Before the season started, things didn't look too promising for Boston College.
First-year coach Frank Spaziani was taking over a program that had just lost another ACC Championship and the Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt.
Things got worse in a hurry. The Eagles got news in May that All-American linebacker Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Then in June, Dominique Davis, who was expected to be the starter at quarterback, was placed on academic probation and ended up transferring to Fort Scott Community College.
But after one month into the season, the Eagles are a surprising 4-1, including victories over Wake Forest and Florida State. They are inching closer to the Top 25, moving up to No. 35 in this week's CBSSports.com 120 rankings.
One of the biggest surprises is the new man under center, freshman Dave Shinskie.
Before you can say "Who?" … that would be 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie, the same guy who was recruited by Indiana, Iowa and Michigan State ... in 2003.
Shinskie decided to play pro baseball out of high school after being drafted by the Minnesota Twins. He never made it past Double-A, with his best season coming with the Class A Beloit Snappers in 2006. He went 6-7 with a 2.13 ERA and 11 saves.
After being released by the Blue Jays, Shinskie was ready to give college football a shot.
After Justin Tuggle's 4-for-20, three interception performance against Clemson, Shinskie got his chance to start against Wake Forest. He ended up throwing for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Boston College had found their new quarterback.
"He confirmed a lot of the stuff we knew about him. We knew he had athletic ability. We knew he could make plays. We knew when we got into trouble he could get us out of it because of his athletic skills," said Spaziani after the game. "He didn't look like he was away from football for seven years."
Shinskie did it again against Florida State, throwing for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-21 victory.
"He's progressing just like a freshman would. He's making some progress, but in no means is he a polished, accomplished signal caller and field general. There's just not enough experience," said head coach Frank Spaziani to the Boston Herald. "But once again, he's getting better every week, he's learning and we see improvement there. We need to see a lot more."
Shinskie will need to follow coach's orders quickly as the Eagles face Virginia Tech this weekend. This might end up being a preview of the potential ACC Championship game in December.
One player that has high regards for his new inexperienced quarterback is wide receiver Justin Jarvis.
"In the huddle I can feel a different presence," said Jarvis. "It's a little similar to what I felt with Matt Ryan and Chris Crane. It's leadership. ... He's demanding a lot out of us and demanding a lot out of himself too."
Idaho, Part II
With another upset victory, the Idaho Vandals find themselves at No. 50 in this week's rankings. Idaho, who was ranked No. 105 two weeks ago, is sitting at 4-1.
The IdahoStatesman.com had a Q/A with head coach Robb Akey after the team's hot start. Could Idaho fans be thinking bowl game?
"I could see the room when we were at the WAC (media) meetings and I started throwing out the word 'bowl,' it was like 'what the hell is he talking about?' But we started talking about that a long time ago with this team and encouraged them to pay attention to us," said Akey. "We kind of hammered it home 'this is where we're headed guys and the sooner you believe in it, we can make it happen.' I do believe it's attainable, and compete for a WAC championship? That's our job. Every team in the conference should be feeling that way right now. My concern is that our guys feel that way. We're getting closer."
The Wildcats might not be making alot of noise, but they sit at 3-1, ranked No. 37 in this week's rankings. Arizona is also No. 35 in both AP and Coaches poll, while checking it at No. 37 in the Harris Poll.
Arizona's strength of schedule is No. 2, mostly because it hasn't played a team with a losing record yet (minus FCS team Northern Arizona). It beat Central Michigan, Oregon State and lost to Iowa. The Wildcats get their first team under .500 this week as they play at Washington.
Fresno State's SOS is No. 1. Not counting FCS team UC-Davis, the Bulldogs have lost to Wisconsin, Boise State and Cincinnati. All three teams are undefeated.
... Michigan State jumped up from No. 61 to No. 44 after beating Michigan. The Spartans are 2-3 and play at Illinois this week.
... North Carolina took a tumble to No. 55 after being ranked No. 33 the previous week. The Tar Heels lost to Virginia 16-3 and are 0-2 in the ACC.
... Somebody will get a W: No. 114 Florida International (0-4) takes on No. 120 Western Kentucky (0-4) this week. The Golden Panthers won last year 27-3.
... Good news for the blog lead feature? Auburn and Wisconsin were both featured in the blog the two previous weeks and soon after jumped into the Top 25.