1. It's a nice story, Bill Snyder returning to Kansas State. But Wildcats fans should be careful what they wish for. They might assume they're getting the coach who built K-State into a national power. But they could get the coach who seemed stale as he went 9-13 in 2004-05. Yeah, I know -- Joe Paterno just won a Big Ten title. But something tells me Snyder is not the answer. Maybe it's how John Robinson and Johnny Majors flamed out when they returned to USC and Pittsburgh, respectively.
2. Several Florida State fans objected to my item about safety Myron Rolle and former UCLA center Chris Joseph winning Rhodes Scholarships over the weekend. And they're right. I didn't intend to suggest that Rolle had asked for the publicity that surrounded his quest to become a Rhodes Scholar. I meant to say only that Joseph had asked not to be publicized. I'd run stadium stairs if I had a stadium.
3. The BCS overvalued Big Ten champion Ohio State in each of the past two seasons. The Buckeyes did not play as well as their standing in the BCS. But this season, Penn State is paying the price. The Nittany Lions are undervalued this season, stuck at No. 8 in the BCS standings. For whatever reason, that 45-14 victory over could-be Pac-10 co-champ Oregon State hasn't made a dent in the computer ratings or with the voters.
Texas and North Carolina might have more in common than employing Mack Brown. Or it might be that Texas and Boston College have something in common. Those schools could share the honor of having beaten both division champions in their respective leagues.
Here's how that would work:
If Oklahoma defeats Oklahoma State, hops over the Longhorns in the BCS and is declared the Big 12 South champion, Texas will have beaten the Sooners and Missouri, the North Division winner.
In the ACC, the Tar Heels have beaten both Boston College and Georgia Tech. The Eagles will win the Atlantic if they beat Maryland, and the Yellow Jackets will win the Coastal if Virginia defeats Virginia Tech.
Boston College has defeated Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles will win the Atlantic if the Eagles lose Saturday, and the Hokies will take the Coastal if they beat the Cavaliers.
Forget Me Nots
With award finalists being announced every five minutes this week, success clouds our vision. Some of the best players are not recognized because they play on teams that have faltered.
As this season winds down, here are 10 top players from losing teams. And sorry, players from 5-6 teams aren't here. They might salvage bowl-qualifying records yet.
1. Eric Berry
In the 20-10 defeat of Vanderbilt on Saturday, Berry returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and played quarterback in a "Wildcat" package for the 4-7 Vols, his first time behind center since he played at Creekside High in Fairburn, Ga. Berry leads the nation with seven picks. If anyone has any questions, listen to defensive coordinator John Chavis, who said, "I think he's the best defensive player in the country."
2. Michael Tauiliili
If the four-year starter hasn't been the best defensive player in the ACC this season, he's on the short list. At 5-foot-11, 235 pounds, he never fit the mold recruiters try to fill. Yet Tauiliili leads the ACC with 120 tackles, 10 more than anyone else in the conference, for the 4-7 Blue Devils.
3. Arrelious Benn
In a disappointing 5-7 season, the sophomore blossomed into the field-stretching threat the Illini needed. Benn caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards, the latter number leading the Big Ten. His average gain of 15.75 yards per reception is more than 3 yards per catch better than his 2007 stat.
4. Julian Edelman
The senior has rushed for 1,203 yards, best among the nation's quarterbacks, and 13 touchdowns, and he has thrown for 1,706 yards and 12 scores for the 3-8 Golden Flashes.
5. Joe Burnett
The senior, an All-Conference USA player last season, has played well again in 2008. He is second in the conference with 14 passes defended. He does pretty well with the ball in his hands, too. Burnett leads C-USA in kickoff returns (29.87 yards per return) and punt returns (14.54 yards). Burnett has taken two kickoffs for scores this season for the 4-7 Knights.
6. Jammie KirlewIndiana
Kirlew finished second in the Big Ten in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (19.5) as his team went 3-9. That sounds a lot like
7. Brandon GrahamMichigan
He led the conference with 20 tackles for loss and finished third in sacks (10) as his team went 3-9, too. Given the outstanding season Penn State's Aaron Maybin had, Graham didn't make the first-team All-Big Ten team announced Monday night. That's how it goes when your team wins three games.
8. Chase Holbrook
New Mexico State
The Aggies began the season 3-2 and have lost six straight. Yet this senior is 20th in the nation in passing efficiency (145.03 -- he has completed 284 of 420 passes, a .676 completion percentage, for 3,198 yards, 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions), ahead of such stars as Daryll Clark
of Penn State, Todd Reesing
of Kansas and Dan LeFevour
of Central Michigan.
9. Rodney Ferguson
This senior rushed for 1,105 yards and 13 touchdowns for the 4-8 Lobos. In three seasons, Ferguson has rushed for 3,564 yards and 34 scores. That's dependability personified.
10. Derek Epperson
Five of the top 10 punters play for losing teams (they get a lot of practice, right?). Epperson, a sophomore who averages 44.31 yards per attempt, gets the edge over the other four because he kicks outdoors (three of them don't) and the Bears, 4-7, finished seventh in net punting (43.4-yard average).