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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.
9/17/2006 12:06:00 AM

Saturday Observations Part III

DeShawn Wynn
DeShawn Wynn (21) worked through the Vols' defense for 104 yards on 22 carries.
Jason Parkhurst/US PRESSWIRE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Man, these Notre Dame guys (and girls) are hardcore football fans. They're now watching Texas A&M-Army (and briefly checked in on Navy-Stanford) and are seriously debating Dennis Franchione's job status. What else have we been talking about? ...

∙ We watched the replay of the Oregon-Oklahoma onside kick several times, and we were all in agreement that, while it was close, the Ducks player definitely touched the ball early. It's hard to believe the replay officials watched the same angles and didn't overturn it. Seems pretty indisputable to me.

∙ These guys TiVoed the beginning of the Nebraska-USC game specifically to watch the replay of USC fullback Ryan Powdrell's gruesome leg injury over and over and ... we must have watched it 10 times, and each time, the "Oooooohs" grew louder. The women started covering their eyes. It was horrific. And yet you couldn't not watch.

∙ The Trojans are now without their top two fullbacks (Brandon Hancock went down before the season) and their running game is still very much a work in progress –- and yet it doesn't seem to matter. Clearly, the defense is phenomenal (it held Nebraska to 213 yards), and there's no overstating just how good John David Booty has looked in both starts so far. As I figured, Dwayne Jarrett had a huge day as well.

∙ Very impressive late-game composure by Chris Leak and Florida in coming back to win at Tennessee 21-20. If you're Urban Meyer, though, the thing you've got to be most thrilled about is the performance of DeShawn Wynn (22 carries, 104 yards). If he does that every week, the Gators will be awfully tough to beat.

∙ I'm sorry, but Bobby and Jeff Bowden are out of excuses for their horrendous offense. Florida State netted just 207 yards against a Clemson defense down three key starters. And to add insult to injury, the 'Noles' vaunted defense seemed to disappear on the Tigers' game-winning drive.

∙ Big win for Tyrone Willingham –- Washington beat Fresno State 21-20. QB Isaiah Stanback has improved by leaps and bounds.

∙ Bad losses for embattled coaches (besides Larry Coker): N.C. State's Chuck Amato, a week after losing to Akron (which itself lost to Central Michigan on Saturday), fell 37-17 at Southern Miss. And Sylvester Croom's Mississippi State team broke out of its scoring slump, but still lost at home to Tulane.

∙ You know what? It's midnight, and I've still got a two-hour drive back to Chicago in front of me. I should probably head out. It's been fun. Hopefully today's action helped you make sense of something. I'm still trying to sort it all out but I'll get back to you tomorrow.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 12:13 AM   by Anonymous
Hey, give some credit to Clemson's offense on that last scoring drive. It's not like FSU just quit...
Posted: 12:25 AM   by Anonymous
In regard to the Auburn, LSU game...give me a break, Auburn did not "pay" officials. You see what you want to and that's that. The officals know what they are doing and they review every play. All these babies on here whinning about the game need to understand that the officials see a lot more than we do and they know what they are doing!
Posted: 12:30 AM   by Anonymous
Michigan should be ranked in the top 3. Probably after OSU and Auburn, but before USC, who has had no real challenge this year (played Neb at home). Michigan's road win was so devastating and so dominating that they EARNED the right to be there. If your team headed to South Bend and did what Michigan did today, you'd say the exact same thing.

Chris in DC
Posted: 12:36 AM   by Anonymous
I watched the Oklahoma game and it was clear that they did not show up until the second half; however I believe they got screwed out of a win. Who hires these officials ahd how do they get away with calling illegal plays good?
Posted: 12:39 AM   by Anonymous
Okay the blog that says "The officals know what they are doing and they review every play." They may review but that does not mean they are always calling what actually happened!!!!!
Posted: 12:52 AM   by Anonymous
If you need any help with your poll I'd love to help! :) Let me know if what you have is anything CLOSE to what I've got.

1) OSU
2) USC
3) Auburn
4) West Virginia
5) Florida
6) Michigan
7) Louisville
8) Texas
9) Georgia
10) LSU
11) Notre Dame
12) Virginia Tech
13) Iowa
14) Oregon
15) TCU
16) Florida State
17) Tennessee
18) Arizona State
19) Boston College
20) California
21) Oklahoma
22) Penn State
23) Clemson
24) Nebraska
25) Rutgers

I know Rutgers shouldn't be there, but c'mon, you gotta love what the Scarlet Knights are doing this year! It's unbelievable. Aside from that, what do you think? I couldn't bring myself to move 1-loss Texas up any after beating a pitiful Rice team. Nor can I see penalizing LSU too much for losing a close, poorly-officiated game.
Posted: 1:16 AM   by Anonymous
Yeah, Oregon got a break. But so did Oklahoma when Malcolm Kelly shoved his defender in the back to catch a td in the 3rd quarter. It was so blatant. Oklahoma got a call that led to td and so did Oregon. Maybe people should talk about that.
Posted: 1:21 AM   by Anonymous
USC #1, OSU #2 and Auburn #3...Michigan is top 5 until their typical collapse after such a promising start.....
Posted: 1:21 AM   by Anonymous
usc's running game may be a work in progress, but it still put up more yards then all but 3 of the 12 teams involved in the ranked vs. ranked games. and i doubt its going anywhere but up
Posted: 1:21 AM   by Anonymous
Chris in DC

I respect Mich for the win, but is it possible that Notre Dame was incredibly overrated entering the day?
Posted: 1:57 AM   by Anonymous
It's possible ND was overrated, and it's more likely that UM was underrated. ND had a really good season last yr and deserved a #2 ranking. Brady Quinn had a MONSTER season last year and returned more starters on defense than ohio state. Is it possible USC and WVA are overrated? They've faced no real threats. You HAVE to reward Michigan for beating the #2 team. Rankings are rankings. It works out in the end. But given that the prior 5 Mich ND games were all decided by a touchdown or less, today's trouncing establishes Mich among the elite. Until someone beats them. We don't know if WVA and USC can withstand a tough challenge. We know Michigan did.
Posted: 2:12 AM   by Anonymous
Pac-10 met the Big 12 in 4 games today. Pac-10 wins all 4!

The Big-12 may be the most overrated conference in America.

Or, perhaps the Pac-10 is a lot better than the fans in the South and East are ready to admit.
Posted: 2:19 AM   by Anonymous
I don't see how anyone could suggest that OSU move down. As long as you are still winning (and holding opponents to single digit points) you should at least hold your spot. USC is no doubt #2. ND should drop. Michigan moves up but I don't think they should be above Texas. Texas lost to a very good OSU team. Giving LSU a break means Texas should get a break too.
Posted: 3:02 AM   by Anonymous
It's ok, let USC be number two... we try harder...

OSU hasn't had a challenge yet, oh except the first two quarters of todays game, where they looked pathetic. It absolutely is insane how much more difficult SC's schedule is than any of the other top ranked teams. How many ranked teams is UM or OSU or Texas going to play, I think if you look at it you will see that USC is going to play more ranked teams than any of those teams. So much for an easy schedule.
Posted: 3:22 AM   by Anonymous
Chesty Chuck demonstrates for the second straight week an inability to digest Twinkies.
Posted: 3:36 AM   by Anonymous
How can anyone seriously consider USC as #1 or 2? Their first real test isn't until Notre Dame and we saw what happened to them today. Rankings should be based on actual performance; not what they did last year or what the "should" do this year.

Teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn, and Florida have all stepped up and won big games. USC takes a back seat to all of them.
Posted: 4:01 AM   by Anonymous
The officials at the UO-OU game reviewed the kickoff for a good long while before failing to overturn the call. They must have seen something we didn't.

But the gentelman makes a good point, what about the horrid Offensive Pass interference the OU got away with, not to mention a blatantly missed delay of game on the 73 yard TD, turned huge pass play that put OU in position to score a touchdown in the 3rd. Is the east coast THAT incapable of giving Oregon some credit?
Posted: 4:48 AM   by Anonymous
I dont know if Michigan can get any where higher then a 6 seed. Sure they went into one of the most hostile places to play and just laid a whoopin on a ND that no one expected. The difference is that Michigan was able to get pressure on Brady Quinn early and rattle him. As for the comment that the last 5 Mich/ND games were all sided bout a touchdown or less; that would be true expect for the 38-0 beating that Michigan gave ND at the Big House 3 years ago. Either way, seperation Saturday was filled with some great games, cant wait till next saturday now
Posted: 7:02 AM   by Anonymous
So when does SEC get respect? For some reason we get shafted because we don't blow out the teams in our conference by 40pts...cough cough PAC 10 or Big 12 cough cough...I'm sorry Aburn and LSU gave you a game that was worth watching down to the final second. So does that mean they deserve to be ranked behind USC just because they are USC? Also do I need to remind you that the LSU team they barely beat would have given any team in the Top 10 trouble. I mean do we not forget the fact that LSU has scored 40+ pts in their last 3 games...one of which included a Miami team that had such good defense that they held the exhaulted FSU to 1 yard rushing???
Posted: 10:06 AM   by Anonymous
What a joy it was to see Michigan thump Notre Dame. Charlie Weis is perhaps the most overrated coach in the history of college football. What on earth has he ever done to be called "The Guru"? Anytime he has matched up with a powerhouse in a big game, he comes up short. Give up the fantasy Notre Dame fans, your team just got exposed. No doubt your team would have been better off with Tyrone Willingham too.
Posted: 10:52 AM   by Anonymous
"Michigan moves up but I don't think they should be above Texas. Texas lost to a very good OSU team. Giving LSU a break means Texas should get a break too."

No one is suggesting that LSU should be ranked higher than Michigan. I think you are reading into this wrong. They are just saying that LSU played at Auburn and lost by 4 (aside from talking about some controversial refereeing) while Texas got pounded AT HOME. The sitations are slighty different. I do not believe LSU should be punished as harshly as say, Notre Dame or Florida State.
Posted: 11:03 AM   by J Bell
USC shouldn't be higher than 4th, yes they have won both of their games easily, but OSU, Auburn, and Michigan are all vastly more experienced teams especially in the backfield. There is absolutely nothing to say to put USC above Ohio State who was preseason number 1 and could have beat Texas by more than they did. (A Texas team that beat USC and returns more players than USC does). Auburn is very good but the SEC might be too tough and barring any upset or injury it should be a 1 vs. 2 when Michigan rolls into Columbus.
Posted: 11:29 AM   by Anonymous
Why shouldn't OSU move down? It's all subjective. If people think they haven't gotten the same quality play or tough wins than other teams I don't think being number 1 and winning is any guarantee. After all it's just a ranking. Applying rules about when a team moves up or down would make it a standing.

Some high ranked teams drip through to the BCS bowls with average preformances, cause people can't take em down unless they lose. When over the course of the season other teams improve and their losses aren't as reflective of the caliber of team they are.

I just move OSU to 15, then back up to 4, try to stop me from doing it again!
Posted: 12:24 PM   by Joe-- Boulder, CO
First of all, guys-- Notre Dame was *way*, *way* overrated. I was shaking my head at the hype after their first two games this season-- they were *not* that good, regardless of the "W". I put ND on par with about a Maryland or Rutgers.

Now, for the people saying West Virginia is overrated-- this is the same team who put on a first-half clinic for SEC champ Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last year. They didn't lose much at all, and their freshmen starters are now a year older and wiser. Overrated?-- I don't think so.
Posted: 1:10 PM   by Anonymous
I think ND was overrated, but you got to give Michigan credit for stomping Notre Dame so thoroughly. Any time you can hold an offense to 35 rushing yards is a good day for your D. At the same time, I would hate to be MSU next week. with Quinn coming out with somthing to prove.
Posted: 1:12 PM   by BraveTiger
What amazes me the most is that no one seems to realize that Oklahoma actually recovered the onside kick, making the illegal touch a moot point. Oklahoma's No. 23 emerged from the back of the pile with the ball after it squirted through No. 9's legs. The Oregon player who appeared to recover the kick never had the ball.
Posted: 1:57 PM   by Anonymous
I'm a Pac-10 Grad (How about those Huskies!) And Auburn deserves to be No. 2. If they go unbeaten with their schedule and don't get in the BCS title game, it will be a travesty. Notre Dame was way overrated and I have a feeling that a certain Pac-10 replay review crew will be disciplined this week.
Posted: 2:21 PM   by Anonymous
Pac-10...congrats on your 4-0 weekend versus the Big 12.

Let's see, the Pac-10 beats traditional powerhouse Baylor and a potent Colorado team. Hawkin's has that team HUMMING on all cylinders.

OU got jobbed, period.

USC had the only impressive win. One great team does not a powerful football conference make.
Posted: 3:20 PM   by Anonymous
Hey Stewart, Can you tell me why Florida State is ranked at all? 1 ugly ugly win over a bad miami team, barely eeking out a win against TROY and losing to Clemson.

Hardly the sort of performances that show you're a top 25 team. Is it because they've got Rice, Duke, NC State, Maryland, Virginia etc on the schedule still with only 2 probably loses in their weak schedule?

Are we seeing Florida State being ranked simply because they used to be a great team?
Posted: 5:36 PM   by David from Oregon
Here's an interesting video regarding the Sooners-Ducks game:


Not only does it show the Ducks touched the ball before 10 yards, it appears Oklahoma recovered. Amazing!
Posted: 5:43 PM   by davidb359
yeah, Oregon caught a break! I,d say they caught more than a break, not only did the ball not go ten yards, they didn't even recover the ball. The call was absolutely atrocious.I hope Oklahoma gets a chance to meet Oregon again in a bowl game. (without pac 10 refs.)
Posted: 5:50 PM   by Anonymous
OU got robbed by a PAC 10 officiating crew. That's as simple as it gets. You know, it is one thing not to catch a mistake, but it's completely beyond comprehension that they could review the onside kick for several minutes and then give Oregon possession. What a joke of officiating. The game's legitmate score should have been 33-27, OU defeats Oregon. Oregon fans and players are delusional if they think they actually won the game rightly. But, hey, when you are 0 for 6 against a team, I guess you have to take them however you can get them.
Posted: 4:28 PM   by Anonymous
This side of last weekend, many an argument could be made on who should be in the top 10. A couple of things are for sure.
West Virginia, over-rated defense, sure Slanton can run, but could the defense hold off any other top 10 team, I think not.

Georgia, under-rated. What other team has a starting true freshman quaterback and a defense who has shutout two teams in a row and quite possibly a third in colorado on sat?

The SEC, just right. Fla, LSU, UGA, AUB. 4 Teams in the top ten, yet no national title in recent years, why not? Difficulty of schedule. USC, Texas, OSU, UWV, undefeated if in the SEC, yeah right!
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