Defending SEC-ordered national champion Alabama got a big win over a quality opponent last week in topping an emerging Michigan program that, with Wisconsin and Iowa, is trying to save some rep for the Big 10. Also, kudos to a dynamite Southern Cal squad that opened with a win over Mountain West newcomer Hawaii. USC had to stop what will probably become a very potent offense being coordinated at Hawaii by recent Montana Western coach Tommy Lee, who came out of retirement this season to join the staff of Norm Chow, the Hawaii head coach. Chow a coaching veteran of many seasons at the college and pro levels is putting his first term as a head coach — at the age of 66.
Big 12 probably best college conference last year, ahead of under-respected Pacific 12 and overrated SEC. Five rookie quarterbacks have been named NFL opening week starters and three of them were prepared by playing Big 12 schedules— Robert Griffin III, Baylor and Washington Redskins; Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State and Cleveland Browns; and Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M and Miami Dolphins.
Pacific 12 Western Thunder — Washington at LSU. Game was scheduled while LSU had emerged as an SEC-influenced national championship contender and Washington was languishing in the lower reaches of the Pac 12. Huskies took the game, on the road, anyway. Also — Wisconsin at Oregon State, Oklahoma State at Arizona, Nebraska at UCLA. Wisconsin and Oklahoma State were national title contenders last year until BCS mucky-mucks determined consideration should be an SEC-only affair. Oregon State and Arizona still kept the schedule dates. Nebraska has re-emerged nicely as a Big 10 power in the making.
SEC Sweet Magnolias— Western Kentucky at Alabama. Tide has to protect that new No. 1 ranking and risking it against somebody with even an outside shot of beating them sure doesn’t fit the non-con opponent requirement. Also — Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas, Georgia State at Tennessee, East Carolina at South Carolina. Arkansas and South Carolina are both ranked in the top 10. Sun Belt Conference’s La.-Monroe has never beaten Arkansas in six tries, Georgia State has been outscored 119-7 by FBS teams coming into the season, which is only its third as a football program. Northcentralsouthwesternmidcou