Kyle has already brought you the Mark Richt Victory Watch, and will probably be along later with all of your usual University of Georgia postgame goodies. But as I know our readers are all worldly obervers of the larger college football landscape, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some of the goings-on in the rest of the collge football universe.
My hat's off to Indiana. They beat Purdue on Saturday to win the Old Oaken Bucket, and more importantly, get to 7-5 and bowl eligibility. By now you already know the story of Terry Hoeppner, who continued to coach the Hoosiers as he fought the brain cancer which ultimately claimed his life. What bears mention is the job done by Bill Lynch, Hoeppner's former assistant who has held the team together since Hoeppner's death in June. One of the great moments of this past Saturday in college football was watching Coach Hoeppner's wife, Jane, exclaim after the victory that had her husband been there, "he would be up in the student section with the fans." I don't doubt it for a moment. Congratulations, Hoosiers.
Hey Coach Saban, you got Weatherbied. Charlie Weatherbie, by the way, is the head coach of the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, who beat 'Bama 21-14 on Saturday. I didn't know that prior to visiting the school's website. John Parker Wilson probably didn't know that name either, but it didn't stop Coach Weatherbie's charges from picking him off twice in the first half during a lackadaisical performance by the 'Bammers. I'm pretty sure that every time Alabama loses a game in the foreseeable future, you'll read the words "Saban, paid over $4 million a year to turn around a traditional power" in the postgame coverage. Something tells me that back when Alabama was 6-2 and thinking BCS, fans did not anticipate heading into the Iron Bowl off back-to-back losses to Mississippi State and UL-Monroe. It's also worth noting that if Bama loses the Iron Bowl, they will finish 6-6, which is exactly the point that Mike Shula led them to last year with essentially the same team, only less experienced.
I know, the party line among the Tide faithful is that regardless of record, this team has a different attitude and is better than last year's team. And they are right. They are also right when they say Nick Saban is a fantastic recruiter. But it's going to be next year before 'Bama partisans really see much benefit from converting to Sabantology. Until then they're just a slightly better than average football team with a penchant for playing up to or down to the level of their competition.
Texas Tech just scored again. When Mike Leach's offense is humming, it is almost unfair. Such was the case last night in Lubbock when the Dread Pirate Leach looked at Bob Stoops and asked "what is this 'toss sweep' thing you speak of? It sounds boring." Texas Tech freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree went for 12 catches, 154 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing the 1800 yard mark for the season. Is he a product of the system? Heck yeah. But he's a product of the system who will probably also eclipse the NCAA career receiving yards record one day unless he gets kidnapped by Chiapan rebels. In Crabtree's defense, he has seven games this season in which he's averaged more than 15 yards a catch, and has a reception of 29 yards + in all but one game this season. That says to me that a good part of Crabtree's success is due to his making plays after the catch, not the plays Cap'n Leach is calling.
Vanderbilt kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt is off my Christmas card list. So is the Vanderbilt offense that woke up at the beginning of the 4th quarter and remebered that hey, theyplay for Vandy. Seriously, Coach Johnson's squad should trademark this "short run, short run, incomplete pass" offensive combination because they totally own it.
I've been willing to overlook Vandy's general Vanderbiltness until now. But no more. Counting on Vanderbilt to win gave me a window into the life of a Commodore football fan, and it wasn't pretty. Being a Commodore fan means getting up early on Saturday, driving 5 hours to cram yourself into your expensive seats in Nashville or some similar locale, then waiting patiently for 2 and a half hours to see which one of the well-mannered and intelligent young men on your football team/coaching staff will be coming up into the stands to personally kick you in the man berries. Of course, we wouldn't have been counting on young Hahnfeldt if Cassen Jackson-Garrison hadn't taken his turn as designated Commodore Cajone Kicker during our game against the 'Dores. So I guess it all balances out in the end.
And speaking of balancing out in the end. . . Chan Gailey's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won a hard fought contest against 3-8 North Carolina to get to 7-4. Which is one loss shy of Chan Gailey Equilibrium. These are the laws of physics, people. They are beyond dispute.