- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008

WHO’S OVERRATED

Wisconsin — The Badgers are probably a top-20 team, but with the meat grinder of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois arriving in the next five weeks, they will be fortunate to remain there at the end of October. Wisconsin probably should have lost at Fresno State two weeks ago, and it probably doesn’t merit a top-10 ranking now.

WHO’S UNDERRATED

Tulsa — East Carolina went down at N.C. State, but Conference USA still has a chance to produce an unbeaten team. The Golden Hurricane have dismantled their first three opponents and play four of their next five at home. With a potent offense and only a handful of rough tests (at Arkansas, at Houston), Tulsa has a chance for a perfect season.

PLOT WORTH WATCHING

Tennessee’s tempest — The Great Pumpkin is presiding over a potential disaster. The Volunteers are 1-2, visit Auburn this week and, after a meeting with Northern Illinois, hit the road for Georgia. Not only could Tennessee be 2-4 in a few weeks, it also could find itself in an 0-3 hole in SEC play for the second time since 1988 (2000 was the other).

HEISMAN QUICK SIX

A look at the contenders for the Heisman Trophy (last week’s rank in parentheses)

1. QB Chase Daniel, Missouri (1): Finished nonconference play with 12 touchdowns, one pick and a 75.9 completion percentage

2. QB Mark Sanchez, Southern California (2): The bye week didn’t hurt the Trojans’ man one bit in the rankings.

3. TB Knowshon Moreno (5): Padded the yardage a bit late against Arizona State, but he’s clearly the best rusher in the game.

4. QB Max Hall, Brigham Young (3): How good was Moreno? Hall tossed three touchdowns in a 44-0 blanking of Wyoming and fell this week.

5. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (4): He will remain in the discussion so long as the Sooners are still undefeated — and they should be for a while.

6. QB Colt McCoy, Texas (NR): In the discussion of Big 12 quarterbacks who double as Heisman candidates, don’t forget about the Colt in the Longhorns’ holster.

SATURDAY PLANNER

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

North Carolina (2-1) at Miami (2-1), noon, ESPN: It’s the Butch Davis homecoming as he brings the Tar Heels to South Florida for the first time. Unfortunately for him, the Hurricanes appear headed back to the explosive days of the recent past.

Colorado (3-0) vs. Florida State (2-1), 3:30: The Buffaloes upended West Virginia to announce their resurgence. Beating the Seminoles in Jacksonville, Fla., will be a tougher test for quarterback Cody Hawkins.

Texas Christian (4-0) at Oklahoma (3-0), 7, CSN: There is an undeniable upset possibility with the stingy Horned Frogs, who should not be overlooked in the top-heavy Mountain West, coming to town.

Alabama (4-0) at Georgia (4-0), 7:45, ESPN: Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide made a splash with their opening-week rout of Clemson. If they can poach a victory between the hedges, the top-10 ranking will be justified.

Virginia Tech (3-1) at Nebraska (3-0), 8, Chs. 7, 2: The Cornhuskers plowed through three overmatched opponents to start new coach Bo Pelini’s tenure. Now comes a visit from the Hokies, who have ground out three straight victories.

Illinois (2-1) at Penn State (4-0), 8: The Illini staged a surprise run to the Rose Bowl last season. To produce an encore, the Zooker will need to contend with a likely White Out in Happy Valley.

FIVE FEARLESS FORECASTS

Five predictions for the coming weekend

1. Duke will snap its 25-game ACC losing streak. The Blue Devils own a couple victories under new coach David Cutcliffe. With reeling Virginia coming to Durham, N.C., talented QB Thaddeus Lewis will enjoy a league victory.

2. A two-week delay won’t help the Razorbacks. Alabama’s 35-point thumping of Arkansas exposed it as a second-tier SEC team. An Ike-delayed trip to Texas is not the way to bounce back.

3. Mississippi State is in trouble. Could the Croom-is-doomed murmurs start again? Maybe not but the Bulldogs are 1-3 and have a trip to LSU for a night game this week.

4. Mike Sanford is getting close to saving his job. The UNLV coach won just six games in his first three seasons, but OT defeats of Arizona State and Iowa State have the Rebels at 3-1. A victory over rival Nevada would make things even better.

5. No team in the country is more desperate than Rutgers. At this time a year ago, the Scarlet Knights were 3-0 and ranked 10th nationally. They’re 5-8 since then, and quarterback Mike Teel took a swing at a teammate last week. Rutgers needs a rout of Morgan State in the worst way.

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