OF TROY: It really wasn't a question of
if, but rather when USC would lose its stranglehold
on the Pac-10. The Trojans have dominated the
conference for four years and coming into last
weekend, had won 27 consecutive Pac-10 affairs.
However, unlike the last couple of seasons, the
team lacked a Heisman Trophy winner and the kind
of All-American supporting cast necessary to win
27 straight league games. Pete Carroll's team
had survived several close calls this season,
but the magic ran dry this week, with a 33-31
loss to Oregon State. Now the Trojans are in unfamiliar
territory, looking up at California (5-0) in the
league standings. USC has Stanford this week and
should probably rebound with a victory, but closes
out things with home games against Oregon, California
and Notre Dame and finally a showdown with rival
UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Preventing a second or
even third loss in the month of November will
not be easy.
All good things come to an end and I guess the
same can be said of bad things. Congratulations
to Al Golden and the Temple Owls for bringing
an end to an ugly 20-game losing streak this past
weekend, with a 28-14 win over Bowling Green.
I'm not sure if it is more an indictment of the
state of affairs within the Falcon roster, or
that the Owls are finally playing better. Temple
did score in every quarter of the football game
and although they got abused on the ground (249
yards allowed), they were able to get in the win
column thanks to the play of Travis Shelton, who
tied the game in the first quarter with a 43-yard
TD reception and put the game away with a fourth
quarter 96-yard kickoff return. Next on the docket
is a home game against a good Central Michigan
team, followed by road tilts at Penn State and
finally Navy. Getting a second win on the season
will be difficult, but "baby steps"
are perhaps a good thing for Golden and his Owls
as they enter MAC play in 2007.
DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PRETTY: There
are no extra points given anymore for winning
games in impressive fashion, although Notre Dame's
Charlie Weis may believe there are penalties for
winning ugly. Still, the Irish coach excluded,
winning is the name of the game and several contenders
did just that, despite not looking good doing
it. The Texas Longhorns spotted Texas Tech 21
points, before roaring back for a 35-31 victory.
Falling behind by three scores is unacceptable
against the better teams in the country. Mack
Brown may need to find a way to make his team
focus for 60 minutes every Saturday from here
on out. Off to their best start since 1976, Rutgers
had a golden opportunity to make a statement on
national television on Sunday. The statement they
made however, is probably not the one that Coach
Schiano had envisioned all week long. Despite
avoiding the upset against UConn and remaining
undefeated on the year, the Scarlet Knights looked
flat at times. Louisville is next following a
bye week, so Rutgers better rest up for its clash
with the Cardinals. Finally, the mighty Michigan
Wolverines looked anything but against Northwestern
this past weekend. In Ann Arbor, Michigan should
have rolled over the Wildcats, but instead, needed
a supreme defensive effort to post a 14-point
win (17-3). Perhaps Lloyd Carr's squad has already
fixated on the top-ranked Buckeyes on November
It still shouldn't cost them
the next two weeks against Ball State and Indiana.
IS A THOROUGHBED: No I am not talking about
Colt McCoy, who leads the fourth-ranked Longhorns
into battle every week. This Colt is getting it
done in the South Pacific. Hawaii quarterback
Colt Brennan is surely a product of June Jones'
pass-happy offense, but the product is a good
one. This past weekend, Brennan completed 31-of-38
passes, for 333 yards and five TDs in a 68-10
win over Idaho. During the Warrior's current five-game
win streak, Brennan has thrown for almost 2,000
yards and 24 TDs, with only one interception.
On the season, Brennan leads the nation in pass-efficiency
(185.0), completing 74-percent of his passes,
for 2,934 yards with 33 TDs and five picks. Extrapolate
the numbers over the final five games of the season
and Brennan could throw for nearly 5,000 yards
and over 50+ TDs.
TEN SNEAK PEEK: The premier matchup this
week is a top-5 extravaganza, with third-ranked
West Virginia invading Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
on Thursday to take on fifth-ranked Louisville.
This Big East battle features two of the best
offenses in the nation. The Mountaineers have
a pair of Heisman candidates in QB Pat White and
RB Steve Slaton. The Cardinals have survived the
losses of their own Heisman-hopeful duo of Michael
Bush and Brian Brohm to remain undefeated in 2006.
Brohm has returned however and is poised to finish
the year strong. West Virginia is second in the
nation in scoring (40.9 ppg), while Louisville
ranks fifth (38.7 ppg), so there is a good chance
of a shootout in this one. It is a good week for
top-25 matchups, with 13th-ranked LSU taking on
eighth-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville, 16th-ranked
Boston College going on the road to take on 22nd-ranked
Wake Forest and 18th-ranked Oklahoma traveling
to 21st-ranked Texas A&M. Other games worthy
of mention include Penn State at 17th-ranked Wisconsin,
Washington at 24th-ranked Oregon and 23rd- ranked
Virginia Tech at Miami-Florida.
Posted by MySportsbook October
31, 2006, at 01:12 PM ET
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