Wednesday, September 13, 2006


All My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go...

"That John Denver's full of shit."

Heading out for Denver on Friday, and I'm finally really stoked about it! It's been in the works for so long now it has seemed surreal that I am actually leaving in 38 hours. The girlfriend and I will arrive in the Mile High City just before noon and can be found at any LoDo watering hole shortly thereafter. Garrett and Pat will be getting in four hours later, and it will be a race to see who's drunker by the time we meet up. My money is on Pat and Garrett based on past experiences, but altitude and microbrews have proven to be tricky things. Joining this year's edition of Hurricane FUBAR is Kim from Florida, one of my girlfriends' college buddies. (Man, I love those redheads.)My friends are really bipolar when it comes to women; they're either loved or loathed. My prediction is that alcohol will prove its unifying properties once again, especially with Dan playing host. Speaking of predictions...

ASU Offense vs. Colorado Defense
Are you serious? Even without Jamaal Lewis and (possibly) R.F.B., the Sun Devil passing game will be as difficult to contain as Magneto in X-Men, and I don't think Coach Hawkins has one of those plastic cells ready for Rudy Carpenter just yet(I'm a total dork). Mike Jones and Nate Kimbrough proved their hyped abilities Saturday against Nevada (even if I couldn't see it), and Chris McGaha is showing why he shouldn't garner the "posession reciever" moniker. Zach Miller has been as steady as a locomotive and tailback screen passes have worked well each of the last two games with all of the backs, especially Ryan "the train" Torain. It has been refreshing to see a few roll-outs and bootlegs after five years of concrete-footed Andrew Walter and Sam Keller(miss ya buddy). I'm not reminiscing over Jeff "chickenlegs" Krohn by any stretch of the imagination, just saying it's nice to have that option in the playbook.

Colorado's run defense is for real, holding the likes of Colorado State and Montana State *gasp* to a combined 148 total yards. Even though both of these games were losses for the Buffs (tee-hee) they weren't blowouts and they certainly weren't shootouts with respective scores of 14-10 and 19-10. Run blocking hasn't exactly been ASU's specialty of late, and the strong defensive front led by Linebacker Thaddeus Washington may be a tall order. As Coach Koetter said in a Monday presser, "this is the most athletic and talented team we have faced so far." If the Hell Hogs can't push around inferior athletes, what's to happen when they face peers or worse yet superiors? The good news is that the pass protection has been excellent, and hopefully the Hogs can keep Carp's shirt nice and white throughout the game.

Colorado's Offense vs. ASU's Defense
Dirk Koetter's playbook is a bitch to learn, and Dan Hawkins' can't be much different if a team has played eight quarters and has only tallied 20 points. They're eventually going to snap out of it, but hopefully that won't happen until at least September 17. The Buffs' quarterback situation has taken over ASU's spot atop the most talked about QB situation chart as one has left the team, the top two have flip-flopped (no John Kerry joke per my girlfriend's request), and the third-stringer is the coach's kid. Bernard Jackson scored Colorado's only touchdown on Saturday on a bootleg scramble, but ASU has already faced two gritty mobile QB's in NAU's Jason Murietta and Jeff Rowe of Nevada. James Cox (hehe, Cox) is more of a pocket passer but hasn't exactly set the world on fire this season.

Colorado's success will be defined by their running game, but ASU has shown surprising improvement in their front seven. Kyle Caldwell is back on track "bending and breaking people" as Dirk Koetter is fond of saying, and there is a nine man rotation along the defensive line, with other standouts Jordan Hill, Mike Marquardt, and Dexter Davis. Tranell Morant saw his first live action since transferring from Florida, but from others' accounts looked unimpressive and rusty. Hopefully he can live up to his athletic potential, as everyone in maroon and gold is hoping for Loren Howard. Jeez, is that guy huge. His quad tear is healing well and he should be ready to go for Cal, but no one is expecting him to play this week.

ASU's linebackers will charge the gaps created by the d-line, and Derron "every" Ware should have another great day on defense, along with safeties Josh Barrett, Zach "don't call me 'cat'" Catanese, and Ryan "fuck Troy" McFoy. Hopefully the corners won't get too much of a test, even though Chris Baloney has two picks in two games. Linebacker Robert James has played himself back in to the lineup after dealing with personal issues during camp, and he looks improved from a 2005 season highlighted by his vicious hit on soon-to-be baby's daddy Matt Leinart. Former Dodger Mike Nixon is learning defensive schemes and has improved over his first two games, and youngsters Garrett Judah and Travis Goethel haven't looked terrible.

With Rudy. Fucking. Burgess. questionable for Saturday's tilt, the x-factor could be weather. It's expected to be a high of roughly 60 degrees on Saturday with winds up to 20 mph, something that could have an effect on a fair weather passing team like ASU. Hopefully it doesn't come down to kicking, because Colorado PK Mason Crosby is apparently the best in the nation. ASU's kickoff coverage has been far less than stellar thus far, so watch out for a big one to get broken, either by Colorado or ASU's Terry Richardson. There are an expected 7,000 ASU fans to be at Folsom Field on Saturday, and we plan on being loud and leaving 3-0. Final Score prediction: ASU 34, Colorado 17.

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