NCAA football: Saturday morning national blitz

Hot reads

1. Buh-bye, Big Ten: Amid mounting evidence piled on top of a mountain of evidence, Jim Delany is doing his best to salvage his league’s reputation.

“It’s September 7, not December 7,” the Big Ten commissioner told a day after Michigan State and Ohio State were whacked, unofficially, from Final Four playoff contention with losses to Oregon and Virginia Tech, respectively. “I would hate to think after two weeks we’d pick any teams for anything.”

Delany conceded some games matter more than others but encouraged people, even after all of the BCS bowl beatdowns prior, to give it time.

“We still have more work to do,” he told ESPN. “We just don’t have those (wins) in our resume. Others do. People can write what they want to write. It’s America. But it’s at a stage where the narrative is still developing.

“Anyone who writes the story of the 2014 football season after two weeks, that’s premature.”

Problem is, the SEC began writing this story during the 2006-2007 season. The Big Ten, 5-10 in BCS bowls since then, is just getting around to reading it. Chris Wright

2. In Ron’s World: The unofficial second round of the NCAA football tournament accomplished what the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament does each March. It eliminated most of the fringe teams from the field.

Remember, according to my tournament rules, a single loss eliminates any non-Power Five conference team. It takes two losses by a Power Five conference program to face elimination, unless a loss was against a non-Power Five conference team.

After the second week – or second round – the Final Four playoff field has been trimmed to 70, of which 57 are Power Five teams. The only Power Five teams to be eliminated in the second round were Northwestern (lost to Northern Illinois) and Purdue (lost to Central Michigan) of the Big Ten, and Washington State (lost to Nevada) of the Pac-12.

Four of the non-Power Five conferences took big hits this round with Cincinnati the lone survivor of the American Athletic; Marshall the only remaining team from Conference USA; Central Michigan and Northern Illinois the only two standing in the MAC; and Nevada and Wyoming the only ones left in the Mountain West. Ron Morris

3. Kenny Trill: The parents of Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill filed to trademark the phrase. It’s a combination of true and real. Rapper Bun B, whose Twitter account is “BunBTrillOG,” tweeted: “Like the idea of “Kenny Trill” but I think @coachsumlin would agree one good game alone doesn’t make you trill. He’s on his way though!”

Tracking the Top 25

Saturday’s games ... comments where deserving.

No. 2 Oregon (2-0) vs. Wyoming (2-0), 2 p.m.: Guessing Ducks QB Marcus Mariota – a Heisman Trophy candidate to rival Georgia RB Todd Gurley – doesn’t have many fans in Tarboro. Might have even fewer after he gets done with Wyoming.

No. 3 Alabama (2-0) vs. Southern Miss. (1-1), 6 p.m.: Southern Miss has won two games since Larry Fedora left after the 2011 season. It will have to wait a while longer for No. 3.

No. 4 Oklahoma (2-0) vs. Tennessee (2-0), 8 p.m.: Phillip Fulmer did some things in 17 years at Tennessee. He was forced out after the 2008 season, and the Vols are 0-16 against Top 10 teams since. Miss him now?

No. 6 Georgia (1-0) at No. 24 South Carolina (1-1), 3:30 p.m.: Last time the Head Ball Coach started 1-2? It was 2008, following a home loss to No. 2 Georgia, led by NFL starters Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno.

No. 7 Texas A&M (2-0) vs. Rice (0-1), 9 p.m.: Johnny Manziel sat out the first half and threw 3 TD passes in the second half against Rice last season. Your turn, Kenny Trill.

No. 9 Southern Cal (2-0) at Boston College (1-1), 8 p.m.

No. 10 LSU (2-0) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (2-0), 7 p.m.

No. 11 Notre Dame (2-0) vs. Purdue (1-1) at Indianapolis, 7:30 p.m.: Like Ross and Rachel, the Irish and Boilermakers will just be on a temporary break after Saturday’s clash. They hook up again in 2020.

No. 12 UCLA (2-0) vs. Texas (1-1) at Arlington, Texas, 8 p.m.: Last week a pro California team came into Jerry World and wrecked the place. This could be the college version.

No. 14 Mississippi (2-0) vs. La.-Lafayette (1-1), 4 p.m.

No. 15 Stanford (1-1) vs. Army (1-0), 5 p.m.

No. 16 Arizona State (2-0) at Colorado (1-1), 10 p.m.

No. 17 Virginia Tech (2-0) vs. East Carolina (1-1), Noon: ECU hasn’t beaten a ranked team from a power conference since 2008. Shane Carden gets a huge opportunity to add to his Pirates legacy.

No. 20 Missouri (2-0) vs. UCF (0-1), noon

No. 21 Louisville (2-0) at Virginia (1-1), 12:30 p.m.: Cavs pushed then-No. 7 UCLA in opener and routed Richmond last week. They continue to rotate sophomore QBs Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns, hoping one might create separation.

No. 22 Ohio State (1-1) vs. Kent State (0-2), Noon: The road to Dallas restarts ... now. Or not.

Number to know

1935 The last time Duke, N.C. State and UNC all started 3-0. Duke and State can get there Saturday; idle UNC will have to wait a week.

Final Word

“If they don’t want to do anything, just kill the program. Just stick to academics and basketball and kill that program. It’s so frustrating for us to watch SMU become nothing but a laughingstock or almost nonexistent. It’s almost like it doesn’t exist.”

–Hall of Fame and former SMU star Eric Dickerson in an interview with 105.3 KRLD.

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