10 Questions, Week 11: Not Cool To Be No. 2

BC becomes another No. 2 team to fall this season

College Football Preview: Week 11

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Heisman Hosses  |  Amsinger: Weekly Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Qs  |   Braff: Ducks Should Be No. 2
> Trev: Pac-10 No Disappointment  |  National Title Matchups   |  Palm: Jockeying For Other BCS Bowls
> Hart: Woe Is A Missouri Fan  |  Roland: BC Better Beware of Turtle  |  Blackburn: Fiery Perspective
> Caparell: Soft Schedule Could Have Hawai'i BCS Bound  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions

Nov. 6, 2007

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com


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


You remember what Avis Rent-A-Car used to have as its tag line? "We're No. 2. We try harder." As you all have seen, the only thing being No. 2 in college football means is that you're going to lose.  Cal, USF and now Boston College have succumbed so far.




Don't worry, being No. 2 didn't work for Avis either. I think they've fallen to No. 5 or 6 in the cut-throat rental cars wars.


But now we're just four weeks away from the final weekend of the college football regular season and we've got percentage points separating the teams vying for spot No. 2 in the BCS title game. Enjoy it all now, because after the first weekend in December is when college football's fans get treated like they're No. 2 as well.


While wondering if Duke is the only basketball school that didn't get the memo that they're supposed to be having a great football season, here's this week's 10 Questions to ponder.


Question 1: Who made the biggest faux pas this weekend?


Head referee Randy Christal who worked the Nebraska-Kansas game, made this call over the P.A., "Timeout. Kansas State." That brought a hearty round of boos from the KU homecoming crowd.


That was about the only thing that went wrong with the Jayhawks Saturday, as they sent the Huskers to cold-red-Hell with a 76-39 hoops-dream score. And no, this isn't your father's Cornhuskers. In fact, it's not even your father's-father's-father's-father's Cornhuskers, since this was the worst beating the Big Red has ever taken.


Okay, really now... who isn't on the KU bandwagon? Quit kicking the tires and get your ticket for the ride. Sure their coach is difficult to look at, but their results are not (unless you're a Nebraska fan of course). At 9-0, nothing's for sure, especially with improving Iowa State, mad-as-hell Oklahoma State and blowout artists Missouri remaining. But after seeing the Red Massacre in Lawrence this past weekend, I'm of the thinking that Todd Reesing and Company deserve a shot at the title if they stay unbeaten. And yes, that's a pretty big if.


Question 2: What was the worst gamble of the weekend?


Well, other than suckers like me that took Duke to cover against Clemson, it was the fake punt run by Wisconsin deep in its own end with 11 minutes left in the game and only down by seven.


Sure enough, All-American LB James Laurinaitis stepped up and put the hammer down on UW punter Ken DeBauche, who looked more like he was running to catch a bus instead of run for a first down. DeBauche ended up losing two yards on the play. Four plays later, Brian Robiskie made a great one-hand catch for another touchdown, which put OSU up 31-17. In other words, ballgame.


By the way, did I mention that I'm starting to really like the way Craig Krenzel... er, I mean Todd Boeckman is playing? Completing 66 percent of his passes while throwing 23 TDs to just eight picks. Nice work for the 23-year old.


Question 3: Speaking of Ohio State, that reminds me, what would my Heisman vote look like now?


1- James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

This freakin' monster was all over the field vs. Wisconsin, making tackles, forcing fumbles, stopping trick plays and even making a tackle on a punt return. And he's not just Katzenmoyer-like hype here. How could I forget him when I wrote out my first Heisman list three weeks ago. Gah!


2- Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon

A "Poor man's Vince Young" my arse! This guy hasn't even had an average game yet. Against Arizona State he was solid again, flinging four touchdown passes and exorcising the Devils with a breezy 35-13 lead. Dixon's knee was tweaked in the 4th quarter, but it looks like he's no worse for wear.


3- Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

Talk about gimpy knees. He don't need no stinkin' good knees to dominate. You kiddin' me? And who here is going to bet against the LSU defense and its comeback ability after what they've displayed the last five weeks? Damn. Awesome.


Question 4: Who's Heisman campaign got a major shot in the arm this weekend?


Darren McFadden's and Dennis Dixon's.


McFadden got it for his 323... oops, I mean 321 yards rushing against South Carolina. Dixon got it because of his $25,000 commercial that ran during ESPN's GameDay telecast. Ahhhh, Phil Knight. He knows how to treat a Heisman contender from his backyard.


Question 5: What do you think felt better, Kansas fans relishing the 76-39 win over Nebraska or Navy beating Notre Dame for the first time in 43 years?


By a half-a-length, I'm going to say the Navy win. I mean, 43 years IS 43 freakin' years. Even Roger Staubach had to hit his head on the ceiling jumping out of his barcalounger after the Midshipmen stuffed that weak dive play on the two-point attempt (wasn't Charlie Weis supposed to be an offensive genius? Hmmmm).


And you know this game meant the world to Navy helmsman Paul Johnson, when you when you see him gyrating, jumping in the air and clearly yelling out "M.F." as he pumped his fist and ran onto the field to celebrate. Perhaps THAT is what a Navy S.E.A.L. looks like in victory.


Question 6: By the way, what was the worst media-like question I may have ever heard in college football history?


Alex Flanagan asking Charlie Weis, "What does the end of this streak mean to you?"


Of course old Charlie gave her a "it doesn't mean anything" response. He should've said, "Look Alex, it means they beat us by two. What does asking a dumb question mean to you?"


Question 7: Who needs to pull the rabbit's foot out of their pockets?


- Virginia

Since they started keeping stats like this, UVa is the first team to ever win five games in one season by two points or less. Saturday's 17-16 win over Wake Forest was also the Wahoos' third straight win by a single point, as they now lead the ACC Coastal Division with a 5-1 mark.



How many heart attack victims did the Baton Rouge area hospitals record over the last 30 days or so? Probably a lot, because these Tiggahs like to play Brinkmanship better than any team in years. Well, except for Virginia. After the Saban Bowl win, only question is, what is Les Miles going to pull out of his hat next?


- Texas

The Horns have sweated no bullets in getting behind to Oklahoma State the last few years. In 2003, they trailed OSU 16-7 and won 55-16. In 2004, they overcame a 35-7 deficit to win 56-35. In 2005, it was 28-9 Cowboys before the Longhorns blitzed back to a 47-28 win. This past Saturday, it was 35-14 in the third quarter. But Colt McCoy finally began to look like Colt McCoy and, thanks to another Ryan Bailey last second field goal, UT won again over the hard-luck Pokes, 38-35.


Question 8: What one phrase should we all hate at this time of year?


"Style Points"


That's the equivalent of Brian Boitano winning a skating competition because his costume had more "flair" than the others. The idea being that if your team is up high in the rankings, you better look sexy in beating teams that are inferior or risk the chance that you'll get bypassed in the rankings. Call it the "Cal of 2004" by-law. (That was the year that Jeff Tedford refused to run up the score at Southern Miss in a December game and - thanks to Texas coach Mack Brown's politicking for votes from his good ole boys network - ended up losing a bid to a BCS game bowl game to the Horns.)


Kansas beat Nebraska by 37 points. Ohio State fell behind but ended up beating Wisconsin by three touchdowns, Oklahoma kept scoring as much as they could in beating Texas A&M 42-14 and Oregon fluffed its feathers with an impressive 35-23 win over unbeaten Arizona State.


Is it necessary for these teams to keep pounding their opponents? Sadly, as we all know, the answer is yes. Especially in the case of Kansas and Ohio State, who don't have any impressive non-conference wins on their résumé. This is the beginning of where college football starts to lose its legitimacy.


Question 9: What does this year's LSU team eerily remind me of?


The Florida team of 2006.


You might recall that the Gators weren't always those Buckeye bashing behemoths with blazing burners. For most of the '06 season they were struggling to pull out wins against rather average teams. Remember the blocked field goal that saved their bacon against South Carolina? Or the one-point panic at Tennessee? Or the white knucklers against Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida State? Those great escapes paid off when all the dominoes fell into place for them (a tip of the helmet to UCLA).


Just like in this week's Saban Bowl, the Bayou Bengals have come out of every game looking like a punch drunk tomato can that Rocky Balboa nearly beat the screws out of (in Rocky I, not the Rocky 8 version). But just like the Gators, they also have the look of a charmed team that could win it all.


Now a contrarian view:

This team is as undisciplined as there is in the last 20 years of college football. Fourteen penalties, a Jekyl-and-Hyde quarterback, game-breakers that seem to disappear in crunch time and too many mental meltdowns. They can still win it all, or they can struggle against anyone remaining on their schedule. Yes, even Louisiana Tech. But at the same time, when you watch them play, you get the feeling that they can name their score when they really decide to put their minds to it.


Question 10: Who here back in August would've thought that this coming Saturday's Arizona-Oregon, Kansas-Oklahoma State and Illinois-Ohio State games would've had more importance in the national title chase than USC-Cal, West Virginia-Louisville and Florida-South Carolina?


Like you needed to be reminded how much of a freak-out this season has been.


USC-Cal is a battle to see who gets to play in the... Sun Bowl? Awful.


West Virginia-Louisville won't have the same incredible rush-the-field scene as last year. Will it?


UofF-SoCar have a combined six losses. Wonder what the Vegas odds were on that?


The 11th Question: Do you think Arkansas fans REALLY wanted to name its field after Frank Broyles? I mean, he was a great coach of course, but isn't he the guy that hired Houston Nutt?