Five questions

Looking at the league from top to bottom, has the Big Ten sunk to an all-time low in terms of overall quality?

Back when Woody and Bo ruled the league it was widely viewed as the Big Two and the Little Eight. These days it’s more like the Big Two (Ohio State and Penn State) and the Little 12 (Iowa doesn’t escape being lumped in here until it proves it can beat good teams consistently). How else can you explain what happened last Saturday, when seven – yes, seven – Big Ten teams lost to unranked non-conference opponents? Jim Delany diluted the league even more in his quest for “markets,” but Maryland and Rutgers have accounted for almost as many scandals as quality wins since entering the league. And let’s be honest: What market has either school actually delivered so far?

QInstead of belittling the Pac-12 again – too easy – can we praise the Mountain West instead?

It’s never easy keeping up with the ever-changing adaptations of the Mountain West, especially for those of us on the East Coast, but Saturday was a very good day indeed for the Pac-12’s step-sister. San Diego State beat Arizona State, Fresno State routed UCLA and Nevada beat Oregon State. Boise State’s bad loss to Oklahoma State took some of the luster off of the day, but the league has a handful of very solid teams.


Q. Has Texas Tech unleashed another “system” quarterback on us or is Alan Bowman the real deal?

Impossible to know just yet, since Bowman is a freshman with 2½ games of experience – becoming the starter only after McLane Carter was sidelined by an ankle injury in the Red Raiders’ opener. Here’s what Bowman did Saturday against Houston: 43-of-59 for 605 yards and five touchdown passes, setting a Big 12 freshman record for passing yardage. Now here’s where the skepticism comes in: Bowman is the fifth Texas Tech QB to throw for more than 600 yards (Patrick Mahomes, who once passed for 734, B.J. Symons, Graham Harrell and Cody Hayes are the others) The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.