Friday, September 24, 2010

What to look for this weekend

This week begins the ultimate argument against Boise St. (or TCU for that matter) playing in the National Championship Game. Alabama begins a brutal three week stretch this weekend at #10 Arkansas, followed by a home game against #9 Florida, followed by a trip to current #12 South Carolina. What is Boise St.’s schedule over the next three weeks? This weekend at home against Oregon St., followed by a trip to New Mexico St. and then home against Toledo. My argument against the non-BCS schools playing in the big game has never been that they couldn’t win the game, the argument has been that the big game is a reward for surviving a long, difficult season and no such reward should be offered to a school with Boise St.’s schedule.

We are almost finished with the first month of season and already we have coaches on the hot seat (hello Dan Hawkins and Houston Nutt); and no coach is feeling more pressure than Georgia’s Mark Richt. Paul Finebaum’s column this week hasn’t helped matters. In Atlanta, sports radio show callers aren’t asking if Richt should be fired, but are asking if Tennessee coach Derek Dooley would take the job. As a Gator fan, I am hoping that Richt stays for a long time.

What to expect from the Gators this week:

Offense – the biggest question, as it has been every Saturday so far, is can the offense be productive in the first half. We haven't scored in the first quarter. That is nothing to be completely worried about when your opponents are completely overmatched, but Kentucky is a different beast altogether with two weapons (Locke and Cobb). Given the fact that Demps carried the ball way too much last week (26 carries), I think we will see a lot more of Mike Gillislee this week. I expect Moody to get more carries this week as well, to a lesser extent. Yesterday, Coach Meyer stated that the WRs seemed to be getting their legs back, so that would lead you to believe we might actually open the offense up a bit. I think we will see a lot of Debose this week. Kentucky’s defense was gashed by the running game by its first 2 opponents and then last week they committed to stopping the run by bringing extra defenders in the box. If that happens this week, I would like to think we throw more out of running formations (read I formation and when Brantley is under center). For Brantley to be successful throwing the ball, we have to let him throw on non-throwing downs – 1st down, 2nd and short, etc. This will allow him to throw against what is typically base defenses and easier to read. On the offensive line, James Wilson is still out, which means that we will continue to see a rotation of Mo Hurt and Jon Halapio at right guard.

I expect us to break out of funk offensively this week, with more of a passing attack (over 200 yards passing for Brantley) and feeding off the energy of the crowd (gotta love night games in the Swamp).

Defense – 2nd week in a row that we face the leading rusher in the SEC. Kentucky’s attack is much more diversified than our prior opponents. I would expect Kentucky to try to attack Jeremy Brown with Randall Cobb, motioning Cobb towards Brown to establish the matchup of their best receiver against our 2nd best corner. Leaving Cobb to deal with Jenkins would be a waste for Kentucky, so I am pretty sure that Jenkins could shut him down no problem. I do not think we will see the “new” 5-2 defense this week, although we will see plenty of it next week.

Pick six – last week’s record 4-2

Florida wins big this week, setting up the big show down against #1 Alabama.

Alabama beats Arkansas in a high scoring game. I think Arkansas covers the number and the game goes over the total.

South Carolina goes to Auburn and comes out with the outright win. Auburn is too beat up from last week’s game to win.

Georgia opened the week as an underdog at Mississippi St. If that doesn’t tell you where Georgia is at as a program nothing does.

Stanford takes the rare opportunity to play on nationally televised game to show it is for real. Stanford v. Oregon next week will be hyped as much as Florida v. Alabama.

Boise St will take advantage of the holes in Oregon St.’s secondary and put up over 40 against the Beavers.

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