Tuesday, September 22, 2009

College Football Week 3

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

There is one major thing that I learned about myself during week three of the college football season. I am not a professional prognosticator therefore I better stick to just informing the fans with facts and not opinions. I predicted the Florida Gators would demolish the Tennessee Volunteers by 50 plus points and the outcome was decided by just 10 by the team that makes Gainesville it's home otherwise known as the defending national champions. So here are this week's highlights.

1) In their week two win against Colorado, the Toledo Rockets defense gave up 38 points but they should have known that if they give up this many points again to intrastate rival No.11 Ohio State, the outcome could get ugly. It did as the Buckeyes whitewashed the Rockets 38-0 in front of 71,727 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Buckeyes improved to 25-1 against current MAC schools. The Buckeyes have not lost an intrastate game from a school in Ohio since 1921 as they fell to Oberlin.

2) Since we're on the Ohio theme, former Nebraska Cornhuskers Coach Frank Solich posted a 58-19 record in six seasons with the "Big Red" from 1998-2003. He has found a home with the Ohio Bobcats (2-1) and is 25-27 after Saturday's 28-10 victory over Cal Poly. The Ohio Bobcats are located in Athens and play in 24,000 seat Peden Stadium. Solich's Cornusker's were accustomed to playing in front of crowds above 85,500 in Lincoln. During his four plus seasons he has guided the Bobcats to a bowl appearance. But one of his biggest accomplishments was on September 6, 2008 when he took his Bobcats into Ohio Stadium and lost a hard fought decision to the No.3 Buckeyes 26-14 in front of 105,002. The Bobcats travel to Knoxville and face the Volunteers (1-2) Saturday at Neyland Stadium which has a capacity of 100,011. Solich's overall collegiate record is 83-46.

3) If you're a Minnesota Golden Gophers fan and you bought season tickets to the new TCF Bank Stadium, one way to accept the first loss in this facility, which holds 50,805, is by witnessing an outstanding performance by a Heisman Trophy Candidate. Jahvid Best scored five touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards enabling the No.8 California Golden Bears to topple the Gophers 35-21.

4) After coming off a nice 17-15 victory over Kansas State at home in week two, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette came back to reality in the battle of I-10 as the No.9 LSU Tigers hammered the Ragin' Cajuns 31-3 in front of 92,443 fans at Tiger Stadium. LSU improved to 22-0 in their series with UL-L and won versus a team from Louisiana for the 23rd straight time. The Tigers are 33-0 against the Sun Belt Conference. UL-L fell t0 1-22 against ranked opponents.

5) Speaking of the Sun Belt Conference, in NFL terms when the Raiders are mentioned playing a Maryland based team, we speak of the match ups between Oakland against the Baltimore Colts or Ravens. On Saturday, The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (2-1) defeated the host Maryland Terrapins (1-2) 32-31 in College Park as Alan Gendreau kicked a 19-yard field goal as time expired. This was the second straight win for the Blue Raiders over Maryland as they pulled off a home 24-14 upset on September 6, 2008.

6) The Delaware State Hornets (0-2) will see Maize and Blue twice this season and at the rate things are going figure to lose both games. On Saturday, the Delaware Blue Hens (2-1), who wear the same colors as the Michigan Wolverines faced their intrastate rival for the first time ever in the regular season and came away with a 27-17 win over the Hornets in Newark. A crowd of 20,585 saw this contest. The Hornets face No.23 Michigan on Oct 17 and playing in the "Big House" if my math is correct, the crowd will by five times higher in a venue that holds over 100,000.

7) What is the only way to play in the Rose Bowl if your conference has no affiliation to get there? Schedule the UCLA Bruins and after this past weekend, the Kansas State Wildcats felt the same way many Big Ten teams feel when the conference loses to the Pac 10. The Wildcats were beaten by UCLA 23-9 and dropped to 1-2 while the Bruins improved to 3-0. UCLA was 4-8 last year under first-year Coach Rick Neuheisel. The only difference in this 100,000 seat stadium was the size of the crowd as 67,311 turned out as the Rose Bowl does sellout yearly.

8) Was the Washington Huskies 42-23 win over Idaho in week two a fluke? Don't tell that to the USC Trojans, who dropped a 16-13 decision in Seattle. A crowd of 61,889 at Husky Stadium watched Washington avenge a 56-0 loss at USC last season, the worst loss in the 80-year history of this series. In the Idaho win, Washington snapped a 15-game losing streak. Washington entered this game with a 10-game Pac 10 Conference losing streak. Do you think Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian, USC's former offensive coordinator, has the Huskies headed in the right direction? Ask his former boss Pete Carroll and the answer will be an obvious yes, whose team was a nearly three touchdown favorite heading into the contest.

9) How would you like to be ESPN Announcers Sean McDonough and Matt Millen. This tandem called back to back thrillers as they watched the Michigan Wolverines defeat Notre Dame 38-34 on September 12 in Ann Arbor. On September 19, they saw No.13 Virginia Tech (2-1) defeat the No.19 Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-1) 16-15 in Blacksburg, VA as Tyrod Taylor fired an 11-yard touchdown pass to Dyrell Roberts with 21 seconds left in the game. The Cornhuskers fell to 1-21 in their last 22 games against teams in the top 20. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech now has won 32 straight non conference home contests.

10) Perhaps Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Coach Howard Schnellenberger will have better luck with the rest of his schedule after the Owls (0-2) lost its first two road games to Nebraska 49-3 and to South Carolina 38-16. FAU's latest loss came to Gamecocks Coach Steve Spurrier, who is 37-0 in his career against teams not currently in the Bowl Championship Series. FAU faces University of Lousiana Monroe-Warhawks (1-2) in the home opener this Saturday at Ft. Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium. UL-M was spanked 38-14 Saturday by the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

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