Sneak peak: Monday Morning Quarterback

Tomorrow’s column tonight . . .

After a college football weekend that likely won’t be topped for the rest of the season, the Monday Morning Quarterback is going no-huddle . . .

Blue 3: The University of Kentucky is bowl eligible for a third straight season after Saturday’s win at Mississippi State, and given some of the difficult circumstances it has faced this season, that accomplishment rivals anything the Wildcats have done over the past two years. It’s getting tougher and tougher to doubt UK coach Rich Brooks when he says the program isn’t going away.

Red 2: In its second straight loss to Syracuse, the University of Louisville fell to a program that, if The New York Times is to be believed, has already enlisted a search firm to find a new coach. It’s hard to believe they wouldn’t give Cardinals’ coach Steve Kragthorpe a call. Over the past two years, he’s attended more Syracuse victories than 95 percent of the Orange fan base.

Hike! Texas Tech’s stock after Saturday’s thrilling final-play upset of No. 1 Texas. I don’t know how the national title chase is going to shake down, but I’d pay good money to see a round-robin between Texas, Texas Tech and Florida for the title. Last night at the official Bowl Championship Series web site, the following headlines were posted: “Playoff taking place right now,” “BCS too healthy to change,” and “Playoff smayoff! We don’t need it.” Here’s a headline for BCS folks — “You’re full of it!”

First and 10. U of L under Kragthorpe has beaten two ranked teams. What might be instructive is to look at what happened after those wins. The Cards lost, as a favorite, both times coming off the big wins. And the ranked teams U of L beat also went on to lose their next games. The problem with signature wins, of course, is that you have to put your John Hancock on the losses, too.

Changing the call: Defensive tackle Earl Heyman’s quote that the loss could serve as a “wake up” for U of L is a head-scratcher. But this is clear. Losses like these are an impediment for those still trying to make the switch to Kragthorpe Standard Time. Cardinal fans, please set your watches back ten years.

Fourth and inches: It could be another close call for Penn State coach Joe Paterno. Aside from a collapse by everybody else in the current top five, I can’t see a scenario in which I’d pick the Nittany Lions over any of the others for the championship game. But Paterno has had four unbeaten teams that were denied national titles. So I’m not going to put up much of a fuss if this team runs the table and Paterno gets a last shot. He has lobbied for a playoff. Maybe his team getting in would finally bring one about.

Hugging it out: I don’t know the kid, but I’m a big fan of Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard. Surely you saw the highlight of his end zone catch against South Florida last week, in which he crashed through the end zone and into a kid in the crowd. As soon as he saw the kid was crying, he grabbed him and picked him up. You could tell he didn’t even think about it. It was instinct. I didn’t see any video, but I wonder if he did the same for any USF players after the game?

Quotable: Bob Knight, in tossing a red Texas Tech jersey to ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit on College
GameDay, Saturday, said, “Here, pretend it’s some of that free stuff like they used to give you at Ohio State.”

Scariest Halloween weekend moment: Finding out Texas Tech has a running game.

The picks: How about this for playcalling? UK beats Georgia by one Randall Cobb touchdown. Wisconsin in an Electoral landslide over Indiana, and Kragthorpe’s goatee by a field goal over Dave Wannstedt’s mustache.


Hot seat watch: Which coach is on his way out the fastest? The web site has two SEC veterans at the top of its list. Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville is No. 1 and Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer is right behind him. Only then does Greg Robinson of Syracuse come in. And lurking back at No. 6 — and rising fast — is Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. What’s that? A guy takes over a winning program, fails to get to a bowl after a long streak and has people talking about his future? Why, I thought that never happened. For those wondering: Brooks is listed as the 37th safest of the 120 FBS coaches. Kragthorpe is listed as the 43rd safest.

Heisman watch: How can you not have Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell at the top of the list right now? With Texas QB Colt McCoy right there with him. Harrell’s performance against the Longhorns gives a stamp of credibility to all the national debt-type numbers he’s been racking up in Lubbock.

Following the money: UK’s Brooks is the 64th highest paid coach in college football, according to Bobby Petrino, whom Brooks beat two weeks ago, is No. 10. Greg Robinson, who like Brooks has beaten U of L two straight years, is No. 63. Kansas State’s Ron Prince, also in jeopardy, is No. 62. Kragthorpe checks in at No. 42, and fourth-highest in the Big East, though he’s just 50-grand from tying for No. 2 in the league. Check out all the figures here.


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