by John Furgele
Two weeks are in the books and despite what looked like a non-interesting” schedule, there is never a non-interesting week in college football. Another week, another boatload of stories
1) The Big East is Really Bad: There are six BCS conferences in college football, but it is clear that the Big East and the ACC are the worst. Of course, the SEC is the top dog, followed by the Pac 10 and Big 12, after that, there is a drop. The Big Ten is ranked fourth, but that’s mainly by default. East Carolina is a good team, but to beat West Virginia 24-3 does not say much for the Mountaineers. As mad as they Mounties fans were at RichRod for leaving, they probably wish he had stayed. Bill Stewart will soon learn that winning one bowl game is much easier than stringing it together for 12 weeks.
Most say that Utah State is the worst of the 119 Division 1-A teams. If that’s true let’s see them play Syracuse on a neutral field, becauese the Orange are horrible. They lost their home opener to Akron, Gerry Faust’s old team, before a sparse crowd of 32,000 at the Carrier Dome. The only gimme on the Syracuse schedule is 1-AA Northeastern, after Penn State makes a visit this Saturday. It sure looks like this will be Greg Robinson’s last season at the helm, and if that’s the case, why not let him go now, turn it over to an assistant on an interim basis and let America know that you are looking for a top notch person to take over.
Pittsburgh was in a battle royale against MAC member Buffalo—could Pittsburgh win the MAC if they played there? Cincinnati faced a juggernaut in Oklahoma, but if you’re a 10-3 team from a year ago, do you go into Norman and give up 52 points; the same as Chattanooga did last week?
2) USF and UCF Should Continue Playing and Should Play Every Year: USF’s overtime victory over UCF was the last game in a five year contract and that’s a shame. This is a game that should be played every year ala Florida and Florida State and Georgia and Georgia Tech. And, nobody wants to hear that South Florida can’t find room on their schedule for the Knights. Because the Big East has only eight members, each team plays five nonconference games, so there is plenty of room for UCF on USF’s schedule. These schools are less than 100 miles apart and UCF’s 45,000 seat Bright House Networks Stadium was sold out for last night’s game. I’m sure USF will bring in a 1-AA team to make things a bit easier on themselves. But, expect these two schools to hook up more down the road as I predict that Central Florida will eventually join the Big East in football and playing USF will likely be on Rivalry Weekend either before or after Thanksgiving.
3) The Fall of Maryland. Seven years ago, Ralph Fridgen was being hailed as the savior of Maryland football. He led the Terps to an ACC title and a BCS Orange Bowl berth, but now, his turtles have hit the skids. They barely beat 1-AA Delaware in week one, and Saturday night lost at Middle Tennessee, a team whose only BCS opponent win was Vanderbilt. The Fridge is a good guy and knows Xs and Os as good as anybody, but his recruiting classes and his particular struggle to find a quality quarterback may lead to his demise. Being a successful head college coach is more than Xs and Os and it took Fridgen a long, long time to get a head coaching gig. We may be finding out why it took so long.
4) Notre Dame Still Looks Slow. Forget about what Rivals.com and every other recruting publication says about the quality of Notre Dame recruits. Simply, they are not that good. Once again, the Irish looked slow in Saturday’s 21-13 win over a San Diego State squad that lost its opener to 1-AA Cal Poly. If not for a fumble on the Irish goal line, Weis and company may be 0-1. Watch the SEC and the Pac 10 and then watch Notre Dame. If you don’t notice the difference in speed between the teams, give me a call.
5) Miami—Where Has the Offense Gone. Yes, the Hurricanes are young, but what has happened to the once proud Hurricane offense? Ken Dorsey graduated in 2003, that’s five seasons ago! Defensively, Miami hung in there and in the fourth quarter, they were trailing Florida by a 9-3 score, but the Cane offense is downright embarrassing. What are Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Steve Walsh and Craig Erickson doing? Can’t one of them go down there and work with the quarterbacks?
6) Kudos to Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech. A few people scoffed when Georgia Tech hired Paul Johnson from Navy to lead the Jackets. More scoffed when Johnson said that he was bringing his option offense with him. With more teams running the spread, the fear is that college football will mirror the NFL. When everybody runs the same offense, then it gets easier to defense, thus resulting in lower scores, something true college football fans don’t want to see. As a result, you have to root for Johnson and his offense to succeed and so far so good. The Rambling Wreck is 2-0 with a nice win at Boston College in their cap.
7) Oh, the Army. Was anybody surprised that 1-AA power New Hamsphire went into Army and won 28-10? Of course not, but this is going to be another woeful season for the Black Knights of the Hudson. The old saying was that Army and the New Hamsphires of the world fought for the same players, but that’s not true anymore. New Hamsphire is getting better athletes and to be honest, Army is probably fighting the Ivy and Patriot Leagues for their players. The problem is that the Bucknells and Cornells play each other, while Army clings to the hope that they are legitimate 1-A school by playing other 1-A schools. It used to be that Army would throw in a 1-AA school to get a win, only now they can’t even compete with the scholarship giving 1-AA schools such as New Hampshire. We’ll keep our eyes on the Army and when they win, we’ll give them some love. But, the fear is that they may not get one in 2008. The Patriot League has only seven members and it has always been my belief that they are holding slots eight and nine for Army and Navy. Army would fit in nicely as the eighth member, but we know it will never happen. Playing the seven other Patriot League schools and five nonconference games would be the perfect scenario for Army. I just wonder if anybody at the Military Academy has ever brought it up?
8) Please Change the Celebration Rule. By now, everybody has seen it. Trailing 28-21, Washington QB Jake Locker scrambles in for a touchdown with three seconds left against BYU. After he scores, he flips the ball into the air and immediately jumps into the arms of one of his teammates. But because he threw the ball up into the air, he was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. The extra point try was now going to be from 35 yards out and it was blocked and BYU escaped 28-27. By rule, the referees made the RIGHT call, but from a common sense standpoint, it was not the right call. That said, there is no excuse for getting the 35 yard PAT blocked. If the Huskies were down one and it was a 35 yard field goal that got blocked, the naysayers would have been out in force. But, Locker did not taunt or tease anybody. He showed exhuberance and because he excitedly flipped the ball into the air, it cost the Huskies an overtime shot.
Let’s hope the NCAA changes the interpretation of the rule soon—very soon.
Until next week.