10 Questions, Week 5

Questioning the Top 10, Missouri impressing, and coaching hits and misses

College Football Preview: Week 5

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Sept. 24, 2007

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com



ERIC SORENSON

Eric Sorenson is a regular contributor to CSTV.com, covering football, basketball & baseball. E-mail here!

 

It was ironic that my return flight from Omaha last Monday morning featured the movie "The Fantastic Four." Here I was, thinking, eating, sleeping, drinking college football all weekend long and this movie comes on the flip-down screen.

 


 

 

Isn't the "Fantastic Four" something the college football media have already labeled the teams that they feel are above-and-beyond the rest of the pack? It seems as if everybody is ready to give USC, LSU, Florida and Oklahoma some kind of super-human powers and tag them as the only worthy teams to face off for the national title right here and right now.

 

But in my best Sol Rosenberg/Jerky Boys imitation, all I'd like to say is that I'm very insecure with this type of logic. VERY insecure.

 

Though the polls will count them out if the season ended today, I say keep an eye on the Ohio State's, Boston College's, West Virginia's and Hawai'i's of the world. In my book, these guys stand the best chance to finish unbeaten.

 

So while wondering if Kentucky fans are even bothering to note when basketball season starts this year, here are the first 10 questions that come to mind:

 

Question 1: Who in the Top 10, doesn't deserve to be in the Top 10 - at least not right now?

 

A: No. 7 Texas, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 10 Rutgers.

 

The Longhorns look like something out of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" video, with their numerous run-ins with the law and poor opposition so far. They've played one-score games with the likes of Arkansas State and UCF, so nobody should be convinced about this team.

 

I'm not gonna dance around this second one, the Badgers have been the Bad-gers. How can anybody look at their escapes against UNLV and Iowa and think they deserve to be one of the best 10 teams in the country? Turn in your voting privileges people. Myself and a blackjack table-full of drunk friends can do better than you.

 

And as for the Scarlet Knights - I'm not saying they're not a good team, but please play somebody soon so that we don't just reward you for the carry-over effect of last season. For those of you who don't know, Rutgers beat somebody called Norfolk State 59-0 last week.

 

Question 2: Which teams deserve to replace them in the Top 10?

 

A: No. 11 Oregon, No. 12 Boston College, and No. 14 Kentucky.

 

The Ducks trailed Stanford at the half, but reverted to form in the third quarter to win 55-31. So for that they'd drop from my Top Five, but stay in my Top 10.

 

BC is just plain good. Still can't figure out why they're not rated any higher to begin with. Might be that whole anti-ACC stigma that's goin' around like the Asian flu.

 

And Rich Brooks' Wildcats faced another volatile situation in Fayetteville, and came out a two touchdown winner. Nice! Also have to respect the fact that the 'Cat defense played well, giving up only one touchdown to the Arkansas offense.

 

Question 3: What was the worst coaching call of the weekend?

 

A: South Carolina going for it on 4th-and-one from its own 30 midway through the third quarter.

 

Forget that easy fake field goal that LSU's Colt David scored on. You know, the one that had Garo Yepremian smiling out there somewhere. It was the Carolina 4th-and-one gamble it took midway through the third quarter that sealed their loss at LSU. Even SC radio man Todd Ellis said at the time, "I don't know about this one guys. There's an awful lot of time left to be doing something like this."

 

Sure enough, it was another Cory Boyd running play that went freakin' nowhere against that fleet and mean LSU D and a couple plays later, the Tigers got a touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to put the game out of reach at 28-7. Game. Set. Match. Natural disaster. Flail the arms and fling goes the visor.

 

See, Steve Spurrier can be a bad coach at times too.

 

Question 4: What was the best feel-good story of the weekend?

 

A- Georgia winning one for the Munson.

 

Longtime Bulldog play-by-play radio voice Larry "Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!" Munson missed only his second game assignment in 42 years, and it was a beauty. The Bulldogs went into the elephant's den, played their fight song over the Bear's JumboTron introduction, had `Bama down but let them back in and then brazenly pulled out a tough OT win with a Matthew Stafford pass to Mikey Henderson. Ahhhh yes, like those reality shows splattered all over prime-time TV, nothing in the SEC goes on without a fair amount of drama. You gotta dig that (the SEC, not the reality shows, that is). Almost as much as you've gotta dig Mark Richt's 23-3 record in SEC roadies. Incredible.

 

Meanwhile Munson was back in Georgia doing something he'd never done before - listen to a 'Dogs game on the radio. The 85-year old voice of the Silver Britches has been having trouble with the travel requirements in recent years so he will only be working home games this season. So while Nick Saban's "sainthood" finally proves mortal in Tuscaloosa, the legendary Munson's call would've been great to hear in this one.

 

Question 5: Who did the best imitation of Lazurus this weekend?

 

A: Syracuse and/or coach Greg Robinson. Either way, you can't go wrong here.

 

Face it, you're like me, you saw them laying there on that cold, marble slab, deader-than-a-doornail too, huh? Hell, they came in getting outscored 118-32 so far this season and I don't know how they did it, but the 'Cuse looked nothing like the 'Cuse we've become used to seeing in the last few years, pasting Louisville 38-35. Shockingly, it was Louisville's first home loss in 20 games and was Syracuse's first Big East road win in three years.

 

Orange QB Andrew Robinson... first off, where has THIS kind of performance been my man? What a field day he had, going 17-for-26 for 423 yards, four touchdowns and not a single pick. And all you guys saw what a phenomenal game wideout Taj Smith had, pulling in two long touchdowns including a 79-yard alone-in-the-moonlighter on the game's first play. That set the tone for the rest of the day as once again the UofL defense was shoddy at best.

 

A couple quick things I'd like to mention about the UofL-'Cuse game:

 

1- Tough crowd. That same Louisville crowd that made me fear for my life they would run over me on the field at the end of last year's West Virginia game? They booed their home team mercilessly in the loss. But I suppose they deserved it too.

 

2- Like almost everyone else, I have been hard on Coach Greg Robinson, but this game was a potential program-changer.

 

3- I think color commentator John Congemi did a great job in this game, including his one-on-one chalk talk with Brian Brohm and his quarterback-relevant commentary throughout.

 

4- I still want to keep calling Syracuse the "Orangemen."

 

Question 6: Why am I suddenly impressed with Missouri?

 

A: For many reasons. But it became clearer this weekend.

 

Three weeks ago the Tigers blasted Ole Miss in Oxford, 38-25 (it was 38-13 before the Rebs got a few gimme TDs late). Compare and contrast that with Florida's 30-24 escape from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and that blowout by Mizzou is pretty impressive. At this point, I also wonder if those SEC peeps will remember the Tiger victory when they blast the Big 12 for being weak?

 

I'm also becoming an even bigger fan of quarterback Chase Daniel. I liked him even before Brad Smith's tenure was done in Columbia, but now, if I had a fantasy football quarterback to choose in college, he'd be in my Top Five. So far, this ball-of-excitement has passed for 1,311 yards, 13 TDs, just four picks and a 66 percent completion rate. Also, tight end Martin Rucker is living up to his All-American status with 29 catches in four games.

 

You also have to figure that with the rest of the Big 12 North looking Jerry Quarry-like punchless (I'm looking your way Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa State), this is likely going to be Missouri's year to finally play in the Big 12 title game.

 

Question 7: Why should those computer rankings be taken with a huge grain of salt?

 

A: Because here is what Warren Nolan's computerized Top 10 looked like before this weekend:

1- Texas

2- Ohio State

3- Michigan State

4- Cincinnati

5- Wisconsin

6- Kentucky

7- USC

8- Florida

9- Alabama

10- Boston College

 

After this weekend, here is the slightly more-plausible, updated Warren Nolan Top 10:

1- Oregon

2- USC

3- LSU

4- Ohio State

5- Florida

6- West Virginia

7- Oklahoma

8- Boston College

9- Missouri

10- Purdue

 

Now that also brings up another scary thought... How does Oregon jump from No. 13 up to No. 1 after beating a team like Stanford? Good night nurse!

 

Question 8: What was the best Email I'd received all week?

 

A: One from "Alex J" concerning my old Point-Counterpoint articles.

 

Alex was nice enough to write me and Brian Curtis and remind us of our 2005 weekly edition that featured the question, "Is the Oklahoma dynasty over?" I was logical enough to take the "NO" stance and pointed out that OU was merely going through a lull and would be back in the national picture in short time. And lookie here, slicker than a mayonnaise sandwich, they've made it back, just like I said. Or, as Alex J pointed out in the Email, this debate has been settled. The answer is/was obviously NO.

 

Question 9: (Sniff... sniff!) What's that burning smell?

 

A: Dennis Franchione taking his rotisserie turns on the hot seat.

 

Like fellow Big 12er Nebraska last week, Coach Fran's Texas A&M charges went into this weekend's game with Miami knowing this could be a statement game for them. And just like NU, it sure did turn out to be a statement game, just not the good kind. The Aggies laid a brontosaurus-sized egg against a team that was already humiliated by fellow Big 12 South bully Oklahoma.

 

Harking back to my pre-season 10 Questions for 2006, Franchione is now a pedestrian 28-24 overall in four years and four games of his tenure in College Station. This is a program that has pumped $50 million toward improvements to facilities and amenities. I'm not sure another season of playing little brother to the Texas program (and the rest of the Big 12 for that matter) is what Athletic Director Bill Byrne had in mind. At least they've got Baylor and Okie State on deck, but win while you can Ags, because roadies with Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri preclude the Texas game on Thanksgiving weekend.

 

One more thing... What's going on with Jovorskie Lane? He had 124 yards vs. Fresno State and looked like a Brahma Bull in overtime. But in his other three games, he's got just 76 yards, including two yards on two carries vs. the Canes.

 

Question 10: Does it border on cruelty to have Nate Weinstein, one of the Going South roadtrippers, be sent to south Louisiana while he's fasting for Yom Kippur? (Going South at LSU)

 

A: Yes. And...

 

Sorry Matt, but you missed out on taste bud nirvana! And according to the religious records I checked, nobody has burned in Hell for letting the Day of Atonement go for the sake of cajun food, the best edibles God has ever allowed to be invented.

 

In fact, my palate is counting the freakin' days 'til I get to Baton Rouge for the Florida game when it'll be dipped in spices and smothered in crawfish.

 

The 11th Question

 

Considering their TV ads have shown men with plungers stuck on their foreheads, when do you think those people at The Home Depot (and their Dallas-based ad agency The Richards Group) will ever depict men as competent do-it-yourselfers again in their TV commercials?

 

Just wondering people.

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