Thursday, September 20, 2007

Around the Conference Week 4

A pretty uninspiring third week of the college football season for the Big East on the field leads to the most inspired week of football for the Big East in scheduling. The first two conference games of the season highlight the total mediocrity of this upcoming week as the WVU/ECU game may be the best game on the slate and only two games are even on television for the conference. Maybe it's a week to lay low and lick the wounds for Louisville and Pitt. On to the conference games this week. You have two times to watch a Big East game this week; noon and 7 p.m. (however the late games will only be shown on ESPNU and on Gameplan).

Syracuse at Louisville--The nooners are kicked off with the first conference game this year and the first chance for Syracuse to run to the basement. First the bad. I watched the replay of Louisville-UK and Louisville's defense continues to underwhelm with missed tackles and blown assignments. On the last drive alone UK took possession with under two minutes and Woodson struggled with a few overthows early in the drive. On third and 10 Woodson dumped off a short pass and three missed tackles later it was fourth and 1 with a stopped clock instead of 4th and 9 with a moving clock. Later Kentucky committed a horrible personal foul to move back to midfield only to have the winning touchdown follow one play later on a blown overage and then two Cardinals tackling each other to ensure the touchdown. The offense is under such pressure that Louisville is now going for touchdowns bombs instead of short chunks like the machine of last year, going for it on fourth down, and bypassing field goals to try to get 6. The offense also has no semblance of joy as they move up and down the field as even touchdowns are muted. They play like a rabbit with the hounds chasing them. Every touchdown only serves to hold off the dogs for a few minutes before they are back out there trying to score to save their season. That said, the Cardinals did show a lot of heart in coming back after two turnovers to start the game and had a chance to win with a stop or if Douglas could have scored on the tip. They still put up 467 yards in the defeat and Brohm is on pace to throw for 4500 yards and Douglas had 13 catches and 223 yards versus Kentucky and has combined with Urrutia for already over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. The ugly is still Syracuse. Syracuse marches into the game with the 116th total offense and 101st total defense. They are averaging 10 points and giving up 39. They are bad enough to make you want to throw an onion.

South Florida makes ESPNs other early game with a tilt at North Carolina. The last time the Bulls were on the field that win over Auburn looked pretty impressive. Now, not so much. North Carolina comes into the game 1-2 with two straight loses to Virginia and East Carolina after a win versus JMU. The Tarheels rely on the passing game which is ranked 19th in the nation at 303 yards per game which should play into the hands of the Bulls' strength which is the secondary. Defensively Carolina is yielding 356 yards per game which is 55th with both the pass (58th) and run (59th) defense being about equal. USF is lead by Mike Ford's 5.8 yards per carry in the backfield and Taurus Johnson's 10 catches at the receiver spot. Grothe has thrown for 422 yards and no interceptions as the Bulls have not been spectacular offensively, but haven't hurt themselves either. Now the kicker is another story.

The second conference game is such a clash it will be shown to millions thousands hundreds of interested fans on ESPNU as UConn takes on Pitt. UConn survived against Temple thanks to a controversial replay which caused Bill Cosby to spit up his pudding pop. UConn can now boast of victories over Duke, Maine, and Temple although that is like boasting about screwing a hooker. Of course you won that's why you paid them. Pitt on the other hand is coming off of a 17-13 loss to Michigan State. In that game the Panthers were only able to throw for 85 yards and were 0-12 on third down. Even more depressing was the fact that the radio announcers have decided to call freshman running back LeSean McCoy by the nickname "Shady" which really sounds stupid from old white dudes. At times Pitt went to the Shady offense which is Arkansas' wildcat with McCoy at tailback. Although his nickname is stupid, McCoy did manage to run for 172 yards on the game and should run all over UConn on Saturday night. The nickname's origin:

"My mom gave me the nickname Shady,'' McCoy said. "She said I was a shady baby. I cried, and then I'd be happy. I was smiling. So, I had a shady attitude. And it just stuck with me since I was little..."
True story when I was a baby I managed to pee on a light bulb which caused it to explode, but nobody ever called me The Stream which is a little disappointing.

The final Big East game is Cincy versus Marshall. Marshall has shot their season wad with the first half against WVU. Since then the Herd has given up 90 points in the last 6 quarters and have reached the polls for the first time this year as ESPN placed them in the "Bottom Ten" so they've got that going for them. Cincy is 3-0 with victories over Oregon State and Miami (OH) the last two weeks. The Bearcats are leading the nation in turnover margin and are in the top 10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Nothing should change after the game this week.

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