BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 10: Paul Richardson #6 of the Colorado Buffaloes is unable to make a reception against the defense of Steve Williams #1 of the California Golden Bears late in the fourth quarter at Folsom Field on September 10, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Welcome to our weekly discussion amongst The Ralphie Report's staff. Same format as last week, so dig right in.
Feel free to throw your answers to the same questions into the comments below.
1) Colorado's passing attack lit up the skies in Saturday's game against California. Do you feel that it was an aberration due Cal stacking the box to stop the run or do expect to see "similar" (say, 250-350 yards passing per game) stat lines throughout the season.
Bob: I sure hope it was an aberration or we are staring 0-13 right in the face. Maybe a slight exaggeration but we have to get the running game to have any chance this year. Teams will figure out that they need to double Paul Richardson so getting Rodney Stewart and the running game going is imperative. That is going to be a tough task now considering the Buffs may be without both starting tackles Jack Harris and David Bakhtiari.
Ash: Yes, and Yes. It happened because Cal refused to cede the tackle box to us unfought. As obscene as our passing (and catching!) stats were, I think teams will have to respect that more than Cal did, but the classic thinking is always to force your opponent to throw. Teams will attempt to key against our run, and if they're successful, I see similar passing yardage being the result.
David: I don't know if we'll put up 474 passing yards again this season, but 300 yards/game plus isn't out of the question. We do have some talented pass-catchers even beyond Paul Richardson, Ryan Deehan and Rodney Stewart. We're just waiting for them to step up/figure it all out. Heck, Toney Clemons did catch 40+ passes last year after all. I do think that at some point we'll get the running game figured out as well, which will help when it's all said and done.
Jon: Hopefully we won't need to see another performance like that. Film from that game will be watched over and over again by defensive coordinators around the conference. It's Eric Bienemy's job to use that to his advantage. Get the ball to Richardson enough to keep defense's honest, then run the ball and spread out the passing attack to other receivers and the tight ends. That game should give the other skill players an extra bit of room to work, the offense and coaching staff have to use it effectively.
2) Time to calibrate, where are your feelings on the offensive line after Saturday's performance?
Bob: Better but still tons to improve. First thing, learn the snap count. Sick of all these false starts and drive killing penalties. Like I mentioned above, the odds are stacked against the offensive line with the inexperience and injuries right now so I am worried about the running game improving. Pass protection looked better but improvement needed in all other facets.
Ash: No sacks, and the coaches (or Tyler or whoever) got Tyler out of the pocket to relieve the line some and increase their margin of error. I'll say better, but with room to grow and totally pancake the lambs this week.
David: I was impressed at their progress when it came to pass protection. Even after losing Jack Harris, they were solid. Now, Sione Tau isn't as good as Harris (who was still adjusting to the college game), but he did his job well enough to keep Tyler Hansen on his feet. Now it's the running game that we need to work on. These guys should be able to open holes for Stewart (I mean, it's not like they need to be all that big!). If we continue to be completely one dimensional on offense then we're doomed. I thought they showed improvement, but they need to continue improving for me to be satisfied.
Jon: The difference was so huge between games one and two that I can't quite say. It's obvious that the run blocking needs to improve, but if the pass blocking can stay at the level that we saw against California, then the Buffaloes will find success.
3) What score would it take in Saturday's game for you to walk out feeling completely satisfied and happy about this team?
Bob: 2-0. I just want a win. Can't go into Columbus 0-3. Need some momentum to start Pac-12 play.
Ash: Um, 70-0? Actually, I'd be fine with a score of 17-7 or so as long as we actually play well for all four quarters of football.
David: I honestly don't know. At this point, I just want a win. A big one would be nice, but beggars can't be choosers...can they? Mostly, I want to see improvement again this week from our guys. If that happens, I'll be pleased. Also, a 30 point win would do the trick. You know what would truly leave me feeling good about the Buffs? Us scoring 40+ and allowing fewer than 10 points. Say, 43-3?
Jon: I don't care if the Buffs are 0-2, I'm not going to be happy with "just a win". I want a two touchdown plus win. I know it's a rivalry game. Plenty of teams blow out their rivals. I want to be done with the stress by halftime.
1) What team has surprised/impressed you the most through the first two weeks of the season?
Bob: The team that jumps out is Wisconsin. Adding Russell Wilson is really paying dividends and should give Big 10 teams fits when conference play starts. I am having a hard time envisioning someone beating the Badgers especially with Nebraska at home.
Ash: Actually South Carolina has been surprising in being able to magically win. They're excitingly incompetent at times.
David: Auburn. I know they graduated a lot of talent, but they were a pretty impressive team last year. Of course, after seeing Cam Newton in his professional debut, I guess he was the real deal after all. But seriously, how do you fall that far that fast?
Jon: Well, Baylor's dominant offense against TCU was surprising, but we also haven't been able to see them play a second contest yet. I'm going to go with two Florida schools, but not the two that you are probably thinking of. Both UCF and FIU have looked fantastic (so has South Florida for that matter) in both of their first two games, each getting a solid win over a BCS school. As circumstance would have it, UCF heads to FIU this Saturday in a game that could turn out to be great, especially for the team that leaves 3-0. Wait, doesn't the Big 12 need three teams? Hmmm... taking the three (about 30% serious here) might be an interesting way to make inroads to Florida recruiting...
2) After two weeks of play in the Pac-12, do you see any coaching hot seats getting warmer? Who do you see getting fired at the end of the season (or before)?
Bob: I think Paul Wulff is pulling himself off the hot seat. UCLA's Rick Neuheisel is squarely on it right now. This Texas game will be big for him.
Ash: Warm seats; Rick Neuheisal (CAL-LA), Mike Riley (Oregon St), and Mike Stoops (Arizona). Fired? I've gotta go with the worst 1-1 team, UCLA.
David: Mike Riley's seat certainly can't be comfortable at the moment. But my vote for first coach ever to be fired by a Pac-12 team is Rick Neuheisel (definitely typed that out as 'Nick Reuheisel' at first...). It already looks like he's lost his team.
Jon: Entering the season the "warmest" seats in the conference were Paul Wulff and Rick Neuheisel. Slightly warm were Mike Stoops and Jeff Tedford. Wulff and Tedford look to be just fine, and barring a complete meltdown will both likely be back next season. Stoops and Neuheisel on the other hand could be in serious trouble if their teams don't rebound to make a decent bowl.
3) Give me the final scores:
- Oklahoma @ Florida State
- West Virginia @ Maryland
- Ohio State @ Miami
- Michigan State @ Notre Dame
- Texas @ UCLA
- Oklahoma @ Florida State Oklahoma 31-21
- West Virginia @ Maryland Maryland 30-27
- Ohio State @ Miami OSU 24 - 21
- Michigan State @ Notre Dame Just want to let everyone know, the teams I follow the most are 0-5 (Buffs, Notre Dame and the Broncos) so my sports experience this year has been awesome. I am going down in flames - Notre Dame 31-30
- Texas @ UCLA Yuck Texas 20-17
- Oklahoma 44 @ Florida State 38
- West Virginia 30 @ Maryland 35
- Ohio State 33 @ Miami 30 OT
- Michigan State 36 @ Notre Dame 18
- Texas 27 @ UCLA 23
- Oklahoma 33 @ Florida State 26
- West Virginia 27 @ Maryland 25
- Ohio State 28 @ Miami 17
- Michigan State 29 @ Notre Dame 13
- Texas 13 @ UCLA 7
- Oklahoma @ Florida State - 1,000 - 0 (34-27)
- West Virginia @ Maryland - 31 - 20
- Ohio State @ Miami - 14 - 24
- Michigan State @ Notre Dame - 24 - 31
- Texas @ UCLA - 17 - 3
1) You can live anywhere in the world, outside of the United States, where would you go?
Bob: Denver, Colorado. Nowhere else. Yes I am lame.
Ash: Mediterranean France. We'll say Marseilles for argument's sake. Beach, mountains, and castles all piled on top of each other, and within striking distance of anywhere that's been anything in western culture in the last 3000 years. And me in a villa on a hilla with grapes and wine and sun. Or Barcelona. (which is basically the same but with Catalan instead of French).
David: Antarctica. Seriously, I still wish I'd studied meteorology so that I could've tried to spend a winter at the research station on top of Mount Washington. I'm a little nuts, but I love the insanely cold weather, snowshoeing and all sorts of things that I'm pretty sure would classify me as clinically insane.
Jon: If this were a few years ago I would have to say Vancouver because I have to be able to watch all the sports I want and it's an awesome city (outside of, you know, the locals destroying it for kicks), but these days you can pretty much watch whatever you want online. I would say Spain or South America, but I hate naps. They love naps. I'd say England or Holland, but there's not enough sun. I'm going to go with the Carribean. I'd have to do some research to pick an island though.