Alabama & ArkansasYeah, there was the scoreboard thing that would normally relegate the Razorbacks to the other category, but damn that was a great college football game. While ‘Bama showed why they have a stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking — and displayed some deep intestinal fortitude by coming back from a 20-7 road deficit — Arkansas proved that the defending national champions are far from invincible and untouchable. For the rest of the SEC — well, except for Georgia — that may have been the best development of the day.
Well there you are, Florida offenseFlorida’s offense thus far in 2010 has been a lightning rod for both criticism and critique, struggling for the better part of three games and raising some serious red flags that this was a season-long malaise. It remains to be seen whether it was a one-shot deal, but the signs are pointing to the explosive win over Kentucky being the turning point for the Gators — just in time for their showdown with Alabama next Saturday. Behind freshman Trey Burton‘s school-record six touchdowns — five rushing — the Gators torched the Wildcats for 48 points and 466 yards of total offense; both of those totals are season highs. Again, it’s too soon to say all is right on offense in Gainesville, but it’s looking more right than it has all season long in The Swamp.
Putting the “D” in the CardinalIt was a given headed into the season that the Andrew Luck-led offense would be Stanford’s overriding strength. What would determine which direction the Cardinal’s 2010 season would go, it was thought, would be the defense. Thus far, all signs from that unit are pointing to being deep in the Pac-10 title mix at season’s end. The Cardinal defense held the potent Notre Dame offense to just 14 points in the win Saturday, and now sit at No. 12 in the nation in scoring defense at 13.8 points per game. The Cardinal is real and it’s spectacular. Provided the defense can continue its current rate of stinginess, of course.
The cream of the ACC crop is… the Wolfpack?Yes, it’s akin to being the tallest midget. We get it. But here we are, four weeks into the 2010 regular season, and there sits North Carolina State atop the ACC heap. Following their pantsing of Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon, and with Boston College’s shutout loss at the hands of Virginia Tech, NCSU is now the lone undefeated school in the conference. We believe this development is either the third or fourth sign of the apocalypse.
Oh yeah, I’m going there Mr. HeismanI would like to hear one compelling argument why Russell Wilson shouldn’t be tossed into the heart of the Heisman mix. I won’t get one, though. You know why? Because he belongs in the conversation, regardless of how few people nationally care about North Carolina State football. No, I’m not saying he should win it. His play — 11 touchdowns versus one pick, nearly 280 yards passing per game — combined with his school’s unbeaten start screams for inclusion in the Heisman discussion.
Oregon StateYeah, they’ve lost two games this season, but the point is they actually had the cajones to schedule two tough out-of-conference games in the same season. It’s a shame other schools don’t follow their lead. Then again, seeing what happened to the Beavers this year, it’s hard to blame them.
The Buckeyes snacking on a Lil’ MACNever had an Ohio State team under Jim Tressel scored more than 58 points in a game (Northwestern, 2007); Saturday, the No. 2 Buckeyes hung a 73-spot on hapless Eastern Michigan. Terrelle Pryor had six touchdowns — four passing, one rushing, one receiving — before the final gun sounded on the third quarter. 645 yards of offense later, Ohio State cruised to an easy 73-20 win in the final scrimmage before Big Ten play opens next weekend.
Gator boss hits triple digitsWith the lopsided win over Kentucky, Urban Meyer now has 100 victories in his tenth season as a Div. 1-A head coach, becoming the sixth-fastest coach in history to hit that mark. Meyer accomplished the feat in 118 games, just ahead of Tennessee’s Robert Neyland‘s 120 games. Next up to hit that mark is Tressel, who has 98 wins in 119 games. If the Buckeyes win their next two games, The Vest would tie Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy as the eighth fastest to the 100-win plateau.
Owen MarecicThe Stanford fullback/linebacker — yes, Beavis, Butthead, he goes both ways — became the first player since 2006 to score a touchdown on both offense and defense in the same game in Stanford’s win over Notre Dame. And it took him a whopping 13 second to accomplish the feat. The senior scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter then, on the Irish’s first play from scrimmage, Marecic returned an interception 20 yards for another score.
Evan RoysterIn the week leading up to Penn State’s game against Temple, there were rumors that Evan Royster was in the Happy Valley doghouse and could wind up losing his job as the Nittany Lions’ starting running back. The senior had a resounding answer for his critics and doubters yesterday: 187 yards rushing while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. That yardage total is more than Royster had in the first three games combined. For a week, at least, Royster has shut the haters up.
The Big 12Through the first four weeks of the season, the Big Soon-to-be-10 conference can boast of four schools at 4-0 — Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma — and two at 3-0 — Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Of course, the combined records of the schools those undefeated teams beat is 34-48, but no other conference can claim more than four (Pac-10, SEC). Obviously the teams will start beating up on each other in conference play, but it still looks good on paper after four weeks.
(Writer’s note: Due to a brain fart by our crack CFT Research Department — i.e. me — we failed to see that the Big Ten also has six undefeated teams after the fourth week of the season. We sincerely apologize for any consternation this error may have caused.)
The Nevada KaepernicksOff to a 4-0 start and seemingly the lone obstacle to another undefeated season for Boise State, the Wolf Pack comes in at No. 25 in both the USA Today and Associated Press rankings. It’s the first time Nevada has been ranked in the AP since 1948. Kudos to head coach Chris Ault for the quality program he’s built at the school ahead of their move to the Mountain West.
Jocularity in the face of a 67-point loss“You laugh about things like this, but I’ve got 10 or 12 guys who have never been on an airplane before. Not one of these players have been in a venue like this,” Austin Peay head coach Rick Cristophel following his team’s 70-3 loss to Wisconsin in Madison.
Texas (chuckle) (vomit)As bad as “Rout 66” was 13 years ago, what happened to Texas at the hands of UCLA Saturday afternoon was exponentially worse. Given the state of the Longhorns football program the past decade, and their lofty No. 7 Associated Press ranking, their inexplicable and inexcusable 34-12 loss to a really bad Bruins squad just feels like more of a kick-in-the-groin than was the 66-3 beatdown they suffered as a then-No. 11 in 1997. Blame it on whatever you would like, but there’s no excuse for a Mack Brown-coached team to lose, and embarrass themselves in the process, at home against a team like that. None.
Richt’s time between the hedgesWhat do you get when you add ten player arrests in six months to a 0-3 start in conference play? Even for someone with the résumé of Mark Richt, you get one of the hottest coa
ching seats in America. &nbs
p;The abysmal start cannot be put solely on the fact that star receiver A.J. Green has been suspended for each loss, either. Certainly his loss hurts, but good teams find a way to overcome adversity; right now, the Bulldogs are not a good football team, and that falls squarely on Richt’s successful shoulders.
The Big EastWith West Virginia’s loss to LSU, the Big East now finds themselves with as many teams in the USA Today coaches’ poll as the Sun Belt Conference — zero. The Mountaineers do have 45 points, leaving them as the No. 3 team in the “Others Receiving Votes” category; they are the only school in the conference to receive a vote. Oh, and Syracuse’s 3-1 record is tied for tops in the conference. “Big East Football: Catch the Fever!!!“
Big Ten football fansTen members of the 11-team conference were in action — eight against Mid-American Conference school, two against Div. 1-AA (FCS). Somewhere, deep in the heart of Manhattan, Kansas, Bill Snyder is quietly applauding and flashing a satisfied smile over this development.
“Sun Devil”, Latin for “Butterfinger”Arizona State turned the ball over a mind-numbing seven times — four interceptions, three fumbles — in a home loss to conference rival Oregon. Six of those turnovers came in a second-half meltdown that saw the Sun Devils outscored by the count of just 14-7.
Any Hope in West LafayetteRobert Marve could miss an extended period of time. An embarrassing 31-20 home loss to the Rockets of Toledo. A 2-2 record, with the two wins coming against a MAC school and a Div. 1-AA squad by a combined total of just 21 points. Can I get a “BOILER UP!”? Anyone? Anyone?
Brewster’s Gopher hole gets deeperMinnesota fell to 1-3 on the season with their loss to MAC member Northern Illinois. Their only win of the season came by seven points to a Middle Tennessee State squad playing without their best player. Throw in a home loss to Div. 1-AA South Dakota and you have the makings of yet another season of conference play rife with speculation regarding Brewster’s future at the school.
Greg Robinson’s bend-but-break defenseYes, for the second straight year, the Wolverines have started the season 4-0. The defensive stats ahead of the start of Big Ten play, however, should give head coach Rich Rodriguez pause for concern They are a pedestrian 64th in the country in points allowed, and even worse in yards allowed, coming in at 93rd. And that’s coming against schools with a combined record of 7-9. Three of their next four games come against ranked schools, and they end the season at home against No. 11 Wisconsin and on the road against No. 2 Ohio State. So, yeah, they might want to consider tightening that unit up just a bit post haste.