Here we are back again, speculating on Ohio State's chances.
Saturday's game-of-the-week showdown with No. 3 Penn State at The Shoe allows the No. 10 Buckeyes to crawl back into
the national championship race. That was the No. 1 question after that 32-point loss to USC four weeks ago. After a
45-7 strafing of Michigan State, Ohio State has put itself in position for another shot at the top.
This matchup qualifies as the latest game of the year behind Ohio State-USC and Texas-Oklahoma. The winner becomes
the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten. The loser might still be in the Rose Bowl hunt.
That was an obvious question for Texas' defensive coordinator Saturday night. Muschamp's unit has given up a
combined 66 points during impressive wins over Oklahoma and Missouri. But Muschamp is a hero in Austin. In the Big
12, his defense is good enough.
It's a different culture in the Big 12 where offenses are dominant. Muschamp made his bones coaching shut-down
defense in the SEC.
"That's to debate for everybody. I don't worry about that," said Muschamp who came to Texas after becoming a
defensive mastermind at LSU and Auburn. "I'm not looking to defend anything. I think it's too quality of a league.
There's a different offensive flair in this league. There's a different quarterback in this league."
Does that make the Big 12 better than the SEC?
"These spread offenses afford for you to score more points," Muschamp said. "John Wooden said it a long time ago,
'Offensively you can have an off night. Defensively, you can never have an off night.' "
Sixty-six points in two Big 12 games is relative -- impressive but we're still wondering how Muschamp's D would do
against the best in the SEC.
"We don't play them," Muschamp said. "We play Oklahoma State next. That's all I know."• Has any team been this bad? Washington State surrendered 60 points for the fourth time this season. The latest
embarrassment was a 69-0 loss to USC which scored 10 touchdowns. The average scoring drive took 2:21. Mark Sanchez
threw five touchdowns in one half of play.
• More doo-doo from Wazoo:
Pete Carroll elected to let the clock run out at the end of the first half. His team was on Washington State's 10.
It was the largest margin of defeat for the Cougars in its 114 years of football.
The shutout ended Washington State's streak of scoring in 280 consecutive games dating back to 1984. That streak
was second to Michigan's which is now at 295 games.
Since losing to Oregon State, the Trojans have outscored the opposition 141-10 in the next three games.
The Cougars did not cross midfield.
• Dabo Swinney promised to go at his new job 100 mph. Clemson's interim head coach might want to use a turn signal
every now and then. Some questionable play-calling led to four first-half turnovers and eventually a 21-17 loss to
Georgia Tech. There's only so many reverses and option passes you can call, Dabo.
Clemson is all but eliminated from the ACC race at 1-3 in conference.
By the way, look for Tommy Bowden to stay down for a while. He's got enough money and now has the time to heal at emotional wounds.
• There are 16 teams left with unblemished conference records. The most surprising of those might be Pittsburgh
(5-1), which is tied with West Virginia for the Big East lead at 2-0. Since losing to Bowling Green, the Panthers
have won five in a row. They knocked off Navy 42-21.
improving to 5-2 on Saturday it beat its second ranked team, Wake Forest 26-0. The other ranked victim (at the time
of kickoff) was Cal. The Terps are in a four-way tie for ACC Atlantic lead.
• After Michigan's first three drives, which all resulted in scores (17-7 lead) and a total of 204 yards, Penn State
limited Michigan to 87 yards, seven punts, a turnover and a blocked punt over the remaining 43:10 of the game.
• Alabama trailed for the first time this season, 3-0 to Ole Miss, before holding on for a 24-20 victory.