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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/09/2006 03:22:00 PM

Saturday Observations Part I

Oakland Arena
Chase Daniel threw for 237 yards and a touchdown and ran for an additional 92 yards and a touchdown.

AUSTIN, Texas -- As my buddy Bruce just observed, "Wouldn't it be something if Missouri wins the Big 12 North a year after losing the most celebrated quarterback in school history?" I concur. Though Ole Miss doesn't exactly represent the highest level of competition, the Tigers have looked good on both sides of the ball today. QB Chase Daniel, Brad Smith's successor, looks much more comfortable in the spread than Smith ever did, and the defense has pretty much manhandled the same Brent Schaeffer-led Rebels offense that was so productive last week against Memphis.

Elsewhere …

∙ Poor Ron Zook. While I'm sure Illinois fans knew they'd have to be patient, losing 33-0 to Rutgers -- new-and-improved, Greg Schiano-led Rutgers -- will not go over well in Champaign. Perhaps the former proprietors of FireRonZook.com can sell the rights to disgruntled Illini fans.

∙ Speaking of oft-criticized coaches who just lost to Rutgers, John Bunting is going to need a miracle to survive another season at North Carolina. The Tar Heels got spanked at home by Virginia Tech despite holding the Hokies to 224 total yards. Tech did have 144 return yards on four interceptions, however.

∙ And after Akron's dramatic, 20-17 win over N.C. State, in which the Zips went for the victory from the goalline with three seconds left, it's safe to say our buddy Chuck "Red Shoes" Amato is living every bit as dangerously as his Tobacco Road counterpart. Congrats to Akron, but personally I barely consider it an upset.

∙ The Division I-AA coming out party continues. At halftime, New Hampshire, behind all-everything QB Ricky Santos, was leading Northwestern 27-17. Knowing Northwestern's penchant for high-scoring games, this one could end up being highly entertaining by the time it's over.

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