Tony's Top 10: Adversity is old hat for LSU's Miles

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Here are Tony's Top 10 for the Fourth Saturday in October:

1. Nobody handles adversity like The Hat: Somehow you just knew that things were going too smoothly at LSU. After sitting out a four-game suspension because of his alleged involvement in a bar fight, quarterback Jordan Jefferson was back in the fold and the Tigers were rolling along just swimmingly. They were No. 1 in the first BCS Standings and the whole world was anticipating the Nov. 5 game at No. 2 Alabama. Then on Wednesday came news from multiple media sources that Miles had suspended three players -- all-world cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, safety Tharold Simon, and leading rusher Spencer Ware -- for Saturday's home game with Auburn (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET). Media reports said the three had failed a drug test. What we don't know is whether or not the three face multi-game suspensions, which would make them ineligible for the Alabama game. But remember that Miles has done some of his best work when turmoil surrounds him.

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2. Wisconsin finally sees a real defense: Russell Wilson has turned a good Wisconsin team into one that is capable of running the table and winning a Big Ten championship. The Badgers are ranked No. 8 in total offense with an average of 523.17 yards per game. But with all due respect to the men from Madison, Saturday's game at Michigan State will be the first time they've faced a real defense all season. Here are the NCAA rankings of the defenses Wisconsin has seen on the way to its 6-0 record: UNLV (110), Oregon State (75), Northern Illinois (89), South Dakota (FCS), Nebraska (58), and Indiana (105). Michigan State (5-1) is No. 2 in total defense (186.17 ypg). I like Sparty in this one. Remember that Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio did not coach in this game last season due to health reasons. Pregame: Wisconsin-Michigan State

3. Very quietly, Kellen Moore draws even with Colt McCoy: Peyton Manning left Tennessee in 1997 with the NCAA record for career wins (39) by a starting quarterback. Then the record was broken by Georgia's David Greene, who had 42 victories from 2001-2004. Then Greene stepped aside in favor of Colt McCoy of Texas, who won 45 games from 2006-2009. On Saturday Boise State's Kellen Moore can tie McCoy's record with a victory at home over Air Force. Moore, who is 44-2 as a starting quarterback, has a real chance to lead the Broncos to their third undefeated regular season in four years. It will be Boise's first meeting ever with Air Force now that they're both members of the Mountain West. In fact, this will be Boise State's first-ever meeting with a service academy. Boise State coach Chris Petersen has let it be known that there will be no booing on Saturday when Air Force takes the field. "We need to salute them and we need to applaud them," he told reporters. Pregame: Air Force-Boise State

4. Trent Richardson goes for his place in Alabama history: There have been a lot of great running backs at Alabama: Bobby Humphrey, Shaun Alexander, Johnny Musso, and Mark Ingram, just to name a few. But only Alexander has rushed for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games. Trent Richardson, the junior from Pensacola, has a chance to eclipse that mark when Alabama hosts Tennessee on Saturday night. Richardson ran for 183 yards on 17 carries last week against Ole Miss and had a 76-yard touchdown run that left defenders grasping at air. Richardson has 912 yards rushing in seven games and could also eclipse the 1,000-yard mark at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Pregame: Tennessee-Alabama

5. Jacory Harris is finally starting to grow up: When Miami (Fla.) signed quarterback Jacory Harris and a bunch of his teammates out of Northwestern High School (the mythical national high school champions), Hurricane fans felt it was only a matter of time before they'd win a BCS championship. But Harris turned out to be an interception machine in his first three seasons in Coral Gables, with 39 heading into the 2011 campaign. Enter NFL veteran Jedd Fisch as Miami's offensive coordinator. Let the record show that Harris has thrown for 1,104 yards, 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions this year. Harris has now gone three straight games without a pick after completing 20 of 30 in last week's 30-24 win over North Carolina. "Jacory is growing up and learning how to protect the football," said head coach Al Golden. "He knows that throwing the ball away or taking a sack is not always a bad thing." Miami (1-2 ACC) has to beat Georgia Tech at home on Saturday to stay in the ACC Coastal race. Pregame: Georgia Tech-Miami

6. Something's got to give at Faurot Field: By the time No. 4 Oklahoma State (6-0) gets to Missouri(3-3) on Saturday, the Tigers might be well on their way to membership in the SEC. You'd better set aside some extra time to watch this one because it's going to be a shootout. Specifically:

 Oklahoma State is second in the FBS in scoring (49.2 ppg) and passing offense (395.7 ypg). The Cowboys have yet to score less than 30 points this season.

 Missouri has scored more than 50 points twice in the last four games.

 Missouri has won 10 straight home games but the Cowboys have won eight straight road games.

With Oklahoma State at No. 4 in the first BCS Standings, inquiring minds want to know if the Cowboys will stumble before hosting No. 3 Oklahoma on Dec. 3. It will be OSU's second straight game on the road after winning at Texas (38-26) last week. Pregame: Oklahoma State-Missouri

7. Some free advice for North Carolina: Don't kick the ball to Sammy Watkins. No. 7 Clemson trailed Maryland by as many as 18 points in the third quarter last week in College Park. The Tigers came back to take the lead, only to have Maryland to reclaim the lead at 45-42. The last thing Maryland coach Randy Edsall told his kicker was to keep the ball away from freshman Sammy Watkins, Clemson's human highlight reel. Quicker that you can say "89 yard kickoff return for a touchdown" Clemson led 49-45 and the game was over. Clemson tacked on another score on a 44-yard run by Andre Ellington. Watkins, who has to be the freshman of the year, had a school-record 345 all-purpose yards in the game. The Tar Heels have to keep the ball out of his hands to have a shot. Look for North Carolina to try and control the ball and keep Watkins off the field with running back Giovanni Bernard, who has five straight games over 100 yards. Pregame: UNC-Clemson

8. Washington has a score to settle: Last season's meeting between Washington and Stanford was supposed to be a battle of first-round quarterbacks: Jake Locker and Andrew Luck. It was never a contest as Stanford won 41-0 (the largest margin of victory ever in the series) and Locker completed just 7 of 14 passes for 64 yards. Washington finished the game with only 107 total yards. But it proved to be a pivotal game for Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies. Since then they have won 9 of 11 games and are 5-1 and ranked No. 25 as they go to No. 8 Stanford on Saturday. Luck is back for Stanford but now Keith Price is the Washington quarterback. And he's good. Price threw four touchdown passes in the first half of last week's win over Colorado and is tied for the NCAA lead with Boise State's Kellen Moore with 21. Pregame: Washington-Stanford

9. Will the Sooners be caught looking ahead to Kansas State? Probably not. No. 3 Oklahoma has won 32 straight Big 12 games at home. The Sooners have scored at least 47 points in their last three games. Yes, they play a Texas Tech team that is averaging almost 44 points per game and yes, they go to No. 11 Kansas State next week. But there is a deadly efficiency about the Sooners. Ryan Broyles became the NCAA's all-time leader in catches last week (with 326) and don't expect him to slow down against the No. 82 defense in the country. Texas Tech is 1-8 all-time in Norman and has lost its last seven games there by an average of 24 points. Pregame: Texas Tech-Oklahoma

10. It is fixing to get ugly in Oxford: Last week Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3 SEC) just got pounded by Alabama 52-7 as the Crimson Tide, which has the SEC's best rushing offense, ran for 389 yards. This week, the Rebels face the SEC's best passing offense in Arkansas (336.8 ypg). And the Hogs, who are rested after a week off, will go against an Ole Miss team that is dead last in the SEC in total defense, last in rushing defense, and 10th in passing defense. Mississippi fans are so angry at the state of the football program that a group of them, labeling themselves as "Forward Rebels," have taken out ads in six different newspapers calling for changes in the "leadership" at Ole Miss. We assume they are talking about coach Houston Nutt and athletics director Pete Boone. After Arkansas, Ole Miss has back-to-back road trips to Auburn and Kentucky. The Rebels still have to play LSU at home and finish at Mississippi State. Nutt may be lucky to get back to 4-8, which is what Ole Miss was last year. This is not going to be pretty.

Watch The Tony Barnhart Show Wednesday at 8 p.m. on The CBS Sports Network.


Tony Barnhart is in his fifth season as a contributor to CBSSports.com. He is a college football analyst for CBS Sports and The CBS Sports Network. Prior to joining CBS he was the national college football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 24 years. He has written five books on college football.
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