The Pac-10 may be closing the gap, but from top to
bottom the SEC can't be beat. And, oh, how the Big Ten has fallen
Kathy Miles recently presented her husband, Les, with a gag gift—a hat that
says PAC-10 RULES. Not quite. After last weekend—Kentucky knocked off No. 9
Louisville, Florida hung 59 points on Tennessee, and LSU blanked Middle
Tennessee 44--0 (the same Blue Raiders squad that gave Louisville all it could
handle)—the SEC rules.
With marquee wins over the SEC (Cal 45, Tennessee 31), Big Ten ( Oregon 39,
Michigan 7) and Big 12 ( USC 49, Nebraska 31), the so-called finesse league is
clearly on the rise. Three weekend losses—Washington to Ohio State, UCLA to
Utah, Arizona to New Mexico—undermined the claim on Miles's new hat.
Even with Louisville's defeat by Kentucky, this arriviste conference had three
very strong weeks. West Virginia is a bona fide national title contender.
Rutgers' worst enemy is its student section. With an OT win at Auburn, South
Florida owns the league's most impressive victory.
With five ranked teams, it's not fair to call it Oklahoma and the 11 Dwarfs,
but none of the others are in the Sooners' class. Texas isn't as good as its
No. 7 ranking. Nebraska was exposed by USC. Texas A&M was lucky to beat
Fresno State in OT. Missouri scores points in bunches but has serious issues on
Virginia Tech was flat-out embarrassed at LSU. Nor did Miami, in losing by 38
at Oklahoma, do the ACC any favors. Tom O'Brien kicked off his N.C. State
tenure with a loss to Central Florida. Silver lining: Boston College's 24--10
win at Georgia Tech, driven by Matt Ryan's 435 passing yards, was one of the
week's best showings.
Michigan finally got over its Carr-sickness, plucking the wings off helpless
Notre Dame. Bad news: That modest uptick was offset by humiliations galore:
Iowa lost at Iowa State, Minnesota at Florida Atlantic, and Northwestern to
Duke, snapping at 22 games the nation's longest losing streak.