A: Are you bonkers, Banning? You must have seen a different game. Boise State's 7-6 win over Brigham Young on Thursday reminded me of the "old fashioned football" I keep hearing about every time Alabama and Louisiana State play and don't score a touchdown.
That was "Big Boy" football out there on the blue field. Bear Bryant's 1961 Alabama defense (six shutouts, 25 points allowed all year) would have been proud.
Boise State won the game without its offense scoring a touchdown. LSU did the same thing last year at Alabama and people in the South wanted to put the game in a time capsule.
Q: You continually make weak, straw man arguments against the SEC. Do you really think it's not the best conference?
A: Most years yes, but I'm not sure about this year. Once you get past Alabama and LSU, the SEC West drops off like a Norwegian fjord. The third best team in the division might be Louisiana Monroe, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference.
Ole Miss got Texas at home last week and held the battling Bevos to 66 points and 676 total yards. CBS' Gary Danielson went on Paul Finebaum's radio show a few days later and said "yards don't come cheap" in the SEC these days. Seems to me you can buy them by the ton.
This was after Louisiana Monroe racked up 960 yards in consecutive weeks against Arkansas and Auburn.
Over in the East, Kentucky lost to Western Kentucky. South Carolina is one of the favorites, but the Gamecocks' next SEC title will also be their first. Georgia could be the real deal but has a recent history of not closing the deal or even playing Alabama and LSU in the regular season.
I think Alabama and LSU might be the two best teams in the country. Those schools right now are on a different SEC level.
Q: Are you buying UCLA yet?
A: Yes, I just went to 7-11 and picked up an eight-clap six-pack. I also bought a hot dog under hot lights that may have been sitting there since the Bruins won 20 straight under Bob Toledo.
UCLA just looks different to me in their uniforms. The Bruins look meaner, leaner and tougher under Jim Mora. They are flying to the ball instead of going over the wall.
The first true passed test for me was taking care of business against Houston a week after upsetting Nebraska. This would have been, historically, a classic let-down moment for a school that has notoriously bought into its press clippings.
In 2007, UCLA was ranked No. 11 headed into Utah and lost, 44-6.
UCLA improved to 8-0 in 2005 after a dramatic comeback at Stanford. Karl Dorrell chased me down on the field afterward to say "I told you so."
The Bruins were B-A-C-K!
Next week, they went to Arizona and lost, 52-14. A couple weeks later, USC took UCLA down, 66-19.
In 2004, UCLA lost a five-point battle against USC and got relegated to the Las Vegas Bowl against Wyoming?
Final score: Wyoming 24, UCLA 21.
So I've seen UCLA start fast and finish slow.
Again, though, this team has a different look.