Thursday, October 2, 2008


“EVERYBODY’S GOT PLANS…until they get hit.”

No, that’s not Knute Rockne or Bear Bryant. That was one Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-born boxer probably couldn’t tell you the difference between June Jones’ offense at SMU today and the “Pony Express” attack of the 1980s. But the one-time heavyweight champion of the world does understand what makes a fight…and a fight is something every college football team will find themselves in before the season comes to an end.

IF ANY TEAM came out swinging this season, it was USC, who threw haymaker uppercuts and deadly jabs throughout their knockouts of Virginia and Ohio St. They were the heavyweight champs of college football until…they got hit.

"I'm beside myself," coach Pete Carroll said after the Trojans’ 27-21 loss to Oregon St. "They didn't hide what they were doing, they just did it. We couldn't stop it."

The Beavers didn’t do anything fancy. The went right at USC with 5’7” true freshman Jacquizz Rogers, who rumbled for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries. Though he is not tall in stature, Rogers is far from a lightweight. At 195 pounds, the Texas native easily qualifies as a cruiserweight with the power of a heavyweight.

FLORIDA WAS RANKED fourth in both the AP and Coaches Poll entering last week, and had their share of TKOs to start the season. The Gators won their first three games by at least 23 points; last season, in their wins, the average margin of victory was 27 points. Their losses were much closer; those contests were decided by an average of only six points. Florida struggled with the art of winning on the judges’ scorecards last season and dropped their first decision of the 2008 campaign by Ole Miss 31-30 on Saturday.

Something that do-everything quarterback Tim Tebow has yet to do is lead a second half comeback. Unlike the 2006 Gators, which went 5-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less, they are only 1-4 in such bouts since then.

ONE TEAM THAT is used to winning close battles is the Wisconsin Badgers, including a 13-10 win at Fresno St. Wisconsin games are often described as “slugfests” and “hard-fought”.

What they faced on Saturday in the Big House was an old school rope-a-dope that would have made Muhammad Ali proud.

Down 19-0 at the half, the Wolverines were moments from kissing the canvas, clinging to the ropes as the bell rang for intermission. Most of the Maize and Blue faithful were ready to throw in the towel, and the Badgers may have started to look ahead to their upcoming bout with Ohio St.

But Michigan still had a puncher’s chance. The Wolverines came back into the ring in the second half and scored 27 unanswered points to pull off the largest comeback in Michigan Stadium history (27-25).

IN ATHENS, WHILE the Dawgs were leading with their chins, Alabama came out power punching. A seven-yard cross by Mark Ingram gave the Tide a 7-0, and a 22-yard hookup between John Parker Wilson and Julio Jones made it 31-0 before the half. The ultimate bum rushers defeated the Dawgs 41-30.

THAT’S FOUR TOP ten heavyweights going down in one day—nine ranked contenders in all. When Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, Penn St. and Texas get ready to touch gloves over the upcoming weeks, they better be ready to join the fight club.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media