September 27, 2008
Alabama's first half of domination in Athens was only the last of a long line of upsets this weekend, ones which will have a big impact come December. The Tide merits top billing, as their victory on the road will likely put them in the top 3 next week and make them the favorite to win the SEC. Look for Alabama to be #1 in the BCS when the first rankings come out in a few weeks. The Tide has now beaten two top 10 teams on national TV, and is unlikely to be tested before a trip to Baton Rouge later in the year.
The ACC is now officially the Headless Horseman. Name a favorite and that team will lose. Clemson fell apart after dominating Maryland in the first half, and the Terps were just good enough to take the game. Then Wake committed 6 turnovers and lost at home to Navy. Two of my favorite teams won, but this was very damaging for the conference. We're likely to see the ACC completely absent from the polls next week, unless VT sneaks in. The Coastal division appears to be better, or at least more consistent, but who knows how the season will play out.
Consistent readers of this blog know that I've been high on Houston Nutt and Ole Miss all year, I just got a little deceived by the loss to Vandy. I don't think they have a shot at winning the West, but I'm sticking with at least 4 wins in the SEC for the Rebels.
RichRod and Michigan... What happened? 5 turnovers in the first half, 21 total yards. Then 27 unanswered points? It looks like the coaches figured out the option isn't going to work, and let Threet throw the ball. He's got a good arm and a decent amount of talent around him. If Michigan learns from this, they'll be bowl-bound after all. The defense is solid.
East Carolina was overrated because their two victims, WVU and VT, were both overrated. Then injuries to a couple key players happened, and the result is two straight losses. Holtz has to rally the troops so they can salvage their season and win the conference.
I certainly didn't expect the Terps to be 4-1 at this point in the year. After the Middle Tennessee State loss, I figured that 2-3 was all we could hope for. Instead I found myself wondering about trips to Tampa in mid-December.
Quick hit thoughts:
- With a game next week against a terrible Cavaliers team, the Terps should be 2-0 in conference heading into a huge game against Wake on October 18.
- Chris Turner showed why he should have been the starter all year. He has proven that he can lead the team to big wins.
- I never would have expected a win with as bad as the running game looked all day.
- Clemson is underachieving again. At what point do the ACC journalists stop picking them to win the conference? And when does Tommy Bowden finally get blamed for this?
- Darius Heyward-Bey's 75 yard run on the reverse will probably impress a lot of NFL scouts (small point on the play: Before he got knocked out of bounds, he switched the ball to his outside arm. It's a little thing, but it proves he's not "just a track guy.")
September 26, 2008
I'm a pretty optimistic guy, but I'd have laughed at you in August if you had told me that this would be the front page of ESPN.com entering Week 4.
Somebody pinch me. Wait, is that Hines Ward I see coming towards me?
So much for perfection, I knew it couldn't last. Let's hope for better this week. I'm back to picking mostly road teams.
Denver (-9.5) over KANSAS CITY - This team lost by 15 at home to the Raiders, and Denver can put up some points.
TENNESSEE (-3) over Minnesota - A very physical football game, Titans are better all-around and at home.
San Diego (-7) over OAKLAND - I think the Chargers finally figured things out last week.
Atlanta (+7.5) over CAROLINA - The Falcons are better than they're getting credit for.
September 24, 2008
Last week had an SEC emphasis and things went well. How can you ignore the best conference? This week, I diversify a bit.
Maryland (+11) over CLEMSON - The mercurial Terps seem to play up to their opposition. If they show up, they definitely can compete with the Tigers and their young offensive line. NC State played well in Death Valley a couple weeks ago, and I think the Terps are better than the Wolfpack.
DUKE (-6.5) over Virginia - Mainly, I just want to be able to make fun of my friend who went to UVA. A loss to Duke, especially by a TD or more, would be sad, and also should mean a W for UMD next week.
Alabama (+7) over GEORGIA - I still feel like UGA hasn't quite hit their stride without some of their stars, and the Tide is rolling. Plus Saban is a great big-game coach, and last year this went to OT. I think Bama is better than last year, and UGA is marginally worse.
AUBURN (-6.5) over Tennessee - Auburn's defense might be the best in the nation, and Crompton is going to get destroyed by it.
Wisconsin (-6) over MICHIGAN - Michigan has done nothing impressive this year, while the Badgers already won on the road against a ranked team.
Fresno State (-7) over UCLA - I feel like there must be something I don't know here. UCLA's loss to BYU was followed up with a bad loss to Arizona. Fresno's a good team, they should win easily.
Last Week: 4-1-0
Juan Dixon will be back in the DC area next year. He signed a 1-year deal with the Wizards today:
The one-year, $1.03 million deal (a.k.a., the absolute minimum an NBA veteran can make) comes after Dixon, a Baltimore native, was initially drafted by the Wizards, then had stints in Toronto and Portland. If the Wizards hadn’t signed him, he was probably on his way out of the league.
- Juan's a Juizard [Shell Games]
The Terps kick off the ACC season on Saturday with a tough game at Clemson. That means that Maryland's early season stretch of too-close games against bad opponents is over. It would be really nice to see the athletic department schedule fewer cupcake teams each year, especially since those are the schools that always give the Terps heartburn.
|Aug. 30, 2008||Delaware||W||14-7||1-0|
|Sept. 6, 2008||at Middle Tenn.||L||24-14||1-1|
|Sept. 13, 2008||California||W||35-27||2-1|
|Sept. 20, 2008||Eastern Michigan||W||51-24||3-1|
|Sept. 27, 2008||at Clemson||12:00 pm ET|
|Oct. 4, 2008||at Virginia||7:00 pm ET|
|Oct. 18, 2008||Wake Forest||TBA|
|Oct. 25, 2008||NC State||TBA|
|Nov. 6, 2008||at Virginia Tech||7:30 pm ET|
|Nov. 15, 2008||North Carolina||TBA|
|Nov. 22, 2008||Florida State||TBA|
|Nov. 29, 2008||at Boston College||TBA|