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Week 5 Preview


Week 5


Alright, enough is enough, no more tune up games; no more schedule enhancers, it’s time for the rubber to meet the road and see what teams are made of. Some teams have already had tests and we at salute them. Most of those teams are in the SEC but some other teams stuck their necks out, as well. Now get your cigars out, this weekend is going to be good. As we all know life is too short to smoke bad cigars. We’ve got some good high profile games, there will be upsets, and other teams will prove they’re who they’re supposed to be. Who will be which? Not sure but we’ll have a great time Saturday finding out.

First game has the Ole Miss Rebels traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on the Number One team in the nation, Alabama. Readers of CSF know that my brother and his wife graduated from the Ole MissUniversity of Mississippi, so within the Sutton family there is tension. Luckily we all went dove hunting together last week before this game;- got all our shooting done then.  Smart scheduling, Rick. Ole Miss comes into this game three and oh, with their great heralded class of freshmen. Two weeks ago the Rebels got some revenge against Texas and were pretty much unstoppable. They ran all over the Longhorns (of course everyone is running all over the Longhorns), but they also passed on them. The Reb defense didn’t stop UT cold, but they had more stops than not. So, these freshmen of the Old South University are having an impact. In listening to Head Coach Hugh Freeze, he couldn’t be more pleased with his charges. “They are the most humble, hungry, grounded kids. They’re just really, solid good kids and all they want to know is how they can do better.” That’s a great way to build a program, players that are not selfish and know that it’s a team sport and that they can play better, be better and make the team better. The wins will come as they get better. So far this team has knocked off Vanderbilt, SE Missouri St, and Texas. Vanderbilt is the only one that scored more than thirty points on the Rebels. Ole Miss’ strength has been a balanced attack. First the running game, J. Scott is coming into his own. At the beginning of the year there were questions as to whether or not he could handle being the featured back, and the beating that position might carry with it. So far, the answer is, yes. Scott has run for 330 yards and is averaging 9.4 yards per carry. That’s a great average! Bo Wallace is looking like a much different, much improved passer, with 4 touchdowns and 648 yards through the air. One reason he looks so good is that E. Engram the freshmen receiver is doing great! He’s already caught more passes than any other freshman in the history of the Ole Miss program. They’ve only played three games and he’s already broken that record. Nice! Defensively they haven’t stopped anyone, okay, SE Missouri, but the Rebels still gave up 13 points. Against Vanderbilt they couldn’t stop the Commodores, but they did slow them down; against Texas they had some stops but still showed a bunch of leaks. In the first half, momentum flowed back and forth and UM was behind at halftime. The second half, the Rebels adjusted and did well. This team is not going to stop Alabama, they are going to give up scores, they’ve just got to make sure they stop the Red Elephants enough. The Rebels can move the ball, agreed, but underclassmen are prone to mistakes that kill drives and stymie momentum. They can’t let the pressure of playing the Number One team in America before 103,000 screaming, rabid fans in Tuscaloosa get to them. Bama is going to throw different looks, disguise their coverages, show Wallace something he hasn’t seen, so let the games begin!

Alabama is ranked Number One in the nation, they sit at 3-0, they’ve played two big games, VA Tech and the game of the year (so far anyway) against Texas A&M. Against the Hokies, they didn’t play like the big Crimson Elephants, against Texas A&M they sat up and played like crimson_tideeveryone thought they could. Against Colorado State, Alabama won, 31-6, but they didn’t run the ball well at all. The Tide has great running backs, with talent and drive, but, looking at their numbers after three games, they surely haven’t shown it. Granted, Yeldon was held out of the Colorado State game for most of the first half as punishment for  his unsportsmanlike penalty against A&M. But still, against the Rams, Bama couldn’t move the ball on the ground? What gives? The opinion of CSF its simple, Alabama is playing to the level of its competition instead of playing to the level of their potential. Let me say that again, Alabama is playing to the level of their competition and not to the level of their potential. This has got to drive St. Nick Saban out of his mind. Everyone in the world knows this year’s team is loaded with talent, they should be walking all over teams like CSU, but they’re not. Against the Aggies, the Offensive line was the key to winning. Those big ole hogs took over the game, they became aggressive and quick and provided the key to Bama’s victory. If the Aggies didn’t have the luckiest QB in the world, they would have been beaten a lot worse than the score indicated. AJ McCarron is having a great year, 50-78, 702 yards and 6 touchdowns, who would have thought the passing game would be the strength of the this team? Has that EVER been the case in T-town? I can’t remember, but then I’ve only been alive for 45 years so it’s possible. My editor is older than I by three decades, and he mentions someone named Harry Gilmer, but I think he sometimes is delusional. Alabama will move the ball against the Rebels defense if the big boys of the offensive line play like they should. They could dominate the game. Ole Miss just doesn’t have the manpower to match up for sixty minutes. Defensively, Alabama is struggling. They gave up 600 yards to Texas A&M, that sucks, and it looks bad. But take a closer look at that gameand you’ll see that there were at least 4 times that they stopped the Aggies, only to have a call go against them on a third down and allow the A&M drive to continue. But even with that, Bama scored 35 unanswered points. The Tide’s defense was stopping the Aggies even with that lucky number 2 guy throwing the ball. They did give up some big plays that cost them, but otherwise, the Defense did well. There are few other teams that could have put 42 points on them like A&M did. Ole Miss runs a no huddle, quick offense. Alabama’s defense will have to make adjustments, but they will. The D can shut down the Rebel attack, but they cannot, no way, no how, underestimate the boys from the Magnolia State. If they do, they’ll be making a bad mistake and Tide players will end up watching the Rebels celebrate before 103,000 rabid, but crestfallen, fans.  Like, say, the A&M players did last year. CSF doesn’t think that will happen, Alabama will Roll but it could turn out to be a tough, hard-fought game.

What’s this? A second big SEC game? Say it isn’t so, Joe. But, it is, LSU travels to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium.  Georgia started off with three out of four games against top GeorgiaBulldogs10 teams. Clemson, they lost, South Carolina  they beat, and now LSU. Only three other schools have faced a schedule like this;- North Carolina, in 2001, and Arizona and Tulsa is 2011. UNC went 1-2 while UA and Tulsa both lost all three games. So this game is crucial both historically and in the present. Georgia wants to be a national contender and finish what they started last year, making it to the BCS championship. Do that they have the horses to flaunt history and beat 2 out of three top 10 teams in the first weeks of the season? The Dawgs have a top offense that is hitting on all cylinders.  Running the ball for the Bulldogs is the sophomore tandem of Gurley and Marshall. Gurley has 377 yards while Marshall has 117. They are both averaging over 3 yards per carry and both have scored TDs. Georgia is averaging 213.3 rushing yards per game. Not bad, considering who’ve they’ve played. Passing, this team is on fire. QB Aaron Murray has completed 72% of his passes for 1040 yards with 7 TDs, and only 2 INTs. When they played Clemson, the Georgia offense marched all over the field. Were it not for a field goal attempt gone awry, they might still be playing to see who won. Then, against USC (South), the Dawgs were mad, and it showed. Even though it was a tough outing, UGA was going to win, they had that attitude, and when the second half came about, they asserted their authority and it was case closed. Georgia was going to win, and win they did. They earned it. Now, this high-octane offense has to prove itself again. QB Murray, it has been said, along with Coach Richt,  can’t win the big games, Murray gets flustered, makes mistakes. He, they, silenced some critics with their performance against the Gamecocks. If Murray wants to shut them up completely, now’s his chance. He’s a great pocket passer and a good game manager. If he beats LSU, his confidence is going to skyrocket and Georgia will be hard to beat the rest of the way.  UGA has an SEC defense, right? They haven’t held anyone under 20 points all season. Clemson, 38; South Carolina, 30; North Texas, 21. There is a slight downward trend and that’s improvement. But now they have got to step up and make plays. LSU is too good to fool around with. If Georgia’s defense doesn’t make this the best game of their lives, the G-Men will succumb to history and drop two out of their three Top Ten foes

Raise your hand if you knew that Mettenberger, QB for LSU, grew up at UGA, was recruited by Richt? (Put down your hand, Dad.) Heck, Coach Richt watched this kid grow up because his mom works for the athletic department at Georgia. I have to admit that I am not raising my hand. Side note here, Coach Richt told the fortunate Mrs. Mettenberger that she had this past week and this weekend off from work. That’s a good move. Now this Georgia native is having one of the best LSUyears as a QB in LSU history. In four games he’s thrown for 1026 yards with 10 TD throws. That’s a couple of yards behind Murray but Zach’s got him on the TD passes. This is going to be a game highlighted by whose quarterback has got it going better. Zach didn’t play well last year until the Alabama game, when he broke out of his shell and had the game of this life. (He’s still not forgiven for that). The rest of the year he did great and he’s blossomed under his new Offensive Coach. Will his mind be affected any Saturday? He grew up a Bulldog fan, was on the UGA squad, but was kicked off for legal troubles. Now, he’s back. Georgia fans, the peaches that they are, have not forgotten those times and they don’t forgive very well, like, not at all. Mettenberger can’t let any of that affect him. UGA’s “D” isn’t what it was last year and the LSU offense can move the ball on them. LSU is playing the best of any of the SEC schools right now. They are ranked 6th in the nation, which, in CSF opinion, is way too low.  OK, I hear the naysayers, mainly my daughter, who is not fond of LSU, telling me that they haven’t really played anyone yet. And, to her defense, she has a point. UAB, Kent St. and Auburn don’t strike fear into the hearts of many. TCU was a good game, but LSU never put the Frogs away. Auburn was down 21-0 at half and they scored 21 points in the second half. Did LSU take their foot off the gas, maybe, but still, giving up 21 points in the second half doesn’t scream great defense. Against UGA the Tiger Defense has got to play better. Murray and Company are not UAB, Kent State, or any of the others.  This is going to be a game of whose defense stops the other team, or, more likely, slows down the other team more. Both offenses are playing great;- defenses, not so much. Are these SEC defenses? We didn’t go through a wormhole and come out in an alternate universe where the SEC rules college football by…Offense?  Really?

Now it’s time to move up north to the Great White North Conference where Ohio State hosts Wisconsin. Ohio State sits at 4-0 and has the eyes of the Nation on them. Heck, OSU should be 4-0, they’ve played Buffalo, San Diego St, California and Florida A&M, If they weren’t 4-0, ohio state logosomething would be terribly wrong in the Buckeye state. Now they play a team ranked in the top 50, #23 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have had a little uneasiness at quarterback with Miller getting injured. Everyone says he’ll be 100% for this game. OSU is ranked 6th in the nation in rushing, and 4th in points. The passing game is hurting a bit, ranking 76th. These two teams have had some humdingers of games. Last year, Ohio State needed overtime to win 21-14. Before that, they traded games. Now it’s time to see what Urban Myer’s got. Are this year’s Buckeyes the team that everyone wants them to be? Don’t know. They’ve played great against schools that rank in the lower third of the national rankings. Rah-Rah Ohio State. (yes, there is a dash of sarcasm in those words) OSU needs to dominate the run game, they’ve got to establish dominance at the line of scrimmage. If they’re able to do this, they’ll keep the big play option of the Badgers on the sideline. If they don’t, and have to go to their passing game, it could be dicey. Miller will give them a boost and the element of a running QB. Head Coach Urban Myer’s offense relies on a mobile QB, one that can run and one that has to be able to read what the defenses are doing. Remember Tim Tebow, at Florida, Alex Smith, at Utah? Miller struggled last year against the W defense. But he’s hasn’t played in awhile. There better not be rust on him because the boys in white will be more than willing to knock that rust off. Defensively, this is going to a major test for Ohio State.  They lost just about everyone that played defense last year, they’ve got young players who have played well in the first four games but this is Great White North time against the team that won the conference title last year. Yeah, OSU was on probation, and so was Penn State. But, regardless, Wisconsin won the title. Now it’s time for the Buckeyes to step up and become what they were recruited to be, dominant.

The Badgers come into this game with a chip on their shoulder and that chip is called Arizona State. They feel like they were gypped, and looking back on the ending of that game, they were. It’s doesn’t mean they would have won, but they could have at least made it to overtime. Last week, the Badgers beat up on Purdue 41-10. This team is going into attack mood, they’re going to attackWisconsin all the time. Their mantra seems to come from General Patton, in WW II;- Attack, Attack Attack, never hold on to anything, Attack all the time. They want to hold the Buckeyes by the nose and kick them in the rear. Actually, this bunch wants to kick the snot out of everyone they play from now on. They are using the ASU game as a wake-up call. The frozen Badgers are a running team and they love to break the big plays. They average 349 yard per game on the ground. Passing the ball…..lets just say they run the ball really well. Wisconsin knows how to put up points, too, not just Ohio State. The Badgers have scored over 30 points a game so far and only in their loss to the Sun Devils did they fail to score 40. With the Buckeye’s defense looking weak, Wisconsin’s running backs are licking their chops, the offensive line is licking its chops, they want this game and they want to run the ball. If they struggle, and let OSU’s D-line penetrate the middle, it’s going to be a very long game for the Madison faithful, because passing the ball is not, I say again, NOT, the Badger strength. The defense looked a little weak against the only big time school they’ve played, Arizona State. Maybe the chip on their shoulder will help them out. They’ll need it. This game is always a hard-hitting, entertaining contest. Who wins? Wisconsin.

Traveling a little ways west to South Bend we have Oklahoma looking for revenge against  Notre Dame. Oklahoma comes in at 3-0 and the “Bell-Dozer” is looking goooddddd at QB. Why this guy wasn’t named the starter at the beginning of the season, CSF doesn’t know. Knight was the starter Oklahomaand he got hurt, Bell has stepped in and shown he should be the number one signal-caller. Last year, the Sooner laid down and let ND run all over them. The mighty Sooners were exposed as not even close to being what they thought they were. Now, it’s time for payback.  OU is racking up yards like nobody’s business, averaging 490 yard per game. They can run the ball, and, with Bell under center they’ve proven he can pass now, too. Against West Virginia they struggled and Knight proved ineffective. Bell will be a difference maker. The Sooner Defense has only allowed one team to reach double digits, Tulsa, who got 20, and the argument can be made OU was standing down because they were so far out in front. But it’s the defense that is going to be tested the most by the Irish. The secondary needs to be shut-down good. Oh, and they better be very careful, because Michigan State received multiple pass interference penalties that kept the Irish in the game last week. Has there ever been a controversial call that went against Notre? OU will be aggressive in defending the pass, and I’m sure there will be a call or two against them. The Sooners need to play ND like Bama did, just overwhelm them at the line of scrimmage. Go straight at them and don’t let up.

Notre Dame comes into this game with one loss, to Michigan, who is not really setting the world on fire.  The Irish had a close game against the Spartans last week and without the before-mentioned calls, could have lost to MSU as well. They have also beaten Purdue and Temple, but only against the Owls did they  have a double-digit lead. ND is hurting, they don’t have the playmakers or all the luck they had last year. Running the ball, they rank 100th in the nation, putting them in the bottom 3rd of all ranked schools. Passing, Reesis doing alright, ranking 32nd.thumbnail On paper this game appears to be a mismatch. OU out- ranks Notre Dame in every category except passing and even that one is close. The others are not. QB Rees needs to have the game of his life for ND to win this one. If he has pressure on him all game long and is not able to stand in the pocket their passing game is going to take a hit downward. Running the ball is not even an option for the Irish, maybe they’ll go to the run and shoot. Defensively they rank only 45th  , allowing an average of 21 points per game. IF they plan on stopping OU they’ve got to bow their necks and hunker down hard. The Sooners have the revenge factor and they have momentum, but many other teams over the years have had revenge in mind against the Irish, only to come away beaten yet again. Aside from officiating, there’s just too much going for Oklahoma, the Sooners win.

Short Smokes

California at Oregon, Ducks run wild, win easily.

 Wake Forest travels to Clemson, Tigers win (but everyone is still waiting for them the Clemsonize;- could this be the game?)

Texas A&M takes on Arkansas, should be a really good game, Arkansas is no pushover, look out for an upset here, but A&M should win.

FSU LogoFlorida St. takes on a much better Boston College team, FSU still wins.

Oklahoma State runs all over West Virginia who got shut out by Maryland last week.

Miami (FL) beats up on winless South Florida.

Florida goes to Kentucky with a new QB but they’ll still beat the Wildcats.

Arizona vs. Washington, both teams 3-0, Washington has played tougher slate, this one could be a toss-up, but CSF takes Washington.

South Carolina meets up with undefeated Central Florida who just beat Penn St. Upset? No. Gamecocks win.

SMU vs. TCU both teams at 1-2 looking for respect and an upswing. TCU “D” wins the game for the Horn Frogs

Tennessee takes on powerhouse South Alabama (the sarcasm just keeps coming) UT wins and the VOL fans will all scream how great they are until next week.

Virginia at 2-1 travels to Pitt at 2-1, should be a close game, one to watch. UVA pulls out the win.

Colorado goes into the Nike State to take on Oregon State. A Colorado win would go a long way in showing how this team has improved. The Buffs win.

USC takes on the Sun Devils, both teams are 0-1 in conference play. USC still has Kiffin as their coach, ASU wins and hopes the AD at Southern Cal gives Kiffinhis vote of confidence for another year.

Bonus Game! Sunday at noon eastern Fresno St. plays the Warriors of Hawaii. FSU (west) is at 3-0, Hawaii is at 0-3, the Bulldogs just got a win against rival Boise St. They’d better not take this game for granted. FSU (west) wins.

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