The indictment of former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky, who has been connected to 40 alleged instances of sexual activity with children, has cast a dark, dark shadow over the world of college athletics. The grandness of the entire situation has been difficult to put into words sufficient enough to describe it. It almost doesn’t seem real, but to those directly affected, I’m sure the reality is more than any of us could ever bear.
For now, we’ll try to get back to some sense of regularity.
It is our sincerest hope that those directly damaged by the Sandusky case get the chance to do the same.
1. SEC (last wk, No. 1) — The Good: It wasn’t the game of the century — again, as a media member I’ll admit the unreachable hype — but LSU and Alabama’s overtime nail-biter was a fascinating display of defense. The Bad: Ole Miss couldn’t hold on to a 6-0 first quarter lead against Kentucky and were outscored by the Wildcats 30-7 in the final three quarters of a loss that cost Houston Nutt his job. The Ugly: Georgia was down four — count ’em, four — running backs due to suspension or injury against New Mexico State. Not that it mattered. The Bulldogs beat the Aggies 63-16. But don’t get too ahead of yourself, Dawg fans. Texas A&M won’t be that easy.
2. Big 12 (last wk, No. 2) — The Good: While all defensive efforts were confined to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Kansas State and Oklahoma State combined for 92 points, Baylor racked up 697 yards of offense in a win over Mizzou and Texas rushed for 439 yards against Texas Tech. The Bad: Um, see last sentence if you’re a Big 12 defensive coordinator. The Ugly: Iowa State’s 13-10 win over Kansas was just like LSU-Alabama. Except, you know, it wasn’t.
3. Pac-12 (last wk, No. 4) — The Good: Matt Barkley threw for a school record six touchdowns in a 42-17 win over Colorado. A great accomplishment when you consider all the quarterbacks who have worn the Cardinal and Gold. The Bad: Stanford keeps winning, but they also keep losing receiving targets. Chris Owusu suffered a concussion after a brutal hit against Oregon State and will miss this Saturday’s big game against Oregon. The Ugly: How “meh” is the Pac-12 South? UCLA — yeah, remember those guys? — controls their divisional destiny. But… but… Rick Neuheisel‘s team has persevered through some tough times. They deserve credit for that.
4. ACC (last wk, No. 5) — The Good: Clemson and Virginia Tech were off, but Florida State and Miami reeled off convincing wins, albeit against far inferior opponents. The ACC is better when those two are winning. The Bad: I’ll give Boston College a pass for injuries and youth, but the Eagles are miserable-looking right now. The Ugly: Boy, how far has Maryland dropped off this season? A record of 2-7? Still not convinced Randy Edsall was the guy the Terps needed.
5. Big Ten (last wk, No. 4) — The Good: After the phrase “Hail Mary” became, well, blasphemous in Madison, Wisconsin bounced back with an easy 62-17 win over Purdue; Ohio State keeps trucking along after a slow start to the season. The Bad: Okay, seriously, you guys. Who wants to win the Legends division? Come on, now. Don’t be shy. The Ugly: The Nebraska Blackshirts allowed three points against Michigan State a week ago, then gave up 28 to Northwestern. Better idea: redshirt them.
6. Big East (last wk, No. 7) — The Good: Cincinnati won on the road again, coming from behind to beat Pittsburgh. The Bearcats are the team to beat in the Big East right now. The Bad: Is there anyone who thought West Virginia would be 6-3 after nine games? A Big East title isn’t out of reach, but I’m not sure many thought the Mountaineers would need help to get it. Perhaps the warning signs were there, but they were severely overlooked. The Ugly: We’re heading into the second weekend in November and South Florida still hasn’t won a Big East game.
7. Conference USA (last wk, No. 6) — The Good: My personal grudge against Houston quarterback Case Keenum festers as it appears I’ll never even be able to duplicate his passing numbers on NCAA Football ’12. Real life Case Keenum > Ben Kercheval‘s Case Keenum. The Bad: No one’s given a response as to what in the hell is happening to Central Florida. The Ugly: How often do you score 24 points in the third quarter of a game and still lose? Don’t know, but Tulane managed to find a way to do it, losing 45-24 to SMU.
8. Mountain West (last wk, No. 8) — The Good: As long as Boise State and TCU keep winning, the Mountain West will continue to be viewed as one of the better non-AQ conferences. Too bad the two play each other this Saturday. The Bad: Conversely, the bottom of the Mountain West is really, really, really bad. New Mexico and UNLV have a combined two wins. The Ugly: Air Force won the Commander in Chief Trophy after beating Army 24-14, but the Falcons trailed the Black Knights 14-0 at halftime in a game that featured seven turnovers.
9. MAC (last wk, No. 10) — The Good: Ya know, for mid-week games, the MAC has been really entertaining lately. Prime example: Toledo is 1-1 the past two weeks where each team has averaged 63 points. The Bad: Central Michigan has just six wins the past two years; they doubled that total in 2009. The Ugly: Last week I tuned in to watch Temple and Ohio, and thought I was watching Temple and Hawaii. I get that the players like the unis (and that’s really all that matters), but identity theft is a serious problem, folks.
10. Sun Belt (last wk, No. 11) — The Good: Arkansas State could be the first Sun Belt team to get to 10 wins this season since Middle Tennessee State in 2009. The Bad: After starting 3-0, Florida International has now lost four of their last six games. The Ugly: One of those two wins came against Troy, who has just as many victories on the entire season. A recent model of success, the Trojans have really struggled this year.
11. WAC (last wk, No. 9) — Let’s just put it this way: a 63-13 New Mexico State loss to Georgia might have been the highlight of the weekend.