Week Four: Tuesday
Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee
The Vols head coach has won almost eighty percent of his games, but that hasn't stopped the grumblings coming from Knoxville. Fulmer hasn't won an SEC title since 1998, and the Vols often seem to underperform in big games. Last week against Florida is a prime example. With an offense that is supposed to be explosive, Fulmer's offensive scheme generates just seven points. Not pretty at all. The Vols will be going to Baton Rouge to take on LSU in a huge game. If the Vols lose, an SEC title becomes almost an impossibility. Another frustrating loss, and the cries for Fulmer to make some changes or be changed himself will grow even louder. Fulmer will not be fired, but he is starting to wear thin on the patience of Vol fans.
Drew Tate, Iowa
Tate was supposed to be on the First Team All Big Ten ballot at the end of the year. After his performance against Iowa State, no one would put him there. He struggled throughout the first half, and then left with a concussion. Now, in an even bigger spotlight game, the Hawkeyes will be taking on Ohio State in Columbus. Tate is going to be going against an outstanding defense and will be looking to prove he deserved all those preseason accolades. We'll see. The game is huge for both teams because the loser will have not chance to get to the national championship game and the winner takes the first step to the Big Ten title.
College Gameday Site
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
It is a little surprising that Gameday is going to Baton Rouge, given that the city is already busting at the seams with people. However, this will provide the gang the opportunity to have lots of human interest stories on the people of Louisiana and their struggle to survive after Hurricane Katrina. The game between LSU and Tennessee will be on ESPN at 7:45, so to have Gameday there makes sense from that standpoint. If Hurricane Rita makes a turn from its currently projected path and heads toward Louisiana, then the crew will likely stay in Bristol and do the show from the studio. Of course, there would be much bigger problems if that happens. Let's all hope it does not.
Thoughts on the Rankings
Sigh. Do the voters not get it? Notre Dame beats Michigan AT Michigan. Michigan State beats Notre Dame AT Notre Dame. So which team is the highest ranked in both polls on Monday morning? Michigan, of course. The Wolverines are #13 in the Coaches Poll and #14 in the AP Poll. Notre Dame is #18 in the Coaches Poll and #16 in the AP Poll. Michigan State is #22 in the Coaches Poll and #17 in the AP Poll. This early in the season, the only thing we have to go by are head to head games. The team that wins that game has to be ranked ahead of the other team, as long as the teams have the same record.
The biggest problem the voters have is that they have to be struggling to get all the teams that deserve to be ranked in the Top 25. Last night, I counted roughly 35 teams that I felt deserved to be ranked. It is a mighty to task to narrow that down to just 25 teams.
The Vanderbilt Watch- This week the Commodores have collected eight points in the Coaches Poll, and six points in the AP Poll. The Commodores are 3-0, having won at Wake Forest and Arkansas and won at home against Ole Miss. A 5-0 start seems probable with Richmond and Middle Tennessee ahead. Then comes a home date with LSU.
The Harris Poll will be released for the first time next Monday. This will be the voters last chance to get a good look at some teams before voting. Here's to hoping that they take the time to get a good look at some of these teams.
In honor of the Harris Poll, my rankings will also be coming out for the first time next Monday or Tuesday. Just so everyone knows, my rankings will be based entirely on what I have seen on the field so far. I will try to take out any preconceived notions of the teams and look solely at how they played on the football field. This is, of course, a very difficult thing to do, and I probably will not be able to do it successfully, but I will not be using my preseason rankings or anything else to help in this judgement. I will go solely on what I have seen on the football field from all 119 teams.