Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#23), Mississippi (#24).
Random thoughts on the weekend:
The team on whom everyone is sleeping (at least in the Big East) is Cincinnati. The Bearcats are very quietly 4-1 with the sole loss at Oklahoma. If they wouldn't have had a close call at Akron, I'd rank them them week.
As I watched Iowa get thwarted on 4th and inches at the end of their game at Michigan State, I felt bad for Kirk Ferentz. Like Urban Meyer against Ole Miss, he made the right play in going for fourth and short. The odds are far better of converting in that situation than they are of hitting a field field goal, and that leaves aside the fact that not going for the first down also ensures that the opponent will have the last crack at driving to win the game. Where Meyer and Ferentz screwed up was in the design of the fourth and short plays. In both instances, Iowa and Florida announced where they were going to run the ball with motion in the backfield. Michigan State played Iowa's last run as if they knew that Iowa was running left, even before Iowa motioned a tight end in that direction to make the play completely obvious.
To answer your question, yes, I'm bothered that Michigan gave up 501 yards at home to Illinois. Yes, I worry that Rich Rodriguez has not picked the right defensive coordinator. No, I'm not regretting Michigan hiring Rodriguez, especially in light of the fact that Illinois showed exactly what the run-based spread can do with the right personnel having run the scheme for three years as opposed to three months. Yes, I had major pangs of sadness when I watched Terrelle Pryor take Ohio State down the field at the end of the Bucks' game against Wisconsin. Yes, I also think that Steven Threet can be perfectly decent in the offense when he's on the same page as his receivers.No, I can't promise that I can time the birth of a child with Ohio State week.
I'm thrilled that ABC is going to broadcast Texas-Oklahoma to the entire country as opposed to giving the game the game a regional slot that would ensure that I would miss the game for Notre Dame-North Carolina. That said, I feel bad for Texas and Oklahoma fans who have to attend the biggest game of their seasons at 11 a.m. local time.
It's an odd complaint to make about a team that just racked up 514 yards and 38 points on the road, but Florida's offense seems disjointed right now. The Gators busted some long runs from the tailback position, which was a new and positive development for that offense, but they still struggled to move the ball at times. The passing game doesn't seem nearly as fluid as it was a year ago. I can't wait for Saturday night to see how the Gators do against an elite defense.
You'll have to take my word for it that if I would have had time to blog last week after the Alabama-Georgia game, one of my thoughts would have been "I'm still not sold on John Parker Wilson because he looked this good against Tennessee last year and then spent the rest of the season in a funk." Kentucky was daring Alabama to beat them through the air, and with good reason as Wilson managed a sterling 106 yards passing on 17 attempts. Alabama's defense is very good, but it's not good enough for Wilson to get away with being Jay Barker (the sophomore edition; the senior Barker was outstanding).
Principal Rooney, how many times did Tennessee move the sticks against Northern Illinois? Nine times.
In the realm of bizarre results, Virginia came into its game against Maryland on Saturday night having just lost 31-3 to Duke and having banished its top two quarterbacks from the team before and during the season. Maryland came in having won three games in a row, two of which were over ranked opponents. So naturally, Virginia wins 31-0. Sometimes, it's good to remember that these games about which we obsess are played by teenagers.
It is odd for a program with Texas's profile to be talked about so little after having started the season 5-0 and having outscored its opponents by 179 points. I guess that's what happens when you put Bill Snyder in charge of your out-of-conference scheduling. (A bit of a cheap shot at the Horns because they couldn't have known that Arkansas would be so bad, but when you're only non-conference game of any note is against a lower division SEC team, that's the risk you run.)
I never thought I would utter these nine words: it must be frustrating to be a USC fan. The Trojans are so friggin' good when they're motivated to play that it probably drives their fans batty that they lose to teams like Oregon State.
If you're holding shares in Vanderbilt Industries, Inc., now would be a good time to sell.