- Ohio State
- Baylor --Give the Bears their due. They have climbed to Top 10 consideration in the rankings by breezing past their first 6 games, including Saturday's 49-7 romp past Kansas. Yes, they haven't played many quality teams, but this program was written off as DOA after the sexual assault scandal wiped out the athletic department administration. But interim coach Jim Grobe knows about Xs and O's. And the ride is likely to end in two weeks when the Bears begin a three week stretch against Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. But for now they deserve a very warm, if not hot, tag.
- USC--The Trojans were labled as road kill after opening the season with three losses in their first four games. But those defeats were against Alabama, Stanford and Utah. Since then they have won three straight Pac-12 games, including a 48-14 road win at Arizona on Saturday, as well as a 21-17 come-from behind win over Colorado last week. If there is a sleeper Pac-12 team that can beat Washington (in the Pac-12 title game) it is USC.
- Colorado--The Buffs are a very quiet 5-2 and coming off a 40-16 win over Arizona State, which was their first ever victory over the Sun Devils. Earlier in the season they traveled to Ann Arbor and gave Michigan its biggest scare of the season. And even more importantly, Colorado is 6-0 in games vs. the spread this season.
WHO'S NOT[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
- Michigan State--What is going on in East Lansing? The defending Big Ten champs, who started out with a pair of solid wins, including a win at Notre Dame (although that should have been a clue, considering the way the Irish are playing) have now lost 4 straight, including a 54-40 loss to Northwestern on Saturday. The four game losing streak is the longest in Spartan coach Mark Dantonio's 10 seasons at Michigan State.
- Brian Kelly--The Notre Dame coach is starting to unravel as he watches his team do the same thing. The Irish dropped to 2-5 after a 17-10 loss to Stanford, which was playing without its best player, running back Christian McCaffrey. It was Notre Dame's third straight home loss, their worst streak in South Bend since 2007. To make matters worse, after the game, Kelly was involved in a shouting match with the Stanford Strength and Conditioning coach.
- Rice--The Owls are 0-6 following a 14-13 loss to UT-San Antonio on Saturday night. It is the worst start for the Owls since losing their first 9 games in 2009 enroute to a 2-10 record. To make matters worse, the Owls are in the same city as Houston, which has become the hottest non Power 5 conference school and a prime contender for Big 12 expansion. Why the Owls received an invitation to the Big 12 expansion chatter party remains a mystery.
Remember when Army used to be a Service Academy doormat? Not any more. The Cadets, who were 2-10 a year ago are 4-2 this season, including an (expected) 62-7 romp over FCS Lafayette....Nebraska is getting lots of love now with a 6-0 start which was extended on Saturday with a 27-22 win over a tough Indiana team. It is the Huskers best start since 2001. But people should not be surprised by what Coach Mike Riley has done. Although the Huskers were a disappointing 6-7 in Riley's first year last season, 4 of those 7 losses were by 3 points or less and the Huskers had some incredibly bad luck...What's going on in the ACC Coastal Division? Virginia Tech and Miami were regarded as the contenders, but both lost on Saturday. Miami lost for the second straight time, getting beaten by North Carolina, which had been smoked by Virginia Tech last week. But Va Tech went to Syracuse and was upset by the Orange, 31-17...Coming on is Pittsburgh, which won a wild shootout against Virginia. Even in the ACC Atlantic, chaos is only a turn over or two away. Clemson was lucky to beat NC State in overtime and Louisville struggled with Duke through most of the game before walking away with a 24-14 win on Friday night at Louisville.
DID YOU KNOW
That: the last time Texas A&M (which was idle this week) started a season 6-0 was in 1994. Reaching 7-0 looks iffy at best since the Aggies will travel to No. 1 Alabama next week...Texas, which evened its record to 3-3 with a 27-6 win over Iowa State, travels to Kansas State next week, where it hasn't won since 2002... Defending FCS national champion and No.1 ranked North Dakota State, which made FBS news by upsetting Iowa in Iowa City earlier in the season, lost at HOME against South Dakota State on Saturday....West Virginia is one of the two unbeaten teams (Baylor is the other) in the Big 12 and the Mountaineers are 5-0 after a 48-17 romp over Texas Tech, in which the Red Raiders were held to a total of 379 yards, their lowest amount of the season...Tennessee's 49-10 loss to Alabama on Saturday marked the Vols 13th consecutive loss to an SEC West school and the win was the most lopsided by either team since a 51-0 Alabama win in '06...that would be 1906...Vanderbilt''s 17-16 win at Georgia was the first SEC road win in Vandy in Coach Derek Mason's three seasons in Nashville..
PLAY IT FORWARD (3 games of note next week)
- Texas A&M at Alabama--Two hottest teams in the SEC clash in Tuscaloosa.
- TCU at West Virginia--Another test to see if West Virginia is for real.
- North Carolina State at Louisville--Nice two game stretch for NC State. Road games at Clemson and Louisville with a home game in two weeks against Florida State. Ouch. Sandwiched in the middle of this marathon is a home game against Boston College. Double ouch for the Eagles.
IN MY OPINION
The Big 12 presidents are gathered in Dallas for the next two days to make a decision on whether the conference should expand.
Everyone from Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to coaches, athletic directors, media members and fan clubs have come to one conclusion: No one is certain what decision will be made.
The consensus opinion seems to be is that the Presidents will decide to remain with 10 schools.
A Jersey Guy thinks this would be a huge mistake. Bigger is not necessarily better, but in this case it is, simply because the Big 12 needs to live up to its name. It needs to become the Big TWELVE again. Not the Big 10 or the Big 14. It is the only way the Big 12 has a chance to get a seat at the table with its other Power 5 conference members.
In terms of football--and let's be real here, this is ALL about football--the best choice would be for the Big 12 to invite BYU and Houston. Since it is a football decision, make it a "football only'' invitation.
That would be no problem for BYU, which is already committed to the West Coast Conference in most of its other sports.
Houston would have to make an exit from the American Athletic Conference, which is not likely to want to keep Houston without football.
By adding those two schools in football only, the Big 12 would not have to worry about scheduling issues with BYU (and its No Sunday participation stance), it would not have to worry about more travel costs in the other sports, it will not have to pay full revenue shares to the two newcomers and it would increase its prestige in football since Houston and BYU are currently far ahead of all the other expansion candidates.
If the Big 12 fails to expand, it will increase the likelihood that other Power 5 conferences will eventually make a run at Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12's top tier schools in terms of market value.
It will continue to be regarded as a lower level member of the Power 5, whether that is fair or not.
An announcement of some kind will be made on Monday. But if the decision is made not to expand, the Big 12 will seal its own demise.
It will simply be a matter of when, not if.[/membership]