South Florida loses a thriller. South Carolina gets upset. Kentucky cannot stop Florida. Just when you start to wrap your head around the BCS, mayhem and chaos make their way into the top 10. If you are a betting man, I pity you. This is the most unpredictable and wishy-washy year of college football I have ever seen.
Ohio State looked like the best team in the country for the first 40 minutes against Michigan State. They had a 24-0 lead at home. Then the offense turned the ball over twice, an interception and fumble by QB Todd Boeckman. Both were returned for touchdowns, though they held on to win 24-17. Remember, the defense only gave up 3 points. They are the favorites to make it to the BCS Title Game. The rest of the contenders, I am unsure about.
South Florida lost a tough conference game against Rutgers. They can still win the Big East, but their title hopes are all but destroyed with that loss. LSU and Oklahoma hung on to win and keep their chances alive. However, those two teams are not the best one-loss team. That title belongs to Oregon, who put 661 yards of offense on a Washington team that has lost 5 straight games. South Carolina got upset by Vanderbilt, and Kentucky could not stop Tebow and the Florida offense in SEC play. Both teams are now in a dogfight for the SEC East, but their two losses take them out of the top 10 and the BCS Title race. Do not sleep on Arizona State or Boston College. Both teams were idle in week 8, and both will face serious tests next week.
LSU over Auburn
For the 2nd time in 3 weeks, LSU was down 10 in the 2nd half and came back to win at home. Auburn, who was up 17-7 at halftime, took a one point lead after Brandon Cox found Rodgeriqus Smith for a 3 yard touchdown pass. QB Matt Flynn drove LSU down the field and into field goal range. Les Miles decided he did not want to put the game on the foot of the kicker. With 10 seconds to go, Flynn threw a deep bomb into the back of the end zone which found WR Demetrius Byrd. The TD left one second on the clock. If that ball was bobbled or incomplete, there would have been little or no time left on the clock. Les Miles has been bailed out more times than Pac Man, Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan combined. His luck will run out with these mind-boggling play calls. That play reminded me of Holy Buckeye, when Ohio State beat Purdue with a late touchdown bomb en route to their national championship.
Runner-Up: Virginia over Maryland
Vandy over South Carolina
The Ole Ball Coach was 15-0 all-time against Vanderbilt going in to Saturday’s matchup. Vandy jumped out to an early 17-0 lead in the 1st quarter, before South Carolina managed 6 points in the 2nd quarter. Those were the last points scored in the game. You have to give Vandy’s defense huge props for shutting down USC. The Gamecocks only rushed for 31 yards. They played 2 quarterbacks, who combined for 3 interceptions. With South Florida and USC losing, two more top 10 teams lost to unranked teams. I have said it before and I will say it again, this is the craziest year of college football.
Runner-Up: Rutgers over USF
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
Normally, the Alabama-Tennessee game is a hard-hitting defensive slugfest. Not this year. Nick Saban is changing the complexion of the Alabama program already. Alabama dominated offensively, collecting 514 total yards. John Parker Wilson threw for 364 yards and 3 touchdowns. His main target was D.J. Hall who caught 13 balls for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tennessee refused to run the ball with Arian Foster, who had 13 carries for 91 yards. Alabama did not allow QB Erik Ainge and the Vol’s offense to get anything going in the 2nd half. Bama outscored UT 17-0 in the final 30 minutes. Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer’s seat got very hot very quick.
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM PERFORMANCE
This was the day for Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell to throw himself in the midst of the Heisman chase. Going into Saturday’s game versus Missouri, he had thrown 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Against the Tigers, he threw for 397 yards, but he was picked off 4 times. Missouri throttled Texas Tech, who just made its jump into the top 25, 41-10. Texas Tech is too one-dimensional and average on defense to compete in the Big 12 South. When all is said and done, that style of play does not pay off.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Chris Wells - RB - Ohio State
Chris “Beanie” Wells had a great day running the ball against Michigan State. Beanie rushed for 221 yards and 1 touchdown. The 6’1 235 lbs. sophomore battled through injuries to have a huge day.
D. J. Moore - CB - Vandy
Vandy scored early and put the game on the shoulders of their defense. The defense answered the challenge. D.J. Moore grabbed two interceptions including one in the end zone midway through the third quarter that killed USC‘s hopes and chances.
Jorvorskie Lane- RB - Texas A&M
The Texas A&M rushing attack ripped through the weakened and diminished Nebraska defense. Lane carried the ball 15 times for 130 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Jonathan Stewart - RB - Oregon
Stewart is one of 3 players who rushed for 100 yards or more for Oregon. Stewart carried the ball 32 times for 251 yards and 2 scores. Oregon‘s offense is darn right scary!
Matt Forte - RB - Tulane
Forte rushed for 327 yards in regulation, but Tulane was in a battle against conference foe Southern Methodist. The game was tied 24-24 at the end of regulation. Forte added 15 yards and another touchdown in a 31-24 overtime win for Tulsa. Forte scored 4 touchdowns in the game.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
#1. A one loss team will get to the BCS Title Game.
Boston College has Virginia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Clemson, and Miami (FL) remaining on the schedule. Arizona State has Cal, Oregon, UCLA, and USC left. BC and ASU might win their conferences, but I just cannot imagine these teams going undefeated. Hawaii will be lucky to get a BCS bowl bid even if they survive games against Nevada and Boise State. Kansas would not jump a team like Oregon, Oklahoma, USC, or LSU unless they win the Big 12 conference title game by 30 points over OU. Ohio State still has a tough road, but they do have the best chance of staying unbeaten, which is due to their great defense and the weakness of the Big 10. There is still a lot of football to be played, but I like the chances of an Oregon or LSU or Oklahoma to get to the BCS title game.
#2. The Big 10 will come down to OSU-Michigan, again.
Now that Michigan has righted the ship completely, it is obvious that things are back to normal in Big 10 country. Ohio State and Michigan will be just as big this year as it was last year, conference wise at least. Illinois had a chance to crash the party, but they could not beat a Michigan team that was missing star running back Michael Hart. Even if OSU and UM lose before the game, I still think the winner will win a trip to the Rose Bowl.
#3. Nebraska has thrown in the towel.
The loss to Southern California opened some eyes about how good the Trojans can be in 2007. Maybe we should of realized how bad Nebraska will be in 2007. The Cornhuskers have lost their last 3 games, and they have not even been close: 41-6, 45-14, 36-14, and the last two were at home. This team has quit and it will be a miracle if they get two more wins to become bowl eligible.
Next week is the best week of games so far this season. A top 10 team might just lose to a ranked team! Boston College travels to Virginia Tech on Thursday night trying to avoid the same fate as USF. Rutgers will try to show that they can contend in the Big East against highly ranked West Virginia. Connecticut, the Big East leader, welcomes USF. Oregon tries to take down Pac 10 giant USC. Florida and Georgia meet in an important SEC East battle, as do Tennessee and South Carolina. Arizona State will finally get tested against Cal. Keep your eye on Northwestern trying to become bowl eligible vs. Purdue. Ohio State will travel to Penn State in the game of the week. The game is at night, on the road in a hostile environment, where you know that there will be a white out. If Ohio State is going to lose before Michigan, this is where they it will be.