Something Wicked This Way Comes
This week however is a bit different.
Instead of the usual blathering about the point spread or how you're going to run over another 8th grade CYO team dressed in WAC colors, there is lukewarm mix of fear, myopia and apprehension. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't really want to take on USC home, away or in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Nashville. However, I believe that the realization is starting to sink in that you actually have to take on these guys with the stellar personnel that you have now.
Now again, I'm not stupid. I'm big on home field in college football. I'm well aware that wacky things tend to happen when bad teams host good teams. USC is one of the top teams in the country. You are not. However, I know that with 85,000 Larry the Cable Guy fans doing hog calls in unison, it may create a rather unpleasant environment for John David Booty and company. In this regard, I think the sea of hicks will be a certain neutralizer for the fact that they have third string tailbacks who could probably start on your defensive line.
However, let's not kid ourselves here. USC is the most dominant program in college football over the past 5 years and should treat you like Richard Simmons at his UFC debut bout. Despite the reigning Scout Team Player of the Year, JC's happy feet and finesse throwing style better be mobile, because forcing balls into a swarming mass of 5-star DB's (that's all that matters right?) isn't going to cut it. Besides, it's not like he's thrown 5 picks or something against the Trojans before right?
USC has a history of playing down to competition, so I therefore don't see a 55-10 blowout that appears so blatantly on paper. Although LSU is breathing down their necks, look for USC to roll by the 2nd quarter, and the excuses and sniping to begin between Husker fans by halftime. Actually, I'm not even that excited to watch this game, because Pete Carroll isn't one who is going to stop on the pedal and put the wood to NU. Once he gets the lead..and he'll get it...look for USC to throw on the cruise control as they did last year. We'll then be treated to 3 weeks of "We hung with USC" comments just as last year. I can see it coming a mile away. I felt similar last year before the Texas game, and I was pretty much dead on. We shall see.
* Speaking of the Great Raider Flunky ©, is it just me, or wasn't year four supposed to be the measuring stick of the Bill Callahan era? Didn't you guys ditch a 9-3 coach to escape mediocrity? Didn't you sell your soul and toss away your tradition for a 2-year NFL pedigree and a box of Restore the Order shirts?
I hate to be the master of the obvious, but the next 24 days or so will define your program. We all saw that you were barely better than a mid-level ACC team. (Or an upper level ACC team without a QB…however you want to spin it) But I'm pretty sure in the old days, you would not only be discussing this game without fear, but you also in no way would be a 10 point underdog. This is kinda one of those situations where out-of-control-myopia meets stone cold reality. If you get worked over by USC and if you get rolled by Missouri on 10/6, I expect the little guerilla skirmish you guys have going on within your fan base, will turn into a full blown war of Stalingrad proportions.
* Finally, despite my refusal to participate in one of the thousands of blog "round tables" that are going on, I do like the idea of a weekly power poll, so I can tell you who is good and who sucks. (Which is why you're here in the first place no?) Yes, I'm blatantly copying off of Mike and others, but it's a good way to kill the mid-week lull, and to also counteract that complete douchebag Lee Barfknecht and his snotty little comments that counteract his pathetic abilities as a writer.
We'll see how this goes.
1) Missouri (2-0)
Despite the talk about Mizzou's defense sucking ass this year, they do two things right. They score at will and get big takeaways on defense. Call me a Kool-Aid chugger or whatever. I really thought they'd lose one of their first two games…and both times, the throttle was down. If they can figure out how to grind the ball out in the 2nd half, they'll be awfully tough to beat. 10/6 will be the biggest Mizzou home game since K-State came to Columbia in 1998 ranked #1.
2) Kansas State (1-1)
I like the cat defense, although they've still got to find some weapons to surround Josh Freeman. Although the tough performance at Auburn is looking less impressive after a South Florida win, KSU seems to be only a few pieces away from getting back into contention.
3) Nebraska (2-0)
We don't need to go through this again. They received a gift at Wake, and barely beat a second-string QB who wasn't even allowed to throw the ball. This weekend should deliver the first death blow to the Great Raider Fluky experiment.
4) Colorado (1-1)
A good win over CSU and a decent half at ASU showed me that Colorado is on their way back. The Hawkins kid is a bit ragged at QB, but just wild enough to move the ball.
5) Kansas (2-0)
Before we freak out about how good Central Michigan is..let's remember they're CENTRAL MICHIGAN. They had a good team last season, but needed some pretty big breaks to win the MAC. Their bludgeoning of SE Louisiana school for girls may have well have been an interteam scrimmage.
6) Iowa State (0-2)
Absolutely brutal. Highly doubt they win another game.
1) Oklahoma (2-0)
Don't get me wrong, they're the best team in the south..but don't get too excited about Miami, who hasn't been themselves since Larry Coker gutted them like a fish. They still have the mental hurdle in the Cotton Bowl in 3 weeks.
2) Texas (2-0)
6 bad quarters be damned…UT still has the horses to beat OU. We shall see.
3) Texas Tech (2-0)
Still tough to tell how good Tech is. I only saw a half of their game against SMU, but they look like the same old Tech. I'll put them third, only because A*M looked mortal against a mediocre Fresno State team at home.
4) Texas A&M (2-0)
I really thought this team would be much better than it appears. They have talent all over and a monster home field advantage. I guess it just goes to show that Coach Fran sucks.
5) Okie State (1-1)
Who in the hell scheduled a game at Troy? TRUST ME…beware..especially with a showdown with Tech looming in a few weeks. Don't say I didn't warn you.
6) Baylor (1-1)
Don't get me wrong, Baylor is still Baylor, but they're not the worst team in the league anymore. They scored 42 points against Rice last weekend, which is about 40 more than they scored in all of 2005. Too bad they play in one of the toughest divisions in football.