We’re far from being back to normal, but we’re getting there. Little by little.
1. SEC (last wk, No. 1)— The Good: If you haven’t seen the punt return by Arkansas receiver Joe Adams, you are missing out on some kind of witchcraft. Wait… just got an e-mail from Barbara Dooley asking that I never mention the amazing Joe Adams punt return ever again. The Bad: It’s hard to believe Florida won the national championship just three seasons ago. Now they’re fighting for bowl eligibility. They’ll get it — they play Furman this weekend — but goodness. The Ugly: Ole Miss didn’t just lose to Louisiana Tech at home, they got destroyed 27-7. Are we sure keeping Houston Nutt around until the end of the season was a good idea?
2. Big 12 (last wk, No. 2) — The Good: Well, depending on how you look at it, victories by Oklahoma State and Kansas State could be viewed as good, or losses by Texas Tech and Texas A&M could be seen as bad. The Red Raiders didn’t even stand a chance in a 66-6 loss to the Cowboys and A&M blew another lead of at least 14 points to drop to 5-5. The Bad: Baylor needed a 21-point rally and overtime to defeat Kansas, and yet somehow moved up in the BCS. I hate this system. The Ugly: Texas’ Fozzy Whittaker and Mizzou’s Henry Josey both suffered nearly identical season-ending knee injuries in Saturday’s game. Blame the turf if you will, but that sucks for two good players.
3. Big Ten (last wk, No. 5) — The Good: I never agreed with, although certainly understood, the idea of boycotting/cancelling the Nebraska-Penn State game. That pregame prayer and moment of silence was filled with class, and unfortunately, heartbreak at the same time. The Bad: Even in down years, I have no clue what Ohio State is doing losing to Purdue on the road. The Ugly: Illinois went from 6-0 to 6-4 in a snap. I may have severely underestimated Ron Zook‘s Zookiness.
4. Pac-12 (last wk, No. 3) — The Good: Perhaps it’s because they’re not eligible for the first Pac-12 championship game, or maybe it’s because it’s the Pac-12 South, but USC is putting together a quietly successful season at 8-2. The Bad: See Pac-12 South. The Ugly: See specifically UCLA and Arizona State. At 5-5, the Bruins still control their South division destiny. Pistol Rick? Pistol Rick!
5. ACC (last wk, No. 4) — The Good: For as average as the ACC has been in many areas, it still has two Top 10 teams in Clemson and Virginia Tech. The Tigers came away with a 23-3 win over Va Tech earlier this year, but I wouldn’t expect it to be that one-sided again if they met in the conference title. The Bad: North Carolina State spent all their energy to a passionate 13-0 win over North Carolina (not). We probably should have seen a let-down game coming against Boston College (not). The Ugly: ACC officials have taken a chapter from the Mike Pereira handbook of judgement calls.
6. Conference USA (last wk, No. 7) — The Good: C-USA has two more ranked teams than the Big East in the latest BCS Top 25 — as in 2 ranked teams to zero ranked teams. The Bad: If UCF loses one more game, they will finish the season with a losing record. That wasn’t a phrase I thought I’d hear at the beginning of the season. The Ugly: Rich Rodriguez was apparently at the Tulane game Thursday night. He was also seen fleeing the Superdome about midway through the second quarter.
7. Mountain West (last wk, No. 8) — The Good: It’s been a miserable season for New Mexico, but the Lobos finally got their first win of the year against UNLV. The Bad: TCU’s 36-35 victory over Boise State was a great game, but it could cost the Mountain West an at-large spot in the BCS — and BCS money — in the process. The Ugly: Colorado State completed just 9 passes for 52 yards in an 18-15 loss to San Diego State.
8. Big East (last wk, No. 6) — The Good: As our good friend Tom Layberger pointed out, Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu broke school and Big East reception records with 94 on the season without a consistent quarterback. How is this guy not getting more recognition? The Bad: Since beating West Virginia, Syracuse has lost three games in a row and has been outscored by a combined 96-48. The Ugly: Speaking of the Mounties, WVU managed to notch a win against Cincinnati to put them back in the Big East title race, but had 14 penalties in the process.
9. MAC (last wk, No. 9) — The Good: Toledo is the Honey Badger of the MAC. Two consecutive games with scores in the 60’s? Honey Badger doesn’t care; Honey Badger just goes and scores points and doesn’t play defense. The Bad: Don Treadwell will have success at Miami (OH), but it’s tough for the RedHawks have gone from playing in the MAC championship to playing for bowl eligibility. The Ugly: There’s a very, very good chance Akron will finish with one win this season — against VMI.
10. WAC (last wk, No. 11) — The Good: LOUISIANA TECH OVER OLE MISS OMG The Bad: Fresno State’s defensive coordinator just stepped down after a disappointing year. By that logic, everyone should be stepping down (kidding; Pat Hill isn’t going anywhere, folks). The Ugly: Utah State’s mastered the five-turnover strategy when it comes to winning by one point over San Jose State. Up next: two-minute defense and onside kicks.
11. Sun Belt (last wk, No. 10) — The Good: Believe it or not, North Texas has the chance to go .500 this year after a win on the road against Troy. The Bad: Can it get much worse than 0-9 Florida Atlantic? The Ugly: Why, yes it can. Western Kentucky’s defensive coordinator coaches in the LSU just hours after being pulled over for his third DWI. Classy.