Well I'm back as promised and we have LOADS to dive into today..
THE HOT LIST:
1. Nebraska Virginia Tech Breakdown
2. My Top 25
3. Big 12 Football Rankings
1. Well if your a Nebraska Fan, you have to be accustomed to enduring some heartbreak. Saturday's game was disappointing, as Nebraska's defense squander a late 15-10 lead and allowed VT to produce on 2 big plays and walk out of their stadium with a 16-15 win. There's no question as a fan it was heartbreaking to see Nebraska play pretty well but yet squander an opportunity to win on the road. You have to really look at the dynamics of the game to understand that Nebraska really never should have been in the situation it was in late in the game. First, you CAN'T, CAN'T, CAN'T, go onto the road and produce zero touchdowns and expect to win. You have to punch it into the end-zone if you want to beat good teams. Second, Nebraska's possession that started first and goal from the six, a then touchdown, was negated by a holding penalty, then another holding penalty, and 2 false start penalties, that pushed Nebraska out of field goal range and squandering a chance to take a 15-10 lead which could of been put to 18-10 towards the end of the game. Third, on the road and having a MUST gain first down to seal the game, you have to get gutsy and take a gamble. I was disappointed in Tim Beck, and Shawn Watson faith in Rex Burkehead. The true freshman hardly carried the ball when he was subbing for Helu. Fourth, when you have a chance to get to Tyrod Taylor, you better do it...period. The junior singed Nebraska on their final play dancing around for 12 seconds before unloading the winning touchdown pass. Suh and company wanted to get to him, but you could sense that the gameplan of containing him in the pocket was pressed to firmly in their minds to create the sack. This will have to be corrected and our LB's better start stepping up their game NOW...because Nebraska can ill afford to go into a game with a legit dual threat QB and play tentative to keep him in the pocket and throw the ball. Pressure must be created with the DL and LB's playing their assignments correctly and making good solid defensive plays.
Grade outs are simple, the defense took massive steps this week shutting down VT after the first quarter and losing only on simple mental breakdowns. The offense goes two steps back this week failing to produce a touchdown and once #1 pass efficient Zac Lee struggled going 11 of 30 with 2 picks and NO touchdowns. The offense will have to get back on their game for Big 12 play because going on the road and scoring touchdowns is something Nebraska will have to do if they hope to keep their dreams of a Big 12 North title alive this season.
2. I've waited a few weeks for the season to start and I'm now doing my top 25 starting this week and going to the end of the season. Here's my Top 25 this week.
7. Penn State
8. Ohio State
10. Oklahoma State
13. Boise State
16. Virginia Tech
21. North Carolina
25. Georgia Tech
The breakdown is simple, in the top 5 Florida is #1 till they get beat and Texas comes in at #4 based off their hanging on performance against Tech last weekend. Cal rises up to #5 after a nice performance against Minnesota. LSU deserved to be ahead of any slow 10 school so they are in front of Penn State and Ohio State. OU and OSU check in at 9 & 10. TCU is way more legit to get to a BCS bowl than Boise State so they are at 11. USC's pitiful loss to Washington drops them to #14 in my poll. Cincinnati had another nice win on the road at Oregon State so they climb ahead of VT who held on for a W last weekend. Georgia rises after getting a dogfight win on the road at Arkansas. The Husker's move up despite a loss, only by their nice defensive showing. KU comes in at 19, followed closely by Houston who has a nice win on the road from beating OSU last weekend. They get Texas Tech this weekend. UNC comes in at 21, and BYU drops to 22 in my poll after getting thrashed at home by FSU. Auburn climbs in my top 25 with a nice gutsy win against West Virginia, Iowa checks in at 24 after getting a nice 10 point win over Arizona, and despite getting thrashed on the road at Miami, Georgia Tech comes in at 25.
3. Like my top 25 I'll be doing my own Big 12 Rankings as well, since I've started watching the teams and we are well into the season.
Kinda doesnt look like they have lost any stride without Bradford, when he comes back and their defensive play rises...they'll be the best team in this conference.
Colt McCoy who lead the country last year in pass efficiency didn't look to hot at home last weekend, his team held on for a 10 point win over a mid-tier team in the Big 12....OU will have a passing field day on them if they dont improve in the secondary.
3. Oklahoma State
Despite losing to Houston, the Cowboys when healthy still have best offense in the Big 12. How many steps can that defense take when Big 12 play begins? That will most likely dictate what kind of season the Cowboys will have this year.
Despite a loss, the Husker's defense made great strides in showing that they might have the best defensive unit in the Big 12, minus some key mental breakdowns. Shoring up those mistakes and getting the offense in track will be pivotal when the Huskers travel to Missouri in 2 weeks.
Kansas quietly has put on a clinic on defense, but how good is that defense against Big 12 competition instead of UTEP, Northern Colorado, and Duke. The loss of Sharp won't hurt the team as much for the next couple of weeks but his health will go a long way into the success of this season. As they say, you can't win a championship without being able to run the ball effectively.
6. Texas Tech
An impressive showing by Taylor Potts might have teams around the conference thinking that Tech is in a down year. His play will ultimately decide the outcome of pretty much every game they will play. Their defense looked much improved but still lacks the ability to make the big play when needed. Another big test this week for Tech as Houston has shown it loves to beat even the best teams of the Big 12.
Some people are high on this team, but I'm not. When they beat a legit team, I'll reconsider moving them up but wins over Illinois, Furman, and a struggling W over Bowling Green doesn't warrant a top 5 ranking. Eyes will be watching their play on their first true road game of the season @ Nevada.
Tough loss at home last weekend against UConn, but the road win against Wake Forest is still nice. Shoring up mistakes will be much needed as the Bears only have 2 more games to tune themselves up before visiting OU on October 10th.
9. Texas A&M
Sherman's team struggled to beat Utah State last week and that bodes concern this week as they face UAB with Arkansas and Oklahoma State looming in the next two weeks. The offense has looked much improved this season, but where is the "wrecking crew" defense. A&M better discover something of that nature quick or face an enduring string of losses this season.
10. Iowa State
ISU had a chance to make a statement against Iowa and fell flat on their face. Breaking their 20+ losing streak on the road...whoop-a-dee-doo....Kent State is a bad team this year. Woe's of their new offensive system are beginning to surface...The cyclones must get back on track or face a winless conference season again.
Dan Hawkins beat Wyoming last week and probably saved negative publicity for himself for one more week. A well needed bye week is in order for the Buffaloes before their showdown road trip to West Virginia next week. With the Mountaineers, Longhorns, and Jayhawks as the next 3 games...a losing streak appears eminent with their poor defensive play.
12. Kansas State
The kitty kats are dead last this week after back to back losses to Louisiana Lafayette and UCLA. Bill Synder might be looking at himself in the mirror and start asking the question of why he came back to Manhattan. His offense has struggled with poor QB play, and defensively has broken down at critical times to win games. Improved effort on both sides of the ball are needed against Tennessee Tech this week with Iowa State looming for their Big 12 opener.
Coming back Tomorrow.....Skocz Out!!!!!!