Week 6 (10/2-10/7) CFB Picks and Discussion

RJ Esq

Prick Since 1974
2006-07 CFB YTD:
35-21-1 (62.5%) +25.97 Units

Went 5-3 ATS with a backdoor cover for me and one against me.

This week's lines look sharp and favoring the dogs. I'm being careful especially since I'm 2 weeks from trial and my time is focused there.

Not playing Texas-OU but like Texas up to a TD, for what it's worth.

All plays for $250 unless otherwise stated.

Vandy -2.5 (-105)
L-ville 1H -18.5 (-111)
Tulsa -4 (-116)
Ok State -3 (-107)
Pitt -6.5 (-110)
Tenn -2 (-110)
Aggy ML (-108)
Last edited:
Another winning week for yas...look forward to rst of card.

No opinion on Vandy.
Wow...i expected to see four or five plays already in the books. They threw us off this week, with the premature release.
Yanks26Sox6 said:
Wow...i expected to see four or five plays already in the books. They threw us off this week, with the premature release.

Not seeing much I like and not too much time to cap this week.

Probably will coattail the next few weeks while busy at work.
Morning Coffee
By HornsFan Section: Quick Hits
Posted on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:35:06 AM EST


The Statesman runs down all your OU week events. Sooner bashing on BON not included, though we assure you it should have been.

The Norman Transcript opens their week of coverage with... a look at the national title possibilities for the Sooners if they win. Interesting. Their take? "All we really know about Texas is it has a freshman quarterback and was rolled by Ohio State. Of course, all we really know about OU is it should be 4-0, despite playing strong defense against Middle Tennessee and nobody else." Good to see they've moved past the Oregon game.

Texas sits at #7 in both the AP and Coaches polls. OU is #13 in the Coaches, #14 in the AP.
Your best bet for good Red River Rivalry coverage, other than right here, is the Dallas Morning News. DMN opens their week with a flurry of good stories.
Week 5 Thoughts from CFN

Week Five Thoughts

The importance of being Irish

[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-2]By Pete Fiutak[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]1. In 1982, Penn State, fresh off a fantastic 27-24 win over Nebraska, went into Birmingham and got flattened by a decent Alabama team 42-21. Over the next six games, the Nittany Lions went on a run to go 10-1 before facing unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Walker Lee Ashley and the Penn State D stopped Herschel Walker and the Dawgs 27-23 for the win and the national title. Next year, Miami lost 28-3 to Florida in the opener, but still went on to win the national championship. The precedent has been set.

Notre Dame got its doors blown off by Michigan, but it came up with decent wins, highlighted by a blowout of Penn State and the epic comeback against Michigan State, to close out a tough September 4-1. If things go according to plan, and the Irish walk through Stanford, UCLA, Navy, North Carolina, Air Force and Army, and if USC does its part and goes unbeaten until November 25th, don’t be the slightest bit shocked to see Charlie Weis and the boys in Glendale on January 8th even if Michigan’s only loss comes at Ohio State.

It’s not right, but it’s as much about when you lose as if you lose. Notre Dame might have lost ugly to the Wolverines, but that appeared to be forgotten about after the Michigan State win. Beating an unbeaten USC at USC would be the huge victory to make everyone buzz loudly about wanting the Irish to play for the whole ball of wax as long as there aren’t two major unbeaten teams. Once again, I’m not saying it’s right, and I would never agree with putting in a one-loss Irish team in ahead of a one-loss Michigan squad, or someone like LSU if it runs the table and finds a way to win the SEC title. I’m just saying to be prepared. It could happen.

ASU needs Keller, but Keller could've used ASU

By Richard Cirminiello

2. You think Sam Keller wishes he was still in Tempe, playing for Arizona State? Yeah, me too. That's all I could think about as the Sun Devils got scorched by a Pac-10 opponent for the second straight week. A little more than a month ago, Dirk Koetter tabbed Keller as his starter, changed his mind a few days later, handing the job to Rudy Carpenter.

Oops. Not long after, football's version of a soap opera broke out.

Accusations flew, Keller seethed and the Sun Devils lost a terrific quarterback to Nebraska. Bad move by Koetter. Worse move by Keller.

Sure, he'll do fine in Lincoln next year, but by next year, he should've been cashing fat NFL paychecks. Had he swallowed his pride and stayed at Arizona State, right now Keller would be the hands-down most popular player on the Sun Devil roster--the backup quarterback on a team that's crashing and burning. Carpenter has been a complete mess the last three weeks, completing 46% of his passes, throwing seven picks and losing his confidence along the way. Against an average Oregon pass defense Saturday, he completed just 6-of-19 for 33 yards and an interception, the low point of his career. The bottom has fallen out, and a trip to USC is next on the schedule. It wouldn't have taken very long for chants of Kell-er, Kell-er, Kell-er to ring throughout Sun Devil Stadium Saturday afternoon. Ahhh, Keller himself couldn't have drafted a better script. Oh, and as shattered as Carpenter is these days, there's no doubt Koetter would have obliged, giving his senior the ball to the delight of the home crowd. The quarterback now craves redemption and a chance to prove ASU wrong after feeling he got shafted by his teammates and his coach. So determined is Keller to redeem himself, he left a campus he loved and is taking a mandatory year off from football. He didn't have to. Had Keller been patient and stuck it out, he'd probably be enjoying the last laugh without ever leaving Tempe.

[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-2]
It's up, and it's ... it's ... it's ... ?
By [FONT=verdana, arial,
sans serif][SIZE=-1]Matthew Zemek[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]Florida kicker Chris Hetland missed a field goal against Alabama by a hard-to-discern margin. This kick seemed to travel just behind the left upright and looked "good" to the naked eye in real time. The official on the ground had the best view, however, and said no. This does raise the need for networks--especially in big games--to either have cameramen or automated/mechanized cameras on the ground directly under the uprights.

There's no reason why high placekicks that climb over the top of the uprights shouldn't be subject to review. Fans, coaches and replay officials deserve to get a clean, clear look at kicks from the ground, so that if there's any dispute about whether or not a high kick traveled above the upright--or just behind it, or just in front of it--coaches can challenge it if they want to. What if Hetland's kick was on the final play of regulation? Darn straight Urban Meyer would want to challenge the ruling on the field. He should be able to exercise that option. Get ground-level upright cameras into football coverage, PRONTO!

The coaching cries will begin, but are they warranted?

[SIZE=-1]By [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]John Harris[/SIZE]

4. One game. One play. A 37 yard bomb. A 43 yard game winning field goal in the final minutes. Five seconds before, a win is all but locked up. Five seconds after, a man and his livelihood are in question. But, that’s all it takes for one man to turn from genius to goat. From 4-0 and ready to win the conference to 4-1 and the alums are cueing up the “fire [insert coach’s name]” banner for the airplane.

This being the first day in October, the “fire [insert coach’s name]” rants will be heard loud and clear on the nation’s airwaves and message boards over the next few weeks. Take Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, for instance. If instant replay doesn’t overturn an interception with a minute to go against Texas Tech, the 12th Man would be lauding the huge win at home. Instead, Coach Fran is as good as gone. At least in their eyes. One play. Texas A&M played well enough to win – there was no 77-0 effort on that field yesterday. Mistakes? Sure, but it doesn’t always go back to the coach. Case in point, in the second quarter, Tech WR Robert Johnson caught a quick pop three yard pop pass from Graham Harrell and turned it into a 21 yard touchdown. He wasn’t touched until he got into the endzone. Why? The safety on that side of the field Brock Newton turned and ran to the sideline, away from Johnson, AFTER the ball was thrown and Johnson was running down the field. Is that coaching? No, that’s a bad play by a young player. Cost A&M seven points. A&M lost by four.

Michigan State head coach John L. Smith will take the heat for not having his team ready for Illinois. But, I ask you have you ever lost a heartbreaker like they did against Notre Dame? It’s easy, right? Just get back to practice forget about it – it’s a game, right? Uh, no, champ. It’s not easy to get back up off the mat after a loss like that. This game is played by 18 to 22 year old young men, not paid professionals and lingering emotion can and will influence the next game. Unfortunately, JLS’s problem is that this has happened before and now it seems to be happening again. But, then again, to place full blame on Smith would be to slight Illinois QB Juice Williams who was nails down the stretch – the kid was ready for his moment.

The point is that coaches are going to be shown the door this winter. Maybe it’s the two men above. Perhaps not. But, whether it’s right or not, who’s to say. Aggie fans wanted RC Slocum’s head five years ago because he didn’t win pretty. His offense wasn’t imaginative. He had gray hair. He spoke funny. I don’t know. But, now the same people want Coach Fran’s head. One play turned Fran from “Stay here a while and turn this around for good, Coach” to real estate signs in his yard. Fair? Who knows what fair is in this business? Not us anyway.

Plugging the Leak

[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-2]By Pete Fiutak[/SIZE][/FONT]

5. In Florida's Chris Leak, can you ever remember a legitimate Heisman candidate that a fan base (for the most part) was so ready to get rid of? Maybe he’s seen as Ron Zook’s quarterback. Maybe he’s not considered flashy enough. Maybe it's the stoic demeanor compared to the fiery Tim Tebow. Maybe Florida fans think the offense will go from great to oh-my-goodness once Tebow gets the gig full-time. Just be careful for what you wish for. Tebow appears to be the real deal, but over the history of college football, the sure-thing prospect doesn’t always have the better career than the rock-solid college star. Just ask Miami fans if they’d rather have Ken Dorsey back than one-time super-recruit Kyle Wright. Rhett Bomar was considered top recruit No. 1A along with Adrian Peterson a few years ago, but how’d that work out for Oklahoma? Jason White looks like a world-beater now. Leak might never be loved by the Gator world like Danny Wuerffel or other great Gator

Zemek's Monday Morning Quarterback 2006


By Matt Zemek
Posted Oct 1, 2006

The top five in the national polls over the next month--not to mention the texture of the SEC's two divisional races--will be dramatically affected, in one way or another, by the performance of the Florida Gators. This week's issue, then, will focus on the fascinating--and wrenching--dilemmas faced by Gator head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.

By Matthew Zemek

Florida's offensive braintrust faces a complex situation in which the goals and methods are clear, but the rate of progress isn't. Meyer and Mullen know what they want to accomplish, and how to accomplish it; the hard part is determining how quickly they want to pursue their goals with their own methods, crafted in Bowling Green, honed in Salt Lake City, and then taken to Gainesville. For perspective, let's turn back the clock one year.

Last season, in year one of the Meyer-Mullen pairing for Florida, Chris Leak was a fish out of water. The words "round hole" and "square peg" became a very regular part of Gator fans' vocabularies, as the head coach and offensive coordinator had a hard time tailoring their offense to Leak's strengths. Adding to the mess was the fact that Meyer and Mullen had to slowly bring Leak along while also teaching the new blocking schemes that are part of the spread option. It wasn't just Leak who had to learn a new system; his offensive line needed to absorb a lot of information as well. The predictable result was chaos, especially in the middle-third of the season against the same teams Florida is playing in 2006: Alabama, LSU and Georgia (with Auburn replacing Mississippi State on this year's October slate).

Meyer and Mullen ran smack dab into a paralyzing dilemma: should they take their lumps in year one so that the system would get taught in full, or should they scale back the offense in a clear attempt to win games, no matter how ugly? The decision had to be difficult for Florida's offensive gurus because any professed attempt to bring the program back to Steve Spurrier's gold standard meant that the Gators would have to rediscover a prolific, attack-oriented offense that would strike fear into opponents. Moreover, this goal was entirely consistent with the spread option Meyer and Mullen cultivated in their previous coaching stops. As an extension of Meyer's football personality and as a manifestation of his football mind, the spread option--unleashed to full effect by Alex Smith at Utah--was the very entity that created Meyer's stratospheric reputation in college football circles. Meyer got the Florida job for many reasons, but one of the biggies was a track record for ringing up huge numbers, a fact affirmed by his famous quote, "I just like to do stuff to bother people." Meyer made that very Spurrier-esque statement before the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, when his Utes crowned their spectacular season--and, at the time, Meyer's coaching career--with a thorough beatdown of Pittsburgh to cement his status as the "it" guy in college football. Safe to say, there were a lot of personal, psychological and aesthetic reasons for Meyer and Mullen, his compatriot, to stick with the teaching of the "classic" spread option. A lot of prestige and emotional investment were attached to that system.

But in the end, Meyer and Mullen--realizing how much money they were being paid--chose, and wisely so (in this writer's opinion, anyway), to win games and sacrifice aesthetics at the altar. Against Georgia and over the course of the remainder of the 2005 season, Meyer and Mullen scaled back the offense, simplifying the playbook for the sake of Chris Leak's comfort level. Since information overload--and a system's lack of compatibility in relation to his skill set--burdened Leak for much of the 2005 season, Meyer and Mullen decided to win games with defense and ball control. A desire for the big play went out the window, but so did the losses. Florida went 4-1 (including a bowl win over Iowa) after Meyer and Mullen consciously decided to downscale. Meyer had salvaged year one in Gainesville by conceding the limitations of his system with the personnel he had. Wins weren't aesthetically pleasing, but they emerged, and in the end, that's the bottom line for Meyer and any other college football coach.

That was last year. This year, the calculus is so much more complicated for Meyer and Mullen... even while a lot of parallels can be drawn between 2005 and 2006 for the Florida offense.

On Saturday against Alabama, Florida's offense simultaneously showed how far it has progressed over the course of 12 months, and how far it still has to go to reach the juggernaut status of the Spurrier days (not to mention Meyer's Utah team in 2004). It is this fundamental tension point that will make Meyer and Mullen sleep very little over the course of the next month, with LSU, Auburn and Georgia coming up on the Gators' schedule. In the first quarter and a half, Florida's offense was pancake-flat. The offensive front was getting outplayed, Leak was slow in decision making, and receivers didn't make downfield plays. All of these same problems were so readily apparent at this same point of the 2005 season. Moreover, the Crimson Tide's defense had an extremely good read on what the Gators were doing offensively, a disturbing reminder of the futility Meyer and Mullen experienced last season in Tuscaloosa. If Brodie Croyle--not John Parker Wilson--had been quarterbacking Alabama on Saturday, the outcome might have been very different. That's not pointless speculation; rather, it's a frank acknowledgment of the fact that Alabama lacked the weapons, and especially the trigger man, needed to beat Florida this season. The meaning of this reality should be obvious--and worrisome--to the Gator Nation: once Florida plays the real big boys in the SEC, more performances like the one on Saturday against Bama will get the Gators a woodshed whipping and another season without so much as a division title.

Is this gloom-and-doom naysaying run amok? It's emotionally easy to go in that direction if you're a Florida fan right now: "Why rain on our 5-0 parade? How dare you choose to find the negatives when a team is undefeated!" But what seems like excessive negativity is little more than cerebral analysis. Against Alabama, Florida's offense scored a net total of 11 points. How does one come up with that number in a game that ended 28-13 in favor of Florida? Here's how: Florida's defense directly scored one touchdown, meaning that the Gators' offense scored 21 points. Of those 21 points, three were directly set up by a turnover that gave Florida a drive start within field goal range. Whenever a team scores a touchdown on a drive it starts in field goal range, honest analysis suggests that the offense should be credited with scoring four points, the defense with the first three. This reduces the net total from 21 points to 18. Then factor in the touchdown Florida's offense directly gave up... on a botched snap that also brought back memories of the horror show from the 2005 season. That final reduction of seven points provides the net total of 11 points. Safe to say, 11 points isn't a lot to celebrate. Yes, there's a lot to celebrate with respect to Florida's defense, but that's not the focal point of this discussion. If Florida's offense is to get the job done against the likes of JaMarcus Russell and--a week later--Kenny Irons, 11 net points has to be a first-half total, not a game total, for Florida's offense. Some would call that excessive negativity; others would call it a serious concern that is staring Meyer and Mullen squarely in the face.

What further complicates the issue for Meyer and Mullen is the fact that there were times on Saturday against Bama when the Gator offense showed signs of becoming the very juggernaut everyone in Gainesville hopes it will become. Chris Leak--a passing quarterback--ripped off a 45-yard run. Tim Tebow--a running quarterback--popped off a 23-yard pass. Meyer's and Mullen's goals became very clear on Saturday against the Tide: they want to mix and match Leak and Tebow so they can get defenses on a pendulum and ultimately render them helpless in the face of overwhelming unpredictability rooted in seemingly endless permutations of plays. Alabama's awareness of Leak's and Tebow's individual strengths enabled Meyer and Mullen to surprise Alabama with counter-tendency plays: a Leak run disguised by fullback Billy Latsko's selling of a pass play, and a Tebow pass camouflaged by a typical spread run formation. It's obvious where Meyer and Mullen are trying to go with this offense: take the same personnel and formations in so many different directions that defenses' circuits will get fried. That should be apparent to anyone who has either followed Florida up to this point, or who will study game film this week to prepare for coverage of the LSU and Auburn games ahead. The potential is there for Florida's offense to put opposing defenses at its mercy... as was the case in the Spurrier era.

The perplexing part about the Alabama game for Meyer and Mullen is that after Leak showed some running ability and Tebow showed some passing skills, the offense didn't take off. Instead of getting Bama's defense way off balance and rolling up the gaudy numbers, the Gators had to inch their way up the field, taking what they were given. It was enough to win against a not-that-loaded Bama team (who lost to Arkansas the week before), but against the fast and ferocious defenses posed by LSU and Auburn, this offense shows signs of getting swallowed up this October, just like the last one.

Surely, by now, you can see the complicated nature of Urban Meyer's life... at least as it relates to shepherding his offense through the season and figuring out a good plan in conjunction with Dan Mullen. Meyer can now mix and match quarterbacks in ways he couldn't do last season, offering him the flexibility that can potentially uncork some big plays from this offense. His offense's understanding of his and Mullen's system has developed to the point where multiple personnel groupings could substantially confuse opposing defenses. His blockers sell plays better, and as a result, they can use certain plays to set up tweaked variations later on in drives or games. The larger Meyer-Mullen blueprint is coming into focus. The only problem is that it's coming into focus so slowly, and with noticeable inconsistency, because there are still profound limitations with respect to the players who are running Meyer's offense. Leak and Tebow together make a nice hybrid quarterback, but unfortunately, no one player individually offers a complete package of skills for Florida. Add in the offensive front's inconsistency, and it becomes less clear if Florida has the raw quality to support a fully attacking scheme and the most audaciously creative game plan imaginable.

For this upcoming LSU game and for the rest of the season, Meyer will repeatedly face the same fundamental decision over and over again: does he have enough evidence to think his offense can begin to unleash the big play with regularity, or must he play close to the vest, a la 2005, and lean on the strength of his team, which is his run-stuffing defense? Last year, the decision was emotionally difficult, but strategically easy: Meyer had to play it safe to win games. This year, it's a lot more complicated, because the Alabama game showed that Meyer's offense is beginning to truly absorb some macro-level, big-picture concepts that could soon pay big dividends... but only if the Gator players have the chops to make the bold schemes work for them, and not against them.

Want to know how complicated it is to be a football coach, to weigh visions of blackboard grandeur against the barebones realities facing your team and its prospects? Just step inside the world of Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen. How they handle the next few weeks will impact the shape of the top five, the SEC's divisional races, and--for that matter--the culture of the SEC, which has returned to the old-school headcracking that dominated the landscape before another Florida coach turned things upside-down in 1990.

There's one small note from the past weekend of play calling and strategy that can't be left unmentioned. Virginia Tech trailed Georgia Tech by eleven points (38-27) in the final minutes of Saturday's game in Blacksburg. The Hokies drove inside the Yellow Jacket 20 with 55 seconds left. This is when Hokie coach Frank Beamer's mind (much like Seattle Seahawk coach Mike Holmgren in the dying moments of Super Bowl XL) turned to mush. Instead of kicking a field goal in a two-score game, Beamer had his offense stubbornly continue onward, so much so that the game ended with the Hokies--again, down by 11--trying to score a touchdown.

Can one pause to consider for a moment the stupidity and futility of that decision by Beamer, and of all other coaches who fail to kick the field goal when down by nine to eleven points in the final minutes of a game? If it's a two-score game... well... you need two scores. You're not in an advantageous position, so you have to take your medicine and make the awkward step of kicking a field goal on first down with 55 seconds to go. Of course it's not normal, but you have no choice. Getting a touchdown means nothing if you have no time left for an onside kick, a second
CFN's Quick Outs

Cirminiello's Quick Outs - 2006


By Richard Cirminiello
Posted Oct 1, 2006

Summa Cum Laude – Georgia Tech – In one of the best games of the Chan Gailey era, the Jackets pounced early, quieted the Lane Stadium crowd and never allowed Virginia Tech back into a decisive 38-27 win.

Tech got touchdowns from the running game, passing game and defense, and even took a page out of the Hokie playbook by blocking a Nic Schmitt punt. There’s a long way to go, but all of a sudden, the 4-1 Yellow Jackets are well-positioned to win a wide-open ACC Coastal Division.
2. Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe – You knew it was only a matter of time before Wolfe delivered one of those otherworldly statistical games that he’s made in common in DeKalb. That time came Saturday, when Wolfe jetted for 353 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.
3. Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell – Harrell was good all day in College Station, but saved his best for last in a final, last-minute drive for a crucial Red Raider victory.
4. Boise State – Few teams walk into Rice-Eccles Stadium and bury Utah the way the Broncos did in Saturday afternoon’s 36-3 statement win.
5. BYU QB John Beck – Playing on a couple of bum ankles, Beck singed a very good TCU defense for three touchdown passes and 321 yards, helping end the Frogs’ 13-game winning streak.

Summa Cum Lousy – Michigan State – The Spartans make a return engagement here after becoming the first I-A team in over a year to fall victim to Ron Zook’s Illinois team. The Spartans exhibited little fight seven days following their fourth-quarter collapse in the rain to Notre Dame.
2. Utah Quarterbacks – Neither Brett Ratliff nor Tommy Grady could get it right against Boise State, combining for just eight completions, 51 yards and four picks on 27 passing attempts.
3. Iowa QB Drew Tate – For the second straight year, Tate was ineffective against Ohio State, throwing three costly interceptions, while waiting until the fourth quarter before throwing his first touchdown pass.
4. Arizona State – The Sun Devils weren’t supposed to beat Oregon on Saturday, but then again, they also weren’t supposed to get out gained 584 to 213 in a 48-13 embarrassment in front of the home crowd.
5. Arizona – A third straight uninspired loss to a I-A opponent has the ‘Cats fast becoming one of this year’s bigger disappointments.

Offensive Coordinator of the Week – Jim Bollman, Ohio State – The Buckeyes’ best offensive output of the month just happened to come in Iowa City against a very stingy Iowa defense. Ohio State got four touchdown passes from Troy Smith to go along with more than 200 yards on the ground from the tandem of Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells.

Defensive Coordinator of the Week – Justin Wilcox, Boise State – The play of the Bronco D in Salt Lake City Saturday was Exhibit A why the program is so excited about Wilcox’s future at the school. Boise stuffed high-powered Utah, holding the Utes to just three points and 190 yards, while pressuring Brett Ratliff and Tommy Grady into 8-of-27 passing for 51 yards and four interceptions.

In an exciting weekend that saw Georgia Tech upset Virginia Tech, Ohio State blow out Iowa and Kansas take Nebraska into overtime, a Rice win over Army will hardly register on anyone’s radar. That’s too bad because no team was more impressive or stoic on Saturday. The Owls did more than upset the Cadets 48-14 for their first win of 2006...just one week after getting ransacked in Tallahassee and just two weeks after getting routed in Austin. You see, Rice’s victory was in honor of fallen teammate Dale Lloyd, who suddenly died earlier in the week during a workout. On Saturday, with heavy hearts, the Owls played one of their best games in school history. Less than 24 hours later, they had to bury one of their teammates. Impressive, indeed.

It means absolutely nothing and is just a gut feeling, but this year's Auburn team would fall short in hypothetical games against the 2004 and 2005 editions of Tiger football. Now, hey, this is a legit title contender that might very well wind up in Glendale in January. However, it's lacking the balance and downfield punch, getting just one touchdown from a wide receiver in five games, of last year's squad and isn't quite as intimidating on defense as the 2004 team. Of course, Auburn doesn't have to be better than 2004 USC or Oklahoma or 2005 Texas to win a national title, which is why this is only relevant if you're looking for something to debate.

Do you think TCU has trouble handling prosperity? For the third straight year, the Frogs got dumped the week after a statement win. In 2004, TCU remained bowl-eligible by trouncing Southern Miss, only to lose at home the following week to Tulane. The only thing more shocking than last year's upset of Oklahoma was the 21-10 loss to SMU that succeeded it seven days later. Last Thursday, the Frogs' encore to stuffing Texas Tech was a 31-17 loss to John Beck and BYU that snapped their 13-game winning streak and dealt a sudden, but not deadly, blow to their BCS bowl hopes. Don't forget that if this year's BCS rules applied in 2005, TCU would have played in January...even after losing to SMU.

Once you travel outside the Big Ten, no one is playing better football these days than Cal. That’s a remarkable achievement considering the Bears were destroyed in the Sept. 2 opener at Tennessee, but, my, have they displayed short memories. The incendiary and balanced offense has been literally unstoppable, averaging 43 points over the last four games, while getting 14 touchdown passes from Nate Longshore. With all due respect to Oklahoma-Texas, LSU at Florida and Tennessee at Georgia, No. 11 Oregon’s visit to Berkeley this Saturday just might be the best game of a jam-packed weekend.

Just a short month ago, there were serious doubts about the inconsistent receiving corps that would be catching passes from Erik Ainge in Knoxville this year. That was then, this is now. Robert Meachem and Jayson Swain have matured into one of the most dangerous tandems in America, turning short slants into long gainers, while helping Ainge relocate his confidence.

After six years, the Dirk Koetter experiment at Arizona State appears to be coming to an inglorious end. One of college football’s biggest annual teases, the Sun Devils are now 2-18 versus ranked teams under the coach after getting spanked by Oregon in Tempe. At a time when struggling Rudy Carpenter is in need of a swift hook, it should be noted that Koetter’s fumbling of the quarterback situation in August sent Sam Keller packing to Lincoln, costing the Sun Devils the best backup quarterback in the nation.

Maryland's Ralph Friedgen is really testing the allegiance of those of us still clinging to the belief he's one of college football's better head coaches. After building a foundation with 31 wins in his first three years, the Fridge has gone 13-13 since the start of 2004 and just 4-11 versus teams that wound up over .500. Based on September's close calls with William & Mary, Middle Tennessee State and Florida International, mediocrity will again be planting roots in College Park this fall. No one realistically expected 10 wins from the Terps every year, but Friedgen's first few teams actually had less talent than they do now, making five wins, feeble offenses and close calls with Sun Belt-ers hard to process.

What if Miami, or some other big program in need of a coach, comes calling, and Rutgers’ Greg Schiano respectfully declines? Don’t be shocked if this year’s most eligible head coach stays with the Scarlet Knights to continue the reclamation project he began six years ago. The program took another positive step in its improbable ascent, going on the road Friday night to tough out a 22-20 win over South Florida. He won’t win a national championship in Piscataway, however, there’s something to be said for winning seven games and getting contract extensions, as opposed to winning nine and getting vilified…and the coach knows this.

The play of the past weekend belonged to Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell, who dropped a perfect, 37-yard touchdown pass into Robert Johnson’s bread basket to beat Texas A&M with 26 ticks left on the clock. Playing in front of one of the loudest crowds in the country, the sophomore conducted himself like a fifth-year senior, connecting on 32-of-45 passes for 392 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers.

If there’s one lesson Virginia Tech ought to take from its worse-than-the-score-indicated 38-27 loss to Georgia Tech it’s that scheduling Northeastern, North Carolina, Duke and Cincinnati to open the season does not adequately prepare a program for step ups in competition. The Hokies have been notoriously soft schedulers in September, and it caught up to them Saturday afternoon.

Can the legend of Joe Paterno grow any larger? Already turning heads for still plugging along at the age of 79, JoePa went horizontal during Tuesday’s practice after getting pummeled by two of his players, yet popped right back up and didn’t miss a practice all week. There’s no truth to the rumor Paterno will wrestle a Nittany Lion before the Oct. 14 home date with Michigan.

Even in winning, Miami and Larry Coker look to be in serious trouble. The ‘Canes struggled with Houston Saturday evening, holding on for a listless 14-13 win that shed light on more problems on the offensive side of the ball. Making matters worse for Coker was that a half-empty Orange Bowl sent strong signals that the fickle Hurricane faithful are beginning to lose interest in this 2006 team.

In some respects, Chris Leak’s problems in Gainesville parallel the ones Alex Rodriguez is enduring in New York with baseball’s Yankees. They’re polished, hard-working athletes that can perennially produce monster numbers, yet will never be fully embraced by the locals. Hopefully, both will get chances to play in front of more appreciative fans in 2007.

The off-season chatter that there’d be a quarterback controversy in Baton Rouge now seems patently ridiculous. JaMarcus Russell is growing exponentially as LSU’s offensive leader, curbing any suggestion that backups Matt Flynn or Ryan Perilloux would wrest the job away from the junior. Russell was impeccable against a decent Mississippi State defense Saturday, misfiring on just two of 20 passes and running his season touchdown-to-interception ratio to 12:1.

Last year, Pitt QB Tyler Palko was eminently average, especially against better competition. This fall, the senior leads the nation in passing efficiency, transforming junior Derek Kinder into the next in a growing line of top pass-catchers at Wide Receiver U. The difference? Palko hasn’t changed much, but his protection has in 2006. A year ago, Palko endured constant pressure, however, through five games, he’s been sacked just three times.

Chase Daniel hasn’t quite worked his way into the Heisman discussion, but the Missouri quarterback got a step closer after throwing four touchdown passes in a win over Colorado. In his first year replacing Tiger icon Brad Smith, Daniel has already accounted for 16 touchdowns, while guiding Mizzou to its best start in a quarter century. Trips to Lubbock and College Station the next two weeks will dictate whether the sophomore’s heroics will resonate beyond the confines of the Big 12.

Good luck explaining to Terry Hoeppner that you’re too banged up to dress for a game this year. You want tough? The Indiana head coach was back on the sidelines Saturday just two weeks after undergoing brain surgery to remove scar tissue. Considering how his Hoosiers played in a 52-17 loss to Wisconsin, he should’ve considered a few more sick days until next week’s visit to Illinois.

Back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Illinois and upcoming games with Michigan and Ohio State could signal the beginning of the end for Michigan State coach John L. Smith. The Spartans are just 14-19 since the middle of 2004, and along with Indiana and Illinois, are one of just three Big Ten teams that haven’t gone bowling the last two years.

Oddly enough, Rich Brooks is one head coach that has actually been improving his job security this month. The head ‘Cat still has a couple of his nine lives left, thanks to the emergence of QB Andre Woodson as a passing force and three critical wins over the last four games that has Kentucky halfway to bowl eligibility.

For the rest of the season, Boise State will carry the banner for the Non-Automatic Conferences seeking representation in one of the five BCS bowl games. After TCU and Houston lost this weekend, the Broncos were left as the lone unbeaten team from outside the BCS conferences. They housed Utah 36-3 in Salt Lake City in what was supposed to be their biggest test left, meaning it’s going to take a big upset or some major disrespect from the computer portion of the BCS formula to keep Boise out of the Fiesta Bowl.

Don’t look now, but the same Kent State that hasn’t won a league title since 1972 is in complete control of the topsy-turvy MAC East. Behind the play of sophomore QB Julian Edelman, a Joshua Cribbs impersonator, the Golden Flashes have handled the division’s three heavyweights, Miami, Bowling Green and Akron in successive weeks. On Saturday, Edelman accounted for 374 total yards and three scores in an alarmingly easy 37-15 win over the Zips.

Message to the WAC Conference: When playing San Jose State, do not throw the ball anywhere near No. 25, Spartan junior Dwight Lowery. The lightly-recruited transfer from Cabrillo College leads the country with seven interceptions in just four games for a Sparta
Weekly Affirmations from CFN

Zemek's Weekly Affirmation - 2006


By Matt Zemek
Posted Oct 1, 2006

Hype and reality are two things that need to remain separate in the world of college football, but unfortunately, they seem to be forming an ever more intimate relationship as the years go by. We're already seeing the harm that can be done when certain sports broadcasting empires (in Bristol, Connecticut) mix promotion with analysis, and that's the focus of this week's column.

By Matthew Zemek

Let's deal with the hype first. Saturday night, ESPN College Gameday Final couldn't stop pimping the Michigan-Ohio State game--to be aired on Nov. 18, conveniently enough, by the ABC/ESPN family of networks (one imagines how many of them will carry the game, which--you might recall--aired on both ABC and ESPN Classic last year, with two separate announce crews paid by the Worldwide Leader). ESPN ran multiple graphics illustrating how easy it was going to be for Michigan and Ohio State to enter their regular-season finale with unbeaten records. A surprisingly large chunk of commentary from both the studio boys in Bristol and the Gameday crew in Iowa City focused on this Michigan-Ohio State game. I've never recalled such on-air overkill for a game and a scenario that are a month and a half away. Respectable college football commentators have absolutely no business spending a disproportionate amount of time hyping a November 18 game on a September 30 broadcast. Even more disturbing was the extent to which the various ESPN commentators gave the impression that the national championship picture was clear at this point. (I don't know how much more Chris Fowler--an astute man and an impeccable broadcast journalist with a lot of principle and a sound ethical compass--can continue to stomach; isn't he getting tired of these force-fed debates that ESPN is forcing on him in the name of market share and ratings?)

Kirk Herbstreit--usually the voice of reason among the non-anchor pundits in the ESPN stable--is doing a great job (though perhaps quite unintentionally) of pushing the idea that the Michigan-Ohio State winner (assuming those two teams do enter that game 11-0) will definitely play for the national title. Herbstreit probably doesn't think he's doing that, and he's earned the benefit of the doubt as far as his intentions are concerned. Herbie's work has been so good for so long that his personal integrity is above question in this matter. But while his integrity is sound, the quality of Herbstreit's journalism is slipping in ways he might not be able to detect.

Here's the heart of the matter: it's not so much the content of Herbstreit's remarks as the force of emphasis he's providing in his commentary. It's perfectly legitimate--in the world of broadcast commentary--for Herbie to think that Michigan should be ranked second, behind the No. 1 Buckeyes. It's equally legit for the Gameday analyst and Saturday Night Football color man to opine that both teams will be 11-0 when they meet. But what's NOT okay is for Herbstreit to devote so much focus to that potential matchup--which is still one and a half months away, remember--that it becomes larger than life in the minds of his audience, which is mostly made up of fans, but also includes a lot of poll voters who watch monitors and listen to commentary from press boxes across the country. If Herbstreit and the rest of ESPN's pundits devote enough time to discussing the possibility of 11-0 Michigan playing 11-0 Ohio State, it's going to filter into a lot of people's minds that the winner of that game (again, if it comes about) should be in Glendale, no matter what any other team does. It's just like Pac-10 officials working the Oklahoma-Oregon game in Eugene: there might be no conflict of interest on the surface, but subtle psychological biases can exist on a deeper level. Just as Pac-10 officials didn't "have it in" for Oklahoma but--in the heat of battle--chose to favor the team they must face all season long (the Ducks), so it's also true that while Herbstreit has a track record of objectivity, his planting of this "Michigan-Ohio State seed" could unfairly and inappropriately influence poll voters in late November and early December, when the BCS gets decided. One hopes Herbstreit can see the fine line between acceptable analysis and inappropriate hype. If Herbie hasn't already crossed a line, he's definitely blurring the boundaries between responsible commentary and network-fed promotion of certain games at the expense of others. (Full disclosure: Herbstreit did mention LSU-Florida as the game of the week in college football for October 7, not an ABC or ESPN broadcast. That only reaffirms Herbie's credibility, while also amplifying the need for him to tone down the Michigan-Ohio State hype.)

Mature college football commentators--as opposed to overly emotional fanatics--know that the landscape changes frequently and dramatically in this sport. Fifteen-year-old kids can dream of week ten dream matchups after a September triumph for their favorite team; network pundits can mention the possibility, but only briefly--they can't overindulge in little-boy fantasies that may or may not materialize seven weeks down the line.

All this stuff matters, of course, because the upcoming weeks will tell us a lot about teams competing with Michigan for No. 2 status behind the top-rated Buckeyes. Florida and Auburn, West Virginia and Louisville (on Nov. 2), Oregon and Georgia, USC and a few one-loss teams: these contenders will rise or fall based on the next month and a half of action. Maybe Michigan will look better than all of them by the time the Wolverines head into Columbus. Then again, maybe not. The point, of course, is that in college football, you never know from one week to the next. That's why it's irresponsible for ESPN to hype a potential showdown between unbeaten Michigan and unbeaten Ohio State. It gives Michigan way too much leverage in the national title/BCS argument because it feeds the notion--before games have been won or lost across the country--that Michigan would deserve the benefit of the doubt in any contentious BCS argument. Florida or Auburn could go unbeaten, along with USC, and yet one of those teams would get left out of the big party in Glendale on January 8, all because ESPN decided to promote a big game very prematurely on September 30, which is 49 days before Nov. 18, the date of the Michigan-Ohio State game. Florida could become a juggernaut, and USC could adjust to injuries suffered on both sides of the ball to become an even more formidable team, and yet it wouldn't matter.

Maybe one can now see why broadcast commentators not employed by schools or conferences--and therefore expected to hew more consistently to objective journalistic standards (unlike the Larry Munsons of the world, who are paid to yell, "Run, Lindsay!")--must be incredibly restrained in their commentary... at least, if they want to preserve some shred of integrity in the conceptually bankrupt and laughably bad BCS process. Sensitivity about institutional media bias is bad enough as it is; commentators such as Kirk Herbstreit might have good intentions and solid track records, but in hyping certain matchups, they can still wind up creating the very kinds of unfair forces they seek to oppose. If Herbstreit is going to rightly decry the weaknesses of the BCS (as he did in 2004 and other years) because he cares about the integrity of the sport and its national championship game, then he simply has to display enough discipline to avoid giving undue weight to one team over another. Many fans could have reasonably perceived on Saturday night that Herbstreit thinks only three teams currently control their own destiny in the chase for Glendale: Ohio State (the one team that does), Michigan (debatable), and Florida (a solid case, but still somewhat debatable). On October 30, that might be a reasonably objective statement. On September 30, it's a terribly premature statement that, however well intentioned, comes across as sounding biased because it gives certain teams unfair prominence in the national title conversation. I can believe with total certainty and confidence that Herbstreit had no desire to purposefully elevate Michigan in the BCS debate; but in today's world of college football, where opinions travel fast and virtually every meaningful game is on TV (unlike 40 years ago), a system as bad as the BCS--if it's to have any real objectivity--has to be tenderly handled by commentators who must give fresh evaluations of top teams each week. If static rankings hierarchies persist because of the silly and intellectually dishonest view that a team should be ranked based on its projected record, and not its completed body of work, various poll voters--and the commentators who reinforce those views on national television--are doing the sport of college football a grave disservice.

Now that we've dealt with the hype in college football, let's deal with some reality as well. If one was to make some distinctions among the teams that are chasing the second BCS position behind Ohio State, here are a few thoughts (emphasis on "few," because it's still relatively early in the season; it's foolish to make overly strong comments when teams are still developing and have barely settled into conference play).

First of all, while giving other commentators every right to rank Michigan second--nothing wrong with that--one must wonder how good that Notre Dame victory was, given the continued porousness of the Irish defense. Second, one must wonder why Michigan--if it really is the second-best team in America--wasn't able to crack 30 points against Wisconsin and Minnesota. Yes, Michigan's competitors have not been terrifically consistent as well, but it seems as though Michigan's getting something of a free pass here.

The bodies of work among the contenders for No. 2 are fairly similar. Michigan has one lopsided signature road win and two decent conference wins; USC has a mix of very respectable non-conference wins and road conference wins; Auburn has a signature win (LSU), a "middle-tier" win over Washington State (also a USC victim), and a conference road win at South Carolina; Florida has wins over Tennessee and Alabama; a Texas team that lost to Ohio State would regain substantial credibility if it beats Oklahoma this Saturday; Oregon can play its way into the conversation if it beats Cal this Saturday and enters the USC game unbeaten; Georgia has struggled mightily, but hasn't lost, and if the Dawgs pick up the pace against Tennessee and remaining opponents, they'll have their say. The only team that truly suffers from any schedule comparison is West Virginia. Beating Louisville on the road could easily lead to an unbeaten season, but WVU will have to have only one other unbeaten team if it expects to play in Glendale. Any comparison with another unbeaten team other than Ohio State will leave West Virginia outside the candy store looking in. That is the one schedule-based comparison that isn't premature at this point.

Any rankings made right now must be based not on body of work, but on the quality of the ballclub and how it would fare against the opposition. Mindful of the need to radically reshape rankings each week as new evidence emerges--in other words, all this is subject to change--here's the current (and very fragile) read on some potential matchups involving teams other than Ohio State:

Michigan-USC: Michigan could seriously hurt USC's fragile corners, but SC would contain Mike Hart. Michigan has better big-play capability, but SC is better in the red zone on both sides of the ball. Chad Henne's a better deep-ball thrower, but John David Booty is more ball-secure. Lloyd Carr's doing an especially good job of coaching this year, but Pete Carroll is the better overall coach. A very even matchup, but if they played, I'd trust Carroll to make more defining adjustments to carry the Trojans in a close one.

Michigan-Auburn: Both defenses would dominate. Henne and Brandon Cox can be rattled. Kenny Irons is a better back than Hart, but Michigan's receiving corps is deeper and better by a longshot. Tommy Tuberville--along with Carroll, Mack Brown, and Jim Tressel--is riding a multi-year wave of great seasons as a coach. He saved his team's bacon Thursday, on a night when Steve Spurrier was in top form for South Carolina. Tubs and Al Borges have a little more feel for their offense than do Carr and Mike DeBord, whose packages don't seem to be tremendously different from those posed by Terry Malone. That might be the difference in a hard-hitting battle.

Auburn-USC: The two hottest elite coaches in the sport at the moment. Two offenses that aren't able to bust loose on a consistent basis. SC with the better passing game, Auburn the better running game. Tigers with the better secondary, SC with the better pass rush. An even-steven game.

These matchups are worth discussing because they won't happen. Florida-Auburn, on the other hand, will. Ditto for Florida-LSU, Oregon-USC, West Virginia-Louisville, and other games that will partially settle a rankings controversy. But only partially. It's time to let hype give way to reality each week in this sport, and to be open-minded enough
Hey rj. Nice job last weekend buddy!

Any thoughts on the Oklahoma vs. Texas game? I'm on Texas, but I thought I'd get your insight on this one anyhow. :shake:
Aztec4Life said:
Hey rj. Nice job last weekend buddy!

Any thoughts on the Oklahoma vs. Texas game? I'm on Texas, but I thought I'd get your insight on this one anyhow. :shake:

I would consider Texas up to a TD.

I don't like the line right now but if it got down to 3 or 4, I might be on Texas.

I don't like to bet this game, except last year.

Still, Texas should beat up on OU and win by at least a TD.
B.A.R. said:
Awesome reads as usual.


Your job--as well as Hunts, Horns, Dens, and Rexys--is to let me tail you the next few weeks.

Shit is hitting the fan at work and won't get clear until the end of October.

Then again, if I'm going to skip a month, this is a good time of year to do so. Maybe lock it down until November and then the bowls.
I don't even search the net for information I just read this thread...lol...good stuff bro. Foots gets hard in the beginning of conference play then it gets easier IMO, when the top teams stick out.

I think Texas might be getting some value now actually, I wouldn't take Oklahoma under 7 personally, but I have always been bothered by hooks and key numbers.
EDSBS.com's Week 5 Buys and Sells

More reading for you, Hunt:


Jim Cramer’s out making money. You’re reading about college football. But as Mike Leach says, in a hundred years you’ll be dead anyway, so go right ahead and keep reading.

Blue-chip, slam-dunk, stodgy but-oh-so-profitable blue-chip Buys:
Ohio State. As obvious as 1982 IBM at this point and honestly, about as interesting, the Ohio State juggernaut grinds on through their schedule seemingly unaffected by swapping out nine players on their starting defense, opponent’s gameplanning, weather conditions, the alignment of planets, ball lightning, bird flu outbreaks, or anything short of a hellmouth opening up on the field and swallowing the team whole. (A sight Michigan fans certainly would pay a shiny Susan B. Anthony dollar to see.)


Half-sleeves, full bore: OSU’s plowing right now, even with atrocious sideline fashion decisions.

The modified spread they’re running with Troy Smith, the improving running of Pittman, and the long/short combo of Ginn/Gonzalez. The fact that Ginn scares weasels out of secondaries has led to the emergence of Gonzalez, the best discovery of the season for the Ohio State offense. They’re just a corporation bent on destruction right now, and can see nothing but booming profits prior to the Michigan audit in the third quarter.

Florida. Why the hell not? They’ve now beaten Tennessee, Alabama, and have a home matchup with LSU, a team they lost to by two points last year in Baton Rouge. The offense still has that Viagra feel to it; about fifteen minutes pass before it goes from iffy to stiffy, and even then you’re waiting for the the inevitable detumescence following a score or two.

Positives abound, though. The bend-but-don’t-break school is back in session this year, and after spending most of the season on the downside of turnover margin Florida picked ‘Bama three times while giving up only one comically inept fumble on a poorly timed snap. The Mancrush Meter on Reggie Nelson is approaching near-homosexual levels following his FINISH HIM! Scorpion chest harpoon interception to finish off Alabama. Nelson wears the 2006 Commemorative Ed Reed crown for “safety most likely to steal the ball, your girlfriend, and your soul” in a single play, having finished off both Tennessee and Alabama with key picks. Reggie Nelson Swindle…it has a fine ring, no? The braids will be a bitch to maintain, though.

We present the pic below both as evidence of his manhood on the field and, uh, now that we’re looking twice, um…his manhood?


4th quarter anthrax: do not throw near this man.

Homer us if you will, but they win close games, make crucial halftime adjustments, and are showing a depth and composure we frankly find startling in Florida teams. At some point in the game on Saturday–somewhere around three plays into the first TD drive–we got the strange, certain feeling of victory in our chest, like a firm shelf you could hang hope on with absolute confidence. There were jitters, since D.J. Hall and Keith Brown taking passes from a quarterback as talented as John Parker Tanner Lexus Prestige Stonewall Parker should be enough to scare any SEC defense, but the feeling persisted, even as Florida clung to a 14-13 lead.

If a team has us feeling Amazing Kreskin vibes, they make the Buy list, even with the requisite compensation for homer points.

Georgia Tech. Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson, Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson; Calvin Johnson.

Calvin? Johnson. Calvin fucking Johnson. Genus: Calvin, species, Johnson.
There. Since adjectives won’t properly cover how good he was against Virginia Tech, an onslaught of variation will have to do. Va. Tech will take a hammering in our Blogpoll this week for violating our trust in the vaunted Hokie system (Jenkins! How could you!), but a certain gazelle-mutant deserves much of the credit for the victory in Blacksburg. (A major special teams breakdown is to blame, too, but more on that in the predicable “Sells”.)

Reggie Ball, the target of Chris Leak-scale contempt, has quietly earned his NCAA quarterbacking MBA this year. He’s always going to hover around the fifty percent mark in completions, but consider what you’ve done with your life: have you hit better than fifty percent at anything? If you have, take your Tony Robbins tapes and pat yourself on the back. We’ll go ahead and congratulate Ball for being good for two tds a game and not totally screwing up Tech’s chances of winning in most of his games thus far this season. Even if his passes look like they’re coming out of his hands at a 45 degree angle away from his intended passer, it’s working. Hails and huzzahs to the best 50 percent passing turbo-midget in the game.

Rock-Bottom, Foist Them Off in After Hours Trading With Sketchy Egyptian Backroom Broker Sells.

Iowa. Irrational exuberance took a large hit on Saturday for two of our poll darlings who, despite little reasonable evidence, floated in the top 15 for the first four weeks of 2006. Drew Tate will earn hellfire for his three-INT performance, but Iowa’s defense and their road-grading (victim thereof, not actor) the Buckeyes put on them. Fans of offensive symmetry, cuddle up with this: OSU ran 50 times and passed for 25 against the Hawkeyes, going for 214 on the ground and totally decimating Iowa undersized defense with beef on the front end and speed on the back.*

We noticed this thanks to some happy broadcasting synergy between commentator and situation. Herbstreit mentions what a great coach Ferentz is, blah blah blah. Buckeyes rip off 15 yard run. Herbstreit mentions that the defense is undersized and constructed of B-list recruits; OSU busts another run. Herbstreit mentions what a great job Ferentz has done again just as Troy Smith teleports a ball on a straight line to Gonzalez for a TD. At this point we imagine Iowa fans stuck behind a television everywhere were praying for Herbstreit to shut the hell up and start denigrating Iowa and their coach, since all the compliments seemed to converting mathematically into Buckeye rushing yards. But being a Buckeye grad himself, perhaps this was Kirk’s evil plot all along.


Herbstreit, puppet master.

Michigan State. They’re on permanent sell as long as Ol’ Slappy, a.k.a. [NAME ALSO REDACTED], is holding down a job title in East Lansing. This is the last time we’ll write this, so just mark it down and we’ll move on to…

Virgnia Tech. Sean Glennon threw the ball over fifty times on the day. Unless you’re Texas Tech or a Big Ten qb in one of those mid-fall tossfests that seems to break out occasionally up there, this means you lost on Saturday, which is indeed what happened. Credit to Georgia Tech’s run-allergic defense: 42 yards total rushing for the Hokies in what has been a superb season for Tenuta’s defense. Debit to: VT’s O-line, who spent most of the afternoon tipping backwards while their backs slammed into Tech’s rushers.

The shocking thing for us was watching Tech capitalize on a special teams flub by the Hokies, the Cardinals of the Church of Special Teams as overseen by Pope Beamer. This video shows the leisurely windup of the Hokies’ punter in action, accompanied by the suddenly sage commentary of Paul Maguire.

(Tangent: Maguire without Theisman has been a complete surprise in the booth. What sounded too casual and breezy for the surgery of the pro game has become convivial in the somewhat looser college game. Perhaps his avuncular style just meshes better when paired with the sound of a marching band, but Maguire always says something that uncovers the anatomy of a crucial play or scheme. He and Gary Thorne, a fine hockey announcer who’s getting the hang of the college game, are earning better than passing grades for announcing thus far. Now if they could just get Gottfried, the Senor Cardgage of the airwaves, off the team, we’d be cooking with extra virgin.)

Georgia. The rage of the Orgeron (”FOOTBAW!”) must be nigh-unmeasurable now: he comes within five points of beating a Georgia team whose offense can’t eclipse the age of consent at home…and still can’t get the victory. We do not advise storing chemicals around the Orgeron, since the heat of his anger will ignite them through the container. He is, however, holding up half the grid of the Oxford Municipal Power System, which should earn him a civic honor of some sort.

Georgia’s defense must be in line for civic honors of their own. The offense has dvolved into a Cromag version of the Mark Richt attack, with even the reliable screens and skinny posts stuttering along under the shaky hands of two freshmen and a glorified fullback manning the qb spot. Even the run game hasn’t been predictable: despite being strong enough to bend steel bars with his eyebrows, Thomas Brown passed on his chance to seize the starting spot, leaving Danny Ware as the next to perform inconsistently before passing the hot potato to Kregg Lumpkin, who ran well for 100 plus at Ole Miss. Good thing, too: UGA passed for 115 yards against a defense that allowed 290 yards to Kentucky.

Further Review of the Prospectus Needed Holds:

USC. The lack of a run game has discombobulated the Chow-Perfect offense, which might explain why Pete Carroll was barking into his headset and looking less than calm in the rollicking final six minutes of ther 28-22 game against Washington State. With Cal destroying Arizona State and putting Rudy Carpenter’s therapy bills into stratosphere, the Trojans look like they’re losing some veneer and settling into a post-invincibility mindset straight from the national championship team playbook. They look a lot like Miami ‘04, Florida ‘98, and Nebraska ‘00: good, sometimes great, but with visible hitches in their step. We’ve heard Shelley Smith won’t even sit at the lunchtable with them anymore OMG 1111!


Smith: dating some new Catholic dude from Indiana.

Texas A&M Texas Tech beats them on a last minute heave that had to delight the absurdist in Mike Leach’s soul. But we’re trying to see this through the low-level fog of hatred constantly blowing into Georgia from Alabama and see Dennis Franchione and his team for what they truly are at this point: improving. They didn’t get their annual 60-point whipping from the Raiders, and ground out the clock on the offensive side of the ball, and made Tech beat them with a low-probability toss at the buzzer. They’re not good–in fact, we still recommend that you handle all things Aggie with the longest set of tongs you can find–but they’re not horrible, either, which the ‘05 model could rightly claim to be.
Javon Ringer - Michigan State starting RB is out for the season with a torn ACL as I thought the possible when I was talking to you on AIM.

Anyone have any ideas how Stanton is doing?
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Phil Steele News and Notes

NEWS AND NOTES - Auburn had an amazing 3Q vs SCar going on an 85 yd, 17 play drive for a 25 yd FG, rec’ing the onside kick and going on a 52 yd, 13 play drive for a TD and SC did not run a single play in the 3Q. Auburn was fortunate to escape with the win as SC finished with a 24-16 FD edge and was int’d in the EZ in the 1Q, fmbl’d at the AUB 13 in the 2Q and at the end of the game, from the 5 had a 4th & 1 pass fall incomplete (which could have tied it)...

Rutgers came in ranked for the first time in 30 years but narrowly escaped with a win at USF. USF led 14-10 at the half with a 195-150 yd edge but turned it over 3 times, had a 17 yd punt and missed a 40 yd FG and RU led 22-14 with 7:08 left. USF got a TD with :15 left but the 2 pt conversion failed...

TCU had the nations longest win streak snapped by BYU on Thurs night. BYU even led 31-10 before TCU went 83 yds in 13 plays for a garbage TD with just 1:55 left...

Showing how misleading early season stats can be, Connecticut came in with the NCAA’s 10th ranked defense due to a soft early schedule. Navy, thanks to big plays, piled up 605 yds offense in a dominating 41-17 win...

Tennessee had 25-4 FD and 559-82 yd edges before Memphis rec’d a fmbl at the UT 21 trailing 41-0 and got a TD on the next play....

Kent St continues to look like the class of the MAC. They dominated Akron even more than the score would indicate as in the 1H they had a 313-123 yd edge. The Flashes fmbl’d at the Akron 5 later on and after a 4th & goal at the footline, they had a false start pen force them to try a 22 yd FG which was blk’d (2 blown TD opportunities) but they still led 23-7 at the half and coasted in a 37-15 rout...

Indiana was playing with a lot of emotion as Coach Hoeppner returned to the sidelines after missing 2 weeks following his 2nd brain surgery. The emotion quickly faded and Wisconsin simply pounded them, even dominating more than the 52-17 final indicated. They had a 390-127 yd edge at the half and led 52-0 after 3Q’s with Indy returning a fmbl’d KO 15 yds for a TD and getting 94 of their yds on a drive for a garbage TD with 3:25 left...

We projected Boise St to go to the Orange Bowl at the start of the year and they now have a clear cut path as they should be at least a double digit favorite in the remainder of their games. Boise throttled Utah with a 285-112 yd edge at the half and Utah’s QB’s combined to hit just 8 of 27 passes with 4 int in Boise’s rout on the road...

Purdue WR Selwyn Lymon had 8 catches for 238 yards, the most ever vs an Irish defense but Brady Quinn finished his ND career with 1,497 total yards offense vs Purdue, the 2nd most ever (Timmy Chang 1,719 vs Rice). PU did miss a 44 yd FG, gave up a fake FG for a TD, was SOD at the ND 10 and 47 but got an 87 yd, 10 play drive for a TD with 7:16 left for the backdoor cover...

Dirk Koetter in the summer, gave the starting QB job to Sam Keller but then changed his mind, giving it to Rudy Carpenter. Keller transferred to Nebraska and Carpenter, who actually led the nation in pass eff last year, has really struggled. He came in leading the NCAA in int heading into the game and hit just 6 of 19 for 33 yds with an int in the EZ vs Oregon in a game the Ducks dominated with a 574-175 yd edge in a feeble performance for the Sun Devils and their worst home loss since 1994...

For the 2nd straight year Middle Tennessee dominated N Texas but this time came out on top of the scoreboard. NT had 31 yds offense in the 1H and crossed midfield once in MTSt’s 35-0 win...

Georgia’s frosh QB’s continue to struggle and the Bulldogs had just 66 yds offense in the 1H vs Ole Miss. This time it was Stafford that came off the bench, replacing Cox leading the team to a pair of TD’s in the 2H. The 2 had combined to hit 5 of 15 for 30 yds in the 1H. Joe Tereshinski should return to the lineup this week after missing 3 games with a sprained ankle and will likely start vs the Vols...

Frosh Javarris James (PS#23) set a Miami frosh record by rushing for 148 yds vs Houston eclipsing Clinton Portis’ mark of 147. UM also moved LB James Bryant (PS#7) to H-back and he caught a TD pass. UM outgained Houston 420-276 but narrowly escaped with a 14-13 win...

Georgia Tech delivered as a 2H Selection in Power Sweep LW with their upset of VTech and it was even more dominating than the final score indicated. GT led 38-13 after 3Q’s with VT getting two 4Q TD’s to make the final respectable. Believe it or not, GT, despite playing in the same Coastal Div as Virginia Tech and Miami, is the division’s only unbeaten team!...

The matchup of Joe Paterno and Pat Fitzgerald was actually a meeting of the oldest and youngest coaches in IA ball and the outcome tilted towards experience. Penn St had 25-12 FD and 528-238 yd edges and rolled to a 33-7 win which was the score after 3Q’s as well. Northwestern did give rFr Andrew Brewer the start as Mike Kafka was injured. Interestingly, the spread had moved up to 19’ and PSU did not get ahead of the spread until a TD with :15 left in the 3Q. Northwestern’s last two threats were a 12 play drive that was SOD at the PSU 38 and a 7 play drive that was SOD at the PSU 41...

Of the 13 preseason magazines and websites monitored by preseason.stassen.com, ten had Washington pegged for the basement of the Pac 10 with 1 calling them to finish 9th and another 8th. The only one predicting them higher was Phil Steele’s College Football Preview which had them tied for 7th. The Huskies have opened up 2-0 in conf play and will clearly not finish in the cellar this year and knocked off Arizona on the road...

Nevada only had a 311-227 yd edge but had a 4-0 TO margin and frosh RB Brandon Fragger rushed for 146 yds in their 31-3 win...

UCLA had a 389-166 yd edge in the 1H but led just 7-0. They did get a TD with 5:11 left and ret’d a fmbl 5 yds for a TD, both in the final 6:00 in their 31-0 win...Colorado St delivered a Big Dog POW outright upset winner over Fresno St. Fresno even blk’d a punt and ret’d it 15 yds for a TD with 6:00 left in a 35-23 CSU win...Nebraska led KU 17-0 after the 1Q but KU piled up 574 yds offense and nearly knocked off NU for the 2nd straight time after having lost 35 straight years to NU. The Huskers prevailed in OT, 39-32...

It appeared Texas A&M had beaten Texas Tech when they got an int at midfield with 2:00 left but it was overturned by the replay officials and Tech got a 37 yd TD pass with :26 left to knock off the Aggies on the road. Graham Harrell hit 32 of 45 for 392 yds. A&M lost despite a 250-41 rushing edge...

We used a 4H College Totals Club Play on New Mexico St and UTEP to go Over the total. NMSt had a 573-537 yd edge for 1,110 combined yds. It was 31-20 at the half in the Battle of I10. UTEP had not scored in the 1Q in their first 3 games but put up 17 here. NMSt QB Chase Holbrook established Sun Bowl records with 73 pass att’s and 506 yds...

USC extended its school record for consecutive road wins to 18 but for the 2nd week struggled. This time the Trojans did lead 28-15 in the 4Q but WSU got a TD with 4:18 left and got to the USC 28 where they spiked the ball with :03 left before throwing an int. WSU finished with a 418-404 yd edge...

N Iowa played in the Div IAA Title Game in 2005 and came in ranked #13. They gave Iowa St a scare as the Cyclones needed a 16 yd TD pass with 1:05 left to take a 28-27 lead and then needed NI to miss a 51 yd FG wide right with :06 left. NI had led 21-7 at the half...

Baylor had lost all 5 previous meetings vs Kansas St by at least 28 points and had just 2 offensive TD’s in those meetings. KSt put up 55 passes vs them but completed just 22 for 296 yds and 12 FD’s in Baylor’s 17-3 home win...

Louisiana-Lft jumped out to a 30-0 lead after 3Q’s and 33-0 before E Mich got a pair of garbage TD’s in the 4Q’s...

Rice is switching from an option to a pass offense. The previous two weeks they faced highly ranked teams on the road coming off a loss and were without their passing QB Chase Clement, instead using an option QB from LY. Clement returned to the lineup vs Army and Rice was very emotional playing a day before the funeral of Dale Lloyd, a 19 year old DB who tragically died on Monday. Clement threw for 299 yds and a school record 5 TD passes and beat an Army team that had been a double digit underdog the previous 2 weeks and now was a DD favorite...

Oregon St K Alexis Serna tied a school record with a 58 yd FG vs California. That was about the only bright spot for the Beavers in a 41-13 home loss...

Wake Forest is the ACC’s only unbeaten in the Atlantic Div and a surprising 5-0 despite losing their QB, RB and LT to injury this year. Riley Skinner threw for 218 yds for overmatched Liberty...

JaMarcus Russell tied a school record with 14 consecutive completions vs Miss St and threw for a career high 330 yds. LSU led 35-0 in the 2Q but in a game similar to Texas’ LW, the teams went through a 52:00 delay and Miss St rallied to pull within 42-17 in the 4Q. LSU actually got a 1 yd TD run with 1:29 left to win by 31 but still could not get the frontdoor cover.

- San Diego St lost their starting QB in the first game of the season. Darren Mougey played well in his place but Mougey separated his right shoulder in the middle of the 3Q after hitting 7 of 9 passes. The Aztecs trailed 14-10 at the time and were noncompetitive after the play in which SJSt’s Justin Cole was called for roughing the passer. Kevin Craft hit 3 of 7 for 7 yds with 1 int in his place...

Rafael Little returned to the lineup for Kentucky and had 70 yds rushing and 23 rec in their win over C Michigan. UK led 28-0 but being in the unusual role of leading big, did allow CM to throw for 411 yds in UK’s 9 point win...

Miami OH was without QB Mike Kokal and Daniel Raudabaugh (1st start) hit 18 of 38 for 169 yds. UM did get another PR return TD by Ryne Robinson, the 7th of his career and he is one short of an NCAA record. An int and 24 yd return set up the Bearcats for a 20 yd TD pass early 4Q to get ahead of the spread and they covered 24-10 despite QB Grutza hitting just 5 of 11 for 43 yds.

OHIO ST AND MICHIGAN - #1 AND #2 IN SEASON FINALE? - The Ohio St Buckeyes, with just 2 returning starters on defense, had to play both Texas and Iowa on the road to start the year but simply defeated those two opponents by 17 and 21 points and will easily be 11-0 when they host Michigan in the season finale. In arguably the greatest rivalry in college football, it could be one of the biggest game ever as the Wolverines also look like one of the most talented teams in the country and with Michigan St turning into a headcase team and falling by the wayside, these two could very well be 11-0 when they meet in Columbus, OH for the finale setting up a titanic battle where the winner moves on to the National Title game. OSU did only have a 198-191 yd edge at the half vs Iowa but facing its first top-notch veteran QB all year, forced Drew Tate into 3 TO’s and finished with a 4-0 TO edge in their 21 point win. Michigan survived having a 1st & goal at the 4 and settling for a 22 yd FG and then missing the chipshot and later allowed Minnesota to recover an onside kick but still won and covered in impressive fashion, 28-14.

HEISMAN WATCH - Garrett Wolfe had a career high 353 yds rushing vs Ball St and already has 1,181 yards in just 5 games. Keep in mind Wolfe rushed for 171 vs Ohio St which at the time appeared to be vs a young D but the Buckeyes D has proven much stronger and that has been the high vs the #1 team in the country for an opposing RB. NI had 610 yds offense thanks to Wolfe’s rushing.

MISLEADING FINALS, FRONTDOOR AND BACKDOOR COVERS - Virginia clubbed Duke 37-0 but it was a bit misleading as at the half they led 24-0 but had just a 5-3 FD edge. For the game the Cavs had just 253 yds and Duke gained 42 of their 100 total yards in the 4Q. The Cavs benefitted from 5 TO’s, a blk’d punt and Duke was SOD at their own 29 during the game...

Idaho appears to have waxed Utah St by 20 pts but a closer look shows the Vandels with just a 306-305 yd edge. Most teams cannot survive one 14 point turnaround but USt suffered 2 of them. Leading 14-10, they had a 1st & goal at the 10 threatening to move ahead by double digits but was not only int’d but ret’d 94 yds for a TD with just 1:26 left in the half & trailed 17-14. Later, USt was down at the Idaho 18 with a FD but their QB Nelson was hit and fmbl’d and it was scooped up and ret’d 82 yds for a TD. Thanks to the two 14 points swings, Idaho cruised to a 20 point win...

The line on the Florida/Alabama game went from 13 or 13’ during the week up to 16 at one point on Thursday then back down to 15. That line move would be huge as it finished at 15. The Gators were lucky to win the game. Bama, trailing by 1, fmbl’d at their own 34 and UF got a TD with 6:47 left to go up by 1 score. The Tide was driving again and at midfield threatening to tie when in Ohio St-like form, UF got a 70 yd IR for a TD with 4:19 left for the frontdoor push. Bama fmbl’d again on their final drive and the Gators almost got the frontdoor cover as they rec’d at the Tide 5 but 2 runs by Tebow netted 1 yd and he fmbl’d at the Tide 1 on the last play of the game...

While Colorado covered the game vs Missouri, it was much closer than the final would indicate. CU outgained Missouri 373-353 in fact but the key was the redzone opportunities. In the 1H CU got to the MO 14 and settled for a FG and the MO 4 yd line but was SOD. They also got to the MO 19 and 14 yd lines but settled for FG’s and was also SOD at the Missouri 4. In the first 18:00 of the game, CU had 3 drives inside the MO 19 but they resulted in 2 FG’s and an SOD. MO only had 2 drives into CU’s redzone but had 2 TD’s to show for it and led 14-6. A bad snap on a punt with just 2:07 left in the half gave MO the ball at the CU 14 and the Tigers got a TD with :11 left in the half for a 21-6 lead. In the 2H CU was SOD at the MO 36 and 19 yd lines.

BUBBLE BURST THEORY - Many times when a team loses a game it thought it had won or loses their first game of the season, their bubble bursts and let it effect their entire season. Mich St, last year lost 2 close games and ended up with a losing season. This year, after a crushing loss to ND, MSU went on a 62 yd 10 play drive to open vs IL but fmbl’d at the 2 and then settled for a 31 yd FG and led just 3-0 after 1Q. The Illini got a 69 yd pass for a TD and would lead 10-3 at the half and 20-10 after 3Qs. MSU, down by 3, had a 3rd & 1 at the UI 7, but lost 2 yds and settled for a FG with 2:41 left to tie but UI went 10 plays and 58 yds for a 39 yd FG and the win and the stunning upset.
Cavalcade of Whimsy - Can Wolfe hit 3,000?


By Pete Fiutak
Posted Oct 3, 2006

Can Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe run for 3,000 yards? It might not be as out of reach as you might think. Why there must be better goal line camera angles, a gut-feeling about Ohio State, and the most overhyped player in America in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

By Pete Fiutak

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I’m a little shaken by the planes flying overhead toting banners saying “CFN READERS & FANS DESERVE BETTER … FIRE FIU, AND COKER, NOW.”

Illinois finally had a “hostile and abusive”
team instead of just a nickname … To shake up his team, Michigan State head coach John L. Smith should’ve forced his players to help Illinois plant the Illini flag at midfield after the 23-20 loss. Don’t like it when someone else does it, MSU? Play better.

This week’s Cavalcade essay question … Who has the more impressive arm: Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, or the guy in the Vonage van who plugs the fat kid and the blond bim in the head? Discuss.

“Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better (bleep)ing do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.” … Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe has set an NCAA record for the most rushing yards gained after five games with 1,181 after tearing off 353 yards on Ball State for an average of 236.2 yards per game. At the moment, he's rushing for more yards per game than all but six teams (Navy, West Virginia, Air Force, Louisville, Connecticut and Clemson) and gained more against the Cardinals than Louisiana Tech, UTEP, Colorado State, Arizona, Ohio, Tulane, Virginia, Temple, Duke and Baylor have come up with all season, and ironically equalled Ball State's season total. In fact, his 353 yards were 66 more than Baylor and Duke combined with nine games between them.

Here’s the remaining NIU schedule with each opponent’s current national rank against the run …
- at Miami University 104th
- at Western Michigan 6th (but it hasn’t faced anyone who can run)
- Temple 117th
- Iowa 47th
- Toledo 93rd
- Central Michigan 69th
- Eastern Michigan 108th.

That means Mr. Wolfe will go against three of the worst run defenses in America along two others that rank in the bottom half. If NIU wins the Western Division, it’ll play in the MAC title game and a bowl meaning Wolfe, if he stays healthy, will play in 14 games. If he stays healthy, at his current pace, which isn’t unrealistic in any way considering he could hang 400 on both Temple and Eastern Michigan, he’ll finish the season with 3,306 yards. Former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders currently holds the record with 2,628 yards.

Flag this … Every sort of touchdown celebration is old news and everyone has overdone every way to get into the end zone except for one. When a player is in the clear and has no one within 20 yards of him, he should stop just short of the goal line, reach the ball across the goal line, and then walk back to the bench. How could it possibly be flagged?

Like Randolph and Mortimer, the bet is one dollar … The C.O.W. line on the total margin of defeat in Duke’s games vs. Alabama, Florida State, and Miami over the next three weeks: 100. By the way, what does it say about your team to be Duke’s homecoming opponent? Virginia was the only home game before mid-October, and it won 37-0, but like Kevin Smith saying your movie sucks, that’s still a sign of disrespect from a supposed inferior.

But don’t play the ESPN promo game. You’ll be a vegetable … For those of you looking to add some spice to your Thursday nights, I present the South Carolina drinking game, presented by ESPN. You drink every time Kirk Herbstreit says SteveSpurrier (one word), and you chug every time he giggles like a slow walking sorority girl when praising the Ball Coach. What you do every time the word genius is used is up to you.

And while they're at it, maybe ESPN can smarten up and do Cheerleader Cam the next time it has one of those Full Circle thingys… I keep asking why there aren’t replay cameras stationed on each goal line, and I keep getting, “uhhhh, I dunno” answers. Sorry to repeat myself from past columns, but now that replay is a part of our lives, it makes absolutely no sense not to place cameras on each side of the goal line to get a better view on the most critical area of the field.

This weekend, Florida’s Andre Caldwell lost the ball as he was diving into the end zone for a critical touchdown against Alabama. It sure as shoot looked like he lost the ball before going in, but the original touchdown call rightly wasn’t overturned because CBS had every camera angle but a definitive one on the goal line. Later on Saturday, Nebraska’s Nate Swift fumbled the ball as he was going out of bounds while stretching the ball over the pylon in overtime against Kansas. Should it have been a touchback? Probably not because he appeared to be out of bounds before losing the ball, but again, there wasn’t a good goal line angle. In the Georgia-Ole Miss game, Bulldog DB Tra Battle stripped Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster just before he crossed the goal line, but the touchdown stood because there wasn’t a good angle to see what really happened. Give credit to TBS for actually getting a good view of a key USC score against Washington State. Now the other networks need to follow.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten random thoughts after this weekend, because I'm saving my Ten Reasons for Why Ohio State Might not be No. 1 for when the media hype gets out of control.

10. With the exception of the Nike swoosh, the old school Florida blue uniforms with the simple F on the helmet might be the greatest in all of recorded history
Fine, I’ll be the one to say it. The cursive Gators on the helmet is sort of weird and the normal unis are nice, but nothing to get excited about. The throwback jerseys worn in the Alabama game must be used on a permanent basis.

9. And give them a replay guy whose vote wasn't once influenced by the Tippecanoe and Tyler Too slogan
It should be a simple rule: all non-conference games should be done by neutral officials. Period. It’s not like an ACC official is going to give the ACC team a call over a Conference USA team, but why even allow anyone to give it a thought?

8. College football should be played on Saturdays. Just Saturdays.
I understand the need for leagues like Conference USA and the WAC to get on national TV whenever they can, but there’s no reason for Auburn vs. South Carolina to be on a Thursday night. Fine, I’ll give you one Thursday night game a week, but having games from Tuesday through Sunday night, like this week, is a bit much, even for the biggest of college football junkies. So who really cares about these games? ...

It just means the poker players will view more porn
Never underestimate how silly a small group of people in power can be. As you were off doing whatever it is you do on Friday nights, an Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act bill was passed in Congress making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process the payments to on-line casinos. That means all the poker players are completely screwed, and placing a wager on a sporting event will now be next to impossible. If you don’t bet, why should you care? Well for one, it’s ridiculous. It’s fine to go to Las Vegas and lose all your money, or blow your coin in the lottery, at the horse track, or at any riverboat casino, but you can’t do it on-line for some bizarre reason. Lawmakers whine that kids can get into these sites and gamble, but that minuscule problem is nothing compared to how easy it is for an 11-year-old to find free hardcore pornography with just a few keyboard clicks, and how easy it is to download thousands of songs, order garbage, and do a number of other things on the Internet. Second, it’s costing you money. All the on-line casinos are begging to be able to operate in the U.S. and be regulated. If that happened, these companies would pay billions upon billions of dollars in taxes, and be happy to do it.

6. Hawaii will go 11-2
The 44-9 win over Eastern Illinois showed once again that this is the best Hawaii offense yet in the June Jones era. Colt Brennan is the perfect triggerman, Nate Ilaoa is providing a thunderous rushing threat, and receivers Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullen, Jason Rivers and Ross Dickerson have been fantastic. There’s no way Nevada, Fresno State, New Mexico State, Idaho, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Purdue, or Oregon State (with the last four on the list making the trip to Honolulu) will be able to keep the Warriors to under 35 points.

5. The ½ pound beef and potato burrito will save Taco Bell
I ate one last Wednesday and am still full. This wrap of 530 calorie, 24 fat gram, love will single-handedly break me out of my controversial three-year border ban.

4. Georgia is way, way, way overrated
Georgia being ranked tenth in the AP poll and ninth in the Coaches Poll basically lets you know that the pollsters aren’t watching as much college football as you. Oh sure, the Bulldog defense is playing at a national title level, but there’s no way, no how, anyone could’ve watched all five Georgia games this year and still picked it ahead of Tennessee, Oregon, LSU, Clemson, or California in the rankings. If you need an unbeaten team to rank high, put Missouri up there. The Tigers handled Colorado team without a problem a week after the Dawgs needed a last minute touchdown pass to beat the Buffs. With that said, Tennessee is up this week and Florida is at the end of the month. There are chances to prove itself worthy of the top ten.

3. The best conference race is …
A tie between the MAC and the Sun Belt. Fine, so the only time you’ve cared about ither league was when your team was rolling over one of its teams on the way to a 56-7 win, but as far as the league races are concerned, these two are the most interesting. There have been upsets galore so far in each league with the races more wide open than any other.

2. If Boise State goes 12-0, give it a shot on the big stage
No, I’m not talking about the BCS Championship game. To me, the two teams in the title game should’ve earned their way in by having the best seasons against the toughest schedules, and obviously, Boise State won’t do that with its biggest wins, when all is said and done, coming against Oregon State, Utah, and Hawaii. I know the WAC stinks, and I know the Broncos got jacked up when they faced Georgia last year, but this is a different, more talented team with the best defense yet since this great run began to go along with a legitimate all-star back in Ian Johnson. Fresno State and Hawaii get national credit for beating name teams that have done nothing, but no one seems to want to acknowledge that Boise's 78 wins since 1999 is impressive no matter how you cut it. The non-championship BCS games are nothing more than glorified, semi-important non-conference exhibitions. They're not playoffs. Let Boise in.

1. Instant replay is better than nothing
I’m not going to bring up that game again, but remember, all the replay official did on the onside kick call was not reverse it. Had there not been instant replay, the on-field officials would’ve taken all the heat.
It's the old adage that things can go right 99 out of 100 times, but you'll only pay attention to the one misfire. Time and again, instant replay has provided another set of eyes just to get the calls as close to correct as possible. Replay works. Replay is a major positive step in college football, and with the technology getting better, the system will only get stronger and more efficient.

And like most of the other top receiver prospects, they can all go off to the NFL to become busts … Good luck trying to figure out the pecking order for the wide receivers in the All-America race, much less the order for the Biletnikoff Award. It’s generally being acknowledged the Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson is the one to beat, but Tennessee’s Robert Meachem has been every bit as productive and even more dangerous. Michigan’s Mario Manningham has been a one-man wrecking crew, Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija, despite not leading his team in receiving, has been the most clutch, and when all is said and done, USC’s Dwayne Jarrett might be the best of the bunch. That list doesn’t even include the nation’s leading statistical receivers like UTEP’s Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oregon’s Jaison Williams, Hawaii’s Davone Bess and Rice’s Jarett Dillard. It also doesn’t include …

Welcome to another edition of Which Fan Base Will I Get the Angry E-mails From This Week … I’ve recently realized there are two arguments I’ll never, ever win: Will Ferrell isn’t all that funny, and dogs are annoying (there’s nothing worse than walking into someone’s house and having Scruffles, fresh off a tête-à-tête with his happy place, jumping all over you). Add a third to the list of battles I can't seem to win.

Considering all the hype and all the attention, Ted Ginn is currently the most overrated player in America.

I’m not saying that he’s not a phenomenal, top 15-caliber talent. I’m not arguing that he doesn’t have scary-fast speed and the potential to bust open any game at any time. I just want to see it more often. I don’t care if you have five guys covering you, if you’re all that and a peanut butter sandwich, you come up with big numbers no matter what, like Calvin Johnson, Garrett Wolfe, and Adrian Peterson have had to do. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know his receiving skills have gotten night-and-day better and that Troy Smith is busy making Anthony Gonzalez a ton of future NFL money thanks to the single coverage, but from Ginn, I want more than nine catches for 84 yards in two Big Ten games. I want more than 15.8 yards per kickoff return and 8.75 yards per punt return. Once again, I’m not saying he’s bad in any way, but for all the hype and all the attention, I want to see more.

But wait, Buckeye fans, before you finish off that angry, somewhat paranoid e-mail, and before I respond that I don’t hate Ohio State and remind you that I picked your Buckeyes to beat Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl … Ohio State deserves to be the number one team in the country. The 24-7 drubbing of Texas in Austin was the best win all year, and wins over Penn State and at Iowa were stronger for the résumé than many top teams can claim. So why do I have that 2002 Miami, 2005 USC feeling that the team is going to be hyped and hyped and hyped to a ridiculous level, be double-digit favorites in the BCS championship game, and then get tagged? Three letters … S. E. C.

Isn’t it just possible that Texas is just way above-average, Iowa is mediocre, and Penn State is really mediocre? It’s not Ohio State’s fault if those three teams are no big whoop, but none of them appear to be LSU, Auburn or Florida. Cal is playing like one of the five best teams in America, and it got its doors blown off by Tennessee. I’m not saying the Buckeyes aren’t fantastic, and I have them ranked number one, but would I bet the house and the farm on them on a neutral field over the top SEC teams? Not sure.

My Heisman ballot this week would be 1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma, 2. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 3. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 4. Garrett Wolfe, RB Northern Illinois, 5. Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world1) Overrated: Tim Tebow ... Underrated: Iced venti pumpkin spice skim latte, easy ice, two Splendas, with a side of Red Bull
2) Overrated: How bad the Oregon uniforms are … Underrated: How bad the Washington State uniforms are
3) Overrated: 25 million reasons … Underrated: Kurt Cobain
4) Overrated: Reggie Bush ... Underrated: Jerious Norwood
5) Overrated: Goofy announcers who refuse to say the words no hitter during a no hitter ... Underrated: Rece Davis for daring to give an update on Daniel Caberra's no-hitter attempt vs. the Yankees.

Sheer hubris run amok … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off: I know, I’m dying here going 5-7 so far. I press on … 1) Mississippi State +26.5 over West Virginia, 2) Michigan State +17 over Michigan, 3) New Mexico State pick over Idaho

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … it was a drifter, not a South Carolina spy, who stole my laptop with the better column and the Auburn game plan in it.
crick is better than ringer RJ and Stanton IS playing...he is already talking shit in the papers.

Our Louisville first half looks good..it is 19.5 now.
crick is better than ringer RJ and Stanton IS playing...he is already talking shit in the papers.

Our Louisville first half looks good..it is 19.5 now.

Good to know.

I want my +17 back on MSU so I can hit it.
Wednesday Blog Round Up


Stuff. From other places. With facts ‘n numbers and stuff. Sometimes.

–Church of Albert enters the “Parallel Piece” sweepstakes with a College Teams/Superhero bit. Virginia Tech as Dr. Doom works for us, mostly because Dr. Doom rules.

–Peter finds his own case of geniune “Oklahoma Suks” beer. His description: “dark, rich, very malty.” Does that mean it tastes better than Miller High Life? Because that stuff is very tasty, indeed.

–In the stands in G-ville last weekend, a hubbub ensued in the rows above us. We weren’t sure what it was, but the only clue came when we overheard people saying “Yeah, the bitch is up there.” Mystery solved: Jenn Sterger, she of the fine Corinthian leather, was in the stands “covering” the game for CNNSI.

We have to wonder what’s going on at the Photoshop department at SI OnCampus, though. Pic one of Borat’s sister posing with a Gator fan:


Now check out the pic on page two, taken with some enthused Alabama fans who may or may not have actually been in the picture.


Suspiciously Photoshoppy, as pointed out to us by several readers. That isn’t the only manipulation going on with the piece: she uses the word “projectile” to describe the objects Alabama and Florida fans were throwing at each other (something we nor anyone else we talked to actually saw at the game.) We bet the original read: “And they were totally throwing shit at each other!”, a phrase hastily corrected by an SI editor wondering out loud if she went to Brown for four years just to correct the slackjawed prose of a silicone-poisoned Florida State grad. (Answer: um, yes.)

–Navy fullback Adam Ballard wants to be a country singer.
To be a good country music singer, you don’t have to have a real good voice,” the texas native told the Sun last week.

–Auburn’s starting center, Joe Cope, will be out for at least four weeks for a knee injury. He’ll be replaced by someone else who can’t stop a 130-lb drifter from stealing a laptop.

–We heard cheers for both quarterbacks at the Florida game, including a concerted effort in the student section to make louder cheers for Chris Leak when he re-entered the game.

But that wouldn’t make for specious “instant controversy” pieces! Click on it for the tastiest in soy-filled, hormone laced manufactured stories.

–How Bob Stoops lost his groove. (HT: The Wiz.)
Morning Coffee from BON

Morning Coffee
By HornsFan Section: Football

Kirk Bohls says Texas is still seeking its identity. I think he's right. This is a statement game for Texas, the biggest of the season.

C&CM notes that OU's been lights out after bye weeks under Bob Stoops.

Chip Brown's morning notebook: Colt McCoy is starting to play and carry himself with a swagger, Mack's not listening to rap music this season, and the `Horns don't feel good about kicking field goals.
The last note's the most interesting one, with Brown being quoted as saying, "We're not big on field goals. We're going to try our best to go four downs and score if we possibly can. That's just the personality we've become when we get into field goal range. Points are really important. Greg [Johnson] is about 100 percent in practice since he missed the one against Ohio State. I think we're fine there; I just don't like to kick 'em."

OU has been forced to give up the south end zone seats to keep the game in Dallas through 2010. Last season, Texas had asked Oklahoma officials to rotate which team's fans got to sit above the south end zone tunnel as part of a gentleman's agreement. The Sooners - not gentlemen, we note - balked. Which is why none of the stories about Texas officials playing hardball in these negotiations is surprising. OU needs the game in Dallas far more than Texas does.

Point: The Norman Transcript says Big Game Bob is back. He's confident about his team, and ornery with reporters.
Counterpoint: The San Antonio Express-News discusses the disappearing act of Big Game Bob.
Sooner fans try to be funny. Lame.
4-3 for the week, +1.25 units or so

Not a bad week, not a great week, but positive. Just holding serve right now.

Plus, I found my new avatar. Just gotta resize it:

View attachment 515
SoonerBS said:
Oh, yeah, I forgot, you're a lawyer, too.

Should we start heckling RJ and tell him "I Brake for Animals but not for Lawyers!" :an_roll_laugh: