Week three on the Shortlist to South Beach opens with the following 59 teams, just under half, eliminated from contention as listed by conference affiliation:
Arkansas, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Penn State, Utah, Colorado, California, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, Air Force, San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Hawaii, UNLV, New Mexico, UCF, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Marshall, UAB, Memphis, Houston, Tulsa, SMU, UTEP, Rice, Tulane, Army, Navy, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Miami (Oh), Bowling Green, Kent State, Buffalo, Akron, Massachusetts, San Jose State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Texas State, FIU, Troy, WKU, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, FAU, South Alabama and North Texas.
Four fortunate teams find themselves still on the Shortlist despite my prediction for them to fall by the wayside last week and they are:
1) Kentucky rebounds and avoids a possible letdown against Kent State in style, winning 47-14 in Lexington. Joker Phillips will have to pull a few tricks out of his sleeve to stay at .500 the rest of the way this year to have even a chance of saving his job but winning this one was imperative if he was going to have any hope of doing so. It still won't keep Wildcat fans from counting down the days until tip off though.
2) Utah State gets week two going with an upset 12 years in the making as they hold on to win in overtime 27-20 at home in Logan against arch-rival Utah. Gary Anderson broke a long bowl drought last year with the Aggies and with this upset, paired with a favorable schedule the rest of the way, looks like he can do it again for an encore in 2012.
3) Louisiana, of Lafayette, for those marking score at home, keeps the good times rolling as they go to Troy and leave victorious by a score of 37-24. Mark Hudspeth, coming off the first bowl and first bowl win in Ragin' Cajun history, secures an important league lead early in the year with this win as he attempts to follow up the momentum built up in his inaugural season at the helm.
4) Louisiana-Monroe scores the upset of the season so far as they go to Little Rock and crush the Arkansas Razorbacks once promising season to pieces with a 34-31 overtime win. Todd Berry might have finally figured out this coaching thing and how much do you want to bet that Larry Coker was one of the first people to call his former protege to congratulate him on the win? Kyle Wright still waited too long to dial his attempt at congratulations however and had his call fall incomplete to former position coach. Some people will never learn.
An unlucky seven teams fall out of Shortlist consideration with losses in week two, more than half of them BCS automatic qualifier conference members:
1) Arkansas makes their fans' worst nightmares realized by losing in their home away from home opener in Little Rock. John L. Smith is now going through bankruptcy and is about to not have a job, at least Hog fans get to see their team play Texas A&M every year again. Small consolations are sometimes all you can hope for in life I guess the lesson here is.
2) Auburn goes down in Starkville for only the second time in 24 years. Can a coach who delivered a national title to a historically bridesmaid of a power program be fired less than a recruiting cycle after he raised the crystal football? Does Toomer's Corner sit in the shade of stately oak trees covered in toilet paper after every Auburn win? What? Too soon Tiger fans?
3) Kansas hires Charlie Weiss and plays like Notre Dame under his watch as they fall to Rice at home. I'll refrain from the gastric bypass and rice jokes but not from pointing out that Turner Gill probably would have done better with his own upperclassmen if they hadn't jumped the gun to fire him before he could even develop any of his recruits in Lawrence.
4) Utah falls to traditional rival Utah State in overtime on the road. Wow, the Pacific Athletic Conference sure added one awesome team to their ranks when they dipped down to the Mountain West to skim the cream of the crap off the top, didn't they? At least Kyle Wittingham has more in common with Ron McBride than Urban Meyer now, that has to count for something.
5) Colorado State goes from the penthouse of week one to the outhouse of week two by getting dropped in Fort Collins by North Dakota State 22-7. It's pretty obvious the Rams got caught in a letdown situation against the reigning FBS champs in the NDSU Bison, but still, this one has to be a tough pill to take for Jim McElwain and company after last weeks mile high.
6) Kent State is off the Shortlist in a flash with their sound beating at the hands of Kentucky. Second year coach Darrell Hazell's team is still in a position to play spoiler and make some waves in MAC play this year however and could surprise some people this year while doing so.
7) Long time Sun Belt heavy Troy signals they may not be back just quite yet from their losing season last year as they start 0-1 in league play with their defeat by Louisiana. Long time coach Larry Blakeney will probably get them back on track this year but the bounce back season expectations just took a damper thanks to this result.
I expect only six teams to be eliminated from the Shortlist to South Beach this week, which if correct would bring the total number of eliminations just over half and change the tracking from those eliminated to those left in the running in less than a month of play. Those teams are:
North Carolina, Connecticut, BYU, Utah State, Louisiana, and ULM.
Enjoy the games this week and join me back here next week as we go through the winners and separate them from the numerous pretenders here on the Shortlist to South Beach.
Copyright 2012 by Christopher Whelpton for Canespace.com