The Ferringo Report: College Football
by Robert Ferringo - 09/12/2006
Here's a look back at the weekend that was in college football, broken down by what liquor I was heavily drinking on each day:
FRIDAY - TEQUILA
- Friday night is always the calm before the weekend football storm. But we had a little action on the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati college game last Friday evening as sort of a primer for the next 72 hours. It turned out to be apt foreshadowing for a few bad beats that bettor's would undergo.
If you look at the score today you see that the final was 33-15 and it appears that the Panthers scored an easy cover. Not exactly. Cincinnati trailed 26-15 and had the ball at the Pitt 18 with just less than four minutes to play. On first down, quarterback Dustin Grutza missed a wide open - and I mean WIDE OPEN - Dominick Goodman when he overthrew a fade route that would've been a touchdown. Agonizing.
After two piss-poor officiating calls - one on a replay of an obvious catch and the other was a replay of a terrible spot - the Bearcats faced a fourth-and-one from the Pitt nine. Thanks to another awful spot, Grutza's sneak left Cincy less than two inches short. If they get that first down, they score and our backdoor cover would've came through. Instead, after holding the Panthers on defense, the Bearcats next possession lasted one play - an interception returned for a touchdown with four seconds left that probably put anyone betting the Under through the roof. Tough times all around.
SATURDAY - VODKA
- North Carolina (+13) was a very popular upset pick this weekend over visiting Virginia Tech. And things were looking good for about 14 minutes. But then the Hokies scored twice to go up 14-3 and the demoralized Tar Heels were done. Oh, and those two TD drives started at the UNC 1- and 2-yard lines.
- I heard that both the Bowling Green and Wake Forest football teams were forced to do the Elephant Walk of Shame through each of their campuses on Monday. OK, so I made that up. But there should be some kind of repercussions for their pathetic displays. Barely beating Buffalo and Duke, respectively, which are two fringe Div. I-A teams AT BEST is an absolute disgrace.
- I don't know about you, but I'm damn excited about this weekend's Auburn-LSU game. This right here could be the Game of the Year, and five of the last six winners of this game have gone on to win the SEC Championship game.
- Syracuse showed a lot of heart in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, taking No. 14 Iowa to the limit and to overtime. But the real story was Iowa's goal line stance to end the second OT. The Orange ran nine - that's right, NINE - plays from inside the Hawkeyes 5-yard line, including seven from inside the 1-yard line, and they couldn't score a game-tying touchdown. You have to take your hats off to Iowa and their defense, but Syracuse tried just one quarterback sneak and didn't give the ball to their No. 1 back once during that series.
- Is Leon Lett that dated? Fresno State freshman linebacker Ryan Machado was about six years old when Lett famously tried to pick up a blocked field goal on Thanksgiving of 1993. Machado made the same gaff in the Bulldogs game against Oregon over the weekend, resulting in the go-ahead touchdown for the Ducks in the third quarter. So anyone who took the trendy Fresno team over Oregon, you have Mr. Machado to thank.
- Colorado State showed that true College Football Grit this weekend, shrugging off arrest warrants being issued for three of its players and going on to handle their in-state rival in Denver. Felony fraud? Please.
- It was an interesting day for highly touted freshman quarterbacks on Saturday. There was Colt McCoy playing the role of "Deer In Headlights No. 1" against Ohio State (19-for-32, 148 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception). Georgia blue-chipper Matthew Stafford embraced the role of "Deer No. 2" at South Carolina (8-19, 171, 0-3) but had the defense to back him up. And finally, The Chosen One, Mitch Mustain of Arkansas (9-17, 123, 1-0) filled out the road kill trio with his play in a win over visiting Utah State. Stafford was the only one whose team covered the spread.
- I let on about it last week, but have to say it again this week; Rutgers is an absolute wrecking crew. They've now beaten an ACC team on the road and crushed a Big 10 team at home.
- Defense was definitely the name of the game on Saturday. Teams went just 21-27-2 against the total. But it also seemed like it was all-or-nothing in many games. Of the 64 games on the slate, 12 of them saw one team score six points or less. Seven of those 12 games were shutouts.
- New Hampshire became the third Div. I-AA team to topple a Div. I-A counterpart when they hammered Northwestern 34-17. On (Northwestern's) homecoming no less!
- What happened to that Mean Machine Oklahoma defense? One week after coach Bob Stoops called out his charges, hinting that the unit may be overrated, the Sooner defense gets hit for 20 points by an underwhelming Washington team.
- Gutsy performance by Boston College over the weekend, and they were rewarded with a slot in the AP Top 25. Granted, the Eagles definitely benefited from a few "hometown calls" in that overtime gem (the block in the back on the kickoff return and that late interception replay come to mind) but you have to give them credit. Matt Ryan wasn't even supposed to play, but the most underrated quarterback in the ACC managed the game and picked up a critical win.
Oh, and hats off to Antonio Clay. The Clemson defender played a great game, notching 12 tackles, after burying his sister on Monday.
- Even though it didn't work out, I think Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry made the right call to go for the win on a two-point conversion against Tennessee. To be honest, I loved the call. Even if DeBerry is a racist. On the road, against a defense your line had been leaning on all day, I love the move to go for the jugular and play for the win. If nothing else, it sends a message to your boys for the rest of the season.
And even though the Vols won the game they lost two defensive starters. Cornerback Inky Johnson and DT Justin Harrell are done for the year.
- Jordan Palmer is to Carson Palmer as Frank Stallone is to Sly Stallone. Palmer's INT numbers are atrocious in his four-year career. He's on pace for 33 picks this season and now has 56 INT's in 30 games started.
- Here's your weekly conference update, taking into consideration only non-conference matchups. Also, my first week I think I counted conference games, but that shouldn't skew the percentages:
ACC: 4-2 straight-up, 0-4 against the spread (10-6 SU, 2-9 ATS for the season)
Big East:3-1 SU, 3-0 ATS (10-2 SU, 8-0 ATS)
Big 10:7-4 SU, 2-7 ATS (18-4 SU, 8-9 ATS)
Big 12:10-1 SU, 5-4 ATS (20-3 SU, 8-7 ATS)
Pac-10:5-4 SU, 3-6 ATS (12-7 SU, 6-11 ATS)
SEC:5-1, 2-3 ATS (13-5 SU, 8-8 ATS)
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