Best, worst in college football's first half Print
Written by Admin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:35
NCAAF Headline News

 Welcome to college football's new normal, where No. 1 changes hands every few weeks, the preseason rankings become moot by mid-October and Toledo beating Michigan makes headlines only in northwest Ohio and Ann Arbor.
One stat that might best sum up the past season and a half: Since the start of 2007, eight teams have held the No. 1 ranking during the regular season.
In the previous nine years (1998-2006), a total of 15 teams held the top spot at some point during the regular season.
Before we look ahead to another wild finish in the making, let's look back at the best and worst of the first half of college football 2008:
Best game
Texas 45, Oklahoma 35. The Red River Rivalry has rarely matched the hype leading up to it in recent years, but Saturday's edition was a classic. Big plays, gutty comebacks, Heisman implications, the No. 1 ranking in the balance. Luckily, the terrible officiating balanced out and didn't decide a great game.
Worst game
Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2. Don't dare suggest this ugliness was about tough SEC defense.
Worst party-poopers
Ohio State. The Buckeyes 35-3 loss to USC marked the third time in the past three seasons college football fans geared up for a big Ohio State game and wound up flipping channels by the fourth quarter (if not sooner).
Halfway Heisman
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. His numbers are great, 79 percent completion percentage and leading the team in rushing, and he came up huge in the biggest game of the year (so far).
Best player who won't win the Heisman
Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The Chase Daniel hype machine is going full steam, which means the Tigers' most talented player is relegated to second banana on his own team.
Best performance by a brother tandem
The Rodgers brothers of Oregon State against Southern California. Jacquizz, the freshman running back, ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns and his older brother, James, caught two touchdowns, including that tip-drill, toe-dragger right before halftime, to help the Beavers take down the top-ranked Trojans, 27-21.
Worst special teams performance
Connecticut had three punts blocked by the same player, North Carolina's Bruce Carter, in a 38-12 loss to the Tar Heels.
Best performance by a first-year coach
ork in a BCS conference. The Yellow Jackets are 5-1 and have the best running game in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Best job by an assistant promoted to head coach
Johnson's replacement at Navy, Ken Niumatalolo has kept the Midshipmen (4-2) playing their usual variety of dependable option football, and they're on track for a sixth consecutive bowl appearance.
Worst performance by a new coach
M coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies (2-4) lost their opener at home to Arkansas State, barely beat Army and were pounded by Kansas State in College Station. Wonder what R.C. Slocum's up to these days?
Worst mess inherited
Washington State's 1-6 record is not all that surprising. New coach Paul Wulff figured to have his work cut out for him. But injuries and suspensions depleted an already thin roster and the Cougars have been beyond awful, outscored 307-63 by major college opponents.
Best reason to have basketball-style conference challenge
Big 12 offenses vs. Southeastern Conference defense.
Best JUCO transfer
Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody. The 365-pound mountain has made Crimson Tide impossible to run against (No. 2 in the country at 50 yards allowed per game).
Most surprising team
lahoma State's the winner. The Cowboys were on no one's radar before the season and proved they're to be taken seriously after winning at Missouri.
Most disappointing team
Clemson. The Tigers started the season in the top 10 and replaced their coach two weeks into October. Disappointing is hardly strong enough to describe Clemson's sad season.
Most likely coach to go next
Washington's Tyrone Willingham and Syracuse's Greg Robinson are neck-and-neck heading to the finish line of their respective tenures.
Best reason to stay tuned to the second half (as if you really need one)
Look at the rankings right now - Texas, Alabama and Penn State are on top. There's a good chance none of those teams will play for the national championship in Miami on Jan. 8. Figuring out which teams will should be a blast.
 

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