Casual Friday: a look at Saturday’s CFB openers

by Wally

Whoa, Nellie!   We’ve got some barn-burners right outta the chute this weekend in college football.    Take a look:

South Florida at #16 Notre Dame:   I talked about this the other day.   Many are picking South Florida to win the Big East, but that doesn’t make them a Top 20 team.   The Irish will start a bit slowly and this will be close at halftime, but I see the Domers getting it together in the second half to win by two TDs.

#5 Boise State at #19 Georgia:   Ya gotta hand it to the Broncos for showing some guts with their scheduling … third or fourth year in a row they’ve scheduled a Top 25 team to open the season … last two on the road.    Probably a bit easier for them to play in Atlanta as opposed to Athens, but this is still a home game for the Bulldogs.   Boise State wins a close one here because Georgia never really seems to have their act together early in the season.   Talented … yes.   But never really seem to get the execution part down and there are certainly questions about the quality of Mark Richt and their coaching staff.    The Broncos have under-rated talent but more importantly a pretty experienced squad returning from a very good team last year, including Heisman candidate, QB Kellen Moore.    Boise State by 4.

#3 Oregon at #4 LSU:    Luckily for the Ducks, this game is not in Death Valley at LSU, but instead they’ll be playing at JerryWorld in Arlington, TX.   Not quite a neutral site, more of the home game for LSU.    No worries though … The Ducks will somehow outscheme  and outsmart the “challenged” Les Miles and sneak away with a HUGE road win to start the season.  Plus, LSU’s #1 QB, Jordan Jefferson, is suspended for his involvment in a bar fight.    This time, the Mad Hatter doesn’t get lucky (his main strategy) and he turns into Less Smiles by midnight.   Ducks win 23-21.

Northwestern at Boston College:     The key question is whether veteran Northwestern QB, Dan Persa, will play.   I say he does … and the Wildcats win 30-27.   If not, the Mildcats will succumb to the Eagles 24-14.

UCLA at Houston:    The Bruins have two quarterbacks while the Cougars have prolific passer and Heisman candidate, Case Keenum.   It will be well over 90 degrees and muggy at Houston’s Robertson Stadium.    UCLA’s surfer dudes will wilt in the heat.   Edge:  Houston … Cougs win by 3.

Minnesota at #25 USC:   This is interesting only because these teams share the same uniform colors.   It’ll be like the spring intersquad game … just not as close.   Gophers are awful.   USuC by 24.

Anyone see Syracuse barely save their lives in OT yesterday at home vs Wake Forest??   I was pretty surprised … I thought the Orange were on their way up …. what is their outlook this year?

Is there a game I haven’t mentioned that you’d like to highlight?   Please chime in on that or the games above!

Enjoy the games and the long holiday weekend!    🙂

22 Responses to "Casual Friday: a look at Saturday’s CFB openers"

  1. Kyle Soppe   September 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Good work Wally, hit on the big games. I think i like Oregon by more than 2, they score in their sleep and should get 30. I was wondering if anybody else liked Georgia to beat Boise. I got the bulldogs in the weekends top game. Case Keenum will light up UCLA at home as well, dude can play.

    As for SU. they shouldn’t have won that game, Wake fell apart a bit. Having said that, good to see Cuse winning games they should lose instead of losing games they should win. They still aren’t a good football team, and you could probably bet against them weekly and make money, but it was an exciting start to the season.

  2. Crash   September 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I like Georgia over the Potato Heads too…Another pre-season Top 10 rating for Boise and another nothing to show for it finish… Can’t stomach Les Miles or LSU but dislike the Ducks even more…Could they both lose ? The Dodgers seem a bargain at 1.2 billion…The land at Chavez Ravine, their TV deal, and Vin Scully !!! Hope the new owner puts video cameras in the parking lot so the gang bangers won’t beat up Giant fans, although they probably deserved it…Wally lets buy em’ !

  3. Wally   September 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I don’t want to buy the Dodgers … but I would like the GM job for about 10 years. (That comes with free box seats, right?) 🙂

  4. Crash   September 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Yes box seats, a bullet proof vest and Dodger Dogs which I gotta tell ya are very overated…An undercooked foot of scrapage…Lips, snout, eyelids etc. I’ll take a brat at Miller Park or even the sushi at Pet Co. thank you very much.

  5. Wally   September 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Need to check your facts with Boise State, Crash. Not sure what you really mean about “nothing to show for it finish”. The Broncos have finished in the Top 10 in both polls the last two years. Incl #4 in 2009. I guess maybe you’re saying that if you don’t win the title, then you haven’t accomplished anything?

  6. Crash   September 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Pretty much…

  7. Crash   September 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    10-2, 11-1 and 12-0 is very sexy…ZERO National Championships is not…Excuse me, they won in 1958 as a JC and again in 1980 D1AA…That make you warm and fuzzy ?

  8. Wally   September 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Crash —
    There’s only about 35 different teams who have won or shared a Div 1 national title since about 1910. Since 1960 (last 50 yrs) you can cut that number down to about 25. It’s friggin’ hard to win one, esp these days with the #$!*&@ BCS system.

    I think being one of very few teams out of 120 or so to win 90%+ of your games for a recent lengthy stretch is a pretty good accomplishment … just sayin’.

  9. Smitty   September 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Some great opening weekend games. I am looking forward to it.

    Wally – not worried that the Southern heat might get to Boise State a little bit??? I see that 3 from Boise State have been ruled ineligible for tomorrow’s game – huge loss or minimal impact?

    Given the expectations, how much of an itchy trigger finger does Brian Kelly have with Dayne Crist? With Tommy Rees on the sidelines and high expectations, you have to think it might be quick if Crist struggles.

  10. Wally   September 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Smitty … First of all, the Boise-Georgia game is in the Georgia Dome … so it will be 75 degrees, so heat’s not a factor like it will be for UCLA at Houston which is outdoors.

    Secondly, the ineligible players for Boise will be a factor … one player is one of their starting WRs and another a starting Safety. The WR will be a big loss since they lost 2 stud WRs to graduation after last season. And now I think they’ll have to play a freshman at safety … freshmen in the defensive backfield is always risky. A high quality small conference team like Boise has pretty good front line players, but compared to the “factory schools” like Georgia, they just don’t have the depth. Anyway, the loss of these players definitely has the potential to swing the game, IMO.

    On Dayne Crist and ND … his big problem has been injuries and generally lack of experience. He’s actually a pretty talented QB … strong arm, good mobility, good leader. Much more physically gifted than Rees. He has not been as accurate as we’d like, but that should get better. Not at all surprised he was named the starter. If you recall last year in Game 2 vs Michigan, the Irish were doing very well until he got his bell rung in the 2nd quarter, the backups came in and turned the ball over like 3 times and then Crist came back late in the 3rd qtr and led the Irish to a comeback lead late in the game … only to have the defense cough it up cuz they still could not stop Denard Robinson.

    Tomorrow vs So. Florida, ND does not, or should not, need Crist to win the game. ND should be able to run the ball and he’s got outstanding WRs and TE at his disposal. ND has both an experience and size advantage on both lines, which should spell the difference. Stopping USF’s QB will be key. He is very athletic and a big run-pass threat ala Robinson. However, I believe ND’s defense is up to the task. As first games go, I expect a few flubs by the Irish early on, but I think they have superior talent overall and more experience … and they’re at home. If this game is close in the 4th quarter, then ND has BIG issues that nobody is seeing … unless of course they fumble it away 4 times or something like that which would be an unfortunate abberation. I don’t see Crist throwing a bunch of INTs. I guess I just don’t see Crist struggling in this one … but the Michigan game next week should be a real test for him on the road, although he played pretty well vs the Skunkbears last year.

    I don’t see Kelly having an itchy trigger finger until/unless the Irish have 2 losses in the first 4 games and poor offense is the reason.

  11. Rey   September 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I don’t know how you keep forgetting Temple and the Mayor’s Cup every year. Temple defeated Villanova 42-7 Thursday night. A great start for former Florida OC Steve Addazio.

  12. Casey   September 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Quack Quack

  13. Crash   September 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I can’t even compose this because I’m laughing hysterically…IF the first half is any indication of things to come it’s gonna be ANOTHER long year for Notre Lame…Why is God so ticked at you Domers !
    🙂

  14. Crash   September 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    You’re extremely fortunate to be down 16 at halftime and not 30 for Crissakes !

  15. Crash   September 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Is that Dane Christ at QB or Dane Cook ? Brian Kelly looks bumfuzzled ?
    Is it ok to say bumfuzzled Mr.Editor ?

  16. Crash   September 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Soundly booed off the field and deservedly so in the home opener ! Gonna be 0-2 next Saturday…Wally I’m getting hungry and starting to think about what appetizer I will order before dinner and dessert next month..Yummy !
    🙂

  17. Crash   September 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Helloooooo anybody out there ? Let the cryin’ and blame game begin…Wally’s probably cryin’ in his IPA at Buffalo Wild Wings right now…Ya shoulda ask that Wild Wings guy to put 10 more minutes on the clock for Notre Lame ! Let’s start with your head coach who thoroughly embarrassed your program and himself this morning, afternoon and evening…That’s how long it took to to watch this thing…What was it about THIS team that made Michael Floyd wanna NOT go pro ??? I guess maybe the micro-brews in South Bend…Well Gomers there’s next week in the Big House ! I’m thinkin’ 0-2…Ouch !

  18. Rey   September 4, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Unofficial Yet Satirically Unabashed Heisman Watch:

    1. Russell Wilson (Wisconsin)
    2. Robert Griffin III (Baylor)
    3. Robert Woods (USC)
    4. Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
    5. Kellen Moore (Boise State)
    6. Andrew Luck (Stanford)
    7. Matt Barkley (USC)
    8. Les Miles (LSU)
    9. SEC football
    10. Bernard Pierce (Temple)
    53. LaMichael James (Oregon)
    402. LaMichael James against an SEC defense (Oregon)
    630. Notre Dame receivers when a Dane Crist pass is coming
    705. Dane Crist (Notre Dame)
    819. Contract extension negotiations between Brian Kelly and Notre Dame
    899. Mark Richt (Georgia)
    997. Al Golden’s optimism (Miami)

  19. Wally   September 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Smitty … did you have a premonition about Crist and Kelly??? I wouldn’t have pulled him to start the the second half … if anything there was so much time … what two hours … that it was almost like it was the start of game 2 … everyone had plenty of time to collect themselves, regroup, and take the emotion out of it. And it makes Kelly look stupid for picking Crist as the starter to begin with a week or 10 days ago. OK … he threw a boneheaded INT in the endzone … is THAT why the Irish are down 16-0 at half??? Now Kelly has to screw around with the QB issue this week … AGAIN.

    Let’s count just the first half self-inflicted gun shot wounds … the “perfect storm of ineptitude”, if you will:

    – ND marches 80 yards in like 5 plays down to USF’s one yard line to start the game. Jonas Gray then proceeds to fumble the ball and it’s returned 99 yards for a USF touchdown. Great way to start the season.

    – Then the penalties … two facemasks on the same drive by a senior safety (Smith) resulting in a USF field goal

    – 2 punts by ND’s veteran punter Turk that averaged about 20 yards

    – A holding penalty nullifying a Cierre Wood TD run … or at least a certain 1st down inside the 5.

    – Crist’s ill-advised throw into the endzone for the INT.

    – Then Riddick fumbled a punt (untouched) on his own 15 which handed USF 3 more points

    Okay … we’ll go to the early second half
    – Rees throws a ball to TJ Jones at the 5 and he’s not even looking … bounces off his helmet and into the waiting arms of USF.

    – With Irish building a little momentum and trailing 16-7, “Mr Dependable” kicker David Ruffer misses a 30 yard chipshot which would’ve cut it to 16-10 and probably turned the momentum of the game into ND’s favor.

    How could about 8 or 9 veteran Irish players totally lose it at the same time and just play like horse ____ for most of the season opener at home. Brian Kelly lost it too. I’m sure his players started panicing as much as he seemed to be. ND totally beat itself yesterday … USF just stood there and gladly accepted the early Christmas gift.

    Now the Michigan game is MUST win. Way to just totally pile the pressure on yourselves, ND. Did anyone mention that getting off to a GOOD START was kind of important?!?!?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Onto the other games:

    Boise State! Nice work, Broncos!!! And just as I expected and the trend indicated … Georgia and Richt are not ready for prime time. BSU is now gonna be knockin’ on the penthouse door all season.

    LSU looks quite stout … they may overcome Les Miles’ deficiencies this year.

    That’s why you’re Utah State!!!! How did you blow that game to Auburn??? Sheeesh.

    Houston … clutch game by the Cougs and Case Keenum looks to be in prime form … probably will make the trip to NYC as a Heisman candidate.

    The Wildcats got ‘er done up in Chestnut Hill, despite the fact the Persa didn’t play. BC’s outstanding RB was out too though.

  20. Casey   September 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    In case anyone wanted to read, this is the transcript from the Skip Holtz press conference: http://www.asapsports.com/show_conference.php?id=73963

  21. Smitty   September 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Wally – I was a little surprised at Kelly’s decision to pull Crist after the first half. It leads me to wonder if even he wasn’t sure about his decision to make Crist the starter. But at this point, how does Rees not start this Saturday against Michigan?

    I think Kelly will look foolish if he goes back to Crist. Plus, I wouldn’t be shocked at this point if Crist’s confidence is shot. I think Kelly has to stick with Rees.

    For all of his yelling and screaming at his players on the sidelines – how is he not stepping up and taking the blame for some of yesterday’s performance. With the turnovers and penalties – it was obvious this team wasn’t ready to play. That is a product of him.

  22. Wally   September 5, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Smitty, I think you’re right on both counts. Kelly probably has to go with Rees now cuz Crist’s confidence is quite shaken and he’ll probably be looking over his shoulder if he does start vs UM and that won’t help him play well.

    It’s a TEAM game and everyone needs to share the blame and hopefully soon the accolades. Kelly needs to get out in front of this … and keep his composure. What he and the players are finding out, in case they didn’t already know from last season, is that you cannot throw away wins at ND and survive for very long. There’s enough games they already play where the game is gonna be very tough and turn on a play here or a decision there. The USF game was not one of those … ND should’ve coasted to a 2-3 TD win if they just reasonably take care of the ball and do the little things.

    Since they totally screwed up the USF game, these next two games … Michigan and Mich St … will be the most pressure Kelly has faced as a coach in his entire career. He can get this thing back on track with a win Saturday in Ann Arbor and they can still go on to have a great season. But only IF they WIN. If they lose, he’s gonna have a very difficult task, if not impossible, to stop the bleeding in week 3. Welcome to the pressure cooker, Brian Kelly. It’s about WINS ….. and you don’t have one yet this season.

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