Monday, September 23, 2013

A bye week for everyone

Okay, well, I took the entire weekend off just to relax and watch some football without having to write about it!

But I did come away with some thoughts over the weekend.

Washington victory over Boise State not that impressive anymore

Watching Boise State lose yet again, to a  Fresno State team that, while good, is nowhere near the caliber of Oregon, Alabama, Clemson or Stanford, it made me question just how impressive the Washington victory really is in the grand scheme of things.

I have heard much discussion about Washington and their new energy this season. They are certainly operating more efficiently on offense, but have not been overly impressive yet on defense. Yes; they are holding t3eams to 10 points per game, but that includes an Idaho State team that may be even worse than Nicholls State.

The reality is that the defense is not yet deep. Certainly Justin Wilcox has reinvented this defense in a much better image than that of Nick Holt. What wll happen when they face a better team? A team that can score with them? Will they wilt or rise to the challenge.

Washington gets Arizona this weekend, followed by a trip to Stanford then Oregon at home. The Pac-12 conference should have a much clearer picture after that stretch of games.

Alabama defense not even in top 50?

The Crimson Tide rolled into this season as a unanimous number one pick. In some ways, that made perfect sense; defending champs; returning quarterback and all the talent in the world.

Something seems to be missing this year, though. While the offense has looked inconsistent at times, it has been as effective as always. But the defense has not looked like a Nick Saban defense.

Early season malaise? Maybe. You cannot really judge that defense by the Texas A&M game because Manziel had another field day with Bama.

The reality is, though, that we probably won't find out much about Alabama until November 9th when they play LSU.

Stanford question marks

I have been saying all off-season that the questions surrounding the Stanford football team should be bigger than they have been.

Stanford is playing the same kind of role in 2013 which USC played in 2012. One impressive road victory over Oregon and the team is suddenly considered better than Oregon. Last November Stanford supposedly had an "Oregon Problem." Was that problem really solved?

While everyone focuses on what Stanford did to stop the Ducks. But it should be noted that Oregon averaged 4.9 yards per carry (to Stanford's 4.3) and 9.9 yards per completion (Stanford: 8.4) in that game.

While everyone points out that Oregon scored just 14 points, so, too, was Stanford shut down for most of the game. of their 17 points, Stanford scored 3 in overtime and 7 that are debatable as to whether it should have counted.

Stanford scored their first touchdown with 12:39 left in the second quarter; and was shut out until 1:35 remaining.

And that Stanford offense lost five of their top six receivers as well as 75% of their rushing attack.

While Oregon lost the game, this was not the dismantling that many seem to be remembering.

The Cardinal have not yet impressed much with their early season performance. They get Washington on October 5th and then have a stretch of Oregon State, UCLA and Oregon in a three week stretch. They still lack depth and an offensive identity this season. Time will tell if this is a team ready to challenge Alabama for a national title as some have predicted.
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