Can you believe it’s already Week 7? Neither can Mr. Badger. He’s currently eating as many Churros as he can so his Winter Hibernation doesn’t catch him by surprise. Just between you and me, he has nothing to worry about when it comes to fattening up.
Your Broncos face off against the Colorado State Rams this Saturday afternoon. The weather should be perfect (Mostly sunny 75 degrees), the setting magnificent (foothills of the Rockies), and our Boys will be playing in Blue. If only the team they were playing were having more of an "On" year than "Off".
Join me and Mr. Badger after the jump for more…
(5) Boise (5-0)
Opponent: at Colorado State (3-2)
Time (MT): 4PM
Coverage: The Mtn
Line: Broncos by 32
Support: Our Boys in Blue
When the year began, Mr. Badger thought the Rams might present a good challenge for the Broncos. Losing to Colorado was understandable; losing to San Jose State was laughable. But this is still a D1 team, who has had an extra week off to heal. They did beat Utah State, which would normally be a "so what win", but this year became a "pretty good win". As with all of our opponents, expect the best effort from them. We’re playing on their turf and are their Georgia.
For those attending, scream your lungs out – especially on third down. For those in Boise, make sure you have a designated driver. Or, be a DD. That’s my role every time Mr. Badger and I go out. He’s never been one to "put down the beer mug and step away from the bar stool".
New Rating System:
5 Stars = Watch or Else
4 Stars = You'll Regret it if You Miss it
3 Stars = Should be Watched
2 Stars = Will Impact Our Broncos (or near-blowout expected)
1 Star = Slight Impact (or blowout expected)
Part 2 - Opponents - Hoping our Opponents do well is the purpose of this section
(29) Georgia (4-2) **** 4 Stars ****
Opponent: at Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2)
Time (MT): 5PM
Media: Fox Sports South
Line: Bulldogs by 11
Support: Georgia Dawgs
The Bulldogs’ defense continues to improve, and this is not good if you are a Commodore fan. Already ranked 6th in the nation, the Dawg D sees the return of star linebacker Alec Ogletree, hurt in the 1st Quarter of the Boise game. Trouble is, the backups have done such a good job coaches are having a hard time figuring out who will start. Not a bad problem to have. I think this is one of those "1st World Problems" OBNUGer Jay Weston talked about. Yeah, Mr. Badger just mumbled to me as he spewed churro crumbs… it is.
Fans are still grumbling about the conservative play calling… especially in the 4th quarter when holding a lead. If it seems like Coach Richt is playing not to lose, it’s because he is. Let’s hope he gets with the program and lets it all hang out. Or should I say, let's hope he "Lets his Dogs Out"
Toledo (3-3) *** 3 Stars ***
Opponent - at Bowling Green Falcons (3-3)
Time (MT) - 10AM
Media - ESPN Plus / ESPN3
Line - Rockets by 7
Support - Toledo Rockets
The Rockets’ dual-QB system seems to finally be paying dividends as Toledo rides a two-game winning streak into conference foe Bowling Green’s Doyt Perry stadium. Bowling Green, on the other hand, has lost 2 in a row. The Falcons have been a decent program of late, going to bowl games after the 2007, 2009 and 2010 seasons. One of these teams is almost certainly going to a Bowl game this year as well. The winner of this game will determine a lot. So get up early, turn on your computer, and cheer for those Rockets! (Just don't wake Mr. Badger - or his good pal, 2 year old Corby. Note: Corby does not like to wake up!)
You woke me up - and it's not for Boise State?!?
Tulsa (2-3) ** 2 Stars **
Opponent - vs. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers
Time (MT) - 6PM
Media - CBS Sports Network
Line - Tulsa by 21
Support - Golden Hurricane
Tulsa is another program that just can’t get enough competition against the Big Boys, having faced Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Boise to start the season. Yes, that’s three of the top six programs in the country. Wow! Mr. Badger says next time you’re in town Tulsa, he’s got a nice Cuban for you to smoke with him and Brutus, his Bulldog neighbor. That’s some serious props Tulsa! Now get on out there and put a whoopin’ on the Blazers.
As a side note, Brutus will bite you if you don't smoke your entire cigar. Trust me, it ain't pretty.
Fresno State (2-4) ** 2 Stars **
Opponent - vs. Utah State (2-3)
Time (MT) - 8PM
Media - ESPN3
Line - Aggies by 3
Support - Fresno State Bulldogs
Mr. Badger hardly wants to root for the Bulldogs anymore, no matter how much it might help the Broncos. He’s sick and tired of getting his hopes up only to have them dashed. Seriously, I felt bad for their team when the game was still within reach against our Broncos and on third and long, Coach Hill was calling Fullback Dive plays that – at best – average 3 or 4 yards. Do you really think playing conservative football against the Broncos is gonna work out for ya? Do ya?
What’s scary is this team – with its pool of USC's leftover talent – could actually win 8 or 9 games and contend for a Bowl Game every year. Well, that’s if they had anyone but Coach Hill calling the plays that is. Thing is, he’s a nice guy. But last time I looked, they don’t keep track of nice points on the scoreboard.
That’s too bad, because Utah State ranks 11th in the nation in points scored. Aggie Robert Turbin is averaging 119 yards on the ground this year and hopes to raise his average on Saturday. Despite having held Utah State in check at home since 1980, Fresno will have its hands full. Look for the Aggies to break that 1980 streak by beating Fresno. Look for them to also win the WAC. Of course, hope for the opposite. Go Bulldogs!
Nevada (2-3) * 1 Star *
Opponent - vs New Mexico Lobos (0-5)
Time (MT) - 2PM
Media - N/A
Line - Wolfpack by 30
Support - Wolfpack
The last time these two teams played, Nevada lost. In a bowl game. That's right. Amazingly, New Mexico managed to string together a few wins in 2007 and made the New Mexico Bowl, where they faced off against Nevada. Even more amazing, the Lobos won – giving the school its first bowl victory since the 1961 Aviation Bowl. You remember the Aviation Bowl don’t you?
I don’t think there’s much of a chance the Lobos will repeat that victory on Saturday – or on any Saturday this season. Or for the next ten seasons. Even though we play the Lobos, it would look really bad for Nevada to lose to them. So get’em Wolfpack (I guess).
Part 3 – Hoping for the collapse of all ranked teams around us is the purpose of this section.
(1) LSU (6-0) (3-0 SEC) ** 2 Stars **
Opponent - at Tennessee (3-2) (0-2 SEC)
Time (MT) - 1:30PM
Media - CBS
Line- Tigers by 17
Support - Volunteers
Any hopes for Tennessee of making Saturday’s matchup an actual game ended in the 4th Quarter during last week’s game against Georgia. That’s when Sophomore sensation QB Tyler Bray (1st in SEC for Touchdowns, total offense, passing yards, and QB Rating) went down with a fractured thumb. It was an ugly play for those watching. He hit his thumb on a Georgia helmet during his follow-through. It was one of those plays that makes you wince just watching it.
It’s also the kind that Mr. Badger watches over and over on his BetaMax, screaming "Yes! Yes! Feel the Pain!" I usually have to pull him out of his den when I start hearing him yip like that. I give him his usual warm milk and cookies and show him pictures of giant churros to get his mind off things.
Cheer for the Vols, but watch at your own risk. It’s never fun to watch a beatdown. Or an injury that makes Mr. Badger yip.
(2) Alabama (6-0) (3-0 SEC) * 1 Star *
Opponent - Ole Miss
Time (MT) - 4PM
Media - ESPN2
Line - Tide by 25
Support - Rebs
With AJ McCarron at QB and Trent Richardson at RB, the Tide look to keep on rollin’. But it’s not their offense that has them ranked at number 2, it’s their defense. Their defense is ranked 3rd in the nation. Keep in mind, three of their opponents so far have been top 25 teams! When you can run the ball at will and stop people at will, you are a pretty good team. The Tide are good!
‘Bama has put an emphasis on closing out games this year, after letting three games slip away in the 4th quarter last year. The Tide have turned things around, as they are outscoring their opponents 52-8 in the 4th quarter thus far.
Coming off a Bye week won’t help the Rebels much on Saturday. Sometimes the task is just too big. Oh, how Mr. Badger would love to play either the Tide or the Tigers at the end of the year. Until then, here’s hoping the Rebs somehow take down the Tide.
(3) Oklahoma (5-0) (2-0 Big 12) * 1 Star *
Opponent - at Kansas (2-3) (0-2 Big 12)
Time (MT) - 7:15PM
Media - ESPN2
Line - Sooners by 36
Support - Those poor Jayhawks
I didn’t know a line could get that big. But apparently it can. Funny thing is, the Sooners will probably blow right by it. All Bob cares about is winning over poll voters… Bob Stoops is no Chris Petersen.
Sooner WR Ryan Broyles is 4 catches away from breaking the NCAA record for receptions. Expect that record to fall, and the Sooners clout to rise after Saturday’s results. But, like all games – you just never know. Go Jayhawks.
(4) Wisconsin (5-0) (1-0 Big 10) * 1 Star *
Opponent - vs. Indiana (1-5) (0-2 Big Ten)
Time (MT) - 10AM
Media - ESPN2
Line - Badgers by 40
Support - Hoosiers
Just when I thought a line couldn’t get any bigger, along comes Wisconsin. Come on, 40 points? 40 points? Against an in-conference AQ team? And WE are said to have the BW conference? Come on… Let’s get all the conferences to line up against the wall and face the facts. Every conference has 1-2 great teams, 2-4 good teams, and the rest are BW. Can’t we all just get along now and start a playoff?
OK, I just snapped Mr. Badger out of his daydream back to reality.
The Badgers are gonna crush the Hoosiers. OK, it’s time to go to bed now Mr. Badger. That’s a good boy. <Quiet voice>: pray for the Badgers to drop one in an all-time upset.
(6) Oklahoma State (5-0) (2-0 Big 12) **** 4 Stars ****
Opponent - at (22) Texas (4-1) (1-1 Big 12)
Time (MT) - 1:30PM
Media - ABC / ESPN
Line - Cowboys by 7
Root for - Longhorns
After getting obliterated by the Sooners, the Longhorns look to recover against Oklahoma State. It's not looking good, though. Even though they’re playing at home, the Longhorns will have a hard time keeping the Cowboys out of the end zone. Cowboy QB Brandon Weeden is 2nd nationally in passing with a 376 yard average; look for him to hook up early and often with his favorite target Justin Blackmon. If the Longhorns can stop the passing attack, they’ll have a chance. Mack Brown has never lost the week after the Red River Rivalry (13-0). Something tells me this streak will be broken. For the Broncos’ sake, let’s hope it isn’t.
(7) Stanford (5-0) (3-0 PAC) *** 3 Stars ***
Opponent - at Washington State (3-2) (1-1 PAC)
Time (MT) - 5:30PM
Media - Versus
Line - Cardinal by 21
Support - Cougars
Washington State is playing much better than they have in recent years. With Junior QB Jeff Tuel cleared to play (fractured clavicle in Week 1), the Cougars have one more weapon in their arsenal. They’ll need him, and every other weapon to fire on all cylinders in order for them to win.
If the Stanford overlook the Cougars, and get behind early, Martin Stadium stadium could become a deathtrap. Or not… the Cougars have let 4th quarter leads slip away in both of this year’s losses. If the Cougars’ defense (ranked 3rd in the PAC) can keep Andrew Luck out of the end zone when they hit the red zone (good luck with that), the Cougars have a chance. If not, look for the Cardinal to crush the line. Go Cougs!
(8) Clemson (6-0) (3-0 ACC) *** 3 Stars ***
Opponent - Maryland (2-3) (1-1 ACC)
Time (MT) - 5PM
Media - ESPNU
Line - Clemson by 8
Root for - Terrapins
Mr. Badger doesn’t know why the line on this game is only 8 points. Good thing he doesn’t bet. I said PUT your wallet away Mr. Badger!
While it might be hard to tell which Terrapin team will show up on Saturday (Terps beat Miami, but lost to Temple by 31), it’s easy to know which Tiger team will show. The one that is relentlessly pounding its opponents into the ground. With three victories in a row over Top 25 teams, Clemson is proving itself as the real deal.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd is dangerous through the air (1,700+ yards) and on the ground (3 TD). Meanwhile, Maryland is mired in a QB controversy. Not good for a team still trying to find its identity.
Clemson still has a lot of turf in front of it (5-1 North Carolina, 4-1 Wake Forest, #12 Georgia Tech, #15 South Carolina), they are a dangerous team. Should they happen to run the table, I’d advocate for them over Oklahoma or any of the other undefeateds to play the SEC champ. After us, of course…
(11) Michigan (6-0) (2-0 Big 10) ***** 5 Stars *****-
Opponent - at (23) Michigan State (4-1) (1-0 Big 10)
Time (MT) - 10AM
Media - ESPN
Line - Spartans by 2
Root for - Spartans
We want the Spartans to win for two reasons: (1) it will knock one more undefeated team off the pedestal (2) we play the Spartans to open play next year. Oh, Mr. Badger says there’s one more: (3) Wolverines are NOT superior to Badgers. Right Mr. Badger. Like I’ve told you 100 times before, we all know you are stronger than a Wolverine. Yes, yes, yes, I totally believe you about our neighbor Wolvie. No, I totally know that story about him pulling you into – and across – the mud pit during your tug-o-war is not true. Yes, I know you – ahem – won that contest.
Puh-leeeease let the Spartans beat the Wolvies – I mean Wolverines – this Saturday. My week will be so much nicer.
Michigan’s offense has been effective in part because of their Offensive Line. Don’t look for the same success this week though, as Michigan State’s Defensive Line matched up very well in last year’s meeting and is still strong this season. Don’t expect the Wolverines to run the ball up the middle; it’ll be up to Denard to pass the ball if the Wolverines are to win. Denard is dangerous, but mistake-prone. Root root root for those Spartans to win. This is most DEFINITELY the Morning Game of the Week.
Part 4 Mr. Badger’s "Mascot game of the week"….
See Michigan vs. Michigan State game above
Part 5 - Boosting the Strength of Schedule of our Opponents improves ours as well.
(20) Baylor (3-0) *** 3 Stars ***
Why We Care: Baylor nipped TCU by 2
Opponent: at (21) Texas A&M
Time (MT): 10AM
Line: Aggies by 9
Support: Baylor Bears
Texas Tech (4-1) *** 3 Stars ***
Why We Care: Texas Tech nipped Nevada by 1; crushed New Mexico
Opponent: vs (17) Kansas State (5-0)
Time (MT): 5PM
Media: Fox Sports Network
Line: Red Raiders by 3
Support: Red Raiders
The fewer undefeated teams, the better. Go Tech!
Colorado (1-5) * 1 Star *
Why We Care: Colorado beat Colorado State by 14
Opponent: at Washington (4-1)
Time (MT): 1:30PM
Media: ROOT Sports TV
Line: Huskies by 14
Every little bit helps.
UTEP (2-3) ** 2 Stars **
Why We Care: UTEP will play Colorado State
Opponent: at Tulane
Time (MT): 1:30PM
Media: Fox College Sports
Line: Green Wave by 1
Support: UTEP Miners
Hawaii (3-2) ** 2 Stars **
Why We Care: Hawaii was beaten by UNLV
Opponent: at San Jose State
Time (MT): 7PM
Line: Rainbow Warriors by 6
Support: Rainbow Warriors
Part 7 – Upcoming opponents’ strength of schedule won’t do us much good this year, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead.
BYU (4-2) ** 2 Stars **
Why We Care: BYU is our opponent for the next 12 years
Opponent: Oregon State (1-4)
Time (MT): 2PM
Media: Fox College Sports
Line: Beavers by 2
Support: BYU Cougars
Miami OH (1-4) * 1 Star *
Will Play: 2012
Opponent: at Kent State (1-5)
Time (MT): 1:30PM
Line: Miami OH by 3
Support: Miami OH Redhawks
In the battle of the bottom-dwellers, let’s hope the RedHawks pull it off.
PHEW! That was one long post. I think Mr. Badger is gonna be cutting it down in the future.
But for this week...