No. 1 Texas has difficult schedule aheadby Michael Lopresti on Oct. 13, 2008, under Sports
It’s mid-October, after a boffo weekend. Surely, we know something about college football by now don’t we?
• Texas is No. 1 at the halfway pole, without question. From not allowing a rushing touchdown this season, to the most points scored after six games (281) since World War I, to the 32-for-33 red zone scoring percentage, to 7 for 7 in field goals, to Colt McCoy completing nearly 80 percent of his passes.
We leave anything out?
The Longhorns have an opportunity for greatness if they can blow through the next three Saturdays against Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Combined record: 17-1.
• Michigan is an unmitigated disaster. The loss at home to Toledo – its first loss to a MAC school – was infinitely more embarrassing than Appalachian State. The 2-4 Wolverines scored 10 points against a team that came in 1-4 and lost 35-16 to Florida International. Asked by reporters afterward what was wrong with the offense, coordinator Calvin Magee answered: “Everything.”
• The surprising team climbing the polls is Oklahoma State, now 6-0 for the second time since 1945. The Cowboys are second in the nation in scoring at 48.50 points but it was their defense that stunned Missouri in Columbia. Tigers quarterback and Heisman candidate Chase Daniel had thrown one interception in the first 22 quarters of the season. Oklahoma State picked him off three times in the second half. “You never know what you can accomplish,” coach Mike Gundy said, “if you just believe in yourself.”
• The Big East can’t give many good reasons it deserves its BCS automatic berth. While other leagues sizzled Saturday, co-leader West Virginia was beating 1-5 Syracuse 17-6, and Cincinnati was getting past Rutgers 13-10, despite going 1-for-11 on third down conversions and committing 12 penalties, three for unsportsmanlike conduct.
• Tim Tebow won’t repeat as the Heisman winner. It’s not that he’s crashed as a junior. Florida was impressive enough in thrashing LSU. But there are too many Big 12 quarterbacks from too many ranked teams putting up too many video game numbers.
• There are undeniable signs of life from Notre Dame, despite the North Carolina game that got away. Jimmy Clausen looks more settled at quarterback by the week, and 18 of the 21 Irish touchdowns have been scored by sophomores or freshmen.
• Have we paused to fully understand the extraordinary story at Penn State? An 81-year-old man is coaching a national championship contender. And if Joe Paterno beats Ohio State in two weeks, he’s not losing this regular season.
Stat of the week
Welcome to Quarterback Heaven. The 12 starting quarterbacks in the Big 12 last weekend threw a combined 416 passes, completed 71.4 percent of them for nearly 3,400 yards and 22 touchdowns, and were intercepted only 11 times.
Thumbs of the week
• Up to Minnesota. Gophers have gone in reverse proportion to the stock market: From 1-11 last season to 6-1.
• Up to Toledo. Rockets start Michigan week with a team hamburger cookout Monday, then have dessert Saturday in the Big House, led by Nick Moore’s 20 receptions. That’s only five fewer than either Army or Navy have had all season.
• Up to Colorado kickoff coverage team. Miss the showdown of the year? Colorado, coming in ranked 119th and last in the nation in kickoff coverage. Kansas, 119th and last in kickoff returns. Kansas averages 8.7 per return Saturday so Buffaloes win the battle but lose the game.
• Down to Auburn. Not everyday a 4-2 team fires its offensive coordinator after six games. With Tony Franklin gone, Tigers respond with one offensive touchdown in 25-22 loss to Arkansas. Maybe the ball boy needs to go next.