10 Questions, Week 7: Is This Really Happening?

Another crazy weekend leaves more questions to be answered

Oct. 8, 2007

College Football Recap: Week 6

> Full Scoreboard  |  GameTracker Final Stats  |  Images of Saturday
> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> Run & Shoot: Spurrier Keeps Frustrating Kentucky  |  Illini Snap Wisconsin's Win Streak
Sooners Take Another Classic  |  Tennessee Wins Big  |  Ohio State's D Hits Purdue
Bearcats Too Much For Rutgers  |  Stanford Stuns USC  |  LSU Partying In Baton Rouge
> Trev: USC Loss Sends Shockwaves  |  Cardinal Takes The Trojans Down     

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com



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

Between you and me, I keep thinking that there is going to be some kind of cruel alarm clock that will rudely wake me up at any time now. That's right, I'll be lying there in my bed with the worst breath of the day.


So far, this college football season has been one incredible dream. With exciting games, incredible finishes and "Am I hallucinating?" upsets all over the map.




All I know is that Saturday night's game in Baton Rouge was another wicked-good chapter in this 2007 season. I was lucky enough to take it all in inside the sonic boom that is Tiger Stadium. And I was even luckier enough to take in a whole mess of hot jambalaya and cool atmosphere in the pre-game festivities that featured an estimated 175,000 tailgaters on the LSU campus. What a great freakin' environment that was.


Gotta say, a fall Saturday in Baton Rouge never disappoints.


While wondering how the second meeting of LSU and Florida will turn out, here are this week's 10 Questions.


Question 1: After spending this weekend in Baton Rouge, what five things did I discover about LSU on Saturday?


1. LSU doesn't have a come-from-behind offense. It has a come-from-behind defense.

2. Tiger running back Jacob Hester is one tough S.O.B. His second and third efforts on a pair of fourth down runs won the game.

3. Despite the loss, Tim Tebow showed me a lot for three quarters and may still have a chance at the Heisman. What the hell, nobody else has stepped up.

4. Pre-game rockers and New Orleans-natives Cowboy Mouth is a GREAT live band. (www.cowboymouth.com)

5. Nike is a scurrilous cad of a company.


You know those special "rising like a phoenix" jerseys LSU wore last week at Tulane? Those jerseys retail for 80 bucks at the LSU Union. Get this - only ONE dollar of that 80 is going to Katrina relief funds. One dollar of 80. Is Nike really selling these with a straight face here?


Question 2: NOW will you listen to me when I say USC hasn't been all that impressive?




A couple of weeks ago I covered the USC-Nebraska game and I caught a little flack after writing that I didn't think that USC's win was very impressive. Sure, their line opened Mack Truck-sized holes in the porous Blackshirt defense, but penalties, silly mistakes and giving up 31 points to an average offense proved to me that USC was still an undisciplined team. Now, turn the page to the 24-23 loss to Stanford on Saturday and I think you see what I mean. Outgaining a 1-3 team, 459 to 235, and still losing? As usual with the Trojans lately, you have to take into account the penalties and turnovers, of which SC had eight flags for 80 yards and five turnovers in all. Four of those were John David Booty interceptions.


Question 3: So should I believe all my LSU friends that say USC is out of the national title picture?


Well, hell no.


Here's the deal. It's become obvious to all of us college football junkies across the country that anything and everything can happen in this most unlikely of college football seasons. So if - and at this point it's a big if - USC is able to win out the rest of the way (including wins at Oregon, at Cal and at Arizona State), the Trojans would still have a decent shot at finishing near the top. As you know, there are lots of teams above them that will eventually lose. And plus, this is just the first week of October. You know that stupid old adage that is only relevant to college football, "if you're going to lose, lose early." So I have to say to all those Tiger fans who are eerily obsessed with USC failure, I don't think the Men of Troy are completely out of this thing just because of this loss. Though this one is huge.


Of course, you also have to think, after what we've seen, what are the chances USC is going to go on a winning spree like that now?


Question 4: What other fan-base do I NOT want to hear a peep out of this week?




There's only one thing that could make the L.A. smog situation any worse: if it smelled bad, too. Well, right about now, this city has just stunk up the college football landscape with UCLA's inexcusable 20-6 loss to Notre Dame added to USC's unthinkable loss to Stanford. I live in the Smog City and have friends that are militant fans on both sides of this rivalry. And - me being a neutral non-native - boy howdy! Do I ever hear the trash talking when one of these two loses a game? But after this weekend, I won't have to hear the snide slings and arrogant arrows of either fan base bagging on the other.


Shame on you both. 


Question 5: What's the latest trend in college football?


First-year coaching success stories.


Here are three names to commit to memory right now: Jeff Jagodzinski, Dennis Erickson and Brian Kelly. Those are the three head coaches in their inaugural seasons at Boston College, Arizona State and Cincinnati, who all stand at 6-0. And the most impressive part is that all three coaches have their players believing and doing that whole "buying into the system" thing that talking heads love to say.


This weekend:

BC shook some doldrums and demolished Bowling Green, 55-24.

Arizona State escaped the Paloose with a 23-20 win at Washington State.

Cincinnati answered its gut check with a nice 28-23 win at Rutgers.


What great turnarounds at all three schools. Of the three I suppose Coach Jag's job at BC might be the least surprising since he inherited a great quarterback in Matt Ryan and lots of experience returning across the board. ASU is playing on a different level this year. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter appears to have shaken off last year's absolute funk and is playing more like he did as a freshman when he deposed then-starter Sam Keller. And what can you say about the Bearcats? Coach Kelly has come in from a successful gig at Central Michigan and lit a fire under their butts. The Big East is going through major remodeling and UC is at the forefront of this upheaval.


Still, all three teams face major hurdles in the immediate future:

Boston College's three-week vacation is over with a "trap door" game at Notre Dame.

ASU keeps its hands to the fire with Washington, Cal and Oregon on deck.

And Cincy's last half of the season will be no picnic, starting with Louisville this week.


Question 6: Speaking of coaches, who is getting a whisper of credit that should be a shout across the rooftops?


Ron Zook of Illinois.


First of all, this guy has always been able to recruit. And now, he is proving, given time, he can coach a bad team to a great season. With this weekend's 31-26 "upset" over No. 5 Wisconsin, the Illini sit at 5-1 and 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990. It also marked the first win over a Top Five opponent since 1989, although I think we can all agree Wisconsin should not have been anywhere near that high in the polls.


The Zooker is working with wildly talented quarterback Juice Williams, who has been a phenom. He rushed for 92 yards and went 12-for-19 for 121 more yards. The Juice also got help from RB Rashard Mendenhall, who outrushed Big Ten rushing leader P.J. Hill 160-to-83.


For those of you wondering, the Illini play at Ohio State on November 10th.


Question 7: So which team has the biggest smile on its face after this weekend?


Ohio State.


The Bucks' impressive 23-7 clampdown of Curtis Painter and Purdue leave them with a 6-0 record and, without a doubt, the easiest path to the national championship game. Despite the uprising of the aforementioned Illinois team, we're still talking about a not-so-good Big Ten, which means the Bucks seem to have a red carpet laid out for them. There are some trap doors - like the November run of Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan - but OSU will undoubtedly be favored by double-digits in the rest of its games.


Question 8: Despite the good intentions, what rule change should college football send to the landfill?


Instant replay.


Bottom line, if the idiots can't get the obvious rulings correct, they should just get rid of it and go back to the human element on the field.


Here are a few examples:






Question 9: Whose ten-gallon hat is feeling five gallons flat?


The state of Texas.


The stars at night are just not aligning right deep in the heart of Texas this season:


- Texas has lost to Big 8 bullies the last two weeks.

- Texas A&M's awful loss at Miami keeps looking worse and worse.

- TCU was supposed to be this year's Boise State, but is now 3-3 after losing to resurgent Wyoming 24-21.

- Rice, despite a nice win at Southern Miss on Wednesday, lost to Nicholls State in week one, 16-14.

- And lastly, North Texas lost to UL-Lafayette on Saturday in the battle of winless saps, 38-29.


Question 10: What rivalry game has all of a sudden increased in significance?


Missouri vs. Kansas.


This ain't no basketball we're talking here. Nope. The Big 12 North rivals may well be deciding who goes to San Antonio for the title game when they meet up on November 24 in Kansas City.


Both teams had huge wins this past weekend to improve to 5-0.


Missouri bullied up on wilting Nebraska, 41-6. Chase Daniel continues to roll up the numbers without a lot of fanfare, riddling the Huskers for 401 yards through the air, a personal best, and 72 on the ground. And big props to Mizzou's suspect defense for holding Nebraska to 297 yards.


KU, meanwhile, won its only meaningful game so far this year with its 30-24 W over in-state rival Kansas State. Todd Reesing rallied the Jayhawks to 10 points in the final six and a half minutes of the game.


And now...The 11th Question:


Why do those guys in the Sonic TV commercials look like their "seat belts" wrap around their necks, looking more like a sash and not attached to the car?