Friday, September 10, 2010

College Football Thoughts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

1) A year ago former FAU QB Rusty Smith found himself and the rest of the Owls getting blasted by the Nebraska Cornhuskers 49-3.

This fall, Smith has made the Tennessee Titans 53-man roster as their third string developmental signal caller selected in the sixth round, 176 overall, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Ironically, his head coach Jeff Fisher was a late round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1981 draft. Fisher was taken in the seventh round, 177 overall, and did earn a Super Bowl ring with the Bears as a reserve. It's amazing how Fisher and Smith were one selection apart, but when you consider that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers didn't exist, Fisher understands that good talent can come in the later rounds of the NFL draft especially since he was an underdog in his own right.

While Smith is on the same team as starter Vince Young, have to wonder if they'll be watching the FAU vs Texas Longhorns contest on November 20 in Austin. The last time these two schools faced each other in 2008, Young and his Longhorns blasted FAU and Smith 52-10. Nonetheless, this should be an interesting interaction between the two teammates and former rivals.

2) Speaking of Nebraska, I'll bet Smith and the rest of us never thought this would be the Cornhuskers final year in the Big 12.

But indeed it is. I don't know if the Big Ten Network is allowed to televise Nebraska's non- conference games either live or on tape delayed, but if there is a way, they should familiarize the fan base with their newest member. If you have a new toy, you might as well have some fun with it. If not football, they could attempt this in basketball.

3) I have no problem with the Big 10's new two division format. One division consists of Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan State. The other division has Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana. It will be interesting too see a new rivalry get created with Michigan/Nebraska, while the The Wolverines & Ohio State rivalry will remain the last weekend of the season.

Must see TV will be Ohio State and Penn State while the Nittany Lions cross-division match-up will be with the Cornhuskers, two super powers that used to be National Championship powers that now find themselves as the 11th and 12th members in the Big 10. The last time Michigan faced Nebraska was in 2005 when the Cornhuskers won a wild 32-28 affair in the Alamo Bowl at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.

With the Wolverines drawing a college football record of 113,090 fans in their season opening 30-10 win over Connecticut Saturday, a U-N vs U-M contest with these two could hold over 150,000 fans if "The Big House" in Ann Arbor were big enough.

4) Brigham Young has announced it will go Independent and leave the Mountain West Conference. The Cougers say they will play 4-5 Western Athletic Conference games a year and have scheduled series with Notre Dame and Texas. More power to BYU because they have their own TV Network, plus inked a deal with ESPN to televise their home games.

I respect BYU as much as Notre Dame. Since BYU is located out West, it doesn't get the exposure and recognition that the Fighting Irish receives. But the Cougars do have a National Championship that they won ironically against the Michigan Wolverines in 1984, plus have produced Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Jim McMahon (Chicago Bears) and Steve Young (San Francisco 49'ers).

5) There is talk that the Wolverines and Notre Dame will take a break in their series. I have no problem with this. As much as I like seeing these tradition rich powers play, it wouldn't be a bad idea to see these schools take a break.

Perhaps the Wolverines could schedule a Pac 10, ACC or Big East team. The Michigan vs Connecticut game looked intriguing since the Huskies are a basketball power and are new to the FBS. We all know that football is a bigger cash cow. Michigan could schedule West Virginia since they hired the Mountaineers football and basketball coaches. I can see U-M's Rich Rodriguez having some sleepless nights.

I'm sure Skip Holtz at USF would like to take my Alma-Mater to "The Big House" and compare experiences with his father Lou, who went there with Notre Dame and Minnesota. Would U-M's athletic department consider inviting back Appalachian State? The Wolverines could schedule series with Florida, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, USC, UCLA or Colorado. I guarantee that Kordell Stewart won't throw another game winning "Hail Mary" pass this time.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

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