Guest editor Hannibal Montegna and Orson go through the buys and sells of the week.
Kentucky. Almost a courtesy for doubting the Wildcats throughout the summer, into the preseason, through their two patsy wins, after their conquest of Louisville, up until Arkansas roughed the kicker Saturday night. Then I knew: UK, like all teams whose kickers are contacted illegally in a crucial situation, was destined for victory in Fayetteville.
Naturally, I doubt again after this week’s game with Florida Atlantic – first place in the Sun Belt! –with the trifecta of South Carolina, LSU and Florida on deck. Until then, though, fine: Andre Woodson is a myth, a machine, a man among men, a monocled minotaur maniacally marauding secondaries and sorority houses across the South. Admonishment nor chains will keep
your women from his musk. For now.
Michigan. It’s just a re-branding of Mike Hart, a healthy Brandon Graham and a couple conservative opposing offenses, but I’m buying, if for no other reasons than a) Mike Hart is so, so money, b) the Wolverines are still relatively cheap and c) the next six games are against Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State.
Ohio State. For narrative purposes, it’s best to set up the traditional, climactic clashing of red and blue light sabres for the Big Ten title as early as possible. With Todd Boeckman looking exceedingly competent, the Buckeyes are the conference’s sweater-vested Vader (again) until further notice.
Oregon: A frightening indicator for LSU fans should be Dennis Dixon's eye-popping performance for Oregon this year as the one qb to rule them all after Gary Crowton's departure: four games, 932 yards passing with 11 tds and no picks, 432 yards rushing and four tds on the ground--including the Bip Kiplinger's Backyard Football Play For Freedom-Loving American Youth Everywhere of the Year thus far:
Crowton over-tinkered with the offense during his Oregon tenure to Dixon's benefit: unfettered by genius playcalling, Dixon's thrived in Chip Kelly's new system.
Add to this that Dixon has done all of this with his eyes half-open and bloodshot for no reason besides his natural countenance and don't you dare draw any conclusions from that, and his exploits are even more impressive. They face Cal this week, who gave up several football fields of offense to Tennessee, a very much not good team, and has a decent but middlin' defense to match with Oregon's blazin' attack.
(Who knows? Maybe he's like Jim Brewer and Condi Rice in that he just looks high 'til he dies all the time. Whatever he may be, he's scoring touchdowns like a stoner downing whole hunks of angel food cake while watching Inter5tella 5 at 2 a.m. Harderbetterfasterstronger!)
Oklahoma. Gnarly, seemingly without chinks in the armor at this point, and finally stocked throughout the lineup with depth suggesting that years of sowing and planting by Stoops and company have reached some kind of bumper crop of talent all maturing exactly now. Interesting fact about running back Demarco Murray? Like a crocodile, he's only capable of running in straight lines. Also excretes a evenly distributed coat of WD-40 from a network of glands across his body, something scouts are very excited about. Both are working very well for him this season, since we haven't seen anyone tackle him or make him turn in any direction besides forward this season. And given the play of Texas' linebackers, that likely won't happen in two weeks at the Red River Rivalry game, either.
South Florida In our comments section, Barstoolio had this to say about Matt Grothe:
Matt Grothe looks like someone sucked the fat out of Ricky from Better Off Dead.
Handsome, perhaps not--gifted beyond his years, yes. Grothe's a dodgy, seat-of-the-pants car thief speed freak of a qb who plays like his probation officer is watching from row 12. (Perhaps a correlation here--Colt Brennan actually has a probation officer watching him from the stands, and he's doing all right passing the ink off the ball.) USF's always had the Stoops/K-State/Cover Two Man scheme to be competitive, including a lineup rife with marauding no-name linebackers. The most balanced team in the Big East, nothing to scoff at when you've got matador secondaries at both West Virginia and Louisville. (Syracuse? SYRACUSE? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE, SON???)
Louisville. I know this makes me like the guy who finally unloaded his shares of Worldcom circa 2004. But seriously, folks, this team disgusts me.
Texas A&M. For so long I have been waiting to drop the Aggies, they of such early performances as "I Was Outgained by a I-AA Team" and
"I Was Lucky to Beat Fresno State In Overtime," and finally they show their true, one-dimensional
incompetence in front of the entire nation. La señorita bonita Kyle Wright looked positively Zappatta-esque Thursday night, and for facilitating that, TAMU, you are sold low. I only wish I’d unloaded them sooner.
Navy. "The Midshipmen are still running the option with the precision of the disciplined, undersized future killers defenders of freedom they long to become, and actually managed to throw for 236 last week in a comeback, LAST-SECOND win over Duke.
But what is an aspiring nine-game winner doing going DOWN TO THE LAST SECOND against Duke? The Middies allowed 539 yards in another overtime game last week, a loss to Ball State, and gave up 36 points in the first half to the Blue Devils Saturday before rallying to win. The next three games: Air Force, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, all tentative favorites at the
Nebraska. The Ball State curse marches on. I may regret this, given the state of the Big 12 North –where, er, Kansas is the frontrunner? – but the Huskers can’t play defense, either, and are too close to 1-3 right now for comfort.
Iowa. Iowa plays despicable offense, and has for going on nearly three years, a mindfuck of a trend given Ferentz's reputation as an o-line engineer and the heritage of beefy but athletic Iowa lines. They've even got a speedy white wide receiver! Iowa teams with rocketshoe white receivers can't lose! Alas, this one does, and shamefully, especially given the good-to-great defensive performances they've given alongside the shambolic offensive play. Get that man a barbed-wire armband to complete the channeling of Tim Dwight's soul--anything to shake flatlined EKG of this patient.
TCU. Ahhhh---CHOOO!!! Holy hell, we've got to dust in here. What's this? TCU? What the hell? We haven't sold this yet? Oh, Christ. Our BCS-buster sucker bet for three years running and it's still sitting here in the garage? Until an offense arises--managing only 21 against a sad clown SMU team this week--TCU goes in the garage sale pile, Conference USA Mountain West table. (Stop changin' conferences, dammit! More than once every two decades makes mah brain speeyun! Hell, they changed tha name uh the Upper Volta yet? Burkina what? Never heard of it.) Ten bucks, lady. We'll throw in the "MICHAEL BISHOP FOR HEISMAN" t-shirt for free.
The Entire Big East. Exempting Louisville, which disgusts me, and Syracuse, which still sucks. Five of the other six teams in the conference have managed to navigate the first month of the season without a defeat, even if the marquee wins in that
group are over hapless Maryland, reeling Auburn, aforementioned Navy and crispety, crunchety,
Oregon State. Process of elimination begins Thursday with West Virginia at South Florida, both of which looked great against weak Carolinian competition in Saturday’s early games.
Alabama/South Carolina/Arkansas. The weekend’s big SEC losers are all in fine shape – South Carolina hung tougher than it had any right to against LSU, Arkansas still has McFadden and Jones and Alabama proves against it’s nothing if not resilient, even in defeat. Florida and LSU are the overlords, of course, there is no doubt about the hierarchy at the top, but the three New Year’s Day bowls are all still within reach. Which may just be another way of saying there’s
more to build on with all three of these teams at this point than at Tennessee or Auburn.
Miami. To repeat: Texas A&M deserves a substantial portion of the credit for making Miami’s offense look credible, and for failing to keep the game close enough to ward off the inevitable lingering over and subsequent interviewing of Patrick Nix’s pregnant wife in the second half. But the defense looked fast as ever, and the leader right now in the ACC Coastal? Virginia, as in "Cavaliers," not "Tech." The next two games are Duke and North Carolina before season-defining tilts with Georgia Tech and Florida State.
Florida. Conceited over-reactive panic? Sure--however, there's some empirical bedrock we're building this panic on, since the defense gave up over 300 yards through the air to a team Vanderbilt throttled. Fortunately, Brandon Cox is the quarterback of the team we're facing this coming week, and we've heard his cramps are terrible this time of the month. Still, he could throw for 42 yards and still possibly beat Florida in the Swamp, since like a journeyman boxer with ether soaked into his glove, Auburn has this cheap, shitcan way of scoring points without actually scoring points on you: safety here, eight field goals there, factory rebate for 3 and a half points cashed in during the third quarter WHAT THE HELL?
Anyway, the secondary scares the screaming shit out of us. That's all.