Biggest statement: We all need Alabama to be good. When Alabama is good everything is better about college football.
A handful of programs define the sport -- USC, Notre Dame, Penn State, etc. Alabama is one of them. You might hate them but why, then were so many Auburn fans glued to their tailgate TVs Saturday watching the Tide eviscerate Arkansas 49-14?
I rest my case.
How , then, to evaluate Bama after its most decisive road SEC victory in almost 20 years? These aren't your Nutt job Wild Hogs, but the Tide did take care of business rather convincingly in setting up Saturday's game against Georgia.
Two Casey Dick interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
"We sent a message to the rest of the SEC," cornerback Marquis Johnson told reporters. "It's not like we were hungry. We already knew we were on top. It's like we're coming from the back to show everybody else we're the team from the past. This is a new identity. Look out."
• Ohio State found a quarterback just in time. Terrelle Pryor was the first freshman to start at quarterback for Ohio State since Art Schlichter in 1978. Pryor's debut went a lot better than Schlichter's. He threw five interceptions in a 19-0 loss to Penn State. That game started Woody Hayes' final season.
Pryor's first start kept Ohio State's season alive. He threw four touchdown passes against Troy.
"I've been making plays all my life," Pryor told reporters. "I'm not cocky."
No, by the looks of things, just the next Vince Young.
By the way, the smallest Ohio Stadium in six years booed senior Todd Boeckman after the quarterback made a couple of bad throws. The Ohio State crowd should be ashamed of itself.
• That was Florida's audition for the BCS title game, by the way. It's answer to USC.
In case you missed it -- Tennessee certainly did -- the Gators put the game away in the first quarter. Three scores, three different ways on their way to that 30-6 smashing of the Vols.
In the first 10 minutes, there was a jump pass touchdown, a fumble recovery to set up a field, then a 78-yard punt
return for a touchdown by Brandon James.
This, friends, was a message to USC and the country that the Trojans might not be the flashiest item in the jewelry
store. It was told me that USC might have a worthy opponent in that BCS championship game. Sure, it's only late
September but we spent the week anointing USC as the greatest thing since, well, USC.
Right now, Florida looks like the only SEC school capable of running the table in the SEC.• What, Georgia's receivers are starting to catch? This could get reaallly good in the SEC. A.J. Green caught eight
balls for 159 yards and a touchdown in Georgia's 27-10 yawner over Arizona a State. As predicted, the Dawgs caught a blow in the desert after that grinder against South Carolina.
• Lose one BCS buster, gain another.
East Carolina's BCS bowl chances diminished significantly after that 30-24 loss at North Carolina State. It just
doesn't look good for the Pirates. NC State came into the game having not scored a touchdown against a I-A team
since November. Then the Pack got 30 against a supposedly quality defense.
Former Heisman candidate Patrick Pinkney fumbled in overtime to allow N.C. State to win.
Meanwhile, is it time to get on Boise State again? In the biggest upset of the day, the Broncos won at Oregon 37-32.
The result doesn't do much for the Pac-10's crumbling reputation. It does a lot for Boise's credibility. The Broncos have been there before (see Fiesta Bowl 2007) and have I-A's best record this decade.
Oregon used three quarterbacks after an injury to starter Jeremiah Masoli. Jeremiah who? Never mind if you don't
recognize the name. Oregon has been hit so hard by injuries that Masoli came into the season as a third stringer.
41-23. It was the Aggies (1-2) worst non-conference loss at Kyle Field in 20 years.
• Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel was caught on television striking teammate Glen Lee with an open palm during the Scarlet
Knights' 23-21 loss at Navy. Coach Greg Schiano said he will not suspend his quarterback and considered the matter closed.
• At least three players were carted off the field Saturday with scary injuries. South Florida linebacker Brouce
Mompremier was taken to the hospital with what seemed like a spinal injury. The game was stopped for 20 minutes
while medical personnel attended to him.
Washington State quarterback redshirt senior Gary Rogers suffered a "spine fracture" against Portland State, ending his career. Rogers is expected to make a full recovery.
Ball State's Dante Love was strapped to a board after being hit by an Indiana
• Why not Tulsa in the BCS conversation? The Golden Hurricane have scored 157 points in starting 3-0. Quarterback
David Johnson threw six touchdown passes in a 56-14 thumping of New Mexico.
• Four sportswriters sitting around a table in the Auburn press box on Saturday. We can remember the names of old
• Heisman roll call: 1, Chase Daniel, Missouri; 2, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; 3, Knowshon Moreno, Georgia; 4, Max Hall, BYU; 5, David Johnson, Tulsa.
divisions in the NHL -- Smythe, Adams, etc. -- but we can't name the teams in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions of
the ACC. That's on the ACC, not us.
• The sports book of the fall -- heck, the book of the year -- is Michael Rosenberg's "War As They Knew It", a meticulously researched effort about the so-called Ten Year War between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler.
This is not just college football history, it's history. Football in a time of upheaval, revolution, Vietnam and Watergate. Rosenberg has written a classic.