|UPSETS SHAKE UP COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN WEEK FIVE
September 30, 2007
Matt, SCS.com Staff Writer
Week 5 looked bland. There was only one game where a top 25 team played another top 25 team (Cal vs. Oregon). The top 10 teams looked to have easy games before week 6, which is full of blockbusters. Or so I thought. Boy, I was way off. Three teams in the top 5 - Oklahoma, Florida, and West Virginia - lost. Texas and Rutgers, two top 10 teams, lost by double digits. Clemson and Penn State lost vital conference games also. And lastly, Nick Sabanís Crimson Tide lost a defensive slugfest against Florida State, who was revitalized by QB Xavier Lee.
The real winners were Cal, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. The Bears, who beat Oregon in a thriller, should move up to number three in most polls. Ohio State suffocated a high-powered Minnesota offense, and will move into the top 5. Joining them will be Wisconsin, who snuck by a talented Michigan State team. The other top 5 teams, USC and LSU, struggled, but in a day full of upsets, all you need to do is win.
Cal over Oregon
Oregon out-gained Cal, and might have out-played them for most of the game, but they turned the ball over 4 times. Two of those turnovers cost them the game. QB Dennis Dixon threw an INT inside Oregonís 25 yard line midway through the 4th quarter, and Cal drove the short field and scored with under 5 minutes left. Oregon then got the ball back and drove all the way down the field, only to fumble the ball into the end zone for a touchback. I refuse to penalize Oregon for this loss. Cal and Oregon can definitely hang with USC, who looked human vs. Washington.
Runner-Up: Auburn over Florida
Colorado over Oklahoma
The Red River Shootout was only a week away. All Oklahoma had to do was whoop up on Colorado, who was said to have no chance. The Sooners were up 24-10 going into the 4th quarter, but the Buffs refused to quit. QB Cody Hawkins, son of fiery coach Dan Hawkins, was poised in leading the Buffaloes to two 4th quarter touchdowns. After a questionable replay that reversed a first down catch, Colorado had all the momentum. Kicker Kevin Eberhart nailed a 45 yard field goal as time expired to stun the 3rd ranked Sooners.
Runner-Up: Auburn over Florida
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
In an unpredictable Big Ten, it is not to far off to think Illinois could sneak up on everyone and steal a conference title. The Illini looked very good defeating Penn State, moving to 2-0 in conference. Rashard Mendenhall is one of the best running backs in college football, and QB Juice Williams is maturing into a star, with the help of his true freshman teammate, WR Arrelious Benn. Benn returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and caught a touchdown to beat Penn State 27-20. This was Illinoisís first win over a ranked team since 2001.
Runner-Up: Boise State
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM PERFORMANCE
Colt McCoy has not looked good all year. Texas had gotten lucky against easy out of conference opponents so far this season. However, when Big 12 play came around, McCoy and the Longhorns were not so lucky. The signal-caller threw 4 interceptions, and did not show the poise that he displayed last year. Kansas State returned two kicks for touchdowns, which would cripple any team, and KSU rolled 41-21. Texas does not look like the BCS contender people made them out to be. The Red River Shootout will make or break their season.
AWARD OF THE WEEK - Mind-boggling Statistic
Colt Brennan - QB - Hawaii - 5 INTs
After Colt Brennan missed last week's game, I thought he would come back and play lights out so he could keep his Heisman talk alive. Against Idaho, Brennan was shaky. He threw 5 interceptions, and threw 19 incomplete passes, the third most in his career. His Heisman chances took a huge hit.
Sam Bradford - QB - Oklahoma, 110 yards passing
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Andre Woodson - QB -
Woodson threw for 301 yards and 5 touchdowns to lead Kentucky over Florida Atlantic. In my opinion, he is the Heisman front-runner right now.
Thomas Brown - RB -
Brown rushed for 3 touchdowns against Mississippi. He only carried the ball 16 times but managed to run for 180 yards. Two of his touchdown runs were over 40 yards (41 and 50).
DeSean Jackson - WR -
When Cal needs a big play, they go to DeSean Jackson. Jackson caught 11 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His tremendous mix of speed and ability to make people miss make him nearly impossible to stop.
Eugene Jarvis - RB -
Jarvis ran for 230 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Kent State had to have this game to stay alive in the MAC.
Ben Moffit - LB -
Moffit and the Bulls' defense shut down a West Virginia offense that was supposed to be unstoppable. Moffit intercepted a pass in the first quarter and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. That gave USF a 7-0 lead, a lead that they never surrendered.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
#1. The Big East took a big hit in week 5.
Louisville had already been knocked out of the top 25. It was up to the other top 2 teams, West Virginia and Rutgers, to carry the Big East torch in the top 10. However, both teams lost in week 5. West Virginia lost to USF, as the Bulls hit WVU in the mouth, and the Mountaineers just could not handle it. Rutgers did not look like an elite team in their 34-24 loss to Maryland. Both teams could not run the ball, which is their main strength. USF and Cincinnati won, but those are not the big names that the Big East was hoping to be highly ranked going into week 6. Early in the season, this seemed to be a great year for the Big East. Now, they might not have a team finish in the top 10. I predict that the Big East teams will beat up on each other and no team will have less than 2 losses.
#2. Looking ahead is the worst thing a college football team can do.
Oklahoma and Texas were obviously looking ahead to the Red River Shootout, and it cost them. Florida was looking ahead to LSU, and it cost them. LSU was looking ahead as well, but managed to turn on the jets in the 2nd half. Rutgers and Clemson did not have their heads in the right places either. I do not know who is to blame, the players or the coaches. The best coaches can get their players ready every week no matter who is on the schedule. As anti-playoff supporters will always say, the whole season is a playoff, and every game is as important as the next.
#3. Do not count out Florida State and Miami in the ACC.
Florida State and Miami have turned their seasons around. Miami is 1-0 in conference play after a 24-14 win over Duke. The Canes' win over Texas A&M in week 4 has given this team lots of confidence. Kyle Wright, who needs confidence, has really improved this year, and is the leader that Miami fans have wanted him to be. Florida State made big strides to getting back on track this weekend. FSU beat Alabama in Jacksonville 21-14. Backup QB Xavier Lee was 12-19 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He allows his teammates to make plays and has a much easier time moving the ball than Drew Weatherford. Both of these teams need to keep improving their offenses, but I predict at least one of these teams will make it to the ACC championship game.
Week 6 is the best week of college football so far. It starts out on Thursday when Kentucky travels to South Carolina. Illinois will try to solidify themselves as a Big Ten contender against Wisconsin, while Kansas and Kansas State play in a very important Big 12 battle. Georgia and Tennessee are both excited about their chances in the SEC East after FloridaĎs loss. Oklahoma and Texas will play in the Red River Shootout, which has lost some of its luster after both teams lost in week 5. Clemson, meanwhile, will try to bounce back after their loss to Georgia Tech as they host Virginia Tech. Cincinnati will try to prove to the world that they are for real against a frustrated Rutgers team. Undefeated Ohio State will travel to undefeated Purdue in an interesting Big Ten battle. Lastly, Florida will venture into Death Valley to see if they can beat the only undefeated team left in the SEC West.