Ten Things - Week Three
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Here are ten thoughts and observations from the college football weekend gone by...
1. Unanswered points - In the three biggest games of the day, unanswered points left me amazed! UCLA scored 38 consecutive points on Nebraska, Alabama reeled off 35 unanswered points on Texas A&M and Oregon scored a whopping 59 straight points sandwiched in-between two Tennessee TDs...The common theme here is good coaching. Jim Mora made adjustments to Nebraska (who was leading 21-3 at the time) that left the Huskers baffled over the final 45 minutes. Nick Saban doesn't wake up planning on scoring 49 points, but if he has to, he showed he could do what is neccesary with his offense as TJ Yeldon and AJ McCarron quieted Kyle Field. New Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich opened up the field, eliminating the solid UT defensive center, and isolating quick Duck players who put on a track meet in the open field.
2. 70-point Club - Utah State scored 70 in a win over Weber State, Old Dominion scored 76 on Howard, and Louisiana Lafayette scored 70 on Nicholls State (who has given up 153 points in three games). Teams that came close to the 70-point mark were Cincinnati (66 points on Northwestern State), Florida State (62 points on Nevada), Oregon (59 points on Tennessee) and Oklahoma State (59 points on Lamar).
3. Shutout Club - Syracuse defeated Wagner 54-0 for their first win of 2013 and the only shutout in major college football this past weekend. Congrats to the Orange for the only goose egg of the weekend! I like to write about the shutouts as I think that is a tribute to 60 minutes played hard by a united group of players. This week there wasn't much to write about.
4. Big Name Jobs Available - "Now hiring!" .......Texas. USC. Nebraska. Those three names remind fans of All-Americans, national titles, Heisman winners and legendary coaches. But another thhing they are starting to remind fans of is sorry football - that will change very soon. Mack Brown, Lane Kiffin and Bo Pelini will be three coaches heading away from Austin, LA and Lincoln, respectively, in the very near future. The most accomplished of the three coaches is Brown at Texas with a national title in 2005 (and another appearance in the biggest game in 2009), but he seems to have lost control of this program over the last few seasons. Kiffin is a joke all together, and Pelini is an awful in-game coach.
5. Uniform Report - Major props to UCLA, Washington and TCU this past weekend for wearing simple, elegant, white uniforms in their road games that came across as classy, graceful and just plain SHARP! These three schools looked excellent in the all-white jerseys and pants, with trim nicely giving the uniforms a hint of the school's colors. Very well done!...On the flipside, I am not pleased with Nebraska's decision to abandon the traditional home red jerseys and white pants for a black jersey with white pants. I know the Huskers defense has a tradition with the "Blackshirts," so I get the idea they were going for. But the jersey itself was ugly (sorry Husker fans, but it was) and getting steamrolled at home in the alternate threads doesn't help....As for Oregon and the all-yellow combo they wore against Tennessee? Eh, makes me nauseous, but it is original to Oregon, so I can roll with it...
6. Weak Forest - Just six years ago, Jim Grobe's ACC champions were in the Orange Bowl and getting national love. Wake Forest was known as one of those small schools with a big attitude...Fast forward to 2013 and WFU is getting beat by the likes of Louisiana-Monroe at home and Grobe's head is being called for in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons are 19-30 over the last four years - no bowl games - and off to a 1-2 start in 2013. I respect how Jim Grobe took this program from absolutely nothing back in 2000, and put it (temporarily) on the national map. But I think he has run out of magic and Wake Forest needs new leadership.
7. Fire in the Desert? (Question answered...for now) - A week ago, in this same "Ten Things" weekly article, I asked the question of if there was fire in the desert.....Well, at least still for now, the answer is YES! Arizona State welcomed in Wisconsin two days ago and sent them home with a close loss. This was a legit win for ASU and one that will open the national media's eyes to what Todd Graham has going in year two in Tempe...The Arizona Wildcats, meanwhile, are at 3-0 after a 25-point win over Texas-San Antonio. UA now has an open date to prepare for a big game in Seattle, versus the unbeaten, nationally ranked Washington Huskies, in two weeks.
8. Good Lord Michigan! - Just seven days removed from a huge win over Notre Dame on prime-time national TV that had the whole nation thinking UM was for real, they turn around and nearly let the Zips of Akron ruin what looks to be a great season. Michigan looked terrible the whole game, leading just 7-3 at halftime, before waking up and gaining a 21-10 lead...That lead wasn't safe though as Akron was throwing it into the end zone - for the potential win - with :04 seconds to go. The fourth down play fell short, and Coach Brady Hoke and crew avoided disaster (I dropped the Wolverines three spots in my poll this week).
9. Kenny Guiton, Buckeye Backup - If you are an Ohio State fan, of course Braxton Miller is the QB that you want to see taking snaps and throwing passes. But since Miller is out with an MCL sprain, fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton has come in and shown the O will not skip a beat under his guidance. Guiton threw for 276 yards, four TDs and no INTs in an impressive road win over the Cal Bears. Miller's Heisman chances are looking slimmer and slimmer with each game he sits, but Ohio State's national title chances look just as good with Guiton at QB as they do with Miller.
10. Three to See -
* Auburn at LSU - Of course LSU will be the big favorite with a nasty defense, a revived offense under new OC Cam Cameron, and a home-field advantage at Tiger Stadium. But Auburn and LSU have played classic games in the SEC West for as long as I can remember, and I doubt LSU will just mop the floor with Auburn....I think LSU wins, but do not be surprised at all if Auburn keeps things interesting.
* Arizona State at Stanford - ASU is fresh off of a big home win over Wisconsin that has the nation starting to talk a little Sun Devil football. But Stanford might be the class of the Pac-12 (I know, I know Duck fans) and they will have something to say about whether the Sun Devils are contenders or pretenders....I see Stanford taking this game, but I am more interested to see how ASU plays on the road against top competition.
* Michigan State at Notre Dame - The Irish bounced back from a crushing defeat at Michigan with a close win over Purdue this past weekend. But after a humiliating loss to Alabama to close last season, followed by a stinging loss in the Big House in week two this year, ND is not exactly loving its football life at the moment. A big home win over a ranked MSU team (ok, they are #26 in the AP), would help ease the pain. This is alaways a good game.
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