Saturday in Review (9/18/10)

Well, this is convenient for me. A day with practically no upsets and several games that qualify in the outright murder category. Guess it’s time to get down to it…

#1 Alabama-62, Duke-13

Look, it can be argued that this made the ACC look bad, but the best team in the SEC (and, until proven otherwise, the country) beating the worst (or one of the worst) teams in the ACC really isn’t headline news. Mark Ingram came back with a vengeance, and Alabama had taken Duke out of this game by the end of the first quarter, which is a rarity even for 1-A vs. 1-AA games. I guess there’s not much in the way of a lesson here: Alabama is still good, and Duke is still bad, which really isn’t news to anyone.

Ohio-7, #2 Ohio State-43

Ohio State really stepped out of their normal early season comfort zone when they played Miami last week. Fortunately, they boldly went back to playing the likes of Ohio this week. It must be tough being the Buckeyes, what with their eight home games in the 12 game regular season. It’s a sad statement that they could lose both of their tough road matchups (at Wisconsin and Iowa) and still make a BCS bowl. The Buckeyes will slaughter Eastern Michigan next week, and they’ll probably handle Illinois and Indiana the weeks after that, which will at least make the matchup against Wisconsin on the 16th at least important if not interesting, especially considering that Wisconsin could very easily lose a game between now and then.

#3 Boise State-51, Wyoming-6

Well, look for this to happen a lot in the coming weeks. If Boise gets around Oregon State (not a small task), they could very easily beat the remainder of their opponents by 70. Yeah, Nevada looked good when they thrashed Cal, but Nevada would still need some help from Boise to defeat the Broncos. So get ready for a whooooole lot more scores like this one…

#4 Texas-24, Texas Tech-14

You know, for a game that got a reasonable amount of hype, this one was sort of anticlimactic. The first half was a thriller, and a far cry from that game that everyone kept talking about in 2008. Yeah, I know that the 2008 game was arguably the high water mark for the Texas Tech football program, but the quarterback and receiver who threw the thrilling final pass are long since gone, as is the coach who engineered Texas Tech’s rise to national prominence. This game was 14-14 at the half, which is exciting, but not the type of game that most people had expected. While Texas Tech looks decent, Tommy Tuberville still looks like he’s uncomfortable coaching a team running a spread offense.

Texas, meanwhile, still has yet to dazzle anyone, but they’re undefeated which is more than most teams can say. Gilbert is going to have to step up heavily if Texas is going to be returning to the national championship game. The Longhorns have what should be an easy home game against UCLA prior to the Red River Shootout on October 2, which will (as usual) determine the fate of the Big 12 South.

Baylor-10, #5 TCU-45

TCU put the game away in the first half when they jumped out to a 35-3 lead. Baylor, however, isn’t overly good, so this game doesn’t prove too terribly much. TCU should be able to handle themselves in their conference, though their games against Air Force and Utah should provide us all with more interesting matchups than whatever the ACC is serving that week…

Since I have the time and the space, allow me to say that Vandy, Duke, and Baylor should all schedule one another to see who the worst snobby private school in major college football is.

Portland State-0, #6 Oregon-69

Oregon is currently averaging 63 points per game, meaning that this game lowered their average. Sure, it’s a cupcake game, but Oregon’s offense is easily the best in the country right now. Look for Oregon to keep rolling strong until a game against Stanford on October 2 that should be a real shootout. In fact, looking at it now, that is going to be an awesome weekend of college football.

#7 Florida-31, Tennessee-17 (Bonus Bright Orange review, complete with way too many links)

Neyland Stadium is a sight to see. Mind you, it was built in 1924 so scenes like this are common during halftime. Watching 102,000 people squeeze into a corridor designed for about 1/3rd that number is a profoundly disturbing sight. Another disturbing sight is seeing a large, anthropomorphic bloodhound run into the stadium, though that could just be irrational fear on my part. As you can tell, our seats were somewhat high up, but that provided us with a very clear idea of just where the fans of either squad were (Note the Florida fan section in blue).

The game itself was surprisingly good. Tennessee held their own against a Florida squad that clearly ain’t what they used to be. The UT quarterback, Phil Simms’s son Matt, made some critical errors including an interception in the end zone. Tennessee’s defense looked excellent, but their offense looked lost. The same can honestly be said for Florida, which continues to struggle running the shotgun spread. Florida prevailed, however, and the Tennessee students sent them off with a rousing chant of “F*** you Florida” that I imagine didn’t make it onto the national broadcast. Florida fans, for the record, travel well, especially since Knoxville is about 8 hours from Gainesville. Since this is, as usual, one of those overly long things that I type on a weekly basis, allow me to just say that 31-17 is one of those scores that looks like a slaughter when you first look at it. You know, that’s just 14 points. 14-0 or 21-7 isn’t a slaughter, and I think it’s fair to say that 31-17 isn’t either. Look for Tennessee to go about 5-7 if they keep playing this way, while Florida should crush Kentucky this week then lose by 20 to Alabama the week after that…

#8 Nebraska-56, Washington-21

Jake Locker continues his Heisman campaign with an amazing 73 yard performance featuring 1 TD pass and 2 interceptions. I might be harping on this too much, but the bottom line is that Locker’s looked like one of the most overrated quarterbacks this side of Jay Cutler. Locker is like Tim Tebow with all the hype but without the national titles, conference championships, or even the winning seasons. Yeah, you can pin a small amount of this on a mediocre receiver corps and the fact that Nebraska is really good, but the bottom line is that the amount of press given to Locker based upon his potential is completely unreasonable.

Nebraska, meanwhile, continues to impress. Their scrambling freshman quarterback ran for over 100 yards, and he’s done that every game this season. It’ll be interesting to see how they perform in the coming weeks, considering that they haven’t played anyone who’s that good. Next week they play a 1-AA cupcake, then they play Kansas State. Then comes the showdown with Texas on October 16.

Air Force-24, #9 Oklahoma-27

Air Force shows everyone just how fun the option is to watch. They also showed that Oklahoma either has trouble getting up for little games, or that they’re not that good and Florida State (who the Sooners dominated last week) is just bad. Either way, Oklahoma narrowly skates by yet again. Lost in the shuffle of how awful the ACC is (don’t get me wrong, that really should be the lead story) is the story of just how mediocre the Big 12 is. Outside of Nebraska, no Big 12 team has looked dominant, which is sad considering that the Big 12 is packing an utterly mediocre nonconference schedule. Name me the Big 12’s biggest nonconference win. It’s Kansas over Georgia Tech. 2nd biggest? Oklahoma over Florida State. 3rd biggest? Probably the Nebraska/Washington game listed above. So take that for what it’s worth. (Oh, and look for Air Force to give some of the traditional MWC powers a scare this season.)

#10 Iowa-27, #18 Arizona-34

First and foremost, notice that this was nowhere near as large an upset according to the Coaches Poll. The Coaches Poll is no more or less conjecture than the AP Poll at this time, it’s just that the Coaches Poll will actually matter come January. Iowa allowed Arizona to jump out to a huge lead, and they seemed destined to make a great comeback until Arizona put together an excellent final drive to seal the deal in front of a very energetic home crowd. Take note that last season, Iowa was probably an 8-4 team that won at least 3 games it shouldn’t have. They made the BCS and beat Georgia Tech, true, but let’s all be honest about Iowa’s legitimacy as a National Title contender last season: there was none.

Sloppy already covered the fact that it was about 100 degrees, something that Iowans probably aren’t used to. They also weren’t expecting 4 straight sacks on their final possession, in what was arguably the finest show of defense this season. This was a good win for the Pac-10, especially since Oregon and Southern Cal have been stealing the show out west, and it was a better win for Mike Stoops. Arizona proved that they could beat major competition at home, now they have to prove they can do it on the road. I’ll make you one guarantee: If they blow a 20 point lead on the road instead of at home, they’ll lose the game. Look for Iowa to take a tumble in the coming month, since they have a pretty rough stretch after their last cupcake game next week. Arizona, meanwhile, has pretty smooth sailing until a November series of games with Stanford, Southern Cal, and Oregon.

Arizona State-19, #11 Wisconsin-20

I’ll be honest, this one surprised me. I figured Arizona State would get beaten rather handily by Wisconsin, but I forgot that the Badgers have yet to really prove that they’re the 11th best team in the country. I only caught the highlights of this game, but let it be known that the blocked extra point is still one of the best and most exciting plays in football. Wisconsin will have the opportunity to prove that they deserve their ranking when their conference schedule opens up in October. Arizona State has the “honor” of being the first Pac-10 team to try and slow down Oregon next week. If they play the way they did against the Badgers, they might only allow 50 points!

Mississippi State-7, #12 LSU-29

Mississippi State should really be glad that Vanderbilt is in their conference. Mind you, currently, Vandy has a better SEC record than Mississippi State. LSU was dominant, but against arguably the worst team in their conference, they shouldn’t have needed 5 field goals. At least 3 of those should have been touchdowns. LSU looks like they’ll be around the same level as they were last year: OK, but not as good as the teams on top of the conference. Let’s just move on…

#13 Arkansas-31, Georgia-24

Well, Georgia’s off to a rough start, and as usual the talk of firing Mark Richt has begun in Athens. Firing a coach just because he hasn’t managed to win the toughest conference in the country isn’t really a rational response. Generally firing a coach leads to a down year or three (see also: Michigan, Arkansas, just about every school that fired its coach in the last 4 years). Also, Arkansas is just beginning to climb upwards, but they’re not there yet. The Razorbacks did pass this test, but they have another one coming up this week when Alabama comes to town. If they beat the Crimson Tide this week then I’ll confess them as being worthy of their ranking…

#14 Utah-56, New Mexico-14

Utah is undefeated and in TCU’s conference but ranked lower than the Horned Frogs. The Utes will put the hammer to whatever teams they can in order to gain the all-important “style points” necessary to get a BCS at-large bid. New Mexico may be in the MWC with TCU, Utah, and BYU, but they’re light years away from being in those teams’ league. So look for Utah to crush just about everyone they face up until their October 30 matchup with Air Force. A loss between now and then will kill the Utes’ hopes for another trip to the BCS. Also, Utah is still a boring state.

Clemson-24, #15 Auburn-27 (OT)

Well, Clemson tried to make the ACC look good, and they came dang close. Since last Saturday was an utter wreck for the ACC, this week was actually redemption week. Had Clemson won this game, it’d go a long way to proving that the ACC doesn’t suck nearly as much as everyone thinks it does. Auburn didn’t ever look dominant, and I have a hard time believing that they’d have won this game on the road. The Tigers (of Auburn) have another tough test from South Carolina coming in the form of, uh, South Carolina this week. Of all the teams in the SEC, however, Auburn has the best shot at upsetting the status quo (Florida, Alabama dominant, rest of conference far behind) since they “only” play 3 ranked teams between now and a massive showdown with ‘Bama on November 26. Auburn doesn’t face a major road test until that game, either, which gives them a good chance. But if they play against LSU or Arkansas or South Carolina the way they did against Clemson (i.e. sloppy) then they’ll lose long before this season’s Iron Bowl.

Furman-19, #16 South Carolina-38

South Carolina beats a team from the local 1-AA conference. No review necessary.

#19 Stanford-68, Wake Forest-24

A team with a high powered offense meets a team that gave up 48 points to Duke last week. Don’t read too much into this one, Stanford fans.

Kent State-0, #20 Penn State-24

Well, Penn State bounces back from a loss to Alabama by crushing a team from the MAC. Guess that’s a good thing, but come on, JoePa. Kent State (the college) is only 16 years older than you.

Maryland-17, #21 West Virginia-31

There must be a law somewhere stating that every AQ conference has to have one ranked team. That’s the only logic I can see for the ACC and the Big East each having a team in the Top 25. Oh, and WVU fans, don’t get too cocky. You successfully beat a team that was the worst team in a conference that contains Duke last year. (Picking on the Devils an awful lot in this one, aren’t I?)

Massachusetts-37, #22 Michigan-42

Dear Michigan,

I am glad you are back in the Top 25 so I can write you these letters. Just like last season, however, you are in the Top 25 because you’ve beaten a bunch of teams that really aren’t that good and sportswriters and coaches inexplicably want you to be ranked. Do you remember how well things went last season after that 4-0 start against giants such as Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Indiana, and Notre Dame? I remember. You wound up going 5-7, losing every game you played after that 4-0 start except one against 1-AA cupcake Delaware State. Boldly, you have scheduled Bowling Green next week to round out your nonconference schedule. Yes, Denard Robinson has looked great this season. I don’t know if you remember, but Tate Forcier looked great at this point last season. So enjoy next week and the following week against Indiana, because it’s all going to come crashing down when you play Michigan State.


#23 Houston-13, UCLA-31

UCLA isn’t that good. Please don’t be fooled. It’s just that Houston still can’t play defense. They couldn’t last season, and they’re not going to start this season. Please, sportswriters, for the love of all that is good and right with the world, quit getting so high on teams that can score 40 but allow 50. Learn to love defense. UCLA, have fun getting beaten by Texas next week.

San Diego State-24, #25 Missouri-27

It’s telling just how confusing the college football landscape is when Missouri, a team that is actually fairly mediocre cracks the top 25. It’s also telling that I live in the Southeast when that’s all I can come up with here. It’s late and I’m tired. Now for…

Tales from the Bottom 95

You all knew this one was coming: Virginia Tech finally won a game! Sure, it was against ECU, but I’ll take what I can get…Cal didn’t play on Saturday, but I guess I should have mentioned them above. They got knocked off by Nevada. Boise, you have been warned…Michigan State beat Notre Dame by scoring on a fake field goal in overtime. Coach Mark Dantonio then suffered a heart attack later that night. Congrats on the gutsy call coach, and we all hope you recover soon…On a related topic, anyone else think that Notre Dame was grossly overrated? Raise your hand if you did. If you didn’t raise your hand then you probably play or coach for Notre Dame…Kansas followed their triumph over Georgia Tech by losing to Southern Miss…Just what the ACC needed…Speaking of Georgia Tech, they beat Carolina in a thriller that 2 weeks ago would have been a ranked matchup. O, how the conference has fallen…Temple beat UConn. Seriously, anyone else think that Michigan was seriously overrated?…Vandy beat Ole Miss, and the Rebels just keeeeeeeep falling…Idaho hammered UNLV…Lastly, the mighty Catamounts of Western Carolina University won their first game of the year, beating Gardner-Webb 28-14 on the road…

That’s all for this week. See you next time!