Week Seven: Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.
Indiana and Baylor both are serious threats to get to a bowl game. Both are 4-1. Indiana has a very tough future schedule with Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan, and Purdue. Baylor has Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Don't be surprised to see Baylor sitting at 7-4 even, because the Bears are playing in a suddenly very average Big Twelve.
Fresno State could be the toughest test remaining for USC. The Bulldogs will get the Trojans the week after they go to Cal. USC may not be fully focused on the Fresno game. Ask Oregon what happens when you aren't fully focused against the Bulldogs. (Hint: You fall behind 17-0.)
Louisville's two Big East road games against West Virgnia this weekend and Connecticut on December 3 will play a huge role in determining who wins the conference. It would shock no one if the Cardinals lost both of those games based on how they have played on the road this year so far. However, would it really shock anyone if they won both of these games either?
UCF may not be a mortal lock for a bowl game, but they've won three straight, and are the only unbeaten team remaining in Conference USA. A bowl game is well within reach and the Golden Knights probably should reach a bowl game at this point. The question should be if they can win the conference title or not. We'll know a lot more about that after this weekend against Southern Miss.
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
The quarterback merry-go-round in Knoxville continues as the word from Vols camp is that Erik Ainge will see some playing time against Alabama on October 22. Every Vol fan has to feel a little dizzy by how quickly things change.
Chris Leak watched Rick Clausen and Sam Keller go crazy against the LSU pass defense, and decided that even a sprained shoulder isn't enough to keep him out of the Gators game with the Tigers this weekend. LSU showed huge strides in that department last weekend against Jay Cutler and Vanderbilt.
Offensive lineman Brad Butler has been suspended for one game for his chop block on Mathias Kiwanuka. Virginia will play host to Florida State. There was a lot made of this play during the game last weekend, as two players eventually got thrown out because of it. However, Butler did not get penalized on the play, despite the fact that it was late and also an illegal block. It is a good call by Al Groh to suspend Butler for that play. Many coaches around America would not do that.
Guy Morriss, Baylor's coach: "We haven't been in this position very often. We speak to them as coaches and remind them to tune things out with people patting them on the back while they go to classes. We have spoken to them about focus and preparing for Nebraska."
Mack Brown, Texas' coach: "It was a good win and a fun win over Oklahoma. Our fans had to get bragging rights back after a few years."
Karl Dorrell, UCLA's coach: "It's a great challenge again this week in the Pac Ten. Washington State is dangerous football team and they are even more dangerous in their own backyard. We have to have a great week of preparation and focus to overcome some of the obstacles we will see in this particular game. But it's really going to come down to how we play and how our approach is, which begins with our practice this week."
Rant of the Week
The rants this week were excellent, and it was tough to pick just one. Fans are beginning to get frustrated with their teams, which is understandable at this time of year. There were a lot of great ones to choose from. Here is the one from Brett Young, as he is sick of his Hawkeyes slow starts.
Iowa started the season in the top 15 for the firsttime since they have emerged as a continual BCS bowlteam. Now in typical fashion (which is getting old) they have dropped 2 games early and are starting to"find themselves" again with a impressive victory atPurdue. I am a life long Hawkeye fan and even I amstarting to get confused as to why it takes them 4 or5 games to figure out who they are every year. Iunderstand in the past they had low-level recruits andhad to fill spots, but they have been recruiting wellfor 3 years now and I'm wondering if they will everhave a true identity. I love my Hawks and am notcomplaining about their recent success, just wonderingif you media fellas are a perplexed by this team as Iam starting to be. I honestly don't know where to rankthese guys right now & I'm not sure anybody does.
Sioux Falls, Iowa
Thanks Brett, and thanks everyone that e-mailed me a rant. I thoroughly enjoy reading them. Keep those e-mails coming!