aka he craves collisions, and you've got yourself a fighter.

#1) Mark Dodge, LB, Texas A&M

As a member of the Old Guard, the 3rd Infantry's storied ceremonial unit, Mark Dodge was in the Pentagon when it was struck on 9/11. His unit went into the smoke, fire and fumes looking for survivors. The others on this list are strong, Dodge is Army strong.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here are the guys I wouldn't want stepping up when things got heavy.

#5) Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

Look, the guy is rail-thin, avoids contact, and is named "Percy".

#4) The UCLA Defense

I understand that having Louisville back me up would be a bad idea, but at least I'd know that. With UCLA, I'd probably be feeling pretty confident, considering it's a tough looking unit that took down an absolute beast last year. Except that every once in awhile these guys would simply not show up. My adversaries would say, "Let's take this outside" and when we got out there, I'd find myself entirely alone without any reason given. Thanks, guys.

#3) Notre Dame's Offensive Line

Yeah, these guys aren't protecting ANYONE right now.

#2) Nick Saban, Alabama

When the going gets tough, Slick Nick gets gone.

#1) Anthony Morigami, QB, Penn St.

Unlike the other PSU Anthony, you are guaranteed that this one will fold up when things get tough. Worthless in a meaningful game, worthless in a fight.

Tuesday Question - Walter  

Posted by Walter

So this is a new feature here at the323, where basically we answer the questions every college football fan asks themselves after a couple of cold ones on a saturday afternoon. First up.....

Who would be most useful and useless in an old fashioned barroom rumble.

5 guys I'd want grabbing my back.........

#5) Cullen Harper, QB Clemson

He may not look like much, but just like in the Heisman race my man Cullen is a SLEEPER.

#4) Mike Hart, RB Michigan

Definitely not the biggest guy on the block, but Hart's a tough as nails pitbull who'd sooner gnaw someone's leg off than leave his boy to fight alone.

#3) Jasper and Casper Brinkley, LB's South Carolina

They're twins so they count as one. Oh yeah, and they are absolutely terrifying.

#2) Glen Dorsey, DT LSU

Bigger, badder, meaner than everyone else.....Not to espouse cannibalism but can't you just picture Dorsey eating someone like Blake Mitchell for dinner.

#1) Philip Loadholt, OT Oklahoma

At 6'9'' and 360 pounds of road grading Sooner muscle, there may not be a scarier man on the planet.

and 5 I wouldn't.............

#5) Jim Tressell, Coach Ohio State

Great football coach, but I don't think the sweater vest combo garners much street cred these days.

#4) Percy Harvin, WR/RB Florida

Speed kills on the football field, but Harvin's skinny ass would be using his 4.3 wheels to leave me high and dry.

#3) Drew Weatherford, QB Florida State

If he throws a football as accurately as he throws a punch, he's more liable to sock me than an assailant.

#2) Louisville Defense

I'm pretty certain 11 guys who don't have the words "hit" and "tackle" in their vocabulary would be pretty useless in a fight.

#1) Anthony Morelli, QB Penn State

Is there any doubt that once shit went down Morigami would be folded up, blubbering in a corner while I got the shit kicked out of me.....God I hate him.

Student Body Right... Student Body Wrong...  

Posted by Frazier

Ok. THAT'S more like it! A 5-0 week is exactly what I needed here. It appears that picking and not over-thinking is pretty much the way I function best. Now, there were plenty of things to be wrong about. But overall, I'm very pleased. Now on to business:

I was right about:

Picking games quickly and not thinking too much. Know thyself, Frazier.

I was wrong about:

George Selvie. I believe he actually has 14.5 tackles for loss in three games. Wow. Oh, and two of those games were against UNC and Auburn. Not exactly the best competition imaginable, but not a bunch of 1-AA cream puffs.

I was right about:

Penn St. folding against Michigan. Ugh. Classic game. I've watched a bunch of PSU this year and I knew that their offense was abysmal. Not a whole lot more needs to be said about Anthony Morigami (the incredible folding quarterback), but the run offense is only slightly less embarrassing. And the only running back who can making any kind of gains on the ground (Austin Scott) apparently greases his hands before the game.

I was wrong about:

It being a game about "strength vs. strength". Frankly, the PSU defense shut down Michigan's offense, and Mike Hart deserves a medal for his tremendous effort. The game was really a matter of weakness vs. weakness. An inept PSU offense committed a lethal turnover (thanks Morigami) which turned out to be the margin of victory for the Victors. The Michigan defense has been atrocious against a spread attack, with legit threats down the field. Fortunately for them, the Nittany Lions seemed content to throw mediocre running backs at a pile, and have their atrocious quarterback heave balls randomly around the field.

I was right about:

The LSU - S. Carolina game. The Gamecocks kept things close, mostly by playing solid defense (especially against the pass) and not making mistakes. Surrendering 70 pass yards was impressive. Basically, this was a very well-coached team playing a far superior team, and hanging around by not shooting themselves in the foot.

I was wrong about:

Arkansas pulling off the win. First, their defense is beyond terrible. It's not even worse discussing. As bad as they play, their schemes are getting them killed. Any team with a legit quarterback is going to take advantage of the constant gambling and make some big plays. Shouldn't they try to slow the game down, make the other team work, and try to win with their incredible running attack? Ugh.

I was right about:

The Georgia - Alabama game. I NAILED that one. I was barely off the final score (I predicted 20-17, and the game ended 20-20 in regulation). Alabama was unfocused, especially early, the Georgia defense kept the Tide in check most of the game and Matt Stafford made some big plays, especially the perfect game-winning pass.

I was wrong about:

McFadden, to some degree. He is a remarkable player. He's the best in the country, it isn't close. But he also has a sadistic coach trying to get him killed. He has an incredible back-up and he's still logging 30 carries/game, and returning kicks and playing some quarterback. As amazing as he is, he isn't a one-man team. No one is (not even Mike Hart, who is as close as it gets) and I should remember that. Football is a team game, no matter what we may believe.

I was right about:

Wisconsin being awful. The Badgers are a slipping receiver away from losing to Iowa. Frankly, they could have at least 2 losses by this point. They absolutely should have lost that Iowa game. Sadly, they could still win a miserable Big Ten.

I was wrong about:

Iowa pulling off the victory. The receiver falling down on a potentially game-winning play is emblematic of a team that has been out of step all season. With a great defense, and a gutsy quarterback, it appears that they should have something going on here. But, they can't quite put it all together for 60 minutes. As much as I love Ferentz, and I do, he needs to get his team on the same page.

I was right about:

Most of the lines this week. And I'm feeling pretty decent about some of my all-season predictions, but let's not jinx them, shall we?

Student body right........student body wrong  

Posted by Walter

I was right about, well not a whole lot. I predicted two games correctly (South Carolina and Kentucky covering), but neither went as predicted. South Carolina was supposed to cover thanks to the strength of their front seven (who got manhandled), and Kentucky was supposed to keep it close but bow to Arkansas’ running game in the 4th quarter (instead the Wildcats won going away). Ugh, not a lot to like here, let’s hope things get better next week. On the bright side, it’s worth congratulating Frazier on a 5-0. Nice work!

I was wrong about Anthony “Morigami”. After his disgraceful performance I literally cannot believe I claimed having him under center was a “good thing” for Penn State. “Morigami” has the arm and the size but no quarterback folds up quicker in a big game than him. Seriously, any high school quarterback in the nation could have hit that slant pass for a TD in the waning minutes, yet “Morigami” sails it high and wide by about 10 feet.

I was right about Clemson. The two headed monster is back humming and Cullen Harper is still doing his thing despite nobody in the world paying any attention (plenty of great seats still available on the bandwagon). Clemson looks like clearly the best team in the ACC but will have their hands full at GTech this week. If the Harper led Tigers go into GTech and take care of business we’ll have to start wondering why this kid sat behind Will Proctor all of last year.

I was wrong about Alabama. Well actually I was more wrong about Georgia. That is exactly the type of game that Mark Richt wins, and that is exactly why he is one of the best coaches around. His road record in the SEC is staggering, and he had his team ready to play. Bama played well enough to win, but you gotta believe they were still riding a little high from that monster win over Arkansas.

I was right about Oregon. Another week, another dominating offensive performance from my Pac-10 sleeper. This week comes their first conference test, with the Cal Bears visiting Eugene. The Ducks’ offense is clicking (there is no better QB-RB combo in the Pac-10 than Dixon and Stewart) and Autzen Stadium is one of the loudest and hardest places to play in the country. If Oregon can win this game, a top 10 ranking and a “showdown” game with USC loom.

I was wrong about Anthony “Morigami”. So wrong. God he sucks. If those Penn State receivers wanted to bring criminal charges against him for continually hanging them out to dry with high passes I would definitely take the case.

I was right about Tim Tebow. Take a look at his stat line against Ole Miss and tell me he doesn’t deserve to be the Heisman frontrunner. On the flip side, Darren McFadden and Brian Brohm’s respective bubbles all but burst with their teams’ second straight loss this week.

I was wrong about Wisconsin. They just aren’t very good. It’s kind of that simple. Iowa is mediocre. Wisconsin is slightly above mediocre. The score bore that out. The Big 10 is awful right now, so awful that maybe Michigan could storm back and win the conference title…….naw.

I was right about Ohio State and Oklahoma as sleeper national title teams. Both have been dominant and both have but one game standing between them and an undefeated regular season.

I was wrong about Anthony “Morigami”. Seriously he sucks so much. Against Michigan he folded up faster than Superman on laundry day……thank you, thank you I’ll be here all week.

I was right about……aw fuck that how about a few more jabs at “Morigami”. You think when he eats pizza he folds it in the middle? I bet he keeps all his personal papers in a file folder. His favorite Johnny Cash album is “Live at Foldsome Prison.” He probably drives a foldsmobile to practice......yeah that’s starting to feel better…..you’ve all been great, remember to tip your waitresses.

10 things I saw..............  

Posted by Walter

Perhaps the most overlooked unit in the nation thus far in 2007 has been the (1) LSU offensive line, particularly on the interior. The Tigers boast the absolute best interior offensive line in the land in center Bret Helms, and guards Will Arnold and Herman Johnson. Those three players manhandled the middle of the South Carolina defense, paving the way for nearly 300 rushing yards. All three player are dominant run blockers, particularly Johnson (the least known of the three) who goes 6'7'' and 335 pounds.....The Penn State-Michigan tilt features a matchup of QB's going in opposite directions. Michigan freshman (2) Ryan Mallet looks like a future star in the making. At 6'6'' and 250 lbs. Mallett has protoype size, and more mobility than you think (see his 10 yd. TD run against the Nittany Lions). Most impressive, though, is the pure arm strength Mallett possess. I haven't ever seen a QB get more velocity on his short and intermediate throws, and while he hasn't really aired it out yet rumor has it the kid can throw the ball 80 yards!!! On the other hand, we have Penn State dud (3) Anthony Morrelli who once again shit the bed in an important game. Morrelli has the size and arm to tease you with his potential, especially when he puts up great stats in a meaningless game (see Bowl game against Tennessee), but when the pressure is on he never delivers. The guy folds up under pressure so much I think it's time we start calling him Anthony "Morigami".....Speaking of the PSU-Michigan game, am I the only one who thinks (4) Mike Hart should bring criminal charges against Lloyd Carr? 44 carries against a defense that is 100% focused on him on every play. Come on Lloyd, the kid is the heart and soul of your team (seriously, did you see him pick up Dan Connor on that 2nd half blitz!) cut him some slack....In case you were wondering, there are still plenty of seats on the (5) Cullen Harper bandwagon. Another game, another 250+ passing yards and 2 TD without an interception. The kid has talent. He makes all the throws. And he is the undisputed leader of that Clemson offense. That nobody wants to recognize this kid is their loss. I'll drive the bandwagon myself if I have to....You want to know who the most impressive offensive tackle in the nation has been thus far in 2007? Jake Long? Nope. Sam Baker? Way off. It's been Oklahoma mountain of a man (6) Philip Loadholt. Mr. Loadholt is aptly named. At 6'8'' and 350 lbs. there isn't a more dominant run blocker in the country, and Loadholt has surprisingly quick feet for a man his size. Tulsa sending 240 lb. defensive ends at him was like shooting a freight train with a BB gun. There may not be a more physically dominant player in the country. Remember, this is the guy who absolutely manhandled Calais Campbell of Miami. Speaking of which, after the Miami defensive line worked over Texas A & M, perhaps we need to reevaluate just how dominant this Oklahoma offensive line is in light of their performance a week earlier against the Canes....The latest SEC defender that I've become enamored with? Well of course it's another LSU player, this time safety/linebacker (7) Danny McCray. The sophomore from Houston was simply all over the field against South Carolina, making plays against the run and the pass. He's the heir apparent to Ali "the human missile" Highsmith at the weakside lineabcker spot. I mean seriously, where does LSU get these guys????......The most overlooked team in the country, why it's (8) Brian Kelly's Cincinnati Bearcats. South Florida's big win over Auburn put the Big East back in the national spotlight, but nobody wants to give this team any credit. Cincinnati sits at 4-0, including a win over Pac-10 supposed power Oregon State, and they've outscored their opponents 180-30. No team has been more dominant with less fanfare, and while they might not be good enough to win an all of a sudden loaded Big East, they'll have plenty to say about who does thanks to games against Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia later this year.....Another unit getting overlooked, how about the Purdue pass offense. The Boilermakers are 4-0 and have put up at least 45 points in all four games thanks to the high powered air attack. QB (9) Curtis Painter has quietly put up nearly 1300 yards in four games with a 16:1 TD ratio. Again, this team probably doesn't have the horses to win the Big 10, but you can bet Ohio State isn't looking forward to playing Purdue on the road in two weeks.....We all know that the (10) Louisville defense has been bad, but does anyone realize just how bad? Consider the following: against Middle Tennessee State and Syracuse (combined record 1-7), the Cardinals gave up a total of 8 plays of 39 yards or more, including touchdown plays of 39, 42, 60, 78, 79, and 79!!! Moreover, Syracuse and Middle Tennessee State combined for nearly as many yards against the Louisville defense (1019) as they did in each of their previous three games combined (1191). Those numbers are historically bad.

Gameday Notes-Early Games  

Posted by Frazier

Just a couple of thoughts while perusing the early college football offerings, mostly USF-UNC, Syracuse-Louisville, WVU-ECU.

- West Virginia showed up in the first half. Absolutely frightening.

- The future is bright at WVU, Devine, Jarrett Brown and a group of athletic receivers look like they might be able to continue this run. I'm very impressed.

- Absolutely embarrassing performance by Louisville. They should be ashamed. That defense is terrible and has absolutely no heart.

- Gregg Robinson is an awful coach, but even he understands that you should throw against the Cardinals whenever possible. He just needs to not get conservative to secure the win.

- Credit to the Syracuse defense through three quarters. If Louisville had their heart, they would be considerably less terrible.

- Of the 118 players on S. Florida's roster, 112 are from Florida. That is incredible. But also explains their emergence. It's a pretty fertile state for football talent.

- VERY impressed by S. Florida. Grothe has a ton of guts, and that defense is downright scary. Jenkins and Williams are a remarkable CB tandem.

- There will be better days for UNC. There might not be a better recruiter in the country than Butch Davis. He has 42 freshman on this team, so it's a squad playing for the future.

- George Selvie is the most underrated defensive lineman in the country. He leads the nation in sacks at 8.5, and had 13.5 tackles for loss in fewer than three games. He isn't just a speed rusher either, lining up inside on some downs and stuffing the run. He's on record saying he prefers to defense the run than the pass. Oh, and he's a sophomore.

- Speaking of underrated, what Jim Leavitt has accomplished in the last decade at S. Florida is amazing. He started the program, and now they're a top 25 team, and they have some excellent young talent. He started the program, but reached his 50th 1-A win in only 75 games. That is absolutely incredible. Also, he's said he hasn't put an emphasis on getting an on-campus stadium. Partially because the school needs new soccer and softball facilities. He's a guy who gets it. Not only does he want to raise the football profile, but the overall profile of his school as an athletics powerhouse.

- The S. Florida - WVU matchup should be very, very entertaining.

- I was a tad concerned about Oklahoma's defense on Friday. Paul Smith is a very good quarterback, but anytime you surrender 300 passing yards in the first half, that's not very impressive.

- I will never understand Gus Malzahn. I know he was disappointed with his role at Arkansas, but I have ZERO sympathy for an offensive coordinator that wants to install a spread, pass-first offense, when he has the best running back duo in the country. Talk about putting your own ego over what's best for the team...

- Brian Brohm can kiss any Heisman hopes goodbye. Frankly, his personal goal needs to be preventing his draft stock from dropping any further. Louisville as a spoiler? Get used to it.

- Mario Urrutia isn't good enough to hold Harry Douglas' jock. If the Douglas injury is serious, well, that would be devestating.

- Update. Credit to Robinson for not blowing the opportunity. His team out-played Louisville in all facets of the game, and he deserves a little recognition. The Syracuse defense in particular deserves a lot of credit. They created turnovers and stayed disciplined. Although they practically tried to give the game away late.

- What's going on with Nebraska? A friend gave me shit for not being as big a Nebraska fan as I used to be. Well, my fading loyalties may have been directly related to the fading of the Blackshirts.

- Did Florida read too many headlines this week? Guys, it's the SEC. Every game matters. I stated that the difference between my top four and everyone else was that those were the teams that didn't need to be perfect to win. There's a difference between not being perfect, and stinking out the joint.

Week 4 Picks - Frazier  

Posted by Frazier

Ok I may have to go quick pick style here. Mostly because I've been traveling for the last couple of days. Well, also because the more I say, the more I have to be wrong about. Maybe the less I think, the better I'll pick.

Michigan +3 vs. Penn St.

There are three reasons I have to go with Michigan. First, we don't know a whole lot about either team. But we know that this is strength against strength, and I like the home team. I also simply do NOT trust PSU. Second, PSU has had an impossible time handling Michigan over the last decade. When in doubt, go with the trend. Third, well, if I jinx Penn St. the aforementioned PSU girlfriend will murder me in my sleep. I want to wake up Sunday, so I'm predicting a 28-24 Wolverine victory.

South Carolina +17 over @ LSU

This number is simply too big. There's no other reason. 17 points is a LOT to lay, especially to a Spurrier coached team. Especially a Spurrier-team with a very good defense. I don't think they're pulling the upset, but I really don't think they are getting blown out. LSU is winning, but Darth holds his team in striking distance, at 31-21.

Kentucky +7 over @ Arkansas

Let's see. Two teams with explosive offense and questionable defense. One of those teams beat Louisville in a shoot-out. The other lost to Alabama in a similar shoot-out. Now, Louisville is more explosive offensively than Alabama. McFadden will have a thousands yards of total offense in this one. Hell, the Hogs may even win the game. But Kentucky isn't going to be slowed down by the gambling man-coverage that Arkansas will be running out there. Wilson had an amazing game, but Woodson is a better player. He's going to have a hell of a game. But McFadden is better. I can't go against the Hogs, but it'll be a nail-biter. Let's call is Arkansas, 38-34.

Georgia +3.5 AT Alabama

I like the hangover line. I know Alabama had a great win against Arkansas. But I also know that Georgia and Richt are a quality opponent. Saban will do his best to keep his troops focused, but it's not going to help. I've got a good feeling about Georgia in this one. They have a quality defense, and a good young quarterback. The Bulldogs ruin the Bama party, 20-17.

Iowa +7.5 AT Wisconsin

I can't do it. I can't go against this line. I have serious concerns about Iowa after dropping a game to a terrible, terrible, terrible, Iowa St. team. I also have serious concerns about a Wisconsin team that has looked uninspiring against both UNLV and the Citadel. I liked Iowa as a sleeper, and Wisconsin as a disappointment. Basically, it's the perfect storm. We're going full upset style. Iowa 20-17.

Last Week: 1-3-1

Overall: 5-9-1

Week 4 Picks - Walter  

Posted by Walter

Penn State -3 over @ Michigan

This is a tough call because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we don’t know as much about either team as we think we do. Everybody knows that Michigan got off to a horrendous start, at home no less. And we also know that they supposedly got things fixed against Notre Dame. But to be honest, what can we take from any of those three games? The Wolverines were unfocused against Appalachian State and took them for granted. They were shocked and chagrined against Oregon and just rolled over and died. Then, in the game they supposedly “made things right” they beat up on a Notre Dame team that is amongst the worst in the nation. So looking at all that do we know what kind of team Michigan has? No freakin way. Same goes for the Nittany Lions. They’ve played Florida International, Notre Dame, and Buffalo all at home. And while they whupped on all of them, those are three of the worst teams in 1A so I lend no credence whatsoever to those scores. So we know nothing about either team, how do we make the call? Well Michigan is at home (that’s good), but they are missing their star QB (that’s bad). The Nittany Lions are 3-0 (that’s good), but they are playing their first road game and their fist overall game against real competition (that’s bad). Michigan has Mike Hart (that’s good). Penn State has Anthony Morrelli (that's.....good?). Actually it's good, the way he's been playing. With Chad Henne out of the lineup (or in but hobbled) Morrelli is the difference. Penn State 27, Michigan 21.

South Carolina +17 over @ LSU

The way I look at it, this game can go only one of two way. Either South Carolina’s defense proves it’s for real, shuts down the LSU attack, and forces a couple of turnovers to keep the Gamecocks in the game, or, in the alternative, LSU runs the Ol Ballcoach out of the building by the end of the first quarter. I’m going with the former because, well, I love Spurrier and frankly I would rather root for him than against him. Still, this game makes me nervous. LSU’s defense has been nothing short of other-worldly, while the SC offense has been everything short of pedestrian. On paper, that looks like the biggest mismatch of the game. On the other side of the ball, South Carolina’s front 7 is definitely physical enough to match up with LSU, the key will be whether their secondary holds up against a speedy set of Tiger receivers (that Early Doucet is hurting with an ankle helps the Gamecocks defense immeasurably). Whether this game is a blowout or not should come down to turnovers. The South Carolina offense isn’t going to be able to move the ball consistently against LSU (hell, who can), but they absolutely MUST avoid turning it over even if it means 3 and out. Conversely, the South Carolina defense is going to have to make a couple of plays to keep them in the game. The defense is the strength of the team and they need to give the offense a couple of short fields, or, dare I say, score a touchdown themselves. There are two X factors in this game that lead me to believe South Carolina keeps it close. First is South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, who has a huge leg and will enable the Gamecocks to play more conservatively (thus avoiding turnovers) and settle for field goals. Second is Spurrier. Friday night, against the #2 team in the nation, on their field. This is the stuff legends are made of, and he loves it. He’s got something up his sleeve, I can guarantee you that. SC proves they belong, but LSU is just too much. Call it 24-14.

Kentucky +7 over @ Arkansas

Now this line just doesn’t make any sense to me. Both teams played big time rivalry games last week. Both teams scored a ton of points. Both teams allowed the other team to score a ton of points. Only one of them won (although Arkansas was damn close). The Kentucky offense is clicking on all cylinders right now. Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton, Rafael Little. These guys can just flat out play. On the other hand, Arkansas has Darren McFadden. Simply put, he is the most unstoppable force in college football. This game looks like a classic shootout, and I expect a ton of points to be scored. Even though the game is in Fayetville, Andre Woodson simply does not make mistakes (he is, I believe, 8 pass attempts away from setting the school record for most consecutive passes without an interception). The Kentucky offense is explosive and under Woodson’s leadership it shouldn’t be susceptible to the rabid Arkansas crowd. With neither defense showing up, this game will go vertical fast. When you’ve got a shootout, the golden rule says take the points and run. Call it Arkansas 45, Kentucky 42 on a McFadden interception at the horn (heck he’s played every position on offense, why not try him on D).

@ Alabama -3.5 over Georgia

Ugh, I got a bad feeling about this game. Alabama is riding high, perhaps too high, after the monster win over Arkansas. Enter Mark Richt. He of the absurd road winning percentage in SEC play. This is just the type of game Mark Richt loves. His team is down, although not yet out, and its his turn to crash the opponents’ party in their house. Tuscaloosa will be rocking on Saturday and, frankly, the Crimson Tide should win this game. Georgia’s offense has been sputtering since the opening week shellacking of Oklahoma State, mostly because they can’t seem to find any help at all for Matt Stafford. Alabama, on the other hand, finally got things going on offense, and that is a scary thing. Terry Grant has been the surprise, but we all knew it was just a matter of time for John Parker Wilson, DJ Hall, Keith Brown and the passing game. Working their magic at home should help, and I do expect the Tide to put some points up against a Bulldog defense that still has to prove something to me (they lost a LOT of talent in the offseason and I find it hard to believe they could lose all that and still be this good). Richt’s Dawgs put up a good fight, but fall at the end. Call it Alabama 24-17

@ Wisconsin -7.5 over Iowa

Yep Wisconsin was lucky to get out of Las Vegas with a win. And yep, being tied with the Citadel at home at halftime was a disgrace. Yep I’ve heard a lot about this Wisconsin team. But you know what, so have they. I just get the feeling that the Badgers are sick and tired of hearing about how overrated they are. Bret Beilema and Co. are ready to remind us all why they were the chic Big 10 pick entering the season. Iowa, on the other hand, is still a nice name, but they have been mediocre at best this season. Kirk Ferentz is a great coach, but I don’t think he has the horses to go into Wisconsin and take this one. Not against a fired up Badger team. Iowa’s front 7 is good enough to hold PJ Hill in check, but Tyler Donovan and his dynamic set of receivers should be able to make some big plays. Wisconsin isn’t as good as people think they are, but this is a great matchup for them in a spot where they really need a dominating performance to silence some critics. Wisconsin will win big, but the score will be more indicative of Iowa’s mediocrity than Wisconsin’s dominance. Call it Wisconsin 35, Iowa 20.

Last Week: 1-3-1

Overall: 7-7-1

Power Rankings (Week 3)  

Posted by Walter

1) USC

Walter – During last Saturday’s big game in Lincoln, I wasn’t so much enamored with USC as I was disappointed with Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were given a chance to reassert themselves in the big time. To bring back the glory days. And what did they do? They laid down and rolled over….which is exactly what the Trojans did to them. USC was dominant from the first whistle, which is pretty amazing considering their passing game still isn’t clicking on at least 2 cylinders. But this team has lived up to its hype all year. They are talented enough to dominate even on an off day, and even though he has struggled by his standards I still get the feeling John David Booty is capable of winning games for this team all by himself.

Frazier - This USC team is frightening. They haven't looked great yet, or even terribly good, and they absolutely destroyed Nebraska in Lincoln. Their defense has the chance to be absolutely dominant, and their passing game has yet to establish itself. The scariest part about USC is that while we know their passing game will be excellent, they finally found a running back. Johnson was excellent last week, and he may emerge from the great muddle. If a running back can step in and lay claim to the job, then there could be no stopping the Trojans. This is a classic Pete Carroll team, they don't always play up to their potential, but they ALWAYS have the most talent on the field.

2) LSU

Walter – So LSU dominated Middle Tennessee State this past weekend. So what? Well, normally it wouldn’t be impressive. But let’s not forget that this is the same Middle TN St. team that put up 40 points and 500 yards on Louisville….AT Louisville. Now nobody is going to mistake the Cardinals as the second coming of the ’85 Bears, but they are a legit top 25 team and Middle TN shredded them. So why am I telling you this? Well, mostly because when they came down to Baton Rouge, all LSU did was shut them out and keep them under 100 total yards of offense. While the Louisville defense is scary bad, this LSU defense is scary good. They’ve given up 7 points all season, and VTech (a top 5 team at the time) needed a shaky pass interference call to put up those points.

Frazier - It's almost a toss-up between LSU and USC for the top spot. Both teams are scary good. Both teams have excellent defenses. Both are going to be very, very difficult to beat this year. USC gets the edge because there is a sense that they have an extra gear that no one else is capable of attaining. However, LSU has looked more consistently excellent, and there is no reason to believe their defense will ever have a bad day. Its' simply too good.

3) Oklahoma

Walter – Here’s the real question, just how good are these Sooners? I mean, we know they can play, but do they deserve to be considered in the same breath as LSU and USC? I say yes. Oklahoma is the one team in the country who has an offensive line good enough to stand toe to toe with the Trojan and Tiger front 7. Frankly, no other OL in the country is even close…….not even the units that practice against those defensive fronts all week. The 2007 Sooners are a perfect example of just how important offensive line play can be. Think about it. In the past 14 months the Sooners have lost arguably the greatest offensive player in the history of their school (Adrian Peterson), their 5 star recruit quarterback of the future (Rhett Bomar), and their blood and guts senior fill in who was the most underappreciated player in the nation (Paul Thompson). No players, no problem. Enter redshirt Freshman Sam Bradford and a stable of running backs nobody outside of Norman has ever heard of and what do you get? Three dominant wins and a #3 ranking. The only constant has been that offensive line, who just dominate from whistle to whistle.

Frazier - Oklahoma absolutely housed a Miami team that destroyed Texas A&M. So what do we learn from this transitive property? Well, we learned that Oklahoma is a hell of a lot better than most of their Big 12 competition. The big contest will be against a Texas team that has completely underachieved so far this year. Stoops is bound to have a good defense, and a tough, tenacious offensive line has given his new quarterback and some less experienced running backs an opportunity to shine. No one has been more impressive through the first few weeks of the season.

4) Florida

Walter – Look, I am as stubborn as they come (see Oregon last year). Sometimes it pays off (see Oregon last year), and sometimes it don’t. I think this might be one of those times it don’t. I vastly underestimated this Florida team and they’ve made me pay. Three games, three dominating performances on both sides of the ball. Now, the fact that Tim Tebow and the offense is clicking is not a huge shock. They’ve played some weak defenses, and all three games have been in the comfy confines of the Swamp. But what has really been impressive is the play of a defense that is replacing a boatload of starters. Will Florida be able to keep up this frenetic pace when they take their show on the road? Maybe, maybe not. But for right now there is no doubt that they belong in the same breath as the three teams above them.

Frazier - Well, Florida is back. I didn't think they could reload defensively. They seem to have. People kept saying that Tebow was a perfect fit for Meyer's offense. Well, so far it looks true. Tebow is one of the most hyped players I can remember, and he has absolutely delivered. They have put themselves in the conversation for who's the nations best. The proving ground will be in Baton Rouge. A win against LSU? Well, then the champs return to the top of the heap. Maybe the big man should read some old posts, when he predicted that Florida would be the nations best THIS year, not last year. Even when he's right, he's wrong.

5) West Virginia

Walter – Speaking of teams we don’t really know about, how can we even begin to evaluate the Mountaineers this season? The offense has been good, not great, but has appeared unfocused at times. The defense has shown flashes of adequacy (see 2nd half at Maryland), but those moments have been equaled by flashes of ineptitude (see 1st half against Marshall). This team has the experience and the talent to run the table. Whether they do or not will depend entirely on whether they show up for the games they need to. It’s one thing to sleepwalk through East Carolina, quite another through South Florida. We’ll know a lot more about this team in two weeks when they travel to Tampa to take on the Bulls. South Florida beat them last year in Morgantown so this is a big time revenge game. If WVU isn’t up for that one, then this team will find itself on the outside looking in.

Frazier - Welcome to "the others". There are four teams that have stepped forward, and then there is everyone else. All of "the others" have some potential flaws, weaknesses, or unknowns. There's just something missing. Now, it's possible one of these teams could step up and contend for the title. College football is nothing if not unpredictable. WVU is a perfect example of "the others". They have a pair of legit Heisman contenders, and the most exciting offensive rookie in the country. They also have a suspect (at best) defense, and a ton of questions. They have had some really tough first halves, and just haven't looked quite right. When USC is a step off, they just look incredibly deep and scary. When WVU is a step off they look imminently beatable. This team needs to be perfect to win out, and I'm not sure they've got it in them.

6) Ohio State

Walter – I want to like Jim Tressell, I really do. He’s old school. He runs the ball, he plays defense, and he makes you pay for mistakes. But I’ve tried to like him, and I just can’t. The reason for my disdain, primarily, is that I just can’t ever shake the feeling that his team is a complete fraud. I mean, how long can you actually win when your game plan is to wait for the other team to fuck up. For a while I guess, since this has been one of the best teams in America over the last 5 years. But I just can’t shake the feeling that the Buckeyes just aren’t very good. I mean they looked invincible last season, then got pasted by Florida. No matter how good they look, I just can’t shake the feeling that the other shoe is getting ready to drop. Unfortunately, since the Buckeyes have a PATHETIC schedule (thanks for sucking again Big 10), we won’t know if this team is a fraud until Oct. 27 when they visit Penn State.

Frazier - The Buckeyes are an interesting team. Maybe they'll find things easier flying under the radar. They are kind of the opposite of WVU. They have a very good defense, and a suspect offense. I'm just not sure if they've got enough to take care of business. Even though the Big Ten is laying a huge turd this year, I think they could just up and lose at any time. If they have another game like they did against Illinois last year, it will be a loss this time around. So are they capable of winning out? Probably. Are they capable of losing any time, any where? Yeah, probably. I wouldn't say that about the top four.

7) California

Walter – Everything we need to know about the Bear we’ll learn in the next three weeks. They have a classic three game stretch including a “looking ahead to next week” game (Arizona), a “seemingly impossible road game” (@ Oregon), and a “potential let down game” (Oregon St.). California is good enough to get through all three games unbeaten. But, in order to do that they’re going to need a great three week stretch from their best players, but more importantly their coach. Jeff Tedford has proven time and again that he is amongst the best X and O guys in the nation. But his challenge will be to get his team to focus on each task, and play the way they are capable of playing. If this team goes 3-0 watch out, because all that would stand between them and an undefeated matchup with USC Nov. 10 would be winnable games at UCLA and AZ St.

Frazier - Ah yes, the "other" Pac-10 team. I still don't believe in this defense. Their big win was against a Vols team that went and got decimated by Florida. So while you can't take anything away from the Bears, you can wonder a little bit. This is another good, not great team. Honestly, I can't differentiate between some of these teams. This is a fast, athletic Bears offense, but they lack the balance.

8) Clemson

Walter – I’m not quite sure how it happened, but this Clemson team has become an official Walter 323 binky. I think it started when I tabbed them as my sleeper pick in the ACC. The infatuation grew when they beat the despicable Florida State Seminoles on opening weekend. But I think Clemson got locked in as an official binky when I was the only person in the entire world (presumably) to name Cullen Harper on my initial Heisman Ballot. Gentlemen, welcome to your destiny. What is there not to love about this Clemson team? Two great backs, a swarming defense, a cool, calm and collected QB that nobody wants to talk about, and perennial lame duck coach grasping for his last chance at glory. I mean, come on. The story lines with this team are endless. And if those aren’t enough, we’ll have the obligatory cameo by backup QB Willy Korn at some point this season (for those of you who don’t know he was the star of that MTV show “Two a Days”). Yup, I am officially driving the Clemson bandwagon…..and I couldn’t be happier.

Frazier - I am very afraid for my friend. Clemson is the type of team that lures you in with their potential. They have talent, and interesting stories (you're forgetting the player who had to get an NCAA waiver to start a charitable fund to take care his younger brother) and then they start reading those stories (possibly even this story) and then their heads explode. Their might not be a worse big-game coach on the planet than Tommy Bowden. Every time the lights shine brightly, he shits himself in the spotlight. I really like what Clemson has done so far, but I should probably go grab a mop.

9) Oregon

Walter – Speaking of inexplicable binkies the Oregon Ducks somehow make that list. After a 2006 season where I eviscerated the Ducks at every turn, now I’m basking the glow of their 3-0 start after anointing them the 2nd best team in the Pact 10 to start the year. What the Ducks have done is both incredible and not completely unforeseeable. While nobody expected this, the Ducks do return a TON of offensive playmakers, almost the entire offensive line (there’s that unit popping up again), and enough players on defense to slow other teams down (remember they play in the Pac 10). Add in the dynamic spread offense of Chip Kelly (formerly of 1AA New Hampshire, and vastly underrated), and you’ve got a recipe for success. So far so good, but then again you could have said the same thing at this point last season….and we all know how that turned out.

Frazier - The Ducks are the quintessential Pac-10 juggernaut. They have plenty of offensive playmakers, and a little bit of defense. They will have plenty of shoot-outs, choke in a couple of others (we'll say 3) and then offensively blindside some poor team in an incredibly enjoyable bowl game. Let's just agree that when Ohio St. is putting up ridiculous offensive numbers in that bowl game, well, I warned you.

10) Boston College

Walter – As a loyal season ticket holder, the only thing that makes me happier than the Eagles breaking into the top 10 is knowing that they truly belong here. What BC did to Georgia Tech was impressive, but what was shocking was the relative ease with which they did it. BC went into their stadium and turned the formerly ferocious John Tenuda defense into a bunch of schmucks. All night long it seemed that Boston College, and superstar QB, Matt Ryan were one step ahead of the Yellow Jackets. When they blitzed Ryan saw it and delivered the ball perfectly. When they sat back in coverage Ryan didn’t rush, ran through his progressions and found the open guy. It was a brutally efficient performance by the Eagles. No wasted movements. No negative plays. With a few cupcakes on the schedule in the coming weeks, Boston College should remain in the top 10 until they hit the brutal final leg of their schedule which includes road trips to VTech and Clemson. But hey, going into the season I thought last Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech was going to be the toughest game on the slate. The ceiling on this team has officially been raised after that performance, and I wouldn’t be shocked if we were talking about this BC team as the best in school history.

Frazier - Well, I have to admit that BC has looked excellent so far. They came out and won 3 straight conference games. Let's just hope that this mini-vacation against the Army's and UMass's of the world doesn't slow up the momentum. Matt Ryan (and his offensive line) were phenomenal against a vicious Yellow Jackets defense. Normally I'd expect them to implode (a perfect example last season) but maybe without O'Brien there to screw things up, they can continue their run through a soft conference.

11) Appalachian State

Dropped off:

Louisville – well their season’s over

Just missed:

Alabama – John Parker Wilson, you are the MAN in Tuscaloosa right now

Penn State – they haven’t played anyone yet, but a win at Michigan could be tough to ignore

South Carolina – let’s see how they do against LSU

South Florida – that Auburn win ain’t looking quite as good as it did last week

Quick Hitch...  

Posted by Frazier

I have to take a moment to respond to the big man.

I understand that he is looking "at the moment" with his Heisman picks. And I understand his criticism of my picks as being too boring and pedestrian. It's a valid argument. We obviously have taken different tacts in putting together our lists. Hardly a shocker.

I just have a problem with a list that consists exclusively of quarterbacks.

And, if we're doing straight stats, let's hand the award to Graham Harrell, he of the 1,300 passing yards, 75% completion percentage and 14 touchdowns.

Just a quick defense of my picks.

1: McFadden leads the NCAA in all-purpose yards per game. That's kind of an important statistic. Oh, and here's a quote from the big man himself regarding the Bama game, "McFadden turning in a heismanlike performance". Last checked you weren't too considered about his injured hamstring.

2: Slaton leads the nation in scoring, hitting paydirt three times per game this year.

3: I made my case for White earlier, it doesn't need rehashing here.

The Heisman Run Down  

Posted by Walter

Frazier, you and I are watching the same games but we ain't seeing the same things. Look, I respect your Heisman list because, frankly, that's probably what its going to look like at the end of the year. But I hate to break it to you, it's fucking September. There's a reason they don't give out the award until the end of the year (as one glimpse at my ballot will make abundantly clear). I can't see into the future. Maybe you can, but I can't. If you are in fact clairvoyant, then this feature is gonna get real old, real quick. I, on the other hand, am all about the moment. Living in the here and now. So while my ballot today may look nothing like the eventual Downtown Athletic Club guest list, just remember your ballot doesn't reflect who'd get those exclusive invitations if the award was given out today.

1) Tim Tebow

The true sophomore has been nothing short of electric to start the season and his play is one of the major reasons
the Gators are amongst the best teams in the nation. In three games this season the Florida offense has put up 49, 59 and 59 points, simply staggering numbers no matter who the opponents are. I resisted Tebow as much as possible, but even I can't ignore the numbers: 74% completion rate, 835 yards, 8 TD against only 1 pick, and that's before you even consider his contributions to the running game (182 yards 5 TD). Look all you need to know about Tebow is that he has personally accounted for 13 touchdowns in 3 games. While lots of guys have great numbers early in the year, what separates Tebow from the rest of the list is that he already has a signature win. In leading Florida to its route over Tennessee, Tebow was almost perfect accounting for 360 total yards and 4 touchdowns against one of the few veteran defenses in the SEC.

2) Sam Bradford

If you are looking at straight numbers, Bradford is the only guy in the nation who can come close to matching
Tebow. Bradford actually has a higher completion percentage than Tebow (79% to 74%) and more touchdown passes (11 to 8). What is most impressive about Bradford, though, is his poise as a Freshman leading a veteran laden Sooner offense. Bradford has been a perfect signal caller so far, spreading the ball around when he needs to but also leaning heavily on star wideout Malcolm Kelly when he needs. Also, like Tebow, the Bradford led Sooner offense has been other worldly putting up 79, 51 and 54 points in its three games. What gets Bradford the nod in the #2 spot was his surgical dissection of a star studded Miami defense in week 2. Bradford picked on all american Kenny Phillips and company in his coming out party to the tune of 255 yards and 3 TD.

3) Dennix Dixon

You like numbers? How bout these numbers. In three games (including an absolutely stunning blowout of Michigan in Ann Arbor) Dixon has ammassed 565 yards passing, 276 yards rushing, and 11 total touchdowns without a single turnover. Dixon has delivered big play after big play for the Ducks, in leading them to a superb 3-0 start. I mean seriously, who thought Oregon would be 3-0 with a game at Michigan and at home against Fresno State on the slate? Even scarier, Dixon hasn't even gotten star wide receiver Jaison Williams going yet (154 yards, 2 TD). Imagine what this offense will look like once Dixon and Williams rekindle the magic that led to 984 yard 2006.

4) Andre Woodson

Like the other guys on this list, Woodson has an early season signature win to his resume. Woodson was nothing
short of spectacular in the Wildcats' win over Louisville, proving to everyone that he, and not Brian Brohm, might be the best QB in the state of Kentucky. What is most impressive about Woodson's start, however, is just how explosive he and the Kentucky offense has been. Albeit against weak defenses, Woodson has put up a play of 50 yards or more in each of his first three games. How's that for consistency? Speaking of consistency, Woodson has completed between 68% and 69% of his passes in each game, and has yet to throw an interception (against 9 TD). More than anything though, you simply have to be impressed with how the man just does NOT make mistakes. He hasn't thrown an interception in 2007, only threw 7 in 2006, and has only thrown 14 in his entire Kentucky career. If these trends continue, we're not only talking about the Heisman Trophy, we're talking about the number 1 overall draft pick.

5) Cullen Harper

Wait, what? Who? Don't you mean Darren McFadden? Nope, Cullen Harper you heard me right. As great as McFadden is (and he is great) he can't be on the list right now mostly because he sat on the sidelines while his team lost a winnable game against Alabama. Harper, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the surprisingly
3-0 Clemson Tigers. In fact it's been his play, and his alone, that has gotten the Tigers to 3 wins in 3 chances. Yes we all know about James Davis and CJ Spiller, but frankly those guys have been pedestrian thus far. It's been Harper's play that has lifted the team. In three games Harper's numbers are every bit as gaudy as his better known counterparts. Harper has put up 696 yards, while completing over 70% of his passes, with 10 TD and 0 picks. Harper also has "it". That magical, yet indescribable thing that separates quarterbacks from passers. Harper commands the respect of his team, and has the poise of a seasoned veteran. None of this was more evident than in his first start of his career. Against Florida State, with his star running back tandem held in check, Harper delivered two touchdowns in the first 15 minutes to put the game out of reach before the Seminoles knew what hit them. Chances are he won't be on this list at the end of the year, but we'd all be remiss if we didn't acknowledge him now.

The Heisman Run Down - Initial Edition  

Posted by Frazier

This year, the 323 is going to pay a little more attention to the Heisman chase. While we try to focus on college football as the ultimate team sport, one of the great parts of the game are the incredible individual efforts. Starting this week, we'll each post our top fives, and we'll be trying to put together an expert ballot.

If you're interested in being a Heisman voter, just contact us!

We waited until now to give players a chance to show what they've got. Preseason Heisman hype simply doesn't make sense. It's just a guessing game. We're here to evaluate what we've seen. Here's what I've been seeing:

1) Darren McFadden, RB/QB/WR, Arkansas

He's super-human. I'm pretty sure he gets his powers from the yellow rays of Earth's sun. It's really the only explanation. He almost single-handedly beat Alabama last week, and he's the difference between an 9-10 win team, and one that struggles to win 5. There's nothing he can't do. My special lady friend has been hearing me gush about McFadden for weeks now, and I think she was starting to get jealous. Then she saw him play. "Wow, he really IS fun to watch!" Now, she's a Penn St. gal herself, so she loves a bruising running back, and McFadden was certainly delivering the lumber to Tide defenders on Saturday. He is an absolutely exceptional talent, and an absolute pleasure to watch. Arkansas games are appointment viewing with the swiss army running back on the field.

Darren SHOULD be flexing, since he's been flattening defenders all year.

2) Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky

He out-dueled Brohm, and won the honor of coming in second to McFadden. Woodson is an absolutely prototypical quarterback, and he already has the highlight for his Heisman video (the game winning pass to beat Louisville in the final seconds). He's completed almost 70% of his passes, has 9 TD's and no interceptions and a win over a top ten team. Right now, no one is riding higher than Andre.

Andre will probably get overlooked battling in the brutal SEC,
but he's as good as they come.

3) Pat White, QB, West Virginia

It has become clear that Pat White makes this offense move. He is the one responsible for making the decision to hand off or keep on virtually every play. So when it looks like Slaton is completely untouched on a play, it's because White made the correct read. Everything Slaton does shows up on the stat sheet. But everything Slaton does is influenced by things that White does, even though you'll never see it in a box score. White is the sort of game-changer you have to watch to appreciate. With the emergence of Noel Devine, it will cut into Slaton's supporters, and should solidify support behind the dynamic White. He is a football player, pure and simple. If you watched the Maryland game, you consistently saw him read the defense and make the right decision. If you read the summary the next day, it looked like he had a down game. Let's hope the Heisman voters actually watch the games!

This is a combination that gets Heisman voters drooling.

4) Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia

The big man hinted at one of the concerns over Slaton earlier this week. He doesn't seem to be quite the burner he was last year. That might also be because of super-recruit Noel Devine showing off his blazing speed. Still, Slaton leads the nation in scoring, and has been pretty much unstoppable this year. If his numbers hold, he stands an excellent chance of winning the award. I just can't put him above White, since he's the more important player on that team. That said, Slaton is the hammer. White is the engine, but Slaton's the tires.

Steve's been a little less "The Flash" and a little more
"Homestar Runner" this season.

5) Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon

I really wasn't sure who to put here. There are plenty or interesting options. I couldn't go with Ray Rice, since he hasn't played anyone (and I can't have another one of those). Matt Ryan may be worthy, but his uneven performance against NC State made me nervous. Brennan REALLY hasn't played anybody. This decision basically came down to Tim Tebow or Dennis Dixon. I chose to give it to Dixon mostly because he had to go on the road against a talented team, while Tebow has been safely ensconced at home. We know Dixon has tremendous talent, but he's finally putting it to good use. He has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions, while going for almost 300 yards on the ground. It's the decision-making that really leaps out at me. If he continues to make the right call with the ball in his hands, he's as good as any quarterback in America. This pick may look silly a few weeks from now, but I'm giving credit where it's due. And Dixon has earned it.

Yeah, this is how I choose my #5 this week.
It could be worse, Romeo Crennel flipped a coin for his starting quarterback...

The Team

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