5 Power Conferences
We'll start at the bottom, which is so far down it's hard to see it from here. #5 - The Big 10... Michigan State's 19 point loss to Oregon, Michigan's embarrassing 31-nothing blanking to Notre Dame, and Ohio State's two touchdown thumping at home to Va-Tech was, believe it or not, just the beginning. Central Michigan won at Purdue 38-17, Northwestern was humbled at home by Northern Illinois 23-15, and Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois all had to scramble late to avoid upsets at the hands of McNeese State, Ball State, and Western Kentucky, respectively. #4 - The Big 12... Texas is rebuilding, but Oklahoma is a team I really like this season. In fact, OU could be playing a rather large game in the State of Texas in January (hint, hint). However, if Bryce Petty is healthy, his Baylor Bears could be a big roadblock between the Sooners and a possible National Championship. #3 - The Pac-12... Oregon showed against Michigan State how hard it is to keep corralled for four quarters. USC is coming, but is still dealing with a thin roster (only 57 players traveled to Palo Alto). Stanford lost to the Trojans, despite largely outplaying them and UCLA has not yet lived up to its Pre-Season Top-10 ranking. #2 - The SEC... Before you chunk your IPad through the window, hear me out. The SEC is incredibly deep - no question. However, I'm still waiting to find out if there's a juggernaut in this league..East or West... #1 - The ACC... Yes, we ARE talking football and not hoops. In the ACC sits the defending National Champs and current, unanimous number-1 ranked team in the country, Florida State. And if that's not enough, a Virginia Tech team that many have called "a year away" just smoked Urban and Ohio State at the Horseshow. Hey, if you don't like the rankings, wait a week. They can easily change!
My 4 Teams
FSU and Oregon are still on top. The defending champs had their feet up this past weekend and watched while the Ducks drowned the Spartans in Eugene in what may have been the most anticipated intersectional showdown of the season. My 3rd seed is Oklahoma. The Sooners may tip toe through the regular season, largely under the radar, steamrolling opponents. Alabama is my fourth seed right now, even though we still haven't seen a full four quarters of greatness from the Crimson Tide. Others to watch: LSU and Virginia Tech. In the end, the Tigers and Hokies are still too young to be viable College Football Playoff contenders long term.
Patience is a Pain
It's never easy for Texas fans to be patient. For them, a new coach is supposed to mean big results right away, not an embarrassing 34-point home loss to BYU. But, if you're giving Will Muschamp time, then you have to do the same with Strong. The guy is cleaning house in Longhorn Land (8 players booted from the team since he took over). Cultures don't change overnight. Speaking of Florida, the Gators' focus on offense in the offseason is clearly paying off. Yeah, I know it was only Eastern Michigan they put 60-plus on, but UF showed more weapons than I expected. A cautious, early salute to Coach Muschamp...
Boss Hog Haden
I'm not really sure how this got so confusing. USC Athletic Director Pat Haden came down on the field last Saturday to argue a penalty call during the Trojans' game at Stanford...not USC's viability for the College Football Playoff. No, Haden shouldn't have Boss Hogged his way into the incident and the $25,000 fine levied against him is appropriate. But, separate Haden playing Papa Bear with his school and how it might influence the Playoff Selection Committee (on which he is one of a handful of sitting ADs). No, current Athletic Directors shouldn't be on it and that tweak should be made in the offseason. But Selection Committee ADs also shouldn't be expected to love the University they work for less, because they're on the committee.