Rushing The Field, Week 3.

I spent about 15 hours yesterday leaning on the clicker between five or six channels while watching parts of 12-15 college football games, without the benefit of a cable guide this week (Charter decided that its system wasn’t going to function properly). This is what I got out of it:

9 AM games – Look out for the possibility of Michigan State getting really, really streaky and making a run at the Big 10. Hell, anything’s possible in that crappy conference, and despite it being close with a Wannstache-led Pitt team that’s going to finish in the middle of the Big East, if Mark D’Antonio gets the Spartans completely clicking, they could take out someone’s title dreams.  Purdue is Purdue — wait until they play in the conference first, but Joe Tiller would probably be the first to get to a 21st century offense in that con.

11:30 AM/12:30 PM games – Remember when Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz was the hot-shot name in coaching, coming over from the NFL, and bound to head back to it after rocketing some Hawkeye teams to Rose Bowls, etc.? He should probably be on the hot seat after losing to Iowa State. I will gladly bow to the folks at Black Heart, Gold Pants on this one, but Ferentz has assembled a team that either doesn’t have playmakers or doesn’t know how to use them. Jake Christensen may find himself in the same situation as Drew Tate in a couple of years.

Jake Locker is a freak; sadly, Washington is maybe another year away from making a serious run at the Pac-10 title and knocking off some big-time non-con opponents. It’s nice to see that OSU has an offense; let’s see them use it in the first half. The reason OSU and Penn State are probably the most likely to come out of the Big 10 is because they play a semblance of defense.

I wish the commentariat at ESPN would stop even suggesting that Michigan could win the Big 10 outright and go to the Rose Bowl; despite waxing Notre Dame and the greatness that is Mike Hart (some NFL team will be happy to draft him), it’s not happening. The Irish are a complete joke right now, and Charlie Weis should take as much heat as Ty Willingham did at this point in his tenure in South Bend — and it’s starting to go that way.

Tim Tebow keeps playing like that, and Florida wins the SEC East without even a bit of trouble — and he is officially on my Heisman list now. Now, Florida still hasn’t played an actual defense yet (witness the 45 Cal ran up on the Vols two weeks ago), but as an in-conference opener, that’s a great way to start.

Texas will lose to Oklahoma this year, and lose big. The Longhorns can’t just pull out close wins against Arkansas State, come back on TCU, and lose the lead against UCF, yet expect to win the Big 12.

Late afternoon/early evening games – Karl Dorrell’s UCLA teams always manage to shit the bed offensively somewhere early, and Utah is the latest beneficiary. Until Dorrell can develop a consistent offensive plan and recruit the players to execute it, Westwood/Pasadena will always be eating South L.A.’s dust in terms of football supremacy.

Roll Tide.  Alabama coughed up a 21-0 lead to Humanity Advanced and the Hawgs, yet beautifully executed a 2-minute drill down 38-34 for the winning touchdown with 8 seconds in the game. With that win and the downfall of Auburn to Mississippi State, Bama will be scary next year and a threat to finish 2nd in their SEC division this year.

The Shootout in Lexington wasn’t quite that early on, yet later developed into exactly what we expected. It has been nearly a year since UK’s Andre Woodson last threw an interception, and the way he worked it down the field at the end of that game will have NFL scouts salivating to pick him up in the first round. This game was more about the lack of defense on both sides — but especially Louisville’s, which was suspect from the get-go.

Boston College made me look like a goddamn genius (and also made me some drinking money.) Every other quarterback in the ACC suffers from Reggie Ball disease, and Matt Ryan is a weapon simply by being more than competent.

USC will have its #1 back with me next week. The only reason Nebraska was in the 30s point-wise was because Carroll pulled his starters and Callahan didn’t.  The Trojan Tailback Voltron is leaning towards a Stefan Johnson/C.J. Gable/Chauncey Washington rotation, which is fine by me. Don’t rush Joe McKnight along; let him develop. The wideouts are still a question, but when John David Booty can dump it off to any of those backs and toss it to fullback Stanley Havili (who had two TDs), Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton can take a bit of time to get in sync.

Late evening – Colorado made me look really stupid, though, and Dan Hawkins has to do something. I know he’s still working with Barnett’s players and restricted recruiting classes, but the Buffs dominated the offensive stats for a lot of that game, yet were shut out for most of it due to turnovers and mistakes by inexperienced players against Florida State. I felt bad for Cody Hawkins; he kept getting the ball snapped to him early by a center who had no clue and wideouts did nothing but drop his passes in the second half.

Non-televised observations – Oklahoma has outscored its opponents 174-26; LSU has done it 137-7.  Hawaii hung it up on UNLV — wonder what Colt Brennan would do against Wisconsin, who not only had to struggle through the Rebels, but gave up 31 to the Citadel yesterday (we are seeing the wholesale devolution of a conference right before our eyes, folks).

Northwestern coughed up the first Duke win to snap a 22 game losing streak; my father is in mourning. Auburn will lose to Alabama for the first time in five years this season, and Tommy Tuberville may be looking for a new job after this year is out.  Rutgers plays too much defense and while Mike Teel will never be Brian Brohm or Pat White, he’s running up the score with the best of them in a way that will serve his confidence well come conference play.

Photo: AP/Nati Harnik


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