TOP 10 TOPICS
1. How does Penn State keep from being overconfident tonight?
Watching last year's Notre Dame tape should take care of it. Last week, Georgia Tech blitzed the Irish into oblivion. But last season, the Nittany Lions had no pass rush at all in South Bend. Obviously, things are different this time - starting with Notre Dame's quarterback - but Penn State still has to effectively cover tight end John Carlson.
"I mean, we knew the middle would be open," Carlson said after last year's game, in which he caught six passes for 98 yards and the Irish won, 41-17. "We just tried to exploit that."
2. A spotlight on the quarterbacks in Happy Valley.
Anthony Morelli is the veteran this time - but still with a lot to prove - while freshman Jimmy Clausen gets his era going for the Irish.
3. What does Appalachian State now have in common with Philly?
A fondness for Vince Papale and his story. On their way to Michigan last week, Appalachian State's football team watched Invincible. Of course, the next day they pulled off the upset for the ages at Michigan Stadium. Papale said this week that he heard about how the team had seen the movie and tried to call head coach Jerry Moore on Monday. But Moore's voicemail was full.
"I figured that was that," Papale said. "Ten minutes later, they called me back. Coach Moore said, 'We loved your story down here. That's what we're all about.' "
They talked about the possibility of Papale making the trip to Boone, N.C., to meet the team and show the film on campus and said they'd send him a bunch of Appy State gear.
4. Best move of the week.
The Associated Press announced I-AA teams could receive votes in its weekly poll.
5. What was the NCAA thinking?
They rename I-AA the "Championship Subdivision." Doesn't that sound like the top level of football? Nope, that would be the "Football Bowl Subdivision." Some consultant probably got a lot of money for that.
6. Stories out of Michigan . . .
Made it sound as if Lloyd Carr was planning his exit as Wolverines coach even before the season, so there shouldn't be much drama in that story line.
7. A most offensive first half.
On Thursday night, Middle Tennessee State scored touchdowns the first five times its offense got the ball against Louisville - and never had the lead. The teams scored five touchdowns in the first five minutes, and the first 21/2 minutes featured three TD completions of more than 70 yards. (MTSU, whose offensive coordinator is former Delaware Valley coach G.A. Mangus, fumbled a kickoff after one Louisville TD).
You want more? The first 11 possessions of the game resulted in scores - 10 touchdowns and one field goal. Louisville had to settle for the field goal only because the Cardinals committed a personal foul when they had first and goal at MTSU's 1-yard line. Nobody stopped anybody until the last minute before halftime, when the score was Louisville 38, MTSU 35. After a ho-hum second half, the final was Louisville 58, MTSU 42.
8. Temple is favored today.
And the Owls should be against Buffalo. After a sloppy start last week against Navy, Temple looked like a team capable of winning some games in the Mid-American Conference. (And when was the last time a sentence seriously included the words "Temple looked like a team capable of winning"?) Quarterback Adam DiMichele looked particularly impressive in the short passing game.
9. Could Matt Ryan really get into the Heisman race?
It didn't look like it when the Penn Charter graduate's first pass of the season for Boston College was intercepted by Wake Forest and returned for a touchdown. But then Ryan got going and threw for 408 yards and five touchdowns. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was on WPEN this week talking about how he has Ryan as the top-rated quarterback in next year's draft. A game next weekend at Georgia Tech will be big for Ryan's long-shot Heisman candidacy.
10. The real top 10.
1. USC. 2. West Virginia. 3. Florida. 4. LSU. 5. Wisconsin. 6. Texas. 7. California. 8. Oklahoma. 9. Appalachian State. 10. Ohio State.
It was only Northern Colorado, but he completed 34 of 40 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns.
It was only Troy, but he ran 24 times for 151 yards and a touchdown, had two catches for 30 yards, and threw a pass for a 42-yard score.
He got started last week against Buffalo with 25 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and faced Navy last night.
Against Western Michigan, the Conwell- Egan High graduate ran 16 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns and had two catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Against Western Michigan, he was 10 of 18 passing for 192 yards and two touchdowns and added 97 yards rushing and two more touchdowns.
Against Idaho, he went 21 of 32 for 206 yards and three touchdowns.
Last week against Murray State, he completed 16 of 21 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns. Thursday against Middle Tennessee, he threw 25 of 39 for 401 yards and five TDs.
Against Weber State, he had 18 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
The Penn Charter graduate completed 32 of 52 passes against Wake Forest for 408 yards and five touchdowns.
In addition to four catches for 45 yards and one run for 21 yards against Tennessee, he returned a punt 77 yards for a score.
He ran for 188 yards against Appalachian State, but that’s not what anybody will remember about that game.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
No. 3 West Virginia (1-0) at Marshall (0-1), 11 a.m., ESPN2. The Slaton-White show stays in state. Last week, Marshall allowed Miami tailbacks Javarris James and Graig Cooper to combine for 225 yards on 26 carries.
Miami (1-0) at No. 5 Oklahoma (1-0), noon, 6ABC. A prove-it game for both teams. The Hurricanes are ranked 28th in the AP poll. The Sooners were 19-7 over the last two seasons and involved in 11 games decided by a touchdown or less.
Villanova (0-1) at Lehigh (0-0), 1 p.m. The Wildcats look to avenge last season's 31-28 loss at Villanova Stadium.
Oregon (1-0) at Michigan (0-1), 3:30 p.m., 6ABC. Do the Wolverines recover or is the season officially a train wreck? Maybe a bad omen for Michigan: Oregon's first-year play-caller was hired from another I-AA offensive powerhouse, New Hampshire.
Lenoir-Rhyne (0-1) at Appalachian State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. What a lovefest this will be in Boone, N.C. The table turns, and Division II Lenoir-Rhyne is the opponent playing for a paycheck. Believe this: Appalachian State losing wouldn't make the cover of Sports Illustrated, but it would be a much bigger upset than what happened in the Big House.
Notre Dame (0-1) at No. 14 Penn State (1-0), 6 p.m., ESPN. Last year's game was a yawner by the end, but it was Penn State's first-half turnovers that took the Nittany Lions out of it.
No. 19 Texas Christian (1-0) at No. 7 Texas (1-0), 7 p.m., CSN. This is TCU's chance for BCS glory and, just as important, state supremacy. The Horned Frogs have beaten five straight Big 12 opponents, including Oklahoma two years ago.
West Chester (1-0) at Delaware (1-0), 7 p.m. Both teams look capable of getting to the postseason, but in different divisions. West Chester hasn't come within a touchdown of the Blue Hens since 1996, and last won in 1992.
No. 9 Virginia Tech at No. 2 LSU, 9:15 p.m., ESPN. Is LSU as good as its ranking? The Tigers are double-digit favorites against a team that struggled last week against East Carolina's defense.