My buddy Dave the OBGYN visited me last weekend. We showed him and his wife around town, Huber’s in the afternoon, 4th Street at night- the usual spots.
We did not make it out to Papa john’s Cardinal Stadium. Dave the OBGYN is a big Ohio State fan and an even bigger Notre Dame fan, so we decided to stay at home and watch those teams. The point I am driving at is this: Denard Robinson for Michigan is no joke. He did it once to UConn- could’ve been a fluke. Now he’s done it twice.
He, as in he by himself, is 31st in team offense in the country (tied with Notre Dame, USF, Texas Tech and Minnesota.) He leads the nation in rushing yards, and has also thrown for 219 yards per game. This is video game territory here, and he’s done it against two BCS opponents.
I don’t like saying nice things about the Wolverines, but Denard Robinson is wow! right now, and could make the Big Ten even more interesting.
OK, onto this upcoming weekend. We’ll start with hometown Louisville Cardinals who travel to Oregon State for a 5:30 ET kick-off Saturday. The Cards will be looking to string together two wins for the first time since October 2008 and two halves together for the first time this season.
In the opener against Kentucky, the Cards were dominated early on, and then turned it around in the 2nd half, making a game with early blowout potential into a contest. Then against Eastern Kentucky last week, they piled up 290 first half yards en route to a 23-0 halftime lead, but were shut out while only managing 98 yards in the second half.
If you are looking for hope Cards fans, here are a couple of stats for you. Through two games, the Cards rushing offense is +50 yards per game from a year ago and ranks third in the Big East. Also, after struggling to pressure QBs in 2009, the Cards have 9 sacks through two games, good for fifth in the nation and first in the Big East. I think this game will be closer than many nationally believe and while OSU is coming off a week of rest, Louisville is kind of a trap game for them, sandwiched between the two Fiesta bowl teams(#4 TCU in week one and #3 Boise St. next Saturday) from a year ago. This is their home opener though, so I will give them a slight edge and predict OSU 21 Louisville 16.
Kentucky looked vulnerable to upset early against Western Kentucky, allowing a long TD run on the game’s third play. They then proceeded to pummel the Hilltoppers for the next 58 minutes en route to their highest scoring game since 2002. Mike Hartline is the 13th rated QB in the country as he has yet to throw an interception and has been sacked just once. It’s not all rainbows and puppies for the Wildcats however as they allowed a RB to run for over 150 yards for the second straight week.
This week’s opponent, the Akron Zips, are reeling heading into Lexington. They were soundly beaten at home by a questionable Syracuse team in week one. Then they pulled a Gilispie and took one on the chin from FCS Gardner-Webb at home a week ago. So they should provide the Wildcats with a nice possibility to get to 3-0 heading into the SEC opener in Gainesville a week from Saturday.
I need to talk about Randall Cobb. He is two games into his junior season and is tied for 10th all-time in points in UK history. His 27 TDs are only 5 away from Craig Yeast’s all –time record, a stat which does not include passing TDs. In my opinion he is going to be one heck of a pro, and reports out of Lexington are that he has the NFL work ethic. His interviews are already big league ready. He could set unbreakable records if he stays for a fourth season at UK. Not bad for a guy drawn to Lexington in large part due to the opportunity to play QB. While he has seen time at the position, he has become one of the premier all-purpose threats in his time at UK. Cobb would be enough by himself to defeat Akron. Kentucky 52 Akron 10. (Full disclosure: The Zips are the main rival for my alma mater, the Kent State Golden Flashes if there's anything as awful a a Wolverine, it's a Zip)
Up in Bloomington, the Hoosiers have decided to finally go ahead and play another game. They started the 2010 season with a sound defeat of FCS Towson on the first night college football was played, Thursday September 2. I don't even remember who they have on that team it's been so long (just kidding Mr. Chappel, Mr. Willis, Mr. Belcher et.al). They welcome Western Kentucky who has taken two beat downs so far this season from BCS conference teams. Look for Indiana to win this one easily, though I am still suspicious of their defense: 42-24.
Other games of note this weekend:
#9 Iowa @ #24 Arizona. Arizona has yet to allow a TD en route to a dominating 2-0 start. Iowa is not Toledo or Citadel. The Hawkeyes easily defeated Arizona in Iowa City a year ago, and they too have rolled their first two opponents. This is a late start, so some good watching late night Saturday. I will go with the home team, even though they are not the better team Arizona 24 Iowa 21.
#8 Nebraska @ Washington. This game features a premier dual threat quarterback so far in 2010 and it also features a QB many expect to be taken in the top 10 of next NFL draft. Both were supposed to be Washington QB Jake Locker. Instead Locker has struggled on the field despite his big league press. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez has averaged 13.5 Yards per rush. That’s nuts. He’s also been an effective passer in the early season. I think Locker is all hype and I hope my Cleveland Browns don’t take him with what is looking to be a(nother) top 5 pick. Nebraska all over Washington here 44-20.
#6 Florida @ Tennessee. This is the one season that Florida has a team that Tennessee could beat. Unfortunately for the Vols, they don’t have the team capable of defeating even this Gator team. Florida 24 Tennessee 13.
#12 Arkansas @ Georgia. Big game for both squads as Georgia will be looking to avoid a disastrous 0-2 SEC start and Arkansas looking for that statement win that put them among the tops in the SEC. Arkansas is better, but I will stick with taking slightly less skilled teams at home here, Georgia 30 Arkansas 28.
The first week of the NFL was awesome, because the NFL is awesome. The Texans got their Indy monkey off their back thanks to Arian Foster’s 200+ rushing day. Tom Brady and the Patriots were outstanding. The Raiders showed that they are still the Raiders. Good week, here’s the highlights in week 2:
Baltimore @ Cincinnati. Maybe not a “must” win for Cinci, but after looking horrid last week against New England, they get their home match-up with division favorite Baltimore in week 2. Baltimore out-brawled the Jets on Monday night and a 2-0 road start would be huge for this team.
New York Giants @ Indianapolis. The Manning Bowl, I am sure many locally will be interested. The Giants looked great in week 1 against Carolina; the Colts took one on the chin in Houston.
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee. The gosh dang Steelers dug in on defense and pulled out a tough OT victory over a good NFC opponent in week one without their #1 QB. The Titans looked like the good Titans from a year ago in pummeling the Raiders in week one. We view these teams through the prism of their week one opponents. If the Falcons are primed for a playoff run, then the Steelers are a very sharp team. If the Raiders of 2010 are the Raiders of the past 7 or 8 seasons, then the Titans win is not as impressive. Guess we’ll learn something about both these teams Sunday.
Philadelphia @ Detroit. The two teams with the most interesting on field developments in week one get each other on the schedule in week 2. Philadelphia, who looked great in the Kelly greens by the way, got an outstanding performance from relief quarterback Mike Vick to cause a stir of QB controversy for the Eagles. That Mike Vick is fun to watch. Meanwhile the Lions got straight robbed of a victory in Chicago when Calvin Johnson caught a game winning TD, then set the ball down and was ruled not to have caught it. This game would have been better with budding star QB Matt Stafford playing, but should still be good regardless.
New England @ New York Jets. The all hype Jets get their second straight Super bowl favorite at home in the Meadowlands. If they are going to live up to some of their hype, they better win this one.
I think all the match-ups this weekend stink. With 3 of 6 division leaders comfortably ahead in their respective divisions (and not much interest in the AL wildcard either), the scheduling gods laid an egg this weekend. The Reds start a 9 game road trip in Houston and it will take a mighty slump, coupled with a St. Louis hot streak, for the Reds not to go to the post season.
I think only NASCAR offers a compelling watch over the weekend outside of the major football/baseball action this weekend. The Race for the Chase (ugh) starts in New Hampshire. Denny Hamlin, who earned a much larger lead through the first ¾ of the Nascar Season, enters the chase as your series leader. Jimmie Johnson and his five titles lurk just ten points behind in second as the NASCAR “play-offs” begin.
I feel compelled to comment on the shooting death of Daniel Covington. While I didn't know him personally, I have known of him since his early years at Tates Creek High School in Lexington. My first experience with high school football in the bluegrass was working on the technical crew of a Tates Creek at Clark County game in 2003. I don't know if it was our shared first name coupled with the fact that the Tates Creek color scheme matched my high school's back in Ohio or the fact that he had an obvious high level of athletic ability, but he jumped off the field to me in that game and I followed his career after. 23 is obviously far too young and as the parent of a young son, a situation like this is becoming one of my greatest fears. My heart goes out to the Covington and U of L athletic families.