Archive for year 2007

AP Top 25 Weekly Recap

LSU made up a lot of ground on the inactive USC Trojans in this week’s poll. Other major movers include South Carolina (plus-16), Oregon (plus-10) and Georgia Tech (plus-6). Dropping out: Auburn, Boise State, and TCU.

NO. 1 USC TROJANS (1-0). The Trojans had the week off, and they needed it. Several injured players were able to rehab and look to be ready for this week’s road game in Lincoln, Neb., against the 14th-ranked Cornhuskers. WR Patrick Turner looks like a “go” for this week as well as LB Brian Cushing. RBs Joe McKnight and Chauncey Washington are hopefuls. The biggest disappointment to Pete Carroll’s defense is the loss of DB Josh Pinkard, who will need surgery and won’t be back this season. You won’t be able to spot LB Rey Maualuga on the field by his long hair anymore–he’s sporting a cooler look these days. Note: Pete Carroll hates playing on artificial surfaces.

NO. 2 LSU TIGERS (2-0). The game with then-No. 9 Virginia Tech in Baton Rouge last Saturday was supposed to be a defensive struggle. In a way, that was true — LSU’s defense dominated and Tech struggled. In the process of rolling to a 48-7 victory, the Tigers rolled out not one but two heirs to JaMarcus Russell, as both Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux played well at quarterback. Keiland Williams made the highlight reels by leaping over a tackler at the beginning of a 67-yard scoring run, and the LSU defensive line ate Tech’s O-line for dinner. This week, Les Miles’ team hosts Middle Tennessee, which scored 42 points as Louisville last week. Don’t expect that to happen in Tiger country.

NO. 3 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (2-0). My, how times have changed. Five, 10 or 15 years ago, the Miami Hurricanes would have taken the Sooners to the limit and, quite likely, would have won on the road in Norman. In fact, the last three times these two teams met, which was back in the 1980s, Miami took all three contests. Not this year. The Okies toyed around with Miami for a couple quarters, taking a 21-10 lead into the locker room at the half. Final scoreboard: OU 51, Miami 13. Ouch. Sooner redshirt freshman QB Sam Bradford was 19 for 25 for 205 yards and five TDs. The Hurricanes had to put ousted senior QB Kyle Wright back into the lineup, but it didn’t help. Next up: another breather at home, versus Utah State (0-2).

NO. 4 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (2-0). Intrastate rival Marshall played Wiley Coyote to WVU’s Roadrunner last Saturday, taking a 16-13 lead with 9:30 left in the third quarter before … Beep! Beep! QB Pat White broke a 20-yard touchdown run and Steve Slaton sliced into the end zone from 2 yards out, followed by Noel Devine, Slaton and Devine again on scoring bursts. Maryland might be more of a test this weekend, and the Mountaineers’ defense appears to be lagging behind the offense. Of course, so is everybody else.

NO. 5 FLORIDA GATORS (2-0). Tim Tebow has gone from sideshow to the main act at Florida without breaking stride, throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 93 more in a 50-31 rout of Troy State. What was that guy’s name who played quarterback last year, again? The defending national champions have Tennessee — one of their archrivals — this weekend, and Tebow says he’s excited about it. After last week, he probably is.

NO. 6 TEXAS LONGHORNS (2-0). The Longhorns continued their struggles at home against the formerly ranked TCU Horned Frogs, losing at halftime 10-0. The second half was all burnt orange as Mack Brown’s troops totally shut down TCU’s offense, giving up only 32 yards in the third quarter. In fact, the Frogs didn’t get a first down in the second half until midway through the fourth quarter, and the offense only scored two field goals in the game. TCU’s touchdown came on an interception return. Longhorn RB Jamaal Charles rushed for 134 yards and a TD on 22 carries. Next up: a very dangerous road game against Central Florida (1-0), which had a bye last week.

NO. 7 WISCONSIN BADGERS (2-0). As they say, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The Badgers are sure hoping that slogan is true because they really didn’t look like a top-10 team against the Rebels on Saturday. They were tied 13-13 with lowly UNLV with less than two minutes remaining in the game when QB Tyler Donovan scored on a 29-yard bootleg. “I’m happy to get out of here winning by one or seven, 18 or whatever it is,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. P.J. Hill paced the Badgers’ ground attack with 147 yards rushing on 20 carries. Wisconsin hosts D-IAA The Citadel this week in Madison.

NO. 8 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (2-0). Cal jumped two spots in this week’s poll, which is a compliment to the winless Colorado State Rams. The Bears struggled the entire game against the Rams but finally prevailed 34-28. Heisman hopeful DeSean Jackson had seven touches for 117 yards in the game (five receptions, 39 yards and two carries, 78 yards), including a 73-yard touchdown scamper on a reverse. A home game this week with Louisiana Tech should be the perfect tune-up for the Bears because their Pac-10 schedule commences the following week on Sept. 22.

NO. 9 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-0). OK, Brian Brohm is an air ace (25 of 31 for 401 yards and four touchdowns), Anthony Allen staked a most emphatic claim to Louisville’s starting running back spot with 275 rushing yards, and Steve Kragthorpe’s team scored 58 points. But, uh, Steve, how about the defense? Middle Tennessee scored 42, and things have to get better on the other side of the ball this Saturday or Kentucky QB Andre Woodson is going to making his own statement. The Wildcats outscored their first two opponents 106-30, and the game is at Lexington.

NO. 10 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (2-0). Head coach Jim Tressel knows this week’s road game in Seattle against the undefeated Washington Huskies is going to be a heck of a lot tougher than it looked like on paper a year or two ago. The Huskies mauled Syracuse two weeks ago and flattened formerly ranked Boise State last week. Conversely, the Buckeyes feasted on smaller instate programs Youngstown State and Akron. “Everyone in our building knows that it’s time to turn it up a notch,” Tressel said. Will Ohio State prove it is a top-10 team this week and expose Washington as an impostor? Or will Washington prove it belongs among the ranked once again? Stay tuned.

NO. 11 UCLA BRUINS (2-0). The Bruins jumped two spots on the strength of holding off defending Mountain West Conference champs BYU last week, 27-17. BYU out-gained UCLA in total yards by a huge margin, 435-236, and with the score 20-17 and 10 minutes remaining, the Cougars had a first down on the Bruins’ 13-yard line. Preseason All-America defensive lineman Bruce Davis managed to force a fumble on the next play to stifle the upset. Either the Cougars are pretty good, or the Bruins are not so hot, but this week’s road game at Utah won’t prove anything on that note. The Utes, who will be playing without their starting QB, RB, and leading WR, lost at home to Air Force last week. This should be a yawner for UCLA, and they’ll need it, because Washington is coming to town next week.

NO. 12 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (2-0). Once again, the Nittany Lions are on the prowl toward top-10 status … Running back Austin Scott had a private talk with the offensive line at halftime after picking up only 39 yards on 11 carries against Notre Dame. It seemed to work because Scott registered 77 yards and two scores on the ground in the second half. The Lions didn’t look great in their 31-10 victory over the Irish, but it was decisive nonetheless. Still, it didn’t seem as if they were really tested. And with Buffalo coming to Happy Valley this week, Penn State has to wonder if it is really going to be ready for Big Ten play the following week. Fortunately, they’ll knock helmets with a deflated Michigan team on Sept. 22.

NO. 13. RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS (2-0). Up top, the Big East is looking like a megaconference. Last week, Ray Rice became the career rushing leader at Rutgers (come to think of it, how many other Rutgers running backs can you name?) and QB Mike Teel played just well enough to sink Navy, 41-24. This week it’s Norfolk State, which is probably wondering whose idea this game was, especially after news from last week’s game about Rutgers students disrespecting and mocking the Naval Academy. Nice going, boys. Maybe the Pentagon will reinstall the draft just for you.

NO. 14 NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (1-0). Nebraska knew that Wake Forest would be a tough game last week, and sure enough, the Demon Deacons almost pulled off the upset — with a backup QB! Heisman candidate Marlon Lucky was held to 90 yards rushing on the day, and the Deacons had a chance to take the lead with under two minutes to go, but backup QB Brett Hodges’ pass was intercepted. The Huskers will do battle with the USC Trojans this week for only the fourth time in the program’s history. USC owns the series, going 2-0 with a 21-21 tie back in 1970. Last year, the men of Troy dominated Nebraska in the Coliseum, 28-10. Coach Bill Callahan says he’s treating this game just like any other. Yeah, right.

NO. 15 GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS (2-0). Let’s see — Virginia Tech got whacked by LSU last Saturday and Miami was destroyed by Oklahoma. Neither Clemson nor Florida State looked all that impressive on defense when they played each other, and Wake Forest lost big to Boston College. So who’s going to be the top dog in the ACC this season? Just ask Samford, which gave up nine rushing touchdowns in losing 69-14 to Georgia Tech. Of course, the Yellow Jackets haven’t played anybody, winning their opener against some team from the Midwest (oh, yeah — Notre Dame). This week will help define the Jackets, as they host BC.

NO. 16 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (1-0). To paraphrase the band Dire Straits, Arkansas got its ranking for nothing last week — always a nice bonus. The Hogs took a week off after trampling Troy, 41-26, in their opener, but still moved up two spots in both major polls. Now, they have to travel to Alabama; coach Houston Nutt has been tinkering with a sputtering passing game to take some of the pressure off 1,000-yard rushers Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. This is not a good time to play the Crimson Tide (now 2-0) because of the orgy of enthusiasm over new coach Nick Saban, who hasn’t yet been proven mortal.

NO. 17 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (2-0). The Fun and Gun at Florida has become the Kick and Pray at South Carolina, but Steve Spurrier will take a victory over Georgia any time. Ryan Succop booted three field goals and Cory Boyd scored the game’s only touchdown as Spurrier’s Gamecocks won their SEC opener on Saturday, 16-12. Best of all, it came Between the Hedges in Athens, where Spurrier was soundly booed for his past sins. Now, the Ol’ Ball Coach gets an in-state sparring partner, South Carolina State, to help him work the kinks out of his offense.

NO 18 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (1-1). The only good thing that came out of a 48-7 debacle at LSU was a new quarterback, with nimble freshman Tyrod Taylor replacing battered pocket passer Sean Glennon via a battlefield promotion. Given the way Tech’s offensive line has played, Frank Beamer really needed a quarterback with some escape moves. Another problem was that the Tigers’ O-line manhandled Tech’s defensive front. The ugliest stat from last Saturday? Try a 2 of 14 success rate on third down. Over the next two weeks, though, the Hokies have Ohio University and William & Mary in Lane Stadium, and Baton Rouge might begin to seem like a bad dream.

NO. 19 OREGON DUCKS (2-0). So, is Oregon pretty good, or is Michigan just really bad this year? We probably won’t know the answer for a few more weeks when current No. 8 ranked California comes to town. In the meantime, the Ducks can have the glory of handing the Wolverines their worst home loss since 1968, 39-7. Other than that, Appalachian State stole most of the thunder out of Oregon’s victory with its landmark win the week previous. Fresno State comes to town this week and it is not the Bulldogs of old. It might be a bit of a match for a half, but the Ducks should breeze easily in this one and can then start licking their chops — er, beaks — with the thought of playing Stanford next week.

NO. 20 CLEMSON TIGERS (2-0). Where have you been all this time, Cullen Harper? In two games this season, the new Clemson quarterback — who warmed the bench behind Charlie Whitehurst and Will Proctor for three years — has completed 34 of 50 passes for 430 yards and seven touchdowns, including a school-record five TD passes last Saturday in a 46-26 rout of Louisiana-Monroe. Coupled with the ACC version of Thunder (James Davis) and Lightning (C.J. Spiller) on the ground, the Tigers’ defense is beginning to look like a runaway force. That probably won’t change this Saturday against visiting Furman.

NO. 21 BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (2-0). The ACC will begin to sort itself out Saturday night when 2-0 BC travels to Georgia Tech. Both teams have been impressive so far, but the Eagles are now 2-0 in league play, having disposed of Wake Forest and N.C. State (honchoed by former BC coach Tom O’Brien). The Eagles may just be the most underrated team in the country, featuring an experienced quarterback (Matt Ryan), their two top rushers from 2006 and a veteran defense that intercepted State’s Harrison Beck five times last week.

NO. 22 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (1-1). Southern Mississippi was supposed to be a trap game for the Volunteers last week, and the Golden Eagles did lead UT 13-10 after a quarter. But then the Erik Ainge-led offense heated up, and Philip Fulmer’s team put USM in the rearview mirror, 39-19. RB Arian Foster had one of his best outings as a Vol; new receivers Austin Rogers, Lucas Taylor and Josh Briscoe combined for 241 receiving yards while the defense stifled USM in the second half. Of course, that was Southern Mississippi — this week it’s Florida, in Gainesville.

NO. 23. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (1-1). What a difference a week makes. Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs started off their season with a convincing smackdown of well-regarded Oklahoma State, then turned around and produced precious little offense at home while losing to South Carolina, 16-12. Winless Western Carolina is no Appalachian State, and the Catamounts’ visit to Athens on Saturday may be just what the Dawgs need to get better in a hurry.

NO. 24 HAWAII WARRIORS (2-0). Hawaii tumbled four spots in this week’s poll after struggling through a 45-44 overtime shootout with lowly WAC opponent Louisiana Tech. Can they blame their poor defensive performance on the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty they got for performing the “haka” dance before the game? June Jones doesn’t think so, and he vows that his Warriors will continue the emotional chant before every game in front of their fans. This week’s road contest at UNLV looked to be another pushover game until the Rebels played tough against Wisconsin last week. However, the Badgers are a run-first team and that’s a far cry from Hawaii’s air-it-out-at-any-cost philosophy.

NO. 25 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (1-0). The Aggies dropped two slots this week after their triple-overtime, 47-45 win over Fresno State on Saturday. Jorvorskie Lane, the 6-foot, 268-pound bruiserback, lugged the rock 23 times for 121 yards and four scores to lead the Aggies. We’ll find out this week if the Bulldogs really provided a valid test for A&M when it plays at Oregon. In the meantime, the Aggies get a breather with Louisiana-Monroe at home this Saturday.

ON THE BUBBLE: South Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Washington, TCU, Arizona State, Auburn, Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Florida State

Fourth and inches …

Early season surprises … If anyone predicted in the preseason that both Michigan and Notre Dame would be winless heading into this weekend’s game in Ann Arbor, he or she would have to be clairvoyant. Oddly enough, there’s just as much intrigue in this game to see who will be 0-3 in the aftermath as there would be if both teams were 2-0 and ranked. Adding more fuel to the fire, Michigan running back Mike Hart has boldly guaranteed a Wolverine victory. I can’t remember when both teams have looked so vulnerable in the same season … Reliable sources are reporting that this truly will be Lloyd Carr’s last year. Duh, ya think so? Hey, maybe Jim Harbaugh will apply for the job.

►Heisman hype… Give credit to Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey for taking it easy on Samford last week. Sensational running back Tashard Choice got 110 yards and two TDs on 11 carries against Samford and then took a seat in the 69-14 massacre. Choice will have his chance to shine this week when the Ramblin’ Wreck host No. 21 Boston College. Nebraska’s Marlon Lucky faced much stiffer competition on the road against Wake Forest and came away with 90 yards and a score on 24 carries. If Marlon has a big game against USC this weekend, he’ll remain in the race. If not, you can count him out. Cal’s DeSean Jackson had five receptions for 39 yards and two carries for 78 yards against Colorado State last week. Seventy-three of those rushing yards came off a reverse play that Jackson took the distance. Arkansas had the week off, so nothing new to add about RB Darren McFadden. He’ll have a prime opportunity to shine on the road this week at Alabama.

►More Heisman talk at the water cooler … You can drop UCLA’s Ben Olson from the list of hopefuls … despite eeking out a win against his former teammates, BYU held Olson to a dismal statistical performance (13 of 28 for 126 yards and one INT). Two of the big-name QB candidates put up some eye-popping numbers against weak opponents … Louisville’s Brian Brohm was 25 of 39 for 401 yards and 5 TDs against Middle Tennessee State … Hawaii’s Colt Brennan went 43 of 61 for 548 yards and four TDs and a pick against Louisiana Tech … Facing stiffer competition, dual threat Pat White of West Virginia was 13 of 18 for 149 yards and two TDs through the air – as well as 125 yards and a TD on 18 carries against Marshall. Teammate Steve Slaton added 146 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on 24 carries … Texas gunslinger Colt McCoy finished 25 of 38 for 239 yards, one TD, and two picks in the Longhorns’ comeback win over TCU.

►One sure Heisman candidate for next year? … BYU’s QB Max Hall. The redshirt sophomore transfer from ASU has put up some strong numbers and outperformed both of his Pac-10 counterparts — Willie Tuitama (Arizona) and UCLA’s Ben Olson — in the first two weeks of this young season. Last week, Hall went 30 of 52 for 391 yards, two TDs and one INT against the Bruins. In the first two games of his collegiate career, Hall’s line is 56 of 91 (61.5 percent) for 679 yards, four TDs and one pick.


► Worst fans?… Hands down, it has to be Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights’ fans hurled volley after volley of derisive and profanity-laced taunts at the Naval Academy team and fans in last week’s 41-24 home victory. None of the taunts could be repeated in this column, but let’s just say if the Defense Department wanted to set up a draft for only Rutgers students, I’d be all for it. Rutgers school officials, including AD Robert Mulcahy, issued a letter of apology to the Naval Academy this week. They’ve also sent an open letter to students requesting better behavior at future games.

►Is ACC the weakest BCS conference? … Food for thought … Three of the ACC’s top teams lost their non-conference games last week … Miami was crushed 51-13 by Oklahoma, Virginia Tech rolled by LSU, 48-7, and Wake Forest lost at home to Nebraska, 20-17. Two weeks ago, Virginia lost to Wyoming, 23-3, and North Carolina State lost to Central Florida. Last year, the ACC was 6-16 in non-conference games against BCS schools. So far, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Boston College are the only bright spots for the conference.

►Potential BCS Busters … Central Florida, if it pulls off the upset over Texas this week … of the four hopefuls from last week, Hawaii is hanging by a thread … TCU and BYU lost to top-12 teams but could still have a chance if they don’t lose again … Boise State got walloped by unranked Washington and doesn’t look to have a chance.

►You never wish this on a player … USC junior defensive back Josh Pinkard tore an ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of this season. Last year, Pinkard tore up his right knee and had to sit out nearly the entire season. Louisville safety Latarrius Thomas and Tennessee defensive back Antonio Gaines are also out for the year with knee injuries. Here’s wishing you guys all a speedy recovery and return to the gridiron next season.

►Whatever happened to … Miami senior QB Kyle Wright? After losing the starting role to Kirby Freeman in the Hurricanes’ first two games this season, Wright is back on the first team for the Florida International game this week. The Class of 2003’s most highly prized national QB recruit, the Danville, Calif., native has gone 14-7 as a starter in his college career at Miami with 4,058 yards passing.

►Speaking of Miami and Florida International … Do you remember the huge mid-game brawl that occurred between these two teams last year with helmets and cleats being used as weapons? Thirty-one players were sanctioned — 18 from FIU, 13 from Miami. They promise it won’t happen again this year. Honest.

►Quick Snap Question … presented by the 83rd East-West Shrine Game, Jan. 19, 2008 in Houston on ESPN:

When was the last time that a winless Notre Dame team played a winless Michigan team?

Be quick and be correct. The first email received with the correct answer wins you a limited edition two-card set of 2007 Rose Bowl Game trading cards. The winner will be announced in next week’s Fourth and inches…

Last week’s winner, Sam Grayson of Miami, Florida, correctly answered that the last time Ohio State played an unranked Michigan team in The Rivalry Game was 1993. No. 5 Ohio State (9-0-1) took it on the chin 28-0 from the unranked Wolverines (6-4) in Ann Arbor that year. Congratulations, Sam!

►Best Games of the Week … Texas Longhorns at Central Florida Golden Knights … Ohio State Buckeyes at Washington Huskies … Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Wolverines … Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators … Arkansas Razorbacks at Alabama Crimson Tide … BYU Cougars at Tulsa Golden Hurricane … Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats … Fresno State Bulldogs at Oregon Ducks … Boston College Eagles at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets … Wyoming Cowboys at Boise State Broncos … USC Trojans at Nebraska Cornhuskers …

►Upset Specials of the Week … Last week (2-2, season 3-5) … Wyoming Cowboys over Boise State Broncos … Fresno State Bulldogs over Oregon Ducks … Central Florida Golden Knights over Texas Longhorns … Kentucky Wildcats over Louisville Cardinals

BYU Pre-game vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

There’s one thing you can always be sure of the week after a tough-luck defeat. You’re either going to bounce back and get on track, or you’re going to tank.

Last year, the BYU Cougars bounced back from their overtime defeat to Boston College and didn’t lose a game the rest of the season.

Contrast that with TCU’s loss to Texas last week. Instead of getting back on track and socking away a conference victory, it choked against the Air Force Academy last night. The Horned Frogs’ once-promising season is now in freefall.

So, the big question for BYU this week is: Will the Cougars bounce back from their heartbreaking loss to UCLA, or will they pull a TCU and get swept away by the payback-minded Golden Hurricane of Tulsa?

Here’s how both teams match up this week:

Tulsa Offense against the BYU Defense

Senior QB Paul Smith has 27 starts under his belt and as he goes, so goes the Tulsa offense. Unfortunately, most of Smith’s supporting cast from last season is gone. Huge losses suffered by the Golden Hurricane include four offensive line starters from last year, three of whom were All-Conference USA, and a backup center.

Louisiana-Monroe only managed one sack against the new Tulsa O-line two weeks ago, but look for BYU to triple or quadruple that number against an inexperienced front five.

Tulsa is also reloading at the receiver and running back positions. Gone are wideouts Idris Moss, Donnie Johnson, Ryan Bugg and blocking TE Charles Ramsey. The Golden Hurricane lost Brandon Diles, Cauvey Jackson, Dexter Taylor and last year’s leading rusher, Courtney Tennial, from their backfield rotation.

What it all adds up to is a top-flight quarterback working behind unproven protection, trying to spread the ball around to a host of weapons who all lack significant game-time experience. Oh, by the way, Tulsa is learning a revised version of the spread offense under new head coach Todd Graham.

Led by outside linebackers Bryan Kehl and David Nixon, the Cougar defense held Arizona scoreless for 59 minutes and UCLA to 20 points. That total would have been lower, but BYU’s punting game constantly handed the Bruins excellent field position in the first half.

Smith went 22 of 31 for 307 yards and three touchdowns against Louisiana Monroe two weeks ago, and the Tulsa rushing attack notched over 200 yards. Don’t bet on that happening against BYU this weekend.

Advantage: BYU

BYU Offense against the Tulsa Defense

Two hundred twelve yards. That’s what Louisiana Monroe rushed for against Tulsa in the season opener for both teams. Two hundred twenty-seven yards. That’s what the Cougars rushed for last year against the Golden Hurricane in their 49-24 victory at home. Tulsa is without both starting defensive ends from last year and backup Walter Boyd, who switched over to the offensive line.

Tulsa’s defense also lost C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bunting, a linebacker, as well as LB Kedrick Alexander. Gone from the defensive backfield are Nick Graham and Bobby Blackshire, both of whom were all-conference.

UCLA managed to bottle up BYU’s rushing attack pretty effectively last week, but Tulsa’s defense runs a 3-3-5 and is involved in a massive rebuild. The running game worked so well against Tulsa last year that John Beck only passed 23 times (240 yards on a 10.4 per-attempt average).

Max Hall is quickly proving to be the real deal, and he is spreading the ball around to all of his receiving weapons. Austin Collie, Michael Reed, Matt Allen, and the TE trio of Dennis Pitta, Andrew George and Vic So’oto form one of the best receiving corps in the nation.

Add the rushing attack trio of Fui Vakapuna, Manase Tonga and Harvey Unga, who are all dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield as well, and you’ve got a potent mixture that is just waiting to explode.

Oh yeah, the BYU offensive line isn’t so bad, either. It just might be one of the top-10 hog units in the nation.

Advantage: BYU

Special teams

Tulsa’s kicking game is experienced and proven with Jarod Tracy handling the kicking chores and punter Paul Jurado (41.8-yard average at Louisiana Monroe, 40.5-yard season average last year).

So far, the Cougar punting game has been a glaring weakness. Poor punting left BYU digging out of a hole the entire first half against UCLA, but CJ Santiago managed to gain composure and ended up with a solid 42.8-yard average for the game.

The kicking is suspect with Mitch Payne’s lingering injury. Walk-on Brian Smith will probably handle kickoffs and could see action on field goals and PAT situations.

Tulsa only managed 14 return yards against Louisiana Monroe two weeks ago. Austin Collie and Bryce Mahuika totaled 136 yards on six kickoff returns, but only 2 yards on punt returns.

Advantage: Even


Tulsa has the home-field advantage, which should be good enough for a plus-5 swing.

Tulsa has payback on its mind, but BYU needs this game more to get its season back on track. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has proven that he can lead his troops to a rebound, and he’s also proven that his staff can prepare the team on a short week when the opponent has had extra time to get ready (example: last year’s TCU game on the road when the Frogs had a bye the week before).

Golden Hurricane head coach Todd Graham has publicly stated that his team needs a plus-3 turnover advantage to win this game. It won’t happen. It’s difficult to imagine BYU showing the lack of discipline (penalties galore) and shoddy ball protection (three fumbles, two lost) that it did against UCLA last week.

The Cougars have a huge upside left to this season, especially now that everybody’s preseason MWC favorite, TCU, already has a conference loss. It’s not inconceivable that BYU could win out the rest of the way this year.

It all starts in Tulsa on Saturday night in the eye of the Golden Hurricane.

BYU 42, Tulsa 17

BYU Defense Missing in Action vs. Tulsa

You can’t pin the embarrassing 55-47 upset loss to Tulsa entirely on BYU’s defense.

In fact, for most of the game, it appeared as if they’d never even caught the flight with the rest of the team. It was that sorry of a performance. You’d have to revisit the worst days of the Gary Crowton regime to bring back those feelings of utter helplessness elicited by a Cougar defense.

Not that the offense didn’t contribute a whopping share of undisciplined play in the defeat. Consider these numbers: one, two, four, seven, 14, 140.

The woeful interpretation of that sequence of numbers is one missed field goal, two missed extra points, four turnovers, seven dropped passes, 14 penalties, 140 yards penalized. The abbreviated interpretation is UGLY.

Three of the turnovers were attributable to QB Max Hall — one being a pass interception returned for a touchdown for the second week in a row. Another interception that wasn’t his fault bounced out of Manase Tonga’s hands into a waiting Tulsa defender’s grasp. He also fumbled once when hit by a blindside tackler. Both turnovers resulted in scores by the opportunistic home team.

Hall’s turnovers marred an otherwise gallant performance of 34 completions in 57 attempts (59.6 percent) for 527 yards and four touchdowns.

His counterpart, Tulsa’s Paul Smith, had a career day (21 of 35 for 454 yards, five TDs, one INT) in the offensive shootout. It will be interesting to see how No. 3-ranked Oklahoma tries to contain him and his teammates next week.

Bright spots in the loss? Sure. CJ Santiago punted only four times for a whopping 48.3-yard average. And, Austin Collie had 238 kickoff return yards on eight attempts (29.8-yard avgerage, 52 yard long) to repeatedly give BYU a short field to work with. The flipside to Collie’s return yardage stats is that Tulsa had to score a lot to make it even possible.

The loss to the Golden Hurricane — the first ever in seven games between the schools — ended any hope the Cougars might have had for reaching BCS bowl qualification this season. What’s left is a chance to win the Mountain West Conference, a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl, a record of 11-2 that would match last year’s result, and a slot in the final season polls.

Quite frankly, none of those achievements seems very plausible now, considering how the Cougars have absolutely crippled themselves with seven turnovers and 224 yards in penalties during the past two games. Bad habits can be very hard to break.

The 224 penalty yards are 19 more than BYU’s total rushing yardage in the same two games. Talk about a waste of effort.

BYU now stands at 1-2 on the season. Conference play begins next week against undefeated Air Force. The Falcons already have a 2-0 record in conference play, having knocked off both Utah and TCU.

The following week, BYU takes on New Mexico in Albuquerque. The Lobos knocked off the same Arizona team that BYU did a couple weeks ago, except they did it on the road in Tucson last night and managed to lay 29 on the Wildcats’ defense.

The rest of the conference is laden with plenty of challenges for the Cougars. A week ago, the Team Up North looked pathetic, but it crushed UCLA 44-6 yesterday, so one can only imagine what they might be like in November with a healthy Brian Johnson at the helm.

Bronco Mendenhall’s inability to reign in the team’s unruliness on the field during the last two big weeks of non-conference play does not bode well for the rest of the season.

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion by the Cougar faithful that last week’s close loss to UCLA would provide plenty of motivation for the Y to sharpen itts focus and execute decisively against Tulsa. That turned out to be a pipe dream.

How much the rest of BYU’s once-promising season turns out to be an illusion is anyone’s guess at this point.

AP Top 25 Weekly Recap

USC strengthened its grasp on the No. 1 slot this week. The biggest gainers include Kentucky (NR to 21), Alabama (plus-12), Boston College (plus-7) and Oregon (plus-6). South Florida (plus-3) moved up despite losing. The biggest drops were UCLA (minus-19), Nebraska (minus-10) and Louisville (minus-9).

NO. 1 USC TROJANS (2-0). USC proved how badly it wants Top Dog status by thrashing Nebraska in its Big Red Crib, 49-31. The win gave USC its 61st victory in its last 67 games, which happens to be the best run of any Division I-A college football team since the ‘Huskers’ run of three titles in the 1990s. The Trojan offensive line swept away the Cornhusker front line infantry as if it was Gen. George Patton’s tank division racing to Berlin, compiling 313 yards on the ground at a clip of 8.2 yards per carry. “I didn’t think there was any question we could run the ball at any time,” Commander–er, Coach Pete Carroll said. USC hosts Pac-10 foe Washington State this Saturday.

NO. 2 LSU TIGERS (3-0). So, might we have a quarterback controversy down in Baton Rouge? That’s up to coach Les Miles to manage, but the oft-troubled Ryan Perrilloux threw his helmet into the ring Saturday night with a sparkling performance against Middle Tennessee — 20 of 26 passing, 304 yards, three touchdowns, coupled with 37 yards on the ground. Perrilloux was starting in place of Matt Flynn, who was outstanding in the first two games, because Flynn was still nursing a tender ankle. Top receiver Early Doucet was also hurt, but Jared Mitchell stepped in with eight catches for 62 yards. Be afraid, other SEC teams, be very afraid; the previous week, Middle Tennessee had rolled up 552 yards against Louisville. Against LSU? Ninety. This weekend, the Bengals entertain (perhaps that’s not the right word) No. 12 South Carolina.

NO. 3 FLORIDA GATORS (3-0). The Oct. 6 Florida-LSU game at Baton Rouge could be one of the most seismic collisions in the SEC in years. In the meantime, the Gators decimated then-No. 22 Tennessee last week, 59-20. Urban Meyer showed the Vols no mercy, piling on 24 points in the fourth quarter and keeping his starters in most of the game, a decision that will no doubted be remembered on Rocky Top for years to come. This season, though, Tennessee was simply no match for Florida’s team speed. QB Tim Tebow threw for two touchdowns and ran for two, while hybrid back Percy Harvin piled up 195 overall yards. This Saturday, the Gators travel to Ole Miss.

NO. 4 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (3-0). The Sooners steamrolled WAC cellar dweller Utah State 54-3 on Saturday. The Aggies collected a cool $500 grand to serve as a punching bag warm-up for this Friday’s in-state game against the undefeated Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. Redshirt freshman Sam Bradford continues to light up the sky in Norman, going 19 of 26 for 255 yards and three touchdowns. The softest part of Oklahoma’s schedule is now in the books, so we should start to get a good read on this team over the next three or four games.

NO. 5 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (3-0). Last Thursday night, Maryland’s Terrapins knew they would have to stop West Virginia’s running game to have a chance against the high-octane Mountaineers. They failed. Heisman hopeful Steve Slaton galloped for 137 yards and three touchdowns and fullback Owen Schmidt averaged 11.5 yards a carry. Scariest of all, though, was freshman Noel Devine, who picked up 136 yards on just five carries — 27.2 per play. QB Pat White did just what he had to do, the defense remained stout, and the Mountaineers won 31-14 on the road. Next, it’s East Carolina at home. Beware of the Pirates, matey!

NO. 6 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (3-0). Cal manhandled Louisiana Tech at home on Saturday, 42-12, but it was a costly win. Three defensive starters — Zack Follett, Matt Malele, and Rulon Davis — were all injured in the game. Surprisingly, Heisman candidate DeSean Jackson played a very subdued role in the victory, registering five receptions for just 28 yards. Teammate Lavelle Hawkins returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for the score to prove that the Bears are not one-dimensional in their arsenal of weapons. Next up: home against Arizona.

NO. 7 TEXAS LONGHORNS (3-0). The ‘Horns played their first game in Florida in 34 years and barely came away with the victory over upstart Central Florida, 35-32. The game served as the grand opening for the new stadium at UCF before a packed crowd of Golden Knights fans. “It was a trap game for us and a buzzsaw,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. Texas blew a 13-point lead but came back to win it in the final minutes. Jamaal Charles paced the Longhorn attack with 153 yards on 22 carries and a score. Texas can relax a bit this weekend when Rice visits Austin.

NO. 8 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (3-0). The Buckeyes won convincingly on the road in Seattle against a very good Washington Huskies team, 33-14. That alone should convince some of the Big Ten naysayers that the conference is strong and not going anywhere. Had Michigan lived up to its expectations and preseason ranking, you’d be staring at four Big Ten teams in the top 10 this week. The Bucks take on Northwestern at home this weekend in a conference matchup.

NO. 9 WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-0). The Badgers have some explaining to do after struggling with D-IAA Citadel. The game was tied 21-21 at the half, then Wisconsin pulled ahead 45-21, before giving up two more scores to make the final scoreboard read a very unimpressive 45-31. To most folks, a win is a win, but in the big, bad world of BCS, style points count, which is why Wisconsin slipped two notches this week. Running back P.J. Hill had a monster of a game with 168 yards rushing for four TDs and two receptions, 20 more yards and another score. The Badgers host Big Ten rival Iowa this week.

NO. 10 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (3-0). PSU beat Buffalo 45-24 last Saturday and moved up two slots in this week’s poll. That’s a nice return on the victory for JoePa and his troops. It was Joe Paterno’s 366th win of his career. QB Anthony Morelli passed for 202 yards and a personal-best four TDs in the win. This week’s road game at The Big House in Michigan will answer many questions about this year’s Nittany Lions and Lloyd Carr’s Wolverines. Penn State is looking for revenge after losing a close one at home last year, 17-10.

NO. 11 RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS (3-0). Greg Schiano’s team gets a week off, probably exhausted from running up and down the field against outclassed Norfolk State last week. Ray Rice galloped for three touchdowns, QB Mike Teel threw for three, and it was 45-0 at halftime, 59-0 at the final gun. Enough said.

NO. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA (3-0). Here’s a challenge for the Ol’ Ball Coach — in the last 17 games between Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks and LSU, the Tigers are 14-2-1. Plus, this week’s game is in Baton Rouge. The Gamecocks will throw up the stoutest defense the Tigers have seen so far, allowing just five field goals over the past two games, but LSU’s offense might be one of a kind in the SEC this year. Oops, excuse me, Florida — two of a kind.

NO. 13 OREGON DUCKS (3-0). These Quackers are looking to be the real deal this year. What’s strange is that they are pretty much the same team that got whacked 38-8 by BYU in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl. Facing what many thought to be a pretty stern test, even if it was a home game, Oregon pasted Fresno State 52-21 behind Jonathan Stewart’s 165 yards and two scores. One of those touchdowns was a nifty shifty 88-yarder. The win was Mike Belotti’s 100th at Oregon. Look for the Ducks to knock Stanford off in a big romp this Saturday in Palo Alto.

NO. 14 BOSTON COLLEGE (3-0). The Eagles and Matt Ryan don’t get much respect, but they earned it with a 24-10 victory over Georgia Tech last Saturday. Ryan threw for a career-high 435 yards, a veteran offensive line kept his jersey clean, and the unheralded BC defense held Tech star RB Tashard Choice to 31 yards before Choice hurt his hamstring. Not even an Army (the Cadets come to Chestnut Hill Saturday) can derail this team on a roll.

NO. 15 CLEMSON TIGERS (3-0). Before this season, Clemson QB Cullen Harper figured to spend most of his time handing off to glamour backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Instead, he’s been airing it out — 10 touchdown passes in his first three games as a starter (including three in a 38-10 victory over instate rival Furman last Saturday), no interceptions and a 72 percent completion ratio. His quarterback rating against Furman was an otherworldly 275. There was the matter of allowing a Division I-AA team to amass 384 yards, though — something to think about when the Tigers travel to N.C. State.

NO. 16 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (3-0). The young Nick Saban legend keeps building, and it was Sweet Home Alabama for his Tide last Saturday night. Despite adding to Darren McFadden’s Heisman resume (the Razorback star rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns), Alabama stiffened on defense when it had to, got a strong game out of QB John Parker Wilson, and won on a pass from Wilson to Mike Caddell with eight seconds left. “An exciting night, wasn’t it?” said Saban. This Saturday, ‘Bama hosts a Georgia team eager to get back on track after an earlier loss to South Carolina.

NO. 17 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (2-1). Tyrod Taylor sounds more like a NASCAR driver than a quarterback, but the Tech freshman quarterback was running on all cylinders in a 28-7 victory over Ohio University, throwing for 287 yards. It was the 200th career victory for Tech coach Frank Beamer, who now gets to play a real breather at home against William & Mary.

NO. 18 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-1). There’s nothing wrong with the Cardinals’ offense, which played well enough to beat most teams in a 40-34 loss to instate rival (ouch) Kentucky last Saturday. Anthony Allen gained the tough yards, Harry Douglas picked up 223 yards in receptions and Brian Brohm was Brian Brohm. But new coach Steve Kragthorpe has to stop the defensive bleeding — the Cardinals have surrendered almost 1,000 yards the last two weeks, and made Kentucky’s Andre Woodson and Rafael Little look even better than they are. If they give up that kind of real estate to hapless Syracuse this week in Louisville, it will be time to panic.

NO. 19 HAWAII WARRIORS (3-0). The Warriors crushed MWC cellar-dwellers UNLV, 49-14, despite Colt Brennan being held to fewer than 300 yards passing and “only” two TD tosses. It was the first time in 14 games that Brennan had passed for under 300 yards. The win earned the only BCS buster left (except perhaps Tulsa if it can upset Oklahoma this week) a five-spot increase in the writers’ poll. It should be very interesting to see how this week’s patsy visiting team, D-IAA Charleston (1-2), will affect Hawaii in the polls. Everyone expects something like 77-0, so anything less will be a huge letdown.

NO. 20 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (3-0). The Aggies moved up five spots in this week’s poll on the strength of a 54-14 win at home over Louisiana-Monroe. QB Stephen McGee threw for 257 yards a touchdown before giving way to the bench in the second half. A&M has a short week to prepare for a big road game at Miami. Despite Miami’s humbling blowout loss to Oklahoma two weeks ago, it should prove to be a very formidable opponent for the Aggies.

NO. 21 KENTUCKY WILDCATS (3-0). Could Kentucky be this season’s Wake Forest or Rutgers? Could be. The Wildcats are 3-0 and still licking their whiskers after a 40-34 upset of Louisville in Lexington last week. QB Andre Woodson (four touchdown passes against Louisville) and RB Rafael Little (151 rushing yards) are two of the best in the country at their positions. This week, though, Rich Brooks’ team has to prove itself at Arkansas.

NO. 22 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (2-1). Mark Richt’s team bounced back nicely from a loss at South Carolina, pummeling Western Carolina, 45-16. The Dawgs have three strong tailbacks and a budding star in sophomore QB Matt Stafford. We’ll see which Georgia team takes the field against Alabama on Saturday, hoping to catch the Tide in gloating mode after upsetting Arkansas.

NO. 23 SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (2-1). Despite a coming off a bye-week, South Florida climbed into the Top 25 rankings off their impressive win the week before. The Bulls pulled off the upset of the year, going on the road to beat the vaunted but toothless Auburn Tigers 26-23 in overtime at Jordan-Hare Stadium. QB Matt Grothe led USF with 18 of 27 passing for 184 yards and one touchdown, as well as 31 yards and another TD on the ground. After an Auburn field goal to open the extra period, Grothe won the game when he connected with WR Jesse Hester, Jr. for a 14-yard score. The perennial SEC-power knew they would have their hands full versus the fourth-best squad in the Big East and still couldn’t find a way to hold off the tenacious Bulls. Just ask Louisville and West Virginia, each having lost once to USF in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

NO. 24 NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (2-1). It’s a bit difficult to imagine the pollsters leaving Nebraska in the Top 25 this week after the home beating it took at the hands of the USC Trojans. RB Marlon Lucky saw his Heisman candidacy go down the drain in the loss with only 33 yards on 17 carries (1.9-yard average). Sam Keller fared a bit better, statistically speaking, with a line that read 36 of 54 for 389 yards, two scores and two interceptions. Next up for the woozy Cornhuskers is Ball State. In Lincoln, of course.

NO. 25 MISSOURI TIGERS (3-0). The Tigers have piled up 130 points in their first three victories this season. The latest victim was Western Michigan, 52-24. Missouri fans are finally getting to see the type of team school officials envisioned when they hired Gary Pinkel away from Toledo. Junior QB Chase Daniel racked up 328 yards in the air, good for two scores. He also gained 60 yards on the ground on five carries (12.0-yard average) and added another TD. The Tigers will host Illinois State this week, and then take a week off to prepare for Big 12 nemesis Nebraska on Oct 6.

ON THE BUBBLE: Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Cincinnati, UCLA, Texas Tech, Air Force, Purdue, Florida State, Appalachian State, Washington, Michigan State, Tulsa, and Kansas.

Fourth and inches …

Early season surprises … Does beating a winless Notre Dame team really mean anything to Lloyd Carr? You bet it does. And now he still has the Big Ten race for a chance at some redemption. Michigan’s 1-2 record sure looks better than the big, fat 0-3 that Charlie Weis is staring at right now.

►Reality… Penn State could make the Wolverines’ shot at redemption take a nose dive pretty quickly this weekend.

►Double dose of reality… Charlie Weis has been kicking some Irish tail around this week with a “back to basics” training camp mentality which included the unspeakable — a full practice on Sunday. Guess who’s coming to town this weekend? Yep, a Spartan squad that has a slight bit of payback on their minds for choking in the second half last year at East Lansing.

►Heisman hype won’t help them now… Georgia Tech’s Tashard Choice was stifled by ACC rival Boston College … Nebraska’s Marlon Lucky is out of the race for good this year with a dismal performance against USC. UCLA’s Ben Olson, who had a sliver of a chance to begin the season, has totally been flushed with back-to-back embarrassments against BYU and Utah. Goodbye, gentlemen.

►More Heisman talk at the water cooler … Rocketing to the top three is Kentucky’s Andre Woodson after his gutsy performance against instate rival and former ninth-ranked Louisville and its own poster boy, Brian Brohm. Woodson tossed the winning TD pass with 28 seconds left in the game. His line was a modest 30 of 44 for 275 yards and four TDs. Arkansas’ Darren McFadden ripped off 195 yards and two TDs on 33 carries against Alabama in a heartbreaking loss … his SID has a pretty nifty Heisman campaign in full swing now with Web site, weekly press conferences, and DMAC swag. As long as No. 5 keeps producing on the gridiron like last week, he is going to be hard to beat this year.

►Are fake injuries a viable defensive strategy? … Cougar fan boards have been lighting up with discussion about the inordinate number of injury timeouts taken by Tulsa in an effort to thwart BYU’s no-huddle offense last Saturday night. If so, the strategy seems to have worked well for Todd Graham, as it flew under the radar of the officials calling the game and his Golden Hurricane eeked out the upset in a shootout, 55-47. According to one fan who recorded the game, Tulsa had nine injury timeouts for defensive players. I lost track after counting seven injury timeouts during the live telecast. A call to Tulsa’s sports information office on Wednesday said the team does not release an injury list of its players to the media, but attributed the high number of injuries to “hard hitting by a very physical BYU team.”

►Speaking of cheating… Georgia coach Mark Richt closed down practices for his Dawgs this week as they prepare for Nick Saban’s Alabama team. Saban used to work for Bill Belichick. You get the picture.

►MWC fans still getting screwed by the CSTV deal… It was bad enough that only a few cattle grazing in the Wyoming pastures could see Mountain West Conference football games on the TV network known as “the mtn.” last season. But, here we are heading into Week 4 of the second college football season on the mtn. and only incremental progress has been made to expand the network’s footprint. Tens of thousands of fans in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Arizona, and all points east of the Rockies still can’t get the network, and hence, they have no access to any football games shown on it.

MWC spokesman Javan Hedlund says that online pay-per-view offerings of this week’s highly anticipated matchups featuring Air Force at BYU and resurgent Utah at UNLV are out of the question because it would damage ongoing negotiations with DISH and DirecTV.

Nobody’s offering a timetable regarding when CSTV/Comcast might finally cut a deal with one or both of the satellite companies to carry the mtn. network, but the safe bet would be to assume “not this season.”

So far, the big winner in this fiasco is Slingbox.


► Quack Quack… Duck thwacks Cougar and gets one-game suspension? Oh, you’ve gotta love college football. Yessirree, the Oregon mascot beat up the Houston Cougar mascot when the two teams squared off the week before last. The Duck managed to make it into the TV booth at Autzen Stadium during the Fresno State game last Saturday, much to the delight of O fans.

►Redux: Is the ACC the weakest BCS conference? … Well, check out our new feature at the bottom of this week’s “AP Top 25 weekly review.” The ACC, Pac-10 and Big Ten are tied with three teams each in this week’s AP poll. The SEC, Big 12 and the Big East all placed more teams in the Top 25. Of course, it’s a weekly poll, so it’s going to fluctuate with the outcomes every Saturday. Probably best to leave this question alone until the final polls come out in January.

►Potential BCS Busters … Hawaii is the only one left, with the super longshot Tulsa, providing it can upset Oklahoma this Friday. Like I said, “super longshot.” It remains to be seen how playing another D-IAA program will affect Hawaii’s ranking. So far, it hasn’t been too detrimental. What that means is that you just might see a lot more programs scheduling patsies in the future.

►Austin PD having a field day with Longhorn arrests … Texas freshman running back James Henry became the sixth Longhorn arrested since June when he was charged this week with two felony counts of obstruction and tampering with evidence. Henry is accused of beating up one of the victims of a July home invasion that supposedly involved two other players, Andre Jones and Robert Joseph. Linebacker Sergio Kindle, defensive end Henry Melton, senior safety Tyrell Gatewood, and freshman defensive back Ben Wells have all been cuffed by the Austin PD in the past six months. “Twenty-three years as a head coach, and I’ve dealt with more in six months than I have in 23 years,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.

►The hottest coach in college football right now? … If you said former Central Michigan head honcho and current Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, you’d be correct. Watch what he does with the Bearcats this year … they’re already 3-0 with a huge 34-3 win over Oregon State. Let’s see what Kelly can do with a four game stretch coming up that has Cincy at Rutgers on Oct 6, Louisville at home on the Oct. 13, at Pitt on Oct/ 20, and at South Florida on Nov. 3.

►Quick Snap Question … presented by the 83rd East-West Shrine Game, Jan. 19, 2008, in Houston, on ESPN:

What is the jersey number that has been worn most by Heisman Trophy winners?

Be quick and be correct. The first email received with the correct answer wins you a limited edition two-card set of 2007 Rose Bowl Game trading cards. The winner will be announced in next week’s Fourth and inches…

Last week’s winner, Randy Johnson of Dayton, Ohio correctly answered that Michigan and Notre Dame had never met with winless records before, except the few times in history when they played each other in a season opener. Congratulations, Randy!

►Best Games of the Week … Texas A&M Aggies at Miami Hurricanes … Oklahoma Sooners at Tulsa Golden Hurricane … Air Force Falcons at BYU Cougars … Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Wolverines … South Carolina Gamecocks at LSU Tigers … Kentucky Wildcats at Arkansas Razorbacks … Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide … Washington Huskies at UCLA Bruins … Iowa Hawkeyes at Wisconsin Badgers … Michigan State at Notre Dame (just to see if the streak stays alive) …

►Upset Specials of the Week … Last week (1-4, season 4-9) … Toledo Rockets over Iowa State Cyclones … Michigan Wolverines over Penn State Nittany Lions … Miami Hurricanes over Texas A&M Aggies …