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October 23, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-23

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8A - Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Top-25 showdowns fill Langlais steps upto
slate for this weekend lea thinned defense

Cowboys take on
Longhorns in
Big 12 clash
By FELIX CARREON
and TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Writers
The winner of the last three
BCS championships has been
either a Southeastern Confer-
ence or Big 12 team. And the
dominance of those two confer-
ences is evident again this year,
with the pair boasting three of
the top five and seven of the top
10 teams in the first BCS rank-
ings. That means many of this
week's matchups feature top-25
or unbeaten teams.
NO.7 GEORGIA AT NO.13
LOUISIANA STATE
Bothteamscomeintothegame
with one loss, butcrecentcparity in
college football has meant great
conferences produce winners
with at least one loss. Last year,
Louisiana State won the SEC and
the National Championship after
two triple-overtime losses in the
regular season.
The loser of this game, with
two losses, will be all but elimi-
nated from conversation of a
national championship. Pre-
season No. 1 Georgia and the
defending champion Tigers both
have alot at stake.
This battle between SEC
West (Louisiana State) and SEC
East (Georgia) will match high-
powered offenses against fast
and tenacious defenses. Georgia
quarterback Matthew Stafford's
arm might prove to be the differ-
ence, and both coaches won't be
afraid to take their shots in this

chess match.
Guaranteed: The close game
is decided by a trick play called
by Louisiana State coach Les
Miles. The running back pass
is snuffed out by a referee who
tackles Tigers running back
Charles Scott as he tries to
throw the football. Strangely, it
is the same referee who tackled
the South Carolina quarterback
in their game against the Tigers
last week. It proves to be the dif-
ference in the game as Georgia
beats Louisiana State, 31-24.
NO. 6 OKLAHOMA STATE VS.
NO.1 TEXAS
Texas quarterback Colt
McCoy, Heisman front-runner,
aims to keep the No. 1 Long-
horns on top of the Big 12 Sat-
urday against No. 6 Oklahoma
State. The Longhorns are a week
removed from handing No. 16
Missouri its worst loss of the
season, 56-31. While most of the
attention will focus on McCoy,
Oklahoma State quarterback Zac
Robinson has also garnered some
Heisman talk by throwing for
nearly 1,500 yards and 14 touch-
downs. Look for Robinson to
connect with wide receiver Dez
Bryant, one of the best receivers
in the conference with 11 touch-
downs.
If Texas wants to find itself in
the BCS title game, it will need to
improve its defensive play. Texas
has allowed over 30 points in the
last two games against ranked
opponents, No. 16 Missouri and
No. 4 Oklahoma. If the Long-
horns give up at least 30 points
to the Cowboys, expect Okla-
homa State to capitalize and put
the Longhorns' conference and
national title hopes in jeopardy.

The winner will be in firm con-
trol of the South Division title
and sit atop the Big 12.
Guaranteed: The Longhorns
to continue their rampage
against ranked foes in the Big
12. McCoy will throw for three
touchdowns, two to wide receiv-
er Jordan Shipley. Oklahoma
State will lead at the break but
Texas will rely on the consistent
play of McCoy to best the Cow-
boys, 35-28.
NO. 8 TEXAS TECH VS. NO. 23
KANSAS
In another Big 12 matchup, No.
8 Texas Tech aims to continue its
explosive offensive play against
No. 23 Kansas. In a battle of pre-
mier quarterbacks, Texas Tech
quarterback Graham Harrell will
aim to cement the Red Raiders'
place among the conference elite.
His top target, wide receiver
Michael Crabtree, is one of the
nation's best with 12 touchdown
receptions.
The Jayhawks lead the North
Division of the Big 12, and Kansas
quarterback Todd Reesing will
need to rebound fromatwo-inter-
ception performance last week in
a 45-31 loss to Oklahoma.
In a game with potent offens-
es, defense will be the difference.
The Kansas offensive line must
protect Reesing for the Jayhawks
to have a chance.
Guaranteed: Harrell will
throw for four touchdowns, two
to Crabtree. Expect the Red
Raider defense to pressure quar-
terback Todd Reesing early and
often. The Red Raiders will con-
tinue to continue their offensive
onslaught against the Jayhawks,
42-28.

By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
Last weekend's stats for sopho-
more defenseman Chad Langlais
were pretty easy to overlook.
No goals. No assists. No shots.
But accord-
ing to Michigan Niagara at
hockey coach Red
Berenson, a good Michigan
defenseman is Matchup:
hard to notice. Niagara 1-2-1
"When you're Michigan 3-1-0
looking at a When: Tonight,
defenseman, you 7:35 p.m.
don't judge them
by their good Where: Yost
plays," Berenson
said last week. TV: Fox
"You judge them College Sports
by their mistakes.
It's just the nature of the game....
If you don't notice the defenseman,
he's not making turnovers or getting
beat down on the line, he's probably
having a good game."
With the loss of senior cap-
tain Mark Mitera and junior Steve
Kampfer to injuries, Michigan needs
Langlais to keep playing mistake-
free hockey as his minutes on ice
increase.
Thursday's home game against
Niagara (1-2-1) will showcase the
new look of the Michigan defense
corps to the Yost Ice Arena crowd.
Berenson calls the unit "thinner."
It's younger and less experienced,
but it also has something to prove.
After splitting their series at
Northern Michigan last weekend,
the Wolverines (3-1-0, 1-1-0 CCHA)
need to step up their defensive effort,
however short-handed they may be.
Langlais might just be the player
to lead the charge.
Langlais came to Michigan as
a 20-year-old freshman last fall,
after playing two years of Juniors
with the Lincoln Stars of the United
States Hockey League.

Sophomore Chad Langlais was a power-play specialist last season, but he hopes to
help lead the Michigan defense this year.

Now, the second-oldest blueliner
on the roster will have to lead the
defense like a veteran - even though
he's just a sophomore.
Still, Michigan assistant coach
Billy Powers stressed the impor-
tance of not adding pressure to the
defensemen who are filling the void
left by injuries.
"You have to do what you're capa-
ble of," Powers said. "We just need
him to continue doing what he's
doing. It's good enough."
In the Wolverines' season opener
againstSt.Lawrence,Langlaistallied
the first goal of his collegiate career
midway through the second period.
Before the season, he said he thinks
he can be a more offensive defense-
man this season, even though it's not
his coaches' main focus.
Last year, Langlais had 19
assists, and teammates have said he
improved his passing from then to
now, a development his coaches see,
too. Powers said this could be Lan-
glais' "breakout year."
Berenson agrees.
"Right from the get-go, I saw in

him that he has the vision and the
skill," Berenson said.
Junior defenseman Chris Sum-
mers called Langlais "one of the
smartest guys on the team" because
of his on-ice prowess.
Langlais has been a constant fix-
ture on the Wolverines' top power
play unit since the beginning of last
season. Power-play skaters possess
certain intangible qualities in their
games - like clear vision, quick
reaction time and awareness - and
they make Langlais special.
"He has gifts and skills that you
cannot teach," Powers said.
This year, the Michigan coach-
ing staff expects him to "quarter-
back" the power-play group, leading
the way with his experience and
increased confidence.
It's time for teammates to look up
to the 5-foot-8 defenseman.
"He's a warrior, he battles, and he
plays bigger than his size," Powers
said. "He's elusive. He's patient. We
need him to continue being a domi-
nant force at both ends of the ice.
He's off to a good start."

6
6

STAFF PICKS
The Daily football
writers do their best
to predict what happens
in the 2008 college
football season.

Dan
Feldman

Nate
Sandals

courtney
Ratkowiak

ian
Robinson

Vince
Coughlin

Michigan (+4)vs. Michiga.n State Michigan Michigan Michigan Michigan State Michigan
No1 Texas (-12.5) vs. No.7 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Texas
No.2 Alabama (7) at Tennessee Alaama Tennessee Alaama. Alaama Tennessee
No.3 Penn State (-2.5) at No.10 Ohio State Oio . State Ohio State Ohio State
No.4 Oklahoma (-19) at Kansas State Kansas State Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
No. 5 Florida (-25) vs. Kentucky Florida Florida Florida. Florida Florida
No.6 .Souhern .Ca .(-16) .a.Arizon.... :.__. . ............. ........... .._... ........... ..._ ..._ ......
No6 Southern Cal (16) at Arizona Arizona Southern Cal Arizona Southern Cal Southern Cal
No.8 Texas Tech (-25) at No.19 Kansas Texas Tech Kansas Texas Tech Texas Tech Texas Tech
No.9 Georgia (+2.5) at No.11 Louisiana State Georgia Louisiana Sate..........Georgia Louisiana State Georgia
... ....... .............. ..... ......................................................................
o 13 Boise State(-7.5) at San..se Stte SanJose Stateoise State San Jose State Bose State Boise State
No.3 ..s.Sat.Sn.tae.ouh.loid.................................._ae. ........
No. 14 South Flrida (-5) at Louisville South Florida Louisville South Florida
No.15 Texas Christian (-31.)vs. Wyoming Texas Christian Texas Christian Texan Christian Texas Christian Texas Christian
No. 16 Missouri (-22) xs. Colrado Colorado Missouri Colorado . Clrado :Clorado
No.17 Pittsburgh (-9) vs. Rutgers Rutgers Pittsburgh Rutgers Pittsburgh Rutgers
No.18 Brigham Young (-23) vs. UNLV UNLV UNLV Brigham Young Brigham Young Bigham Young
No. 20 lull State (-24) vs. tastern Michigan Ball State Ball State Ball State Bal State Ball State
No. 21 Georgia Tech (-12) vs. Virginia Virginia Georgia Tech Virginia Virginia Virginia
No. 22 Tulsa (-23.5) vs. Central Florida Tulsa Tulsa Tulsa Tulsa Tulsa
No. 23 Boston College (+3) at North Carolina Boston College Boston College Boston College.Boston College North Carolina
No.24 Florida State (-4.5) vs. Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Florida State Florida State Florida State
No. .....a...._adu . Mineot..............Min.o...Mineot.Prde . ..n...a......
.lll5 inneoa()axudeMneoaMneoa Mi(-2.o)aatuWiscoinsinot
Ilios(25 tWsosnWisconsin Illinois Illinois Wiscnsin Wiscnsin
test Bet South Florida UNLV Virgiia Florida Ohio State
Record Last Week 11-9-0 (1-0) 5-15-0 (0-1) 12-8-0 (0-1) 13-7-0 (0-1) 11-9-0 (0-1)
OverallIecord 106-78-253 97-87-2 (62) 105-79-2 (5-2-1) 106-78-23 5 (2-6
Remember, if you want your chance to be a star, e-mail danfeld@umich.edu. If you're chosen and can beat at least two of us, you'll stay on for another week.
The longest tenured guest picker will get a prize at the end of the season.

6
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6

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Email sandals@michigandaily.com.

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