College FB: Just a Little More, a new version of Rudy at UVA

FINAL FOUR

  1. Alabama
  2. Michigan
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington

WHO'S HOT

  1. USC--The Trojans looked like road kill at the start of the season after getting pounded by Alabama in their opener and losing to Stanford and Utah for a 1-3 start. Following Saturday's 45-20 win over Oregon, USC is now bowl eligible at 6-3 and has won five straight for only the second time in eight years. Next up is a true test-a road game at unbeaten and No. 4 ranked Washington.
  2. Lamar Jackson--The Louisville QB is the Heisman front runner and with good reason. He has accounted for 45 TDS (26 TDs passing, 19 rushing) and had 7 TDS (4 throwing, 3 running) in a 52-7 romp over Boston College on Saturday.
  3.  Alabama--You could put the No. 1 ranked Tide in this category every week, but Saturday's 10-0 win at LSU was exceptional because you got the feeling that if the game went an additional four periods, LSU still wouldn't have scored. Much was made about the return to form of LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who is still projected as the No.1 running back in next spring's NFL draft if he chooses to enter. Fournette ran for 285 yards against Ole Miss a few weeks ago. Against Alabama, he picked up 35 yards in 17 carries. Until some one actually can find a way to beat Alabama, the Tide is No 1 and it's not close.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]WHO'S NOT

1 . Michigan State and Rutgers--A tag team effort in an old story, which keeps adding hitting new lows. Michigan State started the season with wins over Furman and Notre Dame, but hasn't won since. On Saturday, the Spartans dropped their seventh consecutive game, losing a 31-27 decision to IILLINOIS. The Spartans are now a woeful 2-7. While that was happening, Rutgers, which has not won since beating New Mexico on Sept 17, squandered a first half lead and turned unheralded Indiana QB Richard Lagow into a star (28 of 40 for 394 yards and 3 TDS) in a 33-27 Indiana victory. Rutgers is also 2-7. The good news for both teams: Rutgers and Michigan State meet on Saturday in East Lansing.

2. Baylor--The Bears skated through the first part of the season, with a weak non-conference schedule and a Big 12 schedule which included lower tier teams. Recess is over for these Bad News Bears, who lost in a shoot out at Texas last week for their first defeat of the season. On Saturday TCU romped to a 62-22 win over Baylor, which also has remaining road games at Oklahoma and West Virginia.

3. Texas A&M--It all looked so good for the Aggies on Tuesday night when the College Football Selection committee anointed Coach Kevin Sumlin's team with a No. 4 slot in the first college football playoff rankings. That stunned most of the college football world since the Aggies had one loss (Alabama) and were ranked higher than unbeaten Pac-12 front runner Washington. What did the committee know that almost no one else in college football knew? Apparently not much, since A&M gave most of its reputation back on Saturday with a 35-28 loss to last place (in the SEC West) Mississippi State

DID YOU KNOW

That:

Washington State QB Luke Falk completed 22 consecutive passes in a 69-7 win over Arizona which gave Wasington State it's seventh consecutive win. Falk finished the game, completing 32 of 35 passes for 311 yards and four TDS. Washinton State hasn't had a 7 game winning streak since 2002. ...Miami ended a four game losing streak with a 51-28 win over Pittsburgh...Wake Forest's 27-20 win over Virginia made the Demon Deacons bowl eligible for the first time since 2011...Penn State's 41-14 win over Iowa was the Lions' 5th consecutive Big Ten victory, their longest conference winning streak since 2011...Arkansas' 31-10 win over Florida was the first win by the Hogs over the Gators since the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl.

EXTRA POINTS

Remember Stanford and running back Christian McCaffrey? The Rose Bowl, Pac-12 champions and the third place finisher in the Heisman voting last season? Well, the Cardinal haven't been heard from much since back to back losses to Washington and Washington State last month. But a 26-15 win over Oregon State on Saturday raised their record to 6-3 and made them bowl eligible, although it won't be the Rose Bowl (where they have played in three of the last four years). McCaffrey had what once was a typically normal game with 190 rushing yards and a TD...Anyone want to win the SEC East? Front runner Florida was throttled by Arkansas, Tennessee is still hobbled by injuries, Georgia is mediocre and it's just beat dark horse (very) contender Kentucky. And the winner gets to play...Alabama? Ouch.

PLAY IT FORWARD

  1. Michigan at Iowa--A Watch out game for the Wolverines as they march towards Columbus and beyond.
  2. USC at Washington--Trojans are getting tougher each week and Washington needs to keep getting respect. A win--and a big win here--will work wonders for the Huskies.
  3. West Virginia at Texas--West Virginia needs to win out to have a chance at the Big 12 title. Texas needs to win out to save Charlie Strong's job.

IN OUR OPINION

(A 2016 version of Rudy at UVA)

The NCAA wants us to buy into the scholar-athlete theory of big time college athletics. Reality tells us big time college football is more bottom line than grade point average and playing for the love of the game. But every once in a while we have a "Rudy'' story that makes you feel good all over.

Such was the case on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game between Wake Forest and Virginia, a pair of non-contenders for anything but respect in the ACC.

In that game a junior named Joe Spaziani did the long snapping for the Cavaliers on punts, extra points and field goal attempts.

What's the big deal right?

Well, Joe Spaziani is the eldest son of Frank Spaziani, the former Boston College football coach who is currently the defensive coordinator at New Mexico State.

Joe Spaziani is a junior at Virginia who played quarterback in high school and walked on as a non-scholarship player at UVA as a freshman.

For three years, Spaziani--who wants to be a football coach like his dad--went to practice, studied the play book, did what was asked and NEVER played a down.

In his freshman season, he dressed for three home games, but didn't play. Last season he dressed for all but one game but didn't play.

Each off season, he worked out, getting himself ready for an opportunity he knew might never come.

New Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall had used two long snappers for games, while Joe Spaziani filled the role of "next man up''.

Last week in a narrow last second loss to Louisville, both long snappers, who played other positions, were injured.

""I was the back up for both of those guys,'' said Spaziani by phone from Virginia on Sunday. ""Then they both had injuries, so I was the guy.''

Spaziani, who wears No. 99 on your program, said he was tense at the start. "I was nervous for the first one (a punt) but then I got into it.'' said Spaziani, who handled his chores flawlessly in a 27-20 loss.

But that loss could not dim the sense of accomplishment for Spaziani, who proved that sometimes good things can happen to good people.

""I will find out tomorrow what my role is (for this week's game against Miami),'' said Spaziani. ""But as of now, I'm still the guy. It feels great.''

Spaziani's mother Laura is expected to make the trip from Massachusetts to see her son's home debut as a Virginia football player.

Back in New Mexico, Frank Spaziani talked about the accomplishments of a son who was working his way through the system.

"He did the Spaziani family proud,'' said Frank by phone from New Mexico on Sunday morning.[/membership]

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