A look at this week's college football scene.
Will JoePa's white socks counteract Iowa's stripe plan? Iowa wants to make Kinnick Stadium a coordinated sea of black and gold for tonight's home game against No. 22 Penn State. Fans of the No. 17 Hawkeyes are asked to wear either black or gold, depending on where they sit, to create a striped effect throughout the stadium. Fans in odd-numbered sections and students are to wear black; fans in even-number sections gold. But can any of that challenge Penn State coach Joe Paterno's white socks?
Today's game in Eugene, Ore., will be the fourth Pac-10 game there between top 10 teams in the past four seasons. The bad news for Stanford is the Ducks won the previous three. A look back:
Oct. 27, 2007 — No. 5 Oregon 24, No. 9 USC 17: USC held the Ducks, who entered second nationally in total offense, to 200 yards below their average. The Trojans just couldn't come up with the big plays down the stretch, their last hope ending with Matthew Harper's interception in the end zone. Jonathan Stewart ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns for Oregon, while USC's Mark Sanchez completed 26 of 41 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Nov. 3, 2007 — No. 4 Oregon 35, No. 6 Arizona State 23: The Sun Devils went in as one of five undefeated teams in major college football only to have their national championship hopes dashed by Dennis Dixon. The Oregon quarterback threw for just 189 yards, but four of his 13 completions were for touchdowns before he left with an injury in the fourth quarter. ASU's Rudy Carpenter threw for 379 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked eight times.
Oct. 31, 2009 — No. 10 Oregon 47, No. 4 USC 20: The Ducks ran all over the nation's fifth-best rushing defense, piling up 391 yards to give USC its worst loss in 12 years. Jeremiah Masoli threw for 222 yards and a touchdown and ran for 164 more yards with another score for Oregon. USC freshman Matt Barkley threw for 187 yards and two scores.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Big East, ACC at bottom of heap
If the month of September has shown us anything, it's that the Big East and ACC are struggling to keep up with the other four conferences that are automatic qualifiers for the BCS bowl system. You can see that in head-to-head competition, where the ACC and Big East are a combined 0-15 against teams from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10. You can see it in nonconference competition against ranked opponents, where the ACC and Big East are a combined 0-13 this season. And you can see it in the Top 25, where the Big East doesn't have any teams ranked and the ACC has just two teams, while the SEC and Big Ten have six ranked teams each.
The ACC has shown itself to be better than the Big East by winning three of four head-to-head meetings, but there's still a huge gap between those two and the other four BCS leagues. Of those four, the SEC and Pac-10 have the best records against nonconference BCS opponents: The SEC is 7-2 (one of its losses from Vanderbilt) and 3-1 against ranked nonconference opponents; the Pac-10 is 10-4 but just 3-4 against ranked nonconference opponents.
Not far behind are the Big 12, 7-3 overall against BCS teams and 2-2 vs. ranked ones, and the Big Ten, which is 7-5 overall (with two of those wins against Notre Dame) and just 1-3 vs. ranked nonconference opponents.
That stands to be the pecking order for quite a while, because there aren't many October games pitting ranked teams against opponents from other BCS conferences (two based on this week's rankings — Arkansas vs. Texas A&M and Utah vs. Iowa State, both next week). If the perceived hierarchy of college football is changing between now and late November, it will only be from conferences taking out their own top teams.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
One-sided rivalry doesn't faze Stoops
The way Bob Stoops, near left, sees it, there is no Sooners slump in the Red River Rivalry.
Forget that in a series he once dominated, Stoops has headed home from Dallas in defeat four of the past five years while Mack Brown, far left, and Texas celebrated with the Golden Hat.
It's the kind of performance that might have landed another Oklahoma coach in hot water, but the Sooners have continued to win Big 12 titles and play for national championships despite the recent losses to the Longhorns.
Once again, today's game between the eighth-ranked Sooners (4-0) and No. 21 Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) figures to play a role in determining a champion.
"The atmosphere and just playing on a big stage, these are the kind of games you dream about and watch on TV when you're little. And just the thought of playing in it, it sends chills through your body," Texas receiver James Kirkendoll said. "I think everybody dreams about playing this kind of game."