2010 Midseason Thoughts

Posted Oct 15, 2010

Thoughts and musings on the first half of the season.

Final Thoughts 

Before The Oct. 9 Games

- Final Thoughts Sept. 25 | Oct. 2

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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- South Carolina, this is your chance. All the decades of mediocrity, and all the lost years, and all the work trying to be called USC, and all the problems your program has gone through can be forgotten about for one season with just one win over the No. 1 team in the country. With two weeks off to rest and prepare, these Gamecocks really can beat a team as good as Alabama.

- Of course, being South Carolina, it'll probably beat Alabama and then lose at Kentucky next week.

- Call it a gut-feeling, but Indiana might make things interesting in Columbus. Ohio State hasn't faced anyone who can throw the ball, and that includes Miami, and Indiana has a puncher's chance of putting some points on the board with Ben Chappell and the passing game bombing away. Indiana can push it deep; Ohio State can't.

- Illinois and Penn State, let's just save everyone the time and energy and put out the two excellent kickers, Illinois junior Derek Dimke and Penn State senior Colin Wagner, and have a field goal contest. That's all this game between two snoozing offenses will likely be.

- Or else settle it with a Zoolander-like Walk Off.

- Between Paterno and Zook.

- I know you don't care about the MAC. Find a way to pay attention to Temple vs. Northern Illinois, anyway. It'll be really, really good.

- Who has less game, Favre trying to pick up Sturger, or the Big East?

- If Northwestern beats Purdue and Michigan State beats Michigan, and both teams are unbeaten, does Gameday make a statement and go to Evanston on October 23rd?

- Western Kentucky vs. Florida International and New Mexico vs. New Mexico State … on the same weekend! Going back to the beginning of last year, these four programs have gone a combined 7-60, and two of those wins (NMSU over New Mexico and FIU over WKU) were against each other. Combined, the four programs are on a 47-game losing streak.

- Florida State is playing at Miami. It might turn out to be a preview of the ACC title and it might be a great game, but this isn't Florida State vs. Miami. It's just a good game now that sounds like it should be special, but that's it. To try to sell it as anything else is an insult to a time when these two played in the biggest showdown in all of sports. No other college football rivalry has ever come close to matching the intensity, the talent level, and the thrill of when the Noles and Canes were at the height of their powers.

- Miami 26, Florida State 25 in 1987; Miami 17, Florida State 16 in 1991; Miami 19, Florida State 16 in 1992; Miami 27, Florida State 24 in 2000; Miami 28, Florida State 27 in 2002. I'll put those five games up against any five in the history of college football..

- Auburn vs. Kentucky gets a primetime national TV spot, while you can probably find Tennessee vs. Georgia on-line somewhere if you look really hard. Did you ever think you'd see a day when the Vol-Dawg showdown took a backseat to every other conference game on an October weekend?

- TCU, it's time to turn it on. Enough of the decent, effective wins over bad teams. It's time to put a big number on the board against Wyoming. Make us want to see you play for the national title.

- If you thought the pollsters were doing everything possible to keep Boise State out of the fun, wait and see what happens when the Horned Frogs get a chance to make an honest push for a top two spot.

- Over/under on combined passing yards in the upcoming Arkansas – Texas A&M shootout: 703.5

- Over/under on combined interceptions in the upcoming Arkansas – Texas A&M shootout: 6.5

- Michigan is at home and is favored, but I'll be sort of shocked if Michigan State doesn't come up with the win. The Wolverines couldn't stop UMass or Bowling Green, and they're going to give up well over 500 yards to the versatile and balanced Spartan attack.

- Denard Robinson running for 75 yards and throwing for 175 in a win over the Spartans should be considered just as impressive as hanging a 200-200 on Indiana.

- Northwestern, just have a simple moment of silence to honor the slain mother of former quarterback, Zak Kustok. Anything more (like the "ZK" stickers to be put on the helmet) becomes a bit much, especially considering how creepy and sad the story is.

- Alright, UCLA. You want to be a player? Beat Cal in Berkeley to go 2-1 in conference play and we'll talk.

- If Notre Dame beats Pitt, it'll go on a winning streak that'll reach five games before facing Utah. The Irish will finish 7-5.

- I still want to see North Carolina's defense at close to full strength. It's not fair that Clemson gets to face a still-depleted Tar Heel team while there's a chance Florida State, Virginia Tech, and NC State will have to deal with far better, rested, frothing-at-the-mouth, version in November.

- Brady Hoke might be doing the best under-the-radar coaching job in America. BYU is bad, but San Diego State should legitimately be considered a double-digit favorite (it's not) going into Provo. Hoke has quickly built up from a disaster left by Chuck Long.

- Utah, if you want to be thrown into the Boise State/TCU mix, then you need to blow out Iowa State. Instead, it'll probably be a defensive slugfest.

- Tulsa vs. SMU should combine for around 750 passing yards.

- USC basically gagged away last week's loss to Washington, but Jake Locker was incredible when he had to be. Now it's Andrew Luck's turn. Stanford needs to prove it's for real with an impressive home win after dying in the second half against Oregon.

- San Jose State is last in the nation in yards and points. Nevada is fifth in the nation in yards and fourth in points. How lopsided are the stats? The Wolf Pack averages 526 yards per game to San Jose State's 249, and 44.6 points per game to 9.8. Nevada averages 222 more rushing yards per game than the Spartans, and only 19 teams average more than that per game.

- In honor of what happened twenty years ago and in the infamous Fifth Down game, Colorado's first drive against Missouri should start on second down.

- Boise State, take notes from the Oregon game at Washington State this weekend and learn what running up the score is all about. Ducks, go ahead and do your part and come up with an 80-7 win just to show you can.

- Keep an eye on what Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz does against Fresno State. He threw for 532 yards and four scores against Louisiana tech and has thrown for 330 yards or more in his last four games. Kealoha Pilares' 39 catches in the first five games are more than Army (27), Georgia Tech (26), and Navy (25) have as a team.

- By the way, Georgia Tech is completing 39.39% of its passes. Only five teams (Akron, UCLA, Wake Forest, Maryland and Rutgers) are under 50%, and no one is under 45.5%.

- You just know that there's a part of Urban Meyer, the super-genius part, that can live with losing to Nick Saban, but will go batspit if he loses to Les Miles.

By Richard Cirminiello

- How do you grade Frank Beamer so far? He's done a great job of rallying the troops from an 0-2 start, but Virginia Tech never should have gotten to that point with a loss to James Madison.

- There won't be a better game-within-the-game in Week 6 than when Michigan State LB Greg Jones zeroes in on Michigan QB Denard Robinson. Postseason hardware could hinge on the outcome of the match up.

- LSU has gone more than four games without a touchdown pass. Florida is No. 9 nationally in pass efficiency defense. Is it possible to throw for minus yards? How about a pick six from the Gators?

- Message to Penn State: No matter what happens against Illinois or beyond, stick with Robert Bolden behind center. He has a lot to learn, but also has an enormous ceiling.

- Just how dreadful is Tennessee this year? Georgia is suffering from rigor mortis, yet is still favored by double-digits over the Vols.

- Arkansas' Ryan Mallett vs. Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson is a fantasy nerd's dream match up. Figure the pair to combine for eight touchdown passes, but six picks.

- ‘Bama has gone 39 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. Yup, the pressure will once again be squarely on the shoulders of up-and-down South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia.

- Beating USC was big for Washington. Beating Arizona State might be bigger. Huskies need to show a little consistency if they're going to regain some of that preseason hype.

- It'd be nice to be Brady Hoke's agent. He's about to become the guy who won at Ball State and San Diego State.

- Tom O'Brien absolutely, positively has to defeat former employer Boston College for the first time on Saturday. If NC State loses to a fading Eagle program, it runs the risk of squandering all it accomplished in September.

- Raise your hand if you saw Pitt's Ray Graham out playing Dion Lewis and ranking third nationally in rushing after five weeks.

- All things considered, Butch Davis has done a laudable job of keeping Carolina competitive through four games. Despite a rash of suspensions and distractions, the Heels are two six-point losses away from being unbeaten.

- Temple at Northern Illinois is one of the best games of Week 6 that absolutely no one outside DeKalb is talking about. Chad Spann vs. Matt Brown will be a delicious battle of undersized backs.

By Matt Zemek

- Alabama-South Carolina. The Gamecocks' last really big win in a pressure-cooker, put-up-or-shut-up situation of appreciably large proportions: November of 1984 against Florida State. South Carolina's starting quarterback is Stephen Garcia. We know how this story ends.

- Michigan State-Michigan: If Denard Robinson has a big game, the Heisman race is over… because that's what emotion-dominated people will say; this is college football, after all.

- LSU-Florida: Last year's game ended 13-3 in favor of Florida. It was as fun as a bowl of stale oatmeal. So, would you like orange juice or coffee with your year-old breakfast?

- Florida State-Miami: Now that Bobby Bowden's gone, Miami will win on "wide left."

- Clemson-North Carolina: How is North Carolina favored? Did Butch Davis's nanny tutor the Vegas oddsmakers?

-Oregon State-Arizona: Arizona tried mightily to lose its previous Pac-10 home game to Cal, but the Golden Bears just wouldn't accept the offer. We'll see if the Cats are generous to the Beavers, and if Oregon State will respond appropriately.

- USC-Stanford: Oh, the 2-point plays that will be scripted by Jim Harbaugh and Lane Kiffin.

- Arkansas-Texas A&M: It could be the best of quarterbacking times, and it could be the worst. Buckle up.