#3 OKLAHOMA (4-0, 1-0) VS. #11 TEXAS (4-0, 1-0) (12pm ET, ABC)
The heavyweight duel of the weekend also gets the action underway with an early noon start, as the Texas Revenge Tour comes head-to-head with Oklahoma's National Championship Quest. Texas had won 4 out of the past 5 meetings before dropping last year's contest in the midst of their 7-loss flameout, but at this point the table still appears to be flipped in Oklahoma's advantage. Texas made short work of their first two victims (UCLA and Iowa State) on the Revenge Tour, but Oklahoma is a different matter: they've been a buzzsaw against lesser opponents and they've already survived a brutal road test against Florida State. On the other hand, the toughest opponent Texas has faced is... UCLA? Iowa State? Not quite comparable. Their rise to #11 (and Michigan's similar rise to #12) is living proof of the power of having a strong brand name in college football: put together a few wins and pollsters will always find it in them to give you the benefit of the doubt and shoot you up the polls. To be sure, this year's Texas squad looks markedly more competent than last year's dumpster fire of an outfit; Case McCoy and David Ash have combined to give the Longhorns far better play out of the quarterback than they got out of interception machine Garrett Gilbert last year and they've also pulled together an impressive running game out of many disparate parts. But Oklahoma's defense presents a far greater challenge than anything the Longhorns have yet faced; they're going to need very good performances out of McCoy and Ash to have a shot in this game and that may be asking too much at this stage. Meanwhile, their defense is going to find itself stretched thin by an Oklahoma offense loaded with options: Landry Jones is an experienced, talented quarterback who's thrived in numerous pressure situations -- and he has a dynamite group of receivers to toss the ball to as well in Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills, and Jaz Reynolds. In Dominique Whaley they have a pretty solid running back, too. In short, they seem to have more talent and more experience than Texas, which usually adds up to a win. Unless Mack Brown has some pretty epic tricks still up his sleeve, Oklahoma's march towards the title game should continue.
THE PICK: OKLAHOMA 34, TEXAS 24
#17 FLORIDA (4-1, 2-1) AT #1 LSU (5-0, 2-0) (3:30pm ET, CBS)
What did Florida do to deserve this schedule? One week after facing Alabama at home, the Gators take their show on the road and visit the SEC's other powerhouse team, LSU, in Death Valley. Oh, and they get to do with it a true freshman quarterback making his first start after John Brantley got hurt in last week's humbling loss at the hands of Alabama. Good luck with that one, Gators. The good news is that it's pretty much all uphill from here on out for the Gators -- unless they win the SEC East and have to face either Alabama or LSU again in the SEC Championship Game. Les Miles shouldn't have to dig too deep in his bag of tricks to dispatch this undermanned Florida team. Demps and Rainey will make a few big plays, but eventually the LSU defense will crush the life out of the Gator offense and force it into making mistakes, leading to LSU points and a comfortable Tigers win.
THE PICK: LSU 27, FLORIDA 13
#3 OKLAHOMA (4-0, 1-0) VS. #11 TEXAS (4-0, 1-0) (12pm ET, ABC)
As we approach the midway point of the 2011 season, injuries are beginning to add up, across the entire Southeastern Conference. Arkansas may have suffered an injury with more impact than any other, not just in the SEC, but nationally. Junior Tailback Knile Davis suffered a season ending injury in August which has crippled the Razorbacks running game.
The Razorbacks boast arguably the best quartet of wide receivers in the nation, but that area has been hit exceptionally hard by injury. Senior Greg Childs missed time early on and also suffered through the loss of his Grandmother. Joe Adams missed the second half of the Texas A&M game last week, but is expected to be available for Auburn. Leading receiver Jarius Wright has missed several games, but returned in a big way in last week's win over the Aggies.
Despite multiple injuries at skill positions, Arkansas has been even harder hit on the defensive side of things. All SEC Defensive End Jake Bequette and fellow starter Tenarious Wright have both missed extensive time this season. Bequette, who has missed the last three games while nuring a hamstring injury, is expected to return this weekend. The news is not so good for Wright who will miss a month or more after suffering a broken forearm in the loss to Alabama.
Yesterday morning Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick was quoted in the Washington Post offering hopes and expectation that the Big East finds its way through the conference realignment chaos “and stays a vibrant and successful partner for us.”
Not surprisingly, Notre Dame apparently remains fully committed to continue Big East participation in its normal, limited, scope. Swarbrick continued the platitudes indicating Notre Dame would “just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.”
He concluded the attaboys with, “But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do.”
What does Notre Dame need to do?
As a long-time Big East fan who has constantly cut Notre Dame slack for its unwillingness to cross over into full conference participation (a.k.a. football), the truce is officially over.
Attention Notre Dame! The Big East ship is sinking – fast!
With Missouri’s declaration earlier this week that it plans to look for a home outside the Big 12, and the intervening action by that conference to make a play for TCU – with sights set on Louisville potentially – when to the alarm bells and lights reach South Bend?
The Big East is falling apart before your smiling Irish eyes.no comments
It's been a while since I've done this but I really enjoy going to other blogs and college football sites and seeing what they are talking about. Join me on this journey around some of my favorite college football sites:
- Kyle Kensing of Saturday Blitz talks about the best QB/WR combo's in college football:
Robert Griffin III & Kendall Wright, Baylor
Sensing a theme here? The Big 12 Conference’s future may be uncertain, but its present is punctuated with some of the most exciting offenses in the nation. Robert Griffin III has tossed 18 touchdown passes this season and done an effective job spreading the wealth, but Kendall Wright has proven himself the clear favorite target. The tone was set when Wright caught three passes on BU’s opening drive of the season, and hauled in RG3′s first scoring strike on that very series.
- Jay Beck over at Turfburner talks about Missouri and them exploring options:
There is no factual basis behind the following whatsoever, but there are those who believe that Missouri doesn't have much interest in the SEC, but rather is testing the waters to see if the Big Ten may have an interest in adding the Tigers after taking a flyer last summer. After all, what happens if Mizzou does turn over their media rights to the Big 12 for an extended period and then the Big Ten calls a couple years down the road?
- Kris Brauner of Saturday Night Slant writes up a piece on the best SEC teams during the BCS era for Crystal Ball Run:
Week five of the SEC season is in the books and you can read all about it right here. It wasn't a great week for me last week as I finished 4-3. That's the last time I pick Texas A&M! I also got bit by Ole Miss and Stephen Garcia. That puts me at 34-9 on the year. It's not great but it's the same as the 4-letter network's Chris Lowe (well technically he's 36-9 but I got week one up later after two SEC teams beat up on patsies). This week we've got our Bama guy Jay back to redeem himself from his week three performance where he uncharacteristically went 5-4.
Jay: A mid-major road trip sandwiched in between two conference games typically screams TRAP GAME, but even for the disappointing Bulldogs, the pitiful Blazers of UAB pose no threat at all. State will pound these guys just like they did fellow CUSAers Memphis to start off a once-promising season.
Mississippi State 52, UAB 10
Kevin: You have to think Dan Mullen is going to want to come out and just hammer somebody. Unfortunately for the Blazers they will be the nail. UAB gives up 228 yards per game on the ground and that's what the Bulldogs do best. Take the bizarro Bulldogs in this one and expect them to win big.
As the college football season gets deeper and deeper into action the Heisman Trophy picture always begins to clear up. We aren't at that point yet but the Bloguin Heisman Poll that I am running over at Crystal Ball Run this year definitely took a step towards that this week as Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson definitely started to step out from the pack. Our Big East guy, Pete Sonski, and I both have votes on the Poll so I thought I would share with you how we voted this week in Week Five of the Bloguin Heisman Poll:
#1 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The highlight-real performances that showcased some candidates in the early season games are less likely now to affect the final outcome. The preseason favorite continues put up good stats weekly. He’s on a steady course to earn the stiff-arm trophy December 10.
#2 Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Considering how ineffective South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia has been so far, opponents will key on stopping Lattimore. The sophomore tailback had his first pedestrian performance of the season last week against Auburn in the Gamecocks first loss. Kentucky this week will learn whether his meager 66 yards and 1 TD were a fluke.
#3 Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
Wilson makes my list for the first time after a terrific performance against Nebraska. The Badgers have a week off before facing woeful Indiana. Look for Wilson’s stock to stay strong until a tough road test against Michigan State October 22.
The five non-BCS conferences and 75 percent of the independents are differentiated from the Big Six in virtually every other facet, so it only makes sense the best players from this subdivision-subdivision have an award for its best player. Just as fitting is for this honor to bear the name of the last player from one of these universities to win college football’s top honor, 1990 Heisman winner and BYU quarterback Ty Detmer. SaturdayBlitz.com will track this completely exclusive field’s progress throughout the season.
We are honored to be asked to vote on this award alongside such great bloggers like Patrick Johnson from Big East Coast Bias, the guys from the Upset Blog, the Navy Bird Dog, and Kevin McGuire of the National Football Examiner (and virtually every other college football blog on the internet) among others. Here is what the group came up with for week five as well as the cumulative results (let's just say Case Keenum is in hot pursuit of the current leader).
Back on September 20th we took a look at some undefeated teams to see if we thought they were as legit as their record. We questioned California, Georgia Tech, Houston, Nebraska and Texas. Since that article California and Nebraska have fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten but Tech, Houston and Texas still remain. When we look around the FBS there are still a handful of teams in addition to the three mentioned above that aren't in the Top 10: Kansas State, Texas Tech, Illinois, and Michigan. Let's re-visit some of these teams and add some others and discuss which teams have cemented themselves as fact or which teams are a work of fiction...
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-0)
Georgia Tech has the #73 ranked schedule out of 120 FBS teams. That's not just based on teams they've played so far this year but it's projected out for the season. The only teams in our CFBZ Top 25 that will play a weaker schedule are #25 Houston (#113) and #22 Virginia Tech (#82). The toughest team Georgia Tech has played so far is North Carolina. UNC is decent but if they are the best team you've played then you should be undefeated. Georgia Tech won't play a team who is Nationally ranked until their 9th game of the season (Clemson on Oct 29th).
Dropped Out: Texas A&M, USF, TCU
Also Receiving Votes: FSU, USFno comments
There was some real reckoning in the Big East Conference this week, with USF’s loss at Pittsburgh. Not only did it drop the Bulls from the ranks of the undefeated, but the 44-17 margin set off alarm bells. The Big East’s two premiere football programs this season – West Virginia and South Florida – have suffered embarrassing losses in successive weeks.
Though it may prove an aberration, this lopsided loss will stain the Bulls season and further damage the Big East’s reputation as an undeserving BCS conference. Just at a time when the BE needed a team to showcase its promise, this type of loss – to a conference defector on top of all else – has served to confirm many doubts about the conference in general.
Meanwhile, the Big East college presidents met Sunday at Georgetown to map out growth and stabilization plans for the conference following the departure of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The conference is at a crossroads. With realignment activity seemingly at a short-term halt, the Big East needs to bolster its football program before any further teams are lured away.
A team-by-team summary of Week 5 activity:no comments