Gridders gone wild

College football season is a crazy time, and the 2007 season is even crazier than usual.

Consider what has happened in the first half of the Southeastern Conference schedule this fall:

- Tennessee looked awful against Florida in a 59-20 beat-down, then looked awesome against Georgia in a 35-14 win.

- Kentucky looked like a chump against South Carolina in a 38-23 loss, then looked like a champ against top-ranked LSU in a 43-37 triple-overtime win.

- Auburn looked horrendous against Mississippi State in a 19-14 home loss, then looked tremendous against No. 3 Florida in a 20-17 road victory.

- Florida looked flawless against Tennessee in a 59-20 romp, then looked clueless against Auburn in a 20-17 home loss.

- Georgia looked invincible against Ole Miss in a 45-17 blowout, then looked invisible against Tennessee in a 35-14 setback.

To say play in the SEC has been uneven this season would be a gross understatement. Play has been too erratic for words. The trend isn't confined to the Southeast, however. Nine teams ranked in the national top 10 have suffered losses in the last two weeks alone.

Michigan, ranked No. 5 at the time, lost at home to Appalachian State of the classification formerly known as Div. 1-AA. Many experts considered that the greatest upset in college football history until nine days ago, when No. 2 Southern Cal was stunned by 40-point underdog Stanford.

With ranked teams falling like raindrops, unheralded programs such as South Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina find themselves with top-10 rankings. Meanwhile, defending national champ Florida finds itself with two losses.

"It's a wild year," Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said earlier this week. "It's an example of parity and scheduling. A lot of things can affect a season. It's an interesting year but I'm just working like heck to get us where we need to be."

Asked about the fact South Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina are top-10 teams in this week's national polls, Fulmer replied: "At this point, halfway through the season, is probably when the first poll should come out. But I'm not one bit concerned about where anybody is at this minute."

No wonder. This year's college football outlook, like October weather, is subject to radical change without warning.


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