Bourbonstreet’s Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Week 3

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Bourbonstreet’s Championship Series TOP-10:
1. Ohio State
2. So.Cal
3. LSU
3a. wvu
5. Auburn
6. Oklahoma
7. Notre Dame
8. Florida State
9. Texas
10. Miami

My final-4: (every team has a good shot to play in Glendale Arizona)

#1 Ohio State:
Last week: beat #1 Texas 24-7
This week: VT week #4 opponent, Cincinnati

I had previously said I liked Ohio State to beat Texas on a neutral field. I
now like Ohio State to beat Texas on any field, and Ohio State is firmly
ensconced at numeral uno. And yes, all Buckeye entrenching tools now read “We’re
#1!” Helluva effort down in Ann Richards country last week! The scoreboard did
not show how soundly Ohio State controlled the game. To be 69th in rushing
offense, and 70th in total defense you would not think that to be a 1st best
football team, would you? But so long as QB Troy Smith makes big-plays, the
Buckeyes will win out. The ‘Nati is up next; that’s a ho-hum 30-7 keep the
Buckeye starters healthy for Iowa kinda game.

#2 Southern Cal:
Last week: Idle
This week: Nebraska

Nothing USC to report from last week, but I do know that giving So.Cal head
coach Pete Carroll extra time to scheme is not wise idea. NEB beat the (blank)
out of Nicholls State last week, and appears to have rediscovered its fabled
running-attack of yore. This is clearly not 2004’s 5-6 Cornhusker football
team. Though the black-shirt run-stoppers could use a little work. Look for
So.Cal to exploit the newbie NEB DT’s as much as possible. And how does an out
of conference slate that reads NEB, Arkansas and Notre Dame strike yah? No
cupcakes allowed, or worn down by season’s end is how that strikes me. I like
So.Cal here in a very good game that the Trojans pull out somewhere in the 2nd
half.

#3 LSU:
Last week: beat ‘Zona 45-3
This week: @ Auburn

This is a very good football team folks. The Bayou Bengal defense really
pounded the Wildcat offense into total compliance last week. A very physical LB’ing
corps and only two senior starters dot the LSU defensive unit. So as good as
they are now, this group will be even better in 2007, and that’s a scary
thought. But can they beat Bo JacksonU away??? More on that below, but being
elevated to 3rd in my Bourbonstreet Championship Series poll should be a hint to
you. But in the mean time, consider that this LSU football team has seven different
single-digit Team Category rankings out of the 17 rankings I track. That’s
pretty-well amazing after only two games played!

#3a wvu:
Last nite: abused ACC Maryland in Mo-town, WV
Next week: @ East Carolina

Wow! wvu has offense to burn; likewise offensive overall speed. Give three
diff’ wvu offensive ballers a crack and they will give you a 6’er for it.
But Maryland’s big’ens did show me the way as to how to beat wvu. You will
have to lean/shove/push and lean some more on wvu’s smallish defense. And how
hard can an offense that only throws eight times be to couch, I mean coach,
against? But even then, you will have to win a shoot-out to put wvu down. And
for those of you still doubting-wvu-Thomas’s, wvu only out gained Maryland by
36 yards, but did so on an astounding 26 less plays! East Carolina has improved
over last year; as they held Navy’s epic rushing attack down a bit and they
did give wvu quite the scare last year in Mo-town. wvu will surely be mentally
down a notch or two this week as well. A lackluster win that will be closer than
it should be for wvu.

B.C.S. quality teams:

#5 Auburn:
Last week: shut out Miss.State 34-o
This week: GameOfTheWeek, LSU!

Charles Barkley’s old school hosts easily the GOTW for the 3rd week of
college football 2006. The only disappointing thing here is that this mega SEC
match-up is not being played at nighttime. Auburn was workmanlike last week, as
the Tigers took a play-calling page out of Stiney’s play-book trying to prep
QB Brandon Cox for the LSU game. Auburn’s defense has really played in their
opponent’s backfield thus far in 2006. But Auburn has three LB’s out for
this game, and it is LSU who holds the special-teams advantage. Couple that with
the fact that LSU has the better run defense and the more developed QB in one
JaMarcus Russell, and that’s enough to barely tip to the scales in LSU’s
favor on this one. Auburn will benefit from a large homefield edge, but that’s
not quite enough this week.

#6 Oklahoma:
Last week: beat Washington 37-20
This week: @ Oregon

Paul Thompson was much improved in his QB play for the Sooners last week, as
his reconversion from WR back to his 2nd stint at QB continues. But Oklahoma
turnovers must be limited, and the vaunted Sooner defense needs to live up to
all its preseason press-clippings in order to beat Oregon up in the beaver-pelt
state. If not, Oregon will trap Oklahoma via their Spaulding tennis balls on
acid blinding uniforms, and highly improved offensive play. Though the health of
these Beavers is a major concern, as they are the most beat-up team I see this
week in the Top-25.

#7 Notre Dame:
Last week: 41-17 win over Penn.State
This week: Michigan

Any time you take a JoePa coached Penn.State team out behind the woodshed and
beat them like that I take notice. But how do you beat such a dynamic
high-powered Charlie Weis coached offense? You take a page from Austin Powers
and steal the Norte Dame offense’s “mojo” by controlling the clock with a
running-game induced TOP advantage. In other words, keep the Fighting Irish
offense on their bench so that they can not feel their flow and get into
play-calling synch. If they do, look out! Michigan has that kinda running game,
and Norte Dame’s defense is only 63rd best. More on this game below.

#8 Florida State:
Last week: barely beat Troy 24-17
This week: Atlantic Division showdown vs. Clemson.

FSU is lucky to still be prefect. That was a shoddy effort last week vs. a
2nd tier Alabama school. But none of that will matter if the ‘Noles beat
Klempson this week, as that will give Klempson 2 ACC L’s only three weeks into
the 2006 football season. FSU has the next to last rushing offense in all of D-1
right now, but they are 1st best in stopping the run. So I’ll call that a
wash. It’s the ‘Nole Punt teams that could cause a real field-position
headache for Brubaker Bowden, as the Tigers excel in both punt units
performances. That typed, Klempson is hurting on the O-Line (both G’s) and all
over on defense. That’s asking a little much down in Tallahassee. Jen’s team
wins a close one, again.

#9 Texas:
Last week: beaten, 7-24 by #2 Ohio State
This week: (fried) Rice

“Will the real Mack Brown please stand up, please stand up.” Ahhhhhh….he just did. Ohio State Head-Coach Jim Tressell made sure there was no “return
of the Mack” to the MNC game in ‘Zona on the 8th of January 2007. Texas
actually ran well enough to win, and 1st downs were nearly even. But two
turnovers and a missed big pass here and another one there and you can forget
about the MNC. (and if Oklahoma continues to improve on Offense, you might also
have to forget about the BIG-12 auto-bid to the BCS). The Longhorn run game and
defense are stout enough, but QB-play (if Colt McCoy remains as the starting
pivot) is not. Up next: a beat down of the revamped Rice Owls, who have now
switched to a Run-n-Shoot approach forsaking their former Wishbone ways.

#10 Miami:
Last week: slapped Florida A&M silly 51-10
This week: @ Louisville

In the 3rd major 3:30pm Saturday kickoff, the ‘Canes must travel to
blue-grass, bourbon, and Denny Crum Metro polyester jacket country to try to
shuffle the ‘Cards. One thing one of my smarter football sources told me this
week was “You don’t want to play Miami when Miami feels they are being
disrespected.” Ask our very own 2005 Hokies about that. Miami opened as a
whopping 6 point under-dog, and in less than 3/60ths of an hour that line fell
to only Miami+4! The ‘Cane rushing attack got its much needed boost with the
return of RB Tyrone Moss last week, while Louisville will really begin to miss
the services of Bush this week. I love Miami’s defensive speed vs. Louisville
QB Brian Brohm’s bum knee to deal from the bottom of the deck and mark the ‘Cards
in Louisville this Saturday.

On the B.C.S. bubble:

#11 Florida. #11a Georgia: I have reversed the ordering of these
two this week because Florida QB Chris Leak sure looks far more settled in Urban
Meyer’s passing attack this year than last. That’s the sign of a heady QB
and one with some real athletic ability, in order to run Meyer’s spread
attack. Florida’s defense is much improved itself, but the Tennessee
Vol’s will provide a real threshold for accessing this year’s Gator football
team this weekend in Knoxville. Georgia is still off to something of a
soft’ish scheduling touch to 2006. So I won’t have the onField answers I
need to evaluate the Bulldogs until they play Tennessee themselves in week#6.
But I can tell you that the UGA offense needs an injection of big-play speed if
it hopes to make it to the SEC Title game, and QB Joe Tereshinski’s ankle
injury does not enhance UGA VI’s slow plodding ways one bit(e).

Darkhorses:

# 13 Boise State. Why is Boise State this high? Because of the
guts they showed coming back from 0-14 down to blank a very solid Oregon State
42-zip from that point on. The smurf-turf defense is mucho improved, and they
catch both Fresno State and Hawaii on that made for uva blue-field. Therefore, BSU
is looking pretty good to run the table right about now. #14 Michigan.
This Wolverine football team is very tough at the point of attack. A combined
8th ranked average of rushing defense and rushing offense says as much. On top
of that they can really rush the passer. That gives this (big)-Blue-collar bunch
a very solid 40% chance to upset the Irish. #15 Iowa. The Hawkeyes
were nearly caught looking ahead to instate rival Iowa State last
weekend. The visitor has won 6 of the last 10 in the battle for the Cy-Hawk
Trophy. But this time I like Iowa at home courtesy of their stronger defense,
and QB John Tate’s improving health (abdominal strain).

#23 Virginia Tech:

Consider the following: MV2 got 380 rushing yards, good for 6 TD’s in 2005.
Before him BR got 511 for 5 TD’s in 2004, prior to that BR & MV2 comboed
for 506 for 4 TD’s in 2003. That’s an average of 466 Yards worth of VT QB
rushing, good for 30 points worth of scoring per Season. Glennon is on pace for
-36 Yards Rushing. “Yes” that’s negative 36 on the year! Good for zero
points scored. So where will we make this missing QB induced offensive
production up? Via short-passing? Via an 81st ranked rushing offense? Maybe the
truer question is: can it be made up? Or was that an admission? Ore is doing
what he can, he sure made something out of not much, or straight up nothing
several times on last Saturday (five plays by my scorecard). But the better
teams we play can key on Ore and take him out of the game. IF that is all the
discernable weaponry our offense mounts in 2006. That typed, Glennon likely will
only improve from here on out. But SG jus’ can not ad-lib with his wheels
under a heavy rush the way Ike can, and this O-Line is not long on the time it
provides to throw.

We/VT; have Top-3 special-teams play, a Top-15 Defense, but only a Top-55
OLine/QB. Right now Ore is our entire 2006 offense. Dude is a next level RB, and
he must stay healthy! Hall is still down a notch from his 2005 play, but X is
really breaking out, his mind has finally caught up with his body. And this is
the best Secondary play in 10 years from a VT football team. But 1.5 Sacks/game
will not cut it (that’s only 18 on the year). Nor will being 94th in our 3rd
downs conversion rate, or being a lowly 81st in penalties.

Now consider our defensive and special-teams scoring: 8 direct points, with 6
indirect (via Field Positioning) vs. NorthLeastern. 11 direct, with 6 indirect
vs. UNC. That’s 31 non-offensive generated points on the year, out of 73 Total
Points (or 43%). Can we maintain that kind of defensive and “Pride and Joy”
steam vs. the Top-4 teams we play in 2006? If your answer is “no”, where
will that scoring be made up? Because it will be harder to keep Gah.Tech, B.C.,
Clemson and Miami out of the endzone than it has been dealing with NorthLeastern
and UNC, all things being equal. The final thing we must improve is kickoff
returns. Being 100th best will not cut it vs. the above 4 teams, as this offense
is not built for the long-field. We/VT will open 4-o. But we must make some Roy
Brow strides in improvement in the next eight quarters to compete for an ACC
Championship Game bid.

Others receiving bourbon:

Oregon, Nebraska, TCU, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Boise State,
UTEP & Navy.

Peace out yo’:

Clemson.

#80. Western Michigan. 81# france. WMU upset Toledo last
week in grand fashion, while france struggled, as I predicted, in barely eking
out a win over feisty Wyoming. The frenchy‘s 3rd worst
ground-attack will only encourage Spain to get all rowdy and maybe even form an
air-force? WMU does not offer much offense, but does attack on defense.
John Offerdahl, the Broncos’ all-time leading LB, claims he does not wear
hats, much less berets.

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