Tuesday Question - The Best Unknown Storyline
Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard
Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard
Posted Sep 9, 2008

What's the best story so far that no one is talking about?

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Pete Fiutak     

Q: What's the best story so far that no one is talking about?

A: Red Wolves and Rice. It's not a quirky energy drink combination.

No one, no one has mentioned anything about an opening day stunner that was just as big as Bowling Green over Pitt. Arkansas State managed to ruin Mike Sherman's debut at Texas A&M with an 18-14 win that the Sun Belt should be able to chirp about for the rest of the year. Formerly the Indians, ASU changed the nickname to the Red Wolves, and now everything appears to be rolling with an 83-10 win over Texas Southern coming after the A&M victory. QB Corey Leonard has the offense humming, and the defense has been fantastic so far at taking the ball away. Home games against Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee, who just beat Maryland, are up next to go along with a date at Alabama down the road.

Rice is the other under-the-radar story. QB Chase Clement and the Owls beat June Jones' SMU team 56-27, and then stunned Memphis with 22 points in just over six minutes, including a pick-six with 11 seconds to play, to win the game. Reality should hit hard soon with Vanderbilt and Texas coming up, but the Owls have been fun so far and should be involved in several shootouts the rest of the way.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: What's the best story so far that no one is talking about?

A: Cal. Given up for dead before the start of the season, the Bears have about as good a two-game resume as anyone in the country. Sure, they’ve still got plenty of time to revert back to old habits, but for now, the program is ranked and making a strong case as the next best thing to USC in the Pac-10. Beating Michigan State in the opener showed that Cal has heart, while laying 66 on Washington State proved it may not miss last year’s offensive weapons as much as originally expected. The backfield duo of Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen has been sensational, which is going to open things up for QB Kevin Riley and his young receivers. With upcoming games against Maryland and Colorado State, the Bears should be 4-0 and a few rungs higher in the polls by the time Arizona State visits on Oct. 4. They’ve got the talent to shake things up in the conference, and now they’ve got the momentum to finally forget about last year’s miserable 1-6 slide to the end of the regular season. Absolutely nothing was expected of Cal before the season began. Two weeks in, it has a lot of people adjusting the program’s upside and monitoring its evolution as a potential Pac-10 sleeper.             

Matthew Zemek

Q: What's the best story so far that no one is talking about?

A: Since everyone is into  East Carolina, the season's best under-the-radar story can be found in Nashville, where Vanderbilt saw an opening against a low-football IQ South Carolina team and took advantage of opportunities to win a close game. Not only did the Commodores win, they did it without playing well. 
If Vandy learns how to win all the close ones, the SEC's longtime Dore-mat will have a non-losing season and a bowl opportunity. In the world of college sports--not just college football--Vanderbilt reaching a bowl game would show every college president and AD that you can win the right way. Few coaches are doing a more admirable job under more daunting circumstances than Bobby Johnson. The former Furman coach, who doesn't allow profanity to be casually uttered during practices, is genuinely interested in the holistic development of the young men under his watch. If he can take his team to the postseason, everyone in college football would truly win.

Steve Silverman

Q: What's the best story so far that no one is talking about?

A: Nobody is talking about a team in Madison called Wisconsin. Two non-conference wins is really not much to brag about, but the Badgers’ 51-14 win over Marshall Saturday should have been good enough to get your attention. In that game, the Thundering Herd came out on fire, jumping out to a 14-0 lead with a big-time ground game. This appeared to be big trouble for the Badgers because this was not two fluke TDs in the first 5 minutes. They built the lead with touchdowns in each of the first two quarters and the Badgers just looked confused. But then the switch went on and the points started flowing like milk in a dairy barn. The Badgers had the lead by halftime and they did it thanks to the passing of Allan Evridge, who completed 17-of-26 passes for 308 yards. If Evridge can throw the ball consistently and P.J. Hill can run, these Badgers may prove to be quite dangerous.