Profiles in Profiteroles: An engine of chaos
The week in lesser FBS luminaries:
• San Jose State 28, Hawaii 27: From Monday: "Most WAC game in recorded human history. A 9:00 p.m. ET start time. And 914 yards of total offense. And 41 first downs. And six sacks. And six punts. And 12 turnovers." To that, let's add a literal last-minute winning touchdown pass and the fact that San Jose State, a team that hadn't recorded back-to-back wins in three years, has now won three of its last four outings. This is why we watch the WAC ball.
• Boise State 63, Colorado State 13: Boise State's first conference win as a Mountain West team was a resounding one, albeit a foregone conclusion. This week we'll drop the Broncos to second billing, so expected was this demolition of the Rams. But Boise's doing everything correctly to maintain course for a BCS bowl. Four of its five highest-quality opponents were dispatched within the first four weeks of play, and the remaining foe, TCU, isn't looking like it'll present the marquee challenge non-AQ proponents were looking for. Survive and advance is never good enough for a non-AQ team; all wins must be statement wins. And with a margin of victory of 266-87 after six games, so far the gambit is paying off: BSU ranks No. 5 in the first released set of BCS standings.
• Comings and goings in the annals of fantastic fake hotel check-in names: While FIU and Arkansas State were introducing a national television audience to such glowing monikers as Wayne Times, Jose Cheeseborough and Sirgregory Thornton, fellow undercover spy Bob Toledo was likely packing up his desk in the Tulane football offices. The Green Wave head coach's resignation was announced Tuesday, just days before homecoming. His only crime was the apparently unpardonable sin of not being able to win at Tulane, which nobody has done since 2002. Toledo will presumptively take some time off to hunt down rings of international jewel thieves before settling into his next obvious football gig somewhere in the MAC.
• One lone (but still grudging!) expansion tidbit: By the time this column goes up again next week, six schools on the non-AQ beat could be signed to the Big East. For now, that's all I've got. You'll know more when we know more.
• Suddenly necessary police blotter section! The Friday night resignation of Middle Tennessee State OC Willie Simmons went largely unremarked upon, thanks to the Blue Raiders having a bye week, but the "personal reasons" Simmons cited for stepping down will draw considerably greater scrutiny: He's been charged with domestic assault, accused of choking his girlfriend at her apartment. And Arkansas State operated Tuesday night without the services of free safety A.J. Hill, who was arrested Monday for possession of more than a pound of marijuana.
Profiles in ownage
• The Ragin' Cajuns: Bowl-eligible after just seven weeks of play, Louisiana leaned on efficient passing and steady second-half defensive pressure to stifle North Texas, 30-10. The protection around a quarterback just returning from injury is something of a concern (Blaine Gautier was sacked four times by the Mean Green), but against UNT, it was enough. And it wouldn't be a party in Cajun country without legendarily outfitted tailgaters: Trusty correspondent Ragin' Cajun Rebel sends along these photos of a party in a funeral casket and a riding mower-based keg delivery system.
• Toledo and Bowling Green: It's too rare in the MAC to see two well-matched teams play a hard-fought game, and from a pure football perspective, the best non-AQ action to be found Saturday was Rockets-Falcons. No team led by more than a touchdown until the final two minutes of the game, when a 24-yard Morgan Williams run expanded Toledo's lead to 28-14. A kick return from BooBoo Gates (yes, BooBoo; and here is his Heisman campaign page) six seconds later narrowed the final margin.
• SMU in particular, and C-USA West in general: Presumed division champ Central Florida isn't having a particularly easy time of it, but even if the Knights manage to get past Southern Miss in a few weeks (an outcome that is far from certain), they're facing near-certain doom against either SMU or Houston. The Mustangs ran up 358 passing yards under surprisingly adept replacement part J.J. McDermott.
• Chandler Harnish: Northern Illinois recorded 494 rushing yards against what was supposed to be the good directional Michigan (Western) Saturday, and 229 of those belonged to the quarterback. Future opponents: Maaaybe put a body on No. 12.
• Ronnie Hillman: Covered Friday, but it bears mentioning again: Ronnie Hillman had 103 rushing yards in the fourth quarter of San Diego State-Air Force.
• Howard Schnellenberger's statue: Hard to get somebody else to pay for your likeness in bronze these days while you're still alive, but the recent graven idol population bump in college football stadiums around the country shows it can be done. What a fortunate artist, to be given the honor of sculpting every detail of Schnelly's stache. (The Owls were not so lucky, recording their sixth loss of the 2011 season Saturday at the hands of woeful Western Kentucky.)
Exposed to the world's derision
• Miami (Ohio) and Kent State: How rare it is to see a thoroughly depressing matchup on paper turn out exactly as dismally as imagined. Whatever parameters one might use to define the polar opposite of the Toled0-Bowling Green game, including how watching it affected one's overall quality of life, this 9-3 slog was it. These offenses should not be consumed by pregnant women, nursing mothers or very young children.
• Tulsa and UAB: When do four turnovers lead to a 17-point victory? When the team called upon to score points off those turnovers is the Blazers.
Not sure if serious
• Utah State: Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Aggies blew a halftime lead and then some to turn a seven-point edge into a 10-point loss to Fresno State.
• SMU fans: This sad state of stadium affairs represents local interest in a major metropolitan area when the team is doing well, mind. But a move to the Big East will fix that straightaway, won't it, Mustangs?
A very special shoutout to former Florida corner Janoris Jenkins, who you'll recall was kicked off the Gators after two drug-related arrests in one offseason. Saturday he tweeted to his downtrodden former team: “U had da best corner n da Nation in you released him.” Indeed, the Gators are sorely missing the services of Jenkins, who just two days prior to that message was busy getting himself ejected from his D-II game with nine pro scouts in attendance.
Case Keenum Pinballin' Hi-Score of the week
The Cougar with his arm cocked, poised to break all kinds of important NCAA passing records, took a Saturday off with Houston's bye, and target="_blank">spoke to Ivan Maisel about UH's quest for an unbeaten season.
Thing UTEP Did This Week
In extremely un-UTEPian fashion, the Miners blew out a bad team they had every reason to beat, romping 44-7 past Tulane on the road. Go figure.
Profiterole Player of the Week
Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple: A frequent favorite Profiterole, Pierce set four school records in Saturday's game with Buffalo. Currently the nation's second-leading scorer, averaging more than two touchdowns per game, Pierce is also a recent addition to the Maxwell Award watch list. With 67 yards to go, he's one middling game away from recording his 3,000th career yard.
Violently Subjective Non-AQ Top 10
1. Boise State (6-0)
2. Houston (6-0)
3. SMU (5-1)
4. Southern Miss (5-1)
5. Temple (4-2)
6. TCU (4-2)
7. Louisiana (5-1)
8. Toledo (4-3)
9. San Diego State (4-2)
10. Arkansas State (4-2)
Hovering somewhere just out of sight,reminding me this is why I don't ever do serious polls, and deserving of mention: BYU, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan.
DJ Khaled Prize For Excellence in Victory
Boise State gets to bowl eligibility; the Broncos and Houston remain the lone unbeatens in our field. Also attaining that crucial sixth win this week: the continually surprising Ragin' Cajuns. With successful Saturdays, those three could be joined by Southern Miss or SMU, BYU and Temple.
Walking Dead Watch
Florida Atlantic, New Mexico and UAB entered Week 7 winless and emerged unchanged. The only team with a real prayer of a win next week is the Owls; the Lobos and Blazers must play TCU and UCF, respectively.
With only independents playing out of "conference" this week and with a 1-1 split between the Navy loss and the BYU win, non-AQ schools move to 17-84 on the year against programs from AQ conferences.
UCF and UAB provide the second act of Thursday night's slate, sandwiched between the FCS and Pac-12 games. Saturday, in descending order from “actual interest in the football to be played here” to “tune in out of morbid curiosity,” don’t miss: SMU-Southern Miss, Western Michigan-Eastern Michigan, Louisiana Tech-Utah State, Temple-Bowling Green, Boise State-Air Force, Fresno State-Nevada, Marshall-Houston, TCU-New Mexico and Middle Tennessee State-Florida Atlantic. The Saturday nightcap also provides that rare endurance challenge in the form of a WAC game that's actually a night game in the WAC: Who's up for staying up for New Mexico State at Hawaii, kicking off at 11:59 p.m. ET?