by Todd Helmick
NationalChamps.net

September 20, 2007

Florida 59 Tennessee 20 - Sophomore Sling in Gainesville

Everyone knew in the preseason that Florida was a young football team. But no one knew how good some of the second year sophomores could be in such a big game including Urban Meyer. The true sophomore trio of Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon James combined for 600 all-purpose yards versus Tennessee.

- Tebow threw for 299 yards and two TDs passing; ran for 61 yards and two TDs
- Harvin had 75 yards rushing and 120 yards receiving
- James had 203 all-purpose yards including an 83-yard punt return for a TD

When told after the game about these accomplishments, "Did they really?" coach Urban Meyer said. "Wow. My goodness."

Washington resurgence while Ohio State hides in the polls

Sophomore QB Jake Locker looks to be the future for the Huskies under the direction of Tyrone Willingham. Opponents need to take notice of his running skills as Jake successfully sets up most plays by implementing his feet first. However, as expected for a young QB, his three interceptions against a good Ohio State defense will have to improve. On a similar note, the defensive minded Buckeyes may have been underrated. Lest ye forget…Jim Tressel can recruit and he can coach.

Notre Dame Stat of The Month

The media can continue to drill Charlie Weis for his lack of getting the Irish to score an offensive TD, but here is the stat of month: The Notre Dame ground attack has attempted 100 carries for -14 yards.

Anointing Nick Saban or Major Applewhite

Oh how the media loves a guy like Nick Saban, who takes over a storied program like the one in Tuscaloosa. But the real credit has to go to new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite as his Bama attack put up some lofty numbers in the last second win over Arkansas. Isn't Saban supposed to be the defensive mind? The Crimson Tide defense gave up 38 points and 450 yards of offense to the Razorbacks.

Andre Woodson moving on up to a deluxe draft pick in the sky

Kentucky beat in-state rival and (then No. 9) ranked Louisville Saturday. This was the Wildcats first win over a top ten team in three decades. Woodson has now thrown 257 passes without an interception. The offensive skill positions in Lexington are proving to be all they were cracked up to be. To win in the SEC, the defense will have to show more. They will find out this week as McFadden and Company welcome UK to Fayetteville. Only time will tell SEC fortunes with the Cats and the time is now.

Matt Ryan For Heisman

The senior Boston College signal caller threw for a career best 435 yards in beating Georgia Tech on the road. Through three games Ryan has amassed 1000 yards through the air. The ACC finally has a QB being mentioned from an NFL perspective and BC looks to be the best the ACC has to offer at this point.

USC has holes that need filled

These are not the kind of holes that are referred to from a problematic standpoint. This reference has to do with the kind of holes made for running backs to literally walk through. With a new starter at center in true freshman Kris O'Dowd, who had to take over as the starting center when Matt Spanos was injured, USC blew open holes on the Nebraska defense that were big enough for three running backs holding hands to blow through. Either the USC front line is that good or Nebraska, we have a problem.


THE GOOD

The Pride of Pennsylvania
Picking Penn State to win the Big Ten does not seem so far fetched at this early point of the season. The Nittany Lions are only giving up a nation's best 17.7 yards rushing a game and a mere 0.6 yards per carry. The pass rush also has racked up 17 sacks, also tied for best in the nation. Senior QB Anthony Morelli has thrown eight TDs to only one INT against Florida International, Notre Dame and Buffalo. Due to competition levels, everyone but ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit remains in a "wait and see" mode.

Pittsburgh looked good in a 17-13 defeat at the hands of Michigan State considering redshirt freshman Kevan Smith had to spell the injured Bill Stull at QB. Smith went almost three full quarters before completing a pass. However, Pitt can play defense and the running game is solid...the best "old school" formula offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh could have asked for.

Getting Defensive About The Big East
Watch out, Cincinnati is a very good football team. New head coach Brian Kelly has this ball hawk defense playing as if 13 players were on the field. Anyone traveling into the confines of Nippert Stadium better be careful. That includes Louisville and West Virginia.

Sooner Than Later
The Sooners were selected in the NationalChamps.net Preseason Unit Rankings as having the No. 1 rated offensive line and the No. 1 rated defensive backs. No one had OU slated as a team worthy of playing for all the BCS marbles due to a freshman playing QB and RB. The youngster under center, Sam Bradford, ranks third nationally in pass-efficiency rating and already has the two longest streaks of consecutive pass completions (22 and 21) in school history. The youngster carrying the pigskin, DeMarco Murray, is legitimate according to Tulsa's (Sooners next opponent) coach Todd Graham, "They had Adrian Peterson the last time we played, and I don't know if they've dropped off at running back."

THE BAD

Croom and Tuberville Battle For The Bottom
Most felt Mississippi State was in for another long season after their debut on national television versus LSU. QB Michael Henig and the Bulldog offense looked the same as before, basically in SEC hot water. Then Brandon Cox and the Auburn offense, full of holes and question marks, arose to steal the title of the worst offense in the SEC after getting beat at Jordan Hare stadium by none other than…Mississippi State.

Texas Troubles
The Texas Longhorns are eighth in the Big 12 in scoring (30.0 points per game), eighth in passing (240.3 yards per game), seventh in rushing (174.0) and eighth in total offense (414.3). The real problem stems from the fact that two of the Horn's opponents have been Arkansas State and UCF with both games going down to the wire.

Navy Defense Taking A Nap In Annapolis
Navy's streak of eight or more wins over the last four seasons is in jeopardy. The Middies still possess the nation's No. 1 rushing attack per usual. The problem is the nation's No. 93 ranked defense. The triple option is a masterful offensive design by head coach Paul Johnson for neutralizing the opponents overwhelming team speed, size and athletic ability Navy faces. Defense cannot be so easily disguised.


THE UGLY

Sleeping Cowboys
Oklahoma State traveled to Troy on Friday night. Apparently, none of the current players stepped off the bus, at least not mentally. This Cowboy team was originally though to be a true sleeper in the Big 12 South race led by QB Bobby Reid. He has been benched and this OSU ball club looks totally lost in the shuffle. The beat down Georgia put on this team to open the season does not look so overwhelming at this point.

Orange Crushed
Syracuse looks like the worst BCS football team in 2007. This depleted defense would have a hard time matching up with most Division I-AA teams.

Seminole Conversions
The Florida State woeful offense continues to raise questions about the talent level in Tallahassee. The Noles are 10 of 44 on third down conversions thus far in '07, worse than Notre Dame. Only four other schools have a lower rate. The receivers are having a difficult time getting open and catching passes. Consider this...receivers Fred Rouse, Lorne Sam and TE Brandon Warren were once top rated recruits for Bobby Bowden and would likely be starting if they were still wearing the Garnet and Gold. Rouse and Sam are now at UTEP and Warren moved back home to Tennessee.

O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D
Was UCLA really the No. 11 team in the polls heading into Utah to take on the injury riddled Utes last Saturday? The 44-6 beating placed on the Bruins only proves that Karl Dorrell's team will have to continue to live off of the reputation built by upsetting USC last December while knocking the Trojans out of the BCS title race.