‘Bucking’ trend with SD State

Sep 2, 2003 10:24 AM

During the first full week of college football action, the Big Ten opened non-conference play with 10 teams in action. Of these 10, 7 came out on top. As I surveyed the results, only two games caught my eye as being surprises.

I felt Michigan State should have done much better against Western Michigan, especially with the return of quarterback Jeff Smoker and the new coaching staff under John Smith. But the Spartans did hold Western Michigan to only six yards rushing. However, the Broncos gained 333 through the air courtesy of quarterback Chad Munson.

Smoker set a school passing-yardage mark when he connected on a 53-yard completion to Aaron Alexander in the second half, which moved him past Dave Yarema’s previous mark of 5,809 yards. Michigan State is home again this week against Rutgers at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans really need a big blowout win and it just might come here.

Although I had no intention of laying 24 points and taking Penn State over Temple this past Saturday, I feel the Nittany Lions are much better than their performance indicated. What surprised me the most is the fact Penn State was outgained in yardage 357-310. The Nittany Lions completed only 6-of-19 passes for 79 yards. That stat is very misleading because 56 of those yards came on one touchdown pass.

I realize that this is only the first game of the season, but I have to see Penn State put up better numbers before I jump on the bandwagon. The Nittany Lions host Boston College this week. The Eagles come off a heartbreaking loss at home to Wake Forest.

The most misleading victory in the Big Ten would have to be Iowa’s 21-3 win over Miami-Ohio. The Redhawks had more first downs, more passing yards and controlled the time of possession. However, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one of the top signal callers in the country, had a terrible day in which he was intercepted four times. As one watched the game, you would like to say that was the result of a great defensive effort by Iowa. That wasn’t the case.

Roethlisberger had some flat-out awful passes. For the Hawkeyes, running back Fred Russell did play well as he gained 161 yards. Iowa is home once again this week as they host Buffalo. As you look down the road you see an excellent spot to go against Iowa. Please continue to read GamingToday for more details.

As I look around the country this week, I see three early selections:

San Diego St (+33) at Ohio St: Here I am going against one of the top teams in the country in Ohio State. I am taking San Diego State and the points. No question that this is a very good Buckeyes team but I have to believe they were sky-high for Washington and they have North Carolina State on tap the following week. I just think that the number is too big. This is a game that Ohio State will overlook. Take SAN DIEGO ST.

Middle Tenn St (+28½) at Georgia: The host Bulldogs had a big game last week at Clemson. We had reports that there were some internal problems with the Tigers and this may be the reason Georgia looked so good. Middle Tennessee State returns a lot of talent from last season and I think the number, once again, is too steep. Georgia will pull out the victory, but not by this many. Take MTSU.

Minnesota (—24) over Troy St: In the Big Ten I have to take a good look at Minnesota. Even though they are laying a big number against Troy State, this is a team on a mission. The Metrodome is a very difficult place for any opposing team. The Golden Gophers have a tremendous running game, a lot of depth and a good passing attack. For the first time in years, the Gophers have a defense with some size. I look for a complete rout here. Take MINNY.