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Things are heating up in college football

Texas has allowed 111 points in two consecutive defeats and will try to hold off Baylor, whose offense is averaging 556 yards and 47 points a game. Tennessee will try to knock off No. 1 Alabama.

October 19, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Texas running back Joe Bergeron and quarterback David Ash celebrate a touchdown against West Virginia. Now the Longhorns will see if they can outscore Baylor on Saturday.
Texas running back Joe Bergeron and quarterback David Ash celebrate a touchdown… (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)

Here is some weekend pigskin to chew on:

—How hot will it get for Texas?

You thought things couldn't get worse after the Longhorns got scorched by Oklahoma last week at the State Fair of Texas. Friday, though, came word that "Big Tex," the 52-foot icon statue that greets fair visitors, was burned in an electrical fire.

Mack Brown's britches are also warming as his defense has allowed 111 points in two consecutive defeats.

And now that arson squad is asked to put out Baylor's fire?

Baylor not only has two straight wins over Texas, the Bears arrive in Austin with an offense averaging 556 yards and 47 points a game.

Texas is 4-2, but beating Baylor might be imperative to Brown's long-term coaching goals.

"Baylor is capable of putting 50, 60 points on you any day," Texas defensive end Alex Okafor said.

It better not happen Saturday.

—Can Derek Dooley win a big game at Tennessee? The Vols' third-year coach is 0-13 against ranked opponents with No. 1 Alabama coming to Knoxville.

"They change jersey numbers, not guys," Dooley said of Alabama's anonymous greatness index.

Close doesn't count.

In 2009, with Lane Kiffin as coach, Tennessee lost at Alabama by two because nose tackle Terrence Cody blocked two field-goal attempts. Alabama survived and went on to win the Bowl Championship Series title.

Dooley is 14-17 since replacing Kiffin and nursing a surgically repaired hip. Tennessee will honor former coach Phillip Fulmer before the game four years after he was run out of town after a 49-9 loss to Alabama.

Tennessee hasn't defeated a No. 1 since 1985.

Let the festivities begin.

—Is it possible for one-loss Florida State to get back in the national title race? The Seminoles are No. 14 in the first BCS standings as they head south to play Miami. Florida State has one big chip left before it can run the table…Florida. The Gators come to Tallahassee on Nov. 24. If Florida is still undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS standings well, perhaps, there's a sliver of a chance.

— Michigan seeks its Football Bowl Subdivision-record 900th win when the Wolverines host Michigan State in Ann Arbor. The Big Ten's woes have reduced this to a regional rivalry, though it's interesting to note Michigan State has won four straight. "You keep track of those things the rest of your life," Spartans Coach Mark Dantonio said this week.

—Nebraska plays at Northwestern for the first time since 1931. There was a different "shotgun" offense at Dyche Stadium that October day. In attendance for Northwestern's 19-7 win was gangster Al Capone, who was greeted with a "Bronx Cheer" by the crowd of 40,000. The Omaha Bee-News noted Capone was "accompanied by 'Machine-gun Jack' McGurn and several henchmen."

Any surprise it took Nebraska 81 years to come back?

—Oregon State, hosting Utah in Corvallis, seeks its first 6-0 start since 1907. This year's Beavers squad has no chance of allowing fewer points than F.S. Norcross' squad, which outscored the opposition that year, 138-0.

—"Manti Te'o for the Heisman?" Look, if Notre Dame goes undefeated with that offense (No. 76 nationally this week), perhaps voters should consider the Irish's star linebacker.

Notre Dame, for now, needs to focus on beating Brigham Young in advance of next week's trip to Oklahoma.

The Irish, remember, started 8-0 in 2002 and lost three of their last five.

"I think it's great to be 6-0 and have that excitement on campus," Te'o said. "But as we've talked as a team, we haven't done anything yet."

—The "real" Heisman race this week is in Morgantown, where No. 4 Kansas State tries to stay undefeated against West Virginia. The game features two top Heisman candidates in quarterbacks Geno Smith and Collin Klein. The coaching matchup features 73-year-old Bill Snyder against 41-year-old Dana "Kid" Holgorsen.

—Here's the skinny on Texas Tech's Red Raiders after a signature victory: They can't handle it. Texas Tech plays at Texas Christian one week after shocking West Virginia in Lubbock.

Last year, Texas Tech upset No. 1 Oklahoma and then lost its last five games. The last four times the Red Raiders have defeated a ranked opponent, they lost their next game.

—Temple and Rutgers, for so many years the bottom feeders in the Big East, are a combined 5-0 in league play. The teams meet, in Philadelphia, for the first time since 2004, Temple's last season in the Big East before being dismissed for football incompetence. Temple was invited back this year.

How far have these programs come?

Since Big East football started in 1991, Temple leads Rutgers in last-place finishes, 7-6.

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