Friday, September 19, 2008
Game Preview: SHSU
Before we get on with our game preview, thanks are in order to Bill Stewart for perfecting the patented Herm Edwards strategy of clock (and game) management. A job well done, sir. You truly are finding new and improved ways to utterly waste the insane talents of Pat White and Noel Devine. Quite impressive. By the way, Bobby Stoops…how in the shit did you get humiliated by this guy?
But that's neither here nor there. As we Kansas fans are much more concerned with getting back on track against the Sam Houston State Bearkats. And as "Rhett Bomar" told us, they're talented and eager to play after a three week hiatus. Or at the very least, they're planning to make the trip to Lawrence.
In all seriousness, I actually think they're going to be a bit better than everyone is suspecting. Yes, the FCS opponent last year, Southeastern Louisiana, was a tremendous slouch, getting pummeled on the way to a "it was much worse than that" 62-0 beat down (75 total yards). I would expect a much sterner test from SHSU. If for no other reason than our venerated interview subject, Mr. Bomar. This will likely be the first and last time I see SHSU play, but if I had to guess, they’ve got some athletes at the skill positions. Add in a quarterback that can create plays on his own as well as get the ball to said skill position players and you have a team that can at the very least put a scare into you.
That being said, there's no excuse for not absolutely dominating this team in the trenches. If there's one enormous difference between FBS and FCS (and there are several), it is line play. Rhett may be a talented quarterback, but like most of them, he struggles when he's on his ass. Similarly, James Aston may be a shifty little back, but not many guys not named Barry Sanders can come up with much yardage without proper blocking. Last year, SELA had -31 yards rushing. And it wasn't because they were throwing the ball all over the field (106 yards). That kind of futility comes from line domination. And if Kansas has any hope of getting production out of their d-line this year, it should take over tomorrow.
Offensively, I really don't see a great need to analyze anything. Obviously Todd will be able to pick this team apart at will and points will not be of much concern. However, as useless a gauge as it may be, I really think we need to see a great game on the ground. Perhaps I put too much stock into momentum and confidence, but I think the O-line/RBs need a little bit heading into conference play. Obviously, even if they run for 500 yards tomorrow, no one internally or nationally is going to put much stock into the performance. And neither will I. For it to mean something, they'll have to do it against a real opponent. But something I'll put a lot of stock into is if they can't run against this team. Can you imagine how low the confidence level will be if they find out they can't run the ball against the Sam Houston State Bearkats? Quite frankly, I don't want to.
I hate that KU always plays an FCS team. I mean, why not just schedule Michigan? Like I said, I expect SHSU to put up a much better fight than SELA (and probably better than Michigan would). But in reality, we won't find out much tomorrow about this team. And if we do, it won't be good. Because anything good we see needs to be semi-written off due to the opposition. Anything bad, on the other hand, becomes a cause for concern if it's not already. With all of that said, I expect the team to come out pretty fired up and ready to put the USF loss behind them as best they can. Get back on track the right way tomorrow and there's no reason not to go down to Norman at 5-1.
Kansas 55 Sam Houston State 10
Since I didn't offer you much of a preview, we might as well take a gander around the league…
Texas A&M welcomes in Miami in a battle of fallen programs, though A&M has never been half of what they think they are and Miami couldn't attract Schiano away from Rutgers. So call it what you will. Either way, I would expect a very low scoring, extremely uninteresting game that Miami will ultimately win 17-7. p.s. Good luck, Coach Young.
ISU has to travel out to the desert to take on UNLV, fresh off their win in Tempe. I don't know a thing about the Rebels, but I'm going to guess if they can beat a decent (albeit overrated) ASU team on the road, they should be able to handle the Cyclones in Vegas. Call it 24-17.
Tech plays UMASS and that's all I plan to say about that one.
Texas welcomes in the Rice Owls and to be honest, I'll be interested to see how this plays out. I'm sure Texas will win comfortably and score at will, but Rice seems to have a decent offense this year so I'll be curious to see how Texas' young secondary handles them.
Probably the game I'm most interested in though is the Baylor game. You think Robert Griffin has been good for their program? Personally, I'm not that high on UCONN. But they should be pretty decent defensively, so it will be a good test for Griffin to play against someone a little more competent than Wazzu. Ultimately, I have to say that I give the edge to the Huskies, mostly because I just can't imagine Baylor winning a real road game. 27 – 21?
Other than that, KSU already embarrassed the league (I won't even comment on this) while Colorado did some salvaging last night, so as is pretty typical this time of year there really isn't that much exciting going on in the conference. Around the country though, I would definitely be leaning Georgia and Florida, if for no other reason than their inept opponents. The real game, which I'll unfortunately have to mostly miss, is LSU @ Auburn. Right now I'm thinking Auburn, but I have no idea why, after seeing them struggle to put up 3 points on Mississippi State. Yes, the same MSU that was beaten by Louisiana Tech.
Rock Chalk and I'll see you at the field.