Thursday, October 08, 2009

College Football Week 5 Analysis

With the college football season a third of the way done things were only expected to get more intense in the coming weeks. This past weekend was only the tip of the ice berg.

21 Miami 20 Oklahoma

There a couple things I noticed in this game. First, Miami has a defense. Yes, I understand Sam Bradford is out, but regardless Landry Jones was doing a solid job...up until he played Miami. Jacory Harris threw two costly interceptions in the first half which cost Miami big points. It was 10-0 Oklahoma and the game was one score away from getting out of hand. Because of an underrated Miami defense the Hurricanes were able to get back in the game. Good teams do this: they find themselves in ugly games, down early, and are able to pull themselves together and pull out a win.

Up 21-10 Oklahoma punted and the Hurricanes looked in control of the game. Then it happened. I see it all the time. The silly defensive player runs into the punter. In this case that call was probably justified, but in so many other cases it AMAZES me how easily referees throw the flag on that play. You are one inch away from blocking a punt and poof! it's a 15 yard penalty? Do they really think players can move their bodies in that moment? With all that said Oklahoma got that first down off that penalty and scored a touchdown. Despite all this Miami was still able to hold on and pull out their GUTSIEST victory of the season.

Miami's Drive of the Season: Oklahoma opts for a field goal to cut the score to 21-20. Miami got the ball back with 4:18 and the Sooners still had two timeouts. The Hurricanes milked the clock and then the offense pulled off the biggest conversion of the season. It was 3rd and 6 with 2:35 at the Sooner 36. Miami had two options they could run it up the middle and kill tons of time off the clock. The team would then either kick a field goal or punt. Long story short - Oklahoma would get the ball back with around 1:50 still left. Then there's option b) get the first down and end the game.

Miami did just that with an eight yard pass to Dedrick Epps. That takes a lot of guts to do that. If Harris does not make the place Oklahoma gets the ball back with 2:20 left in the game and down by only one point.

37 Notre Dame 30 Washington

Similar to LSU, Notre Dame finds ways to win. It might not always be pretty, but the team WINS. Against Washington the Irish were on the ropes. It was 24-19 and the Huskies (8 point losers to LSU and defeaters of USC) were looking to go up 31-19 and put the game out of hand. But Weis's team hung tough and gave up zero points on that drive. It says a lot about a team that gives up only 3 points when there opponent gets inside their 10 twice. For once I have to agree with Lou Holtz - Jimmy Clausen is looking like a Heisman trophy candidate. 23 of 31 422 yards and 2 touchdowns! You can not overlook stats like that.

Here's the thing I know there is a lot of ND hate out there, but you have to look at what this team has accomplished. They have one loss (Michigan) where the team lost right at the end. They beat Purdue at Purdue on a fourth conversion, and they also beat an always tough Michigan State that is notorious for playing spoiler. Am I saying they are top 5 material? No. But they are sure as heck a top 15 team Mr. Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated!

This is there best chance in years to beat USC.

26 Michigan State 20 Michigan

You never know what to think about the Spartans. One week they look like a 5 loss team, the next they are playing to their potential and taking down undefeated teams like the Michigan Wolverines. It will be interesting to see if this win will catapult Michigan State into playing to their potential the rest of the season. The Spartans are still not a top tier Big 10 team.

On the other side I want to point out how impressed I am with Tate Forcier so far. I understand he threw a critical interception in overtime, but rest assured overtime never happens if Forcier does not drive Michigan down the field late in the game. It is amazing to think how good Forcier can be in a year. I mean at this young of an age he is already making veteran-like plays. There was 2:53 left in the game. Michigan was down by 7 and they had the ball on their 8 yard line. And to top it off they were on the road in an underrated hostile crowd, yet Forcier still manages to bring his team down for the tying touchdown. That speaks volumes. team down for the tying touchdown. Biggest concern is the Wolverine defense. If Michigan can get a defense in the coming years no reason to think they can not be in the national championship talks again.

20 LSU 13 Georgia

There's a number of things I want to talk about as far as LSU's game goes. First, LSU was ticked off. A week of hearing how "overrated" they were got the team motivated...and it showed in the first half. Despite the all around amazing defensive performance in the first half LSU's offense failed in punching the ball in the end zone. With only a 6-0 lead at the half I was afraid LSU was going to suffer from what I call the Kiss of Death. The Kiss of Death is when a team goes up only 6-0 after having dominated the game. It was a given that the third quarter would start with UGA fired up. To go up 7-6 after being dominated in the first half was nothing short of a huge confidence boost for Georgia. Still making your opponent use 18 plays to go 60 yards to get a touchdown is nothing to be ashamed of LSU. Later in the game Joe Cox threw what I thought was a blatant intentional grounding in his own end zone. LSU would get the ball back and in time Jordan Jefferson would put together the drive of the season.

There was 6:47 left in the game and LSU trailed 7-6. The Tigers had the ball on their 12 yard line. Jefferson showed his potential and beyond. The drive was nothing short of heart stopping. Twice Brandon LaFell, our big time first round pick, dropped big passes. And then Richard Dickson, the old reliable tight end, dropped a pass as well. But where others fail, someone new steps up. Big time recruit Reuben Randle caught only two catches for 28 yards...and they could not have come at a bigger time in the game. The sky is the limit for a true freshman who catches a huge third down on good coverage, in a hostile environment.

After LSU's touchdown to go up 12-7 I thought LSU could hold on. I felt the final score would be 12-7. The Bulldogs faced a 3rd and 6 deep in their territory and in one play a simple screen turned in a nauseating 46 yard gain. One play later AJ Green made an incredible play and the Bulldogs were up 13-12.

There's a lot to say about a team that takes the lead after a long drive, loses it, and has the drive to again go down the field and score once more. For 57 minutes LSU could not score a touchdown, yet for some reason when the fourth quarter was coming to a close LSU's urgency kicked in. They executed. After an incredible 40 yard kickoff by Trindon Holliday LSU was back in UGA territory. A couple plays later and the Charles Scott of last year showed up. 33 yards later LSU grabbed the lead for the final time. The defense closed the deal and LSU won again 20-13.

Let me clarify that excessive celebration penalty was an AWFUL call, but if you honestly think that's why LSU won I have to question whether you watched the game. (Cough! College Football News staff!) After LSU scored to go up 20-13 Scott was flagged for excessive celebration as well. Yet on that kickoff LSU stopped UGA at their 33. What am I saying? UGA needs to be pointing the finger at their special teams. And keep in mind if Scott does not make that touchdown run LSU is looking at a 45 yard field goal to win the game. By no means is that a gimme.

I guess that's all I have to say this week....

Wait, what's that? LSU plays who this weekend? Fla-or-da? Is that how you say it?

Do not worry I will breakdown that game...

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