|Daryll Clark and the Penn State offense may struggle vs. other top 10 teams. (AP)|
I'm wondering if they're drooling after watching Penn State slog its way past Ohio State. The Nittany Lions' 13-6 victory was easily the most tedious big game of the season. With defenses taking a holiday elsewhere across the country, Penn State and Ohio State pooch-kicked the game back 30 years.
That might be great for the bratwurst-grilling purists in The Shoe's parking lots. Still, I'm wondering when (not if) Penn State gets to the championship game, will it continue to, uh, polish the Big Ten's sterling reputation in recent postseason play?
"The Big Ten has great opponents," Penn State tailback Stephfon Green said. "I'm not taking anything away from the Big 12 or any other conference that put up big numbers today. But Ohio State, they're not a bad team. They had one loss to USC. They're a well-oiled machine over there in Southern Cal."
A couple of things about that statement:
• Southern California might be well oiled if you consider the Trojans are teetering on a slippery slope. They squeaked by unranked Arizona 17-10 late Saturday. That was their closest victory of an up-and-down season.
"It feels good to get a gutty victory like this and to come through in the very end just in the nick of time," quarterback Mark Sanchez said.
USC has been so uneven that it looks like the odd team out should the Big 12 and/or SEC have a one-loss champion standing at the end of the season.
• Ohio State is not a bad team, but it isn't as good as the past two Buckeye squads that lost BCS title games. That's troubling because this was supposed to be the best of the three years. In their two biggest games of the year, the Bucks haven't shown up offensively, scoring a combined nine points against USC and Penn State. Not a good thing in this age.
"Six points," Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis said, "should have been enough for us (to beat Penn State)."
Try mentioning something like that in the Big 12 and you'd get laughed out of the huddle. The average score of the six Big 12 games Saturday was 48-23. Five starting quarterbacks in the league completed at least 70 percent of their passes. Oklahoma and Kansas State combined to score 12 touchdowns -- in the first half.
Today's offenses are so good that the eye test tells me any of the top contenders could score on Penn State. The question is whether the Nittany Lions have comparable across-the-board weapons to keep up as, say, a Texas Tech.
Take out Penn State and Ohio State and the rest of the top 10 averaged 45 points Saturday. That essentially covers the teams Penn State could face in South Florida.
The Nittany Lions are a lock to reach to the championship game. Whether they will be able to hang in against their opponent is up for debate. ...
I'm wondering where sportsmanship went.
Much of the hype leading up to Saturday's Florida-Georgia game will have to do with last year's bum rush of the field by the Bulldogs. Even coach Mark Richt admits his original idea got out of hand.
Florida's Urban Meyer promised in his recently released book that his team has not forgotten the slight. The Gators would be better off concentrating on beating the Bulldogs than getting retribution.
|Dennis Dodd's Power Poll|
|3. Penn State|
|6. Texas Tech|
|10. Boise State|
|11. Oklahoma State|
|12. Ohio State|
|14. Ball State|
|17. Florida State|
|19. South Florida|
|21. Michigan State|
|22. North Carolina|
|(out: Boston College, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Georgia Tech)|
Georgia? Not much else has to be said. It entered the weekend last in penalties per game.
Texas Tech's Mike Leach has issues too. It was after the Texas game last season that Leach was fined by the conference for disparaging the officials. He suggested that one was biased because he lived in Austin.
Never mind that his defense gave up 59 points. The rematch is Saturday, which reminds me ...
I'm wondering if pollsters will have the stones to elevate Texas Tech (No. 6 in the AP, No. 7 in the BCS on Sunday) to No. 1 if it beats the top-ranked Longhorns.
The game is easily the biggest event in West Texas since the invention of irrigation. But logic should dictate that if the Red Raiders handle the nation's No. 1 team, they should have a good chance of being No. 1 themselves.
That's why I'm also wondering if Leach's coaching style will work against him with voters. Judge for yourself: Texas Tech scored eight touchdowns in the first three quarters against Kansas in a 63-21 win. Quarterback Graham Harrell wasn't out of the game until 12 minutes were left. ...
I'm wondering if Georgia and Florida are the SEC version of the Red Raiders.
Georgia goes into the Cocktail Party having scored its most points ever (52) in Death Valley. The highlights show Knowshon Moreno and a takeaway-happy defense running away from LSU players who many thought were among the fastest in the sport.
Florida blocked two punts on Kentucky's first two possessions, hanging 63 points on one of the country's better defenses.
The programs were sending messages to each other in anticipation of Jacksonville this week, but Penn State might want to pay attention, too.
The Nittany Lions have Saturday off. They might want to keep Joe Paterno away from the television. All the bright lights on the scoreboard could be a bit confusing. ...
Speaking of JoePa, I'm wondering how much time he has left -- as a coach.
When Paterno entered the Ohio Stadium press box Saturday night a bunch of us were lined up to see how he looked and maybe pick up a quip or two. JoePa looked almost spry. Three and a half hours later, at the end of his postgame comments, it took him 20 seconds -- with the help of a Penn State staffer, to negotiate two small stairs off the podium.
For the first time I felt like no matter what happens the rest of the way, this might be Joe's final season.