The fine folks in Bowling Green, Ohio, didn't think it could get any better than last season, when permanent lights were installed and night football debuted at Perry Stadium.
Attendance doubled, tailgating took on a whole new meaning in the sleepy northern Ohio town and the beloved Falcons responded with an 8-3 season, including a sizzling 56-21 victory over in-state rival Toledo.
But this year, there has been more excitement than huggable mascots Frieda and Freddie Falcon could possibly handle. Bowling Green, ranked No. 24, owns the nation's highest-scoring offense at almost 48 points a game and rolled to another Mid-American Conference victory Saturday against Ball State, 38-20.
The lowest-ranked undefeated team in the nation, the Falcons (7-0) even had Ball State Coach Bill Lynch gushing afterward: "I've got to admit, they're the real deal," he said.
Pollsters, however, might not feel the same. They've seen this type of hype before.Tulane went 12-0 in 1998 ... and was ranked No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll, done in by a flimsy schedule. Auburn went 11-0 in 1993 ... and finished No. 4, largely because the Tigers were ineligible for a bowl.
Georgia Tech went 11-0-1 in 1990 and Syracuse went 11-0-1 in 1987, but both finished No. 2 because of respective ties with North Carolina and Auburn.
Joe Paterno is still crying over the fact that Penn State's 11-0 record in 1968 and 1969 was only good enough for No. 2 ... twice.
Finally, Toledo might be the most disrespected school of all time, going 12-0 in 1970 and 1971, but finishing No. 12 and No. 14 in the final AP polls.
And before Bowling Green fans start gathering signatures for a BCS petition, they should remember that four of the Falcons' final five games are on the road, including the regular-season finale against Toledo.
Looking long-term, it will be difficult to hang on to Coach Urban Meyer, a former wide receivers coach at Notre Dame who needed just two years to get Bowling Green into the top 25.
But hey, if the Falcons emerge unscathed from their final five games, they're bowl-bound. After all, it's a painless 80-mile trip to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit.
It's a good bet the weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference with reporters will have less finger-wagging and admonishing during Texas Tech's 10 minutes.
Coach Mike Leach chastised media members last Monday for not including Red Raider quarterback Kliff Kingsbury among the Heisman hopefuls, calling reporters across the nation "irresponsible."
"There's not a quarterback in the country that has better numbers than Kliff ... period," he said.
There were plenty of quarterbacks with better stats Saturday.
Kingsbury had a career-high four interceptions and no touchdowns as Texas Tech was pummeled by No. 21 Colorado, 37-13.
Making matters worse, Kingsbury, who entered as the nation's leader in touchdown passes and yards passing, had an interception and a fumble returned for touchdowns.
"It was a total collapse on offense, a total collapse on special teams ... " said Leach, who did not allow the media to talk to his offensive players after the game. "Anybody on offense and special teams should be ashamed of themselves."
No Posting Up for J-Lo
If goal posts had feelings, the ones at Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium would be sending thank-you notes and gift baskets to ample-girthed quarterback Jared Lorenzen.
Lorenzen, who goes by several monikers -- The Hefty Lefty, The Round Mound of Touchdown and The Pillsbury Throw Boy, among others -- said he wanted to sit atop the goalposts if Kentucky defeated Georgia.
Lorenzen, who admits to being "a few M&Ms shy of 300 [pounds]," has been plotting it since last season, when he said he would help fans tear down the goalposts if Kentucky upset Tennessee.
The upset bid fell short against Tennessee, but Lorenzen told the Louisville Courier-Journal last week he was again ready to party with the posts.
"If we're lucky enough to win, I'll be sitting right on top of the goalposts," Lorenzen said.
Not wanting to be left out, Kentucky Coach Guy Morriss said he'd get in on the act, too.
"I'd shimmy right up there with him, and I'd gladly pay for a new set," Morriss said.
Of course, Kentucky hasn't beaten a top 10 team since 1977.
And of course, Kentucky got smeared by No. 5 Georgia, 52-24, which played without three starters on offense because of injuries and still set a school record with six touchdown passes.
Let's count the reasons why Auburn had no need to show for its game against Louisiana State.
* Running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams was declared done for the season last week because of a broken leg.
* Auburn wasn't able to videotape its practices Tuesday or Wednesday because President Bush visited campus and the Secret Service did not want anybody in the coaching towers for security reasons.
* No. 10 Louisiana State was riding a six-game win streak with three Southeastern Conference victories by a combined 72 points.