It’s a plot, we tell you!9/25/2013
FIRST DOWN… and goal to go:
Baylor scores 70 points a week, produces Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks, and does everything that the Texas Longhorns are SUPPOSED to do. And yet the word on the street is that some of the high-rollers in Austin feel they’re above poaching the little brother in Waco when it comes to nailing down Mack Brown’s replacement. The other prevailing argument against the ’Horns pursuing Bears coach Art Briles is his age (57), although Alabama savior (and reported Texas target) Nick Saban was 55 at the time he was brought into Tuscaloosa back in January 2007. Funny place sometimes, that Texas. Funny, funny, funny place.
On a related note: If you’re a ’Bama fan, the louder Saban denies any interest in living in Austin, the more it should freak the living snot out of you.
Maybe there was more magic in Geno Smith’s tank than we thought. Last year, after four games, West Virginia averaged 53 points per contest. This year, after four games, that number is down to just 18 points a tilt, and the Mountaineers managed just seven at Oklahoma and were shut out last Saturday by… Maryland. If any off-color, off-the-record tapes of coach (and Davenport native) Dana Holgorsen are floating around out there, just waiting to be unearthed, don’t be shocked if they turn up on the web any day now.
It’s a plot, we tell you! Michigan looking like garbage against Akron at home, then going out and looking worse at Connecticut? It’s all part of a coordinated Big Blue conspiracy to downgrade the Big Ten with the computers that make up a portion of the Bowl Championship Series selection process, therefore ruining the chances of Ohio State getting the nod for one of the berths in the national title game at the end of the year. Either that, or Devin Gardner really is beyond help after all.
THE BIG EIGHT
Ranking the best eight teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten, one through eight…
TEAM (RECORD) / UP NEXT
1. Ohio State (4-0) / vs. Wisconsin
2. Oklahoma State (4-0) / at West Virginia
3. Baylor (3-0) / vs. West Virginia, Oct. 5
4. Oklahoma (4-0) / at Notre Dame
5. Texas Tech (4-0) / at Kansas, Oct. 5
6. Michigan (4-0) / vs. Minnesota, Oct. 5
7. Wisconsin (3-1) / at Ohio State
8. Northwestern (4-0) / vs. Ohio State, Oct. 5
ONE MAN’S RUNNING HEISMAN BALLOT:
1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. The locals in Tallahassee have already made up a politically incorrect T-shirt for sale that likens the redshirt freshman to Jesus Christ. That’s several bridges too far, but after 10 total touchdowns in his first three collegiate games, the number of disciples in Winston’s corner grows larger by the week.
2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Tennessee’s Volunteers are OK, and Mariota lit them up for 450 passing yards. Virginia’s Cavaliers are several levels above OK, and Mariota dropped 122 rushing yards on the good folks in Charlottesville. It’s not JUST the system, kids. Honest.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Four games. Fourteen passing touchdowns. Now Jacksonville isn’t the only NFL team secretly crossing its collective fingers in the hopes of grabbing Bridgewater with the first pick next spring; Tampa Bay — which has thrown quarterback Josh Freeman under the bus several times over already — could find itself smack dab in the Teddy Sweepstakes as well.
SET YOUR TIVO:
The games you won’t want to miss …
1. LSU at Georgia, CBS, 2:30 p.m.: When the Bulldogs let Dan McCarney’s North Texas bunch hang around, was that simply a result of looking ahead — or a sign of bigger problems in Athens?
2. Oklahoma at Notre Dame, NBC, 2:30 p.m.: The Irish raised big-time eyebrows last fall after stomping the Sooners in Norman. Will Oklahoma flip the script in 2013 and use a win here as a springboard?
3. Wisconsin at Ohio State, ABC, 7 p.m.: A month into the party, the Big Ten is shaping up pretty much as most folks thought: There’s Ohio State… and then there’s everybody else. The Badgers can shock the league — and the world — with a victory in Columbus, but Urban Meyer is walking around with that seek-and-destroy face again. And a backup quarterback who might be better than his starter.
THE HOT SEAT: BO PELINI, NEBRASKA
The leaked two-year-old audio of our man Bo ripping fans and media via www.Deadspin.com didn’t have quite the “screw the message, let’s crush the messenger” backlash that Sports Illustrated’s series on Oklahoma State football did, but the ice around Pelini’s feet gets thinner by the week. The Cornhuskers saved some face with an expected rout of visiting South Dakota State, 59-20, and after a bye this weekend, the real fun begins once the Big Ten slate gets underway. Nebraska still has arguably the most user-friendly conference schedule in the Legends division, including an October menu that features Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota. After a teeth-gnashing September, Pelini has several golden opportunities to win back some friends and influence the natives next month. Or lose more of them forever. “If we win around here, you can about do anything,” one Huskers fan told the Associated Press last weekend. “I hate to say that, but as long as you’re not doing anything illegal, if you win, you can forgive a lot of things.” Amen, amen, amen. CV
Sean Keeler is a columnist/blogger with FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports. In 2011, the Iowa native was named one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. You can read him at www.FoxSportsKansasCity.com and at www.FoxSportsMidwest.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@seankeeler) and through his Tumblr blog: seankeeler.tumblr.com.