Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Down The Schedule......

Note: Beginning next week I'll extend this to the entire UGA schedule. For now, here's a look at what's going on with the next 5 teams the Dawgs' play:

South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
9/13, Columbia SC (3:30 PM EST, CBS)
Last Week: Lost 24-17 at Vanderbilt
This Week: vs UGA
The Gamecocks traveled to Nashville last Thursday night for the SEC opener against the upstart Vanderbilt Commodores, and left with a surprising 24-17 loss that was probably worse than it looks. Offense, in particular quarterback play, continues to be the big problem for the Cocks, with starter Chris Smelley the culprit this week. His numbers were OK (23 for 39, 233 yards), but 2 costly interceptions were devastating. Another fumble on a punt return (ball bounced off a blocker's leg), a blocked field goal, and another miss from Ryan Succop, contributed to the loss. The Cocks welcome the #2 ranked Dawgs to Columbia this weekend, and will likely be without its record-setting WR Kenny McKinley, who pulled a hamstring early in Vanderbilt game. WR/TE Jared Cook stepped up in McKinley's absence, tallying 8 catches for 111 yards. Spurrier has determined that two quarterbacks will play against UGA, although which two that will be remains a mystery. The Dawgs are 7 point favorites.
'Dores Take USC to School (The State)
Beecher: Garcia Getting More Snaps (The State)
UGA Ready for a Return to Dominance Against USC (Anderson Independent-Mail)
McKinley Out, Receivers to Step Up (The Daily Gamecock)
South Carolina's Cook has Productivity to Match Potential (Spartanburg Herald-Journal)
The Dread Offense (Joe Person, The State)

#10 Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0, 1-0 Pac 10)
9/20, Tempe AZ (8:00 PM EST, ABC)
Last week: Won 41-17 vs Stanford
This week: vs. UNLV (10:00 PM EST)
The victory over Stanford wasn't quite as easy as the score might look. QB Rudy Carpenter had a banner day, completing 27 of 36 passes for 345 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception, despite the Stanford defensive line generating a fair amount of pressure. This was a 27-17 game heading into the 4th quarter before the Sun Devils put it away. State's defense has been strong through 2 games against less than stellar offenses, allowing 15 points and less than 300 total yards per game. ASU is a 22 point favorite this week over UNLV.

#15 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

9/27, Athens GA (Time TBD)
Last Week: Won 20-6 vs Tulane
This Week: vs Western Kentucky (7:00 PM EST)
If there was ever a poster game for team being emotionally flat, the Tulane game might have been it. Regardless of that, the offense flat out stunk on Saturday. 20 points is bad enough, but its even worse when you consider that 13 of the 20 came as a result of a Javier Arenas punt return, and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. John Parker Wilson looked nothing like the quarterback we saw against Clemson, completing less than 50% of his passes for just 73 yards. The defense allowed some yardage through the air, but kept Tulane out of the end zone, and the Tide from suffering a major upset. Tulane still outgained Bama 318 yards to 172, and completely dominated time of possession. Alabama is a 28 point favorite over Western Kentucky.
Tide had a Clemson-sized hangover (Cecil Hurt - Tuscaloosa News)

Tennessee Volunteers (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: vs UAB (12:30 PM EST)
The Vols had a week to stew over the crushing 27-24 loss in overtime at UCLA. John Chavis' defense will look to improve on a lousy 2nd half showing against the Bruins. Despite Jonathan Crompton's inconsistency, the offense was actually a bright spot in Los Angeles, especially the running of Montario Hardesty and Arian Foster. An 0-2 UAB team allowing 47 points per game through 2 contests should provide little resistance. Tennessee is a 29.5 point favorite.
Vols Focus on Fixing Execution Errors (Chattanooga Times - Free Press)

#24 Vanderbilt Commodores (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last Week: Won 24-17 vs South Carolina
This Week: vs Rice (7:00 PM EST)
On the strength of a student section "black out", the Commodores stunned the Gamecocks in Nashville. While the offense was just "so-so", the defense did its job in holding the lackluster Gamecock defense to just 325 yards. Linebacker Patrick Benoist tallied 15 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for loss, to garner SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Vandy sits only 4 wins from its first bowl berth in over 25 years. The Commodores are a 7 point favorite at home against Rice.
Commodores beat South Carolina 24-17 (Vanderbilt University News)

.....and if I might, one random thought. Much has been made of ESPN's supposed "snub" of the Knowshon hurdle on any of its highlight shows Saturday night or through the rest of this past week. I haven't chosen to dwell on it, even though I am absolutely convinced that an ESPN bias against UGA does exist. I've actually been convinced of it for a few years now. Forget about the fact that the hurdle was the most breathtaking play of this young college football season. Forget about the fact that if Joe McKnight or Terrell Pryor had done it, ESPN would have run a continuous loop of just that play for 24 straight hours on ESPN Classic. Where I differ from most with regard to the conspiracy theory is in what I believe is behind ESPN's motivation. In my opinion, the sole reason for the "bias", is because the geniuses at ESPN know that it creates publicity for their network throughout the Bulldawg Nation. The more the Evil Empire acts like the Dawgs don't exist, the more we watch and the more we talk about it amongst ourselves. And whether we like it or not, nobody in the college football landscape cares more about what the media thinks about its own program than Dawg fans do. Not sure why that is or when it began, but it seems to be a fact. Its actually a pretty smart tactic on ESPN's part. Of course, it doesn't make me despise Kirk Herbstreit, Lou Holtz, or Mark May any less.
Enjoy the Dawgs and Cocks on Saturday afternoon.


Anonymous said...

As always. Spot on analysis JJ. I am sick of hearing ESPN talk about OSU/USC, wonder if UGA and ASU handle their business this week if the chatter on Sportscenter, College Football Live, Thurs night broadcasts will be as potent as this week. If consistency matters, the UGA/ASU game is the same game time 8pm on ABC as the OSU/USC game. Let's see if it is...I bet it isn't.

JJ said...

About the OSU/USC game, I am about sick of it as well. On College Football Live the other day Flutie spent 15 minutes (half the show) analyzing how USC would slow down Terrell Pryor, a guy that figures to play maybe 5-10 snaps in the game. I have a hard time believing they'll do the same thing during Ga/Fl week (assuming that both are ranked in the Top 5.)

Bop said...

Good stuff JJ. Even though USC has a much better defense, this game reminds me of my feelings before Clemson in '03. Especially now that McKinley is probably out the Cocks wounded offense should have 35 and company foaming at the mouth. I fully expect a double digit win. We jump them early and it'll be a rout.

If we open good holes for 24 and protect 7 tomorrow, it will be great news for the rest of the season. This Carolina team might be the best front 7 we face all year.