CFN's Final Thoughts Before Week 8
LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Posted Oct 21, 2010

Are you ready to embrace LSU and Les Miles? If the Tigers beat the other Tigers in Auburn in the biggest game of the weekend, then it'll be time to start giving up the respect. Check out the CFN Friday feature, Final Thoughts, with quick, off-the-cuff musings as the weekend kicks off.

Final Thoughts 

Before The Oct. 23 Games

- Final Thoughts Sept. 25 | Oct. 2 | Oct. 9 | Oct. 16

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- If LSU beats Auburn at Auburn, no matter how it happens, no matter if Auburn has 19 men on the field giving LSU one final chance in the final seconds, Les Miles will have earned the right to be called a damn strong football coach.

- Actually, he already is.

- You are what your record is.

- And, of course, you take them one game at a time.

- If LSU wins this game, I'll be ready to call it the beat college football team in the United States of America. The woes in the passing game have overshadowed the overlooked fact that EVERYTHING else is working at a high level.

- Unless Dayne Crist gets hurt, there's no excuse for Notre Dame to not finish the year with at least nine wins (throwing the bowl game into the mix). The Irish aren't going to beat Utah, but they can absolutely beat Tulsa and Army, and they had better beat a mediocre Navy team. If Brian Kelly can get wins over the Midshipmen this week and can pull off a victory over USC to close out the regular season, the Charlie Weis era will be officially dead and buried.

- It's the most amazing fun stat I've come across in a long time. Since the opening game against Maryland, Navy has run the ball 260 times, fumbled once, and recovered it. Granted, Oregon State has yet to lose a fumble on 202 carries, but its attack doesn't require the timing, precision, and pitches that the Navy ground game does.

- The offense sucks and the coaching staff appears to have given up on the idea of using the running backs to balance things out, but watch out for Texas. The Longhorns will roll out of bed and blow up Iowa State as part of a run of five home games in the final six. The road trip is at Kansas State … whoopee. If the defense can rise up against Oklahoma State, Texas is going to win out, be 10-2, and will be right there for yet another Big 12 South title until the final day.

- It'll help that Oklahoma will lose twice. Flip a coin on whether or not the Florida State Sooners show up in Columbia instead of the Utah State or Cincinnati versions, but at some point, either this week, or in Waco, or in College Station, or Stillwater, the clunker will come.

- Please, no gushing about how good the Sooners are based on blowing away Iowa State.

- Nebraska's defense doesn't give up jack squat. If Oklahoma State puts up at least 21 points and beats the Huskers, it'll be time to really get excited. With dates against Texas and Oklahoma still to deal with, the chances will be there for the Cowboys to get the national respect needed to fly up the BCS rankings.

- Baylor, if you want to go to a bowl game for the first time as a member of the Big 12, take care of business at home this week against Kansas State. The final four games are at Texas, at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. The Bears are good enough this year to win at least one of those, but the collar will quickly get tight if a sixth win isn't already secured.

- I'm not sure what this means in the overall scheme of existence, but four Big Ten teams (Wisconsin 1, Penn State 2, Ohio State 4, and Indiana 6) are in the top six teams committing the fewest penalties per game, and Michigan and Iowa are both tied for 16th. Before you start to think that Big Ten officials keep the flags in their pockets (among other places), Michigan State is 103rd in the nation and Northwestern 100th.

- Meanwhile, six of the Sun Belt's nine teams rank in the bottom 34 in penalties committed with three (ULM 115, FIU 119, and Troy 120) in the bottom six.

- If Texas A&M isn't -3 in turnover margin, it'll at least double the -13.5 spread at Kansas.

- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" the second mortgage on the double-wide and the nine dollars left in Suzie's 529, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Michigan State -5.5 at Northwestern, Georgia -3.5 at Kentucky, Minnesota +9.5 vs. Penn State, Ohio State -23 vs. Purdue, Alabama -16.5 at Tennessee, and I'm thinking of hopping on a plane myself just to put a hard-earned dollar on Western Michigan -7.5 at Akron. Of course, there's a reason why the Vegas casinos and hotels are so massive.

- Now that Tim Brewster is a lame duck (which, really, he has been since he was hired … as are all coaches), Minnesota will be an interesting case study. The team has just enough talent to be better than 1-6, but the final five games are Penn State, Ohio State, at Michigan State, at Illinois, and Iowa. The Gophers should lose all five by a combined 100 points, but if they say "screw it" and start letting it fly with veteran QB Adam Weber going bombs away, they could be pesky.

- Or they can just give up. Like Favre and Moss are one loss away from doing.

- New Mexico appears to be the worst team in America at the moment, but Akron is making a serious run at the title. The Zips get Western Michigan at home while the Lobos host San Diego State, and neither bottom-feeder should come within three scores of making their respective games interesting.

- Quick, name the five top rushing running backs in America after LaMichael James.

- Just for sheer giggles, if you're a fan of bizarre stats and contrasts in strengths and weaknesses, give a look-see at Bowling Green's rushing stats against Kent State. Because of a fearsome pass rush, the Golden Flashes are third in the nation in run defense allowing 77.5 yards per game, while Bowling Green is dead last in the nation in rushing gaining 66.29 yards per game. The Falcon O line could give up at least five sacks, and the final net rushing total could be in the negatives.

- Jordan Todman, Connecticut; Bilal Powell, Louisville; Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State; Vai Taua, Nevada; Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State

- Yeah, I know.

- By the way, Mark Ingram doesn't quite qualify yet to be on the official list, but he ranks 35th in the nation in rushing yards per game.

- I blame the supposedly genius Crimson Tide coaches.

- Even though I think the Hawkeyes aren't that great, I don't think for a single, solitary second that Wisconsin can beat Iowa in Iowa City.

- And if I'm wrong, Wisconsin will go to the Orange Bowl.

- I know it doesn't work like this, but in the court of public opinion, TCU needs to blast Air Force. Considering Oklahoma only beat the Falcons by three at home, this is one of those games the Horned Frog fans can point to in the great philosophical debate that's going to soon boil over.

- The BCS is so stupid. It really is.

- Wyoming at BYU … first one inside the red zone wins!

- There's a sneaky chance that Mississippi State could end up being the surprise team of the 2010 season, and no one's really paying attention. Talk about flying under the radar, the Bulldogs are on a four-game winning streak with wins over Georgia and Florida, the one clunker game came at LSU (no crime there), they came within three of Auburn, and they're going to be 7-2 with a win this week over UAB and a win next week over Kentucky. And then comes the Alabama game, and with a strong run defense and two weeks off to prepare, that could be a bear trap for the Tide. No, MSU isn't going to win out, but it's good enough to beat Arkansas at home and Ole Miss in the road in the final two weeks.

- Why are the California Pac 10 schools whining about being broken up in separate divisions (Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State in the North, and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, and Utah in the South). The split makes perfect sense, the main rivalries are kept intact, and the conference will be just fine.

- Really? Florida came up with seven against Mississippi State? At home?!

- BTW, ESPN and BCS people, I'm giving you a week of advance notice. Would you be a dear and move the announcement of the BCS rankings to around 10 pm next week? I'm going to be knee-deep in Snickers and whiny, overserved with sugar, princess costumes on Halloween night. Thanks much.

By Richard Cirminiello

- The Rutgers players' bodies will be in Pittsburgh, but their hearts and minds will be back in New Jersey, where teammate Eric LeGrand remains hospitalized, paralyzed from the neck down.

- Doggone James Madison. Had Virginia Tech survived the Dukes in Week 2, QB Tyrod Taylor would be on the Heisman short list at this time. He's quietly had a terrific season.

- Considering the injuries at Purdue, Danny Hope deserves a contract extension if he even gets this team into a postseason game. Two more wins are all it'll take.

- Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett has the green light for Ole Miss after last week's concussion, but I wouldn't mind getting another look at backup Tyler Wilson. He's a hidden gem down in Fayetteville.

- It isn't Oklahoma-Missouri in the Big 12, but Kansas State-Baylor is a huge game for both schools. The winner cops bowl eligibility for the first time in four years and 16 years, respectively.

- When the Wisconsin O-line faces the Iowa D-line, it could be the best battle in the trenches of the Week 8, if not the entire year.

- Zac Lee is not a viable backup plan. Barring anything short of an injury or a rout, Bo Pelini ought to go with Taylor Martinez for all 60 minutes in Stillwater this weekend.

- Can anyone explain why it's taken Jeff Tedford so long to develop another top-notch quarterback at Cal? It's a mystery that Kevin Riley never emerged, yet is still the best option in Berkeley.

- I'll only consider LSU a serious national championship contender if it beats Auburn at Jordan-Hare this weekend. And not a minute before that point.

- Remember the name Lincoln Riley. The East Carolina offensive coordinator isn't even old enough to vote, but he'll have a head job within the next couple of years.

- No one will take Utah serious until it hosts TCU on No. 6. It's hard to get a true reading on a school that hasn't played one team that currently has a winning record.

- A sign of the times: After six games, there's already a site. If Kansas beats Texas A&M Saturday, will see a sharp spike in traffic.

- If Missouri slows down Oklahoma Saturday night, go ahead and give the Broyles Award to defensive coordinator Dave Steckel. He's done a fantastic job, despite losing star DE Aldon Smith for the past three games.

By Matt Zemek

- Purdue-Ohio State: So, if this is a parallel to 2009, Ohio State will win by 18 on two pick-sixes, Terrelle Pryor will struggle, and quarterback coaching will be questioned in Columbus.

- Syracuse-West Virginia: WHEW! For a moment there, I thought Syracuse would be favored by one point.

- Indiana-Illinois: Both basketball teams play in Assembly Hall. Both football teams play at Memorial Stadium. Both states start with "I." Does Ron Zook throw wads of chewing gum to the ground when his team gets screwed on an errant Big Ten replay review? AHA! We've found a difference!!!!!

- Temple-Buffalo: The last time the Owls went to Western New York, they endured a Hail Mary loss on the last play of regulation. Work on that center-field defense, Al Golden.

- Notre Dame-Navy: The Irish won 43 straight, and then Navy won two of three, but never at home. Wait a minute: Navy doesn't play this game in its home stadium… at least not in recent years. Would history have been different if Notre Dame had visited Annapolis once in a while?

- LSU-Auburn: With Les Miles, the SEC replay booth, Cam Newton, Gus Malzahn, Patrick Peterson, and and Verne Lundquist involved, what more does this game need? What's that – these teams are both undefeated and in the top six?

- Wisconsin-Iowa: Tim Brewster asked Iowa to go for two when leading 41-16 in the fourth quarter.

- Nebraska-Oklahoma State: Taylor Martinez just might run wild, but we'll all know it's because of the defense he faced more than the full extent of his capabilities, which do not include throwing forward passes.

- Arizona State-California: If you're fresh out of a psych ward, this game might drive you back into one… willingly and intentionally.

- Georgia Tech-Clemson: You shouldn't bet on sports… especially this game. If you know what's going to happen in Clemson on Saturday, you're lying… unless your answer is, "Something alternately wild, bizarre and gut-punching for at least one team, maybe both."

- Houston-SMU: So, as we all predicted, this was going to be the game when C-USA West got clinched…. by the Ponies.

- Alabama-Tennessee: Y-A-W-N. How rare is that?

- South Carolina-Vanderbilt: This isn't a lie: If Vanderbilt wins out, it wins the SEC East. How many times will you get to read that sentence in your life?

-North Carolina-Miami: If you specialize in deciphering densely-coded phrases and terms, you will love being next to Butch Davis and Randy Shannon when they catch up on the wives and kids before kickoff.

- Air Force-TCU: If Andy Dalton decided to put his head on straight and keep it there, TCU would be the best team in America. But that's like saying that if the BCS was abolished, college football would improve by leaps and bounds – it's painfully obvious, but it almost certainly won't happen. The key difference is that Dalton won't play for TCU in 2014, when the next BCS round (of four years) is up for re-negotiation.

-Oklahoma-Missouri: Don't call this a huge upset if Missouri wins. If your best game is a thumping of Iowa State, just how elite can you be? Don Draper is a Mizzou grad (okay, Jon Hamm is…), and even though he's smitten with his secretary, he knows, deep down, that he's a desperate man trying to pretend that he's fully in control of things. Oklahoma, know your Mad Men and be accordingly vigilant.