week NationalChamps.net will be picking several
games to breakdown while predicting against the
point spread. NationalChamps.net does not support
sports betting and is in no way affiliated with
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NOTES USED ON THE AIR
Every Thursday - 10:30 am Eastern Time on KSOM
out of Atlantic, Iowa
Friday evening - out of Spokane, WA
AT NOTRE DAME
2:30 ET on NBC
Coaches: Lloyd Carr and Tyrone Willingham
Series History: Michigan and Notre Dame will
meet on the gridiron for the 30th time Saturday.
Wolverines hold a 17-11-1 advantage in the all-time
series. Only 10 teams can boast a winning record
Strength: Maybe best defensive front in America
with Dan Rumishek, Norman Heur (HOY-er), Shawn
Lazarus, Shantee Orr, Victor Hobson. The difference
in this one.
Junior QB John Navarre (na-VAR) – bad rap
with Michigan fans
Enters ND game eighth all-time on Michigan passing
charts ; quite a feat considering Michigan QBs
in the pros right now. Wisconsin Gatorade POY
out of high school
Senior FB B.J. Askew continues to be a double
threat in offense - running and receiving. BIG
SURPRISE: Junior TB Chris Perry is fresh off back-to-back
100-yard rushing efforts. Surprise after Kelly
Baraka was dismissed from the team after being
named the starter in the spring.
Receivers not such a bad deal after all since
losing Marquise Walker. This was a huge question
mark heading into 2002. Junior wide receiver Tyrece
Butler has emerged as Michigan’s leading
receiver going into Notre Dame game. Soph WR Braylon
Edwards also heads stat charts in both receiving
yds and TD catches. TE Bennie Joppru also adds
NOTRE DAME (2-0)
- Tyrone Willingham – 25 years in the coaching
business, taking over for George O’Leary
from GT fiasco / Bob Davie. I do agree ND will
be better off in the long run with Willingham.
- Much hype after no offensive TDs, but still
2-0. A win is a win (read MMQB column this week).
Strength: Irish D - Irish rank in the top 30
in the nation in each of the major defensive categories.
Two fumbles and an INT returned for TDs last week
against Purdue. Standouts from the Kickoff Classic
against Maryland on that defensive unit was senior
CB Shane Walton. Set a KOC record against Maryland
with 3 INTs. Irish DBs have accounted for all
four TDs Notre Dame has this season.
Julius Jones Replacements - Junior Vontez Duff returned
punt for TD vs. Maryland - has added dimension to
the return teams after All American Jones left.
Lou Groza (leading) candidate Nick Setta set
KOClassic record as well by kicking five FGs in
win vs. Terps. What a weapon!! If the game boils
down to FGs, count on the Irish winning.
C Jeff Faine the OL leader. Line averages over
Through two games in 2002, Holiday has been so-so
type of cool-headed cat. 666(EVIL) yards last
Soph Ryan Grant not too bad TB - aided by OL.
Edge to Michigan. Wolverine defensive front can
winbattle of the bulge up front in this very key
match-up, forcing ND to utilize more of Holiday’s
passing. Holiday still not a passer in my book
- although Willingham’s offense has molded
him into passing system. ND has to mix up the
run and pass to be successful, can’t win
by just dominating either one. Michigan wins.
STATE AT OHIO STATE
3:30 ET on ABC
Coaches: Mike Price and Jim Tressel
is 7-0 against the Cougars all-time.
Game Day will be in Columbus for this one - it’s
Strength: Senior Jason Gesser’s 2001 totals
fourth on WSU’s single season passing and
total offense lists, which puts him with Ryan
Leaf, Drew Bledsoe, and Rosenbach. Top of Heisman
list somewhere between #4 and #8 right now.
target in the two games this season has been Devard
Darling - FSU transfer… twin brother of
departed DeVaughn Darling. Mike Bush is NationalChamps.net
AA. Bush has received preseason hype.
Cougar defense is giving up 300.0 yards of offense/game,
220.5 yards of which have come through the air.
WHAT’S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS: WSU returns
four of five starters on OL and three of four
on the DL, prompting preseason publications to
GRABS NINTH INTERCEPTION: Marcus Trufant intercepted
pass against Idaho - nine career thefts. Needs
to step up this week big time.
SETS RECORD: Sophomore Drew Dunning is Groza Candidate
- hit 18 of 22 FGs in 2001.
- 2ND Year coach Jim Tressel from Youngstown State
- Defensive leaders - LBs right now with Kevin
Perry and Matt Wilhelm (and safety Mike Doss).
Senior Doss is two time All-American. Make it
3-Headed monster at RB. Freshman tailback Maurice
Clarett leads Big Ten in scoring -15 points/game.
RB’s are deep with Maurice Hall and Lydell
Ross. But Maurice has been the man as anyone watching
could plainly see. Mr. Ohio Football last year.
Also last year’s USA Today high school offensive
player of the year, rushed for 175 yds and three
TDs in opener against Texas Tech. 230-pound TB.
Unbelievable Receivers - Chris Vance, Michael
Jenkins, Chris Gamble…NC.net top 5 unit
two games, junior QB Krenzel has completed 23
of 28 passes.
6-4, redhead - has not been intercepted this year
and has completion percentage of 82%. Receiver
have a lot to do with that.
Two high powered offenses face two solid defenses.
Both teams averaging over 40 points and 440 yards
on offense and both averaging 7.0+ yards per play.
match-up: WSU LIMITS LONG RUNS: For the second
straight week WSU has not allowed run of more
than 18 yds - going to get tested. Krenzel descent
QB for OSU, but not quite championship caliber
yet - the RB’s have made life real easy
underrated OSU in December, and slowly moved them
up during the spring and summer as I learned more.
Tressel’s great recruiting classes are shining
through in just his second year. Like OSU in this
one simply because game is in Horseshoe of Columbus.
We’ll see, but definitely a very intriguing
match-up (Maybe most intriguing all weekend).
Huge as far as who moves on to the national race.
STATE AT IOWA
Iowa City, IA
5:00 Central Time on ESPN 2 (The Deuce)
50th anniversary of this in-state matchup, Iowa
leads overall series 33-16.
- Iowa State is seeking fifth straight win over
- Seneca Wallace Factor – JUCO transfer
from Sacramento City.
** SENECA WALLACE 2002 STATS
5 TD’s, he is averaging 259 yards a game,
and is the teams third leading rusher.
- Heisman Candidate, why he is not listed with
the top candidates right now is beyond me.
- Scouting report - a deadly accurate arm, not
just a running QB.
- Senior Iowa QB Brad Banks: 23 of 35 with no
interceptions so far. From Belle Glade, FL.
- Junior RB Aaron Greving (GREV-ing) should be
back - missed first two games with ankle sprain.
- Junior RB Fred Russell over 100 yards in first
two games while filling in.
- Senior LB Fred Barr leads defense with 18 tackles.
- Allowed only 81 rushing yards in first two games.
- One of the biggest strengths is OL, not yielded
a sack yet in 2002
- Iowa advantage in kicking as Nate Kaeding (KAY-ding)
has converted his 8 straight FG attempts.
- Biggest surprise has been OL, big question mark
heading into season, especially after losing starting
G Luke Vander Sanden for half the year.
- ISU has a solid secondary, all first and second
starters on the depth chart back except for Adam
Runk from a year ago.
- Interesting side note: Dan McCarney coached
at Iowa for 13 seasons in the 1980’s and
was an assistant with Kirk Ferentz.
ISU has outscored its opponents 120-16 over 10
quarters ... Iowa State’s offensive average
of 467 yards per game through the first three
games is the best start in school history.
know the game is at Iowa, but I honestly feel
Iowa State is one of the big surprise teams of
2002 and will be when all is said and done. They
had back-to-back bowl seasons while playing in
one of the nation’s best conferences…the
Big 12. Iowa is still trying to find an identity
since the departure of Hayden Fry. Coach Kirk
Ferentz has gone 7-5, 3-9, 1-10 in those 3 seasons.
This is Iowa’s best team since Coach Ferentz
arrived. In-state battles are generally close,
but I just think Seneca Wallace provides the edge
right now. Close but take Iowa State and the 3.5
STATE AT MARYLAND
7:45 ET on ESPN
Coaches: Bobby Bowden, Ralph Friedgen
is ACC defending champion which if it sounds odd,
is. FSU owned league since entering in1992.
Terps have major problem right now in that most
inexperienced positions are in the most important
skills…QB and RB. There is talk of last
season’s sensation Jr. Bruce Perry coming
back at RB for this one after missing Orange Bowl
last year, spring game, and first two games. He
won’t make a difference if he even plays
problem: bottom line is Friedgen’s QB- offense
based on the option. QB is Friedgen’s pride
and joy. Has to be hurting that neither soph QB
(Chris Kelly or Scott McBrien) can run the option
or read the field for passing success. Both will
play. They are very young. No more Shaun Hill
*This is your difference right here.
Maryland has been gritty. EJ Henderson is oneman
tackling machine, but I have reservations about
Terp’s secondary, which got scorched last
season by FSU.
The big news out of FSU has been 253 lb TB Greg
Jones. (Picture on NC.net).
Career high against UVA 173 yds. FSU 397 rushing
total in that game. My judgement is that Jones
splits early after this year to the NFL. He is
an All-senior OL group. Huge in size.
receivers…athletic, can burn you deep
disappointing somewhat so far. His numbers have
dropped first two games. Has to do with FSU running
the ball so much and what defenses have been giving.
Defenses trying to stop the deep balls, dropping
5-8 men at times.
D strong against the rush.
The question with FSU has been a lackluster pass
defense, last year and so far this season. To
beat FSU need to throw the football. With opposing
QB’s still to come (such as Dave Ragone,
Ken Dorsey, Rex Grossman, Philip Rivers), FSU
soon has their hands full. To beat FSU, you need
to throw it…Maryland doesn’t excel
in that area. A blow out.
FSU comes out on the field and sees 2002 ACC Championship
Banner hanging above entrance for both teams,
things will get heated. Seen it living in Baltimore
and it is a strange site.
paper this game spells blowout city. Teams just
do not match up. But then again, Maryland as ACC
champions doesn’t spell right on paper,
why you play the game.
did not catch up with FSU last year, but FSU caught
up with the ACC and played down. 8-4 season…blowouts
to Miami and Florida…come on.
AT PENN STATE
8:00 ET on ABC
Coaches: Frank Solich and Joe Paterno
Nebraska on the road for the first time this season.
- First meeting between schools since 1983 - 12th
- PSU 6-5 advantage, including 4-1 edge at Happy
Following the lead of Tom Osborne, Coach Solich
is own offensive coordinator, calling plays.
has won eight straight games against Big Ten Conference
Returns... Groce 10 punts for 251 yards first
two games, remarkable 25.1 average, eighth in
QB Jammal Lord is charged with difficult task
of replacing departed Heisman Trophy winner Eric
Crouch as Husker signal caller. Against Arizona
State, Lord made a strong debut leading the Huskers
to a 48-10 victory - Rushed for 103 yds. When
comparing Lord with 2002 Heisman winner, Lord
has size advantage - Crouch stood 6-1, 200 and
Lord 6-2, 220. Coach Solich said Lord has great
I-back Dahrran Diedrick latest in long line of
outstanding Husker RBs. Diedrick was the Big 12’s
leading rusher a year ago with 1,299 yards.
SE Wilson Thomas go-to-player in Husker attack
Nebraska lost NT Jason Lohr and big DB Willie
Amos *could be a big difference in this one.
PENN STATE (1-0)
Idle last week after beating UCF
sophomore quarterback Zack Mills leader of the
attack. Opened 2002 campaign by throwing for 194
yards and two
TDs against Central Florida.
TB Larry Johnson leads PSU ground attack. Against
Central Florida, rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries.
Johnson also led PSU in receiving, grabbing four
passes for 30 yards and a touchdown.
receiver Bryant Johnson and Tony Johnson give
Mills goto weapons.
Penn State led by senior DT Jimmy Kennedy, who
has earned preseason All-America recognition from
several publications. FS Shawn Mayer PSU’s
top returning tackler.
A huge game for both squads as a loss means certain
question for media and fans. Both teams want to
prove something. Penn State needs to prove two
year drought is over and Top 25 slot is legit.
Nebraska needs to prove they reloaded after abnormal
low preseason rankings. Mills is a better QB than
Lord in passing and this gives PSU a distinct
advantage. Jammal Lord needs to prove himself
against a top 25 team, this is his big chance.
TOs play a huge roll Saturday. I like Penn State
in the so-called upset this week under the lights
of Beaver Stadium. Zach Mills is the difference.
But Nebraska has a huge edge in game experience
- played 3 games already to PSU’s one.
note: Arizona State blasted UCF last week 46-13.
Penn State slipped by UCF 27-24. Nebraska whipped
Arizona State. Don’t make anything of this
- emotions will be running at full throttle.
by Ricky Sixx
Washington State Pass vs. Ohio State Pass Defense
Slight Edge: Washington State
senior QB Jason Gesser wants his shot to show the world
what he and his team's
offense is capable of, here's his chance. The Hawaiin
born QB will have his two
main targets running on all cylinders. Senior wide-out
Mike Bush and FSU transfer
Devard Darling have played extremely well, as has the
OL. Trying to limit the time Gesser has in the pocket
will be essential to Ohio State's success. Because Washington
State has the advantage on the edges with their WRs,
the Buckeye CBs will need all the help they can get
from jr. DE WIll Smith and sr. frontman Kenny Peterson,
who look to keep Gesser from getting comfortable in
State Run vs. Ohio State Run Defense
haven't learned much about Washington State this year
because they have yet to
be tested against a solid defense. What we have found
out is that the Cougars have been
very inconsistent when it comes to running the ball.
JUCO transfer Jermaine Green has yet
to blossom into the star most thought he'd be. And the
RB committee of John Tippens and
Jonathan Smith has been spotty vs. less than stellar
competition. Expect a strong OSU
front 7 to contain the Washington State running ground
for the most part of the day.
State Pass vs. Washington State Pass Defense
Edge: Washington State
The name of the game for jr. QB Craig Krenzel will be
time- exactly how much
will his OL be able to give him? We're well aware of
the ability the Cougars have in their pass–rushing,
so it will be critical that Krenzel has enough time
to look at his first and second options. With a CB like
Marcus Trufant patrolling the secondary, the number
two and three receivers will have to step up and have
a big game. Look for senior Chris Vance and sophomore
sensation Chris Gamble to fill in that needed role.
State Run vs. Washington State Run Defense
three-headed monster of sophs Lydell Ross, Maurice Hall,
freshman Maurice Clarrett make up one of the most formidable
backfields in college football.
Yet, most impressive thus far has been the play of the
Buckeye OL. So far it has dominated the first two games
and looks to make this its third versus a good Washington
State front line led by jr.DE D.D. Acholonu. The most
responsibility will be placed on the shoulders of the
young Cougar LBs. They will need to play the game of
their lives if they wish to stop the Buckeye offense.
Washington State's kicking game thus far has been solid
with P Kyle Bassler averaging
45 yards and Drew Dunning showing he is one of the most
dependable kickers in
the Pac-10. Ohio State has shown solid special teams
with a strong kicking game as well.
Look for any difference between these units to come
with the ability of Chris Gamble and
Maurice Hall returning kicks for OSU, while the speedy
Sammy Moore and Devard Darling is also capable of giving
WSU excellent field position.
both know Washington State can pass the ball and Ohio
State can run the ball. The question is which team will
be most successful doing the things at which they aren't
Washington State is still trying to find out its own
identity on the ground while the Ohio State faithful
wonder if QB Krenzel can win a game with his arm. The
advantage in these types of games tends to go with the
team that controls the clock. It’s only natural
to think the Buckeyes have an edge here (running games
chew clock). Washington State has the advantage at the
QB position, but the home field should neutralize that.
Expect a strong ball control offense to keep WSU’s
Gesser on the sidelines while the Ohio State OL tires
out WSU’s defense by the fourth quarter.
Ohio State 34 Washington State 21