"I love the smell of barbecued leprechaun in the morning." Though this quote cannot be confirmed or denied to have been uttered by a member of the Stanford team, it certainly had to be what they were thinking after doing just that to South Bend U. Also, no confirmation on the rumor that the codeword for the defensive game plan was "The Anti-Crist." The meteoric rise of The Card this young season has caught the attention of every media outlet, most notably ESPN, as they are bringing the fabled "Game Day" caravan to Autzen. When Lee Corso dons the Tree costume, will he smell Pat Forde's cologne?
The cushy ease of the preseason breeze UO was flying high on came to a blistering end last Saturday in Tempe. Gashed for nearly 600 yards, the mallard defense needed every one of the seven turnovers they were credited with to avoid a critical conference-opening loss. Though their offense continues to run the one-minute drill on scoring drives, Duckophiles are concerned by their quarterback's unwillingness to keep the ball and run in the read-option attack. If Oregon wants to regain the penthouse spot in the BPR's, they need a better showing this week, and a "W."
Pac-10 football has always had a reputation for being an all-offense and no-defense league. Things might be changing this season, as the felines join Stanford and Oregon in the top-ten nationally in defensive rankings. Zona needed every bit of its defensive power play to overcome a sputtering attempt to light up the scoreboard as their one and only touchdown of the night proved to be the game-winner. Two weeks from now marks the last home game UA will see for awhile, as they play four of the final six conference games as the visitor.
Of all the 4-0 starts to the season, $C's may be the least impressive, due mostly to the soft underbelly of their schedule coming in the first month. The first three games were sloppy and underwhelming performances, and even 50-16 looks ho-humish against Wazzu, as the Toejams appear to be living off Pete Carroll's legacy when it comes to national opinion. One more gimme this week against Yoo-Dub and then we see what the probation-era baby blockers are really made of.
Oregon State 79
The Little Rascals had one more shot at glory on a national stage but couldn't get out of the way of their own tails. All that blue paint wasted on the practice field, and to make matters worse, Big Bro James knocked himself silly while trying to make a block. Dumbfounding stat of the week: In his ten years as head coach in Corvallis, Mike Riley has only one road victory during the month of September. Out of conference opponents must be lining up to get them on the schedule for a home-and-home set-up.
If Texas ever were to reconsider joining the Pac X, they will probably only do so under the terms that they NOT be placed in the same division as UCLA. After suffering their worst loss in school history at the hands of the Bruins back in '97, the No. 7 Longhorns took a nose dive in the standings after they were mauled by the powder-blue bears last Saturday in Austin. Part of the reason was Texas QB Garrett Gilbert's weenie genes manifesting themselves, and the other part was El Lay's offense finally firing bullets from all chambers. The safety is still secure on Kevin Prince's pea shooter though.
Apparently only half of kal's beleaguered squad received a pep talk this week. Now that the real Kevin Riley has returned to form, perhaps Jolly Jeff won't be so stubborn about using the only proven weapon he has at his disposal. Berkeley did have multiple chances to put Arizona away, but PK Giorgio Tavecchio couldn't keep it long or straight. What else do you expect from an Italian who isn't playing soccer?
Tantalizingly close to pulling of back-to-back upsets is just brutal to swallow for players and fans alike, but if nothing else, El Diablos del Sol are way more intriguing to follow this season than previously expected. Miscues, penalties and turnovers are piling up at an alarming rate, causing headman Dennis Erickson to carry an extra flask while stumbling up and down the sidelines. If they can tighten things up a bit, this squad will play spoiler to some teams' bowl aspirations.
Hopefully none of the Huskies were watching South Dakota State give Nebraska all it could handle in Lincoln, and if they did, hopefully they didn't read the post-game comments from Cornhusker players saying they didn't expect an FCS team to be more physical than a Pac-10 team. Though I'm sure Coach Sark will have them fired up to repeat their marquee win from a year ago, there don't appear to be any solid shots at victory No. 2 until The Crapple Cup.
In case you are wondering, there hasn't been any improvement in the play of Pullman State. Still getting steamrolled in the ground game, still not protecting the ball, and definitely still not forcing opponents to make adjustments. Not that they care, but this continued ineptness will ensure they will be on the wrong end of double-digit point spreads going forward.
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