- - - - -


Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Thursday, July 20, 2006

NOWHERE TO GO BUT DOWN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SMQ's temporary EDSBS colleague Senor Westerdawg, drawing from ratings of which SMQ has no knowledge, has identified "The Most Underrated Revenge Game of 2006" from among a pack of likely contenders, including Oklahoma-Texas, Florida State-Florida, Michigan-Ohio State and Notre Dame-Michigan State. Out-vengeancing all of those annual hate-fests in Paul's estimation, however, is the typically tamer Auburn at South Carolina throwdown on Sept. 28 - not because, as one might suspect, impatient, grudge-holding SMQ fave Steve Spurrier will have his charges geared to atone for 2005's horrific 48-7 loss on the Plains, in which the 'Cock-N-Fire offense failed to enter Auburn territory before well into the fourth quarter. Rather, Westerdawg forecasts revenge will be sweetest for the Tigers' eerily-well rounded, all-SEC back du jour, USC transfer Kenny Irons, who had not yet emerged as one of the most unstoppable weapons in the league when he faced his former team in '05 but will not spoil this final chance to cement said status by galloping for hundreds upon hundreds of yards against his old mates (and against Carolina Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix, former Southern Miss linebacker and coach and very large human for whom SMQ has too much, um, respect to second Paul's prediction).

SMQ will make another prediction, though, itself related to a "Revenge Game of the [Insert Appropriate Amount of Time Depending on Your Well-Reasoned Perspective]": Louisville, triple OT losers in Morgantown last year, will beat West Virginia and win the Big East's automatic Mo' Money bid.

This would not seem to be very out on the limb at all, as the Cardinals were monster favorites in the league in '05 - after displaying monster juggernaut status in C-USA in '04 - and mostly played like it, save an early, completely inexplicable wipeout versus South Florida and the very end of the game against West Virginia, when U of Hell blew a 24-7 fourth quarter lead - with a little help, it should be noted, from later-reprimanded Big East officials on a critical onside kick. Louisville also returns the Big East's leading passer, leading rusher (and two more who combined to top 1,100 yards), leading receiver (and another in the top five) and seven starters on defense. The Cards also led the Big East in scoring (29 points more than WVU in league games, 136 more in all games, with seven straight games over 40, two games over 60 against BCS conference opponents and 30 and 24, respectively, in two games against top 10 national defenses without its starting quarterback) and outgained conference opponents by almost 175 yards per game; they outgained the Mountaineers by 60 yards head-to-head, the difference in that game turning on a +1 turnover advantage and a failed two-point conversion to tie on the final play of the third overtime.

I.E., Louisville is about to totally blow up. Again. And West Virginia is standing a little too close.

- - - - -
Don't you know who I am? I'm the juggernaut, bitch!


Not that West Virginia didn't deserve to win - but look what that victory, along with the stunning Sugar Bowl upset of Georgia, has wrought when projecting the upcoming season: the 'Neers got early smooches from Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, then full-on, under-the-skirt petting from ESPN's Pat Forde, who proclaimed WVU No. 1 in May. Preseason magazines came out shortly after, all ranking West Virginia in the top ten, from 3 (Lindy's) to 5 (The Sporting News) to 6 (Athlon, which also rated it the No. 1 "Program on the Rise") and this week topping the Big East media's preseason polls.

So does anyone else get the feeling this team's going down to Maryland in a Sept. 14 Thursday night game, with at least two more humiliating defeats to follow? It's easy to forget, with the way it started flattening folks later in the season, how much of a defensive team West Virginia was, and half that unit - and just about all of its principles - are gone. It's also easy to forget how one-dimensional the team was, and SMQ will believe this team is some '95 Nebraska, run-for-280-at-will steamroller when he sees it; it is sophomore slump time for Pat White all the way. He won't go as far as (apparently) the only other 'Neer skeptic this summer, Phil Steele, who picks WVU third behind Pittsburgh (though his top, uh, 47 has West Virginia No. 17, slightly below SMQ's projection, and Pitt way down at 39), but he's already elucidated the historical warning signs, all of which point to "bust":

Mediocre program with little to no recent championship success + Low to moderate expectations in Year X + Quietly unexpected success (one-two losses) in Year X + Shocking postseason upset + Returning starting quarterback= Inflated expectations, inevitable disappointment in Year Y


That formula was fleshed out with "Recent Bust Corollaries," examples of similar recent hype cum ineptitude from Arizona, Texas A&M, Oregon State and, just last year, Purdue. It happens on smaller scales, too - like, what was Iowa State doing at the top of the preseason polls in the Big XII North last year?

It's not that West Virginia is going to be bad - it's not impossible, but very unlikely it will miss a bowl game, and probably will play in a decent one. But over the long haul, the major arc, what's the high point of this program? Is it capable of topping '05? Can it do better than an 11-1, conference-title-winning, Sugar Bowl-upsetting season? SMQ sees no reason yet anyone outside of the state of West Virginia should believe it can.

- - - - -
Permalink

4:00 PM

Comments:
Word
 
I'm a little bit biased, but I think PSU-Michigan is going to be a big revenge game. Lloyd Carr robbed PSU of an undefeated season with his whining for 2 seconds to be put back on the board. PSU is also seeking revenge for a seven game losing streak. This year they get Michigan at home under the lights where Michigan has never won a game. Mark it down.
 
Post a Comment
Powered by Blogger

 

WELCOME...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.


AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...

How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
- Burnt Orange Nation

SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day - whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke.
- Every Day Should Be Saturday

Sunday Morning Quarterback is one of our favorite football blogs on the internet.
- State Fans Nation

Sunday Morning Quarterback is a killer football blog if you are a college football junkie. It is run by one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical writers in the college football blogosphere...The guy is thorough and detailed and provides a level of analysis you are not going to find anywhere else .
- Bruins Nation

Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research... - SOT2

...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.
- MGoBlog

- - - - -
e-mail Sunday Morning Quarterback at sundaymorningqb@yahoo.com

- - - - -
PREVIOUSLY FROM SMQ:

2006 Preview
Anatomy of an Underdog
BlogPoll: 1-10/11-25/Roundtable
The ACC
The Big Ten
The Big XII
The Sun Belt

Running Departments
The Rap Sheet
July 29/Aug. 1/Aug. 9/Aug. 16/Aug.19/Aug. 25/Sept. 28/Oct. 4/Oct. 5/Oct. 18/Oct. 26/Nov. 2/Nov. 7/Nov. 8/Nov. 28/Dec. 2/Dec. 8/ Dec. 11/Dec. 18/Dec. 21/Feb. 6/Feb. 10/April 7/April 14/April 21/April 29/May 6/May 12/May 19/May 26/June 2/June 10/June 16/June 24/June 30/July 8/Aug. 4

- - - - -
SMQ-APPROVED
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PAGES

News from the Big Guys
ESPN/ College Football News Wire
Sports Illustrated
FOX
CBS Sportsline
USA Today
Opinion: Columnists and bloggers
Around the Oval (Ohio State)
Badger Sports (Wisconsin)
The Blue-Gray Sky (Notre Dame)
Block U (Utah)
BoiFromTroy (Southern Cal)
Bruins Nation (UCLA)
Burnt Orange Nation (Texas)
The Corporate Headquarters of the San Antonio Gunslingers
Dave Sez (Virginia)
Dawg Sports (Georgia)
ESPN: Ivan Maisel/Pat Forde
Every Day Should Be Saturday (Florida)
FOX: Pete Fiutak
Golden Tornado (Georgia Tech)
Heisman Pundit
I'm a Realist (Georgia)
Journalism is for Rock Stars (Alabama)
Mark May Be Wrong
MDG CFB (Fresno State)
Mountain Lair (West Virginia)
MGOBlog (Michigan)
Orange::44 (Syracuse)
Paradigm Blog (Michigan)
Paul Westerdawg (Georgia)
Pitch Right (Navy)
Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (Alabammer)
Section Six
Sexy Results (Virginia)
SI: Stewart Mandel/John Walters
Sporting Fools (Florida State)
Straight Bangin' (Michigan)
Texas A&M and Baseball, In No Particular Order (Texas A&M)
The 614 (Ohio State)
The House That Rock Built (Notre Dame)
The Sporting Gnomes (Clemson)
Tiger Pundit (Clemson)
We Must Ignite This Couch (West Virginia)
The Wizard of Odds

- - - - -
The Blog Poll

- - - - -
WANNA DO SOME RESEARCH? NERD! HERE'S SOME QUICK REFERENCES:

College Football Data Warehouse
College Football Research Center
College Football News
cfbstats.com
Football Commentary
THE STANDINGS
THE POLLS

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing
Passing
Receiving
All-Purpose
Scoring
Tackles
Sacks
Interceptions
Tackles For Loss
Field Goals
Punting
Kickoff Returns
Punt Returns
TEAM STATISTICS
Rushing Offense
Passing Offense
Total Offense
Scoring Offense
Rushing Defense
Passing Defense
Total Defense
Scoring Defense
Turnover Margin

- - - - -
Past Seasons
2005
Thursday Morning Quarterback
Sept. 29/Oct. 6/Oct. 20/Oct. 27/Nov. 3/Nov. 10/Nov. 17/Nov. 24/Dec. 1
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Oct. 2/Oct. 23/Oct. 30/Nov. 6/Nov. 13/Nov. 27
Stat Relevance Watch
Part One/Part Two/Part Three
SMQ Bowl Blitz
New Orleans/GMAC/Las Vegas/Poinsettia/Motor City

SMQ's [Hurricane-Abbreviated] 2005 Preview
Top 25 Countdown/Methodology
All-America Team
ACC
BIG EAST
BIG TEN
BIG XII