Around College Football
Week Five (October 2 Games)
The September college football slate fizzled (rather than sizzled) to a close last weekend.
The Big Ten decided to have an early-season conference showdown with the … MAC?
That’s right, we were treated to the likes of Ohio State-Eastern Michigan (73-20), Iowa-Ball State (45-0), and Michigan-Bowling Green (65-21). Wisconsin got frisky and played the mighty Governors of Austin Peay (70-3) of the Ohio Valley Conference (“let’s go Peay!”). Even worse, the Big Thin actually lost two games to their Mid-America brethren when Minnesota got handled by the Huskies of Northern Illinois, and Purdue rolled over to the Rockets of Toledo. Ugly!
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Around the SEC
Thanks goodness for the SEC (and the PAC-10 too).
Auburn and South Carolina provided a close, sometimes sloppy, but always entertaining game … the best of the weekend by far.
Any time we get to see Steve Spurrier go all mid-1990s during a game, it’s a lot of fun. His patience worn out, the visored one yanked QB Stephen Garcia in the fourth quarter and turned to freshman Connor Shaw. The move didn’t pan out as Shaw turned the ball over twice in Auburn’s second straight come-from-behind victory. The loss knocked the Gamecocks from the ranks of the unbeaten and kept Auburn there.
As a Georgia alum and native, seeing the fall from grace of Mark Richt has been startling.
Widely recognized as one of the coaching fraternity’s nicest guys, the top Dawg is facing a serious crisis for the first time in his tenure. A 1-3 start in 2010 (including the ugly 24-12 debacle at Miss State on Saturday), a five loss season in 2009, and annual blowout losses to hated Florida make on-the-field issues an obvious and huge concern for Bulldog backers. Toss in what seems to be double-digit depth on the local police blotters (ten Bulldogs arrested since spring) and you have big, big problems. Not for nothing … but was it not cruel and unusual that freshman LB Demtre Baker went out and got arrested the night of Richt’s worse loss (Baker did not make the trip to Starkville) … what timing – what lack of discipline.
Georgia and Richt need to win at Colorado this week. Badly.
Another winning coach who catches a lot of grief is Les Miles at LSU.
His Tigers have not lost, and boast the league’s best defense. But, take the offense … please. Why Miles does not give backup QB Jarrett Lee a chance remains a mystery. I know the kid threw a bunch of interceptions when last he held the starting job, but LSU cannot win a championship with the current play of Jordan Jefferson. Only a matter of time before the complete lack of a passing game catches up to the Hat.
Here are the first Campus Game SEC Rankings for 2010 (do not believe in those preseason ranks before we’ve seen teams under pressure). TCG rankings are not predictive of how teams will finish, but how they currently stand.
1. Alabama … Crimson Tide stayed cool as the other side of the pillow in the cauldron of Reynolds-Razorback Stadium and got a huge road win over pumped-up Arkansas.
2. Auburn … Tigers and big QB Cam Newton keep pulling out wins after falling behind. I’m not sold on the squad yet, but give them credit for toughness.
3. Florida … Can the Gators overcome mighty Alabama on the road Saturday? Tune in for Professor’s Picks Friday to find out.
4. LSU … championship defense, championship special teams, the SEC’s best player (Patrick Peterson), and no chance to win a championship because of the offense.
5. Arkansas … Ryan Mallett did not respond well to pressure situations last week, but Petrino’s pigs can score on anybody. D played OK too.
6. South Carolina … Gamecocks should have beaten Auburn … woulda, shoulda, coulda … that only flusters the head ball coach even more.
7. Kentucky … No shame in losing to Florida at the Swamp, but Wildcat defense needs to help out high-powered offense.
8. Ole Miss … Rebs finally looked a little dangerous against Fresno State … a roller coaster team … up and down.
9. Miss State … big win over Georgia for Bullies and Dan Mullen; still tough to see many playmakers for State.
10. Tennessee … Vols needed UAB to miss 5(!) field goals and still went overtime to get win. Not so great for Vols.
11. Vanderbilt … Commodores move out of cellar after big Ole Miss win, but need more proof … beat U Conn this week and move up more.
12. Georgia … confused defense, no running game, very little passing game, undisciplined play … can’t even say thank goodness for Vandy this year Dawg fans.
Around the Nation
If the season ended this week, the PAC-10 would be right there with the SEC as top conference.
West: Stanford (a Campus Game favorite) looks solid in all phases and faces a major test at Oregon this weekend. That is probably the marquee matchup outside the Southeast (Alabama-Florida). The UO Ducks feature the nation’s fastest moving offense. Arizona and USC still have not lost, and UCLA, Arizona State, Cal, and Oregon State are all respectable. Nice league.
Southwest: The annual Red River Shootout lost some luster when Texas got whipped by UCLA, but the winner is still likely to play in the Big 12 title game.
Midwest: I really like the Wisconsin @ Michigan State game, a battle of unbeatens. Sparty head coach Mark Dantonio will coach from the press box as he recovers from a mild heart attack.
Games of note this week:
Texas A&M @ OK State (Thursday)
Ohio State @ Illinois
Miami @ Clemson
Virginia Tech @ NC State
Penn State @ Iowa
Texas vs. Oklahoma
This Week in College Football History
September 30, 1939– Fordham beat Waynesburg (Pa.) 34-7 in the first televised football game in history. Bill Stern called the play-by-play for W2XBS (now WNBC-TV) while a young announcer from Alabama named Mel Allen did pre-game interviews. Few television sets could receive the signal, but some fans saw the telecast at the nearby New York World’s Fair.
OTHER NOTABLE DATES:
September 27, 1969– In a celebration of college football’s 100th anniversary, Rutgers defeated Princeton, 29-0 in Piscataway. Rutgers quarterback Rich Policastro led the way by completing 14 of 19 passes for 164 yards and a score, and added another touchdown on the ground, to give the Scarlet Knights a 21-0 halftime lead.
September 28, 1985– In Knoxville, Tennessee upset No. 1 Auburn, 38-20. Tennessee quarterback Tony Robinson connected on 17 of 30 passes for 259 yards and four scores to lead the Volunteers to a 24-0 halftime lead over College Football Hall of Fame head coach Pat Dye’s Tigers. College Football Hall of Famer Bo Jackson compiled 80 yards on 17 carries, but left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
September 29, 2001– New Mexico State shutout ULM, 31-0 in Monroe, La. The shutout was New Mexico State’s first in 283 games, dating back to Sept. 21, 1974, the NCAA record for most consecutive games without posting a shutout.
October 1, 1955– No. 6 Army crushed No. 18 Penn State, 35-6 in West Point. After earning All-American honors as an end in the previous season, College Football Hall of Famer Don Holleder moved to quarterback for the 1955 campaign. Holleder completed only one pass on the day, but it was an eight-yard scoring strike to end Don Satterfield in the first quarter. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Earl Blaik’s Black Knights utilized big plays on defense and special teams to cruise to a 21-0 halftime lead. The Nittany Lions were led by College Football Hall of Fame head coach Charles “Rip” Engle, as well as assistant coach and College Football Hall of Famer Joe Paterno.
October 2, 1943– In a 40-21 win over Illinois in West Lafayette, Purdue set an NCAA record for most turnovers by a winning team. The Boilermakers lost nine fumbles and threw two interceptions on the day. The win helped propel Purdue to a 9-0 record and a Big Ten championship.
October 3, 1992– For the second consecutive season, College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden and No. 3 Florida State lost to No. 2 Miami on a field goal that drifted wide right, falling in Miami 19-16. College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Gino Torretta hit receiver Lamar Thomas to put the Hurricanes ahead, 17-16 with 6:50 to play. After a safety on special teams pushed the deficit to three, the Seminoles drove deep into Miami territory until Dan Mowery missed a 39-yard field goal on the game’s final play.
Fordham defeated Waynesburg (Pa.) in the first
televised football game in history this week in 1939.
See you at Kickoff!