Posted: September 15, 2007


1. The battle for 0 and 3.

It's hard for Michigan to sink any lower, but the Wolverines can pass the HOW LOW CAN THEY GO baton over to equally winless Notre Dame today at Michigan Stadium. Can the Irish actually accumulate positive rushing yardage and hold off the pass rush long enough to take advantage of Michigan's wretched pass defense? Oddsmakers say no.

2. Mike Hart (again) guarantees victory for the Wolverines.

Give a pass to Michigan's tailback. Imagine this guy's frustration. He's already run for 315 yards and almost pulled Michigan out of the fire against Appalachian State with a sensational late run, but he plays for a national punch line.

3. If Hart is right . . .

The heat will officially be all over Charlie Weis. It is being widely pointed out that his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, got only three years in South Bend, yet Weis, now in his third year, already has his 10-year extension. Coincidentally, Willingham is tasting his first bit of success at Washington. The Huskies are 2-0 after upsetting Boise State. Critics of Willingham's firing at Notre Dame will be out in force if Washington knocks off Ohio State today.

4. How good is Penn State?

Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, not prone to boasting, did not say that this year's defense is better than last year's, but he mentioned after the Notre Dame game that he thought his defense had enough depth this season that fatigue could be a factor for opposing teams late in games.

5. Dial 1-800-Comcast . . .

After putting in your phone number and selecting the language in which you wish to communicate, the next thing you hear is a recording: "If you are calling about the Big Ten Network, please be sure to ask your sales associate for information or visit www.puttingfansfirst.com."; That Web site says it "is a new coalition of sports superfans and concerned consumers uniting to address the soaring cost of TV sports programming." As the Big Ten-Comcast public relations battle rages, Temple-Connecticut takes the noon time slot on 6ABC.

6. There aren't 10 Top 10 teams.

Wisconsin is No. 7 in the Associated Press poll after barely getting by UNLV, which was picked 104th nationally in the preseason by Sports Illustrated. Louisville is No. 9 despite giving up 35 first-half points to Middle Tennessee State. Ohio State moved up from 12th to 10th despite that 3-2 halftime lead over Akron. Who else do you want up there? Georgia would have moved in but proved its unworthiness by losing to South Carolina. UCLA is 11th based on wins over Stanford and BYU. Penn State? Maybe, but the Nittany Lions haven't beaten anybody that has beaten anybody. Rutgers? Similarly unproven. Georgia Tech could prove it belongs if the Yellow Jackets look impressive against Boston College.

7. Another thing that's going to hurt Steve Slaton's Heisman chances.

The Conwell-Egan graduate doesn't just have West Virginia quarterback Pat White drawing some Heisman consideration, but the Mountaineers now have a freshman phenom coming in at tailback making big plays. While Slaton picked up 137 yards on 26 carries in Thursday's 31-12 victory at Maryland, speedster Noel Devine provided the biggest wow factor, finishing with 136 yards on just five carries, including a 76-yarder.

8. Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez had an interesting observation on Slaton.

After the Maryland game, Rodriguez said he thought Slaton could have had a few more big runs this year, except he sometimes tries to show how tough a runner he is by taking on defenders instead of trying to run by them. The way Rodriguez put it: Slaton needs to "just trust his speed."

9. Locally . . .

As always, the Ivy League is the last Division I (A or AA) league to get going. Penn opens tonight at Franklin Field against Lafayette, and the Quakers plan to show a more wide-open passing offense. Meanwhile, Villanova's home opener against Maine offers the first chance for 'Nova fans to check out new quarterback Antwon Young, who has completed 32 of 50 passes for 433 yards and has a sky-high efficiency rating of 159.1.

10. The real Top 10.

1. USC. 2. LSU. 3. Oklahoma. 4. West Virginia. 5. Texas. 6. Florida. 7. California. 8. Wisconsin. 9. Louisville. 10. Georgia Tech.


  • Temple (0-2) at Connecticut (2-0), noon, 6ABC. Favorites over Buffalo, the Owls got buried, 42-7. They are back in more familiar territory as 30-point underdogs at UConn.
  • Buffalo (1-1) at Penn State (2-0), noon. So, after beating the Owls by five touchdowns, Buffalo is a five-touchdown underdog in State College.
  • Notre Dame (0-2) at Michigan (0-2), 3:30 p.m., 6ABC. News alert: College football's two winningest programs are still winless. Because of Michigan quarterback Chad Henne's injury, Notre Dame will actually have the more experienced QB, with both schools starting freshmen.
  • No. 22 Tennessee (2-0) at No. 5 Florida (2-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS3. This game was decided by one or two points two of the last three years.
  • No. 10 Ohio State (2-0) at Washington (2-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPN. This wasn't supposed to be more than a speed bump for the Buckeyes until they struggled against Akron and Washington knocked off Boise State.
  • Rhode Island (0-2) at Delaware (2-0), 3:30 p.m., CN8. Blue Hens running back Omar Cuff is up to 337 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
  • Lafayette (2-0) at Penn (0-0), 6 p.m. The Leopards are three-time and defending Patriot League champions but are 0-6 against Penn since 1991.
  • Maine (1-1) at Villanova (1-1), 6 p.m. Maine was picked third in the Colonial Athletic Association North, behind Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  • No. 1 Southern California (1-0) at No. 14 Nebraska (2-0), 8 p.m., 6ABC. Here is the first opportunity to see if the top-ranked Trojans are as good as advertised.

Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com.

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