Part two of the weekend review brings us the Sells, which must come in bunches this week as teams collapse to the finish line of the season. Terry Hoeppner, why did you make us do this?
Missouri. The schedule looked a little cakey...and then the sugar crash confirmed it. Like many investments, it sounded too good to be true and was, since they were cruising on a no-name defense and the heralded efforts of a ballsy sophomore. Three losses in their last four games confirm that Missouri got fat on a steady diet of Ohio, New Mexico, and Colorados to get to 6-0; now that they're punchdrunk in the middle of the Big 12 schedule, it's Atkins time for the Tigers.
It's nothing but egg whites and turkey bacon for you, Missouri.
Georgia. Mark Richt is the recipient of the Dorian Gray award this year. Perpetually youthful-looking, Richt looks like the inexperience at qb, the discombobulation of his offense, and the outright charity of Willie Martinez's defense has combined to age him ten years in one, with new silver streaks visibly rising from his temples mid-press conference.
The Atlanta media, typically the Georgia Fan's Pravda, has even picked up on the obvious deficiencies of the Georgia program: the patty-cake o-line and the lackluster recruiting and coaching that go into it, the rubber-palmed wideouts, and (cue chorus of Dawg fans who spell it d-a-w-g) Willie Martinez. When Johnny Captoothsportsguy on the local news mentions "changes at the end of the season," it's a mathematical truth that someone's losing their head.
Losing to Kentucky, of course, doesn't help either.
Florida's offense. Stranko said it best: "How does a team with this much alleged speed play so slow?" We only have hypotheses, but here's a few:
Substandard run blocking. The middle of the line looks less like the perfectly orchestrated hippo ballet of run blocking and more like a rugby scrum, with players falling all over each other in the process. We have no reasonable guess why blue-chip lineman superbly conditioned and trained for this scheme would still be having trouble pushing Vandy's d-line around on a Saturday in November. We blame society.
Chris Leak's Genes. Blame his genes, that only told him to grow to 5' 11 (allegedly--Leak's probably closer to 5'10 in shoes.) Leak's been rolling out more than ever this season because he can't see over the line, thus eliminating the seams that should be forming across the middle of field for the passing game. Also blame his DNA for his lack of arm strength and indecision: his deep balls went for picks, and even the quick hitches and screens lollygagged through the air on the way to the receivers, allowing the defense to close immediately.
For contrast: watch Alex Smith run the Utah offense, and bring a stopwatch: the ball is out with a zip and flash nonexistent in this offense. Also remember to mute the video. You'll be sorry if you don't.
The run threat, the pass speed, and ability to work under defensive pressure...it was all present in Alex Smith. It's not in the merely very good Chris Leak, whose "square peg, round hole" storyline fatigue has reached a new low in terms of overuse this week.
Indiana. We love you, we give you pub, we liquidate our college fund to buy you a pair of diamond earrings...and you betray us, Indiana, by letting sodden old Glen Mason and his struggling Minnesota team detonate a season's worth of frustrations by strapping a bomb to your face and beating you 63-23. Hiccups on the way to goodness? Sure. But a score starting with 63 in the Big Ten better involve a mercy match against the Chippewas next time.
Iowa. Losing 21-7 to Northwestern is, in fact, downright Kafkaesque. This is true even though the Northwestern qb with the fabulously literary name didn't start this game. Drew Tate must raise his eyes from under center and see the blue screen of death; he needs rebooting and needs it fast, and Iowa apparently doesn't have the kind of tech support he needs. Where is the deadly accurate Tate who shredded Florida in the Outback Bowl? And are his NFL draft chances truly affected by his struggles in a sleepy Iowa offense this year? Why does Iowa keep hoodwinking us into ranking them sky-high in our preseason poll every year? And why do we keep falling for it? Probably because we love too much.
Perhaps we loved Iowa too much. It's not you, it's us.
Notre Dame's defense. UNC scored 26 points on Notre Dame. This would be the equivalent of a doctor telling you had a slight tumor. On your brain. Where they couldn't reach it. Ever. And you hear nothing but the words "small," and then head out happily to go about the rest of your day. Notre Dame hasn't played an offense in the past month that could make them sweat with any consistency; when they do, you can cue "Yakety Sax" again, because Brady will be chucking and ducking to catch up, since the ND rushing courteously asks people to step aside instead of knocking them on their ass. In fact, if Irish fan-types are to be believed, this could get worse since Tyrone Willingham's signees for the next year consist of two mediocre green-chippers, a trained golden-throated sun bear named Larry, and the cast of Reno 911, because Ty just loved that show.
Ty loved Reno 911. So do we, but for all the wrong reasons.