|Big 12 lights it up, Gophers feeling rosy|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 26 October 2008 12:30|
The final October weekend of the college football season put Penn State on course for Miami and set up two top-10 showdowns - one in west Texas and another in north Florida.
The Big Story
The former standard for over-the-top offense in college football was the WAC. With pass-happy BYU leading the way, the old Western Athletic Conference was loads of fun. Remember that 52-52 tie between the Cougars and Marshall Faulk's San Diego State team in 1991? The wacky WAC at its best.
The wacky Big 12 doesn't quite roll of the tongue, but these Southwest slingers are making the glory days of the WAC seem dull.
On Saturday, the entire Big 12 played in conference. The average score was 48-23.
ht interceptions and a completion percentage of 67.8.
Heisman Trophy front-runner Colt McCoy is leading a group of passers that have outperformed even their substantial preseason hype.
Led by McCoy, second in the country in efficiency rating at 186.5, Big 12 quarterbacks hold down five of the top six spots in the major college football. Five more Big 12 quarterbacks rank in the top 28 in passer rating.
So what's the deal? Are Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and the rest of these quarterbacks that good? Or have the Big 12 defenses also become WAC-ky.
Call it a perfect storm. The Big 12 has embraced the spread-offense revolution. Almost every team in the league is running some form of the spread, and doing so with a quarterback both talented and experienced. Nothing's more dangerous than a quarterback that knows exactly what he's doing.
Daniel isn't much of a pro prospect, but he's been running the spread since high school and he could probably find an open receiver for Missouri with his eyes closed.
But, no, this is not all about offense.
M, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State - have proved unable to play defense against anyone.
is about shoddy defense.
In the meantime, enjoy the show.
From 1-11 to the BCS? That's probably a stretch, but surely fans of 20th-ranked Minnesota are dreaming about that these days.
Fiery coach Tim Brewster has the Golden Gophers 7-1 and tied for second in the Big Ten with Ohio State, which handed Minnesota its only loss.
Defense has been the catalyst for the turnaround. After allowing 518 yards per game in '07, Minnesota is allowing 363. Last year, Minnesota was minus-15 in turnover ratio. This year, the Gophers are plus-15 and No. 1 in the nation.
A soft schedule is hurting the Golden Gophers in the BCS standings, but if they keep winning that should change. And if Penn State is in the national championship game, and the Rose Bowl is looking for a Big Ten team, Minnesota at, say, 10-2 would make sense. The Golden Gophers haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 1962.
Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel completed 14 of 21 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns in a surprising 54-34 victory against Pittsburgh. Teel has been the target of booing at home as the Scarlet Knights got off to a 1-5 start, reminiscent of the bad old days in Piscataway, N.J. Going off against Pitt should quiet the critics - at least until he throws his next interception.
his career tormenting the Vols, but if Phillip Fulmer does get pushed out in Knoxville, you can bet Spurrier, who grew up in Tennessee, will be rumored as a replacement.
-Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is going to face some criticism for running a fake punt up 24-0 late in the third quarter against Washington and Tyrone Willingham. He shouldn't. It might not have been the nicest thing to do, but why not give your upcoming opponents something to think about in a low-pressure situation?
-Here's what stands in the way of Penn State's unbeaten regular season after the Nittany Lions won at Ohio State - at Iowa, then home against Indiana, Michigan State.
Texas Tech gets a chance to go from novelty to national title contender Saturday in Lubbock, when No. 1 Texas comes to town.
The Red Raiders have become consistent winners under ninth-year coach Mike Leach, but in a non-threatening way. More of a nuisance to Oklahoma and Texas than a true rival in the Big 12 South. If that's going to change, this is the year to do it. The Red Raiders have never been better under Leach.
The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Georgia and Florida's annual get-together in Jacksonville, Fla., is essentially an elimination game. The winner is primed to get to the SEC title game with national championship hopes. The loser is probably looking at a championship-less season.