College Football Musings: Week Nine

As we end the month of October we have a bloody mess in the SEC East, and a definite showdown in the SEC West. We have a veteran coach disproving his critics and an apparent Heisman front runner who was downright awful for all but the final ten minutes of his game. We have that and more in our weekly musings.

SEC East back in Vols hands ----- A week after losing control of the SEC East race, Tennessee reclaimed that spot with a weird win over South Carolina Saturday night. The Vols dominated Carolina, leading 21-zip at the half despite missing a field goal just before intermission. Then they could do nothing right for most of the second half. But a 48-yard field goal tied it, and they won it in overtime to grab control of their own destiny. If they can beat Arkansas, Kentucky and Vandy, the Vols go to Atlanta. If they lose, Georgia slides into the driver's seat. Yes, if the Dawgs also stumble the Gators could still return to Atlanta.

SEC West on line this weekend ----- Could it possibly be more intense anywhere on the planet than it will be in Tuscaloosa? Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide host his former team, the LSU Tigers with control of the SEC West on the line. Both teams are 4-1, and an LSU win all but clinches the West for the Tigers. However, an Alabama win could set up a possible three-way tie if Auburn can beat the Tide later in the year. Of course, the folks in the Bayou have little love for Saban.

Dennis Erickson has last laugh ----- Perhaps no off-season hiring was more roundly criticized than Arizona State putting its football program in the hands of Dennis Erickson. Well the former Miami Hurricanes coach is making the move look like pure genius. The Sun Devils are unbeaten and in the top five after rallying from down 20-7 with 24 unanswered points against a very good California team. Erickson has the team within shouting distance of playing for the BCS Title if they can get past Oregon.

Matt Ryan improves Heisman chances ----- That's the view of the majority of national pundits after Ryan led the Boston College Eagles to two fourth quarter touchdowns to beat Virginia Tech Thursday night. I have one question for those who feel that way. Did you see the game? Ryan was simply awful for most of the contest and while he made the throws down the stretch at least half the credit should go to Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster for deciding to stop pressuring Ryan in the closing minutes. Foster should be invited to NYC with Ryan if the B.C. QB is a finalist.

Zook going bowling ----- Illinoize was far from impressive Saturday, managing a 28-17 win over Ball State. Still, that win makes Illinoize something the Florida Gators are not – bowl eligible. They certainly trail Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin in the conference's bowl pecking order, but they could be in line for an Alamo Bowl date with a big 12 team. However should they shock Ohio State in two weeks and win out and the Gators do the same, a Florida/Illinoize game in Orlando or Tampa is not out of the question. How funny would that be?

What a difference a year makes ----- Last year, Florida did not allow an opponent to score 30 points. This year it has already happened three times. Florida gave up an average of 13.5, this year it's 25.6. They allowed 255 yards a game total offense, this year it's up to 359. Last year the Gators forced just over two turnovers a game, this year it's just more than one.

Any questions?

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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