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Bye-week bullet points


Let's think about football instead:

Every Saturday this season we'll see the fruits of a revolution that has been under way for a while now. Every channel features another killer variation on the spread. Every defensive coordinator in the country seems at a loss. The only thing more exciting than seeing teams put up embarrassing numbers will be the inevitable regression to the mean.

In spite of that: Neither Ohio State nor USC looked terribly elite on Saturday night. Both teams were awful on offense. The Matt Barkley Experience seems more and more like an exercise in hubris. And Jim Tressel's use of Terrell Pryor was unimaginative to the point of comatose. I actually felt sorry for the Buckeye fans when Joe McKnight exploded in the final drive, and for that I resent him.

On the other end of the spectrum: Tate Forcier went a long way toward legitimizing Rich Rodriguez's high-octane system in the eyes of the Michigan faithful, but the best quarterback on that field was clearly Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, who has come into his own as a junior. He tossed the ball for 336 yards and three touchdowns.

Also filed under high octane: Guess who's going to absolutely suck when some team hires away their offensive coordinator as a head coach? Yeah. That'd be Auburn. Gene Chizik is getting a lot of credit for the great Tiger Turnaround, but all he did so far was hire the right guy.

As for the strategist on the opposite sideline: Dan Mullen's got a long way to go at Mississippi State, but he'll get there if given the time.

In other rookie coaches news: Do you think reality has dawned on Lane Kiffin yet? Could you see it in his face on Saturday afternoon? He called an atrocious game against UCLA, his veteran QB had a total meltdown on the field, and the Vol faithful will soon remember that the SEC isn't the Pac-10. After Kiffin's off-season hijinks, the Gators and Urban Meyer are out to prove a point for good. (BTW: Troy is no joke. Florida just made them look like one. I can smell it in the air going into this weekend.)

In other Kiffin news: Monte's defense looks pretty salty. I'm just not sure that even he can stop the bleeding once Urban Meyer's thoroughly modern offense takes the field.

Speaking of defense: that might be the only thing that keeps Les Miles and his LSU Tigers in the standings this season. The Tigers got bailed out by their D in the fourth quarter against Vandy this week, but teams with more firepower are going to be less forgiving. Nobody in the league, not even the coach at Ole Miss, squanders talent and early leads like Les Miles, so expect him to under-perform this and every season.

As for us: We were supposed to learn something about Georgia against South Carolina, but all we found out was that the Bulldogs are a talented and dangerous mess. After struggling against an over-hyped Oklahoma State team, the offense caught fire against one of the best defenses in the country. Jason Cox has more in common with Casey Dick than an unfortunate surname, but a target like AJ Green forgives a lot of the lack in that limited redhead. Their D got lit up by Stephen Garcia, which can mean many things: either the sophomore is that good or the defense is that bad. I worry most about how our special teams have progressed. Brandon Boykin sprung a 100-yard return that changed the tenor of the game. Tejada clearly won't kick it deep enough for him to do that again, but let's hope we can contain him all the same.


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