Saturday, November 10

Random Thoughts from the Early Games

Some random thoughts from the first round of games this morning:

1. Tennessee looked fantastic for close to three quarters against Arkansas. Don’t be fooled by Darren McFadden’s 117 yards on the game; by and large the Vols have done a good job keeping him wrapped up, especially on the interior. As McFadden has looked to go outside, UT’s linebackers and safeties have done a great job of lateral pursuit to prevent McFadden from gaining the corner. Short of a few longish runs, he was contained.

2. Mississippi State has reached the phase when I’m officially concerned about them next year. I’ve said this season that they’ve done a great job especially given the situation they were in to start the season. Two road wins and a great win against Alabama to become bowl-eligible. They’re not going to get above 4th in the SEC West this season, but they could challenge what’s looking like the LSU / ‘Bama / Auburn triumvirate in the West.

3. Michigan is playing with fire. I didn’t watch the game and I’ll give them some credit for being able to come back from a 23-7 deficit, but that’s really killing yourself, especially when you play in conference. They came back to 23-21, but Wisconsin just put the ball in the end zone thanks to Zach Brown to move the game to 30-21. Couple that with Michigan going four downs and a turnover on the Michigan 2. Wisconsin punched it in on their first play for the final margin.

4. I’m a little disappointed in Missouri after halftime in their game against Texas A&M. They did a great job before the half, moving the ball basically with impunity against an overmatched Aggie defense. The second half? That’s not the case at all, as A&M has not only controlled the clock, they’ve also had great field position. Not a good combination, and Mizzou really needs the win to stay competitive in the Big 12 North. The third quarter was ugly, but once A&M pulled to 31-26, Missouri marched the length of the field to score on a Chase Daniel-to-Jeremy Maclin pass. This was followed up by a safety and an onside free kick, so Missouri quickly bumped the margin up to 40-26 with the game coming to an end.

5. Georgia/Auburn just kicked off – and Auburn’s already thrown a pick. It’s remarkable to see how Knowshon Moreno has improved as the season’s worn on; the Vanderbilt game was his first huge game and he’s done well since. We’ll see how he does today; he’s only rushed for 17 yards. Another warning sign for Georgia haters: Stafford has hooked up with Massaquoi on a huge TD pass in each of the last two SEC games. Fun side note on the game: Georgia’s playing in their black uniforms (and have called for a blackout in the stadium), but Auburn’s playing in their all-white uniforms – and they’re 15-0 in the last 15 games they’ve played in wearing those outfits. That’s your Fashion Update for the week. Or the season.

6. I’ll be honest; I only watch the ACC because Lincoln Financial sends those games here. Still, I could’ve sworn North Carolina / NC State game was going to end up differently. I missed the first half almost entirely and whenever I’d look up at the game, either NC State was punting or North Carolina was driving. How’d the Wolfpack end up winning?

Also, don’t look now, but:

- UCLA is up 10-0 over Arizona St. early

- ND is losing – again. It’s 17-10 Air Force going into halftime.

- Kentucky and Vandy are tied going into the 3rd quarter.

- Ohio State and Illinois are tied real early – at 14. Maybe the Illini have figured out a way to move the ball?

- Nebraska’s a bit pissed after last week; they’re currently beating the tar out of Kansas State, 73-24. Where was this team last week?

- Northwestern, Mississippi State, and Georgia Tech are now bowl-eligible.