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  1. 2011 Nov 03

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Ten

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It looks like we have ourselves the biggest week of the century of the season as there is a great No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that we all will watch with inquiring minds. Before we get to this week, let’s review what was. The ecstasy and the agony from last week include -

    Winners:

    Oklahoma: Even though the loss to Texas Tech is still bitter in the Sooners' mouths, they showed up in Manhattan ready to kick butt and prove that Kansas State was in over their heads. The win keeps Oklahoma in the chase for Big 12 title with Bedlam looming in the distance.

    South Carolina: A number of people (myself included) think the Gamecocks are too weak without All-Everything running back Marcus Lattimore and the stumbling, bumbling Stephen Garcia to win the SEC East. They pulled out a good victory in Knoxville against a Tennessee team that’s better than many give them credit for.

    Stanford: A slugfest that went into triple overtime at the Coliseum how you want to make a living every week, but the Cardinal toughed out against Southern California and, most importantly, got the win. Oregon is just down the road. If Stanford defeats the Ducks, they’re in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

    West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a big comeback in the snow against Rutgers, but the biggest winner in that game was…

    Eric LeGrand: For the first time back on the sideline since being injured and paralyzed last October, you sure made it dusty in a snowstorm.

    LOSERS:

    Texas A&M: It’s not that the Aggies lost to Mizzou, it’s that they blew a double digit halftime lead…for the third time this year.

    Baylor: A lot of yards, but not a lot of points. This isn’t a good mix.

    Iowa: How did the Hawkeyes con people into thinking you could win the Big Ten this year? The TicketCity Bowl could be head coach Kirk Ferentz’s swan song.

    Kansas: Not a lot of yards, no points, and no one watched.

    Clemson: Everyone sort of knew a letdown was coming, but the Tigers did fight hard. Clemson’s a good team. They just need to keep their eyes on the prize of an ACC Championship and BCS bowl.

    Florida, Ole Miss, Illinois, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt:

    Brady Hoke is going to give you all all of the advice he can muster for your respective teams to turn things around:



    On to the weekly festivities! (All times Central)

    Texas A&M at No. 6 Oklahoma – (2:30 PM, ABC)

    The Aggies, fresh off of another embarrassing loss after blowing a two-score lead, head north to Norman to take on a Sooners team hell-bent on not losing another game this year.

    Bob Stoops had his team ready to go last week as they pasted Kansas State in the Sunflower State, which is better than the previous week as Texas Tech dished out a whooping of their own on the Sooners at Gaylord Family/Memorial Stadium.

    From previous weeks, you know the players to watch on both sides on offense, but do take note of the Sooners’ defense, which has been pretty hot and cold over the last month. The secondary was a liability against Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raiders, which doesn’t bode well going against Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill.

    Considering that the Aggies’ season is on the brink of complete collapse, they will come out swinging and try to get into a track meet with Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.

    That’s not a good idea, though. Oklahoma still has national championship dreams and need a quality win to show to the voters that the Texas Tech debacle was a fluke. Look for Oklahoma to flex their muscle and get the win at home.

    No. 9 South Carolina at No. 7 Arkansas – (6:15 PM, ESPN)

    The second biggest game in the country (and in the SEC, for that matter) takes place in Fayetteville, as The Ol’ Ball Coach’s Click-Clack Gang head west to take on Bobby Petrino’s high flying Razorback attack. Both teams gutted out victories on the road last week.

    Some wonder about the ability of the Gamecocks to win out to get to the SEC title game (this author included), however if South Carolina has a good defensive showing as they did last week, they have a shot at SEC glory. Arkansas ranks as one of the top 10 FBS passing attacks, and features a top 20 scoring offense, so something has to give. Since is a home game under the lights, Arkansas has the edge, but don’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire.

    No. 14 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma State – (7:00 PM, ABC)

    The Bill Snyder family is licking its wounds due to the whipping that the Sooners laid on them last week. In an effort to rebound, they’ll try to slow the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium, which is far easier to suggest than do.

    Last week, Oklahoma State took the spurs to a Baylor team that moved the ball but couldn’t score. Kansas State can actually throw the ball well (No. 20 nationally at 210 yards per game), but their passing attack pales in comparison to Brandon Weeden and his merry men with hands of glue.

    It’s hard to see the Wildcats doing very well in this type of game, especially at night where Boone Pickens Stadium is a rough place to play. Look for the Cowboys to keep the pistols firing on the way to the No. 2 ranking Sunday’s polls.

    No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama – (7:00 PM, CBS)

    The game all true college football fans have been waiting for is finally here as the Tigers head into Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. Shockingly, this is the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular season matchup in SEC history. Both teams come in off of a bye week, so what’s lacking in injury issues is made up for with schemes and game preperation.

    Both teams are all about ball control on offense and stifling defenses. LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee has had a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, however Nick Saban’s defense hasn’t allowed one second half point since September. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, while the Tigers are No. 3.

    This game will be decided by who can run the ball better. LSU doesn’t really shock you with how they do it, but one of Nick Saban’s core defensive ideals is shutting down the run come hell or high water. We all have been told that Jarrett Lee is much better at making decisions, and he will have the biggest spotlight to prove it under.

    The Tigers’ receivers will not find as much open space as they have been. Personally, I feel that no one has brought their best game against LSU all year. The team that came closest was West Virginia, who decided that defense was optional. Everything seems to point to Alabama on this one. The winner will be the nation’s undisputed No. 1, and essentially punches their ticket to New Orleans.

    Games to keep an eye on include:

    Louisville at No. 24 West Virginia – The Cardinals are getting better. Can Dana Holgorsen’s group not fall asleep due to the early kickoff time?

    Texas Tech at No. 21 Texas – With the quarterback issues in Austin, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege could tear this Longhorn team up and cause a riot in Austin. Bonus: People will actually be watching this game.

    No. 4 Stanford at Oregon State – A possible trap game for the Cardinal? The Beavers aren’t good by any stretch, but this is FBS college football. Anything is possible.

    No. 19 Arizona State at UCLA – The Sun Devils have the inside track to the Pac-12 title game through the South division. Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel needs this win to potentially save his job.

    No. 8 Oregon at Washington – *UPSET ALERT* Washington is good enough to give Oregon fits on both sides of the ball. Night games in Seattle cause the oddest things to happen.

    And now, a word from the “Head Coaches Whose Pants Are on Fire” department:

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Same song and dance, coach. A loss to Auburn was seen coming by many. Can you and your incompetent team beat Kentucky?

    Neil Callaway, UAB – I didn’t know how much of a stacked deck UAB had, but after reading this piece by Pre Snap Read, the Blazers job makes the Memphis tilt sexy.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – How was it growing young men who get their asses stomped in Austin? Did that help these guys grow into fine, upstanding people? The Jayhawk boosters need a bake sale to get your butt out of that job.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA – See above and against USC’s Kiffykins on how to keep your job.

    Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – A new entry this week, Sherman has to be feeling some pressure after his team dismantled themselves again against Missouri. For having such promise coming into the season, things have spiraled quickly. Then again, Sherman can guide his team to the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day vs. Iowa to make them feel better.

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State – Russell Wilson wasn’t needed at all, keep reminding yourself of this.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: oklahoma, south carolina, stanford, west virginia, eric legrand, texas a, m, baylor, iowa, kansas, clemson, florida, ole miss, illinois, texas tech, vanderbilt, brady hoke, houston nutt, neil callaway, turner gill, rick neuheisel, mike sherman, tom obrien

  2. 2011 Oct 02

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Wisconsin

    13,487 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Before the season began, I predicted that Brion Carnes would take over as Nebraska’s quarterback by halftime of the Wisconsin game. Not only was I wrong, but if Carnes isn’t a frequent contributor next week, expect Martinez to remain under center barring injury for better or worse.

    - Rex Burkhead deserved two more yards.

    - If you're Tim Beck and you decide to throw down at least two scores in the second half, why not make your primary receiver Jamal Turner? Out of all Nebraska receivers, he’s the most dynamic and that’s saying something.

    - You have to feel bad for Tyler Moore. A true freshman jumps once during his first game in a place like Camp Randall and now it feels like putting his face on a milk carton isn’t the worst idea.

    - Sean Fisher doesn’t appear to have the speed he had pre-injury. At this point, it’s hard to think that it’ll return. That’s not good for a thin linebacker corps.

    - Keeping Daimion Stafford at safety is a waste of both his time and the coaching staff’s.

    - According to Erin Andrews, Bo accused the secondary of quitting on him during the first half. Whether this was a motivational tactic or legitimate claim seems up in the air.

    - How ‘bout that Brett Maher kid?

    - The head coach most sick over Nebraska’s loss to Wisconsin: North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien

    - Wisconsin gashed this Nebraska team. Ohio State will either be salve to begin the healing or salt for the wounds.

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: taylor martinez, brion carnes, rex burkhead, jamal turner, tyler moore, sean fisher, daimion stafford, brett maher, tom obrien, erin andrews

  3. 2011 Sep 28

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Five

    5,490 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It’s hard to believe that there are football games happening outside of Madison this week (GASP!). This is where you find out what else is going down and where it’s going down at. Last week’s winners and losers include -

    Winners:

    Georgia: Congrats Bulldogs, you kept your heads out of the guillotine just long enough by embarrassing someone else for a change. Then again, considering it was Ole Miss, that wasn’t a difficult project.

    Oklahoma State: You battled back from trailing Texas A&M early on the road to pull out a big win. Take care of everything before December, and you’ll have your opportunity to make the big time.

    LSU: The Tigers took the potential of getting ambushed in Morgantown very well. Les Miles’ offense bailed out the defense for once, and The Hat just keeps on winning.

    Arizona State: Save the Illinois stumble, the Sun Devils have been the biggest surprise out of the Pac-12 so far this year. They had a fine win against Team Kiffykins.

    Losers:

    Pittsburgh: For the second week in a row, the Panthers snared defeat from the jaws of victory. The Big East won’t feel bad for them at all though.

    Toledo: The Rockets were flat out jobbed by an incompetent officiating crew from ref to replay official. What an awful way to lose a game.

    Arkansas: The Razorbacks had their chance, and proved they were in over their heads again. If things don’t improve this week…well, let’s wait on that thought.

    West Virginia: A good performance by quarterback Geno Smith, but the Mountaineers had no answer for LSU’s offense. WVU will get better though, at least if no one is faking injuries.

    Ole Miss, Memphis, NC State: This is fitting:



    Onto this week’s dandies! All time CDT, of course.

    No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas – (11:00 AM Saturday, ESPN)

    Yours truly will be in Jerryworld to watch the first SEC conference game for the Aggies as they take on the fighting Hogs. Both teams lost last week, Texas A&M with a disappointing second half versus Okie State, while Arkansas really wasn’t ever in the game against Alabama. Arkansas quarterback Trevor Wilson was efficient last week, but nothing spectacular. “Efficient” isn’t going to beat Saban’s team.

    While A&M doesn’t have the defense that Nick Saban possesses, the Aggies are stout. Running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr. has to put up better numbers than last week for Arkansas to improve. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was alright last week, but RB Cyrus Gray wasn’t and didn’t help the A&M effort once they started to struggle.

    Don’t think that head coach Mike Sherman didn’t notice the success Alabama had running the ball with Trent Richardson. Arkansas has won the two games against A&M in Arlington so far, but there’s no reason to think that the Aggies won’t take this one. Texas A&M’s defense will be the difference in 2011.

    No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    Who'd have thought that this game would have Big 12 conference championship implications at the beginning of the season? Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12) this year, and has shown that he’s definitely worthy of Heisman consideration. Baylor rolls into Manhattan, Kansas to play Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, who pulled off a semi-shocking, convincing win against Miami (FL).

    Junior quarterback Collin Kline hasn’t been great for the Wildcats, but he’s going to have to start putting together longer drives to keep RG3 off the field. The Kansas State defense is only giving up 10 points per game, but it was given a stern test against the Canes and the Bears could run roughshod over it.

    Look for Griffin to struggle a touch more than he has, but he will still have a great game and Baylor should win setting up an October with some big games for the Bears to prove they belong in the upper tier of the Big 12.

    No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech – (5 PM Saturday, ESPN2)

    A potential ACC title game preview goes down in Lane Stadium Saturday evening when Dabo Sweeney takes the surging Tigers to face Frank Beamer’s Hokies. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has played well for the Tigers, who are off to a fantastic start. Running back David Wilson has been the star for the Hokies on offense, but Virginia Tech hasn’t faced a true challenge thus far.

    While Bud Foster’s defense has been great for the Hokies, Virginia Tech has been in much tighter games than expected. Clemson has only played at home during their great start, and this is one of two major road tests for the Tigers.

    With the wave of momentum that Clemson is riding, their chances are better than people think, and it’d be no surprise if they walk out of Blacksburg with a win. If the Hokies do go down, they can’t lick their wounds for long, as the Miami Hurricanes will be visiting next week.

    No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida – (7 PM Saturday, CBS)

    The other Game of the Week takes place in the warmth of The Swamp. Nick Saban goes from one big game to another and Will Muschamp finally gets to be the head man in a big time SEC conference showdown. The Crimson Tide comes off a game where running back Trent Richardson played out of his mind again, and a swarming defense took the wood to a respectable Arkansas offense.

    Florida’s offense has evolved into an unstoppable monster under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are the fastest one-two punch in the SEC, and quarterback John Brantley has taken his game to another level. These two teams have rock solid defenses, so this one will come down to who can win a three-plus hour chess match.

    Saban pulls everything out of his kids in this type of atmosphere. Can Muschamp coach at his level? The game will be low scoring. The winner’s tough to call, but Alabama seems to be the appropriate lean right now. Check the weekly Husker Locker predictions to see who is ultimately chosen.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico: Whoops! The axe finally fell on Mike this weekend after a “recruit” stole a car registered to Locksley and his wife. It didn’t help that this young man was underage and hit the sauce hard. If this was the final straw for Mike, that’s a sad statement from the New Mexico athletic department. Such is life though, and the interstate game vs. New Mexico State is here. For the families, folks, for the families.

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: In a game where the loser may have gotten fired on the way back to the showers, you no-showed again in the second half. Also, you didn’t even talk to the media after the game. Instead, you send out offensive coordinator David Lee to take the bullet for you. Do you think Fresno State will care if you feel bad and pull punches?

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State: How’s Russell Wilson treating you? Wait, nevermind.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: A win over Burfict’s boys in the desert? Not likely.

    Danny Hope, Purdue: Beating Notre Dame would save your job for the season. Not beating them would be both terrible and is expected.

    Larry Porter, Memphis: Really? SMU runs you out of your own stadium?

    Mike Stoops, Arizona: In a shocker, the Wildcats were beat down by Oregon and will be beat down by Southern Cal. Why? Because that’s the norm for Arizona football.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: georgia, oklahoma state, lsu, arizona state, pittsburgh, toledo, arkansas, west virginia, ole miss, memphis, north carolina state, texas a, m, baylor, kansas state, clemson, virginia tech, alabama, florida, mike locksley, houston nutt, tom obrien, mike riley

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