Friday, December 13, 2002
Weekend wrap-up: South Carolina's upset the biggest so far
By Terry Bowden
Special to BCSfootball.com
Bowden's Weekly Chat Show
Every Saturday throughout the season, ABC studio analyst Terry Bowden will weigh in his assessment of the day's games, the highlights, the lowlights and the surprises.
Three Game Balls:
University of South Carolina: This had to be the biggest upset of the college football season so far. I rank it even higher than Toledo's victory over Penn State. It has to be one of Lou Holtz's finest coaching jobs -- to get his overmatched players to believe they could win this football game. South Carolina was all over a superior Georgia team from the get-go. The Gamecocks have now gone from hoping to win a few games this season to keeping a few dates open on their calendars during the bowl season.
Michael Bennett: The Wisconsin faithful will soon forget the name Ron Dayne, if they haven't already done so. Bennett gained 290 yards on 28 carries, and showed that he has potentially more explosiveness and game-breaking ability than the Great Dayne.
University of Washington: I could give this to quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who always seemed to be in control of this game; or I could give it to coach Rick Neuheisel, who has engineered the continued development of the Husky program. But this game was won on the field, and the game ball deserves to go to the entire team. The thing that impressed me most about the Huskies was how they physically dominated a very talented Miami team. It had to make us wonder if the Hurricanes are really as close to the teams of the '80s as we thought.
|University of South Carolina football coach Lou Holtz (left), and Georgia head coach Jim Donnan chat at midfield prior their game Saturday. South Carolina defeated then-No. 10 Georgia 21-10.|
Surprises of the day:
North Carolina State: New coach Chuck Amato has the Wolfpack 2-0, and it has caught my attention. I was not overly impressed with N.C. State's overtime victory over Arkansas State, but when the Wolfpack came back to beat Indiana and sensational quarterback Antwaan Randle El in the closing minutes of Saturday's game, I saw the makings of a Cinderella season. Don't get me wrong, I don't see BCS written into this story, but six or seven wins are a distinct possibility.
Major Applewhite: Although it didn't surprise me, and I'm sure it didn't surprise Major, it had to have caught Mack Brown and his coaching staff off guard for Applewhite to have to replace Chris Simms so early in the game. After a Simms interception went for a Louisiana-Lafayette touchdown, Applewhite came in to do pretty much what he did the entire season last year -- pick the defense apart. He finished the day 18-of-26 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns. The only surprise now is why Mack Brown hasn't already named him the starting quarterback for next week.
Clemson: I'm almost too close to this football program to sound objective in my comments about brother Tommy's team, but I must say I am impressed. Having been my offensive coordinator at Auburn for three years, I knew he could coach the throwers and the catchers, but this defensive bunch led by Keith Adams and coach Reggie Herring is awesome. They remind me of last year's Virginia Tech defense. Enough said.
Notre Dame: This may seem unusual to some people since the Irish did lose to Nebraska in overtime, but I, for one, see a much improved Notre Dame team. Not only do the players play better, but they look much better prepared. I would change my preseason prognostication for the Irish right now, but if Arnaz Battle is truly lost for the season, his injury may be too difficult to overcome.
John Navarre: Navarre followed up his record-setting debut last week with three more touchdowns and no turnovers. Granted, his two wins haven't been against powerhouses (Bowling Green and Rice), and he hasn't been under a lot of pressure, but put his total attempts, completions, yardage and seven touchdown passes together, and that's incredible for any quarterback. The big issue is this: Most coaches, including me, have a rule that a starting quarterback never loses his position due to injury. But because Drew Henson hurt his foot before he ever started a game, does Navarre get the ax when Henson gets healthy? Don't fret, though, Wolverine fans. This is a nice problem to have.
The Georgia Bulldogs: It's been a long time since I've seen an SEC school with so much talent lose to another SEC team with so much less talent. You don't really know who to blame, but with five interceptions, a lot probably needs to go to ex-Heisman candidate Quincy Carter. For four years, we have heard that the Bulldogs are recruiting the best talent in the land. And this year, many, including myself, picked them to win the Eastern Division of the SEC. There's an old saying that goes like this: "If you lose, you either haven't got the players, or you haven't got the coaching." You make the call.
Nebraska's kicking game: If you're going to be No. 1 in the nation and you're going to win a national championship, how many times do I have to say it? You've got to have an offense, you've got to have a defense, and you have to win the kicking game. Last I heard, giving up 317 return yards and two touchdowns is not winning the kicking game.
Florida State's running game: Granted, Chris Weinke and that talented group of wideouts have the ability to gain about 400 yards per game through the air. But when it comes to that big game with Miami, that big game with Clemson or that big game with Florida, or even the biggest game in the FedEx Orange Bowl -- the defense is going to be too good to throw it all over the field. When that day comes, you're going to have to run the football to come off the field with a victory. Of course, Pops, if I knew more than you, I'd still be coaching.
Terry Bowden is ABC's college football studio analyst and hosts a weekly audio chat on BCSfootball.com on Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET.