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First and 10 - November 5, 2012

1. With the presidential election upon us, San Diego State accomplished something that hasn't been done since George H.W. Bush won the presidency. San Diego State went to Boise and defeated the Broncos 21-19 on Saturday. Coupled with the Aztecs' 39-38 overtime win at Nevada on Oct. 20, they became the first team to win at Boise State and Nevada in the same season since 1998. Both programs competed in I-AA at the time. That's a heck of an accomplishment that Rocky Long's team can hang their hat on. SDSU has won five straight games, its longest in-season winning streak since 1995, The Aztecs are 7-3 overall and 5-1 in Mountain West play. They will need some help, but an MWC championship isn't out of reach.

2. Army has a shot at its first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 1996. Rich Ellerson's team played by far its best game of the season in defeating Air Force 41-21. The Black Knights compiled 414 yards of total offense while holding the Air Force offense to just 103 yards on the ground. You know things are going good defensively when you force the Falcons to throw the ball 29 times, which is what happened on Saturday. The winner of the Army-Navy game on Dec. 8 will take home the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Navy last won the prize in 2009, the tail end of its seven-year streak that began in 2003. Army is looking to break a 15-year skid. 

3. The SEC title game could be set by Saturday night. Alabama can clinch its first SEC West title since 2009 by toppling Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). A few hours to the east, Georgia can win the SEC East for the second straight year with a victory at Auburn (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). A little bit of superstition to keep in mind, Alabama has won the West seven times and in all seven years its SEC Championship opponent from the East has been Florida. 

4. For the second straight week, the FootballScoop staff is deeming a Sun Belt match-up as Thursday night's best game. Florida State at Virginia Tech will draw more viewers on ESPN, but the more competitive, high-stakes game will take place on ESPNU when ULM visits Arkansas State with first place in the Sun Belt on the line. After a slow start, first year head coach Gus Malzahan and Arkansas State are heating up with a four-game winning streak, averaging nearly 40 points per game in the process, in defense of their 2011 league title. ULM suffered its first Sun Belt loss last week, 40-24 to Louisiana - Lafayette. Both teams (4-1 in league play) share first place in the league with Middle Tennessee. Arkansas State won last year's meeting, 24-19. 

5. Offense may be coming back to earth in the Big 12. Two weeks after six of the league's 10 teams topped 50 points, no Big 12 teams hit the half-a-hundred mark and only two teams topped 40 points. There were actually more punts (56) than touchdowns (37) on Saturday. 

6. Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson may not exactly be happy about it, but Indiana still controls its Rose Bowl destiny. "People talk about us controlling our own destiny but we're not trying to be an upper-level team, we're just trying to play hard every Saturday," Wilson told Yahoo's Dan Wetzel last week. Nevertheless, the Hoosiers beat Iowa 24-21 on Saturday and still control their destiny to play in the Rose Bowl. A home date with Wisconsin on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2) will determine whether Indiana's Leaders Division hopes remain afloat.

7. Seven staffs reached bowl eligibility last weekend. Congratulations to the coaching staffs at Arkansas State, East Carolina, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Oklahoma and TCU on reaching bowl eligibility. 14 more squads will compete for bowl eligibility this weekend.

8. Notre Dame has the biggest home-road dichotomy of any 9-0 team in recent memory. The Fighting Irish have been the best road team in the country with a 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin, Ireland, a 24-3 triumph at Michigan State, a 41-3 win over Miami in Chicago and a 30-13 victory at Oklahoma. At home it's been a different story with a trio of three-point victories and two wins by seven points. According to Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, 10 of Notre Dame's 11 turnovers have occurred in South Bend, as well as 33 of their 48 penalties. Two of Notre Dame's final three games are on the road, including Saturday at Boston College (8 p.m. ET, ABC). 

9. All four major networks showed college football on Saturday afternoon. In the 3-6:30 p.m. ET time slot, ABC showed a split-national telecast of Nebraska at Michigan State and Texas at Texas Tech, FOX televised the double-overtime thriller of TCU at West Virginia, NBC showcased the triple-overtime Notre Dame win over Pittsburgh and CBS showed Ole Miss at Georgia. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but college football is the only American sport regularly broadcast on all four major networks, much less at the same time. God bless college football. 

10. The players, coaches and staff at Ball State and Toledo had better get their votes in early. The Cardinals and Rockets kickoff two days of MACtion tomorrow night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Bowling Green and Ohio keep it going on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). 

Jimbo Fisher encourages staff changes

Jimbo Fisher knows there will be many head-coaching jobs will come open this off-season, and potential employers could target members of his staff to fill vacancies.

In fact, Fisher hopes it happens.

"I hope [ defensive coordinator Mark Stoops gets an offer.] When I was that guy, that's what I wanted to do," Fisher told ESPN.com on Monday. "Change is inevitable. You've got to have a plan for it and where you want to go and what you want to do. I hope he stays here forever. As long as I'm here, I want him as defensive coordinator. But I also want him to reach his dreams and goals to become a head football coach."

Stoops, who is in his third season as the Seminoles' defensive coordinator, may not be the only target on Fisher's staff this off-season. Florida State is 8-1 this season, leads the ACC Atlantic Division and statistically dominates the ACC on both sides of the ball. The Seminoles lead the ACC in nine statistical categories including total offense, total defense, scoring offense and scoring defense. 

It's great to see Fisher encourage his assistants to find bigger and better jobs for a few reasons. First, he wants to reward his assistants' hard work. Like every other head coach, Fisher rose through the ranks as an assistant and wants to pay the help he got along the way forward to his assistant coaches. 

Next, Fisher's philosophy benefits his program because it will only make working on his staff more attractive to any future assistant coaches. Any potential hire that wants to one day become a head coach will be eager to work for someone that wants him to realize his goals. Finally, Fisher's philosophy demonstrates a great level of confidence in himself and his system to win no matter what assistants he may lose.

If change does indeed come to Fisher's staff, he'll be prepared. 

"You hope your system helps develop head coaches. I love that," Fisher said. "I want to be known as that. It makes the other top assistants want to come and makes other people want to be here. You have good players, you have a good system, you're organized well, you understand the big picture and what you want. I think that's another thing -- just like players want to come somewhere to get developed, hopefully coaches can do the same thing."

Fisher is far from the only head coach across the country that thinks this way, credit him for putting his thoughts out there. 

Rutgers will wear patriotic helmets on Saturday

Rutgers SID Jason Baum revealed Monday the patriotic helmets that Rutgers will wear this Saturday.

According to Baum's tweet they will be worn to "show our support for the women and men who protect our country."

Considering the Scarlet Knights' opponent this week is Army and that Veteran's Day will be celebrated next Monday, and of course the devestation that New Jersey endured caused by Hurricane Sandy, this is the perfect time for Rutgers to break out the red, white and blue. 

I've always been a fan of Rutgers' silver helmets, so I think this is a great look.

What do you think?

Motivational video that West Virginia watched before the TCU game

The hype video that the Mountaineers watched before taking the field against TCU was really good, and very well done. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to stop the Horned Frogs from putting together a strong fourth quarter and successfully converting the two point conversion in double overtime to escape with the win.

There's one line that flashes on the screen that's worthy of pointing out on it's own, which was a great analogy for how the Mountaineers entered the game (coming off two straight losses).

"A season is like a flame and any flame can be put out. But at any moment it can be reignited."

"It's time to reignite."

You can bet that this one had everyone jacked up.

 

With half the season to go, some NFL teams are already in evaluation mode

The Tennessee Titans were beaten 51-20 by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, and owner Bud Adams wasn't happy about it. In fact, Adams was so unhappy that, according to The Tennesseean, he was in the air on his private jet back to his home in Houston by the third quarter of the game. 

When reached by The Tennesseean after the game, Adams had this to say.

“In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans,’’ Adams told the paper. “We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today.

“At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players, over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team.”

The 2012 Titans stand at 3-6, but still have nearly half their schedule ahead of them. Head coach Mike Munchak and his staff are in their second season with the Titans and are coming off a 9-7 campaign in 2011. There is also a history of mid-season rallies in the organization. The Titans started 0-6 in 2009, capped by a 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots, before rallying to win eight of their final 10 games. 

Adams, however, is unlike NFL owners. This is a man who has twice been caught on camera extending his middle finger to fans. 

Evaluation season is not exclusive to Tennessee, however. Washington Redskins had this to say after a 21-6 loss on Sunday.

"When you lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who is going to be on your football team for years to come," Shanahan said. "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at."

Shanahan's statement is already not playing well in the locker room.

"I'm not thinking about next year; that's an offseason thing for me," said Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. "But you know it's hard when you see yourself in that type of position, and your head coach is saying those types of things. It's disappointing."

Like the Titans, Washington finds itself at 3-6 this season. And like the Titans, Washington still has seven games left this season. 

This is the NFL, after all. Nearly half of all games are decided by a touchdown or less. With nearly two full months left in the season, a late-season rally is not at all outside the realm of possibility. 

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