Rushing The Field, Week 6: Topsy-Turvy.

Nothing could have matched last week in terms of fucked up events on the college gridiron, but this one came damned close. We’ll run early to late games, as usual.

Early Games: Not the way Randy Shannon really wants his first year at Coral Gables to start, especially with the trip to Chapel Hill being that disastrous. UNC led 27-0 at halftime, which despite some efforts from Kyle Wright to rectify his past mistakes and 3 early INTs, were not enough to make up for them — he wound up throwing yet another pick as well, and Butch Davis got one over on his former program. Shannon will need to recruit offensive personnel heavily right now to help out when the defense bleeds.

As for Wisconsin, I’ve called them paper tigers the last three weeks or so, and to see the defense self-destruct against an Illinois team with playmakers like Arrellious Benn and Rashard Mandenhall is not as surprising as we all think — anyone wondering why Vegas had Illinois with the line here? Scary thought — Ron Zook could be competing for a Big 10 championship if OSU trips up somewhere along the line.

Kansas came in and proved itself against actual living competition in the Big XII North in the form of Kansas State, coming back from a deficit with a combination of good pass/run balance and taking advantage of Wildcat turnovers. The North is looking like the competitive and better end of the conference this year. Fear Mark Mangino for something other than his massive girth; the man looks like a planet in its own gaseous solar system, except he would likely consume the rings as a snack.

Afternoon Games: The Red River Shootout, or The Battle Between QBs Who Don’t Need to Shave, lost a lot of the appeal after both Oklahoma and Texas lost last week (we saw Texas’ loss coming somewhere along the road, but OU looked like a juggernaut.) Sam Bradford outplayed Colt McCoy, who not only saw his offensive line got beat up, but was picked off once and saw RB Jamal Charles fumble a sure touchdown. Mack Brown is going to have to check his offensive personnel if he’s going to get out of an 0-2 conference hole.

For more than 35 minutes, Iowa and Penn State made a mockery of the concept of offensive-minded football. Then Iowa’s defense made the even bigger sin of making Anthony Morelli look like a competent quarterback, allowing him to lead drives down the field that resulted in a 20-0 lead at one point in the third quarter. Anthony Morelli should not be side-stepping anyone to throw downfield.

Anyone else remember that talk a couple years ago that started about Kirk Ferentz being a coach that was a top candidate for the big college jobs and even some NFL ones? I’m pretty sure those have dried up now, although anyone looking to hire him would be nuts. Ferentz’s play calling convinced me that he is older than Joe Paterno; he just simply revives himself via Lazarus pits, Ra’s al-Ghul-style. Either way, Ferentz is becoming positively Norv-like.


Guess that whole “Mark Richt and Georgia winning often on the road” thing didn’t exactly pan out in Neyland Stadium. This game was more or less done by halftime, with Tennessee jumping out to a three touchdown lead. Matthew Stafford’s going to need at least another year of experience if this Georgia team is going to challenge for an SEC title while he’s at the school.

South Florida actually did face a bit of a challenge from Florida Atlantic, but based on today’s work should be hitting Top 5 in both major polls tomorrow.

Clemson, sporting the awful Purple People look, managed to collapse on command against a Virginia Tech team that’s gone back to scoring by forcing defensive turnovers and scoring on punts and kickoffs. Cullen Harper, two weeks after I wrote well of him, shows his inexperience. Had to flinch during the cock blast that a Va Tech DB took in the game — there was really no graceful way to describe that on the play-by-play.

Late Games: Pete Carroll got cocky and tempted the wrath of the Football Gods — who had already ensured bad blocking on the part of the Trojan offensive line resulted in a blocked point after attempt after the first touchdown. Then, the Humanitarian decided to rush four straight times on the Cardinal D-line at the Stanford 1 — and got stuffed right before halftime.

Consider it Carroll’s on-field “I’m Keith Hernandez!” moment. Tavita Pritchard, filling in for T.C. Ostrander (out after suffering a seizure) made the throws John David Booty either wasn’t capable of or forgot how to. It’s not hard to see that USC weakness exposed with two offensive linemen injured (including freshman center Kristofer O’Dowd) and the top two running backs (Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable) out injured — but the weaknesses of the passing game, and Booty’s limitations, were put on display. And it all could have been saved if USC hadn’t given up so many dumb penalties on defense and a 4th and 20 in the last minute and a half.

Maybe Jim Harbaugh might have something as a big-time D-I head coach, and this wasn’t the only instance that made L.A. football fans wonder if the earthquake that would shake Southern California into the sea had arrived, metaphorically.

Karl Dorrell is finished as the UCLA coach. If he’s not canned next week, he will be by the end of the year. Patrick Cowan probably ought to have been his quarterback from day one, as Ben Olson has never looked completely comfortable. Tonight, Notre Dame knocked him out of the game in the first quarter, bringing on walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson (who shall now be known in these parts as the Highlander), who threw four picks and fumbled once for six, making Jimmy Clausen look like a respectable quarterback. This game took the prize from Iowa-PSU as “the game that set organized football back a couple decades in one half”, and only continued as the Bruin turnovers resulted in easy scores for an ND offense that only had 140 total yards.

I just wanted to see the neck-bearded Highlander scream just once: “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”

Fuck, Ohio State is for real in the Big 10 again, aren’t they? Beating up Purdue 23-7 (oh wait, they were the biggest undefeated fraud left, not Wisky) means they’re front-running to get their asses handed to them in the Rose Bowl this year unless Zook can come in and take it to them (which I doubt.)

How screwy is it in a college football world where South Florida and Cincinnati are your Big East BCS bid contenders right now? Cincy put the screws to Rutgers, and their coach is probably already trying to beat back offers from bigger conference schools planning to ditch their coaches at year’s end.

Don’t sleep on Missouri in the Big 12 North, either — beating up on Nebraska 41-6, and Chase Daniel is a sick, sick man. Gary Pinkel then really stuck it to Bill Callahan by running the fake field goal for a touchdown early int he 4th.

Finally, to THE game of the day — where Florida and Urban Meyer have to ask themselves “what if?” on so many levels — what if they hadn’t given up those second-half turnovers; what if they had stopped LSU just once on several 4th down plays; what if Meyer had called time out right after a play at the goal line that might have saved them 15 seconds on the clock? Ultimately, LSU used Matt Flynn, Ryan Perrilloux, and Jacob Hester to get themselves into the end zone with what Verne Lundquist referred to as “onions” on the part of Les Miles.

This leaves as your conference leader in the SEC East — yep, South Carolina, after they beat Kentucky on Thursday. Click-clack!

Photo: AP/Bill Haber

4 Responses

  1. Miami has the offensive weapons to compete, but Darnell Jenkins is the only explosive upperclassman. All the speed demons are underclassmen. Plus it never helps when your QB throws 4 picks, as you can attest:)

    So now Signal, I ask once more. Is Pete Carroll’s deal about to come due? lol

  2. UNC finally beat a I-A opponent!

    As a Tar Heel, watching the 27-0 beatdown take place in the first half was sheer joy matched only by the sense of doom in the third quarter.

  3. Diallo: No, despite this, Carroll’s in no danger of getting canned. He made the Trojans respectable and feared after a really bad stretch. If USC loses to Cal, the serious grumbling might begin.

    Mike: I suspect with Butch Davis it was not a question of when UNC would be decent, but no one thought they’d actually beat anyone this quickly.

  4. S2N: You wanna know what’s scary? Subtract one fumble in each of the three close games, and UNC is 5-1 and in control of the ACC Coastal division.

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