This is the craziest year in college football, period. No team is untouchable. No team is safe. LSU and Cal, who were ranked 1 and 2 respectively in every poll, suffered their first losses of the season in week seven. LSU lost a three OT thriller at Kentucky. Cal, who played a redshirt freshman at QB because Nate Longshore was out with an ankle injury, lost to Oregon State at home. Missouri and Cincinnati, who came into week seven undefeated, lost to good opponents. The Tigers showed that they are just not a top notch program yet in a 41-31 loss at Norman, Oklahoma, while Cincinnati lost a heartbreaker to Louisville, who showed that they not ready to give up on their season.
There are only 6 undefeated teams left in college football. Ohio State dominated Kent State 48-3. Boston College got a big lead early and never surrendered it against Notre Dame, holding on to win 27-14. USF was ready to prove itself after a bad showing last week against Florida Atlantic, and the Bulls trounced Central Florida 64-12. Hawaii had to come back and beat San Jose State in overtime Friday, 42-35, while Kansas looked good against a weak Baylor team. The Jayhawks rolled 58-10. Arizona State, finally, outscored Washington 31-3 in the 2nd half to win their first real test 44-20.
Kentucky over LSU
Kentucky was ready to bounce back from their road loss to South Carolina, while LSU was the lone number one team after USC’s loss to Stanford. LSU almost put the game away in the first half. They were up 17-7 with under two minutes left. Hesiman candidate Andre Woodson drove the Wildcats 79 yards to cut the deficit to 17-14. The Tigers scored 10 unanswered points to open the 2nd half. Without that late TD, the score would have been 24-7. However, the Wildcats would not quit. They scored the last 13 points of regulation. Both teams scored in the first overtime and kicked a field goal in the second overtime. Kentucky got the ball first and scored to go up 6 in the third overtime. LSU ran the ball 4 straight times, and was stopped on 4th and 2. The Tigers will not drop far in the rankings, but it opens the national championship race to one loss teams like West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Runner-Up: Alabama over Mississippi
Oregon State over Cal
Oregon State came ready to play. From the opening drive, I could tell that this would be a close game. Cal was not explosive on offense without QB Nate Longshore. Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard had over 100 yards rushing, and was OSU’s leading receiver. The Beavers' defense forced 3 turnovers, none more important than the one that gave OSU the ball up when they were up 7. They then kick a field goal and went up 10, putting the game nearly out of reach. Cal managed to score a late touchdown and get the ball back one more time. However, they could not get the field goal unit on the field after a bone-headed play by Cal’s redshirt freshman QB Kevin Riley that allowed 15 seconds to run off the clock.
Runner-Up: Kentucky over LSU
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
Oregon is a top 5 team in my opinion. I think they are better than Cal, who they lost to in week 5. Dennis Dixon is the most improved player in college football. He threw from 287 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions on Saturday against Washington State in a 53-7 Oregon win. Jeremiah Johnson and Jonathan Stewart ran for a combined 129 yards. Oregon’s upcoming stretch of Washington, USC, ASU will give the Ducks a chance to take control on the Pac 10.
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM PERFORMANCE
I really thought that FSU was going to right the ship. I was wrong. Their QB play is still average. Xavier Lee is the best QB on the roster, but FSU refuses to run the ball, putting any QB in a tough situation. Wake Forest stuck close with FSU all game, and came alive in the 2nd half using turnovers and special teams. Wake Forest took the lead and the inept FSU offense could not answer back. FSU has no chance to get to the ACC title game. I was wrong.
Runner-Up: Texas A&M
AWARD OF THE WEEK - Coaches that have already been canned, but will be fired after the season.
Bill Callahan, Nebraska
Callahan is the worst coach at a BCS conference school. He is 26-18 since arriving at Nebraska in 2004. Nebraska has lost its last 2 games by a score of 86-20. Callahan does not prepare his team at all. He does not devise good gameplans. He does not fire up his players. Nebraska needs to pack him up and send him back to the NFL. They need a fresh start in Lincoln.
Runner-Up: Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
C.J. Bacher - QB - Northwester n
Bacher is determined to lead his team to a bowl game. Northwestern needed this win, and Bacher came up huge to get the W. Bacher threw for 471 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Graham Harrell - QB - Texas Tech
Harrell just keeps putting up huge numbers. He scored 4 touchdowns (1 rushing) and threw for 425 yards against a Texas A&M team that guaranteed victory.
Anthony Aldridge- RB - Houston
Aldridge had a huge day running the ball against Rice. He ran for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 2 4th quarter TD runs of 33 and 50 yards to win the game for Houston 56-48.
James Starks - RB - Buffalo
Starks ran for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns against Toledo. Starks was Buffalo’s first 200 yard rusher since joining the FBS. Buffalo is 3-1 in conference play. The Bulls have gone from the cellar of the MAC to the top of the conference.
Chad Hall - WR - Air Force
Hall ran for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 45-21 Air Force win over Colorado State. Hall did not rush for over 100 yards until last week when he rushed for 169 yards against UNLV. Air Force found a new offensive weapon.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
#1. Oklahoma is the best one loss team.
There is a small list of one-loss teams that have a chance to win out and fight its way back to the national championship. Oklahoma has a fairly easy road. Their toughest game will be in mid-November against Texas Tech. They have a solid defense and a dangerous offense that has many weapons. Oregon and West Virginia are not far behind, but I do not think they would pass OU in the standings unless the Sooners were to lose.
#2. A top 25 ranking is a curse.
Respect is something that college football teams are trying to avoid. For example, Illinois. Illinois finally earned a ranking after beating Wisconsin. They traveled to 2-win Iowa and lost 10-6. Florida State worked its way back into the top 25, and then were quickly bounced out by Wake Forest. Cincinnati and Missouri started to garner lots of attention for being undefeated. Now they both have one loss. This is the best year to fly under the radar.
#3. There is no Heisman frontrunner.
Darren McFadden and Colt Brennan were supposed to be the favorites for the Heisman. However, both seniors have underachieved this year. Andre Woodson and Tim Tebow play in tough conference, but they might not have the numbers to win over voters outside of their region. Mike Hart has been great all year, but injuries might hold him back from winning the coveted award. If there was ever a year for a defensive player to win it, it would be this year. However, I cannot find a Charles Woodson to give it to. If I had a vote, it would be going to Graham Harrell who has thrown 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. It is time to look away from the pre-season favorites and find someone who really deserves it.
Week 8 is full on interesting conference games that will shake up the races heading into the homestretch of the season. USF will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey to play Rutgers on Thursday. Missouri will try to get back on track at home against Texas Tech. I am going to put South Carolina on upset alert against Vandy who needs a win to keep the dream of becoming bowl eligible alive. Cal will look to bounce back against UCLA. FSU and Miami will get together in their annual snooze-fest/rivalry game. Expect single digits. Ohio State, the current number one team, hosts hungry Michigan State. Kentucky will attempt to bury Florida’s season. Alabama and Tennessee will meet in an underrated rivalry game. Oregon will try to keep impressing people against Washington. LSU will be ready to knock heads when Auburn comes into Death Valley. Michigan is trying to show people that they can win the Big 10 against an Illinois team that got knocked around by Iowa. Lastly, USC and Notre Dame will get together as Pete Carroll attempts to take out all of the aggression that has been building these past 2 weeks.