Welcome to your Week Seven Tire Fire Alert. We do this as a public service, you know. This week, we’re featuring two God awful teams, a defense that’s about to get trampled underfoot and two more defenses set to feel the wrath of the SEC’s newfound fire power. As always, keep your distance, bring a polarized pair of shades and enjoy the dysfunction.
There’s a crucial matchup in the AAC …
… this weekend with South Florida at UConn. OK, maybe not so much. But in the interest of combustibility, this could be the one to watch. The bottom of the American Athletic Conference is a complete disaster and these two teams are right in the thick of it.
Important note: UConn got blasted by freakin’ Buffalo two weeks ago. Afterwards, even the normally mild-mannered UConn fans emerged from the rubble, lighting up the Reverb line and demanding Paul Pasqualoni’s head. The school obliged, firing Pasqualoni with a 10-18 record and naming offensive coordinator T.J. Weist the interim coach.
With the Huskies currently the proud owners of an 0-4 record, the bye week was supposed to be a welcome respite. Instead, it’s only brought more uncertainty, headlined by Weist’s decision to burn freshman Tim Boyle’s redshirt and start him at quarterback, further jettisoning the season. Sprinkle in the indefinite suspension of rotational offensive lineman Tyler Bullock, and we’ve got a scorcher up in Storrs.
South Florida is having a rough go of it as well this season and may have been the worst team in all of FBS after kicking things off with a blowout loss to FCS side McNeese. From there, the Bulls were smothered by Michigan State, beaten by fellow Sunshine State bottom feeder Florida Atlantic and slapped around by Miami.
These are trying times for the Bulls.
Until Cincinnati came to town last week, South Florida also held a shiny 0-4 record. The Bearcats gifted the Bulls a win with a five turnover performance, despite outgaining South Florida by 109 yards and keeping it out of the end zone.
Things are bad for both of these teams. However, it’s not too late for either side to avoid being completely engulfed by the AAC cellar flames. Every team outside of the top four (Louisville, Houston, Rutgers and UCF) is capable of beating the others in derp-like fashion. And yes, as a society, we’re still not 100-percent sure which teams reside in the AAC.
A South Florida win would put them at 2-0 in the conference, while a UConn win would pull them out of the ranks of the winless and provide an essential morale booster for a team that is a hot mess.
As always with these games, expect the unexpected and the desperate.
Purdue loves hanging out in the boiler room…
… which is seriously detrimental to one’s health. Not only because of the soot, flames and smoke caking the air; ever since I saw Titanic as a young lad, the thought of drowning in a boiler room still haunts my dreams. I digress.
Another season and the Purdue football team remains trapped inside the Big Ten boiler room, though, taking on flames instead of water. The Boilermakers’ lone win is against FCS Indiana State, while going 0-4 against Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. It’s not the worst gang of teams against whom to rack up losses, but this defense is getting thoroughly shredded. Purdue is giving up an average of 36.6 points per game, good for 114th in the nation.
And that’s where Nebraska comes in. The 4-1 Huskers will visit Ross-Ade Stadium this Saturday averaging 291.6 rushing yards per game. Fire alarms in West-Lafayette have been going off all week. Two weeks ago against run-happy Wisconsin, the Boilermakers were bludgeoned for 388 yards on the ground. Nebraska is one of the more mediocre 4-1 teams in the country, especially on defense, but it can and will run the ball right down your gullet.
Purdue’s only chance of survival would be to try and keep pace with the Husker offense, and because I couldn’t type that without smiling, the chance of it actually happening is miniscule. Look for the Huskers to abuse the Boilermaker defense and get its first win ever at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Stand-by for another shootout in Sanford…
… because the Missouri Tigers are coming to town and looking to torch the conventional three-team race in the SEC East and any defenses standing in its way. The least-talked-about undefeated team in the country, let alone the SEC, has been making opposing defenses look like chumps five games into the year. The Tigers’ balanced offensive attack has broken the 40-point mark four times this season and nearly did it again when it scored 38 against Toledo. Whether they win or lose, after this weekend against Georgia, the secret will be out on Missouri’s ability to mince a team’s defense. And don’t say I didn’t warn ya’ll when they make a Tire Fire of the SEC East and force officials to figure out all the relevant tiebreakers.
This Georgia team, on the other hand, is a well-known commodity, scoring in heaps, embarrassing defenses… and also embarrassing themselves on the defensive side of the ball. Entering into the season, the talk was always about how talented, yet, inexperienced the Georgia defense would be. Many also subscribed to the theory that the defense would only improve as the season went along. Now that we’ve arrived at Week Seven, we can conclude that this has not happened. While the Bulldogs score about 40 points per game, they’re also liable to give up about 32.
Despite injuries, I’m confident in Aaron Murray’s ability to continue distributing the ball to whoever is lining up outside, so look for Georgia to turn Missouri’s defense into a rubbery heap, but, as illustrated, the Tigers can do the same.
If we’re going to have a pair of defenses go up in flames anywhere in the country, I’d rather it be the SEC. These shootouts are far superior to the “big boy football” of yesteryear.
Be sure to have the fire department on hand, things could get out of control.