Fanaticism rules in college football

September 16, 2009, 10:23 PM HST · Updated September 17, 8:31 AM
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By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

College football fanatics never fail to amaze me. The latest examples of their over-reaction were touched off by USC rallying for an 18-15 road win over Ohio State and Michigan defeating visiting Notre Dame 38-34.

USC freshman quarterback Matthew Barkley is being heralded by some as potentially better than recent Heisman winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinhart. This, although Barkley was a modest 15 of 31 for 195 yards with no TD passes and one pick.

Meantime, some Buckeye fans are demanding that coach Jim Tressel give up his play-calling duties although he has compiled an 84-20 record in eight-plus seasons, with five Big Ten titles, one national championship and six Top Ten finishes.

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At Michigan, Rich Rodriguez has gone from bum to hero. Maligned after a 3-9 mark last season, Rodriguez is now deemed a genius because of the win over the Fighting Irish. And his freshman QB, Tate Forcier, is being spoken about in the same breath as other former Wolverine greats after only two games.

Charlie Weis is back on the roller coaster. Barely midway through his first season, Notre Dame rewarded the blowhard coach with a 10-year extension. But after guiding the Irish to a pair of BCS bowl games, and losing both, Notre Dame went 10-15 the past two years.

Expectations were running ridiculously high for the current season and now the Irish faithless are again disenchanted with their football coach.

PUZZLING POLLS: We’re just two weeks into the college football season and already I have some major issues with the polls.

Both of them, actually, but more with the USA Today coaches’ poll than with the Associated Press media rankings. The reason I pick on the coaches is because, in theory, these guys are supposed to really know the game.

Over the years, I’ve found the media poll be more accurate because the press guys and gals tend to study their picks more closely. It’s their job to analyze and study as many of the games as possible. The coaches, frankly, are too busy with their own games to worry about what anyone else is doing. And it shows in their picks.

So what has me so worked up so early in the season?

Houston just beat the No. 5 team in the nation, Oklahoma State, on the road? And not just some fluke win, either, but a decisive 10-point margin, 45-35.

Yet, Oklahoma State is ranked 17th by the coaches and 16th by the media. Houston, meantime, is unranked by the coaches and 21st by the media. And, get this: Georgia, which lost 24-10 to Oklahoma State on the same field a week before, is ranked 20th by the coaches.

And someone please explain on what basis is Ole Miss – a team with no recent history of success — ranked sixth in one poll and fifth in the other? This is a team that played poorly in its only game against a Memphis team that was later drilled 31-14 by Middle Tennessee State.

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