Tuesday, October 4, 2011

College Chat

Remember when the Ohio State Buckeyes were smug, swaggering bullies, season after season stepping all over opponents, boasting a second string that was superior to half the teams in  the Big Ten?

But look at them now, in ruins after that nasty off-season scandal robbed them of a coach, an all-star QB and some quality players. They're a mild 3-2, rudderless, with Flotsam and Jetsam at QB. It's gotten so bad that they had to scramble to score a last-second TD to avoid an embarrassing home shutout by Michigan State. The former Buckeye bullies barely made a dent in the State defense, mustering only 178 yards in the 10-7 loss. Great season for Buckeye bashers, isn't it?.......

Cal fans shudder when they envision the upcoming carnage at Oregon's Autzen Stadium Thursday night. When the Ducks offense revs up into high gear, the Bears will be left flailing in the dust.

Hungry for revenge, the Ducks haven't forgotten last year when the Bears barely lost in Berkeley, effectively grounding the Ducks high-flying offense, nearly spoiling their undefeated season. But last season the Cal defense was the giant of the Pac 10. This season, with lesser personnel, the Cal D has been docile--run over by run-of-the-mill offenses. If crappy Colorado can score in the 30s against Cal, imagine what a Ferrari offense can do.......

Nebraska was dreaming--dreaming big. They thought they could skip from the Big 12 to the Big 10 and automatically become Tog Dog. Forget it.

The Cornhuskers might be able to dominate the Big Ten middle-class--the likes of Michigan and Illinois--but they're not yet in the class of Big-Ten boss Wisconsin, which bombed Nebraska, 48-17. The Huskers were whipped in every department, particularly at QB. There Wisconsin's superb Russell Wilson thoroughly spanked Nebraska hot-shot Taylor Martinez, who had a case of the jitters, tossing three interceptions. That loss sent Nebraska skidding out of the Top 10, its bubble burst.....

The biggest disappointment in the SEC? No contest, it's Mississippi State. Fans in Starkville were giddy with anticipation, after finishing last year 9-4 and No. 15 in the AP poll, and returning 15 starters. So far, though,  with the 2-3 record, including an ugly 0-3 in the SEC, fans have been mired in gloom. Losing to LSU is acceptable, but dropping winnable games to Auburn and Georgia isn't. One of the wins, beating lousy La. Tech in OT, is nearly as bad as a loss.

There have been breakdowns everywhere. The run defense isn't stopping anybody, the heralded running game has faltered and the passing game, run by talented senior QB Chris Relf, has been spotty. Last week's whipping, 24-10, by Georgia in the battle of the Bulldogs has fans wondering whether it's possible to salvage the season. Maybe State can plug some of the leaks during this week's breather against UAB. If not, the following week, they won't emerge from the South Carolina lion's den in one piece.