College Football Musings – Week 4

The Big Least took a step toward rivaling the Almost Competitive Conference as the weakest of the BCS leagues. The Big Ten simply embarrassed itself with its schedule. Ryan Mallet may have thrown away two prizes and Georgia fans are just throwing up. We'll look at all of that and more in this week's musings.

Nice scheduling boys ---- What do Northern Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Austin Peay and Ball State have in common? They all lost to Big Ten schools this weekend. So, too did Akron, Temple and Central Michigan. The scheduling is bad enough, but it's even worse when you realize that Toledo (Purdue) and Northern Illinois (Minnesota) BEAT Big Ten teams on Saturday.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda ---- Remember two weeks ago when the ACC had chances to make a statement with big wins only to fall flat on its collective face? Well, this week I give you the Big Least. Another floundering BCS football conference in desperate need of some credibility enhancing wins went 0-for-4 this weekend. Pitt was humiliated by Miami to start it off and that was followed by three close but gut wrenching losses. Cincinnati came up short against Oklahoma (31-29), Rutgers could not hold on against depleted North Carolina (17-13) and West Virginia fell to LSU in Baton Rouge (20-14). On the bright side Colgate, Buffalo and Western Kentucky were victims of Big Least powerhouses Syracuse, UConn and USF respectively.

Mr. Mallett gets December 4, 11 free ---- Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was five minutes from a glorious win and likely Heisman Trophy front runner status. He had led Arkansas to a 20-17 lead over No. 1 Alabama while passing for more than 300 yards. A couple of first downs and he and the Razorbacks would be in Hog heaven. But Mallett got picked off setting up Bama's go ahead touchdown. Then, with the ball near midfield he was picked off again and the Crimson Tide escaped with the win. The loss will probably keep Arkansas out of the SEC Championship Game and most likely Mallett out of Heisman voters' minds.

Rockier and rockier top ---- I don't know how patient Tennessee will be with coach Derek Dooley, but the Vols are a long, long way from being SEC contenders. That point was driven home loud and clear Saturday when the boys from Rocky Top needed two overtimes to outlast UAB in front of more than 100,000 stunned partisans in Knoxville. UAB dominated the game and out gained Tennessee by almost 250 yards. The only reason the game went into the extra sessions was Blazers kicker Josh Zahn missing five, count ‘em FIVE field goals in regulation play. To his credit he was 2-for-2 in overtime, but it was 2-little 2-late.

Dawg tired ---- As bad as things are in Knoxville they may be worse in Athens. Georgia lost its third straight Saturday, falling to Mississippi State 24-12. It's the first three-game losing streak for the Dawgs in 20 years and folks are grumbling big time about coach Mark Richt. The good news is they get star receiver A.J. Green back. The bad news is the rest of the team returns too. Georgia is facing a road trip to Colorado followed by a home game with Tennessee. Who ever dreamed the Georgia/Tennessee game would have so little impact?

Pac-10 surging ---- While the Big Least and Almost Competitive Conference joust over which league is weaker, the Pac-10 is showing some surprising strength. Oregon is one of the nation's most explosive teams and Stanford looks to be a real threat. They meet up this weekend in the No. 2 game in the country. Add in USC coming on, UCLA trashing Texas and Oregon State throwing a scare into Boise State and you have a league on the upswing. One bad thing --- the Stanford/Oregon game kicks off at the same time as Florida/Alabama.

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