“In Iowa, where Kirk Ferentz faces the prospect of losing his job precisely because his program has become a feeder team for the Iowa City Jail, things get worse than usual. Ferentz’s kid James, a freshman lineman, got pinched on underaged drinking (shock!) charges. The crime is of questionable import until you figure it might take Dad from the hot seat to the guillotine.” — Tom Ziller, Sportingnews.com
It seems an exaggeration.
1. Buckeye Nuts: These are a few excerpts from letters to the sports editor in Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch, written after Ohio State’s 16-3 win over Purdue and before OSU’s game at Michigan State on Saturday:
“With the exception of a few, this team needs to follow the yellow brick road and ask the wizard for a heart. While they are at it, the offensive line could ask for courage and the offensive coordinator could ask for a brain.” — Chris Sturgill, Worthington
“If (head coach Jim) Tressel keeps calling plays like he has recently, I’d make early reservations for the Outback Bowl, or wherever third-place Big Ten teams go.” — David Scott, Columbus
“Beanie Wells is capable of 200 yards per game, but the O-line seems to refuse to play with emotion for an entire game. … A promising season is likely to slip away without major improvement.” — Tom Scurlock, Washington
Wells ran 31 times for 140 yards in the Buckeyes’ 45-7 win at Michigan State on Saturday. OSU is OK.
2. One Week, Two Burials: A week ago today, Texas Coach Mack Brown approved a suggestion to bury the game ball from the previous Saturday’s 45-35 win over Oklahoma on the Longhorns’ practice field. Several Horns players then drank a Kool-Aid-like concoction to make them “forget” the big win over the Sooners and focus on the coming week’s game, against Missouri.
Score one for superstitions. No. 1 Texas buried Mizzou, 56-31.
Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy completed 29 of 32 passes for 337 yards. He passed for two touchdowns, ran for two others. He has completed 81 percent of his passes this season, a pace that would easily break the NCAA’s record of 73 percent.
“We need to continue for him to be who he is,” Brown said. “I don’t know if we need him to be any better.”
3. Abnormally Normal: In a season-full of upsets, no Top Ten teams got dumped Saturday.
Not that Southern California feared the reaper. Associated Press reported that two hours before kickoff USC players “menacingly rocked their buses, as if they couldn’t wait to get on the field.”
“Our guys had a ball playing football today, from the locker room on out,” USC Coach Pete Carroll said after his team’s 69-0 laugher over Washington State.
It’s fun being good. USC has won its last three games by a total of 141-10 since an upset loss at Oregon State. The Trojans have scored 117 unanswered points.
USC is ranked fifth in the BCS standings. Carroll’s response: “It doesn’t mean anything about anything.”
4. Son Sits in Mountains: Colorado’s Dan Hawkins is a father and a coach, but not necessarily in that order during games.
Hawkins pulled starting quarterback Cody Hawkins, his son, after two series of the Buffaloes’ game against Kansas State. In came true freshman Tyler Hansen. With his red-shirt removed, Hansen passed for 71 yards and a touchdown and rushed 19 times for 86 yards. Colorado won, 14-13.
“You have to do what you have to do,” Coach Hawkins said of the move.
1. Lanced in East Lansing: “What’s the one thing you did well today?” MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was asked after the Spartans’ 45-7 loss to Ohio State.
“I thought we did a good job in warm-ups,” he said.
Michigan State running back Javon Ringer was held to a season-low 67 rushing yards.
“We’ve been trying to prove to people we’re not the same team, where we lose one and fall apart,” Ringer said. “This game, I’m telling you, is not gonna be that hard to get over. Next week is Michigan, and that’s the game we really look forward to. That game’s in a whole different category.”
Yeah, it’s a game against a team the Spartans can beat.
2. Missouri Breaks: After Texas crushed Missouri, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo was asked what he thought of Missouri’s body language.
“Body language?” Orakpo replied. “I don’t know. I just play football. I ain’t no doctor.”
Ranked No. 3 two weeks ago, the Tigers could use a healer after consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas.
“There’s no excuses,” said Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel. “They outplayed us, out-blocked us, kicked us, running, passing, coaching, everything.”
At least Pinkel has the Tigers’ weaknesses pinpointed.
3. Shooting Blanks: Washington State’s run of 280 consecutive games without being shut out was snapped in their 69-0 debacle of a loss to USC. The Cougars mustered just 116 total yards and four first downs.
“I think our team — a lot of guys are used to losing,” griped WSU defensive end Andy Mattingly.
It seems likely. Wazzu had Pac-10 defeats of 66-3, 63-14 and 66-13 before this game.
USC could have made it 90-0 had it desired. The Trojans played four quarterbacks. They let the last 16 seconds of the first half run out with the ball at the WSU 10 and timeouts left to use.
The Hlist thinks USC wanted to leave the Cougars with enough of a program so it can play at USC next year.
4. Lou’s Loose Lips: Even when you can understand Lou Holtz, he doesn’t always make sense.
ESPN analyst Holtz apologized on the air Saturday for mentioning Adolf Hitler in a discussion of the leadership skills of Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez during an ESPN studio show the night before.
“Ya know,” Holtz said Friday, “Hitler was a great leader, too.”
Wow. On top of that, Holtz predicted the winners of five of Saturday’s key games around the country, which he and broadcast partner Mark May do each week. He was wrong on all five.
“This is an embarrassing situation, and I’m hoping this is the lowest point in our season.
“We have a very fragile football team; there’s not much confidence in the locker room right now. It’s not a pretty thing.”
San Diego State Coach Chuck Long after his Aztecs’ 70-7 loss at New Mexico.