Rushing The Field: Unlucky Week #7.

I am not particularly happy with the idea of Ohio State being #1 thanks due to an absolutely fraudulent conference schedule and a non-con where the big win is over Washington. The Big 10 has put the funk in dysfunctional. Such as it is, they will be #1 until they lose which, given the way this year has gone, will be soon. A side note: there may be no NFL posts during the day, as I’m planning to head out to watch the games rather than stay in my own apartment as usual. I will be back for the live-blog of the Sunday night game at Awful Announcing.

Early Games:  Miami takes a step forward one week, a step back the next, and a loss to any Chan Gailey-coached team at home in the Orange Bowl must be considered a step back.  The Yellow Jackets have only RB Tashard Choice as a legitimate contender to play on Sundays at some point, and a QB in Tyler Bennett who has inherited Reggie Ball disease, yet Miami made him look like the second coming of Tim Tebow with two rushing touchdowns.

The disgusting morass that has been the Iowa Hawkeyes’ season is punctuated by the fact that in upsetting an Illinois team clearly off its game (not sure whether Juice Williams throws that pick if he’s in there instead of McGee), their fans rushed the field. The small victories become massive when your coach’s play-calling makes you question why he receives offers from the NFL and when Kirk Ferentz was ever considered an offensive genius.

I thought Gene Chizik was supposed to be some sort of defensive whiz. Give him his few years in Ames, but at this rate, he’ll wind up as laughable as another Texas D-coordinator turned head coach: Syracuse’s Greg Robinson.

Afternoon games: Nebraska should have known better than to go after Al Davis’ discarded table scraps in Oakland.  A 45-14 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma State (which seems to have found its rhythm as a team post-Gundy meltdown), including a 38-0 halftime deficit, is proof that Callahan has no interest in defense and can’t advise it or hire someone competent to handle it.

These are the growing pains Alabama gets to go through with Nick Saban: sweating through games that should be gimmes like a down-trodden Ole Miss.

Captain Leach and the Red Raiders may have just put the final nail into Dennis Franchione’s coffin at Texas A&M. Could not happen to a bigger moron.

I am utterly amazed at the listless quality of Wisconsin’s defense over the last few weeks — but I suppose I should not have been shocked that yet another Big 10 defense made Anthony Morelli look like something resembling a college football quarterback.  Happy Valley die-hards should at least be pleased that the genesis of a strong 2008 team is there, though.

Boston College just looked flat against Notre Dame. Questionable penalty calls against both teams made it a closer game than what was ultimately shown on the field, but BC will likely be #2 tomorrow and has earned it by not losing despite, like OSU, playing in a craptacular conference. The ACC has gotten a bit of a pass in our Big 10 slagging.

Georgia is possibly the most underachieving and disappointing SEC team. No team seeking to be a conference power should be winning by three against Vanderbilt. The Dawgs take this honor from Tennessee because everyone, even the Vol faithful, know Phil Fulmer’s teams of late are schizophrenic in nature when it comes to on-field consistency (and it did look like the Vols had an early shot of getting Croomed before getting it together and winning 33-21).

I should know better than to pick against Oklahoma in Norman, no matter how much I like their opponent. The rushing game helps the Sooners give the Tigers their first loss.

USC avoids having two losses because of Mike Stoops’ stupidity regarding clock management. The Trojans were up 4 and driving down the field via the rush (mostly due to a Joe McKnight 50+ yard run; if he can solve his fumbleitis, he’ll be golden) and Stoops refused to stop the clock despite having all three time outs and 2:30 left in the fourth quarter. Southern Cal kicked an FG to make it 20-13 and they got the ball back with about 1:15-1:30 or so. Absolutely inexcusable on the part of the Arizona staff.

Whatever happened to that vaunted and destructive LSU defense? Yes, they were able to cause havoc in Kentucky in ways that would kill lesser teams, but Andre Woodson kept leading that offense and only increased his NFL payday come next May.  This is the bill that came due after squeezing out that win against Florida last week, and Les Miles found his account with insufficient funds after rushing it on four straight plays in the third OT and coming up short.

Late Games: Jeff Tedford does this every year at Cal, losing a game he really has no business even allowing to be close. It’s less of a surprise than an indictment of second-tier status to USC — when the Trojans flail, Cal must follow suit now.  Mike Riley’s Beaver team at Oregon State did an admirable job, but I have a hard time believing that if Tedford had game-planned and gone over such a situation like back-up QB Kevin Riley saw in that fourth quarter, the QB would have done the smart thing after he got out of the pocket and hurled it out of bounds, setting up the field goal kicker for a chance to tie. That’s a massive coaching error.

I think we can kiss off Darren McFadden’s Heisman hopes. 47 yards on the ground in the Arkansas loss to Auburn, and a victory for the Tigers on another last second Wes Bynum field goal.  Again, Houston Nutt will be cleaning out his office for good when this season is over.

Well, so much for that idea of Cincinnati running the table (never mind having to run into the buzzsaw that is South Florida in a few weeks.)  Simply not enough killer instinct on offense, and that adds to a loss against a lame Louisville team.

Colorado isn’t quite there yet. They can shock someone, but they aren’t prepared to be a consistent winner under Dan Hawkins. That will come down the line, but the Buffaloes were picked apart by the K-State offense.

The quiet rise of Arizona State continues after beating Washington.  They stand a very good chance of knocking off a reeling Cal team next Saturday, and should be considered top five material if they do so. Their out of conference schedule is not exactly mindblowing, but there are so few teams left that the computers may like what they see down the line.

Photo: AP/James Crisp


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