Nobody asked me but:
1. If Paul Johnson gets the chance, he’ll bring the hammer down on Georgia. State rivalries like Georgia and Georgia Tech are always big recruiting games. Saturday night’s game at Bobby Dodd Stadium will be no different. But in his second year at Georgia Tech, Johnson has infused the football program with confidence at a time where Georgia’s confidence is at a pretty low ebb. There is all kind of positive energy at Georgia Tech. I haven’t seen this much negative energy at Georgia since Jim Donnan’s last year (2000) as head coach. College Football 101 says that when you have your rival in a weakened position, you put your foot on the gas. If Johnson can lay a pretty good number on Georgia, he will. Georgia has enough athletic ability to make this game competitive. But I wonder if they have the heart to fight back. I really do.
2. I think Bobby Bowden will be back at Florida State next season. There is no doubt in my mind that if Florida State had lost to Maryland last week (and the Seminoles scored with 32 seconds left to win 29-26) it would have been very difficult for Bowden to make the case to return for his 35th season as the Seminoles head coach. If he loses at No. 1 Florida on Saturday, and we assume he will, Florida State will be 6-6 and heading to a bowl game. I think there will be considerable pressure for Bowden to step down but he has made it clear to those who know him well that he wants to come back and pursue a final ACC championship. Florida State has promised Bowden that it will be his decision. But this much is also clear. If Bowden comes back, the 2010 season will be his last at Florida State. Everybody understands that.
3. I think Bob Stoops will at least listen to Notre Dame. On the surface, it appears silly to think that Stoops would entertain the thought of another college job. He has one of the best franchises in the sport as the head coach at Oklahoma But the profession has changed. After a coach has been in one place for 11 years (he is 114-29 with seven New Year’s Day or BCS bowls) his support starts to sag unless he’s winning the conference championship every year. It’s been a tough year at Oklahoma, which lost QB Sam Bradford and TE Jermaine Gresham early in the season and has not been the same ever since. Fans become unrealistic and don’t believe the program should ever have a down year. Stoops is a native of Ohio and so he knows the territory. Notre Dame needs a strong personality and a proven winner on the college level. Maybe Stoops, 49, has one more move left in him.
4. Look for Colt McCoy to put up some pretty big numbers against Texas A&M. The Texas quarterback has put himself in position to win the Heisman Trophy with some good games against some pretty weak teams (Baylor, Kansas). The Longhorns get another struggling team when they go to Texas A&M (6-5) on Thanksgiving night. Next week Texas plays Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has a very good defensive scheme against spread attacks so McCoy probably won’t put up huge numbers against the Cornhuskers. McCoy and Texas will be the only college football game on Thursday night and a lot of Heisman Trophy voters will be watching. Texas will turn McCoy loose and give him a chance to make his move.
5. Rich Brooks should get some votes for SEC Coach of the Year. With a win over Tennessee on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky will finish 8-4 and in second place in the SEC East. That should be good enough to get the Wildcats into the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. When Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline went down with an injury on Oct. 10, Kentucky was 2-3 and it appeared the Wildcats would stumble towards the finish line. But Brooks elected to take the redshirt off quarterback Morgan Newton and, after a few games, the offense actually got better. Now Kentucky has won five of its last six. Kentucky began playing football in 1888. In all that time no coach—not even Bear Bryant—has taken the Wildcats to four straight bowl games. This will be Kentucky’s fourth consecutive bowl (they have won the previous three) under Brooks.
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