College FB Approaches Mid-Season Point

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For some college football programs the half-way point of the season will be reached when they conclude their games this Saturday. It seems hard to believe, but we’re now in the thick of the season when conference play is happening and we are getting a good idea which teams are rising to the occasion and which teams are not.

Midseason Milestone

This is the sixth weekend for college football and for those schools not having enjoyed a bye week yet, it will also be their sixth game in a twelve-game regular season. Many teams will gain a 13th game by virtue of a post-season bowl game with a 14th game for those schools participating in a league championship contest before their bowl tilt.

A glance at the USA Today poll reveals that the top 11 teams have yet to lose with an additional six unbeaten teams occupying the lower spots in the poll. 11 of the 17 unbeaten teams have played five games so far, with most seeing action this weekend. Michigan State travels to Michigan in a battle of 5-0 teams and Florida hopes to battle back and knock off LSU after getting smeared by Alabama last weekend. Barring an upset, the remaining unbeaten teams should survive for yet another Saturday, delaying the whittling down process a bit longer.

Bama Tops

The top of the college football heap is no surprise with Alabama being a near unanimous pick for #1. After dismantling a highly regarded Florida team on Saturday, the Crimson Tide should be everyone’s top pick, but then you will almost always have a writer who thinks that an Ohio State or Boise State has a chance against the Tide. Not last year and it certainly doesn’t look to be so for this year either.

What teams are surprises this year for better or for worse? The following are my picks:

Michigan State — I could say “Michigan” as easily as mentioning the Spartans, but I’m impressed by the State offense which is getting the job done, averaging 36 points per game. The Big “D” needs to work hard this Saturday, however, as the Wolverines are averaging 45 points per game.

NC State — The Wolfpack withered in the second half against Virginia Tech, losing their first game of the season on Saturday. QB Russell Wilson is hot, tossing for 3 TDs and 362 yards against the Hokies. He also threw three interceptions which were caught by  Jayron Hosley each time.  Despite losing, I believe the Pack may contend for the ACC title this year.

Oklahoma — The Sooners blew out a good Florida State team in the second week of the season, but have won their four other games by eight points or less. Beating Air Force by three and Cincinnati by two is cause for concern, but at the end of the game the Sooners are still tops. You got to think that Oklahoma would love to play Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, giving the Cornhuskers a “nice” exit as they leave for the Big Ten.

Rutgers — Was the 2006 season an anamoly? It sure seems that way for the Scarlet Knights who haven’t had a statement win since then. This year was supposed to be different, but with a depleted offense, and being beaten by a penalty ridden North Carolina and weak Tulane team has hammered the boys on the Raritan. I don’t believe Rutgers will make it back to a bowl this year unless their offense booms.

BYU — San Diego State should be an easy win for the Cougars, right? No. After getting wiped out by the Aztecs the previous week, Utah State came back and slapped around BYU last week. This week, the Aztecs get the chance to beat down 1-4 BYU who must play #5 TCU the following week. And, with #10 Utah closing out the season, the Cougars are looking at an uncommon non-bowl season this year.

Penn State — Joe Paterno will soon reach his 200th birthday (kidding), but his Nittany Lions are powerless and touchdown-less against the top teams losing to Alabama and Iowa by identical 24-3 scores. Beating Youngstown State was expected, but having trouble with Temple is, well, troubling. At 3-2, Penn State isn’t dead yet, but with games against Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan State coming up, JoePa may find the going especially rough.

Now about those rumors TCU is considering joining the Big East….

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