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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

Checking In, A Few Thoughts, Etc.

Hey, miss you guys. Just wanted to say hello, how’s it going, how’s everything, how’s your team doing, how’s your coach, how’s your quarterback, etc. It’s been a wild year so far, right? Alabama is what we thought it’d be. Not so much with L.S.U., however. But count me among those folks who think that the Tigers will be fine; from my vantage point, I think that L.S.U. is keeping a ton under wraps, and that come November, you’re going to see a few wrinkles appear with a national title berth on the line. Florida should scare Les Miles and pals, on the other hand – the Gators can play a little defense, it seems.

Over in Big Ten country, I’m fascinated by the growth of Nebraska’s offense. Bo Pelini has had Urban Meyer’s number in the past; unfortunately, Pelini doesn’t have Glenn Dorsey chewing up blockers on his front in Lincoln.

Is Taylor Martinez good enough to remain poised against Ohio State’s ferocious defensive line? If the Cornhuskers can block Johnathan Hankins and John Simon, look for the offense to be extremely successful over the middle of the field. If not, it’ll be a long day for Nebraska.

Under the radar… Air Force and Navy begin the first leg of the hunt for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. Neither team has impressed me, though the Falcons did hang tight with Michigan back in September.

Georgia Tech needs a bounce-back game against Clemson – most of all, Al Groh’s defense need a bounce-back afternoon against one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. Groh is in very real danger of losing his job if this Tech defense doesn’t turn things around.

The winner of Georgia and South Carolina enters the driver’s seat in the SEC East, unless Florida pulls off the upset against the Tigers. Saying that the Gators lose, the winner in Columbia moves to 4-0 in SEC play, with a tiebreaker over the loser. And you know what? The winner should be considered a very realistic title contender – if the Bulldogs and Gamecocks aren’t in that conversation already.

Can Texas slow down West Virginia’s offense? I was bullish on the Longhorns’ defense in August, but it’s safe to say that Jackson Jeffcoat, Kenny Vaccaro and the rest of Texas’ group have been a disappointment. Now’s the time: Texas needs to step up, ramp up a pass rush, harass the Mountaineers’ receivers.

The Tech Trolley – trademarked, by the way (not really) – continues against lowly U.N.L.V., which travels to Ruston for a 7 p.m. start. The Bulldogs are for real, folks. Next week, they’ll make up the weather-postponed date with Texas A&M. It’s time to start thinking B.C.S., I think.

Anyway, I miss you guys. I’m sorry I don’t have any more details about Pre-Snap Read coverage on USA Today. But the re-ranking has moved over: Alabama first, Tulane last, the rest of the F.B.S. in the middle. I do have a new Twitter account, so please follow that for news over the next few weeks. Keep in touch – email me at any time and we’ll talk college football.

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  1. brucebond says:

    one-liners for the top 25 would be cool.

  2. Burnt Orange says:

    Miss your in depth analysis and all of those who posted comments more than you can imagine. Lost pre snap read and my Rangers all in the same week. And if I look on the field tonight and see linebackers Edmond or Santos, #’s 33 and 55 lumbering around trying to cover West Virginia receivers or chase Smith all over the field ( they really should not and cannot play tonight in anything other than goal line situations) then the Winter of my Discontent has started.

  3. philip says:

    from burnt orange’s less-informed opposite number here in west by God: seriously — been trolling the site every day like some dude driving by his ex-girlfriend’s house. glad to see you checked in.

  4. Burnt Orange says:

    Hey Philip, congrats on the win – that is quite an offense. Beware of the trip to Lubbock this week. There is no way they should hang with you but weird things happen out there and it is a classic trap game for your team. A&M, OU, and Texas have all been ambushed out there by less talented Tech teams too many times to count.

  5. philip says:

    orange — it was a real nail-biter, that’s for sure. was anxious to see how we’d measure up to a big-boy program. the fatalists among our lot have already begun sounding the warning of just such a game. we’ll enjoy the moment for the remaining half-hour or so of today, and then it’s back to work. good luck the rest of the season. looking forward to seeing you all up in morgantown next year.

  6. Jim Narby says:

    ohio state really blew out the huskers

  7. BobJ says:

    Oregon is finally playing like a #2 team. ASU on the road next Thursday will be a big test.

  8. William T Snugglehouse says:

    Boy I sure miss your thoughtful insights. Get back here!!!


  9. Gotham Gator says:

    Just saw this. Good to hear from Paul. I’ve got him on Twitter and am trying to follow him on USA Today, but it is hard. That website is impossible to navigate and figure out. It would be much easier if the links on the site made it clear whether it is to a proper article or a slide show and included by-lines.

    Paul, perhaps you can make it easier on us and link to all your posted articles via Twitter.

    Anyway, enough of that. Hopefully, we can spend a little more time here as well. We had a good thing going on this site.

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