For those of us who can’t pay attention for full articles, only the finer points.
Best week of college football yet this season: lunch with the Cotton Bowl, an afternoon snack of upstarts (UNC-Notre Dame, Michigan State-N’Western), and a fine dinner of pick your own cuisine.
If you’d like a slobber knocker, go with the SEC’s premier matchup of Florida-LSU. If you’d like a “First to 60 points wins” type of game, watch Missouri-Oklahoma State. And if you’d like to watch a senior citizen try to figure out why the ground is shaking, watch Penn State at Wisconsin. I can’t wait for Saturday.
The most unexplainable loss of last week was Maryland losing to Virginia 31-0. Even the Fridge was left speechless after the game. Asked of his thoughts, his response was, “I don’t know, I just don’t know.” Losing to Virginia—it’ll leave you speechless.
The Red River Rivalry is just as much about how the defense plays as how the offense plays. Talking heads are blathering on and on about Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy but these two teams rank one and two in the Big 12 in total defense and scoring defense.
Oklahoma’s defense, more specifically corners Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson, will be in charge of keeping the ‘Horns wideouts in check, forcing Colt McCoy into check downs and scrambling. McCoy has done well with running the ball thus far, but he also hasn’t faced a defense that flies around like the Sooners.
Two stats I found interesting in looking into this game: Texas WR Jordan Shipley has seven touchdowns so far this season on only 24 receptions. That’s a TD once every 3.4 catches.
The other stat: Last year was the first time since 1997 the win margin was within a touchdown. Not a lot of tight nail-biters at the Texas State Fair. But plenty of fried food!
Can’t blame the defense: Kirk Ferentz and the term hot seat are becoming pretty synonymous with one another these days. Being the second-highest paid coach in the Big Ten (and the highest paid state employee in Iowa) and yet owner of a 3-3 record does that to a guy.
But you can’t blame the Hawkeyes defense. They own the nations’ second-best scoring defense at 11.2 points/game and just held Javon Ringer (the nation’s second-leading rusher...I’m feeling a lot of seconds in this segment) to his second (again!) lowest output of the season and first game without a touchdown.
I said it last week: South Florida would lose if George Selvie didn’t regain his dominance on the outside. He had two tackles and zero sacks. USF lost to a Pitt team that apparently voters forgot lost to 2-3 Bowling Green.
What I like about Vanderbilt’s win over Auburn: They finally moved the ball through the air. Their defense has been stifling all season, but until they at least had some semblance of a passing game, this team wasn’t going anywhere.
What I didn’t like about Vanderbilt’s win over Auburn: They’re still only averaging 230 yards of total offense in SEC play. Grind it out all you want, but games at Georgia and vs. Florida won’t be won without some offense.
I want to know the last time a true freshman led a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter in his first road start against a top 25 team. Lots of variables there, I know, but that’s exactly what Terrelle Pryor just did. Tough to think of the last person that did that. Anyone that wants to help is more than welcome to.
Chris Wells is averaging 130 yards/game in the three games he’s played. If he were eligible for the NCAA leaderboards, he would rank ninth in the country in that department. His 7.97 yards per carry would be fourth. And no, I’m not bitter about his three-week hiatus that cost him the Heisman.
Welcome to a new BCS hell: not just one non-BCS conference eligible team, but multiple. Better yet, what if both BYU and Utah are top 10 teams before their bout in Salt Lake, and then go out and stage an epic battle? Feelings could get hurt in this one.
Conference Viewing Schedule
ACC: Clemson at No. 22 Wake Forest (Thursday night)
Wake had a week off to recover from their stunning letdown against Navy. Clemson had a week off to recover from their quite normal collapse against a middling ACC team. Watch Sam Swank in this one.
Big 12: Iowa State at Baylor, Saturday at 7:00
I’m kidding—of course I’m going with the Red River Rivalry/Shootout on this one. All I’m asking for is a close game that holds my attention until the 3:30 games start. If this is a blowout and I’m forced to watch Iowa at Indiana on the Big Ten Network for entertainment value, I’ll be very salty.
Big Ten: No. 23 Michigan State at (undefeated) Northwestern, Saturday at 3:30
You don’t hold Javon Ringer down for two straight games—you just don’t. I’m sorry, Coach Fitzgerald, but Michigan State will run all over you no matter how highly ranked your defense got against the likes of Syracuse, Southern Illinois, Ohio, etc.
Big East: Rutgers at Cincinnati, Saturday at Noon
Yup, this is the best the Big East has to offer this week. However, Cincy’s only loss was against Oklahoma. Rutgers' only win was vs. Morgan State.
Pac-10: Arizona State at No. 8 USC, Saturday at 3:30
Talk about brutal scheduling: The Sun Devils are in the midst of a three-game losing streak to UNLV, Georgia, and Cal, and now get rewarded with USC and Oregon back-to-back. Mitch Mustain, have fun.
SEC: No. 4 LSU at No. 11 Florida, Saturday at 8:00
I’m calling it right now: This is the game where we finally see how overrated LSU is. Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow are going to have a field day against a rush defense that bulked up its stats versus some of the worst rushing teams in the country. I believe this is the beginning of LSU losing three of their next five.
Do you get the sense I don’t believe in LSU?
Players having big weeks (anyone playing Arkansas not included)
Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)
I think he gets the better of Colt McCoy in the Cotton Bowl. Call it a gut feeling because you can’t tell anything about these two by comparing stats. They’re identical. Actually, they may be the same person.
Nate Davis (Ball St.)
Lose your best receiver to a career-ending injury? No problem for Nate Davis and the Cardinals, who upon getting ranked for the first time in school history get to hear all sorts of talk about...David Letterman. Davis will have fun with Western Kentucky this week.
Brandon Tate (North Carolina)
OK, Butch Davis, you got your stage for a statement game with lots of people watching. Of course they’re watching because they’re Notre Dame fans and gluttons for punishment (insert glutton joke about Charlie Weis here).
Brandon Tate is averaging 23.5 yards per reception, ranks third in the country in punt return average, and has the speed to break a play at any time.
If there’s one glaring thing Notre Dame has struggled with all season, it’s the big gain.
Enjoy this week’s slate...don’t let your eyes glaze over too much.