7:01 AM And away we go! Two hours of college football coverage. Let's see how much coverage the Pac-10 will get. I'm guessing 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
7:06 AM Gameday is live from Columbus, Ohio, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes. I'm writing this diary live from the Arizona Inn in Tucson, Arizona. Along for the ride is my friend Troy. This is actually kind of cool. I feel like a color analysts and Troy is my spotter.
7:11 AM Lee Corso just called John David Booty, John David Brody. Excellent!
7:13 AM Corso has Michigan ranked #2 over USC because of last week's win over Notre Dame. Troy just predicted Michigan will play lousy today. Up next, the Gameday crew will revisit the Oklahoma/Oregon game. Don't even get me starter on that one. It's too early to get upset right now.
7:20 AM We get a clip from Coach Bob Stoops' press conference after the Pac-10 released their statement of apology. Quite frankly, as Troy just so eloquently put it, make the field goal, coach. Then it wouldn't have mattered. I add, don't give up 500 yards of offense to Oregon.
7:23 AM Corso just agreed with Troy's assessment. I think Troy just puked in his mouth.
Since we're on Corso let me just say this, if Lee "Kiss of Death" Corso predicts Arizona to beat USC, I'm going to stab him in the heart with that pencil he's holding. Troy said he'll be on the first flight out of town.
7:25 AM Troy and I are looking at possibilities to replace Corso on Gameday:
Terry Bowden, southerner with a drawl. Lou Holtz (just because Herbstreit might go to blows with him on the set and it'd make for great television) John Mackovick (because Herbstreit might kill him on the set and it would make for great television)
7:33 AM Gameday just aired their weekly emotional segment. The room is pretty quiet. In fact, we're stepping out for a few to get Bloody Mary's from the hotel's poolside bar.
7:45 AM We're back, Bloodies in hand. What'd we miss?
7:49 AM Larry Cocker is officially on the hot seat. We just had a Bernie Kosar sighting. My favorite moment of Kosar was watching him run for his life against a blitzing Steelers defense many years ago. He had that gittyup stride that was just priceless. Too bad his arm wasn't priceless.
7:52 AM Since Gameday refuses to cover the Pac-10 Troy and I will.
ASU/Cal Troy likes ASU to win and the two teams to cover the over, which we're pretty sure is at 58. Troy considers this to be Dirk Koetter's statement game. ASU 49 Cal 45.
I think this is a statement game for Koetter as well. That's why I'm going with Cal over ASU, 38-30.
I like the Huskies in this one. Ty Willingham is doing one of his Stanford specials and looks to have Washington back in the fold of Pac-10 respectability. At the worst, they'll give the Bruins everything they can handle. I'm going with the mild upset, though, UW 24 UCLA 21.
7:56 AM Gameday's covering the Arizona game. Timeout from our predictions.
Corso goes with USC big over Arizona. I am now calling my mortgage lender and am mortgaging my house on the Wildcats.
7:59 AM Troy has a rule to always bet against Washington's QB. UCLA 28-17. He has no further comment.
8:00 AM Herbstreit goes with Cal beating ASU in a classic Pac-10 shootout.
8:01 Back to the predictions.
Notre Dame/MSU Although MSU's won 5 of the last 7 against the Irish, Troy thinks Weiss will have the Irish fighting mad. Troy goes with Notre Dame 35-21 with the caveat that he's pretty confident MSU will win. What?
I like Notre Dame in this one. MSU is faster and is in the heads of the Irish, but Brady Quinn is due for a breakout game and this is it. Notre Dame wins 34-24.
8:07 AM If you haven't had a Bloody Mary at the Arizona Inn, then I highly suggest you do so during your next visit to the Old Pueblo a.k.a Tucson a.k.a The Center.
8:14 AM Michigan/Wisconsin Gameday's previewing this game now. Bret Beilima is "wired." Pretty cool but kinda' same stuff, different day feel to it. Looks like Herbstreit and Corso like Michigan. So do Troy and I. Our predictions are the Wolverines 21-3 and 24-13, respectively.
8:20 AM Ryder Cup update. The USA is losing. What's new? If you're going by the "live" broadcast we're down 5 points to 3. If you're following the tickertape on Gameday, the score is much worse. Not good.
8:22 AM Gameday's covering the Colorado Buffaloes. It's weird that they'd show so much love for a Division II program this early in the show, but…oh wait, no I'm wrong, the Buffs are still a D-I program. My bad.
Troy doesn't think Colorado scores a point today. Georgia 42-0. I actually think Colorado brings their A-game today. Georgia 42-7.
8:36 AM Troy and I are on our second round of Blood Mary's. Typing skills are beginning to deteriorate. Just kidding, I went to Arizona. My typing skills are just beginning to improve.
8:41 AM FYI…Michigan is ranked first nationally in rushing defense.
More predictions: Troy's going with Ohio State big. He's guessing OSU 31-10. I think Smith goes wild today, throws for three scores and runs for one. OSU 38 Penn State 13.
8:45 AM The Gameday crew's official predictions will be coming up soon. Troy and I are chomping at the bit, though, so let's get to the only game that matters.
Troy thinks Zona plays close to the vest ala Nebraska against USC last week. He thinks we lose 35-16. Here's why: Arizona doesn't have the horses yet, we get stifled in the red zone and have to settle for three field goals and only one touchdown.
I think we can win this game. Whether we do or not will come down to these three things:
On defense, our Cover 2 Zone won't cut it. I'd like to see a Cover 1 with Antoine Cason shadowing Dwayne Jarrett. During that first series for USC, if Jarrett goes in motion and Cason doesn't go with him, I'll get nervous. If he does, Cason will finally get to prove to NFL scouts why he's one of the nation's best cover corners. Also, going man underneath a Cover 1 will give SC's QB a different look and may trick him up.
On Offense, we will have to throw the ball in order to run the ball. I remember back to when the New England Patriots played the Pittsburgh Steelers a few years ago under the guidance of Charlie Weiss. Against a blitzing, aggressive Steelers defense, the Patriots threw the ball on their first 19 plays and completed 17 passes. The Steelers were so confused they fell behind early and never recovered. I equate that game to what Arizona needs to do today. You simply cannot attack the Trojans straight up this year. Their defense is that good. Canales will have to earn his paycheck today and call many counter plays, quick hits, and for the love of God, have the guts to mix in a variety of QB roll out plays with receivers running deep routes. If we don't stretch SC's defense, we've got no chance.
On Special Teams, our one hit wonder, Nick Folk, will beat any entire Special Teams unit by himself. The key is in our return games. SC does not have the greatest cover units and if we play well, Steptoe and our other kick returners will have a chance to make some plays. They will have to if we have any aspirations of winning the field position battle.
The X factors include our home crowd, as well as our uncertainty as a football team. We have clearly not played to our capabilities this season and frustration is growing. If we show up and play smart football, we can win. I think we do.
UA 23 USC 16