5 Thoughts - Don't Think, Just Throw
Ohio State WR Brian Robiskie
Ohio State WR Brian Robiskie
Posted Sep 23, 2007

If you could average over 600 yards and 50 points per game, wouldn't you want to? Then why aren't Texas Tech's Mike Leach and Hawaii's June Jones hotter coaching properties? Hart for Heisman, the wacky first four weeks, jumping on the Buckeye bandwagon, and more, in the latest 5 Thoughts.

Five Thoughts: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Don't Think, Just Throw

By Pete Fiutak   

1. We've all been brainwashed since berth that defense wins championships, and that you must have a good, sound running game to have any shot at being successful in football. Yes, that's fine, but the idea is to score the most points possible. With that in mind, it's time for one of the big-time programs to rethink things a little bit and realize that Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, or Hawaii head man June Jones, could actually be on to something.

I know, I know, the teams with the wacky passing attacks took a hit last week. That's glossing over the overall point. Right now, if you told Tennessee it could be second in the nation in total offense, averaging 606 yards per game (it's currently 48th in the nation averaging 418 yards per game), and could average 49.5 points per game (15 more a game than it's currently cranking out), you'd think it'd want that. Texas Tech is putting up those numbers. If you said to Florida State it could be averaging 55.75 points and 543 yards per game (like Hawaii currently is), don't you think it'd want to?

Of course, the numbers are a bit skewed, since Hawaii and Texas Tech haven't played the teams Tennessee and Florida State have, but you get the idea. It's also important to note that programs like Baylor and Arizona haven't exactly lit the world on fire by copying Texas Tech, but that's Baylor and Arizona.

I'm wondering what would happen (no offense, TTechers) if a big, BIG name program had Leach as the head coach. I'm wondering what would happen if you could get an elite of the elite recruit to run the offense, and more Michael Crabtrees to catch the passes. I'm wondering how this whole thing would work if Leach or Jones were at a place that wakes up in the morning and gets a boatload of top-flight defensive talent knocking on the recruiting door. I'm not saying Virginia Tech should replace Frank Beamer, but pair the Texas Tech offense, assuming it's coached properly, with the Hokie defense, and you'd have an unstoppable machine.

Yards are yards, points are points, and offense is offense. A passing yard counts the same as a rushing yard. It's time one of the top teams, once the fur starts flying and the coaching carousel begins, to think outside the spread box and take a look at Leach or Jones. If nothing else, it would be a whole bunch of fun.

Jumping On The Buckeye

By Richard Cirminiello

It's taken a few weeks, but I'd like to officially get my ticket punched for the Buckeye bandwagon.  With one-third of the season gone, Ohio State has improbably established itself as the Big Ten favorite, and a potentially a deep, deep sleeper to run the table and represent the league in New Orleans.  It's not as if Jim Tressel hasn't taken a less-than-perfect team well beyond expectations in the past.  Am I putting too much stock in recent wins over Washington and Northwestern?  Possibly, but I don't think so.  Beating the Huskies in Seattle created confidence for a young team that had just struggled with Akron.  Crushing Northwestern on Saturday afternoon brought a little swagger, and sent a message to the rest of the league.  A serious work-in-progress just a month ago, the Buckeyes are beginning to gel into a solid top 10 squad.  Todd Boeckman has embraced the role of starting quarterback, throwing six touchdown passes to just one pick in the last two games, and finding a go-to guy in Brian Robiskie.  The defense has allowed only two touchdowns all year, and ranks behind just LSU in total defense.  And the special teams has been up to Tressel's high standards.  Although Ohio State is not in the same league as this year's Big 4, USC, LSU, Oklahoma, and Florida, it is in the next tier of schools, which is still an achievement for this team.  Get on board now before the Big Ten schedule really gets cranking.  In a few weeks, there may be no empty seats remaining.

An Inconsistent Truth

By John Harris

3. Okay, someone has to help me.  There’s no rhyme or reason to this college football season.  None.  Kentucky’s a football school.  Mississippi State and Illinois have better records than Louisville.  Syracuse…really?!?  Notre Dame can’t score or win.  Georgia can’t beat South Carolina at home, but takes out Alabama on the road.  Oklahoma State lost to Troy on the road last weekend, but then yesterday withstands 646 passing yards in beating an undefeated Texas Tech squad 49-45.  Iowa State beats Iowa but has lost to two MAC teams and D1AA Northern Iowa.  Iowa then almost knocks off number seven ranked Wisconsin in Madison, a Badger team that struggled with the Citadel, from the Southern Conference.  But, at least the Badgers won.  The Michigan Wolverines weren’t so lucky.  They lost to their Southern Conference foe Appalachian State in the Big House, but then beat number ten ranked Penn State yesterday.  Nebraska survives a late drop (which would’ve been a sure game-winning TD) and a field goal miss to beat…Ball State?!?  As Marvin Gaye once said, what’s going on?  I’m not sure I can take it anymore.  Even Duke won a game against Northwestern.  Well, at least the Blue Devils maintained expectations by blowing an eleven-point lead in the fourth quarter in a loss to Navy.  That’s about the only thing that’s been consistent in this topsy turvy season, and it’s only week four.

Hart, The Heisman Horse

By Michael Bradley

4. If the Heisman Trophy were to be awarded this week, there would be no shortage of candidates. The West Virginia duo is outstanding. Darren McFadden is tough to beat. Colt Brennan piles up the yards like crazy. Ray Rice. DeSean Jackson. All worthy possibilities. But if you want to find the player who is not only most valuable to his team but also perhaps the most productive and reliable player in college football, look no further than Michigan’s Mike Hart. With the Wolverines reeling from an humiliating 0-2 start, Hart guaranteed a win over Notre Dame (not exactly a Kreskin-worthy forecast, given ND’s horrible team) and then backed it up with a big performance. Last Saturday, with U-M trying to get a good start in the Big Ten and playing against a ferocious Penn State defense that ranked first in the nation against the run, Hart carried the ball 44 times for 153 yards and a touchdown, helping Michigan shorten the game and protect true freshman QB Ryan Mallett. A lot can happen between now and early December, but Hart has proven himself to be a standout so far.

Ball Spotting, Line Jumping

By Matthew Zemek

The SEC crew working the Florida-Ole Miss game twice ruled false starts when, in fact, the defensive line jumped to create movement. The SEC crew working the (higher-profile) South Carolina-LSU game managed to correctly apply this rule. Someone send a memo to the line judge who was working in Oxford on Saturday: false starts, if they're caused by the defense, aren't false starts.
As for ball spotting, two observations:
1) the spot that gave Penn State a fourth-down conversion at the Michigan 24 in the third quarter of Saturday's game was nothing short of atrocious. The ballcarrier had been stacked up in a pile, his body motionless for a good 2-3 seconds. A very late lean came well after the play ended.
2) Ball spots, when subjected to review, need to be given very precise detail by the referees who mark the ball and by the coaches (such as Steve Spurrier of South Carolina) who make challenges before fourth-down chain measurements. If a coach has a problem with a ball spot, he should make the mark on the field at the spot where the play ended (and officials should allow him to make the mark). When ball spots are reviewed, the challenge can then be framed in sufficiently specific terms: the 31 1/4 yard line versus the 31 1/2 yard line versus the 31 3/4 yard line. It's hard for officials to review a play involving a ball spot--let alone overturn it--when a few inches are in question. Coaches need to be able to determine just how many inches are involved in a possibly errant ball spot.