College Football 2011: Describing Every College Football Team With One Word
After a month of football, things are starting to shake out.
Contenders are starting to separate themselves, pretenders have been exposed and Lou Holtz is persisting in his insistence that Notre Dame is a BCS-worthy squad, even with two losses.
So, what stands out about your team so far?
Is it a specific stat, a uniform or the mascot?
Words are powerful things, the tools that we use to communicate, to network to express out thoughts in writing.
This list is a run-down of all 120 FBS teams, paired with one word to describe the football team.
Most of them are more than one syllable, so keep your dictionary handy.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns: Surprise
Right now, at the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings, sits ULL.
Not only is it there, but it's currently 3-1, with its only loss to Oklahoma State.
The last time it started a season 3-1 was back in 1988.
Troy Trojans: Daring
It's up for debate whether this is "daring" or "just wanting to get paid."
Either way, the Trojans went on the road to face Arkansas and Clemson in their first two games, both of which are currently ranked in the top 20.
That's more than can be said for the entire BCS contingent.
FIU Golden Panthers: Perfect
The Panthers are 13-of-13 inside their opponents' red zone.
Considering T.Y. Hilton (no relation to Paris) has exploded on a plethora of big gainers this season, this is an impressive feat.
Hilton has been impressive in every capacity he has filled, but the team as a whole has shown it can execute as well.
Arkansas State Red Wolves: Bully
I know, that seems like such a harsh word to use, especially considering the picture.
However, against Memphis, the Red Wolves had a sort of role reversal as they pummelled the Tigers 47-3.
For a team that has been the sacrificial lamb twice already this season, it's OK to let loose once in a while.
ULM Warhawks: Travelers
Thus far, the Warhawks are 1-3 with their three losses coming at Iowa, at Florida State and at TCU.
You would think that would be enough traveling for anybody.
But no, they get a visit from Arkansas State before they travel for two more weeks in a row.
That means out of their first seven games, five will be played away from home.
FAU Owls: Hundreds
However, look at their stats.
The Owls are currently 112th in the country in points scored against, 120th in rushing yards per game, 120th in points for and 116th in passing yards.
No wonder they are 0-3.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: Winless
Sure, the Hilltoppers have one of the greatest mascots in college football.
It's a what?
It's a blob?
Anyway, the Hilltoppers are winless yet again, and that is not likely to change for some time.
Last week they matched their previous low when they lost to lowly Indiana State.
That's right, Larry Bird's alma mater.
North Texas Mean Green: Hoosier
As in "Hoosier daddy"?
The Mean Green pulled off their first win of the season against a BCS team.
Of course, everybody beats Indiana these days, so let's not get carried away.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: Hopeful
The Blue Raiders have not been that great this season, struggling to an 0-3 record and allowing a whopping 38 points scored against them per game.
Next week they have their sights set on the miserable Memphis Tigers, who have quite possibly been the worst team in the FBS for the past several seasons.
I'm smelling a win for the Raiders and whatever that blue mascot thingy is supposed to be.
Bowling Green Falcons: Leg
Strange, but true.
The Falcons' claim to fame thus far this season has been the punting game.
They are averaging over 49 yards per punt, or roughly equal to the offensive output of Ohio State quarterbacks this season.
Temple Owls: Unyielding
The Owls are tough to score on—they have only allowed four touchdowns total this season, and their 7.8 points allowed per game is tops in the nation.
The only team they have allowed to score double digits is Penn State, which scored 14.
Unfortunately for the Owls, they were only able to put up 10 in that one.
Ohio Bobcats: Alliteration
Quarterback Tyler Tettleton has been very good for the Bobcats in '11, but he is not the only one on the Bobcats roster with this naming anomaly.
You will also find Adam Alderman, Mike McQueen, Jovon Johnson, Chase Cochran, Beau Blankenship and Bakari Bussey on the roster.
Kent State Golden Flashes: Less
As in less than 100.
The Golden Flashes are averaging less than 100 yards passing (97) and less than 100 yards rushing per game.
They may be the worst team in the FBS.
Akron Zips: Porous
Yeah, not much fearing of the Roo going on right now.
The Zips are bad.
They have allowed 18 sacks this season through four games. Quarterback Clayton Moore may want to call and console Jay Cutler.
Buffalo Bulls: Streaking
The Bulls had lost 11 of their last 12 before they beat FCS Stony Brook September 10.
They have started a new streak since then, going 0-2, and are looking like candidates for one of the bottom five teams in FBS.
We are going to call this new set of teams the "FBS All-Hustle" group and give everybody a trophy at the end of the season.
Miami (OH) Redhawks: Winless
In a normal season, this would not be so crazy.
However, the RedHawks are 0-3 with 16 returning starters, including two quarterbacks that have proven track records at the position.
In other words, they should be at least 2-1 right now.
However, for the now they remain winless.
Ball State Cardinals: Payday
They won't be the last, and they definitely aren't the first, but the Cardinals are going to play a major BCS foe next week.
They are traveling to Norman to take on the Sooners.
While much of the country is getting into the swing of conference play, the Sooners are hosting Ball State.
Good luck, Cardinals.
We hope the money was worth the beating.
Toledo Rockets: Robbed
After scaring the crap out of Ohio State and then hanging with Boise State for half a quarter, the Rockets got absolutely ripped off this week.
Syracuse clearly missed this extra point, and Toledo's game-tying field goal seconds later should have been the winner.
Apparently, these officials were extra bad because they reviewed the video and still missed the call.
Thus, Syracuse won in overtime and Toledo was given a very difficult loss.
Northern Illinois Huskies: Busters
Non-AQ teams that make some noise and are potentially headed for a BCS berth are referred to as "BCS busters."
NIU has proven just to be a "buster" so far this season.
It faced Kansas and Wisconsin in consecutive games and lost a nail-biter to Kansas and a yawner to Wisconsin.
It has completed the BCS competition portion of its schedule and is sitting at 0-2 against said competition.
Eastern Michigan Eagles: Hapless
The Eagles may be the only team in the country to allow three touchdown passes to Matt McGloin this season.
They are in trouble.
Two wins is a good start, but they were against FCS cupcakes Howard and Alabama State. Against MAC foes, the Eagles are going to have a tough time.
It's going to be a long season.
Western Michigan Broncos: Close
The Broncos were so close to breaking through and winning against a BCS foe last week, but Illinois pulled it out.
They get another crack at it this week against UConn, and with the scare they gave the Illini, we can probably expect a Broncos win in this one.
It will be the best shot they have for a long time.
Central Michigan Chippewas: Rough
Things started out well for the Chippewas.
They easily defeated South Carolina State in the opener, 21-6.
It's all been downhill since then.
They are definitely not the best of the Michigan directional schools, but they still have a battle with Eastern Michigan to prove it.
East Carolina Pirates: Upset
The Pirates have scared two ranked teams this season so far and get to host North Carolina this weekend.
Dominique Davis is a tough quarterback to contain, and the Tar Heels, while talented, are still in transition.
After getting so close against Va. Tech, the Pirates finally pull one out against UNC.
Marshall Thundering Herd: Corralled
The Thundering Herd is not exactly "thundering" at the moment. They are 1-3, averaging only 14 points per game.
Opponents have had no difficulty putting this herd in the pen where they belong, but that's not unusual.
UCF Knights: Singular
It's as if the Knights haven't figured out that you can score six points by passing the ball from one player to another player in the end zone.
Quarterback Jeff Godfrey has scored eight times on the ground but has one interception to go with no touchdowns through the air.
Talk about one-dimensional.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles: Business
These guys are serious about trying to win the C-USA title this season, and they have the talent to do so.
They suffered a hiccup against Marshall but bounced back with a win over a BCS foe, Virginia. (I use the term "BCS" loosely.)
Quarterback Austin Davis has thrown four interceptions to go with seven touchdowns, but has not thrown a pick since Week 2, and has thrown five touchdowns in that span.
Memphis Tigers: Pointless
Why do we have to suffer through the debacle that is Memphis football?
It's as if the football gods got together and decided to combine the worst players in the country on the same field.
The Tigers are not even improving. Their only win this season is against FCS Austin Peay by an underwhelming 27-6 score.
Last week, they were absolutely humiliated by SMU, 42-0 at home.
What's the point?
UAB Blazers: Goofy
So, the Blazers have lost their three games by the combined score of 116-33.
But seriously guys, what's with the mascot? If you are going to go with a dragon for your team representative, shouldn't he at least look semi-fierce and not like Puff the Magic Dragon's lovechild with Barney?
SMU Mustangs: Auditioning
The Mustangs get to take a crack at another ranked foe on the road this week.
Amidst all the turmoil with programs switching conferences, SMU has a serious chance to make its case for inclusion by one of the big boys.
June Jones and his squad travel to TCU in what will be a great regional battle, and you better believe the 'Stangs will make a game of it.
That is, if whichever quarterback Jones trots out there can stop throwing interceptions.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane: Ambitious
Tulsa has had the most difficult schedule of any team in the country thus far.
G.J. Kinne and crew have faced three top-eight teams already. They hosted Oklahoma State and traveled to Boise State and Oklahoma.
Of course, they lost to all of them, but there is something to be said for trying.
Tulane Green Wave: Fourth
It's early in the season, but the Green Wave own an interesting stat.
They have a better conversion percentage on fourth down (57.14) than they do on third (35.71).
And it's not as if they have attempted two and converted once on fourth. They have attempted seven, four of them successfully. This percentage will go down as the season meanders along, but for now, its intriguing.
Houston Cougars: Legit
The Cougars have a legitimate shot at finishing the season perfect. They host their toughest remaining competition, East Carolina and SMU, and have been absolutely ridiculous thus far.
They are 4-0 and first in the country in passing yards behind the superb play of quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum has put up more than 1,500 yards through the air already and has 12 touchdowns.
While it's difficult to go undefeated at any level of play, the Cougars have the man at the helm that could keep get them there.
Rice Owls: Lame
There is not much to say good about this team—they did beat a Big Ten team, but everybody is beating the Big Ten these days.
So, let's turn our attention to the uniforms.
What is with the cursive? And where is the owl in the uniform scheme?
The colors are nice and there is a ton of potential here, but really, that font is the best you can come up with?
UTEP Miners: Nightmares
This team is in for a tough year.
The Miners were taken to overtime by FCS Stony Brook.
They were taken to the woodshed by USF.
They did manage to win against New Mexico State, but judging from the team's performance thus far this season, they will be fortunate if they win another game.
New Mexico State Aggies: Next
What is there to say about the Aggies?
They are the next-to-worst FBS team this side of the Mississippi, second only to in-state rival New Mexico.
The Aggies have one more win than the Lobos, who have exactly zero.
If you are up for some good comedy this weekend, check out this rivalry game.
Idaho Vandals: Hopeless
The good news? The Vandals face New Mexico State later in the year.
The bad news? They also face seven other superior opponents.
They have been overshadowed by the exploits of that school with the blue field, but rest assured, the Vandals are plotting a hostile takeover sometime in the next century.
La. Tech Bulldogs: Miserable
The Bulldogs have snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory three times this season.
They are currently 1-3, and their only win came in overtime against Central Arkansas.
Any halfway decent team can finish off an Arkansas directional school in regulation.
However, things look much better for La. Tech when you consider their three losses have been by a combined total of nine points.
That is depressing.
Hopefully, for their sanity's sake, the Bulldogs are not in any more close games this season.
Utah State Aggies: Sleeper
When considering the candidates to replace Boise State atop the WAC, Utah State is not the first team to leap into mind.
It is, however, going to be my pick to win the conference.
Fresno State has not been impressive, Hawaii has looked lackluster and the Aggies played Auburn into the ground before farting the game away.
Their losses are by a combined total of five points, or 3.5 per loss.
Look for the Aggies in a decent bowl game this season.
Hawaii Warriors: Homefield
"Homefield advantage" is talked about ad nauseum in the college football universe.
If there is one team that has a larger than normal advantage in this category, it is the Warriors.
Their opponents have to travel a ridiculously long way to play them in Hawaii, and while I don't hear any complaining, it has to take a toll.
Conversely, the Warriors struggle significantly on the road at times.
Case in point, they lost by 20 at UNLV.
San Jose State Spartans: Soft
In spite of their name, the Spartans are a cushy unit.
They finally got their first win of the season in the pillow fight of the month against New Mexico State, but face a tough test in a resurgent Colorado State team next week.
Their defense is allowing better than 31 points per contest, and they check in at 91st in total yards allowed through their first four games.
I think we have a candidate for the bottom 25.
Nevada Wolf Pack: Nostalgic
Following Nevada's ugly 1-2 start to the '11 season, Chris Ault has to be remembering last season.
Colin Kaepernick is gone and the Wolf Pack must face a vengeful Boise State squad out for blood this weekend.
And they have to do it on the "smurf turf."
Unfortunately for Nevada, Kyle Brotzman is not suiting up for the Broncos this weekend.
Fresno State Bulldogs: Deja Vu
I know, it's technically two words, but work with me here.
The Bulldogs are led this season by Derek Carr, younger brother of Bulldogs standout David Carr.
He does not quite have the polish that his older brother left the program with, but he is only a sophomore.
At times, Carr's play takes us back a few years to when the Bulldogs where fighting to be the next "BCS buster."
New Mexico Lobos: Abysmal
The Lobos hold a special distinction.
They are the absolute worst team in the country.
As a matter of fact, now that they lost their shot at a win by losing to Sam Houston State, they will not win a game all year.
On the bright side, the douchebag that is Mike Locksley is gone, and the mascot is pretty cool.
Air Force Falcons: Grounded
A paradox, I know, that Air Force should be paired with "grounded," but try to wrap your brains around this one.
The Falcons lead the FBS in rushing yards per game, at more than 411 per contest.
They are amassing yards at a 7.26 per carry clip.
Now, if only they could find a way to turn those yards into points as they have only scored 11 times on the ground.
By comparison, Temple's Bernard Pierce has rumbled into the end zone 12 times.
UNLV Runnin' Rebels: Preparing
About three weeks ago, Rebels' head coach Bobby Hauck was given a contract extension through 2014.
If there are any fans of the Rebels out there, this is good news for you guys.
Hauck proved he could produce a winning team at his previous job, and it won't take him longer than his current contract to turn this team into a winning club.
Wyoming Cowboys: Desolate
No, it has nothing to do with football, technically, however, it is difficult for me to think about any aspect of Wyoming without picturing desolate plains stretching for miles in every direction.
The football team is certainly not bad, winning the games it is supposed to and losing the one in which it was the underdog.
The Cowboys will never pull in the caliber of recruits necessary to compete on the level of Boise State, or even TCU, but will pull out the occasional nine-win season.
Quarterback Brett Smith has racked up nearly 1,000 yards but can't avoid interceptions.
San Diego State Aztecs: Heisman
Yes, as in the trophy.
Why, you ask?
Check out Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. Neither one of them has a legitimate shot at actually winning the thing, but they should.
OK, forget Lindley for now, come back to him later in the season.
As for Hillman, the man's swagger is legit. He has found pay dirt eight times this season and is averaging 6.2 yards per tote on 98 carries.
The Aztecs are already out of the media hype machine after losing to Michigan, but at the end of the season, I guarantee Hillman will have some of the best rushing numbers in the nation.
Boise State Broncos: Easy
I'm sorry, but this is a sorry excuse for a schedule.
The Broncos dismantled a mediocre Georgia team, and now we are supposed to buy them as national title contenders?
Give me a break.
TCU is the only ranked team left on the schedule, and the Broncos get to host.
This mentality that one win over a BCS school automatically means they should qualify for the BCS title game if they win out is getting really old.
TCU Horned Frogs: Tank
This is more about one man than the team, but Tank Carder is a beast.
He is the foundation of Gary Patterson's defense, and even though it has not been quite up to its usual standards this season, they are still a tough squad to move the ball against.
With Carder and fellow 'backer Tanner Brock anchoring this unit, they will only improve as the season goes on.
Colorado State Rams: Sacks
Colorado State is not the first place you might look for stellar defensive talent.
However, end Nordly Capi is leading the nation in sacks with 5.5.
The dude is a monster.
The Rams are 3-1 and are looking good on the bowl-eligibility front.
Army Black Knights: Steelman
Besides having one of the best football names in the country, Army QB Trent Steelman is the heart and soul of the unit.
He leads the team in passing and rushing yards and has scored seven times on the ground already this year.
He leads a rushing attack that is third in the country in yards per game.
Navy Midshipmen: Forced
The Navy faces off against Air Force this weekend.
These two teams have battled for the Commander-in-Chief's Cup for the past several years, and the Midshipmen are hoping to claim it again this season.
Against the fantastic rushing attack the Falcons boast, I think Navy will struggle and ultimately fold.
BYU Cougars: Resilient
The Cougars lost a heartbreaker to Texas by one point, then followed that up with a 44-point loss to Utah.
Against UCF in their next contest, they were against the ropes and were able to grit out the win at home.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Giving
The Irish have been nothing if not generous this season. They are currently sitting pretty with a -2.50 turnover ratio.
Talk about sloppy.
Now that they have worked they way back to .500, maybe they can work on ball security. They would be 4-0 if they could hold onto the rock.
Pitt Panthers: Starving
This might be a stretch, but bear with me.
Offensive linemen accumulate pancakes, right? The Panthers are tied for worst in the country, having given up 18 sacks. Therefore, the offensive line is hungry, since it isn't getting any pancakes.
Lame, I know, but we are talking about Pitt.
Cincinnati Bearcats: Opportunisitc
Cincinnati might actually be relevant in the Big East this season. (Of course, that's like being relevant in the neighborhood touch football game.)
It's 3-1 and part of its solid record is the defenses' penchant for taking balls away.
Never thought I would write that sentence.
The Bearcats' defensive unit has forced 16 interceptions, while the offense has only lost two—good enough for a 3.50 per game margin.
Syracuse Orange: Out
The Orange are done playing around with the Big East.
Along with Pitt, they are going to join the ACC in another step toward college football "superconferences."
The move quietly cemented the ACC as the best basketball conference in the country.
It's still more fun to watch paint dry than the Orange football team, but this move makes them relevant for now.
West Virginia Mountaineers: BCS
There has not been a more impressive offensive performance this season than the one Geno Smith put on last week against LSU.
Granted the Mountaineers lost, but if any team in the Big East looks like a frontrunner, it's them.
Gone are the days of Noel Devine, Owen Schmitt and Pat White, replaced by a guy who put up 463 passing yards on a supposedly stingy LSU defense.
USF might challenge the Mountaineers, but they are the class of the Big East.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Enigma
What do we know about the Scarlet Knights?
They lost a close game to UNC, beat North Carolina Central and Ohio and haven't played anyone else yet this season.
Greg Schiano has had little success with this team since the early 2000s, and my prediction is they miss a bowl game this season.
However, the Big East is so pathetic they might be able to sneak in if they can get a running back that averages more than three yards per game.
UConn Huskies: Regression
We all want to see progress from out teams.
That said, the Huskies are taking a step back this season after appearing in the Orange Bowl last year.
A new coach, coupled with the loss of their leading rusher and quarterback, has left them struggling to find answers.
They rank near the bottom of the country in offense, and there has been no sign of improvement, even against Buffalo.
Johnny McEntee has won the starting quarterback position, but could only put up two touchdowns against the Bulls.
Back to women's basketball, Husky fans.
Louisville Cardinals: Angry
Yes, this is a commentary on the helmet decor, as the football team is not actually worth writing about.
The Cards lost to FIU and still have a long season ahead of them and their anemic offense.
However, one cannot help but notice that the Cardinal on the helmet seems about as friendly as a grizzly with a sore tooth.
Is that because an angry cardinal is more intimidating than a calm one?
"There he is, the North American Cardinal, crikey, he's a big one! Ooh, he's gettin' angry, we better move on before he does his worst."
Which is what, dropping a gift on my head?
USF Bulls: Points
The Bulls look good so far.
Since being gifted a win against Notre Dame, they outscored their next three opponents 159-48.
B.J. Daniels has scored 10 total touchdowns and only thrown one pick.
The Bulls pose the only serious threat to West Virginia's Big East dominance, and their season-ending showdown will be epic.
Oklahoma Sooners: Limited
There is not too much to complain about at this point if you are an Oklahoma fan.
However, one area for concern is Landry Jones. The Sooners quarterback has struggled this season, throwing only five touchdowns and four interceptions.
Imagine this Sooner offense if Jones was actually Heisman caliber. Scary, right?
Oklahoma State Cowboys: Favorite
I'm calling it now.
I have been wrong all along.
The Cowboys showed me something this week that convinced me they will win the Big 12.
The running game is effective enough to open up the fantastic passing game, and the defense tightens up when needed.
I think they will slip up somewhere along the road, but right now, I think Okie Lite is a better team than the in-state rival.
Texas Longhorns: Remix
With a McCoy and a Shipley running around the field, this team is eerily similar to the team that lost the BCS title game to Alabama.
Granted, they are still overrated, but the Longhorns are much improved over last season's squad. Mack Brown made the right move to Case McCoy at quarterback.
A BCS bowl is not in the picture, at least not this season, but expect the 'Horns back at the top of the Big 12 (if it exists) in short order.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: Coasting
Quarterback Seth Doege has been the catalyst for an explosive Tech offense, completing over 77 percent of his passes scoring 11 times through the air without a pick.
The Raiders have yet to play any stiff competition, however, and have been able to coast through their schedule thus far.
That ends when they face A&M in a couple weeks.
Texas A&M Aggies: Out
A&M is officially cleared to join the SEC. It will fit into the conference perfectly with its avid fanbase and cult-like followers.
It was a good run in the Big 12, but let's be honest, this is a great move for the Aggies.
Missouri Tigers: Underrated
Don't overlook Mizzou.
It has lost twice already this year, but both losses were on the road against very good, ranked foes.
James Franklin has been an incredible boost for the Tigers, using his legs to score as well as remaining incredibly mistake free.
While the schedule is still full of ranked teams, this team is going to have a great rest of the year, especially if Franklin continues his level of play.
Kansas Jayhawks: Magnanimous
The Jayhawks leave much to be desired when it comes to being a BCS team.
They are particularly generous on defense. Turner Gill's squad is surrendering a whopping 44 points per contest, the worst number in the nation.
Things get ugly against some of their upper-tier conference foes later in the year.
Kansas State Wildcats: Unproven
Coach Snyder has his team at 3-0.
However, their best win is against a Miami team that doesn't know its head from a hole in the ground at times.
The Wildcats have been stout on defense, allowing only 10.3 points per contest, but will get their test against Baylor and Robert Griffin III.
Iowa State Cyclones: Diabolic
The Cyclones are perfect through three games this season, including a gritty victory over in-state rival Iowa.
However, their quarterback is named Steele Jantz. Although it's an interesting name, it gets even better when you consider his passing yardage to date.
Jantz has accumulated a devilish 666 yards passing.
For those of you who are not disturbed by this, consider that there was a cloud shaped like Al Davis in the sky during their last game.
Baylor Bears: Convincing
Robert Griffin III has been lights out for the Bears this year. The man who should be the current Heisman frontrunner has completed more touchdown passes (13) than he has incompletions (12).
For you guys that like specifics, he is completing 88 percent of his attempts.
However, he hasn't been alone. Baylor's O-line has allowed only two sacks this season, keeping Griffin upright long enough to torch opposing defenses repeatedly.
Colorado Buffaloes: Destructive
The Buffs are killing themselves here.
They are averaging nearly 89 yards per game in penalty yards and have committed 38 infractions, putting them squarely in second place in the "undisciplined unit" category.
In their new conference, they are not exactly the cream of the crop and will need to tighten things up if they hope to enjoy any modicum of success for the rest of the season.
As if that isn't tough enough, they have a brutal 13-game schedule this season with no bye week.
Utah Utes: Jordanian
The Utes have not enjoyed their first season in the Pac-12 as yet, losing their only conference bout with USC.
The key to the Utes' success in a "big-boy" conference will be the play of quarterback Jordan Wynn.
Wynn has the ability to make big plays, and he will have to improve on his 54 percent completion rating for the season.
They won't be in the Rose Bowl, but Wynn has the ability to lead them to a solid bowl appearance in their inaugural Pac-12 season.
USC Trojans: Banned
I don't know, having never played the game at the college level, but being banned from the postseason has got to make it difficult to get jacked up for every game.
Maybe not, but this unit has looked lackluster and demotivated at times when things get difficult.
"Matt Barkley" and "Heisman" don't belong in the same paragraph, much less sentence, and Lane Kiffin has seemed to be somewhat out of his depth at times.
The season is not a total waste, as some guys will get major opportunities to gain experience, but as mentioned, it must be tough.
Stanford Cardinal: Bruising
Andrew Luck is definitely a finesse guy. He makes the touch pass as well as any quarterback you see on Sundays.
The rest of the team, not so much.
The offensive line mauls opponents with brutal efficiency, and Stepfan Taylor punishes opposing tacklers with reckless abandon.
The injury to Shayne Skov will hurt, but this squad could be looking at a Rose Bowl berth if a few breaks go its way.
Arizona Wildcats: Lonely
The Wildcats are another very bad BCS team.
However, the entire team is not a waste.
Quarterback Nick Foles is extremely talented, but stands alone as a star on the unit. The guy has put up nearly 1,500 yards through the air with an offensive line that does not have a single returning starter.
Without Foles, the Wildcats would be Minnesota, just with a 40 degree difference in temperature at games.
You might call him the Lone Ranger.
Arizona State Sun Devils: Ugly
Gotta love this image.
Vontaze Burfict letting Matt Barkley know who is buying pizza after the game.
Seriously, I have no problem with Burfict or any of the Sun Devils and their style of play. Some people take issue with it, I think they play hard.
That said, Burfict has a reputation, and he seems to revel in it.
This team is not going away, and if I'm Chip Kelly, Brock Osweiler scares me.
He may look like a giraffe with Tourette's while scrambling, but he is surprisingly mobile for a man who stands 6'8" and has a laser for an arm.
UCLA Bruins: Foolish
How is Rick Neuheisel still coaching? And how did he get the job in the first place?
The Bruins, if anything, have regressed during a time of great opportunity for them.
USC is under sanctions and bans and whatever else is going on, and Neuheisel has done what, exactly?
Get rid of him, fast.
Oregon State Beavers: Undecided
Oregon State coach Mike Riley is a good coach. However, the man needs to decide on a quarterback and stick with him.
With talented receiver James Rodgers returning, the Beavers' passing game could have some juice to it if Sean Mannion or Ryan Katz could stay on the field for an entire game.
If Mannion is going to play most of the snaps, start hims.
If Katz is the best option, start him.
Don't straddle the fence, you get a sore crotch.
Cal Golden Bears: Bowling
Last season, the Bears missed the postseason.
Not gonna happen this year.
They are 3-1, and Jeff Tedford has put together a unit capable of competing with any team in the conference. While they won't win the Pac-12 , or even approach a BCS game, this team will be bowling come December.
Washington State Cougars: Backup
What a mouthful.
Still, the guy has been solid in covering for the injured Jeff Tuel at quarterback.
This backup plan is working, kinda.
The Cougars lost last week to a bettter-than-average San Diego State squad, and Lobbestael threw two picks.
They have two more games on the road against lower-tier Pac-12 teams coming up that will determine their bowl status.
With Lobbestael and receiver Marquess Wilson, the Cougars are in pretty good shape.
Washington Huskies: First
Enjoy it while it lasts, UW fans.
Washington is currently tied first in the Pac-12 standings following its win over Cal.
This offense has the potential to be extremely explosive with running back Chris Polk and quarterback Keith Price, who has thrown 14 touchdowns already this season.
However, Jake Locker is gone, and the Huskies have yet to beat a quality opponent.
Oregon Ducks: Quack
Seriously, there are myriad adjectives we could use here: flamboyant, explosive, high-scoring.
One thing that sticks out this season is their success protecting the quarterback. The Ducks have only allowed one sack so far.
Clemson Tigers: Exciting
Not like "yay, we are going out to eat with the in-laws" exciting.
Seriously, this offense is good and interesting.
Tajh Boyd is as good as advertised, and freshman Sammy Watkins has already broken the Clemson record for receiving touchdowns by a freshman.
Watch Watkins if you get the chance; even with those ugly uniforms, the man looks good on the football field.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Winning
The Demon Deacons are winning games?
Sure, they are only 2-1, but they get to face Boston College this week, which is trying to stake its claim to being worst team in the BCS.
The Deacons haven't started 3-1 since the Riley Skinner days.
While it's doubtful they can sustain this level of success, for now, let us bask in the fact that they are finding ways to get it done.
Maryland Terrapins: Flamboyant
Randy Edsall has not had much success with the team on the field, but at least the uniforms have been interesting.
The state flag ensemble drew a ton of press and absolutely blew up on social networking sites.
They followed that remarkable number up with the unis pictured above.
Too bad they can't score ugly points.
Florida State Seminoles: Predictable
There are certain teams that get hype nearly every year, and the Seminoles are one of the major offenders.
They got all kinds of hype in the press, were predicted to walk away with the ACC and were lauded from here to Tokyo.
Anybody with half a brain could have seen what was bound to happen.
They can't win at Clemson and haven't won a big game in years.
The consecutive losses should have been predictable, especially for those of you not swept away in the 'Nole love.
N. C. State Wolfpack: Thriving
Russell Wilson is playing for a BSC contender and is sneaking into the Heisman discussion.
Tom O'Brien is not regretting his decision to let Wilson go.
N.C. State quarterbacks are second only to Tevin Washington of Georgia Tech in touchdown passes over 60 yards.
Now, the rushing game is a different story. Against Cincinnati it managed an embarrassing -26 yards on the ground.
Boston College Eagles: Dropping
The Eagles are rapidly overtaking Minnesota and Oregon State as the worst teams in the six BCS conferences.
Some improvement was expected out of this team after a less-than-stellar 2010, but it is 1-3 and that win came over FCS UMass.
While this has temporarily halted its stock plunge, it will be dropping faster than NASDAQ until November.
The Eagles have to face Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland and Virginia Tech between now and then.
Not only is it freezing cold at their games, but the team is awful.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Dangerous
We use words such as "potent," "explosive" and "powerful" to describe high-scoring offenses, and you might even see those words somewhere on this list.
Georgia Tech checks in at "dangerous."
This offense is leading the nation in points per game, ringing up an astonishing 53.3 per contest, and doing it mostly on the ground.
It ran over, around and through a pretty good UNC defense last weekend and should be taken seriously moving forward.
Duke Blue Devils: Stuck
Coach David Cutcliffe has made Herculean efforts to develop the Duke football program into a competitor.
He has moved the needle by a minimal margin, and the Blue Devils appear to be stuck near the bottom of the ACC yet again.
They have knocked off Boston College already this season, but only by a 20-19 score, and don't have the athletes to compete with the rest of the conference.
Cutcliffe deserves some credit, but things aren't getting much better as yet.
UNC Tar Heels: Slipping
The Tar Heels started 3-0, in spite of tons of offseason turmoil.
However, at closer glance, they struggled in those games.
They barely beat Rutgers 24-22 and slid past Virginia 28-17, both at home.
They came up short in their first road test against Georgia Tech.
Unless they show marked improvement, I fully expect a loss at East Carolina this weekend.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Stealthy
Have you heard anyone talking about the Hokies?
Not until this week, when they host Clemson in an ACC matchup with major implications.
Tech has got to be the new favorite to take the conference if it pulls this one out, and right now it is the least talked about top-12 team in the country.
David Wilson is quietly throwing up solid numbers at running back, and the defense is as solid as ever.
Clemson will present a difficult challenge, but with a win, the Hokies will serve notice that they are prepared to defend their title.
Virginia Cavaliers: Holidays
The holidays are about the only thing this team has to look forward to other than a meeting later in the season with Duke.
The Cavs' best win to date has come against an awful Indiana team, and their hopes of a bowl game went out the window with a loss to Southern Miss.
After a winless October, players should start making their holiday plans because they won't be on the field during bowl season.
Miami Hurricanes: Erratic
Would you be willing to put $20 on the Hurricanes in any game this season?
Not that we are advocating gambling here at B/R, but you get my drift.
If your answer was "yes," you are an imbecile.
This team cannot be trusted. JH12 throws too many stupid picks—it's as if he is auditioning to be the next Jay Cutler.
They have a ton of explosive athletes, but all that talent is wasted.
Vanderbilt Commodores: Picky
It's been fun while it has lasted.
The Commodores started the season a perfect 3-0.
Then South Carolina reminded the world that the Commodores are, after all is said and done, still Vandy.
The schedule only gets tougher from here, and Vandy will be fortunate if it is bowl eligible at season's end.
Even so, the Commodores lead the nation in interceptions, pulling in 14 picks through four games.
That's five more then the next team in line has managed to grab.
Ole Miss Rebels: Flailing
Houston Nutt is on the hot seat down in Oxford—at least he should be.
The Rebels look about as good as the local high school unit, maybe a touch better, and are currently 1-3.
Third down has killed the Rebels, as they are averaging a measly 26.53 percent conversion percentage.
Talk about flailing.
It's difficult to succeed at being that bad, but Nutt and the Rebels have it down to an art form. Maybe ole Miss and Minnesota can form their own conference for rejects from the BCS.
Mississippi State Bulldogs: Disappointing
There is no more disappointing team this side of Notre Dame.
The Bulldogs began the season in the top 25, whupped up on an overmatched Memphis unit, then proceeded to lose to Auburn and LSU in consecutive weeks.
They topped that off with a squeaker against powerhouse La. Tech.
Anybody still on this bandwagon?
Kentucky Wildcats: YUCK
Is that even a word?
Whether it is or not, let's take a look at the Wildcats' passing stats, shall we?
They have scored five times through the air this season and have thrown six interceptions.
They are sitting pretty at 2-2 right now, but with games against LSU and South Carolina coming up, that record is going to go downhill, fast.
Tennessee Volunteers: Un-Opportunisitc
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray has been very good for the Vols this season and has thrown only two picks to date.
I'm not sure that "un-opportunistic " is a word, either, but it describes the Vols' defense.
They have only taken away two turnovers through four games. That's an average of half a turnover per game.
Since a defense that takes the ball away with regularity is considered opportunistic, this one will work for Derek Dooley's squad.
Georgia Bulldogs: Improving
After opening the season with consecutive losses to ranked foes, the Bulldogs' season has never looked better than it does now. The schedule suddenly looks extremely manageable, and if they can find a way to win out they will still have a crack at the SEC Championship game.
They avoid LSU, Alabama and Arkansas this season, and will host Mississippi State next week.
If Aaron Murray continues to be as efficient as he has been in recent weeks, Mark Richt will keep his job. If not, he had better start preparing his resume.
South Carolina Gamecocks: Shaky
Sure, they are undefeated heading into this weekend's revenge match against Auburn.
And yes, Marcus Lattimore is scary good.
However, in reality, this team should make fans nervous.
While Lattimore has carried them so far, Stephen Garcia makes throws that it would be generous to describe as "erratic," and the defense has had its share of boneheaded plays.
The potential is really here, but are the fundamentals and discipline to take the SEC present in this unit?
Florida Gators: Returning
After the debacle that was last season, many wondered if the Gators would be competitive this year.
They have been.
John Brantley and the offensive line have shown marked improvement over last season, and Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are the most versatile duo in the country.
While they are not quite back to their former glory, they are on the right path, and their performance the next two weeks against two of the stouter defenses in the country will tell us much about their ceiling this season.
Arkansas Razorbacks: Overwhelmed
It's difficult to sum a team's season to date up in just one game, but that's what we are doing with the Razorbacks.
Their loss to the Crimson Tide cemented the belief that while they are a good team, they are still a step or two below the elite in the conference.
They still get to face LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina, and have plenty of opportunity for a statement win, but the game against 'Bama was telling.
They are not BCS material.
Auburn Tigers: Potential
This team is young and inexperienced. Young teams tend to win at home and lose on the road, all things being equal.
Auburn fans should be excited about the potential for the next few seasons. With Gene Chizik's recruiting and the young guys getting experience now, the Tigers might have another BCS championship to celebrate very soon.
Just don't expect wins in the next two weeks.
Alabama Crimson Tide: Defensive
The Tide have proven capable of putting points on the board when needed.
However, their strength is undeniably the defense. This unit hits teams in the mouth, then hits them again. They are only allowing eight points per contest and seem to have a knack for making big plays when needed.
We all talk about the LSU defense, but 'Bama is also second in yards allowed per contest, giving opponents a measly 184 per.
LSU Tigers: Impressive
Jarrett Lee has been a solid quarterback and hasn't made himself a liability.
The Tigers have now won three times against ranked opponents, all of them away from Death Valley.
Tyrann Mathieu has looked like a man among boys, and Les Miles has yet to fart away a win through hopelessly bad clock management.
If this team does not make you stop and take notice, what does?
Minnesota Golden Gophers: Embarrassing
Best wishes to head coach Jerry Kill as he tires to work out his health issues. Even if he were completely healthy, that would not save the Gophers from being the laughingstock of the NCAA.
Their only win was against Miami (OH).
They lost last week to FCS North Dakota State, which has now officially changed its mascot to a beaver trapper, as they have beaten Minnesota twice in the last five seasons.
As if that isn't bad enough, their other loss came against New Mexico State, which should be in the FCS.
Indiana Hoosiers: Reprehensible
I get it.
Indiana is a basketball school.
Newsflash, it hasn't been in quite some time.
Football or basketball, they suck.
They have now lost to Ball State, North Texas and Virginia on the season.
Call it what you will, those are all extremely reprehensible crimes for a Big Ten program.
Purdue Boilermakers: Troubled
The Boilermakers have a plethora of young talent roaming the field.
They have yet to turn that talent into a cohesive unit that scares anybody in the conference.
With Notre Dame, Penn State, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State coming up on the schedule, it's looking like their only win for the next two months may be against Minnesota.
How long can Danny Hope hang on up there?
Wisconsin Badgers: Vague
The Badgers, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, have steamrolled their four opponents to the tune of 194-34.
Nope, not when you consider their opponents are now a combined 5-10 on the season.
The Badgers get a visit from new conference foe Nebraska this weekend, after which we will know how good they actually are.
Northwestern Wildcats: Crippled
Kain Colter has been a serviceable replacement at quarterback for the Wildcats.
However, he is no Dan Persa.
Persa is one of the most accurate quarterbacks to be found in all of football and is a dual threat that makes a difference with his legs.
Northwestern will be a Big Ten contender once he is fully healthy.
For now, it is a hobbled team that loses to Army.
Illinois Fighting Illini: Reloadable
The Illini were searching for replacements at running back and especially in the middle of their defense.
They seem to have found answers.
The defense has been a strength, allowing a stingy 13 points per contest.
After being predicted to slip down into a Minnesota/Indiana-type season, head coach Ron Zook has shown he has more lives than a cat, and he is hauling his team along with him.
Ohio State Buckeyes: Sluggish
Look, the Buckeyes still have tons of talent, even if they are young and decimated by offseason controversy.
That being said, to win anything of note, a team must have balance on offense.
It's not as if their rushing game is spectacular, sitting at 184 yards, good enough for 39th in the country.
The passing game, however, is looking bleak.
Neither Joe Bauserman or Braxton Miller has shown the capacity to throw the ball with any modicum of accuracy further than two yards downfield. Miller has shown some potential, but mainly on the ground, and the Buckeyes are currently 109th in the country in passing yards per game.
To put that into perspective, both Minnesota and Purdue are much better in that statistic.
Is the farce that is Luke Fickell's coaching tenure over yet?
Michigan State Spartans: Homebodies
Really, who uses that word?
Nobody I know, but it's perfect for the Spartans.
Since the beginning of 2010, MSU has lost only three games.
What do they all have in common? They have been away from home.
If Mark Dantonio's squad wants to be taken seriously, they will have to start winning away from home in big games. This weekend against Ohio State would be a good time to start.
Iowa Hawkeyes: Cliffhangers
The Hawkeyes have been living life on the edge again this season, causing premature gray and balding all over the state of Iowa (except in Ames).
Kirk Ferentz's squad lost in Week 2 to Iowa State, 44-41, in a triple-overtime thriller.
Week before last, the Hawkeyes rallied from 17 down in the fourth quarter to stun Pitt, 31-27.
Seeing as their next game is against a team they have a bitter rivalry with in recent years, we can expect another nail-biter.
If you enjoy offense, however, don't watch this one.
Penn State Nittany Lions: Befuddled
Thus far, the Nittany Lions have looked lost.
They started the season in the top 25, only to be knocked out by Alabama.
After flirting with a loss to Temple, they then wore out Eastern Michigan and now have Indiana on the schedule.
Seeing as everybody is beating Indiana like a rented mule, this should cheer fans of this unit immensely.
However, Joe Paterno can't seem to make up his mind about which quarterback to start. Matt McGloin should get the nod, as he has appeared to play at a better level than the competition for most of this season.
Until this is nailed down, the Lions are going to struggle with cohesiveness and to move the ball on offense against Big Ten teams.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: Newcomers
The Big Ten is welcoming Nebraska this weekend with its first conference game in Madison, Wis.
The Huskers have conference title aspirations, but you can bet that every kid in this schoolyard will be trying to test the new kid.
Michigan Wolverines: Phony
Before you Michigan fans flood the comments with remarks about my questionable pedigree and relations with a horse, remember that we've seen this movie before.
Sure, the Wolverines sit at 4-0, and yes, it's true they look improved, but this is still not a BCS game-caliber team.
Denard Robinson is going to have to throw the ball at some point against a defense that is not as devoid of football sense as Notre Dame, and then things could get ugly.