September 15, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback: Bye-bye bye week

On a weekend with much bigger concerns along the Gulf Coast, Texas lost its bye week.

The first half of last week was spent on Arkansas. The last two days, Mack Brown said were spent on Rice but more likely were spent on Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri or whomever. If Texas had been able to play Arkansas on Saturday, Texas would have had four or five days to work on those future opponents instead of two during the week of Sept. 27.

Now, UT coaches have to hope the players retain enough of their preparation for Arkansas the week of Sept. 27 that they might be able to squeeze in some work on future opponents.

"We always felt like the open date, if it was halfway between, just gave you a chance to rest your mind and your body, and we just won't have that now," Mack Brown said. "We will play nine straight weeks. This made a very difficult schedule more difficult for both us and Arkansas.

"They've got Alabama next week, then they've got us, Florida and Auburn. It wasn't a positive for either team. But that's something that couldn't have been used in the formula to figure out what was best.

"If we could have an open date in the middle of the season, we would have it. The Oklahoma game is so emotional for both Texas and Oklahoma. We'd like to have it either before or after that game. That's what you'd like because that sets the middle of the season apart from the rest of it, because that's usually a game that means so much. Obviously, it's not an issue this year."

NEXT OPPONENT - RICE

Saturday at 6 p.m. at Royal-Memorial Stadium (Fox Sports Net)

Bottom line
: Rice beat SMU and Memphis before losing at Vanderbilt 38-21 Saturday. The Owls were without four defensive starters for the game and lost a fifth during the game. Rice is giving up 33.3 points per game this season. Rice quarterback Chase Clement and receiver Jarrett Dillard are two TD passes shy of becoming the most productive passing duo in NCAA history. They have 37 TD passes as a duo, and Dillard has 45 career TD catches.

BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS

1. OKLAHOMA (3-0)
- The Sooners have beaten Chattanooga, Cincinnati and Washington by an average margin of 40.7 points. Sam Bradford's on fire (he was 18 of 21 passing for 304 yards and five TDs, including one rushing vs. Washington).

This Saturday: A bye before facing TCU in Norman on Sept. 27.

My take: This just in, Sam Bradford is showing no signs of a sophomore slump.

2. MISSOURI (3-0) - The Tigers matched a school-record in scoring 69 points in a rout of Nevada. Chase Daniel completed 23 of 28 passes for 405 yards and four TDs as the Tigers rolled up 651 yards. Daniel became the all-time leading passer in school history, and WR Jeremy Maclin had six catches for 172 yards and three scores.

This Saturday: Buffalo (2-1)

My take: The pass defense, which has had some injuries, has a ton of work to do.

3. TEXAS (2-0) - Longhorns moved up to No. 7 in both polls with Ohio State tumbling out of the Top 5.

This Saturday: Rice (2-1)

My take: Owls are No. 19 nationally in pass offense, so another good test for UT's young secondary.

4. OKLAHOMA STATE (3-0) - The Cowboys are all about offense. They ran for 450 yards in a 57-13 beat down of Missouri State. OSU averaged 8 yards per carry as a team, and Keith Toston (148 yards), Beau Johnson (138) and Kendall Hunter (132) all finished with more than 100 yards rushing.

This Saturday: A bye before facing Troy on Sept. 27

My take: OSU still hasn't played anyone yet, but the offensive numbers are impressive.

5. KANSAS (2-1) - The Jayhawks led 20-3 but lost a heartbreaker at South Florida as Kansas QB Todd Reesing of Lake Travis, who had been flawless for most of the game, threw his only interception late. The Bulls turned it into a game-winning field goal as time expired in 37-34 victory.

This Saturday: Sam Houston State (1-0)

My take: South Florida will win the Big East, so this one would have been nice on KU's resume.

6. TEXAS TECH (3-0) - Graham Harrell completed 31 of 48 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns. All-American WR Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 164 yards and three TDs. But Mike Leach was frustrated with a few incompletions and dropped balls. The Mad Pirate said "the quarterback and receivers are holding us back." He added, "I'm not going to tolerate it. If we have to, we'll make changes." Huh?

This Saturday: Massachusetts (2-1)

My take: Leach talking about changing out his quarterback and receiver is either genius or a sure sign he's holding on too tight.

7. COLORADO (2-0) - The Buffaloes had a bye last weekend. The Bufffs can help the Big 12's national standing by beating a West Virginia team on the decline Thursday night in Boulder.

This Thursday: West Virginia (1-1)

My take: I like the Buffs to win this one. At the end of the season, the win won't look as impressive as it will on Thursday night.

8. NEBRASKA (3-0) - Quarterback Joe Ganz became the third player in Nebraska history to score a touchdown three ways (by run, pass and reception) in leading the Cornhuskers to a 38-7 victory over New Mexico State.

This Saturday: A bye before playing host to Virginia Tech on Sept. 27.

My take: The defense appears to be getting better and matches up well with Va. Tech because the Hokies can't pass, which is the weakness of the Big Red D.

9. KANSAS STATE (2-0) - The Wildcats have stormed to victories against North Texas (45-6) and Montana State (69-10) but those wins mean nothing. Playing this week at Louisville will tell us something. Louisville has looked beatable, but it's K-State's first road game.

This Wednesday: at Louisville (1-1)

My take: K-State QB Josh Freeman (34 of 45 for 520 yards and five TDs) seems to be on a mission. But has he gotten rid of those head-scratcher games that seem to come at the worst time?

10. BAYLOR (2-1) - Robert Griffin is no joke. The freshman QB from Copperas Cove is completing 62 percent of his passes for 548 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in three games. Oh, and he set the school's single-game rushing record with 217 yards on the ground in a 45-17 wipeout of Washington State.

This Friday: at Connecticut

My take: If his teammates continue to lift their level to match Griffin's, this Baylor team could upset some people. If that upset comes against UConn, Baylor, Art Briles and Griffin will be a national story next week.

11. TEXAS A&M (1-1) - With a bye over the weekend, the Aggies got a chance to rest QB Stephen McGee who was injured in A&M's victory at New Mexico last week. The Aggies now face a young Miami team in College Station that played Florida into the fourth quarter.

This Saturday: Miami (1-1)

My take: Both teams are offensively challenged. But Miami's defense is better than A&M's.

12. IOWA STATE (2-1) - The Fighting Gene Chiziks played Iowa tough on defense, but the Cyclone offense could only come up with three points in a 17-5 loss at Iowa City.

This Saturday: at UNLV (2-1) fresh from the Rebels' upset victory over Arizona State.

My take: It wouldn't shock me to see Iowa State pull the upset this week, and Gene Chizik may have found his future QB in Austin Arnaud.

COAST-TO-COAST

Georgia at Arizona State - Bulldogs did enough to beat South Carolina. The Sun Devils are coming off an upset loss to UNLV. If ASU can't keep this one close, the Pac-10 should be called the Pac-One this season.

Florida at Tennessee - With UCLA losing at BYU 59-0 over the weekend, what does that say about the Vols, who lost to UCLA?

Ohio State vs. Troy - After the Collapse at the Coliseum, the Buckeyes aren't relevant again until Oct. 4 at Wisconsin - unless, of course, Ohio State loses again.

LSU at Auburn - Auburn went to the spread offense to start rolling up more points and posted a 3-spot (3-2) against Mississippi State. Nice.

Alabama at Arkansas - Razorbacks aren't happy with Texas rescheduling their game from last weekend to Sept. 27. With Nick Saban coming to town, the Hogs have bigger concerns.

Wake Forest at Florida State - This is the Seminoles' last chance for relevance under 78-year-old Bobby Bowden. Wake and North Carolina are here to stay in the ACC. It's now or never for ol' Bobby.

Stock rising: The Mountain West. Utah (Michigan), BYU (Washington and UCLA), New Mexico (Arizona) and TCU (Stanford) all have victories over BCS schools this season.

Stock flat: The Big Ten. Ohio State gets blown out, but Wisconsin showed guts in going on the road and beating Fresno State. The countdown begins to Badgers-Buckeyes in Madison on Oct. 4.

Stock falling: The Big East. Outside of South Florida, this conference is a shipwreck.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT

Why is my gut instinct telling me USC and Oklahoma won't make it through the season undefeated as much as they look like the national title game right now?



 

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