“Rain, sleet, flood, or mud!”
The legendary Billy Henderson, longtime football coach at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia, always used that quick quip when a player or coach asked him whether the Gladiator team was going to be practicing on a given day.
“Rain, sleet, flood, or mud!” Henderson would reply in that charismatic, inspiring tone of his.
If the great Billy were coaching in much of the nation this week he might substitute “rain, flu, flood, or mud” instead.
Welcome back to The Campus Game for Week 4 of the college football season. We promise you cannot catch germs by reading this site.
Football teams across the country continue to deal with a stronger than usual flu season. Ole Miss, Wisconsin (where at some point approximately forty Badgers were under the weather), Florida, Georgia, and other squads have battled the bug to varying degrees.
The rest of Coach Henderson’s motto came into play down South this week … including the flood.
Sections of north Georgia flooded Monday and Tuesday after days of intense rain, weather delayed the start of several football games over the weekend, and the cleanup will continue this week as more rain is predicted for some areas. Mississippi and Alabama are being pelted by rain too.
OK, enough weather and health reporting – back to football.
The Top Ten rankings got jumbled when USC and BYU lost to Washington and Florida State respectively. The Trojans find themselves with no margin for error with regard to national title hopes, while the Cougars maintain just an outside chance of landing a BCS bowl berth.
At the other end of the happiness meter, Miami and Cincinnati deserve credit.
The Hurricanes got little respect from this site or most anywhere else to start the season. I actually thought the Canes might start off 2-4 or so … talk about failing to see this south Florida storm on the radar.
Had the initial rankings come out after the first three weeks of the season, Miami would be in the top five. As it is, the Canes are the highest rated team in the ACC heading into this week’s showdown with two-time defending conference champ Virginia Tech. Get past the Hokies and a looming outing with Oklahoma and Miami is in the national championship picture.
Brian Kelly’s Bearcats probably will not play for a national title, but UC is again looking like the class of the Big East after whipping Rutgers and Oregon State on the road. The Cats are outside the top ten in the major polls (The Campus Game had them #10 last week), but have to be considered a BSC bowl contender once more.
Finally, one more flu story (of a sort). Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer make each other sick.
Tennessee coach Kiffin chided Florida coach Meyer this week (boy there’s something new) when Meyer commented that several Gators felt the lingering effects of sickness during their hard-fought 23-13 win over the Vols. Kiffin, when asked about the health of the Vols, said something to the effect that he’d wait until his team didn’t play well then use the flu as an excuse.
His brashness would have more bite had he actually accomplished more … remember this is a guy with fewer wins as a college head coach (1) than Meyer has national championships (2).
Around the Nation Week 4
South … In the SEC, Ole Miss gets a test with a Thursday night trip to South Carolina. Arkansas tries to find some defense for a West Division showdown in T-Town with Alabama. The marquee ACC matchup is Miami at Virginia Tech. Canes can clamp down on Coastal Division with a win. TCU visits Clemson with a chance to earn BCS bowl points.
Midwest … Iowa travels to Happy Valley to play Penn State in a primetime ABC game. The Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge as last season’s loss to the Hawkeyes knocked them from national title contention. Illinois at Ohio State is also worth watching.
Southwest … The scoreboard needs plenty of fresh batteries when Texas Tech travels to Houston.
West … Cal is moving up the rankings and faces a tough test at Oregon, and I expect Stanford to end Washington’s win streak.
Tuesday’s Top Ten Lists
Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Rankings (Week 4)
1o. Michigan: Time to give Rich Rod credit; schedule improves after game with Indiana.
9. Cincinnati: Bearcats continue to roar and wow.
8. Ole Miss: Don’t Rebel Yell at me Ole Miss fans, you still haven’t proved much this season.
7. Cal: Are Berkeley Bears for real? Tough to tell in topsy-turvy PAC-10.
6. LSU: Bengal Tigers are quietly building toward future showdowns, but schedule gets brutal soon.
5. Miami: Hurricanes do not realize they are too young to be here (I’m still not sold on Shannon and staff – yet).
4. Penn State: Papa Paterno keeps rolling along but must whip 2008 nemesis Iowa.
3. Florida: Gators may have issues at wide receiver and against a physical offensive front.
2. Texas: Longhorns struggled a bit with T-Tech, but in good shape for title run.
1. Alabama: Tide is best team I’ve seen this season.
Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Games (Week 4)
10. Fresno State at Cincinnati: Bearcats keep clawing toward national attention.
9. Arkansas at Alabama: Hogs were horrendous on defense last week, while Tide kept rolling along.
8. Florida at Kentucky: Gators try to overcome flu and a band of bluegrass Wildcats that are dangerous.
7. Illinois at Ohio State: Ron Zook has had some success against Senator Tressel and the Bucks.
6. TCU at Clemson: Gary Patterson’s tough Horned Frogs defense against a good Clemson offense.
5. South Florida at Florida State: Loss of Matt Grothe does not bode well for USF against suddenly red hot Noles.
4. Ole Miss at South Carolina: Rebels got pecked by the Gamecocks in Oxford last season.
3. Cal at Oregon: We learn about the Golden Bears this week.
2. Iowa at Penn State: Can Hawkeyes hurt Lions pride once more?
1. Miami at Virginia Tech: ACC favorite may be determined in this matchup.