Monday, November 19, 2007

Transmissions From the Satellite Heart

Feeling a bit blown away from just watching "The Fearless Freaks", a documentary of The Flaming Lips. Wow! I thought I knew what it meant to be creative. Now? Not so much.

But that picture does describe how I want UConn to feel after Saturday's meeting between the Mountaineers and the Huskies. Because I don't think it is just enough to win the game for the Mountaineers. As close as the BCS standings are right now, I think it is imperative for RRod to put on his Steve Spurrier hat and win big.

UConn is having an amazing season, and I for one am most surprised at how well they are doing. Coming into the season, I had them pegged for 7th or 8th place in the Big East. I saw nothing from them in 2006 that made me think they were a couple of pieces away from competing for a conference title. But they are, and those two pieces are Tyler Lorenzen and Andre Dixon. If you follow the links, you might not be all that impressed with the stats. But if you're going to follow those links, look at the 2006 numbers for the players they are replacing and you'll see what I mean. Especially with Lorenzen! He has already passed for more yards than either of UConn's quarterbacks combined last year (2,118-1,692), and only trails last years production in touchdowns by two and has thrown four fewer int's. He has also rushed for 300 yards.

And Dixon has been a pleasant surprise, gaining 742 yards averaging 5.1 ypc. Not bad for someone that wasn't being counted on coming into the year. Last years leading rusher, Donald Brown is a close second with 600 yards and seven touchdowns. Again, individually those aren't mind blowing numbers, but between the three of them they are doing enough to win games. And that's what UConn is doing this year. It's not pretty, but there aren't any style points graded for conference championships. It's all about wins and losses.

The defense is a lot like the offense. They are ranked in the middle of the pack in most of the major statistical categories in the Big East. Except the most important one, scoring defense. They are ranked number one, allowing only 14.3 points per game. A stat that had to have been helped by playing Syracuse last week. They aren't big on getting other teams to fumble (thank God!) with only five fumble recoveries this year. But they do have an eye for stealing passes with 21 this year.

In their two losses this year against Virginia and Cincinnati, they weren't able to do much of anything on offense, scoring only 19 points in the two games combined. And yet they almost beat Virginia.

So two of the three things they do well, running the ball and interceptions, play right into West Virginia's hands. Because no one runs on us, and we don't throw the ball enough to be worried about them intercepting too many passes. At first blush, I think the only way we lose this game is if we beat ourselves. And after the last two weeks, I just can't see how we won't take care of the ball. More of this later on in the week. I have to set up the dart board and get drunk so I can do my top 25.

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