1. I think that I’m not yet convinced that Chase Daniel is the clear Heisman leader that people say he is. Sure, the stats are compelling – he’s top five in the country in completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, and touchdowns. He’s only been sacked once, and he’s thrown just one pick. On top of all that, he completed 20 in a row against Buffalo. Here’s the thing, though – he’s only played one BCS team – Illinois – and his stats in that game were significantly worse than the rest – his completion percentage was 25 points worse, his yards per attempt were much worse, and both the pick and the sack came in that game. It’s not exactly like the Illini are known for their stout defense, either. Don’t get me wrong, I like him and his team. I just want to hold judgment until he gets through his tough stretch of next four games – Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas, Colorado. That’s a much better test of where he is at than what we have seen so far.
2. As a Michigan fan, few things have been a bigger kick in the gut than watching Terrelle Pryor do his best Joe Montana imitation in Buckeye colors. For a guy making his first start, and a guy who is supposed to be a run-first QB, he looked as little like a raw, run-first QB as a guy can possibly look. He looked really, really good, all things considered. Of course, he’d look much, much better in maize and blue.
3. Teams like Vanderbilt are what makes college football simultaneously endlessly compelling and insanely frustrating. They enter the rankings at number 21 this week after starting out at 4-0. They’ve beaten two decent SEC teams already, and they are 4-0 ATS. Chris Nickson has been a decent two-dimensional QB who has avoided real mistakes. So what’s frustrating about that? The last time this team was ranked was briefly in 1984. More incredibly, the last time the team had a winning record was back in 1982 – well before an of their players was born. They are putting together a ver solid season, yet there wasn’t a lot of indication that it was coming, and there is no real way of knowing how long it will last. This team has gone from underdogs against Miami of Ohio to a ranked team. That’s not how the script was supposed to play out.
4. The Oregon quarterback situation is like something out of Disney. One of those ridiculous, totally unbelievable Disney flicks with Angels and that crap. They put in their fifth string QB on Saturday. Yes, fifth. Freshman Darron Thomas was going to redshirt, but they needed him after a stunning string of calamities. Nate Costa had a knee injury that ended his season. Justin Roper has had his bell rung too many times. Jeremiah Masoli is hearing bells, too, after a concussion. Chris Harper, a freshman, was next. He didn’t get hurt, he just wasn’t very good. That left it to Thomas, and that should have gone poorly. Very poorly. Instead, Thomas threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns. In one quarter. We can only assume at this rate that the guy in the Duck suit is going to be forced into action by game nine, and he’ll toss seven touchdowns or something.
5. The key to Atlanta’s success is obvious – play truly awful teams. They looked almost as good against Kansas City this week as they did against Detroit in the opening week. It was only when they played a fairly decent Tampa Bay team that things went awry. They have Oakland on the horizon, so that’s their chance to shine again. The problem, though, is that they have to get through Carolina, Green Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia before they hit the Raiders. I’m not even remotely fooled into believing that there is any legitimacy to the Falcons’ 2-1 record.
6. So much for writing off Ronnie Brown. A couple of weeks ago we were hearing rumblings that the Dolphins were sick of his act and that he could be on his way out of town. Not any more. If you missed it, Brown ran for four touchdowns on just 17 carries against the Patriots, and capped it off by throwing for a 19 yard TD, too. It was just one aspect of a stunningly dominant and wildly unpredictable runaway win by the Dolphins over the Pats – the first regular season loss for New England in 21 months. The craziest part of the very crazy game was that the Pats were able to exploit the same gimmick – a direct snap to Brown – six times, and the Pats weren’t able to adjust to it. Now the AFC East is a mess. New England is out of first place, and the Bills are in. The only problem is that the Bills are only there thanks to a last second win over lowly Oakland that was much harder than it should have been. Their last second heroics are fun to watch, but sooner or later it will get the best of them. Or maybe not. Look at their schedule – 7-1 is a real possibility heading into their first game against New England. Like I said, the AFC East is a mess.
7. Who is that taking snaps for the Colts, and what has he done with Peyton Manning? The alarm bells should be sounding in that fancy new stadium of theirs.
8. Dallas is the best team in the league, and I don’t think that it is even close. I hate Marion Barber’s two fumbles, but that can be fixed. What I liked most about their win over Green Bay was that they beat a pretty decent team when Tony Romo was only okay.
9. Matt Schaub is not the answer in Houston. Not even close. He has only gone backwards since he took over the reins there, and the team won’t be any more than uninspiring with him at the helm without a major, major change. I can’t come up with a single good reason not to give Sage Rosenfels his shot. On the plus side, Steve Slaton had a heck of a game, and gave us yet more proof of how impressively deep this freshman running back class is.
10. Marvin Lewis is still the worst coach in the pros. It’s not even close, and taking the Giants to overtime does nothing to change that. Charlie Weis maintained his grip on worst college coach, too, though Bill Stewart is staking his claim.