Sunday, October 16, 2011

College Football Seven Weeks In

As you may know from my previous post, Erika had a health scare the week before last. That put my usual mental state out of sorts, but then again, on the positive side, it improved my mental state by forcing me to remember my priorities.

Then, last week I disappeared into the mountains for my almost-annual hiking trip, which put my usual mental state even more out of sorts. When it comes to politics and world affairs, I have practically no idea what has happened over the last two weeks so I simply can not comment on those things.

Nonetheless, I do know what has been happening in college football. What little bit of time (and my brain) have been available recently to focus on anything other than Erika's health (or on my trip) have been spent keeping an eye on the game I love. So here are some of my thoughts:

For years I have thought that Texas is the most underachieving program in America and Mack Brown the most overrated coach in America. Now I no longer think those things -- I know them.

I can not believe how few people are talking about Penn State, and I can not believe they aren't ranked. They are 6-1 and their only loss was to #2 Alabama...and they played Alabama much closer than anyone else has played them...and they are a traditional power led by the winningest coach in the history of the sport...yet they are not ranked in either the AP or coaches' poll. That, my friends, makes no sense.

I am also surprised by how little attention Oregon is receiving. Last year they came within three points of winning the national title. This year they have won five in a row and their only loss was to #1 LSU -- in the opener, no less -- but nobody is talking about them.

Of course I have to talk about my Auburn Tigers, and I will begin by mentioning the story which broke last Wednesday but -- surprise! surprise! -- is not getting much media attention. The NCAA completed its investigation of all those pay-for-play allegations that got hurled around during the 2010 championship run, and it announced that it found no evidence of wrongdoing. Last year and into the early days of this year, the media spent months slandering Cam Newton, dragging the name of my alma mater through the mud, and all but predicting that Auburn would be stripped of its national title and Newton would be stripped of his Heisman Trophy. Auburn fans took the high road through all of this, overcoming the human impulse to lash back at the accusers.

And now that Auburn has been vindicated and the media proved wrong, the media has ignored the story of the NCAA findings, or at best, buried it in the back pages of their newspapers or closing seconds of their "news" shows. So now I am succumbing to human impulse and unloading what I have been holding back for far too long. To Bama sycophant Paul Finebaum; to standardless "journalists" Pete Thamel, Danny Sheridan, Thayer Evans, and Joe Schad; to radio blowhard Steve Duemig; to HBO; to all you miserable SOB's who referred to the 2010 Heisman winner as "Scam Newton"; to all you brainlessly unoriginal bloggers and blog commenters who wrote it as "$cam Newton"; to all you Bama fans who responded to Auburn's historic Iron Bowl triumph by saying "congratulations on the victory to be vacated at a later date"; and to all of the other haters I forgot to mention: Screw you.

Damn that felt good.

But back to this season. Before Auburn began playing its death march of an October schedule, I wrote that their defense was so weak it would be almost impossible for them to win any of the four games in their immediate future. Well, their defense has improved by leaps and bounds since then, and they have won two of the first three games in that four-game stretch I was talking about. Beating Florida last night was good as gold to me because it will shut up all the obnoxious, arrogant Gator fans I have to live with on a daily basis. I am very impressed with the way this year's team is coming together and consistently improving after replacing 16 starters from last year's national championship squad.

And here's a cool statistic about this year's Tigers: Through seven games, they still have not lost a fumble.

Lastly, here is the Stanton’s Space Top Twenty:

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma

4. Clemson

5. Wisconsin

6. Boise State

7. Oregon

8. Oklahoma State

9. Stanford

10. Arkansas

11. Kansas State

12. Penn State

13. Nebraska

14. West Virginia

15. Virginia Tech

16. Michigan State

17. Georgia Tech

18. Auburn

19. South Carolina

20. Texas A&M

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