CFN's Final Thoughts Before Week 11
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Posted Nov 12, 2010

Oh, by the way, Auburn has a really, REALLY big game against Georgia this weekend. Will the game itself be a part of the story? How much will the distractions matter? Check out the CFN Friday feature, Final Thoughts, with quick, off-the-cuff musings as the weekend kicks off.

Final Thoughts 

Before The Nov. 13 Games

- Final Thoughts  Nov. 6 | Oct. 30 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 16 | Oct. 9  | Oct. 2 | Sept. 25

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- The Cam Newton Heisman campaign and the 2010 Auburn season feels like a brilliant 77-yard touchdown run that's about to get called back on a clip.

- To be as cryptic as possible with what I'm hearing so I don't add to the rumor mongering, let me put it this way. If you're not sure who to believe in this whole mess, believe that the reporters on the frontline aren't embellishing in any way. At this point, the major media outlets aren't going to touch any aspect of the story unless it's a rock-solid lock. This is too explosive.

- Look, Auburn, this might be about Newton and Mississippi State right now, but he's YOUR quarterback and YOUR student-athlete. The worst part about this for the school and for Tiger fans is that Auburn might have done everything right in its recruitment of Newton and everything might have been 100% above board and legit, and yet the final chapter in this story could still go horribly wrong.

- Institutional control is a myth.

- Remember, out of all the missing pieces of this intricate puzzle, one of them might just be that Cam Newton, himself, didn't do anything wrong. However, as far as the rest of the story, Kenny Rogers is now way, way out there, and the accusations are too serious and too bold to be automatically dismissed as the rantings of an opportunistic shyster.

- If the Newtons are lying and Cecil Newton used a church as a cover/excuse, this takes on a whole new level of sad.

- It's all about Newton right now, it's all about North Carolina, and it's all about the shady side of collegiate athletics. And you still want to get rid of Joe Paterno.

- In the next few weeks, BCS officials need to have a meeting to discuss the logistics of having the No. 3 ranked team in the final BCS rankings at the ready in case Auburn finishes in the top two and something ugly is unearthed after the SEC Championship.

- Newton really is an awesome player. Remember, this isn't an issue with steroids or any performance enhancing drugs; this is about a silly bunch of NCAA rules that aren't fair. If any of the allegations are true, that doesn't mean that what Newton is doing on the field hasn't been magical.

- And that goes for Reggie Bush, too.

- Whether or not Newton cheated in school at Florida has nothing to do with his eligibility or standing at Auburn.

- In my world, outside of potentially hurting the school and the program, I have no problem with a player taking money from anyone who wants to give it to him. But if you're an academic cheat, now you're messing with the integrity of the university and you shouldn't be playing college football for that school. The world needs ditch diggers, too.

- Georgia, what more do you need, distraction-wise?

- Speaking of which, Notre Dame officials have to be extremely thankful for the Newton mess. For once, the Irish doesn't need the spotlight for a little while.

- Oh yeah, the games.

- For those of you who are die-hard believers that football is about running the football, the top 15 teams in passing efficiency are Boise State (BCS Rank No. 4), Auburn (No. 2), Iowa (No. 13), TCU (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 9), Nevada (No. 21), Oklahoma State (No. 10), Stanford (No. 6), Arkansas (No. 15), Alabama (No. 12), Northwestern (NR), Utah (No. 14), Oregon (No. 1), Michigan (NR), and Wisconsin (No. 7). Also of note, South Carolina is 16th in passing efficiency, Virginia Tech is 21st, and Michigan State is 24th.

- LSU is 101st.

- BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ (Penn State QB Matt McGloin hits the snooze, and then ten minutes later ...) BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

- But if the he helps Penn State beat Ohio State, he becomes a Happy Valley legend.

- Matt McGloin chooses Penn State, pays tuition, walks on, and becomes the starting quarterback vs. the Cam Newton situation. College football doesn't always have to suck.

- Navy's secondary has allowed 250 yards or more in each of the last five games, allowing 12 touchdown passes and picking off just three passes in that span. I'm sure you'll remember that as you're glued to the set watching the Central Michigan showdown instead of the Georgia vs. Auburn battle.

- Now watch Michigan blow the momentum and gack against a depleted Purdue.

- The game might not be that good, but from a sheer bounceback standpoint after all the adversity on and off the field, Notre Dame's performance this week against a possibly demoralized Utah might be the key moment in the Brian Kelly era.

- An interesting matchup to keep an eye on: Kansas State vs. Missouri. The Wildcats just became more interesting with running quarterback Collin Klein thrown into the mix, while Mizzou is coming off a lifeless performance against Texas Tech.

- Colorado starting quarterback Cody Hawkins and North Texas starting quarterback Riley Dodge both have to keep playing even though their dads got whacked.

- But the North Texas offense has actually worked in the two weeks since Todd Dodge was fired.

- Now watch the Buffs end up rolling against Iowa State.

- In the fun strength vs. strength game of the weekend that you're not going to pay any attention to, it's the No. 1 run defense in the nation (Kent State) against the Army ground game.

- California is 4-0 at home this year winning by a combined score of 189 to 34.

- Oregon might beat Cal 189 to 34.

- This just feels like a Air Force 70, New Mexico 17 kind of a week.

- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Iowa -10 over Northwestern, Ohio State -17.5 over Penn State, Maryland -1.5 over Virginia, Army PICK over Kent State, and I'm thinking of hopping on a plane myself just to put a hard-earned dollar on Utah -5 over Notre Dame. Of course, I missed almost everything last week.

- By the way, I'm 8-7-1 ATS on these picks over the last three weeks.

- Tulsa vs. Houston. 55-51 with over 1,000 yards of total offense.

- South Carolina, this is your 2010 wakeup call, pal. Florida isn't going to be this mediocre again for a long, long time.

- If Texas A&M beats Baylor and Ryan Tannehill rocks, he quickly becomes college football's IT player of the moment.

- Stephen Morris vs. Tevin Washington. You're on scholarship, aren't you son?

- In the Game I Wouldn't Touch With A Ten Foot Pole category, Texas always seems to find a heartstomping way to Lucy the ball away from Oklahoma State's Charlie Brown.

- Give a look to see how TCU handles the San Diego State passing game. DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown might be the best receiving tandem the Horned Frogs will face all year, and QB Ryan Lindley is a solid veteran who won't soil himself in the face of the aggressive TCU defense.

- I know, gross. Sorry. It's been a long week.

By Richard Cirminiello

- The dirty little secret on the Cam Newton saga? It's bringing the Auburn players closer together. Someone's plan might be backfiring.

- Florida is using multiple quarterbacks. Steve Spurrier is back in Gainesville. A major program is fending off allegations of ethics violations. Ahh, feels like the good old days in the SEC.

- If Texas QB Garrett Gilbert was a stock, I'd dump the house in order to grab more shares. Give him a chance to hit the reboot button and he'll be a star by next fall.

- How is the USC defense this bad? There's too much talent on hand despite all the turnover. Arizona will be the next Pac-10 team to gash the Trojans in primetime.

- I'm beginning to wonder when mediocrity is going to catch up with West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart. Pretty soon, right?

- With a win in Durham this week, Boston College will have clawed back to .500 with one of the nation's worst offenses and get to within a victory of a 12th straight bowl game.

- With Denard Robinson's durability issues, Tate Forcier is suddenly one of the most important backup quarterbacks in the country.

- Bill McCartney is to Boulder what Jerry Brown is to Sacramento.

- Few coaches are a better match for their campus than Paul Rhoads is to Iowa State. A win away from a second straight postseason game, his Cyclones are a very dangerous program.

- Is anyone paying attention to the job being done by Kent State defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis? The Flashes lead the country in run defense and tackles for loss.

- Under the heading of overrated stat, Marshall has allowed two sacks on 327 passing attempts. The Herd is 3-6.

- Get ready to return to the Syracuse bandwagon. The Orange will beat Rutgers in Piscataway with about five or six sacks.

- Walk-on Matt McGloin looks as if he was assembled in some 1970s Penn State quarterback factory in Happy Valley.

- With Turner Gill back in Lincoln as the Kansas coach and Taylor Martinez healthy again, what's the under-over on the number of times an announcer compares the two quarterbacks?

By Matt Zemek

-Georgia-Auburn BREAKING NEWS: Auburn fans pay money to attend a football game, and every athlete on the field will not get paid for providing what is, in essence, an entertainment product. DEVELOPING: A.J. Green still can't make money from selling a jersey, and Cameron Newton has provided far more than $200,000 in value to Auburn University. Pay these guys now, NCAA – that's the REAL scandal in the world of college football and the larger athletic-industrial complex. The misguided attempt to strip Reggie Bush of his Heisman has also created an unnecessary Heisman controversy this year. It's like banning Pete Rose from the Hall of Fame for something completely removed from his excellence as a player. Ty Cobb was a violent person who relished causing pain to other human beings, but he was admitted to the Hall of Fame. There are important truths to uphold, and then there are trivial distinctions. The Heisman Trophy is not the Nobel Peace Prize; the quality of person doesn't and shouldn't matter, but the NCAA has made it hard to follow such a guideline.

- South Carolina-Florida: The one time South Carolina had a chance to win the SEC East with a single victory was in 2000. Guess where? Yeah, at The Swamp in Gainesville. Steve Spurrier coached the Gators to a 41-21 win after Florida fell behind 21-3 early in the second quarter. Now the Head Ball Coach is on the other side, and given the fact that Carolina blew an 18-point lead to Kentucky earlier this season, the Gamecocks would probably squander a 21-3 lead in this game, too. Plainly put, South Carolina did not become a new and transformed ballclub after beating Alabama. The Gamecocks must break the spell in Gainesville in order to earn that distinction. For now, expect Alan Rhine and Jarvis Moss to invade the bodies of this year's Gators, and expect Stephen Garcia to dip into that flaky Blake Mitchell anti-mojo on the road. What will a season be like without one more chance to doubt South Carolina? The world would feel so bizarrely out of place.

-Boise State-Idaho: Nothing that happens in this game will give Boise State advocates any reason to reduce their support of the Broncos. Nothing that happens in this game will give Boise State skeptics any reason to reconsider their stance against the Broncos. And to think: This game is played in a place called Moscow. Oh, the propaganda-cranking Wurlitzer will be in force late Friday night in all corners of the country. PRAVDA PIGSKIN!

- San Diego State-TCU: Versus actually picks up a Mountain West game on the telly. That means CBS College Sports won't artificially delay the kickoff an extra 10 minutes. It also means that Boise State's lack of a Mountain West TV prison sentence (uhh, err, contract…) enables the Broncos to appear on ESPN or ESPN2 on Friday nights for the rest of November. TCU won't get seen, but that also means TCU won't be scrutinized as much. It will be interesting to see if national nabobs of negativism give TCU the same klieg-light-glare treatment Boise has substantially received in "Non-AQ Land" over the past 10 weeks.

- Oregon-California: Sorry, Cal's home-field mojo runs out here. Exactly whom has Cal played at home that's even remotely good? Colorado? UC-Davis? Arizona State? UCLA? Play somebody at home before this Strawberry Canyon stuff gets touted as being a real advantage. Ducks by 35 if not more.

-Iowa-Northwestern: Iowa will be sluggish. Northwestern will play hard, especially in the first half. Northwestern will do some really dumb things, mostly in the second half. Iowa will escape. If this doesn't happen, maybe South Carolina actually has a chance against Florida, because the world's stability will be in doubt.

-Michigan-Purdue: Thank goodness Michigan got a week to rest after beating Nicolas Mahut 67-65 in the fifth set of a Wimbledon first-round singles match.

- Army-Kent State: No humor or snark here: If Army doesn't win this game, it will have an uphill climb on the road to a bowl bid. A loss at Kent State would make a 5-7 season a distinct possibility in West Point. Given the team's 4-2 start, that would not be good at all for coach Rich Ellerson.

-Miami-Georgia Tech: No excuses for either team. Backup quarterbacks on each side make this a fair fight. Win on the merits, and no whining.

- Utah-Notre Dame: Did the Utes just wet the bed against TCU, or are they still really good and worthy of the BCS bowl bid they will obviously not receive this season? Drill Notre Dame by 50 points and do similar damage over the remainder of the season, Utes, and we could revisit the issue. For now, though, you have a lot of work to do to repair your image.

-Virginia Tech-North Carolina: What's more amazing – the fact that (idiotic) national college football commentators ripped Virginia Tech after the James Madison loss (they knew why and how it happened), or that North Carolina is 6-3 and still has a chance to win the ACC Coastal Division despite a million limitations and setbacks caused by off-field problems?

- Florida International-Troy: Another sober and serious snark-free comment: This game is essentially the 2010 Sun Belt championship game. Give the Golden Panthers a special bit of recognition since their program is only eight years old and they've been in the Sun Belt since (only) 2005. Mario Cristobal's doing some quality work as the head coach in Miami. If he can beat the two-time defending Sun Belt champions this weekend on their home turf in the southeast pocket of Alabama, Cristobal will deserve at least a look from athletic directors at schools that will soon have job openings. El Paso, Texas, anyone? (UTEP Athletic Director) Bob Stull might want to fire up the pay-per-view or satellite package at 3:30 Eastern time before his Miners take the field at 7 p.m. against Arkansas.

- Oklahoma State-Texas: The Cowboys' snake-bitten history against Texas runs up against Texas's utter futility this season. Remember that Texas had some major-league mojo against Nebraska. If the Horns continue their mastery of the Cowboys, the nation's palm readers, fortune tellers, and voodoo practitioners will smile quietly and knowingly. (Or they might laugh and laugh and turn purple as well.) If Oklahoma State blows a 17-point halftime lead and loses, the reputations of Vince Young and Chance Mock will take huge hits. You'll also want to avoid being within 100 miles of Boone Pickens. You won't want to miss Mike Gundy's press conference, though, and since that would take place within 100 miles of Mr. Pickens, well, those are the tough choices that adults have to make in life.

- Clemson-Florida State: We told you last week that if you weren't emotionally (or otherwise) invested in the outcome of the NC State-Clemson game, you'd be in for a nonstop parade of laughter and comedic fun. We also told you that if you WERE invested in the end result of Wolfpack-Tigers, your belief in God and everything that is good and pure and holy and true and beautiful would be shaken to its very foundations. Well, repeat all those public service announcements for this game. Clemson and Florida State fans should see a hypnotherapist or seek a mind-altering/mind-numbing/mind-relaxing outlet of an appreciably safe sort in the minutes before kickoff. Oh, and don't eat anything until after this game is over. Your stomach was not meant to be a battleground, for one thing; secondly, the fans of the losing team will need to eat a lot of comfort food when this sure-to-be-error-strewn game is done and dusted. We're talking one Claim Jumper meal and one Cheesecake Factory meal, no doggie bag or take-home box included. You have been warned, Tiger and Nole fans, plus NC State fans and anyone else who cares about the final score in this tilt.

- Tulsa-Houston: Again, no snark when the little guys of the sport do battle. The Golden Hurricane and the Cougars have fought a lot of battles this year – mental ones for Tulsa, physical ones for Houston – and they're both still in the thick of the Conference USA West race. The winner here gets a big leg up just before the finish line and would stand to win the West as long as SMU loses at East Carolina on Thanksgiving weekend. If you don't care for big-ticket college football and like the off-the-radar realms of the FBS, this is an evening kick that will satisfy your cravings.

- Nevada-Fresno State: In a normal world governed by proper impulses, Boise State fans should want Fresno State to knock Nevada off the scent, enabling the Broncos to win the conference championship on Nov. 19 with a home win over Pat Hill's Bulldogs. But since we have the BCS messing things up, it's in Boise's best interest to have Nevada win. Yeah, that "sanctity of the regular season" principle is really upheld by the BCS. Roy Kramer was right all along, wasn't he?