Howdy one and all to week 8 of the college football season. Each week is filled with revelations and marches us closer to the big end of season rivalry games, conference championships and the bowl season. Let’s check the latest G-Poll and talk about #2 giving #1 a run for its money, when coaches win championships, and who I’m trying to catch on the radio or TV this weekend.
Week 8 G-Poll Top 10
1. Ohio State (7-0)
2. Michigan (7-0)
3. West Virginia (6-0)
4. USC (6-0)
5. Louisville (6-0)
6. Tennessee (5-1)
7. California (6-1)
8. Texas (6-1)
9. Auburn (6-1)
10. Notre Dame (5-1)
Would the Real Lonliest Number Please Step Forward?
After last week, 1 may not be the loneliest number anymore. That distinction may have passed on to #2 since no number has ended Saturday night feeling more alone and blue than 2 recently (in the AP at least). First, it was #2 Texas. After that, Notre Dame. Then, Auburn. Next, Florida. Boom, boom, boom… Each one dropping. Auburn managed to hang on to the ranking for several weeks and had the pleasure of beating #2 Florida last weekend. Well, now #2 is Michigan. So, could the big blue stumble before the Columbus showdown November 18? Not likely. They’ve got 3 games at home, the lone challenging one being this week against a suddenly deflating Iowa (the others are: Northwestern and Ball State). Then they finish with 2 games away, at Indiana (who may be bowling this year!) and, of course, the big one at Ohio State. What a great year for this rivalry. It’s one of the best in college football history along with Auburn-Alabama, Texas A&M-Texas, and Army-Navy. Making it a 1 vs 2 game with the winner taking the Big Ten and playing for a national title could make it an instant classic.
Coaches and Championships
Remember when winning a national title was the culmination of years of recruiting, teaching the game, drawing up game plans, making adjustments, and motivating players. You know, years of hard work coaching? When Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns won it last year it was the first time this century that a coach had been at the helm of his team for more than a couple of years before winning his first national crown. That’s right. The mid to late 90’s were the years of tenured coaches finally winning the big one: Stallings (Alabama in ’92), Bowden (FSU in ’93 and ’99), Osborne (Nebraska in ’94, ’95, and ’97), Spurrier (Florida in ’96), Carr (Michigan in ’97), and Fulmer (Tennessee in ’98). But after Bobby Bowden’s second title in 1999, the 2000s began with a remarkable string of new coaches winning rings: Stoops (OU in ’00), Coker (Miami in ’01), Tressel (Ohio State in ’02), Saban (LSU in ’03), and Carroll (USC in ’03 and ’04). This year, the serious title contenders all have at least 4 or 5 years in their current positions. The lone exception at the beginning of the season was Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis in his sophomore campaign.
Who I’m Watching (or Listening to)
Not too much in the way of big-time clashes of highly ranked teams like we’ve had some of the past few weeks. There are a couple of those, but for the most part, no. We are now in the thick of the conference races. This is the time when teams hunker down into the conference schedule for the most part. These are the teams that know you well, that you played HS ball with and against and here you are. Almost anything can happen. Surprises show up. But enough living in the future.
With a big weekend at work (Board Meeting Friday-Saturday out of town, Fall Festival Sunday at church), I’ll be spending time on the road and setting up tables and chairs when I’d normally be catching ESPN GameDay and all the best games on TV. So this week, I’ll be catching what I can on the radio in the car and checking ESPN for scores and highlights in between tying up the last loose ends for Sunday’s big event. Here are the games I most want to keep and eye or ear on.
Georgia Tech at Clemson – Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that the game for the ACC leader would be this one? No Miami, no FSU, no Virginia Tech… It will interesting to see who steps up between these two.
Texas at Nebraska – This could be a preview of the Big 12 championship game. Since both these teams were beaten handily by top-ranked competition Ohio State and USC, respectively, this will be a chance to see how good they really are. There will be only one team unbeaten in Big 12 play after Saturday.
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State – Well we (the Aggies) finally got a win over a legitimately good team when we beat Missouri in College Station last weekend. We need this one before running the OU, Nebraska, Texas gauntlet that is November.
This is the time to track your team’s race to qualify for a bowl or inch up in the conference standings. Enjoy your teams’s game!