Saturday in Review 10/30/10

No need for a flashy intro when there’s games to get to. Just let me tell you that I swear on my blogger’s badge (a homemade pin that I actually lost in late 2007) that I will not make any Halloween references outside of this one, which is just to explain that I will not be making said references. I make no promises regarding Election Day references. OK, we go!

#1 Auburn-51, Ole Miss-31

You know what? I’m sick of people treating Ole Miss like they’re some sort of realistic threat in the SEC. They were overhyped last year, and they’re overhyped now. As a Virginia Tech fan, I’ve taken crap from people since September about losing to a 1-AA (FCS) team, and yet Ole Miss is perceived as some sort of threat to the #1 team in the country after they did the same friggin’ thing that Tech did?! Give me a break! The Rebels are a prime example of a school that’s firmly mediocre, yet inexplicably loved by sportswriters (see also: Notre Dame, Michigan).

Auburn looks good, mind you, they were playing a team that’s not very good. This week, the Tigers will boldly play Southern Conference foe Chattanooga, before they move on to a potential trap game with Georgia, followed by the big showdown with Alabama. That ‘Bama game will tell us more about Auburn’s level of skill than the Ole Miss, Chattanooga, and Georgia games will combined…

#2 Oregon-53, Southern Cal-32

Oregon was held to below-average (for them) scoring in this one. The Ducks did struggle a bit in the first half to defeat the Trojans, though they pulled ahead for good in the third quarter and were never really challenged for supremacy of the field from 6:46 in the third quarter onward. Oregon’s offense continues to impress, and if they go undefeated there’s no reason we wouldn’t see them in the National Title game.

Southern Cal? Hah. I am beyond glad to see a team (in this case Oregon) shut up the sportscasters and other USC apologists who, for whatever reason, still had this team pegged as a national powerhouse. They weren’t that good last season, and they’re not that good this season! And next season has the potential to be even worse, if Tennessee is any indicator of what Lane Kiffin does to programs he gets his hands on. So, you know what, have fun in probation land, Trojans. With any luck your 2 year stay there will hobble you enough that we won’t have to hear from you anymore, except in those delightful little ESPN articles that say things like “Notre Dame faces USC in battle of winless teams.”

#4 TCU-48, UNLV-6

Much was made of the fact that this could be “Roadblock Saturday,” since all the undefeateds were on the road. I hope this score will prevent such idiotic marketing BS in the future. That is all.

#5 Michigan State-6, #18 Iowa-37

For the second time this season (link to the first time!) a top 10 team has been demolished by its opponent. And demolished is a kind word for it! Michigan State came out flat, and got rolled into a slightly flatter position by Iowa. Let’s all be honest with ourselves, this game was rather pathetic, and Iowa finally got their win over a ranked team after nearly beating Wisconsin last week. The Big 10 is still pretty wide open, so it should be fun to see who gets their spot in the Rose Bowl (Spoiler: It’ll be Ohio State, because the computers either wear sweater vests, were programmed by Jim Tressel or both).

#6 Missouri-17, #14 Nebraska-31

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a game with a 300 yard rusher before. I know if I have it wasn’t a Nebraska game, because Roy Helu Jr. became the first Husker to ever pull of that feat, and he did it in this game. Helu ran for 307 yards, everyone else on Nebraska and Missouri combined ran for 163. That is a dominant performance by anyone’s standards. This win gives the Huskers the edge in the Big 12 North, meaning that they have the inside track to get to the Big 12 Championship game.

Missouri, meanwhile, should be OK. They have the potential (if everything shakes out right) to go to the BCS as an at-large bid. If they get demoralized because of this loss, mind you, they also have the potential of going to the Big Al’s House of Staplers Bowl in Paducah, Kentucky. The choice, I suppose, is the Tigers’.

#8 Utah-28, Air Force-23

Utah narrowly escaped, which is bad news for the Utes’ hopes of impressing the notoriously close-minded voters. Sure, Air Force only lost to Oklahoma by 3, but BCS polls are, to be frank, uneducated. It’s really the only explanation as to how Auburn leaped to #1 this week, then dropped to #2 after this round of games with the computers, but went from #3 to #2 in the coaches’ poll. So…explain.

There’s a point in that cluster of words up there, and that point is this: the answer to Shakespeare’s old rhetorical question “What’s in a name?” is simple. Everything is in a name. “Oklahoma” carries more weight than Utah. It’s not right, but that’s the way it is, meaning that an undefeated Utes squad could well wind up ranked lower than a one-loss Sooners squad. ESPECIALLY if they don’t play one another in a bowl game. So, here’s to you, Utah. Good luck with TCU this coming week. That will, in fact, be a good one. Also, Utah is a boring state.

Colorado-10, #9 Oklahoma-43

Colorado…still bad. Oklahoma, beat Baylor and Oklahoma State and we might talk. Win the Big 12 if you want to convince me (and most semi-observant college football fans) that you even belong in the Top 15.

#11 Ohio State-52, Minnesota-10

The ACC and Big East take a ton of crap week in and week out for being weak. And they are. You have to be blind, stupid, or a West Virginia fan (<-Repetitive statement) to say that either of the conferences is nationally relevant. But has anyone taken a look at the bottom half of the Big 10? Minnesota is horrible, Indiana’s not much better, Michigan has yet to beat a team that’s anywhere near good, and Purdue is mediocre at best. Wow! What a great conference! So Ohio State murdering a team that’s frankly awful means next to nothing. Let’s roll on…

#13 Stanford-41, Washington-0

I’m not going to make any Jake Locker jokes this week. The guy got beaten 41-0 at home and led Washington to its first shutout loss at home since 1976. That’s punishment enough. He doesn’t need to be insulted by a reclusive semi-journalist from a backwater hole in North Carolina. At least, not this week.

Stanford, meanwhile, is in the running for the surprisingly competitive title of “2nd best team in the Pac-10.” In past years, that’d be an insult, but this season it’s actually an honor: Oregon is the best, but Arizona, Stanford, and arguably Oregon State are in an excellent race for second. Add to the mix that Arizona and Oregon State have a chance to knock off the Ducks, and we have what’s looking to be an exciting 4 weeks in the Pac-10.

#15 Arizona-29, UCLA-21

I hope, with sincerity, that this is a combination of Arizona overlooking UCLA and losing their starting quarterback to an injury. I hope that, because Arizona nearly lost to a team that Oregon beat 60-13. ‘Zona can’t let up with Stanford, Southern Cal, and Oregon in the coming 3 weeks.

UCLA, meanwhile, seems to be a schizophrenic team. That, or they’re just playing the role of the little girl who points out that the Emperor (in this case, Texas) has no clothes, then vanishes once more into the crowd. UCLA could still make a bowl, but they’ll need to win 3 of the next 4 games.

#17 Oklahoma State-24, Kansas State-14

Well, OSU is once again the team that has the best shot to knock off the powers that be in the Big 12 South. Unfortunately, there’s a new upstart in the South in the form of Baylor. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys (best win: probably this one at K-State) can defeat the Bears (best win: maybe Texas, maybe K-State). So…two teams that are ranked with somewhat unimpressive résumés face off. Sounds like a happy go fun time!

Oklahoma State played 4 decent-to-good teams last season, and they lost to 3 of them. Thus far this season, they’ve played 1 good team and lost. Let’s see how they do when they play a Baylor squad that’s at least OK.

Vanderbilt-14, #19 Arkansas-49

Vandy…the Duke of the SEC.

Tennessee-24, #20 South Carolina-38

South Carolina narrowly beat the second worst team in the SEC. I’m not sure how well this bodes for the Gamecocks, considering just how badly Tennessee has performed for the last few games. I’ll be honest, I sort of hoped that South Carolina would lose; less out of malice for the Gamecocks and more out of outright contempt for Nick “Lord Evill” Saban. Logic says that South Carolina losses make Alabama’s schedule weaker, making them less likely to jump over an undefeated TCU or Boise. Mind you, Alabama also has the potential to make jump after jump because their schedule is (somewhat mistakenly) thought of as awesome.

Kentucky-17, #21 Mississippi State-24

Until they lose, I won’t be vindicated in my belief that Mississippi State is overrated. They lost to Auburn (barely) and to LSU (badly). The Bulldogs have beaten Florida in the swamp (admittedly not as difficult as it used to be) but barely beat UAB and Kentucky at home. We’ll learn who they really are when they go to Alabama on November 13. As for Kentucky, they still have a 1-AA cupcake and Vandy and Tennessee on the schedule. Who’s up for another trip to the Music City Bowl???

#22 Miami (Florida, duh)-19, Virginia-24

Well, UVa actually gave Virginia Tech a 2 game lead in the ACC’s questionably named Coastal Division. Miami came out and looked flat out terrible for the first 3 quarters. They made an admirable comeback minus starting quarterback Jacory Harris, but they fell just short in the end. While it’s tempting to say that Harris’ absence hurt Miami, let’s take into account this is a guy who (on occasion) tosses interceptions like its his job. So let’s not go saying that was the nail in Miami’s coffin just yet, OK? Miami will need some help from Georgia Tech, Carolina, or (ironically) UVa to unseat the Hokies from the top of the ACC, but since the ACC is a sea of mediocrity, not a conference dominated by any one team, methinks that the road to Charlotte won’t be a smooth one for Virginia Tech. Or Miami. Whichever.

Utah State-42, #24 Nevada-56

Utah State has an amazing knack to hang around better teams and not actually beat them. They’re 2-6, and they got killed by Fresno State, San Diego State, Louisiana Tech, and Hawaii. But they stuck in with Oklahoma and Nevada, the only 2 ranked teams they’ve played. In short, I have no idea what I was going for here. Utah State could win the next 3 games before Boise State beats them senseless in the season closer.

Oh, and Nevada’s got a good offense. Let’s hope they win these next 3 and climb in the polls, right up to when Boise slaughters them. Maybe.

#25 Baylor-30, Texas-22

Baylor beats Texas at Texas. If you follow college football at all, then you don’t need me analyzing why that pretty much defines “the world turned upside down.” And that, kids, is how we segue into…

Tales from the Bottom 95

Syracuse beat Cincinnati, thereby making life even more difficult for the already embattled Bearcats…speaking of Cincinnati, their former coach lost a “heartbreaker” to Tulsa at Notre Dame. When can I safely say that the Irish are gone?…Illinois took out Purdue. No one cares…Maryland hammered Wake Forest, cementing the Demon Deacons as the 2nd worst team in the ACC…Carolina needed a rally to beat William and Mary at home…New Mexico State beat the pathetic San Jose Spartans…Hawaii hammered Idaho as a prelude to their big game with Boise this coming week…

And election night stuff is on, so I’m gonna cut this one short…Have a good week!