Fourth and Inches
Week two in college football is now history. Were there any big surprises? Indiana +20, winning straight up over ranked Oregon had to be the biggest. This Hoosier team has improved and one might see a couple more surprises by this DiNardo led outfit!
Another big upset was Fresno State's win over Kansas State. However I personally wasn't that surprised, for this is a very solid club. Fresno State has a good chance to go undefeated. The biggest roadblock might be on October 23 when they travel to face the high-scoring Boise State ball club.
Looks like Michigan State could be in for a long season. The Spartans can't run the ball and can't stop the run. Michigan State hosts Notre Dame this week. Normally this would be a great spot for the 'homer' as the Irish are coming off a big Michigan win. Laying the wood can be the only choice here!
As the results came in on Saturday, I could have kicked myself for not taking USC over Colorado State. All week this game was in my sights, however the 24 points scared me away. USC rushed for 320 yards against the Rams, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. I rather doubt that it will get any easier for Colorado this week as they host Minnesota. The Gophers had 415 yards rushing in their opener and 303 yards last week. Minnesota probably has two of the best backs playing at the same time in Marion Barber III and Lawrence Maroney. It could be a long night for the Rams if that running attack becomes real effective.
Speaking of Minnesota, this club should be in the Big Ten title race. A very exciting ball club, but one has to wonder where the fan support is. Only 34,000 fans showed up at the Metrodome. Only 22,000 fans showed up for the Northwestern game and the Illini drew only 47,000. One has to keep that in mind when you talk about home-field advantage.
I wasn't surprised at all that Iowa State stayed with Iowa. In fact the Cyclones were our Top Pick last week. We have some excellent connections at Ames and they honestly thought they could win straight up. Getting 24 points, it didn't take us long to make the decision. The Cyclones missed three field goals, which hampered their chances. The Cyclones return home this week against a good Northern Illinois club, while Iowa will get a real test traveling to Arizona State. One of these games could be on the top of our list.
Ohio State did it again. Apparently the 'rabbit's foot' hasn't left the Buckeyes' side. A late field goal capped the victory. How many of those games did Ohio State win last year under some of the same circumstances? The Buckeyes travel this week to a well-coached North Carolina State club. The Wolfpack beat Richmond in their opener, 42-0, and they had last week off. The big question for NC State is their QB play, as they lost their All-American QB Rivers through graduation. I certainly will take a good look at this game, which should be a low scoring affair. I know the 'rabbit's foot' wasn't so lucky for the rabbit, so one has to wonder how long it will continue to be lucky for Ohio State.
Emotions. The high's and low's always become such a huge part of handicapping. One example this past week has to be the Rutgers club. They had a big win over Michigan State two weeks ago, only to return home last week and be flat, losing to New Hampshire. Always keep that in mind when you make your choices. A big upset may cause a flat performance the following week.
It certainly didn't take long for the Penn State followers, who thought that the Nittany Lions were back to their old form, to come down to earth. The team will continue to disappoint, especially as a favorite. The Lions should win at home this week, but then have to travel to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
I had a chance to go to the Wisconsin /UNLV game. The Badgers should have covered the 16-point role with ease. Two short missed field goals certainly didn't help the cause. The defense looked good again for Wisconsin, who has yet to give up a touchdown. The offense continues to struggle and struggle big. This club will get its true test when they go on the road October 9 and 16. Mark these two games on your calendar.
Wisconsin travels to Arizona this week. I certainly wouldn't take the favorite, but one wonders whether you can trust the Dog!
I watched the Dallas-Minnesota game this past week. I was impressed with both clubs. The Vikings won easily and they will be a team to watch. I think Dallas will improve as the season goes on. They have an outstanding offensive line. The Cowboys are at home this week against Cleveland. Could be a play. We'll see.
Speaking of the Pro's, we had an outstanding Sunday, going 3-0. Hopefully we'll sweep the board. As of this writing Monday night is pending.
Living in Wisconsin, everyone always seems to think we live in a deep freeze. Winter can be hard, however the Autumns are just outstanding. Soon the leaves will turn and the beauty is breathtaking. Of course one of my favorite pastimes is hunting ducks and pheasants. As the good old boys used to say, "It can't get any better than that!"
One part of handicapping college football you should never overlook is the over/unders. Teams that have an average QB or simply can't strike quickly, certainly deserve an under look. Of course defense plays a big part. In the Big Ten, Minnesota is a team that is an over candidate, while Wisconsin will continue to be an under, with a very good defense and not much offense.
Keep a lookout for our college Game of the Year, which will be released on Friday!