Saturday, November 24, 2007




Yes, that could be your National Championship game. With Arizona St. and LSU going down and Missouri playing Kansas later today, the Buckeyes and Mountaineers figure to be two and three in the upcoming BCS Rankings. The number one team (either Kansas or Missouri) will likely play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game next week, which means the Youngstown (Ohio) boy could put the Ohio St. Buckeyes in the Championship game for a second straight season. To complete the circle, OSU headman Jim Tressel coached at Youngstown St. before taking the job in Columbus.


Darren McFadden made a final statement on his Heisman campaign with his 206 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 1 team in the country. The junior tailback lined up as the Razorbacks’ quarterback for much of the day and was 3-of-6 passing for 34 yards and another touchdown, as he connected with his fullback Peyton Hillis from 24 yards out with less than six minutes remaining in the game to give the Hogs a 28-21 lead. McFadden finishes the season with 1,725 yards and 15 touchdowns…not too shabby. He is deserving of winning the Heisman as well as becoming the top overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft should he decide to declare.


"They came to hit tonight," Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter said after USC’s beating of Arizona St. "I think tonight, we were overmatched."

Ya think Carpenter had senior defensive end Lawrence Jackson (8 tackles, 5.5 TFLs) in mind when he made that statement?

Just as he did last season, Jackson is making a late push. His four sacks give him 9.5 on the season. When he recorded 10 sacks in his redshirt sophomore season, the assumption was that Jackson would have an All-American junior season and declare for NFL Draft. He turned in just four sacks last season, all four in two November games, so he returned for his senior season and until Thursday night, Jackson was having an underwhelming season, a microcosm for the Men of Troy.

Also joining the sack party were fellow senior Sedrick Ellis and true freshman Everson Griffen. Ellis now has 52 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks, tremendous numbers for an interior lineman. Ellis’ production has never been questioned. Griffen is the heir apparent at defensive end, a five-star recruit who will be on many preseason All-American lists next season. The Arizona native has 5.5 sacks on the season. As a schoolboy in 2006, Griffen rumbled for 1,251 yards and 20 touchdowns as a running back…and he’s 6’3”, 265 pounds. I want to meet the kid that tackled him!


With their win in Tempe, the Men of Toy could find themselves on their way to Pasadena. What do they need? A win next week against cross-town rival UCLA in the Coliseum, and an Oregon loss to either UCLA or Oregon St. The Bruins are not ones to help the Trojans, but they are capable of beating the Dennis Dixon-less Ducks at home, as are the Beavers in the “Civil War”. Ironically, UCLA and Oregon St. are the two teams that spoiled USC’s Championship run last season.


Anyone who has followed CFI’s Top 25 this season knows we are not the champions of the WAC and we would have loved to have seen Hawaii play some tougher competition this season (they came into the week with 119th strength of schedule out of 119). But, if they finish the season undefeated they deserve to play in a BCS Bowl. Why not? It is not as if they are lobbying to play in the Championship game and is it is, it appears the BCS conferences will struggle to fill the ten slots.

* Check Back on Monday for Part II

Photo Credit: WVU Sports Communication