Thursday, September 4, 2008

Around the Nation Week 2

When is it time to throw away a word and stop using it?

Here are two examples … “change” and “upset.”

You have heard the word “change” time and again from the big political conventions these past two weeks. Both parties talk about change so much that I wish they’d change the subject.

In college football, the buzz word is upset … as in Utah “upset” Michigan. But does the term really apply anymore?

Welcome to The Campus Game.

Three features appear here each week. First, my SEC Game of the Week will typically be posted on Tuesdays. The print version of the article appears in Game Day Weekly, the south's premier weekly college football newspaper (contact info is linked to the right).

On Thursdays, Around the Nation and Professor's Picks/SEC Report are posted.

Around the Nation is a brief overview of the weekend's most prominent games, along with other college football national news.

The SEC Report includes information on the conference, plus Professor's Picks ... a quick overview of the week's games plus a game prediction.


“Upsets” have become so common in college football the past several seasons that nothing shocks us anymore.

Utah goes into the Big House and outplays Michigan in Rich Rodriquez’s first game as Wolverine coach. Nothing earth-shaking; Appalachian State handled them last year.

East Carolina plays a little Beamer ball of its own and whips Virginia Tech with a blocked punt. No need to get excited, the Pirates are probably a better team than Stanford or Bowling Green, squads that “upset” Oregon State and Pitt over the weekend.

All told, four of the AP’s Top 25 lost … expect more change and upsets in weeks to come (oops there are those words again).

Clemson was the biggest loser of the opening weekend.

Alabama humiliated the ACC preseason favorite in a 34-10 victory at the Georgia Dome that announced the Tide is back in the big time a year ahead of schedule and that Tiger coach Tommy Bowden is firmly on the hot seat.

Who was the biggest winner of week one?

Try Joe Paterno. Penn State’s legendary leader opened his record 43rd season on the Nittany Lions sideline with an easy 66-10 blowout of Coastal Carolina. The win tied him with Tommy’s dad Bobby Bowden of Florida State for most career victories at 373.

Defending champ LSU was also impressive, easily dispatching 3-time defending FCS champion Appy State 41-13 in a game that was moved to the morning due to concerns about Hurricane Gustav.

Around the Nation

Ohio State got a scare when tailback Beanie Wells hurt his foot in the opener against Youngstown. The Buckeyes feast on another cupcake this weekend with Ohio, but they will need Wells the next week against Southern Cal.

Those Trojans looked mighty tough in downing Virginia. USC takes the week off to get ready for Ohio State and a game that could determine one of the BCS title game participants because neither team faces many other strong challenges after that one.

Cincinnati could scare #4 Oklahoma in Norman, and Oregon State could do the same on the road with Penn State. West Virginia travels to play East Carolina and we’ve already seen the Pirates knock off one national contender.

Finally, Jim Harbaugh is quietly building a pretty good program at Stanford. His team travels to the desert to play Arizona State.

See you at kickoff!