Here are some of my observations on the weekend that was in college football.
1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill Callahan were fired Monday morning.
10. Navy @ Notre Dame (Saturday 2:30 PM EST, NBC)
CHN’s preseason list of the best import (i.e. Non-American) NCAA players is lacking one thing – a superstar. Last year’s star, Al Horford, is off playing for pay, leaving the shelves a little thin. To bump up the talent level, Alaska & Hawaii natives have also been added to the mix this year.
While there probably isn’t an All-American or NBA lottery pick among this bunch, this year’s top imports are still a solid group, all capable of being one of the top players in their respective conferences.
Guard - Aaron Bruce – Baylor – SR (Australia)
Well, week nine didn’t bring us the surprises at the top of the polls that almost became commonplace during October, but they did bring us a rather definitive statement as to who has a shot at playing for the national title in New Orleans. Thanks to numbers nine through twelve all getting knocked off, the line between contenders and pretenders has been neatly drawn under the Kansas Jayhawks (yes, Kansas!) at number eight in the new BCS poll.
10. #4 Montana @ Northern Arizona (Saturday 6:05 PM EST)
Weren’t expecting to see an FCS game here, were you? Well, the Grizzlies have a one-game lead on the Lumberjacks in the Big Sky, and the winner stands to gain a lot in the conference title hunt. The Grizz, led by quarterback Cole Bergquist (1348 yards, eleven touchdown passes) and running back Lex Hilliard (570 yards and ten rushing touchdowns), possess a balanced offensive attack and have won seven games by a margin of 22.6 points per game. NAU will have their hands full, but at least this one’s in Flagstaff.
Another week and another top ten team falls hard to an unranked opponent. This week brought Vanderbilt winning at South Carolina, 17-6. Both Gamecock quarterbacks, Chris Smelley and Blake Mitchell, performed poorly in this one, and the Commodores move to 4-3. Vandy is no longer a pushover in the SEC, and as Steve Spurrier pointed out in his post game comments, he knew that. It’s just a shame that his players didn’t seem to get the message. With one weekend left before the season’s final month, top teams should be alert each weekend and not just for the “big” games.
10. Penn State @ Indiana, Saturday Noon EST (ESPN)
The Lions, fresh off their blowout of Wisconsin, head to Bloomington to take on the 5-2 Hoosiers, who look to be on their way to reaching that elusive bowl game. The key to this one will be how the Indiana offense, led by quarterback Kellen Lewis and wide receiver James Hardy, deals with a stout Penn State defense led by standout linebackers Dan Connor and Sean Lee.
9. Texas A&M @ Nebraska, Saturday 2:05 PM EST
Well, yet another wild and unpredictable weekend of college football is in the books, followed by the first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings that paint a picture of just how crazy things have been. Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma in the top five is something that is almost expected, given the proud histories of these programs. But South Florida and Boston College at two and three, respectively?
10. East Carolina @ UTEP (Saturday 9:05 PM EST, MASN Regional)
The two leaders in Conference USA get together for what could be a wild affair. While the Pirates have struggled offensively (106th nationally), they have been tested on the road. And UTEP has given up 45 and 47 points in their last two games, both wins.
9. Bowling Green @ Miami-Ohio (Saturday 3 PM EST, ESPN GamePlan)
Well "Gut-Check Saturday" was focused on some major battles that would stand to have a major impact on conference and national title races. And while we learned some important things about some of the nation's best, as well as some who hadn't been tested yet, did anyone expect USC's 35-game home winning streak to end against...Stanford?
- Bracketology: Selection Sunday Projection
- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
- Non-BCS Top 25: Creighton, Colorado St Rise
- College Basketball Top 50: Indiana Ends Regular Season #1
- Non-BCS Top 25: Valpo Replaces BYU
- College Basketball Top 50: Maryland and Iowa St Drop Out
- Non-BCS Top 25: Davidson In, Wyoming Out
- College Basketball Top 50: #2 Gonzaga Hits All-Time High
- Non-BCS Top 25: Air Force, Davidson Making Moves
- College Basketball Top 50: Another Week, Another #1