by Todd Helmick
October 11, 2007
POLL MORE ACCURATE THAN MID-SEASON POLL
All the talk about waiting until the mid-season point
to release a Top 25 college football poll is absolutely
absurd. Well now is the mid-season point and the AP
Poll has Cal, Boston College and South Florida in the
Top 5. With all due respect to these teams, they are
not Top 5 caliber. Maybe the Golden Bears can make a
case with their potent offense, but the toughest opponent
Boston College has faced may have come from nearby Division
I-AA UMass. South Florida has been impressive, but anointing
them as a Top 5 team at this point is a huge stretch.
The preseason polls take the entire season into account
granted without any games having been played. The current
poll only looks at what has occurred the first six weeks
where some teams have yet to be tested on a semi-regular
basis. The preseason polls are more accurate than the
one that came out this mid-season Sunday. Only time
will tell such truths.
DAVIS STILL TEACHING MIAMI LESSONS
Miami has taken steps back each week since their national
spotlight beating of Texas A&M. The Hurricanes struggled
against Duke in a home win two weeks ago and this past
Saturday looked like the ugly teams that got former
Coach Larry Coker fired. Senior QB Kyle Wright is returning
to his interception prone form and the defense is starting
to yield as well. Carolina finished with a season-high
183 yards rushing and freshman QB T.J. Yates threw for
218 yards in beating the Canes. Old Miami boss Butch
Davis out coached current boss Randy Shannon big time.
KILLING A PROGRAM
After South Florida beat West Virginia two weeks ago
many WVU fans emailed me to find out just what was wrong
with the Mountaineers and head coach Rich Rodriguez.
The only reply...never belittle Rodriguez. He is an
offensive genius and has taken WVU from being a once
every five-year team to an expectation that could never
have been imagined in Morgantown. Being in the Top 10
is no longer the prelude for celebration. Expectations
aren't all they are cracked up to be as WVU fans are
now finding out. Winning every game is so difficult.
EYES OF KANSAS
The Kansas victory over in-state rival Kansas State
was the first Jayhawks win in Manhattan since 1989.
While Kansas head coach Mark Mangino wants the nation
to take notice, the fact is the jury is still out. Yes,
the non-conference September schedule was that bad as
the list of opponents currently have an overall record
of 7-16. Sorry Coach, you asked for this schedule, now
take the heat. The Jayhawks also will not face Texas
or Oklahoma from the South Division this season. But
the nation is going to watch much more closely.
If Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill is getting consideration for
the Heisman so should Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall.
The Illini defense held Hill to just 83 yards while
Mendenhall managed 160 yards on the day. He continues
to produce each and every week. No other RB in the Big
Ten has shown as much consistency outside of Michigan's
The Michigan State defense has become lost in the Big
Ten shuffle the past two weeks. Opponents Wisconsin
and Northwestern have put up 85 total points and 1072
total yards on the Spartans.
THE SAME AUBURN TEAM
Tommy Tuberville can coach. This same Auburn team that
got beat at home by South Florida and Mississippi State
while displaying some poor offensive football has now
gone into The Swamp and beaten the Gators before taking
Vanderbilt to the woodshed this past week. This is not
the same Auburn team that took the field on opening
TO WAR AGAINST WYOMING
Wyoming beat TCU this week and now has the best overall
record in the Mountain West. It was the 300th football
game played in War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming's record
in the stadium is 203-90-7. If you are going to schedule
the Cowboys, make sure to get a 2-for-1 home deal.
Watching the Red River Rivalry this weekend showed one
thing is for certain, the Texas and Oklahoma defenses
have pass coverage issues. Each team's receivers were
open by more than 15 yards with every pass attempt.
After a slow first quarter, this game looked more like
an aerial circus than the Texas State Fair. The Longhorn’s
concern going into the season was filling holes in the
secondary. The concern has been validated. Oklahoma
has no excuse for their talented but lagging secondary
the past two weeks, which includes the Colorado upset.
HAD TO GIVE IN THE SEC EAST
Vanderbilt has been a big disappointment thus far. Yes,
this is still Vanderbilt, but they honestly had the
highest expectations since 1982, the last time the Commodores
had a winning season. Most knew Kentucky, South Carolina
and Vanderbilt could not all rise up and push for the
East crown. Someone had to falter.
DEJA VUE SPECIAL TEAMS
Last week this article pointed out the special teams
problems with Clemson as they missed four field goals,
had a punt blocked for a TD and gave up a fumble on
a kickoff return against Georgia Tech. This week against
Virginia Tech, the Tigers gave up an interception return,
a punt return and a kickoff return, all for touchdowns.
Of note...the three return TDs Saturday gave Virginia
Tech 63 non-offensive touchdowns since 1999 -- the most
in college football in that span. The touted Clemson
RB duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller had a combined
12 yards on 12 carries against the Hokies and struggled
for the second straight week. When QB Cullen Harper
throws 38 passes and the RBs have 12 carries, throw
in the towel...
According to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach (link):
When Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was asked about his
team's poor special teams play last week, he asked a
reporter for evidence the Tigers weren't, well, special
in the kicking game. Bowden told reporters that in his
first seven seasons, Clemson didn't have a punt or field
goal blocked and didn't allow a kickoff return for a
touchdown. Bowden was wrong, according to The Post and
Courier of Charleston, S.C. In fact, the Tigers had
12 punts blocked, five field goals blocked and three
of their kickoffs returned for touchdowns during that
span, the paper reported.
COULD BEAT THE BUFFALO BILLS
In the past two weeks USC has committed 24 penalties
and eight turnovers. The Trojans may not be out of the
national title race after losing to Stanford, but senior
QB John David Booty is out of the Heisman race. Even
at this level, winning games with those type of negative
numbers is too much to overcome, unless your name is
Dick Jauron and you coach the Buffalo Bills, who got
beat by the Dallas Cowboys Monday night despite getting
six turnovers. Hey Coach Jaruon, there are seven seconds
left and Dallas has no time outs. They need 5-10 more
yards to get into field goal range for a win. THEY ARE
GOING TO RUN A SHORT DOWN AND OUT! Yep, that's what
they did. The field goal was also good.
IRISH WIN SO THE SCOREBOARD SAYS
UCLA must have been drinking the same Los Angeles water
as their cross-town rival USC. The Bruins’ seven
turnovers got them beat by a Notre Dame team who rushed
for 46 yards and passed for 94.
AND GLORY AWARD
If there was a “Guts and Glory” Award, LSU
head coach Les Miles gets the honor this week for those
crucial fourth and short goal line calls that beat the
Gators. RB Jacob Hester did the same thing Florida QB
Tim Tebow has been doing to opponents all season…moving
BIG TEN SKY
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense
and showed as much by giving Purdue a dose of reality
in terms of what it's like to play a real defense by
holding them to seven points and 4 yards rushing on
17 attempts. The Buckeyes will close out the season
with Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. November football
under a cloudy sky in the Big Ten, oh baby!
Missouri needed a signature win in front of a signature
crowd. They sure got one over North Division counterpart
Nebraska at Faurot Field Saturday night. The fans came
dressed in yellow for the so-called "Gold Rush"
game, Missouri's first sellout since the Nebraska game
in 2003. The Cornhuskers were “gold rushed”
606-297 in total offense differentials. This crowd was
loud and crazy. If the Tigers played every game in Columbia
under this circumstance, they would likely run the table.