10 Questions, Week 12: Warriors and Jayhawks? Why not?

Get ready for a Hawai'i vs. Kansas national championship game

College Football Preview: Week 12

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Jayhawks Beware  |  Amsinger: Weekly Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Qs  |   Braff: SEC-Big 12 Debate
> Trev: Dixon Can Only Be Contained  |  Coach of the Year   |  Hart: Guarantees and Gestures
> Blackburn: Something Strangely Familiar In Kansas  |  Roland: Get Set For Stabilizing Saturday
> Caparell: Georgia In The Know  |  Palm: BCS Stretch Run  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions

Nov. 12, 2007

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com



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

If I had a full head of hair it would probably still be wet and matted against my dome. I just got done watching the USC-Cal game at Memorial Stadium up in Berkeley this weekend. Who says it never rains in California? What a myth that is. I hope those tree people around the stadium had rain-proof tents up there because the rain was unrelenting all game long.


Meanwhile, the rain of upsets never seems to cease in this '07 season. It took over our beloved college game once again, starting at the top of the BCS standings with Ohio State getting bucked by Illinois in the horseshoe. That lays out a welcome mat for LSU to take its turn back at the top again. With the way this season is going, do they really want it right now?




While wondering who will eventually win out, the tree people or the bulldozers, here are this week's questions for your perusal.


Question 1: Okay, who here is ready for Hawai'i vs. Kansas in the BCS title game?


Don't tell me you haven't thought of this already. Because if you're one of those "the season IS a playoff" people (Ivan Maisel, I'm looking in your direction), then voila - here's your matchup for the national title. Yeah, you like it? Well congratulations, and have fun promoting it to the college football masses.


But I don't mean to disparage the two teams. Let's give huge props once again to Kansas. I don't believe a vote is necessary, put Mark Mangino down as the national coach of the year, because I'm pretty sure he'll get it.


Everybody had the Rock Chalkers pegged to go down in Stillwater to the Cowboys. It was written in stone, man. But KU just went out there, said, `Damn the torpedoes,' and kept scoring from kickoff to final gun in a 43-28 win. Okay, so the Pokes scored a good bit, but YOU try and outscore them. Go ahead. Which reminds me, what do you think the over-under on that KU game with Missouri will be? I'm sure I can't even count that high.


And Hawai'i passed a "test" of sorts, outlasting Fresno State 37-30. But the incredible part is that the Warriors were held to three measly points in the second half. That's a red flag. But with games remaining against Boise State and Washington (get well soon, Jake Locker), the island boys are just now entering the formidable woods of an easy schedule.


Question 2: Getting back to national coach of the year honors, who else belongs in the conversation?


Illinois' Ron Zook.


Florida fans are shaking their heads while I say this, but the Zooker is a great freakin' coach. I mean, the guy can X-and-O and he can recruit. Getting all those players on Florida's national championship team is one example. Landing difference-makers like Juice Williams in Illinois is another. Williams went out there, tired of hearing about how Eddie McGee should be the starter and how his game had fallen off, but he confidently shouldered the burden of knocking off the No. 1 ranked team on its home field (something that had never been accomplished in Illinois football history) to prove he's got the moxie and the cojones to go with that talent. I'm standing and clapping for Mr. Williams... and Coach Zook.


Question 3: I know they won't admit it, but who is actually bummed that Ohio State lost this weekend?




Think about the fans and players of the Tigers, they're sitting at No. 2 behind OSU. They all remember what happened when their SEC brethren from Florida faced off with the plodding Buckeyes in Glendale last January. It was a one-team track meet.


So this LSU team had to be looking at OSU as another paper contender and the perfect fodder for their speed, talent and SEC braggadocio. This was their way to an easy W in New Orleans - the proverbial path of least resistance, right?


Plus, look at it from a tactical standpoint: the Buckeyes' offense is decent, but nothing really blows you away. In fact, as the 46th-rated offense, it looks more like your typical SEC get-up. But now, LSU may have to end up facing Dennis Dixon and Oregon, the No. 5-ranked offense against the 15th best schedule. Not that the Tigers fear anybody, but Dixon and that offense are freakish and scary compared to the Buckeyes.


Question 4: What's the best way to get near the top of the BCS standings this late in the season?


Play a pansy schedule.


Look, it's worked out well for most of the top teams in the BCS rankings. Here are the strength of schedule ratings for the top eight:


LSU - No. 32

Oregon - No. 15

Kansas - No. 72

Oklahoma - No. 69

Missouri - No. 26

West Virginia - No. 56

Ohio State - No. 31

Arizona State - No. 51


Oregon is near to the top 10 is schedule rigor, but other than the Ducks, nobody even comes real close. Again, when the BCS threw out strength of schedule in its formula, I knew it was time to question their sanity.


Question 5: What was my favorite comment of the entire weekend?


Jeremy Schaap's opening during a feature on the Williams-Amherst game. "They only play eight games a season, not 13 or 14, they don't play for a BCS bowl, they're more true student-athletes than athletes acting as students."


That's certainly true. I mean, if college presidents REALLY were concerned with student-athletes being more students than athletes, they wouldn't have approved of a 12th regular season game, or conference title games or allowed players to take Ballroom Dancing and Sheep-Herding 101 to get an easy A. I'm sure there's more I could blather on about this subject, but you get my drift. And I got Jeremy's in what I thought was a great feature.


Question 6: Of the many, many depressing things about the post-season, what's the most depressing thing about it?


Right now, the Big Ten has 10 (ten) bowl eligible teams. Yes, even the two teams tied for second-to-last, Indiana and Michigan State, are both 6-5 and looking to play in a bowl game somewhere. Plus, the SEC also has 10 eligible bowl teams as well. This all begs the question, does a team that finishes below .500 in its conference and at 6-6 overall really deserve a spot in the post-season? Do they deserve to have their season rewarded?


More on this as the bowl games' shadow starts to ominously darken our doors.


Question 7: What's been the overriding theme to this season?


You can't win every game.


It's become way too even out there in college football land. In fact, I talked to a coach once about getting his team up each and every week and he told me, "You can't win every game. You just can't. With 18-22 year-old kids, it's almost impossible. They have too many peaks and valleys and the season is too long for them to keep their intensity up every time out."


I'm going to refrain from saying the coach's name for fear that his fan base will turn that around with "well if our coach doesn't think he can win every game, maybe he shouldn't be our coach."


Question 8: Ever wonder where all the defenses have gone lately?


Check out these scores from this weekend:


Michigan State 48, Purdue 31

Nebraska 73, Kansas State 31

Missouri 40, Texas A&M 26

Rice 43, SMU 42

Texas 59, Texas Tech 43

Georgia 45, Auburn 20

Navy 74, North Texas 62

Florida 51, South Carolina 31

Kansas 43, Oklahoma State 28

Maryland 42, Boston College 35

Akron 48, Ohio 37

West Virginia 38, Louisville 31

Bowling Green 39, Eastern Michigan 32


What in the name of Ray Nitschke is going on with the lack of defense in college football these days? There were 12 games this weekend where teams combined to paste 70 or more points on the scoreboard. Last week there were 14 score-fests like that. There were 11 in week number eight. And 14 in week number seven.


Then we saw Navy and UNT take the cake this weekend, scoring a Division I-A (remember, I still refuse to use this ridiculous Bowl Subdivision name) record of 136 points in a non-overtime game. There were 63 of those points scored in the second quarter alone. That's a whole damn season of scoring for Notre Dame, people!


Question 9: This is more of a rhetorical question, but why is it that every team that runs the "spread" offense can't seem to play defense worth a damn?


These are the teams near the bottom of scoring defense after this weekend:


UAB (No. 102)

Baylor (No. 107)

Minnesota (No. 107)

SMU (No. 111)

Navy (No. 117)

Rice (No. 118)

North Texas (No. 119)


All seven of those teams play some form of spread offense too. On the other side of things, I have to give West Virginia (No. 9) props here for having a good defense. And shockingly, Texas Tech, the poster child of spread offense and no defense, is rated No. 52 in defense this season. So I guess there's more to TTech than wild offense and Mike Leach's bland personality.


Question 10: What was uglier, the Orange Bowl stadium or the way Miami played in its last game there?


Hmm. That's a really close call, but I'll say Miami's 48-0 loss to Virginia by a nose.


I know things are tough for the Canes right now, and I'm sure Randy Shannon will eventually lead them back to some amount of glory, but GAH! Not only did it happen in front of numerous ex-players and coaches from Miami's storied past, but it was also the biggest shutout loss in Miami's 70-year Orange Bowl history. That wrestler-turned-actor, The Rock, introduced the team at the beginning of the game by saying "After 70 years of dominance..." Well, it was truly a dominant performance - by UVa. Jameel Sewell went 20-of-25 for 288 yards, including going 3-for-3 in the opening 96-yard TD drive that set the tone.


Question 10a: Don't you think the Miami administrators should've put a stop to the unfurling of the "Thanks for the memories" banner and the confetti shower after the final gun?


For the record, I went to the Orange Bowl once when it was still played there at the stadium in Little Cuba, and it was pretty horrible. I don't think anyone is going to shed a tear over this place.