That seemed to be the word around college football last weekend.
Welcome back to The Campus Game where the only headaches you’ll get are from reading too much about college football.
Getting back to those weekend ouches …
An ouch for Tim Tebow. The big Florida QB banged the back of his head against the knee of teammate Marcus Gilbert on a sack. The diagnosis is a concussion, with Tebow probably able to play in the Gators next game … a big one at LSU on October 10th (Florida is off this week).
An ouch for Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The sophomore linebacker tore a knee ligament against Arkansas and is out for the season. While replacing a star player is never easy, the Tide does have some depth at linebacker (albeit youthful depth).
An ouch for Baylor QB Robert Griffin. The multi-threat quarterback figures to miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee. Former starter Blake Szymanski gives the Bears a reliable option, but he too is banged up with a sore shoulder.
An ouch for USC Stafon Johnson. The senior running back suffered a severe throat injury after a barbell slipped from his grasp during a bench press workout and damaged his neck and larynx. As of mid-week, Johnson was being weaned off a ventilator; doctors estimate up to a six weeks recovery time before he is allowed to speak again.
An ouch for New Mexico assistant coach J.B. Gerald. That’s right, even the coaches suffered damage this week. Seems Lobo head coach Mike Locksley lost his cool in a staff meeting and punched receivers coach Gerald, splitting his lip.
Wow … that’s a whole lot of band-aids.
In the cases of Tebow and Johnson, their fitness and athletic discipline probably saved them from much more serious consequences.
Tebow’s neck took a severe shot when the back of his head ricocheted off his teammate’s knee following a vicious sack. Someone with lesser strength and muscle mass in his shoulders and neck could have suffered permanent injury.
The same certainly holds true for Stafon Johnson. The trauma director at the hospital where he is being treated explicitly said “his neck was so solid and muscular … and the discipline one learns from being an athlete helped him calm down and just do what he needed to do.”
Let’s hope this week cuts down on the ouches.
Around the Nation Week 4
South … several big games are on tap for the first weekend of October. Oklahoma travels to Miami for a primetime showdown on ABC. The game lost a bit of luster when the Canes fell to Virginia Tech, but still has national implications. LSU travels to Georgia in a top SEC pairing, while unbeaten (but unproven) Auburn visits Rocky Top to play Tennessee.
Midwest … Michigan tries to stay undefeated in a road game against rival Michigan State. Should be a good test for the Wolverines. Wisconsin also puts an unblemished mark on the line in a game at Minnesota. Penn State seeks to rebound at Illinois, while Ohio State plays an improving Indiana squad.
Southwest … Texas A&M faces Arkansas under the big scoreboard in Dallas in a contest that brings back memories of the old Southwest Conference.
East … Pittsburgh and Louisville kick off the Big East schedule in earnest with a Friday night game at Papa John’s stadium along the Ohio River.
West … At the start of the season, USC vs Cal promised to be one of the season’s premier matchups. It may well be, but both teams come into the game with one loss. Winner should have leg up on a Rose Bowl berth, and stays in national title chase.
Tuesday’s Top Ten Lists
Campus Game Top Ten Rankings (Week 5)
10. TCU: TCG is not keen on putting non-BCS teams in Top Ten (due to weak overall schedules) but Horned Frogs beat pretty good Clemson team on the road.
9. Oklahoma: Probably the best of the once-beaten teams.
8. Kansas: Weak schedule all the way to the Oklahoma game on 10.24.
7. Iowa: Hawkeyes suddenly look like contenders.
6. Michigan: Wolverines get another chance to show they are for real with visit to East Lansing.
5. Cincinnati: Bearcats are undefeated and unloved by pollsters.
4. LSU: Bengal Tigers get nod due to attrition as much as performance.
3. Florida: Gators get a week off before big trip to the bayou.
2. Texas: Longhorns suffered a couple of off-field academic casualties but look good on field.
1. Alabama: TCG was first to put Tide atop ratings and Bama is still there.
Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 5)
10. Air Force at Navy: First round of commander’s cup.
9. Pitt at Louisville: Winner moves into contention in Big East race for BCS.
8. Georgia Tech at Mississippi State: I still expect Tech to win ACC.
7. Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio): Upset alert for Bearcats against nearby rival.
6. Auburn at Tennessee: Intriguing matchup of new SEC coaches.
5. Wisconsin at Minnesota: Two pretty good Big Ten teams scrap for position.
4. Michigan at Michigan State: Rich Rod and Wolves will be taken seriously with a win.
3. USC at Cal: Much still rides on the outcome.
2. Oklahoma vs. Miami: Not quite the Barry Switzer-Jimmy Johnson teams of the 80s, but not bad.
1. LSU at Georgia: Could be a shootout between the hedges.
See you at kickoff!