Chow time in Seattle?
No shocker that Washington pulled the plug on the Keith Gilbertson era in Seattle. It is pretty amazing to think how far that program has plummeted in the past three years going from top-10 program to perhaps the worst of all the teams in the BCS conferences. (Although we think they'd still probably knock off Temple.)
That said, this is still a plum job. U-Dub has one of the nation's best stadiums, a great city and school to sell, solid facilities and a strong tradition. The leading contenders are, of course, Utah's Urban Meyer, Boise State's Dan Hawkins and even UTEP's Mike Price, the former Washington State coach. But the two names we're told to keep an eye on are LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
"He's as good a prospect as you could find in the country," his boss Pete Carroll said Monday. "I think he's the best prospect in the country."
If Chow did get the call, the real excitement would then begin since it likely could trigger a series of key moves. Tops among those: junior QB Matt Leinart might put his name in the NFL draft and Mark Sanchez, the nation's top QB prospect, might even follow Chow up to Seattle.
You had to love some of the stars stepping up in the Michigan-Michigan State thriller last weekend, most notably the Wolverines Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart and State's DeAndre Cobb, but lost in all the fireworks was a very impressive performance by State center Chris Morris who helped pave the way for the Spartans huge day running on the Wolverines by handling massive NT Gabe Watson.
As for Edwards he gets our vote for the Biletnikoff. On two of his touchdown grabs, State's Jaren Hayes had good position on the big wideout and Edwards simply out-athleted him to make the plays. That's what great players do at crunch time.
But the key is how well D-coordinator Bob Gregory (another Boise State guy) has them playing together. The Bears play fast, are very disciplined and tackle well. They showed that against a tricky scheme in Air Force, holding UCLA's Maurice Drew to 3.0 yards per carry and Reggie Bush to 29 yards on 8 carries and once catch for six.
Can he win the Heisman? Doubtful. The only scenario we see that could make it happen would be for Matt Leinart to have a three-interception day and/or USC lose; Peterson fumbling away a game AND Auburn to lose.
Groves is a powerful 242-pound converted linebacker. He had four sacks against Kentucky a few weeks back and is tied with David Pollack for the SEC sack lead with 7.5. McClover is third in the league with 6.5 and has a league-best four forced fumbles. The tandem has enabled D-coordinator Gene Chizik to put heat on QBs without having to blitz his linebackers.
The Tigers are running away with SEC sacks lead with 32, just two less than what the team generated in 13 games a year ago.
The PSU D is decent, but the problem lies with its inept offense. They're averaging less than seven points in their losses, and a lot of the blame goes to the Lion coaches inability to develop a quarterback. Zack Mills has been awful as has Michael Robinson, who not so coincidentally is the team's only legit receiving threat. What to do? Go with true freshman QB Anthony Morelli. He has a cannon for an arm and will need to get some seasoning anyhow since he figures to be the guy in '05. Morelli was considered by some recruiters a better prospect than Chad Henne. True, Morelli won't have Braylon Edwards or Mike Hart or a decent O-line, but at least he'll have Robinson.
Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His first book Cane Mutiny: How the Miami Hurricanes Overturned the Football Establishment is out in bookstores. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.