Sunday, August 17

Random Thoughts: Pac-10(!) Edition

First off, if you haven’t seen the modified Top 25 rankings, check them out; I hadn’t gotten a chance to add my thoughts to the rankings. That’s taken care of now.

So right now, we have almost 120 teams (Western Kentucky joins the Sun Belt next year) in we’re-not-calling-it-1-A-anymore, and if you think we’re covering all of them, you’re nuts. We’ll do our best to get to the ones that matter, though, and on that note here’s a bunch of random notes and thoughts about some teams.

- UCLA: if you’ve missed the news, Ben Olson is injured again and won’t be available for the first few weeks of the season at best. This will cause Kevin Craft to move up to the starting role, meaning he’ll likely get the nod against Tennessee, BYU, and Arizona (if not Fresno State). This is about as painful as it sounds for Bruins fans, but the rest of us are laughing at the turn of misfortune.

- Arizona State: the offensive line problems are very real here. We’ve already documented our concerns with it on a few occasions (it’s the main thing holding them back), but the good news is that they have three games to get it together. The bad news is they’re one injury to Paul Faniaka away from having a completely decrepit offensive line, but for those of us used to calling them the Arizona State Paper Sun Devils, that’s good news too.

- Left tackles are apparently optional at Georgia. Trinton Sturdivant is out at LT for the season, and while this will be his RS year it won’t make life any easier for the ‘Dogs. They’re not sure what they’ll do about it, but there’s enough talent there to make coping difficult yet not impossible. Expect some combination of Justin Anderson, Vince Vance, Kiante Tripp, Cordy Glenn, and Josh Davis to flip around in pursuit of that spot; of those guys, Vance and Tripp are already starters.

- Does anyone have a spare ACL for Florida? They’ve lost five (!) guys already to ACL tears: starters Cornelius Ingram and Dorian Munroe, plus backups Jim Barrie, John Curtis, and Brendan Beal. Ingram was undoubtedly the biggest loss of those five, but Munroe and Curtis were both SS, which means secondary depth is already a concern. Beal might’ve redshirted this year anyway, so that seals the deal for him, and Barrie hurts the line depth. The Gators should be fine coping with the losses, but if injuries in the secondary start to pile up, you heard it here first.

Speaking of the Gators, they allowed straight thuggin’ Ronnie Wilson to rejoin the team. EDSBS summed this up way better than we could even dream of, but: bad form, Meyer. You’re in a state that’s fucking loaded with talent; did you really need a guy who knows how to fire assault rifles in public?

- Kentucky’s kicked starting QB Curtis Pulley off the team. Mike Hartline will assume QB duties for the Wildcats, which will consist of “run around like crazy praying to g-d Dicky Lyons can shed triple coverage before getting wrecked”. I’d say this is a big deal, but I’d be lying my ass off; nobody cares about Kentucky this year.

- If this isn’t the gayest college football article you read all year, I will be very surprised. I didn’t realize they let the gays out in Tuscaloosa. That being said, Jones could be one hell of a playmaker, and I’d be scared of him if I had any confidence that John Parker Wilson, Esq. could actually turn in a consistent week-to-week performance.

- So I’ve been reading a fair amount of articles on how TAMU’s offense will be designed to feature Mike Goodson more, and I refuse to buy it. I’ll buy that Stephen McGee won’t be running the ball as much this season, but I think it’s a reach to assume a guy with Goodson’s size won’t get wrecked running behind an offensive line returning only one starter. Compound that with learning a new offensive scheme, and while we can expect Jovorski Lane to rack up the close yardage and TDs without getting too injured, I’ll need to see Goodson as the feature back before signing on. Actually, I’ll buy Goodson as the featured back, but I won’t buy him as the signature back. It just seems like a mess waiting to happen.

- Is Texas Tech due for a letdown? They’re facing the highest expectations since …well, ever, and there are still some huge questions around their defense. Mike Leach is saying all the right things and the team is at least acting like they’re focused, but I buy that as much as I buy the “[pitcher] is feeling great this season” articles that show up in spring training, after said pitcher has spent the last 112 weeks on the DL. At some point, we’ll actually have to see the actual improvement in focus and commitment from the Red Raiders, and the last five years would seem to indicate otherwise: 2003, L 21-49 @ NC State; 2004, L 24-27 @ New Mexico; 2005, L 17-24 @ Oklahoma St.; 2006, L 6-30 @ Colorado; 2007, L 45-49 @ Oklahoma State, again. Consider this a warning to take care of business on the road, guys.

- Speaking of saying the right things, Duke is quickly becoming a soft spot for me. Admittedly, 90% of this is because David Cutcliffe has become their HC, but it’s kind of weird seeing a bunch of guys who have been playing football for 6+ years on average (if not longer) talk about what it actually means to be a college football athlete. It makes me wonder what Ted Roof was doing as HC there and how he was able to land a job somewhere else, even if it was at Minnesota. Will it matter? I suspect not, but the ACC is bad enough that they could sneak a conference win (Virginia? NC State?) and finish the season 3-9. Bonus points: only one team – Clemson – has scheduled Duke for their homecoming opponent. This is a step up, as Virginia gets dinged on that twice.

That’ll cover it for now.