Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thoughts From My Desk September 13 Edition

This is a strange time for me and College Football. A lot of the games are boring blowouts over cupcake teams, with an occasional upset every few years. The Broncos usually are playing Big Ten teams or better (Missouri with Chase Daniels, West Virginia with Pat White and Steve Slaton) and it is hard for me to get into the games. I watch to see new players and hope for an upset, but I know we are just collecting a paycheck. A few marquee matchups take place (BYU vs. Oklahoma and USC vs. OSU) but more often than not the season is boring. Rich Rodriguez wants to have preseason games, when the NFL is doing the right thing and getting rid of meaningless games. Honestly, I circle the conference openers for the Broncos every year as the “start” of College Football.

WMU vs. Indiana: The Broncos looked better, and Tim Hiller looked more like Tim Hiller. He must have worked out the kinks and gotten better receiving gloves because the Bronco offense looked much better. Brandon West displayed his great returning skills, and it was great to see Jordan White back on the field after two years off due to injuries. TE Matt Stevens had a few plays displaying the talent everyone has been talking about, and the entire receiving core looked much better. Robert Arnheim made a nice 40 yard TD catch and showed great hands all day. He is a solid possession receiver, although him having great hands and not fumbling means he does not have to return punts. Drew Burdi scored a TD run out of the Wildcat formation (something I would like to see more off) and Aaron Winchester had some nice runs before coughing it up near the goal line to miss out on the game winning TD. Our defense looked better but still had trouble tackling and closing on people. Special teams looked good once again overall. To recap, I think the Broncos should have won this game, but Indiana made plenty of mistakes in penalties to give us a chance at the end. Our defense needs to generate pass rush and cause turnovers to give our offense more of a chance. The Broncos have their home opener next Saturday night against MAC foe Miami Oh.

MSU vs. CMU: This was shocking but CMU is a very good MAC team. They will probably win the Conference and make it to a decent bowl game. They lost to Arizona is tough road trip, but the Spartans still should have won that game. MSU showed how vulnerable playing in the two QB system can be. It hurts the flow of the game and rhythm of the offense. Cousins looks like a better fit for the offense with his quick release and strong arm. The Spartans cannot do this next week against Notre Dame and expect to win. MSU’s defense still is not where it should be, and usually reliable Blair White missed the onside recovery that would have won the game. CMU stuck with the Spartans all game and Dan Lefevour looked great all game, making plays when the Chips needed them the most. MSU’s secondary looked awful at times and not even a great front seven could turn the tide in favor of the Spartans. MSU looks to regroup before a game with rivals Notre Dame, but before then they need to settle the QB issue and find a solution on defense.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan: This classic rivalry taking place in Ann Arbor will pit the Wolverines and Irish both trying to win respect and become a player on the national stage. The Wolverines smashed WMU last week, and Notre Dame destroyed Nevada at home. This was a classic back and forth battle between rivals. There were a ton of penalties in the game, and the play calling by Notre Dame was questionable at best. This was most obvious on the last drive when Notre Dame had a chance to run the ball twice and use up some time and Michigan’s timeouts and opted to throw the ball and display bad strategy by HC Charlie Weiss. Tate Forcier looked great in his second game, passing well and displaying good instincts avoiding the rush and running up field. Denard Robinson is further distancing himself as a backup QB and a run only option. Michigan’s young defense had trouble with Notre Dame’s offense, which is great in its own right. Michigan could be on its way up if it continues to mature and avoid injuries.

USC vs. OSU: The Buckeyes led the game for much of the fourth quarter after a USC safety on a bad snap. Terrell Pryor looked much better than he has at past times, and only a long USC drive to win the game kept the Buckeyes from taking this contest. Freshman QB Matt Barkley looked great as he led his team down the field with the precision and leadership of a senior. RB Joe McKnight looks like a great dual threat runner and got chunks of yardage for the Trojans during the game. This was an instant classic, and it shows the Big Ten is finally catching up to other elite programs.

Danny Heatley and a 5th round pick have been traded from the Ottawa Senators to the San Jose Sharks for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd round pick. Ottawa is going into rebuilding mode, with is never good news for a small market team. Heatley had requested a traded earlier in the summer and finally got his wish. Cheechoo had a great season for the Sharks when they first traded for Joe Thornton, but has faded in past seasons. Injuries have been partly to blame. The Sharks lost in the first round last year in the playoffs to Anaheim Ducks, despite being the number 1 seed. Goaltending broke down and led to the upset. The Sharks look to be even better this season with another scoring threat on a deep team. Training camps open across the NHL this weekend and preseason games start later this week. It’s already almost hockey season!

Oklahoma State lost a perfect opportunity to put its mark on this season. With Oklahoma hurting, OSU lost to high powered Houston 45-35. The gap is definitely closing in college football.

Wisconsin almost lost to Fresno State at home in double overtime. Fresno State is a good team, but this is a sign on how bad the Badgers are hurting.

Toledo picked on a struggling Colorado team. The Rockets put up big points on the Buffaloes in Colorado.

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