Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 4 is in the Books: Big Ten Conference heads into Conference play in October

We have seen some good programs go down over the first four weeks off the 2010 College Football season. The top program in the land was able to take care of business, despite a scare on the road in Week 4. There are still some questions heading into conference play and October.

Who are for real heading into October and Week 5?

  • Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC West) - nice 24-20 win @ Arkansas (3-1, 1-1 SEC West) in Week 4 ...

  • Ohio State (4-0) - yes, they may not be ready to beat a SEC program in the BCS title game, but they are ready to make a run and will open Big Ten play on the road for the first time in Week 5 ...

  • Boise State (3-0) - the Broncos just win games that they face in FBS play ...

  • TCU (4-0) - will they get a chance in '10 to knock off Boise State, like they did to close '08?

Who are still overvalued as we hit October and Week 5?

  • Nebraska (4-0) - The Cornhuskers have won three PPV games at home and on the road @ Washington (1-2)

  • Wisconsin (4-0) - They won @ UNLV (1-3, 1-1 MWC) on the road and beat Arizona State (2-2, 0-1 Pac 10) at home

  • LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC West) - is a win over West Virginia (3-1) really enough to say the Tigers are back and for real?

  • Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC East) - What will the young QBs do against the SEC or nation's best in Week 5?

Our Week 4 Top 25 Poll for 2010

  1. Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC West) 1 - won @ then #14 Arkansas (3-1, 1-1 SEC West) 24-20. Next: vs. #6 Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC East) in the primetime showdown game between two top SEC teams.

  2. Ohio State (4-0) 2 - beat Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-2 MAC West) 73-20 to close out four staight OOC games in Columbus. Next: @ Illinios (2-1) to open 2010 Big Ten play.

  3. Boise State (3-0) 3 - beat Oregon State (1-2) on the blue turf 37-24 win. Sorry AP voters, why were the Beavers in your Week 3 Top 25? Next: @ New Mexico State (0-3) to open 2010 WAC play.

  4. TCU (4-0) 7 -the Horned Frogs take care of business with a 41-24 win @ SMU (2-2, 1-0 C-USA West) to win rivalry game, between the two former SWC foes. Next: @ Colorado State (1-3) to open 2010 MWC play.

  5. Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac 10) 5 - the Ducks win 42-31 @ Arizona State (2-2, 0-1 Pac 10) to open 2010 Pac 10 play. Next: vs. #12 Stanford (4-0, 1-0 Pac 10) in the Pac 10 home opener for the Ducks that could determine the conference champion in '10.

  6. Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC East) 6 - the Gators win a 48-14 game vs. Kentucky (3-1, 0-1 SEC East), in a SEC mismatch. Next: @ #1 Alabama in a huge SEC conference match up.

  7. Oklahoma (4-0) 8 - the Sooners like to make it close with three of four opponents, but they take care of business again, with a 31-29 win @ Cincinnati (1-3). Next: vs. #18 Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12 South) in the Red River Rivalry in Dallas.

  8. Utah (4-0, 2-0 MWC) 11 - the Utes take down San Jose State (1-3) in a 56-3 win. Next: Bye Week in Week 5, before the Utes are @ Iowa State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12 North) in a MWC-Big 12 match up that should highly favor the non-BCS program in Week 6.

  9. Nebraska (4-0) 9 - the Cornhuskers are taking care of business, but are they really a Top 10 program? Cornhuskers beat FCS opponent South Dakota State (0-3, 0-1 MVfC) 17-3 to close out OOC play. Next: Bye Week before opening Big 12 play on October 7Th @ Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12 North).

  10. Wisconsin (4-0) 10 - the Badgers are a lot like the Cornhuskers... taking care of business in four OOC games, but are they really a Top 10 Program, as well? Badgers beat FCS opponent Austin Peay (2-2, 1-0 OVC) 70-13. Next: @ #22 Michigan State (4-0) in a huge Big Ten opener for both programs in Week 5.

  11. LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC West) 12 - the Tigers beat then #24 West Virginia (3-1) 20-14 to remain undefeated for coach Les Miles. Next: vs. Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC East) in a good cross-SEC division match up that should go the Tigers way.

  12. Stanford (4-0, 1-0 Pac 10) 20 - the Cardinal have wins @ UCLA (2-2, 0-1 Pac 10) in Week 2 and a 37-14 Week 4 win @ Notre Dame (1-3) in coach Jim Harbaugh's fourth season in Palo Alto. Next: @ #5 Oregon in a huge Pac 10 showdown.

  13. Auburn (4-0, 2-0 SEC West) 18 - beat then #13 South Carolina at home 35-27 to remain undefeated. Next: vs. Louisiana-Monroe (1-2, 0-1 Sun Belt) to open October back in OOC play.

  14. Miami-FL (2-1) 15 - came off Bye Week, following loss @ Ohio State in Week 2, with a solid 31-3 road win @ Pittsburgh (1-2) on Thursday night of Week 4. Next: vs. Clemson (2-1), who will be coming off their own Bye Week, after an OT loss at LSU in Week 3.

  15. Arkansas (3-1, 1-1 SEC West) - the Razorbacks made it a close one, but fell short on the upset bid against #1 Alabama 20-24 at home. Next: Bye Week in Week 5, then @ Texas A&M (3-0) in Week 6

  16. Arizona (4-0, 1-0 Pac 10) 16 - the Wildcats remain undefeated winning the Pac 10 opener in Tucson 10-9 over California (2-2, 0-1 Pac 10). Next: vs. Oregon State (1-2) in what is setting up as a good schedule for the Wildcats, after getting by #17 Iowa in Week 3 and Cal in Week 4.

  17. Iowa (3-1) 17 - the Hawkeyes honored Evy in a 'Throwback Game' with a 45-0 win over Ball State (1-3) to head into conference play in October. Next: vs. #21 Penn State (3-1) in a prime time Big Ten opener on Homecoming in Iowa City in Week 5. Iowa DC Norm Parker has missed the past two games and is expected out, due to health reasons, for the third straight game.

  18. Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12 East) 4 - the Longhorns drop out of the Top 10 with a disappointing 12-34 loss vs. UCLA (2-2, 0-1 Pac 10) in Austin. Next: vs. #7 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game, with the Longhorns coming off first loss into RRR game, since '07. The last loss for the Longhorns vs. OU was in '07.

  19. USC (4-0, 1-0 Pac 10) 19 - the Trojans continue their winning ways, despite NCAA probation in coach Lane Kiffin's first season, with a 50-16 road win @ Washington State (1-3, 0-1 Pac 10) to open conference play. Next: vs. Washington (1-2) in the conference home opener for the Trojans.

  20. South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC East) 13 - lost @ then #18 Auburn 27-35 to fall back in the SEC East. Next: Bye week, before hosting #1 Alabama in Week 6.

  21. Penn State (3-1) 21 - the Nittany Lions broke the game open in the second half to beat Temple (3-1, 1-0 MAC East) 22-13. Next: @ #17 Iowa in the Big Ten opener, which should be one of the best games in Week 5.

  22. Michigan State (4-0) 22 - Hopefully, coach Mark Dantonio will make a full recovery from a health standpoint, after suffering a mild heart attack after Week 3 win over Notre Dame. With OC Don Threadwell, the Spartans won 45-7 over FCS opponent Northern Colorado (2-2, 1-1 Big Sky). Next: vs. #10 Wisconsin in rematch of '09 Big Ten opener, but this time in East Lansing.

  23. Florida State (3-1, 1-0 ACC Atlantic) 23 - the Seminoles opened conference play with a solid 31-0 win over Wake Forest (2-2, 1-1 ACC Atlantic). Next: @ Virginia (2-1), who have win over FCS opponents, in coach Mike London's first season for the Cavaliers.

  24. North Carolina State (4-0, 1-0 ACC Atlantic) NR - the Wolfback open ACC play with a 45-28 road win @ defending ACC champion Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-1 ACC Coastal), as NC State pick up a win in the conference opener for the first time in four seasons under coach Tom O'Brien.

  25. Michigan (4-0) 25 - the Wolverines close out OOC play with a 65-21 win over Bowling Green (1-3). Next: @ Indiana (3-0) to open Big Ten play in a rematch game that nearly cost coach Rich Rodriquez's 4-0 start in '09.

Dropped Out after Week 4: former #24 West Virginia (3-1) falls out with 14-20 loss @ then #18 Auburn.

A Look at the Conferences heading into October:

ACC Atlantic - North Carolina State and Florida State both 1-0 to lead the Division thus far. Wake Forest is 1-1. Boston College is 0-1. Maryland and Clemson open ACC play in October.

ACC Coastal - Despite the slow start in '10, both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech lead the Division at 1-1 thus far. North Carolina and Duke are both 0-1. Miami (FL) and Virginia open ACC play in October.

Big 12 North - Kansas State remains undefeated overall and is 1-0 to lead the Division heading into October and their bye week. Iowa State is 0-1 and hosts Texas Tech in Week 5. Missouri and Nebraska are idle in Week 5 and will open Big 12 play in Week 6. Colorado will open Big 12 play in Week 5 @ Baylor.

Big 12 South - Texas is 1-0 heading into October to lead the Big 12 South for now. Texas Tech is 0-1 and travels to Iowa State in Week 5. The Red River Rivalry game has determined the Big 12 South winner forever. OU opens Big 12 for the first time, in the RRR game, since '06 season. Texas A&M is @ Oklahoma State on Thursday night to open Big 12 play and close out September play. Baylor hosts CU to open Big 12 play.

Big East - No Top 25 programs currently, with Pitt (1-2), Cincinnati (1-3) and West Virginia (3-1) all falling out of the Top 25, so far in '10. OOC play continues through Week 5.

Big Ten - Conference play opens up in Week 5, the first weekend of October with some outstanding match ups. OSU @ Illinois, PSU @ Iowa, UW @ MSU, Michigan @ IU, NW @ Minnesota. Purdue is idle Week 5 and will open Big Ten play on Oct. 9Th @ NW.

C-USA East - East Carolina is 2-0 to lead the Division. UAB is 0-1 and Memphis is 0-2. UCF and Marshall will open C-USA play in October.

C-USA West - Houston is 2-0, while SMU is 1-0 in the Division. UTEP is 1-1, while Tulsa and Tulane are both 0-1. Rice will open C-USA play in October. No C-USA teams are currently in the Top 25, though Houston was until loss @ UCLA in Week 3.

Independents - Army is 3-1, Navy 2-1 and Notre Dame is 1-3. The Midshipmen fell out our Top 25, after the opening season loss to Maryland. Does BYU really want to join this group in '11?

MAC East - Temple and Miami (OH) are both 1-0 to lead the Division. Ohio U. is 0-1. Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Akron will open conference play in October.

MAC West - Toledo is 2-0 to lead the Division heading into October. Central Michigan is 1-1. Western Michigan is 0-1 and Eastern Michigan is 0-2. Northern Illinois and Ball State will open conference play in October.

MWC - Utah and Air Force both lead conference at 2-0 heading into October. UNLV is 1-1. BYU and Wyoming are 0-1, while New Mexico is 0-2. TCU, San Diego State and Colorado State will open MWC play in October.

Pac 10 - Four teams are at the top at 1-0 heading into October: Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and USC. Oregon State and Washington will open Pac 10 play in Week 5. Arizona State, California, UCLA and Washington State are all 0-1 heading into October.

Sun Belt - Middle Tennessee, Troy and North Texas are all 1-0 to lead the Sun Belt heading into October. Louisiana-Lafayette is 1-1. Arkansas State is 1-2. Florida Atlantic and Louisiana-Monroe are both 0-1. FIU and Western Kentucky will open conference play in Week 6 head to head.

WAC - Fresno State is 1-0 heading into October in the WAC. Utah State is 0-1. Nevada, Boise State, Hawai'i, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State and New Mexico State will all open WAC play in October.

SEC East - Florida is 2-0 and the only undefeated team in the Division. South Carolina and Vanderbilt are 1-1. Kentucky and Tennessee are both 0-1, while Georgia is 0-2 heading into October.

SEC West - Auburn and LSU are both 2-0 heading into October. Alabama is 1-0. Arkansas is 1-1. Mississippi State is 1-2, while Ole Miss is 0-1. Three games already in September in conference play for Mississippi State. Ouch!

Seeing programs playing three conference games in September is poor for the sport of College Football. Too many early conference games, when you look at some of the ugly OOC match ups in the second half of the season. Let October and November be conference games and conference races to unfold. Encourage only solid OOC match ups in the second half of the season. There is nothing wrong with Florida-Florida State or South Carolina-Clemson or Georgia-Georgia Tech, but look at some of the bad examples in 2010.

Bad examples in the second half of the season:

  • Georgia State @ Alabama on November 20Th

  • Chattanooga @ Auburn on November 6Th

  • McNeese State @ LSU on October 16Th

  • Appalachian State @ Florida on November 20Th (final two games are OOC for Gators)

  • Idaho State @ Georgia on November 6Th

  • Charleston Southern @ Kentucky on November 6Th

  • Florida Atlantic @ Texas on November 20Th

  • Weber State @ Texas Tech on November 20Th


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