Week Four Recap
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After being on the road for the first three weekends of the season, yesterday I was able to sit back and watch college football all day long. In this week's Pick'em Contest, I missed two of my fifteen picks, but would consider the fourth weekend a success. Here is a look at what happened in the latest 15 games of our Pick'em Contest...
Miami 31, Pittsburgh 3 - This game reinforced to me why I do not care much for Pitt football. I know they have some good players, and they have a decent tradition. But the overall atmosphere of a Pitt home game is pathetic. The fans do not seem to get rowdy at all in that NFL stadium which is not their own. And down 17-3 in the third quarter the place had virtually emptied out. By the way, Miami won the game if anyone is interested in that.
NC State 45, Georgia Tech 28 - This first game of the day for me was a loss, and with many others on the way that I was worried about, I thought it might be a dark Saturday. The Pack might just be the team to beat in the ACC this year. The players look strong and fast and Head Coach Tom O'Brien seems confident in his team. The key is that qb Russell Wilson isn't just a talked about duel threat, but actually is a real threat to run it or pass it. He runs the simple offense very well, utilizing a lot of different versions of short passes. I missed this one as I thought GT would move the ball more, but the State defense looks like they will be a factor in the league, as well.
Virginia Tech 19, Boston College 0 - Just as I was losing the NC State game, the Hokies of VT were giving me my first W of the day on a different channel. Despite the fact that any national title hope whatsoever has flown out of the window early in the season yet again, VT is still a team loaded with good players, and could now make a run of eleven straight wins this year if things worked out right. BC always plays tough defense, but they were outclassed in this one by an angry group of turkeys.
USC 50, Washington State 16 - This type of score is more what the folks at USC are used to. I'm not saying that Southern Cal is going to win the BCS championship, but if you would have told them preseason that they would be 4-0 and coming off a 34-point road win in week four, I would imagine most Trojan fans would have said, "sweet!" I did not get to see this game, but I do know USC racked up 613 total yards, with 290 of those coming via Matt Barkley (3 tds). For USC, a Pac Ten title is starting to enter your minds. For Wazzu, it's back to the drawing boards!
Florida State 31, Wake Forest 0 - Wake Forest has a lot on their minds right now I would imagine. In the midst of a 2-2 start, the Deacons have lost by a combined 99-24 the last two weeks, and gave up 48 to lowly Duke the second weekend. FSU is clearly still having trouble knocking the dust off of the shiny sports car that it is, but this is a good confidence booster. Any time you are able to get a goose-egg, it says a lot about the defensive effort. I would consider the shut-out more important than the 31 points if I were a FSU fan.
UCLA 34, Texas 12 - This was my other loss of the day (and I think just about everyone else missed this one, as well). Wow. I mean, wow! Can you imagine all of the ticked off folks in the parking lots around Darrell K Royal Stadium?! Here are their beloved Longohrns looking to make a run at another national title, and they are WHIPPED at home by a mediocre UCLA team?! I can only imagine the burnt orange heartbreak. I guess Bruin Coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't kidding in that postgame speech! The gameball goes to UCLA's Johnathon Franklin who had 118 yards and a touchdown.
Alabama 24, Arkansas 20 - As I watched this game, I continuously thought Arkansas was doing all of the right things to pull the upset in this one. They were moving the ball, they were forcing turnovers, the weren't trying to do the impossible. They were just playing good, solid football. Yet somehow - and it is amazing how it always happens - the Tide found a way. That way this time came via an Interception of Ryan Mallett with roughly four minutes to play, followed by a Mark Ingram score. The Alabama defense rose to the occasion, and as predicted, running backs Ingram and Trent Richardson impressed (243 combined rushing yards).
Stanford 37, Notre Dame 14 - It took the Cardinal a little bit to get going, but in the end, they really put a whooping on ND. I'm telling you folks, ND is going to be back, but that run had to see a few good teams pass through first. Stanford will be an honest to goodness challenger to Oregon to win the Pac Ten. Yesterday, a solid defense supported Andrew Luck and the offense. Luck finished with 238 yards and a score, but the real story was Nate Whitaker's five field goals for Stanford (translation: this one could have been much worse).
Florida 48, Kentucky 14 - I kept hearing folks this week say that this was an "upset special" in the making. I just never got that feling for one second. I knew Florida would come out ready to put up big numbers, and they did. My prediction for the score of this game was 44-17. I'd say I got pretty darn close! The obvious story in this game is freshman Trey Burton scoring SIX touchdowns. Yes, six! He lines up mainly in the wildcat formation, where he rushed for five scores. He also caught a pass for a score. Now that's a good day at the old ballpark!
Mississippi State 24, Georgia 12 - Well folks, if you didn't want to listen to me last year or the year before that when I would say Mark Richt wasn't the man for the job, maybe you will start to listen to me now. For several seasons now I have said I get that I get the hunch Richt just can't do it (ala Tommy Bowden). Now, he has gone from average to just plain bad. The Dawgs are 0-3 in the SEC after this loss to MSU - who seem on the way up despite two close SEC losses. Yeah, yeah, I know, AJ Green is a big part of the offense and he is still out. Doesn't matter, UGA's problems run much deeper than AJ Green's absense. As for the other Bulldogs, a nice win, but they will need to keep it up.
Auburn 35, South Carolina 27 - For two straight weeks I picked with my head, and it paid off. In both weeks, my gut feeling was to see either Clemson or South Carolina steal one away from the home Tigers. But in both cases, I thought it through, and picked Auburn as I knew just how tough they are at home. In both cases I was right. The Tigers forced four turnovers down the stretch and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to win - the second straight thriller at home for 88,000 AU fans. This team will now move right to the edge of the top ten, and at 4-0, a true contender in the SEC West. QB Cam Newton will start to get some Heisman chatter as long as the Tigers stay unbeaten.
Boise State 37, Oregon State 24 - I was deep into the Auburn-South Carolina game, and so this game was catching the losing end of my remote flippage. However, I have seen the highlights ad nausem, and will say it is pretty much went how I expected it to go. Boise won comfortably, but not as pretty as people thought it would be. After all, OSU has a strong, prideful team, and they weren't just going to roll over. People will talk all this week about Boise and TCU being unimpressive, but I'm leaving both in my top five.
LSU 20, West Virginia 14 - Patrick Peterson decided to steal the spotlight in this Tiger Stadium night game. After a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown, Peterson struck the ole Heisman pose to the delight of 90,000 fans and a referee's flag. LSU opened up a 17-point lead at that point, and then hung on at the end to defeat the Mountaineers. As I stated above, the SEC West is looking mighty tough with Auburn, LSU and Alabama all thinking national title.
Arizona 10, California 9 - So much for one of those West coast shootouts in this one! This game is more like one of those down and dirty Big Ten types of scores late in the season when it is freezing cold outside. A defensive struggle in the Pac Ten - I like it! I like it even more because after I thought Cal had given me my third loss on the day, the Wildcats came back and scored on a Nick Foles touchdown with just minutes to play. Arizona, USC, Oregon and Stanford have a nice four way race in place for the Pac Ten crown.
Oregon 42, Arizona State 13 - The Ducks have now scored 231 points in four games! Say what you want about the competition, that is a ton of points, and the defense has only given up 44! Listen y'all, I know this Oregon team catches a lot of heat because New Mexico, Portland State, Tennessee and ASU isn't exactly murderer's row, but UO has taken each out behind the woodshed for a beating. They have done all that can be expected. They will get a good test next week when Stanford rolls into town.
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