I-A College Football News
CFB - Blowout City
By Jeff Frank Sep 11, 2007, 18:44 GMT
Philadelphia, PA - The four most important games this past Saturday all fell under the category of 'decisive victory' for the winning team - LSU destroyed Virginia Tech, Oklahoma did the same to Miami-Florida, Oregon took care of business over Michigan and Texas revved up late and toppled TCU.
The second-ranked LSU Tigers pounced on an inferior Hokies squad from the get- go with a dominant array of speed and power. The 11-point spread was never in danger, as LSU raced out to a 24-point halftime lead and never looked back with the 48-7 victory. The Tigers also outgained Virginia Tech 598 yards to just 149. So much for the nation's top defensive team the last two years. With USC's lackluster performance vs. Idaho in its opening game, LSU has vaulted itself into the top spot in the new Jeff Frank Top 10 power rankings.
Moving up to number two is the force that is Oklahoma. The Sooners are clearly a team to be reckoned with, and when, not if, they get past Texas on October 6, they will be 6-0 on their way to an undefeated season. The line vs. Miami- Florida was only 12, but it could have been 37. Oklahoma held the Hurricanes to 139 yards of total offense, just 33 in the second half when the Sooners outscored them, 30-3.
Redshirt freshman Sam Bradford threw for 205 yards and five touchdowns, while the three-headed running back monster of DeMarco Murray, Allen Patrick and Chris Brown rushed for 153 yards and over four yards per carry against the fourth best rushing defense from a year ago.
MICHIGAN STUMBLES AGAIN
Detroit Lions fans have been known for showing their disdain towards their team and management in recent years, and the state of Michigan now has another whipping boy in Lloyd Carr and his Wolverines. After allowing 387 yards to Appalachian State in the opener, the Maize and Blue gave up an amazing 624 total yards to Oregon and got blown out, 39-7.
There were two moments in the first half that defined the game. With the Ducks leading 9-7, they went for the two-point conversion when the extra point would have given them a three-point lead. They nailed it without any trouble. Secondly, when Dennis Dixon had Oregon deep into Michigan territory, he ran out of bounds at the two instead of bowling over defenders to get into the end zone or at least the first down.
The latter play was on third and eight at Michigan's nine-yard line. Obviously, he knew the Ducks would have zero problems hitting paydirt even on a fourth-and-two from the two-yard line, and Jonathan Stewart scored handily on the next play.
In another display of total confidence, Dixon ran for a score on a fake Statue of Liberty play in which the running back that he faked it to would have scored as well.
THE 'OVER' HITS IN AUSTIN
Texas and TCU struggled to score points early on, and the UNDER players were loving every single minute of it. After three quarters the score was tied at 10, but 27 points were put on the board in the fourth sending the folks who wagered on the UNDER into a state of shock.
The Longhorns were favored by 7.5 points and even a cover didn't look like a sure thing heading into the final stanza. But 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns later, along with a 21-yard fumble recovery for a TD, it was all Texas, and the 'Horns 'escaped' with a 34-13 win.
WEEK TWO NOTES
After a 30-15-2 week for the favorites, the underdogs fought back in week two covering more than half (26) of the 50 games. South Carolina picked up a key SEC road win as Steve Spurrier's squad held the Bulldogs to four field goals and QB Matt Stafford completed just 43% of his tosses in the Gamecocks' 16-12 victory.
South Florida, despite four missed field goals, including one from 21 yards, got past Auburn in overtime, 26-23. Tigers quarterback Brandon Cox had a bit of an injury excuse for his sub par play last year, but what's his explanation for this season? He's thrown four interceptions in two games, completing just 51% for a combined 394 yards. True the two defenses he's faced have been Kansas State and South Florida, but he still has eight games left vs. the SEC!
Speaking of the Bulls, this win was just what was needed to show the rest of the country how far they have come. It's one thing to defeat conference rivals such as Louisville and West Virginia the past two seasons, but getting a 'W' on the road vs. a high profile team in the Southeastern Conference will do wonders for coach Jim Leavitt on the recruiting trail.
Two heavy favorites escaped with road victories late Saturday night. Hawaii was favored by four touchdowns and only won because Louisiana Tech went for the two-point conversion in OT and failed. The Bulldogs were looking for a bit of revenge after getting spanked by the Warriors 61-17 last year, and they almost got it.
Fifth-ranked Wisconsin was on the ropes for most of its contest at UNLV until Tyler Donovan bootlegged his way to the end zone with less than two minutes remaining. The two-point attempt was good and the Badgers walked off the field with a 20-13 win, despite being favored by 25 points. Back in 2003, the Rebels knocked off 14th-ranked Wisconsin in Madison while getting 20 and almost pulled off an even bigger upset.
WEEK TWO RESULTS AND TOP 10 RANKINGS
After opening up 5-1 ATS in the early games, I ended up winning just six of 11 as Arizona State's 19-point win prevented a total disaster. The two-week against the spread record stands at 13-7.
As previously mentioned, LSU and Oklahoma sit one-two in my new Top 10. The official rankings are as follows: 1) LSU, 108.5; 2) Oklahoma, 105.5; 3) USC, 102; 4) West Virginia, 100.5; 5) Georgia Tech, 97; 5) Oregon, 97.5; 7) Arizona State, 96.5; 8) Wisconsin, 95.5; 9) Penn State, 95.5; 10) Louisville, 95.5.
WEEK TWO PLAYS
The Indiana Hoosiers are on a mission this year to win as many games in honor of late coach Terry Hoeppner as they possibly can. A lot of folks in the media were pointing to Illinois to be the surprise team in the Big Ten and the Illini may very well fill that role, but look out for the Hoosiers.
They destroyed Western Michigan on the road, a game in which they led 31-7 at the half. The final score of 37-27 was a bit misleading as the Hoosiers rushed for over 200 yards for the second straight game and had eight quarterback sacks. That's 13 in the first two games, just one less than all of last season.
Akron held its own with Ohio State, but the Buckeyes only won by 18 because of their own miscues. This Zips team will get DESTOYED at Memorial Stadium to the tune of 34-13.
Take the Hoosiers minus the points.
Cincinnati rolled over Oregon State, 34-3, but the final score was not indicative of how the game was played. The Beavers lost by 31, but still outgained the Bearcats, 310 yards to 229. Cincinnati benefited from a +5 turnover margin and did not really have to sweat this one out due to the shoddy OSU quarterback play from Sean Canfield.
The Bearcats rushed for just 30 yards and now must go on the road for the first time this season against in-state rival Miami-Ohio. The RedHawks opened the year with a huge road score at Ball State and gave everything they had in a triple-overtime loss at Minnesota. Don't be shocked if they win this game outright.
Take Miami plus the points.
UNLV almost delivered a knockout punch to Wisconsin's national championship hopes, but as mentioned, the Badgers fought back behind a Tyler Donovan 29- yard TD run, which gave them the 20-13 victory.
In two games, the Rebels have allowed just 275 passing yards, and it's not like Hawaii is going to duplicate its masterful season of a year ago with just three returning starters from the offensive and defensive lines combined. The Warriors already struggled vs. Louisiana Tech having to go to overtime to get the victory, and will be in for a long evening. Hawaii is just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS the last four games on the back end of back-to-back road contests, including a loss to UNLV back in 2003.
The Rebels have adjusted nicely without Rocky Hinds at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Travis Dixon has been the starter since spring practices and he performed admirably in his second career start versus a ferocious Wisconsin defense, throwing for 258 yards. He can also hurt Hawaii on the ground as he ran for over 100 in the season's opener vs. Utah State.
Take UNLV plus the points.
I have been all over Oregon since the preseason, but this is the week they will fall out of my Top 10. It's true the Ducks pounded Michigan into submission, and the final score could have been much worse than 39-7. On the other hand, the Wolverines played a true freshman at quarterback the entire second half after Chad Henne had thrown for 172 yards in just two quarters.
Oregon may score over 40 vs. Fresno State, but the Bulldogs will match strides for most of the contest. They went into Texas A&M and put up 45 points, 29 in the second half alone. Tom Brandstater threw for three touchdowns in College Station and will improve on his 16-of-33 for 150 yards vs. the Ducks last season in his second ever career start.
Fresno State lost by seven that day, but came within three at Autzen Stadium in '05. Oregon defeated the Bulldogs by only four back in '02 despite being favored by 16 points at home. Going back even further, Fresno took the Ducks to overtime twice in the mid-'90s, losing by three points both times while getting 19 and six points.
Take Fresno State plus the points.
Texas is 2-0 with two unimpressive victories under its belt and now must go into UCF, a team primed for a huge upset. This will be the Longhorns' first east coast game since a win at North Carolina back in 2002. (They are 3-5 ATS in their last eight road games outside the state of Texas.)
Central Florida has had a week off to prepare for this contest after upsetting N.C. State in Raleigh, 25-23. Kevin Smith had a huge game that day, rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard scamper that opened the scoring.
This is UCF's first home game in its new stadium, and the joint will be jumping. The Knights have a veteran-laden offense and coach George O'Leary will have his troops fired up.
Take UCF plus the points.
The rest of the country has been slow in accepting the fact that Georgia Tech is a legitimate Top 10 team. The Yellow Jackets finally moved to number 15 after two easy wins over lesser competition in Notre Dame and Samford. Now the fun starts as the ACC season begins with 21st-ranked Boston College coming into town.
The Eagles easily disposed of Wake Forest and N.C. State, but allowed a total of 717 passing yards in the process. They were also helped by a +7 turnover differential in the two games combined. G-Tech's swarming pressure defense will have Matt Ryan running for his life and the Yellow Jackets will walk off with an easy two touchdown win.
Take Georgia Tech minus the points.
Alabama looks for its third straight win of the season when Arkansas comes into Tuscaloosa. Darren McFadden might find the going a bit rougher this season vs. a much-improved Tide defense (the Hogs totaled 409 rushing yards the past two seasons vs. 'Bama). New head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will be ready for the challenge, so look for the Tide to use a ball control-type offense to lessen the time the Hogs are on offense.
Arkansas, on the other hand, has not seen running back Terry Grant in action. The redshirt freshman has dazzled in the early going and could put up just as many yards as McFadden.
Take the Crimson Tide minus the points.
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