1. Alabama isn’t as good as we thought. I don’t like Kentucky much at all. This should be a rebuilding year for them. That makes it more than a bit concerning to me that they played the Tide as close as they did. Any team can have a bad day – just ask USC or Ohio State. My concern with Alabama, though, is that Kentucky was able to set the tone on both sides of the ball at times, and they were able to completely neutralize the passing game. That doesn’t bode well for a team that still has two or three tough games ahead. I know that they beat up on Georgia, but I don’t like them, either. My comfortable prediction – Alabama won’t finish the year in the top five.
2. The Big 12 is the best conference in the country. By far. Shut up SEC fans – I don’t want to hear from you. The Big 12 is loaded. Oklahoma and Mizzou have yet to take even a minor misstep. Texas Tech found their mojo in a big way this week. I have doubts about Texas that I think will come to fruition against Oklahoma this week, but so far they have been more than solid. Oklahoma State is clearly on the rise. Colorado and Kansas have issues, but both can do damage. I love the Big Ten, but there is no better group to watch, or bet on, than the Big 12.
3. Last weekend was an anomaly on the USC front. I can’t even begin to explain what happened against Oregon State, but I am confident that it won’t happen again. The team that shredded Oregon bore no resemblance at all to the one that lost to the Beavers. I might yet be proven wrong, but I now think that that game will be a momentary blip on a ferocious year.
4. Butch Davis is a very good coach. In only his second year, he has made North Carolina a legitmate team. In their last four games they have thrashed Rutgers and UConn, beat Miami, and narrowly lost to Virginia Tech. That’s a good month for any team, never mind one that has been as bad as the Tar Heels have been for as long as they have.
5. Okay, okay, okay. I admit it. The Titans are good. And the Giants, too. Just don’t ask me to like either of them much. Or trust them, for that matter.
6. I really, really misjudged the Redskins. I wrote them off before the year, and felt very smug in the decision after the first game. Since then, though, they have been the best team in the league. They have won four in a row against potental playoff teams. Most impressively, they have won consecutive road games against division rivals. That’s saying something in the best division in the league. Jim Zorn has to be high on the coach of the year list.
7. Seattle is doomed. Did you see a single redeemable thing they did today? There wasn’t one. Bad team, and awful at traveling. I can’t wait until their long trips to Florida – they have two left. I can’t help but think that the stupid situation around their coaching – Holmgren as a lame duck with Mora waiting in the wings – is damaging them.
8. The Lions are incredibly terrible. I don’t see how benching Jon Kitna is going to help, though. It’s not his fault that the team is so poorly assembled and ineptly coached.
9. The Falcons are making my head hurt. Every instinct I have is that they should be a year or two away from legitimacy. Yet here they sit at 3-2, with a win against a supposedly decent team this week, and a QB who is mostly solid. I respect the work they are doing, but I still won’t touch them until they beat a solid team playing well. That’s not the Pack at this point in my mind.
10. Norv Turner is a terrible, awful coach who immediately needs to find a job that has nothing to do with football. He is making a mess of the Chargers like only a few people on this planet could.
11. Matt Schaub just won serious job securty and he didn’t even play this week. There had been all sorts of calls in Houston for Sage Rosenfels, but his last three minutes of that Indy gamewere so indescribably bad that no fan of that team will want to see him ever again.