Saturday, September 30, 2006



So far this season I seem to zig when teams zag and they zig when I zag.  Example: I picked Notre Dame to lose to Penn State, then to beat Michigan, then to beat Michigan State easily.  If I had picked the opposite on each of those weeks, I would be a genius.  Being out of synch with the sinuous Domers has shaken my confidence to the core.  Or not.  But, I have learned that if you just keep picking, eventually you will have a week that makes you look smart.  So, in fearless fashion, here we go…

The Dawgs escaped a disaster last week and hopefully learned from the experience.  The QB shuffle will be curious, but seeing that Wake Forest dominated the Rebs last week running the ball for 53 of their 58 plays, I don’t think it matter much which QB takes the snaps.  However, one or both of these guys need to look for some rhythm throwing the ball and letting our receivers learn what their hands are for when they run routes.  I look for Georgia to go with a balanced run/pass gameplan despite the run-only job by Wake last week.  Kregg Lumpkin gets to start and will have a nice day.  So will Ware and Brown.  GEORGIA 27 – OLE MISS 7.

Everyone remembers last year that (1) Alabama clubbed Florida like a baby seal and (2) Alabama superstar Tyrone Prothro snapped his lower leg in a grotesque injury on a bomb in the waning minutes with the outcome clearly decided (when will Shula learn?).  Alabama has won something like 7 of the last 8 meeting with Florida.  But those were different times, different players and coaches.  The Gators are tough, Leak is playing well, and the fans are hungry for vengeance.  (Watch out Florida, here comes a Corso-like curse…) FLORIDA 24 – ALABAMA 14.

TECH wins!  GT lost 51-7 last year on the Flats.  GT has the same key personnel this year.  VPI has a new quarterback who has not lit it up yet.  I favor the home team in this one even though I think the Jackets are improved.  If Calvin Johnson is healthy and available, VIRGINIA TECH 23 – GEORGIA TECH 20.  Without Calvin Johnson, VIRGINIA TECH 30 – GEORGIA TECH 7.

The Hawkeyes are a sound team, but it ain’t going to happen.  The Buckeyes have the might of the Mouse and World Wide Leader on their side.

I have been 180 degrees out of synch with Notre Dame this season.  Let’s try again.  

The PAC 10 always serves us a few surprises.  ASU was looking good and then tanked last week against California.  So now they aren’t any good.  Oregon is good.  
ASU 34 – OREGON 33

Now, go to your fridge, grab a brew and get that remote working.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 29, 2006


Scarlett celebrates another win by the Scarlet Knights.

Two quick observations about this Friday night game between Rutgers and South Florida...

1. Is the referee Tommy Tuberville or his brother?

2. Question: Which quarterback is wearing a gold chain? The quarterback for the team from the land of Christopher Moltisanti?

Or the kid from the land of HOOTERS?

Answer: The kid from South Florida. And he is a pretty damn good freshman quarterback.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Here is my attempt, after 4 weeks of football, to look into the crystal ball and predict the competitors in the five BCS Bowls in January. It will be interesting to look back in a few months to see how much things have changed over the course of the season… or how much things stayed the same.

Clemson v. Texas
Clemson rolls into the site of its 1981 National Championship to test their mettle against the Texas Longhorns. Yes, there will be an “Orange Out” at Dolphin Stadium. Clemson wins a thriller and Tommy gets a contract extension.

Oklahoma v. Florida
Having topped Texas in the Red River Shootout, and Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game, Oklahoma continues to beat the dead horse that cost them the win at Oregon. Florida's second heart-breaking loss to Auburn at the SECCG kept the Gators out of the Sugar Bowl, but winning this desert duel against the Sooners and Heisman Winner Adrian Peterson caps the finest season for the Reptiles since the devil left Gainesville.

Southern Cal v. Michigan
This game is so old school we expected to see Bo Schembechler in a headset. Pesky California kept USC out of the MNC Game, but beating a great Michigan team in this Tournament of Roses Classic lands USC at 2nd in the final polls for the third time in 5 years. They were #1 the other two. (Auburn gets penalized for not beating TCU in convincing fashion.)

SUGAR BOWL – back in the Big Easy
Auburn v. TCU
Auburn’s sole loss to Georgia on the Plains kept them out of the Big One even though many observers agreed that they were, at worst, the second best team in the country. The newly expanded BCS and a perfect season lead TCU back to the Sugar Bowl for the first time since they topped Carnegie Tech in 1939. Auburn wins in a lackluster performance. BCS officials state, “The BCS is still working.”

Ohio State v. West Virginia
For the second time in 5 years, the Buckeyes have negotiated their slate without a blemish – despite a couple of narrow escapes. Since winning a dogfight in Louisville back in November, the Mountaineers laid waste to the weaklings in their path. The Buckeyes no doubt learned how not-to defend White and Slaton by watching tape of the 2006 Sugar Bowl. Maxwell Pundit Award winner, Matthew Laurinaitis, led a defensive crew that put on a clinic about how to stop the spread offensive attack of Rich Rodriguez and his speed merchants. For the second time in 5 years, Jim Tressel’s bunch give meaning to the truism that “defense wins championships.”

Hope y’all enjoyed he season. Good luck with recruiting. See you in late August.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


My previous 3 weekly rankings were part serious and part jest since I firmly believe that rankings prior to 4 weeks of on-the-field results are somewhat meaningless.  Some would opine that my TOP 20 is totally meaningless at all times.  No matter.  Here is my first serious effort at the HDD TOP 20.

  1. Ohio State.  Another hurdle at Iowa this week, then it is smooth sailing for awhile.

  2. Auburn.  Several traps lay ahead for Auburn.  But for now, they look awfully good.

  3. Southern Cal.  Still a great team, but not looking totally invincible right now.

  4. Michigan.  Looking unstoppable now.  Can anyone slow them down before the big date with the Buckeyes in November?

  5. Florida.  The Gators are good.  They will be tested like crazy with their brutal remaining schedule featuring Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and FSU.  

  6. West Virginia.  These speed merchants showed some weaknesses against ECU, but still won easily.  

  7. Louisville.  Even after losing the star tailback and QB, these guys are still rolling.

  8. Texas.  Gearing up for the Rio Rojo Shootout.

  9. LSU.  Opportunity to prove where they belong when they go from the bayou to the swamp on October 7.

  10. Virginia Tech.  Nobody is all excited about the Hokies, but they could be favored to win all of their remaining games.

  11. Georgia.  Look mom, a Homer pick.  Well, I am giving my Dawgs a 3 spot demotion for their poor performance against winless, but not hapless, Colorado.  Still, there is something to be said about staying undefeated and I am not convinced that any of the other undefeated teams are better.

  12. Oregon.  Nothing comes to mind.  Sorry.

  13. Clemson.  They typically get better throughout the year and they are already looking good thus far.

  14. Oklahoma.  Looking forward to Texas.

  15. Notre Dame.  I believe they are better than how they looked the past two weeks.  But, they are not TOP 10 right now no matter what their faithful followers think.

  16. Tennessee.  Don’t forget about this team that was one break away from being in the top 5.

  17. Iowa.  They have a great chance to shake up the BCS Saturday.  But, it will not happen.

  18. California.  They are looking great now and flip-flop with Oregon in two weeks.

  19. TCU.  This is an exciting team to keep an eye on.

  20. Nebraska.  The Huskers are improved this year.  But, how much?

Others:  Wake Forest, Rutgers, FSU, Georgia Tech, Boise State.

Comment if you care.

Monday, September 25, 2006

My $0.02 on the Georgia Colorado Game

First, my apologies to the Buffalo Nation for claiming that they were terrible and that they would give up 50. They obviously aren't the same team that lost by 67 points to Texas last season and they will keep getting better under Dan Hawkins. That doesn't mean that Colorado will go forth and win a whole bunch of games this year. But, they are starting to buy into this new coaching staff and they will continue to improve all season. We were fortunate to come away with a win.

The danger now is in reading too much or not enough into this narrow escape. First, it doesn't mean that the Dawgs stink and are on their way to 7-5. Conversely, it also cannot be ignored as just an off day. There were some things done poorly that have to improve for us to compete for the SEC crown. Here are a few comments that I made at Kyle's Blog:

Regarding the TO on the extra point... I thought it was a mistake when I saw it because I figured, "Take a delay of game and back up 5 yards." Then I learned from Richt in his interview that we were about to snap the ball without a wingman on one side. He feared having the kick blocked and didn't want to risk it and then need 7 points to tie. That makes sense to me, and that was a mental mistake by Milner, I think, for not being on the field for the PAT. But, Richt's explanation could be post-game spin. Thankfully it worked out.

Regarding preparation and motivation, I did not think our defense was flying to the ball like they normally do. At the same time, we continue to over-pursue like we did against McFadden, Aromashadu, Pat White and Slaton last year. I am not sure how to square not hustling with over-pursuit, but I think I saw both in the first half.

The BIGGEST problem we had on defense was that our ends were sprinting on a beeline path at the QB and he was quick enough to side-step them, then he could roll out unmolested and create another 3-4 seconds to find a man - usually a tight end. If Q and Charles would have taken containment angles and broken down as they closed in on the QB, he would have had to pay attention to them even if they weren't sacking him. Instead, their pass rush was wasted the instant that he side-stepped them (like 15 times) and rolled into the empty space to create lots and lots of time. I think it says a lot about our coverage that most of the completions were underneath even after 4,5,6 seconds. Our ends need to adjust their technique for QBs with this type of quickness. Leake has it, Pat White had it. I don't think Ainge and Cox have it, but they have dangerous arms.

Offensively, the problems were multitudinous. Poor run blocking. Poor play calling. And the biggest problem for Stafford was holding the ball too long. He has over-corrected his mistakes from S. Carolina when he forced throws into coverage and now he simply needs to figure out when to throw it into the cheap seats (which actually aren't really cheap.) He needs to develop that timing in his head of when he needs to get rid of the ball whether he sees/feels the pressure or not. He also threw some lasers behind slanting receivers which are nearly impossible to catch unless your name is Calvin. If he hit them in stride like some of his throws in the SC game, we get some nice gainers in the first half and give our defense a rest and time to make adjustments. Our inability to get first downs in the first half certainly contributed to our defensive issues.

Stafford probably learned a lot from these mistakes. As they say, success is a poor teacher. He will be fine in the long haul. However, now Joe Cox has clearly earned the right to get some quality game snaps based on his clutch performance. It seems appropriate to let him start at Oxford. I don't see how a credible argument can be made that any other QB "gives us the best chance to win" at this point. But, as always, I will trust CMR.

Lastly, the running game. I think we should take a page out of Al Borges's playbook from when he inherited Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, and shockingly, put both studs on the field at the same time! We did a little of this against SC. I don't recall seeing it Saturday. But, I would like to see Ware in there with either Brown or Lumpkin (who showed a shitload of determination on his touches). Ware is a great receiver out of the backfield. He has a knack for slipping out of the backfield unnoticed and has reliable hands. I think if we threw the ball out of this two back set a few times, it would soften up the middle for the running attack. It is a Spurrier-like strategy of creating the run by passing, but with our currently sluggish running game,how could it hurt?

The good news is that we have one more week to try to get better before we get UT at home. Then we have two more weeks to get even better before Florida. Our schedule could not be more advantageous for a young team trying to find a running game and a quarterback.
Anyway, that is what I think. I could be wrong.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Week 4 Fearless Predictions

I don't know my record the past few weeks, but Jimmy the Greek, I am not. I am out of synch with Notre Dame. I picked them to lose to PSU and to beat Michigan. I did correctly predict Auburn over LSU and Florida over Tennessee. But I thought Oklahoma would survive the trip to Oregon - I am not so sure I should count that pick in the L column. Anyway, on an uninspiring weekend of CFB, here are my picks...

Penn State at Ohio State. The Buckeyes have waited one year for this revenge match. The Nittany Lions will not ruin their season this year. OSU 34 - PSU 17.

Arizona State at Cal. This may be the most difficult game to pick this week. I mailed in Cal's season when they got shredded by Erik Ainge. I will remain a detractor. ASU 27 - Cal 21.

Notre Dame at Michigan State. This is the squad that typically foils the Irish. But, while I no longer think Notre Dame is BCS caliber, they will rebound ad embarass the Spartans. ND 30 - MSU 10.

Wisconsin and Michigan. The Badgers, without Barry Alvarez, are quietly 3-0. Michigan is coming off one of their biggest win in several years. Letdown game? Not quite. Michigan 28 - Wisconsin 20.

USC at Arizona. The Mildcats take another beating. USC 45 - Zona 7.

Kentucky at Florida. Last year, Leake and company scored a barrage of points in the first half and went to sleep. Then Kentucky scored a barrage of points and made Florida wake up. That was in the Bluegrass State. In the Swamp, don't expect it to be so entertaining - at least not for Gator Haters. UF 34 - UK 10.

Buffalo at Auburn. This is a stat-padding pick. Auburn by as many as they chose. Let's say... AU 61 - Buffalo 0.

Tulsa at Navy. The Golden Hurricane bring a 2-1 record to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium and try to spoil Navy's attempt to extend their record to 4-0. Navy got it going last week against Stanford with improved QB play. With continued improvement at QB and by protecting the football, Navy can win easily today. On the other hand, if they get sloppy, Tulsa could make them pay. I like the Middies. Navy 28 - Tulsa 20.

Colorado at Georgia. The Buffs are bad now but will get better. The Dawgs are pretty good now and will get better. Stafford gets his second start and I look for steady improvement from the talented Frosh. Evidently, Colorado is decent against the run. The Dawgs could exploit them in the air, but I think Richt will take this opportunity to make his O-line and tailbacks work hard and improve. The Dawgs have shown an equal run-pass balance thus far this season and today will be no exception. However, look for the passing game to yield better results than the previous two outings. The Georgia defense is hoping for its third straight shut-out. A tall challenge, but it will be a great game-within-the-game to watch. Look for a big day from Georgia's front seven. UGA 38 - Colorado 6.


Have a great day.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I have been too busy working to get this Top 20 out earlier. I know it has been a downer for your week, but accept my apology and carry on. So, without any prolonged pontification, here are my rankings.

1. Ohio State - revenge date this Saturday
2. USC - barely ahead of Auburn right now.
3. Auburn - if these guys run the table, they will be in my top 2.
4. Michigan - huge leap up the poll.
5. Florida - nice road win at Rocky Top.
6. West Virginia - Fast.
7. Louisville - how many more stars can they lose and still win?
8. Georgia - back to back shut outs and a good chance at a third against the hapless Buffaloes.
9. Virginia Tech - several tests coming soon.
10. Boston College - this could be Clemson.
11. Iowa.
12. Oregon - would be higher if they had won without the controversy.
13. Texas.
14. TCU.
15. Arizona State.
16. Clemson.
17. Boise State.
18. Rutgers.
19. Navy.
20. Missouri.

Notre Dame gets a one week suspension for looking like Penn State.

Next week I get serious.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Monday Night Football spectacle at Alltel and witnessed the Jaguars defense smother the Pittsburgh offense like I was watching two SEC teams slug it out. Of course, defense doesn't count for much if you ask an SEC detractor. The Steelers deepest penetration of the night was the Jacksonville 46. They are the reigning World Champs. Think about it.

Now, to my headline point... former Dawg Marcus Stroud is listed at 6'6" and 306 pounds. More than likely, he weighs 330. He is a giant, right? Well, John Henderson dwarfs him. When they stand side by side, Henderson looks significantly larger. He is listed as 6'7" and 330 pounds. I am going to say he is 350 pounds and is lean at that! When those two guys line up, they cover from one hash to the other. Nobody is going to run against these guys without one of these...

Thursday, September 14, 2006


We will learn a lot more on Saturday. Here are my picks and my attempt to redeem my 2-2 performance from last week.

Will Auburn kicker, John Vaughn, have an opportunity to redeem himself after his performance in Red Stick last year when he missed a fistful of field goals? Will LSU Coach Les Miles do something supremely goofy and provide bloggers with great material for the next week or longer? One of these teams will remain in the BCS hunt and gain the inside track to Atlanta. Both teams have posted points worthy of good basketball competition. Both defenses have been stingy, physical and inhospitable to their opponents. The home team has won 6 straight. HDD thinks Kenny Irons and the WarTigerPlainsEagleMen will play the Georgia fight song in triumph this Saturday. Auburn 20-LSU 14.

There will be a lot of balls in the air at General Neyland Stadium as two excellent passing attacks square off in the Meteor Game. Florida people are happy with how the offense has scored points in bunches and have been smitten by freshman receiver Percy Harvin. Chris Leake and crew will face a depleted Volunteer defense who lost the services of two key starters in the USAFA game. The Florida defense is stout against the run and safety Reggie Nelson is a gamer. Can Erik Ainge connect with Robert Meachem enough to hang an L on the Gators? It will be tough, even on Rocky Top, where Florida got robbed two years ago. HHD will be rooting for the Meteor, but expecting the reptiles to take Smoky on a deathroll. Florida 27-Tennessee 16.

By bitch-slapping Penn State out of the Top 20, the Domers made an impressive recovery after laying an egg in Atlanta the opening week. Defense seems to be the surprise of the early season in South Bend. Quinn and crew found their rythym last week. Michigan stinks in road openers. Notre Dame may not win the Michigan state championship this year, but they should get past the Maize and Blue in a close one. Notre Dame 24-Michigan 20.

A few years ago, nobody would pick Louisville to beat Miami. These days, the Cardinal are an en vogue pick. I am too old school. Miami 26-Louisville 21,

As if. USC 45 - Nebraska 17.

Hmmm. In my opinion, Oregon is the better team. But Adrian Peterson can win this game with a spectacular performance. Something tells me that the Ducks want this one so much that they will play tight. I am not comfortable with this pick, but HDD sees RED. Oklahoma 27 - Oregon 21.

I will pretend that I am picking this one because the Buffs are the Dawgs' next opponent. However, the truth is I want to pad my results with a sure win. Colorado is a terrible. If I was the AD, I would have fired the entire football staff after they lost by 70 points to Texas in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game. Then I would have fired them again for losing to Montana State. I would then put in charge the coach from the winner of the sorority powder-puff championship game. The Sun Devils will score 50 and then next week the Dawgs will score 50, then Missouri and so on. Colorado may not win but one game this year. How can they not recruit well with the perks they have? ASU 50 - Colorado 10.

Navy struggled to outlast UMass last week. Stanford failed against San Jose State. Stanford gives up 500 yards per game. If Navy runs for 300, they win. If Navy can get some consistent play from one of their quarterbacks and not put the ball on the ground, Navy will win. Stanford will get yards and points through the air, but will it be enough? I hope not. Navy 28 - Stanford 27.

The Blazers put a scare into Oklahoma in the first week. They put a scare into Georgia in 2003 in a 16-13 game when the Dawgs ran out of defensive linemen. Matthew Stafford gets his first start and hopefully will have benefited from a full week of getting all of the reps with the first team. The Dawgs Defense will do Erk Russell proud again this week as they smother UAB's offense. The Dawgs will move the ball equally on the ground and in the air, but it will be the second half before the points begin to mount. The Dawgs will take a smallish half-time lead and turn it into a second half rout. Georgia 38 - UAB 6.

SLATON is friggin' fast. Period!

It doesn't matter who he plays against. He runs past them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Week Two HDD Top 20

See this link for my preliminary comments. For one more week, I have decided that only undefeated teams will appear in my Top 20. Indeed, I will use each of the first 4 weeks of the season to take special liberties in my rankings since I believe rankings are nonsense until four weeks into the season anyway. (Some may argue that my rankings are nonsense anyway.)

1. OHIO STATE - This team is loaded. Smith and Ginn are lethal. The defense is stout and yet another phenomenal linebacker, Laurinaitis, is roaming sideline-to-sideline for the Buckeyes. Texas was outclassed and the Colt is not quite ready to be tabbed a "Stallion."

2. Southern Cal. Same as I said last week.

3. Auburn. Scary how good they look right now.

4. LSU. See how I am setting up this big contest between 3 and 4? This is my "Full Oval" campaign.

5. Notre Dame. Still being punished for the Tech game, but they silenced their critics with an amazing performance against a decent Penn State team.

6. West Virginia. Weak opponent but the 52-3 performance still impresses.

7. Florida. Stomped a bowl team in UCF. Nice showing.

8. Tennessee. Should drop them farther because of their scare by USAFA, but they were caught in a sandwich game, so I will give them a break...which sets up another "Full Oval" situation with 7 v. 8 next Saturday.

9. Louisville. Lotta points and good running by the new tailback.

10. Michigan. Yawn.

11. Georgia. Pitched a shut out against Spurrier. Nice!

12. Virginia Tech. Same comment as last week.

13. Boston College. Great comeback. Or was that Clemson's patented "come from ahead to lose" move?

14. Iowa. Corn again. When I first saw these highlights, I thought Jim Brown would get a few carries.

15. Oregon. I accidentally left the Ducks out of my rankings last week. They belong.

16. Arizona State. I like watching these guys play. They could have a special season. Stay tuned.

17. Florida State. This is a Troy State penalty slide.

18. Missouri. What, would you prefer that I drop Oklahoma or Nebraska in this slot? But, I think Missouri is better than them both right now.

19. Rutgers. Are these kids for real?

20. Navy. My rankings, my liberties. Come on Navy, make me look good!

Thanks for checking in.

Oooh how it must sting the evil visored one to produce exactly zero points with his "Cock and Fire" offense. The grimacing, whining, yelling, and complaining were intensely enjoyable to watch as Georgia dealt Spurrier his first shut-out since 1987. While watching his sideline antics, it occurred to me that Spurrier is the John McEnroe of college football. You know he is talented and you have to respect his ability to beat you, but he bitches and moans more than any other coach I have ever watched. He is either complaining to the refs, his players, or his assistant coaches. It would be great if he was mic'd for the game. I can just hear a McEnroe voice-over, "You have got to be kidding me. Mitchell was clearly down before the ball came out. You are terrible. Incompetent. How did you get to be a referee at this level?" Throwing of the clipboard is parallel to throwing a tennis racket. What fun.

Now, a brief assessment of the game:

The Good: Stafford hit some receivers in stride allowing them to run for extra yardage after the catch. Martrez Milner had no drops. The entire defense. generally and Kelin Johnson specifically for some bone-jarring hits in the great tradition of his predecessors Blue and Davis.

The Bad: Stafford's interceptions (also known as learning opportunities.)

The Ugly: Spurrier's offense. Woohoo!

(perfectly awful)

That is how I would describe my predictions for the games last Saturday. At least Navy and Georgia won for me. Texas and Penn State got manhandled and steamrolled and I did not see it coming. Yep, my crystal ball was severely clouded and in bad need of some Calgon.

I did not anticipate the injury to Joe T III, so I was clearly wrong about the role played by Stafford in Georgia's game. The true freshman came in early, played well and showed signs of brilliance. He also showed signs of freshmanity as he threw three interceptions. According to the reports I have seen, Joe T III will be out for a few weeks. This means Stafford will get a lot of work with the first team in practice and several games under his belt. Joe Cox will probably get some reps as well. By the time Joe T III is healthy again, the youth movement may prevent his return to the QB rotation. We shall see.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Week 2 Predictions

Normally, I would prefer to make my predictions on around midnight on Saturday. Then, I would be sure of getting most of them right - with the possible exception of Hawaii if they are playing at home. But, as it is, I will make them around midnight on Friday this week.

Here are 4 games of most interest to me...

Navy v. Massachusetts

This will be the first time these two schools have met. But Navy Coach Paul Johnson has squared off against UMass Coach Don Brown twice before while Johnson was the head coach at Georgia Southern and Brown was defensive coordinator at UMass. The series stands tied at 1-1.

Both squads won their first game of the season. Navy rushed for 403 and passed for 3 fathoms (6 yards for you landlubbers) in upending East Carolina 28-23. Navy Senior QB Brian Hampton rushed for 149 yards in his first start. Meanwhile, UMass cruised past Patriot League power Colgate, 28-7.

Expect 33,000 fans to fill Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on Saturday. Navy averaged of 33,000 in attendance last year. Not bad for a school with under 4000 students.

A few interesting tidbits about Navy...
  • Navy has lost 40 straight games when they give up more than 300 yards rushing. But, the Middies have won 19 straight when they rush for more than 300. Last week, UMass AMassed (clever huh?) 294 total yards and 179 on the ground. If Navy runs like they should, they will beat UMass. Unless...
  • Navy is 0-3 under Paul Johnson when they pass for more yards than they rush. Unless they exerience a better than 50x increase in their passing attack, Navy should be safe on this statistic. Curiously...
  • Navy has not returned a punt for a touchdown in 113 consecutive games (the longest such streak in the country.) Will this matter? Not if...
  • Navy scores first. The Middies have won 12 straight when scoring first in the contest.
  • Georgia connection... Navy kicker Joey Bullen, from St. Simons Island, GA, has made 56 of 57 PAT attempts and is 5th on the all-time list at Navy.
Now, what does all of this mean? Oh let's say

Navy 31 - UMass 13

Now for a few games of lesser importance...

Texas v. Ohio State

Did you know this will match #1 against #2? Did you know ESPN and ABC will bring you full-circle on this story from the moment you pour your Cheerios until you spoon down a couple of shots of Mylanta around midnight? Did you know that Vince Young and AJ Hawk are not going to be on the field in Austin? Did you know the University of Texas named said field in honor of a slick plaintiff's lawyer? Yep, the inside track to number one will be decided on Joe Jamail Field.

Colt McCoy has taken the reigns of the Longhorn offense and looked sharp in his first outing, leading Texas to and easy victory of North Texas State. (Sidebar - in 1995, Texas State was officially the worst team on the NCAA1995 Playstation game.) Texas remains loaded with great talent and bring a 21 game winning streak into this 8:00 pm thriller.

The Buckeyes are tremendously talented on offense with a great pitch-catch combination between Troy Smith and Ted Ginn, Jr. However, th
ey had to replace an awesome pair of linebackers, without whom, last year's game in the Horseshoe would not have been so close.

The eyes of Texas and many other eyes will be on this game. Indeed, my wife will be looking in just in hopes of seeing a cameo by Matthew McConnaughey.

If the Horns are as tenacious as the namesake of their gridiron, the Buckeyes will find themselves being touted as the greatest one-loss team since, ummm, last year's OSU squad just before their match against Penn State.

Texas 24 - Ohio State 20

Notre Dame v. Penn State

If Notre Dame can't show more ability to move the ball than they showed against Ga. Tech, Penn State will walk away with a big win. Somehow, I suspect Charlie Weis will have Brady Quinn and crew dialed in for a better performance. But, I don't think it will be enough. Old Joe will lead the Nittany to victory on the road. This will create a media battle debating whether Ohio State or Notre Dame is the best "one-loss team in the country." It will be riveting copy.

Penn State 33 - Notre Dame 26

Georgia - South Carolina

It is getting late, so I am going to get to the point here... Kyle King at DawgSports breaks it down in excruciating detail and even a little more relavant material. Over at Hey Jenny Slater, we get a glorious tour of the history of Gamecock Football.

The Dawgs have struggled in Columbia many times regardless of the relative talent of the two teams. This year, Georgia is clearly a more talented team. But, Carolina has the biggest Cock in Steve Spurrier, who is pure evil and he channels all of his satanic wiccan powers into his team's performance against Georgia. Evil powers notwithstanding, Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses are so damn good on the ends, that the visored evil one has surely lost some sleep this week. Hopefully, Paul Oliver can contain the great Sidney Rice and force the Gamecock QB (Mitchell or Smelley) to look for other targets. I do not expect the Cocks to run well against the Dawgs speedy defense.

Yes, Joe T III will start at QB for Georgia. Yes, Stafford will be in the breech all afternoon if needed. My prediction is that Stafford will not be required for the Dawgs to secure this victory. Stafford may see some playing time, but it will not be the deciding factor in this game. Georgia will establish a strong running game and will orchestrate an effective short passing game so long as the receivers will catch the ball - especially on third down. Mike Bobo is a master at using the short passing game and this suits Joe T III's throwing ability. Anyway, we shall see.

As will be the case most weeks this season, if not all weeks, Georgia has the edge in the kicking game. It remains to be seen if Mikey Henderson will have a healthy hamstring and if he will have another thrilling outing, but you know there will be some breath-holding going on if he finds a seam through the first wave of defenders.

The Georgia defense and running game will make Joe T III a winner in Columbia. Then next year we will bring the Cocks to "Cale Conley Field" in the Texas tradition.

Georgia 24 - S. Carolina 13


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Week 1 HDD TOP 20

Okay, first a few preliminaries.

First: I remember back in the good old days, before ESPN dictated the media presentation of college football to the masses, when we had only a "Top 20" not a "Top 25." In that spirit, I present my "Top 20" and therefore I will not be burdened with choosing 5 more teams that none of you really care about anyway.

Second: I did not create a bogus Top 20 before the first games were played because (1) I was being lazy, and (2) it is a futile exercise anyway. As a result, I don't have to bother with explaining who moves up and who moves down, etc.

Third: After one week, I will only include teams who have won all of their one game. Sorry Miami.

And we're off...

1. Texas. The reigning national champ is riding a long winning streak and I will keep them at No. 1 until they either lose or look terrible winning. Besides, they are damn good.

2. Southern Cal. The team that was one 4th and goal stop away from their third straight national title deserves to be No. 2 until they either lose or look terrible winning. Plus, they are still completely loaded.

3. Ohio State. They look to be as good as advertised. A win in Austin Saturday could vault them to No. 1.

4. Tennessee. Stomping California's chances to have any legitimate gripe when they get left out of the BCS picture has earned the Vols the fourth slot.

5. Penn State. Solid team. Ranked ahead of FSU because, well, they already beat FSU this year, albeit not this season.

6. Florida State. Great defense. Mediocre offense. Still, the second most impressive win of the week.

7. Auburn. Washington State was a decent challenge and they Tigers had to play hard to separate.

8. West Virginia. I could have ranked them higher and I suspect they will climb throughout the season. Slaton and White are a dynamic duo and the Big East will not have an answer for them.

9. LSU. Hmmm. I am not sure how good they are yet.

10. Florida. Cruised by Southern Miss who have been giant killers on many occasions in early contests.

11. Michigan. Looked workmanlike in a win over Vandy.

12. Georgia. Will learn a lot more this Saturday against the visored evil one.

13. Notre Dame. Fortunately for the Domers, Chan refuses to let his QB throw to Calvin on every down.

14. Iowa. All I can think of is corn.

15. Virginia Tech. Beamer will put another good product on the field.

16. Louisville. Sorry to see them lose their star tailback. WVU was not sorry.

17. Clemson. What if Clemson actually looks good in the first few games? This must be a talented bunch.

18. Oklahoma. What was that?

19. Navy. Read my bio if you have any questions. Go Navy!

20. Rutgers. I just like the way they closed out the Tarheels.

Others receiving votes: none. That is why it is a Top 20 dumbass.

See you tomorrow with my Georgia-South Carolina preview.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Georgia 48 - WKU Hilltoppas 12

Hallelujah, hallelujah. There is no time like the beginning of a college football season. Like my nephew, Charlie Walton, in the photo here, I was more than a little excited to see toe meet leather on Saturday. Starting the season with Western Kentucky was difficult to get enthused about, but it was the opening act of what I hope will be a 14 act performance by the Dawgs.

The Good:
Special Teams were truly special.
Mikey Henderson made one mistake that he will never make again - like in a critical situation against a tough opponent.
Matt Stafford can pitch it.
Bookends of Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson will make life miserable for opposing OCs and QBs.
Tony Taylor, Jarvis Jackson and Darius Dewberry are a terrific trio.
Kris Durham will catch a lot of passes during the next 4 years.

The Bad:
One blown coverage

The Ugly:
Dropped passes. Come on guys, you are getting a free education... catch the frigging football.

What have we learned? Not much. For me, witnessing the speed of the young players was impressive. Richt has reloaded the coffers with a lot of speed, which, as they say, kills. Matt Stafford looked like a championship quarterback. It is clearly too early to hand him the keys to the program. But it is coming and it might be coming soon. If the offense struggles under Joe T next Saturday, Stafford could get a shot before the half but this most likely will not happen. I will explain in my preview of the South Carolina game on Thursday. Tomorrow, I will present my Top 20.

Thanks for checking in. It is good to be back live.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

HELLO? Check. Check, one, two. Is this thing on? Check, one, two.