Hannibal and Orson issue the stock report for the week that will be in college football based on the weekend that was. Remember: all advice given for entertainment purposes, by which we mean you should totally blow your porn allowance on mock-stock hedge fund speculation involving college teams. Hannibal will add his expanded summaries in a bit.
Kentucky For the nth week in a row, stock up on Rich Brooks' Patented Energetic Oatmeal for Hip Oldsters Seeking Vim, Vigor, and Vitality, because Kentucky may be the class of the SEC East. (The keyboard just singed our fingers as we typed that--is that a Mac/Windows thing?)
No one except South Carolina in the SEC East defends the pass well, and they provide a natural complement to this strength by showing little inclination or desire in defending the run. Kentucky, despite the press hyperfocusing on Woodson, has the second best rush attack in the conference with Rafael Little, already flush with 547 yards rushing and the balance to their passing game. They're balanced, they make adjustments, and they're hitting a conference-wide dearth of talent in the secondary at the perfect time, which means their ninth-ranked defense only has to hold serve a few times to make things competitive.
(Again: the smell of burning flesh when typing...normal or not?)
"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.--Hobbes, Leviathan.
Oh, it's dire times when you drag out the Hobbes. But there's nothing left to believe in! NOTHING! Mutants wander the wastes. Oklahoma loses to Colorado. In two weeks, Rutgers, West Virginia, and Louisville all collapse like so many propped-up Papier-mâché 1989 Soviet satellite states. Florida loses with Master Chief at the helm (too many brutes!). Even USC struggles against a Washington team that, star-wattage wise, is a but a flickering, snapping flurorescent bulb of a team compared to USC's 10 million candlepower searchlight.
For certainty's sake...for Captain America...for Baby Jesus and Powerade. If Florida must get pummeled two weeks in a row, at least give us the sweet gift of certainty in the process. Let LSU be the Leviathan. And for fuck's sake, don't let it be the kicker who decides it. Beat us by thirty, LSU, or lose. At least that way, we get a victory along with our dizzying college football anarchy and disorder.
We're buying out of hope that at least "certain doom" still has some brand name value. As long as Glenn Dorsey hunkers down at the line and his huge, mean ass looms like the black sun of hell setting on the forlorn landscape of the damned...well, there's hope for doom, then.
Missouri. Yes, we're gonna get Pinkellated when they drop a big game they're supposed to win. It's a matter of time. Yet try to pick anyone else in the Big 12 with any certainty and see where you get. Kansas? K-State? You stick your hand in that bear trap, Johnny Crackers, 'cause we're not losing an arm over this. We've lost a finger or two going out on a limb for the Tigers before. That's a pain we're familiar with, and we'll take it.
Indiana. Will be 5-1 going after the Minnesota game this weekend. Terry Hoeppner lives on through the work of an undermanned but tough team and their brilliant qb toiling in obscurity, Kellen Lewis.
Florida State. I imagine Xavier Lee represents a genuine Faustian bargain for an offensive coordinator, who must trade his soul to the demon of unpredictability in exchange for an unlimited supply of raw talent. This may or may not be the case for Jimbo Fisher, depending on the number of incredibly athletic picks Lee throws before Drew Weatherford has to shuttle back in to play safety net with the screen passes, but I would have made the decision to go with stick with Lee a long time ago, once it became clear Weatherford , like Chris Rix, wasn’t improving from his up-and-down freshman campaign, only growing more boring in his ineffectiveness. Either way, if the defense showed up as it did against Alabama, the thoroughly mediocre Coastal division is ripe.
Illinois. [Redacted] has by all appearances redacted his team’s penchant for blowing winnable game after winnable game, as the Illini actually pulled out a victory against a worthy opponent Saturday it had every opportunity to lose in the fourth quarter. Besides blaming the entire sorry episode on Anthony Morelli, which is a reasonable thing to do, but Juice Williams, Rashard Mendenhall and receiving adonis Arrelious Benn are molding into a viable "Big Three" at the skill positions. This is perhaps less reasonable, but I was just waiting for one real win to jump on the Illini bandwagon, and if the goal is to buy low, I don’t think it’s going down any time soon.
Georgia Tech. After a stunning victory over Clemson--holding Spillerdavismechagodzilla to no tds--it only stands to reason that Georgia Tech will, per the rules of Chan Gailey Equilibrium, immediately drop this game against Maryland in College Park. There's little rhyme or reason behind this thinking other than the supposition that as streaky and unpredictable as Maryland can be, Georgia Tech is infinitely less dependable, even with Tashard Choice pounding out nasty, effort-filled yards up the middle for the Jackets. To roll with Chan Gailey as a value stock is to give your brilliant cousin the college fund to invest in his internet startup. You may end up rolling in ducats with five naked babes in a Dubai hotel room. You may end up rolling in refuse in a Mumbai gutter. You will not, however, end up in between these two scenarios.
Oregon This pains us physically to write this, since Oregon had seemed too lethal to this point. However, some plays snap your brain into irreparable pieces as a collective, and fumbling at the one and into the endzone to finish the Cal game may be that. Yes, it's a fuzzy psychological explanation, one that requires the assumption of a mindset, which has not stats and nothing empirical to back it up. We're still riding it. Recovering from such a thorough, deep kick to the nuts requires some vomiting, deep breathing, and serious, serious toughness from a team about to face a breathless Pac-10 schedule. A fractured soul is hard to recover from as a unit, and that's precisely what Oregon suffered.
(We cannot type this enough: losing like that makes us want to weep for Oregon. No ironies here--just a license to poundon your chest and wail like a Greek grandmother for what happened to them. We'd post a clip, but we don't have any tissues lying around at the moment.)
Texas. No offensive line=disaster, but the most troubling thing about the Horns is that they have no identity on either side of the ball. Are they really very good running? Passing? Rushing the passer? I think Texas can still stop the run on defense, and otherwise is a completely mediocre team all the way around. I was fairly quiet about my doubts re: Colt McCoy as a central playmaker coming into the season, and I wish I hadn’t been. Without a running game (which, despite a couple backs I still think of as very good, Texas does not currently have), he seems overwhelmed.
Alabama. Ditto John Parker Wilson, I guess. I still believe Bama has problems on defense - Florida State scored three touchdowns, after all - but Saturday was the first time I felt the Tide had really holed back up inside the offensive shell it knows and loathes. The team can’t score on a respectable D (all it will face from here on out, except Ole Miss) until its back is against the wall, and that’s only worked once.
Penn State. Ditto Anthony Morelli, I guess. Black Shoe Diaries laid it down on Morelli immediately after the Lions’ loss Saturday:
With Penn State within one score of taking the lead or tying the game, the last four drives all entered Illinios territory. They ended interception, interception, fumble, and interception. All on the head of Anthony Morelli. Four times the Nittany Lions had a chance to take the lead or tie the game. Four times Anthony Morelli blew it.
I don’t really have anything to add to that, except to ask, who outside of PSU fans is surprised by Morelli’s failure? Not me. I’m only surprised the defense looked so helpless against Benn.
Florida. The pass defense sit around like track and field officials, and on Saturday night, Brandon Cox threw a javelin into them. No pass rush, no pass defense, and no ability to diversify the attack outside of Tebow smash. Florida law prevents us from handing off to running backs, in case you didn't know it. Look it up: it's in the criminal code, man.
Still ridiculously talented. Still ridiculously young. The variance on quality of game with this team is still nigh-immeasurable: one game, they'll be mediocre (Ole Miss), another, unstoppable (Tennessee.) And occasionally, they'll just shit the lair altogether, as they did Saturday night.
Texas Such a phenomenally talented, pampered, and otherwise gloriously potentialized athletes can't perform this badly unless under the sway of some kind of organizational malaise, which is all we can really guess is going on with Texas. Colt McCoy has no iron run game to stand him up, leaving him to overextend and make the kind of gut-ripping errors that led to 4 interceptions against K-State. The defense and Iowa State coach Gene Chizik are now both looking across 843.2 miles and realizing they've both made a terrible mistake.
Florida. I thought Auburn executed an outstanding offensive gameplan against a young defense Saturday, and the UF offense was more efficient than anyone seems to be willing to recognize. Tebow spent too much of the game on the sideline while the Tigers milked the clock, and still only lost on a ridiculous last second kick. I don’t think that setback was any more damning than the loss at Auburn last year (maybe less, actually), and the offense remains much better off in Tebow’s hands than in Chris Leak’s. Reserve judgment until we see what happens at LSU.
Oregon. Given Oregon’s recent past, a loss like Saturday’s could be the start of a schizophrenic spiral, but the offense has too many weapons to fade away. Of all the stocks that still look like blue chip options, this is the one that still requires the most extreme caution.
Oklahoma. My expectations are that the Sooners rebound this week and make a scorched earth march back to the BCS with championship aspirations until the bitter end. But Sam Bradford finally showed his vulnerable side, which, while a hit with the ladies - and freshmen are so susceptible to the manipulations of the fairer sex, aren’t they? The gullible, pick-tossing bastards - is not so good for a winning football team. Still the best team in the Big 12, but that doesn’t appear to be worth much and maybe worth even less in another month.