Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2008

Week 11 games find many crucial conference match-us that could begin to shape the BCS and Bowl Picture. Beginning next week, we’ll be starting to look at possible BCS Bowl alignments and who might have inside tracks.  In the meantime, lets take a look at the games!

#1 Alabama (9-0) at #13 LSU (6-2). We could make some major case of this being the “Battle of the Week”, but in all reality it really won’t be.  That’s not to say there isn’t something on the line however.  When you are #1, every game is an ambush, and this one won’t be any different.  It’s Saban-bowl 2008, which is certain to foster not-so-great feelings in Baton Rouge.  However, Bama has a commanding lead in a division that boast them and not much else. The Tide has played extremely well, and with relative consistency, though their resume this year boasts very little competition (Georgia and Clemson both have proven to be nothing of what was promised). LSU is the last partial test. But the Tigers haven’t fared well all season. The once touted LSU defense has proven to be overly pourous against ranked teams, allowing 50+ points against both Florida and Georgia. Granted a great deal of this is due to a poor, under-performing offense.  LSU does seem to fare well when they can control the ball on the ground. This happens when the O-Line can dominate the opponent’s D-line as they did against Tulane (231 yds rushing), South Carolina (164 yards), and North Texas (216 yards). LSU has struggled all season long with consistent QB play also.  Bama can put points on the board at times, but usually does so only when opportunity presents itself… the offense would rather play a steady ball-control offense, which plays against LSU here.  To beat Alabama, LSU will have to push the Bama line around, on both sides of the ball, which we think isn’t possible. Barring sloppy play by the Tide, we think this is a rather ho-hum game.  Alabama by 14.

#2 Texas Tech (9-0) hosts #8 Oklahoma State (8-1). Easily the game of the week in the country, not only for both teams, but for the top 10.  Tech showed a remarkable defense last Saturday against Texas, and against perhaps the best defense in the Big-12, was able to move pretty much at will, including taking only 1:29 at the end of the game to score the winning TD. However, let’s also remember that Texas didn’t play with usual intensity and came back and almost won the game.  The key to beating Tech is, and always has been, offensive ball control.  We’re pretty convinced that in a normal game situation, Tech can/will score when they have to. So, Oklahoma State’s key to this game is to buck with last year’s strategy (outscore TTU) and control the ball in large globs of time, to wear out the TTU defense and reduce the number of possessions. One thing that OSU brings to the table is a mobile QB in Zac Robinson, and a great running game.  Tech will need a huge game from their defensive tackles to shut down the running game, put pressure on Robinson, and get turnovers.  Tech MUST win this game to have any chance to get to a BCS game, since their next game is against Oklahoma IN Norman. The biggest question we have is if the Tech defense can put together 2 great games in a row, or will defensive coach Ruffin McNeil choose to play a loose, bend-but-not-break defense and tempt OSU to get out of a ball-control offense.  In their game against Texas in a losing effort, OSU held the Longhorns to 28 points.  They’ll assuredly mix up their defenses  and need turnovers.  On the basis of the uncertainty of the Tech defense, we have to put this game on Upset Watch, however, we like the play making ability of Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree, and the TTU offense to win out in the end.  Red Raiders by 7.

#3 Penn State (9-0) at Iowa (5-4). The Nittany Lions got the week off, and found themselves down a spot. However, there’s little they can do, because of the relative ease of conference and non-conference opponents.  We think that while Iowa has the ability defensively to cause PSU trouble, the question is if they can muster the offensive punch to get it done against a very daunting PSU defense who allows only 11 points per game. Penn State’s lack of schedule forces their hand from here on out, and they’ll have to bury their opponents and hope for a miracle to get them in National Title Contention. So, look for PSU to run the score up when possible.  Penn State by 16.

#4 Oklahoma (8-1) at Texas A&M (4-5). Certainly on paper, this looks like a lopsided victory for the Sooners, and it may well be. However, We remind folks that A&M actually outperformed Texas Tech in the first half of their game earlier this season and led Tech at halftime. A&M has a powerful rushing game, and a decent passing game, when given time to throw. The A&M defense plays with intensity and at home in Kyle Field, its a perfect scenario for a trap game as OU might look past A&M to #2 Tech.  However, Bob Stoops is no fool, and he’ll instill the discipline needed.  OU QB Sam Bradford will just have too many weapons for the A&M secondary to keep up with.  This has the potential to get ugly. Sooners by 28.

#5 Florida (7-1) at Vanderbilt (5-3). The Gators have been perhaps the most consistently improving team of the 2008 campaign.  Since their week 4 loss to Mississippi, they have outscored their opponents 201-43 in those four ensuing games, which averages out to a 50-10 victory/game.  They’ve not only shown a potent offense, but an amazing defense that qualifies them as a front runner for a BCS or National Title game participant.  After starting 5-0, Vanderbilt has gone the other way, however, losing three straight and scoring no more than 14 pts/game.  This one probably will be a blow out.  Gators by 27.

#6 Texas (8-1) hosts Baylor (3-6). Alot has been made about the lack of Texas to play its game in the first half last week against Texas Tech, but let’s not forget that the Longhorn’s fought back and came within 1:29 of winning the game. All of this after a grueling slate of top 25 games. Now Texas can relax and watch everyone else beat up on each other as they get a bit of a break.  However, how big a break?  Baylor’s record might not be completely indicative of the quality of their team.  Last week, the Bears nearly straight-up beat Missouri, except for a last minute field goal. The Freshman QB sensation, Robert Griffin was 26/35 for 283 yards and 2 TD’s last week against the Tigers. There’s no reason why he can’t do the same against Texas, as Zac Robinson (OSU) and Graham Harrell (TTU) had absolutely no problem exploiting the Longhorn defensive secondary.  However, we’re pretty sure that since this game is in Austin, and Texas would like to wash the taste of last week out of its mouth, Baylor might be in for a long afternoon.  Longhorns by 31.

#7 USC (7-1) hosts #22 California (6-2). Almost stealthily, the Trojans have risen from the ashes, after their week 3 embarrassment to Oregon State, and have emerged, not as the offensive juggernaut of the past, but arguably the best defensive team in the country.  In the 5 games following the Beaver loss, USC has allowed 20 points, and recorded 3 shutouts.  Now folks, we don’t really care who those teams are, if you average giving up 4 pts a game over 5 games that’s really good. Now, if the offensive side could just gain a little composure and chemistry.  USC had chosen lately to go back to basics and get it done on the ground, and why not?  They have a stable full of backs, including C.J. Gables and Stafon Johnson who both average over 5 yds/carry. Mark Sanchez still needs some work with control. The Cal Bears have equally been quiet as they have worked their way into contention in the Pac-10. The Trojans are 24-0 in November under Pete Carroll. Cal has won four of its past five games, including a win over No. 24 Oregon last week. We love the former stat and think that continues.  USC by 10.

#8 Oklahoma State (8-1) at #2 Texas Tech (9-0). See above.  Tech by 7.

#9 Ohio State (7-2) at Northwestern (7-2). We must admit that we’re putting our necks on the line by ranking a 2-loss team so high in the rankings. This week will tell where  Ohio State really is. The Buckeyes have been consistently getting better, and sports a very fast, scary-good defense that held Penn State to only 13 points. In fact OSU has held opponents to around 7 pts/game in the past 3 games. The trouble with the Buckeyes has been putting together a consistent offensive attack. Freshman QB Tyrelle Pryor, has worked hard all season to lead the offense, and performed well in a come-back role against Wisconsin.  Northwestern, on the other hand, has been terribly inconsistent, splitting their last 4 games, losing to Michigan State (understandable) and lowly Indiana (not understandable).  The Wildcats stole the game from the Gophers last week on a last second interception return for a TD, so that, too, was a bit disconcerting. We think that the Buckeyes might be way too much for Northwestern on both sides.  Ohio State by 17.

#10 TCU (9-1) at #12 Utah (9-0). Most likely, this match-up will go a long way in deciding who the BCS Buster will be this year.  In the BCS, TCU actually sits 3rd behind Utah and Boise State, with Utah somehow making it to #8 in the country. Utah has played no ranked teams, and barely got by New Mexico last week.  There’s no doubt that the Ute offense can put points up, but the Frog defense doesn’t allow many of those. In the 5 games since their loss to Oklahoma, TCU has allowed 7 points in 4 of the 5, and just 14 last week on the way to a 44-14 romp.   This one is on Upset Watch, as we think that this one could be close, but that the TCU defense will be the deciding factor.  Frogs by 6.

#11 Boise State (8-0) hosts Utah State (2-7). BSU might find going undefeated wont be enough this year, especially if TCU beats Utah.  With no remaining ranked teams on their schedule, and the only ranked win was Oregon, who has since departed the T25, the Broncos have their work cut out for them to get to a BCS bowl this year  They’ll need to take apart their remaining opponents with big numbers and large win margins to overtake Utah/TCU.  Against Utah State, this should easy, especially at home.  Boise State by 23.

#12 Utah (9-0) hosts #10 TCU (9-1). See above.  TCU by 6.

#13 LSU (6-2) hosts #1 Alabama (9-0). See above.  Bama by 14.

#14 Missouri (7-2) hosts Kansas State (4-5). The Tigers are just trying to get through the remainder of their season, and gear up for a final challenge against the winner of the Big-12 South. Their remaining schedule will offer them little in the way of movement up, unless there is mass chaos above them. But at 14th in the BCS, that will be difficult to get to a BCS bowl unless they do win the Big-12. Kansas State should offer very little resistance, and may offer Chase Daniels a chance to pad his stats.  Look for an opportunity to run the score up to help in BCS points.  Missouri by 32.

#15. Georgia (7-2) at Kentucky (6-3). Next year, when we are tempted to YET AGAIN, put Georgia in the top 10, please remind us that every year they start there and end up around 15-16.  The Dawgs travel to Lexington to take on a pretty good Kentucky team that’s managed to do well overall, but is 2-3 in SEC East play meaning that while bowl eligible, they stand no change for anything in the SEC. Georgia needs Florida to lose twice to have any shot at the SEC Championship but that’s not likely. The Dawg defense has been thumped twice this year now, once by Florida and once by Alabama. However, the rest of the time, it’s held up quite well.  We think that this could be the deciding factor in the game. Kentucky gave up 63 to Florida, so we don’t have alot of confidence that it can stop Matt Stafford.  Georgia by 17.

#16 Brigham Young (8-1) hosts San Diego State (1-8). Not much analysis here. SD State’s defense is just dismal giving up 41 to TCU, 35 to Air Force, 38 to Colorado State, and 70 to New Mexico.  BYU QB Max Hall should have a field day.  Cougars by 35.

#17 Michigan State (8-2) hosts Purdue (3-6). Now here’s something to think about.  If the Spartans, Penn State and OSU all finish with one loss, MSU will take the Big Ten on a tiebreaker. Purdue, which has won its past two visits to East Lansing, needs to win its final three games to become bowl-eligible. To do this they will need to try to snap an 18-game losing streak to ranked opponents. Ouch. We’d take this a little more seriously, if they were playing at Purdue..but they aren’t.  Purdue is tough against the run, and thus Javon Ringer may find the going a bit tough. This will put a bit more pressure on QB Brian Hoyer who had only a 91.29 rating against Wisconsin last week.  We’re putting this one on Upset Watch, but are giving home field advantage to MSU.  Spartans by 3.

#18 Ball State (8-0) hosts Northern Illinois (5-3). The Cardinals have beaten the nation’s top-ranked rushing offense, the Indiana Hoosiers’ fast-paced, no-huddle strategy and everyone else’s attempt to play keep the ball away from their own potent attack. The next daunting challenge for Ball State comes Wednesday night, when the Cardinals face the Mid-American Conference’s best defensive team in Northern Illinois. Since by the time you read this, the game will be over,  our prediction might be a bit untimely, but we think that Ball State is really LOTS better than people think they are.  They will prove this against No Illinois.  Cardinals by 18.

#19. North Carolina (6-2) hosts #23 Georgia Tech (7-2). The two leading teams in the ACC Coastal meet to gain an inside track to the division title. A Tar Heels win would guarantee a winning season for the first time since 2001. The Yellow Jackets are 8-1 in the past nine meetings between the schools. This makes the meeting all the more interesting. It was thought that Tar Heels QB T.J. Yates might be able to return for the game (he fractured his ankle against Virginia Tech on 9/20), but he won’t be playing. Junior Cameron Sexton will remain at the helm. and perhaps that’s good. He went 19/30 last week against Boston College for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets are off a hard fought victory against Florida State last week 31-28. It should be a great game.  A game obviously on Upset Watch, our take on it is that GT probably has the better defense here and in close games its a good way to go.  Georgia Tech by 6.

#20 Maryland (6-2) at Virginia Tech (5-3). Another ACC battle, this time cross divisional. Maryland is in a tie with Florida State for the lead in the Atlantic Division, and has a tough row to hoe in the next few weeks: Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Florida State.  The Terrapins have gotten back on track since a 31-0 pounding 3 weeks ago by Virginia, while the Hokies are tying to stop a 2-game skid. Maryland is 3-0 against ranked foes this season but just 3-2 versus unranked schools. Defense, again, will play a pivotal role, and we think that at home, that makes the difference for VT, and so this one goes on Upset Watch also.  Hokies by 4.

#21 West Virginia (6-2) hosts Cincinnati (6-2). It’s a battle of quarterbacks in West Virginia, where Pat White hosts whomever Cincinnati has healthy. The Bearcats have gone through three quarterbacks, with Tony Pike playing the past two despite a broken non-throwing arm. West Virginia has won three straight against Cincinnati and leads the all-time series 14-1-1. There’s not much discussion here we think, as the Mountaineers should prevail easily. West Virginia by 17.

#22 California (6-2) at #7 USC (7-1). See above. Trojans by 10.

#23 Georgia Tech (7-2)  at #19 North Carolina (6-2). See above. Georgia Tech by 6.

#24 Northwestern (7-2) hosts #9 Ohio State (7-2). See above. Ohio State by 17.

#25 Pittsburgh (6-2) hosts Louisville (5-3). Ironically, Pittsburgh has played like a Top 25 team on the road this season, going 4-0 including a win over a top 10 opponent. However, inside Heinz Field,  it hasn’t looked nearly as comfortable. Pitt comes off a come-from-behind, 4-OT win over Notre Dame, but the week before got thumped by Rutgers 54-34. Louisville junior wide receiver Scott Long tore his right ACL in practice on Tuesday night and is out for the season, so call that a major blow before a big conference game.  We think Pitt is just playing better right now, and if they can put together enough defense, they’ll break the Heinz curse.  Pittsburgh by 4.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Last year, in 2007, the upsets began the first week of November and continued through to the end of the season.  It looks as if we are in for another down to the wire run again this year too. Everything is getting bunched up early and its for sure that the BCS system will again come under fire when all is said and done.

Week 10 of 2008 will go down as a week of great games and great performances. It started early with Florida’s impressive, unexpected, 49-19 blowout of Georgia. It has seemed now for a few weeks that Florida was emerging as one of the best 1-loss team in the nation and they proved it.  Northwestern intercepted a pass with time running out, to snatch a victory over a recently charging Minnesota.  Georgia Tech did the same against Florida State, and even some non T25 games were thrilling, such as last minute wins by Purdue over Michigan and Illinois over Iowa.

Of course the game of the week, was the shootout in Lubbock between two undefeated Big-12 teams, #1 Texas and #5 Texas Tech. We’ll own up to the fact we thought this game was way overhyped, but we and most of the world had no idea that TTU’s defense would play the game of their lives, and Texas would totally underperform.  The win by Tech will most certainly get them to the top 3 in the country, and from there, they are in control of their destiny. The variations on just the Big-12 South are unbelievable.  There are scenarios that could see three teams be 11-1 at the end of the regular season. We aren’t even exactly sure how they break that tie, but four Big-12 South Teams all have shots at not only a BCS Bowl Game but also a National Championship.

A handful of games seem to point the way to the remainder of the season.  Texas Tech has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on it schedule the next 2 weeks. If they run the table, there’s a compelling case for title bid, since they would have beat, in succession #23, #1, #8 and # 4.   We don’t know how the pollsters or BCS computers could keep them out of a title bid if they also beat Missouri in the Big-12 championship. However things could shape up to be very scrambled, should TTU beat Oklahoma State and lose to OU (and beat Baylor), and both OU and Texas win out.  That would put 3 Big-12 South teams at 11-1. Or consider if OU beats Tech, and loses to Oklahoma State?  The mind boggles!

Penn State and Michigan State will lock up in a few weeks, that could position the Nittany Lions for a Title invitation, but chances are, they’d need some help to get there, even if they were undefeated, due to their non-competitive schedule. Florida, Texas Tech, and probably Alabama would all have to lose for PSU to be considered for a title bid. Not out of the question, however.

Florida, after trouncing Georgia, now has clear sailing to the SEC Championship from the East side, while Alabama has some work to do against LSU in Baton Rouge next week and then Mississippi State and Auburn.  If Alabama runs the table (including the SEC Championship) there’s no one going to keep them out of a title bid.

Oklahoma and Texas both have paths to BCS Bowls, with possible title game hopes. OU gets Texas Tech in Norman. However they must end with Oklahoma State in Stillwater, and anything could happen there. Because of the prior loss to Texas, OU would need for Texas to lose once more, which is unlikely against very mediocre teams. So, Texas has the easiest freeway to the Big-12 Championship against Missouri.

So with all the hubbub, let’s take a stab at the new rankings.

#1 Alabama (9-0). Defeated Arkansas State (4-4) 35-0 at home. Next week: At #13 LSU (6-2). On a day that saw most all the top 10 teams perform well, the Tide did their job in workman-like manner. Alabama improved to 9-0 for the second time in the last four years (2005). Dating back to their bowl game last season, the Crimson Tide has won 10 straight games. It is the 21st double-digit winning streak for Alabama, an NCAA record. Alabama freshman RB Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on just 12 carries, his first career 100-yard game. Freshman RB Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on just 12 carries, his first career 100-yard game.

#2 Texas Tech (9-0). Defeated #6 Texas (8-1) 39-33 at home. Next week: #8 Oklahoma State (8-1). Tech gets to 9-0 for the first time since 1938 on the strength of a brutal defense in the first half, and riding the Harrell-Crabtree train in the final 1:29. The numbers in the game were staggering on both sides, as 854 yards of offense were put up.  Harrell ended up 36/53 for 474 yards and 2 TD, while Michael Crabtree had 10 receptions for 127 yards and the game winning TD. Special recogntion goes to Texas WR Malcolm Williams who had 4 receptions for 182 yards and a 91-yard TD. The Tech running duo of Shannon Woods and Baron Batch accounted for 122 yards rushing. The Tech defense had better put equal effort next week against OSU.

#3 Penn State (9-0). Did not play. Next week: At Iowa (5-4). Playing in a weak conference with no conference championship game will hurt the Nittany Lions down the road, even if they finish undefeated. Probably just as hurtful was their non-conference schedule. Too many other teams, if successful, will keep PSU out of any title hopes barring some freakish circumstances.

#4 Oklahoma (8-1). Defeated Nebraska (5-4) 62-28 at home. Next week: At Texas A&M (4-5). Despite his defensive prowess at LSU, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini must be wondering what his team can do to show up against ranked opponents.  OU put up 14 points inside the first 3 minutes of the game on the way to a 35-point 1st quarter, and never looked back. QB Sam Bradford put up 311 yards and 5 TDs. OU has a narrow path to a title bid, but they would need to run the table (against 2 Top 10 teams) and hope that Texas loses. Best bet for them is a BCS bowl game, but thats only guaranteed if they win out.

#5 Florida (7-1). Defeated #15 Georgia (7-2) 49-10 at Georgia. Next week: At Vanderbilt (5-3). Any other day in college ball, the Gators would be headed upward. Clearly we have a log jam of 1-loss teams now that could easily be ranked in all 6 possible permutations.  Florida, however, has to be playing the best overall and improves more each week. Heisman winner Tim Tebow accounted for 5 TDs (3 Passing, 2 Running), and the Gator defense just hounded Georgia all day.  Florida does have a problem down the stretch, playing very marginal opponents, so the BCS system won’t be kind to them. However, it looks more and more like an Alabama-Florida SEC Championship, the winner, going to the National Title game.

#6 Texas (8-1). Lost to #3 Texas Tech (9-0) 39-33 in Lubbock. Next week: Baylor (3-6) at home. The road gets much easier for Texas now, who could be in the driver’s seat while they stand back and watch OU, Tech and Oklahoma State beat up on each other the next few weeks.

#7 USC (7-1). Defeated Washington (0-8) 56-0 at home. Next week: California (6-2) at home. It wasn’t a great miracle that the Trojans rolled over the Huskies, but the fact is that they did win big, which was vital to their possible title hopes. Like Penn State, they are a victim of a weak conference, and as such, will have a tough time moving up unless they put lots and lots of points up against the weaklings. SC did the job against Washington mostly on the ground, using 7 different backs to rush for 297 of their 485 yards of offense. C.J. Gables lead the way with 108 yards and 2 TDs. By the way, don’t look now, but the Trojans have recorded shutouts in 3 of the last 4 games.  That’s a pretty impressive stat. They look Rose Bowl bound.

#8 Oklahoma State (8-1). Defeated Iowa State (2-7) 59-17 at home. Next week: At #3 Texas Tech (9-0). the Cowboys took a 28-10 halftime lead and rode that to an easy victory. QB Zac Robinson had 395 yards passing and 5 TDs on the night, while RB Kendall Hunter ran for 104 yards on 13 carries. OSU stll can get to a Big-12 Championship, but it wont be easy.  They’ve alrady lost to Texas, so if both win out, Texas gets the nod. So, OSU must win out to go 11-1, then they must hope that Texas loses. A pretty remote possibility. However, if they DO win out (over TTU and OU) they’ll probably get a BCS bid.

#9 Ohio State (7-2). Did not play. Next week: At Northwestern (7-2). We might be the only rankings that place OSU ahead of a a few non-BCS teams, but we’re still pretty sure that Ohio State has what it takes to finish out in a good position for a bowl bid.  Keep in mind that Penn State must still get by Iowa and Michigan State to get to the Rose Bowl. So, things aren’t over yet in the Big-10.

#10 TCU (9-1). Defeated UNLV (3-6) 44-14 at UNLV. Next week: At #12 Utah (9-0). Again we break with tradition here and put the 1-loss Frogs ahead of a couple of undefeated teams. We simply think that TCU is just a better overall team than BSU and Utah, but we’ll see next week. In the meantime, TCU  used its powerful running game and stifling defense to easily tame the Rebels. Next week’s game v. Utah could be the biggest game of TCU’s history, and a ticket to a BCS bowl, but probably only if the pollsters somehow fall out of love with Boise State.  However, a Frog win over a ranked Utah team, might bolster them in the BCS rankings enough to get by, as BSU has no ranked teams remaining on their schedule.

#11 Boise State (8-0). Defeated New Mexico State (3-5) 49-0 in Las Cruces, NM. Next week: Utah State (2-7) at home. BSU keeps on track for a bowl bid, and perhaps even a BCS bowl, if Utah and TCU both fail down the stretch.  QB Kellen Moore threw for 246 yards and 3 TDs.

#12 Utah (9-0). Defeated New Mexico (4-6) 13-10 at NM. Next week: #10 TCU (9-1) at home. This week was a good example as to why we still don’t get on board the Ute bandwagon. Were it not for a last minute tackle to end a driving New Mexico, Utah could easily have come to an abrupt end. However, that being said, there’s little doubt that next week’s game against TCU will be a BCS bowl-qualifier for one of the two teams.

#13 LSU (6-2). Defeated Tulane (2-6) 35-10 at home. Next week: #1 Alabama (9-0) at home. The Tigers pretty much walked their way to a victory over their cross-town rival.  LSU generated almost 2/3rds of their offense on the ground, with RB Charles Scott running for 114 yards on 12 carries, but highlighting the continual problems with their QB situation.  Defense was solid, but after getting torched by Georgia and Florida for over 50+ each, an improvement was in order!  We’re wondering if Alabama will hang 50 on LSU next week?

#14 Missouri (7-2). Defeated Baylor (3-6) 31-28 in Waco. Next week: Kansas State (4-5) at home. Perhaps one of the tragic stories of the year. The Tigers will probably win the Big-12 North, but only because they play in a division that’s the weakest of any teams in the country.  They are now 1-2 against their South opponents, and had a tough time getting by an ever-improving Baylor Bear team. The Tigers needed a late FG, and a good defensive effort to thwart a comeback. Once Heisman worthy Chase Daniels threw for over 300 yards, and 3 TDs, but keeping with recent trends, had 2 interceptions. Mercifully, Missouri has a breeze schedule to get to the Big-12 Championship game against either Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. Ouch.

#15 Georgia (7-2). Lost to Florida (7-1) 49-10 at home. Next week: At Kentucky (6-3). It was a nightmare come true for the Bulldogs.  It was clear from post-game comments, that the little (very little) stunt last year that Georgia coach Mark Richt orchestrated by having his entire team storm the field after their 1st TD, was remembered and remembered with a vengeance. There’s no place in College Football for a no-class organization, and Urban Meyer’s group went to Georgia, laid them in ruins like Sherman did. Maybe Richt will think twice about the shenanigans and concentrate on trying to get his team to avoid choking, as they’ve done the last two years.

#16 Brigham Young (8-1). Defeated Colorado State (4-5) 45-42 in Colorado. Next week: San Diego State (1-8) at home. The Cougars again had to rally with a 17 yard TD to Dennis Pitta with 22 seconds left to beat the Rams, again showing some signs of vulnerability as they did when TCU took them to the woodshed 3 weeks ago. However, this one turned out a bit different. QB Max Hall had a huge night, going 28/35 for 389 yards and 5 TDs.

#17 Michigan State (8-2). Defeated Wisconsin (4-5) 25-24 at home. Next week: Purdue (3-6) at home. Spartan kicker Brett Swenson kicked a 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds left to give the Spartans a come from behind win in a thriller. Wisconsin out-offensed MSU, but sheer determination won this game for MSU. WR Blair White had the big day with 7 receptions for 164 yards.  Javon Ringer was held to 54 yards, but scored twice.

#18 Ball State (8-0).  Did not play. Next week: Northern Illinois (5-3) at home.

#19 North Carolina (6-2). Did not Play. Next week: #23 Georgia Tech (7-2) at home.

#20 Maryland (6-2). Did not Play. Next week: At Virginia Tech (5-3).

#21 West Virginia (6-2). Defeated Connecticut (6-3) 35-13. Next week: Cincinnati (6-2) at home. Its taken a while, but the Mountaineers came up with a great game against the Huskies, and are vying for the Big East Title again. QB Pat White ran for two TDs (109 rushing yards) and threw for one (121 passing yards).

#22 California (6-2). Defeated Oregon (6-3) 26-16. Next week: At USC (7-1). Nate Longshore was the star of the game going 13-for-27, 136 yards and a TD, and filled in for the injured Kevin Riley. With a driving rainstorm prevailing most of the game, it was a slop-fest where there were a combined 8 turnovers.

#23 Georgia Tech (7-2). Defeated Florida State (6-2) 31-28 at home. Next week: At #19 North Carolina (6-2). In another thriller, the Yellow Jackets snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, when  FSU’s Marcus Sims fumbled on second-and-goal and the ball was recovered by Tech in the end zone with 0:45 left. GT will have a bit of a showdown next week against NC for possibly a trip to the ACC Title game representing the Coastal division.

#24 Northwestern (7-2). Defeated Minnesota (7-2) 24-17 in Minnesota. Next week: #9 Ohio State at home. Another thrilling ending to go along with many this weekend. Minnesota had controlled the game, but Northwestern fought back to tie. As the clock wound down in regulation, Northwestern’s Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for a TD with 12 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the win. Give the game ball, tho, to NU’s backup QB, Mike Kafka who ran for 217 yards and threw for 143 yards and 2 TDs.

#25 Pittsburgh (6-2). Defeated Notre Dame (5-3) 36-33 in 4 overtimes at South Bend. Next week: Louisville (5-3) at home. In still another nailbiter, the Panthers took 4 OT’s to beat an inspired Notre Dame team that lead most of the game.  RB LeSean McCoy had 169 yards rushing on the night and a TD. The Panthers won, despite committing 3 turnovers.

Dropped out: Oregon, Connecticut, Minnesota, Tulsa, Florida State

On the Bubble: Florida State, Kansas, Minnesota.

Most Impressive:  Texas Tech, Florida.

Least Impressive: Missouri, Georgia.

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (5), SEC (4), Big-10 (4), ACC (3), MWAC (3), Big-East (2), Pac-10 (2), WAC (1), MAC (1)

Personal Authors Notes:  The ACU Wildcats haven’t been able to lay claim to a Lone Star Conference championship in football since 1977. Saturday night in Javelina Stadium, the second-ranked Wildcats won at least a share of the title with a 42-17 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville.  The Wildcats are now 9-0 overall for the first time since 1950, but more importantly improved to 8-0 in the LSC and 5-0 in the LSC South Division.

The Wildcats – ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II Super Region Four – can clinch the program’s first outright LSC football championship since 1973 next Saturday when they close out the regular season at 2 p.m. at home against Midwestern State.  ACU can win the title with a win over the Mustangs or a Tarleton State win over West Texas A&M.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts