For two straight weeks we've seen somebody's dream of an undefeated season come to an end. Does heartbreak come in threes?
Here's Tony's Top 10 for the weekend:
1. The "other" Dooley sits it out
Vince Dooley won 201 games and six SEC championships during his Hall of Fame career as the head coach at Georgia (1964-88). He was Georgia's athletics director for 25 years (1980-2004). He has won every major award that a coach and athletics administrator can receive. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame. In short, there are not too many events that are too big for him. Dooley, who turned 80 on Sept. 4, still has a private box at Georgia's Sanford Stadium, just a few minutes from his home. But he won't be sitting in it Saturday when his son, Derek, brings his Tennessee Volunteers to Athens to meet No. 5 Georgia.
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"I have to pull for my son because if I don't I won't stay married much longer," said Dooley. "But I can't sit in Sanford Stadium and pull against Georgia. I just can't do it. So I'll sit at home, draw the shades, and watch the game by myself."
Dooley's wife, Barbara, has no such reservations. She will be at Sanford Stadium wearing her orange. Derek Dooley is the youngest of her four children.
"She will be there and pulling for her baby," said Dooley.
The younger Dooley is 3-1 with the loss coming to Florida. He could really use a signature victory.
2. At least one coach will be happy
Ohio State's Urban Myer and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio had two things in common last Saturday: Both won their games and neither one of them was really happy about it. That should change on Saturday in the Big Ten opener for both teams in East Lansing. Ohio State was way too sloppy and gave up way too many yards (403) and was on the field way too many plays (80) in a 29-15 win over UAB. Michigan State actually got pushed around before finally wearing down Eastern Michigan (23-7) with another vintage performance from Le'Veon Bell (a career high 253 yards). A couple of historic notes: Urban Meyer's teams at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, and Ohio State are 38-4 in September. Ohio State has won in its last three visits to East Lansing. Usually the team with the best quarterback wins. That's Ohio State.
3. Can the Pokes make it three straight?
After two straight years of playing in Austin, the Texas-Oklahoma State game returns to Stillwater, America, on Saturday. Oklahoma State made history last season when the Cowboys beat Texas for the second straight time, something that had never happened in the 26 meetings between the two schools. This week Texas has had to prepare for two quarterbacks as Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy has kept the status of starter Wes Lunt (knee) under wraps. If Lunt cannot go then the more mobile J.W. Walsh will take over. Hint: It won't matter who's the QB for the Pokes because Texas has two grown men playing defensive end in Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat.
4. AJ McCarron for Heisman?
With the long and storied history that is Alabama football, the school never had a Heisman Trophy winner until Mark Ingram took home the trophy in 2009. Now there is a push, albeit a quiet one, to start looking at junior quarterback AJ McCarron. McCarron is not going to put up gaudy passing numbers because Nick Saban's team is going to be built around one of the best offensive lines in the country and a stable of very good running backs.
But McCarron enters Saturday's home game with Ole Miss ranked No. 1 in the SEC and No. 4 nationally in passing efficiency. He has attempted 176 consecutive passes without an interception and needs 15 more to break Brodie Croyle's school record of 190. In four games McCarron has thrown for 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Those numbers will only improve against the Rebels.
5. Well, at least it looked good on paper
When Mike Leach took the job at Washington State, Saturday's home game with No. 2 Oregon looked like a shootout that had a chance to be a lot of fun. But after last week's 35-34 loss to hapless Colorado, it looks like Leach has a longer way to go at Wazzu than any of us thought. Here's a couple of reality checks if you are a Cougars fan:
• Oregon has a five-game winning streak against the Cougars during which the Ducks have averaged 43 points while Washington State has not scored more than 28 in any single game. And now all of a sudden the Ducks are looking a little nastier on defense. Last week's 49-0 win over Arizona was Oregon's first shutout of a conference opponent since 2003. One other little nugget to keep in mind: Chip Kelly has been the head coach at Oregon for 44 games. In those 44 games his teams have scored 40 or more points 32 times.
• Oregon is in a beauty pageant called the BCS. Look for Kelly to hammer the Cougars.
6. Lessons learned for Les
After slopping its way through a 12-10 win at struggling Auburn last week, LSU dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 in the polls. But Les Miles, ever the optimist, saw it as a teachable moment.
"I think the good news is that our team understands the position they're in," said Miles. "If they want to win a division or a conference, they're going to have to fix their mistakes."
LSU will fix its mistakes at the expense of Towson, which will be the tuneup for next week's trip to Florida. LSU has won 40 straight regular-season games against non-conference competition and will make it 41 on Saturday. LSU's last regular-season non-conference loss was to Virginia Tech in the season opener for 2002. Very few teams during that streak have even played the Tigers close; the average score for those games has been 40.6-10.6.
7. A final homecoming for Daniels
The only other time Florida State and South Florida have met came in 2009. It was the coming-out party for Bulls' quarterback B.J. Daniels. Understand why that was a big deal to Daniels. He grew up in Tallahassee with dreams of becoming the next Charlie Ward. In fact, he lived on the Florida State campus for seven years because his dad was a dormitory director. But when the time came for college, South Florida offered him a scholarship to play quarterback and Florida State did not. And on Sept. 26, 2009 Daniels found himself in the starting lineup replacing an injured Matt Grothe. USF was given no shot but the Bulls stunned the Seminoles 17-7 after two touchdown passes and 126 yards rushing from Daniels. Now Daniels is a senior and will get a final shot Saturday against the No. 4 team in the nation.
"It's got a little circus aspect to it, doesn't it?" Daniels asked Tampa Bay Online. "It won't have anything to do with what happens between the white lines."
Florida State is coming off an emotional win over Clemson. USF is trying to forget a horrible 31-27 loss at Ball State last week.
8. Expect a fast start for Shaw
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is big on "firsts." He was the first coach to ever win an SEC championship at Florida. He was the last coach to win an ACC championship at Duke (1989). With 10 wins this season he will become No. 1 on South Carolina's all-time win list for coaches. He was the first coach to ever win 11 games in a season at South Carolina. In 2010 he led South Carolina to its first-ever appearance in the SEC championship game. On Saturday one of his players has a chance to record a "first."
Last week quarterback Connor Shaw completed his last 20 passes in a 31-10 win over Missouri. The NCAA record for consecutive completions is 24 set by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998. If Shaw can complete his first five passes against Kentucky he, and by extension, Spurrier, will own the record. Expect Spurrier to give Shaw every opportunity to make history against struggling Kentucky.
9. First one to 50 wins
West Virginia makes its maiden voyage into Big 12 conference play by hosting its first-ever game against Baylor. And while RG3 has gone on to the NFL, Baylor isn't slowing down on offense one bit as the Bears enter this one having posted 500 more yards of total offense and 30 or more points for nine straight games. Baylor has scored 45 or more points in seven straight games. But the Bears might not get enough possessions to come near those marks. That's because West Virginia is pretty much on fire. Quarterback Geno Smith is No. 2 in the nation in total offense with 379.6 yards per game. Still, the only guy ahead of him is Baylor QB Nick Florence at 387.6. I'm just sayin'.
10. Time to give Louisville some love?
The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 2006 when they started 8-0 under Bobby Petrino. Along the way they have beaten a bad team from the SEC (Kentucky) and a middle of the road team (North Carolina) from the ACC. Louisville jumped to a 36-7 lead on North Carolina before holding on to win 39-34.
Louisville should be 5-0 after Saturday's road game at Southern Mississippi (0-3), its old Conference USA rival. And here's the deal with Charlie Strong's team: They have a dynamic quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who completed 72 of his first 88 passes this season. They finally have the athletes on defense to do what Strong wants (although they are fifth in the Big East). And by the way, they are young. Ten of the 22 starters are sophomores and there are only 10 seniors on the entire team. The Cardinals get next week off and begin Big East play on Oct. 13 at Pittsburgh.
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