The Big Ten's decision to implement a permanent bye week came one year too late for Iowa. Beginning in 2010, the league will add a week off during the eight-game conference schedule. This is a wise move, and it may someday help an elite team avoid a letdown, stay undefeated and eventually reach the BCS title game.
Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, they have to play all of their 2009 schedule in a 12-week slog. And after several far-too-dramatic wins, all the tight games finally caught up with Iowa. Maybe if, at some point in the past 10 weeks, Iowa had taken a week off, Hawkeyes players would have been mentally refreshed and not have let their guard down against Northwestern and stumbled to a 17-10 loss.
I went a little open-date crazy
Maybe it had nothing to do with fatigue. Maybe the injury to quarterback
Maybe if the Hawkeyes had gotten a chance to freshen up this season, they'd still be national title contenders.
Can Virginia please put
Saturday, Virginia put up a fight for a half before rolling over and dying in a 52-17 loss at Miami. That makes Virginia 3-6, and the Hoos don't look capable of winning any of their three remaining games.
Groh is the type of guy who, during bowl practice, will walk past Virginia beat writers and then conduct a teleconference from his hotel. He's also the type of guy who coaches in one of the most talent-rich states in the country and still manages to put together a team that loses to William and Mary.
If Groh gets canned, there are a few coaches out there who could do well in Charlottesville.
Whoever gets hired at Virginia should watch the news out of Albuquerque. If
When I visited Notre Dame in the spring,
Well, that boat got sunk Saturday by a less talented but ultimately superior force. Barring some sort of miracle finish, Navy's 23-21 win probably spells doom for Weis in South Bend. Even if Weis wins out, Notre Dame can do no better than the Gator Bowl, which certainly can't be how Weis envisioned closing this season when he looked over his roster in March and saw
This team has BCS-bowl talent, and Weis didn't get it done. The master of the "decided schematic advantage" and his defensive coordinator,
Niumatalolo guessed correctly. Notre Dame hadn't added even the slightest new wrinkle, and Navy bulldozed ahead for 348 yards. After the loss, reporters asked Weis if he worries that now his job status will be questioned.
"That comes with the territory," Weis said. "It comes with the territory. You know, the sad part about it is that's this job every week. It's a week-to-week deal."
Weis said he'll handle the criticism the way he always does.
"As I just told the team, I coach the team exactly the same way every week regardless of the situation, whether it's win or lose," Weis said. "One thing they know from me is I never change, never, ever change."
And that's precisely the problem.
So now that we've discussed Notre Dame, we must naturally discuss Cincinnati. Now that Weis Watch 2009 has officially begun, the spotlight will shine brighter on Bearcats coach
On Saturday, Kelly's team eked out a 47-45 win against a resilient Connecticut team. The Notre Dame questions will start rolling in on Sunday, but late Saturday, Kelly was just thrilled to still be undefeated.
"At the end of the day, you need one more point," Kelly told Cincinnati's radio network. "We did enough to win."
Kelly finds himself in the same catbird seat now that
So Kelly will have to deal with thinly veiled questions about Notre Dame as well as a brewing quarterback situation. I say "situation" rather than "controversy," because Kelly's situation isn't negative. His original starter,
So let's run down the list of Kelly's issues: He has a great team, and he's coveted by another school that would pay him $4 million a year. He has two star quarterbacks.
If we could all have those kind of problems.
So I tried to go over all the scenarios to figure out how Colorado could win Big 12 North, but the sheer schizophrenia of the teams made my head hurt. Let's just stick to the basics. If Kansas State beats Missouri next week and Nebraska wins at Kansas, it will set up a Nov. 21 clash in Lincoln for the division title.
The winner will earn the right to go to Jerry World (aka Dallas Cowboys Stadium) two weeks later and lose to Texas by five touchdowns.
Get ready for a new quarterback at Florida State. Junior
Replacing Ponder will be redshirt freshman
Of course, actual production and recruiting rankings sometimes have nothing in common, so we'll have to wait and see how Manuel does. But make no mistake, he'll get more attention this week --as he prepares for Wake Forest --than any other time while in Tallahassee. So far, the most significant press Manuel has received came last year at Maryland, when a camera crew noticed Manuel's number (3) and began asking questions about the Rhodes Scholarship he won earlier that day. Manuel smiled and politely pointed the crew to the Seminoles' other No. 3, supergenuis safety
It may not be time to throw
Next week, Lewis will have a prime showcase when Notre Dame comes to Heinz Field. As I write this, Notre Dame trails Navy, 14-0. Lewis may have an even bigger audience if the Fighting Irish lose to Navy, because in a week of terrible games, the national media would descend on Pittsburgh to commence the
Arkansas scored a huge win Saturday that proves once again that
Meanwhile, South Carolina (6-4) is staring at a .500 season. The Gamecocks face top-ranked Florida next week, and then they have a week off before facing Clemson. The Gamecocks have lost 10 of their last 12 against their in-state rivals.
Oregon fans spent the week
On Saturday, we learned that Stanford is also better than Oregon. The Cardinal crushed the Ducks, 51-42, throwing the Pac-10 into chaos and proving that Oregon wasn't exactly the juggernaut it seemed to be during a monthlong hot streak. That's probably bad news for Boise State, though.
I elevated Boise State last week because I had to elevate Oregon after the Ducks thumped USC. Still, I felt terrible for jumping Boise State over TCU. Now, with Oregon out of the picture, I can move TCU back above Boise State, which didn't look very impressive for 55 minutes Friday at Louisiana Tech. Of course, Boise State will leap back over the Horned Frogs if TCU can't handle Mountain West rival Utah next week in Fort Worth.
The Ducks needn't worry about the rankings now. They should worry about what they can control, and they can control whether they play in the Rose Bowl. Oregon plays Arizona State next week, and if the Ducks beat the Sun Devils and Arizona beats Cal, then it sets up a matchup in Tucson on Nov. 21 between Oregon and Arizona for pole position in the conference, and, depending on what happens next week, could decide the conference champ.
Here's hoping Cal tailback
Hopefully Best, who began the season as a Heisman contender, will make a full recovery.
It was so much fun to speculate that next week's Georgia Tech-Duke matchup could decide the ACC Coastal Division, but alas, the Dookies couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. To add insult to injury, the Blue Devils fell short in a place so many Dookie dreams go to die, Chapel Hill, looking for any glimmer of hope in a tough season, beat Duke, 19-6, and allowed Tar Heels fans to chant "just like basketball."
North Carolina kicker
Finally, Saturday's most poignant moment took place in a sports bar in Tuscaloosa, where some LSU fans were drowning their sorrows after the Tigers' 24-15 loss to Alabama. On one TV was one of those spectacular plays countdown shows, and No. 14 was the Hail Mary that allowed LSU to escape Kentucky in 2002.