►Are the #11 Virginia Tech Hokies for real this year? It’s hard to tell after playing Northeastern, Cincinnati, and ACC bottom feeders Duke and North Carolina…#24 Georgia Tech will represent their first true test of the season…the Yellow Jackets come into this Saturday’s game with revenge on their minds…Va. Tech humiliated them 51-7 last year when Marcus Vick passed for 223 yards and the Hokies’ defense and special teams scored 21 points…you have to take your hats off to Frank Beamer for his integrity with enforcing team rules…he suspended defensive end Chris Ellis and wide receiver Josh Morgan for the Georgia Tech game…this is one of the best games of the week, one of only two contests that pit two Top 25 teams against each other.

►Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish need to send a thank-you note to Michigan State Spartans quarterback Drew Stanton for single handedly granting them new life for the 2006 season…MSU had a 10-point lead with just under six minutes remaining…Stanton had the ball stripped from his grip on a keeper…that set up an Irish touchdown and the score was 37-33 after a missed extra point. Then, with less than three minutes remaining, on third and 6, Stanton decides to pass instead of staying on the ground and eating more of the clock…ND’s Terrail Lambert intercepted and danced in from 23 yards out for the winning score. Talk about luck of the Irish…this is a team that’s supposed to challenge for the national championship? I don’t think so…they’ve been blasted for 84 points in back-to-back games by Michigan and Michigan State.

►Think Pink?…For one week this season, #13 Iowa Hawkeyes fans can say that the road to the national championship runs through Iowa City…the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and their marvelous marching band will swarm into the newly revamped 76-year old Kinnick Stadium this Saturday…the winner gains the upper hand in the Big Ten Conference title chase, although both teams still have Michigan looming on their schedule…and yes, even after the new upgrades, the visitor’s locker room is still decorated in Pepto Bismol Pink…the idea is that the color will distract or mellow the visitors…it was Hayden Fry’s idea during his tenure…Last summer, Jane Meyer, Iowa’s senior associate athletic director said, “We think it’s appropriate. We hope our visiting teams enjoy it as much as we have in planning it.” Right. I have to imagine the color scheme makes some teams so irritated they just want to get out and kick the crap out of their gracious hosts.

►Sticking with the Big Ten and Ohio State for a moment…JoePa’s Penn State Nittany Lions played an outstanding defensive game last week against the Buckeyes…take away the two picks Anthony Morelli threw for TDs in the last minutes of the game and the final score was only 14-6. Penn State’s defensive backs held Troy Smith to 115 yards passing and intercepted him twice…even more impressive was how they shut down the dynamic duo, Ted Ginn, Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez…these two incredible receivers only managed a total of 4 receptions for 31 yards…now, if only Penn State can muster some offense…reports are that Paterno is focusing on that very issue this week for their home game versus the Northwestern Wildcats.

►Fans of the BYU Cougars and TCU Horned Frogs are elated that their Thursday night game this week will be carried on the VERSUS Network which is accessible thru the DISH and DirecTV satellite service, as well as many cable operators around the country…VERSUS was formerly OLN (Outdoor Life Network) and now carries college football among other sports. The mtn., a Mountain West Conference exclusive sports channel that was launched by CSTV and Comcast last month, still does not have agreements with DISH or DirecTV, leaving tens of thousands of fans who follow MWC sports in the lurch…by far, the largest fan base in the MWC is from BYU…those fans are still biting their nails and wondering if a deal will be struck with the satellite companies before the Cougars’ next two games against San Diego State on Oct 7 and UNLV on Oct 21…both games are scheduled to be aired on the mtn.

►It seems that Mountain West Conference teams are getting punked by the MWC in more ways than just the mtn. fiasco…TCU took last weekend off while the BYU Cougars were playing at home…this means that the Cougars will have one rest day, two days of practice, and then a travel day before the all-important conference game…meanwhile, TCU has had eleven days to rest and prep for the game. A similar situation happened to TCU last year when they played the SMU Mustangs on a Saturday and then took on the defending MWC champion Utah Utes the following Thursday. Aren’t conference officials supposed to ensure that scheduling snafus like these don’t happen so that both teams have adequate time to prepare for each other?

►Furthermore, when the MWC left ESPN for CSTV, they promised fans that one of the benefits of the new contract would be no more weekday games…talk about hollow promises…this week’s instate rivalry game between UNLV and Nevada will be aired on the mtn., but not available within the state of Nevada…go figure…the CSTV contract was signed well over a year ago…you’d think that the MWC and CSTV would have made sure that all the kinks had been worked out well in advance so they didn’t torch the fans…it will be interesting to see what happens if the Sat TV companies continue to refuse picking up the mtn. throughout this current football season…stay tuned…

►Which Pac-10 team has the most favorable schedule this year? You’re correct if you said the Washington State Cougars…they get the top three teams in the conference, #3 USC, #20 Cal, and #14 Oregon, plus instate rival Washington at home…the only two tough conference road contests are at ASU and UCLA. USC has traditionally had some difficulty against WSU in Pullman…it’s highly unlikely that the Cougars can pull off an upset, but if I was Pete Carroll, I’d be really concerned about this game for some reason…just a hunch.

►On the mend…We’re glad to hear that Indiana Hoosiers head coach Terry Hoeppner’s recent cancer tests were negative and that he’s heading back on the field as soon as this week…best wishes to Terry and his wife Jane…stay strong.

QuickSnap Question presented by Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills: When did the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Miami Hurricanes meet for the first time, where was the game played, and what was the final score? Be quick and be correct. The first email received with the correct answer wins you a 2002 Rose Bowl Game media program autographed by Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch. The winner will be announced in next week’s Fourth and inches…

►And the winner of last week’s QuickSnap Question is…Will Smithrock of Los Angeles, CA. Congrats to Will for correctly answering this somewhat tricky question: “When was the last time Miami and Florida State both lost during the same game week, who did they lose to, and what were the scores?” The correct answer was Miami lost to LSU 40-3 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and Florida State lost to Penn State in the FedEx Orange Bowl 26-23 in 3 OT during the final week of last season’s bowl games.

►More Anti-Smurf Turf…Bronco fans were up in arms last week when I pointed out that their blue painted marketing gimmick turf (aka The Clown Carpet, The Blue and Lake Bleymaier) was an insult to college football…we enjoy your opinions, no matter what…believe it or not, BSU just celebrated the Smurf Turf’s 20th anniversary…said Gene Bleymaier, the athletic director who came up with the idea, “I guess that I’m the type of person that when I paint my house I paint it a different color so the neighbors notice you did something.”

►Upset Central…No major upsets last weekend, only the mild variety…Arkansas Razorbacks outlasted the Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime, 24-23…Washington Huskies scored 15 unanswered fourth quarter points to thump the UCLA Bruins 29-19…the Huskies are now 3-1 with another impressive victory over Fresno State…they are making a case for comeback team of the year following two down years (3-19 combined record in ’04 and ’05)…Army Black Knights over Baylor Bears 27-20 in overtime.

►Heisman’s dark horse…You’re hearing enough about the other big boys in the Heisman race, so you need to know about a shifty-nifty little (5’7″, 177) running back who already tore up Ohio State’s defense for mucho (272 all-purpose) yardage–172 of those yards coming on the ground…Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois: 96 carries, 828 yards, 8.6 ypc, 207 ypg, 8 TDs. #1 ranked running back in Division 1…Last week: 198 yards, 4 TDs vs. Indiana St…This week at Ball State.

►Backwards streaks…Last week we mentioned the biggest upset of the season to date would have been the Colorado Buffaloes over the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. Well, the Buffs almost pulled it off…they had a 13-0 lead with approximately 8 minutes left in the game…they collapsed and surrendered two touchdown passes, the last one with 46 seconds remaining to keep their losing streak intact…Don’t expect #25 Mizzou to be taken by surprise this week at home…head coach Dan Hawkins is now 0-4 and Colorado’s losing streak is currently at eight games, extending back to last season…The Buffs will win a few this year as some soft spots in their schedule are popping up on the horizon…look for them to go 3-9 or 4-8 this year.

►Right behind ya…Stanford Cardinal’s 36-10 loss at home to the Washington State Cougars ran their season record to 0-4 and overall losing streak to six games including two defeats at the end of last season…Walt Harris will need to take some patience pills this season…

►Pad the Stats Games of the Week: Clemson Tigers (plus 34) tear up the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs…Michigan State Spartans (plus 26.5) raid and pillage the Illinois Fighting Illini…and, the Texas Longhorns (no line) trample the Sam Houston State Bearkats.

►Best Games of the Week: BYU Cougars @ TCU Horned Frogs…Auburn Tigers @ South Carolina Gamecocks…Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ South Florida Bulls…Alabama Crimson Tide @ Florida Gators…Purdue Boilermakers @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish…Boise State Broncos @ Utah Utes…Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Virginia Tech Hokies…Ohio State Buckeyes @ Iowa Hawkeyes…Oregon Ducks @ Arizona State Sun Devils…Colorado State Rams @ Fresno State Bulldogs…Toledo Rockets @ Pittsburgh Panthers…Texas Tech Red Raiders @ Texas A&M Aggies.

►Upset specials of the week…Wyoming Cowboys have lost three straight close games to Virginia, Boise State and Air Force…they are a gritty bunch and I still like them on the road against 5-point favorite Syracuse Orange…The undefeated Houston Cougars had an impressive win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys last week…I can see them beating the 16-point spread on the road at Miami Hurricanes this week.