Where do we start? It was not a very interesting week on paper, but it ended up pretty exciting and that is all that matters. Iowa managed to sufficiently shoot themselves in the foot, Sparty went tricky, Arkansas managed to win a road game in-conference, and numerous other favorites struggled. All in a day’s work.
When you think of Iowa Football, you think of it being steady, not especially exciting, but likable and winning. Well, they went out to Tucson and laid a big egg against a team they should have beaten, but did not deserve to given their mistakes. Stanzi’s INT problem continued, the offense kept putting the defense behind the 8-ball, and they still almost pulled it out. However, credit goes to Arizona for cleaning up Iowa’s messes can cashing them in for scores because as we see every week, it is not about the better team as much as it is about which team takes advantage of their chances. Arizona certianly did that and deserved the W. I am not sure if they should be ranked so highly, but that remains to be seen. Call me a Pac-10 skeptic.
Sparty’s fake FG in overtime clearly takes the cake here. Granted, the two defenders got pushed to the ground on the play and Notre Dame should have seen it coming, but my hat still goes off to Mark Dantonio for calling it. Should their last TD have been taken off the board because the receiver went out of bounds and came back in? Yes, but ti was still a good play call. As a Notre Dame fan, you can imagine how little I am enjoying talking about the play, but it was a good play. The rest of the game was alright, but really nothing special. Just your typical college game full of subpar clock management, somewhat poor execution (apart from the fake FG), and mistakes being the norm rather than the exception.
So Utah State and Air Force walk into Norman, and lose by a combined 10 points? And Florida State comes in and loses by 30. Schizo much, Sooners? Inconsistency at home is a sure-fire way to kill a team’s chances of doing anything big this season. Which brings us to…
I am looking at you, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn, USC, Florida, and Michigan. Without serious changes, none of these teams is going anywhere. Conference road games are one of the toughest things to deal with, but when you get teams at home, you had better clean them up. We already went over Oklahoma. Wisconsin beat Arizona State by 1 in Madison. Auburn needed some luck to beat Clemson at home. USC just sucks generally, but struggled with a Minnesota team that is truly awful. Florida cannot figure it out, and Michigan is just crazy overhyped. Why the boring, choppy sentence structure? Because these are choppy teams in need of serious work if they want to earn their ranking.
The Sneaky Teams
We are all sort of still in the feeling-out process with college teams, but I already have a few teams I will be keeping my eye on to make big moves.
Love their chances in the Big 12 (Now available in 10!) North this year without much serious competition, and I love Taylor Martinez at QB. He is a runner first, but really flashed the arm against a Washington team many thought would give them trouble. The defense is good too, holding projected #1 pick (not for long) Jake Locker to 4-20 passing. If not for how solid the top 4 look to only lose 1 or 2 games between them, I would pick Nebraska to be a title contender, but as it is, just a BCS Bowl team.
(18) Stanford/ (25) Oregon State
Either/or here. Get back to me in a week after Oregon State plays Boise (yes, they played TCU as well) and Stanford takes on Notre Dame. Those should both be good games to watch and should teach us a great deal about these teams, both of which have a lot to like in a weakened Pac-10. Yes, I like these teams to beat Oregon in the Pac-10. Oregon does the same thing every year: Put up outrageous scores on crappy teams at the beginning of the season and then systematically lose composure and road games at about the 3/4 point of the season. Expect it again.
What To Look Forward To
Oregon State vs Boise State. It is on the blue turf, so expect a double-digit Boise win, but play this one in Corvallis, and it gets close. South Carolina vs. Auburn should also be a good watch. Time to see if Spurrier’s boys actually have what it takes.
We are going to cut it short here since we have so much NFL material to cover and, frankly, because this week was somewhat forgettable. Next week will be much better.