Sunday, September 25, 2005

Week Four Thoughts

The ACC is clearly the strongest conference in the nation this season. Virginia Tech is challenging Texas as the second best team in the nation and Florida State and Miami are in the Top 10. The SEC, as usual, is still billed by many as the top conference but top to bottom I think the ACC trumps them. The only two teams in the ACC that have little shot at a bowl game are Duke and Wake Forest.

Clemson was snake bitten for the second week, losing to Boston College in overtime at home, just a week after losing to Miami in three overtimes. The Tigers are a good team and are easily the best 2-2 team in the country. However, they need to step up their play if they have any designs on challenging for a decent bowl game. Their only real difficult games the rest of the season are at Georgia Tech and Florida State at home. The only other potential trap is at South Carolina. This team is capable of finishing 8-3 or even 9-2.

Virginia Tech looked unbelieveable against Georgia Tech. I was very high on the Yellow Jackets heading into the season and I still believe that this is one of the best teams in the ACC despite the 51-7 loss. However, it also made me a full believer that Virginia Tech is capable of at least challenging USC. Marcus Vick is a great weapon at QB and the Hokies have a defense that could potentially contain the Trojans attack to some degree. Frank Beamer's attention to detail on special teams is amazing.

Big East:
Once again, the conference proved that it is undeserving of a BCS bowl bid. Louisville, the proclaimed power team in the new Big East, was thrashed by South Florida 45-14. It's one thing to be upset by USF but for the supposed best team in the conference to lose by 31 to an inferior opponent. With the victory, South Florida can pretty much be considered the best team in the league. The rest of the conference is in disarray and all I really see is another 8-3 or 7-4 heading to a BCS bowl, depriving a 9 or 10 win team in a real conference that deserves it.

Oh and Pitt finally won a game, beating 1-AA Youngstown State 41-0.

Big Ten:
Wisconsin upset Michigan 23-20 to drop the Wolverines to 2-2 and out of the Top 25 for the first time in years. Michigan looks like they have one of their worst squads in several years. Things may get better on offense when Mike Hart is healthy but Chad Henne is really missing Braylon Edwards. Edwards was there to bail him out of tough situations last season. Now there are times where Henne looks downright lost, similar to the 2004 Notre Dame game. However, he seems to be developing a good connection with Mario Manningham. Manningham was Henne's favorite target against Wisconsin.

Michigan State and Ohio State look like the two best teams in the conference at this point. Drew Stanton may be the best QB in the league. Ohio State looked strong against Iowa. The Hawkeyes offense looked plain bad, just as they did against Iowa State. The Hawkeyes need to get it together if they expect to make it to a fourth consecutive New Year's Day (or better) bowl game. Ohio State has a bye week before traveling to Penn State in what will be a classic trap door game for the Buckeyes with Michigan State awaiting the Buckeyes the week after. Penn State always plays OSU tough in Happy Valley and could be 5-0 heading into the game.

Minnesota upset Purdue in OT, 42-35. Purdue blew their chance at running the table in the Big Ten since they miss Ohio State and Michigan this season. So much for Iowa being the hardest game on the schedule. Meanwhile, Minnesota is 4-0 and heads to Happy Valley next week to meet 4-0 (boy it feels good to write that) Penn State. Minnesota will be high going into the game and Penn State is still trying to avenge the 1999 loss to Minnesota that ended Penn State's hopes of an undefeated season.

Big 12:
Not much of note went on this week other than the fact that Iowa State barely escaped at Army, 28-21. Colorado also lost to Miami 23-3. Texas Tech blew out Indiana State 63-7 after leading 49-0 at halftime. The Sycamores were the second 1-AA team the Red Raiders have played this season, Sam Houston State were first. Texas Tech's only other OOC game was against 1-A newcomer Florida International.

Southern Cal, despite struggling early, came back to blow out Oregon. There's not anything new to say about the Trojans, we all know that they are good.

Washington lost at home to Notre Dame 36-17 but it wasn't that close a game in the second half. The Irish were only up 12-3 at the half but were leading by as much as 36-3 in the second half. It's absolutely amazing how quickly this Husky football program has fallen in such a short time span. Washington finished 6-5 in 2003 before falling to 1-10 last season. Willingham has a giant rebuilding job in front of him. He really has nothing at this point. I have a feeling that Washington got their only victory against Idaho. Another 1-10 season isn't out of the question.

Vanderbilt advanced to 4-0 after beating Richmond at home. The Commodores host Middle Tennessee State next week.

Alabama defeated Arkansas to go to 4-0. Things are once again right with college football as Alabama, Penn State and Nebraska are all undefeated and Notre Dame has one loss.

Tennessee-LSU is the best SEC matchup of the week. Seeing how both teams deal with the game being pushed back 48 hours will be interesting. I like LSU at home.


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