And once again
The month of September has provided surprises, disappointments, huge upsets and injuries to two Heisman trophy winners. Just when you thought you had a grasp of this year’s college football season, the opening week of conference play reminds us all that anything can and will happen.
With a quarter of the season gone, it’s time to re-evaluate what we've learned so far and try to piece together what we can expect to see unfold in the coming weeks.
Despite being much improved from top-to-bottom, with Iowa taking out Penn State for the second straight year, and Ohio State losing to the Southern Cal in week two, the conference looks to be sitting on the outside looking-in of the national championship picture.
For the first time in about 10 years, no team has established themselves as the clear-cut favorite to win the championship. Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss all fell out of the Top-five, Florida “struggled” against Tennessee and has looked vulnerable in the run game, and except for last week against UTEP the Longhorns have failed to put together two good halves in one game.
Surprisingly, Alabama has played the most impressive football in September. So, are the Tide emerging as the team to beat? What about Boise State and Virginia Tech?
October should help sort this mess out. (See letter "L")
Sometimes September is all about surviving.
LSU got a gutsy goal line stand on the road against Mississippi State, while Nebraska let an opportunity to finally beat a Top 20 team slip through their fingers.
Jevan Snead couldn’t get Ole Miss’ offense going in time against South Carolina, and Oklahoma State couldn’t put away a pesky Houston squad.
Good teams find a way to put teams away and win close games, while others let victory and Championship aspirations slip away.
Big Ten officials miss calls every year. Last week they botched a call late in the fourth quarter of the Indiana-Michigan game, giving the ball to the Wolverines during a simultaneous catch situation.
You can’t help but wonder if the conference was chasing money, trying to get the Wolverines into the Top 25.
This Saturday is filled with teams getting tested for the first time. For Texas A&M, you can only creampuff a schedule for so long. Are Auburn a contender for the SEC West? Can Wisconsin and Michigan win on the road against a conference rival to stay perfect on the season?
This week should go long ways in gauging which teams are legitimate contenders in their respective conferences.
Dear Joe Pa,
Since the whiteout doesn’t seem to be working, should we maybe try a blueout sometime soon?
Penn State Student Council
Three players hopes took a huge hit this past weekend: Cal’s Jahvid Best got blasted by Oregon, Jacory Harris was humbled by Virginia Tech, and Tim Tebow got a little taste of what it’s like to be Sam Bradford.
Granted, all three will still have opportunities to get back into the Heisman picture, but at this point it looks like the trophy is Colt McCoy’s to lose.
Newbie’s putting up big numbers this season:
Former Duke point guard, Greg Paulus, has brought some much-needed excitement back to a struggling Syracuse football program. The QB has ‘Cuse fans believing they could go bowling this winter.
Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis has picked up right where LeSean McCoy left off. The freshman is fourth in the nation in rushing, with 493 yards and has already found the end zone seven times this season.
Ryan Williams has been opportunistic at Virginia Tech, filling in for injured starter Darren Evans. Williams is averaging 123 ypg and has been a huge factor in Hokies success this season.
Jumping to Conclusions (Predictions for next week)
Upset Special: Washington 31 Notre Dame 27
Could be in trouble: Purdue 28 Northwestern 27
Closer than you think: Alabama 24 Kentucky 17
No way Jose: Ole Miss 27 Vanderbilt 10
Four game parlay of the week:
Ole Miss -9 ½
Washington +12 ½
Best matchups in October:
Saturday Oct. 10
Florida vs. LSU
Alabama vs. Ole Miss
Michigan vs. Iowa
Saturday Oct. 17
Oklahoma vs. Texas
USC vs. Notre Dame
Saturday Oct. 30
Georgia vs. Florida
Texas vs. Oklahoma State
USC vs. Oregon
Boise State, TCU and Houston all remain in the BCS picture. The Cougars have already taken down two Big 12 south squads in Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
TCU went to Clemson and got a win last week and the Horn Frogs still have games against Mississippi State and BYU left on the schedule to impress pollsters.
Boise State opened the season with a win over Oregon and has arguably looked the best of the three.
For the first time since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series, we could be looking at two mid-major stealing BCS bids.
No your not…
ESPN College Gamedayin Chestnut Hill for Florida State vs. Boston College this weekend?
TCU, Michigan, LSU
Using this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, here is how an eight-team playoff would look like if the season were to end today:
Florida vs. Oklahoma
Texas vs. Southern Cal
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
Louisiana State vs. Boise State
How important is scheduling tough non-conference opponents?
Do you think playing against Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana got Ole Miss prepared to open the SEC conference on the road at South Carolina?
Are playing Akron, Syracuse and Temple helping Penn State now?
But still so many programs are scared to play a tough early schedule.
Oklahoma and Virginia Tech both scheduled tough foes early and lost, but are still in the hunt for a BCS title.
It’s a fact
Is your team not getting the hype they deserve?
Having trouble picking games?
Want to get into next weeks article?
Post a comment or question below or you can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of wishes to USC tailback Stafon Johnson, who was the victim of a freak weightlifting accident. Johnson had to have a seven-hour emergency surgery after the bar slipped out of his hand while bench pressing and landed on his throat
We wish you a healthy recovery and the best of luck in your pursuit to return to the football field.
What to watch for next week:
Southern Cal vs. California
Oklahoma vs. Miami
Michigan vs. Michigan State
LSU vs. Georgia
Video of the Week
Texas pulled Colt McCoy in the second half, so with Florida comfortably ahead of Kentucky should Tim Tebow have been in the game?
What we're sure of...
The Pac Ten conference will end up being the most competitive from top to bottom.
Besides Washington State, every team in the conference has a winning record.
Washington, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona have all improved this season, and Arizona State showed they would be tough to beat, taking Georgia down to the wire last week.
Come season’s end the conference could be looking at nine bowl eligible teams.
Guys that probably aren’t a household name, but will be in the NFL draft come April.
RB Ryan Mathews (Fresno State), LB Eric Norwood (South Carolina), RB Darius Marshall (Marshall), and Mike Williams (Syracuse).
Your projected BCS bowl match-ups
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Ohio State
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Southern Cal
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Cincinnati
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Boise State
National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Texas
Zzzzzzz (Teams the country shouldn’t sleep on)
Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, West Virginia, UCLA, Oregon