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Top Teams 2008

After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. LSU
  9. BYU
  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Utah
  15. Kansas
  16. USF
  17. North Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. Boise State
  20. Georgia Tech
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Wednesday
Sep192007

Get A Call from Bob Stoops and Mack Brown

Or: You're 17-year-old Adrian Peterson for the day!

Ok so I thought I'd pass this along:

AT&T's running an online promotion to celebrate Texas and Oklahoma's Red River Rivalry.  They're calling it the "AT&T Game Day Call", and fans can receiver customized phone calls or video messages from either of the two coaches.  This can be very fun.  During March Madness I repeatedly sent customized Dick Vitale messages to friends, and several from Doris Roberts promoting whatever it was she was selling loosely related to the tournament.  I thought it was funny, they didn't.

Good times, but I'm devious like that.  The die-hards should definitely get in on this, either to send the call along to someone who will appreciate it or someone who will be hilariously annoyed by it - your choice!  Those who register are also automatically entered to win game tickets (that's pretty cool) and prizes.

What to do: Visit www.attblueroom.com/gamedaycall and follow the instructions OR if you have an AT&M mobile phone, text HORNS or SOONERS to 8833 to receiver a special message from that program's coach.

Update: I just tried this out using Texas.  They have an option to send a personalized message from both coach Brown and Earl Campbell which is cool.  I imagine Oklahoma has some special guest caller as well. 

Wednesday
Sep192007

Dang

This is funny, but it's also pouring it on a little:

Bottom-10-Bruin.jpg 

That's ESPN's representation of UCLA's logo in this week's "Bottom 10".  They're the only team to get a remade logo.

Monday
Sep172007

Pundit Roundup

Making Tuesday Fun Since 2006!
***
A "weekly must-read"
***
--- ESPN's Bruce Feldman compiles notes from around the nation.

Color me shocked:

Props to the Sun Belt: Troy thrashed Oklahoma State; FAU beat Minnesota and Arkansas State pounded SMU all on the same weekend. Someday, and it might happen in a year or two, this league might not be the worst one in 1-A football.

Also: Top 10 biggest surprises three weeks in, conference mailbag time, weekend picks (nice call on Kentucky), Huskers lose USC fear factor and week three's top storylines.

--- ESPN's Ivan Maisel returns with his weekly feature: I-Formation

Also: USC mimics the past as it marches on.

--- ESPN's Pat Forde offers instant first-half analysis of Kentucky's upset of Louisville.

Also: Bedlam in the Bluegrass State. Solid stuff from Forde here.

--- ESPN's March Schlabach takes a look at the history behind Clemson's "Howard's Rock".

Legend has it that in either 1964 or 1965, S.C. Jones, a Clemson alumnus, made a trip to California. While driving through Death Valley, he stopped and picked up a large, white flint rock.

Earlier, Presbyterian College coach Lonnie McMillan had described Clemson's Memorial Stadium as "Death Valley," because that's where his teams annually went to die. Tigers coach Frank Howard began using the same moniker to describe his home field soon thereafter.

Jones brought the rock back to Clemson and presented it to Howard. The rock sat in Howard's office for a couple of years. While cleaning out his office before the 1966 season, Howard saw the rock and told Gene Willimon, executive secretary of the school's booster club, to "take this rock and throw it over the fence, or out in the ditch … do something with it, but get it out of my office!"

Instead, Willimon arranged for the rock to be put on a pedestal at the top of the hill above the east end zone. The rock was unveiled on Sept. 24, 1966, and the Tigers rallied from an 18-point deficit with only 17 minutes to play to beat Virginia 40-35.

The following season, Howard told his players "If you're going to give me 110 percent, you can rub that rock. If you're not, keep your filthy hands off of it."

The rock soon became "Howard's Rock" and a Clemson tradition was born.

Also: Schlabach's regular feature - On and Off The Mark, '07 Gators even better than title team, Florida-Tennessee instant analysis and Fulmer, Tennessee face biggest test at Florida.

--- ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski tells the story of Nebraska fans' generosity towards young soldiers (particularly Husker fans in the services).

Also: Notre Dame goes back to find its future.

Usually these postgame talks last a handful of questions. Weis didn't budge from his seat for the next 25 minutes. When a Notre Dame sports information department official tried to end the extraordinary session, Weis politely cut him off.

"No, no, we're not going to be in a hurry," he said. "I'm going to stay here and take it."

And he did, orchestrating the order of questions and reminding everyone, "I'm not going anywhere, fellas. Relax."

--- ESPN's Bill Curry, writing from the coach perspective, says Lloyd Carr and Charlie Weis must battle the "monsters" who place unrealistic demands on their programs.

--- Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel says USC's offensive line dominated its matchup with Nebraska.

Also: The Mailbag, week three power rankings and week three pickoff.

Also: Mandel's blog.

--- Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy observes USC's practices and find them tougher than the actual games. Solid read.

--- Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn found Tim Tebow's SEC debut met expectations.

--- Sports Illustrated's Cory McCartney profiles Georgia Tech tailback Tashard Choice whose patience has helped him flourish.

Last season, Choice finally received the bulk of the carries, but not the bulk of the attention. The cornerstone of the offense was All-America wide receiver and Biletnikoff winner Calvin Johnson. Again toiling in the shadows, Choice led the ACC with 1,473 yards and had 12 touchdowns on 297 carries. At season's end, he didn't even make the conference's first-team, honors that instead went to Clemson's James Davis and Virginia Tech's Branden Ore (Choice was relegated to the second-team).

"That's like a kick in the face," Choice said. "James Davis and Branden Ore are good running backs, but I led the conference in rushing, so I've got a chip on my shoulder. I want to go out and really prove myself."

So far he's doing exactly that. Choice is consistent (Saturday marked his ninth straight 100-yard game) and a workhorse (only five backs carried the ball more than him in '06). The one real knock on Choice coming into the season was a lack of game-changing speed with his 4.57 time in the 40-yard dash and a career-long run of 46 yards. He worked to change that in the offseason, though, and showed he has the ability to break the big one with his long touchdown run against Samford.

"They knew I could catch the football [and] run between the tackles, [but] they wanted to see me break longer runs," Choice said. "So in the summer, that's really what I emphasized on -- working on speed, making sure I'm conditioned to break longer runs."

Choice possesses a skills set that makes him one of the nation's best all-around running backs, but his name rarely fits in with the likes of Arkansas' Darren McFadden, Michigan's Mike Hart, West Virginia's Steve Slaton or Rutgers' Ray Rice when debating the top runners. He has a solution that would most certainly solidify his place in the conversation: a 2,000-yard season.

"[Getting] 1,800 yards is what my linemen told me [was the goal]," Choice said. "My coach told me if I get 1,800 I might as well get 2,000, so I'm on the pace."

--- CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd sees a 2003 flashback coming with USC, LSU and Oklahoma near the top of college football.

Also: Sunday 7, after week off, USC is back, weekend watch list, Keller buries past pain and focuses on revenge, Notebook: Stoops works his QB alchemy once more.

--- CBS Sports' Spencer Tillman finds several teams changing their tunes, other just hitting sour notes

--- The Sporting News' Matt Hayes returns with another round of Inside Dish.

The reason that Boston College QB Matt Ryan has taken a huge step this fall: his freedom within the offense. Under former coach Tom O'Brien, the plays were scripted and there were few, if any, audibles. Jeff Jagodzinski and his staff have given Ryan complete autonomy, and he can change plays at the line of scrimmage at any point during presnap reads. Plus, as well as Ryan has played, things should be even better. BC coaches have counted more than 10 drops from receivers this season, including three in last week's win over Georgia Tech -- when Ryan played flawlessly against Tech coordinator Jon Tenuta's aggressive, unorthodox blitzing schemes.

Also: Week three winners and losers, is Woodson better than Brohm?, Gators make sure Harvin gets his fill, LSU is better with Flynn than Russell, 10 things to watch this weekend.

And more than anything, that's what this sport is all about: arguing. My pal Austin Murphy spent some time with USC last year and penned a book "Saturday Rules". At the end of the book, Murphy talks to Chris Huston of HeismanPundit.com, and I don't think I've ever read a better description of why the college game is so unique -- and so perfect.

"In all these debates about who's the best team, which is the fastest conference, the deepest conference, the toughest conference -- or in (Big Tem commissioner Jim) Delany's case, the dumbest conference -- one thing remains constant: Nothing is ever resolved," Huston says. "It's like a never-ending constitutional convention."

--- The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart says welcome to Nebraska's nightmare.

Also: Could this be Carroll's best USC team?, Week three awards, Blog Fog, the chance for Big Red to matter again, Dreamy thoughts heading into big-game Saturday, Conference Call, College Football Soup (lots of good coaching scoop).

--- Yahoo Sports' Terry Bowden offers up Terry's Takes and an updated Sweet 16.

--- Yahoo Sports' Gerry Ahern analyzes USC's victory over Nebraska

--- CSTV's Brian Curtis pens some Sunday morning thoughts.

--- CSTV's Trev Alberts returns for his weekly Mailbag.

This is going to sound like I'm a weenie, but I watch games now and think to myself, "You've got to be kidding me."

The collisions that go on, the speed and the size of these players...I mean these guys are playing linebacker at 270 pounds and running 4.5 40s.

These kids are so strong nowadays, going to these training sessions in seventh and eighth grade. I never even lifted a weight until I got to college. We didn't have a weight room in my high school. The first time I ever squatted was at Nebraska. I did 225 and I could barely walk. I didn't even know what a squat was. I could hardly lift a thing.

Kids are testing their bodies to such an extent that I'm surprised there aren't more catastrophic injuries to be real honest.

--- Rivals.com's team of Olin Buchanan, Steve Megargee, Mike Nuguenin and David Fox continue to cover all angles.  Check the archive.

--- Sun Sports TV's Whit Watson offers up a Weekend Roundup of all the goings-on in Florida sports.  Fan-tastic reading, too much good stuff to excerpt here.  Pay particular attention to the UCF talk.

--- USA Today's Kelly Whiteside says the road to stardom nearly led Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson to quit.

Also: Linebackers making noise for top-ranked Trojans, Pooch Kicks: Barometer games can bring the heat, What big game? Nebraska plays it cool

--- The New York Times' Pete Thamel says an elite class of teams has emerged to dominate the championship chase.

Also: Behind Tebow, Gators show they haven't lost a thing, at Nebraska, quarterback commits to last-chance season.

Also: Thamel's blog - The Quad.

--- The Dallas/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Wendell Barnhouse finds South Carolina feuding with ESPN GameDay host Lee Corso over remarks made two years ago.

Something as simple as the center-quarterback exchange can have intrigue. Against Georgia, Gamecocks’ quarterback Blake Mitchell fumbled on the third play of the game. The reason: a wet football. The reason the football was wet: South Carolina center Web Brown, who sweats like Albert Brooks anchoring in Broadcast News.

“We change his pants two or three times a game, because Web sweats a lot,’’ coach Steve Spurrier said. “A lot of teams do that. That’s what you do, if his butt’s soaking wet, he’s going to give him a wet ball. So we have to do that two to three times a game.’’ And now you know. Even if you didn’t want to know.

Also: Veteran's Day isn't a Navy celebration, A lopsided loss to No. 1 USC has Husker fans seeing red, patience pays for Georgia Tech back Tashard Choice, for college fans, there's no place like home, College Football Insider.

--- As always, be sure and peruse the blog of Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Tony Barnhart.

Notable: Who says we don't have a playoff?

--- The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi says UCF's home loss to Texas was a big winner for the program.

"We expected to win this game," UCF quarterback Kyle Israel said.

Nobody else expected it. We thought this would be an extraordinary occasionsimply because of the stadium opening. We thought it was going to be amemorable event. Little did we know the Knights would also make it a memorablegame.

Can you believe it? We went to party Saturday and an actual football gamebroke out.

If not for all the turnovers, UCF probably wins this game.

--- The New York Post's Lenn Robbins is taking a second look at his preseason rankings and provides some recommendations.

IN the words of an Amer ican icon, Gordon Gekko (no, not the insurance lizard), greed is good. And there's no money in not having a preseason college football poll. It generates too much attention.

But after reviewing my preseason Top 25, which included six teams that dropped out after two weeks, changes must be made.

1. Publish a preseason poll before teams report in August. This would give us time to see which teams suffer significant injuries (OT Ed Wang at Virginia Tech) and which have unanswered questions (Michigan's defense, Notre Dame's offense).

2. We'd learn which teams under third- or fourth-year coaches are ready to make their move (it usually takes 2-3 seasons to shop for groceries, throw out the trash, rearrange the schedule, and sweet-talk the neighbors). This season that could be Washington (Ty Willingham), South Carolina (Steve Spurrier) and Nebraska (Bill Callahan).

3. The first meaningful poll gets released the first week in October. By then we'll have learned which upsets weren't upsets and which undefeated teams are frauds.

--- The Tuscaloosa News' Cecil Hurt says Alabama's comeback victory against Arkansas was the rarest of wins at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

--- The Mobile Press-Register's Neal McCready says Les Miles may be That Girl for LSU fans.

You remember that girl.

Perhaps you were in high school. Maybe you knew her in college. Maybe she was a friend of a friend. But you remember her.

You were on the rebound, having just been dumped by the girl of your dreams. She was sweet, always there for you, and a good cook who understood you didn't have the cash to wine and dine her. She liked football, enjoyed a cold beer and a steak, and didn't mind when you went golfing with the fellows on Saturday afternoon and called hours after you said you would.

She just wasn't perfect. She was a couple of sizes too big and other guys weren't exactly beating down her door. She wanted you to love her, but you got bored and wanted something more. You moved on, only to discover that she got over you in aerobics class, cut out the fried food, developed a killer body and suddenly attracted the attention of more than a few of your single pals. Suddenly, you wanted her back, but it was a little too late.

OK, maybe it's a stretch, but that girl -- in a very metaphorical sense -- is Les Miles.

--- The Birmingham News' Kevin Scarbinsky thinks Alabama and Auburn passed in the night.

It's hard to see the big picture when you're rubbing your eyes because you can't believe what you just saw.

It's hard to be the voice of reason when your ears are ringing.

But here goes.

Write down the date. In ink. Bright red indelible ink. Circle it and don't forget it.

Sept. 15, 2007.

The day everything changed.

The day the Tide and the tide turned.

It was plain to see, from the Capstone to the Plain, from Breakfast with Kodi Burns to Late Night with Nick Saban.

Also: Give Tommy Tuberville the thumb?  Let's not go crazy.

--- The Mobile Press-Register's Paul Finebaum finds Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville in need of a quick turnaround.

If you want to keep up with a coach's popularity, take a look at empty seats in the stadium and the demand for tickets. There were plenty of seats to be had Saturday at Jordan-Hare -- despite a chamber of commerce day -- and you will be guaranteed your own section this weekend for the game against New Mexico State. After that, home games loom against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech.

You can bet good tables at Lee County's finer restaurants and plush luxury suites at area inns will be easy to find for that collection of stinkers.

One can only imagine the misery of the Auburn fan on Saturday. After suffering through the humiliation of losing to a program like MSU (everyone's preseason pick as the SEC's worst), the only salvation would be watching Alabama lose to the Hogs.

However, before the fried chicken could be gobbled and the sweet tea downed, the Tide was out to a 21-0 lead and seemingly putting the game away at 31-10. Then, the reversal of fortune and adrenaline rush of watching the Hogs pour 28 points on Saban. For the first time all year, Auburn fans were able to take pleasure in someone else's misery.

Then, the dagger through the heart as Bama pulled out the last-second heroics.

For all the bravado from folks about Tuberville's 3-2 mark against Saban, which coach do you think Auburn fans would rather have today?

Also: Certitude wanes on the Plains.

***
To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left.

Monday
Sep172007

ESPN College GameDay Update: Week Four

GameDay will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the Alabama/Georgia game this weekend.

Monday
Sep172007

Sunday College Football Hangover

Added on Monday.  Arrrr ...

Posted at FanHouse

Saturday
Sep152007

Saturday Live Thread: Week Three

Woo Hoo!  Or something ...

We're finally getting some meat on these college football bones, but alas prominent OOC games are rapidly dwindling.  Sure as summer transitions to fall, we're getting a taste of conference season.  It's the bread-and-butter of college football, but a marquee OOC like USC/Nebraska will be a delicious appetizer until that pot roast of conference play is ready.  I'd mention Michigan/Notre Dame but, well ...

***
You know the routine: leave comments below, interact, etc. I'll be sure to swing by during the day and comment as well.

Per usual, I'll also be doing some things at FanHouse so stop by there as well as we take you through another beautiful Saturday of college football.

***
Update: Visit this link.  Do it.  Do it.

Chicken-and-Coke-400.jpg 

Friday
Sep142007

Friday Photo Blogging

Image once again purloined from the archives of my friend Steve.

Below: Penn's wacky house, from the Las Vegas comedy/magic duo of Penn & Teller.

Penn-House-500.jpg 

Look how crazy remote that is ... gotta love the west.

Friday
Sep142007

National Rankings: Week Two

Aggregation ...

Quickie Analysis

--- USC's feeling the heat, no?

--- "Resume ranking" is bogus.  If you're ranking by resume you shouldn't have USC in your top 25 at this point.  Having them in there is a cop-out and/or hybrid ranking.  Just as bad is ranking based on where you project a team to be record-wise at the end of the season.

--- Who in the world is putting Virginia Tech in their top 25?  Y'all have lost your minds.

--- Ranking the mid-level Pac-10 teams is a tricky affair at present.  We have a good idea that USC and UCLA and Cal are all top 25 teams, but the nature of the conference is such that teams are going to be bouncing around plenty before this thing's over.  Washington looks good now, but their defense is suspect.  Oregon State got trounced but fundamentally they're a good team if they can get any kind of quarterback play.  All is not what it seems for college football's most competitive conference.  Arizona will rise if they can get anything from that new offense.  Oregon always gets hot early but as we saw last year, can fall apart.  I like seeing where the pieces fall, but we just don't know much beyond the top three teams at present.

--- South Carolina is the SEC's version of a midlevel Pac-10 team.  It doesn't have the depth of talent to win consistently from week-to-week, but:

1)They are well coached

2)They have a winning offensive scheme and can play a little defense.  They're a little more defense-heavy than a Pac-10 team but midlevel Pac-10 teams are also a little more offense-heavy than South Carolina.  Two sides of the same coin in some ways though.

3)They are tough at home

Anyway, I think South Carolina gives the SEC a little Pac-10 feel with depth near the middle that can sneak up on people and actually win those ball games (unlike a Vanderbilt or Ole Miss or Mississippi State who can at best hope to play it close before inevitably falling).

Wednesday
Sep122007

CFR's 2007-2008 Top Teams List: Week Two

As always, these are power rankings.

  1. USC - Precarious lead here and I don't think they're going to perform all that well against Nebraska either.  Hmm ...
  2. Florida - Like USC, feeling the heat of red-hot Oklahoma and LSU.  The Tebow show's been flawless so far against the lighter part of the schedule.
  3. Oklahoma (+1) - We've seen this before, but I'm still impressed.  Sam Bradford looks like a revalation at quarterback.
  4. LSU (+2) - Flawed, but so far have been able to overwhelm, intimidate and obliterate.  There's so many options in that offense, they get more out of their skill guys than an equally loaded USC so far.
  5. West Virginia (-2) - Shaaaaaky defense, again.  Got their act together late in the third quarter which counts.  Almost-unstoppable over four quarters.
  6. Texas (-1) - Offense and defense showed up late against TCU.  One very good quarter of football out of eight so far, though.
  7. California - The game against a solid Colorado State wasn't as close as the score indicated, but still disappointing.  Classic letdown, perhaps?
  8. Louisville - I've seen Middle Tennessee explode before so last Thursday's defensive no-show wasn't shocking.  It was unbecoming, though.  Tenuous hold at No. 8 here.
  9. UCLA (+3) - There's some kvetching in the UCLA camp, but this team's coming along and held firm late against a good, hard-charging BYU team.
  10. Arkansas (+3) - I'm not convinced the defense is as good as last year's group, but that offense will keep them in - and win - ballgames.
  11. Georgia Tech (NEW) - Don't fail me now ...
  12. Nebraska (+3) - Shaky against Wake Forest, but that misdirection attack is tough on the unfamiliar.  They may have had their eyes on USC a little bit as well.
  13. Tennessee (+1) - Don't fail me now ...
  14. Hawaii (NEW) - Shaky on the Mainland and they've got another Lower 48 game this week.
  15. Penn State (NEW) - Slowly climbing, but that offense is going to sputter a handful of times this year.  Can the defense legitimately carry this team?

- - - Lurking - - -

In no particular order: Wisconsin, Rutgers, Boise State, Georgia, South Carolina, Oregon, Boston College, Ohio State, Rutgers

- - - Out - - -

Miami, TCU, Oregon State, Michigan

- - - Are they for real? - - -

Cincinnati, Washington, USF 

Tuesday
Sep112007

9-11

911flag.jpg

Courage and righteousness belongs to those with open, civil societies, soldiers who fight under a flag and a known address if you've got a problem with that.

Cowardice and evil belongs to those who hide in caves, belong to no nation, suffer no consequence, preach dogmatic filth and fight not under flags but by blending into an open society just long enough to do harm to it.

Events like 9-11 painfully remind us of that distinction. 

Tuesday
Sep112007

2003 All Over Again?

The Los Angeles Times' Chris Dufresne beat me to the punch.

It appears USC, Louisiana State and Oklahoma are the best teams out there right now and that could ultimately lead to a contentious three-way battle for two spots in the Bowl Championship Series championship game.

These three power franchises have outscored five opponents by the total of 261-40.

The BCS title game this year is in the Louisiana Superdome.

Nick Saban is a coach in the Southeastern Conference.

Oh . . . my . . . God.

Is it 2003 all over again?

Kind of looks like it.  The difference I see is that at present, USC is not as good as its 2003 squad.  LSU and Oklahoma could be better than their 2003 groups.  And, yes, that means I think the 2003 USC squad was by far the class of college football at that point in the season.  This year's USC team will be lucky if it comes close to being as good as that team.

(Hat Tip: The Wiz)

Tuesday
Sep112007

Pundit Roundup

Making Tuesday Fun Since 2006!
***
A "weekly must-read"
***
--- ESPN's Bruce Feldman asks is the Charlie Weis honeymoon over at Notre Dame?

Also: Story lines to watch, weekend picks (from last week), Notes from around the nation and Top 10 toughest places to coach.

--- ESPN's Pat Forde presents his weekly running of The Dash.

Also: Western Kentucky's "Birth of a Program".  Just what we needed - another D-IA team ...

For an instant, the mannerly 36-year-old who keeps a picture of a priest at his office desk has become Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." "Heeeere's Western!" Only he's swinging a sledgehammer, not an axe.

And he's swinging it at an orange Florida helmet on the floor. As Elson brings the hammer down like Thor, it smashes a clean round hole through the top. The headgear winds up skewered on the handle of the sledge. He raises it aloft like a head on a pike and screams, but he's drowned out by the feral roar of 73 Hilltoppers. Bloodlust permeates the room. And maybe even belief.

--- ESPN's Mark Schlabach asks 'what can't (Thomas) Brown do for the Georgia Bulldogs?'

More importantly, Brown wanted to graduate in 3½ years and spend the spring semester of his fourth year preparing for the NFL draft.

Brown is taking 21 semester hours of courses this fall -- three classes in speech communication, one in African literature and another in philosophy. He attends four classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and three more on Tuesday and Thursday.

"I've got a lot of goals," Brown said. "It would be sad to be here all this time and not walk away with a degree. I come from a very educated family. My mother and father are both very educated. My sister, as well. I thought it was very important for myself and my family to get my degree."

Throw in football practices four times a week and games on the weekends, and Brown faces an arduous 3½ months this fall. "He wants to graduate this semester, and he needs 21 hours to do it," Richt said. "A lot of people were telling him not to do it. But he thrives when people say he can't do it. Whether he makes it or not, I don't know. But his goal is to get ready for the NFL when the season's over, and to graduate in 3½ years. He's not going to prolong it."

Also: A regular feature - On and Off The Mark.

--- Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel returns with another Mailbag.  He'll be pleased to know that The Office's Jenna Fischer is now on the market ...

I am so tired of hearing SEC fans say that "the second-best Pac-10 team beat the fourth-best SEC team" when Cal beat Tennessee. Is that all they got?
--Joe, Sacramento

Joe, Joe, Joe. So blissfully naïve. If there's two things I've learned during my time on this beat, it's that the SEC is positively, indisputably the greatest conference in the history of mankind, and little things like logic, facts and common sense have no bearing whatsoever on this distinction.

Tennessee beats Cal last year? Yet another feather in the SEC's cap. Cal beats Tennessee this year? Completely irrelevant. USC beats Auburn 23-0 in 2003? That wasn't one of Auburn's better teams. Auburn goes 12-0 the next year and gets left out of the BCS title game? A crime against humanity, seeing as the Tigers obviously would have beaten the Trojans. Big East champion Louisville comes within an offsides call of edging SEC champ Florida out of last year's BCS title game? Exhibit A why the whole system needs to be blown up. The fact that Big East champion West Virginia beat SEC champion Georgia in the Sugar Bowl just a year earlier? Eh -- the Dawgs weren't up for that game.  Les Miles calls out USC's "soft" Pac-10 schedule? Well ... duh. But wouldn't that make SEC divisional champion Arkansas -- whom the Trojans beat 50-14 just a year earlier -- even softer? No, because Darren McFadden wasn't healthy, and he's obviously capable of producing 36 points on his own. Florida beating Ohio State like a rented mule in last year's title game? Indisputable confirmation that the Big Ten can't hold a candle to the SEC. The fact SEC teams lost their other two bowl games against Big Ten foes? Never happened.

So basically, Joe, I wouldn't waste your time with one of those futile debates. Just accept the SEC's eternal superiority for what it is and we can all go back to watching The Pick-Up Artist in peace.

Also: TCU looks to make statement against Texas (oops), LSU shows its more than a defensive juggernaut

--- Sports Illustrated's Arash Markazi finds UCLA's Ben Olson content with not having lived up to the hype (yet).

--- Sports Illustrated's Cory McCartney says Sam Keller is helping the West Coast Offense fly at Nebraska.

Hugging his left arm, the tight sleeve ran from the Nebraska quarterback's upper left arm and down to his wristband. It's an accessory with a purpose.

Make no mistake, Keller is proud of what lies underneath that sleeve: a mural of tattoos containing angels and crosses which he began as a tribute to a high school friend that died in a car crash. But upon his arrival in Lincoln he began wearing the arm cover, not to hide the tattoos, but as a show of humility.

"You don't want to be flashy, you don't want to draw attention to yourself," said Keller, a fifth-year senior who transferred from Arizona State. "I never want to do that, so I just wear the sleeve."

Also: McCartney's regular feature, The All-Out Blitz

--- CBS SportsLine's Dennis Dodd returns with a Notebook.

Also: Talkin' TCU and BCS (oops), Weekend watch list, Les (Miles) is more at LSU than Michigan, USF's upset signals new era of Big East viability and Sunday 7.

A moment passed almost imperceptibly Saturday. It is becoming increasingly likely that no mid-major will qualify for a BCS bowl. Boise, TCU and Southern Miss all lost big.

Hawaii is undefeated but looked shaky in an overtime victory at Louisiana Tech.

--- The Sporting News' Matt Hayes delivers his weekly round of Inside Dish.

Louisville defensive coordinator Mike Cassity might have gotten a little greedy with his unit, which has more speed in the front seven than it ever has. He added some complex schemes to confuse offenses and take advantage of the speed. Problem is, the changes only confused his own defense. So Louisville will simplify things this week against Kentucky, a week after Middle Tennessee looked like the Indianapolis Colts going up and down the field on the Cardinals. Changing the scheme in one week, though -- against a diverse and talented Kentucky offense -- may be too much for the unit to handle.

Also: Ten things to watch for in week two, Virginia Tech-LSU is the place to be, No team in the land looks as good as LSU, the heartbeat of the Hokies, LSU AD: We'll fight to keep Les Miles, Winners and losers.

--- The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart says Nick Saban's legend continues to grow at Alabama.

Also: Conference call, Ten on the spot in week two, 25 questions that cloud my mind, Ten things you should know about TCU, Week two awards, Video didn't kill these radio stars.

--- Yahoo! Sports' Terry Bowden analyzes the effect of college football's new kickoff rule.

Also: LSU on the rise and other notes.

As I left Tiger Stadium on Saturday night after broadcasting No. 2 LSU's 48-7 rout of No. 9 Virginia Tech for Westwood One Radio, I couldn't help but think back to my first two years as the head coach at Auburn. During the 1993-94 seasons, we won our first 20 games, and as people have reminded me ever since, there was only one way to go from there.

Well, it's only the second week of September, but LSU just played the game of a lifetime, beating the Hokies every way you can possibly beat a football team.

All I can think now is, "Where do they go from here?"

With the brunt of the season left to play, I just don't know if they can play any better than they did Saturday night. Then again, if they just keep playing like they did, they might not need to change a thing.

Not only did the Tigers hold Virginia Tech to 149 yards of total offense but they also racked up 598 yards themselves against the No.1 defense in college football over the past two years. The loss was Frank Beamer's worst in 21 years as the head man in Blacksburg.

--- CSTV's Brian Curtis takes a look at the week that was in college football and calls for Lloyd Carr's resignation.

--- CSTV's Trev Alberts answers his weekly Mailbag.  Inside: Tim Tebow's a quarterback, Virginia/Wyoming postmortem and Notre Dame's popularity.

--- CSTV's Adam Caparell says it's "show" time for Virginia Tech.

--- Find the latest from Rivals.com's Olin Buchanan, David Fox and Steve Megargee.

--- Sun Sports TV's Whit Watson welcomes USF into Florida's Big Four (formerly Big Three).  He called it.

Not only did USF beat Auburn, the Bulls did it on the road, at night, on national freaking television, in overtime. They preceded this win with a victory over West Virginia last year, and with a win over Louisville the year before. You're in. The Committee is mildly concerned about the fact that USF has never won its own conference title, but then The Committee realized that Miami has never won the ACC, either.

Also: A theory behind Florida State's woes.  Great stuff, as always.

--- USA Today's Kelly Whiteside finds LSU still sweating out the details from top-notch play.

--- The New York Times' Pete Thamel finds expectations changing overnight for LSU and South Florida.

Perhaps the most telling comment to come out of the game came from the Auburn junior wide receiver Robert Dunn.

“They are a great team,” Dunn said. “They grinded out the whole game and came at us with everything they had. They were a really fast team.”

--- The Dallas/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Wendell Barnhouse says there are new road hazards on USC's title path.

Also: College Football Insider, Changes take Associated Press poll from dumb to dumber, Sooner or later it could be Oklahoma's year and another College Football Insider

--- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart blogs away.

--- The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi finds Florida State fans lowering expectations and claiming moral victories among other news and notes. 

--- MSNBC.com's Michael Ventre says it's USC's turn to respond in rivalry with LSU

--- The Mobile Press-Register's Neal McCready says Georgia's Mark Richt lives up to his coaching ideals

--- The Mobile Press-Register's Paul Finebaum says Alabama and Auburn appear ripe for the picking.

Also: Nick Saban faces real test in SEC play.

***
To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left.

Monday
Sep102007

ESPN College GameDay Update

As expected, they'll be in Lincoln for the USC/Nebraska game.

USC needs to put on a show, that No. 1 ranking has all but eroded. 

Monday
Sep102007

Moving Mountains

Take it away, MGoBlog:

bo-canham-bump.jpg 

In two games Lloyd Carr has gone from a potential mini-Bo, pending the successful resolution of his final season, to a definitive mini-Bump and Michigan is searching for the man on the left again ten games too early. And while I would still give Lloyd Carr a sandwich, I no longer want him mucking around with my football program. This is an opinion now universally held by Michigan fans, and the alternative is too mindboggling to consider. So going forward, the assumptions:

  • Carr will retire at the end of the season.
  • His assistants will be given nice severance packages and a firm handshake.
  • Martin conducts Michigan's first open, national search for a new football coach since 1968 [emphasis mine - CFR].

Carr's retirement seemed like a foregone conclusion in January, but the fact that it's a cold inevitability at this point is awkward.  Even more surreal: that last line.  Read it, re-read it, and read it again.

Martin conducts Michigan's first open, national search for a new football coach since 1968

Michigan is a mountain.  For the first time in almost 40 years, it's will get up and move its craggy construct someplace new.

Shock to the system?  Youbet.  Ohio State quickly shedded the Hayes identity and legacy after he punched that poor Clemson kid.  Not so for Michigan and Bo.  Bo may have stepped down in 1989, but in many ways he never left - until now.  The change from the dynastic cannot be overlooked.

By comparison, people complain about the American Presidency being in only three hands for the last 27 years:  Reagan, Bush and Clinton.  Fatigued of those guys (and maybe that gal and her seemingly inevitable 4-8 year run)?  Michigan's got that setup beat by a decade plus.  Only Penn State and Florida State have similarly unevolved leadership, and yet they both seem more modern, less rooted to that opening act of a very long play.  Neither can trace itself back to a Fielding freaking Yost the way Michigan does.

Mountains aren't meant to be moved.  They are the rock, you go around them.  Michigan's one giant rock, so you know this coaching search will be the very opposite of happenstance.  Besides Lloyd Carr's chances of hand-picking his successor, the biggest loser here is Jim Harbaugh.  Is there a less-welcome big-school alum other than maybe O.J. Simpson?  Pride came before that ill-timed fall, which makes the Les Miles name suddenly, inexplicably appealing (don't do it!).

There is no Lloyd Carr for Lloyd Carr to point to and say "he's next".  That House of Usher just fell, the bloodline ending with Lloyd Carr and no true heirs to the Yost/Schembechler line.  Somehow I doubt this is how Bo would have wanted it, but them's the facts and that mountain will be moved.  College football's Halley's comet has burst through the horizon and we are all witness to it.

Monday
Sep102007

Two Rankings

1) Heisman Pundit

2) Baseball Savant

Ahhhh, power rankings, so close to my heart.

It's so early that the possibilities (Michigan's preseason national championship talks aside) are almost limitless at this point.  As much as I'm a fan of the traditional powers, its nice to see names like Georgia Tech, UCLA and South Carolina getting Top 10 talk.

***
Also, be sure and check out Savant's MLB Pythagorean Standings or: "why fluke Arizona might just win the World Series and further erode the credibility of baseball's playoffs".

Sunday
Sep092007

Sunday College Football Hangover

Sunday College Football Hangover: Week Two is now up over at FanHouse.

Two thousand words and plenty of pictures - enjoy. 

Saturday
Sep082007

Saturday Live Thread: Week Two

You know the routine.  Now excuse me while I take a few aspirin and right this ship ...

Friday
Sep072007

Friday Photo Blogging

I'm "borrowing" these from my friends Vicki and Lisa.  They went down to Mexico a few weekends ago, and sent me several photos.  Lisa's folks have a crash pad down there right by the beach so I can only imagine the fun those two had.  Not that I'm jealous or anything ( ...).  I mean who wants affordable lobster dinners, cheap booze, people watching, fun in the sand and sun and a free bed in a beautiful house at night?  Yeah, thought so.

Mexico-1-400.jpg 

Mexico-2-400.jpg 

Thursday
Sep062007

Associated Press Poll Open To All

See my entry at FanHouse.

First glance: This looks like a good idea.  I might change my mind after I sleep on it a bit.  I wouldn't have put Appalachian State in my top 25 if I were an AP voter, but it's nice that a hypothetically qualified team is now eligible to be ranked.

It's remarkable what that game has done to the national sport landscape in just a few days.  The videos over the internet of cheering Ohio State and Penn State fans, the Appalachian State students jacking the goalpost and planting it on the chancellor's yard (with the assistance of police!), the opening up of AP voting rules.  Wow. 

How many of you would have put Appalachian State in your top 25?  I'm deeply curious.

Thursday
Sep062007

Blogger Q & A

Be sure and check out my Q&A with the prolific "Saturday Sound Offs".

We're talkin' about playoffs.  Playoffs.