5 Thoughts - Benefiting From The Fallout?
Ohio State WR Ray Small
Ohio State WR Ray Small
Posted Oct 1, 2007

Putting this epic weekend into historical perspective, who benefits the most? Ray Small and Ohio State are certainly helped. Is Mack Brown on the hot seat? Which team went unnoticed among all the upsets? These and more in the latest 5 Thoughts.

Five Thoughts: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

A Little Revolution Now And Then Is Good Thing

By Pete Fiutak   

1. Everybody likes the underdog. Everyone roots for David. Everyone wants to see Cinderella get the prince.

Not me.

As a pure fan of college football, and one who watches more college football than any human being alive, I have no tolerance for lousy matchups and bad games. That's why I live for the big weekends. I love the hype, I love the rivalry games, I love the monster showdowns like Oklahoma vs. Texas and Florida vs. LSU. That's why I selfishly wanted to see all the big boys survive on Saturday, so I could have my epic October 6th.

And then something funny happened halfway through the weekend; I realized that this was the epic weekend I was looking forward to.

Just how incredible were the 24 hours from when South Florida knocked off West Virginia, to the Colorado win over Oklahoma, to the Kansas State win over Texas, to the Auburn win over Florida, to the Maryland win over Rutgers, to the fantastically entertaining battles between Cal and Oregon, Wisconsin and Michigan State, Alabama and Florida State, and yeah, USC at Washington?

So now the question becomes, how does this week impact the entire landscape of the season? For historical perspective, you have to go back to October 5, 2003, when No. 3 (according to the AP Poll, back when it mattered) Ohio State lost to Wisconsin, No. 5 Florida State lost to Miami (who was No. 2), No. 6 LSU lost to Florida, No. 7 Arkansas lost to Auburn, No. 10 Nebraska lost to Missouri, No. 11 Texas lost to No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 13 Tennessee lost to No. 8 Georgia, No. 15 Pittsburgh lost to Notre Dame, No. 17 Minnesota lost to Michigan, No. 22 Kansas State lost to Oklahoma State, and No. 25 Virginia lost to Clemson.

The key to that weekend was how it opened the door for several teams that weren't even in the discussion. As the season went on, No. 1 Oklahoma rolled, until getting blasted by Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, USC, ranked ninth on October 5th thanks to a loss to Cal, started moving its way up, and eventual national champions LSU, ranked sixth, was able to overcome a loss the following week to start moving up to the number two spot.

On a knee-jerk reaction to this weekend and who benefits, its seems like this was a huge, huge weekend for the Big Ten. Now, Ohio State is in striking distance of the national title discussion. Wisconsin can be in that spot if it keeps winning, and beats the Buckeyes in Columbus on November 3rd, and Purdue can make a lot of noise if it can beat Ohio State this weekend. Now, Boston College, Kentucky, South Florida and Missouri are major players, and teams that got tagged early on, like Nebraska, UCLA, and Virginia Tech, should be able to start creeping up.

Of course, if USC and LSU keep doing their thing, everyone else is just playing for third. But if this weekend was any indication, we're not quite done yet.

What Is Brown Doing For You?

By Richard Cirminiello

. So just how much goodwill does a national championship buy a head coach anyway?  Texas’ Mack Brown is about to find out.  A lightning rod for criticism before capping a perfect 2005 with an epic win over USC, his ‘Horns have shown some wear-and-tear of late, losing three of their last eight, including Saturday’s 41-21 debacle to Kansas State.  Can the questions about Brown competency be far behind?  Hey, it may sound unreasonable for a coach that’s been wildly successful, but expectations have never been particularly reasonable in Austin.  Brown’s detractors will no doubt find it ironic that former Longhorn icon Vince Young was in attendance for Saturday’s loss, the worst in the coach’s tenure at the school.  You see, they believe that without VY, the Rose Bowl win that capped the 2004 season and the national championship the following year would never have happened.  To them, they were Young’s accomplishments, not Brown’s.  Fair?  Of course not.  Real?  You bet.  And now, here’s comes Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, that one-time haunted house whose demons were exorcised by ...... yup, Vince Young.  Texas has won two straight in the series, but this is a fragile program that hasn’t looked good this fall against anyone not named Rice.  A loss to Oklahoma on Saturday is going to resurface some of those sick feelings that permeated through the Longhorn Nation during the five-year losing steak to the Sooners.  And along with those feelings will come the cries questioning Brown’s ability to win big without Vince Young.  Bank on it.  

Indiana, We're All For You, Who?

By John Harris

During one of the most surprising weekends in the history of college football, it was easy to overlook a story that many people have missed – the Indiana Hoosiers.  The Hoosiers finished last season with three straight losses, but had shown that they weren’t that “far away” under head coach Terry Hoeppner.  They had knocked off Iowa and Michigan State behind the playmaking and leadership of quarterback Kellen Lewis.  Coming into 2007, some thought this might be a team on the uptick and with a gregarious leader like Hoeppner, a bowl game wasn’t such a far fetched idea.  But, during the summer, the beloved Hoeppner succumbed to a brain tumor on June 19, 2007, leaving new head coach Bill Lynch the task of not only taking the program to a new level but helping young men deal with loss – a loss bigger than any the Hoosiers experienced last season on the field.  Lynch, his staff and players deserve a rousing ovation after beating Iowa, on the road this time, for the second straight season and taking the record to 4-1 on the year.  Hoeppner never got a chance to complete his goal of rebuilding this team, but Lynch and company are taking care of business as Coach Hoeppner would’ve loved.

Ask Michigan About Rematch Possibilities

By Michael Bradley

4. If I hear one more person tell me that USC-Cal is an “elimination game” in the race for the BCS title game, I’m going to hurt someone. The rationalization that a late-season game between two teams which could well be worthy of inclusion in a playoff is actually a post-season game is like saying a November meeting between the Colts and Patriots should take the place of the AFC title game. This system is as ridiculous a way of choosing a champion as there is, and its defenders are merely playing into the hands of those who are trying to maximize the dollars available to the BCS conferences through the antiquated bowl system – which was created to attract tourists to warm-weather locations during the holidays, not choose a champion – rather than concoct a tournament that might require spreading the dough around. Whichever team loses that USC-Cal game will be likely eliminated from title consideration, no matter how good it is, and that’s a sin. It’s also the way it goes in the asinine world of I-A football. Accept it, but don’t try to defend it, because you sound like a toady for the establishment.

It's Still A Kid's Game

By Matthew Zemek

The importance of this past Saturday goes beyond the enormous entertainment value given to college football fans. It easily transcends the national title picture, now thrown into a state of pronounced upheaval.
What is the truest and deepest meaning of this past Saturday of upsets?
It offers all of us cause to gain some much-needed perspective about college football and, for that matter, big-time college sports.
For all the attention some people give to recruiting (I've made it a point to ignore the shady meat-market aspect of college sports as long as I've sat in a columnist's chair), and for all the scrutiny given to coaches on a weekly basis, this cutthroat business is ultimately shaped by kids who are subjected to an intense spotlight and gameday pressures on a weekly basis. One bad day at the office, one game in which an inferior opponent is overlooked, can derail a whole season's worth of aspirations. One mistake made in the twinkle of an eye can shatter dreams of glory. All the massive expenditures made on behalf of a state school's football program can go right out the window in a heartbeat.
One muffed Oklahoma punt.
One nightmarish game from Colt McCoy.
One huge catch by Maryland receiver LaQuan Williams against Rutgers.
One nonexistent half from a sleepwalking Florida team.
One careless fumble by Oregon receiver Cameron Colvin at the goal line against Cal.
One needless pick-six thrown by West Virginia's Pat White against South Florida.
These and other temporary lapses of concentration (or, once in a while, huge plays made by players on geeked-up underdogs) will influence whole seasons in substantial ways.
When you realize the fine line between victory and defeat; between a BCS bowl and the GMAC Bowl; between a conference crown and a fourth-place finish, it should dawn on us that college sports aren't worth the amount of money spent on them.
We could have had the same spills, chills and thrills we had today without hundreds of millions of additional dollars spent on athletic facilities.
Donors and philanthropists, send money to the homeless and the uninsured, not to the next gleaming football facility. All the buildings in the world won't change a simple fact: kids will be kids, and seasons will be affected as a result.