The Pregame Warm-Up AA Team


I have watched as many college football games over the past 4 months as physically possible, taking notes and rewatching games along the way.  After all the games have been watched, here is my attempt at an All-American Team for The Pregame Warm-Up.  The PGWU team features the most players from the Nebraska Cornhuskers with 4.  Auburn, Oregon and Florida each had 2.

Head Coach– Jim Harbaugh Stanford Cardinal

OFFENSE

Player of the Year- Cam Newton Auburn Tigers

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Cam Newton  of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

QB- Cameron Newton Auburn Tigers

RB- LaMichael James Oregon Ducks

RB- Jordan Todman Connecticut Huskies

WR- Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State Cowboys

WR- Ryan Broyles Oklahoma Sooners

TE- Michael Egnew Missouri Tigers

OT- Gabe Carimi Wisconsin Badgers

OT- Derek Sherrod Mississippi State Bulldogs

OG- Rodney Hudson Florida State Seminoles

OG- Justin Boren Ohio State Buckeyes

C- Chase Beeler Stanford Cardinal

DEFENSE

Player of the Year- Da’Quan Bowers Clemson Tigers

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18: Da'Quan Bowers  of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

DE- Da’Quan Bowers Clemson Tigers

DE- Ryan Kerrigan Purdue Boliermakers

DL- Nick Fairley Auburn Tigers

DL- Jared Crick Nebraska Cornhuskers

LB- Justin Houston Georgia Bulldogs

LB- Mason Foster Washington Huskies

LB- Luke Kuechly Boston College Eagles

CB- Prince Amukamara Nebraska Cornhuskers

CB- Patrick Peterson LSU Tigers

S- Eric Hagg Nebraska Cornhuskers

S- Ahmad Black Florida Gators

SPECIALISTS

K- Alex Henery Nebraska Cornhuskers

P- Chas Henry Florida Gators

RET- Cliff Harris Oregon Ducks

AP- Randall Cobb Kentucky Wildcats

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Week 12 in the Big 12


  Big 12 Title Game Talk

This has been a strange and ever changing season in the Big 12.  The South is flipped upside down from what every “expert” predicted and the North, well it’s the North.  It’s almost certain that Nebraska will face Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Title game, a rematch of the October 23 battle which Nebraska won.  There are some scenarios that involve other teams in the Big 12 Championship game though. 

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Running back Roy Helu Jr.  of the Nebraska Cornhuskers weaves his way through the Kansas Jayhawk defense during second half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

The North is a two team race.  Nebraska heads to Kyle Field this weekend for a game with the red hot Texas A&M Aggies, which they very well could lose.  The Huskers then face the Colorado Buffaloes, rivalry games bring out the best in teams.  For Nebraska to lose their spot in the Title game, they have to lose both of these games and Missouri has to win their final 2.  Missouri has to travel to Ames, IA this weekend for a battle with the Cyclones, then to Kansas City, MO for the Jayhawks.  I hope it comes down to that game for Mizzou, but I seriously doubt it.

The South is still a little more open than the North.  Oklahoma State has a one game lead over Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but they hold the tie breaker over the Aggies.  The Cowboys need to beat the Sooners in two weeks and they represent the South, simple as that.  OSU faces the Jayhawks this Saturday in Lawrence, KS, which should be an easy victory.  Oklahoma needs to win out and they are in the title game again.  Texas A&M needs some help.  The Aggies need to win out and get the Sooners to beat the Cowboys.  Baylor is officially eliminated from the race, but they are still fun to watch.

The Big 12 Top to Bottom

1. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1) Big 12 record 5-1   Should put up 50 against the Jayhawks.

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-1) Big 12 record 5-1  Face a very hot Texas A&M team, hopefully they are ready to play.

3. Missouri Tigers (8-2) Big 12 record 4-2  Always struggle in Ames, will this year be any different?

4. Texas A&M Aggies (7-3) Big 12 record 4-2  Can they slow down the Husker rushing attack, if so the Aggies win.

5. Oklahoma Sooners (8-2) Big 12 record 4-2  Heading to Waco for a battle with the Bears will be tough.

6. Baylor Bears(7-3) Big 12 record 4-3  Can RG3 run all over the Sooners D?

7. Kansas State Wildcats (6-4) Big 12 record 4-3  Head to Boulder, CO after a mistake filled loss to Mizzou.

8. Iowa State Cyclones (5-6) Big 12 record 3-4 Can they pull of the upset and ruin the Tigers chances?

9. Texas Longhorns (4-6) Big 12 record 2-5  This team is horrible, will they struggle with FAU this weekend?

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-5) Big 12 record 3-5 They play Weber St this weekend, wherever that is.

11.  Kansas Jayhawks (3-7) Big 12 record 1-5  The Jayhawks need to slow down the Cowboys offense, they do that and who knows what’ll happen.

12. Colorado Buffaloes (4-6) Big 12 record 1-5  The Buffs beat the Cyclones last week and get a similar offering this week from KState.

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 13: Interim head coach Brian Cabral prepares to lead Cody Hawkins  and the Colorado Buffaloes onto the field to face the Iowa State Cyclones at Folsom Field on November 13, 2010 in Boulder, Colorado. Cabral made his debut as interim head coach after head coach Dan Hawkins was fired this week as Colorado defeated Iowa State 34-14. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Top Big 12 Performances: Week 11

Cyrus Gray RB Texas A&M  Ran like an animal, scoring 4 TD’s in the process.  One of the reasons the Aggies pulled out the win.

Brandon Weeden QB Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State  This connection has done it all year and it didn’t stop in the Texas game. 

Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri  Looked great running and passing the ball.  He looked comfortable in the pocket.

Aldon & Jacquies Smith DE Missouri  This duo wreaked havoc on the KSU QB last week and combined for a sack/strip and fumble return for a TD.

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Carson Coffman  of the Kansas State Wildcats is sacked by Brad Madison  and Aldon Smith  of the Missouri Tigers during the game on November 13, 2010 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Landry Jones QB Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma  These 2 could match the Weeden/Blackmon combo, if they continue on the pace they are on.

Cody Hawkins QB Colorado  His dad just got fired and he had a great game.  He deserves a little credit.

Week 12 Picks

Oklahoma State @ Kansas- The Cowboys have too much offense and the Jayhawks don’t have enough for this game to be close.  I’ll take Okie State 52-20.

Kansas State @ Colorado- The inconsistency of each of these teams drives me crazy.  I think the Wildcats have a few less, so I will take K-State 33-23.

Weber State @ Texas Tech- I’m not wasting my time with this one, TTU wins 45-13.

Florida Atlantic @ Texas- Texas is fighting for a bowl appearance, they inch closer with a win here, I’ll take Texas 39-13. 

Missouri @ Iowa State Jack Trice has been a tough place for Mizzou, but I like Gabbert to lead the Tigers.  Give me MU 35-24.

Oklahoma @ Baylor This will be a fun game full of playmakers, I like the Sooners 40-31.

Nebraska @ Texas A&M Tannehill has been a blessing at QB for the Aggies, but the TAMU D and running game will win this one. A&M wins 24-20.

 Big 12 Bowl Projections

Insight Penn State vs Oklahoma This would be a dream matchup for the Insight Bowl and a pretty entertaining game. 

Texas Baylor vs Michigan Denard Robinson and Robert Griffin III in the same game?  The stadium might implode due to awesomeness!!

November 15, 2008: .#10 Robert Griffin, QB of Baylor.in action during the NCAA Football game between the Baylor Bears and the Texas A&M Aggies at the Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, TX. .Baylor wins 41-21 over Texas A&M .Manny Flores/CSM Photo via Newscom

Alamo Missouri vs Arizona  This game would be entertaining.  Two great offenses led by two great QB’s.

Pinstripe Kansas State vs West Virginia Daniel Thomas and Noel Divine, the only reasons I would watch.  Each team has a great grandpa for a coach as well. 

Holiday Texas A&M vs Oregon State  I love this game.  Fun offenses and each team has a first rounder on defense.  I’d watch!

Dallas Football Classic Northwestern vs Texas Tech  I like the Northwestern QB and TTU RB Baron Batch, but other than that this game is boring.

Cotton Nebraska vs Alabama  Big time matchup!  Nebraska is pissed after losing to the Cowboys in the Big 12 Title game.  Alabama says bring it.

Fiesta Oklahoma State vs Pitt  Oklahoma State would roll the Pitt Panthers.  The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense for Pitt to keep it close.

Written by Jason Madson.  Follow on Twitter @I_AM_JMAD.

Pregame Warm-Up Pod Cast: Week 8


I know it’s a little late this week(technical difficulties), but it’s here the week 8 pod cast.  This week Jon Dove from NFLMocks.com and myself, Jason Madson go at it minus one.  Michael Felder was helping a friend move, or so he says.  We dive right into the Conference breakdowns to begin the episode, talking about hot topics in each conference,  Some of the topics we discuss are: Pitt making a run in the Big East, Mizzou’s National Championship chances, SMU QB Kyle Padron makes his weekly appearance, both TCU and Utah are better than Boise State and many other topics.  We also make our picks in the 5 biggest games of the week, according to me.  The show is finished off with the World Famous Prospect Quick Fire.  Sorry for the tardiness, Enjoy.

Inside the Big 12: Week 8


Last week in the Big 12 was a good one if you were a road team.  Every home team lost, with the exception being the Oklahoma Sooners hosting the Iowa State Cyclones.  This week could be more of the same as the road teams are favored in almost every game, with the exception being the Cyclones again.  We should get a lot of answers this weekend as 2 games will go a long way to telling us who the contenders and pretenders are going to be in this league.

Top Performances: Week 7

The Mizzou defense put on its most impressive showing this past weekend at Kyle Field.  The Tigers sacked Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson 7 times in the dominating performance.  The final TD that the Aggies scored was a junk TD when Mizzou was basically in a prevent.  I’m extremely impressed with how well the Tigers are playing on the defensive side of the ball, but the Sooners come to town on Saturday night for a big time matchup on national TV.

Kansas State QB Carson Coffman has heard how bad he was all season, all it took was a matchup against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks to cure him.  He completed 94% of his passes threw for 2 scores and rushed for 3 more.   It’s hard to complete 94% against air, let alone when somebody is covering your WR. 

We will give a co-top performers award to a duo from Okie St.  Justin Blackmon continues to have a great year, with 10 receptions for 207 yars and a score.  Running back Kendall Hunter rushed for 130 and added a score of his own.  I can’t wait to see these 2 face the tough Nebraska defense on Saturday.

Lastly, lets give props to the Oklahoma Sooners on both sides of the ball.  Yes it was the Iow St Cyclones, but they dominated this game.  Landry Jones is hitting his stride, Ryan Broyles seems to be uncoverable and DeMarco Murray just broke the Sooners all-time TD record.  The defense shut out the Cyclones, holding them to 10 first downs and 183 total yards. 

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) DeMarco Murray  and Ryan Broyles  of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrate a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles in the first quarter at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This Week in the Big 12

The National Spotlight will be on Columbia, MO this weekend as ESPN has decided to hold College GameDay on the campus of Mizzou.  This game means a lot to the National Championship hopes of both teams, so expect it to be close.  I hope to see this on Saturday though!

Nebraska heads to Stillwater to face the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys.  This game will come down to the Huskers being able to stop the Cowboys run game.  If they slow down Kendall Hunter and Co.  I like the Cornhuskers to roll to an easy victory.

Both of the games I just mentioned will be on national tv and its well deserved for this conference to get some good pub.  The Big 12 plays a great brand of football, for the most part, and some of the players in this league deserve to be household names.  I expect to see two very tough, hard fought battles in the national spotlight.

Ranking the Big 12

1.  Oklahoma Sooners (6-0)  The number one BCS team has to be atop the conference.  Plus they are damn good.

2.  Missouri Tigers (6-0)  Imagine that, Mizzou is being led by their defense.  I think hell just froze over.

3.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0)  The Cowboys are a threat to score every time they touch it, the defense showed up last week too.

4.  Texas Longhorns (4-2)  The Longhorns showed us what they were capable of on Saturday.  They dominated the Cornhuskers on both lines.

5.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1)  Nebraska does have a weakness, and if they can’t run against you it will show up.  Not a good passing team at all.

6.  Kansas State Wildcats (5-1)  K-State put it on the Jayhawks last Thursday.  It’s a shame they can’t play KU every week.

7.  Baylor Bears (5-2)  Baylor hosts the Wildcats this week in a game they should win at home.  I love watching RG3 do his thing.

8.  Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-3) They were out matched in what I thought would be a high scoring battle with Oki St.  Tuberville needs some time.

9.  Texas A&M Aggies (3-3)  This team is not good at all.  Jerrod Johnson is 1/4 the player he was last year.  Atleast Jeff Fuller and Von Miller are fun to watch.

10.  Colorado Buffaloes (3-3)  Rodney Stewart tried to put the Buffs on his back last week, but the Bears were a little too much.

11.  Iowa State Cyclones (3-4)  They went to OU last week and travel to Texas this week, who did the Cyclones piss off?

12.  Kansas Jayhawks (2-4)  This is a YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED team that will be better next year.  They are horrible this season.

Week 8 Picks

Iowa State @ Texas 

This game won’t be close.  Garrett Gilbert had a good game last week, finally deciding to use his feet to make plays.  The Cyclones are probably on the verge of laying down after 2 straight blowout defeats.  Look for the Texas passing game to have a big day ar home.  I’ll take the Longhorns 44-10.

Kansas State @ Baylor 

This is a game that I’m very interested in watching.  The Wildcats like to pound the rock to set up the play action game.  Baylor uses RG3 every possible way they can.  I’m a fan of both styles, but I think the Baylor offense will be a little to explosive for the K-State defense.  Remember what Taylor Martinez did against them?  Baylor wins 30-22

Texas Tech @ Colorado 

Texas Tech needs to open it up for Taylor Potts and the offense, because until Tuberville gets his guys in their that’s who they are.  The Buffaloes should rely on the legs of Rodney Stewart to keep this game close.  I like the Red Raiders in this game 27-17.

Nebraska @ Oklahoma State

This game will be a battle of Okie State’s offense versus Nebraska’s dominant defense.  If the Cowboys are going to win, they need to feed Kendall Hunter the rock, a lot.  I don’t think the Huskers can outscore the Cowboys, so the blackshirts have to make some plays.  Tune into the podcast on Friday morning for the PGWU Pick ‘Em segment for our picks on this game.

Texas A&M @ Kansas

The Aggies remind me of the 2009 Jayhawks.  Tons of talent returning, very high expectations and if blows up in their face.  TAMU will only go as far as Jerrod Johnson will take them.  Kansas is at home, that’s about all they have going for them.  I like the Aggies to right the ship 37-13

Oklahoma @ Missouri

The Game of the week!  I’m extremely excited to watch this game.  It’s homecoming at Mizzou, Gary Pinkel has finally built a good defense to go along with his spread offense and College Gameday will be in the house!  With all that being said, Oklahoma comes to town as the number one team in the BCS, they are hitting on all cylinders and have had the Tigers number for as long as Stoops has been in Norman.  This game will come down to a big defensive stop or a special teams play.  I see an extremely close game on Saturday night.  Tune into the podcast on Friday morning for the PGWU Pick ‘Em segment for our picks on this game.

Written by Jason Madson.  Follow him on Twitter @isbnJMAD.

PGWU Heisman Watch: Week 7


Welcome to week 7 in the college football season. This weekend we get our first BCS standings and quite a few big games, but we are here this week to talk about the Heisman Trophy candidates. Terrelle Pryor is back on the map this week, as is Taylor Martinez. Did Denard Robinson hurt his chances with last week’s performance? Check it out.

5th Kellen Moore QB Boise State   He has 14 TD to 1 INT this season, and is averaging 9.9 yards per completion.  These stats are great considering he hasn’t played much in the 2nd half of the last few games.

4th Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska Wow!  That is all I can say about his performance last Thursday against KSU.  He made the Wildcat defense look silly with his blazing speed.  Martinez leads all FBS schools with 10.8 yards per rush and 12 rushing TD.

3rd Terrelle Pryor QB Ohio State  Slowly, but surely Pryor is beginning to quiet his critics.  He is throwing the ball better this season than he ever has, coming off a great performance against Indiana.  He was 24-30 for 334 yards and 3 TD.  For the season he has 15 TD to 3 INT and is completing nearly 70% of his passes.

2nd LaMichael James RB Oregon  Had an impressive game last week with 223 total yards and 3 scores.  He has been an extremely consistant performer so far this season and that is what it takes to win the Heisman Trophy.

1st Cameron Newton QB Auburn  He continues to put the Tigers on his shoulders and they continue to win.  He had 4 rushing TD last week, adding to his impressive total TD mark of 21.  If the Tigers keep winning, he will stay atop this list.

Big 12 Preview Week 6


Last weeks Big 12 schedule was centered around one game, The Red River Shootout.  After the Sooners dominated most of the game, Texas made a come back and it would’ve gotten interesting if not for a muffed punt by Texas with about a minute to go.  There were some surprises last week as well.  Baylor beating Kansas wasn’t a surprise, but a final score of 55-7 was.  Iowa State jumped out to a big lead against Texas Tech, only to watch the Red Raiders come back and tie it up.  The Cyclones went on to put up 52 points and held TTU to 38. 

Week 5 Highlights

Jerrod Johnson filled up the stat sheet last week, both positively and negatively.  He threw for 409 yards and 5 TD, but also threw 4 interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a TD.  I’m still waiting on the 2009 version of Jerrod Johnson to show up in 2010.

The Baylor Bears had about as perfect of a game as any team could hope for.  Bears QB Robert Griffin is so talented, it’s laughable.  He completed 72 percent of his passes, threw for 380 yards and 3 scores.  He also had 64 yards on the ground and another score.

The Colorado Buffaloes pulled off what many considered to be any upset, beating the Georgia Bulldogs 29-27.  AJ Green made his return for the Dawgs in this game, but the running of Buffs RB Rodney Stewart was the biggest story.  This pint sized back rushed for 149 yards, averaging 7.8 per carry.

What to Watch for in Week 6

Nebraska heads to The Little Apple for what could be the last time.  The fans in purple will be rockin and ESPN will be in the house as well.  I like the Wildcats to keep this game close because of A) Daniel Thomas running thru the weak Husker run defense B)play action passes to some talented receivers, especially Chris Harper and C) Bill Snyder coaching in his house.  This will be a very tight game, IF the Wildcats can keep Taylor Martinez under control.

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder looks on against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2009 in Pasadena, California. UCLA defeated Kansas State 23-9. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Look for the Colorado Buffaloes to try to run the ball down Mizzou’s throat, a la San Diego State.  The Buffs have the right ingredients to make this a game with a big talented offensive line and a very quick running back in Rodney Stewart.  If Mizzou gets out to a quick lead, this game won’t be close.

Baylor and Texas Tech meet in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.  This game will be full of explosive scoring. but very little defense.  I could see over 80 combined  points in this game.  If nothing else, catch a few plays while Baylor has the ball, because Griffin is well worth it.

Ranking the Big 12

  1. 1. Oklahoma Sooners
  2. 2. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  3. 3. Missouri Tigers
  4. 4. Kansas State Wildcats
  5. 5. Texas Longhorns
  6. 6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  7. 7. Texas A&M Aggies
  8. 8. Baylor Bears
  9. 9. Iowa State Cyclones
  10. 10. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  11. 11. Colorado Buffaloes
  12. 12. Kansas Jayhawks                                       

Week 6 Predictions

Nebraska @ Kansas State     I like K-State in a tight one, 23-20

Oklahoma State @ LA Lafayette    I like Okie St in a route 51-17

Baylor @ Texas Tech from Dallas     I’ll take the Bears in a shootout, 44-40

Colorado @ Missouri       Mizzou wins big, 38-14

Arkansas @ Texas A&M from Jerry’s Palace in Dallas     Arkansas wins 33-24

Utah @ Iowa State     Upset Alert!!!  I’ll take the Cyclones, 20-14

Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

Week 4 Power Poll


Every week the writers at Pregame Warm-Up will get together for our top 15 schools, or as we like to call it, the “Power Poll”.  Each individual writer gives their top 15, then we assign the 1st place team 15 points all the way down to the 15th place team with 1 point.  The points are combined and here is how week 4 ended up:

1. Alabama 74 points(4 1st place)   same as last week

2. Ohio State 70 points(1 first place)    same as last week

3. Oregon 65 points   one spot from last week

4. Boise State 61 points   one spot from last week

5. TCU 54 points   one spot from last week

6. Nebraska 46 points   ↑  four spots from last week

7. Oklahoma 45 points   ↓ two spots from last week

8. Arkansas 40 points   ↑  five spots from last week

9. Texas 38 points   ↓  one spot from last week

10. South Carolina 31 points   ↓   one spot from last week

11. Florida 17 points   ↔   same as last week

12. Utah 15 points   ↑   two spots from last week

13. LSU 10 points   ♦  New to the Power Poll

14t. Arizona 9 points   ♦   New to the Power Poll

14t. Wisconsin 9 points  ↓   two spots from last week

Others Receiving Points: Michigan 7 points, Stanford 6 points, Auburn 2 points, West Virginia 1 point

Week 4 in the Pac 10


If you hear a rumbling, that’s the sound of everybody jumping off the Jake Locker bandwagon all at once. The biggest game of Week 3 for the Pac-10 was Nebraska vs Washington, and Locker’s 4 for 20 performance left a lot to be desired.

I wouldn’t be too alarmed for Locker, though. Yes, he was bad, but it’s not like everyone just missed the boat on him and he went from #1 overall pick to being a schlub. The Nebraska defense is really good, and the Huskie defense didn’t exactly do Locker any favors. I’ll wait to hold judgement, and the bye week should help Sarkisian and company refocus.

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Jake Locker  of the Washington Huskies passes against defensive end Pierre Allen  of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Then there was Arizona’s trouncing of Iowa. This was an odd game for a few reasons. Iowa’s first possession ended in a punt block, the end result being a Wildcat touchdown. Iowa’s next possession ended with a pick-six. After Iowa scored its first touchdown, the ensuing kickoff was returned for a score.Now, I give Arizona all the credit for being opportunistic and creating turnovers, but how much can you really gauge from this game? After those first few drives, were the Hawkeyes really that into it?

It was 27-7 at half time, with those three touchdowns resulting from a blocked punt, interception and kick return. The high powered Arizona offense, when having to face the Hawkeye defense with a long field, could only muster two field goals. I’m not completely sold on Arizona just yet.

Some quick notes on a few other games:

I continue to watch USC with an eye of skepticism. They just don’t seem to possess the ability to overwhelm inferior opponents. Winning is the name of the game, but I’m just not sure the Trojans have what it takes to knock a good team out. Still watching, still waiting for some signs.

Arizona State almost shocked the world by going on the road and coming within a blocked extra point of tying #11 Wisconsin late. I had this one nearly pegged last week, but I’m still surprised. Might not be the last time I say that about the Sun Devils this year.

I take nothing away from UCLA beating a Case Keenum-less Houston team. But you beat who is in front of you, so kudos to the Bruins. Now on to Week 4…

USC vs Washington State

Here you go, Lane. While most people won’t figure there is anything to learn from this game, I’ll be watching. I want to see the Trojans whoop up on somebody, and who better than the worst team (by far) in the Pac-10. This is the time to send a message.

Stanford vs Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are coming off two hard to swallow losses, and now they face one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Stanford’s Andrew Luck. I would be fearful of the Cardinal players being caught looking forward to next week’s Oregon matchup, but does anybody really look past Notre Dame?

I really don’t see the Irish stopping Luck. And by the way, the drinking game for this one will be all puns that include the words “Luck” and “Irish” by NBC commentators.

UCLA vs Texas

Texas might boast the best defense in the nation, and UCLA has serious offensive issues. You get blanked at home against Stanford, then what are you going to do on the road against Texas?

What they need to do is make sure the Longhorns don’t get any kind of running game going. Then take a page from Arizona’s book and look to special teams and turnovers early to knock the wind out of Texas’ sails. If this were a home game for the Bruins, I could see something like that happening, but a road game against a top ten team? I’d be surprised if the score didn’t end in double digits favoring Texas.

Oregon State vs Boise State

This week’s Pac-10 game of the week. Here’s something I find interesting: The Beavers painted their practice field blue this week to prepare for a trip to Boise. I find this very funny, but at the same time, a possibly genius move by Mike Reilly.

It also helps the Beavers that they are coming off a bye week. Then again, Boise State’s game last week against Wyoming might as well be considered a bye.

The Broncos are the better team, but the matchup favors Oregon State slightly. You want to run the ball on the Beavers, and Boise is a pass-happy team. However, OSU quarterback Ryan Katz cannot get into a shootout with Kellen Moore.

The Beavers have to make this a low-scoring game. Even if they are down, say, 17-3 at half, that’s better than having Moore and the Broncos start lighting up the scoreboard, even if OSU is keeping up early. They won’t be able to sustain that, and Boise will.

California vs Arizona

The Bears seem to be a team that does well when everybody counts them out and folds under pressure. Well, after getting mauled by Nevada last week, and Arizona picking up a signature win, the pressure is off.

The Wildcats jumped ten spots from #24 to #14 in the AP poll. Not sure if I agree with that kind of movement in the polls with the kind of game that went on last week. And really, that was the only real game Arizona has played so far, and it was over early. This is also the last game before the bye week for the Cats. I smell “trap”.

Shane Vereen of California scores a touchdown during the game against UC Davis at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California on September 4th, 2010.  California defeated UC Davis, 52-3. Photo via Newscom

What Cal needs to do is run the ball with a vengeance. Shane Vereen needs about 25 carries for the Bears to win. Keep the ball, stop Arizona from airing it out, and you give yourself a chance. I think they will keep it close late, but Nick Foles and the Arizona passing attack will find seams against a questionable Cal secondary, and make enough big plays down the stretch to put the Bears away.

Oregon vs Arizona State

While the loss was painful, Arizona State should feel pretty good about their performance against Wisconsin. This is also Oregon’s first real game. Kind of smell an upset here, as it has all the ingredients, but there’s only one problem: Oregon is really, really good.

And should be good enough to blow the Sun Devils out. Perhaps the game will remain close in the first half, as the Ducks get up to speed, but Oregon is the best team nobody is talking about, and ASU still has a ways to go before they can be seriously thought of as a threat.

Written by Jay Fisher @jfishsports on Twitter

Big 12 Happenings


We saw some very close games and some blowouts last week in the Big 12.  Oklahoma State and Nebraska had very impressive routes of quality opponents.  Mizzou and Oklahoma beat inferior opponents in games that came down to the last few minutes. Texas and Kansas State battled to victories over Big 12 conference opponents.  Texas A&M and Colorado won, while Kansas and Baylor lost to out of conference foes.

Highlights From Week 3

Colorado had an impressive showing against Hawaii in all aspects of the game.  The Buffs held the high powered Warrior offense to 337 total yards and only 7 on the ground.  Tyler Hansen had an impressive game, throwning 2 TD’s, one each to WR Toney Clemons and WR Scotty McNight.  The Colorado running game was the star of the show, running for a combined 270 yards.

Nebraska had three 100 yard rushers in a blowout victory over the Washington Huskies. Taylor Martinez(137 yards), Roy Helu Jr.(110 yards) and Rex Burkhead(104 yards) were all the Huskers needed on Saturday in Seattle.  The “Black Shirts” held the Washington offense to less than 250 total yards and Jake Locker had an ugly 4-20 passing day, 20% completion percentage is not good.

Oklahoma State demolished the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 65-28.  Brandon Weeden threw for an astounding 409 yards and 6 TD.  Cowboys WR Justin Blackmon had a great day as well, 6 receptions 174 yards and 3 TD.  What impresses me the most about this game was the Okie State defense.  They picked Tulsa QB GJ Kinne 3 times and the final 3 TD were late meaningless points for the Golden Hurricane against some Cowboy backups.

Games to Watch: Week 4

Oklahoma @ Cincinnati – Oklahoma has seemed to play to the level of their opponents this season.  Close games with Utah State and Air Force, with a blowout victory over Florida State.  I like the Sooners big in this game for two reasons: 1) they have better talent and coaching than do the Bearcats and 2) This is considered by some as a tough road test, so they should show up and make a statement. 

UCLA @ Texas- UCLA beat a very good Houston team at home last week, knocking out Cougars star QB Case Keenum with a leg injury.  Texas went into Lubbock and came out of the dogfight victorious.  Garrett Gilbert struggled last week throwing 3 INT and getting sacked 3 times as well.  This will be a good matchup for the struggling Gilbert.  I like the Longhorns to take it, and it won’t be that close. 

UCF @ Kansas State- Daniel Thomas, Daniel Thomas, Daniel Thomas!  That is all you need to know about the Wildcats this year.  He is so much fun to watch every week, running the ball or passing it from the wildcat he does it all.  UCF boasts a strong crew at LB, led by Derrick Hallman and a good defensive backfield.  Neither will help though, if they don’t get good push on the line of scrimmage.  Once again, Daniel Thomas is the only reason I will watch this game.

Ranking the Big 12

North-   1. Nebraska  2. Missouri  3.  Kansas State  4. Colorado  5.  Kansas  6. Iowa State

South-  1. Oklahoma  2.  Texas  3. Oklahoma State  4. Texas A&M  5.  Texas Tech  6. Baylor

Team News

Baylor- Demolished by TCU last week, head to Rice for a chance at a 3-1 start to the season.

Colorado- Worked a lot of no-huddle offense in Saturday’s game against Hawaii, and it worked.  The Warriors were gassed.  The elevation of Colorado is a huge home field advantage for the Buffs.

Iowa State- The Cyclones host Northern Iowa this weekend in what should be an easy victory for the Cyclones.

Kansas-  The Jayhawks host New Mexico State on saturday.  They should rebound quite nicely against the below average Aggies.

Kansas State- Daniel Thomas trails Michigan QB Denard Robinson by just a handful of yards to be the nations leading rusher.  I expect him to have a huge game against the Knights.

Missouri- DE Aldon Smith has a broken bone in his leg and is expected to miss at least 2 weeks.  TJ Moe and Michael Egnew continue to get the majority of the looks from Gabbert.

Nebraska-  Eric Hagg, who plays the Peso postion(a hybrid safetyoutside linebacker) is a star in the making.  He makes plays every time he’s on the field.

Oklahoma- The Sooners need help with blitz pick ups.  They struggled to stop the Air Force pressure in the close victory.

Oklahoma State- If Bill Young’s defense can make some plays, this team could be very dangerous this year.  The Cowboys can score with anybody.

Texas- They struggled to get anything going on offense against the Red Raiders.  Will they get it fixed before it hurts them?

Texas A&M- Will OLB Von Miller’s ankle be at full strength to begin conference play?  Jerrod Johnson has been performing well below his abilities this season, how much did off-season surgery hurt his game?

Texas Tech- The Red Raiders had their lowest yardage output since 1990. 

Week 4 Picks

Baylor @ Rice  Baylor wins 24-21

Oklahoma @ Cincinnati Oklahoma wins 44-17

UCLA @ Texas Texas wins 31-17

Northern Iowa @ Iowa State Iowa State wins 23-14

New Mexico State @ Kansas Kansas wins 34-19

UCF @ Kansas State KState wins 30-20

Miami(OH) @ Missouri Missouri wins 52-21

South Dakota State @ Nebraska Nebraska wins 59-10

 Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

This Week in the Pac-10


 

 Week 2 was a good week to be a Pac 10 team. The conference swept every game, with the lone exception being Stanford’s beat down of UCLA, where a Pac 10 team had to lose. This looks to be a much stronger conference than is being nationally perceived.

Granted, the wins were piled up against less than formidable opponents, but only to teams won by single digits. One of those teams is the consensus basement dweller or the conference, Washington State. Yes, it was against FCS team Montana State, and yes, it took a fourth quarter rally to eek out the victory, but any win the Cougars can get is fine by them.

Then there is USC. The Trojans struggled offensively, a week after the defense was an issue against Hawaii. I’m starting to doubt whether or not Lane Kiffin will be able to give this team an identity. There is talent on the team, we know that. But I find their play inconsistent and rough. They surely haven’t played like a top 25 team thus far, despite the fact they are 2-0.

Some other notes from Week 2. Oregon continues to look like a team not only competing for a Pac-10 title, but possibly looking for a BCS title. The conference schedule will be tough in terms of going undefeated, but the Ducks administered another thrashing, this time at Tennessee. We’re all waiting for that matchup against Stanford.

Speaking of Stanford, their win against UCLA marks the first in-conference game of the season, in which the Cardinal cruised 35-0. I admit, this is a team that is looking better than I expected them to, even if I am low on UCLA.

Oregon State was on a bye in Week 2.

Alright, let’s move on to Week 3.

California vs Nevada

This Friday night game is an interesting one. Both teams are looking to move into the top 25 with a win here, but the Bears are the favorite despite being on the road in a short week.

When playing Nevada, you must guard against the run. It’s not that I don’t think Cal can defend, but can the offense, and most importantly QB Kevin Riley, get out in front early to force Nevada to play from behind. I think Cal is the better team, but Nevada may have the matchup they want.

USC vs Minnesota

The Trojans shouldn’t have a problem winning this game. I’m looking to see how they win. They have shown two different personalities in as many games, so perhaps game three can provide a glimpse on what this team will be like going into Pac-10 play. If they struggle, you can officially put a red flag on USC and Lane Kiffin.

Nebraska vs Washington

This is my Pac-10 game of the week. I want to see Jake Locker against this Cornhusker defense, and I’m sure many NFL scouts will be in attendance to see the same. Locker must be brilliant if the Huskies have any chance to win. I don’t expect Chris Polk to do much in the running game.

Defensively speaking, it’s not like Nebraska is an offensive juggernaut. Washington has to kill the run, kill the run, and oh, did I mention, kill the run? What happens here will be very eye-opening on just how good Washington can be this year.

Arizona State vs Wisconsin

Ex-Michigan quarterback and current Sun Devil Steven Threet has beaten a ranked Wisconsin team before, one of only two of Threet’s Ann Arbor victories. Arizona State has looked good enough to repeat Threet’s past, but the Badgers are going to be a much harder team to beat than the cupcakes presented to them so far.

I’ve been trying to talk myself into a Sun Devil win here, since Big Ten matchups seem favorable to their style of play, but with no experience this year playing tough competition, and going on the road against a hard-nosed team, they should just be happy keeping it close, which I do expect. Gamblers might want to look at the point spread in this one.

Washington State vs Southern Methodist

I’m not going to say this very often this year, but the Cougars are coming off a win. I don’t foresee me typing the same thing next week. This team is building, folks, and the losses will come in bunches, even to teams with problems such as SMU. The best case scenario here is keeping it close early and seeing any signs of progress.

Louisville vs Oregon State

I would not want to be Louisville this week. The Cardinals problem so far has been stopping the ground attack, and Oregon State is a team looking to run it down opponents’ throats. Add into the mix that the Beavers have had two weeks to stomach their loss against top-5 TCU, and yeah, I don’t see this being too close a game.

But you have to mention that the Beavers face Boise State next week, and the fear of overlooking a lesser opponent is out there. Louisville needs to hope for just that, and perhaps get an early lead and force Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz to make some plays. Otherwise, it will be a long day for the Cardinals.

Portland State vs Oregon

The Ducks’ last tune-up before conference play. Portland State is an FCS school, and they will likely get pounded. Not much to see here.

Iowa vs Arizona

The only game this week featuring two top-25 schools. I hate this matchup for Arizona, who come equipped with a high octane offense but face a tough Big Ten defense. I favor the defense in battles like these, and the Hawkeyes are the better team. Plus, I worry about the defensive line against Iowa’s offense, and if the Wildcats can supply any pressure.

Being at home obviously helps, and Arizona has what it takes to rally if they find themselves behind, but Iowa to me is bigger and stronger and should win the all too important line of scrimmage battle. The Wildcats must force a shootout to be successful. I don’t see it playing out that way, but either way, it will be a great test, and should be a great game.

Houston vs UCLA

The good news: Houston quarterback Case Keenum may not play. The bad news: pretty much everything else. We can start with the fact that the Bruins can’t stop the run. Then we move on to their lack of ground control on offense. I’m a fan of what they’re doing, or more precisely, what they’re trying to do, but Houston, with or without Keenum is simply better at what they are doing.

UCLA needs to pray for a Keenum-less game. It’s really their only chance in this one.

Wake Forest vs Stanford

Okay, Stanford is better than I thought. Andrew Luck, who I already loved, is better than I thought. As for Wake, when Duke puts up 48 points on you, what do you expect one of the nation’s top quarterbacks to do?

Stanford wins easily here. The only concern is whether or not the defense can play as well as it has thus far, especially the run defense, but I don’t see it becoming a huge issue.

Written by Jay Fisher @jfishsports on Twitter