After a perfect Week I, only Nebraska’s Cornhuskers, who fell to rising UCLA in the Rose Bowl. let me down last weekend. UK proved my faith was well placed after a tossed quarter came up heads. Mississippi State cowbelled Auburn, which is now 0-2. South Florida upheld the honor of the Big East in Reno. And U of L held serve against Mizzou State.
9-1 on the season is not bad, if I say so myself.
On to Week III. Let’s see what will happen as the season starts to get some rhythm to it.
Florida @ Tennessee. If Derek Dooley, still a game under .500 in Knoxville, manages to beat the Gators Saturday — something the Orange hasn’t done in a long while — you may actually be able to find a DD bobblehead at the Orange Country Tchochke Shoppe. The Vols have shown some swagger after its 2 TD neutral field W over NC State and a workmanlike thumping of Georgia State. Will Muschamp’s pigskinners have also started 2-0, the latest W a zesty nudge over league neophyte Texas A & M’s 12 man team. Yet Musch still has a long way to go for fans to admire him as fondly as Ye Ol’ Ball Coach, now at South Carolina, and Pope Urban, now at Script Ohio. It’s gonna get worse before it maybe gets better in Gainesville. Muschamp should be grabbing for a sound-muffling head set to mask the strains of “Rocky Top” being played over and over and over and over and over and over and over . . . again.
Notre Dame @ Michigan State. It’s a way old saw by now, but I still, for the life of me, in this what have you done for me in the last nanosecond techno era, don’t understand how and why the Not So Fighting Irish remain eminent in the world of college pigskin? ‘Splain that one to me, Lucy? The Golden Domers survived Dublin dining, and ducked a haymaker by the Boilermakers last weekend. Now, a real test for Coach Irascible in East Lansing. Sparty seems to be surprising folks every season now. But it shouldn’t surprise when the guys at home in green beat the visitors, who, I think, will be wearing some really ugly space age unis. (Actually that’s not true. They’re saving those uglies for the battle against hapless Miami.)
Southern Cal @ Stanford. With Oregon’s Quack and USC’s Trojans among the nation’s elite, the PAC 12 is claiming and flaunting its resurgency. The Cardinal are hanging on in the Top 25 despite a wobbly opening game W over San Jose State. Bashing Duke last weekend signifies nothing. While the Men of Troy are proclaiming a return to the halcyon days of OJ Whatsisname, despite a less than emphatic win over Syracuse. Well, this conference game is biggie. Gus Johnson will be in town. More important, so will Erin Andrews, the new voice and look of Fox College Sports. Andrew Luck will not be under center for Leland’s squad. Matt Barkley will be for the Trojans. Which is why the latter wins and the former loses.
Western Kentucky @ Kentucky. Last week in the U of L press box, a couple of scribes were obviously bored with the action on the field. One spent most of a quarter explaining to the other why Willie Taggert should be Kentucky’s next mentor. “He’s a helluva lot better coach than Joker,” he opined. Maybe. Maybe not. This week’s game could give some insight. The Hilltoppers are but a 7 1/2 point dog, heading into Commonwealth. Can they do what neither U of L or Kent State couldn’t? Stop Max Smith, that is. If so, Taggert might get his chance. If not, the members of the Big Blue Nation who want to speak of Joker in the past tense will be further frustrated. Get used to it. UK takes care of biz this week.
North Carolina @ Louisville. The Cardinals defense has been disappointing, though they’ve surrendered only 10 1/2 points/ game, 16th best in the land. Their D is ranked 38th, which is not exactly what Charlie Strong was hoping for. Meanwhile Carolina, with its Pro Bowl line, is averaging 44 points and 200 yards rushing/ game. Of course, a lot of that gloss came from a W over something called Elon. This is the first of three testy non-league games in a row for Louisville. An L would be bracing. But I’m thinking Strong and Vance Bedford are going to coach ‘em up for the season’s first real test. Cards go 3-0.