“Mr. Kiffin, we have some good news, and some bad news…”
It’s not like Tennessee-Florida is a rivalry with enough heat in it, Lane Kiffin seriously upped the ante when he took the Volunteers’ top job. Upon arriving in Knoxville last winter, he immediately stoked Vol Nation with promises of singing “Rocky Top” in Gainesville all night long after beating the Gators. If that weren’t enough, Kiffin also riled up Florida with his allegations of NCAA violations by Pope Urban I.
Tennessee lost; but Kiffin managed to eat the eighty-pound breakfast burrito comprised of his own words, surviving both the girth and the spice being force-fed to him. While he won the “Man vs. Food” challenge by getting the Vols to make a respectable showing against Florida, having to digest the rest of the campaign through the SEC may cause Kiffin’s colon to burst.
Don’t You Hate It When Your Trojan Breaks?
If you were waiting for Southern Cal’s annual gag-job, wait no longer. Washington quarterback Jake Locker did his best emulation of what Matt Barkley did during Southern Cal’s game-winning drive in Columbus, leading the Huskies to their first win over the Trojans since 2001 and their first win over a ranked BCS conference team since 2003, all a week after ending the nation’s longest losing streak.
The Heisman is Supposed To Go To The “Best” Player
Prior to every season, there are touted hopefuls; those who all expect to see at the at the Downtown Athletic Club in December – this years crop included Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. Once the season begins, one of the anointed always drops out of the picture. Then there’s the guy who pops into the discussion.
Enter California running back Jahvid Best. Since Bradford went down with a shoulder injury, Best has racked up a nation-leading nine touchdowns, including this past weekend’s signature five-score showing at Minnesota.
Granted, there is a lot of football left in this college season, but Best faces some long odds on winning the Heisman at this point. He is not a quarterback, who 8 of the 9 most recent winners have been, and the last west coast player to win the award who wasn’t a Southern Cal Trojan was Oregon State’s Terry Baker (also a quarterback) in 1962.
“Coach Hawkins, The Governor is on Line 1…”
Flanked by a priest and two badges carrying shotguns, Dan Hawkins is walked into a dark room somewhere deep in the bowels of Folsom Field. Only a creaky wooden chair connected to industrial strength wiring sitting under a single light saves the room from complete emptiness. The priest turns to Hawkins, whispering “It’s time, coach” in his ear.
Losing at home to in-state rival Colorado State for the first time in 23 years got the leather straps put around his wrists and ankles. Getting clubbed by Toledo got the wiring attached; a hand on the switch. Then came the awkward silence; the waiting for the clock to strike the appointed hour, a silence shattered in an instant shattered by the ringing of a red phone on the wall. One of the shotgun-toting badges glares at Hawkins from under the visor of his cap pulled low while he reaches for the phone.
“Hello?…Yes, Governor…I understand. Your order will be carried out,” the badge grunts disapprovingly out of the side of his grizzled mouth. “Take him back to his cell. The Governor says today is not the day.”
Why the reprieve after the aforementioned futilities and posting a 13-26 record in 3 seasons-plus at Colorado? Let’s face it…if your job depends on beating the hapless Wyoming Cowboys, the stay of execution is just that; a stay. Now, it just seems a matter of when the switch will be thrown, as the schedule doesn’t favor Hawkins and the Buffaloes. The next three games hold most-likely unwinnable trips to West Virginia and Texas, followed by a visit from the Kansas Jayhawks.
Even the kids can’t wait to throw the switch.
Circus Maximus at Autzen Stadium?
Two weeks ago, the Oregon Ducks looked like a team flirting with an implosion on the scale of the last days of the Roman Empire. Their star running back was suspended indefinitely after the brawl he tried to start in the aftermath of the 19-8 loss at Boise State. Last week, the Ducks needed some late game heroics to stave off a home loss to Big Eleven Ten doormat Purdue. The season looked to hold the peril usually carried by throngs of “Attila the Hun” types thundering over the horizon.
What a difference a week makes. Oregon rebuffed the enemy at the gates by bringing about on Saturday the decline and fall of Utah’s national-best 16-game winning streak.
Duck head coach Chip Kelly avoided becoming a green and yellow Romulus Augustus, side-stepping overthrow at the hands of Odoacer by keeping his team together in the face of the Hun onslaught. The win against the Utes coupled with Southern Cal suffering an early-season conference loss sets the stage Saturday for a showdown with California in Strawberry Canyon; the winner having the inside track to win the Festival of Consualia known as the Pac-10.
Get Ready for the Over-Rating of Michigan
The University of Michigan has nearly 400,000 alumni world-wide, all of whom believe the maize and blue represents the greatest program not only in the history of college football, but in the history of everything ever. This is how a team that went 3-9 last year can claim national ranking after beating the likes of Northern Michigan, Southern Michigan Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and an over-hyped Notre Dame squad.
If Michigan gets all the to Penn State with only one loss (consecutive road games at Michigan State and Iowa offer the loss potential; The Wolvies aren’t likely to lose to Indiana and Delaware State in the “Big House”), brace yourself for a Wolvie-gasm that’s been two years in the making. It’s been at least that long since the “Go Blue” crowd has had anything to get excited about, and they may just begin erupting like sailors on shore leave.