Wednesday, January 9, 2008

End of College Football = Beginning of Conference Season

I left off at 16-11 after Georgia dismantled Hawaii in the Bowl. Many people are picking UGA as the preseaon number 1 for next year and rightfully so. They return quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Knowshon Moreno, and three freshmen on the offensive line. They also return eight defensive starters. But I prefer to wait until all of the players declare for the draft and all of the letters of intent are signed and faxed. Then and only then can we predict next year's preseason rankings.

West Virginia showed me something in their 48-28 dismantling of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. I have been very critical of Pat White for how he figures out a way to get hurt in the Mountaineers big games. West Virginia played without Steve Slaton most of the game and still racked up 349 rushing yards. Freshman Noel Devine (a Florida boy for those who don't believe we have the best talent around) ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns. White ran for 150 while throwing for 176 and another two scores. The question the Mountaineers have to answer for next season is can they continue to put up the same offensive numbers without many key components, mainly their coaches. Also, can they continue to win even though they will lose many key defensive players. My record 16-12.

Kansas finally got a season defining win. All season everyone, myselfe included, has been knocking their weak schedule. By beating Virginia Tech 24-21 in the Orange Bowl, they beat a quality team. The Jayhawk defense played great scoring a touchdown on an Aqib Talib interception return and allowing just 306 yards of offense to the Hokies. They also registered five sacks. Their three interceptions led to 17 points. If they had figured out a way to stop Brandon Ore who rushed for 116 yards in three quarters, they could have crushed the Hokies. All night during the game my roommate Tom and I kept waiting for the Hokies to go on a run and make a big special teams play. Even thought VT got it with an 84 yard punt return by Justin Harper on a reverse to make the score 17-14 in the third, the Jayhawks never lost composure. They even came up with a couple of big special teams plays of their won when Joe Mortensen blocked a field goal and even executed a perfect fake punt. The Jayhawks are certainly going to lose Talib to the pros, but can they use this year to sustain excellence or was it just an abberation? While they avoided the Big 12 South's best teams, next year they play Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. My record 16-13.

I didn't pick either the International Bowl or the GMAC Bowl but both were blowouts that hardly any paid attention to. We'll call those a push.

In the championship game that I'm sure everyone watched, LSU showed Ohio State (and Mr. Ananymous who loves to comment but won't leave his name, Bill) who the best team was. The Bucks made some serious mistakes but they didn't all decide the game. The game looked a lot like last year's with OSU jumping out to an early 10-0 lead only to fade later. Matt Flynn threw four touchdown passes, two to seldom used tight end Richard Dickson and one each to Early Doucet and Brandon LaFell.

OSU got it started with a 65 yard run by Beanie Wells and a field goal by Ryan Pretorious. LSU bounced back with a field goal by Colt David followed by Flynn's first TD pass to Dickson.

OSU looked they were going to score right back but Ricky Jean-Francois blocked a field goal that led to Flynn's TD pass to LaFell. The key play was a drop in the endzone by OSU receiver Brian Robiske.

OSU qb Todd Boeckman was then picked off by Chevis Jackson and Jacob Hester socred on a one yard run to make the score 24-10.

The Bucks made i the game interesting for a while but I think once they got down they couldn't recover. They didn't have it in them to recover and their body language showed it. Depending on who comes back (Laurinitis, Golston, Jenkins) the Bucks should be right in it again. LSU on the other hand had a senior laden team and their young defense will have to grow up fast if they want to repeat. My final record 17-13-2. Pretty bad.

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