Tuesday, October 04, 2005

College/Pro Weekend Wrap-Up

College: Another 4-2 week in picking games bringing me to 18-12 on the year.

Rutgers: Nearly blew a 27 point lead against Pitt on Friday but held on for a 3-1 start. If not for an overtime loss to Illinois in the first game, the Knights would be 4-0. As it is, they are in position for their first bowl trip since 1978. They face West Virginia at home this week in a game with big (relatively) conference championship implications.

Penn St.: Joe Pa's boys are 5-0 for the first time this century.

Notre Dame: Win moved the Irish to 4-0 on the road with an average margin of victory of 17 points in those games.

Big East: The Big East has a seat reserved in this section. South Florida, Syracuse, and West Virginia lost to ACC foes by a combined score of 38 to 99.

Vanderbilt: Missed a golden opportunity to start 5-0 by losing at home to previously winless Middle Tennessee St. on a blocked field goal

Minnesota: Same ol' rodents away from home.

NFL: This weeks NFL section will focus on my observations from the Panthers first 4 games.

1. Let's face facts, the Panthers beat a bad Packers team at home on Monday night by 3 points in a game they controlled from the outset. The Packers lost about 300 guys to injuries during the game including starting running back Ahman Green and starting tackle Chad Clifton. Thank goodness the Panthers did hold on lest I have to commit hara-kiri.

2. Through 4 games the Panthers have allowed 96 points. Only the Mike Tice coached Vikings, every NFC West team except Seattle, and the New York Giants have allowed more in the NFC. Whatever happened to John Fox coached teams being strong in the running game (more on this later) and on defense? Through 4 games, the Panthers have 3 sacks. Whatever happened to the vaunted front four? Sure Kris Jenkins is out, but he is being replaced. The Panthers are not lining up with 10 guys. After the initial drive where Mike Rucker sacked Favre and forced a fumble that was subsequently recovered by Carolina, the Panthers were hardly ever in the Packers backfield for the rest of the game. To their credit, the defense has been able to stop the run, but even when Carolina knew a pass play was coming (every play of the 4th quarter), they were not able to generate a consistent pass rush. Perhaps the Teal Curtain should be renamed the Run-of-the-Mill Curtain.

3. The addition of guard Mike Wahle in the offseason along with the continued development of tackle Jordan Gross was supposed to improve the Panthers running game. Through 4 games the Panthers boast a rushing average of 3.3 yards per attempt good for 25th in the league. The line has opened very few holes for the decrepit Stephen Davis and the ever-injured Deshaun Foster. Some may point to Carolina's 6 rushing touchdowns as evidence that the running game is working. However, of the 6 rushing touchdowns (all scored by Stephen Davis) 5 have been from 1 yard out. Any NFL running back with a warm body will score from 1 yard out most of the time.

4. Jake Delhomme is a fumbler. He always has been. His first year in Carolina he fumbled 15 times. Last season he fumbled 12 times. So far this season he has fumbled 3 times. He has played in 36 games for Carolina and he has fumbled 30 times for an average of .83 per game. To a Panthers fan it should be as expected as a Todd Steusie false start. Whether it is a result of Jake not feeling the rush, holding the ball too long, not holding the ball correctly or some combination of the above reasons, I do not know. However, what I do know is that a Delhomme fumble this week against Arizona is as inevitable as the swear words that will flow from my mouth when it happens (ryhmes with Duckett).

5. That's all i got right now. Oh well, I guess it beats the heck out of the George Seifert era.

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