by Doc - 10/12/2005
How many of you that read my column remember the old Ballard song of Tom Dooley? Mr. Dooley, a western fellow, was scheduled to die for a crime he committed. As Mr. Dooley sang his song, part of it went like this, "Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down you head and cry. Hang down your head Tom Dooley, oh boy your about to die." And Dooley goes on, "Reckon this time tomorrow, reckon where I'll be, down in some lonesome valley, hanging from a white oak tree."
Before this Saturday's games, I felt like Mr. Dooley. Knowing that if I did not produce after a devastating week, I could be the one hanging from the white oak tree. Fortunately for all of us, we turned in a good 6-1-1 Saturday. The lone loss was Purdue, who was never really in that game. As for our Mountain West Game of the Year, Colorado State dominated the fourth quarter scoring three touchdowns, but did not make any of the conversions, so they ended the quarter with just 18 points. What a misfortunate event for anyone who tied this game. I've always felt talking about the past results is not worth much more then the paper, as I have yet to find a bookmaker who will accept bets on yesterday's finals. The upcoming schedule looks to be solid to work with, and I am very thankful that I am not hanging from that tree.
A couple of BIG upsets surfaced last week in the Big Ten, but only the Purdue loss really surprised me. What is with the Boilermakers defense? This squad returned all 11 starters from 2004 and was supposed to be one of the best teams in the conference. Their next test is facing Northwestern and their spread offense. This should compound the problem because if they lose this game, the Boilers may be facing the bottom of the tank.
The marquee game in the Big Ten this weekend has to be Penn State traveling into Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines. No question, the winner of this game has a good chance of winning the Big Ten Title. The Nittany Lions and their fans will be up for this game since they remain the only undefeated team in the conference. They took care of Ohio State and I am still kicking myself for not taking the under in that game, as it was obviously going to be low scoring with both clubs having dominating defenses.
The game this weekend will feature more scoring than last week, as it was apparent Michigan was looking ahead. The problem with that was the Gophers played well and Michigan suffered another home loss. Michigan and Penn State have not played the last two years, and their last meeting in 2002 was decided by a field goal in overtime. At this point, I believe one cannot overlook the Lions success, as this club reminds me of the Northwestern club a decade ago when everyone predicted they would stumble, but they just never did until the Rose Bowl. We will have a better handle on this game as the week progresses.
As we get into the middle of October, its time to start looking for teams that are starting to feel the squeeze, and may already be looking for the season to end. One has to wonder if Air Force has not come to that crossroad. The Falcons have now lost four games in a row; three of them came in closely contested affairs. Air Force will be in Colorado Springs this weekend playing a young UNLV team. The Rebels seem to be getting better with experience under new Head Coach Mike Sanford. They have a quick defense that should be able to contain the triple-option attack of the Falcons. The Falcons have been hit hard by injury and I feel the only side to consider is the road dog.
The big game this week has got to be Southern Cal heading to South Bend to take on the Irish. What an offensive shootout this should be! Do the Irish under new Coach Charlie Weis have a chance here? Or is the big bully Southern Cal been toying with the opponents, just waiting to make a splash in a Nationally televised game? We will have a side in this game and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with the selection.
A team that has surprised me thus far lies in Waco, Texas, as the Baylor Bears currently sit at 4-1. This team should be undefeated as they dominated Texas A & M in College Station only to come away with a three-point overtime loss. This week they welcome in Nebraska, a team that suffered a heartbreaking loss at home last week against Texas Tech. Will they have anything left in the tank? Injuries may have a part in my decision. Baylor needs this win as it may be their last one they will get this season.
This is a big week for us at Doc's Sports, as we will be going with our, "College Game of the Year." I have been waiting for this game for a couple of weeks and the line fits perfectly into my program. This team is absolutely loaded with talent and their opponent is vastly overrated. Love this game and I am confident in victory for this seven-unit selection.
We have already talked about teams going in the tank, but one must not forget injuries, as a few teams have been hit hard. This really affects mid-major programs as often times they do not have the depth to overcome injuries at key positions. Our website is a great resource to follow injuries as it is updated daily with the new information about certain teams. The following will list the degree to which certain teams have been affected by injuries.
First degree- Duke. Star RB Cedric Dargan and WR Ronnie Elliott are both doubtful for their home game with Georgia Tech. Back-up RB Justin Boyle is also questionable with a hip injury.
Second degree- Air Force, BYU, and Nebraska. All three teams enter the games as favorites but when one examines the injuries on these teams, one has to wonder how well they will play. We will definitely have a selection going against one of these teams.
Third degree- Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas A & M. Three of the four teams were believed to be challenging for the National Title, but injuries have played a role in their lackluster performances on the road. RB Michael Hart absence contributed to two of the Wolverines losses. Minnesota is really influx this weekend as both RB Laurence Maroney and QB Bryan Cupito as questionable.
An article that caught my attention in today's "Wisconsin State Journal" was an apparent investigation into criminal sex conduct by Minnesota Viking players. CB Fred Smoot and another Viking player reserved boats on Lake Minnetonka for a Thursday night excursion. The party grew to about 90 people and a woman called the Mound City Police to report possible prostitution, drugs, and live sex acts were taking place on the boat. About 15 Viking players were believed to be on board and when asked for comment Fred Smooth called the allegations, "Slanderous." Maybe Randy Moss was not the problem in Minnesota.
We love the schedule this week and are set to release our second biggest play of the year. Our College Game of the Year will go this Saturday and is a must have for any big game hunter. Last year's result was as easy victory as Arizona State took care of Oregon State by 13 points. Don't miss this year's game, as we are confident in victory.
That is it for this Week!