This and That

Updated: September 21, 2009, 7:07 PM ET
By Dick Vitale

Each week I talk about the world of sports:

• Out at Washington, it was really shock city as the Huskies upset No. 3 USC in the Pac-10 opener. Isn't it amazing that Washington didn't win a game last season, yet it was able to stun the Trojans? It just shows what spirit and passion can add to a program, and new coach Steve Sarkisian has brought those intangibles. You could see how Washington challenged LSU in the season opener, and that was not a fluke as the Huskies showed great poise down the stretch against Pete Carroll and company. Sarkisian is going to build a special program in Seattle. He is a dynamic personality, so watch where the Huskies are over the next 3-4 years.

• To show the parity of college football, the Mountain West powers  BYU and Utah  both fell to defeat. The Cougars were blown out by Florida State, just one week after the Seminoles escaped against Jacksonville State! Bobby Bowden's team looked totally different in its win out at Provo. The Utes lost at Oregon as a 16-game win streak was snapped. It just shows how tough it is to consistently win in college football.

• Notre Dame got a big win in dramatic fashion against a tough, gritty Michigan State club. The Irish certainly got a late break when a Spartan receiver was open late in the game, but he failed to make a potential game-winning catch. Notre Dame then forced a turnover to lock up the W. Jimmy Clausen is really maturing at quarterback, throwing the ball so well. Times will get tougher now that Michael Floyd is sidelined.

• With the upsets of USC and BYU, one shocker didn't get that much attention. Northern Illinois went into West Lafayette, Indiana and stunned Purdue. The Boilermakers have a first-year coach in Danny Hope, and it may take some time to succeed. This still was an eye-opener as the Big Ten took another tough loss. Remember Central Michigan knocked off Michigan State.

• How about a salute to Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly. He has done an amazing job of building the Bearcats program into national prominence. Come on, before he arrived on the scene there, how much tradition was there in that program? Cincinnati got a huge win at Corvallis, beating an Oregon State squad that was ranked in one poll. How tough is it to beat the Beavers on their field & go ask Pete Carroll. This Cincinnati team may be the best one in their state  yep, Ohio State has a challenger, baby!

• Rex Ryan has brought in an attitude as Jets coach. He had his team fired up and the defense really got to Tom Brady as the Patriots lost at the Meadowlands on Sunday. It is all about bringing in a winner's mentality and aggressiveness with the Jets. Ryan has always done a super job with defenses, but the Jets played with so much emotion and fire. At the end of the game, the defense continued to blitz, putting pressure on Brady. There was no prevent defense, just hard-nosed pass rushing that helped the Jets get the W.

• Baltimore got a great win in San Diego. Joe Flacco looks like a different quarterback in year two as a pro. Willis McGahee looks like he is back on track with four touchdowns over the first two weeks. Keep an eye on the Ravens as the offense is really helping Ray Lewis and the defense.

• The Twins lost on Sunday to fall three games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Even with the loss, you have to give Joe Mauer a ton of credit for keeping Minnesota in the playoff race. Justin Morneau is out and Mauer has been simply awesome with a capital A! He has shown consistency and also hit for power. There are a number of AL MVP candidates, guys like Mauer, Derek Jeter, Mark Texieira. You have to give Mauer credit because his supporting cast is not the same as the Bronx Bombers. If Minnesota wins the division, Mauer will win the MVP.

• Floyd Mayweather sent a message to the boxing world, loud and clear. After taking almost two years off, he almost pitched a shutout against a talented boxer named Juan Manuel Marquez. One of the judges at ringside in Las Vegas did call it 12-0 in rounds, while the other two had it 11-1 and 10-2. So much for ring rust during a layoff. Now we will have to see if Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can meet in the ring; Pacquiao has a fight with Miguel Cotto first, but boxing fans would desire a battle between the two warriors.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to