John L. Smith, perpetual train wreck
At the end of last season Arkansas was a hot team with an emerging star QB and the potential to contend for an SEC and National Title in 2012. Then, John L. Smith happened. In the wake of former coach Bobby Petrino’s motor cycle accident and discovery of an extramarital affair, Smith was promoted to head coach as the Razorbacks had few other options in April. Long time college football fans will remember Smith as the Michigan State head coach from 2003-2006. His teams were notorious for their late season collapses and after three straight losing seasons, Smith was dismissed in 2006.
So what was my first clue that he IS NOT made to coach in big games and pressure filled environments? Check out his teams’ records in games played after November 1:
On Saturday night the #8 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks lost AT HOME to Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in overtime 34-31. In the last two seasons, Arkansas won 21 games compared to only 5 losses, one of the best records in America. By comparison, ULM has gone 9-15 in the past two seasons. Before pulling this upset, ULM had the following results against BCS teams in Coach Berry’s two seasons:
2010: 24 pt loss to Arkansas
2010: 49 pt loss to Auburn
2010: 51 pt loss to LSU
2011: 34 pt loss to FSU
2011: 21 pt loss to TCU*
2011: 28 pt loss to Iowa
POOF! Out of nowhere, after having not been within three touchdowns of a BCS conference team before, they pull the outright upset. Is Bobby Petrino that amazing of a coach? Maybe. Probably. But, on this night, the story was about a national champion hopeful losing a game, losing their edge, and further proving the incompetence of John L. Smith.
The Florida Gators would like your attention
Some years the national champion is a team that is highly regarded from week 1 and dominates throughout the season en route to their title. Other years the eventual champion strings together wins, has timely clutch plays, and seems to have a magical way of getting the job done. (See: 2010 Auburn. 2002 Ohio St.) I get the sense that this 2012 Florida Gators team just might fall into that category of teams that find a way to win.
Last weekend in College Station the Gators crashed Texas A&M’s SEC-welcome-party. After falling behind 17-7 in the first half, Florida grinded their way to a 20-17 win, playing excellent defense and making pointed half time adjustments. They have settled on a quarterback and will be able to rely on their defense to keep them in games. If they can get past an emerging Tennessee team on Rocky Top this weekend, the Gators have only one true road game between games 4-11. This is an early story to keep an eye on.
That’s the sound of Texas and Iowa State off to solid (and eerily quiet) 2-0 starts. For the Longhorns, the early success is expected and yawned about. However, after going a combined 13-12 in the last two seasons, it’s encouraging to see them win like their supposed to against two respectable mountain west foes. In eight quarters of football played, Texas has pitched a shutout in six of them. They’ve turned the ball over only once and have run the ball well. This week they play @ Ole Miss (9:15pm ESPN) in what should be a solid opportunity for them to truly demonstrate their progress.
Iowa State on the other hand… (wait, seriously am I writing about Iowa State?) The Cyclones are off to a 2-0 start with solid wins over Tulsa and Iowa. Yes, those two programs might not be up to past performance, but they are two teams that I think Iowa State would have been thrilled to beat in recent years. With those two wins under their belt, they get Western Illinois and Texas Tech at home (sandwiched around a bye week) to close out September, meaning that the Cyclones could enter October at 4-0. The strong start coupled with two bowl games in the past three seasons and last year’s upset of OK State leads me to believe that Coach Rhoads has this program quietly going in the right direction.
The B1G Ten’s black eye
Penn State loses at Virginia… and boy did they ever LOSE that one
Iowa loses at home to Iowa State
Purdue loses at Notre Dame
Wisconsin loses at Oregon State
Nebraska loses at UCLA
Illinois loses at Arizona State
Ohio State lets Central Florida hang around
Michigan darn near loses to Air Force
Pretty brutal weekend for the B1G Ten, I’d say… But, hey, at least Northwestern beat Vanderbilt! The conference isn’t doing itself any favors to shake the perception that the B1G Ten is behind the times.
PAC12 up and PAC12 down
HOORAY! Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State all pulled off big time wins against strong non-conference foes! The PAC12 is king! Call your friends! Post to your facebook! The PAC12 is back!!!!
Actually… hold on a second… what’s that?… everything isn’t peachy in the Pacific?
The Colorado Buffaloes got beat at home by Sacramento State. (The same Sac. State team that lost by 30 at NEW MEXICO STATE in week 1. NEW MEXICO STATE!) How?
The Utah Utes saw their 12 game win streak against Utah State come to an end over the weekend.
The Cal Bears held a measly 20-17 lead over FCS Southern Utah entering the fourth quarter of their game. Hey, Bears, good luck with that noon EST kickoff next week against Ohio State.
Finally, the Washington Huskies got annihilated by 38 against LSU. No shame in losing on the bayou. Lots of shame in losing by more points than North Texas did in week 1.
That void in your college football weekend?
Geno Smith had a bye week. Don’t worry. When he plays, you will hear about it.
That’s what caught my eye in week 2! What about you?