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Hear that, football fans? That’s the sound of silence. Talking head nation has stopped bellowing about BCS atrocities and for this week at least found actual games to talk about. We can regretfully thank Penn State for that.
But chaos is sitting just a touch away. Everything is calm and tranquil for now. We have two undefeated teams from the two best conferences set to meet in Miami. The “weaker conferences” have been eliminated from stealing a shot in the big show.
Enjoy it. Enjoy it while it lasts. I give the tranquility two weeks.
Thoughts on Last Week's Events
- Where’d that spectacular HD offense go, Penn State? 36 points in two games?
- It’s been beaten into the ground in the post-Bama win, but Julio Jones is freakishly good. It’s not so much the physicality that everyone else is talking about as it is how smooth he looks doing it all. He just looks like a natural receiver doing what a receiver should do.
With his size, for some reason he reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson out there. Well...Keyshawn without the Lifetime reality show.
- Remember Rutgers? Sitting 1-5 and with no hope of anything resembling a bowl bid, the Scarlet Knights looked dead. Well, give them life.
They sit one game out of first in the Big East despite their 4-5 record, and with remaining games at South Florida and then home vs. Army and Louisville, they actually have a chance to win out. It’s a long shot, but anything’s possible in the up and down Big East.
- In an article earlier this season, I brought up how remarkable I found Nebraska’s 32 straight 9+ win seasons, which as far as I know is a modern college football record.
Further validating my point: Texas just extended the nation’s longest current streak of 9+ wins with their victory over Baylor last week. They’ve now done it 11 straight times. Only 21 more to go!
- Larry Fitzgerald was a man among boys in his days dominating the Big East. His video-game like stats (92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 TDs) led to a runner-up selection in the 2003 Heisman race and some serious cash as the Arizona Cardinals' No. 3 overall draft choice.
Michael Crabtree topped all of those numbers last season as a freshman. This season he’s projected to finish with 90+ catches, 1,300+ yards, and 22+ TDs. He’s had at least one TD in every game this season and has multiple TDs in six of 10 games.
I get that the Heisman goes to the best QB on the best team almost undoubtedly these days...but I’m tired of it. Crabtree would get my No. 1 vote if anyone ever asked.
- I said a few weeks ago that if Florida State can manage even a 9-3 finish before the ACC Championship game, they’d be doing themselves well. After spotting Clemson 10-0 and 17-13 leads in the first half last weekend, I thought they were done.
Yes, it’s Clemson, but I saw Chris Ponder actually look like a quarterback for a bit there. Imagine that—Florida State may actually have a decent QB. It’s only been eight seasons since 46-year old Chris Weinke won the Heisman.
- USC wins a 17-3 defensive battle vs. No. 21 Cal—sloppy, unimpressive performance.
Georgia outslugs unranked Kentucky 42-38—gutsy, come-from-behind win! Ohhhh, now I understand. Thanks ESPN.
- Hey, that voter fixed their vote in the Harris Poll and is no longer placing Texas at No. 1. Good for them.
Now which one of you jackasses voted for Florida at No. 1?
New segment in which I focus on the one thing I know I know a lot about. If you are either a.) An anti-Buckeye fan or b.) the Big Ten in general disgusts you, you may want to sit this section out and just move on.
- My thoughts on what T.P. is doing right now—he’s a freshman. I have to remind myself of that week to week, because while he has his struggles with accuracy and taking sacks...he’s a freshman, and is performing remarkably well as such.
Two of his plays he made last weekend looked so similar to what Troy Smith did his senior season that I can’t help but be excited for what’s to come from this kid.
- The Buckeye defense was out to prove a point last weekend, and that point was one they should’ve been making 10 weeks ago. What took so long, Silver Bullets?
- Way to have a game Nadar Abdallah! Where in the world has that been all season? Abdallah had a season-high eight tackles, when he entered the game with only 17 on the year.
- Beanie Wells...there are a lot of bad things people can say about Ohio State, most of them true. We fans are loud, obnoxious, and self-serving. But you can’t say a bad word about this kid. His stiff arm, to me, is the most underrated individual skill in all of college football. Watch a highlight of Beanie just stiff-arming people—it’s ridiculous.
- Supporters of the Big Ten, my advice for all of us on the conference bashing we are receiving right now—take it like a man. It’s justified until bowl season.
Now if Minnesota or Northwestern (or both) go out and knock off somebody in the bowls, we may be able to talk. But for now, this conference is made up of two potentially top 15 teams, a team that lost to the Pac-10’s fourth-place team, and then a bunch of scrubs. The truth hurts.
It is now safe to read for any non-Big Ten fans.
Last Week’s Picks
Cal +25.5 over USC
Oklahoma -25.5 over A&M
Oregon State -7.5 over UCLA
Michigan St. -10 over Purdue
Utah +2.5 over TCU
Cincy +8 over West Virginia
Baylor +26 over Texas
Georgia -10.5 over UK (what a game that was though, huh?)
Vandy +24 over Florida (missed by four)
Kansas -1.5 over Nebraska (where’d Nebraska come from?)
The Under in O/U 8.5 for passes attempted by GT vs. North Carolina. They passed 23 times, a season high.
Weekly total: 7-4
Thoughts on this Week (and next)
- This week can be summed up in one word: YAWN.
After a week in which there were big matchups morning, noon, and night, we get a week full of top teams taking a bye or playing the lower rung of the conference ladder.
One note I would like to point out, however, in looking for upsets. Of the top 18 in the BCS standings this week, four are idle and 11 play on the road. Funky things happen on the road.
- There’s not just an upper echelon in college football this season, but an upper-upper echelon. All you have to do is look at the losses teams have to see this. Georgia, Ohio State, Missouri, and Oklahoma State (top-ranked two-loss teams in the BCS) have lost all eight of their combined games to teams ranked ahead of them right now, minus the Missouri-Oklahoma State game.
LSU’s three losses were to No. 4 Florida, No. 10 Georgia, and No. 1 Bama.
TCU’s two losses are to No. 7 Utah and No. 5 Oklahoma.
As a matter of fact, take the ACC out of the equation, and of the non-ACC teams in the top 20 of the BCS standings, their collective records are 156-21 with only four losses to non-ranked teams (USC to Oregon State, Florida to Ole Miss, Penn State to Iowa, and Michigan State to Cal).
- Riddle me this, Batman: Boise State loses their final bout with Fresno State. Utah does the same in their Holy War vs. BYU. Taking into account the current rankings and where they could move up to if such scenarios happened, would Ball State be moved into the top 12 and thus an auto-BCS berth if they win out?
Prognosticators everywhere already have Boise State or Utah in the Fiesta or Orange bowls. What about the Cardinals?
After the Hawaiian debacle last season, my guess is voters and BCS representatives alike would probably just take a pass.
- College GameDay heads to Tallahassee this weekend not to cover the ABC Saturday Night game between No. 19 Florida State and Boston College—and what a crappy Saturday Night game, by the way. Nope, they’re going there to cover 5-4 Hampton at 7-3 Florida A&M.
That’s right, a prime time ACC game with conference title implications is now less entertaining than a matchup of two middling FCS schools. How the mighty have fallen.
- And so, if you were to take a weekend off of college football, maybe re-acquaint yourself with your significant other and/or kids, knock out some leaf raking, or even do some sort of athletic activity, I’d make it this week.
Because next weekend...well, we get back to the big games again.
This Week’s Big One(s)
No. 25 South Carolina at No. 4 Florida
Spurrier’s still trying to replicate that W he got in his first season in Columbia vs. Florida. Not gonna happen this season either. S.C.’s finally ranked again and comes in with the top ranked defense in the SEC in total D. But Florida is sailing right now, and I see a big day from Percy Harvin and Co.
Take the Gators -21.
And that concludes the only matchup this weekend featuring two ranked teams. I told you this week was slim pickins.
Conference Games I’m Watching
ACC: Boston College at No. 19 Florida State
Florida State still trails Wake Forest in conference by a half-game thanks to the Deacons’ win back on Sept. 20. But my, have those two teams changed since. Boston College has changed too, with QB Chris Crane struggling mightily late in the season. His 52 percent completion percentage and six picks in the past four games have been atrocious. That won’t get a W vs. the ‘Noles.
Take Florida State -7.
Big 12: No. 3 Texas at Kansas
I still believed in Kansas after Todd Reesing robbed his team of a win at South Florida.
I still believed in Kansas after a close loss to Oklahoma, followed by a blowout at the hands of Texas Tech.
I still believed in Kansas—until they gave up 31 second half points to Nebraska in their loss in Lincoln. Mangino has officially eaten too many P’zones this season, and the fat content is clogging his play calling brain.
I now believe this will be just another notch on Colt McCoy’s belt. And Jayhawks...don’t expect him to call after he’s done with you, no matter how pretty you are.
Big East: No. 22 Cincinnati at Louisville
The 47th meeting in the Battle for the Keg of Nails holds conference title importance for Cincinnati, as they can move into a tie for first in the Big East with a win. Louisville gains bowl eligibility with a win, but after last week’s game vs. Pitt, I don’t know that I’d ever pick Louisville ever again. I mean, what sort of legitimate team loses to Dave Wannstedt 41-7? He has a mustache.
Big Ten: No. 11 Ohio State at Illinois
Wow, the Big Ten sucks. There, I said it. Want proof? Illinois’ loss to Western Michigan last week was the fourth by a Big Ten school to a MAC school this season, a new record. I can’t/won’t defend it until after the bowl season, if and when they accomplish some legit wins. Not likely.
I covered the Buckeyes enough early. All I'll say about this game is I hope they make Illinois pay for last year's dance on the 50-yard line.
Pac-10: Cal at Oregon State
Here it begins for Oregon State. They’ve beaten up the creampuffs of the Pac-10 (plus USC) but now face the best the conference has to offer—and yes, this is the best the conference has to offer.
Cal beat Big Ten co-leader Michigan St., who lost to Ohio State, who then lost to Penn St.
Oregon State lost big to Big Ten co-leader Penn State, who lost to Iowa, who lost to Michigan St.
What does this all mean? I don’t know. I just felt like writing.
SEC: No. 10 Georgia at Auburn
Besides the South Carolina/Florida game, this is the only SEC game that affects the national picture, and that should only be for a half. Auburn was tied with Div. I-AA Tennessee-Martin last week 20-20 midway through the third, and I don’t care what the explanation was. That’s terrible.
Take Georgia (-8) and laugh all the way to the bank. That line is laughable, horrendously so.
My Top 10
1) Alabama (10-0)
2) Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree's team (name another Red Raider for me if you can) (10-0)
3) Texas (9-1)
4) Oklahoma (9-1)
5) Florida (9-1)
6) USC (8-1)
7) Utah (10-0)
8) Penn St. (9-1)
9) Smurf Turfs (10-0)
10) Ohio State (8-2)
Quick Picks (HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
VaTech (+4.5) over MIAMI
Northwestern (+3.5) over M*CH*G*N
Georgia (-8) over AUBURN: I was serious about this—worst, line, ever.
The Under on O/U 71.5 in the Nebraska/K-State game
OREGON (-4) over Arizona
The Over on O/U 79.5 in the Tulsa/Houston game
Oklahoma State (-17) over COLORADO
Lines I’m Staying Away From
All ACC and Notre Dame games.
UCLA (-7) at Washington: When two terrible teams collide, anything can happen.
Rutgers at South Florida (-8): Rutgers is rising, and South Florida is falling. But I still can’t see Rutgers actually winning this game.
Duke at Clemson (-10.5): Funniest line of the week. The Tigers are barely getting double-digits vs. Duke. (I know it’s ACC, but I had to point that out.)
That’s my ADD for the week—hope you all enjoyed it. Rest up for next weekend because it’s gonna be a fun one. Beat M*ch*g*n Week starts after the final gun on Saturday in Champaign.
Tip your wait staff! I'm outta here.