After taking on
dire rebuilding jobs last year, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and Greg
Robinson of Syracuse are seeing signs of progress. The Huskies, 2--9 in
Willingham's first season, are 2--1 after a 21--20 upset of Fresno State last
Saturday. Quarterback Isaiah Stanback (above) produced 242 total yards and had
a hand in all three touchdowns. "It's so important to have that trust
factor with your coach," says the fifth-year senior, whose class went
through two coaches ( Rick Neuheisel and Keith Gilbertson) before Willingham
arrived following his ouster from Notre Dame. "You can tell our team has a
lot closer bond." Meanwhile Syracuse, 1--10 a year ago, snapped an 11-game
losing streak with a 31--21 win at Illinois. A week earlier the Orange took No.
14 Iowa to overtime before falling 20--13. Syracuse, which struggled in its
transition to the West Coast offense last season, ran for 202 yards against the
Illini. "I could see us improving," says Robinson, a first-time head
coach who served as Texas' co--defensive coordinator in 2004. "The players
watch film--they could see it too."
HEAD TO HEAD
Arizona State QB
Rudy Carpenter versus Cal cornerbacks Daymeion Hughes and Syd'Quan Thompson
The Sun Devils
and the Golden Bears hope to contend with USC for the Pac-10 title. Carpenter
(right), the sophomore whom ASU coach Dirk Koetter promoted to starter over
senior Sam Keller (who has since transferred to Nebraska), hasn't looked like
the freshman who led the country in pass efficiency last season; he threw for
only 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in last week's 21--3
win over Colorado. Meanwhile, Hughes, an All-- Pac-10 selection last season, and
Thompson, a redshirt freshman thrown into the fire early due to injuries, will
be looking to redeem themselves after their opening-week debacle against
Tennessee, whose receivers caught four passes of 40 or more yards against
THREE AND OUT
Georgia second-year defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, 43, is a rising
star. The Bulldogs, who ranked 18th nationally in total defense last season,
have had consecutive shutouts (over South Carolina and UAB) for the first time
in 26 years.
A soft schedule hasn't hurt the ranking of No. 4 West Virginia, but it could
still have a detrimental effect. The Mountaineers' defense, which next faces
East Carolina, Mississippi State, Syracuse and Connecticut, will not be tested
much between now and a Nov. 2 showdown at No. 8 Louisville.
Navy, 3--0 following a 37--9 rout of Stanford, has a chance at the first 11-win
season in school history. The Midshipmen figure to be favored against all but
two of their remaining opponents: Rutgers and Notre Dame.
? Read more from
Stewart Mandel at SI.com/collegefootball.