October 18, 2009
Snap judgments on Saturday's best.
Teacher's Pet: Mark Ingram.
The pundits were already high on Alabama's stumpy sophomore after big games against Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Ole Miss, but his bruising, exhausting, 246-yard masterpiece against game but overmatched South Carolina earned A-pluses across the board despite the Tide's ugliest win yet. And they had to love his "Just the self-effacing clichés please" post-game interview with Erin Andrews, too. Heisman stickers all around!
Most Unlikely Couple: Idaho and postseason football.
Slapped with the profiterole label by yours truly over the summer, the Vandals are already bowl-eligible after last night's home win over Hawaii, with the more formidable areas of their WAC slate ahead.
Most Creative: Iowa, whose provocative and baffling installation art piece, Profile of a Team at 7-0 we cannot believe we're going to have to rank in the top 10 this week debuted to lukewarm reviews after yet another efficient, unremarkable victory at Wisconsin.
Mr. Personality: Steve Kragthorpe, in the "you so ugly" sense. We're hard-pressed to come up with a redeeming facet of the Louisville program, but in handing UConn its first conference win, and with Cincinnati on tap in six days, it's not pretty to be a Cardinal right now.
Most School Spirit: Cal, withstanding a plummet from lofty early rankings and the outright dismissal of the program as a legitimate Pac-10 contender to pummel UCLA on the road, thus ending an eight-quarter touchdown drought by the Bear offense and keeping those other blue-and-yellow ursines winless in conference play.
Most Popular (tie): Georgia Tech and Kentucky, whose nighttime antics have respectively upended the ACC Coastal and SEC West division races in one fell swoop. Your conference member schools point and nod approvingly from their perilous perches in the lobster pot.
Grape Job! Notre Dame, you plucky little so-and-sos, we could just pinch your cheeks and fetch you a juice box for your moxiefied standagainst USC. But the Grape Job sticker isn't for winners, and evencatching the Trojans in a possible down cycle wasn't enough of a boost.
Drama Queen: Terrelle Pryor, who's currently in the metallic-lipstick-and-moody-music stage of his 2009 emotional tilt-a-whirl. Sophomores! Honestly.
Class Clown: Colorado, you absolutely slay us. Of all the tricks you could have pulled, beating an actual football team was about the last thing any of us expected, much less one that came into the weekend unblemished.
Biggest Flirt: Nebraska, whose talk of "earning back the Blackshirts!" boded well for their once-fearsome defense before taking a three-touchdown dive at home against Texas Tech. Teases, the lot of you.
Most Likely to Succeed (tie): Arkansas and Alabama. Florida's offense is, to put it charitably, out of sorts under new coordinator Steve Addazio, but the Gators are still replete with talent, and it's becoming more and more apparent that Arkansas has finally figured out how to stop the football, making the Razorbacks a newly and chillingly well-rounded threat in the SEC. And Alabama, already playing the most consistent football in the conference heading into Saturday's contest with South Carolina, proved they can win the ugly ones. Neither bodes well for the rest of the league.