The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - October 01, 2006

Should we now look forward to a winner take all, Armageddon-esque game between Michigan and Ohio State Nov. 18? I think so. With Ohio State’s easy schedule from here on out. Michigan’s slate is more than manageable until the season finale meeting. So the only teams that are going to defeat Ohio State and Michigan is Ohio State and Michigan. It only seems inevitable - considering the way these two teams are playing - that the winner is going to play for the national championship. Consider:

Michigan only has to play Penn State and Indiana on the road. before that trip to Columbus. They’ll get Iowa at home and Michigan State - whose season appears to be shot at this point after their horrible loss to Illinois - next week. But those are games they will win. All Ohio State has left on the road is Michigan State, Illinois and Northwestern.

The two aren’t going to lose. They’re both just too good, far better than any team left in their respective way.

But the two are hard to root for, in my opinion. I just can’t bring myself to root for the Buckeyes and, despite what you hear from many people about Lloyd Carr being such a great guy, he’s as ornery as it gets, a real pain to deal with media wise and he makes you feel guilty when you ask him a question. But no matter how much you hate the two teams, how much you can’t stand the Buckeyes or the Wolverines, you have to want to see them get to that Nov. date undefeated.

But aside, how about Ohio State’s defense? They came up big against Iowa. Losing nine starters from last year’s squad. No problems there. The Buckeyes D is a turnover monger. Jim Tressel is a defensive coach who we all knew had what would be the top offense in the nation this year. Now he’s got what looks to be as well-rounded of a team as any in the nation.

Quick Hits

- Who is the man averaging nine yards per carry and over 236 yards per game? It’s Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois who is the best running back in the nation and should be legitimately mentioned among the top Heisman Trophy candidates. Sadly, he isn’t. But after Saturday’s performance, he better be. Wolfe ran for 353 yards against Ball State. The tiny tailback is on pace to shatter Barry Sanders I-A record for rushing yards in a season by roughly 200 yards. But two worthy candidates in Steve Slaton and Adrian Peterson are ahead of Wolfe on just about everyone’s ballot. And that's just at running back. Troy Smith is everyone's lead dog right now. But if you ask me, it should change. You can talk about the kind of competition he’s facing and the fact that he’s barely getting any media pub, but he deserves everyone’s attention. He’s the best pure player in D I-A right now, hands down. And that’s what the Heisman Trophy candidate is all about, right? Depends on the voter, but if I had a vite I'd be giving him serious, serious consideration. He deserves respect. He can run on anyone and he’s showed it running on Ohio State earlier this year and opponent after opponent throughout his career.

- Notre Dame’s offense broke out in a big way against Purdue, but let’s get one thing clear: Purdue had no defense to speak of. So in a game in which the over-under was 61 and against a defense that was giving up more yards through the air than Brady Quinn was averaging. And off of their emotional come from behind victory on the road and back in front of the home crowd against a longtime rival, let’s just say it was practically laid out for the Irish to explode offensively.

- Just because USC is winning close games doesn’t mean anyone should discount what the Trojans are capable of. They have a ridiculous amount of talent. They’re playing a ton of young guys and had to replace two Heisman winners. They’re going to be undefeated heading into that matchup against Notre Dame in November. I still think they’re going to be in the national championship game. But these upcoming games versus Oregon and Cal sure are going to be fun to watch.

- Georgia keeps winning and keeping teams stymied offensively. But it hasn’t been pretty lately.

Best Win
Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets showed they are for real in the ACC. It was a team effort with great contributions from the offense, defense and special teams to get the job done. The defense made big plays, forcing two turnovers, including a forced fumble returned for a TD in their huge win over Virginia Tech.

I was wrong on this one. I thought VTech would put up a big fight in the second half for a comeback win. But it never materialized. Georgia Tech has to be considered one of the best team in the ACC after this performance. They’re in first place in the Coastal Division. Surprinsingly, the Yellow Jackets are the only remaining unbeaten team in the same division with VaTech and Miami.

Worst Loss
Michigan State. At home. To Illinois. After the Notre Dame game. Illinois hadn’t beaten a Big Ten team since 2004. They hadn’t beaten a I-A team in 12 games. When John L. Smith teams blow big leads they’re guaranteed to go on an extended losing streak. It looked like Smith was on the verge of breaking down after the game. With Michigan and Ohio State coming up on the schedule, we could be seeing Smith’s final swoon in East Lansing.

Took A Step Forward
Georgia Tech, College Football in New Orleans, Boise State

Took A Step Back
Michigan State, Arizona State, Drew Tate

Interesting Fact
Lucky No. 13 for a bunch of teams around the country today. Four teams that played a Top 25 opponent scored exactly 13 points today and all lost. A fifth, Minnesota, scored 14 and also lost.

Player of the Day
Oregon QB Dennis Dixon. He went 20-for-31, passing for 214 yards and three TDs to go with 31 yards rushing in their win as the Ducks offense looks to be firing on all cylinders.

“I apologize to our fans. We should be paying them for making them sit through that." - Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter after his team’s 48-13 spanking at the hands of Oregon.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. Auburn
5. USC
6. LSU
7. West Virginia
8. Texas
9. Louisville
10. Georgia

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:18 AM on October 01, 2006

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