1. Do we have a favorite for the National Championship? It is entirely possible that by midnight tonight on the East coast, we will have a clear favorite to win the whole thing. Something thought not possible two weeks ago.
In a season that could see 16 teams contend for the title game in Glendale, Texas could be the rabbit in the race with a win over Ohio State. Yes, that is a tough order, however, if Penn State beats Notre Dame, it is in the cards. Texas seems to be the major beneficiary of Rhett Bomar's indiscretion in Norman. The object this season is not to lose two games, and if they prevail tonight, they should be cruising to, at worst, a one loss season.
Ohio State's schedule is a bit tougher from here than the Longhorns.
What should concern most fans, however, is that a Big East team will likely run the table. You know as well as I do that if West Virginia or Louisville do that, they are Glendale bound. If Texas and Penn State win, Texas is in the drivers seat for the other. Let the arguing begin.
2. Just how much do teams improve from week one to week two? For Cal, Boston College, and Notre Dame, the answer must be quite a bit. Teams that are expected to go far, like Michigan and Florida to a degree, were rusty last week. That rust is gone as real play begins and this week should show where teams really stand.
If your team scared you last week, a good game today will ease your fears.
3. Heisman Weeding? If you were on the pre-season hype list, after today your reputation no longer applies. Most hopefuls will have two games under their belt and today's you need an impressive game to keep you on the short list goes to Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson. More on Quinn in the next part of the piece, but Peterson must have a monster game against Washington in order to stay on voters minds, and more importantly, to give Oklahoma any hope towards the BCS.
When Brian releases his Heisman top ten this week, start to watch for who is really playing well and who is cruising from the hype.
BCS Eliminator- Penn State at Notre Dame
This week's must win game is at South Bend. Mind you, one loss doesn't end your title hopes, which is why OSU-Texas isn't here this week. Both of those teams are capable of running the table after tonight and are fine with one loss.
I don't think that is the case here. Especially for Penn State, avoiding a second loss becomes nearly impossible as they get into the Big Ten. The Nittnay Lions looked good at times against an underrated Akron team last week, but that will seem like an inter-squad scrimmage compared to the throng in South Bend who feel like the world wants to beat them after the Irish lackluster win in Atlanta. Luckily, despite inexperience at quarterback with Anthony Morrielli, they have Joe Paterno at the helm. He's coached just a couple games here and there, Penn State will be mentally prepared for Notre Dame.
The Irish, however, need a statement game. They need the defense to step up, something it has failed to do in a season plus a game. They need Brady Quinn to look like Quinn, not Ron Pawlus. You get the sense that they feel disrespected and maybe the underdog today. This game will go a long way in determining if head coach Charlie Weis is treated like Ara Parshigean or Jerry Faust. The pressure is on Weis to produce, fairly or unfairly, and he knows it. It gets only tougher from here for the Irish.
We will be back and forth throughout the day with updates and insights. I'll be back before 3:30 with my thoughts on the early games. Enjoy the games!
We have such an appetizing fightcard today. Penn State-ND followed by #1 Ohio State/#2 Texas. Seven hours of colossal television awaits.
Before we move forward, a little news.
Last night, Pittsburgh opened their Big East schedule with a 33-15 win in Cincinnati. Pitt qb Tyler Palko had a tremendous night, 11-21 for 267 and three touchdowns. Two of those were to Derek Kinder. Kinder caught three passes for 172 yards and two scores.
Erk Russell, Vince Dooley's defensive coordinator at Georgia and successful I-AA coach at Georgia Southern, was killed in a car accident yesterday near his home in Statesboro, GA. He struck a light pole, but police say his death was not from the accident(no foul play suspected). Russell, 83-22-1 as a head coach with three I-AA national titles, was 80.
Moving on to today, here are three questions to consider as we watch: