This week I went 12-8 for a grand total for the season of 57-26. Pretty good I suppose, but not really ready for Vegas.
The Sun Belt was interesting. The Cajuns suffered a loss at home against MTSU. I figured the Cajuns would take this one as the Blue Raiders were without Dasher. One man does not make a team however. Troy redeemed themselves this week somewhat with an in conference victory over Arkansas State and North Texas recorded the first win of the season over Howard's FAU squad. FIU was competitive again against a BCS opponent but came up just short. ULM had trouble with a IAA SE Louisiana but came away with a victory. This conference is improving but is still light years away from competing regularly against BCS opponents.
Over in CUSA UTEP escaped a pesky Memphis squad. U of H proved they can still win without Keenum in a victory over hapless Tulane. That thumping the Coogs took against UCLA does not look so bad after the Bruins pounded the Longhorns. In Austin no less! USM had their hands full against LA. Tech but came away with a win. UCF should have beaten KSU in one of the most boring games I have (sorta) watched in a long time. Kickers. Can't live with them. Can't live without them. The kid must feel like a dog after shanking two against the Wildcats this afternoon. The most interesting part of that game was the storm that rolled through which caused a delay. I was expecting a twister and hoping there was no disaster. Thankfully the storm passed with no injuries. On to more football. Tulsa handled a pretty good IAA squad with ease and UAB went down to the wire with the Volunteers. UAB may be a better team than anyone expected. SMU was not really a match for TCU but still did were not totally embarrassed. Marshall was victorious over Solich's Bobcats. May have to reevaluate the Bobcats. They may not be quite as good as I previously thought. Baylor took down Rice as expected in another storm delayed game.
Were there any credible games in the Big Ten today? Ohio State and Wisconsin, perhaps the only teams to be taken seriously in this conference, rolled easily against totally outmatched opponents. Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State got in on that kind of action also. PSU had their hands full against a quality Temple team as I predicted. Toledo took down Purdue and Northern Illinois had little problem with the Gophers. I hate to be so judgmental (not really) but other than Ohio State and perhaps Wisconsin (and maybe Iowa or Northwestern), this conference is just not good. I am not yet a believer in Michigan State or Michigan although I like the Wolverines coach a good deal. If they run him off he will have plenty of opportunity elsewhere. Zook may have a decent year at Illinois. Will that be enough for him to keep his job? We will see.
TCU and Utah continue to be the dominant teams in the MTN West. Air Force and San Diego State look credible also. Other than that this conference is below average at best and laughable at worst. Can TCU or Utah hang with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon or Auburn? Perhaps. Perhaps not. UNLV is up on New Mexico by a wide margin as of this writing and will record their first win.
The WAC is the WAC. Boise State is a dangerous team to any opponent and likely a BCS buster again. Nevada is playing some surprisingly good football and should sneak into the top 25 this week. Fresno State was a disappointment against the Oxford Rebs. Idaho lost to a team that they probably should have beaten and Hawaii will finish off Charleston Southern in fine fashion. SJSU is SJSU. Same for New Mexico State. Louisiana Tech may have a fair team and should win some WAC games.
The Big Twelve is down this year and no mistake. Usually this is the only conference that is somewhat on par with the SEC top to bottom. Not this year. Nobody really stands out. I did not think that Texas was really a top ten team. Top twenty five? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Oklahoma? They win but struggle. Are the Sooners a top ten team? No. Top twenty five? Yes. KSU keeps on winning but they do not appear to be really a very good team. Things will likely catch up with them soon. Missouri may be the sleeper team here. They are undefeated at this point and Pinkel can coach. Nebraska is an interesting case. They win against the teams in their laughable non conference schedule, but not by the margin that one would think. Is Pelini just holding back to keep his future conference opponents off guard or are they just not a truly powerful team? Time will tell. Conference play begins soon for them. Baylor handled Rice as expected and probably will win some conference games. Did Colorado even play this week? Does it really even matter? Iowa State beat IAA Northern Iowa and I am a bit surprised by that frankly. Kansas recorded a victory over New Mexico State, not that it matters. Oklahoma State is still a bit of a mystery and Tech is not a top twenty five team by any stretch of the imagination. Don't think the Aggies will be a factor. The Big Twelve appears to not be as powerful as they normally are.
What is wrong with the Big East? A whole lot apparently. WVU had some chances against LSU but it was not to come to pass. Cincinnati played the Sooners a credible game, but then Oklahoma may not be all that great this year. Pitt was embarrassed by the Canes the other night. Rutgers should have beaten North Carolina but did not. Syracuse had a scrimmage against Colgate. UConn also was involved in a scrimmage with Buffalo that they won handily. Anyone else? Does it matter? The sad part about this whole thing is that one of these Big East teams will go to a BCS Bowl.
There are some pretty good teams over in the MAC. CMU is a pretty good team and played a credible game against the Wildcats of Northwestern. Temple held their own against PSU and Ohio probably should have beaten Marshall. The surprise team this year appears to be Toledo. They may have a very good shot at dethroning CMU as the the better team in the West. Northern Illinois is not too bad either. I would look for either Temple, Toledo or perhaps CMU to sneak into the top twenty five before it is all said and done. The rest of the MAC is not really competitive with BCS level opponents.
The ACC is sort of interesting. The surprise team this year is NC State. Are they SEC good? Probably not. They should be very competitive with their ACC schedule though. NC State, Clemson, Miami, FSU and VA. Tech (yes even those guys) are the class of this league. At least one of them will be top ten before it is all said and done. Miami and/or NC State would be my guess. Perhaps Clemson could also fill one of those spots. There are some pretty good teams in this conference. There are some pretty bad one also.
The PAC Ten is shaping up to be interesting. I like Harbaugh and this Stanford team. Of course I like anyone who beats Notre Dame. Arizona certainly had trouble this evening with Teford's Golden Bears and Oregon appears they will finally pull away from Arizona State. The game is still in progress as of this writing. What USC does is of no consequence. Oregon State actually held on against Boise for a while and can not be counted out when all is is said and done. Can Oregon, Arizona or Stanford hang with the Tide, Hogs, Gators, Buckeyes, Broncos, Auburn (or NC State for that matter)? Perhaps. I do have some doubts though.
I am an SEC (and Sun Belt) man. That being said, if the SEC was down, I would be the first to point this out. I am not one of those "yeah but we play an SEC schedule" types that one always hears yammering when their team has a not so stellar season. This year though that logic may have at least some merit. Granted there are some not so good teams in this conference. Mississippi, Vandy (of course), Kentucky (probably), and Georgia come to mind. Perhaps Tennessee also. The rest of the conference is good. Even Mississippi State is pretty decent this year. Bama, SC, Auburn, Florida, LSU and Arkansas are all legitimate top 20 teams with at least four of those being top ten caliber. The Hogs should have taken down the Crimson Tide today but did not. LSU looks like they may be getting it together with their victory over a decent WV squad and a win last week against Mississippi State. It is interesting many of the Tiger faithful are calling for Les Miles' head. Why? He has done a commendable job. Not every coach can be a Rutabaga Saban or Steve Spurrier. Speaking of Spurrier; his team sure had their chances against Auburn but just could not pull it off. The Gamecock QB has as much talent as just about anyone but is prone to making mistakes. It is a shame really. SC is historically a pretty hard place to win and Spurrier is doing a heck of a job. Florida has started a bit slowly and there may be a few doubts about the Gators this year, at least that is what the pundits say. I would not count them out though. Not by a long shot. Not with Meyer at the helm. That would be foolish. Can anyone not say that Auburn is a team to contend with? I would love to see them in a game with Wisconsin, Arizona, TCU or Oregon. Those would be interesting match ups. I certainly hope Richt has his bags packed. He is done. The Georgia faithful will not tolerate the type of performance coming out of Athens recently. Does the SEC have the best team in the land this year? Perhaps. Perhaps not. From top to bottom though this league is hands down the most powerful in the college game.