Quick Slants: Red River Love
This week, you've most certainly heard about the knucklehead LSU lineman who wants to "take out"
It's been all too easy to forget about Oklahoma being the top-ranked team in the country. Primarily, that's because the average college football fan can't name more than one player on the Sooner roster. The same holds true for Texas. Hell, what do we really know about the Big 12? Until now, the most notable Big 12-related stories have been Kansas' loss at South Florida,
This season, we've been so content hobnobbing over the SEC's tenacity and Ohio State's, USC's and the ACC's collective shortcomings that the Big 12 has gone relatively unnoticed in a
The fact of the matter is the Big 12 has changed its image from the days of run-heavy offenses and grind-it-out football. The spread offense, or some variation thereof, has all but infiltrated the conference and affected both the style and pace of play. This exciting new dynamic has given the conference a Pac-10 feel to complement its traditional atmosphere of Midwestern folksiness. And above all else, the little no-name teams of your father's generation have found a way to compete with the conference's larger, brand name schools. Much like in the SEC, competition in the Big 12 has turned homogeneous.
So, this weekend's Texas-Oklahoma game, though grossly underpublicized, should offer a glimpse into what could be this year's sneakiest conference. And though LSU/Florida and Penn State/Wisconsin will be fantastic games to watch, the Red River Shootout deserves your utmost attention.
With spread-offense guru
Franklin, who had stints at both Kentucky and Troy, is well known for his development of something called The Tony Franklin System Seminar, a copyrighted, "as-seen-on-TV"-ish offensive scheme he successfully sold to hundreds of high schools and dozens of colleges around the nation. Who better to install a whiz-bang system to improve Auburn's offense? In a football sense, this was as exciting as hiring
But things started coming off the tracks after Auburn's 3-2 victory over Mississippi State earlier this year. That raised some eyebrows. And then there was the heartbreaking loss to LSU. And then only 226 total yards against Tennessee. And then only 82 yards in the final three quarters of Saturday's loss to Vanderbilt. And now, well, Tiger fans just aren't as enthused about the hiring.
In related news,
However, as it stands, sour grapes may be the culprit.
Harbaugh's excuse was that his team was involved in a midfield fracas with Notre Dame after suffering a 28-21 defeat. Stanford offensive lineman Chris Marinelli's anti-Notre Dame comments triggered the melee, which was probably of the SAT Word Power variety. During the bedlam, Harbaugh claims he did not see Clausen's gesture because he was busy protecting his team. In all fairness, he may have been telling the truth.
But there's reason to be suspicious. While you have to respect the brand of tough, chippy football Harbaugh is trying to instill in the Cardinal program, you should also note Harbaugh's reputation as a bit of a loose cannon. His antics don't exactly scream "sportsmanship." Here's hoping he can accomplish his football goals without first turning the Cardinal into a shining beacon for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Last week's quip about BYU being less-than-qualified for a top 10 ranking drew a harsh response on the e-mail front. Some said I was being dismissive. Others cited impressive blowouts against UCLA and Wyoming as well as a competitive game against winless Washington. Still others asserted BYU has as much, if not more, talent than the likes of Georgia and USC. Uh, sure.
But none of those statements really threw me for a loop. Frankly, I've met a lot of cougar fans before, but none of them were fans of the football team.
There's a first for everything.
Illinois (-11) vs. Minnesota
Notre Dame (+7) at North Carolina
Mississippi State (-2.5) vs. Vanderbilt