Week Four: Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.
Michigan State has just become the Big Ten favorite. With Purdue looking OK against Arizona, and Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State already having lost (admittedly all in out of conference games), the Spartans are the team to beat in the Big Ten.
This week's Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game is a match-up of the two best teams in the Coastal Division, with the winner going to the inaugural ACC Championship Game.
The Bowden Bowl just got bigger in the ACC. The November 12 game between Florida State and Clemson at Clemson will be for the ACC Atlantic Division title. Yes, Boston College and North Carolina State could have something to say about it, but these two teams have separated themselves just a little bit.
Tulane's defense will lead them to a bowl game with a 7-4 record.
UCLA will be 9-0 before taking on Arizona State and USC in the final two games of the year.
Remember that some of these things are gross overreactions to the way teams played this weekend. These are not necessarily straight predictions, but rather thoughts that many may not consider that are very distinct possibilities.
Rich Brooks, Kentucky's head coach: "To think we are some special team and take anybody lightly or be confident thinking this will be an easy game for us does baffle me. I have an older mind than most of my players. I am more aware of the pitfalls. I obviously did not have the ability to communicate that to them."
Mike Leach, Texas Tech's head coach: "We don't go into a game with a set goal of points we want to score, but we do look at everything from an improvement standpoint. We need to keep playing better and work hard on every play, especially this week before we start conference play. I've been pretty pleased with what we have done so far, and we just need to keep getting better."
Mike Bellotti, Oregon's head coach: "It's the same old thing. They're football players, they're college students. They're a very talented football team, but they've got to play us at our place.
We have some talent also. I'm pretty proud of where we're at right now. We feel good about ourselves, I feel positive about what this team can do those are the key issues to my way of thinking. I think we're in a good state of mind right now."
News & Notes
Several games could be forced to moved by Hurricane Rita. Texas A&M-Texas State, Rice-Navy, and Houston-Southern Miss are all contemplating shifting their games to other dates. The storm is expected to make landfall Saturday in the very early morning on the Texas coast. There is still a chance that the storm could take a turn and hit Louisiana.
The Sugar Bowl has narrowed down the list of possible sites for their game this year to two. Baton Rouge would be the logical choice, since it is close to New Orleans, the previous home of the Sugar Bowl. However, there is fear that there may not be enough hotel rooms to house all the out of towners coming into the city for the bowl game. The other possibility is Atlanta in the Georgia Dome. The Sugar Bowl hosts the SEC Champion in years that team does not go to the BCS Championship Game, and the SEC Championship Game is in Atlanta. That would make Atlanta another logical host.
Tennessee and Oklahoma have announced that they will play a home-and-home in 2014 and 2015. Everyone remember that these are two of the top programs in the country right now. If either one is not up to snuff in those seasons, try not to hold it against them too much when they play in 2014 and 2015. This has potential to be a great two game series.
Speaking of Tennessee, Erik Ainge will get the start at quarterback against LSU. The question is, will Fulmer stick with one guy for longer than two series and let him get into the flow of the game? How will Ainge perform in the tough environment? Who is the right choice at quarterback? The questions never cease coming out of Knoxville.
Florida won on Saturday night, but lost two key players. Wide receiver Andre Caldwell is out for the rest of the season. Defensive end Ray McDonald is out for 4-6 weeks. Over the next six weeks, Florida plays at Kentucky, at Alabama, Mississippi State, at LSU, Georgia (in Jacksonville), and Vanderbilt. The Gators are a solid team. We'll have to see how they handle the injuries now.
RANT OF THE WEEK
There were lots of worthy contenders to get in this section this week. The likely winner got excluded because it did not have a name attached to it, so just remember next week to include your name and location. In the end, this was the winner. There was one other e-mail very similar to this one...about a different team.
Being a life long Michigan fan, I know too well the history of their coaches. Get ridiculous talent, play conservative, watch team lose games. Now I hear about Lloyd Carr warming up the job for D-Coordinator Jim Hermann to take over when he leaves, and it makes me puke. As much as I love that they have never gone through the random losing or .500 season like most powerhouse programs, that's what needs to happen to get some new blood in there. When will someone in the program realize that the goal every year is not to win 9 games and just go to the Rose Bowl. Michigan is stuck in what I call "Trailblazer land." The Portland Trailblazers won all those games in the late 80's and early 90's, just good enough to make the playoffs, always bad enough to not win them. No titles, no draft picks to build on, no win situation. Now most will probably think I'm a spoiled fan; that's ridiculous. Michigan easily has the top 5 talent in the country, every single year. Yet their coach is known to publicly prefer winning the Big Ten over the BCS title game. I guess that's why they haven't been undefeated in October since Brady was playing.
--Tony, New York
The other team you ask? The Tennessee Volunteers. I guess ever since the Charles Woodson-Peyton Manning Heisman Trophy debate, these two programs have been permanently linked.