SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/07/2006 01:06:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part I
Greetings, football enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the Blog is coming to you today from my couch in New York. I say unfortunately, because I was supposed to be at The Swamp, one of my two or three favorite venues to cover a game, for LSU-Florida, but alas, I was sick most of this week and it got to the point where traveling was not an option. So, instead of writing amidst a sea of 90,000 screaming fans, I'm writing while trying to tune out my neighbor's screaming kid.
The one positive in all this, however, is that I'll now be able to watch all of the many big games today and produce more frequent Blog posts. There's already been all kinds of interesting developments, so let's get this thing going ...
∙ One thing the 2006 season has been missing so far is a major, top-10 upset. Could we be seeing it with Arkansas-Auburn? The Razorbacks came out like gangbusters, completing a 50-yard touchdown pass to go up 10-0 on the second-ranked Tigers, though Auburn seems to have woken up now, and just drove for a touchdown.
∙ Wake Forest is for real, folks. I don't know whether they'll end up beating Clemson or not, but as of early second quarter, the Deacons had built a 14-3 lead thanks to some impressive defense (holding James Davis to 38 yards on 12 carries) and a surprisingly wide-open offense. QB Riley Skinner, the redshirt freshman who replaced injured starter Ben Mauk, is 5-of-5 passing and caught a 19-yard touchdown on a trick play.
∙ By the way, watching his Clemson-Wake game begs a question: Is it possible that Florida State is the fifth-best team in its own division? We'll concede Maryland, but the 'Noles have already lost to Clemson and N.C. State, Wake Forest is making a case that it's better than both those teams, and Boston College beat Clemson. Just a thought.
∙ Looks like Drew Tate has rebounded nicely from his Ohio State nightmare. He's gone 9-of-13 for 151 yards and a touchdown in staking Iowa to a 14-0 lead over Purdue.
∙ This just in from our friends at the Dennis Franchione Hot Seat Watch: Kansas 10, Texas A&M 0. (This game, incidentally, is supposed to be on Fox Sports New York, according to my on-screen guide, but no -- Villanova-Hofstra.)
∙ Finally, major props to the Florida fan on GameDay who was holding up an enormous picture of Kazakhstan's most famous reporter, Borat, wearing a Gators T-shirt above the words "Great Success."
ESPN gets two thumbs down for showing Illinois-Indiana, the two worst teams in the Big Ten, on Indy cable TV rather than Purdue-Iowa. Apparently ESPN would rather concern themselves with muscling cable companies into offering ESPNU than giving sportsfans what they love, good football games. What a joke.
Sorry you are ailing. Thanks for hitting the keyboard nonetheless. Saw the WF CB get ejected for throwing a flailing forarm at the partially submerged Clemson player. Should the penalty be a suspension for 1/2 of next game unless the "punch" is a really awkward effort that doesn't land well, in which case you have to sit out the entire next game? (Nervous in Portland waiting for the game in Bezerkley to start.)
I was at the Syracuse - Wake Forest game that opened the season, and what I saw in that game makes the Demon Deacons' run all the more remarkable. After Mauck went down, redshirt freshman Riley Skinner was a complete disaster - his first two plays nearly resulted in turnovers. Recognizing the problem Wake Forest then simply decided to not call a single pass play for the rest of the game! With everyone in the Stadium knowing what was coming, it was remarkale that Wake Forest went on to control the game - but it hardly boded well for the future. Great job by Skinner in climbing the learning curve very quickly....
Run down to Duane Reade and grab some Zicam - that stuff really works.
As I watch Arkansas sack Cox for the 5th time, I keep thinking how good that USC win at Razorback Stadium looks right about now. Of course, the Auburn faithful will claim that Arkansas didn't have a 100% McFadden for that game, but I counter with this - USC whupped 'em in Arkansas (this time), and USC's entire backfield was starting its first game. I dunno, but that McFadden argument is pretty much neutralized, IMO.
So can we please shut up about Auburn now? And while we're at it, a whole re-think of this 'SEC is the toughest' argument is in order.
Not only did they hold up two Borat signs at USC last week, but they were funnier! Last week's signs included the now-famous quote, "I like!" The Florida fan's sign was just a cheap copy of a genious idea.
To the person upset that the IU/Illinois game was shown locally in Indy as opposed to the Purdue/Iowa game.... I did watch a good football game... a FG on the final play for a 34-32 Hoosier victory. The final in the Iowa/Purdue game? 47-17 Hawkeyes. You didn't really want to watch that, did you?
The ACC is wide open. Clemson and Georgia Tech looks like the class of the ACC, the #2's are NC State and Virginia Tech. I'm a loyal Wolfpack fan, and we finally have a Quarterback, love that Evans Kid.... If we had just started the season with Evans....I hope the pack keeps it up....