Quick thoughts on some of today’s games, some still in progress. As of 5:45 pm EST.
- Next week – Notre Dame vs. Michigan – This match-up now looks a whole lot more interesting. For ND, their ability to shut down Nevada’s spread bodes well for the defense this year. For Michigan, their offensive outburst bodes well generally. The Wolverines sudden efficiency and explosiveness is fueled by improved quarterback play and line play — the bulwarks of any good offense (or banes of any bad offense).
- Oklahoma State can’t quite score at will on Georgia, but their defense does seem improved under new DC Bill Young. Either that, or Georgia can’t replace Moreno and Stafford as easily as we may have thought.
- Purdue scored 52 points and rushed for over 300 yards en route to beating Toledo (Pat Forde picked this game as an upset special of the week). That makes their matchup with a wounded Oregon team something to watch. Will the Ducks take their aggression out on the new-look Boilermakers? Or will they roll over?
- Navy’s ability to run their O against Ohio State indicates bad things for OSU against USC. It also is bad news for the rest of the country that has to play Georgia Tech. What do you think the ratio of future NFL players was between Navy and OSU? GT is not quite OSU but they have it a little better than Navy.
- Baylor’s QB Robert Griffith is great.
- Jonathan Crompton played an improved game for Tennessee, particularly after some early troubles. If this team wants to win he has to play well.
- Northern Iowa had bad clock management at the end of the game against Iowa. They got a first down around the thirty or so with 17 seconds left; that stops the clock until the ball is set. They got to the line but didn’t have a play ready, the clock ran down to 7 seconds, and then they had to use their final timeout. Generally you want to keep your final timeout for you to get your kicking team on; that’s what they did (they attempted their first field goal attempt then) but they could have run another play and gotten further downfield. And, who knows, it could have been the difference: longer field goal attempts (the first was about 40 yards) tend to come off the kicker’s foot at a flatter trajectory. A shorter kick might have been harder to block. Who knows.
- Finally, my preview of Mizzou – Illinois seemed accurate. Juice hasn’t turned it over a lot (and Benn and RB Ford have left the game with injury), but the game hinged on Mizzou QB’s Gabbert’s play, and he’s played great in his first as a starter. On a day when Chase Daniel got cut from the Redskins, seeing his alma mater blow out the Illini has to be uplifting.