Daily Blog - Thursday September 10th
Welcome to my Thursday blog. Last year on CBS College Sports I did a weekly segment every Thursday in which I picked a surprise QB, RB, WR and Defense of the week plus gave them my upset pick of the week. I did quite well with these picks and in fact the last week we did the show my defense of the week was Ole Miss and they had the best defensive performance of any team in the FBS last year when facing an FBS foe when they allowed just 37 TOTAL yards offense to their rival Miss St including MINUS 51 yards rushing. I will do the same thing this year for everyone here on PhilSteele.com every Thursday! Here are my picks for top QB (with reasoning), RB, WR and Defenses of the week plus an upset special. I also give you reasoning on 3 or 4 honorable mentions. Keep in mind these are NOT the obvious picks. I do not take the nation’s leading passer facing a weak secondary and pick him as my QB of the week. These are mostly SURPRISE projections and I tell you why.
First a recap of last weeks selections and I grade them win/loss or push.
QB - Juice Williams Illinois 18 of 28 for 179 yards and 27 yards rushing. Not worthy of top guy mention LOSS
Best HM player Jimmy Clausen 15 of 18 for 315 yards with 4 TD’s and 0 int!
RB - Jahvid Best, California - 10 carries 137 yards rushing, 13.7 ypc!, 2 TD plus 23 yards receiving and 18 return yards. Sat out 2H. WIN
Best HM player Toby Gerhardt Stanford 23 carries, 121 yards, 2 TD’s and 5.3 ypc.
WR - Michael Floyd, Notre Dame - Only 4 receptions BUT for 189 yards and a mind-boggling 47.3 ypc with THREE TD’s WIN (HOME RUN)
Best HM player Travis Benjamin - Miami, FL 4 receptions for 128 yards, 32.0 ypc and a TD and finished with 140 all-purpose yds.
DEFENSE - UTEP. Since UTEP gave up 484 yards to Buffalo LAST year and allowed 470 ypg and Buffalo averaged 370 ypg last year, I think allowing just 309 total yards fit my surprise performance. Buffalo was held to 3.57 ypc rush. UTEP did catch the game winning TD at the end of the game but it was wiped out by a hold and then a celebration penalty (after TD). Allowing just 309 yards in a losing effort made it a close call but with all 3 honorable mention defenses having outstanding games, I will count the defense a WIN.
Best HM defense picks - Alabama faced a #7 Virginia Tech team and held them to 155 TOTAL yards!!!
Auburn held a bowl squad from last year (Louisiana Tech) to just 245 total yards
Ole Miss held a bowl squad from last year (Memphis) to just 284 yards.
Upset of the Week - Ohio U over Connecticut LOSS
A solid 3-2 week for the plays this past week and now let’s take a look at this week’s selections.
MY PICK: JAKE LOCKER, WASHINGTON - Locker threw for 321 yds with a 2-1 ratio plus had 51 yds rushing last week vs LSU’s tough D and now gets a huge step down in competition facing Idaho. This is a must-win game for the Huskies as they hold the nation’s longest losing streak at 15 games and have USC on deck. Locker appears to have adjusted nicely to Sarkisian’s pro style offense. Idaho allowed 342 pass yds (65%) to New Mexico St last week.
OTHERS WORTH NOTING -
Tim Hiller, Western Michigan - Hiller threw for 259 yds (58%) in the opener vs Michigan, but takes on a much more beatable Big Ten opponent this week in Indiana. My computer predicts W Michigan will win this game by 2 and shows Hiller throwing for 285 yds.
Greg Alexander, Hawaii - Greg Alexander, Hawaii - UH was lucky to escape with a 5 point win over 1AA Central Arkansas last week and Alexander did all of the work on offense. Alexander led the team in rushing with 76 yds and threw for 304 yds (66%) with a 3-1 ratio. Alexander threw for a career high 315 yds (43 rush yds) in their 24-10 win over Washington St last year.
Kellen Moore, Boise St - They do have a big game on deck vs Fresno on a Friday night but Boise always puts up the yards and points at home. Miami allowed Kentucky 42 points at a neutral site last week and now plays on the blue turf vs a stronger QB. Moore only threw for 197 yards last week and my computer says 300+ is a possibility this week.
Case Keenum, Houston - Last week Case hit 23 of 30 for 359 yards and 4 TD’s vs an FCS team. Now he takes on a top 10 team that allowed just 270 yards to a top 20 team last week. My computer shows Case throwing for 360 yards and keep in mind Oklahoma St was playing their A+ game last week in a much anticipated opener vs an SEC school and probably won’t match that level this week. Last year Keenum threw for 387 with a 4-0 ratio vs Oklahoma St.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri - In his first career start vs Illinois in St Louis he hit 25-33 for 319 yds and 3-0 ratio and ran for another TD (39 rush) with a Big 12 high 186.96 QB rating and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. This week he faces Bowling Green in his first home start and the Falcons allowed 263 yds (64%) to Troy’s Levi Brown last week in their home opener. The fact he was Big 12 Offensive Player of the week last week keeps me from calling him a pure surprise pick this week.
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma St - Take a QB that is averaging 135 ypg passing with 50% completions and put him up against a defense that is allowing just 106 ypg passing and 263 TOTAL ypg. Those stats call for about 125 yards passing right? My computer shows OSU with 275 yards passing as they go from facing a top ten defense to one that allowed 413 ypg last year and has just 4 starters back on D. Houston took on a weak Northwestern St team last week and takes on a much stronger team this week. Last year Robinson hit 14 of 21 vs UH but for 320 yards and 3 TD’s, a 222.78 pass efficiency.
MY PICK: Kendall hunter, OKLAHOMA ST - Last year Hunter rushed for 210 yards and 8.5 ypc with 2 TD’s vs Houston and the Cougars have just 4 starters back on defense. You have to think Gundy will want to keep the explosive Houston offense off the field. What makes this pick a surprise is that UH is allowing just 263 TOTAL ypg and Hunter had just 75 ypg and 3.3 ypc in week one. There is a BIG difference in strength of opposing defense faced for OSU going from a top 10 Georgia D to facing a UH D that I rate #107.
OTHERS WORTH NOTING -
Montario Hardesty & Bryce Brown, Tennessee - UT is playing with legitimate revenge this week vs UCLA as their OT loss to the Bruins last year began their miserable 5-7 season. UT’s new offense is built on a strong running game behind a much improved OL. Bryce Brown is our PS#1 RB this year and rushed for 104 yds & 1 TD in the opener and starter Hardesty rushed for 160 yds & 1 TD.
Jeremy Avery & DJ Harper, Boise St - Avery rushed for 74 yds (2.7) and Harper rushed for 88 yd (4.6) 1 TD vs Oregon last week. Kentucky piled up 245 yds rushing (5.0) vs Miami OH last week. Our computer predicts that Boise St will have 248 rush yds in this game and Boise has now won 50 regular season home games in a row!
Dion Lewis, Pitt - True freshman Dion Lewis (PS#110) rushed for 129 yds (6.4) with 2 TD in his first career game vs Youngstown St last week. Lewis has 4.4 speed and Pitt’s OL has 4 starters back from last year facing Buffalo’s rebuilt DL (3 of 4 starters replaced in ‘09). The Bulls allowed 139 net rush yds (but 4.8 ypc) vs UTEP last week (34 negative rush yds took away from UTEP’s total) .
MY PICK: DANARIO ALEXANDER, MISSOURI - Alexander was Gabbert’s favorite receiver last week as he had 10 receptions for 132 yards and now they take on a weaker defense this week. BG lost two All-MAC CB’s from last year and Troy threw for 264 yards on them at home and now they go on the road. Alexander should break a few of his receptions for much bigger plays here and improve that ypc and get a couple of TD’s. He is 6’5” and has a 46” vertical leap and is matched up against 5’8” and 5’10” 1st year starting CB’s.
OTHERS WORTH NOTING -
AJ Green, Georgia - Green was held to just 4 rec for 52 yds in the opener but was blanketed by Oklahoma St’s CB Perrish Cox (3rd Tm Big 12 on my preseason Big 12 team) and QB Cox wasn’t 100% suffering flu symptoms. Now he faces a South Carolina team that is replacing their 2 CB’s from ‘08. Last week SC started true frosh Stephon Gilmore (6-1) and true soph Akeem Auguste (5-10) at the CB spots. SC’s secondary wasn’t challenged by NC St last week, but 6-4 Green should have the advantage here (3-61 vs SC as a true frosh last year).
Jordan Shipley, Texas - Shipley had 8 rec for 180 yds with a TD in the opener vs UL Monroe. Texas travels to Wyoming this week and the Cowboys allowed 322 pass yds and 3 TD to Weber St last week. I also want to mention UT WR DJ Monroe who was thrown in at RB last week and he rushed for 64 yds (7.1) and had 111 KR yds (with a TD) for 175 all-purpose yds. Monroe was a nice surprise and may see more action this week. The Cowboys won’t be able to contain Texas’ explosive offense.
Chris Owusu, Stanford - Owusu had 3 rec for 86 yds and a TD last week and added an 85 yd KR TD vs Washington St last week and was named Pac-10 Special Team Player of the week. Owusu is an exciting player on Harbaugh’s best team yet.
Juan Nunez, Western Michigan - WM has a very young receiving corps this year but an NFL caliber QB. Nunez stepped up last week in the opener with 151 yards and 21.6 ypc with 1 TD vs Michigan. Now he takes on a weaker D and should have a big game.
Greg Salas, Hawaii - You are probably saying, WHO? Salas last week had 180 yards receiving and 25.7 ypc with 1 TD and should have a solid game this week at Wash St.
MY PICK: BOISE ST (vs Miami, OH) - Boise St held Oregon to just 6 first downs (UO didn’t get a first down until mid 7:07 of the 2Q!) and 8 total points and 152 total yards (31 rush yds, 1.8 ypc) in the opener. Boise also had a 42:32-17:28 time of possession edge in that game. Miami was held to 188 total yds including 62 rush yds (2.8) vs Kentucky last week. I will call for Boise’s defense to get at least one score here and actually outscore the Miami offense.
OTHERS WORTH NOTING -
Penn State - The much ballyhooed debut of Syracuse QB Greg Paulus at home went pretty well and they almost upset Minnesota. This is his first road start and last week Penn St did not allow a FD in the first half and just 9 total yards. They have a super defensive front 7 and my computer is calling for just 167 yards TOTAL offense for Syracuse!
Nebraska - Last week Arkansas St rolled up 61 points and 496 yards offense. That of course was versus a 1AA opponent and here they have a young offensive line making their first road start. My computer shows the Huskers allowing just 253 total yards.
USF - Last week WK was held to just 83 total yds vs Tennessee and face another strong defense this week. USF held 1AA opponent Wofford to 211 total yds and 7 pts last week. All-American DE George Selvie started out the season with 7 tkls and a sack.
Washington - As mentioned previously mentioned this is a must-win game for the Huskies. DC Nick Holt came here from USC and has the Huskies fired up. UW allowed just 321 total yards to LSU last week including 149 rush yds (allowed 241 rush ypg in ‘08). My computer shows the 1-0 Vandals gaining just 236 total yards.
UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK:
UNLV over Oregon St - The Rebels are an underrated team with an excellent pass offense. Oregon St lost their entire secondary to graduation. OSU does not play well early in the year, especially on the road. They are 0-9 on the road in the first 4 weeks of the year. Last year UNLV beat TWO BCS schools including #15 Arizona St on the road.
Here is the complete list from CFFinsider.com of their top fantasy starters at each position for week 2.
Top 20 QBs:
Top 20 RBs:
Top 20 WRs:
1) Taylor Potts, TXTC vs RICE
1) Jake Sharp, KAN @ UTEP
|1) Dez Bryant, OKST vs HOU
2) Dezmon Briscoe, KAN @ UTEP
3) Jordan Shipley, TEX @ WY
4) Mardy Gilyard, CIN vs SEMO
5) Damaris Johnson, TLSA @ NMEX
6) Emmanuel Sanders, SMU @ UAB
7) Freddie Barnes, BGSU @ MO
8) Michael Floyd, ND @ MICH
9) Stephen Williams, TOL vs COL
10) Detron Lewis, TXTC vs RICE
11) Aldrick Robinson, SMU @ UAB
12) Brandon Banks, KNST @ LALF
13) Greg Salas, HAW @ WAST
14) Kerry Meier, KAN @ UTEP
15) Kris Adams, UTEP vs KAN
16) Blair White, MIST vs CMCH
17) Jock Sanders, WVU vs ECU
18) Jonathan Baldwin, PIT @ BUFF
19) Juan Nunez, WMCH @ IND
20) Jeremy Williams, TUL vs BYU
Top 10 TEs:
Top 10 Ks:
Top 10 Defenses:
1) Aaron Hernandez, FLA vs TROY
2) Cody Slate, MRSH @ VATC
3) Tony Moeaki, IOWA @ IWST
4) Kavario Middleton, WASH vs IDAH
5) Shamar Graves, RUT vs HOW
6) Ed Dickson, ORE vs PUR
7) Brian Linthicum, MIST vs CMCH
8) Charlie Gantt, MIST vs CMCH
9) Garrett Graham, WIS vs FRST
10) Dennis Pitta, BYU @ TUL
1) Wes Byrum, AUB vs MSU
|1) TCU @ VA
2) South Fla @ WKTY
3) Oklahoma vs IDST
4) California vs EWASH
5) Utah @ SJST
6) Boise St vs MIOH
7) Virginia Tech vs MRSH
8) Florida vs TROY
9) Penn St vs SYR
10) UNC @ UCONN