2005-09-10

Super Saturday


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I'm right in the middle of the Ohio State - Texas game and it's a dandy! Now, I've never been a fan of either team, but I've got to admit, both are putting on a good show. At first it appeared that Vince Young, a.k.a. Texas' offense, was going to run away with the game. Then Ohio State settled in, and went to a speed-heavy defense, and the 'Horns offense began to sputter. Still, the Buckeyes have only been able to cash in repeated Texas turnovers for field goals, letting Mack Brown's team remain in the game.

I'm rooting for Ohio State. Playing in the Big 10, they'll have plenty of opportunities to pick up a loss further on down the line. If Texas wins, they could easily run the table in the Big 12 which is weak this year. Given that the poll-sters have had a major league crush on them for years, nothing would keep Texas out of the Rose Bowl.

One last thought on Ohio State. When I heard Coach Tressel's plan to alternate QB's Justin Zwick and Troy Smith, two possessions on and two possessions off, I was not impressed. When has sticking with a QB uncertainty ever worked? It did pan out for the Buckeyes in the first half, thanks in part to Tressel abandoning his plan and sticking with Smith's hot hand.

As the game moves on, however, it is Oho State's offense that is keeping Texas in the game. The Buckeye defense might just as well be sitting in on Texas' huddles because they seem to be all over everything the 'Horns try. Since a 2nd quarter Smith to Santonio Holmes touchdown Ohio State has mustered only field goals on offense despite several golden opportunities.

Mark my words - Ohio State will not reach the Rose Bowl with a two QB system. You can not compete at a high when you don't let your key player settle in and when your O Line is hearing two different voices throughout the game.

In the day's other big game, another member on my list of "most hated teams," Notre Dame came up big, defeating Michigan in Ann Arbor. Turns out Pitt, whom the Irish dismantled last week, is no big deal. More on this later. Michigan on the other hand, came in at #3 in the nation, and picked by most to win the Big 10 and contend for the National Championship. It may turn out that the Wolverines were a shade over-rated, but this is still a marquis win for the Irish and confirms their resurgance.

With that, you have to give props to Charlie Weiss for the monster turnaround in South Bend. What else could it be? The talent is any greater or less than last year. The big change has been the coach, and once again this week we saw that Weiss brought his recipe for success with him from the New England Patriots. Like the Patriots, the Irish have come into both of their games under Weiss hyper-prepared. Like his former boss, Bill Belichick, it appears that Weiss doesn't win games on game day, he wins them in practice and scouting and in the film room on Monday through Friday.

Elsewhere, the bloom is off the rose in Pittsburgh. The Panthers began the season excited about new head coach Dave Wannstedt and picked to contend with Louisville for the Big East crown. Since then Pitt has suffered a lopsided defeat at the hands of Notre Dame, and equally embarrasing, last night's loss to Ohio. So, not such a hot start, but this should come as no surprise. Like Weiss, Wannstedt has brought the magic that he generated with the Bears and Dolphins in the NFL with him to Pittsburgh!

Also in the adjusted expectations file:

Boise State, yes pre-season #18, crybaby cuz they can't get into the BCS, Boise State is off to an 0-2 start. "What could explain this drastic change over last year?" you might wonder. Simple. Boise State has played two teams (Georgia and Oregon State) from BCS conferences - something they'd previously avoided. Again I say, "Shut up!"

Steve Spurrier, another high profile coach making an immediate impact, logged a tough loss but moral victory as his South Carolina team lost by two at Georgia. It's early, but Georgia is my pick to take the SEC and be a serious threat to go to Pasadena. South Carolina never was an easy game, but it appears that Spurrier is ready to upset the Georgia/Tennessee/Florida applecart in the SEC East.

Ohio State - Texas update. Well, all that settling for field goals came back to haunt the Buckeyes. Texas finally connected for a touchdown which was enough to give them the lead and ultimately the win. This sucks. Now the gushing over Texas will be even worse than before. This team is a one-trick pony, and that trick is Vince Young. The Buckeyes took away Young's wheels and seriously outplayed the 'Horns for 45 minutes of this game. The vaunted Texas offense was stifled for almost all of the second half. I tell you, those 2 QB systems doom the team that thinks, "It'll be different here."

Oklahoma struggled with Tulsa before finally waking up. If someone is going to de-rail Texas, it's not likely to be the Sooners this year.



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