NOTE: The No. 1 thing we learned this weekend is that Texas is really, really good. But you can read about that here.
1. That LeSean McCoy is back. When Pittsburgh struggled early in the season, so, too, did its talented sophomore tailback, who averaged 80.7 yards his first three games, down from 110.7 as a freshman. Over his past three games, however, McCoy has put up 149, 142 and 156 yards, the latter coming in Saturday's 42-21 win over Navy, which also included three McCoy touchdowns. By no coincidence, the Panthers, which have now won five straight following an opening-week loss to Bowling Green, have upped their scoring average from 21.7 to 34.0.
Pittsburgh appears to be rounding into the Big East title contender that many of us expected. The Panthers' offensive line was their biggest question mark, and they did indeed struggle early in the season, but they must be improving now that McCoy is finding holes and QB Bill Stull is finding time to throw downfield. (He hit freshman WR Jonathan Baldwin for a 60-yard TD against Navy). Meanwhile, Scott McKillop and the defense held Navy to its lowest rushing total (194 yards) in two years. Pitt is far from a polished product but is now the favorite to win its league.
2. That Bobby Bowden is back. OK, that's a bit of a stretch. But to all of us who assumed that Florida State's patriarch was completely out to lunch at this point, Thursday night's NC State game was a pleasant, and amusing, surprise. As the teams left the field for halftime, ESPN's camera/microphone caught the 78-year-old giving the refs the business over five first-half holding calls, a frustration he then echoed to Erin Andrews in highly entertaining fashion. ("How do you stop it? You go in and pray that they stop holding.")
After the break, Andrews reported that Bowden gave an unusually stern address to his team in the locker room. Wouldn't you know it, FSU down 10-6 at halftime, came out and took it to the Wolfpack, winning 26-17. While beating a 2-5 team shouldn't seem like cause for celebration, avoiding the Thursday night upset hex is an accomplishment these days. With QB Christian Ponder looking better by the week (he went 23-of-35 for 254 yards and no picks against NCSU), the 5-1 'Noles are now one of four teams tied for first in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
3. That Jeff Tedford has lost his quarterback mojo. First as Fresno State's quarterbacks coach and Oregon's offensive coordinator, then during his first five years as Cal's head coach, Tedford made his reputation as a quarterback guru, mentoring Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. Strangely, it's his inability to manage a quarterback controversy that appears to be undoing the Bears for a second straight season.
Saturday night at Arizona, Nate Longshore staked his team to a 24-14 lead but struggled in the second half, throwing an interception that Arizona's Devin Ross returned to put the Wildcats up 35-27. Tedford eventually called in Kevin Riley, who went 7-of-19 and threw an interception deep in Wildcats territory. Cal's defense bears most of the blame for the loss, getting gashed by 'Zona freshman RB Keola Antolin (149 yards, three TDs), but now the Bears are shrouded in QB uncertainty for the second straight season. Hoepfully Tedford avoids another implosion.
4. That Washington State is the worst BCS-conference team of the BCS era. I can't say I have definitive evidence to back that claim. The extent of my research involved looking at the past 10 seasons of primary suspects Baylor, Duke, Rutgers and Temple (pre-2005) to see if they'd ever been as non-competitive as this year's Cougars. The answer is: No. Not even close. Wazzu has now lost games by scores of 69-0 (USC), 66-3 (Cal), 66-13 (Oregon State) and 63-14 (Oregon). On Saturday, the Trojans led the Cougars 41-0 at halftime. That hurts.
How did this happen, you ask? When Mike Price left for Alabama in 2003, Washington State made the mistake of promoting his loyal, grandfatherly aide, Bill Doba. (Does that sound familiar to anyone?) Following some initial success with Price's leftovers, Doba's staff recruited a whole bunch of shady characters. According to the Seattle Times, 15 players were dismissed or quit between the 2006 and '07 seasons alone. New coach Paul Wulff was left with a depleted roster that may be less talented than the team he coached last season at I-AA Eastern Washington.
5. That ESPN needs to fire, or at the very least suspend, Lou Holtz. I get that Holtz plays the funny, lighthearted sideshow on ESPN's studio shows. I get that the network doesn't seem to mind that the former coach offers almost no actual substantive analysis. But like they say, it's all fun and games until someone pokes his eye out -- or, in Holtz's case, compares Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez to Adolf Hitler.
Holtz apologized Saturday for his bizarre, incredibly offensive remark. TV personalities spend hours and hours talking, which means they're bound to eventually say something they regret. Usually it's enough just to apologize and move on. But Holtz went waaaaay out of bounds. Sports commentators have been fired in the past for making racially insensitive remarks. You would think the same rule applies when making light of a man that killed 6 million innocent people on the basis of their religion -- but as of Sunday afternoon, the network had yet to issue any reprimand.