Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | September 9, 2011

Life continues (Or: NCAA Football Week 2)

OK, we can get tonight’s NFL season opener, which is [was] about to start, out of the way with the comment that it should be a pretty good game.  New Orleans at Green Bay.  Two of the league’s best QBs, with most of their starting line-ups healthy.  We do note that former Sooner Garrett Hartley, kicker for the Saints, is out with a hip injury for an indefinite period.  And speaking of injuries, Peyton Manning’s shoulder surgery has him iffy for the 2011 season.  He’s likely to be out for at least the first half of it.

[Note at the posting break:  Packers 42, Saints 27 in the 4Q.  Aaron Rodgers in charge.]

Some of us will also be watching #9 OK-State hosting Arizona tonight, however.  Big game for the Cowboys’ continuing top 10 hopes.  They are favored over a Wildcat squad missing its top wide receiver, Juron Criner.  OSU is in black and orange tonight, looking much spiffier aesthetically than last week, and pretty good on the field as well.  They’ve driven down to the Arizona 2 – OK, touchdown! – in the first 4 minutes. [Post-time note: OSU dominating Arizona 34-14 in the 4th.]

Tulsa will be at Tulane on Saturday to take on the Green Wave, a conference/division rival.  Tulane is known as one of the reliable punching bags of Conference USA (Memphis is the other one), but the Green Wave bagged a win over FCS team Southeastern Louisiana last weekend, and will be feeling feisty against the Sooner-thumped Tulsa squad.

This annual match takes place every other year in the Superdome, where tiny contingents from each school do their best impression, in the vast echoing chamber, of the “We are HERE!!!!!!!” chorus from Horton Hears a Hoo.  Their bands make a little more noise, but not much.  Tulsa gives 13 in this one, and you can safely take ‘em.  (Tulane did let the Southeastern Louisiana Lions score 33 points.)  The Golden Hurricane needs this one to survive September without losing its division hopes.

This is Oklahoma’s bye week; the Sooners will be preparing to meet #5 Florida State on the 17th.  The Seminoles are taking it easy on Saturday as well, hosting the FCS/Div IAA Buccaneers of Charleston Southern (motto: “We’ve got chutzpah!”), who lost 62-0 to C-USA’s Central Florida last week.  Apparently no one is willing to bet on this match, which makes perfect sense to us.

Navy travels on Saturday to Western Kentucky, home of the Hilltoppers, and gives 10 but might oughta give more, after the performance against Delaware.  That said, the outmatched Hilltoppers held the Kentucky Wildcats to 14 points in their outing last week, and won kudos for their hitting and tackling on defense.  So it could be a game.  Army will be down the road from TOC at San Diego State, where the Aztecs are justly favored.

Virginia Tech is favored by 17 at East Carolina, another perennial C-USA stand-out that dropped to a top 25 team last week (South Carolina; motto: “The other USC”).  The Pirates are almost always in divisional contention in C-USA, but their chances aren’t good against the Hokies. As the season wears on, #11 VT looks to have a strength-of-schedule problem, with none of the ACC rivals they will play ranked in the top 25, and a relatively weak non-conference schedule.  Other than FSU, they’re certainly the early stand-out in the ACC.  But the two teams won’t play unless (until?) they meet for the ACC title.

Nevada kicks it off big time on Saturday at Oregon, where the Ducks are smarting from their whuppin last week.  The oddsquad has Oregon giving 26, but we’re thinking the Wolf Pack has a chance to cover.  The Ducks are by no means a juggernaut, as LSU proved, and their defense could stand to speed up.  Nevada will be shaking out some key offensive starters who have finally made it to the head of the line, but their biggest challenge will probably be stopping the Ducks’ fast-paced attack.  The good news is, they don’t have to start worrying about it until about 22 minutes into the game.

Elsewhere in the PAC-12, where only #6 Stanford and #13 Oregon are in the top 25, Cal will be taking on new PAC-12 member Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), and looks likely to go 2-0, after downing Fresno State last week.  Stanford should roll handily over Duke.  In other FBS action, a marquee game between #3 Alabama and #23 Penn State will get lots of attention on Saturday.  Much as we love JoePa and the Nittally Lions, we figure the Tide will triumph.  Air Force might give TCU some heartburn, though.

In Division II, the Bulldogs of Southwestern Oklahoma State host Southern Arkansas for Parents Day in Weatherford, OK.  The SWOSU Bulldogs became the first member to win a game from the new Div II Great American Conference (est. 2011), with their victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State last week.  This was a record-setting achievement we were previously unaware of.

The NWOSU Rangers will head to Pueblo, CO to take on the CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, who topped West Texas A&M 26-24 last week.  WTAM was ranked #19 in Div II, but the big news was that the Thunderwolves’ offensive coordinator, Chris Symington, rose to the challenge at the Big Texan Steakhouse (I-40, Amarillo) and consumed a 72-ounce steak in 59 minutes.  We wish the Rangers well, and have two words for them:  “ROAD TRIP!!!!”

In Division III, the Christopher Newport Captains host the Stevenson University (MD) Mustangs, another non-conference opponent.  The Mustangs, who play in the Capital Athletic Conference, lost to Shenandoah in their season opener.  From what TMF tells us, it sounds like the Captains have a good shot at going 2-0, even without a top-class kicker.  At least the musical accompaniment will be top-notch.

Rose-Hulman has a bye this week, but will roar back on the 17th to face non-conference foe Kalamazoo.


Responses

  1. Actually Stevenson is the host… CNU is on the road.. or river, as the case may be… We have so much rain that most of the I95 corridor out to the Piedmont have declared states of emergency. IT keeps raining and there is nowhere for the water to go.

    It could be a mud bowl in Maryland for the Captains… I wonder if they get to show up in the “Susan Constant”, “Godspeed” and “Discovery”?
    🙂 GO HOKIES!!!!! GO CAPTAINS!!!

  2. Thanks for the update, TMF. Mud Bowl, aye. Few things I can think of more depressing than being in the mud in Maryland. Best of luck to the Captains and Hokies.

  3. Final in Stillwater: OK-State 37, Arizona 14.

    Final in Green Bay: Packers 42, Saints 34. Not without drama there in the last few seconds, with a do-over for the Saints following the interference call on the Packers. But NO couldn’t punch it across.

    • Okay, this just in (LOL): Putnam City North (disclaimer: my son is in the band) beats Mustang High School in double overtime 35-32.
      North secondary made a “just in time pick” to rob Mustang of a winning touchdown in the second OT. North drives and kicks a field goal for the win.
      Sam Bradford is still missed at North.

      • Hey, we’ll take that. Both younger sisters are Panthers (long since graduated, of course). I’m a proud Pirate, from the era when 5A was the biggest conference category and PC (The Original) was tops in both academics and athletics in the state.

        I know. That was a while ago. There wasn’t even a PC North yet.

        (One of my sisters was the band major for North her senior year.)

        • That is Too Cool J.E.!!!!!!!!
          I parked at the west entrance at PCO last night and walked to the stadium. We were the home team. Sat on the North side.(Just to give you a visual).
          PCO crushed North last week in the first game. PC scored 25 in the 4th quarter.
          Many kids opt to go to Original from throughout the district.
          We are thinking of setting a place at the table for you!!!!

          • It is, of course, way too cool to be a Pirate. Not everyone has the chops for it.

            That is interesting that kids opt to go to PCO now. There was a period when no one with two brain cells to rub together would have “opted” to go there. I’m very glad to hear things seem to be looking up.

            Our senior class gift to the school was the Pirate Pete shield on the northwest face of the school, near the main entrance (at least it used to be the main entrance). Looking toward the corner of 50th and Ann Arbor.

            On the other side of the school, where the commemorative bricks are laid, there’s one with my name that says “Semper Vigilans.”

            I’ll be there in spirit with you on every football night, for sure.

  4. Should have watched the Packers/Saints OC. That was some mighty fine quarterbackin’.

    I think Oregon will be fine. The system does not (rather CWisdomy but true all the same) work all that well against physically superior teams with a lot time to prepare (e.g. Ohio State, Auburn, LSU – final #s deceptively good for Ducks).

    I don’t wish to be rude but I have to say the situation at Penn State is rather agonizing. Its difficult to say how much control Joe Pa has had over the program since 2005 (when they began enjoying a revival after a half decade in the pretty much – for them – the dumpster) but its hard to imagine that someone could engineer a meaningful upswing in a major college football program in his late 70s (I know Amos Alanzo Stag went on for a while). They seem to have found a modus vivendi superior to that which existed at FSU until the advent of the current regime but I do not think it reflects all that well on Jo Pa himself even as “His Wins” pile up.

    I think this is most unfortunate as his personal conduct and character (and the very long lived success of the PSU program which can be attributed that conduct and character perhaps almost as much to his football acumen) are so comprehensively exemplary. Its sad to see even the most exemplary people not be able to leave in a timely manner but I suppose its often an inevitable result of the human condition (really what did Jerry Rice have to achieve or to prove as he desperately tried to get the minimum from any team that would have him)? In any case I hope Joe Pa stays safe in that box.

    Any weekend with college football is a good one of course but this one seems a little flat after all the LSU-Oregon excitement (though really almost any game involving LSU can be exciting and is always colorful). Luckily we have the OU-FSU game to look forward to next week.

  5. I feel your pain on JoePa, cavalier. Although I have to say, it doesn’t bother me as much as melodramas like poor Brett Favre’s. That guy spent his last couple of years looking like he was disoriented and wandering around in traffic. Even Steve Young and Troy Aikman (motto: “Ring my bell!”) figured it out quicker.

    When a guy hits JoePa’s age and stature, I figure it’s between him and his Maker. He’s already gone where I’ve never been before.

    I agree, Oregon will defeat Nevada. But the Wolf Pack has a good chance of keeping the point spread under 26.

    The Friday night game featuring Missouri and Arizona State might have some zing to it. Missouri should do the trick, of course. It looks right now, however, like Oklahoma’s main competition in the Big 12 will be from up the road in Stillwater.

    Ah, the smell of pigskin in the fall!

  6. Oh, and:

    “Should have watched the Packers/Saints OC. That was some mighty fine quarterbackin’.”

    What makes you think I can only watch one game? 🙂 I did watch Packers/Saints. The edge I’d give is to the Packer D, which seemed to keep Drew Brees under a little more pressure than the Saints managed against Rodgers. But definitely a meeting between two very fine QBs.

  7. Well, TOC missed the tip on Mizzou-AZ State. The Sun Devils deserved the 37-30 win in OT, after dominating throughout the game. Basically, they brought it, Friday night, with a performance that should do their ranking some good. The Tigers wil drop, of course. Their young QB, Franklin, is showing some good stuff, but they’re a tad wet behind the ears in general.

    Interesting that no one mentioned the Michigan-Notre Dame game yet, a match-up from a storied series of yesteryear. The real NCAA action has moved south and west. The sportsbabblers went into full overhype mode on the game yesterday, but I don’t think the fans are fooled.

    • Archaeologists have discovered the last time ASU had a legitimate claim for a national title. It was when I was attending school there. So you are forgiven for overlooking what turned out to be quite a game. ASU has some offense, but their defense is still questionable, allowing Mizzoo to close a two touchdown deficit and put themselves in good position to win with an accurate FG. I saw some promise on both teams, though.

  8. As expected, Tulsa romped over Tulane. The actual romping was delayed to the second half, but a romping there was. 31-3.

    Navy romped over Western Kentucky as well, 40-14.

    In a triumph for critics of TOC’s handicapping prowess, Oregon not only covered the 26 points with Nevada but packed on 23 more. Wolf Pack’s got some work to do on — well, both sides of the ball. The Ducks had a fire under their tailfeathers after the loss to LSU. Their uniforms were as icky as always. Why teams with strong colors think the neon gray is a good idea is a mystery to us here at TOC.

    Virginia Tech looked ridiculous against East Carolina, although they pulled it out 17-10 in the end. The Pirates are a good team, and it’s not like they haven’t beat the Hokies before, but on Saturday the Hokies were beating themselves. I believe we counted 10 penalties by the half. The penalties undid much of the very fine work turned in by the running backs. Clean it up, Hokies. They’ll be getting an earful from Beamer this week.

    (Viewing note: although the channel banner kept calling this another game, we were unaccountably given the opportunity to see the VT-ECar match here.)

    Charleston Southern (motto: “We’ve got chutzpah!”) actually scored 10 points on Florida State’s freshman third-stringers, in a 62-10 loss that will set the Seminoles up for their collision with the Sooners on Saturday. It ought to be interesting. OU has finally put together an SEC-class D again, if the Tulsa game is any indication. (The Charleston Southern point total is a little deceptive. The brave Buccaneers ended the game with a total of 84 yards of offense and 3 first downs.)

    In other interesting news, Ohio State had trouble shaking Toledo, finally pulling it out 27-22. Oregon State was destroyed by #8 Wisconsin, 35-0, in a continuing indication that the Ducks-Beavers game will probably be pretty one-sided this year. San Diego State topped Army, but just barely, 23-20. The Knights put up a pretty good fight. Cal edged Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) in basically the same manner, 36-33. We are sorry to report that Minnesota’s Golden Gophers lost to New Mexico State, perennial punching bag of the WAC, 28-21. This doesn’t look to be Goldie’s year.

    Texas struggled to inch past BYU, 17-16, in a game that most definitely could have gone the other way. Michigan got past Notre Dame 35-31 in another such game. I figure most folks know the SEC was out destroying everything in its path (including fellow SECers), as their featured games get all the TV coverage and reporting.

    Sadly, in Div II, Southwestern Oklahoma State lost to the Muleriders of Southern Arkansas 31-22. The Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers went down hard to the Thunderwolves of Colorado State U-Pueblo, 41-0, in Pueblo. The University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos lost as well, 30-23, in a penalty-laden heartbreaker to Southeastern Oklahoma State University. (Yes, there is a state university for every cardinal point of the compass in Oklahoma.)

    Things didn’t go a lot better in Div III. The CNU Captains lost in 2OT to Stevenson, 46-43.

  9. Speaking of football… wow, the Steelers looked terrible against the Ravens today. Cosmic justice finally settling on Roethlisberger?

    We’re getting Minnesota-San Diego out here instead of Giants-Redskins. In terms of quality of play, it looks like we’re not missing a lot. Still, I’d rather see first-hand how the NFC East teams are shaping up in these early days. We got the Iggles-Rams here as the first Fox game, and Philly looked pretty strong. A few shaking-out-the-fidgets mistakes. Vick was “on,” for sure, though.

    Houston rolled fiercely over the Peyton-less Colts, 34-7.

    On to Dallas at Jets. The Cowboys will miss Terence Newman at the corner. On offense, they’ve got Witten, Austin, and Bryant all healthy, which is a darn good thing. Any bets on whether it’s a really competitive year in the division?

    • you didn’t miss anything at all by missing the Redskins/Giants.

      the Redskins are still pretty bad and beat a Giants team playing without half the starting D. Redskins look like they might improve throughout the year. Giants look like one or two more injuries will end their year before it starts.

  10. that was a nice lick that Burress put on Jenkins. probably knocked him onto next week.

  11. Wasn’t easy, but it looks like Romo passed the Jets to a victory

  12. It takes a village to give the Jets a victory, clearly. Darned Cowboys. That absolutely unnecessary interception was, well, absolutely unnecessary. Romo had help giving the Jets their win, but he gave it his own best shot.

    Sigh. Next week.

    • I gotta admit that the Jets didn’t do much to help themselves and that when you don’t even try to put a body on a guy coming right down the middle to block a punt, you’re helping Romo snatch defeat from the jaws…., but you would think that after being too stupid to throw the ball away with goal to go and instead running right into a fumble, Romo might have decided that throwing a pass to a receiver who was not looking for the ball and was blanketed front and back to the point where he couldn’t even get out of bounds if, by miracle, he caught the thing, just wasn’t a real smart play.

  13. It wasn’t the first time of the night, either. Romo did rather make a career yesterday of throwing to receivers who were buried in Jets. Settle down, Tony.

    Not sure I thought I’d ever say this, but I miss Parcells, The Pokes need someone to make them march on the parade field until they get it right. Maybe a couple of takes-a-village losses will knock the loosey-goosey out of them.

  14. That is a bit of a headscratcher, you pining for a carpetbagger like Big Bill.

    Know what you mean though, we missed him like heck when he left the Jints, but I think that Garrett’s gonna be fine…..given what he’s got to work with.
    Not sure that Romo is ever gonna be much more than a physically talented QB with a very average dose of ” cool and calculating”.


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