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Dick Harmon: College football: The good, bad and overrated

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 25 2007 12:35 a.m. MDT

Football musings over the weekend that academically brought us Iran's top alpha dog at Columbia University.
THUMBS UP: Wyoming holding on to nip Ohio on the road; Boston College now 4-0 with a new coach; Arizona State back in the rankings at 4-0; and BYU extending a home win streak to eight, outscoring Arizona and Air Force a combined 51-13.
THUMBS DOWN: Even Kyle Whittingham called it inexplicable, the Jekyll/Hyde turnaround that saw the Ute offense score 44 against UCLA and zero the next Saturday at UNLV, which broke a string of 166 games for the Utes without being shut out.
THEY SAID IT: Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Ed Graney: "It's true the Utes spent several plays flailing in a high tide of stupid penalties and feeble execution of questionable play calls, but UNLV's first shutout in seven years was more about its players' implementation of a fantastic game plan than its opponent's incompetence. They say UNLV senior linebacker Beau Bell is destined to be selected over the first three rounds of the next NFL Draft. His performance Saturday will only enhance that prediction."
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: BYU leads the nation in time of possession (34:25); Utah punter Louis Sakoda ranks No. 6 in the country, averaging 45.8 yards per punt; and Cougar defenders Jan Jorgensen and Kelly Poppinga are first and second in the MWC in tackles for loss. Also, during the past 25 years, Air Force has been held to single-digit scoring 19 times, with BYU responsible for six of those.
MY MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gotta go with UNLV running back Frank Summers and his 29 rushes for 190 yards against Utah. The rushing total was the 18th-best in school history and the most for a Rebel since 2002. He also became the first UNLV player to score at least three touchdowns in a game since 2003.
BOTTOM LINE: Utah beats Utah State at home Saturday and somehow finds a way to steal a game at defenseless Louisville. The Utes could be at .500 and would need three wins in matchups with San Diego State, TCU, Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico and BYU to be bowl-eligible.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: Austin Collie sat out last week's Air Force game in Provo, protecting his sprained ankle. Collie's 366 all-purpose yards against Tulsa still ranks as the No. 1 performance in the NCAA this season.
DUMB AND DUMBER: Remember Appalachian State's huge upset over Michigan in the Big House? You know, the athletic, big-play whupping administered to the stately Wolverines? Appalachian State just lost to Wofford, who ran for 316 yards and four second-half touchdowns.
UNSUNG HERO: Former Aggie and Snow College receiver Kevin Curtis, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, had a monster game with 221 yards receiving Sunday against the Lions. Curtis' legend continues to grow.
YEAH, BUT ... BYU's biggest wart remains the defensive black hole at Tulsa. With Bronco Mendenhall absorbing total blame for the "unprepared" defense he placed before Hurricane quarterback Paul Smith, how do QBs stack up on BYU's schedule to Smith in pass-efficiency ratings so far?
Smith (Tulsa), 187; Caleb Hanie (Colorado State), 163; Matt Nichols (Eastern Washington), 157; Donovan Porterie (New Mexico), 153; Kevin O'Connell (San Diego State), 142; Wille Tuitama (Arizona), 130; Ben Olson (UCLA), 120; Andy Dalton (TCU), 114; Shaun Carney (Air Force), 112; Karsten Sween (Wyoming), 111; Travis Dixon (UNLV), 108; Tommy Grady (Utah), 105.
TREND-SETTERS: Gaudy numbers may mean nothing. Graham Harrell of Texas Tech passed for 646 yards, Louisville's Brian Brohm threw for 555, Duke's Thaddeus Lewis had 424, Idaho's Nathan Enderle got 423 and Ball State's Nate Davis had 422. But like John Walsh's 619 against Utah State in 1993, all their teams lost.
OVERRATED: Louisville, because every time I watch this Big East team, I can't find a red-shirted defender on my TV screen. And Notre Dame, because the Irish may be 0-4, but (cough-cough) they're six wins from being in a BCS bowl.
UNDERRATED: UNLV, because the Rebels can play defense. And Colorado State, because the Rams had a tough schedule (Colorado, Cal, Houston) and even at 0-3, Haney has a pass-efficiency rating of 163.5.
MY TOP FIVE: I'll go with 1. Oklahoma, 2. LSU, 3. USC, 4. Florida and 5. West Virginia.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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