In case you're new to the blog, here's the premise behind what I like to call "college football as measured by weather instrumentation." First, a little bit of background: In a former life, I used to be a television weatherman. Actually, I still am a meteorologist. Yep, credentialed and everything. However, after almost 20 years in the bid'ness, I
was unceremoniously shown the door decided to change gears, career-wise. But I still have my old-fashion sling-psychrometer (measures dew-point temperature, don't 'cha know), a real weather balloon I keep filled with Clowney Gas, a thermometer (comes in handy in south Florida when every day is 94.8), and a barometer. It's attached to a gold necklace and I wear it around my neck. It's real dope. It'll let me know how much trouble I'm in with Mrs. DavetheDawg. Today it is reading 1044 millibars. That's high. I've been bad...
Here's the premise:
Barometer game - A game that generally provides a feel for where a program is at the present time. It can fluctuate wildly from week-to-week. And I know everyone this side of Hahira would be raising hell if we would've lost to South Carolina and the pressure! Anyway, it's a gauge for the general "state of a program" at the moment, as measured by scientists, bloggers and such.
Thermometer game - Lose this game, and the temperature for the head coach goes up just a notch, or more. For some, an early loss is tenable, but increasingly uncomfortable. For others, the next "L" might be your last.
First, the obvious...
Everyone knows that Lane Kiffin at USC and Mack Brown over in the Longhorn State are both sitting in a pot o' boiling peanut oil. This is a no-brainer and there's a good chance that Ole Miss goes into Austin and delivers the coup d' grace.
Boston College travels out west, sporting a new saddle, chaps and 2-0 record. Both games are winnable by the visitors, although I don't believe that'll happen. But if it does, Mack Brown might be forced into retirement and Lane Kiffin might be forced into Division II. Or politics.
Tennessee at (2) Oregon (Saturday, 3:30 EST - ABC): Why am I picking this game when the Ducks are so heavily favored and Tennessee doesn't have a prayer? Because the Vols have something that some programs don't have right now: Hope. It's been a rough several years on Rocky Top and this season, record-wise, could end up being worse than ever with the murderers-row schedule upcoming. But Butch Jones has injected life into a program that is as down as it has probably ever been in their entire history. Who knows if he's a good coach or not. It'll take several more seasons to really get a handle on this, but if Tennessee travels to Eugene and hangs with the Waterfowl, it could be a good indicator whether (weather?) or not if the beat-down of Austin-Peay and Western Kentucky was real, or Fool's Gold. Tennessee has a very good offensive line. Oregon can score 65 points in 10 minutes.
Georgia Tech at Duke (Saturday, 3:30 - Dacula Local Access Cable Channel 877): Tech just whipped the stew out of Elon School of Pottery, then got a "bye" week. Now, that's some quality schedule-engineering right there. A "bye" right out of the box after you play an NAIA school? Duke beat N.C. Central and @ Memphis, so they've got some confidence as they host the Vulgar Vespidae. Tech will probably run up and down the field and win and Paul Johnson continues to revolutionize modern college football as we know it.
Verdict: Barometer (don't ever leave, Paul)
(16) UCLA at (23) Nebraska (Saturday, Noon - ABC): Jim Mora and UCLA travel to Lincoln with heavy hearts. The Bruins scored 58 points in a victory over Nevada last week, so they are certainly capable of putting points on the board. Bo Pelini, in my mind, really needs to win this game. UCLA is ranked, but Nebraska seems to still be a long way from ever getting back to their Tom Osborne glory days. UCLA might come out really inspired, or really down. I think they'll give the Huskers fits. And if they win, Pelini might start to hear it a bit more.
Iowa at Iowa State (Farm Bureau UHF Radio Only): Kirk Ferenz is still coaching? I really like Paul Rhoads (I am so proud to be your coach!). No pressure there. However, I truly believe, next to Lane and Mack, no one has a hotter seat than the Hawkeye head-man. Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa in their opener, so this team is rebuilding. All the more pressure on Iowa to win on the road. I think Iowa State wins.
Mississippi State at Auburn (Saturday, 7:00 - ESPN 2): Dan Mullen's Bizarro Bulldogs whipped the snot out of the Tigers last season in Starkville - putting Gene Chizik on an unsurvivable hot seat. Gus Mahlzahn can not only turn up the heat on Dan Mullen's derriere, but get that signature win (still laughing at myself. I'm so clever...)
That's it, folks. I'll be back in a few weeks to see how things have played out and see who's trending up and who's wearing asbestos BVD's. Until then...