September 30, 2007

BETTER NOT DROP THE GOAL POST REPLACEMENT FUND:

Underdogs deliver multiple hard-to-believe moments (Pat Forde, 9/29/07, ESPN.com)

Underdog campuses were fired up all over America on Insanity Saturday. They were also fired up in Auburn, Ala. And in Manhattan, Kan. And College Park, Md. And Tampa, Fla., too.

The students in those locales had reason to party after their teams upset top-10 teams this weekend. Down went No. 3 Oklahoma to Colorado, No. 4 Florida to Auburn, No. 7 Texas to Kansas State, No. 10 Rutgers to Maryland, and on Friday, No. 5 West Virginia to South Florida.

Throw in upset losses by No. 13 Clemson and No. 21 Penn State and even first-half deficits for big dogs USC and LSU against Washington and Tulane, respectively, and you have Insanity Saturday.

Just that fast, the college football landscape shifted seismically beneath our feet.

Just that fast, the Red River Shootout game Saturday between Oklahoma and Texas was dropped to undercard status. For the first time in years, it's not the marquee game in the Big 12. And for the first time in years, the league's maligned North looks more compelling than the South. If you can believe it, the biggest game in that league next week might be unbeaten Kansas at 3-1 Kansas State -- either that or 4-1 Nebraska at unbeaten Missouri.

Just that fast, the upcoming LSU-Florida showdown Saturday in Baton Rouge lost half its helium when the Gators were shocked in The Swamp by an Auburn team that had lost at home to South Florida and Mississippi State on consecutive weekends.

Just that fast, the three Big East teams that began the season in the Top 25 all have at least one loss. Louisville went down first, then West Virginia, now Rutgers. Suddenly South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati are the unbeaten teams in the Big East. Honk if you foresaw that in August.

Just that fast, Illinois is 4-1 and tied for first in the Big Ten at 2-0. That's the same Illinois that went 2-10 last year, with only one victory over I-A competition.

Just that fast, we have an ACC plot twist that leaves Virginia and Boston College well out in front in their respective divisions at 3-0 in league play. Virginia was left for dead after a Week 1 blowout loss to Wyoming. Boston College was picked last in its division by at least one preseason magazine.

And just that fast, USC and LSU put that much more distance between themselves and what's left of the pack.

Posted by Matt Murphy at September 30, 2007 8:36 AM
Comments

Just that fast, the Red River Shootout game Saturday between Oklahoma and Texas was dropped to undercard status. For the first time in years, it's not the marquee game in the Big 12. And for the first time in years, the league's maligned North looks more compelling than the South. If you can believe it, the biggest game in that league next week might be unbeaten Kansas at 3-1 Kansas State -- either that or 4-1 Nebraska at unbeaten Missouri.

That's just silliness.

OU-Texas is still the marquee game of the week in the conference, because one of those two teams is still the likely winner of the Big 12 South, and both of those teams have superior talent to any team in the North (or South).

Texas has underachieved so far this year with its talent, and OU has probably overachieved a little so far (aside from the Colorado game, which they didn't bother to play). But there's no doubt those two teams have the most talent in the conference, and I think that will be demonstrated over the course of the season.

Mizzou isn't a marquee team, Nebraska was dismantled by the only good team they've played, K-State is much improved and a nice story but not a top ten team, and Kansas has played creampuffs and will be pushed to finish .500 in conference play.

At the end of the season, Oklahoma and Texas will be right in the thick of things in the South. One week doesn't change that.

Posted by: Kevin Whited at October 4, 2007 8:16 AM

Kevin Whited:

As usual, Texas is insanely overrated, and so is OU -- Bob Stoops being perenially superb at getting people to think his team is better than it is.

Talent is one of many factors, and not even the most important.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at October 4, 2007 5:09 PM
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