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Westsider Rider

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Roundup

Before I get to the weekend in college football, the Dodgers picked up a must win game on Sunday against the Diamondbacks when Nomar hit a walk off Grand Slam, the second time in the past week that he has done so. Nomar is stepping up big when the Dodgers need it as the Phillies and Padres continue to keep winning games. The Dodgers now sit 1 1/2 games behind San Diego for the NL West, and 1/2 game behind Philadelphia for the Wild Card. With only 6 games left for the Dodgers and 7 for the Padres and Phillies, every single game matters. I read last week that the coinflips had been done and the Dodgers have home field if they have to play the Padres for the Division but they lost the flip to the Phillies for the wild card. So potentially if all 3 teams finish tied then the Dodgers and Padres would play in LA and the loser would immediately have to fly out to Philadelphia and play the Phillies the next day.

Now onto your favorite and mine college football. As expected Michigan came out a bit flat in a 27-13 win over Wisconsin. It didn't start well as Mario Manningham bobbled a ball that should have been caught and ended up being intercepted and then Wisconsin drove right down the field for the early 7-0 lead. Super Mario redeemed himself later as he ended with another 2 TD's to bring his total to 5 in two games.

The defense is just ridiculous as they have only allowed 74 rushing yards on the season and are the #1 Rush defense in the country. I haven't seen a Michigan defense play like this in a long time, the front four gets a lot of pressure and I love seeing it. Another positive is the play of Adrian Arrington who has stepped up and emerged as another dependable target for the offense. On the other hand there are some problems with the offense, namely dropped balls and the terrible 3rd down conversion percentage. As we get deeper into the season it must get better otherwise there will be some problems.

Notes on games from across the country that I watched:

Georgia looked awful as they struggled to barely beat Colorado 14-13 on a Joe Cox TD to Martez Milner with less than one minute to play. There could be a QB controversy brewing as Cox took over for heralded freshman Matthew Stafford in the second half and led the Bulldogs to the victory. Colorado had a couple chances to finish off the game but failed to with a fumble at midfield in the 4th quarter as well as a dropped 3rd down converstion, but it was a much better effort than expected from the Buffaloes and it looks like they will give some teams some problems this year.

Cal looked dominant in their 49-21 victory over Arizona State. These are the types of performances that were expected coming into the season as the Bears try to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title. If they keep this play up it will be one hell of a game in LA on Nov 18th. DeSean Jackson made big plays, including an 80 yard PR for a TD en route to a 42-14 halftime lead.

Penn State hung around for a while before Ohio State pulled away for a 28-6 victory that was not nearly as bad as it looked as the Buckeyes returned two INT's for TD's in the last 3 minutes. Many wrote Penn State off after the thrashing they took at the hands of Notre Dame but the Nittany Lions showed that they are not to be taken lightly the rest of the way, that October 14th night game in Happy Valley has me concerned.

USC also struggled in the first half but pulled away from Arizona to get a 20-3 win in Tucson. I was surprised at how well the Arizona D played in the first half and the D kept them in it into the second half as well but the Wildcat O shot themselves in the foot too many times and you cannot do that against a team as good as the Trojans. The bad news for USC is the shoulder injury to Dwyane Jarrett which will sideline him for 2-4 weeks as only Arizona State would be considered a mild threat in the next 5 weeks. If it lingers on longer though it could hurt them as the schedule closes with Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame and UCLA.

Michigan State blew a game only the Spartans could in allowing 19 points in the 4th quarter and losing to Notre Dame. I could've sworn that I heard the announcers say that Drew Stanton's completion with 1:33 left in the 4th quarter was his first of the entire second half. As if John L Smith's seat wasn't getting warmer I think this one could cost him his job. We shall see how the team responds in two weeks with back to back games against Michigan and Ohio State.

Just as I thought UCLA was showing that they belonged in the top 25 and would make a decent run in the Pac-10 they go to Washington, win the turnover battle and lose for the first time in Karl Dorrell's tenure. The Bruins had many chances to put the game away but instead of getting TD's necessary they ended up with FG's and the Huskies came back to pick up a 29-19 victory. Washington, who was considered at the bottom tier of the Pac-10 coming into the season, now have victories over Fresno State and UCLA, two respectable opponents as well as hanging around against Oklahoma a couple weeks ago. The Huskies could make some noise in the Pac-10.


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