With ESPN's self-imposed requirement to give every game day a catchy title, the folks in Bristol dubbed today, "Revenge Saturday." Revenge Saturday: Feel the emotion! Sorry, Jesse Palmer, I'm not buying it. Seriously -- there's one game between Top 25 teams.
How about Sleep-In Saturday?
Anyway, onto my early observations:
• Has Tommy Tuberville coached his last home game in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Auburn lost a tight game to No. 13 Georgia and dropped to 5-6. With a trip to Tuscaloosa on the horizon, the Tigers certainly could be on their way to the program's first losing season since 1999 -- Tuberville's first year.
There's no question that Auburn's '08 campaign has been a complete bust, but Tuberville does have at least two major factors in his favor:
1. Tuberville owns Alabama, having won six straight Iron Bowls (and seven of nine during his tenure). An upset of 'Bama on Nov. 29 could be a job-saver.
2. Auburn would have to pay Tuberville a $6 million buyout. And with the economy in the tank, program fat cats probably aren't too fat these days ...
• It was a historic day in Ann Arbor, as Michigan lost 21-14 to Northwestern, reaching eight defeats for the first time in the program's 129-year history. The Wolverines' fifth home loss also set a single-season record. It's pretty stunning how little UM's quarterbacks have developed over the course of the season. Nick Sheridan and Steven Threet combined to go 12-for-36 for zero touchdowns and one back-breaking, fourth-quarter interception (a horrible Threet overthrow that Northwestern intercepted in the end zone). With such ineptitude at the quarterback position, Rich Rodriguez will be forced to throw a true freshman into the fire next season. So Michigan's "transitional struggles" will continue well into 2009.
On the other hand, Northwestern won its eighth game for the first time since 2000. Sitting behind Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State in the Big Ten standings, the Wildcats have their eyes on the Champs Sports Bowl.
• Notre Dame snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Navy 27-21, but the Irish almost gave the game away late in the fourth quarter. ND led 27-7 with less than two minutes remaining, but the never-say-die Midshipmen scored two touchdowns and recovered two onside kicks before their final drive stalled out at Notre Dame's 34-yard line. Charlie Weis took over the play-calling duties this week because offensive coordinator Mike Haywood missed practice to attend the funeral of a family member. With irrational rumors swirling that this was a must-win game for the fourth-year coach -- think of the potential buyout, people -- Weis beat Navy at its own game, outrushing the Middies, 230-178.
• Graham Harrell tops most Heisman Trophy lists, but Texas QB Colt McCoy sure didn't hurt his campaign in a 35-7 win over Kansas. McCoy threw for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and an additional score. If Texas Tech drops a game and/or Harrell splits votes with teammate Michael Crabtree ... Say it with me 'Horns fans, "Hello, Heisman!"
• Ohio State's season hasn't gone as expected, but the Buckeyes moved one step closer to winning a share of the Big Ten title with 30-20 win at Illinois. One week after throwing three touchdown passes against Northwestern, freshman wunderkind Terrelle Pryor re-employed his legs, rushing for a career-high 110 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries. Why do I get the feeling he's going to put it all together against Michigan next week?
• What in the world happened to South Florida? With today's 49-16 home loss to Rutgers, Jim Leavitt's Bulls dropped to 1-4 in the Big East (6-4 overall). Remember, this team was 5-0 and held the No. 10 ranking at the end of September. USF QB Matt Grothe, who began the season as a fringe Heisman candidate, has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games. This can't be good for Bulls kicker Delbert Alvarado's rap anthem about his quarterback.
"G to the R-O-T-H-E, that's Matt Grothe, tossin' picks at an alarming degree."
• Clemson interim coach Dabo Swinney evened his record at 2-2 and the once-vaunted Clemson offense reappeared in a 31-7 throttling of Duke. The Tigers entered the season as a top-10 team and sleeper national-title pick, thanks in large part to a supposedly loaded offense. But that unit has been MIA for most of the season. Today Clemson scored all 31 points in the first three quarters, leaving Tigers faithful to ask one question: Who are these guys?