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September 29, 2008

SCS.comLast Wednesday, I was thinking about my upcoming "Quick Hit" article. I conjured up a theme. Name the elite coaches that always have their players ready to play and never get out coached. Obviously, I threw that theme out the window after week 5. Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, and Mark Richt are top coaches, but they all got out coached this weekend.

Carroll’s players sleepwalked into Corvalis, Oregon. They left chasing their pride all the way back to Los Angeles, California. All the experts, including myself (although I am no expert), said that USC would roll through the rest of their schedule. I thought the PAC-10 would not challenge the mighty Trojans. On Thursday night, Oregon State played an amazing first half. The Trojans showed promise in the 2nd half, but the Beavers stood firm. USC, known for their big game wins and their conference game busts, has a lot of work to do if they want to get back into the discussion for the national championship.

Florida, who looked unbeatable in their first three games, was stunned in the Swamp by Houston Nutt’s Mississippi Rebels. The Gators held a 17-7 halftime lead. However, Mississippi won the 3rd quarter 17-0 and took a 24-17 lead. The teams traded touchdowns, making the score 31-30, extra point pending. That pending one-pointer was blocked. Mississippi then stuffed Tim Tebow on a 4th and 1, sealing an unexpected victory. Mississippi was outgained, committed more penalties, and punted three more times. However, they forced five fumbles (recovered three). Those three turnovers were UF’s first of the season. With a win, Florida would have put Georgia into a hole in the SEC. Instead, Vanderbilt is sitting atop the SEC East at 2-0 in conference play.

I will give Mark Richt a break, because it is obvious that something astounding is happening at Alabama. Nick Saban has created a balanced team in two short years. They play great defense, they run effectively, they have big play receivers, and they have solid special teams. Nevertheless, Georgia came out a lot like Ohio State came out against USC. They were timid and scared of losing. Alabama took advantage of the momentary freeze in confidence. I was impressed that UGA came back out in the 2nd half and staged a small comeback. Although it fell short, it gave UGA fans hope that they are not as overrated as the first half seemed to show.

Speaking of comebacks, Michigan’s comeback over Wisconsin came totally out of the blue. The maize and blue were down 19-0 at halftime. The Wolverines had negative seven passing yards and 21 total yards. Going into the fourth quarter, Michigan was down 12 and expectations were low. Then, lightning struck. Brandon Minor rushed for a 34-yard touchdown to cut the lead down to 5. On the next play, John Thompson intercepted Wisconsin quarterback Allan Evridge and returned it for a touchdown. Michigan scored again, giving them an eight point lead. Wisconsin marched back down the field after a redzone fumble. They scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Evridge to David Gilreath, but UW failed to convert the 2 pt. conversion (actually they did convert, but there was a penalty. On the re-do, UW’s pass attempt fell incomplete).

Oklahoma, a team that has not been upset or needed a comeback to win, is clearly the number one team in college football. Let me state that does not mean they are unbeatable. USC has proven that to be a silly statement. However, OU’s offense (7th in total offense in the nation) and defense (15th in the nation in total defense) have looked very good so far this year. They will be tested in the coming weeks. They play Baylor before the Red River Shootout against Texas, who has looked just as good so far this year. Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State will also be ready to dethrone the Sooners. Sam Bradford has to be the Heisman favorite going into week 6. He has thrown for 1293 yards, 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions.


  • Penn State exploited Illinois’s two weaknesses. Defense and Juice Williams’s ability to throw. Penn State ripped up the Illini defense like a little kid tears open his presents on Christmas morning. Evan Royster, Derrick Williams, and Daryll Clark all played well. The Illinois offense was shut down after the first quarter once PSU contained Juice’s running ability.

  • Duke rolled Virginia 31-3. Duke, who is rarely even competitive in conference play, is now 3-1 with David Cutcliffe as head coach.

  • Northwestern is 5-0 after a comeback win over Iowa 22-17. Down 17-3 late in the 2nd quarter, quarterback C.J. Bacher took over and never looked back. He was lights out in the 2nd half. The Wildcats get a bye before playing Michigan State.

  • North Carolina vs. Miami (FL) was an encouraging game from no matter what team you were cheering for. UNC won without starting QB T.J. Yates. Butch Davis is creating a top ACC program. Miami lost, but they are clearly on the up and up.

  • The Big 12 has been the most impressive conference so far this season. Four teams in the Big 12 South, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State are all unbeaten and looking very good.

  • There was a great MAC game between Buffalo and Central Michigan on Saturday. Central Michigan won 27-25 after a last-second Buffalo field goal hit the right upright. These two teams look to meet again in the MAC title game.

  • Notre Dame looked much improved against Purdue, winning 38-21. Weis, who was on shaky ground after that near loss in week one to San Diego State, has stabilized the situation. Jimmy Clausen has really come into his own at quarterback.


  • The Auburn-Tennessee game showed me something. Both of these teams have no offense. They will struggle against quality opponents until something clicks on offense.

  • Wake Forest, thought to be the top team in the ACC, lost to Navy 24-17. Riley Skinner, who rarely throws interceptions or makes mistakes, threw four interceptions against a Navy defense that gave up 41 points to Duke earlier in the season.

  • As long as we are on the subject of disappointing ACC teams, Clemson is the most overrated team in the country. They lost to an improving Maryland team 20-17. Tommy Bowden is on the hot seat and sweating bullets.

  • After losing last week to NC State, East Carolina seemed outclassed by Houston. They were spanked 41-24. Houston compiled 621 total yards, while ECU only managed 275. ECU’s season is not over, but they need to right the ship right now.

  • It is official. Washington State is going to be the PAC-10’s whipping boy this season. Oregon is the second conference foe to score over 60 points on Washington State.

  • Nebraska and Colorado had a chance to prove to the college football world that they were Big 12 North contenders. They both had difficult but winnable out of conference games. However, both lost (Colorado to Florida State, Nebraska to Virginia Tech).

    I am usually done after my hits and misses. However, I would like to observe a tragedy in the college football world that took place last week. Dante Love, who was one of the nation’s leading receivers, suffered a football-career ending injury against Indiana. Love had a NFL future ahead of him. Not only that, he was a tremendous person. During Ball State’s win over Kent State, Love called head coach Brady Hoke three times during halftime, claiming some players were inattentive. Ball State can only hope to do what Love would want them to do. Win the Mid-American Conference title. “Dante wants us to move forward,” coach Hoke said. America is cheering for you. Get well Dante.

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