VETTEL: Week Seven Musings

Florida and Missouri fell from the ranks of the unbeatens, Georgia lost a second straight home game in which it had a double digit lead and Adrian Peterson saw his Heisman Trophy hopes snap. The ACC has a mess on its hands, the Miami Hurricanes reverted to their thuggish ways and more coaches edge closer to the unemployment line.

That and more in this week’s college football musings.

Big East has three undefeated teams —– It’s no surprise to me that there are just seven teams in division one that have yet to lose; however it is stunning that three of the seven reside in the Big East. Rutgers, Louisville and West Virginia all remained perfect this weekend although Louisville had to hold on for dear life to beat Cincinnati. The month of November promises to be an exciting one when all the contenders, including 6-and-1 Pittsburgh go head to head. Keep an eye on the Panthers. They get all three of the unbeaten teams at home. One interesting thing is that the league title may be settled on Thursday nights. Louisville hosts West Virginia on November 2nd and visits Rutgers the following Thursday. Then, on November 16th Pittsburgh will host the Cardinals.

Troy Smith can strike the pose —– The race for the Heisman Trophy is over. Barring a complete meltdown, Troy Smith from Ohio State will walk away with college football’s top prize. Smith had another fine game in the Buckeyes’ domination of Michigan State. He’s now passed for 1,495 yards and 17 TD with just two interceptions. Chris Leak’s three turnovers in the loss to Auburn kill his chances. Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma is out of the mix after breaking his collarbone, and underdog pick Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois was held to 25 yards on 18 carries in a loss to Western Michigan. That should end the foolishness of him getting significant votes.

John L. Smith getting major heat —– The embattled Michigan State coach did nothing to help his case this weekend, losing to Ohio State 38-7 with the Spartans’ points coming with just 1:07 to play. Smith has had consecutive losing seasons in East Lansing and has lost four straight after opening the campaign with three wins. Three of the losses are to top ten teams, but the other is to Illinois. Ironic that the Fightin’ Zookers’ (2-and-5) biggest win is so embarrassing that it could cost the other coach his job.

Two SEC teams 3-and-4, (1-and-3) but very different —– Bill Parcells is noted for saying, “you are what your record says you are.” While I agree in principle, there’s a big difference between two SEC schools with identical records listed. One is Vanderbilt, which under Bobby Johnson is building up a nice talent base and is competitive every week. The Commodores beat Georgia Saturday and almost beat Alabama (10-13) and Arkansas (19-21). Vandy looks like a tough late season game for both the Gators and Vols. Meanwhile Kentucky has another appalling performance in a 49-zip loss at LSU. Kentucky has been outscored 24-99 in its three SEC losses and Coach Rich Brooks is now 5-and-23 against the SEC. Kentucky does have games with Mississippi State and Louisiana Monroe coming up, so they could have a shot at a six win season when they face Vandy on November 11th.

Shame on the Canes —– Miami officials are understandably furious at the embarrassing rumble with Florida International at the Orange Bowl Saturday night. It was as ugly a melee as we’ve seen since the heyday of Miami’s intimidating thuggery during the Dennis Erickson years. Eight ‘Canes were handed suspensions by Coach Larry Coker on Sunday, but the inadequacy of that action became clear later when the ACC suspended five more ‘Canes for a game. The lengths of some of the suspensions remain to be determined. Let me help here. Two Miami safeties should be dismissed from the team. Anthony Reddick ran across the field swinging his helmet at the heads of F-I-U players and connecting at least once. Brandon Meriweather repeatedly stomped on guys who were already down.

Yes, F-I-U was the instigator and there should be major sanctions handed down there, but Miami is a major power and F-I-U isn’t. However they will play Alabama this week without 18 suspended starters. The whole ugly mess may well seal the futures of both Coker and Athletic Director Paul Dee. And next year’s game should be cancelled.

ACC Standings quite odd —– Care to guess who is in last place in the ACC Atlanta Division? The FSU Seminoles are the only squad in the six-team group with two conference losses to this point. Clemson has the best mark at 3-and-1 with Wake Forest and Boston College both 2-and-1. The Noles are not out of it, but with losses to Clemson and B.C. they have to win out to have a shot at returning to Atlanta. Meanwhile in the Coastal Division the aforementioned Hurricanes are in good shape despite losing to the Noles opening day. Miami has Duke this week followed by Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. If they can sweep that trio they’ll control their destiny for the conference title game.