|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
When All-American middle linebacker Curtis Lofton made the last-minute decision this past January to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL draft, the Oklahoma defense was supposed to soften. So went the winter conventional wisdom. Only two starters who lined up behind the defensive line in 2007 would return for 2008, and one of them, junior Ryan Reynolds, would have to move from weakside linebacker to replace Lofton in the middle.
Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
Ryan Reynolds and the Sooners are holding opponents to 13.8 points per game.
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMI
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables likes what he is seeing from LB Ryan Reynolds.
Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI
Chris Ogbonnaya gave the Texas offense a boost with 187 total yards against Colorado.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Colt McCoy is the Horns' leading rusher through five games.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. At Alabama, coach Nick Saban suggested tailback Glen Coffee might carry a football into the dining hall this week after Coffee lost a fumble at the Kentucky 5-yard line. At Iowa, coach Kirk Ferentz, a former Saban assistant, suggested his Hawkeyes' three red-zone turnovers in their past two games resulted from a lack of experience and concentration. Given that the Tide won their game and the Hawkeyes lost both of theirs, maybe Ferentz should take a suggestion from his former boss.
2. The good news is that Michigan, despite its 2-3 record, has a .692 touchdown percentage in the red zone. The bad news is that, through five games, the Wolverines are only 9-of-13. Michigan's scoring average of 20.6 points per game is its lowest since the 1984 team averaged 17.8 points per game. That's also the last Michigan team that didn't finish with a winning record. Those Wolverines went 6-6, losing in the Holiday Bowl to eventual national champion BYU.
3. Although the Florida State-Miami rivalry doesn't attract national attention these days, it's worth pointing out that after the Seminoles' 41-39 victory, three of the past four games between the two teams have been decided by a field goal or less. But here's the amazing part: Florida State has won all three. Before that, Bobby Bowden had gone 0-8 against the Hurricanes in games decided by three points or fewer.
Beano Cook joins Ivan in the ESPNU College Football Podcast to discuss the history of the Red River Rivalry, the Week 7 games and more. Listen
As if the fifth-ranked Texas football team doesn't have enough to do in preparing for No. 1 Oklahoma this week: The Longhorns and the rest of the 39,000 undergraduates in Austin are taking midterms.
It's hard to say one game means Army football is back. But in a decade in which the Black Knights had gone 17-80 before Saturday, the 44-13 victory at Tulane felt so good on so many levels. Army rushed for 291 yards and scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Any team that dominates the fourth quarter doesn't do so by accident.
Notre Dame is making progress, yet it has not shown up in the polls, which leads us to the bad news for Notre Dame. Since The Associated Press began polling in 1936, no Fighting Irish team has been 4-1 and unranked. That might be the real cost of the Irish's 3-9 collapse last season. They used up all their credibility.