Loony Weekend In Loony Year

Another wild few days both on and off the field

College Football Preview: Week 9

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Exterior Designs  |  Amsinger: Weekly Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Questions  |   Braff: Coaches With Guts
Trev: No Time To Dog It  |  Ohio State Offense Getting Better   |  Hart: Another Loony Weekend
> Blackburn: Same Lights, New Show In Blacksburg  |  Palm: Road To The BCS
> Caparell: Penn State Knows It's Got To Be Close  |  Crystal Ball: Predictions

Oct. 24, 2007

By Tom Hart

Special to CSTV.com



Tom Hart calls football play-by-play for CSTV and is a contributor to CSTV.com.
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This season, every week of the college football calendar has been crazy.  Some are busier than others, but all have been straight loony. 


Busy for me entails two games in three days.  This week, the two games couldn't have been more different; or further apart.  I spent Thursday night in rainy and cold South Central Nebraska; followed by a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Eastern North Carolina.  Just in case you were wondering, there isn't an airline in this country that flies direct from Kearney to Greenville. 




It made for an interesting trip.  Flying into Omaha and making the three-hour drive to Kearney for a Division II showdown between undefeated Chadron State and the Nebraska-Kearney gave me just enough time to catch up with the Tom Osborne vs. Bill Callahan saga.  As if spending every weekend with Trev Alberts didn't already have me sufficiently prepped, I learned the following:


1.  Nebraska people worship Tom Osborne

2.  Tom Osborne is a winner.

3.  Bill Callahan is not from Nebraska.

4.  Bill Callahan is not a winner.


That's all I need to know. 


I was looking forward to seeing Danny Woodhead, the all time yardage leader in the history of NCAA football, tote the ball for Chadron.  His first carry of the night, off the right side for five yards, was his last carry.  His streak of 38 straight games with a touchdown (also an NCAA record, in case you thought otherwise) came to an end after he left the game with a sprained right arch.  He was done after one snap.  My journey was just beginning.


Following the game I was poised for a return trip to Omaha.  Little did I know that the Nebraska highway department decided to shut down I-80.  Who closes an interstate?  Were they afraid a back from USC was going to run through Lincoln again?  I got back on the interstate only after a midnight detour through Lincoln. My timing was perfect.  I was immediately pulled over by a state trooper.  Apparently my Avis assigned black HHR helped me fit the profile of a drug mule.  After telling the officer who I was (Turner Gill's agent, duh), he let me go.  With a 2:00 am arrival in Omaha, I could pull off a solid three and a half hours of sleep before my wake up call.


My connection in Atlanta was quick, it had to be.  The flight from Omaha landed at 11:00 a.m., and my flight to Raleigh departed at 11:15.  (Sidebar:  remember when it was cool to refer to an airport sprint from gate to gate as "pulling an OJ?")


My drive from the RDU airport to Greenville hit a bump in the road when Highway 264 was shut down outside of Knightdale thanks to a wreck (if you have to ask where Knightdale is, consider yourself lucky.  If you know what I'm talking about and are offended I apologize.  But it could always be worse, it could be Zebulon).  My intimate knowledge of Tobacco Road allowed me to bypass the wreck by shortcutting through scenic Wendell, N.C.  


I don't mean to complain, I only want to point out that sometimes when all you want is take a big juicy bite out of life, the gods drop a ketchup stain on your new white shirt.  It would be trite to point out the reasons life isn't always fair, so all you have to do is turn to Phil Steele.  Armed with numbers and tendencies and completely devoid of emotion, feeling, and heart, the best prognosticator in college football uses quirky abbreviations to break the game down to its simplest forms: numbers.  AP polls, BCS rankings, third down conversions, Les Miles' hat size all get plugged into the equation.  While numbers can't measure heart, passion, luck and leadership, we're learning this season that they are all that matter.  Cinderella stories have dropped by the wayside already, and more will follow.  We're learning that all that matters this season is wins.


One second separated Auburn from a dramatic win in Death Valley. 


Two special team fakes did in USF.  It just didn't seem fair to USF.  Having risen as high as a No. 2 ranking, the Bulls were poised to bum rush the show.  Then a bunch of dudes from New Jersey busted into the party-- uninvited.  Bad news is always uninvited.  Didn't the Knights know 2007 is the year of the Bull?  Rutgers had its shot last season, the same year Tony Soprano left the airwaves.  On a wild Thursday night the Rutgers fans again charged the field, and stole the dreams of the kids in green and gold.


It may seem unfair to leapfrog an idle Boston College, but LSU showed us all that teams who tug on Superman's cape, spit into the wind and keep Bengals in wave pools deserve to hold the most dangerous spot in the nation, the No. 2 ranking.


This week many pollsters dropped USF to the mid-teens.  They didn't fall out of my top 10.  It makes me wonder, are all the teams that were behind the Bulls last week better than them this week?


Buoyed by a blowout of Texas Tech, and with wins against Illinois and at Ole Miss under its belt, Missouri claimed the 10th spot in my poll this week.


Virginia Tech is still waiting for a signature win.


Kansas and Arizona State still have a lot to prove, both should be thankful for a Top 15 ranking at this point.


The last spot was hotly contested.  Wake Forest and Clemson each had good wins this weekend, but the Tigers still haven't proven themselves.  The same can be said for UConn.  I spend a lot of time judging small conference teams with weak schedules, so it's only fair that the same applies here.  One win against an inconsistent Florida State team shouldn't be enough to gain entrance for Clemson.


Hart's Top 25


1.       Ohio State

2.       LSU

3.       Boston College

4.       Oregon

5.       Oklahoma

6.       USF

7.       USC

8.       West Virginia

9.       Florida

10.    Missouri

11.    Virginia Tech

12.    Kansas

13.    Arizona State

14.    Kentucky

15.    South Carolina

16.    Hawaii

17.    Texas

18.    Virginia

19.    Cal

20.    Auburn

21.    Boise State

22.    Michigan

23.    Georgia

24.    Rutgers

25.    Wake Forest