Archive for September, 2010

How many carries will Mark Ingram get against Duke?

 Five things to look for this weekend:

 1. Lots of questions about Alabama at Duke: Yes, we know it will probably be a blowout at Wallace Wade Stadium. But we’re looking at this game for three reasons:

Mark Ingram: Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, sat out the first two games after having his knee scoped. He’s ready to go. So how much does Alabama use him in order that he’s full speed for next week’s SEC opener at Arkansas?

Marcell Dareus: The Alabama defensive end sat out the first two games against San Jose State and Penn State due to improper contact with an agent. Now he gets to take all of that pent-up energy and frustration and unleash it on Duke, which is coming off a heartbreaking 54-48 loss to Wake Forest.

Duke QB Sean Renfree: He is the latest latest protégé of Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who tutored the Manning brothers. Cutcliffe, a proud 1976 Alabama graduate, would love to win the game but that is not going to happen. More than anything, he …

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Is this going to be 2004 all over again?

 

Nobody asked me but:

1. I know it’s early, but it’s starting to look like 2004 again: Remember 2004? Well Auburn sure does. That was the year that USC and Oklahoma started 1-2 in the polls and never lost. Auburn started at No. 17, got to be No. 2 for a week, but in the end it was USC and Oklahoma playing for the championship with Auburn playing the odd man out.

Have you looked at the gap between Alabama, Ohio State, and everybody else in the coaches poll? Alabama got 55 first-place votes after its impressive win over Penn State. Ohio State handled Miami easily and got the other four first-place votes. There are 132 points between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Boise State. That is a very wide gap.

 Here is the point: If Alabama and Ohio State win out, I don’t think anybody, including Boise, cracks the top two.

Again, I know it’s early.  It’s just something to think about.

2. It’s time for LSU to bring back Jarrett Lee: I like Jordan Jefferson. He’s a nice kid …

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Has Spurrier hit on the right formula? Will he stick to it?

We know how Steve Spurrier would LIKE to win. He likes to lay half a hundred on an opponent with every ball play in the book. He likes to Fun N’ Gun his way down the field.

He just hasn’t been able to do that with any consistency  in five previous seasons at South Carolina because of average quarterback play (at best) and a pretty poor offensive line.

 But he may have discovered the winning formula in last Saturday’s 17-6 win over Georgia.

In that game Spurrier saw the real-world  practicality of running freshman  Marcus Lattimore a lot (37 carries) and limiting the number of times he asked quarterback Stephen Garcia to throw the ball (17). Here was the net result:

**–Lattimore, a true freshman, had 182 yards. In all, South Carolina ran the bal 52 times and threw it 17 times. By contrast, in last year’s close loss at Georgia, South Carolina threw it 53 times.

**–Garcia completed 12 of 17 passes for 165 yards with no touchdowns but only one turnover (a fumble at …

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Georgia, Georgia Tech have a lot of work to do

What was supposed to be a great weekend didn’t really yield a lot of drama as all the big games were blowouts. But what did we learn?

1. Georgia, Georgia Tech have a lot of work to do: I know, it’s one of those “No Duh!” comments. Here is what I saw from those two road losses:

Georgia got pushed around on both sides of the ball at South Carolina. There was no mystery to that game. Georgia should have been able to run the ball but could not. Georgia did a lousy job tackling freshman Marcus Lattimore but you know what? That guy  is is going to make a lot of defenses look bad. He is what everybody said he was–an elite player. Georgia went with a conservative offensive game plan to protect Aaron Murray and that is the smart thing to do. But they’ll have to take the training wheels off Murray on Saturday against Arkansas.

Now the Arkansas game becomes a MUST win for Georgia.

Georgia Tech’s effort was really disappointing. Too many bad penalties. Too many missed tackles. You gotta …

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Georgia nips Gamecocks on a late field goal

 We went 9-1 the first week because we thought Virginia Tech would take care of Boise, which the Hokies almost did. But now it starts to get interesting with perhaps the best slate of second-week games that I’ve ever seen. So let’s get on with the Fearless Friday Forecast. Feel free to disagree with any picks, but if you do disagree, tell me WHY I’m wrong:

1. Georgia at South Carolina: Both teams looked very impressive in their openers (against bad teams) last week and the winner of this one gets an early lead in what appears to be a wide open SEC East. Georgia will welcome the return of running back Washaun Ealey but not wide receiver A.J. Green, who has been suspended for four games. The key here will be Georgia’s ability to run the ball effectively and take a wild crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium out of the game. This is the first SEC road game for Georgia QB Aaron Murray. You don’t want to ask him to do too much. I think Georgia will run the ball effectively and …

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Why I can’t be mad at A.J. Green

I’ll be honest. My first reaction when I heard of A.J. Green’s four-game suspension was one of anger.

And it wasn’t because Green owes any of us anything. I want to see the guy play because he’s a great player. And when there is a big game like Saturday’s between Georgia and South Carolina I want both teams to have all of their weapons. I love college football and I want to see great players play. And we’ve got too many guys who are not playing right now because of NCAA rules violations.

No, I was angry at A.J. because it seems so unnecessary. Early next year A.J. Green is going to be a very wealthy man because he is going to turn pro. So the money was coming. A.J. is a smart kid and he knew that there is no level where selling his jersey for a lousy $1,000 bucks was not a rules violation. The risk/reward/punishment equation for doing this just didn’t add up.

If this NCAA ruling stands (three more games on suspension), and it shouldn’t because it’s excessive, what …

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Is Jacksonville State this year’s Appalachian State?

Because it was a holiday, Jacksonville State planned to have its athletics ticket office closed on Monday.

Some things you just can’t plan for.

The ticket office was open on Monday at the Division I-AA school in Alabama because fans were beating down the doors on Sunday. They were beating down the doors on Sunday because Jacksonville State, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, went to Ole Miss on Saturday and did the unthinkable. They went for a two-point conversion in the second overtime and stunned the Rebels 49-48.

“I believe we’ll have a few more folks for the home opener,” said Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe, whose team takes on Chattanooga this Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field. “The response has been unbelievable.”

Every now and then this happens and the reverberations are pure magic. Appalachian State went to Michigan and pulled off the shocker in 2007 and suddenly the whole world knew about Jerry Moore’s Mountaineers from Boone, who would go on to …

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The question: 12-0 Boise or 12-1 SEC, ACC champ?

I thought I had all my bases covered on Boise State yesterday. But for the past five seasons this football program has been a compelling thing to watch. Last night added yet another chapter to an incredible story and–I don’t think I’m overstating this–set the narrative for the rest of the 2010 college football season.

Yes, No. 5 Boise State beat Virginia Tech 33-30 Monday night in Landover, Md. But it wasn’t just the fact that the Broncos won. It was the WAY that they won. After coming out of the gate hard and knocking Virginia Tech back with a 17-0 run to open the game, the Hokies did what strong teams do. They settled down and began to grind it and wear Boise State down.

When Virginia Tech finally took the lead in the second half you expected Frank Beamer’s team to put the Broncos away. But there is a reason Boise State has won 50 games in the past four seasons plus this one night. They are poised. They are extremely well coached. And did I mention that they have a helluva …

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Boise State vs. Virginia Tech: Who are you pulling for?

A lot of stuff happened happened in the first weekend of college football:

Georgia and Georgia Tech had impressive opening wins, setting up big road games for this week.

Ole Miss got its quarterback when Jeremiah Masoli was cleared to play on Friday. But on Saturday some kind of strange karma kicked in and the Rebels lost to Jacksonville State, 49-48 in double overtime. Ouch.

LSU almost lost to a team (North Carolina) with 13 players (five starters on defense) missing due to various reasons. That won’t help reduce the “hot seat” references for Les Miles at LSU.

Florida can’t seem to snap the ball to the quarterback despite 15 practices in the spring and 29 more in the summer. Is it just me or has the Gators’ offense not been the same since OC Dan Mullen became the head coach at Mississippi State? I’m just asking.

Truth be told, verything that happened this weekend was the appetizer to set up the main course of this incredible week: Auburn at Mississippi State on Thursday and a …

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The Fearless Friday Forecast

Here, and not a moment too soon I might add,  is the first Fearless Friday Forecast for 2010:

1. Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia: Georgia fans are looking for two things in the opener against the Ragin’ Cajuns from the Sun Belt Conference.  Both deal with reassurance. No. 1, does redshirt freshman Aaron Murray look like a college quarterback? No. 2,  will it be clear that the Georgia defense knows what it is doing? If the answer to both questions is yes, then there will optimism in the air when the Bulldog Nation leaves Sanford Stadium and starts thinking about that Sept. 11 trip to South Carolina. The Gamecocks certainly gave Georgia something to think about with the ease in which they dispatched Southern Miss (41-13) last night. Georgia 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 7.

2. S.C. State at Georgia Tech: There are no questions at quarterback, where senior Joshua Nesbitt returns. But there are questions on defense where Al Groh debuts as defensive coordinator. Now the Bulldogs from …

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