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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good Sign/Bad Sign

Pac 10-California Golden Bears [3-1] (beat Colorado State [2-2] 42-7)

Good Sign: The Bears, coming back from an ugly loss to Maryland, won big, beating Colorado State 42-7. More importantly, the win demonstrated a depth of scoring threats at Coach Jeff Tedford’s disposal. The special teams scored two touchdowns, the defense a third, two different quarterbacks threw for touchdowns, and two running backs producing on the ground. Colorado State had more yards in the game, but that is an illusion from Cal missing three offensive possessions.

Bad Sign: Cal has no offensive leadership, again. Riley and Longshore continue to battle for the QB job and Cal’s new superstar, RB Jahvid Best, suffered an ugly knee injury that will slow him down if it doesn’t sideline the speedster. Cal’s offense is not sturdy enough to consistently win in the Pac 10 and looks like it will crumble if they are ever hit hard in the mouth early.

Big 10-Michigan State Spartans [4-1] (beat Indiana [2-2] 42-29)

Good Sign: Indiana stacked the line on defense in an effort to stop RB Jevon Ringer. Ringer still ran for almost 200 yards on just less than 5 yards per carry and QB Hoyer threw for 261 yards on just 14 completions.

Bad Sign: Much like the Notre Dame game, Michigan State showed an inability to put a struggling opponent away. Brian Hoyer is completing less than 50% of his passes. When you need to protect and extend a lead, coaches need more completions in the passing game to move the chains and keep the clock running. As Michigan showed against Wisconsin this weekend, against teams with the personnel to stack it up against the run game, you need to have a consistent passing game to soften up the safeties and linebackers. Michigan State doesn’t have that.

Independent-Navy Midshipmen [3-2] (beat Wake Forest [3-1] 24-17)

Good Sign: Given the chance, they beat a team that was then the top dog in the ACC. The Midshipmen rushed out to a 17-0 lead and then were able to hold while rushing for almost 300 yards against a stiff defense.

Bad Sign: Wake Forest had 6 turnovers. Beating Wake when they turn the ball over 6 times is like beating Florida without Tim Tebow or beating Nebraska in the 21st century.

Big East-South Florida Bulls [5-0] (beat NC State [2-3] 41-10)

Good Sign: USF finally dominated an opponent not named Tennessee-Martin. Grothe was 20 for 29 and the Bulls rushed for 245 yards.

Bad Sign: NC State is really that bad. South Florida is going to need to develop a real running back and consistently dominate opponents through the rest of the season to garner much respect.

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