Things I learned on a relatively quiet college-football weekend. . .

NORTHWESTERN IS A MYSTERY

We’re not likely to see it this Saturday, when Penn State comes to Evanston. But Northwestern has the potential to make a lot out of this season.

I would like to see Clayton Thorson throw with more accuracy and touch, and tone down the heaters. But that can be done. Although it would be a lot easier if his O line protected him better. . . I want to see how talented runner Justin Jackson bounces back from a tough 25-yard day against the ferocious Badger defense. I also want to see if he can shake off whatever leg injury is hampering him.

If NU gets its act together, it could be a good year. If it doesn’t, every week holds danger.

NO COMMENT. WELL, ONE OR TWO COMMENTS.

Recapping. . . Northern Illinois 21, Nebraska 17 in Lincoln. . . and Nebraska 28, Illinois 6 in Champaign.

I know. I know. Lovie Smith is restocking the cupboard. It’s too soon to judge.

All I’ll say is, it’s a good thing the Illinois Legislature is so flush that it hasn’t mandated that the Illini keep the cash at home by playing instate teams.

Except that flush isn’t the right word. Or is it?

THE LEAGUE IS SORTING ITSELF OUT. SORT OF.

As the only viewer in America who has never watched American Idol or Dancing with the Stars (well, maybe a bit of Cubs hero David Ross), I have resisted the trend toward Power Rankings this autumn.

I don’t believe in ranking singing, dancing, ice dancing. But I guess everybody wants football Power Rankings. So I’m back. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.