"Touchdown" Tom Ando's College Football Midseason Report

Tom AndoContributor IOctober 16, 2008

Well here we are, halfway through the college football season, and while it may not be as wacky as 2007, it's still been a wild ride thus far.

It might make sense to begin our tour in the hottest conference in all the land, the Big 12.  Last Saturday's matchup, between No. 5 Texas and No. 1 Oklahoma is just one of the many southern-style gunslinging, Heisman-hopeful, BCS-bustin' matchup of the season. 

If you are a football fan in any regard, you loved the historic Colt McCoy vs. Sam Bradford matchup that resembled a Steve Young vs. Jim Kelly showdown from the good old days.  But wait, there's more.

This weekend, Texas will play host to Missouri and a Heisman hopeful of their own in quarterback Chase Daniel (158 of 208, 2055 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions), who last week sported a mohawk while his team let the chance to become the No. 1 team in the nation slip through their fingertips, dropping a heartbreaker to unbeaten Oklahoma State 28-23. 

The Longhorns will face the Cowboys after their matchup against Mizzou before taking on Graham Harrell (178 of 262, 20 touchdowns, three interceptions), Michael Crabtree (43 receptions, 653 yards and 10 touchdowns) and the red-hot Red Raiders of Texas Tech.

Should they sweep those Big 12 foes, expect to see Mack Brown's Texas squad competing for the BCS Title come January.

Now to the other powerhouse conference of college football, the SEC.  Just as soon as Georgia opened the season number one, they dropped in the polls, but not for losing, although that would come. 

Although the team started 4-0, their wins weren't convincing voters that they were the top Dog in the nation, and said voters showed they were right when the Bulldogs dropped a 41-30 contest to Alabama.

This week, the undefeated Crimson Tide take on Ole Miss in a contest that should be an easy victory, right?  Ask Florida if you want a better opinion as they were defeated by the Rebels 31-30 several weeks back, taking Urban Meyer's crew off the undefeated list. 

Don't feel bad for Tebow's team though, they would knock off No. 4 LSU just a few weeks later.  Ah yes, got to love the SEC.

Up north in the Big Ten, it looks Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions are back to old form as they have dominated each and every opponent this season, and look to do so from here on out, even if that does mean knocking off Ohio State in Columbus next weekend and the mighty Javon Ringer (247 attempts, 1112 yards and 14 touchdowns) led Michigan State Spartans in the final week of the season.

As for the Buckeyes, it was a nice thought that they would return to the BCS Title game for a third year in a row, but their cupcake-filled schedule, sponsored by Hostess, got a rude awakening at the hands of Mark Sanchez and the USC Trojans early in the season.

As for the Trojans, their dominance of the Pac-10 is once again apparent, but stop me if you've heard this one before.  USC enters a road contest against Oregon State with their heads held high, only to get punched in the mouth by the Beavers. 

Sound familiar?  If your answer was yes, it's because it was the same thing that Pete Carroll's club went through just two seasons ago, however an early loss is something that the team can bounce back from and get right back in the hunt.

This season could be the year that a team from a less dominant conference crashes the BCS party and wins the title, and that team is not East Carolina.

The Pirates came into the season and shocked the world by upsetting Virginia Tech and West Virginia, but after squeaking by Tulane, Skip Holtz' squad dropped three straight games and now look more vanilla than ever before, and to think, we were ready to crown Skip as the best coach in the Holtz family. 

Other teams in ECU's shoes that have yet to flop include Brigham Young (6-0), Utah (5-0) and Boise State.  BYU, led by quarterback Max Hall (152 of 215, 1845 yards, 20 touchdowns, four interceptions), have shot out of the gate to a 6-0 record and a top ten ranking, and are the most likely team to contend for a National Championship.

Speaking of National Championships, the team tied with USC with 11 all-time titles, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish appear to be back in line as Charlie Weis once again appears to be the right fit, and Jimmy Clausen appears to be worth the hype of the best quarterback recruit in last year's class. 

Will the Irish compete for a title?  No, but they will rack up somewhere around seven wins and get the chance to actually win a bowl game.