by John Furgele
Is the Big 12 the best football conference in America? Will BYU-Utah be a battle of the unbeatens with a BCS bowl berth on the line? Is Penn State a threat to play in the BCS Championship Game? These are just a few items of intruigue that took place on Week 7 of college football.
1) What Happens to Bob Stoops in the Big Games? Texas is an excellent football team and their 45-35 victory over Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl certainly solidified that, but is something wrong with Bob Stoops in the big games? His Sooners blew a couple of leads and now are no longer number one. The good news is that the Sooners are far from out of it. If they start winning again, capture the Big 12 championship, they could certainly snag one of the two spots in the BCS title game. But, in their last three big games, they were duped by Boise State, trounced by West Virginia and humbled by Texas. Will the Sooners get another chance to play another big game this year?
2) He’s a Man, and He Won a Big One. Perhaps the best team in the Sooner State is Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State Sooners. More known for his press conference tirade that would make Lee Elia proud, Gundy’s Cowboys were a step ahead of Chase Daniel and the Missouri Tigers. Daniel put up good numbers, but his three interceptions killed his team chances for a BCS title and killed his Heisman chances as well. Daniel is a great example of a system quarterback and his lack of velocity and arm strength were exposed by the Cowboys Saturday. The win doesn’t guarantee anything for Oklahoma State, but with T. Boone Pickens pouring money into the program, and with Gundy’s sharp mine, Okie State could be in business.
3) Clemson Just Doesn’t Get It. It doesn’t really matter whether Tommy Bowden stepped down or was fired, but the always overrated Tigers just don’t realize that Clemson is not an Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, or even an Auburn. The expectations are high, but this is a program that should sign up for 9-3 each and every year, and should consider 8-4 a successful season. They’re the second best program in the state and South Carolina is far from a great program. Good luck to the next coach. Is Danny Ford available?
4) How Good is Penn State? The Nittany Lions are explosive, but can they keep winning and get high enough to get one of the top two spots at season’s end. They host Michigan this week—a game they should win—then travel to Ohio State on October 25 and close the season at home against #23 Michigan State. Most think the Big 10 is down, so the Lions will not get the benefit of the doubt from the voters, but 12-0 is a possibility.
5) Notre Dame is Coming Around. Yes, they lost at North Carolina, but things are looking up for the Fighting Irish, who are 4-2 with five winnable games coming up before traveling to USC the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Jimmy Clausen is maturing and even though he threw a bad pick that was returned for a TD, the sophomore showed a lot of poise and had Notre Dame moving the ball on the road. We all know that patience is not a virtue in college football, but Charlie Weis may finally be getting some positive play out of those five star recruits. The Irish are off this week, but should take care of Washington on Oct. 25, before hosting Pitt, a game that could determine a lot as far as bowl positioning goes. They may not win a BCS title anytime soon, but 9-3 is certainly within reach. The question: is 9-3 good enough for a BCS bowl berth? Probably not, but it is Notre Dame.
Short Shots. Army will never pass again. The Black Knights are on a mini-roll, picking up their second straight win, a 17-13 home win versus Eastern Michigan. In this game, they ran 59 times for 341 yards and went 0 of 3 passing. The Knights go for three in a row, when they travel to somewhat disappointing Buffalo (2-4) this Saturday……The woes continue for our favorite 1-AA team, the Indiana State Sycamores as they were drubbed 60-7 by Southern Illinois, which scored 50 first half points. That’s 20 straight losses for ISU. Next up: a visit to 4-2 Western Illinois, so number 21 is pending.
Until next week—-Go Phillies.