What could I have possibly been thinking when I picked Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA Bruins to win in Houston? The guy’s been on a downhill slide since his Bracketgate scandal at UDub. And the Cougars, now that 15th year senior Case Keenum is back at the helm, may be this season’s BCS bracket buster.
Georgia lost simply because of bad uniform karma. And, the Quack, sigh, have taken a step back. (Note: I’m not jumping on the Maryland bandwagon, simply because Under Armour has thrown down the gauntlet in The Great Uni Wars of 2011. But I must admit the Terps garb last night was the funkiest yet. Not to mention inexplicable.)
Anyway, starting the year at 2-3 is most disappointing. So much so, that I’m leaping into Week II a couple of days early.
Alabama @ Penn State. The only guy in college football who has been at one place longer than Keenum is Nittany Lions mentor, Joe Oh My Pa Pa. The Methuselahian Paterno has been coaching since Millard Filmore was president, before the latter opened his famous rock venues. Frankly he’s just hoping to finish the season . . . period. Nick Saban, the only fella in the game, who matches F Bomb Kelly on the Surliness Scale has his eyes on the BCS “championship.” I recently attended the Steely Dan show at The Palace. “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide.” Surly beats maturity.
South Carolina @ Georgia. If Mark Richt’s squad shows up again in some variation of those cockamamie outfits they wore in last Saturday’s loss, and falls to the Gamecocks, those hedges aren’t going to be enough to protect him from the throngs of Bulldog faithful, who will storm the field in search of a coach to eviscerate. Meanwhile the love/ hate pas de deux between Ye Ol’ Ball Coach and QB Stephen Garcia is the longest running show this side of “Phantom of the Opera.” Garcia was in Spurrier’s good graces after leading the Gamecocks back against East Carolina. Or, so I would surmise. Like Rick Pitino, Spurrier hasn’t matched previous magic at his current school. Like Pitino, Spurrier feels it may be his time to return to the top. I think after Saturday, Spurrier marches on, UGa is 0-2, and Mark Richt is a Dead Man Walking.
Mississippi State @ Auburn. Mississippi State is one of the more intriguing programs around. Former Urban Meyer assistant Dan Mullen definitely has the Bulldogs on the uptick. Nine Ws last year. They throttled Michigan in the Gator Bowl and started this season with a convincing win at Memphis State. Auburn escaped Utah State by the hair on its chinny chin chin. The sidebar to this matchup, of course, is whether State would be defending champions, had they ponied up the notorious $180 large for Cam Newton? I say the guys in maroon prove they’re legit. More cowbell.
Central Michigan @ Kentucky. First, a question. How come the NCAA isn’t all over the Chippewas to change their nickname like the brouhaha with North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux? Just asking? Last year was CM’s first losing campaign since 2004, the rookie year of former coach, F Bomb Kelly. This just a season after a 4 year stint as one of America’s select 99% of schools that make it to bowl games. The 21-6 W last week over South Carolina State was as underwhelming as UK’s over Western Ky. The Cats are searching for, well, just about everything. Especially when they have the ball. But, even if they don’t find it, there’s enough to head into the U of L game, two up none down.
Florida International @ Louisville. First of all, note that the school desires to be called FIU. Second, the Panthers big rivalry game is Florida Atlantic for the Shula Trophy. As recently as ’07, the youngest program in FBS had the country’s longest losing streak at 23. But last year won 7, and is one of the Sun Belt faves. FIU opened with big W over North Texas. All the Cards major flaws — unsettled QB situation, porous offensive line, squiggly defensive secondary play — and some of the minor ones — finding the next Bilal Powell — were on display during the lackluster opener against Murray State. U of L frankly looked like a team not quite ready to make major strides in Charlie Strong’s second season. Hate to say it, I think the good guys take it on the chin Friday night.
– Seedy K