John Clay

Cats 11th in Sagarin Ratings

Random notes:

■ Believe it or not, Kentucky is 11th in the Sagarin Ratings after the first weekend of games.

■ Though he caught just three passes for 31 yards on Sunday, UK freshman Randall Cobb showed why his coaches are so excited.

■ Not to worry, Louisville, all is not lost. As Rich Brooks said Tuesday, the U of L defense looked "damn good." That's a certain improvement over last year, and the Cardinals offense will get better. (It couldn't get much worse.)

■ Sure looks like Saturday's Eastern-Western matchup in Richmond will be the last one we'll see for a while. Western is in the last stages of its transition from FCS to FBS — if you are among the few who know what that means.

■ You have to root for ex-Mason County quarterback Dustin Grutza, who has gone from starter to bench warmer back to starter and tossed three touchdown passes in just three quarters during Cincinnati's 40-7 thumping of EKU last week.

■ That was some good ol' fashioned, straight-ahead, old-school football Alabama laid on Clemson Saturday night. It was impressive enough to land the Tide on the current cover of Sports Illustrated.

■ Alabama columnist and talk-show host Paul Finebaum writes that the three most overused words in the English language are, "Bama is back!"

■ Though most knew the ACC was going to be bad this year, didn't think it would be this bad — Virginia Tech loses to East Carolina; Clemson is rocked by Alabama; North Carolina State blanked by South Carolina; Virginia obliterated by USC — this early.

■ The NCAA's new (and overdue) clock rules work. The game is played at a faster clip. Snaps were down overall, but that's not a bad thing. As Rich Brooks pointed out Tuesday, with last year's rules, it was as if teams were playing 13 or 13½ games, not 12. Besides, Oklahoma ran 84 plays in its 57-2 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday.

■ An e-mailer says Phil Fulmer is to Tennessee football what Tubby Smith was to Kentucky basketball: a national championship coach whose program has slipped into mediocrity.

■ By the way, welcome back UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel, who actually holds a place in UK history. When Colorado passed over offensive coordinator Elliot Uzelac to name Neuheisel head coach in 1995, Uzelac quit the Buffs in a huff. Bill Curry then hired Uzelac to run the offense at Kentucky. A year and a half later, Curry and Uzelac were out of a job.

■ To aid Tennessee fans, the Knoxville News-Sentinel has set up a Vols vent line.

■ Tennessee's loss at UCLA, a middle of the pack Pac-10 team, might not bode well for Georgia's trip to Arizona State on Sept. 20.

■ Heard Colin Cowherd explain away Tennessee's loss by saying, "It's hard to fly clear across the country and win." It didn't seem too hard for USC at Virginia or Fresno State at Rutgers. Or maybe it's easier to fly east than it is to fly west.

■ You heard it first: The Central Michigan Chippewas won't win at Georgia on Saturday, but they'll give the Dawgs an awful scare.

■ Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News is calling Tony Franklin's new attack at Auburn the "Spread Eagle."

■ Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden reportedly called Alabama's Nick Saban after Saturday's game looking for advice. Little late, Tommy.

■ Scary stat: Florida players not named Tim Tebow or Percy Harvin rushed for 220 yards last Saturday.

■ Missouri's offense is fun to watch. Missouri's defense makes opponents fun to watch.

■ If the health of quarterback Mark Sanchez was the lone question to be answered when it came to Southern Cal this season, consider it answered. You listening, Ohio State?

■ Speaking of Ohio State, why was Beanie Wells even in the game when the Buckeyes running back got hurt in the third quarter of the expected ripping of Youngstown State?

■ Still say Mississippi, now that it has an actual coach, will be the surprise team in the SEC this year.

■ East Carolina goes from beating Virginia Tech to meeting West Virginia.