NCAA Week 4: Stock Up, Stock Down
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Here we are, four weeks into the season, and there's been only a handful of FBS games that were worth the price of admission.
Maybe that's why God invented tailgating.
Stock Up: Lane Kiffin ... Did Tennessee ever wind up naming that sewage treatment plant after him? Or did they have the good sense to bow their heads and ask, What would Peyton do? And now, Lane's back.
Vols fans may be circling Sat 25 Oct and preparing a huge dose of venomous wit when he comes in with the Tide. They'd better be ready with more than that. The way his offense tore up Florida, BBQs and boat rides may be that day's highlight in Knoxville for the home fans. Can you imagine what Saturday's score could have been if the Tide didn't turn the ball over four times? Hell, they were first and goal at the end of the game, and Saban pulled back.
Stock Down: Florida ... Speaking of, it's time to ask. Just how empty did Urban Meyer leave the Gator tank? From the coaches to the players to the bus driver who dropped them at the stadium, this was a total team loss. Florida was outcoached and outplayed despite getting four turnovers. Whether or not it's all his fault, Will Muschamp should be dusting off his résumé.
Stock Up: Indiana ... The Hoosiers last made the Rose Bowl in 1968, and the Cubs may win a World Series before they return, but Saturday, they were the Big Ten's unlikely standard bearer. A week after falling to Bowling Green at home, Indiana put a season's worth of highlights -- for them -- together in upsetting Missouri. Coach Kevin Wilson's been quietly assembling a dangerous offense in Bloomington. Has he finally got an adequate defense, too? Maryland will attempt to find out this weekend.
Stock Down: The SEC East ... Besides Mizzou feeling the wrath of the Big Ten, South Carolina struggled with a bad Vandy team, and maybe Kentucky wasn't a trap game for Florida. Going to be a rough year for any team representing the East in the SEC title game.
Stock Up: Catholics ... Nôtre Dame had the weekend off, and Boston College might as well have, so Arizona's Rich Rodriguez grabbed the rosary beads after his Wildcats stormed back from a 28-6 halftime deficit to the CalBears and staged a mad dash to the finish. Still trailing, 45-43, with seconds remaining, it was time for the litany. Hail Mary, full of grace ...
Wonder time: Rich Rod ran a successful high-octane spread attack in West Virginia and has one again down in the desert. What happened at Michigan? Has the game evolved past Maize-&-Blue culture? Oh well, not his problem. Might not be Brady Hoke's for much longer, either.
Stock Down: Oregon Defense ... Washington State's Mike Leach has only a handful of passing plays, but they're all read-&-react. And when the nation's passing leader, Connor Halliday, gets in rhythm with his two-second drops, it's enough to make a Duck dizzy. Toss in the Pullman Effect -- don't ask; nobody knows -- and Oregon was on upset alert. Only an incredibly timed swallowed whistle kept the end from being more suspenseful for the Ducks. They'd best hope Rich Rod has to return those rosary beads before their next game. Actually, he might have had them in hand last season:
Stock Up: Mississippi State ... Maybe there is something to all that talk about the Magnolia State harboring two legit contenders this year. LSU is a believer. Dan Mullen's squad was firing on all cylinders in Death Valley. That was only an upset to those who haven't been paying attention. Bulldog QB Dak Prescott was dazzling. In fact, only Marcus Mariota had a more dramatic day on the road.
Stock Down: Virginia Tech ... Gotta go back to their Fighting Gobbler days to find the last time this crew lost four straight home games to FBS schools. Their latest was a come-from-ahead downer to the Ramblin' Wreck. Frank Beamer has been at Tech since Fred Flintstone graduated, so the only pressure he's under is self-imposed. For now. Bobby Bowden can tell him a thing or two about alumi creep.
Stock Up: Blake Sims ... Dude's got an arm and knows how to use it, contrary to popular belief. Just ask the Florida Gators defense, whom he torched for 445 yards and four touchdowns. Sims is no longer a game manager but a game changer. And Jacob Coker coulda had a dream game last Saturday in Tallahassee. Such is life.
Stock Down: Julie Hermann ... First, the Rutgers AD apolgizes for Scarlet Knights fans making Jerry Sandusky jokes when they hosted Penn State, and then it's revealed she was on record at a staff meeting as making one herself. And yes, Rutgers is Ray Rice's alma mater.
Stock Up: East Carolina ... Kudos to a program that flies so far under the radar every season, Dr Strangelove's Major Kong would be proud. And for all we know, Pirates coach Ruffin McNeill is reading from the same script:
Right now, the Pirates are strong contenders for a top BCS bowl slot that one team from the Other Five could receive if it has a stellar season. Knocking off Virginia Tech and North Carolina on successive weekends bodes well for them. These dudes could be the feelgood story of 2014.
Stock Waayyyyy Down: Jameis Winston ... I'm tired of talking about this kid, but he keeps doing dumb stuff, so we have no choice. Disrespecting his coach by coming out in uniform after he was told not to dress out pretty much sums up why most of the country was pulling for Clemson Saturday night. But of course, Clemson pulled a Clemson.
And maybe the Seminoles aren't as thorough as they claim to be. It's symbolic of the slipshod way they've handled everything Winston to date.