Monday, October 12, 2009

Around the Nation Week 7


Week seven of the college football season marks the halfway point of the semester, and students across America understand the significance of that course calendar milestone.

Before loading their cars and leaving campus for home, or the mountains, or the beaches, or even for some seasonal work to earn extra money, students must confront a beast more ghastly than any Halloween costume they will face at the end of the month.

The dreaded midterm examinations.

Those first, few exciting and new ice-breaking weeks of school are long gone. Buddies no longer have time to shoot pool or the breeze. Co-eds might still flirt on the steps of the library, though only for a minute. Surly professors, so open and friendly in late August but now bogged down with grading and committee work, no longer seem quite so approachable. Sleep, always at the top of a student's wish list but the bottom of his to-do list, beckons but must wait.

Good old midterms.

Welcome to The Campus Game, where the professor only gets surly when Georgia or Notre Dame loses (so this midterm week may be a tough one for my students!).

For the past several years, midterm grades have been posted here and 2009 continues our grading efforts.

A few reminders ... there is no curve ... there is no extra credit available ... there are no makeup exams ... and if you complain about the grade - study harder!

Here are grades for the six BCS conferences, plus selected independents and potential BCS busters (conference and overall records listed):


Atlantic Division

Wake Forest 2-1 4-2 ... Deacs deserve credit for beating Stanford, but schedule gets a bit tougher next few weeks. Midterm: B+

Maryland 1-1 2-4 ... the heat is warming up for Fridge. Midterm: F

Boston College 2-2 4-2 ... please spare us another BC-VT title game. Midterm: C

Clemson 1-2 2-3 ... too much talent to lose so many close games. Midterm: C-

NC State 0-2 3-3 ... one win of note in 09 (Pitt) for taciturn Tommy O. Midterm: D

Florida State 0-3 2-4 ... hate to see it get so ugly for Bobby Bowden. Midterm: D

Coastal Division

Virginia Tech 3-0 5-1 ... Beamer ball has turned since loss to Tide. Midterm: B+

Virginia 1-0 2-3 ... this team is not a contender and Al Groh may be out of Mr. Jefferson's U before Christmas. Midterm: D

Georgia Tech 3-1 5-1 ... still my pick for ACC champ. Midterm: B+

Miami 2-1 4-1 ... Canes handled difficult early schedule well. Midterm: A

Duke 1-1 3-3 ... Coach Cut gets chicken salad from lemons or something like that. Midterm: B

North Carolina 0-2 4-2 ... Butch Davis is perhaps too well-repected? Midterm: C-

Big 12

North Division

Kansas 1-0 5-0 ... Jayhawks have played nobody. Midterm: Incomplete

Nebraska 1-0 4-1 ... Watch Bo's boys ... should be unbeaten: Midterm: A-

Kansas State 1-1 3-3 ... remember when that guy used to schedule a bunch of cupcakes for K-State? What - he's back! Midterm: C

Missouri 0-1 4-1 ... much will be learned abou Tigers in next two weeks. Loss to Nebraska hurt grade. Midterm: B-

Colorado 0-1 1-4 ... you know things are bad in Buffalo land when the head coach has to bench his son. Midterm: F

Iowa State 0-2 3-3 ... Cyclones have beaten teams they should've and lost two close ones. Should pass the course. Midterm: C

South Division

Texas 2-0 5-0 ... prize pupil has major assignment this week; a win might be valedictory honors. Midterm: A

Oklahoma State 1-0 4-1 ... only one letdown so far, but haven't beaten anybody of note either. Midterm: B-

Oklahoma 1-0 3-2 ... excused absences make this grade a challenge; ace the exam this week to move the grade back up. Midterm: C+

Texas Tech 1-1 4-2 ... class clown is entertaining but failed two biggest exams of semester. Midterm: C

Baylor 0-1 3-2 ... Bears giving it the old college try in a solid effort to this point. Win at Wake offset by loss to U Conn. Midterm: B-

Texas A&M 0-1 3-2 ... Aggies aced early quizzes but fell behind as pace of semester picked up. Midterm: C-

Big East

Pittsburgh 2-0 5-1 ... no great submissions, but results are good. Midterm: B

Cincinnati 1-0 5-0 ... looks like star of class. Midterm: A

South Florida 1-0 5-0 ... a class favorite, but remaining schedule of assignments will be a challenge. Midterm: A

West Virginia 1-0 4-1 ... does not look like a champion, but certainly passing. Midterm: B

Rutgers 0-1 4-1 ... has recovered from early flub, but not against anybody of note. Midterm: C

Connecticut 0-1 3-2 ... one nice win and two close losses equals a decent grade. Midterm: C+

Louisville 0-1 2-3 ... win over Southern Miss salvages some hope. Midterm: C-

Syracuse 0-2 2-4 ... not much expected, so not failing. Midterm: D+

Big Ten

Ohio State 3-0 5-1 ... failed a big assignment, but may be class best. Midterm: B+

Iowa 2-0 6-0 ... aced all tests so far. Midterm: A

Wisconsin 2-1 5-1 ... good start to semester but could not handle big exam. Midterm: B

Minnesota 2-1 4-2 ... beautiful stadium makes me want to grade soft ... tough schedule looms. Midterm: B

Michigan State 2-1 3-3 ... expected more and Sparty may eventually earn a good grade. Midterm: C

Penn State 1-1 5-1 ... high expectations have not been met, but still might earn Dean's List. Midterm: B

Northwestern 1-1 4-2 ... has not passed any major assignment so I find them suspect. Midterm: B-

Michigan 1-2 4-2 ... failed last two tests, but this student has potential. Watch Wolverines. Midterm: B

Indiana 0-2 3-3 ... good early start has been forgotten, especially with embarrassing loss to Virginia last week. Midterm: C-

Purdue 0-2 1-5 ... five straight losses, each progressively uglier. Midterm: D-

Illinois 0-3 1-4 ... this act has run thin. Midterm: F


Oregon 3-0 5-1 ... early discipline issues are fading. Midterm: B+

Stanford 3-1 4-2 ... recent failure does not lessen potential. Midterm: B

USC 2-1 4-1 ... annual snooze through a minor test costs points, but probably still earns valedictory honors for this class. Midterm: B

Oregon State 2-1 4-2 ... solid year after year. Midterm: B

Washington 2-1 3-3 ... low expectations make performance more impressive. Midterm. A-

Arizona 1-1 3-2 ... under radar but not danger of failing at this point. Midterm: C+

Arizona State 1-1 3-2 ... unsure about this pupil with difficult stretch ahead. Midterm: C-

California 0-2 3-2 ... looked like star student early, but 6 points (total) in last two games? Midterm: D

UCLA 0-2 3-2 ... good early start is thing of past for struggling Bruins. Midterm: C

Washington State 0-4 1-5 ... low expectations have been met. Midterm: D-


East Division

Florida 3-0 5-0 ... professor's pet has passed all tests. Midterm: A-

South Carolina 2-1 5-1 ... with a genius for a coach, the Gamecocks should do well. Midterm: B+

Georgia 2-2 3-3 ... alma mater dear - where's the defense (or the offense)? Midterm: C-

Tennessee 1-2 3-3 ... arrogant students irritate me, but must be graded fairly. Midterm: C+

Kentucky 0-3 2-3 ... results look worse than they should because of schedule. Should pass the course. Midterm: C

Vanderbilt 0-3 2-4 ... not sure I find any more wins on this schedule. Could get ugly. Midterm: D

West Division

Alabama 3-0 6-0 ... best of the class so far. Midterm: A+

LSU 3-1 5-1 ... not sure this squad earned some of those high marks; we'll find out. Midterm: B+

Auburn 2-1 5-1 ... again, low expectations make good results look even better. Midterm: B+

Arkansas 1-2 3-2 ... talented but flawed, this squad could spoil somebody's season at some point. Midterm: C

Mississippi 1-2 3-2 ... read too many press clippings and forgot that grades are earned not given. Midterm: C

Mississippi State 1-2 2-4 ... two more wins are feasible (not probable) but Bullies have competed. Midterm: C+

Independents/BCS Busters

Notre Dame 4-1 ... my beloved team of childhood, the Irish have aged the professor this season. Midterm: B+

Boise State 5-0 ... take some upper level courses so we can get a true reading. Midterm: B+

TCU 5-0 ... love this squad, but doubt they will win out to bust BCS. Midterm: A

Here are this week's Top Ten lists.


Campus Game Top Ten Rankings (Week 7)

10. Kansas ... I like undefeated teams from BCS conferences.

9. TCU ... Horned Frogs get nod over Boise as best of BCS busters.

8. Virginia Tech ... I fully expect Georgia Tech to beat the Hokies this weekend.

7. Miami ... Canes may deserve to be ranked higher.

6. Iowa ... not really a believer, but results are there.

5. USC ... Trojans still in driver's seat among 1-loss teams in my opinion.

4. Cincinnati ... Big East is better than usual and the Bearcats deserve some respect.

3. Texas ... Should Longhorns lasso Sooners this weekend, the path is right there for the BCS title trek.

2. Florida ... Gritty Gators will be tough to dethrone, regardless if offense struggles.

1. Alabama ... Crimson Tide look powerful and only concern seems to be peaking too early.

Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 7)

Arkansas at Florida ... Razorbacks have plenty of firepower to test Gators great defense.

Boise State at Tulsa (Wednesday) ... Golden Hurricane could douse Bronco's BCS busting efforts.

South Carolina at Alabama ... The head ball coach has quietly gotten SC into the Top 25.

Pitt at Rutgers (Friday) ... Scarlet Knights cannot afford another Big East conference loss.

Texas Tech at Nebraska ... Huskers defense gets chance to prove itself against terrific passing attack of the Red Raiders.

Iowa at Wisconsin ... Hawkeyes unblemished record may get scratched up in Madison.

Cincinnati at South Florida (Thursday) ... winner will be favorite to win Big East BCS bid.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech ... A Yellow Jacket win could mean end of Hokie reign as ACC champ.

Oklahoma vs. Texas at Dallas ... Think Sooner fans would like to spoil another title run for Horns?

USC at Notre Dame ... Irish have chance to prove whether they belong among Top 25 against greatest rival.

Wednesday Night Pick: Boise over Tulsa