Immersion is the best word I can use for my CFB experience last week. Seven hours at Eddie George's Bar and Grill, followed by a relaxing hour in front of the BTN at Law Buck's apartment, and then two more hours at a Sushi bar watching 'Bama, BYU, and LSU. Thank god the DVR man came and fixed my box yesterday, now I can calm down and concentrate on UM-ND and the SoCal game. Enough rambling. Onto a quick primer on what you should be looking for this week.
Greg Jones is at my door, angrily knocking: I tore the media up for selecting Greg Jones as Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, only to catch a healthy amount of flack from everyone. Jones looked tremendous against Montana State, running down ball carriers and quarterbacks from sideline to sideline. Meanwhile, my pick for DPOY Navarro Bowman, has been hampered by a groin injury and may not play against Cuse. Which leads me to my next question, something you all may be able to help me with: Are the All-Big Ten teams and POY awards based on overall performance or just in-conference performance?
Apocalypse Now meets your boy Rodney Dangerfield. Ohio State didn't earn any respect last week against Navy, looked sluggish and uninspired against a bunch of hard working, well disciplined 2 star recruits. How will they handle the inexperienced 4 and 5 star recruits from LA? A great article from EDSBS featured Smart Football's Chris Brown explaining the mark of a bad offense. One of his messages: Find out who you are, offensive game plan wise, instead of running a grab bag offense. This will be the Buck's challenge. Can they run off tackle, Woody Hayes style, and thus open up the play action? What about some Shotgun No-Huddle right off the bat?
We LOVE the Spread! Only one Big Ten rusher made it over 100 yards last weekend, Purdue's Ralph Bolden. This is the product of about three factors. The Spread Offense is one, as Spread's tend to substitute running backs situationally much more than traditional Pro-Form or I-Form offenses. Also, don't forget that six of the Big Ten's leading running backs from 2008 are NFLer's now (Sheets, Hill, Greene, Ringer, Wells, Sutton), so the offenses are adjusting to finding their new running backs via splitting carries. Finally, the Star Running Back mentality is disappearing slowly from CFB. Third down backs, resting your star in blowouts, and two headed backfields have all led to less rushing yards for individual tailbacks.
Make sure to go back and submit your picks for Week 2 of the Obligatory Predictions Contest. NEW this year is our season long competition - win the whole damn thing and we send you something amazing.
Adam Weber, coming soon to your newspaper route: We know Weber struggled last year thanks to Jeremy's breakdown. Against Syracuse, Weber reverted to (late) last years form, focusing on Decker, throwing into coverage, and missing short curls and out routes. Good news? Working out the kinks is easier for great athletes like Weber. Bad news? Minnesota's schedule, the hardest OOC in the league.