Idle thoughts from an idle mind, noting with some regret that the countdown is on in Toledo Tom's final week:
•Terrelle Pryor's 8-1 record as Ohio State's starting quarterback makes it difficult to question Jim Tressel's decision to bench sixth-year senior Todd Boeckman, who led the Buckeyes to the BCS title game a year ago.
Regardless, it was a sweet moment to see Boeckman throw a touchdown pass against Michigan on a Senior Day appearance at Ohio Stadium. Nearly every Buckeye senior mentioned after Saturday's game how happy he was for Boeckman, who handled with class what some felt was a too-quick hook as the scapegoat for an early season loss at Southern Cal.
•Pryor's greatest strength and major weakness were both evident on one third-quarter play Saturday. He avoided potential sacks by three Michigan defenders, using footwork and quickness and shiftiness most quarterbacks can only dream of employing. He then threw a pass Dane Sanzenbacher should have been allowed to fair catch. The arm and passing mechanics remain the only questions, but it's still early.
•Ohio State is still in the BCS bowl picture, but its only hope rests with an Oregon State loss. It almost happened Saturday, but the Beavers won at Arizona on a game-ending field goal. If Oregon State beats rival Oregon next weekend, it will wrap up the Pac-10's automatic BCS berth, and Southern Cal would get a second spot. The SEC and Big 12 both merit two berths, the Big East and ACC get one each whether deserved or not, and Utah is poised to again crash the party. That would leave just one spot for the Big Ten in the 10-team BCS cluster, and Penn State has already claimed it.
•I would not have given Toledo much chance against Bowling Green in their upcoming season finale, but last Friday's games may have changed that thought. I especially wonder if BG coach Gregg Brandon can get his players focused, even for a rivalry game, after a colossal meltdown against Buffalo.
•Buffalo's amazing rally to the MAC East title and a guaranteed bowl berth came at an appropriate time. This is the 50th anniversary of the 1958 UB team that won the Lambert Cup as the best "college division" team in the eastern U.S. The Bulls were invited to play in the Tangerine Bowl, but the team voted unanimously to decline the bid after bowl officials informed Buffalo that its two African-American players would not be welcome. The Bulls have had no other bowl opportunities before or since, until now.
•The 2001 season wasn't all that long ago. Tom Amstutz's first team at Toledo ended its season with a win over Cincinnati in the Motor City Bowl. The Bearcats were in Conference USA at the time but moved to the Big East in 2005 and now are a win over Syracuse away from playing in the BCS-affiliated Orange Bowl. It's the type of thing that can happen when a school and an athletic program dare to dream. Toledo? Still in the MAC. But thanks for asking.
•Beating Syracuse at home should be a lock, right? Don't suggest that to Notre Dame fans, who saw the Irish suffer one of their most stunning home losses ever on Saturday. Coach Charlie Weis now owns the exact same winning percentage his two most recent predecessors, Bob Davie and Ty Willingham, had when they were fired. But he also has seven years left on an absurd contract extension and a termination payoff that may well be prohibitive even for a school with Notre Dame's resources.
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