September 5, 2007

My thoughts from Saturday...

College Football Thoughts...

  • Teams eliminated from BCS Title game. This list will grow as we go, but in this day of NCAA FB these guys have almost no chance...
        1. Michigan
        2. Notre Dame
        3. Tennessee
        4. Florida State
        5. Hawaii
        6. Boise State
        7. anybody not currently ranked
  • I actually liked the BTN - I enjoyed being able to watch replays of some of the Big Ten games from Saturday. I was able to watch Mich/App State live for the 1st half then had to leave for important reasons. Fortunately I was able to watch the 2nd half on Sunday to witness the carnage in full. Apart from game replays I enjoyed the commentary and analysis from the studio. It isn't SportsCenter but I thought they did a fine job and I am a fan.
  • Could the BTN have had a better opening weekend? - being the only network to carry what was one of the biggest upsets in NCAA FB history had to have been big for the new network. I imagine that Comcast is getting more consumer pressure following this weekend than if it had been a typical "ho-hum" Saturday of Big Ten games.

Big Ten Thoughts...
  • Michigan, Michigan, Michigan - Appalachian State was a very good team and I have not doubt they'd beat many D1 schools. But this was supposed to be the class of the Big Ten, at home, sporting one of the best offenses in the nation. This is bad for the Big Ten, bad for Michigan and REALLY BAD for Lloyd Carr.
  • Lloyd Carr - Please don't tell me the game has passed him by. I find it ludicrous that Sunday morning critics can sit back and actually judge what Lloyd Carr knows and doesn't know. Carr has won 1/2 of the Big Ten titles in the last decade! Even with my standards set to "Minnesota level", that is really good. Obviously he didn't have his team ready to play this week, but lets not get carried away here. I don't think you can exactly point to the 2 games prior to AppSt as anything significant. Sure he defenses were battered by OSU and USC. But that was OSU and USC, not exactly losing to powder puff teams. The game has not passed him by, coaches at his level do not get passed by the game. You can argue that Michigan needs to go another direction, I'll listen to that argument, but give me something more than he's losing games and getting old therefor "the game has passed him by."
  • Illini QB Controversy? - I know that the general rule is that you don't lose your starting position due to injury, but could we see a QB controversy in Illinois? Juice Williams gets knocked back to Aug. 23rd and then enters freshman Eddie McGee who goes for 257 yards and a TD (although 2 INTs). Were it not for a key fumble going into the endzone which was returned for a Mizz TD, this game would have been an Illini victory. I don't know the status of Williams, but if McGee can gets to play another game or 2 and gets a couple wins, things could get interesting for Zook.
  • Iowa - interestingly only a 16-3 victory. I didn't watch but I think Denny Green would say "the Hawkeye's are who we thought they were gonna be."
Minnesota Thoughts...
  • Adam Weber is a freshman - Weber really struggled for at least 2 1/2 quaters on Saturday night. On a regular basis he was missing WRs by a lot. Wheelwright bailed him out with a great catch on the sideline but then was unable to help Weber out by tipping a bad pass to a BG DB. I think Weber will be OK and he seemed to settle down after a horrible pass down the middle to Decker midway through the 3rd Qtr. The game will eventualyl slow down for him and he'll be able to hit the open guys (hopefully by Purdue game he'll get into a groove).
  • Amir Pinnix is good - By the end of the year he will be a strong consideration for All-Big Ten.
  • C+ for Coach Brewster - I'm going with a split decision on this one. The team did not come out ready to play in the 1st half. But I have always thought the mark of a good coach was shown in his ability to make halftime adjustments on both sides of the ball to give your team a chance. I was impressed that we came back from a 21 point hole, but obviously disappointed that we were down 21 before we made the necessary adjustments.
  • D- for the Defense - despite Brewster's excitement and passion for the Gopher D, it was eerily similar to what we have seen the last couple years. In the 1st half the only thing that stopped the Falcons were dropped passes and penalties. Inability to cover anybody, tackle or get a big stop late in the game has been this groups trademark and it looks like it will continue in 2007.
  • A+ for Coach Mike Dunbar - I thought Dunbar did a good job considering the jitteriness of his QB. Weber had happy feet and was a mess behind center for at least 2 Qtrs. But Dunbar was able to make some calls to give him a chance. Here are a couple examples...
    • 2nd Qtr, Weber drops back to pass, the BG Left DE comes in untouched and sacks Weber. The next play Dunbar calls an option to that side, the same DE was left unblocked, Weber pitches to Pinnix, everyone else is blocked and Pinnix rattles off a 58 yard run. Unfortunately that play was followd up by a fumbled snap and drive is over, but excellent work by the Off Coordinator.
    • 3rd Qtr, Weber passes to a wide open Decker down the middle of the field, but throws is 3 yards behind Decker. Weber is clearly not himself at this point. Dunbar then calls 15 straight rushing plays to get Weber settled down and into the flow of the game. His 2nd pass attempt following this rash of rushing resulted in a TD pass to Wheelwright. Give Weber a chance to succeed and managing the QB from the booth is what I expect from Dunbar.
  • Recruiting Implications - It has been well documented that several Gopher recruits are taking a "wait and see" approach to committing Coach Brewster. This week probably doesn't bode well for Minnesota. Fortunately certain MN kids are looking at the likes of Michigan and Notre Dame and they didn't exactly have banner weeks in week 1. We need to see a dominating performance this week and sustained improvement into the Big Ten season.

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