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Horne: Week 8 news and notes
They are who we thought they were
Wisconsin plays its first real road game — facing Northern Illinois in Chicago doesn't really count — at Michigan State. The Badgers, the Big Ten's last unbeaten squad, are more than a touchdown favorite over the team that just walloped an undefeated Michigan team. If the Badgers lose, it means the Big Ten probably won't be represented in the BCS Championship Game for the second straight year, but they will get a chance to lose in the Rose Bowl for the second straight year. So there's that.
This week Penn State is playing at Northwestern. Is there any 6-1 team that is less exciting than the Nittany Lions? Even the pollsters went to sleep on them. Maybe it's their snoozer schedule so far: Indiana State, Alabama, Temple, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Purdue. Ugh. It's like Penn State's schedule fell out of the boring tree and hit every branch on the way down.
He loves me, he loves me not
Last year Missouri reportedly wanted to join the Big Ten but didn't get an offer. Reports are surfacing that Missouri may now want to join the SEC. Fly-over country has never been a part of the landscape that the SEC has gone after in expanding its national footprint so pardon me when I say this whole SEC expansion has been a dog-and-pony show. It's almost as if the SEC was stuck with an odd number of teams and asked itself, "Who can we add to our conference to make the schools in Mississippi even more miserable?" The addition of Mizzou is a no-brainer — if it can't win the SEC, at least it can brag about academics -- it works for Vandy. And this year, maybe Florida.
TCU is a 41-point favorite over conference foe New Mexico. That means if TCU wins 60-20, the Horned Frogs won't cover. If Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) still doesn't understand why the Mountain West doesn't have an AQ status in the BCS, there's your sign.
Mississippi State has unveiled its new uniforms for the rivalry game against Ole Miss on Nov. 26. Instead of maroon and white, the uniforms are maroon and gold. In fact, it's a lot of maroon with gold trim, "Hail State" on the back of the jerseys and gold cleats a la Usain Bolt. And here you thought the Egg Bowl wasn't going to be very exciting.
Schedule alert: In a brilliant display of scheduling genius, the Bulldogs have a bye before playing Kentucky next week, play UT-Martin the week after and then get Alabama — they should be prepped for the Tide after those two games, don't you think?
Boys will be boys
Remember the big fracas over the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz handshake after the San Francisco 49ers beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday? USC head coach Lane Kiffin does. After a Trojans' practice he offered up this zinger: "Typical Harbaugh. Even Urban and I got along in the handshake." Admit it Vols fans, you miss Kiffin.
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is in the news again. Last year, Grantham displayed his sideline manners by giving Florida kicker Chas Henry the choke sign after a timeout was called to freeze him. Or maybe he was just clearing his throat. Twice. While mouthing "choke." No matter. The Gators won the game and Grantham probably went home afterward to kick some kittens.
This last Saturday, Grantham had a little run-in with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who addressed the media afterward. "We are not going to sit back and take stuff from anybody," Franklin said. "Anybody. No one. Those days are long gone and they are never coming back. Ever." We don't know what was said between Franklin and Grantham after the game, but you know how those Vandy people are, always using big words that nobody can understand. Like "congratulations."
Kill two birds with one stone
Big East commissioner John Marinatto, during his conference realignment and expansion address on Tuesday, described the Big East as "creative and resilient." This is true. Why, Syracuse was resilient enough to break a 14-14 fourth quarter tie with Rhode Island and win 21-14 last month. Maybe the Big East should invite Rhode Island to join the conference since they seem to be fair competition and Rhode Island is the host state of Big East media days.
Prayer requests needed
Alabama hosts Tennessee this Saturday. Come to think of it, "hosts" is probably the wrong word here. Unless you think the Coliseum in Rome "hosted" gladiators back in the day. Then it fits, well… quite nicely.
LSU also hosts Auburn — which is breaking in a new quarterback named Clint Moseley, who has attempted only six career passes. Here's hoping he comes out of Baton Rouge not looking like a Picasso portrait.
Saturday night fights
USC goes marching into South Bend for a night game against the heavily favored Fighting Irish. The Trojans usually stay in Michigan City, Ind., which means that Kiffin & Co. need to recognize that the 30-minute drive to the stadium involves crossing into the Eastern time zone. This also means that Los Angeles-based fans going to the game will show up two hours late — not their standard one hour— to the game. They'll probably be glad they did.
The Irish cannot afford to lose this game if they want to remain in the hunt for a BCS bowl berth, so may we suggest green glow sticks wrapped around the football so that the Irish — the fourth-worst team in turnover margin— can keep track of where the ball is at night? Added bonus — the Irish fans love that gimmicky green.
Here kitty, kitty, kitty
The Big 12 has gum stuck to the bottom of its shoes and its name is Kansas State — it simply won’t go away. This week is the Wildcats' rivalry game against Kansas, a team that is giving up an average 49 points per game. The No. 11 Wildcats are favored by 11 points. That's it? No disrespect to the Jayhawks' Turner Gil — he's a very good coach — but Mark Mangino is not walking through that door, guys.
Delusions of grandeur
Bob Toledo has stepped down as Tulane's coach. According to the school, the decision to step down by the former UCLA coach was a mutual decision by both athletic director Rick Dickson and Toledo.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2011
- Week 14: Scoreboard | Gallery
- Updated: BCS | AP | Coaches
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- Gallery: LSU vs. Alabama, Part I
- Gallery: It's Rivalry Week
- Gallery: Crazy CFB uniforms
- Gallery: Nebraska vs. Penn St.
- Gallery: It's Halloween time
- Gallery: CFB remembers 9/11
- Video: Highlights and interviews
- Latest updates: CFN | Scout | YB
''Over the last weeks and days, Bob had become a lightning rod for criticism and attacks and things we shouldn't be doing in college athletics,'' Dickson said at a Tuesday press conference. ''By him stepping down, that is removed.'' Wait, what? A mere 14 winning seasons in 60 years says it not only hasn't been removed but it appears to be a school tradition.
Hump day hatness
LSU cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Therold Simon as well as the team's leading rusher Spencer Ware were suspended for the Auburn game, according to several reports. Going into a game as an overwhelming favorite and then having three players suspended sounds about right for The Hat. In case the Tigers lose, Miles can always start up a new campaign to get his Tigers into the BCS Championship — "Undefeated First Stringers."
Rise and fire
The over/under for Missouri vs Oklahoma State (FX Game of the Week at 12 p.m. ET) is 68.5 points. In other words, the over/under on Charles Davis and Gus Johnson yelling "touchdown" in this game is 10. Totally worth watching. Added bonus: Mike Pereira actually gives us honest analysis on the officiating calls and answers all of your officiating questions on twitter.
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