Thoughts on Week 4 Action
I guess we have to start with the most exciting game of the night between Notre Dame and Michigan State. I don't know about you, but Notre Dame has to be the luckiest team in any sport, ever. It just all seemed to fall their way in the 4th quarter. Quinn, who had a very lackluster first half, put it all together in the second to have a pretty good day stats wise but if you watch the game you would see that his Heisman chances are fading fast.
As for Michigan State, I think it signaled the end for the John L. Smith era. He won't get fired before the end of the year but you can all but bet that after his final game, bowl or not, he'll be given his walking papers. I still don't understand the play calling. Up by 4 with only a few minutes left, why throw the ball? The option with Stanton was working and even if they were worried about a fumble, just tell him to keep the ball. At least the clock would have continued to run or make ND use their timeouts. It will be interesting to see how this team responds. The past two years after heartbreaking losses this team has gone into the tank.
Ohio State looked above average in their win against Penn State. The game was not as lopsided as the score indicated, but if Iowa and Michigan watched the game they will see the Buckeye's weakness. It is defending the run. Tony Hunt had a good game rushing the ball and if you recall Texas also had a lot of success running the ball. The Buckeye's corners really impressed me. They are big and physical but also can man up. Troy Smith had a sub par game which will drop him from #1 on my Heisman list but he did what was needed to win the game. The field was in pretty bad shape so Ted Ginn wasn't able to get much done either.
Penn State fans shouldn't jump ship just yet. They played much better than they did in South Bend, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Especially in the passing game. This was suppose to be the strong suit for the team but right now it is the weakest link. The offensive line is playing much better than expected and so is the defensive line. Why the Nittany Lions don't stretch the field with their receivers is beyond me. They keep running little outs or crossing patterns and without stretching the field the safeties do not have to worry about the deep ball. Morelli needs to work on his check downs. It is pretty obvious who he is going to throw to each time because he stares them down. Like I said, no need to panic yet but these little things need to be worked on.
Virginia Tech and Georgia both survived some scares, and NC State pulled the biggest upset of the week defeated Boston College. That right there proves that NC State only does good against teams that don't use non-qualifiers. The ACC right now is in total disarray, where any team has a legit shot in winning. My esteemed friend Ron talked about the struggles of Auburn against a much weaker Buffalo team. I am going to give Auburn a pass this week. They played an extremely emotional and physical game last week against LSU so a letdown this week was not a big surprise. They are still a great team and still #1 in my poll.
Texas opened up Big 12 play by easily putting away Iowa State while Oklahoma had an easy time with Middle Tennessee State. Next up for the Sooners is Texas in two weeks in the Red River Shootout. The Longhorns don't have the luxury of a bye before the game...wait yes they do, they play Sam Houston. That will be a nice scrimmage for them
A few other things I learned this week are to quit picking the Gophers to win and stop picking against the Cal Bears. The Bears once again proved that the first week against Tennessee was a fluke by stomping on Arizona State. They have a 35-14 lead at half and never looked back, and don't look now but Marshawn Lynch is creeping his way back into Heisman talks with another 100 plus game. Finally, WVU won again, although it was a lot closer than most expected. The biggest surprise of that game, Slaton finished with only 80 yards rushing.