Warning Sign: Following Tech's cliffhanger victory over Nevada
in which the Red Raider defense surrendered 312 rushing yards
and 562 total yards, some folks rationalized the defensive collapse
by claiming the Wolfpack offense was just unbelievably potent and
would have gashed most defenses. Well the very next week Boise
State absolutely constricted the Nevada offense, holding it to 182
total yards and 59 rushing yards, and not even allowing the Wolfpack
to cross midfield until the second half. Sparkplug Cody Fajardo did
not suit up for this one, but it's doubtful he would have made much
difference for Nevada if he had.
DBU: Dabo Swinney's (I just love saying Dabo Swinney) upstart
Clemson Tigers dismantled the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg,
but nevertheless, one of my takeaways from this game is that Virginia
Tech consistently plays pass defense better than any program in the
country. Their cornerbacks are always in the hip pocket of receivers,
and their safeties are rarely out of position. Were I a college defensive
coordinator attempting to build my secondary, Bud Foster is the first
man I'd contact.
Minor Miracle in Manhattan: You'll probably never see another game
this season in which there is as massive disparity in quarterback talent
as there was in the Baylor/Kansas State battle. Robert Griffin is a surefire
NFL first-round draft pick, while KSU's Colin Klein looks like he should be
piloting the Phi Delts' intramural team out at the Rec Center. Yet Klein willed
his team to a pulsating upstart victory. Perhaps there was a colossal
disparity in coaching talent during this game as well.
Shades of UT 2004: The Iowa State Cyclones, coming off impressive
wins over Iowa and Connecticut on the road, and sporting a spotless
3-0 slate, were everybody's sweetheart heading into their matchup
with Texas in Ames. Indeed, they were a popular upset pick, and the
locals fully expected their team to pulverize the Horns. Didn't happen.
Not even remotely. Texas led by an unbelievable 34-0 score at the
halftime break and cruised to a 37-14 victory.
Texas' juggernaut road performance reminded me unpleasantly of
the year 2004 when Texas Tech, fresh off a 70-10 rout of Nebraska
that captured the country's imagination, was widely expected to give
the Longhorns fits the very next week. Instead, Texas took command
early, never relinquished it, and rolled to a 51-21 win over the Red Raiders.
Mack Brown's Longhorns are at their most dangerous when discounted
in big road games.
Not So Instant Replay: Instant replay has gotten completely out
of hand in the game of college football. And the chief problem is
the pronounced tendency to review, slowly and painstakingly, even
the most obvious of plays. This problem is particularly acute on
touchdown plays, which are given the fine-toothed comb treatment
no matter how clear the result of the play.
I've never been a fan of instant replay, and still oppose it on various
grounds, but if it must be a permanent feature of college football,
at least leaven it with a bit of common sense. When a touchdown is
plain for all to see, do not disrupt the flow of the game and prolong
the proceedings with microscopic reviews. Hand down a rapid rubber
stamp and let the show go on. College football is America's greatest
sport and should not be traduced by officious, perfectionist prigs in replay booths far away from the field of play.