Thursday, October 1, 2009

From the Cornfield - 1/3 of the way home

With the regular season 1/3 over and the Mumme Poll about to begin, we are in a good place to sit down, look at the college football season, and figure out what are the surprises (both good and bad) for this season.

Georgia: Ok, I am a homer, so I'll start here. If we had gone back to August 1st and said "Georgia, you will be 3-1 (2-0) on October 1st," pretty much anyone who is paying attention would have said "Yeah, that is about right." It was easy at the time to assume Oklahoma State would have the offense to beat the Dawgs on the road and that Georgia's talent level would overcome the other three teams on the schedule. I guess that is right, but I don't think anyone could have predicted the Jekyll and Hyde persona of this team. In the end, just win (ugly) baby has been the mantra and the Dawgs are still on pace for the predicted 9-3 (6-2) finish. I just hope we don't have to win every game on the last snap all season.

If we have to do it that way, I like this guy wearing the 'G' (Image: Macon Telegraph).

New coaches in the SEC: Admit it, you wanted The Kiffer and Chizhit to fail. I thought they would both be staring down at least one embarrassing loss a piece right now and have fan bases in the throes of 'its a rebuilding year' mania. However both are now 4-0 going into their match up this weekend with impressive wins over patsies and tough teams alike. What's that? Only Auburn is undefeated? Oh. Well, The Kiffer has the more impressive moral victories, that's for sure. It is all part of the plan. Dan Mullen...well, he is at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs got as close to a signature win as they will this season last Saturday against LSU.

Key Injuries to Heisman Contenders Brings a Heisman Contender Brings Out the Idiocy: How many of you were asked by someone this week: "If Tebow doesn't come back this year and Florida goes 8-4, does Tebow deserve the Heisman?" Look, if TGCPE doesn't come back and Florida goes 8-4, it will only illustrate his importance to Florida, not his Heisman worthiness. The Heisman award is for the greatest player to prove it on the field. If he wins it by not playing, then you should give it to any number of non-qualifiers over the years at South Carolina. Lord knows the impact of them missing games is felt.

Illinois: So much talent. So little coaching. The Illini had commercials before the season touting the offense that was going to 'light up the scoreboard.' Those commercials aren't running any more. After losses in which they scored 9 and zero points against Div I competition, I would expect them to be buried in a vault somewhere in Memorial Stadium. For a team with Arrelious Benn and Juice Williams and Jarred Fayson on it, you'd think there be more scoring than that as well. However, turnovers and poor decision making by Williams are killing Zooker's squad. Well, that and terrible defense. Not a surprise: Zook will be coaching in the NFL next season as a position coach.

Houston: Behold, the real BCS crashers. For all the bluster about the MWC and WAC, Houston is doing it on the field. True their big wins were against two mid-level Big 12 teams in Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, they showed plenty in those wins to convince me they can at least hang with the Big Boys. BYU..not so much. Utah, pish. Boise State, each game Oregon wins makes them look better. However, with Houston getting press from Casey Kasum Case Kenum's Heisman Hype, look for the Cougars to be the belle of the ball in December if they are undefeated.

Charlie Weis: Look, I hate the media's felation of all things Notre Dame as much as every other Red Blooded Protestant American. But hailing him as a master again after a three point win against a team whose only win is against Montana State and a one point win against a team that got manhandled by Northern Illinois doesn't make sense. That isn't the pure aversion to him, that is reason speaking.

Bring me my hasenpfeffer!

The Big East: Looks like they might be back a little. Wins by USF over FSU, Cincy over Oregon State, and Rutgers over Maryland, all on the road, are signs of life from the conference many thought might be on life support at BCS General. Of course, Pittsburgh's crappants routine against a pedestrian NC State squad last weekend didn't help. Chalk that up to the Mystery of the Wanstache. He always throws a game or two down the crapper.

Greg McElroy/Chris Todd: McElroy's steady consistency is a large reason why 'Bama is looking like they are well in control of the SEC West. He is 63/93 for just under 950 yards and seven TDs against only one pick. Wow. Chris Todd, SEC passing leader, with 11 TD passes and one pick. Double wow.

Matt Barkley's Importance to USCs Season: I, like most everyone else, assume Southern Cal is merely a machine, with tiny interchangeable parts. Those parts can all look different and work differently, but in the end, they are a ruthless winning machine that shows no weakness. When Matt Barkley went down, I just assumed the injury to Aaron Corp in camp and Barkley's ascension to the starter's position merely was a side-note to an otherwise unremarkable 12-1 season. However, after watching them without Barkley against Washington and seeing Carroll admittedly lost as to what plays might work with Corp in, I am convinced without Barkley, USC could (gasp!) not win the Pac-10. Thankfully, for the Trojan faithful, he is back and healing nicely.

The Matt Barkley Story, staring James Van Der Beek.

Mike Locksley's tough start at New Mexico: I was a big Locksley fan, drinking the cool aide based on how his players seemed to play disciplined football when he was OCoordinator for the Illni. His first few months on the job read like a Seth Rogen movie: Sexual harassment, EEOC complaint, age discrimination, and fisticuffs in a coach's meeting. Plus, the Lobos are 0 fer the season and are ranked no better than 100th in over a dozen statistical categories. Perhaps Zook could use him back in Champaign if he is around next year.

Those are my top 10 surprises. Anything in particular that I missed?

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