Saturday, September 29, 2007

Week 5 Roundup

There were a couple of wild games this week in college football in what people are calling Upset Saturday, where 4 of the Top Ten teams lost to unranked teams.

South Florida 21 West Virginia 13
Apparently the rejected recruits from Miami, Florida St. and Florida are pretty talented after all. The South Florida Bulls and their athletic defense shut down the White/Slaton duo, holding them to a combined 90 rushing yards. It looks like their might be a new contender for the Big East crown this year.

Colorado 27 Oklahoma 24
I bet those Colorado parents are happy now that the kids only get 2 weeks off before the start of their summer conditioning program if it leads to wins like this one over big bad Oklahoma. Dan Hawkins said it best, "IT'S DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL! IT'S THE BIG 12!!" Props to Coach Hawkins, Ralphie and the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes on taking down the hated Sooners and their shitty coach, Bob Stoops. I think this picture sums up the feeling of every Sooner fan:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
"My team fucking sucks." - OU kid

Michigan 28 Northwestern 16
Fuck Michigan. They fucked up my parlays this weekend. Mike Hart and Chad Henne are still garbage.

Auburn 20 Florida 17
The Auburn Tigers beat the Gators in Gainesville in a game where the defending national champions were down early. Auburn hung on for the victory to give the Gators their first loss of the season. Hopefully they can pull their shit together and beat LSU next week.

Kansas St. 41 Texas 21
I guess the handful of Wildcat fans in Austin waving the Kansas St. "Power Towel" were the difference in this one. Or it might have been Colt McCoy's 4 picks and the dismal play by the Longhorns special teams, allowing a punt and kick return for touchdowns. Texas played terrible and goes into the Red River Shootout this week in poor shape.

USC 27 Washington 24
I sincerely hope this game was an aberration for the Trojans, because they played absolutely fucking terrible. USC committed 16 penalties for a total of 161 yards. This is unacceptable. Not only that, but starting center Kris O'Dowd, starting right guard, Chilo Rachal, and cornerback Shareece Wright all went down with injuries and JD Booty threw 2 picks. The lone bright spots were Stafon Johnson and Chauncey Washington rushing for over a 100 yards each. Carroll better iron out the kinks soon. A more in depth analysis will be posted tonight.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washington Defense Preview

Washington Defense (^ indicates fifth-year senior)
Probable Starters vs. USC:

DE 66 Daniel Te’o-Nesheim 6-4 245 Jr.
DT 95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 ^Sr.
DT 74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 ^Sr.
DE 7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 Sr.
OLB 34 Dan Howell 6-1 225 Sr.
ILB 57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 240 Sr. -- OR --
9 Donald Butler 6-1 240 So.
OLB 22 E.J. Savannah 6-2 228 Jr.
FS 26 Jason Wells 6-2 210 Jr.
SS 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 Sr.
CB 6 Vonzell McDowell, Jr. 5-9 176 Fr. -- OR --
18 Byron Davenport 5-11 195 Jr. -- OR --
19 Matt Mosley 5-11 190 So.
CB 28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 ^Sr.

Best Defensive Player: Defensive Line Unit (All 4 starters returning) has registered 9 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, and an INT.

Defensive Line -- The strength of the Huskies' defense is the d-line. These guys are disruptive, as seen by their numbers above, but they have given up some yards this season. The Huskies are allowing 403 yards per game, 175 of those on the ground. Their smallest starting lineman weighs in at 245, so they can be overpowered in the running game. The key will be for them to generate pressure to better help their inexperienced secondary. Ends Te'o-Nesheim (3 sacks, 3 TFL) and Gunheim (2.5 sacks, 2 TFL) lead the way up front.

Linebackers -- The LB's, led by junior weak-side LB E.J. Savannah (team-high 42 tackles) are inexeperienced, but very athletic. They have great speed, fly to the ball carrier, and are good in pass coverage. Senior strong-side LB Dan Howell (13 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT) is the veteran of the group, having started 10 games last season. Savannah and middle LB's Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler had never started a game before this season.

Defensive Backs -- The pass defense continues to be a weakness for the Huskies, ranking among the nation's worst during each of Ty Willingham's first two seasons. This year the problem apparently hasn't subsided after seeing what Ohio State did to them a couple weeks ago. They are replacing two starters from last year and lack size at the cornerback position. So far this season, CB Roy Lewis and SS Mesphin Forrester rank 2nd and 3rd on team in tackles with 31 and 28, respectively. Lewis and fellow CB Vonzell McDowell, a true freshman, have each recorded and INT. They allow too many big plays in the secondary and don't create enough turnovers. Of the Huskies 4 defensive INT's, only 2 have come from the secondary.

Still to come Friday:
(1) Key Matchups
(2) What to Expect / Game Plan
(3) Predictions

Fight On!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Washington Offense Preview

PROBABLE STARTERS vs. USC:
^ indicates fifth-year senior

WR 5 Anthony Russo 5-11 185 ^Sr. - and -
18 Corey Williams 6-2 195 ^Sr. (may start as 3rd WR in place of TE)
LT 79 Ben Ossai 6-6 300 Jr.
LG 65 Ryan Tolar 6-5 310 So.
C 58 Juan Garcia 6-3 315 ^Sr.
RG 72 Casey Bulyca 6-6 340 Sr.
RT 75 Chad Macklin 6-8 300 ^Sr.
TE 86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5 245 Sr.
QB 10 Jake Locker 6-3 225 So.
TB 9 Louis Rankin 6-0 205 ^Sr.
FB 30 Paul Homer 6-0 222 So.
WR 3 Marcel Reece 6-3 240 Sr.

Best Offensive Player: QB Jake Locker

Quarterback -- Redshirt freshman Jake Locker, a.k.a. "The West Coast version of Tim Tebow" is the player that makes this offense go. He leads the team in rushing yards as well as passing yards out of that "Shotgun Spread" formation. This, however, is not your typical dual-threat QB, as seen by the comparisons to Tebow. He's very physical when running with the ball. Locker will often times choose to run through defenders, rather than sliding or stepping out of bounds. He has gotten better every week in the passing game, and growing more and more comfortable with the offense. He is still young though, and will continue to make mistakes as he develops as a passer. In their week 3 loss to Ohio State, Locker threw 3 second half INT's after Washington entered the half with a 7-3 lead. Last week against fucla, Locker threw 2 more INT's in a 44-31 loss. In their two losses, Locker has completed less than 50 % of his passes (33-69) along with his 5 INT's. In the 2 wins, Locker completed 27 out of 44 passes and surrendered just one INT. It will be interesting to see if Locker takes care of the football on Saturday, because his rushing has been consistent. Locker's season low in rushing yards is 83 in the opener against Syracuse. He is averaging 90 rushing yards per game and has 3 rushing TD's.

Running Game -- Clearly, the Huskies' rushing attack revolves around Locker. Locker leads the team with 393 rushing yards, followed by tailback Louis Rankin's 291. These two players are the most frequent ball carriers (Locker 55 carries, Rankin 62 carries), and account for 159 of Washington's 175 rushing yards per game. They can do a variety of things out that shotgun formation they run. Locker is deadly with the "zone read option" play, where he can choose to either hand the ball off to Rankin, or keep it himself if the defense over-pursues. They also like to use him on designed QB runs and draws when the defense is spread too far out. Their goal is to spread out defenses with their formations, and then run it between the tackles. USC must maintain its discipline and play assignment football against Washington. If they get you to over-pursue or rush up-field, it will open up running lanes.

Passing Game -- For being a first year starter, Locker seems pretty composed in the pocket. He is coming off of a 216 yard and 4 TD performance in the loss to fucla, although he did throw those two INT's. USC is banged up in the secondary, so this might be the game for him to make a name for himself if the Trojans can't genereate any pressure up front. The Huskies have given up six sacks in 4 games. When given time to throw, Locker has made some big plays. His two favorite targets have been Anthony Russo (18 catches, 240 yards, 3 TD's) and Marcel Reese (17 catches, 279 yards, 2 TD's), no one else had double-digit receptions. Russo longest catch on the year has been 63 yards, while Reese has a long of 58 yards.

Thursday night we'll look at the Washington defense...

Fight On!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Washington Huskies: First Look

USC travels to Seattle, WA this weekend to take on the University of Washington in yet another nationally televised game on ABC Primetime. Huskies' third-year head coach Ty Willingham is no stranger to the Trojans. He was on the receiving end of one too many blowouts when he was the coach at Notre Dame. His Irish teams were major contributors to the Heisman campaigns of eventual trophy winners Carson Palmer ('02), Matt Leinart ('04), and Reggie Bush ('05). The inability to compete with USC ultimately led to his firing. Now, he is trying to resurrect his career in the Pacific Northwest after enjoying previous success in the Pac-10 Conference as the head coach at Stanford. Remember, Ty Willingham is the last opposing coach to emerge from the Coliseum victorious. In 2001, Pete Carroll's first season at USC, the Trojans fell to the Cardinal 21-16. Fast forward to 2007. Carroll has built a dynasty at USC, while Willingham rebuilds what was once a very good Husky football program. He almost turned Washington around last year. The Huskies got off to a (4-1) start entering the USC game, but the season took a downward tailspin when star QB Isaiah Stanback suffered a season ending leg injury. Stanback led Washington into the Coliseum last season and played the Trojans right down to the wire. He simply ran out of time on what would have been the game-winning drive, as USC escaped with a 26-20 victory. Hell, if Mike McDonald doesn't hit Steve Smith for a TD on that fake FG attempt earlier in the game, Washington might have pulled off the upset. The Huskies finished a respectable (5-7), but a victory over USC would have carried them to greener pastures last year.

How will the Huskies fare against the Trojans this year? In discussing preparations for this Saturday's game at his weekly press conference, it is obvious that Ty sees something all to familiar in these Trojans...
"They are obviously the best team in the country," Willingham said Monday. "They are better than a year ago in every aspect."
The Trojans are the #1 team in the country, but what kind of team does Ty have this season? The Huskies opened up with two very impressive wins over Syracuse (42-12) and a then 22nd ranked Boise State team (24-10). Freshman QB Jake Locker became a national phenomenon, and was even referred to as the west coast version of Florida QB Tim Tebow. In week 3, they became a very popular pick to upset a 10th ranked Ohio State Buckeye team in Seattle. The Huskies played them tough, leading 7-3 at the half, but their immaturity and lack of experience was evident as the Buckeyes scored 24 consecutive 2nd half points en route to a 33-14 win. The next game was the Pac-10 opener for the Huskies on the road against a lowly fucla squad that was coming off a 44-6 pasting courtesy of Utah. The bruins, led by backup QB Patrick Cowan, put up 44 points of their own in a 44-31 victory over the Huskies. They have clearly taken a couple of steps back after getting off to such a fast start. Is the team improving? Given that their starting QB Jake Locker is still just a freshman, the Huskies have nowhere to go but up. Washington has shown that they are capable, but the question remains, "Which UW team will show up?" Can we expect to see the team that played with a level of confidence in the first 2 1/2 games of the season, or will we get the Huskies that carried over a very poor second half against Ohio State into the loss at fucla last week? We'll find out on Saturday...

Tomorrow: Preview of Washington's Offense
Thursday: Preview of UW's Defense
Friday: Key Matchups / Predictions

Fight On! Beat the Huskies!

Monday, September 24, 2007

WSU Game Review

The Trojans remain atop the rankings at (3-0) after dominating Washington St. in the Coliseum Saturday night. The weather was strange but the result was all too familiar. Carroll and his Trojans toyed with the Cougars Saturday night. Methodically moving the ball down field, through the air and on the ground.


Offense

After last Saturday's run-happy offense in Lincoln, the Trojans came out slangin'. John David Booty played extremely well completing 10 of 11 passes to start the game. He finished with 279 yards and 4 TDs, completing 80% of his passes. Booty's favorite target on the night was Ocho Tres, Fred Davis. Davis hauled in 9 catches for 124 yards and 2 TDs. Davis finally showed the ability to run after the catch. USC's longest play from scrimmage came on a pass play to Davis up the middle of the field. Davis bounced to the outside and hurdled a defender to pick up 25 yards. Davis was named the Player of the Game and had one excited fan yelling, "OCHO TRES! HE'S LIKE 7-ELEVEN BABY, OPEN ALL THE TIME!"


Chauncey Washington started the game at
tailback and looked just as impressive as he had throughout fall camp. Washington appears to be not only our toughest back, but also the fastest. C-Dub has burst out of the backfield that I have yet to see from Stafon and C.J. Gable. Chauncey would have had a field day against Nebraska with those gaping holes. Washington finished the night with 11 carries for 84 yards (7.6 YPC) and a touchdown. Here's how the football was distributed amongst the running backs...

  • 11 Chauncey Washington
  • 9 Stafon Johnson
  • 7 Joe McKnight
  • 4 Hershel Dennis
  • 1 Stanley Havili
  • 1 C.J. Gable
I'm sure C.J. Gable wasn't too happy with his lack of touches. Gable carried the ball just one time for 6 yards and had one kickoff return for 15 yards.


Defense

The defense shut down the Cougars high powered spread offense, holding the Cougars to only 3.5 yards per play. Keith Rivers, Thomas Williams, and Clay Matthew's highlighted the Trojan defense that gave up only 64 yards rushing and 183 yards passing. Keith Rivers was all over the field on Saturday and lead the team with 14 tackles, 2.5 for loss. Thomas Williams and Clay Matthews filled in nicely for the injured LB Brian Cushing (who appeared to re-injure his ankle in the game). Thomas Williams made great plays both on defense and special teams. Clay Matthews displayed great quickness and was always in the right spot at the right time. Matthews, however, did appear to have some problems wrapping up opposing players with his broken thumb on one or two plays. Kyle Moore recorded his second interception in consecutive weeks and leads the Trojan defense in takeaways.


Extra Extra
  • Joe McKnight looked light-years better running the ball compared to the first two games. He actually ran forward. Wow. He also looked good on a punt return that he returned 37 yards. Unfortunately a penalty brought the ball back.
  • Terrell Thomas sucks. I don't know how else to put it. He's constantly getting turned around by receivers. He can't make open field tackles. He's the only defensive player that I've ever seen tackle a lead blocker!?! As the senior leader of the defense backs he really needs to step his game up.
  • Cary Harris walked of the field holding his right arm and appeared to have injured his shoulder. Shareece Wright and Moziqu McCurtis filled in for Harris.
  • Hersh is back! The crowd cheered when Hershel Dennis came into the game midway through the 4th quarter. He carried the ball 4 times for 14 yards. However, those stats don't include a 5 yard touchdown run that was eradicated on a illegal formation penalty. Dennis looked quick and I'm interested to see how he fits into the tailback rotation.
  • Patrick Turner recovered from a dismal performance in Lincoln to record 6 catches for 64 yards. Turner still needs to learn to play with a little more toughness. Booty's lone interception came on a pass play to PT. The ball was thrown behind Turner but it appeared as though he was able to get his hands on the ball. Turner, however, put up very little fight and the ball as taken away by WSU's Husain Abdullah. No heart.
  • Freshmen Christian Tupou and Marshall Jones both played in the 4th quarter, blowing their opportunity to redshirt. With the injuries to Kevin Thomas, Josh Pinkard, and now Cary Harris I can understand why it was important to get Marshall Jones some playing time. But I have no idea why Christian was is in the game. I saw him on the field during the t.v. timeout and scratched my head as the ball was hiked on the next play.
  • Tim Floyd and the Trojan's basketball team made an appearance during the game. I started chanting "OJ MAYO!" during a t.v. timeout when I spotted Mayo on the sideline. Apparently I was the only one that noticed him as everyone around me just stared and kindly informed me, "Wrong Sport!"
  • Our offense has yet to complete a pass down field. Our longest play against a WSU came on an 8-10 yard pass that Davis took for 25 yards. In last weeks game against Nebraska, Booty attempted two deep passes to Ronald Johnson that fell incomplete. ROJO played a lot against WSU and I was almost certain that Sarkisian was setting the defense up for a deep pass to ROJO. I was wrong.I'm excited about this guy and really want to see him get involved in the passing game. As you can see, Carroll shares my enthusiasm.

  • After the game John David Booty admitted that he was a big LSU fan on ABC's Sports Zone. Somethings you should just keep to yourself.

Check out the condensed game provided by ESPN.

Fight On!

Friday, September 21, 2007

USC vs. WSU: Key Matchups / Predictions

Here are the five key matchups to watch for tomorrow night:

(1) USC DE Lawrence Jackson vs. WSU RT Micah Hannam
We know DE Kyle Moore will bring the pressure from the weak side and NT Sedrick Ellis will supply the pressure up the middle, but if USC is to slow down the Cougars' wide open passing attack, then it must get something out of LoJack on the strong side of the defensive line. The Cougars will probably double-team Ellis and help the weak side OT by sending a RB to chip Moore. USC will have to start blitzing LB's and DB's if Jackson can't provide a consistent pass rush on Cougars QB Alex Brink.

(2) USC CB Terrell Thomas vs. WSU WR Michael Bumpus
Thomas is likely to line up in the slot as the nickel back in this game, which means that he'll draw the assignment of WSU's slot back, and most reliabe WR in Michael Bumpus. The Trojans play a lot of zone coverages, but when they do decide to lock up man to man, it is imperative that Thomas plays Bumpus tight and wraps up the receiver immediateley after the catch. Remember, Bumpus had a big game against the Trojans last season. If Thomas can disguise his coverages, than he'll make it harder for Brink to anticipate where he wants to go with the ball and prevent him from zeroing in on his guy. Otherwise, it'll be a very long night for Mr. Thomas.

(3) USC CB's Cary Harris and Shareece Wright vs. WSU WR's Brandon Gibson and Charles Dillon
With Thomas playing the nickel spot, Harris and Wright will be on the outside defending against the flanker Gibson and the split end Dillon. Gibson, who leads the team in receiving yards, is probably the Cougars most dangerous WR, while Dillon is a perfect complement to Gibson and Bumpus. Alex Brink is very good at distributing the ball to all of his weapons, so it will be difficult for the Trojans to key on any one WR. It will be important for Harris and Wright to stick to their defensive assignment, play tight coverage, and tackle well in the open-field.

(4) USC OT Sam Baker vs. WSU RDE's Mike Graise (6-2, 227)or Lance Broadus (6-2, 227)
The weak side defensive ends for the Cougars are quick, but undersized. Baker is very good in pass protection, so I wouldn't worry too much about the speed of the Cougars' ends. Baker should also have his way with both Graise and Broadus in the running game. Expect some big holes on the left side of the offensive line once again, as guard Jeff Byers and center Kris O'Dowd continue to maul people up front.

(5) USC WR David Ausberry (6-4, 224) vs. WSU CB's Devin Giles (6-0, 158) and/or Chima Nwachukwu (5-11, 189)
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian needs to involve Ausberry early and often, and exploit the incredible size advantage he has over the smaller Cougar defenders. Ausberry has had a couple of solid games so far, and with Turner's recent struggles, look for him to emerge as the John David Booty's go to guy at wide receiver.

Saturday's Expectations:
Offensively, I expect the Trojans to come out and run the ball and continue to build on the momentum of last week's 313 rushing yards at Nebraska. USC should be able to duplicate that same effort against an undersized, and not very talented Cougars defense. Chauncey Washington, who was easily the Trojans' most impressive running back throughout fall camp, is back and healthy, while the emergence of Stafon Johnson and the steadiness of C.J. Gable have carried the torch in the USC running game so far. I want to see more of David Ausberry, Vidal Hazelton, and Travon Patterson, but I think that the coaching staff has found the team's identity, which is to run the football. Fullback Stanley Havili will have another big game though.

Defensively, I am very concerned with Washington State's passing game. Alex Brink is running this offense at a high level right now, and if he's given time to throw tomorrow night, then we could see a shoot out in the Coliseum. I think USC's emphasis on the running game, coupled with WSU completing several high percentage passes, will shorten the game in the first half. Brink will generate a couple of scoring drives and keep the Cougars close. Look for USC DE Kyle Moore to get a couple of sacks and the Trojans to cause a game changing turnover and pull away in the 2nd half...Prediction: USC 45, Washington State 27

Other Predictions:
RG3 -- With our suspect secondary, Wazzou will put up some points. Cary Harris and Terrell Thomas make the Dallas Cowboys secondary look like superstars. Hopefully Shareece Wright can step up and play lock-down defense. USC will need to showcase our offensive weapons. With Byers and Baker on the left side, expect Chauncey Washington to go dumb. Also, with the corner attempting to cover Ausberry weighing 158 lbs, Booty needs to unleash the Wizard of Auz. USC wins it big in the end. USC 49 Washington State 24.

Joey --

PCBestever --

Fight On! Beat the Cougars!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

UFC 76

UFC 76

For my few MMA readers out there, I would like to formally introduce you all to Mauricio"Shogun" Rua. If this video doesn't get you jacked up (all 6 minutes of it), check your pulse, asshole. I don't think your alive.




This weekend, UFC 76 comes to Southern California's Honda Center in Anaheim,CA. I am very excited for this event for several reasons, but mostly because it will actually be my first live UFC event. I can't say I would have attended under any circumstance, but the debut of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is probably the reason I decided to go and not just order it in HD. Anyways, here are matches to watch and why this event is gonna be "the shit."

Chuck Liddell vs. Keith Jardine: This match is happening because recently signed Pride light heavyweight Wanderlai Silva chose to return to the UFC to face Liddell in December, instead of this weekend. Dana White then threw Liddell a bone, in Keith Jardine. But then again, Liddell didn't fare well in his 90 seconds in the Octagon with Rampage.This fight matches 2 strikers who will throw blows until someone falls. How did Jardine get this fight after being KTFO by Houston Alexander? Beats me. Nevertheless, there should be fireworks as Liddell is once again hungry. Liddell by TKO in Round 2.

Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio Rua: The long awaited arrival of Pride superstar "Shogun" is finally upon us. I have been touting this guy for a long, long time. As a member of the World Famous Chute Boxe Academy, Rua is well versed in every style of MMA. He is truly a "lion" in the ring or the cage. Forrest Griffin is still looking for his first big-time win after a cult following from his TUF days. While Griffin puts on exciting fights and will no doubt be the favorite and have come crowd advantage, I just don't see this night going well for him. I think this fight will go to the 2nd round at least. There are too many nerves for this fight to end in the first. It will be interesting to see how Shogun adjusts to the Octagon and to the UFC rules. Remember, no soccer kicks or stomps in the UFC, and believe me, that hurts Rua. But there are elbows and that is just another weapon that Shogun has added to his arsenal. If Griffin wins this, he puts himself back into the mix for the light heavyweight title. If Shogun wins, I think he and Liddell might fight, or one of the two will fight Rampage for the title. Shogun via submission in 2nd round.

Diego Sanchez vs. John Fitch: Diego is looking to get back into the mix after losing his first fight to Josh Koscheck. He is hungry and has the talent to be the champion in the 170lb division. But Jon Fitch is going to bring it and has the ground skills and striking to make this fight interesting. If Jon Fitch wins, he will definitely put himself in position for a title shot. We all know Diego's ground game is vicious, but will he be able to stand toe to toe with Jon Fitch? My guess is an emphatic yes. Diego wins via TKO in the 2nd.

There are other great fights Saturday as Matt "Handsome" Wiman from TUF Season 5 steps into the Octagon with Michihiro Omigawa and Tiego Tavares squares off with Tyson Griffin. It has been a long month for the UFC with the 3rd pay-per-view, UFC Fight Night, and TUF season debut, and I have no doubt that 76 will keep everyone satisfied until 77 in October. If you are a gambling man, click here for Performify's 76 picks.

Washington State Defense Preview

PROBABLE STARTERS vs. USC

RE: 96 MIKE GRAISE (6-3, 220, Jr.) or
9 LANCE BROADUS (6-2, 227, Sr.)
LT: 75 ROPATI PITOITUA (6-8, 290, Sr.)
RT: 40 AARON JOHNSON (6-7, 318, Sr.)
SE: 58 MATT MULLENNIX (6-6, 258, Sr.)

SLB: 38 CORY EVANS (6-2, 240, Jr.)
MLB: 52 GREG TRENT (5-11, 220, Jr.)
WLB: 49 KENDRICK DUNN (5-11, 224, Jr.)

RCB: 21 CHIMA NWACHUKWU (5-11, 189, Fr.)
SS: 18 ALFONSO JACKSON (5-9, 204, Jr.)
FS: 23 HUSAIN ABDULLAH (6-0, 199, Sr.)
LCB: 32 DEVIN GILES (6-0, 158, So.)

Best Defensive Player: MLB Greg Trent

Defensive Line -- The strength of the Cougars defense is their defensive line. They have some massive bodies inside; the starting defensive tackles, Johnson and Pitoitua weigh 318 lbs. and 290 lbs, respectively, while their backups weigh in at 317 and 292 lbs. The shortest starter on the line is the right end Mike Graise, who stands at a modest 6-3. Given Booty's history with batted balls at the line of scrimmage, makes this a definite area of concern for the Trojans. The weakness of the line seems to be the lack of bulk at right end, where Graise (220 lbs.) and Lance Broadus (227 lbs.) will split time. We all saw what the USC offensive line is capable of, 313 yards rushing against Nebraska last week, so expect the Trojans to pound right side of the Cougars line early and often.

Linebackers -- The Cougars' linebackers, led by the middle man Trent, are athletic and very active. Trent leads the team in tackles with 31, while weak side starter Kendrick Dunn is second on the team in tackles (19) and first in sacks (2). Strong side starter Cory Evans has made 12 tackles and top backup Andy Mattingly has 13. What this group lacks in size and bulk, they make up for with smarts and instincts. However, they will struggle if their defensive line doesn't occupy blockers, allowing them to use their speed by chasing down plays from sideline to sideline.

Defensive Backs -- The secondary is probably the biggest weakness of the WSU defense. Only one starter returns from last season, senior FS Husain Abdullah, who's entering his 3rd year in the starting lineup. They are inexperienced at cornerback, as seen by true freshman Chima Nwachukwu (5-11, 189) starting on the right side and under-sized sophomore Devin Giles (6-0, 158) starting on the left. Furthermore, junior strong safety Alfonso Jackson stands at only (5-9, 204). The Cougars face a severe size disadvantage against the bigger, more physical Trojan wide-outs. The USC passing game hasn't been anything to fear thus far, but Booty has proven that he can tear defenses apart.

Still to come Friday:
(1) Key Matchups
(2) What to expect / Game-Plan
(3) Predictions

Thanks once again to College Football News...

Fight On!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Washington State Offense Preview

Probable Starters vs. USC:

WR (SE): 2 CHARLES DILLON (6-0, 188, Sr.)
LT: 55 VAUGHN LESUMA (6-5, 329, Jr.)
LG: 70 BOBBY BYRD (6-7, 307, Sr.)
C: 69 KENNY ALFRED (6-2, 300, So.)
RG: 60 DAN ROWLANDS (6-4, 284, Jr.)
RT: 76 MICAH HANNAM (6-4, 279, Fr.)
TE: 41 JED COLLINS (6-2, 250, Sr.)
WR (SB): 5 MICHAEL BUMPUS (6-0, 198, Sr.)
RB: 31 DWIGHT TARDY (5-10, 200, So.)
WR (FL): 4 BRANDON GIBSON (6-1, 202, Jr.)
QB: 10 ALEX BRINK (6-3, 215, Sr.)

Best Offensive Player: QB Alex Brink (seen below)

QUARTERBACK -- The Cougars offense revolves around the QB, and they have themselves a good one in Brink. Washington State has produced some prolific passers, including Mark Rypien, Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, Jason Gesser, and now Brink. WSU coach Bill Doba has kept the same wide-open passing attack that his former boss Mike Price (now head coach at UTEP) first installed in Pullman back in 1989. Coming into this season, Brink had already started 28 games in his career, throwing for 7,095 yards 50 TD's. He's coming off a very solid 2006 season in which he was named 2nd Team All-Pac-10 after passing for 2,899 yards and 19 TD's to only 10 INT's. Brink has started this season fast. In just three games, he's completed 81 out of 110 passes (73.6%) for 947 yards and 10 TD's. He's only thrown 2 INT's and has been sacked twice. He is not as likely to buckle under pressure the way Sam Keller does, but USC still must focus on rushing the QB and force some easy turnovers this weekend.

PASSING GAME -- What about the playmakers surrounding Brink? Gone is Jason Hill, the Cougars all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdown catches, as well as a 3-time all-conference selection, but the WR corps is still dangerous. Senior Michael Bumpus had a nice game against the Trojans last season with 11 catches for 112 yards, and has teamed with junior flanker Brandon Gibson to form a nice 1-2 punch for Brink this season. So far on the year, Bumpus has 22 catches for 273 yards and 2 TD's working out of the slot, while Gibson has 20 catches for 279 yards and 4 TD's. The balanced passing attack extends to senior split end Charles Dillon (148 rec. yards, TD) and tight end Jed Collins (94 rec. yards, TD). The Trojan secondary looked shaky last week, so the Cougars are very much capable of exploiting them through the air. The offensive line has only surrendered two sacks in 111 pass attempts this season, so if they continue that trend, Brink and his receivers could have a big day.

RUNNING GAME -- Washington State has an effective running game as well. Sophomore running back Dwight Tardy (pictured above) has ran for 303 yards and 4 TD's this season and, like Bumpus, hopes to duplicate the performance he had against the Trojans last season. Tardy carried 11 times for 62 yards, and added 2 receptions for 21 yards and a TD against USC last season. The line has done a solid job opening running lanes for Cougar backs to run through. They paved the way for 157 yards on 32 rushes (4.9 avg.) against 7th ranked Wisconsin in the opener, 185 yards on 35 rushes (5.3 avg.) in a 45-17 route of San Diego State in week 2, and 138 yards on 39 rushes (3.5 avg.) in week 3 against a familiar foe in Idaho, whose head coach is former WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey. What makes their running game click is the Cougars' spread formation and threat of the pass, which stretches defenses. This makes it extremely difficult to load the box, and stuff the run behind the line of scrimmage. It's nothing the Trojans haven't seen before, the only question will be which team executes better.

Tomorrow we'll preview the Cougars' defense...

Fight On!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Washington State Cougars: First Look


The top-ranked Trojans return to the Coliseum this Saturday to take on the Washington State Cougars in what will be the conference opener for both teams. The game will once again be featured on ABC Primetime at 5pm PT. USC comes in at (2-0) following a very impressive 49-31 win at Nebraska, while Wazzu stands at (2-1) after beating USC's first opponent Idaho 45-28 this past weekend. This was the second straight win for the Cougars, who lost at 7th ranked Wisconsin 42-21 in the opener, and then beat San Diego State 45-17 in week #2. Coach Bill Doba has a very good QB in Senior Alex Brink, who's back for his 4th year as the starter. Brink is one of the best kept secrets of the Pac-10 and almost led the Cougars to an upset of the Trojans last year in Pullman, WA. Odds makers list the Trojans as 25 point favorites this Saturday, probably because the Trojans are playing at home, but if last year's game (a 28-22 win for the Trojans) showed us anything, it's that Bill Doba's teams always compete hard. I don't expect the Trojans to struggle, but the Cougars have what it takes to keep this game close.

Washington State returns 12 starters (7 offense, 5 defense) to a team that started (6-3) last year. The Cougars sputtered down the stretch, finishing (6-6) and missing out on the post-season. Wazzu did play well on the road last season, winning 36-10 at Stanford, 13-6 at Oregon State, and 37-15 at fucla, but they haven't fared too well on their last two trips to the Coliseum. In 2003, the Cougars came in ranked #6 in the polls only to be defeated 43-16, then were destroyed 55-13 in 2005. What enables to compete though, is their high scoring offense that relies heavily on Brink. They run a very effective, wide-open passing attack which helped rank their offense 25th overall last season. The defense, however, lost their defensive coordinator Robb Akey, who left to become the head coach at Idaho, and returns only 5 starters to a unit that ranked 81st last season. Tomorrow night we will have an in-depth look at Washington State's offense, followed by the defense on Thursday...

Fight On! Beat the Cougars!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mayo Only the Beginning

Nice video that highlights the talent that Tourney Tim has lined up for the Trojans. The video features Demar Derozan (08') and Dwayne Polee (10')....



Dwayne is only a sophomore in high school and he's taking off (almost) from the free throw line... He could be a monster.

No news on Greg Monroe yet. Tim Floyd met with Monroe for an in-home visit on Sunday. Monroe will meet with four other coaches before he decides which schools he will officially visit.

Fight On!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Game #2 Analysis: USC 49 Nebraska 31

USC went into Lincoln on Pete Carroll's 56th birthday and silenced what was initially, a very raucous and eager crowd of 85,000 Husker fans. The Trojans made a statement with an impressive 49-31 victory over the Cornhuskers, using their dominant running game to quickly turn the "sea of red" from this...

to nothing more than roasted corn as the score reached 42-10 and USC began calling off the dogs.
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USC has rediscovered the physical, smash-mouth type of football that it had been sorely lacking since the departures of Reggie Bush and LenDale White a couple of years ago. In 2005, when games were competitive or the Trojan offense was struggling, USC would simply turn to the running game and just pound teams into submission. An over-matched Nebraska squad was reintroduced to that hard-nosed style the hard way Saturday night. Tailback Stafon Johnson led the way, following up his impressive performance in the opener, with 144 yards and a TD on only 11 rush attempts. True freshman center Kris O'Dowd, making his second career start and facing his first road test, teamed with left guard Jeff Byers and the rest of the offensive line to pave the way for 313 rushing yards and no sacks of QB John David Booty. The big nasties up front were mauling people all night and earn my game ball for their impressive performance.

Three things that 'SC did very well:

(1) Offensive line play -- Just like the opener vs. Idaho, the Trojan offensive line was dominant once again. The freshman O'Dowd is holding his own out there and the beauty is that he's only going to get better as the season progresses. And what more can I say about Byers? The guy is, without question, the best offensive lineman in the country.

(2) Running Game -- Stafon Johnson, Stanley Havili, C.J. Gable, and Chauncey Washington completely wore down the Huskers' defense. Although "The Prince" is probably our best ball carrier right now, the offense doesn't seem to miss a beat when the backs are being rotated. Chauncey looked a little bit rusty, but he'll get healthy and will strengthen the group, giving USC 3 fresh and very capable running backs.

(3) Run Defense -- Nebraska tailback Marlon Lucky came in to the game with 54 carries for 323 yards and 4 TD's in his first two games. Pete Carroll and his defense would have no part of that. Lucky's stat line against the Trojans, 33 yards on 17 carries. As a team, Nebraska put up only 31 yards on 28 carries. That's domination at its finest.

Three things that 'SC can improve:

(1) Passing Game -- The Trojans looked very average when they put the ball in the air. I know they gained 313 on the ground and didn't even need to throw the ball, but Booty only managed 144 yards passing. Patrick Turner (3 catches, 24 yards) had trouble holding on to the ball, Ausberry (3 catches, 35 yards) and Hazelton (1 catch, 2 yards) are not getting enough looks, and true freshmen Ronald Johnson and Joe McKnight are still adjusting to big-time college football. It's still early in the season, but the offense needs to develop some kind vertical passing game. More down the field throws will only open things up for TE Fred Davis and FB Stanley Havili underneath. Booty had a very efficient game though, he did not force things and didn't turn the ball over, always a plus.

(2) Special Teams -- The Trojans still lack a gamebreaker in the return game. I'm not asking for a Devin Hester, Reggie Bush, or Ted Ginn, but are there any players that can replace Desmond Reed on punt returns? Had he lost that fumble early in the game, off his muffed punt, then we would have seen an entirely different ball game. Kickoff returns have been unspectacular as well, hold on to the ball Vincent Joseph! David Buehler needs to boot his kickoffs into the end zone more consistently.

(3) Secondary -- A disruptive defensive line, one that constantly pressures the QB, can hide any deficiencies a team might have in the secondary. Though the Trojans played very well defensively, I am very concerned about USC's pass defense. The Trojans benefited from two great plays from defensive end Kyle Moore that led to 2 INT's, but what happens when the opposing teams pick up USC's pass rush? The loss of Josh Pinkard, USC's best cover man, was a very huge blow to the secondary. Terrell Thomas is not nearly as good as he thinks he is, and Cary Harris, although a hard worker and solid tackler, often plays too soft in coverage. Safeties Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison, who have been virtually non-existent in the first two games, need to become ball-hawking defenders and play with the mentality that every ball in the air is theirs.

All in all, a great win for the Trojans. We found out some things about this team against Nebraska: USC has a dominant running game, Stafon is ready to be the featured back, Clay Matthews is a heck of a linebacker, and the defensive line is probably the best in the nation. Now it's time to get ready for conference play. The Trojans open up their Pac-10 schedule this coming Saturday against the Washington State Cougars. We'll introduce you to Wazzu on Tuesday...

Fight On!

The Luck of the Irish

Notre Dame is flat out terrible this season. There's really no other way to put it. The alleged "offensive genius" Charlie Weis has yet to draw up a scheme to score an offensive touchdown in three games. I think every Trojan breathes a sigh of relief when they remember Jimmy Clausen chose Notre Dame instead of USC. That guy is a joke. It doesn't help that his offensive line might be the worst unit in the history of college football and the tailbacks and receivers are non-existent. October 20th cannot come soon enough. USC might hit the Century Club against the Irish in South Bend. If USC was beating them by 30+ points with Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija on their team, look for Booty to stake his Heisman claim in this game and put up unreal numbers.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

ROUTE 44

44-6

Ladies and gentlemen, the party at Westwood High has officially ended. If there was ever a way to start the USC-Nebraska game, it was with a UCLA loss. In fact, loss was an understatement after the Mighty Utah Utes destroyed UCLA and their "show-me" season, 20 returning starters, and South Paw Jesus. Here's a photo recap for all our readers on what went down before Nebraska.


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The kids across town refer to Ben Olson as "South Paw Jesus", when the only thing they share in common is crucifixion.


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Defensive Genius at work everybody


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(sigh)

I took a few of these quotes from a rival blog before Saturday...

  • "I don't think the Bruins could ask for a better opponent to get the anemic offense clicking heading into the main Pac-10 season".......
  • "Have a fun Friday night everyone. See you tomorrow as get ready for what should be a blowout Saturday."
  • "This is a sure fire win. no question.
Well......Things sure can change in a hurry as I caught this little quip from a loyal Bruin fan following Saturday's game...

"I turned the game off and now paying bills. I think I'll iron a few shirts tonight. A lot of downtime. I think I'll spend more time with the dogs"


Pathetic. Just pathetic. For a team that is "supposed" to challenge for a Pac-10 Title, they look as though they'll be lucky to challenge for the Sun Bowl. I can name 8 teams in the Pac-10 that can take down these clowns. They can "13-9" all they want, but the fact remains.... December 1st is rapidly approaching.
Favorite moment of the night: Everett running for a TD and then fumbling the ball into the endzone for a touchback. Of course you can blame Karl Dorrell for that since Karl should have held onto the ball a little tighter. You could also fire Walker since he was actually on the field missing tackles all night, right? I mean, how could you not fire Dorrell after "South Paw (school girl giggle) Jesus"threw 3 picks? Dorrell should have thrown the ball away instead of forcing it into coverage. Come on, Karl, you know better than that.

On a more serious note, Route 44 will be when the sports world realized what everyone in LA already knows and that is...UCLA is a joke. And so are their fans. Especially the ones calling for Dorrell's head. They should be calling for a new roster if you ask me. We all expected UCLA to lose a lot this season, but already to Utah? I love it. Mark my words, this is where the train goes off the tracks and everything spins out of control for a program already on the shelf. Fuck the Bruins. Fight On!

44-6






Friday, September 14, 2007

Nebraska: Key Matchups / Predictions

I've singled out 5 Key Matchups to watch for tomorrow night, and in no particular order, they are:

(1) USC WR's David Ausberry (X) and Patrick Turner (Z) vs. Nebraska CB's Cortney Grixby, Armando Murillo, Zachary Bowman, and Andre Jones

Nebraska rotates their defensive backs regularly so Booty won't be able to lock in on a particular mismatch. Ausberry (6-4) and Turner (6-5) should have no problem though, given their definite size and strength advantage over Nebraska's cornerbacks. Bowman (6-2, 200) is probably the only Husker CB physical enough to play press coverage against these guys, but he has battled leg injuries the past two seasons and may not be quick enough to stay with them all night. Grixby, the starter on the weakside stands at only 5-9 and is guaranteed to be matched up against a taller, more physical USC WR all night. Murillo (6-0) and Jones (6-0) will be facing a similar mismatch on the other side. Expect the Huskers to play a lot of zone coverage underneath where they can keep things in front and possibly use their speed and quickness to jump on some routes. If the Huskers play a lot soft coverage, then USC will eat them alive with the quick hitch pass that Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett executed so effectively in recent years.

(2) USC C Kris O'Dowd vs. Nebraska NT Ndamukong Suh

O'Dowd, a true freshman, started against Idaho and played very admirably in his first collegiate game. There weren't any bad snaps and the run game looked solid. He'll have his hands full in Lincoln though, not only with the crowd noise and the snap count, but with blocking the disruptive nose tackle Suh. O'Dowd will need help from his guards Jeff Byers and Chilo Rachal in order to keep Suh out of USC's backfield. This is the matchup that most intrigues me and will be following the most.

(3) USC OT's Sam Baker and Charles Brown vs. Nebraska DE Zach Potter

Potter stands at an astounding 6-7 and is listed as the Base DE, which means he'll probably be lined up to USC's strong side in between the tackle and tight end. It will be very important for TE Fred Davis or FB Stanley Havili to chip Potter at the line of scrimmage, which will help Baker and Brown engage Potter and keep him from batting down Booty's passes.

(4) USC WLB Keith Rivers vs. Nebraska TB Marlon Lucky

Lucky looks pretty comfortable catching passes out of the backfield, and I expect Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan to test Rivers' coverage skills early and often. Lucky will have a big role in the passing game tomorrow, whether it be on play-action, screens, wheel routes, short crossing routes, or even as a decoy. Rivers and the rest of the LB's and secondary will need to know where Lucky is at all times. I'm not to worried about him running the football, Rey, big Sed, and the rest of the D-Line can take care of that.

(5) USC DE's Lawrence Jackson, Kyle Moore, and Everson Griffen vs. Nebraska OT's Lydon Murtha and Carl Nicks

Sam Keller hasn't really mastered Bill Callahan's offense in his first two games as starter, but, like most Division I QB's, he can tear defenses apart if given time to throw. More importantly, Keller is turnover prone and will fold under pressure if USC's pass rush rattles him early. Nebraska's OT's haven't been tested yet, so this will be a golden opportunity for LoJack, K. Moore, and E. Griffen to awaken USC's pass rush.

Saturday's Expectations:
So what can we expect tomorrow? Offensively, I think the Trojans should be able to at least equal the 200 plus yards that Wake Forest rushed for against Nebraska, which will then open things up in the passing game. The Trojans will score first, and with a healthy Chauncey, USC will have 3 fresh RB's (C.J. Gable and Stafon Johnson) wearing down the Huskers' defense. Defensively, I expect the Trojans to shut down Nebraska's running game early and force the Huskers into a lot of 3rd and long situations. Callahan will then try to spread the USC defense out and let Keller win the game with his arm. However, once the Huskers abandon the running game, it will be lights out. Unless Nebraska gets some cheap touchdowns from its defense or special teams, I don't expect this game to be as close as some people think. USC has some doubters out there, and it's time to make a statement...Prediction: USC 38, Nebraska 13

Other Predictions
Joey: I think this game is close for a half, but no one makes better halftime adjustments than our man Pete Carroll.... Prediction: USC 38 Nebraska 17

RG3: Pain... plain and simple. Like Clubber Lang said in Rocky 3, USC is going to take it to the Cornhuskers and overpower them. After losing some first place votes, Pete Carroll is going to make a statement. He's going to tell Rey to silence all the doubters out there... hard... USC 38, Nebraska 10

PCBestever: You know what happens when you miss a meal? You get hungry. The boys are hungry and its time to Feed the Beast! Big Balls Pete and the Trojans are going to decimate Nebraska. Prediction: USC 52, Nebraska 13

Fight On!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nebraska Defense Preview

Projected Starters vs. USC (full depth chart here)
Players in ALL CAPS are returning starters (5)

OPEN DE: 99 Barry Turner, 6-3, 265, Jr., Antioch, Tenn.

DT: 43 Ty Steinkuhler, 6-3, 280, So., Lincoln, Neb.

NT: 93 Ndamukong Suh, 6-4, 305, Jr., Portland, Ore.

BASE DE: 98 Zach Potter, 6-7, 285, Jr., Omaha, Neb.

SAM: 51 BO RUUD, 6-3, 235, Sr., Lincoln, Neb. -AND- 40 Lance Brandenburgh, 6-1, 230, Sr., Overland Park, Kan.

MIKE: 13 COREY McKEON, 6-1, 225, Sr., Naperville, Ill.

WILL: 15 Steve Octavien, 6-0, 240, Sr., Naples, Fla. - AND -

LEFT CB: 5 Armando Murillo, 6-0, 195, Jr., Tampa, Fla.
25 ANDRE JONES, 6-0, 195, Sr., Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

SS: 4 Larry Asante, 6-1, 210, So., Alexandria, Va.

FS: 30 TIERRE GREEN, 6-1, 200, Sr., Omaha, Neb.

WEAK CB: 2 CORTNEY GRIXBY, 5-9, 170, Sr., Omaha, Neb.
1 Zack Bowman, 6-2, 200, Sr., Anchorage, Alaska

I didn't get to see Nebraska against Wake Forest last Saturday, and I was at USC tailgating for the Idaho game when they played Nevada in the opener, so I've only been able to see a few highlights. I obtained some fairly decent videos for both games (here's the Nevada game, and here's the Wake game) and have made a few observations. Nebraska hasn't been able to recapture the spirit of the once mighty BLACKSHIRTS that preyed on opposing offenses for so many years, but this is still a pretty solid group. The strength of the Husker D lies with the linebackers and an athletic group of defensive backs. Let's get to know the guys that John David Booty's unit will face on Saturday...

Secondary: The secondary welcomes back CB Zachary Bowman, who was a top NFL prospect entering last season before tearing his ACL early in camp. He had himself a nice offseaon, but then tore his patellar tendon and his status for the season was in question. Bowman got himself ready for the season and helped seal the victory over Wake Forest last week with a 4th Quarter interception in the back of the end zone. If he is healthy, then the rest of the speedy secondary will be better equipped to face USC's big WR's. Last year's starters Cortney Grixby and Andre Jones got torched by Booty, who connected with Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith 17 times for 189 yards and 3 TD's. Free Safety Tierre Green was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection at SS last season, but he can utilize his speed more effectively at FS. The move of Green has opened the door at SS for JUCO transfer Larry Asante, who is a big-time hitter.

Linebackers: SLB Bo Ruud was a First Team All-Big 12 selection a year ago playing on the weak side, but he now moves over to his more natural role on the strong side. He and MLB Corey McKeon are both seniors and provide a lot of experience, smarts, and toughness to the entire defense. The wild card might be senior WLB Steve Octavien, who is a very good athlete, but might be a bit undersized. He's listed and 6-0, 240 but he moves really well and is probably closer to 215 lbs. He will gobble everything up if USC attempts to bounce run plays to the outside.

Defensive Line: When we first introduced Nebraska on Tuesday, I mentioned that the Huskers enter this season with an entirely new starting defensive line. Ends Adam Carriker (1st Round) and Jay Moore (4th Round) were selected in April's NFL Draft and as a result, the Huskers have struggled to generate a pass rush this season. Nebraska sacked the QB only once in each of their first two games, but they have been pretty solid against the run. The star of the line seems to be nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, who penetrated the Wake Forest offensive line and making 3 tackles (2 for loss). End Zach Potter is coming off a nice game against Wake and, at a height of 6-7, is a threat to deflect a couple of Booty's passes.

Still to Come Friday:
(1) What to Expect
(2) Match-ups to Watch
(3) Predictions

Thanks to College Football News for providing some of the background info.

Fight On!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The New Dumbest Team In America

Only one thing stands between USC and a decisive victory on Saturday against Nebraska, this man:

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The former coach of the Oakland Raiders, Bill Callahan, once referred to his own team as the "dumbest team in America" after a miserable effort against the Denver Broncos during the 2003 NFL season. In the home loss to Denver where the Raiders committed three turnovers which led to 3 Denver touchdowns, Callahan lashed out at his own players by saying:

"We've got to be the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game."

You know it's pretty bad when your own coach calls you out in a post-game conference. I guess Callahan didn't get tired of being surrounded by people with a low IQ. I'm no expert, but I doubt many Nobel Prize Laureates were from the Cornhusker state, especially when the casual Nebraska fan looks like this...

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I hope Pete Carroll and Co. can show the nation what they're really about on Saturday and simply destroy the Cornhuskers in their own backyard.

Fight On!

Nebraska Offense Preview

Projected Lineup vs. USC (click here for full depth chart)
Players in Bold, ALL CAPS are returning starters

WR(X): #87 NATE SWIFT, Jr. - and - #16 Maurice Purify, Sr.
LT: #77 Carl Nicks, Sr.
LG: #62 Andy Christensen, Jr.
C: #59 BRETT BYFORD, Sr.
RG: #70 MATT SLAUSON, Jr. - and - #61 MIKE HUFF, Jr.
RT: #76 Lydon Murtha, Jr.
H-Back: #85 J.B. PHILLIPS, Sr.
WR(Z): #83 TERRENCE NUNN, Sr.
FB: #48 Andy Sand, Sr.
IB: #5 MARLON LUCKY, Jr.
QB: #9 Sam Keller, Sr.

The first thing that jumps out at me when analyzing Nebraska's depth chart is the experience returning across the board offensively, but especially at the skill positions. QB Sam Keller and FB Andy Sand, although new to the starting lineup, are seniors and should be very capable starters. Keller, who transfered from Arizona State last year, does have big-time game experience against the Trojans under his belt, so you can count him as a returning starter too. Keller engineered a near upset of #1 USC in 2005, as he threw for 347 yards and 2 TD's in the desert that day, but he also threw 5 INT's and helped the Sun Devils squander an 18 point halftime lead and eventually lose 38-28. Keller will be looking for redemption though, and he'll once again have some very talented playmakers to get the ball to on Saturday, led by tailback Marlon Lucky (54 carries, 323 yards, 4 TDs) who has shown some explosiveness in the first two games. The key for the Trojans will definitely be to stop #5 and minimize Nebraska's play action passing game. The WR's are big (Purify 6'4", Swift 6'2", Nunn 6'0") and can make some plays if the defense starts to creep up against the run. Expect the Trojans to try and rattle the mistake prone Keller with multiple looks and different coverages. Keller has completed only 57.6 % of his passes and has thrown 3 INT's compared to just 2 TD's. The key for Nebraska will be to get out to early lead, and not put pressure on Keller to win the game from behind. They want to keep the game in the hands of their gamebreaking RB Marlon Lucky...

The offensive line, which has new starters at left guard and both tackle spots, is an area that I think Coach Carroll can exploit. The Trojans have a veteran defensive line that should be fresh and ready to go following the bye week. The Nebraska offensive line is still relatively unproven, but seems to have held up nicely in first two games. The Huskers' line has yet to allow a sack on Keller's 66 pass attempts and have paved the way for 528 yards on 104 carries (5.1 avg) in the running game. This is not good news for the Trojans who have had all sorts of trouble sacking the quarterback and creating turnovers lately, but the Huskers won't be blocking the Nevada Wolfpack this weekend. Wake Forest was able to slow down the Huskers ground game a bit, holding them to 115 yards rushing after Nevada gave up 413 on the ground in the opener. Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan has really emphasized the run the last couple of years, so I expect them to try and be physical with the Trojans and set the tone early with the running game. The Huskers ran the ball 36 times for a total of 68 yards against USC last season, and ran the ball 104 times in the first two games, so for them to come out and spread us out and throw it 60 times like Hawaii would be a pretty drastic change in game plan for Callahan. Whatever the case, Big Rey have will have his unit ready.

Look for the Huskers' Defense preview Thursday evening.

Fight On!

Greg Monroe Down to 8

Greg Monroe, the nation's #1 ranked high school basketball player, has cut his list of college choices down to just 8 schools. Monroe has stated that he plans to take all five of his official visits before making a final decision on where he will play college basketball. However first he must decide which of his final 8 schools he will visit. Monroe has scheduled in-home visits with all 8 schools, three of which have already taken place. His next in-home visit is this Sunday, September 16th with USC head coach Tim Floyd.

Here's Monroe's in-home visit schedule from Fox Sports...

Duke – Sept. 9
Georgetown – Sept. 9
LSU – Sept. 11

USC – Sept. 16
Baylor – Sept. 18
UConn – Sept. 22
Kansas – Sept. 22
Texas – Sept. 25

Tourney Tim has already received a verbal commitment from Demar Derozan, the #2 ranked player in the class of 2008. If he can land Greg Monroe..... Lets not even speculate on how that would affect recruiting rankings, preseason rankings, Mayo's return/departure from USC. Lets just hope that USC makes Monroe's myFaves.

Fight On!

Update:[09.12.07;5:49pm] Another article on Monroe's recruitment from Rivals.
Monroe Has a Plan

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nebraska Cornhuskers: First Look


In what should be one of the most interesting games of the weekend, the top-ranked USC Trojans return to action on Saturday as they travel to Lincoln, NE to take on the #14 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. The match will be featured on ABC Prime Time's nationally televised Game of the Week, in what will be a very hostile environment. The Trojans beat the Huskers at the Coliseum last year 28-10, but this year's game figures to be a lot more challenging. Nebraska will be at home, Memorial Stadium, where they hold the current record for most consecutive sell outs at 283 games. That streak dates back all the way to 1962, so expect to see over 85,000 loud, screaming fans. The sea of red that is the Nebraska crowd will be further inspired by ESPN's College Game Day, who will be on location, broadcasting live from Lincoln. The Huskers have not played host to a #1 ranked team since 1978, when they beat Oklahoma 17-14. This is the type of game that can vault Nebraska's program back to where it belongs -- among college football's best. Even Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan can feel the electricity in the air:
"I think the game against SC is pretty well established, pretty well talked about in our part of the country," Callahan said. "We're going to have to have our best effort on Saturday night."
Big time college football returns to Lincoln on Saturday, I can't wait! Let's take an early look at the match-up:

Nebraska enters the game with a record of (2-0) after winning at Wake Forest 20-17 on Saturday and beating Nevada 52-10 in the opener. USC (1-0) had a much needed bye this past weekend, which should have provided some valuable rest and treatment for a banged up Trojans squad. Hopefully the Trojans were able to heal up, not only for this game, but for the rest of the season, as they continue their march towards another national championship. I am certain that we will see a different USC team than the one that took the field against Idaho in the opener. USC started the game fast, jumping out to a 21-0 lead and, though unspectacular, managed to come away with a solid 38-10 victory. The Trojans usually show up for big games, so expect Pete Carroll to fire up his troops for this one. The Trojans emerged the Idaho game relatively healthy, with LB Brian Cushing being the only starter to suffer an injury, but he should be back this week. As far as this game goes, junior CB/S Josh Pinkard is definitely out (possibly for the season), so Cary Harris and Shareece Wright need to step up once again. The status of other players, such as Chauncey Washington is still uncertain, but we'll keep monitoring the injury report as the week progresses.

The different faces that will be lining up for both teams will also give the game a different feel than last year. Nebraska lost QB Zac Taylor to graduation, but returns a familiar foe in former Arizona State QB Sam Keller. Two of the Huskers' leading rushers, Kenny Wilson and Brandon Jackson are also gone. The defense must replace last year's entire starting defensive line. USC returns QB John David Booty, who completed 25 out of 36 passes for 257 yards and 3 TDs in last year's game, but his two main targets (Jarrett, Smith) are gone. Jarrett and Smith combined for 17 catches, 189 yards, and 3 TDs last season. We have yet to see the Trojans #1 WR Patrick Turner, who sat out the opener with a neck injury, and the younger wide outs David Ausberry, Vidal Hazelton, Travon Patterson, and Ronald Johnson are all still trying to find their role in the offense. It will be interesting to see how the passing game performs in the loud Memorial Stadium. Gone to for the Trojans is RB Emmanuel Moody, who led the Trojans in rushing yards (70), but has transferred to Florida. Chauncey Washington finished with 12 carries for 52 yards and a TD against the Huskers last year, but is questionable with a shoulder injury. We'll see how everything shakes out.

Wednesday: Nebraska Offense preview
Thursday: Nebraska Defense preview
Friday: What to expect/predictions

Fight On!

9/11: We Remember...


I can't believe it's been 6 years since that awful day, I still rembember waking up for school that morning and watching all the chaos on ABC's Good Morning America. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were affected on that tragic day.

Fight On!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Wrap: USC Still #1


Obviously, the Trojans took a much needed rest this past weekend after a hard fought win against Idaho. However, the rest of the weekend shaped up beautifully with plenty of college football action, a stacked UFC 75 card from London, and NFL opening weekend. As well as opening weekend for Fantasy Football! While I ran solo this weekend, a few of the bloggers made the annual pilgrimage to Mecca...also known as Las Vegas. Good times for everyone. Here's some weekend analysis for you to chew on, you fucking dags.

LSU 48 Virginia Tech 7
:Very impressive. But Sean Glennon sucks. Always has and always will. So much for America's team. The party's officially over.

Oregon 39 Michigan 7: I really, really enjoyed this. I think I got a little wet when Dixon ran that fake Statue of Liberty. Its gonna be tough at Autzen Stadum this year. Henne and Hart have officially exited the Heisman race.

Penn State 31 Notre Dame 10:Not much to say here. Notre Dame still has yet to score a touchdown with mastermind offensive genius Charlie Weis running the show. How many times does this guy fist-pump in his office alone when he sees Notre Dame play?

Texas 34 TCU 13: Oklahoma will handily beat Texas this year. I would say you heard it here first, but everyone else beat me to it. McCoy is officially in a sophomore slump. And we all agree that Sweed is overrated. Big time. Charles is looking much improved though.

Nebraska 20 Wake Forest 17: Were they hiding plays or is Rey Maualuga foaming at the mouth for a shot at "Big Mouth" Keller? I'll take the latter. Its on for Saturday.

Washington 24 Boise St. 10: Is Jake Locker the west coast version of Tebow? Perhaps, but Ty is 2-0 with THE Ohio State University coming to town.

UFC 75: Advertised as one of the most stacked and historical cards to date. I expected a little more, but it was still quality. Great performances by Marcus Davis and Houston Alexander as well as the main events below.


Quinton "Rampage" Jackson defeats Dan Henderson:

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Jackson unifies both UFC and Pride light heavyweight belts by beating Dan Henderson via unanimous decision. It looks like Rampage is on top for now. Possible opponents for Jackson are the winner of Liddell-Jardine or Griffin-Shogun Rua.

Cheick Kongo defeats Mirko Cro-Cop
:
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Cro-Cop suffered his 2nd loss in a row in the UFC to Cheick Kongo via decision and one has to wonder what is left of Cro-Cop's future. He might have to drop down to light heavyweight because he can no longer stalk his prey as he once did in Pride. The intimidation and respect factor is gone.

Michael Bisping defeats Matt Hamill:
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Arguably the worst judging performance in MMA history. Hamill clearly beat Bisping in front of his home-town crowd with superb striking and multiple take downs and ground n' pound. Bisping's post-fight interview and his own fans booing him said it all. I lost whatever respect I had for Bisping after this fight. He'll get his soon enough. That prick.

There was also some great NFL action this week.


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LT ready to score some major fantasy points for my team, the New Originals.


And Randy Moss proved why the New England Patriots are the team to beat this year. He's back.
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And I am not sure if Auburn and "Cadillac" Williams really wanted to play USC in 2004. Especially with ex-USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu laying the wood, like he did on this play. Cadillac felt a little of what Pete Carroll's defense is like. And by the way, go South Florida. Auburn sucks. Tubberville swallows.


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Full Nebraska coverage coming this week. You ladies have a good day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Worst Pre-Game Video Ever

Our colleagues over at EDSBS had an article today about the Kansas St. Wildcats pre-game video. I must say that it is by far, the worst pre-game video in the history of college sports. Students taking an Intro to Film class could piece together something better than this dogshit video. The clip features the K. State mascot, "Willie the Wildcat." There's only one word to describe this video: terrible.

2007 NFL Predictions

The NFL Season kicks off tonight as the New Orleans Saints travel to Indianapolis to take on the defending champion Colts. This is a possible Super Bowl XLII preview, but both teams still have some lingering questions. The Colts need to replace several defensive players that departed in the off-season, while the Saints must prove that last season was no fluke. So with all this talk about Super Bowl previews, here's how I believe the season will unfold (playoff teams in Red, italics)...

AFC East-------------NFC East
1. New England------1. Dallas
2. NY Jets------------2. Philadelphia
3. Miami--------------3. NY Giants
4. Buffalo-------------4. Washington

AFC North-----------NFC North
1. Baltimore----------1. Chicago
2. Pittsburgh---------2. Green Bay
3. Cincinnati----------3. Detroit
4. Cleveland----------4. Minnesota

AFC South-----------NFC South
1. Indianapolis-------1. New Orleans
2. Tennessee---------2. Tampa Bay
3. Jacksonville-------3. Atlanta
4. Houston-----------4. Carolina

AFC West------------NFC West
1. San Diego----------1. San Francisco
2. Kansas City--------2. Seattle
3. Oakland-----------3. Arizona
4. Denver------------4. St. Louis

AFC Championship
New England 24 Indianapolis 14

NFC Championship
New Orleans 27 Dallas 23

Super Bowl XLII
New England 30 New Orleans 20
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady

I just can't see how anyone will slow down Tom Brady and Co. this season. He has the best supporting cast of his career, so it's not surprising that they are the favorites to win it all again. The NFC champ will be the Saints, assuming that they win the home-field advantage over the Bears (which I think they will), who will not be challenged much in a still very weak NFC. Look for the Raiders as a sleeper team, that's right, the Raiders. They have a fast and physical defense, and the offense seems to be coming around under the direction of former Trojan offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Good luck to everyone on their fantasy team, and enjoy the NFL season. You'll be hearing from me throughout the year on the NFL and the no to distant 2008 NFL Draft.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Clausen To Get Thrown To the Wolves on Saturday...


Freshman QB Jimmy Clausen (above), Notre Dame's prized recruit who many Irish fans consider to be the "chosen one" or "second coming," will make his first career start on the road Saturday against Joe Pa's Penn State Nittany Lions. Any team who's ever traveled to Happy Valley knows that Penn State is very tough at home, so it may not be a very glorious debut for Mr. Clausen. This is what awaits Clausen on the other side of the tunnel...

Notre Dame is coming off an embarassing 33-3 home loss to Georgia Tech, but the schedule doesn't get any easier. After Penn State, the Irish have road games at Michigan, Purdue, and UCLA, as well as home games against Michigan State and Boston College before USC hits South Bend on October 20th. It is very possible that Notre Dame will lose their first 8 games. I'm not sure that this is what the Notre Dame faithful thought year 3 of the Weis era would look like, especially after a fairly impressive first year in 2005. During Weis' first two years, we saw a very potent offense in South Bend -- though it needed to be explosive because the Irish couldn't stop anybody defensively -- but now the Irish are equally bad on offense as they are on defense. Time to step up your game Charlie "Mom Jeans" Weis...
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I actually feel a little bad for ND, but as many of my colleagues would say, "Fuck Notre Dame!" and "Fuck Jimmy Clausen!" I'll be watching this game closely on Saturday, give 'em hell Joe Pa!

Fight On!