USC's loss lifts the hopes of other national title contenders
Situation Room: Nation celebrates USC's shocking loss
OU, Penn State, Georgia hope to avoid similar fateBy Rece Davis, ESPN.com
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While Pete Carroll and USC were upset about the crash in Corvallis, the rest of the nation rejoiced.
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Sam Bradford and OU are primed to take over the top spot.
Coach's Corner: Balanced AttacksFormer defensive coordinator and head coach Bob Davie will share his thoughts on various topics throughout this season.
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Knowshon Moreno and the Georgia running game pose tough challenges for the defense.
1. We hear a lot about the spread offense in college football. Let's talk about the challenges that a balanced offense (a running and passing team) presents to a defense.Bob Davie: When a team is balanced on offense, you have to be just as balanced defensively. You're going to split your time during the week on a game plan, practice and preparation, and it's going to be split between the run and the pass. It's almost like you're preparing for two different offenses: the power old-school game and a wide-open passing attack. If you're playing Texas Tech, for instance, you're going to spend all your time on the pass. But Georgia is a great example of a team that's truly balanced. You know where they're going to be, but they out-execute you because you have to defend all phases of the game. The thing that's most difficult is that you can't really out-scheme the Bulldogs. They don't give you a steady dose of something where you can use a lot of schemes. They maintained some of that old-school offense that Mark Richt had at Florida State, and they do it extremely well. You're going to have a certain amount of practice to deal with the physical nature of matching up with them versus a spread team, which is almost all scheme. You're not really preparing for the power aspect with a spread offense. 2. What's the game plan when you go against a team that runs a balanced attack? Davie: It always comes down to matchups. It's not the scheme that beats you, it's the players that beat you. But you go into the game focused on stopping the run. To use the example of Georgia, you have to worry about Knowshon Moreno. If they don't have to throw it, they're not going to throw it. They're good enough to throw, with those dynamic wide receivers. They're balanced because they have a dynamic running back, dynamic wide receivers and a quarterback who can both run and throw. It's harder to overload or concentrate on one thing. 3. How big a role do these wideouts play in a balanced offense? When you line up with two backs in the backfield, often people are going to get up there and load the box on you to stop the running game. You have to have great wide receivers who can go one-on-one because of the kind of defenses you're going to get against two backs. So not many teams have the personnel on defense to load up in the box and also to match up with star wide receivers. When you spread people out, you create matchup problems. When you go with two backs, like Georgia, you can play a lot of different defenses against that, but they have the ability, with those receivers, to be one-on-one. They remind me a lot of when Miami, with the Larry Coker-Butch Davis teams, was really good on offense. When Florida State was really good, it had the element of the running game but it also had dynamic wide receivers. 4. Which offense would you prefer to run? Davie: It comes down to personnel. If I had the personnel, I would want to run a balanced pro offense. I would rather be in an offense like USC and Georgia, but if you don't have the great players on the perimeter, you're going to have to spread them out and create a spread scheme. That's why college offenses have changed more toward the spread, and that's why you see the parity. You better have really good wide receivers and running backs if you're going to run that offense.
Viewer's Guide(All times ET) Saturday:
10 a.m.: College GameDay from Athens, Ga. (ESPN)
Noon: Michigan State at Indiana (ESPN)
Virginia at Duke (ESPNU)
Northwestern at Iowa (ESPN Classic)
North Carolina at Miami (ESPN2)
3:30 p.m.: Arkansas at Texas (ABC)
Wisconsin at Michigan (ABC)
Fresno State at UCLA (ABC)
Colorado at Florida State (ABC)
3:45 p.m.: Navy at Wake Forest (ESPNU)
7:30 p.m.: Mississippi State at LSU (ESPN2)
South Florida at NC State (ESPNU)
7:45 p.m.: Alabama at Georgia (ESPN)
8 p.m.: Illinois at Penn State (ABC)
Virginia Tech at Nebraska (ABC)
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