- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

FORTUNES RISING

OHIO STATE

There’s not much the Buckeyes can do for an encore to their 24-7 thrashing of Texas other than continue to win games. Ohio State’s defense answered some questions in the victory, though the Longhorns’ yardage total still was fairly healthy. That can be overlooked, though, because Texas still has plenty of talent left from last year’s national champions.

FORTUNES FALLING

CHUCK AMATO

Mr. Sunglasses can toss away his shades; it appears it might be dusk in his tenure at N.C. State. The Wolfpack lost to Akron at home on a touchdown on the game’s final play to cap a drive set up by a characteristic lack of discipline (an excessive celebration penalty). Amato is 13-12 A.P.R. (after Philip Rivers), and a shaky offense means there’s little reason to believe a turnaround is likely this year.

NON-BCS SPOTLIGHT

AKRON

What does it say that the defending Mid-American champs rolled into N.C. State and emerged with a victory even though quarterback Luke Getsy wasn’t all that efficient? Perhaps that Akron is a bit more dangerous than it has been given credit for. Tailback Dennis Kennedy scored three touchdowns against the Wolfpack as the Zips cemented their spot among the MAC favorites this year.

HEISMAN QUICK SIX

1. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: Irish quarterback had no trouble shredding vaunted Penn State defense

2. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma: Ran more than 30 times and carried Sooners’ offense against Washington

3. Troy Smith, Ohio State: Efficient quarterback ensured Buckeyes didn’t lose to Texas two years in a row

4. Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State: Caught a touchdown but unlikely to eclipse teammate Smith any time soon

5. Steve Slaton, West Virginia: National stage beckons for sophomore as Mountaineers play host to Maryland tonight

6. Erik Ainge, Tennessee: Seven touchdown passes in two games is sure to draw notice.

SET YOUR TIVO

No. 15 OKLAHOMA (2-0)at No. 18 OREGON (2-0)

3:30 p.m., Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.

Outlook: The plan for the Sooners is simple: Hand the ball to Adrian Peterson and hope for the best. It isn’t such a horrible idea for much of Oklahoma’s schedule. Peterson alone has one fewer carry than the Sooners have passing attempts, and eventually the wear and tear will get to the talented junior.

That day is probably Oct. 7 at the State Fair in Dallas against Texas, but Oregon just might be capable of pulling a mild surprise. The Ducks escaped Fresno State with a touchdown on a fake field goal attempt, but surrendering 5.3 yards a carry to the Bulldogs doesn’t bode well against Oklahoma.

No. 6 LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC)at No. 3 AUBURN (2-0, 1-0)

3:30 p.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala., Chs. 9, 13

Outlook: If Ohio State-Texas didn’t match expectations as a possible game of the year, this one probably won’t. Both teams of Tigers have impressed in the first two weeks of the season, and the winner will have the inside track to the SEC West title.

Auburn is likely to line up tailbacks Kenny Irons and Brad Lester at the same time, and while they aren’t erstwhile stars Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, they should prove effective. The Bayou Bengals own a pair of 45-3 victories, including a demolition of Arizona in Baton Rouge. If JaMarcus Russell remains mistake-free at quarterback, Louisiana State could emerge with the victory.

No. 11 MICHIGAN (2-0)at No. 2 NOTRE DAME (2-0)

3:30 p.m., Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Chs. 4, 11

Outlook: Michigan coach Lloyd Carr did his best Oscar the Grouch impersonation this week after being asked about his record at Notre Dame. Why? He’s 0-3 in South Bend against the Irish, who haven’t lost to the Wolverines at home since 1994.

Bank on that streak continuing. Brady Quinn and Co. are coming off a shredding of Penn State. Quinn threw for three touchdowns in the 41-17 rout but could have more difficulty against the Wolverines.

No. 7 FLORIDA (2-0, 0-0 SEC)at No. 13 TENNESSEE (2-0, 0-0)

8 p.m., Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn., Chs. 9, 13

Outlook: It’s amazing what two explosive offensive displays can do to revitalize a game’s importance. Tennessee and coach Philip Fulmer, left for dead with the prospect of an opening-week date with California, instead thrashed the Bears and welcome the Gators with an unblemished record. The Volunteers did lose two defensive starters — cornerback Inky Johnson and defensive tackle Justin Harrell — in Saturday’s squeaker over Air Force.

No. 19 NEBRASKA (2-0)at No. 4 SOUTHERN CAL (1-0)

8 p.m., Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Chs. 7, 2

Outlook: Brent Musberger alert! You will be looking live at the program of the 1990s as it prepares to face the program of this decade. The Trojans have had two weeks to prepare for their home opener after a predictable thrashing of Arkansas in the season’s first week.

John David Booty might not be Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart, but he’s a suitable replacement who should roll up at least 10 wins this year. One of them should come against the Cornhuskers, who have rolled up nice numbers against outmatched Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State. Nebraska is out of mediocre teams from the bayou to face and should struggle against the athletic Trojans.

NUMBERS OF NOTE

0Points for Mississippi State in season-opening losses to South Carolina and Auburn. In future shutout possibilities, the Bulldogs face Louisiana State, West Virginia and Georgia by the end of October.

0Completions for Nicholls State in its 56-7 loss at Nebraska. In fairness to the Division I-AA visitors, the Colonels attempted only three passes out of their triple-option offense as they became the first team since Oklahoma State in 1992 not to complete a throw against the Cornhuskers.

45Yards rushing for Florida State in its 24-17 squeaker over Troy. The Seminoles are 2-0 despite gaining 46 yards on the ground the first two weeks, a harbinger of future difficulties for Bobby Bowden’s boys.

11Consecutive losses for Syracuse, a school record. The Orange nearly stunned Iowa at the Carrier Dome on Saturday and stand a decent chance to snap their skid with a visit to woebegone Illinois, fresh off a shutout loss to Rutgers

STORIES OF THE WEEK

1. Who’s No. 1?: It certainly isn’t Texas, which has some nice trophies from last year to provide solace. Ohio State has a fine claim to No. 1, but a brutal schedule beckons.

2. Lions tamed: It appears there will be no JoePa BCS magic this year, especially after Notre Dame deconstructed Penn State in South Bend. Still, nine wins are more than attainable.

3. Bayou blowout: The Arizona-Louisiana State blowout taught two lessons. One, Arizona isn’t quite ready to tangle with real top-10 teams. Two, the Tigers are awfully, awfully good.

4. Trojan horse in Tallahassee: Florida State nearly getting upset by Troy? At home? It wasn’t that long ago such a thought would have been heartily laughed at.

5. Purple haze: New Hampshire’s thumping of Northwestern was probably the weekend’s biggest surprise. Honorable mention: San Jose State edging Stanford for the second time since 2001.

Patrick Stevens

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