- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

WHO’S OVERRATED

No. 19 South Florida - A place as the king of the Big East these days is sort of like being the majority owner of a landfill - you have a title, but it isn’t exactly envied. The Bulls barely escaped Central Florida with an overtime victory Saturday, and it’s time to start wondering whether they’re really all that good after last season’s late collapse. Friday’s visit from Kansas will tell a great deal about both teams.

WHO’S UNDERRATED

Clemson - There’s no truth to the rumors Tommy Bowden is penning a tome titled “How to Go from Chic to Stink in a Week.” The Tigers, with their offensive line questions, were never a top-10 team. But they’re still a top-25 team and shouldn’t be too far out of anyone’s minds. Cullen Harper, James Davis, C.J. Spiller … these guys are still good. And so is Clemson, even if it’s not viewed as such.

PLOT WORTH WATCHING

Golden Bears on the prowl - Last year’s greatest freefall belonged to California, which went from No. 2 in the country to barely earning an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl. But after hanging 66 points on hapless Washington State, the Golden Bears will make a cross-country trek to reeling Maryland - where they could continue to show they might be the Pac-10’s second- or third-best team.

HEISMAN QUICK SIX

A look at the contenders for the Heisman Trophy.

1. QB Chase Daniel, Missouri - The Tigers are 2-for-2, and Daniel only will pad his stats more in the coming weeks.

2. TB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia: The Bulldogs’ backfield stalwart starts his candidacy with back-to-back games with three touchdowns.

3. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: If he keeps carving up opponents, the Sooners star will remain entrenched near the top of this endeavor.

4. QB Mark Sanchez, Southern California: After an omission last week, Sanchez looked great with a dominant performance in the bank heading into a bye week.

5. QB Tim Tebow, Florida: Not overwhelming against the Baby ‘Canes, but last year’s Heisman winner still tossed a pair of scoring strikes.

6. QB Todd Reesing, Kansas: Remember the Jayhawks’ maestro from last year? He will be challenged a bit more Friday at South Florida.

SATURDAY PLANNER

Six suggested games to devour during an afternoon on the couch:

Georgia Tech (2-0) at Virginia Tech (1-1), 3:30 p.m., Chs. 7, 2: Hey, look who could be a bit ahead of schedule: It’s Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson, whose team poached a win at Boston College on Saturday.

Oregon (2-0) at Purdue (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPN: The fun really begins in Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller’s final season. The Big Ten doesn’t look particularly strong, and Curtis Painter has the tools to help upend the fast-starting Ducks.

UCLA (1-0) at Brigham Young (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Versus: A pair of early season escape artists meet. And if the Cougars win, it will be official they could finish at least fifth in the Pac-10.

Oklahoma (2-0) at Washington (0-2), 7:45 p.m., ESPN: Quarterback Jake Locker and the Huskies have a tough assignment at home as they try to recover from their 28-27 loss to Brigham Young.

Ohio State (2-0) at Southern California (1-0), 8 p.m., Chs. 7, 2: Nothing to see here. Well, except for the most hyped game of the season. The loser’s punishment: No margin of error the rest of the way.

Wisconsin (2-0) at Fresno State (1-0), 10:30 p.m., ESPN2: At some point, shouldn’t teams wise up and avoid visiting the Valley? With an extra week to prepare, the Bulldogs will be poised to spring an upset.

FIVE FEARLESS FORECASTS

Five predictions for the coming weekend

1. The Pirates won’t walk the plank. Aaargh. This won’t be the week that rapscallion Skip Holtz and his BCS-plundering East Carolina maties visit Davy Jones’ locker. Not at Tulane, they won’t.

2. Georgia-South Carolina will be needlessly close. The Ol’ Ball Coach didn’t coach ‘em up good in the Gamecocks’ lame effort last week at Vanderbilt. It could be a bit different with the Bulldogs coming to town.

3. Boos will echo throughout the Carrier Dome. If college football were like European soccer, Syracuse would be on the verge of being relegated to a lower division. A visit from Penn State won’t help.

4. Washington will not be penalized for excessive celebration. Not after last week, when a 15-yard excessive celebration flag on QB Jake Locker led to a blocked extra point with two seconds left and a 28-27 loss to Brigham Young.

5. Either Vanderbilt or Rice will be 3-0. The Commodores and Owls both won their first two games, the first time that has happened since 1956. They meet in Nashville, Tenn., and the winner will have a superb chance to make a bowl game.

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