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Two-Minute Drill: Football, Will You Marry Me?Posted on September 29, 2012 at 04:52 AM.
College football randawesomeness packed into 120 seconds or less (reading levels not checked); getting you up to speed on the weekend ahead and dropping you off on a gravel road three miles outside of town.
Last weekend's 24-19 loss by #6 Oklahoma to #15 Kansas State wasn't just your typical Big-12 letdown for the Sooners. Collin Klein and the Wildcats proved how powerful a strong running game (213 yards on the day) and defense can be when teamed with experience to overcome a tough road environment.
But the significance of the win may have been missed by mainstream media this week. Since the 2003 season, Oklahoma had been a combined 64-2 at home including 18-1 over the past three seasons. No team from a BCS conference had been more dominant at home over the time and only Boise State has a higher home-field win percentage during that stretch.
BOUQUET PASS FOR TWO
TMD's play of the week comes via playonsports.com in Atlanta, Georgia. High school may not be the optimal age for marriage but apparently it's never too soon to practice the tossing of the bouquet -- on a two-point conversion. Weddings have never been much fun for those of the male gender but this really spices things up. Us men really know how to take something and make it better by adding football and this isn't the first time a football game involved a trick play and marriage or engagement connections. Former Boise State halfback Ian Johnson and current head coach Chris Petersen would be proud.
FOUR DOWN, TWENTY-SIX TO GO
This time last week college football had thirty undefeated teams remaining. Four casualties later and we're down to the final twenty-six. My predictions last week proved to be a little ambitious but the list will continue to dwindle as conference play picks up across the nation.
There is a good chance Ohio State falls to Michigan State and Minnesota travels to Iowa for a coin-flip game. The floundering Big-10 could be looking at Northwestern as their lone unblemished team on Sunday morning. Likewise, the Big-12 holds seven undefeated squads with two games (Iowa State/Texas Tech and Baylor/West Virginia) guaranteed to add loss number one for two conference members. Trips by #18 Oregon State to Arizona, Virginia Tech to Cincinnati, and Louisiana Tech to Virginia could spell trouble for the Beavers, Bearcats, and Bulldogs who have busted out to surprising starts in 2012.
Outside of these games there is bound to be an unforeseen upset -- Texas at Oklahoma State beware -- while a few others are sure to continue surprising runs. I don't think we'll see the list shrink into the teens quite yet, but twenty surviving undefeated squads is a realistic number when the dust settles Saturday night.
From perfection, to complete failure, and then back to above-average; it's been a rocky road for predictions at TMD so far this year. Having experienced it all I think it's safe to say sustained growth or slightly-above-average is the safe place to be and last week's results prove that. While I missed on my prediction of Oklahoma over Kansas State (see above for the significance of that loss) I correctly labeled Notre Dame, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida State as week-four victors.
This week I'm taking #9 West Virginia at home against an overrated #25 Baylor team, Virginia Tech on the road over Cincinnati, #5 Georgia at home over Tennessee, #12 Texas on the road over Oklahoma State, and #20 Michigan State in Lansing over the #14 Ohio State Buckeyes.
BIG-XII PASSING THE NATION
Five of college football's top seven passer ratings belong to quarterbacks from teams in the Big-12. Led by TCU's Casey Paschall (209.9 QBR), West Virginia's Geno Smith (191.2), and David Ash (190.5) of Texas; the most proficient arms in the country are correlating with the league filled with the highest number of undefeated teams (7). Oklahoma State's J.W. Walsh (183.3) and Texas Tech's Seth Dodge (182.8) have performed admirably as well. Between the five quarterbacks, a combined 45 passing touchdowns have been amassed this year to only three interceptions.
In 2011, only Baylor's Robert Griffin III (189.5 QBR -- 2nd in the nation) and Brandon Weeden (159.8 -- 9th) of Oklahoma State finished the year in the top-30 nationally for quarterback rating among Big-12 passers. Not surprisingly then, Oklahoma State (3rd) and Baylor (13th) were the highest ranked teams from the conference in the final AP Top 25 poll from 2011. If the early success of quarterbacks is any indication, we could be witnessing the birth of the Big-12 as a dominant force on par with that of the SEC in 2012.
LONG SNAPPER SPOTLIGHT
Last but not least, welcome again to the caboose of TMD's football train. Whether for good or bad, long snappers need lovin' too.
Last week I highlighted the tough-as-nails feat by Washington Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg who played against New Orleans with a broken arm. Coming on the heels of Oakland's week-one debacle where an injury to Jon Condo forced reserve linebacker Travis Goethel into action, teams have been fielding questions as to their backup plan on second-string long snappers.
It's no secret that rarely anyone knows the name of the long snapper unless he becomes injured, snaps with a broken arm, or sails a game-loser over the head of the punter; but you may not realize one such reserve is fresh in your football memory bank. While they won't reveal their current plan, the Baltimore Ravens spilled that their backup long snapper in 2011 was none other than running back Willis McGahee -- now with the Broncos. Coincidentally enough, Denver recently released would-be backup long snapper Lonie Paxon after losing the job to rookie Aaron Brewer.
I'm not one to wish injury upon a player, but if Brewer was to "misplace" his cleats on 4th-and-12 from Denver's own twenty, I might revel in the ensuing chain of events that involve a McGahee induced punt play.
Justin Mikels is a staff writer for Operation Sports. Follow him on Twitter: @long_snapper
JOINED: Jan 26, 2008 (5 years, 146 days ago)
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JOINED: Jan 26, 2008 (5 years, 146 days ago)
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