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
online sports bet organizations including advertising
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BREAKDOWN - Liner Notes
NationalChamps.net owner Todd Helmick
will be on several weekly radio shows this fall.
Check out our Liner Notes for this week's broadcasts.
KSOM out of Iowa every Thursday at 10:30 am.
at Iowa State
Iowa at Penn State
Michigan at Illinois
Alabama at Arkansas
Oregon State at Southern
AGAINST THE SPREAD
INSIDE99: (8-8-1 overall)
-4.5 over Temple
Michigan -7.5 over Illinois
Minnesota +3 over Purdue
Hawaii -22 over Southern Methodist*
* Gotta make that 3am game interesting
Ricky Sixx: (8-7 overall)
Kansas -4 over Tulsa
UCLA -14.5 over San Diego State
Colorado State -11.5 over Nevada
NOTES USED ON THE AIR
Every Thursday - 10:30 am Eastern Time on KSOM
out of Atlantic, Iowa
Friday evening - out of Spokane, WA. All
information provided by university official
AT IOWA STATE
COACH: Dan McCarney
Now here's a twist: Iowa State will be the higher-ranked
team when it plays Nebraska – first time
that has ever happened.
State coach Dan McCarney is 0-7 against the Cornhuskers.
victory over the Huskers would put the Cyclones
at 2-0 and, more importantly, perhaps signal a
changing of the guard in the Big 12 North (well,
for a season at least). A Husker win, especially
a lopsided one, would indicate that Dan McCarney
still has a ways to go in his rebuilding project
did a fairly decent job of containing Wallace
in last season's 48-14 win in Lincoln, but that
contest was just his fourth as the ISU starter.
the Cyclones are going to make a game of it, the
ISU defense will need to keep from putting itself
in a hole as it did against Florida State and
Iowa. The Cyclones were able to right the ship
in both games.
COACH: Frank Solich
Nebraska has had an extra week to recover from
the disaster at Penn State.
Cornhuskers' record streak of nearly 21 years
of being ranked in The Associated Press media
poll is in jeopardy after a humbling loss at Penn
The Huskers are playing their first season with
Jammal Lord as the starting quarterback. There
are also three new starters on the offensive line
and the adjustment has been slow.
The offense is averaging 343.8 yards per game,
more than 100 yards off last year's mark of 451.2.
The defense has yielded 350.5 yards per game,
also way off last year's average of 287.2. Expected
to be the strength of the team, Nebraska's defense
ranks 61st nationally heading into the Iowa State
Nebraska enters the week ranked 76th nationally
in total offense. In order to get the offense
jump-started, the Huskers might be looking to
unleash I-back Dahrran Diedrick on the Cyclones.
He'll be facing an Iowa State defense that has
had difficulty stopping the run, which leads some
to believe that this could be a breakout week
AT PENN STATE
COACH: Kirk Ferentz
beat Penn State at Happy Valley two years ago.
Fred Russell (shoulder) should play vs. Penn State
after sitting out last week. SS Bob Sanders is
still nursing a sprained foot but will try to
play this week.
Banks is improving every week. The key to Banks'
game is his ability to run the football. He ran
for 65 yards vs. Utah State and his running plays
came at big moments. When Banks and the rest of
the running game is productive, it opens up the
passing game for big plays.
defense has been consistent this season -- with
the exception of the second half vs. Iowa State.
The group appears to have depth as well as talent.
they have to show they can compete with the Big
Ten's upper-level teams.
COACH: Joe Paterno.
State was a disaster the last two seasons, but
Joe Paterno has bought them back with an offense
that has a ton of options. Start with the creativity
of Zack Mills, who doesn't have the strongest
arm in the Big Ten but is very accurate. Larry
Johnson runs with power and cuts well and WRs
Tony Johnson and Bryant Johnson are playmakers.
Nittany Lion defense is active and aware. DT Jimmy
Kennedy takes up space in the middle of the line
and DE Michael Haynes has become a solid pass
rusher. The secondary makes big plays and doesn't
give many up.
COACH: Ron Turner
problems tackling. Ron Turner's team is reeling,
as the Big Ten season is about to start.
With a pre-conference schedule that included three
gimmes (Missouri, Arkansas State and San Jose
State) and one fairly tough road game (Southern
Miss), the Illini expected to start the conference
schedule with a 3-1 or 4-0 mark. Instead, Illinois
is 1-3 and a complete collapse is a possibility.
The team has had difficult at the QB spot since
the first game of the season. While Turner has
settled on Jon Beutjer (BYOU-cher) as his starting
quarterback and he appears to be a solid thrower,
the Illini are not getting the leadership from
that position that they did last year from Kurt
Illinois get the early award for first-to-worst
season so far.
COACH: Lloyd Carr
Wolverines need to show they can finish drives
and stick the ball in the end zone. If they can
do that against a very inviting Illinois defense,
Michigan should open the Big Ten schedule with
a significant road win.
can you have a team that leads the Big Ten Conference
in sacks (15) for 2002, but still only ranks 9th
in the conference in pass defense? Michigan fans
may still be wondering.
Philip Brabbs is making Michigan suffer. He has
missed so many big kicks thus far this season,
which ends up putting the Wolverines in situations
much like the 10-7 score over Utah last week.
has become one of the most criticized quarterbacks
in recent Michigan history. After a solid first
half of last season, Navarre has had a hard time
putting the ball on the money when the Wolverines
need a big play.
COACH: Dennis Franchione
teams like to run the ball. Both teams know how
to stop the run.
Tailback Ahmaad Galloway's career is over after
he tore ligaments in his left knee during Saturday
night's 20-7 victory over Southern Mississippi.
Galloway, one of the team's captains and a senior,
led the Tide in rushing the past two seasons.
The loss of TB Ahmaad Galloway wouldn't be so
bad if the quarterback situation didn't remain
unsettled because of a foot injury to senior Tyler
Watts. While Watts missed more than three quarters
of the Southern Miss game, redshirt freshman Brodie
Croyle came in and ran for a touchdown but also
completed just 4 of 15 passes for 15 yards and
two interceptions, including one that USM returned
54 yards for a touchdown.
Alabama's defensive success starts up front with
seniors Jarret Johnson, Kindal Moorehead and Kenny
King. The trio has 49.5 career sacks, including
seven this season. This is one of the best DL’s
in the nation.
Arkansas is off to a nice start, but the Razorbacks
really haven't played anyone yet. Alabama will
test Arkansas' offensive and defensive lines,
especially in the running game, and force the
Razorbacks into their first real physical challenge
of the season. QB Matt Jones is just a sophomore,
but will need to learn how to pass the football
rather quickly this week.
Nationally, the Razorbacks rank No. 1 in rushing
defense (37.5 yards per game) and scoring defense
(8.5 points per game), However, those stats came
against two pass-oriented spread teams, while
Alabama runs a more physical, run-oriented offense
behind an experienced line that returned all five
by Jeff Davis
USC PASS vs. OREGON STATE PASS DEFENSE
Edge: Oregon State
This may be one of the clearest advantages Oregon State
has in this game. Oregon State has a good pass defense,
as does Kansas State, and K-State held the USC passing
attack in check until the fourth quarter of last week’s
game. QB Carson Palmer of the Trojans finally adjusted
to Kansas State’s defense by the fourth quarter
and USC can hope this adjustment carries into this week
at the LA Coliseum. Palmer overall has more consistency
this year compared to last, and makes less mistakes.
Another bright spot with the Trojan passing attack is
that junior Keary Colbert has become quite the go-to
receiver. As opposing teams start to take notice, this
may free up Kareem Kelly more for big play potential.
Oregon State’s pass defense has three experienced
starters and is lead by senior corners Dennis Weathersby
and Terrell Roberts. The safeties Mitch Meeuwsen and
Lawrence Turner have been pulling in the interceptions
along with MLB Richard Siegler, who last week proved
his is a threat to take it all the way. The secondary
as a unit has been flat shutting down opponents passing
games so far.
OREGON STATE PASS vs. USC PASS DEFENSE
Oregon State’s passing attack has been ripping
defenses so far this year, and last week’s performance
by soph QB Derek Anderson against Fresno State is an
example of how well he’s done so far this season.
He is averaging 316 yards per game, and has amassed
15 TD’s with only one interception. However, the
defenses they have faced so far are bottom tier. USC
has the top rated passing defense in the nation at this
point, lead by SS Troy Polamalu, who has All-American
written all over him, and is always coming up with big
plays and big hits. FS DeShaun Hill is an experienced
senior. CB Darrell Rideaux anchors one side of the secondary,
but the other side is up in the air with Ronald Nunn
injuring his knee. USC’s pass defense, one could
say, is also untested so far this year against weak
passing teams. Planning on testing that number one ranking
is Oregon State’s WRs James Newson and Shawn Kintner
and TE Tim Euhus. Between these two top performing units
something has got to give, and we’ll know a lot
more after this week, once they have been tested.
USC RUN vs. OREGON STATE RUN DEFENSE
Slight Edge: USC
Neither of these two units is highly vaunted, nor have
they performed exceptionally well. Oregon State is talented
up the middle though, lead by tackles Eric Manning and
Dwan Edwards. Nick Barnett and Richard Seigler, two
of the Beaver LB’s, often penetrate for losses.
What may give the Trojans a slight edge here is that
RB Justin Fargas returned last week against Kansas State
for a few carries and felt comfortable. With Fargas
coming in this week to frequently spell McCullough,
add to that Malaefou MacKenzie’s services, the
Trojans become very deep at this position. Fargas and
McCullough provide the change of pace that Tailback
U. has needed to throw defenses off. If Fargas is still
too rusty, then Oregon State may win this battle.
OREGON STATE RUN vs. USC RUN DEFENSE
Edge: Oregon State
If you tuned in to last week’s Oregon State game
versus Fresno State, you know that RB Steven Jackson
provides Oregon State with a potent running attack.
Remember though, that those 227 yards came against a
subject Bulldog run defense. Before that, he was still
averaging over 100 yards per game. Last year as a true
freshman he averaged 5.3 yards per carry and performed
well as a backup to Simonton. One of his best outings
was against USC. The Trojan defense did well against
Colorado’s running backs (with Ochs out for CU,
they focused on the run). But against Kansas State’s
rush they gave up too many yards (188 between the QB
and RB). With USC’s pass defense, look for the
Beavers to try their luck pounding the ball up the middle
and around the sides. Matt Grootegood, Melvin Simmons,
and Mike Pollard are the tough Trojan LB’s who
will try to stop them.
USC OL vs. OREGON STATE DL
Oregon State’s DL has plenty of experience with
Noah Happe, Eric Manning, and Dwan Edwards. The question
will be, as it was last year, whether they will be able
to stop the run. Opposite them will be some more experience
and depth in the Trojan OL. Jacob Rogers, Lenny Vandermade,
and Eric Torres are all returning starters who have
good unity. True freshman Winston Justice was a Super
Prep and Parade All American, and has earned a starting
role over senior Zach Wilson at RT.
OREGON STATE OL vs. USC DL
USC’s Shaun Cody at tackle and Kenechi Udeze at
end are tireless sophomores who highlight the Trojan
DL. Mike Patterson and Omar Nazel also make big plays.
They all make a tough front. Oregon State’s OL
is fairly young and inexperienced and can allow some
pass rushers to get by them. The left side has experience
with senior Mike Kuykendall at guard. LT Brian Kilkenny
is injured, so senior Lee Davis will take his starting
Although Oregon State improved their special teams play
last week, neither side has a clear advantage and neither
are very impressive.
Oregon State has not won at the Coliseum since 1960.
Both teams are markedly better this year than last.
USC has two big Pac 10 games at home, this one and Washington,
and they know that they must win those. Especially having
to go to Pullman next week and later to Autzen Stadium
in Eugene. Oregon State’s Steven Jackson must
have a big game against USC’s defense. Which team
comes out ahead in the match up featuring the top rated
passing defense of the Trojans versus a top ten Beaver
passing offense is the key to the game. Both teams also
have great turnover margins. With a game this close
to call, the home field advantage goes to the Trojans
PICK: USC Trojans