Fightin' Gators Top 13 Stories of the Season

Our weekly top-13 has taken a week off, to regroup after seeing nine top-10 teams lose in the last two weeks. So instead, let's take a look at the top-13 stories from the first half of the college football season.

Seven weeks into the season, this promises to be the wackiest campaign ever and I'm starting to wonder if we'll have anything resembling a clear No. 1 versus No. 2 game in the BCS Championship. Just don't start thinking that a confused mess will speed up the process of discussing a playoff. The best we can hope for would be a "plus-one" type of deal where the top four teams will be matched up in two major bowls with the winners advancing to the title game. But even that is seemingly a long way off.

#13 Ohio State Returns to No. 1 ----- Not much was expected of Ohio State this year with most analysts ranking the Buckeyes behind Michigan and Penn State in the Big Ten let alone national title possibilities. But instead the boys from Columbus are in position to return to the BCS Championship Game. Their defense is sensational, holding six of seven teams to seven points or less.

#12 Dave Wannstedt's bizarre gamble ----- The Pittsburgh coach went for two in overtime rather than kicking an extra point to tie… against NAVY! I'm all for underdog teams on the road taking this sort of gamble, but a home team against a Service Academy? The gamble failed, Pitt lost and fell to 2-4. Wannstedt is feeling the heat with a 13-16 record.

#11 Ron Zook's roller coaster ----- After just four wins in his first two seasons Ron Zook had to show improvement this year. And he has. Illinoize beat nationally ranked Penn State and Wisconsin to improve to 5-1 before gagging one to Iowa.

#10 Who wants the Heisman? -----
I've been voting for the Heisman for 15 years or so and I can't remember a year like this one. Who is/should be the front runner? Mike Hart has been terrific for Michigan, but they lost to Appalachian State. Darren McFadden is out after a miserable performance in the loss to Auburn and every other candidate has serious flaws. Picking a winner at this point is absolutely impossible, although Andre Woodson might get a lot of support if he beats Florida.

#9 Notre Dame a Bad Joke ----- Who would have ever thought that the most storied college football program would become the joke of 2007? How does a Notre Dame player celebrate a touchdown? Nobody knows! Did you hear Michigan's defense left the field a minute before halftime? Notre Dame scored three plays later!

#8 Polling Problems ----- They didn't have this much trouble figuring out who to vote for in Palm Beach County back in 2000. Already 12 teams have spent at least a week in the top-five and seven others somewhere in the top-10. Look for those numbers to continue to go up.

#7 The Rise of the HBC ----- Steve Spurrier has South Carolina in position to make its first trip to the SEC Title Game in Atlanta. And he's doing it with a mix of offense, defense and special teams rather than the high scoring prowess of his Gator glory years.

#6 FSU/Miami Slide Continues ----- The two one-time powers were both 7-6 last year and take 4-2/4-3 records respectively into their "showdown" this Saturday. It appears they are headed for double digit losses (combined) again this season. While I don't think they have to worry about USF taking recruits away just yet; that day may not be too far into the future.

#5 Kentucky Shocks LSU ----- For years they have been the Mildcats, but Kentucky's 2007 team is for real. Andre Woodson is tremendous and there is plenty of offensive skill talent around him. Kentucky fans are so pumped they started fires and generated 22 arrests after the win over LSU. They could be on their way to a New Year's bowl game.

#4 USF Makes its Move -----In 11 years USF football has gone from a concept to number two in the BCS rankings. The Bulls have a legit defense and a fine quarterback. they also have a tough schedule coming up. The next three opponents have a combined 15-4 record.

#3 Dennis Franchione's Private Letters ----- There was no more bizarre story in college football this season than the insider newsletter Dennis Franchione was selling to prominent Texas A&M boosters. The newsletter contained recruiting info that is not to be legally shared with any supporters. How this guy still has a job is beyond me. He's a far from impressive 30-24 in his fifth and likely final season in College Station.

#2 Defending Champs Lose Twice ----- The Florida Gators had the look of a team with a chance to repeat when it routed Tennessee 59-20 a month ago. However after a close win over Ole Miss, Florida dropped consecutive games to Auburn and LSU all but eliminating them from BCS consideration.

#1 Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32 ----- Even in this season of upsets this is the most notable game of them all. No top five team had EVER lost to a 1-AA squad before this shocker in the big house. And it was far from a fluke. "Appy" led most of the way, and after Michigan took the lead in the final five minutes they came right back with a drive for the game winning field goal. Amazing!

Can't wait to see what the next seven weeks brings!

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


Fightin Gators Top Stories