Monday, October 21, 2002

College Football Insider

Huskers lead Big Trouble poll

By Mike Lopresti
Gannett News Service

        More interesting than today's first BCS rankings (Miami and Oklahoma are clearly 1-2) is the BT ranking. Big Trouble. It's reserved for teams who were supposed to be doing better than this. Here's the top teams in the BT poll:

        No. 1 Nebraska. The indignities keep coming, the latest its first loss to Oklahoma State since 1961. And now, at 5-3 but with Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas State and Colorado ahead, a losing season is entirely thinkable.

        No. 2 Michigan State. A pre-season Big Ten favorite is now 3-4 and has lost four of its last five.

        No. 3 Florida. The overtime escape against Auburn stopped the bleeding, but the Gators have Georgia and Florida State to play, and are sagging with mental mistakes.

        No. 4 Syracuse. The program that has enjoyed 15 consecutive winning seasons is 1-6.

        No. 5 Washington. A supposed national contender is 4-3 and was just mashed by USC.

        “We are a football team that has to do a complete introspection as to how we're going to salvage the season,” Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel said.

        No. 6 BYU. A Cougars team that can't score? Read it and weep. BYU has lost four of its last five and scored 12 points in two games.

        No. 7 Louisville. The team that stunned Florida State in overtime hasn't been the same since, with a narrow win over Memphis and a battering by Tulane.

        “Some of us have gotten a lot of pats on the back and are full of ourselves,” said Cardinals coach John L. Smith. “We've got to look in the mirror and see how selfish we are.”

        Heisman outlook

        With October waning, it is finally time to name a Heisman front-runner. And that would be ... Hmmm ...

        Can we get back to you?

        Florida quarterback Rex Grossman is off the radar screen.

        Michigan State receiver Charles Rogers stopped catching touchdowns.

        There were clear signs of a groundswell for Iowa State's Seneca Wallace, but that was before he went splat against Oklahoma.

        “I don't give a hoot for the Heisman,” he said after going 4-of-22 passing. “If it damages it ... who cares? Move on to the next game.”

        Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey hasn't been sensational, but he never loses. So long as he doesn't, he leads the pack.

        Florida State running back Greg Jones could make a move with a big day against Notre Dame on Saturday in Tallahassee.

        Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich is still around, but his closing arguments will come against names such as Akron, Ohio and Ball State.

        Ohio State freshman Maurice Clarett could stop by the ceremony on his way to the NFL draft, but it's hard to imagine enough Heisman votes for a rookie.

        Here comes Oklahoma

        What the Sooners did Saturday to Iowa State will be hard to top for performance of the year.

        The Cyclones had four yards at halftime, 60 for the game. An offense averaging 38 points per game was simply steamrolled.

        Coming attractions

        Notre Dame at Florida State. The Irish are for real. But are they really for real? There might be no stopping them if they win in Tallahassee.

        Iowa at Michigan. The winner shares the express lane to the Rose Bowl with Ohio State.

        Stat of the week

        There's more than one way to skin an opponent. Texas Tech beat Missouri 52-38 and threw 70 passes. Ohio beat Kent State 50-0 and threw one.

        Thumbs up, down

        Up to Minnesota. Good news: Gophers are 7-1, for best start since their last Rose Bowl in 1961. Bad news: Rest of schedule reads Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.

        Up to Alabama. Big win over Mississippi improves Tide's record to 3-6 against the Manning clan - Eli, Peyton and Archie.

        Down to Vanderbilt. First, the Commodores' team bus hits a truck. Then, they run into a Georgia team that scores on first eight possessions.

        Down to UCLA. Bruins lose two quarterbacks to injuries in one quarter, and then the game to California.


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