|Last week's ballot|
Dropped Out: Clemson (#16), Baylor (#24), Virginia Tech (#25).
Thoughts on the weekend:
- Do I give credit to Mark Richt for calling a great game or do I point out that Arkansas' safeties are atrocious? I really liked the way that Georgia called passing plays. They hit the Hogs with a dose of A.J. Green early and then used him to pull the Arkansas defense out of shape. Michael Moore lined up in the slot next to Green and got open over the middle repeatedly. Georgia also used the tight end to great effect because of Green. And, after many (myself included) thought he should be benched, Joe Cox looked great. He definitely prefers to throw over the middle, so I'll be interested to see how he looks against Monte Kiffin's defense.
- By the end of the game, I decided that Ryan Mallett is going to be the top pick in this April's Draft. His arm is unreal, which allowed Arkansas to repeatedly find receivers open on the far side of the field on flag routes. Willie Martinez's defense, which often relies on two-deep zones, had a whole lot of "does not compute" moments as Mallett threw ropes across the field. He's also a little more mobile than one would think a 6'7 quarterback would be. With Mallett running Petrino's offense, I'm not as upset at Martinez for allowing 41 points as you might expect. Do we blame Martinez for the fact that Georgia's defensive line cannot get pressure? That said, it's pretty clear that he's coaching for his future employment over the last ten games of the season. Mark Richt did not look very happy last night after some of Arkansas' scores.
- Holy crap, Tavarres King is fast! With Georgia's personnel, I wouldn't mind seeing the Dawgs use more of the Fast Break formations that Richt preferred when he was at Florida State. Those tight ends would be very useful in the slot of a four-wide formation.
- I wonder what Tony Barnhart and the "Big XII teams don't play defense like SEC teams" brigade were thinking as Georgia-Arkansas and Auburn-West Virginia were shootouts while Texas-Texas Tech was a defensive game...for at least a half.
- Did Tennessee's, um, casual approach to trying to win the game remind anyone else of Nebraska's half-hearted attempt to win at Southern Cal in 2006? I understand that the Vols needed to play close to the vest because their quarterback makes 2005 Eric Ainge look like 1992 Heath Shuler, but at a certain point, isn't it incumbent on a coach to, you know, act like he's trying to win a game?
- Florida looked a little vulnerable to a conventional, straight ahead running game. Maybe I need to take back that statement earlier about Georgia going to the Fast Break. They might have success going right at the Gators. We can also guess what LSU's approach will be at Death Valley.
- Was I the only one who thought that Gary Danielson was genuinely dumbfounded when Tim Tebow fumbled in the fourth quarter? Like he didn't know how to process or describe what he had just seen?
Other Random Thoughts
- After Obi Ezeh received a record-low score in MGoBlog's "Under Further Review" segment, I watched Ezeh and the rest of Michigan's linebackers very closely on Saturday. This was a new way to watch a game for me. Normally, I either follow the ball (when I'm being lazy) or I watch the guards and center (when I'm trying to be Mr. Discerning Fan). After watching Ezeh on each snap, I reached two conclusions. First, Michigan is going to be in a lot of shootouts when the Big Ten season starts because Ezeh has some of the worst instincts you'll ever see for a guy who is in his third season as a starter for a major program. Greg Robinson desperately needs J.B. Fitzgerald to pass Ezeh at the position. Second, to undermine the foregoing point, I don't understand linebacking play very well. I'm able to watch certain plays and realize that Ezeh made a big mistake by moving away from the hole through which the running back popped. That said, on most plays, I have a very hard time understanding the assignment that the linebacker was carrying out. I feel like I have a rudimentary understanding of the decisions that a quarterback has to make from playing video games for years. (If I have readers who actually played quarterback, they are probably laughing their asses off right now.) I don't have the same understanding on how to play linebacker. All I know is that good linebackers are always around the ball and Ezeh is not.
- I will freely admit that my support for Pete Carroll and my disdain for Jim Tressel are complicated by the fact that Tressel's teams consistently beat inferior opponents, whereas Carroll loses a game a year to a team that has no business staying on the same field as Southern Cal. I don't see USC's struggles against teams like Washington and Stanford as a sign of strength for the Pac Ten. It's not as if USC loses to their top rivals in the conference. Instead, they suffer inexplicable losses to teams several rungs down in the league. There's little rhyme or reason to the Trojans' defeats, other than the gnawing sense that they have failed to replace Norm Chow and they are pissing away a ton of talent on offense.
- Virginia Tech has reached Ohio State 2002-03 levels in terms of consistently winning games in which they are badly outplayed. The bad news for Hokies fans is that Frank Beamer is less likely to fix his car wreck of an offense if Tech lucks their way into another 9-10 win season. Or maybe Beamer will feel safe just by sneaking a peak at the disaster going on in Charlottesville right now?
- Imagine a hypothetical football fan in eastern Tennessee or western North Carolina who roots for Tennessee and the Carolina Panthers. Jonathan Crompton on Saturday, followed by Jake Delhomme on Sunday. Fun fun fun!
- This week's debate topic: Resolved: that John Tenuta is the most overrated defensive coordinator in football and his reputation was formed on the basis of success in the punchless ACC against opponents that knew they did not need to score more than 17 points to beat the Chan Gailey-Reggie Ball leviathan.
- If the Heisman Trophy had any merit, then maybe the media would notice that the predicted duel between Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford has failed to materialize. Bradford is injured and Tebow and McCoy have both looked mortal in the first quarter of the season.
- Michigan good, Miami good, Florida State good, Washington good, Alabama good...it's 1991! Cool, I'm going to get my driver's license and then back into other cars in the high school parking lot all over again! Crank that Black Crowes album all over again!