Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/30/2007 12:57:00 AM

Saturday Observations Part IV

Oakland Arena
Will Muschamp (left), Patrick Lee and Auburn had reason to celebrate after giving Florida its first home loss under Urban Meyer.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
From Appalachian State beating Michigan to Colorado beating Oklahoma, from Notre Dame starting 0-5 to South Florida emerging as a national title contender, the cliché “anything is possible” has become anything but a cliché this season -- and we’ve still got more than two months of games to go.

Auburn went into Gainesville a 20-point underdog Saturday night and came out a 20-17 victor. What does that mean? That Florida was highly overrated? If so, Tennessee (which lost 59-20 to those same Gators) must be really bad. But wait -- the Vols hung tough in Berkeley on opening weekend against the same Cal team that is about to ascend into the top three.

Does it mean Auburn is a lot better than its 2-2 record indicated? Most likely -- but that must mean Mississippi State isn’t all that bad either. So what does that say about LSU, which beat the Bulldogs 45-0?

And what of South Florida? Both the Bulls (which knocked off No. 5 West Virginia on Friday) and Auburn have now beaten top-five foes -- but South Florida also beat Auburn. Is there another team in the country with two more impressive victories?

You can wrack your brain all you want trying to figure out what all these interlocking pieces truly mean -- but I wouldn’t advise it. I know because I’ve been trying to do that very thing for the last several hours while re-working my now-meaningless AP Top 25 ballot (I ended up starting over from scratch), and there’s simply no logical way to tie all these seemingly contradictory events into a pretty little bow. Let's focus on a less complicated attempt at analysis: How Auburn beat Florida.

It’s pretty simple, really. The Tigers uncovered what many had secretly suspected: That Tim Tebow is in fact human. It’s not that the Gators’ sophomore QB had a bad game. Far from it. The problem is Florida has become almost entirely dependent on him, and a one-trick pony offense doesn’t work against a defense as stout as Auburn’s. The Gators notched 312 yards of offense Saturday night; Tebow accounted for 276 of that.

Because Urban Meyer still has no confidence in his tailbacks (Kesthan Moore carried three times for just 7 yards) he’s once again relying on Tebow to be his top runner. Only unlike Ole Miss last week, Auburn’s defense didn’t part like the Red Sea on Tebow’s account. On the contrary, the Tigers held him to 3 yards or less on 11 of his first 14 carries. He finally got rolling in the fourth quarter only after Auburn’s top defender, Quentin Groves, went out with an injury.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this before. Florida managed to go 13-1 and win a national title last season using Tebow as a battering ram in place of a competent tailback. Many of the Gators’ wins were every bit as ugly as their performance Saturday night. The difference is, Florida’ defense was absolutely dominant last year. This year’s younger unit is susceptible to the pass, which is how Auburn QB Brandon Cox was able to pick apart the Gators in the first half en route to the Tigers’ two touchdowns.

All of which leads to an inescapable conclusion: Florida is in really big trouble next week at LSU. The Tigers’ defense is even more dominant than Auburn’s, and Matt Flynn’s receivers are a big step up from Cox’s. That said, Florida also lost to Auburn last year ... and went on to win the national title. Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen will almost certainly figure out a way to lighten the load on Tebow and make the offense more dynamic -- maybe not by next week, but in time to salvage their season.

Which is exactly what Auburn did for itself Saturday night. Once left for dead, the Tigers are right back in the thick of things in the SEC West. LSU is the odds-on favorite to win that division, but it will be interesting to see how things shake out among Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama and visibly improved Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

On a weekend in which almost everything we thought we knew about this young college football season went up in smoke, you couldn’t ask for a more improbable ending than a true freshman kicker hitting a game-winning 43-yard field goal -- twice -- in one of the nation’s most hostile stadiums. Two weeks ago, Wes Byrum and his teammates walked off the field to boos and their own stadium; Saturday night, he ran off the field at the Swamp doing the Gator chomp.

How quickly fortunes change in this sport.

• No. 1 USC endured its own "scare" Saturday night at Washington -- but not really.

Yes, the final score was just 27-24, but the Trojans controlled the game for the most part, outgaining the Huskies 460-190. They did their best to keep Washington in the game thanks to two first-half turnovers that led to two Huskies touchdowns (including a 54-yard return of a John David Booty interception) as well as a staggering 16 penalties. Stafon Johnson and Chauncey Washington once again ran the ball at will, and Booty and Patrick Turner (six catches, 87 yards) connected on several big plays.

If you’re a Trojans fan, however, you have three reasons to be concerned right now: Injuries (guard Chilo Rachal joined center Kris O’Dowd and cornerback Shareece Wright – who himself was replacing the injured Cary Harris – on the sideline Saturday); the lack of a second dependable receiver after Turner; and Cal/Oregon/Arizona State. The Trojans, which have to play all three of those ranked teams on the road, are clearly far from invincible, and both the Bears and Ducks sure looked good Saturday.

• Lost in the shuffle of all these upsets was a significant victory for Florida State. It’s not just that the ‘Noles beat a ranked Alabama team; it’s that they may have finally found a quarterback in the process. After watching the offense struggle yet again during a scoreless first half (while the defense dominated the Tide’s offense just as it did Colorado’s two weeks ago), coordinator Jimbo Fisher sent his first call of the season to Xavier Lee -- and the offense immediately seemed to wake up.

The more mobile Lee finished with 283 total yards and threw for two touchdowns in the 21-14 victory. This isn’t the first time Lee has given ‘Noles fans reason for hope -- but this was also a far more impressive performance than any in the past. With a defense like FSU’s, Lee doesn’t need to be Charlie Ward to win games -- he just needs to help move the chains with more regularity than has been the case for the ‘Noles the past few years.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 1:12 AM   by Jesse
I love how when Kansas State beats Texas and Colorado beats OU the Big 12 sucks, but when Auburn beats Florida the SEC is amazing because they're so good "top to bottom"
Posted: 1:15 AM   by Steve
Jesse, that's called covering your tracks.
Posted: 1:25 AM   by wess
the reason it shows that the big 12 sucks is becasue Colorado was 2-10 last year and has not been a good team since the early 90's. K-State has been miserable of late too... And before you back K-State, thier ranked teams of the early 2000's were grossly overrated... Get beat by teams that have been relevant in the past few years and we will not say you suck. Don't discount Florida, Auburn DID WIN the National Championship a few years ago.
Posted: 1:32 AM   by SurfinTT
Don't worry Big 12 fans. LSU didn't exactly light up the Superdome yesterday either. The SEC and PAC-10 will probably tear each other down as well. It's not out of the question that we will have at least four 2 loss teams in the top 10 before the seasons over.
Posted: 1:41 AM   by SasQuatch
Stew, good analysis.

I'm not sure that USC is the "real deal." The only reason (other than predictable and excusable frosh mistakes by the Huskies) that Washington was in the game were all those penalties you pointed at.

Should not the juggernaut expected and predicted to win it all have played better? Was it the officials? Was it the players? Was it the coaching? Or . . . ?

I think it was because the predictions and expectations may have been skewed. I would hate to be a USC player at practice this coming week because I think Carroll is a fine coach who will address that (or try). He's got the talent . . why not win?

My take is that USC, playing as they did, would not have matched up to LSU, Kansas State, Colorado, FSU, UGA, OSU (the Ohio one), USF, or Kentucky this week. Maybe not even Michigan.

I also think the USC/Notre Dame game is going to be very interesting (I know . . but just a hunch, as the Husky game was and proved to be almost correct).

Best of Luck with that poll.
Posted: 2:03 AM   by quentin
The perfect time to lose... early, and with a crowd. USC and LSU will lose this year. If they lose late, they won't climb back.
Posted: 2:05 AM   by Big_Suede
USC is going to have a tough time as long as they continue their attempt at making John David Booty into a heisman candidate. It was pure arrogance that they continued to ignore the run game and force throws that Booty cant make. Truth is that Sanchez and Mustain are probably better choices for QB and it will be very tough for the trojans to get into a BSC with this team.
Posted: 2:07 AM   by hump
Wess, stop smoking crack. Auburn hasn't won a national championship since your grandfather was pumping future babies into a sock.
Posted: 2:10 AM   by TrumanHugh
Hey Stewart

"Auburn went into Gainesville a 20-point underdog Saturday night and came out a 17-14 victor."

Am I missing something? This is the SECOND thing you've gotten wrong today: the final score was Auburn 20, Florida 17.

Earlier, you wrote about Oregon's Cameron Colvin almost running in the "game-winning touchdown." Did you somehow know that, had Colvin not fubmled it away and it did end up a TD, that Belotti was going to go for two??

"In hindsight," I'll bet you're wishing you had a fact checker before posting your blog!

Go Bears!
Posted: 2:10 AM   by Juice813
USF + National Title....I f'n love it. God its been a long road for me to hear those words. Going through all the garbage Ive had to hear from the so call big 3 fans in Fl. As a season ticket holders who has been countless games, to see that stadium that loud last night was amazing and to see UF fall to the point where we will hopefully be in the top 10 and ranked higher then them is amazing....I literally have no voice right now from the game but Im still calling people talking junk. This is why I love college football.
Posted: 2:11 AM   by Thomas
Well, at least Texas A&M beat Baylor. Woo Hoo!!!
Posted: 2:14 AM   by dk
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 2:18 AM   by dk
So far, this year proves beyond a doubt that we need a serious playoff at this level. Not this 8 team crap.

On any given night, almost anything can happen between teams 1-32 (but don't forget the App States of the world). Those best on paper aren't always the best on the field.

Football needs to formalize "insanity" we saw to day in the system. Football needs underdogs in the hunt. We need to see a "Villanova."
Posted: 2:22 AM   by wayne
The penalties assessed in the USC - Washington game were ridiculous. I've never seen such bad officiating, oh wait, ya, the NC game were the refs blew so many calls that Texas won. Hmmmm do you think there is a bias against the number one team?
Posted: 2:36 AM   by Rayon Fog
I agree with what someone else said about USC. My faith in John David Booty is about as thin as it can get right now. He's now proven over 17-odd games that he can't go deep and that he makes bad decisions under pressure. If I had a dime for every overthrown deep ball from Booty, I could pay for his 4th-round contract that he'll be lucky to get next year. It's time for Sanchez.

Also, how on earth can USC sustain so many injuries over the last two years and not have someone ask questions about their strength and conditioning program? There are clearly some problems in that department that need to be addressed and fast. Sure, every opponent is bringing their "A" game, but these injuries are getting ridiculous.
Posted: 2:42 AM   by jake2
Let's see...FL loses to Auburn, who lost to USF in their own house; Florida State beats a tough SEC opponent; while Miami has been looking better and better. Could it be that Florida is only the 4th best team in its own state? This weekend is beautiful.
Posted: 2:54 AM   by BIGT
With all of the "upsets" that we've seen over this weekend (and over the course of the season), can we all agree now that using polls to determine the best college football team is the most idiotic way to determine who should play for a national championship?

The playing field in Division I-A football has become too level for polls to work. There are no clear cut favorites anymore. It's time for a playoff! It seems to work OK for Division I-AA, Division II, and Division III football.
Posted: 3:32 AM   by Scott
I don't see how Meyer can continue to run Tebow the way he does. Over the next 3 years, it seems likely that some SEC (or FSU) linebacker will eventually knock him out.
Posted: 4:05 AM   by COphidc
People really need to stop the endless harping about the relative strengths of the conferences and biases against them. It's the type of thing that only an idiot would care about. Root for your team. If your team loses, it doesn't matter how good a conference they're in, because they lost, and as a fan, that's all that should matter. The only people who talk about conferences are people hopelessly looking for a rooting interest because they do not have a natural one. Pick a team, root for them, not them and their direct competition at the same time.
Posted: 4:26 AM   by Charles
Once again you're showing that you are a mediocre sports writer. Last week you bashed the SEC as being overrated. Now with all those top teams falling like they did Sat, I am still waiting for you to say how every conference sucks.

Closed mind + sports write + horses ass = stewart mandel.

If this current trend keeps up, it will be a real treat to see LSU rip overrated usc apart.

PS- The big 12 sucks.
You know what? This weekend was everything that was good about CFB: I was glued to the set all day long, flipping back and forth between channels to keep up-to-date on games where I didn't even really have an rooting interest, just for the joy of watching young athletes defy the odds. Just beautiful-- absolutely astounding.

But you know what? At the end of the day, we're still on track for a USC/LSU NC game: the juggling of the teams behind them is entirely incidental. So hopefully all the posters can skip the personal attacks and blatant homerism this week, and focus on how wonderfully unpredictable CFB is, since that's really what makes it SO much better than the No Fun League.

Nah, that's probably too much to ask, isn't it?
Posted: 6:26 AM   by Morgan
Let me help you Stewart. Tennessee is that bad! Fire Fulmer and his staff and get someone in there that can teach his team to have heart, intensity, tackle, and win!
Posted: 8:00 AM   by BeerCan
I said it two years ago, I said it last year, and now I'm saying it again: UF should can Dan Mullen, the Gators' unimaginative play-calling offensive coordinator. (Hey! "Can Dan," now there's a slogan with a chomp to it.) The guy has all the talent of a cardboard box.
Posted: 9:37 AM   by phork
Uh, how about we just call it a draw? All the best teams are fairly equal, same with mediocre, and the bad teams. I guess its just deciding whos who.
Posted: 9:51 AM   by Jamey
I cant wait to see USF rip overrated LSU apart. SEC SUCKS
Posted: 10:10 AM   by ramiuseng
I just hope that the coaches and sports writers don't whuss out and try hard to sift out the rankings. Last year the two best teams did not play for the championship b/c UF makes for better ad dollars and an undefeated team from a less known school got the shaft. A few years back, Auburn got denied the chance to play USC because Nebraska brings in more ad money. And I was at that O.B. game, Nebraska had no business being there. The USC fans kept chanting "Over-rated!" and they were right!
This is the second year in a row that Auburn beats UF. This time Meyer had to reach into Spurrier's bag of dirty tricks. It is time the ranking folks get the hint. UF is "Over-rated!"
Posted: 10:13 AM   by jemclean
Go Seminoles!!! Great win against Alabama. The Noles defense (under Coach Andrews) is always potent, but now to have an offense that responds so well with Xavier Lee at the helm as QB was awesome!!! Thank you Coach Bowden, Coach Fisher and Coach Andrews for preparing the team so well! Our coaches and players have finally given dedicated Seminoles fans something to cheer about again!!!! We support you! GO NOLES!!!
Posted: 10:18 AM   by GatorBait
The Gators lost the game -- plain and simple. All those unnecessary penalties are caused from a defense. Remember, even though we have been hearing about Tebow for what seems like a long time, he's only a sophomore and this is his first starting year.

I had expected Gators to lose 3 this year. But watch out next year!

Go Gators
Posted: 10:24 AM   by Sean
My bologna has a first name it's U-r-b-a-n, my bologna has a second name it's M-e-y-e-r...and that's just what Meyer's time out was...BOLOGNA! Yes, it's legal, and the Gator nation will claim it's just gamesminship...and maybe tomorrow I will think it is. But last night and today, I just think it's shady and I'm kinda glad to see that poll campaigning, whiny, pretty boy lose twice in the same night to a rival! Can we call that two loses in the polls!?
Posted: 10:31 AM   by 1packerfan
I had to comment on a few things...

Re: Miami is getting better and better. I don't know, it seems Miami only leading Duke 10-7 after 3 quarters would REALLY worry me.

Re: Auburn beating UF 2 years in a row and pollsters getting the hint, UF is overrated. I don't care for UF myself, but didn't they win a National Championship in the last 12 months? I don't think that is something that can be ignored.

Stew, I do not envy you for putting together this weeks poll.

Is it possible Oregon will actually move up in the polls despite losing? They lost, but by a touchdown to higher ranked Cal. Most of the teams that lost that were higher in the polls lost to unranked teams.

Wisconsin. Ugghh! I'm a Wisconsin fan but I agree with you, they do not look like a top ten team. Well, their defense doesn't anyway. What do you do here? They are one of the few teams that did manage to squeak out a win but their defense looked so awful I don't think I could even justify a move up in the polls.

Good luck with the voting!
Posted: 10:47 AM   by bullsfan
The compexity and unpredictability of college football is what makes it interesting. Who would have thought the only team with a reasonable chance of remaining unbeaten at season's end, if teams continue to play as they have been playing, is South Florida? That being said, it is still true that a playoff is the only fair way to determine the true champion: polls are way too subjectve, and the algorithms used in the BCS computer rankings are also biasd in favor of certain conferences and teams.
Posted: 10:48 AM   by sudhir
May be Hawaii is the team to beat this year under Colt Brennan they are practically butchering evryone. What about those BC with Rex Ryan... these guys should be ranked as top teams.
Got sick of seeing same teams ranked top for years...this weeks ranking will be refreshing a bit.
Posted: 10:58 AM   by Chandu
Although I graduated from LSU and love to see a USC - LSU (both unbeaten)for the BCS championship game, I have a feeling that California and (Ohio State or Wisconsin) may end up in the BCS title game.

I am expecting other crazy Saturdays, which will once again change the national championship picture.

Go Tigers ...or should I say
Go College Football.....
Posted: 11:00 AM   by Jamboo
It's a scary time when you consider that Kentucky is approaching the top 10. I know it is nearly impossible, but picture this: if Kentucky upsets LSU in two weeks...could they possibly go undefeated and play for a championship? I know, I know, it's about as likely to happen for App. St. to upset Michigan in the Big House, but exactly how strong is the SEC if/when LSU shows vulnerability? No matter what happens, though, I agree with a few others in this blog...college football is awesome!
Posted: 11:05 AM   by Grant
Wow - you said that USC hasn't found a secondary receiver yet? How about soft hands Havili? Or the beastly tight end Fred Davis. USC is playing both of those guys out as wide outs at times. USC has a wealth of talent at the WR position. The issue right now is that Booty doesn't have any timing with some of those young guys. I think that as the season progresses, that timing will be established. I will say one thing - Booty MUST be able to complete that deep ball. He overthrew several deep open receivers last night.
Posted: 11:05 AM   by Grant
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 11:09 AM   by Bill
Xavier Lee is the epitome of what a college football player should be. Never heard him complain to the media (although his dad did) about sitting. Yes he expressed disappointment (he should). Finally gets his chance this year. Does a wonderful job. Then, refuses to take any individual credit.

One mistake. Not bad for a guy who hadn't played in a real game in so long.
Posted: 11:09 AM   by Bill
Xavier Lee is the epitome of what a college football player should be. Never heard him complain to the media (although his dad did) about sitting. Yes he expressed disappointment (he should). Finally gets his chance this year. Does a wonderful job. Then, refuses to take any individual credit.

One mistake. Not bad for a guy who hadn't played in a real game in so long.
Posted: 11:09 AM   by Bennett
I love how everyone is bashing USC as "overrated" and exalting LSU as the sure favorite. Did anyone watch the first half of the LSU v Tulane game? LSU was not there. Penalties galore, sideline warnings, lots of pressure up front, forcing Matt Flynn to basically get a lot of hurries, an intentional grounding call, and a safety.
The coaches figured it out in the locker room at the half, but it was scary how terrible they looked against TULANE, especially from a discipline standpoint. If that had been any other offense, there would have been some serious points against LSU(a lot of dropped passes by Tulane).
That being said, I LOVE THIS GAME! Half the top 10 LOST, all but one of those losses being to an unranked opponent(USF being the exception). I'd venture to say that ESPN has an intern trying to find out when the last time this many top 25 ranked teams lost on the same day.
Posted: 11:17 AM   by Helzapoppin
I have to say, the Trojans (my team through and through) were in typical heartbreak form last night. Even with all the success the program has had over the last several years, USC still has a consistency of play issue that sometimes leads to ridiculous upsets (see UCLA last year) and is the only reason the Trojans are not currently 4 time consecutive National Champions. There is no way they will get past Cal and Oregon playing like that. I don't think I would even argue at this particular point in time if LSU, a team I also like and respect, were to leapfrog into the #1 spot. (just so long as the Torjans make it to the BCS title game) And this is coming from a diehard SC fan and alum.

That said, the officiating in the Pac-10 continues to be questionable. Apparently the officials in last night's game felt that TACKLING in general constituted a personal foul. The Trojans were admittedly playing poor football, but certainly not to the tune of 16 penalties for 100+ yards.

Stew, I don't even remotely envy your task this week in your ballot selection. Props to Cal and Oregon (Pac-10 cupcakes? I think not). And way to go Auburn. Always liked them.

Next week, Oklahoma rebounds and crushes Texas. Bigtime. And fates willing, USC comes back looking like the team they actually are.
Posted: 11:24 AM   by numberfive
Can we please talk about how the Oregon home town officials ALMOST robbed another team of a victory (robbing Cal of a clear field goal, reminiscent of the Oklahoma theft)?
Posted: 11:26 AM   by UWHsky87
The Trojans will lose two games in the PAC-10 if they continue to play the way they did on Saturday night. If they give up 160 yards in penalties on the road at Cal or Oregon, they'll get smoked! ASU is no patsy either. You heard it here first, it's gonna be LSU and some other one loss team in the BCS.
Posted: 11:27 AM   by Arun
It is all about matchups..some called by media as WEAK teams matchup very well against the so called top teams. I also think 90% of media are not ready to accept when their own top team list is not the right list...they try to give excuses that ...penalties were the reason, some decisions went against the team...so on..but won't admit that they were wrong in assessing a team.
Posted: 11:49 AM   by horsecoder
Next weeks upsets: Wisconsin and Ohio State lose.

Stew, what is wrong with Alabama's offense? Is it hiding until the 4th quarter?
Who needs a playoff? This Saturday was just as exciting as any postseason would have been... and what's best, it's only week 5! Also if there was a playoff at the end of the season, none of this would have mattered. You'd still see the same usual suspects in there, just seeded differently. No, this is college football at its best. Each and every week is a playoff!

Also, I'd like to give a little love to the Big Ten, since no one else has been lately. All of the sudden, those mid level teams (Mich. State, Illinois, Purdue, and even Indiana) seem to be turning the corner. So what if Wisconsin is just "squeaking" by. Do we all forget that just a few short years ago the Buckeyes won close game after close game en route to a National Title win over Miami? As long as they keep winning, that's all that matters. And speaking of the Bucks, despite being so young, they're more dangerous than most give them credit for.
Posted: 12:00 PM   by carly
re: miami & duke
I am an ACC fan (our league gets trashed all the time, but ummm, Maryland & FSU beat who? oh yeah, ranked Big East and SEC teams)But back to Duke, they've actually been pretty decent this year. Their record says they only have one win but that's a lot more than what they've had. Plus other than the UConn game, they haven't been blown out. This is not the same 'ol Duke. And honestly, Miami and FSU are rebuilding and showing they're on the right path.

re: Florida
And being from the State of Florida and NOT being a Gators fan, I have to admit I did watch with glee as Auburn went into the Swamp and stomped UF. But again, it's UF, you know they'll come back swinging.

re: USF
As for USF, I hope they get the respect they deserve in the rankings. They've been waiting a long time. It's not easy being a Florida school. They're not one of the Florida "Big Three" yet (they're a couple National Championships away from making it the "Big Four"), but they'll get there. And even UCF is showing that Florida spirit (ahem, foreshadowing Texas' fall).
Posted: 12:19 PM   by sakes
So USF is the new Big East team that you're throwing in our face. It was WVU, Rutgers and Louisville, but they certainly all flunked their preseason rankings.

Now you're saying that USF has 2 huge wins? USF beat WVU in one of the ugliest games I've ever seen. They both looked like the were playing in the rain with the turnovers. WVU - like Rutgers before yesterday - has yet to beat a team to legitimize it's lofty preseason ranking. Auburn played a great game last night, but are you really saying that it was the same Auburn that USF beat, or is the the same Auburn that Miss St. beat the week after. Using your logic, USC is a little better than Washington.

Also - any props for the ACC? You gave major props to the Big East while doing some major ACC bashing - and that was after week one. Remember?
Posted: 12:42 PM   by sizzlejah
GO Gators,

I now understand the true meaning of being a fan. I will now and will forever love the gGators, through good and bad. Our defense is very young, and we need a running back. Many other teams are worse off than we are, ad we will lose a few more times this year. With the defense gaing valuable experience this year, we should be back next year. GO GATORS!
USF is a contender. Cal is a pretender. The Bulls belong in the top five, maybe no lower than the #3 spot. Besides, there's no need to push Cal up any higher in the rankings with the USC game a little more than a month away. And let's face it -- the Golden Bears were only a play or two away from losing to Oregon. It's hard to argue for a top five ranking for the Golden Bears when, late in the game, their only chance of pulling out a win this week was to hope their opponent would ultimately beat itself (which, improbably enough, it did).
Posted: 1:53 PM   by mikali_157
What a GREAT year for college football!!! The games are exciting, the upsets plentiful and regardless of what anyone says, there's not one team that is a lock to play in a BCS bowl.

I also have to agree with Jesse - there is a double standard when it comes to the SEC. This year, the SEC is 4-4 against the other BCS conferences and has yet to win one on the road. That performance seems average to below average to me.
I agree wholeheartedly with Big_Suede and Rayon_Fog about John David Booty. If (when?) USC falls it will be because the Trojans could not overcome its mediocre quarterback. Booty has made a reputation on potential and tools but it has yet to be translated to the field. His stats are only a reflection of the system and the skills he is surrounded by. He looks like someone feigning confidence every time he drops back into the pocket. How many more throws are going to be batted down before he makes an adjustment? USC lost two games last year because of throws he couldn't get past the line of scrimmage, and he still hasn't done anything to remedy this flaw. His receivers are getting open, but he can't make the right throw at the right time. Pete Carroll needs to quickly realize that he doesn't need a heisman QB to win a national championship. With this defense and running game, you don't need Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart to win football games. Craig Krenzel, Chris Leak, Matt Mauck, and Ken Dorsey have won national championships by beng efficient and not making mistakes. It's time for John David Booty to accept his role and just stay out the way before he blows it for the Trojans.
Posted: 2:31 PM   by Juice813
Sakes, Obviously Stewart isnt the only one to think USF is forreal. #6 and really should be #5 cuz Wisconsin shouldnt of won that game yesterday. It's a great day to be a bull and if dont think so....3 weeks ago, unranked...today #6. Think about it.
Just saw the polls. It is an outrage that both Florida (who lost to an unranked team at home) and Okl (who lost to unranked and 2 win last year Colorado) actually picked up spots on WVU. Especially after the pollsters gave USF such a high ranking. Just a thought. Crazy pollsters!
Posted: 3:01 PM   by ahug300hp
Hmmm...let's see...SEC blah blah...any given saturday blah blah blah... way too much attention justifying the status quo by fans and the media maybe?

Why? It's not about conference dominance!

Five top ten teams went down this weekend. What do three of the upsets have in common? The teams who defeated them are competitively linked. KSU barely lost (and should have won) to what was then called "a not as good as we thought" Auburn team (likely due to how KSU manhandled them most of the game), Auburn in turn lost to a USF media "darling". Now, Auburn has "saved" their season and "turned it around", USF is becoming a "Cinderella story", and of course, everyone is saying Texas is "not really all that good". The cfb fan and media bias is still alive and well, and once again conveniently dismisses K-State's legitimacy!

It seems to me that a real story lies in the VERY FACT that KSU played Auburn (closely), who played USF (closely), and then ALL THREE of these teams pull top 10 upsets! This is not just a "on any given Saturday" random occurance as many have myopically observed. This is an example of three interrelated non-conference teams actually being VERY GOOD, yet being dismissed early on because of the ol' cfb bias. Three top ten upsets exacted by three teams that competed with each other in games so closely played? Not a coincidence at all!

Oh, and GO CATS!!!
Posted: 3:16 PM   by gators8520
keep talking about florida being overrated because the defense is learning this year and the offense has no running back....buut if you think about next years team we lose 2 great players on defense compared to about 6 or 7 last year and a full year of experience and also for offense get a great back on moody who might actually get florida to install an ace set where tebows actually under center

prediction next years florida and lsu game will be even bigger than this years and this will be the game of the year for years to come
Posted: 3:28 PM   by maire
Wess - you're correct - Auburn has been robbed of the National Championship twice in the last decade - once by greedy BCS officials who didn't think AU would draw enough ad revenue and once by NCAA probation (undefeated, untied). For Auburn to go into the Swamp and win yesterday is even better than last year's win at home. The SEC is the strongest and most exciting conference in college football.
Posted: 3:31 PM   by GatorBait
I agree that Florida was a little over rated to start the first few games of the season, but this will be a top 10 by years end and if they can pull off the upset Saturday aginst LSU, everyone may be back on the bandwaggon once again. And to all you Teow haters out their, re watch last nights game. W/O Tebow we get nothing last night. And here are some stats for you...

85/122 passing for a 69.6% completion % on the season.

11/2 TD to interception ratio

8 TD's Rushing

1297 yards passing

Sorry folks can't argue eith the legitimacy of these #'s. No one on this blog can name more than 2 or 3 quarterbacks that are better in the nation.
Posted: 4:00 PM   by Big_Suede
Its really sad that the Pac-10 has to overcome so much Bias... USC, Cal, Oregon, Arizona state, and UCLA are all top 25 teams. How does Oregon lose position with all these ranked teams losing to nobodies.... Oregon Should be in the top 8... lame!
Posted: 4:20 PM   by Ben
Stew,

Here's some help with your Auburn conundrum: The Auburn team that beat Florida last night is not even close to being the same team that lost two of its first three games and barely beat K-State. Unlike in the first four games, Cox played well and was protected, the receivers didn't drop passes, the O-line opened huge holes for the backs, the defense tackled well in the open field, and the DBs stuck to receivers like glue. If THIS Auburn team had showed up from Day One, Auburn would be 5-0. But they didn't, and that's the way it goes.
Posted: 4:26 PM   by Joe
LSU does not play well in morning games and it showed in the first half . You have to give a lot of credit to Tulane Defense. The game this Saturday vs. UF LSU will look much better at home in front of 92,000+ fans and at night.Tebow will have his problems against one of the best Defenses in the land if not the best. LSU Offense will come at you in many ways.

USC what can you say but they were lucky last night. John David Booty is one of the worst QB's in the land if you can not throw long you will lose a game are two.With games that are coming up with CAL,Arizona St.and UCLA it will be hard for the USC go back to the BCS title game.

Playoffs we need and this is how it could be done. Keep the bowl games and use top 4 bowl games and put the top 8 teams in them then who wins those first 4 bowl game move them in a second week with 4 teams remaining put them in two bowls games then the last two standing put them in in the rose bowl and who wins it will be the the champs.
Posted: 4:36 PM   by Gelson
Two comments:
1) Football is still a TEAM sport. The unit needs to play well. While Tebow is a playmaker, if the team falters, there is only soo much he can do. He doesn't play on the defensive side, where UF has allowed both Auburn and Miss to run all over them and their secondary has not found a Reggie Nelson replacement. Additionally, Meyer needs to find a running back to take some pressure off Tebow.

2) COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!! There are advantages for the BCS and Playoffs. Ultimately, a playoff system works and has worked for ALL other sports, football included.
Posted: 4:39 PM   by PGirasole
Wes, Auburn did not win the national championship a few years back you dumbass. When you learn about college football, then you can argue.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by BCSguru
Let's see...Gators lose to an unranked team at home...
Sooners lose to an unranked team.

Mountaineers lose on the road to the team currently at #6.

Gators and Sooners remain several spots above the Mountaineers.

Hmmmmm.

These polls make great sense.
Posted: 4:51 PM   by Tsip01
Stop it Folks....You are missing the point about this weekend. This is not about the dominance of teams or conferences. You have taken this fun, fall acitivity and bastardized it into the stupidity of pro sports...egos, pre-madonna's, talking heads (Stewart), etc.. This is about "Parity". Is this not what we want...on any given Saturday?

As far as the greatness of your teams and conferences, remember a line from a quote of Gen. George Patton - "A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting."
Posted: 5:10 PM   by Kris
"Auburn DID WIN the National Championship a few years ago"

Umm, no it didn't. This is just as bad as USC fans claiming they won 2 straight when LSU was the actual champion the first of those years.

I'm mad at the AP. Tulane's only victory came over a 1AA school, and they hung in against the 'great' team of LSU for a half. Washington was a top 25 team until it had to play 2 Pac-10 teams that were heavily favored to compete for the Pac-10 title. Someone tell me how a close victory over a decent 1A school is worse than a non-impressive victory over a team that can't win a 1A game?
Posted: 5:45 PM   by troutman
Saturday just proved 3 things. That parity in college football is real. That mental preparedness and focus is a great talent equalizer. And last but not least, its how you finish. Unfortunately, we will have to live with the baised media and computers to tell us who we will watch play for the National Championship. And Stewart, I am a fan. and I understand that your opinions or just like everyone elses, right and wrong. No big deal...
Posted: 5:50 PM   by MICHAEL
Does anyone really think that, if they played this weekend, that USF would beat Florida??? I don't think so.
Posted: 6:05 PM   by Andy
Pretty atrocious that WVU got smacked down to 13th for losing to a seemingly legit top 10 team on the road. Seems like the pollsters are licking their chops for WVU, Rutgers, L'ville to lose so they can knock them way down in the polls. Not saying that WVU looked like top 5 material but the quality of their loss with a hurt starting QB, on the road, to a ranked opponent far exceeded the quality of losses suffered by UF and OU. Makes you wonder if WVU would have moved up even if they had won or if Cal would have jumped them.
At some point people have to realize that the Big East is still a good conference and give it the respect it deserves.
Posted: 6:53 PM   by Mike
I have to agree with jesse on the first post - the Big 12 usually gets no love. But Texas, Kansas State, and Nebraska are all ranked - near the bottom but still AP ranked, so for one week they've got all the love they are going to get.

I love how Mack Brown played down the 'revenge' angle after K-State took Texas out last year. That was a dumb choice.
Posted: 6:59 PM   by KB
Some excellent comments here and I'll chime in on ones I agree with. 1) maybe there shouldn't be polls until the first week in October. This would eliminate a lot of absurdity (like USC and LSU both making "statements" by beating overrated Nebraska and Virginia Tech; 2) The obsession with conferences is one of the least attractive elements of college football. It leads to circular arguments: Auburn beating Florida = how great the SEC is because any team can beat any other team because the SEC is great, while USC struggling against Washington = how overrated USC is because the PAC-10 is weak. How you determine team strenght depends on assumptions you have about the conference they play in. A playoff, of course, would solve that problem; 3)Booty is a good quarterback, but he's not the man, and I completely agree that USC is hurting themselves by trying to make him the man. They should run the ball 50 times a game and throw deep sometimes to keep defenses honest.
The Book
Comments
More Mandel
Recent Posts
divider line
Search