The first month of the 2010 college football season finished this weekend, and it showed. The games got tighter and the stakes have risen, but the fun and excitement keeps coming. Here are this week’s musings.
1. In the Pitts. The Pittsburgh Panthers were the clear favorites in the Big East this preseason. Now the Panthers sit at 1-2. The lone win came against New Hampshire. The second loss came at home to Miami, 31-3. Dion Lewis has gone from fab-freshman to sub-par-sophomore. Lewis is averaging less than 50 yards a game and just three yards even per rush.
2. Weapon of choice: the pistol. Nevada made the pistol offense famous, and they are riding its popularity, and success, to a 4-0 record and top 25 ranking. The Wolf Pack isn’t the only team using it these days. Alabama used the pistol regularly against Arkansas this weekend, and UCLA used the pistol to shoot down Bevo, 34-12.
3. How did Bowling Green manage to win a game? Michigan played musical chairs at quarterback, but the offense didn’t skip a beat. Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier both sustained injuries, but Michigan still rolled up 721 yards total offense and put 65 points on the board. Robinson had 128 yards rushing on five carries, Forcier was a perfect 12-12 passing the ball, and Michigan converted 10 of 12 third downs. The only way to win is to play a team with a worse defense or play a team with no offense, but Bowling Green does have one win on the year (44-28 over Marshall).
4. Who is better: Pac-10 or SEC? The Pac-10 might be giving the SEC competition for the title “Best Conference in College Football.” With the exception of Washington and Washington State, the Pac-10 is very strong. The other eight teams are a combined 23-8, and all eight losses are to undefeated teams. The Pac-10 has two upsets of top 10 teams to its credit as well.
5. The best QB in the ACC. Russell Wilson, North Carolina State, is asserting himself as the best signal caller in the ACC. Veterans Jacory Harris, Christian Ponder, and Tyrod Taylor were expected to be the cream of the ACC crop this year. Wilson has outplayed them all, to date, and he bested Josh Nesbitt on Saturday. After throwing a pick-6 that closed a 17 point lead to three, Wilson recovered and threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to push the lead back to 10.
6. Mississippi Mud Slide. The Ole Miss Rebels bounced back from an abysmal loss to Vanderbilt to inundate the Fresno State Bulldogs. Jeremiah Masoli was 8-12 passing for 153 yards, and Brandon Boldin ran for 228 yards on just 19 carries. Ole Miss had 578 yards of total offense and scored 55 points.
7. Will this be the year? The Nevada Wolf Pack has not beaten Boise State since 1998. Nevada hasn’t been 4-0 since 1991. They have been close the last few years. When Boise and Nevada meet on November 26, will the Wolf Pack pull of a monumental upset?
8. Good thing conference play is starting. With six teams in the Big 12 undefeated and seven teams in the Big 10 undefeated, it is a good thing that conference play is starting this week. Nothing is better to separate the contenders from the pretenders. We all remember how Michigan fell from 4-0 to miss a bowl last year. With Texas and Iowa not among the unbeaten teams in each conference, it is hard to believe that the win-loss records really reflect how good teams are at this point.
9. Moral victories are multiplying. The Florida International Golden Panthers notched another moral victory this weekend. FIU is 0-3 with a 19-14 loss to Rutgers, a 27-21 loss to Texas A&M, and a 42-28 loss to Maryland. The head coach said they were not going to take satisfaction in these moral victories, but they do represent how far FIU has come. Just two years ago, FIU lost 40-10 to Kansas, and 42-0 to Iowa.
10. Lost or won? Did Alabama win the game against Arkansas, or did the Razorbacks lose it? Arkansas led most of the game. They had a commanding 20-7 lead in the second half. Alabama cut that lead to three with six minutes to play. All Arkansas had to do was hold on to the ball and run the clock out. Not only did they fail to do that, but Ryan Mallett threw an interception on the third play of the drive. This miscue gift wrapped the winning touchdown for Alabama.
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