The Pride. Iowa. Where did these guys come from? The Hawkeyes demolished Northwestern and are almost certainly going to be in the Big Ten championship game. It’s not even November and it’s tough to see a normal scenario where Iowa isn’t playing a Big Ten East team in December. In fact, expect the Hawkeyes to be undefeated at season’s end.
The Shame. Indiana. Football isn’t the forte of the Hoosiers. They are a basketball school. They raised expectations when they took Ohio State to the wire. Perhaps that’s why the Rutgers loss is so stinging. The Hoosiers can look good on offense, so it was odd to see them shutout in the 4th quarter when one score would have ended the game. Instead of a nice win, I blew a lead to might Rutgers.
The Pride. LSU. With all the talk about how strong the SEC West was going to be this season, is it any surprise that LSU, a perennial power, has risen to the top again? It took a little mad hatter magic to make it happen, but the Tigers rolled through Florida in another Saturday night classic. Everything is still on the table, and LSU could be adding more than a Heisman trophy to their case this winter.
The Shame. Ole Miss. There shouldn’t be any way SEC teams lose the American Athletic Conference teams. It shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t matter that Memphis is quite good, and Ole Miss had a bad day. The loss itself isn’t shameful. Flukes happen, but this wasn’t a fluke. The Tigers came back from 14-0 down to methodically destroy the Rebels. What a fall this must be off of the high of winning in Tuscaloosa a few weeks ago.
The Pride. North Carolina. For a conference seeking to build quality depth the emergence of North Carolina has been at the top of the wish list. Most seasons that has not developed. This year UNC lost its season opening game to an underwhelming South Carolina team. Since that time the Tar Heels have been on a roll and could run the table. In two weeks NC will play Pitt on Thursday night, the winner of which should claim the Coastal crown.
The Shame. Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets returned so much talent; this was to be their year. Unfortunately injuries have conspired to keep GT down, but even with those set backs it’s tough to see Tech as an 0-4 team. .500 is the best they can hope for in conference, and that doesn’t look too likely now.
The Pride. Utah. The Utes are surprising, but they continue to roll. Stanford may be the only team in the conference who can stand in the way of a Utah playoff berth. How good has Utah been? They just had a scare against Arizona State and still won by double digits.
The Shame. Southern Cal. After losing their coach, they lost to their rival by blowing a second half lead and failing to score in the 4th quarter. Since the Pete Carroll days the narrative has been the same for the Trojans. High expectations and great potential continue to give way to disappointment in ever more creative ways.
The Pride. Baylor. In Texas’s conference the undisputed king is Baylor. The Bears have been unchallenged: they haven’t had any scares, any last minute touchdowns, any need to be concerend at all. They are the class of the conference, and maybe the nation.
The Shame. Kansas State. Every week is a new week in college football. Last week’s praise is this week’s derision if you don’t keep winning. Kansas State could have salvaged some self respect in a loss to Oklahoma had it been a competitive loss, but 55-0? That kind of loss is emasculating and allowed the Wildcats to displace their cross state brethren as the shame of the conference.