Skip to comments.The College Football Czar: Week 5
Posted on 09/27/2012 7:43:09 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
The College Football Czar Week 5
Week four in review: It was another tough week for the Big Ten, which is starting to look like a second-echelon BCS-AQ conference, alongside the ACC and the Big East. Michigan proved the Alabama debacle was no fluke, while Iowa fell at home to Central Michigan. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State struggled mightily in games that looked like total mismatches on paper, while Illinois looked like a tune-up opponent for Louisiana Tech.
Happily, the College Football Czar fared considerably better, following up his worst week to this point of the season with a record of 14-4. For the season, he is 55-28, for a .663 winning percentage.
This week, there is a dearth of competitive games within the major conferences, so the Czar suggests that, rather than spending hours watching Alabama pummel Ole Miss, you might check your local listings to see what WAC, MAC and Sun Belt games are on in your area. Watching great football and watching a great team are not necessarily the same thing.
The Czar realizes that, now that the NFL refs have returned to save the universe, you may be tempted to draw comparisons between them and the mere mortals who officiate the college game. Its just not realistic to expect anyone else to live up to the astronomically high standards of those infallible wizards of the gridiron youll see wearing the stripes for the remainder of the pro season. No NFL game will ever again hinge on a blown call, now that the Second Coming of the NFL officials is nigh. For we all remember the salad days of pre-replacement officiating, when every NFL referee executed his job flawlessly. Especially Ed Hochuli.
Sept. 28 Hawaii at Brigham Young
Its easy to criticize a coachs decision to go for a two-point conversion once it has failed, but what in the world was Bronco Mendenhall thinking? Under normal circumstances, the chances of converting a two-pointer are slightly greater than the 50-50 chance youd normally figure to have in overtime. But the Cougars 7-6 loss at Boise State was not normal. BSU had already shown that it had no confidence in its kicking game by forgoing multiple field goal attempts. This would have given Mendenhalls team a distinct advantage in the extra frame, if only hed taken the tying extra point.
First-year Warrior coach Norm Chow must have had trouble keeping his down while watching his teams putrid performance last Saturday, when they got the poi beaten out of them by Nevada, 69-24. The UH defense allowed UNRs Stefphon Jefferson to rush for seven touchdowns, tying the record for most rushing TDs scored against a Division I-A opponent in one game.
Now that Mormon jokes have become politically correct, the Czar will refrain from saying that going for two is a longtime Provo tradition.
Brigham Young 41, Hawaii 33
Sept. 29 Penn State at Illinois
Last year, the Nittany Lions prevailed 10-7, with the aid of a phantom pass interference call in the end zone, late in the fourth quarter. Had it not been called, the Fighting Illinis six-game skid would have been halted at two, and likely would have saved coach Ron Zooks job.
PSU evened its record at 2-2 with a 24-13 win over Temple, during which kicker Sam Ficken finally got another chance at a field goal attempt. Mind you, it was an ugly 21-yarder with the outcome already decided, but hell take it for now.
Two injured running backs return for the Lions, Bill Belton and Derek Day. Who will start this week is anyones guess, since they have six backs who have seen action so far, none of whom has had enough carries to make very much of an impression.
The Illini were inill-ated by visiting Louisiana Tech, 52-24, in a game that was supposed to signal the triumphant return of injured quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Evidently, coach Tim Beckman didnt think his junior QB was back to 100 percent, so he pulled him late in the first quarter. Backup Reilly OToole could have used a pocket tape measure for most of his completions, as he went 19 for 25 for a paltry total of 120 yards.
How would one interfere with a phantom, anyway? Wouldnt he just float right through?
Penn State 28, Illinois 26
Baylor at West Virginia
At long last, the Mountaineers play their Big XII opener, after finishing a lackluster nonconference schedule with a victory of similar ilk, 31-21 over Maryland. They showed up wearing drab gray uniforms, and then played the part, staying on even terms with the Terps except for three takeaways, the first of which was returned for a touchdown.
The 3-0 Bears battled through a treacherous Friday night road game against the feisty Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, 47-42. Art Briles club went 4-for-4 on fourth-down conversions to beat ULM, which has been their toughest opponent yet by far.
For reasons the Czar does not quite comprehend, the Eers are widely expected to immediately contend in the Big XII. The porous BU defense should give them the edge this week, but then they have back-to-back road trips to Texas and Texas Tech, before returning home to face the fearsome Kansas State Wildcats. In what is probably the most solid, top-to-bottom league in the nation this year, their only real pushover will be in their season finale, at home against Kansas.
One look at the WVU head coach pacing the sideline will confirm for you something youve long suspected. Phil Collins is evil.
West Virginia 52, Baylor 41
Tennessee at Georgia
Coach Mark Richts Bulldogs have one thing in common with his previous employer, Florida State, in that both teams are showing signs of finally meeting the lofty expectations that are built up for them before every season. UGA had gotten off to an ugly start each of the last three years, and an uninspired opening 45-23 win over Buffalo had hinted that the trend would continue. Three games later, they look like a serious threat to win the SEC, having pulverized a defensively sound Vanderbilt team 48-3.
At 6-1, 220, Bulldog running back Todd Gurley is a man who doesnt need to be pumped up. The freshman already has 406 yards and six touchdowns this year, despite only averaging 11 carries a game.
It looked like the Volunteers were in trouble last week against Akron, but it turned out to only be a Roos, as they ran away in the fourth quarter to win, 47-26. Rajion Neal ran for 151 yards, putting him on pace to rush for more yardage than the entire Vols team did in 2011.
Georgias Sanford Stadium holds over 92,000 people, but they have no problem filling the place. Thats because the spectators are told theyll be watching people play between the hedges. What a letdown it is when they see that its only a football game.
Georgia 37, Tennessee 22
Ohio State at Michigan State
Will everybody please stop declaring players to be Heisman candidates until the season is at least half over? The College Football Czar watched a considerable portion of the lumpy nuts 29-15 win over UAB, during which the announcers were adamant that Buckeye QB Braxton Miller is in the running for the Heisman Trophy. Just to prove this wasnt an isolated case of Big Ten homerism, the Czar later saw a highlight of the OSU game on ESPN, only to hear Miller again dubbed a Heisman candidate.
Against Birmingham, Miller threw for 143 yards, while rushing for 64 more. His other three games this year have been better, but not eye-poppingly so. There are five finalists for the Heisman Trophy. How many more players each year could seriously been said to be candidates? Five more, maybe? A promising but unproven sophomore scrambler obviously doesnt make that cut.
Having gone without a TD in a 20-3 drubbing by Notre Dame, the Spartans didnt find their way into the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter of a 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan, which they had trailed 7-3 at halftime. For a little perspective, that same EMU team had been blown off the field by Purdue 54-16 a week earlier, and before that, they had been stifled by the I-AA Illinois State Redbirds, 31-14.
As long as the media are going to bore us by naming all of these Heisman candidates, they could at least increase the entertainment value by giving us a hilarious crackpot Heisman nominee from the Libertarian Party.
Ohio State 17, Michigan State 13
Texas at Oklahoma State
The Longhorns are among the minority of teams that doesnt beat up on a lower-division opponent this year. Nevertheless, their nonconference schedule of Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss was hardly challenging, as evidenced by the combined 100-point margin of victory that Mack Browns team enjoyed.
If Louisiana-Lafayette assistant coach Rusty Whitt had a trickle of blood on his face last week, he wasnt just being intense. Instead, he must have been hit by a piece of shrapnel from the OSUs offensive explosion in the 65-24 blowout. Freshman J.W. Walsh threw four TD passes for the Cowboys, in relief of injured starter Wes Lunt.
In the Pokes previous game at Arizona, they were penalized 15 times for a team record 167 yards, while going minus-4 in turnovers, in a 59-38 meltdown. It was the most undisciplined performance thats been seen from that team since that press conference a few years ago, after which the men in the white coats threw a net over Mike Gundy, and hauled him away to the banana farm.
Texas 49, Oklahoma State 42
Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
The Bearcats defeated Pitt 34-10, and Pitt beat VT 35-17, so one would naturally expect Cincy to blow out the Gobblers by 42 points. If one were a lardhead, that is. An angry Tech team blanked Bowling Green last week, 37-0, showing few signs of what ailed them a week earlier at Heinz Field.
UC is only 2-0 so far, following up that Big East opener with a shabby 23-7 win over Division I-AA Delaware State. After going the entire game in Pittsburgh without a turnover, they coughed the ball up six times to DSU. Sophomore QB Munchie Legaux leggoed the ball four times, adding two fumbles to his first two interceptions of the year.
This is the latest in a series of neutral-site games to be played at FedEx Field in Landover, home of the NFLs Washington Hostile and Abusives. Actually, when the stadium first opened, it was in someplace called Raljon, which has since been subsumed by Landover, which is short for land thats been taken over. In protest, the College Football Czar will heretofore refer to it never as Landover, but only as the Occupied Territory of Raljon.
The Raljonians will rise again someday, and when they do, the Czar will lead them, and have his image emblazoned on their flag. Raljonian schoolchildren will sing of their allegiance to the Czar, and the workers will bring to him the fruits of their labor, which he will then distribute as he sees fit.
Nobody has ever accused the Raljonians of being very bright people.
Virginia Tech 38, Cincinnati 19
Central Michigan at Northern Illinois
The Chippewas are coming off an upset of the Iowa team that beat the Huskies in week one, but NIU has since improved to 3-1, with victories over Army and Kansas. Dual-threat QB Jordan Lynch already has 438 rushing yards through four games, to go along with 845 through the air.
Last years 48-41 setback was the Huskies last loss of the season, which they ended on a nine-game winning streak. Dan Enos team, conversely, went 1-6 the rest of the way, interrupting its slump only with a one-point win over Akron.
CMUs victory last week was nearly a replay of its upset of Michigan State in 2009. This time, it was the Hawkeyes who thwarted the Chipps late two-point conversion attempt, only for the underdogs from the MAC to recover a subsequent onside kick, and boot a last-second field goal for the victory.
Therefore, the next time the Chippewas line up for a game-tying conversion, the other team should let them score. This cunning tactic was first developed by that great military strategist, Dominique de Villepin. Who knew he was a football fan?
Northern Illinois 34, Central Michigan 30
Oregon State at Arizona
The Beavers may only be 2-0, but theyve done more to prove themselves than some teams that have won twice as many games so far. Last week, sophomore slinger Sean Mannion threw for 379 yards to get the jump on a rejuvenated UCLA team, 27-20.
The 3-1 Wildcats were walloped by Oregon 49-0, but they might have been in the game if theyd been able to finish a first-quarter drive. Twice, they were stopped on fourth down inside the 5-yard-line. On the possession in between, they were intercepted inside the 20. Finally, on their first possession of the second quarter, they decided to settle for a field goal attempt, and it was blocked. This series of catastrophes added up to a 13-0 halftime deficit, and a sense that theyd already blown the best chances they were going to get.
For years, Beaver football has suffered from having the least intimidating mascot in the NCAA. They ought to try replacing it with Mel Gibson, and the beaver hand puppet he wore in the highly strange movie The Beaver. Sure, it would be a huge pay cut for him, but somehow, it seems like he would enjoy doing it.
Oregon State 35, Arizona 27
Arizona State at California
The 1-3 Golden Bears have yet to defeat a I-AA opponent, although thats understandable, since theyve played a tougher schedule than most. Last weeks 27-9 loss to USC followed 7-point setbacks against Nevada and Ohio State.
Dennis Erickson tried unsuccessfully for years to develop a formidable ground game for the Sun Devils. New coach Todd Graham has apparently decided that its not so important after all. Last year, Cameron Marshall led the team with 1,050 rushing yards. This year, hes on pace to finish with only 380. The senior is now splitting carries with freshman D.J. Foster, who led the team with 70 yards in last weeks 37-7 rout of Utah.
Ever wonder why the devil carries a fork? Its so he can eat the new school lunches that have been prescribed by Michelle Obama. Thats the only food they serve in Hell, you know.
Arizona State 30, California 16
Texas Tech at Iowa State
Last year, the Cyclones went down to Lubbock and bounced the home team 41-7. That result snapped a four-game losing streak, and set ISU back on course for a bowl game. They dont need that kind of a turnaround this season, now that theyre already 3-0 with wins over Tulsa and Iowa.
Tommy Tubervilles Red Raiders have reached the 3-0 mark a bit more easily. Following an opener against Division I-AA Northwestern State of Louisiana, they defeated Division I-A newcomer Texas State, and then Bob Davies New Mexico Lobos, before receiving a completely unneeded rest a week ago. Through those three games, QB Seth Doege has thrown just one interception, while tossing 12 TD passes.
Tuberville should not be pronounced with a short u as long as it has only one b whereas Lubbock has two. So why doesnt the former Ole Miss coach change either the spelling or the pronunciation of his name? Just being a Rebel, apparently. You know, like Marlon Brando in The Wild One. When asked what hes rebelling against, he answers, Why, orthography, of course.
Ol Marlon was a mite peculiar.
Texas Tech 33, Iowa State 28
Louisiana Tech at Virginia
Last week, the Bulldogs went through Champaign like Liz Taylor. Sonny Dykes club ran Illinois out of its own stadium, 52-24, with the help of six takeaways, and four TD passes from Colby Cameron.
The 2-2 Cavaliers return home after getting clobbered in consecutive road games by Georgia Tech (56-20) and TCU (27-7). UVa is already a minus-7 in turnovers this year, which means they would have to break even the rest of the way just to equal last seasons dismal total.
Like most other college football teams that are named the Bulldogs, Tech has a live bulldog for its mascot. Care to guess what his name is? Tech.
Witty dogs, so to speak.
Louisiana Tech 47, Virginia 27
Minnesota at Iowa
The Golden Gophers have won the last two games in this series, for each of which they were awarded the Floyd of Rosedale, which is the name of a prize pig thats been immortalized as a bronze trophy. Legend has it that it was first presented after the Gophers were told theyd defeat the Hawkeyes when pigs floyd.
Jerry Kills radiant rodents held off Syracuse 17-10 last week to improve to 4-0. Thats already more victories than theyd had in either of the past two seasons, and a win this week would mark their best start since 2004, the last time they won a bowl game.
Its not exactly oh, the humanity time yet for James Vandenberg, but the Hawks senior quarterback only threw his first TD pass of the season in last weeks 32-31 loss to Central Michigan. At this point last season, hed already tallied ten scores through the air, on the way to a season total of 25.
The actual pig named Floyd that had been awarded to Minnesota in 1935 supposedly died of cholera before the following years game. The Czar suspects he died of that rare strain of cholera that goes really well with applesauce.
Minnesota 29, Iowa 22
TCU at SMU
As of this season, the PC police are still allowing the winner of this game to be awarded the Iron Skillet, even though the trophy glorifies the consumption of fatty meat products, not to mention those evil eggs, the Marlboros of the breakfast food world.
After last years 40-33 overtime upset, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson made no secret of the fact that he thought his team got robbed. In his postgame press conference, he railed against the officials, the Mustangs, June Jones, Conference USA, and everyone else in the history of the world, with the possible exception of Leif Garrett.
The 1-2 Mustangs have already faced two serious opponents so far, and the results have been downright silly. In week one, they were bombarded by Baylor 59-24, and two weeks later, Texas A&M trampled them 48-3.
Its not that Patterson doesnt dislike Leif Garrett too. He just, for some reason or other, didnt consider him relevant.
TCU 38, SMU 10
Houston vs. Rice
These crosstown rivals meet in Reliant Stadium for possession of the Bayou Bucket. Thats the receptacle in which James Carville soaks his head, to keep it so nice and squeaky clean.
Owl QB Taylor McHargue was driving his team toward a winning touchdown against Marshall when he got a little too carried up, up and away. At the end of a long, highlight-reel run, he tried to launch himself horizontally into the end zone from outside the four-yard-line. Unfortunately, his cape failed to deploy, and he crashed to the ground well short of paydirt, injuring his shoulder in the process.
In McHargues absence, the offense stalled, and the Owls had to settle for a tying field goal. He was unable to return for overtime, ultimately leading to a 54-51 defeat in their conference opener.
UH had five takeaways in its game against UCLA two weeks ago. One slight problem, they gave six of them back, to finish a minus-one in turnovers in a 37-6 spanking. So far, the highlight of their season is that they rallied for two late touchdowns against Louisiana Tech, to lose that game by only seven points.
The Cougars have vertically stretched the lettering on their helmets, so that it doesnt look so much like they ripped off Kentuckys logo, which they did. Sadly, thats the only thing about those two teams that is now dissimilar.
Rice 50, Houston 44
San Jose State at Navy
A year ago, the Middies season was sunk in a mid-November 27-24 loss at SJSU. That defeat, their seventh of 2011, kept them home for the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Two weeks ago at Penn State, the Midshipmen lost three fumbles, the last of which was returned 74 yards for a touchdown, in a 34-7 thrashing. Ken Niumatalolos club has yet to produce a 100-yard rusher against a Division I-A foe this season.
The 3-1 Spartans could be headed for their best season since they dominated the old Pacific Coast Athletic Association in the late-Eighties. Their only loss so far has been in their opener, a 20-17 tussle against nearby rival Stanford. In the past two weeks, the current WAC contenders defeated future Mountain West foes Colorado State and San Diego State.
What, you dont remember San Jose State being a powerhouse? Well, you probably dont remember Bobby McFerrins Dont Worry, Be Happy either.
The College Football Czar envies you.
San Jose State 33, Navy 17
Western Kentucky at Arkansas State
WKU followed up its overtime upset of Kentucky by slobberknocking Southern Miss, 42-17. Big Reds only loss so far has been to #1 Alabama, and for a Sun Belt team, 35-0 wasnt all that bad.
In between road losses to Oregon and Nebraska, the defending conference champion Red Wolves looked as if they might lose to Conference USA punching bag Memphis, after allowing touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble. The ASU offense persevered to win the game 33-28, after amassing a mountainous 619-293 advantage in total yardage.
Now that the Hilltoppers have become a respectable program, the Czar thinks its about time to change their helmet. Not only does their current one have nothing to do with their team name, but in the post-Sandusky era, is a snapping towel really an appropriate logo for a college football team?
Arkansas State 35, Western Kentucky 34
Wisconsin at Nebraska
The beleaguered Badgers collected a costly 37-26 win over UTEP, during which tailback Montee Ball sustained a head injury. Ball, who led all RBs in touchdowns a year ago, had suffered a concussion during the offseason, when he was the victim of an assault near campus. He is nevertheless expected to return this week.
The Cornhuskers only serious test so far has been a 36-30 loss at UCLA in week two. They were without bulldozing running back Rex Burkhead for that game, but he returned to action, such as it was, in last weeks 73-7 win over I-AA Idaho State. For what its worth, the senior stomped his puny, Big Sky Conference opponents for 119 yards and two TDs on only eight carries.
This just in from the you cant go home again department: UW has at least temporarily abandoned its strategy of relying on the ACC for its quarterbacks. After two ineffective games from ex-Maryland QB Danny OBrien, theyve turned instead to freshman Joel Stave, who went 12 for 17 in his first start.
Staves name does not sound the same as in barrel stave, but instead is pronounced STAH-vey. As a pneumonic device, the Czar hereby officially nicknames him Rico Stave, and guesses that hes only about the fifty-fourth person to have done so.
Nebraska 24, Wisconsin 12
Toledo at Western Michigan
Dont call Rocket quarterback Terrance Owens T.O. Not only because he doesnt deserve to be associated with that other guy, but because he so rarely turns the ball over. So far this season, Owens has tossed nine TDs without a single interception. For his career, hes thrown for 40 scores, and been picked off just eight times.
The 2-2 Broncos completed a home-and-home sweep of Uconn last week, winning 30-24 in Waldo Stadium. Both of their losses so far have been to Big Ten opponents, which for a MAC team is at this point a little embarrassing.
WMU is located in Kalamazoo, a town that was named after the worlds worst magician. On the advice of his lawyers, he does not attempt to saw ladies in half, but only ladybugs. Of course, theyre so small that his audience cant see them, which is just as well, because theyre dead.
Toledo 28, Western Michigan 25
Baylor at WVU is gonna be a shoot-out.
Yeah, Baylor is on fire with their win over Louisiana Monroe. WVU has a hard row to hoe.
SEC Rules, everyone else drools.
Neither team has a secondary worth much but they both have strong passing games. They’re gonna need air traffic controllers instead of refs at this game.
Told ya so. ;)
Wish I could have seen it. Geno Smith the next Heisman winner?