Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rearview: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

No, this isn’t about a spaghetti western, but it is about the west. And to be more specific, it’s about the Pac 10 conference. After coming off the blocks with some impressive victories on the resume, this weekend’s showing went from the extremes of spectacular to embarrassing.

The "collision in the coliseum" turned out to be anything but what it was advertised, and more of what was expected. Ohio State and USC didn’t actually collide. With USC’s 35-3 victory, it looked more like the Buckeyes were run over. But the Pac 10 highlights for week three end there, with the other members not fairing as well.

Oregon State posted a victory over Hawaii, and Oregon fought from behind on the road to top Purdue in overtime. But anything good stopped there. Both UCLA and Washington were drubbed by ranked BYU and Oklahoma, being outscored by a combined score of 114-7. Washington State was routed by Baylor on Friday night. Arizona fell to New Mexico, Stanford to TCU, Cal to a struggling Maryland team, and Arizona State was upset in their own house by UNLV.


Either the Fighting Irish have given us an indication of how far the Michigan program has fallen or they’ve finally awakened those echoes. Their 35-17 victory over the Wolverines is by far the most impressive win since Brady Quinn was the signal caller in South Bend. With Michigan now 1-2 on the season, at some point people will start questioning whether or not this team will finish bowl eligible.


Only 3 weeks in, and in my opinion, Penn State has been the most impressive Big 10 program. Their opponents may not have been mighty, but they’ve managed to destroy each, as a superior team should.


Spurrier’s gamecocks fought the 2nd ranked Bulldogs for 4 quarters and still remained on their feet. The South Carolina defense gave Georgia all they could handle, but in the end, it’s that same error prone gamecocks offense that is their own worst enemy. The difference in this 14-7 contest was a goal line fumble. And I can’t help thinking, with the defense in South Carolina, they wouldn’t need an explosive offense to be a major player in the SEC east, just one that makes fewer mistakes.

Auburn only needed 3 points to defeat Mississippi State, as the Bulldogs only managed to score 2. The Tigers always play well defensively, but there has to be some concern about the offensive unit. The offensive change played a major role in my decision to not pick Auburn as a preseason favorite to win the SEC west. They’ll need more than a FG to beat LSU next week. And if they don’t progress over the course of the season, I believe this year’s Iron Bowl will belong to Bama.

ACCent on the “A”

After a bad start to 2008, the ACC showed some victories they can be proud of in week 3. As a whole, Virginia was the only loser of the weekend, with North Carolina, Maryland, Florida State, and Duke picking up victories over out of conference opponents. Speaking of Duke, in just 3 weeks, new coach David Cutcliffe has already managed to equal the programs win total (2) for the 3 previous years combined.


*BYU’s current win streak of 13 games began after a loss to UCLA. Since then, they’ve beaten the Bruins twice. In the 3 games over a 12 month period, UCLA had a different head coach for each (Karl Dorrell, Dwayne Walker, Rick Neuheisel).

*BYU’s Max Hall tied a school record with 7 touchdown passes against the Bruins.

*With BYU, UNLV, TCU, and New Mexico all posting victories, the Mountain West Conference went a perfect 4-0 against the Pac 10 this weekend.

*Mizzou’s Chase Daniel has now passed for 9,153 yards, surpassing Brad Smith’s 8,799 to become the school’s all time leader in the category.

*With USC’s victory over Ohio State, the Trojans remain undefeated under Pete Carroll against the Big 10. Going into Saturday’s game, the margin of victory against his 4 Big 10 foes was 28 points. The Trojans defeated the Buckeyes by 32.

*Which would you rather face in 1-on-1 coverage, Jeremy Maclin or Michael Crabtree?


Wazzu- may be the worst program of all the members of BCS conferences.
Oklahoma- made sure Pac 10 refs couldn’t decide this one.
Mississippi State- Any love left for Sly Croom?
E. Carolina- how does it feel to wear the “X”?
Arizona State- getting exposed as a fraud early this year.
Illinois- not looking like someone that will contend in the 10.
USF- The best program in the Big East?
Virginia- Don't expect schedule strength help for the Trojans from the Hoos.
Purdue- Four quarters equal one whole.
Week 3- I loved it! But overall, it was so-so.

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