Week Eight: Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.
Florida State is bound and determined to lose at least one more game. They are too inconsistent on offense and don't get the ball into their running backs hands enough to make things happen. Plus, their defense showed a few lapses this weekend. There are road trips to Clemson and Florida still ahead on the schedule, while home dates with Maryland and North Carolina State are both potential landmines.
We will only have two unbeatens at most at the end of the regular season. What are the odds that we have a second consecutive regular season with three teams from major conferences undefeated? We hadn't dealt with that issue in a long time. Better yet, what are the odds that for the second consecutive season the preseason #1 and #2 teams survive unbeaten and play for the national title? In other words, Texas or USC seems to be a near lock to lose at some point. The question is, to who and how?
The Big Ten title still runs through the Ohio State-Michigan game. If both teams win between now and then, that game will likely determine who wins the conference title. Yes, there's still the small factor that Wisconsin will need to drop some more conference games, and Penn State will have to drop one to someone along the way, but the Ohio State-Michigan game is still the most important game in the Big Ten.
Conference USA has been turned upside down. UTEP and Tulsa appear prepared to battle it out for the West title, but there is no better conference race (outside of the wild Big Ten) than the Conference USA East title. Southern Miss, UCF, Marshall, and East Carolina all have one conference loss. UAB and Memphis each have two. Ummm...somebody sort this out for everyone please!
Don't be so quick to discount Vanderbilt just yet. Yes, they have lost three straight games to Middle Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia. But they were close against LSU and Georgia with just a few more breaks. They will be favored against Kentucky, and have looked better than South Carolina so far, so that should get them to six wins. However, they may have enough to become a very serious threat to either Tennessee or Florida unless they start playing better. The Vols and Gators both have looked very weak lately, and the Commodores would love nothing more than to knock off one of those giants.
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.
News & Notes
Urban Meyer has stated that Chris Leak will remain the starting quarterback and will not be replaced by freshman Josh Portis. Remember three years ago when Leak very publicly switched his commitment from Tennessee to Florida? At the time, this was seen as a huge blow to the Vols. Now, Leak is being questioned about whether or not he should be the starter on his team. While he may be better than any quarterback the Vols have, the demise of Chris Leak (particularly under the guidance of Urban Meyer) has been quite rapid.
Hurricane Wilma is pounding down on South Florida, thus making it tough to tell if either West Virginia's visit to South Florida or Georgia Tech's road date at Miami will be able to come off. The game could be moved. Expect announcements on both games sometime today.
Mike Leach, Texas Tech's head coach: "It used to that our non-conference was several bowl teams, and we just changed it around and decided to try out and see what some of the other guys were doing. The biggest thing was to get home games after we expanded the stadium and playing in front of the home fans. This is one of our better teams we have had, and we're older on defense with some more experience that we have had. We have a pretty talented group of receivers who have been gaining experience rapidly. This could shape up as one of our best teams; it remains to be seen as we continue the season."
Jeff Tedford, California's head coach: "They played better than we did. Bad game plan- got to give our guys more of a chance to be successful and today it was obvious in the run game that they were more physical than we were and out coached in the run game."
Al Groh, Virginia's head coach: "What we talked about last week is that we didn't really care what anybody said about us, and we don't really care this week. We just know what we have to do this week to keep it going. What we care about is winning and losing and staying together as a team and trying to play the kind of sound, solid, tough, aggressive ball that we like to think is our trademark. The season was pretty early still last week at that stage. It's really still pretty early; we're only at the halfway mark. And, I think at that stage it's too early to get hyped up about if you've got a great team, and it's a little pre-mature to be running around like Chicken Little saying, 'The sky is falling.'"
Rant of the Week
Again, there were several great rants last week. But this one took the cake...wedding cake that is! It deals with an issue near and dear to every college football fan during this treacherous time of year.
Why oh why do people plan weddings during the college football season? I buy season tickets every year for my team and it never fails that two or three wedding invitations find my box. Newsflash- college football is way more important than your stupid wedding. Am I alone in this? STOP planning wedding dates in college football season, please for the love of god. Guys take a stand for all other guys out there that you are inviting to your wedding. And don't get all girly when I tell you I would rather watch college football. June weddings are really nice. Maybe try early spring. PLEASE.
Chris, I can relate. This Saturday, I have a wedding that I have to go to in the morning. Fortunately, due to modern technology and the early start time of the wedding, I won't miss too much of the action. I would like to say congratulations to Kate and Pat and I am very happy they will be getting married this Saturday, but couldn't you have waited until, I don't know, the second Saturday in December after college football was over? Of course, I'm only kidding...but Chris from Dallas might not be...