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Tire Fire Alert: Week Four

Over the past few seasons, The Solid Verbal has spoken, retroactively, about the most egregious weekly performances in the world of college football.  These lowlights, referenced lovingly as “tire fires”, have become a regular part of the podcast, as well as the sport’s lexicon.  In late 2011, EA Sports felt compelled to add a “Tire Fire Offense” badge to its NCAA 12 video game, offering a small pat on the back to gamers with poor offensive aptitude.  In real college football, though, tire fires should never be considered notable or noble achievements.  Fans around the country, from Iowa to… Iowa, need some forewarning in order to steer clear, or at least stock up on flame retardant gear.  Thankfully, as technology has advanced, so has our ability to spot danger well in advance.  Starting today, you’re officially on notice…


 

The Week Four schedule is a tire fire. Plain and simple. There’s only one matchup between ranked teams (Arizona State at Stanford) and a whole host of others with blowout potential written all over them. If you’re into the repugnant, then this weekend is one for you. I’ve taken care to dig through the mound of tires that is this weekend’s college football games to find the most flammable. Keep your distance, but let’s check them out…

Teddy Bridgewater will be armed with a flamethrower against FIU…

During Week One, I had the privilege of seeing the tire fire that is Florida International in person against the Maryland Terrapins. Whenever I watch a Maryland game, I normally expect the Terps to play down to or below its opponent (i.e., The 2012 home opener). As I did my scouting heading into the August 31st game, I gave the utmost respect to the Golden Panthers.

I tried to think positively about new head coach Ron Turner’s change in offense from a spread-based scheme to a more traditional under-center operation. I tried to talk myself into Jake Medlock being a decent quarterback and improving in a new system. I tried to embrace a defensive line that boasts two potential NFL prospects. I really thought they’d make a game of it with the Terps.

Nope.

They got blasted, 43-10, in College Park. And when you get blasted in College Park, it’s normally a poor barometer for your program.

It’s only unraveled from there. The next week they were shutout at home by UCF with the Black Knights putting up a cool 48 in the Miami heat.  FCS side Bethune-Cookman came to town next, laying another beat down on the Golden Panthers, sticking them in a 115-23 hole on the season.

After the game, the players took to Twitter to call for backup quarterback E.J. Hilliard and Turner called his team out in the post-game presser. Que lío. The internal strife is enough to bury this team for the rest of the year, and with a trip to No. 7 Louisville this weekend, burning rubber will be in the air.

All of the Panthers’ problems are compounded by the fact that Teddy Bridgewater has already thrown for 1002 yards this season.

Ya, they’re doomed.

The best thing about FIU is they could participate in a potential Tire Fire Game of the Year next week at Southern Miss.

Frank Beamer does not produce NFL quarterbacks…

If I’m ever feeling down and in need of a good laugh, I turn back the pages of the Internet about year to read proclamations of Logan Thomas’ greatness and how he could land near the top of the 2013 NFL Draft.

As an adamant, life-long detractor of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, I know Frank Beamer isn’t churning out any legitimate quarterback prospects.

Just as I suspected, Thomas certainly did not look NFL-ready last season and continues with his struggles early on in 2013. He’s looked poor in his two starts against FBS competition—in the opener he went 5-26 for 59 yards and an interception. I know, I know… it was against Alabama, but that performance against anyone is putrid. To make matters worse for Thomas, the wide receiver position is both depleted and marred by their inability to catch passes.

Now Marshall isn’t any sort of defensive powerhouse, but I guarantee they took note of East Carolina’s strategy of stacking the box against Virginia Tech’s mediocre-to-subpar running backs. The Hokies could only muster 1.6 yards per carry, ending up with only 53 yards on the day.

The Pirates wanted Thomas to throw the ball and the plan almost worked. Virginia Tech eventually did get a win with a Thomas tossing the clinching touchdown in the third quarter, but the win is mainly a credit to the team’s stellar defense.

The Hokies will most likely beat a kinda-maybe-alittlebit-frisky Marshall side needing only marginal play from the offense and a standard outing from the defense. Virginia Tech’s soft schedule will probably mask how ugly this offense is, but here at The Solid Verbal, we know the truth.

Connor Halliday’s big day out…

Idaho heading north to Washington State this weekend is a pretty insignificant blip on the college radar. Good thing we’re not interested in glitz and glam. It’s all about carnage.

Idaho is another bottom-of-the-barrel team, but I’d like to bring to light a particular weakness that is sure to be gashed: The Vandals passing defense. Don’t misinterpret, the defense is all-around terrible, giving up at least 40 points in its first three games. But against Mike Leach’s air raid, things could get ugly.

The Cougars have nearly three times as many passing attempts as they do rushes.  Those numbers will only drift farther apart come Saturday. The Cougars ran a season low 17 times against Southern Utah last week and onlookers should expect even fewer handoffs by quarterback Connor Halliday against a defense that is 106th in the national in passing yards allowed.

Idaho will probably get probably get throttled all season, but during a tire fire weekend, the biggest flames may come from Pullman.

Taylor Schwink hails from Maryland, but his college football fandom was forged during his time Morgantown, WV, where he witnessed the Mountaineers gag on a shot at the national title. He’s a connoisseur of sport and is capable of growing one of the finest beards you’ve ever seen. Follow him on Twitter @CTSchwink or listen to him spout Terrapin nonsense on Red Shell Radio.