September 11, 2005

Dog day afternoon for the Big Ten elite

Week Two in college football wrapped up late last night with Big Ten commissioner, Jim Delany, in tears after watching his hopes for a 2005 Big Ten national champion go in flames when Vince Young found Limas Sweed in the endzone, giving Texas a 23-22 lead late in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns would add a safety for good measure to close out one of the biggest wins in school history. Earlier in the day, the Michigan Wolverines stumbled against 20th-ranked Notre Dame, losing 17-10 after both schools turned in surprisingly good defensive efforts. Lastly, the Iowa Hawkeyes would watch their star quarterback Drew Tate get knocked out of their game with rival Iowa State in Ames due to a concussion, losing 23-3 to the Cyclones.

The Ohio State Buckeyes will lament the three turnovers they got deep in the heart of Texas territory, only to kick three field goals. Turn those to touchdowns and today we would be talking about a grand ole fashioned Rose Bowl matchup of the Buckeyes going to challenge the Trojans perhaps at year's end. The Irish would benefit from poor Michigan play-calling and timely UM turnovers to salt away the win, holding onto a 17-3 lead before securing victory. And, apparently, the backup quarterback doesn't get many reps in Iowa City, because Iowa State rolled over a suddenly punchless Iowa squad, winning back the CyHawk Trophy.

Commissioner Delany now turns his hopes to Purdue and perhaps Wisconsin for the Big Ten's chance for a championship. However, after Texas' solid win over Ohio State, the two-horse race is now set. Unless upset, it will be the Longhorns versus the Trojans in Pasadena for the title.

Here's what else we know after this weekend:
  • Dave Wannstedt cannot coach. Matt Cavanaugh cannot develop quarterbacks. (Ohio 16, Pitt 10 in OT.)
  • Charlie Weis is making the Notre Dame brass look smarter every weekend after firing Tyrone Willingham in year 3 of 5 on his contract. (ND 17, Michigan 10; Cal 56, Washington 17)
  • QB Brad Smith and Missouri might be the most overrated mid-level program in the last three years. How many times has this team been penciled for the Big 12 North title? (New Mexico 45, Missouri 35)
  • Oklahoma still only knows how to hand the ball of to AP. Granted 220 yards and 3 touchdowns is the reason why you do it. (Oklahoma 31, Tulsa 15)
  • So much for handling the hype by the Horned Frogs. (SMU 21, TCU 10)
  • Anyone who thought the Ol' Ballcoach Spurrier might have dogged it in the previous week against Central Florida might have been exactly right. The Cocks won everything but the scoreboard in Athens. (Georgia 17, South Carolina 15)
  • D.J. Shockley sat behind David Greene at Georgia for a reason. (8-for-17, 112 yards, 2 INT's)
  • Anybody get that late score from Fayetteville last night? (Vanderbilt 28, Arkansas 24...suddenly Vandy is 2-0.)
  • Boise State went from the heat of Athens, Ga., to the rain and hail, yes hail, in Corvallis, Ore. The Broncos lost a heartbreaker to Oregon State, but its good to see Jared Zabransky back...3 TD passes, 0 INT's. (Oregon State 30, Boise State 27)
  • Never turn away from an LSU game. It was 17-7, it had been a full day of gridiron action and the eyelids were heavy. My brother-in-law wanted to talk about the Michigan-Notre Dame game while taping the Kentucky-Idaho State replay. I obliged, thinking the hurricane and heavy hearts were leading LSU to defeat against Arizona State. Imagine my surprise when I saunter over to the computer at my bro-in-law's and see that LSU had just scored on 4th down to get a 35-31 lead against ASU. The delayed UK game was still taping, so I watched blips on the screen tell me that ASU made a valiant attempt back down the field, but came up short. Gotta remember Rule No. 1: It ain't over til its over.

Our Dummy of the Week Award: Marshall head coach, Mark Snyder. Your team is down 21-19, you have the ball well in field goal range to knock off a BCS school at home in front of a record crowd. There are :08 left and you want one more play. Fine...spread them out and hit them with a draw play, right? Oh no. Snyder calls for a pass, which is tipped, and then intercepted by Kansas State cornerback, Justin McKinney. The worst part of the deal? The coach blames the quarterback for getting the wrong signal and running a pass play. Bad form, coach, bad form.

Lastly, the Genius of the Week Award: Charlie Weis at Notre Dame has won his first two games at Notre Dame, both on the road and against ranked teams. (Well, okay, Pitt was ranked for the moment.) His feat only equals that of Knute Rockne, back in 1918. Up next are the Spartans in a rare Notre Dame home September game.

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.