bruces1g's Football Blog
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What went down in Week 9 - The way I saw it

First of all, let me apologize for posting this late. I have been under the weather (more like sick as a dog) for the past couple of days. So you might also need to overlook spelling or grammar errors as well as worse-than-normal writing.

After two weeks of .500 picks, I am proud to say that I returned to form this week. Although it should be noted that Wade did equally as well as I did. In fact, he did better in the SEC picks, while I was perfect in the Next Best Three.

Both Wade and I were 8-2 on the week. This brings my total to a more respectable 36-13. No crow for me this week!

Now lets look at what happened this week...

WEST VIRGINIA over AUBURN: Wade hit this one dead on the head: Pat White played like a man out to prove a point. He had what could arguably be his best game of the season. Same for Noel Devine as they both sliced and diced what had been at least a decent Auburn defense.  Offensively, the best part of the Auburn attack was the kick return game as they had 174 punt and kick return yards. Compare that to the total net offensive yardage at 260 and that Divine alone had 207 yards for WVU and you get an idea how bad this game got. Auburn started out well enough, but by the end of the second quarter they were already on the ropes. After half time, it was all WVU.

I have no idea where to start with the Auburn team. On paper, they have talent galore, but in this particular game they appeared to play with no heart. Is it coaching? Have the players given up? I don't know but they better get a clue in a hurry or the season is going to get even uglier.

FLORIDA over KENTUCKY:  This was a killing from early on. Florida is hitting on all cylinders right now in all phases of the game. As much as it goes against my homer soul, I have to admit that they look to be the team to beat - and may be playing the best overall football in the nation. Think how large that loss to Ole Miss looks now, as the Gators could easily be sitting at the top of the BCS.

Now for a bit of rant on my part. I thought Urban Meyer displayed a total lack of class in this game. Even into the 4th quarter, in a game that was clearly decided, he has his offense throwing to the end zone. OK, I can understand that it is UK's job to stop them, but when you are that far ahead, to keep piling on with your first team, it is just overkill. And to do it to a fellow conference member is bad for the entire conference.  Shame on him and I do hope he gets a little payback in the future.

DUKE over VANDERBILT: I did not get to actually watch this game (evidently The Battle of Geeks is not that big of a TV draw), but judging from the game summaries it was an ugly affair. Vanderbilt QB Adams was a dismal 14 of 31 in passing. But breakdowns in the kicking game also hurt as Vandy missed two FGs that would have been the difference in the game.

On the upside of this game, David Cutcliffe could have been presenting his resume for the Tennessee job.

GEORGIA over LSU:  As I predicted, this game went the way of the Dawgs. However, this was a game that spotlighted some highs and lows for both teams.  Lets talk about the positives for both teams first:

Georgia's offensive line looked much improved. Moreno found holes aplenty as he rushed for 163-yards and Stafford was only sacked 1 time.  The pass defense looked good as well as they stymied Lee for most of the game and came up with 3 huge interceptions, two of which were returned for TDs.

On the LSU side, the running game looked strong. Scott returned to form with 144-yards on 21 carries. Against what was supposed to be a strong GA rush defense, the Tigers managed 188 net yards.

Now for the bad:

Time for an "I Told You So". Both teams got hammered by the rushing game. I have been saying all season (and there have been some strong disagreements) that both defenses were suspect to a strong running game.  This was very apparent in Saturday's game and the numbers put up by both Moreno and Scott. At times, both defenses looked lost in pass coverage - with LSU getting the worse end of the deal. Granted, Georgia's defense had the benefits of Lee's gifts and LSU's D was put behind the 8-ball early.  But a combined 90 points certainly doesn't argue defensive dominance for either team.

Georgia better get their defense in gear before next week or the Gators will be enjoying all the Cocktails at the party.

MISSISSIPPI STATE over MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE: Well, I was right, this one sure wasn't pretty, but the Bulldogs managed to pull one out. The fact that the 168-yards rushing was the highest of the season for Miss State is a telling fact about how bad this offense has been.

OLE MISS  over  ARKANSAS:  The Rebels had to hold off a much improving Hawgs team in a contest that went to the wire. Arkansas actually out gained the Rebels 386 to 369 yards, but the Rebs produced when they had to by holding off the Hawgs 4th quarter charge and producing 10 fourth quarter points to hang on for the win.

Auburn invades the Land of J. Crew next week and it could be a very interesting game.

ALABAMA over TENNESSEE:  Really not much to say about this one. In spite of the slow scoring early, Bama completely controlled both sides of the line for a dominating win. This might have been the most complete game the Bama team has played all season. The defense appeared to suffer no letdown without Cody holding the Vols to just 36-yards rushing for the whole game. JP Wilson was solid as he went 17-24 for 188-yards and no INTs. Julio Jones continues to mature as this was his first over-100-yard receiving.  However, Bama should have won this game in convincing fashion and there is still a ways to go in the season. But it always feels good to thump Tennessee (my homer moment).

Now for the Next Best Three.  I seem to remember that there was one or two semi-interesting games outside of the SEC.

USC over ARIZONA: It might not have been the "Desert Swarm" of old, but the Arizona D did a good job of holding the USC in check. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the USC defense was even better as they held Tuitama to just 88-yards passing on 30 attempts. But this was a good defensive game for both teams and USC did just enough on offense to get the win.

TEXAS  over OKLAHOMA STATE: Texas survived another level of the gauntlet that is their Big 12 South schedule and the defense (yes, shockingly) came up with two big stops late in the game to seal the win. The Cowboy's defense did get after McCoy and forced and uncharacteristic INT and fumble for the Texas Superman. However, if you looked at the stats for both teams you wouldn't realize that there was a tough defensive effort from both teams. The two combined for 920-yards of offense. Oklahoma State had the INT and fumble recovery to keep it close and the Texas defense did what it had to do when it had to.  The Horns defense better get lots of rest before next weeks track meet, er, football game in Lubbock.

PENN STATE over OHIO STATE: Now THIS is how a defensive game is supposed to look. Harkening back to the old days of extremely hard-nosed Big 10 football, both teams delivered hammer blows the whole game. Needless to say with two defenses playing that well, both offenses looked less than spectacular. Given how well the Ds were playing the deciding factor had to be who made the first big mistake. Pryor's fumble came as he was heading to the endzone for what would have been a go-ahead score and possibly a game changing moment.  Instead, it turned out to be just the spark the PSU offense needed as their back-up QB Pat Devlin put together a TD drive that was game difference. PSU's defense played as I thought they would and held Beanie Wells to just 55-yards on 22 carries. More importantly, they put the game on the shoulders of Pryor and while he played well, just not well enough.

That is the wrap. I apologize again for what might not be the best quality writing I have done. I hope it wasn't too unbearable.

As always, your opinions and insight are welcome but respect the "No Smack Zone" rule.  Also, let me hear the nominations for The Next Best Three for next week.

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