Past Hot and Not:
Big East (outside of Syracuse)
Big East bashers have to
take a rest for at least a little while. Yeah, Syracuse is an ugly 0-2,
but the other seven teams are a combined 14-0. But all the wins have
come against cupcakes, right? Well, most have, but the league made two
huge statements with South Florida's win at Auburn and Cincinnati's
thumping of Oregon State.
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
When you're doing things
as well as a Heisman winner and a Heisman runner-up, you're doing
something right. Bradford's five touchdown passes against Miami tied the
record set by Jason White and Josh Heupel, and now the talk about the
big prize has to start focusing around the newest Sooner star. All the
nation's passing efficiency leader has done in two games is complete 83%
of his passes for 568 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions.
Wyoming third down conversion defense
Here's a note for Boise
State this week; convert a third down. Virginia and Utah State went
0-for-13 on third down conversions in the first two games of the year.
Ohio State and Penn State defenses
You'll have to forgive a skeptical nation after hearing about
the Ohio State and Michigan defenses all of last year, only to see them
exposed in the bowls, but so far, two Big Ten teams sit atop the
rankings in total defense. Ohio State is No. 1 allowing just 122.5 yards
per game, and Penn State is second allowing 129 yards per outing. Penn
State has only allowed teams to convert three of 31 third down chances.
Alabama RB Terry Grant
Alabama's running game was stunningly poor last season. Nick
Saban has made a point to start running the ball right off the bat, and
he's found his workhorse in the small, speedy Terry Grant, who's
averaging 7.4 yards per carry with 307 yards and five touchdowns in wins
over Western Carolina and Vanderbilt. Up next is Arkansas.
North Texas WR Casey Fitzgerald
A quick note to the Florida Atlantic coaches this week; figure out where
No. 87 is. Junior Casey Fitzgerald caught 18 passes for 327 yards and
two touchdowns against SMU after making seven grabs for 126 yards and a
score against Oklahoma. To put this all in perspective, North Texas
threw for 1,380 yards all of last year, finishing 117th in the nation.
The ACC had three national spotlight games this week; Nebraska at
Wake Forest, Miami at Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech at LSU, and lost all
three by a combined score of 119 to 37. Throw in an ugly Florida State
win over a bad UAB team, North Carolina's loss to East Carolina, and a
sluggish performance by Maryland against an awful Florida International
squad, this wasn't exactly a stellar week for the league.
Based on ugly starts at Syracuse and Iowa State, Mack Brown
might not have to worry too much about losing his assistant coaches in
the near future. Former Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has
had major problems at Syracuse, going 5-20 in just over two years, with
things not appearing to be appreciably better after losing to Washington
and Iowa by a combined score of 77-12. Syracuse is 118th in the nation
in scoring, 117th in offense, and 91st in total defense. Robinson has
been Urban Meyer compared to Gene Chizik, the former Texas defensive
coordinator who's Iowa State Cyclones are 0-2 after losing to Kent State
and Northern Iowa by a combined score of 46 to 27. Iowa State is 106th
in the nation in scoring despite playing two lousy teams.
Notre Dame's running game
Did Jimmy Clausen
stash any running back recruits in that limo? Mainly because the
offensive line has been abysmal (for the second year in a row) allowing
a nation-worst 15 sacks, the Irish running game is last in the nation
with -4 yards. Georgia Tech and Penn State might have two of the
nation's better defenses, but this is Notre Dame. It should be able to
fall forward and gain a yard or two.
The programs that aren't in a conference with an automatic BCS
bid despite the term mid-major, but after a rough weekend when the
didn't take advantage of their opportunities, the term might fit. BYU
lost to UCLA, Boise State lost to Washington, and TCU lost to Texas in
the statement games for the non-BCSers. In head-to-head matchups with
the automatic BCS conference teams, the mid-majors went 1-25 with the
only bright spot an East Carolina win over North Carolina.
SMU's pass defense
Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard has to be licking his chops. SMU's
secondary is dead last in America after allowing 473 yards and four
touchdowns to Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, and then 601 yards and three
touchdowns to North Texas QB Daniel Meager.