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Trevor Matich: Pac-10 Lacks at the Top

I was sitting down and getting set to pound out a post on our college football conference power rankings when I heard ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich doing the same thing. Apparently one of their computer guys had the Pac-10 listed as the second strongest conference in the country and Matich wasn’t buying that. He said:

“I think they’re solid, they’ve got good depth, but I think they lack at the top. You talk about the early returns, I think that’s what’s important. We don’t know. We thought the ACC — at least I did — would perform better than it did, certainly this last week when it just got wiped out. The Pac-10 has the opportunity to either be annihilated this week like the ACC was last week, or to show that they are now stepping up.”

I agree with his assessment for the most part. The conference has really good depth and does not have one standout, national title competing team. Oregon made a statement by smashing Tennessee in the second half of their game on Saturday but I would not call them a number one type of team. Still, I think the Ducks are a better representative for the Pac-10′s top team than what most other conferences have to offer. Like Matich said, this weekend is huge for the conference.

The Pac-10 needs wins from Cal (at Nevada), Stanford (home against Wake Forest), Oregon State (home against Louisville) and USC (at Minnesota) to maintain its respectability. Arizona State beating Wisconsin on the road, Washington beating Nebraska, or Arizona defeating Iowa at home would be nice bonuses for the conference, but I’m not expecting a victory for any of them. As for UCLA and Washington State, they appear to be the two worst teams in the conference so any non-conference win would be welcomed and unexpected. I’d say the Pac-10 at number two in terms of conference strength is a little high, but it’s certainly strong this year.

Chris Rainey Not Part of Team After Arrest

Following the model of Elijah Dukes, Florida Gators receiver Chris Rainey was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated stalking. Rainey went over to his on-and-off girlfriend’s place after she missed his call. The two apparently talked for 10 minutes before she asked Rainey to leave. When he left, he sent her the now infamous “Time to Die Bitch” text message. The woman’s sister called police after the text message was received.

Florida’s offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has said Rainey “is not part of the team right now” following the arrest. Addazio’s words have been reported differently by others. AP writer Mark Long quoted Addazio as saying Rainey is “no longer a part of the team.”

The difference between the two quotes is significant. In The Gainesville Sun’s version, the implication is that the move is temporary. In Long’s version, the implication is that the situation is more permanent.

Knowing Urban Meyer’s history of weak discipline, I’m guessing this is a temporary situation. With the way Florida’s looked in their first two games, they’ll need all the play makers on offense they can get and Urb will do his best to get Rainey back on the field quickly.

Sources:
Update: Gators: Rainey ‘not part of the team’ after arrest [The Gainesville Sun]

Denard Robinson is the Real Deal

It appears Rich Rodriguez has found his guy.  The hot seat talk in Ann Arbor has tapered off, and the Michigan Wolverines owe a huge portion of their early-season success to sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson.  True Heisman Trophy contenders don’t score a touchdown and break into the Heisman pose for the cameras — it just happens.

We’ve already told you how we feel about Rich Rodriguez, but when credit is deserved we aren’t afraid to hand it out.  Rodriguez has the Wolverines’ program back on the rise, and the main reason that’s happening is that he’s found the perfect fit for his offense.  Pat White was recently released by the Dolphins and is now considering a career in baseball, despite finishing in the top-10 in Heisman voting twice during his college career.  White was one of the most electrifying players in college football while at West Virginia, and it’s now become evident that he was a product of Rich Rodriguez’ system.

That’s certainly not to say Robinson can’t become a star in the NFL, but it’s obvious he’s the perfect fit for a Rodriguez offense.  Robinson is essentially Michigan’s running back and quarterback.  Through two games, he’s leading the nation in rushing with 455 rushing yards.  One might assume his passing stats would be mediocre given the numbers he’s piled up running the football, but that’s not the case.  Robinson has thrown for 430 yards and two touchdowns.  More importantly, he has yet to throw an interception.

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LaMichael James TD Run of the Week

Oregon was engaged in a bizarre game on Saturday night in Knoxville. The Ducks seemed to be spooked by the lightning that delayed the contest and the noisy crowd in Neyland Stadium. They were down 13-3 most of the first half before going into halftime tied at 13. It wasn’t until the second half when the Ducks really got it going.

Oregon outscored Tennessee 35-0 in the second half, routing the Vols 48-13. The play that got it all started was one of the most spectacular runs of the weekend. Check out this amazing 72-yard touchdown run by LaMichael James that started the rout:

From Jonathan Stewart to Reuben Droughns to Maurice Morris and the Whizzinator, Oregon is churning out some good backs. Maybe we’ll be adding LaMichael James’ name to the list before long.

Video Credit: YouTube user NWsports300

ACC with Poor Week as Expected

When I talk about the top conferences in college football, I talk about the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-10. The Big East is left out of my discussions, the ACC is hardly referenced, and Boise State and the Mountain West are mentioned casually. Despite having strong programs like Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech, the ACC has not been a major player on the college football scene for at least the past five years. They showed why on Saturday.

Billed as a top team that was “back” this year, Miami got throttled by Ohio State 36-24. A kickoff and punt return for a touchdown kept the score much closer for Miami than the game truly was. Jacory Harris may have mocked Jim Tressel but the Buckeyes had the last laugh.

Florida State was coming off a dominant week one win over Samford and looking to expose a weak Oklahoma secondary. The opposite ended up happening. Landry Jones and the Sooners shredded the Noles who got embarrassed 47-17.

Virginia Tech had the most notable loss of the weekend. Coming off a defeat by Boise State, the Hokies fell to James Madison at home 21-16. They committed three turnovers and became the first ranked team to lose to a D-II opponent since Michigan fell to App. State at the Big House in 2007.

The last loss for the ACC was Georgia Tech falling at Kansas. We’ve already covered what it meant for the KU program, so we’ll write this one off as a charitable deed by Paul Johnson.

Maryland, Clemson, B.C., and N.C. State all had non-conference wins, but their victories were overshadowed by the bad losses from the power programs in the conference. All but the Virginia Tech loss were expected. The ACC being down is not a surprise — they’re a basketball conference for a reason.

Jacory Harris Sports the Sweater Vest

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris made waves on the net by wearing Oakland Raiders overalls earlier this week. Now he’s captured our attention with another choice of clothing. Preparing for Miami’s game in Columbus, Harris walked off the team bus at the Horseshoe wearing a Jim Tressel sweater vest and tie, as I found out from Sports by Brooks. Peep the pic:

Harris may have received the laughs before the game but the Buckeyes had the scoreboard advantage afterward. Though many were not entirely his fault, noodle arm’s four interceptions limited Miami greatly in their 38-26 loss on the road. The Canes are lucky they returned a punt and kick for touchdowns otherwise the score would have been much more lopsided. And anyone who considered Harris to be a Heisman or NFL prospect hopefully learned their lesson.

Photo Credit: Joshuaishere on Twitter

Notre Dame Gets Touchdown Despite TJ Jones Early Celebration

I was all over Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson two years ago for dropping a ball prior to crossing the goal line on what should have been a touchdown against the Cowboys. Jackson learned his lesson because he scored 11 touchdowns last year without any problems. Looks like DeSean isn’t alone with this issue — one of the Marshall receivers did the same thing on Friday night, and so did Notre Dame receiver TJ Jones on Saturday.

Early in the third quarter, Notre Dame was down 21-7 and they had a 2nd and 10 at their 47. Dayne Crist found receiver TJ Jones who walked into the end zone for a 53-yard score, only Jones dropped the ball before getting in. Luckily for the Domers, the refs didn’t call it. Pictures and video of the TJ Jones touchdown below:

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