Sep 28, 2007

LSU vs. Tulane


In what will basically be a home game for both teams (if Tulane fans show up), #2 ranked LSU will travel an hour to the Superdome to take on Tulane at 11 am...Yes you read that correctly, LSU will be playing football this weekend at 11 in the morning. They'll kick off before Lee Corso dons the mascot head on Game Day. What a weird start time.

LSU is nursing a few injuries and this game comes at a great time for them. They can rest some players or give them little playing time to keep their skills sharp, then give way to backups to gain some much needed experience and playing time. Matt Flynn should go, but with his bum ankle don't look for him to play too long. Early Doucet is still out with his groin injury as well.

With a huge match up with Florida just a week away, the Tigers will put the Green Wave away early and work out a few kinks before focusing on the Gators.

LSU 48
Tulane 0

Sep 27, 2007

Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

After 3 weeks of action, let's look at how teams are stacked up in the NFL:

  1. Indianapolis Colts (3-0): Another tough division win, they stay #1 until they get beat.
  2. New England Patriots (3-0): Another week, another 38 point performance.
  3. Dallas Cowboys (3-0): After only 3 weeks, Cowboys rise to the top of a mediocre NFC.
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): Still not really tested, Steelers hold off young 49ers.
  5. Green Bay Packers (3-0): The story of the NFL season thus far, the Packers are playing like it's 1995.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Back in their familiar spot atop the NFC West.
  7. Tennessee Titans (2-1): Vince Young outplayed Reggie Bush and led the Titans to a win on MNF.
  8. Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Didn't do a good job of putting away the Cardinals in the 4th quarter.
  9. San Diego Chargers (1-2): L.T. is finding little running room, what's going on there?
  10. Chicago Bears (1-2): Grossman is out, Griese is in...will it make much difference?
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1): Returned to the running game and got a big win.
  12. Denver Broncos (2-1): Risky 4th down call backfired.
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): The Bucs are quietly making noise in the poor NFC.
  14. Carolina Panthers (2-1): Jake Delhomme should be able to start this week, but do fans want to see David Carr anyway?
  15. Washington Redskins (2-1): Follow up big division win with a loss to struggling Giants.
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2): Someone woke up the Eagles, will this turn their season around?
  17. Houston Texans (2-1): Injuries are making things tough, but they hung with the Champs for a bit.
  18. San Francisco 49ers (2-1): Steelers handed them their first loss and showed them that they still have work to do.
  19. Detroit Lions (2-1): That game sure put a damper on their 2-0 start. How will they react this week?
  20. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2): The defense held someone under 50 points, but the offense didn't score enough this week.
  21. New York Jets (1-2): Chad Pennington quieted the critics for at least another week.
  22. New York Giants (1-2): Eli's showing his toughness, playing through his injury. Defense actually showed up too.
  23. Arizona Cardinals (1-2): Kurt Warner will see more action after his return performance against the Ravens.
  24. Oakland Raiders (1-2): Used time-out trick in their favor this week, and should be 2-1 instead of 1-2.
  25. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2): Chiefs won the ugliest game of the week.
  26. Minnesota Vikings (1-2): Vikings lost the ugliest game of the week.
  27. Cleveland Browns (1-2): The team is making strides, but they were bit by the time-out trick this week.
  28. New Orleans Saints (0-3): Everything's going wrong and it's getting worse. Jason David is out for at least a month and Deuce is gone for the season...or longer.
  29. St. Louis Rams (0-3): Marc Bulger has injured ribs and Steven Jackson is out this week, like with the Saints, when it rains, it pours. (could there be more commas in that statement?)
  30. Buffalo Bills (0-3): Passing game is non-existent and J.P. Losman's injury give rookie QB Trent Edwards the start. Ouch.
  31. Miami Dolphins (0-3): Bright spot: Ronnie Brown came through with a great game.
  32. Atlanta Falcons (0-3): Falcons look to be playing for the draft's top pick next year.

If it ain't broke...

Sure it's for a good cause, but just look at those uniforms. LSU and Tulane will be wearing special uniforms for this weekend's game with proceeds from merchandise ($1 per jersey sold) going to Katrina relief. That's great news and a great gesture, but couldn't the same thing be done without LSU changing their uniforms for the game?

LSU has a tradition of wearing white uniforms and their gold helmets are a college football staple. Well, this weekend, thanks to Nike, LSU will don white helmets, purple jerseys and white pants. It's the Gerry Dinardo era all over again. Everyone remembers the uniform combinations (purple pants anyone?) that Dinardo pulled out for special games. Many fans fear that this is the start of Nike getting what they've been after for a while now...changing LSU's uniforms weekly like Oregon, Florida or Miami have done in recent years.

Dear Skip Bertman, don't sell out. Stick with tradition. We can live with this being a one time thing. Don't make it a habit. Let's stick with the best uniforms in college football:

Sep 25, 2007

Saints Embarassed Again on National TV

The Titans dominated the Saints 31-14, Deuce McAllister is likely loss for the season, Drew Brees has turned into Rex Grossman, Reggie Bush looks like he's auditioning for "Dancing with the Stars," the defense still stinks and Sean Payton is in a play-calling funk. At 0-3, the Saints are no where near the team that fans and media thought they would be.

This quote from Scott Fujita says it all:

"Steve Weatherford is playing great," Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said of his team's punter. "Other than that, we're not playing worth a damn."

Week 4 Top 25

Another exciting week of college football is in the books. Time to update the Top 25:
  1. LSU (4-0)
  2. USC (3-0)
  3. Florida (4-0)
  4. Oklahoma (4-0)
  5. West Virginia (4-0)
  6. California (4-0)
  7. Ohio State (4-0)
  8. Wisconsin (4-0)
  9. Oregon (4-0)
  10. Texas (4-0)
  11. Rutgers (3-0)
  12. Boston College (4-0)
  13. Clemson (4-0)
  14. Kentucky (4-0)
  15. Virgina Tech (3-1)
  16. Georgia (3-1)
  17. Hawaii (4-0)
  18. South Carolina (3-1)
  19. Penn State (3-1)
  20. South Florida (3-0)
  21. Purdue (4-0)
  22. Missouri (4-0)
  23. Arizona St. (4-0)
  24. Alabama (3-1)
  25. Cincinnati (4-0)
*Dropped from rankings: Louisville (previously #17), Texas A&M (previously #20), Nebraska (#24), Arkansas (previously #25)

Sep 24, 2007

MNF: Titans vs. Saints

Finally, the Saints will play their home opener tonight on Monday Night Football against the Tennessee Titans. After two tough loses on the road, the Saints look to get back on track in the Superdome. Last year, an emotional return to the city sparked a run to the NFC Championship game. Could tonight's game provide that same spark?

ESPN is promoting the game as Reggie Bush vs. Vince Young, but Saints fans know that the offense goes through Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. The more of Deuce we see, the better the offense is playing. Reggie Bush is lagniappe at this point and so far he has disappointed. Deuce is the sparkplug and he needs to be fed the ball. Brees is the unquestioned leader in the huddle and needs to get over his frustrations and start throwing the ball downfield.

The Saints defense will have its hands full with Vince Young, Lendale White and Chris Brown. This rushing attack will give the Saints run defense fits, but the secondary should have a better day than the two previous games. The Titans rarely throw downfield, so if the Saints are giving up big plays in the passing game to them, this really could be a long year.

On special teams, kicker Olindo Mare will get to face the fans for the first time this season. He needs to start producing soon or the Saints will bring in another kicker. In a city that has seen some of football's best and most accurate kickers (Tom Dempsy, Morten Andersen, Doug Brien and John Carney) fans won't stick up for a kicker who keeps missing.

Titans 23
Saints 27

Sep 21, 2007

South Carolina vs. LSU


#12 ranked South Carolina will take on #2 LSU this weekend in sloppy conditions at Tiger Stadium. Weather will definitely be a factor as Tropical Storm #10 (likely to be a named storm by gametime) will be moving across southern Louisiana on Saturday. LSU played in rainy weather at Miss St. and should have the advantage playing at home.

QB Matt Flynn is still nursing a sore ankle, but he is expected to play. The Tigers, however, will be without senior WR Early Doucet and starting DT Charles Alexander was lost for the season with a knee injury. LSU should be fine at both positions due to quality depth and experienced backups.

The "Old Ball Coach" is a rumored candidate to replace Les Miles, if/when Miles heads north to Michigan. Spurrier may be looking to impress LSU fans and a good showing this weekend by the Gamecocks could leave that lasting impression if LSU is looking for a new coach. With LSU's defense, however, it will be hard to move the ball and South Carolina will have to be creative and force turnovers, if they are to have a chance.

S.C. 6
LSU 27

Sep 20, 2007

Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Two weeks down, let's look at how teams are stacked up in the NFL:
  1. Indianapolis Colts (2-0): Had a tough game in Tennessee, but they're still the champs.
  2. New England Patriots (2-0): The cheaters look like a team on a mission this year.
  3. Dallas Cowboys (2-0): Offense is firing on all cylinders, but defense isn't. Signing Tank Johnson is a boom or bust move.
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0): How good are the Steelers? Bills and Browns aren't good barometers, but they look legit.
  5. San Diego Chargers (1-1): Tough game against the Patriots. L.T. has hundreds of fantasy owners questioning selecting him #1, even though he was the consensus.
  6. Chicago Bears (1-1): Is this the season that Lovie Smith makes a QB change?
  7. Denver Broncos (2-0): Two lucky wins puts the Broncos in the top 10. Yep, it's still early in the season.
  8. Seattle Seahawks (1-1): Looked like one of the NFC's top teams, but a botched handoff killed them against the Cardinals.
  9. Green Bay Packers (2-0): Brett Favre looks like he could play 4 more years, and he might.
  10. Washington Redskins (2-0): Nice win against the Eagles in one of the NFL's toughest places to play.
  11. Tennessee Titans (1-1): Vince Young was leading his team downfield, but couldn't quite
  12. Carolina Panthers (1-1): One step forward, and two steps back for a team that just can't consistently put it together.
  13. Houston Texans (2-0): The surprise of the NFL thus far, Houston must be tired of losing so much.
  14. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1): Scoring 45 points and losing must have been tough to shallow for Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson.
  15. Baltimore Ravens (1-1): Kyle Boller played well, will he be the starter now?
  16. Detroit Lions (2-0): The pesky Lions have a ton of weapons on offense, but they let Minnesota hang around and go to OT.
  17. San Francisco 49ers (2-0): The 49ers offense has yet to get going, but two wins is still two wins.
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1): The Jags still didn't run the ball well in their victory over the Falcons.
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1): The Bucs hit the Saints with big plays in the passing game, showing that Joey Galloway and Jeff Garcia will make a nice WR/QB combo.
  20. New Orleans Saints (0-2): The offense stinks, the defense stinks and the kicker is 1-3 on FGs...other than that, the Saints are OK.
  21. Minnesota Vikings (1-1): Tavaris Jackson may need to take a break and hold a clip board for a while after throwing 4 ints against Detroit.
  22. Arizona Cardinals (1-1): With all the playmakers they have on offense, their coach still wants to pound the rock.
  23. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2): Donovan McNabb needs to not worry about the criticism of black QBs and just improve his game. He looked terrible last Monday.
  24. Cleveland Browns (1-1): Brady Quinn will have to wait a bit longer as Derek Anderson led the offense to more than 50 points.
  25. St. Louis Rams (0-2): Tough division loss to the 49ers. Steven Jackson needs to be a bigger part of the offense.
  26. New York Jets (0-2): Is that a QB controversy brewing in New York? Kellen Clemons looked solid against the Ravens, but his WRs didn't do him any favors.
  27. New York Giants (0-2): Eli Manning played through his injury, but the secondary was torched for the second week in a row.
  28. Oakland Raiders (0-2): Should have been a victory against the Broncos, but a time out stopped their celebration.
  29. Buffalo Bills (0-2): Flat effort against the Steelers. What happened to the J.P. Loman/Lee Evans connection?
  30. Miami Dolphins (0-2): Aging defense had trouble stopping Dallas' offense, at least they got a first hand look at T.O.'s celebration.
  31. Atlanta Falcons (0-2): Can Byron Leftwich save this team? Probably not.
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2): Larry Johnson is probably second guessing coming back from his hold-out.

Sep 17, 2007

Week 3 Top 25

After three weeks of college football, teams are starting to separate themselves. A few of the hyped preseason teams have struggled early (Michigan, Louisville, Tennessee) and some unlikely teams (South Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon) have made their way into the rankings. The two top teams, LSU and USC, continued their dominance and Florida impressed with their win over the Volunteers.

Here's a look at this week's Top 25:
  1. LSU (3-0)
  2. USC (2-0)
  3. Florida (3-0)
  4. Oklahoma (3-0)
  5. West Virginia (3-0)
  6. California (3-0)
  7. Ohio State (3-0)
  8. Penn State (3-0)
  9. Wisconsin (3-0)
  10. Texas (3-0)
  11. Oregon (3-0)
  12. Rutgers (3-0)
  13. Boston College (3-0)
  14. South Carolina (3-0)
  15. Clemson (3-0)
  16. Virgina Tech (2-1)
  17. Louisville (2-1)
  18. Hawaii (3-0)
  19. Alabama (3-0)
  20. Texas A&M (3-0)
  21. Kentucky (3-0)
  22. South Florida (2-0)
  23. Georgia (2-1)
  24. Nebraska (2-1)
  25. Arkansas (1-1)
*Dropped from Rankings: UCLA (previously #12), Tennessee (previously #21)

What's wrong with the Saints?

The Saints' bandwagon is a lot less crowded this week after their 31-14 defeat in Tampa. It's not just the fact that they have lost 2 games in a row, it's how bad they've looked. They were dominated by the Superbowl champs and now they were dominated by a team that only won 4 games last year. The defense doesn't scare anyone, and the former #1 offense in the league can't get out of its own way. What is wrong with the Saints?

The offense starts and finishes with Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. Both are playing frustrated right now. Deuce isn't seeing any daylight and after getting poked in the eye, he didn't play much more yesterday. The offensive frustration can be seen more in Brees' body language. Dropped passes yesterday killed their early momentum. The "Cover 2" defense has confused Brees and forced him to settle for check downs. They start pressing and then nothing goes right.

The defensive front four is playing OK, while the secondary is playing worse than last year, if that's possible. The upgrade at CB, Jason David, has been a total bust. Fred Thomas could do no worse than David's performance in the first two weeks. The safeties rarely make it over to help the CBs in coverage and big plays are still being gained at will.

Lastly, the new most dreaded words for Saints fans: Olindo Mare in to attempt a field goal. This guy is terrible. Sure he can get touchbacks on kickoffs, but last time I checked, you don't kickoff that much if you aren't scoring. With the Saints averaging 12 points a game and Mare being only 1 of 3 on FG attempts, Saints fans are left to wonder why the accurate John Carney was let go.

Has the team been reading its own press clippings? Did they think that the big plays would come as easy as last year? Are they trying too hard to duplicate last year's success? Is Sean Payton making the offense too complicated and trying to live up to his genius hype? Will the defense ever be able to stop the big play? Can New Orleans just not handle high expectations?

It's one week until the home opener on Monday Night Football against Vince Young and the Titans. Let's hope that the home crowd can light a fire under the team, otherwise it's "the same old Saints."

Sep 14, 2007

Saints vs. Buccaneers

The Saints will look to impress this week as they take on the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints offense was flat against the Colts and couldn't find the end zone, while the defense was torched by Peyton Manning and his wide receivers. This Sunday will have a very different feel to it.

The Saints will be chomping at the bit to play as they had to wait longer than usual to get back on the field after playing on a Thursday. This made the players think longer about their play and should have them more focused against the Bucs. I see the offense moving the ball like they did in the preseason and they will find the end zone multiple times this week. Reggie Bush wants to impress and he, along with fellow RB Deuce McAllister, should have a big day.

The Bucs are sort of in rebuilding mode, but time is running out for coach Jon Gruden. He brought in QB Jeff Garcia, who is familiar with the Saints from his days with the Eagles and 49ers. RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams is nursing sore ribs and may not play. This sets up for a good spot for New Orleans to refocus themselves and get a win in the division.

Saints 27
Bucs 16

Middle Tennessee State vs. LSU


The Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders travel to Baton Rouge to take on the #2 LSU Fighting Tigers this Saturday. This game had every indication of being a "rent-a-win" or "cupcake" until last Thursday when MTSU went blow-for-blow with top 10 ranked Louisville on national TV. MTSU is not to be taken lightly, but LSU should still win this game easily. LSU last and only meeting with MTSU was a 30-14 victory in 2001.

LSU's defense is light-years ahead of Louisville and while MTS may be able to move the ball some against LSU, they won't come close to the 42 points they scored last week. LSU should go up big early and be able to provide valuable playing time and game experience to backups and future leaders for the purple and gold. With a few players nursing injuries, mainly QB Matt Flynn and S Craig Steltz, backups will be put in the game early. Flynn may start, but look for Ryan Perriloux to see the majority of the snaps.

MTS 13
LSU 47

Sep 13, 2007

NFL Power Rankings

After an exciting first week in the National Football League, it's time to look at how the teams stack up:
  1. Indianapolis Colts (1-0): The champs were firing on all cylinders against the Saints.
  2. New England Patriots (1-0): Brady to Moss...we'll hear that a lot this year. Too bad they cheated to win.
  3. San Diego Chargers (1-0): LT did just enough against the great Bears defense to pull out the victory.
  4. Chicago Bears (0-1): As usual, the offense is the problem. Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson couldn't get much done in San Diego.
  5. Seattle Seahawks (1-0): The window may be closing on them, but they still have the pieces for a playoff run.
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0): They grabbed a win from a division opponent with an inspired defensive stand at the end...and help from a bogus pass interference call on Todd Heap.
  7. Dallas Cowboys (1-0): The offense moved the ball at will, but the defense allowed the Giants to do the same.
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0): Roethlisberger threw for 4 TDS, but they were playing the Browns.
  9. New Orleans Saints (0-1): Saints played flat and didn't look anything like the #1 offense in the NFL. By the way, is Jason David still employed by the Colts?
  10. Carolina Panthers (1-0): Delhomme was solid and will hold off fans calling for David Carr for a few more weeks.
  11. Denver Broncos (1-0): What an ending. Jason Elam calmly nailed the game winning with the clock winding down.
  12. Baltimore Ravens (0-1): Steve McNair was terrible and when the backup is named Kyle Boller, fans can't feel too good right now.
  13. Green Bay Packers (1-0): Special teams and defense willed the Packers to the victory over the favored Eagles.
  14. Tennessee Titans (1-0): Vince Young threw for less than 100 yards, but Chris Brown provided a spark and made fantasy football fans scan the waiver wire to see if he was still available.
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1): Offense looked sluggish, special teams breakdowns lost them the game. McNabb's return should have sparked them.
  16. Minnesota Vikings (1-0): Defensive TDs and rookie Adrian Peterson showed why you can't count out the Vikings.
  17. Washington Redskins (1-0): In one of the ugliest games of the day, the Redskins won in OT. Clinton Portis looked good and hopefully can stay healthy this year.
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1): With two top RBs on the roster, the Jags decided to air it out and basically abandoned the run. That worked out great.
  19. Detroit Lions (1-0): Kitna guaranteed 10 wins...only 9 more to go. Rookie Calvin Johnson caught his first NFL TD.
  20. St. Louis Rams (0-1): Just when everyone jumps on the Rams bandwagon, they come out and stink up the place. Back to the drawing board, Jim Hasslett.
  21. San Francisco 49ers (1-0): Alex Smith didn't do much until the last drive. Will Norv Turner's departure have that much effect on the offense?
  22. New York Giants (0-1): Put up tons of points and yardage in a shoot-out loss but also loss key members of the squad to injury, including QB Eli Manning.
  23. Houston Texans (1-0): Mario Williams has more TDs than Reggie Bush, you won't be hearing that much longer.
  24. Buffalo Bills (0-1): Lose heart-breaker to the Broncos, but most importantly, it looks like TE Kevin Everett will be able to walk again.
  25. New York Jets (0-1): QB Chad Pennington goes down to an injury again. Second year QB Kellen Clemons will get a chance to show that he can be the man. At least he won't be playing the cheating Patriots this week.
  26. Arizona Cardinals (0-1): With all the tools on offense, the Cardinals only managed 102 yards passing. What?
  27. Miami Dolphins (0-1): With their aging defense and aging QB, the Dolphins were put away in OT by the Redskins.
  28. Oakland Raiders (0-1): Josh McCown will hold onto the QB job for a few more weeks, and rookie JaMarcus Russell has finally signed. Give him a red shirt this year though.
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1): The injury bug bit the Bucs hard as the engine for their offense, Cadillac Williams, will miss some time with hurt ribs.
  30. Atlanta Falcons (0-1): Joey Harrington was typical Joey Harrington with his two interceptions. Do they regret trading Matt Shaub now?
  31. Cleveland Browns (0-1): Will the Brady Quinn era begin sooner than we think? Not this week, it looks like Ken Dorsey time.
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1): This team should be better, but they made Houston look like the Colts.

Sep 10, 2007

Week 2 Top 25

  1. LSU (2-0)
  2. USC (1-0)
  3. Florida (2-0)
  4. Oklahoma (2-0)
  5. West Virginia (2-0)
  6. Wisconsin (2-0)
  7. Texas (2-0)
  8. California (2-0)
  9. Ohio State (2-0)
  10. Louisville (2-0)
  11. Penn State (2-0)
  12. UCLA (2-0)
  13. Rutgers (2-0)
  14. Nebraska (2-0)
  15. Georgia Tech (2-0)
  16. Arkansas (1-0)
  17. Oregon (2-0)
  18. Virgina Tech (1-1)
  19. South Carolina (2-0)
  20. Clemson (2-0)
  21. Tennessee (1-1)
  22. Hawaii (2-0)
  23. Georgia (1-1)
  24. Boston College (2-0)
  25. South Florida (2-0)

*dropped out: Auburn (previously #18), Boise St. (previously #23), Miami (FL) (previously #24), Michigan (previously #25)

LSU Dominates VA Tech, 48-7

The scoreboard said Virginia Tech, but you would have though LSU was playing a "cupcake" with the way they ran up and down the field and completely dominated the Hokies, 48-7. LSU basically did whatever they wanted on offense, and the defense frustrated VA Tech's offense all night. If not for one drive in the 2nd half, LSU would have shut out the Hokies.

Most members of the national media had their eye on this game, as two national title contenders with top defenses battled it out. With scores being thrown around like 13-10, 16-9 or if you dared to go out on a limb and imagine that a team could score a few times, 20-14. In other words, most expected a defensive battle with little offense to go around. The kicking game would be important and the team that didn't turn the ball over would have the best chance. Well, that thinking was thrown out the door after LSU's first two drives of the game when they grabbed a 14-0 lead. From then on, they just kept their foot on the gas and opened up Gary Crowton's offensive playbook and put it to the Hokies.

LSU gained some ground on #1 USC in the national polls after this victory. For those who doubted them last week, they were made believers with this performance. Matt Flynn made his first start in Tiger Stadium and didn't disappoint. Jacob Hester proved the nay-sayers wrong by showing he is a legit college football tailback. But Keiland Williams gave the fans more fuel for their arguements as to why he should be the featured back with his 7 rushes for 126 and 2 TDs against the Hokies.

All in all this was a game that will be remembered for a long time. Could this be the first indication that this team is in for a special season? It very well could be, but it's still very early in the season. The Tigers need to stay level-headed and stay focused on their goals. As Coach Les Miles said after the game, "you can save the accolades for later in life because we have only won two games. We have a lot of football to play." Yes they do and Tiger fans are hoping that one of the games left will be on January 7 in New Orleans.

Sep 7, 2007

Virginia Tech vs. LSU


In the best match-up of college football's weekend, #9 Virginia Tech travels to Baton Rouge to take on the #2 LSU Tigers. These two teams met in 2002 with VA Tech winning 26-8. They are finally making the return trip to Baton Rouge after postponing it until this season.

Both teams feature tough defenses and neither offense showed much in the opening contests last week. LSU was vanilla offensively against Miss St. and Tech did just enough to hold off East Carolina. Look for both teams to try to open up the playbook more this week. The Hokies are known for their great special teams play, but there something about kicking in Tiger Stadium that always seems to rattle opposing kickers.

The X-factor of the game will be the teams' emotion. How will VA Tech react after their emotional home opener last week? LSU will have plenty of emotion an adrenaline as well with them playing in front of 92,000 crazy Tiger fans for the first time in 2007. Add that ESPN is televising the contest and College Gameday will be in Baton Rouge all weekend, and you have all the ingredients for a special night.

VA Tech 11
LSU 20

Colts Crush Saints, 41-10

Well, there's not much to say. The Saints laid an egg against the Colts on national TV. The defense is still full of holes, the secondary can't cover anyone, the offense couldn't get in rhythm and we have a new kicker who can't make field goals. Should Saints fans be worried? Not really. The Colts are defending Superbowl champs. Peyton Manning will go down in history as one of, if not the best QB ever in the NFL. Its the first game. There's 15 more. Just burn the game film and let's move on.

There weren't many positives, but here are a few I noticed:
-Lance Moore will do a good job returning kicks. He had a 30 yard punt return in the game.
-Steve Weatherford was the right choice at punter. He killed the ball all night and averaged 48.4 yards on five kicks.
-TE Eric Johnson will get lots of opportunities in this offense. The Colts were giving the Saints underneath throws all game, and Johnson finished with eight catches.

There were too many negatives to list them all, but here's some of the most glaring ones:
-Was Fred Thomas dressed in Jason David's jersey last night? Besides the fumble recovery for a TD, David may want to forget this game ever happened.
-The run defense still needs work. RB Joe Addai ran all over the Saints, who were forced to make shoestring tackles in the secondary all night.
-Saints fans were spoiled with the consistent John Carney kicking field goals. I see an up and down year for new kicker Olindo Mare, who had missed 4 FGs in a row (including preseason) before hitting his first as a Saint.
-The offense was frustrated all night. The Saints are not a dink and dunk offense, but that's what the Colts made them be. Until late in the 4th quarter, they hadn't completed a pass over 13 yards, and Brees uncharacteristically threw 2 interceptions. The running game was even less effective with Deuce and Reggie both averaging less than 4 yards a carry on only 22 total carries.
-Rookie WR Robert Meachem bares a mention in the negatives as well. He was on the inactive list and has been a disappointment throughout the offseason. After seeing the Saints play defense, the team should have used their first round pick to address that side of the ball instead (LB Paul Posluszny anyone?).

Like I said before, let's just move on. Can we play the Tampa Bay game this Sunday?

Sep 6, 2007

Saints vs. Colts

The 2007 NFL season kicks off tonight when the New Orleans Saints visit the Indianapolis Colts. My, how times have changed...a few short years ago, the Saints were considered a laughing stock of a franchise -- trading all its draft picks for Ricky Williams; Aaron Brooks throwing passes backwards; overweight first round picks seen eating in the press box; scandals involving players, coaches and Saintsations, moving to San Antonio -- but now the NFL has chosen the Saints in their showcase game on national TV. The Saints are definitely one of the up-and-coming teams in the league and with superstars like Reggie Bush, Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, etc., the Saints are a laughing stock no longer.

On the other side of the field will be the defending Superbowl champion Colts led by QB Peyton Manning and best-selling author/head coach Tony Dungy. The Colts had a good bit of turnover on their roster, and they will want to show the country that they are still the team to beat in the league. On offense the team lost starting LT Tarick Glenn and will replace him with rookie Tony Ugoh. They also selected WR Anthony Gonzalez to add to their potent aerial attack. Second-year RB Joe Addai won't split carries this year and wants to show that he's the man. Defense is the weak point on the Colts and after losing both starting CBs and a few other pieces, the Saints #1 ranked offense should be able to move the ball on them.

This game looks to be a shoot-out with two of the best offenses in the league battling it out. The game may come down to field position and special teams. There may not be a lot of punting, but whatever teams' defense steps up and forces the punter on the field will have an advantage. With Reggie Bush looming as a punt returner, the Saints will have an edge if their defense forces a couple of stops.

I see a back-and-forth game with the scoreboard being lit up. A few areas to watch: how will an injured Jammal Brown handle Dwight Freeney, can Tony Ugoh protect Manning from the likes of Will Smith and Charles Grant, who's secondary will step up to this challenge, what does Sean Payton have up his sleeve, how much will Bush return kicks...

Saints 33
Colts 29

NFL Predictions

It's time to gaze into the crystal football and figure out what's going to happen this season in the NFL. Here's my predictions for the 2007 season:

MVP: Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
Rookie of the Year: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills
Offensive Player of the Year: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Champ Baily, CB, Broncos
Coach of the Year: Norv Turner, Chargers

New England Patriots (12-4)
West: San Diego Chargers (12-4)
North: Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
South: Indianapolis Colts (13-3)
Wild Card: Cincinnati Bengals (10-6); Denver Broncos (11-5)

East: Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
West: St. Louis Rams (10-6)
North: Chicago Bears (12-4)
South: New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Wild Card: Dallas Cowboys (10-6); Arizona Cardinals (9-7)

New Orleans Saints 29
San Diego Chargers 20

Sep 5, 2007

Put Away the Golf Balls

ESPN's College Gameday will broadcast live from the LSU campus this Saturday, site of #9 VA Tech vs. #2 LSU. This is Gameday's first trip back to Baton Rouge since the season opener in 2004, when redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell helped pull out a 22-21 OT victory for the defending national champion LSU Tigers against the Oregon St Beavers. There was talk that ESPN didn't want Gameday to cover this game, since they were at VA Tech's season opener last week, but the match-up is by far the best of the day and LSU is one of the Gameday crew's favorite stops.

So LSU fans, be clever, be rowdy and show your Tiger spirit. LSU has lots of big games on the schedule this year, so ESPN Gameday will likely cover the Tigers again this year, most likely when LSU travels to take on former coach Nick Saban and Alabama or when defending national champion Florida comes to Death Valley.

Cut Down Day

This past weekend was cut down day in the NFL. Teams had to trim their rosters down to 53 players and then sign an 8-man practice squad. The Saints had some gutsy cuts in letting go three of their draft picks, including 4th round RB Antonio Pittman, who lost his spot to UDFA RB Pierre Thomas. Pittman played well, but Thomas brings more to the team with his speed, pass-catching ability and special teams play. Pittman, who was picked up off waivers by the Rams, ran hard but struggled picking up rushers and doesn't contribute much on special teams. The move only came as a surprise since the Saints traded up in the 4th round to select Pittman. However, Sean Payton is proving that he will keep the best players on the team, regardless of how they were acquired and Thomas was the better of the rookie running backs.

Other draft picks cut were CB David Jones (5th round) and LB Marvin Mitchell (7th round). Jones was picked up on waivers by the Bengals, while Mitchell was signed to the Saints practice squad. The Saints also let go QB Tyler Palko, but he also signed with the practice squad.

The biggest head scratcher when looking over the Saints opening day roster is the five TEs who made the team. The Saints were forced to go with five due to injuries, mainly the injured Mark Campbell. This put them behind the eight-ball and forced them to part ways with some good players.

It goes to show that the Saints are now one of the elite teams though, when only four of their draft picks can make the team. The Saints are a deep, talented football team and credit goes to Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis for bringing in and keeping the best players.

Sep 4, 2007

Week 1 Top 25

After an exciting first week of college football -- Virginia Tech's emotional game, Appalachain State upsetting Michigan at the "Big House," Georgia Tech crushing the Fighting Irish and numerous blowouts -- its time to update the G.C.O. Top 25 Poll. In the preseason poll, I had Michigan ranked #3...boy, was I way off with that. That's why they're preseason polls. No one really knows what's going to happen. Anyway, on to the poll:
  1. LSU (1-0)
  2. USC (1-0)
  3. West Virginia (1-0)
  4. Florida (1-0)
  5. Wisconsin (1-0)
  6. Texas (1-0)
  7. Virgina Tech (1-0)
  8. Ohio State (1-0)
  9. Louisville (1-0)
  10. California (1-0)
  11. Oklahoma (1-0)
  12. Rutgers (1-0)
  13. Nebraska (1-0)
  14. Georgia (1-0)
  15. Penn State (1-0)
  16. Hawaii (1-0)
  17. UCLA (1-0)
  18. Auburn (1-0)
  19. Arkansas (1-0)
  20. Tennessee (0-1)
  21. Clemson (1-0)
  22. Georgia Tech (1-0)
  23. Boise State (1-0)
  24. Miami (FL) (1-0)
  25. Michigan (0-1)
*dropped out: Florida State (previously #23), South Carolina (previously #24)