- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh my Lloyd.

Dead man walking, boss.

The Back Judge isn’t sure which is worse — opening the season by becoming the first ranked team to lose to an invitee from Division-poo … or lacking the pride to post the following week.

Michigan’s 39-7 loss to Oregon in the mausoleum formerly known as the Big House on Saturday was every bit as pathetic as last week’s shocking loss to Appy State.

Any team with a sliver of pride would have responded to the Appy debacle with an impassioned rebound performance. Instead, the Wolverines rolled their helmets out and watched the Ducks roll up 624 yards of total offense en route to handing Michigan its worst defeat since a 50-14 demolition at Ohio State in 1968 (the season before Bo Schembechler’s debut).

Speaking of Bo, the Wolverines haven’t won a game (0-4) since their beloved former coach died Nov. 17. All the Back Judge can say is thank goodness Bo didn’t have to witness this season’s disgraceful display.

The BJ thought Michigan coach Lloyd Carr should have been summarily fired after the inexcusable loss to Appalachian State, so now he probably would advocate a public flogging. But Carr is far from the only issue in Ann Arbor.

Kids with character fight, but Saturday’s performance was a soulless walkthrough for most Wolverines outside of senior tailback Mike Hart. It’s no wonder a huge percentage of what always has been college football’s classiest crowd walked out on the Malaise and Blue at halftime.

Though Michigan’s mystifying tumble from gridiron grace continues to be the story of the early season, two enormous threats to USC’s BCS supremacy emerged over the weekend.

LSU and Oklahoma earned the top two slots in the Back Judge’s AP ballot this week because, unlike USC, both actually have accomplished something this season.

The Trojans have more talent than LSU and Oklahoma put together. But USC always has been subject to a case of Cali-complacency. Saturday in Lincoln will show whether they intend to dispatch teams with extreme prejudice.

But until he gets a look at the Trojans’ nasty, the Back Judge is sticking with the merciless men from Red Stick and Norman because those boys redefined TCB this weekend.

In what was supposed to be Saturday’s marquee matchup, LSU (2-0) put such a hiding on Virginia Tech (48-7) that Frank Beamer and Co. won’t be able to look at a chair for a month, much less sit down.

It’s hard not to see this beatdown as a snapshot of the quality gap between the SEC and the ACC. A conference’s supposed signature team simply cannot endure such a thorough beatdown, no matter the site, without partially damaging the reputation of the entire conference.

And don’t think this game wasn’t really as ugly as the final score suggests. LSU outgained Virginia Tech by a humiliating total of 598 to 149, led 24-0 at the half and spent the last 20 minutes of the rout working out backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. Frankly, it’s going to be difficult to take the Hokies seriously again for some time.

Oklahoma (2-0) completed a traumatic week for the ACC by dropping half a hundred on Miami (51-13) in Norman, finishing off the Hurricanes with 30 unanswered points to establish the Sooners as a legit title player.

Memo to Miami’s Randy Shannon: The Sooners are OUtstanding, and your boys weren’t going to beat them Saturday under any circumstances.

But in order to make the rest of your debut season a little less painful, you should (a) scrap Project Kirby — there’s no light at the end of that tunnel, not considering Freeman couldn’t hit a billboard at 10 paces … even if he could throw it that far — and (b) ask yourself why in the name of Devin Hester you have a tight end returning kicks?

With the new rule this season, kickoff returns and coverage are more important than ever, and yet you have chosen to take your home run shots with a guy who moves with all the speed and grace of a wingless stork. That’s simply not too swift.

Gameballs and gassers — Leather goes to LSU and OU for going Conan on quality opponents from Blacksburg and Coral Gables. Yes, the Back Judge can hear the lamentations of their women.

But the BJ also would like to commend South Florida for dumping Auburn on the Plains in spite of a kicker he wouldn’t wish on the Dallas Cowboys. The Bulls have arrived after victories over West Virginia (last year) and Auburn. And with six solid programs now among its ranks (Louisville, West Virginia, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Cincinnati), the Big East is quickly gaining ground on the other major conferences.

Other kudos go to upset winners South Carolina (Georgia), Cincinnati (Oregon State) and Washington (Boise State).

The Player of the Week pigskin goes to Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, who not only dropped 368 yards of total offense on Michigan but executed the sweetest play the Back Judge has seen this season on that Statue of Liberty fake-and-dash deal that put the Ducks up 25-7 late in the second quarter.

Gassers go to Michigan (whom the BJ simply can’t kick enough for the team’s pathetic lack of pride), VIP (RIP in Baton Rouge), Auburn (five turnovers in the overtime loss to South Florida) and Charlie Weis.

Did they accidentally staple Weis’ brain when they botched that gastric bypass surgery two years back? The one-time offensive genius now boasts an attack that hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in 120 minutes of football this season, has given up 15 sacks and has netted negative rushing yardage (minus-8 total) in blowout losses to Georgia Tech (33-3) and Penn State (31-10).

The BJ can’t wait to watch next week’s colossus-turned-Toilet Bowl as Notre Dame (0-2) visits Michigan (0-2).

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