September 17, 2006

What We Know Now...

We know everything and nothing at the same time.

Separation Saturday is over and we're now down from 42 to 29 undefeated teams. Some went down hard (Notre Dame) while many were merely pretenders who ran into their first formidable challenge (Nebraska).

- Get ready for the myriad comparisons of Charlie Weis and Tyrone Willingham. I mentioned it before and already a stat circling around is that both coaches were 11-3 before losing big games to Michigan (38-0 for Ty, 47-21 yesterday for Charlie). What does this prove? Nothing. Simply put, the fun time had by all pundits will end so long as the Irish venture up to East Lansing and win the game. National Championship hype over, the Irish can go back to being under the radar that worked well for them last year.

- The SEC struggles to score points. 6-3 Alabama vs. Tennessee last year was trumped by 7-3 Auburn over LSU this year. When Florida meets Auburn later in the year, I am already calling the unheard of 3-2 win for someone. Oh, and by the way, LSU got absolutely jobbed on the one call of pass interference, no wait, the Auburn guy tipped it. If I am a defensive coordinator I now have a new way to defend. Drape the receiver then have your helping safety come over and tip the ball and all is fine. Ridiculous.

- 23 rushes for -11 yards. This was Tennessee's stat line against Florida trying to run the ball. Granted it includes the sacks of Erik Ainge totalling 29 yards in reverse, but that means that Hardesty, their RB, carried the rock for 14 yards... on 17 carries. Ouch. My friend Scott is right, you can't be that one dimensional in the SEC and hope to win.

- Louisville has the worst luck. Michael Bush is gone after three quarters and now Brian Brohm will miss significant time. Hunter Cantwell stepped in and performed nicely against a declining Miami program. Living in Lexington I run into my fair share of new Cardinals fans and they say that Cantwell is better. Uh huh, yeah, right. West Virginia is experiencing planetary alignment in their hopes for the title run.

- I wonder if Louisville doesn't do something at home, like bug the locker rooms because when they play in the Pizza Pit the Cards look like USC. Away from it and they look very mortal when playing a team with equal speed.

- Michigan State should be favored over Notre Dame, right? The Spartans have won the last 7 of 9 and they also own a 3-0 record with the same team that beat the same team Irish. Notre Dame has supposedly been exposed as frauds so it will be hard to play the "overrated Irish, underappreciated MSU" card, Spartan fans. Like my boy, Colin Cowherd says, put a $1,000 on it if Notre Dame is so overrated. Much like the Purdue game of last year, this Irish team will be absolutely focused for this game.

- I am also thinking Charlie likes the road games better, too. "It's you against the world."

- Kentucky, baby! 2-1, 1-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1987. Usually the Cats get Florida first and since they haven't beaten the Gators since 1986 its been a long time. The Cats took out Ole Miss 31-14 and look poised for a six win, bowl season. Unfortunately, the next game is against said Gators. Play with house money, Cats. Good luck.

- Interesting stat: Kentucky is 25th in scoring nationally at 33.0 ppg. Texas Tech is ranked 60th, averaging 25.0 ppg. Mike Leach used to be the o-coordinator under Hal Mumme in Lexington. Our fan base mentions his name a lot should the Rich Brooks administration fail to win six this year.

- ACC national championship hopes now rest with the Virginia Tech or Boston College. The two face each other on an ESPN Thursday Night in Boston, October 12th. The Big 12 is depending upon Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma State, or Kansas State. See you in 2007, gang.

- USC last lost a game at home on Sept. 29, 2001 to Stanford, 21-16. The Trojans get Arizona State, Oregon, California, and Notre Dame at home. Their road "challenges" are Oregon State and UCLA. We may not be done with the Trojans just yet.

- FYI: Auburn sits at #3 in my poll amongst others. Deja vu 2004.

- TCU and Boise State keep clearing hurdles to crashing the 2006 BCS party. Utah could put their chips back into the pot as the Utes get both at home on Sept. 30th (Boise State) and October 5th (TCU). The Utes could run their table and be 11-1 with a opening week loss at UCLA.

- The Heisman race is now completely Troy Smith's to lose. The Buckeyes wont lose, so as long as he posts the big numbers in their high profile, nationally televised games its all done but the engraving.

- Brady Quinn is not your No. 1 QB headed to the NFL next year. The Irish receivers have bailed him out more than most, evidence of Samardzija's touchdown against Michigan right before the half when the Shark had to reach 18 inches behind himself to snare the catch. Sorry Brady.

- Doak Campbell is off the list of intimidating road stadiums. Clemson had their way and the noise never got above a manageable level.

- Michigan vs. Wisconsin and Louisville at Kansas State are your only games of undefeated ranked teams playing other undefeated teams. We had 10 such games this past Saturday. Stop and Smell the Roses Saturday could be your moniker for the upcoming weekend.

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