College FB: Just a little more

FINAL FOUR

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Michigan

 WHO'S HOT

  1. Ohio State--The Buckeyes were 39 point favorites against Rutgers and nearly covered by halftime in a 58-0 rout of the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers punted (10 times) on every possession. And Coach Urban Meyers' team is doing what his teams always do--get better as the season progresses.
  2.  Tennessee--Don't laugh. The Volunteers have been everyone's target since the start of the season when they nearly squandered their pre-season Top 10 ranking in a 20-13 opening game win over Appalachian State. The Vols have been trailing by double digits four times in their five games and won each time, including Saturday's remarkable 34-31 Hail Mary pass victory at Georgia.
  3.  DeShaun Watson--The Clemson quarterback started as a pre-season Heisman favorite and then slipped from view a bit as the Tigers muddled through their first few games. Guess what? He's back after a prime time 5 TD performance--including 2 in the final 7 minutes of the Tigers' wild 42-36 win over Louisville.

WHO'S NOT

  1. Charlie Strong--The Texas coach's future is anything but strong after Saturday's 49-31 loss to Oklahoma State. The shine of the opening night win against Notre Dame has faded quickly. The Longhorns have lost their last two games against California and Oklahoma State, allowing 97 points. Next up is Oklahoma, which is coming off a 52-46 win over TCU. To make matters worse, Texas AD Mike Perrin said that everything and everyone in the football program would be evaluated. With the Tom Herman Sweepstakes just starting, not good news for the embattled Strong.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
  2.  Notre Dame's defense--The Irish were embarrassed by Duke in a 38-35 loss. That was the catalyst for ND coach Brian Kelly to fire defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. The Irish bounced back with a 50-33 win over Syracuse on Saturday in which their defense again looked well "defenseless' at times. Other than a 39-10 win over Nevada. ND has allowed more than 30 points in each of their games.. Not good
  3. Florida State--The Seminoles are in the also ran pile. They were nearly embarrassed by Mississippi in their opener, totally embarrassed by Louisville a few weeks ago and then totally surprised and again disappointed with a 37-35 loss at home to North Carolina, which came on a last-second 54 yard field goal. The loss snapped FSU's 22 home field winning streak, the longest in the FBS. Still ahead are potential losses against Clemson, Florida and Miami. Can you say Tim-ber?

DID YOU KNOW

That: Mega Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens and Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy had some verbal jousting recently. That's a battle that Gundy is not going to win, although beating Texas will gain him some equity...Texas A&M is 5-0 for the third straight season, but the last two years ended with sub .500 second halves...Michigan's 14-7 win over Wisconsin on Saturday was the Wolverines first win over a Top 10 team since 2008...Maryland is 4-0, which is one more win than the Terps had last season....Colorado is 2-0 in the Pac-12. Going into the game, the Buffaloes Pac-12 overall record since joining the conference was a dismal 5-40...The only two unbeaten teams in the Big 12 are Baylor and West Virginia....Syracuse wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo is a graduate transfer from Maryland who had 7 catches for 130 yards and a TD against ND on Saturday. For the season, Etta-Tawo has 47 catches for 840 yards and 6 TDS in four games. His three YEAR total at Maryland was 938 yards and 3 TDs....Washington which rolled over Stanford on Friday night, 44-6, has outscored its opponents 120-3 in the first half this season....Illinois held a 16-10 3rd quarter lead on unbeaten Nebraska, but could only manage 10 offensive plays the rest of the game in a 31-16 Husker win...Oklahoma gave up 21 points in the first quarter in its game against TCU. That hasn't happened in 20 seasons.

EXTRA POINTS

Clemson's path to the ACC Atlantic Division title seems clear after the Tigers' win over Louisville. Clemson is 17-1 over the past five years over its remaining ACC opponents, including BC, who will take on the Tigers at Alumni Stadium on Friday night...LSU's debut under interim coach Ed Orgeron got off a to solid start after a 42-7 win over Missouri on Saturday night. Make no mistake, Orgeron, a Louisiana native, willl make a full scale effort to have the interim taken off his title. To do that, however, he will have to win the SEC West, which means beating Alabama in Baton Rouge on November 5th. The Pac-12 contingent from Los Angles, UCLA and USC, got healthy this weekend with a sweep of the Arizona schools. UCLA rolled over Arizona, 45-24, while USC romped past Arizona State, 41-20. Just in case you missed the usual late night show from the Pac-12 (See below for more).

PLAY IT FORWARD (3 games to watch next week)

  1. Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas. The Red River Shootout could have some casualties, especially if Texas loses and Longhorn coach Charlie Strong's future at UT becomes weaker
  2. Tennessee at Texas A&M--Battle of unbeatens in the SEC between a pair of teams who have not gotten a whole lot of respect. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. The survivor will move on, the loser could disappear
  3. Alabama at Arkansas--Another challenge on the road for Coach Nick Saban's Tide

IN MY OPINION

The Pac-12 held its first Game of the Year on Friday night when unbeaten Stanford visited unbeaten Washington. Game Day wasn't there, neither was ESPN's main crew, nor any of the other hoop and hysteria which surrounded games such as Louisville vs. Clemson and even Wisconsin at Michigan the next day. It was another Friday night low lights production in a 9 pm (Eastern) time slot when the country was not in a college football mode. And while the ratings were better than most Friday night t telecasts, it was still not the prime time production that Saturday night brings.

Welcome to life in the Pac-12. The numbers--not rankings--suggest that this is a very good year for the Pac-12. They had a legitimate Heisman contender in Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, they had quality top tier teams in Washington and Stanford. And UCLA, Colorado California, USC and Utah are better than many people think.They have a Heisman hopeful in California QB Davis Webb, who is the country's leading passer, but almost no one knows his name or what he has done. In case you missed it, Webb threw four TD passes for 306 yards in Cal's 28-23 win over Utah.

The problem is that no one knows about them. Or not enough people and voters and viewers. The Pac-12 made its deal with the devil in the controversial Pac-12 network and the television deal the conference has with Fox and ESPN, which puts Pac 12 games in non-traditional Friday night slots and on Saturday nights with starting times which begin at 10: 30 Eastern and end well into Saturday morning. Even media outlets on the West Coast have problems dealing with it.

The once prestigious LA Times issued an apology to its readers in some editions on Sunday morning, stating that it didn't have the results of the Arizona at UCLA game because the game ended too late for the edition people were getting.

In an era in which everyone wants to know the results as soon as it happens, for a paper to make that statement is as disappointing as it is astounding. Those days went away in most places after typewriters were replaced with lap tops.

Yet, this is the deal the Pac-12 has and it pays a price. It could be argued that one of the reasons that McCaffrey, whose Heisman campaign this season was slowed considerably in the loss to Stanford, did not win last year is because most of the country did not discover him until he was in a real prime time slot in Stanford's Rose Bowl win over Iowa. Awards, rankings and publicity all are affected by lack of exposure. So when the numbers and awards start coming in at the end of the year, let us not hear any "East Coast Bias'' chatter from the Left Coast. Like the NFL, like politics, like everything else, if you want exposure, you need to start and end games earlier and place them in prime time slots on Saturday when people can appreciate what the Pac-12 really has: a quality product with quality people that most people do not know enough about.[/membership]

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