While a good number of teams settle into conference play around the country, we still have a few marquee non-conference games that will grab everyone's attention. As for the game of the week? Pick your poison. Right now, nothing really jumps out at you. There are some very good, and very important games, but there isn't one that rises above the rest. Maybe that changes if the season's first four weeks play out differently than we expect.
Finally, we'll have our answer this week. Terrelle Pryor, the most hyped and heralded quarterback in the history of high school football, will make his decision on where he'll be attending school this fall. Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Oregon were Pryor's four finalists when he told the college football world on National Signing Day that he wasn't prepared to decide. But he's been down to two for some time. But which two?
The speculation came to end Thursday when word arrived that Ryan Mallett had found his way to Arkansas from Michigan after one season in Ann Arbor. And with the good news, Razorback fans can dream about what will be when Mallett's eligible to play in 2009. And those should be some sweet dreams considering who Mallett will learn under.
Georgia president Michael Adams, and chairman of the NCAA executive committee, has been outspoken this week about the need for a playoff in college football. In Adams' eyes, the NCAA should create an eight team playoff, seed the teams into four bowl games and eventually crown its first football champion in the organization's history. And as he goes about trumping for big change, he's picked up one prominent supporter in Athens.
Illinois has been in this situation before. Big underdog, in an environment that's going to be anything but friendly, against one the best defenses in the nation. And the last time Illinois found itself in a game like Tuesday's Rose Bowl they did the unthinkable.
It doesn't seem that long ago that Boston College was flying high, up to No. 2 in the nation and only a handful of games away from a potential berth in the BCS Championship game. Then the Eagles were grounded by Florida State and eventually stumbled home with a 2-3 record over the season's final month. So much for that dream.
You don't normally get a BCS caliber game two days after Christmas - not when you have 32 bowl games to play with - but that's basically what we have on our hands Thursday evening in San Diego with the Holiday Bowl.
Quite unfairly, Jeff Bower takes to the sidelines for his final game as the Southern Miss coach. And ironically it's happening in the same city - Birmingham - that his tenure with the Golden Eagles began back on Dec. 20, 1990.
Back in the summer I tried predicting - as accurately as possible, not just a bunch of stabs in the dark - the matchups in each of the 32 bowl games. So now that we know who's playing who, I figured I'd look back and see if I got any even half right. The results, I have to say, are pretty. Pretty pathetic.
Few things in life are easy. And predicting, analyzing and understanding college football is not one of those things because Saturday night we saw more of the unexpected and more of the chaos that has come to exemplify the 2007 season.
The coaching carousel seems to have slowed down as the week comes to a close with no one getting the ax the past few days. But there's been plenty of other activity around the country with coaches contemplating moves to other jobs and there's one in particular that should really take a hard look at what the future may hold.
Greg Robinson has yet to turn around Syracuse in his three season in upstate New York, posting an awful 7-28 record. And from the sound of Syracuse athletic director Dr. Daryl Gross, if Robinson doesn't show some marked improvement in 2008, the Orange will be looking for another man who hopefully can.
Tim Tebow is likely your 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, but after what we saw from Chase Daniel Saturday night, I'm sure some people are going to give the Missouri quarterback more than a second thought after what they saw out of the junior.
It's not your traditional Thanksgiving Day matchup, but getting to watch USC and Arizona State Thursday night is certainly an upgrade over the Egg Bowl, especially considering this one has BCS implications written all over it.
Lose your quarterback and you're going to lose. It was as simple as that for two teams this extended three day football weekend after watching No. 2 Oregon fall on the road Thursday night and then watching No. 3 Oklahoma follow suit Saturday.
So where do we find ourselves after another highly ranked team - in Saturday's case No. 1 Ohio State - lost to an unranked team for what seems like the 50th time this season? We find ourselves with a drastically altered BCS standings, one that will be void of the Buckeyes as national title contenders after Illinois ran roughshod over the Ohio State defense when they are released later Sunday.
Kansas is 9-0 for the first time since 1908 and has their sights set on not only a BCS bowl, but the national championship game if they win their remaining four games and things break right. But the first step toward the improbable starts Saturday in Stillwater where the Jayhawks take on a dangerous Oklahoma State team. Is this where it comes crashing down for Kansas? Possibly, but most especially if they play defense like they did last week against Nebraska.
Rules changes have become the norm in college football, most especially those involving tweaks to the clock the past few years. So after the NCAA's attempts to speed up the game last season were met with dismay and disgust from many of the nation's coaches, the NCAA changed the rules again this past off-season in an effort to drive down the times of these marathon-like games. But after 10 weeks it looks like it's time for the to go back to the drawing board.
Anyone remember the last time USC was an underdog in a Pac-10 game? Try seven years ago in their regular season finale of Pete Caroll's inaugural season in L.A. Well that 45-game streak comes to end Saturday when the Trojans - three point underdogs - head north to Eugene where high-powered Oregon awaits in a BCS make or break game for both squads.
Another week, another set of upsets. And we had more than a few in the Top 10 again. We saw No. 6 South Carolina lose, along with No. 10 Cal and No. 8 Kentucky Saturday. But in all actuality, we only had two upsets because Kentucky's loss was not an upset.
If you're not running the spread these days, you're as old school as "Blue." But just because it's become the in vogue scheme doesn't mean it's necessarily here to stay, if you ask one of the coaches whose success has been so closely tied to the offense.
It's officially The Year of the Upset. We've had a few wacky weekends and just when you think things are about to return to normal, we have the top two teams in the nation lose on the same day for the first time since Sept. 21, 1996 and scramble up the polls yet again. Just in time, of course, for Sunday's season premiere of the BCS rankings.
For a while there it was looking like Florida was right back in the thick of things. Leading the No. 1 Tigers on the road, Florida was only a matter of minutes from leaving Baton Rouge with a gigantic win and jumping right back into the national championship picture. But LSU would have none of it.
For Jewish people everywhere, this Saturday marks the holiest day of the year, and it has nothing to do with LSU facing off against South Carolina. Saturday is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and while many players will be eating heartily in preparation for their games, a select few will be spending the day fasting in observance of the holiday. Yom Kippur lasts from sundown on Friday, Sept. 21 until Sundown on Saturday, Sept. 22, which complicates the situation for any religiously observant player who wants to take the field for his team. With so few religious Jews playing at the Top 25 level, those stories are few and far between, which makes the few out there all the more interesting.
A few days after their exposing loss to USC, Bill Callahan was quite frank about his team. The Nebraska coach acknowledged Saturday's game wasn't pretty, that it looked even worse on film and that there could be a few personnel changes if the Cornhuskers aren't careful.
So does anyone have any doubts about USC, most especially the Trojans running game, after their performance in Lincoln Saturday night? Tough to find a whole lot that's wrong with Pete Carroll's squad after the Trojans let everyone know they don't plan on handing over their No. 1 ranking anytime soon.
Swagger is something that's been missing from the Washington sidelines for some years now as the once mighty Huskies have fallen on hard times. But the tide seems to be turning in Ty Willingham's third season in Seattle with the Huskies off to a 2-0 start.
Oklahoma and Miami haven't played each other in 20 years, but that all changes Saturday when two of the top programs in college football, who just happen to be in very different positions this season, meet in Norman.
After DeSean Jackson returned yet another punt for a touchdown last Saturday, you'd think coaches would wise up and just stop kicking to the Cal wide out. But heading into his team's game against Jackson's 10th-ranked Bears, it seems as if Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick hasn't quite learned from the failures of some of his peers.
Three days removed from arguably the greatest upset in college football history, and without a doubt the most embarrassing loss in program history, Michigan is still licking its wounds with Lloyd Carr more than slightly concerned about the Wolverines ability to stop an Oregon team that some would say is a vastly more talented Appalachian State this weekend.
Week 1 of the college football season is usually forgettable thanks to all the blowouts and otherwise boring games that flood the schedule. This year, however, it was anything but thanks to one team from Boone, N.C. that pulled off an upset for the ages.
A few weeks after coaches around the country submitted their ballots for their own Preseason Top 25, it was the writers' turn as the Associated Press released its Preseason Top 25 poll Saturday and there's practically no difference between them.
The highly touted, highly recruited, much ballyhooed lightening rod for controversy, and, most importantly, former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain is now officially a USC Trojan. So now that his highly publicized divorce with the Razorbacks and the Houston Nutt regime is over and done with, it's time to get to the important question at hand? Will he actually play in L.A.?
Perhaps the biggest race in college football these days doesn't involve a fight for a division title, a battle for some recruit or sprint to raise more funds. The biggest race may very well be the race between cities bidding to host future ACC Championship Games and it seems like a new entrant is emerging every week.
There's been some discussion between Ole Miss and Texas about the possibly entering into a home-and-home series. Officials from both schools reportedly have been in negotiations for the two game set that would take place in 2012 and 13. The two haven't played since 1966 and Texas owns the all-time series lead with a 5-1 record.
All tied at the half between Tennessee and Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Anthony Morelli is throwing the ball a lot and that’s always fun to see. And how about that stiff arm from Tennessee’s LaMarcus Coker on that touchdown run?
For Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley, his choice of colleges came down to two. It was either head to Los Angeles and play for USC, or stay considerably closer to his native Saginaw, Mich. and head to Ann Arbor and become a Wolverine.
Sometimes you leave a movie theater feeling high. Sometimes you leave a move theater feeling low. And sometimes you leave it emotionally drained, but smiling as you make your way to the exit. That was the case for me Thursday evening after I had the chance to catch a special screening of Warner Bros. new release, “We Are Marshall,” in Midtown Manhattan.
To say Lloyd Carr was perturbed Sunday night would be putting it lightly. Relegated to the Rose Bowl after Florida jumped his Michigan team in the final BCS standings, Carr was as ornery as ever with the media. Peppered with questions about the fallout of Sunday’s BCS rankings, Carr was brief with his answers and refused to say how he really felt.
There was a reason why USC came in as an 8.5 point favorite Saturday. And they showed it, in a big way, against the Irish. Simply put: USC showed that it's in a different class than Notre Dame, one that's right next to a team from Columbus, Ohio.
So the question now is are we going to get a rematch? There’s no doubt that Ohio State and Michigan played an amazing game Saturday, one that’s going to go down as a classic in the series and will be talked about for the rest of the year. But if you ask me, the prospects of seeing a rematch are looking ever more probable. The answer, however, we should get to rematch question is no.
If there’s one thing you’re going to come away from yesterday’s Rutgers-Louisville game is that the Scarlet Knights have one heck of a defense. Their speed and tenacity at pressuring Brian Brohm was the reason Rutgers earned the biggest win in school history.
So Michigan and Ohio State got their scares today against two unlikely opponents. I guess what we saw was a case of Michigan and Ohio State simply overlooking their opponents. Troy Smith didn’t have a huge day and the Wolverines basically won thanks to their defense making the late stop that it did.
For those who subscribe to the idea that SEC offenses are struggling this year, there’s a perfectly good explanation. It’s those stacked defenses and a glut of new, relatively inexperienced QBs manning the posts at several schools, that’s bringing the conference’s offensive numbers down.
It was a great game to watch and dramatic as can be, but we shouldn’t be overly surprised that USC finally lost a game. Let’s face it. They’ve been playing with fire these last few weeks, just waiting to get burned. Saturday, they got burned.
Temple got its first win of the season, and its first win in a long, long time, against Bowling Green. Congratulations to Al Golden. First time since Nov. 2004 that the Owls won a game. So how bad does that make Bowling Green? The Falcons losing to Temple: Urban Meyer must be ashamed.
It was a pretty wild Saturday that saw some history, another incredible comeback and a plethora of performances that helped sort out the national picture a little more. Here’s what I think we’ve learned and what I come away from Saturday with. . .
The reaction to the Miami-FIU brawl that broke out in Saturday’s third quarter was met with universal disappointment by some of the Big East coaches Monday. Played numerous times on highlight shows around the country for the past two days, just about everyone in college football had a chance to watch the transgressions of the Hurricanes and Golden Panthers and no one liked what they saw.
I don’t think I could have been more wrong about two of the biggest games Saturday. I thought we’d see USC’s A game against ASU and I expected Florida to beat on Auburn. It didn't exactly pan out that way.
Can we officially say that Auburn has been exposed? Florida is doing a number on the Tigers defense, running through Auburn because the Tigers have missed tackle after tackle. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says his defense is confused. I guess it thinks its good or something.
A big day of college football and there’s a lot to take it. But there are certainly a number of things that I think we learned today and a lot of it comes out of the SEC.
Georgia is not anywhere close to a Top 10 team. Despite scoring as many points as they did against Tennessee in their loss, they still have questions on offense and apparently their defense doesn’t stand up much against some actual competition.
JaMarcus Russell is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country right now after his performance against Mississippi State last week. And heading into LSU’s critical matchup against Florida, Russell figures to be the key to the Tigers ultimate success. But the question on many people’s minds is whether the junior can get the job done?
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:
It doesn’t get much worse than 2-9 finish in Year 1 for a coach taking over a former Pac-10 perennial power. But Tyrone Willingham has gotten his Huskies off to a surprising start in Year 2 with Washington staked out to a 3-1 record. With wins already over San Diego State, Fresno State and UCLA, it didn’t take long for Willingham to surpass 2005’s win total.
All These Freshmen Are Playing and Brown Knows Why
All across the country, with ever more frequency, true freshmen are seeing more and action on the field. Many teams, most notably USC who has played 13 true freshmen already this season, are sending out their inexperienced players in high stake games. The quarterback position isn’t immune, either. Georgia, with Matthew Stafford and Arkansas, with Mitch Mustain, are just two of several teams that have handed over their offenses to true freshmen.
There was no official moniker for this Saturday, but Survival Saturday was more than fitting. I think it’s safe to say that we saw that there really isn’t an overly dominant team out there right now.
The top unbeaten teams - Ohio State, USC, Michigan, Florida and Auburn - didn’t have particularly inspiring performances today. And some other top tier teams hung on in their respective games after facing some stiff competition from their opponents early on like Virginia Tech, and most notably, Georgia. But they all survived, and national championship and BCS berth hopes are still intact for nearly all who entered the weekend with big time postseason hopes.
Coaches have come under scrutiny for how closely they should monitor their players actions, off the field as much as on, with the Reggie Bush controversy swriling around the colllege football landscape.
In light of the attention the Reggie Bush controversy has brought upon USC and some accusations that members of the Trojans coaching and athletic staff new about supposed NCAA violations, UConn coach Randy Edsall said Monday that it was preposterous to hold coaches responsible for controlling every aspect of their players lives.
Where to start on a Saturday like this, I’m not sure. There was measuring stick game after measuring stick game all over the country and several teams rose to the occasion in the seven games that featured ranked teams against each other.
It should be pretty clear now who the No. 1 team in the nation is. Ohio State, behind quarterback Troy Smith, showed the country they are the best team with a 24-7 win over the Longhorns on the road and I think it's safe to say we learned some things from this game.
The rules changes went over without any major gripping or complaining from the majority of Big East coaches Monday. No one felt the rules were a hindrance or a pain, but some noticed more of a difference than others.
Well, a win’s a win and that’s what the Irish got Saturday. It wasn’t pretty and the offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but Charlie Weis’ squad got the job done. They won and survived, lived to face Penn State next without a loss hanging over them and still one of the favorites to make it to the national championship game. For that, they should be satisfied. For other reasons, there should be concern.
Since the season is officially here, I figured it was time to do what everyone else around the country has done: make the obligatory predictions. This way, I’m on the record and I’ll be able to look back in amazement about how poorly - or precisely - I predicted things would pan out.
CSTV had the chance to sit down with several Pac-10 players during the conference's media day in July to discuss a number topics from their outlook on their season, to their school's fight song and even American Idol.
The moment seemingly everyone's been waiting for finally arrived. USC coach Pete Carroll spoke to close the session of press conferences before a late lunch. With almost every coach having to field questions about the turnaround of USC this year after losing two Heisman winners, Carroll got to speak for USC directly.
It doesn't appear that the Pac-10 is looking to shed the reputation of fielding a brand of football that's -- how should I say it? -- not exactly physical. At least if you ask Oregon coach Mike Bellotti.
Coming off a 10-2 season and Sun Bowl victory, UCLA coach Karl Dorrell is excited about the state of Bruins football.
"We're eager and optimistic about our season," Dorrell said to the media. "We had a tremendous season last year and it was fun to watch our team grow and mature. It's fun to be in this program at this time."
With a load of talent returning and a perceived wide-open Pac-10, Cal has its sights set on a conference championship and maybe more in 2006. They'll get a good gauge of where they stand from the start when they travel to Knoxville to take on Tennessee and its 100,000-plus orange-clad fans to open the season.
With two quarterbacks back from playing integral roles in leading an offense that finished No. 2 overall and No. 3 in passing in the nation last season, Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter has a difficult decision on his hands.
With the new 12-game regular season in college football, the Pac-10 will operate on a round-robin schedule starting in the fall. This will allow for a true conference champion in the Pac-10 for the first time. The new format is sitting well with coaches so far.
While the Mountain West media day took the liesurely tone of its San Diego location, the Pac-10 is all business. The MWC conference was a two-day event with buffets by the pool and the San Diego bay. The Pac-10, meanwhile, is running through its press conferences in about three hours and has a lovely view of LAX airport. Not that I'm complaining -- just an observation.
The ball just got rolling at Pac-10 media day in Los Angeles and the first bit of news has been released. To nobody's surprise, USC is once again the media favorite to win the conference title. But sans Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, the Trojans aren't the clear favorites they once were. Here's how the voting broke down:
1. USC (18) 276
2. California (7) 247
3. Oregon (3) 229
4. Arizona State (1) 204
5. UCLA 145
6. Arizona 133
7. Oregon State 125
8. Washington State 96
9. Stanford 90
10. Washington 50