Kudos to Hitman for the great title. Had to use it. Your royalty check is in the mail (not really). So this is my Western Carolina preview. I’ll be honest there’s not much here to preview so this will be a short one.
The Pack leads the all-time series 5-0 with an average score of 48-11. All games have been in Raleigh and the last meeting was a 59-20 Pack win back in 2003. Western has played Alabama (52-6), Georgia (45-16), Florida State (69-0), and Vanderbilt (45-0) over the past 3 years losing each time in blowout fashion. They are led by 3rd year HC Dennis Wagner who has a 5-18 record for the Catamounts. To say they struggled last year (2-9) would be a huge understatement. They were outscored on average 25.9-14.1 and outgained 381 yards to 246. You can find stats to prove anything, but there really were no good stats for this team last year that’s how bad they were.
Players to Watch
QB Zack Jaynes (#12) – he’s mediocre at best (1790 yds, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 58.6% last year) so the only reason to watch him is because he’ll be touching the ball more than anybody on the Catamount offense.
RB Michael Johnson (#5) – the 2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year (568 yds rush, 137 yds rec, 4 TDs) returns and will be one of the main focal points of this offense.
FS Mitchell Bell (#18) – of all the returning defenders he lead the team in tackles (67) and passes defended (6). Bell is a 1st team Preseason All-SoCon selection so the Catamounts will rely heavily on him to lead the defense.
This one will get ugly fast and TOB will finally start the season with a victory. Pack 45 – Catamounts 10
Well 2010 National Signing Day has come and gone. It was a pretty routine day around the Murphy Center. No surprises, good or bad. My take: there are a few guys that really impress me, but overall it’s a lot of average. I will admit it’s a little crazy ranking the classes 7 months before these guys ever play their first game, but if you think the rankings don’t matter then you’re a little naive.
There’s a bunch of different recruiting services that release rankings, so I averaged the rankings from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN to come up with a consensus ranking. Let’s look at the consensus Top 10 classes in order: Florida, Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, USC (sorry Cock fans … this is the real USC), LSU, UCLA, Florida State, and Penn State. That list reads like a Who’s Who of college football programs. It includes the last seven national champions and eight of them show up in the top 14 on the Top 25 College Programs of the Decade list put together by my buddies over at Frumpzilla (one of my college roomies and half my fantasy football league keep that site running so show them some love). It’s a lot easier to win when you have the best players so let’s all just agree that the rankings do matter.
Speaking of rankings let’s get back to the Wolfpack’s class. The recruiting gurus have it as the 6th or 7th best class … in the ACC. I guess that is better than where we’ve finished in the actual league standings during the TOB era. I just expect better than that, especially with our passionate fan base and the best facilities in the ACC (per ESPN). We did get a few guys that I’m really excited about (shown in the picture below) including one BIG time pickup, literally.
The six guys I'm most excited about.
The jewel of the class is OL Rob Crisp (6’7″ 299lb.) out of Raleigh. He was rated one of the best players, regardless of position, in the country and should man the LT spot for the next four years. Two others that have me excited are DB’s David Amerson and Dontae Johnson. Hopefully they can step in immediately next year and help solve the massive problems we had in the secondary this past year. The final three I can’t wait to see in the Red and White are WR’s Tony Creecy and Bryan Underwood, and RB Mustafa Greene. You can never have too many speedy playmakers and I think these three will fit that mold for the Pack. I’m sure there will be a really good player or two come out of the rest of the class, but these are the six that have me looking to the future with hope and anticipation.
To these six and all the other new Wolfpackers (click here for bios) … welcome to the family! You made the best decision of your life (I’m not biased at all). To TOB, take a day to do your honey do’s, then start working on next year’s class. GO PACK!
Yep that's a cookie jar
I know a thing or two about the Heisman Trophy. Check out that awesome Heisman pose. Desmond Howard’s got nothing on me. The above famous picture was not taken after returning a punt for touchdown in a win over rival Ohio State on the way to actually winning the Heisman Trophy … that’s too cliche. Rather that picture was taken in April 2006 at a wedding in Beaufort, South Carolina. I didn’t even know the picture was taken until a week later.
So now that I’ve given you my Heisman credentials here’s my vote: Stanford RB Toby Gerhart. What an absolute beast. I’ll even go as far as to say he’s been more of a beast this year than Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh. Yeah Suh was dominant in the Texas game, so what, Gerhart has been dominant all year. Gerhart had multiple TDs in every game except three and over 100 yards rushing in every game except two. If Stanford had a defense that could have helped win another game or two Gerhart would be a lock, but as we saw with our own Philip Rivers back in 2003, the voters look too much at the team’s win-loss record. Even though I think Gerhart should win, it looks like Alabama RB Mark Ingram is going to be the one to take home the hardware. It’s pretty hard to believe that this will be the first Heisman Trophy ever for the Alabama program. Maybe one day before I die I’ll see a Wolfpacker win the Heisman …
Somehow the refs missed this call
It still baffles me how the SEC officiating crew missed this facemask. The whole stadium saw it. I mean Rashard got pulled parallel to the ground and was violently flipped around 180 degrees. Absolutely brutal. And why the hell does the visiting team’s conference supply the refs? Aside from the BCS, that’s the dumbest thing going in college football.
I think it’s an understatement to say that opening weekend was not very kind to the ACC. Duke and Virginia losing to FCS teams, Wake losing at home to a bottom rung Big 12 team in Baylor, Maryland getting punked by Cal, and Virginia Tech looking very average against Bama in the Saturday prime time spot. The best non conference win was against Middle Tennessee St. By comparison our loss to South Carolina doesn’t look so bad now. The ACC is still very weak and we have a team that’s still capable of competing for a spot in the ACC title game.
The Miami-FSU game Monday night saved the ACC from totally being the laughing stock of the country. What a game. Still early in the year, but both teams looked in mid season form. At least offensively they did. If either team can find some defense then watch out. I was hoping for a Miami wide right, but it wasn’t meant to be. Even though I hate Miami, this gives FSU a conference loss so it was the best outcome for the Pack. That raises the stakes on our game in Tallahassee. Should be fun. Look for me there …. I’ll be the guy in red.