Week Nine: Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.
The best chance to upset UCLA before the USC game? Try Stanford. Yes, the same Stanford that lost to UC-Davis earlier this year in what has to be the most embarrassing loss that a team from a BCS conference has had this season. But the Cardinal are back. After their upset of Arizona State this past weekend, they are 4-2 and 3-1 in Pac Ten play. Suddenly, they look like a potentail bowl team. The Bruins better be careful when they visit there this weekend.
If you don't normally watch Thursday night football, then you are really missing out, particularly this week. In what is probably the best game of the whole weekend, Boston College heads to Virginia Tech in a game that has potential to be a preview of the ACC Championship Game. This is an old Big East rivalry, and it ought to be something truly great.
The three most important games in the Big Ten down the stretch are Wisconsin at Penn State on November 5, Northwestern at Ohio State on November 12, and Ohio State at Michigan on November 19. People might have guessed that Ohio State, Michigan, and even Penn State would be involved in the title chase down the stretch before the season. But few people expected Wisconsin and Northwestern to be playing meaningful games in November this year.
Texas toughest remaining game may be at Baylor on November 5. The Bears have played very well so far this year and are just really searching for that one signature win to hang their hat on this year.
That being said, look out for Texas A&M. The Aggies need to win at home against Iowa State, at Texas Tech, and at Oklahoma. Winning those games does not seem outlandish. If they do win those games, then their game against Texas on November 25 will be for the Big Twelve South title. In other words, there is still a better-than-you-think chance that we won't be watching Texas in the Big Twelve Championship Game. A two loss team ranked in the mid-teens and struggled early in the year playing host to a team ranked in the top two in the BCS standings that has beaten the home team several years in a row... If it all sounds familiar, it is because it is. Sounds a lot like Colorado-Nebraska back in 2001, and we all know how that one turned out.
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
North Carolina's visit to Miami has been moved to a noon start time because Hurricane Wilma damaged the Orange Bowl's lighting system. The Hurricanes are seeking to get revenge on the Tar Heels for their shocking home win a year ago.
Tennessee's running back Gerald Riggs has hurt his ankle and is done for the year and his career at Tennessee. Riggs was expected to be one of the best backs in Tennessee football history coming out of high school, but never quite lived up to those expectations. Arian Foster will step in for Riggs now.
Vince Young announced his intentions to return to school for his senior season this week. Will he stay or will he go? Well, it looks like he will stay. He probably has been told by NFL scouts that he still needs to improve his passing a little bit, but he has potential to be as good as Michael Vick is for the Atlanta Falcons.
Fisher DeBerry, Air Force head coach: "It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach: "We have Texas coming in Saturday, and I have voted them No. 1 in the polls the last four weeks. They are what I consider the best team in the country and do so many things well... Donovan Woods is a team player and our only healthy safety at this point, and he is a true team player. His 'motor' runs at a high speed, and we can't wait to get him through a complete spring training in 2006 on defense."
Walt Harris, Stanford head coach: "We've come off the clouds and settled back to earth. We gave ourselves 24 hours to enjoy the victory over Arizona State, and now it's time to get ready for the eighth-ranked UCLA football team that is undefeated and obviously very talented. We know it's going to be a real battle; they have some very fine football players and an excellent scheme that puts a lot of pressure on you."
Rant of the Week
Several good options yet again this week for the Rant of the Week. There were some great responses to last week's talk about weddings during football season. Here may be the best one:
To Chris Williams of Dallas, Texas….I’m getting married in April. Yes, I took a stand, but I’ll never let her hear me bragging about it!
--Phil, I mean Bill, from Georgia (last name withheld incase my future wife ever finds her way to this site).
However, the Rant of the Week needs to be something more than that. So, after carefully considering all the options, the one that was chosen was written in response to something I said about Randy Sanders and how bad the Tennessee offense is last Tuesday.
Your comments about Randy Sanders, Offensive Coordinator at Tennessee made me think about someone (or two) much worse. Jim Bollman and Jim Tressel at Ohio State have had mediocre to poor offenses for the five years they have been there. This includes the National Championship in 2002. 2002 was because of a unique team and circumstances, but Tressel and Bollman have been living off of it for three years. Just look where they finished in the nation in total offense for these five years. Right now they are last in the Big Ten in total offense with a team that was predicted to play for the national championship. This is with a supposedly major football power that continually ranks in the top ten nationally in recruiting. Northwestern and Michigan State can't hold a candle to OSU in recruiting but right now are in the top four in the nation in total offense. These two coaches are magician too. They have made a Heisman candidate, one of the top group of receivers in the nation, five years of highly recruited running backs, the most highly recruited quarterback in Ohio (Zwick), and the entire offense disappear. Takes some kind of talent to do that. Five years of offensive offenses can't be blamed on the players or some special circumstance. Such consistency can only be blamed on the coaches. Ask why Northwestern and Michigan State have such good offenses. Why a quarterback, receiver or running back would come to OSU is beyond me. Only to buried in the boneyard of those who have gone before.
Now, the Buckeyes are 5-2 and still in the hunt for the Big Ten title. I bet the Vols wish they could say the same thing. There are some similarities between Ohio State, Michigan, and Tennessee. All three have great talent. All three seem to have conservative coaches that play a lot more close games than they should and in the end cost their team a game or two somewhere along the way. It has struck me through various e-mails throughout the year how easily those three teams names can be substituted in e-mails. Very interesting indeed.