Football

Hang on, there's still 10 games to go

There is a reason they play a season.

For example:

■ After two weeks of the 2007 college football season, the University of Louisville owned a 2-0 record and a No. 9 national ranking.

Yes, the Cards had appeared a bit off their game in a Week 2 struggle with Middle Tennessee. But with Brian Brohm at quarterback and Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia at wide receiver, there was no reason to believe new coach Steve Kragthorpe wouldn't keep the Cardinals train rolling.

By season's end, the Cards needed a comeback win over Rutgers to salvage a 6-6 season, which did little to squelch the dissatisfaction with Coach K.

■ Two weeks into the 2007 season, Michigan wasn't just 0-2. The Wolverines had lost to Appalachian State (yikes) and been drubbed 39-7 by the Ducks of Oregon (ouch). Michigan men near and far were calling for Lloyd Carr's head, angrily deploring the demise of the Maize and Blue.

After that, Michigan won nine of its next 11, including a 41-35 upset of Florida in the Capital One Bowl.

■ On Oct. 7 a year ago, California was ranked No. 2 in the nation, thanks in part to a 5-0 start, which included wins over Tennessee (45-21) and Oregon (31-24).

Alas, the Golden Bears became tarnished in a hurry, losing their next three and six of their final seven in the regular season. Jeff Tedford's team went from second in the nation to seventh in the Pac-10.

■ On Oct. 14 a year ago, Sunshine State upstart South Florida was the No. 2 team in the country, the Bulls having beaten both Auburn and West Virginia.

Immediately following their meteoric rise to such a lofty poll standing, the Bulls plummeted to three straight defeats and ended the year 9-4, thanks to a 56-21 Sun Bowl loss to Oregon.

■ On Oct. 14 a year ago, South Carolina was 6-1 and No. 6 in the AP poll. The Gamecocks didn't win another game.

■ Alabama started last year 6-2, then did not win another regular-season game.

■ Arkansas was 3-3 after a loss to visiting Auburn, then won five of its next six to finish the regular season 8-4.

■ Tennessee lost by 24 points to California, 39 points to Florida (59-20) and 27 points to Alabama (41-14), yet rebounded to earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

■ On Nov. 10, undefeated Ohio State lost at home to Illinois, a defeat that goosed the experts to declaring that the Buckeyes were banished from any BCS title possibilities.

Less than two months later, Jim Tressel's team was losing to LSU in the BCS Championship Game.

The point is: It's early.

It's very early.

Just because Tennessee looked dreadful in that loss to UCLA doesn't mean the Vols couldn't still rebound and claim another SEC East crown.

Just because South Carolina lost to Vanderbilt for the second straight year doesn't mean the Gamecocks couldn't still turn around and upset visiting Georgia for the second straight year.

Just because the experts will quickly proclaim the loser of Saturday's showdown between Ohio State and Southern Cal out of the national title picture doesn't mean the loser won't end up in Dolphin Stadium come the BCS title game Jan. 8.

Just because Kentucky's defense looked nearly impenetrable against Louisville and Norfolk State doesn't mean the Cats won't have a tougher time stopping people when the competition kicks it up a notch.

(The guess here is that the UK 'D' will remain fairly formidable, however.)

Even in college football, things change, nothing stays the same.

That's the beauty of it all.

Nothing is set in stone.

And two weeks doesn't make a season.

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