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Snowman's Six-Pack of Reax from Saturday

Posted: Nov 19, 2008

1. It has finally happened. For the first time since 1982, the Vanderbilt Commodores will be eligible to go to a bowl. Vandy rode D.J. Moore (and some favorable calls) to beat Kentucky for their 6th win and sealed the postseason deal that has been so elusive for over two decades. I think it’s very interesting the way Coach Bobby Johnson has built the Vanderbilt program up to respectability. Instead of opting for a quick fix or gimmicky scheme, Johnson and his staff have just recruited better athletes on a consistent basis and have improved steadily season by season. Kudos to the Vanderbilt administration for staying patient with Johnson through some tough early years, as they now will see his hard work pay off as the Commodores go bowling.

2. We almost had they Sun Belt story of the year last Saturday in Baton Rouge. Troy looked primed to upset the defending National Champs, but LSU stormed back from a 31-3 deficit to sack the dreams of the Trojans. Coach Larry Blakeney has had a solid program for years and deserves much credit for bringing Troy through the transition to Division I. The Trojans destroyed Oklahoma State at home last season, but this game would have meant even more to go into Death Valley at night and win. Hopefully Troy can recover from the heartbreaking loss as they battle Louisiana-Lafayette for the conference title this weekend. As for LSU, Tiger fans are obviously happy about the comeback, but unfortunately, hardly anyone saw it as the stands were only about 30% full during the historic 30-point 4th quarter.

3. It was a huge week of jockeying for position in the ACC standings. With Miami beating Virginia Tech, Maryland defeating North Carolina, and Boston College taking down Florida State, the road to Tampa became slightly clearer although it’s still pretty muddled at the top. While it looks like Boston College or Maryland in the Atlantic division, Miami has taken control of their destiny in the Coastal, and here are the details for their path to the ACC Championship Game. The Canes lost their first two league games to UNC and Florida State, but now have a huge opportunity Thursday night in Atlanta to take over the fairly pedestrian conference. A road win over Georgia Tech and a division title could be the springboard for the resurgence of the Miami program.

4. What a terrible loss for South Florida against Rutgers. The 49-16 blowout sent the Bulls to 1-4 in the Big East, just a month and a half after starting the season 5-0. Jim Leavitt’s program seems to have lost all of the momentum from its Top 20 win last year against Auburn and this year against Kansas. The Saturday Slate talked about a “lack of emotional investment” that the Bulls seem to have in the Big East, and that bleak reality continued with the Rutgers blowout. You have to wonder if Coach Leavitt will stay in the Big East at the program he built, or possibly look elsewhere during this critical offseason.

5. What that Andre Ware? Or David Klingler? Actually, it was sophomore quarterback Case Keenum (402 passing yards and 6 touchdowns) leading Houston to a whopping 70-30 win over Tulsa. The Cougars have now put themselves in position to take the C-USA’s West division with wins over UTEP and Rice. First-year head coach Kevin Sumlin brought the high-powered offensive scheme from Oklahoma with him to Houston, and he has the scoreboard lighting up at Robertson Stadium.

6. This Saturday will see the next game in the line of the “Big 12 matchups of the year” as Texas Tech travels to Norman to meet Oklahoma. Obviously, this high-scoring contest should be very exciting, and it has some high-stakes conference and BCS implications. The coaches know each other very well, and it will be interesting to see if Mike Leach can defeat his former boss and keep the Red Raiders’ magical season going. Tech upset the Sooners last year in Lubbock, but this one is in Norman, where Bob Stoops’ teams are 59-2. Buckle up and enjoy this one.

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