Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekend Preview: 9/16/2005

Something to think about: How good is the Big 12 really?

We know Texas can go to Ohio State and beat them. We know that Iowa State surprised Iowa. We know any Big 12 team can beat a Sun Belt team. But other than that, the results have been disappointing.

- OU lost to TCU, a team that has beaten 2 BCS teams from last year (more on their second victory below, keep reading), and let Tulsa hang around.

- Missouri lost to New Mexico at home

- Colorado needed a last second field goal to beat Colorado State after the Rams basically outplayed the Buffs the majority of the game.

- You could probably figure this out based on the above info, but it bears repeating: The Big 12 is 1-2 versus the Mountain West.

- Texas A&M lost to Clemson. Granted it was a road game, and A&M did rally, but A&M could not stop Clemson's passing game.

- Kansas State only beat Marshall because the opposing coach gambled on a pass play to get more yards when he should have kicked the game winning field goal. The Wildcats did not look good that game.

- Oklahoma State needed a 4th quarter touchdown pass to beat 1-AA Montana State, and the defense bailed the offense out in the win over FAU.

- Prior to their upset of Iowa, Iowa State allowed 3 touchdowns to 1-AA Illinois State.

- In Texas Tech's big victory over FIU, the first team defense allowed a bunch of long drives.

- Kansas has not really looked good in either of it's blowouts.

- Nebraska was not impressive against Maine (though they looked better against Wake Forest).

- Baylor barely beat SMU, who will be one of the worst teams in Conference USA when it's all said and done.

The Big 12 may be better than the Big 10, but given the Big 10's recent results against BCS teams outside of conference, that may not be saying much.


Getting their weekend off early

TCU 23, Utah 20 (OT)
The BCS conferences can breathe a sigh of relief. They won't have to worry about splitting the pie with an undefeated mid-major again. (Granted, UTEP could still go undefeated, but they aren't playing anyone of note, which pretty much excludes them from any BCS buster talk.)

It's probably safe to say that the Mountain West has been decided. TCU went to the ground to beat last year's BCS buster and the other top team in the MWC, a strategy which will prove effective against every other 3-3-5 Stack defense in that conference.

It's also probably safe to say that last week's Horned Frogs loss to SMU was a fluke.

By the way, the officials did miss a pick on the winning play, but Utah could have helped themselves by scoring a touchdown instead of a field goal on the opening drive. Had they gotten 7 instead of 3, the pick play would have tied it instead of won it and the Utes would've had another chance.

Utah also could have avoided overtime completely by containing TCU freshman running back Aaron Brown, who went off for 163 yards. 163 yards to a freshman not named Adrian Peterson? Pitiful.

Big XII/Texas Game of the Week
#23 Oklahoma at UCLA

Saturday 2:30 PM ABC (KVUE 24)
Regional Coverage: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, El Paso, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Rio Grande Valley, Tyler, Lufkin, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Ada, Wichita, Western Kansas, Shreveport, Albuquerque, Jonesboro (AR).
OU needs this one in order to re-establish itself as a contender going into their Big 12 schedule. The question may be whether or not they can get it. UCLA is better than a lot of people expected, they have solid performers on both sides of the football, a dark horse Heisman candidate in Maurice Drew. Plus, they can be surprisingly tough at home for teams that have to adjust to the Pacific Time Zone.

Key Matchup
Maurice Drew vs. Oklahoma's defense
Maurice has put up some good numbers, but against bad competition. Oklahoma allowed only 1.7 yards/carry against TCU and 2.5 yards/carry against Tulsa.

Key Player for Oklahoma
Rhett Bomar
At some point, OU will be in a passing situation. Rhett Bomar needs to show he can be the man.

Key Player for UCLA
Drew Olson
Here's OU's passing defense stats through their first 2 games:
OpponentComp %Comp.-Att.YardsYards/Catch

And here's Drew Olson's stats through 2 games:
OpponentComp %Comp.-Att.YardsYards/Catch
SD State66.7%10-1515215.2
Yo! Think someone's going to have a good day throwing the football?

Tale of the Tape
Oklahoma offense vs. UCLA defenseUCLASimply put, OU has no passing game, which simplifies things for UCLA's defense
UCLA offense vs. Oklahoma defenseUCLARunning defense, good, Passing defense, not so much.
Special TeamsUCLAKickers seem to be even. I give UCLA the edge in the return game.
CoachingOklahomaBob Stoops is a better game coach than Karl Dorrell, but he may have his toughest coaching job yet.
IntangiblesUCLAOklahoma doesn't have the swagger and they are waiting for someone else to make the big play instead of trying to make it. UCLA, on the other hand, comes in with a bit of confidence.

Big XII Games

SMU at #25 Texas A&M
11:30 AM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
A&M, after a bye gets a chance to reintroduce itself to the nation after the debacle at Clemson. SMU isn't as good as their win over TCU would suggest.

Baylor at Army
2:00 PM ESPN Classic
Baylor would like to have a win going into their Big XII schedule, but Army will play them tough. Don't think it will be a "classic", but it will be a tight ball game.

Pittsburgh at Nebraska
2:30 PM ABC
Regional Coverage: Omaha, Lincoln, Albion, Western Nebraska, Sioux Falls (SD), Sioux City(IA), Des Moines, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Joplin, Springfield. (Cedar Rapids and some portions of Missouri that border Illinois will get Ohio State-San Diego State)
Speaking of teams needing a non-conference win to prove themselves, Pittsburgh needs this one after bad losses at Ohio (not State) and against Notre Dame. Nebraska's played two soft opponents, and is looking to down a 3rd cupcake before their conference opener.

Rice at Texas
6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Can the Longhorns put the big win in Columbus out of their minds. It helps that they are playing Rice this week, but the Longhorns need to play assignment football.

Troy at Missouri
1:00 PM
Missouri suffered a bad loss last year at the hands of the Trojans, now they get to avenge the defeat this year at home. The real difference: Brad Smith now has the green light to run at will. (He has 299 yards already)

Sam Houston State at #20 Texas Tech
6:00 PM
Jarrett Hicks returns for Texas Tech as they host last year's Division I-A runner-up and former Tech QB Phillip Daugherty.

Louisiana Tech at Kansas
6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech comes off a blowout against Florida and now must play Kansas. Kansas needs a big blowout here to put everyone in the Big XII North on notice.

Bye week
Kansas State
#24 Iowa State

Our Adopted Team

As we said last week, Cheap Seats is adopting the Tulane Green Wave because we love their attitude in the face of being displaced by the Hurricane

Mississippi State vs. Tulane
at Ruston, LA
Saturday 7:00 PM CSTV

I know Mississippi State's an SEC team, but they're a bad SEC team, and Tulane is a very dangerous team that will play anyone anywhere.

Other Texas Teams

Houston at UTEP
Tonight, 7:00 PM ESPN2
UTEP has a chance to get an early jump on the Conference USA West race by beating Houston.

Tulsa vs. North Texas
Saturday, 7:00 PM
After getting blistered by Adrian Peterson, Tulsa now faces the 1-2 rushing attack of Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas.

National Games of Note

#4 Tennessee at #6 Florida 7:00 PM CBS (KEYE 42)
Michigan State at #9 Notre Dame 1:30 PM NBC (KXAN 36)
Oregon State at #11 Louisville 11:00 AM ESPN
#10 Florida State at #16 Boston College 6:45 ESPN
#14 Miami (FL) at #21 Clemson 2:30 PM PPV
Fresno State at Oregon 6:00 PM TBS


Pittsburgh at Houston
Sunday 12:00 PM CBS (KEYE 42)
Well, the expansion label is off this year, so we can officially say that the Texans stink. And it only gets worse for them as the Pittsburgh Steelers come to Reliant Stadium.

Key Matchup
Texans' D-line/ILBs vs. Willie Parker
One thing for the Texans to give up a ton of yards to Willis McGahee, but not being able to stop a one-week fantasy wonder would be a bad sign going forward.

Key Player for Pittsburgh
Tommy Maddox
With Ben Roethlisbeger possibly not starting, it's up to Maddox to manage the game and complete passes when necessary.

Key Players for Houston
Texans Offensive Line
This offensive line simply has to be better than Week One.

Tale of the Tape
Texans offense vs. Steelers defensePittsburghTexans could possibly be the worst offensive team in NFL history.
Steelers offense vs. Texans defensePittsburghNo matter who starts at quarterback for the Steelers, The Texans' defense can't stop a three-toed sloth.
Special TeamsPittsburghTexans have an unreliable kicking game and return game.

If anyone knows Dom Capers' tendencies, it's Bill Cowher. Capers was once Cowher's defensive coordinator.

IntangiblesPittsburghThe pressure is squarely on Houston to produce. The expansion label is gone and the natives are restless.

New Orleans at New York Giants (Let's not kid ourselves)
Monday 6:30 PM ABC (KVUE 24)
San Antonio's new temporary home team plays it's first home game, but they are not playing it close to home. Oops on the NFL's part. Still, it's not like the New York Giants are good or anything.

Key Matchup
Eli Manning vs. Saints Secondary
The Saints held Jake Delhomme to 209 yards passing and forced a couple picks. Eli Manning threw a couple picks against a bad Arizona defense, though in a win, and now faces a secondary a heck of a lot better.

Key Player for New Orleans/San Antonio
Deuce McAllister
Fantasy owners have known what it's taken the pundits a while to figure out (and some still don't get it) McAllister is one of the top 5 backs in the league. New Orleans's offense revolves around him.

Key Players for the New York Giants
Will Peterson and Will Allen
These guys will be in single coverage much of the time as the Giants' safeties will have to provide run support. In the NFL, single coverage favors the offense.

Tale of the Tape
Saints offense vs. Giants defenseNew OrleansCan't stop the Deuce. Won't be able to stop the play action.
Giants offense vs. Saints defenseNew OrleansLet's see 42 points against a real team before we decide Eli Manning is for real.
Special TeamsNew OrleansJohn Carney... Good night everyone!
CoachingNew YorkTom Coughlin can get the most out of a bad team. You never know what to expect from Jim Haslett
IntangiblesNew OrleansThey have nothing to lose, and they are going to play like it.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Monday 7:00 PM ABC (KVUE 24)
One of the NFL's few true rivalries lines up for another edition this Monday Night, but don't expect it to be close. Washington is a mess despite their 9-7 opening day victory over the Bears

Key Matchup
Mark Brunell vs. Dallas's pass rush
Brunell doesn't have the mobility that he used to and the Cowboys can really put some heat on the quarterback.

Key Player for Washington
Clinton Portis
A solid rushing game will take some of the heat off Brunell and give the Redskins more makeable 3rd downs.

Key Player for Dallas
Rob Pettiti
Can the unheraled rookie right tackle hold up against a very good Washington defense?

Tale of the Tape
Dallas offense vs. Washington DefenseDallasWhile the defense is the only functioning part of this Redskins team, Dallas got some good yardage against a good San Diego defense.
Washington offense vs. Dallas defenseDallasIf LaDanian Tomlinson, the best back in the league, only got 72 yards, what makes Washington think Portis is going to get more? Did we mention the quarterback situation is a mess?
Special TeamsDallasJose Cortez was reliable on extra points at least and Mat McBriar is capable of completely flipping the field.
CoachingDallasWhile Bill Parcells seems to have adapted to the modern NFL, Joe Gibbs still seems stuck in the past
IntangiblesDallasDallas is coming off a big victory and Washington already has a quarterback controversy

Monday: Weekend Wrap-up
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