Sunday, September 18, 2005

Week Three Thoughts

ACC:
Clemson and Miami was an absolute thriller. I didn't see the game live but I would imagine that we'll be seeing it on ESPN Classic very soon. It took a strong effort by the Hurricanes to win in Death Valley but I still am not sold on this Miami team being better than Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, therefore I still refuse to put them near the Top Ten as the media and coaches do, I slotted them at 15, up from 24 last week.

Florida State scored a big win at Boston College, 28-17. I have been reluctant to give the Seminoles credit for beating Miami and have kept them ranked much lower than the coaches and media but I'm buying into Florida State as the best team in the ACC Atlantic. However, I expect Clemson to challenge them.

Virginia Tech took Ohio behind the woodshed and beat them 45-0. This makes Pitt's loss to the Bobcats look even worse (see my Big East thoughts for more on Pitt).

Georgia Tech took care of Connecticut at home. The Yellow Jackets are a better team than they are getting credit for.

Big East:
West Virginia picked up a nice victory against Maryland to go to 3-0. West Virginia is starting to look like the second best team in the Big East.

Louisville shelled Oregon State 63-27. A much more impressive performance than the Cardinals' near loss at Kentucky in week one

Pitt lost 7-6 at Nebraska in an ugly game for both teams. The Panthers lost on a blocked field goal to fall to 0-3. Pitt draws Youngstown State, a 3-0 1-AA team, at home. The Penguins are probably in close resemblence to Ohio so who knows if Pitt will steam roll them or lose an embarassing game once again.

Big Ten:
Michigan State-Notre Dame was another classic game. The Spartans were up 38-17 before blowing the lead and sending the game into overtime. However, the Spartans were able to recover and won 44-41. At 3-0, the Spartans are a Top 25 and look like a sleeper in the Big Ten. Drew Stanton is perhaps the nation's most underrated QB.

Ohio State looked bad in beating San Diego State 27-6. It will be interesting to see how they recover heading into Big Ten play next week.

Penn State smoked Central Michigan 40-3. The offense looked good and the defense looked good. A lot will be learned next week when the Nittany Lions travel to Northwestern for their Big Ten opener.

Big 12:
Having already discussed the Nebraska win in the Big East section, not much else of importance happened in the Big 12 this past Saturday. Oklahoma lost to UCLA to fall to 1-2 and out of the Top 25 for the first time in several years. Texas Tech put 80 on Sam Houston State and looks strong heading into Big 12 play.

Conference USA:
UTEP came from behind to defeat Houston 44-41 and gain an upper hand in the C-USA West. The Miners didn't look good in the first half but Jordan Palmer is a stud QB and Tyler Ebell is an explosive tailback as he proved at UCLA. If Palmer can find some consistency with Johnny Lee Huggins, the Miners will be well on their way to the C-USA Championship Game.

Mountain West:
TCU, coming off a tough loss to SMU, ended Utah's 18 game winning streak on Thursday night. The Horned Frogs look like they might be the favorite in the Mountain West early on despite the loss to the Mustangs.

New Mexico looks like another early favorite in the Mountain West. DonTrell Moore needs a strong senior season and Hank Baskett needs to continue as one of the finest receivers in the conference and the Lobos have a good shot to knock off Utah as the defending champion.

Pac-10:
Stanford lost to Cal-Davis 20-17. Cal-Davis is a team new to 1-AA! This is an absolute embarassing loss for the Cardinal and Walt Harris has lost all reason to laugh at Pitt and their pathetic start. It is inexcusable for a 1-A team to ever lose to a 1-AA team, especially one with little 1-AA experience. Unfortunately, Stanford and Washington do not meet this season, so there will not be a game to decide the worst teamin the Pac-10.

Southern Cal continues to prove that they are the best team in the country, hammering Arkansas 70-17. I don't see a team in the Pac-10 that will be able to hold Southern Cal under 35 points. The Trojans are simply scary good. Pete Carroll has amassed such an abundance of talent that no other the team in the country even comes close to replicating.

SEC:
Florida won a big game against Tennessee and look as good as advertised. It should be a good battle between Florida, Georgia and Tennessee for the SEC East crown.

Vanderbilt is now 3-0. Yes, Vanderbilt is 3-0. I honestly can't believe this. I said last week that if Vandy beat Ole Miss, they would have an excellent chance to go to a bowl game. With Richmond and Middle Tennessee State the next two weeks, the Commodores should only need to beat Kentucky at home in November to get to their first bowl game since 1982.