One of the things you have to love about Al Gore's World Wide Interweb is the fact that you can say stupid things that will be captured for eternity in cyberspace. Take for instance, the cavalcade of Alabama fans who watched a sea of crimson defenders make Louisiana-Monroe running back Calvin Dawson look like Shaun Alexander and quickly proclaimed that 'Alabama will not win another game this season!!!' Settle down there, fellas - it had its ugly moments, but at the end of the day the Tide rolled to a 41-7 victory over the Warhawks.
Offensively, QB John Parker Wilson put in another good performance. As in the first two games, he missed a couple of throws but overall he's doing exactly what Coach Mike Shula asked him to do, protect the ball and get it into the hands of guys like Keith Brown and DJ Hall. Yeah, he fumbled on the first frickin' play of the game, but he's making good reads and good decisions and moves well enough to give himself some time to find guys downfield. The receivers looked fine - DJ's still got a bum ankle but he moved well enough to score on a pitch-and-catch that was sprung by a block by freshman OT Andre Smith - who had pancaked some Vandy defender on the same play the week before. What's scary is that Andre's out of shape at 350 lbs. and still throwing blocks downfield and flying butt bumps in the end zone (trust me on that last one...).
The best thing about our offense Saturday was getting the running game on track. Granted, Louisiana-Monroe's defense isn't Arkansas (who 'Bama plays this Saturday) - but it is better than Notre Dame's defense - and it was just good to see Ken Darby get going, as well as watching Roy Upchurch, Terry Grant, and Ali Sharrief make their Alabama debuts.
Defensively, Alabama looked good besides the one scoring drive. We best be planning on girding up our loins to take on Darren McFadden and Felix Jones of Arkansas. Those boys can play. Oh, and my Monday morning pick on next week's Alabama game is 'Bama 24, Arkansas 19.
Speaking of Arkansas, Houston Nutt must have some kind of blackmail on a couple of angels because the only thing keeping the Sooey Pigs from losing to Vandy was a mysterious gust of wind that knocked down a 48-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. I'm looking forward to 'Bama providing young Mitch Mustain with a long afternoon next Saturday.
From the young quarterbacks file, I know everyone's all googly over Georgia QB Matthew Stafford and he's going to be really, really good. I'm not looking forward to the Tide's trip to Athens in 2008. But I can tell you that Georgia will lose at least two games this year with him at QB.
Note to Tommy Tuberville - go thank Houston Nutt for filling you in on whatever blackmail he has over the football gods. Or just thank Jimbo Fisher, offensive coordinator for LSU, for forgetting that there's a bazooka attached to the right arm of QB Jermarcus Russell. I hate to break it to the War Tiger nation, but you've got one if not two losses coming this year thanks to inexperience and lack of depth at WR.
Dear Mr. Ainge, the next time you decide to taunt your opponent, you might want to wait until you've actually beaten them. Moron. This is why you'll be remembered as the biggest waste of talent in the SEC since Freddie Kitchens...
South Carolina 27, Wofford 20. *snickers*
Kentucky 31, Crooked Miss 14. *gut-busting laughter* Paging David Cutcliffe...
Note to store owners in Starkville, Mississippi. Our football team decided to score some points - too bad we couldn't score more than the other team. Never mind that, though. We scored! Close up your shops this afternoon as we throw a ticker-tape parade and drink moonshine out of our cowbells...
Other Football News
Can we pleeaassee dispense with all this man-love for Notre Dame and HC Charlie Weiss?! That man owes ESPN 8% of his fat new contract since he and Urban Meyer have gotten more unwarranted love from 'the Network' than any two men deserve before actually winning, you know, a national championship. And yes, Public Enemy's 'Don't Believe the Hype' is playing on my iTunes right now.
Note to Bob Stoops. What did you do to make the football gods so mad?
Anyone else not missing Terry Bowden on your TV screens this fall? I bet you all the money in Lichenstein that the Seminole Nation would trade you Jeff Bowden for Tiny Terry straight up.
This just in from Miami - the U is willing to trade Larry Coker for Tiny Terry.
Note to Bobby Petrino - when we wondered how good of a football coach you were, that didn't mean to go out and get your All-American tailback and quarterback hurt...good luck with that.
I thought new QB John Parker Wilson looked good - missed a couple of throws but made good reads and progressions. He'll need to not lock on receivers so quickly or safeties are going to jump his routes. Hawai'i's DBs aren't exactly SEC caliber, so JPW will have to continue to progress but nice job taking care of the ball. WR Keith Brown looked good, especially with fellow starter DJ Hall out with an injury (and possible suspension - Coach Mike Shula doesn't discuss disciplinary matters publicly). The running game - particularly Ken Darby - was disappointing. The main problem lies in the fact that Bama switched to a zone blocking scheme which requires RBs to be patient and hit the hole hard with minimal dancing around and unfortunately, KD seemed to have his dancing shoes on Saturday. Here's hoping he can adjust before this week's game with Vandy. The O-line did OK. LT Andre Smith looked great for his first start - he certainly seems to be as good as advertised. The right side is still a bit troublesome, but all in all these guys played pretty well.
Defensively, playing Hawai'i is a headache because their offense is rather unorthodox. I thought the D played really well in the first half, keeping everything in front of them and disrupting Hawai'i QB Colt Brennan's timing with their three-man front and pressure from LBs Juwan Simpson, Terrence Jones, and Prince Hall. In the second half, the Warriors made adjustments and Brennan threw for 259 yards, dissecting the Tide's secondary and making 92,000 fans at Bryant-Denny more than a little nervous that we were about to pull another Louisiana Tech.
In the end, Bama called it a night with a victory that had its share of both good (JPW's performance, Keith Brown stepping up big, the play of guys like Marcus Carter and Juwan Simpson on the defense, Leigh Tiffin stepping in for the injured Jamie Christenson and hitting 3-4 FGs) and bad (KD's rather pedestrian performance, flashbacks of 2003 as the Tide played a pretty soft zone coverage for most of the second half). There's reason to remain optimistic but there is definitely work to be done before the Tide hosts Vanderbilt (who lost to Michigan 27-7 up in Ann Arbor) this Saturday at 3:30, particularly getting KD on track and determining whether CMS and Coach Dave Rader can make adjustments during the game (Bama ran for 76 yards on its first drive then only gained 56 yards the rest of the game on the ground after Hawai'i DC Jerry Glanville switched from a 30 and 40 front to a 50 front and clogged up the middle of the line).
Can we please stop with the Arkansas hype? Even Phil Steele drank the Kool-Aid this offseason and had the Hogs picked 2nd in the SEC West. I think their little performance against USC (losing 50-14) plus some team chemistry issues involving freshman QB Mitch Mustain sure are making Houston Nutt's chair a bit warm.
Auburn looks good...really good. I still think they're going to get tripped up by their lack of experience at WR and smallish LBs, but with no dominant team in CFB, they've got as good a shot as anyone to win it all. But here's guessing that Tubby finds a way to screw it up...
LSU played Lousianana-Lafayette...can't tell anything by playing a high school team.
Mississippi State's defense looked really tough against S. Carolina but I can't imagine a more anemic offense in all of CFB.
Ole Miss is run by a crook and they had to bust their tails to squeak past an average C-USA team in Memphis. They've got some flash but little substance. My guess is that they give everyone a headache in game prep but fail to beat anyone that really matters.
To the consternation of everyone in the SEC - particularly in Athens, Gainesville, and Tuscaloosa - Tennessee looked ridiculously good. Granted, WR Robert Meachem had to have been covered in Crisco, given the fact that no one on Cal's defense could actually tackle him, but the Vols are hacked and Erik Ainge looked like a legit QB. We'll see what happens when they play the Gators in a couple of weeks.
Speaking of the Gators, I lump them in with Notre Dame as the two most overhyped teams in CFB thanks to the man love everyone gives Charlie Weiss and Urban Meyer. Don't get me wrong, Florida's defense should be really good, but there is no reason to think that Meyer's offense is going to take off this year (other than the fact, repeated ad nauseum, that the scoring offense in UM's second year at Bowling Green and Utah improved dramatically). You still have a QB who plays everything safe and doesn't fit an offense that has yet to find a decent RB and is relying on a lot of young talent at WR. They'll be good, but not much better than last year.
Ah, the drama here in Athens as Mark Richt played three QBs including Savior of the World Matthew Stafford. Joe T III will start at South Carolina, but by putting Stafford on the field, CMR has opened the door to another week of questions about the QB. Never mind that the Dawgs have the best RB trio in the SEC, let's focus our attention on an average senior QB and a freshman QB who's never taken a snap against a legit college defense on the road when the game was on the line. Sounds smart to me...
South Carolina had to use some trickeration to beat Miss. State. Blake Mitchell continues to prove how average he is as a QB and other than WR Sidney Rice, there's no one on offense who scares anybody. This is a pretty average team...
Kentucky and Vandy. Next. Actually, I thought Vandy did a nice job on defense against Michigan.
More Other Thoughts
Notre Dame will lose during the month of September. I'm not sure which is bigger - Charlie Weiss' expanding waistline or the hype surrounding a good, but not great, program. I have no doubt that Weiss will probably win a NC at South Bend, just not this year.
I really hate to see Louisville RB Michael Bush go down with a broken leg. That probably ends the Cardinal's NC hopes and puts one of CFB's best playmakers on the shelf for the season. Now we'll see how good QB Brian Brohm is.
Oklahoma almost loses to UAB, who didn't even have their best defensive player on the field? I guarantee you that the Sooners will lose at least twice, most likely to Oregon and Texas. Oh and UAB with parlay their great performance into losses against the likes of Troy and SMU - they always do.
My wife is beating a bunch of boys after Week 1 of our College Pick'em. Here is the goodness of God - a wife who is smarter than anyone I know, sexier than anyone I know, and whose idea of a good time involves as much college football as you can throw her way.