John Roberts College Football

Friday, November 04, 2005

Week Ten: Friday

Weekend Stars
Thoughts on who the stars of the weekend will be.

Game of the Week- Miami at Virginia Tech- This is a match-up of two Top Five teams. The former Big East rivals now meet with the ACC Championship on the line. The winner becomes the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division, while the loser will either be out (Miami) or need some help (Virginia Tech) to win the division. Marcus Vick is as exciting of a quarterback as they come. Kyle Wright hasn't done a lot so far this year. Both defenses are great. This should be a low scoring slugfest.

Upset Special- UCLA at Arizona- South Carolina is more than a field goal underdog at Arkansas in the most bizarre line of the week in my mind. Onto this game, Arizona found a starting quarterback in Willie Tuitama last week in their win over Oregon State. He looked very good, and now playing at home against a Top Five team, he really has a chance to shine. Last year, Arizona pulled off an upset over a nationally ranked Arizona State team late in the season at home. With how UCLA always seems to struggle for three quarters, there has to be a week when that will catch up to them. It may not be until the USC game. Or it may be against Arizona State. Or it may be this week.

Team of the Week-Colorado Buffaloes- The Buffaloes will have the Big Twelve North all but locked up with a win over Missouri this weekend. If they win this weekend and then win against either Nebraska or Iowa State, they will be back in the Big Twelve Championship Game. This team will come out fired up. It ought to be a great game, but with the Buffaloes at home, they find a way to win.

Players of the Week-
1) Cody Hodges, Texas Tech- The Texas A&M defense has been very movable this weekend, and Hodges puts up great numbers against bad defenses. Hodges ought to put up big numbers.
2) Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M- The Texas Tech defense isn't exactly a rock, though they did shut out Baylor last week. McNeal ought to put up huge numbers agains this defense. Does anyone else think this game will be a lot of fun?
3) Maurice Drew, UCLA- It's always exciting to watch Drew play. He is slowly gaining momentum in a push for the Heisman Trophy. Arizona's defense is OK, but Drew ought to put up some nice numbers.
4) LenDale White, USC- OK. It's White's turn now. Stanford might be able to contain Bush, and Leinart may not have a great game. Look at what the Cardinal did to Drew and Olson from UCLA last weekend for three quarters. However, White is the type of pounding back that Stanford will have a tough time defending.
5) Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech- The last two weeks have been great weeks for Vick. This Saturday, he will be playing the best defense he has faced all year in Miami. The home crowd will be frenzied. He is defnitely the player to watch this weekend. If he has a good game, the Hokies win. If he doesn't, the Hokies don't.

Thursday in Review
Quick recap of last night's game.

Louisville 42, Pittsburgh 20- The Cardinals and Panthers were tied at seven thirty five seconds into the game without an offensive snap being made. Amazing. The Cardinals offense was sharp until the red zone, and Pitt couldn't muster much in the second half on offense. This win makes it really a two team race for the Big East title between West Virginia and South Florida.

One Liners
Very fast preview of tonight's game.

Toledo at Ohio (8:00 ESPN2)- Toledo needs some help to win the MAC after last week's stunning loss to Central Michigan. Ohio is hoping for a winning season under Frank Solich. The Rockets would love to win out and put some pressure on CMU to win out and win the MAC.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Week Ten: Thursday

Viewer's Guide

Which games should you watch this weekend? What games should you be keeping your eyes on during each time period? We've got it all worked out for you.The day is divided into five parts. Some are more unequal than others due to the start time of the games. All times are Eastern.

The time periods are early games (start time before 2:00), afternoon (start time from 2:15-5:00), late afternoon (start time from 5:15-7:15), evening (start time from 7:30-9:45), and late night (start time after 10:00). The games are ranked by time period and give you a couple of reasons to watch each game, whether it is questions that need to be answered or something else altogether. The games are the games listed on CollegeFootballNews.com as the television games for this weekend. Only Saturday games are included.

Let's get it started!

Early Games

1. Iowa at Northwestern (12:00 ESPN)- 1) The winner holds onto hopes of possibly winning a share of the Big Ten title. 2) Northwestern's offense is very dangerous and one of the better ones in the Big Ten. With Bret Basanez and Tyrell Sutton, this team can score on anyone, even Iowa's tough defense. 3) Can Drew Tate finally put up some of those numbers that we have been waiting for him to all year against a highly questionable Northwestern defense?

2.Texas at Baylor (12:30 FSN)- 1) Baylor's defense held Texas Tech to just six points through three quarters last week. They are much improved, and are looking to slow down the red hot Longhorns offense lead by Vince Young. 2) Vince Young is trying to win the Heisman Trophy and another solid performance against Baylor would certainly help that. 3) Texas needs to keep on winning if they are going to hold off Virginia Tech for number two in the BCS Standings. A close game against Baylor could really hurt them.

3. Boston College at North Carolina (12:00 JP/Gameplan)- 1) The loser is out of the ACC title race. BC may be out of it by the end of the day even if they win, but the Tar Heels can still win their division if they win out and get Virginia Tech to slip up once more along the way, along with Miami slipping up at least once more. 2) Mathias Kiwanuka and the Eagles defense did not play well against Virginia Tech last week. They would love to put a hurting on North Carolina. 3) The Tar Heels jumped out to a 16-7 halftime lead last week against Miami. The second half left a bad taste in their mouth. Here comes another chance to beat a ranked team.

4. South Florida at Rutgers (12:00 Gameplan)- 1) Rutgers has all but locked up a bowl game. South Florida needs three more wins to get there. Both teams only have one conference loss, and with West Virginia looming on USF's schedule, they still have a shot at the conference title. 2) Ryan Hart and the Scarlet Knights offense has been very tough to stop at times this year, particularly in Big East play. 3) Ben Moffitt and the USF defense have been one of the stingiest in the Big East so far this year.

5. Michigan State at Purdue (12:00 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) The Spartans can become bowl eligible with a win. Purdue is already out of the bowl game. 2) Drew Stanton is one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten when he is on. Purdue's defense isn't that good, so Stanton should have a good game. 3) Purdue's offense has been pretty good for the most part, and Michigan State's defense isn't that good. This could be a real shootout.

6. Minnesota at Indiana (12:oo ESPN2)- 1) The Golden Gophers need a win to become bowl eligible. Indiana is still holding out hopes for a bowl game at 4-4. 2) Laurence Maroney is one of the best running backs in the country and going against an iffy Hoosiers defense should make things exciting. 3) Blake Powers is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the Big Ten and could put up big numbers against an average Gophers defense.

7. South Carolina at Arkansas (12:30 JP/Gameplan)- 1) Coming off a dramatic win over Tennessee last week, a win over Arkansas would make the Gamecocks bowl eligible. 2) How are the Razorbacks favored in this game? It seems a little bit odd. 3) Blake Mitchell and the Gamecocks offense isn't great, but it is getting the job done.

8. Tulane at Navy (1:30 CSTV)- 1) When is Lester Ricard going to have one of those breakout games where he shows everyone why he is an NFL prospect? 2) Navy needs two more wins to become bowl eligible. This one would be a huge one to get. 3) Tulane must win out to become bowl eligible. With Southern Miss, Tulsa, and Rice ahead on their schedule, winning three out of four isn't out of the question, but winning all four looks like a tough call. They have to start being impressive here in this one.

Afternoon

1. Wisconsin at Penn State (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The winner becomes the favorite in the Big Ten race and will guarantee at least staying tied in the loss column with Ohio State for another week. 2) Penn State's offense has become downright scary in recent weeks with Michael Robinson really developing into a solid quarterback. Going up against the Badgers defense, he ought to continue to put up good numbers. 3) Brian Calhoun is a solid running back and probably deserves more mention for the Heisman Trophy than he is getting. The Badgers running back will need to have a huge day against the Nittany Lions defense.

2. California at Oregon (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Dennis Dixon will be starting his first game at quarterback for the injured Kellen Clemens. How will Dixon look? 2) Joe Ayoob has been coming around ever so slowly. Will this finally be his breakout game against an Oregon team that has an average defense? 3) Both teams still harbor hopes of an at large bid to the BCS. Oregon has just one loss and a 10-1 team will be tough to keep out, although it has happened before. California already has two losses, but winning out would include a win over USC next week, which might be enough to earn them a BCS bid.

3. North Carolina State at Florida State (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Seminoles need just one more win to lock up the ACC Atlantic title. Playing the last place team in the division seems like a good time to get it. 2) Chuck Amato has come under fire in Raleigh. If his team comes out and plays lights out against Florida State and pulls off the upset, it could be just the spark he needs to stop the negative momentum. 3) Drew Weatherford has been playing better and better, and might have played his best game last Saturday. Can he continue to progress against the Wolfpack?

4. Missouri at Colorado (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Tigers and the Buffaloes are the top two teams inthe Big Twelve North. The winner becomes the favorite to win the division. 2) Brad Smith can be thrilling one week and nothing the next week. Last week, he had nothing against Kansas. This week, he needs to turn up his play against Colorado. 3) Joel Klatt has been playing very well at quarterback for the Buffaloes. If he can continue to shine against Missouri's average defense, the Buffaloes will be in prime position to play for the Big Twelve title.

5. Tennessee at Notre Dame (2:30 NBC)- 1) Will the Vols finally play a complete game in South Bend? They've been something of road warriors in recent years, and a win at Notre Dame would really take some of the heat off of Phil Fulmer. 2) Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense has been lighting everybody up. They might not have faced a defense as good as Tennessee's yet this year. 3) Notre Dame is still trying to get an at-large bid to the BCS. They need to keep on winning to make that happen.

6. Alabama at Mississippi State (3:30 CBS)- 1) Sylvester Croom would like nothing more than to come up with a signature win over a Top Five Alabama team. 2) Alabama's defense is in the top two in the country. How is Mississippi State planning on moving the ball against them? Jerious Norwood isn't a bad running back, but the Bulldogs haven't been able to generate any offense this season. 3) Brodie Croyle is still looking for a playmaker like Tyrone Prothro, although D.J. Hall has been playing well. However, Croyle has done just enough to get this team to 8-0. Croyle is still being mentioned in some circles for the Heisman Trophy. He could use another big show to try to get this team higher in the BCS and his name further up the Heisman charts.

7. Army at Air Force (3:30 ESPN Classic)- 1) It's always fun when two of the service academies get together. 2) Shaun Carney has been leading a fairly explosive Air Force offense that put up 41 points last week...in a loss! 3) Army won their last game against Akron. Can Zac Dahman and the Black Knights run their winning streak to two before playing two winnable games against Massachusetts and Arkansas State? If they do, and they win their next two, the Army-Navy game at the end of the year could look a whole lot more appealing.

8. Illinois at Ohio State (3:30 ESPN)- 1) Still waiting to see if Ron Zook can get his team up for one game against a big time team and really make that team sweat. 2) The Buckeyes Ted Ginn Jr. has been playing much better the last two or three weeks. If he can keep it going, the Illini do not have an answer for him. 3) A.J. Hawk and the Buckeyes defense were not pleased to give up 31 points in the win over Minnesota last week. They will look to make amends as they try to stay tied with the Wisconsin-Penn State winner atop the Big Ten.

9. New Mexico State at Boise State (3:05 Gameplan)- 1) One final tune up for the Broncos before playing for the WAC title next week against Fresno State. 2) Jared Zabransky and the Broncos offense has still been pretty much unstoppable at home this year. 3) Hal Mumme and the New Mexico State offense hasn't gotten going this year. However, Mumme loves playing these big name teams and would love nothing more than to pull the big upset in this one.

10. BYU at UNLV (3:00 Gameplan)- 1) John Beck and Curtis Brown can be as unstoppable as any duo in the Mountain West when they are playing well. They were playing well in last week's 62-41 win over Air Force. 2) BYU needs two wins in their final three games to become bowl eligible. With Utah and Wyoming ahead, they really need to win this one. 3) Jarrod Jackson had a big passing day in the Rebels last time out against Utah. Playing well in this one would help the Rebels gain momentum for next season.

Late Afternoon

1. Texas A&M at Texas Tech (7:00 FSN)- 1) Texas Tech has a very explosive offense and the Aggies haven't been slowing too many people down this year. 2) Reggie McNeal is about as exciting of a quarterback as there is in college football this year. The Red Raiders defense hasn't exactly been known for being a brick wall. 3) Both teams still have Oklahoma on their schedule. That means that the winner has a very real shot at finishing second in the Big Twelve South.

2. UCLA at Arizona (6:30 FSN Regional)- 1) The Bruins seem to fall behind every week and come from behind in remarkable fashion. They have become one of the most fun teams to watch in the country. 2) Arizona beat Oregon State last weekend. Suddenly, the Wildcats have some momentum. Can they keep it going by upsetting a very highly ranked team? 3) Drew Olson and Maurice Drew are two of the most exciting players in all of college football.

3. Oregon State at Washington (6:30 FSN Regional)- 1) Washington is looking for their first signature win under Tyrone Willingham. They have looked improved, but haven't been able to put it all together yet. 2) The Beavers have one of the best wide receivers in the country in Matt Haas. 3) The Beavers need two wins in their last three games to get bowl eligible. With Stanford and Oregon ahead, this is almost a must win.

4. Houston at UCF (6:00 i/PAX)- 1) Every game is critical for UCF as they will become bowl eligible with a win and stay atop CUSA East with a win. What a turnaround for the Golden Knights. 2) Kevin Kolb is a very good quarterback and this Cougars offense can put up points in bunches. They are striving to get their fifth win on the road to bowl eligibility. 3) Steven Moffett has developed into a real leader of the UCF offense. He can be inconsistent, but he carries a very confident presence onto the field.

5. Louisiana-Lafayette at North Texas (7:00 Gameplan)- 1) It's come to this. North Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette both have two conference losses, and the Mean Green are underdogs at home. It is truly a shocking turn of events in the Sun Belt. 2) North Texas has two great running backs in Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas. Neither one has gotten going this year. Thus the reason they are struggling. 3) After losses to Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, few people would have expectedd Michael Desormeaux to be able to lead the Ragin Cajuns to upset wins of Middle Tennessee and Troy the last two weeks. But that is exactly what he has done, to get them back in the conference title picture.

Evening

1. Miami at Virginia Tech (7:45 ESPN/ESPNU)- 1) The Hokies can win the Coastal Division with a win and a North Carolina loss earlier in the day. 2) Marcus Vick and the Hokies will be going for three straight over Miami. They also are hoping to do enough to jump Texas for number two in the BCS Standings next Monday. 3) Kyle Wright and the Miami offense has been a disappointment. Can they get it going against a very strong Hokies defense?

2. San Jose State at Fresno State (9:00 Gameplan)- 1) This is the last tune up game for the Bulldogs before Boise State and USC in back-to-back weeks. 2) Paul Pinegar has been leading this offense very nicely. He should be able to put up nice numbers against the Spartans defense. 3) Adam Tafralis has been becoming more comfortable in the Spartans offense. If he can produce, then the Spartans have a shot to hang with the Bulldogs, who may be caught looking ahead.

3. Rice at SMU (8:30 CSTV)- 1) The loser will be last in the CUSA West. 2) SMU has shown marked improvement this season. Jerad Romo has been doing what it takes from the quarterback position. 3) Rice has a quirky running attack that is fun to watch. They may be 0-7, but they just lost a thriller to UTEP, showing that they are still playing hard each and every game.


Late Night

1. Stanford at USC (10:00 TBS)- 1) Trent Edwards has proven that he is a solid option at quarterback for the Cardinal. He would love to lead an upset over the Trojans. 2) The Cardinal nearly beat USC last year, losing 31-28. The Trojans could be out for revenge, or the Cardinal could just have a team that matches up well with USC. 3) As always, let's just say Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White. This is getting repetitive.


One Liners
Quick previews of tonight's game.

Pittsburgh at Louisville (7:45 ESPN)- Louisville was eliminated from the Big East title race last night by West Virginia's win. Pittsburgh can still win the Big East by winning out. Louisville has proven to be much tougher at home than on the road this year.

Wednesday in Review
Very quick recap of last night's game.

West Virginia 45, Connecticut 13- The Mountaineers never let this one be in doubt. They are a dominant team right now and clearly the class of the Big East. Of course, all that can change pretty quickly with a game against Pittsburgh and a trip to Cincinnati still on the schedule. Still, the Mountaineers look to be in great position to win the conference and get a BCS bowl bid.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Week Ten: Wednesday

Overreaction Wednesday
Getting a little bit crazy and having some knee jerk reactions to last weekend's games.

Is there going to be a better game this weekend than Colorado State at TCU? The game is for the Mountain West title more than likely. While Miami-Virginia Tech is a great game, and Penn State-Wisconsin is huge, don't forget to tune in to this one.

Georgia can lose to Auburn and still win the SEC East as long as Florida loses once more. Enter a suddenly hot South Carolina team playing at home against the Gators. Enter Steve Spurrier and all of his swagger against his former school. Does anyone else think that the Florida-South Carolina game just became must see TV?

Now, it's only a matter of time. The Fresno State-Boise State game is less than two weeks away. Can anyone else wait? After the blowout by Boise State over a good Nevada team and Fresno State surviving at Hawaii, this game could be a great one next Thursday night. I know I can't wait.

How about a five way tie atop the Big Ten? It would be tough to happen. Here's what has to happen. Iowa has to beat Northwestern this weekend. Wisconsin has to beat Penn State. Then Iowa has to beat Wisconsin. Michigan has to beat Ohio State. All the other games have to be won by Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. Suddenly, we would have five teams at 6-2 in Big Ten play. For those of you that don't think it will happen, after the craziness of the Big Ten season, what would be more appropriate?

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

Randy Sanders, Tennessee's offensive coordinator, has resigned after an absolutely horrible offensive display this season for the Vols. He will stay on the staff at least until the end of the season. There are rumors that David Cutcliffe will be taking over. He was the former Vols offensive coordinator, before going to Ole Miss as head coach. He then worked for a brief time at Notre Dame with Charlie Weis before stepping down in the spring.

Bill Callahan, Nebraska's head coach, made a throat slash gesture on the sideline during the game against Oklahoma on Saturday. The gesture has so far gone unpunished, but also unexplained by Callahan. He claims he made no such gesture, but it certainly appears he did based on video evidence. He has stated that he was making a sign that he makes towards his children when he says he's had it "up to here."

D.J. Shockley, Georgia's starting quarterback, was at practice on Tuesday. It appears that he will be cleared to play next Saturday against Auburn, which is a good thing for the Dawgs as they look to win the SEC East.

Quotables

Mack Brown, Texas head coach, on Baylor: "(Defensive coordinator) Bill Bradley is a friend of mine, and you don't get the nickname 'Super Bill' unless you have accomplished quite a bit on the field. He has quite a reputation in the coaching and playing profession. Baylor has improved immensely, and we know we're going to be in for a struggle up there. The Baylor defense has been really impressive, and they can do some things that previous Baylor teams did not do."

Bill Callahan, Nebraska head coach: "I'm 49 years old, and I don't go around [making] throat-slashing signs and symbols," Callahan said. "I don't use that type of demeanor, and I never have. This is way blown out of proportion. I don't know where we get all these gang symbols and allegations. This is 'Gesture-gate' or something....I don't think they're going to send me to Alcatraz."

Marcedes Lewis, UCLA tight end: "My heart hurts right now. I'm emotionally drained," said Lewis, the star tight end held to three receptions. "It's going to be tough to sleep. ... Every time I looked at (Drew) or any other players, that fire was still in their eyes. We weren't going down like this - not here, not to Stanford."

Rant of the Week

This week, I chose the rant based on the sheer volume of e-mails I get like this each and every week from fans across the country. Nothing excites the college football world more than Notre Dame. This is from someone claiming that Notre Dame is overrated. How many e-mails have I gotten like this over the last several weeks? Countless. This was a very well articulated e-mail. So here it is.

Okay, since no one else will say it because they are too busy falling all over themselves to kiss this team's rear end, I will. Notre Dame is the most overrated team in college football. There, I said it. They do not deserve to go to a BCS bowl, and all their whining about not being higher in the polls is unwarranted. Let's look at the facts:

Start off the season with a big road win over a ranked Pitt team. Right, the same ranked Pitt team that lost to the football powers Rutgers and Ohio later. They couldn't manage more than 6 points against Nebraska. They couldn't score in a woman's prison with a fistful of pardons early on. That's one "ranked team" that shouldn't count. Current record: 4-4

They beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, a tough thing to do any time, but MIchigan has highly underachieved this year and pretty much blew this game themselves as opposed to getting beat. They are currently ranked, however, so I will make it a toss up.

Lost at home to Michigan State. Yes, the great and powerful Notre Dame lost to a jekyll and hyde team. If Notre Dame is as good as they say they are, then why lose your home opener to a team that can't even win when it matters on their own home turf, next!

Road win at Washington. Washington would struggle to beat Sisters of the Poor and Blind right now. And it was still a semi-close game throughout. No real acocmplishment here.

Beat a "ranked" Purdue team on the road. I was at this game it was the sorriest performance of a Purdue team I have seen since Jim Colletto walked the sidelines in West Lafayette. This team has self destructed and I am not sure they could get wins over Arizona or Akron again if they played now. Another "ranked" win that has less value.

The infamous USC game. Well, Charlie Weiss said it earlier int he year after Michigan State, so the same applies here. Great game, you still lost, that's 0-2 at home to start. Who wouldn't get up to play the #1 team at home and play well when said home team has some talent. I'd be disappointed if they didn't make it a close game, but they still lost, end of story.

Beat a 3-4 BYU team at home. Congratulations, you did what you were supposed to do. Big deal

Their one marquee remaining game is against Tennessee, who has lost quite a bit of its own luster and may not even make a bowl this season if Vanderbilt comes to play. Navy and Syracuse should be the cakewalks they likely will be, and Stanford is another team Notre Dame should beat regardless.

The bottom line is this, Notre Dame has not accomplished anything, they are overrated, and it's high time someone said it.


--Travis Wilson

And there you have it. I don't necessarily agree with Travis, however, I should now prepare myself to get plenty of e-mails from Notre Dame fans claiming that I am bashing the Irish. Sigh...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Week Ten: Tuesday

Under Pressure
Larry Coker, Miami

The Miami Hurricanes have not been satisfied since the 2001 season with the job that Coker has done. They were only slightly satisfied in 2002, when Miami lost in the national championship game. Since then, the fans have been very frustrated with Coker and the Hurricanes. The pressure is mounting in the face of it all. The loss to Florida State to open the season only made it worse. Now, the Hurricanes battle a very good Virginia Tech team with the ACC Coastal Division title likely on the line. For Coker to keep the fans at bay, he could really use a win of this magnitude.

Dennis Dixon, Oregon

Dixon is filling the rather large quarterback shoes left behind by Kellen Clemens when he went down with his season ending injury. To open things up, he has to start against California. While the Bears defense is not immovable, they are good enough to give Dixon and the Ducks a lot of problems. With a potential BCS at-large spot on the line, the Ducks really need to win this game over a quality team. However, that will be very tough for Dixon in his first start. He's got the athletic skills to make things happen, but can he do it when there is no Clemens on the sideline waiting to check back in?

College Gameday Site
Blacksburg, Virginia

The crew will be at the week's biggest game as Miami visits Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes and Hokies are both in the Top Five and sit atop the ACC Coastal Division standings. The winner is still alive in the national championship race, while the loser will need help just to get to the ACC Championship Game. It is a great match-up and the crew had no right to go anywhere else this week, despite the fact that they have already visited Virginia Tech once this year.

Thoughts on the Rankings

USC jumped Texas and is back to nuber one. All is right with the world again. The panic mode that hit last week was, as I said last week, uncalled for and the Trojans are right back on top.

UCLA is behind all the other unbeatens and even some one loss teams in the rankings. However, this is not cause for concern. The Bruins will have their shot against USC to prove where they belong.

The computer screwy stat of the week is that Notre Dame is combined to be ranked 22 by the computers, whereas Oklahoma is 21. Discuss.

My rankings

It is still tough to do these rankings each and every week. They are so subjective, it is a very difficult task. However, I believe there is beginning to be some clarity, which is always a nice thing. In parentheses is the team's rank last week.

1. USC 8-0 (1)
2. Texas 8-0 (2)
3. Virginia Tech 8-0 (3)
4. Alabama 8-0 (5)
5. UCLA 8-0 (6)
6. LSU 6-1 (7)
7. Florida State 7-1 (8)
8. Miami, FL 6-1 (9)
9. Notre Dame 5-2 (10)
10. Penn State 7-1 (11)
11. Georgia 7-1 (4)
12. Ohio State 6-2 (12)
13. Oregon 7-1 (14)
14. Florida 6-2 (16)
15. Auburn 6-2 (15)
16. Wisconsin 8-1 (19)
17. Boston College 6-2 (13)
18. Texas Tech 7-1 (17)
19. West Virginia 6-1 (20)
20. California 6-2 (21)
21. Fresno State 6-1 (24)
22. Michigan 6-3 (25)
23. TCU 8-1 (22)
24. Georgia Tech 5-2 (--)
25. Colorado 6-2 (--)

Dropped Out: Northwestern 5-3 (18), Minnesota 5-3 (23)
Both teams lost last week. The only quality win on Minnesota's schedule right now appears to be Michigan, although Colorado State and Tulsa certainly are not bad wins. Northwestern is still just not ready for primetime. While they are a very good team and should return to the rankings if they acn come up with wins in the coming weeks, they are not quite Top 25 material right now.

Biggest Drop by a team still in my rankings: 7- Georgia. The Bulldogs first loss of the year dropped them a long way in my rankings. The reason is that they have looked very average for much of the year. Their most impressive win over Tennessee suddenly doesn't look so impressive anymore. All in all, I like Georgia, and still expect them to win the SEC East, however, I would probably pick (on a neutral field) any of the teams ranked ahead of them, particularly with D.J. Shockley out.

Smallest drop by a team that lost: 4- Boston College. The Eagles loss to Virginia Tech was ugly in terms of stats, but they hung in there score-wise until very late in the game. This is still a good team, but probably not a great team. They are not quite yet ready for primetime, but they are a solid team that no one should want to play in a bowl game.

Biggest drop by a team that won: 1- TCU. The Horned Frogs barely beat San Diego State. Scraping by the Aztecs isn't going to send them soarng up the rankings. However, they are slowly sneaking their way up the BCS rankings. Probably they can not get high enough to sniff a BCS bowl, but they are gaining ground. That loss to SMU has to really hurt right about now.

Biggest jump by a team that was in my rankings last week: 3- Wisconsin. The Badgers didn't just play lights out against Illinois. However, they played well enough to justify a jump. With Northwestern and Boston College both losing ahead of them, and Texas Tech not looking great for three quarters against Baylor (and still suffering because of their early season schedule), the Badgers moved up the rankings three spots.

The great debate. Debating over which of the three teams (Virginia Tech, Texas, and USC) should be playing for the national title is a fun way to pass the time. Alabama and UCLA both do not enter the discussion at this point based on several games that were far closer than they should have been. UCLA will have a real shot if they beat USC. Alabama needs to beat LSU and Auburn impressively and face a one loss Georgia team and beat them impressively as well to have a real shot at getting there without any losses from the top three. However, what is becoming clear is that the top three are very good teams. While any one of them may still lose, and I really should not be making comments like this on the first of November, but rather on the tenth of January, it certainly looks like these are three of the top teams in recent memory. Last year's USC/Oklahoma/Auburn debate was cute, but none of those teams would beat any of these three teams, in my opinion. While Auburn and USC proved how solid they were throughout the year, I am beginning to think we are looking at three truly remarkable teams that may all be in the Top Ten Teams of the Last Ten Years. Obviously, this is one of those statements that should be reserved until after the season, but I am just trying to give you some food for thought here.

One Liners
Quick preview of tonight's game

UAB at Memphis (7:30 ESPN2)- The Tigers DeAngelo Williams and the Blazers Darrell Hackney lead their teams into a key showdown. Both teams want to go to bowl games. If Memphis can win, they will keep their dreams of winning CUSA East alive. This is a key game for bowl hopes, and in the CUSA race.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Week Ten: Monday

WEEKEND IN REVIEW

Game of the Week
UCLA 30, Stanford 27 (OT)

The Bruins trailed the Cardinal 24-3 midway through the fourth quarter and it looked like Stanford was going to set up their shot at the Pac Ten title this week against USC. But then Drew Olson and company got rolling. Olson lead three drives of 65, 72, and 66 yards in the final seven minutes and all resulted in touchdowns. When Stanford mustered just a field goal in overtime, the game was as good as over. Olson found Brandon Breazell from 23 yards away for a touchdown. This was the time that the Bruins looked to be dead, yet they still found a way to win. These Bruins have survived four fourth quarter double digit deficits in their last five games and are still one of college football's five unbeaten teams. If they can survive a trip to Arizona (who just beat a good Oregon State team last weekend), and a home date with Arizona State, the trip to USC to end the year could be for a spot in the national championship game.

Upset of the Week
South Carolina 16, Tennessee 15

Tennessee fans have seen this before. Steve Spurrier in the house. Peyton Manning in the house. Another loss to Spurrier. The Vols were two touchdown favorites over an OK South Carolina team. The Vols dominated much of the game, but only lead 12-7 in the fourth quarter. South Carolina scored a touchdown and a field goal in the final quarter, and the Vols could only muster a field goal. This is probably the low point of Phil Fulmer's coaching tenure in Knoxville. Fans were spotted wearing bags over their heads after this loss. The heat is definitely on the coaching staff at this point as the Vols have sunk to fifth in the SEC East heading into November after being number three in the country in the preseason.

Team of the Week
Florida Gators

The Gators finally looked a little bit like the team that we expected them to be in the preseason in their 14-10 win over Georgia. The offense still wasn't perfect, but the two first half touchdowns made the Gators offense look more sharp and more effective than they have looked most of the season. The Gators benefited from the injury to D.J. Shockley, but they won and kept their SEC East title hopes alive. If they can beat South Carolina and Vanderbilt and Georgia loses to either Auburn or Kentucky, Florida will be the SEC East champions. Not bad in Urban Meyer's first year.

Player of the Week
Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin

Calhoun may not have put up the huge numbers that Matt Leinart and Vince Young did, but his day was more efficient. He rushed the ball 35 times for 197 yards and five touchdowns in leading the Badgers in their win over Illinois. He continues to do everything for Wisconsin on offense and continues to play a key role in the team's wins. Calhoun's five touchdowns keep Wisconsin in the Big Ten title race...at least until next Saturday when they square off with Penn State.

Stat of the Week
506 total yards.

Vince Young accounted for 506 total yards against Oklahoma State. He threw the ball for 239 yards and two touchdowns. He ran the ball 21 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He probably deserved player of the week, but he only completed 15 of 30 passes, and a fifty percent completion percentage kept him out of the Player of the Week category. However, 506 total yards (with more than half coming by rushing the football) will get him into this category. It was quite a show by Vince Young.

Play of the Week
Vince Young's 81 yard touchdown run.

With his team trailing 28-12, and facing a third down and 11 from his own 19 yard line, Young dropped back to pass and scrambled to his right. He took off down the sidelines. About 81 yards later, he was in the endzone for a touchdown. The score ignited the Longhorns as they went on to win 47-28. If Oklahoma State holds there and gets the ball with the sixteen point lead in the second half, who knows what would have happened? The Cowboys could have kept the momentum from the first half and there is no telling what would have transpired. However, Young's run was a great one and broke the backs of the Oklahoma State defense.

Turnover of the Week
Kevin O'Connell's interception by David Roach.

San Diego State quarterback Kevin O'Connell was leading the Aztecs down the field with his team trailing TCU 20-13 in the fourth quarter. They were at the Horned Frogs two yard line with just under ten minutes remaining. It was third and goal. O'Connell threw the pass into the endzone and it was intercepted by Roach. The interception kept TCU ahead 20-13. They drove down and kicked a field goal to make it 23-13. They eventually won 23-20. The interception saved the game for TCU.

Key First Half Moment of the Week
Leon Hall's 83 yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Tyrell Sutton rushed to the left side in Northwestern's game against Michigan. The Wolverines were already ahead 7-0 early in the first quarter. However, Sutton got hit by Leon Hall, and he fumbled the ball. Hall then raced over, picked up the ball and ran it 83 yards for a Michigan touchdown. It was 14-0 Wolverines. While the Wildcats got back into the game, it always felt like Michigan was in control after that. If Northwestern could have scored there and made it 7-7, we could have been talking about a whole different ball game. Michigan won 33-17. (If you take off Michigan's touchdown and add one to Northwestern's, it is 26-24, so immediately it becomes a lot closer.)

Moment of the Week
Raymell Rice two yard touchdown run.

Rutgers ran the ball in from two yards away with Raymell Rice against Navy to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 31-21 with just 5:56 left in the game. Leading by two scores with less than six minutes left made winning a near certainty (unless you are playing UCLA, apparently). The win made Rutgers bowl eligible. They haven't had a winning season since 1992, and haven't been to a bowl game since 1979. It certainly appears that the Scarlet Knights will go bowling, and it is not out of the question that they win the Big East (although it would take two West Virginia losses, probably). The fans rushed the field and the Scarlet Knights finally have their bowl game. It was truly a great moment to watch Rutgers celebrate their win.