Three thoughts after a Saturday spent watching the top 10 get shaken, not stirred…
Tennessee's defense deserves a better offense
Tyler Bray, a four-star quarterback recruit from Kingburg, Calif., plans to enroll in Knoxville in January so he can try to pull a Tate Forcier next season. Unfortunately for the Vols, that's the earliest they'll get help at quarterback beyond what's already on the roster. It's pretty clear after losses to UCLA and Florida that the Vols can't throw, but they can run and play defense. So why not try something wacky?
With Ohio coming to Rocky Top, the Vols have a low-pressure week. Why not steal a few of the basics of the Georgia Tech/Navy systems and install a rudimentary option attack this week? Not a Wildcat. A true triple-option. Put Gerald Jones at quarterback, make Kevin Cooper the B-back and make Montario Hardesty and Bryce Brown the A-backs. Obviously, the option takes a long time to perfect, and teaching the offensive linemen the necessary cut-blocking techniques would take much longer than a week, but the line is athletic enough to learn a basic package and execute it.
This move would force opposing defensive coordinators to practice against the option all week. You can't prepare a little bit for the option. That's like being a little bit pregnant. That could take pressure off of Jonathan Crompton, who would be playing against defenses that didn't have time to adequately prepare for Tennessee's base offense because they spent so much time preparing for the option package. When concerned recruits call, Coach Lane Kiffin can tell them the truth - that this is a stopgap measure designed to win games now and that the pro-style offense he sold them on will return next season.
Cal has to beat USC, or the Pac-10 will be eliminated from BCS title contention
In week two, I wrote about the two sides of the bracket when it comes to the race to the BCS title game. Because of the real or perceived - depending on your point of view - dominance of the SEC, an undefeated or one-loss SEC champ will get one of the two spots. Unfortunately for the Pac-10, which is better than a lot of my fellow east-coasters think, that means the Pac-10 champ will have to go undefeated to make the game.
So Cal, which has looked excellent to this point, will have to beat USC on Oct. 3 to have a chance. Obviously, if Texas goes undefeated, the matchup is set. But if the Big 12 turns into a stew of one- and two-loss conference title contenders, it opens the door for the Pac-10 champ. Unfortunately, an 11-1 record just won't cut it for Cal or for USC. Cal doesn't have the cachet to make it at 11-1, and
So if you work in the conference office, you're supposed to stay neutral, but it wouldn't hurt to wear blue and gold underwear on Oct. 3.
Tough luck for Grothe
South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe's college career appears over after the senior tore an ACL on Saturday against Charleston Southern. That's a shame, because it would have been fun to watch Grothe lead the Bulls in a wide-open Big East race.
This schedule set up perfectly for USF. The Bulls get defending conference champ Cincinnati at home on Oct. 15 (a Thursday) and West Virginia on Oct. 30 (a Friday). Now, a redshirt freshman - either B.J. Daniels or Evan Landi - will lead USF the rest of the way.
Coming out of Lake Gibson High in Lakeland, Fla., Grothe received several BCS-conference scholarship offers, but most were to play safety. USF wanted him to play quarterback. Grothe rewarded the faith of Bulls coaches by developing into a dangerous dual-threat player. Last year, he threw for 2,911 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 531 yards and four touchdowns.
"Matt's a franchise guy and an even better human being," Leavitt told The Tampa Tribune. "We all know that. What he's done in college football is extraordinary. He has been one of the greatest names out there. We all know that and our entire program feels bad for him. Matt is a special, special guy."