This and that on a Wednesday:
—Tennessee just picked up a couple more stud defensive line commitments. Whoever replaces Lane Kiffin in two or three years is going to have some good talent to work with.
—Is Jim Tressel turning into Lloyd Carr? Both coaches won national titles early in their tenure and then seemed to get set in their ways, resulting in a lot of wins due to superior talent, but also some head-scratching losses. Tressel is superior to Carr–after all, he’s just a couple years removed from back-to-back BCS title game appearances–but discontent is mounting among the Buckeye faithful. With the apparent resurgence of Michigan under Rich Rodriguez, it ain’t going to get any easier.
—Am I the only one who thought Stanford got jobbed by the refs in its loss to Wake Forest? First, there was the clipping call that negated a 40-yard run by Toby Gerhart (which might have sealed the game for Stanford). Replays showed the call to be bunk. Then, there was the quarerback sneak by Wake Forest’s Riley Skinner for the winning score. It looked to me like he was stopped cold short of the goal line but managed to sneak the ball over after the fact, while the pile was still settling. Sucks for Stanford, who I still think is going to be the surprise team in the Pac-10.
—Looks like Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter is out this week with a sprained ankle. Honestly, he might be the third best back on his team right now after Keith Toston and Beau Johnson. I wonder if he’ll ever get his job back this season.
—The latest ESPN Heisman Watch closely mirrors the latest HP Heisman Poll.
—When will UCLA catch a break? The Bruins have lost a quarterback to injury in each of the last four seasons. That position is beginning to resemble that of the drummer from Spinal Tap.
—Ivan Maisel writes on coaches and how they fit into certain programs here. I was just thinking about this very subject recently. I think it’s less about substance in a football sense and more about a coach’s style and his understanding of a program’s potential. Oklahoma and USC were set in their ways, dinosaur programs with fan bases that didn’t understand why the old running mentality didn’t work anymore. Each found new success with the kind of offenses that would’ve made John McKay and Barry Switzer cringe. But Bob Stoops and Pete Carroll found ways to change the mentality of their programs while still maintaining their traditions. But it takes a strong personality and a coherent philosophy to get it done. Shrinking violets need not apply.
That said, I think Paul Johnson needs to get his butt over to Nebraska and get that thing rolling again.
—Conference Call: The Best After Two Weeks
1. SEC, Pac-10
2. Everyone Else