College Football Wordplay: From A to Z (Week Eight)

Eric ThomasonCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2008

Eric Thomason addresses the weekly college football world through a series of quick, short and trivial outtakes he likes to call Wordplay.

College Football week of 10/18/08

Avoiding danger in the SEC:

The Crimson Tide almost blew a 21-point halftime lead. Nick Saban’s team is young and has had issues finishing teams in the second half.

Also, the injury to bulldozer NT Terrance Cody could loom large for Alabama as the season rolls along.

(Alabama’s last three games)

First half: outscoring opponents 69-3.

Second half: outscored by opponents 61-13.

Bowl Eligible:

Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, Georgia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulsa, USF, Utah, Western Michigan.

Teams who didn’t go to a bowl game last year that are already bowl eligible: Northwestern and Minnesota

Teams who can no longer become bowl eligible: Idaho, North Texas and SMU. 

Calling all critics:

More reports of digging continued to surface in Texas- the Longhorns buried the Oklahoma game ball from last week and shoveled critics aside Saturday night.

The Missouri defense, “the fighting tickle my Pinkel’s,” was torched by up-and-coming Heisman shoe-in Colt McCoy.  

The junior completed 29 of his 32 attempts and scored four touchdowns to become Texas’ all-time leader in touchdowns responsible for with 82, breaking Vince Young’s record of 81.


Oklahoma and Kansas put on a offensive show, as the teams combined for 1,165 yards of total offense. 

Bob Stoop’s defense has given up 929 yards in their last two games combined.

The Oklahoma secondary is more susceptible to the deep ball than the Cleveland Browns are to a staff infection.

But if any one has the antidote to such issues it’s Sam Bradford. The sophomore broke a school record with 468 passing yards in a game on Saturday.

Everyday it’s a new ACC:

Boston Collegeavenged last season’s loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game.

Topsy-turvy Maryland has won five in a row against Top 25 teams after shutting-out Wake Forrest 26-0, but the Terps are just 4-8 against unranked opponents. Go figure.

And after being outscored 128 to 36 and starting the season 1-3, Virginia has won three straight games by a combined score of 82-33.   

Isn’t parity great?

Forgetting last year:

After Michigan State scored on their first possession of the second half to make it 28-7, the Buckeyes clamped down and finished the Spartans off.

Remember last year in Columbus, Ohio State held a 24-0 lead in the third quarter before Michigan State mounted a furious comeback, scoring 17 unanswered points to almost pull off the upset.

It seems Beanie and the boys were well aware of last years near collapse and stayed awake for the Boston Red Sox’s triumph in game five of the ALCS. 

Got Mail?

Dear ESPN,

Does the first down line really turn green on Boise State’s football field?


The Three Blind Mice

Heating up:

As the race in the Big Ten starts to heat-up, we take a sentence per team outlook at the contenders in the conference.


Ohio State- I shouldn’t surprise you with a Jim Tressel team, the Buckeyes do it almost every year.

On the outside looking in:

Northwestern- The defense looks solid and a 9-3 finish looks likely for the Wildcats. 

Minnesota- Believe it or not, but the Gophers could be playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Michigan State- Spartans still have a shot to win the Big Ten North and face the Ohio State-Penn State winner in the conference title game.

On the outside, I mean way outside:

Penn State-just kidding, I only wanted to get a stir out of you pumped-up Nittnay Lion fans. (Worked didn’t it?)

Impact Freshman:

Freshman putting up big numbers this week:

1.      RB Victor Anderson, Louisville: 19 rushes, 161 yards, TD.

2.      WR Patrick Edwards, Houston: 4 receptions, 92 yards, TD.

3.      QB Kellen Moore, Boise State: 25 of 33, 256 yards, 3 TD.

4.      WR A.J. Green, Georgia:  7 receptions, 132 yards, TD.  

5.      QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State: 7 of 11, 116 yards, TD and 12 rushes 72 yards, TD.

Jumping to Conclusions: (Predictions for next week)

Upset Special:               Kansas 42        Texas Tech 31

Could be in trouble:       Texas   31        Oklahoma State 27     

Closer than you think:    Boise State 31  San Jose State 27

No way Jose:               Georgia Tech 28  Virginia 6   


Kerley Fried:

Back-up quarterback Jeremy Kerley sparked TCU to a 32-6 stomping of BYU, ending the Cougars chances of a BCS appearance.

Coming into the game all the talk was focused on the Brigham Young offense, but it was the TCU defense that stole the show on Thursday night.

The success of Kerley had to be encouraging news for mobile Utah quarterback Brian Johnson.

If the Utes can get past the Horned Frogs in a couple weeks, the only remaining obstacle to a perfect season will be a home game against BYU.   

Looking Forward:

Ohio State vs. Penn State

Like Texas and Oklahoma did a couple weeks ago, both teams avoided looking ahead to the showdown against each other this weekend.

It will be interesting to see how the Penn Statedefense is able to contain Terrelle Pryor, after struggling at times against Michiganto stop a less-athletic Steven Threet.

And in a game that could be cold and rainy come kickoff in Columbuson Saturday night, the slight edge might have to go to the power running of Beanie Wells over the quick strike ability of Evan Royster.

Either way, the Big Ten title game should be a great one to watch.

Motion-X Offense:

Penn State had loss nine times in a row to Michigan, and after Michigan’s 86-yard opening drive against the 8th ranked defense in the nation, it looked as if the Wolverines might have a shot at extending the streak to 10.

But Penn State responded in the second half with an offensive explosion that has become common for this team.

The Nittany Lions outscored Michigan 32-0 in the second half after trailing 17-14 at halftime.

No your not…

Alabama- a second half team.

Washington State- a first or second half team.

Derek Jeter- (witnessed McCoy knockout the Tigers in Austin) accustomed to having that much free time in early October.

Texas Tech- running up the score against the Aggies after you punched it from the one-yard line with 20 seconds left.

Wisconsin- becoming bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt- becoming bowl eligible?

Virginia- tearing down the goal posts after beating a “ranked” opponent, playing without their best player and starting quarterback, are you?

Houston Nutt- creating a play-call from the sideline which entitles you to grab your sack.

Kirk Ferentz- having an ice cold beer with your son anytime soon.  


South Florida, Georgia, Texas Tech and Utah.


The first BCS standings were released this weekend and here is how an eight team playoff would look if the season were to end today:

1) Texas vs. 8) Texas Tech

4) Oklahoma vs. 5) Southern Cal

3) Penn State vs. 6) Oklahoma State

2) Alabama vs. 7) Georgia

Question of the Week:

Is a Red River Rivalry rematch in the national title game possible?


Four things need to occur:

1. Oklahoma wins out (which is a very high possibility).

2. Alabama loses one game (also likely).

3. Penn State falls on the road this week against Ohio State.

4. Texas wins out.

Note- There is also a slight possibility that even if the Horns lose one game, that Horns and Sooners could still meet in Miami. Unless that is, Alabama’s first loss of the season comes to a one loss Florida or Georgia team in the SEC Championship game.

Reader’s Response:

This is where you the reader get a chance to respond to the question of the week.  Post a comment and make your case. 

Star performance of the Week:  

Zac Robinson completed 13 passes in 34-6 win over Baylor.

Dez Bryant caught 11 of them for 212 yards and two touchdowns. The 6’2”, 210 pound sophomore might be the most dominate wide receiver in college football.  

Top Five:                                                        

1. Texas- Colt McCoy hooked Missouri early and often as the Longhorns easily handled the Tigers 56-31.

2. Penn State- The Nittany Lions continued to light up the score board with a 32-point second half performance against Michigan.

3. Alabama- The Crimson Tide struggled for the second time at home and this time it was following a bye week.

4. Oklahoma- Bob Stoops’ team rebounded from the loss to Texas with a 45-31 drubbing of Kansas at home.

5. Florida- Florida had the week off after chomping the Bayou Bengal’s in the Swamp.



Five things to watch for next week:

Oklahoma State vs. Texas- Two Big XII South undefeated teams battle for the conference lead and possibly the number one ranking.    

Penn State vs. Ohio State-It feels like an elimination game in Columbus- Big Ten title and a shot at the national title could be at stake for both.

Georgia vs. LSU- Same stakes as above apply in Baton Rouge.

Texas Tech vs. Kansas- Red Raiders face a couple first this week- a true road test and a ranked opponent.

Southern Cal vs. Arizona- Wildcats might be the Trojans toughest/only “test” left en-route to another conference title. 


Video of the Week:

South Eastern Conference referee Wilbert Hackett Jr. did his best Buffalo Wild Wing impression on Saturday night, with an impressive forearm shiver to the chest of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia.  

Hackett Jr. was a linebacker at the University of Kentucky from 1967-70.

In case you missed it, check it out.

What were sure about…

The Orange Bowl will be the least exciting of the BCS bowls.            

With no ACC team having a shot at the national title game, the winner of the conference championship game will be contractually tied to the Orange Bowl. And with the Orange Bowl having the last selection of the BCS games this year, Miami will be forced to select an unwanted Big East team.

Thus creating, a very unfavorable Big East vs. ACC match-up on the first night of 2009.

Almost every other game on New Year’s Day (Outback, Gator, Capital One, Rose Bowl) will be more intriguing.


Guys that probably aren’t a household name, but will be come December.

RB Derrick Locke (Kentucky) RB John Clay (Wisconsin) RB Daniel Dufrene (Illinois) QB Chris Crane (Boston College)

Your BCS bowl match-ups right now:

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Southern Cal

Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Pitt

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah

Fiesta Bowl:  Oklahoma vs. Penn State

National Championship Game: Florida vs. Texas

Zzzzzzz: (Teams the country shouldn’t sleep on)

Programs on the rise: Ball State, Tulsa, TCU, Florida State, Northwestern, Minnesota, Boston College.


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