►The shakeout among contenders and pretenders continued in full force with surprise upsets ruling the weekend…the Indiana Hoosiers stunned the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Vanderbilt Commodores upstaged the Georgia Bulldogs for the first time in twelve years…both Iowa and Georgia were jettisoned from the AP Top 25 poll, as was Virginia Tech after the Hokies dropped their second consecutive game, this time to ACC rival Boston College…they’ll all be fighting and clawing their way back into consideration for upper tier bowl game invites the rest of the season…Auburn’s defeat of the Florida Gators settled virtually nothing…both teams remained in the top 10 and are still in the hunt for a berth in the national title game.

►With the first BCS poll released on Sunday it should be apparent to fans that SOS (strength of schedule) matters and margin of victory does not…USC’s three close shave victories meant nothing to the BCS computers except that they were wins…conversely, Boise State’s avalanche-like scores over cupcake opponents registers faintly on the BCS Richter scale…

►If you happened to see the highlights of the Saturday Fight Night game pitting Miami and Florida International…do you really think the Hurricanes are being punished by suspending a handful of players for their BIG game against the Duke Blue Devils? What a joke…now, if this was basketball we were talking about, the loss of any one player versus Duke would be a stiff punishment. It’s hard to imagine that the University of Miami administration will allow Larry Coker to remain head coach beyond this year…this isn’t the first incident…remember when the Hurricanes stomped on the Louisville Cardinals logo at midfield and a fight almost broke out between the teams before that game? Two Miami players have issued public apologies…Soph Anthony Reddick for swinging his helmet as a weapon, and senior captain (captain?) Brandon Meriweather for stomping on FIU players’ legs with his cleats during the fracas…I wonder if Coker will allow Meriweather to remain a captain of the team after he has served his one-game suspension?

►The Sports Illustrated curse… Does it exist? Three weeks ago, Houston Cougars QB Kevin Kolb was highlighted as one of the top overlooked signal callers in the college ranks…since the article appeared, previously undefeated Houston has dropped 3 straight games to fall one game behind Tulsa in the C-USA West Divisional race and far-far away from consideration in the AP Top 25…statistically, the 6’3″, 225 Kolb has not been the problem…he’s gone 64-97, 722 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INT during the three losses…on the season he has 16 TD tosses against only 1 INT…Still, great stats mean virtually nothing without the wins…

►BYU QB coach, Brandon Doman, a former standout Cougars quarterback and a valuable recruiter for the Brigham Young program, said recently on Salt Lake’s 1280 AM The Zone that the Mountain West Conference’s lack of television exposure will eventually affect recruiting…as we’ve pointed out before, the nine MWC football programs have a total of 522 players on their rosters this season who hail from key recruiting states California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Nevada…MWC fan boards are beginning to joke about the conference’s poorly launched “The mtn.” channel, with its tiny, intermountain footprint now being known as “The Pmpl.” (short for The Pimple)…How is it that the Big Ten Channel had a deal with DirecTV wrapped up a year before their launch next summer, while CSTV/Comcast cannot manage a satellite deal for “the mtn.” with a ready-to-go product? Quite simply, CSTV/Comcast has over-valued the sub fees for “the mtn.”…the Sat companies and many cable providers won’t budge at the current asking price.

►More problems with CSTV/Comcast and “the mtn.” In an effort to appease irate fans throughout the conference, CSTV began selling access to single games via an Internet Pay-Per-View offering…$14.95 advance price, $19.95 day of the game…I purchased an advance “ticket” to the BYU-San Diego State game to test out the technology…the result was a message that kept popping up on my screen that indicated the server was overloaded. When I called the CSTV customer service hotline, a message said all their operators were busy…this went on for well over an hour…by halftime, the score was 40-3 in favor of BYU…Fortunately, CSTV did refund for their lack of service…there were actually some people on the SDSU and BYU message boards who claimed to have watched the game online thru the service. The bottom line is that CSTV/Comcast needs to nail down a deal with at least one of the satellite TV services during this football season or the conference will begin to crumble…

►In just one weekend, three season ending injuries have dramatically impacted the outlook for three teams…Washington lost super playmaker QB Isaiah Stanback (#2 total yards in the Pac-10) and the Huskies could very well fall short in their quest to attain upper tier status in the conference and a significant bowl invite…Adrian Peterson’s ill-advised showboat dive into the end zone following a spectacular touchdown run left him with a broken collarbone, and out for the rest of the regular season…Oklahoma will struggle to replace AP’s offensive contributions the rest of the year, perhaps as early as this week when the Sooners host the Colorado Buffaloes…Stanford lost starting QB Trent Edwards for the season…all of the sudden, the prospect of the Cardinal going 0-12 this season appears even more realistic…

►More threes…three coaches on the hot seat? Obviously, Miami’s Larry Coker…add ASU’s Dirk Koetter to the list…and another Pac-10 coach…Stanford’s Walt Harris…sure, Harris is only in his second year, but the San Francisco Chronicle points out that Ted Leland, the A.D. who hired Harris, is gone, and the new A.D. is anxious to make his mark…not a good sign when you’re on the road to an 0-12 record and the Chron starts spreading such an idea…

►A playoff scenario I like… because it maintains conference affiliations with traditional bowl game partners…allows for 10 teams to participate…and it utilizes the major bowls that not only have the expertise of hosting national championship games, but the power to make this idea happen…here’s how it works:

Cotton Bowl and Holiday Bowl host play-in games to reach the final eight…the four teams playing in these two qualifier bowls would have to be ranked in the Top 15 final BCS poll and be a conference champion from the MAC, WAC, MWC, C-USA, or Sun Belt. Historically, you will note that there usually wouldn’t be more than one team from this pool…the other three slots are filled by the highest ranking teams that are not conference champions…this includes Notre Dame, and any team, regardless of conference affiliation. In a season like this year, you would conceivably end up with this type of play-in scenario:

December 25
Holiday Bowl: Michigan or Ohio State versus Boise State: Winner goes to Sugar Bowl
Dec 26
Cotton Bowl: Auburn or Florida versus Notre Dame: Winner goes to Fiesta Bowl

Your final 8 slots would look like this:

Jan 1
Rose Bowl: Big Ten champion versus Pac-10 champion
Orange Bowl: ACC champion versus Big East champion

Jan 2
Sugar Bowl: SEC champion versus Holiday Bowl winner
Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 champion versus Cotton Bowl winner

Final 4 slots:

Jan 7
Rose Bowl winner versus Fiesta Bowl winner, with Rose and Fiesta alternating each year as host for the semi-final
Jan 8
Orange Bowl winner versus Sugar Bowl winner, with Orange and Sugar alternating each year as host for the semi-final

The host site for the national championship game would alternate between the four sites each year…this means that each major bowl site would host a final 4 game two of every 4 years, a national title game once every four years, and sit out once every four years…

National title game:

Jan 14 or 15
Winner of the Jan 7 and Jan 8 games

This only adds a week to the season, and it allows for all the other bowl games to be played…one key addition to this scenario that adds vitality to the other bowl games…Each conference’s previous season bowl game record could add bonus points to their conference champion’s BCS final tally the following year…this gives all the teams playing in minor bowls extra incentive as they could be helping their own cause the following year.

Next week: A look at the most popular 16-team playoff scenario.

QuickSnap Question presented by Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills: What is the motivational reminder on the yellow sign that Notre Dame Fighting Irish football players always touch before running onto the field? Be quick and be correct. The first email received with the correct answer wins you a limited edition, collectible pin from the 2006 National Championship Rose Bowl Game between Texas and USC. The winner will be announced in next week’s Fourth and inches…

►And the winner of last week’s QuickSnap Question is…Rich Grabmeier, of Shawnee, Kansas…Rich was the first to correctly answer the question: Who are the only two teams to own an undefeated record over the Texas Longhorns (minimum two games played)? The correct answer was Syracuse and BYU. Syracuse is 2-0-1 against Texas and BYU is 2-0. Several participants answered “USC with a 4-0 record,” forgetting that the Trojans lost in the Rose Bowl Game national title contest earlier this year to Vince Young & Co.

►Heisman’s Dark Horse Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois Huskies…The Wolfe Man has officially been placed on probation in this column after being shut down by Western Michigan last week (25 yards on 18 carries) It’s hard to argue against Ohio State’s Troy Smith at this point, but I’ll give GW one more chance … Signature game versus Ohio State…272 all-purpose yards–172 of those yards coming on the ground, 1 TD…Season Stats: #1 ranked running back in Division 1…174 carries, 1,368 yards, 7.9 ypc, 195.4 ypg, 13 TDs…This week: Temple.

►Stats Padding Games of the Week: Arizona State Sun Devils (plus 23) over Stanford’s hapless Cardinal…Auburn Tigers (plus 32) devour the Tulane Green Wave…LSU Tigers (plus 32.5) maul the Fresno State Bulldogs…

►Best Games of the Week: Texas Longhorns @ Nebraska Cornhuskers…Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Pittsburgh Panthers …Alabama Crimson Tide @ Tennessee Volunteers…Boston College Eagles @ Florida State Seminoles…Iowa Hawkeyes @ Michigan Wolverines … Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Clemson Tigers…

►Upset specials of the week…I like the Washington State Cougars to pull off the improbable win over the Oregon Ducks…just because they are due to win a big one at home…Colorado went down to Georgia and almost pulled off an upset a few weeks ago…I don’t think they’ll be overwhelmed playing on the road at Oklahoma, and now that they have a win in hand, I look for them to knock off an Oklahoma team that is still a bit stunned from losing Adrian Peterson for the season.