Winning Tuesday Morning Quarterback's game balls this week are the Cowboys' George Teague and the Jets' Wayne Chrebet, who provided us with two different but equally effective methods in shushing the NFL's trash-talkers.
Talk about fortunate. The reeling Georgia Bulldogs face an Arkansas team without its best runner, Cedric Cobbs, a week after the Razorbacks drained their emotional reserves in a win over Alabama.
The Hogs and Dogs haven't played each other in six years, and that type of unfamiliarity may be to Georgia's advantage. Arkansas is not a team that knows Georgia's ins-and-outs the way, say, South Carolina or Tennessee does.
What Georgia Tech needs more than anything are cornerbacks able to cover man-to-man. The only thing Jamara Clark, Johnathan Cox, Troy Tolbert and Marvious Hester can cover are their excuses.
Phil Petty might be college football's most improved player. Who would have thought that through September, he'd have more total offense than Quincy Carter and Ben Leard?
The most encouraging sign from Columbia on Saturday is that the Gamecocks did everything they could to lose against Mississippi State and somehow still managed to win.
They had a fumble returned for a touchdown. Derek Watson's 92-yard touchdown kickoff return was nullified by one of his blockers jumping the kick and running himself offside. They had a punt blocked. They allowed the Bulldogs, with maybe the SEC's simplest offense, to drive 94 yards for a score. They lost their starting quarterback to an ankle sprain at the game's most critical juncture. Both lines of scrimmage were dominated by Pork Chop and Pig and all the other behemoths Mississippi State trotted out.
And yet, with all that adversity, with all that going against it, South Carolina won.
The unofficial word about the Gamecocks comes from SmootSmack.com, the unofficial Web site promoting Mississippi State's trash-talkin' cornerback Fred Smoot. Smoot writes about his Bulldogs' 23-19 loss: "They have the magic and the team with the magic always prevails."
The same Web site reported receiving "164 decent human being e-mails, 143 scum of the earth e-mails" post-game from South Carolina fans.
The site, designed and cared for by Mississippi State fans, wrote "It's obvious these (Gamecocks) fans are struggling with winning with class. It's easy to send hate-filled trash e-mails, but it takes some wit and sense of humor to send smack."
The best rumor circulating around Tuscaloosa, Ala., these days is that Mike DuBose gets fired in midseason, Gene Stallings comes out of retirement to coach the rest of the season and the Crimson Tide makes a serious run at Clemson's Tommy Bowden's success.
Kansas State, the nation's fifth-ranked team, has four wins against Iowa (No. 85 in the Sagarin ratings), Louisiana Tech (No. 122), North Texas (No. 133) and Ball State (No. 138). Those four are a collective 0-13 against I-A opponents. So come November, when the Wildcats are undefeated and crying about not being among the BCS contenders, just remember those four wins of the apocalypse.
More signs of the Internet times come from Syracuse, where the Orangemen are 1-2, both losses at Conference USA teams. Disgruntled fans are calling for coach Paul Pasqualoni's head by creating a Web site www.coachpmustgo.com.
Miami lost at Washington. Alabama and Michigan both lost at UCLA. The Bruins then got buried at Oregon. The Ducks quacked at Wisconsin. Texas lost at Stanford. Kentucky lost at Louisville. Notre Dame and Marshall both dropped games at Michigan State.
What's the trend here? These are all good teams starting young quarterbacks, and all lost their first road games. We tend to underrate how difficult it is to play as a visitor, especially if you're a quarterback without much experience in hostile environments.
With that, beware South Carolina, Wisconsin and Tennessee. The road can be treacherous.
Reach Rick Dorsey at (706) 823-3219.
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