Previously appearing on WTOP.COM

Some schools in college football have reputations that outlast their actual achievements.  For every Alabama and USC that hang banners, there’s a Georgia or UCLA that feels they should be in the rarefied air of the bluebloods–despite results that pale in comparison. Texas is off to a 1-2 start with a disastrous loss at Notre Dame and a heartbreaker at home against California.  They’re one of those premier programs that’s trying to return to the elite first class level many Longhorn fans feel is their birthright.  They pushed Mack Brown out the door because he couldn’t match up to the longterm success of the late Darrell Royal–despite his 2005 National Championship.  If this sounds familiar, recall that they previously jettisoned the regimes of John Mackovic, David McWilliams and Fred Akers for not delivering–even though each brought at least one conference title back to Austin.  Now that the Athletic Director who hired Charlie Strong is no longer with the university, the second-year coach is under fire after a 1-2 start this fall.  Before you measure Strong against the monument that is Royal (let the record show that Texas Memorial Stadium is named after Royal), please recall that his UT squads lost to the likes of Boston College and Miami (Fla) when both schools were cupcakes.  Please remember that he couldn’t beat Oklahoma the last six times Royal coached against the Sooners.  Lost in the glare of his two National Championships is the fact that the Longhorns boasted three consecutive 4-loss seasons in between those titles.  Before you get rid of Charlie Strong before his first recruiting class can contribute, remember that the Longhorns have won the Big XII just three times in 19 years.  Hook’em…

Alma Mater Update– thank goodness I didn’t attend a school with unrealistic expectations.  Syracuse is off to its first 3-0 start since…1991?  Sadly, early season stumbles to giants like Minnesota and East Carolina kept the Orange from going unblemished in the 90’s and since the turn of the century starting 1-0 was reason for celebration.  Saturday they host #8 LSU…Tigers that are far from paper.  It doesn’t help that Eric Dungey is out with a concussion and SU will start former JUCO transfer Zack Mahoney at quarterback.  He’s thrown a total of 4 passes at the Division I level.  Oh well… we always had 3-0.

Virginia entertains Boise State– Friday Night Lights in Charlottesville?  Aren’t Kippy & Buffy supposed to see some one-woman play about a pirate in the 16th century?  No worries– they’re breaking out Linden Vineyards Hardscrabble Chardonnay (“aromas of toasted sesame seeds, papaya, melon rind”) with a sharp cheddar on Captain’s Wafers. I thought this would be a one possession game the Cavaliers would lose…boy did it get ugly early at Scott Stadium.

Maryland visits West Virginia– the Terps have not won in Morgantown since 2002…and even then the kids from Boreman North and South residence halls made life a nightmare for the visitors.  The Mountaineers may average over 40 points a game this year, but they’ve beaten the likes of Liberty and Georgia Southern–not exactly a true litmus test.  They’ll run a spread offense that will put a lot of pressure on a defense that allowed 48 points to a similar setup.  Defensively the 4-2-5 provides a lot of different looks and pressure…could this be the week that the Maryland offensive line finally gives up a sack?  Terps tumble, 35-31.

Virginia Tech at East Carolina– the Hokies aren’t just known for the September Stumble, they trademarked it a few years ago with befuddling losses in the season’s first month to James Madison, Cincinnati and…East Carolina.  The Pirates have been overly pesky since shocking the Hokies in 2008:  ECU stayed within a touchdown of VT in 2011 and 2013 before winning last year in Blacksburg.  They say revenge is a dish best served cold…and with the travel time between Blacksburg and Greenville the smoked turkey legs from Lane Stadium will definitely cool off a bit.  Hokies drop the hammer, 36-24.

Navy at UConn– the Midshipmen roll into Hartford with a full head of steam…averaging just under 400 yards a game on the ground.  The Huskies were painfully close to upsetting Missouri on the road last week in what could have been a season-defining season.  Instead, they’re 2-1 with one-possession victories over Villanova and Army West Point. Keenan Reynolds, are you ready?  Midshipmen handle the Huskies, 38-24.

Georgetown tops Columbia, Howard handles Morgan State,  James Madison falls at SMU, Towson tops Elon.

Last Week: 7-0.

Overall: 23-1?  Are you serious?

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