College Football Midseason Recap

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We are at the halfway point of the college football season, when all of the schools have at least six games behind them with six regular season games to go. I am not including conference title games in the mix nor those schools with an extra game on their schedule because they agreed to play at Hawaii. Nor am I including the bowl games which continue to get more attention than they can possibly deserve. New Era Pinstripe Bowl – what’s up with that?

Before I move on, please allow me draw your attention to Rutgers defensive back Eric LeGrand who suffered a violent collision late in the game against Army this past weekend. LeGrand lay motionless after the hit and was rushed to a local hospital where doctors say that he is paralyzed below the neck. Football is a rough sport with concussions a regular occurrence and injuries such as what LeGrand sustained though uncommon are life-changing. Our prayers go out on behalf of Eric, his family and his Scarlet Knights team.

Top Dogs

Boise State is now just one step away from securing the top spot in the nation, following Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin. Oregon and the Broncos have moved up while Oklahoma leap-frogged TCU to take over the third position in the AP poll. Last week’s chatter that Boise State would be the top team in the season’s first BCS poll proved false as Oklahoma is first followed by Oregon and then Boise State. That means if the season ended today, the Sooners would play the Ducks for the national championship. Well, there is a lot of football left and the Broncos will move up if they finish unbeaten and either Oklahoma or Oregon loses.

Drilling down, let’s take a look at some of the props and flops for this mid-season:

Big East Conference – Call it parity as all eight Big East schools are at least 3-3. Call it disappointing as only West Virginia is ranked and at #20 is far from deserving to play in a BCS game. What the Mountaineers do have going for them are conference games against mostly lightweight teams with perhaps Pittsburgh in the best position to challenge them for the Big East title.

Atlantic Coast Conference – Florida State is ranked #16 in both major polls while Virginia Tech and Miami are battling for Coastal division honors. The ACC winner, much like the Big East winner, may not be a Top 10 team when the season comes to an end.

South East Conference – Alabama has recovered, but they still must get past Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn in order to have a shot at the SEC title game. South Carolina, despite being 2-2 is all alone in first place in the West division and could very well play Bama again for SEC honors.

Big Ten Conference – Michigan and Ohio State have been defeated and Penn State finds itself battling Minnesota for last place. Michigan State, off to its best start since 1966, looks like its only huge obstacle left is its game at Iowa on October 30.

Big 12 Conference – Everyone is jumping on Texas this year, but the Longhorns did travel to Nebraska to beat the Cornhuskers last week. Missouri and Oklahoma will battle this weekend, perhaps offering a preview of the Big 12 title game. Then again, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, averaging nearly 50 points a game, may stand in the Sooners way.

Pac 10 Conference – Oregon’s points machine continues to produce, averaging a nationwide leading 52 points per game. QB Darron Thomas has already passed for 1,200 yards, while right back LaMichael James is showing why he is a strong Heisman Trophy candidate, averaging 169 yards rushing per game.

Best of the Rest – Boise State, TCU and Utah, as expected, are ranked. That they are still each in the Top 10 at this point in the season is not much of a surprise either. The biggest challenges left for the Horned Frogs are Air Force and Utah while Boise State gets to play at resurgent Hawaii and meet up with one-loss Nevada. Besides playing TCU, Utah meets Air Force and Notre Dame and ends with BYU. Even if these schools don’t get to play in the title game, all three are strong candidates for to land a major bowl bid.

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