College Football: Week Four Review

Bryan FlynnAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 01:  Quarterback Ben Chappell #4 of the Indiana Hooisers passes the ball downfield during the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Memorial Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It was a wild week four in college football. Nearly every team in the top 25 was either upset or had a scare put in them.

The top three teams were not challenged in their game. Two of the three did suffer a loss of another kind.

One coach has jumped onto the hot seat because his team looked lifeless this week, and several teams are still looking for their identity going into the fourth week.

A team got hosed in the “Big House,” and no one has taken a lead in the Heisman race. As the calendar changes to October, here is a look back at week four and the first month.

Top 25 upsets the norm in 2009

For the first time since 1990, the first four weeks of the season have opened up with an upset in the top five. It all started with Oklahoma going down to BYU, and next was Oklahoma State going down to Houston.

Week three saw USC losing at Washington, and week four saw both Ole Miss and Penn State going down in the same week. Week four saw more surprises in the top 25 as well.

California got caught looking ahead to this week against USC. Washington had a letdown against Stanford.

FSU lost at home for the second time this season after blowing out BYU. Miami got slammed on the road against Virginia Tech.

North Carolina could not stop Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jackets bounced back from the Miami loss. Even if top 25 teams won this Saturday, most still struggled to get a win over unranked foes.

LSU needed a goal line stand to end Mississippi State’s upset bid. Michigan needed a bad call to slip past Indiana.

Kansas had to outlast Southern Miss to get a win at home. Cincinnati outlasted a very game Fresno State team.

TCU needed a late touchdown to get past Clemson on the road. Georgia nearly gave one away against Arizona State. Houston outlasted Texas Tech in a shootout to keep its BCS dreams alive.

College football has few teams that can dominate their whole schedule anymore. Small, or unranked teams are not in awe of the big programs anymore.

The parody in college football has caught up with every team, and the six major conferences do not have any huge advantages anymore. The upsets will keep on coming for the rest of this season and seasons to come.

Injuries strike again

After Sam Bradford went down in week one and Matt Grothe in week three everyone in college football hoped injures to big-time players were over. The fourth week of the season showed us that any player can go down.

Alabama suffered its biggest loss of the season when it found out Dont'a Hightower will miss the rest of the season. Hightower was one of the starting linebackers for the third ranked Crimson Tide.

The Tides defense will now have to replace one of its defensive stars. Alabama was not the only SEC team to have an injury.

Leading Kentucky 31-7 midway through the third quarter, Florida Gators are regretting their decision to leave senior quarterback Tim Tebow in the game. Tebow’s head struck fellow teammate Marcus Gilbert's leg while being sacked.

The Gators now hope Tebow can recover in time for their biggest test of the season in two weeks against LSU. Florida’s quarterback was not the only single caller to suffer an injury.

Baylor saw what could have been their first bowl season in 12 years take a serious hit when Robert Griffin injured his knee. The injury occurred on a fourth down play in the opening series of the game against Northwestern State.

Griffin and the Bears where hoping to break the longest streak without a bowl. They are tied with Duke for the honor after Vanderbilt went to a bowl last season.

Ron Zook jumps on to the hot seat after OSU loss

Illinois has had two nationally televised games and has laid an egg in both. The Illini was taken to the woodshed in the first game of the season against Missouri.

They bounced back against Illinois State for their first win of the season. Then with two weeks to prepare, the Illini were spanked by the Buckeyes, 30-0.

Illinois looked just as bad offensively as they did defensively. After having two weeks to get ready, the Illini should have been better prepared to play.

These two games have to fall squarely on head of coach Ron Zook. There might not be a better recruiter than Zook. There definitely are better coaches.

With the players and talent Illinois had returning this season, a 1-3 start is not terrible, but the way they lost makes it bad. The Illini cannot afford to lose badly again if their coaches hope to keep their jobs. This season could be heading down the tubes fast.

Can we find the real Florida State

Which team is the real Florida State? The team that pounded BYU in Provo or the team that lost to Miami, narrowly beat Jacksonville State, and lost to South Florida.

The loss to the Bulls was not the huge upset most have made it out to be; South Florida is a very good football team.

The defensive line for South Florida owned the Seminoles' offensive line for most of the game. The Florida State secondary was burned for big plays in the passing game in the first half as the offense shot itself in the foot with turnovers.

The Seminoles are not the only team looking for an identity. You can add Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, and now California to the list.

If these teams have high hopes for the rest of the season, they need to find that missing identity fast. The second month of the season will make or break all of these teams.

Indiana finds out the Big Ten has something worse than its bowl record: The officials

Michigan can take solace in the fact that they are 4-0 this season. But they just as easily could be 2-2 this season.

Bad play calling by Notre Dame allowed the Wolverines to escape with a win.  The officials helped Michigan beat a very game Indiana team.

Late in the fourth quarter and down by three points, Indiana had one last chance. The Hoosiers' quarterback Ben Chappell was throwing a slant route to Demarlo Belcher when he and Michigan corner Donovan Warren both came up with the ball.

In the case of simultaneous possession, the tie goes to the offense. Somehow the officials ruled Warren had intercepted the pass after ripping the ball away from Belcher.

Instead of making the call of simultaneous possession, which would have allowed Indiana to keep the football, they had to turn it over to Michigan.

The play should have been fixed with instant replay, but the officials let the play stand. This obviously blown call was not reversed.

The Big Ten should not let these officials call another game, ever. These officials should not even be allowed to call a Pop Warner game.

Indiana had not beaten Michigan since 1987 and had not won at the “Big House” since 1967. While the Hoosiers might not have won the game, they were never given a true chance.

The Big Ten should suspend those game officials for the rest of the season. If they cannot get a simple call right, like the one last Saturday, they should never be allowed to officiate another game.

Michigan could have won the game, but Indiana was robbed out of their chance at winning that game. That was one of the worst officiated games in the history of college football.

Conference Rankings


Georgia bounced back with a big out-of-conference win over Arizona State, and the conference as a whole has only lost two non-conference games overall.

South Carolina did not get much respect, but people around the SEC knew how good their defense was. The Rebels will bounce back and have a good season as well. Overall, the SEC from top to bottom is a superior conference.

The SEC East only has one undefeated team and the SEC West has three undefeated teams. Alabama could be the best team in the country, and the Gators still have time to become the best team.


The Big-12 moved up this week after all its ranked teams won. The conference took a hit the first two weeks of the season.

Since then, the conference has bounced back. The Big-12 has four undefeated teams heading in to October.

The conference has some huge games in the second month of the season and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford should return.


The Pac-10 had its highest ranked team lose for the second straight week. California not only lost to Oregon—they got pounded by the Ducks.

Washington joined the top 25 for a week, and then decided not to show up against Stanford. The Trojans righted the ship with Matt Barkley returning.

This conference is as solid as the Big-12 but the top teams have to be more consistent.

Big Ten

The top ranked Big Ten team was upset at home against Iowa in the form of Penn State. The Nittany Lions have lost to the Hawkeyes seven times this decade.

Ohio State kept right on winning Big Ten games, and Michigan is a being talked about for winning and nothing else. The Big Ten is not as good as the Pac-10 or the Big-12 but the other BCS conferences are not trying to get past the Big Ten.

Big East

The Big East came up with big wins over the ACC. South Florida beat Florida State on the road, and Rutgers got a win over Maryland.

The Bearcats of Cincinnati beat a very good Fresno State team at home, and Pitt narrowly missed a chance to beat North Carolina State on the road.

This conference is on the rise and Cincinnati looks like the real read. South Florida is undefeated as well but remains a mystery after Grothe’s injury.


The rest of the ACC needs to send Virginia Tech a thank you note. The main reason being that without the Hokies, the ACC as conference would be the laughing stock of the BCS qualifiers.

The ACC has some very tough losses this season, and Florida State did them no favors this weekend. Miami gets a little slack because of the rough schedule they have played in the first three weeks.

The Hurricanes get a big chance against Oklahoma in week five with or without Sam Bradford in the lineup. The ACC needs some big wins quick and hope Virginia Tech does not slip.

No player so far has laid claim to the Heisman in the first four weeks of the season. By default, the two contenders have to be Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.

There is a lot of time left in the season and a Heisman winner will make his way to the head of the pack.  October brings color changes to the leaves and a nip in the air.

Before the month is over, the ghouls and ghosts will go bump in the night and someone might get a trick instead of a treat.


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