Looking back at the preseason polls, I was nearly tempted to call Clemson the biggest disappointment of the 2008 season. But even with the misfires and miscues of the Tigers, the Tennessee Volunteers are by far more deserving of the tag. Sure, Clemson had a top 10 preseason ranking and loads of expectations. But when you look at the Volunteers, the preseason No. 18, their 2-4 start doesn’t even tell the entire story. The Vols have yet to defeat an opponent from the SEC (0-3), or anyone from a BCS conference (0-1). Of their two victories, only the 35-3 clobbering of UAB was impressive. Not so impressive was the 13-9 nail biter over Northern Illinois. Next week, Tennessee will host Mississippi State. And though I never thought I’d be saying this, it may be a battle to prove the worst program in the SEC.
What about Phillip Fulmer? Is it difficult to terminate a coach with a BCS championship under his belt? The last I checked, Larry Coker was still unemployed. The loss to UCLA in the opening week was telling, and merely a premonition of things to come. It wasn’t the awful Bruins shockingly beating a very good team. There wasn’t a good team on either side of that Rose Bowl field.
COACHING 1, 2, 3
The coaches are often criticized for the casting of their ballots. They can’t possibly watch all the games to even begin to place programs in an order of power. What’s worse than seeing Steve Spurrier vote Duke No. 1 at the start of each season? Maybe it’s watching the coaches’ numbers 1, 2, and 3 all fall on the same football Saturday. Oklahoma, Missouri, and LSU all failed to hold their positions. I guess if you’re Alabama, it was a great week for a bye.
SCRATCHING MY DOME
How crazy was the ending in Chapel Hill? I’m not talking about the reception, fumble, recovery, and the endless review with no time on the clock that marked the games end. I’m talking about the Notre Dame call on that final play. You need a touchdown, you have no time outs remaining, and you have 11 seconds on the clock. Why do you throw a pass 10 yards short of the end zone in the middle of the field? Isn’t it a sidelines or end zone pass that allows you to live for another play?
-The USC offense committed 4 turnovers on 4 consecutive possessions. QB Mark Sanchez alone committed 2 turnovers in back-to-back possessions deep in his own end, and Arizona State was still denied points by having 2 consecutive field goal attempts blocked by the Trojans.
-Chase Daniel hurt his Heisman campaign, by throwing 3 interceptions in the 2nd half of the loss to Oklahoma State.
-Florida’s 51 points marked just the 5th time in LSU’s history that they’ve surrendered 50 or more points in SEC play.
-The Buckeyes defeated the Boilermakers 16-3 without scoring a single offensive touchdown. The total offense for Ohio State was 222 yards. They totaled 211 yards on 6 punts.
-The 80 combined points scored by Texas and Oklahoma is a record amount for the 103 years of the rivalry.
-Michigan State is now 6-1, and Javon Ringer is 12 yards shy of 1000 on the season. In the lone loss to Cal on the opening weekend, Ringer recorded his lowest rush production (81 yards).
-In 4 quarters between the hedges, the Tennessee Volunteers rushed for just 1 yard.
THE GALLOPING FINISH
Michigan- sometimes you have to sink before you can swim.
West Virginia- even in victory, still struggling.
Rutgers- A bowl of Rice. No Rice. No Bowl.
Northwestern & Vanderbilt- Reality check
Auburn-Guess who Franklin was rooting for?
Arizona- back on the burner for Mike Stoops.
BYU- creeping. Shh.
Oklahoma- lost their best defender for the season. Uh oh!
Week 7- Outstanding!