I’m making a promise to myself, to my fellow SCS.com staff members, and all the loyal readers of this site. That promise? That I won’t talk about Ohio State in this column for at least two weeks. Then, after that, all bets are off. So in that completely selfless vein, I’ve compiled a list of random thoughts concerning the upcoming week of college football as my strange tastes have seen fit. And to your unfettered delight, there are only six (technically five) words concerning the Buckeyes and Wolverines..
1.) Teams snatching victory from the jaws of defeat
Michigan State did a reversal of sorts from its usual habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in its epic and historic comeback against Northwestern from down 38-3 on Saturday. This is the first time in Division 1A history a team has overcome a 35-point margin. Incidentally, it probably won’t be the last as Michigan State is sure to forget all about the comeback in Evanston, and give up a similar lead to the Hoosiers this weekend in Bloomington... As we say in the Big Ten: "And that’s why they’re Michigan State."
Texas also was on the lucky side of things as they came back to beat Nebraska in the final seconds of their game in Lincoln. More on that game later, however.
And let's not forget about Cal’s big win against the Fighting Willinghams (thank you Rece Davis) of Washington in Berkley. I didn’t see it, though. Did any of you? Oh well, it’s the Pac-10. Moving on....
2.) Quinn-flavored Kool-Aid, miracle Notre Dame comebacks, and the legend of Jeff Smarjidazawcaysda (sic)
If great individual receiving efforts can a great quarterback make, then count me in for a cup of the Brady Quinn kool-aid everybody seems to be so delighted with nowadays. But if you want my opinion on the matter - and you probably don’t - a certain Jeff Samardzija (see, I know how to spell it) has made the crucial play in all these “amazing” Brady Quinn comebacks of late.
His catch and run against Stanford set up the eventual game-winning field goal in ‘05. His catch and run against Michigan State on 4th and 1 ignited Notre Dame in that classic “Sparty snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” display earlier this year. And his catch and run against UCLA won the game against the scrappy Bruins last Saturday.
What do all three plays have in common? You guessed it - a catch and run. So who’s really making the plays for Notre Dame when the game’s on the line?
Quinn is a good quarterback, no doubt about it, but let's start giving some credit to the best player on that Notre Dame team for the last two years: Jeff Samardzija (spelled it right again).
3.) There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Colt McCoy allows to live
Let's see... He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he’s a God-fearing Christian, he looks too young to be in junior high, and he can’t stop giving people reason why he isn’t the greatest thing to happen to Texas since Chuck Norris.
Vince Young was the most incredible football player I’ve seen since Tommy Frazier, but Colt McCoy - after his time is done at Texas - will never have to pay for a glass of milk or worry about a front row seat in church for the rest of his life.
His poise under fire and the production he had against Nebraska, in Lincoln, on Saturday was more impressive than I have space with which to elaborate. He threw 40 times, made enough good decisions, and made enough plays to earn the Longhorns a hard fought victory that keeps them in the hunt to defend their title in Glendale on January 8. Whenever Texas needed a play to be made offensively, Colt stepped up - and his legend substantially grew. And just think, he’s only a freshman!
Three more years of this and it won't be so far-fetched. Just think, in future years in Texas, if you spell Colt McCoy in Scrabble, you'll win - forever.
4.) Buckeyes roll
5.) Michigan rolls
"Christmas" is fast approaching. (See last week's column.)
But if you would like an interesting read on the Big Ten and its tendencies as a conference, go back and read my very first column titled College Football: The Greatest Game Going (August 29) and see how spot-on I was about how the Big Ten works.
6.) Knee scrapes, bathroom breaks, and the West Virginia Mountaineers
I used to play a lot of street football when I was younger. Since we were playing on concrete, we usually played 1- or 2-hand touch and needed a reasonable way to make first downs. So we instituted the two-completion rule (2 pass completions equaled a first down). This was all well and good to us naive youngsters, but whenever we played against the older kids, they’d just have a receiver take one step forward and throw him a quick pass whenever a completion was needed to keep the drive alive. Consequently, whenever we started playing them for the short pass, they’d fake it and throw it over our heads for an easy touchdown.
Needless to say, we always lost to the older kids.
Rich Rodriguez and West Virginia’s wonderfully workable — and workmanlike — spread offense reminds me of my days playing with the older kids in the streets of Lorain, Ohio. They (WVU) dink and dunk enough to keep opposing defenses worrying about getting short-gained to death, but, in turn, leave the defenses completely vulnerable to the big play that always inevitably come.
At times it doesn’t seem fair to have to worry about so much as a defense. And unfortunately, unlike our games on Osborne Avenue, there isn’t any hope of switching teams at halftime to make the squads more even. Defenses are inevitably stuck playing the “older kid” Mountaineers until the streetlights come on or little Jimmy goes running home with a bloody knee.
7.) The Cocktail Party, Matt Stafford, and my slam-dunk pick of the week
The World’s Largest Cocktail Party will be taking place in Jacksonville this week between Florida and Georgia. So grab your favorite beverage - be it a Colt McCoy special (milk), a Coca-Cola or something with a little more punch — and watch the revelry, and the rest of the college football games this week, in all of its excessive glory.
If you ask me — I know, I know, you didn’t — Georgia doesn’t stand a chance in this game, and neither school’s fans will stand a chance driving home afterward.