By Cory Mccartney
November 12, 2007
Thomas Brown
Travis Lindquist/Getty Images 
Dawgs Are On The Mark
Mark Richt's stoic demeanor has disappeared and it's been the difference maker in Georgia's mid-season rebirth. The traditionalist with an eye for discipline called for the infamous celebration against Florida, and on Saturday against Auburn granted his senior class their wish and allowed the Dawgs to wear black jerseys for the first time in modern history. Credit the change to Richt's new outlook. He gave up play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to focus on getting to know his players -- and he's cutting loose, waving his arms to rile up the Sanford Stadium crowd. "He would have never let us celebrate in the end zone before. He would have never let us wear black jerseys before," senior RB Thomas Brown said. "He's relaxed a little bit more and opened it up and kind of trusting his players a little bit more." The players are getting behind him, as the SEC's hottest team scored 40-plus points for the third straight game after Saturday's 45-20 victory over Auburn.
Big Ten Takes Yet Another Hit
Illinois delivered the worst possible blow to the Big Ten in handing Ohio State its first loss and hampering the Buckeyes' national title hopes. After last season's bowl debacles with the Wolverines and OSU, and Michigan's loss to Appalachian State and Wisconsin's tumble from No. 5 to unranked, the Big Ten needed Ohio State in the BCS title hunt. Now, for the seventh time this season, we saw an unranked team beat a ranked Big Ten club as Illinois earned its landmark victory in Columbus. If the Buckeyes wind up in New Orleans (there's still a slim chance they will) we may have a replay of the '06 title game, but it would provide an opportunity for a victory that could rebuild the Big Ten's rep. Congrats, Ron Zook. Sorry, commissioner Jim Delany.
Unbeaten And Underappreciated
Kansas, the only remaining unbeaten BCS conference team, is fourth in all three human polls and third in the latest BCS Standings. So can it get some love? The Blitz will admit Mark Mangino's bunch is the kind of undefeated team you expect to come back down to Earth each and every week, but they keep answering critics. There's no denying the upstart Jayhawks will get a place in the title game if they manage to go 13-0 (they'll have beaten No. 6 Missouri and will likely meet No. 3 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game). But is that what it's going to take to get Kansas respect? The Jayhawks may not play for the BCS title, but these guys are no fluke -- or the product of a schedule that didn't include the Sooners, Texas and Texas Tech.
McFadden Loses Ground -- Or Does He?
Don't knock Darren McFadden for Arkansas being denied a seventh win or say it took him out of the Heisman race (though the award belongs to a certain Florida QB) as the Razorbacks fell to Tennessee. He had to deal with backfield mate Felix Jones being out for the second half with a bruised thigh as well as another inept passing performance (162 yards). He took the Hogs are far as he could with 117 yards, which may be the definition of his career. When Run DMC leaves, which will probably be after this season, we will undoubtedly look back at him as an unbelievable talent who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
LSU Tigers
LSU took advantage of Ohio State's woes to regain the No. 1 ranking. The Tigers control their own destiny with Ole Miss, Arkansas and the SEC title game as the only things standing between them and a spot in the BCS title game.
UConn Huskies
The worst thing that could have happened to the Big East was having the Huskies wind up in a BCS game. It would have been worse than Pitt getting whipped by Utah 35-7 in the '05 Fiesta Bowl. Luckily for us, and for West Virginia, Cincinnati sent UConn crashing down with a 27-3 loss.
Central Michigan Chippewas
Brian Kelly moved on to Cincinnati, but Central Michigan still has QB Dan LeFevour and has secured a second straight Mid-American Conference West title and a guaranteed bowl bid. LeFevour scored on a 1-yard run with 12 seconds remaining to lift Central Michigan to its first victory at Western Michigan since 1993.
Louisville Cardinals
Brian Brohm broke his own Big East record with his seventh 300-yard passing game of the season as the Cardinals pulled even with West Virginia last Thursday, but the rally fell short in a 38-31 loss. L'ville is officially out of the Big East race and must beat South Florida or Rutgers for a bowl bid.
Clemson Tigers
The Tigers were basically left for dead after their Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech debacles, but they've fought back behind QB Cullen Harper, who threw for three TDs and ran for one against Wake Forest. Next up is a showdown with Boston College for a spot in the ACC title game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
A season that has talking heads searching for adjectives to describe Notre Dame's woes continues to hit new lows. On Saturday the Irish lost to Air Force 41-24, their worst loss to a service academy since falling to Navy 35-14 in '63, giving ND its school-record ninth defeat.
"We've got bragging rights now. I don't have to say anything, but if I want to I can."
--Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom, a former Alabama assistant coach and player, who led the Bulldogs to a 17-12 win over 'Bama, their second straight victory over the Tide.
"I got Michigan helmet paint right there. You should take a picture of that."
--Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Donovan, who finished the Badgers' 37-21 win over Michigan on the sideline with a welt and two streaks of blue paint on his throwing hand.
"I select every year who I coach. Last year I coached Chase Daniel and this year I'm coaching J-Mac. He wasn't very good when he got here, either."
--Missouri coach Gary Pinkel joking about redshirt freshman Jeremy Maclin, who caught five balls for 146 yards and two TDs, including an 82-yarder, in a win over Texas A&M.
Joe GanzQB - Nebraska
He won't help to extinguish the flames underneath coach Bill Callahan, but Ganz did help the beleaguered coach take out some frustration as he threw for 510 yards and seven touchdowns (both records) in a 73-31 win over Kansas State.
Ray RiceRB - Rutgers
Rice torched Army's 109th-ranked rush defense for a school-record 243 yards and two touchdowns in the Scarlet Knights' 41-6 win. It probably didn't get him back in the Heisman hunt, but it did get his helmet-wearing mom lots of TV time.
Tim TebowQB - Florida
Tebow should have capped his day with a stiff-armed pose. The sophomore rushed for five touchdowns and threw for two more in totaling 424 yards (120 rushing and a career-high 304 passing) as the Gators dumped South Carolina.
Miami gave up 48 points to Virginia in the Hurricanes' Orange Bowl finale, marking the worst shutout loss in the team's 70-years in the O.B. It was the 'Canes first shutout loss since '74.
Colt Brennan hit Davone Bass for a 5-yard touchdown against Fresno State, tying the Hawaii quarterback with BYU's Ty Detmer for the NCAA career TD pass mark with 121.
136 and 1,315
Navy and North Texas must have left their defenses at home. The two teams combined for a major-college record 136 points and 1,315 yards of offense as the Midshipmen won 74-62.

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Ohio State at MichiganNOVEMBER 17
Illinois and Wisconsin took some of the luster off The Big Game, but there's still a Rose Bowl bid at stake in Ann Arbor. Mike Hart and Chad Henne should be healthy and Ohio State could be in for a Juice hangover. But the Buckeyes defense should be enough to give OSU a fifth BCS berth in seven seasons under Jim Tressel.
Ohio State 27, Michigan 24
West Virginia at CincinnatiNOVEMBER 17
West Virginia's running attack (third nationally at 288.8 ypg) is a known commodity, but the fourth-ranked defense has been key (allowing 15 ppg) as WVU rebounded from its loss to South Florida. The Bearcats' D is stout in its own right (yielding 16.4 ppg), but the Mountaineers are just too much right now on both sides of the ball.
West Virginia 30, Cincinnati 20
Kentucky at GeorgiaNOVEMBER 17
The Bulldogs have designs on making the SEC title game (though they need help to do it) and this is a must-win if they're to pull it off. Outside of the triple-OT win over LSU, UK's porous D has given up 38 ppg in its last three losses. Not the best stat when facing a Georgia team that's coming off three straight 40-point games.
Georgia 34, Kentucky 27
Boston College at ClemsonNOVEMBER 17
With the Tigers' yearly collapse out of the way, Harper & Co. have hit their stride at the best time. They will face a struggling Boston College team that has lost two straight and whose once-vaunted defense gave up 472 yards and five TDs to Maryland. Tommy Bowden, book a ticket for Jacksonville.
Clemson 35, Boston College 27

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