Contenders or pretenders?
Around this time of the semester, college professors begin to get a sense of how students will perform in classes. The first few weeks of laying a learning foundation, establishing expectations, and getting to know each other has been accomplished. The opening week jitters, freshmen homesickness, and information overload has been overcome.
It’s time to find out who will perform under pressure and who will falter.
College football teams reflect a very similar circumstance. Week Four starts the process of separating the championship contenders from the pretenders.
Welcome back to The Campus Game, where college football fans should always expect championship level performance. Please visit often.
Several conference and intersectional games during week four commence the championship-culling process.
Arkansas passed all early season tests, including a dramatic road win over Georgia. Are the Razorbacks ready for mighty Alabama?
South Carolina fans (among the nation’s very best) waited patiently for Steve Spurrier to put together a contender. Will the Gamecocks overcome Auburn on the Plains, or will Gene Chizik’s Tigers turn them into just another Palmetto state pretender?
Boise State went on the road to start the year and beat Virginia Tech, considered one of only two real challenges for the Broncos in the 2010 regular season. The other? Oregon State. Will the Broncos keep their BCS-Busting quest alive by damming up the Beavers on the blue field?
Fellow non-BCS interloper TCU makes the short trip across the Metroplex to play SMU. Can the Horned Frogs ground the aerial attack of June Jones and the Mustangs?
Florida keeps catching a lot of grief for struggling on offense … perhaps too much criticism for a team averaging over 30 points and winning by about three touchdowns a game. Will Florida finally flash championship form against unbeaten Kentucky on Saturday night? Or might the Cats claw their way into SEC East contention?
West Virginia may be the team to beat in the Big East after getting out to a 3-0 start. Can the Mountaineers shoot down undefeated and unloved LSU on the bayou?
Stanford and Oregon appear the class of the PAC-10. Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal face a tough trip to tough-luck Notre Dame, while the mighty Ducks try to survive in the desert against Arizona State. Will both emerge unscathed?
Week Four shapes up nicely for determining contenders and pretenders.
Check back Friday for Professor’s Picks.
Special Thursday Night Pick: Miami over Pitt.
To see a complete list of televised games this weekend, please visit the National Football Foundation (usually posted by Thursday afternoon).
Enjoy the games!
This Week in College Football History
Sept. 20 – Sept. 26
Source: As part of an ongoing series throughout the fall, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame posts This Week in College Football History, which takes a look back at some of college football’s landmark moments over the last 141 years … please visit The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.
September 21, 1996- In Tempe, No. 17 Arizona State snapped defending national champion and top-ranked Nebraska’s 26 game winning streak, 19-0. The Sun Devil defense, led by 2010 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Pat Tillman, forced three safeties against the Cornhuskers and held them scoreless for only the second time in 23 years. It was the only time the AP’s top-ranked team has been shutout since 1978.
OTHER NOTABLE DATES:
September 20, 2003- No. 10 LSU prevailed against No. 7 Georgia, 17-10 in Baton Rouge. With the Tigers ahead 10-3, Georgia linebacker Odell Thurman forced a Matt Mauck fumble deep in Bulldog territory. Georgia capitalized with a 93-yard screen pass to tailback Tyson Browning. Mauck rebounded with a 34-yard scoring toss to Skylar Green with 1:22 remaining, clinching victory over the defending SEC champions en route to LSU’s first BCS National Championship.
September 22, 1962- College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Yeoman coached his first game at Houston. The “father of Cougar football” directed the Cougars to a 19-0 win over Baylor in Houston. The inventor of the veer offense, Yeoman’s Cougars would lead the nation in offense from 1966-68. Yeoman eventually guided Houston to two top-five finishes, four conference championships and 11 bowl games.
September 23, 2006- Central Michigan defeated Eastern Michigan, 24-17 in overtime, in Ypsilanti. It was the third straight time a contest between the Chippewas and the Eagles went to overtime, the only such occurrence in NCAA history.
September 24, 1983- The No. 7 Iowa defense rose to the occasion, limiting powerful attack of No. 3 Ohio State in a 20-14 triumph in Iowa City. Buckeye quarterback Mike Tomczak entered the game as the nation’s leader in passing efficiency, but was just 13-34 for 121 yards and a touchdown against a Hawkeye defense featuring College Football Hall of Famer Larry Station. The win was Iowa’s first over Ohio State since 1962.
September 25, 1959- In Atlanta, No. 16 Georgia Tech engineered a 16-12 upset of No. 6 SMU. College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Don Meredith tossed two scores to put the Mustangs ahead at the break, 12-7, but less-heralded signal caller Fred Braselton hit end Fred Murphy to give the Yellow Jackets a 13-12 advantage. SMU mounted a late comeback charge, but Georgia Tech linebacker Gerald Burch snagged an interception with 1:32 remaining to clinch victory for College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Dodd’s Yellow Jackets.
September 26, 1953- In a matchup of College Football Hall of Fame head coaches Frank Leahy and Bud Wilkinson, No. 1 Notre Dame thwarted No. 6 Oklahoma 28-21 in Norman. With the Sooners leading 14-7 in the second quarter, Fighting Irish tackle Frank Varrichione blocked a punt that Notre Dame recovered at OU’s nine-yard line. Quarterback Ralph Guglielmi capitalized with a nine-yard option keeper, the first of three unanswered Notre Dame touchdowns to put the Irish ahead for good. The loss was Oklahoma’s first in 25 home games, and would be their last defeat until 1957, when the Sooners would achieve an NCAA-record 47 consecutive wins.
News from Around College Football
Kennesaw State (Ga.) has announced plans to begin football in 2014. . . . Texas – San Antonio will play a three-game series with Oklahoma State in 2013-15. . . . Lamar will visit Oklahoma State in 2013.
Saturday will be Bronko Nagurski Day in the state of Minnesota with events related to the Hall of Famer surrounding Minnesota’s game with Northern Illinois.
Auburn and Clemson will play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game during Labor Day weekend in 2012. . . . West Virginia and Maryland have extended their series through 2017. . . . Oklahoma State will host Louisiana-Lafayette in 2011 and 2012 and travel to Arizona on Sept. 8, 2012. . . . Toledo will host Coastal Carolina in 2012. . . . Tulane and South Alabama will play a three-game series in 2013, 2019-20. . . . Mississippi State will host Tennessee – Martin on Nov. 5, 2011.
For the first time in the show’s 23-year history, ESPN’s College GameDay will originate from the campus of Boise State in anticipation of the Broncos’ game with Oregon State. . . . CBS began its 10th year of SEC on CBS Saturday with Florida at Tennessee. . . . CBS has announced that the network will air a double-header on Oct. 2. Tennessee at LSU will air at 3:30 p.m. ET, while Florida at Alabama will show at 8 p.m. ET. . . . Six affiliates have been added to the WAC Sports Network, bringing the total to 24 affiliates in 16 markets. . . . VMI at Charleston Southern (Oct. 23) and VMI at Gardner-Webb (Nov. 20), originally scheduled to air on SportSouth, will be shown nationally by Fox College Sports Atlantic. . . . CBS College Sports will now be shown on Cox Communications in northern Virginia.
Florida Atlantic has been approved for funding for an on-campus, 30,000 seat stadium. The project will begin next month and be completed by fall 2011. . . . Eastern Washington played the first game on its new red, Sprinturf field Saturday versus Montana.
Tammy Weikart Walker, widow of the late head coach Randy Walker, has endowed the Randy and Tammy Walker Endowed Football Scholarship at Miami (Ohio). . . . Utah State opened its Student-Athlete Academic Hall of Honor on Saturday. . . . The Big Ten Conference set a league attendance record by averaging 78,844 fans at eight home games on Saturday. ACN is now a presenting sponsor of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. . . . Toledo recently held a free youth football clinic at the Glass Bowl. . . . Arizona is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week. . . . Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland will host Notre Dame vs. Navy on Sept. 1, 2012.
Dr. Bobby Epling of The Campus Game is invited guest columnist for the September 27-October 3rd weekly issue of The Kickoff, providing a preview of the Alabama-Florida SEC showdown.
See you at kickoff!