10 Questions, Week 6

Many are undefeated, none are impressive

College Football Preview: Week 6

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Lessons For Professors  |  Amsinger: Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Questions  |  Shake-Up Saturday
> Braff: Some Upsets Not So Surprising  |  Hart: Making Sense - And A Ballot - Out Of It All
> Trev: Don't Hate On South Florida  |  LSU The Weekend Pick   |  Blackburn: Rivalry Seeing Red
> Caparell: Polled Over  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions   |   B.J.: Quit Spinning, Texas
> Sorenson: 10 Most Underrated Things About College Football  |  Caparell: Meyer’s Seen This Before

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com


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


What in the name of Jenni Carlson - and the inflection of Sam Kinison - is going ON here?!


You mean to tell me we are already one-third through this college football season? And look what we've had through the first five weeks. A top five team losing to an FCS team, a team with its own TV network going 0-5, basketball scores in the Blue Grass (well, that's not too unusual), fans of national powers booing their own teams and now half of the teams in the Top 10 prove to the voters they don't belong there. What's next, the president of Iran giving speeches at our places of higher learning in a Members Only jacket?




For the first time in years we've actually got a season that is more entertaining than an Oprah book signing. And I'm diggin' it so far. You?


So while wondering why all the sudden the SEC is getting questioned for its toughness (Sports Illustrated, CollegeFootballNews, Pat Forde), here are the 10 Questions for this week.


Question 1: Before we get to this weekend's action, one last thing about that whole Mike Gundy-going-Jerry-Springer blow-up. Who's side should I be on, Coach Gundy's or journalist Jenni Carlson's?


I guess I better say Gundy's or else he may get all up in my grill and start asking me if I've ever had a child.


(And by the way, is a 22-year old college student really a "child"? Bad analogy, coach.) It's been interesting to see the responses to Gundy's toxic attack. Here's the consensus I've found.


1. If you're a former player, you love that this guy has "gone to bat for his players."

Mike Golic, Kirk Herbstreit, Doug Flutie and Desmond Howard were all hyped about Gundy sticking up for a player of his. They all said that would make them run through a wall for their coach.


"He's sending his players a message, 'I'm here for you. I'm sticking by you even when things aren't going well.' I like when a coach does that." - Mike Golic


2. If you're a member of the media, you're calling him a coward.

Pete Fiutak, Pat Forde, Ivan Maisel and Dennis Dodd have all been chastising him for his going ballistic on Ms. Carlson and the freedom of the press. Not to mention the fact that he spent his entire post-game after what was a big win over Texas Tech on this subject.


"One time a coach lit into me like that and another reporter came up to me and said, 'Green, eight out of 10 times a coach will ignore criticism like that. But two out of every ten times, you'll strike a nerve. And that's because he knows you're right.'" - Mike Greenberg


The most interesting viewpoint I heard came from somebody who has been on both sides of the argument - as a high-profile coach and as a current journalist:


"You know, every coach in America wishes he could do that. But while we want the press when we're winning, you can't rip them when we lose. You can't go attacking the press. Every coach gets frustrated when a young writer seems to be totally off-base, you really wanna rip into them, but you can't do it." - Terry Bowden


Question 2: What was the overriding theme to this weekend?


No, not the word "upset" but the phrase "don't be impressed with anybody."


I said it and it's true. Nobody looked good this weekend, if you ask me. In fact, if I had a ballot to fill out, I'd leave the No. 1 slot vacated.


LSU and USC are the most popular names up there right now, but neither deserves it after what I saw on Saturday. Could you get two more wildly-undisciplined teams in the country? USC was penalized 16 times for 161 yards in its 27-24 escape at Washington and LSU was flagged 15 times for 91 yards in its closer-than-score-indicates 34-9 win at the 98-pound weakling known as Tulane.


I'm going to be frank with you, both teams looked like they could've named their score at times, the talent disparity was obvious. But stupid mistakes, dropped passes and sloppy play kept them in games with inferior opponents much longer than they needed to be.


And one last thing, all those voters who vaulted LSU to No. 1 obviously didn't see Tulane dominate LSU's offense in the first half. Really, the top spot should be vacated. Which brings me to this question...


Question 3: What is reason No. 243 that the polls are just a horrible, horrible idea?


- Kansas State is still ranked below Texas.

- Oregon drops three slots for a "loss" to No. 3 Cal

- Purdue has been more impressive than Wisconsin, but is 18 slots behind them.

- Missouri and Arizona State are unbeaten but way down at Nos. 17 and 18, despite decent wins.


Question 4: Which of this weekend's losers still has a chance at the big brass ring?


That's easy. Florida.


It doesn't take a brainiac to recall that the Gators won the title last year with a loss to Auburn. And the Gators can get instant redemption if they can win at No. 1 LSU this weekend. In other words, no muss, no fuss, welcome back to the title picture. Tebow and Company are still in control of their own destiny.


But say goodbye to the national title hopes of West Virginia and Rutgers for sure. The Big East is improved, but not yet to the point of a one-loss team making it back into the top two.


And you can almost say goodbye to Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon's title hopes too. A watered down Big 12 will hurt the Sooners and Horns - who play each other this Saturday, although they do have the name recognition in the voters minds to make a return run at the top. The Ducks could win out, including a win over USC, but will fall victim to not having a conference title game.


(Damn, did I just admit that conference title games have a good side? I suddenly feel all dirty.)


Question 5: Remember what I said two weeks ago about the shift of power in the state of Alabama?


Scratch that.


My, oh my, how things can change so quickly in college football. Since I made that statement about the Yellowhammer State, Bama has crashed back down to Earth with losses to Georgia and Florida State. Meanwhile, Auburn won in the Swamp on Saturday, and the a win over Kansas State and a loss to South Florida start to look a whole lot better now, don't they?


But in my defense, who could've seen a game like the Tigers pulled out in Gainesville? Was that really Brandon Cox under center? Was that really the Auburn defense quashing Tebow and them most of the game, even without Quentin Groves for the fourth quarter? And was that really a freshman kicker coolly nailing two 43-yard field goals to end the game? Special kudos to Al Borges and Will Muschamp, the two coordinators for AU, they finally put the pieces together at the same time.


Nice job, War Eaglers.


Question 6: Who took the hardest shot to the ego this week?


The Big 12 South


Colorado beat Oklahoma. (The Sooner D was finally exposed against an average offense.)

Kansas State beat Texas. (This is NOT the Colt McCoy, nor the play-calling of '06.)

Kansas and Missouri are the last unbeatens in the conference.

Texas Tech has no defense.

Oklahoma State is making more noise in the press conferences.

Texas A&M has an insider information problem from its head coach.

And Baylor is, well... Baylor.

After years of the Big 12 merger benefitting the Texas schools way more than the Big 8 schools, the pendulum may just be swinging back north.


Other downtrodden shoe-gazers after this weekend:


The Big East

With pre-season faves West Virginia, Rutgers and Louisville knocked off, their hopes for a national title are nearly gone.




Clemson's loss leaves only Boston College with a shot at a title run, nationally. However, Maryland offered a good feather-in-the-cap win at Rutgers.


Players trying to stretch footballs over the goal line


As I railed on two weeks ago, players like Oregon's Cameron Calvin must stop trying to dangerously stretch the ball away from their bodies. Play fundamental football people. This time it cost UO a win in overtime.


Question 7: What do you think will happen first, Connecticut gets a loss or Notre Dame gets a win?


My money's on UConn suffering an L.


It's bizarre that we're still talking about both of these rarer-than-Bigfoot phenomena after five weeks of the season, but here we are. It's still obvious that Notre Dame will have to wait until Navy comes to South Bend on November 3rd (and if not then, maybe until the second coming of Touchdown Jesus). Because even with all the upsets going on in this crazy world of college football, there must be some kind of rule where the Irish don't get close to a victory against a favored team.


But give it up for the Huskies, because 5-0 marks are a habit usually reserved for Jim Calhoun's roundball teams. Okay, take away the near-escape of Temple (a 22-17 win) and UConn has played extremely well. They're giving up only 11 points a game thanks to a junior-senior heavy defense. And QB Tyler Lorenzen, a former Iowa State Cyclone, has infused the offense with 64% accuracy and good scrambling ability. But his 13 sacks are an area of concern. UConn has Virginia and Louisville's defenses to have fun against, before taking on USF and Rutgers later on in October.


Question 8: What is the worst way to lose a football game?


The way NAIA Concordia (Neb.) lost to Northwestern (Iowa).


You tellin' me that a blocked field goal turns into a forward pass-lateral-fumble-kickball-bellyflop onto the ball for a game-winning touchdown? This you've just got to see: Watch


What is this, the Oakland-San Diego Holy Roller game with Kenny Stabler, Pete Banaszak and Dave Casper? Even worse, this play involved a guy that was obviously down, before he "lateralled" the ball to no one in particular.


Also keep in mind, Concordia was that close to upsetting the No. 11 team in the country on its field before this mondo-bizarro play took place to end the game.


Question 9: With that in mind, what are the five best last-play finishes in the colored facemask era of college football?


5. BYU 46 - SMU 45, 1980 Holiday Bowl.

Cougs trail 45-25 with 2:55 left. But a huge rally and a desperation heave by Jim McMahon allows for last play heroics.


4- Boston College 47 - Miami 45, 1984

Flutie's fling leads to Heisman speech and USFL, CFL and drop-kick history.


3- Colorado 27 - Michigan 26, 1994

Stewart to Westbrook to a tipped ball to a quiet Big House.


2- LSU 33 - Kentucky 30, 2002

UK Coach gets Gatorade bath and Cats fans tear down a goalpost. How did they not notice LSU had won on 75-yard tipped-heave?


1- Cal 20 - Stanford 19, 1982

Elway's comeback, the five laterals, the band is on the field! This one's a no-brainer.


Question 10: If I was a high-paid TV programmer big shot, what would be my first order of business?


I'd put this week's Ohio State-Purdue, Arizona State-Washington State, Wisconsin-Illinois, South Carolina-Kentucky, Nebraska-Missouri, Kansas-Kansas State, Cincinnati-Rutgers and Utah State-Hawai'i games on national TV in their own time slots this weekend so everyone in the country could see these undefeated teams for themselves.


Then again, I'm not sure everyone is as freakish as me about watching football from 9am to midnight each Saturday. Maybe it's good I'm going to the LSU-Florida game this weekend.


And now...the 11th Question: You think there's enough cajun food in Baton Rouge to satiate me?


Oh, the gluttony at hand!