The eye-popping numbers on both sides of the ball tallied by the feathered ones have them nesting on top of the FBS stat sheets, but fans and pundits alike are unimpressed by their competition to date. Sound familiar? Still, Oregon heads into conference play as the odds-on favorite and haven't lost anyone thus far to injury, suspension or venereal disease.
Not wanting to be left out of the fireworks party, Stanford unleashed some aerial pyrotechnics and ground-bloom flowers of their own at the expense of visiting, barely a-Wake Forest. If Alex Gelbard was the "Human Victory Cigar" for the hoops squad, then Etiz and Stutz must be the pigskin equivalent, as both got their Rudy moment in this runaway. The Card aim for a 4-0 start for the first time in a quarter century when they make the trip to South Bend for The Tyrone Willingham Legacy Game.
It was put up or shut up time for both coaches and players in Tucson, and for the first time in 20 years, those feral cats finally put up, taking down a top-10 team and joining Stanford and Oregon in the upper tier of the conference. After nearly blowing a 27-7 lead, Nick Foles converted on a late drive and the defense finished Iowa off by sacking Ricky Stanzi on the last three plays of the game. Considering their schedule is backloaded, Zona might loiter around the penthouse for a while.
Oregon State 82
Fortunately for the dam builders, they picked up the win in the easiest of the triple homicide stretch of non-conference games. Plus, the next game in Boise might be easier than originally thought, as James Madison made the VaTech win by The Broncos look unimpressive. The bright lights of the national stage can work in mysterious ways, and an OSU win would vault the PacX into best conference discussions. Get 'er done Beavs!
When Phil Fullmer starts calling your character into question, you know you have reached a new low. Lane Kiffin took the comments in stride however, perfectly willing to keep the attention on himself and not on the middlingly average performance of his football team so far. 3-0 and a Top 20 ranking might seem respectable on the surface, but insiders aren't fooled and everyone is expecting to see the mirrors when the smoke clears. Adding to the bizarre scene is Kiffin's extra point strategy of randomly going for two for no rhyme or reason whenever the fancy strikes, in which he has converted only three of the eight two-point attempts this season. Surely that percentage will improve against the hapless Cougs this weekend.
Stop me if you've heard this before: the Oskies trounced inferior opponents to garner a national ranking and then folded under the pressure. Blame it on the Friday kickoff, blame it on the pistol offense, blame it on the absence of Mike Mohamed, just don't blame it on Teflon Tedford. It seemed as though Kevin Riley had put it all together in his swan song, until he started chucking ugly ducklings, eliciting boos from the visiting section bleachers. If they can't regroup this weekend in Tucson, kal may find themselves with a handful of nuts when conference bowl bids are handed out.
If ever there was a demonstration on how a team can look scary good and forehead-slappingly bad all in the same game, the Sun Devils pulled it off at Camp Randall last Saturday. Four times ASU runners got into the open field on kickoffs, punts and rushing plays, and yet they only had one touchdown to show for it. Add in a missed chip-shot FG by the usually reliable Tommy Weber and a blocked extra point for the final nail in the coffin and you have a 20-19 loss that feels like two losses. A home date with Oregon will provide a forum for redemption in what will be a clash of the fastest teams in the West.
Borrowing a page from the Al Davis playbook, the Bruins took down Houston's first- and second-string signal callers...hard. Once the opposing offense had been neutered, El Lay did what it needed to do to put points on the board, mostly keeping the ball out of Kevin Prince's hands. Any signs of improvement are welcomed in Westwood as the team heads to Austin to play that team from Texas that is actually good.
Dateline Seattle: Cornhusker defenders win an Oscar for their rendition of "The Hurt Locker." Jake the Fake had one of the worst performances by a quarterback in the modern era, passing for only one first down and running for none. His 20% completion rate looks bad, but hey, it wasn't all awful -- at least he had a 50% completion to Nebraska rate. Not many expected the pups to win this game, but if you had been drinking the Sarkool-aid, you expected a respectable showing. Go ahead and take the week off UW, and don't be afraid to let Nick Montana run with the first team. He can't be worse than his older brother.
Heading into halftime with a lead on an FBS opponent for the first time in two years seemed too good to be true. Indeed it was, as the ghost of Craig James' ponytail ran all over Wazzu in the second half, shattering the modest dream of a two-win season in The Palouse. Sometimes after a game like this the coach will say something like, "We are still learning how to win." In this case, I think Wulff would rather say, "We are still learning how to play football."
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