Monday, September 7, 2009

VSR: Welcome back College football

So the first week of college football is done and a lot has happened. It started with one of the best (worst?) punches I've ever seen in a game by Oregon's LeGarrette Blount and ended with Florida State losing another game to Miami they could've won a simple play. (Bobby Bowden's cursed).

I was at the Coliseum for USC v. San Jose State (i.e Day 1 of the Matt Barkley era) and while everybody focused on Barkley's solid game - and misleading stats 15/19, 230 yards - I was looking at their tailback by committee and seeing how confusing it could be. Started with Joe McKnight, then came Allen Bradford (the forgotten man?). Stafon Johnson came in for goal line scoring and then came Marc Tyler and CJ Gable.

Ah the problem of a blowout - musical chairs at certain positions.

For the Trojans to win at Columbus, they're gonna need their running game to stay on point and help Barkley out. He looked poised in the pocket but against an average defense, he had his statue-esque moments where he took bad sacks. He's smart and calm but he'll need more than that against Ohio State and their D.

I have a feeling dude could be Tebow'd by his junior year - his poise, leadership, strong faith, local hype make him a candidate but I like the guy. I just see him for who he is not what others say.

Across town, UCLA handled San Diego State pretty easily. Their offensive line deserves props because they look way more solid than last year already. It showed as their tailbacks did damage - word to City boys Johnathan Franklin and Milton Knox getting their shine along with Derrick Coleman (above) - and Kevin Prince played well just like Barkley.

He threw two bad picks but for his first game in two years, he played well. That defense/special teams is going to be nasty - Alterraun Verner (blocked FG return for TD) and Rahim Moore (3 INTS) are an underrated duo. They got a test in Tennessee this weekend but I think they'll be ready to handle Lane Kiffin and Co.

My prediction: this UCLA team will win 6 games min and their running backs will have solid years to ease the Fresh Prince's transition. Some other quick hits

- Ohio State is clearly overrated and looked suspect against Navy in that fourth quarter. A blown 2-pt conversion call away from going to OT at home? A 15-pt lead nearly gone? Terrelle Pryor looking ok? Yeah, USC will win that game by 10 Saturday.

- Guess Sam Bradford won't be winning another Heisman Trophy.

- Brigham Young and Boise State will factor in the national title debate all year. Bradford's injury made BYU look a little better but the Cougars always play tough (see 59-0 vs. UCLA). Boise State may have the hardest road to climb but they better pray Oregon stays the No. 3-4 team in the Pac-10.

- Bobby Bowden must crap his pants when he sees Miami. No matter how well they play, it's the simple stuff that fails him. Tonight, dude drops a low pass in the end zone that should've been there. But I'm mad I missed this game until the final play - great game between the two.

Now you know I wasn't gonna leave without mentioning LGB's punch and the incredible reaction. First off, Byron Hout deserved something after agitating a player from a team that he just beat. That was classless. Blount's punch made him act like the end of "Back That Thang Up" - Wobbledy Wobbledy, Drop Drop Drop It Like It's Hot.

I know Blount had some previous issues but to suspend him the whole season was exceessive. Yes, he fought teammates, reacted to fans who acted like jerks and had to get cops to restrain him. But I said he should've gotten 3-6 games, be suspended until November.

Problem is fighting in football and basketball is still seen as negative. Woody Hayes and Kermit Washington had their careers ended by throwing a punch while Nolan Ryan lighting up Robin Ventura is seen as an ornery old man being tough in baseball - peep the video starting at 2:50 for Ryan's beatdown

Despite that, it was a mean punch on national TV and Blount's outburst factored heavily into it (I bet you his contrite apology probably didn't - props to him for calling Hout to apologize this week). He should've been suspended and I'm glad Hout has been disciplined as well. Like Mom said, maybe he'll think twice before agitating someone on the losing team.

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