Professor’s Picks Week Nine

Professor’s Picks
Week 9

Season Record: 78-30
Last Week’s Record: 8-3

Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 9 of the 2010 college football season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: After getting back on track with a solid showing last week, this Saturday’s slate features a quartet of unbeaten teams taking to the road.  Will Halloween weekend turn frightening for the foursome?

Best Pick: Quite a few folks thought North Carolina would beat an up-and-down Miami team, but the Hurricanes blew past the Heels.

Worst Pick: Riding the Sooner Schooner against Missouri.  The Tigers proved tough enough to beat Okie … can they handle the Huskers this week?

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.

Enjoy!

SEC

Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.

Tennessee (2-5, 0-4) at South Carolina (5-2, 3-2)
12:21 p.m. ET SEC Network 201/218 (UT); 199/220 (USC)
Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Comment: Last week, Derek Dooley at least sounded like a young Steve Spurrier as he rambled on hilarilously about the German army on D-Day … his answer contained some real insight but was delivered in a way that led to a lot of head-scratching. Now if he can prove to coach like the “genius” we might have a game. Carolina controls the SEC East but cannot afford any slips.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina

Florida (4-3, 2-3) vs. Georgia (4-4, 3-3)
3:30 p.m. ET CBS Sports 141/121 (UF); 200/219 (UGA)
Jacksonville, Fla. • EverBank Field (84,000)
Comment: The cocktail party is not the hottest invitation in college football this week. Georgia fans fumed as the Bulldogs faltered to a 1-4 start, and now Gators grumble because of a three-game losing streak. Florida had a week off – which is historically very significant for both sides in this series – and the offense gets back several play-makers … including Jeff Demps from injury and Chris Rainey from suspension. Georgia is playing better than anybody in the East right now, and has nice balance offensively. The Bulldogs have been losing this game by about five inches every year (the amount of space between their ears) and I’m not sure that changes.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Auburn (8-0, 5-0) at Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3)
5 p.m. CT ESPN2 199/220 (UM); 130 (AU)
Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
Comment: Quite a few college football followers expect Auburn to struggle in Oxford. Tough to see that after watching Ole Miss get torched by Arkansas. Auburn’s offense should be able to put up plenty of points, but the secondary may give up some to a pretty good Rebel passing attack. Tiger QB Cam Newton has been sensational … I still expect him to have a bad game at some point. Not against Ole Miss.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Kentucky (4-4, 1-4) at Mississippi State (6-2, 2-2)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU 201 (MSU) 218 (MSU)
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium (55,082)
Comment: A fun game for true college football fans. Neither team will win the division, but both play exciting offense and should go bowling. State finishes with Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, so this is a big game for the Bullies.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State

Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3) at Arkansas (5-2, 2-2)
6 p.m. CT FSN 200 (UA) 219 (UA)
Fayetteville, Ark. • Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
Comment: Ryan Mallet and the Hogs should score more than enough to capsize the Commodores. Vanderbilt is scrappy enough to keep it interesting early.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

OPEN: Alabama (7-1, 4-1); LSU (7-1, 4-1)

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Louisville at Pitt (12:00 Noon ESPN3) … an underrated game with championship implications in the Big East. New coach Charlie Strong has Louisville playing well, but the Panthers should win at beautiful Heinz Field. Professor’s Pick: Pitt

Michigan State at Iowa (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … this game marks the most serious threat remaining on Michigan State’s schedule. If Sparty wins out, there will be some real debate about what to do with an undefeated Big Ten team that did not play Ohio State. I think Iowa saves us all the hassle. Professor’s Pick: Iowa

Missouri at Nebraska (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … Missouri is in a very comparable spot to Michigan State – undefeated but not really appreciated as a national title contender. The Tigers could change all that by taking charge of the Big 12 North with a win over the Huskers. Again, an undefeated team loses on the road. Professor’s Pick: Nebraska

Baylor at Texas (7:00) … The Bears are bowl eligible for the first time since the Gipper was in the White House, and could topple Texas to a third straight loss. Mack probably gets the Horns back on track. Professor’s Pick: Texas

Utah at Air Force (8:00) … the fact that an unbeaten, top ten ranked team is playing a solid conference foe on the road … and the game is not televised. Well, that’s why talk of putting Utah, TCU, Boise State or any other non-AQ team into the national title mix is simply nonsense. Utes stay unbeaten though. Professor’s Pick: Utah

Oregon at USC (8:00 ABC) … The Ducks have a mighty tough stretch of games to finish the season, but winning against the Trojans on the road is probably the biggest test. SC QB Matt Barkley is playing really well and this might be quite a shootout. Professor’s Pick: Oregon

See you at kickoff!

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Professor’s Picks Week 8

Professor’s Picks
Week 8

Season Record: 70-27
Last Week’s Record: 6-5

Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 8 of the 2010 college football season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: Ouch!  The professor came back unprepared after the midterm break and paid for it with a middling mark. This week features league leaders squaring off in the SEC (Auburn-LSU), the Big 12 (Oklahoma-Missouri), and the Big Ten (Wisconsin-Iowa).

Best Pick: Ummm … there really wasn’t one but call it for Iowa over Michigan.

Worst Pick: Plenty of choices here, but underestimating Auburn (again) versus Arkansas gets the nod slightly over calling for Nebraska to handle the Longhorns.

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.

Enjoy!

SEC

Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.

Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) at Arkansas (4-2, 1-2)
11:21 a.m. CT SEC Network 200 (UA) 220 (UA)
Fayetteville, Ark. • Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
Comment: Yes, Arkansas got the raw end of two blown calls in the loss at Auburn … but the Hog defense laid down in the slop. QB Ryan Mallet should start. Ole Miss, after never threatening Alabama, could win this game to move up the bowl pecking order in the brutal SEC West. Stick with the porkers one more week.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

LSU (7-0, 4-0) at Auburn (7-0, 4-0)
2:30 p.m. CT CBS Sports 143/122 (AU); 130 (LSU)
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: The only two teams in the nation that truly control their own national title destiny meet on the plains of Auburn. Simply put, should either of these teams win out (unlikely in my opinion), that squad would play for a national title. Auburn QB Cam Newton continues a Heisman-esque rampage (25 TDs!) and faces his toughest defense of the season to this point in LSU. Planning to stop Newton is simple – stay in rush lanes to keep him from scrambling, bring occasional pressure, and make him throw. Stopping him is complex – he’s bigger than your linebackers, stronger than your safeties, and faster than your corners. He will have a bad game at some point I suspect. LSU’s offense continues to be woeful. To have a realistic shot, Jarrett Lee has to play and throw effectively. So naturally the Bengal Tigers will start Jordan Jefferson. The professor has picked against Auburn several times (and the Tigers were pretty fortunate to beat SC and Miss State) … not going against the Plainsmen this week.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

South Carolina (4-2, 2-2) at Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2)
6 p.m. CT FSN 200 (VU) 220 (VU)
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773)
Comment: Get this … the winner of the game controls the SEC East. South Carolina still holds the inside track, and should the Gamecocks sink the Commodores, Tennessee, and Arkansas the next three weeks (certainly possible) the matchup with Florida will not even matter. They take the first step.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina

Alabama (6-1, 3-1) at Tennessee (2-4, 0-3)
7 p.m. ET ESPN 201/219 (UT); 141/121 (UA)
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Comment: The famed Third Saturday in October matchup is off (and not just because this is the fourth Saturday of the month). The teams arrive on Rocky Top with vastly different agendas. Bama still holds realistic hopes of running the table and reaching the BCS championship game (they would probably simply need two teams to lose of the Oregon, Oklahoma, Michigan State trio – forget Boise and TCU – the Tide would outrank them). The Vols and coach Derek Dooley (a Nick Saban protege’ and friend) are simply trying to get something positive going and avoid being blown out. Expect a hard-fought, reasonably close (at least for a half or so) Bama win.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

UAB (2-4) at Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU 198 (MSU) 218 (MSU)
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium
Comment: Caught State coach Dan Mullen on a local radio program this week and the guy is confident and charismatic. It’s a program on the rise – and think how close he was to having Cam Newton leading the Bullies. UAB coach Neil Callaway is only 13-29 with the Blazers in four years.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State

Georgia (3-4, 2-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3)
7:30 p.m. ET CSS 199 (UK) 217 (UK)
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Don’t look now, but Georgia may be playing the best ball in the East Division … and the Dogs have a realistic (if undeserved) opportunity to reach the SEC title game. Beat Kentucky and Florida the next two weeks, have South Carolina lose twice (remaining games with Vandy, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida) and Georgia wins the East – even if the Dogs lose to Auburn. Not implausible. First, the Dogs must get past a high-scoring Kentucky team that broke a 3-game losing streak by beating SC.  The loss of standout RB Derrick Locke hurts the Cats.  Plenty of points in beautiful bluegrass country.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

OPEN: Florida (4-3, 2-3)

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Wisconsin at Iowa (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … the two best teams in the Big Ten in this professor’s grade book. Home field plays a big factor in picking the Hawkeyes. Professor’s Pick: Iowa

Nebraska at Oklahoma State (3:30 ABC) … The Cowboys are the nation’s lowest ranked undefeated team. Expect the Cornhuskers to show us why. Professor’s Pick: Nebraska

Georgia Tech at Clemson (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … these teams played for the ACC title last season. Georgia Tech, defending champs, are in the thick of the Coastal race and beating the Tigers would set up what a probable division-deciding game at Virginia Tech in two weeks. Love that option. Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech

North Carolina at Miami (7:30 ESPN2) … many of the Tar Heels (at least former members) have made the trek to Miami before. Butch Davis would love to win this game in the city that may bring his tenure to an end in Chapel Hill. Winner remains in contention for ACC Coastal. Professor’s Pick: Miami

Oklahoma at Missouri (8:00 ABC) … the Game Day crew visits Mizzou where two undefeated teams meet in what might be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. The Sooners stand atop the BCS rankings and have played a vastly more challenging schedule than the Tigers. That should make the difference. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma

Professor’s Picks Week Seven

Professor’s Picks
Week 7

Season Record: 64-22
Last Week’s Record: 8-4

Welcome back to The Campus Game and a Cliff’s Notes version of Professor’s Picks for Week 7 of the 2010 season (professor was on fall break sabbatical – “Around College Football” will return next week).

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: Last week featured the upset call of the season, but otherwise a mediocre effort heading into the midterm. This Saturday includes a big SEC matchup on the Plains, a “Red Out” in Lincoln, and an old-fashioned Big Ten classic between the Badgers and Buckeyes.

Best Pick: Is Kirk Herbstreit reading The Campus Game before making his weekly picks? Well, he picked South Carolina two days after professor’s picks made the call didn’t he?

Worst Pick: A tossup between underestimating FSU (easy win over Miami) or Michigan State (thumping of Michigan).

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.

Enjoy!

SEC Picks

Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.

Vanderbilt (2-3, 1-1) at Georgia (2-4, 1-3)
12:21 p.m. ET SEC Network 200 (UGA) 220 (UGA)
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Comment: Dogs often streaky under Mark Richt and could get on a bit of a roll with win over Vandy.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

Arkansas (4-1, 1-1) at Auburn (6-0, 3-0)
2:30 p.m. CT CBS Sports 143/122 (AU); 198/215 (UK)
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: Arkansas typically plays Auburn well. Winner stays in good shape for division race (and perhaps a bigger prize). Have not picked Auburn accurately very often this season, but will go with Petrino’s Pigs.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) at Kentucky (3-3, 0-3)
6 p.m. ET ESPN2
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: It would be like SC to lose this week after upsetting top-ranked Alabama last Saturday, but I think the Gamecocks are beyond that point. Barely.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina

McNeese State (2-3) at LSU (6-0, 4-0)
6 p.m. CT FSN 200/220 (LSU)
Baton Rouge, La. • Tiger Stadium (92,400)
Comment: Surely the Bayou Bengals will not find a way to make this one exciting?
Professor’s Pick: LSU

Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2) at Florida (4-2, 2-2)
7 p.m. ET ESPNU 199 (UF) 219 (UF)
Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)
Comment: State head coach Dan Mullen makes his homecoming to Gainesville (where I believe the Gators still miss him … although they miss Tebow more). Bullies have been on a nice run, but tough to see Gators losing three in a row.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1) at Alabama (5-1, 2-1)
8 p.m. CT ESPN2 201 (UA) 216 (UA)
Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)
Comment: Ole Miss has rebounded a bit after a disastrous start … but this is not a good week to be facing the Crimson Tide.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

OPEN: Tennessee (2-4, 0-3)

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Boston College at Florida State (12:00 ESPN) … Seminoles look like class of ACC at midterm. Professor’s Pick: FSU

Texas at Nebraska (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … Mack Brown has never lost three in a row at Texas, but that will likely change in Lincoln. The Huskers have been pointing to this one since the extra second was put back on in last season’s Big 12 title game. Professor’s Pick: Nebraska

Iowa at Michigan (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … Professor’s intiution says Iowa is still the best team in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes can begin proving it by handling the high-scoring Wolverines. Professor’s Pick: Iowa

BYU at TCU (4:00 Versus) … Horned Frogs are forgotten BCS busters this year, but they cannot overlook a decent Cougar crew. Professor’s Pick: TCU

Ohio State at Wisconsin (7:00 ESPN) … Visited Camp Randall and the UW campus last May and was underwhelmed (too much construction!). I imagine the Bucks will not be overly impressed either. Professor’s Pick: Ohio State

See you at kickoff!

Professor’s Picks Week Six

Professor’s Picks
Week 6

Season Record: 56-18
Last Week’s Record: 11-2

Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 6 of Professor’s Picks for the 2010 season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: A solid week as we hunker down and head toward the midterm. This Saturday offers a great Big Ten battle, and an old ball coach trying to roll back the top-ranked Tide.

Best Pick: As much as my red and black blood disliked it, Colorado brought the Bulldogs to heel as predicted. No conference misses last week.

Worst Pick: Wisconsin seemed stronger that Michigan State, but the Spartans stayed unbeaten with a big home win over the Badgers.

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.

Enjoy!

SEC Picks

Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.

Tennessee (2-3, 0-2) at Georgia (1-4, 0-3)
12:21 p.m. ET SEC Network 200 (UGA) 219 (UGA)
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Comment: Cannot really remember an uglier matchup between these two traditional southern powers. Right now tradition is about all either has to hold them up. Tennessee deserved to beat LSU, and Georgia should have beaten Colorado. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Vols play harder; Dogs have more talent and are at home. Someone slip Barbara Dooley a sedative before this unusual homecoming.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

Arkansas (3-1, 1-1) vs. Texas A&M (3-1)
2:30 p.m. CT ABC Sports 201 (UA) 218 (UA)
Arlington, Texas • Cowboys Stadium (80,000)
Comment: Arkansas had a bye week to try and wipe off the stains from their fourth-quarter gag against Alabama. A&M gave up 38 to an Oklahoma State team that is not as good as the Hogs. Expect scoring in the Jerry Dome, but don’t expect Arkansas to lose many more games this season.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

Alabama (5-0, 2-0) at South Carolina (3-1, 1-1)
3:30 p.m. ET CBS Sports 143/122 (UA); 199/220 (USC)
Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Comment: Most prognosticators and fans predicted Arkansas and LSU to be the big road tests for the Crimson Tide, but this is the game that would concern me if I was a Bama backer. Steve Spurrier and SC had a week to prepare (sound familiar Tide fans? – seems everybody gets the week off before they play you). The head ball coach figures to have a good plan of attack, but whether QB Stephen Garcia can implement it to Spurrier’s liking may be an issue. Carolina has enough speed and talent on defense to at least keep the Tide offense from steamrolling them, and enough moxie (and big receivers) on offense to score a few points. What the heck, the boys from Bama have to lose a conference game sometime – don’t they?
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina

Eastern Michigan (0-5) at Vanderbilt (1-3, 1-1)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU 200 (VU) 219 (VU)
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773)
Comment: The most telling aspect of this game is that it is being televised nationally. That lets us know something about the SEC TV contract. Vandy gets closer to .500.
Professor’s Pick: Vanderbilt

LSU (5-0, 3-0) at Florida (4-1, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. ET ESPN 143/122 (LSU); 199/220 (UF)
Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)
Comment: LSU is the most-maligned undefeated team in the nation, and lucky Les Miles must keep a string of rabbits feet tied to a horseshoe inside the sack of four leaf clovers he hides under his hat. That last 30 seconds against Tennessee was award-winning funny (except for people in Baton Rouge and on Rocky Top). The Gators feel a little melancholy themselves after suffering the business end of a beatdown from Bama. Let’s say Gators keep it close til last minute then make sure only 11 players are on the field.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Auburn (5-0, 2-0) at Kentucky (3-2, 0-2)
7:30 p.m. ET ESPN2 201 (UK) 218 (UK)
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Earlier in the season, Kentucky would have gotten much attention as a spoiler in this game, but the Wildcat defense has gone AWOL (giving up 48 to Florida and 42 to Ole Miss the past two games). Auburn’s offense can score with anybody so if the Cats spring an upset it will likely be a high-scoring affair. I’ve been wrong on Auburn several times this season and may jinx them with this pick.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2) at Houston (3-1)
7 p.m. CT CBS College Sports 198 (MSU) 212 (MSU)
Houston, Texas • Robertson Stadium (32,000)
Comment: If you can find time, this should be a fun game to watch because of the contrasting offenses. Houston runs a spread passing attack, and State runs a spread option game. Both are effective. It’s a shame Cougar QB Case Keenum hurt his knee … that makes a difference in this call.
Professor’s Pick: State

OPEN: Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1)

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Michigan State at Michigan (3:30 ABC) … the winner of this Big Ten battle of unbeatens becomes #1 challenger to Ohio State in the conference. Have ridden Rich Rod and Shoelace bandwagon all season and will not climb off now. Professor’s Pick: Michigan

Pitt at Notre Dame (3:30 NBC) … if the Irish get past Pitt, their schedule softens enough that they might make a run at 7 or 8 wins. Panthers really struggling on offense, but usually play ND well. Professor’s Pick: Notre Dame

Oregon State at Arizona (6:00 Versus) … after losing to both the big-time BCS busters (TCU and Boise), State should do us all a favor and be sure to lose to Arizona too. Wildcats are under radar in tough PAC-10. Professor’s Pick: Arizona

Florida State at Miami (8:00 ABC) … channel Chris Farley for a moment … remember when these teams used to play for national titles … remember when the rosters could stock an NFL franchise … remember when Deion, and Ray Lewis, and Warrick Dunn, and Michael Irvin, and Bobby Bowden, and Jimmy Johnson were on the field. That was cool. Professor’s Pick: Miami

USC at Stanford (8:00 ABC) … Lane Kiffin got the first taste of something he might soon have to get used to in Trojan land – defeat. Make it two losses in a row for Southern Cal against a physical Cardinal team.  Professor’s Pick: Stanford

See you at kickoff!

Around College Football Week Six

Around College Football
Week Six (October 9 Games)

Running … but no hiding.

In June of 1946, heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis responded to a question about the “hit and run” tactics challenger Billy Conn planned to use against him in their upcoming fight at Yankee Stadium.

The great Brown Bomber, who would successfully defend his title a record twenty-five times and who had escaped Conn’s slickness with a dramatic 13th round knockout in their classic 1941 meeting, simply said “he can run, but he can’t hide.” Louis managed to knockout the game little “Pittsburgh Kid” in the 8th in the rematch. That was the first televised heavyweight championship bout ever.

Athletes – and coaches – have never really been able to hide since.

Welcome back to The Campus Game where you can run and find college football news and notes (and even hide out from the real world for a while to enjoy the serenity of reading about America’s most exciting sport).  Please visit each and every week for Around College Football (Thursdays), Professor’s Picks (Fridays), and special topics on occasion.

Les Miles and Derek Dooley probably sympathized with Conn after last weekend’s end of game shenanigans in the LSU-Tennessee fiasco on the bayou.

Much as they might have wanted to, neither could hide.

First to flinch was all-hat no-sense of time Les Miles. Like a golfer falling back into bad habits under pressure, Miles reverted to his old habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The worst clock manager since Chris Webber, Miles and the LSU Tigers should have lost to Tennessee. After inserting QB Jordan Jefferson into the game and seeing him stopped at the 1-yard line with 28 seconds remaining, the Tigers trailing, and the clock running, Miles went mind blank (perhaps that is redundant) as did his Bengal Tigers while time ticked away. Except for center T-Bob Hebert having the sense to snap the ball before the clock expired – said snap sailing past the hapless Jefferson to seemingly end the game – Dooley and the Vols would have the first big win of his career with the Big Orange.

Instead, the Vols pulled the old “I can take my thirteen and stop your eleven” anyday routine. Yes, the defensive staff – apparently hoping to exceed LSU for confusion – tried to match personnel changes with the Tigers and ended up with two extra players on the field (although in fairness, the officials should have given them time to substitute properly). One the “last” last play of the game, LSU scored to win.

An ugly loss. An ugly win. Nobody can hide.

Around the Nation

The Great Lakes region is home to what may be the weekend’s best game.

Unbeaten Michigan welcomes state rival – and also undefeated – Michigan State to the Big House. Winner moves to top tier of contenders with Ohio State and Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.

Another battle of teams yet to lose takes place Thursday night under the bright lights of Manhattan (the other one). Nebraska and Kansas State square off with Big 12 North division hopes on the line.

Utah has quietly slipped into the top ten, and faces a decent test at Iowa State.

Out West, Lil Lane Kiffin and USC lost the first of what I expect to be at least four games last weekend against Washington. Stanford in Palo Alto will be even tougher and should be fun if for no other reason that watching Kif and Jim Harbaugh of the Cardinal shake hands at midfield. Both are somewhat combustible.

Around the South

Alabama looked like a team on a different level than everybody else last weekend, handling Florida easily. The Tide cannot let down against South Carolina in Columbia.

LSU puts its unbeaten record on the line at the Swamp. Florida will need to recover from the Bama beatdown because the Tigers play outstanding defense.

Watch the Auburn at Kentucky game. There should be plenty of points, and do not be surprised if the Wildcats knock off the Plainsmen.

Here are the Campus Game SEC Rankings for the week.

1. Alabama … Complacency may be most potent enemy of Crimson Tide right now. A trip to the Palmetto State is no picnic.

2. Auburn … Lucky and good, Tigers may need to be both at Kentucky.

3. South Carolina … will Steve Spurrier leave Stephen Garcia alone and let him try to stem the Tide?

4. Arkansas … Hogs play Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in what will be an annual event for years to come.

5. Florida … Gators are better than they showed against mighty Alabama … aren’t they?

6. LSU … how can an unbeaten team rank so low? Go watch those last few seconds against UT again – that’s how.

7. Kentucky … Cats better crank up the scoring with Auburn arriving.

8. Ole Miss … like them or not, the Rebels are looking better and better.

9. Miss State … Bully boys face tough task against high-scoring Houston on the road.

10. Vanderbilt … Commodores should move to within a game of .500 by beating Eastern Michigan in Music City.

11. Tennessee … Vols defense may need remedial math, but at least they were hustling.

12. Georgia … Colorado game in hand with nation’s best FG kicker so let’s try a delayed sprint draw to a RB who fumbles a lot. Maybe not.

College Football News and Notes
Courtesy of National Football Foundation

New Football Programs

Reinhardt University (Ga.) president Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood announced that he will assemble a committee to explore adding football. The committee is expected to make a recommendation by May 2011.

NFF Chairman Archie Manning will give the keynote address at the CASE Fusion Conference on February 20, 2011 in New Orleans.

NCAA Football has announced a partnership with Big Screen Network Productions to make video board graphics available to all NCAA Football programs free of charge. Through this partnership, NCAA Football and BSN aim to enhance the game day experience for fans, while creating incremental opportunities for sponsorship sales. BSN is the exclusive video board production company for the NCAA and its 88 national championships.

Chapter News

The NFF St. Louis/Tom Lombardo Chapter will host its October luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 13 with the St. Louis Rams’ La’Roi Glover serving as the guest speaker.

The NFF Northern Connecticut Chapter is holding its annual membership drive. To join, contact chapter president Larry Olsen at 860-644-1243 or lgolsen@cox.net.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL

Scheduling

The Big 12 Conference has released its tentative league schedule for 2011 and 2012. . . . Wake Forest will host Notre Dame in 2011 and visit South Bend in 2015. The teams have previously scheduled a game in South Bend in 2012. . . . Penn State and Temple will play a three-game series from 2014-16. . . . Hawaii will host Tulane in 2011. . . . Tulane and South Alabama will play a three-game series in 2013, 2019-20. . . . Georgia will host Charleston Southern in 2014 and Georgia Southern in 2016. . . . Air Force and Notre Dame will play a home-and-home series in 2011 and 2013. . . . Oklahoma will host Ball State in 2011. . . . Ole Miss will host Southeast Missouri State in 2013 and South Alabama in 2017.

People

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has signed a contract extension through 2015. . . . Mike Waddell has been named athletics director at Towson. . . . Lamar has tabbed Larry Tidwell as its athletics director.

Media

CBS’s broadcast of Alabama at Arkansas on Sept. 25 scored the highest afternoon rating for SEC on CBS since 2003. So far this season, SEC on CBS ratings are the highest since 1999. . . . USA Today has released a report stating that attendance is up at 76 of the 120 FBS schools this season. Read the full report by clicking here.

Awards

The Heisman Trust has tabbed former Heisman Trophy winner Warrick Dunn as the fifth Heisman Humanitarian recepient. . . . The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced that Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp., is its 2010 CEO Coach of the Year Award winner. . . . The Fred Mitchell Award has recognized 32 place-kickers for their efforts in the month of September. To see the full list, click here. . . . The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Discover Orange Bowl, for the fifth consecutive year, announced they will continue to present weekly nominees for the Courage Award. Auburn safety Zac Etheridge and Ole Miss running back Rodney Scott are the first nominees. . . . TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte has won the 2010 Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award.

Miscellaneous

Arkansas honored the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in the inaugural “A” Walk of Honor before the Alabama game. . . . Ike Forte, Greg Koch, Kevin Scanlon, Terry Don Phillips, Jim Williams and Milan Creighton have been selected to the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor. . . . Texas A&M – Commerce will play in its first live televised game when it hosts Tarleton State (Tex.) on Oct. 16. The Lions’ 1990 Lone Star Conference Championship squad will be honored at halftime. . . . Temple will present long-time sports information director Al Shrier with an 80th birthday roast. . . . Former football players Ed Budde, Steve Garvey, Percy Snow and Lorenzo White, and athletic director Ron Mason entered the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday. They were honored at halftime of the Spartans’ game versus Wisconsin. . . . The USAFA Endowment, Air Force Academy, and the AFA Association of Graduates held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Holaday Athletic Center last Friday.

This Week in College Football History
Courtesy: The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

FEATURED MOMENT:

October 10, 1992– No. 22 Clemson staged a massive comeback to defeat No. 10 Virginia, 29-28 in Charlottesville. Trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, freshman backup quarterback Louis Solomon ignited the Tiger offense with a 64-yard touchdown run to close the first half. Clemson, who ran for 288 yards in the second half, got touchdown a run from tailback Rodney Blunt (16 rushes for 141 yards) and two more from fullback Rudy Harris, who gained 96 yards on 12 carries. Nelson Welch made a field goal with 55 seconds left to complete the biggest comeback in school history. Virginia had a final shot to claim victory, but a hail mary attempt bounced in a crowd and hit the ground.

OTHER NOTABLE DATES:

October 4, 1958– Holy Cross handed Syracuse its only regular season loss in a span of 24 games, 14-13 in Worcester. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Eddie Anderson led the upstart Crusaders back from a 13-6 deficit, as quarterback Tommy Greene ran in a touchdown and the game-winning two-point conversion. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Ben Schwartzwalder’s Orangemen rebounded to reach that season’s Orange Bowl and win the 1959 national championship.

October 5, 1940– College Football Hall of Famer Tom Harmon and Michigan beat rival Michigan State 21-14 in Ann Arbor. The win was the Wolverines third in a row over their in-state rival and was part of a streak that stretched to 10 games before the Spartans won in 1950.

October 6, 1956– In its first Ivy League game, Penn beat Dartmouth 14-7 in Philadelphia. The win snapped a 19-game losing streak for the Quakers. Penn marched 73 yards late in the second quarter to score the go-ahead touchdown and held on for the victory.

October 7, 1995– Texas Tech stunned No. 8 Texas A&M, 14-7 in Lubbock. The Aggies entered the contest with a 29-game Southwest Conference unbeaten streak, but Red Raider linebacker Zach Thomas intercepted a Corey Pullig pass and returned it 23 yards for a score, breaking a 7-7 tie and clinching a monumental victory for Texas Tech.

October 8, 1966– In a 40-7 victory over Utah in Laramie, Wyoming kicker Jerry DePoyster became the first kicker in NCAA history to make three 50-yard field goals in one game. DePoyster connected on field goals of 54, 54 and 52 yards to set the record. The win was part of a 10-1 season for the Cowboys that included a WAC title and a Sun Bowl triumph over Florida State.

October 9, 2004– Aaron Rodgers set an NCAA record for consecutive completions as No. 7 California fell to No. 1 USC, 23-17 in Los Angeles. Rodgers began the contest with 23 straight completions, tying the single-game mark with Tennessee’s Tee Martin. Rodgers, who entered the game with three consecutive completions, set the NCAA record with 26 consecutive passes completed.

Nelson Welch made a field goal with 55 seconds to play to complete No. 22 Clemson’s school-
record comeback over No. 10 Virginia this week in 1992. (Photo credit: Clemson Athletics)

Check back Friday for Professor’s Picks … see you at kickoff!

Going Wobbly

Don’t Go Wobbly GeorgeGeorgia

On August 26, 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took a telephone call from U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

The president sought advice from his counterpart and ally regarding sanctions against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the aftermath of the dictator’s invasion of Kuwait. In a phrase capturing her personality and pluck, Thatcher encouraged her friend that it was “no time to go wobbly.”

Some twenty years later, Georgia fans should heed the wisdom of the “Iron Lady.”

It’s tough right now … but no time to go wobbly on head coach Mark Richt.

Our coaches and teams, much like our children, sometimes need our support when they deserve it least.

In the midst of a four game losing streak and at the low ebb (one hopes) of his coaching career, chronicling reasons to support Richt are difficult, familiar, and valid.

1. Past Performance

Like the stock market, this is no indicator of future earnings … but remember that entering this season Richt had averaged exactly ten wins a season (90 in nine seasons). If winning ten games a year gets a person fired, our expectations are so skewed we have gone past being fans and turned into fanatics.

2. We are Georgia

Unlike some conference brethren (here’s a hint – how’d that Lane Kiffin thing go?), Georgia fans traditionally tend toward loyalty rather than acting excessively rabid and irrational. The school’s most successful coach – Vince Dooley – won a national title in his 17th season at the school, captured only one SEC championship outright during his first decade in Athens (in a much less competitive SEC at the time), and took the Dogs to just two major bowls between 1964 and 1973 (his first ten seasons).

In comparision, Richt’s teams earned three Sugar Bowl bids in his first seven seasons, and won two conference championships. Had Terrence Edwards not dropped a touchdown pass against Florida in 2002, Georgia very well might have won a national title that year (and did finish as high as #2 in the AP poll in 2007).

The Bulldogs have been and will be best served not by making reactive decisions during a tough stretch, but by taking a steady, long-term view of the program. The team lost five last season, will lose more than that this year (in all likelihood), and has without question fallen from the ranks of the conference elite. Still – in my opinion – Athletic Director Greg McGarity will not (and should not) make the call to fire Richt no matter how far south this season goes (and 3-9 is possible).

Georgia should be different … and better … and I do not mean just winning more games.

3. New Faces

Those calling for the head coach’s head will probably not be placated, but there are a lot of new faces on this team. Expecting a team to jell and excel with three new defensive coaches (including a coordinator), a new defensive scheme with personnel recruited for a different style of play, and (probably most importantly) a new, freshman quarterback is foolish. The team should not be 1-4, but anybody that thought Georgia would make a seamless transition this year knows little about football.

Now, what should Georgia address to get the train rolling (an allusion Richt likes to use … I think a better one would be to say how do you turn around a big ship in a short time)?

1. Off Field Discipline

The nonsense must stop. Like all Georgia fans … I’m sick of scooters, stolen goods, suspended licenses, alcohol related problems, and on and on. Common sense tells us this lack of discipline off the field carries over onto the field. Coach Richt has been too soft in addressing these issues. Period. Running bleachers at 6:00 AM does not cut it. Either recruit better people or discard those who refuse to act like young men instead of aspiring thugs. Every other team does not face these issues, and I don’t care if they do. Stop the nonsense or quit the job and the school will hire someone who can.

2. Coaching Staff

Former defensive coordinator Willie Martinez had never been a coordinator before being promoted following the departure of Brian Van Gorder. He was fired at the end of last season after his defenses had become a shell of the junkyard Dogs of old. Mike Bobo had never coordinated an offense before Richt promoted him; he may be jettisoned this season. Georgia (or any SEC school) should not be a place for on-the-job training.

Bryan McClendon was a former wide receiver with virtually no coaching experience when hired at Georgia to coach running backs. Wonder why our backs struggle in pass protection and ball security? Rodney Garner often gets kudos for his recruiting prowess (questionable kudos), and has parlayed job flirtations into large pay raises in the past. Other staff members have gotten healthy raises after good seasons too. Will Garner or the others take a cut this year? Not likely. The loss of any coach should not be a program-breaker. If Garner or anybody else tries to leverage pay increases via other job offers … thank them and hold the door. Nobody on this coaching staff is good enough to fight to keep.

3. Strength and Conditioning

When Alabama’s Kirby Smart was courted as the new defensive coordinator last year (a position he declined), he probably would not have taken the job regardless (and why would he … he had a national title, was already a coordinator, and might stand a better job of landing the Georgia head coaching job from a sideline in Tuscaloosa than one in Athens). Still, a deal breaker might have been the S&C philosophy at Georgia, something Mark Richt is apparently unwilling to alter.

The Bulldog man in charge is Dave Van Halanger, who is called a nice guy more often than Mark Richt (so that tells you what a great guy he must be).

Georgia too often comes across as not physical enough. Some of that might be on-field coaching, but the importance of strength and conditioning is more important in big-time football than it’s ever been. Overseer of the program’s famous “mat” drills, Van Halanger is considered not only a fitness leader but the squad’s emotional and inspirational leader. He bristled last year when commentator Randy Cross used the “W” (weak) word and Coach Van excused the performance by mentioning the youth of the offensive line. That group is a year older, but on-field results are no better.

While Van Halanger is an expert in the field, one aspect of his leadership is bothersome to the layman. At the risk of being overly blunt, the man has trouble moving around. A person does not have to look a certain way to do a job (thank goodness), but having someone head up a vital strength program at a big-time football program who does not seem fit himself (due to injury and health issues not lack of activity) is bothersome.

Can Mark Richt address the problems in his program and return Georgia to the top of the SEC?

No one knows, but he has excelled in the past, he’s at an institution that values loyalty and stability, and he is breaking in a new staff and quarterback in the nation’s most difficult league.

Hopefully he will succeed. Maybe he will not.

Either way, we should not go wobbly on him now.

Professor’s Picks Week 5

Professor’s Picks
Week 5

Season Record: 45-16
Last Week’s Record: 9-3

Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 5 of Professor’s Picks for the 2010 season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: Grades improved a bit as we near midterms, moving the professor into a solid B for the semester. Two mammoth conference tilts (Florida @ Alabama and Stanford @ Oregon) headline this week’s assignments. Unfortunately, both are due at the same time (8:00 ET Saturday night).

Best Pick: Nothing to jump and shout about when picking the nation’s top team to win is best pick of week … but plenty of people actually thought Arkansas might topple Alabama.

Worst Pick: South Carolina looked like a contender, but Auburn once again proved the professor wrong with a comeback victory. Picking Georgia won’t go in the tenure review portfolio either.

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.

Enjoy!

SEC Picks

Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.

Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Auburn (4-0, 2-0)
11 a.m. CT ESPNU 199 (AU) 220 (AU)
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: Auburn gets a nice out of conference pop quiz, although Tigers will be quick to tell you ULM beat Alabama in a guy named Saban’s first year.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Alcorn State (3-0) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-2)
11 a.m. CT FSN 200 (MSU) 219 (MSU)
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium (55,082)
Comment: Dan Mullen’s Bullies took a big step toward bowl eligibility by beating the Bulldogs of Georgia last week. State QB Chris Relf will look to build on the momentum of becoming first MSU player since 2000 to gain 100 yards rushing and passing in same game. He may do it again.
Professor’s Pick: State

Vanderbilt (1-2, 1-1) at Connecticut (2-2)
12 p.m. ET Big East Network 141 (VU) 121 (VU)
Storrs, Conn. • Rentschler Field (40,000)
Comment: This could be a surprisingly physical game. Vandy runs the ball pretty well (161 ypg – which is about what U Conn gives up each week), but so do the Huskies (213 ypg). The big difference is the Conn offense, which leads the Big East at 33 ppg. Still, it is the Big (L)East so anything can happen.
Professor’s Pick: Conn

Kentucky (3-1, 0-1) at Ole Miss (2-2, 0-1)
11:21 a.m. CT SEC Network 201 (UM) 218 (UM)
Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
Comment: This game deserves better than the brunch kickoff and could be quite entertaining. Both teams are scoring 36 points per game, and they give up a bunch too. While the professor likes Kentucky, problem Rebel child should win.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss

Tennessee (2-2, 0-1) at LSU (4-0, 2-0)
2:30 p.m. CT CBS Sports 141/121 (UT) 199/220 (LSU)
Baton Rouge, La. • Tiger Stadium (92,400)
Comment: Like offense but out of Sominex? Just tune in to this one. A 3-0 game is not out of the question, but Tiger cornerback Patrick Peterson – the league’s best player right now in my opinion – will probably salvage enough field position for Les Miles to pull a score out of his … hat.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

Georgia (1-3, 0-3) at Colorado (2-1)
7 p.m. ET FSN 200 (UGA) 219 (UGA)
Boulder, Colo. • Folsom Field (53,613)
Comment: That thin, chilly Rocky Mountain air probably feels pretty refreshing to Mark Richt and the Dogs this week because it gets them out of an even colder climate in Athens. Two of the great college mascots meet here too in Ralphie and UGA (although Georgia is sporting backup Bulldog Russ). The Buffs had a week off, and they are honoring the 1990 national championship team so emotions should be on their side. A.J. Green returns for Georgia to play the last eight games of his career.
Professor’s Pick: Colorado

Florida (4-0, 2-0) at Alabama (4-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. CT CBS Sports 143/122 (UF) 199/220 (UA)
Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)
Comment: The marquee matchup of the 2010 conference slate (pending the Iron Bowl), Bama-Florida goes primetime for a rare CBS night game. Against Kentucky last week, Florida finally got around to following the professor’s lecture notes dating back to last spring and used freshman backup QB Trey Burton much like Tim Tebow was used in 2006 – as a short yardage running specialist (and went further by using him as H-Back, Tight End, Fullback, groundskeeper, and concession vendor). The result? Six touchdowns against the Wildcats. Alabama showed championship poise in overcoming a double digit defict at Arkansas. The Tide running attack sputtered a little against the Hogs, but expect it to pick back up this week. The Gator defense is built for speed, but could be a little smallish in the front six or seven to stop a herd of red elephants. Too much offense for Tide … too little for Gators. Get ready for the rematch in Atlanta.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

OPEN: Arkansas (3-1, 1-1); South Carolina (3-1, 1-1)

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Miami at Clemson (12:00 Noon ESPN2) … Two contenders for the ACC crown meet in the shadow of the Esso Club at imposing Death Valley on the beautiful Clemson campus. The Canes blew over Pitt on the road Thursday past, but remain a bit too inconsistent for my tastes. Follow the orange paws to a victory. Professor’s Pick: Clemson

Navy at Air Force (2:30 Versus) … had a chance to see the Air Force Academy campus in scenic Colorado Springs this past May and it’s quite a sight. So is the option offense clinic these two will put on. Winner gets leg up on prestigious Commander’s Cup. Let’s go with the flyboys. Professor’s Pick: AFA

Texas vs. Oklahoma (3:30 ABC) … State Fair, Cotton Bowl, corny dogs, Nessler and Blackledge calling the game … yes the Red River Shootout is must viewing for college football fans. Many of us (at least those of a certain age like the professor) remember when only one college football game was on television most weeks of the year. This one always made the cut. Sooners should sneak past Bevo and lay path to conference title game. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma

Wisconsin at Michigan State (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … If you like old-time Big Ten power football, tune in when Bucky Badger meets Sparty. MSU may get an emotional lift when coach Mark Dantonio returns to coach from the press box, but emotions only go so far then talent takes over. Wisky has more talent. Professor’s Pick: Wisconsin

Penn State at Iowa (8:05 ESPN) … Yet another nice Big Ten game with the loser facing an uphill conference climb. Never count out Papa, but Iowa seems to own the Lions lately. Professor’s Pick: Iowa

Stanford at Oregon (8:00 ABC) … Surprisingly, a PAC-10 game is drawing some attention away from the big SEC game of the year. Stanford, professor’s pet since hard-nosed Harbaugh became coach, will have to overcome not only a high scoring Duck team, but also the crazy crowd at Autzen. Tough call. Professor’s Pick: Oregon

Enjoy the games!