Weekend Wrap: Bedlam in the Bluegrass State

The Super Six

1. Alabama (3-0): The Crimson Tide have shut out three of their past four opponents, including LSU and Arkansas.

2. LSU (3-0): Depth. Back-up safety Ronald Martin, a sophomore, had two interceptions and returned one 45 yards for a TD.

3. Florida State (3-0): While the 'Noles have only played one FBS team (tsk, tsk), their defense yields just 1.91 yards per play. The next lowest allowance in FBS is UConn’s 2.87.

4. Florida (3-0): Both polls have the Gators at No. 14, but we were impressed by their winning road games on successive Saturdays in College Station and Knoxville.

5. Oregon (3-0): Play somebody!

6. Georgia (3-0): Four SEC teams in the top six? Yes, four SEC schools in the top six. Redshirt freshman Todd Gurley is averaging 10 yards per carry.

Team of the Week: Stanford

After Week 1 USC was No. 1 and the Cardinal, which only beat Lowly San Jose State (it’s an official part of the school name now) by three, appeared to be having break-up issues over Andrew Luck. That was then.
On Saturday night in Palo Alto, the Cardinal defense, revitalized by the previous week’s return of Shayne Skov, sacked preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Matt Barkley four times and intercepted him twice. They held USC to just 26 yards rushing.

Life is pretty sweet in Palo Alto right now. The Cardinal are ranked 9th in the AP poll and have a 12-day breather before their next game, a Thursday night affair at Washington. And classes do not even begin until next Monday.

Team of the Weak: Navy

The Midshipmen helped people remember the Penn State of old on Saturday, losing by the score of 34-7 in Happy Valley.

Air Force and Navy are both service academies that run the triple option. So why are the Falcons first in the nation in rushing (387 yards per game) and have yet to commit a turnover in two games – one of only three schools in that class – while the Midshipmen are 41st in rushing and have the worst turnover margin (minus 3.5 per game) in the FBS?

Inexperience is part of the problem, along with the lack of a true great back (Air Force has Cody Getz). Quarterback Trey Miller, a first-year starter, has the most carries of anyone on the team, but his 38 carries have resulted in a net of just 37 yards.

Navy, after two losses to open the season, is last in the FBS in scoring at 8.5 points per game. It looks as if it is going to be a long season for coach Ken (stops to consult Google for proper spelling) Niumatalolo.

P.S. We didn’t forget you, Colorado. That was a putrid effort in a 69-14 loss at Fresno State.

Game(s) of the Week: The Commonwealth (of Ky.) Games

In Louisville the No. 19 Cardinals nearly squandered a 36-7 halftime lead against North Carolina. The Tar Heels, behind four second-half touchdown passes by quarterback Bryn Renner, actually had a chance to win late, but his fourth-and-goal passes sailed off the fingertips of Erik Highsmith. The ‘Ville held on for a nervous 39-34 win and a 3-0 start.

Later in the evening, Western Kentucky, of the Sun Belt Conference, shocked Kentucky in Lexington with a 32-31 overtime win. The Hilltoppers went for two and the victory in overtime, using a lateral pitchout that was then tossed back to quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who ran into the end zone untouched.

The Sun Belt has now beaten the SEC in overtime two weeks in a row (ULM over Arkansas). All we can say is, “S-B-C! S-B-C!”

Quick Hitters

*Louisiana Tech is hitting on 17 and playing 00 in roulette, but so far it is working. The Bulldogs are last in the nation in total defense and pass defense, next-to-last in net punting, and third-to-last in scoring defense. And yet they are 2-0, thanks primarily to scoring 56 points in each of their first two contests.

*Cal back-up running back Brendan Bigelow did not get a carry until the third quarter at Ohio State. He only had four rushes total, which went for 81, 16, 59 and four yards. The 81- and 59-yarders were for touchdowns and if you have not seen the former, which was just the third carry of the season for the sophomore, it’s an epic on the scale of Walter Payton or Barry Sanders. They’ll never forget Bigelow, who helped the Golden Bears to nearly pull off a comeback win against the Buckeyes, in Columbus. Here’s hoping Jeff Tedford doesn’t forget to call his number more often.

*The only two undefeated teams in the Big Ten that are bowl-eligible? Minnesota and Northwestern. Together, the Golden Gophers and Wildcats have played in a total of one Rose Bowl in the past 50 years.

*Johnny Manziel may be as good as advertised. Texas A&M’s redshirt freshman quarterback threw for 418 yards and six touchdowns in just three quarters in a 48-3 win versus SMU. Then again, the Mustangs may be worse than advertised.

*Oklahoma State, which led 49-0 at halftime in its season opener versus Savannah State, led 44-0 on Saturday against Louisiana Lafayette. What does it matter, though, when you surrender 59 points in a loss at Arizona between those two whippings? Savannah State, by the way, had what I think we all agree was a well-deserved bye this Saturday.

*Ole Miss plays in the same SEC division as heavyweights Alabama, Auburn and LSU, but the Rebels had not surrendered 66 points in a game since 1917. Texas put up that many on them in a 66-31 rout.

*Pittsburgh had to be the least unimpressive AQ-conference school outside of Boulder after two weeks, so kudos to Paul Chryst for rallying the Panthers to a 35-17 upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Hokies had won their previous 13 true road games.

*It’s early, but for the third consecutive year a Boston College linebacker leads the nation in tackles. Senior Nick Clancy, who was actually in the same freshman class as Luke Kuechly, the nation’s most prolific tackler in 2010 and 2011, is averaging 14.3 per game after three games. Clancy is a graduate of Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy, which produced a college football player who, despite making one career tackle, will likely always be far more famous.